Monday, May 2, 2016

Ideas for Mother's Day

From Tea Time:
Shower your mother with love and affection by hosting a tea in her honor for Mother’s Day. A beautiful centerpiece of pink and lavender blooms complements colorful linens and delicate china, making this tea enchanting and gracious just like Mom. A beautiful Mother’s Day table begins with elegant china—either a vintage pattern that you cherish, such as Castleton Sunnyvale, pictured above left, or a new pattern that you’ve fallen in love with, such as Herend Royal Garden, above right. Let the china you choose set the color palette for the flowers, table linens, and other accessories. (Read more.)

Why No Bankers Have Gone to Jail

And why they don't want Trump to win. From Zero Hedge:
Back In April 2010, the world was stunned when in what would be the first major case dealing with the fallout from the endemic fraud prevalent during the last housing and credit bubble, the SEC charged Goldman Sachs and Paulson with securities fraud over the infamous Abacus CDO, which was subsequently featured in Michael Lewis' Big Short book and movie. There was also hope that for the first time, bankers - ostensibly from the company that does "God's work" - would go to prison. None of that happened, and instead just a few months later Goldman walked away with a $550 million slap on the wrist, while a young Goldman banker, French citizen Fabrice Tourre, who was in his late 20's when Goldman was quietly colluding with Paulson to package a "time bomb" CDO it knew would explode in just a few months, was the only Goldman banker prosecuted. In 2013, Fabrice Tourre, a low-ranking trader,  was found liable for violating securities laws and ordered to pay more than $850,000. He also avoided prison time and is now a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago.

He was the only banker who was named in the entire Abacus fraud, something which we laughed at long and hard in 2010 because according to the SEC, this meant the 20-year old was the mastermind behind all of Goldman wrongdoing; nobody else at the firm was aware of what had been going on.
But what was most appalling and what made it clear that the SEC is a captured organization, was not only that no other banker at Goldman was named, but that absolutely everyone avoided prison time setting a disastrous precedent which demonstrated that when it comes to criminal liability, Wall Street will henceforth have a permanent get out of jail free card. (Read more.)

In Times of Discouragement

From Return to Order:
In times of discouragement, it is good to remember that God does not put us into situations that are beyond our ability to overcome. In fact, with God on our side, the fight to remain faithful is not at all disproportional since we have all the conditions for victory. However, it would be good to list five considerations we can make that will give us the upper hand when temptation comes. These considerations help show why this fight is not disproportional. In this way, we can act with energy and conviction in times of trials and temptations.

The first consideration is one of perspective. The fight is not disproportional to one who has the proper perspective. If we look at it simply from our own human perspective, we are cutting ourselves short. We need to see the big picture of the fight between good and evil, and Who’s side it is that we are fighting on. Like Saint Michael, we are forced to fight a battle beyond our means. But because Saint Michael had eyes only for the honor and glory of God, he did not withdraw inward, but jumped to defend God’s honor. In the big picture, God always wins, and He invites us to participate in His victory. We must strengthen within ourselves the conviction that He will win. We should see the beauty of our struggle and thank God for placing us in it. (Read more.)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Afternoon in Paris

From Victoria:
Whether staged in a Paris garden or your own backyard, an enchanting setting is inspired by French joie de vivre—the carefree enjoyment of living that makes an everyday cup of tea or a glass of wine a delightfully special occasion. Summer invites you to pull a table beneath a sheltering tree to create a relaxing, cool sanctuary. Focus on simplicity when arranging a table for entertaining en plein air. Remix what you already have, including eclectic comfortable seating, layers of vintage linens, and elegant silver utensils and serving pieces with timeworn appeal. Beloved French pastries, such as light-as-air macarons, make teatime sublime. Touches of Gallic blue bring the serenity of a summer sky to the gathering. (Read more.)

Albanian Martyrs

From Christine Niles:
Communists seized control of the Albanian government in 1944, ushering in an era of intense persecution for the Catholic Church over the next several decades, shutting down Catholic schools, arresting bishops and priests, and killing the faithful.

Archbishop Prennushi, head of the Durrës archdiocese, was arrested, imprisoned and tortured in the 1940s, eventually dying from his torture. His companions were similarly killed.
In 2002, at the opening of the cause for the Albanian martyrs' canonization, Auxiliary Bishop Zef Simoni of Shkodër said:
The Catholic clergy distinguished itself for its patriotism and culture. The dictatorship suggested ... that they separate from the Holy See in Rome and found a nationalist Church. They all courageously refused. The proposal was also put to Bp. Frano Gjini, apostolic delegate, who replied firmly: "I will never separate my flock from the Holy See."
Bishop Gjini was shot in 1948. Even with their shepherd gone, the priests refused to go into schism, and many wound up arrested and imprisoned for their fidelity to Rome. (Read more.)

Rise of the Howards

From English Historical Fiction Authors:
The Howards created an amazing dynasty for themselves and it was clear that they took family honour to the absolute limit and coupled it with unparalleled ambition for power cutting just shy of actually seizing the throne, though it does seem evident that Henry Howard had this intent. Historians often dwell on the two women who, through the 2nd Duke of Norfolk, found themselves as Henry VIII's queens, and the other, who produced some of his illegitimate children, but it may be said that without the cleverness, patience and political acumen of Thomas Howard the elder and the younger, neither would have worn their crown, nor indeed, would the family have risen from the ashes like a phoenix of lore. (Read more.)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Anne's World

From Victoria:
Generations of girls have enjoyed the heartwarming tales of Anne Shirley, better known as Anne of Green Gables. Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery drew upon her own childhood experiences to create the stories, which take place in the fictional village of Avonlea, inspired by the true-life community of Cavendish, Prince Edward Island. The picturesque area holds many wonderful sights to explore; here are a few of our favorite spots. Montgomery often visited her cousins at their farm near Cavendish. The Green Gables Heritage Place commemorates the site of the iconic house featured in the books about her beloved protagonist, “Anne with an e.” The home is open for tours, and it is decorated as it appeared at the time of the author’s stays. (Read more.)

Anglo-Saxon Nobility

From English Historical Fiction Authors:
Whatever the truth of the matter, it is clear that by the tenth-century the thegns were subordinate to the king's thegns and to the ealdormen, and that the gesith was no longer engaged in active service for the king.

One distinction between the gesith and the thegn was that of age; the thegn was a young man, the gesith more mature. Initially the thegn was not a powerful man, the term sometimes merely denoting a servant, albeit one who was free. By the tenth-century, however, ‘thegn’ had taken on a more specialised meaning. The law codes of the period show us something of how the thegns had become more important as servants of the king. They were given the responsibility of helping the king to ensure that the church was observing its rules:

"And I and my thegns shall compel our priests to that which the pastors of our souls direct us (clerical celibacy)." [2]

It is also clear that the thegns now had their own class, with a recognisable rank:

“And my thegns are to have their dignity in my time as they had in my father’s.” [3]

Anglo-Saxon society was not a static one. Thegnship had developed as a class of its own, but this did not mean that one had to be born into that class to belong to it. (Read more.)