Friday, May 29, 2020

Nurses on the Front Lines

Florence Nightingale
From The Conversation:
In 1854, Florence Nightingale brought 38 volunteer nurses to care for soldiers during the Crimean War. The cause of the conflict focused on the rights of Christians in the Holy Land and involved Russia, the Ottoman Empire, France, Sardinia and the United Kingdom. Male nurses provided care as far back as the Knights Hospitaller in the 11th century. But prior to Nightingale’s involvement, male and female nurses consisted of untrained family members or soldiers who cared for the ill and infirm. 
Nightingale was the first to organize nurses and provide standardized roles and responsibilities for the profession. As such, she is credited with founding modern professional nursing. She was also an expert statistician, collecting data on patients and what did and didn’t work to make them better. Nightingale and her nurses improved sanitation, hygiene and nutrition. They provided care and comfort. Their work had a major impact on the survival of soldiers. 
The American Civil War in the 1860s brought thousands of trained nurses to the battlefront, risking their lives to care for soldiers on both sides of the conflict. The most famous were Dorothea Dix, an advocate for indigenous populations and the mentally ill; Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross; and Louisa May Alcott, the author of “Little Women.” 
Nurses again answered the call with the yellow fever epidemic of 1878, rushing from all over the country to Tennessee. The epidemic ultimately killed 18,000 people, and many nurses died while caring for the sick. (Read more.)

I'm Sorry, Mr. President

From My New Norm:
So, Mr. President, I'm embarrassed and sorry to say that I did not use my intuition to develop my opinion of you. I have bad mouthed you for 4 years. I joined the groups of people that critiqued every tweet misspelling and passionate speech you made. I watched CNN and MSNBC in disgust at times. I was convinced Russia helped you get elected and that you only became president to advance your bank account and that of your wealthy friends. That is until a day in March. I happened to catch you talking about a drug.

This drug did not present itself as darkness, but as a light in my inner “vision”. Then I saw the look on Dr. Fauci's face after you brought it up. He presented as darkness to me. Why would a famous doctor want to prevent a life-saving treatment for Covid19 patients? In that moment I knew I had been wrong about you all along. You were trying to give frightened Americans hope. You knew the truth. (Read more.)

The Fruits of Moral Collapse

From City Journal:
Through diaries, memoirs, and public records, Huber follows ordinary Germans through the Reich’s last days, which were, for many, the last days of their lives. We meet the elderly couples who hung themselves together, the fathers who shot their families before taking their own lives, and the mothers who marched to their fate in icy rivers, dragging their children behind them. After detailing these grim scenes, Huber looks back to 1926, tracing the rise of the Nazis and analyzing how ordinary Germans came under their spell. He shows how even those who joined the Nazi Party for reasons of expediency or youthful ignorance were corrupted by the Reich’s twisted morality.
Huber ultimately understates the significance of the German mass suicides. For him, Germans who killed themselves in 1945 did so either to avoid the fate that awaited them at the hands of the Allies—like the citizens fearful of the brutality of Russian soldiers, as was Hitler himself—or to escape the guilt that would overwhelm them once imminent defeat revived their dormant consciences. Whatever the reasons, the sheer number of Germans who chose to take their own lives is remarkable. As Huber notes, the Christian prohibition on suicide still held great power in Germany. In a sermon in March of that year, a Berlin vicar attempted to dissuade his congregants—many of whom had confessed thoughts of suicide—from ending their lives.
Huber notes, however, that “the power of this taboo” faded “against the backdrop of the physical, emotional, and mental horrors of Germany’s downfall.” As the Red Army advanced, “social conventions . . . no longer seemed to apply,” as suicide transformed from a sin to “a last resort before total surrender [and] a consolation to the desperate.” 
Attributing the suicides to a change in norms misses a subtle, yet crucial, point. To the extent that social norms changed, they did so as a result of the moral collapse that Nazism wrought in Germany. One influential explanation of this collapse was offered by Hannah Arendt, the German-Jewish political theorist. Huber relies on Arendt’s 1950 report The Aftermath of Nazi Rule to capture the inability or unwillingness of Germans who survived past 1945 to grapple with their country’s actions. But a key to understanding the German suicides may actually lie in Arendt’s controversial 1963 work, Eichmann In Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, where she explores “the totality of the moral collapse” ushered in by Nazism. She observes that “just as the law in civilized countries assumes that the voice of conscience tells everybody ‘Thou shalt not kill’ . . . so the law of Hitler’s land demanded that the voice of conscience tell everybody: ‘Thou shalt kill.’” (Read more.)

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Beards of Mythical Proportions

From ArtNet:
Something strange is afoot—or rather, a-face. You man have gotten a glimpse of one via Zoom. Maybe you are living with one. Or maybe you yourself are cultivating one. We speak, of course, of a “quarantine beard.” Unable to visit the barber shop, and unable—or not disposed—to shave their face, the nation’s gents have taken a turn for the hirsute.
The trend is anything but fringe. Speaking to Wired earlier this month, Christopher Oldstone-Moore, author of Of Beard and Men: The Revealing History of Facial Hair said one impetus could be psychological. “It can be a sort of declaration of fortitude and heartiness,” he told the magazine. “It’s a way of saying, ‘I’m tough. I can withstand adversity.’” Whatever the reason, we’ve taken inspiration from the some beard-spiration from art history, from Hatchepsut’s false facial hair to the flowing tresses of Michelangelo’s Moses. (Read more.)


Cannibalize the Young, Abandon the Elderly

From Stream:
If this video proves too inconvenient for the ambitious Governor Whitmer, will we learn that it’s “doctored” too? Will the person who posted it to Youtube face criminal charges for violating somebody’s “privacy”? How long till the next fawning media profile of Whitmer as a champion of “public health” and “Science?” 
A nation that will cannibalize its babies for parts will abandon its elders to secret abuse and choking, solitary deaths. Such a nation fears death, because it believes nothing comes after. So it also fears life, which is intrinsically risky, fragile, and short. It cowers indoors, looks to strongmen like Cuomo and Whitmer to keep it “safe,” and seeks out scapegoats like Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to blame and punish. President Trump is of course scapegoat-in-chief. 
In the absence of God, in the faint, fading shadows of supernatural faith, all we have left is fear. We fend that off with short, blunt bursts of pleasure and long empty hours of vapid entertainment. Our children are few, and carefully “planned,” swathed in cotton to keep them intact. Our elders are invisible, far away and mostly forgotten. (Read more.)

From First Things:
It is illegal under state law to sell organs, but women can now rent their wombs for profit, assuming they survive the surrogacy process. Gestational surrogacy involves impregnating a surrogate mother by implanting embryos created from the eggs of the intended mother or egg donor, and the sperm of the intended father or sperm donor. Women and newborns often do not survive gestational pregnancies, and those who do are often affected physically and psychologically. 
For instance, surrogacy survivors Brittney Rose Torres and Melissa Cook each carried triplets. During their pregnancies, they were told to abort two of the three children, and faced threats and financial ruin for refusing to do so. Abortion and selective reduction clauses are routinely written into all surrogacy contracts as a matter of control over the end product, the child. Many embryos die in the surrogacy process. And it is well-documented in medical literature that a woman pregnant with “donor” eggs is at a very high risk of pregnancy-related complications such as preeclampsia and even death. Michelle Reaves and Crystal Wilhite died while giving birth as surrogates, leaving their own children without a mother. (Read more.

From The American Spectator:
Cuomo gets mega-plaudits on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, MSNBC, in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and wherever else truth is distorted into lies and lies are falsified into truth. In such media, he is the anti-Trump, the genius of the coronavirus season. Measured. Methodical. Liberal. Democrat. Why, he ought to run for president of the United States — and there’s still time for this savior to do it, assuming he can get around Stacey Abrams, who has eclipsed him and most everyone else. 
But figures don’t lie, even though liars can figure. Cuomo’s New York state somehow managed to become home to half of all American coronavirus cases and coronavirus deaths. To be sure, New York poses its own unique challenges. It is an international hub. Housing is more crowded. We all have seen, and many of us have walked, the famously crowded Manhattan streets. The New York City subway system is the antithesis of social distancing, where five people struggle for dear life, each to claim five inches of space on the ubiquitous straphanger’s pole. Beyond that, the city has an idiot for a mayor, and he in turn appointed as New York City Health Commissioner a medical miracle who urged the public to ignore social distancing and to go out mingling during the Chinese New Year, even as she later would refuse to provide protective masks for New York police, saying she did “not give two rat’s as-es” about them. So New York does have its challenges, at least some self-inflicted. 
Even so, Cuomo owes the survivors of his 10,000 victims the most deep, heartfelt apology imaginable. And not one of those famous political “IF Apologies” — “IF I offended you by calling your mother a prostitute” … “IF I offended you by saying that your child is genetically defective” … “IF I offended you by mocking your racial identity, religious belief, ethnic heritage … ” Rather, Cuomo owes an incredibly candid, tearful apology for killing some 10,000 grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters — people — who were among society’s least able to defend themselves from his killing onslaught. (Read more.

Tolkien and WWI

At this bleak hour, Tolkien and the three other members of the TCBS gathered one last time to discuss literature and the future. On June 28, the 23-year-old Tolkien enlisted in the Lancashire Fusiliers, no doubt desiring to be close to G.B. Smith but also choosing the unit because it was full of Oxford men. This was typical of British Army recruiting at the time—young men joined up en masse by town, school, or trade, organized into regiments sporting such quaint names such as the Tyneside Commercials or the Manchester Pals; G.B. Smith’s battalion was known as the 3rd Salford Pals. The idea was that units made up of friends, relatives, and colleagues would be more cohesive and motivated on the battlefield. The tragic corollary to this thinking was that when the fighting was particularly intense, such close-knit groups would also fall en masse, wiping out entire school classes or neighborhoods in the space of a few bloody moments. 
Because of his language expertise, Tolkien was trained in Yorkshire as a signals officer, responsible for battalion communications with headquarters. He learned map reading, Morse code, message sending via carrier pigeon, and field telephone operation. He memorized the art of station call signs—tactical voice communications with letters or digits representing companies, platoons, and sections—and also how to use signal flags and discs, flares, lamps, and heliographs as well as “runners,” soldiers who carried hand-written notes to headquarters under fire.

Like all new soldiers, Tolkien found boot camp dull, Army bureaucracy intolerable, and most of his commanding officers insipid. “War multiplies the stupidity by 3,” he wrote. But in training camp, a more subtle transformation was occurring within him. Great Britain’s first volunteer army had thrown together men from all walks of life and all social classes, and Tolkien developed “a deep sympathy and feeling for the ‘tommy,’ especially the plain soldier from the agricultural counties.” In socially stratified prewar England, Tolkien the Oxford man would normally never have had anything to do with such “commoners.” 
On June 2, 1916, Tolkien received his embarkation orders. Now married to Edith Bratt, he visited her for the last time, harboring little hope that he would ever see her again. As he later remembered, “Junior officers were being killed off a dozen a minute. Parting from my wife then was like death.”

One by one, Tolkien and his friends went off to battle. While Wiseman experienced a comparatively “clean” war in the Navy, seeing sporadic action, Tolkien, Gilson, and Smith entered a war zone of gothic horrors for which nothing in their comfortably sheltered young lives had prepared them. Moving up into the front lines, they witnessed the genius of their enlightened epoch being used to kill masses of men. The earth of northern France was ripped up and broken, oozing mud from countless shell holes, the rotting bodies of dead men and horses littering the ground, grotesquely entwined with the hulks of rusting guns, smashed wagons, and barbed wire. The trenches were torn up by shell blasts, rat infested and mud filled, and adorned with hunks of putrid flesh and smashed equipment. (Read more.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A Family Business

The history of one of my favorite shops, Chartreuse and Company, in Frederick County, Maryland. From The Chartreuse Blog:
In my family, we’ve always joked that we – the Crums (Chartreuse founder Virginia’s immediate family) – were the ‘& co.’ function of ‘Chartreuse & co.’  I was ten years old when we moved to my great-grandmother’s house and eleven when my mom had her third baby: a business that would save the family farm.  At that time, Clifton-on-the-Monocacy (which was the original name of both the house and farm) was a sad relic of former glories: the verdant pastures which had once stretched emerald fingers to the Monocacy had been reduced to a parcel of land hovering on the lap of Buckeystown Pike; and even domestic pleasures, such as the green-painted swing set, that had once entertained my mother and her sisters for hours on end, had been mangled by a fallen tree and overgrown in an immense thicket worthy of Sleeping Beauty, herself.  What did remain were the farm buildings which, since the ‘50s (my grandfather recollects a wild reconstruction in which the tenant house was pulled by mules walking in gradual circles to its new site), had all inhabited a relatively small plot of land. 

The house, itself, was in need of a great deal of tender loving care (many the hours we spent scrubbing floors and power washing the immense 60s-office-building-style windows on the addition when we first moved in – little less the issue of the house raining indoors when it rained outdoors…), but its condition was perfectly spotless in comparison to the immense barns that hunkered together beyond the two houses.  Those farm buildings had long been converted to storage by the time we moved in, and muck and grime were everywhere.  I remember, in fact, that after being in the barn for any amount of time at all, if you blew your nose, the residue on the tissue came out black.  The insurance company told my parents, upon purchase of the barns, that they were attractive nuisances and best torn down, but my parents saw another option.  All across the county, many such buildings were facing the same fate and, crumbling amidst their ruin were the traces of our county’s history. 

Our bank barn dates back to the 1700s and, so ancient is its construction that wooden pegs were used rather than nails.  Our dairy barn – the second-newest building on the premises – began its construction in the 1920s and was expanded by my great-grandfather in the 1940s (you can see the shift in construction at what is now the center of the barn if you stop and look).  Wherever you look, nuggets of the past and the people who moved through it percolate, making these buildings more than the brick and mortar that holds them together, and transforming them into monuments of the past: artifacts of all those who have walked between their walls or stopped to touch them, as someday they may well stand in recollection of you and of me.  Rather than demolishing these priceless barns, my parents chose to save them and, out of that, a decision was made that would shape what has, so far, been the vast majority of my life. 

The business has gone by many names – Mille Fleur Cottage, Trellis, Fleurish – but the one that stuck you already know.  We’re asked about the origin of the name Chartreuse & co. fairly often.  It’s the name given to that electric shade of green which can be seen in the Chartreuse liqueur (a heady herbal concoction, at once refreshing and powerful and not for the faint of heart) from which it derives its name.  The liqueur, itself, is named for the mountains in France of the same name where it was first made, but the christening of the mountains remains – for me, at least – shrouded in mystery (apparently based on an ancient Gaulish word of unknown meaning).  What also stuck?  The proud ‘& co.’ moniker my family has adopted.  It’s been well-earned, too, I may say. (Read more.)

How The Pandemic Is Upping Substance Abuse

From The Federalist:
This is a “pandemic within a pandemic,” according to addiction expert Tim Ryan, who’s watched the coronavirus outbreak exacerbate the preexistent opioid and mental health crises with devastating effect. Ryan, the star of A&E’s 2017 “Dope Man” special, is the founder of “A Man In Recovery Foundation,” which partners with A former heroin addict, his mission is to assist others struggling with substance abuse. In a Friday interview, Ryan explained how the stresses of isolation and financial trouble brought on by the pandemic are worsening addiction, both by pushing new users to abuse substances and making it more difficult for recovering addicts to stay sober. Rehab facilities are struggling to cope with the challenges of a viral outbreak, according to Ryan, who also said alcohol and fentanyl abuse seem to be especially prevalent as the nation stays home. (Read more.)

'My Father Was a Spy'

From Lit Hub:
My father worked for the CIA at the height of the Cold War, from 1951 to 1983. As a case officer, his main task was to secretly recruit people who might be willing to provide valuable information to the United States. To do this work, he frequently traveled abroad, maintaining various cover identities and “safe houses” where he could conduct spy work. 
His primary foreign language was German, so he spent most of his time in Europe. He was stationed in Berlin when the wall went up, and there he met and married my mother, who’d been hired by the CIA fresh out of college to be a secretary. 
My family did regular tours of duty stationed in European cities, and during the in-between years, we lived in our suburban Washington, DC house, not far from CIA headquarters. When I was seven, we were stationed in Rome, Italy, and it was there that I began to see the cracks in my parents’ lives. (Read more.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Posthumous Portrait of Marie-Antoinette

Today's painting by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun is this lovely posthumous portrait of Marie-Antoinette, which she painted from memory in 1800, while she was residing in St Petersburg. She sent it to her former patroness' daughter Marie-Thérèse, Duchesse d'Angoulême, who had been released from imprisonment in December 1795 and was currently residing in Mitau in modern day Latvia at the court in exile of her uncle. Vigée Le Brun was invited to visit the princess there but being unable to leave St Petersburg, she sent this portrait instead as a gift. As one might expect, Madame la Duchesse was delighted by this touching tribute to her mother and wrote a sincere letter of thanks to the artist.
The Comte de Cossé presented me, Madame, with the portrait of my Mother which you had asked him to bring me. You have afforded me the double pleasure of seeing in one of your most beautiful works an Image very dear to my heart, thus of being beholden to you for having used your talents as a proof of your sentiments. Be assured that I feel this more deeply than I can express. And count on my feelings for you. Marie-Thérèse.
(Read more.)

Deep Thoughts About the Coronavirus Pandemic

From P.J. O'Rourke at American Consequences:
Another pernicious result of sheltering in place is that we’re all spending far too much “screen time.” This can have a bad effect on in-person communication. For example, my 16-year-old son told me about a classmate of his who, at the dinner table with his parents, blurted out, “Have you noticed how much the basement where Joe Biden is doing his campaign videos looks like the set for an amateur porn movie?” 
Mom: [Tuna casserole spit take] 
And the kid’s dad did not improve the dinner table atmosphere by saying, “Nonsense, son. Amateur porn sets hardly ever have an American flag in the background.” 
On the upside… Many of us may discover that we look better in a face mask. I do. Maybe strict Muslims are onto something here. Perhaps this is the secret to the burka. Although they really ought to use it on the guys. 
And I’m thinking that for many guys this could be beneficial to their online dating experience. There are beautiful women out there seeking an attractive match, and maybe they’ll start going, “Oooo… look… He’s got a N95 mask! Swipe right!” 
With the use of Zoom, we could go beyond online dating. We could achieve online marriage, which would have certain advantages, such as “Internet in-laws.” Spam-block that brother-in-law(Read more.)

Soviet War Photographers

From Russia Beyond:
One of the most well known photographs of the World War II period is, of course, ‘Raising a Flag Over the Reichstag’, by Yevgeny Khaldei. In it, we see soldiers hoisting the Soviet flag over the roof of Germany’s parliament. Khaldei was, however, not the only documentarian of the day - there had been other photographers and videographers, who, likewise, braved the entire war and even participated in the fighting, whilst recording it all for posterity. The descendants of photographers Ilya Arons and Valery Ginzburg recently gave their entire archives to the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow. This is what the German capital looked like in the first days of peace following the end of the Second World War. (Read more.)

Unfortunately, they did more than take pictures. From The Conversation:
The Second World War in Europe ended when Nazi Germany signed an unconditional surrender on May 7, 1945. As the Allies gained control over the Western and Eastern Fronts in 1944 and 1945, German soldiers were not the only casualties. Recent historical research has revealed German women and girls were also targets, subjected en masse to a wide range of sexual violence allegedly committed by American, Canadian, British, French and Soviet soldiers.
By the spring of 1945, Nazi Germany was crumbling and the Soviets were racing toward Berlin. The Red Army swept across the Eastern Front, first taking Poland, then East Prussia, Austria and Czechoslovakia. While sexual violence against German civilians was committed by all Allied powers, the Soviet rapes are considered the most prevalent and severe.
The exact number of rapes is unknown, with estimates ranging from tens of thousands to millions. It is clear, however, that this violence was driven in no small part by a desire to exact revenge on the Germans for atrocities committed in the East, including mass sexual violence perpetrated against “non-Aryan” women.
Over the last decade, with only the last survivors still living, there has been a surge of interest within German society in stories of the Soviet rapes. The film Eine Frau in Berlin (“A Woman in Berlin”), released in 2008 and nominated for a German National Film Prize, dramatically represented one journalist’s anonymous diary of her experiences during the fall of Berlin. Another woman, Gabriele Köpp, published the first non-anonymous account of the rapes in 2010. (Read more.)

Monday, May 25, 2020

Sets of 'Belgravia'

From Country Life:
So what are the real residents of Moray Place like? I knock on the door opposite where I am greeted by Elspeth and Tom Bostock, who are only too happy to show me around the secret garden across the street.
‘The thing I enjoyed the most about Belgravia was the horses,’ says Tom. He leads me across the road to the black cast iron gate. ‘They seemed to be a crack team, and also the coaches… these were props, and because of this they didn’t seem to care about them that much!’
The gate swings open and I’m surrounded by immaculate lawn fringed by mature shrubs and tall trees. We crunch across a gravel path and Tom points out the new children’s play area and fixed barbecue. ‘People with dogs and children use it regularly — more so in the summer. They have picnics and sit in the sun.’
Even on a crisp winter morning, as the trees are just beginning to blossom, I can see how special these gardens must be. Tom lives in an apartment, though some of the buildings in Moray Place have returned to single occupancy. Almost all are residential, so a lavish garden party had to be thrown before filming started to get the residents on-side. It seems to have worked, for everyone I meet seems charmed.
‘It was magical really,’ says one of the neighbours. ‘There were people in costume sitting just here on the steps. I hope my cat will be featured because he was certainly trying to be the star of the show!’ (Read more.)

Family Life: A Call to Holiness

From Crux:
Hookup culture communicates a narrative about the meaning of sexual activity - pleasure with no commitments. Its dominance in our cultural imagination makes people believe that this is what everyone desires, even though most research indicates most don’t. Given this dissonance, it seemed logical to start with it.

What is surprising in the hookup essays is the way they connect love and justice, avoiding simple conservative and liberal perspectives. The contributors draw on people’s experiences and found how unhappy they are with hookup culture and how fraught it is with sexual assault. What is missing is a basic sense of justice. Other essays in the book bring a similar attention to justice to sexual relations in dating, marriage, singleness, and gender, and they do so in hopes of more genuinely loving relationships. (Read more.)

The Abydos Landscape

From Ancient Origins:
Ramses II, or the Great (c. 1303– 1213 BC), was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt and is often regarded as the greatest and most powerful pharaoh of the New Kingdom. During recent excavation work carried out at the southwest corner of the Temple of Ramses II in Abydos, archaeologists from the New York University-ISAW , led by Sameh Iskander, discovered the temple’s foundation deposits in niches cut into the walls of the storerooms, including twelve sacrificial votive bulls’ heads and bones dated to the Ptolemaic period.

A November 2019 Ancient Origins article described Abydos as having a “special place” in the sacred landscape of ancient Egypt, and it was an important cult center for Osiris where myths say the supreme god was buried. Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the new archaeological finds were buried in 1279 BC at the time of the construction ceremony and besides the bulls’ heads a complete skeleton of a bull was found carefully buried under the floor of the temple palace.

 According to a report in Ahram, the researchers found 10 large mud-brick storerooms attached to the temple palace, which were originally roofed with vaulted brick ceilings and served the population as granaries (grain stores) and to keep other temple provisions and offerings. They also recovered small copper construction tool models, pottery vessels decorated with hieratic inscriptions, oval shaped quartzite grindstones, food offerings and plaques inscribed with Ramses II's throne name painted in blue or green. (Read more.)

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Mass Paths in Ireland

Fowley’s Falls Mass Path
From Atlas Obscura:
Beginning in the 1690s, the Protestant-controlled Irish Parliament, in conjunction with the English Parliament, passed a series of increasingly stringent, brutally wide-ranging penal laws that imposed serious restrictions on the already oppressed Catholic majority. No Catholic person could vote, or become a lawyer or a judge. They could not own a firearm or serve in the army or navy. They could not set up a school, or teach or be educated abroad. They could not own a horse worth more than £5. They could not speak or read their native Gaelic.

In an attempt to decrease Catholic land holdings, in the early 1700s, a new law prohibited primogeniture, and instead, when an Irish Catholic died, his land was divided among his sons and daughters. But any son who became Protestant could inherit everything. According to one report, Catholics made up 90 percent of the country’s population. A the end of 1703, they owned less than 10 percent of the land.

 Catholic bishops were forced to leave the country. One priest per parish could remain, if he registered with the authorities. The rest were banished, and any who returned would be executed. In 1709, another law was enacted that forced priests to take an oath of abjuration to Protestant Queen Anne. Only 33 priests are recorded to have taken this oath, and the rest had effectively been outlawed. The law also forced people to declare where and when they had attended mass during the prior month, and report any hidden clergy.

These hidden priests held mass in secret, away from watchful eyes. It might be in a shed, or outdoors, with a rock as an altar. Priests sometimes obscured their faces, so if anyone in attendance was later questioned, they could honestly assert they did not know who had led the mass. Priest hunters, who received a bounty for any bishop, priest, or monk they captured, created further peril. Mass attendees were at similar risk. Some walked to mass along streams, to mask their footsteps, while many took these secret mass paths to worship. Penal law reforms began late in the 18th century and continued throughout the 19th century, but it was only in 1920 that the last laws were finally repealed. (Read more.)


The Little Girl Satanist Next Door

When officers entered the restroom, they found the two girls armed with several knives, a pizza cutter, and a knife sharpener. 
Violence in a school is always a matter of great concern. What makes this story especially troubling is the motive of the two girls. They claimed to be Satanists. They admitted their plan to the police. According to a report in USA Today, an affidavit said that, “The plan was to kill at least 1 student but were hoping to kill anywhere from 15-25 students. … Killing all of these students was in hopes it would make them worse sinners ensuring that after they committed suicide … (they) would go to hell so they could be with Satan (sic).” 
According to the article, the girls devised their plan after watching scary movies the previous weekend. Messages on their cellular telephones were scrutinized by detectives, including one that read, “We will leave body parts at the entrance and then we will kill ourselves.” (Read more.)

More parents may homeschool. From Breitbart:
The survey also questioned 2,122 registered voters on the issue of whether parents should be able to use tax dollars designated for education for the schooling of their choice. Among the respondents, 64 percent said they support that idea, including 59 percent of Democrats, 75.2 percent of Republicans, and 60.2 percent of Independents. Of the parents who said they support the concept of school choice, 64.4 percent were white, 67.6 percent were black, 63.4 percent were Hispanic, and 55.5 percent were Asian. Results of the poll appeared on the website of the American Federation for Children (AFC), which promotes school choice. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was chairwoman of AFC prior to her nomination by President Donald Trump.
John Schilling, president of AFC, said in a statement:
Every single family with kids in school has been incredibly disrupted by the lockdowns. With 55 million students no longer in their normal educational setting, families are clearly considering new options and many are seeing the benefits of homeschooling and virtual schooling. Policymakers should note that there is a strong desire to have these and other educational options available to families, with both strong support for the general concept of school choice and even stronger support for a specific federal proposal, Education Freedom Scholarships.
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The Great Pyramid's Pyramidion

From Curiosmos:
According to the history of ancient Egypt, the largest, most impressive pyramid in the history of Egypt was erected by Fourth Dynasty King Khufu, around 4,500 years ago. It is believed that the Fourth Dynasty ruler commissioned the Great Pyramid as his eternal resting place. The suggestion that Khufu is the one who built the pyramid comes mostly from  “gang marks” deep within the pyramid’s chambers and openings, which make reference to Khufu. Other than that, there aren’t any historical records dating back to around 4,500 years ago, which mention how, why, and when the pyramid was built. In fact, the only completely preserved portrait of Pharaoh Khufu is a three-inch high ivory figurine that was discovered during archeological excavations in a temple ruin of a later period at Abydos in 1903. Most of what we do know about the Great Pyramid of Giza is archaeological guesswork.

Of course, archaeological survey of the pyramid in the 19th century revealed a plethora of information we previously had no idea of. The first precision measures of the pyramid were made by Sir Flinders Petrie between 1880 and 1882, and published in his book “The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh.” This fieldwork revealed a great deal of information about the pyramid and its mind-boggling precision. It was found that any of the casing stones and inner chamber blocks of the Great Pyramid fit together with remarkably high precision.


When the pyramid was completed, around 4,500 years ago, it was cased by highly polished white Tura limestone, which made the pyramid shine as bright as a star when the suns’ rays impacted the pyramid.  But what was located on its very summit? Did the Great Pyramid of Giza have a golden capstone located on its top as we have been led to believe through many history books and illustrations of the pyramid? Was the pyramid even pointy towards its top? (Read more.)

More on the great pyramid, HERE. Share

Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Warming Pan Scandal

James Prince of Wales and Queen Mary Beatrice
From Royal Central:
Nevertheless, James Francis Edward was born on 10 June 1688, in London at St James’s Palace. Although Mary did, in fact, give birth to James, notable Protestant nobles quickly spread the rumour that the baby was stillborn and another child was smuggled into her room in a warming pan. It’s not a particularly plausible theory, given the number of witnesses and the limited size of a warming pan. However, it took hold and people repeated and reinforced the rumours again and again. It got to the point that James had over seventy witnesses sign affidavits stating that they saw the birth, but the damage was done. 

The arrival of a Roman Catholic heir quickly instigated the Glorious Revolution, and Mary took the baby and fled to France to avoid any violence and protect him. Prince William of Orange was invited to invade England and landed with troops in November 1688. James eventually fled to France, where he lived out the remainder of his life.  (Read more.)

Patriotism in the Fourth Commandment

From The Catholic Thing:
Civility, civilization, civic, civil: each word has its root in the Latin civis, “citizen.” The grandest of these, civilization – which stands for the collective and binding refinements of a society – means, in essence, life in the “city,” the assumption from ancient times being that it was in the city that one found the best and most developed ideas, institutions, and individuals. 
This derives from a time before “nation” meant much more than “a people,” as in the nation of Israel, an ethno-religious unity. It was to one’s people that one owed allegiance, and “a people” (especially a “chosen people”) was an extension of family relations, with all its intricacies of blood and intimacy. With time, a unified nation such as the United States can be a “city upon a hill,” that is, civilization is no longer just experienced in great metropolitan places. 
Athens and Rome helped transform “people” into “nation,” and gave the West its Greco-Roman view of identity that was later wedded with Jerusalem in the Judeo-Christian tradition. It’s one worth venerating, even loving. But to love anything, you have to know it. To love America, we have to know America. All this is by way of lamenting the lack of love being shown to the glorious and extraordinary history of our nation and the world. To the extent that history is even taught, it’s often as a litany of grievances against those allegedly benighted ancestors who had the impudence not to have been as virtuous and enlightened as we. Education in history today is often splintered into the sort of factionalism that worried Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, and is articulated by them in Federalist Nos. 9 and 10. 
Hamilton (most know of him today thanks only to the $10 bill or Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical) expressed concern that “an infinity of little, jealous, clashing tumultuous commonwealths” would emerge unless we embraced (as Gouverneur Morris would write in the Constitution’s Preamble) “a more perfect Union.” And Madison warned of “a number of citizens. . .united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” (Read more.)

Decoding Gobekli Tepe

From Skeptoid:
The neat thing about Göbekli Tepe is that if you go there, or even just look at pictures of it, there's something immediately weird about it that stands out, and you don't even have to know anything about archaeology to see it. Most of the site looks just the way you'd expect any ancient ruins to appear: the remains of low stone walls showing the outlines of where structures once stood; excavation trenches where archaeologists have exposed these walls; wooden catwalks allowing people to walk around without disturbing the ruins. But scattered everywhere throughout the site is something you've never seen anywhere else: great white monoliths of limestone, most rising higher than the battered old walls, many in excellent condition. They seem desperately out of place, and far too precisely cut to have been associated with the surrounding rubble. They're roughly the dimensions of giant dominos, but slightly T-shaped, with tall stubby arms at the top. Called the T-pillars by archaeologists, they range from under 2m to over 5m in height, and weigh up to 10 metric tons apiece. 
The T-pillars are exquisitely decorated, all in relief — where the image projects outward from the flat surface. Most are depictions of local animals of every variety. A few are even wonderfully rendered three-dimensional sculptures of boars crawling down the side of the T-pillar. The pillars are arranged in circles up to 10 meters in diameter, and inside each circle are the two tallest pillars. Four of these circles have so far been excavated at the site, but the indications are that the site includes at least twenty. This uncertainty is due to what is archaeologically the most surprising thing about Göbekli Tepe, and it's not the pillars: it's that the entire site was deliberately buried with rubble, very soon after completion, and new circles of pillars were built on top of the rubble of previous ones. Thus, when it was first discovered, the site was one giant low mound almost 20 acres in size and some 15m high. Only about 5% of it has been excavated so far. 
The site was first discovered and described in 1963, but little serious work was done until 1994 when it was taken over by Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute, who remained the principal investigator until his death in 2014. Schmidt's most historically significant discovery was one of the earliest: the site's age, determined by radiocarbon dating of wood, charcoal, and animal bones to be 11,500 years ago. Göbekli Tepe was built slightly earlier than 9500 BCE, with an error range of a few centuries. This was at least 6,500 years before the first earthworks at Stonehenge. Until this date was established, previous thinking had been that neolithic populations who subsisted on hunting and gathering would not come together to build great monumental works. Yet the construction of Göbekli Tepe clearly required a lot of workers for a long time, which would require a change in our understanding of the development of human cultures. (Read more.)

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Friday, May 22, 2020

La Belle Époque of France

From The BBC:
Jacques Henri Lartigue, born in 1894 in Courbevoie, was given a camera as a boy by his father at the dawn of the 20th Century. He began taking photographs of his life, including snapshots of his parents; his bedroom; his nanny Dudu throwing a ball up into the air; his brother jumping off a boat. A new book by Louise Baring explores Lartigue's privileged childhood and early career against the backdrop of France's La Belle Époque, an era of political, commercial and creative optimism....He photographed the social parade in the Bois de Boulogne, a large park on the outskirts of Paris, where the fashions of the upper echelons of society were displayed. Other subjects included a woman in furs attracting a covetous glance from a male passer-by; the gleaming lines of a racing car; winter sports in Switzerland; and summers on the beaches of Étretat and Trouville, where, he wrote: 'Nothing hinders my eyes from roaming, drifting endlessly....' (Read more.)

Perpetual Adolescence

Helping young people transition into adulthood used to be a major focus of society as a whole. From Return to Order:
The problem is not the young people themselves. Indeed, many young people have grown up and assumed responsibilities beyond “adulting” forays. However, Sasse cites a growing passivity that is pulling youth down in ways never seen in times past. This passivity is based on a softer perspective on life made easy in times of prosperity. Youth are not being challenged to deal with those important spiritual matters that explore what makes life worth living. The idea of building resumes takes precedence over building character.

The resulting product of this process is “softer parenting.” Children have fewer rites of passage to mark great events in their lives. Sen. Sasse’s list of causes is quite familiar to those engaged in parenting: more medicated children, more screen time, more pornography, less marriage, less religion and community participation. They are also more intellectually fragile and politically correct.
Modern education is one big area of concern. There is a lack of vision and direction that haunts the education establishment founded on the defective theories of John Dewey. Sasse, a former university president, complains of a warehousing system in which students are treated as cogs in a machine. He prefers an organic model in which students are cultivated like plants. The system also throws money at problems in the vain hope that things will get better.

Schools are increasingly reducing everything to technique and testable knowledge. Thus, students have lost the tools of learning that help them resolve problems outside the box. They no longer are oriented toward the good, the true and the beautiful, but rather to a relativism that Notre Dame professor Brad Gregory so expressively calls the “kingdom of whatever.”

Students have a hard time becoming adults, says Sasse, because “we have no definable goal for each child to become an adult.” Instead, there is a piecemeal subject-matter approach “that produces passive rather than active emerging adults.”

Educators like Sasse, have many ideas about fixing the problem. Most involve returning to the basics at an early age. Others are refreshingly original since they address new problems unknown in the past. Sasse recommends, for example, an end to age segregation, those “ghettos” where youth only associate with youth. Everyone gains when young people interact with their elders. The illusion of eternal youth is more difficult when youth connects with the fragility and gentle dignity of age.
Likewise, adolescents need to know about suffering, death and dying. It helps them see that their lives are not perpetual. Teaching children how to suffer early in life provokes questions about life’s meaning and purpose. By learning how to face death, youth can then consider how to die well. (Read more.)

Forgotten Warrior-Saints

From Ancient Origins:
In Bulgaria, a previously unknown medieval church has been unearthed in an abandoned medieval city. It dates from the Second Bulgarian Empire and archaeologists have found some important murals in the church. One fresco, in particular, depicts ‘warriors saints’ has been hailed as a very important find.
This discovery was made by Bulgarian archaeologists working in the ruined medieval city of Cherven, which overlooks the Danube in Northern Bulgaria. It was one of the most dynamic urban centers in the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396 AD). Cherven was originally a Thracian settlement in ancient times and was later an important city in the First Bulgarian Empire until its capture by the Byzantines in the 10 th century AD.
However, it once more flourished after the establishment of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1185 AD. This state eventually dominated an area from the Adriatic to the Black Sea , until it was conquered by the Ottomans in the late 14 th century. (Read more.)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Beauty Eras Worth Studying

From Vogue:
Hairstyles among French women in the 18th century were big, colorful, and creative—and Marie Antoinette’s wigs, created by her hairdresser Léonard Autié, ushered in a trend for ostentatious hair that is fascinating to look at and read. Women used their wigs to communicate messages of political allegiances, marital status, and mood. One of the most famous examples of this is à la Belle Poule, which was the trend for wearing model ships in the hair to show support for French naval battles taking place at the time. People also dressed their hair with live birds in cages, urns with their loved one’s ashes, and vases of fresh flowers in water. Hairstyles provided women with a way of communicating in an era when they didn’t have a voice and their opinions weren’t welcome. However, they were also a prime example of conspicuous consumption and showcasing wealth. The bigger and more elaborate your hairstyle, the richer you were and the less involved with any sense of normal life you were—this wasn’t hair for looking after children or working a job. (Read more.)

Guitars Have No Place at Mass

From Life Site:
When Pope Pius X sought the reform of church music, he had in mind principally its resacralization, its recovery from the worldliness of opera. He wanted to restore a music that was crafted for the church and for her liturgy, a tranquil and soul-searching music that channels attention not to performers but to divine mysteries, fostering an atmosphere of contemplative prayer—a music of many moods and modes, gently and subtly playing upon the emotions, yet always at the service of something greater than itself, something essentially non-emotional: the “rational worship” (logikē latreia) of which St. Paul speaks in the letter to the Romans (12:1). For Paul, the “true circumcision” belongs to those who “worship God in spirit, and glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3). 
The point is this: although our baptized bodies are the temple of the Spirit and we are to worship the Lord with heart and voice, our worship is not at the level of body, it is not a sensual moving and being-moved, but a spiritual sacrifice and adoration served by a well-disciplined body whose passions are chastened, whose emotions are purified.

The glory of truly Catholic sacred music is that it has power to move us, in accord with the dignified “dance” of the liturgy, to an ever-higher love of the Lord with our heart, mind, soul, and strength. It is thus a humble instrument of man’s divinization, his becoming God-like in grace and charity. Music should either help, or at least not hinder, the progressive maturation of the soul in her journey through the Teresian mansions, in her arduous ascent of Mount Carmel, up to the summit, the transforming union, the mystical marriage.

Music that remains stylistically at the level of sensuality, thereby stimulating and supporting “everyday” emotions within the souls of its listeners, is not music fit for divine worship, because it does not help the soul to mature in spiritual dignity, it does not purify the passions and elevate the mind to a more heavenly plane of existence. Indeed, a casual, talkative style of celebrating Mass coupled with a popular musical idiom will give rise to a stunted psyche, an artificially prolonged adolescence of the emotions, out of keeping with the spiritual perfection the Lord intends to impart through the sacred rites and mystic sacraments of the Church. It does not provide the optimal environment for that quieting of the heart, that subsiding of the hyperactive will, which St. Teresa sees as indispensable preparations for the trials and blessings God has in store for souls who persevere through the first three mansions. The soul, she says, has to grow more and more receptive, not getting caught up in a sort of mental activism that makes it nearly impossible for the God who speaks with a “still, small voice” to act sovereignly, on His own initiative. (Read more.)

True or False Obedience

From The Fatima Center:
In the first part of this article, we learned that the virtue of obedience is grouped as one of the virtues which falls under the cardinal virtue of justice. In fact, St. Thomas quoting St. Augustine famously stated, lex injusta non est lex (an unjust law is no law at all). We also explained how there are some situations in which one is not obligated to obey his superior. This, of course, includes unjust laws which do not carry the moral force of true law. Furthermore, there are some situations in which one is obligated not to obey a superior. The most obvious case is when the superior commands something sinful. No one may ever justly command another person to disobey God. And one may never justify his sin before God by claiming ‘I was just being obedient.’ We all recognize this truth in the following simple example. If a father commanded his son to help him steal cars and murder innocent people, the son would actually have to refuse. While he may appear disobedient to his father, the son is actually exercising the true virtue of obedience because he is obeying God and faithfully following the Natural Law. The father might rant and rave, might accuse the son of disobedience, and might even punish him, but the truly obedient son would endure this unjust persecution for the sake of truth, goodness and His love of God. (Read more.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Who Is Queen Mab?

From Barrie's Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, illustrated by Arthur Rackham
From The Imaginative Conservative:
Santayana dedicated some pages to a piece titled “Queen Mab” presumably after the enigmatic faery who is mentioned by Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet.[1] The essay turns into an analysis of British literature, which I take to mean that Santayana saw some form of greater representation in Queen Mab that extended to the wider British psyche. Santayana’s claims regarding British romantic literature, if there is truth in them, add yet another level of genius to Shakespeare, who would have most likely been aware of the duplicity of romance while implementing it in his play. I want first to explain Santayana’s essay—his views regarding British literature—before revisiting the lines where Romeo and Mercutio exchange their thoughts on the meaning of dreams and Queen Mab’s role within them. 
Who is Queen Mab? That is the question this essay will aim to explore. 
Santayana begins his piece by connecting literature to nature. He writes that nature is “far more resourceful than logic,” which is why she has “found a way out the contradiction” that exists between “the human need for expression” and the “British distaste for personal outbursts.” If our inner and outer man oppose each other, then literature is a way to circumvent this contrast. But not all literature is equal. Santayana turns his attention to romantic fiction, which he called a “bypath of expression.” It is a form of literature that is the equivalent of a fleeting phase in our lives, when man plays at “self-revelation” despite being far from it. In Romantic literature man indulges in “day-dreams and romantic transformations” and “imaginary substitutes” for himself as a way to “nurse and develop” his opinions and preferences without stating them directly. Through this form of expression, Santayana writes, man will “dream of what Queen Mab makes other people dream.” 
The sentence needs unpacking. In Santayana’s essay, Queen Mab is England’s literary imagination, but a very specific part of it: the Romantic. And this romantic part of the English literary imagination is a momentary step in our journey towards understanding our hearts. It is, in other words, incomplete. Santayana wrote that a man’s heart, his “ruling motives,” will be revealed “only in long stretches of constant endeavor and faithful habit,” which often comes towards the end of his life. But Queen Mab is still part of the human heart that managed to revolutionize people’s aesthetic sensibilities. British Romanticism elevated man’s self-image. As Santayana wrote, “that which he might have been, and was not, comforts him. Such a form of self-expression, indirect, bashful, and profoundly humorous, being play rather than art, is alone congenial to the British temperament; it is the soul of English literature.” (Read more.)

Whittaker Chambers through the Eyes of Rebecca West

From The National Review:
That is not an achievement we associate with her name. Rebecca West is more likely to be recalled for The Return of the Soldier (1918), an innovative psychological novel; or for Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941), that grand bio-travelogue of Yugoslavia on the cusp of war. Her reports on the Nuremberg trials, and the post-war trials of British fascists, also continue to find readers, especially among students of journalism. West’s writings on Communism, by contrast, lie unread, unsung. Many of them sparked controversy in her own day, and are well worth revisiting in ours. 
In articles, book chapters, and book reviews spanning six decades, she returned to the allure of Communism for educated Westerners. (Its attraction for militant members of the industrial working class was no real puzzle, she said, not least because Marxism deified the proletariat.) Reviewing the second volume of Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago for the Sunday Telegraph, West bitterly recalled that “25 years ago a large part of the Western European and American population of intellectuals were, with disgusting single-mindedness, pimping for Stalin.” 
Decrypting Communism’s appeal, West believed, required paying close attention to the lives of true believers, people such as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Klaus Fuchs, and Alan Nunn May, and also to ex-Communist apostates such as Arthur Koestler and Richard Wright. She drew portraits of them all. But no life to her was more fascinating, and perhaps more revealing, than that of Whittaker Chambers (1901–1961), the Communist, later ex-Communist, informer whose testimony sealed the doom of Alger Hiss. It was in the conduct and words of Chambers that West found a source of longing for Communism that transcended Chambers himself. The context of her discovery was a trial and a book that caused a sensation in early Cold War America. (Read more.)

How the Codfish Started the American Revolution

From The New England Historical Society:
Between 1768 and 1772, fish accounted for 35 percent of all the money New England made overseas. Livestock came in a poor second, at 20 percent. When the American Revolution broke out, 10,000 New Englanders worked as fishermen, or eight percent of the adult male working population. In Massachusetts, Marblehead and Gloucester ranked as the top fishing ports, with Salem, Beverly, Cape Cod, Ipswich and Plymouth heavily engaged in fishing.

The fisheries had a multiplier effect, generating income for people engaged in overseas trade, timbering, shipbuilding, ship rigging, sail making and other waterfront industries. But powerful British plantation owners and fish merchants viewed the colonial fishing fleets as a threat to their own business. In 1733, they began to pressure Parliament to crack down on their colonial competitors. Their increasing success inhibited the New England economy and fomented much of the anger that led to revolution. (Read more.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Touch in the Middle Ages

Swearing fealty in the Middle Ages
From Medievalists:
There are many, many other examples of touching in the feudal relationship. The great French historian Marc Bloch discusses in his Feudal Society (first published in French as La Société Féodale, 1939) how part of the ceremony of fealty was placing one’s hands between one’s lord’s, and how the knightly accolade could be an embrace – “welcome to the family.” Bloch’s book The Royal Touch (Rois et Thaumaturges, 1924) discusses how the touch of the kings of England and France was supposed to cure skin diseases and was seen as a sign of divine appointment. Less gently, Bloch also discusses in Feudal Society how children were slapped at memorable events to fix them in their memories. (Read more.)

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Experts Have Jobs

They need to understand those who do not. From The Washington Post:
The covid-19 divide is a class divide. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report last year on the “job flexibilities” of U.S. employees. Of the top 25 percent of income earners, more than 60 percent can stay home and still do their jobs. Of the bottom 25 percent, fewer than 10 percent can do the same. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said he understands that maintaining these guidelines is “inconvenient.” For many people, they are not just inconvenient; they are life-shattering. Not all of those who work on the front lines or work with their hands are Trump voters — but all understand that it is a luxury to be able to work from home. (Read more.)

An Attack on Greek Heritage

Migrants destroy olive groves. From Greek City Times:
It has been a wild few days on the Greek island of Lesvos. The past few days has seen two gangs of Afghani immigrants battle each other and African immigrants ridicule and cough on police in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, as reported by Greek City Times. However, if these incidences were not enough, 5,000 olives trees were cut from their roots by illegal immigrants from the infamous Moria migrant camp, to the north of Lesvos’ capital city of Mytilene. Olive trees take approximately 65-80 years to reach stable yields, meaning that the destroyed trees are a major blow to the local economy. Olive exports amount to about US$700 million every year to the Greek economy. (Read more.)

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Untold Truth of Mochi Ice Cream

From Mashed:
Mochi ice cream may be a late 20th-century invention, but the idea of pounding sticky rice into flour and then turning that into a sweet or savory pastry case has been around for centuries. Vision Times says Japan's mochi-making tradition could date as far back as 300 BC, when the treat was made with red rice and then served to the Emperor and nobility. Mochi was also made to be presented as a temple offering to the gods.

While mochi is a uniquely Japanese delicacy, it may surprise you to know that the frozen version of the treat is as American as Baskin Robbins. CNN says mochi ice cream was born in a Japanese-American bakery in 1980s Los Angeles. Frances Hashimoto and her husband, Joel Friedman, were running Hashimoto's family business: a fourth-generation family bakery named Mikawaya.

During a trip to Japan, Friedman came across a sweet treat he'd not seen before — a ball of sweet bean paste encased in a glutinous sticky dough. "That treat stuck with me," Friedman told CNN. "I remember thinking it was a cute idea but something wasn't quite right about it. We were already making pastry with mochi, which is rice dough. So we thought, why not make a treat like what I had in Japan. But instead of filling it with bean paste, we'll put in ice cream." (Read more.)

Why We Must Teach Western Civilization

Western civilization, so important to earlier generations, is being ridiculed, abused, and marginalized, often without any coherent response. Of course, today’s non-Western colonizations, such as India’s in Kashmir and China’s in Tibet and Uighurstan, are not included in the sophomores’ concept of imperialism and occupation, which can be done only by the West. The “Amritsar Massacre” only ever refers to the British in the Punjab in 1919, for example, rather than the Indian massacre of ten times the number of people there in 1984. Nor can the positive aspects of the British Empire even be debated any longer, as the closing down of Professor Nigel Biggar’s conferences at Oxford University on the legacy of colonialism eloquently demonstrates. 
We all know the joke that Mahatma Gandhi supposedly made when he was asked what he thought about Western civilization: “I think it might be a good idea.” The gag is apocryphal, in fact, first appearing two decades after his death. But very many people have taken it literally, arguing that there really is no such thing as Western civilization, from ideologues such as Noam Chomsky to the activists of the Rhodes Must Fall movement at Oxford University, who demand the removal from Oriel College of the statue of the benefactor of the Rhodes Scholarships.

Increasingly clamorous demands by African and Asian governments for the restitution of artifacts “stolen” from their countries during colonial periods are another aspect of the attack, an attempt to guilt-shame the West. It also did not help that for eight years before 2016, the United States was led by someone who was constantly searching for aspects of Western behavior for which to apologize. 
This belief that Western civilization is at heart morally defective has recently been exemplified by the New York Times’ inane and wildly historically inaccurate “1619 Project,” which essentially attempts to present the entirety of American history from Plymouth Rock to today solely through the prism of race and slavery. “America Wasn’t a Democracy until Black Americans Made It One” was the headline of one essay in the New York Times Magazine launching the project, alongside “American Capitalism Is Brutal: You Can Trace That to the Plantation” and “How Segregation Caused Your Traffic Jam.” When no fewer than twelve — in the circumstances very brave — American Civil War historians sent a letter itemizing all the myriad factual errors in the project’s founding document, the New York Times refused to print it. Yet the Project plans to create and distribute school curriculums that will “recenter” America’s memory. (Read more.)

From Return to Order:
What is meant by “organic” or “inorganic” can be understood by comparing a living organism, such as a man or an animal, and a machine.
A man and a machine have some things in common. Each is made up of different parts that form a single whole. In both, every part carries out a function which contributes to the common purpose of each. 
Yet, despite these analogies, the differences between the two are so great that one could almost call them unfathomable. The principal difference is that the machine is inert, static and dead; the organism is warm, agile and alive.

We can compare this difference in the following ways:
I – The movements of the organs of a living body come from the life present in them; they spring from the very depths of their being. The parts of a machine are unable to move by themselves. All their movements must come from outside. They do not actually move but are moved. (Read more.)