Will Pope Francis be the last pope?

In checking out the predictions for last year, I came across a post I wrote with this lede:

More doomsday predictions, this time from the Roman Catholic side! According to writings attributed to St. Malachy in 1139, pope #112 will be the last one, and then Jesus will return. That would be the successor to Pope Benedict XVI, who is #111.

And now we have #112, the Person of the Year who has made Catholicism cool again, Pope Francis.  But will he be the last of the line?  After the jump, the story I quoted back in February, 2013. [Read more…]

Justice halts birth control mandate

Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor has issued an order blocking the implementation of Obamacare’s requirement that employers–even those with religious objections–must provide their employees insurance that covers birth control and morning after pills.  The stay is temporary, but it’s an important development.

Some will be surprised that Justice Sotomayor made this move.  “Isn’t she one of the liberals?”  But liberal judges too can follow the Constitution.  Besides, I have never understood the connection between liberalism and supporting abortion.  Liberal rhetoric is all about helping the poor, the weak, and the marginalized, while ignoring the poorest, the weakest, and the most marginalized of all, namely, the infant in the womb.

I would think there would be many more pro-life liberals than there are.  It’s hard for me to take pro-abortion liberals seriously, given that massive inconsistency. [Read more…]

Reading a novel is good for your brain

The kind of research that we literature professors appreciate:

Being pulled into the world of a gripping novel can trigger actual, measurable changes in the brain that linger for at least five days after reading, scientists have said. [Read more…]

Your predictions for 2014

Happy New Year’s!  It’s time to look ahead on the year to come and to make our annual predictions about what we expect to happen in the new year.  We will then review those predictions on December 31, as we did yesterday, heaping honors upon the best prognosticators.  So predict away!  After the jump, some reflections on predictions. [Read more…]

The snarky year in review

One of my solemn customs for New Year’s Eve is reviewing the events of the past year by reading satirist Dave Barry’s month-by-month lampoon.  I invite you to join me by clicking  Dave Barry’s Review of 2013, the Year of the Zombies – The Washington Post.

I invite you to respond in kind with your own snarky and/or satirical comments on things that happened in 2013.

What’s out and what’s in

The Washington Post has an annual New Year’s feature listing what’s “out” from the previous year and what’s “in” for the year to come.  Many of us are so removed from fashion that we have no idea what the style mavens are talking about for either year.  Here is the list for 2013/2014 (you can click at least some of the items to see what they are referring to):  The 2014 In/Out List – The Washington Post.

If we don’t like this list, let’s make up one of our own.  What seemed cool and trendy in 2013 that now seems utterly lame and embarrassing?  What should replace them?  Put another way, what in 2013 are you completely sick of?  And what would you like to see instead?