Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Art Of “I Love You”

From The Blog of the Courtier:
Roslin was born in Malmö, the city in Sweden now famous as a major international business and design center, but in 1718 not much more than a tiny provincial town of a couple of thousand people. He moved to Stockholm in his teens to study painting, and his career might have remained that of a provincial Swedish painter had he not been given the opportunity to travel and study in Germany and Italy. Then in 1752, Roslin moved to Paris, where he met a young lady named Marie-Suzanne Giroust (1734-1772).

Giroust was an orphan from a comfortably well-off, conservative family of artisans, whose father had been jeweler to the King of France. She used her inheritance to study art, and it was while she was taking classes in pastel drawing from Joseph-Marie Vien (1716-1809), later the official court painter to Louis XVI, that she met Roslin at Vien’s studio in The Louvre. The two immediately fell in love, but Giroust’s bourgeois family refused to allow her to marry Roslin: he was from a poor family, he was a foreigner, and he was a Protestant.

It took seven years for Giroust to wear down her guardians, but eventually she succeeded, in part due to the intervention of the Count of Caylus, Roslin’s main artistic patron, and the Swedish Ambassador, who agreed to witness their marriage contract in 1759. This combination of persistence on behalf of the couple, and persuasion on behalf of the higher-ups, eventually convinced Giroust’s family that this would be a respectable marriage. She and Roslin went on to have six children together, 3 boys and 3 girls.

“The Lady With The Veil”, which is in the National Museum in Sweden, was painted by Roslin in 1768. It shows a lady dressed “à la Bolognaise”, the style then fashionable in the Italian city of Bologna. The lady’s head, shoulders, and part of her face are covered by a voluminous, black satin veil, which has led some art historians to speculate that it was painted during Carnival or Lent.
Despite her somber overlay, it is hard to imagine a more feminine and charming image of a lady. The subject of this picture is smiling and blushing at someone over to her left. Even though we can only see one of her eyes, the one that we can see is obviously twinkling at the object of her gaze. Whoever it is, she clearly has a soft spot for them, but it is actually the fan that tells us who she is looking at. (Read more.)

Men and Loneliness

From The Boston Globe:
Beginning in the 1980s, Schwartz says, study after study started showing that those who were more socially isolated were much more likely to die during a given period than their socially connected neighbors, even after you corrected for age, gender, and lifestyle choices like exercising and eating right. Loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke and the progression of Alzheimer’s. One study found that it can be as much of a long-term risk factor as smoking. 

The research doesn’t get any rosier from there. In 2015, a huge study out of Brigham Young University, using data from 3.5 million people collected over 35 years, found that those who fall into the categories of loneliness, isolation, or even simply living on their own see their risk of premature death rise 26 to 32 percent. Now consider that in the United States, nearly a third of people older than 65 live alone; by age 85, that has jumped to about half. Add all of this up, and you can see why the surgeon general is declaring loneliness to be a public health epidemic. (Read more.)

A Catholic Code of Charity in Communications

And this goes for Facebook, too! From Vultus Christi:
No one can deny that blogs, forums, and various social networks, all of which have an immense potential for good, can become hotbeds of the sins of gossip, detraction, calumny, rash judgment, scandal-mongering, and discourtesy. Is it not time to formulate an international CCCC, a Catholic Code of Charity in Communications? Perhaps someone with the prestige of a Father Z, or the giftedness of our friends at OnePeterFive could get behind such a proposal and effectively launch it.
So-called “Catholic” internet venues can become a near occasion of sin when writers allows themselves to discuss, analyze, and magnify the lapses, weaknesses, and sins of others. Even an occasional perusal of “Catholic” blogs and website reveals —often in the comments— examples of a wanton lack of charity, of bitter sarcasm, and of razor–like innuendo.  Such things do not build up the Body of Christ. Does not Saint Paul present us with the standard of Catholic blogging?
For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, blog on these things (Philippians 4:8).
Once formulated, a a Catholic Code of Charity in Communications could be proposed to every blog, forum, discussion group, and social network of Catholic interest. Those responsible for the same would be invited to make a public online commitment to support and uphold the CCCC. The commitment would encompass all that appears on a given internet venue, including the comments posted. (Read more.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Caroline, Duchesse de Berry, in Mourning

Caroline of Naples was a remarkable  woman who is one of the heroines in  my novel, Madame Royale. Here is an account of her remarkable life. To quote:
Princess Maria Carolina Ferdinanda Luisa of Naples and Sicily was born on November 5, 1798 at the Palace of Caserta in Naples. She was the eldest child of Francis, Hereditary Prince of Naples and Archduchess Maria Clementina of Austria. The young princess was named after her paternal grandparents, King Ferdinand IV and III of Naples and Sicily and Archduchess Maria Carolina of Austria. Her father, Francis, was the eldest surviving son of the King of Naples and Sicily while her mother was the tenth child of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor and Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain. Francis and Maria Clementina were double first cousins and although the couple was engaged in 1790, they weren’t married until June 26, 1797 due to the chaotic Napoleonic wars plaguing the Italian peninsula. The cousins were both twenty years old when they wed in a rather modest ceremony at Foggia. Despite the fact that Maria Clementina’s features were scarred by smallpox, she was a dignified and proud woman with a kind heart and a substantial education. The couple’s relationship was rather uncommon for the time, as Maria Clementina was the dominant partner in the relationship. She controlled her less intelligent and easy-going husband but Francis didn’t seem to care about his wife’s influence over him; according to his mother, Archduchess Maria Carolina of Austria, “[Francis] adores her in every sense of the word. He says she loves him, and assuredly shows and demands many proofs of love.” Maria Carolina was so shocked by just how much her son loved Maria Clementina that she “asked heaven to calm their over-excited sense by sending them children.” (Read more.)

The Civil War is Here

From Front Page Mag:
It has responded to a lost election by constructing sanctuary cities and states thereby turning a cultural and ideological secession into a legal secession. But while secessionists want to be left alone authoritarians want everyone to follow their laws. The left is an authoritarian movement that wants total compliance with its dictates with severe punishments for those who disobey.

The left describes its actions as principled. But more accurately they are ideological. Officials at various levels of government have rejected the authority of the President of the United States, of Congress and of the Constitution because those are at odds with their radical ideology. Judges have cloaked this rejection in law. Mayors and governors are not even pretending that their actions are lawful.

The choices of this civil war are painfully clear.

We can have a system of government based around the Constitution with democratically elected representatives. Or we can have one based on the ideological principles of the left in which all laws and processes, including elections and the Constitution, are fig leaves for enforcing social justice.
But we cannot have both. (Read more.)

"Can You Hear Me?"

From the Los Angeles Times:
I’ve gotten this call a number of times in recent weeks, at home and at work, and each time I’ve been suckered by the lifelike opening to stay on the line longer than I normally would for a robocall or a telemarketing pitch. It’s only when I realize I’ve heard the exact same thing before that I realize I’m hearing a recording. This is a new and highly sophisticated racket known as the “can you hear me” scam, which involves tricking people into saying yes and using that affirmation to sign people up for stuff they didn’t order. It’s also an indication of what can be expected in the future from scammers and telemarketers as automated “conversational agents,” or chatbots, play an increasingly large role in interacting with humans. I’ve spoken with a number of experts in the field, and they all say natural-speech technology is advancing so quickly that it may be only a few years until we won’t be able to tell if we’re speaking with a machine. (Read more.)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Medal of Charles X

Here is a commemorative medal in honor of the coronation of Charles X and the last time a King of France prayed over those suffering from scrofula, which was customary for the anointed monarch. Share

Child Trafficking

More is being revealed about a most pernicious cancer which, like abortion, is eating away at the heart of America. A nation which treats its innocent and helpless little ones in such an infamous manner will not stand for long. I have been hearing about stuff like this for years and years. Trump is finally going to do something about it. From Health Impact News:
In this Buzzsaw interview, filmmaker Sean Stone interviews Tammi Stefano, the Executive Director of The National Safe Child Coalition (NSCC), and exposes much of the corruption happening within Child Protection Services and Family Courts. This might be one of the few interviews currently available on the Internet that gives this much information on the child sex trafficking business that exists in LA County, and across the nation. Tammi Stefano reveals some very shocking information about the child and human trafficking business currently operating in the United States, which is a huge illegal business that brings in more money than the illegal drug trade and illegal arms trade combined.

Tammi Stefano has spent over two decades on front lines fighting for child safety. She understands the emotions of being victimized, having survived a kidnapping in her younger years. Determination was the driving force that prompted her to go undercover to catch a pedophile school teacher. (Read more.)
There is more on this topic from the Free Thought Project [WARNING: Disturbing Content]:
 After President Trump held a press conference last month, in which he detailed his plans to go after the victims of the “human trafficking epidemic,” former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney weighed in on the subject, noting that going after child predators will lead to the downfall of both Republicans and Democrats in the United States — as this problem goes all the way to the top. (Read more.)
Meanwhile, 500 children are missing in Washington, DC in 2017 thus far, according to Anonymous:

More HERE. Share