Monday, November 19, 2018

A Thanksgiving Feast

Getting ready for the big day! From Victoria:
At the root of joy is gratitude, and both abound in this annual autumn repast. From far and wide, loved ones gather to share a simple banquet with those they hold dear. The centerpiece of any holiday menu, our succulent Glazed Roasted Turkey rises to the occasion with festive presentation and delectable taste. Preparation begins the night before with a brown sugar–sweetened brine that includes garlic, chiles, bay leaves, and juniper berries. Stuffed afterward with thyme, rosemary, onion, and celery, the bird is then coated with a teriyaki glaze and cooked to a deep golden finish. (Read more.)

Trump and the Judges

From The National Review:
The restrictions come in the form of a rule promulgated jointly by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, and a proclamation issued by President Trump. In conjunction, they assert that an alien who wishes to apply for asylum in the United States must act lawfully: An alien who is physically present here and wishes to apply must be in the country legally; an alien outside the country who wishes to apply must present himself at a lawful port of entry — not attempt to smuggle his way in or force his way in as part of a horde (i.e., no invasions by caravan). (Read more.)

From Zero Hedge:
 During the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings we witnessed the transformation of Donald J. Turmp from “I think I can” to full blown “I’m in charge of the United States – I’m the President, President Donald J. Trump.” This was reaffirmed during the 60 Minutes interview with Leslie Stahl when he actually told her that he was the President and she was not.

The past couple of months have been interesting to watch President Trump morph into a true alpha male, in charge of each situation he is involved. It will be interesting to see, now that the midterms are over, how President Trump conducts himself on the global stage. Dealing with a bunch of low IQ reporters who only use the talking points they are provided is one thing, dealing with President Xi Jinping and President Putin is a whole other situation. These men, like Trump, are educated, calculating and know how the game works.

I sat down with geopolitical analyst, Tom Luongo, Gold, Goats and Guns, to discuss what has transpired over the past few months. The conversation covered an enormous amount of ground in a compressed timeframe. Tom’s depth of knowledge is on full display and I can assure you, there is a not a minute you will want to miss. (Read more.)

5 Final Years Conversations to Begin Now

From Caregiver Stress:
Who wants to think about a time without their loved ones? Or that moment when you take one long, last look into your mother’s eyes. Someday, your own children will be facing that heartache. “It’s a very sad thing,” noted Harriet Warshaw, executive director of the Conversation Project. “No one seems to want to talk about it so the topic is easy to avoid. In fact, every culture has their own taboos around death,” she said. For example, in modern-day European-based folklore, death is known as the "Grim Reaper" or "The grim spectre of death.” This form typically wields a scythe, and is sometimes portrayed riding a white horse.

And yet, at an individual level, people do want to talk, Warshaw has found. University of Nebraska at Omaha Gerontologist Dr. Julie Masters agrees, and finds that telling others about her profession often opens the door to interesting dialogues about death. As a result, many times people share their own preferences for the end of their lives.  “In the book ‘Being Mortal,’ author Atul Gawande writes, ‘Death, of course, is not a failure. Death may be the enemy, but it is also the natural order of things,’” Masters explains.

Research corroborates the desire that individuals have to discuss these issues. In a survey conducted by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network, nearly three in four seniors who have made plans for their final years have discussed them with their adult children, and half of those did so to let them know everything will be OK. (Read more.) Share

Sunday, November 18, 2018

4 Ways Kale Benefits Your Body

 From the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog:
Kale  is also high in vitamin A, which can improve your skin, vision, and bone  health. In addition, kale has a lot of vitamin C, which further boosts  the immune system while improving the bones, skin, and blood vessels.  Vitamin K is featured in this superfood, too, which is good because it  reduces bone loss and helps transport calcium through the body. Finally,  kale has folate and magnesium, which help with bone marrow, fetal  development, energy levels, heart health, and more. (Read more.)

Irish Doctors

From Life News:
A majority of Irish GPs are not willing, for either moral or practical reasons, to perform abortions when the new law comes into force, new polling has revealed. In an online survey with over 3,500 members of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) 43% responded to say that they weren’t prepared to participate in abortion “due to concerns regarding capacity, resources or conscientious objection, but are willing to refer to another colleague”. Most significantly, 25% said they would not provide abortion and would prefer not to refer a woman to another doctor. 32% said they will provide “termination-of-pregnancy services”. (Read more.)

 Meanwhile, Ireland is going forward with sex selection abortions. From Life Site:
The Irish people may not have realized just how radically pro-abortion their leaders’ plans were when they voted to repeal their pro-life Eighth Amendment in May. Discriminatory sex-selection abortions are illegal in the UK, but they may not be in Ireland soon. On Wednesday, the Oireachtas Health Committee rejected an amendment that would have prohibited sex-selection abortions in Ireland, Breaking News Ireland reports. Health Minister Simon Harris, who has been pushing the pro-abortion legislation, claimed the anti-discrimination amendment is “unnecessary.”

Government leaders are pushing a radical pro-abortion bill that would legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to six months in a wide variety of circumstances in Ireland. It would force taxpayers to pay for abortions and force Catholic hospitals to provide them. The bill also strictly limits conscience protections for medical professionals. Right now, the Health Committee is debating a series of amendments to the bill. One that it voted down Wednesday would have prohibited discriminatory abortions based on the unborn baby’s sex, race or disability. (Read more.)

The Mass Exodus of Confederates to Brazil after the Civil War

From The Vintage News:
At the time, the Empire of Brazil spanned the territory of today’s Brazil and Uruguay, and the Emperor, Dom Pedro II was interested in creating his own cotton and sugar-cane industry. He had the land, but he lacked skilled farmers. Unable to adapt to the newly formed situation, many southern émigrés from Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina used the opportunity and moved to Brazil. Their whole life was organized around agriculture on their farms, so they were welcomed by the Brazilian Emperor. He made the southerners a great deal by offering financial help with travel expenses, subsidizing the price of the land, and letting them build plantations tax-free. Those wealthy Confederates who had too much land in the US couldn’t leave it, which left more opportunities for many farmers to gain large tracts of land at a cheap price. Some of them recognized the appeal in the developing urban areas of Sao Paolo and Rio De Janeiro, while others tried their luck in the inhabited regions of the northern and southern Amazon. There were some 20,000 émigrés (according to some sources the figure was around 10,000) who moved to Brazil between 1865 and 1885, a time during which slavery was still legal in the country. The first generations of newcomers remained as cloistered communities marrying exclusively among themselves and refusing to learn Portuguese. (Read more.)

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Madame de la Motte

I have never seen the above picture identified as Madame de la Motte, the adventuress who precipitated the Diamond Necklace Scandal. But the following article identifies it as being Jeanne de Valois-Saint-Rémy. If anyone knows differently, then please let me know. From Headstuff:
 Nobility in pre-Revolutionary France was something of a double-edged sword. Of course it came with great privilege, and the nobles of France were permitted behaviour that was unthinkable for those of lower orders. But it also came with obligations, and one of the most notable of these was that it was unthinkable for a noble to earn their living at a trade. As such there were many people who were rich in name but poor in cash, forced to rely on the charity of the more influential to provide them with official positions and largesse. In that atmosphere of desperation many were prepared to go to great lengths to get what they felt they were owed; but few went quite as far as Jeanne de la Motte.

She was born as Jeanne de Valois-Saint-Rémy in 1756, a name that was derived directly from her noble lineage. Her father Jacques was descended from King Henry II of France (of the House of Valois) and his mistress Nicole de Savigny. Even two hundred years old and from the “wrong side of the blanket”, royal blood was more than enough to grant one the status of nobility. Their illegitimate son had been granted the title of Comte de Saint-Rémy, a title Jacques still claimed. Jeanne’s mother Marie came from far less noble stock; she was a maidservant who Jacques got pregnant. This wasn’t uncommon; what was uncommon was that Jacques insisted on marrying her despite his father’s protestations. This argument delayed their marriage until 1755, by which time they had already had two children. Jeanne (born a year later) was their first legitimate child.

Though Jacques inherited an estate from his father near Bar-sur-Aubein the northeast of France, he did not really inherit enough money to maintain it; at least not combined with his constant drunkenness and Marie’s spendthrift nature. Jeanne would later in her autobiography blame her mother for squandering the inheritance, but this may have been to cover up how little there was to squander. Visitors to the estate noted how the children had to do farmyard chores, and do them barefoot. It was only thanks to the charity of the locals that they survived.

When Jeanne was young, Jacques decided to move the family to Paris where he hoped to find opportunities for a noble like himself. It was a vain hope, and he was reduced to literally begging on the street. He died in 1762, when Jeanne was only six years old. Her mother soon took on a new lover and abandoned her three surviving children into the care of a charitable local, the Marquise de Boulainvilliers.

This proved to be a fortunate occurrence for the children, as the Marquise’s wife took a liking to her new foster children. Jeanne would later describe her as her “true mother”. Luckily for them, one of the things that the nobles of France had and the rest of the country did not was a social safety net. Once Madame de Boulainvilliers was able to prove their royal lineage they were entitled to a small annual stipend from the crown; enough for Jeanne’s brother Jacques to go to a military academy and for Jeanne and her sister Marie-Anne to attend a boarding school. When they completed their schooling they were sent into a convent, but Jeanne turned out not to have “the monastic temperament”. In 1776 she ran away from the convent (taking her little sister with her) and returned back to her childhood home in Bar-sur-Aube.

There she was taken in by the Surmont family, landed gentry with their own distant link to the nobility. After four years in their household, she married a nephew of the household by the name of Nicolas de la Motte, an officer in the gendarmerie (a local militia that was a precursor to the police). It was a whirlwind romance, necessitated by the fact that Jeanne was heavily pregnant when she was married.

She herself gives very little details about how she and Nicolas came to get married; scandalous later rumours implied that she fell pregnant from a lover she could not marry and swiftly ensnared Nicholas as a marriageable prospect and convinced him the children were his. Why could she not marry her lover? Because, said the rumours, the father was actually the man who officiated at her wedding: the Bishop of Langres. Whether this was true or not is impossible to say; she gave birth to twins shortly after the wedding but they only survived a few days. Infant mortality like that was a cruel fact of life back in those days. (Read more.)

The Deadly California Fires

From Investor's Business Daily:
As reported by PJ Media's Bridget Johnson, Brown calls the devastating conflagration now roaring through the northern part of the state "the new normal." The fires have killed at least six people, including two firefighters, torched more than a thousand homes, and burnt close to 130,000 acres. The fires are horrible. Cal Fire, the state fire agency, blamed "steep terrain, erratic winds, and previously unburned fuels" for fueling the fires.

Brown had a different culprit: global warming. "We're fighting nature with the amount of material we're putting in the environment, and that material traps heat, and the heat fosters fires, and the fires keep burning," he said. He called on dramatic, extremely costly steps to "shift the weather back to where it historically was," claiming current weather conditions hadn't been so hot "since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago."

Succinct, and very wrong. In fact, a look at global temperatures for the last 10,000 years shows that temperatures have been much warmer than they are today for much if not most of the time during that period. Indeed, many historians and anthropologists attribute the rise of civilization to global warming following the last Ice Age. And, no, despite Brown's claims, we're not having more fires. A study in the journal Science determined that the global burnt area from fires, rather than growing, had declined by roughly 25% from 1999 to 2017.

Another paper, this one appearing in 2016 in the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, concluded: "Many consider wildfire an accelerating problem, with widely held perceptions both in the media and scientific papers of increasing fire occurrence, severity and resulting losses. However, important exceptions aside, the quantitative evidence available does not support these perceived trends."

But what about California? No question, the state is going through a hot spell and big fires. But a study released last year showed that, since 1970, the number of big fires — those of 300 acres or more — have steadily declined. The past year has seen some unusually hot months, no question, drying things out. But that's weather — not climate change.

That's not to say there aren't problems.  There are. But it doesn't lie with California Gov. Brown's white whale, global warming, on which he is truly an Ahab-like fanatic. He should instead point the finger of blame at two major reasons for destructive fires: One, in recent decades we've built homes and expanded towns in remote areas where previously there were few people or none. But even more seriously is the federal government's foolish policies related to fire control.

"One of the biggest problems is the overcrowding of Western forests with dead trees, and the areas beween stand with dry, flammable grasses," noted a recent analysis in the Washington Examiner. "Part of the problem is that logging and grazing have been discontinued or discouraged in too many places."

Worse, the federal government's policy of wildfire suppression has, perhaps paradoxically, contributed to the problem. Before humans lived here in enormous numbers, the landscape had many small fires that suddenly erupted from lightning strikes and other causes, and then burnt themselves out. But in recent decades, the policy has been to stop fires immediately. This leaves huge areas of accumulating dry brush that catches fire fast and burns hot, with the fire traveling quickly once lit. That's where we are today. (Read more.)

From The Washington Times:
 “It’s time to rise above political posturing and recognize that active forest management — including logging, thinning, grazing and controlled burning — are tools that can and must be used to reduce fire risks and help mitigate the impacts to landscapes,” Mr. Dructor said in a statement. According to the council, some 60 million to 80 million acres of national forest are at “high, to very high, risk of catastrophic wildfire.” Citing research from the U.S. Forest Service, the council backs such methods as thinning stressed trees and prescribed burns to reduce wildfires but said “only a small fraction of high-risk acres are being treated.”

Mr. Dructor advised the Trump administration and Congress to expand public-private partnerships to manage the problem. “The federal government does not have resources to treat every forest by itself. Yet America’s forest sector has the infrastructure to manage and improve the health of our federal forests. The raw excess material from overgrown forests can provide renewable energy and a number of American-made products and provide thousands of family-wage jobs,” Mr. Dructor said. “Loggers are America’s ‘boots on the ground’ to conserve our forests and reduce the risks of wildfire,” council president Chris Potts said in a statement.

“We work in the woods every day, we understand forestry and see the dangers every day, and we know what needs to be done. Without forests, we are out of business. That’s why we’ll continue to work with Republicans and Democrats on needed reforms that will help to sustain our forests and protect our forests and communities from wildfire,” he said. (Read more.)

And a major climate study has been revealed to be flawed. To quote:
The error was first discovered by Nic Lewis, a retired British man who holds a bachelors degree in math from the University of Cambridge and who reads science papers for fun. He has also written a couple of published papers of his own on climate science. “I've always liked to understand the world and to check whether people's research makes sense to me. Once I find something that seems wrong to me, I like to get to the bottom of it,” Lewis told Fox News. Lewis said the incident should serve as a cautionary tale. (Read more.)

Insights into the Cathedral Builders

From Bonjour Paris:
Lately I’ve been re-reading The Cathedral Builders, written by Jean Gimpel, a man of diverse interests born in Paris in 1918. During World War II he was involved in a Resistance group blowing up factories in and around Paris – preventing their takeover by the invading Nazis. Jean survived a concentration camp, but his father René, the eminent Parisian art dealer, did not. After the War, Jean set up a laboratory for the scientific study of the Old Masters. The Cathedral Builders, published 35 years ago, is a definitive study, dispensing with myth and magic and all the more commanding for that.

The facts contained in his first three sentences always astonish me: “In three centuries – from 1050 to 1350 – several million tons of stone were quarried in France for the building of 80 cathedrals, 500 large churches and some tens of thousands of parish churches. More stone was excavated in France during those three centuries than at any time in Ancient Egypt, although the volume of the Great Pyramid alone is 2,500,000 cubic meters. The foundations of the cathedrals are laid as deep as 10 meters, the average depth of a Paris Metro station, and in some cases there is as much stone below ground as above.” The statistics are eye-watering! (Read more.)

Friday, November 16, 2018

Monument to Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna

 From Royal Russia News:
On 24th October, a monument to Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna (1895-1918), the eldest daughter of Emperor Nicholas II was established in the Russian city of Novy Oskol, situated 90 kilometers northeast of Belgorod. Founded in 1905, the school was then named Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna Women’s High School. Today, the oldest educational institution in the city, is simply referred to as Olginskaya High School. Funds for the construction of the educational institution were donated by the grand duchess herself. The idea to perpetuate the memory of the eldest daughter of Nicholas II came about in March 2017 – click HERE to read article. At first school projects were created, and then a competition among sculptors took place. The best, according to the competition commission, was the work of Belgorod sculptor Boris Sergienko. The sculptor said that he tried as accurately as possible to convey the image of the grand duchess, by studying old photographs, and archival materials. (Read more.)

The Florida Midterm Election Recount

Democracy only works with citizens who are honorable. With a dishonorable citizenry it will crash and burn. An ignoble people are incapable of governing themselves. What we have been witnessing in Florida and elsewhere are examples of how democracies and republics die. From The Dan Bongino Show:
The state of Florida is unique in that instead of having law enforcement or the courts handle concealed weapons permits, they’re issued by the Department of Agriculture. As the American Thinker puts it, “…capturing the Florida agriculture commissioner’s post would be a key victory in the liberal and progressive push for gun control.” GOP Agriculture commissioner candidate Matt Caldwell declared victory last Tuesday evening, after  leading the race by 40,000 votes. However, as of Nov. 10, Democrat candidate Nikki Fried led Caldwell 4,030,337 votes to 4,025,011, a difference of 5,326. The vote difference falls within the .5 percent margin requiring a recount. Caldwell filed a lawsuit against Broward County Supervisor of Elections, Brenda Snipes, “asking the court to protect the integrity of all ballots and all public records relating to the election for Commissioner of Agriculture.” (Snipes has a history of losing ballots, destroying ballots, and allowing illegal immigrants and felons to vote.) Caldwell discussed his lawsuit with WLRN, telling the station,  “Any supervisor in the state is able to tell you what kind of votes they had cast — whether it is vote by-mail, early votes or Election Day votes — and when those were tagged into the system in order to prove … that they were cast before 7:00 on Tuesday night. And the Broward supervisor has been unable to answer that question. On Wednesday we asked, Thursday we asked, and Friday we asked … so we ultimately filed a lawsuit just to produce all the records to see what that situation is.” (Read more.)
More HERE, HERE, and an old article HERE. Share

Digital Distraction Is Bad for Creativity

From The Walrus:
Writers and artists, most of them introverts, have traditionally been able to find the solitude in which to work because as introverts they craved and welcomed solitude; they could only endure a certain amount of time in company. Now, social media and the internet offer the introvert a poisonous compromise: you can be alone in your room and at the same time connected to others, if more or less on your own terms. Alone, yet not alone.

But for an artist, this paradox is problematic because there can be no compromises in creative solitude. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying that you can only write well when no one else is in the house, as has been true, reportedly, for Alice Munro. I’m saying that the particular nature of digital distraction is creatively injurious. I used to find the sounds of my then-small daughter and her friends playing in the house while I was writing—and occasionally barging in to show me something or ask for something—to be, on balance, creatively helpful. I felt less lonely and at the same time more focused on getting the work done, published, and paid for; that unsilent presence was a reminder of one key reason I was doing the work and whom I was doing it for. But the knowledge that emails are steadily pinging into my inbox nudges me out of the task—out of the dreamtime of deep creativity—in a different and damaging way.

The organizer brought two more fans out to meet Robert Kroetsch. I figured it had to happen. The sun by now was just a few fingers above the ridgeline. I’d been willing it to stay and to slip no lower—as if to suspend the moment, along with the sun, in exactly the way that time never permits. I said goodbye and returned, happily enough after all, to the clubhouse for another beer, dinner, and dozens of conversations, some engrossing, some gratifying, some confusing or simply dull. The usual social range.

I realize that Robert Kroetsch kept his silence partly out of fatigue, but I also choose to believe that he’d reached an enviable stage where he felt less of a need to talk, and to write: to explain himself to the world and the world to himself. He was in his eighties, had published some thirty books, had done his life’s work—an honourable life’s work by any standard. How enviable, finally, to surmount the need to represent yourself to others, to wonder if they secretly feel you don’t measure up or don’t deserve whatever you have. The same things we all wonder. Maybe he, too, still wondered those things. How can I know? (Read more.)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Woman in White (2018)

While I have enjoyed the BBC's new production of The Woman in White thus far, I am eager to read the novel again, since there is much about the original story that I have forgotten. The costumes and hairstyles are attractive but a bit off so it makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact decade of the nineteenth century the story is set in, although it is supposedly 1859. The performances are wonderful, especially Dougray Scott as the wicked Lord Glyde. As The Wall Street Journal says:
The speaker of the opening line and the undeniable star of this enterprise is Marian Halcombe—bold, fearless, a wicked hand at billiards and other recreations at which men traditionally excel. She’s portrayed superbly by Jessie Buckley who quite simply runs away with the show. Playing chess with Count Fosco (Riccardo Scamarcio), one of the more charming of the malignant characters in this tale, Marian mistakenly concludes she’s beaten him. She has not, he shows her, making his triumphant move on the chessboard as he assures her she would have won had she not been distracted. “Distracted”—the word leaps out. It’s one of the weaknesses men regularly divine in women, or so it is charged. The script by Fiona Seres is filled with small nonemphatic moments like these, and they have their effect.  
Marian asks her angry opening question—a flash-forward to a later scene—of an attorney whose help she seeks in investigating the crimes of the man who has victimized her beloved half sister, Laura Fairlie (Olivia Vinall). She’s dressed in black mourning clothes because she’s received word that Laura is dead. The attorney, Mr. Nash (an ever compelling Art Malik), is the only person resembling an authority figure willing to listen to the victims: Austere, judgmental and probing, he says virtually nothing as he takes testimony from characters involved in the case. But the silent Nash is, by his very presence, scalding commentary. He’s the contrast to the legal advisers, the official caretakers, who would not trouble themselves to disturb a plot designed by an important man—one that would clearly rob a woman of her inheritance, and very possibly her life. It isn’t often that the components of a thriller can be said to blend perfectly with fiery social commentary, but it is the case with this marvelous production, which is downright terrifying in its aura of criminal menace and positively seething on the status of women—two very different dramatic forces, but they complement one another somehow.  
The mystery begins with young drawing master Walter Hartright (Ben Hardy) summoned to Blackwater, the estate of the operatically intense Frederick Fairlie (Charles Dance), to provide instruction to the beautiful Laura, Fairlie’s niece, and to Marian. Walter is shaken by the sight of Laura, a veritable double of the frightened, wraithlike woman dressed in white whom he met and tried to befriend the night before. An escapee from a mental asylum, she is Anne Catherick (Ms. Vinall again), a ghostly figure whose suffering is very much of this world, and she will have everything to do with the story that unfolds. Walter will also learn that Laura, with whom he falls quickly in love—the feeling is mutual—can never be his. In an agreement in which she had no say, she has been promised to Sir Percival Glyde (Dougray Scott), a man with a secret he is desperate to keep and a concealed dark past as relates to the women in his life. He is, above all, a man in dire financial straits, which makes marriage to the ever-more-reluctant Laura—who will inherit a fortune—an imperative. (Read more.)
The timeless theme of the story is the exploitation of young people who have been orphaned, the same basis of many a classic fairy tale. In a time when it was not uncommon for children to lose one or both of their parents to an early demise, it is known that unscrupulous relatives and family connections often could and would take advantage of the situation. Women and girls were especially vulnerable, since in the Victorian era they had practically the same status as children. Whatever property a woman owned was managed by her father, her husband or her brother, unless she became a widow. Widows often had more self-determination than other women, but not always. So if the men in one's life were weak or corrupt, it could leave a woman with few resources, and at the mercy of other relatives. It was particularly dire in England since unlike France and the Catholic countries there were no convents to seek refuge in.

 The new BBC series departs from the original story on several fronts, emphasizing the feminist point of view, although it should be remembered that boys were often sold into arranged marriages as well. From Paste Magazine:
Most critically, this adaptation doesn’t trust anyone—not itself, not the cast, not us in the audience—to understand that men can, as Marian Halcombe so affectingly stresses in that opening clip, crush women without that crushing necessarily having a sexual element. The Woman in White is not about men exerting sexual control over women. It is about money and class and the deadly danger in losing one or the other, and it is about how powerless women are to control their own lives, even with money and class, in a patriarchal society. That might include sexual dynamics, and is certainly a part of why rape culture exists, but it is not what this particular story is about. It is, in fact, explicitly notabout this, as the book establishes Laura’s as a sexless marriage, and Fosco’s obsession with Marian as heartfelt respect for her robust intellect. But this adaptation can’t seem to take Collins at his word, and so forces sexual violence and the threat of sexual violence onto both Laura and Marian. 
In the end, an adaptation tells you as much about the inner landscape of those adapting it as anything else: This is how they read the original. The changes they made reflect their interpretation, accurate or not. And for the team adapting The Woman in White for the BBC this time around, in the midst of the #MeToo movement, this was the invisible subtext they couldn’t shake. There are implications in this particular brand of willfulness—#MeToo can’t progress if we can’t open our imaginations to less explicitly sexual vectors of gendered power—but that discussion is for another time. (Read more.)
In The Woman in White, author Wilkie Collins also critiques marriage as an institution, since it was through arranged marriages that young women were often sold into desperate or unhappy situations because of their property or other assets. Such abuses of a holy sacrament made many people cynical about Christian civilization, leading indirectly to the upheavals of the following century.



From TFP:
As three human caravans snake their way through Mexico, two different visions of America emerge. The first vision can be represented by several metaphors that reflect a materialistic, mechanical mindset.  Thus, some see America as a giant shareholding company in which immigrants, legal or otherwise, are seen from a purely economic perspective of new workers or potential shareholders. Others might see America as a gigantic cruise ship where they invite immigrants to join a great party in which everyone chases after happiness. Everything is centered upon the individual and the frenetic pursuit of material well-being. This vision thrives in an atmosphere of unrestraint, sensations and emotions. It naturally finds resonance in liberal media and politics.

However, a second vision is represented by those who see America as a nation. Those in this latter group can evoke organic metaphors to express their view. Thus, we might say that America represents a community with a shared history, calling and set of social values. America is similar to a family that loves, shelters and nurtures its members. America is a special land that is the object of sovereignty, identity and patriotism. All these elements unite and forge us into a people. The emphasis of this vision is the symbiosis between a nation and its people. While including social cooperation, its foundations are cultural and spiritual values. The nation bestows blessings upon members but also exacts duties and sacrifices. These two visions clash in the present caravan debate. The caravans are just the latest expression of the dispute in the general public over what America should be as a nation. And they further divide and polarize the country. (Read more.)

Why the French Don't Show Excitement

From the BBC:
I knew before moving that the French word ‘excité’ was verboten. It is one of the first ‘false friends’ that a student of the language becomes aware of. Most French learners can recall the day that a classmate first uttered the phrase ‘Je suis excité’ (which literally translates as ‘I am excited’) only to have their teacher hem and haw uncomfortably before explaining that the word excité doesn’t signal emotional but rather physical excitement. A better translation of the phrase Je suis excité into English would be ‘I am aroused’.

French doesn’t have the excited/aroused lexical pair that English does, so one word does both jobs. Excité technically denotes excitement both “objective (a state of stimulation) and subjective (feelings),” according to Olivier Frayssé, professor of American Civilization at Paris-Sorbonne University, but the physical sensation is the one most often implied. “If ‘aroused’ existed, it would be unnecessary to interpret ‘excité’ this way,” he explained. (Read more.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Charlotte's Honor

After receiving news that her brother – and only relative – has been killed in action during the Great War, 21-year-old Charlotte Zielinski enlists as a medical volunteer. She eventually begins working in the death ward of the field hospital near Soissons, France, holding dying men’s hands and singing them into eternity. Dr. Paul Kilgallen is a Canadian surgeon working at the field hospital. During a siege by the enemy, everyone evacuates except for Paul and Charlotte, who volunteer to remain in the basement of the chateau to care for the critically ill soldiers. During those three days, Charlotte sees a side of Paul that very few have seen and finds herself falling in love with him. Before Paul leaves for the front, he abruptly tells her that he cannot love her, and it would be best to “forget him.” Just when the war is coming to a close, Charlotte is surprised by two events that are destined to change her life forever.

My review:

It is a huge honor for me to be asked to review any of Ellen Gable's books and especially to participate in the blog tour of her newest book, Charlotte's Honor. Ellen is highly respected in Catholic literary circles for her skill as a storyteller as well as for her reliability and integrity. While her novels portray human frailty they also remind readers of the Christian beliefs, including the practice of the virtues, which are the remedies for fallen behavior. The latest work specifically conjures up for our jaded minds the concept of honor. Honor stands as a contradiction to the utilitarian society which we inhabit, a society in which everything must have a tangible and immediate purpose, without causing the least inconvenience. When human life itself causes inconvenience, it is eliminated. Charlotte's Honor, on the contrary, depicts a heroine who is willing to risk her life to bring comfort to those who no longer have a visible purpose, namely the dying.

Charlotte is an American girl from a working class Catholic family who volunteers to serve as a Red Cross nurse in the "Great War" which we now call World War One. The carnage of that war was of a magnitude that the world had never known before. What began as a diplomatic quarrel ballooned out of all proportion to take millions of lives and subvert the structure of European civilization. Most of the victims were young people, so that a vast number of an entire generation was eliminated from the face of the earth. But amid the carnage, Charlotte upholds the humanity of the dying by refusing to leave her near-death patients as the enemy approaches. For her it is both a Christian duty and a matter of honor. When later, her honor as a woman is compromised, she finds that the lies of her comrades can be almost as destructive to her well-being as the bombs of the Germans.

Ellen's "Great War~Great Love" series illustrates on several levels how God is present  even in the darkest times of human history. Amid enormous pain and suffering there is always a chance for mercy and redemption and often human love acts as the channel for God's plan. Charlotte finds deep and lasting love where she had not thought to find it; it is through her imperfections that she finds that love. God can bring good out of the worst disasters as well as out of our failings. Not only did the novel remind me of those truths but it also brought home once again the price paid by our veterans. War is hell, yes. It brings out the worst in people and in societies. Yet even war can be turned to serve God's purpose, as a testing ground for honor which many heroes and heroines uphold even in the bleakest of times.

Author's bio:

Ellen Gable is an award-winning author of nine books, editor, self-publishing book coach, speaker, publisher, NFP teacher, book reviewer and instructor in the Theology of the Body for Teens. Her books have been downloaded nearly 700,000 times on Kindle and some of her books have been translated into Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, and French. The mother of five adult sons, Ellen (originally from New Jersey) now lives with her husband of 36 years, James Hrkach, in Pakenham, Ontario, Canada. Find Ellen online:

Blog: Plot, Line and Sinker
Full Quiver Publishing 
Amazon Author Page
Linked In

Purchase the book on Amazon Kindle. More Information, HERE.

Virtual Book Tour Stops/Links
October 22      Plot Line and Sinker
October 23       A.K. Frailey
October 24      Book Reviews and More,   Patrice MacArthur
October 25      Amanda Lauer
October 26     Franciscan Mom
October 29     Carolyn Astfalk
October 30     Catholic Mom
November 1    Plot Line and Sinker
November 2    Michael Seagriff
November 5   Virginia Lieto
November 6  Leslea Wahl
November 7   Theresa Linden
November 8   Sarah Reinhard
November 9   Erin McCole Cupp
November 11  Plot Line and Sinker  Remembrance Day/ Veterans Day post
November 12  Mary Lou Rosien
November 13  Therese Heckenkamp
November 14  E.M. Vidal
November 15 Leticia Velasquez

Interview with author Ellen Gable: 
 What was the inspiration for Charlotte’s Honor?
Since one of the themes of Charlotte’s Honor is preparing and being with soldiers who are close to death, the inspiration came from being with two close people in my life in the hours before their deaths. These experiences served as inspiration for Charlotte’s Honor. Eleven years ago, when my mother was close to death, my sister called me in Canada and urged me to come right away (to New Jersey, my home state), that Mom didn’t have much time left.  I arrived before she passed, but by the time I got there, she was unconscious.  My sister and I prayed the Litany of the Saints (which she requested) as well as the Divine Mercy Chaplet. In the middle of the night, I got up to sit with her. I held her hand and prayed for her, talked to her and told her she was loved, and that it was okay to go.  When she did pass away, I was grateful and honored that I was present at the moment of her passing. And an interesting experience happened. My stepdad, siblings, and I were all sitting by my mom’s bedside and all of a sudden, I felt like my mom was on the ceiling staring down.  I lifted my head to look up, but at that point, my brother patted my arm and said, “Hey, El, I have this strange feeling that Mom is on the ceiling looking down at us.”  I believe that we were given a great grace at that moment. Last year, my mother-in-law passed away. She had both dementia and cancer.  She was surrounded by those she loved and, although unconscious, we prayed the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet and other prayers for her in the last few days of her life.  It was a good death, a holy death. It’s the kind of death I hope to have: others praying the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet for me as I’m close to death.

Why World War 1?

I’ve always been interested in history and I knew very little about this war.  I decided to focus the bulk of my research on the last year of the War (after the United States entered).  Because I am American, and my husband is Canadian, the female protagonists in this series are American and the male protagonists are Canadian. So for Charlotte’s Honor, Charlotte is American, and Paul is Canadian.

Why is the name of the series Great War Great Love?

I owe my gratitude to the son of a friend of mine, Ian, for coming up with the title. The reason for the title is that World War 1 was called the “Great War” by the Allies before the USA entered the war, and is still often called the “Great War,” by the British, Canadians and Australians. And Great Love because there are many examples of how couples met and fell in love during times of war.

Can you tell us about the first book in the series and next book of the series, Ella’s Promise?

Julia’s Gifts (Book #1 Great War Great Love) As a young girl, Julia began buying gifts for her future spouse, a man whose likeness and personality she has conjured up in her mind, a man she calls her “beloved.” Soon after the United States enters the Great War, Julia impulsively volunteers as a medical aid worker, with no experience or training. Disheartened by the realities of war, will Julia abandon the pursuit of her beloved? Will Julia’s naïve ‘gift scheme’ distract her from recognizing her true “Great Love?” From Philadelphia to war-torn France, follow Julia as she transitions from unworldly young woman to compassionate volunteer.  Julia’s Gifts is now available in Italian and French and will soon be available in Portuguese and Spanish.

Ella’s Promise (Book #3 Great War Great Love) The daughter of German immigrants, Ella is an American nurse who, because of the time period, was discouraged from continuing her studies to become a doctor.  During the Great War, she travels to Le Treport, France, to work at the American-run hospital. She meets her own “Great Love” in the last place she would expect to meet him.  Ella’s Promise will be released in mid-2019.

This is very different from some of your other books in that it is a very clean romance and can be read by young teens to elderly women to middle-aged men.  Was that a conscious choice?

Yes, it is very different and no, it wasn’t a conscious choice at first.  When I came up with the story and as I was gradually developing the characters and plotlines, it made the most sense to keep this a “sweet” and “clean” love story that anyone can enjoy.  It is, however, a war novel, so there are descriptions of war injuries.

Are you working on any other writing projects?

I’m in the process of writing Ella’s Promise, which is book 3 in the Great War Great Love series. I’m outlining another novel, tentatively entitled Where Angels Pass, based on my father’s life and experience as a clerical abuse survivor. Since he never saw justice in his lifetime, I’d like to create a story where there is justice for him, even if fictional. I’m also working on a non-fiction project that will offer guidance in coping with loss (I’m still in the outline stages of that project). 

Who are some of your favorite authors?

My favorite Catholic author is Dena Hunt (author of Treason and The Lion’s Heart), but I also enjoy reading Willa Cather’s books (Death Comes For the Archbishop, One of Ours).  Dena’s books are incredibly well-written and moving.  Cather’s books are well-written and rich in imagery and meaning. And while this may seem biased, I enjoy reading books by all the Full Quiver Authors.  I also enjoy the books of the authors who are fellow members of the Catholic Writers Guild.  One of my favorite secular authors is Nelson DeMille (author of the John Corey series).   I also enjoy reading Kathleen Morgan’s Christian historical novels.