zaterdag 30 mei 2015

Just Another Brick In The Wall...

Well, I guess a make-believe job in a make-believe company is preferable to homemaking:

Candelia is one of a number of so-called “Potemkin” companies operating in France. Everything about these entities is imaginary from the customers, to the supply chain, to the banks, to the “wages” employees receive and while the idea used to be that the creation of a “parallel economic universe” would help to train the jobless and prepare them for real employment sometime in the future, these “occupations” are now serving simply as way for the out-of-work to suspend reality for eight hours a day. Here’s The Times again:
...
Ms. de Buyzer did not care that Candelia was a phantom operation. She lost her job as a secretary two years ago and has been unable to find steady work. Since January, though, she had woken up early every weekday, put on makeup and gotten ready to go the office. By 9 a.m. she arrives at the small office in a low-income neighborhood of Lille, where joblessness is among the highest in the country.

While she doesn’t earn a paycheck, Ms. de Buyzer, 41, welcomes the regular routine. She hopes Candelia will lead to a real job, after countless searches and interviews that have gone nowhere.

“It’s been very difficult to find a job,” said Ms. de Buyzer, who like most of the trainees has been collecting unemployment benefits. “When you look for a long time and don’t find anything, it’s so hard. You can get depressed,” she said. “You question your abilities. After a while, you no longer see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Read the whole article over here:
Europe Has A Solution For The Unemployment Problem: Fake Jobs

vrijdag 29 mei 2015

The Phantom Of The Opera

The Phantom Of The Opera was written in 1911 but didn't become popular until later when the first film adaptation was made. There were several other movies with the same name based more or less on the original story including a feminist 1940s version where the girl chose career over love. Then came the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and the famous 2004 movie with Gerard Butler as the Phantom which is my favourite. However, I only read the original book recently and really enjoyed it.

The Phantom Of The Opera was one of the many books of Gaston Leroux, a French journalist and writer who was a very interesting person himself. He claimed that he was one of the direct descendants of William the Conqueror and while I'm not sure if its true, the fact is that he came of an affluent family and inherited a large sum of money after his father's death.

He promptly stopped his law studies and managed to spend his whole fortune in a couple of months in the night life of Paris, after which he was forced to find a job and became a journalist and a very successful one. He traveled around the world looking for adventures and would risk his life, if necessary for an article. When Leroux turned 49 he decided enough was enough and settled in France with his wife and family. He died relatively young from renal failure leaving more than 60 works behind of which only The Phantom is probably known.

I guess we all know what the story is about, however, there are differences between the movie and the original novel. The book gives us much more background information about Christine, Raoul and Erik which is the Phantom's real name. The original story is way creepier than in the movie, while Raoul comes across as less masculine. In fact, when he isn't crying because Christine supposedly doesn't care for him, he's doing all sorts of stupid things and constantly needs help to get out of difficulties.

The original story of his and Christine's love shows such depths of betatude that it's slightly nauseating, however, there is enough suspense, intrigues and humour in  the book to make up for this. The novel gives a lot of interesting historical details and is partly based on real events or at least, rumours which were going around at that time. The author claims that the story is real from beginning to end, which makes it even more fun to read since even I started wondering at one moment if it could really be true.

Another difference is that Erik played by Gerard Butler is hot very attractive, while Erik in the novel is a creature of your worst nightmares (and possibly older). The end is also slightly different, however, the archetypal Beauty and the Beast story stays unchanged. I would recommend the book to everyone who likes (post) Victorian fiction of which the novel is a very fine example.

Here is to Erik:


dinsdag 26 mei 2015

We All Could Do With Less

In one of my previous posts I mentioned the story in a 1930s Dutch Catholic magazine about a tailor whose fiancee ditched him because he refused to dress decently. The met again later in life and got married. By this time, the lady was 45 years old. In a modern society, she would have some glamorous office career or at least a job selling stuff in some department store, yet in the magazine, she was just content to stay home and do housekeeping for her father.

You'd think that the father was a wealthy upper class (or at least UMC) sort of guy, but he was just a hairdresser (even though he always wore a suit to work) who, btw, kept working right into his eighties. This story made me pause and think. Of course, unmarried women often used to work, even in the "good old times", however, it wasn't seen as an ideal situation, but rather as an unfortunate necessity. Those who didn't have to often stayed home as seen in the example above. How could they afford it?

The story doesn't give much background information about this woman, apart from the fact that she was content to stay home and go to the same church every Sunday. Most probably she didn't go on expensive vacations even though 1930s ladies' magazines are full of advertisements. It also wasn't fashionable for women in those times to go out every Friday and Saturday night and get drunk in a bar.

She probably cooked all her meals from scratch, made at least some of her own clothes and had embroidery for hobby. In those times, people were generally content with little and unless they belonged to the very wealthy, their life was rather simple and centered around home, quite unlike now. Nowadays, home is generally considered boring and you are supposed to spend as little time in it as possible.

Some women do have fulfilling careers, they get to travel or become internationally famous or some such thing, yet most of them spend their days changing diapers in a daycare, cleaning old people's homes, trying to teach a bunch of kids ABC, or sitting behind the cash register. These jobs may be necessary and I don't want to denigrate those doing them (though if more mothers stayed home we wouldn't need daycares and most shops sell tons of unnecessary trinkets made by third world people working for 2 cents per hour), but they are hardly glamorous, intellectually challenging or even very interesting. So why are they seen as superior to home life?

While I don't believe in various conspiracy theories it's difficult not to notice that there is a whole propaganda campaign behind increased female work participation, and on the international level, too. For instance, Israel has been recently criticised for failing to push more women into workforce.
Apparently, it would help them with their inequality problem. Yet the USA has also a great gap between the rich and the poor, and something like 80% of all women work there.

MSM contributes to the problem. Home life is universally presented as boring and housework as disgusting (I'm not exaggerating as recently I was reading a book which mentioned "various disgusting housekeeping tasks"). It's OK for the husband to do it though, after he works full shift. The question is, if housework is really so disgusting why not outsourcing it? Or is the purpose to further humiliate the unfortunate modern husband who is already the butt of all jokes? It's hardly susprising that so many marriages fall apart.

Our society promotes soulless consumerism above family. The good news is that we don't have to participate. And we all could do with less.

maandag 25 mei 2015

Lunch Ideas: Salmon Pasta salad



You will need:

1/3 to 1/2 of a 500g macaroni package, cooked
1 can (ab. 300g) salmon, in chunks, skin and bones removed
1c frozen peas, thawed
1 mozarella, cubed
green onions, to taste
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
salt, pepper, herbs of you choice, to taste

Dressing:

olive oil
prepared mustard
dried parsley flakes
lemon juice (optional)

In a big bowl, combine the salad ingredients, toss. Drizzle over with dressing. Serves 4. The original recipe comes from some cooking magazine, I recreated it from memory.

zaterdag 23 mei 2015

My New Dress

It's O.K. to post personal pictures sometimes, isn't it?:) I ordered this dress online and just received it today:

I have been quite busy lately with my decluttering project, the master bedroom is nearly finished, but as we have a long weekend (since it's Pentecost), the next week will be busy as well. Plus, there are visits, birthdays, all the usual stuff. I'm going to post the next installment of my historical research project next week, but I'm not sure yet as to when.

I wish you all a nice weekend!

donderdag 21 mei 2015

Do Men Have A Duty To Marry?

There has been a lot of discussion going on lately on whether men have a duty to society to get married and procreate. So far I have never commented on this blog on "men's issues" or MGTOW simply because I think that it's something which men have to figure out for themselves, however, all these debates made me ponder this issue so I decided to try and formulate my thoughts in a blog post.

First, when people talk about "society" nowadays, they mostly mean a particular country, as in "American men have the duty to produce children for their country". It sounds borderline totalitarian to me, as if human beings are nothing better than breeding stock for the government. This idea isn't new, really, since as far back as in the Roman Republic there were laws compelling men to marry at a certain age as to get kids.

In Christian Europe, Catholic Church encouraged procreation, but also celibacy as it admitted certain people weren't meant to be parents. They could then go and join a monastery or a convent and this vocation was as respectable as being a mother or a father, if not more. Partly due to this, partly to the lack of centralisation, European governments mostly stayed away from family affairs, until the 19th century, when the governments decided other people's children were everybody's business. It started with compulsory schooling laws, various welfare programs, laws restricting child labour etc etc.

Not all of these laws were bad and some were desperately needed, however, once the government went into family matters, it stayed there, thus having kids or not from a private decision, suddenly became the matter of national importance.

I do think in a certain sense, a man may have a duty to procreate, but this duty won't be to the government, but to his own family, to continue his father's bloodline, like in the movie I reviewed below. If someone is to put a pressure on him, it must be his own parents or relatives, not the church, community or the state. The problem with present-day conservatives is that they often don't have their own ideas but simply react to whatever progressives are proposing, like in progressives say people shouldn't have (many) children so everybody must go and have ten.

The truth is, the Europeans aren't in any danger of dying out soon. They may be in danger of being overrun in their own countries through unrestricted immigration, but that's entirely another matter. Most people react to incentives. Modern society actively discourages people from creating a family, subsidises all sorts of degenerate behaviour, advertises degeneracy on TV, then turns around and demands people procreate as to keep the welfare state from collapsing. It simply doesn't work this way.

However, even in traditional societies, due to the variety of reasons, not everybody got married and not everybody had children. Some people had ten. Some people had one. Some people had one and he died and they had none. There was no one-size-fits-all mentality. Most people, even nowadays, still eventually want to get married and have children. If some men (or women) decide to forgo having a family by whatever reason, it may be a matter of concern to their families but hardly to total strangers on the internet.

The state and "society", in my opinion, should stop usurping the role reserved for the family. Well, what do you all think? 

P.S. I'd like to clarify that, of course, even in medieval times there were state laws pertaining to the validity of marriage, legitimacy of children and who inherited what, however, that's not what I'm talking about.

dinsdag 19 mei 2015

Abraham Davenport

Abraham Davenport was an American politician who became prominent during the American Revolution. He also served as a colonel in Connecticut state militia. He became famous for his reaction to New England's Dark Day (May 19, 1780), when the unusual darkness came on between 10 and 11 a.m. which lasted till the middle of the next night. As Davenport's colleagues suggested adjourning (as they feared that the Judgement Day was approaching) he refused to do it stating that in any case, he preferred doing his duty.

Later John Whittier wrote a poem about this famous incident:

...Meanwhile in the old State House, dim as ghosts,
Sat the lawgivers of Connecticut,
Trembling beneath their legislative robes.
"It is the Lord's Great Day! Let us adjourn,"
Some said; and then, as if with one accord,
All eyes were turned to Abraham Davenport.
He rose, slow cleaving with his steady voice
The intolerable hush. "This well may be
The Day of Judgment which the world awaits;
But be it so or not, I only know
My present duty, and my Lord's command
To occupy till He come. So at the post
Where He hast set me in His providence,
I choose, for one, to meet Him face to face,
No faithless servant frightened from my task,
But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls;
And therefore, with all reverence, I would say,
Let God do His work, we will see to ours.
Bring in the candles." And they brought them in...


... And there he stands in memory to this day,
Erect, self-poised, a rugged face, half seen
Against the background of unnatural dark,
A witness to the ages as they pass,
That simple duty hath no place for fear.


Read the whole poem over here.

maandag 18 mei 2015

Lunch Ideas: Easy Rice Salad

This recipe was adapted from one in Taste of Home.

For the salad, you'll need:

3/4c uncooked rice.
1c frozen peas, thawed
1 tomato, chopped
green onions to taste, chopped
dried apricots to taste, chopped

For the dressing, you''ll need:

1/4c olive oil
2 tbsp sugar
1tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp dried parsley
1tbsp prepared mustard
pepper and lemon juice to taste (optional, just to spice it up)

Cook rice and let it cool down. In a bowl, combine rice, peas and the rest of salad ingredients. In a small bowl, prepare the dressing, pour over salad and toss to coat. Keep in the fridge until serving. The taste will be on the sweet side.

zaterdag 16 mei 2015

Saint Crispin's Day

On October, 25, St Crispin's Day, the English fought and won the Battle of Agincourt, despite being outnumbered 5 to 1. William Shakespeare dramatised it in Henry V:

 

vrijdag 15 mei 2015

The Making Of A Lady

The Making Of A Lady is a 2012 British period drama with Gothic elements. It's a good quality movie which by some reason drives "progressives" crazy (apparently it's sexist, racist, classist  and fails to show the upper classes as total degenerates, though some of them are) and thus is a good source of reactionary entertainment. It's also a short movie (1.5 hour) so could be easily watched in one evening.

The story goes as follows: a young woman called Emily works as a secretary/companion of a wealthy lady who has a nephew, Lord James Walderhurst, who just came back from his regiment in India. Lord James is a childless widower and his aunt insists that he fulfills his duty to his family by marrying and producing a heir. She keeps inviting young girls to meet him, and he dislikes them all. During a dinner, Emily helps him to avoid one of them and as a result, gets fired by the aunt.

Lord James feeling duly remorseful suddenly comes up with an idea: why doesn't Emily marry him? She will gain financial security and he will get an understanding wife and his aunt will finally stop harassing him. The two travel together to his estate and get married, but just as the things are starting to heat up a bit between them, he is called back to India. A couple of weeks after he leaves, his unscrupulous cousin Alec moves in with his Indian wife and her old nanny...

There are several things I like about the movie. First, it demonstrates a refreshingly traditional attitude towards marriage. Lord James and Emily don't initially marry out of love, but they find it in the end. Duty is mentioned more than once (Lord James has a duty to his family to produce a heir, and it's duty that calls him back to India though he was planning to retire).

Second, the funny thing is that the movie which is so traditional, is an adaptation of a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett which was actually quite feminist and frankly, rather boring. The film producers made several changes which greatly improved the story, imo. First, the made the main characters younger. In the book, Lord James is in his fifties (hardly a romantic character) and Emily is something like 36. In the movie, Lord James is in his late thirties/early forties and she is in her late twenties.

The book, which I will admit, I read quite some time ago, is all about portraying women as poor innocent victims (they have to bear children, for Pete's sake!), while all men without exceptions, are or downright abusive, like Alec, or simply insensitive dastards, like Lord James and the colonel of Alec's regiment. The movie, on the other hand, is free from man-bashing and is also more dynamic than the novel and quite accurately shows that there are actually some women who, like Alec's wife, dig violent men.

In short, it's quite entertaining. It has some (very brief) nudity, but no graphic bedroom scenes, though they are hinted at. The Making Of A Lady is a chick flick, but one that men could probably enjoy, too. And by watching it, you will figuratively give a bad day  to the "progressive" establishment.

woensdag 13 mei 2015

May Links

Feminism didn't make women happy:
The Bittersweet Nature of Sexual Equality


Being overweight turns men off:
Woman creates "thin" and "fat" online dating profiles...to find out if men...prefer skinny girls

Someone decides to profit from the narcissism of the millennials:
USC is teaching a selfie class

What happened to classical liberalism:
The Death of Classical Liberalism

Sometimes it's better to live poor people the heck alone:
"we have abolished their parents"

Equality propaganda hits new low:
Equality and the Family


That's about all for today. Enjoy!

zaterdag 9 mei 2015

Show And Tell Saturday

There will actually be more show than tell:) My new couch spread plus cushions:



My new centerpiece:



My new cat:



And the new Verena:



I actually bought it because of this twin set:

Isn't it cute?
Ladies and gentlemen, this was all for today!:)

donderdag 7 mei 2015

Why Is Modern Woman So Neurotic?

Have you ever noticed it, dear reader, how so many women nowadays appear to be highly neurotic? Not only those who work, but also the homemakers? It's like they all lack inner peace and constantly doubt themselves. I could give you real life examples but it would go against my policy on privacy, though I tend to think that you are all familiar with what I'm talking about.

Here is my theory as to why. I think that modern women are constantly trying to pull the load not meant for them. If you are a Christian, there are some clear instructions in the Scriptures as to what God expects from you as a woman, yet so many religious women keep talking about their faith, take part in various church activities, organise prayer circles and stuff like that yet are nearly indistinguishable from unbelievers in their day-to-day behaviour.

I'm talking here about things like wearing modest and feminine clothes, being a keeper at home as opposed to running around the town for hours on end and letting your husband guide the family. Especially the latest two (though the first one is also important).

A couple of days ago I had a visitor. She told me about a movie she watched on a Christian TV channel. A woman leaves her husband and little boy behind to go find herself. Later he goes to church (they aren´t Christians) and there he meets her. She tells him that now she is a Christian, God told her to go save heathens in the foreign lands so she isn´t interested in getting back to him and actually raising her child. The movie ends with him winning her back, which I frankly found surprising since it captured the essence of what passes for modern Christianity so well.

Arrogance (God talking to her directly), check. Being supposedly a born-again Christian yet treating marriage as disposable, check.  No concept of  the husband´s headship, check. Motherhood treated as a hobby, check. The idea that people in far away countries are more important that your near family, check.

Modern churches go out of their way to praise women´s spirituality while promoting a thoroughly feminist version of it, yet did it make women happy? Traditional churches, on the other hand, are accused of promoting `double standard` since they restrict leadership positions for women. Yet, the whole talk of the double standard is highly nonsensical since men and women are different. It´s not a double standard to treat different things (or people) differently. It´s just common sense.

With authority always comes responsibility and that´s what I think is driving modern women crazy. Since they are family leaders by default nowadays they take the majority of the decisions, and yet they are constantly uncertain about it. The burden is just too heavy. When you let your husband lead, when you relinquish control, you also free yourself from carrying the heavy burden of responsibility if things go wrong.

If you restrict the amount of activities outside home, even church activities, and concentrate on making the domestic life a pleasant thing, you will experience more peace and rest. Another good thing to do is to avoid all stuff political. Women nowadays are pushed to participate in politics to the same degree that men do, with the only result being that many of them seem unable to stop worrying about things going south and growing progressively crazy, to the point that they are unable to talk of anything else.

Others will develop a saviour´s complex and will spend hours trying to save mankind while there is no one left to keep the home fires burning, so to say. I had a friend who used to say `give your job to a man`. I´d like to say, ladies, let the men slay the dragons. It´s what they were made for. You´ll be happier for this.

dinsdag 5 mei 2015

The Time Machine To The 1930s

The year is 1935 and you are a Catholic in a Protestant country. What do you do? Simple, you read Catholic Illustration (Katholieke Illustratie).

No. 27 which appeared on the 4th of April, 1935 begins with a short story about a tailor who has all sorts of aristocratic clients but refuses to dress well in real life with his fiancee leaving him as a result. She stays with her father and keeps his house until the two meet again when she is 45 and he is nearly 50. This time it ends with a wedding and the tailor is invited to make a suit for the King of Belgium.

Next comes a story about the meteorological service in aviation. Below the picture of a pilot studying the weather map:






Since it's nearly Easter, the next item is an article about a special form of liturgy called The Liturgy Of Holy Suffering. The photo below shows a part of it called the adoration of the cross:




Then we are treated to the second chapter of a historical novel about one Count Hendrik from Germany who is apparently going to start a fight for freedom against the King of Danes. After this comes an article about a health resort in Switzerland:



It is followed by a true story about the fireman who encounters a body in a coffin in the burning house and nearly loses his mind but manages to take the coffin out just on time before the roof collapses. There is also an interesting collection of facts (did you know that in 1935 in one hour there happened 1200 marriages and 85 divorces), a couple of opinion items and the events of the week in pictures. Below the new Belgian government:






Next comes the last chapter of a novel which, as far as I can understand, was about a Dutch businessman who went on a business trip, got drunk and enlisted in the Prussian army. After several months, though, he was allowed by the King of Prussia to return and to marry his fiancee and he also stopped drinking.

Then we read the reportage of a football (soccer for you Americans:) match between Holland and Belgium. Below the picture of the Dutch national football team (our guys won 4:2):



After the chess problem, a story about the new stamps, an article about the hard life of Chinese people, and and the bridge column there finally comes the women section. First we get an article about saving money while cooking on gas, then a piece of advice for the new mothers (as little visiting as possible, so as to protect the baby from infections and let the new mother to regain her strength), a column about keeping the private information about other people private, a craft feature about embroidering a linen tablecloth, and a weekly menu among some other things.

What were you supposed to serve each day of the week?

Monday
Pork fricandeau with winter carrots, oatmeal.

Tuesday
Cold meat with canned green beans, rhubarb with custard.

Wednesday
Hachee (stewed meat) with beet salad and mashed potatoes. Griddle cakes

Thursday
Ground veal with black salsify
Apple pancakes

Friday
Buckling (a form of herring) with red cabbage, rice pudding

Saturday
Beef escalopes with  canned endive. Fruit.

 Sunday
Vegetable soup. Veal steak with broccoli rabe.
Orange custard with biscuits.

Next comes the article about new fashions:

Below are the patterns you could order:







The women section ends with an article about Primula Orbonica (a house plant) and then we read a story about a Catholic saint Veredemus, a short sermon about the importance of social cohesion, a reportage about a hotel in England for poor but genteel travellers where Ch. Dickens once spent the night, and humour from different countries. And that was all for today, till the next time.



P.S. in other news, today is the Liberation Day.

vrijdag 1 mei 2015

From The Home Front

Just for those interested in how things are going in my neck of woods. I have been pretty busy lately. What with the shorter than normal working week (Monday was an official day off, though my husband had to work), visitors, celebrating my birthday and things like that I didn't really have much time to devote to the blog though I kept on posting.

After all we've been through lately, the things are slowly coming back to normal. I partially recovered my strength and decided to invest more time in my housekeeping, starting with the attic which I finally finished cleaning and decluttering this week. Long ago, when I had help around the house, I started making a catalogue of our books (both my husband and I are book collectors). Then, all sorts of things started happening around us (most of them unpleasant) and my housekeeping went pretty much downhill.

So I finally picked up where I had stopped two years ago and decided to finish the job. I had to go through all the books again since there were some new additions, but the big bookcase in the attic is finished, now I have only two smaller ones to go. Next week I'm planning to start working on one of the bedrooms.

Sunday will be an exciting day for us as we are going to bring home our new cat. I have nearly all the things at home already, the toys, the bowls for food and water, and, of course, we had stuff left from our previous cat. I have to buy some cat food tomorrow, and then, we are ready. I'm afraid he is going to tear our house down, but then, it is the part of the bargain.

My husband has to work overtime, poor guy, and the weather has been very unstable the last time, with a cold spell which is now drawing to its end, so hopefully I'll be able to do something on the terrace, as in acquiring new plants and spending more time there.

I started reading the 1935 Catholic magazine and my original plan was to review it this week, but every issue is much longer than by The Prince so I guess it will be next week. It has a section special for women, with fashions, housekeeping advice and articles about raising children. All in all, it gives a good insight of the society of that period.

I guess it's all for today, I'd like to add that I appreciate all of your comments though I don't always answer each of them. I was also asked to write a post on the topic of double standard in the church, which I'm planning to do next week. Stay tuned!