Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Tea Etiquette

 From The Glam Pad:

The Afternoon Tea menu is traditionally served in a tiered stand. You’ll often see a three-tiered stand to hold each course. A two-tiered stand may hold sandwiches and desserts, with scones wrapped in a separate basket.

Enjoy the tea sandwiches first.  They are meant to be eaten with your hands. Tea sandwiches should be cut into rectangle or triangle shapes and are flat. Some examples of tea sandwiches are smoked salmon, cream cheese with cucumbers, and turkey or ham with swiss or cheddar cheese.

After sandwiches, take a scone and break the top off over your plate so it’s in two halves.  Take a piece off one at a time to eat. Spread with clotted cream first followed by jam (not jelly) or lemon curd. Be sure to serve a different spoon with the clotted cream, jam and lemon curd.

Finally, enjoy the pastries and sweets. Cakes, brownies, tarts and petit fours are some of the desserts, or puddings as they are called in England, that may be served as the final course of an Afternoon Tea. (Read more.)


Gay vs. Trans

 From American Greatness:

Thanks largely to the media coverage of transgender role models like Lia (Will) Thomas, to books like Helen Joyce’s Trans, and Matt Walsh’s documentary “What Is a Woman?”, the public has become more aware of the trans movement’s ridiculous claims, outrageous demands, and dangerous practices. More and more people know that grade-school teachers are indoctrinating pupils into trans ideology (and that parents who object are labeled domestic terrorists); that teenagers are increasingly boarding the trans train (and, increasingly, being fast-tracked for “treatment”); that these teens’ teachers, psychologists, and physicians routinely lie to the kids’ parents and deny them the right to forestall hormone injections and the surgeon’s knife.

And as more light has been shed on all this madness, Americans have been losing their tolerance for the trans minority, whose members claim to be cruelly oppressed but act like authoritarian lunatics. This growing distaste is also bringing down public sympathy for gay people, simply because they’ve been yoked to transgenderism.

And yet, as it turns out, a great many of the Americans who are losing their patience with trans world are gay people who’ve decided it’s long since time to divorce “LGB” from “T.” 

To this end, concerned British gay and lesbians have founded the LGB Alliance, on whose website you can read “that sex is binary, female and male, and that (for the vast majority of people) sex is determined at conception, observed at birth (or in utero), and recorded.” Heresy! LGB Alliance co-founder Bev Jackson, now 71, is a veteran gay-rights activist and woman of the Left, having become the spokesperson for Britain’s Gay Liberation Front way back in 1970. “I thought we’d achieved so much,” she told me on the phone the other day, recalling her decades in the trenches. But alas, thanks to the trans revolution, “homosexual has become a dirty word again.”  

The threat posed by transgenderism to the rights and repute of gay men and lesbians is also the chief focus of a couple of brave, lively YouTubers whom I follow—an American lesbian named Ariella Scarcella and a gay Dutchman, based in Britain, who calls himself Mr. Menno. Four months ago, in a video called “The Tide Is Turning,” Mr. Menno cited a couple of recent developments in the U.K. that led him to feel that realism on this front is beginning to win out over ideology. 

I hoped he was right. But I wasn’t sure. It depends a lot on where you look. This year, Britain’s only gender-identity clinic for children was closed down—a big win for sanity. But it’s also been reported lately that a San Francisco gender-identity clinic is treating children as young as 2 years old and that the U.S. Justice Department is ignoring the case of a Ph.D. student who’s selling hormones to teens. The other day, after the Twitter feed Libs of TikTok reported that Boston Children’s Hospital performs hysterectomies on minors, the hospital removed material proving the charge from its website and then denied it. (Read more.)


Temporal Prosperity

 From Catholic Exchange:

Every one of the commandments is vital not only for the salvation of the individual but also for the wellbeing of society. None of them can be ignored or widely violated without disastrous results to the whole community. But these results are more immediate and more evident in the case of some commandments than in that of others. The two we consider now are so intimately bound up with the economic and social life of man that they simply govern business intercourse and effectively determine the measure of prosperity any nation shall be permitted to enjoy. They prescribe for all of us the practice of justice in our dealings with our fellowmen; and justice is the very keystone of the arch that bridges over the gulf separating ordered civilized existence from the conditions of prehistory.

Justitia stant magna imperia was a medieval proverb. Its application is wider: the whole social life of men rests upon the virtue of justice as a pyramid rests on its base. It is literally impossible to exaggerate its importance in the building up of any social structure whatsoever. I need not apologize, therefore, for dwelling upon the definition and analysis of the concept. Justice is often used in Scripture as the equivalent of righteousness or of the whole duty of man. Here we are envisaging the word in a somewhat narrower or more technical sense. We may define it as the moral virtue that impels us to give to all our fellow men whatever may be their due. Yet more strictly understood, it ordains respect for the rights of property that men possess. Now, that men possess certain such rights I here purpose to assume. That nobody has any strict right to any form of property is too silly a pretension for debate. The limitations of those rights may, indeed, raise all manner of perplexing problems; the existence of them is too deeply rooted in the nature of man, too clearly exemplified in his whole secular history for any reasonable denial.

Neither can I dwell on the various ways in which those rights arise. They are not conferred upon the individual by the state. How could they be? The individual is logically prior to the state. Man is an individual before he is a citizen. The state, rightly conceived, is nothing other than so many individuals organically united into a society that, as a moral entity, has for its sole function the securing of the fullest and most complete life in common of the units composing it. Perhaps one may say that half our modern political blundering is due to a forgetfulness of this fact. The state has been set up as something existing, as it were, in the air: distinct from, prior to, and dominating over the various individuals. It is divinized—literally deified—and set up on the emptied altar of God. This would be bad enough if it were merely an abstract theory with no influence on conduct. So far, however, from being that, it translates itself into practice immediately, even necessarily, by turning the state into a Moloch on whose cruel altar nearly every right of human personality is immolated. If we cannot see this exemplified in the various totalitarian states of today, we can see nothing. (Read more.)


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Elvis (2022)


I was never an Elvis Presley fan, although I always loved how he sang "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You." Plus I enjoyed the film Wild in the Country, one of his few serious dramatic roles. I believed he could have been more than he was and it seems, according to Baz Luhrman's new film, that Elvis did as well. A true artist, he had a desire to channel the raw talent he possessed to become a great dramatic actor, being embarrassed by all the silly beach movies. Instead he wound up in a golden cage in Vegas as an aging, flabby, drugged-out caricature of himself. Elvis (2022) portrays the cultural and sexual revolutions of the mid-20th century that Mr. Presley helped to launch, although he himself was of a romantic, old-fashioned bent. A child of the South, living in African American neighborhoods where he was often the only white boy, Elvis was mesmerized by both the blues and the gospel music he heard all around him. Racial segregation had made African-American culture separate and therefore forbidden to white Americans, and whatever is forbidden tends to fascinate.  Elvis' own performances were a merging of both the sexual and religious ecstasies he had witnessed growing up. Being white, his participation in what was taboo for WASP Americans had an intoxicating impact on the masses who came to his shows.

The movie focuses on the machinations of Elvis' manager, Colonel Tom Parker, who was neither a Parker nor a colonel, but a Dutch conman with a murky past. Parker was also an illegal alien; his lack of a valid passport made him scheme to keep Elvis in the USA, rather than touring the world as the singer longed to do. Parker always feared losing the control he had acquired over Elvis and his family. In many ways, Elvis and his parents were innocents, and placed their trust in Parker simply because the entertainment industry was complex beyond their comprehension. Their trust was abused; their son was destroyed.

According to Prevention:

It’s been 45 years since rock legend Elvis Presley died at age 42, and although his legacy is just as strong today—if not stronger—than it was then, his wife Priscilla Presley continues to make it her duty to fulfill the dreams he never lived out Earth-side. That’s why it was particularly difficult for the 77-year-old to watch the Austin Butler-led biopic, Elvis, because it served as a reminder that his time was cut short.

“He wanted to do movies, serious movies,” she recently explained to Today. And, as portrayed in Elvis, his manager Colonel Parker (played by Tom Hanks), stood in the way of that. (Elvis did act in an array of feature films, most of which were romantic musicals centered around his songs, not the dramatic roles he hoped for.) “[Colonel] probably should have stayed a publicist,” Priscilla added. “He didn’t take Elvis where he wanted to be, and that was hard because I lived it.” (Read more.)

Throughout the soundtrack is woven the tune of "Unchained Melody," making Elvis' marriage the centerpiece of the story. Priscilla Beaulieu appears as a saving angel and wins the heart of the King of Rock n' Roll. Disappointed with himself, Elvis turns to drugs and sex (with women not his wife) which leads to him losing Priscilla. I wish there had been more about their meeting and earlier years but Luhrman's editing is sometimes jerky and and uneven in what he chooses to emphasize. What is shown, however, is beautiful, tragic and well-played.

More on the film, HERE.

Here is the real Elvis singing "Unchained Melody":


On Student Debt Forgiveness

 From Culture Watch:

Higher education is admittedly expensive – especially in private schools. I did both public and private schooling for my two and a half degrees (I never did finish that PhD for various reasons). Most of the time during those eight or so years I worked as well as studied. I did all sorts of jobs, from house painting to security guard work to working in kitchens.

Despite being a full-time student and often working long hours as well, I managed to graduate with honours for my BA and highest honours for my MA. Millions of others students have done just the same. But one of the pet causes of the left is to cancel all debts. It could be the foreign debt of other nations for example, or it can be the debts of students.

US President Joe Biden now wants to cancel student loans for millions of Americans. This is yet another government subsidy that he and the Democrats love to roll out. But before I go any further I must let you know that I just stated a massive falsehood here.

There are no such things as government subsidies. Governments do not pay for a single thing. The taxpayer does. So when a student can write off his education loan, the government is not subsidising it – the taxpayer is being stuck with the bill. The details of Biden’s plan are these:

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced his long-awaited plan to deliver on a campaign promise to provide $US10,000 ($14,400) in student debt cancellation for millions of Americans — and up to $US10,000 more for those with the greatest financial need — along with new measures to lower the burden of repayment for their remaining federal student debt.

Borrowers who earn less than $US125,000 ($180,000) a year, or families earning less than $US250,000 ($361,000), would be eligible for the $US10,000 loan forgiveness, Biden announced in a tweet. For recipients of Pell Grants, which are reserved for undergraduates with the most significant financial need, the federal government would cancel up to an additional $US10,000 in federal loan debt. Biden is also extending a pause on federal student loan payments for what he called the “final time” through the end of 2022.

What are we to make of this debt cancellation or debt forgiveness? First, as already mentioned, we have to stop the useless euphemisms and call it what it is. No debts are being cancelled or forgiven – they are simply being transferred to someone else: the hardworking taxpayer.

Most of these taxpayers may never have gone to college – or, like me, they worked their way through college. But now they will be forced to pay for the loans of these students. This is what is known as socialism. The state coercively takes money from the people and distributes it wherever it wants to. And the hardworking citizen is the one who always gets slugged for this. (Read more.)


Robespierre's Supreme Hour

 From the Catholic Textbook Project:

While Paris ran with the blood of patriots, French arms continued to achieve victories against the republic’s enemies. By the spring of 1794, the revolutionary army numbered 720,000 men, and the French navy had built ships of the line. The combined armies and navies of Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Spain, and Piedmont-Sardinia were, of course, quite strong; but the allies were divided among themselves. They were not working together. Their efforts had become merely a selfish war of conquest.

In England, Prime Minister Pitt had decided to throw all his energy into the war against France. His efforts paid off when, on June 1, the British navy won a smashing victory over the French and thus gained control of the seas. But on land, the allied forces were everywhere driven back. In April, the French had seized important Alpine passes leading into Italy. By June the French had forced the Austrians to leave Holland. By July, the allies had abandoned all their conquests in France, and the French revolutionary army began its invasion of Holland.

Such victories were due to the energy and genius of Lazare Carnot, not to Robespierre. Yet, in the months leading up to the execution of the Dantonists, Robespierre had become tremendously popular. He was so popular that, though his only allies on the Committee were Saint-Just and Couthon (three men out of 12), the Committee would do whatever he wished. Robespierre had thus become the dictator of France, and he was feared by the Committee, the Convention, and his own party, the Jacobins. (Read more.)


Monday, August 29, 2022

The Three Findings of John the Baptist’s Head

 From Catholic Exchange:

If we look to Jerusalem, we find the Feast of the First Finding of the Head of St. John the Baptist, commemorated on February 24th. According to the tradition, after St. John’s death, the head of the Baptist was taken by Joanna, wife of Chuza, and buried on the Mount of Olives where it remained hidden for centuries. Sometime in the fourth century, a wealthy convert named Innocent, purchased a plot of land on the Mount of Olives, intending to live as a monastic there. Whilst digging the foundation for his cell, he uncovered a vessel containing the head of St. John.

The Second Finding of the Head of St. John the Baptist is a complex, convoluted tale. During the reign of Constantine (313-337), two monks on pilgrimage to Jerusalem had a vision in which St. John revealed the location of his head. The men accordingly found the relic, placed it in a sack, and returned home. However, on route they ran into a certain potter who was instructed in a dream to take the head from the monks, whose dissolute lives had offended the saint. The potter took the head, placed it in his sack, and fled. He retained it in his home until death, at which point the head passed first to his sister and eventually into the hands of a Greek hieromonk of Emesa named Eustacius.

Unfortunately, this Eustacius was an Arian who used the head of St. John as a means of attracting followers to his heresy. The sick who came to Eustacius were healed by virtue of the head. Eventually, however, Eustacius was driven out of Emesa. The head was buried, and a monastery grew up here, but the exact location of the head was forgotten.

Years later, in 452, the head of St. John the Baptist was uncovered a second time. According to multiple sources from the 5th century, the head was uncovered in the Emesa monastery on February 18th, 452. Bishop Uranius of Emesa established its veneration, and on February 26th of the same year, it was translated to the newly built church dedicated to St. John. These events are all observed on February 24th in conjunction with the observance of the First Finding of the Head of St. John the Baptist.

The Third Finding dates from the 9th century. By then Emesa had fallen under Muslim rule and was known as Homs. The Islamic world was torn by a civil war between the Abbasid and Umayyad dynasties. Around 820, local Christians sent the head of St. John away to the city of Comana in Cappadocia for safe keeping. Unfortunately, veneration of the relic was not permitted due to the prevalent heresy of Iconoclasm. It had to be kept hidden and was again lost. After the restoration of orthodoxy, Patriarch Ignatius of Constantinople was given a vision revealing the exact location of the head. An imperial delegation was sent to Comana to retrieve the sacred relic; it was brought to Constantinople and installed there with great pomp in the year 850. This Third Finding of the Head of St. John the Baptist was commemorated with a liturgical feast on May 25th, the date it was installed at Constantinople. (Read more.)


The Reality Jubilee

From The Z Man:

The Biden administration is gearing up to offer some sort of college debt jubilee as their answer to the student debt crisis. The details of the scheme are being leaked to generate interest in the forthcoming announcement. The idea is to use printed money to buy votes from the millions holding student debt. Coincidentally, this comes just as the regime begins the fall campaign. Currently there is $1.6 trillion in outstanding college debt, most held by the Federal government.

There is no economic sense behind the idea. A debt jubilee is just another way of dropping cash onto the economy. With roaring inflation and supply chain problems, this is pretty much the opposite of good policy. The net effect of the program is to put more money in the pockets of the debtors. They will spend the money, just as they did the stimulus checks, which puts upward pressure on prices. Of course, this will come after the midterms so it makes sense to the politicians.

The reason there is $1.6 trillion in college debt is that the government has been mucking around in the education markets for several generations. Financial aid, like public pensions, quickly became a good way to buy votes. Opposing it on economic grounds, while factually correct, looked like you were opposing it on moral grounds, which makes you a monster. It quickly became a political racket that grew out of control and now we have a multi-trillion dollar monster.

The madness of college financial aid is obvious when you look at the rise in tuition costs over the last thirty years. They have grown at multiples of the official inflation rate and that is excluding hidden fees. There was a time when a student could work his way through college. It was a struggle, but it was possible. Today, the cost of tuition alone dwarfs what a student can make working fulltime. In other words, in the effort to make college affordable, it was made increasingly unaffordable.

This is a well understood phenomenon. If the government starts issuing subsidies for the purchase of new BMW’s, the price of the cars will increase. The increase will track with the subsidy. The people running BMW are not stupid. Once they know the buyers can afford the premium, they will raise prices. This very same thing just happened with the subsidy for electric cars. The electric car makers raised prices to match the new subsidy from Washington.

The remarkable thing about this is everyone knows it is true. The reason the people animating Biden’s corpse have been slow to pull the trigger on this scheme is they know it will be bad for the economy. The timing is to get the applause before the election, then have the public pay the price after the election. They figure that in two years people will forget all about it. Come the 2024 election, the corpse animators will have some new scheme to sell the public.

Even more remarkable is the fact that some people in the media know it is true, but most are innumerate so they do not understand the material. Some of the former group will ask the Biden people about the math and the Biden people will make up a whopper about how the definitions of commonly used economic terms have changed so shut up bigot and clap louder. There will be no serious discussion of this scheme and the economic condition of the country will decline a bit further.

Critics will settle for blaming the voters, especially those rotten kids down at the coffee shop with their nose rings, philosophy degrees and college debt. “The people are voting themselves a raise from the public fisc!” It is a good example of the perverse effect of democracy on the public mind. The people responsible for the terrible governance get a pass, while their victims get the blame. When the people work through bad policy, the “leaders” take credit for the result.

If Joe Biden were the dictator, installed by the ruling class after the old dictator was deposed, there would be no question about who to blame. This is why they remain berserk over the 2020 election controversy. If the people think the game was rigged, then there is no way to shift the blame for the results onto the voters. It turns out that the best way to avoid the wrath of the people over the manifest corruption of their leaders is to give them a ballot and tell them they are in charge. (Read more.


More HERE.


Mysteries of the Pyramids

 From The Archaeologist:

The Pyramid of Khufu (sometimes called Cheops), the largest Egyptian pyramid, is made of 2.3 million stone blocks, each weighing anywhere from 2.5 to 16 tons. Some of the blocks, particularly the ones used in the inner chambers, came as far as Aswan, 500 miles from Giza where the pyramid stands. But how did ancient Egyptians build such massive pyramids without using simple machines such as the wheel, which, while used by Egyptians for pottery making, was not used for carts or chariots until 1500 BCE, likely because wheels weren’t much use in the thick sand that covered the country? It’s an age-old mystery and one that continues to be an enigma for ancient monumental complexes across the world. While there are numerous theories, there is a lack of hard, archaeological evidence to fully support any one of them.

One theory about how the blocks were moved involves sleds and wet sand. A painting in the tomb of Djehutihotep shows men dragging a colossal statue on a sled. In front of them, a person pours water onto the sand. While initially thought to be a ceremonial gesture, physicist Daniel Bonn recently discovered that the right amount of water, about two to five percent of the volume of sand, increased the stiffness of the sand and reduced the friction between the object being dragged and the ground, making the object much easier to move. The same technique may have been used to drag stone blocks to pyramid construction sites.

Once the blocks were at the pyramid’s construction site, however, how were they lifted into place without the use of mechanical advantage? A ramp found in a quarry dating to the construction of the Pyramid of Khufu indicates that ancient Egyptians were able to pull stone blocks out of the quarry on a steep upward slope. It’s possible that similar ramps were used to haul stones up the pyramid’s sides to be placed. However, the exact system is unknown. The ramps could have been on the outside of the pyramid, spiraling up like a mountain road, or straight and long, or built within the pyramid. How a 16-ton block could have been moved up a ramp is also unknown, with theories ranging from sleds to wooden rollers to wooden posts tied to each side of a block, changing the shape from square to polygon and allowing them to be rolled like a keg of beer. (Read more.)


Sunday, August 28, 2022

Marie-Antoinette’s Candelabras


Or so it is being claimed. From Artnet:
Some 1,300 French objets d’art once owned by the likes of Marie Antoinette, Coco Chanel, and Catherine the Great will hit the auction block at Sotheby’s Paris this fall in a sale of items from the storied Hôtel Lambert. Though Sotheby’s won’t drop the full catalogue until September, preliminary highlights of the sale, titled “Une Collection Princière” (“A Princely Collection”), include a set of gilt and blue-patina candelabras commissioned by Marie Antoinette, a full silver-gilt toilette service from Mary, Countess of Cardigan, and a carved giltwood canapé à chassis from the collection of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

“What makes this auction so unique is the overall quality of every single piece,” Mario Tavella, Sotheby’s French chairman, told Artnet news, “which seen together in the interiors of this palace was truly an overwhelming and magical experience.” (Read more.)

Fauci’s Resignation

 From Children's Health Defense:

Two U.S. senators on Tuesday — the day after Dr. Anthony Fauci announced plans to leave his government posts in December — formally requested the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) preserve all documents and communications related to Fauci. Fauci on Monday said he will retire as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and as chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden in December to pursue “the next chapter” of his career.

In a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) demanded Becerra “immediately confirm” that HHS is preserving all records related to Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins, who was director of the NIH from August 2009 to December 2021.

“This request applies to all documents, records, memoranda, research, correspondence, or other communication or any portion thereof relevant to any involvement of Dr. Fauci or Dr. Collins,” the letter stated.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), in a letter to Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., acting director of the NIH, asked Tabak to “ensure the preservation of all documents and communications within Dr. Fauci’s possession related to his tenure at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).” Marshall stressed that it is “imperative” that all HHS workers are made aware of their “legal responsibilities to collect, retain, and preserve all documents, communications, and other records in accordance with federal law.” He also reminded Tabak of his obligation, as the head of HHS, to ensure the preservation of all records and that any employee “who conceals, destroys, or attempts to conceal or destroy a federal record may be subject to fine and imprisonment for up to three years.” (Read more.)

Cannibal Squid

 From Big Think:

The jumbo flying squid (Dosidicus gigas) is the fiercest of all the cephalopods, a group that comprises squid, octopi, and cuttlefish. When the five-foot-long predator spots its prey, it ejects a burst of water from a siphon, torpedoing itself at speeds up to 15 mph (nearly three times the speed of the fastest human swimmer). When the prey is within reach, the squid ensnares it with two long tentacles covered in up to 200 suckers, each lined with razor-sharp teeth, and pulls it back toward a parrot-like beak and tongue-like organ covered with even more teeth. (Read more.)


Saturday, August 27, 2022

Belle Époque Posters of Jules Chéret

 From Artnet:

You may not know the name Jules Chéret—but his work has probably left an impression on you nevertheless. That’s because of how wide his influence has been. Chéret (1836–1932) is one of the artists who defines the image of Belle Époque Paris through the afterimage of his dazzling commercial posters. Drawing on the ebullience of Rococo art, he created a new visual iconography of commercial life with his innovative lithographs. Their exuberance matched the excitement and ever-changing nature of the industrial metropolis.

Today, Chéret is remembered as one of the great progenitors of the poster as an art form. His stylish ads for liquor and nightlife are also credited with creating a new kind of image of the free-spirited fin-de-siècle women—the public even used the term “Chérette” to refer to the phenomenon. His models were described as looking “like champagne coming out of a bottle.”

Always New: The Posters of Jules Chéret” at the Milwaukee Art Museum marks the first U.S. solo show for the artist, with 109 sensational works on view that hail from a donation to the institution from James and Susee Wiechmann. While these graphics were made to hawk the fleeting attractions of a cabaret or fashions that are now firmly in the past, the appeal of Chéret’s dynamic style has lasted much longer than any of the things he was selling. (Read more.)



Merrick Garland Reigns Like A King

 From Gregg Jarrett:

This is the hazard when you pick a federal judge to be the nation’s chief law enforcement official. Too many of them believe their decisions are sacrosanct and beyond reproach. Federal judges are anointed for life and gulp too often from the cup of self-righteousness. Garland declared that he personally approved the raid, as if by decree that should end the matter once and for all. Deplorables have no rights.

So, what happens when the King is wrong —in this case, wrong about the law? For Garland, the answer is simple. He just waves his magic scepter and ignores the law, as if it never existed. After all, what’s the point of being the all-powerful ruler unless there are perks that come with the gig?

Did you bother to watch Merrick Garland’s confirmation hearing to be Attorney General of the United States? Naw, I didn’t think so. But I did. He left the distinct impression that any laws he likes are sacred, but the laws he dislikes are an inconvenience to be swatted aside like pesky flies. That’s a dangerous mentality.

So, it should come as no surprise that his raid on Trump’s home in Palm Beach, Florida was a lawless and punitive hit job. Garland cited three criminal codes as the basis for his dubious warrant. But those statutes have no application because the controlling law on presidential papers is dictated exclusively by the Presidential Records Act of 1978. Under that very specific law (which nullify general statutes), the Trump had the right to take custody of the documents in dispute.

I’ve pointed this out before, including on air the day of the raid when the news broke. But don’t take my word for it. Read the excellent analysis by David Rivkin and Lee Casey, two well-respected constitutional law experts who nicely explained it in the op-ed section of The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. They wrote, “the FBI had no legally valid cause for the raid” because “federal law gives Mr. Trump a right of access to them. His possession of them is entirely consistent with that right, and therefore lawful.”

Garland knew this, but he didn’t care. He waved his Divine orb and invaded Mar-a-Lago for purely political reasons. He hates Trump and all Republicans for denying him a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. So, he sought vengeance while doing the partisan bidding of his boss, Joe Biden, in a desperate ploy to knock out Joe’s expected opponent in the next presidential election. That’s how ruthless and unscrupulous despots operate —neutralize the enemy. (Read more.)

Medieval Artifacts Uncovered in Iceland

 From Archaeology:

Traces of a farmstead dated to the earliest settlement of Iceland have been uncovered in the East Fjords of the island by a team of researchers led by archaeologist Ragnheiður Traustadóttir, according to Iceland Review. The site is situated in a valley where landslides from the high slopes and tephra from volcanic eruptions have protected archaeological materials and provided a means of dating them. So far, researchers have found human remains; the bones of a horse; a spear; a boat; and jewelry, including a red, white, and blue bead dated to between A.D. 940 and 1100. (Read more.)


Friday, August 26, 2022

A Glimpse Into a Vanished Art Style

 From Artnet:

A long-lost relic of Jewish folk art has been revealed after being hidden—but not forgotten—behind a wall for more than 30 years. “The Lost Mural” is an interior apse painting created in 1910 by Ben Zion Black, a 24-year-old Lithuananian playwright, poet, and sign painter, for the former Chai Adam synagogue in Burlington, Vermont. Aaron Goldberg, a descendant of Burlington’s earliest Jewish residents, founded the Lost Mural Project to recover Black’s work.

According to the project’s website, Black’s 155-square-foot triptych “is part of a long tradition of synagogue wall painting that was particularly advanced in Eastern Europe between the early 18th- and mid-20th centuries.” Most artworks in this genre were set ablaze during the Holocaust, remembered now only through old photos and watercolor renditions. (Read more.)


The Plight of the Progressive Teacher

 From American Greatness:

If you’re a teacher in a public school who’s seen students withdraw in recent years and go elsewhere, you don’t understand it; especially those students who head for a school with an old-fashioned classical curriculum. It doesn’t make sense, though the trend is clear. New York City schools will have 30,000 fewer students this year than last year, a departure that follows a national exit from public schools. One beneficiary of the exodus is classical education, where enrollments are jumping

But why? Our teacher can’t say. She has a progressive model of schooling—ed school trained her well—and she knows that all the learning ideals are in her favor. Creativity, individuality, relevance, and social betterment—they’re the hallmarks of child-centered classrooms attuned to current realities. Diversity, equity, and inclusion guide the readings and homework she assigns. She wants students to become critical thinkers and social change agents. Her benevolence is obvious to parents.

So why the departures for a system so different from her own? Why do Great Hearts Academies in Phoenix alone have a waiting list of 8,000 kids? Classical education shouldn’t be that popular; it loses on every progressive scorecard. So much is happening in America today, so many woke advents, and classical schools are stuck on Plato. They force kids to memorize things, too, even as it blocks a student’s creative impulses. They like assessments such as the Classic Learning Test, which includes hard-core Christian fathers such as Origen in its author bank. (Read more.)


The Unexpected Future

Demography is destiny. From Quillette:
We are entering an unanticipated reality—an era of slow population growth and, increasingly, demographic decline that will shape our future in profound and unpredictable ways. Globally, last year’s total population growth was the smallest in a half-century, and by 2050, some 61 countries are expected to see population declines while the world’s population is due to peak sometime later this century.

This kind of long-term global demographic stagnation has not been seen since the Middle Ages. World population has been growing for centuries, but the last century has dwarfed previous rises. About 75 percent of the world’s population growth has occurred in the last hundred years, more than 50 percent since 1970. But now, population growth rates are dropping, especially in more developed nations, according to the United Nations (all subsequent references to UN research in this essay are drawn from these data).

It’s not a matter of if but when global populations will start to decline. Under the UN’s medium variant projection, the world’s population will peak in 2086, while under the low variant, the peak will occur in 2053, and by 2100, the population will be about a billion below today’s level. Demographer Wolfgang Lutz and colleagues project a global population of between 8.8 and 9.0 billion by 2050 falling to between 8.2 and 8.7 billion by 2100. The projected declines are concentrated in countries with high fertility rates, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. In the process, we will inhabit a rapidly aging planet. In 1970, the median world age was 21.5 years. By 2020, it had increased to 30.9 years, and the UN projects that it will be 41.9 years in 2100.

We are well past the time when we need to concern ourselves with Paul Ehrlich’s long-standing prophecy that humanity will “breed ourselves to extinction.” On the contrary, we need to worry about the potential ill-effects of depopulation, including a declining workforce, torpid economic growth, and brewing generational conflict between a generally prosperous older generation and their more hard-pressed successors. The preponderance of low fertility in wealthier countries also presages a growing conflict between the child-poor wealthy countries and the child-rich poor countries.  (Read more.)

Thursday, August 25, 2022


 From The Stream:

For a scholarly explanation of how this approach has invaded every level of governance and the behavior of our Oligarchs in media, see Matthew Crawford’s essay “The New Public Health Despotism” at the excellent centrist (!) online magazine Unherd.

Everything from the wording of public health announcements to the political manipulation of Google results emerges from the same dark, arrogant place. That is, from the relentless intent to “nudge” the general public so that it obeys the elites.

Wear a mask, take the vaccine, eat the bugs, replace your car with an electric, don’t have so many kids, don’t go to that church or vote for that candidate … and don’t ask any questions. And of course don’t dare to dissent, or you won’t get the cheese — in fact, you might get a little electric shock instead, like those warnings Twitter sends you before it finally shuts down your account.

The scientists in the lab coats, or the bureaucrats in Washington, will decide what is acceptable to think, say, and do. And if you know what’s good for you, you’ll just “get with the program.” If you don’t, you know the consequences.


When Democrats denied that George W. Bush or Donald Trump were legitimately elected, were they “Election Deniers”? Of course not. They were “skeptics” or “election integrity activists” or some other happy word which brings with a nice dose of cheese. But those of us who noticed and complained about the massive irregularities, and provable fraud, in 2020? We are “Election Deniers,” a phrase that was coined to evoke “Holocaust Deniers.” And to make people wince at the prospect of getting a nasty electrical shock. Or going to jail for a year while the government railroads you into prison.

The Soviets made up “Kulak” as a synonym for “blood-sucking parasite” to justify hanging farmers who wished to keep the grain they’d grown, instead of handing all of it over to murderous atheist bandits. It’s wretched to realize that the Republican Establishment is willing to use such Bolshevik hate speech against its own political base. (Read more.)


Causality and the Biblical Economy of Salvation

 From Catholicism:

When God created all things in the beginning, He did so for a purpose worthy of Himself: His own glory. It may surprise readers to learn that this is actually a dogma of the faith and that anyone who denies it is under the formal anathema of an Ecumenical Council: “If anyone … denies that the world was created for the glory of God: let him be anathema.” (Vatican I, Session 3, Canon 5, “On God the creator of all things.” This is one of the canons appended to the end of Vatican I’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith.)

God is glorified by all creation, including stars and planets, rocks and rivers, trees and flowers, and all manner of brute beasts. Each of these glorifies God by acting in accordance with the nature it received from Him. All the aforementioned creatures give God glory by necessity, there being no free will involved.

There are vestiges of God all throughout these lower orders of creation, “footprints” of the Creator which reveal Him to the knowing mind at the same time they effect His glory. This would explain why certain Psalms and the Canticle of the Three Children from the Book of Daniel summon various inanimate and brute creatures to join with us in the praise of God. The Church has incorporated these cosmological prayers into her liturgy.

In creating man, God endowed this higher creature with His own image and likeness. By grace, He also gave men power to be made children of God (cf. John 1:12). This creature has understanding and free will. This creature can know God, and can freely love and serve Him, thereby rendering Him glory in a way superior to what lower creation can do. In material creation, we humans are unique in having such potencies; we share them only with those pure spirits we call angels. (Read more.)


Wednesday, August 24, 2022

The Fisher King in the Medieval Mythology of Great Britain

From Brewminate:

In Arthurian legend, the Fisher King, also known as the Wounded King or Maimed King (Roi blessé, in Old French Roi Méhaigné, Welsh: Brenin Clwyfedig), is the last in a long bloodline charged with keeping the Holy Grail. Versions of the original story vary widely, but he is always wounded in the legs or groin and incapable of standing; all he is able to do is fish in a small boat on the river near his castle, Corbenic, and wait for some noble who might be able to heal him by asking a certain question. In later versions, knights travel from many lands to try to heal the Fisher King, but only the chosen can accomplish the feat. In earlier stories the feat is achieved by Percival alone, though he is joined by Galahad and Bors in the later ones.

Many later works have two wounded Grail Kings who live in the same castle (either a father and son, or a grandfather and grandson). While the more grievously wounded elder man remains in the castle, sustained only by the Grail. the more active younger man can meet with guests and go fishing, making the younger man the Fisher King.

Fisher King legends imply that the King has become unable to father or support a new generation which can carry on after his death. This is because a “thigh” wound has been interpreted by many scholars of Arthurian literature to be some sort of injury to the genitals. There are hints in early versions that his realm suffers as he does, and modern scholars have suggested his impotence affects the fertility of the earth, reducing it to a barren wasteland. (Read more.)

More HERE.


Adult Children May Be Sapping Their Parents' Retirement Funds

From Employee Benefit News:

Parents are attempting to push their adult children out of the nest — but they’re not budging, and it’s coming at a cost. At the peak of the pandemic, 52% of young adults between 18-24 years old moved back in with their parents, according to data from the Pew Research Center. But more than two years later, 40% of parents are still hosting their adult child in their home, and in many cases, financially supporting them. The rising cost of rent, along with the need for financial support, are the top reasons young adults are struggling to make it on their own. Yet parental support may be threatening the financial security of older generations, especially when it comes to their nest egg for retirement

“A lot of parents were in the sandwich generation, where they were taking care of older parents while also caring for their younger children,” says Delvin Joyce, a financial planner at Prudential. “Now, their parents are getting older and their health is fading, and their older kids are moving back into the house. It's having a compounding effect on the lack of preparedness for retirement, because people are feeling pressured to reach into their retirement savings for their younger kids as they move back in.” (Read more.)


Coffee and Cigarettes

 From Neuroscience News:

For some smokers, the first cigarette of the day is just not as satisfying without a cup of coffee. That could be more than just a morning habit: Chemical compounds in roasted coffee beans may help lighten the effects of morning nicotine cravings, University of Florida researchers have found.

In a cell-based study, the researchers identified two compounds in coffee that directly affect certain high-sensitivity nicotine receptors in the brain. In smokers, these brain receptors can be hypersensitive after a night of nicotine withdrawal.

The recently published findings have yet to be tested in humans but are an important step toward better understanding how coffee and cigarettes affect nicotine receptors in the brain, said Roger L. Papke, Ph.D., a pharmacology professor in the UF College of Medicine. Caffeine is coffee’s feel-good ingredient for most people but smokers may get another kind of boost.

“Many people like caffeine in the morning but there are other molecules in coffee that may explain why cigarette smokers want their coffee,” Papke said. (Read more.)


Tuesday, August 23, 2022


"Wooing" by Howard Pyle
Most of the great poetry in Western civilization was written by men for the women they loved and admired. Do men still write poetry for women? Does courtship exist? Do women see themselves as persons whose love is a precious gift to be bestowed only on the man who proves himself to be worthy? Or have we become so desperate for affection that we give ourselves for less than nothing? If we hold ourselves so cheap, then how can we be the inspirations for great art, poetry, literature and music, as were our sisters in the past.

The change most immediately devastating for wooing is probably the sexual revolution. For why would a man court a woman for marriage when she may be sexually enjoyed, and regularly, without it? Contrary to what the youth of the sixties believed, they were not the first to feel the power of sexual desire. Many, perhaps even most, men in earlier times avidly sought sexual pleasure prior to and outside of marriage. But they usually distinguished, as did the culture generally, between women one fooled around with and women one married, between a woman of easy virtue and a woman of virtue simply. Only respectable women were respected; one no more wanted a loose woman for one's partner than for one's mother.

The supreme virtue of the virtuous woman was modesty, a form of sexual self-control, manifested not only in chastity but in decorous dress and manner, speech and deed, and in reticence in the display of her well-banked affections. A virtue, as it were, made for courtship, it served simultaneously as a source of attraction and a spur to manly ardor, a guard against a woman's own desires, as well as a defense against unworthy suitors. A fine woman understood that giving her body (in earlier times, even her kiss) meant giving her heart, which was too precious to be bestowed on anyone who would not prove himself worthy, at the very least by pledging himself in marriage to be her defender and lover forever. (Read more.)
So what is to be done? Women lowered the bar, and women must raise it again. Gently insist upon being treated like a lady, but then, if you do, it is important to actually be one. If everyone would be conscious of the fact that each individual is made by God and beloved by Him, then we will not only not allow ourselves to be degraded by loose behavior but we will not want to be the instrument through which others might fall. Share

Surrounded by a Cloud of Witnesses

 From Catholic Exchange:

I led a bus pilgrimage for my parishioners to St. Louis and Chicago.  One of our stops in Chicago was the Basilica of Seven Sorrows.  It’s a parish run by the Servite order.  In the sanctuary, there was a painting on the wall of a woman religious on a bed, with a priest bent over her and administering the sacraments, while servers and other sisters looked on.  Not knowing who the nun was, I asked the priest who was giving our tour.  He told us the story of St. Juliana who at her death had a desire to receive the Eucharist.  Due to her illness, she was not able to but her Eucharistic faith prompted her to ask the priest to open the corporal on her chest and to place the host on it.  The host disappeared and quickly thereafter Juliana died.  Upon her death and examination of her body, a cross was found on her chest; the same cross imprinted on the Holy Eucharist.  In a miraculous manner she received her last Holy Communion. 

The stories of the saints are meant to inspire us.  For St. Imelda, St. Raymond, and St. Juliana, each had a burning desire to receive the Holy Eucharist.  Their desire should inspire us with the same desire and fervor.  Every Sunday you should desire to receive the Holy Eucharist, and if that desire isn’t there, ask them to help you to desire it, because with every Holy Communion, the Lord Jesus makes His home within you.  As we learn their stories, we can begin asking these saints to intercede for us and our Eucharistic devotion.  Surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who loved the Holy Eucharist, may they help to deepen our faith, belief, and devotion to Jesus present body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Eucharist received in Holy Communion, reposed in the tabernacle, and adored on the altar. (Read more.)


The Third Thing

 From The Marginalian:

Reflecting on his life with the love of his life — the poet Jane Kenyon, herself the keeper and giver of uncommonly clarifying wisdom on writing and life — Hall considers the secret to the kind of lasting love that blooms between the mundane and the magical. An epoch after Virginia Woolf exulted in “the bead of sensation” that punctuates the dailiness of any durational love to make it last, Hall writes:
Jane Kenyon and I were married for twenty-three years. For two decades we inhabited the double solitude of my family farmhouse in New Hampshire, writing poems, loving the countryside. She was forty-seven when she died. If anyone had asked us, “Which year was the best, of your lives together?” we could have agreed on an answer: “the one we remember least.” There were sorrowful years — the death of her father, my cancers, her depressions — and there were also years of adventure: a trip to China and Japan, two trips to India; years when my children married; years when the grandchildren were born; years of triumph as Jane began her public life in poetry: her first book, her first poem in the New Yorker. The best moment of our lives was one quiet repeated day of work in our house. Not everyone understood. Visitors, especially from New York, would spend a weekend with us and say as they left: “It’s really pretty here” (“in Vermont,” many added) “with your house, the pond, the hills, but … but … but … what do you do?”

What we did: we got up early in the morning. I brought Jane coffee in bed. She walked the dog as I started writing, then climbed the stairs to work at her own desk on her own poems. We had lunch. We lay down together. We rose and worked at secondary things. I read aloud to Jane; we played scoreless ping-pong; we read the mail; we worked again. We ate supper, talked, read books sitting across from each other in the living room, and went to sleep. If we were lucky the phone didn’t ring all day… Three hundred and thirty days a year we inhabited this old house and the same day’s adventurous routine.

What we did: love.
But the substance of this daily love, Hall argues, is not the stuff of romantic tropes. Echoing Little Prince author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beautiful insistence that “love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction,” Hall writes:
We did not spend our days gazing into each other’s eyes. We did that gazing when we made love or when one of us was in trouble, but most of the time our gazes met and entwined as they looked at a third thing. Third things are essential to marriages, objects or practices or habits or arts or institutions or games or human beings that provide a site of joint rapture or contentment. Each member of a couple is separate; the two come together in double attention. Lovemaking is not a third thing but two-in-one. John Keats can be a third thing, or the Boston Symphony Orchestra, or Dutch interiors, or Monopoly.

(Read more.)


Monday, August 22, 2022

Cromwell's Bonfire and Our Lady of Walsingham


We saw the Langham Virgin at the Victoria and Albert Museum. My friends in London sing the Salve Regina whenever they visit it. From Stephanie Mann:

Did the original statue of Our Lady of Walsingham survive Thomas Cromwell's bonfire? There's a story in The Catholic Herald suggesting that a statue identified as "Virgin and Child" and also called the  Langham Virgin in the Victoria and Albert Museum could be the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham.

The co-author of that article, Dr. Francis Young, writes on his own blog:
We are fortunate to have a fairly detailed image of this statue, which was depicted on the seal of Walsingham Priory – although we have no way of knowing how accurate the seal’s depiction was. What can be said, however, is that what remains of the Langham Madonna is strikingly similar to the seal image. This similarity on its own, of course, is not enough to show that the Langham statue is Our Lady of Walsingham – it could be a copy of the famous statue, or just an image of a similar type from a time when portrayals of the Virgin enthroned were popular in English religious art. There are, however, good reasons to believe the Langham statue could be the famous Walsingham image – partly because it can now be shown that the provenance of the Langham Madonna was inaccurately recorded when the statue was purchased by the V&A, and partly because the statue bears physical signs of traits apparently unique to the image of Our Lady of Walsingham. The details of these arguments can be found in the original article. (Read more.)

The Dark Side of Our Electric Future

From Euronews:

Lithium extraction fields in South America have been captured by an aerial photographer in stunning high definition. But while the images may be breathtaking to look at, they represent the dark side of our swiftly electrifying world. Lithium represents a route out of our reliance on fossil fuel production. As the lightest known metal on the planet, it is now widely used in electric devices from mobile phones and laptops, to cars and aircraft.

Lithium-ion batteries are most famous for powering electric vehicles, which are set to account for up to 60 per cent of new car sales by 2030. The battery of a Tesla Model S, for example, uses around 12 kg of lithium. These batteries are the key to lightweight, rechargeable power. As it stands, demand for lithium is unprecedented and many say it is crucial in order to transition to renewables. However, this doesn't come without a cost - mining the chemical element can be harmful to the environment.

German aerial photographer Tom Hegen specialises in documenting the traces we leave on the earth's surface. His work provides an overview of places where we extract, refine and consume resources with his latest series exposing the “Lithium Triangle.” (Read more.)

Music as an Icon for the Sacred

 From Benedict XVI Institute:

American composer Daniel Knaggs premiered his Two Streams, a cantata based on Jesus Christ’s message of Divine Mercy for mankind, last fall in Houston, Texas. The concert celebrated the historic Church of the Annunciation’s 150-year anniversary in a gala evening event with almost 400 in attendance. The interior of the Romanesque-Gothic Church, a virtual jewel-box of carved marble, serene statues, and the original 19th-century stained glass, showcased the sacred music within vibrant architectural beauty.

Two Streams is Knaggs’ most substantial project in an award-winning career that includes commissions, prizes, and awards for composition from around the globe. The initial impetus for the piece arose from Knaggs’ desire to compose music in response to his experiences in the Polish cities of Kracow, Warsaw, and Gdansk, the city now famous for the Solidarity movement’s founding and contribution to the downfall of Soviet Communism. Knaggs’ strong attraction to the Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, which revealed God’s message of Divine Mercy, provided the touchstone for the piece’s ultimate grounding and spiritual context. He says, “The idea of a God who is merciful to a fault disarms me. This is our God whose greatest attribute is His unending mercy for us and which He wants us to spread throughout the world.” The sudden and premature death of Knaggs’ father just after the commissioning of the piece brought a deeply felt personal dimension to the spiritual reassurance of Christ’s Divine Mercy. The title of the piece, Two Streams, evokes the two rays emanating from the image Christ asked St. Faustina to have painted of His Divine Mercy: a white stream of life-giving grace and the red stream of purifying grace flowing from His heart.

For Knaggs, the composition of music is a painstaking process. He says, “You have to be in it for the long haul—to be able to work with a piece until every feature is right.” Both spiritual and practical aspects influence a composer, like Knaggs, whose goal is participation in conveying metaphysical or spiritual aspects beyond daily reality. He says, “In composing, we are indebted to what has come before us, for example, chant, polyphony. When you write music, you have the ability to bring in the register and range of voices, dynamics of soft and loud, keys and tonality to add to the meaning. One movement of Two Streams has no words, but I believe things are being conveyed. If someone tried to write music without a belief in the spiritual truths, the audience would know.” (Read more.)

Sunday, August 21, 2022

When Helen Keller Met Charlie Chaplin

From Open Culture:

 Keller met Chaplin in 1919 at his Hollywood studio, during the filming of Sunnyside. This, as biographers have revealed, was not one of the smoothest-going periods in the comedian-auteur’s life, but that didn’t stop him from enjoying his time with Keller, and even learning from her. In her 1928 autobiography Midstream, she would remember that he’d been “shy, almost timid,” and that “his lovely modesty lent a touch of romance to the occasion that might otherwise have seemed quite ordinary.” The pictures that have circulated of the meeting, seen here, include one of Keller teaching Chaplin the tactile sign-language alphabet she used to communicate. It was also the means by which, with the assistance of companion Anne Sullivan, she followed the action of Chaplin’s films A Dog’s Life and Shoulder Arms when they were screened for her that evening. When Keller and Chaplin met again nearly thirty years later, he sought her feedback on the script for his latest picture, Monsieur Verdoux
“There is no language for the terrifying power of your message that sears with sarcasm or rends apart coverts of social hypocrisy,” Keller later wrote to Chaplin. A politically charged black comedy about a bigamist serial killer bearing little resemblance indeed to the beloved Little Tramp, Monsieur Verdoux met with critical and commercial failure upon its release. The film has since been re-evaluated as a subversive masterwork, but it was perhaps Keller who first truly saw it. (Read more.)


Black Apocalypse

  From Dr. Alveda King at The New York Post:

Racial prejudice is nothing new to the abortion movement. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was one of the most vocal advocates for eugenics in America. In fact, she wrote in 1921 that eugenics was “the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems.”

Although they make up just 13 percent of the female population, black women account for over one-third of all abortions performed in this country each year. In some places, like New York City, there are actually more black abortions in some years than black live births.

There’s a number of reasons for these numbers — including fatherlessness, poverty, a lack of decent educational options and low marriage rates. Which is why a crucial part of ending this abortion epidemic begins with fixing the black family. At a time when most black children are being raised by single mothers, we need to encourage marriage and prioritize fatherhood. School choice can help too, so that black children stuck in failing inner-city schools can see a way out of failure and into a more successful future. (Read more.)

From Dr. John Zmirak at The Stream:

I realized the parallel between these two great, widely-hated men while watching the FBI and the DoJ pick up one steaming heap after another from the floor of their cages, and hurl it at the wall to see if it sticks. First, they said that Donald Trump had withheld some crucial … National Archives records. That required an armed raid on his home. They had to go through Melania’s underwear drawer to see if Donald had left any memos there.

When that clod of scat slid ignominiously to the floor, the spider monkeys dug up another. Nuclear secrets! Donald Trump took those with him, and posed a national security threat because … the rest is classified. We can’t explain it, just trust us, we’re doing this to protect you.

What’s next? Will Merrick Garland declare that Trump is on “Double-Secret Probation”? Will Russell Moore, David French, and Rod Dreher convene a press conference at the National Cathedral and announce that Trump has “Cooties”?

Ah, there’s the rub, and the heart of the whole Trump-hating enterprise. And another place where his story parallels Martin Luther King’s. King’s enemies (including the editors of National Review while he lived) weren’t reacting so much to the man and his qualities. Yes, they were happy to ransack his personal life for blackmail dirt or mud to throw. As they’re glad to smear Trump today.

But the haters don’t really care about any of it, any more than they worried over the sordid details of John McCain’s divorce. (He abandoned the handicapped wife who waited for him to get home from Vietnam, to marry an heiress.) Trump-haters, like King-haters, were just looking for filth so they could try to tarnish an icon. They did that because they held in disgust and contempt the people who rallied around those icons: in the one case, blacks suffering from segregation, in the other, dispossessed blue-collar workers and Christians watching their country turn viciously against them. (Read more.)


Mysteries of Machu Picchu

 From Digital Trends:

Every year, thousands of tourists from around the world flock to the Andes Mountains in Peru. They spend days traversing the rugged terrain — not exactly an ideal vacation for most. But the trek is all worth it in the end. Atop the mountain range, the travelers reach the iconic skyline of Machu Picchu. This breathtaking settlement may take the cake as the most beautiful sight in the world. Oddly enough, however, history entirely forgot its existence for centuries. The famed Inca Empire constructed Machu Picchu in the 15th century. 50 miles north of their capital city of Cuzco, the site displayed their immense wealth and technology. Of course, that prosperity attracted more foes than the Incas could handle. Seeking gold and Catholic converts, Spaniard Francisco Pizarro swept through South America in 1532. While the native peoples vastly outnumbered the conquistadors, Pizarro had guns and horses on his side. The Pizarro and his men ruthlessly sacked Cuzco and executed Emperor Atahualpa. Nearly all of Inca civilization lay in ruins, and yet the soldiers never got anywhere near Machu Picchu. The city was already abandoned and forgotten.

 In fact, the remote settlement may have remained a mystery forever if not for the efforts of Hiram Bingham III. An esteemed Yale historian, Bingham left the classroom behind to chase down a myth he couldn't get out of his mind. Maps and records saved from the destruction of the Incas indicated the presence of a city high up in the mountains. Many claimed the site was lost or simply fictional, but Bingham trudged through jungle and mountains to find out. The explorer shocked the world by reaching Machu Picchu in 1911. While it was clear that no humans had lived there for many generations, the lofty community was in remarkably good shape. It was nothing short of a marvel. (Read more.)


Saturday, August 20, 2022

Country Estate of Thomas Wyatt

 I think adding the swimming pool was a bad idea. From Country Life:

The house, once known as Court Lodge, had a turbulent history: first built in the 13th century and part of an estate that had belonged to the Canterbury’s Christ Church Priory, it was handed to Sir Thomas Wyatt, Henry VIII’s High Sheriff for Kent, after the Dissolution of Monasteries.

We’d guess it probably didn’t have this lovely pool back then.

Wyatt was a man of many talents: a diplomat, adventurer and a poet, the man credited with writing the first sonnet in English. He was also a canny political operator: he managed to navigate the choppy waters of the Tudor Court and keep his head intact, despite having been accused first of adultery with Anne Boleyn — which earned him a spell in the Tower of London — then of treason. His son, on the other hand, wasn’t quite as gifted with political nous: he had the not-so-bright idea of rebelling against Mary Tudor and lost both the estate and his life. Hunton Court’s traces of medieval timbers are rather subtle, where they make an appearance in the attic and in some of the eight bedrooms. (Read more.)