Extending Family and Keeping an Honorary Aunt in your Basement

(mrsapplegate / flickr)

I love this essay by Mikkee Hall ("Why I moved 1,600 miles to live downstairs from my godchildren") on expanding families and supporting unusual vocations to love in the Washington Post.As I hit my mid-30s, I knew it was time to make a radical change. So when my best friend and her husband moved their family of six to Denver, I packed up what would fit in my car, sold the rest and joined them to live in their basement. [...] I live in my friends’ basement apartment with the sounds of four y … [Read more...]

I’m headed to CA for the Convinced premiere!

convinced trailer

If any readers live out by Orange County, CA, or have friends who do, I'll be there this Friday for the premiere of Convinced, a documentary about converts to Catholicism.Convinced includes interviews with a number of converts to Catholicism, and the one I'm most excited to meet in person is Holly Ordway, the author of Not God's Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms, who is like me insofar as she's a curly-haired, argumentative atheist-turned-Catholic who fought her way into the f … [Read more...]

The Pitiful Princedom of Hannibal


At First Things, Alexi Sargeant  has an interesting take on the kind of evil on display in the tv show Hannibal.  (Note: I don't watch the show -- too brutal -- so my experience of it is mostly gifsets shared on tumblr; I do love the showrunner's previous show Pushing Daisies). So, I recommend the essay as a whole, but I'm just going to riff on one particular part of it.In Sargeant's view, Hannibal is a Lucifer-like figure, but not the kind that tries to overthrow all rules and pretends to se … [Read more...]

Beginning the Benedict Option Today

(photo by Eisodia Monaxh)

I got to hear Rod Dreher and Ken Myers (of the Mars Hill Audio Journal) discuss the Benedict Option this weekend at the Tocqueville Forum.  At least 200 people turned out, so, when it came time for questions, I wanted to make sure to ask something that would help us all do something in the near term (rather than rely on Rod to make another visit to draw us all together again).I asked both speakers what they would recommend that people in the audience do now (either this week, or, if … [Read more...]

7QT: Breaking Bicycle, Weight, and Genre Rules


--- 1 --- I know, from personal experience, that the expression "It's like riding a bike, one never forgets" is false, but I still really enjoyed seeing the design for a bike designed to go fast, flouting all the rules for road races.--- 2 --- And speaking of changing standards, Nautilus has a nice piece on the efforts to replace the Platonic Kilogram (it exists! it's in Paris) with a benchmark for weight that doesn't require a physical object. Some basic units have already been … [Read more...]

Hamilton Is Blazingly Fast And I Can Prove It


I got to combine my love of musicals and math nerdery when I covered Hamilton's lyrical density for FiveThirtyEight this week. If “Hamilton” were sung at the pace of the other Broadway shows I looked at, it would take four to six hours (Miranda’s guestimate was off by half). At the slowest paces, “Hamilton” would only be an hour shorter than Elevator Repair Service’s seven-hour marathon play “Gatz” (in which the cast reads “The Great Gatsby” aloud in its entirety). That show is usually presented … [Read more...]

Pope Francis And Catholics Disagree Deeply On the Death Penalty

(Ken Piorkowski / Flickr)

Over at FiveThirtyEight, I'm covering the split between Pope Francis's adamant opposition to the death penalty and American Catholics comfort with it:In a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, 55 percent of Americans said they supported the death penalty for people convicted of murder. Catholics were a little less likely than other Americans to express support: 51 percent endorsed it, while 41 percent were opposed. Catholics varied considerably on this issue by race. White, non-Hispanic C … [Read more...]