Sunday, October 23, 2016

Porches and Pumpkins

From Southern Lady:
For this look, channel a farmhouse feel with a dose of feminine flair. A wreath made from fall leaves sets the scene, and towering cornstalks give prominence to the small-space display. Fill in with stacked pumpkins, potted plants, and baskets filled with pinecones, saving a few cones to string over the doorway with burlap and grapevine cascading in dainty curls. Get creative with signs of the season’s harvest, such as a wreath made from colored cornhusks. Use woven-look planters and hay bales as an easy way to incorporate levels. Or emphasize a clean black-and-white palette with sleek ebony lanterns on a whitewashed porch. A profusion of orange and green pumpkins along the entrance enhances the contrast and offers a festive October welcome. (Read more.)

Trump's "Gettysburg Address"

Every voting American should listen to Trump's speech. From NewsMax:
GOP nominee Donald Trump Saturday outlined an ambitious plan for his first 100 days in office, saying on the first day alone he has several steps he plans to take to end Washington's corruption. "One thing we all know is that we will never solve our problems by relying on the same politicians who created these problems in the first place," Trump said to a supportive, cheering audience in historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. "Hillary Clinton is not running against me, she's running against change. And she's running against all of the American people and all of the American voters."

It's time to for Americans to "dream big" once again, said Trump, outlining in what he called a "contract between Donald J. Trump and the American voter," that begins with "bringing honesty, accountability and change to Washington, D.C."

The first six measures, Trump said, will be "immediately" pursued on his first day of his first term in office to "clean up the corruption and special interests collusion in Washington." Trump said he would institute:
  • "A Constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress;
  • A hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition, exempting military public safety and public health;
  • A requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated. Regulations are killing our country and our jobs. Fourth, a five-year ban on white house and congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service.
  • A lifetime ban on white house officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government;
  • A complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections. That's what's happening."
Also on the same day, Trump said he will begin taking "and really taking strongly" seven actions to protect American workers. (Read more.)

A Rare Collection Of Shakespeare's Works

From Our World Mysteries:
William Shakespeare’s First Folio —the Bard of Avon’s first collected edition of 38 plays, published in 1623, shortly after his death —is among the world’s rarest and most valued books. Without it, we might not have ever known “Macbeth.” Now, a previously unknown copy has turned up in a Gothic mansion. The folio was discovered in the collection of the Mount Stuart house, on Scotland’s Isle of Bute, and it has been authenticated by Emma Smith, a professor of Shakespeare at the University of Oxford. [History’s 10 Most Overlooked Mysteries]

At the time of Shakespeare’s death, at age 52 in 1616, only about half of his plays had been published. They typically appeared in quartos, which were small stand-alone editions that could be printed cheaply. Then in 1623, John Heminges and Henry Condell —who were part of the King’s Men acting troupe —collected Shakespeare’s comedies, histories and tragedies for a large-format folio edition.

Had the First Folio never been published, more than half of Shakespeare’s plays might have been lost to history. “Julius Caesar,” “Twelfth Night,” “The Taming of the Shrew” and 15 other plays all appear in print for the first time in this collected edition. The First Folio also includes as its frontispiece the Martin Droeshout portrait of Shakespeare, which is considered one of the rare reliable likenesses of the great playwright, as it was approved and published by his friends.

Scholars think that, at most, 750 copies of the First Folio were printed, according to the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. Of those, 234 are known to have survived, including the newly authenticated version. Slight differences in each copy are partly blamed on the proofing that happened during printing. According to a statement from Mount Stuart, their version is unusual because it is bound in three volumes, with many pages left blank for illustrations, as well as for annotations and notes from its onetime owner Isaac Reed, who edited versions of Shakespeare’s works in the 18th century.

“This is an exciting discovery because we didn’t know it existed and it was owned by someone who edited Shakespeare in the 18th century,” Smith said in the statement. Reed apparently bought his copy of the First Folio in 1786 and records suggest it was sold after Reed’s death in 1807 for a mere $54. Sometime after that, it ended up in Mount Stuart’s collection. (Read more.)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Scolding, Compassion and Relief

From Jane Austen's Microcosm:
What else could, in Emma’s opinion, lure the labouring classes away from the straight and narrow? The prospect of a mug of ale at the Crown, after an exhausting day? The appeal of idleness? Lust? They must be aware that they can’t afford so many children – but then again, without ‘separate rooms’ … The situation must surely be more complex than that. On her way to the humble cottage, for instance, she explains:
A very narrow income has a tendency to contract the mind, and sour the temper. Those who can barely live, and who live perforce in a very small, and generally very inferior, society, may well be illiberal and cross. This does not apply, however, to Miss Bates.
By her own admission, then, things may not be as simple as they look. Later on she acknowledges that ‘with insufferable vanity had she believed herself in the secret of every body’s feelings; with unpardonable arrogance proposed to arrange every body’s destiny.’

Underpinning the class system was a shared belief that inequality had been ordained by God. Charity mitigated injustice and eased the conscience of the privileged. However condescending, it was much better than being upbraided for your lack of means. As Emma puts it,
I hope it may be allowed that if compassion has produced exertion and relief to the sufferers, it has done all that is truly important. If we feel for the wretched, enough to do all we can for them, the rest is empty sympathy, only distressing to ourselves.
I get the impression that rich and clever Miss Woodhouse might have done better than utter comforting platitudes, give them a coin and a few medicinal or household management tips, or offer a jug of soup. But she’s satisfied with what she reckons she’s achieved. From the very beginning we are warned that she has ‘a disposition to think a little too well of herself.’ On the other hand, she’s young, and caring in her own way. Experience and critical reflection may still broaden her mind.
In 1800, Jane Austen’s friend Mrs Lefroy, the Ashe rector’s wife, set up a straw manufactory, so that women and children could earn a few pence by making mats. And Eliza Chute, whose husband owned The Vyne and represented Hampshire in Parliament, made broth for her villagers and handed out blankets. In September of that year she writes:
The poor are dissatisfied & with reason. I much fear that wheat will not be cheap this year: & every other necessary of life enormously dear: the poor man cannot purchase those comforts he ought to have: beer, bacon, cheese. Can one wonder that discontents lurk in their bosoms: I cannot think their wages sufficient, & the pride of a poor man ( & why should we [not] allow him some pride) is hurt, when he is obliged to apply to the parish for relief & too often receives harsh answers from the overseers.
(Read more.)

Abortion Demeans Women

Abortion has nothing to do with empowering women. It has everything to do with reducing them to objects of pleasure, who can be forced to have an abortion when the men in their lives do not want to be bothered with a child. From Life Site:
Thanks to the advent of the birth control pill and contraception, sex has turned into a recreational activity. Men and women engage in it, while floating in and out of relationships. Both sexes use each other in the promiscuous lifestyle made possible by birth control. When the contraceptives fail or are not used, women can become pregnant when they did not plan to be. Having enjoyed sexual relations without the worry of fathering an unwanted child, some men lose their minds when they learn they got a woman pregnant. Such men may threaten to leave their pregnant women altogether, unless they procure an abortion. Women can be caught in this dilemma if they wish to keep their babies. The love these mothers want so badly to experience is conditional on there being no children in the picture. If the mothers resist the pressure to abort, then they could be left to raise their children alone. Deadbeat dads often try to wash their hands of any responsibility for their own flesh and blood. Rather than helping women to fulfill their creative potential, abortion allows men to manipulate women into squashing it. (Read more.)

Our "Maybe" Culture

From Fathers for Good:
Chesterton reminds us that true love by its nature desires to make vows. If you do not know yourself well enough to make this kind of appointment with the future, then you should not get married. If you are not certain that this is the person with whom you want to have children and grow old together, stay away from sex. Keeping your options open should not include destroying someone else’s future.
In today’s climate of hostility toward vows of any kind, it takes good friendships, healing, support, accompaniment, and growth in virtue to make these kinds of binding decisions. Now as a married couple, my husband and I try to provide help and guidance for those who are planning their future. You also can be someone young couples seek out for assistance. (Read more.)

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Scottish Sanctuary

From Victoria:
Mere minutes from central Edinburgh, secreted away from the bustle and tourist traffic of the Royal Mile and nearby high streets, Prestonfield stands at the end of a quiet, tree-lined lane. The centuries-old Scottish estate was reborn in 2003 as an exclusive hotel decorated with sumptuous fabrics, fine art, and heirloom antiques.

Edinburgh, Scotland, is often counted among Europe’s most breathtaking destinations. Its grand stone castle is perched high upon a central promontory—a regal presence presiding over the city. Centuries of history unfold on streets that radiate from the majestic structure. Nearby, within secluded gardens on the fringe of the urban district, imposing gates frame a grand hotel. Built in 1687 as the manse of the Lord Provost, the baroque-style house was restored in 2003 under the vision and artistic eye of owner James Thomson as the exclusive Prestonfield. The renovation focused on reviving the character of the ancient property and reestablishing its distinctive appeal. (Read more.)


The Clinton Russia Fiction

What's really going on. From Forbes:
The Clinton Campaign and the Obama Administration are presenting the American people a cynical political charade regarding Russia and Vladimir Putin, with most of the media playing the Greek Chorus. What is so remarkable is that in order to accept what Clinton is now saying about Putin and Russia means having to ignore the previous seven years of Clinton’s and Obama’s accommodation of the man and country they now insist is a national security threat.

This list of national security compromising appeasements that Obama and Clinton handed Putin is very long, but here are some highlights:

In 2009, Obama and Clinton abandoned strategic U.S. allies Poland and the Czech Republic by withdrawing newly placed missile defense systems from their respective nations. The ostensible reason for the defenses was to protect our allies from Iranian missiles, but the Czechs and the Poles saw it as a relationship with the U.S. that would provide them with added security against a Russian invasion similar to what had just happened in the nation of Georgia, and what subsequently happened in Ukraine. (Read more.)