Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Risking death under huge blocks of ice - "If you can't get out, you die"

"The people of Kangiqsujuaq in Canada go to great lengths to add variety to their diet of seal meat, venturing under the sea ice during the extreme low tides of the spring equinox to gather mussels:"

Saturday, November 12, 2011

If Catholics are wrong about the Real Presence...

A thought provoking post thinking through the logical conclusions of the mainstream Christian view that Catholics are wrong about the Real Presence:

If one holds the common evangelical position on the Lord's Supper...that the evangelical position was the original doctrine taught by Christ and His Apostles, then that person must also hold that: 
- the entire Church, following the deaths of the Apostles, immediately and publicly fell into universal heresy and idolatry at the center of their beliefs and practices 
- this occurred in such a way so as to leave behind no evidence at all that any orthodox Christian had believed the true teaching of the Apostles immediately following their deaths in the most fundamental matters of doctrine and practice (unless you count gnostic heretics, and I don't think evangelicals would) 
- this universal heresy persisted for a millennium and a half, such that virtually no would-be Christian lived their faith without centering it around idolatry; every would-be saint of the first 1500 years of the faith - St Irenaeus, St Augustine, St Francis of Assisi, St Catherine of Siena, etc - was actually an idolater
- the very same people who were so deluded into Eucharistic idolatry managed to hold true faith regarding the Trinity, dual-nature of Christ, etc, even amidst widespread, violent, centuries-long opposition and persecution...

Read more here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Portraits of the Fallen

A touching story about an artist who paints portraits of fallen soldiers for their families for free.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Sheltering hurts when it's empty"

Mrs. Parunak has a thoughtful post in response to the backlash against "sheltering" kids from the world. The whole thing is a must-read, but here's an excerpt:

The real problem is that some conservatives are fake. They say they love Jesus, but they’re living for themselves. They’re brazenly unrepentant about being angry, power-hungry, obsessed with appearances, or addicted to lust. And all the long skirts and homemade bread in the universe can’t keep them from hurting their children because selfishness always hurts other people. 
Sheltering fails when it is empty, like a wall with nothing inside. We may admire our friends’ stately stone walls around their castles, but constructing an identical wall around a vacant lot still leaves our families exposed to the rain and cold, with nothing but weeds to eat. But we’re OK, we tell our shivering children, because we have a pretty wall. Can we blame cold and hungry people if they run away and tell the world that walls are bad? But really it wasn’t the wall. It was the vacant lot.

The Top 20 Most Common Passwords

Hopefully your online banking password isn't on the list!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An amazing story of messages in a bottle

Treat yourself to watching this wonderful video (via New Advent):

Over the last two decades, Harold Hackett has sent out over 4,800 messages in a bottle from Prince Edward Island, Canada's smallest province along the Atlantic coastline. 
Every message asks for the finder to send a response back to Hackett, and since 1996 he has received over 3,100 responses from all over the world.

Monday, September 26, 2011

How people reacted to overhearing a couple discussing the option of abortion

Wow, an amazing video that makes me proud to be a Texan! (Contrary to popular sterotypes, it's also interesting to note that the most pushy person was the pro-choice school nurse toward the end of the video.)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

5 Vintage Versions of Modern Social Media from Centuries Ago

Very interesting! An example:

Long before there was Facebook, there was the Republic of Letters — a vast and intricate network of intellectuals, linking the finest "philosophes" of the Enlightenment across national borders and language barriers. This self-defined community of writers, scholars, philosophers and other thinkers included greats like Voltaire, Leibniz, Rousseau, Linnaeus, Franklin, Newton, Diderot and many others we’ve come to see as linchpins of cultural history. Mapping the Republic of Letters is a fascinating project by a team of students and professors at Stanford, visualizing the famous intellectual correspondence of the Enlightenment, how they traveled, and how the network evolved over time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The daredevils of Niagara Falls

Some fascinating stories of people who have gone over Niagara Falls in barrels. For example:
The infamous Bobby Leach plunged over the Falls in a steel barrel. Bobby broke both kneecaps and his jaw during his daring event. Years later while touring in New Zealand, Bobby slipped on an orange peel and died from complications due to gangrene!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Boatlift from Manhattan

Inspiring and touching:

From SmartPlanet: "In nine hours, boats streaming in from all over the Northeast evacuated 500,000 people trapped on Manhattan Island by the complete shutdown of all trains and bridges in the wake of the fall of the twin towers. (Compare that with history’s second-biggest evacuation, of 339,000 soldiers and civilians from Dunkirk, in WWII, which took nine days.)"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blessings in the midst of suffering

A moving, inspiring post written by a mother whose young son has a serious seizure disorder.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

"What Being a Cradle Catholic Means To Me"

A thoughtful piece about what it means to be a "cradle" Catholic. An excerpt:
I really wish that someone would pen the companion piece to Abby’ Johnson’s Unplanned. As much as I appreciate her book (and I do!) I would love to hear the other side of the coin: the perspective of those who prayed outside of her abortion clinic for years without fail, who witnessed thousands of women procuring abortions for every one child saved: that is the story I also need to read about. A 'cradle' Catholic needs to hear instances of perseverance, just as much as someone questioning or ‘on the fence’ about faith needs to read about someone's conversion. This is because ‘cradles’ also need help persevering in hope. A chronicle or snapshot of what persistent witness looks like is the kind of story that would really help me.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"9 out of 10 of what we call new ideas are simply old mistakes"

Excellent points from JC Sanders. It begins:
I believe that every college freshman should, upon arriving at the orientation of his campus, hear the following sentence: “Nine out of ten of what we call new ideas are simply old mistakes.” Actually, it would not be a bad idea to post this short sentence over the door to every office in the philosophy department–to say nothing of theology or religious studies–as it would help to avoid much mischief.

A touching post by the friend of a 9/11 hero

A lovely tribute.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Living a good life isn't supposed to be easy

Steve of the "Gay, Catholic and Doing Fine" blog makes a great point. An excerpt:

But I have less and less patience with this question: “How can the Church require homosexuals to be celibate? How can she impose such a heavy cross?” 
Why do people think that living a good life is supposed to be easy? Readers, whoever you are — gay, straight, married, single, relatively healthy or inflicted with any one of a billion possible debilitating pathologies — you will be asked to carry a cross. It’s going to be hard, and it’s not going to be fair.

5 things to know before visiting an Eastern Rite church

Helpful post.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The beauty of a hand-written note

A good reminder to send loved-ones updates on paper once in a while.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Is the pursuit of physical loveliness frivolous?

A thought-provoking piece about women attempting to look nice physically. An excerpt:

To my mind, the pursuit of loveliness is, in actuality, a celebration of a woman’s unique physical attributes. It’s a way to acknowledge that, for all our messed up feminine insecurities, we realize that these bodies that God has fashioned with His own hands and given to us are gifts. Through caring for our physical selves, we demonstrate our gratitude. It’s a way of saying that we reject the worldly lies we’re told about physical beauty, that we think that God is an awesome creator and that we intend to use His gifts--all of them--to enhance this world with loveliness.

A week in the life of a Catholic priest

via Catholic Video Blog

Monday, August 15, 2011

Life without an architect

Excellent post from DarwinCatholic. An excerpt:
The house or office you are sitting in was built according to a plan and a purpose, a purpose from which it is now only able to deviate to a limited extent. My house cannot suddenly become an office tower, though it has an office in it. My office building would make a very poor house. But they are built knowingly, according to a plan. And yet, our lives seem often constructed to a purpose without the architect knowing that he is in constructing something with walls and doors -- an edifice which will suit some ends well, and other poorly. Individual choices pile up unto some particular type of life, and once that life is built people sometimes find it is not, in fact, the kind of structure they want to live.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dignity when you can't take care of yourself

A powerful, profound post from a Catholic mom of seven who is undergoing brain radiation as she battles Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, about what she has learned by going from caretaker to the one who is taken care of.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wheelchairs for the poor

A story about an inspiring man with an amazing mission. What a great organization:

Everyone involved in the project has a favorite story. Lanfried's is about a 5-year-old boy in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The boy lived in an orphanage for disabled children, where he spent most of his time lying on the floor except for trips to the bathroom. 
A week after giving the boy his new chair, Lanfried was heading to the airport when he caught a glimpse of something familiar on the side of the street. It was a wheelchair. The little boy was in it, being pushed by an older boy, who was running. The boys were laughing.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stunning photos of a volcanic eruption

Wow, amazing. (The site is in Spanish -- press "Comenzar" to begin the slideshow.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

One Catholic's experience with secular psychology

A fascinating post by the Philosopher Mom. An excerpt:

I began to notice that we were hitting a wall. Every time I would regale her with a story of angry feelings, she would listen and say, "Good for you!" I would mention that I told my husband I felt angry: "Good for you!" Hidden anger was bad. Expressing my anger was good, she explained, because I would name it for what it was. It would no longer have the power to depress me or manifest itself in chronic pain. 
Then she counseled me: "You need to tell Todd (or person x, y, or zed) that you feel angry. Don't try to explain it or fix it. Just tell him and ask him to know your anger with you. Be transparent." 
"I don't want to always be angry," I said. "I hope to someday receive all these stresses of life with more grace. More graciously." 
She smiled and fretted, "Oh, dear." 
The message was: This anger is your self. Receive yourself. Express yourself. Do not allow anyone or any religion or any code to suggest that your experience of yourself is untrue or deficient. It is what it is. Be. Any attempt to transform yourself will mean more pain, more depression.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Important points about pride

Great post. An excerpt:

But isn’t there such a thing as healthy pride, you may ask? Such as in the face of an accomplishment or when one pays homage to their nation, ancestry or ethinicity?

In those cases, it’s not really pride (e.g. "I’m so proud of you, family member X..." or "We come from a long line of proud So-and-Sos...") at all. But since we must use language to express the combination of satisfaction, joy and gratitude for an earned success as well as the respect, reverence and humility experienced with 'honoring one's roots,' we tend to distill these concepts down to the current banal usage of the term 'pride.'

If you look closely, however, in those cases there is a recognition or an acknowledgment of being blessed that does not self-aggrandize but which gives credit where credit is due: to the One who gives us our talents, history, nation and family.

Lots of other great points here.

20 craziest job interview questions


via Geekpress

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

One woman's journey to healing through motherhood

A profound post (with some PG-13 content) by a woman who came to embrace her femininity in a whole new way after pregnancy and motherhood. An excerpt:

Having been sexually abused for seven years in my childhood, it was so profound to me that the very parts of my body that were associated with so much shame and pain had brought forth, and then sustained this precious child. The parts of my body were no longer designed for men's sexual pleasure. I began to finally and truly know that I wasn't a thing. In fact, I was created to give life! Not just physical life, but metaphorical life as well. I'm called to bring life to others, to bring hope, and to nurture the goodness already present in other people. I finally knew that I had dignity. Having been so utterly convinced of my pervading "badness" throughout my life, the discovery of my goodness profoundly moved me...As I reflected on pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, it seemed as though God was saying to me, "This society may act like you are an object. But that is not how I see you and that is not how I created you."

Read the rest here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The bacon lorem ipsum generator

"Lorem ipsum" is standard dummy text that designers use as placeholders on their designs. Now there's one that involves bacon-related terms. Excellent.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

An Airport Encounter

A great post by Archbishop Dolan recounting an exchange he had in an airport with a man who associated priests with pedophiles.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Visiting the lonely

A very touching story from Fr. Jonathan Morris:

There are other moments of comforting God’s people, however, that do warm the heart. Just as I was leaving the hospice, I caught myself asking the nurse if there was anyone there who had no family or friends. She immediately pointed me to 6B. It was the half of room 6 occupied by a Mr. Harris. I took his hand and spoke in a loud voice. His eyes remained closed, his head down. After a few futile attempts to connect with him, I raised my voice even louder and told him he looked wonderful. I told him he was strong. I placed a Yankees cap on his head and laughed at him. With eyes still closed, and to my great surprise, he squeezed my hand with the grip of a twenty-year-old. A few minutes later he opened his eyes wide, recognized the collar, and asked one thing: “Did you come here, Father, just to see me?” “I did, Mr. Harris, I did.” He cried like a baby. More tears of joy. Comforting people in the throes of tragedy is sometimes a downer emotionally, and sometimes it feels good. It is always a blessing for my soul.

Read the rest of his interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

How can you cultivate discipline?

Some great thoughts:

I asked my confessor recently what one could do to build up discipline in themselves. He suggested approaching the problem gently. First apply yourself to learning how to joyfully tackle the smallest and easiest of those tasks you dislike doing. Once you start to feel stronger, kick it up a notch and work on tackling ever-so-slightly more challenging things. We must train our wills. Over time, and with God’s grace, you will find a more disciplined individual staring back at you in the mirror.

Read the rest here:

A nun who is also an iPhone developer

Neat story.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Chasing a tornado

Some scary footage of the recent tornadoes in the South. (Prayers for all of those impacted!)

Friday, April 22, 2011

I Scream Therefore I Am

Some excellent thoughts on suffering:

But it seems to me that suffering (rather than proving that there is nothing) actually proves that there is everything--including a good God. The turning point is this question: if there is nothing but a meaningless void, then why do we think suffering is bad? Well, we think suffering is bad because it hurts. When I burn my hand on the stove it hurts. But if the cynical nihilist is right, we should be matter of fact about it and say, "Putting your hand on the stove hurts because if you left your hand there it would burn up and so you have nerve endings which give you negative sensations so that you will remove the hand and not burn it up. Pain is therefore a simple biological response of self preservation. So what. Why make such a big deal about it. It's not nice, but that's life. Bummer. Bad stuff happens. Accept it and move on."

Read the rest here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

AP style essentials

This is definitely worth reading and printing for anyone who does any kind of writing. It's helpful to know what the standards are for writing formatting (e.g. when to use 6 and when to use six, etc.)

Friday, April 1, 2011

The hairbrush

A sweet story from Beth Moore:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Christianity made the West

Some great thoughts, based on analysis by Chinese researches about what makes the West so successful.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The most shocking 4-minute abortion debate you will ever see

Jill Stanek has a video that juxtaposes an abortion clinic's soothing ads taking about goodness and love with an actual abortion. (Warning: You will not see anything graphic by clicking on the link, but if you play the video it is graphic and utterly shocking.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Is it good to have a lot of choices?

An interesting article. An excerpt:

In a California gourmet market, Professor Iyengar and her research assistants set up a booth of samples of Wilkin & Sons jams. Every few hours, they switched from offering a selection of 24 jams to a group of six jams. On average, customers tasted two jams, regardless of the size of the assortment, and each one received a coupon good for $1 off one Wilkin & Sons jam.
Here's the interesting part. Sixty percent of customers were drawn to the large assortment, while only 40 percent stopped by the small one. But 30 percent of the people who had sampled from the small assortment decided to buy jam, while only 3 percent of those confronted with the two dozen jams purchased a jar.
That study "raised the hypothesis that the presence of choice might be appealing as a theory," Professor Iyengar said last year, "but in reality, people might find more and more choice to actually be debilitating."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Baby's best start

Kate Wicker hits the nail on the head in this analysis of the inconsistencies of "lactivists" who are also pro-choice.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Abortion survivor Claire Culwell speaks in honor of her twin who died

The story of a young adoptee who found out that she was the unintended survivor of an abortion in which her twin sister died.

Thursday, January 6, 2011