From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Bloody Little Mermaid

Mother and Calf  (Photo by Clark Anderson) 
Hans Christian Andersen’s little mermaid longed for a human body and soul.  She was willing to sacrifice all that she had in order to pursue such lofty goals.

Blood sacrifice has long been seen as an ultimate path to transcendence.  It is therefore somewhat fitting that this aquatic martyr’s statue has been “doused with red paint.”

Some call it criminal, others call it heroic when icons are defaced for a worthy cause.  Whoever splashed red upon this Copenhagen landmark did so in order to “defend the whales of the Faeroe Islands.”  This probably refers to the deliberate herding of pilot whales “into shallow waters,” where they are then “stabbed to death.”

Although pilot whales are currently thriving in North Atlantic waters, this “late 16th century” practice seems a particularly cruel way to butcher 800 sensitive, social and intelligent creatures. 


Copyright May 31, 2017 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Raising Royals

Prince George, Age 3   (Public Domain)
In keeping with their emphasis upon mental health, British royals William and Kate are wanting their children’s lives to be as normal as possible.

Whatever that means when you’re in the spotlight 24/7…

It partly means that little Prince George and littler sister Charlotte will not be secluded behind palace walls.  It also means that Kate and William will prioritize stability of home and family.

Prince William knows only too well how hurtful family chaos can be.  He and brother Harry have lately been airing some of their own deep grief.


Copyright May 30, 2017 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Monday, May 29, 2017

Yoginis getting their goats

Pygmy Goat   (Photo by Kuebi)
Although “getting someone’s goat” has come to be associated with anger, goats are often quite calm.  Perhaps that’s why they’re included in the yoga sessions at Jenness Farm in Nottingham, New Hampshire.

While clients there assume cat poses, goats are on the loose.  These sure-footed creatures climb around and upon the diligent students.  It’s not unusual to see goats standing upon the backs of yoginis, or snuggling on their mats.

This is all in good fun and lends a lighthearted air to the classes.  The farm hosts a total of 30 goats that contribute to the production of wholesale and retail goat-milk soap.


Copyright May 29, 2017 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Homegrown Body Parts

Zebrafish   (Photo by Azul) 
People waiting for transplant organs may soon be able to take heart, literally.

Live Science reports that science has already been able to successfully cultivate “small-scale human organs known as organoids.” These include a mini-brain the size of a pencil eraser, beating heart muscle that is organized into chambers, 3D mini-lungs, lab-grown vaginas, a “working esophagus.” and liver cells.

Lest we feel too divine about all this, let it be known that flatworms have been “regenerating their own heads” for ages.  And zebrafish?  They can “regrow their hearts.”  No need for them to tinker around in a lab.



Saturday, May 27, 2017

Smartphones, wise decisions?

'Grappler's Delight'   (Photo by Jeff777BC)
History has shown, time and again, that smart people do not always make wise choices.  Add smartphones to the mix, and decisions can be skewed even further.

Researchers in the United Kingdom studied how the use of smartphones versus personal computers can influence decision-making.  They presented 1100 people with the classic “Trolley Problem,” a moral dilemma in which
participants theoretically decide who gets to live and who gets to die.

The study showed that people using smartphones are “more likely to make rational and unemotional decisions,” whereas those on PCs favored “action based on intuition and following established rules.”  Because people are so linked to their technology these days, it’s quite likely that their decision-making will also be.

Personal computers might allow for more holistic thinking than smartphones do.  The latter often focuses users on one quick task at a time, whereas PCs entail more leeway.  If the house is on fire, grab a smartphone.  Short of that, grapple away on a PC.


Copyright May 27, 2017 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 26, 2017

Beauty and the Birthmark

(Port-wine Birthmark) 
Humans seem hardwired to shun marked differences.  Even the Bible refers to blemishes as though they were branded into the soul.

When strikingly beautiful Kgothatso Dithebe began her modeling career, she did so hesitatingly.  Convinced that the public would never accept her facial birthmark, she slathered on the make-up.  Agencies instructed her to do this.

After four years of that, Dithebe faced off with the world at large.  She decided to bare her natural skin, “making her the first model with a birthmark in the country to walk Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.”

Dithebe then experienced the perfect antidote to her long years of being “bullied verbally” as a student.  In her own words:  I had to re-learn to love myself.  The public then loved her as well.  She is now “being booked BECAUSE of her unusual looks.”  


Copyright May 26, 2017 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved