Thursday, January 24, 2019

To Walk By A Secret Garden

From Virginia Fisher at Save the Pink House:

For five generations, children have walked past this garden gate and knocked on their way to and from Edgewood Elementary, never really expecting a response after years of knocking. But who can say what magic happens in the mind of a child in the habit of knocking here? For those who grew up around the Pink House and Secret Garden, they are used to hearing all kinds of stories — about the fairies who directed the planting of the flowers, the tall tales of long-dead Indians buried on the grounds or stories of movie stars driving up in limousines. About the parade of dogs with pedigrees as long as your arm that showed up to submit to the paintbrush of Eleanor Bridges. Of the ghost of Eleanor herself walking her Afghan hounds, patrolling the neighborhood and teaching children to paint in their dreams.

Our society has forgotten about the magic of ritual, of the simple act of knocking on a door, on wood that we and countless others have touched and wished upon and hoped against all hope against. Our desire to luxuriate in the warmth of nostalgia of place — and history and culture rooted in place — seems displaced or rather knocked down. We are too distracted and harried as we drive by to see the latest crop of school children with their new school clothes, walking by the tall hedges, still peeking past the vines to get a glimpse of the foreign-looking house and the Capri-blue umbrella on the parterre.

I started walking past this place when I was in high school with a very small white dog.Even after I bought my first house, an almost 100-year old house on the Southside, I still drove to Homewood to walk down Roseland Drive and the Pink House but with a baby stroller and a Springer Spaniel. In time, I returned to Homewood and bought a bungalow, painted it a pale pink, and walked all over Homewood with an Irish Wolfhound and always by the Secret Garden. After I sold that house, I'd still return from time to time, this time with a shepherd-husky rescue and knock on the blue door when no one was looking. (Read more.)

The War On Religious Schools

From The Federalist:
The core cause of concern comes from the parent agreement, which says the school may refuse admission or deny continued admission if a student participates in or condones homosexuality. The writer is stunned that the employment application “also makes candidates sign a pledge not to engage in homosexual activity or violate the ‘unique roles of male and female.’”

The author further states, “The application says that the school believes ‘marriage unites one man and one woman’ and that ‘a wife is commanded to submit to her husband as the church submits to Christ.’” The application asks potential employees to explain their view of the “creation/evolution debate.” The “parent agreement” asks parents to cooperate in its “biblical morality” policy.

After confirming that the state of Virginia, as with many other states, permits private religious schools to discriminate, the article ends with a quote: “‘Why not teach at a school that welcomes everyone, instead of choosing one that won’t serve LGBTQ kids, kids of LGBTQ parents?’ said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, in a statement to HuffPost. ‘The Pences never seem to miss an opportunity to show their public service only extends to some.’” (Read more.)

The Rise of the Catholic Layman

From Joseph Sciambra:
Camille Paglia once wrote: “Masculinity is risky and elusive…and is confirmed only by other men.” In an age of anxiety and uncertainty, a number of young men have gravitated towards several men who have become famous primarily due to their podcasts and YouTube channels, namely Jordan Peterson and political commentator Ben Shapiro. Neither of them I would regard as traditionally masculine. But despite their smaller, slender frames and high-pitched voice – both Peterson and Shapiro, without trying, have amassed a loyal following of young men who pack their lectures as if they were rock concerts. Both reached probably the height of their influence while appearing on Joe Rogan’s podcasts – often for interview sessions lasting well over 2 hours. These podcasts are accidentally a study on the contrasting image of masculinity – with the ruggedly manly, tattooed, and muscled mixed martial arts devotee Joe Rogan listening in almost spellbound admiration to the bookish Peterson. In addition, the confident assertiveness of Shapiro is expertly distilled in his well-known quote: “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” These rather simple almost paternal-sounding axioms, epitomized by Jordan’s directions concerning “cleaning your room” and “telling the truth,” are sometimes easily ridiculed but reach the status of revelation to young men who never heard them from their dads. In another interview, Peterson remarked that 65% of the audience at his lectures are male. Another interviewer asked Peterson: “Are you a father figure?” He answered in a matter-of-fact voice: “Sometimes.” During his own podcast, Peterson answered various questions from viewers. One person asked: “How does it feel to be viewed as a father figure by many people who grew up without one?” He said: “It’s an unbelievable honor.” Peterson continued: “I am doing everything I absolutely can to be worthy of that.” He then spoke directly to his viewers:
I would like to say to all the people out there who grew up without a father – that’s really too bad. Because you need a father there to encourage you. That’s what fathers do. They encourage, they help make you courageous. And if I can help people develop that capacity to be courageous, and to learn to tell the truth, and to be responsible, then that’s great. I can’t imagine a better outcome for me.
In terms of YouTube viewership, boys are more likely than girls to identify YouTube as their primary platform (39% vs. 25%).

As Peterson and Shapiro gained a wider secular audience among young men looking for a father figure to guide them, a largely unaffiliated group of Catholic husbands and fathers began to boldly call for accountability and a return to more traditional values among a Catholic clergy embroiled in scandal. In doing so, they appealed to Catholic laymen who increasingly found the all-male hierarchy of the Church to be curiously bereft of strong masculine leadership. In the American Church, the most notable exception is the soft-spoken but fearless Cardinal Raymond Burke who unintentionally amassed a Catholic male fan-base.

Mirroring Peterson’s appeal for a reappreciation of traditional values, such Catholic men as Doug Barry, Taylor Marshall, and Jesse Romero and Terry Barber have successfully rallied the usually apathetic Catholic layman via their respective YouTube channels, television shows, and radio programs. Again, for the most part, these are somewhat unlikely heroes: a Catholic dad, a philosopher, and a pair of plain-talking, middle-aged Catholic evangelists. But, like Peterson and Shapiro, their willingness to speak the truth has created an oasis from which men have been able to drink – after years of wandering through a wasteland. For those men, for whatever reason, are not drawn to a Catholic fraternal organization, they have someplace to go. In particular, since the innovations instituted during the post-Vatican II era, Catholic men have been visibly absent from the Church. This missing sense of masculinity became wildly apparent to my generation in the 1970s and 80s when the new liturgy looked increasingly overcrowded by an ever-growing cadre of female Eucharist ministers, lectors, and altar girls. At the same time, homilies had about the same amount of depth and moral challenge as a Hallmark card. On Sunday, oftentimes, men stayed home.

After the American Psychological Association issued a report detailing how “traditional masculinity” is harmful to young men, Doug Barry posted the following to his Facebook page:
The attack against men is ramping up. Strategically it makes sense. Remove the one that God has designed to be the primary fighter and protector and the rest of society is left wide open to the assaults of the enemy. In every genocide this tactic has been used. There is a lot to cover on this topic. But for now let me say that the problem with men is not traditional masculinity as a whole, it is that God-given masculinity has been corrupted, misunderstood and rejected! And that many men, even good Christian men, have become comfortable with being soft and weak in body, mind and soul. Too many men have gone AWOL. Let me say this, NOT ON MY WATCH!
Speaking to Jesse Romero and Terry Barber, about the crisis in the Catholic Church, Taylor Marshall spoke in similar terms:
We men, we fathers, and grandfathers, patriarchs, we need to stand up for what’s true, and I say be the Maccabee. In the Book of Maccabees, a bunch of men followed their father Mattathias and they went into the wilderness and they formed a militia and they came back and they beat the Greeks and they took back the Temple of God and sanctified it…And that’s what we need to do. We got to be the Maccabees, we got to go into the wilderness, we need to organize, and we need to take back our temple and say this is true and this is right.
(Read more.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Lying Media

From Ben Shapiro at The Daily Wire:
All three stories were lies. All three stories were politically driven.

Take, for example, the Covington High School story. On first blush, it’s understandable that members of the punditocracy immediately leapt to the conclusion that the students had done something wrong – after all, would members of the media, the blue-checkmarked brigade, really have butchered video badly enough to completely lie about the story? Between Saturday night and Sunday morning, according to Newsbusters, CNN and MSNBC spent some 53 minutes and 20 seconds on the original, false narrative.

Then, as the facts emerged, everyone had to reconsider – the full video not only exonerated the kids, it actually cut directly against the prevailing narrative that the MAGA-hatted kids had surrounded the Native American man after he defended a group of black activists from them. In fact, the black activists were members of the cultish Black Hebrew Israelites, they were shouting racial and sexual slurs at the kids, and the Native American man sauntered with his group into the center of the high school crowd, banging his drum in the face of one particular student. The students reacted to all of this by singing their high school chants and songs. End of story.

That still hasn’t stopped members of the media from trying to dig up other information demonstrating the racism of the high school, or targeting the students for supposed bad behavior, or justifying the leap to conclusions as a predictable result of living in Trump’s America. The lesson: don’t trust the media’s immediate take. And count on their screw-ups to consistently reinforce a Leftist narrative about American racism and Trumpist bigotry. (Read more.)

From Tom Piatak at Chronicles:
There is no evidence that anyone from Covington Catholic called the Indians "beasts" or anything like that. Nor did they do anything to "these old black individuals," a group of Black Hebrew Israelites who had been yelling a variety of invectives, including anti-white slurs, for nearly an hour before the leader of the Indians decided to walk up to the students from Covington Catholic and begin banging his drum right in the one student's face, without ever explaining what he was doing and why. All things considered, the teen showed admirable restraint, far more than most other teenaged boys would have and far more than the adult members of the Twitter mob were able to summon even though they were tweeting from their easy chairs and without a stranger getting in their face. 
The teens from Covington Catholic represent everything too many on the left love to hate; and hate them they did, and hate them they do. As for me, I am white. I am a male. I am a Catholic. I went to an all-boys Catholic high school. I've been to the March for Life. I own a MAGA hat. Judging by the hysterical (and often) hateful reaction to the story about the teens from Covington Catholic at the March for Life, I might as well declare myself Public Enemy Number One. (Read more.) 

Tucker Carlson weighs in:
Carlson, in a scathing monologue addressing the totality of the controversy, laid into the mainstream media for its dereliction of duty, rebuking them for failing to follow basic procedures learned in Journalism 101.

"Did the video really describe what happened? That should have been the first question journalists asked. Checking facts and adding context is what journalists are paid to do. It's in the first line of the job description. Yet, amazingly, almost nobody in the American media did that," Carlson said. Carlson then called out specific media members and famous Hollywood figures for their direct contributions to the outrage against the students, driven by lies and mischaracterizations in an incident that appeared to confirm the left's biases against white Trump supporters from middle America. He explained:
Maggie Haberman of the New York Times suggested the boys needed to be expelled from school. Ana Navarro of CNN called the boys racists and "a**wipes" and then went after their teachers and their parents.

Others called for violence against them. CNN legal analyst Bakari Sellers suggested one of the boys should be, "punched in the face." Former CNN contributor Reza Aslan agreed. Aslan asked on Twitter, "Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid's?" Longtime CNN contributor Kathy Griffin seemed to encourage a mob to rise up and hurt these boys, tweeting, "Name these kids. I want names. Shame them. If you think these effers wouldn't dox you in a heartbeat. Think again." She repeated her demand again later: "Names please. And stories from people who can identify them and vouch for their identity. Thank you."

Hollywood film producer Jack Morrissey tweeted that he wanted the boys killed: "MAGA kids go screaming, hats first, into the woodchipper." He paired that with a graphic photo. Actor Patton Oswalt linked to personal information about one of the boys, in case anyone wanted to get started on that project.
But, as Carlson noted, the outrage and condemnation wasn't limited to progressives. Republicans and conservatives also jumped on the bandwagon. Carlson specifically called out Bill Kristol and National Review, which later retracted its initial story and issued a correction. So why the visceral reaction against the teenagers, ultimately leading to an abomination of the truth? According to Carlson, it was about power. (Read more.)

From Robert Royal:
So what, in reality, began near the Lincoln Memorial as an attack on the boys by Black Hebrew activists calling them “faggots” and worse (it’s on the tape); followed by the encounter with an Indian activist that (again to judge by the full tape) shows no more than some confused interaction, pointing to absolutely nothing; we have, once again, full-blown tribal warfare in America. 
Social media are largely now a sewer of outrage – your virtue signaling is greater the more it’s sensitive and offended, outraged and violent towards the other side. Worse, the mainstream media now also get into this shameful act. Outlets like the New York Times and CNN repeated the slurs about the boys – and then were forced to admit that further video “changed the context.” 
Serious media are supposed to get context and balance right before they enflame the kind of social divisions already only too evident now. None that I’ve seen has issued a retraction and apology. 
The Times did run a very good column by David Brooks about the shameful way the “incident” has been publicized. He concludes that the Covington boys displayed the least objectionable behavior among the actors. 
The result: Commenters on his column have basically said, yeah, but it doesn’t matter because the basic point, white privilege vs. disrespect for an elderly Native American, is the Truth. Justice – the concrete guilt or innocence of specific individuals – is thus unimportant compared to “Truth.” 
Our tribal warfare would be less distressing if Christians themselves refrained from this sort of stereotyping, but they don’t. I see it quite often when moderate liberals, whom I know personally, are accused of connections to radical groups and views, which I know they don’t share. 
I myself, for example, have strongly criticized things that Pope Francis has done and said over the past five years. But it’s appalling to see how some people then go on to speak about him. A Christian has to be scrupulous about the truth, which is one of the names of God. One consequence of launching wild attacks is that, when there’s really something that calls for loud denunciation, critics are dismissed as cranks. (Read more.)

From Red State:
A video went viral on the internet Saturday morning showing a group of kids from Covington Catholic school supposedly surrounding a group of Native Americans while wearing MAGA hats. The media, and unfortunately, even some Conservatives immediately clutched their pearls and began virtue signaling about how inappropriate the children were acting and condemning the actions. I am upset to see Conservatives so quick to buy what a Democrat controlled media is selling. 
Within a matter of hours, after main stream media began sharing the story and attempting to identify the students several videos from different angles were released and once again we see the media selectively editing reality to fit a narrative, and this time it was to punish children for supporting the President and the March for Life. The students from Covington High school were in DC for the March for life and were waiting for their bus home at the Lincoln memorial, that is when noted activist Nathan Phillips approached the group of students, cameras ready, and began beating his ceremonial drum in the face of one of the students. Nathan Phillips is known to decry racism at the drop of a hat, and is nothing more than a liberal outrage artist. (Read more.) 

From Life News:
Two days after his image went viral, Nick Sandmann gave a statement explaining what transpired as he and his classmates waited for a bus near the Lincoln Memorial, ready to return home after attending the annual March for Life. 
Known simply as one of the “MAGA hat kids” on social media, Sandmann, who is a junior at Covington Catholic High School, said he was the student who was approached by Native American elder Nathan Phillips. He also said, “it was clear to me that he had singled me out for a confrontation, although I am not sure why.” (Read more.) 

From The Daily Wire:
On Monday, Patricia Heaton, the star of “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “The Middle” and a devout Catholic, minced no words attacking members of the media who vilified the Covington Catholic High School students for actions they did not commit regarding their encounter with a Native American man near the Lincoln Memorial on Friday, after the March for Life. Heaton issued a searing series of tweets addressing those who had attempted to ruin the boys’ lives, pointing out that their rush to judgment could not be ameliorated by their subsequent apologies, 
She started by writing, “I'm seeing what I believe to be sincere apologies from some journalists and verified media persons regarding their lack of professionalism in rushing to judgement re the #CovingtonCatholic situation.” (Read more.

Meanwhile, worshipers were harassed. From Catholic News Agency:
 While chanting and playing ceremonial drums, a group of Native American rights activists reportedly led by Nathan Phillips attempted Jan. 19 to enter Washington, D.C.’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception during a Saturday evening Mass. The group of 20 demonstrators was stopped by shrine security as it tried to enter the church during its 5:15 pm Vigil Mass, according to a shrine security guard on duty during the Mass.

“It was really upsetting,” the guard told CNA.

“There were about twenty people trying to get in, we had to lock the doors and everything.”

The guard said the incident was a disappointment during a busy and joyful weekend for the shrine. (Read more.)

And children are threatened. From Yahoo:
 In a video statement tweeted out Monday night by conservative high-school online personality CJ Pearson, two Covington Catholic High school students named Grant and Sam discussed the effects of a viral video showing classmate Nicholas Sandmann appearing to have a stand-off with a Native American leader in Washington D.C. over the weekend. The video clip was later found to be taken out of context.

“Several media platforms blatantly lied about the events regarding the controversy in D.C. and it has affected us as a community and individuals greatly,” Grant said. Sam continued, “There have been many threats against our lives, against our parents. Some of these include that we should be locked in the school and it should be burned to the ground, the school being bombed, school shooting threats. It’s really scary, I know a lot of people are scared to go to school tomorrow and won’t be attending because of what could happen.” (Read more.)

More HERE, HERE and HERE. Share

Why Men Are Falling Behind in Schools

From Minding the Campus:
North American universities have been taken over by women. Men are decreasingly university students, professors, and administrators. “Gender equality,” a feminist war chant, apparently does not apply when females dominate. 
In the United States, women outnumber men in colleges and universities — by 2026, the Department of Education estimates, 57 percent of college students will be women. In Canada, according to the “2001 Census, universities had clearly become the domain of women, as they made up 58% of all graduates. And according to the 2006 Census, women accounted for 60% of university graduates between the ages of 25 and 29.” Women also dominate in British universities. The same imbalance is seen in universities around the world. 
On average, across all disciplines, there are substantially more females than males. But the imbalance is even more impressive in particular fields of study. In education, psychology, social work, and health, the predominance of females is between 75% and 80%. In English, foreign languages, communications, journalism, and art, and also in biology, females comprise between 60% and 75% of the students. Males predominate only in math, physical sciences, engineering, and computer science. Some 60% of Ph.Ds in sociology, anthropology, and linguistics were awarded to females.
[Why Are So Many Campus Feminists Anti-Male?] 
However, the predominance of women in the social sciences is much greater in undergraduate students than among Ph.Ds. In the anthropology classes I taught during the last decade, there was usually a sprinkling of males among the large majority of females. But by 2017 my senior seminar on immigration and culture was populated by 18 female students and zero males. (Read more.)

A Lack of Babies

From Human Defense:
The problem of falling fertility rates in the U.S. is, of course, a multivariate one. Some, like Professor Donna M. Strabino from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, point to women becoming more educated and career-driven while putting off children until later in life. Others have suggested a fear of economic stability which stems from the recession. Younger adults know what it was like during the most recent recession and how hard it was on families; therefore, they are choosing to wait until they have consistent stability and finances before having a family.

Another reason for the falling birth rate could be the mistreatment of pregnant mothers by some employers. The law firm Morrison Foerster was recently sued for putting women on the “mommy track,” which apparently led to unfair treatment and fewer opportunities. It would seem some women believe they have to choose between career advancement and motherhood, which could be a contributing factor in the continuous decline in annual birth rates.

These are all valid explanations for America’s declining births each year; however, one cannot overlook the effect abortion has had. There has been a decline in the number of abortions over the past few years, but that number remains astronomical at close to one million in 2014 and over 60 million since Roe v. Wade. (Read more.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Marie-Antioinette, 1790

A 1790 miniature of Marie-Antoinette, based on the formal portrait of Dumont. Share

Overturning Roe Has Just Begun

From The Federalist:
Both abortion and slavery rely on the ability of someone with power deciding that someone weaker should be at his mercy. William Wilberforce is one of the most prominent figures of the anti-slavery movement. His wisdom on the subject of slavery translates perfectly to reflect the struggles facing the pro-life movement.

“A trade [slavery] founded in iniquity, and carried on as this was, must be abolished, let the policy be what it might,” notes Wilberforce. “Let the consequences be what they would, I […] determined that I would never rest till I had effected its abolition.” When there’s a grave injustice going on, especially when it is enshrined in public policy, the stakes are that much higher.

The enslavement of Africans was an entrenched institution in the United States for 224 years. Two hundred and twenty-four years of our country owning and abusing other human beings by staunchly maintaining that slaves were not “persons” (sound familiar?). It took more than two centuries of brave activism, protesting, forming anti-slavery organizations, lobbying, and even war just to solidify that African-Americans were people with equal rights.

Frederick Douglass, one of the most famous abolitionists, knew strife was not reason enough to surrender. He makes that clear in a speech he gave in 1857: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the roar of its mighty waters.” (Read more.)

Women and Medieval Manuscripts

It has long been known that many nuns were makers of books in the Middle Ages. From Archaeology News Network:
In a study published in Science Advances, an international team of researchers led by the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of York shed light on the role of women in the creation of such manuscripts with a surprising discovery -- the identification of lapis lazuli pigment embedded in the calcified dental plaque of a middle-aged woman buried at a small women's monastery in Germany around 1100 AD. Their analysis suggests that the woman was likely a painter of richly illuminated religious texts.
 As part of a study analyzing dental calculus -- tooth tartar or dental plaque that fossilizes on the teeth during life -- researchers examined the remains of individuals who were buried in a medieval cemetery associated with a women's monastery at the site of Dalheim in Germany. Few records remain of the monastery and its exact founding date is not known, although a women's community may have formed there as early as the 10th century AD. The earliest known written records from the monastery date to 1244 AD. The monastery is believed to have housed approximately 14 religious women from its founding until its destruction by fire following a series of 14th century battles. (Read more.)

Monday, January 21, 2019

Execution of Louis XVI

January 21, Saint Agnes day, is the dies natalis of the Roi-Martyr, when two hundred and twenty-five years ago, Louis XVI was taken from the Temple prison to be guillotined. The previous night he had said farewell to his family, and their reaction was so hysterical that he decided not to see them again in the morning, for fear of faltering in his own courage. His fifteen year old daughter fainted. He rode to his death in a coach accompanied by the Irish priest, Abbé Edgeworth de Firmont, who had been Madame Elisabeth's confessor and who had refused the oath to the government. Together they recited the seven penitential psalms, as described in the novel Trianon.

Arriving at the scaffold, the executioner tried to bind Louis' hands behind his back but he resisted, not wanting to be treated like a criminal who might try to run away. Abbé Edgeworth, fearing the king might be struck, convinced him to submit to the indignity by saying that it was one more way in which he resembled his Master. Louis raised his eyes to the sky as if seeing beyond this world and then with hands bound he ascended the scaffold unassisted. The drummers drowned out his last words to his people. Some observers later reported that Abbé Edgeworth cried out,"Ascend to heaven, son of St Louis!" although the priest said he did not remember, being overwhelmed. Many ran forward with handkerchiefs to dip in the king's blood, as the executioner raised the head aloft, making obscene gestures. Some of the handkerchiefs were later preserved as holy relics. The king's last words were:

“I die innocent of all the crimes imputed to me. I pardon the authors of my death, and pray God that the blood you are about to shed will never fall upon France.”

The forgiveness of Louis XVI.
His widow.
The Vow of Louis XVI.
Memoirs of Abbé Edgeworth
Attempt to Canonize Louis XVI. Share

Manliness Needed

From The Federalist:
The American Psychological Association has released a report that says “traditional” masculinity is the cause of an array of pathologies, including sexual abuse, murder, mental illness, and even suicide. Masculinity, it claims, “encourages men to adopt an approach to sexuality that emphasizes promiscuity and other aspects of risky sexual behavior, such as not learning a partner’s sexual history or engaging in sex without protection from pregnancy or disease transmission. Indeed, heterosexual men’s adherence to traditional, sexist aspects of masculinity has been connected to sexual assault perpetration, as well as decreased condom use and increased casual ‘hook-up’ sex.”

This description of “traditional masculinity” is far from the truth. Yet it’s the premise psychologists, educators, activists, and politicians use to form judgments about men and masculinity—judgments that affect not only policy but relationships. The truth is, masculinity is good—or at least morally neutral. Men’s physical strength, sexual drive, emotional reticence, and raw competitiveness are simply natural traits that can be exercised for good or bad. The same is true with feminine traits. A woman’s sexual power, emotional awareness, intuition, and guarded competitiveness are merely aspects of her femaleness. They can be noble or degraded, according to how they’re applied. (Read more.)

Can Christianity Change the World?

Some thoughts from an Orthodox deacon on living the Christian faith in the world. While many are called to give public witness, prayer must always give precedence. From Pravmir:
 This way of life is known to be a struggle, requiring preparation, training, ascesis, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is the needed role of the Church.

When we examine how the early church grew and shaped a new culture over many years, we find that Christians lived a life based on the way Christ lived. They were different in how they lived. Many even sacrificed their life to stay true to their faith. It was their faithfulness to His way, His teachings, and their exemplary love for all humankind that made them different. They lived in a very difficult time that was in great odds with Christian teachings. Even so, they did not seek to overthrow or change the government, but lived by the Spirit, as Saint Paul says. They understood that the kingdom sought was not of the world but of the Kingdom of Heaven. They trusted in God and relied on the work of the Holy Spirit. They were faithful in all things. Their efforts were aimed at becoming like Christ, humble, obedient to His teachings, compassionate, accepting that we are all sinners knowing we are all made in God’s image....

1. Praying Daily: Have a regular prayer rule that includes morning and evening prayer.
2. Worshiping and Participating in the Sacraments: Attend and participate in the Divine Liturgy receiving Holy Communion regularly as well as regular participation in Confession.
3. Honoring the Liturgical Cycle: Follow the seasons of the church and participate in the fasts and feasts of the Church.
4. Using the Jesus Prayer: Repeat the Holy name whenever possible throughout the day or night.
5. Slowing Down and Ordering Your Life: Set priorities and reduce the stress and friction caused by a hurried life.
6. Being Watchful: Give full attention to what you are doing at the moment.
7. Taming the Passions: Overcome your habits, attachment to your likes and dislikes, and learn to practice the virtues.
8. Putting Others First: Free yourself from your selfishness and find joy in helping others.
9. Spiritual Fellowship: Spend time regularly with other Orthodox Christians for support and inspiration.
10. Reading Scripture and writings of the Church fathers. (Read more.)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Face of Tragedy

Marie-Antoinette with Her Children
Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, the Dauphin, Madame Royale, and Princess Elisabeth are insulted by the mob on their road back to Paris after their interception at Varennes by the postmaster Drouet. Via Le Boudoir de Marie-Antoinette.
The Return from Varennes by Edward Matthew Ward


Mary Poppins Returns (2019)

In 2015 the present film went into development, having received the green light from Travers’ estate. Mary Poppins Returns was directed by Rob Marshall, who is best known for Chicago and Into the Woods. The first film took place before World War One. The story has moved to the 1930s, with grownup Jane Banks (Emily Mortimer) and Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) living in the old house, but with challenges to deal with.
In the film, little Georgie Banks (Joel Dawson) goes to a park, chasing an old kite carried away by the wind. He grabs the string, and the string pulls him. Before he can be swept off, he is brought down to earth by Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), a friendly lamp lighter. Together they reel in Mary Poppins, played by Blunt. “I was flying a kite and it got caught on a nanny!” Georgie declares. (Read more.)

More HERE. And HERE. Share

Make America Smoke Again

From Spectator USA:
The number of American adults who smoke has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded, a mere third of what it was 70 years ago. Decades of aggressive public health campaigns and advertising bans are responsible for this remarkable decline. As norms and mores changed, smoking became situated somewhere between bear baiting and regularly dining at Cracker Barrel as a form of utterly deviant behavior. 
Those who continue to smoke belong to the struggle towns and junklands of Middle America. They are usually adult men without much of an education, living below the poverty line; they are the very backbone of Trumpism. Of course during the golden age of American smoking in the years after World War II, Marlboro men were just as easily found in Madison Avenue and Wall Street as they were in Texas Hill Country or Youngstown. Smoking – before its deleterious effects on health were properly known – was a truly egalitarian practice that bound the country together as much as compulsory civics education ever did. Big Tobacco even played a surprising and largely forgotten role in the emancipation of women in the 20th century. (Read more.)

Saturday, January 19, 2019


From The Art Newspaper:
Sotheby’s announced today (10 January) the full line up of the Female Triumphant, a selection of masterworks by 14 female artists from the 16th through the 19th centuries, which will headline its Masters Week sales this January in New York. While anticipation for the sale has been high since the auction house announced the all-female component last November, the works included reveal there is more than socially conscious marketing to the hype. 
Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun’s monumental Portrait of Muhammad Dervish Khan, Full Length, Holding His Sword in a Landscape (1788) will be the star lot of the evening sale on 30 January. The portrait painter to Marie Antoinette, Le Brun's life-sized painting is one of the most significant paintings in her body of work to hit the auction block and is estimated to sell for $4-$6m. Calvine Harvey, a specialist in Sotheby’s Old Master paintings department, says “the condition of the work is far and above what we’ve ever seen before”. 
A student of Le Brun, Marie-Victoire Lemoine’s Still Life of Spring Flowers in a Basket (1807) is estimated at $80,000-$120,000 and is the only known still life by the artist. A female-centric scene of Saint Sebastian’s rehabilitation recently re-attributed to Baroque “proto-feminist” painter Artemisia Gentileschi is expected to fetch between $600,000 and $800,000. (Read more.)

Robert Mueller and the Russia Collusion Delusion

From Dr. Gorka:
What evidence did the intelligence community have to rely on to initiate such investigations? According to the New York Times, the FBI launched a counterintelligence investigation based on the “dossier” compiled by former British MI6 operative, Christopher Steele. The details of this dossier were never fully vetted by the intelligence community and were accepted at face-value by most of the leaders of the Obama-era intelligence community. The Steele dossier asserted that Russian intelligence had compromising materials on Donald Trump that were of an embarrassing sexual nature. It concluded that the Russians were using this compromising material–kompromat—to blackmail Trump into being an agent of influence.
Yet, never once did the U.S. intelligence services independently verify these claims. And, for the record, the memo was commissioned by Trump’s Republican primary opponents in 2016. It was then disseminated to the office of virulent “Never-Trumper,” the now-deceased Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who, in turn, passed the dossier onto the James Comey-led FBI. In effect, the dossier was the poisoned source from which so many investigators used to justify investigating Donald J. Trump.
For his part, Christopher Steele had become a noted anti-Trump zealot–even offering to come on and work directly for the FBI after the Republican primary ended in a Trump victory. Steele’s British nationality should not be overlooked, either. An international thread has run throughout the murky Russian collusion-delusion “investigation” since its inception. Not only was former MI6 operative, Steele, involved, but, so too was an Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer. (Read more.)

Grown Men Are the Solution

From The National Review:
We are in the middle of an intense culture war focused around men, dominated at times by two kinds of men-as-victim narratives. On the populist right, you’ll get those voices — such as Tucker Carlson — who see these trends and rightly decry them, but then wrongly ascribe an immense share of the negative results of immense social, economic, and cultural changes to the malice or indifference of elites, with solutions wrongly centered around government action. 
Carlson has triggered a critical debate on the right, but then — just in time to remind us that well-meaning people from all sides of the political spectrum can propose solutions worse than the disease — along comes the American Psychological Association with its first-ever “Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men.” The APA sees the challenges facing young men and rightly seeks to overcome those challenges, but then diagnoses the wrong cause. As Stephanie Pappas notes on the APA website, the new guidelines conclude that “traditional masculinity — marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression — is, on the whole, harmful.” 
The guidelines themselves argue that “traditional masculinity ideology” — defined as socializing boys toward “anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence” — has been shown to “limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict,” and negatively influence mental and physical health. (Read more.)

More HERE.

From The American Thinker:
The time has come for all good people to wake up to the long dormant virus of misandry – prejudice or contempt for males. It is lurking in our closets and under our beds and has proliferated and made itself glaringly public in a most obnoxious way. The Kavanaugh hearings exposed this virulent menace that has been hiding in plain sight when Senator Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, took the platform and in a no-holds-barred blast of venom and hate told the men of this country they need to "shut up and step up."

Amid a reaction of shock and awe, the cat was out of the bag, the genie out of the bottle, the Jack-in-the-Box sprung; she had just given a loud, strident voice to a vile temperament growing in this country. Misandry has been kept under wraps but proliferates more every day – women openly hating men. (Read more.)


Friday, January 18, 2019

Norse-Viking Symbols & Meanings

From Ancient History:
The symbols used in Norse mythology had to do not only with supernatural entities but also with the challenges of everyday life and the mystery of what awaited after death. Some of these symbols can definitely be dated to the Viking Age (c. 790 - c. 1100 CE) but were no doubt in use much earlier. Other symbols seem to have developed later (between c. 1100 - c. 1300 CE) after Christianity had established itself in Scandinavia.
There were many powerful symbols from the Norse-Viking period ranging from the wolf (for protection), to the horse (protection in travel), the troll cross (an amulet that protected one from trolls), the image of the Vegvisir ('way guide', a late Icelandic symbol which helped one find one’s way) and the Web of Wyrd (web of fate), as well as the runes which were thought to evoke mystical powers. Generally, however, ten symbols were the most popular; these appear most often in stories, images, and as amulets:
Yggdrasil – the World Tree
The Valknut – Odin’s Knot
The Swastika/Sun-Wheel
The Aegishjalmur – Helm of Awe
Mjolnir – Thor’s Hammer
The Sventhorn – Sleep Thorn
Gungnir – Odin’s Spear
The Ship
Huginn and Muninn – Odin’s Ravens
The Triskelion – Odin’s Horns 
These symbols sometimes are found in the form of amulets (such as Thor’s hammer), sometimes in depictions of the afterlife (as with the ship) and often in images concerning the journey of life (the swastika/sun-wheel and ship). In whatever context they appear, it is clear they were considered important evocations of powerful supernatural elements. (Read more.)

The Voice of An Ignorant Generation

From Michael Knowles:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ignorance of economics and foreign affairs typifies her generation. Despite holding expensive degrees in both Economics and International Relations from Boston University, Ocasio-Cortez threw up her hands in exasperation during an interview on Margaret Hoover’s “Firing Line” program, laughing, “I’m not the expert on geopolitics.” Fortunately for her, in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king; and among a blithely ignorant generation, the lightly educated activist is congresswoman. 
The seed of Millennial miseducation, which grew into the Tree of the Lack of Knowledge as activist educators substituted ideology for scholarship, is finally bearing its rotten fruit. According to one survey, one third of Millennials believe President George W. Bush killed more people than Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Over 40 percent of Millennials have never heard of Mao Zedong; another 40 percent and 30 percent, respectively, are unfamiliar with Vladimir Lenin and Che Guevara. Two-thirds of Millennials cannot identify Auschwitz, and 22 percent have never heard of the Holocaust, twice the percentage of American adults on average. Millennials might not know much, but according to a 2016 Harvard survey, they know they don’t support capitalism, with 51 percent of young adults rejecting economic freedom. (Read more.)

4,000-Year-Old Discovery in Egypt

From FSSPX News:
The tomb of a priest that dates back over 4 millennia – possibly to the time Joseph arrived in Egypt – has been discovered on the site of Saqqara, near Cairo, by an archaeological expedition, announced the Egyptian authorities on December 16, 2018. The tomb of the priest named “Wahtye,” dates back to the 5th dynasty (between 2500 and 2300 B.C.), under the reign of Neferirkare, according to the Ministry of Antiquities. The tomb is “exceptionally well preserved, colored, with sculptures on the inside” and “belongs to a high-ranking priest”, explained the Egyptian minister of Antiquities, Khaled el-Enany, to the AFP
The tomb contains “scenes depicting the tomb’s owner with his mother, his wife and family, and a number of alcoves with large colored statues of the deceased man and his family,” he added. In November, on the same site of Saqqara, the Egyptian authorities revealed the discovery of seven tombs, four of which dated back over 6,000 years, by the same Egyptian archaeological expedition. The scientists found mummified beetles and cats. The dates of the tomb are those of troubled times that historians on the Egypt of the Pharaohs call the First Intermediary Period and that marked the end of the Old Empire. (Read more.)

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Chocolate For Coughs

From All Recipes:
Professor Alyn Morice, a respected authority on all things related to coughs and respiratory medicine, wrote in the Daily Mail that chocolate can soothe coughs better than codeine syrup by forming a sticky coating that protects the nerve endings in your throat that cause you to cough. The viscosity of the melted chocolate coating also allows cough-suppressing ingredients naturally present in cocoa to come into contact with your ravaged throat nerves and calm them down, says Professor Morice. Smother your cough with yummy chocolate without the sleepy side-effects of codeine? It's almost enough to make you welcome winter. (Read more.)

The Secret of Every Happy Family

From In Psalmus Spiritus:
Last week, we launched our new homily series for the New Year called, "Secrets of Every Happy Family." We all share, in common, the experience of a family because we've all come from a family and we have emotional attachment to family members. Words like mother, father, brother, sister are not emotionally neutral words. They bring a flood of memories and feelings.  We talked about three principles of a happy family that form the basis for this series. They're by no means meant to be a comprehensive, exhaustive list, just some of the principles on which we're focusing.

The first principle of a happy family is that they accept the messiness of family life with grace and flexibility. As we all know there are no perfect people, and as a result, there are no perfect families. When confronted with flaws and failures of family life in a family member, happy families choose consistently to accept their loved ones with all of their imperfections, and to forgive them. 

The Second secret of a happy family is mutual respect. This respect begins with respect and appreciation of God's authority over family life. But then it's about each spouse's mutual respect for one another, creating an environment, an atmosphere of respect in which children learn and grow, and ultimately practice in their families.

The third secret of a happy family is a commitment to a larger purpose beyond themselves. The family is the basic building block of society. And as family relationships grow in health, so grows the culture. And as family relationships are weakened, so is society. A family that exists only for itself will never be happy.

Well, today, we're going to look at a unique role in the family. It is the role of a father or a father figure. And in order to do it, we're going to take a look at Jesus’ relationship with his father, based upon a key moment in Jesus’ life.

This moment is described in the third chapter of Luke's Gospel, where Luke is telling us about John the Baptist, a great prophet, who prepared the way for the coming of Jesus. His preaching called people to fundamental change. And along with his preaching, he also baptized people as a sign or a symbol of that change. (Read more.)

Early Irish Explorers and Settlers

Physically, the people of Duhare appeared to be European according to the Spanish colonists in the area. The people of Duhare had red to brown hair, tan skin and gray eyes, and were noticeably taller than the Spanish. According to Spanish accounts, the people of Duhare were Caucasian, though their houses and pottery were similar to those of American Indians. 
The king of Duhare was said to be named Datha and was described by the Spanish as being a giant, even when compared to his peers. He had five children and a wife as tall as him. Datha had brightly colored paint or tattoos on his skin that seemed to distinguish him from the commoners. 
Despite Martyr’s report that included the apparently unique tribe of the Duhare, the believed predecessors of the Creek Indian tribe, more recent scholars are wary of the possibility of a Caucasian tribe at that time in America. “In 1922 the Smithsonian Institute published, 'Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors' by the renowned ethnologist, John W. Swanton. It included much of Martyr’s passages on Duhare, but was prefaced with contemptuous remarks by Swanton that the story couldn’t be true and that the Duhare were probably a Siouan tribe,” explains Thornton. 
However, later in 2006, People of One Fire, a nationwide team of Native American scholars, primarily of Creek Indian heritage, began a comprehensive research program to obtain more accurate and detailed knowledge of North America’s pre-European history. As part of their research, they began to attempt to translate every single Native American word that was translated by the Spanish. While many of those words were easily translated by modern Creek, Alabama, Koasati or Choctaw dictionaries, the words associated with the province of Duhare defied translation until 2011. (Read more.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Soul Food

Chef Carla Hall
From Southern Living:
Whether you love the study of soul food and how it relates to Southern food or just appreciate delicious recipes that can be made for a busy weeknight meal, Carla Hall’s Soul Food – Everyday and Celebration deserves a spot on your kitchen counter. What’s the difference between Southern food and soul food? “Black cooks,” says Carla Hall. “And I’m one of them.” After years of cooking for the television public (Hall was a contestant on Top Chef and is currently a co-host on The Chew), she felt it was time to really explore the roots of soul food, the food she grew up eating as a girl in Nashville. On a road trip across the South, she visited with African-American chefs, farmers, cooks, and others who share her passion for celebrating their heritage and distinctive foodways. These experiences, and the recipes inspired by them, formed her latest cookbook, Carla Hall’s Soul Food. (Read more.)

From Salon:
Hall describes “Soul Food” as a cookbook with a mission to reclaim black American cuisine from the stereotype of delicious but rich and caloric (verging on deadly) celebration food like fried chicken, mac and cheese and smothered pork chops. That’s in there, of course, but the headliners appear alongside recipes for dishes prepared with the fruits, grains, vegetables and legumes that make soul food a legitimate living cuisine. In this book, unlike many efforts by other authors that have come before, Hall uses the stories of people she has met who share her zeal as a way to trace the path that soul food took as it morphed in order to reclaim the complete narrative of African American foodways. “I think that when you think about it, and not to romanticize slavery, but when you are in a place and you are static, you can have gardens, you're eating this food, you're living off the land and the sea,” Hall explains. “Then when you start to move and you're leaving the plantation and going north for the first great migration, now you're transient and you don't have a garden. I think that's when food started to change and there was more fried foods and there was more foods that were thought to be unhealthy but there were also slaves who were trained chefs.” (Read more.)

Racist Speech at a Christian College

From Townhall:
This is the tale of two lectures at Wheaton College, a Christian evangelical college in the suburbs of Chicago. One was given in September 2017 and the other in November 2018. Though only a year apart, the responses to the two presentations were universes apart. The reaction is very telling and tragic for those who believe that a Christian education is different than a secular one. 
The first speech (listen to excerpts here) was given by Dr. George Yancy, a philosophy professor at Emory University (huge thanks to Jamie Dean at World Magazine for an excellent article on this and uncovering actual audio recording). It was sponsored by Wheaton’s Philosophy department and held in the esteemed Billy Graham Center on campus. It was entitled: “A Post-Racial America? White Gazes and Black Bodies." It can only be described as an expletive-laced, pornographic, racist, anti-biblical screed. His theme? “To be white is to be racist.” (Read more.)

The Catholic Schools We Need

From a few years ago but worth reading again. It is a shame so much good has been destroyed by the bad behavior of a few. From America:
In the 20th century, for example, there was no greater witness to the effectiveness of Catholic schools than the Nazi and Communist efforts to destroy them. Pope Benedict XVI’s own beloved homeland—where to be Bavarian was to be Catholic—was perhaps hardest hit in all of Germany. By January 1939 nearly 10,000 German Catholic schools had been closed or taken over by the Nazi Party. Tyrants know and fear the true strength of a Catholic education: what parents begin in the home, Catholic schools extend to society at large. But what of today’s Catholic schools that exist in a world largely free of those sorts of 20th-century threats? Are we not facing our own crisis of closure for the Catholic school in America? The answer is yes. (Read more.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Apicius in Paris

From France Today:
Retooling an established restaurant with a crowd of devoted regulars is a challenge for any restaurateur, but this was especially true when it came to Apicius, a favourite power table of corporate and political France in Paris’s 8th arrondissement, not far from the Champs-Elysées. Formerly run by chef Jean-Pierre Vigato, this table – named for the Roman epicurean said to have penned one of the world’s first cookbooks – occupies an exquisite limestone mansion that was built in 1860 for the Marquis Auguste de Talhouët-Roy on the site of the former stables of the Comte d’Artois, the brother of King Louis XVI. And one of its greatest attributes is that it’s surrounded by a beautiful garden where, weather permitting, meals are served. (Read more.)

Transgender Athletes

From Activist Mommy:
There is a disturbance in the sports of far-left radical ideology. While the majority of feminists have been fighting for years to destroy the “patriarchy,” the perceived system of male dominance that has been keeping women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen for millennia, with the rise to prominence of confusing gender ideology, suddenly women find themselves trapped between continuing to defend women’s progress and defending men who want to surpass women in that progress.

Sports is, of course, the most notable playing field (no pun intended) where the oxymoron that is mainstream gender ideology is causing the most controversy. The general consensus among run-of-the-mill leftists is that men who want to be women ought to be treated just like women. But a growing number of feminists whose primary interest is the advancement and protection of women to have their own, man-free world are starting to speak out. Naturally, considering the overwhelming attitude among cultural Marxists is that transgender interests trump cisgender interests on the intersectional hierarchy, the majority of people will push all women, no matter how “oppressed,” aside to make room for a man who identifies as a woman. (Read more.)

Women in Cages

Isabella’s story remained unremarkable throughout Scotland’s struggles in the early years of the 1300s; until Robert the Bruce made his move for the throne in 1306. By birth, Isabella was a MacDuff, her father had been Earl of Fife and, in 1306, the current earl was her nephew, Duncan, a teenager who was a loyal devotee of Edward I. The Earls of Fife had, for centuries, claimed the hereditary right to crown Scotland’s kings. Although Duncan had no interest in being involved in the coronation of Robert the Bruce, Isabella was determined to fulfil her family’s role. It cannot have been an easy decision for her. Isabella’s participation was an act of bravery and defiance. She went against not only Edward I but her own husband, the Earl of Buchan. Isabella’s husband and the murdered John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, were not only cousins but had a close relationship. It seems likely that Isabella’s husband was in England at the time of Bruce’s coronation, and she did not have to face him personally; but she would have known that her actions would mean there was no going back. Supporting Robert the Bruce, the man who stood accused of John Comyn’s murder, meant she turned against her husband and his entire family, people she had lived among for her entire married life.

Isabella reached Scone on 27 March 1306, two days after Robert had been crowned by Bishop Lamberton. She insisted on her family’s hereditary right to crown the new king and the ceremony was repeated for a second time, with Isabella placing the crown on the new king’s head. There are some rumours of a more intimate relationship between Isabella and Bruce, but these seem to be without foundation and are only to be expected, given that Isabel acted so decisively – and publicly – against her husband.

There was no going back for Isabella – crowning Robert the Bruce meant she was on her own; she couldn’t go back to her family, so she stayed with the royal party, travelling with Elizabeth de Burgh, the new queen, when Bruce sent her, his daughter and sisters, north for their safety. Isabella was with them when they escaped Kildrummy Castle by the skin of their teeth, and when they reached the shrine of St Duthac at Tain and were captured by William, Earl of Ross, in September 1306. As the party were sent south, Isabella must have faced the future with trepidation. Her placing the crown on Robert the Bruce’s head was the clearest challenge to Edward I and guaranteed that she would receive no sympathy from England’s king.
 More on Queen Elizabeth de Burgh, HERE. Share

Monday, January 14, 2019

Five Favorite Scone Recipes

From Victoria:
Treasure the company of dear ones who gather to sample a feast of sentimental favorites, including our Red Velvet Scones with Cream Cheese Glaze, certain to cause hearts to flutter. Anyone can experience regal treatment with an extravagant bouquet of fresh blooms, chosen to match the colors of the best china and setting the stage for a gracious afternoon. Pass around gleaming silver trays of dainty Lavender Cream Scones, tea sandwiches, herb-strewn savories, and flower-bedecked sweets—all worthy of a queen. (Read more.)

Publishers, Not Trump, Endanger Free Speech

I won’t bore you by recounting all the times The New Yorker and Vanity Fair have railed against the president for supposedly endangering the freedom of people like its staffers to speak their minds. Now, the owner of these magazines is demanding that its own writers censor themselves, if they know what’s good for them. This is not just a stain on some of a free press’s loudest defenders, it promises to narrow and diminish the range of ideas they publish. If you know a field is mined, but have not been furnished with a map of each explosive’s location, why would you stray into that area at all? The New Yorker might as well place a sign above its office doors saying, “Warning: Do not be interesting.” (“Isn’t it there already?” I hear some wags replying, but The New Yorker remains replete with interesting material.) 
As for Vanity Fair, for many years it published the musings of one Christopher Hitchens. Remember him? He said Michelle Obama’s undergraduate thesis wasn’t written in any known language. He said, about the Iraq War, that “the death toll is not nearly high enough.” He called Mother Teresa “a fanatic, a fundamentalist and a fraud.” Most unforgivable of all, he said women aren’t funny. Any guesses on whether, in today’s social-media atmosphere, one or two of his columns might cause a little light apoplexy on Twitbook or Facer? (I can report from personal experience that merely quoting what Hitchens said about Mrs. Obama predictably and boringly gets you tagged as racist.(Read more.)

Stone Age Ritual

What might be passed over as two oddly shaped rocks are the work of Stone Age artisans who sculpted the rocks into beady-eyed snake heads, archaeologists have found. It's a mystery why these ancient people, who lived in what is now Ukraine, created the stoney serpents, but the researchers have a good guess. "These sculptures could have ritual purpose," said study lead researcher Nadiia Kotova, an archaeologist in the Department of the Eneolithic and Bronze Age at the Institute of Archaeology National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of Ukraine. "They were probably used during ceremonies." [In Photos: Intricately Carved Stone Balls Puzzle Archaeologists
Kotova and her team found the snakey stones in 2016, during an excavation at Kamyana Mohyla I, an archaeological site near the city of Terpinnya. Both stones, although different ages, were found near ancient bones and flints from the same period: the Mesolithic, which is the middle Stone Age between the earlier Paleolithic and later Neolithic. There were many sandstones at the site, but "these two had quite a strange shape, so we decided to look closer," Kotova told Live Science in an email. (Read more.)