Monday, November 30, 2009

Dogged by boredom: What is it that makes a person interesting?

"We had just explored the Olympic Sculpture Park at the edge of Puget Sound, with works by Alexander Calder, Claes Oldenburg, Richard Serra, and Louise Nevelson, including an amazing giant cedar log inside a climate-controlled greenhouse, covered with plants and mosses to reproduce the process of forest decay, in which the viewers are said to be part of the art. Freight trains rumble through and under the site, while across the sound to the west, the Olympic Mountains create a monumental counterpoint."

To find out how one man looks at this thorny question, click here.

Back to Reality: Watching Others' Lives, and Watching Our Own

"What’s on TV tonight? Other people’s private lives, often in excruciating, appalling, and grubby detail.

On The Learning Channel, you can watch total strangers try on their wedding gowns while the salon staff makes catty comments about the bride and her family behind their backs. Or watch the Duggars raising their 'Eighteen Kids and Counting,' Jon and Kate and their brood of eight, or the 10 offspring in 'Table for Twelve.'”

Click here for more from Anne Morse.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A lot of kick in them yet: Supporters answer call from Waltham’s Reagle Players

"A stack of donations sits on Robert J. Eagle’s desk, each with a hand-written note from its sender.

'We don’t want to see Reagle Players close,’ says one. Please don’t go away!’ says the next. 'These are very difficult times for most of us, especially the arts. We pray that your financial troubles ease and that ‘the show goes on,’’ reads another."

For more on the effort to save this troupe, click here.

75 great moments (and guys) in men's underwear

"Men's underwear turns 75 this month, assuming you consider the dawn of undergarments the invention of the Jockey brief.

Call us old school. We consider King Tut and his loincloth, not Jim Palmer in his tighty whities, as the first high-profile male underwear model. But in the interest of finding an excuse to celebrate, we're still going to mark this moment by declaring 75 great moments and guys in men's underwear."

Click here for more about this historic event.

New Orleanians can walk in a winter wonderland once again at the Roosevelt

"Kathleen Graythen's childhood memories of Christmas at The Roosevelt in the '50s are vivid, as vivid as that of any youngster growing up in New Orleans who saw the majestic hotel lobby transformed into a winter wonderland every holiday."

Read more about this restored tradition. To visit New Orleans history, click here.

Veterans wall in Schaumburg honors Indians' service

"In his youth, Joe Yazzie wanted to be an artist. But his mother knew he would be a warrior in the proud tradition of his Navajo forebears. He was named for G.I. Joe and was made to run and chop wood in his native New Mexico to keep fit and prepare for war.

'There will be another one,' his mother warned.

She was right. Yazzie was drafted shortly after high school and served a tour in 1964 as an Army machine gunner in Vietnam, joining his brother Harold, a Marine."

Click here to read more of this moving story.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Duckmaster and other odd hotel jobs

"There's more to providing hotel services than sometimes meets the eye. Here are some of the more unusual behind-the-scenes hotel jobs."

Click here for more on unusual hotel jobs.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

First Thanksgiving: Iraqi refugee thankful for new life in U.S.

"An Iraqi refugee who fled her native Baghdad last month will give thanks with her American host family for the holiday.

Natalie Ali, 36, worked as a mission interpreter for American troops in Iraq for six years, risking her life as her family’s soul breadwinner. A Shiite Muslim who converted to Christianity, Ali was a target by Sunni spies because she helped Americans. She feared for her life, especially after one of her friends, also an interpreter, was assassinated along with her husband and children."

Click here for more on this family's first American Thanksgiving celebration.

People can hear with their skin, study shows

"Listening is more than a matter of being 'all ears.' People can also hear with their skin, according to new research that deepens our understanding of the senses, showing they can work together but also override one another.

Strange though it seems, scientists are finding that multiple senses contribute to the simplest perceptions. People can see with their ears, hear with their eyes, or hear with a touch."

Click here to read more about this study.

Former World Vision sponsored child named CNN Hero of the Year

"Efren Penaflorida, a schoolteacher from Cavite, Philippines, has won this year’s CNN Hero of the Year Award.

Penaflorida received the honor for his inspiring commitment to help educate street children with his Kariton Klasrum (Classroom Cart) through the Dynamic Teen Company, a group he founded in the 1990’s."

For more on this dramatic story, click here.

God With Us: Us With Them?

"I can’t sing the words of that familiar Advent song 'O Come, O Come, Emmanuel' without remembering a young boy—a child of a prisoner.

Every year, Patty and I deliver Angel Tree Christmas gifts to the children of prisoners. And I’ll never forget one year in particular, when Patty and I drove into a housing project to deliver our gifts."

Click here to read the rest of Chuck Colson's commentary.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Astronaut's baby daughter born as he circles Earth

"Astronaut Randolph Bresnik jubilantly welcomed his new daughter into the world Sunday as he floated 220 miles above it.

Abigail Mae Bresnik was born as her father circled Earth on his first space shuttle mission, just hours after his first spacewalk."

Click here for more on this very special event.

Three with Chicago ties win Rhodes scholarships

"Two Chicago-area residents and a University of Chicago grad are among the 32 winners of this year's Rhodes scholarships.

The prestigious scholarships provide tuition and a living stipend for two to three years study in any field at the University of Oxford in England."

For more on these winners, click here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Postal Service to resume North Pole Santa letters

"Wide-eyed children around the world will be hearing from Santa's 'elves' at the North Pole after all."

Click here to read more about North Pole mail service.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Does every little gift really make a life-changing impact for children around the world? World Vision goes around world to find the answer – and the true spirit of Christmas

"Beginning November 19, join World Vision and thousands of people around the world on the 'Spirit of Christmas' tour as a team from the Christian humanitarian agency travels around the globe in search of the Christmas spirit. The month-long tour will feature interviews and stories with children and families in the United States, Ecuador, Cambodia, Zambia and Ethiopia. World Vision’s team will circle the globe highlighting both the heartbreaking circumstances of the poor and the inspiring impact even small donations of a few dollars can make in helping families provide for their children."

Stand Up for Religious Freedom: Now Is the Hour

"Allow me to make a very direct statement. I believe it is time for the Church in this country to stand up for religious freedom.

Especially over the course of the last few years, we have seen repeated efforts—in the courts, in state legislatures, in Congress, and on Pennsylvania Avenue—to erode what has been called the first freedom: religious liberty."

Click here for the rest of Chuck Colson's commentary.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Marching to glory: The Marian Catholic High School Band

"In a series of three stories, reporter Howard Reich traces the struggles of the Marian Catholic High School Band of Chicago Heights, IL. The once-legendary band is struggling to reclaim a national crown. All three stories, as well as a photo gallery and video, await you here."

Click here for the whole Marian Catholic High School Trilogy.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Relief group says simple, effective tactic in global AIDS fight also one of most neglected

"A proven and cost-effective strategy for turning the tide on global AIDS still remains significantly underutilized, World Vision warned in advance of World AIDS Day. Efforts to prevent mother-to-baby transmission of HIV must be urgently scaled up in high-prevalence countries to avoid needless infection of children, the Christian humanitarian organization said."

For more on the upcoming World AIDS Day observance on December 1, click here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Theater, puppets, opera and cabaret are among the sights to behold at the second New Orleans Fringe Festival

Strange and innovative performances in theater, dance, clowning, puppetry, opera, video, cabaret and other media will take place this weekend at seven official venues in the Marigny and Bywater, as well as at several spaces utilizing this year's new Bring Your Own Venue option -- which include restaurants, private homes and the streets of downtown.

Click here for more on this unusual event.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Journeys with the Messiah: A Fashion Photographer Journeys with Christ

"Successful fashion photographer Michael Belk has turned the lens of his camera and creativity to a new subject: the Messiah in the context of the modern world.

Read about his journey and view sample pages from the work."

Click here read more and view sample pages from the work.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

You’re Teaching My Kid What? Exposing the Sex-Ed Biz

"Are you squeamish when it comes to talking with your kids about sex? Well, you’d better get to them fast, before they’re exposed to sex educators in school.

Dr. Miriam Grossman was lecturing at a Philadelphia college about sexual health. The students had invited her to talk about something they’d never encountered in all their years of sex education—the dangers of non-marital sex."

Click here for more on Chuck Colson's commentary.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Save the Children Responds to Post-Hurricane Ida Emergency in El Salvador and Nicaragua

"Save the Children has dispatched emergency teams to assist with the effort to provide relief to children and families in Nicaragua and El Salvador after a devastating late-season hurricane and torrential rains wrought havoc on remote villages in the two countries."

Click here for more on the relief efforts.

Bystanders and Civilization: The Richmond Rape Case

"When our young people show apathy and indifference to human suffering, it’s a sure sign our society is in peril.

On the night of October 23rd, a 15-year-old girl in Richmond, California, was brutally assaulted by as many as seven young men between the ages of 15 and 20."

To read more of Mark Earley's commentary, click here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Child care pays off in support network for parents

"Everyone may call it child care, but it could just as easily be dubbed 'parent care,' judging by the benefits reaped by those who have kids in high-quality early-childhood settings, according to recent research at the University of Chicago."

Click here to read how child care benefits parents.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Share Your Story of Compassion and You Could Win the Trip of a Lifetime

"As a part of's 'Christmas of Compassion,' we're telling the stories of artists who inspire us, not only through their music, but also through their acts of kindness and generosity.

We’ll be featuring a new artist each week, so come back for more exclusive content, free downloads, photos and videos – all the good stuff to help keep you inspired this Christmas season. So inspired, perhaps, that you'll enter to win the trip of a lifetime from Compassion International by telling your 'story of Compassion!'"

For more on the contest and a link to the rules, click here.

Idea man hopes to kick tickets to the curb

"Greg Bukowski is living the impossible dream, Chicago style.

He believes -- believes with the passion of the missionary, the victim, the entrepreneur -- that he has found a way to beat the tyranny of parking tickets on street-sweeping day."

Click here for the rest of this entrepreneurial story.

Messin' with Reality: Why the Gay-Rights Movement Is Playing with Fire

"Our local military museum honors the valor, grit, and teamwork of the men and women in uniform all year. Today, however, it appears to be celebrating something very different.

The other day, after my sons spent the good part of a brilliant fall afternoon climbing on vintage Army tanks, we went inside and were confronted with a display entitled 'Lincoln’s Legacy, Our Freedoms,' marking the bicentennial of our 16th president’s birth. The exhibit asked how society might apply the Great Emancipator’s commitment to human equality today. It was a strange question, given the multiracial, multicultural crowds pouring peacefully through the museum’s great halls."

For more on this perspective, click here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

2012 or Bust: Without Faith, Fear

"Yesterday on BreakPoint, we talked about the popularity of doomsday scenarios. What’s behind the phenomenon? Simple—a lack of faith.

In the film The Day After Tomorrow, audiences were told that global warming could produce an instant ice age. Seriously! In 10,000 B.C., they were told that the pyramids were built by aliens using mammoths for the heavy lifting. Well, this same film director will tell us on the History Channel this month that life as we know it will end on December 21, 2012."

For more on Colson's insight, click here.

No Payments, No Interest, No Future? The Age of Nostradamus

"Here’s a new phrase for you: 'Let us eat, drink, and be merry today, for in 2012, we die.' At least that’s what the History Channel would have you believe."

Click here for more on Chuck Colson's commentary.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Walter Payton always at home in bronze sculpture

"On the night before Walter Payton died from bile duct cancer 10 years ago Sunday, he couldn't speak. Feebly, Payton pointed to his lip as he lay in bed and asked his sister, Pam, to trim his mustache.

That was the image stuck in Pam Payton Curry's mind when she walked into a warehouse four years later to approve the life-sized sculpture of her brother. The sculpture's mustache had to be perfectly trimmed just like Walter requested the last night of his life, Pam told local sculptor Ben Watts."

Click here for more on how a legendary athlete touches the people in his hometown.