Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Facts about Coffee and Caffeine


Shepherds discovered coffee in Ethiopia circa 800 A.D. Legend has it that 9th century goat herders noticed the effect caffeine had on their goats, who appeared to "dance" after eating coffee berries. A local monk then made a drink with coffee berries and found that it kept him awake at night, thus the original cup of coffee was born.

Coffee is the second most traded commodity on earth. According to the Global Exchange, there are approximately 25 million farmers in over 50 countries involved in producing coffee. The number one commodity is oil.

In Italian espresso means "when something is forced out." This refers to the way espresso is made - forcing boiling water through pressed coffee grounds. And, although espresso has more caffeine per volume than coffee, because it's consumed in smaller quantities, it actually has about a third of the amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee.

Coffee was the first food to be freeze-dried. The process of freeze drying (when fresh foods are placed in a dryer where temperatures drop to negative 40 degrees F) first started during World War II to preserve foods.

There are two types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. Seventy percent of coffee beans are Arabica. Although less popular, Robusta is slightly more bitter and has twice as much caffeine.

The majority of coffee is produced in Brazil. Brazil produces 40% of the world's coffee which is twice as much as 2nd and 3rd place holders, Colombia and Vietnam.

Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that commercially grows coffee. Kona coffee is the United States' gift to the coffee world. Because coffee grows best in climates along the equator, Hawaii's weather is optimal for harvesting coffee beans.

Coffee was originally a food. Coffee berries were mixed with fat to create an energy-rich snack ball. It was also consumed as a wine when made from the pulp of coffee berries.

Coffee is actually a fruit. Coffee beans as we know them are actually the pits of a cherry-like berry that are grown on bushes. Even though coffee is actually a seed, it's called a bean because of its resemblance to actual beans.

The world's most expensive coffee is $600 a pound. It comes from the feces of a Sumatran wild cat. The animal is called a Luwak  and it is unable to digest coffee beans. In the process of digesting the beans, they are fermented in the stomach. When the beans are excreted, they produce a smooth, chocolaty coffee.

There have been five attempts to ban coffee throughout history. Coffee was first banned in Mecca in 1511 because leaders believed it stimulated radical thinking. And, 16th century Italian clergymen tried to ban coffee because they believed it to be "satanic." However, Pope Clement VII loved coffee so much that he lifted the ban and had coffee baptized in 1600. But Ottoman leader Murad IV took it even further when he ascended the throne in 1623 by creating the first punishments for drinking coffee, which included beatings and being thrown into the sea. And in 1746, the Swedish government made it illegal to even have coffee paraphenalia, including cups and dishes. And finally, in 1777, Frederick the Great of Prussia issued a manifesto declaring beer's superiority over coffee because he believed it interfered with the country's beer consumption.

You can overdose on coffee. However, you would need to drink over 100 cups to consume the lethal dose of caffeine.

New Yorkers drink almost seven times as much coffee as the rest of the U.S. However, Finland is the most caffeinated country, where the average adult consumes the equivalent of four or five cups of coffee a day.

Coffee drinkers have a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease. Researchers found that older patients with high levels of caffeine in their blood were more likely to avoid Alzheimer's. Studies have also shown that caffeine has positive effects on type 2 diabetes and Parkinson's disease. It has also been shown to protect against skin cancer in women.

Coffee stays warmer when you add cream. Coffee with added cream cools about 20% slower than plain black coffee.

When you add milk, it weakens the effects of caffeine. Our bodies absorb coffee much slower when it has added fat milk content, which decreases the stimulants.

The largest cup of coffee ever was brewed in July 2014 in South Korea. It was over 3,700 gallons. The largest iced coffee was brewed in Las Vegas in 2010, and was 1,500 gallons. The ice was not included.

Coffee was brought to New Amsterdam (present day New York City) in the mid-1600s. However, it didn't become very popular until after the Boston Tea Party in 1773. The Civil War and other conflicts helped boost the popularity of coffee.

George Washington invented instant coffee. Not that Washington. Chemist George Constant Washington experimented with dried coffee before he created Red E Coffee-  the first brand name instant coffee.

Just smelling coffee can wake you up. A group of scientists reported that simply inhaling the aroma of coffee can alter the activity of some genes in the brain, reducing the effects of sleep deprivation. And when you do drink that cup of coffee, caffeine reaches your blood fast, like 10 minutes fast.

Dark roast coffees have less caffeine than lighter roasts. Even though the flavor is often stronger, roasting actually burns off some of the caffeine.

Decaf does not mean caffeine-free. An eight ounce brewed cup of decaf coffee actually has two-to-12 milligrams of caffeine. In comparison, a regular cup of coffee has anywhere from 95 to 200 milligrams. (Twelve ounces of coke only has 23-35 milligrams of caffeine.)

In the United States, 80% of adults consume caffeine every day. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the average intake is 200 milligrams, or about two five-ounce cups of coffee.

Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day. This is the equivalent to 146 billion cups each year, making the U.S. the leading consumer of coffee.

The average worker spends $20 a week on coffee. That totals nearly $1,100 annually.

The original definition of coffee means "wine." Coffee's original nameqahwah, came from the Yemen term for wine. In Turkey it was called kahveh, until the Dutch referred to it as koffie, where we get the English coffee.

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Caffeine

People drink less coffee today. We think of our culture as hooked on coffee, but actually our grandparents were far more caffeinated than we are. Coffee consumption peaked shortly after World War II, when Americans were consuming 46 gallons a year, or about 20 pounds of beans per person. Today, the average American drinks around 23 gallons of coffee a year.

People are easily addicted to caffeine. The average person needs to consume about 30 milligrams of caffeine to feel its rousing effects, and just 100 milligrams a day (the amount in a small cup of coffee) will hook most people. About 80% of Americans drink caffeine daily, and if the caffeine supply chain was disrupted, 125 million Americans would be hit with abysmal headaches, and 32 million would experience "clinically significant distress or functional impairment" from withdrawal.

No cup of coffee is created equal.  There isn't a standard for the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee and that includes within a single brand. A 16-ounce cup of coffee from Starbucks has more than twice the amount of caffeine (330 mg) than the same size from Dunkin' Donuts (143 mg). The Starbucks cup of coffee is almost four and a half espressos (which average 75 mg per 1.3-ounce shot). Also, a cup of coffee from a particular coffeeshop may differ in caffeine content from day to day, depending on who is making it, how, and from what.

Caffeine in our food is not regulated. The FDA does not require that beverage manufacturers include caffeine content on their products' labels. In fact, there is a dual-regulatory system for caffeine: The FDA regulates it when it's marketed as an over-the-counter medication but has taken a more "hands-off" approach to its presence in beverages. However, Michael Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, is carrying out an extensive investigation on the safety of caffeine in food products and energy drinks. He's particularly concerned about products marketed to children and adolescents.


 Caffeine can be good and bad. With just a small amount of caffeine, your brain, blood vessels, muscles, and digestion become more efficient. It can heighten your athletic ability, alertness, and cognition. With an excess of caffeine, you may experience anxiety, panic attacks, disrupted sleep, and even cardiac arrest.

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Unsolved Mystery of Anastasia

The Romanov family ruled Russia for more than three hundred years. The last Russian czar, Nicholas II, had been in power for more than twenty-three years. However, in 1917, Russia’s belief in a ruling czar was well on its way to oblivion. The Russian economy was in shambles, in part due to the country’s involvement in World War I, which began in 1914 and had already claimed more than 1 million lives. The Bolshevik revolution, led by Lenin, had created a Red Army that was marching to seize power, while loyalists to the czar, called the White Army, were trying to fend off the coup.

The Romanov Family

Then, a curse was put upon the royal family by Grigori Rasputin, (aka: The Mad Monk) the peasant confidant, mystic, and advisor to the czar. Many Russian people blamed Rasputin for their miseries because of his ill advice to the czar, which included getting their country involved in a bloody world conflict. Sensing danger was near, a paranoid Rasputin prophesized to Nicholas II: “Czar of the land of Russia, if you hear the sound of the bell which will tell you that Grigori has been killed, you must know this: If it was one of your relations who have wrought my death, then no one in the family, that is to say, none of your children or relations, will remain alive for more than two years. They will be killed by the Russian people.”

Rasputin

Both of Rasputin’s premonitions came true. Two weeks after his warning, Rasputin was murdered by Prince Felix Yusupov, who was married to a niece of the czar, and therefore it was a family relation responsible for his death, as he had alluded to. And, one and one-half years later, the entire Romanov family was executed after the Bolshevik rebels seized power of the country, which was within the time frame that Rasputin predicted the event would occur. But, were they all killed?


Prince Felix Yusupov

The entire royal family, along with their servants, were said to have been murdered and dumped in a mass grave. However, the grave wasn’t discovered until some sixty years later. It was always assumed that eleven bodies of the Romanov family and their entourage would be in the same grave. But the remains of only nine bodies were discovered and Anastasia’s body could not be confirmed. Whispers that Anastasia had been whisked away with a stash of the royal family’s jewels sewn into her clothes, before the Romanov family massacre occurred, ran rampant throughout Russia. Had she been in hiding all these decades, living a secret life?

Anastasia Romanov

Let’s  look at the evolution of this mystery. Anastasia Nikolavena Romanov was born on June 18, 1901. Her birth greatly distressed her father because he already had 3 daughters (Olga, Tatiana, and Maria) and was hoping for a son to be heir to his throne. Nicholas II eventually sired a son, but the most famous of all the Romanov children was his youngest daughter, Anastasia.

Anastasia was raised in a royal family, but didn’t always behave as prim and proper as one would assume a child bred into royalty would act. She was a spirited, mischievous child with a sweet sense of humor. Anastasia was engaging and an endlessly entertaining little girl. She would play pranks on her sisters and little brother and on her tutors. She did not enjoy the confines of the classroom; lessons at school bored her. Anastasia was rambunctious and active and preferred the outdoors, where she could frolic about, climb a tree, or play with her dog. She was prone to mischief, sometimes persuading her young brother, Alexei, to join her. But as the son of the court’s physician (a man who was executed along with the Romanov family) once remarked, “She undoubtedly held the record for punishable deeds in her family, for in naughtiness she was a true genius.” When she grew older, Anastasia took up smoking on the sly.

Alexei Romanov

Anastasia had a close relationship with her father’s advisor, Rasputin; she considered him a close friend and mentor and grieved mightily after his murder. Anastasia had a good heart. During World War I, a hospital was set up in an area of her palace. Anastasia and her sister Maria would regularly visit the wounded soldiers and try to cheer them up. The girls would play checkers or backgammon with the wounded to help them pass the time. Other times, they would read out loud letters the soldiers received from home or they’d help soldiers compose letters to be sent to loved ones.

But, Anastasia’s life would soon come crashing down with a thud heard round the world caused by insurgents opposed to the crown. The Lenin-led Bolshevik Revolution was winning the Russian civil war against the old-line forces loyal to the czar. Nicholas II was forced to abdicate. The Romanov family was put under house arrest by their Bolshevik captors. As the rebellion raged in its final stages, the family was moved to several different locations, they were told, in order to keep them safe and out of harm’s way. Then, on July 17, 1918, the Romanov family was told they were going to be relocated once again. They were moved to a basement room along with their associates. An execution squad entered the room and massacred them all in a torrent of gunfire. The bodies were buried in a mass grave outside the city of Yekaterinburg.

Here’s where it gets confusing. Because the Romanovs were of German descent, Germany had gotten indirectly involved in the conflict and demanded that the Bolsheviks ensure “the safety of the princesses of German blood.” The Bolsheviks indicated that the two youngest Romanov children had survived the massacre because they somehow escaped beforehand. Was it true? Or was it said to placate the Germans?

Speculation about Anastasia’s survival had started to circulate throughout Russia. The exact location of the mass grave where the Romanov family was dumped was never really known, except by the rebels who buried them there. It wasn’t until 1991 that the Romanov family grave site was discovered near Yekaterinburg by an amateur Soviet archeologist. It was always assumed that Anastasia was slaughtered with her family and close associates, which would have resulted in eleven bodies, but there were only the remains of nine bodies found in the grave. Scientists identified the two missing members of the Romanov family as Alexei and either Maria or Anastasia. The fact that Anastasia’s body could not be confirmed conclusively only fueled speculation that she disappeared and that  she did not die.

Rumors of the missing bodies bolstered the escape theory, which then led to at least 5 imposters crawling out of the woodwork claiming that they were the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanov, daughter of the last czar of Russia. Other imposters appeared and claimed to be a sister of Anastasia (Maria, Olga, or Tatiana), but none captured the imagination of the Anastasia imposters.

Then, in 2007, a Russian archeologist discovered two bodies in another grave in close proximity to the burial site where the slaughtered Romanov family was found. The Russians reported that the human remains were that of a boy who was about 10 to 13 years old and a girl who was about 18 to 23 years old. Anastasia would have been 17 years old at the time of her death.

About six months later, in 2008, Russian forensic scientists claimed that DNA recovered from the bodies matched that of Anastasia and Alexei. But, the validity of their claim is unclear. It is possible that political propaganda played a role in claims. Russia has always strived to be a secretive society. Maybe the Russians wanted to forever put to rest the rumors that Anastasia and Alexei survived. It is more than possible that the Russians did not want to have their history tainted; that is to say, maybe they did not want the world to think that the Bolsheviks, who ultimately became the Communist Party of the Soviet Union led by the beloved Vladimir Lenin, did not get the job done completely. We will never know for sure. The disappearance of Anastasia is one of those mysteries that might remain a mystery until the end of time.

The media has been fascinated with the story of Anastasia. Books have been written about her. A Broadway play about her was produced as well as a musical. Also, several films have tackled her tale. Finally, in 1997, an animated feature Anastasia, was released by Warner Bros and it proved to be one of the most popular.


Great Thinkers, Great Thoughts: Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir (born: Simone Lucie-Ernestine-Marie-Bertrand de Beauvoir) was born on January 9, 1908, in ParisFrance and died on April 14, 1986, in Paris. She was a French writer and feminist, a member of the intellectual fellowship of philosopher-writers who have given a literary transcription to the themes of Existentialism. She is known primarily for her treatise in two volumes, Le Deuxième Sexe (The Second Sex), a scholarly and passionate plea for the abolition of what she called the myth of the “eternal feminine.” This seminal work became a classic of feminist literature.

Schooled in private institutions, de Beauvoir attended the Sorbonne where, in 1929, she passed her agrégation in philosophy and met Jean-Paul Sartre. In so doing, she began a lifelong association with him. She taught at a number of schools (1931–43) before turning to writing for her livelihood. In 1945, she and Sartre founded and began editing Le Temps modernes, a monthly review.

Her novels expound the major Existential themes, demonstrating her conception of the writer’s commitment to the times. Her 1943 work, L’Invitée (She Came To Stay) describes the subtle destruction of a couple’s relationship brought about by a young girl’s prolonged stay in their home. It also treats the difficult problem of the relationship of a conscience to “the other,” each individual conscience being fundamentally a predator to another.

Of her other works of fiction, perhaps the best known is Les Mandarins (1954; The Mandarins), for which she won the Prix Goncourt. It is a chronicle of the attempts of post-World War II intellectuals to leave their “mandarin” (educated elite) status and engage in political activism.

She also wrote four books of philosophy, including Pour une Morale del’ambiguité (1947; The Ethics of Ambiguity); travel books on China called La Longue Marche: essai sur la Chine[ (1957; The Long March),  L’Amérique au jour de jour (1948; America Day by Day) and also a  number of essays, some of them book-length, the best known of which is The Second Sex. In 2009 a new English-language translation of The Second Sex was published, making the entire original text available to English-speaking readers for the first time; the earlier translation (1953) had been severely edited.

Several volumes of her work are devoted to autobiography. These include Mémoires d’une jeune fille rangée (1958; Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter), La Force de l’âge (1960; The Prime of Life), La Force des choses (1963; Force of Circumstance), and Tout compte fait (1972; All Said and Done). This body of work, beyond its personal interest, constitutes a clear and telling portrait of French intellectual life from the 1930s to the 1970s.

In addition to treating feminist issues, de Beauvoir was concerned with the issue of aging, which she addressed in Une Mort très douce (1964; A Very Easy Death), on her mother’s death in a hospital, and in La Vieillesse (1970; Old Age), a bitter reflection on society’s indifference to the elderly. In 1981, she wrote La Cérémonie des adieux (Adieux: A Farewell to Sartre), a painful account of Sartre’s last years.

Two books about Simone de Beauvoir have been published. The first one, Simone de Beauvoir: A Biography, by Deirdre Bair, appeared in 1990. The second one, Carole Seymour-Jones’s A Dangerous Liaison (2008), is a double biography of  both de Beauvoir and Sartre. It explores the unorthodox long-term relationship between the two of them.

Simone de Beauvoir revealed herself as a woman of formidable courage and integrity, whose life supported her thesis: the basic options of an individual must be made on the premises of an equal vocation for man and woman founded on a common structure of their being, independent of their sexuality.
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Quotes by Simone de Beauvoir
Change your life today. Don't gamble on the future, act now, without delay.
To catch a husband is an art; to hold him is a job. 
Society cares for the individual only so far as he is profitable.
I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom. 
If you live long enough, you'll see that every victory turns into a defeat. 
One is not born a woman, but becomes one.
It is old age, rather than death, that is to be contrasted with life. Old age is life's parody, whereas death transforms life into a destiny: in a way it preserves it by giving it the absolute dimension. Death does away with time. 
Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with the absolute truth. 
The word love has by no means the same sense for both sexes, and this is one cause of the serious misunderstandings that divide them.
What is an adult? A child blown up by age.
When an individual is kept in a situation of inferiority, the fact is that he does become inferior. 
All the idols made by man, however terrifying they may be, are in point of fact subordinate to him, and that is why he will always have it in his power to destroy them.
Defending the truth is not something one does out of a sense of duty or to allay guilt complexes, but is a reward in itself
In the face of an obstacle which is impossible to overcome, stubbornness is stupid.  
The most mediocre of males feels himself a demigod as compared with women.
It is not in giving life but in risking life that man is raised above the animal; that is why superiority has been accorded in humanity not to the sex that brings forth but to that which kills
Art is an attempt to integrate evil.

Buying is a profound pleasure. 



Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hilaire Belloc, A Controversial Writer





Hilaire Belloc (1870 - 1953)  is considered one of the most controversial and accomplished men of letters of early 20th-century England. An author whose writings continue to draw either the deep admiration or bitter contempt of readers, he was an outspoken proponent of radical social and economic reforms, all grounded in his vision of Europe as a "Catholic society." Although many critics have attacked Belloc's prescriptive polemical works for their tone of truculence and intolerance, especially for recurrent elements of anti-Semitism, they have also joined in praise of his humor and poetic skill  hailing Belloc as the greatest English writer of light verse.

The son of a wealthy French father and English mother, Belloc was born in La Celle St. Cloud, France, a few days before the Franco-Prussian War broke out. The family fled to England at the news of the French army's collapse, returning after the war's end to discover that the Belloc home had been looted and vandalized by Prussian soldiers. Although the estate was eventually restored and made habitable, the evidence of destruction witnessed by Belloc's parents and later recounted to their children made a deep impression on Hilaire; throughout his life and through the two world wars, he habitually referred to Germany as "Prussia" and considered the "Prussians" a barbaric people worthy only of utter contempt. 

By the mid-1890s Belloc had married and, through the influence of his sister Marie Belloc Lowndes, begun writing for various London newspapers and magazines. His first book, Verses and Sonnets, appeared in 1896, followed by The Bad Child's Book of Beasts, which satirized moralistic verse for children and proved immensely popular. Illustrated with superb complementary effect by Belloc's friend Basil T. Blackwood, The Bad Child's Book of Beasts, according to critics, contains much of the author's best light verse, as do such later collections as More Beasts (for Worse Children), The Modern Traveller and Cautionary Tales for Children. An impulsive man who seldom lived in any one place for more than a few weeks and whose frequent trips to the continent proved a constant drain on his financial resources, Belloc welcomed the popular success of his verse collections. But, embracing Cardinal Edward Henry Manning's dictum that "all human conflict is ultimately theological," he perceived his primary role as that of polemicist and reformer, whose every work must reflect his desire for Europe's spiritual, social, and political return to its monarchist, Catholic heritage. Belloc's career as an advocate of Catholicism first attracted wide public attention in 1902 with The Path to Rome, perhaps his most famous single book, in which he recorded the thoughts and impressions that came to him during a walking trip through France and Italy to Rome. In addition to its infusion of Catholic thought, the work contains what later became acknowledged as typically Bellocian elements: rich, earthy humor; an eye for natural beauty; and a meditative spirit all of which appear in the author's later travel books, which include Esto Perpetua, The Four Men,  and The Cruise of the "Nona".

The period between the century's turn and the mid-1920s was the time of Belloc's widest fame and influence. Throughout these years Belloc's name and reputation were frequently linked in the public mind with 
G. K. Chesterton, whom Belloc had met around 1900 when each was a contributor to the radical journal the Speaker. In Chesterton, Belloc found a talented illustrator of his books, a friend, and a man who shared and publicly advocated many of his own religious and political views. Anti-industrial and anti-modern in much of their advocacy, the two were jointly caricatured in print by George Bernard Shaw as "the Chesterbelloc," an absurd pantomime beast of elephantine appearance and outmoded beliefs. Both, according to Shaw and other adverse critics, had a passion for lost causes. Belloc and Chesterton were "Little Englanders" who opposed to British colonialism and imperialism and whose essays in the Speaker had infuriated many Londoners by the authors' opposition to Britain's imperial designs on South Africa and the nation's participation in the Boer War. Each looked to the Middle Ages as an era of spiritual and material fulfillment when Europe was united in Catholicism and small landowners worked their own, Church-allotted parcels of property, providing for their own individual needs, free from both the wage-slavery that later developed under capitalism and the confiscatory taxation and collectivist policies of state socialism. (Belloc in particular, after serving for several years as a Liberal M.P. in the House of Commons, held a cynical view of the modern British political system, seeing little difference in the methods of the government's Liberal and Conservative ministers, who were often, to his disgust, fellow clubmen and the closest of friends outside the halls of Parliament.) As an alternative both to capitalism and to the Fabian socialism advanced by such contemporaries as Shaw, H. G. Wells, and Beatrice and Sidney Webb, Belloc propounded an economic and political program called Distributism, a system of small landholding which harks back to Europe's pre-Reformation history. This system was outlined in the 1891 Papal Encyclical Rerum Novarum, and is fully described in Belloc's controversial essay The Servile State, published in 1912. 

The Chesterbelloc's political ideas were also expounded in the Eye Witness, a weekly political and literary journal edited by Belloc, which became one of the most widely read periodicals in pre-war England. Belloc attracted as contributors such distinguished authors as Shaw, Wells, Maurice Baring, and Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. In addition, he and his subeditor, Cecil Chesterton, involved the Eye Witness in a political uproar in 1912 when they uncovered the Marconi Scandal, in which several prominent government officials used confidential information concerning impending international business contracts in order to speculate in the stock of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company. Although Belloc continued to contribute articles and occasionally edit the periodical, the Eye Witness eventually passed to Cecil Chesterton's editorship as the New Witness, which, after Cecil's death in World War I, came under his brother's supervision, becoming in 1925 G. K.'s Weekly, the principal organ of the Distributist League. By then, Belloc had established himself as a polemicist who could write forceful and convincing essays on nearly any subject, in a prose style marked by clarity and wit. His reputation as a polemicist reached its zenith in 1926 when, in A Companion to Mr. Wells's "Outline of History", he attacked his longtime opponent's popular book as a simpleminded, nonscientific, anti-Catholic document. A war of mutual refutation ensued, fought by both writers in the pages of several books and essays. Ironically, although much of the scientific community now affirms Wells's biological theses as presented in the Outline, during the 1920s the preponderance of evidence supported the findings of Belloc, who, in the minds of some observers, bested Wells in their exchange of polemical broadsides. 

Recent biographical and critical studies have revealed Belloc to be a much more complex and intriguing figure than the predictable, anti-Semitic crank portrayed by critics during his lifetime and the years immediately following. As a man, and particularly as a polemicist, he fought tenaciously to uphold his own conceptions of truth; as Michael H. Markel has described Belloc and his polemical style: "He was never modulated, restrained and understated. When he chose an enemy, he fought completely, with all the weapons he could find. Until the enemy was not only disarmed but conquered, Belloc pressed the attack." He held strong passions and strong hatreds, being at once a monarchist and an ardent admirer of the French Revolution in all its excesses, an insistent Catholic apologist and a man who could refer to Jesus as "a milksop" and the Bible as "a pack of lies," a man who expressed sympathy for Europe's Jews and outrage over the Holocaust, yet sprinkled his correspondence and published works with derisive references to "the Yids." As for this last matter, Belloc's reputation as an anti-Semitic hatemonger rests largely upon his book The Jews, published in 1922. In this work, Belloc warned that there existed in post-World War I Europe a "Jewish problem"—tension and mistrust between the Jewish minority and the suspicious, predominantly Gentile population, and that to ignore this tension would lead to an anti-Semitic persecution such as the world had never seen. But to even acknowledge that such tensions existed was itself considered an act of bigotry, and The Jews,  then as now, went largely unread, being generally perceived as an anti-Semitic work. 

Although he admired Mussolini, Belloc detested Hitler, particularly the German's anti-Jewish ravings, and he was outspoken with anger and pity when his prophecy from The Jews began to come true within his lifetime. But even though he condemned persecution of Jews, he remained to the last a man who considered Jews "Christ-killers" and shylocks. To Belloc, Jews were altogether too prominent in the world of international finance, maintaining capitalism and industrialism through loans and investments, and thereby extending the "servile state." Capitalism was, to Belloc, itself an outgrowth of Protestantism, which had originated in Prussia, usurped Church authority during the Middle Ages, given the peasants' Church-allocated land to the wealthy aristocracy, and driven the peasants themselves off the land and into wage-slavery under their new, rich rulers. Among the most scurrilous of Britain's Protestants were university dons, who, according to Belloc, trained the young to embrace the capitalist system, with its inherent need for cheap labor and easily obtained raw materials (hence its need for imperialistic colonialism), the success of which further enriched and entrenched the Jews in their positions of financial power. 

While Belloc's political and social views have proven unpopular, critics have highly praised the author's light verse, with 
W. H. Auden going so far as to state of Belloc that "as a writer of Light Verse, he has few equals and no superiors." In his widely known cautionary verse for children, Belloc assumed the perspective of a ridiculously stuffy and pedantic adult lecturing children on the inevitable catastrophes that result from improper behavior. Among his outstanding verses of this type are Maria Who Made Faces and a Deplorable Marriage, Godolphin Horne, Who Was Cursed with the Sin of Pride, and Became a Bootblack, and Algernon, Who Played with a Loaded Gun, and, on Missing his Sister, Was Reprimanded by His Father."Unlike Lear and Carroll, whose strategy was to bridge the gulf between adults and children," Markel has written, "Belloc startled his readers by exaggerating that gulf. Belloc's view of children did not look backward to the Victorian nonsense poets, but forward to the films of W. C. Fields." Like his children's verse, Belloc's satiric and non-cautionary light verse is characterized by its jaunty, heavily rhythmic cadences and by the author's keen sense of the absurd, as reflected in East and West and in Lines to a Don which skewers a "Remote and ineffectual Don / That dared attack my Chesterton." 
 
Belloc wrote in every genre except drama, but, according to critics, achieved wide success in only wo: poetry and the personal essay. While his novels and polemical writings are considered too tightly bound to obscure issues of the early twentieth century and are little read, his poetry, as well as The Path to Rome and The Four Men, continue to attract the interest of readers and critics. In addition, Belloc's small corpus of literary criticism is considered highly insightful. But overshadowing his literary accomplishments is the common perception of Belloc as a loud, intolerant bull of a writer whose strongly stated opinions not only tainted the thought of the otherwise genial G. K. Chesterton, but also contributed to the atmosphere of anti-Jewish hatred that culminated in the Holocaust. Some critics have noted the odd fact that while all of Belloc's writings are frequently examined for evidence of anti-Semitism, the works of Shaw, who praised Joseph Stalin's policies during the great purges of the 1930s, and Wells who in Anticipations  (1902) flatly proposed the extermination of any race or group that dared oppose the coming utopian technocracy, are read and critically treated without reference to their authors' excesses. Several critics have explained this discrepancy by pointing out that, in light of the Holocaust, many people today consider anti-Semitism an unforgivable attitude, and that while many moderns have seen newsreel films of Nazi concentration camps, no one has seen so much as a photograph of a Soviet gulag.


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Four Brief Poems by Hilaire Belloc

Lines For A Christmas Card
by Hilaire Belloc

May all my enemies go to hell,
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel. 

*                    *

The Diamond
 by Hilaire Belloc



This diamond, Juliet, will adorn 
Ephemeral beauties yet unborn. 
While my strong verse, for ever new, 
Shall still adorn immortal you.
  
*                   *

The Moon
by Hilaire Belloc

The moon on the one hand, the dawn on the other:
The moon is my sister, the dawn is my brother.
The moon on my left and the dawn on my right.
My brother, good morning: my sister, good night
. 

*                    *

The Llama
by Hilaire Belloc

The Llama is a wooly sort of fleecy hairy goat,
With an indolent expression and an undulating throat
Like an unsuccessful literary man.

And I know the place he lives in (or at least- I think I do)
It is Ecuador, Brazil or Chile- possibly Peru;
You must find it in the Atlas if you can.
The Llama of the Pampasses you never should confound
(In spite of a deceptive similarity of sound)
With the Llama who is Lord of Turkestan.
For the former is a beautiful and valuable beast,
But the latter is not lovable nor useful in the least;
And the Ruminant is preferable surely to the Priest
Who battens on the woeful superstitions of the East,
The Mongol of the Monastery of Shan.