My Statistician’s Guide to Valentine’s Day

I’ve written two pieces at FiveThirtyEight that may be of interest to those of you celebrating Valentine’s Day this weekend.  First up:   The Cheapskate’s Guide To Buying Flowers For Valentine’s Day If you bought your roses on Feb. 10 and took good care of them, you might still have a bouquet to bestow on Feb. 14. (But you’d need a good explanation for why they wilted a day or two later.) You could eke a little more life out of… Read more

7QT: Good books, fake books, and the best job in the world

— 1 — I’m excited about the discovery of gravity waves, and here’s the most delightful thing I learned in the process of reading about the discover (via The New Yorker) The LIGO team includes a small group of people whose job is to create blind injections—bogus evidence of a gravitational wave—as a way of keeping the scientists on their toes. Although everyone knew who the four people in that group were, “we didn’t know what, when, or whether,” Gabriela González,… Read more

Speaking in Rhode Island tonight & how to have me visit your school

Tonight, I’m giving a talk on my book Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers that Even I Can Answer on “Lessons in Prayer from an Atheist Convert” at Portsmouth Abbey in Rhode Island.  The full logistical details are here, and the event description is: Leah Libresco, a popular atheist blogger whose conversion to Catholicism became a topic of national conversation, will speak to the public at Portsmouth Abbey on learning how to pray (badly). Author of the new book, Arriving at Amen,… Read more

Repeating Last Year’s Lent

I’m doing the same thing this year for Lent as I did last year: Giving up jaywalking Trying contemplative prayer Mostly on the grounds that both were still frustrating by the end of last year’s Lent, so I figure there might be more to learn from both.  Not jaywalking left me on tiptoe at curb, waiting to sprint into the street, which didn’t so much fix my impatience as at least make it ridiculous.  Watching the crosswalk on the other… Read more

What Free Time Can Buy

Simcha Fisher has a great reflection on why she stopped homeschooling, and what she gained and lost when she sent her kids to school.  This is the loss that most stood out to me: We don’t get to choose how to spend our time. This is the one thing that makes me really miss home school. We don’t have much time or flexibility to do fun or important things together as a family, like go to museums or other cultural events, or… Read more

7QT: Kabbalah Meet-Cutes, Substitute Mourners, and Vocational Opportunities

— 1 — The nice thing about being noisy about your hobbyhorses is that your friends wind up acting as your personal clipping service. That’s how I heard about these three friends who have been living together for 50 years. “We thought we’d be there two or three years and somebody would get married or maybe buy a house by themselves,” says Sugg, who’s in her 80s. “But that just didn’t happen.” They all grew close to each other’s families… Read more

Advice on Persisting in Prayer with the Caritas Podcast

Last week, I climbed the curbside snowbanks to meet up with the women of Caritas, a Catholic podcast, and the audio from our conversation on how to persist in prayer is up now! In the introductory segment, I talk a little about my college debate community, and I was back in New Haven for a reunion this weekend. So there was toasting, debating, singing, and, when my boyfriend and I happened to come across the Yale Freestyle Dueling Association, swordfighting. He’s… Read more

Unfiltered isn’t the Same as Authentic

Given my love of the anti-entropic call to arms of Diane Duane’s So You Want to be a Wizard, I guess I’m an easy mark for John Gardner’s description of good art in On Moral Fiction: But trivial art has no meaning or value except in the shadow of more serious art, the kind of art that beats back the monsters and, if you will, makes the world safe for triviality. That art which tends toward destruction, the art of nihilists, cynics,… Read more

Conducting Surveys at the March for Life

Friday afternoon, I went out to the March for Life to survey the protesters for FiveThirtyEight, and you can read about who came and what kind of post-post-Roe world they envision here: The majority of the marchers weren’t protesting abortion simply as an abstract, political problem. Seventy-two percent of the people I surveyed told me that they knew someone personally who had had an abortion. A number of times, although I hadn’t asked for any more details, they told me… Read more

My Recipes for Scruffy Hospitality

An Anglican priest in Knoxville, TN has a great exhortation to offer scruffy hospitality to friends, instead of keeping your doors closed until you can be a startlingly excellent host. Scruffy hospitality means you’re not waiting for everything in your house to be in order before you host and serve friends in your home. Scruffy hospitality means you hunger more for good conversation and serving a simple meal of what you have, not what you don’t have. Scruffy hospitality means… Read more

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