Sunday, December 21, 2008

Translations of the Mass readings for children

This book looks like a good idea. It offers translations of the Mass readings in a language more accessible to kids (offering the adult version side-by-side for comparison), as well as ideas for discussion with parents and kids. [Not a paid ad, just a product that looked interesting.]

Putting "tips" in their proper place

What? You mean reading about doing things isn't as effective as actually doing it?!

For example, a tip on your golf swing may be very useful if you’re already playing three times a week and hitting a bucket of balls after work every day. But a subscription to a magazine about taekwondo will only be as useful as your decision to drag your fat a** into a dojo and start actually kicking people. Over and over. Otherwise, you’re just buying shiny paper every month.

Some bizarre and unnecessary opining about sex in the article, but otherwise it has some great points that are especially useful as New Year's Resolution season rolls around.

via Bearing Blog

The "Blue Christmas" Mass

A nice idea: a Mass for people who struggle with the holiday season:

"There are so many people who are lonely or grieving loss or bad family histories," Rice said. "For them, a holiday with all the expectations of merriment can be alienating." [...]

"There's a very clear and explicit welcome at the start that acknowledges there are people who struggle with the holidays," he said. "It's very low-key. We invite people to bring whatever they are struggling with." [...]

The evening's preaching takes on a different tone as well, he said. "The homily is directed more toward the core, theological meaning of the Incarnation, of God joining us in all of our struggles and our pain."

Friday, December 19, 2008

On God and Santa Claus

A great article from the Wall St. Journal:

As a parent, I believe (with the older apologists) that it's essential to preserve a small, inviolate space in the heart of a child, a space where he is free to believe impossibilities. [...]

This sheds light on a seeming paradox in St. Paul's letter to Roman Christians: "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made..." How does one see "invisible attributes"? Only people raised on fairy tales can make sense of that. It belongs in a terrain where magic glasses can illumine what was heretofore hidden, where rabbit holes open into wonderlands. No wonder some atheists like Mr. Dawkins want to kill Harry Potter.

Read the rest here. (NOTE: link has adult discussion of Santa Claus, so it might not be one to read with young children looking over your shoulder.)

Neat "cooking" animation

via Matteo

$700 Billion Bailout Celebrated With Lavish $800 Billion Executive Party

Amusing parody from The Onion.

via Matteo

Thursday, December 18, 2008

40 inspirational movie moments in two minutes

A fascinating interview with Peter Kreeft

This is a really excellent, short interview. An excerpt:

If you had to point to the biggest obstacle in society today facing Orthodox Christianity, what would it be?

Our own sins. They always have social consequences. We construct society, for good or ill, far more than it constructs us. It has no free will; we do. It is merely what we make; we are not merely what it makes. By "orthodox Christianity" I assume you mean the whole nine yards, the whole treatment.. That begins with faith, and truth, and teachings, but it ends with the works of love, with being saints. Only saints can save the world. And only our own sins can stop us from being saints.

Read the rest here.

10 Things Not to Say When Buying a Car

Some helpful tips.

"Can you raise moral and ethical children without God?"

An interesting answer from Dr. Laura, who was raised without religion:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Email genius?

I just came across this simple email philosophy, and am wondering: could this be the solution to my overflowing inbox? Hmmm.

via Simple Mom

How well do you recognize faces?

A cool test.

Rationality and the "Paranormal"

An excellent post about the misconception among some atheists that all religious belief is an attempt to explain how the world works. Darwin draws an important distinction when he writes:

I think part of the real difference here is that people have strongly different ideas about how unlikely it is to experience something that is non-material...The difference is not so much between people who look for "real explanations" for things and people who don't, but rather between people who discount all non-material explanations and those who don't.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How to drive yourself insane with Twitter

Keep me away from this product:

It happens. You’re having one of those days where everything that can go wrong does. You log in to Twitter and a 140-character rant turns into a small novel as you spill your guts on everything that went wrong that day.

The next thing you know, a chunk of your followers have seemingly dropped off the face of the Twitterverse, leaving you to wonder…

Was it something I said?

With Qwitter, you can find out exactly what that “something” was. Qwitter tells you when you’ve been un-followed and what your most recent tweet was when it happened.

I admire anyone who could use that and not get completely neurotic about it.

via Suzanne Sadler (Twitter)

10 great first novels

An interesting list of excellent novels that were the first ones the authors wrote.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The smells of the season

An easy, cheap way to keep your house smelling like Christmas without using artificial air fresheners.

Advent: The Coming of Love

The Anchoress has one of the best posts about Advent I've ever read:

Speaking for myself, without the Advent season, I might not manage to set aside a few minutes each day to reflect on the tangled trails I have traveled in the passing year, and to realize just how far into wilderness I have strayed. Especially in an election year, it seems, one can wander pretty deeply into the weeds, and the world, beautiful as it is, is also full of abyssmal holes, and tricky nettles and the thickets, which make us feel entrapped, even if we are not.

Advent coaxes us out. We look up and there is a darker sky than before. The stars show more clearly, and they inspire us to hack through the stuff that has begun to imprison us within the year so that we may walk a freer path, made clear.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A comparison of digital camera lag times

This is a very helpful chart for parents in the market for a digital camera. So many digital cameras have a "lag time" between when you press the button and when it actually takes the picture that means you miss tons of cute moments.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Best friends

Some cuteness to brighten your morning:

Abundance and simplicity

A great post about Christmas gift giving from a mom of seven:

How to create abundance out of simplicity? That is the magic I attempt to create each Christmas. Abundance, because Christmas is about the abundance of God's blessings: symbolized by the diversity and array of the ornaments on the Christmas tree. Simplicity, because we are an American family, and material goods of every description are constantly drawn to us as though by magnetism.

Read the rest here.

via Like Merchant Ships

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Seasons of parenthood

A great post about our tendency to compare ourselves to other moms (particularly in the blog world), and about understanding that parenthood has different seasons:

We log on and read that Mrs X knitted fifteen sweaters while homeschooling her seven year old in third year Latin, took all ten kids to the TL Mass, and got home in time to take her seven year old to Orchestra practice. And mom of three, with her dirty t-shirt, dirty diaper clad three year old (who is also her oldest), and mountain of laundry thinks that she is somehow failing. It's ridiculous. But what mom-of-three doesn't realize is that Mrs. X used to be her. But now, seven kids later, she has learned how to run a home efficiently, she has older kids to help, and has learned to relax. They are living in different world.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The speech accent archive

This is one of the most fascinating things I've seen in a while. You can hear speakers from all over the world recite the same paragraph.

via Rocks in my Dryer

A Christian response to the atheist ad campaign

A Christian group is raising money to run ads in response to the atheistic ad campaign in D.C.

"They killed their neighbors"

A fascinating article about people who have participated in genocide. (Warning: descriptions of graphic violence.) I found this part particularly interesting:

The propaganda machine portrays the victim group as less than human. In Rwanda, the Hutus called their Tutsi neighbors 'cockroaches.' In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge said their victims were "worms." To the Nazis, Jews were "vermin."

Dehumanization is the most powerful psychological tool used in all mass murder and genocides, Zimbardo said. "Dehumanization blurs your vision. You look at these people and you do not see them as human."

Instead, the enemy is treated as a germ -- as something to eradicate, or else face the threat of infection.

"Purification is at the heart of genocide," said Harvard's Lifton. "In that purification ... [the killers] are healing."

Recently discovered photos show Nazi officers at a retreat near Auschwitz relaxing as though they are taking a break from a routine job, not an extermination factory. "In order to carry out the function of killing, one must instill in that environment a sense of ordinariness," said Lifton.

At least nothing like that goes on here in modern America...or does it?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Praising kids too much might backfire

An interesting article:

A growing body of research is finding that praise based on talent and intelligence -- as opposed to effort -- not only doesn't help kids achieve success, it actually backfires.

Children who are praised as smart, special and talented stumble at school when faced with challenges that don't immediately reinforce the mantras they hear at home. They're also more likely to avoid tasks at which they may fail than children who are praised instead for their hard work.

Read the rest here. It reminds me of this must-read article about telling kids they're smart from a while back.

A cow herding pig!

Great story:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fonzie jumps the shark

Ever heard the phrase "jumping the shark"? Here's the actual Happy Days clip that started it all (the actual shark jumping is around 8:00 min):

Tons of sandwich recipes


Monday, December 1, 2008

Faith, the amazing two-legged dog

The Connection between Contraception and Abortion

A fascinating article. An excerpt:

It should be no surprise that countries that are permeated by contraceptive sex, fight harder for access to abortion than they do to ensure that all babies can survive both in the womb and out. It is foolish for pro-lifers to think that they can avoid the issues of contraception and sexual irresponsibility and be successful in the fight against abortion. For, as the Supreme Court stated, abortion is "necessary" for those whose intimate relationships are based upon contraceptive sex.

Read the rest here.