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…]

Learning civil discourse from William F. Buckley and my dad

My atheist dad introduced me to Catholic William F. Buckley through TV, and they were alike in many ways. I’m forever grateful that they taught me the value of civil discourse, of respecting those with whom you disagree and enjoying a good conversation with them. [Read more…]

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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…]

The Gratitude List

When you find yourself feeling particularly ungrateful about your life — or a spiritual director or friend points out that you seem that way — the gratitude list is a simple tool to help you stop and remind yourself of things for which you can be grateful. Here are a few tips to get started. [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…]

Hope for civility in New Hampshire and Maine

With the ouster of the Tea Party in New Hampshire and Maine after two years, Northern New England has repudiated the politics of fear, anger and exclusion, giving me hope that it may again be an example to the nation of how politics can and should be done — grassroots-driven, open-minded, civil. [Read more…]

A plea to the right, from Rachel Maddow and me

What Rachel Maddow expresses hope for, that this will be a wake-up call for the Republicans and could result in more balanced government, is something that I also pray for. If there was a vibrant competition of good ideas, not parliamentary game playing and grandstanding, the result would be better legislation. I see a few hopeful signs, but we will soon see. [Read more…]

Tips for dealing with the shorter days of winter

Everyone is affected by the seasons. That’s not a disorder. That’s being human. As the nights grow longer, check out these great tips for dealing with the shorter days of winter. [Read more…]

We Are All Purple: The Destructive Lie of Red States and Blue States — UPDATED 2012 MAPS

UPDATED 2012 MAPS–There is so much suggested and influenced by the shorthand terms “red state” and “blue state”: the ideological hardening of “right” and “left,” distortions in our electoral process, and further distortions caused by the way news agencies report on it. You get the impression you must choose a camp. Are you red or blue? Worse, it sets up the other color as an opposite, with no overlap. It sets up people who have chosen the other camp as Other, creating division and weakening our sense of oneness with other people and the world around us. If I’m “red,” is someone in a “blue state” my neighbor? [Read more…]

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Don’t believe the meme that there’s no difference — this is a key presidential election

This idea that it doesn’t matter if you vote or who you vote for because there’s no meaningful difference between the major party candidates has been a meme on the far left since before the word meme existed. Of all the elections in modern American politics, this is one of the few where that stance is not only wrong, but irresponsible. I know you hear that every time, but occasionally it’s actually true. [Read more…]

Hurricane Sandy, the role of government and the preferential option for the poor

FEMA stands as a model of programs that help people in crisis — and everyone can see the proper role of government in this situation. But that’s what programs like food stamps and unemployment benefits do as well. In Catholic social teaching, “the preferential option for the poor” says we must always give the fragile wellbeing of the powerless — the poor, the sick, prisoners and immigrants — first consideration over advantages for the comfortable. [Read more…]

SAD That DST is Ending

This weekend marks the end of daylight-saving time for the year. (Literally) overnight, most of us will start getting off work to find it already dark. Check out these helpful tips to make the transition smooth and jet lag-free. [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…]