Friday, November 30, 2018

The Favourite (2018)


Queen Anne of Great Britain
 It sounds like a travesty. Poor Queen Anne. From Tony Medley:
This is the kind of Hollywood movie that I loathe. While it uses real names and purports to be a factual tale of history, it has the same relationship with history as Donald Duck has. The story it purports to tell is the relationships among three women, England’s Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), Lady Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz), and Abigail Masham (Emma Stone) in the first decade of the 18th century.

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos from an original script by Deborah Davis significantly rewritten by Tony McNamara, the film is presented in eight parts as sort of a light comedy with bright music, despite the dark Machiavellian theme. The true story is that Anne and Sarah were friends long before Anne became Queen. Upon her coronation in 1702 she named Sarah Mistress of the Robes (the highest office in the royal court that could be held by a woman), Groom of the Stole, Keeper of the Privy Purse (basically in charge of all the finances), and Ranger of Windsor Great Park. In other words, Sarah became the power behind thrown.
Sarah was a plainspoken woman and a good business woman, and she remained so in her relationship with the Queen. Sarah’s husband, John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough (Mark Gatiss) was away during much of this time fighting the War of the Spanish Succession. Politically, Sarah was a Whig and exerted as much influence as she could on Anne, who was more aligned with the Tories, to fund her husband’s war.
Abigail came on the scene in the early 1700s after she had been hired by Sarah, who took pity on her after Abigail’s family lost power and fortune and she was working as a servant. Sarah hired her even though she had never met her because she had innumerable cousins and could not have been expected to know all of them. In 1704 Abigail procured an appointment in the Queen’s household.
Because Sarah was an aggressive, frank and sometimes undiplomatic woman and Abigail was her direct opposite, quiet and retiring, and because Sarah was away from court much of the time, Abigail slowly insinuated herself and became a favorite of the Queen and eventually Sarah was dismissed. Jealous, Sarah did everything she could to regain favor with the Queen, even spreading rumors of a lesbian relationship between Abigail and Anne.
Those are the facts, but not the movie. Lanthimos freely admits that there is little correlation between the movie and the facts. He has been quoted as saying, “Anyone who comes to this movie looking for a history lesson is in the wrong movie.” To her everlasting discredit, Deborah Davis signed on to the fictionalization of her original script and the result is this distasteful movie that should be offensive to anybody who cares about the truth. It takes up the Sarah-created rumors of the lesbian relationship between the Queen and Abigail, turns that rumor into fact and makes homosexuality the linchpin of the story. But it goes even further by showing that not only was that a fact in frank and unpleasantly descriptive language many could find offensive, but also shows a lesbian relationship between Sarah and the Queen, something that has no foundation.

Not only is the film historically inaccurate, it’s sloppy. Among lots of other gaffes, it assumes that the viewer knows who these people were and never once reveals when the action takes place.
If for some unknown reason Lanthimos really wanted to make this film, he should have made it more like a roman à clef using different names instead of defaming everyone in it. Since he did not, he had an obligation to have introduced the film with a graphic saying that although real names are used, the film is almost totally fiction. Absent this, he has perpetrated a fraud on the public. The sad part of this is that the vast majority of people who have never heard of Queen Anne, Sarah, and Abigail will come out of it thinking that this is what really happened. (Read more.)

The history behind the film. From History Extra:
Set in the court of Queen Anne (1665–1714), The Favourite explores the changing power dynamics and relationships between three female protagonists: Queen Anne (Olivia Colman); Abigail Masham (Emma Stone); and Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz).

The latter was Anne’s companion and confidante since girlhood. When Anne succeeded to the throne in 1702, the Duchess of Marlborough was among those she brought with her to court. Granted all the major posts in Anne’s royal household – Groom of the Stole, Mistress of the Robes, Keeper of the Privy Purse and Ranger of Windsor Great Park – Churchill occupied a position of vast authority that she endeavoured to wield to the advantage of her preferred political faction, the Whigs.

For a time, the duchess’s pre-eminence at court and friendship with the queen seemed unshakeable. It was gradually eroded, however, by personal and political differences between the women, and finally shot through by the emergence of a new court favourite. Marlborough’s usurper was Abigail Masham, a lower ranking courtier and cousin of the Duchess of Marlborough, brought into court circles under the patronage of the duchess herself. The Favourite dramatises their triangular and tense struggle for dominance, putting female politics at the heart of every scene while foppish men in red high heels and extravagant suits watch from the edges. (Read more.)

What happened to the real Lady Sarah? From Bustle:
 Sarah went on to live for another 34 years, passing away in 1744 at the age of 84 — a long life even by today's standards. She had seven children with husband John Churchill, and she outlived all but one of them. She also outlived her husband by 22 years, and Queen Anne by a staggering 30 years. In 1730, Sarah published her memoirs, which for many years were considered a premier — if unflattering — source on the life of Queen Anne. And in 1742, she published another work, An Account of the Conduct of the Dowager Dutchess of Marlborough, from Her First Coming to Court, to the Year 1710 in a Letter from Herself to My Lord, offering even more insight into her time in power, according to The Peerage.

Thanks to her free-spirited, charming personality and her tenacity, Sarah Churchill was able to greatly influence policy in 18th century Great Britain through her relationship with Queen Anne. But it was these same attributes that ultimately led to her fall from the queen's good graces, and her subsequent loss of power. (Read more.)
Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough
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Under Obama, Border Patrol Used Pepper Spray or Tear Gas More than 500 Times

People wonder how can I be Spanish and against immigration. I am not against immigration. I am against illegal immigration. I do not understand why three of my grandparents and both of my parents were required to follow the law but other people are not. My abuela came here in great hardship, with nothing but the clothes on her back and a pillow case containing her Bible, her mantilla, and pictures of her children. But she followed all the laws of the USA even at great cost and inconvenience to herself. From Dan Bongino:
US. Border Patrol have come under fire from the left for using tear gas on Sunday afternoon to defend themselves after hundreds of members of the migrant caravan attempted to rush the U.S. border near San Diego, while hurling rocks and projectiles at border officials. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California called the use of tear gas “horrifying.” Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii compared the use of tear gas to “chemical weapons.” Actress Alyssa Milano issued a foul twitter tirade against President Trump over the gas. 
It turns out that the Obama Administration also used tear gas and pepper spray at the border, over 500 times from 2012-2016. However, liberals remained silent during that time. According to numbers given to the Daily Caller by the Department of Homeland Security, tear gas was used by border agents 79 times between 2012 and 2016. Meanwhile, pepper spray was used 434 times between 2012 and 2016. 
Both President Trump and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended Border Patrol’s use of tear gas. “They were being rushed by some very tough people and they used tear gas,” said the President on Monday. “Here’s the bottom line: Nobody is coming into our country unless they come in legally.” 
Nielsen slammed the migrants for hurling rocks and projectiles at border agents. In a statement, she said, “This caravan, unlike previous caravans, had already entered Mexico violently and attacked border police in two other countries. I refuse to believe that anyone honestly maintains that attacking law enforcement with rocks and projectiles is acceptable. It is shocking that I have to explain this, but officers can be seriously or fatally injured in such attacks. Self-defense isn’t debatable for most law-abiding Americans.” Nielsen also stated that the small number of women and children involved in the caravan were being used as “human shields” in confrontations with law enforcement. 
“The caravan members are predominately male,” she said. “It appears in some cases that the limited number of women and children in the caravan are being used by the organizers as ‘human shields’ when they confront law enforcement. They are being put at risk by the caravan organizers as we saw at the Mexico-Guatemala border. This is putting vulnerable people in harms way.” (Read more.)

Meanwhile, from Lifezette:
Migrants who came with the caravan are suffering from respiratory infections, tuberculosis, chickenpox and other serious health issues, Tijuana’s Health Department warned on Thursday morning. The spokesman told Fox News that out of 6,000 migrants currently residing in the city, over a third of them (2,267) are being treated for health-related issues. There are three confirmed cases of tuberculosis, four cases of HIV/AIDS and four separate cases of chickenpox, the spokesman said. 
At least 101 migrants have lice and multiple instances of skin infections, the department’s data shows. There’s also a threat of Hepatitis outbreak due to unsanitary conditions, the spokesman said. The thousands of migrants are being sheltered at the Benito Juarez Sports Complex near the San Ysidro U.S.-Mexico Port of Entry, even though the place is capable of providing for 1,000 people. 
The location also has only 35 portable bathrooms. A sign reading “No Spitting” was put up, as coughing and spitting by caravan migrants are rampant in the shelter. Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum said Tuesday that the city has enough money to assist the migrants only for a few more days, with the city saying it’s spending around $30,000 a day. (Read more.) 
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The Execution and Burial of Criminals in Early Medieval England

From Medievalists:
In later Anglo-Saxon England, executed offenders and, probably also, other social deviants were separated from the rest of the community in death. They were buried in cemeteries far from settlements but in raised landscapes which would have been visible from frequented areas – so-called ‘execution cemeteries’. However, from the second half of the eleventh century, these deviant cemeteries appear to have fallen out of use. This thesis seeks to discover where criminals where buried after the Norman Conquest and examines the influences behind the changes in funerary treatment of judicial offenders.

Numerous published excavation reports and databases were analysed for evidence of funerary deviance – i.e. any trait unusual for normative Christian burial – but with particular focus on evidence for decapitation or for individuals remaining bound at the wrists at the time of interment, both of which are the most direct indicators of potential execution. While 343 individuals were buried in Anglo-Saxon execution cemeteries – sixty-two of these decapitated and seventy-three potentially bound – only three such deviants could be identified from the Anglo-Norman period. To inform on this transformation in burial tradition, historical evidence, particularly legislation and historical chronicles, were used to aid in an examination of capital punishment from c.850 to c.1150 to better understand the treatment of judicial offenders from conviction to execution. (Read more.)
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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Summula Pictoria

From Daniel Mitsui:
Over fourteen years, from Easter 2017 to Easter 2031, I plan to draw an iconographic summary of the Old and New Testaments, illustrating those events that are most prominent in sacred liturgy and patristic exegesis. The things that I plan to depict are the very raw stuff of Christian belief and Christian art; no other subjects offer an artist such inexhaustible wealth of beauty and symbolism. Were I never to draw them, I would feel my artistic career incomplete. I hope to undertake this task in the spirit of a medieval encyclopedist, who gathers as much traditional wisdom as he can find and faithfully puts it into order. I want every detail of these pictures, whether great or small, to be thoroughly considered and significant.

I am calling this project my Summula Pictoria: a Little Summary of the Old and New Testaments. It will be realized as 235 drawings. Collectively, these will form a coherent work; every person, place and thing that appears from picture to picture will be recognizable. Their common style and perspective will reflect a proper theology of time and space, light and darkness, sacred numbers and directions. The drawings certainly will be influenced by artwork of the past; I defer always to the Fathers in matters of arrangement and disposition. Yet I intend to copy no other work of art directly. Everything in them, whether figures, fabric patterns, architectural ornaments or background landscapes, I shall design myself.

I shall draw the Summula Pictoria using metal-tipped dip pens and paintbrushes, with pigment-based inks, on calfskin vellum. The pictures will be in full color. I shall use the calfskin’s translucency for artistic effect, drawing extensively on both its front and its back to create each picture.
(Read more.)
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Tumblar House: An Online Catholic Bookstore

From Catholic365:
With Amazon and other secular retailers quickly monopolizing the book marketplace, many Catholic consumers are seeking a faith-based alternative for their buying interests. Tumblar House, a quickly growing enterprise in the form of an online bookstore, may be their answer.
Founded in 2001, Tumblar House began as a small Catholic publisher of both fiction and nonfiction. Over time, the company expanded from a publisher and store of simply Tumblar House publications to a vastly growing online marketplace for a wide variety of popular Catholic books, from Pope Benedict’s classic Jesus of Nazareth series to Regina Doman’s novels for young adults and teens. Free shipping is provided for orders over $25, and a “Sales” section of the website allows easy access to busy consumers wishing to quickly browse current deals. The Tumblar House rewards system also imparts significant benefits. For example, by simply creating an account or referring a friend, consumers earn points that go toward a coupon that may be used as a discount on any book carried in the store. Special autographed editions are also available for select titles at no additional cost.  Furthermore, writers may submit articles for consideration in The Lounge, a special section of the website devoted to subjects of interest to a Catholic audience, from history and philosophy to reflections on current events.   
Tumblar House supplies books with Catholic values, stories with “moral gravity” that “will leave an indelible mark on the reader, powerfully reinforcing Catholic beliefs and lifestyles”. As an assurance of this goal, Vincent Frankini, Owner and Manager, has begun to develop a parental guide section for all works of fiction so that content is transparent for conscientious readers. The company itself seeks to “embody a new age of chivalry” while simultaneously demonstrating “that the life entrusted to us by Christ should be enjoyed and celebrated”. In a secular society in which Catholic beliefs are mocked, misunderstood, and erroneously considered dull, Tumblar House provides an effective antidote. (Read more.)

I am honored to say that Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars is available from Tumblar House.


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Home Economics Class

From the Dallas News:
As I begin to prepare for next semester's classes, I consider what my students need to learn. What aspects of my class will prepare them for the real world? The educational system needs to do the same thing. Every semester I have a week of "math lab" in my college reporting class. The words strike fear in my students. Their eyes roll back in their heads, they foam at the mouth, they sputter the words, "But I'm a liberal arts major." It's not that bad, really. We cover things like what property tax changes mean for their rent, how interest rates affect their car or credit card payments, and how a 5 percent raise affects their paychecks. We seldom get past property taxes before they start realizing that if they own property, they will pay property taxes forever. And it always surprises me that they don't already know this. It's a failing of our educational system that students don't leave high school with this basic understanding, among other things.
 
That's why we need to bring back the old home economics class. Call it "Skills for Life" and make it mandatory in high schools. Teach basic economics along with budgeting, comparison shopping, basic cooking skills and time management. Give them a better start in real life than they get now. How cool would it be if our kids knew how to shop for groceries and stay within a budget? Wouldn't parents feel a sense of relief if their kids understood how interest accrues on their credit cards? And shouldn't everyone have one great go-to meal they could cook if guests pop in?

These are the skills we learned in high school home economics, the skills all kids should have, whether they are college bound or heading straight into the workforce. I've heard the argument that young people should learn these things from their parents, but my experience is that they don't, for various reasons. Some parents don't have time. Some parents don't have the skills. Some parents don't think about it until it's time for their kids to leave home. And, since part of teaching is exposing kids to your own situation, some parents don't think it's any of their kids' business.

But high school is the perfect time to introduce life's basics. Students are beginning to feel like adults. They can see the light at the end of the high-school tunnel. They're thinking about what life will be like for them. Home economics signals to them that we know they're growing up and we want to help them along in life's journey. So our high school curriculum needs to step up for students. Yes, English, history, algebra and science are important. But what good are they if you don't know how to cook dinner or figure out how a FICO score affects interest on credit cards? How impressed would a potential employer be if a young job applicant could discuss killer time management skills? Knowledge is power. It's time to pass that power on to the next generation. (Read more.)
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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Fine London Hotels

From MIG:
One of the city’s best-kept secrets, The Landmark London spells “serenity with luxury”. Think public areas with oversized chandeliers, antique furniture, ornate plasterwork and frescoes, blending beautifully with the building’s 19th century heritage. One of the largest in the city, its rooms are all about plush drapes in creamy blue and beige with Italian marble bathrooms. Meals at the tropical Winter Garden – a huge glass-roofed Victorian atrium with soaring palm trees and exotic massages and body exfoliation treatments at the spa are the highlights of your stay here. Sitting right next to Marylebone station, it is conveniently located from attractions such as Madam Tussauds and London Zoo. (Read more.)
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The Rise of Single People

With marriage under siege it should come as no surprise that there are more single people. From Psychology Today:
You might think, intuitively, that the single people who are most likely to feel lonely are the ones who are living alone. But if you compare people who live alone to people who live with others, making sure that the two groups are similar to each other in important ways, such as how much money they have, the results are startling: It is the people who live alone who are less likely to be lonely. Maybe that’s because they make more of an effort to get out of the house and to stay connected to the people who matter to them.

What about the claim that all this freedom-seeking is making people miserable? For that, I can tell you about a study of more than 200,000 people from 31 European nations. They were all asked how much they valued things like being free, being creative, and trying new things. They were also asked about their happiness. (Read more.)
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A Long Cold Winter

From Fox News:
A long cold winter could hit space in months bringing record low temperatures, NASA has warned. That's the warning from a scientist who fears sunspot activity on the surface of our star has dropped so low that record low temperatures could soon set in. “We see a cooling trend,” says Martin Mlynczak of NASA’s Langley Research Center.

“High above Earth’s surface, near the edge of space, our atmosphere is losing heat energy. "If current trends continue, it could soon set a Space Age record for cold.” Solar minimum can enhance the effects of space weather, disrupt communications and navigation, and even cause space junk to "hang around", NASA said.

Mlynczak and his colleagues have recently introduced the "Thermosphere Climate Index" (TCI), which measure how much heat nitric oxide (NO) molecules are dumping into space. The results come from the SABER instrument onboard NASA’s TIMED satellite, that monitor infrared emissions from carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitric oxide (NO). By measuring the infrared glow of these molecules, SABER can assess the thermal state of gas at the very top of the atmosphere – a layer researchers call “the thermosphere.”

When the thermosphere cools, it shrinks, making the radius of the Earth's atmosphere smaller. This means it can delay the natural decay of space junk, resulting in a more cluttered environment around Earth. “Right now, it is very low indeed,” Mlynczak told Space Weather. “SABER is currently measuring 33 billion Watts of infrared power from NO. That’s 10 times smaller than we see during more active phases of the solar cycle.”

“The thermosphere always cools off during Solar Minimum. It’s one of the most important ways the solar cycle affects our planet,” explains Mlynczak. “We’re not there quite yet,” he said of the record cold, “but it could happen in a matter of months."

The most famous example of a prolonged sunspot minimum is the Maunder Minimum, referring to a period around 1645 to 1715 during which sunspots become exceedingly rare. Maunder coincided with the middle part of the Little Ice Age, when Europe and North America experienced colder temperatures - fuelling speculation that the two were connected. (Read more.)

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Anne with an E, Season 2

For those who thought Season 1 of Netflix's Anne with an E took enormous liberties with a classic children's novel so as to make it almost unrecognizable, then beware of Season 2. Season 2 makes use of the structure and main characters of the original story to tell a completely different tale. You thought Anne was the main character? No more. A charmingly gawky teenage boy named Cole upstages Anne as he comes to terms with his homosexuality while dealing with persecution from the ignorant rednecks of Avonlea.

Remember Gilbert Blyth? In the books Anne refused to speak with Gilbert while trying to beat him in spelling bees, and in everything else, while secretly being in love with him. Well, in the latest version of the Anne-Gilbert romance, there is no rivalry, no tension; Gilbert and Anne are buddies. Gilbert quits school to work on a steamer. He works his way to Trinidad where he makes friends with a black shipmate named Bash and delivers the baby of a prostitute. Gilbert brings Bash back to Avonlea to live on the family farm but the rednecks proceed to marginalize him for his skin color.

Meanwhile, Anne and Diana are escorted by Cole to a party in Charlottesville at the home of Miss Josephine Barry, Diana's wealthy great aunt. Now, according to the novel, Miss Barry was a curmudgeon with a heart of gold who becomes Anne's benefactress. In the Netflix rendition, Miss Barry is the Alice B. Toklas of P.E. Island whose very own Gertrude died, leaving her heartbroken. Her bohemian party is described by the producers as a "queer soirée" which Anne thinks is wonderful. She declares Aunt Jo's "marriage" with Aunt Gertrude as "spectacular." Cole comes "out" and Diana hides in the spare room. Diana, of course, is exposed as being no better than the other rednecks of Avonlea, and so Cole replaces her as Anne's "bosom friend."

It goes on and on. In the words of World:
Let’s get one thing straight: Extrapolating on and even profiting from a classic isn’t new. It isn’t even necessarily a bad thing. Michael Landon did it with Little House on the Prairie, and he’s practically a national hero. Neither is including a gay character in a historical drama: Downton Abbey did it with the nuanced character of Thomas Barrow, and in the end, we were all rooting for him to rejoin the downstairs staff.

Season 1 of CBC and Netflix’s Anne with an E was gritty, in many ways departing big-time from the book, but it still made pretty good television. Season 2, though, feels as if it were written by a different team of writers, brought in mostly to drive buzz about the show. It’s hard to list comprehensively every modern issue this season touches on. There’s school bullying, bullying of homosexuals, guns in the classroom, teenage suicide, racism (both overt and via microaggression), white fragility, and the definition of marriage. Two more topics top it off: consent for vaginal checks during birth, and prejudice against people who never marry.

A giveaway to what’s coming is found in the show’s magical opening sequence (featuring an artistic blend of owls, gold leaves, and the image of actress Amybeth McNulty, who plays Anne) where a singer croons, “You are ahead by a century.” A century is right. It’s hard to imagine TV writers of past decades using lines like, “A skirt is not an invitation,” or, “How can there be anything wrong with a life if it’s spent with the person you love?”

As one of the first shows to capitalize on our post-#MeToo world, this one seems not to know how to handle it. It fumbles with dialogue like an awkward teenager. The writing is bad (see above), the plotlines contrived. Writers might think they’re bravely breaking barriers, but they’re really just taking their values—the good and the bad—and cracking them over our heads like a school slate.

Not every storyline is insidious. But nowhere does the show feel more forced than with the character of Cole (Cory Gruter-Andrew), a sensitive and artistic classmate who supplants Diana (Dalila Bela) in Anne’s life—in essence, replacing her kindred spirit with a gay best friend. Cole attracts attention not only from the class bully, but from attendees at a “queer soirée” (the producers’ term), who drape pearls around his neck. Even his male teacher in Avonlea, the one engaged to Prissy Andrews, has some sort of awakening during a moment of sexual tension with Cole. Eventually Cole is symbolized by a fox being hunted by the whole town, and moves in with Diana’s Aunt Josephine (Deborah Grover)—hinted to be a lesbian last season, and now confirmed to be so.

Redeeming plotlines: a sweet love story, and performances by Geraldine James and R.H. Thomson, who play Marilla and Matthew and shine as the strongest stars of the cast despite some seriously silly storylines of their own. We also get a semi-satisfying ending to the school bully situation. It’s unclear but possible that Cole is basically written out of the show, since, by the end of Season 2, he lives in faraway Charlottetown. (Read more.)

 From Decider:
 So making Gilbert an orphan and putting him on a steamer headed for the Caribbean (because that, dear friends, is why he’s on the steamer) certainly opens up the world of Anne With An E, but it limits the scope of what Anne and Gilbert’s relationship is supposed to be. Anne Shirley is also not supposed to take on the name Cuthbert, and Green Gables isn’t meant to be in such terribly bad economic straights. There’s not supposed to be a scrappy servant boy named Jerry, but most of all, Gilbert Blyth is not supposed to be on a steamer on an overseas adventure.

These are all choices that make me wonder who Anne With An E is for. I’m not such a purist that I need TV adaptations to hit every beat of a novel, but I do think that television made for families should understand what their own core philosophy is. While Walley-Beckett’s instincts are good, I think this show is too enamored with its trappings of darkness to realize that Anne of Green Gables has endured this long because people love the small specificity of the characters’ lives. Warping these details for showier TV kind of dilutes the story.

What is Anne With An E? Well, it’s a family show shot to look like Wyeth paintings, it’s a reimagining of a classic for our modern age, and it is revisionist version of Avonlea history. It’s pretty to look at, but challenging to rectify with its source material. (Read more.)

According to Paste Magazine:
 Why is any of this bothersome? What’s so terrible about a character who wasn’t in the books suddenly appearing ex nihilo and taking center stage for like eight episodes? What’s so terrible about extrapolating, “Well, but what if you didn’t conform to the societal mores of this time and place; what might happen to you?” Arguably nothing. It’s about the execution. With a property as well-known as this one, you can play. You can play with utter fidelity to source. (Think Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings). You can see the source and raise it a new level of character depth within the confines of the original world’s themes and rules. (The Handmaid’s Tale is pulling this off so well it turned a book I detested into a must-watch show.) You can bank on the familiarity of the characters and settings to create distortions that are funny or even profound. (Keep the actual characters pure as that PEI snow and plunk them into modern day New York? Captain America has leveraged that to both hilarious and affecting effect, and he’s a freaking comic book character. Or go the other way, keep the story untouched but tweak the characters.)

Anne With An E doesn’t really do any of those things. This show tramples the source material in a way that dilutes and arguably betrays the protagonist. What’s the power in Anne’s legendarily overwrought imagination once the world around her is darker than anything she could ever come up with? What’s the point of scenic and linguistic fidelity to the time and place once you’ve powder-coated it with an incredibly unsubtle overlay of 2018 sensibilities? It’s not postmodern, it’s not sardonic, it’s not playful, it’s not transgressive. It’s a ham-handed dissertation on “feminism” and “diversity” and how only the terribly, terribly outcast can ever understand when something is a good idea and it’s sanctimonious twaddle that would have made the book’s author break out in hives. And it’s agonizing because it is visually lovely and incredibly well-acted sanctimonious twaddle. You’ll tear up in spite of yourself twice per episode, just because the expression on Geraldine Davis’ face is so perfect or because you remember that exact line from the book, which you read three times when you were 10. McNulty is a really, really good Anne. She’s exactly as endearing and annoying as the original. Many of the other characters, even if they’ve been adulterated by the story or the script, are elevated by solid-gold performances. (Read more.)

Personally, I resent a beloved novel being distorted in order to be wielded as a sledgehammer of leftist propaganda.  I resent the character of Anne Shirley being used to lure people into watching a show that they would never watch otherwise. I resent the fact that parents might think the show is one which they can plop their children in front of to be entertained while really they are being indoctrinated.
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Not the Same

The constant comparisons of the current situation in America to Nazi Germany are not only silly and foolish but obscene. For one thing, people were running away from Nazi Germany, not running towards it. And if Trump were like Hitler, his enemies would be dead. If Trump were like Hitler, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would be dead or in a prison somewhere, rather than being free to spout idiocies 24-7. If Trump were like Hitler, his followers would not be being marginalized and blocked from social media. It would be the opposite. But Trump is not like Hitler and will never be like Hitler; we would rather listen to the foolishness of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez than have people lose their right to free speech. From RT:
Just as Jews sought refuge from Nazi Germany, members of the migrant caravan have every right to ask for asylum in the US, Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has argued, prompting both applause and jeers on Twitter. The self-described “democratic socialist” expressed her outrage over a Sunday altercation on the US-Mexico border, in which US guards used tear gas to disperse migrants who tried to force their way into the United States. The San Ysidro crossing, a busy entry port between Tijuana and San Diego, was temporarily closed following the clashes, and several dozen migrants were arrested on the US side of the border. (Read more.)

From The Daily Wire:
As highlighted by The Daily Caller's Peter Hasson, Ocasio-Cortez, ignoring the fact that many migrants were being repelled because they were breaking the law by attempting to illegally cross the border, painted them all as legitimate "asylum seekers" whom she compared to Jews fleeing the Nazis, families fleeing Rwanda, and those attempting to escape Syria. "Asking to be considered a refugee & applying for status isn’t a crime," she wrote. "It wasn’t for Jewish families fleeing Germany. It wasn’t for targeted families fleeing Rwanda. It wasn’t for communities fleeing war-torn Syria. And it isn’t for those fleeing violence in Central America." (Read more.) 

Meanwhile, Mexico may be siding with Trump. From The Western Journal:
So, could the new policy mean, you may wonder? “According to outlines of the plan, known as Remain in Mexico, asylum applicants at the border will have to stay in Mexico while their cases are processed, potentially ending the system, which Trump decries as ‘catch and release,’ that has generally allowed those seeking refuge to wait on safer U.S. soil,” the WaPo reports. “While no formal agreement has been signed, and U.S. officials caution that many details must still be discussed, the incoming Mexican government is amenable to the concept of turning their country into a waiting room for America’s asylum system.” 
I personally love the “… which Trump decries as ‘catch and release'” part, since a) he’s not the first to call it this and b) this is exactly what it is. As for the “safer U.S. soil” part — well, safer for whom
Obrador officials said that the policy was a stopgap measure, insisting that a fuller solution would involve stopping illegal immigration entirely. “For now, we have agreed to this policy of Remain in Mexico,” Olga Sánchez Cordero, Mexico’s incoming interior minister, told the WaPo, insisting it was a “short-term solution.” 
“The medium- and long-term solution is that people don’t migrate,” Sánchez Cordero said. “Mexico has open arms and everything, but imagine one caravan after another after another. That would also be a problem for us.” 
Wait, weren’t caravans fictive elements of our imagination? (Read more.)
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Learning From Print Textbooks vs Screens

From Business Insider:
Today's students see themselves as digital natives, the first generation to grow up surrounded by technology like smartphones, tablets and e-readers. Teachers, parents and policymakers certainly acknowledge the growing influence of technology and have responded in kind. We've seen more investment in classroom technologies, with students now equipped with school-issued iPads and access to e-textbooks.

In 2009, California passed a law requiring that all college textbooks be available in electronic form by 2020; in 2011, Florida lawmakers passed legislation requiring public schools to convert their textbooks to digital versions. Given this trend, teachers, students, parents and policymakers might assume that students' familiarity and preference for technology translates into better learning outcomes. But we've found that's not necessarily true.

As researchers in learning and text comprehension, our recent work has focused on the differences between reading print and digital media. While new forms of classroom technology like digital textbooks are more accessible and portable, it would be wrong to assume that students will automatically be better served by digital reading simply because they prefer it. (Read more.)
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Monday, November 26, 2018

Jerome Bonaparte and Betsy Patterson

From Geri Walton:
In 1800, Jerome joined the navy at the age of fifteen, and as a relative to the First Consul, he was promoted rapidly. He was commanding a brig of his own and was a lieutenant de vaisseau by the end of 1802, and, by 1806, an admiral. However, it was not always smoothing sailing for the young man because some escapades on shore at Brest resulted in a rebuke from his older brother Napoleon: 
“I am waiting with impatience to hear that you are on board your ship, studying a profession intended to be the scene of your glory. If you ever mean to disgrace your name, die young; for if you live to sixty without having served your country, you had better not have been born.”[1] 
On 16 August 1801, Jerome received another note from his brother about life in the navy. 
“I’m glad to hear you are getting used to the life of a sailor. There’s not a better career in which to win a name for yourself. Go up aloft, get to know every part of the ship; and when you come back from your voyage, I hope to hear that you are as active as any powder-monkey. Don’t let anyone dictate your profession to you. Make up your mind that you are going to be a sailor. I hope you already have learnt to keep your watch, and box the compass.”[2] 
In the summer of 1803, when a British Blockade occurred, Jerome traveled to the United States and was soon invited to Baltimore by Commodore Joshua Barney. He had served in the Continental Navy during the Revolutionary War and would also later serve in the War of 1812. The 19-year-old Jerome arrived in Baltimore in September, and, a month or so later, he accompanied Barney to Washington where he met President Thomas Jefferson on the 25th. Jefferson invited him to return the next evening to dine with him, and the President received confirmation stating, “Mr. Bonaparte will have the honor of dining with the president of the United States tomorrow, 26 Oct.”[3] 
While in Baltimore, Jerome met 18-year-old Elizabeth “Betsy” Patterson, the daughter of a prosperous Baltimore ship-owner and merchant named William Patterson. Jerome first saw her in the fall at the horse races and was “fired at once.” A few days later, the couple were formally introduced at a ball given by Samuel Chase, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Although Jerome’s English was rudimentary, Elizabeth was fluent in French.
Elizabeth Patterson. Triple portrait by Gilbert Stuart 1804. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Jerome found himself so fascinated by her wondrous beauty and charm that he forgot about France and his brother Napoleon. He then became intent on marrying the stunning beauty and the wedding was planned a few weeks later on 3 November. However, after Elizabeth’s father received an anonymous letter stating that Jerome had “ruined” other young ladies, he withdrew his support for the marriage. Elizabeth was just as much in love with Jerome as he was with her and being unwilling to give him up, she threatened to elope. Her father thus gave in and the pair were married on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1803. 
The Mayor of Baltimore performed the civil ceremony, and a religious one was sealed by John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the United States. To further seal the deal a marriage contract was drawn up by Alexander J. Dallas, afterward Secretary of the Treasury, and witnessed by M. Sotin (the French Consul at Baltimore), Alexander Le Camus (Jerome’s secretary), and other leading citizens.  
At the wedding, one gentleman who was shocked by what the bride wore and noted: “All the clothes worn by the bride might have been put in my pocket. Her dress was of muslin, richly embroidered, of extremely fine texture. Beneath her dress she wore but a single garment.”[4] 
When Napoleon learned of Jerome’s marriage, he was unhappy because he had plans for his brother and they did not include an American wife. He commanded Jerome to return immediately and to do so by himself. Jerome set sail from the United States in March of 1805, but aboard was his pregnant wife. Unfortunately for Elizabeth, Napoleon refused to allow her to set foot on French soil. Jerome decided it was best if he went alone to try and change his brother’s mind, and, so, she sailed for England, where she gave birth to their son (Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte, nicknamed Bo) on 5 July at 95 Camberwell Grove in London. (Read more.)
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“Woke” Or Still Dreaming???

From A Lady of Reason:
Many radical liberal snowflakes claim to be “woke” in that they, unlike us who are not awake yet, are more keenly aware of issues such as inequality plaguing our society, and that we’re blinded by our “privilege” and lack of experience of their issues. They say we are ignorant, bigoted and will not listen to facts and reason on these issues. The issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia etc… etc… They say our opinions and our facts are merely prejudice in disguise as facts! That we being the “silent majority” is a “racist dog whistle” as someone on my Twitter page commented! However, experience and observation have shown, that many of their suppositions are actually untrue, or over exaggerated, leaving out all the nuance!

I wonder then, if this new “woke” movement of the snowflakes, one of entitlement, victimhood and being “triggered” over “microagressions” is merely in a dream! They may think they live in the reality of the situation, but perhaps they are still being deceived by a very lucid dream! I’ve had many a dream where in it, it made perfect sense, but when I truly “woke” from it, I realized from the moment my eyes opened, it made absolutely zero sense in the rules of logic, (and sometimes physics)!

For example, the dream of open borders, that everyone can just come here peacefully, and we have enough to help all, while an idyllic fantasy, is a beautiful dream. The dream that illegals contribute more than they take, and aren’t bringing more crime and 3rd world values and potential terrorists in through refugees. The dream that welfare is only given to the worthy, and it’s a misconception people and entire communities are dependent on it as a way of life from cradle to grave, and that the only thing holding them back is our prejudice. The dream that it’s the “patriarchy” that accounts for gender differences, and “inequalities”. That the woman must always be believed and will tell the truth in cases of allegations of sexual assault. That transgender people pose no threat to the order of society, and women in lady’s rooms by cisgender men under the guise of being a woman. That established science is incorrect, and there are many genders, not just XX and XY, and that any other genetic combo is normal, not an abnormal pathology. That women can do just as well in the front lines of combat as men.

That a person’s rights can be annulled in the name of female “empowerment”, and women are empowered by acting vulgar and promiscuous. That hook up culture is okay, and isn’t risky, and those who pop out unwanted children are valid to cry for out pity and charity after their little hook ups. “Any family is a real family”. That guns kill, and people aren’t the ones in charge of them! That countless children died in school due to the NRA and guns, not evil people who used them for evil. There is no “liberal” conspiracy in the mainstream media, our schools and elsewhere. There is no censoring of conservatives online and everywhere. That there is no violence against conservatives and the Left is tolerant of their freedom of speech and expression. That no student or teacher was ever retaliated against for conservative views in the classroom. That conservatives endorse hate speech and use it. That we’re racist, fascist, misogynist, homophobic, xenophobic etc… That we moralize too much that is merely cultural and arbitrary. That our current president Donald Trump is dirtier than the dirtiest liberal candidate. I could go on and on and on…(Read more.)
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The All-black American Female Battalion of World War II

From Face2FaceAfrica:
The success of the formation of the all black female battalion was thanks to Mary McLeod Bethune, an African American civil rights activist who at the time, appealed to the then-first lady of America, Eleanor Roosevelt, to create more meaningful roles for black women in the army to help balance out the shortage of soldiers. Mary’s appeal gained the attention of the first lady who then helped the military create a space for an all-black female group to work in the war in Europe.

Women were recruited and trained until May 1942 when the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps was formed, and women of all races were allowed to serve in the war officially. Soon after, in July 1942, through their hard work and dedication, women were given full benefits in the military, and the word “auxiliary” was removed from their name. The Corps became known as the Women’s Army Corps. The military trained women of all races in all divisions and sections of the army in preparation for war.

In 1945, history was made when the first all-black female battalion in the world was sent from the U.S. to serve in parts of Europe during the Second World War. Known as the 6888 Central Postal Directory Battalion, the all black female battalion of the Women’s Army Corps were sent to parts of France and England to contribute to solving problems that the Second World War brought with it. (Read more.)


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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Louis-Philippe at Versailles

From the Versailles website:
On 6 October 1789, when Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette and the royal family were forced to leave Versailles, the Palace was left empty, never to be used as a royal residence again. Heir to the Orléans family, Louis Philippe I had little in common with the Versailles of the Ancien Régime, but he showed an interest in the Palace from the moment he ascended to the throne in 1830. The new King of the French became intent on transforming this monarchist building into a national monument dedicated “to all the glories of France”.  He imagined it as a museum open to all with an educational purpose, where paintings could be consulted like a picture book. His aim, truly political, was to reconcile the deeply divided French people but more especially to ensure that his reign left its mark in the country’s history. The exhibition will retrace Louis Philippe's tastes and the king’s direct involvement in the work culminating in the inauguration of the Historic Galleries on 10 juin 1837(Read more.)
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To Censor and Edit the President

From The Conservative Review:
Monday on his nationally syndicated radio program, LevinTV host Mark Levin called out reporter Carl Bernstein and CNN for suggesting that the media should edit President Trump’s press conferences, rather than airing them live. Levin played a clip in which Bernstein said presidential press conferences should instead be treated “like a news event,” with reporters sharing just the parts they deem newsworthy with the public. “It is a big deal. It gives you insight into how fools like this think. He’s a reporter — so-called — right? What is better news than a live event? A presidential press conference?” Levin went on to explain to listeners what Bernstein is really saying: “Because the president is a propagandist and a liar, we in the media have to take the actual news of what he’s saying and edit it and decide what is our view of the news, with our liberal values.” (Read more.)
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Americans Have Almost Entirely Forgotten Their History

People who wish to live in a republic must be well and properly informed. From The Daily Signal:
In America, we celebrate democracy and are justifiably proud that this nation was founded on the idea that the people should rule. That’s why it is so important that Americans be informed about their government. They are partakers in it. In fact, they control it. Under tyrannical systems, it matters little if the people are informed about political life. Autocrats make decisions for the people whether they like it or not. But in our republic, we rely on the informed decision-making of citizens to judge policies and the leaders who will implement them.

Unfortunately, we are not very well-informed. According to a recently released survey, Americans are woefully uneducated about the most basic facts of our history, to the point where most couldn’t even pass a basic citizenship test. A study by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation found that only 1 in 3 Americans can actually pass the U.S. citizenship test, which asks the most basic questions about our history and how our system of government works.

Passing the test requires answering 60 percent of questions correctly, but a majority of those participating in the survey couldn’t even do that. “With voters heading to the polls next month, an informed and engaged citizenry is essential,” Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation, said.

“Unfortunately, this study found the average American to be woefully uninformed regarding America’s history and incapable of passing the U.S. citizenship test. It would be an error to view these findings as merely an embarrassment. Knowledge of the history of our country is fundamental to maintaining a democratic society, which is imperiled today.” (Read more.)
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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Skincare Routine

From the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog:
From MBG:
Beauty begins within. I put so much care and attention into the foods I  eat and the ingredients I use so I can feel beautiful both inside and  out, and the same goes for my beauty regimen. I’m often asked what my  beauty routine is, and my response is always the same: I keep my routine  simple, but the most important part isn’t actually about what I’m  putting on my face—it’s making sure that I approach my skincare from the  inside out. I love finding products that source ingredients directly  from Mother Earth.  (Read more.)

Here is an article on coconut oil as a health and beauty product. From Better Mind, Body, Soul:
The  delicate skin of your face will thank you for an application of coconut  oil. It helps moisturize and bring balance to both oily and dry skin.  You can use it as a face wash as well, either as a stand-alone and  followed up with your own wash, or added to your regular routine to take  advantage of the antibacterial properties. (Read more.)
 Please do not forget the Thanksgiving sale of all our skin care products. Everything is 50% off!  The sale lasts until November 30, 2018.  The 50% off coupon code is:  THANKSGVG2018  or click HERE . Please do visit the shop to learn more.
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The Woke Generation is Trying to Kill Literature

From Splice Today:
Novelist Joyce Carol Oates has a complaint about the current literary world that she recently voiced on Twitter: “hard to write honestly about racism in America now since, if you are a fiction writer, & need to reproduce the speech of racists, this speech-—crude, cruel, revealing-—has to be softened or censored altogether. Ironically, taboos of ‘political correctness’ protect racists.”

Her twitter account indicates that she’s a proponent of the identity politics and performative wokeness favored by the regressive Left these days, so it’s interesting, as well as disturbing, that she’s grousing like this. Just imagine how writers who don’t buy into the current “liberal” (which now often means “illiberal”) agenda and bizarre rules of intersectionality feel about having to walk on eggshells so they don’t upset a few cranks on Twitter who their publishers are afraid of.
The prolific novelist’s plaintive tweet indirectly highlights how many authors have quietly succumbed to the new need to cater to the modern reader’s sensitivity. Thousands are now self-censoring, or they’re meekly giving in after their editor tells them their work contains microaggressions. The situation’s so bad that many writers and publishers are hiring people in a new job category: the “sensitivity reader.”

For a small fee, the sensitivity reader will vet your manuscript for indications of a white savior complex, improper physical descriptions of minorities, sexism, ableism, Islamophobia, and just about every variation of accidental bias you could imagine. You learn about what’s potentially “problematic” to your readers, who have newfound powers. These sensitivity readers come in all varieties: black Muslims, mixed-race females, Chinese-Americans, you name it. You may need three or four of them just for one book. It’s depressing that a professional novelist thinks it’s necessary to have someone scour their work for “harmful tropes,” but outrage culture has raised the stakes. Take the case of a poet named Anders Carlson-Wee who excitedly tweeted about his poem, “How-To,” when The Nation published it, only to be quickly forced to apologize after he was charged with ableism for writing about a “crippled” person and brought to task for writing in “African-American Vernacular English” (AAVE)—”Don’t say homeless, they know you is.” Carlson-Wee’s white, which makes this “problematic.”

The poem was good enough to make it into The Nation. It’s about how people who give money to homeless people on the street are really doing it for selfish reasons. It ends: “It’s about who they believe they is. You hardly even there.” The Nation felt the need to publish a wordy, scurry-for-the-exits apology that read like something out of a re-education camp, when the proper response would’ve been to publish the best of the reader complaints. A publication has no responsibility for how the work it publishes is received. If this kind of risk-averse thinking catches on, we’ll soon be reading only anodyne, homogeneous dreck. Neither of the two poetry editors who greenlighted “How-To” are black or disabled, so by the new rules of engagement they were in no position to stand up for their writer. They threw him under the bus instead, to save themselves.

“Ableist language”? A poem or work of literature isn’t a display of virtue. The poet took on the voice of a street person. Are we now living in a world where we’re supposed to believe that a guy living on the street would say “disabled” instead of “crippled,” or a white writer cannot write in black dialect? That would mean that one of the nation’s greatest living novelists, Richard Price, wouldn’t have been allowed to write Clockers (1992), because many NYC crack dealers sure did speak what’s now called AAVE when he wrote about them. (Read more.)
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Is Conservative Fashion Trending Globally?

From Russian Faith:
There have been a number of articles written of late about a fascinating trend going on in the world of fashion. Now, what's so interesting here is that the fashion industry, like any industry, is driven by trends that are either from the top down or from the bottom up, or what we might call, in economic terms, a supplier-driven trend versus a consumer-driven trend. So, in the case of a top-down or supply-side trend, professional designers come up with new and innovative fashion ideas, and consumers respond in kind. But with a bottom-up trend, it's the demands of the consumer that moves the market, and fashion can be particularly influenced by consumer based trends.

Now, what's so interesting here is that, within the current state of fashion, there's emerged, over the last few years, a very noticeable bottom-up consumer-based trend. In fact, the appeal of such a trend appears to be so widespread that they're actually calling it a movement. And that trend that is so significantly moving the fashion markets as we speak is what analysts are calling the conservative fashion movement. It's also known as the modesty movement. It's a fashion trend where sex appeal is, in many respects, taking a back seat to a sense of refinement and elegance.

Women particularly appear to be increasingly attracted to dressing in a manner that evokes a sense of sophistication, and poise, and charm, and gracefulness. In fact, within the last five years alone, we're seeing a noticeable increase on search terms related to fashion and modesty on Google searches, and retailers are taking notice, so much so, that there's arisen now a very vibrant business market that features clothing specifically tailored for modesty appeal.

As one journalist put it, it turns out that the modesty aesthetic is proving to be one of the most popular trends in fashion, and its prevalence has, in many respects, gone mainstream with fashion designers such as Celine and others, who are creating a conservative modesty line as part of their dress offerings. In fact, analysts are noting that Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is fast becoming a modesty style icon, with her long-sleeved wedding dress, her regular knee-length hemlines, which are becoming what some have called the gold standard of modesty. Our first lady, Melania Trump, has become an icon of modest dress as well. Many of you may have been noticing that, on breitbart.com, they've been featuring the fashion trends of Melania as a model of class, poise, of conservative charm and dignity.

From a practical vantage point, the modesty movement really means little more than simply longer hemlines or long sleeves, looser shapes, higher necklines. It's also an extremely diverse aesthetic with all kinds of applications, in many respects. It's endless. And, again, this is being reflected with the bigger fashion industry. From Celine's and Gucci's makers, we're seeing dress over pants layering. We're seeing Victorian style blouses. We're seeing long cardigans, roomy pants, high-necked tops, and the like. (Read more.)
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Friday, November 23, 2018

Black Friday 2018

As many of you know, in my spare time I make all-natural face creams and have recently created a facial cleanserPlease do visit my online shop to learn more about the creams which make great gifts. I have also begun a health and beauty blog with information about skincare.  We are having a sale of all our skin care products which  make great gifts for mothers and grandmothers. Everything is 50% off!  The sale lasts from now to November 30, 2018.  The 50% off coupon code is: THANKSGVG2018 or click HERE . Please do visit the shop to learn more.

Please also visit the Trianon Market which features bargains in housewares, furniture, home decor, linens, curtains, etc.

 I wish everyone a safe and blessed Thanksgiving weekend. And with Advent coming, let us remember that books make wonderful gifts!

Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars: Her Life, Her Times, Her Legacy
 

Here is a quote from a letter I received from a reader in Belgium: "I immediately began to read, and I really love your style. I love the way you tell us stories about Marie Antoinette and how you put yourself in these stories. This way of writing deeply touch me because it is very personal and it's like...comfortably sitting by the fire and listening." 

"Daughter of the Caesars succeeds in dispelling many of the most persistent myths and misconceptions about Marie Antoinette. It is an engaging, conversational read that clears away the pervasive pop culture image of Marie Antoinette and instead places the maligned queen back into the context of her life as an 18th century consort. A must-read for anyone with an interest in Marie Antoinette or her times."--Anna Gibson of Vive la Reine

"Are you looking for an interesting biography of Marie-Antoinette? This one is just perfect. Based on extensive documentation and providing relevant analysis, this book puts the Queen of France back in her family and political context."-- Autour de Marie-Antoinette

"Elena Maria Vidal is a fantastic writer and researcher. She paints a realistic portrait of Marie-Antoinette with facts to back all of it up. It's very exciting. This book is spiritual, adventurous, and sweet." --Sarah Patten at Her Storyline

"Marie Antoinette is one of history's most controversial queens. In thisCatholic biography of Marie Antoinette, Mrs. Vidal states that bykilling both Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the revolutionaries werekilling the Catholic kingdom that they represented. This is because thegoal of the French Revolution was to get rid of the Catholic church. The reason for this is because many Catholics were killed, especially those who were unwilling to convert. She also argues the popularmisconceptions of Marie Antoinette that have been passed down forcenturies and have been reinforced in Hollywood primarily the MarieAntoinette film starring Kirsten Dunst." --History from a Woman's Perspective
 
Purchase  Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars is available internationally from Amazon.com.

 
 The Paradise Tree: A Novel
 
 “With this marvelous immigrant saga, Elena Maria Vidal reminds us why our forebears left the Old World for the New: for Faith, family, and freedom! Through three generations of an Irish clan in Canada, she invites us into their home for struggle and triumph, celebrations of joy and sorrow, music, feasting, and dancing. The Paradise Tree makes ‘the past and present mingle and become one’ for the reader’s great delight.” ~Stephanie A. Mann, author of Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation

“Elena Maria Vidal’s latest book, The Paradise Tree, is the fictionalized true story of the author’s devoutly Catholic ancestors who immigrated to Canada from Ireland. It is filled with rich detailed history recounting the hardships and joys of the 19th century O’Connor Family. Beautifully written with great attention to historical, geographical and religious accuracy, this fascinating and moving family saga is a treasure that I highly recommend!” ~Ellen Gable Hrkach, award-winning author of In Name Only and four other novels

"An Irish immigrant builds a new life in Canada, the decades marked by marriage, children and the odd otherworldly encounter....An imaginative, meticulously told history that will especially appeal to those with Irish roots." ~ from Kirkus Reviews

"This is a stunningly lovely book, the perfect thing to get lost in for an afternoon." ~from the San Francisco Book Review (starred review)

"...Historical fiction at its best" ~D.Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

The Paradise Tree does what good novels should. It tells us a story, it shows us what it means to be human—replete with the triumphs, sadness, and conflicts entailed in being human—while whisking us away to another world that is not our own. For 232 pages we are extracted from our lives and into the lives of the O’Connor family. We root for them. We feel their hardships. We feel their connection and disconnection as a family while we are shown a distant time and place, filled with potentially unfamiliar folkways. In the end we are pleasantly reminded that the O’Connors’ story is just as much ours as we traverse the familiar territory of faith, family, and love, and how we still find ourselves dancing in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.~ The Portland Book Review

"Vidal does an excellent job of demonstrating the lifeline that the Catholic faith becomes for the O'Connor family and how it binds them together in the toughest of circumstances." ~Savvy Verse and Wit

"Weaving fact with fiction...realistic and stirring. An emotional tale of hardship, struggle to survive...with vivid descriptions of life in that place and time period. This book will appeal to those that like a good historical fiction story with depth and new beginnings." ~Just One More Chapter

"Vidal was able to write about devout Catholicism in a way that Protestants and other non-Catholics could follow." ~West Metro Mommy Reads

"The Paradise Tree by Elena Maria Vidal is a sweeping tale of an Irish-Canadian family that I happily dare to mention in the same breath as Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind" ~ from Back Porchervations

"As we journey through the years of the O'Connor family the author brings alive the joys, triumphs, struggles, and sorrows in such a vivid way that often you feel as though you are experiencing them yourself." ~Peeking Between the Pages

"Despite the sadness of many of the scenes, there is great charm in the lively portrayal of a family filled with love of learning and poetry. The hope of eternal life sustains Daniel, his wife and children through many tragedies.  Joy continually mingles with sorrow." ~Cross of Laeken

"The Paradise Tree is one of those books that made me feel happy and secure while reading even though some really terrible things happened to the family. I always had the sense that they would persevere and thrive. The Paradise Tree is a sweeping family saga that I will be suggesting to my friends and family. It was such an enjoyable book."~A Book Geek

"The people in the story felt so real to me and almost like they could have also been my ancestors."~Book Drunkard

"I loved the historical perspective that Elena Maria Vidal presented in The Paradise Tree: A Novel. It was interesting and informative to learn about the Irish. Vidal's writing was engaging and the story was filled with heart, soul, family loyalty, history, and unexpected twists and turns. I enjoyed this beautiful story and recommend it." ~Book Nerd

"Whoever you are, wherever your people came from, and whatever you enjoy doing with your free time, I don’t hesitate for a moment to recommend purchasing Elena Maria Vidal’s latest historical fiction novel The Paradise Tree." ~Lear, Kent, Fool

"A good historical fiction novel takes you back in time and presents the good, the bad and the ugly in a manner that informs and clarifies. A great historical fiction novel goes beyond that to lift up your soul as the heroes and heroines overcome obstacles both man made and natural. The result is the reader is left open jawed amazed and transformed. This book is a great historical fiction novel. I wept with them, I laughed at them but most importantly, I felt privileged to be invited to gaze inside their paradise tree." ~Stephen's review of The Paradise Tree on Goodreads

 
 Purchase The Paradise Tree HERE.  


Trianon: A Novel of Royal France

 

"What distinguishes this short and readable book from others is Vidal's examining their lives in light of their Catholic faith in a country that, until the Revolution, was the 'eldest daughter of the Church.'" ~Mike May, Pittsburgh Magazine

 "Exhaustively researched and yet completely accessible for those who wish to understand the events from a very personal perspective." ~Genevieve Kineke, Canticle Magazine

"Through the tragedy and the violence, the genocide and the thousand petty cruelties, Trianon remains, resolutely, a novel of hope." --Gareth Russell, author of Popular and The Emperors

"It's very refreshing to see fiction that strays away from the popular view of Marie Antoinette. Vidal has done extensive research on the royal family and it truly shows." ~Anna Gibson at Reading Treasure

"For me, reading Trianon was like the Heavens opening up and hearing the angels sing.  It's the 'be all and end all' of all things Antoinette." ~Book Drunkard

"A master of storytelling, the author makes you laugh and cry, right along with the characters. A true masterpiece, I rank this book along with the great Classics." ~Wilsonville Public Library Blog

"Be prepared to learn history as it should have been told. You will experience their life, their love, their faith, for you have never known them as you will after reading this book...Be prepared to be moved beyond belief." ~Enchanted by Josephine 

"Elegantly written, it is, quite simply, a heart-wrenching account of the trials and martyrdom of the king and queen of France, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette." ~Christine Niles, radio host of Forward Boldly

 
 

Purchase Trianon HERE.


Madame Royale: A Novel

 

 


"An unforgettable portrait of a royal life... Madame Royale is a fantastic tribute to one of Europe's most tragic, but courageous princesses." ~Gareth Russell, author of Popular and The Emperors

"The...backdrop of this heartrending story is that none of us can choose the circumstances into which we are born, and yet those...circumstances are the very proving ground of virtue, our own gymnasium of charity." ~Genevieve Kineke, Canticle Magazine

"Vidal gives us a gripping portrait of a woman whose personal destiny is enmeshed with the convulsions of the French Revolution and European history." ~Catherine Delors, author of For the King and Mistress of the Revolution

"In Trianon, faith gives the King and Queen the courage to face death; in Madame Royale, faith gives their daughter the courage to face life. Marie-Thérèse's story is truly one of bloodless martyrdom." ~Cross of Laeken

 

Purchase Madame Royale HERE.


The Night's Dark Shade: A Novel of the Cathars

 
 
"From the first page, Vidal draws the reader into a vibrant world of action and emotion. Raphaelle de Miramande is an engaging young heroine, bravely facing physical and moral dangers and dilemmas in search of truth and love. Vidal's novel captures the spirit of the Middle Ages." ~Stephanie A. Mann, author of Supremacy and Survival

"A harrowing and engrossing journey." ~Catherine Delors, author of Mistress of the Revolution and For the King

"The novel illustrates how easily and insidiously the abhorrent becomes desirable, the selfish honorable when individuals seek nothing beyond the fulfillment of their own desires, a message perhaps even more relevant today than it was centuries ago." ~Julianne Douglas, Writing the Renaissance 

"Elena Maria Vidal has been gifted with an eye for historical detail, an energetic imagination, an elegant writing style, and a keen and informed faith, all of which blend attractively together in this her latest work." ~Christine Niles, radio host of Forward Boldly

"In the first chapter the setting, plot, and all the main characters are all well-established....The novel moves on, mixing history and drama, at a good pace. Raphaelle is caught up in several major dilemmas; we can truly sympathize with what she is going through." ~Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller, blogger


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