While in church, Tom wonders: Who's the baddest JB of them all?

It is no secret that I'm a Catholic and that I attend Mass every week. Occasionally, I'll go on Sunday, but it's usually Saturday night, after I get done with the radio show, so that the holy water can cleanse me of any residual right-wing nonsense I may have picked up in that cramped radio booth with Emil Franzi and/or Jonathan Hoffman. Plus, during basketball season, I go to different churches around town so I can catch a game after Mass.

I've written before about the tyranny of the choir master at my "home" church. The guy sings, like, nine verses of a song when a simple "alleluia, alleluia" would have sufficed. They also have a choir that sings in Tagalog, which, as you may know, nobody understands! I made the mistake of going a couple of weeks ago when they had this other guy singing his own compositions. "Hey, here's my updated version of 'Amazing Grace.' I call it 'God Is My Homie.'"

Most people know that you're not supposed to leave the church until the priest has left the altar, or, if he's going out the back way, cleared the last row of pews. (Some do it anyway, and they're all going straight to hell.) When this guy started singing (and I'm not kidding), "Abortion is bad ... don't have an abortion," the only reason I kept to the convention of leaving after the priest is that the priest was able to run faster than I could.

I understand that some people like the singing; I just don't. I've flirted with the idea of going to a Latin Mass, like the ones I attended as a small child, but I'm afraid it would drive me crazy, like Mel Gibson. I'd rather not leave my family, get a Russian "model" pregnant and then blame it all on "male menopause." How unseemly.

My favorite Mass is the 5:30 p.m. at Saints Peter and Paul with Father John. He's the greatest. It lasts a half-hour, 40 minutes, tops. He gets all the important stuff in and uses the skirt-test method for his sermons (long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep people interested); there's no singing, and he gives you the sports scores and updates on his way in or out. (If he ever did that on the way in and out, I'd start to wonder.)

And when you leave the Mass, you feel fulfilled. It's not like you're only in an 87 percent state of grace because there wasn't a choir. I'd like this Mass to remain a nice little secret, but that wouldn't be very Christian of me.

Anyway, I'm in this other Catholic church last Saturday, and the deacon (not the priest) is droning on in what I guess was a sermon when a Great Question popped into my head, as if it were placed there by God His Own Self: Do you think it's a coincidence that the three baddest fictional dudes in modern entertainment all have the same initials? Think about it—you have James Bond, Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer. That's creepy.

Personally, I think Jason Bourne is the baddest. In three movies, he has seriously wounded and/or killed guys using a ball-point pen, a rolled-up magazine and a book. I've always said that I don't want to die because of weather, but how would you like to die because of a book?!

You're standing in front of St. Peter, and he asks how you died. You have to respond, "I was fighting this guy, and he crushed my windpipe with a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore."

To be sure, James Bond looks the best in a tuxedo, and he has all those fancy gadgets. Jack Bauer dresses in Walmart chic and has a face that looks like an unmade bed. But he's bad.

After I got out of church, I wondered if those initials make people bad-ass. Well, it doesn't work for Jack Black. However, on the tough side, I remember Jacqueline Bisset put up quite a fight against a wet T-shirt in The Deep. Thank God I didn't have that thought in church.

Then there's sportscaster Joe Buck. If you Google an image of him, he looks like the test-tube love child of George Will and the guy who played the title character's brother, Niles, on Frasier.

While I was thinking about that, I remembered that in the third book of the Jason Bourne trilogy, The Bourne Ultimatum, Jason Bourne battles infamous terrorist Carlos the Jackal. Did you happen to see that the real Carlos (born Ilich Ramirez Sanchez) is suing a French TV company for possible defamation of character in an upcoming mini-series? Carlos' wife (whom he married while in prison; not too desperate) is a lawyer and is handling the case.

If you Google Carlos, you'll see that the terrorist now looks like Darrin's boss, Larry, on the old Bewitched TV series.

Let me know which of the JBs is the baddest. I want to settle this before I go to church again. I thought I heard the deacon say something about Judgment Day being nigh. That can't be good.

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