Holy Roller to Hit the Big AppleGuess what everybody? This April, New York is going to get a very important visit! That’s right, the Popemobile is coming! We couldn’t be more excited. We’ve always wanted to see the Popemobile in person. It’s such an honor that the Popemobile is visiting the city during our lifetime; it’s only been here four times before, in history. Apparently, the pope-mobile is going to go down to ground zero and even take part in a giant Mass at Yankee Stadium (last time the pope-mobile was here, it visited Shea — the Popemobile, of course, is a nonpartisan car). During the pope-mobile’s most recent visit to the Big Apple, in 1995, it was carrying Pope John Paul II. This time it will be carrying Pope Benedict XVI. Benedict was last in the city before he was pope, in 1988, when his arrival was met with protests by gay groups because he called their sexuality a “moral disorder” and also by Jews because he thinks that they should become Christian to get “perfected” (well, he said Judaism “finds its fulfillment” in Christianity, but the pope doesn’t go on as many talk shows as Ann Coulter so he can’t be expected to have his rhetoric quite so down pat). Anyway, we can’t wait to go see the Popemobile when it comes. It’s really caught up with the times. We hear it has power steering now!
Benedict Will Bless City With April Visit [NYDN]
When Benedict Last Visited New York [NYT]
in other news
Conan’s Stalker Loves Fellini, JesusWe learn today that Conan O’Brien has a stalker, which is no big news. David Letterman had one before Conan was even a twinkle in NBC’s eye. But what’s interesting here is that Conan’s stalker is a Catholic priest. A totally scary Catholic priest, in the awesomest way. In Father David Ajemian’s letters to Conan, some written on parish letterhead, he comes out with quotes like this:
“I’m told by some of those officious little usher people that you’re overbooked. Is this the way you treat your most dangerous fans? You owe me big-time, pal. I want a public confession before I even consider giving you absolution.”
Wow, we never before thought of confession and absolution in such a terrifying/erotic way. (There are other letters where he issues veiled threats at Conan’s life, which are, you know, less funny, like when he compares himself to the Virginia Tech killer.) Other fun facts about Ajemian? Well, when he was ordained, the Boston Herald said he was a “turned on to religion partly by Federicio Fellini’s 1960 film La Dolce Vita.” Oh, yeah, and he went to college with Conan. Yeah, that’s right. Harvard: just as unscrupulous with admission as the Catholic clergy.
Priest Jailed in Stalking of Conan O’Brien [NYT]
the morning line
And in Non-Explosion News…
• As if last night’s man-made horrors weren’t enough, here’s one from Mother Nature: A tornado touched down in Islip Terrace, uprooting trees and ripping up a law office, as two storms pummeled Long Island at the same time. [WNBC]
• Some Wall Street Journal employees answer phones by drawling “News Corporation” in an Australian accent. [NYT]
• Congress is refusing to pass a “routine resolution” honoring the New York Archdiocese because it mentions scandal-tainted Cardinal Edward Egan by name. Honorable, we guess. Remind us why Congress is honoring archdioceses in the first place? [NYP]
• Al Sharpton, who led the drive to get Don Imus fired, will have no problem with his nemesis’ return to the airwaves: “He has a right to make a living.” So does the Rev, who clearly needs new material. [amNY]
• And mazel tov to Mark Malkoff, who visited every Starbucks in Manhattan — there are 171 — in 24 hours. Bad news: Dude’s an “aspiring filmmaker” and, naturally, filmed the journey. [NYDN]
Oh, J-Vanka!Jared Kushner was caught making out with Ivanka Trump while bowling. While hanging with some ex-CIA spies, Robert De Niro hit the sauna with KGB colonels and fired guns with Taliban warriors. An aide in the Israeli U.N. mission quit after being outed as a DL gay-porn star. NBC paid $2.5 million for the rights to air a Princess Di tribute concert in July, which may have been the reason they also scored an interview with the princes. Surprising Time “100 Most Influential People” includee John Mayer will also perform at the party. Paris Hilton appears in court today for her DUI charges. Jon Stewart and Tom Brokaw helped raise $72 million from hedge-fund bigwigs at a Robin Hood Foundation charity event.
the morning line
• Cardinal Egan turned 75 yesterday, and, as is required of cardinals who reach that age, submitted a resignation letter to the Vatican. The move could well be a mere formality — the Pope doesn’t have to accept — but Egan’s shaky standing within the archdiocese is giving it extra weight. [WNBC]
• They set ‘em up, he knocks ‘em down: Fresh from vetoing the proposed pedicab guidelines, Mayor Bloomberg is overriding the much-discussed City Council ban on aluminum bats. (“I don’t think that it’s the city’s business to regulate that.”) [NYDN]
• There will be an Imam on the NYPD payroll. The force is hiring a new chaplain. Khalid Latif, a Sunni who’s ministered at NYU and Princeton, will be in charge of counseling the department’s many Muslim officers. [amNY]
• Starbucks is accused of breaking the law 30 times trying to stem unionization in its Manhattan shops. Now brewing, allegedly: retaliation firings, illegal interrogations of workers, and selective enforcement of the company’s dress policy. [NYT]
• And police on Franklin Gallimore III, the man that allegedly murdered his parents in cold blood when they asked him to move out: “He was a 20-year-old who was not living up to his mother’s expectations.” [NYP]
St. Pat’s Crowd Mostly Pans Cameron’s ChristTitanic director James Cameron was in town yesterday to unveil boxes that he said may contain the remains of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. And Sunday, the Discovery Channel will air a new Cameron documentary claiming that the two were married and bore a son named Judah, all three of whom were buried together. (So much for the whole resurrection-and-Ascension thing.) We asked people in front of St. Patrick’s today whether they’re buying Cameron’s latest epic tale.
the morning line
Edward Egan, Landlord
• Cardinal Egan made parishioners cry when he pulled a brusque landlord trick to get rid of a tenant. He summoned the pastor of the crumbling, doomed Our Lady of Vilnius for a meeting, then ordered guards to shutter the church while the priest was out. Smooth. [NYP]
• Hey, you know where else we can fit a 50-story condo tower? Before you come back with something obscene, here’s where: South Street Seaport. If built, it will be the first building of its sort to the east of the FDR Drive. [amNY]
• Hizzoner rarely makes us remember that he’s a Republican, but one reliable reminder is his distaste for garish court settlements. The city just tried to cap the awards to the victims of the 2003 ferry crash at $14 million, citing a dusty maritime law. A federal court said no dice. [NYT]
• Just days after reports that the westward extension of the 7 line was in jeopardy, the MTA has thrown the $35.8 million contract open to bids. The city is forking over $2.1 billion. Until the next time we hear that it isn’t. [MetroNY]
• And a Queens man was arrested for selling porny versions of copyrighted costume characters, including Barney and Scooby-Doo, to furry fetishists. In the words of the News, “Kinky Costume Caper Crushed.” (Weak. The Post would have gone with all Ks.) [NYDN]
the morning line
• A riot is brewing — or, more likely, the tabloids are picking up some easy populist points — over Mayor Bloomberg’s failure to lift alternate-side parking rules during this week’s snowstorm. [NYDN, amNY]
• Guess which single mayoral action is “tragic and misguided”, and will “degrade societal standards” — the smoking ban, LES rezoning, the 2012 Olympic bid? Wrong: it’s those damnable free condoms, according to Cardinal Egan and Brooklyn Bishop DiMarzio. [NYP]
• We all know about the sex-offender registry, but what does one do with homeless sex offenders? Suffolk Country found one, vaguely medieval, solution: put them in trailers that are periodically rotated around the county. [Newsday]
• MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry is even richer than we (and the IRS) knew: In addition to a jaw-dropping salary of $1.28 million a year, Lowry has been getting millions through a murky tax-exempt trust set up by the Museum’s benefactors. [NYT]
• And in parting, this, from today’s OMG-straight-men-can-cook “trend” profile in the News : “I’m constantly bringing wild game back to my apartment, and my girlfriend and I sit outside and pluck it.” Don’t we all?[NYDN]
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Ron Perelman’s YearOft-divorced billionaire Ron Perelman had lunch on Tuesday with former Law & Order star Elisabeth Röhm, but he’s spending the holidays on a yacht in St. Barts with psychologist Anna Chapman. Mickey Rooney’s “manager” son, Chris Aber, is a control freak. The Catholic League is giving the Weinstein brothers flak for releasing a slasher flick on Christmas Day. (In other Catholic League–related news, president William Donohue claims that Pope Benedict is not, in fact, gay.) Some Dems are annoyed that President Bush has turned the board of the supposedly nonpartisan Kennedy Center into a GOP stronghold. (Also, Jessica Simpson does not want her botched singing performance there two weeks ago to air). A lot of media bigwigs and politicos, including Hillary Clinton, Tom Brokaw, and Arianna Huffington, ate at Michael’s. Gay activist Allen Roskoff made fun of gay, unsuccessful attorney-general candidate Sean Patrick Maloney in his Christmas-party invitation. Paris Hilton has been attending acting classes to prepare for her next movie. D.J. AM doesn’t miss dating Nicole Richie, but his wallet does. Elisha Cuthbert and Jesse Bradford are hosting a New Year’s Eve party together. Liz Smith anoints the gift card the hot Christmas present of the year.
Derek Jeter, Jessica Biel Would Have Hot, Ambiracial ChildrenDerek Jeter has a new lady: Esquire favorite Jessica Biel. The owners of Stereo on West 29th are annoyed a club named Stereo is opening on West 33rd. The Catholic Church is in a tizzy over some book featuring a model-as-Catholic-schoolgirl in various stages of undress (and, finally, no dress). Rudy and Judith Giuliani took a one-and-a-half-day vacation in Italy. Jack Black says Jeremy Piven hates him because Black was cast as the record-store geek in High Fidelity and Piven wasn’t. Four women who had been knocking off sample sales all over town finally get caught in the act. Whitney Houston will be homeless in January, unless she comes up with $1 million. Terminator 3 babe Kristanna Loken comes out of the closet, and Michelle Rodriguez is by her side. An apartment building is being converted to condos, and opponents of the plan say a 97-year-old man died because of the construction (instead of, you know, old age). Ted Turner advocates nuclear power, getting Bush out of office, having fewer children. A women accused Rachael Ray’s husband of extra-marital kinkiness, but the couple denies it. Emilio Estevez is a self-proclaimed “garageiste.” Congrats to Grandpa Donald Trump!
in other news
Virgin Versus VirginThis morning’s “Page Six” referred to just-turned-30 Sarah DiMuro — the woman Jane magazine tried and failed to get laid, who’s now offering Britney Spears relationship advice — as “the world’s most famous virgin.” Huh. The most famous virgin? Really?
Well, maybe not. “The New York Post probably didn’t search too far,” said Catholic League president Bill Donohue, laughing, when we called for his thoughts. “I think there’s someone we could find for you here at the Catholic League.” Ah, right. That’s it: The Virgin Mary. Yeah, we’re going with her as the world’s most famous virgin. Sorry, Sarah.
— Lori Fradkin
Virgin’s Sex Tips for Britney [NYP]