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On the Seasonal Aisle

From First Thoughts

This display spotted at my local Bi-Lo grocery store:Easter Pretty BarbieJesus, God’s Son. My teenager reports that when you press a button, He intones the Our Father, among other things, in what she describes as a “hunky” voice. Hear Him speak John 3:16! Mary Messenger of Faith. . . . . Continue Reading »

But She’s Not Muslim

From First Thoughts

It’s hard to know what to say about the Reverend Dr. Katharine Ragsdale, the new president of the Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Actually, the problem is not that there’s nothing to say, but that Rev. Ragsdale says it all herself. Here’s an excerpt . . . . Continue Reading »

The Realism of the Supernatural

From Web Exclusives

Ronald was staring with wild incomprehension at the toaster, which was stubbornly refusing to relinquish the toast. This sentence, from British writer Alice Thomas Ellis’ 1990 novel, The Inn at the Edge of the World , may well win my personal award for Best-Ever Pithy Character Sketch. In this . . . . Continue Reading »

iPhones Have Consequences

From the November 2008 Print Edition

In a Doonesbury cartoon of recent vintage, Zipper, nephew to the 1960s slacker Zonker Harris, sits in a college class, his laptop open before him, giving every impression of industrious note-taking: Tap tap tappity tap tap. “Dude,” a classmate instant-messages him. “The professor’s calling . . . . Continue Reading »

A Home for Homeschoolers

From Web Exclusives

Gregory and Martine Millman did not set out to homeschool their children, at least not consciously. When they became parents in the mid-1980s, their plan to was to lead “a normal yuppie life,” upwardly mobile, working their way into a neighborhood with good schools which of course their . . . . Continue Reading »

Smelly Olde England

From the April 2008 Print Edition

I lived, while in England, at a confluence—the intersection of a pedestrian lane, which led to three pubs, and a busy road, which led to practically everywhere else. We could tell the time by the street noise: At eleven, precisely, the pubs closed, the pub goers staggered out into the lane, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Death of the Grown-up

From Web Exclusives

My reflexive response on reading Diana West’s The Death of the Grown-up has been to keep announcing magisterially to all and sundry that I am one. Pass the salt, because I said so, and I am a grown-up. “We know ,” the children reply wearily, which is a relief. After all, I’ve . . . . Continue Reading »

Endless Building Possibilities!

From First Thoughts

My teenager was reading the Lego catalog. Not that she herself would ever be interested in her brothers’ geeky obsessions, mind you—she had some Latin sentences waiting to be parsed. So she was idly turning pages and clucking dismissively over the Mindstorms NXT and the Star Wars . . . . Continue Reading »

Losing Oxygen to the Cultural Brain

From First Thoughts

I am the last person in America to have heard of Walter the Farting Dog . My cousin is the next-to-last, and she heard about Walter from her son, who came home from kindergarten one day recently and actually told her for a change what he had done at school. They had had story time, he said, and . . . . Continue Reading »

RE: Tears, Idle Tears

From First Thoughts

Well, Jody, you should, indeed, let the Sussex Carol console you for the Georgetown Hoyas’ defeat by the Memphis Tigers. But I’m afraid that all I can add is: Go Tigers! (The teams of the college I attended amount, as one friend put it, to a really great library. So, living here in . . . . Continue Reading »