Friday, May 26, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ John Baldessari










Link to examples of his work via Google Image.


ASTROLOGY


Fairly unusual natal chart - for one who seems to be a fairly unusual type of guy!

If it were not for Chiron and Moon's Node being included, here, there'd be no "soft" or harmonious aspects between planets in his nativity. One might suppose, then, that the owner of such a chart would be a bit of a hard-head, a tad obtuse, and not likely to suffer fools.

The over-riding T-square shows up even more plainly in Astrodatabank's image of his chart - see HERE.

His planets, apart from Saturn, are grouped in one half of the zodiac circle, between Aries and Virgo - a chart pattern known as a "bucket" or "funnel". Saturn is the handle or funnel in Mr Baldessari's case. If the majority of planets' reflections are to be translated through Saturn, then, we'd expect to find a hard-edged character, not afraid of work, not particularly worried about "fitting in", with a keen eye to business. I don't know how well that describes this artist. From his photographs I don't sense that - I sense more of a "puckish" but kindly nature - and that would be typical of a Gemini/Cancer blend, which is, indeed, present in his chart.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Wondering about an astro-culprit...

During the past few weeks I've been struggling, with assistance of our doctor, to get my high blood pressure back in check. It started to spike for no particular reason towards the end of April. New medication has taken its time to become effective, so the intermediate weeks became a wee bit stressful. Things eventually took a turn for the better. I'm hoping that the additional meds have begun to kick-in - the process takes time, it seems.

It's a little spooky to me (though likely not to any proper astrologer) that these problems were happening as transiting Uranus (ruler of my Aquarius Sun) has been conjunct my natal Moon at around 24/25 Aries for a while, and was joined for a spell by transiting Mercury. That "double-dose" might have been the astro-culprit. Mercury has been moving away for a while now, as things have improved. Coincidence? Maybe - maybe not. Uranus will hang around natal Moon for some time yet, including a retrograde phase, prolonging potential for change.

Evidence of equilibrium returning, in the circulation of blood department, inspired a re-hash of a brief piece from a few years ago:-

Something to ponder upon from Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet, essayist, and founder of the Trancendentalist movement in the USA.

He was born on 25 May 1803 at 3:15PM in Boston, Ma. His natal chart is available at Astrodatabank HERE. It's a nicely balanced natal chart element, mode and polarity-wise; it's appropriate that he sensed the equilibrium in nature, as expressed in the following extract.

From CONDUCT OF LIFE by Ralph Waldo Emerson, a collection of lectures first delivered between 1851 and 1852 reiterating Emerson's beliefs about fate, power, wealth, and worship, among other topics.
Beautiful as is the symmetry of any form, if the form can move we seek a more excellent symmetry. The interruption of equilibrium stimulates the eye to desire the restoration of symmetry, and to watch the steps through which it is attained. This is the charm of running water, sea waves, the flight of birds and the locomotion of animals. This is the theory of dancing, to recover continually in changes the lost equilibrium, not by abrupt and angular but by gradual and curving movements....This fact suggests the reason of all mistakes and offence in our own modes. It is necessary in music, when you strike a discord, to let down the ear by an intermediate note or two to the accord again: and many a good experiment, born of good sense and destined to succeed, fails only because it is offensively sudden....To this streaming or flowing belongs the beauty that all circular movement has; as the circulation of waters, the circulation of the blood, the periodical motion of planets, the annual wave of vegetation, the action and reaction of nature; and if we follow it out, this demand in our thought for an ever onward action is the argument for the immortality.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mercurial Ponderings

I've often wondered why Mercury doesn't "rule" or govern all the Air signs - Gemini, Aquarius and Libra. The Air element is thought to be the most mentally related of the four astrological elements: Earth, Water, Fire and Air.

In an obtuse version of astrological rulerships, Saturn would rule Earth signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn. Fire signs - Aries, Leo, Sagittarius - would be ruled by Mars. Water signs - Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces - by Venus. But then, what would be left for Jupiter to do? Jupiter would have to rule over-all, in true Jupiterian expansionist fashion. It would be acceptable for Sun and Moon not to have rulerships, they are different from the planets. The outer planets, Uranus Neptune and Pluto, are too far away to rule anything, they simply make themselves felt in transit.

Everything we humans do is initiated in the brain, even what seem like emotional responses, though colored by Moon and the Watery element, actually do begin in the mental realm. We ought to pay more attention to Mercury in the natal chart, in fact as much attention as is paid to Sun, Moon and ascendant. (My personal opinion).

Planet Mercury, ruler of mental processes, really does have influence over everything in human life. It travels so fast, no time to make its individual transits felt, but it very frequently touches everything in the charts of all of us. Mercury's journey around the Sun takes 88 days, whereas Saturn's takes over 29 years.

Mercury's rulership of Gemini could hardly be more fitting. Gemini is known as the consummate communicator, teacher, the all-round information collector. Mercury's rulership of Virgo initially seems to be a rather strange pairing. Strict, structure-loving Saturn would seem more compatible with perfection-seeking Virgo. However, as ruler of Virgo, another side of Mercury is reflected, a less abstract, more tangible side. Virgo seeks and usually achieves near perfection in just about anything undertaken. Gemini roves around in the world of words and ideas, gathering them together, regurgitating them, sometimes in light-weight easily accessible fashion, offering them to an enthusiastic audience. Virgo is quite capable of doing this too, but with a far greater emphasis on extreme accuracy and careful presentation - a serious, in depth, approach.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Music Monday's Story of Persistence Paying Off



Leading character in The Founder, a movie we rented on DVD last week, stated at the end of the film, when asked what was the secret of his success, as good advice for anyone looking to do likewise, said: "Persistence - persistence is what you need!" Wondering which song might echo that thought for Music Monday, passing over Taking Care of Business, I thought of Aerosmith and Steven Tyler and Dream On:

Every time when I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone
It went by, like dusk to dawn
Isn't that the way
Everybody's got the dues in life to pay
I know nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes
I know it's everybody sin
You got to lose to know how to win

Dream on
Dream on
Dream…


The Founder: a bio-pic on Ray Kroc, they guy we have to thank for the spread, and spread.... and spread of those famous, but now oft despised, Golden Arches.

Michael Keaton plays the man himself, and does it with the subtlety and skill his fans have come to expect. We enjoyed the film. Perhaps Mr Kroc was dealt with in too kind a light in places, for he did leave behind him a few broken hearts - and yet, one could also see how things might have been different, if... lots of what ifs!

Ray Kroc said he owed all of his successes to his persistence - dreaming on in face of huge difficulties, he reached even further than I suspect even he had ever dreamed. I couldn't dislike him from this depiction, though had a different actor been in the leading role, I might have felt differently.

I knew Ray Kroc's story before seeing the movie, having researched and written a blog post about Kroc several years ago, and posted it more than once, in 2007 then in 2012, see here:


http://twilightstarsong.blogspot.com/2007/10/ray-kroc-and-mcdonalds.html

and
http://twilightstarsong.blogspot.com/2012/05/mcdonalds-born-today-in-1940-propelled.html


“I like people who level with me and speak their minds. I always say exactly what I think; it’s a trait that’s gotten me in trouble plenty of times, but I never have problems getting to sleep at night with a guilty conscience. That’s why I could never be a politician”


I never considered my dreams wasted energy; they were invariably linked to some form of action. When I dreamed about having a lemonade stand, for example, it wasn't long before I set up a lemonade stand."

-- Ray Kroc

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Tree No More

Around the house we bought in 2005 there were some b-i-ig trees. There were two Maples in the front yard, and another had been removed, we've been told, before we moved in. In the backyard were three huge Cottonwoods, a Mimosa tree and an old, gnarled fruit tree. The latter pair had to be removed early on, due to disease or nuisance value. As of last week, we now have no trees at all. One by one the lovely trees have needed to be felled, due either to disease, fungi, ice storms, or drought effects.

It was the sound of whispering Cottonwood leaves that encouraged us to buy this house - husband used to say that it reminded him of his childhood home, Cottonwoods had whispered to him there, too. The trees were old, probably, before these houses were built, they had formed part of the groups of big trees in the pasture adjoining our back fence.

Last of our trees to go was the third Cottonwood, it stood near to our shed and house; it had, over time, listed even nearer towards the shed and house, dangerously so, as well as being close to the house next door. It was riddled with some problem which caused it to begin shedding its leaves soon after they blossomed. We hated to lose our last tree, had tried to save it by special treatments, but were unable to do so. The house roof had long benefited from the tree's shade, cutting down heat from the worst of summer's sun. In the end, in the midst of tornado season, there was nothing for it but the felling.

The job took several days, with a necessary break due to windy or wet weather. Now the tree has gone, its stump carefully ground down.

We've just bought two Redbud trees for the front yard, the tree farm guy will plant them for us, probably on Monday, weather permitting. We planted a Crepe Myrtle bush in the backyard, some years ago, almost lost that due to ice and/or drought, but it has, eventually survived. We also planted a very pretty Smoke Tree in the front yard, but it succumbed to an ice storm. On the plus side, a Mimosa tree has grown up just outside of our back fence, we've watched it grow from a tiny seedling bush; in just a few years it has reached the phone/cable lines above - it's likely spawn of the Mimosa tree once living in our yard.

A handful of photos of the recent "tree job" - a job not for the faint-hearted I reckon!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ Goya's Ghosts

I haven't ever blogged about famous Spanish painter, Francisco de Goya, I but last week we saw a movie with Goya as a pivotal character. A loose, mainly fictionalised story of one part of the painter's life is told in Goya's Ghosts - now available on Netflix.

Goya's Ghosts, a 2006/7 film, was co-written and directed by Milos Forman (famous for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus, among other movies.) Natalie Portman, Javier Bardem, Stellan Skarsgård and Randy Quaid are main characters. The film's story centres, not entirely on Goya's artistry, though that is a facet in the storyline; at the story's heart is the utter cruel inhumanity and injustice of The Spanish Inquisition (that thing that nobody expected!) Wink.

A local beauty, played by Natalie Portman, frequent model used by Goya, is one day hauled in front of church dignitaries to answer for the reason she refused to eat pork, part of the menu at a local tavern. She responds that she doesn't like pork's taste - a reply that meets with little acceptance. She is taken away for torture and ends up incarcerated in filthy, horrible conditions for the next 15 years, on the pretext that she adheres to Judaism. She descends into madness, for reasons I'll not reveal.

The film's main baddie, apart from leading church dignitaries who tortured and incarcerated the girl, is a priest called Lorenzo - a 24 carat hypocrite if ever there was one. I'll not spoil the tale any further.

We enjoyed the film, it's a quality production with excellent acting by all.
Interesting piece about Goya's Ghosts, at Time Magazine, by Richard Schickel.

Snip
In Milos Forman's film (which he co-wrote with Jean-Claude Carriere, the great French screenwriter, perhaps most famous for his collaborations with Luis Bunuel) Goya's escapist politics is another sign of his modernism. The great artists of the 20th Century sympathized with "progressive" causes, but rarely played a heroic role in them. But the entire film is less an exercise in historicism (though the portrait of the painter is accurate enough, as is the depiction of historical events, the story is pure fiction) than it is an elaborate analogy with our own times. This is quite understandable — Forman lost his parents to the Nazi concentration camps and came of age in Communist-ruled Czechoslovakia, and he has long needed to address the issues that shaped his life in a movie. .............
In his last paragraph he writes
What I found myself thinking about, curiously enough, was Les Miserables. Whether you steal some bread or casually decline a slice of pork, in certain situations terrible consequences can ensue from such seeming inconsequences — not to mention a narrative of epic proportions.
Yes, I also thought about the first part of Ben Hur - the accidental fall of a tile sent Judah Ben Hur to the galleys.


Postscript

Francisco de Goya. Self portrait.


For any passing astrology fan, Goya's natal chart is at Astrodatabank, HERE. As well as painting portraits, in later life he produced some much darker stuff, no doubt echoes of The Inquisition, as well as depicting the horrors of war.

For a look at some of his work, a good place to begin is Google Image, HERE.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

AGEWISE

A while ago I had cause to complain, albeit fairly mildly, on a website's comment thread where ageism was displayed in a couple of comments in relation to "seniors" and their activities on the internet and Facebook.

Ageism abides!

Racism and sexism do abide also, they are outlawed in general, and criticised in no uncertain terms when encountered. Ageism is hardly ever criticised. I've ranted on ageism more than once on this blog, relevant posts can be read by clicking on "ageism" in the Label Cloud in the sidebar.

I was pleased, this week, to come across a piece by another blogger regarding this bête noire of mine, in particular relation to content aired on Saturday Night Live recently:

Saturday Night Live Elder Bashing

We no longer watch SNL - it stopped being funny, for us, years ago. I can't say that I'm surprised about the criticisms made in the linked piece.

My own yardstick for being sure that I'm making valid criticism, not just being bad tempered and mean because I'm feeling uncomfortably elderly myself, is whether similar jokes, observations or remarks would cause problems if, rather than age being the focus, age were to be replaced by race, ethnicity, gender, or persons with disabilities. Would the same general tenor of the joke or remark be acceptable ? The answer is almost always a resounding "No!"

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What if "ifs and ands were pots and pans..."?

Well..."there'd be no need for tinkers" was the answer to that old rhyme.

Our fates and destinies rest upon delicate threads. Butterflies and hurricanes. One tiny, meaningless, almost imperceptible variation in the scheme of things could change history.

For instance, what if Edward VIII had never met Mrs. Simpson and had been Britain's King in place of George VI? Would he have married some fresh-faced gal, had a clutch of kids, the eldest of whom would now be on the throne? There would have been no Prince Charles and Diana - nor the tragedy that followed.

Would Britain still have declared war on Germany in 1939 with Edward VIII on the throne? Some sources believe that Edward VIII was far more friendly to the Hitler regime than has been reported. The British royals are closely related to German aristocracy. Would Britain have supported what was happening - could it possibly have done so? I doubt it. Winston Churchill was around - or was he, in this scenario? Could Britain have become an arm of the Third Reich, aiding attack on the rest of Europe and Russia?

What part would the USA have played in this other dimension?

What if Hitler had managed to become a world-famous German artist? Would an alternative, equally manic dictator have arisen to take his place? Would the holocaust have happened? There would doubtless have been some minor wars and perhaps a less stringent attempt to expel Germany's population of Jewish people. But would Japan have bombed Pearl Harbor?

Would Britain and most European countries have become the 51st to 65th states of the USA, after defeat at the hands of that country's mighty armies?

Enough already!

Our world situation these days often seems precarious. One tiny variation of events, in decades past, could have brought about something quite different - even more precarious ? Or equally so but in a different way?

The comments under a 2011 post of mine of which the above is an edited extract, brought up some interesting thoughts, worth a blog post of their own. I haven't included any references to astrology, made by myself or by commenters, as that involved a different strand of the discussion.

anyjazz said...

It's like the game my children played, only we called it "'Tend-Like." They’d set a situation, name the characters and then act out the way they thought it would be. Of course each scenario only lasted a minute or so and then they’d change it. “’Tend like you’re lost in the forest and I have a horse.”

The idea provokes lots of thought processes. And as you know, I think “thinking” is good. Of course the ultimate scenario is the one where we imagine what small thing we can do differently now that will change everything in a future we have already foreseen.

Twilight said...anyjazz ~~~ Creative imagining is great experience for children - and they are so good at it! I suppose every action we take, every experience we encounter, has a consequence somewhere along the line. Like the butterfly flapping its wings in the rain forest.....



Gian Paul said...

In simple terms, if (IF!) this were a forum in the Catholic Church (or similar religious organization, muslim, jewish etc.) your raising such a question, must be considered as being a sin.

Why? If (IF!) destiny exists it must be unbendable. So any "ifs" are equivalent to arguing with God or Destiny, and that is a sin under the definition of Destiny being unbendable. Or "He knows best" as the Muslims say.


Twilight said...Gian Paul ~~~ I was really just writing down a train of thought I'd had recently and had found intriguing. It's probably just a load of blah! But it interests me. Such things do. Religions? Not my department. Screw 'em -and the horses they rode in on!
:-D Hmmm - destiny unbendable? I don't think so.


R J Adams said...

'What-ifs' are infinite in number. Every decision, every happening produces a 'What-if'. This is true both in our personal lives and probably throughout the Universe.

When I chose to use the internet to find a partner, I utilized Yahoo's 'Find a Friend'. (Yes, it was back at the turn of the century!) I wanted to correspond with someone from America, but in those days Yahoo would only accept a US zipcode as part of my identity. I made one up. It turned out to be the town of Schenectady, in New York state. The woman who is now my wife lived in Illinois. She was also looking for someone, but not too close to her, so she chose to look only in New York state. When she responded to me, she was somewhat surprised to find I lived in Wales, UK.
Ten years later, we both believe we found our soulmate, but 'What-If' she'd chosen another state, or (What-If) I'd randomly picked some other set of numbers for a zipcode?
We have no control over our 'What-Ifs', as we cannot foretell the future, but maybe - just, maybe - the Universe does. I like to think so.

The zipcode I chose? 12345, of course.

Twilight said...RJ Adams ~~~ Ah yes! I considered adding a paragraph about my own experiences in internet relationships - similar in some ways to your own.
:-) Thanks for adding yours.

There are points in our lives (and in history) when these special "what ifs" stand out most clearly and would have the most impact. Hmmmm - better stop there or I'll be off again looking for some more... ;-)


Anonymous said...

This has all been mused upon endlessly. In 1961 Robert Heinlein wrote a science fiction novel wherein an astrologer creates a chart for the first human born on Mars. The description is plausible and elaborate enough that I think he consulted an astrologer.

But what you are talking about is the "Multiverse." Every event splits the universe into different time lines. For example, I turn left instead of right on the way to work, there are two universes created, one where I get to work safely, the other one I die in a car crash. But multiple universes are created for EVERY event in the universe. A subatomic particle goes left instead of right, new universes are created that are almost identical to each other. That's a hell of a lot of universes. The quantum physics interpretation that I like is that the multiverse has 14 spatial dimensions, all those multiple universes that we experience as 4D (3d space plus time) are in the same space, overlapping. The next universe is so close to us, we cannot feel it. It can only be perceived as different by a higher being that can see in 5D.

Twilight said...Anonymous ~~~ Hi there! Thanks for adding an extra dimension to this post. :-) Yes, it's a fairly common sci-fi theme, and often with variations. One of which might soon come out of the sci-fi into the real. Although I fear our minds, as they are at present, are not up to fully understanding the implications.

Perhaps we'll gradually evolve sufficiently to take it all in. We've evolved far enough to accept the technology we have - unthought of a few hundred years ago. No reason to think we'll stop now.


Wisewebwoman said...Great post, T. There are several movies with this theme as you know and I loved them.

One of my favourite "whatifs" is if there were no belief in a god. The Imagine of John Lennon, brought to life. No religions. No nations. And capitalism never even invented.
I can spin off on that for a while.
We would never miss what we never had.


Twilight said...Wisewebwoman ~~~ A favourite theme of mine too, WWW, in movies and short stories. I think the attraction to these themes stems from dissatisfaction with the way things are. We look for satisfying alternatives, the way a starving man might find a cookbook and drool over the illustrations. :-)

Monday, May 15, 2017

"Standing Out a Mile" on Music Monday

Songwriters Jimmy van Heusen and Sammy Cahn once wrote a ditty declaring:

You've either got or you haven't got style
If you got it, you stand out a mile
A flower's not a flower if it's wilted
A hat's not a hat till it's tilted
You either got or you haven't got class
How it draws the applause of the masses.....





Years ago, before Huffington Post, now known as HUFFPOST, became quite as objectionable as it currently is, in their "Living Now" section, I came across a piece written by Lesley M. M. Blume : The Art of Standing Apart. The piece been updated somewhat since I first read it, by the way.

Ms Blume considered that trendiness and style, though related, are not the same thing, and that trendiness is the "insidious enemy of individuality". Ms Blume appeared to consider that all who display individuality also attain style. A dubious premise in my view. 15 suggestions are offered to readers, to help them from falling into a trendy trap, instead becoming stylish individuals. "And I mean trendiness (in) all aspects of our lives: in our dressing, our thinking, our topics of conversation. All of these things conspire to drown us in a sea of same-iness." Whether the article was meant to be ironic, tongue-in-cheek, serious, or a mixure of all three, I'm unsure. We don't all live in a metropolitan, New York or LA bubble and I suspect she wrote with that kind of readership in mind.

As a Sun Aquarian I had to burst into peels of laughter on reading the piece, and that's no bad thing in itself. For most Sun Aquarians individualism comes as stock-in-trade. Different? You bet! Stylish? Highly doubtful. Stylishness belongs to the bourgeoisie, not to the avant garde.

Personally, I'm long past any days of longing to stand out, the time is just around the corner when I'll need to concentrate not on standing out but on standing up!

Anyway, take a gander below at Ms Blume's suggestions on how not to be trendy but how to be individualistic and stylish. I have added a few comments in blue. I apologise to Ms Blume, and thank her for a chance to flex my blogging muscle with a wry chuckle.


1. Find an amazing tailor and have him/her construct you a custom-made wardrobe.
Amazing tailor - are you kidding - in deepest Oklahoma? Trailers (and tractors) they can do, amazing tailors? Not so much.

2. Have an interesting, beautiful calling card made. Calling cards? We're still in 19th century then?

3. Develop an interesting, lively vocabulary.
OK.  How about stellium, quincunx, decanates, duads, midpoints...oh, and sesquiquadrate? Betcha can't say that after 3 martinis.

4. Don't talk excessively about yourself at parties and such. Parties? Such?

5. Give unusual gifts. Patent tractor cleaning gadgets and good chewing tobacco?

6. Concern yourself with the art of conversation. You say conversation, I say conservation...let's call the whole thing off!

7. Concern yourself with the art of listening. Huh?

8. Wear a daring hat. Like this one that the husband has been known to sport when temperatures dive? Not daring enough? Try coming near me with a dead animal on yer head !



9. Vow not to hold a clichéd event, ever. I am particularly referring to bridal showers and bachelorette parties.
I vow, I vow! But - funerals - how to do the stylish version?

10. Make eye contact. Poke 'em in the eye?

11. Once in a while, sit alone in a restaurant. Husband would frown on it, in case I attracted flies.


12. Jolt your wardrobe with an amazing period piece. A period piece like the husband himself?


13. Read National Geographic Magazine. I know that this sounds a tad far-fetched, but you'll be instantly fascinating afterwards. This goes along with being an artful conversationalist. You will become an expert in narwhal activities and barracuda habits, and this new expertise will most certainly set you apart. Plus, it's so divinely Wes-Anderson-ish. We knew that!


14.Be unjaded.Easy! Green doesn't suit me anyway.

15. Don't be afraid to make a bold statement.  
This is a lot of pretentious you-know-what. Bold enough?





Saturday, May 13, 2017

LAX Lux

I have a long-held distaste for segregation of air travellers into 1st Class/Business/Coach (or whatever categories are in vogue at any time), but I haven't travelled by air since 2005, when I had to ease homesickness with a couple of visits to England.

During my working life in England we'd travel by air to vacation locations once or twice a year. The "segregation" on those planes was fairly mild, but it still rankled. Sometimes we'd need to walk through the 1st class area to reach a loo; we'd see the better food, the grapes, the very luxurious and spacious seats, and make uncomfortable comparison with our own situations back in "coach". Yes, I know those people were paying more, but "flying them in a separate plane, different schedules would be a better plan", I'd often mutter.

In the same vein, I have irritable memories of travelling to High School, and to work by train, for years, long, long ago and far way. The trains' 1st class carriages had to remain empty even when 3rd class carriages were overflowing with commuters, many of whom were having to stand in the corridors. I often wondered whether there had ever been 2nd class compartments on trains - I certainly never saw any. I suppose "3rd Class" was a preferable label - all the better to remind us of our humble place in the great scheme of things!

So, when I read the following piece in The Guardian yesterday my feelings of severe distaste bubbled up once more:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/12/lax-private-terminal-rich-people-celebrities

At LA airport's new private terminal, the rich can watch normal people suffer.



Snips:

LAX’s mega-exclusive terminal has beds, massages, and an iPad to watch people slog through the main airport. But the manager denies it’s about inequality.

The guiltiest pleasure at Los Angeles international airport’s (LAX) new private terminal [Private Suite] for the mega-rich is not the plush, hushed privacy, or the beds with comforters, or the massages, or the coriander-scented soap, or the Willie Wonka-style array of chocolates and jelly beans, or the Napa Valley cabernet. It is the iPad that sits on a counter at the entrance, with a typed little note: “Here is a glimpse of what you’re missing over at the main terminal right now.”

World's eight richest people have same wealth as poorest 50%

The screen shows travellers hauling bags through packed terminals, queuing in long lines, looking harassed and being swallowed into pushing, shoving paparazzi scrums – routine hazards for the 80 million people who pass through LAX each year.




Instead of battling the traffic jams that clog LAX you reach Private Suite via the Imperial Highway, leading to a discreet turn-off where an armed guard checks your identity and pushes a button. Tall grey gates open and you enter the haven.

It is pricey. In addition to annual membership of $7,500, you pay $2,700 per domestic flight and $3,000 per international flight. The cost covers a group of up to four people. If you aren’t a member, you pay $3,500 for a domestic flight and $4,000 for international flight for a group of up to three people.

There are 13 suites, each with bathrooms, televisions, drinks, organic snacks, wifi, gadgets and views of planes trundling across runways. There are menus of toys for children and prayer mats for Muslims.

If you spill some cabernet, no worries: pick up the phone and within minutes a man in a blazer will wheel in a cart with Calvin Klein socks, Banana Republic dress shirts, Anne Klein blouses and Steve Madden shoes. If the weather at your destination looks a bit damp help yourself to a water-resistant jacket.

If in need of some Hunger Games-style schadenfreude check out the iPad showing the hoi polloi running gauntlets over at the main terminal.

Wow! That is certainly a pricey way to travel! Well..."you pay your money - you take your choice", as they say. The 1% will lap it up I guess. There's mention in the piece that the idea was inspired by an arrangement at London's Heathrow Airport: "Heathrow’s Windsor Suite, a marbled sanctuary for popes, presidents and other VIPs tucked in a corner of Terminal 5." It'd obviously be a definite no-no to have Popes, reigning monarchs, presidents etc. with their bodyguards in tow, roaming around the halls and waiting areas with ordinary travellers. The reasoning behind this amount of pure luxury at LAX, however, is not quite the same.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ Janet Fish Reflections

Still life artist Janet Fish has a birthday coming up this week. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts on 18 May 1938. Her close family had arty connection - father taught art history, her mother and uncle were both sculptors, and, though she never knew her grandfather, American Impressionist Clark Vorhees, she found his paintings to be profoundly inspirational.

After Smith college and a summer at Skowhegan School of Art, Ms Fish went on to Yale, studied Abstract Expressionism, but rejected it in favour of her own signature style of still life, specialising in portrayal of a blending of reflection, light, and everyday objects.

“I’m not looking for luminosity per se but for a subject that provides an opportunity for overall activity, such as light falling through leaves,” she says. “But light isn’t the only source of this activity. I can find it, for instance, in the texture of grass or the pattern of cloth.”

Many in the art world consider Janet Fish to be the greatest living still-life painter.

It's unlikely that an image of her work, translated by the internet and Blogger, will do it justice, but I'll add just a few examples here.


 Raspberries and Goldfish (1981)




 Turkish Delight Box



 Box of Four Red Apples (1969–70)



 Six Glasses of Water


Ms Fish is still with us, so I'll not intrude on her privacy by trying to interpret her natal chart. I'll simply point out that her Earthy Taurus Sun, with Uranus and Mercury also in Taurus; Moon in Earthy Capricorn (though exact degree uncertain without a time of birth), and Neptune (creativity) in Virgo the other Earth sign reflects her gravitation to painting real, earthy subjects in a creative manner; while natal Venus (planet of the arts) in mentally acuitive airy Gemini leads to a more intellectual approach than producing simple photo-realism, finding emphasis and importance on how objects react to light.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Circular Thoughts

In the circle of the zodiac, around which our planets and lights travel, the first and last signs are opposites in characteristics, they are also neighbours. Aries, the initiator, full of energy, impatient to get things started; cheek-by-jowl is Pisces, the loose, visionary dreamer in no hurry to, as they say in the USA, "haul ass".

Circles don't have extremities, only departure and return points, which means that opposites - the extremes - are liable to bump into one another, even co-mingle, in effect.

Many people will have both Aries and Pisces emphasised in their nature, this will happen not all that infrequently, as Mercury and Venus are never far from the Sun, wherever it may be in the zodiac circle. If such people can learn to live with this kind of push-pull contrast, encourage balance, interesting and often helpful blends will be forthcoming. Such helpful blending and balancing seldom seems to happen in politics, however.

In the circle of political opinion, the further left, or right, one moves in entrenched viewpoints, the more liable one is, without even realising it, to be in danger of assisting the very causes one started out to oppose, thereby damaging one's own best interests.

Extreme right and extreme left are neighbours in the circle of political opinion, just as Aries and Pisces are neighbours in the astrological zodiac. I am not comparing those signs to political viewpoints, except in the way that extremes are liable to co-mingle and produce unintended results.

The most extreme left-wing views can do more harm than good to more moderate opinions, even at times inadvertently assisting the aims of the right. Farthest right extreme opinions could end up helping perceived enemies on the left. Extreme words, and actions, leave nothing but ridicule in their wake eventually serving only to assist the left.

“Extremes, though contrary, have the like effects. Extreme heat kills, and so extreme cold: extreme love breeds satiety, and so extreme hatred; and too violent rigor tempts chastity, as does too much license.”

George Chapman, English poet and dramatist c.1559-1634.


COMMENT FROM 2009

anthonynorth said...One of my political 'laws' is that extremism always results in the opposite outcome. I think you've got this about right. And it's the same with a straight line. No such thing. Draw a line anywhere on this planet and if you keep going long enough, you'll end up back where you started.

Twilight said...AN ~~~ Oh good! I'm glad you agree because after I'd drafted this post I did wonder if others would see it as I do. Then I thought - oh, what the heck, if I see it that way, that's good enough - my blog my thoughts. ;-)

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Weird Food Quirks


26 British Food Quirks That Brits Don’t Realise Are Weird





There's weird and then there's WEIRD!

Were I feeling enterprising (I'm not), I'd try to make a video titled:
26 American Foods Quirks That USAians Don't Realise are Weird. That'd be a huge task though, because each of the 50 states is likely to have its own set of quirks to add to those that are common. However, living as I do in south-west Oklahoma I can name a few I've found to be weird in this particular region:
Sausage gravy - that largely tasteless white sauce that looks and tastes something akin to wallpaper paste.

Fried Okra

Fried pies(!!).

Chicken Salad - No, it's not a few slices of chicken with garden salad but a concoction similar to potato salad, where the chicken is cut into pieces and dowsed with mayo....or something.

The way beef is cut for pot roast - it's cut "with the grain" instead of "against the grain", resulting in multiple stringy, often overly chewy stands in an otherwise potentially delicious dish.

Bacon flavoured ice cream (yikes!)

And, speaking of bacon - there's only streaky bacon here which, when it's fried, is a definite danger to the one's front teeth or dental crowns! I wonder what happens to the back bacon, so beloved in the UK? I've seen something like it sold as "Canadian", but not in any great quantity.

Monday, May 08, 2017

MAY (not the Theresa variety) + Ancient Rome

A nod to Music Monday first, according to the lyrics I'm several days late....



May is now fully upon us.

I've not scribbled about ancient Roman Festivals for a while so, a look at what used to be going on, way back when in Ancient Rome, during the month of May.

The last days of April and first three days of May saw Ludi Floriales, honouring Flora, goddess of flowers, fertility, sex, the blossom of spring and the renewal of the cycle of life.

"Ludi" = Games by the way, and these springtime Games, dating from 173 BC, primarily celebrated fertility. From ancient writings, it appears Ludi Floriales were on the wanton, spicy side, including strip-tease performances by prostitutes. An abundance of flowers would have been displayed around the city, and in garlands bedecking its citizens. On the final day of the Games chariot races were held. It's thought that the Maypole, as a phallic symbol, is probably a descendant of these Roman Games.


Ancient Rome had barely caught its breath after those licentious goings on when another festival kicked in:Lemuria, on May 9, 11 and 13. To appease the ghosts of the dead, who were believed to be walking the city on these dates, Romans would walk barefoot and throw black beans over their shoulders, during darkness. Each head of household was required to do this nine times at midnight, while his household members clashed metal pots to persuade ancestral ghosts to leave.

Ancient Roman writer, Ovid believed that the source of these practices was guilt, due to the murder of Remus, brother of Romulus, founder of Rome. (Remuria/Lemuria) See Wikipedia here.


Around a week after Lemuria came Agonalia, on May 21. This festival honored a little known god, Vediovis. The object of it is thought to have related to protection and/or war. A ram would be sacrificed by an important religious official.

 Model of a Lituus
Two days later, May 23, saw Tubilustrium, honouring Vulcan. The god Vulcan was responsible for manufacture of sacred war trumpets or tubas(the lituus). Sacrifice of a female lamb marked this festival, and Salii (see Wikipedia) twelve youths known as the leaping priests of Mars, danced through the streets.





That was it for May. Citizens were involved in festivals during the first half of the month, they no doubt needed a rest after the naughtiness of the month's first few days, followed by some ghost-busting activities! Festivals later in the month were the responsibility of city officials and dignitaries.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Trio of Movies Sampled

Earlier this week, while killing time waiting for the pharmacy to prepare some meds for yours truly's seemingly irrepressible blood pressure, we wandered into our local video store, came away with 3 rented DVD's: the much acclaimed and awarded La La Land, Doubt, and Fathers and Daughters. We've watched these during the week, may as well give marks out of 10 and scribble a wee bit about each.

La La Land
I've always, from my youth, been a fan of musicals. I was keen to see Hollywood's latest fabled musical offering, it was met with critical acclaim upon its release. The film's team left the Oscar ceremony clutching six Academy awards: Best Director, Best Actress (Emma Stone), Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Original Song ("City of Stars") and Best Production Design.

We were in for a treat - or so I thought.

Verdict: disappointing - very! Husband, a lifelong avid jazz fan felt like throwing in the towel around half way through the movie's 2 hours and 8 minutes. Clueless dialogue about the history of jazz was his irritation, along with what we both felt early on: this is shallow fluff; if it was meant to be an homage to the musicals of yesteryear - it ain't happenin'.

Dancing was pretty basic, singing was in tune, but hollow and uninspired. Songs were particularly unmemorable in both melody and lyrics. Time was, on leaving a movie musical I'd walk out of the cinema with its songs running through my head, and continuing to do so for days - I can hear some of them still! La La Land's songs? Zilch, even after half an hour, or 5 minutes.

Acting was adequate, at best. Emma Stone began well in the early scenes but faded later on, Ryan Gosling, in my view, was uncharismatic. A male lead with more charisma might have just managed to save this movie for me.

That was a whole lot of negative - sorry!

If this movie had any hidden message, it was, I suspect: "You can never have it all."

I expected too much and was disappointed. A comment, found below an online review of the film, hit the nail on the head: "it was akin to a small town's amateur production, or perhaps, a presentation by a high school's drama class". Harsh, but true. Amateurs could not, of course, have provided the lavish sets, but the rest would hardly be out of reach for them.
4/10



Doubt
I had absolutely no idea of was the theme of this one - picked it off the shelf due to its cast: the wonderful and still sadly lamented Philip Seymour Hoffman, the much acclaimed Meryl Streep, and lovely Violet Davis and Amy Adams.

Turns out the movie, from 2008, has its background in a Roman Catholic school and church in The Bronx, New York. Hoffman plays the church's priest, Streep, in "nasty" mode, the ultra-strict Sister and principal of the parish school. Amy Adams is a young nun, teacher in the school, and Violet Davis the mother of the school's only black student.

To outline the film's storyline would mean using spoiler after spoiler, so I shall desist. It's not too difficult to guess what veins are running through it though!

Excellent movie. 10/10


Fathers and Daughters
I had no clue about this one, chosen again for its cast - Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried and Aaron Paul (late of "Breaking Bad").

A 2016 release, story of how life changed dramatically for an award winning novelist after a road accident left him widowed, and with a daughter, 7 or 8 years old. Father and daughter become extremely close, but the father suffers mental breakdown after the accident and loss of his wife.
The story proceeds, over some 30 years, through a series of flash-backs and flash-forwards; these occasionally confused us.

Fathers and Daughters isn't a feel-good movie, it's not bad, certainly not badly acted, but remains somehow lacking.
6/10

Friday, May 05, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ Anthony Freda, Political Artist.

There's no astrology with this Arty Farty Friday's offering because the artist's birth date isn't known. There are few photographs of him online, but there's this video. He looks to be in his 30s, maybe.

Get Mad! with Anthony Freda:



"You gotta get mad!” Activist and artist Anthony Freda lays out an anti-propaganda to-do list including thinking for yourself, questioning the official narrative and refusing to roll over.

Good stuff!

There are other videos relating to this artist at YouTube too.

For some large illustrations of some of his political artwork see these websites:

The artist's own site: http://anthonyfredaart.tumblr.com/

http://www.boredpanda.com/war-and-peace-by-anthony-freda/


https://anthonyfreda.wordpress.com/


I'm wary of adding any illustration to this post - don't want to be ceased and desisted! Do take a look through his work shown in those websites - very insightful, and pretty much up to date it is!

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Futile Arguments

I'm not sure whether it's because I no longer search for any of those tedious arguments on the validity or otherwise of astrology, or that skeptics have ceased their whingeing about the ancient art. The question has had all life wrung out of it anyway. I came across the following post in my 2009 archives the other day, decided to give it a re-airing as a reminder that it was then, is now, and always will be a lost cause, for either side of the argument, for or against astrology. It reminds me, a bit, of the to and fro arguments between Democrats and Republicans, or Sanders fans vs Clinton fans, competing sports teams, and so on. It'd be interesting to know whether there's much, or any known evidence of change of heart in these arguments, especially in the one regarding astrology. I've never been all-in for everything the astrology text books, and highly respected astrologers through the ages have told us, but I am convinced, from my own life patterns, that there's "something going on".

FROM MAY, 2009:
I'd decided not to post today, then I stumbled upon this:

"What is the best way of tackling astrology", on the Richard Wiseman blog, I where I arrived by accident.

Why on earth should anyone have to "tackle" astrology? Astronomers and science-oriented skeptics have such arrogance!

A very brief extract from a BBC Radio 5 interview has been embedded on the blog. This doesn't give a very good impression of the astrologer's viewpoint, however. Wiseman keeps badgering her to say which astrological study she relies on to uphold her views. I reckon she should have responded that there has yet been no proper all-encompassing study of the subject in a way that computer technology would now afford. It's a pity that those who are so keen to deride astrology don't put their energy into conducting a wide study of the subject, in cooperation with those who understand it fully and using all available technology.

I haven't heard the whole interview, but the comments on this blog attracted, then repelled me.

The blogger, of course, is singing to a choir of lemming-like commenters. There is one comment from a Richard King (5.27pm on 28 May 2009)which warmed my rapidly freezing heart.

A brief extract
I was not wildly impressed with either side in the interview. Anything other than a dialogue with at least a degree of understanding and mutual respect for alternative views and ways seems rather pointless.
What is the best way of tackling astrology? That depends what is meant by tackling. If it is understanding and investigating, including “scientifically”, then discuss it with people who understand the subject. Similarly, any astrologers who wish to engage with science should discuss the matter with people who understand science.
The problem is that there are, obviously(?), huge differences in levels of understanding and capability on both sides

And from his closing paragraphs, a view which is very close to my own:
On the basis of my knowledge and experience, there is less to astrology than some proponents claim and more than mainstream science claims; though the general tenet of it fits with some rather high level science.

Thank you Mr. King!

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Aries Remembered

I can find little new to say about Aries, the zodiac sign through which our Sun now travels. Because my mind (most minds too, I guess) has been, of late, mainly on politics, the two people in my life who have influenced my political thinking most strongly come to mind often; one had Sun in Aries. The other, I suspected had Aries Moon, same as me - though his time of birth remained unknown. The Sun in Aries guy has been described in posts before, but it's worth repeating, I think, in honour of his birthday which would've been in late April.
Aries represents all that's bright, energetic, warm, enthusiastic and full of potential. That's the essence of Aries. The essence can get pretty mashed up and diluted though, when it becomes a part of that peculiar life-form known as a human being.

There is no such creature as "an Aries". It's convenient shorthand, I use it myself.

The beauty and individuality of Aries, and of any other zodiac sign, is in the way it blends with the rest of the chart's contents. How does a hint of impulsiveness, a little impatience, a yen for leadership, or a habit of walking and doing most things quickly and with enthusiasm, mix with and match other chart ingredients?

If Sun, Moon and rising sign were all grouped in Aries, there'd be an outside chance of encountering a near-stereotype, but even then a stray Mercury in Taurus would slow it down. Venus in Pisces would soften it. All manner of combinations could get to work on the Aries essence to modify it. The result: something unique.

My husband's Sun is in the first degree of the sign, he really isn't stereotypical Aries though. I have Moon and Saturn in Aries, which could qualify me as more of "an Aries" than he is. In reality though, we're both a tangle of all-sorts.

The only other person with Sun in Aries who I've known well, over a long period of time, was my very first boss. I'll call him Mr. H. That's what the tea lady used to call him when she brought our morning and afternoon cuppas.

Mr. H was County Archivist of East Yorkshire, I was his assistant - my first job after leaving Grammar School. We were a department of two, so it was essential that we got along. He trusted teenage me with stuff that nowadays would be tackled by someone at least of university graduate level: helping to clean and catalogue valuable archives, rescued from stately homes in the county. It was a totally fascinating job. I find it hard now to understand why I ever left it to go wandering into the hotel life, and later into the civil service. I did return though, after my first defection, at his invitation and did a second stint of three years with him, until love and wander-lust had me on the move again.

Mr. H was a great guy, I had a crush on him, of course. His great sense of humour enchanted me, and I was not easily enchanted in those days. But I can't identify him "an Aries", textbook style. Oddly though, I often see or rather "feel" an eery hint of Mr. H in my husband (birthday 22 March). Something in the way he tells a joke, notices certain things - other stuff too. It's hard to put into words, complicated, esoteric even, peculiar to myself, I guess, and nobody else would understand. It feels strange at times.

I hadn't looked at Mr. H's natal chart before. I don't remember whether his birthday was 27 or 29 March, but I do know the year was 1922. I've investigated both dates. Either way, his Sun and Venus (plus possibly the Moon) were in Aries. Mercury in Pisces conjunct Uranus - here could be why we got on so well, Uranus being my Aquarius Sun sign's ruler. But there's more: his Mars was at either 16 or 17 Sagittarius - my Venus is at 19 Sagittarius. Also my Aries Moon complemented his Aries Sun. He had Saturn and Jupiter in Libra opposite his Sun and Venus in Aries; his sharper edged Aries traits were balanced by the charm and diplomacy of Libra.

Mr. H. died in 1999. We kept in touch for many years. When I heard that he had suffered a stroke in 1998, I visited him in hospital. I'm not certain whether he remembered me or not, but from the twinkle in his eye, I believe he did. I've always been very thankful for knowing Mr. H, for his influence on me as a young woman, and for what I learned from him and remember still.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Music & Movie Monday - Feline Flavoured

Searching Netflix for a change from cop shows and British period pieces, we found "A Street Cat Named Bob", watched and enjoyed it. The movie is a must for cat-lovers, but even for those allergic to our feline friends, physically and/or mentally, it's one of those films in the category: "a heart-warming tale."

The movie is adapted from a best-selling, autobiographical book by James Bowen. Being a true story, adds to the heart-warmingness of it all. Highly recommended for anyone suffering from Raging Trumpitis and other bad news. Luke Treadaway shares the movie's leading role with Bob himself, both give impressive performances.

For Music Monday, a cat song. Resisting Tom Jones and "Pussycat, Pussycat"; Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle", and any song from "Cats" the musical, I came up with this: