05 Feb 2017

Leonardo Drawing Found in French Estate

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Kovels:

A retired doctor from a remote town has discovered his father had a collection worth millions and he could sell it. The doctor went to a Paris auction house and showed them 14 ink drawings. One 7 1/2-inch by 5-inch piece of paper with a sketch on each side was interesting. The auction house’s expert on old master paintings realized the drawing might be from the 16th century. Three months and three art experts later, the sketch has been authenticated as the work of Leonardo da Vinci, drawn about 1482-85. The handwriting, inscription, and the subject are all related to a known drawing of St. Sebastian by da Vinci. The good news for the owner is the sketch is estimated at about $15.8 million. The bad news is that the French government has put an export ban on the art work because it is “a national treasure.” The owner would like to offer it to an international market where it could sell for much more. The French government has 30 months to buy the sketch at market value.

05 Feb 2017

Free Syrian Army Insurgent Takes out T72 Tank by Putting a Grenade Down its Barrel

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04 Feb 2017

Best Political Speech in Years

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Classic Virginia. Delegate Matt C. Farris (R-Campbell) debates HB 1900, an anti-hunting bill which would impose a $100 fine per dog in cases in which hunting dogs stray onto a property where they are unwelcome. A Virginia fox hunt might go out with several dozen hounds, so you can imagine what a case of accidental trespass by a pack might cost.

No embed, FB link.

04 Feb 2017

Hermeneutics of an Audi Commercial

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Jack Baruth, at The Truth About Cars, explains the real message of Audi’s Superbowl commercial.

At first blush, the spot seems to be nothing but the usual corporate slacktivism, a feel-good fluff-vertorial making a “brave stand” in support of an issue that was decided long ago. I’m reminded of Joaquin Phoenix’s brilliant portrayal of Commodus in Gladiator, arriving in full armor as soon as he can do so without any risk. “Father, have I missed the battle?” Well, Audi, you’ve missed the war; if there’s a place in the United States where women are actually paid significantly less for doing the same job as men, it’s not evident from what I’m reading.

After watching the one-minute advertisement carefully, however, I understood feminism, or equal pay, is the last thing Audi wants you to take away from it. The message is far subtler, and more powerful, than the dull recitation of the pseudo-progressive catechism droning on in the background. This spot is visual — and as you’ll see below, you can’t understand it until you watch it and see what it’s really telling you. …

I think you’ve figured out what the real message of this Audi advertisement is, but just in case you’ve been napping I will spell it out for you: Money and breeding always beat poor white trash. Those other kids in the race, from the overweight boys to the hick who actually had an American flag helmet to the stripper-glitter girl? They never had a chance. They’re losers and they always will be, just like their loser parents. Audi is the choice of the winners in today’s economy, the smooth talkers who say all the right things in all the right meetings and are promoted up the chain because they are tall (yes, that makes a difference) and handsome without being overly masculine or threatening-looking.

At the end of this race, it’s left to the Morlocks to clean the place up and pack the derby cars into their trashy pickup trucks, while the beautiful people stride off into the California sun, the natural and carefree winners of life’s lottery. Audi is explicitly suggesting that choosing their product will identify you as one of the chosen few. I find it personally offensive. As an owner of one of the first 2009-model-year Audi S5s to set tire on American soil, yet also as an ugly, ill-favored child who endured a scrappy Midwestern upbringing, I find it much easier to identify with the angry-faced fat kids in their home-built specials or the boy with the Captain America helmet.

At the end, what does this ad do? It just reinforces our natural biases. Poor is bad, rich is good, and most importantly, rich people deserve their fortune because they are inherently better than the rest of us. You might not like that message, but it’s been selling cars for a very long time. If Audi wanted to try some authentic activism, they might consider showing us an African-American man or woman who overcame a tough upbringing to become an actual customer, or perhaps a differently-abled person who’s achieved enough to buy himself an S8 as a reward for his hard work. But that’s not terribly aspirational, is it? Who wants to be those people? And, by the same token, who wouldn’t want to be that handsome father lifting his beautiful daughter out of someone else’s winning race car?

04 Feb 2017

Special Committee Recommends Renaming Calhoun College

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John Caldwell Calhoun (1782-1850), Yale Class of 1804, 7th Vice President of the United States 1825-1832.

Peter Salovey’s hand-picked committee of Social Justice Warriors has deliberated and, what do you know? They decided that John C. Calhoun should be singled out among all nine slave-owner and slavery defender namesakes of three quarters of the original twelve Yale residential colleges for elimination.

Oldest College Daily:

A University task force has recommended that Calhoun College be renamed, according to Yale officials with knowledge of the group’s report.

The recommendation from the task force, which was charged with applying the University’s newly created principles on renaming to the Calhoun debate, positions the Yale Corporation to rename the college when it meets the weekend of Feb. 10 and 11.

University President Peter Salovey formed the Calhoun task force in December, after the Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming released its report. The task force consisted of two faculty members, history professor John Gaddis and English and African American Studies professor Jacqueline Goldsby GRD ’98, and one alumnus, G. Leonard Baker ’64. Both Gaddis and Goldsby signed a faculty petition last spring calling for the renaming of Calhoun, named after slavery proponent John C. Calhoun, class of 1804.

On Jan. 13, the task force submitted its recommendation — which came in the form of a report running less than 10 pages — to Salovey, who will present it to the Corporation at the February meeting.

Last month, Salovey told the News that he did not plan to release the recommendation until after that meeting. Salovey was not involved in the task force’s deliberations, although he did have some input on the final draft of the report.

“The task force did their work independently, and their analysis and recommendations are their own,” Salovey said in January. “They gave me the courtesy of letting me see a next-to-final draft of their report, and make some comments. But my comments to them were really only about sort of clarifying the way their findings were expressed.”

If the Corporation accepts the task force’s recommendation, the University trustees would be voting to reverse their decision last April to keep Calhoun’s name. The April renaming decision incited months of student and faculty backlash, and helped unite Yale activists and New Haven community members in a growing “change the name” movement.

Last August, primarily in response to faculty criticism of the decision to keep the name of Calhoun, Salovey charged the CEPR with outlining broad guidelines for all renaming disputes at the University, starting with Calhoun. The committee released its 24-page report on Dec. 2, calling on administrators to consider historical context as they determine whether the legacies of controversial namesakes like Calhoun justify renaming campus buildings.

Vice President for Communications Eileen O’Connor declined to comment on the nature of the task force’s recommendation, but said the Corporation will decide the Calhoun issue at its meeting later this month.

“We have a process, we’re following the process, and we’ll take all the information into account when we make a decision in the best interests of the University,” O’Connor said.

Why stop there? Roger Kimball asked last August in the WSJ:

I have unhappy news for Mr. Salovey. In the great racism sweepstakes, John Calhoun was an amateur. Far more egregious was Elihu Yale, the philanthropist whose benefactions helped found the university. As an administrator in India, he was deeply involved in the slave trade. He always made sure that ships leaving his jurisdiction for Europe carried at least 10 slaves. I propose that the committee on renaming table the issue of Calhoun College and concentrate on the far more flagrant name “Yale.”


Elihu Yale had a little black page.

04 Feb 2017

How To Save a Liberal Court? Kale, Gay Bodyguards, Maybe Vampirism…?

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg nods off during event.

SFGate reports that lefties are panicking. Trump’s first Supreme Court appointment will be nearly impossible to oppose succcessfully, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 83 and a survivor of two forms of cancer. Gorsuch on the Court restores the 4 liberals, 4 conservatives, and Anthony Kennedy who can go either way status quo prevailing prior to the death of Antonin Scalia. One more conservative and Roe v. Wade might be in trouble.

On Tuesday evening, President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch for deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s long-empty seat. On Wednesday morning, liberals woke up, did the math and realized it was time to be concerned about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s fiber intake. Also bone density. Also exposure to airborne viruses (Madame Justice, what is your flu shot status?), and salmonella, and slippery ice, and also: Has anyone heard how scientists are coming along with a Zika vaccine?

“I’m very interested in this.” says Jeanette Bavwidinski, a community organizer in Pennsylvania. “I’m interested in what her daily regimen is. Like, what are you all feeding RBG? Is she getting enough fresh air? Is she walking? Is she staying low-stress? What is she reading? Is she reading low-stress things?”

“Can she eat more kale?” asks Kim Landsbergen, a forest ecologist in Ohio. “Eat more kale, that’s all I can say. We love you. Eat more kale.

The facts in play: Ginsburg is 83 years old, the oldest justice by more than three years. She is one of the four reliably liberal jurists on the Supreme Court, and a mascot and hero to the left. There is one swing vote on the court, Anthony M. Kennedy, and there are three staunch conservatives. Adding Gorsuch would maintain the balance that existed when Scalia was alive: conservative replacing conservative.

But what if Ginsburg retires? What if Ginsburg gets sick and needs a leave of absence? What if Trump ends up replacing Ginsburg? In a week that has seen a relentless churn of White House news, liberal residents of the nation funneled their worst fears into a tiny, elderly woman.

“I kept thinking, you know, I could organize a bunch of gays,” says John Hagner, a consultant for Democratic campaigns who lives in Washington. “I could organize the gays, and we would just make a protective circle around her at all times. We could help her get up and down the stairs. We got this.”

With a rainbow phalanx protecting the justice against potential slips and falls, Hagner would then feel free to turn his attention away from external dangers, and toward microbial pathogens. “At that point,” he says, “what I’m mostly concerned about is the cancer. Is she getting her checkups? Do her doctors realize how important it is for her to get her checkups? Do they? The woman is 98 pounds.”

Ginsburg, appointed to the bench 23 years ago, has the endurance of a “Law & Order” franchise, but there are those YouTube clips of her nodding off during the State of the Union address, and she has already survived both colon and pancreatic cancer (a death sentence to many, though Ginsburg was back at work two weeks after surgery). And there are those people who remain furious that she didn’t step down during Barack Obama’s presidency: “Looking back, it was seriously dumb (and, frankly, selfish) of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer not to retire from #SCOTUS in 2013,” fumed a user on Twitter shortly after the Gorsuch announcement.

But! Bygones. Now was the time for liberals to work with the reality they had. Now was the time to channel the energy of thousands of anxious supporters into a solution for the Ruth Bader Ginsburg problem.

“I was just talking to a friend about this,” says Michael J. McClure, an associate professor of art history at the University of Wisconsin. “Like, what could we do? What could we do to help Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Could we protect her with packing peanuts? Then it turned into, ‘I need to become a vampire. Like in ‘Twilight.’ I need to become a vampire so I can make her a vampire with eternal life.’ If I’m damned to eternal life myself, so be it. It’s a sacrifice worth making.”

Read the whole thing.

03 Feb 2017

Texas Family Found Rattlesnake in the Toilet, Later 23 More Under the House

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Big Country Snake Removal posted on January 30th on Facebook:

Last week we received a call from a family in Jones county who had an adult rattlesnake in their toilet. Yes, in their toilet! (The snake found its way in from an opening in a relief pipe that I later sealed)

This was the first snake that the family has seen on the property in several years…. When I arrived, I immediately noticed a few problematic areas. Intuition took me directly to a storm cellar where I safely removed 13 adult rattlesnakes. After a thorough perimeter check, I crawled underneath the house where I removed another 10, 5 being babies…. 24 snakes total, (including the toilet snake) and the family had no idea….

How is this possible? It’s actually quite simple; rattlesnake are secretive and can be very cryptic- They rely heavily on their camouflage. This is simply how they survive. Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there….

03 Feb 2017

Wittiest Man on the Internet Taking a Break

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Iowahawk (David Burge) caused massive distress by announcing last night on Facebook that he intends to take time off from social media.

I’ve had some folks ask me to elaborate, so here goes…

1. no, nobody paid me the million bucks.

2. no, it had nothing to do with the Sam Wang twitter thing.

Fact is this has been on my to-do list for some time. I’ve never been paid for anything I’ve done online, nor have I wanted to. Even if I went balls-out and threw myself into writing full time, I could never hope to make a third of what I make in my boring (yet fulfilling) day job. It’s always been a lark, a tertiary hobby for me.

I abandoned the blog largely because the posts were fairly time consuming and Twitter allowed me to drop a quick mini-satire in between real life stuff. Over the last 2 years, though, I found myself questioning why I do any of it in the first place. I don’t need the money, so why bother? Answers weren’t very reassuring. The only honest answer I can give you is my own narcissism, and addiction to attention/approval.

There’s certain high provided by follows, RTs & upthumbs, but in the end it’s fleeting and empty. I have a pretty damn kickass real life, and the time I spend on social media subtracts, rather than adds, to it. One kiss from Tammi Jo still beats the hell out of all the retweets in the world.

So basically I’ve decided to lay off the social media crack for a while and enjoy myself, without the constant need to post about it. I’m keeping my Twitter account, but only for DM communication; observer rather than participant. May go back there at some point, don’t know.

As for FB, I’ll be nuking this account in a few days. If you’re a real-life buddy, who knows, maybe I’ll reappear somewhere elsewhere around here on Planet Zuckerberg.

He is uniquely brilliant and talented, and however long he is absent the loss will be incalculable.

03 Feb 2017

German Augen Vital Commercial

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02 Feb 2017

Happy Birthday, Ayn!

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They will be showing “Atlas Shrugged, Part 1” (2011) online at 8:00 PM EST tonight. HERE

02 Feb 2017

Mousey Revealed, Now Working in Trump Administration

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Decius identified as Michael Anton, the figure on the right

Claremont Institute last Fall made a major splash by publishing a revolutionary manifesto by a Trump-supporting intellectual, who struck learned, classical poses while championing Alt-Right demands for a new blend of Populism and Nationalism to replace the Conservative Movement and the politics of Goldwater, Buckley, and Reagan.

This provocative writer chose to be anonymous, appearing in the mode of 18th century polemicists under a Classical pen-name, in his case: Publius Decius Mus, a 4th century B.C. Roman consul who, according to Livy, facing imminent defeat, deliberately sacrificed himself in battle, having first offered up himself and the enemy to the gods of the Underworld and the Earth, thus gaining for Rome the victory.

Several further articles by Decius appeared during the course of the electoral campaign, and word leaked out in Conservative circles that Decius was none other than Tucker Carlson, who needed to be anonymous because he was right on the verge of a major new deal with Fox News. I, like a lot of people, believed those rumors, but we all politely kept our mouths shut, thinking that, despite our disagreements, the author was entitled to his privacy and his career opportunities.

It appears that it was just as well that nobody went public with the Tucker Carlson rumor, because here is Michael Warren, in the Weekly Standard, telling us that Mousey is a completely different guy, a fellow named Michael Anton.

On a late January afternoon, as press secretary Sean Spicer walked into the White House media briefing room, a tall, thin, bespectacled man poked his head in the doorway for a moment before turning around and heading back into the West Wing. Later that week, at another briefing, the man stayed longer, standing in the corner behind the podium, out of view of the array of television cameras.

The reporters peppering Spicer with questions were unlikely to know it, but the wallflower watching over the proceedings happened to be the leading conservative intellectual to argue for the election of Donald Trump. His pseudonymous essays during the campaign sparked more discussion—and disputation—among thinkers on the right than just about anyone else’s. Rush Limbaugh spent hours on his radio show promoting what he hailed as the writer’s “shaming” of the Never Trump conservatives. Leading conservative opponents of Trump, like New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, published critical responses to his most widely read essay. The writer even granted a postelection interview to the New Yorker, on the condition that his real identity not be revealed. The magazine described him as among those trying “to build a governing ideology” around Trump.

Now he’s helping to implement that governing ideology directly. The writer is a senior national-security official in the Trump White House, nearly a decade after serving in a similar role for George W. Bush. His unmasking ends one of the remaining mysteries of last year’s crazy and unpredictable election.

The enigmatic writer’s real name is Michael Anton, and he’s a fast-talking 47-year-old intellectual who, unlike most of his colleagues, can readily quote Roman histories and Renaissance thinkers. But readers knew him throughout 2016 as Publius Decius Mus, first at a now-defunct website called the Journal of American Greatness and later in the online pages of the Claremont Review of Books. As Decius, Anton insisted that electing Trump and implementing Trumpism was the best and only way to stave off American decline—making a cerebral case to make America great again.

——————————-

Looking up Michael Anton on the Internet proved tricky.

There appeared to be three of them: one Michael Anton wrote articles for Claremont Review under his real name; one Michael Anton (Michael Anton Mansour) attended Auburn, played football there, and then went to Hollywood where he became an actor, writer, and filmmaker; the third Michael Anton is a sort of contemporary Beau Brummel, a style-maker expert on masculine tailoring and haberdashery, who has written a book, The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men’s Style under the pen-name Nicholas Antongiavanni.

Michael Anton Number 3 is all over the place on the Internet, pontificating pompously on male clothing. Photos of him, I believe, are up there misidentified as being of the actor-writer-filmmaker Michael Anton Number 2.

My own guess is that Michael Anton Number 1, Alt-Right Trump supporter and Claremont Review’s Decius, is the same as Michael Anton Number 3, the clothes horse. Compare the photo below to the one above.


Mens’ Tailoring Expert Michael Anton

02 Feb 2017

The Salukis Rode in First-Class

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Saudi prince bought tickets for 80 falcons, the Telegraph reports:

Posted to Reddit, a photo of the rather bizarre occurrence shows dozens of the birds, each in its own seat in the central rows of the aircraft. Men in traditional Saudi headdresses occupy any seat not taken by a bird.

“My captain friend sent me this photo. Saudi prince bought ticket for his 80 hawks,” the user wrote. It is not clear which airline the hawks are flying with.

While this might seem unfathomable, it is not entirely unheard of when flying to or from the Middle East, where falconry is a popular pastime of the wealthy.

Indeed airlines such as Qatar Airways, Etihad and Emirates each allow falcons – of which hawks are close relations – in the cabin.

Qatar allows a maximum of six birds, but says they are welcome in the cabin. A note on Etihad’s website says: “We accept the carriage of falcons in the main aircraft cabin provided that all the necessary documents have been obtained.”

Emirates says: “Animals are not permitted in the cabin of Emirates flights, with the exception of falcons between Dubai and certain destinations in Pakistan, and Guide Dogs for the Blind.”

Lufthansa, the German airline, also made it clear in 2014 it welcomed the birds of prey in the cabin, installing a “Falcon Master” tray for “maximum hygienic protection of the cabin walls, seats and carpets from soiling by the birds”.

IAG, the owner of British Airways, among others, says it transports animals “of all shapes and sizes” but makes no specific mention of hawks or the like. Nor does the British low-cost airline Easyjet, or Irish carrier Ryanair.

In 2013, Gulf News reported that more than 28,000 falcons had been issued with passports since 2002 in a bid to combat the illegal trade of the birds in the region.

Though it is fairly rare for an animal to make an appearance in an aircraft cabin, in May last year it briefly became a common sight when Canadian airlines waived the restrictions on pets in the cabin to allow those evacuating forest fire-hit Fort McMurray to fly with their canine and feline companions.

02 Feb 2017

Candlemas Eve by Robert Herrick, Sung by Kate Rusby

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DOWN with rosemary and bayes,
Down with the mistleto,
Instead of holly, now up-raise
The greener box, for show.

The holly hitherto did sway;
Let box now domineere,
Until the dancing Easter-day,
Or Easter’s eve appeare.

Then youthful box, which now hath grace
Your houses to renew,
Grown old, surrender must his place
Unto the crisped yew.

When yew is out, then birch comes in,
And many flowers beside,
Both of a fresh and fragrant kinne
To honor Whitsontide.

Green rushes then, and sweetest bents,
With color oken boughs,
Come in for comely ornaments,
To re-adorn the house.
Thus times do shift; each thing his turn does hold;
New things succeed as former things grow old.

02 Feb 2017

Candlemas, Demotically “Groundhog Day”

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Tintoretto, Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, 1550-1555, Gallerie dell Accademi, Venice

From Robert Chambers, The Book of Days, 1869:

From a very early, indeed unknown date in the Christian history, the 2nd of February has been held as the festival of the Purification of the Virgin, and it is still a holiday of the Church of England. From the coincidence of the time with that of the Februation or purification of the people in pagan Rome, some consider this as a Christian festival engrafted upon a heathen one, in order to take advantage of the established habits of the people; but the idea is at least open to a good deal of doubt. The popular name Candlemass is derived from the ceremony which the Church of Rome dictates to be observed on this day; namely, a blessing of candles by the clergy, and a distribution of them amongst the people, by whom they are afterwards carried lighted in solemn procession. The more important observances were of course given up in England at the Reformation; but it was still, about the close of the eighteenth century, customary in some places to light up churches with candles on this day.

At Rome, the Pope every year officiates at this festival in the beautiful chapel of the Quirinal. When he has blessed the candles, he distributes them with his own hand amongst those in the church, each of whom, going singly up to him, kneels to receive it. The cardinals go first; then follow the bishops, canons, priors, abbots, priests, &c., down to the sacristans and meanest officers of the church. According to Lady Morgan, who witnessed the ceremony in 1820:

    ‘When the last of these has gotten his candle, the poor conservatori, the representatives of the Roman senate and people, receive theirs. This ceremony over, the candles are lighted, the Pope is mounted in his chair and carried in procession, with hymns chanting, round the ante-chapel; the throne is stripped of its splendid hangings; the Pope and cardinals take off their gold and crimson dresses, put on their usual robes, and the usual mass of the morning is sung.’

Lady Morgan mentions that similar ceremonies take place in all the parish churches of Rome on this day.

It appears that in England, in Catholic times, a meaning was attached to the size of the candles, and the manner in which they burned during the procession; that, moreover, the reserved parts of the candles were deemed to possess a strong supernatural virtue:

    ‘This done, each man his candle lights,
    Where chiefest seemeth he,
    Whose taper greatest may be seen; And fortunate to be,
    Whose candle burneth clear and bright: A wondrous force and might
    Both in these candles lie, which if At any time they light,
    They sure believe that neither storm Nor tempest cloth abide,
    Nor thunder in the skies be heard, Nor any devil’s spide,
    Nor fearful sprites that walk by night,
    Nor hurts of frost or hail,’ &c.

The festival, at whatever date it took its rise, has been designed to commemorate the churching or purification of Mary; and the candle-bearing is understood to refer to what Simeon said when he took the infant Jesus in his arms, and declared that he was a light to lighten the Gentiles. Thus literally to adopt and build upon metaphorical expressions, was a characteristic procedure of the middle ages. Apparently, in consequence of the celebration of Mary’s purification by candle-bearing, it became customary for women to carry candles with them, when, after recovery from child-birth, they went to be, as it was called, churched. A remarkable allusion to this custom occurs in English history. William the Conqueror, become, in his elder days, fat and unwieldy, was confined a considerable time by a sickness. ‘Methinks,’ said his enemy the King of France, ‘the King of England lies long in childbed.’ This being reported to William, he said, ‘When I am churched, there shall be a thousand lights in France !’ And he was as good as his word; for, as soon as he recovered, he made an inroad into the French territory, which he wasted wherever he went with fire and sword.

At the Reformation, the ceremonials of Candlemass day were not reduced all at once. Henry VIII proclaimed in 1539:

    ‘On Candlemass day it shall be declared, that the bearing of candles is done in memory of Christ, the spiritual light, whom Simeon did prophesy, as it is read in. the church that day.’

It is curious to find it noticed as a custom down to the time of Charles II, that when lights were brought in at nightfall, people would say—’ God send us the light of heaven!’ The amiable Herbert, who notices the custom, defends it as not superstitious. Some-what before this time, we find. Herrick alluding to the customs of Candlemass eve: it appears that the plants put up in houses at Christmas were now removed.

    Down with the rosemary and bays,
    Down with the mistletoe;
    Instead of holly now upraise
    The greener box for show.
    The holly hitherto did sway,

    Let box now domineer,
    Until the dancing Easter day
    Or Easter’s eve appear.
    The youthful box, which now hath grace
    Your houses to renew,
    Grown old, surrender must his place
    Unto the crisped yew.
    When yew is out, then birch comes in,

    And many flowers beside,
    Both of a fresh and fragrant kin’,
    To honour Whitsuntide.
    Green rushes then, and sweetest bents,
    With cooler oaken boughs,
    Come in for comely ornaments,
    To re-adorn the house.
    Thus times do shift; each thing in turn does hold;
    New things succeed, as former things grow old.’

The same poet elsewhere recommends very particular care in the thorough removal of the Christmas garnishings on this eve:

    ‘That so the superstitious find
    No one least branch left there behind;
    For look, how many leaves there be
    Neglected there, maids, trust to me,
    So many goblins you shall see.’

He also alludes to the reservation of part of the candles or torches, as calculated to have the effect of protecting from mischief:

    ‘Kindle the Christmas brand, and then
    Till sunset let it burn,
    Which quenched, then lay it up again, Till Christmas next return.
    Part must be kept, wherewith to tend
    The Christmas log next year;
    And where ‘tis safely kept, the fiend Can do no mischief there.’

Considering the importance attached to Candlemass day for so many ages, it is scarcely surprising that there is a universal superstition throughout Christendom, that good weather on this day indicates a long continuance of winter and a bad crop, and that its being foul is, on the contrary, a good omen. Sir Thomas Browne, in his Vulgar Errors, quotes a Latin distich expressive of this idea:

    ‘Si sol splendescat Maria purificante,
    Major erit glacies post festum quam fait ante;

which maybe considered as well translated in the popular Scottish rhyme:

    If Candlemass day be dry and fair,
    The half o’ winter’s to come and mair;
    If Candlemass day be wet and foul,
    The half o’ winter’s gave at Yule.’

In Germany there are two proverbial expressions on this subject: 1. The shepherd would rather see the wolf enter his stable on Candlemass day than the sun; 2. The badger peeps out of his hole on Candlemass day, and when he finds snow, walks abroad; but if he sees the sun shining, he draws back into his hole. It is not improbable that these notions, like the festival of Candlemass itself, are derived from pagan times, and have existed since the very infancy of our race. So at least we may conjecture, from a curious passage in Martin’s Description of the Western Islands. On Candlemass day, according to this author, the Hebrideans observe the following curious custom:

The mistress and servants of each family take a sheaf of oats and dress it up in women’s apparel, put it in a large basket, and lay a wooden club by it, and this they call Bríd’s Bed.; and then the mistress and servants cry three times, “Bríd is come; Bríd is welcome!” This they do just before going to bed, and when they rise in the morning they look among the ashes, expecting to see the impression of Bríd’s club there; which, if they do, they reckon it a true presage of a good crop and prosperous year, and the contrary they take as an ill omen.

———————————————————————-

Groundhog Day is simply a modern commercialized adaptation of the earlier weather traditions associated with the Christian feast day.

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