Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What Would You Do With $25000?

If you're looking for a little inspiration today, here's an amazing story about a guy given $25000 to promote new movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty who uses it to help people in the Philippines.

I dare you not to get choked up.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Watch This And Let Amy Poehler and Billy Eichner Make Your Day

I know I haven't been posting really since Advent started. Maybe the Holy Spirit was forcing me to wait for this amazing Christmas video of hilarious TV star (and Boston College grad) Amy Poehler and comedian Billy Eichner trying to get New Yorkers to sing Christmas carols with them.

Consider it an early Christmas present. It really is pretty much the most wonderful thing ever.

Monday, December 9, 2013

In the Midst of Cancer, Unexpected Joy

Recently the Mimi Foundation undertook to help 20 cancer patients have a moment of unexpected carefree joy -- the kind of moments that we take for granted ordinarily, but are hard to come by when you're struggling with serious illness.

Their approach is really quite funny. A good way to start the week.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Jimmy Fallon, Carrie Underwood and Rashida Jones Sing About the Holidays

Stuck in a checkout line on Black Friday? Or just waking up from your tryptophan coma with slathers of dressing still on your face? Jimmy Fallon and friends rewriting pop songs for the holidays will get you right.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How the British Think of Thanksgiving

I tend to forget that Thanksgiving is not an international holiday. Then I saw this...

Enjoy the holiday!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Staying Sane in Holiday Season (or, How Not to Riot on Black Friday)

The holiday season -- it's upon us.  Turkeys and Christmas lights and Midnight Masses.  Also, Black Friday riots and filled parking lots and awkward family conversations. 

As a Christian, it's such a rich season for contemplation, and yet as a person it's hard to create any sort of a space for that in the midst of all the busyness. 

A good friend of mine shared with me a little ritual she does that helps her stay connected to something bigger at this time of year.  It's very simple: she goes through the letters of the alphabet, and for each letter she thinks of something that she's thankful for.  It could be a person, it could be an event or a thing or a place or something else.  It could be something from the present, or something from the past. 

It's a great exercise, I'm finding.  It had me thinking the other day of a student I taught at Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, a kid I haven't seen in probably a decade, who was just so positive and upbeat and funny. The kind of person that made the whole room better just by being there.  And it had me recalling how much I love a healthy scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and a movie I once saw starring Bjork that just kind of blew my mind.  

It's the kind of exercise you can do while preparing the stuffing for your turkey, or standing in line at 3 in the morning outside a mall on Black Friday, or while fighting over sale items. You don't have to get through all of it, either; my general rule of thumb is, when something comes to you, stay with it, savor it.  

Our lives are filled with a million little treasures that we've been given over time. And we probably thought they were just treasures for a certain moment, but no, they live on in our memories, waiting for us to open them again. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

K-Stew Explains Thanksgiving (and Everything Else)

If, like me, you're desperate to know what Kristin Stewart is up to post-Twilight, and/or you're at work but just can't quite get anything done because hey, it's Thanksgiving on Thursday, and really, what do our bosses expect, they're in their offices updating their Facebook status anyway -- check out this video in which K-Stew explains not only Thanksgiving but Hanukkah and "Colors of the Wind".

Friday, November 22, 2013

When Public Marriage Proposals Go Well

How do you feel about public proposals? Personally, I find them at the same time kind of unnerving and sometimes lovely.  The fact is, you're putting the person you're proposing to in a pretty difficult situation. How do you say anything other than an immediate and ecstatic yes in that moment?

But hopefully for the people who take that route, the question of yes or no is already long decided. It's just about making the proposal in a special way.

Last night I saw this great clip of one such proposal. The occasion is a 'rap battle' -- two teams, facing off to show who has the madder skills at wordplay.  (To be clear, it's not rap music; there's no DJ or soundtrack. Kanye West does not appear. It's more like spoken word poetry.)

And as you'll see, the guy set the whole battle up to propose to his girlfriend in a very eloquent way.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

David Blaine, You Made My Tuesday Night

I'm not a magic guy. And that's more out of ignorance than anything. I've never been to a magic show, so my experience is (embarrassingly) limited to things 10 year olds want for Christmas, and bad ads for movies.

Plus, magic on TV? You and I both know the whole thing is staged.

But Tuesday night ABC had David Blaine doing magic tricks for celebrities and normal folk like you and me, and it was SO MUCH FUN.

For example, this:

Or, this -- which, to be clear, I'm not sure whether to call magic or just freaky.  And if you've got a queasy stomach, it might be not be for you. But try to hang in there just to watch the celebs react. Honest to goodness, it is such a delight.

Watching the little kid inside other people -- such a great way of getting in touch with my own.

And The Lion Will Lay Down With the Lambs (Sort of)

I don't generally go in for YouTube animal videos, especially if they involve cats (although Keyboard Cat playing off people when they fail is a guilty pleasure).

But I saw this video online last night, and we're here near the end of the liturgical year and headed into Advent, with its many apocalyptic promises.  And well, it was pretty hard to resist.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Batkid, Long May You Reign

Last week,  I posted this story about how the Make-a-Wish foundation had granted a very sick little boy's wish to be Batman for a day by setting up a whole day of events in San Francisco.

At the time, there were some 7100 people who had agreed to volunteer, and it looked like it was going to be a really special day. 

The event took place last Friday. Over 15000 participated, tons of news outlets reported on it. And it clearly was a really amazing experience for everyone, especially "Batkid".

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monty Python, Mercy and Freaks who Jump in Frozen Lakes

Reading the Gospel for yesterday, I couldn't help but be reminded of how much I dislike being uncomfortable. In fact, how much of what I do and don't do is probably driven by a desire to avoid discomfort. Whether it's who pays for a meal, how I deal with an argument or whether I talk to a stranger, my modus operandi is more often than not, what will make feel better?

And usually it goes a little bit like this:

And I was thinking about that and realizing, many of the worst things that have ever happened in the history of the world come down to that same desire. Like, when you get right down to it, pretty much every genocide has been because one group wasn't comfortable with another. It's almost never "This race did terrible things to us, so we're going to wipe them out." No, it's "Those (fill in the blank)...I just don't feel great around them. Let's get rid of them."

Every prejudicial law we've ever thought up -- who can sit where or do what, who it is okay to kill, who it is okay to marry -- could end with the phrase "because that would make me uncomfortable." "Blacks should not marry whites, because that would make me uncomfortable." "Boys should never play with dolls, because that would make me uncomfortable (except if they are action figures or super heroes)." "Japanese Americans should not be allowed to hang out with the rest of us during World War II, because that would make me uncomfortable."

If you want a fun exercise this week, just pay attention without judgment or trying to fix things to the times where you feel uneasy and how you respond. At the end of the week, look back, and see how often you chose whatever would let you avoid the discomfort.  (And then, if you really want to blow your mind, consider how often your choice ended up being at the expense of someone else. Like, it wasn't just, there was an argument going on around me, and I just stepped away. It was I was driving past a guy in a wheelchair, who was literally rolling his chair toward me with a hat out, and I was in no hurry, but I just shrugged and shook my head like "Shoot, I don't know how to roll my window down," and just kept driving.)

If you had to boil down the Gospels to two things, the first would hopefully be something about love and mercy, forgiveness.  But the second I think would probably be, following Jesus means making friends with discomfort.

Like dealing with your enemies in some way other than putting out their eyes or burning their reputations down in front of others. Or helping the needy... these are not easy things to do.

In fact, I would dare say this: if I went to a hospital or a shelter or an elderly home and helped out and at the end I bounced out there on Cloud 9, thinking I had made a big difference, and there wasn't also some small part of me feeling inadequate, feeling like I said or did the wrong thing at some point, feeling sad about the situations of the people I met, or just moved -- if none of that happened, even just a little, I'm probably doing it wrong.  I'm probably avoiding the real stuff. And likely after I left the people I was "helping" have a party, they're so glad I'm gone. If they prayed to Jesus right then and he showed up he'd say, yeah, I can't stand when he gets like that either.

If we're going to do this Christian thing, we have to get used to being uncomfortable. Make friends with unease.

Okay, maybe not this much. 

When we look at our lives, I think we see, we have so much opportunity to practice at this. The people we deal with in our lives who won't stop talking. The dude on the bus that sits next to us and smells really bad. The sudden fights we get in.   They're horrible, but they're all opportunity, too.

And all we have to do if we're going to practice, going to work that unease muscle, is not run away.  Just sit there in the muck of it and let it be a part of our lives.  And if we do that, let's be clear, it's not like we're going to get comfortable eventually--it's not like when you jump in the ocean, and you freeze for a few seconds and then you're like, ooh, that's really nice. No, it's like the crazy people who jump in the frozen lake--it's 30 below when they jump in, and it still feels like 30 below ten seconds later. (Freaks.)

No, it's not that we get less uncomfortable , but that we will get used to living with that feeling, and the next time, we might be a little less likely to immediately run away.

One of my favorite quotes is from Jim Keenan, a Jesuit moral theologian Boston College. Mercy, he says, is entering into the chaos of another. It's not fixing their problems (because fixing is usually really about me trying to make me feel better, powerful, strong, not them); it's not about doing.  It's about being in the mess of life, being present, like Jesus is with us.

That's what we're called to as Christians. But to do that, we gotta keep wading into that chilly water.

Friday, November 15, 2013

There is No Tragedy Like This

ViralNova today has the story of an ancient love letter (above), discovered on the chest of a man in a 500 year old tomb in South Korea. It's quite a testament. 

To Won’s Father
June 1, 1586
You always said, “Dear, let’s live together until our hair turns gray and die on the same day.” How could you pass away without me? Who should I and our little boy listen to and how should we live? How could you go ahead of me?
How did you bring your heart to me and how did I bring my heart to you? Whenever we lay down together you always told me, “Dear, do other people cherish and love each other like we do? Are they really like us?” How could you leave all that behind and go ahead of me?
I just cannot live without you. I just want to go to you. Please take me to where you are. My feelings toward you I cannot forget in this world and my sorrow knows no limit. Where would I put my heart in now and how can I live with the child missing you?
Please look at this letter and tell me in detail in my dreams. Because I want to listen to your saying in detail in my dreams I write this letter and put it in. Look closely and talk to me.
When I give birth to the child in me, who should it call father? Can anyone fathom how I feel? There is no tragedy like this under the sky.
You are just in another place, and not in such a deep grief as I am. There is no limit and end to my sorrows that I write roughly. Please look closely at this letter and come to me in my dreams and show yourself in detail and tell me. I believe I can see you in my dreams. Come to me secretly and show yourself. There is no limit to what I want to say and I stop here.
They say all happy families are the same, but every broken one is unique. Maybe the same is true for hearts -- at least to those who are in it. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

New Yorkers Are So Much Kinder Than Most of the US Gives Them Credit For

I had the great joy of living in New York for five years. And it was interesting, when I told people in the Midwest that I was being assigned there, some reacted as though they thought I was being punished.  There were lots of comments about how dangerous New York was (myths about the subway are so prevalent), and crowded and loud and how New Yorkers are just plain rude.

When I moved to LA in 2010, I heard a lot of the same things. Not quite so often -- there's a lot of New Yorkers in LA -- but still, enough to shock me.

I will say, in my later years in New York the crowds were a challenge. You have to be a fighter to push through some days, and that could be tough.

But still, the common characterization of NYC folk is so off. To my mind, here's a glimpse of the real New Yorker:

PS What kind of a business magazine does a survey about "the most arrogant state"?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

In Russia, They Know Squat(s)

So, in 2014 Russia has the Winter Olympics. And as a way of marketing it, someone had the brilliant and hilarious idea to install special ticket machines in subways that work on the basis of exercise.  That's right: for 30 squats, you can get a free ride. And also tighten up your core.

"Ride the subway, and look amazing." If only...

via Mashable.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Make A Wish Batman

So here's a great story from Mashable: Miles (above) is five years old, lives in Northern California, and has leukemia.  And when the Make-A-Wish foundation came to him to ask for something special he might like to do, he unexpectedly told them he wants to be Batman.

Here's the crazy thing: they agreed. They set up a page online laying out a scenario, to take place on this Friday, in which Miles will be called by the police chief of San Francisco and asked to help solve crimes. He'll save a damsel in distress, stop the Riddler, stop for lunch (even Batkid need calories to fight crime!), save a famous San Francisco mascot from the Penguin, and finally get the key to the city from the mayor and police chief.

People who RSVP'd on the page could be part of the show, cheering him on, watching him as he stops bad guys. They expected maybe a couple hundred. At this point they have over 7100, with some people flying in from other parts of the country, just to be part of Miles' special day.

Some fans also set up this Facebook page, which seems to feature lots of people sending encouraging comments to Miles and holding up signs in famous places saying "YOUR CITY HERE Loves Batkid".

It's devastating to imagine this little boy so sick, but what an inspiration to see how complete strangers are trying to bring him some joy.

If you're in San Francisco Friday, or you're on Facebook, you might add a little yourself.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pope Francis: And Now He Does Children's Parties

Someone sent me this photo over the weekend.

Believe it or not, this is the real deal. Apparently the woman and man with the noses on are a couple who got married at the Vatican. They work with sick kids using humor. And somehow they got the Pope to join them in this post-wedding photo.

Seriously, tell me that's not the best photo ever.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Pope Francis, the Church and the New Yorker: It's About Weakness

Today the New Yorker had a blog comment from Amy Davidson about the Pope's action yesterday and the Synod he's calling for next October on the family.

Considering his actions and the Synod on the family he's calling for, whose questionnaire includes a fascinating question on gay marriage, Davidson sees "the seeds of something radical". But her question is, Is he strong enough to carry it off?

It reminds me of a great essay written by the Jesuit Michael Buckley to a bunch of men about to be ordained. Don't think of yourself in terms of strength, he said, but in terms of weakness. The question isn't whether you're strong enough to be a priest, but whether you're weak enough.

That might sound a bit glib, particularly in light of the challenges in the Church, but it also points to a significant distinction in a life of faith. Contrary to what people tend to think, one doesn't care for the sick or work with the poor or live a simple or chaste life because they're strong enough, because they've toughed it out. 

No, if it lasts that kind of life emerges out of a felt sense of your own frailty and vulnerability. You do it because you have a deep down felt experience that distinctions like health or social standing are entirely artificial and utterly impermanent. 

Most fundamentally, you do it because God's the strong one. He's the one that lends the strength. 

I've never met the Pope and probably never will. But given what we know of his life and the way he lives, I would argue quite strongly, what allows him to do what he does is not some sort of super human endurance or even a toughness per se (though I think that's there), but a sense of his own humanity. He's able to be so warm and funny because he's deeply in touch with his own fickle and funny humanity.  

And it's a paradox, but it seems like for a long time now the public face of the Church has been mired  precisely by its own strength. The question going forward is I think whether it can embrace the frail, human weakness that the Pope embodies. 

Incredible Photos of the Pope With a Sick Man

After his papal audience the day before yesterday Pope Francis met the man pictured below, who seemed to have walked straight out of the Scripture. He suffers from a rare disease that has covered his body in tumors.

Pope Francis blessed the man and kissed him. Pretty remarkable stuff.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Awkward Video

I found this clip floating around the internet this morning. It's a series of shots of people waiting to get their pictures taken at a party. They think their friend is taking photo, but instead he videotaped them waiting and then strung them together.

It's a funny bit, but there's also a great little glimpse into the lives of all of us, our earnestness and our awkwardness.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Patron Saints Monty Python Would Love

When I was looking for some unusual patron saints last week I came across a few that were just so crazy I felt like they needed their own moment in the sun. Catholic saint makers have had a twisted habit of making saints the representative for things that went horribly for them. Been eaten by lions? Patron saint of animals! Drowned in a gorge? Patron saint of swimming?

Sometimes it makes sense, but there's a weird/brutal humor to it, as well. And none more than in the cases of St. Denis and St. Apollonia.

St. Denis, a 3rd century Roman, was the first bishop of Paris, responsible for many conversions. As part of Emperor Decius' persecution of Christians, Denis was imprisoned, tortured and beheaded.

But then, in a move that is itself Python-ready, his headless body picked up his head and carried it 10 kilometers, the head itself preaching the Gospel the whole time.

Now, what would you make such a man patron saint of? Paris? The unjustly condemned?

How about--and I swear I'm not making this up--headaches?

That's right. Saint Denis, whose head was literally severed from his body, is the patron saint of headaches.

And if you like that, how about this: as an elderly woman Saint Apollonia found herself in a nasty anti-Christian mob.  The pack smashes out all her teeth, poor thing, and then dragged her to a fire, where they threatened to burn her to death if she didn't renounce her faith.  Rather than do so, she flung herself into the flames and died.

You might think Apollonia is the patron saint of fire safety. Close. She's the patron saint of dentists and those needing dental care. And if fact she is often presented, as below, wearing a necklace made of her own teeth:

Or, even better, like so:

I swear she's a dead ringer for my dental hygienist.

It's a weird world. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Pope and The Boy

Perhaps you've already seen or heard about this story: about a week ago the Pope was at a conference on the family, and while he was up there talking and receiving people, this little boy wandered onto stage and wouldn't leave.

I'd seen a couple photos of the story. But Buzzfeed laid out a whole set that are really great and capture what made it such a special moment.

It's interesting, one of the comments that everyone makes about Francis is he's so spontaneous and in the moment.  But it's also true that by changing things up, he's created room for other people to be spontaneous and themselves. And what a great thing that is.

Enjoy the full story.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Robert Frost Poem For Monday


A scent of ripeness from over a wall.
And come to leave the routine road
And look for what had made me stall,
There sure enough was an apple tree
That had eased itself of its summer load,
And of all but its trivial foliage free,
Now breathed as light as a lady's fan.
For there had been an apple fall
As complete as the apple had given man.
The ground was one circle of solid red.

May something go always unharvested!
May much stay out of our stated plan,
Apples or something forgotten and left,
So smelling their sweetness would be no theft.

       - Robert Frost

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Unseen Saint

From the outside, fifth century Saint Alexius of Rome is not a likely candidate for sainthood.  He fled his own wedding; became a homeless man whose appearance was so changed that when he returned to Rome 17 years after he left, his own family never recognized him. He spent the rest of his life living beneath the stairs of a Christian family, praying and teaching catechism to children.

But the fact is, he fled the wedding in the first place because he was being forced into it. What he really wanted was to live a simple, religious life. And in his own way, that's what he did. People called him "the Man of God", but he wanted no part of their adulation or titles. He came back to Rome in fact to flee the growing interest in him.

When he died, writing was found on his body that told who he really was and what he had done with his life.

We see homeless people every day.  And at best we look on them with pity and concern. But who knows? Maybe some of them are the unseen saints among us, following their own path to a good life.

A Saint for Nancy Kerrigan (and also Ann Romney)

St. Lydwina of Holland is known as the patron saint of ice skaters.  It's a strange appellation, in that she actually broke ribs ice-skating, and suffered the rest of her life as a result. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the sport.

But there's another group she probably should be the patron saint for. Somehow her ice skating injury lead to a slow paralysis, until eventually she could only move her left hand.  What's more part of her body became gangrenous -- indeed, she lost part of her intestines, which we know because her parents kept it in a jar and professed its sweet smell.  (The medieval version of keeping a child's first tooth? I don't know. Let's move on.) She also suffered terrible bleeding in her life. 

Now, none of this may sound terribly familiar, but some professionals today believe Lydwina might have had Multiple Sclerosis. A number of aspects of her disease, including her eventual paralysis, periods of remission and terrible pain in her teeth all are consistent with M.S.

Lydwina was known as a woman of great constancy to prayer and as a healer.  For all those who suffer from long term debilitating diseases, there's no better friend.  

Happy All Saints Day

This morning I spent a little time digging through saints' lives, looking for a couple that you might not already know.  I'm going to post their stories throughout the day.

St. Genevieve 

The most remarkable thing about St. Genevieve, a 5th century Parisian who became a nun at age 15, is the ways in which she stood up to defend and help the people of Paris in difficult times. When Childeric, King of the Franks, besieged Paris in 464, Genevieve traveled by boat to Troyens to get grain for the Parisians. (It's for that reason she's often depicted holding a loaf of bread, as above.)

Later when Childeric's son Clovis I was king, at Genevieve's urging Clovis agreed to liberate may captives and treated lawbreakers more justly. (Clovis's wife would eventually convince him to convert to Catholicism; they were buried in the Abbey of St. Genevieve.)

The story also goes, when Attila the Hun's forces were headed towards Paris she called on Parisians to join her in prayer rather than flee. Not what we might call the most practical of choices. And yet, in the end the Hun turned to Orleans instead.

Today Genevieve is the patron saint of Paris and disasters. (And definitely not Orleans.)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

It's the Great Feast of You're Going to Die, Charlie Brown!

So it's Halloween. And the internet is therefore filled with videos of people scaring other people.  Like this one:

Or this one:

I guess it makes sense, all these prank videos. Halloween is supposed to be scary.  But I don't know, it seems kind of easy and lame, doesn't it? Oh look, I dressed in a costume and sat still, or rigged my apartment and then messed with some poor schlub who was dumb enough to actually trust me. Ha ha ha. I showed him. I mean, I'm alone now, and maybe forever, because I do stuff like this to people so that strangers will like me for 30 seconds on YouTube, but I showed him.

I prefer a more mature consideration of the whole Halloween thing.  It's not about "Look, I could work on Punk'd, if MTV even thought that was still cool, which it doesn't." It's about death. Yep, you read that right. Halloween is our weird festival of mortality.  It's the season we choose for a night or a week or whatever your custom to face our own futures, our own sense of vulnerability, our own very real and very realistic terror.

Okay, maybe not everybody.  If you're a kid dressing like an astronaut, okay, we're not dealing with terror. Unless you're afraid of astronauts -- which seriously, is not a bad idea, because they are fricking scary.

But even kids dress like things that terrify them, witches and zombies and monsters. Or they go to houses where they know they might get a little scared on the way to getting candy. When I was a novice all the novices would dress up and stand outside on Halloween; we freaked tons of people out.  I actually caused a parent to run away from her child in his stroller, I scared her so much. Which maybe was a little more than I was going for. And maybe next year I was told I couldn't have a real knife. But whatever.

The weirdest part about Halloween is not only do we undergo these experiences where we're going to be scared, like haunted hayrides and amusement parks and movies and a couple hours of playing Half-Life in the dark. We actuality take on those parts, too.  We become literally the things that terrify us, and try to terrify others.

Think about that. Because seriously, if monsters did exist, probably some of them would be ticked off by our tourism -- oh, look, I can be scary, too. But I bet some of them would be FREAKED OUT. It's like we're putting on their skin, you know? And covering ourselves in hypoallergenic syrupy blood. How creepy is that?

(Answer: Pretty darn creepy.)
(That's Heidi Klum, by the way.  Really.)

Why do I want to be the monster I'd be terrified of in real life? To show it's not so scary? To feel powerful? Because that's just what I wear around the house, don't judge me? Answers will vary.

It's all grist for meditation, is all I'm saying. We're going to die.  Some of us may die horribly.  If the zombies do in fact come, probably most of us. And on this one night we all sort of play with that reality together.

Will it make the real thing easier? Doubtful.

But maybe it makes a little room in our spirits for the possibility that however awful it may seem, it's really not going to be so bad.  There will be laughter as well as tears.

And just like there's a November 1st, when we all go back to wearing our equally strange costumes and doing what we do, albeit perhaps a little more hungover than the day before and with smears of soap-resistant make up, beyond our demise, too, there will be something after.

Hopefully it will have less of this:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wearing a Safety Vest Has Never Been So Awesome

So Virgin Airlines has a new safety video.  And it is a music video. And it is a little long but hilarious and awesome. In fact, it is hilawesome.

(One note: it's a little long. I promise, it's worth it to keep going for the life vest and no smoking sections alone.)

Watch Calvin and Hobbes Dance (and it's Great)

I grew up on Calvin and Hobbes. Even today, when I am groggy in the morning I think of Zombie Calvin, warty and delirious.  I dream of a cardboard box that could take me through time and space. And some day -- some day -- I will create my own snowman horror scene. (Maybe the best idea that there has ever been.)

Watterston's comic was filled with humor and also soul. And for me creator Bill Watterston himself is like J.D. Salinger, a total enigma. He stopped writing the comic even as it remained hugely popular. He's never publicly drawn anything since.

And he never wanted Calvin & Hobbes taken to another medium, animated or made into a movie. Which I really get -- have you seen Smurfs? The beauty of the strip lies in what your own imagination brings to it.

That's what makes this clip below so amazing. It's not Watterston approved, and yet it feels absolutely true to the Watterston spirit.  I could watch it again.

And I probably will.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Okay, This Might Actually be the Best Thing Ever

Baby ducks are more the territory of Easter than Halloween -- unless you're going for something like this:

But Viral Viral Videos this weekend put up this great little clip of baby ducks on a slide.  Adorable.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Best Eucharistic Prayer Ever

Have you ever heard any of the Eucharistic prayers for children? They're actually kind of awesome.  A lot of the mumbo jumbo that can so quickly lose you ("oblation"? Really, translators? Really?) here gets re-set in the simplest terms possible, and in many cases that simplicity translates into great pathos and beauty.

The Children's Mass prayers have yet to be retranslated (thanks be to the Holy Spirit and the Baby Jesus).  Let's hope that trend continues.

Here's Eucharistic Prayer I for Children. Enjoy.
God our Father,
You have brought us here together
So that we can give you thanks and praise
For all the wonderful things that you have done.
We thank you for all that is beautiful in the world
And for the happiness you have given us.
We praise you for daylight
And for your word which lights up our minds.
We praise you for the earth
And all the people who live on it,
And we praise you for our life,
Which comes from you.

We know that you are good.
You love us and do great things for us.
You are always thinking about your people;
You never forget us.
You sent us your Son Jesus,
Who gave his life for us
And came to save us.
He cured sick people;
He cared for those who were poor
And wept with those who were sad.
He forgave sinners
And taught us to forgive each other.
He loved everyone
And showed us how to be kind.
He took children in his arms and blessed them.
All over the world, your people praise you.
So now we pray with the whole Church:
With Francis our Pope, Jose our bishop, and all your people.
In heaven the blessed Virgin Mary,
Her husband Joseph,
The apostles, the martyrs and all the saints
Always sing your praise.
So now we join with them and with the angels
As we say/sing: 
Holy, Holy....
God our Father
You are most holy
And we want to show you that we are grateful.

And so we bring you bread and wine
And ask you to send your Holy Spirit to make these gifts
The body and blood of Jesus your Son.
On the night before he died,
Jesus was having supper with his apostles.
He took bread from the table,
And gave you thanks and praise.
Then he broke the bread,
And gave it to his friends, saying:
Take this, all of you, and eat of it.
For this is my Body,
Which will be given up for you.

When supper was ended,
Jesus took the cup that was filled with wine.
Again he thanked you, gave it to his friends, and said:
Take this, all of you, and drink from it.
This is the cup of blood,
The blood of the new and everlasting covenant.
It will be shed for you and for all
That sins may be forgiven.
Do this in memory of me.

We do now what Jesus told us to do.
We remember his death and resurrection
And we offer you, Father, the bread that gives us life,
And the cup that saves us.
Jesus brings us to you;
Welcome us as you welcome him.

Let us proclaim our faith: 
We proclaim your death, Lord, and profess your resurrection…

Because you love us,
You invite us to come to your table.
Fill with the joy of the Holy Spirit
As we receive the body and blood of your Son.

You never forget any of your children.
And so we ask you to take care of those we love,
Especially X,
And all those who have died.

Remember everyone who is suffering, in pain or sad.
Remember Christians everywhere
And all the other people in the world.
We are filled with wonder and praise
When we see what you do for us
Through Jesus your Son,
And so we sing: 
Through him,
With him, in him...

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Love that Lies in Wait

I'm going to show you a series of portraits taken by photographer Richard Renaldi. As you look about them, think about what sorts of feelings they evoke:

Take your time with the photos. They're quite lovely.

Now, check out the circumstances in which the photos were created.  I guarantee you'll be surprised.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Parent's Love

We tend to focus on how a child's struggles impact the child.

But obviously, they're not the only ones impacted.  A point made so eloquently in this video made by a British kid of his father finding out he passed Math.