On the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe it’s appropriate to remind ourselves that it was before the image of Our Lady that Hillary committed one of the great cultural gaffes of her time as Secretary of State.

Hillary visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and was shown the image of Our Lady kept there and asked this question:

After observing it for a while, Mrs. Clinton asked “who painted it?” to which Msgr. Monroy responded “God!”

Now you might think that the smartest woman in the world would know the story about the single most significant cultural and religious icon of not only the country she was visiting but of North America, of the seemingly impossible facts concerning it, such as these four via Big C Catholic

1. There is no under-sketch or under-drawing on the image.

Infrared photography has demonstrated that there is no sketching on the image whatsoever. Dr. Philip Callahan, a research biophysicist from the University of Florida explains: “It is inconceivable that an artist in the 16th Century would paint a portrait without first doing a drawing on it.” Making an under-sketch prior to painting a portrait goes back to antiquity. Such an exquisite depiction on textile made from cactus fiber is inexplicable given the lack of sketching.

2. The image has lasted and shows no signs of deterioration.

Juan Diego’s tilma is made of a rough cactus fiber which normally disintegrates in 15 to 30 years. Yet, the image of Guadalupe has remained intact for 484 years without fading or cracking. Moreover, it was subjected to candle smoke for many years, which should have accelerated the process of deterioration.

In 1778, a worker accidentally spilled strong nitric acid onto a large portion of the image. To everyone’s astonishment, only slight stains appeared which can still be seen in the upper right side. Additionally, in 1921 a bomb concealed in some flowers was placed on the altar directly under the image. When the bomb detonated, the marble altar rail and windows 150 feet away were shattered, a brass crucifix was twisted out of shape, but the image was left unharmed.

3. The stars that appear on the image are astrologically correct.

In 1983 Dr. Juan Homero Hernandez and Fr. Mario Rojas Sánchez discovered that the stars on the image correspond precisely to the constellations of the winter sky on December 12th, 1531. Incredibly, the constellations are shown as viewed from outside the heavens, in other words in reverse. It is as if we have a picture from someone looking at it from outside the universe, it is a snapshot of heaven and earth from the very moment that Juan Diego saw Our Lady.

4. Mary’s eyes are astonishingly life like.

Of all the characteristics of the image, this is perhaps the most astounding. The microscopic likeness of a bearded man was discovered in the pupils of the Virgin; first in 1929, and again in 1951. The bearded man corresponds to contemporaneous pictures of Juan Diego. No human painter could have foreseen putting infinitesimally small images of Juan Diego in the eyes of the Virgin so that later advances in human technology could detect them. Furthermore, it is impossible for any human to have painted the images because they are simply too miniscule to produce.

Jose Aste Tonsmann, a Peruvian ophthalmologist, examined Mary’s eyes at 2,500 times magnification. He was able to identify thirteen individuals in both eyes at different proportions, just as a human eye would reflect an image. It appeared to be the very moment Juan Diego unfurled the tilma before Bishop Zumárraga.

Dr. Jorge Escalante Padilla a surgical ophthalmologist considers these reflections to belong to the type which have been described by Cherney on the back surface of the cornea and by Watt & Hess at the center of the lens. Such reflections are very difficult to detect. Dr. Escalante also reported the discovery of small veins on both of the eyelids of the image. In the 1970s, a Japanese optician who was examining the eyes fainted. Upon recovering he stated: “The eyes were alive and looking at him.” [Janet Barber, Latest Scientific Findings on the Images in the Eyes, page 90.] Incredibly, when Our Lady’s eyes are exposed to light, the retinas contract. When the light is withdrawn, they return to a dilated state.

You might think she would have known some background and quit while she was behind.

The version in the Mexican press is yet more cringe-inducing: After being told it was an apparition, Clinton apparently persisted, asking, “But who painted the painting, the roses,” before being informed again that God was the artist in question.

She didn’t

But given that even 8 years after said Gaffe NBC is spinning the lady of Guadalupe into a patron of liberalism vs a path to her son that’s not a big surprise.

Closing thought, I wonder how many voters of mexican ancestry in swing states remembered this gaffe on election day?

SHREVEPORT – As a high-school English teacher I have long struggled with the distraction of cell phones in the classroom.  I know many teachers who have struggled with this issue and have found various ways to deal with it – most often simply incorporating that technology as an instructional tool.  I’ve seen “Cell Phone Jail” jars and boxes on Pinterest and I’ve seen hanging shoe storage pockets used as charging stations, where the student can drop his phone in the pocket and leave it to charge all class period.

None of these have worked for me.  The allure of that incoming text message or SnapChat photo is too powerful to ignore and invariably the student will check the phone, thus turning his attention away from instruction.

I was commiserating with another teacher about this one day in an attempt to find out what my colleagues do about this issue when someone suggested I read A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel. The book came out in 2014 but is based on the author’s 2010 Pulitzer Prize winning series for the New York Times. The book tells the story of a teenager who caused an accident while texting and driving which resulted in the death of two rocket scientists.  It’s a compelling read and filled with the science to support the author’s thesis which is basically that cell phone technology has insinuated itself into our most basic instinct to pay attention in order to survive, except now we are paying attention to the incoming text message or email rather than the more important tasks at hand, like perhaps driving.

This is especially true for the younger generation – those who have grown up with this technology in their hands their entire lives.

Richtel cites science that explains how the phone works sort of like an immediate gratification system and that positive reward releases dopamine in the brain each time you use the device:

“…You hear the ping of an incoming text or call, you respond; the ping happens, you respond.  And each time you respond, you get a hit of dopamine. It’s a pleasurable feeling, a release from the reward center. Then it’s gone. There is no incoming text, no stimulation. You start to feel bored. You crave another hit.”

The result is now we have a generation of kids who find it “hard to sustain periods of attention” and who “are less tolerant of waiting for delays.”  Most telling to me, and what I see in my classroom is Richtel’s point that “Their brains are rewarded not for staying on task, but for jumping to the next thing.”

So while this book is a fascinating read and does help me understand a great deal about how the brain works and how addicted we are to our devices, it still doesn’t tell me how to manage this issue in my classroom.

I had a conversation with a student one day recently along these same lines. We had been reading Macbeth and she was amazed that an actor could memorize so many lines of Shakespearean dialogue in order to perform on stage. I pointed out that it seems that our brains have evolved over time to adapt to our changing society; once traveling scops could recite 3,000 lines of Beowulf but you might be hard pressed to do that these days. And when I explained to her how we had to do research papers without internet and without computers (remember the old Reader’s Guide?) she was astounded and shook her head in disbelief. And then her phone vibrated and her eyes dropped to the screen to see who was messaging her. End of conversation.

Since I’ve been reading Richtel’s book, I’m much more conscious of my own cell phone tendencies. I even laughed at the irony of my stopping reading long enough to message the friend who had recommended the book to me.

As I said, I still have not found a classroom management strategy that will work in my room as far as the phone issue goes, but I think I’m getting closer to it by having read this book. At least now I understand that it’s a much bigger problem than I realized.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

You know that Taiwan animator video I posted yesterday, there is a sequel prequel

Like I said this is going to be a must watch site.

Also Tucker Carlson is becoming must watch

Noting hurts liberals more than quoting them in context. Why do you think Milo & RS McCain were banned by twitter

Is radical feminism and the left’s unwillingness to have sex post Trump the ultimate proof of natural selection? I’m thinking so more and more.

Speaking of RS McCain & feminists I think we should start a twitter list of the feminists he highlights on his blog and pray for them daily. AFter all with God all things are possible.

You know I thought the MSM would all become Jake Tappers after the election now that there will be a GOP president, instead they have all become David Brocks. It takes effort to be that bad.

Saw Doctor Strange with my son, it’s one of the few movies with heavy CGI that I don’t mind, after all it’s supposed to be a non-real world.

You want to see how movies were made go watch Gunga Din and read this post on it, though written in 2011 you’ll see Trump themes in it

We still don’t know if Trump will be a good president but listening to Evan McMullen lately I’ve concluded he is a nut who is sounding as bad as the MSM. What is it about Trump that makes people insane?

Looks like the Pats control their destiny for home field with 4 games left. Does this Brady ever get tired?

FYI some day Boston will not be constantly in Championships again, and we will miss the Brady/Ortiz era and realize how spoilt we are.

Update: corrected video embeds