Speaking of Empty Promises

Thursday, February 06, 2014 3:13 PM Comments (34)

In a frenzy of disgust over his dissolute father, Ivan Karamazov cries out, "Why is such a man alive?"  Poor Ivan wrestled and sweated over the problem of evil in the world.  It's hard not to get a little Ivan-ish when we read the headlines lately.  Sometimes it's not even human evil that makes us writhe in mental anguish.  Sometimes it's human stupidity. 

Take, for instance, this story from Illinois:  School officials are no fan of gun ban signs.  It explains that schools and other buildings statewide will begin displaying signs that designate an area where no guns are allowed.  The sign shows a silhouette of a gun inside the standard "prohibition sign" -- a red circle, with a diagonal...READ MORE

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Should You Get a Dog?  A Quiz

Tuesday, February 04, 2014 11:31 PM Comments (24)

Since we are on our second dog, many people* seek my advice in dog-related matters.  The number one question that I get** is, "Should we get a dog?"***

My first impulse is always to say, "Yes, you should. But only a 14-month-old brindle English Mastiff with a New England accent and an unquenchable appetite for cookies, ham, and plastic dinosaur heads.  Okay? And by the strangest of coincidences, I KNOW WHERE YOU CAN FIND ONE.

Ha ha! I jest. Never would I part with our beloved pet, who has been with us lo these many years.  I mean, two months.  We've had him for two months, and he's profoundly scarred become an integral part of our family even in that short time.  I can't even imagine...READ MORE

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You Want Ethical Stem Cells?

Thursday, January 30, 2014 11:22 AM Comments (9)

We got ethical stem cells.  Or at least we might.  According to New Scientist,

In the plant kingdom ... drastic environmental stress can change an ordinary cell into an immature one from which a whole new plant can arise. For example, the presence of a specific hormone has been shown to transform a single adult carrot cell into a new plant. Some adult cells in reptiles and birds are also known to have the ability to do this.

Researchers in Japan wondered if the same thing would happen with mammals, so they tried it with mice.  These mice had been specially bred to carry a gene that glows in the presence of pluripotent cells -- the cells which can develop into all different types...READ MORE

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Are You Raising Your Kids?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 1:29 PM Comments (18)

It's Catholic Schools Week.  On Sunday, our pastor gave a nice homily reminding us that parents have the primary responsibility of raising their kids in the Faith -- and that this is true whether we send our kids to Catholic school or not, and whether we take advantage of the parish's religious education program or not.

At our house, we're in the middle of frenzy of catechetical activity that comes at the end of January, when I suddenly realize that it's almost time for someone's first confession and first Communion again; so when the words "religious education" come into my head at night, I can think, "Check!" and go back to sleep, rather than lying there in a guilty agony as I recall...READ MORE

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Benedict's Peculiar Record on Pedophile Priests

Thursday, January 23, 2014 1:44 PM Comments (50)

. . . Peculiar only if you believe (like so many combox warriors) that Benedict XVI spent most of his time as cardinal and pope covering for pedophile priests, and doing everything he could to prevent them from being brought to justice.  I know this is old news, but old news has a way of persisting, and the older it gets, the more people believe it, whether it's true or not. Just the other day, some hit and run commenter here made the standard comment:

[T]he practice of protecting pedophiles was a formal written policy of the church. It came directly from then-Cardinal Ratzinger and was backed by a threat of excommunication.

and he linked to a piece from The Guardian from 2005,...READ MORE

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Ten Ways to Raise Pro-Life Children

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 7:59 PM Comments (116)

Somehow, my kids have never been to a pr0-life march or rally.  Every year I resolve to remedy this. But even if we never do, I know that I am raising pro-life kids, who are proud of their beliefs and will not hesitate to share them.  Here are some of the things that help kids become pro-life and stay that way for life:

1.  Make sure they spend time with the greatest spokesmen for the pro-life cause: nice little babies.  So many Americans grow up without ever having held or spent time with a baby, and are taught that pregnancy is an expensive catastrophe to be avoided at all costs.  People with this warped view are easy to persuade that a fetus is a parasite with no right to life. ...READ MORE

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What About Art Made by Monsters?

Thursday, January 16, 2014 9:52 PM Comments (90)

Boy, am I out of the loop.  This morning, I heard clips from three front runners for the upcoming Oscars, and I hadn't even heard of any of the movies they were from.  I am, however, aware that there was a dust-up when Woody Allen won Lifetime Achievement award at the Golden Globes.  (Allen is known for his quirky, often brilliant films, and also for marrying the adopted daughter of the mother of his children, and for being accused of molesting his own adopted daughter.)

Disclaimer:  there are few things that signify less than Hollywood awards.  Actors congratulating each other on their current levels of fabulousness is something that we don't really need to keep track of.  But Allen's...READ MORE

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Mother Church Says, "Yes, You May."

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 2:28 PM Comments (20)

Does your school have a zero tolerance policy for certain types of infractions?  According to the New York Times, many schools are backing away from draconian, one-size-fits all policies when it comes to discipline, because they cause more harm than good.  The article says that when students are simply thrust out of school for breaking certain rules, these kids become even worse offenders.  Who'da thunk it?  Turns out if a kid is making trouble, he's not going to suddenly become a model citizen if he finds himself on the street, away from teachers, with an incomplete education and an arrest record.  

Zero tolerance policies -- the ones that leave no room for judgment on the part of the...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 at I Have to Sit Down. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and nine children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.