August 8, 2012, 11:25 am
11. “Have you ever wondered about the stupidity of the term ‘o’clock’? Americans have happily incorporated into our everyday speech a term that makes us sound like leprechauns.” Gene Weingarten, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for The Washington Post, from The Hypochondriac’s Guide to Life. And Death.
12. Voice-mail prompt: “After the tone please leave your I.Q. or your blood pressure, whichever is higher.” Lewis Frumkes, author of How To Raise Your I.Q. by Eating Gifted Children.
13. On health foods: “To strengthen their argument [about eating unprocessed foods] they tell you that peasant boys in Cuba, those kids out in the fields, eat raw sugar cane and they have perfect teeth. What they don’t tell you is that they develop rickets. ‘Look at me, Ma! No cavities! But I can’t walk too straight.’…After you eat all this, you can wash it down with tiger’s milk. So help me…
June 14, 2012, 4:41 pm
Pride, say the sin scholars, led to our being expelled from Eden; Eve was flattered and ate.
Adam didn’t want to bother making his own meal and since there was no fast food in Paradise, he ate, too. It was downhill from there, leading to depravity, mortality, and Popeye’s-to-go.
Pride made Lucifer into the bad guy. Declaring in Milton’s version that he’d rather rule in hell than serve in heaven, Lucifer went from being merely head chef in paradise to owning the first barbecue franchise. As much as history has sycophantically worshiped at the altar of success, it also delights in the downfall of the great, the boastful, and the powerful.
Act a little too cocky, a little too arrogant and the dogs of ruin begin yapping at your heels, led by someone just slightly less cocky and arrogant than you. Act a little too sanctimonious, and not only will the mob eventually rise up against…
June 11, 2012, 1:49 pm
A tantalizing article in The Guardian by Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia, offers us a theory about why the Dems are losing. It’s not the economy, but moral vision that is bringing them down.
According to Haidt,
politics at the national level is more like religion than it is like shopping. It’s more about a moral vision that unifies a nation and calls it to greatness than it is about self-interest or specific policies. In most countries, the right tends to see that more clearly than the left. In America the Republicans did the hard work of drafting their moral vision in the 1970s, and Ronald Reagan was their eloquent spokesman. Patriotism, social order, strong families, personal responsibility (not government safety nets) and free enterprise. Those are values, not government programs.
This “morality” of the GOP contrasts with Democrats/liberals in …
May 29, 2012, 1:35 pm
I’m terrified of sloth. More than any other of the cozier and more familiar sins, I regard sloth as my natural enemy and the embodiment of my biggest fear.
I’m not kidding now. I’d take a festive feast with gluttony, a steamy night with lust, a stuffed purse from greed, a shouting match with anger, a bragging contest with pride, and a beauty contest with envy without worrying about my immortal soul. Maybe I’m overconfident (do I feel a breeze created by heads nodding in unison?), but I still have a feeling that we’ll all be waiting in a really long line at the Pearly Gates only to hear the shouts of celebration when somebody yells from the front of the queue, “Hey! Good news! Sex doesn’t count!”
But what will count, I think, are sins of omission, and I’m afraid these will count big time.
We’ll have to account not so much for all the sins we’ve committed because we’re weak or…
May 7, 2012, 4:16 pm
Amendment 1 is North Carolina’s attempt to stop any and all unmarried residents from having any legal rights whatsoever. This despite the fact that unmarried Americans are the majority of the population.
Amendment 1 defines
marriage between one man and one woman [as] the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.
It would deny any registered domestic partnerships or civil unions legal status.
Billy Graham even got up off his deathbed to urge Evangelical Christians to vote for Amendment 1. Running full page ads in 14 of the state’s paper, Graham urged North Carolinans to vote for Amendment 1 saying:
At 93, I never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage. The Bible is clear — God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. I want to urge my fellow North Carolinians to vote for the marriage amendment on Tuesday, May 8…
March 14, 2012, 5:17 pm
"Pshaw, fellas. I think I heard some hubbub coming from the Green."
I just finished reading Peter Wood’s post in the Innovations section. It made me nervous.
Cleverly titled “Bell Epoque,” Wood talks about the brouhaha surrounding an old videotape of President Obama in 1991 speaking—as a student at Harvard Law school—at a rally in support of one of that institution’s professors, Derrick Bell (requiescat in pacem) which is now being fetishized by some of the more conservative “nutjobs” (to quote a nice old Brooklyn term used by one of the commentators on Wood’s post) as evidence of a leftist conspiracy to remove whiteness and all forms of whiteitude from power.
Bell, whose legacy you can learn more about here, wrote about race and class in America. Some white people find…
January 5, 2012, 10:34 am
It is that time of year. Cold and gray in the parts of the world I inhabit. Time to dismantle the Chrisnukkah decorations, the menorah and the hot pink artificial tree, the lights, the pretty, glittery balls full of possibility and take stock of another year gone by and another year begun. I will admit to hating the holidays, particularly the Shopocalypse in which people pepper spray one another to get more cheap stuff and shoppers die during stampedes at large box stores.
But this year the holidays seemed to so effectively take the Christ out of Christmas (and the sun out of Solstice and the miracle out of Hanukkah and so on), that it left me even more Grinch-y than usual. And then, a woman around the corner from my apartment in Brooklyn was set ablaze, apparently because she owed someone a couple of thousand dollars, and in that horrendous act I found something I didn’t expect: my…
November 1, 2011, 6:32 pm
More frequently, words considered offensive to common sensibilities are captured by euphemisms, acronyms, and abbreviations. The “F” word is no different. Only in this context, the shroud that blankets the word (and anxiety over its use) is undeniably political and ultimately fatal for the tens of thousands in Somalia that will die this year because of starvation. The civil war and terrorism in Somalia has taken a toll and displaced civilians throughout the country and into neighboring lands. But the famine is what is killing them.
Undeniably, this famine is rooted in civil conflict, transitional political governance preceded by pitiful governance, soldiers stealing food, and terrorists blocking food delivery (and then stealing food).
After months of hunger-related deaths, the United Nations finally declared Somalia to be in a state of famine this past summer….
October 16, 2011, 1:59 pm
St Paul's offers sanctuary to the Occupy movement--but what if churches were the target?
As the occupy movement flashed to 1,500 cities across the globe this weekend, police repression intensified. At Occupy London, organizers moved from the London Stock Exchange to St. Paul’s Cathedral, where as many as 250 protesters set up tents. As police prepared to “protect” the building, the cleric in charge of the facility, Giles Fraser, intervened. “Canon Fraser came out to greet us. It was amazing,” protesters said. “He defended the right to protest [and] asked the police to leave, and they did!”
Meanwhile guest blogger Thomas Beaudoin asks the compelling question: What if churches didn’t just offer sanctuary for protests aimed elsewhere, but were themselves the target of a nonviolent movement that would…