Regency

The word implies aristocracy, wealth, romance, opulence, and a continuous social scene of balls and parties and comings-out. The legacy of ten thousand Jane Austen imitators has made a million prides and prejudices into a story form called simply “a Regency.” And the frothy effortless wealth implied in that word has glued it to every kind of product: cars, air fresheners, pet foods, mobile home parks, bathroom tile, insurance plans. For a whole generation it was the noise that meant luxury and sophistication in a perfectly generic context.

The other night I was taking the long way home down Pickering in Whittier and saw this place: http://rcci.org/

It is a religious organization that started as a church and is now an entire complex, what we call a “mega-church.” As usual it is a charismatic Protestant Christian organization. The church inhabits a working-class town with a broadly diverse population.

My guess is that “Regency” got put on their name in the beginning because it just sounded good. The name suggests success and respect. I doubt anyone meant to suggest that the church would consist of a series of fancy balls in which young ladies and young gentlemen would waltz and exchange witticisms over ices and champagne. I don’t think they use Regencies as texts in Bible study, either. It’s probably just a bit of American class-conscious marketing languages seeping in.

But what would it be like if the church was based on an actual theological regency? God is somehow incapacitated, and Jesus is too young to run the Universe. So we’ll just help out, here, and run things on behalf of the kid until he’s ready. It may take a while! Lord knows it’s complicated running everything and he’s barely sitting up in his crib.

This is going well. Let’s throw some parties! Lots of them! Bring out the champagne and ices!

Being God’s regent in Whittier, California might not be such a bad gig. But I don’t think I’ll suggest it to the pastor. He and his wife seem settled enough with their current theology.

A series of lists

  1. Things I observed taking the long way home from downtown through southeast Los Angeles today
    • Norms Restaurant with neon failure renaming it NOMS
    • Burger joint with neon failure resulting in BUGERS
    • Small business offering INTERNET AND COMPUTER HELP $2/HR WEB / MESSENGER / MYSPACE
    • Cop trying to fix his own cop car
    • One out of five businesses of any kind offering free wi-fi
  2. Things I lost today and then recovered
    • My wallet, which fell out of my pants and then under my car in the garage at work. Found during trip back to garage from office.
    • A credit card, which fell out of the wallet as the wallet fell out of my pants, arriving at a point under the car eight inches further. Found during second, more frustrated trip to garage.
    • A check worth way more than I can afford to lose, found in wrong envelope in small stack of things to throw away on seat of car.
    • Sunglasses (TWICE)
  3. Things heard on the emergency services radio on my scanner in the last week
    • Robbery with suspect being sought: six foot three male wearing oversized foam cowboy hat and carrying (stolen) inflatable parrot toy
    • Fire consisting of a “fully involved roll of toilet paper”
    • The Rodriguez brothers again
    • Person returning once again to store where he had stolen the same thing six times
  4. Phrases I heard at the Harbor & Adams Starbucks on the way home
    • “Standing in the studs”
    • “The Asian lady at the post office was particularly durable”
    • “Street monster”
    • “It was like I just kept flipping over rocks and seeing the same bugs each time”

Breaking news is neither

All the news services offer BREAKING NEWS ALERTS sent to my email or phone. I am a sucker for these things, because I think they will provide only the real zingers, and right away.

Unfortunately they never work. What I want is JAPAN INVADES AGAIN or PRESIDENT REVEALED AS FREDONIAN AGENT or AIDS CURED.

What do I get? The resignation of athletic coaches, the leaked possibility of the announcement of some politician’s retirement, some celebrity did something, someone who has been decrepit for a decade dies, Christmas occurs.

With a moment’s thought it is clear how this happens. Someone says “we shall have breaking news alerts” and everyone knows what this means; it means the big stories I want. There are not very many of these. Maybe none for months! Meanwhile they notice that each one of these alerts creates a crapload of traffic to the website.

Eventually the marketing people will lobby for more frequent alerts, and they will start adding less shocking stories, and it will get more watered down. Finally there will be an “alert cycle” that is nearly a schedule, and someone will sell ad packages including the alerts. At this point not as many people rush to the site after an alert, but it’s still more than typical traffic, and that is what counts.

And that is also why someday Christmas will last six months.

In better news, I had a hell of a good plate of brown rice with saffron tonight.

How are you all?