Thursday, April 26, 2018

A French Obsession

From Jeeves at "Tweedland" the Gentlemen's Club:
A fresh vision and a love for French culture inspired Lillian and Ted Williams, classicists and home restorers, to return an abandoned folie in Normandy, France, to the condition that made the structure a "jewel in a wheat field" during the halcyon days before the French Revolution. The Chateau de Morson, built in 1750 for the Marquis de Morson, is one of the few remaining folies in France. The gentlemen’s getaways were frequently a target for revolutionaries seeking to destroy any lingering symbols of the aristocracy. The folies not ruined by political action have been ravaged by the elements, Lillian Williams notes: "This house was not built to survive 200 years, it was built as a whim." The Chateau de Morson is unusual not only for its survival in the face of adversity, but also for its location in the Normandy countryside–most folies were found on the outskirts of Paris and Bordeaux, perfect locations for city-dwelling gentlemen to escape for an afternoon’s dangerous liaison.

When the Williamses entered the abandoned dwelling in Normandy for the first time, they saw a dramatic parlor with 14-foot ceilings and graceful glass doors overlooking fields of wheat. Struck by the beauty, they instantly decided to purchase the nobleman’s playhouse. "It took us 20 seconds to buy and 10 years to restore it. If we hadn’t bought it, it would have fallen down," Lillian says.

As Americans in France, the Williamses join the ranks of legendary interior designer Elsie de Wolfe and novelist Edith Wharton as Francophile owners of folies. What is taken for granted as a French ruin by many natives is rediscovered as a treasure with the fresh, appreciative eyes of Americans, Lillian observes. "I think the Americans have made their impact," she says. In the American style, the couple also brings the do-it-yourself ethic to the Continent. "We used more of our imagination and less of others’," Lillian explains. The walls are hand-painted and fabrics are selected based on her studies of ceramics and extensive knowledge of 18th-century art and textiles, which she uses to design fabric and wallpaper for the likes of Manuel Canovas. A large amount of the repair and refurbishment work on the manor was completed by Ted Williams. (Read more.)
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Hospitals and Parental Authority

From New York Post:
Texas law gives life-and-death power to hospitals, never mind what families want. In most states, including New York, families are likely to win if they go to court to stop a hospital from pulling the plug. Unfortunately, they don’t know that and get steamrolled by hospital staff. Later, they may regret they didn’t hold out for more time with their child or a rare, unexpected improvement....In 2005, a court gave a Houston hospital the go-ahead to turn off the ventilator keeping baby Sun Hudson alive, over the mother’s objections. In 2017, again with a court’s OK, another Texas hospital cut off life support from 46-year-old Chris Dunn, who was awake and communicative, but descending into organ failure because of pancreatic cancer. His mother pleaded with the judges that the hospital was “trying to play God.” But Texas law gives hospitals that power. (Read more.)
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The Cross Wins in Bavaria

From the BBC:
Premier Markus Söder said crosses should not be seen as religious symbols but as a "clear avowal of our Bavarian identity and Christian values" But opponents said the ruling Christian Social Union (CSU) was trying to score points ahead of October's election amid fears of a rise of the far right. Crosses are compulsory in public school classrooms and courtrooms. The decree, which comes into effect on 1 June, will not affect municipal and federal government buildings in the predominantly Roman Catholic southern state.

"The cross is a fundamental symbol of our Bavarian identity and way of life," Mr Söder said in a statement (in German). "It stands for elemental values ​​such as charity, human dignity and tolerance." He denied the measure violated constitutional rules about religious neutrality and, on Twitter, said he had placed a cross in the lobby of the state chancellery in Munich. (Read more.)
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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Robin's Egg Blue

Also known as "Marie-Antoinette Blue." (Via The Relished Roost.)




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Imposing Polygamy

From The Syrian Observer:
Most Arab countries allow polygamy for men up to four wives, in accordance with Islamic Sharia, which Germany has banned and considers a punishable crime. Mahmoud Afara, who works in a legal advisory office for refugees in Germany, told Enab Baladi that the punishments for marrying more than one woman could include withdrawing the right to asylum or raising the tax limit on normal citizens. The German public prosecutor is studying this month the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the regional administration that exempted two cases, after receiving 30 requests to sue the local administration on the charge of encouraging polygamy. The state justified its acceptance of the family reunification on the grounds that its decisions “do not comprise a general rule and did not support polygamy, and it falls outside its legal capacity to impact marriage rights in other countries.” According to the state’s spokesman Oliver Carstens, the matter is firstly one of the “wellbeing and status of the children.” Afara said that these exceptions are barely noticeable compared with the wave of refugees, and they do not serve as legal permission for more than one wife, but is merely the state “turning a blind eye.” (Read more.)
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Too Many Men?

From The Washington Post:

The gender imbalance could prompt a “crisis of masculinity” as traditional roles are upended and males embrace socially regressive stances to prove their manhood, said Prem Chowdhry, a researcher and social scientist in New Delhi. “People devalue their masculinity. If they remain single, they will be declared not men at all. The basic function of a man in rural society is to have a family and look after that family.” (Read more.)
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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Greatest Showman

A wonderful family film. From Aleteia:
Now, if you are looking for an accurate biography of P.T. Barnum, the great circus promoter, businessman and politician, The Greatest Showman may not be your source. But if you are interested in a beautiful yarn, this musical delivers. In the film, P.T. Barnum was the son of a poor tailor who finds himself falling in love with the daughter of one of his father’s wealthy benefactors. Barnum was of a lower class than his love interest, but what he lacked in wealth he made up for in passion and imagination. The two would wed (to the great disappointment of her father) and Barnum would be haunted by a sense of ashamed inferiority for the rest of his life.

In short order, Barnum was married with two young daughters and out of work. He was enamored with exotic animals, daring feats and human oddities. As a result, he would take out a loan, hire a motley crue of medical misfits, animal handlers, trapeze artists and start up a circus. With astounding costumes, remarkable acrobatics, and the glee that can only come with the wonders of a circus, Barnum’s dreams come true. And with it comes a subtle sense of dignity for a fiercely outcast group of “freaks” now paid and lauded for their aberrations. But as his success would grow, Barnum would find himself torn in many unforgiving directions: a need for financial success to secure his family, a desire to outdo himself with bigger and better acts, and perhaps most unfortunately, a craving for respect from a higher class that Barnum felt couldn’t help looking down their noses at him. It’s as if his fervent desires become almost embodied in one of the peak songs from the opera singer, Never Enough. Ultimately, however, in the maelstrom of Barnum’s feverish desires, tragedy strikes. His family feels abandoned, his employees feel betrayed, his plan for acceptability falters and his circus is burned to the ground. This is where I saw the true magic of The Greatest Showman. (Read more.)
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Casting Out Demons

From Church Militant:
In Rome, exorcists-in-training are being primed for Muslim requests for the rite. At a Regina Apostolorum University conference on exorcism this week, veterans of the rite have instructed students to be ready for Muslims asking for spiritual help.           

Several speakers testified to their own experiences. Albanian Cdl. Ernest Simoni told attendees that over the course of his decades-long ministry, many Muslims have sought him out for help battling the diabolical. He said he honors these requests, noting that "Jesus came for everyone." (Read more.)
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