Sunday, November 19, 2017

Historial costumes

George Stuart's miniature historical figure blog has posted several examples of his work with explanations of the costumes and the personalities.

Marie Antoinette.

Marie Antoinette at Trianon (c. 1780) After a childless marriage of nearly eight years, she bore a daughter in 1778 followed by a son in 1781. Her husband, Louis XVI, gave her a private palace (Petit Trianon) and a farm. She and her friends withdrew to these getaways to escape both the duties of court and the public. The Queen was able to fulfill her idolized dream of living like a “simple peasant” especially at the farm, albeit a very expensive “simplicity.”
interior of Vesailles palace LINK

he gives talks about the characters, but I can't find any on the Versailles series.

more characters here.

he has a lot of older video lectures on youtube.  or link2

most are short and about English monarchy, but this one is a longer lecture on the Borgias.

there is also a series on Russia

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Winnie the Pooh's story

Writer Brian Sibley discusses the writer of Winnie the Pooh, his son, and the up and coming film about the family behind the classic children's book.

For me, watching the film was a curious experience, mainly because I know too much about the subject. I have a written books, radio plays and programmes touching on the movie's story-line, as well as having known the 'real life Christopher Robin' and corresponded with his mother, his nanny and the artist, Ernest H Shepard who drew the unforgettable illustrations. So, my judgement is probably tainted with both too much knowledge of How Things Actually Were

Thanksgiving day prayer

Friday, November 17, 2017

war and video games

It's not just robosoldiers in the future, but drones and self driving vehicles. We already have drone warfare of course. but what's next?

Feminist blow back

I think it's unfair to show an aging Judge Moore when they talk about his days as a Don Juan. For some reason, google won't let me find a photo to show me what he looked like 40 years ago, but his son is a hunk, so I suspect Moore back then was  too.

So he was young, handsome, and single, after all, and if he was on the prowl well, in the 1970's, that was the norm. But unlike ordinary Don Juans, he didn't make them pregnant, and often he asked their parents permission.

So why did the girls go along with this?

as one nice southern boy lamented to me years ago complaining that none of the girls at his church would date him: They preferred "bad boys". You see, the meme then was that they would marry the "bad boy" and he would change into a good husband, and they'd have the best of two worlds: A sexy guy who was, good in bed, and a good Christian husband.

A common woman's fantasy (nor is this idea limited to Christian gals: as the "shades of grey" series shows, the fantasy continues. Or read "Dona Flor and her two husbands"... ).

But what about all those girls who didn't "win the prize"?

And with the sexual revolution in the 1970's, we gals who said "no" were often ridiculed for being prudes or worse.

Billy Joel even has a song ridiculing a girl for saying no for being a  Catholic and saying no.

But now, every lady who had an unwelcome pass made at her is getting on twitter and blasting the guy who did it. And some of the bad boys were Democrats. (oh the horror).

 (and I suspect a lot of the guys don't even remember who she was).

The Don Juans of that era forgot one thing: as the African proverb goes: even a small snake has a tooth.

Or in this case, a twitter account.

and as the Klingon proverb reminds one: Revenge is a dish best served cold.

I have to laugh.

Even poor Uncle Joe Biden is being blasted for his "touchy feely" hugs. Shhesh.

I visited friends in California back then, and everyone and his brother were hugging me, which made me uncomfortable since I am from the more rigid eastern USA.

Or as my sainted old mother said, they were "copping a free feel".

and our older brothers taught us how to slow down the Romeos who came on to us in the car, not with a slap but with an elbow in the solar plexus (no, groin hits were not in the playbook back then).

the latest outrage is the Alabama Romeo had called his teenaged girlfriend out of her trigonometry class to go on a date.

Didn't we see this scene before? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?

and of course, missing in the conversation: No one is noticing how women send signals out to seduce men.

any doctor can relate how they were stalked by patients. (usually female patients stalking male doctors, but also the variations of M/F, m/m and f/f).

the war of the sexes has been going on and pointing fingers since the snake flirted with Eve in the garden of Eden, and Adam blamed her for eating the apple.

So no, I don't have any good answers for this, since no matter how much the feminists would like to remake "toxic masculinity", it won't work unless the men are given estrogen to slow them down.

So what is the answer?

Uh, modesty for women, (Back to the hijab) ?


Zimbabwe: not quite a coup

The situation in Zimbabwe is vague: the army essentially took over, but denied a coup.

But the backstory seems to be that as the beloved tyrant President Mugabe deteriorated with age, his ambitious wife was planning to take his place.

But unlike Mugabe, who was a revolutionary leader, she was disliked and even has been heckled in public.

So the army, after talking it over with China, who has propped up the reime (after the west imposed sanctions) they okayed the takeover by the army, knowing that if the wife took over there could be civil war.

MOre at my Mugabe Blog.

I always thought the western sanctions were hypocritical. The "white" farms were confiscated, so the Brits got angry and posted sanctions. But I remember when tribal Africans were moved off the farm under the white regime, so that whites could settle in the good farming areas.

After Mugabe took over, many of the white farms abandoned in the war were given to locals under land reform.

But the problem started as the regime descended into corruption, and the remaining farms were confiscated and given to his cronies, who didn't know how to run them. then everything snowballed as foreign investors pulled out knowing they would have to give control of their businesses and mines to locals.

as the economy collapsed, the educated emigrated to other countries, especially South Africa, and Mugabe trained his "green bomber" youth groups to terrorize locals, while using "slum clearance" as an excuse to tear down the houses and businesses of townships that voted against him.
and China stepped in, with long term plans to grab the valuable farm lands and mining rights.

Since then,  (i.e. about the time I moved here to the Philippines) I haven't followed the story, but things did settle down.

The Mashona tend to be pacifistic, and this helps.

but as the local proverb reminds one: Even a small snake has a tooth.

So one hopes things will remain peaceful.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

headlines below the fold (that the press is ignoring)

Spengler discusses the "coup" in Saudi, and what it means.

The second big issue is Saudi Arabia, which competed with Iran for decades as the biggest funder of terrorists and religious extremists. After Trump's March 2017 trip to Saudi Arabia, where he read the riot act to assembled Arab leaders, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince has centralized control of the government and seized hundreds of billions of dollars of royal family assets.
The $800 billion of royal family wealth targeted is larger than the national reserves of the kingdom. As I wrote in Asia Times last week, Saudi Arabia has gotten its first real government, as opposed to the family regime that allowed every crazy cousin to write checks to terrorists.
Of course, the kingdom well might get its second, third and fourth real government in short order if Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman fails. But the de facto coup is a huge blow to Sunni jihadism and a victory for American policy.

most of the comments are anti Israel trolls, but the part about stopping money going to terrorists by rich Saudis is good news for the rest of the world. The problem? They donate to "charities" that do good deeds, including funding schools etc. but often these charities are fronts that support clergy and madrasses that are essentially terrorist recruiting schools.

related item: Austin Bay's take on what is going on. Iran is spinning their attack on Saudi via their minions in Yemen the same way that Iranian supported Hezbollah spins the news on Israel.

Here's the bottom line media ploy and political gambit: "I can shoot at you but you can't prove I did it so if you counter-attack you're the aggressor."
Childish? Welcome to the UN and the world of CNN.


and the good news for US Catholics? The bishops supported the Christian bishop, not the liberal one.

this has made the usual suspects cry that they are giving the finger to Pope Francis. Well, no. But they are saying that killing babies (and now in some areas, grandmom) is a bit more important than voting for Democrats and saving mother earth by turning off your air conditioning and walking a couple miles in six inches of snow to buy your organic food.

he quotes a First Things  article that noted: as the middle class slide into hedonism, the church will too.

well, maybe the despicables in the US have a couple of bishops who noticed they exist, so maybe this is indeed a "headsup" to the Pope. But don't hold your breath... the pope is busy appointing bishops from the "who am I to judge" part of the church, and the left control the bureaucracy...

and all we have is our rosaries to stop them. Sigh.


my son reports that Colombia has really improved in recent years.

SP report here notes the same, but also notes that FARC is now taking off their communist mask to reveal they are actually drug cartels supporters wanting money. And the ex leader of FARC will run for president, promising to turn Colombia into a communist paradise similar to Venezuela.

The bad news? Venezuela just defaulted on it's loans and even Russia and China are worried.
 lots of details on that country in the post.


Xi just became the new Emperor of China.

this report ordering Christians to replace pictures of Jesus with photos of Xi has ominous overtones.

the former archbishop of Hong Kong is worried that the Vatican is pushing to allow the Catholics there be under Xi's control (i.e. to forcibly merge the independent underground illegal church with the "official catholic" church there).

SP reports on Chinese corruption that is the back story of his power grab.


in the Philippines, President Obama's ban on rifles because Duterte was going after the drug gangs is a gift that keeps on giving for China.

The Manila Bulletin reports a Chinese rifle shot the head of the bad guys in the fight in the south, and now we signed 14 agreements for economic development with them.

true, Duterte has long been leery of America, ever since the CIA got a major criminal out of his jail in Davao, but Obama and his ambassador who had a reputation for political meddling didn't help.

and here is an article about a possible ASEAN trade deal with Russia.

but Trump made a lot of deals too.

 But don't try to find the details, since the press is too busy posting he took a drink of water during his press conference.


Army coup in Zimbabwe? Mugabe under house arrest? Developing...

as for US politics: Any man who ever made a move on one of his dates or who gave the "touchy feely" hug of the 1970s to a woman is now guilty of sexual harassment.

The return of Victorian Vapors.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

ChickFlick of the week

The classic story of Anne Boleyn:

Lectures of the week

  quick before the copyright cops find it's there... MichaelDrout is an excellent teacher.

You dirty rat

according to Physorg, the brown rat originated in SE Asia and spread theoughout the world via ships.

there are six lineages of black rat, however and they also probably came from Asia, and are most famous for being the rodent behind the spread of the black death:

“Black Rats are carriers of many different human diseases, including plague, typhus and leptospirosis,” says CSIRO mammal expert Dr Ken Aplin, lead author of the study.
Read more at:

some attribute the decrease in plague in Europe to the fact that they discplaced the plague carrying black rat... but Wikipedia isn't sure.

The original carrier for the plague-infected fleas thought to be responsible for the Black Death was the black rat, and it has been hypothesized that the displacement of black rats by brown rats led to the decline of bubonic plague.[85] This theory has, however, been deprecated, as the dates of these displacements do not match the increases and decreases in plague outbreaks.[86]

but you can catch other diseases from them: again, Wikipedia.

brown rats may carry a number of pathogens,[76] which can result in disease, including Weil's diseaserat bite fevercryptosporidiosisviral hemorrhagic feverQ fever and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome 

Weil's disease is also called leptospirosis, and is a major problem here in the Philippines after flooding. People wade through shallow water, but the spirochete can enter through wounds in the skin.

it is treatable with antibiotics, but often in times of major flooding, folks don't get around to getting treatment in time: so the gov't puts out reminders about seeing a clinic or doc if you get a fever.

Musical interlude of the day

LOTR prequel?

Amazon prime says they will release a LOTR prequel.

will draw on “previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings,” set at some point or points preceding The Fellowship of the Ring. Whatever the product turns out to be — Young IsildurThe Good GandalfThis Is Eru — has already received a multiseason commitment with an option for a potential spinoff. The move is consistent with Amazon’s new and not very nuanced scripted strategy, which — as described in September by since-disgraced and -resigned Amazon Studios head Roy Price — consists of landing the next Game of Thrones, in accordance with Jeff Bezos’s belief that “it takes big shows to move the needle.” Amazon’s answer to Thrones, we now know, is the even more mega-famous fantasy series that preceded and partially inspired it.

The Tolkien estate apparently okayed it.

more HERE. 

and HERE. TORN cautions it might be the stories of what has already been sold to be films, such as in the appendix of the book, not the Simarillion or Lost Tales.

there are a couple fan film prequels on you tube that are not authorized and boring.

and some films based on Tolkien's life are supposed to be in the works too.

So one hopes this will be true to the Tolkien vision, but also interesting.

the bad news: No Amazon prime here, although they eventually wend their way onto Asian channels

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Family news

Joy is still at the ASEAN business summit in Manila (the politicians have moved to the Pampanga meeting). She is aiming for overseas orders. Because of the high price of labour here, we can't under sell other countries but we can sell high end organic rice, and are looking for exports.

I was outside yesterday and was talking to the neighbor who just bought a black labrador who lives down the street. They are trying to train her.

If they breed her, we might ask for a puppy.

While I was outside, someone took a shower in the spare bedroom, which is empty, and left the water on (this shower has hot water, unlike the shower in the staff bathroom). Or maybe someone had turned on the outside valve to water the plants, and didn't realize it was connected to the indoor water, and the shower had been left open which someone had turned on trying to shower, but when no water came, didn't bother to turn it off.

So after coming back, I found the hallway full of water: the room was flooded, and the water running full blast... debris had blocked the drain, flooded the hallway and even into my bedroom,

What a mess.

It is now dry, but the bathroom still has water in it: I will ask the maid to clean it up when she comes, and our handiman to clean out the drainpipe...

in our prayers

An earthquake along the Kurdistan/Iran border area has killed several hundred people in Iran. link2

More HERE. highlights another problem: it is winter, and it gets cold in these higher elevations.

and then there is this.

As aftershocks continue to rattle the country, Iran has shut down one of its main gas plants in the west for safety concerns. "This is another problem," said our correspondent. "This is an area that gets very, very cold at night, so that is going to have an impact on people's heating and their ability to cook food. So, a lot of misery is still to come."
this sounds like they use LPG to cook (as we do here in the Philippines: the alternative is wood, which produces smoke and causes deforestation).

But the problem with heating homes with gas has been an ongoing problem in Iran, which also imports a lot of gas from nearby countries. And is one reason that they are persuing nuclear power to generate electricity.

Monday, November 13, 2017

First they came for my OPM file, and now... NSA hack

NYTimes article.

internal leak, or Russia?

Mr. Snowden released code words, while the Shadow Brokers have released the actual code; if he shared what might be described as battle plans, they have loosed the weapons themselves. Created at huge expense to American taxpayers, those cyberweapons have now been picked up by hackers from North Korea to Russia and shot back at the United States and its allies.

Bet on the press blaming Russia, since that can be politicized to destroy Trump.

but I suspect a lot of the hacks have help by black hat kids who agree that the gov't is snooping too much on the average person, and having fun taking them down.

But my OPM file was hacked supposedly by the Chinese, and no one seemed to get too upset back then.

and 15 years ago, our ancient "MSDOS" preWindows computers at our IHS clinic, with patient information, was hacked, and this essentially shut us down computerwise (however, we still had... hand written records. There are some advantages for being behind the times).

More churchy stuff

Virtue on line about the Anglican problem

read the whole thing, which like a lot of stuff is subtle.

and it could get messy for Catholics if some still push Jesus' words against the trendier than thou pope:

Long rant on this on my bitch blog.

Quote of the day

from Wisdom From LOTR BLOG

There is much that Sam would like to go home to, the gentle beauty of the Shire, good friends and Rosie Cotton. Sam would like to be married, to build a home and raise a family. Simple and good desires....
The twentieth century philosopher and theologian, Paul Tillich, spoke about the need, in our age of anxiety about meaninglessness, to find a courage to be.
In many ways Frodo is a modern man in search of meaning. His restlessness is growing even before he leaves the Shire and when the Ring goes to the Fire he sees no more purpose to his existence. Sam is, by contrast, a pre-modern man, rooted in a sense of place and a stable society and unafflicted by Frodo’s anxiety...

a couple of posts back I criticized the Pope for acting like the isolated modern man was the only one in the world, and pointed out that a lot of cultures still saw meaning in family and friends and the blessings of ordinary life.

Before Vatican II, most Catholics knew that one could serve God in ordinary life.

This was popular back then as the "little way" of St Therese (since we can't do great deeds, we will do small deeds with love to serve God),

Nor is this idea limited to Catholicism: Luther agreed (insisting one could serve God just as well in the family as in the cloister)...and a Hindu saint told a lady who had come to him saying she no longer believed in God so could not pray, told her that her husband was god, her family was god, i.e. in caring for her family, she was serving God.

This is comforting to me: since I can no longer work as a physician saving lives in poor areas of the world, nevertheless, I can serve God in my daily deeds, which nowadays is mainly feeding the ten feral cats who come here at breakfast time to dine.

Peanut butter post of the day

headsup AnnAltnouse.

Apparently this is "controversial" but makes sense if you have small kids who have trouble spreading peanut butter on their bread, so end up getting it all over themselves, their siblings, the table, the walls, the dog etc.

also for people making lots of sandwiches for a party or outing.

that is why you have "peanut butter and jelly" sold mixed in a jar for you to just spread on the bread.

often Peanut butter is hard if you keep it in the fridge, or you open it and it has separated with oil on top and rock hard on the bottom (so you have to "mix" it first). True, you can buy Skippy or other sugar laden soft brands, but here it is more expensive than the local brands.

and peanut butter has many other uses:

and it's not just for kids and sandwiches: this is a Pampanga recipe

YUM! goat stew!