Thursday, November 14, 2019

Louis XIV with His Mother and Brother

Painting by Philippe de Champaigne (1602–1674) depicting the Child Jesus with His Mother handing the crown of France to young Louis XIV, shown with his mother Anne of Austria and his brother Philippe. Share

Trump Impeachment: Blueprint to Overthrow Government From Within

From The Hill:
The Democrats do not even pretend that their impeachment game is fair or actually about fact finding. This is simply about using a grant of power in the Constitution arbitrarily and politically, outside the bounds of due process and the purpose of that authority. Although the House does have the “sole power” of impeachment, that is a grant of jurisdiction, not a license to proceed on purely partisan motivation. Article 1 must work coordinately and not inconsistently with Article 2, which provides the legal basis upon which a sitting president may be impeached. 
Second, Schiff demonstrates this is all about media play in the court of public opinion. Voters have no power or responsibility in an impeachment proceeding. The drafters of the Constitution intended the impeachment and removal process to be exercised only when there was sufficient evidence that the subject of the impeachment had committed a legally qualifying offense. This is not about whether impeachment is popular in the polls or whether a majority of Americans prefer it. Transparency in the context of this quasi judicial process is to provide fundamental fairness and due process for the president. Why are the Democrats so hellbent on blatantly refusing to allow Republican subpoenas and witnesses? 
It is because it is a sham. Yet the Democrats are openly admitting that their goal is to try this in the media and attempt to dishonestly convince us that somehow we too should hate Donald Trump. They are hoping to convince us not to vote for him. That is not a legitimate or constitutional purpose of an impeachment. It is rather ironic that they claim his “crime” is an alleged quid pro quo to gain political advantage, while they are manipulating the power of impeachment for their political advantage. It is Schiff and other Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who should be impeached. There is an actual constitutional basis for that. 
Third, Schiff is proving beyond doubt that this entire impeachment is merely a coordinated partisan attack against President Trump and, even more importantly, against the government of the United States. There was a bipartisan effort was against impeachment, with two Democrats and all Republicans in the House voting against the inquiry. The Democrats are abusing the power of impeachment and, if they are allowed to move forward, they are not only setting a terrible precedent that impeachment can be wielded as a political weapon that it was never intended to be, but also attacking the Constitution and undermining the rule of law. (Read more.)
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The Ukrainian Famine

From History:
At the height of the 1932-33 Ukrainian famine under Joseph Stalin, starving people roamed the countryside, desperate for something, anything to eat. In the village of Stavyshche, a young peasant boy watched as the wanderers dug into empty gardens with their bare hands. Many were so emaciated, he recalled, that their bodies began to swell and stink from the extreme lack of nutrients. 
"You could see them walking about, just walking and walking, and one would drop, and then another, and so on it went," he said many years later, in a case history collected in the late 1980s by a Congressional commission. In the cemetery outside the village hospital, overwhelmed doctors carried the bodies on stretchers and tossed them into an enormous pit. 
The Ukrainian famine—known as the Holodomor, a combination of the Ukrainian words for “starvation” and “to inflict death”—by one estimate claimed the lives of 3.9 million people, about 13 percent of the population. And, unlike other famines in history caused by blight or drought, this was caused when a dictator wanted both to replace Ukraine’s small farms with state-run collectives and punish independence-minded Ukrainians who posed a threat to his totalitarian authority. 
“The Ukrainian famine was a clear case of a man-made famine,” explains Alex de Waal, executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University and author of the 2018 book, Mass Starvation: The History and Future of Famine. He describes it as “a hybrid…of a famine caused by calamitous social-economic policies and one aimed at a particular population for repression or punishment.” (Read more.)
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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Young Louis XIV Meets His Aunt, Queen Henrietta Maria

A painting by the Belgian artist Henri Decaisne (1799–1852) depicting the meeting of the exiled  Henrietta Maria, Queen of England, with her nephews Louis XIV and Philip. From Wikipedia:
Gaston de France, Duke of Orléans presents his sister widowed Queen Henrietta Maria of England to Anne of Austria, regent of France for Louis XIV. The infant Louis XIV in peach stands in front of his mother and next to his brother Philippe de France, Duke of Anjou. Queen Henrietta Maria stands between Gaston and his daughter la Grand Mademoiselle. Cardinal Mazarin is behind Queen Anne.
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Socialism Isn't the Cure

From Victor Davis Hanson at Townhall:
Massive immigration is changing the demography of the United States. The number of foreign-born U.S. residents and their children has been estimated at almost 60 million, or about 1 in 5 U.S. residents. Some 27 percent of California residents were born outside of America. Many of these immigrants flee from poor areas of Latin America, Mexico, Africa and Asia that were wrecked by statism and socialism. Often, they arrive in the U.S. unaware of economic and political alternatives to state socialism. 
When they reach the U.S. -- often without marketable skills and unable to speak English -- many assume that America will simply offer a far better version of the statism from which they fled. Consequently, many take for granted that government will provide them an array of social services, and they become supportive of progressive socialism. Another culprit for the new socialist craze is the strange leftward drift of the very wealthy in Silicon Valley, in corporate America and on Wall Street. 
Some of the new progressive rich feel guilty about their unprecedented wealth. So they champion redistribution as the sort of medieval penance that alleviates guilt. Yet the influential and monied classes usually are so well off that higher taxes hardly affect them. Instead, redistributionist taxation hurts the struggling middle classes. In California, it became hip for wealthy leftists to promote socialism from their Malibu, Menlo Park or Mill Valley enclaves -- while still living as privileged capitalists. Meanwhile, it proved nearly impossible for the middle classes of Stockton and Bakersfield to cope with the reality of crushing taxes and terrible social services.
From 2008 to 2017, the now-multimillionaire Barack Obama, first as candidate and then as president, used all sorts of cool socialist slogans, from "spread the wealth around" and "now is not the time to profit" to "you didn't build that" and "at a certain point you've made enough money." Universities bear much of the blame. Their manipulation of the federal government to guarantee student loans empowered them to jack up college costs without any accountability. Liberal college administrators and faculty did not care much when graduates left campus poorly educated and unable to market their expensive degrees. More than 45 million borrowers now struggle with nearly $1.6 trillion in collective student debt, with climbing interest. That indebtedness has delayed -- or ended -- the traditional forces that encourage conservatism and traditionalism, such as getting married, having children and buying a home.

Instead, a generation of single, childless and mostly urban youth feels cheated that their high-priced degrees did not earn them competitive salaries. Millions of embittered college graduates will never be able to pay off what they owe -- and want some entity to pay off their debts. (Read more.)
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The Original Hamlet: The Story of Prince Amleth

From Medievalists:
The career of Amleth is found in the second part of Book III and the first part of Book IV of Saxo Grammaticus’s Gesta Danorum, ‘Deeds of the Danes’. Written in the early 13th century and composed in Latin, this ambitious work is intended to relate the heroic, legendary history of the Danes from mythical times – very much in the same spirit of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum britanniae. 
For a very long time, Amleth’s tale has been a point of interest, for it inspired Shakespeare’s Hamlet, even though Shakespeare is believed to have never gained access to the text except via translated and redacted versions. 
The first part tells about Amleth’s lineage, youth, and his famed revenge, which form the basis of Hamlet’s plot. It starts as a kind of side story branched out from the account of the rule of Rørik, king of the Danes at the time. He installed two brothers, Orvendil and Fengi, as co-governors of Jutland. Orvendil accumulated much wealth through the years by raiding and became so greatly favoured by the king that Rørik married his daughter Gerutha to Orvendil. They had a son, Amleth. (Read more.)
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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Decollation of Sir Walter Raleigh

The History website tells us why Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded on October 29, 1618:
He was a celebrated soldier, a hero on land and sea. He was responsible for the first ever English colonies in the New World. And he wrote poetry that ranks with some of the finest in early modern England. Yet at the age of 54 Sir Walter Raleigh was executed for treason. What caused the downfall of this beloved Renaissance courtier? 
For a court favorite, Raleigh actually spent quite a bit of his life locked up in the Tower of London. The first time, in 1592, it was because he’d secretly married his lover, Elizabeth ‘Bess’ Throckmorton, a lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth I. Bess was already pregnant, which explained both the marriage and the secrecy. Enraged by their plotting behind her back, Elizabeth dismissed Bess and imprisoned both of them in the Tower. 
 Raleigh did regain the Queen's favor eventually and then explored the New World, founding the Roanoke colony in Virginia, and returning from El Dorado (Guyana) promising more gold every time he visited.
While he remained in Elizabeth’s favor until her death, James VI’s of Scotland’s accession to the English throne as James I meant that Raleigh’s fortunes plummeted. This was largely because James was attempting a diplomatic rapprochement with Spain, England’s longstanding enemy, against whom Raleigh had been a formidable foe. England’s funds were depleted by their endless struggles against Spain’s richer, mightier forces, so James decided it was time to end the rivalry. . . .
So Raleigh was tried in a sham trial--never allowed to face his accuser and question him--and imprisoned again:
But James, in his determination to get on Spain’s good side, locked up Raleigh once again in the Tower—this time for 13 years. . . .It was likely Raleigh’s promises of gold that got him released from prison before his sentence could be carried out: in 1617 he was pardoned so that he could once again travel to Guyana in search of El Dorado. But that quest would ultimately prove fatal: during the expedition a detachment of Raleigh’s men (against his orders) attacked a Spanish outpost, an action that directly contravened the conditions of his pardon.
Because Raleigh's men, led by Lawrence Keymis, had violated the 1604 Treaty of London, the Spanish Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Diego Sarmiento de Acuña, Count of Gondomar, demanded Raleigh's execution (Keymis having committed suicide--Raleigh's namesake eldest son had died in the attack) and James I complied. Raleigh was executed at Whitechapel in London. (Read more.)

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Slave Markets on Instagram

Slavery is alive and well. From the BBC:
Posing as a couple newly arrived in Kuwait, the BBC Arabic undercover team spoke to 57 app users and visited more than a dozen people who were trying to sell them their domestic worker via a popular commodity app called 4Sale. The sellers almost all advocated confiscating the women's passports, confining them to the house, denying them any time off and giving them little or no access to a phone. The 4Sale app allowed you to filter by race, with different price brackets clearly on offer, according to category. 
"African worker, clean and smiley," said one listing. Another: "Nepalese who dares to ask for a day off." When speaking to the sellers, the undercover team frequently heard racist language. "Indians are the dirtiest," said one, describing a woman being advertised. The team were urged by app users, who acted as if they were the "owners" of these women, to deny them other basic human rights, such as giving them a "day or a minute or a second" off. One man, a policeman, looking to offload his worker said: "Trust me she's very nice, she laughs and has a smiley face. Even if you keep her up till 5am she won't complain." He told the BBC team how domestic workers were used as a commodity. "You will find someone buying a maid for 600 KD ($2,000), and selling her on for 1,000 KD ($3,300)," he said.(Read more.)
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The Murder That Inspired Hardy’s ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’

From Nancy Bilyeau at Medium:
In Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles, the title character possesses the kind of beauty that draws a certain sort of attention: “A small minority, mainly strangers, would look long at her in casually passing by, and grow momentarily fascinated by her freshness, and wonder if they would ever see her again: but to almost everybody she was a fine and picturesque country girl, and nothing more.” 
But that attention leads to tragedy for Tess, who, after being abused and mistreated by the man whom she lives with, finally murders him. At the end of the novel, Tess is hanged in the “city of Wintoncester, that fine old city.” The reader is spared the details of this execution, only being told that a black flag slowly moves up the staff after the execution is finished. 
It was otherwise for Thomas Hardy, author of Tess of the d’Urbervilles, who when he was 16 years old witnessed the public hanging of a woman charged with murdering her husband. Martha Brown became the last woman to be hanged in Dorset when in 1856, aged 44, she was found guilty of murdering her violent husband after he had beaten her with a whip during an argument. (Read more.)
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Monday, November 11, 2019

An Anglo-Saxon Hoard

From The Daily Mail:
A collection of Anglo-Saxon gold artefacts known as the Staffordshire hoard has been hailed as 'one of the greatest finds of British archaeology' by researchers. The 'war hoard' collection was discovered by metal detectorist Terry Herbert who was using a £2 metal detector he bought from a car boot sale to explore a field near Lichfield belonging to farmer Fred Johnson. Their find on July 5, 2009 was sold off to museums for £3.285million and the funds were split between them. The artefacts are from what is widely considered the 'holy war of the dark ages' in which Pagan leaders fought against rival Christian kingdoms. Since then, the ancient haul dating back to between AD600 and AD650 has become an international sensation. And scientists now believe the hoard belonged to one of the most most powerful Anglo-Saxon Kings of the time.  Penda was part of the Battle of Hatfield Chase where Northumbrian King Edwin was defeated.

Researchers, lead by Dr Chris Fern, have identified nearly 700 items, out of 4,6000 pieces, from a time where Anglo-Saxon kingdoms engaged in brutal battles. Dr Fern believes the items were taken from Northumbria and east England by Mercian armies from a kingdom in the centre of what is now England, The Guardian reports. The hoard, which was likely hastily buried but never recovered, includes what could be a 'battle shrine' containing a processional cross that suggests that Christian emblems were used as good-luck charms for battle. An inscription from the book of numbers, the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, is also included in the collection. It reads: 'Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee,' The Times reports. (Read more.)

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Triggering "The View"

From Charlie Kirk at Newsweek:
Don Jr., along with Dr. Sebastian Gorka and others, have been rightly outraged by the double standard shown by the media in protecting this person who is not entitled to legal protection. Accordingly, they shared the worst-kept-secret in Washington with the social media universe. This has caused an outpouring of self-righteous indignation from the usual gang of triggered Orwellians who call themselves "progressives." 
And now, ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to The View. Huntsman, one of the show's two presumed "conservatives," who is about as conservative as Bill Kristol, shared how disturbed she was about his leaker "outing" (which, remember, wasn't an outing) because she "lived in China" and this is what governments like that one do. Sunny Hostin (who mentions her life as a former federal prosecutor about as often as Forrest Gump said his name) declared that her law degree tells her Don Jr. broke the law. Earlier in the week, Hostin told the audience that if she were still a prosecutor, she would have Paul arrested for witness tampering for suggesting the name of the leaker be released. Hostin's intolerance would make her an excellent government prosecutor in China should she ever decide to leave television. (Read more.)
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How Pornography Removes Empathy

From a couple years ago but worth reading again. From The Conversation:
In short, empathy and sexual objectification are incompatible. There is evidence that when observers hone in on a woman’s physical appearance, she becomes “less human” and “more object” in the eyes of the observer. Under a sexually objectifying gaze, women’s bodies momentarily become the “property” of the observer – whether they have consented or not. 
Psychologists have also argued that pornographic scripts emphasize culturally accepted standards of beauty. They also propagate the myth that women (and men) have insatiable sexual appetites, and glamorize sexual novelty and sex outside of a romantic relationship. Such narratives tend not to involve affection, intimacy, or expressions of love in any “real” sense. 
Recent analyses of the 50 bestselling adult films also suggest that objectification and lack of empathetic concern for women’s feelings and welfare are the norm. Of 304 scenes analysed, almost half contained verbal aggression, and over 88% contained physical aggression. Most of these aggressive acts were perpetrated by men, and the most common responses by female actors were either of pleasure or neutrality. 
In essence, pornographic “reality” (an increasingly normal reality for millions of men) is a reality devoid of empathetic concern for women. It is a reality where women are routinely treated as sexual objects, and where women respond positively or neutrally to such treatment. With pornography so popular and so accessible, it is perhaps unsurprising that such relational attitudes are embedded in the male psyche. (Read more.)
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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Mourning Dress - Black Clothing Worn During Bereavement

The Infanta Margarita
From Bellatory:
For over 500 years, wearing black signified bereavement. In Europe and America, black was the color of mourning, worn at funerals and for some time after the death of a loved one. Originally a custom for royalty and aristocracy who were experiencing grief, mourning dress eventually became a fashion statement worn by people who wished to imitate the elite. 
Wearing black clothing has often taken on a social significance. During the Middle Ages, wealthy Spanish gentlemen wore black velvet to display status as black dyes were expensive. 
In the mid 20th century, beatniks in the United States wore black to separate themselves from the herd, as a sort of counterculture trademark. More recently, certain groups of young people wore black to distinguish themselves as Goths. 
Black clothing has long been associated with the clergy and asceticism. 
And Johnny Cash called himself The Man in Black in a song in which he claims to wear black for political and social reasons, for the poor, and people living troubled lives. (Read more.)
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Why Is Christopher Steele Still a Thing?

From Rolling Stones:
If you read this and thought it was silly, you weren’t alone. In early 2017, CNN anchor Jake Tapper wrote to Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith in a snit, complaining that Smith had been “irresponsible” and “uncollegial” when he published the dossier. Was Tapper upset that Smith had broken with ethical tradition by publishing unverified material, defaming a string of named human beings as traitorous spies without evidence?
Nope. Tapper was mad that Smith had defamed the story by showing where it came from! “I think your move makes the story less serious and credible,” he wrote, in an email produced as part of a lawsuit against Buzzfeed. “I think you damaged its impact.” Tapper apparently liked the Steele tale better when it was coming out in bits, through more politically astute sources like his buddy and future co-worker, the former director of national intelligence James Clapper, one of the four Sneaky Petes who presented Trump with the Steele synopsis.
The now-accepted notion that Steele’s importance lay in his “central claim” of Russian cyber-interference is still more revisionist propaganda. The headline of Steele’s first report was about Trump’s “compromising relationship” with the Kremlin, and the heavy focus of the “original” (i.e., non-verifiable) material in the dossier is the “two-way” Trump-Russia plot.
The American intelligence community published a conclusion about Russian interference in early January 2017 (the many coverage oddities surrounding that story comprise another subject for another time). America didn’t lose its mind for the two ensuing years because of Russian hacking, but rather because of the widespread belief that the new president was a long-cultivated Russian agent who would be found out at any moment, across years of “tipping points” and “beginnings of the end.” (Read more.)
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Eleanor of England

Queen of Castile and grandmother of St. Louis IX, through her daughter Blanca. From :
Eleanor and Alfonso appear to have had a very successful marriage, and a close, trusting relationship. Eleanor is renowned for introducing her mother’s Poitevin culture into the Castilian court. The court encouraged the culture and architecture of Eleanor’s youth, whilst blending it with the luxuries offered by the neighbouring Moorish culture. Castilian poet Ramon Vidal described Eleanor as “Queen Leonore modestly clad in a mantle of rich stuff, red, with a silver border wrought with golden lions.” While the troubadour Pierre Vidal described to Eleanor as elegant and gracious.

Eleanor and Alfonso would have 7 children that survived infancy. Their eldest daughter Berengaria would marry Alfonso IX, King of Leon, and would act as regent in Castile for her younger brother, Henry I, before succeeding him as queen regnant. Berengaria and Alfonso’s marriage was dissolved by the papacy, on the grounds of consanguinity; but their children were declared legitimate. Shortly after succeeding to the throne of Castile, Berengaria abdicated in favour of her son, Ferdinand III, but continued to act as his closest adviser. (Read more.)
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Saturday, November 9, 2019

Portrait of Katherine the Queen

From Joy of Museums:
“Catherine of Aragon” depicts the first wife of King Henry VIII. The daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, Catherine was betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the English throne. They married in 1501, but Arthur died five months later. Catherine subsequently married Arthur’s younger brother, King Henry VIII, in 1509. 
By 1525, Henry VIII was dissatisfied that his marriage to Catherine had produced no surviving sons. He sought to have their wedding annulled, and when Pope Clement VII refused to annul the marriage, Henry defied him by assuming supremacy over religious matters. In 1533 their marriage was declared invalid on the judgment of clergy in England, without reference to the Pope. 
The artist is unknown, but the painting has been attributed to Johannes Corvus, a Flemish portrait painter, and native of Bruges, who came to England and Latinised his name to Jan Rave. Several other English painting of this period has been attributed to him. (Read more.)
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Antifa’s Ultimate Goal Is Communism

From The Daily Signal:
The Portland, Oregon-based journalist who was beaten last summer by Antifa extremists says the violent leftist group’s ultimate goal is to establish a communist state.

“Antifa is a far-left ideology and movement which brings together radical communists and anarchists seeking a revolution that would result in communism,” Andy Ngo said Thursday in an appearance at The Heritage Foundation. “But they believe that they can do it and secure a communist society without the national borders, law enforcement, the military, or state authoritarianism that has represented other communist revolutions,” Ngo, who is in his early 30s, said in a packed auditorium at the think tank’s headquarters on Capitol Hill. Ngo, editor-at-large for the Canada-based Post Millennial, was beaten and kicked by Antifa members in June while covering the leftist group’s protest of a march in Portland held by the far-right Fat Boys. (Read more.)
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The Difference One Racist Made

From Human Life International:
Those who espouse eugenics believe that only the fit should be allowed to live. Many eugenics proponents—like Hitler—believed in a master race, at the exclusion of any other person or race deemed unfit. After reading all 5,631 pages of the Birth Control Review, HLI’s Director of Education and Research, Brian Clowes, PhD, wrote:
Sanger associated with racists and anti-Semites, people who despised everyone who was not a Nordic god or goddess, and those who demanded coercive eugenics programs to eliminate ‘lesser’ humans. The whole bunch, of course, participated in continuous vicious attacks on the Catholic Church….The malignant influence of Sanger and similar thinkers not only has ruined the West to the point that it is dying, but seems hell-bent on corrupting the rest of the world as well.
Clowes’ massive library compiled at HLI contains thousands of texts, including many of Sanger’s writers herself. He went on to say: “The Birth Control Review frequently highlighted the mission of its parent organization: ‘The American Birth Control League. Its Aim: To promote eugenic birth selection throughout the United States so that there may be more well‑born and fewer ill‑born children―a stronger, healthier and more intelligent race.’” (Read more.)
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Friday, November 8, 2019

Walking and Stepping: A History of the Shoe

Marie-Antoinette's shoe
From Apollo:
This slipper, which belonged to Marie-Antoinette in 1792, measures just five centimetres wide and 21 long – the equivalent of a UK shoe size one today. The question of how the queen’s foot could have fit such a small shoe was the spark igniting this exhibition’s investigation into the history of footwear. Research shows that it was customary for aristocratic women of the 18th century to wear shoes that they struggled to walk in, with tiny feet and small steps used to signify social status.
Shoes for women in the 19th century were often uncomfortably constricting, with pointed toes that required the wearer’s toes to curl up. These lavender silk slippers belonged to the socialite and salonnière Juliette Récamier, and their narrow shape calls to mind an 1805 article in the Journal de Paris that described ‘ladies [who] make […] every effort to shorten and shrink their feel in all directions’, and compared the behaviour to foot-binding practices in China. (Read more.)
Madame Récamier's slipper
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The “Most Colossal Crime of All Ages”

A new U.S. resolution acknowledging the Armenian Genocide has Turkey outraged. From FrontPageMag:
An ugly truth of history has just been acknowledged.  On October 29, the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (405 to 11) in favor of Resolution 296, which acknowledges the Armenian genocide perpetrated by Ottoman Turks during WW1.  (Unsurprisingly, Ilhan Omar was among the very few to abstain; her disingenuous logic will be addressed later.) In order to become official policy, however, the resolution needs to be approved by both houses of Congress, and then signed by the president.  The Senate is currently not scheduled to vote on the measure. It is at any rate a step in the right direction.  According to the book Remembrance and Denial: The Case of the Armenian Genocide,

At the beginning of 1915 there were some two million Armenians within Turkey; today there are fewer than 60,000….  Despite the vast amount of evidence that points to the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, eyewitness accounts, official archives, photographic evidence, the reports of diplomats, and the testimony of survivors, denial of the Armenian Genocide by successive regimes in Turkey has gone on from 1915 to the present.

Indeed, Turkey is currently outraged at this resolution; its president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, called it “worthless” and the “biggest insult” to the Turkish people. Such willful denial borders the surreal considering how well documented the Armenian genocide is.  As the International Association of Genocide Scholars says, “the Armenian Genocide is not controversial, but rather is denied only by the Turkish government and its apologists.” (Read more.)
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John Adams: A Medical Mystery?

Many people have bad tempers without being bipolar. I doubt that a man with such great accomplishments as John Adams would have such a debilitating illness as bipolar disorder. He was a brilliant attorney and the conscience of the American Revolution. They would not have sent him on a diplomatic mission to France if he had been a nutcase. From The Philadelphia Inquirer:
John Adams, the second U.S. president, was born with a proverbial chip on his shoulder. Contemporaries noted his frequent mood swings and behavior shifts. As a student, he suffered depressive episodes attributed to overwork. He abandoned early plans to study medicine, and instead went into law, disappointing his father, a Congregationalist deacon who wanted his son and namesake to enter the clergy.
People-pleasing seemed not to be one of his priorities. As a young, ambitious lawyer, he took on the task of representing British Redcoats accused of murdering five Bostonians. His neighbors were furious with him, but Adams insisted everyone deserved a fair trial. He won his clients’ acquittal.
In Philadelphia as a member of the Continental Congress, Adams argued passionately for independence from Britain. He was chastised by Benjamin Franklin for his bluntness, insulting other members for what he saw as their loyalty to the British crown. His temper alienated even those whose politics he admired.
He took his attitude with him to France in November 1779, when he was sent to negotiate an alliance at the court of Louis XVI. He behaved so undiplomatically, Franklin had him removed from the mission. From there, he became commissioner to the Netherlands to plead for financial aid to help his new nation. With his efforts meeting firm resistance, he became so unwell and withdrawn, he was said to be in a “coma” for five days. (Read more.)
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Thursday, November 7, 2019

An Heirloom Wedding Gown





From My Modern Met:
When it came to finding “something old” to wear to her wedding, Pennsylvania native Abigail Kingston didn’t have to look beyond her family tree. The 30-year-old bride-to-be knew she wanted to be married in her family’s special heirloom–a 120-year-old wedding dress that has been worn by 10 women in her family, including her own mother. The two-piece Victorian gown was first worn by Kingston’s great-great-grandmother in 1895, and has been passed down from family member to family member ever since. Kingston tracked down the dress, which was last donned in 1991, only to find that the garment had turned brown and was falling apart from over a century of use. She decided to turn to expert bridal designer Deborah LoPresti for help. After 200 painstaking hours of work–which included adding new sleeves, lightening the brown shade to a champagne color, and altering the silk and satin garment to fit Kingston’s tall, thin frame–the dress was finally restored to a beautiful state. (Read more.)
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Burisma

From John Solomon Reports:
In recent interviews, Joe Biden has distanced himself from his son’s work at a Ukrainian gas company that was under investigation during the Obama years, with the former vice president  suggesting he didn’t even know Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma Holdings. There is plenty of evidence that conflicts with the former vice president’s account, including Hunter Biden’s own story that he discussed the company once with his famous father. There also was a December 2015 New York Times story that raised the question of whether Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma posed a conflict of interest for the vice president, especially when Joe Biden was leading the fight against Ukrainian corruption while Hunter Biden’s firm was under investigation by Ukrainian prosecutors.

But whatever the Biden family recollections, the Obama State Department clearly saw the Burisma Holdings investigation in the midst of the 2016 presidential election as a Joe Biden issue. Memos newly released through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Southeastern Legal Foundation on my behalf detail how State officials in June 2016 worked to prepare the new U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, to handle a question about “Burisma and Hunter Biden.”

In multiple drafts of a question-and-answer memo prepared for Yovanovitch’s Senate confirmation hearing, the department’s Ukraine experts urged the incoming ambassador to stick to a simple answer. “Do you have any comment on Hunter Biden, the Vice President’s son, serving on the board of Burisma, a major Ukrainian Gas Company?,” the draft Q&A asked. The recommended answer for Yovanovitch: “For questions on Hunter Biden’s role in Burisma, I would refer you to Vice President Biden’s office.” The Q&A is consistent with other information flowing out of State. As I reported yesterday, when a Burisma representative contacted State in February 2016 to ask for the department’s help in quashing the corruption allegations, Hunter Biden’s role on the company’s board was prominently cited. And a senior State Department official who testified recently in the impeachment proceedings reportedly told lawmakers he tried to warn the vice president’s office that Burisma posed a conflict for Joe Biden but was turned aside.

There are no laws that would have prevented Hunter Biden from joining Burisma, even as his father oversaw Ukraine policy for the President Obama. And the corruption investigations launched in 2014 by British and Ukraine authorities involving Burisma and its owner Mykola Zlocvhevsky involved activities that pre-dated Hunter Biden’s arrival on the board. They were settled in late 2016 and early 2017. Some of Biden’s media defenders have falsely suggested the investigations were dormant. They were not. (Read more.)
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A Decade of Archaeology

There is still so much we do not know. From Gizmodo:
In 2013, scientists stumbled upon one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the decade: a previously unknown extinct human species, which they named Homo naledi. The remains of 15 individuals were excavated from South Africa’s Rising Star Cave by an all-female team of archaeologists. The resulting analysis, which involved researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and other institutions, showed that these ancient hominins featured very human-like teeth, wrists, legs, and feet, but with a small brain case, shrugged shoulders, curved fingers, and hips reminiscent of Australopithecus. In an email to Gizmodo, Jeremy DeSilva, an associate professor of anthropology at Dartmouth College, explained the significance of the find:
Surprisingly, Homo naledi shared the landscape with our own Homo sapiens ancestors only 250,000 years-ago, further complicating a Pleistocene world already occupied with Neanderthals, Denisovans, and island-dwelling hobbits. Not only were the fossils transformative, but Lee Berger and his team used these fossils to change the way our science is done. The recovery of the fossils was live-tweeted, connecting the world with science as it was happening in real-time. A large international team, consisting of many recent Ph.D. recipients, was assembled to work on the fossils. The results of the team’s work were published in open-access scientific journals. And 3D surface scans of the fossils themselves are available at no cost. The days of paleoanthropologists hoarding their fossils like gollums, in possession of the one ring to rule them all, are nearing an end. Meanwhile, these fossils are a startling awakening that there is a lot more out there just waiting to be discovered.
Living between 335,000 and 236,000 years ago, these hominins stood around 4 foot 9 inches tall (1.44 meters) and weighed between 88 and 125 pounds (40 and 56 kilograms). Sadly, not much is known about Homo naledi, such as its relation to other Homo species, its diet, or how it moved through its Pleistocene landscape. (Read more.)

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

An Early Mattei



Last September, I was having cocktails at a friend's house. One of the guests was the distinguished art journalist Meredith Mendelsohn and we had a great conversation. We remarked on an unusual painting belonging to our hostess, signed only "Mattei '30." I always liked the painting since it reminded me of old neighborhoods in Baltimore. After some research, Meredith discovered more about the artist. From AskArt:
Antonio Mattei was born in New York in 1900 and studied at Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design. From 1936 to 1943 he was under the sponsorship of Contemporary Arts holding two one-man exhibitions in its gallery. His work has been included in national exhibitions notably the Golden Gate Exposition and the annual exhibition at the Butler Art Institute where his Winter Burial was awarded first prize. Mr. Matttel lives in Ogunquit, Maine carrying on a summer art school there. He had a one-man show at the Laurel Gallery who is his usual dealer. (from an exhibition catalog published by Laurel Gallery in June of 1948) (Read more.)
During the Depression, Mr Mattei supervised art projects for the WPA. The painting above precedes the New Deal, however. Tony Mattei died in Maine in 1956.

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A Failed National Experiment

From The Federalist:
Common Core is a set of national instruction and testing mandates implemented starting in 2010 without approval from nearly any legislative body and over waves of bipartisan citizen protests. President Obama, his Education Secretary Arne Duncan, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Bill Gates, and myriad other self-described education reformers promised Common Core would do exactly the opposite of what has happened: improve U.S. student achievement. As Common Core was moving into schools, 69 percent of school principals said they also thought it would improve student achievement. All of these “experts” were wrong, wrong, wrong. 
“The results are, frankly, devastating,” said U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement about the 2019 NAEP results. “This country is in a student achievement crisis, and over the past decade it has continued to worsen, especially for our most vulnerable students. Two out of three of our nation’s children aren’t proficient readers. In fact, fourth grade reading declined in 17 states and eighth grade reading declined in 31.” On the same day the NAEP results were released, the college testing organization ACT released a report showing that the high school class of 2019’s college preparedness in English and math is at seniors’ lowest levels in 15 years. These students are the first to have completed all four high school years under Common Core. 
“Readiness levels in English, reading, math, and science have all decreased since 2015, with English and math seeing the largest decline,” the report noted. Student achievement declined on ACT’s measures among U.S. students of all races except for Asian-Americans, whose achievement increased. ACT was one of the myriad organizations that profited from supporting Common Core despite its lack of success for children and taxpayers. Its employees helped develop Common Core and the organization has received millions in taxpayer dollars to help create Common Core tests. (Read more.)
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Jane Austen, Home Brewer

From Mental Floss:
According to Jane Austen expert Laura Boyle, the Austen family was filled with “enthusiastic home brewers” who made their own mead, wine, and beer. Though technically part of the gentry, Austen grew up on a farm where her family produced everything except luxury goods. As an adult, she was intimately involved with housekeeping and food prep, a world that was seen as entirely feminine. 
That world involved plenty of beer. Elizabeth Ham, a contemporary of Austen’s, wrote that “No one in these days ever dreamt of drinking water.” At the time, water supplies were fraught with health dangers, and brewing beer was seen as a way to create a safe drink that wouldn’t spread disease. Long before the epidemiology of diseases like cholera was understood, people realized that something about the boiling and fermenting process of beer made those who drank it less sick than those who sampled the often-tainted drinking water. Light or "small" beer with a low alcohol content thus became a staple for children and adults, who drank it with all meals and who often made it at home.

One of Austen's specialties was spruce beer, a kind of cousin of root beer that contained hops and molasses. In letters to her sister Cassandra, she told of making spruce beer: “It is you … who have the little Children,” she wrote, “and I that have the great cask, for we are brewing spruce beer again.” Sadly, Austen’s beer recipes are lost to time, though her family mead recipe still exists. (Read more.)
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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Most Miserable Royal Marriage of All

From Nancy Bilyeau at Medium:
In the annals of royal matrimony, however, there is nothing quite like the marriage of George IV to Princess Caroline of Brunswick. It kept going from bad to worse, until reaching the nadir of George’s coronation on July 9, 1821, when at the age of 57 he finally succeeded George III. Estranged from her husband and living abroad, Caroline returned to England to be crowned as Queen. She was told not to attempt entering Westminster Abbey for the ceremony but ignored that advice. Caroline arrived and attempted entry, but the Deputy Lord Chamberlain slammed the door in her face. (Read more.)
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The Scorching of California

From Victor Davis Hanson at City Journal:
I grew up in the central San Joaquin Valley during the 1950s. In those days, some old-timers remembered with fondness when the undammed Kings River’s wild, white water would gush down into the sparsely populated valley. But most Californians never had such nostalgia. Past generations accepted that California was a growing state (with some 20 million people by 1970), that agriculture was its premier industry, and that the state fed not just its own people but millions across America and overseas. All of that required redistribution of water—and thus dams, reservoirs, and irrigation canals.

For 50 years, the state transferred surface water from northern California to the Central Valley through the California State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. Given these vast and ambitious initiatives, Californians didn’t worry much about the occasional one- or two-year drought or the steady growth in population. The postwar, can-do mentality resulted in a brilliantly engineered water system, far ahead of its time, that brought canal water daily from the 30 percent of the state where rain and snow were plentiful—mostly north of Sacramento as well as from the Sierra Nevada Mountains—to the lower, western, and warmer 70 percent of the state, where people preferred to work, farm, and live.

Everyone seemed to benefit. Floods in northern California became a thing of the past. The more than 40 major mountain reservoirs generated clean hydroelectric power. New lakes offered recreation for millions living in a once-arid state. Gravity-fed snowmelt was channeled into irrigation canals, opening millions of new acres to farming and ending reliance on pumping the aquifer. To most Californians, the irrigated, fertile Central Valley seemed a natural occurrence, not an environmental anomaly made possible only through the foresight of a now-forgotten generation of engineers and hydrologists.

Just as California’s freeways were designed to grow to meet increased traffic, the state’s vast water projects were engineered to expand with the population. Many assumed that the state would finish planned additions to the California State Water Project and its ancillaries. But in the 1960s and early 1970s, no one anticipated that the then-nascent environmental movement would one day go to court to stop most new dam construction, including the 14,000-acre Sites Reservoir on the Sacramento River near Maxwell; the Los Banos Grandes facility, along a section of the California Aqueduct in Merced County; and the Temperance Flat Reservoir, above Millerton Lake north of Fresno. Had the gigantic Klamath River diversion project not likewise been canceled in the 1970s, the resulting Aw Paw reservoir would have been the state’s largest man-made reservoir. At two-thirds the size of Lake Mead, it might have stored 15 million acre-feet of water, enough to supply San Francisco for 30 years. California’s water-storage capacity would be nearly double what it is today had these plans come to fruition. It was just as difficult to imagine that environmentalists would try to divert contracted irrigation and municipal water from already-established reservoirs. Yet they did just that, and subsequently moved to freeze California’s water-storage resources at 1970s capacities.

All the while, the Green activists remained blissfully unconcerned about the vast immigration into California from Latin America and Mexico that would help double the state’s population in just four decades, to 40 million. Had population growth remained static, perhaps California could have lived with partially finished water projects. The state might also have been able to restore the flow of scenic rivers from the mountains to the sea, maintained a robust agribusiness sector, and even survived a four- or five-year drought. But if California continues to block new construction of the State Water Project as well as additions to local and federal water-storage infrastructure, officials must halve California’s population, or shut down the 5 million acres of irrigated crops on the Central Valley’s west side, or cut back municipal water usage in a way never before done in the United States. (Read more.)

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Trigger Warnings for Fairy Tales?

From The Daily Mail:
University students have been given 'trigger warnings' about potentially upsetting scenes in classic fairytales. Lecturers admitted students were cautioned about 'violent material' contained in the famous children's stories by the Brothers Grimm. Their tales include Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood. So-called 'trigger warnings' are part of a growing trend which sees undergraduates warned about content they could find disturbing. Last night Dr Stuart Waiton, a senior sociology lecturer at Abertay University in Dundee, said that 'the more we make trigger warnings the norm, the more we risk infantilising these adults'. Glasgow University gave details of a course it runs in modern languages and cultures in response to a freedom of information request. (Read more.)
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Monday, November 4, 2019

A Paris Pied-à-Terre


From Architectural Digest:
This 1,200-square-foot apartment in Paris’s 7th arrondissement was not an obvious choice for its owners, a Swiss-American couple looking for a pied-à-terre in the French capital. It had been a medical office for many years, which resulted in a strange layout that felt far from residential. But designers Laurent Champeau and Kelli Wilde of Champeau & Wilde, who participated in the house hunt, saw potential right away. “There was something special about this place, so we pushed them to get it,” recalls Champeau.“The light was fantastic and it had a terrace, which is kind of unusual in Paris.”

The location on the Carré des Antiquaires, a beautiful section of the Left Bank laden with prestigious antiques dealers, didn’t hurt either. Once the designers were done refurbishing the apartment, tearing down walls to create two bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and a spacious living area connected to the kitchen via a double-sided fireplace—a layout that is known in France as an enfilade, or a series of aligned rooms—they scanned the surrounding streets in search of one-of-a-kind furniture pieces. (Read more.)
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The ‘Collapse’ Of American Christianity?

From Andrew Klavan at The Daily Wire:
He sounds a little bit like me here saying, [paraphrasing] “I know that fewer people are going to church, but maybe it doesn’t mean what we think it means.” One of the things he says in this argument — it’s actually a really good argument — he talked about the fact that maybe the Christianity that’s fading away, that the polls show fading away, is the lukewarm Christianity, but an intense belief is still remaining strong.

He also talks about the fact that young people are actually [going to church more] because young people stop going to church when they go to college, they stopped going to church, and then later, when they start to have children, when they start to deal with reality, when they start to deal with mortality, they go back to church. But young people are actually going to church a little bit more than young people in the past, which bodes fair for the fact that as they grow older, and more serious, more knowledgeable, and more experienced, they may go back to church in greater numbers. (Read more.)
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Embrace Today

From Patti Maguire Armstrong at Catholic Lane:
"Don’t let the demons of yesterday ruin the blessings of today,” An exorcist once told me during an interview. Exorcists understand how the devil invades lives and steals away peace and holiness. They also know that the people they help have a past they would like to forget and a future that might loom large and intimidating before them. Simply wanting peace is no guarantee we will not walk around like a ball of regret, stress, and worry. Finding it is the challenge.

Since I hate stress and am also the mother of ten children, I do my best to eliminated it from my life.  At this point, the youngest is going to be a senior in high school and we now have 9 grandchildren. Oh, I know stress., whether it’s regrets, worry, or just a lot of commotion. Occasionally, I do have those middle of the night worry sessions, but for the most part, I work hard at eliminating stress. Here is how:

Go to Confession to settle up with God and restore friendship with him. You are sorry and God is merciful—a match made in heaven. “Only God can forgive sin. In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins, the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church…. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,” (CCC 1444). Everyone has regrets. For help to let go of any resistant guilt, consider that the ex-satanic priest Bartolos Longo, converted, lived a holy life and was beatified in 1980. No one’s  sins are bigger than God’s mercy. (Read more.)
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Sunday, November 3, 2019

Dress in the Age of Jane Austen

From Perspectives on History:
When fashion historian Hilary Davidson (Univ. of Sydney) was living in, as she put it, “Jane Austen’s heartland of Hampshire” in England, the senior keeper of decorative arts at the Hampshire County Museum Services and Archives asked her to make a replica of the novelist’s pelisse—a long women’s coat-dress that the novelist likely wore—which the museum owned. As both a curator and a sewer, Davidson was an ideal candidate to create a replica that could be loaned out without risking damage to the original. Through the project and the talks she gave on the pelisse, Davidson noticed that the public often learned what they knew about dress in Britain’s Regency era (1811–20) through such novels as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility and the costume dramas based on them. (Read more.)
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San Francisco, Hostage to the Homeless

From Heather MacDonald at City Journal:
For the last three decades, San Francisco has conducted a real-life experiment in what happens when a society stops enforcing bourgeois norms of behavior. The city has done so in the name of compassion toward the homeless. The results have been the opposite: street squalor and misery have increased, even as government expenditures have ballooned. Yet the principles that have guided the city’s homelessness policy remain inviolate: homelessness is a housing problem; it is involuntary; and its persistence is the result of inadequate public spending. These propositions are readily disproved by talking to people living on the streets.

Shaku’s assessment of drug use among the homeless is widely shared. Asked if she does drugs, a formerly homeless woman, just placed in a city-subsidized single-room-occupancy (SRO) hotel, responds incredulously: “Is that a trick question?” A 33-year-old woman from Alabama, who now lives in a tent in an industrial area outside downtown, says: “Everyone out here has done something—drugs, you name it.” On Sutter Avenue, a wizened 50-year-old named Jeff slumps over his coffee cup at 7:30 AM, one hand holding a sweet roll, the other playing with his beard. A half-eaten muffin sits next to him on a filthy blanket. “I use drugs, alcohol, all of it,” he tells me, his eyes closed, as a pair of smiling German tourists deposit a peach on his blanket. Last night it was speed, he says, which has left him just a “little bit high” this morning. “The whole Tenderloin is for drugs,” Jeff observes, before nodding off again. (Read more.)
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Tolkien, Lewis, and Kenneth Grahame

C.S. Lewis was not the only Inkling to have been impressed by The Wind in the Willows. J.R.R. Tolkien also wrote appreciatively about “this excellent book” in his essay on fairy-stories, though he was mildly critical of the Pan episode in early drafts of his essay. The reason for his unease, however, is very revealing of his own attitude towards the Numinous in fiction. 
In one draft he wrote that, “I personally think that in Pan we have that addition of an extra colour that spoils the palate: but it only comes in one corner of the delightful picture.” In another draft he added that “Pan has no business here: at least not explicit and revealed.” The second half of that sentence is important. Tolkien was certainly not rejecting awe or the Numinous. What he disliked was the explicit presence of the religious. As he famously wrote to Robert Murray S.J.:
The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like ‘religion’, to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.
(Read more.)
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Saturday, November 2, 2019

Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice


November 2 is the birthday of Marie-Antoinette. Christoph Willibald Gluck was Marie-Antoinette's music teacher and her favorite composer, whom she introduced to France after she became queen in 1774. Among his most famous operas is Orpheus and Eurydice, which originally debuted in Vienna in 1762. It is a fitting opera to listen to during the month of the Holy Souls, when so many prayers are offered for the dead, since it is based upon the myth of Orpheus, who tried to release his beloved wife from the underworld. Unlike the myth, the opera of Gluck has a happy ending. One of the loveliest pieces from Orpheus and Eurydice is the "Dance of the Blessed Spirits." It is interesting that the queen so loved this opera; to listen to it is to have a glimpse into her soul. Share

The Secret Geometry of Florence

From L'Italo-Americano:
Michelangelo, Raffaello, Leonardo... and then again Leonardo, Galileo, and many more famed artists and scientists: there is no doubt that Firenze – the Renaissance City – has been for centuries the real keystone of both Western art and modern science. In fact, it appears that some of the leading figures of the city’s art scene were also very well-versed in subjects as diverse as geometry, mathematics, astronomy, and anatomy, among others. In spite of this well-known fact, though, the intersection between architecture and mathematical proportions which plays such a crucial role in making Florence’s churches and palaces look so perfect is still often overlooked. Let’s take a walk through the “city of art and science,”  stop in front of its main sights and look more closely at their façades in search of Firenze’s sacred geometry: a “secret geometry” as well, after all.

 Our “scientific tour” of the city’s historic center cannot but begin in the Piazza del Duomo main square. We could almost say that everything we really need to know about the geometry of Florence stands right here in front of us, under everyone’s eyes, in one of the most visited places in the whole planet. Although the secrets of the unique buildings that make up the complex of Santa Maria del Fiore are there for all to see,  only a small part of the millions of people that every year visit these monuments, taking pictures and selfies and sending postcards all over the world actually seems to notice.

 Take, for example, the Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistery of Saint John), the oldest building in the square: a single glance cannot possibly help us figure out just how complex, awe-inspiring, and perfect this monument is. Of course, it is easy to detect its octagon-shaped design, shared by other similar religious buildings: but what about each of its eight sides? Every single one of them is divided horizontally into three sections, in turn split vertically into just as many parts: the upper section, in particular, is made up of three small windows included in a three-part pattern, while the middle one has three blind arches, each including a bigger window.

This tangle of geometrical shapes might seem complicated enough as it is: but again, what about the carefully planned alternation of white Carrara marble and green Prato marble? And what about the sequence of the bronze door panels by masters Lorenzo Ghiberti and Andrea Pisano, to say nothing of the building’s interiors? Sure enough, the Baptistery’s ground-breaking commingling of art and science does not end there: apart from the awesomeness of the triangular ceiling mosaics under the dome, San Giovanni also hides within it an unexpected tribute to astronomy engraved on the marble floor, namely a solstice sundial representing the signs of the Zodiac. (Read more.)
 Via Anthony Visco. Share

Prayers — and Royalty — Never Die: The Habsburg Dynasty

From Victor Gaetan at the National Catholic Register:
Archduke Rudolf of Austria, 69, is a very busy man. Having worked in the financial sector for decades, he now concentrates on holiness: promoting the cause for beatification of his grandmother, Servant of God Zita, the last empress of Austria; monitoring progress toward sainthood of his grandfather, Blessed Charles I (or Karl), the last emperor of Austria and the last king of Hungary (who reigned from Nov. 21, 1916-Nov. 11, 1918); being a father to eight children, including four in religious life; and supporting favorite charities, including sitting on the board of directors of the U.S. Magnificat Foundation and co-founding the Zermatt Summit, dedicated to “humanizing globalization” and projecting the Catholic Church’s social teaching as an antidote to the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland. 
In a rare interview, senior international correspondent Victor Gaetan spoke to the humble paterfamilias to learn more about the enduring devotion of this legendary Catholic family, a pillar of European civilization, the Habsburgs. For the first time, the archduke, the son of Archduke Carl Ludwig of Austria (1918-2007), also reminisces about the relationship between Emperor Charles and Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian statesman who sent Blessed Charles into forced exile following World War I); the lost chance of Hungary’s return to constitutional monarchy in 1990; and the meeting of Empress Zita and Cardinal József Mindszenty in Switzerland in 1972. (Read more.)

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Lost Street in City of David

From The Daily Mail:
Archaeologists have unearthed part of a 2,000-year-old 'lost' street built by Pontius Pilate that likely served as a route for pilgrimage within the ancient city. The street had been buried when the Roman ransacked the city in 70 AD. The ancient walkway linking the Temple Mount with the Pool of Siloam was first discovered in 1894 by British archaeologists in Jerusalem's 'City of David'. Researchers have now found more than 100 coins beneath the paving stones that date the street to around the year 31 AD. The finding provides strong evidence that the street was commissioned by Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of the province Judaea from 23–36 AD. Pilate is best known as the biblical official who presided over the trial of Jesus and ordered his crucifixion. (Read more.)
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Friday, November 1, 2019

A Bonaparte Wedding

Countess Olympia von und zu Arco-Zinnerberg with her father, Count Riprand von und zu Arco-Zinneberg
Princess Béatrice de Bourbon Siciles with her son, the groom, Jean-Christophe Napoleon Bonaparte
On October 19, an heir of the Bonaparte family was married to a descendant of the last Austrian Emperor at Les Invalides in Paris, with plenty of Habsburgs and Bourbons in attendance. In fact, the groom's mother is a Bourbon princess.  From The Daily Mail:
The former Imperial House of France and the House of Hapsburg have united once again as Napoleon Bonaparte's heir has married the great-great-great niece of the French Emperor's wife today. London-based private equity manager Jean-Christophe Napoleon Bonaparte, 33, is the great-great-great nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte I, Emperor of France. He has wed Countess Olympia von und zu Arco-Zinnerberg, 31, the great-granddaughter of Karl I, in a lavish ceremony in Paris attended by Princess Beatrice and her fiancé property tycoon Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. The newlyweds are distantly related as Countess Olympia is the great-great-great niece of Napoleon's wife, Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria. Napoleon's marriage to Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria in 1810, which was designed to secure an ally in his war against Britain and Russia and bring conflict between the two countries to a halt. However, today's pair have previously said that their wedding is a love match, and not designed to further any political ambitions. (Read more.)




The reception was at Fontainebleau.


Fontainebleau
More HEREHERE, HERE, and HERE. Share