Busted Halo
April 22nd, 2009
Here's a chance to win the national advice columnist's new memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville!

Ann Landers’ successor shares the secrets of where she finds moral guidance and why a barbecue pit is the perfect place to find God
Interview and introduction by Kristine Gasbarre
The response to our Busted: Amy Dickinson article was so great we decided to be equally great and give our readers the chance to win her new memoir The Mighty Queens of Freeville. In fact, we are giving away THREE whole copies of the book. All you have to do is tell us what makes us so great in 1,000 words or less… or, you can just submit your name, email and shipping address so that we can pick a winner and send them this fantastic new memoir that critics are calling “Buoyant and bright” and “Great American storytelling…

April 20th, 2009
Spoken word poets offer a raw, inspiring and spiritual message

On a Friday night in the East Village of Manhattan, a diverse crowd of 250 people in chairs, on the floor and standing shoulder to shoulder packs the historic Nuyorican Poetry Cafe to hear poetry. Princess Souvenir, a Detroit native, sits in the audience waiting for the show to begin. Unapologetically defining herself as “spiritual” as opposed to religious, she believes that poetry venues are in a sense “spiritual… you hear and grow from it, it liberates you.”
Princess is not alone. Many who attend poetry venues like the Nuyorican sense that something spiritual is going on. Not only is the poetry live and engaging, but people are getting a consistent dose of faith, hope and spiritual…

April 8th, 2009
Without eating your weight in Peeps

My freshman year of college I was irate. After twelve years of Catholic school I expected some sort of vacation at Easter. My secular college however had no intention of living up to that expectation. It was eye opening that first year to realize that, not only was there no vacation, no one even acknowledged that Easter was on its way.
In high school, Easter had always been a time to celebrate. (If nothing else, to celebrate the end of Friday fish fry lunches.) On Easter morning, following a huge post-church family brunch, I remember gorging on chocolate bunnies (especially their ears), Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, PEEPs and other assorted sweets, usually giving myself a stomach ache as I cast off the forty-some…

April 6th, 2009
Part 2 - Children Saving Children

There are more slaves today than at any other point in human history.
— E. Benjamin Skinner, A Crime So Monstrous…
For most of us, it’s difficult to imagine that in 2009 there are more than 27 million people, most of them women and children, being held against their will. Many are abused or carried across international borders and exploited as servants, forced prostitutes or laborers. Many of them never make it out. If they do, it’s not unusual that they no longer possess their sense of humanness or the will to continue living.
Busted Halo’s three-part series on modern-day slavery and human trafficking aims not only to raise consciousness and concern about these two incredibly important human

March 31st, 2009
Take the Freshman Survival Guide Survey!

When we published Busted Halo‘s® First Annual Freshman Survival Guide in 2005, we thought we had a good idea on our hands; we just didn’t know how good. Since then, the Guide has grown exponentially and we are proud to announce an exciting and important step in that growth: Hachette Book Group will publish the first print edition of Busted Halo…‘s Freshman Survival Guide next year.
Our goal is to take the first print edition of the Guide well beyond what we’ve been able to do online. Of course, it will still encompass a wide range of college-life issues from academics and relationships to dealing with roommates, social life and everything else that affects new college students. What makes

March 30th, 2009
When a friend's life is consumed with Christian group activity, resentment brews

Twenty minutes after our agreed upon meeting time, my best friend Andrea rushed into the coffee shop smiling and apologetic. The devil on my left shoulder won the wrestling match taking place in my conscience and I said, “I don’t think Jesus would have been late.” My tone was not joyfully sarcastic, but biting — with a clenched-teeth smile like a ventriloquist’s dummy.
It was unusual coming from me. Generally, I’m pretty maternal when it comes to my friends. (I spent the weeks before Christmas knitting hats and scarves in pink and purple while listening to hours of relationship complaints. In my Palm Pilot are individual birthday notices accompanied by a list of appropriate…

March 25th, 2009
A younger generation expresses their Jewishness in controversial ways

Evocative, disrespectful, proud, antithetic: these are just some of the words used to describe Jews with tattoos. Seth Alamar, who has 30-odd tattoos, calls most of his markings religious or “Jewish.” He has heard all the reasons why a Jew should not get tattooed — including the false myth that he would not be buried in a Jewish cemetery. But despite all the controversy surrounding ink in the Jewish faith, he did not think twice.
“The reason [I got tattoos] is not because I am not religious, it is not because I do not believe in G-d, or even because I am not a devout Jew,” Alamar said. “It is simply because it is my body and I don’t need anyone to make decisions for me.”

March 23rd, 2009
Part 1 - An interview with E. Benjamin Skinner

There are more slaves today than at any other point in human history.
— E. Benjamin Skinner, A Crime So Monstrous
In his 1999 book, Disposable People…, author Kevin Bales declared there were 27 million slaves worldwide — living, breathing, feeling human beings forced to work or suffer punishment, often both.
For most of us, it’s difficult to imagine that in 2009 there are more than 27 million people, most of them women and children, being held against their will. Many are abused or carried across international borders and exploited as servants, forced prostitutes or laborers. Most of them have absolutely no knowledge or power that could have enabled them to avoid entering their slavery situation. And

March 21st, 2009
An early morning epiphany while the world's biggest band played at my Catholic college

I clutched the barricade in front of me with all my strength, afraid to lose my prime spot as the crowd pushed from behind. Feet numb from standing for hours on frozen ground, I approached my fourth hour outside, armed with nothing more than a digital camera and granola bars. At 8:00 a.m. on the dot, it finally happened. U2 coolly strolled down the steps of Keating Hall — the same steps I have walked on the way to class so many times — took their place on stage, and launched into the first few chords of their new, psychedelic rock single, “Get on Your Boots.”
A week of rumors was finally put to rest as Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. performed at Fordham, as part of a special taping of Good Morning…

March 18th, 2009
A mother is torn when options are limited

I lead a double life.
To some that might sound glamorous; to others, intriguing; and there are those who might think it sounds plain exhausting. To me it is just something I have to do, because my son and daughter attend different schools.
Now, in New York this is not unusual. Our city offers, in general, something for everyone; parents have the choice of public, parochial, or private; single sex or coed.
Back in the day, where I grew up in The Bronx, every kid in a family went to the same school — either the parochial or public one in our neighborhood. The thinking was that it just made sense, and of course it was convenient for parents. There were no interviews or “spend the day with us” days to see if the…

March 15th, 2009
Going green never felt so good

As the son of an Irish immigrant, I always found it odd that my American mother looked forward to the big holiday more than my Irish father did.
“St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal now … in Ireland,” he told me on the phone recently, “but it never used to be anything to write home about in the old days. It was mostly a religious holiday and we treated it as a solemn day, as opposed to a day to get snockered.”
Now I don’t begrudge anyone a nice pint o’ Guinness, but shouldn’t St. Patrick’s Day be about more than simply getting drunk in a random pub? Instead of heading to some insanely crowded bar why not have a few friends over for one or more of the following Irish cultural

March 4th, 2009
A Jesuit priest dares soon-to-be graduates to consider service

Unlike any time in recent history, college seniors are being forced to think long and hard about what’s next. Though some no doubt are struggling mightily to ignore that question for another few weeks, with the current economic crisis deepening and unemployment rising it’s understandable that young adults would have a lot of anxiety about it. For those who might feel paralyzed, I’d like to offer one suggestion: Be of service to others.
Look, you’re young, free and able to take a year and do something great for those who could really use your talents and energy. The Obama administration is encouraging more young people to consider some form of service. Grad schools look more closely at…

March 3rd, 2009
How a college senior and her classmates are dealing with the stress of graduating during the biggest economic downturn in decades


February 17th, 2009
Legendary lead vocalist from The Staple Singers on Dr. King, Barack Obama and being wrapped up in the Lord's arms

Lost among the hoopla of the Inauguration of Barack Obama — among the celebrity sightings, the musical guests, and the soaring rhetoric — was the conspicuous absence of one civil rights icon. Where was Mavis Staples, the woman whose soulful baritone led the legendary Staple Singers? With her father, Roebuck “Pops” Staples and her siblings, Mavis had marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, and had provided the musical rallying cry for the movement that paved the way for Obama’s election. She had performed at the inaugurations of Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton, too, so she knew the routine. She was even from Chicago, same as the new President. But as the afternoon wore on, it became apparent…

February 2nd, 2009
The growing trend to tattoo your faith on your sleeve

Eyes of friends and strangers alike immediately fall to the arm, the shoulder, the back, or perhaps even to the unnaturally elongated earlobe – sometimes a question follows, sometimes it doesn’t.
The tattooed and the pierced have signed up for it all, deeming a stamp of meaning or originality worth the cost, the pain, the permanence and the perpetual need to cover their artwork for job interviews. As tattoo shops spring up in suburbia and as tattoos become standard fare in offices, researchers and industry professionals are finding many willing to go under the needle do so in the name of some god. In many other instances, they do so in the name of their own personal philosophy of faith.

January 29th, 2009
Boston students try to start a dialogue at the inauguration and the March for Life

When a group of Catholic high school students traveled to Washington, D.C. last week, their itinerary included what many would have previously considered to be irreconcilable goals: to celebrate Obama’s election during the inauguration, and then to attend the March for Life two days later to show their opposition to abortion. This group of 16 students, mostly juniors and seniors at Xaverian High School in the suburbs of Boston, represents what could be called a new wave in the pro-life movement. Their trip, with visits to a variety of landmarks and individuals promoting viewpoints that contribute to a consistent ethic of life, is an example of how the landscape of the pro-life movement is shifting, starting…

January 26th, 2009
The fourth installment of Marc Adams' inaugural vlog

In the fourth installment of his video blog from Washington D.C., contributing editor Marc Adams checks in a week after the inauguration, with an important reminder that the work is not over; it has just begun.…

January 19th, 2009
Marc Adams speaks to his parents, an interracial couple, in the third installment of his Washington D.C. video blog

In this third installment of his video blog from Washington D.C., contributing editor Marc Adams speaks to his parents, Mary and Roland Adams about why they decided to travel 3,000 miles from Southern California to attend the Inauguration of Barack Obama. As an interracial couple who have been together for over 30 years, the Adamses offer some very personal insights and experiences on race, history and opportunity in the United States.…

January 17th, 2009
Marc Adams' second installment in his Washington DC video blog

In this second installment of his video blog from Washington DC during inauguration festivities, contributing editor Marc Adams visits the Inauguration Superstore.…

January 15th, 2009
My Motown lesson in Martin Luther King, Jr.

[EDITOR'S NOTE — While MLK Day is celebrated next Monday, January 15 is Dr. King's birthday. He would have been 80 today. This article was originally published in Busted Halo on January 15, 2007.]…
The record spins. The needle hits the vinyl. A rhythmic tune bursts out from the speakers and penetrates my soul. At the same time, the emotional lyrics capture my young imagination. As I stare at the record sleeve, I’m transported to a time I have never known, a place far from home, and a struggle of monstrous proportions. While most kids today learn about the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in their elementary school classes, I first heard about this great champion of civil rights from a Motown record. And from

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