Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Googling "Free Stuff"

I never actually thought it would work, but after spending a huge amount on a major trip to the grocery store this week, I googled "Free Stuff." Or "Where to get free stuff." Something like that. I ended up on a website with the unlikely name of, which listed lots of links to sites with offers for coupons or free stuff.

So instead of doing homework Saturday, like I intended, I ended up signing up for every one that was remotely interesting to me. If they were all legit - and they all appeared to be - in the next 2-10 weeks, I should be receiving Cream of Wheat, BreatheRight Nasal Strips, CankerMelts, numerous feminine products, toothpaste, Tide, and a California Tortilla for lunch one day this week! Not to mention uncountable marketing e-mails and flyers in the real mail. But I'll gladly deal if it saves me money!

I'll provide updates if any of these things actually show up . . .

Monday, February 22, 2010

Good, Secular Organizations:

As I had mentioned after this year's March for Life, I'm uncomfortable with how strong the religious message of the pro-life movement is - even though I agree with it 100%. Soon after the March, I contacted to see how they felt about the issue. Was the religious language alienating? Did it make them reluctant to participate? Less willing to identify as pro-life?

I mentioned the 4 points on which I am uncomfortable with the religious assertions in the pro-life movement:

1) In this country, they cannot and should not be the basis of policy or law.
2) I'd imagine that non-religious pro-lifers might feel alienated by them and/or not be comfortable attending events like March for Life without feeling like they're endorsing something they don't believe.
3) They lack authority in the eyes of a lot of the people we're trying to talk to.
4) You often see someone make an entirely secular argument against abortion only to receive a response along the lines of "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries!" Pro-choicers discount all pro-life arguments as religious and therefore irrelevant based on the fact that the most prevalent pro-life arguments are religious.

Here, with her permission, I'm quoting in its entirety the eloquent response I got from Kelsey Hazzard, President of did participate in the March for Life. We stuck out. Quite a few people asked to take pictures of our banner; I caught others trying to take a shot without being noticed. We also had a table at the Students for Life of America conference, where we talked to campus leaders about encouraging religious diversity in their organizations.

I'm actually a Christian too, but like you, I am uncomfortable with the religious overtones at the march. The Catholic language and symbolism used (I'm Protestant) has a more isolating impact than many pro-lifers realize. The atheists and agnostics who make up the backbone of would say that yes, the pro-life movement is alienating the non-religious. I've gotten many emails from non-theists thanking me for creating a pro-life group where they can belong. Without, many of them would either be lone wolf pro-life bloggers, or doing no activism at all. A group effort has a much stronger impact than the individual efforts of its members; unfortunately, the non-religious pro-life movement has historically not been well organized.

I agree wholeheartedly with point #4. One of our principal missions, aside from making the pro-life movement more inclusive, is to fight the religious stereotyping by abortion advocacy groups. The truth is that most pro-lifers, even the most religiously devout, rely on secular justifications for their position. If I became an atheist tomorrow, I would still oppose abortion because I am well-acquainted with the facts of prenatal development, the principles of human rights, and the effect of abortion on women.
On the question of whether it's better, based purely on the numbers, to focus on the religious: absolutely not! Since you were at the march, you undoubtedly noticed the strong presence of young people. Millenials have been called the "pro-life generation" because this age group opposes abortion more than any other. Another interesting fact about this generation is that a quarter of people between the ages of 18 and 29 practice no religion. The older, more religious pro-life leadership is going to be in for a shock. We're here to help the pro-life movement adapt to these new dynamics.

Feel free to quote me in your blog. You can talk to people in our
facebook group, too. Everyone is friendly.
Have a great day,
Kelsey Hazzard
President of
I encourage you to visit at their website or their Facebook page and support their efforts!

Friday, February 19, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday Part XXXIV

1. Okay kids, it's February 2010. That's early-mid 2010, right? So why am I still waiting for the digitization of the 1901 Irish census? Hmmm? Can't Ireland get on this?
2. Problem: Part of my Lenten fast is to give up Catholic blogs. (As much as I enjoy them, there's more snark and more politics involved than on other blogs I follow (read: genealogy blogs). I end up with an unfortunate tendency to mediate my faith through something not particularly fruitful.) I had intended, though, for Conversion Diary to be the one I kept reading. Jen's posts are always inspiring, helpful, and motivate me spiritually. Seems like God had different plans for her Lent and mine both. (So, maybe not such a problem?)
3. Cinnamon Popcorn from The Popcorn Factory. I'm in love. I first tasted it when breaking my Ash Wednesday fast, so I might be a tiny bit biased, but it might possibly be the best thing ever ever invented.
4. Don't look at me like that. I was only eating Cinnamon Popcorn minutes after midnight Thursday morning because I had nothing else in the house. I just moved back into my apartment post-flood, and haven't been grocery shopping since December.
5. I just finished reading Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter. I want to be her. I'm trying to recruit my roommates to plant vegetables in the backyard of the vacant house next door. Read Novella's blog Ghost Town Farm!
6. A week off for snow meant I had time for the rare pleasure read mid-semester. I miss reading things I like. I sure manage to watch plenty of TV, though.
7. I'm pretty sure I'm about a million years behind the meme times, but I have recently learned I love when Hitler finds out things.

Check out more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

You might be a bad Catholic if . . .

. . . you've ever gotten dressed up nicely on Ash Wednesday, in a flattering skirt and nice top, not because of that stuff Jesus said in the Gospel about washing your face and anointing your head, but because you knew that after a day of fasting, you'd look skinnier than usual and you wanted to take advantage of it.

(No, not this year; I know better now. But recently enough that I should have known better then.)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Saturday Evening Blog Post

It's that time again! Head over to to participate in this month's Saturday Evening Blog Post by submitting a link to your favorite post of the past month.

Friday, February 5, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday Part XXXIII

1. DC is on the verge of "Snowpocalypse Part II." It's amusing to watch the natives rush around, going crazy at the prospect of snow. Granted, 2-3 feet is a lot. But the city - and by association, the federal government, of course - grinds to a halt every time. I already get to go home after 4 hours of work, and not a single flake has fallen. Oh Washington.
2. I'm interested in growing apples from seed. I understand that it's a bit of a crap shoot; you can never tell what kind of apples you'll get. That sounds kind of exciting to me. I also understand that it takes 6-10 years for a tree to bear fruit. My question, though, is how big does the tree get in the interim? I'm an apartment dweller, and will be for the foreseeable future, though I hope to have a home and yard within 6-10 years. Is it possible to start apple trees from seed now, and keep them as potted plants for several years before planting them outside when they begin to mature to the fruit-bearing stage? Or will they get too big too quickly?
3. You know what's been annoying me lately? Those McDonald's ads that say, "Fruit, meet Oats. Oats, meet Fruit." Does McDonald's really think they invented putting fruit on oatmeal?
4. Word of the month: Antediluvian. adj Of or relating to the period before the Biblical Flood. Use: "No, Landlord, I will not pay my rent until my apartment is restored to its antediluvian condition."
5. On that note, I may be back in my very own apartment (whether or not it's in it's antediluvian condition) by Monday or Tuesday. Only displaced for a month! (I briefly described the deluge here.)
6. I wish my desk had windows. I'd love to know whether or not it's snowing yet. In fact, I may just get up and take a stroll across the office . . . Report: some sort of wintry mix. Not quite snow yet. (As of 11:30am)
7. Since I have snow on my mind, and since I don't want to sound like one these silly Washingtonians who obsesses about snow, I'll end here and get back to work. Happy Snow Day!
Check out more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Politics and Basketball: Only a Hoya

Sign seen at the Georgetown v. Duke game this weekend:

"Coach K ran Coakley's Senate Campaign"

I love it. Hoya Saxa.