Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Etiquette of the Victorian Ballroom

From Mimi Matthews:
Not every man who attended a ball during the nineteenth century did so with a lady on his arm. Some attendees were young, single gentlemen. For them, a ball was the perfect place to practice their dancing, polish their conversation skills, and meet eligible young ladies.  It was also a place which required gentlemen to obey strict rules of etiquette.  These rules are far too numerous to cover in a single article. Instead, I’ve gathered twenty tips from various Victorian etiquette books addressing the basics of ballroom etiquette for single gentlemen. (Read more.)

Hermeneutic of Discontinuity

From Crisis:
When it comes to the “hermeneutic of discontinuity,” I lived the experience. Yet, despite the poverty of my personal liturgical roots, I’m convinced that things aren’t really as bad as some people today might think, in terms of the pre-Vatican II vs. post-Vatican II liturgical-music landscapes.

No. They’re actually worse.

Why? Because the narrative is not really as simple as saying “we really had our liturgical-music act together before the Council, and after the Council everything collapsed.” Rather, the more historically accurate narrative sounds like: “we really had only taken the first few baby-steps toward getting our liturgical-music act together in the decades before the Council, and then after the Council everything collapsed.”

It might be fairer to say that after the Council everything certainly changed, if not collapsed. Or at least that one specific change caused one particular collapse. I’m referring to the seismic shift in liturgical music that arose from the largely unrestrained embrace of the “vernacular” in the liturgy. (Read more.)

The Dancing Plague

From The Everything Tudor Blog:
A 1642 Engraving by Hendrik Hondius portrays women affected by the plague.nExactly how many died is unknown. A chronicle made at the time stated that 15 people a day were dying in the punishing summer heat. The victims hardly ever paused to eat, drink or rest.Only in Late August did the epidemic slow down and stop leaving many bereaved and others fearful. This is not the only case of the dancing plague in history. The first recorded outbreak was in 1017 in a Saxon town. In the 14th century there was a contagion of thousands which began in the Rhineland and the dance spread rapidly. The victims screamed with pain as they danced unwillingly to their deaths. (Read more.)
I thought I recalled that the dancing mania was connected to the Andersen story of the Red Shoes and so researched it. To quote:
 For between 4 to 6 days, Frau Troffea danced day and night.  Despite suffering from complete exhaustion, she could not rest.  By the end of the week, 34 people had joined her and within a month about 400 men and women were tearing their way through Strasbourg in this non-stop frenzied dance.  Many of the exhausted dancers died, often due to heart attacks and strokes, their bodies continuing to make jerking movements even in their final death throes.

Physicians consulted by the city’s authorities ruled out astrological or supernatural causes and instead put the cause down to a natural disease which they called “hot blood”.  Oddly enough their remedy was to keep the dancers in perpetual motion as they believed that the citizens would only recover if they danced continuously.  To this end it was decided to open up two of the city’s guildhalls and the grain market and to erect a wooden stage, all to encourage and facilitate the dancers.  Musicians were even hired to accompany them.

In a last desperate attempt at a cure, the dancers were loaded onto three large wagons and taken to the shrine of St Vitus near Saverne. Priests were employed to say mass for each group.  After paying a donation of one pfenning, each of the dancers was given a gift of a cross and a pair of red shoes which had been sprinkled with holy oil.  Led around the altar in groups, the priest made the sign of the cross over the soles and tops of the shoes and sprinkled holy water on the afflicted men and women. Mysteriously as it had begun, the epidemic ended.  The fate of the first dancer, Frau Troffea is not known but she had initiated the last, most famous and largest outbreak of the dancing plague. (Read more.)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Queen of Kalahari

The best diamond. From Departures:
Diamond mining. The very words have some, well, conflict. The precious stones, first discovered in India in the fourth century B.C., are born 90 to 125 miles deep in the earth’s mantle, packed in kimberlite and lamproite, and cooked for a billion or so years under tremendous heat and pressure. Kimberlite magma funnels them up toward the surface, and then they’re blown from rock with artfully placed dynamite. Then the drama really starts.

Although diamonds were first mined in India, it was the diamonds discovered in Kimberley, South Africa, in 1866 that established the modern diamond era. And when Cecil Rhodes founded De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited in 1888, he also established the modern diamond market. In fact, by 1900, De Beers was responsible for approximately 90 percent of the rough diamonds cut in the world.
Toward the end of the 20th century, De Beers fielded competition from Rio Tinto Diamonds and Alrosa and diamonds were discovered in the former Soviet Union and in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. But in 1975, Angola, with many newly active mines, gained independence from Portugal, and diamonds went from being “a girl’s best friend” to a $4 billion down payment on a civil war. Indeed, an estimated 15 percent of diamonds purchased in the 1990s were conflict diamonds, stones originally sold for illegal and unethical gain. Today, thanks in large part to the United Nations Kimberley Process, a certification system initiated in 2000 and now adopted by 81 countries, that number has shrunk to less than 1 percent.

“Believe me, I want people to fall in love with a great stone first, then feel good about where it came from,” Scheufele says. “I first started thinking about this with gold when we introduced fair-mined gold in 2013. I believe this is where we are going as an industry. We will be like the car industry, the food industry—where this transparency will be imposed by governments. We at Chopard want to be early.” She twiddles her diamond necklace. The stones are from Botswana, by the way. “This is the new normal.”
(Read more.)

Creating Chaos

Camille Paglia decries the media frenzy against Trump. From Zero Hedge:
Fresh off a spirited panel with Christina Hoff Sommers hosted by the Independent Women's Forum, the iconic feminist dissident, who serves as a professor of media studies at the University of the Arts, accused journalists of colluding with the Democratic Party in an effort to damage the Trump administration.
"Democrats are doing this in collusion with the media obviously, because they just want to create chaos," she said when asked to comment on the aforementioned stories.

"They want to completely obliterate any sense that the Trump administration is making any progress on anything."
The popular author, whose latest book was released in March, pointed to early struggles experienced by previous presidential administrations to illustrate the media's bias against Trump. "Obama's administration for the first six months was chaos," Paglia recalled. "Bill Clinton's was chaos for six months. Nobody holds that against a new person."
"Those two guys had actually been politicians!" she continued, noting Trump's relative inexperience with government operations.
Paglia's assessment of media bias in the Trump era leaves little room for optimism.
"I am appalled at the behavior of the media," she declared. "It's the collapse of journalism."
As the Examiner reported in April, Paglia, who cast her ballot for Jill Stein last November, is predicting Trump will win re-election in 2020.
"I feel like the Democrats have overplayed their hand," she said at the time.
Though the news cycle has moved through plenty of additional scandals in the past month, it appears as though Paglia's assessment of the president's prospects has not changed. "I'm looking forward to voting Democrat again," the acclaimed philosopher explained. "But the point is I feel that the media has so utterly lost its credibility that I think people are going to vote against the media again." (Read more.)

Liturgical Music is a Prayer

Stephanie Mann explains exactly the reasons why I have trouble listening to chant in the car or as background music at dinner. It is music for praying the sacred liturgy; it is not recreation. From The National Catholic Register:
Because my interest in the history of the English Reformation, I have collected recordings of the Masses and motets of Robert White, Robert Parsons, Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, and Peter Phillips. Several of the professional choirs have made recordings to highlight the historical context of these composers’ careers as they struggled to remain Catholic in England when celebrating the Mass, assisting a priest, and denying that the monarch was the head of the Church were all felony crimes. Tallis and Byrd were so talented that Elizabeth I seems to have ignored their dissent from her Church of England, but Peter Philips, in exile on the Continent, was arrested and imprisoned by English authorities suspecting him of conspiring against her. I’ve written more about these recordings here.
I try not to listen to Gregorian chant or other liturgical music as though it is background music. Readers might remember the “Gregorian Chant for Relaxation” CDs issued after the great success of the recordings by the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silo in the mid-1990’s. Gregorian chant was promoted as calming and perfect for meditation, Christian or otherwise. One critic commented on an anniversary re-release of the CDs:

. . . this is music for reflection, calming down, re-fueling and getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life--which may be even more needed now than they were 10 years ago. Texts are not supplied and you won't need them; it's all about reverence and mood. Doing nothing but listening to this in 25-minute chunks will allow your breathing to slow and re-energize you. Each 55-minute CD will probably put you to sleep--and this isn't meant as a criticism.”(Emphasis added)

Since the Latin Biblical texts are the reason that chant exists, saying that they’re not necessary demonstrates a real misuse of this liturgical music. A listener should not be lulled to sleep listening to chant: she should be awakened and inspired to prayer and devotion. On the other hand, I don’t want to respond to this music as though I’m in a concert hall, applauding a performance. (Read more.)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Modest Wedding Gowns

They are making a comeback. People forget that bridal gowns for a religious marriage ceremony are a liturgical costume and are not something that would be worn at the opera or a night club or the Mardi Gras ball. But when many women now wear only one formal gown for one day in their life, they lean in the direction of sexy and sensational. They forget the sacred aspect of the nuptial bond. From Country Living:
For several seasons, "naked" or "sexy" wedding dresses have ruled the bridal fashion world. Aisles were inundated with illusion panels, flirty hemlines, plunging necks, and barely-there bodices that showed a little—OK, a lot—of skin. Sure, they were sexy and daring, but they also had more, shall-we-say conservative brides wondering, "What will Grandma think?" Luckily for those ladies, it looks like the naked dress is trending no more. During Spring 2018 Bridal Fashion Week, designers debuted covered-up creations that recall a more traditional time, while still feeling fresh and modern.

As the New York Times notes, now, it's all about the long sleeves, high necklines, full-skirted ball gowns, and capelets or jackets. Think Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Kate Middleton. While today's wedding dresses might still play with a strapless or V-neck or even a high slit here and there, for the most part they're modest, compensating with coverage elsewhere.

Below, we've gathered some of the most iconic wedding dresses of yesteryear, along with some more modern gowns, all of which are all classy, contemporary, and chic—and 100 percent Grandma-approved. (Read more.)

History of the Habsburg Dynasty

Where did the Habsburg dynasty come from? To quote:

Guntram had a grandson named Radbot. Radbot and his brother (or brother-in-law) Werner, bishop of Strasburg and friend of emperor Henry II, decided to build a stronghold in the centre of family estates in today’s north Switzerland. It was named Habitschburg. The name was soon changed and since 1090 descendants of Radbot have been using name von Habsburg. After centuries the image of the clan did not fit into with the modest residency, which did not even have solid defensive walls. Therefore words of reprimand were put into Werner’s mouth, pointed at Radbot - that the latter had not taken care of it. The ancestor of the Habsburgs allegedly responded that he would construct fortifications even within one night. And in fact, when Werner woke up, the whole town was surrounded by footmen as if they were wall itself and beween them there were horsemen set in the shape of towers.

Through another age the Habsburgs expanded their lands at the frontier of Switzerland, France and Germany, constructed castles, towns and monasteries. They controlled communication routes in the Alps, including St Gotthard Pass where they constructed a bridge, which bolstered the importance of the said pass. This way they became very wealthy. Their subjects made money on trade and manufacturing, additionaly toll was a permanent source of income.

The wealthy lords who controlled the strategic route between Germany and Italy caught attention of the emperors. The more that in 1212 the count of Habsburg was able to gather more money for the monarch than the most powerful liege lords of German Reich. Emperor Frederick returned a favour, becoming a godfather of Rudolf Habrburg, born in 1218.

Rudolf started ruling over the county after death of his godfather during Great Interregnum in Reich. In those circumstances Rudolf proved to be ruthless warrior that was feared by everyone in the region. He took significant part of his possessions by force from other members of his clan. During conflict with bishop of Basel, he did not hesitate to attack the town at night and burn the monastery for which he was temporarily excommunicated by the pope. When in 1273 German electors gathered in order to choose the ruler, powerful clans were checking one another, not letting their competitors win. So it was agreed upon to choose someone who would not constitute a threat.

Archbishop of Mainz and count of Palatinate advocated the candidature of Rudolf of Habsburg. The electors took this suggestion up. A 55 year old Rudolf did not have enough predial support to oppose the great liege lords and his “old” age seemed to guarantee that his reign would be episodic.

The electors had contradictory desires. They wanted to have a ruler who would be weaker than them but strong enough to usher new laws and recover lands that had been taken away during the Interregnum. Austria was the most important of them all. It was legacy of the Babenbergs whose line became extinct in 1246, it had been taken by king Ottokar II of Bohemia. Being upset upon the results of the election, Ottokar wrote letters to the Curia in which he demonstrated his hostility towards Rudolf, calling him “poor count”. Allegedly he even ordered poison from Styrian witch, which he was to use to poison Rudolf. Habsburg declared war on king Ottokar. He gained support of the pope who even gave him the whole tithe that had been gathered in Germany. Through marriages Rudolf managed to win the favour of powerful noblemen of the Reich. In 1276 he took Austria basically without fight. Ottokar paid him liege homage at the gates of Vienna. The ceremony took place in a tent but when Ottokar was kneeling before Rudolf, the walls fell down.The troops could see powerful king at the feet of “poor count”. Ottokar lost the lands of the Babenbergs. When two years later he tried to recover them, he was defeated during The Battle on the Marchfeld.

Rudolf and his son Albert settled the situation in Austria and reconciled the liege lords. They expanded the privileges of Vienna and favoured economic development. In 1282 they obtained official confirmation of their rights as Dukes of Austria from the Parliament of German Reich. And so ever since Austria became a basis of the political and material power of the Habsburg clan. The family was even being identified with the land - just like in famous motto: “Leave the waging of wars to others! But you, happy Austria, marry.”

Although the Habsburgs did not have a single drop of the Babenbergs’ blood in their veins, they linked their genealogy to their own through the ages, treating the Babenbergs like their own ancestors.

Rudolf cared for his subjects’ safety. He was tall and well-built, did not like pomp, was moderate in eating and drinking. He was also kind towards people. He was an epitome of patriarch and fair judge. Any other medieval ruler (except Charlemagne) was not a protagonist of so many anecdotes and tales. One of them says that when Rudolf met a priest who was carrying Blessed Sacrament, he gave him his horse and when during the coronation there was no scepter, he took crucifix off the wall and used it. (Read more.)

What Everyone Gets Wrong About the Hobbit

From The Art of Manliness:
For Tolkien, nothing in this world — not its culture, knowledge, assumptions, and expectations, nor its rocks, trees, and people — was entirely as it seemed. Hidden behind what the poet P.B. Shelley called “the veil of familiarity” existed other layers and dimensions. While such realms cannot normally be seen with the eye, they are sensed through poignant pangs of longing for something more — the occasional, fleeting feeling of being on the threshold of something greater.

Not enough people, Tolkien felt, had the imagination to consider this idea seriously, nor the courage to follow their longing beyond the surface of things. The average bloke was like the Bagginses of The Hobbit, where you know what he “would say on any question without the bother of asking him.” Most folks don’t attempt to draw back the curtain on another realm of meaning — can’t be bothered to penetrate the conventional, comfortable, respectable notions of the way things are in order to discover deeper truths.

For Tolkien, those important truths included the idea that all of life — whether in suburbia or on an actual battlefield — constitutes an epic, heroic clash between good and evil, dark and light; that everyone’s choices, no matter how “little” of a person they are, matter; and that each individual’s small story is part of a larger, cosmic narrative. Everyone has a part to play and a pilgrimage to make — not necessarily a physical journey, but a moral and spiritual one.

Tolkien further believed that reading myths was one of the surest ways to begin such a journey. In myths one finds fantastical explanations of who we are, how we got here, and what we’re capable of. Such stories, Tolkien held, are filled with echoes of Truth with a capital T – “a sudden glimpse of the underlying reality” that was truer than anything strictly factual. A good myth, in departing from reality, paradoxically helps us rediscover it — reminding us that beneath the blandness and busyness of our day-to-day lives, lies heroic and mythic potential. (Read more.)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Russian Windows

From East of the Sun, West of the Moon. Share

The Silent Tragedy

From Victoria Prooday:
Today’s children are being deprived of the fundamentals of a healthy childhood, such as:
  • Emotionally available parents
  • Clearly defined limits and guidance
  • Responsibilities
  • Balanced nutrition and adequate sleep
  • Movement and outdoors
  • Creative play, social interaction, opportunities for unstructured times and boredom
Instead, children are being served with:
  • Digitally distracted parents
  • Indulgent parents who let kids “Rule the world”
  • Sense of entitlement rather than responsibility
  • Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition
  • Sedentary indoor lifestyle
  • Endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification, and absence of dull moments
Could anyone imagine that it is possible to raise a healthy generation in such an unhealthy environment? Of course not! There are no shortcuts to parenting, and we can’t trick human nature. As we see, the outcomes are devastating. Our children pay for the loss of well-balanced childhood with their emotional well-being. (Read more.)

Birthplace of Mankind

From The Telegraph:
The discovery of the creature, named Graecopithecus freybergi, and nicknameded ‘El Graeco' by scientists, proves our ancestors were already starting to evolve in Europe 200,000 years before the earliest African hominid. An international team of researchers say the findings entirely change the beginning of human history and place the last common ancestor of both chimpanzees and humans - the so-called Missing Link - in the Mediterranean region.

At that time climate change had turned Eastern Europe into an open savannah which forced apes to find new food sources, sparking a shift towards bipedalism, the researchers believe. “This study changes the ideas related to the knowledge about the time and the place of the first steps of the humankind,” said Professor Nikolai Spassov from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. “Graecopithecus is not an ape. He is a member of the tribe of hominins and the direct ancestor of homo.

“The food of the Graecopithecus was related to the rather dry and hard savannah vegetation, unlike that of the recent great apes which are living in forests.  Therefore, like humans, he has wide molars and thick enamel. (Read more.)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Louis XVIII at Hartwell House

Louis XVIII is shown walking in the park of Hartwell House during his English exile.


Feminization of the Middle Class

From True Pundit:
The percentage of young men making between $30,000 and $100,000 a year drastically decreased from 1975 to 2015, according to April analysis from the US Census Bureau.

Forty-one percent of all men aged 25 to 34 have incomes less than $30,000 today, up from 25 percent in 1975. Men making more than $100,000 a year increased from 3 percent to 8 percent over the same time period. The rise in men making less than $30,000 and in men making more than $100,000 comes at the expense of the middle, according to the report.

Men making between $30,000 and $59,999 fell 14 percent, from 49 percent to 35 percent. While young men have been pressured by a rise in automation and the outsourcing of middle class manufacturing jobs, the median income of young women has risen significantly over the same four decades. Women aged 25 to 34 who were working saw their incomes rise from $23,000 to $29,000 from 1975 to 2015, according to the report.

Female-dominated professions are among the fastest growing in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs in the healthcare industry, including occupational therapists, home care aides and nurses are some of the most in-demand professions in the country.

The report measured four common experiences that researchers have historically used to signify the transition of adulthood: leaving home, work, marriage, and parenthood. In 1975, 45 percent of those aged 25 to 34 checked all four boxes, the most common combination of the four milestones. 22 percent fulfilled three of the milestones, but did not work outside of the home (oftentimes a married mother).

Today, the experiences of that same age group are much more diverse. While still the most common combination, only 25 percent of those aged 25 to 34 meet all four milestones, compared to the 45 percent in 1975. The second most common combination in 2015 includes living away from home and working without children or a spouse, with close to 25 percent fitting this combination.

With the rise in automation and availability of cheap labor overseas, young men are increasingly forced into lower paying, service industry jobs. One industry that is expected to be hit hard in the coming decade is the trucking industry, where 3.5 million truckers, many of them male, are expected to be replaced by self-driving vehicles. (Read more.)

Anne Boleyn and the "Querelle des Femmes"

From Alison Weir:
Sarah Gristwood’s research, which she generously shared with me, encompassed the ‘querelle des femmes’ (‘the woman question’), an intellectual and literary debate that questioned traditional concepts of women and called for them to enjoy equality with men. Nowadays, we call this feminism, but even if the word did not exist then, the concept did. Many scholars use the term ‘Renaissance feminism’. In the 16th century, all the arguments for equality of the sexes were in place. This debate was lively in Europe, where Anne Boleyn spent her formative years at the beginning of the century. This was an age of female rulers and thinkers, and in the royal women she served, Anne had two shining examples before her: Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands; and Marguerite of Valois, Duchess of Alençon. In my novel, Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession, I have portrayed Anne in this European context, because we cannot hope to understand her without being aware of the early cultural influences to which she was exposed.
As a young – and no doubt impressionable – teenager, Anne served at the court of Margaret of Austria, regent of the Netherlands, between 1513 and 1514. Margaret’s library included the works of the influential French poet and author Christine de Pizan (1364–c1430), Europe’s first professional female writer. At that time, women were regarded as inferior in every way to men. For a female to question her role in this male-dominated world, in which women were legally infants, was revolutionary.
Christine de Pizan had become famous for daring to say that the celebrated poem, Le Roman de la Rose, slandered women, portraying them all as seductresses. In 1405, she published her most famous work, The Book of the City of Ladies, the first book written about women by a woman, and one of the earliest examples of feminist literature. The book was an attack on stereotypical, misogynistic perceptions of women by male historians of the time. It celebrated female achievements throughout history, and advised women how to counter masculine prejudice and negative portrayals of their sex. Christine de Pizan concluded that patriarchal attitudes hampered women achieving their full potential.
 “Not all men share the opinion that it is bad for women to be educated,” she wrote, “but it is very true that many foolish men have claimed this because it displeased them that women knew more than they did.” This must have come as a revelation in an age when most women were taught that men, by the natural law of things, were the cleverer sex. But Christine de Pizan disagreed. “Just as women's bodies are softer than men's, so their understanding is sharper. If it were customary to send girls to school and teach them the same subjects as are taught to boys, they would learn just as fully and would understand the subtleties of all arts and sciences. As for those who state that it is thanks to a woman, the lady Eve, that man was expelled from paradise, my answer would be that man has gained far more through Mary than he ever lost through Eve.” (Read more.)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Coronation Souvenir Programme

We had one of these at my house when I was growing up. I would look at it all the time. I wish I knew what became of it. Share

Why Salman Abedi Hated Us

From Spiked:
Salman Abedi was a British Libyan. So am I. His parents were given refuge in the UK, and so were mine. His grandparents and great grandparents were saved from German and Italian fascists by the sacrifice of British soldiers, as were mine. Details are now emerging that suggest Abedi fought in the Libyan revolution alongside his father. If true, then he will have depended for his life upon the actions of British, French and American airforces.

Abedi was not disenfranchised. He was not rejected by British society. He was taught to reject and hate it, despite everything it gave him and his family. His older sister has reportedly said that Abedi was looking for ‘revenge’ for the ‘ill-treatment’ of Muslims in the UK and Syria. This is the circular logic of the Islamist victimhood narrative that almost every Muslim growing up in the UK will have been exposed to at one time or another. Western governments, and therefore Western societies, are to blame for all instances of intervention in Muslim majority countries, and are equally culpable should they fail to intervene.

Manchester and Birmingham are home to some of the most militant Islamists in the UK. They mingle and operate throughout local Muslim communities with relative impunity, and maintain networks up and down the M1 motorway to London. They also have a significant presence online with which they extend their influence globally. At the level of propaganda, at least, they’re not an underground movement. They are out in the open.

While living safely under Britain’s rule of law, they nonetheless view British society as beneath contempt. They don’t want to be part of it, and they teach people like Salman Abedi that it’s a mortal sin for them to want to be part of it. Anything that happens to a Muslim anywhere in the world, once passed through the Islamist victimhood filter, becomes an anti-Muslim act for which the guilty must be punished. And so it seems that Abedi’s actions were the result of this solipsistic staple of Islamist indoctrination. In a country, and a city, where young men run the risk of falling prey to knife crime, Abedi interpreted the stabbing of a friend as an anti-Muslim ‘hate crime’, and swore revenge on the society around him.

Those who look down their noses at the rise of nationalist sentiment in Europe have never lived cheek by jowl with people who hate their adopted country the way British Islamists do. (Read more.)

The Collapse of Parenting

Sax: The first thing is to teach humility, which is now the most un-American of virtues. When I meet with kids I ask them what they think it is and they literally have no idea. I’ve done that from third grade through 12th grade. The high school kids are more clueless than the third-graders. They have been indoctrinated in their own awesomeness with no understanding of how this culture of bloated self-esteem leads to resentment. I see it. I see the girl who was told how amazing she was who is now resentful at age 25 because she’s working in a cubicle for a low wage and she’s written two novels and she can’t get an agent. The second thing is to enjoy the time with your child. Don’t multitask. Get outdoors with your child. The last thing: Teach the meaning of life. It cannot be just about getting a good job. It’s not just about achievement. It’s about who you are as a human being. You must have an answer.(Read more.)

Read more here:


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Marie-Thérèse with Louis XVIII

Marie-Thérèse, Duchesse d'Angoulême, is shown seated at the side of her uncle Louis XVIII, as first lady of France. Behind her stands the Duc d'Angoulême, his father the Comte d'Artois, known as  Monsieur, Louis-Philippe d'Orléans, and Talleyrand. Although women could not inherit the crown, the Duchesse occupied a unique position not only as wife of the heir but as the only surviving daughter of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. The painting depicts the presentation of the infant Henri de Bordeaux to the officers of the military by his mother, Caroline Duchesse de Berry. 


Papal Audience

From The Telegraph:
Both the First Lady, Melania Trump, and the First Daughter, Ivanka Trump, accompanied the President to the high-profile engagement, and both chose to honour the traditional Vatican dress codes by wearing black, long sleeved dresses and veils - the former even choosing to honour her host nation by wearing Italian label Dolce and Gabbana. It was a somewhat unexpected move, especially given recent news that Pope Francis is keen to relax the strict dress codes to which women must conform to when attending private papal audiences. (Read more.)
Mrs. Trump and President Trump in the Sistine Chapel


Children Prefer Books

From The Conversation:
There is a common perception that children are more likely to read if it is on a device such as an iPad or Kindles. But new research shows that this is not necessarily the case. In a study of children in Year 4 and 6, those who had regular access to devices with eReading capability (such as Kindles, iPads and mobile phones) did not tend to use their devices for reading - and this was the case even when they were daily book readers. Research also found that the more devices a child had access to, the less they read in general. It suggests that providing children with eReading devices can actually inhibit their reading, and that paper books are often still preferred by young people. These findings match previous research which looked at how teenagers prefer to read. This research found that while some students enjoyed reading books on devices, the majority of students with access to these technologies did not use them regularly for this purpose. Importantly, the most avid book readers did not frequently read books on screens. (Read more.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

8 Ways to Simplify Each Day

From Sarah Laughland, actress and photographer:
 I know this seems like such a trivial one, but think about it. How much money do you spend on paper towels? Cloth towels absorb more, can stick around for years and turn into retro looks (Mom—I’m looking at you), and look way cuter in your kitchen. I keep a single roll of paper towels (biodegradable, if possible) around just in case. By only having one, I conserve and use them when absolutely necessary....

We spritz a bit of cleaner on our counters and call it a day. Well, I don’t know about you, but my food often sits on my counter and I surely don’t want to ingest what I just used to “clean” those surfaces. Powerful cleaners are for powerful messes, so what about your daily messes? Counters, sinks, toilets. Vinegar. I’m not kidding. Vinegar and then a wipe of lemon. It’s amazing. Clogged toilet? Vinegar & Baking Soda. It works like a dream. Pour some baking soda and hot water in the bowl, let it sit, then flush it down. You can buy vinegar in big jugs as well–so now you’ve cut costs, cut wasteful containers, and avoided toxic chemicals. Triple wins are the best. (Read more.)

This Time They Came for Our Children

From PJ Media:
But this time it was teenage girls -- our children -- in that Manchester audience, murdered by a suicide bomber. If he had been more successful gaining entry, he might have killed several hundreds of them instead of, at this writing, only 19.

Have we learned anything?  Is this finally going to be enough?  Will we at last wake up?  You tell me that the next time you drop your young daughter off at a rock concert you're going to feel comfortable.  Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, libertarian, or ladeedah, you're going to have heart palpitations, I promise you.

Politicians blather on about how these terrorists are "cowards."  No, they're not.  Nothing cowardly about killing yourself for your vision of god, insane as it might be.  What they are is maniacally evil, the same kind of evil that marched innocents into gas chambers in the 1940s.  If you don't confront it, it goes on and on, just as happened then.

So what do we do about it?

Begin with this:

Ban the word "Islamophobia" from the English language.  It's the biggest lie of our time, invented to distract from the obvious  truth:  Islam has a monumental problem with the modern world that affects all of us.  Egypt's al-Sisi knows it.  Saudi King Salman seems now to know it.  Only the "useful idiots" in the Western left deny this blatant reality.  ISIS, al-Qaeda, and their ilk are the clear perpetrators, but the so-called liberals and progressives -- in their endless morally narcissistic virtue signaling -- are their enablers, actually their unindicted co-conspirators.  It's time we should indict them. (Read more.)

A Viking Camp Discovered

From RT:
Archaeologists have uncovered an enormous Viking encampment in eastern England, a discovery that reveals much about the Norse armies that invaded Britain in the 9th century. The new study by the universities of York and Sheffield shows that the Torksey camp on the River Trent in Lincolnshire was larger than most contemporary towns. Home to thousands of Viking warriors and their families, a force much larger than previously believed, the Norsemen are thought to have wintered in the area before launching a larger invasion.

“The Vikings had previously often raided exposed coastal monasteries and returned to Scandinavia in winter, but in the later 9th century they came in larger numbers, and decided to stay,” Professor Julian Richards from the University of York said. “This sent a very clear message that they now planned not only to loot and raid – but to control and conquer.” (Read more.)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

To Save the West

From Intel Huxley:
Europe and Christianity can not just be severed at the hip without a massive fallout. Why is this? Because Europe was built on the back of Christianity, even Rome herself was saved from massive degeneracy and filth by Christian values. Do not fall for the prideful lie that we can simply remove the cornerstone of European civilisation and not face any consequences. God will withdraw his blessings and you can see the fruit of that today.

Even from a purely practical standpoint, Islam has been the barbarian at the gates of Europe virtually since its inception. Only now, without the strong in-group that Christianity creates, has Islam seemingly positioned itself in such a way as looking to dominate where it had only failed in the past. Look at what our nations have turned into, yet people who complain about this plight still run further from the faith, some even blame Christianity for the very degeneration caused by its absence; the height of absurdity!

The only thing that is going to roll back the devastating changes that the west is undergoing, is a radical returning to Christ, and with it a total resurgence of Christianity. (Read more.)

On the Danger of Removing or Destroying Historical Monuments

It began during the French Revolution, when they demolished the statues of the kings. The Communists perfected the trend of removing unpleasant reminders of Russia's imperial past, which spread from the taking down of statues to the erasure of politically incorrect persons from history books. By altering the historical record, Marxists and other revolutionaries have sought to control society. Erasing history transforms citizens into slaves, for their past has been stolen.

According to Matt Walsh:
The city of New Orleans completed its purge of its own history last week when a statue of Robert E. Lee was torn down. Throngs of historically illiterate people stood by and cheered as a monument to one of this country’s greatest generals was destroyed. On social media, many more applauded the move, demonstrating a level of disrespect and contempt for General Lee that his enemies on the battlefield did not even have. When General Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, the victors treated Lee and his men with dignity and honor. It took 150 years for Lee to become nothing but a cowardly, racist traitor, as he’s been described by the noted historians on Twitter.

I have long been of the opinion that one must refrain from forming concrete opinions of historical events and historical figures if one has never read a history book. And if the pitchfork mob would stop for a moment to read a book about Robert E. Lee, they would learn that he was far from the slobbering, slave-owning, treasonous bigot they make him out to be. Indeed, Lee never purchased a single slave. The slaves he inherited from his wife’s family, he freed long before the end of the war. Lee considered slavery to be a “moral and political evil,” which means he condemned it in harsher terms than even many of his northern counterparts ever did.

No, he did not consider the black race to be completely equal to the white race, but — contrary to the cartoonish portrayal of the Northern warriors for racial equality that you get from public schools — hardly anybody on either side believed in true racial equality. Lincoln thought the black race to be in every way inferior (“I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races”), but, rather than enslaving them, he preferred shipping them all back to Africa. Lincoln also did not favor fighting a war to end slavery (“If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it”), and in that way his opinion of the peculiar institution was practically identical to Robert E. Lee’s. (Read more.)

Eighteenth-Century Undergarments

A primer on shifts, stays, panniers, pockets, stockings and garters. To quote:
Stockings then and now are pretty much the same in shape but not in materials since they could be made of woven as well as knitted silk or wool. My favourite part of 18th century stockings is the over-the-top decoration and the bright colours these people wore (and here I am with a closet full of black and grey clothes!). Since (obviously) there was no spandex back in the day, you had to use garters (ribbon or tape) to keep the stockings in place, and of course those must have a little colourful party too with embroideries, gilded threads, knitted materials, satin colours and phrases and monograms. (Read more.)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Icon of the Martyrs of the Royal Family

I could not figure out who was portrayed in this icon at first glance. It is a Russian-style icon depicting Louis XVI, Louis XVII, Marie-Antoinette, and Madame Elisabeth. It is interesting to remember that Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette became friends with the Tsarevitch Paul and the Grand Duchess Marie when they visited France in the 1780's. The future Tsar and his wife were also greatly impressed by the virtue of Madame Elisabeth. There are people who accuse me of trying to make saints out of Louis and Antoinette but it seems I am not the only one. Actually, it is my intention merely to show how their Catholic faith gave them strength, which other authors tend to ignore. I personally believe that they displayed heroic virtue at their deaths, but the final decision lies with the Church. But God can glorify whomever He chooses. Share

Bill Nye, the Eugenics Guy

From The American Thinker:
The season finale of pop scientist Bill Nye's new Netflix show "Bill Nye Saves the World" suggested that the government should punish people who have too many children, for the sake of the environment.

"The average Nigerian emits 0.1 metric tons of carbon annually," noted Nye's guest, Dr. Travis Rieder. "How many does the average American emit? Sixteen metric tons." Rieder said Americans having an average of two children are "waaaay more problematic" than Nigerians having seven when it comes to preventing global warming.

"Should we have policies that penalize people for having extra kids in the developed world?" Nye asked.

“I do think we should at least consider it," Rieder said. Nye pushed him even further.
"Well, ‘at least consider it' is like, ‘do it,'" he opined.

The other two guests pushed back, however, pointing out that what Nye and Rieder were proposing came dangerously close to the eugenics policies of America's past, which ending up disproportionately targeting poor women and minorities. (Read more.)

The Pope vs the Nazis

From The National Catholic Register:
In modern times, many seem eager to believe anything and everything negative regarding the Catholic Church, regardless of how bizarre the legend or conspiracy theory may be. One such theory is the supposed complicity of the Vatican and other influential Catholics toward Hitler’s Nazi regime. Of course, such a position completely collapses under the weight of solid historical investigation performed in such books as The Myth of Hitler's Pope: Pope Pius XII and His Secret War Against Nazi Germany by Rabbi David G. Dalin; Hitler, the War, and the Pope by Ronald Rychlak; and Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History by Rodney Stark.

In word and deed, both Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII were devastating opponents of Nazism, and the issuance of Mit brennender Sorge—largely written by the future Pius XII and issued during the reign of Pius XI—was the philosophical hallmark of that opposition to Nazism. By 1937, Pope Pius XI wanted to address the situation directly to German Catholics. Since this would be completely impossible, he did the next best thing. He issued this encyclical, whose title translates into English as “With burning anxiety.”

There were a number of unique aspects of the encyclical. First, its unique and original authorship in German was a sign of solidarity with faithful Catholics in Germany and as a reminder of exactly who the encyclical was holding in contempt. Second, Mit brennender Sorge exhibited something rarely seen in papal documents: anger. Consider the following passage:

The experiences of these last years have fixed responsibilities and laid bare intrigues, which from the outset only aimed at a war of extermination. In the furrows, where We tried to sow the seed of a sincere peace, other men - the ‘enemy’ of Holy Scripture — oversowed the cockle of distrust, unrest, hatred, defamation, of a determined hostility overt or veiled, fed from many sources and wielding many tools, against Christ and His Church. They, and they alone with their accomplices, silent or vociferous, are today responsible, should the storm of religious war, instead of the rainbow of peace, blacken the German skies.
(Read more.)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Poetry in Bloom

From Victoria:
Botanical illustration is concerned with naturalistic studies of flowers, while botanical art embraces a much broader range of interpretation. Illustration defines, educates, and often is used to enhance or exemplify the written word. Botanical illustration is a specialized art—a world of beauty in which the nature of the subject matter is fascinating and ever-changing....Working with flowering plants requires patience, perseverance, and a certain amount of ingenuity in order to keep up with nature. Maintaining specimens long enough to complete drawings is a fundamental concern, and I am often driven to search for more samples. There are occasions when I have had to wait to complete a painting until the next year, or season.(Read more.)

Two Cardinals Speak

From the National Catholic Register:
Cardinal Caffarra, who helped found the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in 1981, began by explaining that human history has always been a tale of confrontation between two forces: “The force of attraction,” that is the wounded Heart of the Crucified Risen One, and the “power of Satan,” the father of lies, the “murderer from the beginning” who seeks to extinguish truth in the heart of man.

This area of confrontation, the cardinal continued, is being fought in an interior and exterior dimension: within both the human heart and human culture.

He made clear that the Lord’s force of attraction “can only take effect on those who ‘are from the truth’ — those “profoundly available to the Truth, who love the truth, who live in familiarity with it.”
But “there is no truth” in Satan, he added, who seeks to kill truth in the heart of man by “inducing” him to unbelief. He is constantly refusing the truth; his action in society is to oppose the truth. “Satan is this refusal,” the cardinal remarked. “He is this opposition.”

Satan is therefore always working against the Lord’s strong force of attraction to Himself, seeking to “neutralize” it. And this battle within the human heart becomes manifest in society and culture, leading to “the culture of the truth and the culture of the lie.” (Read more.)

From CNS News:
In what he called "portentous times" for the Catholic Church and for the world, Cardinal Sarah condemned same-sex marriage, transgender bathroom laws, and attacks on the family as "demonic".
“All manner of immorality is not only accepted and tolerated today in advanced societies, it is even promoted as a social good,” the African cardinal said. “The result is hostility to Christians and increasingly, religious persecution.”

“This is not an ideological war between competing ideas,” Sarah told the D.C. gathering. “This is about defending ourselves, children and future generations from the demonic idolatry that says children do not need mothers and fathers. It denies human nature and wants to cut off an entire generation from God.”

“The entire world looks to you, waiting and praying to see what America resolves on the present unprecedented challenges the world faces today. Such is your influence and responsibility,” said the archbishop emeritus of Conakry, Guinea.

“I encourage you to truly make use of the freedom willed by your founding fathers lest you lose it,” he warned his American audience.

Quoting St. John Paul II that “the future of the world and the Church pass through the family,” Sarah pointed out that “this is why the Holy Father openly and vigorously defends Church teaching on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, reproductive technologies, the education of children, and much more.”

“The generous and responsible love of spouses made visible through the self-giving of parents who welcome children as a gift of God makes love visible in our generation. It makes present the perfect charity of eternity. ‘If you see charity, you see the Trinity,’ wrote St. Augustine,” the cardinal noted. However, a broken family can also be the source of deep psychological wounds, he said.

 “The rupture of the foundational relationship of someone’s life through separation, divorce or distorted imposters of the family such as co-habitation or same-sex unions is a deep wound that closes the heart to self-giving love into death, and even leads to cynicism and despair. These situations cause damage to the little children through inflicting upon them deep existential doubt about love….

"This is why the devil is so intent on destroying the family. If the family is destroyed, we lose our God-given anthropological foundations, and so find it more difficult to welcome the saving good news of Jesus Christ: self-giving, fruitful love.” (Read more.)

A Defense of Beauty

From Crisis:
Culture means life. And for life to be truly flourishing in a teleological sense, Greek, Roman, traditional Jewish and Christian philosophy, always affirmed beauty as an integral aspect of the good life. In his masterpiece, Enneads, Plotinus opened his most famous section—on beauty—by writing, “Beauty addresses itself chiefly to sight; but there is a beauty for the hearing too, as in certain combinations of words and in all kinds of music, for melodies and cadences are beautiful; and minds that lift themselves above the realm of sense to a higher order are aware of beauty in the conduct of life, in actions, in character, in the pursuits of the intellect; and there is the beauty of the virtues. What loftier beauty there may be, yet, our argument will bring to light.” (Read more.)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Life in Color

From Southern Lady:
For Jayne Morgan, art was always a part of life, but it wasn’t until she was filling out college applications that she realized the hobby she had excelled at throughout her childhood could become a rewarding career. Sitting at the family computer with her father, she wondered aloud what she should choose for her major, and without hesitation, he responded, “Art.”

“My dad’s mom was an artist—not professionally, but she painted—and she died when he was young, so I think he saw that side of her in me,” Jayne says of her father’s instrumental role in her success. She started out at the University of Alabama, but soon began craving an education more immersed in the artistic realm and transferred to Savannah College of Art and Design. (Read more.)

Abortion Reversal

From American Thinker:
An American Thinker article last year described early results of abortion pill reversal therapy using progesterone.  Currently, more than 600 women have been treated with progesterone protocols to reverse the abortion pill, and the latest results of a new study (currently under review) by George Delgado and others of 600 women from the APR program show that 60-70% of pregnancies survive when the best protocols for abortion pill reversal are used. It has been known since the 1980s that some early pregnancies survive RU-486.  A new analysis of the original mifepristone literature in a second article by Davenport, Delgado, Harrison, and Khauv estimates the embryo survival rate after mifepristone, with current medical abortion doses, to be in the range of 25%.  This is important, because the large difference between 60-70% survival with progesterone reversal and the 25% survival rate if a woman just takes the mifepristone, omits misoprostol (the second drug in abortion protocols), and just waits means that progesterone reversal is an effective therapy.  Although abortion advocates have asserted that the more than 300 babies who are alive with progesterone therapy would have survived anyway, these new studies demonstrate that the progesterone therapy made the difference between life and death for these pregnancies. (Read more.)


Communion on the Tongue

From LifeSite:
Bishop Robert Morlino of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin has asked his entire diocese to begin receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, while kneeling, by next fall so as to increase “reverence” for the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The bishop made his request at the conclusion of his homily at the April 11 Chrism Mass, where oils are consecrated for use in administering sacraments in parishes throughout the diocese.

"I’m going to ask that we move together towards greater reverence when receiving Holy Communion. I’m going to ask that people be encouraged to receive Communion on the tongue and kneeling," he said near the end of his homily.

"There is no question that Communion on the tongue is more reverent. And it doesn’t lend itself to a casual kind of behavior. I’m going to ask, beginning in the Fall, that our students are taught to receive Communion on the tongue," he added.

Until the 1960s, Catholics around the world received Communion kneeling and on the tongue. The practice of Communion in the hand grew out of a disobedience that can be traced back to Holland. Because of the widespread abuse of receiving in the hand, Pope Paul VI granted an indult for the practice in a 1969 letter from the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship.

Brent King, the Madison diocese's director of communications, told LifeSiteNews that receiving Communion the traditional way, kneeling and on the tongue, increases reverence due to an “outward posture” of lowering the body which can translate to an “inward disposition” of humbling oneself before God.

In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul wrote that “at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow.” 
King said if “we’re kneeling, we’re showing a reverence to what we actually believe, that the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ is present in the host.” (Read more.)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Azalea City

From Southern Lady:
The people of Mobile, Alabama, have a way of cherishing the past while building upon it for the future. From restored hotels to revamped gardens, this South Alabama city continues to delight and amaze visitors with its history, Southern charm, and reverence for nature. The state’s third-largest metropolis sits on Mobile Bay along the Gulf Coast, where it has served as a military stronghold and a thriving port of call for generations. But Mobile’s roots run deeper than its roles in historic battles or commerce. Indeed, the master gardeners who reside within its county lines are legendary. (Read more.)


From American Thinker:
During the last eight years, the far left and their cohorts in the Democratic Party were successfully on their way to transforming our Constitutional Republic from a country of laws into a country of men. They arrogantly believed the last election was theirs to be had with Hillary Clinton at the helm to continue Obama's legacy of "leading from behind." Their mission is the "transformation of our free market, our sovereignty, and our culture to a Socialist/Communist New World Order. They didn't count on billionaire Donald Trump, who had never before held office, to throw a wrench into their radical agenda by injecting himself into our body politic, and in return they are waging a relentless coup to have him removed from office.

They have termed this coup "The Resistance" and with the aid of our activist judicial system, educational institutions, Hollywood, the press, and social media; they are leading a full blown war against President Trump on various fronts. With the aid of the propaganda media establishment, akin to the old Soviet Union's Pravda, they proudly obstruct President Trump's every move. Their aim is impeachment, but to impeach they need to have grounds; thus, they have concocted a conspiracy theory of Russian collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians without a shred of evidence to support that theory.

Not a day goes by without an accusation by Democrats in search of a crime. When President Trump used an Executive Order to initiate his travel ban from countries known to be hotbeds of Islamic terrorism, the Left used the courts to stop his ban from taking effect. Although President Trump had the statutory authority to execute the ban pursuant to section 1182(f) and 1185 (a) of Title 8, they succeeded in halting the ban by filing their lawsuits in Federal District Court within the far left 9th Circuit (the most overturned court in the country), dominated by Clinton and Obama appointed judges, well known for its judicial activism and disregard of Constitutional principles. Consequently, Muslim refugees who cannot be vetted for lack of documentation continue to stream onto our shores and increase the risk of terror attacks on the mainland.

Currently the left is up in arms over the firing of former FBI Director, James Comey. The ACLU recently announced they will lead an investigation into the firing; yet not a word was heard from the ACLU when Bill Clinton fired FBI Director, William Sessions in 1993. It was only a few months ago when the likes of Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid called for Comey's resignation. Socialist Maxine Waters from the left leaning state of California stated just a few days ago " I don't support Trump firing Comey, I would support Hillary Clinton firing Comey."  What we are witnessing is a schizophrenic narrative and a Democratic Party meltdown.

And if that isn't enough, our college campuses are actively silencing those who support President Trump with physical assaults, threats, and intimidation. Institutions of learning should provide an environment for the free exchange of ideas, but instead, young Conservatives are threatened with poor grades should they express support for President Trump and his conservative agenda. There is no diversity of thought on today's college campuses. It is fascism and group think that has taken root and those who differ are singled out as outcasts to be ridiculed and shunned at best or physically and verbally assaulted at worst. (Read more.)

From Townhall:
 This is a coup against us. It’s a coordinated campaign by liberals and their allies in the bureaucracy and media to once and for all ensure their perpetual rule over us. We need to fight it, here and now, so we don’t have to fight it down at the bottom of this slippery slope. It’s brazen. It’s bold. It’s insulting to our intelligence. They aren’t even trying to hide their lies anymore. Truth is irrelevant; this is a choreographed dance routine and everyone has his moves. Call it Breakin’ 2: Electric Leakaroo, except instead of trying to save the community center they’re trying to save their power and prestige.

To buy the media narrative on this latest Russian nonsense, you must believe:

1. That whatever was revealed was super-secret, though we don’t know exactly what it was. When in doubt, assume it’s on par with the nuclear codes!

2. That there was no good reason to share this info with Russia, like coordinating our fight against our joint enemy or to prevent another Russian airliner massacre. Because why would we want another power fighting ISIS or civilians not to be blown out of the sky?

3. That LTG McMaster, who literally wrote the book on soldiers standing up to misbehaving civilian leaders and displayed immense personal courage in battle, turned chicken and sat there silently as Trump monologued about this unknown mystery info of doomsday-level import.

4. That LTG McMaster lied on camera. Twice. And that Secretary of State Tillerson lied too.

5. That random anonymous sources in an intelligence community that hates Trump with a burning passion must be believed without question, though we don’t know their identities or their motives.

6. That these anonymous randos must be believed, even though they were not actually in the room to, you know, actually hear what happened. The traditional bar on hearsay is apparently now just a bourgeois conceit.

7. That when the Washington Post and the rest of the media publishes classified stuff (including intelligence provided by allies) leaked by anyone not named “Donald Trump,” it’s awesome. (Read more.)

How to Land an Agent

For Indie authors. From Jane Friedman:
If your self-publishing effort has resulted in some recognition or sales, then you should query agents just as you would for an unpublished work, but mention in your query what success you’ve enjoyed with the project. It’s important to note when you released the book, what price it’s selling at, how many copies you’ve sold, how many reviews you have on Amazon or Goodreads, and your average rating. Do not send a copy of the book with your query. Instead, wait for the agent to indicate in their response what they’d like to see—the first chapter? First 50 pages? The entire book? Be prepared to send the work in manuscript format if requested.

If interested, the agent will closely scrutinize the work on Amazon and Goodreads—and probably thoroughly research your online presence—so make sure that you’ve spiffed up your website and are putting your best professional face forward. (Read more.)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

At the Time of Her Marriage

Madame Royale, daughter of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.


Why the Church Is In Decline in America

From Church Pop:
The influx of immigrants from Latin America hides the number decline. Even with this influx, every measurable indicator is down: baptisms, confirmations, marriages, priestly ordinations, numbers of men’s and women’s religious, children in parochial schools and religion programs. It is grim.

How did we get here?

The major error was ditching the transcendent. We domesticated God. We became functional Arians. (This doesn’t mean racist, that would be Aryans.) It means we act as if Jesus was merely human, that He is a guru, self-help teacher, social worker extraordinaire.

To be sure, I am not talking about every parish. But as a Church in this country, we took our eyes off the ball.

Mass started looking less like the worship of God and more like a pep rally. Our churches stopped looking Catholic and were overrun by iconoclasts. We went from churches that exuded Catholic belief visually, to ubiquitous ‘sacred spaces’ that looked more like theaters.

Some places ran with the theater aspect. Worship transformed to entertainment. What I got out of it became much more important than what I put into it.

By ripping out the transcendent heart out of worship, we reduced Mass. It is little wonder that belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist plummeted. It is little wonder that priestly vocations plummeted. While the generation that ushered these things love them, the subsequent generations fled in droves.

With worship emptied of the transcendent, Catholic life soon followed. Devotional life in parishes dried up. Parish churches became Mass stations. It has been heartening to see a rise in Eucharistic Adoration.

With the focus off the transcendent, awareness also plummeted. Confession lines disappeared. Families shrunk as we started contracepting ourselves out of existence. The loud din of children gave way to seas of gray. Accommodation of the secular culture went largely unchallenged. Causes replaced action. The works of mercy declined as a false idea of social justice rose in its place. (Read more.)