Saturday, April 30, 2022

A Teatime Ode to 'The Enchanted April'

 From Victoria Magazine:

Celebrating its centennial of publication, this charming tale by Elizabeth von Arnim follows four female characters—strangers drawn by an ad bidding “those who appreciate wisteria and sunshine” to retreat to a castle on the shores of the Mediterranean. Escaping London for a joint holiday in Italy, the women develop new friendships that are remembered here with afternoon tea.

In The Enchanted April, when Mrs. Wilkins, Mrs. Arbuthnot, Mrs. Fisher, and Lady Caroline venture to ancient villa San Salvatore, the four often come together at teatime. Where the author leaves specifics of fare served to the imagination, chefs in our test kitchens enrich the story with a vibrant menu that infuses the beloved English ritual with robust Italian flavors. A fitting introduction, Panettone Scones present fruit-studded cake that originated in Milan in the form of quintessential tea bread, offered with mascarpone and preserves. (Read more.)


Here is a review of the film Enchanted April:

There are times when winter seems endless, not only winter the season, but winter the state of mind, the "winter of my discontent," as Shakespeare put it. Enchanted April is about four women who feel trapped by the various winters of life: Lottie and Rose by their futile and unhappy marriages, Mrs. Fisher by old age, and Lady Caroline by boredom and dissipation. They decide to rent a castle in Italy for the month of April to escape their troubles. The castle has a sun-bathed garden full of wisteria; in the gallery is an ancient but serene portrait of the Virgin, whose blessing seems to emanate upon the company. The women are rejuvenated and begin to experience hope.

The film is based upon a novel by Elizabeth von Arnim. According to Turner Classic Movies:

An Australian born British novelist, von Arnim was as flamboyant as the heroines of her romantic yet psychologically probing novels. Her first husband was a Prussian count, and she lived a life of privilege, writing about it in her autobiographical first novel, Elizabeth and her German Garden (1898). Left penniless by her husband's death in 1910, she turned to writing full time. After an affair with novelist H.G. Wells ended in 1916, she impulsively remarried. That marriage was a disaster, and in 1919 she fled to Portofino, Italy, where she stayed in a castle that inspired her to write the novel about the power of beauty to soothe and transform troubled souls.
Just as there are seasons of coldness and death, there are seasons of life and regeneration. There are times of retreat and spiritual renewal, which can occur in a place of exterior beauty, or in the interior castle of the soul. To me, Enchanted April celebrates that certain season of grace which comes to those who sincerely seek it, especially those who are ready to be healed.

How Socialism Infiltrated the Church

 From TFP:

To understand the crisis inside the Church, one must first look at the processes that led to the present situation inside the Church. The roots of this crisis extend much farther back than the times of the Second Vatican Council. It can be seen in the appearance of Christian Socialism in the nineteenth century. Indeed, the first manifestations of Christian Socialism came directly from the French Revolution and thus predated social Catholicism.

During the French Revolution, there were factions that, taking the motto of “liberty, equality, fraternity” to its ultimate consequences, adopted communist positions. The most prominent representative of this trend was François-Noël Babeuf, called Gracchus (1760—1797). “The French Revolution is nothing but the precursor of another revolution, one that will [be] greater, more solemn, and which will be the last.”

“His idea,” says historian Pierre Gaxotte, “is that the Revolution had failed because it had not been carried out to the end. All the measures it had taken were good. . . But this was just a first step toward the ‘radical reform of property,’ that is, toward ‘the community of goods and works.’  Obviously, full collectivism would have been dictatorial.”

For those radical factions, one had to eliminate not only the king in the State but also the “king” in society—the employer—and the king in the family, that is, paternal authority. The clearly utopian dream of a perfectly egalitarian and free society without classes, property or the monogamous family loomed then on the horizon. (Read more.)


The Bees of Blenheim

 From Chef Kevin Ashton:

The issues of bees and their survival is an important one I have written about before so I was glad to hear that the Blenheim Estate is joining forces with Rowse Honey on a major conservation project to create a sustainable nectar source for local wild bees and other pollinators, as well as introducing new habitats for insects and birds, in and around the Oxfordshire estate.

The new five-year partnership will see the creation of at least 50 acres of pollinator-rich meadows on agricultural land within Blenheim Estate’s pioneering regenerative farming project, as well as help fund new research into the role diverse mixes of pollinators have in farmed landscapes.

In addition to introducing over 70 different species of wildflowers – that have been native to Britain for centuries – to various areas on the land, the project will also see the planting of 200km of hedgerow.

All flora will be introduced to the landscape slowly, to ensure no damage is caused to the existing ecosystem, ultimately securing legacy for future generations.

Dozens of wild honey bee colonies have been discovered living in the ancient woodland of the Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is hoped the wildflower meadows will enable Blenheim’s existing population of bees, and other invertebrates, to expand and colonise surrounding areas, and in doing so become a catalyst to revive the health of the local countryside. (Read more.)

Friday, April 29, 2022

Rare Archaeological Finds at Notre Dame

 From Bonjour Paris:

Since the horrific fire devastated Notre-Dame in 2019, destroying the timber roof and toppling the spire, extensive reconstruction efforts have been underway to rebuild the beloved cathedral. Curious passers-by assemble on the Seine’s quay to watch the cranes at work, or gather on the parvis where musicians play songs and an open-air exhibit covers the temporary walls closing off the construction site. And now there’s been an extraordinary news announcement: archeologists have made an amazing find. As reconstruction teams checked the stability of the ground in order to install scaffolding, they stumbled upon something unexpected under the cathedral.

Beneath the 19th-century underground heating system, burial sites have been discovered with several tombs and a human-shaped sarcophagus made of lead, likely dating from the 14th century. Shortly after the discovery, France’s culture minister Roselyne Bachelot visited the archaeological research site because of its importance. According to Agence France Presse, published in The Guardian, “the burial sites “of remarkable scientific quality” were unearthed during preparatory work for rebuilding the ancient church’s spire at the central spot where the transept crosses the nave.”

 That’s not all. In addition to the sarcophagus, thought to be made for a senior dignitary in the century after the cathedral’s original construction, the archaeological team has found painted sculptures, “identified as parts of the original 13th-century rood screen – an architectural element separating the altar area from the nave.” As they continue their excavation and cleaning, the archeologists have also used a mini endoscopic camera to look inside the sarcophagus. Visible are fabric, hair and a pillow of leaves on top of the head — part of the ceremonial elements of a religious leader’s burial at the time. The body is thus thought to be in a good state of conservation. (Read more.)


From Ancient Origins:

 Experts believe the lead sarcophagus probably belonged to a dignitary from the early 14th century – a very exciting prospect for a better understanding of the Middle Ages, particularly funeral practices, according to Dominique Garcia of the National Institute of Archaeological Research. Ahead of installing scaffolding to rebuild the spire, precautionary testing had been carried out to check the stability of the ground. During this process, an underground heating system from the 19th century was discovered with the sarcophagus lying among the brick pipes. (Read more.)


Twitter Is Worried About Free Speech…In Canada

 From The Daily Wire:

Following proposed legislation in Canada that would give the government greater oversight and control over content on social media, Twitter has expressed opposition to the bill due to its effect on “freedom of expression.”

In statements provided to the government, Twitter explained its objections to the proposal put forth by Liberals in parliament known as the online harms bill. 

According to The National Post, “The online harms bill would take aim at online posts in five categories — terrorist content, content that incites violence, hate speech, intimate images shared non-consensually, and child sexual exploitation content.” Overseen by a new Digital Safety Commissioner of Canada, social media platforms would be required to take down posts that violate any of the content restrictions within 24 hours. 

Twitter claims the bill does not have “the most basic procedural fairness requirements you might expect from a government-run system such as notice and warning.” Furthermore, the social media platform said the “requirement to ‘share’ information at the request of the Crown is also deeply troubling.”

Twitter, whose board is currently in a struggle with billionaire Elon Musk who wants to take control of the company, also expressed concern about the implications of free speech for the law. 

The social media giant said that the proposed law “sacrifices freedom of expression to the creation of a government run system of surveillance of anyone who uses Twitter” and warned that flagging and removing posts might be “used as a political tactic.”

Twitter, which barred the New York Post from its platform for several weeks prior to the 2020 U.S. presidential election after it published a story about Hunter Biden’s laptop, also noted that the new regulations could have an impact on federal elections.

“As lived during the recent Canadian federal election, a general approach to flagging will result in censorship,” Twitter noted, pointing to Canadian politicians pushing to have posts removed for misinformation during the election cycle. 

Regulating social media has become a major priority of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration, as it says it is important to ensure online safety for Canadians. An online resource from the government warns that social media platforms can be used to harm “social cohesion or democracy.” 

Other major companies, like Microsoft, also opposed the proposed law noting that it could impose too high of a burden on platforms to monitor and decide what content should be removed per the government’s standards. (Read more.)


First Known Female Pharaoh

 From My Modern Met:

The title of pharaoh is synonymous with the grandeur of the ancient Egyptian civilization. This name—which means “great house” in hieroglyphics—was given to the rulers who led this large empire. And while the majority of these figures were men like King Tut and Ramesses II, there were a few influential women who earned the title. The first recorded female pharaoh was Sobekneferu.

After the death of Amenemhat IV, who may or may not have been her brother and husband, Sobekneferu assumed the throne. Although her reign only lasted about four years, she was the first known female ruler to adopt the full royal titulary and to be recorded in the Turin King List—a recording of ancient Egyptian kings written on papyrus. Her end as ruler marks the end of the Twelfth Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt.

Sobekneferu was the first recorded female pharaoh to rule ancient Egypt and the last ruler of the Twelfth Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055 BCE – 1650 BCE). She was one of the daughters of the pharaoh Amenemhat III, although it is unknown which of his wives was her mother.

Her ascension to the throne is also unclear, but it is postulated that after Amenemhat IV died—the heir of Sobekneferu's father who may or may not have been her brother—she was put forth as the next pharaoh in absence of another male heir. Her relationship to Amenenhat III helped her assert legitimacy as a ruler (Read more.)

Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Renovations at Versailles


From Lonely Planet:

Today the hall is welcoming guided tours again after eight months of closure, bringing back motifs that had disappeared after a previous restoration in 1789 and restoring the mammoth Luc-Olivier Merson painting, The Tennis Court Oath.

Elsewhere in the palace, the apartment of the Dauphin – Louis XV᾽s eldest son – is reopening today too after 18 months of work. Considered one of the most prestigious apartments in the palace, the ground floor apartment (made up of a bedroom, library and reception room) rejoins the tour circuit alongside the restored private quarters of Madame Du Barry (Louis XV's mistress).

Museum officials have tried to make the rooms look almost exactly as they did when they were at the height of their power and pomp, hiring local carpenters, gilders, marble and stucco workers to bring back their 18th-century shine. (Read more.)


The Medium Is the Menace

 From City-Journal:

The discussion of the merits and demerits of technology has continued ever since Plato. It has flared up recently, as the pace of technological change has accelerated. Writing took millennia to spread; the Internet conquered the planet in decades. The speed has amplified the shock, making the arguments of the techno-skeptic Thamus more tangible. In the 1990s, the Internet was praised as a great repository of knowledge. In the 2000s, it was hailed as an environment of free communication. But since the 2010s, it has often been considered a danger—both to people and institutions.

The logic of our faculties’ migration into media, extended far enough, leads to a complete human resettling into media. The more our capabilities migrate to media, the more our power grows over our physical and social environments—and the more essential it is to improve the potency of our media. The migration of physical abilities to, say, a stone ax dealt with only a tiny fraction of our needs. The Internet, by contrast, caters to all human collective and personal activities.

Indeed, we are nearly all the way there, save for some physical daily routines. Media are increasingly taking over our body’s work to accomplish those physical and intellectual tasks better and faster, which frees up time to spend on—what else?—consuming and developing media. As McLuhan said, “[M]an becomes, as it were, the sex organs of the machine world, as the bee of the plant world.” In exchange for developing them, media offer us “nectar” in the form of conveniences of all sorts. Convenience can make humans dependent, however; and in the digital universe, this can certainly seem at times like a loss of freedom and independence.

We’re not just spending time on the Internet. We are investing time in its improvement. If value in digital capitalism is created in the very process of a platform’s use, then we are all working for digital capitalism. Every time we click a link, react to a story, or share it with others, we help the Internet to evolve, like a bee pollinating flowers, in McLuhan’s formulation. Improving the relevance of online content, our day-and-night labor of clicks enhances the Internet’s convenience for us, which, in turn, strengthens its power over us, making us develop its protocols and devices. Having collapsed the space between people—as well as between people and knowledge—the Internet has freed up the time formerly needed to cover that space. In exchange for this service, the Internet expropriates our time. (Read more.)


Checking Bags vs Carry On

On our last trip to London, we decided to travel without luggage, and so had carry-on only.  It was very convenient when making an international flight and jumping in and out of taxi cabs, etc. However, we had little room in bags for gifts or souvenirs. From Medium:

There was a recent article on Defector where two of their writers debated the merits of each option. I read the article and commented on Twitter that I had mixed feelings about this decision. I have a flight to Nashville coming in June. I will have to make this decision. Here are the pros and cons of each. I am flying Southwest, so I can check one bag free. The decision changes when there is a fee.

Checking Bags

  • You don’t have to limit your packing to make it fit in a carry-on eligible bag.
  • You don’t have to worry about making sure all of your shampoos and such are in a separate clear bag and the right size.
  • The security line is much easier when I am only carrying my phone and the book I plan to read.
  • Boarding is easier when you don’t have to look for overhead space for your bag.
  • You avoid being the annoying person who holds up the boarding process looking for space.
  • If you have a layover you have less stuff to worry about lugging from gate to gate.
  • You have to deal with possible lines to check your luggage.
  • You have to deal with baggage claim at the end of the trip.
  • There is the possibility of lost luggage.
  • You might leave your ride waiting while you wait for your luggage.

(Read more.)


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

The History of Kitchens

 From ArchDaily:

The discovery of fire was one of the great events that changed the social organization of human agglomerations, which gradually passed from nomadic to sedentary lifestyle. Fire, which in that context served to keep people warm and protect the group, was also being explored as a source for cooking food, which not only changed human eating habits, but also made it possible to conserve food, changing the social organization of communities. The preparation and meals were collective acts, which brought people together to feed, warm up and protect themselves. It is from this habit that we inherited the practice of large banquets and the appreciation of food and meal times. Food preparation, on the other hand, was gradually marginalized. While the Egyptians, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Persians, Greeks and Romans shared the habit of holding large banquets, the preparation gained less and less prestige, losing its collective social dimension until it was physically segregated in a specific room: the kitchen. (Read more.)

Open kitchens are on their way out. It is nice to have the kitchen as a separate room, where people can work and even have a private chat. From Maison Global:

He found that consciously sealing the kitchen off from the living room with a door and a wall made a noticeable impact. Separating the rooms made each feel properly proportioned. The living room, now more cocoon-like, was easier to furnish. Thus, what’s old is new again.

“Maybe it’s a post-pandemic thing, but nobody wants an open kitchen,” Mr. Potts said. “They want light and spaciousness, but no one wants a mess. It’s more calming, frankly, to have definition and to be able to remove yourself from a room where somebody might be on a video conference, or where you just made lunch but don’t want to do the dishes yet.”

Mansion Global spoke with Mr. Potts about how adding walls and unexpected finishes to kitchens elevates both working and entertaining from home. (Read more.)


An Icon of Courage and Faith

  Rest in Peace, Deirdre. From Kathryn Jean Lopez at Our Sunday Visitor:

One of the things she is known for is handing out the Litany of Trust prayer, written by one of the Sisters of Life. It’s about humble trust in God, and she doesn’t have to hand out those beautiful words, because her life has been a glorious song, an ode to her Creator in love for the life she has been given as a gift from God.

The last time I worked with her professionally, when she was working for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on pro-life issues, she was working on end-of-life issues. She was a compassionate advocate against doctor-assisted suicide and for palliative care and other merciful alternatives to assisted suicide.

Deirdre introduced me to a woman named Maggie Karner. She had watched her father deteriorate at the end of his life. She reflected later, as she faced her own terminal diagnosis: “He taught me how to live and die with faith and with dignity marked by patience and grace. He taught me that dignity can’t be diminished by pain or loss of personal control. Regardless of our circumstances and whether people acknowledge it, nothing and no one can take away our God-given dignity.”

She was brutally honest about her own illness: “I am certain my God hears my cries, which are sometimes angry, sometimes frustrated and sometimes exhausted. I know this because Jesus also cried out to his Father in pain and showed me that God can handle our questions, our fears, and our uncertainties.”

In 2014, at the death of another icon of courage and faith in the face of a terminal diagnosis, J.J. Hanson, she and her colleague, Greg Schleppenbach, wrote announcing his death: “Given only four months to get his affairs in order when first diagnosed in 2014, he sought a second opinion with a medical team that was willing to fight for his treatment. Sadly, his cancer returned late in 2017, and he passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his family after receiving hospice care.”

Now Deirdre is in this same position. And every moment, excruciating as it can be with pain and the sure knowledge that life is at its end for family and friends, has dignity. She has dignity. Playing God in ending life prematurely is not worthy of the gift of life God gives us. It closes us off to unexpected graces only God can give in the purifying, humbling, even humiliating moment of our lives, when we are most vulnerable.

I can’t really pretend to know what Deirdre would say if she could say some last words of teaching about what she has learned about her suffering — though I expect those closest to her will share before too long. But she would be delighted if we all got to know the late Sister Thea Bowman, who Deirdre has had as a close friend and intercessor in her cancer battle. She, too, had cancer. And she said something that Deirdre has embodied: “I believe that there are kinds of healing. People are praying for healing for me. I want to be healed. I don’t know what that means in God’s infinite plan, but it’s not problematic for me. If it means to heal the body, thank you, God. If it means to heal the spirit, thank you, God. And I know the healing is already happening.” (Read more.)


Famine Stela

 From Historical Eve:

In 1889 the journalist and Egyptologist Charles Edwin Wilbour, who for about ten years had spent every winter in Egypt aboard a dahabiya (a typical Nile passenger boat with two sails) that he had converted into his home and library, visited Aswan and its surroundings.

But in that same expedition Wilbour also approached another island, that of Sehel, located in the Nile about 3 kilometers southwest of Aswan, before the first cataract of the river. In it there are numerous archaeological sites and a temple, that of Anuket, the Egyptian goddess of water and the Nile falls. But the place was mainly a granite quarry used since ancient times and at different times. For this reason, there are numerous inscriptions on the stones and boulders, left mainly by workers, but also by travelers who began or ended their journey to Nubia there. Some narrate historical events. And precisely Wilbour was going to discover one of the most curious of all. (Read more.)


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

On the Illumination of Saint Peter's Basilica

 From Liturgical Arts Journal:

In July of 2020 we covered the subject of The Sanpietrini and the Illumination of St. Peter's Basilica. In that article we gave some of the background and the mechanics of this practice, showing both interior and exterior images of the same.  Since the writing of that article some more images of this have come to light, specifically of the lighting up of the exterior of the basilica -- which, to remind our readers, was a practice done for the most solemn occasions, such as canonizations. 

The 18th-19th century German writer Goethe, author of Faust, had this to say about his impressions of this noble custom in 1780:

"Enlightenment is a spectacle of the amazing world of fairy tales; you don't believe your own eyes... The beautiful shape of the colonnade, the church and the dome, first of all in a burning fire frame and, after about an hour, in a burning mass, it is a unique and magnificent show to see."

Regrettably, most of us today have been deprived of any opportunity to experience this magnificent spectacle; a spectacle that had the power to capture the heart and mind of Catholic and non-Catholic alike. (Read more.)


Legacy of Healing

 From Catholic Herald:

She has met two popes and was known for her pro-life work, particularly for founding Project Rachel, a ministry focused on healing for post-abortive women. Vicki Thorn, 72, died of a massive heart attack Wednesday, April 20. She was a member of St. Catherine Parish, Milwaukee, and is survived by her husband of 50 years, Dr. William Thorn, six children and 19 grandchildren. She leaves behind an inspiring legacy of healing. In 1976, Thorn began serving as director of the Respect Life Office in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Since beginning Project Rachel in 1984, this ministry of the Catholic Church has provided healing for those impacted by abortion. It is a diocesan-based network of specially trained priests, religious, counselors and laypersons who provide a team response of care for those suffering in the aftermath of abortion. Project Rachel is found in more than 110 dioceses in the United States and provides confidential and skilled help to anyone coming to the ministry, and is open to women, men, parents, grandparents, siblings, friends and others whose lives are affected by abortion. (Read more.)


Life in the Royal Ancient Egyptian ‘Harem’

 From Historical Eve:

At the top of that female pyramid of power was the queen herself. She was the chief wife of the pharaoh and the mother of the crown prince, and as a companion to the king, she was considered a goddess. Both, the pharaoh and she, embodied the masculine principle and the feminine principle that guaranteed the existence of order or Maat, an essential concept of the Egyptian worldview that represented harmony, the cosmic balance that prevailed in the world since its origin. And in order to maintain the masculine-feminine duality, the main wife had to accompany the monarch during the ceremonies. Of course, she always occupied a secondary level with respect to him. And sometimes the position of Great Royal Wife was held by more than one woman at the same time.

For Miriam Bueno, art historian and doctoral student in Egyptian art, the term ‘harem’ is not suitable to describe this type of institution in ancient Egypt:

“The oldest term interpreted as “harem” is that of “ipt”, found from the 1st Dynasty, and referring to a group of women and children (who were educated there) who belonged to the court but lived in separate rooms or building. (Read more.)


Monday, April 25, 2022

More on 'Art Nouveau'


From Emily Henderson:

Here’s the deal: Art Nouveau was a FLASH IN THE PAN. It came out of nowhere in the 1890s and it was florid and futuristic and sculptural – in modern terms, it’s kind of like The Hobbit meets Vogue. Art Nouveau picked up steam and spread across the globe for 20 years like wildfire, but its ornate aesthetic was too expensive to justify during the First World War. Instead, we saw the rise of Art Deco, which was a simple and streamlined version take on Art Nouveau – deco’s geometric shapes and straight lines were more affordable to produce than all of nouveau’s whiplash curves. BUT THAT’S ENOUGH HISTORY (for now, at least), LET ME SHOW YOU A BUILDING!

PS. There’s no Gaudi in this post because (a.) he’s already world-renowned and (b.) less famous places from my incredibly dense Pinterest board deserve some shine, too. I’ll link up some of his work at the bottom if you want to explore more in this style, though. OKAY NOW HERE’S A BUILDING! (Read more.)



France Turning Back to Nationalism

 From The American Conservative:

Bloomberg columnist Therese Raphael noted that after Ukraine: “There is also a sense that Macron’s grand vision of Europe has taken a hit. He defined France’s mission as restoring Europe as a great, singular civilization, with a leadership role for France. He wanted a security doctrine that built Europe’s ability to balance other powers and gain strategic autonomy.” The continent now feels under threat from Russia and even more dependent on America.

More ominously for Macron, the French political system has shifted in a broadly nationalist and radical direction. Macron, who declared late and refused to debate before the first round, only won among over 60-year-old voters, a shrinking share of the electorate; he came in third among the 18–24-year-old cohort.

More than half of first-round ballots went to the most extreme candidates, two on the right and one on the left. Voters essentially wiped out the moderate right and left, Republicans and Socialists, respectively, the traditional governing parties that ruled the fifth republic until Macron’s rise atop an entirely new party. Together, they gained less than 7 percent, compared to 56 percent a decade ago and 26 percent five years ago. Neither received the 5 percent necessary to win government reimbursement of their electoral expenses. The Greens also fell short. A new rightwing candidate, a professional journalist who formed his party just three months ago, humiliated the establishment parties by receiving 7.1 percent.

Macron is making populist appeals and is still favored to win—the Economist gives him a 93 percent likelihood of victory, for instance—but the margin is expected to be narrow. Five years ago he won the run-off with about two-thirds of the vote. The latest poll aggregates show Macron with about 56 percent.

Several factors make the race closer. Le Pen eliminated the overt xenophobia and antisemitism that characterized the earlier incarnation of the National Rally party founded by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen. She also downplayed previous criticism of the European Union and instead focused on pocketbook and other populist issues. Among them, the cost of living, public services, “social inequalities,” Macron’s proposed pension reforms, a job and service preference for French citizens, and, most unusual, national referendums, to stage what she termed “a revolution by referendum.”

Moreover, the left has soured on Macron—who moved rightward once in office. Critics complain that he now “is chasing voters on the right by focusing on law and order, promising to double the number of police on the streets.” Yet some leftwing nationalists will back Le Pen to upend the status quo. In an echo of the 2016 U.S. presidential race, in which some Bernie Sanders voters supported Donald Trump, polls indicate that Le Pen will pick up a significant share of the hardline leftwing vote which went to Jean-Luc Melenchon in the first round. In conceding he criticized Le Pen, but so far has not endorsed Macron.

The possibility of a Le Pen victory has unnerved the Eurocratic elite that dominates Brussels and most European governments. Although such a result once was seen as inconceivable, in 2016 the British public shocked even many Brexit backers by voting to leave the E.U. And she is running much closer to Macron than in 2017.

France has a strong presidency, which would give Le Pen a sizable platform. And she would hold that position when continental leadership was weak, following last year’s departure of Germany’s Angela Merkel. Although Berlin has been France’s traditional E.U. partner, today it is still adapting to an ungainly tripartite coalition and thus would have a more difficult time restraining an assertive Le Pen. Moreover, Le Pen’s victory would revive the morale and political prospects of nationalist groups across the continent.

To the chagrin of those seeking a consolidated continental state, Le Pen would pose a major threat, much greater than previous E.U. bete noires, including Austria, Hungary, Poland, and the United Kingdom. (In her Frenchness, she even promised to reduce the dominance of English in E.U. proceedings!) (Read more.)


Abyssinia and the Ethiopian Empire

 From Ancient Origins:

The Horn of Africa is a region with a unique identity and vibrant history. Close to the Arabian Peninsula, it always stood out from the rest of the African continent. Today, the Horn of Africa is home to the modern nations of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and Somalia, comprising some 115 million people. Throughout centuries of rich history, Ethiopia has managed to persevere and preserve its identity, despite many pressures. Once known as the Ethiopian Empire, or Abyssinia, which existed from 1270 to 1974, it is one of the longest surviving empires in history and is defined by its distinctive character and a past filled with defining moments. Today we’ll be stepping back in time, as we recount the ancient and modern ages of the venerable Ethiopian Empire.

The earliest origins of the Ethiopian Empire reach back before 1270. The story begins with the Kingdom of Aksum , also known as the Aksumite Empire , an ancient kingdom of great import in the classical world. Aksum was located in today’s northern Ethiopia, and flourished from about 80 BC to 825 AD. Taking its name from its key city, the capital called Axum, its strategic location played a crucial role in the trading routes of the ancient world, particularly between ancient India and the Roman Empire. In time, Axum grew in power and importance, and eclipsed the neighboring and older Kingdom of Kush. (Read more.)


Sunday, April 24, 2022

Charles I and the Order of the Garter

King Charles I was greatly devoted to the chivalric mission of the English Order of the Garter, founded by Edward III on Saint George's Day, 1348. Charles I had the Garter Star embroidered on the cloaks of all the knights, as a "testimony to the World." From The Victoria and Albert:

This form of the Order of the Garter (the highest order of English knighthood) as a star was introduced by Charles I (ruled 1625-1649) in 1627. It was to be worn by Knights of the Garter 'upon the left part of their cloaks, coats and riding cassocks, at all times when they shall not wear their robes, and in all places and assemblies...a testimony to the World, of the honour they hold...the Order Instituted and Ordained for persons of the highest honour and greatest worth'. (Read more.)
A pendant of Saint George slaying the dragon was also worn. From Sotheby's:

By the end of the fifteenth century a collar had been added to the regalia, possibly as a result of the influence of foreign Orders where a collar was worn to form a badge. The collar design has changed very little since its introduction being composed of a series of gold heraldic knots and roses encircled by the Garter, with a hanging pendant of St George slaying a dragon, known as the Great George.  As for other British chivalric orders, the collar is worn on ceremonial occasions and designated Collar Days throughout the year.

Over time the collar came to be regarded as an encumbrance during ordinary activities and by the early sixteenth century the first reference can be found to the Lesser George [Lots 24; 28], an image of St George encircled with the Garter worn as a separate badge. Lesser Georges were originally hung from a blue ribbon around the neck so as to be worn upon the breast. But by the late seventeenth century it had become practice to sling the Lesser George under the right arm, a contemporary chronicler explaining that this was for ‘conveniency of riding and action’. 

The riband was thereafter worn over the left shoulder and under the right arm as a wide sash [Lot 26].  The Lesser George and riband are now worn on all formal occasions when the collar is not used, as is the Garter Star [Lots 25; 29] which originated in 1626 as a more informal item of regalia required to be worn by Knights Companions whenever they were not wearing their robes. (Read more.)

From the Royal Collection Trust:

A length of blue silk attached to a book in the Royal Collection may in fact be the Garter ribbon worn by Charles I as he sat for Sir Anthony van Dyck’s famous triple portrait, scientific analysis has revealed. The portrait and the ribbon will be brought together for the first time for In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion, which opens on 10 May, 2013, at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace.  The exhibition explores the changing fashions of the rich and powerful of the Tudor and Stuart era through paintings, drawings and prints, as well as rare surviving examples of clothing and accessories.

Charles I placed great importance on the Order of the Garter, the oldest and highest order of chivalry in England – even wearing a Garter badge to his execution in 1649.  Fourteen years earlier, in Van Dyck’s portrait, the monarch is shown wearing a pale blue Garter ribbon around his neck. 

The inclusion of Van Dyck’s painting in the exhibition prompted Royal Collection Trust curators to take a closer look at four lengths of blue silk ribbon attached to the binding of a copy of the Eikon Basilike (‘The Royal Portrait’), now in the Royal Library, Windsor Castle.  The book was first published just ten days after the monarch’s execution on 30 January 1649 and quickly became one of the biggest-selling books of the 17th century, fuelling the image of Charles I as a martyr.

Curators were initially guarded about the authenticity of an inscription in the book which suggested it had been a gift from Charles I’s Master of Ceremonies, Sir Oliver Fleming, and that the silk was Charles I’s Garter ribbon.  Now, radiocarbon dating of a detached fragment of the silk ribbon has indicated that the fabric could indeed date from Charles I’s reign, placing it between 1631 and 1670.  Further investigation during conservation of the ribbon revealed that the silk is also the right width and length to have been a Garter ribbon – perhaps that recorded by Van Dyck. (Read more.)

Charles I never converted to Catholicism, in spite of his wife Queen Henrietta Maria's efforts and prayers. He continued to collect recusancy fines from practicing Catholics throughout his personal rule. However, he frequently showed  leniency to Catholics who had been arrested. Charles insisted that the Church of England be hierarchical and appointed bishops who were in favor of a majestic and dignified liturgy. His mentor and Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, upset the Puritans when he said that the Church of Rome was not the "Whore of Babylon." (In spite of that, Henrietta Maria never liked him.) From The Amish Catholic on the life and death of Charles I:

A few years ago, Fr. Hunwicke produced a very good argument as to why, canonically and liturgically, a soul who died in schism could be recognized as a saint (taking the precedent of various Eastern saints like Palamas and Gregory of Narek). He has argued for a favorable reading of Charles’s Catholicizing tendencies before.

I would add my voice to Fr. Hunwicke’s. Charles was, on the whole, a boon to the Catholic Church. Charles’s marriage to a formidable Catholic princess, Henrietta Maria of France, saw the arrival at court of Roman Catholic priests, a first since the days of Mary Tudor. He allowed the ambassadors of foreign courts to hold their own chaplains, notably at St. James’s, Spanish Place. Charles even opened up diplomatic talks with the Pope for the first time in decades, receiving more than one papal legate during his personal reign. High-level talks about reunion between the two churches were carried on in secret. He wrote to the Pope, in a letter of 1623 preserved and collected for publication by Sir Charles Petrie (1935),

Be your holiness persuaded that I am, and ever shall be, of such moderation as to keep aloof, as far as possible, from every undertaking which may testify any hatred towards the Roman Catholic religion. Nay, rather I will seize all opportunities, by a gentle and generous mode of conduct, to remove all sinister suspicions entirely; so that, as we all confess one undivided Trinity and one Christ crucified, we may be banded together unanimously into one faith. (See Petrie, The Letters…of King Charles I, pg. 16).

Of course, Charles was inconstant in these measures of good will. He was harsher on Recusants when it came to fines, but significantly lowered priest-hunting efforts. I believe I will not err in saying that, among the many martyrs of the English Reformation, none came during the King’s personal reign in the 1630’s. I only count four overall, of which we can probably acquit Charles from the burden of guilt. The two Catholics executed in 1628 – St. Edmund Arrowsmith, a Jesuit, and Blessed Richard Herst, a layman – seem to have fallen victim to the prejudices of lower officials rather than to any especially anti-Catholic venom emanating from the Crown. And once trouble with the Scots and Parliament began, Charles attempted to hold the situation together by, among other things, clamping down on priests. But even those martyrs which followed in the wake of these efforts owe their deaths more to the actions of local and middling anti-Papist forces than to the intentions of a harried crown. Only two seem to have died in 1641, the last year the King had any discernible control over what was going on in London. Realistically, it would be more appropriate to blame parliament for those deaths. In his church appointments, Charles always preferred those clerics who showed a marked sympathy to the doctrine of Rome. William Laud is only one among several examples that could be cited. (Read more.)

This triple portrait by Van Dyck was for the purpose of making a sculpture of the King


Libs Of Tik Tok

 From The Federalist:

“Libs of Tik Tok” has been instrumental in helping parents understand the insane indoctrination occurring to their children every day, which is why Twitter wants to squash it under its authoritarian boot.

“[A] lot of parents are really getting awakened now. My account has been very influential on this, as well as other accounts and media outlets, in really showing parents what is going on in the schools that they otherwise wouldn’t know or realized. So I think that I do have a lot of hope for the future. And I think that we’re going to retake our school,” the “Libs of Tik Tok” creator told The Post Millenial last week. “…The average parent doesn’t want their six-year-old to be taught about pansexuals.”

“Libs of Tik Tok” knew Twitter’s penchant for censoring its political enemies would eventually catch up to it. The account’s creator foreshadowed as much not long after Twitter censored The Babylon Bee, Charlie Kirk, and even Federalist Senior Editor John Daniel Davidson for simply stating that men are men.

The left has waged a war on parents, tradition, religion, and conservatism but their attempts to change the culture by brainwashing kids will not go unnoticed by “Libs of Tik Tok.” Without that account, much of the delirium cursing our institutions, especially public schools, would stay behind closed doors because the left doesn’t want parents to know how they are using their children as political pawns. (Read more.)


If the Turin Shroud is a Forgery...

 From The Guardian:

Many would argue that, even if the shroud could be proved to be the burial cloth of the man named Jesus who was crucified 2,000 years ago, that doesn’t amount to proof of his resurrection, the central tenet of Christian belief. “The carbon dating could show it was definitely from the time of Christ, but it’s still a stretch to go from that to seeing it as proof that he rose from the dead,” says Richy Thompson of Humanists UK. “Some people believe that, yes, Jesus was a real person, and we know crucifixion was a thing in those times, and Pontius Pilate is a well-documented historical figure.

“What many non-religious people would say is, where is the evidence? Because if you’re going to make extraordinary claims, you need strong evidence to back it up. And the fact that people believe [in the resurrection] is not in itself evidence that it actually happened.”

Rolfe is unperturbed: he says the image on the cloth seems to have come from a massive burst of radiation, emitted in a fraction of a second.

When it comes to the carbon dating, he’s certainly not alone in his scepticism. Barrie M Schwortz, a photographer who documented the shroud in 1978, says “murky” would be a good word to describe the events of 1988.

“Today there are at least six peer-reviewed scientific articles that challenge the results of the carbon dating,” he says. In his view, the players involved were in a hurry to get the job done, because they wanted to get carbon dating on the map. “Those tests made it a household name, and today it’s used widely in archaeology,” he says. “I’m Jewish, so I don’t have a horse in this race, but I’ve come to believe it’s the authentic burial cloth because I’ve looked at the science.”

The British Museum is less willing to get involved this time around. “Any current questions about the shroud would be best put to those who currently care for it in the royal chapel of the cathedral of Turin,” a spokesperson said. (Read more.)


From Aleteia:

In his report, published on the website of Italy’s Department of Chemical Sciences and Materials Technologies, de Caro pointed out a few flaws with dating by Carbon-14 analysis. He noted that textile samples can easily become contaminated with substances that could skew its results. He wrote: 

“Molds and bacteria, colonizing textile fibers, and dirt or carbon-containing minerals, such as limestone, adhering to them, in the empty spaces between the fibers that at a microscopic level represent about 50% of the volume, can be so difficult to completely eliminate in the sample cleaning phase, which can distort the dating.”

De Caro noted that fabric can even become enriched with new Carbon-14 samples. At this point, it would become hard to identify if carbon dating measured the original fabric, or a layer of carbon that was accumulated over time. (Read more.)


Saturday, April 23, 2022




Home of Marie-Antoinette's beloved sister, Queen Maria Carolina. From Stars and Stripes:

The Royal Park features vast lawns, wooded areas, reflecting pools, fountains and gardens, making it a perfect place to take the kids to explore or find a quiet spot away from the chaos that is Naples. To get there, take a 45-minute train ride from Naples Centrale station to Caserta. It won’t be hard to find the palace; it’s across the street from the train station. A five-minute walk across an expansive garden puts you at the main entrance.

From there, you have a choice to make. Head straight through the palace’s portico and out the back entrance if you want to see the park first. Midway through the portico, on the right, is an impressive staircase leading to the palace’s apartments.

Depending on the time of year, the park can close as early as 3:30 p.m., and caretakers are very firm about closing time. The apartments close at 7:30 p.m., with the last admission at 6:30 p.m. Once you step through the palace’s back entrance, stop to take in the telescopic view leading from the parterre through a series of reflecting pools, also known as the waterway, to the Great Waterfall. (Read more.)


More on Spygate

 From The Federalist:

Last month, The Federalist first reported that Special Counsel John Durham’s team asked lead Georgia Tech researcher Manos Antonakakis: “‘Do you believe that DARPA should be instructing you to investigate the origins of a hacker (Guccifer_2.0) that hacked a political entity (DNC)?’” Antonakakis responded that that was a question for the DARPA director, an implied acknowledgment that yes, DARPA had asked him to investigate the hack.

In response, DARPA’s chief of communications denied any involvement “in efforts to attribute the DNC hack.” “Dr. Antonakakis worked on DARPA’s Enhanced Attribution program, which did not involve analysis of the DNC hack,” DARPA spokesman Jared Adams told the Washington Examiner. Adams further told the Washington Examiner that “DARPA was not involved in efforts to attribute the Guccifer 2.0 persona, nor any involvement in efforts to attribute the origin of leaked emails provided to Wikileaks.”

But now an email obtained by The Federalist indicates Georgia Tech researchers drafted a series of white papers for DARPA, including on the “DNC attack attribution,” and on what they called a “Mueller List” of “domains and indicators related” to DNC hackers. (Read more.)


From Feminist to Traditionalist

 From The Post-Gazette:

For a girl who grew up with no stronger anchor for my identity than sharing a love of 90s cartoons with my peers, this was revolutionary. Here was a tradition of faith and reason and living with roots deeper than I could ever know. Here was something, at once deeply human and beautifully transcendent, that existed for millennia before me and will exist long after I am gone, something that can give shape and structure and meaning to my life in a way nothing else could.

It was irresistible.

When I was baptized, many friends and family assumed it was because of a boy. While it was strange for self-described feminists to deny my agency like that, it wasn’t completely wrong. I had been on this journey for years when I met the man who would become my husband, a cradle Catholic who wasn’t terribly devout, but felt similarly unmoored on the tides of mainstream culture. We became, and still are, excellent travelling partners — not through distant lands, but through the faith tradition, ever ancient, ever new, in which we feel so beautifully at home.

I was aware, as the priest poured water over my head 15 years ago, that I was making a conscious choice to belong to something — to Someone — beyond myself. A baptism is a rebirth, and as with any new beginnings, you can never tell where they’re going to lead.

Even so, I would never have believed that in 2022 I would be expecting my sixth child, that my family is one of the “very religious” ones that prays grace before every meal and a rosary every day. I change the linens at our home altar to correspond to the color of the liturgical season. My children know the saints they are named for, and with delight pick a dessert to honor their feast days. They excitedly learn the prayers of generations past in both English and Latin.

They also have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Star Wars universe. There are, after all, different kinds of rootedness: Going deeper into the ancient doesn’t have to exclude a healthy love of the here and now.

But it can’t end there. That, at least, is what I have learned from my own life, marked for so long by confusion and insecurity and aimlessness. I have found peace — a peace I hope to pass down to my children — in contemplating the unending depths of divine beauty, goodness and truth. (Read more.)


Friday, April 22, 2022

Hürrem Sultan, the Cheerful Rose of Suleiman I

La Sultana Rossa by Titian

 From Ancient Origins:

From 1520-1566, the Ottoman Empire was ruled by Suleiman I, who many claim was the greatest Sultan in history. He was also known as Suleiman the Magnificent or Kanuni – The Lawgiver. During his time in power, he made an impact on the history of many countries in Europe and the Middle East. Suleiman’s life took a radical change in 1520. In September of that year, his father Selim I passed away accidentally, and with his death, Suleiman’s carefree life in the Manisa province came to an end. He was called to the capital city to rule the empire. At the same time, he met the woman who would forever change his life. History has remembered her as Roxolena or Roksolana, Roxalene, Roxolane, and Rossa. However, the name she was called for most of her life is Hürrem. She received this name due to her cheerful personality.

Hürrem was born as Alexandra Lisowska in the town of Rohatyń, 68 km (42.3 miles) southeast of Lwów in the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland (today in Western Ukraine). In the 1520s Crimean Tatars captured her during one of their raids in this region. They took her as a slave to a major center of the slave trade in the Crimean city of Kaffa. Then she was transported to Constantinople and selected for the harem. Hürrem’s influence on Suleiman was almost immediate - it only took a few months from the day that she met Sultan Suleiman to the moment when she became the most important consort in the harem .

Due to her beauty and intelligence she quickly came to the attention of the Sultan. At the same moment she attracted the jealousy of her rivals in the harem, including Mahidevran Sultan, mother of the heir apparent Mustafa. Historians note that these rivalries led to a few attempts to take Hürrem’s life. The most famous is Mahidevran's attack on Hürrem, which was followed by Suleiman banishing his former favorite, and her son, to the provincial capital of Manisa.


 Suleiman was not only a sultan, but a poet. Many of his poems are dedicated to Hürrem after she became his wife. He signed these poems as "Muhibbi," meaning "lover" or "sweetheart." This is one example of a poem he wrote:

Throne of my lonely niche, my wealth, my love, my moonlight.
My most sincere friend, my confidant, my very existence, my Sultan, my one and only love.
The most beautiful among the beautiful...
My springtime, my merry faced love, my daytime, my sweetheart, laughing leaf...
My plants, my sweet, my rose, the one only who does not distress me in this world...
My Istanbul, my Caraman, the earth of my Anatolia
My Badakhshan, my Baghdad and Khorasan
My woman of the beautiful hair, my love of the slanted brow, my love of eyes full of mischief...
I'll sing your praises always
I, lover of the tormented heart, Muhibbi of the eyes full of tears, I am happy.

(Read more.)


I enjoyed the portrayal of Hürrem in The Magnificent Century (4 Seasons, 2011-2014)

The Turkish production Muhteşem Yüzyıl is based upon the sixteenth century life of Suleiman the Magnificent, sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and his marriage to the Russian Christian captive Alexandra, called Hürrem, who became his co-ruler. On one level the drama can be seen as a Turkish soap opera, and an extremely soapy one at that. However, it depicts the thriving slave trade of fair-skinned women that endured for hundreds of years in Central Europe and Asia in order to fill the harems of wealthy Turks with white girls. The story of Hürrem is the tale of a woman who through intelligence and determination overcame the life of slavery to which she had been condemned. Not only through brains and grit, but through the love she shares with Suleiman, she manages to become his legal wife and the mother of five of his children. In the meantime, every attempt is made by other members of the Sultan's household to destroy Hürrem. Most of the episodes deal with her ongoing power struggles with the Sultan's mother Hafsa and with Mahidevran, the mother of the Sultan's oldest son. The Sultan's grand vizier and brother-in-law Ibrahim Pargali also tries many times to ruin Hürrem and her influence with Suleiman but by doing so brings about his own destruction. Muhteşem Yüzyıl was a run-away success in the Middle East, but for some reason only Season 1 is available on Netflix. The entire series can be watched on YouTube but the later episodes are without subtitles. I found the synopses on Facebook which helped me to follow the drama, HERE. Share

What the Left Has Done to Women

 From Denis Prager at Real Clear Politics:

For all of recorded history, virtually all women sought a man with whom to bond. Of course, a progressive would argue that this was true only because all societies implanted this desire in women or because societal pressure gave women little choice about the matter. It is not, progressives would argue, innate to female nature to yearn for a man. 

But whatever the reason -- innate nature or societal expectation -- it is a fact that women desiring a man was virtually universal.

Then along came modern left-wing feminism, which communicated to generations of young women through almost every influence in their lives -- most especially teachers and the media -- that a woman doesn't need a man. In the witty words of one feminist aphorism, "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle."

Unfortunately, however, the reality is most women need a man just as most men need a woman. Most men don't fully grow up without a woman, and most women don't fully grow up without a man (I am, of course, referring to heterosexual women and men). If you need proof, ask almost any married person, man or woman, if marriage matured them. (Read more.)


Research Reveals Long-Term Harm

 From Psychology Today:

If there was ever a time to attend seriously to research concerning effects of early childhood education, this is it. If President Biden’s plan for universal state-run preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds is approved, the results could be disastrous. I have previously summarized several well-controlled studies showing that academic training in preschool or in kindergarten, while improving test scores in the short term, causes long-term harm (here). One of those, which bears reviewing here before I move on to the recent study in Tennessee, was a government-sponsored study conducted in Germany in the 1970s (described by Darling-Hammond & Snyder, 1992).

The German government was trying to decide whether it would be a good idea, or not, to start teaching academic skills in kindergarten rather than maintain kindergarten as purely a place for play, stories, singing, and the like, as it had always been before. So, they conducted a controlled experiment involving 100 kindergarten classrooms. They introduced some academic training into 50 of them and not into the other 50.

The graduates of academic kindergartens performed better on academic tests in first grade than the others, but the difference subsequently faded, and by fourth grade they were performing worse than the others on every measure in the study. Specifically, they scored more poorly on tests of reading and arithmetic and were less well-adjusted socially and emotionally than the controls.

The Germans, unlike we Americans, paid attention to the science. They followed the data and abandoned plans for academic training in kindergarten. They have stuck with that decision ever since. For one parent’s comparison of German kindergartens to US kindergartens, see here. Today we have much more evidence of long-term harm of early academic training than the Germans had in the 1970s, yet we persist in such training in almost every public kindergarten in the country. Worse, we now even teach academics in many if not most preschools! As a people, we are pretty good at putting our heads in the sand to avoid looking at data that run counter to our prejudices.

Now I turn to newly reported findings from the first well-controlled long-term study that has ever been conducted of a state-wide publicly supported preschool program in the United States—the Tennessee Pre-K Program (Durkin et al., 2022). If this study doesn’t put the nail in the coffin of academic training to little children, it’s hard to imagine what will. (Read more.)


Thursday, April 21, 2022

Mary Tudor and Fashion

Like her mother Katherine of Aragon, Mary Tudor was truly a Renaissance queen, presiding in glittering array. To quote:
Mary adored clothes and jewels. During her years of disgrace (1533-1536), a number of her fine gowns and jewels were taken away in punishment over her refusal to recognise her new demoted status. She complained bitterly and was reduced, the imperial ambassador claims, to ‘send[ing] a gentleman to the King, her father, begging him to provide her with the necessary articles.’ Her subsequent vast expenditure on clothes, namely as queen, was in some respects a way of compensating for that experience. Yet there was also a sense of sheer joy in fashion. In 1554 the Venetian ambassador remarked that Mary 'seems to delight above all in arraying herself elegantly and magnificently.’ She ‘changes every day’. In the later years of her father’s reign, when she was back in favour, she would pay great attention to her inventory of jewels. We find her hand in the inventory of 1542-46, carefully documenting all the items bestowed upon her. The pleasure was not only in receiving. Mary indulged in the customary practise of awarding articles of jewellery and clothing as gifts. One ‘grene Tablet garneshed wt golde hauyng the Picture of the trinite in it’ was given to ‘my laday Elizabeth grace’, her half-sister, whilst she granted one Mistress Ryder a ‘rounde tablet blacke enamelled wt the Kings Picture and quene Janes [Seymour]’ on the occasion of this woman’s marriage. Philip also received gifts of clothing from his wife. For their wedding, Philip wore a mantle of gold cloth that Mary had given him. The mantle was set with numerous precious stones.

American Occupation

 From David Mamet at The Tablet:

Over the last two years in America, I’ve witnessed our own forces of evil with incredulity, despair, and rage. Corruption, blasphemy, and absurdity have been accepted by one-half of the electorate as the cost of doing business; as has the fear this acceptance generates. Does anyone actually believe that men change into women and women into men who can give birth, that the Earth is burning, the seas are rising, and we’ll all perish unless we cover our faces with strips of cotton?

No one does. These proclamations are an act of faith, in a new, as yet unnamed religion, and the vehemence with which one proclaims allegiance to these untruths is an exercise no different from any other ecstatic religious oath. They become the Apostles’ Creed of the left, their proclamation committing the adherent physically to their strictures, exactly as the oath taken on induction to the armed services. The inductee is told to “take one step forward,” and once they do he or she can no longer claim, “I misunderstood the instruction.”

Those currently in power insist on masking, but don’t wear masks. They claim the seas are rising and build mansions on the shore. They abhor the expenditure of fossil fuels and fly exclusively in private jets. And all the while half of the country will not name the disease. Why? Because the cost of challenging this oppressive orthodoxy has, for them, become too high. Upon a possible awakening, they—or more likely their children—might say that the country was occupied. And they would be right. (Read more.)