picture by blogefl

Inside the Sistine Chapel

March 23, 2013 5:30 PM ET
A new pope has been elected, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, will be called Francis, the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. Source: the New York Times.


March 13, 2013
By Rise Birnbaum

It’s gotta be tough whenever a Pope dies.  But can you imagine what it’s like for this College of Cardinals given the recent Pope’s resignation and the bad ink about the Catholic Church?   And the news just got a touch worse today, when the papal conclave opened the papers with their morning cappuccinos only to see the headline, “Vatican Owns the Building that Houses Europe’s Biggest Gay Bathhouse.”  That’s a no-no.  And to add fuel to the fire, Cardinal Dias lives one floor above the rockin’ club in a swanky 12-room apartment. Continue reading


kate-middleton-maxMara-jpg_123948Why have we all become bump-aholics? Do we really want and need to see any woman’s tummy bulge? Do we really get off as belly buttons widen and stretch marks really S-T-R-E-T-C-H?  It’s like Alien meets Nine Months.  Where’s Sigourney when you need her? Oh, wait, pretty sure she’s post-Alien baby makin time.

Years ago women wore maternity clothes that disguised the growing baby.  Ya know, like peplum tops and lots of kitchen apron wear.  Boy, have times changed.  Now it’s a race to see how big a splash you can make lounging in your string-tini poolside at the Fountainbleu in South Beach.

Or, in Duchess Kate’s case, in Mustique.  An invasion of privacy?  Yeah.  Should we care about the Royal  bump?  Only that we wish Kate and Wills the best and hope the baby is healthy and wise.  Wealthy is a given. (I keep thinking of Downtown Abbey every time I see the Royal duo hoping to see Matthew again.)

I guess there are two big questions here.  First, why do women feel the need to expose their 25 pounds of extra flesh in their low rise skinny jeans and cropped top?  And, second, why have we all become belly addicts?  Is there a 12-step bump program?  Ya know, where I’d go and say, “Hi, I’m Risë and I’m a bump-aholic.”  And then I get cookies and coffee after all the belly laffs.

Back across the pond now.  The Duchess decided to make it official.  In a tailored Max Mara wrap dress, Kate Middleton officially debuted her celebrated bump on a visit to London’s Hope House, a place for recovering drug addicts.  (Nope, not bump addicts.)

So, Kate came out of the fashion closet to show the world she’s now a size larger (or maybe a half size) and a million cameras whirred and clicked and showed off her slight shape shift.

Over the years, fashion and mores have changed bigtime.  Women breastfeed in public, naked bumps become routine…if not worshipped and the mags, reality TV and online sites put it on a big silver platter for all of us to lap it up.

Don’t know about you, but bare bumps don’t do it for me.  But, as far as I can see, I’m way in the minority.  And I think the fact that my bump is now 26 might have somethin’ to do with it.

Two Men and a Half-Wit

Only in Hollywood would a goofy looking, bible-toting actor making $8 million a year talk trash about his very own show.

Here’s the deal.  The kid who’s grown up (and grown rich) over the last 9 years playing Jon Cryer’s son on Two and a Half Men found Jesus and lost some street cred.

The kid had a religious awakening and made a video distributed online by a Christian church in which he pleaded with viewers to stop watching his show and “filling your head with filth.”

Look, I’m not counting anyone else’s money, but this is one rich kid who seems like an ingrate to me (and maybe lots of others).  Where does this geeky kid with a wallet the size of Oklahoma come off telling TV viewers to please change the channel?

So, today, probably after a closed door session with producers that rivals something out of The Shining, teen turd Angus T. Jones apologized, saying, “I’m sorry if my remarks showed indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and lack of appreciation of my opportunities.”

Ya know what I say?  Too late twerp.  We all heard what you said and don’t believe one word of your “apology.”

Half the world would give their right arm for the chance to read scripts, show up on set for 9 years and make boatloads of money by the time they’re 19 (or 75 for that matter).

I’m not sayin’ it’s wrong to find religion.  It’s just wrong to bite the hand that feeds you.  And Angus took a very big bite.  A T-Rex size bite.

The “half man” has a year left on his contract and chances are real good he’s done with show biz.

From a PR standpoint, the apology was necessary, but dumb, and there’s nothing I would suggest the kid do except not talk to the press for the next year and maybe give away all his money to charity.

And ya know what the T. in Angus T. Jones stands for?  Turncoat.  It’s curtains for the kid.



I can’t help myself.  I just have to weigh in on this Repub finger pointing at Susan Rice.  Is John McCain out of his frickin’ mind?  Has he mixed Ambien with his Bourbon and then decided to do a media tour?

He and Lindsey Graham need to make an appointment with a neurologist, stat!

So, the old white guys feel like making a pre-emptive strike against Susan Rice just in case Prez Obama taps her as the next Secretary of State?  They’re out of they’re league (as well as minds).

If you don’t know about Susan Rice’s background, let me fill you in a bit.  She was a 3 letter athlete and valedictorian at the National Cathedral School, attended Stanford, was tapped as a Rhodes Scholar and then finished at New College, England.  She was also an Econ Professor at Cornell.

McCain and Graham?  I’m trying not to snicker here.  McCain finished in the bottom fifth of his class at the Naval Academy and Graham graduated the University of South Carolina.  That’s not ranked way up there with Stanford the last time I checked.

Yes, Susan Rice had her talking points on Benghazi when she did the Sunday morning talk show circuit after the September 11 attack.  And yes, she was given the talking points by the Obama administration which did not brand the Benghazi action a terrorist attack.  That’s it.  End of story.  And this is what has prompted McCain and Graham to declare that Rice is unfit to be Secretary of State.

Tell me, don’t these guys have anything better to do?  Like try to pick up the pieces of the fractured Republican party?  Trust me, this is not a shining example of bi-partisanship.  It is bad behavior, plain and simple.  And I think these guys deserve a time out.  Don’t you?


Rally Round the Flagpole

Raise your hand if you haven’t embedded a General?  I don’t see many hands.  Has everyone out there slept with David Petraeus?  I have an alibi.  If he wasn’t on jdate, I haven’t met the guy.

What the heck is going on?  I mean I know all the lords In Parliament are wearing ladies’ underwear under their pinstripes, but what’s with all these macho military men?  Whatever happened to porn?

I’m sounding like a wise ass, but it’s not like any of these multi-starred generals was actually in love with Paula or Jill or any of the dozen other women they’ll soon find sleeping under the stars.

I know these guys are away from their wives for months at a time, but isn’t that what magazines and videos are for?  I’m not an expert at this stuff, but it all seems pretty basic to me.

And what’s with the rogue FBI agent who started sending shirtless pics in e-mails?  I think he’s the same guy who whispered about the “Petraeus affair” to Eric Cantor.  Glad he was suspended.

K.  Here’s my bottom line. This stuff makes for great copy (and blogs) and the next episode of Homeland, but if no secret sauce was leaked, then it’s none of my business and I could care less.  If I kept count of who’s sleeping with whom I’m not sure I’d have much time left to work during the day and eat my Pb&j at night.

I know it’s a brave new hi-tech world where we can see Kate Middleton naked as well as her ginger-haired brother-in-law Harry, but do you know how many presidents slept with other women and no one really cared to know?  Let’s just say it resembled a really good episode of Mad Men.

So, is this story kinda fun to follow?  Yup.  But, if no secrets were shared and no one got hurt, then I say it should have stayed behind closed doors.