• Snatched a rare Sunday-night extra shift at the Big Box last night. This was a Good Thing, because money. But it was also a Bad Thing because the project last night was the store’s Christmas reset. On October 5. The leaves on trees have just barely started changing color here and we’re already moving rakes and leaf-blowers aside to make room for stockings and tinsel and lawn inflatables.
When cashiers wish customers “Happy Holidays,” that’s not because of any imagined “war on Christmas.” It’s just an attempt to wish someone season’s greetings for a three-month span that includes Christmas, New Year’s, Hannukah, Solstice, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Veteran’s Day and Columbus Day.
(Also too: Just got home, so I’ll likely be sleeping more than posting for the next little bit today.)
• Katie Grimes at WIT echoes a long-term pet-peeve of mine: the abstract “the family.” Grimes writes: “At this synod, may the bishops focus not on the family but on the needs of poor families. Rather than seeking to shore up breaches in sexual morality, may they consider sex from the perspective of the insignificant ones whom God loves most.”
Or, as I wrote back in 2003: “There is no ‘the family.’ There are only families. Policy, like love, cannot have an abstract as its object.”
• Hemant Mehta dons his math teacher hat to explain Common Core subtraction methods to those who find them frightening. This reminds me of grade school, when I wound up helping some of my classmates with long division because their parents hadn’t learned the newfangled and “controversial” New Math we were learning back then. It’s odd to have lived long enough to now be reading conservative screeds defending that New Math as the glorious tradition that evil liberals are now threatening. Tom Lehrer, please call your office.
• News you can use: “How many times can I use a towel before it gets gross?” (Anybody do the cup-of-vinegar-in-the-wash thing? Does that work? Can you tell?)
• Todd Kincannon is a Republican and a staunch pro-lifer. Officially — by the consent and election of his fellow Republicans and fellow pro-lifers.
Let me be very clear in saying that I do not think that all, or most, or even a plurality of Kincannon’s fellow Republicans and pro-life co-belligerents would agree with his proposal that “There’s just no other way with Ebola. We need to be napalming villages from the air right now.”
But it would be helpful if, for once, such maniacal extremism were condemned by Kincannon’s political allies and not just by those of the opposing side. I mean, I’m pretty sure that most pro-lifers don’t want to napalm African villages. And yet I’m also pretty sure that Kincannon hasn’t said anything that might harm his future in Republican, “pro-life” circles.
• The West Chester University Golden Rams women’s rugby team is now 2-0. Before Saturday, no one in our household had ever tackled anyone in an NCAA Division I game. That’s no longer the case. Pretty cool.