On religious ritual

As most of you know, I’ve got some pretty harsh words for the Catholic church from time-to-time, but I am a practicing Catholic.  Anyway, this past weekend was my son Evan’s First Communion.  Regardless of what one thing of The Catholic Church, or transubstantiation, or any such thing, this was a great experience.  It forced my eight-year old son to take something seriously and think about his place in the world and to successfully complete an important ritual.  And it brought together much of my extended family to witness the event and to all have a very nice and celebratory time together.  Without organized religion and my family’s participation in the Church, that just doesn’t happen.  The truth is, on a strictly cultural, non-theological level, there’s a lot to say for organized religion on this level.

And all the 2nd grade boys in their suits and girls in their white dresses are just so unbelievably cute.



Photo of the day

From the Telegraph’s Pictures of the week.  Beautiful.

A giraffe wanders across a hot delta at sunrise in Okavango Delta, Botswana

A giraffe wanders across the wetlands of the Okavango Delta in Botswana at sunrisePicture: Mario Moreno/Solent News

More quick hits

I had more quick hits than I could handle in one post.  Here’s more:

1) Great column from Tom Edsall on how SC decision are actually made (it sure ain’t “calling balls and strikes”)

In his study, Stone concluded that in these cases, the votes of members of the court’s right flank were “determined first-and-foremost by their own personal policy preferences.” The court’s conservatives “no doubt believe that they decide each case as it comes to them, like umpires calling balls and strikes. But given the strikingly ideological pattern of their votes in these cases, and the absence of any plausible theory to explain them, this is simply not credible.”

2) Despite free tuition, Swedish college students are taking on huge debt.  Why, the much greater culture of indepenence for young adults.

3) Josh Levin on the everyday evils of the NCAA.

4) Elizabeth Weiss on selling the myth of the Ideal Mother.  Happy Mother’s Day :-).

5) A teacher’s response to Louis CK on the Common Core.

6) Apparently there’s a couple dozen “ultraconserved” words that are about 15,000 years old (a year old, but new to me).  Cool!  I’ve always loved linguistics.

7) Always enjoy a good Scalia takedown.  Here’s  a nice piece on his dissent on an EPA case last week and how it reveals the extreme degree to which Scalia’s own political preferences shape his legal opinions.

8) Really interesting piece in the Atlantic about how much taller humans have gotten and why.  Nutrition is huge, but it’s more complicated than that.

9) Loved this on “diet cults.”  Especially enjoyed the takedown of the Paleo diet.   Good health is not complicated.  Most things in moderation, plenty of fruits and vegetables, not a lot of processed food, and exercise.  Everybody already knows this.

10) States with “pro-business” policies (here’s looking at you, NC) have worse economic growth.

11) We’ll conclude this Supreme Court-heavy edition with one more piece on how SC Justices don’t care so much about the law, as about what they believe– free speech edition.

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