Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Lenten Reflections on the Passion of Christ

From TFP:
The following Lenten reflections deal with suffering, in the truly Catholic sense of the word. It was by the Cross that our good Lord opened the gates of Heaven for us and it will be through the victory over suffering. Through suffering well accepted, that we will someday be able to enter those Heavenly gates. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. When Our Lord asked Saint Paul on the way to Damascus, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” Our Lord was telling him that by persecuting the infant Church, Saul was persecuting Him, Christ. To persecute the Church is to persecute Jesus Christ, and if the Church is persecuted today, it is Christ that is persecuted. In a certain sense the Passion of Christ is being repeated in our days. (Read more.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Coconut Oil: Miracle Product or Beauty Fad?

From the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog:
Coconut oil is one of the main ingredients in my creams and in the cleanser. It fights aging by tightening the skin and helping it to stay firm. It helps to heal blemishes by increasing the collagen and by the antioxidant and antibacterial activity. (Read more.)

Proper Lenten Fasting

From The Catholic Herald:
In his Physiology of Taste, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, that philosopher of the delicious, describes Lenten fasting during his youth in 18th-century France: “...Neither butter, eggs, nor anything animal was served at these collations. They had to be satisfied with salads, confitures and sweetmeats, a very unsatisfactory food to such appetites at that time. They went to bed, however, and lived in hope as long as the fast lasted.” Even as early as the 18th century, however, the custom was under assault, leading Pope Benedict XIV to write in a manner that should give us pause today:
The observance of Lent is the very badge of Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should men grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God’s glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, and of private woe.
This statement ranks as accurate papal prophecy – ranking up there with Paul VI’s exact prediction of the modern dating scene in Humanae Vitae. Brillat-Savarin later speaks of the gradual decline of fasting during the Age of Reason in a manner eerily parallel to Dom Guéranger’s account in his Liturgical Year. In the end, all was swept away in the French Revolution. Although the Catholic Revival of the 19th century saw a partial re-establishment of the practice (though most notably with two collations), even this was gradually done away with, until we reached the point we are at now. It cannot be said that the current conditions in church and state – to say nothing of the individual piety and happiness of Catholics – speak well for the results of the relaxation. (Read more.)

Historical Evidence for Jesus

This is for the people who keep insisting that Jesus is a myth. There is more historical evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth than there is for many Roman Emperors. From Reasonable Faith:
1. There was insufficient time for legendary influences to expunge the historical facts. The interval of time between the events themselves and recording of them in the gospels is too short to have allowed the memory of what had or had not actually happened to be erased.

2. The gospels are not analogous to folk tales or contemporary "urban legends." Tales like those of Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill or contemporary urban legends like the "vanishing hitchhiker" rarely concern actual historical individuals and are thus not analogous to the gospel narratives.

3. The Jewish transmission of sacred traditions was highly developed and reliable. In an oral culture like that of first century Palestine the ability to memorize and retain large tracts of oral tradition was a highly prized and highly developed skill. From the earliest age children in the home, elementary school, and the synagogue were taught to memorize faithfully sacred tradition. The disciples would have exercised similar care with the teachings of Jesus.

4. There were significant restraints on the embellishment of traditions about Jesus, such as the presence of eyewitnesses and the apostles’ supervision. Since those who had seen and heard Jesus continued to live and the tradition about Jesus remained under the supervision of the apostles, these factors would act as a natural check on tendencies to elaborate the facts in a direction contrary to that preserved by those who had known Jesus.

5. The Gospel writers have a proven track record of historical reliability.
I don’t have enough time to talk about all of these. So let me say something about the first and the last points.

1. There was insufficient time for legendary influences to expunge the historical facts. No modern scholar thinks of the gospels as bald-faced lies, the result of a massive conspiracy. The only place you find such conspiracy theories of history is in sensationalist, popular literature or former propaganda from behind the Iron Curtain. When you read the pages of the New Testament, there’s no doubt that these people sincerely believed in the truth of what they proclaimed. Rather ever since the time of D. F. Strauss, sceptical scholars have explained away the gospels as legends. Like the child’s game of telephone, as the stories about Jesus were passed on over the decades, they got muddled and exaggerated and mythologized until the original facts were all but lost. The Jewish peasant sage was transformed into the divine Son of God.

One of the major problems with the legend hypothesis, however, which is almost never addressed by sceptical critics, is that the time between Jesus’s death and the writing of the gospels is just too short for this to happen. This point has been well-explained by A. N. Sherwin-White in his book Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament[2] Professor Sherwin-White is not a theologian; he is a professional historian of times prior to and contemporaneous with Jesus. According to Sherwin-White, the sources for Roman and Greek history are usually biased and removed one or two generations or even centuries from the events they record. Yet, he says, historians reconstruct with confidence the course of Roman and Greek history. For example, the two earliest biographies of Alexander the Great were written by Arrian and Plutarch more than 400 years after Alexander’s death, and yet classical historians still consider them to be trustworthy. The fabulous legends about Alexander the Great did not develop until during the centuries after these two writers. According to Sherwin-White, the writings of Herodotus enable us to determine the rate at which legend accumulates, and the tests show that even two generations is too short a time span to allow legendary tendencies to wipe out the hard core of historical facts. When Professor Sherwin-White turns to the gospels, he states that for the gospels to be legends, the rate of legendary accumulation would have to be "unbelievable." More generations would be needed. (Read more.)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Litany to the Holy Heart of St. Joseph

A rare litany to the Holy Heart of St. Joseph, in honor of his feast day. Share

McCabe and Comey

From The Hill:
McCabe is accused of misleading investigators about allegedly giving information to a former Wall Street Journal reporter about the investigation of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton family’s charitable foundation. McCabe asserts in his post-firing statement that he not only had authority to “share” that information to the media but did so with the knowledge of “the director.” The FBI director at the time was Comey.

 “I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor,” McCabe stated. “As deputy director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that. It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter.”

If the “interaction” means leaking the information, then McCabe’s statement would seem to directly contradict statements Comey made in a May 2017 congressional hearing. Asked if he had “ever been an anonymous source in news reports about matters relating to the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation” or whether he had “ever authorized someone else at the FBI to be an anonymous source in news reports about the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation,” Comey replied “never” and “no.” (Read more.)
Meanwhile, from The Federalist:
 Newly discovered text messages obtained by The Federalist reveal two key federal law enforcement officials conspired to meet with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) judge who presided over the federal case against Michael Flynn. The judge, Rudolph Contreras, was recused from handling the case just days after accepting the guilty plea of President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser who was charged with making false statements to federal investigators.
The text messages about Contreras between controversial Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) lawyer Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, the senior FBI counterintelligence official who was kicked off Robert Mueller’s special counsel team, were deliberately hidden from Congress, multiple congressional investigators told The Federalist. In the messages, Page and Strzok, who are rumored to have been engaged in an illicit romantic affair, discussed Strzok’s personal friendship with Contreras and how to leverage that relationship in ongoing counterintelligence matters. (Read more.)

The Family and the Fight Against Obesity

From Return to Order:
A strong family life offers much needed order to the lives of children. Fathers and mothers can address not only avoiding unhealthy attachments to foods but also the culture’s call to pleasure through materialism and experiences. When we line up to purchase fast-food, junk food and snack food in abundance, we also, as a society, appear to feed our intellect, our spiritual and emotional lives with cheapened missives that emanate from the mass media marketing campaigns that drive our materialistic culture. That is why the family can be an essential shield against this culture. There are all sorts of ways in which parents can work against some of the influences that affect obesity among children.

Disconnecting the TV from the networks and reserving it for controlled DVDs with content that edifies the soul is one significant strategy. Parents might discourage those tight and unforgiving schedules that give way to pressures that are threatening our family structures, our own mental health and that of our children. They can keep out poor quality entertainment in the form of bad novels, violent and sensual video games, hyped-up movies and reality TV as a means towards depressurizing our lives.

All these things have made us ill by malnourishing our minds and spirits, leaving us spiritually ill, and emotionally empty, unable to find spiritual or emotional solace in our frantic preoccupations. Taking measures in these fields, will influence eating habits. It is interesting that the emptiness and dreariness of this generation’s outlook on life matches the colorless dinner plates they choose to consume. The family that is Christ-centered offers protection against society’s assault on hope. (Read more.)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Helena Modjeska as Marie Antoinette, 1899

Helena Modjeska was a celebrated Polish-American actress. More about her HERE. Share

Who Will Banish the Madmen in Education?

From Return to Order:
The modern mantra is that all students need to attend university. Thus, young people continue to enter colleges in droves. As a result, they pile up massive amounts of debt, which they owe mainly to the federal government. Such student debt now stands at an astounding $1.4 trillion and growing. The problem is that more and more graduates fail to pay back their loans. Federal loan programs can only work on the assumption that they will be paid back. In fact, interest collected on these loans has always been more than enough to cover costs. For decades, the government has even shown a surplus — a rare feat these days from any government agency. But the federal loan programs are now projected to lose tens of billions of dollars. And young people are getting the blame. (Read more.)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf

Battle of Clontarf, 1014
Brian Boru
 From Live Science:
The famous Irish king, Brian Boru, is widely credited with defeating the Vikings at the Battle of Clontarf more than 1,000 years ago. But not everyone heaps praise on the king. For the past 300 years, historians have cast doubt on whether Boru's main enemies were the Vikings, or his own countrymen. Perhaps, say these so-called revisionists, the Battle of Clontarf was actually a domestic feud — that is, a civil war — between different parts of Ireland.

To settle the matter, researchers analyzed a medieval text used by both traditionalists and revisionists to bolster their arguments. The results are a boon for Boru: The hostilities revealed in the text largely indicate that the Irish fought in an international war against the Vikings, although Irish-on-Irish conflict is also described in the manuscripts, according to the new study, published online today (Jan. 24) in the journal Royal Society Open Science. [Fierce Fighters: 7 Secrets of Viking Culture]

The medieval Irish text, known as Cogadh Gaedhel re Gallaibh ("The War of the Gaedhil with the Gaill"), describes how an army led by Boru challenged the Viking invaders, culminating in the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. The Vikings weren't new to Ireland. Viking raids against the Emerald Isle began in A.D. 795. In the decades that followed, the Vikings took over Dublin and built camps that evolved into the settlements of Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Wexford, said study lead author Ralph Kenna, a professor of theoretical physics at Coventry University, in the United Kingdom. But Boru wanted a unified Ireland, and the Vikings and various regional kingdoms stood in his way. Boru achieved his goal of unification in 1011, but merely a year later, the province of Leinster and Viking-controlled Dublin rose against him, leading to the Battle of Clontarf. (Boru's army defeated Leinster and the Vikings, but victory came at price for Boru, as he was killed at Clontarf.) (Read more.)
Brian Boru rallies the Irish

We're All Fascists Now

It goes without saying that I completely disagree with characterizing Trump as a fascist. From The New York Times:
Why are so many demonstrably non-fascist people being accused of fascism? 


Partly, as the writer David French and others have pointed out, this ritual we keep witnessing of an in-group wielding its power against a perceived heretic seems to come from a deep human desire for a sense of belonging and purpose. Organized religion may be anathema on the political left, but the need for the things religion provides — moral fervor, meaning, a sense of community — are not. Partly, too, it is the result of a lack of political proportion and priority....

But it is also a concerted attempt to significantly redraw the bounds of acceptable thought and speech. By tossing people like Mary Beard and Christina Hoff Sommers into the slop bucket with the likes of Richard Spencer, they are attempting to place their reasonable ideas firmly outside the mainstream. They are trying to make criticism of identity politics, radical Islam and third-wave feminism, among various other subjects, verboten. For even the most minor transgressions, as in the case of Professor Beard, people are turned radioactive.

There are consequences to all this “fascism” — and not just the reputational damage to those who are smeared, though there is surely that. The main effect is that these endless accusations of “fascism” or “misogyny” or “alt-right” dull the effects of the words themselves. As they are stripped of meaning, they strip us of our sharpness — of our ability to react forcefully to real fascists and misogynists or members of the alt-right. (Read more.)

Ireland’s Rise in Demonic Activity

The exorcists have been busy. No, it's not a joke. From Patti Armstrong:
One sign is the growing pro-abortion mood in Ireland. This May, the traditionally pro-life country, will have a referendum for the repeal of the Irish Constitution’s Eight Amendment which recognizes unborn babies as human beings. Ireland’s prime minister has declared he will campaign to have it repealed. The devil makes war on God’s creation through the wombs of mothers by influencing people to push for abortion.

The devil is both hidden and influencing people and harassing some of them. In The Irish Catholic, Fr. Pat Collins, a renowned exorcist, said that in recent years, demonic activity has risen exponentially. He has called on Church leaders to appoint a team of exorcists to cope with what he sees as a rising tide of evil in the country.

Father Collins reported that he is “inundated almost daily with desperate people seeking his help to deal with what they believe to be demonic possession and other evil goings on.” People are claiming to have ghostly encounters, being pulled from their beds, and even full-blown possession. (Read more.)

Friday, March 16, 2018

A Well-Preserved Roman Villa

From The Daily Mail:
Sprawling ruins of the 2,000-year-old luxury villa of a Roman military commander have been unearthed during work to expand the Italian capital's subway system. Archaeologists working on Rome's Metro C line uncovered the second century AD residence, or domus, adjoining a military barracks excavated in 2016. The richly decorated dwelling is complete with a well-preserved geometric design mosaic, marble floors and frescoed walls. Government official Francesco Prosperetti, special superintendent for the Colosseum, the National Roman Museum and the archaeological area of ​​Rome, described the find as an 'astounding archaeological construction site.' (Read more.)


More on Gun Control

From The National Review:
The CNN town hall might in other circumstances have been easy to write off as an outlier, a result of the still-raw grief and pain left in the wake of the Parkland shooting. But it was no less vitriolic than the “discourse” online, where progressives who hadn’t lost anyone in the attack were using many of the same words as the angry crowd that confronted Rubio and Loesch. The NRA has blood on its hands, they said. It’s a terrorist organization. Gun-rights supporters — especially those who oppose an assault-weapons ban — are lunatics at best, evil at worst. This progressive rage isn’t fake. It comes from a place of fierce conviction and sincere belief. (Read more.)
UPDATE: An insightful article from The Times Free Press:
However, emotional reactions to despicable and sad events such as school shootings are not solutions. They are Band-Aids. Politicians and community leaders are afraid to address real problems: the breakdown of the nuclear family (especially in minority communities) in which two parents assume responsibility for the discipline, character and moral development of their children; churches, many of which abdicate teaching God's word in favor of a milquetoast gospel that sounds appealing but leads to a spiritual wasteland; the government, which abandoned meaningful care for the mentally ill, the most unfortunate among us; and, all adults who turn a blind eye when our youth display bad manners, immoral behavior and a lack of respect and civility. (Read more.)

The Bizarre Case Of Sarah Winchester

From Spirit Daily:
You have perhaps heard of Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester gun fortune and a woman who built what was at one time the biggest house in the United States, this in the San Jose area. There’s currently a major movie about it. We’re talking here of about 161 rooms. It’s thought through the years she actually had workmen construct — and periodically tear down — on the order of four to six hundred rooms, which she built to house angry spirits of the deceased: those who, she was told (by a medium), had been killed by the guns her husband’s family manufactured. Carpenters and other workmen labored in shifts that went on at the sprawling house for twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, over the course of thirty-eight years. It was seven stories tall.

And if that isn’t unusual enough, consider that some of the doors in the home led to nowhere — opened only to reveal a blank wall, or a drop to the ground — and there was a stairway that led only to the ceiling: little steps also to nowhere. It was a series of mazes. This, she explained, was to confuse spirits who might be after her. She changed bedrooms every night. Understandably, many thought that Sarah was wildly eccentric. In fact the board of the Winchester Repeater company even sent a psychiatrist to evaluate Sarah for a week at her weird residence. (Read more.)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Well-Dressed Home

From Southern Lady:
Emily spent seven years working for an interior design firm, but she was still eager to find ways to express her own sensibilities. After starting a blog in 2010,  she received so many emails from readers asking for help with their homes that she started her own business, A Well Dressed Home. Her business grew rapidly, and she hired fellow designer Alli Walker in 2012. (Read more.)

The Crisis of Child Trafficking

From The Washington Post:
Some of these details might seem obvious; but, surprisingly, before the development of the IPC program in 2009 by a Texas Department of Public Safety officer named Derek Prestridge, there was no comparable, comprehensive training program to help patrol officers — those most likely to encounter children in distress — identify missing, exploited or at-risk kids.

The success of the program has been, unavoidably, difficult to quantify. Before the creation of IPC training, Texas DPS kept no record of “child rescues.” But Texas state troopers have made 341 such rescues since the program’s inception; and in formalized follow-up interviews, virtually all of the troopers said the training was key to spurring them to action.

The DPS has made the training available outside of Texas, and states that have participated are also reporting upticks in child rescues. But the training is far from standard. According to Prestridge, now a captain, IPC training has reached 7,709 patrol officers and child services professionals; according to the Justice Department, there are about 750,000 police officers in the United States (the statistics don’t seem to break out patrol officers). “If this training becomes routine,” Prestridge says, “we could be saving thousands of children.” Unfortunately, as he has learned, even the most promising approaches to the most disturbing problems can be difficult to implement. (Read more.)
 From USA Today:
The scale of the trade indicates that it’s not a small number of men who pay to have sex with kids.  A 2016 study by the Center for Court Innovation found that between 8,900 and 10,500 children, ages 13 to 17, are commercially exploited each year in this country. Several hundred children 12 and younger, a group not included in the study, also suffer commercial sexual abuse.

The researchers found that the average age of victims is 15 and that each child is purchased on average 5.4 times a day. I’ve interviewed victims who were forced to have sex with more than 30 men in a week; more than 100 in a month.

To determine a conservative estimate of the demand, I multiplied the lower number of victims (8,900) identified in the Center for Court Innovation study by the rate of daily exploitation per child (5.4), and then by an average of only one “work” day per week (52). The result: Adults purchase children for sex at least 2.5 million times a year in the United States. The number of identified victims in the U.S. is on the rise. The National Human Trafficking Hotline recorded a 35 percent increase in reports in 2016. Most of the cases involved sex trafficking and many of the victims were children. (Read more.)
UPDATE: Action is being taken to bring the horror to an end. From The White House:
President Donald J. Trump is taking a stand against human trafficking, dedicating our Government’s full resources towards fighting this repulsive crime.
  • The President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF) is working tirelessly to address all aspects of human trafficking.
    • As defined by the Trafficking Victims Prevention Act (TVPA), it is the policy of the United States government to address human trafficking via “The Three P’s:”
      • Prosecution of Traffickers.
      • Protection of Victims.
      • Prevention of Human Trafficking.
  • In March 2018, the President appointed nine human trafficking survivors to serve on the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking for terms of two years.
  • President Trump declared January 2018 National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. (Read more.)

Humanae Vitae: 50 Years Later

From author Ellen Gable:
In 1968 and with many of the faithful expecting and hoping that the Church would “change” its teaching on artificial contraception, Blessed Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical, Humanae Vitae (On Human Life) which confirmed and proclaimed the 2000-year consistent teaching of the Church that artificial methods of contraception were immoral.

Within two days, dissident theologians led by Father Charles Curran issued this statement: “Spouses may responsibly decide according to their conscience that artificial contraception in some circumstances is permissible and indeed necessary to preserve and foster the value and sacredness of marriage,” thereby, leaving it up to individual Catholic couples’ “conscience” to decide. The problem was there was no indication from dissidents as to how couples should form their consciences (nor, in my opinion, did the dissidents care). Two months after HV, the “Winnipeg Statement” was issued by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops stating that “those who cannot accept the teaching should not be considered shut off from the Catholic Church, and that individuals can in good conscience use contraception as long as they have made an honest attempt to accept the difficult directives of the encyclical.”

While many of the faithful were only focusing on their own personal situations, Pope Paul VI was warning the faithful that going against natural law and the 2000-year teaching of the Church would bring a “general lowering of moral standards.” (HV 17) Welcome to the world in which we live. (Read more.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Grace Kelly’s Wedding Dress

From Fame10:
The material used to craft the dress was a delicate rose point Brussels lace. The gown featured sheer long sleeves made entirely of the lace and an elegant high neckline. The most shocking part, however, is that the antique lace was over 125 years old and still looked impeccable. Additionally, the full skirt was made of silk and the bride also switched between three different petticoats throughout the evening to change up her look.

 Not only was the antique Brussels lace over 125 years old, but it was also carefully stitched together with intense detail. The seamstresses re-embroidered the lace on the bodice to ensure there were no visible seams. They also added hundreds of seed pearls throughout to further hide any stitching and to make the look even more embellished and detailed. (Read more.)

Can Facebook Posts Destabilize the Nation?

From Return to Order:
It is unlikely that Russia’s Facebook offensive had a major impact on the elections for three reasons. The first reason involves the scope of the operation. In this particular case, even thousands of social media accounts are a tiny drop in a vast cyber-ocean of hundreds of millions of accounts. It is unreasonable to think that this drop might have had any significant or quantifiable effect upon the elections.

Secondly, claims of destabilization seem to insinuate that social media posts are the elections. Exposure to posts does not mean actually reading them. Social media is merely a small part of any election campaign. Such posts do not determine the results. Moreover, anything the Russians may have employed during the elections is dwarfed in comparison to the social media assets brought to the table by both the Democratic and Republican Party establishments. The Russian effort is a non-issue.

Finally, the claims assign an almost fatalistic quality to Russian posts. Some people seem to believe that a carefully crafted post can change the convictions and beliefs of a person in an instant especially in a highly polarized election. It attributes an almost zombie-like lack of personality to voters, as if incapable of resisting the message posted by Russian agents. (Read more.)

On Being Catholic

From The Catholic Thing:

Modern critics of religion have long chastised religion, especially Catholicism, because it claimed a source of authority independent of and transcendent to the state. This abiding authority meant that the Socratic principle that morally limited the state only to use what is good was operative in every state no matter what its configuration or era. The state was limited, not absolute. No world parliament of religions under the sole authority of the state or the U.N. was possible. Freedom for all citizens of any actual state was rooted in the Socratic principle.

What today concerns many observers, both Catholic and non-Catholic, is whether the Church has, in effect, rejected the Socratic principle and the revelational divine law related to it. Many, no doubt, are confused and say so. It is rare that anyone does not, when the subject comes up, wonder about “What is going on in Rome?” The concern comes back to the loyalty of the Church to itself, to what it was assigned to uphold from the beginning.

Several kinds of response are heard. One group thinks the Church is outmoded and should change to a paradigm of modernity. For them, things are going quite well. Another group does not want to say anything, just ignore it. It will go away. Some are deeply upset but maintain that, until something ex officio is so clear that no doubt about its deviation can be sustained, they will continue to think things are all right. Others pore over discussions of heretical popes in Bellarmine and Suarez. The general conclusion of these earlier sources is that, if a pope is heretical, he is ipso facto no longer pope. It is just a question of who officially points it out.

Frank Sheed, in his discussion of papal infallibility in A Map of Life back in the 1930s, held that the Holy Spirit would prevent a heretical pope from saying anything. Others await a change in the papacy itself, either through death or resignation. Agitation comes from a few bishops about their responsibility to reaffirm the Socratic/divine law tradition. (Read more.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

More on Madame Tussaud

From Artsy:
For most Parisians, a stroll through the ruins of the Bastille in the summer of 1789 was the ultimate exercise in free will: the chance to personally trample over the regime’s most notorious symbol of oppression. Yet for Madame Tussaud—then the 27-year-old protégée of famed waxmaker Philippe Curtius—the experience was drenched in destiny.

“Whilst descending the narrow stairs, her foot slipped,” recounts her earliest and most breathless biographer, “when she was saved by [Maximilien] Robespierre.” As it turned out, this would rank among her more pleasant encounters with the firebrand. “How little did Madame Tussaud then think,” the passage continues, “that she should, in a few years after, have his severed head in her lap in order to take a cast from it after his execution.”

Like Tussaud’s apocryphal tour of the Bastille, it is nearly impossible to separate the French waxmaker’s life and lore. A baptismal record places her birth in Strasbourg, France, on December 7, 1761. In a grisly portent of Tussaud’s future associations, her absent father came from a long line of public executioners dating back to the 15th century. Her mother was a housekeeper for Curtius—then a resident of Berne, Switzerland, and a doctor by training—fueling suspicion among scholars that Curtius and Tussaud’s mother may have been siblings or secret lovers.

Whether he was Tussaud’s uncle, father, or simply a benevolent physician, Curtius soon assumed the role of her guardian and artistic mentor. After impressing the visiting Prince de Conti, a cousin of Louis XV, with a small museum of anatomical wax miniatures produced as part of his medical practice, he accepted patronage to pursue wax modeling as his primary vocation in Paris. Tussaud and her mother joined him shortly thereafter. (Read more.)

The Issue of Movie Accents

From Film School Rejects:
English language films tend to do something films from other parts of the world rarely ever do, and that is use accented English as a stand-in for a non-English language. You don’t, for example, see Germans making films where everyone is walking around New York City speaking American-accented German. (Sounds ridiculous, right?) We frequently even take it one step further, and just sort of sub in British-English accents for anywhere European, especially in films dealing with the upper echelons of society. It doesn’t matter if it’s the court of Louis XVI of France or Alexander II of Russia — it’s the Queen’s English for everybody. There’s a particularly delicious irony one feels watching a featurette for some Paris-set period piece in which the costume and set designers are going over the huge lengths they went to in the name of historical accuracy while the characters are all speaking in British RP.

Look, I’m not some starry-eyed idealist. I get why movies do this. American audiences, in particular, have a reputation for avoiding movies that require reading — that is, films with subtitles — like the plague. Non-English-speaking audiences are more used to dealing with subtitles or the sad joke that is most dubbing. While I can hardly even imagine the farce that is watching a film supposed to be set in your country in which the dialogue has to be dubbed into your language, I understand why it happens (even though it’s absurd).

It is perfectly valid to call out, say, Russell Crowe and/or Kevin Costner’s attempts at Englishness in their respective Robin Hood adaptations, or about 90% of all non-Irish attempts at various Irish accents (Cameron Diaz in Gangs of New York, Gerard Butler in P.S. I Love You, Tom Cruise in Far and Away, the list goes on). Once you venture into judging accents originating from non-English-speaking regions when the language being spoken by the actor is still English, the territory becomes a lot more complicated. (Read more.)

Cohabitation, Concubinage, and the Council of Trent

From The Five Beasts:
Sociologically speaking, little comparison can be made between the form of concubinage that was popular in the Middle Ages and today’s marital alternative known as cohabitation. The medieval pastime endured for centuries and was deeply rooted in feudal society’s pagan history. It generally took the form of a nobleman, unmarried or married, keeping a woman of lower rank or from the peasantry in his home to provide sexual favors. Unsurprisingly, medieval concubines produced many illegitimate children, with many of the bastard daughters growing up to become concubines themselves. The concern for maintaining a family’s social status meant that concubinage would rarely lead to marriage. In most cases of modern cohabitation, however, there is an intention on the part of the couple to eventually get married, giving the relationship some sense of permanence. Recent statistics demonstrate, however, that a majority of cohabitating couples eventually break up, including couples that eventually do get married. One well known fact about remarried people is that their second marriage is more likely to end in divorce, the third even more, etc. The same goes for cohabitating couples. Advocating cohabitation is giving dangerous and costly advice. (Read more.)

Monday, March 12, 2018

A Rural Retreat

From Victoria:
Illustrating their enthusiasm for travel and passion for interior design, one British couple has adorned their home with a collection of French antique furniture and exquisite vintage finds. A converted stone barn nestled in the tranquil Oxfordshire countryside has proven the ideal rural retreat for Kate and Paul Gerrish, whose desire for beautiful views and longing to live in a period property drove their search for a new residence. Pieces such as the timeworn antique corner cabinet and a contemporary hare-themed lampshade, pictured above, layer old and new. Together with Isobel, her youngest daughter and business partner, Kate runs Bliss, a shop in Chipping Norton that sells a selection of French homewares, vintage furniture, contemporary accessories, and paint. (Read more.)


Who Believes in Russiagate?

Hatred of Trump has made people so gullible. From The Tablet:
In other words, there’s the truth, and then there’s what’s even more important—sticking it to Trump. Choose wrong, even inadvertently, Chen explained, no matter how many times you deplore Trump, and you’ll be labeled a Trumpkin. That’s what happened to Facebook advertising executive Rob Goldman, who was obliged to apologize to his entire company in an internal message for having shared with the Twitter public the fact that “the majority of the Internet Research Agency’s Facebook ads were purchased after the election.” After Trump retweeted Goldman’s thread to reaffirm that Vladimir Putin had nothing to do with his electoral victory, the Facebook VP was lucky to still have a job.

Chen’s article serves to explain why Russiagate is so vital to The New Yorker, despite the many headaches that each new weekly iteration of the story must be causing for the magazine’s fact-checkers. According to British court documents, The New Yorker was one of the publications that former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele briefed in September 2016 on the findings in his now-notorious dossier. In a New Yorker profile of Steele this week—portraying the spy-for-corporate-hire as a patriotic hero and laundering his possible criminal activitiesJane Mayer explains that she was personally briefed by Steele during that time period.

The New Yorker has produced tons of Russiagate stories, including a small anthology of takes on the Mueller indictments alone. Of course there’s one by the recently-hired Adam Entous, the former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal reporter who broke the news that the Washington firm Fusion GPS, which produced the Steele dossier, had been hired by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee—a story that helped Fusion GPS relieve some of the pressure congressional inquiries had put on the firm to release its bank records. No doubt Entous will continue to use his sources, whoever they are, to break more such stories at The New Yorker.

One person at The New Yorker who won’t get on board with the story is Masha Gessen. Born in Moscow, Gessen knows first-hand how bad Putin is and dislikes Trump only a little less than she dislikes the Russian strongman. Yet in a recent New Yorker piece, Gessen mocked Mueller’s indictments: “Trump’s tweet about Moscow laughing its ass off was unusually (perhaps accidentally) accurate,” she wrote. “Loyal Putinites and dissident intellectuals alike are remarkably united in finding the American obsession with Russian meddling to be ridiculous.” (Read more.)

It's Worse Than We Thought

From Allen B. West:
I just wanted to get this out and known as widely as I possibly can. This is how the left is going about getting illegal immigrants registered to vote in America. Through the motor voter law, they’re allowing illegals to acquire drivers licenses, and then automatically registering them to vote. We see this happening in California. And in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has come up with an “identification card” for “residents.” This card can be used as picture ID allowing illegal immigrants to vote in our elections. Here we thought that voting in our elections was restricted to citizens.

Leave it to the progressive socialist left to redefine that to “resident” or “driver.” We can no longer sit back and allow such egregious and lawless behavior and actions to go without consequences. The left in America has fully exposed themselves and we must recognize them for who they are and thwart their actions. Consider the recent billboards being displayed in Pensacola, Florida that refer to the National Rifle Association as a terrorist organization. Yes, if you’re an American that supports the Second Amendment, to the left you’re a terrorist. And why should we be surprised? A constitutional conservative grassroots movement, the Tea Party, was denigrated as an extremist group. There’s never a mention by the progressive socialist left about Black Lives Matter or Antifa, both violent domestic terrorist organizations guilty of assault and conveying threats against law enforcement — and funded by George Soros.

We’re devolving into banana republic status, and it’s time these leftist elected officials are held accountable, and spend some time in orange…and I’m not talking about Tennessee Volunteers colors. What happened in Pennsylvania is certainly the tip of a widespread iceberg, and I know a thing about leftist electoral corruption and cheating. This is tyranny at its grandest, and it has to be squashed. This is why the left promotes sanctuary cities and states, especially. This is why the left doesn’t embrace the American ideal of national sovereignty. They thirst for power, and will attain it by any means necessary. (Read more.)

Grooming Gangs in the UK

From The Conservative Woman:
The police have arrested 110 men in Rotherham. Of these, 18 have been charged, two cautioned and four convicted and jailed. Thirty-four investigations are continuing under the Operation Stovewood umbrella, and six trials will take place later this year. Will the newly sanitised Rotherham Social Services be featuring in any of these? Across the UK only 317 people have been convicted in connection with organised grooming and sexual abuse crimes. Other towns and cities involved include Keighley, Blackpool, Oldham, Blackburn, Sheffield, Manchester, Skipton, Rochdale, Nelson, Preston, Derby, Telford, Bradford, Ipswich, Birmingham, Oxford, Barking and Peterborough.

The huge number of victims in Rotherham raises the question of how many there really are elsewhere, and how many more rapists continue to evade justice? In Rotherham, the National Crime Agency believes there are still ‘a handful’ of high-risk abusers at large. Operation Sanctuary in Newcastle is continuing to investigate grooming and sexual abuse against 700 girls, and a report by barrister David Spicer into the operation concludes that the grooming of girls for sexual exploitation is still rife in the UK today. How is this still happening? In Rotherham, as in Rochdale and the other towns, the evidence points to a disproportionate number offenders being of a Pakistani background. Such gangs may have been operating in the UK since the 1980s, according to Peter McLoughlin in his book Easy Meat: Inside Britain’s Grooming Gang Scandal.

The distinction between Pakistani grooming gangs, exploiting vulnerable white girls, and white paedophile rings (characterised by their longstanding sexual interest in children) has been established, for example, in a report by the Quilliam Foundation. Despite this, Britain’s top female police officer continues to obfuscate the problem by not acknowledging the racial aspect of these gangs.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick was asked at a recent meeting of the London Assembly if she was concerned that the Met was sitting on a Rotherham-style grooming gang epidemic in the capital. She replied that she did not accept the characterisation that offenders were mainly Asian or Muslim men, but that this type of problem has been ‘going on for centuries’. Not like this. Not on this scale, and not without the willingness of authorities to tackle it. (Read more.)
The Daily Mail reports on the Telford scandal:
 A brutal sex gang raped as many as 1,000 young girls over 40 years in what may be Britain's 'worst ever' child abuse scandal. Girls in the town of Telford, Shropshire, were drugged, beaten and raped at the hands of a grooming gang active since the 1980s. Allegations are said to have been mishandled by authorities, with many perpetrators going unpunished, while it is claimed similar abuse continues in the area, reports the Sunday Mirror

Home Office figures show there were 15.1 child sex crimes reported per 10,000 residents in the year to September 2015. Telford's population is 155,000 – meaning a potential 225 victims. Telford's Conservative MP, Lucy Allan, has previously called for a Rotherham-style inquiry into the allegations and called the latest reports 'extremely serious and shocking'.

'There must now be an independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Telford so that our community can have absolute confidence in the authorities,' she told the paper. A mother and four teenage girls have been linked to the allegations of abuse. Lucy Lowe, 16, died alongside her mother and sister after the man who had been abusing her, 26-year-old Azhar Ali Mehmood, set fire to their house. (Read more.)

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Heavenly Earth: Images of Saint Francis at La Verna

From The Leaven:
WASHINGTON (CNS) — St. Francis of Assisi’s reception of the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, at La Verna in Italy and its depiction by artists beginning in the 15th century is the focus of a National Gallery of Art exhibit. “Heavenly Earth: Images of Saint Francis at La Verna” includes 30 pieces of Franciscan art centered on the miraculous 13th-century event. The exhibit was to open Feb. 25. Ginger Hammer, an assistant curator at the museum in Washington, said the display focuses on an “unprecedented event in Western spirituality.” No one in recorded history had experience such an occurrence before St. Francis did in 1224.

It happened while St. Francis was meditating on the passion of Christ during one of his regular retreats in the mountain wilderness. “He wanted to understand the very suffering that Christ endured. The result of his prayers reportedly is that a seraph, or six-winged angel, approached him enfolding the image of Christ on the cross. When the seraph departed, the actual wounds of Christ’s passion were transferred to the body of Francis,” Hammer told Catholic News Service Feb. 20 during a media preview. “That had never happened before and it was quite remarkable that through his own endeavors something mystical of this magnitude could happen to a human being,” she said.

A Franciscan sanctuary and museum complex mark the La Verna site today and continues to welcome pilgrims. The event was so extraordinary that artists over the centuries have tried to capture it to share with others. The exhibit focuses on work in various media from the 15th through 18th centuries. (Read more.)
More information at the National Gallery of Art website, HERE. Share

The Slyest Fox

Jeff Sessions. From Polizette:
When Bream asked about the recent request for appointment of a second special counsel from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), here’s what Sessions said: “Well, I have great respect for Mr. Gowdy and Chairman Goodlatte, and we are going to consider seriously their recommendations. I have appointed a person outside of Washington, many years in the Department of Justice [DOJ], to look at all the allegations that the House Judiciary Committee members sent to us; and we’re conducting that investigation” (emphasis added).

"Also, I am well aware we have a responsibility to ensure the integrity of the FISA process. We're not afraid to look at that. The inspector general — some think that our inspector general is not very strong; but he has almost 500 [employees], most of which are lawyers and prosecutors; and they are looking at the FISA process. We must make sure that it's done properly, and we're going to do that. And I'll consider their request.”

Note that Sessions appointed "a person outside of Washington," an individual with "many years in the Department of Justice," but he doesn't say when he did so. Sundance, a blogger on The Last Refuge, explains why this is immensely important: "Attorney General Jeff Sessions is noting the existence of an outside prosecutor who has been in place for quite a while ... All the evidence of this was/is clear if you follow the granular details closely," Sundance wrote. (Read more.)

Enemies of the People

It goes without saying that I totally disagree with Dreher about Trump and "Trumpishness." Otherwise, he makes some vital points. From The American Conservative:
...Take a look at this sign of the times: Mike Huckabee was forced to resign from the board of the Country Music Association Foundation, CMA’s charitable arm, one day after he was appointed to it. When I first heard about it this morning, I assumed that it was because he had become too politically divisive, given his tub-thumping for Trump. Yes, that was it, sort of. But here’s the real reason:
Jason Owen, co-president of Monument Records and owner at Sandbox Entertainment, called the appointment a “grossly offensive decision” in an email to the association’s CEO Sarah Trahern and CMA Foundation executive Tiffany Kerns. Owen wrote that due to Huckabee’s election to the CMA Foundation’s board, neither his companies, nor anyone they represent would continue to support the foundation. Owen and his husband Sam are fathers to a young son and are expecting twins. Owen said that Huckabee’s stance on the LGBTQ community “made it clear my family is not welcome in his America.”
“The CMA has opened their arms to him, making him feel welcome and relevant,” Owen wrote. “Huckabee speaks of the sort of things that would suggest my family is morally beneath his and uses language that has a profoundly negative impact upon young people all across this country. Not to mention how harmful and damaging his deep involvement with the NRA is. What a shameful choice.”
So, get this straight: a former Southern governor and ordained Southern Baptist minister was forced off the board of a Nashville-based country music philanthropy because he supports traditional marriage. Look, I think Mike Huckabee, who I supported in the 2008 GOP primaries, has made a fool of himself with his Trumpishness, but when he is not permitted to serve on a country music board because he is a traditional Christian on the subject of gay marriage, then cultural conservatives like me — and you, reader — had better pay attention. We might be more winsome (I hate that word) than Mike Huckabee, but we are no different in the eyes of the left-wing militants. I have been resisting this conclusion hard for a long time, but I can see with each passing day that it is becoming untenable. You don’t have to like Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, or any of that populist tribe to understand that they are not coming for your job, and they are not trying to drive you out of decent society. (Read more.)

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

I do not plan on seeing it since I have no desire to see one of my favorite books butchered beyond recognition.  The book is a great story and has the potential to be a great film. From PJ Media:
As Disney adapted the beloved children's book "A Wrinkle in Time" (1962) into a major motion picture — with no less than Oprah Winfrey on the star-studded cast list — the studio cut out a great deal along the way. Bible quotes, a reference to Jesus, and even Christian historical figures all got the boot. Could the excising of God help explain why the movie is projected to struggle at the box office? In the transition from book to movie, many aspects get left on the cutting-room floor. Even so, these omissions proved particularly egregious, partially because they involved rewriting history.

The battle between good and evil (light and darkness) forms a central theme in "A Wrinkle in Time," and both book and film mention many historical figures who fought the darkness on behalf of the light. Disney seemed zealous to excise any hint of Christianity from the film, going so far as to cut even historic artists mentioned by Madeleine L'Engle, the book's author. (Read more.)
From The Ringer:
 DuVernay’s previous movie, the Oscar-nominated Selma, went out of its way to invoke and analyze, but not emulate, every civil rights movie we’d all already seen and forgotten. A Wrinkle in Time’s relationship to other Disney movies is much the same, down to DuVernay employing a cast led by Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and the movie’s young star, Storm Reid, who together resemble the remixed vision of the American nuclear family you used to be able to see only in Cheerios commercials. That much is beautiful. You could sum the movie’s mission statement up in what is, as of this writing, DuVernay’s bio on Twitter: “A girl from Compton who got to make a Disney movie.” Or be in one!
Maybe it’s because those goals are so admirable, and the script so loaded with platitudes to that effect, that so much of the focus in the media so far has been on DuVernay and her powerful collaborators’ intentions rather than on the massive challenges of bringing this movie to the screen in the first place. But that’s the true accomplishment here. Like L’Engle’s sci-fi-fantasy novel from 1962, the movie tells the story of the Murry family — mother Kate (Mbatha-Raw), who’s a microbiologist, oldest daughter Meg (Reid), and adopted son Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) — who are in the midst of trying to get over the disappearance of NASA scientist Alexander Murry (Pine), a.k.a. Dad. Alex was working on a new form of space travel, one premised on traveling with the mind. He either figured it out or, as a pair of teachers at Meg’s school are later overheard to gossip, simply ditched his weirdo family. The movie gets going four years after he disappears, by which point Meg has proved herself a little bit of a malcontent in school, throwing a basketball at the face of a girl who makes fun of her and the preternaturally smart Charles Wallace. That’s par for the course; it’s clear Meg is still hurting from the loss of her father.

But then a white-robed Reese Witherspoon, playing the celestial being Mrs. Whatsit, shows up in the Murrys’ house one night unannounced, claiming to know a thing or two about Alex’s disappearance and dropping words like “tesseract,” which I only halfway understand thanks to National Geographic and Interstellar (this movie was unfortunately no help). Charles Wallace seems to know what’s going on, however, and soon after, Meg and Calvin, a popular boy from school who’s taken a liking to her, are led to the house of Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling), who speaks entirely in trite quotes from world-famous philosophers, like Lin-Manuel Miranda and Outkast. Soon after that, a 50-foot-tall Oprah has appeared, playing Mrs. Which, implicitly the most powerful of the three celestial beings because she’s played by Oprah. (Read more.)
  From Forbes:
A Wrinkle In Time isn’t terrible - it’s just not worth watching. The film is adapted from Madeleine L'Engle’s surreal sixties novel, and reminded me of the adaptation of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights into forgettable family film The Golden Compass. Both films are fine, I guess, if you haven’t read the book. If you have, they’re somewhat soul-destroying, simply because of the wasted potential. I’m not exactly the target audience for this movie, but even tweens need strong characters, a sense of threat, and a reason to care.

The film suffers from an intense abundance of CGI, the hangover from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. As a result, nothing feels remotely real, but the backgrounds can be pretty. Watching the movie feels a bit like selecting a screensaver for your laptop; the characters flick through different dreamy locations, without really changing, barely interacting, until it suddenly ends. Also, Chris Pine pops up occasionally to be annoyingly melodramatic - every scene he’s in feels like a corny commercial for life insurance.

Oprah Winfrey is severely miscast as Mrs. Which, a grand, almost Gandalf-like character, who simply comes across as bored here. She’s like a tired museum tour guide, dispassionately reading the plaques on the wall. Winfrey may have many talents, but she can’t read lines without sounding like she’s reading lines.

Reese Witherspoon is the soul of the film, when she does appear. She seems to understand what kind of movie she’s in, and appears to be genuinely having fun, like a chirpy children’s television presenter. At one point, she turns into a flying creature that resembles a Romaine lettuce leaf, a visual that actually caused laughter in the cinema.

Disney’s garish fantasy blockbuster aesthetic makes a return for this movie, which is unfortunate, because the story calls for a unique art direction. There are so many sequins, so much glitter, you can practically smell cheap perfume; it’s like My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding in Disneyland. (Read more.)
 From the WSJ:
L’Engle was born in New York City in 1918. When she was 12 years old, her parents dropped her off without warning at a boarding school in Switzerland. It was a traumatic and isolating experience. She attended Smith College and was working as a novelist and theater understudy in New York when she fell in love with a fellow actor, Hugh Franklin.

After their first child, Ms. Voiklis’s mother, was born, they abandoned their theater careers and moved to rural Connecticut, where they ran a general store. L’Engle was restless there. Grappling with existential questions, she turned, by chance, to the writings of Albert Einstein and other physicists.

The names Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Which popped into her head as she and her family drove through Arizona’s Painted Desert on a camping trip in the spring of 1959. At the heart of the book is Meg, a temper-prone teen struggling to harness her intellectual gifts. She, Charles Wallace and Calvin travel through time and space to rescue Mr. Murry, a scientist who has gone missing on a secret assignment for the U.S. government. Publishers didn’t know what to make of it and one after another rejected the manuscript. “Today I am crawling around in the depths of gloom,” the author confided to her journal on Sept. 17, 1960, after a rejection from a publisher who suggested it be cut in half. “I’m willing to rewrite, to rewrite extensively, to cut as much as necessary; but I am not willing to mutilate, to destroy the essence of the book.” (Read more.)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Boxwoods Boutiques

From Victoria:
The award-winning Boxwoods Gardens Gifts has been a fixture of the Atlanta design scene for decades. An array of floral compositions, outdoor accessories, and European finds draw loyal clientèle to this pair of historic English-style cottages in the heart of the upscale Buckhead neighborhood. Divisions added in recent years extend the company’s aesthetic to the realms of hospitality and fashion.

 Although friends advised against expanding operations on the heels of a recession, when commercial space across the street from the business became available in 2011, owners Dan Belman and Randy Korando knew the time was right. “We felt that if we opened a shop dedicated to home entertainment using the same philosophy that has proven successful in our original shop—namely offering great-looking products at affordable prices—it would be successful,” Dan says. (Read more.)
Such magnificent shops inspired me to start the Trianon Market, HERE. Share

Planned Parenthood and the Democratic Party

From The Federalist:
In Western Pennsylvania, pro-life Democrat Conor Lamb is facing a Republican in a special election March 13. The race is neck-and-neck, despite the fact that Donald Trump carried the district by 20 points. Lamb’s candidacy in this conservative district is helped by the fact that he’s Catholic — a self-styled moderate who’s not a slave to Democratic Party orthodoxy. In fact, he’s already pledged not vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. “I’ve already said on the front page of the newspaper that I don’t support Nancy Pelosi,” Lamb says in his latest TV ad.

What else won’t Lamb vote for? Any restrictions on abortion, including the recent GOP proposal to limit late-term abortions — specifically abortions after 20 weeks when, according to overwhelming scientific evidence, babies in the womb can experience pain. “[Catholics] believe that life begins at conception,” he told The Weekly Standard, “but as a matter of separation of church and state, I think a woman has the right to choose under the law.” So Lamb’s not afraid to tell the top House Democrat to take a hike, but he’s too timid to vote his conscience on late-term abortions? Why? Because Planned Parenthood is the NRA of the Democratic Party. Only worse.

“People are complaining about NRA but the abortion lobby is just as strong,” says Kristen Day of Democrats for Life America. “There are sitting members of the House and Senate who are pro-life, but who are too afraid of the abortion lobby to vote that way." (Read more.)

Monks and Beer

In medieval times, beer was the usual drink of the peasants, and was a staple during Lent, which was much more rigorous in  past centuries. In the Eastern rite it remains so. There are still Catholic religious who embrace the "black fast" during Lent, in which there is abstinence from eggs and dairy products as well as from meat. In Mediterranean countries, wine and olive oil were also staples during Lent. From Catholic News Agency:
But did you know that Catholic monks once brewed beer specifically for a liquid-only Lenten fast? Back in the 1600s, Paulaner monks moved from Southern Italy to the Cloister Neudeck ob der Au in Bavaria. “Being a strict order, they were not allowed to consume solid food during Lent,” the current braumeister and beer sommelier of Paulaner Brewery Martin Zuber explained in a video on the company’s website.

They needed something other than water to sustain them, so the monks turned to a common staple of the time of their region – beer. They concocted an “unusually strong” brew, full of carbohydrates and nutrients, because “liquid bread wouldn’t break the fast,” Zuber noted. This was an early doppelbock-style beer, which the monks eventually sold in the community and which was an original product of Paulaner brewery, founded in 1634. They gave it the name “Salvator,” named after “Sankt Vater,” which “roughly translates as ‘Holy Father beer,’” Zuber said.

Paulaner currently serves 70 countries and is one of the chief breweries featured at Munich’s Octoberfest. Although its doppelbock is enjoyed around the world today, it had a distinctly penitential origin with the monk. Could a beer-only fast really be accomplished? One journalist had read of the monks’ story and, in 2011, attempted to re-create their fast. J. Wilson, a Christian working as an editor for a county newspaper in Iowa, partnered with a local brewery and brewed a special doppelbock that he consumed over 46 days during Lent, eating no solid food. (Read more.)

Friday, March 9, 2018

Reborn Relics Home

From Victoria:
Arkansas designer Debi Davis believes that “beautiful, interesting pieces are what separate your house from everyone else’s.” Her own home—which brims with exquisite antiques, from Portuguese columns assimilated into a fireplace surround to the ornate mirror from Paris that hangs above it—is a shining example of that philosophy. Her line of furniture and accessories, based on architectural remnants collected from around the world, was christened Reborn Relics Home. Today, it shares space with her decorating firm, Debi Davis Interiors. (Read more.)

The Russian Trail

From Forbes:
The media’s focus on Trump’s Russian connections ignores the much more extensive and lucrative business relationships of top Democrats with Kremlin-associated oligarchs and companies. Thanks to the Panama Papers, we know that the Podesta Group (founded by John Podesta’s brother, Tony) lobbied for Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank. “Sberbank is the Kremlin, they don’t do anything major without Putin’s go-ahead, and they don’t tell him ‘no’ either,” explained a retired senior U.S. intelligence official. According to a Reuters report, Tony Podesta was “among the high-profile lobbyists registered to represent organizations backing Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.”

Among these was the European Center, which paid Podesta $900,000 for his lobbying. That’s not all: The busy Podesta Group also represented Uranium One, a uranium company acquired by the Russian government which received approval from Hillary Clinton’s State Department to mine for uranium in the U.S. and gave Russia twenty percent control of US uranium. The New York Times reported Uranium One’s chairman, Frank Guistra, made significant donations to the Clinton Foundation, and Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for one speech from a Russian investment bank that has “links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.”  Notably, Frank Giustra, the Clinton Foundation’s largest and most controversial donor, does not appear anywhere in Clinton’s “non-private” emails. It is possible that the emails of such key donors were automatically scrubbed to protect the Clinton Foundation.

Let’s not leave out fugitive Ukrainian oligarch, Dymtro Firtash. He is represented by Democratic heavyweight lawyer, Lanny Davis, who accused Trump of “inviting Putin to commit espionage” (Trump’s quip: If Putin has Hillary’s emails, release them) but denies all wrongdoing by Hillary. (Read more.)