Bar Codes in the Darnedest Places!

When I was a child, we played with chalk.  We signed our names, we sketched daisies and diamonds and puppy dogs.  Left to our own devices on carefree summer days, we personalized our world.  Like the raucous undergrads who sneaked out and painted The Rock on Washtenaw Avenue, near the University of Michigan campus, we altered our environment simply to show that We. Were. There.

But in 2012, sidewalk chalk has been trumped by a new, technological signature:  the QR code.  QR codes are similar to the bar codes found on most products. Inside a square are digital patterns which, when scanned by a smartphone or an iPad with the proper application, connect the user to a website with the personal or business webpage incorporating text, photos and even videos.

At first primarily a business device to encourage technophiles to learn more about a company, the codes were printed in magazines and on book jackets.  As Americans load up on smartphones and high-technology, the QR codes have become more commonplace.  Today, you can find them on books and babies, clothing and cars, cookies and cats, tattoos and tombstones. Here’s what I mean:

Newborn genius destined for MIT?  Your infant can show his stuff in a QR Code onesie. Be sure to send a birth announcement with a QR code linking to a webpage with his personal stats!

Serving a fun dessert for a special occasion?  Linking to your family’s website will give guests something to think about long after the party ends.


Does your pet tend to wander?  A QR Code on Fido’s collar will ensure a safe return home.



Lost in the city?  Find your way—or learn about the local hangouts—with QR codes!





Selling your home?  Drive-by house hunters can link to your website and get a full tour without waiting for a more convenient time.


Always a fashionista, you want your Prince Charming to recognize your sterling qualities, even from across the room?  A QR Code tattoo may be just the tantalizer to woo the guy of your dreams.

And how about here?

Aunt Bertha was such a wonderful woman!  You wish people could know about her gooseberry pies and her talent for square dancing.  A tombstone QR Code can lead to your memorial website where you display favorite photos, and where family and friends can reminisce about life on the farm.

SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL FOR GOD: Has First Communion Fashion Gone Over the Top?

Antique lace appliqués detail the silk bodice and cascade down the skirt of a tea-length dress.  Five layers of gathered tulle create a voluminous A-line silhouette.

MOMS AND DADS:  This is one of those times when I really want to know what YOU think!

I heard a story this week from a friend, a teacher at a Catholic elementary school, about current trends in First Communion fashion.  My friend made the point—correctly, it seems to me—that the significance of this holy occasion has been dwarfed in recent years by an emphasis on social trends and styles.

Here’s the situation: 

  • At the Catholic school in question, from what I’ve heard, parents no longer buy their daughters’ Communion dresses at Sears or J.C. Penney.  Today’s fashions more likely come from bridal shops, where they carry price tags up to $750.
  • One mother, who had found a “great price” on a dress for only $375, was furious because another girl in the second grade class was planning to wear the same dress.  The mom went out and bought six more dresses—but to her dismay her daughter, age seven, loved the original dress and could not be persuaded to wear a different one.
  • Although the traditional white dress has long been a symbol for purity and innocence, this year the school had permitted students to wear ivory dresses as well.  Not such a big deal, perhaps, but my friend worried that it further reduced the sacramental celebration to “just another day.”
  • And after Mass, today’s students headed home, or to the local country club or hotel ballroom, for an extravaganza with fine dining, expensive gifts, and probably a rock band.

So what do YOU think?  Does all this hoopla at a child’s First Holy Communion distort the meaning, focusing the child’s attention on superficial things while the real meaning, the reception of Jesus into one’s heart, is relegated to a distant second place?  Or do the fancy dress and shoes (or new suit and tie for the little guys), fresh haircut, and big party serve to remind young children what a singularly important event this really is?

Please share your own experiences.  Be prepared to explain WHY you made the choice you did.  Would you do it differently (one way or the other), if you could?

Paris Models Flaunt Roman Collars in Spring Runway Show

The fashion world was buzzing on January 22, as French fashion designer Alexandre Vauthier launched his Women’s Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture fashion collection.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Shall we infer, then, that Vauthier has a great love of the Catholic priesthood?

You can check out Vauthier’s full spring/summer collection at his website.