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July 25th, 2004
Hopping on the trademark bandwagon

Please accept these words as written notice to the public (with Jacoby, McMillan and Myers in copy) that effective immediately, I am pursing claim to the ownership of the name, God?. Any future use or reference to this name without the aforementioned mark is hereby prohibited and from this day forward, the name God? is the expressed property of its registered owner, yours truly. Furthermore, failure to comply may result in a federal court appearance due to unauthorized use.
Trademark this
These days people are claiming ownership to universal expressions, names, and sayings, forcing the rest of us to acknowledge recognition should we dare to use formerly common words now lawfully owned. And what exactly is a…

July 20th, 2004
Busted Halo's intrepid intern reports back on her recent trip

Even in the middle of the noisy competition hall, with dozens of other swords clashing and thwacking, the sound of a saber blade breaking is unmistakable. Usually you stop to see that nobody was hurt, throw the ruined blade away, and just go on with practice.
So it was strange, at a tournament in Havana in late June, to see a man in a Cuban National Team warm-up suit pick up a piece of my clubmate’s broken blade and then ask for the other half. “We weld them back together,” he explained.
En garde…
I got my start fencing in a public high school, a fact that surprises some people since fencing is often perceived as an elitist sport mainly for the wealthy. Despite programs to attract inner city kids, that reputation

July 18th, 2004
A Modern Look at an Ancient Prayer

A few years ago, I remember watching a network news report about the beneficial effects of meditative prayer. The report first featured a Catholic women’s group that was devoted to praying the rosary. The women shown were primarily in their fifties and sixties. Then the report moved on to meditations inspired by Buddhism and Hinduism. The women who practiced that were in their twenties and thirties.
For me, that report signified the Catholic Church’s problem of attracting young people, especially with traditional devotions that have an image of being outdated. Having grown up in a Catholic family, I have an affection for some of these devotions myself and would like to see them continue among members…

July 18th, 2004
Amidst protest the Archdiocese of Boston attempts to close 65 parishes.

“This was nothing but a war zone,” said 30-year old Sixto Merced to a local Boston newspaper, “Church was the only place that you could go that was safe.” Sixto knows what it’s like to have a second chance at life after having survived the violent streets of his inner-city Roxbury neighborhood. St. Mary of the Angel’s youth group offered him a sense of belonging that kept him from joining the local gangs. In his neighborhood where many youth don’t graduate from high school, Sixto got his diploma and went on to become a neighborhood police officer. Now he and hundreds of other church members are back in the streets, this time struggling to save the life of the church that…

July 8th, 2004
Where Everybody Knew Your Name

Sometimes my parish priest starts mass by asking us to look around and introduce ourselves to one or two people we don’t know. The exchanges that follow are awkward and brief—a little forced, like when you went to the family reunion as a kid and your mom made you kiss some old auntie you’d never seen before.
But someone has to help us get to know one another. We aren’t doing a great job of it on our own. I’ve been to a few churches like this now, where people hurry out the door as soon as the last song ends, where the people you see every Sunday remain strangers.
The tavern at ten
It’s nice to have real friends at church. I used to have some—friends whose homes I visited, who brought me flowers…

July 7th, 2004
How the inspiration of a 19th century woman's incredible life helps me keep the faith

We would, of course, roll our eyes. That’s what teenage girls do when being told something for the millionth time. Still, repetition does have its effect, and so when our teachers at our small all-girls school run by the Sisters of the Holy Child in suburban New Jersey reminded us of how we were meant to “meet the wants of the age”…
—one of the many mottos of the order’s Foundress, Cornelia Connelly—it usually stuck.
Connelly (1809-1879) founded the Society of the Holy Child Jesus in 1846 in England and in the process broke all the rules about what a woman in the Church was supposed to be. She was a wealthy Philadelphian who in the span of 30 years lived a life that would have made any soap-opera

July 6th, 2004
Struggling to forgive an ex-lover on her deathbed

“Can you come and see me?” said his ex-girlfriend over the phone months after they went through a bitter and hurtful breakup.
“And why would I want to do that?” said the scorned male, passively refusing the invitation.
“Because I’m dying and I just want to see you one last time.”
This was the dilemma that my friend was presented with just a few days ago. He thought he had pushed the pain of this bad relationship aside months ago only for it to infiltrate his mind again when he answered his cell phone.
Can you forgive and forget?His ex wanted his forgiveness. She had ruined their relationship and during the course of the break-up informed my friend that she not only never loved…

July 4th, 2004
Al Gore goes global in this powerful documentary on the climate crisis

One of the most provocative experiences to be had in a movie theater this year is not really a film at all but more like the most frightening power point presentation you’ll ever see. Former Vice President Al Gore is our guide to An Inconvenient Truth…, an urgent hike through the past, present, and projected future of our globe’s climate crisis. The man once criticized for being aggressively bland has returned to the public eye re-energized as a passionate advocate for an issue he’s been talking about for years: human consumption has put the future of the earth’s environment at stake. Though some might quibble over Gore’s motives, the scenarios he describes are terrifyingly real

July 3rd, 2004
Cult Classic The Stepford Wives Goes Under the Knife

What does a man want in a wife? Does he look for an independent, equal partner? Or does he want a Mrs. Cleaver/Barbie hybrid, a domestic goddess who lives to make her husband proud?

This is the question at the heart of The Stepford Wives, a remake of the 1975 cult classic. At the time of the original movie, the women’s movement had already taken root. Based on a best-selling novel, the film reflected society’s anxieties about the shifting roles of women.
Having enjoyed the first film, I was skeptical about the remake. To my surprise, I found it a mostly effective movie makeover, though, just like any contestant on The Swan, the final product ends up looking very, very different from the original.
Suburban…

June 24th, 2004
Through his recent book and Yoga DVD, Father Thomas Ryan is reclaiming the body in Christian spirituality.

Whether it’s Pilates or spinning, marathoning or extreme kayaking, Americans love their exercise. No doubt the number of new gym memberships and fitness-related New Year’s resolutions will spike in a couple of weeks, right after we’ve all ingested too many rum balls and glasses of egg nog.
Physical activity for the sake of good health is certainly a noble goal. No one would debate the health benefits of an after dinner walk, a daily run, or taking the stairs whenever possible. But Fr. Thomas Ryan a Paulist priest as well as a certified yoga instructor and avid skier, believes physical activity enhances both bodily and spiritual health. In other words, taking good care of our bodies has spiritual…

June 24th, 2004
The Busted Halo Interview with the author of the New York Times Bestseller Father Joe.

Perhaps it is fitting that it took someone whose job it is to satirize sacred cows and poke fun at hypocrites to write one of the most powerful spiritual memoirs in recent memory. We live in an age of irony and skepticism where nothing is precious and every motive is doubted; where institutions are generally reviled and authority is sneered at. Who better to speak about something as unexpected and sobering as a personal faith journey than someone who shares our culture’s sense of contempt?
Tony Hendra’s name may not be a household word yet, but anyone who has been awake and interested in popular culture over the last 30 years will certainly know his work. The British-born Hendra moved to the United States…

June 19th, 2004
An Indian Perspective

Outsourcing 101
Why do companies outsource? It’s a valid question, given the controversy. A simple answer is cost-effectiveness. Companies ask themselves, “If someone does it cheaper at almost the same quality, why pay more?”
In Rethinking The Future, Philip Kotler (a professor at Northwestern University) sums it up, “All companies that want to be globally competitive must practice outsourcing. Always buy the supplies you need from the source that can give you the best value for the money.”
It’s key to remember that outsourcing companies are not giving away their core competencies, the things that they excel in. The core competencies, which are the revenue generators,…

June 10th, 2004
Charity Takes Action

I learned what “waste” truly meant when the agency for which I worked began participating in a federally funded breakfast and lunch program for the preschoolers in our early childhood program.
Lawful wasteThe law required that carefully measured portions of food be given to every child, regardless of whether the child is hungry enough to eat it all.
A tremendous amount of food was thrown out each day. Contributing to the waste was the fact that absenteeism was high, snow days were common, and purchasing errors were made from time to time. Much of the food was perishable.The
amount of waste gnawed at me, and I was determined to make a dent in it.
Portions to the PortionI spoke to the two aides who worked…

June 9th, 2004
Drunken Taunts, Childhood Regrets

I was just walking my dog on a peaceful Sunday afternoon.
From beyond a grassy knoll of lavender and roses, someone beckoned me from a second floor apartment balcony. I looked up to see a shirtless man leaning against the rail. He was too far away for me to make out his features, but I could tell he was young, blond, and—from his unsteady swagger—drunk.
“What kinda dog is that?” he yowled. A greyhound, I responded, continuing to walk.
“I’ll bet he can kick some ass,” he bellowed, taking a swig of something I safely presumed to be beer. “I’ll bet he can kick some major aaaaassss” he repeated.
“Naw, he’s friendly.” Still not breaking pace,…

June 6th, 2004
Mercy and Mourning for My Enemy

I couldn’t help it. “Good riddance,” I mumbled, as the news came through that Ronald Wilson Reagan, 40th President of the United States, had died on Saturday, June 5, 2004.
In these days following his passing, it has seemed like nearly every other American was praising his achievements—the president-savior who gave us “morning in America, the tough guy who felled the Berlin Wall, the grandfatherly “Great Communicator” who reassured us.
I scowl, feeling like the man in Bermuda shorts at the winter formal. By my accounting, President Reagan bequeathed our world one nightmare after another. How does someone like me honestly mourn his passing?
Ronnie and me back in college…

June 5th, 2004
Philadelphia Catholics Moving Toward Healing with AALM

Although the horrors of slavery, Jim Crow laws and segregated facilities may no longer exist in the United States, there are other, less visible and less formalized aspects of racial prejudice that persist–even, unfortunately, within faith communities. In particular, a parish in Philadelphia with a history of racial tension is helping members of their congregation understand and deal with existing prejudices thanks to the influence of the African American Leadership Ministry (AALM).
A ministry is born
AALM was started in 1996 by a group of black members and white allies at St. Vincent de Paul parish who saw the need for black leaders in their church congregation. Black parishioners desired a voice…

June 3rd, 2004
...or how I learned to turn the other cheek to the other #%*!$ drivers I share the road with.

I’m a big fan of peace and harmony. Because of this, I generally don’t struggle much when it comes to forgiving others. Subconsciously, it feels far better than carrying an unpleasant conflict around in my heart.
But there’s one thing that I am loath to forgive. It’s embarrassing to admit to something so petty, but I can’t forgive rudeness from other drivers.
In my defense, I come by this honestly. My grandfather, an
infinitely kind and gentle man, nonetheless remembered every insult that had ever happened to him on the road. I distinctly recall his outrage when, in his words, “a chick in a Rambo truck” cut him off on the freeway. I don’t know whether to blame nature…

June 2nd, 2004
The thinking-person's superhero

The most fascinating disguise in this summer’s blockbuster Spiderman 2 has nothing to do with special effects or characters on the screen. Though the second installment in the franchise packs even more of a thrilling wallop than the first, beneath the gloss and spectacle of this exciting piece of entertainment beats the heart of an unexpectedly adult and emotionally complex story. After spending hundreds of millions of dollars perfecting every visual detail, it’s ironic that Spiderman 2‘s greatest achievement comes from the lowest rung in Hollywood’s bizarre ladder of success: the writers. Considering who was helming the story, however, it really shouldn’t come as a…

June 2nd, 2004
A review of Awake My Soul: Contemporary Catholics on Traditional Devotions edited by James Martin, S.J.

To an older generation of Roman Catholics, the mention of traditional devotions like the eucharistic adoration and liturgy of the hours might elicit either chilling memories of a repressive, bygone Catholic era or perhaps a sense of nostalgia for the way things used to be. What they might not expect is that these same devotions are experiencing a renaissance of sorts among a younger generation for whom these practices are new and carry less cultural baggage.
In Awake My Soul: Contemporary Catholics on Traditional Devotions editor James Martin, S.J. has gathered the reflections of a diverse group of authors—many of whom are in their thirties and forties—on their “favorite” devotions. The…

May 29th, 2004
Out of Grad School, in Search of Gainful Employment

Ah, graduation. The time when a person’s thoughts turn to six-figure salaries and a new wardrobe full of business casual clothes. The time when we leave the cocoon of school and enter the working world. The time to say good-bye to books, papers, and assignments, and hello to cubicles, paychecks, and water coolers.
The problem for me is, even though I’m graduating, I don’t have a job. Yes, I know you were going to ask.
Unemployable, that’s what you areI initially went to graduate school because I felt that, with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in religious studies, I was completely unemployable in the spring of 2002. I was also tired of waiting tables and neither I nor my parents wanted me living…

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