Saturday, April 29, 2017

Last Week Pictures

Taken on the 2nd Easter day. Cold that it was...and still is, unfortunately!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

House Dresses

I now have two of them:)

They aren't actually real house dresses as I usually wear the same clothes at home that I wear outside, for me they are an equivalent of sweatpants, something to pull on over your pajamas early in the morning, or late in the evening, before going to bed. Since they are quite warm (and long) I usually don't use them in summer months, but right now we are experiencing a cold spell so they come in just handy.

This one I acquired last year:

At first I tried wearing it as a day dress but quickly decided it wasn't really my style: too long, too wide, too bright colours for winter, but I discovered how comfortable it was to have something like this for home wear. This year I finally bought another one. It's longer, which I don't really care much for, but also warm and made from soft flannel so ideal for long winter months, which don't appear to be ending right now.

Definitely not something I would wear outside, but OK for a long evening with a book by the fire!
For the day wear I prefer something more along these lines:

Who says that a dress can't be comfy???

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Does Misogyny Really Exist?

I dunno about the real life, but one can find anything on the interwebz nowadays:) Some of it is probably a reaction to misandry, but one thing important to remember is that two wrongs don't make a right.

I'll give you some examples to illustrate my point. Exhibit number one, a double standard: a wife gets bored, divorces her husband: what a horrible woman, stone the adulterous harlot immediately. A husband gets bored, divorces his wife: what a horrible woman, what did she she do to drive him to this?

Exhibit number two, generalisation: according to (radical) feminists if one woman gets abused, it means that "men" in general are abusers. According to meninists, if one woman falsely accuses a man of a crime, it means that ALL WOMEN ARE LIKE THAT! Men-haters will tell you that "men" (in general) are pigs. Misogynists will tell you that all (Western) women are trash, period.

Exhibit number three, objectification. On the woman side, we have a gold-digger who sees a man as a walking ATM. On the other side, we have sexual market value talk, reducing a woman to a sum of breasts and legs.

This attitude is hardly helpful, since men and women shouldn't hate each other. Taken to a logical conclusion, it means that no next generation will be produced, since a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, and men should go their own way. I wonder if both statements have the same nefarious origin?

The Art Of J. Vermeer

Friday, April 21, 2017

On White Knighting

White-knighting is a term often thrown around nowadays which usually means defending a person just because she is a female. I'd say that for me, white knighting means automatically jumping to defend a female regardless of her behaviour.

Never in the history of Western civilisation were women automatically given respect just because they were women. "Decent" women were respected, decent meaning chaste. Before sexual revolution, a woman was automatically presumed chaste until proven otherwise, but on the other hand, everybody knew the difference between a girl you brought home to Mother and all the others. Nowadays women are presumed to be sexually emancipated and "equal" to men.

"Decent" women in the times past signaled their chastity by the way they dressed and behaved. They were supposed to be modest, ladylike and demure, and to adhere to certain standards, for instance, a lady (meaning a chaste woman) wouldn't be seen drunk in public. She wouldn't use certain type of language etc etc. Nowadays lots of women want to signal otherwise, and are proud to demonstrate how immodest and "risky" they can be (this site  shows a nice contrast between then and now, and though I don't endorse them, it's difficult to disagree with the point they are trying to make).

White-knighting for undeserving females is not traditional in any way or form. In traditional Western society these types of women would have been shamed, ridiculed and shunned and not so long ago. The idea that a traditional man should always take up the side of a woman regardless of the way she behaves is not only ridiculous, it's downright insulting to those women who still try to be ladies because it explicitly tells them that men really don't care how debauched you are.

Then there is this pernicious idea that a man should never strike a woman. A man should never abuse a woman, or another man, it's true. However, if a man is attacked and fights back, I don't see a problem with it. Women should not go around starting fights and attacking random men and then trying to pull a "I'm a delicate fragile lady" card. A lady doesn't get drunk and start bar brawls with bouncers, she stays home and does cross-stitching or plays the piano or reads a classic novel or something along the lines.

Women can't both have their cake and eat it, too, and trashy slatterns give ladies a bad name. And for those among us who still believe in "grrrl power", this might be helpful.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Christians And Health Insurance

I live in a country where "basic" health insurance is mandatory, and the government sets the minimum deductible too, though you can opt for a higher deductible to pay less on your insurance policy. Plus, we can buy more insurance to get the dentals covered, at least, partly. People under a certain income level get government subsidies.

Well, the subsidies get lower every year, while the insurance prices grow, and deductibles only get higher. Right now it's about 800 euros for a family with two grown-ups. Children under 18 are covered for free, but after 18 they have to pay their own insurance costs. Since health insurance is mandatory, there is no way out of it.

The regional authorities started their own program of partly covering the costs of "low-income" families who they define as those with an income higher (!) than the government determined minimum. While the regional taxes paid by businesses and home owners are rising and those barely making a middle class wage are getting broke on paying their mandatory health costs, the welfare recipients and those working at a low wage get everything nearly for free.

At the same time, in countries like UK people get free medical care since NHS is financed by the taxes so they never have to worry about losing their job and not being able to pay the doctor. The quality is often better than in my own country plus they have a possibility to visit a private clinic, too.

That all made me think. In America, lots of folks are against "socialised health care", but the truth is that healthcare is already more or less socialised in every Western country. The modern insurance system is only good for making insurance companies richer, it has really nothing to do with any "market in health care" or any such thing. I've never though I'd say it, but as of now I'm ready to support our local socialists who advocate for the National Health Fund with low premiums.

It's interesting to me that while conservative Christians in the USA are often the most vocal supporters of stay-at-home mothers, they are also those who object the most against a single payer system, or however it's called. It's hardly a secret, that a lot of American women only keep on working for the health insurance. The system as of now is hardly family-friendly.

We can all wax romantic about the times past when you paid the doctor out of your pocket, but with all the modern high-tech treatments it's utopian to think we can go back to them good old days. And as long as programs like Medicare and similar exist, and emergency rooms treat people for free, the health care is already socialised. Right now, middle class folks are punished the most which strikes me as unfair.

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Housewife Not A Business Lady

I enjoyed this post by Lydia Sherman. She quotes a letter she received from someone which says, among other things:

...I remember when I first started to read blogs written by ladies filled with delightful inspirational articles on homemaking and homeschooling and encouragement to live a sweet, contented Godly life as sisters-in-the-LORD...

... However, I don't feel so much at home anymore because the ladies who author those sites have turned their blogs and websites into a money making business.  And to top it off some of the ladies who started out encouraging other ladies to "come home" from their jobs downtown to learn contentment in homemaking, relying on God's means of provision through their husbands - Now those same ladies are tutoring other ladies on how to make an income through blog writing.

Blogging can be a creative outlet or a ministry, but blogging full-time to make money is hardly different from holding a regular job, imo.  The lady further comments on the (in)famous Proverbs 31 woman:

It is true that the ideal woman described in Proverbs 31 is a shrewd industrious woman who re-invests her husband's capital to make a profit, but I believe she acted more as a steward of her husband's provision than the women in the church today who work to bring in a second income to add to their husband's provision.

My thoughts, exactly. What is more, while there are some very talented ladies out there who have found their corner of the market and are able to earn considerable sums, for most of "home business" owners, it costs a lot of time and sometimes money (earned by their husbands) and brings very meagre results, but hey, at least, they aren't just some dumb housewife like the woman next door, they are entrepreneurs!!! 

The letter continues:

The resulting message of all this is confusing to our daughters and granddaughters because we tell them to come home and focus on homemaking and then we set before them examples of homeschooling moms who are making thousands of dollars on their computers.  The only thing we've done is to change the geographical location of their work desk from downtown to their office at home.

Again, there is something which many folks apparently don't understand: you can't physically and mentally be in two places simultaneously. If you spend most of your time behind your desk in your "home office" it doesn't count as running a household. If you provide a daycare at home, you aren't busy being a homemaker (and you encourage other mothers to work). All these things are probably better than working outside home every day, and could be a compromise if money is tight or some emergency arise but it's not an ideal situation by any means.

Because, as the lady who wrote the letter so rightly notices:

Their attention is divided and they certainly aren't learning contentment and how to trust in God's means of provision through their husbands.

I''d say amen to that. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

On Food Demonisation

Have you noticed how hardly anything is safe to eat any more? Because any group of food apparently will give you all sorts of nasty diseases? Milk will make you infertile and give you breast and prostate cancer (One time it's full-fat dairy which is the culprit, next day it's low fat variety, or cheese, or yogurt so it's obviously never safe). Meat will give you cancer. Fish is good, but on the other hand, full of mercury and contaminants. Butter and eggs will give you high cholesterol, heart attacks and diabetes. Sugar is the Devil incarnated and is strictly to be avoided in any form. And God forbid, you enjoy toast, it'll give you cancer, too.

Thusly, you are reduced to eating grains and plants, but don't be too happy as yet that you finally found something you can enjoy. Because, the proponents of the new paleo theories will tell you that eating grains, beans, potatoes and too many vegetables isn't safe, either, and you should eat tons of bacon, lean meat, dozens of eggs etc, but no dairy, except for butter. Then there is the famous fat controversy. One paleo group suggests you choose lean meats, while others state you really need fat, lots of it, including dairy fats. So in the end, there is apparently no food which is really safe to eat for anyone under any circumstances, right?

The truth is, that most of the theories circulating on the internet about food safety are just that, theories. There is too much scaremongering around and too many "experts" giving their opinion and pushing their own agenda. Take toasted bread, for instance. There is a theory that slightly burned toast will give you cancer because it contains acrylamide which some scientists speculate theoretically could lead to cancer.

In practise though,  evidence from human studies has shown that, for most cancer types, there is no link between acrylamide and cancer risk. Some studies have suggested a higher risk of womb cancer, but the evidence is weak and inconsistent, so we can’t be sure if this link is real. Even food industry workers, who are exposed to twice as much acrylamide as other people, do not have higher rates of cancer.

Eating tons of burnt toast is probably still not a good idea, but there is sure a lot of noise about something which can't be really linked to anything sinister after all the research. Let's now move on to dairy. From the same official UK website on cancer research:

 Studies looking into the link between cancer and dairy products have not given clear results. There is evidence that dairy products could reduce the risk of bowel cancer, but we cannot say for sure that this is the case. There is no strong evidence linking dairy products to any other types of cancer. We need further research to find out more about the links between dairy products and cancer risk.

Again, no links have been proven to exist, except that dairy can probably protect you from the bowel cancer, but it doesn't stop the campaigners. I have been asking myself whether it has something to do with anti (North) European sentiment prevailing nowadays. I think it's really lousy that people outside of Northern Europe are often lactose-intolerant but I'm not going to let myself to be guilt-tripped into not drinking milk out of some mistaken and misplaced solidarity.

Hormones in the milk could be a problem for the inhabitants of the USA, but not for Europeans, since In some countries, a hormone called bovine somatotrophin (BST) is used to speed up or increase the production of milk or meat. In the UK and the rest of Europe, farmers are banned from using this hormone, and the import of meat from countries, including the US, where this hormone is used is also banned. This ban is on animal welfare grounds and not because there is any proven effect on human health. Independent health bodies including the European Union Scientific Committee have reviewed the evidence on BST and found it does not pose any harm to human health.

Now let's look at sugar. Does it really make you fat? No. Overeating does. As in stuffing yourself with too many calories daily. And for all those meat-lovers who claim protein won't make you fat ever, excess protein turns into glucose in your body. But to return to sugar, even WHO jumped on the bandwagon of demonisation even though the only thing they could prove is that consuming too much sweets leads to caries (as if we didn't know!). Apparently, there is an international agenda behind anti-sugar campaign, which has to do with environmentalism, anti-corporate movement and similar concerns. EU sugar producers reacted to WHO new guidelines in the following way:

We note the clarification in the report that WHO has retained its recommendation that “free sugars” can provide <10% of total energy intake.
We believe that before a <5% value can be included in official recommendations,  extensive debate must take place, as called for by WHO, especially because the data this value is based on, was deemed to be of very low quality by both WHO and the dental health review authors[2]. In practice, such a threshold would be exceeded for instance with the drinking of a mere glass of orange juice...

It should be noted that the WHO intake recommendations are based purely on dental health data. The authors of the WHO-mandated systematic review on “free” sugars and weight gain concluded that any effect of sugar on weight gain is purely due to the consumption of excess calories and not a specific effect of sugar per se[3]. This review highlights the fact that obesity is an extremely complex and multidimensional problem, and preventing obesity requires the balance of managing calorie intake coming from all foods, including sugar, with energy expenditure. Therefore, simply advising an individual to decrease sugar intake without taking into account overall diets and other factors will not solve the current obesity crisis. The WHO recommendations notably have to be put in the context of each country’s food culture, which has an impact on individuals’ food patterns.

(Read the whole thing over here).  Again, it's probably not a good idea to consume too much sugar, and fizzy drinks containing 1000+ calories each, but if you are not suffering from diabetes, sugar in moderation, preferably eaten with the meals, appears to be all right.

Now, if all these foods don't give you cancer, what does? Well, the risk factors are all known and have been for a long time: smoking, obesity and overweight, alcohol, not enough physical activity, too much sun exposure, not eating enough vegetable and fibre, and processed meat. Yes, chemicals in bacon can give you bowel cancer, and eating to much red meat is also suspect, too much being defined as more than 500g cooked red meat a week, which can be easily avoided by eating fish and poultry 3 times a week.

But really, it's all about using common sense, isn't it? 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Story Of Horatius

Publius Horatius, that is.

Horatius was an officer in the Roman army which defended the city against the Etruscan king Lars Porsena. Together with two other officers he was defending the bridge against superior enemy forces, allowing other Roman soldiers to evacuate and destroy the bridge. 

Though several times wounded, he managed to swim back to safety and was crowned as a hero.His story became an inspiration for a famous poem by T.B. Macaulay, an (early) Victorian poet:

But the Consul's brow was sad,
          And the Consul's speech was low,
     And darkly looked he at the wall,
          And darkly at the foe.
     "Their van will be upon us
          Before the bridge goes down;
     And if they once may win the bridge,
          What hope to save the town?"


     Then out spake brave Horatius,
          The Captain of the Gate:
     "To every man upon this earth
          Death cometh soon or late.
     And how can man die better
          Than facing fearful odds,
     For the ashes of his fathers,
          And the temples of his gods,


     "And for the tender mother
          Who dandled him to rest,
     And for the wife who nurses
          His baby at her breast,
     And for the holy maidens
          Who feed the eternal flame,
     To save them from false Sextus
          That wrought the deed of shame?

 Read the whole poem at Wikisource and the story of Horatius at Wikipedia

Monday, April 10, 2017

Traditional Family In Early America

Puritan women, though they didn’t receive a college education, were generally literate and often well-read. The only respectable female vocation in Puritan America was managing a household. But that “household” generally included large numbers of children, servants, apprentices, and even single men and women (who were required to live with families).

Quoted from here

Saturday, April 8, 2017

My Computer Saga

So several weeks ago my laptop died, with all the important data on it. We managed to extract most info from hd and then decided to go for a second-hand notebook, to save money. In the mean time, I had to share with my husband, which was a bother for both of us. We visited a pawn store in town, but they had nothing special so we turned to the internet.

We found what we were looking for (or so we thought) and ordered it last week Monday, paid in advance, too. It would be sent to me within 1-3 days but by the end of the week, there was still nothing. So we phoned them next Monday, and they told us the model was sold out, but they would get new ones the very same day, and send it the same day.

Three days days later, nothing. My husband phones again and they say that they only can offer us another type laptop, for the same price, but with a smaller screen. Or we can opt for cancelling the order but it will take at least three weeks or longer before we get our money back. We discuss it together and I think we should go along with it, because we start getting a sinking feeling about the whole situation. So we agree.

Next day, no computer. So we phone the store again. They promise to phone back. They finally phone me instead of my husband and say that I'll get it next day. Friday comes - hooray, I finally receive an email telling me my computer arrives soon and it does. It has no DVD drive and a really small screen. I decide to wait till my husband comes home before trying it out.

He comes from work and turns it on. THERE IS NO SOUND! He spends the whole evening trying to make it work. No such luck. We discuss our next steps and both come to the same conclusion - if we send it back, it'll only cost us more money and we start doubting that we ever get anything decent in return at all. We have neither time no energy to go to court with them if the need arises and the store is like 3 hours driving from where we live.

My husband takes the laptop to the computer specialist he knows. The guy also has second-hand stuff in his shop. He promises to look into it but is not sure of success. I suggest to my husband to try and sell the darn thing to the man and may be pay something extra and buy a refurbished notebook from him, if he has one.

In the end, it's exactly what my husband had to do. It cost him 100 euros more but he came home with a functioning laptop which has a DVD drive and a normal size screen. So now hopefully my problems are all solved and I'll be able to answer all those emails that kept waiting:)

I'm also writing it as a cautionary tale - don't order second hand computers on the internet, especially when you have to pay first! In the interests of privacy, I won't name the store on this blog but we both agreed it's our citizen duty to write a 1-star review and warn other potential customers. 

This is funny: we've had such horrible communication problems with these folks, but half an hour after my husband had written a negative review on their site, they contacted us on Sunday! Said we'd get our money back or a new computer real quick which may very well be true but still doesn't really change my opinion about buying second-hand computers online. May be, if you can afford waiting a month or two - otherwise patronising your local computer shop is a much better option.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Female Police Officers Enormous Success

In Sweden. Don't believe me? Just watch the video!

Christians And The Great Commission

Some folks believe that the Great Commission has been fulfilled  long ago, while others disagree. I have found a rather balanced article on the issue, called Mission Accomplished.

Here is an interesting quote:

However, I have witnessed some Christians who are very zealous about foreign evangelism use the Great Commission passages in such a way as to try to make brethren feel guilt or remorse for not traveling to some other country to preach and teach. They make comments, whether from the pulpit or in conversation, that would make one think they should question their own faithfulness for not being eager to travel to Africa, or India, or the Philippines, or wherever. Shame on anyone who dares one make his brethren feel guilty for not engaging in foreign evangelism! Are the lost souls in Africa more precious in the sight of God than the lost souls in our own town? Of course not!

(emphasis mine)

Personally I think that even if the Great Commission wasn't fulfilled in the 1st century AD, it has been surely fulfilled by now. Plus, we have the internet so that anybody anywhere can read the Gospels online and before someone objects that all Third Worlders are poor and have no access to it, I regularly get visitors from India, African countries etc. So the wealthier people in these countries who have access to the internet can convert from reading the Bible (I did, without anyone preaching to me personally) and then go and enlighten their country folks. It's not uniquely a European Man's Burden, after all! 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Beautiful Music For Sunday

I still have no computer of my own...So instead of a long post, enjoy this: