Friday, April 28, 2017

Emily Post: Society, Scandal, and Etiquette

From Owlcation:
"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.

Those who assume that the first lady of etiquette was a proper person from a privileged background would be correct. Yet there was so much more to Emily Price Post, who was also an entrepreneur, a survivor of scandal, and in many ways a modernist who helped to democratize society. From the moment she released her first comprehensive book on etiquette in 1922, Emily Post became a household name for good manners, polite behavior, and of course, proper etiquette. Learn more about the background of Emily Post, the events that shaped her life, and the enduring legacy of the Emily Post Institute. (Read more.)

Your Smartphone Is Bilbo's Ring

From On This Rock:
1) You randomly worry that you don't have it, check your pocket, your heart rate quickens, you check your other pocket, find it, and then slowly calm back down again

2) Your phone is powerful and magical.  10 years ago, if you told someone all the things your phone would do, they would have thought of it as magic.  Your phone also gives you the power to do everything you would need to do to run a Fortune 500 company for weeks from thousands of miles away.

3) You think sometimes of getting rid of your phone, but every time you get ready to throw it away, you step back from the edge and change your mind. (Read more.)

Cézanne et Moi

From The New York Times:
The film, an intimate, searching portrait of the turbulent friendship between the two geniuses directed by Danièle Thompson (“Avenue Montaigne”), completely avoids the tone of pious reverence typically adopted in stories about famous artists and writers. Instead it focuses on the insecurity, competitiveness and complicated love lives of these two ambitious men of opposite temperament. Anyone who has spent much time in artistic and literary circles will recognize that this is how it is even today.

“Cézanne et Moi” begins in 1888 in Médan, northwest of Paris, when Zola, then in his late 30s, was a world-famous author and the reputation of the late-blooming Cézanne was gathering steam. It then immediately flashes back to 1852, when they were rambunctious schoolboys, with Cézanne the daredevil who took Zola the follower under his wing. The movie restlessly jumps around in time, cramming almost more information than you can take in. And it is so eager not to come off as a lecture in art history the film presumes a high level of knowledge of French culture and history — more than most American viewers might possess.

Mr. Gallienne, who dominates the film, gives an electrifying portrait of Cézanne as a scruffy, driven wild man who even as his career seems stalled, declares, “I’ll never stop painting; I’ll die painting.” Charismatic but scary, flashing a furious, wide-eyed glare that could turn people to stone, Cézanne is a foul-mouthed misogynistic boor and selfish voluptuary who shocked polite society with his profanity and who in his later years was obsessed with his declining virility. (Read more.)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Real White Princess

From Town and Country:
Everyone agrees: Elizabeth was ravishing. Which is not surprising, considering her gene pool. The Plantagenet princess was the oldest child of King Edward IV (the head of the House of York) and Elizabeth Woodville, both of them famed for their good looks and sexual charisma. Her parents’ marriage was actually the scandal of its time. Edward was under pressure to marry a fellow royal, but at age 22 he fell passionately in love with Elizabeth Woodville, an impoverished young widow, and tried to seduce her. The Widow Woodville refused to become his mistress, drawing a knife and threatening to kill herself if he raped her. This led to the king’s proposal of marriage. (Bear in mind, this was the 15th century.) (Read more.)

Nazi Super Babies

From Messy Nessy Chic:
Lebensborn, meaning “fount of life” was an SS-initiated program that encouraged anonymous births by unmarried “racially pure” women who were selected to breed with Nazi officers and secure the future of a “super race” for the German Reich. The program expanded into several Nazi occupied countries including Norway, France and Belgium, resulting in a shameful post-war ostracism of surviving Lebensborn mothers and the mistreatment of their displaced children across Europe after Germany lost the war.

An estimated 8,000 children were born in Lebensborn institutions in Germany, up to 12,000 children in Norway and countless others across occupied countries where “super babies” had been selected become part of the German master race. The most famous of the surviving Lebensborn children is Frida Lyngstad of the iconic Swedish pop band, ABBA....(Read more.)

The Audiobook Boom

From Digital Book World:
The digital audiobook industry is trending up. The recent launch of RBmedia, a digital audio company that brings together the management of several technologies that specialize in spoken-word audio, casts a spotlight on this growth. In recent years, spoken-word media has increased in both sales and the number of titles being published. The latest statistics from the Audio Publishing Association show that audiobook sales totaled more than $1.77 billion in 2015, up 20.7 percent over the previous year. During that time, unit sales grew 24.1 percent. In July 2016, The Wall Street Journal called audiobooks the “fastest growing format in publishing.” New digital technologies have led to the rapid growth in listening to books. The ubiquity of mobile smartphones and new in-home infotainment technologies are two leading factors. As the demand for audiobook content rises, publishers have begun to make audiobook production more accessible to indie authors. (Read more.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Marie-Antoinette Leaves Home

Another quote from my book:
On April 21, 1770, the youngest Archduchess left her family home forever. The moment came when she was to bid farewell to her mother. They had become particularly close in the last few months because the Empress had decided to keep Antoine constantly at her side, day and night, in order not to lose the opportunity to instruct the little bride in her duties of her new state in life. There was profuse weeping, not only on the part of the mother and her child, but the members of the imperial household, both servants and courtiers mourned the loss of their Archduchess, as did the citizens of Vienna. She knelt for her mother’s blessing. In the future she would see her sister Mimi and her brothers Joseph and Max; she would never see her mother or her other siblings again.

Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars: Her Life, Her Times, Her Legacy - Elena Maria Vidal (Read more.)

The Cross That ISIS Could Not Crush

From FaithZette:
The monastery of St. Barbara, formerly a place of pilgrimage for many Iraqi Christians, is at the entrance to the town. We were accompanied by Fr. Thabet, the parish priest. He showed us the ruined home of his parents and grandparents, bombed by coalition forces because it was used as an ISIS outpost. Sitting in what had been the family garden was a large bomb. The rectory, like many of the empty houses, had ISIS graffiti sprayed on the outside wall — for the priest’s house it said, “The Cross will be broken.” Luckily for Fr. Thabet, his house was still standing and, unlike many of the houses, had not been burned out. ISIS fighters had left him a little gift on their departure: a booby trap by his office door. Many of the houses in the town are booby-trapped, burned out, or destroyed, and there is no water or electricity. As we walked around the empty streets some birds were singing, but the only other sound was the distant thump of bombing in Mosul, nine miles away. (Read more.)