Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bailout humor

Wealth without consequences

Interesting thoughts from Erin Manning:

In many ways, this crisis reminds me of another crisis of morality, the crisis many refer to as that which was brought about by a "sex without consequences" mentality which underpinned the so-called sexual revolution. [...]

And so it is with the financial crisis: the quick gratification of instant wealth was a siren whose song couldn't be ignored, and the allure of "wealth without consequences" became a powerful temptation to far too many people. But there are always consequences to our bad actions. It may be that the innocent will suffer more than the guilty, or that the consequences will be delayed by as much as a whole generation--yet sooner or later, the bill for sin will come due, and will cost far more than we ever gained from our sinful actions.

Read the rest here.

A writer's life

Pretty accurate, from my experience.

via Seek First His Kingdom

"Do I automatically have a copyright on all my blog posts?"

Some good answers here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Can you spot the copperhead snake?

Scroll down for the two pictures. Yikes!

A tour of a refugee camp

Some humbling pictures from a family's tour of a simulated refugee camp.

Lost Mozart score found in France

Exciting news.

via Grapevine

Workaholics can be guilty of sloth too

What an interesting thought:

Sloth is a sin against God, and not against the time clock or productivity. The fact is that it’s possible to work too much, in a way that's not in keeping with our dignity and ultimate good. The essence of sloth is a failure to fulfill one's basic duties. Surely one such duty is the human vocation to work. Yet another such duty is the enjoyment of leisure, to take time for worship. The gentleman lying on the sofa may be a more popular image of sloth, but the workaholic, who's on the job 24-7 and in the process neglects God and family, is the more typical manifestation of sloth in our culture.

Read the rest here.

Your McDonald's hamburger might be loaded with preservatives and fillers if...

You've kept one since 1996 and it has not decayed at all. Wow. Don't miss that third picture.

via Grapevine

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A horrifying thank-you note story

This is supposed to be a post with tips about writing thank-you notes, but I got stuck on this part:

I watched as my brand new husband ripped the wrapping paper off a gift from his friends. The box showed a picture of ugly candles. Ugh. I didn't want those in our new home, but I also didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. When I penned the thank-you note, I gushed over how wonderful the candles were and we really enjoyed them. A few weeks later, a letter arrived. It said, "We're glad you like the box we used to wrap your gifts, but you should probably open it." With dread in our stomachs, my husband pulled the box down from a shelf in the basement and I watched in disbelief as he pulled out many smaller gifts including the bread basket I had hoped to receive, some tools, and other various fun gifts.

Totally something that would happen to me.

via Rocks in My Dryer

The most simple weather site in the world

Enter your zip code and get a yes or no answer to whether or not you need to take an umbrella when you go out today.

via Rocks in My Dryer

Converting shipping containers into houses

Interesting idea.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Shocking reality TV revelation!

I cannot tell you the amount of drama and exasperation that this post saved me (and my poor husband): blogger Y of Joy Unexpected, who has the home makeover show Trading Spaces filming on her street, reveals that the carpenter has a lot of help -- like a crew of three or four other guys -- to complete his elaborate carpentry projects.

This is VERY relevant information for me. Inspired by those shows, I was trying to convince my husband that we should undertake grand home makeover projects in which we, say, build an entire home entertainment center complete with sliding cabinets and nesting drawers in a weekend. "C'mon, how hard could it be?" I would say. "I saw that dude on Trading Spaces do it all by himself in like a day!" Oh, the naivete.

10 Stylish Ways for Displaying Kids' Art

Some good ideas.

Common pitfalls in fiction writing

Literary agent Rachelle Gardner shares some of the common errors she sees fiction writers make that turn her off as an agent.

Test your color IQ

How well do you know your hues?

via Geekpress

Monday, September 22, 2008

Thoughts from the desert (to those who may be there soon)

Abigail has a thoughtful post, as she imagines what it might be like for high-flying Wall Street folks who were hit hard by the recent downturn. As someone who has been in the throes of financial struggle for a long time, she writes:

Jesus has yanked all of us into the wilderness. Jesus has stripped away the illusion of financial security. It’s scary at first. You look around and only see 'lack'-- a lack of food, a lack of water and a lack of shelter.

Yet I’ve been hanging out in the desert of financial uncertainty for a while. Let me show you around.

It’s harsh here, but beautiful. Here’s a place to test an inner strength you never knew you had. The friends who see you in your humility, the ones who lend you diapers when your babies run out, or who whip up baked lasagna when their own husbands are unemployed, or who join their hearts in prayer when you just can take the collection calls anymore, those are the dear, dear friends. You can't make a single friend like that on a singles cruise in the Aegean Sea.

It is harsh here in the desert. Yet it is still. It is the perfect place to hear the soft, tender words of God.

Read the rest here.

Look Who's Irrational Now

An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal that points out that belief in God tends to make people less superstitious. Great quote from Chesterton at the end: "It's the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense, and can't see things as they are."

via Thinking Christian

A great resource for helping friends in need

I just used Care Calendar to help schedule meals for a friend who just had a baby, and I'm very impressed. You can block out the dates where care is needed, and people can individually log in to note the days and times they'll be helping (meals, doing laundry, yard work, etc.) It's a great way to support families who just had babies, have a member recovering from surgery, are facing serious illness, lost a loved one, etc. Scroll down on the main page of their website to learn more.

The Art and Beauty of Microfluidics

A beautiful slide show.

via Geekpress

10 tips for a great (and cheap) date night

I loved this list, particularly since it's geared for couples with young children and limited budgets.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sounding out

Danielle Bean has a nice article in which she analogizes the process of learning to read with the process of raising children. An excerpt:

I sometimes feel that my day-to-day life has a lot in common with the painful process of learning to read. It's easy for me to get lost in the tiny tasks that fill my days: Change this diaper. Fold these clothes. Chop these vegetables. Sweep this floor. Grade this math work. With my attention on these smaller tasks alone, though, I risk losing sight of the whole picture of my motherly vocation. All the little things a mother does in a day are necessary parts that make up a whole, just as learning letters and sounding out m-u-d was a necessary part of Stephen's first sentence.

Read the whole thing here.

What did the Neanderthals look like?

Using DNA from 43,000-year-old bones, National Geographic recreates the face of a Neanderthal woman (they think she had red hair!)

via Presurfer

A couple drove from Argentina to Alaska in a 1928 car

And wrote a book about it. (via Geekpress.) That's nothin'. This family is biking from Alaska to Argentina with their two kids. (Right now they're in Montana.)

The United States ranked according to economic freedom

Interesting chart. Here's more info.

via Geekpress

The Onion hacks Obama's Gmail account

Here's what they found. (Warning: some heavy profanity).

via Geekpress

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The lovely life of the Poor Clares

The Anchoress has a great post about the life of the order of nuns called the Poor Clares, who live in cloistered convents and have little contact with the outside world. Don't miss this biography of an accountant who became a Poor Clare -- you wouldn't guess from those early pictures that she'd end up being a cloistered nun! What a great story.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Playstands for creative play

I'd never heard of Waldorf Playstands, but these look great.

via the Wine Dark Sea

Doctor worries that Trig Palin will mean that fewer Down Syndrome babies are aborted

Dispatches from the culture of death:

A senior Canadian doctor is now expressing concerns that such a prominent public role model as the governor of Alaska and potential vice president of the United States completing a Down syndrome pregnancy may prompt other women to make the same decision against abortion because of that genetic abnormality. And thereby reduce the number of abortions.

Published reports in Canada say about 9 out of 10 women given a diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to terminate the pregnancy through abortion.

Dr. Andre Lalonde, executive vice president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Ottawa, worries that Palin’s now renowned decision may cause abortions in Canada to decline as other women there and elsewhere opt to follow suit.

via Cartago Delenda Est

Pictures of hurricanes from space


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The woman who smiled

A mom who takes young children to Mass writes about the power of a simple smile from a fellow parishioner. Anyone who has ever felt like their children weren't welcome at a church service will be able to relate.

Watered-down juice selling at the same price as regular juice

Here's a perfect example of why you should always approach "healthy" labeling on food products with a skeptical eye. Summer did a quick side-by-side comparison of regular Mott's apple juice with new Mott's Plus Light. What she found was that except for a few added vitamins, the Light product was just Mott's juice diluted by 50% with water—but selling for the same price as the 100% juice.

Dolphins creating bubble rings - amazing

The evolution of national flags


Stunning pictures of dew droplets

Some amazing closeup photography!

via Neatorama

The new Titanic

The pictures of this luxury cruise ship are unbelievable.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The truth about hot dogs

The point of this article is that hot dogs aren't quite as bad as some say...but after seeing that graphic of what parts of the pig are allowed in hot dogs (stomach? lips? windpipe??), I think I'll be skipping the Oscar Mayer section of the grocery store for a while.

10 Free Dates That Your Wife Will Love

A good list.

UPDATE: I just read #9 -- terrible, terrible idea. Clearly a man wrote this list. Or at least a man who is married to someone very unlike me. Other than that, it is a good list. ;)

via Simple Mom

Making Sunday a day of rest

Kelly has an inspiring quote about making Sunday a day of rest from Christian scholar Eugene Peterson:

DJ: What spiritual practice has most shaped your walk with God?

Eugene: Keeping a weekly Sabbath -- a day my wife and I define as "praying and laying." A day we don't do anything that has to be done.

When we realized that the command to keep a Sabbath is one of the most repeated in Scripture and yet the most ignored in our culture, we had to readjust radically the way we were living. No other decision has made as much difference to our lives across the board. It has impacted our marriage, children, church life, friendships, writing ... the works.

Sabbath-keeping shifted our attention from what we were doing for God to what God was doing for us. Our work became subsumed in His.

Read the rest of her post about the subject here.

What does your taste in music say about your personality?

I thought the chart at the bottom was funny, although I'm not sure if it's supposed to be.

via Random Reflective Rantings

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tip: consider starting your Christmas shopping now

A super-organized friend of mine says she's going to start her Christmas shopping in a couple of weeks. Not a bad idea! Here are Dave Ramsey's tips for Christmas shopping, and here's a handy chart that lists Amazon discounts by category.

Baby advice from a mom of seven

A friend and mom of seven wrote this in an email after hearing of my new pregnancy:

Here is my one piece of unsolicited advise that I give EVERY expectant mom: Get a Miracle Blanket so that you and baby can SLEEP. www.miracleblanket.com (I get no kickbacks, but I tout this thing on every corner!!!)

Seriously, I wish I had discovered it for my first five children. I found out about it for my sixth, and I was NEVER sleep deprived! And even though my seventh had colic and was much fussier than the sixth, it worked for him, too, and they are the happiest healthiest little guys. I never lost sleep with either one, because of that blanket. My four-year-old still sleeps with his blanket next to him.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

On being "free" of kids

Antique Mommy has a nice post about how she's not counting the days until her son goes to college.

Baby carrier comparison chart

A helpful chart for understanding the differences between different types of baby slings and wraps.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The FedEx box from the movie Castaway

Very amusing, especially if you saw the Tom Hanks movie Castaway.

7 Cool Household Science Experiments

Sounds like fun.

Catholic Media House

I just got an email announcing the new site Catholic Media House, and I think it looks great. It has all sorts of multimedia resources for Catholics. This video called The Gift of Worship is particularly good.

Crazy optical illusion

Check out this optical illusion. Stare at the + and you'll see a green dot that isn't really there, whereas if you follow the moving dot with your eyes they will all be pink. Then, if you stare at the + long enough, all the pink dots disappear.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Inspiration for writers and artists

I loved this anecdote from Finslippy's latest post, which she found in the book Art and Fear:

A ceramics class is divided into two groups. The first group is graded on quantity: it doesn't matter how good their stuff is, just how many pounds of work they end up with. The second group is graded on quality: it didn't matter how few pots they create, just how perfect the final product is. Can you guess who ends up doing the best work? It's the quantity group: the students who churned out work day after day and learned from their mistakes. Meanwhile, the quality group had wasted time mulling over how they could achieve perfection, so by the end of the class they had "little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay."

It's all about working and working and working some more, no matter how crappy you think it is. You are never the best judge of your work, so shut up and work and don't stop to wonder why it's not a masterpiece.

Read the rest here.

A volcano eruption in a lighting storm

Breathtaking must-see photos.

The God Defense

The National Review has a Q&A that has an excellent response to modern atheists' claims. Very good.

A baby moose plays in the sprinkler

Blog by an 85-year-old lady

A lady left a comment on my other site mentioning that she is 85 and has a blog. That gets an automatic link.