We are Popeless, repeat, Popeless - 10 Things

International Pope levels are at a dangerous low today with the news that Pope Benedict XVI has announced his resignation. Eighty-five year old Joseph Ratzinger told a meeting of Vatican cardinals of his decision yesterday, citing his ill-health and advanced age as preventing him from being able to do his job (and let's be honest: surely ol' Godsy could have done something about that with his God magic, if he'd wanted Joe to keep the gig?), and giving the standard two weeks notice. The plucky pontiff is the first Pope to step down in 600 years, and there is feverish speculation as to who will become God's new representative on Earth. Will it be Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana? Cardinal Marc Ouellet from Quebec? Persecuted Jesus-alike and Grammy-non-recipient Chris Brown? Fun-loving 23 year old hairdresser and self-confessed "gym addict" Lauren "Lozza" McCready? Vote for YOUR favourite by calling or texting in the upcoming series of So You Think You Can Pope (higher charges from mobile phones).

The Grammys were comprehensively held yesterday and we'd be remiss in not mentioning that we were totally correct in our predictions: Gotye took out not one, not two, not two-and-a-half but three Grammys including Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo Performance (for 'Somebody That I Used To Know', with Kimbra) and for Alternative Album of the Year for Making Mirrors. We're super proud of Wally and, if the US successes of such Antipodean artists as Savage Garden, Crowded House and Men At Work are any indication, commiserate with his future status in America: as an answer to a pub trivia question about one hit wonders, circa 2019.  
Speaking of the Grammys, it might have been music's most glittering night of nights when the brightest stars come out to shine - and free, for the most part, of female breast nipples - but there were some glorious moments for those of a gossipy nature. Chris Brown petulantly remaining seated during Frank Ocean's standing ovation for Best Urban Contemporary Album (a field in which, unlike LA recording studio carparks, Ocean beat Brown) was one such, as was Taylor Swift giving what most observers agree was a backhanded diss to recent ex Harry Stynes in her performance of 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together', putting on a bad English accent mid-song to declare "So he calls me up and he's like, 'I still love you…' And I'm like, 'I'm sorry, I'm busy opening up the Grammys! And we're never getting back together, like, ever.'" - which must sting even more since One Direction were totes ignored in the nominations. 

Also ignored was Justin Bieber, whose manager had already angrily tweeted about how much of a travesty a Bieb-free awards was when the nominations were released. So, like a big boy, Juzzie promised his OWN heaps betterer night's entertainment with a live Biebcast during the Grammys where he could… um, rattle off words that rhyme with Corey, we assume. Anyway, the sheer weight of Biebettes crashed the servers and a furious Justin was forced to instead just post shirtless photos of himself on Instagram - which, to be fair, was all anyone really wanted anyway. 

So, what do you reckon would work as names for Pluto's newest moons? You can totally vote for your favourite new designations for the recently-discovered lumps of frozen rock and ice orbiting everyone's favourite dwarf planet at plutorocks.com - but keep in mind that you can't call them just anything. Astronomical tradition dictates that it's got to be names from Greek and Roman mythology connected with tales of the Underworld, because astronomers are nothing if not Classicists: Pluto was the Greek god of the underworld and it's largest moon Charon is named for the ferryman who shuttles souls across the river Styx, while the other two moons that you also probably don't know about, 2005's Nix and Hydra, are the goddess of darkness and night and a multi-headed monster, respectively. They're all far more evocative names than the ones that the two new moons currently have, P4 and P5, and there are a bunch of options at the site but you can also send in write-in votes if you have a kickarse reference that the team have overlooked. That way the awesome robot New Horizons can let the lifeless space boulders know what their names are when it swings into the Pluto system in 2015.

You've had a sweet post-WWII run, United States, but now it's official: China is now the planet's leader in world trade. It's also the leader in environmental pollution and a socially repressive strain of free-market communism, of course, which must make all that Cold War pro-democracy stuff the US was so big on seem a little silly now. The US can take some comfort in the fact that it still has the larger domestic economy thanks to its massive service industry, so we can keep pretending its years of empire are still ahead of it. In the meantime, on behalf of TheVine, we just want to say: 请温柔着我们,光荣的经济霸主。

Speaking of China, it's going to be harder for Western musicians to tour there now that Elton John went and spoiled it for everyone by dedicating his gig in Beijing last November to Ai Weiwei, dissident artist and anti-government activist. The government allegedly asked John's management to get Elty to sign a statement to the effect that he liked the pretty art and definitely not the public acts drawing attention to the government's heavy-handed repression of individual liberties, which it appears he did not do. All future touring acts will presumably be asked to swear fealty to the principles of the Chinese government before asking - politely and respectfully - whether audiences are ready to rock.

Things are not looking great for legendary Sydney live music venue, the Annandale Hotel: rumours of its demise yesterday were slightly exaggerated, but owners Matt and Dan Rule issued a statement that they were in negotiations with the bank and working out what the immediate future of the pub would be, so it sounds like the place is indeed going into receivership. The brothers Rule had spent much of the last couple of years looking for investors or a buyer with little success, eventually opting for the brave, crowdfunded "Buy A Brick" campaign, so barring a white knight it's fair to say things look pretty grim for the future of the old girl. 

Next time some climate change sceptic scoffs about how wind power is inefficient and unworkable, you might want to throw the following stat in their face: wind power grew 20% last year, hitting a global total of 282 gigawatts while solar has doubled in the last two years to over 100 gigawatts. China, the US and Europe were the main investors in wind, suggesting that this whole "renewables" thing might genuinely be the sane and sensible way forward, no matter what talkback radio says. 

And finally, punk rock fans of a certain age: you might want to hold onto your ovaries before watching this video of a kid hearing Bad Brains for the first time. "Turn it up a little bit." Awwww… 
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1 comments so far..

  • Beavdog's avatar
    Date and time
    Tuesday 12 Feb 2013 - 10:06 AM
    "So You Think You Can Pope." This cracked me up.
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