Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Afternoon Tea at The Franklin

From Country Life:
For those lucky enough to have tickets to the Victoria & Albert museum’s Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition, there’s another treat in store, waiting just around the corner at The Franklin. This boutique hotel has launched a Dior-inspired afternoon tea, to be enjoyed immediately before or after the exhibition — or just for its own sake.
Monsieur Dior himself would surely have approved of The Franklin’s discreet and elegant townhouse setting, monochrome Anouska Hempel-designed interiors and contrasting, beautiful floral displays, brought in especially for the experience. He was, after all, particularly fond of flowers and garden design. 
Just like the blooms, the set menu is unashamedly feminine and French-inspired. The brainchild of Michelin-starred chef Alfredo Russo, you’ll start with delicate finger sandwiches, savoury éclairs and, our favourite, a choux pastry profiterole, stuffed with foie gras and strawberry jam. It’s been named ‘the train to Montecatini’, a reference to Dior’s rumoured last meal of an entire foie gras. 
The nostalgia continues into the sweet course — a selection of beautifully curated, sugary treats that look almost too good to eat. Almost. 
The hotel brought in luxury event planners La Fête to help with the staging; petits four sit pretty in an empty make-up palette; a concoction of peanut sponge and chocolate cream is served with vaporised Calvados, housed in a replica J’Adore perfume bottle; lemon pink macaroons preside over the whole thing from miniature Louis French chairs. (Read more.)

The Middle East is Losing More and More Christians

From FSSPX News:
“The Middle East is being emptied of its Christians,” lamented the Maronite bishops gathered in a meeting from June 10-15, 2019 at the patriarchal headquarters in Bkerke, northeast of Beirut, Lebanon. With the exception of Lebanon, the other countries in the region are experiencing a “hemorrhaging” of Christians. (Read more.)

From The Christian Post:
Brunson is the evangelical Presbyterian missionary to Turkey, who spent two years in a Turkish prison. He was falsely accused of being part of a failed coup attempt against that country’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The charges against Brunson resulting in his unjust imprisonment triggered a war of words and diplomatic struggles between Turkey and the U.S. Government. 
North Carolina U.S. Senator Thom Tillis visited Brunson in prison and diligently worked and advocated for the missionary’s release from prison. Since Brunson was not only an American citizen, but a North Carolinian, the Christian Action League initiated and lobbied for a resolution from the North Carolina House and a Senatorial statement from the state Senate, calling on Turkish officials to free Brunson. The House passed the resolution unanimously, and 48 out of 50 Senate members signed the Senatorial statement. (Currently, the North Carolina Senate does not adopt resolutions, but only Senatorial statements.) 
Brunson made his remarks about the coming of persecution for American Christians during an interview at the Western Conservative Summit, held every year by the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University. (Read more.) 

The Technology of Kindness

From Scientific American:
Yet technology, and the Internet in particular, are not inherently antisocial. They can sap our empathy, but used differently, they could become a world-sized magnifying glass for our better angels. Many corners of the Internet already allow people to broaden their empathy and share collective goodwill. Researchers are pinpointing the ingredients of positive technology. If they become the norm, the future of life online will be kinder than its past. Internet platforms must heed this evidence, and their users must demand them to do so.\ 
People’s ability to connect is the glue that holds our culture together. By thinning out our interactions and splintering our media landscape, the Internet has taken away the common ground we need to understand one another. Each of us is becoming more confident about our own world just as it drifts farther from the worlds of others. Empathy requires us to understand that even people who disagree with us have a lived experience as deep as our own. But in the fractured landscape of social media, we have little choice but to see the other side as obtuse, dishonest or both. Unless we reverse this trend and revive empathy, we have little chance of mending the tears in our social fabric. (Read more.)

Monday, August 19, 2019

Sunflowers in Art

Sunflowers by Monet
Sunflowers by Van Gogh
From Victorian Trading Company Blog:
Arguably best known for his sunflowers, there was one Vincent van Gogh thought better. That painter was Claude Monet. In a letter to his brother, van Gogh wrote: “[Paul] Gauguin was telling me the other day that he had seen a picture by Claude Monet of sunflowers in a large Japanese vase, very fine, but – he likes mine better. I don’t agree.” Will you? For many Victorian artists captured the blooms to canvas and each is as unique as the flowers themselves. (Read more.)

Not Just Epstein

From The Conservative Review:
 Sex trafficking, especially of children, is a diabolical scourge that still affects the modern world, but the depth and scope of this evil are worse than you probably imagine, South African filmmaker and anti-trafficking activist Jaco Booyens told LevinTV host Mark Levin on Sunday night’s episode of Life, Liberty & Levin on Fox News.

Booyens recalled how his sister became a victim of sex trafficking when they were growing up in South Africa, which made the issue very personal for him. “I didn’t jump on a bandwagon by reading a book or a movement that I felt led to,” the filmmaker explained. “It was dire.”

Booyens’ sister — now Ilonka Deaton — was trafficked through corporate South Africa over the course of six years, he explained. He added that while his sister eventually came home, “It was a long, very painful journey that seldom has that outcome.”

“What is the typical outcome?” Levin asked.

“Death. The average lifespan of a child that’s trafficked is seven years. Because with it comes addiction, physical abuse, emotional abuse; suicide rate is through the ceiling, because how do you get out?” Booyens explained.

Shockingly, the United States leads the world with the lowest average age of trafficking victims: 12, Booyens says. He also says notes that an child trafficking victim in the United States will bring a pimp $200,000 to $250,000 per year tax-free: “Now you have a real problem — a real problem. Because now, like I say, the demons come out. Because there’s so many takers.”

And those takers come from all walks of life. While Booyens said that he’s glad that the high-profile arrest of billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein put attention on the issue of sex trafficking, he has a big problem with the what he sees as a widespread assumption that supporting the sex slave market is only a problem among the ultra-wealthy. (Read more.)

Meanwhile, Epstein has died. From The Daily Wire:
"Six days on a suicide watch, prison officials reportedly removed it. Prison officials, guided by who? What self-respecting psychiatrist would say, 'okay, he's no longer suicidal,'" Siegel concluded. "There was evidence on July 23rd that he may have done something to his neck, or someone did ... suddenly six days later he waves his hand, says he's fine, and he's put in an area where ultimately he's unobserved — because as you know, people fall asleep and they falsify records reportedly." (Read more.)

A Secret History of Royal Palaces

As usual, what they say about Marie-Antoinette is not true. The Queen bathed not once a month but several times a week. She was known for her meticulous cleanliness and she made Louis bathe frequently, too. From History:
A 1675 report offered this assessment of the Louvre Palace in Paris: “On the grand staircases” and “behind the doors and almost everywhere one sees there a mass of excrement, one smells a thousand unbearable stenches caused by calls of nature which everyone goes to do there every day.” 
According to historian Alison Weir, author of Henry VIII: The King and his Court, the fastidious Henry VIII “waged a constant battle against the dirt, dust, and smells that were unavoidable when so many people lived in one establishment,” which was fairly unusual for the time. The king slept on a bed surrounded by furs to keep small creatures and vermin away, and visitors were warned not to “wipe or rub their hands upon none arras [tapestries] of the King’s whereby they might be hurted.” (Read more.)

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Art of Ilya Repin

From Apollo:
Sofia Alexeyevna ruled Russia as regent with iron hand from 1682 to 1689. After Peter I came of age to take the throne, she withdrew to the Novodevichy Convent; ten years later, when the tsar was absent from the country, members of the Russian military attempted to reinstate her. This historical portrait by Repin depicts the would-be tsarina a year after this rebellion had been crushed, with the corpse of an insurgent suspended in front of Sophia’s window. (Read more.)

Motherhood: The Most Stress-Ridden Career

Sometimes it seems like the whole world has conspired to make it harder for mothers. From Intellectual Takeout:
Not only is the unrealistic expectation to facilitate totally risk-free childhoods wearing mothers out and making them an easy target for spectators. Children are going mad being pent up indoors, enclosed in small backyards, plugged into technology and buckled up in seatbelts. This could even be contributing to the rise in ADHD.

It’s a vicious cycle. When we deny our children “the luxury of being unnoticed, of being left alone,” we surely are heightening the risks of things like childhood obesity, anxiety, screen addictions, depression and loneliness. Creating a restricted, censored and cottonwool-wrapped climate for our children is far more likely to give rise to these things than if we allow a little risk-taking.

Here in Australia, it is illegal across every state to leave a child unattended in a car for any length of time. In Victoria, my home state, penalties range from fines of $3,690 to up to six months jail time. By law, a parent is committing a crime each time he or she leaves their children in the car in order to do something so simple as pay for fuel.

What if it might be the safer option to leave the kids in the car sometimes? Perhaps there’s a busy road to cross to reach the bakery, or the car park’s full of reversing vehicles to navigate small children through. The situation of leaving a child in a car has been catastrophised to such an extreme that responsible mothers making sensible decisions are in danger of being incarcerated.

And we wonder why so many mums flock back to work soon after having a baby. Or why post-natal depression is on the rise. Why should they take on the doomed-to-failure social prescription for their role, and risk being made into social pariahs at every turn? Especially when their monumental efforts in child-raising otherwise goes largely unrecognised? (Read more.)

From Return to Order:
 The Marxists believe this family vision is an illusion. The family is a source of oppression. Thus, Lewis’ deconstruction of the private family turns it into a den for molestation, abuse, depression, humiliation and loneliness. The family is guilty of social crimes that include gender-straitjacketing, racial programming and instilling bourgeois values.

Indeed, Lewis insists upon The Communist Manifesto and its demand for the “abolition of the family.” She believes that pregnant women become “instruments of production” for men, and children become their property. What makes this exploitation possible is the mother-child bond that creates the illusion that children belong to parents. Lewis’ solution is to turn mothers into “gestators.” Surrogate gestation will create collective responsibility for children and dissolve all into a classless society of equality.

People like Lewis understand the true role of the mother and family in an ordered Christian society. They also understand why destroying maternal and familial bonds is so important to further the aims of today’s post-Marxist revolution. (Read more.)