Thursday, August 31, 2017

An Elegant Afternoon on the Lawn

From Victoria:
Savor the warmth of friendship with a flavorful luncheon served during a day of croquet. The summer social unfolds blissfully on verdant carpets of grass dappled in golden sunlight. Beneath a canopy of trees, a graciously appointed table bids challengers to pause from their play and sample an array of delectable treats. Lush floral bouquets, loosely arranged in antique-silver trophy cups echo the lively hues of rose-strewn linens and succulent fruits. (Read more.)
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The Left and Guns

From American Thinker:
Have you noticed the multiple calls recently for increased gun control, despite the fact that all of the harm being done presently at leftist riots does not (yet) involve guns?  A car was used in Charlottesville, as vehicles have been used before, yet, as if unaware of the public facts, leftist politicians and activists have increased their calls for greater gun control.  A car was used in Spain, and in Britain before that, and in Paris before that, and each time, American leftists called for greater gun control in the United States.  Paul Ryan mentioned increased gun control at a public forum recently in response to a question asked of him by someone he knew.  Despite the utter lack of a connection with guns in anything to do with Charlottesville, he linked the event to gun ownership in the U.S. and concurred that more control is needed.  Weird, right?

What if they know something we don't?  This sounds a little "out there," but we live in a time when what is going on beneath the surface dwarfs what we see as the end result of someone's planning.  So what if the discordant calls for gun control are because those politicians, anarchists, and activists (though I repeat myself) have foreknowledge of some kind of planned escalation of their brand of "protest" and are setting the stage for disingenuous "I told you sos'?  What if they have something of a timeline along which they either believe that things will happen or will make things happen, to escalate the blitzkrieg of media and hysteria by which they effect "change" – meaning a coup?

What if they and the media are in bed together on this, too, and have prepared their stories and narratives ahead of time?  In Charlottesville, Trump was caught flat-footed but still gave an accurate response regarding hate on many sides, but Terry McAuliffe had a complete speech ready to go, condemning the left's shadowy enemies while omitting any mention of the Marxist combatants who came to do actual, physical harm.  No one in the media batted an eye. (Read more.)
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The Theology of Jesus' Blood Type

From Corporation YOU:
I am often told that Religion has no place in science.  Oddly enough, science has not only formed my faith; science has sealed my Faith. Most Christians have heard of the Shroud of Turin, the ancient relic that bears the image of a crucified male.  Blood typing has been done on the Shroud, and it was determined that the crucified male, who many believe to be Jesus of Nazareth, has AB blood.

A lesser know relic is the Sudarium of Oviedo, the cloth, that tradition teaches, covered the face of Jesus before He was wrapped in a burial shroud and laid in the tomb.  The blood on this cloth is also male and also AB. There has also been several miracles where a consecrated Host miraculously became true flesh and began to bleed true blood.

One such miracle occurred in the 8th century. A priest in Lanciano, Italy was doubting the real presence in the Eucharist, while offering Mass, when the Eucharist miraculously turned into human flesh and blood. Similarly, 500 years after the miracle of Lanciano, another priest, in Orvieto, Italy, who was also doubting the real presence of Jesus, similarly experienced a Eucharistic miracle where the host started bleeding all over his corporal (a cloth used in the liturgy). You can still see the cloth on display in the Cathedral of Orvieto and the non-decomposing flesh and blood in the Church of San Francesco today. (Read more.)
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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Belvoir Castle Gardens

From Victoria:
Lauded Edwardian architect Harold Ainsworth Peto designed the hilltop oasis, and each duchess in the lineage has added her influence to the picturesque setting. Further strengthening the sense of history, recently discovered documents have provided an even greater window into generations past. In the Japanese Woodland, native plants mingle with hardy exotics grown from seeds collected during long-ago expeditions to the Far East. More than 250 camellias flourish in the fertile valley, along with rhododendrons, azaleas, and bamboo. Framed by yew hedges, the Rose Garden echoes appreciation for Asian culture. Peto laid out the fragrant parterre in the shape of a boat, crowned at the bow with a statue depicting a Chinese horse. (Read more.)

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The Galileo Affair

Galileo was not so much censured for what he taught, but how he went about teaching it. From the Catholic Education Resource Center:
Galileo's other problem was that he insisted, despite the discoveries of Kepler, that the planets orbit the sun in perfect circles. The Jesuit astronomers could plainly see that this was untenable. Galileo nonetheless launched his campaign with a series of pamphlets and letters which were circulated all over Europe. Along the way, he picked fights with a number of Churchmen on peripheral issues which helped to stack the deck against him. And, despite the warnings of his friends in Rome, he insisted on moving the debate onto theological grounds.

There is no question that if the debate over heliocentrism had remained purely scientific, it would have been shrugged off by the Church authorities. But in 1614, Galileo felt that he had to answer the objection that the new science contradicted certain passages of Scripture. There was, for example, Joshua's command that the sun stand still. Why would Joshua do that if, as Galileo asserted, the sun didn't move at all? Then there were Psalms 92 ("He has made the world firm, not to be moved.") and 103 ("You fixed the earth upon its foundation, not to be moved forever."), not to mention the famous verse in Ecclesiastes. These are not obscure passages, and their literal sense would obviously have to be abandoned if the Copernican system were true. (Read more.)
From Intellectual Takeout:
 First of all, Galileo was never “imprisoned.” He was, for a time, confined to a villa in Florence for violating an agreement he had made with the Pope. Let me repeat that: a villa in Florence. What do I have to do get a sentence like that?

Secondly, he was never asked to “recant his scientific assertions that the Earth revolves around the Sun.” The Church had already accepted the feasibility of Copernicus' heliocentric cosmology. Not only was the pope who was sideways with Galileo a Copernicus fan, but most of the Catholic scientists at the time were already Copernicans.

The issue was not whether it was acceptable to assert that the earth revolved around the sun. The issue was the assertion (which Copernicus never made but Galileo did) that there was sufficient scientific evidence to prove it, which, at the time, there wasn't. Such evidence would come later, but at the time there were problems that the primitive state of science could not resolve, such as the fact that the stars did not appear to wobble as they should have given the contemporary belief that they were much closer than they in fact were.

And when Cardinal Bellarmine challenged Galileo to produce the proof for the heliocentric view, he produced his theory of tides to do it, which turned out to be completely wrong. The pope at the time overreacted to Galileo (whom many historians admit brought a lot of what happened on himself), but the Church was correct. The Church was trying to preserve scientific integrity against a scientist whom even the scholarly critics now admit didn’t have his evidential ducks in a row. (Read more.)
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Bittersweet Confessions

From Stephanie at Layered Pages:
I am going to share with you a small taste of something that is acutely hard for me to talk about and to be honest about for many reasons. When I was a young child in school, I had what the education system called, “A learning disability.” In my speech and how I processed things or lack of I should say. I struggled with comprehension and my speech affected my relationships with other children at school and often times at church. Needless to say, I had a negative experience to say the least. My mother continuously fought for me and tried her best for the schools to help. The school system failed me but once. When we lived in Clearwater Florida, the elementary school I went to had a speech class and I loved it. The only thing that was hard was that the other children in my regular class knew why I was being pulled out of class and I was bullied horribly. I did have a tutor for years that helped me learn reading comprehension and to help me in other subjects and as I still struggled, I never gave up no matter how hard it was for me. Though I did keep much of my deep fascinations for stories, art, life, history, and how things worked inside me because I couldn’t express them outwardly for much of my life-except with my family. I was completely vulnerable and I admit, that creeps up from time to time even today.

In Clearwater at a church my father was on staff, we had a library filled with so many wonderful books. I would sneak in there sometimes when it was empty and pick a Nancy Drew book off the shelf and find a corner to read in. I struggled and often times soon forgot what I read. Even though no one was in the library, I would sheepishly look up to make sure no one saw me in case they asked me what I was reading. Then I started to make up my own stories in my head because that was easier for me. I needed that escape.
(Read more.)
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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Most Controversial Queen

A review of Daughter of the Caesars from History from a Woman's Perspective:
Marie Antoinette is one of history’s most controversial queens. In this Catholic biography of Marie Antoinette, Mrs. Vidal states that by killing both Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the revolutionaries were killing the Catholic kingdom that they represented. This is because the goal of the French Revolution was to get rid of the Catholic church. The reason for this is because many Catholics were killed, especially those who were unwilling to convert. She also argues the popular misconceptions of Marie Antoinette that have been passed down for centuries and have been reinforced in Hollywood primarily the Marie Antoinette film starring Kirsten Dunst. 
     While many biographers highlight Marie Antoinette’s flaws, Mrs. Vidal emphasizes Marie Antoinette’s good traits. She grew up as a devout Catholic under Maria Theresa. She was a young girl who loved her family and when she was forced to move to France, it traumatized her so greatly that it took the French Revolution for her to mature. Marie Antoinette esteemed to be a moral woman and the reason for her conflict with Madame duBarry stemmed from her morals.  
    When Marie Antoinette became queen, she had many charities and adopted many peasants, including an African boy. She promoted women artists and women writers. She also sought to reform her corrupt court, making rules to uphold her morality. Mrs. Vidal also concludes that Marie Antoinette did not have an affair with Count Fersen and that she was faithful to Louis XVI. This is because Marie Antoinette wanted to be a moral queen. Also, if she did have an affair with Count Fersen, it would be considered an act of treason. It would also be impossible for her to conduct an affair because she was a public figure and everyone was watching her. 
    Not only did Ms. Vidal give a good portrait of Marie Antoinette, but she also gave a good insight into her husband Louis XVI. Louis XVI was also a devout Catholic. Unlike the myth of Louis XVI being a simpering fool, he was one of the most intellectual kings during his time. He knew many languages and had an acute understanding of politics. He agreed to help America because he was thinking of a long-term alliance. He thought that when France needed help, America would in turn help France in dire need. Contrary to popular opinion, Louis XVI was not opposed to change. He would have welcomed reform, just not the French Revolution. 
    Mrs. Vidal also overturned the popular misconceptions about Marie Antoinette’s friends, especially Princesse de Lamballe and the Duchesse de Polignac. The Princesse de Lamballe was one of the most intelligent people at Marie Antoinette’s court. She read a lot and was deeply involved in the politics of her time, which sometimes bored Marie Antoinette. She also had liberal leanings. Louis XVI feared Lamballe’s political influence on his wife so he steered her toward the Duchesse de Polignac, who had no inclination towards politics. The Duchesse de Polignac preferred simplicity and was a devoted mother to her children. She did not want to leave Marie Antoinette’s side during the French Revolution, but only did so when Marie Antoinette told her to think of her children. Throughout the Duchesse de Polignac’s days, she remained faithful to Marie Antoinette. When she learned of Marie Antoinette’s death, she died shortly thereafter because she was so heartbroken over her queen’s death. (Read more.)

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A Declining Interest in History

From The Federalist:
Attendance issues are not just a Colonial Williamsburg challenge. History museums across the country are seeing similar problems. In 2012, only 24 percent of Americans older than 18 visited a historic site in 2012—13 percent lower than in 1982. Attendance drops are particularly pronounced among younger Americans. Only 20.5 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 visited a historic site in 2012—down about 8 percentage points from just 10 years earlier. (Read more.)
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A Lost Latin Commentary on the Gospels

From The Conversation:
The earliest Latin commentary on the Gospels, lost for more than 1,500 years, has been rediscovered and made available in English for the first time. The extraordinary find, a work written by a bishop in northern Italy, Fortunatianus of Aquileia, dates back to the middle of the fourth century. The biblical text of the manuscript is of particular significance, as it predates the standard Latin version known as the Vulgate and provides new evidence about the earliest form of the Gospels in Latin.

Despite references to this commentary in other ancient works, no copy was known to survive until Dr Lukas Dorfbauer, a researcher from the University of Salzburg, identified Fortunatianus’ text in an anonymous manuscript copied around the year 800 and held in Cologne Cathedral Library. The manuscripts of Cologne Cathedral Library were made available online in 2002. Scholars had previously been interested in this ninth-century manuscript as the sole witness to a short letter which claimed to be from the Jewish high priest Annas to the Roman philosopher Seneca. They had dismissed the 100-page anonymous Gospel commentary as one of numerous similar works composed in the court of Charlemagne. But when he visited the library in 2012, Dorfbauer, a specialist in such writings, could see that the commentary was much older than the manuscript itself. In fact, it was none other than the earliest Latin commentary on the Gospels. (Read more.)
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Monday, August 28, 2017

Nelson & Norfolk Exhibition

From the Norwich Evening News:
The love story of Horatio Nelson and Emma Hamilton was all those things and more – and that was just in their own lifetimes. No wonder, then, that biographers and the public have never lost their appetite for the story. One of Britain’s greatest heroes – and one of Britain’s most notorious (and fascinating) women. It’s the stuff of gossip – and legend.

It would be impossible to tell the story of Horatio Nelson without telling the story of Emma Hamilton. Which is why the Norwich Castle Museum’s Nelson & Norfolk exhibition includes some evocative exhibits which touch upon the passion of these two famous lovers. Even had she never met Nelson, Emma would have – comfortably – been one of the most fascinating women of her age, going from rags to riches and back to rags again.

Emma had won her way through to aristocratic circles by force of personality, charm, intelligence – and beauty. For although notions of attractiveness do change over the centuries, the many paintings of her by George Romney show that Emma Hart would have been one of the most striking women of any age, with her huge and beguiling eyes, perfect skin and rosebud mouth, combining demureness with a worldly-wise frankness. One of the prints based on Romney’s work features in the exhibition. Everything changed for Emma – and Nelson - one fateful year in Naples. And it is this period, after the Battle of the Nile in 1798, that features in several key exhibits in Nelson & Norfolk.

Nelson was recuperating from a head wound in Naples, the capital of the largest kingdom in pre-unified Italy, as the guest of Sir William and Lady Emma Hamilton. Sir William, the British Envoy, had married Emma – the discarded mistress of his nephew Charles Greville – in 1791 when he was 60 and she 26. They made an irresistible couple, as exhibition organiser Ruth Battersby Tooke, Senior Curator – Costume and Textiles, explained. “He was an incredibly intelligent and erudite man,” she said. A shrewd collector, the fruits of his labours feature in many of our national collections. (Read more.)
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China’s Cultural Revolution

From The Federalist:
America is clearly undergoing a Cultural Revolution that is eerily similar to Mao’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution which took place in China in the 1960s. Maybe Karl Marx was right after all when he declared that “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”

China’s Cultural Revolution was triggered by a group of students at Beijing University, the most elitist college in China. They called themselves the Red Guards because they worshiped China’s communist dictator Mao and his socialist/communist ideology feverishly. In their manifesto, they questioned the usefulness of knowledge, and condemned their professors and university administrators for harboring “intellectual elitism and bourgeois tendencies” and for stalling China’s progress towards a communist utopia.

Mao immediately realized that he could use these over-zealous and ignorant teenagers as a political tool to purge his enemies and shape society to his own liking. He elevated the Red Guards’ status by appearing at a massive Red Guard rally on August 18, 1966 at Tiananmen Square. This event lent Red Guards political legitimacy, and officially kicked off the Cultural Revolution. The Red Guards’ ideas quickly spread from colleges to high schools.

No one on campus dared challenge the Red Guards. Capitulations from school authorities only emboldened them. They led students to strike, refusing to take classes from people who were deemed less than ideologically pure. Professors, teachers, and school administrators were paraded and forced to make numerous public self-criticisms about “transgressions” against government-sanctioned orthodoxy. Soon, college entrance exams were suspended and many schools, from universities to high schools, were closed. The entire education system was paralyzed.

Without schools to go to, the Red Guards traveled all over China to spread their ideas and tactics to the “real world.” Other people, such as factory workers unhappy with the shortages, organized their own groups to challenge leadership of their own work units. Since no one was working, businesses, factories, and many government agencies were shut down. The entire country fell into lawlessness and chaos. (Read more.)
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Teenagers and Mass

From our friend Katrina at Aleteia:
Children may not love school, homework, chores, or even vegetables but we make them go to school, do their homework, clean their rooms, and eat their veggies. Healthy food makes for a sound body and an education makes a sound mind. Church, therefore, nourishes the soul. It’s our parental duty to see that their spiritual development isn’t neglected. I would place a higher importance on faith than I would on vegetables, a clean room, and yes, even good grades. So when a parent asks me if they should require that their child go to Mass, my answer is always “absolutely.” I have heard the argument that if you force a child to go to church they will grow up hating it, yet we refuse to apply that same logic to other areas of our children’s’ lives. If we force a child to go to school they will grow up hating learning, said no parent ever. I think the difference here is that children know why we force them to eat vegetables and study hard — they know it’s ultimately for their own good. What as parents are we doing to ensure our children know that going to Mass is also for their own good? (Read more.)
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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Petit Ranelagh

Geri Walton's blog is highly informative. I learn from it all the time. To quote:
Petit Ranelagh or the French Ranelagh, sometimes called Garden of the Ranelagh, has an interesting history. It began in 1773, with a barrier guard and a lodge keeper named Morison (also sometimes spelled Morisan). Morison had an inn in the Bois de Boulogne. He obtained permission from the Prince de Soubise, who was the governor of the Château de la Muette, to erect a building in imitation of the one built by the first Earl of Ranelagh. The Earl of Ranelagh’s had been built on the banks of the Thames between 1688–89 and was called Ranelagh Gardens.

Petit Ranelagh opened with great success on 25 July 1774 and an entrance fee of 24 sous. It contained a cafe, restaurant, ballroom, and a theatre, and with its outstanding success the Petit was dropped from its name making it Ranelagh. Five years later, the grand master of the rivers and forests of the environs of Paris decided that his rights had been infringed upon. He argued that the governor did not have authority to allow anything to be built on the grounds of Château de la Muette, and, so, Ranelagh was closed. The grand master also decreed that he would “destroy all the works … constructed in the Bois de Boulogne,” which would include Ranelagh. (Read more.)

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The Stifling of Free Thought at American Universities

From The Spectator:
This is daft, certainly. Even funny, in a macabre way. But it also raises a serious point: the university experience in America is now not one that will adequately prepare students for real life. In real-life democracy, people disagree — and normally they don’t die or suffer emotional injury because of it. In normal life, there’s no reason not to like someone with whom you disagree politically. On campus, opinions are often ontology: you are what you think. But this is dangerous logic: if I hate what you think, I must hate what you are.

At the end of the year I hosted a party in my grungy sixth-floor apartment in Washington Heights, where my classmates finally came face-to-face with some real-life conservatives. I had naively hoped people wouldn’t talk about politics. But my hopes were soon dashed. A friend’s boyfriend came wearing a Reagan and Bush T-shirt. When confronted about his choice of outfit, he shrugged confusedly: ‘It’s laundry day.’ Another friend, an African-American conservative, who was wearing a US military cap, was furiously berated from across the room by a liberal of colour, ‘How can you be a conservative and black?’ (Read more.)
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Mental Illness: Things to Know

From Aleteia:
“How could a loving God will or allow ________?” Like so many who’ve experienced a great tragedy, the question revisits me often. The sadness at times is overwhelming, so much that when I think about praying I become angry at God and doubt his goodness. But then somehow, His grace finds me. Again and again, he’s waiting at the kitchen sink or in that long car ride. Trust me, he tells me every time I stare at him on the cross. I see his pierced, outstretched hands, and I’m reminded of the redemption found in suffering. (Read more.)
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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Le Palais-Royal



From Geri Walton:
The Palais-Royal was originally known as the Palais-Cardinal. It was the personal residence of Armand Jean du Plessis, known as Cardinal Richelieu. Designs were made by his architect — Jacques Lemercier — in 1629 and construction began in 1633. It took six years of hammering and pounding to complete and was not finished until 1639. By that point, it had assumed the form of a square with a large garden in the center.

 When the Cardinal died in 1642, the palace became the property of Louis XIII. It was at that time that it became known as the Palais-Royal. When Louis XIII died it became the residence to several people, primarily within the House of Orléans. In 1692, however, when Louis XIV’s younger brother, Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, married a legitimized daughter of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan, Louis XIV deeded the Palais-Royal to his brother.

Eventually, the Palais-Royal came into the possession of Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orléans. He was married to Louise Henriette de Bourbon. They were the parents of Louis Philippe II, who would later became known as Philippe Égalité. After Louis Philippe II married Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon in 1769, they moved to the Palais-Royal and made it their main residence. (Read more.)
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The Coming Revolution

From Paul Joseph Watson:
Alt-left agitators are planning to stage mass riots in major cities on November 4 during which they hope to instigate a “civil war” that will lead to the “regime change” of the Trump administration.

Demonstrations are planned for cities across the country, including New York City, Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
A long diatribe written by Andy Zee posted on the Revolutionary Communist Party website makes it clear that the events, which leftists hope will attract “millions,” are not planned to be just ordinary protests.

 There is a break with what have been the norms we confront, and to deal with this there must be a break with the “normal” ways people seek change from government. The normal forms of petition and protest DO NOT APPLY with Trump—even as they have been difficult enough under the normal functioning of this system,” writes Zee.

“Sharp agitation” and “politically provocative actions” must be employed to achieve the complete overthrow of the administration, according to Zee. Zee cites The Coming Civil War by Bob Avakian, “the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party and architect of the new synthesis of communism,” as a template for the planned unrest. The rest of the screed is a hysterical rant about how Trump and Pence are instituting “fascism” in the United States. The article is heavy on maniacal claims and thin on facts.

Violent Antifa groups, which the mainstream media and political class has embraced over the last week in the aftermath of Charlottesville, are sure to be taking part in the unrest. Yesterday we reported on a petition signed by over 150,000 Americans asking the White House to declare Antifa a terrorist organization. Whether the demonstrations turn into riots or another damp squib of hammer & sickle flag-waving idiots chanting moronic, mindless slogans before going home having achieved absolutely nothing remains to be seen. (Read more.)
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The New Revolutionaries are Trying to Destroy the Christian Family

From The Catholic Herald:
In a homily honouring the Vendée martyrs, published online by Famille Chrétienne, Cardinal Sarah praised the region and its inhabitants for resisting atheistic republicanism during the Revolution, but said that the Church and the traditional family still faced persecution.

“Who will rise today for God?” the cardinal asked. “Who will dare to confront the modern persecutors of the Church? Who will have the courage to rise up without any weapons other than the rosary and the Sacred Heart, to face the columns of death of our time?” These modern “columns of death”, the cardinal explained, were “relativism, indifferentism and contempt for God”.

“Who will say to this world that the only freedom worth dying for is the freedom to believe?” (Read more.)
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Friday, August 25, 2017

Cosmetics of the Past

Bette Davis as Elizabeth I
From MiceTimes of Asia:
In Ancient Greece, pale face was considered beautiful and women, to achieve this effect, have covered their faces in white lead. Ceruse ate into the skin, but women have used them again and again to hide the resulting stains. White lead can also cause infertility and insanity. The ancient Romans eventually took over this cosmetic custom, but added to the composition of white red lead, to get the effect of pink glitter.

 Makeup of white lead gained new popularity in the 16th century. Queen Elizabeth I was famous for his “Mask of youth” is unusually white complexion. Some women even applied egg white on the skin, to give your skin the desired paleness. White skin was a symbol of the upper class because people from the lower strata of society work under the open sky, the complexion was more swarthy. (Read more.)
Geri Walton reports on ideals of female beauty in the 17 and 1800's. To quote:
Beauty was important to women, but, perhaps, it was even more important to men, because it was a man who noted in the late 1700s that a woman’s “first merit is that of beauty.” People seemed to have particular ideas of what beauty entailed and wrote about it. André Félibien, a French chronicler of the arts and the official court historian to Louis XIV of France in the 1600s, provided the following classical description of beauty often using Venus as the ideal image:
  • The Head should be well rounded; and look rather inclining to small than large.
  • The Forehead white, smooth, and open (not with the Hair growing down too deep upon it;) neither flat nor prominent, but like the Head well rounded; and rather small in Proportion than large.
  • The Hair either bright, black or brown; not thin, but full and waving, and if it falls in moderate Curls the better.
  • The Eyes, black, chestnut, or blue; clear, bright, and lively, and rather large in Proportion than small.
  • The Eyebrows, well divided, rather full than thin; semicircular, and broader in the Middle than at the Ends.
  • The Cheeks should not be wide; should have a Degree of Plumpness, with the Red and White finely blended together; and should look firm and soft.
  • The Ear should be rather small than large; well folded,…with an agreeable Tinge of Red.
  • The Nose should be placed so as to divide the Face into two equal Parts; should be of a moderate Size, strait, and well-squared; though sometimes a little Rising in the Nose,…may give a very graceful look to it.
  • The Mouth should be small; and the Lips not of equal Thickness: They should be well-turned, small rather than gross; soft, even to the Eye; and with a living Red in them. A truly pretty Mouth is like a Rose-bud that is beginning to blow.
  • The Teeth should be middle-sized, white, well-ranged, and even.
  • The Chin, of a moderate Size; white soft, and agreeably rounded.
  • The Neck should be white, strait, and of a soft, easy, and flexible Make, rather long than short; less above, and encreasing [sic] gently toward the Shoulders: The Whiteness and Delicacy of its Skin should be continued, or rather go on improving, to the Bosom.
  • The Skin in general should be white, properly tingled with Red; with an apparent Softness, and a Look of thriving Health in it.
  • The Shoulders should be white, gently spread, and with a much softer Appearance of Strength, than in those of Men.
  • The Arm should be white, round, firm, and soft; and more particularly so from the Elbow to the Hands.
  • The Hand should unite insensibly with the Arm;…They should be long and delicate, and even the Joints and nervous Parts of them should be without either any hardness or dryness.
  • The Fingers should be fine, long, round and soft; small, and lessening towards the Tips of them: And the Nails long, rounded at the Ends, and pellucid.
  • The Bosom should be white and charming; and the Breasts equal in Roundness, Whiteness, and Firmness; neither too much elevated, nor too much depressed; rising gently, and very distinctly separated.
  • The Sides should be long, and the Hips wider than the Shoulders…and go down rounding, and lessening gradually to the Knee.
  • The Knee should be even, and well-rounded: the Legs strait, but varied by a proper Rounding of the more fleshy Part of them; and the Feet finely turned, white, and little.
(Read more.)
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Stop the Madness

From The Federalist:
Angry parents stampeded a California charter school board meeting Monday after a teacher read her kindergarten class picture books about transgenderism to affirm a gender dysphoric classmate. During the class, parents say, the gender dysphoric boy also switched clothes to look more like a girl in a “gender reveal.”

Parents were not notified beforehand of the discussion or the classmate’s psychological condition, and learned about it when their confused kindergarteners arrived home from school that day.

“The kindergartners came home very confused, about whether or not you can pick your gender, whether or not they really were a boy or a girl,” Karen England of the Capitol Resource Institute told CBS News. “My daughter came home crying and shaking so afraid she could turn into a boy,” a parent said at the public meeting.

Rocklin Academy is a network of related charter schools, which are public schools typically run by nonprofit institutions, private companies, or school boards of local leaders and parents. Charter school board meetings must be public, since they are fully taxpayer-funded. Rocklin’s high school, Western Sierra, is ranked No. 1 in the Sacramento area for college readiness by U.S. News and World Report.

Unlike for sex ed content, schools do not need to notify parents about classroom instruction related to gender identity, school officials say. Teachers spoke out in support of their colleague’s surprise transgender book club, with seventh grade teacher Kelly Bryson objecting to “banned books or book lists, or selective literature” for schoolchildren.

While the parents negatively affected insist their children are too young to discuss transgenderism and be confused about a core aspect of their person, trans advocates disagree, suggesting preschool as the appropriate time to begin telling children their biological sex is meaningless. (Read more.)
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Hanged, Drawn and Quartered

From Anna Belfrage:
Edward I was rather fond of his new method of execution (although, to be honest, it is still a matter of dispute if it was Edward I who “invented” it – there seems to have been earlier cases, like when a man tried to assassinate Henry III). Other than the unfortunate Dafydd, Edward had several Scottish “rebels and traitors” – in itself a strange label to put on men fighting for the freedom of their country – hanged, drawn and quartered, notably among them William Wallace and some of Robert Bruce’s brothers.

It is unlikely that any man subjected to such a gruesome death would be in a position to inhale and yell “FREEDOM!” as William Wallace does in Mel Gibson’s interpretation. It is far more likely that by the time the cutting began, the victim was in severe shock, incapable of uttering more than high-pitched shrieks and grunts. (Read more.)
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Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Talbot Boys

There is a statue in front of the Talbot County Court House in Easton, Maryland that is the center of controversy. I never even noticed it until reading about it in the newspaper. According to DelmarvaNow:
In recent years, the "Talbot Boys" statue has come under fire. The monument depicts a Confederate color bearer, and lists the names of Talbot County Confederate veterans. In late 2015, the Talbot County Council, under pressure to remove the statue, voted in closed session to keep it. That closed session vote was found to be in violation of Maryland's Open Meetings Act, so the council voted again in 2016 to keep the statue. 

Council President Corey Pack said the statue doesn't promote slavery, but the values of the Confederacy. He said the 100-year-old statue was part of the county's history. (Read more.)
I wrote the following letter to the Easton paper. I do not know if they will publish it or not but for what it's worth, here is what I think:
As a lifelong Marylander but a newcomer to Talbot County, I have followed with interest the debate surrounding the "Talbot Boys" statue at the county court house. I must confess that I was completely unaware of the presence of the statue until reading about it in the paper. My attention was always drawn instead to the statue of the great orator, author, diplomat and statesman Frederick Douglass. When I finally did notice the "Talbot Boys" I would never have known that it honored Confederate veterans except for the controversy. What did strike me, when I finally decided to see the statue for myself, is that the soldier boy is holding a furled banner in an posture of surrender, as if he is surrendering to Frederick Douglass. My initial impression was that the "Talbot Boys" statue symbolizes Southern humiliation and defeat; there is nothing triumphant about it. Especially since it represents young men, including teenagers no doubt, who died for a lost cause. The fact that it stands where men, women and children were sold at auction, adds to the gravity of the most cruel lesson of our past, that permitting the evil of slavery had a ripple effect that cost lives as well as destroyed lives. Are there horrors and injustices we tolerate now that we will someday regret, such as the killing of the unborn? Have we eradicated all forms of slavery in our world today, like drug addiction and human trafficking? Furthermore, I wonder why the statue, which many now find so offensive, was not removed in the 60's during the Civil Right's movement? Or the 70's or 80's or 90's? Why has it taken so long for there to be a public outcry? Why now?
Statue of Frederick Douglass at the Talbot County Court House
Seriously,  people are acting as if they only now discovered that there was such a thing as slavery in America, and such a thing as the Confederacy. Those statues have been there for a long time. Why the sudden zeal to pull them all down? Matt Walsh predicted months ago that it is part of a movement to whitewash American history. The monuments of the Founding Fathers will no doubt be next. To quote:
We can try to draw distinctions all we want, but the fact remains that Thomas Jefferson was a slaveholder. So was George Washington. So was James Madison. So was John Hancock. So was Patrick Henry. Some of the Founders, like John Adams and Thomas Paine, opposed the practice, but they were largely exceptions. If Robert E. Lee, who owned no slaves and hated slavery, must be held liable for slavery because he fought on the side of those who wished to keep it legal, how can we not hold liable those historical figures who actually were slaveholders themselves? By what bizarre and twisted standard can we tear down a Robert E. Lee monument on the grounds of slavery while solemnly saluting the memorials and monuments of actual slaveowners? We can’t. And the forces that have spearheaded this effort to denigrate the memories of great southern generals know that. It’s all part of the plan. Mark my words.

Of course, if we’ve gotten into the business of stuffing those associated with slavery down the memory hole, we’ve got a lot of work to do. We certainly can’t stop with the Confederate or colonists. Slavery was an accepted institution across the planet for thousands of years. In some parts of the world, it still is. You will be hard pressed to find a patch of humanity anywhere on the globe that does not bear the ancestral guilt of slavery. This is not a crime unique to the white man, even less is it unique to the southern white man.

I am not attempting to diminish the evil of slavery or suggest that the southerners who supported it were not morally accountable for that support. But I am saying that if we are not allowing men like Lee even the slightest bit of historical context, then how can we allow it for anyone else? If we say that Lee should have been so against slavery that he would have been willing to take up arms against his own children to abolish it, how can we be lenient with so many other historical icons? Why do we require Robert E. Lee to have had the abolitionist zeal of John Brown — which is what would have been needed to prompt him to raise his sword against his home and his family over it — when no one on either side had the zeal of John Brown except for John Brown? Why are Robert E. Lee and company expected to have seen slavery from a modern lens if no one else in history is held to that standard?

Well, the problem, as I say, is that others in history will soon be held to that standard. The purge will continue. The mob will move on to its next target. And how will we be better for it? (Read more.)
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Revolution Requires Chaos

From Definiing the Narrative:
If you haven’t read Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” by now, you won’t understand what is happening in America. Professor Barack Obama, our past Chief Community Organizer, taught Alinsky’s methods to his students and promoted them in the White House. Candidate Hillary Clinton did her college thesis on him.

Alinsky’s fundamental premise is found on page 116.

“The first step in community organization is community disorganization. The disruption of the present organization is the first step towards community organization.” He then advises the organizer, When you are labeled an “an agitator, they are completely correct, for that is, in one word, your function—to agitate to the point of conflict.”(p. 117)

His acknowledgment at the beginning of the book should have given us a clue. To: “…the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer.”

America stands at the most pivotal point in her history since the Kansas-Nebraska Act (which resulted in the Civil War). We are polarized. We are factionalized. Our history has been rewritten to minimize the importance of our Judeo-Christian foundation. Our institutions have been purged of morality that comes from that foundation. Our language is adulterated with vulgarities which are most commonplace in our youth. Our youth have been hijacked by powers that redefine what family is, strip them of any faith in God that was instilled as a child, and replaced with the collectivist philosophy, “from each according to ability, to each according to need”. That’s Karl Marx, by the way. It’s also most of the leadership in the current American Democratic Party, some unions, our education system, the media, and yes, it’s beginning to take root in the Republican ranks as well. (Read more.)
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The Jockey Club

From All Things Georgian:
According to the Jockey Club itself, it was established in 1753 at Newmarket, however, purely by chance we came across this newspaper article in the Daily Advertiser of Wednesday, March 10, 1731, which gives a much earlier reference to the club, the implication in the article being that by this date the club was already established.
The picture of the Lord James Cavendish’s horse, which his Lordship rode on some time since, for a very considerable wager to Windsor being near finish’d, we hear the same will be plac’d in the Jockey Club Room at William’s Coffee House, St. James’s.
Having read this of course we needed to know more. We knew that ‘clubs’ were increasing in popularity in the early 1700s with many being established in coffee houses, but we came across this image in ‘The History of the London Clubs 1709′ by Edward Ward. (Read more.)
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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Spanking

Empress Maria Theresa disciplines one of her daughters. Via Vive la Reine.
An unusual miniature depicting Maria Theresa disciplining one of her daughters by an unknown artist, 1750. I would guess from the fact that the other children are busy doing needlework (with one infant watching) that she was caught playing with the doll on the bottom center instead. 
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The Deep Hate of the Deep State

From Stone Cold Truth:
Obama-hold-overs are also a very big problem, with many of Trump’s cabinet members not yet approved by the Senate. This is the way Washington D.C. works, slow and inefficient. Democrats are obstructing simple nominees for no apparent reason. The bureaucracy of the swamp has grown exponentially, especially under the last administration (when the EPA deemed a puddle as a body of water).

There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that there is a clearly defined deep state campaign to impeach President Trump, the expansion of the Russia probe is just the beginning. Not only is the deep state being defined by these leaks, but it is also defined by the Washington establishment, where back-scratching is the name of the game. Robert Mueller and Jim Comey are well known friends. There is a leak-campaign at the highest levels of our government to impeach the democratically-elected forty-fifth president of the United States: Donald J. Trump.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on August fourth that the Department of Justice is ramping up its efforts to try to catch leakers and put them in prison. The Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats made it very clear that the leaking will not be tolerated, and leakers who are caught, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Attorney General Sessions also identified leakers as “criminals” which is extremely important. Sessions also said to the potential leakers: “don’t do it”. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats also made it very clear that the leakers who leak classified intelligence, will be hunted down, found, and prosecuted. (Read more.)
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The Democrats: No Longer the Party of the Working Class

From The American Thinker:
The left abandoned reliance on workers even earlier in favor of getting money and power from misapplying the civil rights laws and staging shake-downs of corporate board rooms in the name of racial, sex, and homosexual grievances.  Still, Democrats continued to garner the support of organized labor, loyal to the party of FDR. The Democrat media complex is flummoxed by Trump's success among working people – they believe their own propaganda that Republicans are the party of the rich.  As I wrote after the last election, that is one big fat lie.
Education levels prove that Republicans are the party of America's middle and working class, while Democrats are the party of the extremes.  People who vote Democrat haven't graduated from high school or else tend to have post-graduate degrees. The majority of high school graduates, people with some college, and people with a college degree are Republican.  Education largely determines class in this country.  Argue with that one.
(Read more.)
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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Islam in Spain

Ferdinand and Isabella at the Gates of Granada
From Yahoo:
When the ominous maps first appeared two years ago, residents of Barcelona scoffed, if they noticed the tabloid news about their home at all. Drawn by ISIS, the maps showed Spain and Portugal in black, signifying territory controlled by the jihadi terror group. And the maps came with a promise: “We will take Spain back” — by 2020, ISIS said.

The threat centered on the long-ago empire of al-Andalus — the Islamic caliphate that began when Muslim warriors from North Africa, known as Moors, arrived on Spanish soil in the early eighth century, quickly running out the ruling Visigoths and extending Muslim rule across the Iberian peninsula, including Barcelona, on the Mediterranean coast close to present-day France.

Historians are enamored of Moorish culture and art, but for many Spaniards, the al-Andalus era is the nadir of their country’s history. The caliphate’s influence in southern Spain, Andalusia, where it lasted nearly eight centuries, is evidenced in both the region’s name and in stunning Islamic architecture such as Granada’s Alhambra palace. But the eighth-century Muslim occupation in the Northeast region of Catalonia lasted but 80 years and is nearly as forgotten as the chilling ISIS maps.

The maps suddenly seemed relevant again on Thursday, when, on one of Barcelona’s most-photographed and tourist-traveled sites, the wide pedestrian way called La Rambla, a white rental van jumped the curb and raced along the median walkway, swerving back and forth on a lethal ride that created a stampede of terrified tourists. Thirteen people were killed and scores injured in the attack, for which ISIS claimed responsibility.

Not long after, five suspected jihadis were killed by Spanish police in Cambrils, some 75 miles to the southwest, after they drove into a crowd of pedestrians, injuring seven. The attackers reportedly wore explosive belts, and police believe the original plan for La Rambla may have included explosives as well. Even with three alleged perpetrators arrested — the suspected van driver, 18-year-old Moussa Oukabir, whose Facebook page is said to have expressed a desire to “kill the unbelievers,” was still being sought Friday morning — the Rambla rampage raises troubling questions. How can authorities secure a pedestrian-friendly city famous for fiestas in huge squares and for streets like La Rambla, flanked by flower stalls and terraces serving up pitchers of sangria, where at any given moment, thousands of tourists can be found strolling along the tree-lined median of land that leads to the famous statue of Columbus pointing over the sea? (Read more.)
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The Business Behind the Left’s Pay-to-Protest Scheme

From Lifezette:
A year ago, Breitbart reported that hacked Open Society Foundation documents showed that the George Soros-funded group gave Black Lives Matter groups $650,000. The Ford Foundation subsequently announced that it was launching a fundraising campaign to raise $100 million to support Black Lives Matter.

It's unclear how often individual protesters are paid a fee to protest, but regardless, the organizational side of the unrest is becoming big business. The movement first attracted attention with violence in the streets during the Ferguson riots. A raised fist brings notoriety, and notoriety brings in big money. It's a clear exchange.

Craig Shirley, a presidential historian, said he doesn't think the left-wing riots are anything new. It's just like the 60s, he says, only then it was the KGB funding some of the anti-war protests. Now it's George Soros and his Open Society Foundations and the Ford Foundation. We just don't hear about it. "The media is utterly and completely corrupt," he said. "There's no room for another point of view. There's only one point of view."

The protesters, explained Shirley, aren't anarchists — the term Antifa likes to use. They're Jacobins whose goal is the destruction of everything: family, faith and law and order, so that everybody can start from scratch with nothing — everybody except them. They will control the resources and enjoy the best of everything, as the Bolsheviks did in Russia, and the communists did in Cuba after the revolution.

The Black Lives Matter movement, and the many other "social justice" groups being funded by Soros, now have the money to not just pay protesters, but to employ full-time activists who can devote their lives to organizing, disrupting, and shutting down planned and permitted events whose organizers or speakers they find offensive, he said.

It's unknown how much Soros money is funding Antifa protesters. But there is hard evidence that paid protesters were instigating violence at Trump and Pence events during the presidential campaign. That evidence came in the form of a Project Veritas video where Bob Creamer, founder of Democracy Partners, is seen and heard saying that his "role" in the Clinton campaign is to stage "events," wherever Trump and Pence are going to be, using consultants and people from the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign.
(Read more.)
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The Shameful Blackout of Thomas, Sowell and Williams

The racism of the Left. From Town Hall:
Clarence Thomas, one of nine members of the Supreme Court and the second black to ever join the Court, is not in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Asked to explain Thomas' absence, the chief spokeswoman for the Smithsonian said, "The museum's exhibitions are based on themes, not individuals."

Yet the museum plans to add a popular local D.C. television news broadcaster. The museum's founding director, Lonnie Bunch, said the broadcaster "symbolized that it was really important that America was changing and his presence was a symbol of that change." And Thomas, raised in poverty to become only the second black to sit on the Supreme Court, is not "a symbol of that change"?

Left-wing blacks -- and that's the overwhelming majority -- feel that black conservatives like Thomas do not just have different or wrongheaded or illogical views. Thomas' views, to them, damage the black community. Never mind that most Clarence Thomas-haters could not identify a single case Thomas decided with which they disagree.

One line of attack against Thomas goes as follows. Thomas "took advantage" of race-based preferences to get into college and law school, but then "turned his back on those behind" by arguing that such preferences violate the 14th Amendment.

What these critics assert is that but for race-based preferences, Clarence Thomas would likely be working the deep-fryer at McDonald's. Assume, for the moment, that but for race-based preferences, Thomas would not have gotten into the particular schools he attended, College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and Yale Law School. But in America thousands of colleges and universities, from community colleges to Harvard, accept students of varying abilities with financial assistance readily available. Surely the driven, hardworking, academically oriented Clarence Thomas could have and would have found admission into schools matching his skills and ability. (Read more.)
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Monday, August 21, 2017

The Real Motivation Behind Civil War Monuments

Two old veterans meet at Gettysburg
From Catholics4Trump:
You might then ask a leftist when any Southern town could have erected a Confederate statue or monument in history and not have had an automatic racist intent. As we know, the true answer is never. But in order to not appear unreasonable, the leftist will tell you, “Well, right after the war and before Jim Crow!”

Ah yes. From the war’s end in 1865 until the 1880’s, the South was a smoldering, devastated, defeated, destitute and wrecked former nation, in many places still under the control of the Union army. One can only imagine that after such an obliterating defeat and while suffering anarchical and poverty stricken conditions in many places, the first thing Southerners would do, instead of working to rebuild their homes, societies and lives, would be to raise millions of dollars and take years to build statues in honor of the generals that had just lost the war. Yes, only in the minds of liberal history majors in 2017 does this make sense.

In addition, if one steps back from following the Social Justice Warriors into the fever swamps of historical revisionism, one would begin to realize that their logic actually makes no sense.  For they make the elementary logical error of Post hoc ergo propter hoc. This is a logical fallacy that states “Since event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event X.”

Thus, just because the boom in Confederate memorials took place from 1900-1918 does not prove it was a result of or in any way inspired by Jim Crow laws which began in the 1880’s and ended in the 1960’s. Instead, the leftists would need to show us hard causation evidence linking the two events. They can’t.

Since leftists believe every Southerner in the United States from 1776 to 2017 was and is a frothing at the mouth racist, you’d think they would easily be able to prove a racist motive from historical documents commissioning these statues and memorials, or perhaps racist speeches given at the dedication ceremonies in front of these memorials.

After all, if even one Southerner who took on the project of building monument to a Confederate general had expressed racist motives you’d expect the left to be plastering this document all over cyberspace. But yet, they have produced not one hint of this evidence.
 [...]

Of special note is the year 1913, right near the beginning of the Confederate monument spike.  This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg where veterans of both sides of the war came together in a reunion of grand fashion. There was healing and forgiveness on both sides. Former Union and Confederate soldiers who earlier faced each other in the bloodiest war in American history stood side by side in reconciliation.

It is easy to forget that veterans who fought in that war were still alive at the time. Both sides saw its horrors. To a vast majority of Southern soldiers the motivation to fight was to defend their homeland from invasion and destruction. 98% of Southerners did not own slaves during the war, although plantation owners in the Union states of Kentucky, Delaware, and Maryland did. (Read more.)
Veterans shake hands on the 50th anniversary of Gettysburg

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Selina Gray, the Heroine of Arlington

Selina Gray was Mrs. Robert E. Lee's personal maid whom Mrs. Lee left in charge of the Arlington house and plantation for the duration of the War Between the States. Selina, a formidable woman, famously told the occupying Union soldiers to keep their hands off of "Mrs. Lee's things." She is credited with saving the family portrait of George Washington, since Mary Custis Lee was the great-granddaughter of Martha Custis Washington. From The Washington Post:
When Robert E. Lee’s wife, Mary, fled Arlington House at the start of the Civil War, she gave her personal slave, Selina Norris Gray, the keys to the mansion and responsibility for the grand house the Lees had lived in for 30 years. Gray fulfilled her duties. She is famously credited with saving from marauding Union soldiers numerous heirlooms belonging to George Washington that were stored in the house.

Now the National Park Service, which administers Arlington House, has acquired what it says is a rare and previously unknown photograph of Gray and, apparently, two of her eight children. The photograph was spotted last month on the Internet auction site eBay by Park Service volunteer Dean DeRosa. The seller, in England, had found the photo in a box of “unwanted” pictures at a British version of a yard sale.

A Park Service statement said that its nonprofit partner, Save Historic Arlington House, bid on the photograph and, “against stiff competition,” won.

“This is a big deal,” National Park Service spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles said Thursday. “It’s in­cred­ibly rare to have photos of slaves that we can identify,” she said. “Since slaves were property, it’s really hard to identify the people in images like this. This is a priceless item to add to our collection.” She said the Park Service is sure the double image, which is identified on the back only as “Gen Lees Slaves Arlington Va,” depicts Gray, the older woman in the picture, and probably her children. The Park Service was able to compare the new photo with an identified photo of Gray already in its collection. Anzelmo-Sarles said the new photo is believed to have been taken outside Gray’s slave quarters at Arlington. (Read more.)
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Eclipses in Scripture

Howard Russell Butler, Solar Eclipse, Lompoc 1923
What the ancient Hebrews believed. From Charisma News:
In Genesis 1:4, the sun, moon and stars are called signs for the appointed times, and the Jewish commentary on the Torah includes eclipses as signs. Another interesting Scripture is Jeremiah 10:2, which tells Israel not to be terrified by the signs in the sky even though the nations are terrified. According to the sages, the sign of the eclipses holds no fear for those who act properly.

We find ourselves concurring with most of these rabbinical beliefs about eclipses. We understand eclipses to be signs from God not only because of Genesis 1:14, but also as signs to the church as announced by Peter on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17-21). For believers, we agree that eclipses are times of prayer and introspection, a time to unify in Christ as shown by the symbol of the moon, representing believers (Ps. 89:37), joining in the sun, representing Christ (Ps. 19). We also agree that for non-believers eclipses are a warning of judgment to come and therefore and are fearful omens.

Those themes of prayer and introspection for believers and fear of judgment for non-believers are heightened during the 40-day Hebrew season of Teshuvah, which begins with the great American eclipse on Aug. 21 and ends 40 days later on Sept. 29, the Day of Atonement. The world Teshuvah literally means "to return to the presence of the Lord," and the psalm associated by the rabbis with Teshuvah, Psalm 27, speaks of the blessings of dwelling in God's presence. On the other hand, the second Scripture associated with Teshuvah, Ezekiel 33, warns believers of punishment for failure to warn sinners, and warns sinners of judgment to come. Thus, Teshuvah is an invitation to intimacy and a warning of judgment. (Read more.)

See how the eclipse will look from anywhere in America. Be careful. No staring at the sun without special glasses. Share

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Black Victorians

From The Guardian:
The African Choir were a group of young South African singers that toured Britain between 1891 and 1893. They were formed to raise funds for a Christian school in their home country and performed for Queen Victoria at Osborne House, a royal residence on the Isle of Wight. At some point during their stay, they visited the studio of the London Stereoscopic Company to have group and individual portraits made on plate-glass negatives. That long-lost series of photographs, unseen for 120 years, is the dramatic centrepiece of an illuminating new exhibition called Black Chronicles II.

“The portraits were last shown in the London Illustrated News in 1891,” says Renée Mussai, who has co-curated the show at London’s Rivington Place alongside Mark Sealy MBE, director of Autograph ABP, a foundation that focuses on black cultural identity often through the use of overlooked archives. “The Hulton Archive, where they came from, did not even know they existed until we uncovered them while excavating their archive as part of our research project.”

The London Stereoscopic Company specialised in carte de visites – small photographs printed on cards that were often traded by collectors or used by performers for publicity purposes – and, as their name suggests, they were all in stereo which, when seen through a special viewer, gave the illusion of a three-dimensional photograph.

The enlarged portraits of the African Choir, which line one wall of the exhibition, were made by Mike Spry, a specialist in printing from glass plates who was coaxed out of retirement to undertake the meticulous process in his garden shed. They are arresting both for the style and assurance of the sitters – some of the women look like they could be modelling for Vogue – and for the way they challenge the received narrative of the history of black people in Britain.

“Black Chronicles II is part of a wider ongoing project called The Missing Chapter,” says Mussai, “which uses the history of photography to illuminate the missing chapters in British history and culture, especially black history and culture. There is a widespread misconception that black experience in Britain begins with the arrival of the Empire Windrush and the first Jamaican immigrants in 1948, but, as this exhibition shows, there is an incredible archive of images of black people in Britain that goes right back to the invention of photography in the 1830s.”

Near the African choir shots, there is an equally striking portrait of Major Musa Bhai, a Ceylon-born Muslim who was converted to Christianity in colonial India. He accompanied the family of William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, to England in 1888 as a high-profile advocate for the organisation. As Mussai notes, there “are several intertwining narratives – colonial, cultural and personal – embedded in these images, but what is often startling is how confident and self-contained many of the sitters are as they occupy the frame.” (Read more.)
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