Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Reader Vents

I think in the six years I have been doing this blog, I have commented on a comment once. This is because Ratbang Diary is not a dialog, nor is it a conversation. Readers are welcome to say what they want, unless it's overly abusive or overly long, and I will print comments. But although I think comments are interesting to readers, they are not interesting or important to me.

However, I just received a comment from "anonymous" regarding my blog today (December 21, 2010) about the Pope. Anonymous said: "ma vedi di andartene affanculo!!" Or, "see, go fuck yourself".

And I am going to comment on it.

Leaving a nasty comment in a language other than English and signing it "Anonymous" is not clever. It's weaselly,  ignorant and silly. Disagreement is good, well-thought-out argument is good. But cowardice and abuse is not good. And cowardice and abuse is exactly what the Roman Catholic Church has been guilty of and is what I am railing against.

Dear Pope Ratz: Don’t Ask Yourselves, Ask Me!

Get this! The guy in the Vatican who bears the main responsibility for the monumentally wrong-headed, uncivilized and unconscionable goings-on in the Vatican for the last 30 years--Cardinal Raztinger, now Pope Benedict XVI—on Monday addressed the current abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church and said in a Christmas message to the Vatican hierarchy: “We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible the injustice that has occurred, We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen.” He also said the abuse scandal had reached “a degree we could not have imagined” this year.

Well, maybe Ratz could not have imagined it because he and the Curia and all the Church sycophants who unctuously kiss his ring and live in Vatican City—a rarified, isolated little universe in Rome where the inhabitants are protected by Italian law from knowing or understanding anything about what goes on in the world---but any 16-year-old outside of Vatican City could have imagined in full-color and easy-to-read prose exactly the degree to which the abuse scandal would gain traction and become known to the world.

It was Ratz who was Pope John Paul’s “enforcer” and whose job it was to silence all Roman Catholic dissidents. It was Ratz who was was made head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in 1981 and whose job it was to deal with priests who were accused of molesting children. And although this month the Vatican has found and made public a letter from 1988 that shows that Ratz had tried to find ways to punish pedophile priests, the Vatican says he was unsuccessful.

And why do you think he was unsuccessful? Because he didn’t want to be successful. 

Ratz also said in his Christmas message that we have to realize that even in the 1970’s the devastation of pedophilia was not well understood. 

Now that is pure bullshit! The effects of pedophilia on the victims has been well understood for decades everywhere in the world but in the Vatican, which, for reasons not well understood, has chosen to ignore the information on pedophilia that has been available.

And who, we might ask, is the boss in the Vatican that within the last year has allowed a Vatican spokesperson to report to the world at large that the abuse scandal was a concoction of the New York Times and RC haters who wanted to discredit the Church? Who allowed a Vatican spokesperson to opine that press coverage of the RC Church abuse scandal was like anti-semitism? Who allowed a Vatican spokesperson to say that women priests are worse than pedophiles? Pope Ratz,that’s who.

So…yesterday, for Christmas, the Pope declared that he and his cohorts must look all over and in every nook and cranny and find the reasons WHY the RC Church is in the sad state it’s in.

Well, Pope, you have two options:
No. 1) You can ask me and I will tell you; or,
No. 2) Look in the mirror. There he is: The RC Church abuse-enabler for the last 30 years.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Prequel to “The Man Who Hated Christmas”

Yesterday, the New York Times printed a page 1 story in the Metropolitan Section about Bob Kulicke. It was called “The Man Who Hated Christmas” by Wendell Jamieson. Jamieson had been a sort-of stepson of Bob’s in New York City during the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

I loved the article because Bob Kulicke had been a really good friend to me in the 50’s and 60’s—‘way before Wendell Jamieson’s mom and Bob got involved, Bob had even saved my sorry ass one memorable time.

When I knew him, Bob Kulicke had a frame shop at 73rd Street and York Avenue on the east side of Manhattan. My husband Ron Gorchov and I and our tots Michael and Jolie lived on the first floor of a three-story brownstone at 73rd and York. Ron was (and still is) a painter. Bob did the framing for the Museum of Modern Art back then. He was a sweet, warm-hearted, volatile, very funny guy. By 1960, Ron and I were in the midst of a break-up and Ron had moved out. I think Bob and his wife Barbara (Bobby) were having troubles back then too.

Our son Michael was about 7 years old and he loved going over to the frame shop. Bob let him help making frames, like applying the first coat of gesso on what would become a baroque and “distressed” rococo frame. It wasn’t unusual for Bob to drop by our apartment around 4:00 in the afternoon for a cup of coffee. One afternoon, I recognized his knock on the door and I invited him in. The kitchen was the first room you entered. I’d just made a pot of coffee.

We sat down at the round kitchen table near a window looking on 73rd Street. Bob happened to glance over at a wide shelf on a floor-to ceiling-cabinet where I kept odds and ends like cookbooks, pens and pencils and bills to be paid. An item on the shelf caught his eye. He picked it up.

“What the fuck is this…I mean…what IS this?”

“Hmmmm…well Bob…I guess it’s what it says…it’s an eviction notice.”

Eviction notices came in different colors. Like, the first one was pink. One ignored pink ones. The second one was yellow. One ignored yellow ones. The final one was green. You either didn’t ignore the green one or you got evicted. Bob was looking at a green one.

“But jesuschrist! This is for tomorrow.”

“Yeah…nine ayem…that’s what it says.”

“And you are doing WHAT?”

“I’m getting evicted!”

You’d have to know Bob to picture him bolting out of his chair and waving his arms and yelling, “Well Jesus! Well my God! What the hell! FUUUUUCK!”

He stalked into the room that had been Ron’s painting studio before he had moved out. “What have you got to sell? You got anything to sell?”

“Bob, look around…I got NOTHING…that’s why I’m getting evicted.”

“What’s this?”

“It’s a painting John Graham left with us before he went to Europe. It doesn’t belong to me.”

“Of course it belongs to you…it’s here and he’s there.”

Bob picked up the painting...it had no frame. It was just the painting on the stretched canvas. But it was a quintessential Graham—about 18” by 18”, the head of a woman with crossed eyes, and a gash on her neck, in a blue dress and a big black hat.

“I’m buying this,” Bob said. “How much is your rent? How much do you owe?”

“You can’t buy that, I don’t own it. And my rent is $120 and I owe three months.”

“Of course I can buy it. I’m buying it. Okay?” Bob tucked the painting under his arm and walked back to the kitchen. He sat down at the table and reached in his pocket for his wallet. He pulled out two checks and started  scribbling on the checks. “Here’s a check for $360, and another one for $100. Go pay your rent and go buy some food or whatever for yourself.”

Needless to say, I stopped arguing and took the checks. I grabbed my baby daughter from her crib,  threw some warm clothes on her and put her in her stroller. We ran up to 80th Street to the realtor’s office. We got there just as he was leaving for the day.

Funnily, just before Bob had knocked on my door that afternoon, I had been lying down having a conversation…a rather one-sided conversation…with God. “Alright,” I had said. “The ball is in your court. I’ve done everything I can do. Now it’s up to you.”

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Words of Christmastime Wisdom

What’s It All About?

Getting through all this shit with some kind of grace. Because no matter who you are or what you believe in, you are going to have to go through a whole truckload of shit.

And, as Elizabeth Edwards would no doubt tell you this morning: Everything she thought was important, isn’t.

Like, a plain Jane marrying a self-absorbed male beauty and attempting to turn him into a person; reviving a moribund marriage by trying to replace a dead child and using questionable medical wizardry to do it that was all but guaranteed to cause horrendous mental and physical problems; making the trophy hubbo president of the United States at all costs. None of it was worth a damn.

More words of wisdom: slow down accomplishing everything important you have to do. And speed up everything that can be done whenever.

That’s it.