Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Loft Design


I do not care for contemporary design and decor as a rule but there are some good remodeling ideas that others might appreciate. From Dwell:

When Pam Williams, a former public library director in Portland, Oregon, decided to remodel her 1,075-square-foot loft with local firm Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, she fully committed to the process—she only gave a few directives, and she got rid of all her furniture so the firm would have a blank slate.

"She described the kind of home she’d like to live in along with a thoughtful note about her experience working with professionals and learning that the creative process really shines with trust," explains senior designer Mira Eng-Goetz. "We were really moved by this simple gesture." The team completely reimagined the home, weaving in plush textures, a serene, pink-hued palette, clever built-ins, and statement-making tile to update the industrial space.  (Read more.)

From Vogue:

The first encounter between interior designer Jae Joo and the owners of this Brooklyn home — Jose Alvarez, co-founder of fragrance brand Abbott and his wife Brooke Hammel, who works in finance — happened five years ago. “They hired me to furnish their newly purchased loft remodeled by architecture firm MeldNYC,” remembers Joo, who helms Jae Joo Designs. “Since then, we have become good friends and watched each other go through numerous life changes, including a growing family for Jose and Brooke.” With the birth of their daughter Coco Isabel, the couple knew it was the right time to evolve their home: the desire to add a room for the baby was a catalyst for the renovation. The couple wanted to accommodate a nursery/guest suite without losing the charm of the loft, which had initially convinced Jose to purchase the apartment. (Read more.)


‘God Will Show His Face, We’re Not Going to Disappear’

 From The Daily Wire:

In a June 22 interview with Candace Owens, Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight said while America seems to be experiencing a dark night of the soul due to hateful rhetoric, racial division, and the rise of socialist policies, he believes the nation will recover her founding vision.

“[Americans] just feel so downtrodden. And there’s just a tremendous sadness, almost, you know, like where do we go from here?” Owens, host of the Daily Wire’s talk show, “Candace,” asked Voight, adding, “It doesn’t feel like we have our country. There’s so much division, there’s so much hate, there’s so much bad rhetoric. And it feels like the people that have the most power are trying to do the most damage.”

“Well, I agree with what you’re saying,” Voight responded, “but my answer to all of this, this cloud that’s over us, this dark cloud, is that God is in his seat.”

Voight said he’s encouraged by stories he reads in the Bible that demonstrate that, ultimately, those who are trying to sow discord and strife will be the ones to experience trouble.

“God will show his face. And those who are blessed to see the truth like yourself,” he said to Owens, “will show us the way out and God will be exposing things as we go. We will rise again.” (Read more.)


French Adventurers, Patriots, and Pretentious Imposters in the Fight for American Independence

 From Journal of the American Revolution:

Europe was at peace at the time and these jobless officers were hard pressed to find employment as mercenaries. Other French officers were frustrated by their inability to advance in rank or gain valuable experience. Thus, these often-unemployed and destitute officers turned to the war in America as their salvation.

One of the most enduring stories from the American Revolution is the capture of Maj. Gen. Charles Lee, who was taken after leaving the safety of his army at Bernardsville, New Jersey, on the afternoon of December 13, 1776. Accompanied by a few guards, Lee spent the night at the isolated Widow White’s Tavern. Loyalists alerted the British to Lee’s position and a detachment of intrepid dragoons surrounded the tavern on the following morning. After they chased off his bodyguards, Lee surrendered and was brought to British held Pennington, New Jersey.

Two French officers were with Lee when he was taken prisoner,René Gaiault de Boisbertrand and Jean Louis de Vernejout.[1] The French did not enter the war as America’s ally in 1778, raising the question of why two French Army officers were with Lee two years prior to the French alliance.

Surprisingly, there were many Frenchmen embedded with the Continental army prior to the entry of France into the war and the arrival of a French army in America; in fact, France provided the majority of the European officers who joined the Patriot cause. Virtually all of these foreigners were either French army officers, trained in France or encouraged by the French government to volunteer for the war in America. Examples include Kazimierz (Casimir) Pulaski. Although Pulaski was Polish, he was in France at the start of the American Revolution where he was recruited to join the Patriot Army. Andrew Thaddeus Kosciuszko was another Polish national who was educated in French military schools. Bavarian-born Johann Kalb (better known as Baron de Kalb) was a lieutenant-colonel in the French Army. The so called Baron von Steuben was an unemployed Prussian officer who was introduced to Benjamin Franklin in Paris by agents of the French government.

Just how many Frenchmen volunteered to join the Continental army is difficult to determine. One problem is that some of them failed in their efforts to be appointed as officers in the Continental army and returned to France or the French West Indies. Another is that Americans were unfamiliar with foreign languages. As a result, they were spelling the names and titles of the French volunteers different ways. Washington, for example spelled Kosciuszko’s name eleven different ways.[2] There are clues to the numbers including a letter Washington wrote to Congress on February 20, 1777. In his missive, Washington said that the aspirants were coming in swarms from old France and the [West Indies]Islands.”[3] In another letter written during the same period, Washington described them as “the shoals of French Men that are coming on to this Camp.”[4] Writing in August 1777, Washington referred to “the numberless applications for Imployment by Foreigners.”[5]

Some French volunteers were not commissioned was because they could not speak English. Washington mentioned this problem in a letter to Congress dated October 7, 1776:I must take the liberty to observe that I am under no small difficulties on account of the French Gentlemen that are here . . . Their want of our language is an objection to their being joined to any of the Regiments.” To communicate with them Washington appointed men as aides-de-camp who spoke French: Tench Tilghman, Alexander Hamilton, and John Laurens. As the war expanded to include contact with Spain, Washington added Dr. James McHenry, who was fluent in Spanish, to his staff.

More French officers were rejected as the Americans became aware that the majority of them were adventurers (an old term to describe mercenaries) who came to sell their services to the Patriots. This was a typical practice in European armies; for example, a quarter of the French army at the time was composed of foreign mercenaries.

French officers mustered out of the army following the end of the Seven Years’ War were looking for a war to add to their military experience, prestige at home through higher rank in a foreign army, and to make money. To improve their chances for a commission in the fledging Continental army, the Frenchmen often disguised their true motivation with expressions of their love of liberty and commitment to the Patriot cause. General Washington soon caught on to this masquerade. Writing to Gen. William Heath on July 27, 1777, the commander in chief warned his subordinate, “however modest, they may seem at first to be, by proposing to serve as volunteers, they very soon extend their views, and become importunate for offices they have no right to look for.”[6] In another letter, Washington described his experience with French officers: “Men who in the first instance tell you, that they wish for nothing more than the honor of serving in so glorious a cause, as Volunteers—the next day solicit rank without pay—the day following want money advanced them—and in the course of a week want further promotion, and are not satisfied with anything you can do for them.”[7]

Another objection to commissioning French volunteers was expressed by Gen. Nathanael Greene. Writing to John Adams in 1777, Greene said that having foreign officers in the army was “an injury to America.” Greene said that he looked upon them as “so many spies ready to take their measure as their interest may direct,” that is, they were vulnerable to being bribed by the British.  The general lectured John Adams that it was important for Americans to lead the army, “for the multiplying of foreign officers gives us no internal strength. A good nursery of officers, nursed by experience, firmly attached to the interest of the country, is a great security against foreign invaders.”[8] (Read more.)


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Mare of Easttown (2021)


Kate Winslet's acting is first rate, although the cursing and promiscuity make it not a family show. It is realistic, though. The Delco accents are perfect. From Word on Fire:

Mare is wise and self-sacrificing, but she is no flawless heroine. Amid her combative relationship with her mother (played with great pathos and equally great comedic timing by Jean Smart), Mare buries her grief over the suicide of her son. She is also deeply, and perhaps unfairly, bitter toward her grandson’s mother, who is battling addiction. When Mare is off duty, she drinks one Rolling Rock after another, and she engages in an off-and-on fling with Richard, an itinerant writing professor, played by Guy Pierce. And Mare cannot stop herself from committing one particularly malicious act of sabotage.

Everyone in Mare’s life is deeply troubled, including her same-sex attracted daughter, Siobhan, who is talented and big-hearted but whose traumatic life experiences have left her as angry, rebellious, and broken as anyone. But when she departs for a college on the other side of the country, we have a reasonable hope that with God’s grace and some time away from Easttown, Siobhan may become a whole new creation someday.

The depiction of the Church in Mare of Easttown is refreshingly fair. In a time of continuing concerns about the history of sexual abuse cover-ups, viewers are rightly predisposed to suspicion toward the priest and deacon who are featured among the characters. But the show also assumes that most of the townspeople have at least some historic, positive connection to Catholicism, including Mare. Her cousin is the local pastor, who often visits for cocktails with Mare’s mother. (Practicing Catholic viewers, however, may find one or two details odd, including the highly unusual circumstance of a permanent deacon being depicted as a celibate man who lives in a rectory.) 

Pro-life threads run everywhere through Mare of Easttown. The preservation of the lives of young people, as well as justice for young lives lost, are among the show’s major themes. When a junkie dies, his end is met not with a shrug but with real regret and grief. There is a significant character with Down syndrome, as well as multiple unwed young mothers who have chosen to keep and raise their children, and receive support from their families and friends. At one point, a morally dubious character mentions how he unsuccessfully tried to pressure his girlfriend into an abortion. 

In the final episode, called “Sacrament,” the Church is the place where the whole community is gathered and encouraged with the words, “We’ve finally come out of a tunnel and arrived at the next level of healing.” In the homily, the close-knit town hears, “Our job is only to love,” which sounds at first like the ubiquitous pablum of cheap grace that undermines the hard road of the cross, until we take another look at Mare, whose name is significant. In one of the final scenes of the series, Mare holds a grief-stricken friend on the floor of her kitchen, posed similarly to Michelangelo’s Pietà. As a sort of mother to the whole town, Mare’s love bears the weight of others’ hurt—on top of her own. A sword has pierced her heart and graces flow through her wounds. (Read more.)

From No Film School:

Perhaps the most talked-about aspect of the show was how many diverse and interesting characters it brought to the forefront. Of course, Mare herself was deep and well-formed. We saw the trauma she carried and the pain as well. But her mother, daughter, ex-husband, and even daughter-in-law all had their own distinct stories. So did her friends and even the side characters. Each person could have been the star of their own show, and that's what made them all feel whole, and also what drew bona fide stars to round out the cast. How can you focus your character creation? Make sure the people you come up with are the stars of their own story threads. (Read more.)


There is No Such Thing as ‘Private’ Catholicism

 From The New York Post:

When Joe Biden was sworn in as America’s 46th president, he laid his hand on an ancient Douay-Rheims family Bible, a translation made by Catholics in France, where they’d taken refuge from the Reformation across the Channel. In doing so, the new president reminded some 40 million viewers of a truth he may now prefer to forget: namely, that the Catholic Church is inherently political, and faith in her teachings is never a merely private matter.

For decades, American Catholic politicians insisted the opposite was the case. For generations of Democrats, especially, the faith meant dated jokes about stern nuns and sentimentality about Notre Dame football. Catholicism was a cultural institution, quaint but lovable, like a bowling league. The Roman church, in this view, required little of its members, certainly not serious adherence to her moral precepts — about the sanctity of unborn human life, for example.

This was always an untenable position — a fact that became undeniable last week, when a routine meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops made national headlines. Secular and religious media alike reported that American prelates were on the verge of drawing up a document that would formally prevent Biden and other pro-abortion-rights politicians from receiving Holy Communion.

Predictably, the reports occasioned a ponderous open letter from 60 nominally Catholic Democrats objecting to what they described as the “weaponization” of the sacrament by a coterie of sinister right-wing bishops.

The letter did draw attention to an elephant in the room, but that elephant wasn’t the GOP. It was the church’s unchangeable teaching, which demands fidelity without exception from members, regardless of their station in life. (Read more.)


Transfer of Power

 From History News Network:

On July 14, 1798—nine years to the day after the storming of the Bastille—President John Adams signed an American Sedition Act into law. The 1789 Parisian incident had set in motion events that ultimately toppled and killed King Louis XVI; his queen, Marie Antoinette; and their heir to the throne, the dauphin. Adams’s signature likewise led to his own ouster, but the president; his lady, Abigail; and their heir, John Quincy, got to keep their heads in the transition and thereafter. On two telling dimensions—orderliness of regime change and avoidance of bloodshed—Federalist-era America showed itself vastly superior to Revolutionary France. But the events of 1798-1801—America’s first peaceful transfer of power from one presidential party to another—were in fact far more fraught than is generally understood today and in myriad respects cast an eerie light on the not entirely peaceful transfer of presidential power in 2020-21.

UNDER THE TERMS OF THE Sedition Act, anyone who dared to criticize the federal government, the president, or Congress risked a fine of up to $2,000 and a prison term of up to two years. But venomous criticism, even if knowingly false and violence-inciting, that targeted the vice president was fair game under the law. Thus, in the impending 1800 electoral contest between Adams and his main rival, Thomas Jefferson—who was also Adams’s sitting vice president—Adams and his Federalist Party allies could malign Jefferson, but Jefferson and his allies, the Democratic Republicans, could not reciprocate with equal vigor. Congressional aspirants attacking Congressional incumbents would need to watch their words, but not vice versa. Just in case the Democratic Republicans managed to win the next election, the act provided that it would poof into thin air on March 3, 1801, a day before the new presidential term would begin.

On its surface, the act seemed modest. It criminalized only “false, scandalous, and malicious” writings or utterances that had the “intent to defame” or comparable acidic motivation. The defendant could introduce into evidence “the truth of the matter contained in the publication charged as a libel.”

This was more generous than libel law at the time in Britain, where truth was no defense. Indeed, truth could actually compound a British publisher’s liability. “The greater the truth, the greater the libel,” because the libelee would suffer a greater reputational fall if the unflattering story was, in fact, true. British law was thus all about protecting His Majesty and His Lordship and His Worshipfulness from criticism; it was the product of a residually monarchial, aristocratic, and deeply deferential legal and social order. British freedom of the press meant only that the press would not be licensed or censored prepublication. Anyone could freely run a printing press, but printers might face severe punishment after the fact if they used their presses to disparage the powerful.

Back in the 1780s, Jefferson had urged James Madison and other allies to fashion a federal Bill of Rights that would go beyond English law—but not by miles. As Jefferson envisioned what would ultimately become America’s First Amendment, “a declaration that the federal government will never restrain the presses from printing any thing they please, will not take away the liability of the printers for false facts printed.” Jefferson evidently could live with publisher liability for “false facts printed.” But what if the falsehood was a good-faith mistake, or a rhetorical overstatement in a vigorous political give-and-take? Could an honest mistake or mere exuberance ever justify serious criminal liability and extended imprisonment?

Also, who would bear the burden of proof? The Sedition Act purported to criminalize only “false” statements, but in the 1790s many derogatory comments were legally presumed false. The Sedition Act said that a defendant could “give in evidence in his defence, the truth of the matter,” but many edgy statements mixed truth with opinion and rhetoric. If a critic wrote that John Adams was a vain and pompous ass who did not deserve a second term, how exactly could the critic establish the courtroom “truth of the matter”?

ADAMS ERRED NOT SIMPLY in signing the Sedition Act but in mindlessly and mercilessly prosecuting and punishing, and never pardoning, men under it. He and his minions hounded tart but peaceful speakers and printers whose only real crime was dislike of John Adams, his party, and his policies, in cases whose facts were miles apart from treason, riot, or mayhem. Indeed, under the ridiculously strict standards of his own administration, a young John Adams himself should have been fined and imprisoned back in the 1760s and 1770s for his vigorous denunciations of colonial Massachusetts royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson.

In the first high-profile sedition case, brought in October 1798, the Adams administration targeted a sitting Democratic Republican congressman from Vermont, Matthew Lyon, for political writings and harangues, some of them at campaign rallies. In one passage highlighted by the prosecution, Lyon had written that Adams had “swallowed up” every proper “consideration of the public welfare” in “a continual grasp for power, in an unbounded thirst for ridiculous pomp, foolish adulation, or selfish avarice.” Adams, wrote Lyon, had “turned out of office . . . men of real merit [and] independency” in favor of “men of meanness.” Lyon had also read at public meetings a communication from a French diplomat bemoaning the “extremely alarming” state of relations between France and the United States, worsened by the “bullying speech of your president and stupid answer of your senate.” Congress, wrote the diplomat in words that Lyon publicly repeated, should send Adams “to a mad house.”

How exactly could Lyon prove in a courtroom the technical truth of these words, blending as they did fact, opinion, analysis, interpretation, and rhetoric? The jury convicted and the court sentenced Lyon to a fine of $1,000 and a four-month imprisonment.

Dozens of newspapers across the continent brought readers detailed reports of the cause célèbre. While in prison, Lyon wrote an account of his travails that Philadelphia’s Aurora General Advertiser published in early November, followed by newspapers in many other localities. The congressman vividly described his conditions of confinement: “I [am] locked up in [a] room . . . about 16 feet long by 12 feet wide, with a necessary in one corner, which affords a stench about equal to the Philadelphia docks, in the month of August. The cell is the common receptacle for horse-thieves, money makers [counterfeiters], runaway negroes, or any kind of felons.” When Lyon stood for reelection—from prison!—in December, his constituents gave him a roaring vote of confidence, returning him to his House seat. Adams thus won the first courtroom battle but was beginning to lose the war of public opinion.

A year and a half later, the last big Sedition Act trial before the election of 1800 resulted in an even harsher sentence—nine months’ imprisonment. The defendant was the trashy but talented journalist James Callender—the man who broke the Alexander Hamilton sex-scandal story in 1797 and would later, in 1802, expose Jefferson’s affair with his slave mistress Sally Hemings (who was also his deceased wife’s half sister). In the run-up to the election of 1800, Callender published a campaign pamphlet, The Prospect Before Us.

Callender painted in bright colors and attacked Adams for just about everything: “Take your choice, then, between Adams, war and beggary, and Jefferson, peace and competency!” The “reign of Mr. Adams has been one continued tempest of malignant passions. As president, he has never opened his lips, or lifted his pen without threatening and scolding.” The administration’s “corruption” was “notorious.” Indeed, the president had appointed his own son-in-law, William Stevens Smith, to a plum federal office, surveyor of the port of New York, thus “heap[ing] . . . myriads of dollars upon . . . a paper jobber, who, next to Hamilton and himself is, perhaps, the most detested character on the continent.” (Read more.)

Monday, June 28, 2021

In Search of the Once and Future King


From Medievalists:

In this, our final entry, we will seek to shuck these layers of artifice and reinvention as we examine the case for Arthur’s historicity as well as the pertinacious campaign waged by scholars, amateur historians and enthusiasts to discover the real Arthur. As historians, we should never be ashamed or shy about acknowledging the limitations of our medium or sources. In a way, despite our best efforts, it is very hard to discern the degree or way in which medieval audiences conceived of Arthur as a historical personage.

The majority of people within the medieval period had an essentially isochronal understanding of history, viewing the past as being largely identical to their present in terms of material culture, social mores and structure. Medieval writers and artists visualized and portrayed the great events of antiquity in the same stylized way they did the geopolitical struggles of their own day, transforming Roman generals and dark age warlords into resplendent knights. One of the most notable 14th-century manifestations of this practice was the codification and celebration of the Nine Worthies of Chivalry, a group whose membership was composed of the most puissant and virtuous knights within the canon of Christian Europe.  Arthur and Hector of Troy were included in this group alongside such historical luminaries as Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great and Charlemagne. A further three of the Worthies, Joshua, David and Judah Maccabee were Biblical figures who contemporary audiences would have been very familiar with and whose historical existence was readily accepted. (Read more.)

More HERE.


No Hint of Violence

 From The New York Post:

 Joseph Bolanos was a pillar of his community. President of his Upper West Side block association for the past 23 years, he looked out for his neighbors during the pandemic. He dropped off masks and kept extra heaters in his rent-controlled apartment for seniors. He raised morale with a weekly street dance to show his support for essential workers. A Red Cross volunteer after the 9/11 attacks, the 69-year-old security consultant once received a police commendation for heroism after saving a woman from being mugged. Unmarried, and caring for his 94-year-old mother, he was a well-loved character in the quiet residential area. But now his neighbors think he is a domestic terrorist. Yes, he attended then-President Donald Trump’s rally in Washington, DC, on Jan. 6, but he never entered the Capitol. He was in a friend’s room at the JW Marriott a 30-minute walk away when the Capitol breach occurred. 

Nonetheless, he was raided in February by the FBI anti-terrorism task force, handcuffed, paraded and detained for three hours while his apartment was ransacked and all his devices confiscated. Four months later, he hasn’t been charged and doesn’t have his devices back, but his neighbors are shunning him, and he’s had two strokes from the stress. 

“It’s destroyed my reputation,” he says. “I’m not a violent invader … I do not condone the criminality and violence on [Jan. 6] whatsoever.” The FBI told Bolanos he was raided because of a tip to the Jan. 6 hotline from a neighbor who said he had overheard him “boasting” about being at the Capitol. An FBI agent phoned Bolanos the Sunday after the riot and left a message. He returned the call the next day, but never heard back. At the time he was staying at his mother’s apartment in Washington Heights because she had been moved to rehab and he was facing the difficult decision of whether she should move into permanent care. 

On Feb. 4, four FBI agents arrived unannounced and interviewed him for 25 minutes. They asked if he was a member of BLM, Antifa or the Proud Boys. He said no. He told them he caught a train to Washington on Jan. 6 and arrived at the Ellipse to meet a friend who had flown from California with a girlfriend to watch Trump’s speech. He filmed the crowd, which he described as “friendly, like a political Woodstock.” Bolanos is a registered Democrat, but calls himself “an independent at heart.” He liked Trump’s policies, but was never a Trump fanatic. He strived to keep politics out of his leadership role, knowing his neighbors were a mixture of ultra-progressives and closet conservatives. Trump’s speech was boring, and the day was cold and blustery, said Bolanos, so at about 12:40 p.m., he and his friends left early and made the eight-minute trek back to the Marriott. 

That’s where they were when the Capitol barricades were breached at 12:57 p.m. Bolanos has time stamps on photographs he took in the hotel to prove it. One inside the room was taken at 1:41 p.m. Another out the window of the street below was taken at 1:45 p.m. Another photo was taken at 2:04 p.m. inside a hotel elevator. He says that is when they decided to head back to the Capitol to see what had happened with the Electoral College count. Bolanos videotaped the scene as they walked slowly down Pennsylvania Avenue. They were still about a mile away at 2:12 p.m., when invaders smashed windows and stormed the Capitol.

They arrived at the rear of the Capitol at about 2:45 p.m. Unbeknownst to Bolanos, inside the building, Ashli Babbitt has just been shot. He and his friends stood on a patch of muddy lawn about 400 feet from the wall of the Capitol taking photos. The riot was all over. 

“There was no hint of violence … If you were shooting a movie at that location, you would never know anything had happened.” No police were there. The only disorder he remembers seeing was a pile of overturned bike racks. In the distance he could see people climbing a wall of the Capitol. “But I couldn’t process it. I thought why they are climbing it.” (Read more.)


First Humans in North America

 From Futurity:

The first humans may have arrived in North America more than 30,000 years ago—nearly 20,000 years earlier than originally thought. Researchers made the discovery while studying the origins of agriculture in the Tehuacan Valley in Mexico. As part of that work, they wanted to establish a date for the earliest human occupation of the Coxcatlan Cave in the valley, so they obtained radiocarbon dates for several rabbit and deer bones collected from the cave in the 1960s as part of the Tehuacan Archaeological-Botanical Project. The dates for the bones suddenly took the researchers in a different direction with their work.

As reported in the journal Latin American Antiquity, the date ranges for the bone samples from the base of the cave ranged from 33,448 to 28,279 years old. Even though previous studies had not dated items from the bottom of the cave, researchers were not expecting such old ages. The findings add to the debate over a long-standing theory that the first humans crossed the Bering Land Bridge into the Americas 13,000 years ago.

“We weren’t trying to weigh in on this debate or even find really old samples. We were just trying to situate our agricultural study with a firmer timeline,” says Andrew Somerville, an assistant professor of anthropology in world languages and cultures at Iowa State University.

“We were surprised to find these really old dates at the bottom of the cave, and it means that we need to take a closer look at the artifacts recovered from those levels.” (Read more.)


Sunday, June 27, 2021

Hôtel de la Marine

From Afar:

First, a little history. The Hôtel de la Marine dates back to 1755, when Ange-Jacques Gabriel, Louis XV’s chief architect, conceived the plan for the vast royal square now known as Place de la Concorde. Flanked on one side by monumental palaces, open to the Seine on the other, the city’s largest square would be an homage to the king after the end of the War of the Austrian Succession, his equestrian statue presiding over it all. 

The Garde-Meuble de la Couronne—the depository for the royal furniture collections, crown jewels, tapestries, and precious objets d’art—was housed behind one of the imposing facades on the square. When it was open freely to visitors in 1772, the building—what is now the Hôtel de la Marine—became a museum even before the Louvre. (Read more.)

More HERE.


Covid Information Concealed

 From Gregg Jarrett:

The Wall Street Journal was told by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) that a Chinese scientist asked them to eliminate gene sequences taken from early COVID-19 carriers. National Review reports the U.S. NIH “deleted gene sequences taken from early COVID-19 carriers at the request of Chinese researchers, raising concerns about Beijing’s efforts to conceal information crucial to the virus origin investigation.”

A Chinese scientist “asked the NIH to eliminate the sequences after submitting them three months prior.” In a statement, the NIH said, “submitting investigators hold the rights to their data and can request withdrawal of the data.”

According to the statement, the researcher wanted the sequences removed from the NIH database because they had since been updated and rerouted to another database, “the name of which remains unknown”, reports Just the News. (Read more.)


The Costly Kidnapping Of King Agilulf’s Daughter

 From The Historian's Hut:

Around the year 599, Emperor Maurice of Constantinople (r. 582-602) made a peace agreement with King Agilulf of the Lombards (r. 590-616), temporarily putting the Lombard conquest of Italy on pause. Despite this peace, Maurice’s leading lieutenant in Italy, a certain Patrician Callinicus (or Kallinikos), did not get the memo to be on his best behavior. Quite the opposite, the patrician used the peace-time to plot a bizarre covert military action against the Lombard king’s family. His plan, which he presumably carried out sometime between 599 and 601, was to kidnap King Agilulf’s daughter, as well as her children. This event was mentioned by Paul the Deacon (c. 720-799), in his History of the Lombards, in which he wrote, “In these days the daughter of King Agilulf was taken from the city of Parma, together with her husband named Gudescalc (Gottschalk), by the army of the patrician Gallicinus (Callinicus), and they were brought to the city of Ravenna” (History of the Lombards, IV.20). Callinicus might have been able to make something of his scheme if the kidnapped daughter had a different father, or if the plot had been carried out at a different time. Yet, King Agilulf was not the kind of man to pay ransoms, and the Empire of Constantinople would soon wish it had been befriending its neighbors instead of kidnapping their daughters. (Read more.)


Saturday, June 26, 2021


Some of the illustrations in the article are of abusive practices unrelated to the lives of holy anchorites. From The Collector:

Anchorites were part of ordinary life in Medieval Europe. They were integral members of society. Their sacrifice set an example; they reminded the local community of the importance of their actions in the mortal world.

Anchorholds were located at key points in a village or city. Many of them were built contiguous to church walls. Cells contiguous to churches, were often attached to the north-facing wall, the coldest part, next to the choir. In England, the anchorhold was usually inside the church, next to the private chapels.

Some could be found along cities’ defensive walls, usually near a gate. In that case, the anchorite served as the spiritual monitor of the town’s enemies. Even if they could not directly act in case of invasion, they sometimes were capable of miracles.

A 15th-century chronicle recounts the tale of the anchoress of Bavay, a town in northern France. She saved the local church from being burned down by “fierce captains” by begging them to stop in the name of Christ and offering to pray every day for their souls. Anchorholds could also be found on bridges, next to hospitals and leprosarium, or among cemetery graves. (Read more.)


More about anchorites HERE and HERE.


Trump, Unbowed

 From American Greatness:

Trump—whose administration was hobbled by false charges that he was beholden to Russian President Vladimir Putin—asserted that China has American politicians, “especially Biden and the son [Hunter Biden] . . . wrapped around their finger. They know so much about Biden that’s so illegal . . . [that the president] can no longer be a person that takes on China because they can blackmail him like nobody’s ever been blackmailed before.”

 “China has tremendous power over the Biden Administration because of Biden himself,” Trump added. “There was tremendous money paid to the Biden family—not only China; there were numerous other countries too, and it’s not allowed to be spoken about.”

Trump did not provide evidence for these claims, although a U.S. Senate committee report on the Biden family’s business dealings raised questions about its involvement with Chinese, Russian, and Ukrainian nationals and entities. Information found on a laptop once owned by Hunter Biden—who is facing a federal investigation into his taxes—has also raised questions about Joe Biden’s ties to his son’s questionable affairs.

“We were doing great with China. I was going to be doing things that would’ve put us on a course that would’ve been forever great, and now we have people—they almost can’t be tough on China because China knows too much about them,” Trump said. “It’s a very sad thing.”

With respect to the political class more broadly, Trump asserted that “China’s got the strongest lobbying machine you’ve ever seen. . . . You go to Washington and try and hire somebody to oppose China? Can’t do it. They’ve got everybody.” (Read more.)


Also from American Greatness:

Arizona is currently conducting a forensic audit of the election, Georgia petitioners are awaiting a judge’s decision to proceed with their audit, and in Pennsylvania, lawmakers are reportedly preparing to launch “a very careful recount” of the Commonwealth’s election results.

“I never admitted defeat … we have a lot of things happening right now,” Trump said in a telephone interview with reporter David Brody on Real America’s Voice.

“I never used the word concede, I have not conceded,” Trump added. “All you have to do is read the newspapers and see what’s coming out now.”

Brody asked Trump what he thought should happen if the Arizona and Georgia election audits “come back with fully verified evidence of voter fraud.”

Trump said he believes that the audits will prove that the election was rigged, and predicted that more states will follow Arizona and Georgia’s lead as evidence mounts.

“It’s going to be determined what’s going to happen,” Trump said. “That’s not up to me. That’s up to the public. That’s up to a lot of people, I guess. If the election were determined to be a fraud—and it’s looking more and more like that is the case—people are going to have to make a determination as to what’s going to happen,” he said.

Brody asked Trump to address the widespread belief among his supporters that he will be reinstated as president by August of this year.

“There’s actually a poll out, a Morning Consult poll that says 30 percent of Republicans actually think that,” Brody said. “Can you set the record straight? Do you believe you could potentially be reinstated?”

Without answering the question directly, Trump noted that “there is a tremendous percentage [of people] that thinks the election was rigged and stolen.”

He went on to say that his concerns about election fraud are not unique, as Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams in 2018 also raised concerns about fraud after they lost their elections, although, as Trump pointed out, neither of them had evidence to back up their claims.

“In this case, there’s massive evidence. It’s coming out of Georgia. Just take a look at what’s happening,” he said, lamenting that the corporate media refuses to cover credible evidence of fraud in the 2020 election.

Trump predicted that the numbers of stolen votes that will be exposed by the audits “will be massive.”

When pressed on whether he thinks he could be reinstated, Trump refused to comment. “I’m not going to comment on that. I’m just going to see what happens,” he told Brody.

“If the election was fraudulent, people are going to make up their own minds. It’s not going to be up to me,” Trump said. “It’s going to be up to the public. It’s going to be up to, I guess, politicians. I don’t think there’s ever been a case like this where hundreds of thousands of votes will be found.”

Trump threw cold water on recent reports that he was vying for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s job in 2022, as the Constitution does not require the Speaker to be a member of Congress.

Trump said he was aware of the chatter but that it was not something he was considering. “I have seen talk about that, but it is nothing that I have ever considered,”  he  said. “The election was a horrible, horrible thing for our country,” Trump added. “The whole world is watching. You know, we were always known for free and fair elections. Well, it turns out they weren’t free, and they weren’t fair.”

He told Brody that he hasn’t made a decision yet on 2024, and is mainly focused on helping Republicans retake the House in 2022. When asked about his feelings on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis running in 2024, Trump seemed to take credit for DeSantis’s meteoric rise in GOP politics.

“I think Ron’s very good. I endorsed him, and when I endorsed him he went up like a rocket ship,” Trump said. “Ron’s a friend of mine, he’s doing great.” (Read more.)



 From Science:

When continental plates smashed together about 12 million years ago, they didn’t just raise new mountains in central Europe—they created the largest lake the world has ever known. This vast body of water—the Paratethys Sea—came to host species found nowhere else, including the world’s smallest whales. Two new studies reveal how the sea took shape and how surrounding changes helped give rise to elephants, giraffes, and other large mammals that wander the planet today.

To build that timeline, paleo-oceanographer Dan Palcu of the University of São Paulo and his colleagues at the main campus assembled clues from geological and fossil records. At its largest extent, the ancient sea stretched from the eastern Alps into what is now Kazakhstan, covering more than 2.8 million square kilometers. That’s an area larger than today’s Mediterranean Sea, they note this week in Scientific Reports. Their analyses further estimate the lake once contained more than 1.77 million cubic kilometers of water, more than 10 times the volume found in all of today’s fresh- and saltwater lakes combined.

But climate shifts caused the lake to shrink dramatically at least four times in its 5-million-year lifetime, with water levels falling by as much as 250 meters between 7.65 million and 7.9 million years ago. During that largest episode of contraction, the lake lost as much as one-third of its water and more than two-thirds of its surface area. That sent water salinity in the lake’s central basin—which closely matches the outlines of today’s Black Sea—skyrocketing, from about one-third as salty as today’s oceans to a level on par with seawater. (Read more.)


Friday, June 25, 2021

A Book for Anne of Brittany

From Getty's Iris Blog:

The manuscript was made around 1493 for Anne of Brittany, Queen of France, shortly after her marriage to King Charles VIII in 1491 when she was just fourteen years old. Tales of mourning women who met tragic ends through the betrayal of their partners might not seem like an appropriate wedding gift for a teenage bride, but the images do provide examples of female empowerment through taking control of their own narratives. Writing is a form of authority that was not often associated with women in the ancient or medieval worlds. Here, the foregrounding of female self-expression might be interpreted as a model for the young queen.

The manuscript culminates with a distinctive image of the young Queen Anne seated under a cloth of honor, accompanied by her ladies-in-waiting. Resplendently dressed in a rich red gown highlighted with gold, she wears a crown atop a black headdress. Like all the illuminations in the manuscript, it was painted by an anonymous artist who is called the Master of the Chronique scandaleuse (active from around 1490 to 1510). Hallmarks of the master’s style that can be seen here include figures that are characterized by prominent foreheads, downcast hooded eyes, rosebud lips, and pale skin tones, as well as the use of bold colors and liquid gold in the draperies and architectural details. (Read more.)


Why Hollywood is So Liberal

 From The Daily Wire:

On the June 17 episode of “Breaking Points” podcast, hosts Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti asked Joe Rogan to explain why the entertainment industry is almost uniformly liberal. The famously forthcoming MMA commentator stayed true to form and pulled no punches in his answer.

Calling such conversations “incredibly disingenuous,” Rogan, the world’s highest-paid podcaster thanks to a $100 million deal with Spotify, described the social discussions going on in Hollywood. “It all comes down to young, hungry actors saying whatever they believe casting directors are going to want to hear to land the job,” he said.

Expanding on that point, Rogan explained that people generally come to Hollywood to pursue an acting dream. Then, when they hear politics being discussed in a left-wing manner, they parrot what casting directors are saying. “You see people bend to whichever way the wind is blowing. It’s like, ‘What do I have to say?’ And you see the disingenuousness.”

While acknowledging that a few celebrities do have deeply held political convictions, Rogan contended that most don’t. “They don’t have opinions,” he argued. “What they have is a conglomeration of opinions that they’ve adopted because they think it will be beneficial for their career.” (Read more.)

Coffee House Culture

 From The Seventeenth Century Lady:

In England, under Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan regime, drunkenness was considered an ungodly sin but, at the time, as for centuries before, ale or beer were the safest drinks. Water might be a more godly drink but the danger of swallowing disease-causing agents with every mouthful was understood, even if microbes wouldn’t be discovered for another two centuries.

Therefore, the earliest imports of a new beverage—coffee—at the beginning of the seventeenth century escalated after Cromwell came to power, bringing a safe non-alcoholic drink to the sober Puritans. No one seems to have realised—except perhaps Newton—that what was common to both beer brewing and coffee-making was the boiling of the water, thus making them safe to drink.

The first coffee-house in the Christian world opened in London in the 1650s, during the Commonwealth. Coffee had originated in the mountains of Ethiopia and gradually spread through the Muslim world of the Ottoman Empire, a suitable non-alcoholic beverage.

European merchants brought it home and its quality as a stimulant was quickly realised. Physicians were soon recommending coffee’s medicinal virtues as a cure-all and even an aphrodisiac—for men only. Dr William Harvey, famous for working out how blood circulated, used to drink coffee with his brother Elias and the ritual was so much a part of their lives, William bequeathed his coffee pot to Elias in his will. Although the Harveys drank their coffee at home, the new idea of a public house which served coffee, rather than alcohol, soon became popular with the Puritans, especially in London.

A coffee-house was not only a place to buy refreshment; it was a social event, a male-only meeting place. Another recent innovation was available there too: newspapers for customers to read and share. For those who could not read, articles would be read aloud and the subject matter discussed at length over the coffee. Coffee-houses served as libraries and debating chambers; they provided periodicals—the Tatler and the Spectator both began here. Customers usually paid a penny for a cup and coffee-houses were sometimes called ‘penny universities’, reflecting the intellectual stimulation visitors could expect. (Read more.)

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Royal Serenade of the Palace of Versailles 2021

From  Sortir à Paris:

 With its Royal Serenade, the Palace of Versailles makes us live the entertainments of the Sun King’s Court for a 40-minute guided tour. Brace yourself to attend a dance lesson and a fencing show on Saturdays from June 12 to September 18, 2021. (Re)discover the Grands Appartements of the Palace of Versailles this summer with the King’s Valet, for a 40-minute visit, meeting baroque musicians and dancers: The Royal Serenade. From the Hercules Room to the Marbled Room via the Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Serenade immerses you within the Sun King’s Versailles, discovering activities offered to the King. (Read more.)

 La Sérénade Royale au Château de Versailles, les photos


Sins of the Father

 From Kevin Burke:

[The following is an excerpt from the book Rivers of Blood/Oceans of Mercy.]

The late Dr Bernard Nathanson was the father of two aborted children, and experienced a difficult relationship with his own father.  This painful father/son relationship played a key role in the legalization and promotion of abortion in the United States.

Terry Beatley reveals in her book “What If We’ve Been Wrong?” that Nathanson’s father, a highly respected obstetrician-gynecologist, was a tyrant in the home:

“Bernard was born into a loveless home in which disdain toward his mother replaced oxygen in the household. His mother was constantly and unfairly berated and belittled by her husband [His father further humiliated his wife with extramarital affairs]… Nathanson and his sister, despite this hungered to gain their father’s respect and affirmation.” [1]

Nathanson father, a staunch atheist, sent his son to the finest Jewish schools to become instructed in the letter of the law. Yet young Nathanson was immersed in a family culture where religious belief was ridiculed and faith stripped of any values and heart. As he matured Bernard was driven to find liberation from his father’s oppression and emotional rejection, even as he continued to long for his father’s affirmation and respect as a son, and as a man.

It is from this complex family background that Nathanson, following in his father’s footsteps, entered medical school and fell in love with Ruth.   Author Beatley shares that “he was drawn to her innocence, intellect, and radiance.” Sadly, Nathanson would soon disfigure the beauty that attracted him to Ruth.

The couple spoke of marriage but when an unplanned pregnancy occurred, Nathanson (fearing his father’s response and driven to prove his self-worth) decided a newborn would interfere with the completion of his medical training.  Abortion was illegal in New York at this time, so Ruth travelled alone to Montreal for the procedure.

Ruth sacrificed their child so Bernard could finish medical school. Beatley shares that she returned to New York via taxi in a puddle of blood, and as is common after an abortion, the couple soon drifted apart. (Read more.)


Umberto Eco’s Four Rules

 From FS Blog:

The most creative works are those that can be endlessly reinterpreted and reinvented by readers. Every reader can understand their own version of them depending on their particular worldview. Some of the most popular works of fiction ever written are ones that reflect common dreams and fantasies or idealized versions of life. They afford enough ambiguity to allow readers to project themselves into the text, thereby formulating their own interpretation of it. They also present worlds that readers want to be a part of and characters that readers want to spend time with (whether from affection or morbid curiosity or a hundred other reasons). And just like we all get something different out of various relationships, so too do we connect with books differently than other readers do.

“…in a theoretical essay, one usually wants to demonstrate a particular thesis or to give an answer to a specific problem. Whereas in a poem or a novel, one wants to represent life with all its inconsistency.”

(Read more.)


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Jayne Wrightsman Bookbindings Collection

From The Wall Street Journal:

 In pre-Revolutionary France, collectors used books to flaunt their wealth and taste more than their erudition. Some examples can be found in “Bound for Versailles: The Jayne Wrightsman Bookbindings Collection,” an exhibition opening June 25 at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York. The show includes two books of a four-volume set of fables from 18th-century France that measure almost 2 feet high. “This is not a volume you sit down and read. This is one that you display,” said John T. McQuillen, the show’s organizer and an associate curator of printed books and bindings at the Morgan.

The show includes more than 100 books, prints and other items from ancien régime France, including letters by Marie Antoinette and her husband, King Louis XVI. There are prayerbooks, such as a French translation of the book of Psalms published in 1725, as well as a 1718 edition of the ancient Greek novel “Daphnis and Chloe.” Costly and elaborate bindings, fashioned by leading craftsmen such as Nicolas-Denis Derome and Pierre-Paul Dubuisson, transformed these texts into works of art. The Morgan show features books acquired by Jayne Wrightsman, who with her husband, oil baron Charles Wrightsman, amassed a trove of 18th-century French fine and decorative arts, including paintings, sculpture, furniture and vases as well as books. (Read more.)


From Apollo:

Jayne Wrightsman, the late collector and champion of European decorative arts, bequeathed her entire collection of ancien régime manuscripts and bookbindings to the Morgan Library and Museum in New York. Among the 149 printed books which passed into the Morgan’s collection in 2019 are works once owned by Madame Adélaïde (daughter of King Louis XV) and Queen Marie-Antoinette, and others boasting illustrations by the likes of François Boucher and Jean-Baptiste Oudry. This display at the Morgan (25 June–26 September) considers the significance of bookbinding as an art form in the 18th-century French court, and celebrates Wrightsman’s exacting eye as a collector. Find out more from the Morgan’s website. (Read more.)


Debunked Charlottesville Hoax

 From Breitbart:

Matt Welch, editor at large for Reason, said he did not understand the “Charlottesville hoax” in an interview with Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow on C-SPAN’s After Words about the latter’s book, Breaking the News: Exposing the Establishment Media’s Hidden Deals and Secret Corruption.

Democrats, their news media allies, and the broader left regularly repeat the false claim that former President Donald Trump described “white supremacists” and “neo-Nazis” as “very fine people” following 2017’s demonstrations and riots in Charlottesville, VA. Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Joel Pollak dubbed this oft-repeated falsehood the “Very Fine People Hoax.” (Read more.)


Iceland’s Ancient Literary Legacy

 From Lit Hub:

In 1701, Copenhagen was a burgeoning city fortress of 60,000, a seaside capital enclosed by canals and high walls with just four gates. The streets were narrow and crowded, lined on each side by cramped, timber-framed buildings, though strewn among the city were architectural jewels. Copenhagen held the Renaissance-style Frederiksborg Palace, symmetrical baroque gardens, and Gothic churches. The University of Copenhagen, the second oldest institute of higher education in Scandinavia, had the Round Tower astronomical observatory where the speed of light was first quantified. The texts held in the university’s library compiled just about everything we knew about the world so far, and somewhere in the bowels of that vast monument to intellectualism was the office of Professor Arni Magnusson.

This particular morning, a letter had arrived for him. From the king.

Arni was a self-made man in Copenhagen, that city of opportunities. He had left his native Iceland at twenty to study divinity. His interest in the gospel stemmed primarily from a love of old scripts rather than religious devotion. He came late to the hobby of manuscript collection. Rival antiquarians had accumulated the largest and most valuable codices, found at churches and official establishments around Europe, and set up workshops where the copying busywork was delegated to assistants. After completing his education, Arni had the edge of knowing Old Norse, the language that had died out everywhere in Scandinavia except isolated Iceland. Denmark, Sweden, and Norway had evolved regional languages over time, influenced by their global position. The Icelandic that Arni learned growing up wasn’t the same dialect as the Icelandic spoken by Snorri Sturluson and the Saga writers, but the versions were closely related enough for the stories to still be readily understood.

Through his roommate at school, Arni was hired as an assistant to the Danish royal antiquarian to transcribe and translate thousands of pages of Icelandic material; the diligent and detailed work he accomplished in his years of apprenticeship alone would have been enough to demarcate him as a great scholar. His practice of transcribing material word for word, including abbreviations and original spellings, was above and beyond the standards of his times. (Read more.)


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Wonders of the Ancient World

From The Greek Reporter:

The Temple to Zeus at ancient Olympia was built in 466–456 BC; the colossal statue of Zeus was created in 435 BC by the Greek master sculptor Phidias. Zeus was the god of the sky and thunder in ancient Greek religion, who ruled as king of all the gods on Mount Olympus. This statue was a chryselephantine sculpture of ivory plates and gold panels atop a wooden framework. Zeus sat on a painted cedarwood throne ornamented with ebony, ivory, gold and precious stones. The priceless statue was lost and destroyed by unknown individuals during the 5th century AD; the only way we can know how it looked are from ancient Greek descriptions and representations on coins. (Read more.)


Removed from DHS ‘Most Wanted’ List

 From Breitbart:

Six illegal aliens accused of killing Americans have been removed from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “Most Wanted” list. This week, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that ICE’s Victim Of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office, which served Angel Families in navigating their cases, would be disbanded in order to create the Victims Engagement and Services Line (VESL) which will expand to include providing benefits to illegal aliens who claim to be crime victims.

Following the announcement, as the Center for Immigration Studies’ Jon Feere first noted, top DHS officials removed six criminal illegal aliens accused of killing American citizens from ICE’s Most Wanted list — that is illegal alien fugitives who have yet to be captured by the agents.

In April 2019, ICE placed illegal aliens Saul Chavez, Jesus Maltos-Chacon, Alan Jacob Mogollon-Anaya, Edwin Mejia, Gonzalo Harrell-Gonzalez, and Luis Alberto Rodriguez-Castro on its Most Wanted list after each was charged with killing an American citizen and subsequently was evading arrest and criminal charges. (Read more.)


Women of Medieval Scotland

 From Knight of the Two L's:

The first of today's women is, unfortunately, the more mysterious of the two. Joanna Murray was the only known children of Maurice Murray, earl of Strathearn, and Joanna Menteith (after whom she was presumably named). She was born sometime between 1339, when her parents received papal dispensation to marry, and 1346, when her father died. Her grandfather - John - had been merely lord of Drumsargard in Lanarkshire but had firmly tied the family's fortunes to those of the Bruce dynasty from very early in the reign of King Robert I. Joanna's father had inherited the lordship of Drumsargard by 1334, when he was active as sheriff of Lanark for the Bruce Scots. His vigorous support of the Bruce cause during the absence of King David II in France allowed Maurice to forge links with the guardians Sir Andrew Murray of Bothwell (who was also one of Maurice's kinsmen) and Robert the Steward (David II's nephew and heir presumptive), but following David's return to Scotland in 1341 Maurice almost immediately transferred his allegiance directly to the king. Partly this reflected a pragmatic recognition that King David could dish out greater rewards than even the most wealthy magnates, but it also reflected the king's eagerness to undermine the influence his most powerful subjects had built up during his time in France. Certainly, Maurice benefited from the king's efforts to check the authority of magnates such as the Steward. When the Steward captured Stirling Castle in the summer of 1342, David installed Maurice as keeper of the castle. Given their past association, Maurice was probably viewed as a reasonable 'compromise candidate', allowing the king to deny the Steward control of this important royal castle while still promoting a figure with whom the king's nephew was friendly. Also in 1342, King David granted the barony of Strathaven in Lanarkshire and the baronies of Sprouston and Hawick in Roxburghshire. Possession of Strathaven allowed Maurice to serve as a potential counter-balance to the Steward's territorial interests in the south-west, while Sprouston and Hawick intruded Maurice as a royal agent into a region otherwise dominated by William Douglas, lord of Liddesdale, another figure who had greatly expanded his authority during David's absence in France. (Read more.)

Monday, June 21, 2021

Hostess Secrets for Creating a Summer Table

From Victoria:

Tabletops donned with breezy linens, fragrant blossoms, and cherished antiques are the site of countless cheerful summer moments. Under the tutelage of FrenchGardenHouse curator Lidy Baars, we explore ways for bringing joy to outdoor gatherings. In this exclusive feature, we share her top five tips on using time-swept pieces in your alfresco entertaining spaces.

Encourage a mingling of opposites.

“I love the mix of elegant antiques with shabby, vintage pieces, as well as some new finds,” says Lidy. In this vignette, she uses a new French linen napkin alongside storied objects while still maintaining a common thread of purple to tie them all together. Finding ways to bring the old and new together allows for abundant creativity.

Utilize color, especially from nature.

“Because we entertain outdoors, and the garden is usually a colorful backdrop, there is less need for decorating the tabletop than when entertaining indoors,” says Lidy. She and her husband regularly host guests in their outdoor haven, allowing the hostess to use Mother Nature as her decorating assistant. On this alfresco table, she unfurls a vibrant tablecloth to emphasize the sun’s yellow rays but opts for more simple serving pieces with her collection of ironstone. (Read more.)


The Tragi-Comic 'President'

And Biden dared to call Trump a clown? Every day of this so-called "presidency" is a clown show....


The Ancient City of Angkor Wat

 From ArtNet News:

The massive temple complex that is Cambodia’s Angkor Wat is famed as the world’s largest religious monument. Now, researchers have determined the city’s population at its zenith in the 13th century, and the number is impressive: some 700,000 to 900,000 people likely called the Angkor region home, making it one of the world’s largest pre-modern cities. Compare that with the 2019 estimated population for Boston, at 692,600.

The new estimate is based on 30 years of archaeological data from on-the-ground excavations conducted with Cambodia’s APSARA Authority and high-tech scans conducted by airplanes equipped with Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) mapping tools, according to a study by the University of British Columbia published last week in the journal Science Advances. (Read more.)


Sunday, June 20, 2021

Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle

From Afar:

The luxury hotel project is a long time coming, with reports of a planned hotel at Versailles dating as far back as 2011. In 2015, the Château de Versailles put out a call for bids to take on the renovation of three 17th- and 18th-century buildings adjacent to the palace, as well as several other structures on the grounds, and convert them into a luxury hotel. Airelles ultimately won that bid.

Versailles is considered by many to be one of France’s crowning achievements of art, design, and architecture. The 680,000-square-foot palace located on the outskirts of Paris consists of 2,300 rooms and houses many important collections of paintings and sculptures. Its most famous room is the Hall of Mirrors, a gilded gallery that documents France’s 17th-century political victories through 30 paintings on the vaulted ceiling. The massive and immaculate palace gardens are as much a draw as Versailles’s over-the-top interiors. (Read more.)


Decay Of Traditional Religion

 From The Daily Wire:

A top historian is warning that so-called “woke” culture is a “fake religion” that must be reigned in or else it could have deadly consequences. Hoover Institution fellow Niall Ferguson, a Scottish author and historian, appeared on Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s podcast “Tucker Carlson Today,” where he explained why the political Left does not focus on the economy very much anymore compared to the past.

“The people on the Left didn’t really want to have a conversation about economics, because they had lost their arguments in the 1980s; they really hadn’t been able to make the case for socialism successfully,” Ferguson said. “And the conclusion was that there was more money to be made, or more power to be gained by exploiting identity politics and emphasizing cultural, racial, gender differences.”

Later on in the podcast, Ferguson warned that Western society does not yet “fully realize, although it’s becoming more and more clear,” that “wokeism, is in fact, a religion.”

“It’s not a secular political ideology … it’s not really about economics,” he continued. “It is about salvation, membership of the elect of the woke. It’s about persecuting heretics. It’s about elaborate rituals of speech that can only be pursued by the believers. It’s rather cult like, Matt Yglesias is not somebody I usually agree with, but he called it the Great Awokening. This was a very astute observation. So we are dealing not just with the decay of traditional religion, but far worse, the rise of new fake religions, political religions, and one thing that’s very clear from the 20th century is that when people take their religious feelings, and they apply them to political ideologies, terrible things can happen.” (Read more.)