The Joys of Fasting, From Someone It Really Pains

"Iit's not that tough, really. I'll eat dinner at 5:00 Friday, then I'll go to services and I'll just basically miss breakfast and lunch Saturday. I get grumpy, sure. It's not the most fun 27 hours or so. But it's worth doing. . . . The worst part for me is the no water. I drink a gallon of water per day. So that's the tough part, wanting to take a sip of water." The speaker is Geoff Schwartz, the 340 pound guard of the New York Giants, speaking of the Yom Kippur fast, which he can observe this … [Read more...]

Homosexual Interests Trump the Poor’s

"The Catholic Church does incalculable good, providing immeasurable comfort — material as well as spiritual — to so many," explains Frank Bruni in his New York Times column on same-sex marriage. But it contradicts and undercuts that mission when it fails to recognize what more and more parishioners do: that gay people deserve the same dignity as everyone else, certainly not what happened to the Montana couple. If Francis and his successors don’t get this right, all his other bits of progress and … [Read more...]

On Those Who Sin Against Books

From Edmund Lester Pearson, a now unknown writer, via the Paris Review, a story of what happens in the next world to people who misuse books in this world. For example: We hurried on to a crowd of men bent nearly double over desks. They were pale and emaciated, which my guide told me was due to the fact that they had nothing to eat but paper. “They are bibliomaniacs,” he exclaimed, “collectors of unopened copies, seekers after misprints, measurers by the millimetre of the height of books. They … [Read more...]

Our Lady’s Grandmother

According to an Irish scholar publishing in the Journal of Medieval History. This is a story from late 2010, but I hadn't heard about it, so pass it on. From Discovery News: The great-grandmother of Jesus was a woman named Ismeria, according to Florentine medieval manuscripts analyzed by a historian [Catherine Lawless]. . . . "According to the legend, Ismeria is the daughter of Nabon of the people of Judea, and of the tribe of King David," wrote Lawless. She married "Santo Liseo," who is d … [Read more...]

An Exercise in Rhetorical Analysis

In this case, a guide to reading apartment ads in New York City. This is not, in fact, though you might think so, exaggerated very much. The interesting thing, to me anyway, is that the people who write these things lie, but they try to lie by exaggeration so they can pretend they're telling the truth, though they often just lie.It begins: Cozy = How attached are you to your full-size bed? Or any bed, really? And includes: Laundry = There is a coin-operated laundromat seven blocks away. D … [Read more...]

In Denmark, SSM That Is, But Isn’t, But Really Is

By law, as they're employees of the state (who begins tipping the whole thing into absurdity in the first place), Danish Lutheran pastors must marry anyone from their congregation who asks, but when in 2012 the state approve same-sex marriage, it gave pastors who objected an exemption, which it's now taken away. Kind of.It has, but it hasn't, exactly, because, well let the very useful Scandinavia House explain: The new law permits any person to change his legal gender by simply filing a … [Read more...]

David Brooks Misses the Point

Oh, some will say, there they go again, riding their hobby horse. In today's column, David Brooks argues that things have never been better in the world. In America, for example: Compared with all past periods, American cities and suburbs are sweeter and more interesting places. Of course there are the problems of inequality and poverty that we all know about, but there hasn’t been a time in American history when so many global cultures percolated in the mainstream, when there was so much t … [Read more...]