Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday, Saturday & Sundry "Grub"

I've heard that people on Facebook like to photograph their food using smartphone/cellphone. I recall that my husband, occasionally, has taken pics of food he's preparing or has prepared, or something interesting set before us in a restaurant, if his camera happened to be handy at the time. I trawled through as many of his Flickr pages as I could before going cross-eyed and came up with these. Clicking on the pics should take you to the pages of their origin.

And a few surprises...

In preparation

Pasta Pasta Nuts

In waiting

Ravioli ala anyjazz

Ravioli Anyjazz

Squash ala Anyjazz

Squash Anyjazz (a dish, not a command!)

Oklahoma Caviar

In the supermarket

Valentine Week 2014


I don't watch football games


It's food.

Fancy (in a restaurant in Austin, Texas - I think).

Warm salad.

Experimenting with warm Greek-ish salad.

Lunch ...somewhere.

Colourful and healthy in a small cafe in Norman, Oklahoma.


'Murican favourite: peanut butter and jelly on toast.

Coffee at Debenam's

Back in the UK, 2003/4 during a break from shopping in Debenham's department store snack bar.

The two following come from an era pre-Twilight - I know nothing!

Placemat Design 002

Plate Lunch


.........Learning Curve on the Ecliptic will be on hold for a while, but...
I'll be back.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Carson McCullers: “And now, as a summer flower shatters in September, it was finished.”

Carson McCullers, who died this day, 29 September in 1967, aged 50, wrote a slew of novels in her short and difficult life. She was born on 19 February 1917. Her death came after years of ill-health: strokes, breast cancer, partial blindness, partial paralysis and depression.

Ms McCullers' novels are set in locations well-known to her: small towns in south-eastern USA. Her characters are drawn from society's outcasts and misfits. She lived part of her life in New York and Paris, well away from the suffocating atmosphere of The South, and and could count among her friends such literary luminaries as Truman Capote, W.H. Auden, Tennessee Williams. She and her husband, Reeves, were both bi-sexual, which unsurprisingly led to difficulties and divorce but a later re-marriage. Complexity upon complexity!

I have yet to read any of her novels, I bought the one pictured (left), written when the author was 23. It sat on my "to read" pile for some weeks. Having sampled it and declared it "very odd" I passed it on to my husband, a far more patient reader than I. My husband dutifully read it, pronounced it "rather strange" and passed it on to his eldest daughter. She read it. Her opinion was much the same.

A random quote from the book had initially attracted me (here):

But say a man does know. He sees the world as it is and he looks back thousands of years to see how it all come about. He watches the slow agglutination of capital and power and he sees its pinnacle today. He sees America as a crazy house... He sees a whole damn army of unemployed and billions of dollars and thousands of miles of land wasted... He sees how when people suffer just so much they get mean and ugly and something dies in them. But the main thing he sees is that the whole system of the world is built on a lie. And although it's as plain as the shining sun—the don't-knows have lived with that lie so long they just can't see it.
One quote doesn't make a great novel though! Husband's son-in-law recalled that another of Carson McCullers' books had been on his high school reading list: Ballad of the Sad Café. That has to speak to the respect held for her work. We had nothing as modern in our school reading lists in the UK. Dickens and Shakespeare were our "meat and potatoes", with perhaps a Bronte or Jane Austen for dessert.

Carson McCullers had to have been a strong character, given the obstacles she encountered during a relatively short life. A look at her natal chart, then, to discover if it highlights that. It is set for 12 noon in the absence of a birth time.

Born 19 February 1917 in Columbus, Georgia.

A cluster of planets in Aquarius, including the sign's modern ruler Uranus, connect to social awareness and a hankering after reform. Aquarius and Uranus - the two together - can often bring forth a misfit, rebel or an eccentric - or a prodigy/genius in some sphere.

McCullers' natal Sun is at 00 Pisces conjunct energetic and oft belligerent Mars; the conjunction sharpens some of Pisces dreamy mystical softness, adding a will of steel, something she surely needed to deal with her various physical afflictions.

Jupiter, planet of publication in helpful sextile aspect to Sun is a good alignment for a writer.

Moon, were she born before 9am, would have been in Capricorn, later than that, in early Aquarius. I'd wager it was in Aquarius, adding further to an oddball or misfit persona - her own (and perhaps that of characters in her novels.)

The early degrees are a feature in this chart: Neptune, Pluto, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Mercury and possibly Moon all within the first 5 degrees of their signs. Early degrees belong to the first decan (a one-third slice) of a sign. First decan is always governed by the ruler of the sign itself, so these early degrees equate to a "pure", unmodified version of whichever sign is involved. The chain of early degree planets also leads to multiple aspects, both helpful and challenging, leading back to where we started: complexity upon complexity.

This post is a version of one posted in 2010, at which time a then regular commenter, Gian Paul who lived in Brazil, commented as follows:
"The whole system of the world is based on a lie"
Comes to mind: Plato's Parable of the Cave (of course). Maya of the Hindus.
All promises politicians and salesmen in general make, many religious leaders as well, mostly these are not deliberate lies. Who hands them out usually even believes them him/herself, or almost so. And that's why it's so treacherous for the "innocent believers".

Carson's natal horoscope indicates an extreme sensitivity held "in chains", i.e. 4 planets (Moon, Mercury, opposite Neptune and squaring Jupiter - in a perfect T-square. And all set in 3 fixed signs! Also, as if to increase her probably permanent state of tension, a big "void of planets" over 6 entire signs, and these exactly opposite Jupiter. Very complex indeed.

No wonder the Lady felt how she did and - if she had read Plato - must have felt "at home" herself in his legendary cave. If she had not heard of Plato, she for certain confirmed some 2500 years later the same, really tragic but probably true perception.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Beefy Tee-Vee

On a British Ex-pats message board the other day a contributor had asked fellow-expats in the USA, "Do you consider yourself to be living in a free'er country with more freedom?" The questioner mentioned that he/she had recently seen this video scene and it had prompted curiosity. No responses to the poster had emerged at the time. I now see there are two pages of responses - here's a link. I don't contribute there any longer, but if I did, my answer would have been simply: "No!"

I well remember seeing the scene mentioned above, from "The Newsroom" (written by Aaron Sorkin) some years ago, and heartily agreeing with the speaker, played by Jeff Daniels.

Watching that again brought forth from my memory bank another favourite, from "Boston Legal", U.S. TV series written by David E. Kelley.

Woody Allen said (in one of his films) "Life doesn't imitate art, it imitates bad television" . But, but... good television highlights events and attitudes in such a way as to demand more notice from an often politically apathetic audience.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

LIBRA Considered

 Libra by David Palladini
In his book, Astrology published 1964, Louis MacNeice, not an astrologer, but a poet and scholar, gathered together much of interest from a variety of sources, ancient and modern. On zodiac sign Libra, through which the Sun now travels, he wrote the paragraphs below, quoting from a variety of professional astrologers. This extract was not copied and pasted from elsewhere, but copy-typed by my own fair fingers; illustrations added by me.

NOTE: Mr MacNeice uses "he" rather than my preference, he/she, and his seeming separation of male and female Libra-types, in the last paragraph, could be seen as unnecessary these days.

Libra the Scales
A cardinal airy sign, ruled by Venus. One would not expect to find Venus as Libra's ruler (it has little in common with the other Venusian sign, Taurus) but Venus, as we saw in the last chapter, sands for harmony so can promote a proper balance not only between persons but also within an individual. So the Libra type is easy to get on with, being diplomatic, gentle and tolerant. Tucker comments that this type has "many of the traits common to the Chinese race." (This was before China went Red.) Being the other equinoctial sign, Libra is the opposite number to Aries, and we could well imagine that it might do Aries some good. But this is contrary to the opinion of most astrologers who think that any two signs 180 degrees apart must be opposed to each other in every sense, just as planets are when in "opposition." There are, however, a minority who think that such opposed signs would naturally complement each other, and certainly the signs of the spring and autumn equinoxes would seem to be a case in point.

Note that Libra is the only one of the signs that is inorganic; thus it seems quite fitting that Varley summarizes its "elementary notions" as follows: "Libra, independently of its appearing in the world's horoscope, to mediate the Zodiac horizontally, and to balance, as it were, the sign of Aries, has been found to signify straight lines and regular buildings, and the sublime uninterrupted horizon line of the sea; it represents also the blue color of the sky and the distances." We might add, thinking of this blue seascape, that Venus who rules Libra is more the Venus Anadyomene of Botticelli than the sensual goddess who prompted the Wife of Bath.

The picture that emerges of the Libra person is a sociable, cultured, and courteous person, perhaps only too pleased to sparkle in embassies. He seems to be humanist, empiricist, and eclectic, and almost entirely lacking in aggression. He would do most things for peace and finds it very difficult to say no. Perhaps his chief virtue is that he can see both sides of a question; his chief failing that he is too easily influenced. As for the Libra woman, she is extremely soigné:. Barbault includes among Libra types Erasmus, Katherine Mansfield, Gandhi the apostle of non-violence, and, as its typical painters, Boucher and Watteau. Libra could hardly frighten anyone. We now move on to a sign that has long had a sinister reputation.
Astrologers mentioned:
André Barbault
John Varley
WJ Tucker

"Libra could hardly frighten anyone"?
Louis MacNeice hadn't met my mother!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Music Monday - Debatably

The first debate between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be held this evening at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York, aired on TV for the erm...delectation or frustration of viewers, or in our case an experiment in deciding who can tear out most hair - husband or me.

From a piece at Counterpunch by Thomas Knapp:
Election 2016: Of Dog Legs and “Debates”
The Hofstra event and its followups won’t be debates. They’ll be combination beauty contests, “professional wrestling” matches, and campaign commercials. The only proposition either candidate will support will be “I should be president.” The closest thing to an argument either one will put forward will be “because I am not the other person on this stage.”

Yesterday I noticed a #Debate Side Effects thread at Twitter - my favourite entry:
"Yearning for Bernie"

Finding music appropriate to this evening's event - this ditty by Rush is a fairly good fit lyric-wise, though the melody wouldn't be an easy one to whistle on the way to work.

LYRICS to Farewell to Kings, written by Neil Elwood Peart, Gary Lee Weinrib, Alex Zivojinovich

When they turn the pages of history
When these days have passed long ago
Will they read of us with sadness
For the seeds that we let grow?
We turned our gaze
From the castles in the distance
Eyes cast down
On the path of least resistance

Cities full of hatred, fear and lies
Withered hearts and cruel, tormented eyes
Scheming demons dressed in kingly guise
Beating down the multitude and
Scoffing at the wise

The hypocrites are slandering
The sacred Halls of Truth
Ancient nobles showering
Their bitterness on youth
Can't we find the minds that made us strong?
Can't we learn to feel what's right
And what's wrong?
What's wrong?

Cities full of hatred, fear and lies
Withered hearts and cruel, tormented eyes
Scheming demons dressed in kingly guise
Beating down the multitude and
Scoffing at the wise
Can't we raise our eyes and make a start?
Can't we find the minds to lead us
Closer to the heart?

Here's one I could whistle - if I could whistle, that is:

Everybody's Talkin'

I've always liked this one, parts of which are certainly appropriate here: Dave Frishberg's Blizzard of Lies

.....We've got inflation licked I'll get right back to you
It's just a standard form tomorrow without fail
Pleased to meet you, thanks a lot, your check is in the mail
Marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies
Marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies
Your toes and knees aren't all you'll freeze
When you're in it up to your thighs
It looks like snow but you never know
When you're marooned in a blizzard of lies
You may have won a prize, won't wrinkle, shrink or peel
Your secret's safe with me, this is a real good deal
It's finger lickin' good, strictly by the book
What's fair is fair, I'll be right there, I am not a crook....

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Charting the USA

Astrodatabank has a collection of the various charts used by astrologers to represent the USA. Most popular online astrologers prefer those set for 4 July 1776, Independence Day. These have different ascendants depending on rectification, using important events in the country's history to pinpoint a rising sign.

I'm not completely convinced about the validity of such charts, or of any chart representing an inanimate entity. If there is going to be a chart to represent a country though, it ought to reflect the "feel" of the country in question, even if placements don't coincide exactly with historically important events. So, concentrating only on national characteristics, what outstanding and necessary features would I look for in a chart for the USA?

1. First: Aquarius and/or Uranus ought to be emphasised. The birth of the USA was an Aquarian/Uranian event. The establishment of the Republic is sometimes referred to as "The Great Experiment" - an effort to provide government of the people, by the people, for the people. Whether or not it has worked out as planned, it was a very Aquarian/Uranian vision and proposition. From days of the early pioneers, people of the USA have displayed a determination to create change (Uranus) of one kind or another in their own lives or the lives of others, not always for the good, it has to be said! Aquarius and Uranus are not necessarily forces for good.

2. Sagittarius/Jupiter should have fairly prominent placing. Excess, over-indulgence, "bigness", exaggeration, hyperbole are all recognisable in the overall character of this country, to me as a relative outsider, anyway. Mustn't forget religion, which is also the province of Jupiter/Sagittarius. Many of the original settlers were fleeing their own countries to find religious freedom; religion has been, and still is, for good or ill, an important part of this nation's character.

3. Leo ought to feature in the chart. Leo leads, and the USA thinks of itself as "world leader".

4. Mars should feature: military might, and the will to fight, has been present from the Revolutionary War which spawned the USA, to current debacles in the Middle East, with many between.

All the 4 July 1776 charts have, to my mind, too much emphasis on Cancer (their Sun's position). The same applies to the 2 July chart, which I'd considered a reasonable choice in the past. I really don't see the USA's character in any way Cancerian.

The Signing of the Constitution chart has Sun in Virgo, also inappropriate for the USA, in my view.

The best match I've found is the David Solte 1777 chart:
"David Solte's Presentation of the U.S. chart, data given in San Diego Astrological Society "The Uranian," May 1993, time rectified. He used the minutes of the Continental Congress to narrow down the passage of the Articles of Confederation to a few hours between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm on Nov. 15, 1777, when they were meeting in York, PA. Solte then rectified the chart to 12:46 pm Local Mean Time for the date and time when the Articles of Confederation became effective. The Declaration of Independence had declared that America was a separate entity from Great Britain, but it was not until the Confederation was established that the U.S. became a group of states united under one government.
Quite a few astrologers find that this chart works well for following the fortunes of the US government and the nation as a whole."

(Chart copied from Astrodatabank).

Sun in Scorpio: not ideal, but I can see how passionate, emotional and paranoid stubbornly Fixed Scorpionic traits could fit the USA's national character; passionate about the national flag, staunch patriotism, religion, the "American Dream", American exceptionalism, etc. One of Scorpio's symbols is the Eagle, a much revered USA national symbol. This chart has Aquarius rising. Uranus in Gemini trines and blends with the Aquarius ascendant. Jupiter in Leo, the leader's sign, lies on the descendant angle, a strong chart position, with Sagittarius near midheaven. A cardinal opposition (Cancer/Capricorn) between Mars and North Node of the Moon, a sensitive chart point could show a hint of the nation's propensity to fight at the drop of a hat; Mars in Capricorn sextiles Mercury/Saturn in Scorpio, indication of endurance and the will to work (or fight) hard when required.

No single chart exactly fits my own opinion of a national personality chart for the USA. David Solte's 1777 chart comes near.
[Edited version of a 2008 post]

Friday, September 23, 2016

Arty Farty Friday Guest Post

Guest Post by "JD" who lives in the UK.
Thank you for this JD!

I first saw this painting two or three years ago. It is hanging in The Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle [UK]. The reproductions of it on the net are poor and do not reflect the subtlety of the colours nor the depth nor the mysterious shadowy details upper left. The paint is very thickly applied over most of the surface, especially the whites of the dress which seem to have been almost plastered onto the surface.

A very interesting picture, very visceral and with layers of unknown meanings within it. When I then walked forward to read the label, I was rather surprised to see the name Lizzie Rowe. Surprised because I had previously seen some of her paintings in The Biscuit Factory and they did not engage me at all. I was more impressed by other paintings by Paul Harvey (one of The Stuckists) on display in the same show.

I have not met Lizzie Rowe but I know several people who have and who know her extremely well. On her web page she and others make no secret of the artist's journey from married heterosexual man (and father) to transgendered woman. Knowing the story, or most of it from those who know her, it is obvious that the change was traumatic and very difficult psychologically and this is reflected in part in her paintings. One hundred years from now such biographical details will be but a footnote of little consequence, it is the paintings themselves which are, or should be, the focus of attention.

I went back this morning to have another look at the painting just to see if it still evoked the same response in me. It does. The thickness of the paint is a very striking feature of it. The white semi-circle looks as though it has been applied directly from the tube. The record player, the TV and the ironing board on the right are more vibrant than in the reproductions and the strange ambiguity of the top left is even more mysterious than I remember. Thickly applied paint may suggest a slapdash approach but, in fact, it is very carefully done and the various details are clearly defined.

Last night I was looking through a book called "What Painting Is" by James Elkins. This is one of the best books about painting that I have ever read.

Elkins says that painting is the act of 'smearing coloured mud onto paper or linen' and that is the cold analytical definition but '... it is also liquid thought.'

That is a very profound statement. He goes on to quote the painter Frank Auerbach who wrote, "As soon as I become consciously aware of what the paint is doing my involvement with the painting is weakened. Paint is at its most eloquent when it is a by-product of some corporeal, spatial, developing imaginative concept, a creative identification with the subject."

What he is trying to say there is that painting, or any creative activity, is not a product of the conscious mind but is an unconscious process. Just like walking - learning to walk requires great concentration and much effort but the more you do it the less you need to think about how you do it.

Elkins continues the theme of the difficulty of explaining the thought processes involved in creating a painting- "Things only get harder to articulate when the religious meanings come into focus, and it begins to appear that the studio work - the labour - really is about redemption."

That may sound grandiose but art and religion are inseparable. They have been intertwined since the dawn of time. There is no religion or belief system in history that does not have its artistic expression.

Elkins uses the word 'religious' but I would suggest that 'spiritual' would be a better word. As I said above, any creative activity is an unconscious process which is what Auerbach was suggesting. The artist or the craftsman, and to a lesser extent the artisan and the tradesman, is involved in a strange synthesis of hand/eye/brain with the thing being created. It involves a physical effort in the act of creation and often produces a spiritual elation. The mundane, secular world calls that 'job satisfaction' but that is to trivialise it with its hint of smug self-gratification. It is not that at all, it is the calm or 'inner peace' which is the result of deep concentration and, as Auerbach notes, identification with the subject.

In the painting, the figure at the centre is deep in concentration in the act of gathering together the pearls from the broken string and that gives a stillness to the picture; a moment of calm between the activity depicted on the right and the strange ethereal quality coming from the top left of the picture. Others may have a different interpretation but that is my own reading of it.

With the reference to religion made by Elkins, we reach a point where the modern secular world closes its mind. It is not the done thing to discuss religion. The case is closed - there is no ghost in the machine!

But art is a perfect link between science and religion, between the secular and the spiritual. As the painter, the late Iain Carstairs says-

'Art is that endeavour in which consciousness imposes an otherwise intangible element of itself onto matter in such a way that it can be decoded by others: it is an alchemy which maths can never analyse or create.'

And the physicist Richard Feynman had this to say-

"I wanted very much to learn to draw, for a reason that I kept to myself: I wanted to convey an emotion I have about the beauty of the world. It’s difficult to describe because it’s an emotion.

"It’s analogous to the feeling one has in religion that has to do with a god that controls everything in the universe: there’s a generality aspect that you feel when you think about how things that appear so different and behave so differently are all run ‘behind the scenes’ by the same organization, the same physical laws. It’s an appreciation of the mathematical beauty of nature, of how she works inside; a realization that the phenomena we see result from the complexity of the inner workings between atoms; a feeling of how dramatic and wonderful it is.It’s a feeling of awe — of scientific awe — which I felt could be communicated through a drawing to someone who had also had that emotion. I could remind him, for a moment, of this feeling about the glories of the universe."

Art is the gateway to the world of spirit, to heaven. If you prefer a scientific explanation you could say it is the gateway to what the physicist David Bohm calls 'the implicate order' from which the material world flows and to which it returns.

"Vita brevis, ars longa."

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Equinox !

At this early stage of autumn - we're barely through the door - the trees have yet to change into their Fall finery. Here's a link to a map of the USA set to indicate autumnal changes in foliage, week by week. So far, even the highest and most northerly regions are showing only "patchy" Fall color foliage, at best.

When we were out doing errands this week temperature was 99 degrees here, in South-west Oklahoma. Not much chance of Fall color here, for quite a while.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


The 10 Best Photographs Ever Taken Without Photoshop.

World Map of Y-DNA Haplogroups and possible migration routes.

Two interesting recent pieces by British astrologer Marjorie Orr:
URANUS – bright mind, pity about the split from the body.
SATURN – laughter as well as tears.

Stronger Together
Paperback by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Tim Kaine.

DO READ the COMMENTARY (unless you are a fan of this pair). There's a very long thread of comments, growing by the hour, at time of typing this! Many "reviewers" and commenters will be Trump supporters, but I'm pretty sure there are a lot of disappointed Bernie people and third party people represented too. I detest Trump as much as the next person, but I'm so tired of having anti-Trump cartoons, articles, videos thrust before my eyes, day in, day out. There's just as much wrong, in different ways, with the other presidential candidate - she's getting no quarter from me.

Anyway, as Michael J. Keeneyon commented on the featured volume, and I feel certain he's right: The comments are better than the book.

A random trio of examples:

By Daniel B.on September 14, 2016
I was going to read this book.....I really was. But just as I got started, I found myself under sniper fire, passed out, and fell and hit my head. After that I got double vision and had to wear glasses that were so damn thick I couldn't even see to read. As if that wasn't enough, I then had an allergic reaction to something and started coughing so hard I spit out what looked like a couple of lizard's eyeballs, my limbs locked up, and I passed out and fell down again, waking up only to find out I had been diagnosed with pneumonia 2 days earlier. Somehow I managed to power through it all, but it's a good thing I was able to make a small fortune on this random small trade in the commodities market (cattle futures or some such thing) and then, miracle of all miracles, a few banks offered me a few million to just talk to their employees for a few minutes - and all that really helped out because I swear I was dead broke and couldn't figure out how I was gonna come up with the 6 bucks to pay for this book, let alone pay the $1,500 for my health insurance this month. I still want to read it, but, honestly, what difference at this point does it make? I hear it sucks anyway.

By Scott Shepard on September 18, 2016
This is easily the greatest book ever written! I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me. I’m going to buy a couple cases so that this book can be in every pew at my church! It’s almost holy in what it contains!
The book lays out a vision for our country and all its people. It’s a blueprint for building a nation that flows with milk and honey.
Hillary is our deliverer!

(OK, Brazile. I wrote what you told me to write. Will you now release my child unharmed?)
By Coug Moogon September 18, 2016
This is the sleeper hit of the 2016 election season. I liked it so much I bought 400,000 cases of it at full retail price. Putting Tim Kaine on the jacket photo doing the German salute is very subtle in its messaging as well.

A tour de force.

--Lloyd Blankfein, CEO
Goldman Sachs

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Anyone who nodded knowingly when Hillary Clinton made her declaration concerning a proportion of supporters of Donald Trump belonging in "a basket of deplorables" should take a look at what Paul Street had to say on Monday, at Counterpunch

Hillary Clinton’s Basket of Deplorables
“Deplorables?” How about Madeline Albright, the noxious woman who championed the mass-murderous bombing of Serbia and told the nation on CBS News that the death of half a million Iraqi children thanks to U.S.-led “economic sanctions” was a “price worth paying” for the advance of U.S. policy goals? She is Hillary Clinton’s very good friend and was former First Lady Clinton’s choice as Bill Clinton’s second Secretary of State. She is a fierce advocate of dangerous Western aggression against nuclear Russia. Hillary has put her to work the campaign trail this and last year. She’s dreadful.

Another gone one is Henry Kissinger. “Among the war profiteers, bankers and industrialists that Mrs. Clinton counts, opportunistically or not, among her friends” .........

The author goes on to identify other members of Hillary's own deplorable basket, outlining their deplorability factors: John Podesta, Ken Salazar, Robert Rubin, Tim Kaine and her husband, William J. Clinton.

And, from Mr Street's last paragraph:
I am not so inured to the neo-fascistic evil of the Trump phenomenon and the horrific prospects of a Trump presidency that I would not at least entertain the possibility of following Reed's [Adolph Reed, Jr. ] advice to “vote for the neoliberal warmonger” HRC to block the Donald. Still, whatever I or other radical lefties (a very small part of the total U.S. electorate) do or don’t do on the Electoralist High Holy Day, Democratic politicos will have no legitimate business blaming “the left” if Trump beats the odds and triumphs over the Clintons. The main fault will lay with the Clintons and other deplorable dollar Democrats, who have opened the barn door for right-wing white-nationalist fake populism and who will have given the game away to the rightmost of the two reigning capitalist parties. It won’t be with left progressives who couldn’t bring themselves to mark a ballot for either of the reprehensible major party options in this deplorable double dumpster-fire of a presidential election.
Living in reliably Red Oklahoma, never likely to be a swing state this side of the far horizon, and bearing in mind the peculiar Electoral College system in place in the USA, I have the luxury of "voting my conscience"; yet I cannot do so because neither Jill Stein nor Bernie Sanders will appear on our Okie ballot papers, nor will the opportunity to write-in either of those names. I could choose Libertarian Gary Johnson as a protest vote against the "big two", knowing full well that he has little to no chance of winning. Extra support for Johnson, for Okies the only alternative to Clinton or Trump, might push a message through that the people of Oklahoma are angry about not having the same variety of choices people of most other states enjoy.

There will be no presidential choice I can even half-heartedly support, so simply leaving the presidential choice box empty will be my best plan. Considering the flippin' frustrations I encountered in order to become a citizen of the USA, eligible to vote, the situation itself, in Oklahoma, is deplorable!

Monday, September 19, 2016


This post might be a ham-fisted segue from the weekend's post - the one wandering around the idea of history's rhyming habit through time. So...time travel. Could it ever be possible to travel backward through those rhyming centuries, decades, years, or even just months or weeks? Novelists and film makers like to think so, scientists are less confident.

An intriguing idea, presented by Stephen King in his novel 11/22/63, featured (HERE) in my recent post is fascinating. King proposed that:
The past is obdurate.
In his novel the past had "pushed back" against the time traveller's mission to change an event, it seemed that the traveller's task was continually being made especially difficult, near to impossible. He persevered, with the best possible of intentions, yet eventual consequences proved dire.

Should someone, sometime, somehow find a way to travel back in time with the intention of changing... something, the past could well "push back" to prevent change. It makes sense to me , but my husband objected to (what he terms) "personifying the past". I responded that it doesn't really entail "personifying" the past. It's treating the past, or man-made time, as a natural entity, something akin to a gale-force wind, or like gravity, or a tornado which, if one tried, rather foolishly, to change its track, would appear to push back, physically. Intention to change something already in our timeline or time cycle - even a minor thing - could disrupt future events out of all proportion to the change made. The so-called Butterfly Effect applies.

We accidentally watched a time-travel-related film on Amazon Prime a couple of evenings ago. I say "accidentally" because Amazon had categorised its genre simply as "drama/mystery" :
I'll Follow You Down. We enjoyed the movie well enough, though it was another of those low-budget affairs, its interesting storyline could have been much enhanced with more $$$$$$$ available for sets and effects.
IMDB's nutshell synopsis:
After the disappearance of a young scientist on a business trip, his son and wife struggle to cope, only to make a bizarre discovery years later - one that may bring him home.
Expanding on that a wee bit: the scientist had discovered he could travel into the past via a wormhole he'd found a way to create. He decided to travel from the present (2016) to 1946 with the sole purpose of meeting Albert Einstein, to tell him of his discovery. He did successfully travel through time to 1946, but found that Einstein was not at home; before he could try to locate him the time traveller was mugged and killed. He, of course, never returned to his wife and family. 12 years later his wife, who had not recovered from the shock of her husband's disappearance, committed suicide. Her father, also a scientist and her son - a scientific whizz-kid, after much effort and research, found out what had happened to the boy's time travelling father. They were determined to make things right by the son travelling back to 1946, using the reconstructed research of his father, in order to stop his Dad from doing anything at all, other than travelling back at once to the present.

The son travels back, finds his father before he attempts to meet Einstein...I'll not reveal the ending.

My initial reaction was: "that story is different from the idea of the past pushing back, as in 11/22/63." But then I realised that the past had, indeed, pushed back via the murder of the time-travelling scientist, before he had opportunity to meet with Einstein. Had he succeeded in meeting with Einstein, what would have ensued in years following that meeting, due to matters discussed between the two? The future could have been majorly affected. Though the ending of the I'll follow You Down seemed to turn out as desired by all, we are not enlightened about events during the years after 1946 - in the "new" version of the time cycle. Similar patterns to those already set and experienced in the original cycle after 1946 might again emerge, via different kinds of events - the mother might fall ill and die, the son might have gone on to discover a cure for cancer...etc. Someone should write a sequel!

It's Music Monday.....Time? Bottled?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday & Sundry - Plus ça change-ily

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose (“the more it changes, the more it's the same thing”).

Copy-typed from my copy (second printing, 1936) of
The People, Yes by Carl Sandburg

The people laugh, yes, the people laugh.
They have to in order to live and survive
under lying politicians, lying labor skates,
lying racketeers of business, lying newspapers, lying ads.
The people laugh even at lies that cost them toil
and bloody exactions.
For a long time the people may laugh,
until a day when the laughter changes key and tone
and has something it didn't have.
Then there is a scurrying and a noise of discussion
and an asking of the question
what is it the people want.
Then there is the pretense of
giving the people what they want,
with jokers, trick clauses, delays
and continuances, with lawyers and fixers,
playboys and ventriloquists, bigtime promises.
Time goes by and the gains are small for the years go slow,
the people go slow, yet the gains can be counted
and the laughter of the people foretokening revolt
carries fear to those who wonder how far it will go
and where to block it.

 From cover of Planets in Aspect - Robt. Pelletier
For fans of serious astrology the fact that history repeats, "rhymes" or unfolds in patterns is a given. Astrology tracks the movement of planets - cyclical movement. Differing orbits and time-spans eventually cause each planet to return around the same individual pathway, albeit making different interaction with other planets through each go-around. It makes sense then, to astrologers, that life and world patterns will repeat or rhyme, i.e. have similar flavours cyclically; this relates to patterns and flavours, not to exact events.

There are many different, concurrent, astrological cycles developing, which makes it difficult to accurately identify those most relevant to any individual, or to any national or other specific entity, at any given time. Hindsight can bring clarity, though even with hindsight the tightly interwoven medley of cycles still leaves accuracy in doubt. The exact medley detected at any single time is hardly likely to exactly repeat for aeons - that's where rhyming rather than repeating comes in.

There are several posts in the archives on this topic - most recent is from last year:HERE, others can be accessed by clicking on "cycles" in the Label Cloud in the sidebar.

Regarding the historic rhyming patterns suggested by the quote from Carl Sandburg (above): this highlights human nature's essential pattern, governed as it is by our Earth's ever cycling planets around our star, the Sun.

Have we learned where it is that we're continually going wrong, and tried to rectify? Painfully, far too slowly and with many retrograde steps, we as a species have tried. A faster rate of learning becomes ever more essential as we spin on. Our human ingenuity appears to have out-run our common sense, putting our own, and all other of Earth's species, in almost certain risk of danger during decades to come.

Friday, September 16, 2016

An Arty Farty Visit

We visited this exhibition last week:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art to be sole North American venue for exhibit:
'Matisse in His Time' from Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Matisse was well represented, but I enjoyed the work of several of his peers more, Matisse isn't really to my taste. Fortunately an equal number of works from Matisse's contemporaries were on show: Picasso, Braque, Modigliani, Morreau, Rubens, Henri Laurens (one of his sculptures was my favourite of all), André Derain, Victor Vasarely and several others. In another area of the museum were examples of abstract art, and Dale Chihuly's lovely art glass installations, which we'd visited in the past. It was good to have the opportunity to see some paintings, and sculptures, by a gaggle of legendary artists "in the flesh".

Notes: an old post of mine on Victor Vaserely is HERE; and on Modigliani HERE; and on Braque and Picasso HERE. Two posts on Dale Chihuly are HERE and HERE.

Here's a link to another blogger's report on their visit to the exhibition (at a much busier time, from the sound of it). More photographs of exhibits are included there too.

Photographs below were taken by my husband, using his pocket camera.

This was my favourite of the whole exhibition - sculpture "Femme a l'Eventail" (woman with fan). Back home I Googled Henri Laurens and found that his natal Sun was at 0 Pisces, but he had Venus, Mercury and Mars all in Aquarius - his Venus 5 degrees from my natal Sun, his natal Sun 6 degrees from my natal Jupiter. There must be some inner astro-dar goin' on!

 by Victor Vaserely



Frank Stella's Wiki page is HERE. His huge sculpture(above) is described below:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A British Anniversry

I got nuttin' today - but I do want to remember, and record with feelings of gratitude, that today is Battle of Britain Day. The anniversary of one of those days in history when the shape of the future hung in balance. Our present would have turned out to be radically different from the present we know, had the Royal Air Force failed in their mission during those times.

 Quote by Winston Churchill

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Hamlin Garland ~ Writer, Poet, Radical & Virgoan.

Poking around the net to find a character born around this time of year to investigate, I noticed that a writer, name unfamiliar to me, was born this day, 14 September in 1860 - and what a colourful name he had! Hamlin Garland. Hamlin brings thoughts of the Pied Piper of... and Garland always reminiscent of sweet flowers or...of Judy! Hamlin Garland was a good fit for his Mercury-ruled Virgo Sun - a writer and poet with, according to Wikipedia, an interesting side interest in psychic phenomena: "After moving to Hollywood, California, in 1929, he devoted his remaining years to investigating psychic phenomena, an enthusiasm he first undertook in 1891. In his final book, The Mystery of the Buried Crosses (1939), he tried to defend such phenomena and prove the legitimacy of psychic mediums." Mr Garland died in March 1940.

Hamlin Garland, Prairie Radical
Writings from the 1890s

Preserving the spirit and personal convictions of the Midwest's outspoken native son

"I am a reformer--a radical--a promoter of Democracy..."- Hamlin Garland to Horace Traubel, 13 January 1892

As a self-proclaimed native "son of the middle border" states of Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota, Hamlin Garland wrote short stories, novels, and essays about the harsh realities of farm life. At a time when rural romanticism was in literary vogue, he described conditions for midwestern farmers as they really were and promoted a wide variety of reforms to improve their lives, including women's rights legislation and single-tax reform.

The volume reprints much of Garland's radical fiction and nonfiction from between 1887 and 1894, almost all previously uncollected, including four of his most outspoken stories depicting farm conditions of the time. Fueled by moral outrage and a cry for justice shaped by his own family's hardships in Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota, the radical writing of his early career is filled with compassion and fury.

Seeking to reinvigorate an appreciation and understanding of Garland's centrality in the rise of a post–Civil War radical spirit in American expression, this collection assembles the most vibrant and representative examples of his radical 1890s writings.

One of his poems:

Do you fear the force of the wind,
The slash of the rain?
Go face them and fight them,
Be savage again.
Go hungry and cold like the wolf,
Go wade like the crane:
The palms of your hands will thicken,
The skin of your cheek will tan,
You'll grow ragged and weary and swarthy,
But you'll walk like a man!

In the spring of of 1939 I had the pleasure of conversing with Hamlin Garland on the terrace of his home on De Mille Drive, Hollywood. Garland then seemed in good health, a short but stocky man with a white mane of hair and stubby fingers. His garrulousness, his accurate memory for details belonging to another century, and his physical energy belied his seventy-eight years. Our conversation ran naturally to books, to his experiences in the Middle West, to his meetings with western writers like Joseph Kirkland and Edward Eggleston, and to his own ideals as a novelist. He remarked that he could not stomach the fiction of John Steinbeck, nor the work of any writer who limited himself to the evil and ugly aspects of life. To him, the novelist who wrote of nothing but the seamy and the revolting was guilty of gross distortion..........

Hamlin Garland, born 14 September 1860 near West Salem, Wisconsin. Time of birth unknown, chart set for 12 noon.

Mercury-ruled Virgo is predominant, with Sun, Moon, Mercury and Saturn in that sign (degree of Moon not known without time of birth, but Moon definitely somewhere in Virgo.) An easily recognised writer's signature there! As for his interest in psychic phenomena, I'd relate that to Neptune sextile Mars/North Node, also to the opposition from Neptune in its own sign of rulership Watery, dreamy Pisces to his practical, Earthy Virgo Sun.

His radical side links to Uranus (planet of the rebel) in Gemini (the other Mercury-ruled sign) in sextile to Jupiter and Venus in Leo; and to Uranus in challenging square to a much less rebellious Mercury in Virgo.