New App Simplifies Trafficking, Incest & Statutory Rape

CHARLOTTE, NC — A new App called Nurx ensures sex traffickers, abusive relatives and overbearing boyfriends are not burdened by complicated encounters with health care professionals, while ensuring that the girls who service them never, ever, meet a physician, nurse, or clinic work who might intervene and contact the authorities.

“If a teenage girl is engaging in a behavior that has potentially life-threatening consequences, that’s not something her parents need to know about,” the health care provider explained.  “It’s better just to give her a medication with known fatal side effects without ever consulting a physician in person.”

Critics have questioned whether teenagers are able to reliably choose their own prescription medications, but teachers and school administrators all agreed in an industry consensus statement, “If there’s one thing we can say about teenagers, it’s that they are reliable, diligent, and filled with a deep sense of personal responsibility.”

The document went on to say, “No teenager would ever lie on a form on the internet.  Sexual predators don’t ever use fake identities on the internet either. So this is completely not a public health concern.”

“We care about girls’ reproductive health and freedom,” a public health official observed.  “Many girls have said they’d ‘rather die’ then let their parents know what they’re doing. Nurx is here to make that possible for them.”

 

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Need a prescription?  Internet doctors can help you with that.  Photo courtesy of Wikimedia [CC 3.0]

 

 

 

The Physiology of Fasting and other Penitential Links

Link #1 The Physiology of Fasting

Late last Lent an Orthodox friend and I were whining about how much we hate fasting.  There are people in this world who don’t have much appetite, and he and I are not those people.  Furthermore, at his parish he knows these guys who fast for days and days during Holy Week, and hold up just fine.  We’re not talking St. Starvicus of the Empty, Empty Desert who lived on a weekly mouthful of bitter herbs in the second century. We’re talking about flesh-and-blood normal guys with day jobs in modern America.

How do they do it?  We had a number of theories, and mine were all wrong.

Not too long into Easter (happy happy feast feast) I stumbled on a website run by a physician whose practice includes overseeing a lot of clients who fast extensively for health reasons (primarily in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, as it happens).  Dr. Jason Fung is a normal (secular, slightly potty-mouthed) Canadian-guy MD with normal-people clients and a lot to say on how fasting affects your body, and why our non-eating Orthodox friends are experiencing something radically different when they fast than that misery you feel on Ash Wednesday when you eat one regular meal and two small snacks.

–> I have no opinion on whether or how you should fast, other than that you should mind the Precepts of the Church and also common sense regarding your own health and state of life.  But if you are bored, here’s a site with the answer to the question of What’s with those people who don’t eat for days on end?

Here’s the archives of the entire “Fasting” category on his website.

Here’s page 1, if you want to start at the beginning.

I mention it now during Advent because if you want to run pre-Lent experiments on yourself, now’s the time.

Link #2 Vader Did You Know?

A profound thank you to Jane Lebak for sharing this link.  Sometimes a song is so bad that the only good use for it is turning it into a Star Wars plot summary.

#3: Not a link, just a PSA

Dear Adults Who Edit Hymnals,

Did you know that young people are linguistically competent?  You might have noticed the way they are constantly making up words and phrases that confound you to pieces.  This is because they are able to learn languages, even English.

Therefore, it is not necessary to wipe every use of the word “Thou” from your hymnal.  People under the age of 150 are able to learn new words, just like people in previous eras were able to learn new words like “telegraph” and “wireless” and eventually even “social security check.”

Also, you look very stupid when you “fix” a hymn for us by making it grammatically incoherent in the effort to remove verbs ending in “est.”  So perhaps you are not able to master the English language. But the rest of us can pick it up pretty well, thanks.

Sincerely,

Jennifer  <– So done with offering it up.  Just done.  Get me to confession, please.

Link #4: My Classic Collection of Advent Links

When I moved the blog to the new location, I didn’t pull over the entire old sidebar.  FYI the new sidebar has lots of good stuff, including a freshly-harvested crop of internet reading now that I’m back to goofing off on the internet.  But if you’re looking for the annual collection of Old Reliable Advent Links, here they are:

This is not the year I grow the list, but look, when I searched Wikimedia for “Advent” this slightly-wrinkled manuscript page from the “O Antiophons” category popped right up:

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Artwork courtesy of Benedictine monastery of Podlažice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Top Ten Ways Jack Chick Will Spend His Purgatory

There are lots of people who know exactly what Purgatory is like, but few of them are available for comment.  A review of the literature, however, points to some likely ways that Jack T. Chick could be spending his hours of purification.

Top Ten Ways Jack Chick Will Spend His Purgatory

  1. Helping St. Anthony look for things.
  2. Putting finishing touches on portraits of the Blessed Mother.
  3. Listening to Saints Peter and Paul reminisce about everything that’s ever happened at the Vatican, for real.
  4. Meeting all the Jesuits.
  5. Praying along with the prayer requests mentioned on Catholic Answers Live.
  6. Assisting St. Rita in all the desperate pleas for help with last-minute Halloween costumes.
  7. Working with the purgatory-residing authors of anemic bread-wine-sharing-dinner-table songs to rewrite their lyrics into hymns suited to Eucharistic Adoration.
  8. Writing If I can’t keep my pagan gods’ names straight, I will visit the local library to fact-check 1,000 times on the blackboard.  In hieroglyphics.
  9. Preparing a big Thank You Jimmy Akin! sign to hang at the gates of Heaven.
  10. Passing out the plenary indulgences to the suffering souls who’ve just been released.

Remember, kids, for the love of all that is Jesuit: You can spring Jack Chick at any time. May he rest in peace.

***

As I shared in part 2 of my conversion story at New Evangelizers, I owe Jack Chick eternal gratitude:

Having to answer these egregious attacks on the Church was the best thing that ever happened to me.  I didn’t have the luxury of saying, “Well, I just like the liturgy,” or “This seems to be where God wants me for now.”  I had to turn on my brain and find out: Is this faith true?  Can I know beyond a reasonable doubt that this is for real?  Because it’s lovely to have bright glowing memories of a spiritual experience, but what about when the shine wears off?  What about when all the scandals that have rocked the Church take their turn at my place for a change?  Will I still believe when things aren’t so easy anymore?

I still have my annotated copy of Are Roman Catholics Christian? full of penciled-in Bible verses refuting the assorted misinformation.  (Quick answer: Why yes, we are.  Thanks for asking.)

I can’t seem to find a proper review, but here’s my Goodreads blurb on Jimmy Akin’s excellent book The Nightmare World of Jack Chick:

Great book. As always with Jimmy Akin, it’s thoroughly researched, and calmly and charitably expressed. In addition, the book is a fun topic, not technical and it’s a quick read. Great choice for teens just getting going with apologetics. My son loved it!

You want this book.  Looks like it’s out of print right now, but you can read a version at Catholic Answers.

The Nightmare World of Jack Chick

Cover art courtesy of Catholic Answers and Goodreads.

Top 5 Predicted Evacuation Warnings at Governor Haley’s Next Press Conference

At this morning’s press conference, Governor Haley had to start getting stern with Charlestonians, who are being a mite sluggish about evacuating.  In light of the category 4 hurricane predicted to hit the coast Saturday morning, staffers are preparing a set of stronger warnings for the governor’s next press briefing.

5. “It’s not just gas stations and pharmacies that are closing.  Waffle House is closing.  And Bojangles.  This is serious, y’all.”

4. “Tennessee is filling up, and then you’re gonna have to drive to Kentucky to find a room.  Is that what you want?  I didn’t think so.”

3. “Don’t make me come down there and show you pictures of Hugo.”

2. “Greenville County school buses are now leaving the Charleston Coliseum, and they will be honking outside your house, whether you got your lunch packed or not.”

1. “Okay, that’s it.  Every road east of I-95 is now officially a westbound one-way street.”

Officials denied rumors that the delay in announcing the fate of Saturday’s Carolina-Georgia game is a ploy to improve evacuation rates, but conceded, “if only it were the Clemson-Carolina game, we’d just paint tiger paws on I-26 and be done with it.”

 

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Photo: South Carolina Governor Nikki R. Haley (Flickr) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Culture, Evangelization, and a Free E-Book: Getting Along with Traditionalists

In a conversation on a private forum, the topic of culture and evangelization came up.  The discussion question was whether the concept of “Engaging the Culture” is relevant in a society as diverse as our own.  Can we even say that there exists “a culture” to engage?

Excerpts from my response:

I spent a year of my undergrad work in International Studies sitting in a classroom on another continent with a 100 classmates from around the world, all expats using a second language for their coursework. Did my thesis on a question of “cultural exports” in international trade. Since that time I’ve been living immersed in one of the most diverse and misunderstood American subcultures on this continent (to which I am bi-cultural, or probably more accurately quad-cultural), at a time of tremendous demographic change in the region where I live . . .

Trust me: There is an American Culture, there is a “Western” Culture, and there are myriad national cultures, ethnic cultures, religious cultures, and social-sub-cultures within all the different lumped-up mega-cultures.

Knowing where someone is “coming from,” by which I mean knowing all the forces that form and shape them, is very helpful in being able to connect with them. It doesn’t shortcut the process of listening and learning from the individual, but to the extent that you are fluent in the culture of the person you are evangelizing or discipling, you have way more ability to recognize and address unspoken needs and concerns, and way more ability to understand what the person is trying to say.

Being aware of cultural gulfs — even if you’re only aware that there is a possibility of one, but don’t know where it lies — is a great help in avoiding disastrous misunderstandings.

All that was one train of thought. For a nice book recommendation (not mine) concerning culture and thus indirectly the question of evangelization, see my review of The Culture Map over at New Evanglizers.

Then I concluded with a remark in the other direction, because you can really trip yourself up by leaning too heavily on cultural assumptions:

. . . interestingly, every single inter-personal disaster I have seen in church work over the past decade or so stemmed from watching one person assume all sorts of crazy things about another person based on the fact that the second person came from or identified with this or that ethnic or social sub-culture.

 

Which reminded me there was a book I’ve been meaning to write.  I hear so many times about how difficult is to get along with Traditionalists and other foreign-types.  I’m sure someone else has the Getting Along With People From Other Countries That Speak Spanish segment sufficiently covered, but what about the much more pervasive and feared Radical Traditionalist?  Not everything in a mantilla is a sweet little immigrant grandmother just doing her special immigrant customs, you know.  So I had to write a new book.

I thought it would fit on an index card, but it’s a little bit longer.  Here’s the galley of the first in the series, which is my free gift to you, my loyal readers:

How to Get Along with Traditionalists

Click the title-link to immediately download the PDF, no ads, no shopping cart, no mailing list.  It’s yours for the clicking.

Be sure to the check the last page for more titles in the series, because rad-trads aren’t the only dangerous beasts in parish life.

Enjoy!

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President and Mrs. Reagan meet Pope John Paul II, The Vatican, Rome, 1982. [Public Domain] via Wikimedia. Listening is important, because not every person in a mantilla is the spouse of the President of the United States, either.

Preview of My Sports Illustrated Photo Shoot

The details haven’t been finalized, but I wanted to give you, my faithful readers, a preview of my naked-female-Olympian-senior-citizen photos.  There’s been some criticism of my plans to go through with this, and I thought it only fair that you get the whole story.

Complaint #1: But Jennifer, you aren’t naked!  People say that all the time about me.  Just like C.B. Jenner, who will be naked except for an American flag, as you can see here, I am naked except for the things that make me not-naked.  Sports Illustrated always covers up the naughty bits on their pin-up models, that’s how you know they are a reputable publisher.*  The old word for this was “clothed” but that doesn’t sell magazines.  You can call it trans-naked if that makes you feel better.

Complaint #2: Not wearing an American flag.  Looks like I’m wearing something from my vast collection of black t-shirts, doesn’t it?  Small-minded people think that way.  It’s a trans-American flag.

Complaint #3: No Olympic medals. I’ve gotten as many medals in women’s Olympic events as Jenner has, but certain bigoted people keep pointing out that I’ve never even been to the Olympics. That’s not true.  I watched the women’s Olympic cycling time trials in Atlanta in 1996, and my sister-in-law can vouch for it because we carpooled, so there.  Just because I don’t have any Olympic medals doesn’t mean surgeons and photographers can’t work together to give me some.  I’ll be a trans-medalist in time for publication.

Complaint #4: Not a sixty-something. They always tell me that at the library when I explain I should be exempt from overdue fines, just like all the other over-55’s.  Okay, so admittedly, people who look at my birth certificate would infer that I’ve got a few more years to go before I’m technically in my sixties, but you know what?  I’ve always felt most comfortable around older people.  I identify with older people.  Also, I’m kind of decrepit.  Why do you hate trans-seniors so much?

Complaint #5: So where’s the grey hair?  This is the most ridiculous one I get, because look around: How many sixty-something women do you know who let their grey show?  Not many.  I may not have as much grey as other ladies of-a-certain-age, but I’ve got it and I wear it loud and proud.  When you look at me and see all that hair that appears to be naturally not-grey-still?  That’s actually my real inner me showing, the one who’s fully grey but gets it colored by a slightly careless hairdresser.

Complaint #6: You don’t look like a model. At all.  A lot of trans-models don’t.  This is why enlightened people use photoshop.  I’m just showing you the raw cuts.  Once Sports Illustrated is done with these, I’ll look exactly like my thirteen-year-old daughter, only not as happy.  That’s what all fashion models look like: Thirteen-year-olds who’ve just been put on restriction.  Unfortunately, it’s difficult to photoshop out the pained look that comes from only eating four meals a week. Real thirteen-year-olds are much more fun to be around.   Since I’m a woman of middle age trans-senior who eats every single day, there is a suspicious look of contentment around the corners of my eyes, and SI is out of luck there.  But I sold them on the idea that it would be cutting-edge to feature someone who was only trans-anorexic.

Complaint #7: You aren’t famous, so you won’t sell any magazines.  I know!  I tried to convince SI to be trans-avaricious, but they swore they were the the real thing.  So I explained that I was trans-famous, and that was just as good as regular-famous.  But my goodness it’s like they’re stuck in the eighties or something — like the only thing they care about is selling magazines!  But I’m okay with that.  I’m a trans-SI girl, and that’s good enough for me. The people who love me know the truth.

 

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*Oh, so you wanted to know what real live sixty-something women look like naked?  Should’ve gone to medical school – hasn’t your mother told you that?

Teen Boy Develops Alzheimers Prevention Program

Citing a family history of dementia, and mounting evidence that his 40-something parents “are losing it,” a South Carolina teen decided it was time to intervene.

“I got the idea from those animal enrichment exercises they do at the zoo,” the boy explained, “Like putting the treat inside the toilet paper tube, and that stuff. Research has found that mental activity can delay the onset of dementia, so I thought: That’s what I need to do, for the good of my parents.”

Noting that aging parents are generally not motivated by normal rewards, like pop tarts and video games, he encourages other teens to “think like a boring person — what’s important to them?”  For example, “When I put the dishes away, I never put them away in the same place.  That way they have to using spatial problem-solving skills to consider what places the bowls might fit, or what might be hiding inside that large stock pot on top the fridge.”

An essential part of program is helping parents develop long-term persistence at challenging tasks.  “My mom’s been looking for that blue lid that goes with the baking pan for weeks now.  It’s really cute watching her try to guess more places it could possibly be.”

For the elderly, regular routines can help them remember day-to-day tasks.  “My program uses visual cues to help parents remember what they are supposed to be doing.  For example, the main thing my parents do around the house is give orders.  So I fill the sink with dirty dishes as a visual cue that it’s time to tell a kid to do the dishes. If they didn’t have that cue, they might forget.”

He encourages other teens, “Even if it seems like your parents don’t really have anything to do, it’s important to give them that feeling of ‘contributing’.  Letting them be the person who wakes you up in the morning can give them a sense of accomplishment they’ll never get from whatever else it is they do all day.”

Is it hard, caring for aging parents?  “Sure, sometimes it takes real persistence and patience.  The other day, I had to lay in bed pretending to sleep until 10 o’clock, before my parents finally noticed and did their ‘getting the teenager out of bed’ chore.  But it’s worth the sacrifice.  If you love your parents, you’ll sleep in as late as necessary.”