I'm extremely surprised! Now yours truly is eating humble pie--I lost 5,000Won on this one! ;-)
On the other hand, I was correct that the Pope would be a Western European (I bet my equivalent of $5 CDN in the office pool on an "unlisted Western European"). It's interesting that the cardinals did not elect an African Pope, as I had feared. We might call their reasons for not doing so the "Kofi effect." Well, you heard that one here, first!
About the new Pope Benedict, I'm surprised the article I linked to didn't mention the first famous Benedict in Catholic history, choosing instead to briefly mention the last Pope with that name. Even before I read the article, I knew exactly the message that Ratzinger was sending with that name. After the heady reforms of John Paul's I and II, with their focus on getting back to the Bible and the New Testament, Ratzinger was saying, in effect, "look, I'm Benedict. Like the first Benedict, I'll follow a Rule of simplicity and love, pursue a middle of the road course, and conserve the traditional values of the Catholic Church." The first Benedict, of course, is the apparent author of "The Rule of St. Benedict," which I have read. Nowadays it sounds rather ascetic (it recommends whipping boys for minor infractions, for instance--hardly an encouraging note at this point!), but in the context of the patriarchal culture of the day, however, it was quite moderate, as it continued to be in the context of monastic history. Certainly the eponymous Benedictine order who obey the Rule is much less severe than other orders (e.g. the two types of Cistercians, and the (in)famous Carthusians).
I couldn't help thinking of two analogies that come to mind: Paul Martin's succeeding Jean Chretien as Prime Minister of Canada (both Martin and Ratzinger were right hand men who succeeded, finally, to the top job), and Mahmoud Abbas, the successor of Yasser Arafat, who deliberately took office on an extraordinarily low-key note, like Ratzinger has done. Let's hope that Ratzinger can outshine both men, and please note that I am not comparing the late Pope to Arafat, although he has one thing in common with Chretien: patronage appointments to the most senior "House."
I was disappointed with the election of Ratzinger, because he's a very hardline, dogmatic disciplinarian who has resisted some much needed fresh theological thinking. On the other hand, I think he'll preserve the beautiful liturgy of the church, and hopefully he'll encourage better contemporary sacred architecture. At least he isn't unpredictable, flighty, and entirely precritical in his thinking.