Sunday, April 30, 2023

The Interiors Style of Marie-Antoinette

Marie-Antoinette may have liked this.
A silly article but some of the pictures are nice. Although the brunette in the 1820's style has nothing to do with Marie-Antoinette. And the picture of the game room is NOT at Petit Trianon or anywhere near it. The Queen loved elegant simplicity, pastels, chinoiserie, fresh flowers, and  rustic country living with a touch of gold leaf. Her brother, not her father, was Holy Roman Emperor when the French alliance was made. But her mother the Empress ruled in her own right as Queen of Hungary and Queen of Bohemia. From House and Garden:

Built a stone's throw from her grander residence, Le Petit Trianon, the Queen's Hamlet (L'hameau de la Reine) served as a bucolic retreat wherein Marie Antoinette could escape the buttoned-up daily life of the royal court and partake in what she deemed as the “comforting and simpler” activities associated with country life (think butter-churning and apple picking). Against the backdrop of the idyllic French countryside, the hamlet featured a functioning dairy farm, a dovecote, boudoir, barn, mill and lighthouse, as well as sizeable acreage of fruit orchards and gardens.

Building a cottage might be out of reach for most, but we can all take away from the Queen's Hamlet its sense of country style and add it to our own decorative schemes. Swap plastic containers for wicker or rattan baskets, for example and opt for woollen blankets and soft fabrics; create comfortable, cosy spaces featuring classic country furnishings such as Howard armchairs (or, their French counterpart, the Bergère armchair), stripped wooden tables and antique porcelain and clay-ware. (Read more.)
This is NOT at Petit Trianon

Now this is a nice modern interpretation of the Queen's style:


A Call to Arms?

 From PM:

A trans-identified male issued a threatening warning on TikTok and encouraged the trans community to take up arms and engage in deadly acts of violence if someone were to prevent them from using the women's restroom. User @tara_vs_tw on TikTok: "I dare you to try and stop me from using the women's bathroom. It will be the last mistake you ever make," the trans-identified male said on the social media app under the username tara vs tw.

"If you back a wild animal into a corner," tara vs tw said, "they're going to become a dangerous animal. So if you want to die on that hill of yours of righteousness and moral majority, then you go right ahead. (Read more.)


When Literary Legends Meet

 From CrimeReads:

As you may have guessed, in attendance was Samuel Clemens, otherwise known as Mark Twain, then a correspondent who reported on the appearance of Dickens for a San Francisco newspaper. He described the set.

“Dickens stood in front of a huge red screen … Mr. Dickens had a table to put his book on and on it he also had a tumbler, a fancy decanter and a small bouquet. Behind him he had a huge red screen – a bulkhead – a sounding board, I took it to be – and overhead in front was suspended a long board which threw down a glory upon the gentleman, after the fashion in use in the picture-galleries for bringing out the best effects of great paintings. Style! – There is style about Dickens, and style about all his surroundings.”

But, as Matt Seybold writes, Twain considered Dickens a bad reader because he “did not cut the syllables cleanly.” His “husky voice” and “monotonous” delivery didn’t do justice to “the beautiful pathos of his language.” Still, Twain, “the aspiring novelist,” was a fan of the legend before him, admiring “that queer old head” with “the wonderful mechanisms within it,” Seybold writes.

Some twenty years later, in 1888, Twain’s fame clearly established, he met with Scottish author, Robert Louis Stevenson, who gave the world, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Treasure Island, and Kidnapped. (Read more.)


Saturday, April 29, 2023

The Real Marie-Antoinette

Yesterday I had a wonderful discussion with a young lady named Kristen, who is very well-informed about Marie-Antoinette. From Catholic Exchange:

Catholic historian and writer Elena Maria Vidal sets the record straight on the oft-maligned Catholic Queen of France and martyr of the Revolution. While candidly acknowledging the queen’s faults, Elena’s work paints a portrait of Marie Antoinette in all her complexity.

Drawing from her years of research, Elena discusses:

  • Popular misconceptions about the queen, then and now
  • The origin of the “let them eat cake” rumor
  • What modern TV series and movies get wrong
  • Marie Antoinette’s strong Catholic faith and moral character, and many recorded charitable works
  • The deeply Catholic milieu of the French court and its role in Christendom
  • The truly demonic nature of the French Revolution and its pagan “Cult of Reason”
  • How the queen was able to secretly receive the sacraments before her death
  • Marie Antoinette’s piety and equanimity at the guillotine

(Read more.)


Church Teaching on Trial

 From First Things:

The NAFD takes for granted that there is a tension between being inclusive, welcoming, and hospitable and being faithful to Christ: “Alongside the desire to be a more inclusive and welcoming Church was the need to understand how to be more hospitable, while maintaining and being true to Church teaching.” The just-below-the-surface assumption here is that fidelity to the Church’s teaching needs to be re-imagined and re-worked so that various people will not feel that they are being excluded and rejected. Church teaching is put on trial. Rejection of that teaching is accorded pride of place.

What is going on here? Women who want to receive Holy Orders, people who are unhappy that their immoral sexual acts are categorized as being gravely sinful, divorced people who remarry outside the Church and want to receive Holy Communion—all of them claim that they are being unfairly treated. They claim that Church teaching is hurtful and un-Christian, and they will only feel fully welcomed and affirmed by the Church when their desires and actions are recognized as legitimate, and the Church changes her teaching. The NAFD considers all this to be up for discussion, which means that those pushing for doctrinal change are being treated as prophets needing to be heeded, and not as heretics needing to be rebuked. (Read more.)


Why More and More Americans are Painting Their Lawns

Never heard of this before. From The Conversation:

By the early 1960s, homeowners were already looking for ways of achieving perfect turf on the cheap. A 1964 article in Newsweek pointed out that green grass paint was being sold in 35 states. The magazine opined that because a homeowner “needs a Bachelor of Chemistry to comprehend the bewildering variety of weed and bug destroyers now fogging the market,” paint was becoming an attractive alternative. So the interest in grass painting is not entirely new. What is new, however, is that the recent interest in painting the lawn is taking place in a context in which a more pluralistic vision of the yard has taken root. People fed up with corporate-dominated lawn care are turning back the clock and cultivating their yards with clover, a plant that is resistant to drought and provides nutrients to the lawn, to boot. And so the clover lawn has been making a comeback, with videos on TikTok tagged #cloverlawn boasting 78 million views. (Read more.)


Friday, April 28, 2023

Rosary of Marie-Antoinette


From NCR:

Marie Antoinette had given the rosary to an Irish missionary priest, Father Henry Essex Edgeworth, otherwise known as Abbé Edgeworth, who was then chaplain to her husband, King Louis XVI. When the king was guillotined in January 1793, Abbé Edgeworth fled to England for safety and took refuge at the home of the Earl of Shrewsbury. Abbé Edgeworth eventually returned to France to continue his missionary work and left the rosary with the Shrewsbury family. It was then handed down through the generations, eventually ending up with Mary Fortescue-Turville, a previous owner of Bosworth Hall who died at the property in 1906. The rosary, one of several Marie Antoinette is thought to have given away, was then kept at the hall and has remained there ever since. (Read more.)
Marie-Antoinette receiving Holy Communion in prison


Biden Leaves Thousands Of Americans Behind Again

 From DC Enquirer:

On Saturday, President Joe Biden ordered the evacuation of the American embassy in Khartoum, Sudan after a violent civil war erupted across the war-torn country. The closing of the embassy, however, will leave thousands of Americans behind with the Biden administration admitting that there are no plans to evacuate American citizens.

“Today, on my orders, the United States military conducted an operation to extract U.S. Government personnel from Khartoum in response to the situation in Sudan,” Biden wrote on Twitter. “I am grateful for the commitment of our Embassy staff and the skill of our service members who brought them to safety.”

 “I am receiving regular reports from my team on their ongoing work to assist Americans in Sudan, to the extent possible,” he said. “We are also working closely with our allies and partners in this effort.” (Read more.)


Sicily in the Middle Ages

 From Medievalists:

Strategically situated at the heart of the Mediterranean and at the crossroads of distinct cultures and often competing traditions, Sicily emerged as a diverse, sophisticated, and powerful territory during the Middle Ages. Between the eighth and ninth centuries, the Byzantine Empire and the Arabs routinely clashed over control of this networked region. In the following centuries, the Normans further transformed the cultural complexity of the area. This issue of the magazine highlights Sicily’s complex history and exquisite local visual culture indebted to Byzantine, Western medieval, and Islamic traditions. From key figures like Roger II to world-renowned monuments like the Cappella Palatina in Palermo, and from medieval coins to painted ceilings, the articles offer a rich picture of medieval Sicily. A few of the contributions also touch on the conflicts and natural disasters that transformed the landscape, the people, and the local heritage from the Middle Ages into the present. (Read more.)


Thursday, April 27, 2023

Plotlines: Marie Antoinette on PBS: History or Fiction?

 I had a great chat with Connor about the Marie-Antoinette series on PBS. I have not written a great deal about the series on this blog because frankly the show has so many inaccuracies it drives me crazy.





 From OutKick:

The reality of the situation is it’s very possible the writings will make the transgender community look very bad, and that will force people to answer some very uncomfortable questions. Former cop and current adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice Joseph Giacalone speculated as much to the New York Post.

“I think what the FBI is really concerned here with, and I think law enforcement, is that if there is something in there that is truly damaging for the transgender community, I think they are hesitant to do it because they are afraid of a violent backlash against that protected class of people,” he explained.

He might be onto something, but more importantly than that, the FBI is spitting in the face of Americans everywhere by seemingly hiding Audrey Hale’s writings. She murdered innocent children and adults. By all appearances, Hale purposely targeted Christians for death and wrote things so violent and concerning the FBI will hide it from the public. (Read more.)


American Patriots Steve Bannon & Kari Lake with Mayor Giuliani

Worth a listen for all patriots.


Sins Against Children

 From The New Criterion:

Uncertainties existed in early 2020, but one fact was already clear—healthy children did not have significant risk of serious illness or death from this virus. Since spring 2020, CDC data had shown those under twenty years of age have a 99.997 percent chance of survival. From studies from early 2020 and through today in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland, France, Australia, Germany, Greece, South Korea and the United Kingdom confirmed the miniscule risk to children and further that almost all coronavirus transmission to children comes from adults, not the other way around. And opened schools never showed significant dangers to children, the community, or teachers—a demographically low-risk group with half its members younger than forty-one and 82 percent under fifty-five. Known in 2020, those facts were verified in multiple studies, including from Brown University, Duke University, Norway, and others

At this point, no one should need to cite the January 2023 analysis of the pre-vaccination period, until the end of 2020, also corresponding to when the virus was in its most lethal form. It showed the median IFR (infection fatality ratio) was 0.0003 percent for those zero to nineteen years of age, meaning a survival rate of 99.9997 percent. Consistent with the very low IFR, Levitt et al. (2022) showed no excess deaths among children and adolescents during the pandemic in almost any country that has reliable death registration data. For perspective, analyzing only the younger age groups, Iuliano et al. (2018) estimated the absolute numbers of fatalities were lower than seasonal flu fatalities based on data from ninety-two countries over pre-pandemic years (Ioannidis, 2022). Perhaps our university scientists will admit in one of their signed group letters that the IFR of the flu is higher for children—it is deadlier—than COVID, even in this virus’s most lethal form and before any vaccination, according to CDC data over ten years? (Read more.)


Wednesday, April 26, 2023

The America Report: Diplomacy, 2024, and the Culture War

 From The European Conservative:

Unbeknownst to many Europeans, the American political machine is already preparing for the 2024 election cycle. We are only a little more than halfway through Joe Biden’s presidency, but some of his prospective opponents are already working on their campaigns. This past week, Fox News contributed to the emerging 2024 frenzy by announcing that they will host the first debate among the primary election candidates. The debate will be held in Milwaukee, which is in Wisconsin, a key so-called ‘swing state’ with a narrowly divided electorate. It is one of a handful of states that will decide the outcome of the election. 

There is nothing unusual with the next election making itself known this early. Running for president is a serious project; being a credible candidate is a business operation that requires a budget in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Therefore, those who want to run have to be out front early and build credibility with prospective voters as well as good relations with prospective donors. 

European media, mostly, has not yet caught on to America’s fledgling 2024 campaign stories. This is understandable given that few have announced yet, and there are no policy debates between the emerging candidates. At the same time, the field of Republican candidates is becoming interesting for two reasons: the current frontrunner is former president Donald Trump, and his competitors are all people who have been sympathetic to him.

His former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has already announced her candidacy. On Wednesday, April 12th, Senator Tim Scott, a conservative Trump-supporting Republican from South Carolina, announced that he has formed an “exploratory committee” for a presidential run. Scott is one of three black Senators, the other two being Democrats Cory Booker and Raphael Warnock. (Read more.)


Ptolemaic Dynasty, The Royal Family of Cleopatra

 From The Greek Reporter:

Cleopatra VII Philopator is one of the most famous figures of antiquity, but few people are familiar with the fascinating history of her ancestors. The Ptolemaic Dynasty, to which she belonged, was founded by Ptolemy I Soter, one of the generals of Alexander the Great. This family, of Macedonian Greek origin, ruled Egypt for almost three centuries, leaving an indelible mark on one of the oldest civilizations in the world.

Ptolemaic Egypt was an interesting and complex mixture of cultures. On the one hand, the ruling Hellenistic elite could be incredibly insular, preferring to marry almost exclusively within their own circles and preferring to adhere to Greek customs. Yet the Ptolemies also embraced the syncretism of ancient Greek and Egyptian religious beliefs, aesthetic sensibilities, and culture. (Read more.)


Tuesday, April 25, 2023

The Daemonologie of King James

From Eleanor Swift-Hook:

In 1597 King James VI of Scotland felt the need to publish his book Daemonologie in which two characters, Philomathes and Epistemon, argue over whether or not witches even exist. The sceptical Philomathes is eventually persuaded by Epistemon that ‘that witchcraft, and Witches haue bene, and are, the former part is clearelie proved by the Scriptures, and the last by dailie experience and confessions.’ Epistemon sets out his case, calling upon Biblical authority and examples from history, touching upon tales of ‘Pharie’ and which aspects of astrology are legal and which are not.

Aside from offering an intriguing glimpse into the mindset of King James, who of course became King of England a few years later, it is a reminder of the power such belief had throughout society. And a huge red flag regarding the assumption of the universality of such belief as well.

James says in his preface that he wrote the book to ‘to resolue the doubting harts of many’ and Philomathes says that the existence of witches and witchcraft is something: ‘but thereof the Doctours doubtes’.

In other words, far from there being a strong belief throughout society that these things were true, a major reason James felt the need to write his books because the level of scepticism about the existence of witches and witchcraft was held by the ‘harts of many’ to be very much in ‘doubtes’. (Read more.)


Judith Butler’s Trouble

 From Dr. Angela Franks at First Things:

Butler’s gender theory is especially ill suited to trans-activism, which is committed to a rigid and binary understanding of male and female. The transition narrative insists that a male-bodied person’s inner experience of being a woman means that, in fact, the person is not a man but a woman; moreover, the essence of being a woman resides in one’s appearance, just as Butler’s mother and grandmother seemed to think. As Caitlyn Jenner once said, “The hardest part about being a woman is figuring out what to wear.” And he wears not just a dress but a femme fatale dress, complete with heavy makeup and carefully done nails. It’s drag-chic, just more expensive.

But Butler says that in drag—as in all gender performances—we are failed copies. That would make Jenner a “failed copy” of womanhood, a conclusion that is anathema to the trans narrative. Further, Butler’s “queer” performativity calls into question the “sexual binary.” She urges “proliferating gender configurations, destabilizing substantive identity, and depriving the naturalizing narratives of compulsory heterosexuality of their central protagonists: ‘man’ and ‘woman.’” “Male” and “female” are symbols, “never inhabited by anyone, and that’s what defines them as symbolic: they’re radically uninhabitable.” Yet the entire trans narrative doubles down on “man” and “woman,” arguing that those sexes are habitable. One transitions to a destination, the narrative insists, not to Butler’s endless wandering. Without this assumption, one cannot justify hormonal interventions and the surgical removal of breasts and genitalia in the service of “matching” the body to a person’s conviction of being the ­opposite sex. (Read more.)


Two New Films About the Devil

From Religion Unplugged:

Just this past weekend, two demon possession movies hit theaters: “The Pope’s Exorcist,” a Hollywood exorcism film starring Russel Crowe, and “Nefarious,” an indie faith-based film written and directed by Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon, the team behind “God’s Not Dead” and “Unplanned.” 

I would have never guessed that, of these two movies, the one made by the creators of “God’s Not Dead” would be better — yet that’s exactly the case. “The Pope’s Exorcist” is based loosely (emphasis on loosely) on the writings of Father Gabrielle Amorth, chief exorcist to the Vatican until his death in 2016. The story follows Russel Crowe as the titular exorcist as he investigates a child possession that leads him to the discovery of a centuries-long cover up by the Vatican with world-ending implications.

“The Pope’s Exorcist” is fun, at times, and Crowe’s Father Amorth is easily the highlight. He plays the real-life priest with a grounded playfulness that makes him a delight to watch whenever he’s onscreen. And who doesn’t like watching exorcists fight demons? But the problem with the movie is that it really doesn’t commit to saying or being anything. It’s almost exclusively half-hearted Hollywood exorcism tropes, none of which are explored aesthetically or thematically beyond the surface. They explain the rules of the world — how to get rid of demons and how not to surrender to Satan — which are broken too easily to service the plot. The movie can’t decide if it wants to be serious or campy and fun, so it becomes neither.

Basically, it’s everything people dislike about Hollywood: It has nothing to say and all the money to say it.

“Nefarious,” on the other hand, has something to say, and it leans into it with the force of a sledgehammer. 

“Nefarious” tells the story of a psychiatrist brought to a prison to evaluate a death-row inmate because the warden thinks he’s faking his insanity plea. When the inmate claims to the psychiatrist that he’s a demon, an intense cat-and-mouse game begins between the two.

The strength of Christian films, like most indie films, has always been that they actually have a point to make. Christian films always have a “message,” typically a message that is at least somewhat countercultural: Christians should stand for their faith against cultural pressure, abortion is wrong, prayer works and other tenets of Christian belief.

The movie is full of points it wants to make. It makes fun of progressive pastors who deny demons. It rejects the notion that the world is getting better (something I ironically enjoyed). It condemns abortion and euthanasia. It does all of these things in the strongest possible terms. Above all, it shows that the greatest danger is pretending that evil things aren’t evil.  Often, in faith-based films, the message is conveyed poorly. The dialogue is cheesy and preachy, and characters don’t ring true to real life.  Ironically, the team behind “Nefarious” has often been guilty of this very thing. I consider “God’s Not Dead” and “Unplanned” to be two of the worst-written Christian films I’ve ever seen. So how did they do such a good job this time?

The ingenious secret weapon of this movie’s dialogue is its heavy dose of snark. Nearly every line is flavored to the max with the sarcasm between characters, driven by their mild to utter contempt for each other. Whether it’s the psychiatrist and the demon/inmate in their verbal chess match or the warden and the psychiatrist tolerating each other as they both just try to do their jobs, the dialogue is witty and sharp to the end. 

The warden doesn’t give the psychiatrist plot exposition, he grumbles it. The demon doesn’t preach his opinion about humanity, he sneers it — and the psychiatrist sneers back his objections. This means that even when the dialogue is transparently preachy (which, given the creators, is frankly most of it) it’s still wildly entertaining.  (Read more.)

From John Zmirak at The Stream:

I’m gobsmacked and thrilled to report that a movie of this quality is opening this weekend, Nefarious, based on the novel by conservative TV commentator and author Steve Deace of The Blaze. I heard about it from Eric Metaxas, who’d seen the preview screener and highly recommended it. I sat with a friend to watch it, and we were riveted. Imagine the insights of The Screwtape Letters conveyed with all the intensity of top-notch courtroom drama like To Kill a Mockingbird. Or the “Grand Inquisitor” scene from Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, set on death row in a U.S. “red state.”

I don’t want to give away too much, and drain the film of its power to surprise, unsettle, and challenge. Suffice it to say that it’s an intense, occasionally violent psychological thriller of a similar genre to The Exorcism of Emily Rose. The story is simple: a smug secular psychologist goes to evaluate a serial killer on the verge of execution … to see if he’s lucid enough to undergo capital punishment (as our law requires). But the killer insists he’s possessed by a demon. Is that proof he’s really insane? (Read more.) 


From Crisis:

Producers Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon were the locomotives behind the movie Unplanned, the Abby Johnson story of leaving Planned Parenthood and finding redemption. That movie had every chance of not happening, but it did. Konzelman and Solomon are lifelong friends, and each had an extended career in big-studio screenwriting before they decided to put their talents at the Lord’s service. They have been tempered in the forge.

As much as I admired Unplanned, the movie Nefarious goes far beyond it in originality, casting, and that quality of storytelling that grabs you from the beginning and shakes you mercilessly for two hours (99 minutes, to be exact) without respite; let’s call it relentless. As difficult as it was to watch in parts, I could not detach, couldn’t close my eyes or ears. It had me. (Read more.)

Lefties HATE Nefarious so that speaks well for it. From GameRant:

Christian folks looking for a little bit of messiah at the multiplex are spoiled for choice at the moment. Stop on by for His Only Son to see a modestly budgeted, but incredibly well-received adaptation of the tale of Abraham and Isaac. Those looking for something a bit lighter could check out Jesus Revolution, which tells the true story of a pastor's discovery of a new movement within the faith. Or, if they want something spooky, they should check out Nefarious, a demon possession film that's scared to admit that it's Christian. (Read more.


Rediscovering the Catholic Intellectual Tradition of the Twentieth Century

 From Catholic World Report:

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by Robert Royal, founder and president of the Faith & Reason Institute. For the uninitiated, Dr. Royal, in my humble opinion, is one of the most interesting, important, and intelligent Catholic voices in the United States today. For example, almost ten years ago, I read a fantastic article of his in First Things on Albert Camus that inspired me to read several of Camus’s works for the first time. Since then, I’ve been hooked, and have regularly written for his own publication, The Catholic Thing.

Before his lecture, I approached Dr. Royal, and we got to talking about his work, past, present, and future. He told me that his 2015 book A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century—an Ignatius Press work about the Catholic intellectual traditions of the twentieth century—represented some of the best scholarship and writing he would ever do. I was stunned: I had not only not read the book, I had been embarrassingly ignorant about its content and thesis. So I ordered it, read it, and found it to be much as Dr. Royal described it to me.

The book deserves a much wider audience than it elicited when published almost a decade ago, especially because Dr. Royal’s analysis so effectively addresses many of the questions Catholics face in the twentieth-century. This interview aims to help interested readers understand the deep relevancy of a book written by one of the most important Catholic thinkers in America today. (Read more.)


Monday, April 24, 2023

Relics of the Escape of Charles II


Young Charles II
From the BBC:

A rare "wanted" poster for Charles II has been sold for just over £33,000 at an auction in Shropshire. The poster offers a reward of £1,000 for the capture of the king, who had escaped after the battle of Worcester in 1651. Auctioneer Richard Westwood-Brookes said the sale price was "astonishing". It had a guide price of £700 to £1,000. The poster was bought by someone from the Boscobel area of Shropshire, where Charles II had hidden in an oak tree. (Read more.)

I never heard that Fr. Huddleston was a monk, but he was the priest who received Charles II into the Catholic Church on his deathbed. "You once saved my body; now it is time to save my soul," the dying King said to him. Also from the BBC:

The prayer book of a priest who helped King Charles II flee to France at the end of the English Civil Wars is due to be auctioned. It belonged to Father John Huddleston, who also attended the monarch's deathbed in 1685. Concerning the book, auctioneer John Crane said it was "the first time in 40 years since being an auctioneer I could use the word 'unique"'. The copy has an estimated sale price of more than £2,000.

Born in Lancashire, Father Huddleston was a Roman Catholic monk who arranged for Charles II to escape in 1651, at the end of the English Civil Wars between royalists and their opponents. His actions are believed to have saved the young monarch, who had been crowned King in Scotland two years after the execution of his father Charles I. (Read more.)


UN Report Calls for Decriminalization of All Sexual Activity

 From Live Action:

A new report from the United Nations has called for all forms of drug use and sexual activity to be decriminalized globally.Written by the International Committee of Jurists (ICJ), UNAIDS and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the report was released on International Women’s Day, with the goal of guiding “the application of international human rights law to criminal law.” Called the “8 March principles,” the report calls for offenses related to “sex, drug use, HIV, sexual and reproductive health, homelessness and poverty” to be decriminalized. The United Nations experts say that criminalizing offenses related to these issues constitute an attack on human rights.

“Criminal law is among the harshest of tools at the disposal of the State to exert control over individuals… as such, it ought to be a measure of last resort however, globally, there has been a growing trend towards overcriminalization,” Ian Seiderman, Law and Policy Director at ICJ, said in the press release. “We must acknowledge that these laws not only violate human rights, but the fundamental principles of criminal law themselves.”

While on the surface, it may seem relatively uncontroversial, the report calls for sex between adults and minors to be decriminalized, so long as the minors “consent”:

With respect to the enforcement of criminal law, any prescribed minimum age of consent to sex must be applied in a non-discriminatory manner. Enforcement may not be linked to the sex/gender of participants or age of consent to marriage. Moreover, sexual conduct involving persons below the domestically prescribed minimum age of consent to sex may be consensual, in fact, if not in law. In this context, the enforcement of criminal law should reflect the rights and capacity of persons under 18 years of age to make decisions about engaging in consensual sexual conduct and their right to be heard in matters concerning them.

Pursuant to their evolving capacities and progressive autonomy, persons under 18 years of age should participate in decisions affecting them, with due regard to their age, maturity and best interests, and with specific attention to non-discrimination guarantees.

Minors, of course, cannot truly consent to sex with an adult — something these so-called experts should know. The report also calls for all criminal laws relating to sex work to be abolished, which could easily serve to aid traffickers, pimps, and abusers. In turn, this serves the abortion industry as well, which has aided traffickers and abusers by failing to report suspected abuse and returning victims to their abusers after their abortions. Decriminalizing sex work, sex crimes against minors, and abortion would only serve to doubly suit traffickers and abusers, who are known to use abortion as a means to cover up their crimes. (Read more.)


17th-Century Frescoes in a Modern Kitchen

 From ArtNet:

A young couple in the English city of York got more than they bargained for when they had their kitchen fitted for new cabinets: Workers discovered hidden paintings, more than 300 years old, during the renovations. The historic artworks grace the walls of the one-bedroom apartment that Luke Budworth, a 29-year-old medical researcher at the University of Leeds, shares with his partner, 26-year-old Hazel Mooney, and their dog Leonard. The couple temporarily moved out as the renovations got underway in December—only to get a fateful call from the contractors mentioning that they had found a painting.

When the two came home, the new cabinets had already been installed, once again obscuring the works from view. But Budworth suspected there might be something hiding behind the paneling in the living room, on the other side of the chimney, as well.

“I got my tools out and started chipping away at the board. As soon as I lifted the panel off, there it was, beautiful colors,” Budworth told the BBC, noting that he initially thought he was looking at Victorian wallpaper. (Read more.)


Sunday, April 23, 2023

A Discovery of Byzantine Jewelry

 From ArtNet:

A 800-year-old cache of gold jewelry and silver coins was discovered in northern Germany. And where there’s newly unearthed gold, there’s quite likely an amateur metal detectorist who located it. Nicki Andreas Steinmann was a trainee learning how to use a metal detector with an instructor when, while walking a tract of land close to Hedeby and Danewerk World Heritage Site in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, the pair stumbled upon gold artifacts and coins. Once unearthed, the hoard, as indicated by the coins found stacked upon one another, looked to have been buried all at once. (Read more.)


Lt. Col. Vindman Admitted Leaking Documents

From The Gateway Pundit:

In 2019, Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman admitted while being questioned by the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday that he had leaked information to an anti-Trump whistleblower at the center of the Democrats’ partisan impeachment proceedings of President Donald Trump. Vindman attempted to provide talking points to Trump prior to his “infamous” Ukraine phone call and then leaked a mischaracterization of the call afterward. Vindman was directly confronted by California Rep. Devin Nunes. Nunes asked:

“Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, did you discuss the July 25 phone call with anyone outside the White House on July 25 or the 26, and if so, with whom?”

“Yes. I did,” Vindman responded.

Vindman was pressed about the details and asked who he spoke with regarding the phone call. Vindman said he talked with two individuals who were not in the White House. Vindman was asked to provide the names of the people he had spoken with but was cut off by then-Democratic Chair Adam Schiff.

“We need to protect the whistleblower. Please stop. I want to make sure that there is no effort to out the whistleblower through these proceedings. If the witness has a good faith belief that this may reveal the identity of the whistleblower, that is not the purpose that we’re here for. I want to advise the witness accordingly.”

Vindman was accused of leaking national security information but never served jail time.. One Twitter user made it clear that he believes there is a two-tiered system of justice in place. He said, “Despite destabilizing a Commander-in-Chief and helping provoke a war in Ukraine,” Vindman now goes on chat shows. Whereas Jack Teixeira leaked information showing how the government is lying to you and the world, I’m furtherance of those wars. He’s in a cell now. (Read more.)


May Sarton on How to Cultivate Your Talent

 From The Marginalian:

“Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins,” James Baldwin bellowed in his advice on writing. “Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but most of all, endurance.”

There is a reason we call our creative endowments gifts — they come to us unbidden from an impartial universe, dealt by the unfeeling hand of chance. The degree to which we are able to rise to our gifts, the passionate doggedness with which we show up for them day in and day out, is what transmutes talent into greatness. It is the responsibility that earns us the right of our own creative force. That is what the great poet, novelist, and playwright May Sarton (May 3, 1912–July 16, 1995) explores in an entry from her altogether magnificent journal The House by the Sea. (Read more.)


Saturday, April 22, 2023

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II

 I enjoy true spy stories and this one is about a Maryland girl from Baltimore. From War History Online:

Virginia Hall was born into a privileged family in Baltimore in 1906. During WWII, she kept the Gestapo at bay and coordinated both Jedburgh teams and Resistance cells behind enemy lines in France, knowing that her life could end at any moment. If the Gestapo had broken into where she was working, it was highly unlikely that Hall could have gotten away – she had a wooden leg. Hall didn’t have to do this type of work. At the time she was born, not much was expected from upper-class women. They might go into teaching of some kind or organize local charities. Perhaps, if she were a loner, she might become a poet or locally known artist. (Read more.)

More HERE.


The Food Framework

 From Corey's Digs:

“Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.”  This quote has been attributed to Henry Kissinger, though he denies ever saying it.  Kissinger certainly did, however, perfect the weaponization of food through The Kissinger Report during his tenure as Secretary of State. 

The Kissinger Report outlined a covert operation to force compliance with a depopulation agenda using food aid as leverage in underdeveloped countries of strategic U.S. interest.  The report posited the following questions: “Would food be considered an instrument of national power?… Is the U.S. prepared to accept food rationing to help people who can’t/won’t control their population growth?  Should the U.S. seek to change its own food consumption patterns toward more efficient uses of protein?  Are mandatory population control measures appropriate for the U.S. and/or for others?”

The use of food as a weapon of war is a centuries old tactic, perfected in recent decades by the likes of Kissinger, and passed down through his protégé Klaus Schwab.  Schwab’s World Economic Forum has planted Young Global Leaders throughout the world to carry out a continuum of Kissinger’s depopulation plan, in-part by controlling and transforming the food supply.  Weaponization of the food and water systems is one aspect in a much larger scheme to create a control grid over the entire global population.

The food control grid consists of four key elements: poisoning the food and water supply, manufacturing food shortages, consolidating food and water systems, and weaponizing food programs while tracking the food supply and the people.  The purpose of this report is to outline these important aspects of the food control grid as well as funding for programs that contribute to this operation, condensed from 6,000 pages of legislation in the Omnibus and NDAA, passed through Congress at the end of 2022.  (Read more.)


New Coronation Regalia Details Revealed

 From The Court Jeweller:

In a recent press release, Buckingham Palace shared more details about the individual pieces of regalia that will be used to crown Charles and Camilla on May 6. “The Coronation Regalia are sacred and secular objects which symbolise the service and responsibilities of the monarch,” the palace explained. The Regalia have played a central role in Coronation Services for hundreds of years and, in keeping with tradition, will be used at Westminster Abbey on the 6th May. As part of the Royal Collection, the Regalia are held in trust by the Monarch on behalf of the nation.”

We’ve been speculating about the regalia that Charles will use for months, so it’s great to get some official news about the matter. Let’s discuss each of the individual pieces and their histories, shall we? Here’s a closer look at the regalia, pretty much in the order we’ll see them appear during the coronation service. (Read more.)


Friday, April 21, 2023

Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Princess Margaret’s Granddaughter


  From Tatler:

The second child of David, 2nd Earl of Snowdon, and Serena, Countess of Snowdon (the Earl of Harrington’s daughter), Margarita occupies that bridge between royalty and (an admittedly gilt-edged version of) normality. For now, the paparazzi wouldn’t recognise her out of context, but she has been there at all the key moments, including Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral and the memorial service for the Duke of Edinburgh. At the age of eight, she was an adorable, smiling bridesmaid to William and Kate, sitting next to Pippa Middleton in an open carriage and inside Westminster Abbey. Her father was the late Queen’s godson as well as nephew; and her older brother, Charles, now Viscount Linley, was a page of honour to Her Majesty. There have been Christmases at Sandringham – one year, Prince William was photographed swinging her, a small blonde four-year-old in a traditional coat, into the air – and summers at Balmoral for longer than she can remember. (Read more.)


Bill to Stop Trafficking Teens for Secret Abortions

 From Life News:

Idaho Governor Brad Little has signed a bill that would stop the trafficking of teenage girls for secret abortions without their parents’ knowledge or consent. HB 242, the bill protecting a pregnant minor from the abuse of abortion trafficking, passed the Idaho House 57 to 12 and then the state Senate advanced it to Little.

HB 242 would make it a crime for an adult to transport a pregnant minor within the state of Idaho for the purpose of obtaining an abortion with the intent to conceal the abortion from the parents or guardian of the minor. The legislation would create a crime called “abortion trafficking”, defined in the bill as an instance where “adult who, with the intent to conceal an abortion from the parents or guardian of a pregnant, unemancipated minor, either procures an abortion … or obtains an abortion-inducing drug” for the minor.

“With the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe vs. Wade last summer, the right and duty to establish legal policy on abortion was finally returned to our state democratic process,” Little wrote in a letter announcing he had signed the pro-life law. (Read more.)


Scotland's Oldest Tartan Discovered in a Bog

 From History Scotland:

New scientific research has revealed a piece of tartan found in a peat bog in Glen Affric around forty years ago can be dated to circa 1500-1600 AD, making it the oldest known surviving specimen of true tartan in Scotland. The Scottish Tartans Authority commissioned Dye Analysis and Radiocarbon testing on the woollen textile to prove its age. The first investigation was dye analysis carried out by analytical scientists from National Museums Scotland. Using high resolution digital microscopy, four colours were visually identified for dye analysis: green and brown and possibly red and yellow. The dye analysis confirmed the use of indigo/woad in the green but was inconclusive for the other colours, probably due to the dyestuff degradation state. However, there were no artificial or semi-synthetic dyestuffs involved in the making of the tartan, which pointed to a date of pre-1750s. (Read more.)

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Uranium Glassware

 From Lancaster Online:

Geiger counters will click if you point them at this glass. There’s actual uranium in there — specifically, in most cases, uranium oxide. The amount varies by piece. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said there’s no danger to handling it. Lately the glass has been hot, says shop owner Connie Anderson.

“That’s been going on for the last 60 to 90 days,” she says. “Country Living always puts out its ‘most desirable collectibles’ and whatever they put on there (uranium glass, recently) is what people come in here looking for.”

Some vendors put black lights on their displays. “It glows neon green with purple in it,” she says. “It’s really cool to look at.”

Railroad items also draw shoppers. They’re a specialty of one of her vendors.“These are full-scale, big commercial railroad items like bells and lights,” Anderson says, adding they seem to be headed for an increasing number of homes. (Read more.)


Anatomy of an Ecclesiastical Smear Campaign

 From Catholicism:

Pax Christi. You may recall the startling revelations that came out on February 8 of this year, when a heroic whistleblower named Kyle Seraphin published an internal memo from the Richmond, Virginia FBI Field Office. The memo concerned the threats posed by “Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists (RMVE)” and their overlap with “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics” (RTCs). In that memo, our little religious community, along with other groups of traditional Catholics, was named as an extremist threat to American society which must be monitored, and even infiltrated, by the federal government! Yes, you read that correctly, there was serious talk among some ideologues in the federal government of targeting and infiltrating our small community here in Richmond as a menace to society.

While the memo cited the leftist publications Salon and The Atlantic, the main source of misinformation for the unconstitutional and sloppy memo was the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organization aptly described by our friend, C.J. Doyle, as, “a lucrative bunco scheme which monetizes left wing paranoia by inciting fear of conservative Christians.” The SPLC first attacked traditionalist Catholics, including the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, about sixteen years ago, and we have remained on their fraudulent “hate map” ever since.

There is good news to report, though. The enormous and rapid backlash against the memo earned the Richmond Field Office of the FBI instant notoriety, so much so that the higher-ups in the Bureau rescinded the document, stating that the memo does not meet the FBI’s “exacting standards.” Refreshingly, the memo’s reliance on the SPLC elicited a great deal of public ridicule and contempt. The SPLC is so thoroughly discredited now that only the utterly ill-informed or slavishly ideological put any stock in the veracity of its lunatic utterances.

This good news does not change the fact that, in the sixteen years since the SPLC defamed us, various parties have weaponized their ludicrous statements against us in the press, in the court of public opinion, and even in a court of law. First, the SPLC libels against us were used by those who attempted to stop a building project for God’s glory. But we prevailed in court more than a decade ago; here stands our sacred structure. Now, in more recent years, the SPLC, and even the FBI have been leveraged against us in other venues, though, with a much higher cost. (Read more.)


Your Habit Of Apologizing Too Much Could Be A Sign Of A Bigger Issue

They are not referring here to a simple apology as demanded by justice or courtesy, but the constant habit of over-apologizing by someone who is trying their best to do what is right. From The Zoe Report:

"Over-apologizing reveals an unhealed wound from the past," Pharaon says. So understanding why you do it in the first place is a key part of the healing process. To do so, she recommends getting curious about the origins of the habit by asking yourself: What does it try to protect me from? In what ways has apologizing kept me safe or gotten me something I wanted or needed in the past?

"That understanding becomes the gateway to changing your relationship with the apologizing, and ultimately leads you to feeling more empowered and confident," Pharaon says. "As you begin to unpack what over-apologizing serves, you can start to use apologies when needed and stand in your confidence in the other moments." (Read more.)


Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Ariana Rockefeller's New York Apartment

  From Town and Country:

When the Collection of David and Peggy Rockefeller hit the auction block at Christie’s in 2018, it quickly shattered records as the highest-selling personal collection ever, grossing over $835 million. Notable in many respects, the sale also pulled back a velvet curtain of sorts, offering a rare glimpse into the home life of one of America’s most storied—and famously private—families. From David and Peggy’s Upper East Side townhouse in New York City to the family’s distinguished Riding Point in Seal Harbor, Maine, suddenly we could see for ourselves what it looked like to live as a Rockefeller.

Be it a narrow city dwelling or 75-acre Pocantico Hills estate, perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of the Rockefeller homes was a certain rustic yet rarified aesthetic—a particularly Northeastern style of American understatement that happened to be trimmed not just with fine art and objects but the finest. It should come as no surprise, then, that aspects of this philosophy are on display in the Manhattan pied-à-terre of David and Peggy’s granddaughter Ariana Rockefeller, who enlisted the help of designer CeCe Barfield Thompson to fashion a comfortably luxurious abode in a pre-war co-op in New York City's Upper East Side.

For the younger Rockefeller, a model and lifelong equestrian who now lives in Holland, the guiding vision was a home away from home. One of the references on her mood board was the Palace of Versailles, where she spent time in 2019 when her father, David Rockefeller, Jr., was presented with the inaugural Versailles Award for American Philanthropy in memory of his grandfather, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (Read more.)

Today’s Management-speak and 1930s Soviet Propaganda

 From Fortune:

That trend still holds sway in the workplaces of today – what are human resources, after all? Management language is replete with the same rhetoric used in the 1930s by the Communist Party. It could even be argued that the atmosphere of Stakhanovite enthusiasm is even more intense today than it was in Soviet Russia. It thrives in the jargon of Human Resource Management (HRM), as its constant calls to express our passion, individual creativity, innovation and talents echo down through management structures.

But all this “positive” talk comes at a price. For over two decades, our research has charted the evolution of managerialismHRMemployability and performance management systems, all the way through to the cultures they create. We have shown how it leaves employees with a permanent sense of never feeling good enough and the nagging worry that someone else (probably right next to us) is always performing so much better.

From the mid-1990s, we charted the rise of a new language for managing people – one that constantly urges us to see work as a place where we should discover “who we truly are” and express that “unique” personal “potential” which could make us endlessly “resourceful”. (Read more.)


The Difference Between Vintage and Antique

 From Veranda:

There’s something really special about walking into a vintage or antique store—or even exploring one online—and snagging a unique piece of furniture or objet d' art. Plus, many times, you’ll find that vintage and antique items have been exceptionally well made, and can really stand the test of time. “Vintage and antiques are our records of cultural history,” says Ksenya Malina, principal at Time & Place Interiors. “They're often constructed better than modern furniture, which explains why so many of them have survived.”

While the words "vintage" and "antique" are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between the two—not to mention, there are some instances when you may want to purchase one type of furnishing over the other. Here are a few things you should know about looking for the best vintage and antique pieces, straight from designers. (Read more.)


Tuesday, April 18, 2023

The Cloth Hall of Smarden

From Country Living:

In the 14th century and during the reign of Edward III, the ports of Rye and Faversham became hubs of great wealth due to the blossoming wool and cloth trade with Europe. Nearby towns, such as Smarden, also benefited from this new trade frontier, producing homes of great beauty, such as The Cloth Hall, built in the early 15th century and then remodelled by a wealthy cloth merchant called Thomas Yates. The home’s pedigree doesn’t end there, as another previous owner, the famed Everest Expedition photographer John Noel purchased the property in 1920. A great friend of Nathanial Lloyd of Great Dixter in East Sussex, Noel used his connections to remodel the building in the styles of Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. (Read more.)