Saturday, December 31, 2022

Till (2022)

Danielle Deadwyler as Mamie Till-Mobley and Jalyn Hall as Emmett Till
The real Emmett and his mother Mamie

 I could not get anyone to watch Till with me so I watched it alone on Christmas Day while recovering from Covid. Knowing what it was about caused me to be numb with horror from the beginning, a feeling which increased as the movie went on. The fact that the film is from the point of view of Emmett Till's mother Mamie Till-Mobley makes it easy to relate to the tragedy as a parent, although many of us would drop dead from horror if we had to go through what that poor mother endured. By the end horror was mixed with wondering anger at the murderers of Mamie's child and why such sick and crazed individuals were allowed to live out their wretched lives in freedom. So one night during the Christmas octave I stayed up late researching the case, trying to figure out the background causes of the level of hate that would commit such an atrocity. Yes, there are racists that hate others because of their skin color but the rage inflicted upon that little boy's body by grown men seemed to be fed by something else in addition to their homegrown race hatred. As for the film, I thought it was well-done, well-acted, and more or less accurate historically. The director

Too far. Too far.

Oh, it isn’t technically too far to Mississippi—not in 1955. A train could whisk you down South from Chicago in a day. Emmett—whom everyone called Bo—wouldn’t be gone long, either. He’d spend several days with his cousins near Money, Mississippi, and head straight back home. Those cousins would watch him closely, making sure he didn’t get into trouble. He’d be fine, Preacher promises Mamie Till. They’d keep him safe.

Mamie is nervous all the same. Bo has lived all his life in Chicago—a place where whites and Blacks lived in, if not harmony, at least compatibility. Mamie has a good job, a good home, a good life in the city. Emmett has known nothing else.

But Mississippi isn’t Chicago. Jim Crow reigns down there. And people like Mamie and Bo—they go to the back of the bus, drink from different fountains. And if a Black person even dares to hint that they are created equal, well, heaven help that person.

“They have a different set of rules for Negros down there,” she cautions Emmett just one more time. “Are you listening to me?”

Bo says yes. But she worries. The boy’s always been so happy, so carefree. How can he really know what it’s like down there until he sees for himself? And what if he sees too late?

Mamie swallows her worry and sends her boy off, praying every night for his safe return.

A week later, Emmett Till is dead.

His mutilated, bloated body is fished out of Tallahatchie River. Mamie demands Mississippi send the body home to Chicago. And when the body is finally returned, the undertaker cautions Mamie that the sight won’t be pretty. “I need to prepare you.”

She sees the body. She sees her boy. She runs her fingers over his swollen feet, his bloated legs. She sees the face, barely recognizable as a person, much less her son—the side of the head caved in by a bullet, an ear torn, the wounds too many to count.

And in that moment, Mamie realizes the world must see. Bo’s not the only one to die for the “sin” of skin color. For too many years, people have literally gotten away with murder. Now, Mamie will force the world to see. She will force the world to feel her grief.

Too far. This time, they’ve gone too far.

The film TILL shows the lifestyle of Emmett Till and his mom Mamie. A peek into moments during their day to day to life. Moments of laughter, preparing for a trip to visit family and even "reminder" between them. As any mother would do with her child. It's a lifestyle that any parent could can relate to, no matter their race or background. While race did bring a separation in how Emmett is treated in society, there is no separation when a parent has to grieve the death of their child. That type of grief is felt by all and transcends everything. There's a moment when Mamie describes how she knew her son and truly it's a moment all parents, especially mothers will felt down to their souls.  It's that parentally connection, that mothers love, that touched that nation back then and will touch the views now. No matter race or background. 

Emmett's mother Mamie was a lovely and refined person who had built a middle class life in Chicago for herself and her son. She had a good job working for the air force and could afford to shop at the best stores. Emmett was a high-spirited, mischievous and cheeky teen, and as an only child was perhaps just a tiny bit spoiled. In spite of his mother's divorces, he had a secure family situation, with loving grandparents and a supportive circle of friends and relatives. Emmett was intelligent and had a bright future ahead of him. As parents of only children know, "cousin time" is important. In spite of the possible dangers  of life for black people in Mississippi, Mamie wanted Emmett to have fun with his cousins and see how they lived. In real life, Emmett was accompanied by family members even on the train so that he would be safe. 

Now the place in Mississippi ironically called "Money" was a dead end of sorts, especially for white people. The Bryants, who owned the store, served a primarily black clientele, sharecroppers who they no doubt looked down on for being poor as well as black. However, one can pretty much guess that in the white community, the Bryants were at the bottom of the totem pole, their skin color being the only aspect of their existence which kept them from being classed with the black sharecroppers. So to the Bryants, their whiteness was their lone claim to a rather shaky status in the wider community of Leflore County. They were what a lot of white and black people would have sympathetically called "poor white trash." Carolyn Bryant at 21 was already the mother of four. There were no nice stores or colleges in her future. We know, based upon what followed, that her husband had a tendency to extreme violence. Her life was bleak, to put it mildly. So one hot summer afternoon into her store bounds a young black boy on the brink of manhood, well-dressed and confident, who looks at her as the pretty woman that she is. Emmett probably and unknowingly broke four or five taboos before he even opened his mouth. He had no concept that he was supposed to pretend to be inferior to someone like Carolyn Bryant. Once he opened his mouth, it was all over, because he spoke to her as an equal, looking into her face, not with eyes downcast, saying, "Miz Bryant, ma'am." But even then, Carolyn Bryant did not tell her husband right away, and by her later testimony did not plan to tell him at all, afraid he would "beat up the little boy." But Roy Bryant found out.

Bryant and Milam discovered Emmett's identity and where to find him, and with other men, two of whom were black, to help them, dragged him away into the night. In the film Till, when Mamie eventually visits the Wright cabin from which her son Emmett was abducted, she notices her uncle's shot gun and asks him why he did not use it to protect Emmett. Preacher tells her that if he had shot a white man his whole family would have been killed and perhaps the entire black population of Money as well. There had indeed been recent assassinations of black leaders in Mississippi and so such atrocities were not unknown. After their acquittal, Bryant and Milam gave an interview to Look magazine admitting to the murder of Emmett. They claimed it had been their original intention to beat him and throw him in the river alive. But according to Milam, Emmett's demeanor made them resolve to kill him. Because they could probably tell that in spite of his fear and pain he saw them as the pathetic, ignorant, scared, white trash bullies that they were, and that they would never be anything else, no matter how many fourteen-year-old boys from Chicago they killed. As William Faulkner wrote of the interview:

If the facts as stated in the Look magazine account of the Till affair are correct, this remains: two adults, armed, in the dark, kidnap a fourteen-year-old boy and take him away to frighten him. Instead of which, the fourteen-year-old boy not only refuses to be frightened, but unarmed, alone, in the dark, so frightens the two armed adults that they must destroy him ... What are we Mississippians afraid of? (William Faulkner, "On Fear")


Ancient Sanskrit Text Algorithm

 From Big Think:

Although the Indian subcontinent has produced many writing systems — historian Steven Roger Fischer calls it “the world’s richest treasury of scripts” — it also maintains a strong oral tradition. The Brahmins, India’s priestly class, long considered speech superior to writing. Even centuries after the Indians adopted writing, the Brahmins continued to pass down the hymns of the Vedas, Hinduism’s oldest four sacred texts, orally.

This tradition meant the desire to use language correctly wasn’t simply a matter of avoiding an embarrassing correction in the comments section. It was of the utmost religious consequence. With the Aṣṭādhyāyī, Pāṇini didn’t only want to teach the language. He aimed to protect Hinduism’s sacred texts from corruption. He built a system of operations that allowed a reader to combine base words and affixes to generate proper word forms. The user could then combine those words to construct impeccable sentences. All readers had to do was follow the instructions. (Read more.)


Friday, December 30, 2022

Piers Court




Evelyn Waugh's house. From Right Move:

Perhaps best known for being the home of author Evelyn Waugh, Piers Court has many historical connections. It was used for royalists during the Civil War. In 1640 the local wealthy mill owning Pynffold family acquired Piers Court where they remained for 150 yrs. After the fall of Bristol, it is thought that Piers Court was ransacked by parliamentarian troops while searching for Prince Rupert, the King's cousin. In the nineteenth century Piers Court saw little change until 1937 when Evelyn Waugh was given the property by his parents-in-law.

This Grade II* listed Georgian manor house is approached up a long drive. Piers Court is nestled in its extensive grounds enjoying views over its own land. Once described by Pevsner as a 'dignified and elegant house', Piers Court displays a classical 18th century façade with the central crowning pediment bearing a coat of arms which is supported upon enriched pilasters. Piers Court has not been inspected since early 2019 when purchased by the current owners. The property at the time was extremely well presented and benefits from both an imposing, formal layout ideal for entertaining, yet to the rear of the property lies a more homely arrangement of rooms ideal for family living. The front door opens into a classical Georgian hall with a flagstone floor and cantilever staircase. Off the main entrance hall was the formal drawing room and library, both of which provided the grandeur that would be expected of a Georgian manor house. On the west side of the library was a large bay window. The drawing room looked to the front of the house and down a copper beech avenue. The Elizabethan rear of the house, had slightly less formal rooms. The kitchen had a range of traditional wooden cabinets and a terracotta tiled floor. The wine cellar comprised two rooms and wine bins. A self-contained staff wing lead from the kitchen. The first floor offered the primary accommodation with an en-suite master bedroom with south westerly views of the parkland. There were four further bedrooms on this floor, all of which had en-suite. The second floor had three spacious double bedrooms which would be ideal for guests. Servicing these bedrooms was a family bathroom. It is from this floor that a large attic space was accessed which provided storage space. (Read more.)


Massive Hypertension Signal After the Shots

 From The Vigilant Fox:

Amy Kelly of DailyClout did some digging using Abstractor, and she discovered 272 mentions of hypertension crises in the Pfizer PDF documents with “adverse” in their filenames. But even more alarming, her search for hypertension in the adverse events description field of VAERS following Pfizer or Moderna COVID mRNA vaccination returned 108,234 rows. This is the message she got from VAERS. “This request produces 108,234 rows, but 10,000 is the maximum allowed.” So, the message suggests that there may be so many hypertension adverse event reports in the VAERS database that it cannot produce the results unless multiple reports are done separately. We asked Dr. Henry Ealy to replicate this result, and he was able to do so.

“It’s been estimated by Harvard 10% of the total number of events are reported in the VAERS database. So, you’re looking at what could be a million cases of hypertension after being injected with the [C19 shot] in the general population!” exclaimed Dr. Wolf. “Over 100,000 [rows] in VAERS alone.” (Read more.)

Stranded at Machu Picchu

 From Artnet:

As political unrest heightens in Peru, some 800 tourists are now stranded in the town of Machu Picchu, below the ruins of the famed 15th-century Inca citadel. Protestors have reportedly blocked the only route in and out of the UNESCO World Heritage site, preventing the train from making the 70-mile rail journey back to Cusco.

“Someone needs to negotiate and get in touch with the army and get us out,” Mark Goodwin, a British tourist, told the London Times.

“We have asked the government to help us and establish helicopter flights in order to evacuate the tourists,” Darwin Baca, mayor of the town, which is also known as Aguas Calientes, told CNN. Peru has been experience political turmoil following the arrest of former President Pedro Castillo. Facing impeachment proceedings, the left-wing leader attempted to dissolve the Peruvian congress on December 7 in what he called an effort to “reestablish the rule of law and democracy.” Castillo’s attempt to put in place an emergency government failed, and congress removed him from office and had him arrested. (Read more.)

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Preaching Truth in a Hostile Culture

 From The Pillar:

Our equality is grounded in the reality that we are all equally and deeply loved by our creator. This is why I began the article with the story of Pope Francis visiting a shelter for people with gender dysphoria. And as our country’s own Declaration of Independence affirms, that dignity, with its corresponding natural rights, is inalienable: it does not depend on one’s health, intelligence, strength, physical beauty, or any other personal quality. Rather, we – every one of us – are endowed with it by our Creator.

Without a loving God, then, there is no fundamental equality. Without understanding this inherent equal human dignity with which a loving God endows us, the door is wide open for the powerful to oppress the vulnerable. The sacredness and therefore the equality of each human being comes from God.

The second part that I would want to underscore is that the Church’s teachings on sexuality are profoundly protective, not punitive. Just look at the destruction that comes when we do not accept our sexuality as a gift from God to be used for God’s purposes. We can look all around us and see the suffering that comes when people do not discipline sexual desire and put it at the service of love: broken homes, broken lives, fatherless boys and girls, abortion, not to mention rape, abuse, molestation, sex trafficking. The body count of the sexual revolution is large and growing, indeed, growing exponentially.

This disciplining of desire that Christ calls for can be difficult. God knows that. But the suffering that ensues when sexual desire is held up as an end in itself to be pursued without regard for the consequences, practically deified, is hard to ignore at this point. (Read more.)


From Archbishop Cordileone at The Public Discourse:

In the midst of the AIDS crisis, for example, the Church forged the world’s largest network of AIDS care centers. Sick people need care. Homeless people need shelter. Abandoned people need to know they are loved. It is precisely to express Christ’s love that the Catholic Church has so many caring ministries: for the sick, for women in crisis pregnancies, for migrants, for the poor, and for others on the margins. The Catholic Church remains the largest private provider of social services in the world.

Meanwhile, Church teaching on sex and marriage is grounded in both faith and reason. All around us, we see that sexual desire inflicts much suffering unless it is placed in service to love. Moral rules exist to protect people from damage and help them to a better way. Our bodies have meaning. We are not mere ghosts in machines. Our bodies are part of who we are and they point us to love, toward what Pope St. John Paul II called the “nuptial meaning of the body.” Men and women are made for union with each other. This call affects even those who, like me, are vowed to celibacy, which is another way of giving one’s whole self in love. To reject that reduces another human being to a mere object of desire. We see the profoundly painful results of the breakdown of this marriage norm in increased crime, poverty, mental illness, and loneliness. These are the crises that fatherlessness brings, something that social science studies have been showing us for over fifty years now.

Pope Francis calls attacks on these truths of our maleness and femaleness “gender ideology,” and, as he put it in 2021, “an attack on difference, on the creativity of God and on men and women.” He even referenced this in his popular encyclical letter on the environment, Laudato Si’, affirming that “valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different.”

Things go wrong in this world. The best way to care for people suffering a painful rift between their bodies and their minds is a matter of debate. Even though we share the impulse to care, the descent into gender ideology is shutting down that discussion, with ideologues insisting that all medical professionals and loving parents agree that surgically mutilating and possibly sterilizing even children with puberty blockers, hormones, and surgery is “health care.” And yet, the British National Health Service recently shut down its principal “gender-affirming” clinic because it had been “rushing children into life-altering treatment.” Thank God for those who are committed to putting patients above profits.

Amid this rapidly changing situation, the Department of Health and Human Services proposes so-called “nondiscrimination” rules that would prevent our ministries from helping people. In its public comment on the proposed regulation, First Liberty’s public interest lawyers say “Religious healthcare providers and institutions will continue to be targeted, sued, and eventually forced out of the healthcare field if Federal regulations do not permit them to follow their consciences.”

These new regulations are no service to the vulnerable. We want to serve people who struggle with gender identity. We also love them enough to protest an ideology that is doing great harm to real people. But meanwhile, tens of thousands of young teenagers are being physically medicated and sometimes mutilated for life, the majority of whom would probably have found the way to reconcile with their bodies if left uninterrupted. Parents are threatened with being cut off from their children. The opportunity to self-identify has also been exploited by some men claiming to be women. Imprisoned women have been raped and impregnated by biological males forced into their living quarters. Women in homeless shelters and young girls at swimming pools in many states are being denied a safe space, and even the haven of female sports is being invaded by biological males. (Read more.)


Meanwhile, we must pray for our dear Fr. Pavone. The highest form of persecution is to be persecuted by your own.


The Brompton Oratory

 I was so happy to visit it several times while in London last January. From The Liturgical Arts Journal:

The Brompton Oratory traces its roots to St. John Henry Cardinal Newman, who was a convert to the Faith in 1845.  In the spirit of St. Philip Neri, he founded the Birmingham Oratory, and dedicated it in honor of the saint.  Other former Anglicans followed him, including Fr. Frederick Faber, who briefly established an Oratory in London.  

In 1852 Fr. Faber and is growing community purchased a 3.5 acre property on the edge of London in the (then) rapidly developing suburb of Brompton, in the Knightsbridge area of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London.  An appeal was launched in 1874 to build a proper church.  In 1880 construction began on the new neo-classical Baroque church.  Fr. Faber, who died in 1863, is today buried in one of the side chapels.    

The architect of the Oratory was Herbert Dribble.  The style chosen was Roman Baroque, inspired by the Chiesa Nuova in downtown Rome.  Influences are also evident from Sir Christopher Wren, one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history.  The new church was consecrated in 1884.  The front facade was not added until 1893.  The church exterior is made of Portland stone, with the vaults and dome in concrete.  

The copper dome stands 200 feet tall and was completed in 1895-'96 to a design by George Sherrin  It is the second largest Catholic church in London, second to Westminster Cathedral.  Its octagonal base reflects the old baptismal fonts seen from the Middle Ages, such as the ruined one in the crypt of the Duomo in Milan. 

The large floorplan included a very large sacristy and an ambulatory passage behind the apse that connects one sacristy to the other.  Devon marble was used in the major order of pilasters and the minor order of columns.  More exotic marbles were used, Roman style, in the apse and on the altars.  Elaborate carvings can be seen in metalwork, plasterwork, wood, and stone.  One of the more famous statues is called the Twelve Apostles, a work by the Italian artist Giuseppe Mazzuoli (1644-1725); this was acquired from Siena Cathedral in 1894.  The Lady altar has sculptures by the artist Tommaso Rues (1650-1690).  (Read more.)


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

A Podcast Powderkeg

 From Upstream Reviews:

Many readers of this site are likely all too familiar with horrific deeds perpetrated by some of the organization’s most prominent members and affiliates. The parade of soul-sickening evil committed by the likes of Breen, Bradley, Kramer et al is sadly too voluminous to list here, but an exhaustive five-part report from 2015 titled Safe Space as Rape Room: Science Fiction Culture and Childhood’s End can be found can be found at Castalia House’s website. It’s long, but detailed, and I highly recommend a look.

If you read through that report, one might notice a disturbing dissonance in how SFWA dispenses what it sees as justice. Vox Day used a SFWA-associated twitter account to racially denigrate a fellow member author, and was investigated and expelled in less than sixty days. The same SFWA, with a history of criminally sexual horrors committed by some of its most influential members stretching back sixty years, never found time to formally denounce anyone’s actions, strip anyone of any titles, or revoke any memberships.

Ed Kramer was not only an active member during John Scalzi’s presidency, Kramer had been arrested (2011), tried (2012) and convicted (2013) after being found in a hotel room with a 14-year old boy. Kramer’s membership only ended in 2014 because payment of his membership fees lapsed. A search of SFWA’s website provides precisely zero statements, not even so much as a milquetoast corporate-speak press release, addressing or condemning the crimes and misdeeds of these individuals.

It’s a horrible chapter in the history of the institution. I can understand not wanting to put it front and center. But the group came within a hairsbreadth of cancelling Mercedes Lackey this year for a minor verbal misstep during a panel - these monsters left countless ruined young lives in their wake, with Breen and Kramer seemingly unrepentant (upon his release to house arrest in 2014, Kramer was back to excitedly promoting himself online, apparently without a shred of remorse or self-awareness).

Too many in the sci-fi community at large strangely seem to all too willing to dismiss these past misdeeds simply because they’re old, or those involved are dead, or to brush it off because it occurred “outside of the organization”, when these are crimes and sins that should be faced unflinchingly. As things stand, accountability seems to have been in short supply, and good leadership should welcome open analysis and criticism. (Read more.)


Matilda de Braose, the King’s Enemy

 From History...the Interesting Bits:

Matilda’s exploits were legendary. One of her titles was the Lady of Hay and Welsh folklore has her building the Castle of Hay in one night, single-handed, carrying the stones in her skirts. The couple had around 16 children together, who married into some of the most powerful families of the time. Their eldest son, William, married Maud de Clare, daughter of the Earl of Hertford. Another son, Giles, became Bishop of Hereford. Of their daughters Loretta, married Robert de Breteuil, 4th Earl of Leicester and another, Margaret, married Walter de Lacy, Lord of Meath in Ireland.

A third son, Reginald, married, as his 2nd wife, Gwladus Ddu, daughter of Llewelyn the Great, Prince of Wales. Reginald’s son by his 1st wife, William, was married Eva Marshal, daughter of the great knight, William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke and regent for King Henry III. It was this William de Braose who was ignominiously hanged by Llewelyn the Great, after being found in the bedchamber of Llewelyn’s wife Joan, the Lady of Wales and natural daughter of King John. William had been at the Welsh court to arrange the marriage of his daughter, Isabel, to Llewelyn and Joan’s son, David. Interestingly, the marriage still went ahead, although it was to be childless. (Read more.)


Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Artificial Womb Facilities

 From Uncovered DC:

 It would be wrong to assume that an artificial womb facility for humans—which “reinvents evolution” through genetic engineering and artificial intelligence—might only exist in science fiction. In 2017, scientists successfully grew eight fetal lambs for 105 to 120 days inside a synthetic womb called a “biobag” with tubes supplying amniotic fluid. Then in 2021, scientists grew mouse embryos for up to eleven days, also inside artificial wombs. Combine these accomplishments with the Jan 2022 tweet by Elon Musk warning of the end of humanity, and it seems obvious that those driving The Great Reset might already have a transhumanism-pushing solution to the declining sperm counts and “jaw-dropping” birthrates (both helped along by the mRNA COVID jabs) that have been well covered by the big-pharma-funded mainstream news media. Welcome to the future where artificial womb facilities produce “genetically superior” human embryos. 

The company behind the concept hoping to change evolution by genetically engineering human embryos in germ-free artificial womb facilities is called EctoLife. The process would begin with in-vitro fertilization (IVF), then the newly created embryos would be implanted in the artificial womb. The “highly efficient” wind and solar-powered birthing labs are the brainchild of Yemeni influencer Hashem Al-Ghaili, a graduate of Jacobs University Bremen with a master’s degree in Molecular Biology. Al-Ghaili, who has undoubtedly conquered digital storytelling, shares his vision of EctoLife in the video below, noting that parents can “track [their] baby’s health from the comfort of [their] zone.”  (Read more.)


Of the Coming of Men Into the West

 More on the Tolkien legendarium about Galadriel's brother Finrod and his friendship with Beren. From TOR:

When Frodo offers to take the One Ring in “The Council of Elrond,” the Half-elven loremaster places the hobbit in high esteem when he says:

But if you take it freely, I will say that your choice is right; and though all the mighty Elf-friends of old, Hador, and Húrin, and Túrin, and Beren himself were assembled together, your seat should be among them.

So who are these First Age fellows and why would Elrond, who isn’t even born yet at this point in The Silmarillion, hold them aloft as he does? Well, we’ll learn each of their stories soon enough, but we need to start with where they came from….

Three hundred years have now elapsed since the Noldor returned to Middle-earth. Its princes have long since settled into their realms and strongholds and become kings; the greatest of these kingdoms are Doriath, Gondolin, and Nargothrond. And Morgoth is still hemmed in by the vigilant forces of High King Fingolfin and Maedhros, eldest son of Fëanor. But now let’s talk about Finrod Felagund, Hewer of Caves and Lord of Nargothrond, who lives further south than all of them…when he’s actually home.

We already know that Finrod is a bit of a loose cannon. He’s the eldest of the house of Finarfin and the ruler of most of the Elves in West Beleriand, but he often goes abroad and makes new friends in a way that other kings never do. Turgon in Gondolin definitely isn’t coming out of hiding for a while, and Thingol in Doriath never walks beyond the nice fence his wife put up. Neither of them want visitors. But Finrod—also a king—is different. I’m just going to come out and say it: Finrod is the Fred Rogers of the Elves. He’s the neighbor who wants you as a neighbor; and if you don’t live next to him, he’ll come and visit you.

Case in point: one day Finrod goes on sabbatical to hang out in East Beleriand with the two eldest sons of Fëanor. That is, Maedhros and Maglor, who fall on the halfway decent end of the Fëanorean spectrum. (But even if they didn’t, they’d probably still get along with Finrod. Seems everyone does.) One day, bored of the hunting that the Fëanoreans are all into, his eyes are drawn to the mountains in the east: the shining Ered Luin, or Blue Mountains. You know, where his Dwarf friends live, the ones who helped him make his stronghold of Nargothrond!

So he starts off solo toward the mountains, then wanders south into Ossiriand, the Land of Seven Rivers where the Green-elves live. He’s friends with them, too. Because of course he is. (Read more.)


Monday, December 26, 2022


From Corymbus:
One of the most attractive features of medieval Christmas carols is how often and how enthusiastically they celebrate the act of singing. Their refrains frequently contain exhortations to sing – ‘sing we now!’, or similar phrases – and many carols explore the part which song plays in the traditional Christmas story, from the rejoicing of the angels to the piping of the shepherds and Mary singing lullabies to the baby Christ. Medieval carols give space to all these different voices, and in the process remind the listener of the pleasures of making music, alone and with others, and of the important part music plays for most of us in the enjoyment of the Christmas season. 
A good example is this lovely fifteenth-century carol, which is short enough to quote in full (in modernised form): 
Nowell sing we now all and some,
For Rex pacificus is come.
In Bethlehem, in that fair city,
A child was born of a maiden free,
That shall a lord and prince be,
A solis ortus cardine. 
Children were slain in full great plenty,
Jesu, for the love of thee;
Wherefore their souls saved be,
Hostis Herodis impie
As the sun shineth through the glass,
So Jesu in his mother was;
Thee to serve now grant us grace,
O lux beata Trinitas
Now God is come to worship us;
Now of Mary is born Jesus;
Make we merry amongst us;
Exultet caelum laudibus. 
Nowell sing we now all and some,For Rex pacificus is come. 
‘All and some’ is a Middle English idiom meaning ‘everyone’ (like our phrase ‘one and all’) or ‘all together’, so this refrain enjoins everyone to sing in consort: ‘let us all now sing ‘Nowell!’ Like many medieval carols, this one is macaronic, ingeniously interweaving English and Latin, and there’s something particularly clever about the use of two languages in carols like this one: the last line of each verse quotes a different Latin hymn used in the Office, especially at Christmas and the Epiphany. Even the phrase ‘Rex pacificus’ (‘King of peace’) comes from the antiphon used on Christmas Eve. So this is in part a song about singing, making reference to familiar liturgical music as it encourages everyone to sing. In the final verse, the singers and audience are urged ‘make we merry’, to join in the celestial song as ‘the heavens rejoice’. (Read more.)

To Censor the Canadian People

It all depends on what your definition of "hate" is. From Slay:

Canada’s liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has renewed his government’s push to crack down on so-called “hate speech” and censor the Canadian people. Trudeau has signaled that one of the contentious proposed laws, Bill C-36, tabled and dropped in 2021, could make a comeback. The Liberal Party leader indicated during remarks made several months ago that his administration will be forcefully pushing plans for “countering hate rhetoric” online. A new memo has now been leaked from Trudeau’s cabinet that reveals the PM is planning to renew the plans proposed in Bill C-36. According to the government memo, Trudeau reportedly believes that social media has created a “new way to foment anger and hate that is different from anything we have seen before…and it is destabilizing our democracy.”

It also states that Trudeau claims he “believes in free speech,” but that he also “emphasized the need for governments to take online rhetoric seriously.” The plans to reboot the censorship agenda have also been affirmed in comments from Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, who also suggested a version of Bill C-36 could in fact be reintroduced. C-36 was presented last year, as an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act. It sought to make related amendments to another act regulating hate propaganda, hate crimes, and hate speech. Those behind the bill said its goal was to deal with hate propaganda and hate crime, but also to define hatred. (Read more.)


Misreading 'Ulysses'

 From The Paris Review:

Joyce’s prose is famous, in this novel and elsewhere, for its density, its radical novelty, and for its exquisite and unexpected beauty. For this reason, I think, Ulysses is a book that is often experienced “partly.” If you ask a person whether they have read, for example, Crime and Punishment, the answer is pretty much always yes or no. But if you ask whether someone has read Ulysses, the answer is often “bits of it, but not the whole thing.” What gives Ulysses this quality—this “bits of it” appeal—is that so many passages of the work can yield a rich and immersive pleasure even outside the context of the overarching narrative. In the history of the English novel, this style represents a definitive break from the established nineteenth-century tradition. Even the word style is misleading, because throughout the novel, as you probably know, Joyce cycles through any number of distinctive styles, using and discarding them as they suit his purposes. In a sense, then, maybe my plot summary was beside the point: maybe the real pleasures and triumphs of Ulysses are on the level of the sentence. To an extent, I think, but not entirely. Joyce’s language is certainly very beautiful, but he wasn’t the first or only talented prose stylist of his generation—and there’s more going on in Ulysses than fine writing.

The brilliant novelist and critic Anne Enright recently wrote: “Apart from everything that you could possibly imagine, nothing much happens in Ulysses.” It’s very true. We might sense something daringly lifelike in the way that Ulysses rejects the contrivances of traditional plots and structures. And maybe it is this quality, this sense of “faithfulness to reality,” that gives the book its special place in literary history. Here are some of Bloom’s thoughts, for instance, as he walks toward Sweny’s pharmacy to get a special lotion made up for his wife:

He walked southward along Westland row. But the recipe is in the other trousers. O, and I forgot that latchkey too. Bore this funeral affair. O well, poor fellow, it’s not his fault. When was it I got it made up last? Wait. I changed a sovereign I remember. First of the month it must have been or the second.

None of this mental fretting on Bloom’s part serves any of the usual purposes of novelistic prose. Nothing in the plot of the book actually depends on whether he gets the lotion made up for Molly or not. On the contrary, he’s just thinking, the way we all think, aimlessly, doubling back, worrying, forgetting, remembering. In our real lives, thoughts don’t occur to us in service of some grander narrative or final meaning: we just wake up, think all day long, and then go to sleep. In that sense, we might propose a Ulysses that concerns itself with the radical banalities of everyday existence, a novel in which nothing of significance takes place. People eat, drink, walk around, use the toilet, often in meticulous detail, but the conventional machinery of narrative is absent: like life itself, it’s just a lot of random events in no meaningful order. This, then, might be the grand attack that Ulysses launches on literary tradition: an unprecedented fidelity to the shapelessness of lived experience. After Ulysses, how could we ever return to conventional narrative devices? How could readers—or writers—go back to breathing in the stale odor of plot after the bracing fresh air of life itself? (Read more.)


Sunday, December 25, 2022

"The Burning Babe"

The poem by St. Robert Southwell, priest and martyr. 
As I in hoary winter's night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow ;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear ;
Who, scorchëd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I !
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns ;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men's defilëd souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I callëd unto mind that it was Christmas day.


Saturday, December 24, 2022

Christmas Eve

Today you will know the Lord is coming, and in the morning you will see His glory. (Invitatory Antiphon for December 24.)

The Christmas Martyrology.
In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;
the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;

the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;
the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;
the one thousand and thirty-second year from David's being anointed king; in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;
the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;
the whole world being at peace,
in the sixth age of the world, Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and nine months having passed since his conception, was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary, being made flesh.

The Wonder (2022)


Lib Wright: That's a story, Kitty. I'm looking for facts. ~from The Wonder (2022)


[Warning: Spoilers] There is a phenomenon in the lives of certain Catholic saints of the person living only on the Holy Eucharist, sometimes for many years. St. Catherine of Siena and St. Angela of Foligno are among those who were known to have lived solely on the Blessed Sacrament for long spans of time. Their cases were carefully scrutinized during their lifetimes and afterwards by the authorities to ascertain that a supernatural phenomenon had indeed occurred. Scrupulous care to determine the truth was and is taken by the Church hierarchy in the face of miraculous claims. The reason is because often there are natural explanations which, when revealed, prove that a "miraculous fast" did not actually occur. Likewise, there have always been tricksters and those who wish to profit from fake miracles.

In the film The Wonder, an Irish Catholic girl named Anna in the 1860's, whose parents survived the Great Famine, claims to be able to live without food. She says her only sustenance is "manna from Heaven" but, other than her First Communion, the Holy Eucharist is not mentioned at all. In fact, none of the sacraments are mentioned; we never once see the inside of a church or glimpse the Mass which was central to the lives of Irish Catholics. Perhaps this is because the film is loosely based on the case of the "fasting girls" in Wales, who may or may not have been Catholic. While the film is full of Catholic sacramentals such as statues and holy images as well as featuring a priest and a nun, there is little about the substance of what the Faith is really about. The English nurse Lib Wright, who is brought in to observe Anna, discovers that the child is not only a victim of egregious abuse, but that her mother is secretly feeding her. It turns out that Anna's older brother, who died, had been molesting her. The parents have forced Anna into an unholy charade in order to atone for her sins and deliver her brother's soul from the punishments of the afterlife.

According to Digital Mafia Talkies:

 Set in 1862 Ireland, “The Wonder” follows Nurse Lib Wright as she enters a village to observe a girl named Anna, who has stopped eating for the last four months and is apparently doing fine. A council full of men—Dr. McBrearty, Sir Otway, Father Thaddeus, John Flynn, and Seán Ryan—puts Lib and Sister Michael on eight-hour shifts to see how Anna is actually doing this. Lib and Michael aren’t supposed to talk to each other about their inferences so that their final review of the situation can be as uninfluenced as possible. Lib’s watch begins on an ordinary note as she passively documents everything that she sees about Anna. But her parents’ proximity to her and the frequent appointments with visitors (coming in from far and wide to see her and donate to the cause) make Lib suspicious. So, she puts a pause on Anna’s meetings with her parents and random people under the guise of getting a proper reading. And that’s exactly when things start to go downhill. (Read more.)
The above article above goes on to make the following statement: "Ireland’s 'Punishment of Incest Act 1908' states that incest is a punishable offense, even if it is consensual in nature. That means the practice of getting into a romantic relationship with one’s relative was fairly common up until 1908." This is an astonishing and untrue contention. While the upheavals of the industrial revolution, which broke up traditional communities and often caused families to be crowded together in unsanitary and cheerless conditions, caused many countries to pass such laws, there is nothing to indicate that incestuous unions were ever part of Irish culture, at least not since ancient pagan Celtic times. And even then it was mostly for the royals, just like the ancient Egyptians.

 It is a shame that the Faith which sustained the Irish people through centuries of persecution is shown in the film to be superstitious and child-abusing humbug. I am aware that there were genuine cases of various kinds of abuse, some of which the Church authorities tried to cover-up, but such horrors were not unique to Ireland. Otherwise, the film has magnificent acting and starkly beautiful vistas, and everything that goes into creating a powerful drama.

From The Collider:

Florence Pugh is without a doubt, one of Hollywood’s most in-demand actresses. She gained the affection of the public thanks to critically acclaimed movies such as Midsommar, Little Women, and Black Widow, and she will soon star in the highly anticipated Dune: Part 2. 2022 has been a busy year for Pugh, with the highly-publicized release of Don't Worry Darling, which was not a critical darling but most praised Pugh's lead performance. Her latest film, The Wonder, is out now on Netflix. Based on Emma Donoghue's novel of the same name and directed by Sebastián Lelio (Disobedience), this period drama is set in the 19th century and tells the true story of a social phenomenon called the "fasting girls," where young girls claimed to be able to go without eating for months. Many cases have been described and reported, the most famous one being a young Welsh girl named Sarah Jacob, who died of starvation in 1869.

Emma Donoghue didn’t base her novel on one case in particular, but rather on the many tales of these unexplained events. The writer set her story in Ireland during the Great Famine that took place between 1845 and 1851. In the film, Pugh portrays Lib Wright, an English nurse who tries to uncover the mystery surrounding the claims of Anna O'Donelle, an 11-year-old girl, who professes that she only lives on "manna from heaven." Is it a fraud? A miracle? Or is something much more sinister hiding behind Anna’s declarations? Lelio declared in a statement that bringing The Wonder to the screen offered him the chance to portray the collision between reason and faith, individual and community, but also to explore his own interpretation of what a "period" film can be. (Read more.)

When Nurse Lib separates Anna from her parents, the little girl begins to truly starve, since the mother is no longer able to secretly feed her. She soon becomes debilitated due to malnutrition, and Lib decides to risk everything in order to rescue her. By the end of the film, one can only be relieved that Anna is escaping her crazy family, a crazy religion and a crazy country. The Wonder certainly makes Ireland and Catholicism look bad, which is a shame since  the original cases occurred in Great Britain. For film makers who wish to portray Ireland as a dark place, there have been some genuinely terrible things that happened over the years; just watch The Hanging Gale. No need to project a story which happened elsewhere onto a country rich with its own tales of good and evil, darkness and light, tragedy and triumph.


The SBF Scandal: The Players and the Money

 From Jeffrey A. Tucker at Brownstone Institute:

What we really need in the months or even years in which it will take to sort all of this out is some kind of key to the major players. What follows is a list which we’ve put together in order of network importance for easy reference. This small effort is made necessary because there seems to be very little attention being given to the entire SBF empire, both in terms of the players with whom he worked and where the money ended up. 

It’s nowhere near being a guide to the fullness of the networks of funding and influence, and can only begin to hint at the real story of what was really behind this magic bean factory in the Bahamas. Their operations and networks are deliberately obscure and fan out over many countries, institutions, and individuals. There is a strange silence in the air about the details other than the general observation that Sam Bankman-Fried was up to no good. 

And yet there were obviously many people involved. It’s probable that the main point was to fund political causes in a way that gets around federal election law, as the indictment suggests in count eight. However, a close examination of the networks keeps coming back to the strange theme of pandemic planning and support for various methods of controlling the population in the name of controlling infectious disease. Aside from political donations, this was a central concern. What that has to do with a crypto exchange is another matter. 

All of which should raise a question given the time of the life of FTX (2019-2022): to what extent was the network surrounding this institution useful in providing back-channel funding support for (and lack of opposition to) the most unprecedented attack on human liberty in our lifetimes? This question applies to both the direct political contributions and the various other donations to institutions and individuals. (Read more.)


Friday, December 23, 2022

Covid Critics on Secret ‘Blacklist’

 From Becker News:

Twitter kept secret “blacklists” that included a doctor at Stanford and several prominent conservative voices that suppressed their ability to be found or heard on the social media platform, according to journalist Bari Weiss, founder and editor of The Free Press and former Wall Street Journal and New York Times columnist, who launched the second chapter in Elon Musk’s so-called “Twitter Files” Thursday evening.

Weiss tweeted what appeared to be a photo of Stanford University’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of health policy, with his account being prominently marked as being under a “Trends Blacklist.” Bhattacharya was secretly blacklisted because he “argued that Covid lockdowns would harm children,” and was thus unable to trend on the platform, according to Weiss.

In addition to Bhattacharya, Twitter placed Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk under a “Do Not Amplify” notice, while right wing talk radio personality Dan Bongino, who has appeared on Alex Jones’ InfoWars, was placed under a “Search Blacklist,” according to Weiss. The practice of limiting the access or reach of users’ content, commonly referred to as “shadow banning,” is something that Twitter has denied doing in the past, and is referred to internally as “Visibility Filtering” or “VF,” Weiss reported.

“Think about visibility filtering as being a way for us to suppress what people see to different levels,” a senior Twitter employee reportedly told Weiss. “It’s a very powerful tool.” (Read more.)


 And a very tragic story, HERE.


Dr. Denise Maior-Barron's Book about Marie-Antoinette at Petit Trianon

Sections of Dr. Denise Maior-Barron's book on Marie-Antoinette are available online. Here is one of the sections in which she mentions my work. The novel she refers to is Trianon. Notice that on her hat the Queen is wearing what is called the "Hope Diamond."

More on Dr. Maior-Barron's work, HERE. Her book is available for purchase, HERE.


Thursday, December 22, 2022

Coronation of Charlemagne

On Christmas Day, 800, Charles the Great, King of the Franks, was crowned Emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III at St. Peter's Basilica. According to one account:
On the day of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ all [who had been present at the council] came together again in the same basilica of blessed Peter the apostle. And then the venerable and holy pontiff, with his own hands, crowned [Charles] with a most precious crown. Then all the faithful Romans, seeing how he loved the holy Roman church and its vicar and how he defended them, cried out with one voice by the will of God and of St. Peter, the key-bearer of the kingdom of heaven, "To Charles, most pious Augustus, crowned by God, great and peace-loving emperor, life and victory."(Salus et victoria) This was said three times before the sacred tomb of blessed Peter the apostle, with the invocation of many saints, and he was instituted by all as emperor of the Romans. Thereupon, on that same day of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the most holy bishop and pontiff anointed his most excellent son Charles as king with holy oil.

When Truth is Abandoned

 From Return to Order:

First, a person is limited by nature by not being God. Each person was born in a specific time and place, to a particular pair of parents, with certain specific biological traits—including those that determine sex. Individuals share a human nature that cannot be changed. Some are born male, and others are female. There is nothing in-between.

To argue otherwise is to say that God made mistakes when He made each person. No one who believes in an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God—as all Christians do—can assert that God errs when making all either male or female. He would not be so cruel as to place a male in a female body or vice versa.

Therefore, only by acting within those limitations can each person find happiness within God’s perfect will. The pretense of being something else ultimately destroys the soul. It leads the individuals to fantasies that eventually lead them to imagine God in their own image and likeness or as “transsexual,” as found in the blasphemies of Dr. Heath. (Read more.)


Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Noël! Noël!

"Noël" was the cry of the French in their holy places and upon the entrance of kings into their cities. From Crosswalk:
The word, “Noel” has multiple root meanings. The French wordnouvelles, means, “news”. The English root of the word comes from the word, nowel, which means “shout of joy.” This can be seen in the famous line "the first noel the angels did say, Was to certain poor shepherds..." meaning good "news". The mother of Romance languages, Latin, also ushers forth a root in the word, natalis, meaning, ”birth.” The more accurate meaning of noel is tied to the early 4th century records of Christus natus celebrated on December 25th which was referred to as the day of "today Christ is born". (Read more.)

 The Kingdom of France was born on Christmas day 496, with the baptism of Clovis, chieftain of the Franks. The baptism of Clovis by St. Remigius, at the place which became known as Rheims cathedral, was also considered the first coronation of a King of France. For centuries the Kings of France would be consecrated with oil from the Holy Ampulla, in reminder of the baptismal commitment of the French people. According to New Advent:
In 492 or 493 Clovis, who was master of Gaul from the Loire to the frontiers of the Rhenish Kingdom of Cologne, married Clotilda, the niece of Gondebad, King of the Burgundians. The popular epic of the Franks has transformed the story of this marriage into a veritable nuptial poem the analysis of which will be found in the article on Clotilda. Clotilda, who was a Catholic, and very pious, won the consent of Clovis to the baptism of their son, and then urged that he himself embrace the Catholic Faith. He deliberated for a long time. Finally, during a battle against the Alemanni--which without apparent reason has been called the battle of Tolbiac (Zulpich)--seeing his troops on the point of yielding, he invoked the aid of Clotilda's God, promised to become a Christian if only victory should be granted him. He conquered and, true to his word was baptized at Reims by St. Remigius, bishop of that city, his sister Albofledis and three thousand of his warriors at the same time embracing Christianity. Gregory of Tours, in his ecclesiastical history of the Franks has described this event, which took place amid great pomp at Christmas, 496. "Bow thy head, O Sicambrian", said St. Remigius to the royal convert "Adore what thou hast burned and burn what thou hast adored." According to a ninth-century legend found in the life of St. Remigius, written by the celebrated Hincmar himself Archbishop of Reims, the chrism for the baptismal ceremony was missing and was brought from heaven in a vase (ampulla) borne by a dove. This is what is known as the Sainte Ampoule of Reims, preserved in the treasury of the cathedral of that city and used for the coronation of the kings of France from Philip Augustus down to Charles X. (Read more.)