The Thinking 

Queen, Not Feminist

January 12, 2017


1852: Queen Victoria of Great Britain (1819 - 1901). Original Artist: By T H Maquire. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

1852: Queen Victoria of Great Britain (1819 – 1901)

“I AM most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join in checking this mad, wicked folly of ‘Women’s Rights’, with all its attendant horrors, on which her poor feeble sex is bent, forgetting every sense of womanly feelings and propriety. Feminists ought to get a good whipping. Were woman to ‘unsex’ themselves by claiming equality with men, they would become the most hateful, heathen and disgusting of beings, and would surely perish without male protection.”

—-  Queen Victoria, 1870 Read More »


“The Snowman”

January 12, 2017

The Yard and Wash House, Carl Larsson

The Yard and Wash House, Carl Larsson

ERICH W. KORNGOLD, originally from Austria, reportedly wrote his lovely ballet “Der Schneeman,” or “The Snowman,” at the mere age of 11. Listen to it here. Perhaps your children, close in age to Korngold himself when he composed this, will understand its evocation of the sadly short-lived snow-friend. What a beautiful, dreamy piece this is, as beautiful as a snowy day.

Doesn’t it make you want to sit by a window and watch as snowflakes — those magical, many-sided crystals viciously maligned in recent comparisons to the immature and mentally unstable — fall by the millions to the snow-hungry earth? Don’t listen to what they say. There is no comparison — none — between a human being with all our faults and a snowflake, which is artistic perfection un-ruined. Same goes with a snowman, whose personality has zero faults and is not subject to Original Sin in the slightest. Except in his capacity to evaporate. As Korngold sweetly shows in musical terms.

More on the brilliant and widely forgotten Korngold (1897-1957) from a music blogger:

“Korngold is mostly remembered now as a pioneer in film scores. His 1938 soundtrack to The Adventures of Robin Hood won an Academy Award, and he cranked out many more during his time in Hollywood. However, it seems like he got tired of film scores. He stopped writing them in 1946, and returned to composing the romantic style of music he had worked on before leaving Austria.

Unfortunately, by the late 1940s that style was no longer popular, and in the years following his death in 1957, critics tended to greet Korngold’s work with a bit of a shrug, which I think is pretty sad. Rewind to 1910, when composers like Strauss and Mahler were praising the 12-year-old as the next big thing, and his ballet The Snowman was being performed for the Austrian Emperor…it doesn’t seem fair that his career should be looked upon as if it were one of my pathetically deformed snowmen.” Source



Erich W. Korngold



January 12, 2017



Sgt. Elor Azaria with his parents and supporters

HE’S A HERO to many in Israel. Sgt. Elor Azaria, an Israeli army medic, was tried for manslaughter after a video recorded him shooting a Palestinian assailant prone on the ground, already incapacitated by gunshot wounds. Azaria, 19 at the time of the incident, was convicted this month, but many Israelis, including the prime minister, refuse to accept the ruling of the military court and are hailing him as victim or even hero.

The incident occurred on 24 March, 2016 when Abdul-Fatah al-Sharif, aged 21, was shot in the head as he lay injured and unmoving for 11 minutes in the West Bank city of Hebron. Sharif and another man had allegedly lunged with a knife at heavily-armed soldiers guarding a checkpoint, injuring one of the soldiers. Tampering of evidence at the scene was documented in another video.

Azaria was convicted on January 4th. As Jonathan Cook writes:

In truth, however, the popular reaction to the military court’s decision was far more telling than the decision itself.

Only massed ranks of riot police saved the three judges from a lynching by crowds outside. The army top brass have been issued bodyguards. Demands to overrule the court and pardon Azaria are thunderous – and they are being led by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Azaria is no rogue soldier. He is “everyone’s child”, according to much of the public. The unexceptional nature of his act is vouched for by the complete indifference of his colleagues as Azaria pulled the trigger. Polls show overwhelming support – 84 per cent – for Azaria among 18- to 24-years-olds, the age of ­Israel’s conscript army. [emphasis added]

The support for Azaria is by no means uniform. Many Israelis condemn it. But the sort of crime Azaria committed is common in Israel, where it’s acceptable for heavily armed soldiers to gun down even young women and children who approach them suspiciously or throw stones. An estimated 9,454 Palestinians and 1,211 Israelis and have been killed by someone from the other side since 2000, according to statistics compiled by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. Both sides have committed atrocities. Fadi Qunbar, a Palestinian Arab, was killed earlier this week “after ramming his truck into a group of Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem, killing four soldiers before he was shot dead. Fadi, a former political prisoner, was from Jabal al-Mokabber, in Jerusalem.”

Both sides have committed atrocities. But the Israeli side is heavily armed and much more often the aggressor. Beginning with the original ethnic cleansing of the region, it has institutionalized barbaric norms that have no equivalent in the civilized world.  Read More »


Classical Music for Students

January 11, 2017



Thank you for reposting my little essay about music and landscape among the English composers.

One of the things that saddens me most about the students who pass through my college classroom is their total unawareness of the Western tradition of concert music.  I seek to remedy that whenever possible, principally by building my “Western Heritage” course around a sequence of epic poems and their much later operatic adaptations.  The students are extremely squeamish about the prospect of having to sit through three class-sessions of Claudio Monteverdi’s Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, but I explain to them that, having read the Odyssey, they now know the story, and can simply relax and let Monteverdi draw them in, as I assure them he will.  He invariably does draw them in, and they admit that their original squeamishness was misplaced. Read More »


Inaugural Gowns

January 11, 2017


Helen Helen Taft’s 1909 inaugural ball gown is made of white silk chiffon appliquéd with floral embroideries in metallic thread and trimmed with rhinestones and beads.

Helen Taft’s 1909 inaugural gown


Curious about inauguration ball gowns, I found this article with designers quoted as saying they would not design for the First Family due to political differences. In all the ten elections of my lifetime, I cannot remember this happening.

I am glad liberals are refusing to design inauguration gowns. They tend to make clothes that are very immodest and to eliminate sleeves.

(You might like some of the inaugural gowns I designed here and here.) Read More »


Has-Been Hollywood

January 10, 2017

IT’S GREAT to see a political dolt and flunky like Meryl Streep put in her place.

Streep attacked Donald Trump at the Golden Globe Awards, criticizing him for his mocking of a disabled reporter. I previously criticized him for this too, but Trump has adequately defended himself, and his critics have repeatedly outdone or matched him in any insensitivity he could have displayed. Trump, greatly to his credit, refused to be bullied by Streep. He wrote on Twitter:

Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a… Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never “mocked” a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him.. “groveling” when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!

This kind of response to a Hollywood celebrity is virtually unknown in American politics. See Kellyanne Conway’s terrific response to Streep.

Expect to see much more Hollywood Hysteria. Celebrities have lost some of their power and they know it. Narcissists who are out of touch with the world beyond their careers should have no platform to lecture the public on political affairs. Streep is beautiful and talented, but she is an airhead. Read More »


Trump’s Wall Street Sharks

January 9, 2017

MICHAEL KRIEGER writes here:

The biggest disappointment regarding Donald Trump since being elected President has been his total embrace of dangerous Wall Street thieves. As it is currently structured and incentivized, the financial services industry represents one of the most destructive and least beneficial forces within the U.S. economy. It is essentially a parasitic industry.

Unfortunately, Trump didn’t merely pick one or two competent finance guys to be in charge of finance-related jobs. Rather, he decided to surround himself with some of the worst of the worst (see links at the end) within an industry that often operates like a criminal syndicate. Treasury Secretary pick Steven Mnuchin is one of these people, and I believe this choice represents the single biggest mistake Trump has made as President-elect. Read More »


The Holy Family

January 8, 2017



The Holy Family with Sts. Anne and Catherine of Alexandria, Jusepe de Ribera; 1648



— St. Therese of Lisieux

I come to sing of the Holy Family,
That Divine magnificence that brings me here.
In the desert, this sweet brightness glitters,
And charms me more than the glory of Heaven…
Ah! Who will understand this mystery?
Jesus is rejected among His very own.
He is wandering, a traveler on the earth,
And no one can discern His beauty…

But if the great ones disdain Your empire,
King of Heaven, Mysterious Star,
Long has more than one heart desired You,
For You are the hope of all the unhappy.
Divine Star, O deep Wisdom,
You spread Your ineffable gifts
On the little people, the poor of this world,
And You inscribe their names in Heaven.

If You grant a share of wisdom
To the ignorant, to the littlest of hearts,
It is because every soul is made in Your image,
And You have come to save sinners.
A day will come when, on the same meadow,
The gentle lamb will graze beside the lion,
And the desert, Your only fatherland,
More than once will hear Your name.


Obama’s Parting Shots

January 8, 2017

TRUE PUNDIT reports:

Obama “has issued 145 “midnight” regulations with a cost of more than $21 billion since the election of Donald Trump, the most by a lame-duck president in a generation, a study has found.”


Florida Suspect Received 11 Military Awards

January 8, 2017

“His military service as a combat engineer paints a very different image of [Esteban] Santiago than the person who walked into the FBI’s Anchorage office in November and demonstrated such “erratic” behavior that agents turned him over to local authorities for a mental health evaluation.

Records confirm that Santiago was deployed in Iraq from April 2010 to February 2011.

Santiago’s aunt, Maria Ruiz, told a New Jersey newspaper that her nephew seemed to be happy after a period in which he acted “strangely” following his return from Iraq.” Source


An Act of Courage

January 7, 2017

FROM The Babylon Bee:

Declaring that he “has to be true to himself,” local man Steve Bakowski announced Friday that he is bravely stepping out and choosing to openly self-identify as a man.

“I don’t care what people say. I don’t care what people call me,” an audacious Bakowski told reporters. “I know in my heart that I’m a man. I’ve always known it, ever since I was a kid. I’ve never even second-guessed it. So I’m going to tell it like it is. I’m a man, and I’m not ashamed to say it.”

When asked about the possibility of facing backlash for his courageous stance, Bakowski was undeterred.


The Star of the Magi

January 6, 2017



Adoration of the Magi, Hieronymous Bosch; 1470s

“The three kings with their attendants, prostrate at the feet of the Infant Jesus, were the firstlings of the heathens who acknowledged Jesus, and entered His Church. As we reflect upon the great happiness vouchsafed to them, the question forces itself upon us: “Why do not all nations likewise enjoy a participation in their happiness?” My answer is: “Because they do not look upward with the same love of truth to the star of the Magi;” and this, as I understand it, I will explain today.”

“The Feast of the Epiphany” by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876


The Epiphany

January 6, 2017


Virgin and Child, from an Adoration Group, ca. 1515–20 German, Limewood with polychromy; 20 3/16 × 14 3/8 × 7 11/16 in. (51.3 × 36.5 × 19.5 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Audrey Love Charitable Foundation Gift, 2013 (2013.1093)

Virgin and Child, from an Adoration Group, ca. 1515–20 German; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

“The word Epiphany means the manifestation or apparition of God to His creatures. The Church commemorates on this day three manifestations of our Lord: the first to the Gentiles in the persons of the Magi: the second to the Jews at the moment of His baptism by St. John; the third to His own disciples by His first miracle at Cana in Galilee. Yet the first of these manifestations is more especially the object of this day’s festival, which is called on this account the Kings’ Feast.” Source

The Eastern kings the star have seen,
They hasten on their way;
Long time they’ve watched and waiting been
The dawning of that day:

The dawning of the day of grace,
The gleam of Jacob’s star,
The Virgin’s child of Jesse’s race
Whom prophets saw afar.

Glory give to God on high!

And now they open treasures rare,
Which Indian silks enfold,
Of myrrh which sweetly scents the air,
Of frankincense and gold. Read More »


The Landscapes of Vaughan Williams

January 5, 2017



Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1920

REFLECTIONS on the often bittersweet musical landscapes of the great English composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 – 1958), as well as his contemporary Gustav Holst (1874 – 1934), are posted at The Orthosphere. Thomas F. Bertonneau writes:

Concerning landscape – and its aesthetic and metaphysical meanings – the philosopher Roger Scruton has written in his study of Beauty (2009) that, “Landscapes… are very far from works of art – they owe their appeal not to symmetry, unity and form, but to an openness, grandeur and world-like expansiveness, in which it is we and not they that are contained.”  In confronting the landscape, then, the percipient subject experiences something like a cosmic moment, understanding his own mortal limitations against the enduring earthly and vegetative environment that affords him a home and yet, being non-sentient, remains alien or at least indifferent to him.  Yet vegetative though it might be, the landscape can stand as metaphor for something else sublime and, with respect to man, entirely prior and creative – namely the divine.


A Search for Eternal Wisdom

January 5, 2017


The Journey of the Magi, Stefano di Giovanni; 1433-35

The Journey of the Magi, Stefano di Giovanni; 1433-35


— G.K. Chesterton

Step softly, under snow or rain,
To find the place where men can pray;
The way is all so very plain
That we may lose the way.

Oh, we have learnt to peer and pore
On tortured puzzles from our youth,
We know all labyrinthine lore,
We are the three wise men of yore,

And we know all things but the truth.
We have gone round and round the hill
And lost the wood among the trees,
And learnt long names for every ill,

And served the mad gods, naming still
The furies the Eumenides.
The gods of violence took the veil
Of vision and philosophy,

The Serpent that brought all men bale,
He bites his own accursed tail,
And calls himself Eternity.
Go humbly…it has hailed and snowed… Read More »


Are You Stupid?

January 5, 2017


THEY think you are.

See commentary by Christopher Bollyn, author of Solving 9/11: the Deception that Changed the World, in the last 15 minutes or so of this video. His comments about fear at the very end are especially important. Don’t be afraid! All decent people — Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim — should join together and take his message seriously.


Twelfth Night

January 5, 2017



The Bean King, Jacob Jordaens, 1635-55

In medieval and Tudor England, “Twelfth Night, the evening before Epiphany (January 6 – when the biblical kings reached the newborn Christ Child), was a final frenzy of Christmas feasting, drinking and raucous merry making before the community returned to its daily working grind for the rest of the winter.

…. At the beginning of the Twelfth Night festival, a cake that contained a bean and perhaps a pea was eaten. The male who found the bean would rule the feast as a king. Midnight signaled the end of his rule, and the world would return to normal. The common theme was that the normal order of things was reversed. This Lord of Misrule tradition dates back to pre-Christian European festivals such as the Celtic festival of Samhain & the Ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia.”

Read more at It’s About Time.


Modern-Day White America: Death-by-Drinking Edition

January 5, 2017

THE Washington Post reports:

Drinking is killing twice as many middle-aged white women as it did 18 years ago.

Generally, middle age (age 35 to 54)  is not the time to die in modern societies. It is past teenage dangers, before the serious perils of age, and improved medical care and public-health campaigns are keeping more people alive.

So why are middle-aged white women dying more often even while death rates for other groups continue to go down? What are white women doing that is so different?

One simple answer is: a lot more drinking.