Friday, April 20, 2018

Marie-Antoinette and Music


From Royal Central:
Whilst musical talent in the eighteenth century was judged to be an appropriate feminine accomplishment, Marie Antoinette’s personal relationship with music was a special one, which reached far beyond mere natural inclination. Music proved to be in many ways, perpetually present, like a main character in her life story, giving parallel to key events or lending them at least, poignant expression. Her love and patronage of the music of the composer Christoph Willibald Glück, whose works she did much to promote in France, reaches back even further than Marie Antoinette’s birth, because the composer’s official inauguration in the role of composer of “theatrical and chamber music” took place in 1755 at a court ball at the summer palace of Laxenburg, when her mother, Maria Theresia, was roughly three months pregnant with her, the Empress’s fifteenth child.

When Archduchess Maria Antonia (“Antoine”) of Austria, the future Marie Antoinette was recorded as singing a French song as early as three-years-old, for the name day of her father, the Holy Roman Emperor Franz I, in 1759. She also met the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who gave his first concert at Schönbrunn Palace, the magnificent Habsburg summer residence on the outskirts of Vienna, in 1762, in the presence of the Empress and the Imperial Family, with the boy prodigy from Salzburg performing on the harpsichord. As Austrian Archduchess, Marie Antoinette’s young love of music was expressed in the painting of her at the spinet by Franz Xaver Wagenschön, a delightful image now part of the Kunsthistorisches Museum collections. The art is arresting, showing Marie Antoinette poised to turn the pages of her music, with one hand delicately resting on the keys. She is dressed in a day dress of blue satin, trimmed with fur, possibly of sable. It is proof, in any was needed, of her early commitment to what would be, a lifelong relationship. (Read more.)

Share

Facebook's Anti-Conservative Tilt

From The Daily Wire:
Sen. Ted Cruz zeroed in on the hard evidence of Facebook demonstrating a "pervasive pattern of political bias." Gizmodo reported in 2016 that Facebook insiders revealed the social media giant kept major conservative stories like ones on Conservative Political Action Conference off its "trending" topics for readers. Facebook shut down the "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day page," blocked a post by Fox News reporter Todd Starnes, has blocked over two dozen Catholic pages and recently declared the videos of pro-Trump black ladies known as Diamond and Silk "unsafe for the community." To his credit, Zuckerberg replied, "I understand where that concern is coming from because Facebook and the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely left-leaning place." Just acknowledging that reality caused the liberals to tear their hair out. (Read more.)
Share

Loss of a Pet

From PetCoach:
Grief upon the loss of a pet is a normal response, and a very individual one. For some people, grieving for a pet who has died may be a more difficult process than grieving for a human loved one. One reason is that the support network of understanding and caring people may be smaller. If a person has lost a human loved one, the friends, family, co-workers, etc., will all be understanding. They may send cards, flowers, and offer food and companionship. This is often not the case when a pet dies. A funeral or memorial service for the deceased person will bring people together to provide mutual support and a sense of closure. Again, in most cases, this does not occur upon the death of a pet. Hurtful comments such as 'Don't be so upset,' 'It was only a cat,' and 'You can get another one,' may add to the grief and feeling of isolation and loneliness. (Read more.)
Share

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Lilacs

Our lilacs are blooming in Maryland. Here is an article on the history of lilacs. Thanks to Catherine Delors; lilacs were much loved by Marie-Antoinette. And here is an excerpt from the poem "Lilacs" by Amy Lowell:

Lilacs in dooryards
Holding quiet conversations with an early moon;
Lilacs watching a deserted house
Settling sideways into the grass of an old road;
Lilacs, wind-beaten, staggering under a lopsided shock of bloom
Above a cellar dug into a hill.
You are everywhere.
You were everywhere.
You tapped the window when the preacher preached his sermon,
And ran along the road beside the boy going to school.
You stood by the pasture-bars to give the cows good milking,
You persuaded the housewife that her dishpan was of silver.
And her husband an image of pure gold.
You flaunted the fragrance of your blossoms
Through the wide doors of Custom Houses—
You, and sandal-wood, and tea,
Charging the noses of quill-driving clerks
When a ship was in from China.
 (Read more.) Share

Sweden's Violent Reality

From Politico:
To understand crime in Sweden, it’s important to note that Sweden has benefited from the West’s broad decline in deadly violence, particularly when it comes to spontaneous violence and alcohol-related killings. The overall drop in homicides has been, however, far smaller in Sweden than in neighboring countries.

Gang-related gun murders, now mainly a phenomenon among men with immigrant backgrounds in the country’s parallel societies, increased from 4 per year in the early 1990s to around 40 last year. Because of this, Sweden has gone from being a low-crime country to having homicide rates significantly above the Western European average. Social unrest, with car torchings, attacks on first responders and even riots, is a recurring phenomenon.

Shootings in the country have become so common that they don’t make top headlines anymore, unless they are spectacular or lead to fatalities. News of attacks are quickly replaced with headlines about sports events and celebrities, as readers have become desensitized to the violence. A generation ago, bombings against the police and riots were extremely rare events. Today, reading about such incidents is considered part of daily life. (Read more.)
Share

Symptoms of Depression

From the American Cancer Society:
It’s common for people to have sadness, pain, anger, bouts of crying, and a depressed mood after a loved one dies. It’s important to know about normal grief responses so that you can know if the bereaved person might be getting worse—going into a major depression. About 1 in 5 bereaved people will develop major depression (also called clinical depression). This can often be helped by therapy and medicines. People at highest risk for clinical depression include those who have been depressed before, those with no support system, those who have had problems with alcohol or drug abuse, or those who have other major life stresses. Symptoms of major depression not explained by normal bereavement may include:
  • Constant thoughts of being worthless or hopeless
  • Ongoing thoughts of death or suicide (other than thoughts that they would be better off dead or should have died with their loved one)
  • Unable to perform day-to-day activities
  • Intense guilt over things done or not done at the time of the loved one’s death
  • Delusions (beliefs that are not true)
  • Hallucinations (hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there), except for “visions” in which the person briefly hears or sees the deceased
  • Slower body responses and reactions
  • Extreme weight loss
If symptoms like these last more than 2 months after the loss, the bereaved person is likely to benefit from professional help. If the person tries to hurt him- or herself, or has a plan to do so, they need help right away. In some people, the grieving process can go on for a long time. This happens more often in those who were very close to the deceased. It’s most often caused by attempts to deny or get away from the pain or trying to avoid letting go. (Read more.)
Share

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Ladies in Pink



From East of the Sun, West of the Moon.


(See more.) Share

Drillers

From The Spectator:
Last year 80 people were stabbed to death in London, a quarter in their teens. Fifty have died already this year. The Met Commissioner, Cressida Dick, deployed 300 extra police at the weekend after six separate knife attacks last week, five of the victims being teenagers, one a 13-year-old boy.

Welcome to the world of UK drill rap — the music behind the explosion of teenage deaths on London’s streets. This is the music that has turned murder into a money–making industry. Understand it and you understand why these children are dying. A glance at drill videos on YouTube is revealing. Here are no dreams of beautiful women or exotic places. This is a world of shabby London streets, chicken take-aways and dirty stairwells. It centres on London’s various gangs. They display weapons, talk about drug dealing, describe recent stabbings and issue threats to rivals. Their concerns are a bizarre combination of the homicidal and domestic: how to clean trainers soaked in blood or a kitchen knife with bleach. ‘Blood on my skank, keep it, clean it, use hot water and bleach it,’ one rapper instructs would-be assailants. Another video even describes stealing a knife from ‘Mummy’s kitchen’. It is a reminder that these lethal young men and their fans are teenagers still living at home. This is reinforced by their appearance. Every-thing in a drill video is designed to make boys look big and fierce, from the bulk of their jackets to the hoods pulled up over baseball caps. The unguarded glance of a 14-year-old gives the game away. Drillers are schoolboys and still in adult care — or they should be. (Read more.)
Share