A friend emailed Mr. Lester this morning and asked, “What did you say to the Pope?”

This was his reply, “Wow, that guy is so sensitive! I just told him that maybe, just maybe, he was not a force of good in the world and I asked him what it was like working with George Lucas. Some people can’t take a joke…”


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  1. February 11, 2013

    Special thank you to Mr Lester for his clarity of perspective!

    • February 11, 2013

      So that’s why the first Pontiff in 700 years left the stage. It’s great getting these behind the scenes secrets from you Ms Lester.

      • February 11, 2013

        You must be referring to Pope Benedict IX who resigned/abdicated in 1045…

    • February 11, 2013

      You’re welcome – who knew i would catch hell for posting one of his quips?

  2. sacredmonkeysofthevatican
    February 11, 2013

    I am sorry, I find this extremely offensive. Please remove this post. I challenge you to actually read something by the man because clearly you never have.

    • February 11, 2013

      Hello dear, I’m sorry you’re offended – but this is to be taken in the spirit of humor. Pope Benedict’s decision, I am sure, was well reasoned and prayerful, but he certainly has had a papacy troubled by difficult times. My husband was raised Catholic (and the friend he was corresponding with was an altar boy) one of the things I love about him is his depth of humor – and he’s not the first to note the Pope’s unfortunate resemblance to the baddie in “Star Wars”.

      • sacredmonkeysofthevatican
        February 11, 2013

        I understand that your husband could have been raised Catholic, and altar boys have their high jinks. But I am Catholic, and you’ve just compared someone I love to a Sith Lord.

      • sacredmonkeysofthevatican
        February 11, 2013

        I don’t think it is funny at all. I also wouldn’t think it amusing if someone posted a picture comparing Buddah to Jabba the Hut.

    • February 11, 2013

      You do realize he refused to cooperate with prosecutors on child abuse cases whilst he was prefect for doctrine of the faith- right?
      How offensive is that to you?
      I’ve read much of what he’s written. It’s a combination of derivative orthodoxy and patriarchal hogwash.

      • sacredmonkeysofthevatican
        February 11, 2013

        Well, it would be a little weird if it were unorthodox now wouldn’t it? I mean he is the Pope. Hence also a patriarch. . . lol.

      • February 12, 2013

        Not really. John Paul II broke with orthodoxy in many ways. Have you heard of Liberation theology? It was a movement that began in the late 50’s and early 60’s and that Ratzinger did his best to crush.
        As for patriarchy, it’s possible to be a man and the head of a company like the Vatican and not peddle the idea that a woman’s only role is to ‘complement’ a man’s life.

      • sacredmonkeysofthevatican
        February 12, 2013

        I know what Liberation Theology is, and I am also aware of the problems that it presents theologically.

        I don’t think you have a clear understanding of orthodoxy, the idea isn’t to break it, but to build upon it. JPII was an excellent builder. But if it is not dogma, it’s not permenant. Just like a theory is not a law. His ideas/theories on liberation theology did contain flaws. No one is perfect.

        And I have never heard from Benedict XVI that a woman’s only role is to ‘completment’ a man’s life. Women do complement men’s lives, and it works the other way too, men complement the life of women. Do you want us to be un-complementary, because I assure you, we could.

      • February 12, 2013

        I have a quite clear understanding of orthodoxy. In the case of Catholicism, orthodoxy has meant a systematic cover-up of child abuse (sometimes rape). It’s meant the systematic subjugation of women. It’s meant the promulgation of the marginalization of gays or anyone else who didn’t bow down to the impositions of the religion in question. Catholic orthodoxy has been agreements between a church and dictators like Franco, Pinochet and Mussolini- So let us not be simplistic and rely on word play to defend our positions.
        I’d go as far as to say that if Catholic orthodoxy had their way, your favourite, Brideshead, would be banned for its homosexual undertones.

        There’s a great French saying about being ‘house trained’ (propre, which also means proper) – VL’s blog is light-hearted. It’s about beauty and history. It’s about interesting things. Let us not pee on her rug with this sort of discussion. It would be in thoroughly bad taste 😉

      • sacredmonkeysofthevatican
        February 13, 2013

        Well, I don’t agree with anything you’ve posited or said. And as you said we don’t want to soil Vickie’s carpet. So you’re quite right to back out.

        As for Brideshead, it never was banned – there was never a reason to ban it. But then I suspect you haven’t read the end in a while:

        “Something quite remote from anything the builders intended has come out of their work, and out of the fierce little human tragedy in which I played; something none of us thought about at the time: a small red flame – a beaten-copper lamp of deplorable design, relit before the beaten-copper doors of a tabernacle; the flame which the old knights saw from their tombs, which they saw put out; that flame burns again for other soldiers, far from home, farther, in heart, than Acre or Jerusalem. It could not have been lit but for the builders and the tragedians, and there I found it this morning, burning anew among the old stones.”

      • February 13, 2013

        I can see we’re all suffering from the need to “get the last word in-itis” here – so I ask you the courtesy of letting it be mine.

        Humor (back to the Pope, I’m afraid) and literature are open to interpretation. At their best they open our minds to other points of view and other life experiences.

        In particular humor is often an attempt to mitigate a perceived or experienced horror.

        Moral, never explain comedy because it often becomes tragedy.

      • February 13, 2013

        I’m a historian, so I’m not really interested in what people ‘agree with’- rather, I’m interested in facts that can be proven. Facts like the Vatican’s collusion with brutal dictators like Francisco Franco and others. Facts like the cover-up of child-abuse/rape and how they moved priests around after those events. There’s a great abuser who in fact now lives at the Vatican to be shielded from the law.
        None of those issues are a matter of opinion. There’s ample evidence which proves it all beyond any reasonable doubt.
        As for Waugh, certain people at the Vatican were so concerned his work was heretical, a commission was appointed to study his writing. They decided in his favour, but could just as easily decided against him. I’m sure you must recall a recommendation against Harry Potter- and unlike Waugh, Rowling didn’t have gay affairs at Oxford.

  3. February 11, 2013

    Please let Mr Lester know how much Mr Kuche, another altar boy, enjoyed this joke! He is dismayed and disappointed to have it confirmed that some people can’t take a joke . . .

  4. February 11, 2013

    This is hilarious. They really do look alike!

  5. February 12, 2013

    Uh oh…. I should have known! “There are always two. A Master and an Apprentice.”

    As for the humourless one above, she should have just commented “I find your lack of faith disturbing” and moved on 😉

  6. February 13, 2013

    Sorry about my last-word-initis 😀 I’ve suffered from it since early childhood 😀
    I even scream back at the television when I watch Republican primary debates.

    • February 13, 2013

      I only saw your comment after I’d left mine, btw!

  7. George Kaplan
    February 14, 2013

    Just saw this, oh-ho-ho-ho! Mr L’s sense of humour reminds me of mine – so, of course I find this very funny, and thank you for posting it (um, weirdly, I was going to call you Doll-Face then, as if I was Bogart or Cagney. Somehow I don’t think you’d like that… And I’ve not been hitting the sauce!). He sounds like a great guy and hey he’s married to one smart and beautiful cookie, so the man has *taste* and is fortunate… 😉
    Personally, Ol’ Ratz (surely, he’ll go back to his given name, now he’s quit? I have no idea) always reminded me of the creepy preacher Kane from Poltergeist II The Other Side (I won’t say he looked like the Crypt-Keeper from Tales from the Crypt because that might actually *be* offensive 🙂 besides I already referred naughtily to good ol’ Hal Holbrook in that way elsewhere. Tsk) he was misfortunate with his mug, I think. Now, *I* have the last word – to quote the Ian McDiarmid’s Emperor in the awful Revenge of the Sith – which I had the misfortune to watch, only highlights Natalie Portman and Yoda – “POWER!”
    Disclaimer: Any bad taste in the preceding post was completely intentional er accidental and a joke besides.

    • February 14, 2013

      Well said!

  8. George Kaplan
    February 14, 2013

    As Bogie might say (if he had a bad script) “Shweetheart, I may have to arrest you because, doll, dames like you are dangerous!”. Speaking of Bogie and tangentially related to the eroticism in Notorious, what about Farewell, My Lovely? Not only is there the horse-racing metaphor dialogue which is hot, hot, hot (“it depends on who’s in the saddle”, etc), er in my opinion, without any physical contact but there’s the scene in – I think – a bookshop where Marlowe and a ravishing woman (Martha Something?) duel with words and then between cuts apparently, well, you know… When I saw that scene as a teenager I was surprised at how naughty and steamy it was, and it’s all suggestion. And they look like they enjoyed themselves… Um, maybe I shouldn’t have written about that, it may say too much about certain parts of my mind. 😉 It’s such a witty, racy scene though.
    X George

    • February 14, 2013

      Martha Vickers… Here it was released as “The Big Sleep” and it was racy. William Faulkner worked on the screenplay and was having an affair with Howard Hawks’ script supervisor, Meta Carpenter Wilde, who wrote a book about Faulkner called, “A Loving Gentleman”… Brace yourself, downloading more data… On “The Big Sleep” Hawks was well aware that Bogart and Bacall were in love – and he was regularly giving her hell about it – which Bogart found out about and he threatened to walk off the set and shut down the film if Hawks wasn’t civil. Whew, done!
      I love how your comments make the movies come alive again in my imagination. Remember the funny house in the Hollywood Hills where the naughty pictures were taken and the photographer was murdered? Outside it was all cutesy cottage and inside it was 1920’s Americanized Chinese…

  9. George Kaplan
    February 14, 2013

    Yes, I *do* remember that, I think. Unlike the name of the film which is of course *The Big Sleep*, sorry. I’m amazed I can remember the word for memory is memory! Was that the house where he found Lauren Bacall’s character’s sister zonked as well? It’s an age since I’ve seen it, must do so again soon. Good on Bogart for telling Hawks off. I was impressed that Bogie and Betty Bacall tried to make a stand against those HUAC weasels.
    Saying I make those films come alive in your imagination is a great compliment to me, one which I honestly cherish. Have you ever seen The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes? I always, always cry at the end of that film when Holmes (Robert Stephens) discovers that the spy Gabrielle Valladon (Genevieve Page) whom he secretly loved has been killed, similarly The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp tears me up. We’ve talked about romantic comedies and romantic mysteries but I have a real love for films like those I’ve just mentioned, it’s the sense of love and *loss* that gets me in those. But now I sound maudlin!
    This may sound silly, Vickie, and I’m slightly uncomfortable about writing it but I truly love talking about these things I enjoy with you, you bring them alive too. I love your mind. Honestly, you’ve made a day on which I wasn’t necessarily having the best time fun (better stop before I cry :)). I appreciate it. Once again I hope you’ve had a wondrous St Valentine’s Day with Mr L.
    Stay beautiful, doll-face (!), Love George K.

    • February 14, 2013

      Hello, darling George –

      I love a good weepy film. But, only alone with a ream of tissue by my side.

      I’m so happy to chat with you about things that I love as well. Now, truly I hope you don’t love my mind, it’s a grey, wrinkly, odd shaped thing floating around in a little watery sheath inside my head. Not at all attractive. I would say you love good conversation, and you’ve got that down in spades, so I must thank you!

      I have a feeling by next Valentine’s you will be snuggled up with a beloved instead of typing on your computer when you should be asleep.

      Sweet dreams and lots of love,
      P.S. I am ashamed to say I have never seen “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” — really, ashamed — directed by Billy Wilder, written by Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond! I am going to watch it tonight 🙂

  10. George Kaplan
    February 14, 2013

    You are a sweetheart, Vickie. Your mind comment reminds my movie saturated brain of Basil Rathbone’s Holmes saying to Lionel Atwill’s Moriarty that he admired his brain and would like to see it pickled for the Royal Academy! You made me laugh as it also reminds me of the Steve Martin film The Man With Two Brains, yes being in love with a brain would be weird. 🙂 I love the vibrancy that comes *from* your mind, I hope that’s better! I’ve been having trouble sleeping despite being tired – he moans – so there’s no problem there. I better let you go though.
    I really hope you like Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes, I’d hate for you to be disappointed; it’s always difficult recommending something you love hoping another person likes it, it’s like giving a part of you even though that’s silly. So, fingers crossed that you don’t think it a bust! (Wilder was disappointed the studio cut it, and he thought he should perhaps have made Holmes gay but that would have been too obvious. It’s still a great movie even cut and with whatever flaws it has. There’s nothing else exactly like it. Only Wilder & Diamond could’ve made it, and it has what’s missing from some of their more cynical later pictures : heart). If you’ve never seen the late-period Wilder romantic comedy Avanti!, I’d recommend that too, it’s a sweet, langorous picture with just enough Wilder tartness. A film about middle-aged love, we don’t see many of those made. Um, I think I’ve bored you senseless :).
    Yours ever, George. X.

    • February 15, 2013

      I am loving “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes”… and will watch the second half tonight.
      Tomorrow I’m going to the museum to see the Stanley Kubrick exhibit.
      And, right now my *mind* is reeling over the footage coming out of Siberia!

  11. George Kaplan
    February 15, 2013

    It’s amazing isn’t it. “This is the end, beautiful friend”, just imagine being in the middle of that.
    A Kubrick exhibit? I am envious. What a life you lead, sophisticated lady. It’s like conversing with someone living in shangri-la from my point-of-view! Although, of course, you have all the stresses and strains of regular life even in the fascinating environment whose existence (both dark and light) you so wonderfully limn. My, ain’t I highfalutin today?!

    • February 15, 2013

      Shangri-La with mini-malls! Although I did eat at a Tibetan restaurant last week…
      For some reason, although you’ve never said, I keep thinking you live in London. But, for all I know you could be a New Yorker with an advanced vocabulary. 😉
      Highfalutin and mysterious.
      Next week we’ll be talking about the Academy Awards around here – some things historic, and some contemporary, and some cockeyed…
      Poof, honey! Have a wonderful weekend,

  12. George Kaplan
    February 15, 2013

    You too, Vickie. I look forward to your Academy Awards posts, which will doubtless be far more entertaining than this year’s ceremony (sez the grouch). “Poof, honey!”, I love that! Ah, the plague of minimalls, the modern american disease. And of course they have to imitate that over here but even worse. Feh. Uglification.
    Live in London? “Highfalutin and mysterious”? Ms Lester, did I tell you that I love you?! 😉 You have given me a warm glow which is a good thing because I’m freezing my tchochkes
    in this berg! No, I don’t live in London (neither in the heights nor the hovels) or in New Yoik advanced vocab or no but I am, perhaps unduly, flattered and elated you should think so! I live in a dreary town (they try to claim it’s a small city but they’re foolin’ nobody, dear) elevated a little by little parks and spots of greenery. I take what you say as greatly complimentary and heck I like compliments from ladies such as yourself :). You don’t mind if I retain some mystery, do you?
    Have a fine time, George K. X

  13. George Kaplan
    February 15, 2013

    Obviously the “X” above is for “the unknown” or “the uneXplained (as long as it isn’t X for Yeuch, Stay Away This Stuff Is Hinky. Ha). Whoa, Rod Serling where are you when we need you?!

    • February 15, 2013

      English speaking… freezing your tchochkes… now, George – I do enjoy a mystery, but if I find out you live in Bakersfield there’s going to be some explaining to do 😉
      I am working on a little essay about the vibe at the Academy Awards Luncheons, if I can get it together I’ll post it tomorrow, and I expect you to chime in from your undisclosed location – if your schedule allows.

  14. George Kaplan
    February 15, 2013

    Oh, I think it do, I think it do (why am I mimicking Blazing Saddles?! I blame those lovely posts of yours on Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft). “If I found out you live in Bakersfield there’s going to be some explaining to do”. Ha. You really made me laugh with that. It made me think of some old Walter Matthau meets George Burns-like guy in Bakersfield saying “Oy! This gorgeous young sharpie’s rumbled you, you schlimazel. Quick, deny *everything*” just as his wife Gerda shuffles in on her walker! Yes, I have a vivid imagination don’t I? To be serious, I like words and language, and I enjoy attempting to be witty. Also, it’s kind of fun being able to slip into different demotics (says Pretentious Pierre). Wait’ll you hear my Noel Coward! Truly, I enjoy being myself talking with you (as an aside, it’s a bit boring that many people talk the same now – and if I hear the terms “back in the day” or “game-changer” much more I’ll pop my locks) without having to check my vocab, and I may also be showing off – just *maybe* – because I really like your (writing) voice and the personality you project.
    Try to *stop* me chiming in! Good night. G. Somewhere in England (enigmatic to the last).

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