Sunday, March 22, 2009

America and Europe

The United States is becoming more like Europe and that is not a good thing, according to an opinion piece by Charles Murray titled Thank God America Isn't Like Europe -- Yet in today's The Washington Post.

According to Murray, the problem is

a spreading European mentality that goes something like this: Human beings are a collection of chemicals that activate and, after a period of time, deactivate. The purpose of life is to while away the intervening time as pleasantly as possible. If that's the purpose of life, then work is not a vocation, but something that interferes with the higher good of leisure. If that's the purpose of life, why have a child, when children are so much trouble? If that's the purpose of life, why spend it worrying about neighbors? If that's the purpose of life, what could possibly be the attraction of a religion that says otherwise?

For more about this issue, see also the article Secularizations by Richard John Neuhaus in the February, 2009, issue of First Things.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Tastebud Tart in the JuiceBox

Molly Herrmann, aka The Tastebud Tart, and her all-organic, locally sourced, home-cooked kid's meals were mentioned in the March 18 issue of JuiceBox, an e-newsletter from According to the article, she "so expertly wrapped that turkey wrap last week, our first-grader didn't even realize there was "salad" in it and ate the whole thing."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Seed Performance

Yesterday's Washington Post had an interesting graphic on the performance of the teams in each seed in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. So, for instance, out of the 96 teams who have received a #1 seed, 14 of them have won the championship.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Making of Lent

The current issue of Touchstone magazine has a column about the origins of Lent. The author, William Tighe, teaches history at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Here is his statement about what the period of Lent in the West:

In the West, among Catholics and Protestants alike, Lent will begin on Ash Wednesday, February 17, and end on Maundy Thursday, April 1. It is followed by the Holy Triduum of Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday (April 2, 3, and 4). Sundays are not observed as fast days, so reckoning Lent as extending from Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday gives 38 days of fasting, to which the adding of Good Friday and Holy Saturday makes 40.

He also covers how churches in the East observe Lent and how these different traditions have similar origins.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Some Diversions

1. A Coldplay concert breaks out at an English village fete.

2. New ideas for cable TV channels (from yesterday's Style Invitational):

* The Moebius Channel: A one-sided documentary that never ends.
* The Meta-Network: Round-the-clock talking heads discussing how dreadful television is these days.
* ESP-N: We know just what you want to watch.
* Wikipedia News Network: Viewer-submitted news featuring the daily program "Here's What I Think Happened," the weekly travelogue "Life in These 53 States" and the 12-part documentary "City on the Edge of Tomorrow Is the Best 'Star Trek' Episode Ever." Regular contributors include a bunch of guys in sweat pants and Hannity & Colmes.