Wednesday, September 27, 2023

White Queens

Queen Camilla in Paris. From The Court Jeweller:

For a busy day of engagements in Paris, Queen Camilla wore a white coat over a printed dress, paired with spectator pumps. When a Queen of the United Kingdom wears white in Paris, it’s hard not to see a callback to one of the most famous royal wardrobe moments of the past: the white wardrobe worn by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in Paris during the 1938 French state visit. The unexpected passing of Elizabeth’s mother, the Countess of Strathmore, had caused the 1938 visit to be pushed back several weeks. Elizabeth worked with her favorite couturier, Norman Hartnell, to alter her wardrobe for the visit. Rather than making black mourning clothes for the Queen, Hartnell pointed out that white was traditionally a color of royal mourning, and Elizabeth agreed to have her wardrobe for the trip remade using only white fabrics. (Read more.)

1938: Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in Paris with George VI


Bomb Threat Against Andy Ngo

 From The Post-Millennial:

An official member of the Democrat Party in Richmond, Virginia, posted a bomb threat against journalist Andy Ngo on Friday. Jimmie Lee Jarvis, the owner of Mission Control Research and Consulting in Richmond, posted the bomb threat on X ahead of Ngo's speaking event organized by The Virginia Council and Common Sense Society at the Commonwealth Club in Richmond, Virginia. According to the official website of Richmond Democrats, Jimmie Lee Jarvis is listed as an official member of the Richmond City Democratic Committee. Jarvis' threat was one of many that came from radical leftists ahead of Ngo's speaking event, which resulted in two venues pulling out at the last minute.

While Ngo, senior editor of The Post Millennial, explained that the event was ultimately a success after the third venue refused to cave to the coordinated campaign attack of threats issued by Antifa and other far-left activists, Marriott forced the Westin to cancel the venue just hours before it was set to kick off on Friday. Earlier in the week, the Commonwealth Club pulled out from allowing its venue to be used for the event following harassment and threats of violence. (Read more.)


The Girl and the Faun

 From CrimeReads:

Years later, after she had become one of the world’s most successful fiction writers, Agatha Miller–now known to her vast reading public as Agatha Christie–retained great fondness for the elder author who had given her youthful writing promising words of praise. In 1932 Christie dedicated her widely admired Hercule Poirot detective novel Peril at End House, which is set at a fictionalized Torquay, to her onetime mentor, in gratitude “for his friendship and the encouragement he gave me many years ago.” When Eden Phillpotts died on December 29, 1960, at the venerable age of ninety-eight, Christie, then herself seventy years old, penned a short but affectionate newspaper tribute to him, singling out for praise his 1910 children’s novel The Flint Heart. (There is scarcely a fiction genre which Phillpotts left untouched during his eight decade writing career.) In her posthumously published Autobiography (1977), Christie again warmly praised Phillpotts, memorably recalling him as “an odd-looking man, with a face more like a faun’s than an ordinary human being’s.”

Certainly Eden Phillpotts was no ordinary human being. An extraordinarily prolific author (even more so than Agatha Christie), Phillpotts from his longtime fastness in Devon, where he relocated from London around 1890 (the year Agatha Christie was born), published, it is said, over 250 books, including almost 120 novels, about a third of which are works of crime, adventure and mystery fiction. Back in 1909 he had told Christie, concerning her novel Snow upon the Desert: “You have two plots here, rather than one, but that is a beginner’s fault; you soon won’t want to waste plots in such a spendfree way. ”With ever so many books left to write, Phillpotts himself emphatically was not one to waste plots.

Eden Phillpotts’ last novel–entitled, appropriately enough, There Was an Old Man (it is not a mystery)–was published in 1959, just a year before the Old Man died. His final mystery novel, George and Georgina, appeared but seven years earlier in 1952, when the author had entered his ninetieth year. This was just over seven decades after the appearance of his first mystery adventure tale (and first published book of any sort), the Queen’s Quorum novella My Adventure in the Flying Scotsman, which Phillpotts published in 1888, when he was twenty-five years old. It appeared in book form the same year as did his contemporary Arthur Conan Doyle’s debut Sherlock Holmes adventure, A Study in Scarlet. (Read more.)

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

The Tragedy of Jean Harlow

Jean Harlow
Harlean Carpenter aka Jean Harlow

Recently, as part of my exploration into the decline of Western Civilization, I read Harlow in Hollywood: The Blonde Bombshell in the Glamour Capital, 1928-1937 by Darrell Rooney and Mark A. Vieira. I enjoy reading about the old movie stars, many of whom were great artists in spite of the degradation of living in Tinseltown. I have been criticized for blogging about Marilyn Monroe, because she has been seen as a part of America's slide into depravity, although what Marilyn really wanted was to be a great actress, not a sex symbol. Before Marilyn Monroe, there was Jean Harlow, whom Marilyn modeled herself upon and hoped to portray in a biopic before her own untimely and unexpected demise. Harlean Carpenter aka Jean Harlow had no stage training and ended up in movies almost by accident. Her naturally tow-headed, green-eyed beauty attracted the attention of producers. While free of any illusions that she was an actress, Jean had a natural charisma and presence, in spite of her diminutive stature. Once she became aware that acting was a craft she tried to learn it, and worked very hard at improving her screen performances. She had a photographic memory and after a cursory glance at a script she knew it by heart. She learned to make people laugh and with the right directors became a comic genius.

 Aware that she was being exploited for her body, Jean strove to improve her mind by reading; her dream was to be a novelist and she actually did write one. Other than her literary ambitions, Jean loved children and longed to be a wife and mother. Jean hated playing what she called "sex vultures" and wanted to play "good girls" so she was actually glad when the Hays Code made the studios tone down their lurid sleaziness. Jean Harlow gradually became a top star as the original platinum blonde. However, fame can be a harsh taskmaster. The studio make-up poisoned her; constant bleaching to maintain the platinum mane made her hair fall out. 

Jean was popular with her co-workers for her sweet and childlike personality. Everyone, including her mother, called her "Baby" or "the Baby." No one seemed to think it was bizarre that an extremely unsophisticated woman, whom everyone infantilized and treated as a small child, was a major sex symbol, and repeatedly reduced to her physical assets. In demeanor she was completely unlike the sultry roles she played. Not that she did not have affairs and three attempts at marriage. But her outlook on life remained hopeful and innocent, until William Powell broke her heart.

Jean once confided to a friend that she had been sexually assaulted by a male relative as a child. Maybe it was why she was psychologically frozen at age twelve. Perhaps that was why she was incapable of becoming emotionally independent from her mother. While married as a teen to her wealthy first husband Jean became pregnant, but since she had just started in movies her mother forced her to have an abortion. Later, when she was a star, she became pregnant by her co-star William Powell. Powell did not know of the pregnancy but he had already told her that he would never marry her; after having been married to Carol Lombard he did not want another actress wife. So Jean's mother dragged her to the hospital for a special "operation," another abortion. Jean was noticeably different afterwards, very depressed. She eventually collapsed from kidney failure, caused by a youthful bout of scarlet fever. She died in the same hospital room where she had had her second abortion.

From All That's Interesting:

 Born on March 3, 1911, in Kansas City, Missouri, Harlean Harlow Carpenter had simple childhood dreams and hoped to become a writer. It was her mother who wanted her to become the star that she never was. As Harlean's mother got divorced, relocated, attempted to break into the movie industry, and eventually remarried, the young girl suffered from numerous childhood illnesses, including meningitis and scarlet fever. By the time Harlean was 16 years old, she had eloped with a wealthy young man named Charles McGrew and relocated to Beverly Hills. There, she was noticed by movie executives and began to receive offers to appear in films. Much to the delight of Harlean's mother, she decided to give acting a try. Harlean and McGrew soon divorced, as he didn't support her pursuing a career in Hollywood. But Harlean, who started using her mother's maiden name as Jean Harlow, was about to start an exciting new chapter. (Read more.)

From Country Living:

Harlean was discovered by Fox executives while she was visiting a movie lot with a friend. Apparently, she wasn't all that interested in becoming a star, even giving them a fake name: her mom's. But certainly, they were interested in her—or at least, in her look: a glamorous blonde with killer curves. At the insistence of Mother Jean, the newly dubbed Jean Harlow began auditioning and appearing in Laurel and Hardy shorts and even left her husband when he expressed opposition to the idea of her acting.

Though she had just a small part in the 1929 film The Saturday Night Kid, Jean all but stole the show from the lead, Clara Bow, the "It Girl" starlet of the time. Her big break was in Howard Hughes's Hell's Angels (1930), in which she replaced the original lead, silent film star Greta Nissen, who spoke with a thick Norwegian accent and therefore couldn't, in the director's mind, transition to the "talkies". (Read more.)

Jean Harlow in Dinner at Eight


Hit-and-Run for Fun

Watch the video. From The Post-Millennial:

During their alleged crime spree last month which left retired police chief Andreas Probst, 64, dead, Jesus Ayala, 18, and Jzamir Keys, 16, allegedly tried to run over a second cyclist in a stolen car. A source told 8 News Now that the pair allegedly stole three cars, committed a burglary, hit and killed Pobst, and tried to run over a second cyclist over the course of two hours. Alaya and Keys were arrested last week after a video went viral on social media of the teens appearing to intentionally drive a vehicle into a person riding a bicycle. During the video, which is seemingly filmed by a passenger in the front seat, a person can be heard saying, "Alright go, go go go," before sideswiping another car.

"B**** ass n*****!" One person yelled. "Stop talking sh**, b****!"

"Get his a**," one voice says just before the car hits a man on a bicycle. "That n**** knocked out!" one voice said afterward. 

Ayala claimed to police that he would get a slap on the wrist for the incident. "You think this juvenile **** is gonna do some *****? I'll be out in 30 days, I'll bet you," he said. 

"It's just ah ... ah, hit-and-run, slap on the wrist," he said, even though the cops never mentioned the incident to him. 

On Wednesday, a judge ruled that the two suspects would be charged as adults in the Las Vegas Justice Court. Both have been charged with murder with a deadly weapon, battery, and attempted murder. (Read more.)


Sheltering Jews during the Nazi Occupation of Rome

 From Crux:

Though the role of church-run institutions in sheltering Jews during the Nazi occupation of Rome was already well know, the discovery of a list of all those who took refuge previously believed to be lost has added new historical detail.

The list, found in the archives of the Jesuit-run Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, indicates that some 4,300 persons were sheltered between September 1943 and June 1944, when Rome was liberated by Allied forces. Of that number, 3,600 persons are identified by name on the list, and of those, at least 3,200 were Jews, researchers say, a finding confirmed by comparing the list with archives maintained by the Jewish community of Rome.

In all, at least 100 women’s religious orders and 55 men’s communities, as well as parishes and other Catholic institutions, provided places of refuge during the German occupation.During the period of Nazi occupation of Rome, at least 2,000 Jews, including hundreds of children and adolescents, were killed out of a total community estimated at the time between 10,000 and 15,000 people. Most died in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp after a roundup of Roman Jews in mid-October 1943.

News of the discovery of the list of those rescued was presented Thursday during a conference at the Holocaust Museum of Rome titled, “Saved: The Jews Hidden in Religious Institutes of Rome (1943-44.)” Organizers said the list has not yet been made public “for reasons of privacy,” presumably to provide an opportunity to inform family members and descendants of the people identified.

“We know where they were hidden and, in some circumstances, their places of residence before the persecution,” said a joint statement from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, the Jewish Community of Rome and Yad Vashem. (Read more.)

Monday, September 25, 2023

Death of Marie de' Medici

A sketch depicting the death of Marie de' Medici, Dowager Queen of France. She died in a brewery in Cologne in a state of destitution, abandoned by her son Louis XIII, who would not allow her to die in France, although he had her buried there. Mercifully the Queen received the ministrations of the local Carmelites, to whom she bequeathed her cherished statue of Our Lady of Scherpenheuvel. From Artvee:

Nicaise de Keyser was a Belgian painter of mainly history paintings and portraits who was one of the key figures in the Belgian Romantic-historical school of painting. He received his painting tuition at the Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts under Jozef Jacobs and Mattheus Ignatius van Bree. After 1835 he made many travels including to England and Scotland, Paris and Italy. He married the genre painter Isabella Telghuys on 6 October 1840. In 1846, he was elected to the National Academy of Design as an Honorary Academician.

When in 1855 the leading Belgian Romantic painter Gustave Wappers resigned as director of the Antwerp Academy, de Keyser succeeded him. As with the work of other Belgian history painters such as Edouard de Bièfve, Ernest Slingeneyer and Louis Gallait, there was particular appreciation for Nicaise de Keyser's history paintings in German-speaking Europe. De Keyser regularly travelled to Germany and in 1873 he was awarded the famous Prussian order "Pour le Mérite". Despite his great success and fame throughout his lifetime, his work, like that of the other Belgian Romantic painters, was quickly forgotten in the 20th century. (Read more.)

More on Queen Marie, HERE.


Prosecutors Blocked Hunter Biden Charges

 From Breitbart:

Waldon’s transcribed interview comes after he previously confirmed Shapley’s claims in April of political interference. Waldon later left the Hunter Biden case for another responsibility within the IRS. As the investigation progressed, Weiss never charged Hunter Biden in the jurisdictions of Washington, DC, or California. Instead, he formed a sweetheart plea agreement with Hunter Biden that collapsed in July under judicial scrutiny. Shapley’s testimony in April reportedly triggered the plea deal, filed in Delaware. Weiss later brought three gun-related charges in Delaware against Hunter Biden. The recent testimony by Waldon, who was Shapley’s boss, is notable because Attorney General Merrick Garland testified Wednesday that nobody had the authority to block Weiss from charging Hunter Biden, though “they could refuse to partner with him.”

“You said [Weiss] had complete authority, but he’d already been turned down. He wanted to bring an action in D.C. and the US Attorney there said, ‘No, you can’t’ — and then you go tell the U.S. Senate, under oath, that he has complete authority?” House Oversight Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) asked.

“No one had the authority to turn him down; they could refuse to partner with him.” Garland replied.

“You can use whatever language — ‘refuse to partner’ is turning down,” Jordan replied.

“It is not the same under a well-known Justice Department practice,” Garland claimed.

Waldon previously confirmed Shapley’s notes presented to Congress regarding an October 7, 2022, meeting between Waldon, Shapley, and Weiss, among others. “Darrell asked me to shoot an update from today’s meeting. Darrell — feel free to comment if I miss anything,” the top line of the email read. In point two of the email to Waldon, Shapley recapped that “Weiss stated he is not the deciding person of whether charges are filed. I believe this is a huge problem — inconsistent with DOJ public position and Merrick Garland testimony.” (Read more.)

Ancestral Bottleneck

 From Popular Science:

A team of scientists from the United States, Italy, and China may have finally explained a large gap in the African and Eurasian fossil record. According to a model in a study published August 31 in the journal Science, the population of human ancestors crashed between 800,000 and 900,000 years ago. They estimate that there were only 1,280 breeding individuals alive during this transition between the early and middle Pleistocene. About 98.7 percent of the ancestral population was lost at the beginning of this ancestral bottleneck that lasted for roughly 117,000 years, according to the study.

During the Late Pleistocene, modern humans spread outside of the African continents and other human species like Neanderthals began to go extinct. The Australian continent and the Americas also saw humans for the first time and the climate was generally cold. This era is best known for its massive ice sheets and glaciers that shifted around the planet and shaped many of the landforms we see on Earth today...(Read more.)

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Susan Spicer’s Garlic Soup

I had the most delicious garlic soup in Austria. From Garden and Gun:

Anyone who’s ever tasted a smooth, creamy bowl of this aromatic creation immediately understands its staying power. It’s not a soup you expect or soon forget, and it’s one worth traveling all the way to New Orleans for, especially given the labor of love that goes into each bowl. “In the early days we had to peel all the garlic by hand,” Spicer says. “We’d peel ten pounds of garlic.”

And not just any garlic. “It might be a mental thing, but it has to be California garlic. It’s the best,”  she says. Beyond the sourcing, the magic is in the preparation. “I caramelize the garlic and onions in butter and garlic—low and slow so it doesn’t burn,” she says. A bouquet of herbs enhances the flavor without distracting from the star of the show. 

At Bayona, Spicer and her team make two big batches twice a week, letting the flavors come together as the soup sits. Just before serving, it’s finished with a bit of cream, but not too much since the soup’s thickness comes primarily from the bread. “The cream tones down the intensity a bit,” she says.

Add a glass of a light red wine, Spicer’s own recommendation for a pairing, and know that the first spoonful is all it takes to understand how garlic, broth, and some stale bread come together in the perfect marriage of simplicity and indulgence. (Read more.)


America’s Black Market On The Border

 From The Federalist:

The Federalist brings viewers face-to-face with migrants at the Texas border, where their desperate bids for entry inevitably cross paths with powerful cartels. From shelters to the Rio Grande, “Cartel Country” goes where most of the media won’t, revealing a tragic reality they ignore: America’s byzantine border policies enable a vast black market for human smuggling. (Read more.)


Napoleon Cast & Character Guide

 From Screen Rant:

The Napoleon cast brings together Oscar winners and newcomers to tell an epic account of one of history's most fascinating figures — Napoleon Bonaparte, the infamous French General and unrivaled military strategist. Legendary director Ridley Scott takes on the massive historical drama which stars Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte, in a story of his origins and rise to power as he became emperor with his complex relationship with his wife Josephine (Vanessa Kirby) at the center of it all. While much attention is being paid to the two main roles and how these actors will handle them, the Napoleon cast is filled with great actors bringing people in Napoleon's journey to life. (Read more.)


Saturday, September 23, 2023

Our Lady of Britannia

 I have recently discovered the poetry, prose and music of the lovely and highly-talented Avellina Balestri. Here is a magnificent hymn to Our Lady. "A prayer to the Virgin Mary in the voice of British Catholics who suffered greatly to keep faith down through the centuries. Written and composed by Avellina Balestri. Background vocals by The Traveling Troubadour. Recorded at SoundWorks Studio."


The Demise of Objective Social Standards

 From The American Thinker:

On Thursday afternoon, a spokesman for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) said he would file a bipartisan resolution next week "to ensure the Senate dress code remains consistent with previous expectations." But as of this writing, Fetterman's exceedingly "casual" dress has been granted a senatorial imprimatur of legitimacy. Indeed, on Wednesday, Fetterman presided over the entire Senate wearing a short-sleeve shirt, no tie, and shorts.

Fetterman's appalling sense of dress and Schumer's capitulation to it can be seen as part of the Left's broader, sustained attacks on the norms of many venerable institutions. (We are, after all, reliably informed by many wokesters that the very structure of the Senate -- two members per state, regardless of the population -- is a throwback to "white supremacy.") But the koshering of Fetterman's sartorial slovenliness bespeaks a trend both greater and more pernicious than the wokes' now-trite attacks on American traditions: the failure to recognize and uphold objective social standards. (Read more.)


From The Federalist:

Others would suggest that we get the leaders we deserve. If senators want to show up in basketball shorts and hoodies, as is the uniform of Sen. John Fetterman, let the people see how unrespectable they are. The system itself is no longer worthy of respect, and its appearance should reflect that. If senators want to wear clown clothes, all the better.

Of course, we must acknowledge that such a casual dress code is not ideal, but it’s certainly a silver lining when the people wake up and see that the emperor has no clothes. Perhaps voters will see what’s what and demand a course change. (Read more.)


Joanna of England

 Youngest daughter of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. From History...the Interesting Bits:

Joanna of England was born in October 1165, the 7th child and youngest daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Ten years younger than her eldest brother, Henry the Young King, she was born at a time when their parents’ relationship was breaking down; her mother would eventually go to war against her husband, before being imprisoned by him for the last 16 years of Henry’s reign.

Born at Angers Castle in Anjou, Christmas 1165 was the first ever Christmas her parents spent apart; with Henry still in England dealing with a Welsh revolt, it would be several months before he met his new daughter for the first time. Although Joanna spent much of her childhood at her mother’s court in Poitiers, she and her younger brother, John, spent sometime boarding at the magnificent Abbey of Fontevraud. Whilst there Joanna was educated in the skills needed to run a large, aristocratic household and in several languages; English, Norman French and rudimentary Latin. When Eleanor and her sons rebelled in 1173, Henry II went to war against his wife. When she was captured – wearing men’s clothes – she was sent to imprisonment in England. Joanna joined her father’s entourage and frequently appeared at Henry’s Easter and Christmas courts. 3 years later, Eleanor was allowed to travel to Winchester to say ‘goodbye’ to her youngest daughter, who had been betrothed to King William II of Sicily. Provided with a trousseau, probably similar to that of her sister Matilda on her marriage to Henry the Lion, Joanna set out from Winchester at the end of August 1176; escorted by Bishop John of Norwich and her uncle, Hamelin de Warenne.

Joanna’s entourage must have been a sight to see. Once on the Continent, she was escorted from Barfleur by her brother Henry, the Young King. Her large escort was intended to dissuade bandit attacks against her impressive dowry, which included fine horses, gems and precious metals. At Poitiers, Joanna was met by another brother, Richard, who escorted his little sister to Toulouse in a leisurely and elegant progress. Having finally reached Sicily 12-year-old Joanna was married to 24-year-old William on 13th February 1177, in Palermo Cathedral. The marriage ceremony was followed by her coronation as Queen of Sicily. Joanna must have looked magnificent, her bejewelled dress cost £114 – not a small sum at the time. (Read more.)


Friday, September 22, 2023

A Brief History of the Business of Public Execution

Being an executioner was hereditary in many places. From Messy Nessy Chic:

In Paris, when his father died in 1644, Louis Desmorest inherited his family’s execution business at the age of 10. His mother had been part of an established execution family that had been in business for the past 100 years. Desmorest’s mother’s clan also hatched the most notable of all the execution families, the Sansons, who dealt in death for six generations, starting with Charles Sanson, who founded their dynasty in 1688, operating before, during and after the French Revolution, spawning over 200 executioners. The career highs for his descendant, Charles-Henri Sanson, were the first use of the guillotine in Paris and the execution of Louis XVI in January 1793. He was titled by the citizens Monsieur de Paris (the Gentleman of Paris), and his second son Henri, executed Marie Antoinette in 1793.

 Public execution has long been both the expression of authority and a morbid muse for the masses. All cultures and societies seem to have engaged in the death ritual at one point in time; for spiritual appeasement of the gods in the case of the Aztecs, for keeping society in check as the Romans did so mercilessly, or as so famously put into practice by French revolutionaries, to overthrow the monarchy itself. Images of hooded goblin-like operatives applying a regime’s ruthless with a variety of deadly tools – nooses, swords, axes and of course, guillotines – have endured in our historical consciousness. But rarely do we imagine public execution as … a family business. 

In Germany, a Franz Schmidt inherited the business of executioner from his father in the Bavarian town of Hof in 1573, his final test was the beheading of a stray dog in his father’s back garden. He would later become the Chief Executioner in Nurnberg after marrying the then Chief Executioner’s daughter. He was famously illustrated at the time decapitating Hans Froschel by swinging a very large sword to the neck. Franz left a rich and intimate diary, recording not just technical detail, but considered opinion itemising his 361 career executions. Franz formally retired from the execution business to continue as a very successful medical practitioner, later dying a respectable rich man.

 The quantity of work required by the French Revolution put extreme pressure on the executioner. In a trade reliant on skilled rope and blade work, those new to the trade had a lengthy and steep learning curve, but protocol and procedure was everything, no ragged cuts please! To relieve the situation, the guillotine was employed. The guillotine was quick, reliable, clean and impersonal, perfect for industrialisation of deadly justice. This higher capacity device was not only for the benefit of those to be executed, but supplied the growing medical professionals’ need for fresh, well … almost intact bodies. Protocol still had to be followed, there was to be no post-beheading degradation or humiliation of corpses or their dismembered parts. (Read more.)


Why is France So Fascinated by the Royals?

From The Spectator:

The death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022 gave way to an outpouring of French national grief. Speaking for his people, President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: ‘Her death leaves us with a sense of emptiness’. On 19 September, seven million viewers watched the state funeral live on six French television channels, an audience share of 66.7 per cent. One might of course say that it was Queen Elizabeth’s exceptional qualities as a human being, her unfailing devotion to duty, that were being acknowledged rather than her status as monarch. Yet French audience figures for Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021 were also seven million and for Princess Diana in 1997 it was ten million.

At the heart of this is a French fascination with royalty in general, and British royalty in particular. On the eve of Charles’s coronation in May, according to the French travel search engine, searches for London hotels that weekend increased 435 per cent. The French attitude is awash with paradox and ambiguity. The first of these is that after more than a millennium of monarchy, the French executed their sovereign, Louis XVI, in 1793 during the French Revolution. But lest we forget, so did England in the seventeenth century.

Just like England, France also restored her monarchy. In 1814 the Bourbons returned and France would continue to live under royal tutelage until 1870 – excluding a four-year interlude from 1848. Even when the republic was proclaimed anew, after the humiliating defeat and capture of Emperor Napoleon III by the Prussians in 1870, the regime was not popular. It was largely because French monarchists were divided among themselves over which branch should reign that the republic became established by default. Even under what became the early Third Republic, pro-monarchist parties continued to be elected and, but for their divisions, might have gained power in 1877. But, as one of the leading French politicians of the time, and no natural republican, Adolphe Thiers stated, republicanism is ‘the form of government that divides France least’. Yet to this day descendants of the three branches of the French monarchy (Bourbons, Orleanists, Bonapartists) occasionally surface in the many French royal-watching weeklies.

Even with the republican regime firmly in place, two other monarchist moments occurred, this time involving Britain. The first was in the spring of 1940 as the German armies advanced rapidly towards France. Prime minister Winston Churchill proposed to his opposite French number Paul Reynaud a Franco-British union, through which the two states would merge their two empires under the sovereignty of the British crown. Though at first taken seriously in Paris, the offer was finally rejected by the new Pétain government which had other plans. The second was in 1956 on the eve of the Franco-British Suez expedition when Paris made a similar proposal to London again involving the British sovereign that this time was rejected by Britain. The French fascination with royalty continues to this day – albeit nuanced. According to a September 2022 poll in Le Figaro, 71 per cent of respondents said they had a positive view of the British royal family. The reason for this success was that for 80 per cent of the respondents the royal family was the incarnation of British values and 67 per cent found them sympathetic, while 70 per cent considered them close to the British people. Here we sense a French wistfulness for a regime other than the present republican system, where the head of state is an openly political figure and ipso facto a divisive force. For a nation so easily divided, it seems the republic is not the panacea Thiers thought it to be.

But does that make the French monarchists? The Figaro poll showed that 38 per cent of French respondents said monarchy ‘makes them dream’. This is an ambiguous statistic reflected in the fact that 55 per cent believe that monarchy is not adapted to today’s society, while on the contrary 44 per cent judge it to be ‘timeless and still adapted to today’s society’. Of particular significance is that amongst French under 35s monarchy is more popular (52 per cent) than amongst the over 65s (36 per cent). (Read more.)


Annular Solar Eclipse 2023: 'Ring of Fire'

 From Space:

An annular solar eclipse will be visible across North America on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. The October annular eclipse's infamous "ring of fire" will cross eight U.S. states from Oregon to Texas, according to NASA. If you're not fortunate enough to see it in person, the eclipse will be livestreamed for free so you can enjoy the wonder of the eclipse from the comfort of your own home. During an annular solar eclipse, the moon appears slightly smaller than the sun. As such, it doesn't block the entire solar disk like it would during a total solar eclipse. Instead, the moon's shadow covers most of the disk, leaving the outer rim, resulting in a beautiful "ring of fire." (Read more.)


Thursday, September 21, 2023

The Famous Diamond Jewelry of the Empress

There are many princesses who married princes of foreign lands and became queens. Marie of Edinburgh, Queen of Romania and Elizabeth of Bavaria, Queen of Hungary, became so beloved by their adopted peoples that they became identified with those countries as if they were natives. From a wonderful Hungarian site devoted to the memory of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, who was like a mother to the Hungarian people:

Erzsébet [Elizabeth] realized more and more that she could have a great impact on men with her beauty and radiance. She consciously began to use this attraction to influence her husband for her own purposes. In 1865, Franz Xaver Winterhalter created the famous portrait that made Elizabeth a world-famous beauty. In the painting, her dress is decorated with embroideries in the shape of a snowy meadow, and her hair is also decorated with diamond ornaments in the shape of a snowy meadow. At that time, floral motifs were very popular both on clothes and in jewelry.

The court jeweler Alexander Emanuel Köchert also designed two sets of diamond jewelry for the empress at that time, both consisting of twenty-seven hairpins. The emperor commissioned the goldsmith to make one: the pieces of this set are each decorated with a true pearl in the middle. The other was ordered by the empress, supposedly because she liked Mozart's opera The Magic Flute, which she saw in the theater at the time. She also wanted to wear bright stars in her hair like the Queen of the Night - of course hers were made of diamonds. The empress liked these jewels so much that later on she had Köchert make these and similar ones for her loved ones.

Star-shaped jewelry was not brought into fashion by the empress (for example, many similar ones were made in England), yet the jewelry ensembles will be known as the empress's "famous diamond stars", even though not both were star-shaped, the pieces made by Ferenc József - with a pearl in the middle - they are shaped like snowdrops, the "petals" of which are studded with small diamonds. Havasi gyopár was considered the flower of empresses and queens due to their extraordinary value. On Erzsébet's organza dress (which she wears in the portrait by Winterhalter), patterns in the shape of snowdrops embroidered with gold thread. The beauty of the dress was given by its sparkle. When she danced in it in February 1865 at the Dresden ball, which was organized on the occasion of the wedding of her favorite younger brother, Prince Károly Tivadar of Bavaria, in the ballroom, lit by the light of thousands of candles, the gold-embroidered flowers shone brightly and scattered the stars, so that it was impossible to look anywhere else but at him. Archduke Viktor Lajos wrote to his mother after the ball: "Sisi was so radiantly beautiful that she drove everyone here crazy." Although the archduke criticized his sister-in-law whenever possible, he also acknowledged her beauty, in front of which no one could now stop without paying homage. (Read more.)

Bishop Schneider: About the Validity of a Pontificate

 People need to stop calling the Holy Father by his last name, and saying that he is not the real pope. They have no authority to decide such a thing.  The office of Pope is holy and worthy of respect even if the man is not. We are not Donatists. From Gloria Dei:

There is no authority to declare or consider an elected and generally accepted Pope as an invalid Pope. The constant practice of the Church makes it evident that even in the case of an invalid election this invalid election will be de facto healed through the general acceptance of the new elected by the overwhelming majority of the cardinals and bishops.

Even in the case of a heretical pope he will not lose his office automatically and there is no body within the Church to declare him deposed because of heresy. Such actions would come close to a kind of a heresy of conciliarism or episcopalism. The heresy of conciliarism or episcopalism says basically that there is a body within the Church (Ecumenical Council, Synod, College of Cardinals, College of Bishops), which can issue a legally binding judgment over the Pope.

The theory of the automatic loss of the papacy due to heresy remains only an opinion, and even St. Robert Bellarmin noticed this and did not present it as a teaching of the Magisterium itself. The perennial papal Magisterium never taught such an option. In 1917, when the Code of Canon Law (Codex Iuris Canonici) came into force, the Magisterium of the Church eliminated from the new legislation the remark of the Decretum Gratiani in the old Corpus Iuris Canonici, which stated, that a Pope, who deviates from right doctrine, can be deposed. Never in history the Magisterium of the Church did admit any canonical procedures of deposition of a heretical pope. The Church has no power over the pope formally or judicially.The surer Catholic tradition says, that in the case of a heretical pope, the members of the Church can avoid him, resist him, refuse to obey him, all of which can be done without requiring a theory or opinion, that says that a heretical pope automatically loses his office or can be deposed consequently.

Therefore being it so, we must follow the surer way (via tutior) and abstain from defending the merely opinion of theologians (even be them Saints like St. Robert Bellarmin), which says that a heretical pope automatically loses his office or can be deposed by the Church therefore.

The pope cannot commit heresy when he speaks ex cathedra, this is a dogma of faith. In his teaching outside of ex cathedra statements, however, he can commit doctrinal ambiguities, errors and even heresies. And since the pope is not identical with the entire Church, the Church is stronger than a singular erring or heretical Pope. In such a case one should respectfully correct him (avoiding purely human angerand disrespectful language), resist him as one would resist a bad father of family. Yet, the members of a family cannot declare their evil father deposed from the fatherhood. They can correct him, refuse to obey him, separate themselves from him, but they cannot declare him deposed.

Good Catholics know the truth and must proclaim it, offer reparation for the errors of an erring Pope. Since the case of a heretical pope is humanly irresolvable, we must implore with supernatural faith a Divine intervention, because that singular erring Pope is not eternal, but temporal, and the Church is not in our hands, but in the almighty hands of God. (Read more.)


Albert Camus on Writing, Creativity and Stubborness

 From Maria Popova:

Three years after he became the second-youngest laureate of the Nobel Prize, awarded him for literature that “with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience,” Albert Camus (November 7, 1913–January 4, 1960) died in a car crash with an unused train ticket to the same destination in his pocket. The writings he left behind — about the key to strength of character, about creativity as resistance, about the antidotes to the absurdity of life, about happiness as our moral obligation — endure as a living testament to Mary Shelley’s conviction that “it is by words that the world’s great fight, now in these civilized times, is carried on.” Camus addressed his views on writing most directly in a 1943 essay about the novel, included in his altogether indispensable Lyrical and Critical Essays (public library).

He reflects:

One must be two persons when one writes… The great problem is to translate what one feels into what one wants others to feel. We call a writer bad when he expresses himself in reference to an inner context the reader cannot know. The mediocre writer is thus led to say anything he pleases.

In a sentiment James Baldwin would echo in his advice on writing, insisting that “beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but most of all, endurance,” Camus observes that all creative endeavor demands of us “a certain constancy of soul, and a human and literary knowledge of sacrifice.” He writes:

To someone who asked Newton how he had managed to construct his theory, he could reply: “By thinking about it all the time.” There is no greatness without a little stubbornness.

Nearly a century after Tchaikovsky asserted that “a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood,” Camus adds:

Great novels… prove the effectiveness of human creation. They convince one that the work of art is a human thing, never human enough, and that its creator can do without dictates from above. Works of art are not born in flashes of inspiration but in a daily fidelity.

 (Read more.)


Wednesday, September 20, 2023

"Captivating Novel"

 A review of My Queen, My Love from

Due to my interest for royal history, I was very keen to read "My Queen, My Love: A Novel of Henrietta Maria" written by Elena Maria Vidal. The book didn't let me down, it captivated me from the beginning  to the end, although I knew how the story continued...The author wrote this book very well and she painted a perfect picture from the 17th. century. It was very nice to read. So without no doubt, I recommend this book to all royal history lovers. I hope to read more books written by Elena Maria Vidal. I'm very pleased to give a 5 star rating for this captivating novel.


St. Hildegard’s Encounter With Angels & Their Music

 From Catholic Exchange:

St. Hildegard of Bingen, a Doctor of the Church, was not just a Benedictine superior, mystic, diplomat, woman of letters, naturopath, and linguist but also a composer. She left us with seventy-seven liturgical chants, hymns, and sequences and a liturgical drama: The Order of the Virtues. Fr. Pierre Dumoulin wrote that these works make up one of the richest repertoires of medieval music. Yet they are not the fruit of a composition work, strictly speaking, but the transcription of celestial harmonies that the saint perceived through her visions.

Hildegard actually contemplated the heavenly myriads. “Some radiated like fire. Others were completely clear. Still others glit­tered like stars. It was a concert of voices that was like the sound of the sea.” She thought that the angel was man’s model. The angel reminded St. Hildegard that praise was her vocation: “Man, God’s creature, must praise Him because his soul is made to live in praise, like the angels.”

The Fall contributed to disturbing the original harmony whose memory lives in us and which we must rediscover: “The canticle of praise is rooted in the Church according to celestial harmony through the Holy Spirit.” St. Gregory said it before her: music is the most elevated of all hu­man activities. Hildegard believed that “when man’s spirit is well directed, he hears the song of the angels.” “The soul is itself a symphony, and it harmonizes everything.” She wrote that “the cohort of the angels yearns for God. It recognizes Him throughout the symphony of its praises and celebrates its past and present eternal mysteries.” (Read more.)

Human Hobbits?

 From Ancient Origins:

After almost 20 years since the Homo floresiensis (nicknamed "hobbits") discovery was announced to the world, scientists are still asking many questions, including if they were human, a different hominid species, and equally importantly, how they managed to get there?

In an interview with the author, anthropologist Dean Falk of Florida State University suggested that the ancestors of the tiny beings accidentally floated to the Indonesian island of Flores in sleeping nests they had built in trees out of leaves and other plant matter. 

These nests ended up in the sea, and “floated away” she said, adding, “Whatever they were made of depends on where they came from.” And we don’t even know where they began. But some proposed starting sites could have been Java, Sulawesi, or the Philippines, perhaps after leaving mainland Asia. Falk suggests palm trees are “natural raft material, particularly in that part of the world.” Even today one sees the dispersal of snails and other small creatures attached to floating palm leaves. (Read more.)


Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Lost City of the Monkey God

Head of Jaguar

 I read Preston's book and it was fascinating. From The Daily Mail:

The ruins of a mysterious jungle city protected from outsiders by a deadly flesh-eating disease may sound like the plot of an Indiana Jones film. But after centuries of local legends and fruitless jungles treks, the incredible ancient site - untouched for more than 600 years - was found to be real by a group of intrepid explorers. Author Douglas Preston, who was part of the group that found the ancient city, has revealed to MailOnline that his team discovered just a tiny fraction of the site and how he believes there could be a second city hidden under the trees of the Mosquitia rainforest in Honduras. Preston, along with a team including explorer Steve Elkins, travelled the 20,000-square-mile-deep rainforests of Honduras and Nicaragua in search of ancient site known as 'The Lost City of the Monkey God' in 2015. (Read more.)


‘Love is Love’: Does God Agree With That?

 From The Stream:

It is easy to manipulate the Bible or even church doctrine to fit anything we want to do. The gay community has ruled out homosexuality as a sin and therefore, the act cannot fall under any judgment for sin. Stating that love is love and that God endorses these actions can never be proved Biblically without personal interpretation. 

Is this the message the Bible actually brings? 

The Bible teaches that God created a male and a female. When He looked at everything He created, He said, “It is very good” (Gen. 1:31). He made no mistakes. He gave no other options or alternatives. He created the female to join with the man in companionship and to continue creation. God designed a man for a union with a woman to replenish the earth with people who would love Him. He did not create another male for the man. He specifically handcrafted a woman to complement the anatomy of the male. Together, the reproductive system would function to continue God’s plan to have people that would enjoy the resources He provided.

 There is no Biblical acceptance or promotion of same-sex relationships. There are only faulty interpretations and perceptions of what the scriptures say to support man’s lust and rebellion. (Read more.)


What’s the World’s Oldest Language?

 From Scientific American:

The globe hums with thousands of languages. But when did humans first lay out a structured system to communicate, one that was distinct to a particular area? Scientists are aware of more than 7,100 languages in use today. Nearly 40 percent of them are considered endangered, meaning they have a declining number of speakers and are at risk of dying out. Some languages are spoken by fewer than 1,000 people, while more than half of the world’s population uses one of just 23 tongues.

These languages and dead ones that are no longer spoken weave together millennia of human interactions. That means the task of determining the world’s oldest language is more than a linguistic curiosity. For instance, in order to decipher clay tablet inscriptions or trace the evolution of living tongues, linguists must grapple with questions that extend beyond language. In doing so, their research reveals some of the secrets of ancient civilizations and even sparks debates that blend science and culture. (Read more.)


900,000 years ago....From Ancient Pages:

As the journal Science explained, scientists "developed a new statistical approach in this new study. To keep computing costs down and reduce errors that come with winding the clock so far back in time, their model only uses a subset of genes—such as those not subjected to forces like positive selection that would change the mutation rate—to estimate population sizes at different points in time.

Using this method, they tabulated when genetic changes had appeared in the previously sequenced genomes of 3154 individuals from 10 modern African populations and 40 modern non-African populations. Population size and history affect the accumulation of these changes, and scientists can analyze them to figure how many people lived at different points in time. Crunching the timelines, Pan and Li found a very steep decline—of roughly 99%—in the breeding population of our ancestors approximately 930,000 years ago.

The number of reproducing couples plummeted from at least 100,000 to 1280, they report. (Total population, including children and the elderly, would have been higher.) The low population numbers persisted until about 813,000 years ago, when the number of people began to rise again, the researchers report. It’s not clear what drove our species to the brink of extinction, but Pan and Li suggest long periods of glaciation, cooling sea surface temperatures, or droughts may have played major parts. (Read more.)


Monday, September 18, 2023

Le Château de Pauline de Tourzel

Pauline de Tourzel, playing the guitar, with her sister Henriette

Pauline's mother, Madame de Tourzel
 Pauline de Tourzel, Comtesse de Béarn was the close friend of Marie-Thérèse Charlotte de France, called Madame Royale, the daughter of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. Her mother, Madame de Tourzel, replaced Madame de Polignac as Governess of the Children of France in July 1789 and remained with the Royal Family until August 1792 when they were forcibly separated by being placed in different prisons. After the Revolution, Madame de Tourzel and Pauline were among the first to see Madame Royale upon her release from prison and visited with her before she was sent to her mother's family in Austria in a prisoner exchange. During the Restoration, Pauline, then the Comtesse de Béarn, served Marie-Thérèse Charlotte, then Duchesse d'Angoulême until the Revolution of 1830, as told in the novel Madame Royale.

Here is an article in French about the château de La Rochebeaucourt belonging to Pauline and her husband. It seems it was destroyed during World War II. Below are some pictures: 

Le château de La Rochebeaucourt en 1905


The old gate

A plaque honoring Pauline with the words "To Virtue" at the top

 The memorial plaque in honor of Pauline reads: "An angel lived among us and has ascended to Heaven on 19 July 1839."


The Matthew Perna Story, Part 1.

 Lara Logan reports on X. From The Gateway Pundit:

Investigative journalist Lara Logan announced the release her most important investigative series to date – “The Rest of the Story.” Lara Logan is a South African television and radio journalist and war correspondent. She was formerly the Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent at CBS News. Lara Logan has been filming for months on her latest project “The Rest of the Story” with Sovren Media. The historic production series includes appearances by The Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft, Cara Castronuova, J6 family members, and numerous January 6 defendants.

On Thursday Truth in Media released the first segment in “The Rest of the Story” series – “The Matthew Perna Story, Part 1.” From today’s video, the last thing Matthew Perna told his Aunt Geri before he died, “I love you too Aunt Geri and I’m sorry you lost all of your friends because of me.” Matthew then took his life after the Biden regime threatened him with jail time and court dates after he walked into the US Capitol on January 6. (Read more.)

Watch HERE or HERE.


Old Fashioned Habits We Need To Bring Back

 From New Trader U:

This article will explore everyday frugal habits from the past and how reviving them can increase savings and reduce waste. Adopting a few of these time-tested skills can lead to impressive benefits. The old ways contain timeless wisdom – with creativity and purpose, households can spend less and live more frugally, like in generations past. In the past, people routinely mend, alter, and repair their possessions instead of replacing them. Even minor damage was fixed to extend the item’s use. For example, loose buttons were tightened, small holes were patched, frayed hems were re-stitched, and broken appliances were repaired. Taking up these habits again saves money compared to buying replacements. Set aside time for visible mending and repairs. Invest in a quality sewing kit and sewing machine. Watch online tutorials to learn sewing, darning, patching, and basic alterations. Repair shops can handle more complex fixes for appliances and electronics. You can give clothes, household goods, and gadgets new life with practice for a fraction of the replacement cost. (Read more.)