Friday, May 31, 2019

Fêtes Galantes 2019

Some of the costumes are rather grotesque but some are authentic. To clarify the text, Marie-Antoinette was the wife of Louis XVI, while Madame de Pompadour was the mistress of Louis XV. From EuroNews:
A costume party at the Palace of Versailles gave 630 guests the chance to realise their 18th-century dreams on Monday night. The annual event attracts lovers of fashion and history alike from across the globe. "We really feel like we're living in the time, in the 18th century, and people look so nice. It's really great to see people dressed in fine costumes. Everyone's playing a character, and I really like it" said 45-year old Isabelle Lapeyre. 
This year's theme "Marie-Antoinette and fashion" gave guests the opportunity to indulge in the decadence of the controversial queen's lifestyle. Visits to the private chambers of Louis XIV and Marie-Antoinette were organised, along with a trip to the apartments of Madame Pompadour, Louis's mistress. 
37-year old hairdresser from Texas who has always admired French fashion had wanted to attend the party for a long time. "It's a dream. Where we're from, we're from Houston, Texas - we don't have a lot of events that cater to this style of clothing, so this was always a dream for us to come here, and we finally made it happen" he said. 
Guests paid between €150-€510 for the event. Activities included Baroque dance lessons and guided visits with the highest paying attendees being treated to a private concert in the queen's room. The finale of the evening featured a grand closing ball, followed by a fireworks display over the palace gardens. The Palace of Versailles is one of France's most notable historic sites. Viewed by the French as both a hallmark of their culture and a symbol of the flagrant injustice of the monarchy, the palace attracts more than 8 million visitors every year. (Read more.)

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The False Premise of Naomi Wolf

From New York Magazine:
In the pantheon of nightmares, somewhere between “falling into an endless pit” and “back at high school but naked” is “going on national radio and learning, on-air, that the book you wrote and is to be published in two weeks is premised on a misunderstanding.” Naomi Wolf, unfortunately, is living that nightmare.

When she went on BBC radio on Thursday, Wolf, the author of Vagina and the forthcoming Outrages: Sex, Censorship, and the Criminalization of Love, probably expected to discuss the historical revelations she’d uncovered her book. But during the interview, broadcaster Matthew Sweet read to Wolf the definition of “death recorded,” a 19th-century English legal term. “Death recorded” means that a convict was pardoned for his crimes rather than given the death sentence. Wolf thought the term meant execution.

There’s a shocking silence on-air after Sweet says he doesn’t think Wolf is right about the executions Outrages delves into. Sweet looks at the case of Thomas Silver, who, Wolf wrote in her book, “was actually executed for committing sodomy. The boy was indicted for unnatural offense, guilty, death recorded.” Silver, as Sweet points out, was not executed.

“What is your understanding of what ‘death recorded’ means?” Wolf asked him on-air, mere moments after he had already explained to her how Old Bailey, London’s main criminal court up until 1913, defined it. Sweet pulled up his own research — news reports and prison records — showing the date that Thomas Silver was discharged.

Death recorded, he says, “was a category that was created in 1823 that allowed judges to abstain from pronouncing a sentence of death on any capital convict whom they considered to be a fit subject for pardon.” And then the blow: “I don’t think any of the executions you’ve identified here actually happened.”

Before Sweet delivered the punch, Wolf was audibly ready to speak about the “several dozen” similar executions she noted in her book, many of which rely on her completely wrong understanding of the term “death recorded.” But there is no historical evidence that shows anyone was ever executed for sodomy during the Victorian era, Sweet said on Twitter. Which means … much of the premise of Wolf’s entire book is just false. (Read more.)

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Shame on Mueller

From Alan Dershowitz at The Hill:
The statement by special counsel Robert Mueller in a Wednesday press conference that “if we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime we would have said that” is worse than the statement made by then FBI Director James Comey regarding Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign. Comey declared in a July 2016 press conference that “although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive highly classified information.”

Comey was universally criticized for going beyond his responsibility to state whether there was sufficient evidence to indict Clinton. Mueller, however, did even more. He went beyond the conclusion of his report and gave a political gift to Democrats in Congress who are seeking to institute impeachment proceedings against President Trump. By implying that President Trump might have committed obstruction of justice, Mueller effectively invited Democrats to institute impeachment proceedings. Obstruction of justice is a “high crime and misdemeanor” which, under the Constitution, authorizes impeachment and removal of the president.

Until today, I have defended Mueller against the accusations that he is a partisan. I did not believe that he personally favored either the Democrats or the Republicans, or had a point of view on whether President Trump should be impeached. But I have now changed my mind. By putting his thumb, indeed his elbow, on the scale of justice in favor of impeachment based on obstruction of justice, Mueller has revealed his partisan bias. He also has distorted the critical role of a prosecutor in our justice system. (Read more.)

From The Federalist:
If there were any doubts about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s political intentions, his unprecedented press conference on Wednesday should put them all to rest. As he made abundantly clear during his doddering reading of a prepared statement that repeatedly contradicted itself, Mueller had no interest in the equal application of the rule of law. He gave the game, and his nakedly political intentions, away repeatedly throughout his statement.

“It is important that the office’s written work speak for itself,” Mueller said, referring to his office’s 448-page report. Mueller’s report was released to the public by Attorney General William Barr nearly six weeks ago. The entire report, minus limited redactions required by law, has been publicly available, pored through, and dissected. Its contents have been discussed ad nauseum in print and on television. The report has been speaking for itself since April 18, when it was released. 
If it’s important for the work to speak for itself, then why did Mueller schedule a press conference in which he would speak for it weeks after it was released? The statement, given the venue in which it was provided, is self-refuting.  Let’s start with the Mueller team’s unique take on the nature of a prosecutor’s job. The standard American view of justice, affirmed and enforced by the U.S. Constitution, is that all are presumed innocent absent conviction by a jury of a specific charge of criminal wrongdoing. That is, the natural legal state of an individual in this country is innocence. It is not a state or a nature bestowed by cops or attorneys. Innocence is not granted by unelected bureaucrats or federal prosecutors.(Read more.)

The Most Radical Call

From Catholic Exchange:
To be a saint is the most radical call of all. It is a call to abandon ourselves freely in self-emptying love to God and our neighbor. It is to relinquish our hold on this world so that we may enter freely into the next. In becoming a saint, we are called to give God everything. We can hold nothing back from Him.

In this abandonment, we learn to live in faith, hope, and charity as we become the person God created us to be. It is in giving ourselves completely to God that we are re-made and we enter into the joy He desires to give to us.

The demands God’s love places on us can be very difficult at times. We are fallen human beings who face weaknesses, temptations, trials, illness, and character defects that make our journey arduous. Even when we think we are making progress, we find ourselves slipping and losing ground. It is in these times that we come to depend on God more fully. We see how we are made strong in our weaknesses, as St. Paul reminds us. (Read more.)

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Tolkien (2019)

From Charlotte Allen at Quillette:
Travers is scarcely the only critic to have decried screenwriters David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford’s effort to turn the young Tolkien into a human-size Frodo. The Tolkien estate refused to have anything to do with this project. Several critics have noted that Tolkien omits all reference to Tolkien’s Catholic faith, so intense and meaningful to him even as a young man that he persuaded his wife-to-be, Edith (a very elven Lily Collins in the movie), to convert—reluctantly—to Catholicism before the two married. Catholicism in Tolkien consists solely of Tolkien’s officious if well-meaning legal guardian, Father Francis (Colm Meaney), a meddlesome priest who orders Tolkien to break up with the distracting Edith, at least until he reaches maturity. But the absence of any role in this film for Tolkien’s religiosity is more a symptom than a cause.

Tolkien tries its best to pay due respect to its protagonist’s gifts as a linguist and scholar of arcane medieval languages—a daunting task for a work in a fundamentally kinetic medium. We see young Tolkien in the classroom at King Edward’s astounding his classmates by reciting lines from Chaucer by heart after they have stolen his copy of the Canterbury Tales as a prank. Elsewhere, Gleeson and Beresford have him quote Beowulf and other Anglo-Saxon poetry from memory. At Oxford, he finds a mentor and father figure in the towering Germanic philologist Joseph Wright—although naturally the screenwriters can’t resist reminding us that Wright, played by a white-bearded Derek Jacobi, bears a striking resemblance to another white-bearded wizard whose name begins with a “G.” Lily Collins’s Edith—musically talented in her own right but a penniless orphan—dispenses the wisdom of Galadriel to her sweetheart. Elsewhere, she skirts perilously close to hectoring Virginia Woolf-style feminism, complaining about her lack of a room, or rather, a life of her own in a male-dominated intellectual world. But, mercifully, Gleeson and Beresford back off from this tiresome trope.

The problem with Tolkien isn’t that it depicts its subject incorporating his own experiences into his fiction; all writers do that. It’s that the film’s connect-the-dots literalism obscures and diminishes the daunting richness of creativity behind Tolkien’s construction of his Middle Earth fantasies. Long before he wrote The Hobbit in the mid-1930s, he had made his mark as one of the leading medievalists of the twentieth century. Oxford professor wasn’t just his day job. In 1929, Tolkein published his discovery—relied upon by scholars to this day—that a large array of seemingly unconnected medieval English religious texts dating from the early thirteenth century shared a common literary language with roots in the Anglo-Saxon English that was supposed to have been obliterated by the Norman Conquest. It was a language of Worcestershire in the West Midlands where Tolkien had spent his early childhood—so that the “men of the West” who resist Sauron in his Ring novels have a special allusive meaning. Starting in the 1920s, he also produced definitive critical editions and translations of numerous English literary works of the Middle Ages (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the best-known), an endeavor that continued through the early 1960s when he was a best-selling author who didn’t need to make his living as a scholar. (Read more.)

Justice Thomas Documents the Eugenicist Origins of Abortion

From The Catholic Herald:
Justice Clarence Thomas has written the first Supreme Court opinion in history which documents at length the eugenicist origins of abortion in America. What does this matter, and what does it mean for the future? There are simpler and more complex answers to those questions. 
The simple reason is that while the Court upheld a part of the Indiana law that requires respectful burial or cremation of human remains, it turned down an appeal to reinstate another part of the law that would ban abortions sought for reasons of sex-selection or disability. 
Thomas was rightly dismissive of Planned Parenthood’s disregard for fetal remains, writing in his Concurring Opinion: “I would have thought it could go without saying that nothing in the Constitution or any decision of this Court prevents a State from requiring abortion facilities to provide for the respectful treatment of human remains.” But Justice Thomas was determined to interpret the Court’s decision to turn down the appeal which would have banned sex-selective abortions. (Read more.)

The Christian Life Is a Constant Battle

Jesus teaches that his followers should keep watch and stay awake. When we do so we place ourselves in the position to know when the serpent shows up and it gives us the weapons we need to crush its head while it strikes at our heel. Then we will know how to decipher, discern, and choose the author of life over the author of lies.  
A vigilant soul will utilize proper discernment during the everyday moments of life. Discernment is a major theme of the pope’s exhortation and it is how he chooses to come to a close. Discernment is not figuring out what else we can get out of life, but a recognition of how we can accomplish our mission given to us by God (#174). Through proper discernment we know what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. The Lord works in his own time and calls us to a holy patience that trusts completely in his ability to conquer. This allows us to reign victorious with the Lord. (Read more.)

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Drawings of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

From The Telegraph:
Queen Victoria's drawings of her children, which cast doubt on her reputation as a "bad mother", are to go on display for the first time. Rare etchings made by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in the early years of their marriage will be exhibited by the British Museum in London to mark the bicentenary of both their births. 
The museum will house a free display, called At Home: Royal Etchings by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, from July to September. The etchings - a type of printmaking involving drawing on a metal plate - were completed by Victoria and Albert in the 1840s, and museum curators say they show the royals "in a completely different light". The display will consist of 20 artworks by the couple, often depicting domestic scenes of their life in Windsor and Claremont and featuring their children and pets. 
The British Museum said the royals were "talented and enthusiastic amateur artists" whose works were often collaborations, with some of the etchings by Albert based on Victoria's earlier drawings. Victoria and Albert took up etching shortly after their marriage in 1840 with the help of revered painter Sir George Hayter. 
The royals had only wanted their pieces to be seen by close friends and family, but King George V - Victoria's grandson - donated them to the British Museum in 1926. The exhibit will mark the first time they have been on public display. 
Sheila O'Connell, curator of prints and drawings at the British Museum, said: "As parents, both Victoria and Albert have been much criticised, but these images show them in a completely different light." 
The scenes Victoria depicts in her drawings show her to be a very affectionate mother, and it's clear that both she and Albert enjoyed spending time with their children. "We're delighted that we can now put these works on display for the first time since King George V donated them to us. It is the perfect way to celebrate 200 years since the birth of these towering figures of British history, who were also enthusiastic artists." (Read more.)

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The NSA Lost Control Of A Cyberweapon

From The Daily Wire:
Some of the tools appeared to have been obtained by a group called the Shadow Brokers, who went on to taunt the agency while disclosing information about highly classified operations. Fast forward to today, and one of the stolen tools, known as EternalBlue, is being used to commit cyberattacks against major U.S. cities. 
The Times reported Saturday that Baltimore and other cities have been targeted by “state hackers in North Korea, Russia and, more recently, China.” In Baltimore, hackers had “frozen thousands of computers, shut down email and disrupted real estate sales, water bills, health alerts and many other services.” 
The computer screens of city workers would suddenly lock, the Times reported, and a message would appear demanding $100,000 in Bitcoin to unlock the screens. The message appeared in broken English, just like the messages from Shadow Brokers two years earlier. (Read more.)

Sardines and Marseilles

From Forbes:
The story begins in 1779, in a place called Puducherry in India. Throughout the 18th century, it was one of several key trading posts in the region, which the British and French fought over — notably during the Anglo-French wars and the Siege of Pondicherry (which is what the region is sometimes called). In 1779, the British orchestrated a prisoner exchange, swapping some captured French soldiers in exchange for their own. The Frenchmen boarded a frigate called the “Sartine”, named after King Louis XVI's Maritime Minister, Antoine de Sartine, and the prestigious boat headed for the Mediterranean to take its men back to France. (Read more.)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Medieval Self-Portraits

From Medievalists:
In his new book The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History, James Hall examines how this style of art emerged and developed over the last thousand years. While self-portraits did exist in ancient times, Hall explains that “in the Middle Ages self-portraiture becomes very much a Christian concern, connected with personal salvation, honour and love. The two medieval legends of St Veronica and King Abgar, in which Christ presses his face to a piece of cloth, leaving an imprint, posited Christ as a self-portraitist. No greater self-portraitist is of higher status than St Dunstan, prostrate on a mountain top, himself both high and low; and no funnier self-portrait exists than that of 1136 of Hildebertus, throwing a sponge at a mouse stealing his lunch.” (Read more.)

Rashida Tlaib Has Her History Wrong

From The Atlantic:
Moreover, the anti-Jewish violence, which claimed the lives of hundreds of Jews and wounded many more, itself served to deter would-be emigrants from seeking to move to Palestine. British entry certificates for Jews to Palestine declined to 30,000 in 1936, 10,000 in 1937, and 15,000 in 1938. Those who couldn’t get in were left stranded in Germany, Poland, Hungary, and elsewhere. Almost all died in the Holocaust, which the Germans unleashed in 1941. 
But the Palestinians’ contribution to the Holocaust was also more direct. Husseini, having fled Palestine during the revolt, helped pro-Nazi generals launch an anti-British rebellion in Iraq in 1941 (which itself engendered a large-scale pogrom against Baghdad’s Jews, the Farhoud). When that rebellion failed, he fled to Berlin, where he was given a villa and a generous monthly salary, and lived in comfort until the end of the world war. During the war, he helped recruit Muslims from the Balkans for the German army and the SS, and in radio broadcasts exhorted Middle Eastern and North African Arabs to launch jihad against the British and “kill the Jews.” (The texts of Husseini’s broadcasts appear in the historian Jeffrey Herf’s book Nazi Propaganda for the ArabWorld.*
Subsequently, Husseini fled Germany and, with the Allies reluctant to trigger Arab anger by trying him for collaboration, settled down in Cairo. In 1947, he rejected the UN partition plan to settle the Palestine conflict and helped launch the first Palestinian and pan-Arab war against the Zionist enterprise. He spent his last years in Lebanon, embittered by the loss of Palestine and the pan-Arab failure to effectively support the Palestinians, and published a series of anti-Semitic articles before his death in 1974. 
The most prominent Palestinian American intellectual, Edward Said, toward the end of his life enjoined the Palestinians to study the Holocaust and empathize with what had happened to the Jews, if only to properly understand the deep-seated fears and aspirations of the Israelis. It would seem that Tlaib has forsworn such an effort. Tlaib’s podcast promulgates two basic fallacies about the more recent past and the present: first, that the Palestinian struggle is akin to the black-American struggle against white oppression and discrimination, and second, that the sole responsibility for failing to reach a two-state solution to the Palestine conflict lies with Israel. (Read more.)


From Ancient Origins:
The Chaluka site was most likely occupied by the Aleuts for the entirety of its existence. They are the indigenous people of the islands and they were, and still are, superb fishermen and hunters. It is generally accepted that they settled on the island some 8,000 years ago, but some believe that they migrated to the Aleutian Island much later. There is no agreement on where they originated, some say Siberia, but other scholars state that they came from the Alaskan mainland or the Arctic Circle. The islanders speak a language that is related to that spoken by the Inuit, but they have very different cultures and ways of life. They developed sustainable societies that adapted well to the harsh environment of the archipelago. Aleuts built villages near the coast and lived in partially underground houses that allowed them to withstand the extreme cold of the subarctic winter. (Read more.)

Monday, May 27, 2019

About the Palace of Versailles

From Vogue:
As early as 1661, Louis XIV entrusted Andre le Notre with the design and development of the famous Versailles gardens, which would later be known as a model of exceptional landscaping across the world. With the help of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, a member of the King’s cabinet, and later the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, tasked with the Orangery, Le Notre got to work. He was entrusted to design the layout of the gardens, to draw the numerous statues and fountains, and with the huge burden of leveling, planting, and routing of trees from several provinces in France. The project took 40 years in all to complete, and the gardens require replanting every hundred years or so in order to maintain their integrity and beauty. During a storm in December of 1999, some 10,000 to 20,000 trees were split or uprooted, including 80% of the rarest species, and two Virginia tulip trees planted by Marie-Antoinette herself. (Read more.)

Melinda Gates is Wrong

From The National Catholic Register:
In 2017, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated $375 million for population control to organizations providing contraceptives and abortions, and they also gave over $117 million previously. I wonder, why don’t they give money for adoption services and to care for mothers and babies to live better lives as opposed to ending or preventing life?

In 1968, Pope Paul VI wrote Humanae Vitae, an encyclical that explains Church teaching on family planning and contraception. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that contraception is “not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality… The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle...involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality” (CCC 2370).

For the record, the Church does not teach that Catholics must have endless children. For serious reasons, people can use Natural Family Planning (NFP) to avoid pregnancy. There are even fertility monitors now that can tell a woman if she is fertile at a click of a button, and it’s 98% effective. (Read more.)

Our Lady of America

From Aleteia:
It was in 1940 when Sister Mary began receiving interior messages and revelations with specific detail and clarity. These messages were coming directly from Jesus and she was being told that her mission was going to be one that would help provide for the sanctification of the family. She began maintaining a diary and documenting all of these things. One of the quotes taken from her diary was as follows:
Pray, pray, pray, oh My Little White Dove. Pray and sacrifice yourself for the souls of poor sinners. How many are lost because there are no prayers said for them, no sacrifices made for them.
Jesus even gave Sister Mary a message for Father Leibold. He told her to tell him, “not to become discouraged at the crosses awaiting him, for I the great High-Priest, go before him carrying the heaviest part of his cross. I seek only the humble and lowly of heart.”
It was after this message that she turned to Father Leibold for guidance. The priest had only been ordained a short time before. He would be her confessor and her advisor until he died in 1972.
Before 1956, Sister Mary spent time in many different locations. She worked in Rome City, Indiana; Denver, Colorado; North Dakota; back to Cincinnati, and on to Ottawa, Ohio. Here she was visited by St. Michael the Angel of Peace to prepare her for what was ahead. She was told that Satan would do everything to keep her from doing what Jesus wanted. (Read more.)

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Were the Albigensians Primitive or Proto-“Protestants”?

Some strains of Protestant thought — most notably the “Landmark” Baptists — seek to find a non-Catholic “apostolic succession” all throughout Church history up to the 16th century. In the desperate attempt to claim spiritual and theological predecessors, all sorts of heretical groups are espoused, including the Montanists, Novationists, Donatists, Docetists, Cathari, Albigensians, Waldenses, Hussites, and Wycliffites. The trouble is that none of these groups fit very well into a Protestant schema. They are either radically non-Christian, even Gnostic (e.g., the Albigensians), or far too Catholic in what they retain (Waldenses, Hussites) to qualify as “proto-Protestant.” 
Yet that doesn’t stop certain Protestants (especially of the anti-Catholic variety) from latching onto these groups for polemical purposes. “My enemy’s enemy is my ally.” These claims are only as good as the real knowledge of such groups is scanty and incomplete. The most striking and demonstrably absurd example of this historical revisionism is the adoption of the Albigensians (a sub-group or variant of Catharism, which flourished particularly in the south of France). (Read more.)


Guilt And Denial

From Michael Knowles at The Daily Wire:
For decades, the pro-life movement has focused on scientific evidence and ethical arguments. That strategy has helped to turn state law and public opinion increasingly against abortion. But if the one-in-four number is correct, evidence and arguments alone will never suffice. What role must guilt and denial play in many Americans’ refusal to acknowledge the reality of abortion? One in four American women will kill at least one of her children. As many as one in four American men will see at least one of his children killed. If abortion ends a human life, then a quarter of Americans are murderers. 
From a scientific perspective, abortion does indeed end a human life. In 1.3% of cases, women abort babies so fully formed they have fingerprints. Over five percent of abortions involve babies developed enough to hiccup. Well over one in ten abortions kills a baby who can swim, cry, and suck his thumb. In nearly one in five cases, mothers abort babies whose fingers, toes, and teeth they might have glimpsed on an ultrasound. Over a third of the time, abortion kills babies with detectable brain waves. 
The remaining two-thirds of abortions occur within eight weeks of the mother’s missed period, at which point the baby has already developed a beating heart. By week five, the baby starts to form his central nervous system. By week four, the baby has the beginnings of his digestive system. At the very moment of conception, the baby has unique human DNA and exhibits all the characteristics of life. From an ethical perspective, the killing of innocent human beings is wrong. Unborn babies—that is, fetuses, embryos, and even “zygotes”—are innocent human beings. Therefore, it is wrong to kill them. (Read more.)

The Lost Tomb of Robert Bruce

From The Scotsman:
A three-dimensional reconstruction of the “lost tomb” of Robert the Bruce is to go on permanent display at Dunfermline Abbey, the last resting place of the medieval Scots monarch. Bruce’s tomb was destroyed during the Reformation, although fragments of the structure were later discovered alongside Bruce’s remains in 1817, before being excavated the following year. While the skeletal remains were reinterred beneath the Abbey, with the grave sealed with a thick layer of molten bitumen so as to ward off the advances of graverobbers, what remained of the tomb itself was preserved at sites across Scotland, with fragments held by the National Museums Scotland, Abbotsford House, Dunfermline Museum, and the Hunterian in Glasgow. (Read more.)

Saturday, May 25, 2019

High Heels Fit for a King

Style for men under the Stuarts included shoes and boots with high heels. From The Royal Collection Trust:
The high heel originated in the near east where it was worn for centuries as a form of riding footwear. Good horsemanship was essential to the fighting style of Persia (modern day Iran) - when the soldier stood up in his stirrups, the heel helped him to steady his stance so that he could shoot his bow and arrow more effectively. In 1599, Persia's ruler Shah Abbas I, keen to forge links with the courts of Western Europe to help him defeat the Ottoman Empire, sent the first Persian diplomatic mission to Europe, calling at the courts of Russia, Germany and Spain.

Following the Shah's diplomatic mission, there was a wave of interest in Persian culture from Western Europe. Persian style shoes were enthusiastically adopted by aristocrats, who sought to give their appearance a virile, masculine edge associated with the heeled shoes of the Persian cavalry.
In the first half of the 17th century, high heeled shoes for men took the form of heeled riding or Cavalier boots as worn by Charles I. As the wearing of heels filtered into the lower ranks of society, the aristocracy responded by dramatically increasing the height of their shoes. High heels were impractical for undertaking manual labour or walking long distances, and therefore announced the privileged status of the wearer. (Read more.)

The Collapse of Venezuela

An example of the pure socialism that the Democrats are pushing us towards. From The New York Times:
To find similar levels of economic devastation, economists at the I.M.F. pointed to countries that were ripped apart by war, like Libya earlier this decade or Lebanon in the 1970s. But Venezuela, at one point Latin America’s wealthiest country, has not been shattered by armed conflict. Instead, economists say, the poor governance, corruption and misguided policies of President Nicolás Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, have fueled runaway inflation, shuttered businesses and brought the country to its knees. And in recent months, the Trump administration has imposed stiff sanctions to try to cripple it further. 
As the country’s economy plummeted, armed gangs took control of entire towns, public services collapsed and the purchasing power of most Venezuelans has been reduced to a couple of kilograms of flour a month. 
In markets, butchers hit by regular blackouts jostle to sell decomposing stock by sunset. Former laborers scavenge through garbage piles for leftovers and recyclable plastic. Dejected retailers make dozens of trips to the bank in hopes of depositing several pounds’ worth of bills made worthless by hyperinflation. 
Here in Maracaibo, a city of two million on the border with Colombia, nearly all of the butchers in the main market have stopped selling meat cuts in favor of offal and leftovers like fat shavings and cow hooves, the only animal protein many of their customers can still afford. (Read more.)

Witch Bottles

From Atlas Obscura:
BACK IN 17TH-CENTURY BRITAIN, CERTAIN small containers had a big job. “Witch bottles” were ceramic jugs filled with a cocktail of curious ingredients, thought to protect against bewitchment. Today, a team of historians and archaeologists are on a witch hunt of their own to find more of these mysterious bottles. 
The three-year project, Bottles Concealed and Revealed, centers around the phenomenon of bottle magic, which gained notoriety through texts such as Astrological Practice of Physick, published in 1671. The book offered a how-to guide for preparing a bottle that might protect its owner from the forces of witchcraft. Over the years, researchers have unearthed objects that appear to be witch bottles in all sorts of places—after a bit of digging. 
“These items were deliberately concealed,” says Nigel Jeffries, a finds specialist at the Museum of London Archaeology. “Whilst they have been largely found in hearths or chimneys, [or] built under walls or floors, they have also been located close to watercourses and a host of other contexts.” Most of the bottles already known to researchers were dug up starting in the 1950s, usually during renovations of historic buildings and homes from the late medieval period. According to Jeffries, “they are always found alone.” (Read more.)

Friday, May 24, 2019

How to Abolish the Family

I am linking to the following article so that people will see that abolishing the family is at the heart of the Leftist agenda and always has been. Any lip service to "working families" is just to garner votes. The state is supposed to be the replacement for the family in the New World Order. The spread of abortion, of severing the mother-child bond before birth, is vital to the goal of destroying family life. From The Nation:
Sophie Lewis, a feminist theorist and geographer, takes up this forgotten struggle in her work. Her new book, Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family (Verso, 2019) specifically links family abolition to a radical reconceptualization of pregnancy itself. The act of carrying a child to term, she insists, is work—labor that has long been exploited and overlooked by the academy—and so is mothering.

By thinking through the logic of commercial surrogacy arrangements, Lewis lays bare the ways motherhood has been weaponized as an ideological construct. She gives us an account of the material conditions—the biological and societal violence—that gestators, or people who are carrying fetuses, have to bear. Her book shows us that the ostensibly feminist objection to surrogacy arrangements underwrites the ossified and alienated familial relations that make capitalism possible. Last month I sat down with her over a cup of tea at The Nation’s offices and talked about why rethinking gestation is central to an emancipatory politics, how we can use surrogacy to subvert oppression, and what kinship beyond possession, beyond capitalism, beyond patriarchy could look like. (Read more.)

The Mysterious Denisovans

A newfound extinct human lineage that lived in New Guinea interbred with modern humans, a new study finds. This lineage's genetic differences from other humans made it as distinct a group as our closest extinct relatives, the Neanderthals and Denisovans, scientists added. 
Although modern humans are now the only living branch of the human family tree, others not only lived alongside modern humans, but even interbred with them, leaving behind DNA in the modern human genome. These archaic lineages not only included the Neanderthals, the closest extinct relatives of modern humans, but also the mysterious Denisovans, known only from fossils unearthed in the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains in Siberia. 
Previous research found that while Denisovans shared a common origin with Neanderthals, they were nearly as genetically distinct from Neanderthals as Neanderthals were from modern humans. Prior workestimated the ancestors of modern humans split from the common ancestors of Neanderthals and Denisovans about 700,000 years ago, and the ancestors of Neanderthals and Denisovans diverged from one another about 400,000 years ago. [Denisovan Gallery: Tracing the Genetics of Human Ancestors] (Read more.)

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Beauty in a Place of Light

From Victoria:
Nova Scotia native Sharon MacDonald was smitten with Paris the moment she arrived for a project related to her architectural studies. “I loved living where there was such a bond to the past,” she explains. “I loved the streets of Paris and the French way of life, the epicurean wine culture, the commitment to all things beautiful and all things delicious." After graduation, she followed her dream with a move to the city that captivated her heart. (Read more.)

Three Ways the Soulless Left is Winning

From The Washington Times:
A few weeks ago former President Barack Obama traveled to Germany, met with the chancellor and talked about the dire need to combat climate change — and then, in the very next breath, spoke of the right of all people to be respected, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, regardless of where they lived. He likened climate change to civil rights. He cast climate change as a human rights issue — a social justice issue. He changed the narrative so that the topic of high controversy turned into one that’s hard to fight. After all, who can argue against civil rights, human rights, equality for all?

And that right there is the first of three big ways the left has been able to advance its progressive-slash-socialist-slash-secular Big Government agenda into America. Changing the narrative gives those on the left the ability to dictate the terms of the battle — to shape the battle as they see fit, to their best advantage. They do it frequently.

Think gun control, where Second Amendment rights’ supporters are practically called child killers every time there’s a school shooting. Think LGBTQ rights where those who believe in traditional marriage, in biblical teachings, in the fact that God determines sex, are accused of unfairly and coldly keeping apart those who are simply in love, or who are only trying to freely express their true selves. Think immigration and border control where those who simply believe in the rule of law are accused of bias and discrimination and racism. (Read more.)

The Long-Lost Imperial Baptistery

At Hagia Sophia. From Live Science:
Archaeologists have discovered what may be the long-lost Great Baptistery at the largest Christian cathedral ever constructed in the ancient world. Inside that structure, emperors would have baptized their children more than 1,400 years ago. In addition to the baptistery, the archaeologists made several other discoveries at the Hagia Sophia (which means "holy wisdom") cathedral, located in what is today Istanbul. 
Between 2004 and 2018, the researchers discovered previously unknown buildings, reconstructed what the cathedral's Patriarchal Palace looked like and even identified a spot where the Byzantine emperor once stood during a ceremony, said project leaders Ken Dark and Jan Kostenec in a recently published book, "Hagia Sophia in Context: An Archaeological Reexamination of the Cathedral of Byzantine Constantinople" (Oxbow Books, 2019). [See Photos of the Discoveries at the Hagia Sophia
The cathedral has a long history. In the year 532, a series of riots resulted in a church called Hagia Sophia being burned down. In response, Justinian I (reign 527 to 565), the Byzantine emperor, ordered the construction of a massive cathedral, also to be called Hagia Sophia. Completed in 537, that structure has a dome that soars 180 feet (55 meters) above the ground. Then, in 1453, the Ottoman Empire captured Constantinople (as Istanbul was called at the time) and turned the cathedral into a mosque. Today, the Hagia Sophia is a museum. (Read more.)

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Tracing History, One Pub at a Time

From The History Press:
Although the UK has been involved in armed conflict almost constantly throughout its history, and many pub names remind us of our history and how we came to be the nation we are today. The names of such pubs as The Dragoo, The Rifleman and The Kentish Rifleman, show the close connection with the military that existed in Kent, England’s Front Line County. Three pubs in particular represent the role of the RAF in Kent. The Tiger Moth in Chatham refers to the two-man bi-planes which were used for training pilots at Rochester Airport. The Spitfire in Kings Hill is a direct reference to the plane which epitomises the heroic pilots of The Battle of Britain who fought in the skies over Kent, and The Mayfly in Hawkinge. (Read more.)

Academia’s ‘Infection’ with Identity Politics

From The Conservative Review:
Friday night on the radio, LevinTV host Mark Levin picked apart the problems with the recent move to weight SAT scores with “secret adversity scores.” Levin pointed to a recent Daily Mail story that explained how the organization behind the widely used aptitude test plans to introduce a secret 15-point scoring system designed to supposedly level the playing field by giving students from certain economic or racial backgrounds extra points. “This whole mentality has taken hold of our society,” Levin said of identity politics. “Now it’s taken hold of the SAT.”

Levin compared reactions to the news about the SAT with the widespread outcry against the recent admissions scandal involving Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman and made it clear which is a bigger problem for qualified, aspiring college students. “The issue of identity politics has seeped its way into college admissions, and it’s been this way for some time,” Levin explained. “There’s a hell of a lot more kids who are disadvantaged as the result of a system that is infected with identity politics than kids who are affected by what a handful of starlets have done for their children.” (Read more.)

Broadway Sacrifices a Classic

From The American Thinker:
Sorkin’s dirtying the waters of Finch’s legacy is deliberate. In an essay for New York, he describes the search for Finch’s fatal flaw, discovering it in what we all considered a virtue up until, approximately, the minute Donald Trump took the oath of the presidency. Finch’s problem, Sorkin observers, is that he “believes in the fundamental goodness in everyone, even homicidal white supremacists. He believes … that there are fine people on both sides?”

The horror! Harper Lee’s creation is nothing but our doddering president apologizing for neo-Nazis! Who knew?

With the moral ambiguity of a rock, Sorkin rejects swaddling “the book in bubble wrap and transfer it gently to a stage.” Instead, he’s created a critical literacy student’s take on “Mockingbird.”

Sorkin’s iteration of an American classic will appeal to woke Manhattanites who mock blinkered southerners from the comfort of their prohibitively expensive high-rise apartments. But, it really only amounts to lazy moralizing. Sorkin thinks empathy has limits, that consideration extends only to the non-racist or prejudicial. That Finch could defend a black man in the segregationist Deep South while still believing in the humanity of his neighbors is unconscionable. Far better for Finch and family to high-tail it out of Maycomb and settle somewhere north of the Mason-Dixon.

Life doesn’t work like that, as anyone who doesn’t rest easy on a cushion of wealth can attest to. We don’t choose our family; we rarely get to choose the people we’re raised around. Yet we’re bound by obligation to love and respect them regardless of their views.

As for superimposing modern values on the past, the entire business, which seems to have taken root in many universities, is myopic. It is sanctimony disguised as wisdom. From Rudyard Kipling to Thomas Jefferson, the bright lights of the West, and of humanity in general, are being dimmed because of perceived moral failings. Contextual consideration is dropped. The struggles that were present in the subject’s time are forgotten about. An entire life -- accomplishments, courage, ideas, and reputation -- is dismissed because a person didn’t check off the proper woke boxes circa 2018. (Read more.)

The Heart of Hospitality

The right and left hand of hospitality are giving and receiving, with grace and mercy being at the heart and soul. Giving: giving calls us to not just give of our possessions but, again, of our presence, time, and emotion. It calls us to be present in the circumstances of others as we minister to their needs. This comes from the heart. 
Receiving: receiving calls us to not only carry the loads of our brothers and sisters in Christ as well as our neighbors who have not yet come to Christ, but it calls us to receive the goodness that they would like to pour out into us. When we give to others, they often would like to respond in turn by giving unto us as well. We need to be gracious enough to receive as there is a blessing in store for both the one who gives and the one able to receive. The beautiful image that comes to mind with the arms of hospitality is the perfect embrace, one that supports, fills up, and enables release. Having a heart of hospitality brings healing. It also brings hope. (Read more.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

More on the Art Collection of Charles I and Henrietta Maria

Henrietta Maria of France
From Vogue:
Thusly spurned by the Spanish infanta, Charles subsequently chose 14-year-old Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV of France and his taste-making Florentine wife Marie de’ Medici (and sister to Louis XIII), as his queen. Henrietta Maria promised her godfather, Pope Urban VIII, that she would bring up her children as Catholics, unwittingly sowing the seeds for the rise of Oliver Cromwell, the fall of the monarchy, and the execution of her husband. Problematic as her influence on the British throne would ultimately prove, Queen Henrietta Maria’s reign was at least possessed of refined taste. Through her godfather and his connections to the great artists of Rome, she introduced the work of some Italian Baroque stars to Britain’s court, bringing artists such as Orazio Gentileschi to work in London and smoothing the way for the commission of a portrait bust of her husband by Bernini. A disgruntled Bernini worked not from life, as he would have liked, but from a remarkable triple portrait of the king by the new star of the moment, Anthony van Dyck. Although this picture was intended merely as a model from which Bernini would work, it is evident that van Dyck was using the commission as an opportunity to showcase his virtuosity to the iconic sculptor, and perhaps attract the attention of potential continental clients. (Read more.)

Infanta Maria Anna of Austria, Holy Roman Empress

The Emasculating Effects of Fatherlessness and Feminism

From The American Thinker:
The cultural climate in the United States is growing increasingly hostile towards men. The barbaric behavior of Harvey Weinstein, Larry Nassr, and Bill Cosbyhas put all males in the proverbial doghouse. To make matters worse, major news outlets and left-leaning politicians add fuel to the fire by pushing an agenda-driven narrative that masculinity is inherently oppressive, violent, and domineering. Though it is true that hypermasculinity is problematic, we face a far greater threat at the opposite end of the macho-spectrum. Ironically, America is experiencing an epidemic of young men who fail to launch -- millennials who resist growing up and becoming men. They are abandoning traditional male behavior in favor of metrosexuality -- shoe-shopping, manicures, pedicures, and make-up are becoming the new norm. We are not making men like we used to; in fact, we are not making them at all. 
For example, a recent study published in the Journal of Hand Therapy finds that millennial men had significantly weaker grip strength than men 30 years ago. The average millennial male has the hand strength of a 30-year-old woman. The hormone that makes men masculine is vanishing from the western world too. Testosterone levels have dropped at least 17 percent since 1987 and continue to decline1.2 percent annually. Consistent with other trends in male reproductive health, men's sperm count and quality are also dwindling. Between 1989 and 2005, average sperm counts fell by 33 percent, meaning that one in five males will have difficulty conceiving. These statistics have significant implications for male fertility and health, but is it affecting the male psyche as well? Is it possible that low testosterone levels are making our men's character more receptive to feminization? Millennial men lack the defining grit and initiative of men from prior ages. Not only are men getting weaker and more effeminate, but they are also floundering academically too. Women are presently outperforming men in every level of academia. (Read more.)

The Dearth of Conservatives in Academic Philosophy

From Quillette:
It is no secret that conservative political views are underrepresented in the academy. In Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University, John A. Shields and Joshua M. Dunn Sr. cite surveys that put the number of professors who self-identify as conservative in the humanities at between four and eight percent. It should therefore come as no surprise that conservative political views are scarce in philosophy. While it may seem impolite to raise this issue when the philosophy profession is contending with a rather different diversity problem, the fact itself is philosophically interesting. It is strange, for instance, how rarely philosophers agree about a wide range of thorny philosophical problems, and yet they appear to be unified on a range of complex issues that divide the American public roughly in half. 
Why are there so few political conservatives in philosophy? Some hypotheses stand out immediately. One may notice that philosophy requires a critical attitude that sits uncomfortably with the characteristically conservative respect for authority. As a profession, philosophy also does not offer career prospects that risk-averse conservatives may value higher than their more idealistic liberal counterparts. Lastly, as Peter K. Jonason has shown,1 openness to ideas and experience—the philosophical character trait par excellence—is associated with political liberalism, not conservatism. (Read more.)

Monday, May 20, 2019

Theories About Da Vinci

From The Atlantic:
We will be hearing a lot about Leonardo this year, the 500th anniversary of his death. Exhibits are being readied in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. In May, the Queen’s Gallery, at Buckingham Palace, will display Leonardo drawings from the Royal Collection (which owns about 500 of them). A major exhibition at the Louvre, which is home to five Leonardo paintings, including the Mona Lisa, will open in October. So a wealth of Leonardo will be on display. Also on display—it never really stops—will be the musings of those who believe that they have finally solved some urgent Leonardo mystery, a mystery that might exist, like beauty, only in the mind of the beholder. (Read more.)

The Modern Bonfire of the Vanities

From American Greatness:
San Francisco is the latest case in point. Earlier this month, the high school convened a “reflection and action working group” to determine the fate of a pair of 83-year-old murals depicting George Washington. The group determined the artwork is “highly problematic” and “traumatic” for students, since one of the murals presents George Washington next to several laboring slaves, and the other represents a dead Native American. The working group’s choice follows an earlierdecision in February by a school-board committee that the art “glorifies slavery, genocide, colonization, manifest destiny, white supremacy, oppression, etc.” 
What’s particularly moronic about this attempt to erase history is that the original painter of the murals, Victor Arnautoff, didn’t even intend to glorify President Washington. Arnautoff was a Communist who depicted Washington in such a way to “provoke a nuanced evaluation of his legacy,” namely, to call attention to the human costs of slavery and manifest destiny. (Read more.)

Death of Queen Elizabeth Woodville

Of plague. But why is it mentioned 19 years after the fact? Strange. From The Guardian:
A 500-year-old letter discovered in the National Archives has revealed that the “White Queen” Elizabeth Woodville, the grandmother of Henry VIII, may have died of the plague. Elizabeth, the wife of Edward IV, mother of Edward V and maternal grandmother of Henry VIII, died in 1492 after spending the last five years of her life in Bermondsey Abbey in London. No cause of death was recorded at the time, and there are no known contemporary accounts of her passing. However, while digging through transcripts and translations of Venetian documents relating to England, National Archives records specialist Euan Roger stumbled on a letter from the Venetian ambassador to London, written 19 years after her death. 
The letter, dated July 1511, sees the ambassador, Andrea Badoer, state that “the Queen-Widow, mother of King Edward, has died of plague, and the King is disturbed”. Roger said the ambassador could only be referring to Elizabeth Woodville, mother of the princes in the Tower and a woman renowned for her “lynx-eyed” beauty, which drew the attention of Edward IV. It is the only known reference to Elizabeth’s death being caused by plague, but Roger believes that if the queen did in fact die in this way, it provides an alternative explanation of why accounts of her funeral are so modest. (Read more.)

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Elisabeth of France – Martyr and Servant of God

From History of Royal Women:
Elisabeth and Clotilde were raised by Madame the Marsan, Governess to the Children of France. The two sisters couldn’t be more different. Clotilde had “the happiest disposition, which needed only to be encouraged and aided” while Elisabeth was “proud, inflexible, passionate and had intolerable defects.” Nevertheless, they were quite close, and Clotilde taught her sister the alphabet. The Abbé de Montégut, canon of Chartres, was appointed to tutor the children in 1774 and he instilled in Elisabeth the religious sentiments that would never leave her. When Elisabeth was 10, her grandfather King Louis XV died, and he was succeeded by her elder brother, now King Louis XVI and his wife Marie-Antoinette, barely out of their teens. For now, Elisabeth would remain at her studies, but Clotilde was destined to marry. The sisters were parted for the first time when Clotilde married the future King Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia. Marie-Antoinette wrote to her mother, “My sister Elisabeth is a charming child, who has intelligence, character, and much grace; she showed the greatest feeling, and much above her age, at the departure of her sister. The poor little girl was in despair, and as her health is very delicate, she was taken ill and had a severe nervous attack. I own to my dear mamma that I fear I am getting too attached to her, feeling, from the example of my aunts, how essential it is for her happiness not to remain an old maid in this country.” (Read more.)

More HERE.  A collection of pictures and posts, HERE.


A Voice of Reason

From Commentary:
Shapiro’s conception of the West is different from that of others who in recent years have taken up her cause. For those writers—think Steven Pinker and the like—the West sprang up, abruptly and miraculously, with the advent of Enlightenment skepticism, scientific rationalism, and modern capitalism. In Shapiro’s view, however, at the heart of that “West” is a “mechanistic, materialist vision of human beings and the universe.”
Shapiro resolved to write the book after he got a terrifying dose of our modern disorders in early 2016, when a group of conservative students invited him to give a speech at California State University at Los Angeles. It took dozens of armed, uniformed police officers, plus Shapiro’s own private security team, to get the author safely in and out of the college venue, so ravenous and violent was the mob that sought to silence him. (Read more.)

The Essence of Evil

From the Toluidine Blue blog:
It is estimated that there are 100,000 to 150,000 under-aged child sex workers in the U.S. These girls aren’t volunteering to be sex slaves. They’re being lured—forced—trafficked into it. In most cases, they have no choice. In order to avoid detection (in some cases aided and abetted by the police) and cater to male buyers’ demand for sex with different women, pimps and the gangs and crime syndicates they work for have turned sex trafficking into a highly mobile enterprise, with trafficked girls, boys and women constantly being moved from city to city, state to state, and country to country.  
For instance, the Baltimore-Washington area, referred to as The Circuit, with its I-95 corridor dotted with rest stops, bus stations and truck stops, is a hub for the sex trade. No doubt about it: this is a highly profitable, highly organized and highly sophisticated sex trafficking business that operates in towns large and small, raking in upwards of $9.5 billion a year in the U.S. alone by abducting and selling young girls for sex. Every year, the girls being bought and sold gets younger and younger. The average age of those being trafficked is 13. (Read more.)

Saturday, May 18, 2019

An 1829 Almanac

From East of the Sun, West of the Moon:
Poole’s Lady’s and Gentleman’s Polite Assistant
and useful remembrancer
for the Year 1829
containing an almanack
the births deaths and marriages &c of the Soveriegn Princes of Europe
lists of Both Houses of Parliament
ruled pages for engagements cash accounts and various other articlesof useful information
To be continued annually
London Printed for J Poole et al

The ‘Equality Act’ is a Danger to American Women

This legislation has no rules about what constitutes a legitimate claim to “gender identity” as a protected class. Any male (or female) can claim identity as the opposite sex without proof of medical diagnosis or permanent intent. Sex-based identity is completely subjective and determined by perception or desire and can be changed at any time.

Society’s purpose for sex-segregation, a major factor of women’s safety, is negated under this legislation. Women could no longer claim rights to our safety and equal protections because men could claim our rights just by claiming to be women. Perhaps the sponsor of this bill, a gay man, doesn’t understand our concerns. Women are safer in places they know men can’t legitimately access. 
If this bill passes, men, go ahead, put on your makeup and take a walk in a women’s locker room for a day. You don’t have to prove anything, just claim your feminine side. Women would be commanded to open the door to any female-posing male who wants access to women’s sex-specific spaces. (Read more.)

The Exorcisms of Emma

From Medium:
Soon after settling at his new post, Father Theo, 39, got word from Thomas Drumm, Bishop of Des Moines, about a strange case. Twenty-six-year- old Emma Schmid of Germantown was suffering from disturbing experiences. Theo had met the devoutly religious Emma and her family years before, when she was sixteen and Theo was studying theology in Milwaukee before his stint in New York. His notes reflect finding her “always truthful and obedient, cheerful and companionable, and [leading] an exemplary life.” 
Despite the fallout from his possession cases back east, the request to look into such a claim did not faze Father Theo. As one of his colleagues, Reverend Father Carl Vogl, later wrote of Theo’s state of mind before Emma’s case: “He had little suspicion that he would meet with the severest experience as yet encountered by him.” 
Father Theo followed Roman Ritual, which contained the church-mandated guidelines to “diagnose” a possession and differentiate it from illness or fraud. “I am not so easily convinced that there is a possession,” he explained to the Milwaukee Journal in a rare interview. “Hundreds of persons have been sent to me by priests and laymen who believed that there is a possession. Usually I find otherwise.” (Read more.)

Friday, May 17, 2019

Marie Antoinette VR

From Digital Rise:
Enter the 18th century France in vivid 360 S3D details. Marie-Antoinette invites you on an epic journey inside her memories. From the child queen of Versailles to her premature death, experience her heartbreaking story. Virtual reality will reshape your assumptions about this controversial woman, who never actually said “Let them eat cake!”. Embark on an epic journey inside the life of Marie Antoinette, captured in vivid 360 3D detail. Rediscover her life from her own perspective. She never said, « Let them eat cake. » Marie Antoinette VR is the concept demo of a cinematic VR episodic experience in development. Marie Antoinette VR had its world premiere at Cannes Film Festival Next VR, was presented at Oculus Connect 4 and was an official selection at Busan International Film Festival. Carol Liu’s Marie-Antoinette has been supported by Google in 2017 JUMP Start Program. The Demo has been shot with the support of Digital Rise and DVgroup. (Read more.)

Faith, Family, and the Future of Europe

From The Imaginative Conservative:
The natives are restless. Across Europe resistance to the imperialism of the European Union is rising. Take Poland, for instance. Since the election to power of the populist and patriotic Law and Justice (PiS) party in 2015, the Polish people have flexed their political muscles. Refusing to genuflect before the power of the Euro-Empire and its dictatorial directives, the Polish government has resolutely resisted the EU’s demands that Poland open its borders to large-scale Muslim immigration. Such resistance is a reflection of a real national revival as Poles rediscover the religious roots of their nation. Church attendance is rising, as are the numbers of baptisms, confirmations, first communions, and marriages. The number of Catholic priests has also risen to record levels.

Reflecting this religious revival, the Polish parliament voted in November 2017 to begin to phase out Sunday shopping so that Sunday could be restored as a day of rest and fellowship for families. A year earlier, Poland’s bishops, together with Poland’s President, Andrzei Duda, proclaimed Jesus Christ as King of Poland, calling upon Christ to govern the nation, its people, and its political leaders. One nation under God!

A similar revival is under way in Hungary, whose President Viktor Orbán has emerged as a David-like champion of the freedom of small nations in their struggles against the Goliath-like bullies in Brussels. Since 2010, the year in which President Orbán was elected, Hungary has seen marriage rates increase by a staggering 43 per cent and, equally remarkable, divorce rates dropping by 22.5 per cent. With marriage once more en vogue it is not surprising that the number of abortions has decreased by a third since Orbán’s election nor that the nation’s birth rate is at its highest in 20 years. Hungary’s healthy demographic shift towards the revival of the traditional family has been helped greatly by the Hungarian government’s pro-family policies. (Read more.)