Friday, October 22, 2021

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.


The Theological Error in Many Modern Catholic Hymns

 From Crisis:

One principle missing from the Committee’s “Aid” that deserves inclusion is the problem of speaking in God’s name. Thomas Day flagged this phenomenon in his Why Catholics Can’t Sing. A number of contemporary composers, wanting to exploit biblical texts (especially from the prophets) for the liturgy, put God’s words on the tongues of choir and/or congregation.

Dan Schutte’s “Here I Am, Lord,” is a moderate illustration of what is, arguably, an abuse. The verses all involve God speaking: “I, the Lord of sea and sky…” “I, the Lord of snow and rain…” “I, the Lord of wind and flame….” The refrain is the human response: “Here I am, Lord!”

Such interplay is inevitably leveling: God is reduced to the needy, human level, while man is raised up. While this interplay can be narrowly interpreted in a theologically orthodox way, its practical consequence blurs the lines between God and the human person. God is not bereft of means to come to our assistance; nor is the human agent—whose vocation is itself God’s gift and inspiration—“doing God a favor.” (Read more.)

The Yorktown Tragedy

A sad story. From Journal of the American Revolution:

In October 19, 1781, Gen. George Washington attained his apex as a soldier. Straddling a spirited charger at the head of a formidable Franco-American army, Washington watched impassively as 6,000 humiliated British, German, and Loyalist soldiers under the command of Lt. Gen. Charles, Second Earl Cornwallis, emerged from their fortifications to lay down their arms in surrender outside Yorktown, Virginia. The following day, Washington voiced the elation filling his heart in a general order congratulating his subordinates “upon the Glorious events of yesterday.” Ordinarily a stickler for discipline, Washington authorized the release of every American soldier under arrest “In order to Diffuse the general Joy through every breast.”[1]

Five days later, October 25, the Continental Army’s commander-in-chief issued quite a different order. Thousands of Virginia slaves—“Negroes or Molattoes” as Washington called them—had fled to the British in hopes of escaping a lifetime of bondage. Washington directed that these runaways be rounded up and entrusted to guards at two fortified positions on either side of the York River. There they would be held until arrangements could be made to return them to their enslavers. Thus, with the stroke of a pen, Washington converted his faithful Continentals—the men credited with winning American independence—into an army of slave catchers.[2]

This is not the way that Americans choose to remember Yorktown. When President Ronald Reagan attended the festivities marking the battle’s bicentennial in October 1981, a crowd of 60,000 nodded in approval as he described Washington’s crowning triumph as “a victory for the right of self-determination. It was and is the affirmation that freedom will eventually triumph over tyranny.”[3] For the African Americans who constituted one fifth of the young United States’ population in 1781, however, Yorktown did not mark the culmination of a long and grueling struggle for freedom. Rather, it guaranteed the perpetuation of slavery for eight additional decades. (Read more.)


Thursday, October 21, 2021



From The Magazine Antiques:

In the late nineteenth century, when the colorful and glossy earthenware called majolica was at the height of its popularity, ceramics factory floors teemed in Britain and America. Entrepreneurial owners made fortunes as staff artisans pummeled, sliced, squeezed, and sculpted slabs of clay. Glazes for multiple kiln firings were concocted from antimony, arsenic, manganese, and lead. Buyers of almost every socioeconomic stratum could afford the results of the gritty, arduous manufacturing process.

 Whimsical and astounding creations emerged from the kilns. Along the rims and handles of teapots and vases, monkeys squabbled, sailors sprouted three legs, and deities performed contortionist backbends. Miniature boots, hats, rowboats, lighthouses, and beehives held matches, ink, ferns, toothpicks, and food. Serving pieces and flowerpots also depicted various organisms in mid-decay. Vessels “disguised the dribbling contents of a game pie in a tureen topped with lifelike duck and hare heads, hid a tangle of roots and soil in a planter seemingly woven from sticks and leaves, or preserved smelly Stilton in a cheese dish besieged by mice,” Jo Briggs, a curator at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, writes in a new book, Majolica Mania: Transatlantic Pottery in England and the United States, 1850–1915. (Read more.)


From Pender and Peony:

Today, Majolica mostly refers to the Victorian pottery popularized by the English ceramicist Herbert Minton at the Great Exhibition in 1851. Designed for the Minton Factory by Leon Arnoux, Victorian Majolica advanced fanciful charm, visual pun, exuberant colors, and unique forms.

The pottery technique for producing Majolica dates back to 14th century Spain and was then introduced to Italy via the island Majorca. This style of pottery is known as Maiolica. 18th century French Faience is also a direct pre-curser to Majolica. (Read more.)


From Apollo:

The first time I visited the majolica collection of one of the largest lenders to our upcoming exhibition, I remember feeling a bit bewildered by the concentration of material in front of me – shelves upon shelves of teapots and game-pie dishes, jugs and ornamental figures, garden seats and jardinières – many in the form of moulded animals or embellished with exuberant historicist decoration. I recall thinking, where does one begin to understand this glorious excess? The combination of vibrant colours and sheer diversity of objects was reminiscent of a Victorian interior in its density of display, yet it complemented this sleek Manhattan apartment in a wholly contemporary manner. It was the first of many paradoxes that encounters with majolica would present – and this was just the beginning of an ‘Alice Through the Looking-Glass’ type of visual journey that has culminated in the exhibition and catalogue ‘Majolica Mania: Transatlantic Pottery in England and the United States, 1850–1915’. (Read more.)

More HERE.


The Lion and the Bard

 From The National Review:

While Churchill could thrill or weep (and Churchill was a cryer) at the swirl of Shakespearean drama, his intimate knowledge of the Bard wasn’t simply recreational. It was formative. The wit and the nerve, the agony and the ecstasy of the human experience told in pristine English was woven into the fabric of Churchill himself. To be sure, without the sweeping histories written by Macaulay and Gibbon, Churchill would not have offered the same epic style. But without Shakespeare, Churchill would likely never have galvanized the masses with phrases such as “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat,” or “Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few,” or “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’” In the wake of the war and pressed by colleagues about how history would treat him, Churchill quipped with a twinkle in his eye, “History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.” Shortly thereafter, Churchill did just that, penning a magisterial six-volume series on the Second World War. (Read more.)

More Poem Than Proposition

 From The Symbolic World:

Since the 16th century, people have described the regularities of nature with an analogy to “law”, as in “the laws of nature,” which Wittgenstein famously called “The great delusion of modernity,” but we all know a law is a human construct given by a judge to govern society. No one believes a rock is intentionally obeying a legal edict. 7

Naturally, if one uses the analogy of legal fictions to describe the regularities of nature as pre-existing natural “laws”, or if one imagines these regularities more analogous to the creative process of thoughts in some mind, the story we fit these “facts” into will organize our understanding and perception, even as all the fluid poetic ambiguities of reality that escape such scientific categories of definition, determination, and certainty are forgotten in the misty oblivion of modernity’s amnesia.

This is why liturgy is vital. After all, Christ did not come to bring us doctrines, but His body, the Church, which enfolds us into the pattern of its life, the life of Christ. By participating in the rhythms of religious rituals, we order our modes of perception to receive the world as a sacrament. Truth is a habit, a habitat, a pattern that we love, move, and have our being in. (Read more.)


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Rehearsal by Edgar Degas

I love the way Degas perfectly captures the fleeting moment so beautifully, with the grace and elegance of each movement. It is that same movement in dance that has inspired me; you can see a nod to ballet in many of my designs. The close-cropped composition leaves me intrigued. It suggests more is happening outside the frame, in the busy room. The dancers are unaware of the viewer and you can feel their nervous energy. Equally, you can hear the muffled chatter and fine pitter-patter of points. It fascinates me how Degas captures the fabric of the tulle tutus in such a life-like way using oils. The blurred-edge sfumato effect emphasises the sense of realism. Oh, and the contrast of the sashes and the black neckline ties. I could look at his works for hours and hours. (Read more.)


There’s Something About Brandon

 From John Zmirak at American Greatness:

In the spirit of Dave Chapelle cutting through the cant, defying his LGBTQMYNAMEISLEGION critics, Brandon zeroes in on the truth. The phony media spin on that NASCAR chant is exactly, exquisitely our current moment. It nails the vast, yawning gap that separates the Bidenist fantasy world from the real one we’re living in.

As prices shoot up and store shelves empty, half of Haiti somehow appears on the Rio Grande, and China prepares its next war of conquest, our elite fritters and squanders America’s legacy. People who’ve been triple-vaccinated cower in fear of those of us who won’t take it—wait, shouldn’t they be the ones feeling safe? But cower they will, and I say we should pretend to sneeze on such people. Maybe those groundhogs will go back into their homes for another six months.

We’re sick to death of an insanely overhyped pandemic, which blue-state governors turned really deadly by using COVID as euthanasia in nursing homes. We don’t trust big pharma companies that lied to us about using aborted baby parts. Or weird little creepy dictators like Fauci who try telling us in their Bugs Bunny voices whether or not to celebrate Christmas. And about whom Disney makes a fawning biopic, casting Fauci as an epic hero, which 91 percent of “professional” movie critics praise compared to . . . 4 percent of actual audience members. (By the way, that page with viewer comments is now mysteriously down.) (Read more.)