OK, how far can this go? Not only was he Time's Person of the Year, not only was he Religion Newsmaker of the Year (according to the Religion Newswriters Association, of which I am an active member), but now Pope Francis is officially cool.
It's a thrill no pope has ever known -- to get his picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone. He may not have the groupies or gurus that Dr. Hook once sang about, but the cover story describes him as an unexpected "change agent" elected by a papal conclave last March that thought it was getting a caretaker:
"After the disastrous papacy of Benedict, ... Francis' basic mastery of skills like smiling in public seemed a small miracle to the average Catholic. But he had far more radical changes in mind. By eschewing the papal palace for a modest two-room apartment, by publicly scolding church leaders for being "obsessed" with divisive social issues like gay marriage, birth control and abortion ("Who am I to judge?" Francis famously replied when asked his views on homosexual priests) and – perhaps most astonishingly of all – by devoting much of his first major written teaching to a scathing critique of unchecked free-market capitalism, the pope revealed his own obsessions to be more in line with the boss' son."
I guess we should be grateful that Rolling Stone portrays him in papal attire, since many of its cover subjects appear without attire of any type.
But the cover shot isn't the only recent papal precedent. Francis also plans to be the first pontiff in decades to attend an international meeting of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, to be held in Rome this June. That movement traces its origins to a retreat Duquesne University here in 1967. Manifestations of the Pentecostal/charismatic movement -- such as lively worship, praying in tongues and seeking miraculous healings -- jumped the Protestant-Catholic divide at that time.
(UPDATE: Originally we said he was the first-ever to attend, based on this report. But I was informed that Pope Paul VI did indeed speak at an early gathering in 1975.)
Pope Francis, asked about the renewal during that famous in-flight press conference between Rio and Rome last year, spoke warmly of the movement. He disputed the idea that the Catholics had gotten on board as a reaction to the successes of Pentecostal movements in luring away Latin American Catholics:
"Back at the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, I had no time for" charismatics. ... ""Once, speaking about them, I said: 'These people confuse a liturgical celebration with samba lessons!'
"Now I regret it. Now I think that this movement does much good for the church, overall.
"I don't think that the charismatic renewal movement merely prevents people from passing over to Pentecostal denominations. No! It is also a service to the church herself! It renews us."
A preview of the Kings.
When and where: 10:30 p.m. EST. Staples Center.
TV: Root Sports, Fox Sports Southwest.
Record: 30-19-6, 66 points. The Kings are in third place in the Pacific Division.
Leading Scorer: Anze Kopitar, 42 points (15 goals, 27 assists).
Last Game: 3-0 road loss to the Coyotes, Tuesday. Jonathan Quick (right) made 26 saves for the Kings.
Last Game against the Penguins: 3-2 home shootout loss, Nov. 5, 2011. Kopitar had a goal and an assist for the Kings.
Kings Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Justin Williams. He has point in three consecutive games against the Penguins.
Ex-Penguins on the Kings: Dan Bylsma, head coach; Tony Granato, assistant coach; Rob Scuderi, D; Jeff Zatkoff, G (Zatkoff is a draft pick but never played for the Kings at the NHL level).
Ex-Kings on the Penguins: Glen Murray, development consultant; Jake Muzzin, D (Muzzin is a former draft pick who never played for the Penguins at the NHL level); Luc Robitaille, president, business operations.
Useless Kings Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Dan Bylsma is one of three former Kings players who have served as the Penguins' head coach. The others are Bob Berry and Ed Olczyk.
Best Kings Video We Could Find: The Kings' Triple Crown line - Dave Taylor, Marcel Dionne and Charlie Simmer - and its (in)famous "Forgive My Misconduct" music video:
Probable goaltenders: Jeff Zatkoff (8-2-1, 2.80 GAA, .903 SV%) for the Penguins. Jonathan Quick (15-10-2, 2.05 GAA, .917 SV%) for the Kings.
Injuries: For the Penguins, right wingers Beau Bennett (hand/wrist), Chris Conner (hand), Pascal Dupuis (knee), center Joe Vitale ("upper body") and goaltender Tomas Vokoun (blood clots) are on injured reserve. For the Kings, they are reporting no injuries.
Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins held an optional morning skate. Their expected lines and defensive pairings at today's morning skate were:
14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 49 Brian Gibbons
36 Jussi Jokinen - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 18 James Neal
15 Tanner Glass - 16 Brandon Sutter - 59 Jayson Megna
17 Taylor Pyatt - 27 Craig Adams - 5 Deryk Engelland
4 Rob Scuderi - 58 Kris Letang
44 Brooks Orpik - 7 Paul Martin
3 Olli Maatta - 2 Matt Niskanen
The Kings' lines at today's morning skate were:
74 Dwight King - 11 Anze Kopitar - 77 Jeff Carter
22 Trevor Lewis - 10 Mike Richards - 14 Justin Williams
13 Kyle Clifford - 28 Jarret Stoll - 23 Dustin Brown
71 Jordan Nolan - 24 Colin Fraser - 73 Tyler Toffoli
6 Jake Muzzin - 8 Drew Doughty
44 Robyn Regehr - 26 Slava Voynov
33 Willie Mitchell - 2 Matt Greene
-The last time the Penguins played the Kings, this happened:
-Robert Bortuzzo made his NHL debut in that game.
-Kunitz has 198 career goals.
-Carter has 196 career assists.
-Our live blog, direct from our couch, begins at approximately 10:15 p.m. Please tune in.
(Photo: Harry How/Getty Images)
Why is Pittsburgh so great? Why is Baltimore so... bad? And why is Harrisburg the capital of Pa.?
Why is Harrisburg so...
Let's take a look at Pittsburgh's rival cities...
Why is Baltimore so...
And lastly, why is Portland so... Weird, right?
Tomatoes are the number one crop for gardeners and there's nothing better than picking one off the vine and enjoying the fruit while standing barefoot in the garden. This time of the year, you're not going to find tomatoes in the garden and if you're out there in bare feet, you'll end up with frost bite.
Most store bought tomatoes are tasteless, I think a tennis ball might be more flavorful. There's one though which I hunt for each winter called Uglyripe.
It's not a garden tomato, but it will have you fantasizing about those barefoot walks in the garden.
This is a wonderful heirloom variety which makes an amazing tomato, cheese and mayo sandwich.
I wrote about the tomato for the Post-Gazette in 2003. I think the story of marketing a tomato with the name Uglyripe is pure genius.
On a recent trip to the grocery store I found two Uglyripe tomatoes packaged together. As I quickly scooped them up I saw a woman looking over the sickly, bland pretenders. I tried to interest her in the one huge remaining Uglyripe without success. I saw her in another aisle with the pink tennis balls in her cart.
If you're longing for the taste of summer, track down a few Uglyripe tomatoes, you won't be sorry.