The Good News About Bad Motives

11/01/2012 Comments (38)

Last week, my van was a hideous mess.  There was an audible shambling, sliding sound every time I came to a short stop, as the detritus of our endless commute migrated from back to front. Every time someone opened a door, something would tumble out -- sometimes a book or a toy, but sometimes something more squalid:  a muddy sock, an apple core, or even a chicken bone. I was disgusted and ashamed, but I just couldn't find the time to clean it.

Finally, at my wit's end, I took desperate measures:  I volunteered as a driver.  Twice a month, I'm now committed to drive middle school kids from one campus to the other.  And now, time or no time, I have no choice:  I have to clean that van.


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Go Ahead, October.  Surprise Me.

10/25/2012 Comments (119)

In case anyone's wondering, I'm going to vote for Romney.

I think it's wrong to vote for Obama, and I think it's morally neutral but foolish to vote for a third party candidate or for no one, especially if you live in a swing state. I desperately want Obama gone, banished forever to the netherworld of a presidential library stocked entirely with his memoirs; and I think helping to elect Romney is the bet way to make that happen.  Hey, I said it wasn't a sin not to vote for Romney.  It's also not a sin to coat your hair with Vaseline and make chicken noises at high noon.

Be that as it may, there are, apparently, still plenty of undecided voters out there -- the kind of people Donald...READ MORE

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Do Brains Break the Communion Fast?

10/23/2012 Comments (61)

While I was busy rubbing my hands together and thinking about how hilarious and yet subversively informative my post about Halloween costumes was going to be (once I got around to writing it), noted overachieving spoilsport Jimmy Akin went ahead and wrote it.  Even worse, the big show-off produced a slick video about it, including some very relevant images of kitten and puppies.  He also, without losing his rhythm, got sidetracked by thinking about delicious brains.

Akin makes the sensible point that people are attracted to spooky stuff for a reason -- that God made us so that we enjoy small doses of peril and tension, because it prepares us to deal with the real thing, which will...READ MORE

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Catholic Context and Catholic Noise

10/18/2012 Comments (74)

[Note:  This post has been edited slightly for clarity.  In the first sentence of the last paragraph, "when I vote" has been changed to "when I vote pro-life;" and the phrase "(or not voting)" has been added to the final sentence. -- Simcha Fisher at 11:43 ET]

"We're not that much smarter than we used to be," says statistical analyst Nate Silver, "Even though we have much more information."

Silver is the author of The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail – But Some Don't, and in a recent interview on Fresh Air, he pointed out that the internet age has created a real problem:  too much information, not enough meaning. 

He says, "That means the real skill...READ MORE

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Twelve Movies To Terrify Your Kids

10/16/2012 Comments (127)

Because we are integrated Catholics, we observe All Saints Day, All Souls Day, and Halloween -- the latter, by trick-or-treating, putting the little guys stickily to bed, and showing the older kids a scarier movie than we normally allow.  And because I'm still in denial about just how many outrageous promises I carelessly made about costumes I'd be happy to whip up, I'm thinking hard about what movie we'll show this year.

It needs to be scary, but not too scary.  There are plenty of flat-out terrifying movies out there, but we're looking for one that don't introduce any themes or images that kids aren't ready to deal with.  So, The Silence of the Lambs (1991)? I almost died of terror,...READ MORE

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Debates I'd Rather See

10/11/2012 Comments (135)

So, are you gonna watch tonight's V.P. debate?  I'll probably listen to it on the radio, if only to remind my radio how lucky it usually is that I usually listen to something better, like John Tesh

It's hard to care when you not only don't care, but you don't even want to care.  You would punch yourself in the nose for caring.  I mean, I want the extra hideous candidate to lose, and I want the slightly less hideous candidate to win with such a slight margin that he gets a hernia from watching the TV so hard on election night.  But ask me to care about a debate between the people these two paragons of hideousness have chosen to play their professional besties on TV?  Bleah.

I tell...READ MORE

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Hope Stems Eternal From the Cell of Man

10/09/2012 Comments (31)

Hooray!  The Nobel Prize for Medicine has been awarded to two scientists for their work in the manipulation of living cells. 

If that doesn’t sound like good news, then let me put it this way:  two fellows have made it likely that, in the coming years, we will be able to treat dreadful degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, and we will be able to do it without killng anybody.

In the past, some scientists had made limited progress in trying to manipulate pluripotent stem cells into specialized cells.  They knew that stem cells could be prodded to develop into any sort of cell, which would be useful for thousands of therapeutic purposes.

Now, where would you find these useful,...READ MORE

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There's Nothing Heroic About Reaching Cape Cod (If You're Supposed To Be In Rhode Island)

10/04/2012 Comments (66)

When I first got my driver's license, I decided to visit my sister in Rhode Island.  I wanted to conquer my lifelong timidity, so I struck out in my minivan with three little kids . . . without a map.

Seven hours later, I found myself in Cape Cod.

I was literally about to drive into the ocean before I decided that it was time to stop and ask for directions. By that time, the sun had set, several of my kids had wet themselves, and I was so emotionally shattered that I locked the keys in the car when I stopped for gas.  I had to leave the screaming children, dash to a miraculously nearby fire station, and beg the firemen to break into my car for me.  The kids screamed harder.  To this...READ MORE

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About Simcha Fisher

Simcha Fisher
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Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs daily at Aleteia. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and ten children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.