For Post-Christmas: Unwrap a Bit of Silence

My Photo, 1995

The silence of which we sing so wistfully at Midnight Mass, is at an all-time premium at Christmas; it is so difficult to find a silent night, let alone sit within one and become immersed in it, that the possibility of a seasonal soothing of the heart—a quieting of the grief of the world—seems the stuff of illusion and myth.Christmas has, in too many ways, become the equivalent of an overdone theme-park vacation. By its end, one is knock-kneed with exhaustion and desperately in need of a gen … [Read more...]

Mothers and Sons: The Atomic Truth

My image, taken at Christmas 2014

My husband, sitting across the table at breakfast, pointed to a lovely photograph in today's Wall Street Journal: under a heading, "In Detroit, Christmas Means Volunteering for Many Jews, Muslims" was an image of two women, one wearing hijab, working together in the kitchen of Congregation Beth Shalom, to feed the homeless on Christmas Day.The article is not online but there are other sources telling the story.The press is so frequently negative about religion, particularly about … [Read more...]

“I Hate Youse All!” Uncle Charlie, Christmas & Authentic Love

snowsanta

Christmas day never comes without my remembrance of "Uncle Charlie", a family friend who once appeared on our doorstep, decked out in all of Santa's raiment and tripping in his boots only slightly. He had apparently been Santa for a party at the local soup kitchen (or the local bar; this was never clear to me) and -- just a trifle in his cups -- had decided during his walk home that he would stop at the houses of his friends and give all the kids "a treat." And if the friends wanted to toast the … [Read more...]

Unholy Rage Inspired by the Birth of the Christ

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

My little cousin and I watch as my uncle washes away the blood, and examines the wound. He is making that odd breathless noise—halfway between a gasp of surprise and a sigh of regret—that he always makes when an attack has been thwarted. My uncle, after all, is nearly forty; an old man long past the charms of making his bed upon the chill earth at night; disenchanted with stargazing while wolves in the dark distance howl, or creep in silence, just beyond our sight.It is different for his son … [Read more...]

Award-winning “Strange Gods” Now in Polish! (UPDATED)

Strange Gods Award

In the successive pages of this modern day City of God...Say whuuuuut? From a review of Strange Gods than left me a bit speechless, when I read it last week!A couple of days ago, I shared old news that my regular column at OSV had been honored with an award.And a friend said, "I thought it was your book, not the column, that was recognized."Which reminded me that oh, yeah, Strange Gods was also recognized by the Association of Catholic Book Publishers.No, I didn't mind … [Read more...]

Obama and Francis: Authoritarianism is Bad, Until it’s Fine

So, I'm watching Obama single-handedly alter our relations with Cuba, and we're reading from Politico that the president is feeling liberated and ready to be the president he always wanted to be -- that is, a president who doesn't deal with Congress and pretty much does as he damn pleases.I used to say Obama didn't want to be president, with all of its haggling and jawboning; he just wanted to be the ceremonial prince, making speeches about end-results. Seems, though, that what he has always … [Read more...]

3-Minutes Hate; Anti-Sex League; Doubleplusungood!

1984 book

Golly I just took a look at Hot Air, and saw these two stories: University of Michigan Prof: It's OK to hate Republicans and Defining Nearly All Sex as Rape, a notion with which one of my own Senators seems enthralled:During an MSNBC-hosted panel discussion on Monday at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Gillibrand said she was considering taking the “yes means yes” law to the federal level.“I definitely have been studying it and looking at it,” she said. “I think there's something the … [Read more...]

I Never Told You! My Column Won an Award!

Ora pro nobis award

Earlier this year when I was really involved with the pneumonia, I learned that "Ora Pro Nobis", my regular column for The Catholic Answer, had been honored with an award from the Catholic Press Association:Really cool, right? Hey, I am grateful for any kind word! And 2013 was the year I really got comfortable writing stuff like this, and this, and a few more.As I never cease to tell you when each issue comes out, it is an privilege to write regularly for The Catholic Answer, which … [Read more...]

Duke Ellington Sent Christmas Cards All Year Long

The story goes that if the legendary composer and orchestrator Duke Ellington had met you, and gotten his hands on your mailing address, you’d have gotten a Christmas card from him. It may not come at Christmas, but at some point during the year, his personally written and signed greetings would grace your mailbox.“Duke Ellington and I exchanged Christmas greetings each year,” wrote Joe Delaney of the Las Vegas Sun. “Mine were sent in mid-December. Duke sent his when the spirit moved him.” … [Read more...]

Suggestions for Stocking Stuffers and Kid’s Books

poo

Earlier, I posted some Christmas gift suggestions for under $50.00, but I totally forgot to recommend some kids books and also stocking stuffers, and this year we're going heavy on stocking stuffers, ourselves, so, here we go!The first time someone gave me a giant natural sponge for a Secret Santa, I thought it was strange, but after I used it I understood. SO MUCH BETTER than a loofah, in every way. I love my sponge. This giant sponge, combined with something like these outstanding soaps? … [Read more...]


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