Thursday, October 6, 2022

Ode to Autumn

The Cedar Lot, Old Lyme, 1904, Childe Hassam

 From East of the Sun, West of the Moon.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
      For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

~ excerpt from "Ode to Autumn" by John Keats

More HERE.


Banned Books Bunkum

 From American Greatness:

Aside from the downright perversity, there is a pile of irony—not to mention hypocrisy—to the book banning hysteria. The same anti-banning radicals are also in the vanguard of the so-called cancel culture, which has led to the censoring of mainstream icons like Dr. Seuss and J.K. Rowling because they didn’t toe the woke party line. Also, Columbus Day has been canceled, and statues of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt have been torn down in various locales.

Additionally, Facebook workers have routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential “trending” news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project.

Ultimately, all the Banned Book Week harrumphing is dishonest because no one is actually trying to take away the right to publish any books. The thought of banned books evokes images of totalitarian regimes tossing written material into massive bonfires. In Nazi Germany, the ruling party burned thousands of books written by Jews, communists, and others. The problem that parents have with the books in question is simply that they are not age-appropriate, and have no place in our schools. It has nothing to do with censorship. Our laws prohibit 12-year-olds from going into a store and buying a Playboy or Hustler magazine. Why should schools be allowed to push Lawn Boy on a child of that age? (Read more.)

The Great Wall of China Is Coming Down

 From History of Yesterday:

The building of the wall started during the 7th century BCE by the ancient Chinese state known as Chu which ruled during 770–223 BCE. When the state was formed, its leaders wanted to build a new type of defensive system that would not only protect a village or a simple settlement but a whole region without the need for a large army. It is believed that this was the first time someone in human history had thought of using walls to create borders. Therefore they started building a large fortified wall around the whole prominence of Hubei, with guard posts every 10 kilometers.

During the 6th century, other states within China soon followed this tactic. They all understood that this would help defend their own regions from their neighbors throwing a surprise attack. Another vital point of building the great wall was to protect China from nomadic tribes that attempted raids and invasions from the north. Until the 2nd century BCE, all the sections of the walls were separate, not connected from one region to another. (Read more.)


Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Was Charles I the ‘Commoners' King’?

 Charles I put a halt to the enclosure movement, in which peasants were forced off their land by wealthy people who wished to raise more sheep. The King fined such landowners who drove their tenants off their land. From The Land is Ours:

If the reign in its social and agrarian policy may be judged solely from the number of anti-enclosure commissions set up, then undoubtedly King Charles I is the one English monarch of outstanding importance as an agrarian reformer. How far his policy was due to genuine disinterested love of the poor, and how far it followed from the more sordid motive of a desire to extort fines from offenders, it is difficult to say. But even the most unsympathetic critic must allow a good deal of honest benevolence to his minister Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, and some measure of it to his master. On the whole it is perhaps not too much to say that for a short time after the commissions issued in 1632, 1635, and 1636, Star Chamber dealt fairly effectively with offenders. The lack of ultimate success of this last governmental attempt to stem the tide of enclosure was due, no doubt, partly to the mixture of motives on the part of its proponents. Still more its failure is to be attributed to the fact that again the local administrators, upon whom the Crown depended to implement its policy, were of the very [landed] class which included the worst offenders. A (practising) poacher does not make a very good gamekeeper! (Read more.)


Letter to the American Church

 From The Wine Patch:

Eric Metaxas’ newly released Letter to the American Church, is a biblical bugle blast in the ear of all the churches feigning sleep while our country is besieged by anti-Christ and anti-American ideologies from every direction. Metaxas takes ready aim at the churches and pastors who are reluctant to stand up and speak out against the well-coordinated assault upon the health and stability of our nation today — and he names names.

The book delivers a battle cry for the church to rise up and face these most serious matters of our day. He asks us why God’s people would evade speaking against the murder of the unborn. He asks us how the church can be silent in deference to our education system and its pernicious incursion to induce sexual confusion within our children.  

He asks us why church pastors are not pounding the pulpits to end the mutilation and castration of minors under the subterfuge of gender expression. And why is there so much acquiescence to the endless unfurling of Marxist tenets as the rise of global tyranny is boosted before our very eyes.

How can seasoned church leaders fail to understand that philosophies like Critical Race Theory are founded in Marxism and purely atheistic? Further, how can the church that is charged with discipling and cultivating healthy loving families, not realize that Transgender and Queer Theory is “…inescapably anti-God and anti-human. So they are dedicatedly at war with the ideas of family and marriage…”

Metaxas’ thesis is: We must wake up and speak up. (Read more.)


Josephine Tey: Scottish Crime Writer

 From The Herald:

Mention the name Elizabeth MacKintosh at the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival, say, or Bloody Scotland – or, indeed, any other event where fans of noir gather to talk plot twists and big reveals – and you’ll likely be met with blank stares and puzzled looks. And this despite her being arguably the first (and some say the finest) Scottish female crime writer.

The recognition factor may be higher in the Highland town where MacKintosh spent most of her life and where she wrote all her novels sitting at the kitchen table or in the garden shed. But not by much. Even throwing out book titles won’t help. To Love And Be Wise, anyone? How about The Franchise Affair, The Daughter Of Time or A Shilling For Candles?

If there’s a trivia nerd or a film buff in the company, those last two might jog memories as the penny starts to drop. Was she using a pseudonym, perhaps? Didn’t Alfred Hitchcock do something? Wasn’t there some kind of famous list?

Answers: she was, he did, there is.

First, the list. In 1990, the UK Crime Writers’ Association published a now-celebrated rundown of the 100 Top Crime Novels Of All Time. Nestled in the number one spot, ahead of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep and John le Carre’s The Spy Who Came In From The Cold – and well ahead of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca and the grand-daddy of the detective novel, Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone – you’ll find The Daughter Of Time, published in 1951. The Franchise Affair, from 1948, is at 11.

As for Hitchcock, he filmed A Shilling For Candles as Young And Innocent in 1937, barely a year after the novel had been published. Along with his 1936 film Sabotage and 1938’s The Lady Vanishes it proved enough of a calling card for Hollywood to come knocking. By July 1938 he was in Los Angeles readying his first project for legendary producer David O Selznick: an adaptation of Rebecca starring Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier which would go on to win two Oscars.

The Elizabeth MacKintosh question is a trick one, of course, because the woman born on July 25 1896 and raised in an Inverness fruit shop did indeed write under a pseudonym: Josephine Tey (pictured below). But even learning that may cause some head scratching. Although famous enough in her lifetime, particularly in her early career when she wrote plays as well as novels, there’s no doubt her star has slipped since her death in 1952 aged just 55. (Read more.)


Tuesday, October 4, 2022

The Marriage of Maria Theresa of Austria and Francis of Lorraine

The Wedding Feast

Maria Theresa as Queen of Hungary from the miniseries

The young couple

 From The History of Royal Women:

On 12 February 1736, Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria married Duke Francis Stephan III of Lorraine. The pair had known each other since childhood and were distant cousins. Maria Theresa’s family had offered shelter to Francis’s father and grandfather who were both born in Austria, during a period of exile from their Duchy Lorraine. Despite a Duke of Lorraine being much lower in rank than a daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, the close family bond meant that a match had been planned since Maria Theresa was a child.

The Archduchess was destined to marry a son of the house of Lorraine, but Duke Francis was not always the intended groom. From being an infant, Maria Theresa was betrothed to the Hereditary Prince of Lorraine Léopold Clément. Unfortunately, the match was ill-fated, and Léopold died of smallpox at the age of sixteen on his way to Vienna.

There was a period of uncertainty for Maria Theresa after the death of Léopold as her father planned to marry her to Charles, the heir to the Spanish throne. Luckily for Maria Theresa, this match was vetoed by many European powers. The Spanish branch of the Habsburgs had only died out in 1700, and the rulers of Europe were unwilling to allow the re-creation of such a power bloc.

Throughout the years of negotiation, Maria Theresa and Francis grew close as they were brought up together in Vienna. Though once it was finally time for the marriage to go ahead, Francis was hesitant. Maria Theresa’s father; Emperor Charles VI had put Francis in a difficult position. In order for him to be able to marry Maria Theresa, he would have to give away the Duchy of Lorraine. To help to solve the War of the Polish Succession, it was decided that Lorraine should go to the deposed King of Poland for his lifetime. Francis would be compensated by being given the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Francis and his family were truly heartbroken about the decision; Francis even hesitated during the betrothal ceremony and put down his quill before eventually signing the documents.

The wedding took place at 6 o’clock in the evening at the Augustinian Church in Vienna. Imperial chamberlains led the procession to the church. The privy counsellors and conference members followed and after them, the Knights of the Golden Fleece in long medieval robes. The groom was clad in cloth of silver, a white hat and wearing the collar of the Golden Fleece. The bride wore a gown of silver-thread fabric studded with diamonds and pearls. She was flanked by her mother and Joseph I’s widow, Wilhelmine Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Her train was carried by her mistress of the robes, Madame Fuchs. Her younger sister followed her in the procession. The church was lit with thousands of candles and was hung with splendid Flemish tapestries. The bride and groom exchanged rings and were blessed by the papal nuncio. The celebrations ended with a Te Deum, and the wedding party had a magnificent banquet. (Read more.)



 From Fox News:

The All-American swimmer who became an outspoken advocate for women's athletics after competing against transgender swimmer Lia Thomas is supporting Sen. Rand Paul's re-election bid, and says Paul is "not afraid to fight for fairness" in a new campaign ad.

"I trained from an early age, giving it my all to achieve my dream," Riley Gaines says in the 30-second ad. "And I accomplished it, becoming a 12-time All-American swimmer at the University of Kentucky. But for girls across America that dream is being taken away by men competing in women’s sports. Sadly, few stood up for me." 
"But Rand Paul is not afraid to fight for fairness for women and girls, and that’s why I’m supporting him," she says. The Kentucky Senator has been an outspoken critic of transgender athletes competing in sports corresponding with their gender identity. "I will always fight for fairness," Paul says in the ad.

Gaines competed against Lia Thomas, the transgender swimmer for the University of Pennsylvania, in her senior year at the 200-meter race at the NCAA Championships, one of the most competitive events in swimming. After tying with Thomas down to the hundredth of a second, Gaines said Thomas was given the trophy for "photo purposes" while Gaines had to wait for hers to be sent to her in the mail.

Gaines told Fox News Digital in an interview she thinks the Biden administration is "absolutely not pro-women" and is pursing "regressive" policies.

She said Paul’s support "makes you a lot more confident as someone who is in this position to speak your mind. It means a lot to have someone in his position willing to do that for female athletes, willing to do that for people’s daughters."

"No one wants their daughter in the situation that myself and other female athletes have been in," Gaines said. "So to have someone willing to fight for that, it really means a lot." (Read more.)

Terrible that young women should be forced to use the same locker room as a man.