The John 4 Lenten Faith Check

Every Lent we come around to the reading of the royal official whose son was dying.  It's a study in what it means to have faith in Jesus.   Here are my thoughts on that, which originally ran at CatholicMom.com. ***  Today’s Gospel: John 4:43-54How far would you travel to save your child? If you knew the cure was a two day walk away, would you walk it? Of course you would.The royal official who sets out to find Jesus knows that Jesus can heal his son. If he has any doubts, at t … [Read more...]

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Veil-Induced Fascination With Your Neighbor’s Interior Life

Let me tell you about something lovely that happened to me in real life: I was at supper at church, and I met this lady who could out-trad all the trads.  I was glad to finally meet her, because I love her wardrobe and never get a chance to say so.  Anyway, she comes up and says hello and chats for a bit, and voices a few opinions on matters which Catholics are free to disagree about it, and which not everyone at the table shared.Can you guess what happened?Try to guess.It's cr … [Read more...]

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One for the Watchlist: Mid-August Lunch

Elizabeth Scalia's essay on the Eternal City reminded me of a film I've been meaning to mention.  Mid-August Lunch (Pranzo di Ferragosto) is a desultory Italian film in which the reluctant hero does the thing you probably don't want to do either.  It's a lovely tribute to virtue and friendship, without even a wisp of Hallmark-y sugar anywhere in it.Here's the description from Wikimedia, which doesn't include the worst of the spoilers: Gianni (Gianni Di Gregorio), a broken man with mounting c … [Read more...]

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3 Ingredients for Parental Sanity in Kids’ Competitive Sports

So I developed a new rule this weekend: If watching your child play sports causes you to spew f-bombs at your own child's team, it's time for family counseling.Thomas Wurtz has a great article up at CatholicMom.com on signs that competitive athletics are turning you into a monster.  After bouncing a number of thoughts off my daughter over the past several months, I'd like to suggest a few things I've identified that keep sports sane. 1. The Decision to Play is a Decision for Today … [Read more...]

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Can Land’s End Be Saved? Three Strategies

I thought I was done with this topic, but no b-school case study is complete until the student has proposed solutions.  I've got three.1. New management.  I realize political and religious tests are popular in certain quarters, but I don't hold with that for a moment.  If Frederica Marchionni is capable of leading an American retailer, by all means keep her on.  It appears she's generated massive mistrust from all quarters, and that she lacks either a grasp of her customer base or a grasp of … [Read more...]

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Land’s End Postscript: Sexism in Business & Politics

I've been further puzzling over the Gloria Steinem interview in the Land's End catalog, and I've come to a second conclusion: It's sexist.My thinking began by mentally reviewing the other catalogs I receive.  None of them ever feature prominent political leaders in them.  To wit:Duluth Trader (they'll tell you about the model's horse farm or blacksmith shop, but politics are right out) Vinyard Vine (they'll tell you what department the pictured employees work in, but still no p … [Read more...]

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Bad Business: Land’s End Goes Over the Edge

I haven't written up a business case study in ages, but the latest Land's End fiasco was fodder for discussion among the family this evening.  A few quick points that I think shed light on Steinem debacle.As my beloved finance professor always said, financial reports contain no answers, only questions.  Still, you can take a look at Land's End's financials here, and the Q3 2015 earnings report is chilling.  All is not well.The brand has been losing itself for years.  My husband (tall, thi … [Read more...]

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