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A 'perilous experiment' that comes off

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Just received a press release from Westminster John Knox Press, the Presbyterian publisher, about the death of an author.

Robert L. Short, acclaimed author of The Gospel according to Peanuts, dies

Louisville, Kentucky -- Robert Short, who pioneered the study of religion through popular culture, passed away on July 6 after a brief illness. He was 76.

Born in Midland, Texas, in 1932, Short is perhaps best known for his landmark first book, The Gospel according to Peanuts. Upon its release in 1965 it became the top nonfiction bestseller in the United States, selling over 10 million copies in 11 languages. It was lauded by The New York Times Book Review as "a 'perilous experiment' that comes off" and earned the admiration and respect of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz. Through his work, Short became a trailblazer for other authors seeking to reveal the sacred in the simplest of places.

Pharaoh's daughter came down to the river

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"Pharaoh's daughter came down to the river ..." Exodus 2

Women rule the world. One sign of it, if you need proof, is the invariable presence of a commanding woman seated at the front of the morning bus who holds court, chatting loudly with the bus driver and keeping the world together and on track with her regal observations. Coffee left standing all night is undrinkable. People do foolish things, and they always pay for it in the long run. What goes around comes around. Pay now or pay later. God help anyone who doesn't respect his mother.

Archbishop as Media Analyst

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In the mid-1970s, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput served as director of communications for the Capuchin Province of St. Augustine in Pittsburgh. Not exactly a media pressure cooker, but I suppose it gives him some competence in analyzing the work of the press. Which is what he did last week in a speech to Catholic business leaders of Legatus, an organization founded by pizza magnate Tom Monaghan.

What do you think of closing a Catholic school

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The subtitle for this blog entry is probably: You too can help shape an editorial. See Baltimore Sun and the Closing of Towson Catholic High School.

This editorial-in-the-making is "pre-released" by the newspaper and seeks input and responses to the draft editorial promising that the best comments will appear alongside the editorial. So interactive.

The substance of the draft editorial is not pleasant. First, Towson Catholic High School is closing. Second, the manner in which the decision was made is coming under close scrutiny. One wonders when dioceses will get out of running and managing Catholic schools, as the track record is horrendous. They should hand over these schools to lay people and lay boards with fiduciary responsibility for the health of the school and dioceses can hold onto the religion program vis-a-vis the issue of "Catholicity." This appears to be the route the Brooklyn diocese is taking.

Scapegoats, again

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Economic nervousness blankets the country -- and here in California, that blanket is even thicker. Which can only mean one thing: it's time to demonized undocumented immigrants.

Nationally, there is talk that unemployment will soon pass a crucial psychological marker: ten percent. Well, here on the West Coast -- where we're always ahead of the trends -- we've already jumped passed that to 11.5 percent.

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October 24-November 6, 2014

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