The Five Kinds of Life Hacks

I love life hacks — if they make sense. But four out of every five I’ve seen just don’t. After some observation, I’ve classified life hacks into five groups:

1. Real These work, and they are worth doing, and I wasn’t already doing them, and they solve a problem. Example: Put a stocking over the vacuum nozzle to find small objects lost in the carpet. Also, keep pot lids in a magazine rack, the kind that lets you see the top of each magazine, staggered vertically. These are good ideas that I would not have thought of, and I’m glad to know about them. These are the kind of tips that make me a life hack fan in the first place.

2. Just common sense These are things you should have been doing all along. They are just obvious ways to use things. There’s no hack to them. Example: When microwaving food, arrange it in a donut shape so it heats evenly. I thought everyone knew that was how you microwave food.

3. Doesn’t work Example: Hanging a shoe organizer on the inside of the door under the kitchen sink, then using it to organize liquid cleaners. First of all, if this sounds like it would improve your life, you are using too many different products. Second of all, that would weigh about ten pounds, depending on how many you have and how full they are. That can wear out the hinges. A shoe organizer might be a good place to keep cleaning supplies, but under the sink is not a good place to set the system up in most homes I’ve been in. Maybe a better idea would be to put a shower rod in the broom closet, if you have one, and hang the organizer from it.

4. Not a hack but a craft Example: Transfer a design to a candle using wax paper and a blowdryer. This is not an ingenious way of solving a problem. It is how you make a craft. It is no more a life hack than an applique pattern would be. And the final category…

5. Why? Some hacks not only don’t solve a problem, they don’t even address one. Example: Use a CD spindle as a bagel spindle. Why would you have a CD spindle when you don’t have CDs? And why would you put bagels on a spindle? How is that better than just putting bagels in a lunch bag? What is the advantage in spindling them? And wouldn’t it taste funny? Also, the “hack” of using a clothes hanger for all your sunglasses. How many sunglasses does anyone have? I like sunglasses, and I used to be notorious for wearing them all the time, but I don’t think I’ve ever had more than three pairs at a time. I usually have just one, in fact.

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Catholic Quote of the Day — from Pope Francis : The Integrated Catholic Life™

Catholic Quote of the Day — from Pope Francis : The Integrated Catholic Life™.

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NEJM study shows nearly a quarter of babies born at 22 weeks survive if aggressively treated; 33% for babies born at 23 weeks

NEJM study shows nearly a quarter of babies born at 22 weeks survive if aggressively treated; 33% for babies born at 23 weeks.

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Fr. Barron on the Meaning of the Ascension

In honor of the Feast of the Ascension, which is yesterday, today or Sunday depending on your time zone and diocese, here’s a video of Fr. Barron explaining the meaning of the ascension of the Lord into Heaven.

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Ascension Day Celebration Ideas

The Feast of the Ascension is 40 days after the Resurrection, or the Seventh Sunday of Easter, depending on the diocese.

In 2015, it’s either today or this coming Sunday, May 17th.

It’s a Holy Day of Obligation celebrating the day Jesus Christ rose from Earth to Heaven in front of many witnesses.

In parts of Britain, it’s Rogation Day, when people walk around and mark the boundaries of properties such as farms and churches by thumping on the ground or on bushes.

Here’s an Ascension Day celebration in Bavaria.

An article republished on Catholic Culture suggests not only processions, but picnics, mountain-climbing, horse racing and dramas as Ascension Day traditions. The article cites a 13th-Century custom of raising a statue of Christ through a hole in the Church roof. I don’t think many parishes have such a presentation planned, but placing a small image of Jesus on the highest shelf in the house could be the focus of a family custom.  If you don’t live near a racetrack, a sack race or bicycle race might be fun. The author says her family discusses how to use the Gifts of the Spirit to bear the Fruits. Unlike me, they spent the previous nine days preparing, though. But it would make a worthwhile devotion for the day for anyone who didn’t already have one planned.

As for recipes, traditional Ascension foods include poultry of any kind, pastries shaped like birds, and here is an Ascension Banana Poke Cake from a blog called Rose’s Supposes.

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My Offline Day

When I was a small child, having learned to read early, I loved running to the book sections whenever we went to a second-hand store. In one, I found a little hardback called Amy’s Long Night. It was about a girl who looked kind of like me, who decided to stay up all night alone with nothing to do. She was surprised how the time dragged, but also how easily she could amuse herself by just looking around and listening to sounds. At least that’s what I got out of it. I haven’t seen the book since then. Maybe it was a totally different plot and went over my head. Anyway, I’ve had countless long nights since I read it, when sick, homeless, intoxicated or, more often I think, worried.

Yesterday I had a miniature long night. You see, I have no smart phone, and I just spent 23 hours offline. Completely. No status. No updates. No feedback. No blogs. No memes. No tweets to read. No internet. It was suddenly 1994 in my world (I wasn’t an early adopter when it came to technology).

I found that, when I wanted to hear music, I thought in terms of albums, not songs. When I wanted to know what a word meant, I thought about it. When I wanted to read, I looked for something I would read at least 2000 words of at a time. My mind slowed but deepened at the same time. My concern with the opinions strangers might have about me faded a little bit.

I am glad to be online again, and I want to post tonight. But I am also grateful for the unintended break. Everyone needs a break from the informational noise now and then.

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Thai trafficking crackdown targets corrupt police, officials

Originally posted on Ethics Asylum:

Image Credit: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s police chief announced the arrest of a powerful provincial mayor on Friday and said 50 police officers are being investigated in a widening human trafficking scandal spanning four Asian countries.

At an urgently called meeting of senior police from around Thailand, police chief Gen. Somyot Poompanmoung delivered the strongest public admission yet of police involvement in trafficking syndicates that use Thailand as a regional transit hub. Human rights groups have long accused Thai authorities of collusion in the trafficking industry but police routinely denied the claims.

“If you are still neglecting, or involved with, or supporting or benefiting from human-trafficking networks — your heads will roll,” Somyot told the meeting at Bangkok’s national police headquarters.

Last Friday, police unearthed two dozen bodies from shallow graves in the mountains of southern Thailand, a grim discovery that has since exposed a network of jungle…

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