Classic Catholic icons, especially the statues, are so goddamn morose. Their sullen muted tones, their dead, guilt-inducing stares urged me --- when the penguins and priests couldn't --- to say my prayers, obey my parents, and adhere to a whole buttload of thou-shalt-nots. When the reality of my teens superceded the divinity of the church, I split.
But after my self-imposed excommunication, I kept an affinity for certain patron saints --- those mascots or pawns, if you will, in a papal zodiac. St. Cecelia was the patron saint of musicians, so she was cool. St. Christopher was the patron saint of travelers but for some reason they revoked his sainthood: another outcast. We would hit the road in exile together. And St. Jude was the patron saint of hopeless causes, and who was I kidding? I needed all the help I could get.
And now I collect them all.
You run into them all the time at yard sales and thrift stores. Their worn-out charm is both alluring and sad, like a three-legged dog that nobody wants. Plus, in many cases they were witness to a lot of grief. Folks knelt and prayed and begged before many of them at one time. And though they still come off somewhat judgmental --- their eyes follow you constantly --- I feel sort of sorry for them, virgins, martyrs, one and all. They were part of a regime that made my life hell. But to forgive is divine.
Many of them now take up residency with the naked-lady statues, B-movie posters, other odd deities, and dead animal heads in my living room. It's a Basilica of sorts --- if Hemingway or Hefner were Pope.
These statues aren't all that cuddly, but somehow I find them comforting, a place to focus positive energy --- on my terms. Perhaps you could call it Fallen Catholic revenge, because now I'm the one lording over the joint --- only this time it's with a buttload of "thou shalls."
--- Frank De Blase
He's always been concerned about your spiritual health. Now Pat Robertson wants to take care of your physical health, too.
Concerned by the "fattening of America" Robertson has released his own, "unique" diet and exercise plan. With regular exercise and a balanced diet --- including two daily servings of Pat's Diet Shake (available in double chocolate or creamy vanilla) and three daily servings of Pat's Heart Healthy Breakfast Squares --- you can lose weight! Revolutionary!
On the website, www.patsshake.com, Robertson outlines the uniqueness of his plan: a low-calorie, low-fat, high-protein diet and 30 minutes of exercise a day.
"The Bible says, 'My people perish for lack of knowledge,'" Robertson says. "I want to help you gain the knowledge you need to live a full, vibrant, and healthy life."
His diet recommends things like salad and whole wheat bread. His exercise plan recommends you go to Wal-Mart and buy some dumbbells. "You may not be doing multiple sets of thousand-pound leg presses at the gym like me," he writes, "but everyone should be building muscle through some form of resistance training. I have particularly enjoyed the workout I get from a piece of equipment called The Total Gym, which I use at home."
Ah, product endorsement. How heavenly.
--- Erica Curtis