Sunday, November 19, 2017

A New Product

Introducing Grotto Facial Beauty Cleanser, a facial scrub I created out of natural ingredients* for women over thirty-five. The restorative formula is designed to help diminish signs of aging, as well as revive the skin's suppleness and softness, with regular use. The cleanser is meant to precede the Midnight Bouquet and Morning Bouquet** facial creams, creating a more complete beauty experience. Trianon Bouquet Beauty Products are inspired by Queen Marie-Antoinette, who loved her gardens at Petit Trianon, and was known to have beauty products made from her own herbs and flowers. The Queen loved to relax in the coolness of the Grotto. Please use only as directed. Free shipping. Purchase HERE.

*Natural ingredients may vary in color and consistency.
**We are currently sold out of the Morning Bouquet Facial Treatment but will restock our shelves soon. Share

The New Normal

From Return to Order:
In the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary entry for normal, we find the following: “according with, constituting, or not deviating from a standard, rule, or principle.” How does this line up with our previous examples? It is not upholding a standard to begin consuming human flesh, though the practice may become commonplace. It is not in accord with an upright rule or principle to engage in pedophilia, even if it gains cultural acceptance.

Mass shootings now seem so commonplace, especially compared with the past. Does that make them normal? Again, commonality does not equate to normality. The standards, rules and principles of our society have been eroded. People no longer know what normal is supposed to be, and thus conclude that whatever is happening now must be the “new” one. It’s high time we admit there is something fundamentally wrong with the course of events. All avenues must be pursued to counteract the problem. Such a task is not easy. It seems as if the tears from one tragedy aren’t yet dry when another follows right behind. (Read more.)
Share

Something is Wrong on the Internet

From Medium:
I’ve also been aware for some time of the increasingly symbiotic relationship between younger children and YouTube. I see kids engrossed in screens all the time, in pushchairs and in restaurants, and there’s always a bit of a Luddite twinge there, but I am not a parent, and I’m not making parental judgments for or on anyone else. I’ve seen family members and friend’s children plugged into Peppa Pig and nursery rhyme videos, and it makes them happy and gives everyone a break, so OK. But I don’t even have kids and right now I just want to burn the whole thing down.

Someone or something or some combination of people and things is using YouTube to systematically frighten, traumatise, and abuse children, automatically and at scale, and it forces me to question my own beliefs about the internet, at every level. Much of what I am going to describe next has been covered elsewhere, although none of the mainstream coverage I’ve seen has really grasped the implications of what seems to be occurring. (Read more.)
Share

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Planning Thanksgiving

With some help from Victoria:
Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, nineteenth-century author and magazine editor, campaigned for more than three decades to have Thanksgiving recognized nationwide. She wrote a letter to President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, urging him to secure the “permanency and unity” of its commemoration. When the final Thursday of November was officially declared a time of gratitude for our country’s bounty, its intermittent regional observance was already cultivating a rich culinary tradition. (Read more.)
And here are some favorite dishes:
Although the turkey often gets the most attention during holiday-menu planning, the trimmings can bring just as much harvest flavor to your celebration. Fresh and delicious, these unforgettable sides might just steal the spotlight on your Thanksgiving table. From the hearty Winter Squash-and-Mushroom Medley to warm Brown Butter Rosemary Yeast Rolls, these delectable dishes are certain to have guests asking for more. (Read more.)
Share

The Brave New World of Trial by Media

The same struggles on either side of the pond. From Conservative Woman:
The truth is, though, that the feminist zealots determined to wage this dialectical male-privilege gender struggle are but a small group of privileged women. They occupy positions of extraordinary power and influence and, under the gaze of the media, pretend to speak for all women.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Just as the majority of MPs are grossly out of touch with the people on Brexit, these ‘feminist’ MPs and Parliamentary staff are grossly out of touch with the majority of British women, only 7 per cent of whom would describe themselves as feminists. Many of the rest are horrified by the apparently self-serving obsession of some of the privileged women to have found their way to the top of the Parliamentary tree.

The danger now is that those in charge of Parliamentary discipline will capitulate to knee-jerk solutions. Engulfed by the media storm, they feel they have to do something – anything – to signal to the baying, illiberal progressive media that they are not dinosaurs. Under pressure to say that they are ‘taking steps to ensure this will never happen again’, they appear too afraid to tell the truth: that the reaction has been hysterical, out of proportion; that conflating flirtation and behavioural lapses with serious harassment and assault risks trivialising the latter. (Read more.)
Share

The Old Patagonian Express

From Reid's Reader:
In reading The Old Patagonian Express, it is wise to remember that it was written 40 years ago, and some of the political situations to which it refers have passed away. (For example, Theroux conspicuously avoids visiting Nicaragua, because a civil war was then raging there, and the Argentina he visits was still the Argentina of the junta).

So what are the pleasures of reading (or listening to) this book?

Much is the simple pleasure of decription as the various trains pass through barren deserts, or have Theroux gasping in the thin air as they cross the Andes, or allow him to see the wide reaches of the pampas. Much is the pleasure or surprise of the unexpected spectacular event, such as the football match in El Salvador which turns into a full-scale riot. In terms of human habitation, it is not always a pretty world that Theroux observes. From Mexico to Patagonia, there are many descriptions of urban slums, sprawling squatter camps outside the cities, naked and unwashed children begging and an indifferent (but much smaller) affluent class often living in what amount to gated communities. Nor does Theroux stint on recording the run-down quality of most Latin American trains and their discomfort, or the type of accommodation provided by rat-infested or flea-infested hotels. In short, there is much human squalor in this book. (Read more.)
Share

Friday, November 17, 2017

"C'est Mon Ami" and "Portrait Charmant"


 Although it is fairly well-known that Marie-Antoinette loved music, studying under both Gluck and the famous Chevalier de Saint-Georges, many people are surprised to learn that she composed her own tunes. This is at odds with the typical image of the Queen as being a thoughtless playgirl. She also wrote poetry and spoke Italian. She was not an intellectual, but she was very bright, contrary to the myths. She composed several songs, the most famous being "C'est mon ami" ("My Friend"). Here are the lyrics of "C'est mon ami" by Jean Pierre Claris de Florian:
"C'est mon ami"

Ah s'il est dans votre village
Un berger sensible et charmant
Qu'on chérisse au premier moment
Qu'on aime ensuite davantage

C'est mon ami
Rendez-le moi
J'ai son amour
Il a ma foi

Si par sa voix douce et plaintive
Il charme l'écho de vos bois
Si les accents de son hautbois
Rendent la bergère pensive

C'est encore lui
Rendez-le-moi
J'ai son amour
Il a ma foi

Si même n'osant rien vous dire
Son seul regard sait attendrir
Si sans jamais faire rougir
Sa gaité fait toujours sourire

C'est encore lui
Rendez-le-moi
J'ai son amour
Il a ma foi

Si passant près de sa chaumière
Le pauvre en voyant son troupeau
Ose demander un agneau
Et qu'il obtienne encore la mère

Oh c'est bien lui
Rendez-le moi
J'ai son amour
Il a ma foi.
Translation :
Ah, if there is in your village, a sensitive and charming shepherd, whom we cherish at the first moment, and whom we later love more, he is my friend, give him back to me, I have his love, he has my faith.

If with his sweet and plaintive voice, he charms your forests' echoes, if the accents of his oboe makes the shepherdess thinking, it's him again...

If even not daring to tell you anything, his look only can move you, if never making you blush, his cheerfulness makes you always smile, it's him again...

If passing by next to his cottage, the poor seeing his flock, dares to ask for a lamb,a nd that he obtains the mother also, Oh yes it's him...

 Marie Antoinette completely composed "Portrait Charmant", music and lyrics, probably in honor of the Princesse de Lamballe. It is an example of the extremely florid and gushing language she used with her close friends and family. This is also typical of her era, and we cannot impose the same meanings to the words as they might have for us today. The song was written when she was barely out of her teens and still missing her family in Austria, most of whom she would never see again.
"Portrait Charmant"

Portait charmant, portait de mon amie
Gage d'amour par l'amour obtenu
Ah viens m'offrir le bien que j'ai perdu
Te voir encore me rappelle à la vie.

Oui les voilà ses traits, ses traits que j'aime
Son doux regard, son maintien, sa candeur
Lorsque ma main te presse sur mon coeur
Je crois encore la presser elle-même

Non tu n'as pas pour moi les mêmes charmes
Muet témoin de nos tendres soupirs
En retraçant nos fugitifs plaisirs
Cruel portrait, tu fais couler mes larmes

Pardonne-moi mon injuste langage
Pardonne aux cris de ma vive douleur
Portait charmant, tu n'es pas le bonheur
Mais bien souvent tu m'en offres l'image.
Translation:
Charming portrait, portait of my friend
Token of love, by love obtained
Ah come and give me back the good I have lost
To see you again brings me back to life

Yes here they are, her features, her features I love
Her sweet looks, her bearing, her ingenuousness
When I press you to my heart
I think I still embrace her herself.

No you don't have to me the same charms
Silent witness of our tender sighs
By recounting our fleeting pleasures
Cruel portrait, you make my tears fall.

Forgive me for my unfair language
Forgive the cries of my bitter woe
Charming portait, you are not happiness
But so often you give me the image of it.

Share

Our Secular Theodicy

From First Things:
The word “communism” needs to be used now, but it is misleading, and Bloch is partly responsible. Up until the late fifties, he was a supporter of both the Soviet regime and the German Democratic Republic (he fled East Germany for Tübingen in 1961, just as the Berlin Wall was being built). He called the Soviet Union of the 1930s “an achievement about which one can say with all one’s heart, yes, yes, yes,” and his defense of the show trials is obscene. Yet he never joined the Communist Party, and his writings placed him under its constant suspicion and occasional surveillance.

It was the religious dimension of Bloch’s thought that did so. It was apparent from his first book, The Spirit of Utopia, and led to the straining of friendships with Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and Louis Althusser, mandarins of what would be known as Western Marxism. Bloch’s use of Marx was selective and unorthodox. When he drew directly from Marx, it was not from the late “scientific” works of political economy like Capital, but from early letters that spoke romantically of humanity’s “dream” for a better life. This was Marx’s translation of Feuerbach’s projection theory of religion. Where the earlier thinker saw the Christian idea of God as the screen onto which we projected our intuition about human fulfillment, Marx cast that projection forward as the end of history. Bloch’s communism, if it should be called that, therefore verges on the mystical. He envisions a “communism of love” as the eschatological completion of our spiritual, not economic, development. (Read more.)
Share