Sunday, December 17, 2017

Iraqi Christians Now

Notice how the men sit on one side and the women on the other, an ancient custom. May we be worthy to share heaven with those who have suffered so much for their faith. From Aleteia:
Iraqi Christians attend Mass at the heavily damaged Church of the Immaculate Conception in the predominantly Christian Iraqi town of Qaraqosh (also known as Hamdaniya) some 30 kilometers from Mosul a few months after the Iraqi forces recaptured it from Islamic State group jihadists. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who was split between “sadness” and “hope,” celebrated the Mass for the “renaissance” in Qaraqosh. The Christian population was around 50,000 before the jihadists took over the area in August 2014, making it the largest Christian town in Iraq. (Read more.)

Artificial Birth Control and Breast Cancer

From The New York Times:
Women who rely on birth control pills or contraceptive devices that release hormones face a small but significant increase in the risk for breast cancer, according to a large study published on Wednesday.

The study, which followed 1.8 million Danish women for more than a decade, upends widely held assumptions about modern contraceptives for younger generations of women. Many women have believed that newer hormonal contraceptives are much safer than those taken by their mothers or grandmothers, which had higher doses of estrogen.

The new paper estimated that for every 100,000 women, hormone contraceptive use causes an additional 13 breast cancer cases a year. That is, for every 100,000 women using hormonal birth control, there are 68 cases of breast cancer annually, compared with 55 cases a year among nonusers. While a link had been established between birth control pills and breast cancer years ago, this study is the first to examine the risks associated with current formulations of birth control pills and devices in a large population. (Read more.)

Art and Dementia

From AJC:
Don and Charlene Willis of Smyrna have never been the type to spend an afternoon poking around an art museum, but now they wouldn’t think of missing their monthly visits to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. They are regular participants in “Musing Together,” an art tour designed for those in early stage Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Care partners are also invited to the free program, which is a partnership of the High Museum and the Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter. “We both thoroughly enjoy it,” said Charlene. Don, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014, “loves it,” she added.
The tours are led by art educator Amanda Williams, who selects a theme, then leads the group through various galleries to view and talk about specific works of art related to that theme. She creates a safe space for them to express their opinions, ask questions, and just interact and make friends. For caregivers, it’s an opportunity to get out of their set routines. “We just want them to come and enjoy themselves,” Williams said.

There’s a lot of laughter, and a lot of learning, too. The program, which started in March, is offered the first Wednesday of the month from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Both non-profits are still trying to figure out what works and tweak what doesn’t. Museum staffers were trained by the Alzheimer’s Association on how to respond appropriately to visitors with dementia. The group is kept small, no more than 20 at a time, and they don’t go into galleries that are overstimulating. A staff member from the Alzheimer’s Association is also present throughout the program to assist if needed.

Art has multiple benefits for the brain, providing good cognitive stimulation in different areas, said Kara Johnson, an Atlanta Alzheimer’s Association care consultant. But the program is more than an art history lesson. It’s an opportunity to build friendships with others going through the same journey. Participants are encouraged to engage in conversations about the artwork, as well as share their life stories. (Read more.)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Marie-Antoinette and Orange Blossom Water

From the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog:
Orangeries, or orange groves, had been popular in the French Royal Family since the fifteenth century reign of Charles VIII. The orangerie at Versailles, cultivated at the order of Louis XIV, can still be visited. In Marie-Antoinette's day, the oranges were used to make orange blossom water, which served the Queen in her beauty products and especially as a tonic for her nerves. It is still in use today. (Read more.)


The Great American Sexual Meltdown

From The Federalist:
If it feels good do it. Have whatever sexual relationships you want, when you want, with whoever you want. That is and has been the prevailing societal view for decades, and it permeates our music, art, film, literature, social media, and conversations. There is nothing right or wrong. Oh, sure, folks will say it is wrong to hurt other people. But the truth is, when you throw objective morality out the window, everyone gets hurt.

 It used to be true that pornography was indecent, lewd, wrong, and, well, pornographic. It used to be true that killing unborn children was just that: killing. It used to be true that foul language was foul. It used to be true that adultery was a bad thing and marriage was forever.

None of that is true in America anymore. In fact, nothing is true now (with the possible exception of climate change). All moral codes are simply outdated and “puritanical” backward thinking. We are progressing. The guardrails, traffic lights, and yellow lines have all been removed. How’s that working out?

The Left likes to pretend the root problem is an outdated, patriarchal view of the world. They are only half right on this. They are right that men are behaving badly. This is indeed a factual analysis, and no man deserves a pass. Not only that, the more who are called to account for their tawdry actions, the better. (Read more.)

French Exiles in America

From Shannon Selin:
In writing Napoleon in America, it was easy to find French exiles in the United States in the early 1820s who could fictionally help Napoleon carry out his schemes. From Napoleon’s brother Joseph Bonaparte to scoundrels like Louis-Joseph Oudart, many Bonapartists fled to the United States after Napoleon’s 1815 defeat, to avoid persecution by the government of Louis XVIII. Some, like Simon Bernard, were relatively content in their new land. Others, like Louis Lauret, wound up miserable. What was the American attitude toward the Napoleonic exiles in their midst? (Read more.)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Hoop Skirts and Equality

 From Racked:
In 2015, as part of a broader effort to excise Confederate symbology, the University of Georgia banned hoop skirts at official Greek functions. Administrators and Greek leaders couched their decision in vague, almost bureaucratic language. “We will continue to review costuming and themes for future events to ensure their appropriateness for our organizations,” wrote Ashley Merkel, president of UGA’s Panhellenic Council. Vice president for student affairs Victor Wilson bolstered her statement: “The discussion was about more than dress,” he wrote, “but about how you present yourself, and dress was part of that.”

Other proponents took a more vehement tone. “Remove the Southern belle from her inglorious perch,” urged Elizabeth Boyd, a University of Maryland American Studies professor. She continued, ““The Southern belle performances routinely staged on campuses across the South constitute choreography of exclusion.” It’s true: The hoop skirt has aged poorly. Its connotations 150 years post-heyday are antiquated at best, antagonistic at worst. From an inside view, though, this “choreography of exclusion” was anything but. Just the opposite, in fact: Its rebellion was quiet, subdued, and feminine, but a rebellion nonetheless. The skirts have lived long enough to become a villain of our racial imagination. To the women who wore them, they were heroic.

The hoop skirt lived many lives before reaching the antebellum South, known as the farthingale (to the Elizabethans) and the pannier (to French nobility circa 1718). The latter reached objectively absurd proportions in the later 18th century. If any garment can be considered choreographed exclusion, it’s the pannier. Handmade from whalebone or basket-willow and jutting several feet to each side, panniers embodied the conspicuous consumption of Louis XVI and his court. (Read more.)

Baby Jesus Still Reigns in Post-Christian America

From TFP:
Even now, the most powerful nations bow before Him. Let them consider the fact that for decades, the Christ Child has found shelter in the White House. The United States is the most powerful nation in the world. Its president is the most powerful world leader. And yet in the house of the President, a crowned Christ Child occupies a place far more honorable and important than that reserved for the president himself. He resides there as king, and the house is decorated at its best to pay Him homage. No foreign leader is treated with more honor and respect than this tiny Child.

Indeed, this Christmas, this Presence shines with particular pomp and splendor. There is open mention of Christmas in addresses and greeting cards. It is as if some forbidden decree has been lifted. This year’s refreshing celebration, while not ideal, reflects a desire of countless Americans that He be treated in a privileged way. This new splendor is welcomed by a society long stifled by politically correct diktats.

For too long, the nation has suffered by those in power who have tried to minimize the event. They have even tried to make it non-religious or politically correct. They have avoided mentioning Him by name. But the force of that compelling grace of Christmas has proven stronger. No president has dared to expel the Child from the inn. For decades, the beautiful Nativity Scene has always been set up. While failing to acknowledge Him properly, there at least has always been room in the White House Inn—even in supposedly post-Christian America. (Read more.)