Thursday, October 17, 2013

You're Welcome: 7 Quick Takes XXX

I'm pretty sure you're going to want to thank me for these awesome links, so:




I wasn't surprised when my Open Letter to Breaking Bad and Flannery O'Connor inspired other posts, but now I'm going to go ahead and take credit for the existence of a whole new blog.

Kathryn's blog, Through a Glass Brightly, is really, really smart. Her post about Breaking Bad and Flannery O'Connor references Dante, Faust, Gollum, Shakespeare's Richard III, and The Passion of the Christ. All of them. In one post.

I, personally, remain unconvinced, but all you Breaking Bad enthusiasts and Flannery O'Connor-ophiles should get right over there and give her some love.



Hey, speaking of intellectuals . . . 



ThoughtCatalogue asked people to share "The Most Intellectual Joke I Know"

These are a few of my favorites:

It’s hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.

Entropy isn’t what it used to be.

A Photon checks into a hotel and the bellhop asks him if he has any luggage. The Photon replies “No I’m traveling light”

A Buddhist monk approaches a hotdog stand and says “make me one with everything”.

C, E flat, and G walk into a bar. The bartender says, “Sorry, no minors”

The barman says, “We don’t serve time travellers in here.”
A time traveller walks into a bar.

The first rule of Tautology club, is the first rule of Tautology club.

And my favorite of the bunch:

What do you call two crows on a branch? Attempted murder.

How about you? Know any nerdy jokes?

update: There is a shirt. Want.

found here


Some of these 99 Life Hacks that Could Make Your Life Easier are pretty brilliant:




But this one is just troubling:


Food should not be "great for kindling." Are Doritos made of wood? Is nacho cheese powder flammable? So many questions.


Hey, you know how you proof read your emails, and Facebook status updates, and blog posts, and term papers, and job applications and stuff, but you never seem to quite be able to catch that one last spelling error until after it's sent/posted/submitted?

I've got good news: Spelling errors make things MORE VALUABLE.




The Vatican recently issued a commemorative medal in honor of Pope Francis, but had to recall the 6000 that had already been minted after it was discovered that the word “Jesus” was misspelled as “Lesus." While the mistake was embarrassing for the Vatican, it was thrilling for collectors. A spelling error like that is rare indeed, and the few medals that were sold before the rest were pulled are sure to command a hefty price. When it comes to collectibles of any kind, spelling errors always add interest and value. 
Check out MentalFloss for 12 other spelling errors that have really paid off.



Folks have sent me some great links in response to my recent posts here, here, and here about my support of Halloween and scaring children.



I thought you might like them too . . . 

The Fun of Fear by Hallie's husband Dan Lord
Some people worry about the idea of dressing up as scary things. But we are scary things. We are substantially good, because we are made by God — but then we all proceed to disfigure that goodness by our sins, making our spirits ugly. Halloween gives us a creative, theatrical way to express this: We are made ugly by sin and become participators with evil; consigned to a kind of purgatorial state, we go from house to house receiving the grace of God that will purify us, symbolized by treats. We bring the treats home, take off our masks, and enjoy the taste of Heaven.
The Holiness of Pretending by Karen Ullo
How sad that on Halloween, the one day of the year when society openly celebrates pretending, our costume shops are stocked to the rafters with pimp hats and fishnet stockings.  We have so glutted our imaginations with exploitation, we have left ourselves little else to explore.  Oh, the ghosts and vampires and witches are still there—the dark forces within ourselves with whom we are better able to contend after we look them in the eye and call them by their names—but it seems their aisle gets smaller and cheaper every year.  No one wants to be ugly anymore, not even for an hour.  We have forgotten that pretending is about seeing the whole world through others’ eyes, not just ourselves.
and I loved this from Stephen Greydanus, my favorite Catholic movie reviewer, in his review of The Nightmare Before Christmas


Like the gargoyles and grotesques on medieval cathedrals, these kitchy flattened hags evoke for me what I think of as the best sort of Halloween spirit: a kind of satiric defiance. "The devil," St. Thomas More tells us, "the prowde spirit… cannot endure to be mocked." Properly viewed, a jack-o’lantern or a child’s monster mask, like a Gothic grotesque, is not a concession to superstition, but a dismissal of it: It proclaims that we are not afraid. Far from glorifying evil, it caricatures it in such a way as to pay oblique tribute to the straight and true. Think of the upside-down values of the Addams Family, or Far Side cartoons that deal with the grotesque or uncanny. Real evil isn’t anything like that. Of course real good isn’t anything like that either; but it’s real good — not real evil — that provides the point of contrast that makes the skewed caricature interesting. No one looks at the Addams Family thinking about how the Addamses compare or contrast with the Manson family; the point is how they compare and contrast with an ordinary family.
So, this Halloween, let's all get out there and mock the devil!


Speaking of scary -- really scary, there's a post wending it's way through the homeschooling community called Homeschool Blindspots by Reb Bradley.

In it, the author details his own failings as a parent, and how the mistakes he made contributed to rebellion and loss of faith in his children. The piece is touching in its honesty and humility. And his main advice: to avoid focusing on sheltering, mindless discipline, and outward appearances over love and relationship, is one to remember.

But, in reading a post like this it's easy to start falling into self-doubt and despair. After all, anyone who homeschools has probably been treated to a story about someone's brother's neighbor's cousin who homeschooled and her kids ended up atheist pot heads who are living with their boyfriends and don't like Flannery O'Connor.

And yes, that could happen to you. It could happen to me. But it's not a homeschooling problem, it's a human nature problem. We can do the best we know how for our children and still fail. But that doesn't mean we should just stop trying, or not do the things we feel are best for our kids.

So, I'm going to take note of his shortcomings and try to learn from them. But mostly, I'm going to . . . 


'Cause all I can do is love my children and trust God and follow my gut and hope for the best. And worrying about the future isn't going to help one bit. Besides, God says not to do it.


And, finally, Matt Walsh did it again. He wrote a post, which I believe he intended as a defense of his wife's vocation to stay-at-home motherhood against some rather tactless acquaintances of his. It has elicited well over ten-thousand comments.

Many people really appreciated his post, but many others were offended by the vigor with which he asserted the nobility and difficulty of his wife's "job" and his stance that no matter what, the thing that's best for children is to be with their mothers as much as possible and everything else is lesser, if not downright tragic.

As someone who chooses to stay home with my children, and who was raised by someone who chose to work outside the home, I have some thoughts . . . 

I believe that staying at home with my kids is what's best for me and for them. I think it's my vocation and God's plan for me. If I didn't think that, I wouldn't be doing it.

But I also happen to think it's the easier and more fun thing to be doing as well. And I am very grateful to God and my husband that I'm able to do it. The moms that I know who have to work for financial reasons seem to me to have it a lot harder than I do. Sure, we stay at home moms have our rough days, but I read about Colleen's day, and I wouldn't trade places with her. She's making the best of a challenging situation and really doesn't need to be told that her kids are suffering because she needs to work.

Especially because I don't think it's true. Obviously, I can't speak for all children. But I can speak for me. Our family could have afforded for my mother to stay home with my sister and I, but my mom liked her job as a flight attendant and she chose to keep doing it. My dad was a pilot, and he really liked his job too. Most of the time one or the other of my parents was home overnight, but we also had a live-in nanny.


Even as a child, I understood that my mother chose to work and it did not make me feel less valued. I knew that my parents loved me. My mom showed her devotion to her children in many other ways. I made plenty of bad decisions as a teenager and young adult, but there's no guarantee that I wouldn't have made those same bad decisions if my mom had stayed home with us. If you think staying home with your kids is a guarantee that they won't end up screw-ups, then you didn't read take number 6.

My home was filled with love and both my sister and I have very close relationships with my parents today. And, despite feeling that I was not screwed-up up by my mom's mothering choices, I have made pretty much opposite ones. Here's hoping mine work out as well for me as my mom's did for her.



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19 comments:

  1. I really like what you have to say in your takes today. I, too, am a work-outside-the-home mom. Mr. Walsh's post didn't offend me, but then, my sisters are both stay-at-home moms and I know how hard they work. My brothers have wives who are able to be at home with their kids and do a fantastic job. I like how you acknowledge you have a more fun existence -- I would like to think that as well. I don't consider my job a "social life" by any stretch of the imagination since the people I work with are not necessarily the type of people I would spend time with if I were not at work.

    Also, about #6 you are so right. It is always a struggle for me to see a family where the parents have worked hard to build a faith-filled home and raise their children to love, know and serve the Lord and then, their kids leave the church. I know there's no guarantee it won't happen in my family. But, my husband and I are doing our best and we are praying "like heck" for our kids and hope they will stay close to our Lord and our Church.

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  2. René Descartes walks into a bar. The bartender asks, "Will you have a drink?" Descartes says, "I think not" and -poof!- he disappears.

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  3. Thanks for sharing the posts on Halloween!! I enjoyed them thoroughly!

    Also, while I adore Flannery O'Connor and all of her macabre tendencies, I'll come out and say that I really don't enjoy Evelyn Waugh (eeek! I said it! Catholic English Major suicide!!)

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    1. I hear you. I just tried to read Brideshead Revisted and couldn't get past page 50. All the silly stuffy prose about Cambridge life! Maybe I'll be more patient with Waugh when I'm older and have more time on my hands.

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    2. Brideshead was......just ok. There. I said it too.

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    3. I read Brideshead years ago and just gave him a second chance with Scoop...So I tried. I really did.

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    4. Yeah, I'm with Kaitlin on it. I liked the writing, but I didn't like any of the characters, except for little Cordelia naming all the African babies after herself!

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    5. I wasn't big on brideshead either and I actually just revealed that to my husband who loves it. Give Waugh a chance with A Handful of Dust. One of my top ten favorite novels.

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  4. I'm glad as an adult you don't resent my choice to keep working after you and sister were born. It took both of our incomes to buy the home we live in now and we felt it was the best area for our family and allowed you to attend good schools. My job allowed me to "take a kid to work" with me on a flight to NYC and gave us the travel benefits we still enjoy today. I felt it was more important how you spent your time with your kids than how much so I was Girls Scout leader, CCD teacher, school room mom and PTA member. Being a stay at home mom is a wonderful blessing for your children and I admire you ladies very much. I made a different choice but I was home more that most working moms with a light flying schedule. I stayed domestic until Kara was a senior so I was only a phone call away in NY as Kara proved many times with her calls that there were "bugs in the pumpkin" and "Mrs R was late picking her up for CCD". I think you 2 turned out to be wonderful adults, wives, moms and daughters even if you felt you made some bad choices as a teenager. I think we all feel that.
    Nanacamille

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  5. I just sent all those jokes to my dad. Thanks for helping me make his day! I agree with you, the last thing working moms need to hear is that their kids are suffering because they can't all stay home together. My mom chose to work too but she still showed me she loved me through spending dedicated time with me, as my girl scout leader and at church activities, for example. Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to time with parents, I think. And heaping guilt on parents who have to work doesn't do anyone any good. My husband would LOVE to stay home with our daughter all day, but he's an engineer and I'm a social worker, so guess who needs to be the breadwinner for the family? We're all just doing the best we can.

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  6. Each of these takes needs its own comment! So much good stuff packed into one post. I'll be honest and admit that I don't get the crow joke. (holds head in shame)

    And I totally agree with 6 and 7! In my short 2 1/2 years as a mom I have worked full time, stayed home full time, and am now working part time. Each has been best for that particular time. My mom worked full time as well and I never once felt like she didn't "love me enough to stay home". I don't want to raise MY kids that way, but I have no qualms about her choosing that for her kids.

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    1. The word for a group of crows is a "murder" like a gaggle of geese or a pride of lions, so just TWO crows would be more like attempted murder. :)

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    2. Thanks :) Surely I wasn't the only one wondering, right???

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  7. Thank you for standing up for us working moms. It kills me to have to work outside our home. It kills me. But we are doing the best we can for our kids. I deal with a lot of guilt, and it's so much worse when someone judges me or tells me I'm messing up my kids. My mom stayed home until I was about 5 years old, and I never felt deprived. I was proud of her. Anyway . . . thank you!

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    1. My mom worked a ton too. And I distinctly remember being proud of her. The memory of being proud of her actually clouds my own thoughts about staying at home (which I only recently have had the opportunity to do.)

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  8. Holy moly, I could comment on each on, but I blogged about one too...so here goes.

    I was just going to comment on that homeschool article. I read it and as a homeschooled child I was around a lot of that growing up. I'd say that maybe as many of my homeschooled friends as 50% now have gone in the opposite direction that they were raised. And sometimes I feel its simply in part in their need to rebel completely against everything their families tried so hard to install. I also think that it could be because they didn't see an exactly happy way of life even though it was very by the book "holy".
    I find that the mindset that the man wrote about was much more prevalent among evangelical homeschooling friends. They approached homeschooling in a similar vein as giving your heart to Jesus. Once you homeschooled that was it, you were saved, you had to act a certain way, you had to reject everything the world was throwing out there, there was just a rigid application of rules and control. And I believe that that mindset can only lead to that kind of disappointment as a parent when the child makes mistakes. The parents are so invested in control and outcome. I was kind of shocked by his thinking really. Maybe I've been far from evangelical circles for quite a while. But I do think that Catholicism answers so many of the pitfalls that the author discussed.

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  9. Re: #6. We don't homeschool (yet - our oldest is 3), but we are definitely leaning in that direction. And I didn't read the full piece. I saw it linked on FB a few days ago, started reading, them skimmed, then stopped because it was giving me a bit of a creepy evangelical feel (not that all Evangelicals are creepy - most are wonderful, I just thought this tone was so off). Essentially, I agree with what Christy wrote. A Catholic understanding of the human person and human nature does a lot to combat all the issues raised in the piece. It's frustrating in some ways, of course, that children aren't machines to whom specific methods can be applied and they will respond in a predictable manner. They are unique individuals with free will. Parents can do everything perfectly and children can still choose to reject the Faith. That's human nature (also the reason some kids raised in really awful circumstances with terrible parents embrace the Faith, praise God). We parents have a duty to share the joy and beauty of life with Christ, to promote it in a healthy way, and then - like you said - just pray, hope, and don't worry!

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  10. Thanks Kendra for the linky love and the support. All of us moms just have enough guilt associated with whatever choices we have to make to take care of our families, and like you said, we don't need someone assuming our kids are suffering because this is the lot we have received in life.

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