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Marco . . . Polo

Western civilization's first secular bestseller.

The world-famous explorer Marco Polo is credited with many things, but perhaps the greatest is compiling one of the world's first best-selling travelogues. Published around 1300, the book chronicles his experiences during a 24-year odyssey from Venice to Asia and back again.

Polo did not write down his adventures himself. Shortly after his return to Venice in 1295, Polo was imprisoned by the Genoese, enemies of the Venetians, when he met a fellow prisoner, a writer from Pisa named Rusticiano. Polo told his stories to his new friend, who wrote them down and published them in a medieval language known as Franco-Italian.

Lining Up to Get Raped

The article says, "And fans have no choice." Well, um, yes they do.

It's not your imagination: Concert ticket prices are going through the roof.

And not just for the super wealthy who pay thousands of dollars to see the best acts from the front row. Fans of all types are paying more to see their favorite musicians.

The average price of a ticket to the 100 most popular tours in North America has almost quadrupled over the past two decades, from $25.81 in 1996 to $91.86 through the first half of this year, according to researcher Pollstar. Along with pro sports and Broadway shows, concert prices have far outpaced inflation.

Public Service Announcement

15 things you should never put in a dishwasher. "Communist" isn't one of them.

4. Wooden Cutting Boards & Utensils
Wood and dishwashers just don't mix. The heat of the dishwasher can cause wood to warp, and the drying cycle can make it crack. So please, keep your wooden cutting boards and utensils out of the dishwasher.

This is Bananas

Without bananas and eggs, I'm not sure we could've afforded to feed our seven kids all those years. For a prolonged spell, we were going through 400 gallons of milk annually.

A deadly fungus is spreading through banana plantations, and the cloned bananas we eat are defenseless. In labs around the world, scientists are trying to find ways to genetically alter the fruit to make it resistant.

I know there's a similar concern about tomatoes. I'm bracing myself for that fateful day. I try not to put tomatoes in my compost, and I grow all my tomatoes from seed I buy or harvest myself from the previous year. I want to be there with my field of 5,000 cherry tomatoes when they cost $1 apiece . . . as opposed to 3 cents apiece I currently get.

For Your Sunday Meditations

St. Josemaría's message for us is that God wants all of us to become saints, and for most Catholics this will not involve leaving one's state in life; it will not involve leaving the world. Spouses and professional occupations are not obstacles to sanctity, but become the very means, the hinge of sanctification. It will be precisely by learning to find God through our spouses, in family life, and in our daily work, that we can become saints. Moreover, these ordinary aspects of daily life become the occasions of apostolate, of helping those we encounter day in and day out draw closer to God. We won't be able to do this, however, without frequent recourse to Jesus in the Eucharist, in Confession, and in set times of prayer.