Hostess died a long time ago — a little perspective

Hostess’s Wonder Bread and all its processed preserved pasteurized pastries used to be signs of progress and prosperity — no more, and that’s a good thing. Hostess really died in 1968 — when it was first acquired by a conglomerate — and has gone bankrupt twice already. The recession or union didn’t kill Hostess — healthier diets did. [Read more…]

An Open Book in Her Lap

Many mornings growing up, when I’d drag myself out of bed and make my way to the living room, I’d find my mom sitting quietly in “her” chair. Sometimes she’d be reading; more often, just staring off into space with an open book in her lap. The greatest gift my mom gave me was her example of loving reading, solitude and contemplation. [Read more…]

A simple, direct way to help with Hurricane Sandy recovery

Trinity Lower East Side’s soup kitchen, which serves 250 hot meals a day, lost its stock of food supplies when Sandy flooded its basement. Here’s a great way to give directly to a local organization that has an immediate need due to Hurricane Sandy serving my community’s most vulnerable members. [Read more…]

Dispatch from the Hurricane Sandy blackout

I live in the middle of downtown Manhattan, so unless you have been on a self-imposed news blackout, you know that I’m in the midst of an electrical one, caused by Hurricane Sandy. Despite the warnings about potential outages, and despite the fact that I dutifully bought water and canned goods and made cold-brew coffee [Read More…]

Boo! My love-hate relationship with Halloween

Thoughts on my lifelong love-hate relationship with Halloween; video of the quintessential goth/Catholic/transgressive/punk song, “Stigmata Martyr” by Bauhaus; and a little history of the holiday [Read more…]

Christians look bad on Survivor… again

Survivor is obviously not reality. Of course the producers choose contestants who fit stereotypical character types. But it does come closer than most “reality shows” to showing real patterns in behavior. And once again, the worst of Christianity was on display. [Read more…]

Kathie Lee Gifford drops a puppy on its head, then blames the puppy

This post is about a case of indecency — not of human cruelty but of human callousness and stupidity. It’s trivial in the midst of this political season, I admit, but it was so offensive to me that I want to go on the record. I’m talking, of course, about Kathie Lee Gifford dropping a puppy on its head on live TV, and then blaming the puppy. [Read more…]

Making and sharing a meal for 36 — with recipes

Sharing a meal together is so entwined with Christian fellowship as to be inseparable — we have some hermits, but even our monastic tradition is mostly about hospitality and community. When I visit a monastery, we come together as a community for two activities: chanting the Hours and meals — singing together and eating together. I’m grateful to be able to do that every week. Recipes and photos included. [Read more…]

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Groundbreaking female animator, and one of my spiritual anchors: Tissa David (1921-2012)

I lost one of my spiritual anchors a few weeks ago when Tissa David died at the age of 91. Most of the world knows her as a breakthrough female animator — an innovator who brought realistic motion to characters, especially female characters. I will remember her as the embodiment of contemplation. [Read more…]

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Jillian Jensen brings bullying center stage on The X Factor

On Wednesday’s premiere of season two of The X Factor, we were treated to a stunning performance by Jillian Jensen singing a Jessie J song to Demi Lovato and the other judges. Some of you might think this is just fluff, but I think of all the young girls who struggle with self-esteem issues that might have been helped by seeing Jillian… [Read more…]