Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Medieval Palace of Westminster

From Once I Was a Clever Boy:
Looking for pictures of Westminster abbey I found these two reconstructions of the medieval palace of Westminster and thought I would post them as well. Both attempt to show Westminster at the beginning of the sixteenth century. (Read more.)

Castro's Atrocities

From Faithwire:
Fidel Castro shattered — through mass-executions, mass-jailings, mass larceny and exile — virtually every family on the island of Cuba. Many opponents of the Castro regime qualify as the longest-suffering political prisoners in modern history, having suffered prison camps, forced labor and torture chambers for a period three times as long in Fidel Castro’s Gulag as Alexander Solzhenitsyn suffered in Stalin’s Gulag. Fidel Castro and Che Guevara beat ISIS to the game by over half a century. As early as January 1959 they were filming their murders for the media-shock value.

Fidel Castro also came closest of anyone in history to (wantonly) starting a worldwide nuclear war. In the above process Fidel Castro converted a highly-civilized nation with a higher standard of living than much of Europe and swamped with immigrants into a slum/sewer ravaged by tropical diseases and with the highest suicide rate in the Western hemisphere.

Over TWENTY TIMES as many people (and counting) have died trying to escape Castro’s Cuba as died trying to escape East Germany. Yet prior to Castroism Cuba received more immigrants per-capita than almost any nation on earth—more than the U.S. did including the Ellis Island years, in fact. Fidel Castro helped train and fund practically every terror group on earth, from the Weathermen to Puerto Rico’s Macheteros, from Argentina’s Montoneros, to Colombia’s FARC, from the Black Panthers to the IRA and from the PLO to AL Fatah. (Read more.)
Some commentary from TFP on the death of Castro:
 However, when all is said and done about Castro, one thing is certain. He was a man-symbol. He personified the dark ideals of his communist Revolution in their most radical aspects. He was a sinister human face who fascinated liberal capitalists, fawning socialites and liberation theology clergymen over the decades. His power lay precisely in his ability to be a man-symbol in a materialistic world that denies the efficacy of symbols.

But dark symbol he was. Castro gave himself entirely to the cause to which he was committed. He was willing to sacrifice the nation’s health, education and incredible wealth on the altar of international communism. There is nothing he would not do, no alliance he would not make or opposition that he would not eliminate to carry out his nefarious goals. (Read more.)

The Perfect Bath

From Inside Chic:
Going back to antiquity, we started with the Egyptians, whose obsession with cleanliness was such that they discriminated against cultures whose members didn’t follow their own bathing customs; their bathing rituals expressed a view of the bath as a font of hygiene, health, and healing. The Greeks refined the language of tubs and basins to the form that persists today, encouraged the habit of bathing as a means of relaxation, and – in the belief that specific natural water sources had been blessed by the gods – connected the ideas of cleansing and healing…

Modernity, to be sure, offers many advantages over antiquity. But the idea of the bath as a place of relaxation, reflection, and restoration, developed by the ancients, is one that has never been improved upon – all we can do is translate that timeless concept into a personal reflection of contemporary life. (Read more.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Marie-Antoinette au Cachot

The Queen imprisoned. Share

The Dictator and the Dissident

From The National Review:
Armando Valladares may not have been the first man to challenge the Cuban dictator, but he eventually became the best known. By his own account, the young Valladares was an early supporter of Castro’s revolution, taking a job in the Office of the Ministry of Communications for the Revolutionary Government, where he worked as a postal clerk. But all of that changed when he was asked to put a communist slogan on his desk. It comprised three simple words: “I’m with Fidel.” He refused. A young artist and poet who also happened to be a Christian, Valladares understood the meaning of the request. What he did not know, and could not know, was how far his own government would go to bend him to its will. Soon after his refusal to comply, Valladares was arrested by political police at his parents’ home. Faced with trumped up charges of terrorism — a favorite tactic of the Castro regime for silencing dissent — he was given a 30-year sentence. Valladares would spend time in different prison camps for the next 22 years. The first, La Cabaña, forged some of the very worst memories. “Each night, the firing squad executed scores of men in its trenches,” he told the Becket Fund, which last year honored him with its Canterbury Prize, given annually to a person who embodies an unfailing commitment to religious freedom. “We could hear each phase of the executions, and during this time, these young men — patriots — would die shouting ‘Long live Christ, the King. Down with Communism!’ And then you would hear the gunshots. Every night there were shootings. Every night. Every night. Every night.” (Read more.)
More commentary here, from the King's Debates:
 It is strange that many who invoke the importance of context in discussing Castro don’t mention that Cuba was an impressive country in the 1950s in terms of the very same metrics often used to praise Castro. Cuba’s education and health care levels in the 1950s were above the Latin American average and comparable to some European countries. The literacy rate when Fidel Castro took over was 78%-79%, the 4th highest in Latin America. Life expectancy was third in the hemisphere and it had the 4th lowest infant mortality rate in Latin America. Cuba had higher TV sets per capita than any other Latin American country and higher than that of Italy. It also had Latin America’s highest consumption of meat and fruits. In the 1950s, GDP per capita was between the 2nd and 4th highest in Latin America; now, it is between the 9th and 11th. In pre-Castro Cuba, workers had one-month paid holiday, eight-hour workdays, and women were entitled to six-weeks leave before and after childbirth. The impression that Cuba in the 1950s was a backward country in terms of the metrics often used to praise Castro is thus highly disingenuous. (Read more.)

Ten Medieval Knightly Orders

From War History Online:
The first order founded in the Holy Land, the Knights of the Temple were created in 1115 by Hugue de Payens and Godfrey de Saint Adhemar, who recruited seven other French knights to help them escort pilgrims safely between Jerusalem, Jericho and the traditional site of Jesus’s baptism in the Jordan. Growing in size and prominence, the group took up quarters at the Temple of Solomon – hence their name – and set the precedent for such groups as warrior monks. (Read more.)

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Poetry of Scarves

From Victoria:
The Anatolian mountains of Armenia are vast repositories for alum, a resource that is valuable as a binding agent, or mordant, holding colors fast to fabric. Plant dyers, such as Jane’s Porter’s maternal ancestors, understand its properties well, as do weavers, such as those in her father’s line who produced woven brocades in their silk mill, located in what is now central Turkey. “Textiles are in my DNA,” Jane says.

Her grandmother initiated her education in textiles by taking her to fabric shops in New York City, where the 4-year-old Jane experienced a brilliant world of textures and colors that instilled in her an appreciation of well-made fabrics and clothing, and over time, helped her to develop an eye for beautifully crafted pieces. “Together,” she says of she and her grandmother, “we designed and sewed all of my dance and prom dresses.”

In what seems a natural progression, her inaugural line of dresses made their debut in the boutiques of Philadelphia in 1968. Jane credits the Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers for contributing to her mastery of weaving, spinning, and dyeing. Inspired by this knowledge, she opened a fiber arts school in Chadds Ford. When she added screen-printing to her cache of abilities in textiles, using natural dyes, of course, the result was a clothing line with nationwide distribution—hand-screened and made with custom-woven wool, cotton, and silk—designed for professional urban women. (Read more.)


Trump and the Catholic Church

From EWTN:
Cardinal Raymond Burke has said Donald Trump’s election Tuesday is a sign that the United States’ political leaders need to listen more to the people and return to safeguarding life, marriage, the family and religious liberty. In an exclusive interview with Edward Pentin for EWTN's National Catholic Register Nov. 9, the patron of the Sovereign Order of Malta said he was confident Trump would be able to help heal divisions in the country, that he has a “great disposition” to listen to the Church’s position on the moral law, and hopes he will “follow the principles and dictates of our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.” However, aware of inevitable areas of divergence with Church teaching, Cardinal Burke stressed the importance of Catholics continuing to make objections known whenever necessary. (Read more.)