Sunday, February 25, 2018

Life in the Time of Margaret Beaufort

From author Judith Arnopp at Myths, Legends, Books, and Coffee Pots:
Even for the era she was born into, Margaret’s upbringing was remarkable. During her infancy, her father, John Beaufort, Earl and later Duke, of Somerset, took his own life while awaiting the pleasure of the increasingly unstable/inefficient King Henry VI. Margaret became the ward of one of the most powerful men of his day, William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk (later Marquis and Duke) but she was allowed to remain in the home of her mother, Margaret Beauchamp, at least for the first decade of her life. She was just eight years old when Suffolk, taking advantage of Margaret’s wealth and status, married her to his young son, John, but since neither had yet reached their teens, the marriage remained unconsummated. Suffolk’s subsequent disgrace with the king and his ignoble death saw the marriage hastily annulled and Margaret’s future placed in the hands of the king, Henry VI.

Margaret’s early years were spent learning the graces required of an heiress of high status. We know she was well educated, more than one historian noting that her French was ‘first rate’ but it is unlikely she would have mastered many of the required skills by the time of her second marriage at approximately eleven years of age. It is my feeling that her education continued long after she left the schoolroom at Bletsoe. Margaret set great store on knowledge and in later life endowed many places of learning. After she was married to the half-brother of the king, Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond she accompanied him to a wild and unstable Wales. She would have needed to learn hard and fast, with lessons in politics and survival taking precedence over languages. (Read more.)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The New Winter Queen

Elizabeth Stuart
A whisky is named for the granddaughter of Mary Queen of Scots. From The Edinburgh Reporter:
Fusion Whisky Director Graham Langley said: “Elizabeth’s story is a superb one, and certainly deserving of a wider audience. Our Winter Queen whisky serves to honour this forgotten Scottish princess and to bring greater awareness to her remarkable life and influence.”

Dr Nadine Akkerman of Leiden University is the leading authority on Elizabeth Stuart. She said: “More politically cunning than her grandmother, Mary, Queen of Scots, and more belligerent than her godmother, Elizabeth I, she never relinquished the title Queen of Bohemia, even though she spent upwards of forty years in exile in The Hague after but a year in Prague.” Dr Akkerman said that the thousands of letters Elizabeth wrote to statesmen and stateswomen, generals, lieutenants, ambassadors and other diplomats, showed the complex, witty and influential character of Elizabeth, whom history has largely overlooked.

The Winter Queen is the third character-led blend of international whisky launched by the company who work in collaboration with Adelphi. (Read more.)

Colorado and Legalized Pot

From The Oklahoman:
Visitors to Colorado remark about a new agricultural smell, the wafting odor of pot as they drive near warehouse grow operations along Denver freeways. Residential neighborhoods throughout Colorado Springs reek of marijuana, as producers fill rental homes with plants.

Five years of retail pot coincide with five years of a homelessness growth rate that ranks among the highest rates in the country. Directors of homeless shelters, and people who live on the streets, tell us homeless substance abusers migrate here for easy access to pot. Five years of Big Marijuana ushered in a doubling in the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana, based on research by the pro-legalization Denver Post.

Five years of commercial pot have been five years of more marijuana in schools than teachers and administrators ever feared. "An investigation by Education News Colorado, Solutions and the I-News Network shows drug violations reported by Colorado's K-12 schools have increased 45 percent in the past four years, even as the combined number of all other violations has fallen," explains an expose on escalating pot use in schools by Rocky Mountain PBS in late 2016. (Read more.)

Fatherlessness and Violence

From PJ Media:
Yet, despite the growing number of experts, pundits and commentators drawing attention to the impact of fatherlessness on school and community safety, the post-attack discussion inevitably reverts back to gun control. Instead of spending so much as fifteen minutes on fatherlessness we are forced to endure the same salacious headlines, the same provocative tweets, the same tired old memes about the evils of guns as if somehow a cold piece of metal convinced yet another boy to become a mass-murderer. We ignore the lack of adequate mental health services, the failure of law enforcement to effectively intercede, and the sickening impact fatherlessness has on each one of these tragic cases. Why? Because it is easier to ban a hunk of metal than it is to right systemic cultural wrongs. (Read more.)

Friday, February 23, 2018

More French Beauty Secrets

Madame de Polignac
From the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog:
The second French beauty tip I noticed after moving to France was  that Parisian woman are not thoroughly put together like some of us  Americans. Save for the rather aristocratic ladies who wear matching  designer suits, scarves, bags and shoes, most French women mix and match  to achieve an effortless look. This advice, ironically enough, comes  straight from Chanel herself. She once said, "Before you leave the  house, take one accessory off your body." This is a fine line. Simplistic elegance is the key – but so is accessorizing:
  • For those of you who never put on a necklace or a belt, or have  worn the same studs in your ears everyday for the last few years, think  about introducing a long strand of pearls with a navy blazer, tee and  jeans.
  • For those of you who align yourselves more with Elizabeth Taylor, try focusing on one main eye-attracting accessory at a time.
  • If you've got gorgeous earrings, leave the necklace at home.
  • If you have a busy patterned dress, forgo other accessories except for perhaps a few bangles.
  • Less is more. (Read more.)

When Will the Shooting Stop?

From Return to Order:
The gun control debate has reignited with the recent Florida shooting. Despite the passionate commentaries on all sides, no one seems to be able to answer the question of when the shootings will stop. As much as liberal media want to blame guns, police or government, this is a moral problem. It involves the acts of an individual who committed monstrous crimes for which he is responsible. As much as others might wish to blame a decadent culture, the nihilistic nature of these dark crimes signal a much deeper problem that strikes at the foundation of modern society. The liberal order that has long dominated American society is falling apart. As it crumbles, it is creating monsters. The appearance of these shooter-monsters is an ominous harbinger of this disintegration. (Read more.)
From The Federalist:
 The correlation between public school environments and the deteriorating mental health of children has been intensifying for decades. We ought to consider how these settings serve as incubators for the social alienation that can fuel such horrors. First, consider how common it is for a public high school today to house thousands of teenagers for most of their waking hours for four solid years. (More than 3,000 students attend the Florida school where the most recent shooting took place.) During their time in that maze, kids learn to “socialize,” basically by finding their place in a school’s hierarchy of cliques. This sort of pecking order dynamic tends to breed resentment, status anxiety, and social dysfunction. Combine that with the toxic effects of social media and family breakdown, and you’ve got a deadly brew. Public schooling is increasingly unhealthy for kids’ emotional stability. Let us count the ways. (Read more.)

Amateur Astronomers

From Atlas Obscura:
Last week, an amateur astronomer named Scott Tilley made headlines after finding a NASA satellite that had been lost for over a decade. The IMAGE satellite, which was meant to study the magnetosphere, was launched in 2000, and lost contact with Earth back in 2005. Tilley, who uses radio equipment to track objects whose orbits are undisclosed, rediscovered it on January 20, while looking for something completely different.

By finding IMAGE, Tilley has returned an important instrument to NASA’s interstellar toolbox. But he’s also added himself to a long-standing pantheon. Ever since the first satellites were launched, amateur astronomers have played a vital role in keeping tabs on them. In fact, when the Soviet satellite Sputnik I took the United States by surprise in October of 1957, legions of practiced volunteers were ready to track it, armed only with enthusiasm, low-power telescopes, and a good sense of timing.

These volunteers were part of Operation Moonwatch, a massive citizen science project started by Fred Whipple, then the director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Whipple dreamed up the project to coincide with the 1957-1958 International Geophysical Year (IGY), during which scientists around the globe worked with and against each other to learn more about how our planet is composed. As part of the IGY, the United States and the Soviet Union both planned to launch the world’s first artificial satellites. (Read more.)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Blessed Pius IX and Canonization

From Aleteia:
Pope Pius IX (1792-1878) died 140 years ago, at the end of the longest pontificate in the history of the Church with the exception of St. Peter: 32 years. (Peter was likely martyred in the year 64 or 67, meaning his pontificate lasted 34 or 37 years. John Paul II, with 26 years on Peter’s Throne, is the third longest-reigning pope.) Reigning at the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, in 1854, and during the rise of devotion to the Sacred Heart, Pius IX, as the 255th pope, was also the last sovereign of the Papal States, which disappeared in 1870 — except for the tiny Vatican State, established in 1929. His pontificate, inaugurated in 1846, was also the occasion of a new missionary impulse, recalled Bishop Liberati: 133 episcopal seats and 50 apostolic vicariates were created as mission territories.

Pius IX also convened the First Vatican Council, which defined papal infallibility. Rather liberal at the beginning of his pontificate, Pius IX is also known for his condemnation of 80 modern errors in the Syllabus, in 1864, which rejects rationalism, socialism, and also the idea that all religions are equal. According to Bishop Liberati, Freemasons opposed his canonization because the pontiff had also condemned the participation of Catholics in Masonic lodges, with the apostolic exhortation Multiplices Inter in 1865. (Read more.)