Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"No Man is an................"

From a book titled Pools of Lodging for the Moon by David K. Reynolds, PhD, a modern parable. I used this some seven years ago; recent inundations in Houston, Florida, the Islands and India brought it to mind again. Now I read that another severe hurricane threatens Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, before they've even had a chance to recover from the last one.

A repeat airing:
Water World

Once upon a fragile time people lived on the surface of a huge body of water. They walked on a thin film that covered the water's great depths. Sometimes the surface tension weakened in spots and someone began to sink. Those around the sinking person risked breaching the surface tension in order to rescue him or her. It was the custom. Such self-sacrifice was necessary in that world. When the rescuers were in danger they, too, could expect help.

Sometimes the tear in the surface film spread, there were whole chains of people lending a hand to their fellows. In that risky world it was good to know that supporting hands were ready to help when needed.

Nearby, another group of people lived on a small island. They were proud that each of them walked by the individual's own strength with no help or support from others. In other ways they were a very bright people. Yet because of their pride they were confined to their island. And they knew a chilly loneliness that their water-borne cousins never felt.

One of the part-truths in American culture is the part-myth of the self-made individual. That notion has both stimulated us and limited us. The other side of that truth is that we are all dependent on others for our successes and for our moment-by-moment existence.

My politically slanted brain read that tale as an analogy for socialism and conservatism/capitalism. Others might read it differently...if so it would be interesting to hear about it.

Comments from 2010 - summarised:
Astrology Unboxed/Fabienne said:
I saw it more in terms of religion. Catholics versus Protestants. Catholics putting more emphasis on the family, group and individuality is subordinated to the needs of the family, society and state. for example, it is still common for a women to live with her parents until she gets married even tough she has a career and could afford to live by herself.
On the other hand, protestants put emphasis on individual rights and children need to be independent as soon as possible. For example, if you are 18, you have to leave the house.
Having had the experience of both types of society emphasis, I can see the benefits from both. Although I must say that the emphasis on group does seems to provide more support, warmth and gregariousness. Individual rights, from my experience, leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Great for developing your individuality and assertiveness. Not so great for companionship.

Gian Paul responded...Astrology Unboxed/Fabienne: In an ideal, harmonious world family should be what you say, no matter of what religion. The cradle which prepares for empathy, love and understanding. But these days, considering the great number of divorced parents, tough educational curriculum (money, money) and general impossibility to believe in "authorities", young people must feel quite lost to whatever wind or fashion/fad is blowing.

Twilight said...Gian Paul ~ Agreed, it's a different world. Family and culture has changed a lot in the last 3 decades. I think that, in the USA for example, there was more feeling of the first Water World example of wanting everyone to have assistance when needed than there is now....FDR's way was getting there, but the path got lost somewhere.

R J Adams said...I agree with you, Twilight, though on reading the piece my mind immediately saw America as the island:
"They were proud that each of them walked by the individual's own strength with no help or support from others. In other ways they were a very bright people. Yet because of their pride they were confined to their island. And they knew a chilly loneliness that their water-borne cousins never felt."

Most Americans never leave their 'island', unless it's to vacation in Mexico or Canada. Much of the rest of the world is united, but because of its pride, America stands alone; an 'island', indeed.

Twilight said...RJ Adams ~~~ Yes, that is what the author had in mind too, according to his last lines - that the USA is akin to an island society, in spite of its size. The book was published in 1989 by the way. Politically, the US has never been a haven of social reform for long, there have been a few tries to get onto that road, or into a more Water World scenario, but always eventually attempts have been diverted....by assassination, persuasion, bribery, whatever.

Wisewebwoman said ...No (wo)man is an island indeed. What a marvellous book, T, you discover such interesting titles! Any more nuggets in this?

Twilight replied... There are more, yes. Maybe I'll return to it sometime - don't want to get into bother re copyright though. I think it'll be okay to use a couple of examples, as this is a not-for-profit blog.

Wisewebwoman, in 2010, quoted from John Donne - I thank them both for today's post title.

No Man is an Island by John Donne (1572-1631)

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Music Monday ~ Shape-wise

Looking for someone musical to feature today I came upon Benjamin Franklin White (September 20, 1800 – December 5, 1879). He was a "shape note singing master", and compiler of the shape note tune book known as The Sacred Harp. He was born near Cross Keys in Union County, South Carolina, the twelfth child of Robert and Mildred White.

Alright then...but what are shape notes?

Climbing onto my learning curve once more: Encyclopedia Britannica reveals that:
Shape-note singing, a musical practice and tradition of social singing from music books printed in shape notes. Shape notes are a variant system of Western musical notation whereby the note heads are printed in distinct shapes to indicate their scale degree and solmization syllable (fa, sol, la, etc.). Since 1801 shape notes have been associated with American sacred music, specifically with singing schools, with musical conventions, and with all-day gatherings known as “singings.” Denounced by critics as uncouth, the simplified notation has persisted in the rural South, where it continues to form the basis of strong traditions of church and community singing.

The solmization system used in shape-note singing can be traced to Guido d’Arezzo, an 11th-century Italian monk who assigned the syllables ut, re, mi, fa, sol, and la to the six-note series—or hexachord—that corresponds to what are now recognized as the first six degrees of the major scale. Use of these syllables helped singers keep track of their place within a melody, especially when sight-reading. In 16th-century England, singers discovered they could operate effectively with only four syllables (mi, fa, sol, and la). English colonists carried the four-syllable system to North America. Meanwhile, on the European continent, the hexachord was expanded to seven syllables, one for each note in the major scale (in Italy, do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, and si). The seven-syllable system ultimately prevailed during the 19th century in England and America. Shape notation has been adapted to both the four-note fasola and the seven-note doremi system.

I'm probably being extremely dense now but, immediately, I don't understand the benefit of this system. Trying again, there's more HERE.

So...well, I'm enlightened - kind of. This is an interesting and historic musical sidelight.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saturday and Sundries

We're currently re-watching the 1970s TV mini-series Centennial, via a DVD set. I never tire of this story - often think that it was my love of Centennial, and another mini-series and novel, Lonesome Dove, which set my mind on the right track for my move across the Atlantic, and at a late stage of life. I still wake up surprised some mornings, to find myself smack-dab on the Chisholm Trail! That cattle trail is not the exact one featured in a chapter of Centennial - but it's comparable.

On this viewing of the TV adaptation of James A. Michener's epic novel - we're two-thirds through the series, as I type this - what I've noticed most is how, though passage of time has brought massive changes in lifestyle, especially in the 21st century, in deeper aspects nothing much has changed. The pattern of killing, retribution killing, then killing again, remains. Much of today's killing is done far away from the USA in the Middle East; retribution occasionally occurs here at home as well as directly, abroad. It's as though this nation, born in blood, is fated to live on in blood. There were some good men then (fictional in this case, but actual also), there are good men now, but never enough - then or now.

My 2008 archived post on Centennial is HERE.

Husband's new blog/website Cabinet Card Photographers has taken him many long hours of research work, which he has enjoyed and pronounced addictive.

Fall foliage Prediction Map -

It's interactive - could come in useful for leaf-peepers.

by Carl Sandburg

Among the mountains I wandered and saw blue haze and red crag and was amazed;

On the beach where the long push under the endless tide maneuvers, I stood silent;

Under the stars on the prairie watching the Dipper slant over the horizon’s grass, I was full of thoughts.

Great men, pageants of war and labor, soldiers and workers, mothers lifting their children—these all I touched, and felt the solemn thrill of them.

And then one day I got a true look at the Poor, millions of the Poor, patient and toiling; more patient than crags, tides, and stars; innumerable, patient as the darkness of night—and all broken, humble ruins of nations.

If an infinite number of rednecks
fired an infinite number of shotguns
at an infinite number of road signs,
they'd eventually recreate
the complete works of Shakespeare
in Braille.
Ann and the Bullet Holes
 I discovered the truth of it when on vacation, meeting  Himself, in 2003.

Wot - no astrology?
This Twitter offering, from #Rejected Horoscopes, might be good for a titter:

Friday, September 15, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ Jean Arp

Jean Arp or Hans Arp (16 September 1886 – 7 June 1966) was a German-French sculptor, painter, poet, and abstract artist in other media such as torn and pasted paper.

When Arp spoke in German he referred to himself as "Hans", and when he spoke in French he referred to himself as "Jean".

Excerpts from an article written by John Russell in the New York Times in 1986, to mark the centenary of Arp's birth:

As of the end of World War I, there can have been no doubt that although the name of Jean Arp was known to only a few well-informed observers he was a key figure in the European art world. His qualifications were obvious to all. In 1910 or 1911, according to his own account, he had ''begun to produce what is now called 'abstract art.' ...... In Paris in 1914, he had his portrait drawn by Modigliani and came to know Picasso, Delaunay and others. Likewise in 1914, he went to Cologne, and was recognized as a kindred spirit by Max Ernst. At the out-break of World War I, Arp was in Continued on page 29 Paris, and quite happy to remain there. But as he was German by birth, it became more and more risky for him to do so. Rather than return to Germany and be faced with military service, he made his way to Zurich, represented himself to the German consul as mentally defective and - thanks to feigned oddities of behavior - was exempted from military service. (The German consul could not believe that anyone who made the sign of the cross on seeing a portrait of Field Marshal Hindenburg could be good military material.) ..... As a founding member of the Zurich Dada group, he pioneered the acceptance of accident in art that for 50 or 60 years to come was one of the key notions of avant-garde art... He was also a pioneer of the automatic writing and drawing that were to be fundamental to surrealism in the 1920's.

And, not least, he fell in love at first sight with a young painter called Sophie Taeuber, who later became his wife. Theirs was a marriage of equals, with never a hint of rivalry. When we look at the work that they produced jointly in Zurich, we find it impossible to say who did what, so perfectly did their imaginations meet and match. With her clear, bell-like laugh, her almost magical affinity with all living creatures and her never-failing sense of wonder, she was poetry personified.

By the time that he turned 30, in 1916, Arp had developed more than one of the modalities that have been an enduring part of 20th-century art. Deliberately, he took the stressful, body-building element out of art and made it look weightless, incorporeal and full of wit. ''Life is a puzzling puff of wind,'' he once wrote, and he liked to feel that his work had that kind of aerial energy.......................

Turning to poetry, for which he had a free-flowing lyrical gift that rarely failed him, he found that a sentence taken at random from a newspaper was as compelling to him as anything in the great poetry of the past. The big fat volume of his collected poems is there to prove that this was neither a silly nor a presumptuous idea. Arp was a word man as much as an image man, and to the end of his life he was still, in a sense, the 17-year-old boy who, as he remembered it, ''had filled page after page with unusual word-combinations, invented unusable verbs from nouns, altered well-known verses and declaimed them constantly with abandon and elation, on and on as if it would never come to an end . . .''

 Pagoda Fruit

 Winged Being


 Sculpture to be Lost in the Forest

What's impossible to ignore when looking at Arp's sculptures, those shown here (and the many more to be seen via Google Image) is the lack of sharp angles. Everything is extremely smooth, rounded, curved - there's nothing harsh or jarring. So this is his sculptural "signature". His other artwork, mainly collages show the same tendency.

The shapes in his work evoke worn pebbles, buds and other natural forms. He created these sculptures using a quasi-automatic process of sanding away at a plaster model until he was satisfied with the shape. ‘I work until enough of my life has flowed into its body’, he said.

I wondered whether his "rounded with no sharp angle" signature style might, somehow, be reflected in Arp's natal chart.

Born on 16 September 1886 at 6:00 AM in Strasbourg, France. (Data from Astrodatabank.)

With Sun, Mercury, Venus and ascendant in Earthy and meticulous Virgo it's no surprise to find his urge for perfection and reflections of nature in the form of his sculptures; nor to discover that he was also "a word man as much as an image man" (Virgo is ruled by Mercury).

Arp had Jupiter and Uranus conjunct in Venus-ruled Libra. Uranus reflects his gravitation to modernity and abstract art, while Jupiter...well, when asking myself which planet I think of when considering smooth rounded shapes, first thought, for some reason, was...Jupiter.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

"Each man is 3 men" - Triple Trump

In September of 2011 I wrote a post titled "Each Man is 3 Men" - President Obama's 3 Men. For my next trick I'm going to try to apply the same treatment to our current President (hilarity could ensue!)

Opening, as before ["man" here ought to be read as "human"]: "As Fontaine says somewhere, 'Each man is three men: What he thinks he is, what others think he is and what he really is.'" Those lines are spoken by Christopher Leiningen (Charlton Heston) in the movie Naked Jungle. He purports to quote from Jean de la Fontaine, but I've been unable to pinpoint exactly where Jean de la Fontaine, a famous 17th century French poet who specialised in writing fables, actually wrote that sentence. A much later individual, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808-1890), French critic journalist and novelist is quoted as follows:
Every man has three characters - that which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has.
Whether Karr was inspired by Fontaine, parodied something he found within a Fontaine fable, or whether Fontaine has been wrongly credited remains a mystery (to me).

Anyway, here goes with a Triple Trump. Bear in mind, please, that I'm not stating my own opinion of "what others think, what he thinks, what actually is" - or what I glean from reading around the internet - but only what astrology has to say on the matter. If what astrology sees fits, then that's a feather in astrology's cap.

What others think he is:
I try to keep this blog fairly free of profanity and bad feeling...what others really think President Donald Trump is depends heavily on their political leanings; I'm going for a neutral astro-view. Astrologically, the "lens" through which a person is seen/and sees the world is represented by the sign and degree appearing over the horizon at time of birth. If Astrodatabank has the accurate time of birth for Donald Trump, 29.58 Leo was on the ascendant. As mentioned in my President Obama piece (he has Sun in Leo) Leo represents a person of well-developed ego, sometimes tending towards narcissism or egocentricity. Leo can also trend towards childishness, arrogance, overbearing, even, sometimes, cruel behaviour. There's an expectation and need to "be the best" at whatever's attempted, with a need for validation, and a strong urge to lead or be prominent in some sphere. There's often kindliness, warmth and general brightness in the Leo personality, and Leo's link to children/family (via the 5th house connection) can mean that his children represent, to him, an extension of himself.

What he actually is
The core of the man is represented by the sign in which Sun was found at time of birth. President Trump's natal Sun was in Gemini. Gemini is the great communicator of the zodiac, but also the archetypal Trickster. Trump's Twittering instinct - his innate urge to communicate, is part of his astrological DNA - that's just who he is and always will be. Whether he has the background and character sufficient to link his need to communicate with communicating reasonably, diplomatically and relevantly is another matter - but communicate he will! The Trickster, shadow of Geminian nature, can emerge in lying, white lies and lies of a different hue; or in ignoring normal rules and conventional behaviour. All of that, in Donald Trump, is doubly underlined, because it is blended with Uranian eccentricity, as Trump's Sun is conjunct Uranus.

What HE thinks he is
If Astrodatabank's time of birth for Donald Trump is accurate, his natal Moon (his inner self) was in Sagittarius at 21 degrees...LOL! It's conjunct my natal Venus, which could account for the fact that I cannot bring myself to hate him in the way most people on the internet hate him. He should NOT be president of the USA though - on that I do agree! Anyway, what he thinks he is: how do I determine that using astrology? Is it related to position of natal Moon? When I posted in this vein on President Obama, my old friend and commenter Gian Paul wrote:

GP: (Gian Paul)I wonder if it is the Moon placement in a person's map which "fixes" what that person him/herself believes to be. Accepting the notion that the Moon represents one's "inner self" - be that because of representing sensibility, versatility or instability or all of that, I have come to another idea of accommodating astrologically La Fontaines' No. 3 part of a person: People have mostly received an education teaching them to present their best qualities to the outside. A form of lying but highly priced these days. That being the case, we build and project an "imaginary virtous persona" based on our skills of hiding what are our week spots, defects and handicaps. This projected persona is exactly what a person is not really (Sun determining that), but wishes to show and ends up believing to be himself.
To which I responded:
I did puzzle over a similar issue myself, GP - not in exactly the same way as you are doing. I wasn't totally convinced that Moon position is the key to "who a person thinks he/she is"....but perhaps what that person thinks he/she ought to be. Which is not far from what you are proposing. It's a tricky one, isn't it? Mercury might be heavily involved in this too = the way his mind works.... I like your version...I think mine could bear a little more thought, still, though.
Trump's natal Moon in expansive fire sign Sagittarius is harmonious with his ascendant in Leo - he knows for sure, and in no uncertain terms, that he's leadership material. However, if Mercury does have any say in who he thinks he is, and because natal Mercury is in Cancer (along with Venus and Saturn) there's a snag! A big one! The biggest! Cancer is the ultra-sensitive, needy and self-protective sign of the zodiac. While feeling confident in his own leadership abilities he is always unduly sensitive to criticism, and will protect himself (and his family - Cancer also relates to the family circle) in any way he can. Whether Trump acknowledges this side of his nature to himself is questionable. The Cancerian side of his nature really fits into all three of these "Who he is" sections. In other words, the three natal planets in Cancer, in President Trump's natal chart, are the enormous buzzy fly in the Trump ointment - in my opinion.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Decade Later...Earth Matters!

Ten years ago, 2007, I was regularly blogging about the dangers of global warming/climate change. In April of that year I wrote:
The future seems to me the most uncertain it has been since I was a young child in Hull, England during World War 2, when that city suffered horrendous bombing. The morrow, never mind the future, was uncertain for many at that time. When I first arrived in the USA at the end of 2004, global warming was looked on as something of a joke here. I despaired. I can see, now, the enormous difference Al Gore has single-handedly made, in a short time. When "An Inconvenient Truth" first arrived in cinemas in Oklahoma, it was shown only in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. We travelled to Oklahoma City, about 75 miles away, to see it. The number of people in the theatre could have been counted on two hands, but that sparse audience rose to their feet as one at the end of the film, applauded, and uplifted my hopes.

Back then, in the run up to the 2008 presidential election I was an avid supporter of Al Gore, "Run, Al...run!!" frequently appeared in my posts, or on my sidebar. I finished the 2007 post thus:
The American government is still dragging its feet, and appears to be lagging well behind public opinion, but in 2008 that government is guaranteed to change. I hope that its successor will be strong enough to do what's needed, however unpopular it makes them. We may not get to the stage of being uncertain about the morrow in the next few years, but those who come after will have that to face, if we don't insist that something is done by world governments soon.
Ten years on, nothing has changed, in fact the situation has grown worse. The Bush and Obama administrations did nothing, or next to nothing to address climate change; anything seemingly helpful proved to be lip service only. The current administration is openly opposed to addressing climate change. The horrendous storms, floods, fires and losses of Fall 2017 could prove to be the opening act of a new and far more dangerous stage in our journey to temperate climate destruction. People of the USA have not yet vociferously demanded action on this. They loudly demand action on race and gender issues, important in their own ways of course, yet without a habitable planet on which to live, what will those issues matter? Why have there been no huge marches, sit-ins, protests on behalf of planet Earth? Where are the the "Earth Matters" Warriors?
“If your house is on fire, you don't comfort yourself with the thought that houses have been catching fire for thousands of years. You don't sit idly back and think, "Oh well, that is the way of nature." You get going, immediately. And you don't spring into action because of an idealistic notion that houses deserve to be saved. You do it because if you don't, you won't have a place to live.”
― Bill Nye

Monday, September 11, 2017

Music Monday ~ Tulsa to France

I was sorry to read of the death of country singer Don Williams at the weekend. Years ago, in Harrogate, Yorkshire, we saw him perform with his band. Back then, little did I imagine or dream that one day I'd actually be "Living in Tulsa Time".

Vale Don - and thanks for all those country pleasures!

I was obliquely reminded of the following song by a news item last week. Fellow-blogger, David, at The Oligarch Kings covered it in a very good post on the topic: Whole foods Mon Dieu!

(Yeah - you might groan, but I couldn't find a decent song about cheese!)

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Saturday & Sundry Thoughts on Social Justice Warriors

I've recently been wandering around Quora, it can be a strange place at times, absorbing and interesting at other times - in common with the rest of cyber-land. One question which kept coming up in my "feed" thingie, day after day was: Why are there so many people now openly hostile toward “Social Justice Warriors”?

The term Social Justice Warriors (SJW) hadn't, until Quora, joined my personal vocabulary. I'd have referred to the kinds of people involved as being mainly interested in, and advocating on behalf of, identity politics. SJW is an easier mouthful. Anyway, I trundled through well over 100 answers to the question. Many were long, detailed and fell into the tl;dr category (too long didn't read). From others I've picked out a few which made some good points, earning an "upvote" from yours truly.

From Desmond Ng

Because of the negative connotations to the word.

Borrowing from Ryan J Farrick’s answer, an SJW is an individual who promotes socially progressive views, such as “feminism, civil rights, multiculturalism, political correctness, and identity politics.”. This is a good thing, hoping to make every human being equal, and in fact the term used to be used positively.

Sadly, the word has negative connotations due to the so “extremists” of the bunch. There are three types of SJWs. The first are the ones who fight to make a difference, the ones who hold rallies, get beaten up by police, who confront presidents with petitions demanding change. The ones who brave firehoses, tanks, chemical weapons and more to ensure that group A is treated like group B. These are people like Martin Luther King Jr, who stake a lot to change the world. The second are the passive types, the ones who sit at home and click on online petitions, who share Facebook posts and whatnot. These are the people who, while not making much of a difference, are not doing the world any harm. (other than spamming up Facebook pages)

But the third are the extremists. These are the ones who call critics ‘misogynists’ for not liking Ghostbusters 2016, the ones who complain about movie posters not displaying at least three different races, the ones who look at the X-Men Apocalypse poster and say it is oppression. These are the ones who harass those with even slightly different views, the people who insult everyone and accuse anyone who insults them back as hating all of their cause.

From Caelan Casa with a response from Richard Warner:

Social justice activist: Wow, the city forgot to place a ramp next to this staircase. Those poor handicapped people will have to go around. Let's build a ramp or start a fundraiser for one!

Social justice warrior: Wow, this xenophobic city didn't even try to put a ramp on this staircase! Those poor handicapped people will have to go around! Let's shame everyone who has legs and assault them if they don't boycott the stairs.

I try so hard not to roll my eyes. They'll beat me if I do.


Don’t forget that after the Social Justice Activist builds the ramp, the Social Justice Warrior who works in the government fines the Activist for building a ramp without the proper permits or union labor, then tears down the perfectly good $550 ramp and replaces it with one that will cost about $65,000 to $150,000 and will take about a year or two to complete. (This actually happened in Toronto, Canada: City says steps will cost $65,000-$150,000; man builds them for $550). (Richard Warner)

Peter Hand said:

I have only one thing against Social Justice Warriors.

They lose elections.

The issues that concern them most are of no interest to the majority of voters. In fact, a good percentage of the electorate is opposed to much of what they stand for. The SJWs are aware of this, but instead of holding their peace at election time and keeping their contentious issues out of the public face, they become louder and more strident, incidentally (and perhaps deliberately) getting more air time on television and more in the faces of people who just don’t fecking care about their issues and don’t want to hear about them. It doesn’t change anyone’s mind - the result is that independents, conservatives and (I suspect) many liberals are motivated to vote against the party associated with SJWs.

The SJWs, in which group I include the “Hillary’s Turn” feminists in the DNC, gave us Donald Trump.

Last of this nap selection, Zbigniew Łobocki said (counting the ways):

Let’s see:

Arrogant, “holier than thou” attitude
Cherrypicking facts, using false information as basis
Blowing things out of proportion
No sense of humor, sterile political correctness
Inquistorial zeal, witch hunts
Seeing only one side of the coin (amazingly, ALL people are discriminated against in some places and in some ways. For example - in many countries guy in divorce proceedings + child custody battle is a lost cause. Wife cheats on you -> court awards her custody of your children -> you have to pay her money (on top of child support). I know stories of people who loved their children dearly, and lost custody pretty much ended their lives, either literally or just by derailing them)
Totalitarian mentality, want to control words, thoughts, gestures, etc.
Failing to notice reality if it does not support their views
Doing actual damage to the progressive cause with their obnoxious, caricatural stances and behaviors

My own thoughts are in line with what James A. Baker III and Andrew Young wrote in the Wall St. Journal on 30 August in a piece headed:
Identity Politics Are Tearing America Apart

A brief snip:
The divisions in society are real. So are national legacies of injustice. All can and must be addressed. Those who preach hatred should be called out for their odious beliefs. But even as extremism is condemned, Americans of good will need to keep up lines of civil, constructive conversation.

The country faces a stark choice. Its citizens can continue screaming at each other, sometimes over largely symbolic issues. Or they can again do what the citizens of this country have done best in the past—work together on the real problems that confront everyone.

Another, more direct way of saying it as commenter "Suzie Bee" did, in one of the threads I've been perusing:
Good God, y'all, get over yourselves!

Friday, September 08, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ Beryl Cook - Virgo Variation

Beryl Cook was born on 10 September 1926 in Egham, Surrey, England. She had Sun and Mercury in Virgo. Her art style is quite different from a trio of other Sun Virgo painters featured in a past posting: Ralston Crawford, Sol LeWitt, Carl Andre. They, in different ways, reflected the precision, neatness and clarity of typical Virgo. Beryl Cook's work, on the other hand, at first sight has more in common with an expansive Jupitarian nature. Ms Cook's work is great fun - not seriously "arty" or pretentious - just fun. Her natal chart could reveal a reason.

Video from YouTube : an accompanied tour of a UK exhibition of the late Beryl Cook's painting.

A 2008 obituary in The Telegraph has some interesting detail on the lady and her life.

A 12 noon chart is the best I can do, as no birth time is available.

Regarding my Jupiter-related comment, I was happy to find a Yod (Finger of Fate) linking her sextiled natal Sun and Pluto to Jupiter in Aquarius by two scratchy 150 degree angles. For me this, astrologically, describes her art style. Her fairly buttoned-up Virgo Sun is already loosened somewhat by the helpful sextile to erotic, sexy Pluto, then amazingly two otherwise iffy aspects draw into her nature an ebullient Jupiter in quirky Aquarius. While these elements didn't show in her outward personality, they certainly appeared in her artworks!

See how these extracts from HERE and HERE describe something of the personality shown in her natal chart.

 Self portrait
Beryl Cook found fame as a painter by accident in her late 40s, after buying her young son a box of paints. The flamboyant fun-loving characters featured in her work were largely inspired by the people of Plymouth. Beryl has lived in Plymouth ( on England's south coast) for over 25 years and remains fascinated by life in this lively naval port which is full of pubs, fishermen and sailors.

Having left school at 14, Beryl worked in a variety of jobs (splash-like chart pattern) but at that age showed very little talent for painting. ....At one time she was a showgirl in a touring production of 'The Gypsy Princess'.... She also worked in the fashion industry, which inspired her life-long interest in the way people dress and how they look. (Her Leo planets)

Beryl’s personality though is in great contrast to her paintings. She is a shy and private person, (Virgo Sun and Mercury) often depicting the flamboyant and extrovert characters she would love to be (Venus and Neptune conjunct in Leo). She prefers to observe a crowd of people, her acute eye missing nothing. She records in minute detail scenes of everyday life and has an almost photographic memory (all Virgo!).
Beryl Cook died aged 81 in May 2008.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Americanisms - Frustrating but Unexciting

There was an interesting piece on the BBC website the other day:

How Americanisms are Killing the English Language

A book released this year claims that Americanisms will have completely absorbed the English language by 2120. Hephzibah Anderson takes a look.
The piece begins:
So it turns out I can no longer speak English. This was the alarming realisation foisted upon me by Matthew Engel’s witty, cantankerous yet nonetheless persuasive polemic That’s the Way it Crumbles: The American Conquest of English. Because by English, I mean British English.

Despite having been born, raised and educated on British shores, it seems my mother tongue has been irreparably corrupted by the linguistic equivalent of the grey squirrel. And I’m not alone. Whether you’re a lover or a loather of phrases like “Can I get a decaf soy latte to go?”, chances are your vocabulary has been similarly colonised.

As a British ex-pat myself, living in the USA since 2004, I've been through the scratchy phases of having to accept, without question, what has been done to The Queen's English over here. I refuse to change my written English, continue to use 's' rather than 'z' in certain words, and insert the 'u' in colour, flavour etc. I will never, ever, while there's breath in my body utter "gotten"; and yet, and yet, as is told later in the linked piece, "When Dr Johnson compiled his seminal 1755 dictionary, ‘gotten’ was still in use as a past participle of ‘get’. But as Engel points out, good old English is not good new English."

I was mildly amused to note that Ms Anderson had slipped into what I see as an Americanism herself, and possibly without realising it. Here:
I was excited to find out how it would read after it had been ‘Americanized’, but I’ve noticed it’s fast becoming the norm for American works to make it into print over here without so much as having a ‘z’ switched for an ‘s’ or a ‘u’ tacked on to an ‘o’.
Americans use "excited to" in this way, I notice it a lot, and I do believe that a British English speaker would not be likely to use "excited" in that context - unless, of course, what they were looking forward to was something actually capable of bringing forth excitement: the flushed cheeks, the sweaty palms, the speeded-up heartbeat. What people mean in the American use, translated, is really just: "I'm looking forward to..." As in so many instances, in this star spangled, oft thought to be exceptional, nation, hyperbole rules.

Let us all, though, whether American or British, devoutly hope that the current American President's Americanisms will never find their way into widely accepted English: "bigly" is a case in point, or that fumble-fingered f-up: "covfefe".

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Jots & Tittles

Jot and tittle? Both jot and tittle refer to tiny quantities. The phrase passed into English via William Tindale's translation of the New Testament in 1526 (Matthew 5:18:). Better is the
more familiar language of the King James Version, 1611:

"For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."

More from phrases.org.uk

A jot is the name of the least letter of an alphabet or the smallest part of a piece of writing. It is the Anglicized version of the Greek iota - the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet, which corresponds to the Roman 'i'. This, in turn, was derived from the Hebrew word jod, or yodr, which is the the smallest letter of the square Hebrew alphabet. Apart from its specialist typographical meaning, we still use the word jot more generally to mean 'a tiny amount'. Hence, when we have a brief note to make, we 'jot it down'.

A tittle, rather appropriately for a word which sounds like a combination of tiny and little, is smaller still. It refers to a small stroke or point in writing or printing. In classical Latin this applied to any accent over a letter, but is now most commonly used as the name for the dot over the letter 'i'. It is also the name of the dots on dice. In medieval calligraphy the tittle was written as quite large relative to the stem of the 'i'. Since fixed typeface printing was introduced in the 15th century the tittle has been rendered smaller.

The use of the word 'dot' as a small written mark didn't begin until the 18th century. We may have been told at school to dot our i's; Chaucer and Shakespeare would have been told to tittle them.

If a passing reader is fond of internet jousting with person or persons whose opinions differ from those held dear, these "commandments" are well worth keeping in mind. There's more detail at the linked website: Relatively Interesting

The 10 Commandments of Rational Debate

Personally, I've grown ever more wary of impulsively stepping, willy-nilly into any internet debate, preferring to follow Sir Terry Pratchett's line from The Light Fantastic:
"… there was no real point in trying to understand anything Twoflower said, and that all anyone could do was run alongside the conversation and hope to jump on as it turned a corner."

For any who are partial to a nice love story, with a bit of a twist, I'd recommend (with some petty reservations) the 1997/8 movie Déjà Vu. We saw it on (I think)Amazon Prime last week. This version of the film sometimes has "(A Love Story)" tacked onto the title to differentiate it from other movies of the same name. It's the tale of one of those "I've been here before" experiences. You know - the feeling put to music by Rodgers & Hart in Where or When

My reservations about the movie Déjà Vu stem from the director, Henry Jaglom's penchant for using improvised dialogue. Actors need to be skilled enough at improvisation to make this style work well. One or two actors in this movie were improvisationally challenged, tended to keep repeating the same lines/thoughts over and over, making for rather uncomfortable viewing. Also, and husband and I both commented on this: one particular segment of the story seemed to be totally out of place in the theme. Roger Ebert's review HERE attempts to explain a possible reason, but we still didn't see it that way. The film did, though, provide a pleasing change from police procedurals, medical dramas, and long drawn-out detective tales about serial killers.

"'Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone."

- Thomas Moore, The Last Rose of Summer (1830)

Well...this isn't a rose and it isn't strictly the last, but our Crepe Myrtle bush in the back yard is well past its best, though still providing spots of colour among endless green. Thanks to anyjazz (husband) for the photograph.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Music [Labor Day] Monday

As I always say on Labor Day: here's to the Unions, gods bless 'em!
Song written by Florence Reece in 1931. She was the wife of Sam Reece, a union organizer for the United Mine Workers in Harlan County, Kentucky. In 1931, the miners of that region were locked in a bitter and violent struggle with the mine owners. In an attempt to intimidate the Reece family, Sheriff J. H. Blair and his men (hired by the mining company) illegally entered the Reece family home in search of Sam Reece. Sam had been warned in advance and escaped, but Florence and their children were terrorized in his place. That night, after the men had gone, Florence wrote the lyrics to "Which Side Are You On?" on a calendar that hung in the kitchen of her home.

One more, suggested by JD, in the north of England: this one is from 2017:

Union miners (A miner's life/A miner's lifeguard) at Durham Miners' Gala 2017

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Saturday & Sundry Thoughts on September

Most of these thoughts of mine are a decade old, but in the absence of new inspiration, could be worth re-airing:

September brings with it memories of two portentous events: in September 1939 Germany invaded Poland, World War 2 followed. September, 11th, 2001 brought another fateful, never to be forgotten event. This year [2017] September is seeing the aftermath, and continuation of horrendous flooding in southern Texas and Louisiana, USA, as well as even worse floods, and higher death tolls, in India and elsewhere in the world.

It's sad that September carries such bad memories.

Sorrow and scarlet leaf,
Sad thoughts and sunny weather.
Ah me, this glory and this grief
Agree not well together!

(Thomas Parsons, 1880, A Song For September)

September, so named because once upon a Roman time it was the 7th month.
(Septem = 7th in Latin). The first three weeks of September fall within the tropical zodiac sign of Virgo, with just one week left for Libra.

You know, September, as a month, here in the northern hemisphere, doesn't strike me as being a typically Virgoan time, or for that matter Libran. Yes, I know that in mythology Virgo holds a sheaf of corn, and in most places September is harvest time, but September is also when, in many locations, the leaves fall from the trees, and life starts winding down. September is not a neat Virgoan month. Leaves pile up all over the place, then chilly winds blow them messily around. If anything, Virgo has to describe the work of clearing up the leaves. September - the kids go back to start a new school term. The boys, in Britain anyway, play soccer and rugby again, after a summer of playing tennis and cricket. They often get themselves very muddy in the process - how Virgo is that? In the USA Labor Day (that is, to my mind, Virgoan) with a holiday weekend marks the move from August to September.

One of Frank Sinatra's loveliest recordings, September Song..."And it's a long long time from May to December, and the days grow short when they reach September..." describes our life's September, our own autumn/fall. On the back of the old LP cover to the Sinatra album September Of My Years, Stan Cornyn wrote:
"....September can be an attitude or an age or a wistful reality. For this man it is a time of love. A time to sing. A thousand days hath September"
Goodness me, those liner-note writers were good! It's a big loss that CDs don't have the space for their purple prose; and now, in 2017, even CDs are becoming defunct, along with even the briefest of liner notes.

Sinatra, though a Sun Sagittarian, for me remains a September man. Often melancholy, whether for the dying of the year, or for a lost love, a memory, or a feeling - yet with hope always for what is still to come. Perhaps that is the true essence of September.

I'll resist posting again Sinatra's well-known September Song. Instead I've chosen another singer, another song. This could come as a surprise to those who knew the vocalist best as an actor in TV and film, but his stage career began in musicals. He had been a favourite of mine for years, I was so sad when he left us in 2004. Here he is with Try to Remember - and - which song writer would ever be able to resist that rhyme? The song has some nice, very September-ish, nostalgia.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ Christopher Isherwood & Don Bachardy

 Isherwood & Bachardy in front of David Hockney's portrait of them
Artist Don Bachardy met British ex-pat author Christopher Isherwood on a Santa Monica beach in 1952. Bachardy was 18; Isherwood was 49. Given their age difference and Hollywood's then-repressive attitude toward homosexuality, their relationship came as a shock to many. Few expected their romance to last for years, let alone decades. (See NPR website HERE)

The relationship lasted, in fact, for 30 years, until Isherwood's death in 1986. Don Bachardy still lives in the house they shared in Adelaide Drive, Los Angeles.
Christopher Isherwood is best remembered for The Berlin Stories (1935-39), two semi-autobiographical novellas inspired by Isherwood's time in Weimar Republic Germany. These enhanced his postwar reputation when they were adapted first into the play I Am a Camera (1951), then the 1955 film of the same name, I Am a Camera (film); much later (1966) into the bravura stage musical Cabaret (musical) which was acclaimed on Broadway, its unsparing stance being substantially sweetened for the film Cabaret (1972). His novel A Single Man was published in 1964. (Wikipedia)
Don Bachardy became a popular portrait painter among "celebrities" of California's film and entertainment world; Joan Rivers, Fred Astaire, Tennessee Williams, Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Jacqueline Bisset and Nancy Reagan have numbered among his subjects. His artistic talent was, for sure, encouraged and mentored by Christopher Isherwood. (See HERE)

There are many interesting articles online about the pair's lives and relationship.

Christopher Isherwood was born on 26 August 1904, at 11.45 PM, in Disley, Cheshire, England.
Don Bachardy was born on 18 May, 1934, at 4.11 AM, in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Natal charts are available HERE and HERE at Astrodatabank.

Astrologically the pair were "fated" to be, at the very least, friends; their Earthy Suns (Virgo for Isherwood and Taurus for Bachardy), combined with Watery Moons (Pisces for Isherwood (+ Cancer rising), and Cancer Moon for Bachardy would have ensured they'd gravitate towards each other if moving in the same social circles. I'd guess, though, that Bachardy's steadfast Taurean Sun and ascendant were a major factor in maintaining longevity in this loving relationship.