Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"It is only the human animal who ventures into the subhuman"

A stunning post from Dr. Bob. An excerpt:

Our secular prophets have heralded the Good News: there is no God; we are but accidental apes...The shackles of superstition are broken, the potential of man unbounded, his glory unlimited but by the constraints of his imagination. Yet as we celebrate our exalted humanity, the technology we worship brings glimpses of a darker reality, flashed in some subliminal message quickly dismissed as aberration or sideshow.

We may reflexly think of those who partake in such ghastly exhibitionism to be but beasts -- but to think thus insults the animal, whose nobility far exceeds our own...It is only the human animal who ventures into the subhuman, in glorification and gleeful pursuit of perversion for pleasure, of violence as theater.

Read the rest.

The 20 Worst Foods in America

An interesting list of some of the most unhealthy foods served at restaurants in America.

via Middle-Aged, Not Muddle-Headed

If the Gospels are myths...

Carl Olsen points out that there is more evidence to back up the truth of the events described in the Gospels than for many of the great events of the ancient world.

via New Advent

The secret to happiness

In a recent statement, Pope Benedict notes that the secret to happiness is actually quite simple:

A "yes" to God opens the font of happiness, says Benedict XVI. [...]

"Our 'yes' to God makes the font of true happiness gush forth," the Pope affirmed. "It frees the 'I' from everything that closes it in on itself. It brings the poverty of our lives into the richness and power of God's plan, without restricting our freedom and our responsibility."

Read the rest here.

via New Advent

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A great short-term investment: stockpile food

I'd never thought of it this way, but the Wall Street Journal points out that rising food prices mean that you could probably get a better return on investment by stockpiling food than by investing in a one-year certificate of deposit:

Do the math. If you keep your standby cash in a money-market fund you'll be lucky to get a 2.5% interest rate. Even the best one-year certificate of deposit you can find is only going to pay you about 4.1%, according to And those yields are before tax.

Meanwhile the most recent government data shows food inflation for the average American household is now running at 4.5% a year. And some prices are rising even more quickly.

This is really interesting, I recommend reading the whole thing.

via Like Merchant Ships

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Suburban farms

An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about the phenomenon of "front-yard farmers," people who use their suburban homes as farms (and make money from what they grow).

Unlike traditional home gardeners who devote a corner of the yard to a few rows of vegetables, a new crop of minifarmers is tearing up the whole yard and planting foods such as arugula and kohlrabi that restaurants might want to buy. [...]

"Agriculture is becoming more and more suburban," says Roxanne Christensen, publisher of Spin-Farming LLC, a Philadelphia company started in 2005 that sells guides and holds seminars teaching a small-scale farming technique..."Land is very expensive in the country, so people are saying, 'why not just start growing in the backyard?' "

Why pray?

Mark Shea excerpts an excellent answer from former atheist John C. Wright.

via Cartago Delenda Est

A priest explains the Mass to teens

This five minute video is interesting and helpful.

Things that are impossible to say when drunk

I got a chuckle out of this one.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

6 Ways That Bloggers are Like Rappers

Is it only because I love rap that I think this is the best blog post I've seen in a long time? Also, do not miss the comments, some of them are as hilarious as the original post. I'm going to laugh about this all day.

How well do you know your fonts?

I got a 22 on this font quiz...and didn't realize how competitive I was about naming fonts until I found myself wanting to bang my first on my keyboard every time I got one wrong.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

10 Most Creative Business Cards

Restaurants using behavioral science to make smaller portions seem bigger

I need to do this in my own kitchen. An excerpt.

"What you do is skewer the shrimp before you boil them," Roehm says. "It straightens them out so that when you serve them, they look bigger. Now you can buy a smaller, less expensive shrimp." [...]

Managers are using behavioral science research to rejigger menus -- putting high-profit items in the top right-hand corner, for instance, where diners tend to look first...Lots of restaurants are buying smaller plates to make the reduced servings look just as large, or lighter silverware so that even if there are fewer bites per serving, each bite feels heavier than usual on the fork. A la carte portions of high-priced dishes -- steaks, for example -- are getting pared back and surrounded by low-cost starches and vegetables.

Interesting article.

via Grapevine

Free PDF's of spiritual classics

What a great idea for a site: Free Catholic eBooks. You can download all sorts of great works of spiritual literature whose copyrights have expired, and it's all free. Though this is a Catholic site, many of these books will appeal to Christians of all denominations. Some examples:

  • Story of a Soul by St. Threrese of Lisieux
  • The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton
  • St. Thomas Aquinas by G.K. Chesterton
  • The Practice of the Presence of God by Br. Lawrence
  • The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila
  • Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas
  • The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis [I heard somewhere that this is the most popular Christian book in history after the Bible]

And many, many more. See the rest here. What a fantastic idea for a site!

(NOTE: Some of these PDF's are large and may give your browser problems. I recommend right-clicking on the image of the book and choosing "Save Link As" and save it directly to your hard drive rather than trying to view it in your browser first.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Nursery and house tours

I loved this collection of photo tours of stylish nurseries, and this collection of tours of kid-friendly houses. I feel like an unstylish slob now, but it was interesting. :)

via Starry Sky Ranch

We are called to carry on with joy and enthusiasm

A beautiful piece by Peggy Noonan on the Pope's visit. An excerpt:

At the end of the St. Patrick's Mass, the pope, impromptu, spoke of St. Peter falling, failing, and yet being, becoming, the rock on which the church had been built. He seemed to be saying he was similarly frail and full of fault. He seemed to be saying we all are. And yet we must take up our work. "Never forget that you are called to carry on with joy and enthusiasm," he said.

Read the rest here.

Animator vs. animation

Some really neat animation. Especially cool for anyone who's ever worked with Flash.

The hidden expenses of cars

I really enjoyed this article from the Wall Street Journal. An excerpt:

If you save $10,000 by buying a Toyota Camry instead of a BMW and invest that $10,000 in stocks with an average annual return of 10%, at the end of 10 years (about when your Toyota is coming up on that 150,000-mile mark) you'll have $25,937.

At that point, save another $10,000 by buying a less expensive car, invest it, and the combined savings on those two cars will, 10 years from that second purchase, be worth more than $93,000...Can driving a car that is $10,000 more expensive than another really be worth nearly $100,000 to you?

Great stuff. Read the rest here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Body of Christ, praying as one

As I mentioned in the comments, Darwin stole my post for today. I also prayed Vespers along with the Pope's broadcast last night and had the same feeling about it.

Pope Benedict's childhood memories

I really enjoyed this post. I thought this part was particularly beautiful:

Every new step into the liturgy was a great event for me. Each new book I was given was something precious to me, and I could not dream of anything more beautiful. It was a riveting adventure to move by degrees into the mysterious world of the liturgy, which was being enacted before us and for us there on the altar. It was becoming more and more clear to me that here I was encountering a reality that no one had simply thought up, a reality that no official authority or great individual had created.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The meek inherit more than the land

I loved this article by a mom who recalls the challenging times of having four children ages six and under with a husband who traveled a lot [scroll down to FAMILY CORNER: The Meek's Inheritance by Judith Dunlap]. It reminds of Veronica's recent post on a similar subject.

Why we should read fiction

I can't even remember the last time I read a fiction book, but this eloquent piece by the Philosopher Mom just about has me convinced to explore new areas of the bookstore:

We should read fiction because it speaks the language a whole dimension of ourselves that perhaps the Summa Theologica does not: the imagination, the will, the heart. It engages our intellect, too, in a new way: Rather than an analysis of a problem, it invites the reader to inhabit the questions at hand. If holiness or viciousness are only fully grasped in an encounter with a living person who is either holy or vicious, then fiction can draw us ore closely to a lived experience of these realities.

Read the rest here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The decline of the Greek family

Mark Richardson excerpts some fascinating thoughts on moral relativism and its impact on cultures (in this case the Greeks):

A family man would say that nothing could compensate for the joys of family, but in a society where the individual perceives himself as the centre of the universe committed to the proposition that all joys and pleasures are equal, the family becomes just another choice among others. When duty and virtue have become antiquated terms that one only finds in books no one reads, we have a declining society entangled in the most petty and ephemeral affairs.

Read the whole thing.

Building a cathedral

A stirring note from the dedication of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston:

"The crucifix arrived in five pieces from the sculptor. We had to physically put the two beams of the cross together, lay the corpus on the cross and attach the arms. It was very quiet on the site as the nails were placed in the hands of Christ."

- Mark Gore Sr. Project Manager, Linbeck Construction

Read more interesting notes and see tons of beautiful pictures over at the Catholic Spitfire Grill.

Loving our neighbors (even the cranky ones)

I loved this post at Toddler Dredge. An excerpt:

I wonder sometimes if the exhaustion of motherhood is my forge, teaching me to love without thinking about it first. With no reserves left and no time to ponder my responses, I’ll only show grace and love if it has become the battle-hardened, fire-tested, prayerful center of my soul.

Read the whole thing.

The loveliness of laundry

Some surprisingly interesting thoughts and links about laundry.

via Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering

God's Yellow Pages

This is great.

via Stumbleupon

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Nature and conversion

Yozakura shares the touching story of how her love of nature led her to Wicca and new age spirituality, then back to Christianity. An excerpt:

I would go so far as to say that, for any of us, how we act toward nature and where we stand with God are very closely related. We can't truly love one if we neglect the other -- before long, we will have neglected both. If we are very, very fortunate, we might also regain both.

Read the whole thing.

The three temptations

A great quote from Pope Benedict about the three fundamental human temptations.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Our homes are supposed to be havens...but what is a haven?

Some great thoughts about vocation and housekeeping from Red Cardigan. Don't miss the last paragraph.

M.C. Hammer has a blog cool / crazy / futuristic is that that you can go leave a comment on M.C. Hammer's blog and he'll probably read it? He has a disclaimer asking people to "please keep [comments] related to the topics of my posts." How many times do you think he sat down to craft a thoughtful post only to have a bunch of asinine replies about Can't Touch This and "Hammer pants"? ...I could go on about this all day, so I'll shut up now.

via Vedana

Roundup of website design galleries

I love to check out new and interesting designs for websites, so I was excited to discover this list of all the web design showcasing sites.

via Daily Blog Tips

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The "new ruralism"

This Wall Street Journal article was particularly interesting to me in light of our recent discussion about building community. An excerpt:

Some developers are creating historic-style communities with houses that look like they were built as long ago as the 17th century...Many [of these communities] are marketed as "settlements" and harken back to an agrarian past -- some even include working farms. They tap into an emerging farmland-preservation movement dubbed "new ruralism," a counterpart to the new urbanism philosophy that promotes dense, walkable neighborhoods. Both support traditional building styles and small-scale architecture.

Read the whole thing here. Very interesting.

Using Your Actions to Teach Kids about Priorities

One mom shares a great example of how the way their family celebrates birthdays vs. First Communions sends a signal to her children about their family priorities.

John C. Wright on moral relativism

Another interesting post from John C. Wright (whom I recently mentioned here).

Thoughts on a stormy night

Shannon has a beautiful post about some thoughts she had while listening to a tornado siren in the middle of the night.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

So that's the name for it

I am loving reading all the reader introductions over at my other blog. I just wanted to highlight one line from a recent comment that I thought was a perfect summary of children's natural awareness of God:

I had always believed in God just because I knew He was there -- I remember hearing something about God when I was very little and thinking, "Oh, so that's the name for that."

Love that line. I'd love to hear from you too -- if you have a moment, go introduce yourself!

Shakespearean Baseball

This is hilarious. This is the kind of baseball that we book nerds can appreciate!

via Catholic Bibliophagist

Love is what life is about

Erin Henderson, a mother of 11 and international adoption advocate, tells a beautiful, touching story of the moment that each of her adopted children understood that she was their mother. She says of her four-month-old daughter from Vietnam:

I walked away from the bed where she was laying to get a bottle for her, and she made this teeny tiny pitiful (feeble attempt at a) cry, and I rushed over and picked her up and offered her the bottle. She got this look of amazement on her face with a little smile that seemed to say, "Holy cow! You mean that crying thing WORKS with you??" and after that she did not want anyone but me and always wanted me close. She got it. I was there for her. I was her mom.

Read the whole thing.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Big Picture

This is one of the most straightforward, touching stories of doubt and the search for truth that I've read in a long time. An excerpt:

This page records some of the key thoughts I've had about the "big picture" after my precious 53-year old wife, Vickie Keener, passed away unexpectedly in September 2001...I hope my sharing of these thoughts can help you see how important it is for you to know why you have your worldview, instead of just taking one that was "handed down" to you or that your friends have. I was once secure in my worldview, but I had never taken a really critical look at it. But over the past two years I have questioned my beliefs very seriously and have researched several worldviews as I have tried to make sense of this world.

Read the whole thing.

Would you know if you have ADD?

An interesting blog post with some good tips.

Online guide to all things Benedictine

This is a very well done website, with everything from the Rule of St. Benedict to daily reflections to great apologetics resources and a lot more. I recommend bookmarking it to revisit often.

via reader Kristen

The world's most amazing islands

Interesting list with some great pictures.

"You mean I get to take Communion EVERY week?"

A sweet story of a little boy who really gets it.

via Wheelbarrow Manor

NFP conversion stories

Stevie is asking for NFP conversion stories to start a collection. Great idea!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

How to get a good portrait of your kids

Some great "portrait studio combat" tips.

The wooden bowl

I just got this via email and thought it was nice. Especially this part:

I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.

One of the best summaries of how to find hapiness I've read in a long time.

More about the "Sky Angel cowboy"

A news piece about the little boy who called a radio station to talk about a beloved animal's death. (If you don't know the story of that little boy, they go into the background in the piece.)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Corporate sponsorship for your tongue ring

Back in my day we got our bodies pierced for noble reasons (like the time I got my nose pierced because I was bored). But for Coke Zero? Puhleeeeze.

Inspiring story about a saintly mom of eleven children

I thought this was uplifting.

"Regular Guy" Paul asks for bloggers' help

Paul Mitchell is asking for bloggers' help to get the word out about his run for the Illinois House of Representatives on an all pro-life platform. Heres is the link to his campaign blog.

Children and family size

I've come across a few debates about family size lately between Christians of various denominations, and I thought this remark from BettySue was a nice take on the subject:
I don't really have any answers here [but] I will say we should think more in terms of "how many children can we have" instead of "how few can we get away with."

Lord of the Rings as Property Law

Attorneys and/or law nerds will find this amusing.

via John C. Wright