FDA bans chemicals in antibacterial soap

When I saw the news report yesterday that the FDA has banned the use of some chemicals commonly found in antibacterial soaps, I wanted to cheer. For some time now, I've been an avid label reader, and have avoided  - as much as humanly possible - chemicals that are suspected of disrupting hormones or are just plain toxic, both in my food and in my household products.The FDA report echoed some of what I learned about in "Slow Death By Rubber Duck," a great and accessible book by Canadians Rick … [Read more...]

A belief in a God bigger than any book or religion

Josh Grisetti has a lot to say about God in his new book, "God In My Head." Or, to be more clear, what God said to him.The two met while Grisetti was at the dentist and doped up on nitrous oxide and a dangerous combination of drugs he had lying around the house and took before the appointment in an attempt to ward off pain. The trip, or hallucination as he sometimes refers to it, spanned two hundred years and during it God answered Grisetti's spiritual questions and showed him the mysteries … [Read more...]

If your dog could talk, would he speak like a preschooler?

A friend posted on Facebook today: "Who decided that if dogs were able to speak and type they would do so with a speech impediment that makes you feel illterate trying to read it?"I understand what she means. As part of a community of dog writers, I see a lot of pets with blogs, Twitter and Facebook accounts, and to be honest, sometimes I have no idea what they're trying to say.  Dat for that, da for the, and a host of grammatical errors (like "i has not" and "U gotted") sometimes mean I … [Read more...]

Living more with less

The homes in this village were ramshackle sheds, put together with scrap metal, cardboard and whatever other materials the owners could salvage from the sides of the road or the dump. Each small plot of land - about 30 x 30 feet - had a cement floor and two holes in the yard, one for water to come up and one for waste to go down. A drainage ditch ran through the community, stagnant sewage-filled water littered with plastic bottles and other castoff garbage. The hot sun beat down on the village … [Read more...]

Some thoughts on modern slavery – refuse to do nothing but don’t be overwhelmed trying to do everything

As I write, I'm sitting in a cafe in a small village that, in our area, was one of the last legs on the Underground Railroad. So it's fitting that I'm writing about slavery and reflecting on the book "Refuse To Do Nothing", by  Shayne Moore and Kimberly McOwen Yim.Modern day slavery. Human trafficking. The buying, selling, bondage, abuse and forced servitude of human beings.Does it come as a surprise to you that there are slaves in the world today? Would you be surprised to know that the … [Read more...]

Can dogs be introverted or extroverted?

Not long ago, I did a post reflecting on Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking," musing on how I'm an introvert and what that means in my life. I got a lot of feedback from other introverts who were happy to have someone speak up on their behalf.Then my editor asked me an interesting question: can animals be introverted or extroverted?Cain addresses that issue very briefly in the book, citing research done on guppies in an attempt to unders … [Read more...]

Confessions of a non-recovering introvert

I’m an introvert. When I said it to friends a few times over the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten responses like, “You? You’re so talkative” or “I remember you as so outgoing” but almost always, “You’re not an introvert.”Really? How would you know?You probably base your idea of who I am on what you see on the outside, without knowing what’s going on inside of me most of the time. Sure, I can put together a party and play the happy hostess. But inside, I’m usually freaking out, because I … [Read more...]

When science and faith meet – infinity

I once had a conversation with a university biology student about the possibility that God created the universe. His premise was that science proved that God couldn't have created the universe. Going back to the moment of creation, he contended, there was scientific proof of how everything happened. Amino acids and molecules and explosions of compounds and all manner of things a simpleton like me couldn't understand.I kept asking “Where did that come from” every time he explained a step in th … [Read more...]

Join Patricia McConnell in a discussion about animals at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Thursday, June 21

 If you're in the Madison, Wisconsin area and are also an animal lover, here's a don't miss event: this Thursday, June 21, Patricia McConnell, author of fabulous books including "The Other End Of The Leash" and "For The Love Of A Dog" will join Richard H. Axsom, curator at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, for a discussion of the complicated and often contradictory relationships humans have had with animals.The discussion is part of the museum's exhibit, One must know the animals, … [Read more...]

Summer Top 10 Reading List – dogs, dogs and a little mystery

As summer nears, we bloggers here at Patheos have been asked to share our summer reading lists. Let me tell you, when you're talking about books, you're talking about my biggest love.I try to average a book a week every year; sometimes I make it. Sometimes I don't. But I always have several dozen books next to my bed, either in various stages of reading or in the "to read" pile. And I'm always adding more.So let me whittle my bedside pile down to a few books I'd love to read this summer, … [Read more...]