Blogging Hiatus Should Be Over

Yes, I am alive. I have just been busy at work, as well as busy helping my brother Kevin work on his sequel novel (which is more a matter of keeping him company while we both write, therefore staying accountable). Also, I hate having to heat the computer room just so I can use the big computer instead of a tablet. (And tablets stink at making links.)

So yes, I’ve been letting this blog go, and writing really long comments on other people’s blogs instead. I apologize. It’s a bad habit, which this blog was invented to break.

And then there’s Trump. I never really knew what to think of him during the campaign, and I voted for him more as a matter of party loyalty than personal pleasure. But to be honest, the more that SJWs went nuts against the man, the more entertaining it became. By Election Day, I was starting to warm to the whole idea of a President Trump, although I was pretty sure the Democrats would manage to steal the election somehow.

Heh. I was never so glad to be wrong. Is there anyone in the world who would actually want to work with Hillary as their boss? Is she not the stuff of office nightmares?

By Inauguration Day, I was solidly in favor of Trump. If he had been chosen to be CEO of a company where I was employed, I would have been feeling good about it. I’m still not sure how he’ll fare as our US president, but he’s doing a good job so far. The bizarre overreaction of the Left just makes it all sweeter. I am sorry for those people on the left whom I know personally, because they can’t seem to stay sane about the poor man. But then, they did the same hissy fits about Ronald Reagan, both Bushes, Mitt Romney, Condeleeza Rice, Sarah Palin, and the fence-straddling McCain, so it’s hard to care.

Not much else to say, but I’m sure I’ll have more later. The weather has gotten a lot better.

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A Guide to the Laws of England Affecting Roman Catholics

A Guide to the Laws of England Affecting Roman Catholics, by Thomas Chisholme Anstey.

This 1842 compendium of the English laws affecting Roman Catholics, past and present, is extremely enlightening. It doesn’t include the laws that were also against other sorts of religious dissenters, but only the specifically anti-Catholic ones. It also includes the text of a loyalty oath that was required of Catholics wishing to be covered by the various “Relief Acts” and Catholic emancipation laws. Yup, you didn’t even get your basic civil rights without doing some groveling.

One thing that shows up is that a lot of laws which Irish people tend to think about as being against “the Irish” are really against all Catholics. For example, the infamous rule that a Catholic could not own a horse worth more than five pounds.

I’m pretty sure that we all know about all the death penalties and imprisonments for horrible things like “being a priest” or “saying Mass,” and about all the crushing fines and terrible imprisonments visited upon recusant Catholic laypeople, both men and women. But here are some laws you might not have heard about:

Catholics could not possess any arms or even gunpowder, but they had to pay people to maintain arms at their own expense, for royal use. Nice, huh?

Recusant Catholics could not go to court, and could not go within ten miles of London unless they were natives there. At one point they could not even go five miles from home without losing everything they owned and then being kicked out of England.

Under Elizabeth I, any Catholic leaving England to go to school was to be deprived of the ability to hold real estate, and all contracts made with him were voided. Sending a person out of England to school meant a 100 pound fine. Going overseas was forbidden to any woman or minor under 21, except by special government permission from the queen and her ministers. Later, even sending money overseas to a seminary or Catholic charity made you a person unable to hold offices or real estate; you lost everything you owned except your heir’s right to inherit your lands after your death.

In general, under various laws, Catholics could own real estate but could not do anything with it. Their Protestant kindred were given the legal right to “enjoy” their houses and land and to keep any profits that arose. This lasted until Catholic emancipation in 1829, under George IV.

Under William III, any Catholic keeping school or found teaching kids was to be sentenced to perpetual imprisonment.

Under Queen Anne, it was decided that if a Protestant child of a Catholic or Jewish family ever complained of “want of fitting maintenance,” they were to be given money, lest the kids reconcile with their parents and their religion. The age of the children did not matter as long as the parents were still alive, and most of the applicants seem to have been adults. At least one was a middle-aged adult.

Anglican canon law also called for the punishment of all recusants and dissenters. There were Anglican churchwardens, constables, high constables, questmen, and questmen’s assistants, all of whom could arrest you for being Catholic, basically. They would be paid 40 shillings for everybody they listed as not attending the Anglican parish church at least once a month.

All marriages had to be celebrated in Anglican parish churches by Anglican priests. Even if you were Jewish or Catholic, or a Protestant of another group. The idea of being able to register your marriage by going to a strictly secular registrar, and then celebrate it in your own religious group, was new to England in 1829. In general, the building had to be registered, or a registrar had to be present, or there had to be a special license. But this was progress.

There’s also an interesting discussion of how the Anglican seal of confession was considerably weakened by Anglican canon law in comparison to Catholic canon law. Anglican clergy were allowed to reveal confessions of anything that went against the realm or anything that was dangerous to the clergyman’s life; but any talking about secret confession contents was considered an irregularity and nothing more. (Which doesn’t mean that individual Anglican priests didn’t act differently; but you can see how corrupted the canon law was made by its government status.)

There’s also a lot of discussion of how charitable bequests to Catholic causes were frequently voided by the decisions of judges, even after 1829 made those bequests totally legal in the UK. A lot of times, this was explicitly done to benefit Protestant heirs, or the money taken over by the government.

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Offal Nice

Today there were numerous news stories about a “new organ” being discovered in the human body. It’s actually the re-classification of the mesentery as an organ, whereas it used to be seen as just a membrane holding the small intestine in place.

You don’t hear a lot about the mesentery, but French chefs like to cook it. They like to cook a lot of things that come out of the guts of animals. So let’s discuss what the cooking terms translate into!

Tripe = stomach or stomach lining. French andouillette sausage is stuffed with tripe and mesentery meat. Some kinds of menudo are all about tripe, although usually it’s just leftovers of whatever the household has been eating. But a lot of taquerias will do you tripe tacos or tripe soup, just like they’ll do beef tongue and the like. There are different kinds of cow tripe that each get cooked differently; Wikipedia will fill you in.

Friaise/fraise = mesentery. “Fraise” means “ruff” as well as “strawberry,” so the French make this word do a lot of duty.

Pluck = originally “mesentery.” It grew to include the heart, liver and lungs of an animal, eventually including the guts (braided for cooking convenience) and other offal. Sometimes used as a synonym for offal and other “variety meats.”

Chitterlings aka Chitlins = dish made from pig intestines.

Liver and lights = liver and lungs. A common food for dogs, in the old days.

Melt = spleen.

Kidneys = kidneys. Also “reins” and “rognons.”

Sweetbreads consist of three different things:

  • Belly sweetbread = pancreas
  • Breast sweetbread = the thymus glands
  • Throat sweetbread = the thyroid gland

(So kids, all of you with thyroid problems or diabetes are basically having sweetbread troubles.)

Elder = cow udder. Sometimes sold as part of “tripe.”

Animelles = French term for animal testicles. (There are ruder terms for human ones.) Also called “rognons blancs” and “rognons externelles.”

Lamb’s fry = lamb testicles.

There are a lot of other animal parts that are used in the traditional cuisine of many countries, but this gives you a good start.

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Happy New Year!

May God bless you and bring you all good things in this new year, and may we all be truly thankful for His bounty in giving us another year.

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Icono-Graphy, Egyptian Hieroglyph Style

It turns out that a lot of Egyptian artworks don’t just _include_ inscriptions. Sometimes, the picture _is_ an inscription. Egyptologists call this kind of thing a “rebus,” and sometimes they are very beautiful and clever.

For example…

The Greeks and Romans were fond of an Egyptian god they called Harpocrates, and the Egyptians called Har-pa-khered, or Horus the child.

Har-pa-khered was portrayed as a boy with his finger on his lips or in his mouth. (For which reason the Greeks and Romans associated him with shushing and silence.) The hieroglyphic sign for the syllable “khrd-/hrd-“, and hence the word “khered”, is a boy with his finger on his lips or in his mouth. So basically, statues of Har-pa-khered are not just pictures, but writing. His posture says his name, or at least his title. 🙂

Another example is Aten, aka Ra-Horakhty (Ra, Falcon of the Horizon). The hieroglyphic sign for the syllable R’ is a sun disk. The sign for the sun on the horizon is the sun disk with three rays pointed downward. And the picture used to depict Ra-Horakhty is the same thing, albeit with a few extra rays!

Here is a “rebus statue” of Ramesses II. As you see, he is also portrayed as a minor with his hand in his mouth, but he’s a baby or toddler (“mes”) instead of a child (“khered”). The falcon over him would normally be “Hor”, Horus, but this specific one is portrayed as “Ra,” because he has the sun disk on his chest. At the kid’s foot is a sedge stalk, and the word for sedge is “su.” So the statue is read as “Ra-mes-su.”

Here is another rebus statue. It shows Senenmut, the head steward and architect of Queen Hatshepsut, aka Pharaoh Maatkare. He is kneeling, offering a statue of a rearing cobra (the uraeus or i’irt, a symbol of royalty and of Lower Egypt, as well as of the goddess Wadjet). The uraeus is wearing a sun disk (“Re”) between cow horns, which are associated with female deities like Hathor; “Maat” is the daughter of Ra/Re. On either side of the uraeus at the bottom, there are upraised arms supporting it; these praying arms are the syllable sign for “k-” and hence, for the “ka” soul. So Senenmut is really presenting a statue of “Maat-ka-Re.”

The actual hieroglyphic inscription on his right arm says, “The good goddess Maatkare given life.” The inscription on the bottom and back shows Senenmut’s name purposefully eradicated, just as Hatshepsut’s names usually were. (There are 22 statuettes like this from Senenmut’s tomb. The first Wikimedia pic is of one from the Brooklyn Museum; the second pic is at the Kimbell Art Museum.)

So this is something to look for, in Egyptian art.

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Fake Outrage

Yup, the media tried to gin up outrage stories on Christmas again.

Reince Pribus wrote up a nice Christmas message from the Republican National Committee without mentioning any Republican, and without trying to tie the holiday to politics. In fact, he declared American Christians’ allegiance to Christ as the “new king,” proclaimed anew every Christmas. (Possibly referencing Poland’s recent national re-coronation of Jesus as King of Poland; but probably just as a reminder of the world beyond politics.)

Apparently this extremely obvious truism was something new to CNN and other news outlets, because they reported that Pribus was calling Trump a king. When reminded that the obvious topic of the message was the birthday boy, Jesus, the media moved to claiming that Pribus was obviously drawing comparisons between Jesus and Trump… even though Trump was never mentioned at all.

Obama is the one with delusions of royalty and godhood, guys.

The other story was even sillier. The Daily Mail said that Melania Trump wore a “very short skirt” to Episcopalian Midnight Mass in Palm Beach.

It was maybe an inch, inch and a half above the knee, and she is a tall woman with a very long thigh and leg. So no, it was not short. Laura Bush would have had no problem wearing that skirt to church. (Although it would have been knee length on Laura Bush.) It wasn’t tight or loose, either; it just looked fitted. I couldn’t pull off a golden Christmas outfit, but it looked quite classy on her. So I say, “Good for her.”

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WHIO: Making a Difference special

A compendium of stories about local charity efforts.

Sewing Hearts: a local program making burial clothing for miscarried or stillborn babies (“Angel dresses”). They use material from donated wedding gowns. The clothing is sent to hospitals or given directly to grieving mothers.

A gentleman, blind from birth, who worked as a hospital darkroom developer most of his life, and who donates blood every two weeks.

A local girl collecting toys for the children’s hospital.

A woman trying to start a halfway house for kids aged out of foster care.

A motivational speaker who grew up an alcoholic.

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