Friday, January 29, 2016

Phoning it in on Kansas Day

No arty fartiness this Friday, we're out of town on a late birthday treat. I note from Wikipedia, though, that today, January 29, is Kansas Day. My husband is a native Kansan, as is regular commenter and friend, "mike", and if I recall correctly an occasional commenter "Bob" hails from Kansas too. Happy Kansas Day y'all!

Kansas Day is a holiday in the state of Kansas in the United States. It is celebrated annually on January 29 to commemorate the anniversary of the 1861 admission of Kansas into the Union. It was first celebrated in 1877 by schoolchildren in Paola.

Annual Kansas Day celebrations include school field trips and special projects to study the history of Kansas, special visits by students to the Statehouse in Topeka, performances of Home on the Range, the Kansas State Song, and special proclamations by the Governor of Kansas and members of the Kansas Legislature.

We're not in Kansas [anymore] though, too cold up there in January! Normal blogging (or as near normal as I can manage) should resume Monday or Tuesday.

Should anyone wish to use the commenting facility below this post for general chit-chat please be my guest!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Aquarius Sun + Others ?

SUN IN AQUARIUS according to Cyril Fagan - I found the list copied below on a website encountered while searching for something in relation to Fixed Stars. Decided to borrow it, being a Sun in Aquarius native myself.

I've graded each item on a scale of A/B/C :
A means that I find it fits me well or it's what I try to aim for; B = fits only sometimes; C = don't agree at all, in my own case.
? = not sure what this means.

Many of the characteristics listed could apply to any or all 12 Sun signs. The first 3 items, plus # 6, and the one about freedom of movement and action are those I relate to most strongly, regarding my Sun sign. Other 'A' markings are either too general or maybe I'd be inclined to assign them to other planetary placings in my natal chart.

Do any of these characteristics apply to passing reader(s) - either Sun Aquarian or Sun in any other zodiac sign?

A Most “scientific” type: inventive, analytic, delights in investigation and discovery.
A Avoidance of complex systematization (contrary to Cancer). Agnostic, Natural Mysticism.
A Interest in occult and recondite subjects. (Many reincarnationists.) Interest in profound or serious thought.
B Avid reader, absorbs concepts and ideas quickly.
C Highly talented, creative. Very musical (mostly vocal).
A Can judge others and themselves dispassionately, objectively. Takes people for what they are without trying to alter or misrepresent them, without being impressed by pomp, etc.
A race/C class! Ignores barriers of race or class.
A Rarely pretends to be anything he isn’t (yet many excellent actors). Uses vernacular in writing.
A Sense of humor off the beaten track. Cynical at times.
A Strong opinions freely expressed.
A Needs freedom of movement and action. Behavior often seems unconventional but within certain personal bounds.
B Desired responses must be enticed from them, never coerced or forced.
C Often seems to undermine relationships subconsciously (feeling autonomy threatened?)
C Refusal to surrender personal autonomy even in marriage. Healthy selfishness. Need for privacy. Strong resistance to dealing openly with own feelings.
B Hate to be criticized attempt to denigrate the criticism or rationalize the situation with principles.
C Don’t feel they have anything for which to apologize.
A Drawn to group situations, but not joiners except to fulfill a purpose. Socializes selectively (or with a purpose).
B Bad at personal relations. Misunderstood from being insufficiently expressive or demonstrative (esp. in romance).
A Truthful, high-minded, honest, altruistic, generous.
? He will take up and patronize many, and provide them with the means of life. (Firmicus)
B Sounding boards. Ready to lend an ear (less frequently a shoulder). (Hard for them to terminate an interchange, especially when the other person is talking.) Sentimental.
A Wisdom of life, astute judgment of human character. Knows how to appreciate others.
A Convenience Motif. Keeps things frequently used within close reach. Pragmatic.
? PAUL BUNYON motif. Works hard to make life easy.
B Unaffected manner, blasé, apparently easy-going. Such iconoclasts that nothing they do seems unusual to them.
B Seems low key if not tired. (Fluctuating energy cycles?)
B Weak self-image. Plays down own self (self-effacing?).
A Sensitive, easily hurt, can be terribly touchy (but often won’t express the hurt). BWorriers: fear the worst in a strenuous situation. Potentially high anxiety level.
A Money isn’t too important to them: If they have it, they spend it; if not, they go without.
AGravitation toward future. Frustrated if future doesn’t occur the way they anticipate.
AFear of dying before accomplishing what they feel they should. Imposes deadlines on self (then procrastinates).
A Employed in public service [if government service counts].
B Industrious (but difficulty concentrating on anything outside of major interest, specially relationships).
A Family-conscious. Strong devotion to both parents and children. Often family is an impenetrable, inviolable circle.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


I've weathered yet another trip around the Sun reasonably unscathed. The numbers keep increasing, but that's what numbers do, they're just man-made things.

Speaking of numbers, thousands, millions, billions and trillions of US dollars are often in the news. At this link there's a nice graphic comparison of what those numbers look like translated into $100 bills.

I might be able to stretch the theme of numbers further still. Last week we rented a trio of videos, egged on by the offer of one free rental from our local store, because we'd been AWOL for so long.

We chose :

The Martian
Good one! We both enjoyed it. Astronaut stranded on Mars, left for dead during an horrific storm, around 140 million miles from home. It's non-fantasy sci-fi. It's not difficult to imagine events, such as depicted in the film's story, actually coming to pass in the not too distant future. The tale is not doom-laden, hope and determination spring all the way through it, in spite of incredibly high odds and great difficulties, and that's inspiring!

I'll See You in My Dreams.
I picked this one off the shelf just because I spotted Sam Elliott's name in the cast list. I can never pass over another chance to see, and hear, Sam! It turned out to be a rather nice romantic tale for those of mature years, who had been around the Sun quite a few times, like yours truly. Very well done, we thought, not overly sentimental. It's down to earth but sweet with it. A gentle examination of a few different kinds of friendships and relationships that can arise as time goes on. I have two complaints, but to tell them would be to spoil the movie. Oh well...I will tell one of them: the dog dies. Dang! In the very first scene we see a lovely labrador asleep on Blythe Danner's bed. I said, right away to husband, "I hope they don't kill the dog in this one! In every film we see with a lovely dog in it - the dog dies in some way!"

The Age of Adeline
We watched the three films in this order, and dang me, but a dog died in this one as well! You might be able to imagine my choice remarks! Apart from that, though, The Age of Adaline is a pleasant and engaging story. Suspending disbelief came easily for us, including the premise that a woman could remain at the age of 29 for almost a century.
From a review at Variety:
Blake Lively as a woman for whom eternal youth turns out to be a decidedly mixed blessing — one that plays out in ways both poignant and preposterous, sometimes simultaneously, over the course of her 100-plus years on Earth.

Three lucky picks - not a bad one among 'em!

Finally, a few more words on numbers, by Suzy Kassem from Rise Up and Salute the Sun


Before you were born,
And were still too tiny for
The human eye to see,
You won the race for life
From among 250 million competitors.
And yet,
How fast you have forgotten
Your strength,
When your very existence
Is proof of your greatness.
You were born a winner,
A warrior,
One who defied the odds
By surviving the most gruesome
Battle of them all.
And now that you are a giant,
Why do you even doubt victory
Against smaller numbers,
And wider margins?
The only walls that exist,
Are those you have placed in your mind.
And whatever obstacles you conceive,
Exist only because you have forgotten
What you have already

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Fixed Stars in Zodiac Sign Aquarius

This monthly wander among the Fixed Stars is drawing to a close. I did post on some of the Fixed Stars in zodiac sign Aquarius last year, in a different format from that used from Aries onward . Then I completely forgot to post on Fixed Stars in Pisces! So... I shall re-do Aquarius here, then finish up next month with Fixed Stars in zodiac sign Pisces, that'll complete a matching series. It's good to be neat and complete!

The previous Aquarius Fixed Stars post is HERE.

Fixed Stars within topical zodiac sign Aquarius. The data below comes from Astroweb (HERE), showing star positions in 1900 in the left-hand column and in 2000 on the right.

Astrological interpretations for some of those stars, if found to be tightly conjunct a natal personal planet, or important point, are available online. A good, all-encompassing website to investigate for this is
Constellation of Words.

Once again constellation and zodiac sign have to be blended. Some Fixed Stars in Aquarius form part of the constellation of Capricorn, and many forming part of constellation Aquarius now fall in zodiac sign Pisces.

My own nearest Fixed Star to natal Sun in Aquarius (27 January) is Bos. It lies on the head/face of the sea-goat, constellation of Capricorn, not marked on the illustration. Said to signify: Keen intellect, good for business, military, analysis. Fortunate; Saturn/ Venus. Business and military ? Not flippin' likely! The rest: I can but hope!

Interesting tid-bits:

Altair, now at 1+ degree of Aquarius, is in neither constellation Capricorn nor constellation Aquarius, but in constellation Aquila (The Eagle) on the eagle's neck.
Altair, by the way, was the name of one of four gorgeous Arabian horses in the famous chariot race in Ben Hur (the novel, and my all-time favourite film). The horses were named for Fixed Stars: Altair, Antares, Aldebaran and Rigel. All were known as fortunate. Altair (The Eagle), Antares (Heart of the Scorpion), Aldebaran (Bull's South Eye), Rigel (Orion's Foot). In the Ben Hur story Judah Ben-Hur meets an Arab sheikh who owns a magnificent stable of Arabian white horses. They go on to compete in a chariot race at the Circus of Antioch in Syria. The two main drivers being Judah Ben Hur and Messala, a Roman; they were boyhood friends who became enemies.

Deneb Algedi brightest star in constellation Capricorn, now at around 23 Aquarius marks the approximate position of the discovery of planet Neptune on September 23, 1846 by German astronomer Johann Galle. Neptune was back in roughly the same area between 2007 and 2009, after completing a circuit of the ecliptic.

Sadalsuud Brightest star in constellation Aquarius is found on the water bearer's left shoulder, now at around 23 Aquarius. Said to signify great fortune; astrology, the occult, government, business, psychic, visionary, originality; personal charm; temperance; aviation.
(See here)

Sadalsuud, whose name means 'Luckiest of the Lucky', is reputed to have been so named because of the weather conditions which accompanied its rising. Latin astrologers knew it by the title 'Fortuna Fortunarum', a clear indication of its benevolent nature. (See here)

I haven't yet been able to find any hint as to why Sadalsuud has connection to astrology.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Music Monday ~ Something So Right

Will Rogers: "We have plenty of confidence in this country, but we are a little short of good men to place our confidence in."
That's no longer true, now there IS one!

Simon & Garfunkel's lovely song "America" provides the background music. This article outlines Art Garfunkel's reasons for approving the song's use in this way; so far no comment from Paul Simon though, according to the report. However, there's also this from the New York Times referring to a CNN interview:

Art Garfunkel is a “Bernie guy.”
One half of the duo whose famous song, “America,” is the soundtrack for the most recent ad for Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign, pledged his allegiance to the candidate in an interview with CNN’s Michael Smerconish.
“I like Bernie,” Mr. Garfunkel said. “I like his fight. I like his dignity and his stance. I like this song.”
He added that while he and his former musical partner, Paul Simon, might not agree on everything, they are both “liberals in our inclination,” and agreed on letting the Sanders campaign use their song.
Mr. Garfunkel said the idea to use the song came from the campaign, but the duo “acquiesced” to the request.
Another of Paul Simon's songs also strikes me as appropriate, being a Bernie Sanders supporter myself:

When something goes wrong
I'm the first to admit it
I'm the first to admit it
But the last one to know
when something goes right
Well it's likely to lose me
It's apt to confuse me
It's such an unusual sight
I can't get used to something so right
Something so right

News surfaced at the weekend that Michael Bloomberg, billionaire and former Mayor of New York, intends to enter the presidential campaign if Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or Bernie Sanders become party nominees. Bloomberg is said to be "galled by Donald J. Trump’s dominance of the Republican field, and troubled by Hillary Clinton’s stumbles and the rise of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Democratic side."

Ah yes! Well...of course, he would, wouldn't he? He and his ilk are becoming increasingly alarmed at the thought of anti-establishment figures, on both sides of the political divide, gaining ground, gaining influence, threatening longtime power of the "princes". That thought reminds me of another song - or at least of its last verse.

From the Bob Dylan classic All Along the Watchtower

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.
Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl,
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Weekend Bits & Pieces

Here's a quiz to try: How dark is your personality? - 5 minute test.

Astrology could be said to have a metaphorical link to colour. Colour, I am reliably informed by my husband, has hue (the actual colour), chroma (the intensity or brilliance), shade (greyness from added black ) and tint(added white)...all factors carried forward when any mixing of colours takes place. See?

Netflixing: Recently we've watched Uncanny - very interesting movie about AI (artificial intelligence). There are twists, some more obvious than others. It's the kind of movie where a second viewing is indicated, after searching online for commentary about what was missed.

We re-watched Primer but found it even more confusing than on first viewing. Seeking information on the net just scrambled my brain some more.

We've also binge-watched (13 episodes over a few evenings) the TV series Zoo. Very good story, if scary at times. Premise: the animals of Earth have said "enough is enough" and turn on humans. Why? That's the mystery to be solved. It's cleverly filmed with, inevitably, CGI and is generally well performed by some little known (to us) actors.

Expressions _ Just one look...
(Borrowed from husband's vintage photograph collection, in his "Talking Pictures" album at Flickr - see sidebar link)


You're gonna regret this.


 Take off my WHAT?


Then, Nola noticed an interesting odor.


You think so? Wait'll you see this!


 Wanna see what I got in my pocket?


We haf ways to make you talk.


I gotta quit drinkin'.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Arty Farty Friday ~ Cartoonist Bill Mauldin

Bill Mauldin: "If I see a stuffed shirt, I want to punch it. If it's big, hit it. You can't go far wrong." Too many newspaper artists tended to "regard editorial cartooning as a trade instead of a profession. They try not to be too offensive", he said. "The hell with that." He frequently lamented that editorial cartoonists were too soft and that more of them needed to be "stirrer-uppers." Mr. Mauldin worked full time at being a stirrer-upper, and while he was on duty nobody was safe from his editorial brush.

The above, and following information, comes from a 2003 New York Times obituary by Richard Severo, honoring cartoonist Bill Mauldin. some early biographical detail is there too.

Bill Mauldin's best known cartoons feature Willie and Joe, two care-worn, weary and bedraggled World War II US infantrymen. After the war Mauldin worked as a syndicated cartoonist for more than 50 years, his aim "to caricature bigots, superpatriots, doctrinaire liberals and conservatives and pompous souls in whatever form they appeared". He won the Pulitzer Prize twice, once in 1945 for his World War II work, again in 1959 for his commentary on Soviet treatment of Boris Pasternak."

Besides segregationists, red-baiters and dictators, Mr. Mauldin used his pen to strike at the Ku Klux Klan and veterans' organizations that he thought were too far to the right. He later said he thought he had gone too far in his denunciations and "became a bore." Many newspapers agreed and began to drop his syndicated cartoons. His postwar book "Back Home" received good reviews. He also appeared in two 1951 war movies.

During the war, Mauldin was beloved by his fellow enlisted men, for lambasting their pet irritants: insensitive drill sergeants, palate-dulled mess sergeants, glamour-dripping Air Force pilots in leather jackets, and cafe owners in liberated countries who rewarded the thirsty G.I.'s who had freed them by charging them double for brandy. He was also much admired by his peers, fellow cartoonists.

For a good selection of Mauldin's Willie & Joe cartoons see THIS WEBSITE page and additional pages there.

A few of his cartoons on other topics - and these haven't dated much!

 After the assassination of JFK


Born on 29 October 1921 at 10:15 PM in Mountain Park, New Mexico. (Data from

Natal Scorpio Sun and Mercury are linked by harmonious trines to Uranus and Pluto - a circuit in Water signs ensuring there were strong elements of intensity and rebellion in his emotional nature. His rebel nature clearly shows through his cartooning - and in the quote at the top of this post, and this one:
"[Editorial cartooning] is essentially a destructive art. We are not pontificators, or molders of thought—or at least we shouldn't try to be. Ours is more the role of the lowly gadfly: circle and stab, circle and stab. Roughly put, our credo should be, if it's big, hit it."
― Bill Mauldin
Venus (planet of the arts) in one of its own signs, Libra, conjoins Jupiter (wide publication) and sextiles Neptune, planet of creativity and imagination - interpretation of that speaks for itself in his work.

All Mr Mauldin's natal planets lie within the span of just three zodiac signs, Scorpio, Libra and Virgo. Such a tight grouping signifies an individual with intense focus on a chosen path or career, often leading to success.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cometh the Words Cometh the Idea

Yesterday, 20 January 2009 was the date of Inauguration of President Obama. For some of us euphoria reigned. Hope sprang! Part of my post for that day included thoughts on a phrase I've often pondered: "Cometh the hour, cometh the man". There's more than a whiff of a "fated coming" embedded in the phrase, though realistically, I guess the idea could be turned around to be proclaiming "cometh an opportunity there'll always be someone around to take it".

Sir Winston Churchill "cameth" when his country needed him most, as did Abraham Lincoln, George Washington - the right men for the jobs, and the times. With hindsight, throughout history many such men and women can be identified as popping up at exactly the right time, with exactly the right combination of talent and character.

My 2009 meanderings on the source of the phrase "cometh the hour, cometh the man" led me to find that the source of the exact phrase is yet to be discovered. The early 19th century writings of Sir Walter Scott contain a near match - in the novel Guy Mannering these words appear: "Because the Hour's come, and the Man" in the first edition, and in the magnum opus edition that Scott supervised in his last years, the phrase is emphasized by putting it in italics. A similar phrase appears in another of Scott's novels. Guy Mannering, by the way was an astrologer. The secondary title of Scott's novel was The Astrologer.

Later novelists and writers picked up the idea - for example:

Harriet Martineau wrote The Hour and the Man: An Historical Romance (1839), a three-volume novel about the Haitian slave leader Toussaint L'Ouverture, who contributed to the island nation's gaining independence in 1804.

American William Yancey said about Jefferson Davis, President-elect of the Confederacy in 1861: "The man and the hour have met".

In P.G. Wodehouse's Aunts Aren't Gentlemen: "And the hour ... produced the man."

Having given some more thought to the phrase's original source, I now suspect there is none - at least not of the phrase in its current form. I think biblical references must have been the original source of the idea behind the phrase.

King James Bible
Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.
John 7:30

Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
Luke 12:40

But the hour is coming, and now is...
John 4:23-24

So, though there's no evidence who was first to combine the idea of a man and "his hour", it'd be a good bet that whoever first did so was strongly influenced by biblical style, and especially by the mention of a Saviour and a "fated" hour.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Politicklish Subjects

I noticed a wee argument brewing on some comment thread somewhere on the net earlier this week as to the potential side effects of Bernie Sanders' plan for what's being called single-payer healthcare. Commenters brought up that, though perhaps desirable on first thoughts, there'd be a lot of collateral damage in job losses for insurance company employees, and probably a lot of empty, unused expensive real estate to be dealt with. I'd say that, while this would be true if a change-over were to happen within a very short time period, that's not likely to be what Senator Sanders has in mind. Nothing in a country with the USA's population could ever be subject to rapid change, (absent catastrophic events). I'd have thought any change would have to be made by tiny steps, perhaps initially by lowering the age when people become eligible for Medicare.

There would still be a need for staff, some proportion of existing insurance staff could be re-trained. Supplementary insurance needs will still exist too - so all insurance jobs will not be lost. And, if the system were akin to some in Europe, private plans would still exist alongside the government-run system, for those who could afford it, permanently or occasionally. Real estate? Maybe some of that, too can be re-purposed for government use, eventually. Bernie Sanders isn't daft! These issues will have been considered for sure - especially the loss of jobs. I'm confident that he'll have a plan.

I'm heartened that two favourite political writers of mine have (almost reluctantly) begun to slide just a little bit further towards confidence in Bernie Sanders' chances of success. Andrew Levine at Counterpunch and Dave Lindorff.

On the other side of the divide - an astrological prediction at the Skyscript forum, by "Ellen" on Donald Trump's chances of success is worth a look, if a tad scary! There's obvious potential for success in his natal chart, nobody could argue that. My thoughts/hopes are that, perhaps he has already fulfilled his success potential - in this lifetime - his glass of success has been drained!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Track-back Tuesday ~ "some day, mother f......s"

I've been shuffling the January archives's one from January 2010:

In the Right Direction

Reading around various websites and forums recently, I got the feeling that people, in some perverse way, seem to be at best concentrating on negativity, and at worst almost willing on catastrophe and World War III. Heading towards yet more war, especially of the World War variety is not the direction in which the world is supposed to be moving. Later, I read an article by Stephen Gyllenhaal: Peace On Earth, the last paragraph struck a chord, then led me back to something else.

The last para:
I'll take it all and keep right on moving -- one little ant doing his little bit among six billion other ants, because one day, you sons of bitches who talk peace and deliver war, who talk health and deliver illness, who talk good and do bad -- some day, mother f--ckers there will be peace on this planet -- real peace -- because time, real time, is on the side of evolution.
That thought of evolution catapulted me back to a 2007 article which I have mentioned before on this blog, but do not apologise for re-airing: "A History of Violence" by Steven Pinker is interesting and a little uplifiting, though not without its own warning. As a prelude it states:
"In the decade of Darfur and Iraq, and shortly after the century of Stalin, Hitler, and Mao, the claim that violence has been diminishing may seem somewhere between hallucinatory and obscene. Yet recent studies that seek to quantify the historical ebb and flow of violence point to exactly that conclusion."
Steven Pinker goes on to present his theory that, in spite of current world events, in his opinion man has become less violent over the millennia, centuries and decades. The article is well worth reading in full. He finishes with this paragraph:
"But the phenomenon does force us to rethink our understanding of violence. Man's inhumanity to man has long been a subject for moralization. With the knowledge that something has driven it dramatically down, we can also treat it as a matter of cause and effect. Instead of asking, "Why is there war?" we might ask, "Why is there peace?" From the likelihood that states will commit genocide to the way that people treat cats, we must have been doing something right. And it would be nice to know what, exactly, it is."
I want to shout out "Astrological Ages, sir?"

Age of Taurus, Age of Aries - two previous Ages when, in spite of progress in many other areas, violence and inhumanity to man flourished. The Bull and The Ram - neither signifies peace and fellowship, and the history of those Ages broadly matches the symbolism. It wasn't until The Age of Pisces dawned, that there was any sign of a very, very slow movement away from violence - but SO very slow that unless someone like Steven Pinker outlines the stages, and spells it all out, it's impossible to see. If we could have a magical video of the history of man on Earth, fast-forwarded at lightning speed, then it might become clear that we are indeed heading in the right direction, strange as it seems.

Astrologers cannot agree whether we are still in the Age of Pisces or on the cusp of the Age of Aquarius, or have entered it already. Whichever way one prefers to think, neither Pisces nor Aquarius symbolises violence. We must still be working through the dregs of what was left of the Age of Aries, I guess. Perhaps we are nowhere near as far along the astrological age trail as some suspect. But we are moving in a good direction.

Steven Pinker adds
"It is not a license for complacency: We enjoy the peace we find today because people in past generations were appalled by the violence in their time and worked to end it, and so we should work to end the appalling violence in our time. Nor is it necessarily grounds for optimism about the immediate future, since the world has never before had national leaders who combine pre-modern sensibilities with modern weapons."
We do have to accept that we live in risky times, of course. To continually focus on that fact, as so many tend to do these days, is not going to make things any less risky. All it does is to spread doom and gloom and take the joy from the life we have.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Music Monday ~ Martin Luther King Day

In 1968, and for many years after, I wasn't properly aware of the prominence of Dr. King in the affairs of the USA. Back in England I was living in something of a bubble, I suppose, without a reliable TV, and not often reading national newspapers. Reports of MLK's assassination, headline fashion, if I noticed them at all, must have gone right over my head. How different things are in 2016 when someone is killed or dies from natural causes. The internet is filled with notices of horror and/or grief - it'd be impossible not to be affected by such events now, wherever one's location.

On this Martin Luther King Day two musical interludes, and an apt cartoon drawing:

In a favourite movie of mine Across the Universe, the story is centered on songs by The Beatles. There's a scene depicting characters' emotions in the aftermath of events on that fateful day in 1968. The song was written by George Harrison.

 Cartoon by Bill Mauldin

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Gary Gilmore & Barbara Amiel, Baroness Black of Crossharbour : Whodathunkit?

What to write about... what to write about? Well...tomorrow, 17 January, in 1977 was the day on which murderer Gary Gilmore was executed.
U.S. 1977 U.S.A. Gary Gilmore 17th January, 1977 : Gary Gilmore, convicted in the double murder of an elderly couple, is shot to death by a firing squad in Utah. (See here)
Gilmore was the first person in the United States executed since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, his story had immense cultural resonance at the time. It continues to influence the works of writers, artists and advertisers in the early 21st century.

Hat-tip Daily Mail
Could I find an angle that nobody else has approached on this?

I've mentioned the TV drama The Executioner's Song, based on Gilmore's story, in a post comparing Tommy Lee Jones (who played the part of Gilmore) and Oliver Stone (who wasn't involved)- that post is HERE.

In Rachel Monroe's interesting article about Norman Mailer's book upon which the TV drama was based she mentions that during her researches she discovered that "in folder 192.6 of the Mailer archive, I found something unexpected: A 20+ page horoscope analysis of Gilmore from astrologer/numerologist Daniel Wexler, along with Wexler's bill for $250. (That's nearly $1000 in 2015 dollars; for comparison purposes...)." Astrologers have already referenced Ms Monroe's article and, unsurprisingly, offered their own interpretations of Gilmore's natal chart.

From Rachel Monroe's article:
Gary grew up to be a leather jacketed reform school kid with a disdain for authority and a strong anti-authoritarian streak. He chugged cough syrup and took hot-wired 57 Chevys for joyrides, abandoning them when they ran out of gas. He robbed pawnshops, grocery stores, and his friends' houses. He went to prison for the first time at age 16, and didn't spend more than two years free for the rest of his life. In prison, he was trouble, too. He spat on guards and flung his food on the floor when it wasn't to his taste. He displayed a visceral, undiscriminating hatred for anyone in uniform.

Despite his rage and selfishness, though, there was something about Gary that made people want to give him another chance. The flip side of his cruelty was his sensitivity; he was a man who'd been deeply wounded by the world, and it showed. Despite his long history of criminal behavior, Gary could seem almost innocent at times. He was a talented artist, and he produced dozens of sketches of his favorite subject: sad-eyed children, "round faces with a bewildered, inviolable innocence," Mikal Gilmore writes. But then again, he drew a lot of porno scenes, too.

Scratches head.

Glancing at Gilmore's natal chart (see below), it looks seriously uncomfortable. Look at those oppositions between Scorpio and Taurus, and the slightly listing Grand Square (the red lines). We know that Gilmore's youth and family background wasn't pleasant, that has to factor in.

Hmmm. Different angle?

Another person whose life story we know, who was born on the same date, same year as Gary Gilmore? Moon and rising sign would be different, but maybe a similarity of some kind would show through - not that I'd be expecting to find another murderer you understand - astrology ain't that good!

There is another person who shares Gilmore's date of birth and, importantly, whose life is documented online: Barbara Amiel. She was born across the Atlantic, in England. She's still around: "Barbara Joan Estelle Amiel, Baroness Black of Crossharbour (born 4 December 1940) is a British journalist, writer, and socialite. She is the wife of former media baron Conrad Black". Her marriage to Black was her fifth (some sources say 4th).

From a Guardian profile: She was the scourge of the left and the darling of the right - a powerful woman lusted after by powerful men - and she snared one of the most powerful when she married Conrad Black, the Canadian media tycoon and then owner of the Telegraph group, in July 1992.

Gilmore and Amiel - there could hardly be two more dissimilar people. He an impoverished youth, no stranger to violence and petty crime, family often "on the run" from the law; in adulthood he added the murder of two people to his resumé - and for no apparent reason. She from a disrupted family background, her father committed suicide in 1956. As life progressed she educated herself, used feminine beauty and seductive sexiness to drive her life in what she saw as better directions. She became a journalist. There were multiple marriages, her last to wealthy, powerful former media baron Conrad Black. In spite of her eventual obscene wealth, as described in newspaper and magazine articles, her life was not all plain sailing. Conrad Black was disgraced and jailed for several white collar crimes. Details at this NPR website. He served prison time: sentenced to six and a half years' imprisonment. In 2011, two of the charges were overturned on appeal and he was re-sentenced to 42 months in prison on one count of mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice. He was released on 4 May 2012 (Wikipedia) Barbara Amiel, his wife, stood by him initially, but according to this 2004 piece from The Herald Scotland
"I HAVE an extravagance that knows no bounds." Journalist, author and society queen Barbara Amiel's words have returned to haunt her. Akin to Marie Antoinette's let them eat cake, they will go down in history as a memorable show of arrogance made by a powerful woman before her cut-glass world cracked around her.

To Amiel's horror, she and husband Conrad Black, former chairman of the Telegraph Group, are accused of using the New York-based publishing company Hollinger International, which he built from scratch, as a "piggy bank" to fund their lifestyles.

Such is Lady Black's upset over her fall from grace that she has abandoned Lord Black in the US and remains 3000 miles away in their palatial Kensington home with only two butlers, three maids, domestic staff, chef and chauffeur for company.
From the same piece:
Amiel took journalists from American Vogue through her London mansion and couldn't resist showing them her eye-popping collection of designer belongings. Furs, evening gowns, casuals, gloves, belts and shoes spilled out of two rooms and an area in her private gym.

One closet contained 12 Hermes crocodile bags, with a value of more than (pounds) 50,000 and an even more valuable collection of 40 Pellegrino jewel-handled evening bags. Other shelves groaned under the weight of more than 100 pairs of Manolo Blahnik shoes costing from (pounds) 250 to (pounds) 800 a pair. She was quoted as saying she thought nothing of spending (pounds) 35,000 on a cocktail dress and showed the Vogue team a necklace worth (pounds) 100,000.
Her [earlier] private life remained eventful. In her autobiography, Confessions, she admitted having been addicted to anti-depressants and painkillers. There was also a back-street abortion aged 24, which left her unable to have children. This fact has often been used by commentators to explain her need for material objects to fill her life.

 Conrad Black and Wife Barbara Amiel -"it's Fashion" Macmillan Cancer Relief Charity Hosted by Vogue Magazine at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire. ( Dave Benett 2001)

Their natal charts:

Gary Gilmore, born 4 December 1940, McGamey, Texas at 6.30 AM (Astrodienst, AA rating)

Barbara Amiel, born 4 December 1940, Watford, UK, time unknown, chart set for 12 noon.

Reconciling these two, astrologically, entails standing well back. Crucial data is missing for Amiel - her exact Moon placement, rising sign/degree, and house positions. Her Moon though, amazingly enough, is going to be somewhere in Aquarius, to match Gilmore's. Standing back, subtle and not so subtle correspondences could be discernible in spite of these two characters' only too obvious real life differences.

Those Scorpio-Taurus oppositions, and many square aspects are common to both. In Gilmore's case Scorpio translated more as darkness and death, but for Amiel Scorpio's other attribute, sexiness, dominates. Venus-ruled Taurus in Gilmore's case is reflected in his latent artistic ability - he is said to have been keen on drawing while in prison. In Amiel's case Taurus, in its other guise manifested in her acquisitive tendencies to own luxurious clothes, jewels, homes, etc.

Those uncomfortable square aspects common to both charts manifested with extreme intensity for Gilmore, both in his youth and his adulthood. They manifested to a lesser degree for Amiel in her youth, but mainly probably related to her husband's disgrace in her adult years.

I notice that Uranus at 23.24 Taurus was a couple of degrees from "demon fixed star" Algol, so could (just) be counted as a conjunction. Uranus is a generational planet though, only of interest natally if linked to personal planet(s). Gilmore and Amiel had Algol opposing their natal Mercury, with both Uranus and Mercury squaring natal Moon (not certain in Amiel's case) forming a T-square. I'm not sure whether a Uranus/Algol conjunction in aspect to a personal planet "counts" in astrology, but if it does, then Algol's more traditional attributes manifested for Gilmore, in Amiel's case the "female passion and power" side of Algol surfaced.

Here, and always, we're dealing with astrological potential versus real-world opportunity, and the way similar charts of near astrological twins can manifest in very different ways, but with subtle resonance.