Monday, June 26, 2017

French Road Trip

From The Guardian:
Perpignan is the most Spanish of French cities. With its ginger-pink facades, lines of palm trees and packed fiesta calendar, it’s an attractive, passionate city, ideal for a beach holiday or to visit the caves and castles of ancient Roussillon. Spend a day exploring the Palace of the Kings of Majorca, visit the Hotel Pams and the Gothic La Loge de Mer. Heading south towards Alénya, the Domaine Mas Bazan is a great place to stay, set among vineyards, orchards and a pool (doubles from €48 B&B), where there are also gites and chalets to rent. (Read more.)

Cardinal Sarah and His Critics

From The Catholic Herald:
It is indeed remarkable that Sarah has suffered this hail of abuse with such grace. In his newly published book The Power of Silence, we hear his stifled cry of anguish:
I painfully experienced assassination by gossip, slander and public humiliation, and I learned that when a person has decided to destroy you, he has no lack of words, spite and hypocrisy; falsehood has an immense capacity for constructing arguments, proofs and truths out of sand. When this is the behaviour of men of the Church, and in particular of bishops, the pain is still deeper. But … we must remain calm and silent, asking for the grace never to give in to rancour, hatred and feelings of worthlessness. Let us stand firm in our love for God and for his Church, in humility.
Despite it all, Sarah is a man unbowed. His book reiterates his call for Mass ad orientem and the rest of the “reform of the reform”: “God willing, when he wills and as he wills, the reform of the reform will take place in the liturgy. Despite the gnashing of teeth, it will happen, for the future of the Church is at stake.”
If Sarah has refused to make himself pleasing to those who run Rome, he is not about to serve any other party either. In this wonderfully individual book, he tells old Islamic folktales, dotes on the suffering and weak, and decries military intervention: “How can we not be scandalised and horrified by the action of American and Western governments in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria?” Sarah views these as idolatrous outpourings of blood “in the name of the goddess Democracy” and “in the name of Liberty, another Western goddess”. He opposes the effort to build “a religion without borders and a new global ethics”. (Read more.)

The Ancient History of Salt

From Vintage News:
Salt was of high value to the Hebrews, Greeks, the Chinese, Hittites and other peoples of antiquity. Aside from being a contributing factor in the development of civilization, salt was also used in the military practice of salting the earth by various peoples, beginning with the Assyrians. In the early years of the Roman Republic, with the growth of the city of Rome, roads were built to make transportation of salt to the capital city easier. An example was the Via Salaria (originally a Sabine trail), leading from Rome to the Adriatic Sea. The Adriatic, having a higher salinity due to its shallow depth, had more productive solar ponds compared with those of the Tyrrhenian Sea, much closer to Rome. (Read more.)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Monogram of the Queen

A plate with Marie-Antoinette's monogram. Share

A Trisomy Baby Story

From Life Site:
Alexander had Trisomy 18, a condition where there are three copies of chromosome 18 instead of the normal two. The condition often disrupts the baby’s normal pattern of development, often causing life-threatening problems including defects in the heart, lungs, kidneys as well as other developmental problems. A large majority of babies with this condition die within the first year.

As she sat now in the Des Moines hospital room listening to the doctor, Katie was having trouble taking it all in. Words became jumbled. It was all too surreal. She asked the doctor to wait until her husband arrived to finish what he had to say. 

When Ryan arrived, he found his wife totally distraught. Katie pleaded with him to go with the doctor into another room to discuss Alexander’s condition. When Ryan asked the doctor if he could record what he was about to hear so that his wife could listen to it once she had calmed down, the doctor consented.  (Read more.)

"No" Is A Complete Sentence

From Momeo Magazine:
There is no need for anything else. You don’t owe the asker anything more than that as a response. Just say, “No” and leave it at that! If you must, you can try the more polite version, “No, I’m sorry” or “Unfortunately, I have to say no” or whatever your grandmother taught you was the right way to politely refuse. But nothing more than that is necessary. And definitely nothing that implies you wish you could.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to justify your reasons for saying, “No.” As the title says, no is a complete sentence. If you don’t have the time, don’t want to do it, or don’t think it’s a good fit, just say, “No.” You have the right to refuse for no other reason than it’s Thursday. Rambling on and on in an attempt to justify yourself only gives the other person an opportunity to negotiate a “Yes” by finding ways around your objections. If you mean no, just say it and be done with it.

Enforce your boundaries by making it impossible for others to work around them by simply being unavailable. Turn off your cell phone (or even better, don’t give it out to people who you don’t want to have 24/7 access to you), and stop checking email and social media threads during your downtime. That being said, do manage expectations by giving people fair warning so they won’t be disappointed at not reaching you.

And STOP making exceptions to your own rules. If you say you don’t do last-minute projects or rush requests, then don’t do them…EVER. It’s hard for people to learn to respect your rules when you never stick to them yourself. As much as we say these are our boundaries, they are what we make them through action. Even the small things, like answering email or responding to voicemails over the weekend, teaches others our expectations. (Read more.)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Knotting Shuttles in Art

Madame Adélaïde de France
Marie-Antoinette de Lorraine d'Autriche

From Anna Gibson:
Knotting was done through the use of a knotting shuttle, which allowed the user to wind thread which could be gradually turned into long strings of decorative knots. Most women would keep drawstring bags on their wrists so that the strings could be pushed inside as they knotted. After they were finished, the knotted strings were then couched or sewn onto dresses, linen, chair backings, and other types of fabric material. Knotting shuttles for upper class women were typically made from high end materials, including porcelain, ivory, tortoiseshell, or even gold, while shuttles for lower classes were more often made of bone.

The easy nature of knotting made it something women, once well-practiced, could keep themselves occupied with while barely needing to look at their hands. Knotting could be done during long coach rides, while sitting in drawing rooms and salons, while sitting in the theater, and any number of occasions. The practice was so popular with Queen Mary of England during her downtime that that Sir Charles Sedley made a ditty of it: ‘For here’s a Queen now thanks to God!/Who when she rides in coach abroad/Is always knotting threads.’ (Read more.)

The Guide for the Perplexed on Trump-Russia

The Russians and the Americans both try to interfere in each other's elections and have for a long time. From NewsMax:
With two congressional inquiries and an FBI probe underway over the last 6 months — not to mention dozens of voracious media organizations like The New York Times and Washington Post frequently reporting leaks of convenience — nobody has unearthed any evidence that Russians at any level worked with the Trump campaign. When President Trump responds to this madness, he's declared "crazy," "paranoid," and even "obsessed." With so many false reports and innuendo being placed in the public sphere, let's review key points the fair-minded person should consider:

1. To repeat, no one has provided any evidence the Trump campaign worked with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton. The closest they come is that the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak showed up at the Republican convention last year in Cleveland and rubbed shoulders with party big-wigs. The media reports conveniently forget to mention the Obama State Dept. organized the effort to have diplomats like Kislyak attend the convention.

2. There is no question the Russians tried to interfere in the U.S. election. 

3. This interference took place during Obama's watch. Obama did little to stop it. Putin took these actions with impunity because he viewed the Obama administration as weak. Putin saw this weakness first hand when he invaded Crimea and Obama slapped him on the wrist. It was only after Trump was elected did the Obama administration raise the temperature against the Russians over the interference.

4. The Obama administration took the unusual step of "unmasking" the identities of Americans, including people close to Trump, discovered in classified NSA and intelligence intercepts. Still, this highly questionable action found no evidence of collusion.

5. There is no evidence the Russian interference changed the election outcome or helped Trump. In fact, Russia's involvement may have actually hurt Trump. Any review of the election results shows Hillary not only won the popular vote, she actually outperformed Obama's 2012 result in many states, including Blue States like California (she won by over 4 million votes, Obama beat Romney by just 2 million) and Red States like Texas (Hillary cut Obama's loss of 16 points almost in half to 9).

6. Trump won the election fairly and squarely. He studied the rules, grasped the critical importance of the Electoral College and out-campaigned Hillary in key states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Remember, Hillary did not even campaign in Wisconsin during the general election.

7. Trump faced a brutal campaign onslaught. Liberal media savaged him with billions of free, earned media for Hillary's campaign. Additionally, Hillary and her allies raised $1.2 billion and outspent Trump by over $600 million. (Trump only raised $258 million through Joint Fundraising from the RNC, less than half of what the DNC raised for Hillary.)

8. Trump's election last November was greeted by immediate protests denying his legitimacy, and some Democrats even called for his impeachment before he took the oath of office.

9. A federal investigation that began simply as a "counter-intelligence" probe has morphed into a sprawling inquiry of Trump's advisers. Unable to find evidence of collusion, this probe is reportedly looking at the advisers' activities completely unrelated to the "collusion" claim and largely for activities after the election. For example, Gen. Michael Flynn is said to have received payments from Turkey that he did not disclose. And Trump's son-in-law had several business contacts with Russians after the election, which by itself is not improper. The FBI is said to be looking at Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort for his dealings in the Ukraine well before Trump ran for office. So what is this all about?

10. There has never been any evidence that President Trump or the White House sought to obstruct justice or close down any Congressional or federal investigation. By virtue of the investigations continuing, the president is actually cooperating with these probes.

11. Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, which was his prerogative. Comey never complained during his tenure that Trump was seeking to obstruct justice. After being fired, Comey declined to tell Congress Trump had obstructed justice.

12. The FBI Director did admit that rather than bring his concerns to the attention of the Attorney General or Congress, he wrote memos-to-file of his private conversations with the president. Comey admitted to Congress he leaked at least one of these memos to The New York Times, a serious breach of presidential executive privilege and ethics. These are just some of the matters that can help guide the perplexed about the so-called Russian-Trump collusion story. (Read more.)