Saturday, June 23, 2018

Saturday & Sundry Favourite Actors

Couldn't think what to write about this weekend. Apropos of absolutely nothing then, sundry personal thoughts on actors in film and TV dramas.

These actors remain in my A-list whatever they do - I'll happily watch them in anything and everything:

Paul Giamatti

David Strathairn

Matthew McConaughey

Damian Lewis

Simon Baker

No diversity in my list, so far - all male (sorry!) and all white. But there's Danny Glover too - he was great in "Lonesome Dove" - my favourite character in fact - but he, unfortunately, was cast in Lethal Weapon movies with Mel Gibson, which I didn't enjoy. He has starred in some super roles since though.

Former favourites, who in my opinion were spoiled by the direction the industry has sent them:

Bruce Willis -compare Moonlighting to Die Hard and similar violent movies.

James Spader - compare Stargate (which he said he did only for the money, but it's one of my favourites) also his great performances in Boston Legal to ultra violent The Blacklist

Two newer (to me) faces I've started follow: Joel Kinnaman - I first saw him in "The Killing" TV series, and was impressed, then I sniffed him out in a variety of other roles - all very different- he's an excellent actor - one who doesn't simply "play himself" in every role.

And Jeffrey Dean Morgan (as he was in The Good Wife and a few other series). Sadly he has already moved off in the wrong direction for me, with his role in The Walking Dead.

Why don't I have female favourites? I'm not sure. I admire Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, am always happy to see Sarah Lancashire in any role - they are all British. Sometimes the tones of American female actors' voices irritate my ear - that might have a bearing on the dearth of 'em in this list. But let's finish with three of the best of British:

Friday, June 22, 2018

Arty Farty Friday - Another Destructive Fire in the famous Glasgow School of Art

Glasgow fire: Art school's Mackintosh building extensively damaged

I was shocked, and very sad to read of the dreadful fire reported in the above piece, some days ago. It is the second destructive fire in this famous building in recent years, reconstruction from the last one was only recently completed.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh's designs have been a longtime favourite of mine.
Here are links to two earlier posts about him:
From 2009 - a joint post also features Frank Lloyd Wright.

From 2014 - the post also features Charles' wife, Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Solstice

The words following were written by experts, waxing far more eloquent than I could ever be on anything, not least the topic of summer and the solstice. South-western Oklahoma summers, for my northern English blood, are not much fun - they're simply "too flippin' hot!" Still, though, for any passing readers who enjoy the heat - "have at it" (as they say) and please take my share as well!

"The spring rains woke the dormant tillers, and bright green shoots sprang from the moist earth and rose like sleepers stretching after a long nap. As spring gave way to summer, the bright green stalks darkened, became tan, turned golden brown. The days grew long and hot. Thick towers of swirling black clouds brought rain, and the brown stems glistened in the perpetual twilight that dwelled beneath the canopy. The wheat rose and the ripening heads bent in the prairie wind, a rippling curtain, an endless, undulating sea that stretched to the horizon."
Rick Yancey, The Infinite Sea

"Hot weather opens the skull of a city, exposing its white brain, and its heart of nerves, which sizzle like the wires inside a lightbulb. And there exudes a sour extra-human smell that makes the very stone seem flesh-alive, webbed and pulsing."

Truman Capote, Summer Crossing

Heat, ma’am! it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.
Sydney Smith, Lady Holland’s Memoir

It is Summer, it is the solstice
the crowd is
cheering, the crowd is laughing
in detail
permanently, seriously
without thought.

William Carlos Williams

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

JUNETEENTH - Today, 19 June.

When I arrived in the USA, 14 years ago, I'd never heard of Juneteenth. I have to admit too, that for years I had only the vaguest of ideas what it's all about. For anyone else in the same state of semi-ignorance, here are links to a couple of good, helpful articles.

12 Things You Might Not Know About Juneteenth
By Stacy Conradt.

That piece begins:
There's more than one Independence Day in the U.S. On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and announced that slaves were now free. Since then, June 19 has been celebrated as Juneteenth across the nation. Here's what you should know about the historic event and celebration....
Texas Matters: Juneteenth Stories And Why They Matter
By David Martin Davies.
June 19 1865 is when word of emancipation finally reached Texas and its slave population. The news was delivered two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and about two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered.

But what did "emancipation" mean for the no-longer slaves? Many were quickly reabsorbed into an economic system that looked similar to the slavery life. Others found liberty by establishing Freedom Colonies across the South, town-like communities of former slaves that frequently became self-sustaining. Nevertheless, the freedom to self-determine and pursue one's abilities and dreams to the fullest would be generations away. And even today there is still work to be done.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Music Monday ~ "Are we not formed, as notes of music are, For one another, though dissimilar?"

The quote in the post's heading is from Percy Bysshe Shelley, by the way.

Music and astrology have quite a lot in common. Both rely on a limited but still potentially vast collection of possible content, based on a non-negotiable structure.

In music the structure is notes on a stave; in astrology, it's planets in the zodiac. Both have a kind of mathematics at their core. In music it's the beat, the time, the rhythm - 3/4 time/ 4/4 time etc. In astrology it's 360 degrees split into 12 segments and aspects formed between them: 90 degree squares, 120 degree trines, 180 degree oppositions etc. These mix with the rhythmic integrated waves of Fire to Earth, to Air to Water, to Fire.... Cardinal to Fixed to Mutable to Cardinal....
The pleasure we obtain from music comes from counting, but counting unconsciously. Music is nothing but unconscious arithmetic. ~Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.
There's a branch of astrology known as Harmonics, which I, being mathematically challenged, haven't as yet managed to master.
Astrologer Bob Marks says : (HERE)
"This has to be one of the greatest advances in astrological analysis of the last hundred years. What are "harmonics?" Just a mathematical rearrangement of the horoscope so that we can see particular features more clearly. It's something like taking a cross-section of a sample in biology and putting it under a microscope."
Pythagoras, an early Greek mathematician and astronomer was the first to discover a mathematical relationship in the frequencies of the various tones of the musical scale. In postulating the planets' orbits as bearing a similar relationship based upon the distance from the center, he characterized their interrelated orbits as "the harmony of the spheres." (Nicholas deVore - Encyclopedia of Astrology)

So really, with a bit of imagination, each human being could be seen, astrologically, as a piece of music, a song. The exact positions of the planets, and arrangement in respect to one another, as we came into the world dictates our "tune", and therefore has much bearing on which other "tunes", real and human, we can most easily harmonize with.
There is in souls a sympathy with sounds:
And as the mind is pitch'd the ear is pleased
With melting airs, or martial, brisk or grave;
Some chord in unison with what we hear
Is touch'd within us, and the heart replies.

~William Cowper

When I first posted on this topic in 2009, commenter 'anthonynorth' wrote:
"Music is so important to all these systems. I've read about Baroque music being based in alchemy, and many mystics have allied music to their systems."

I responded that "I think what they, and we, sense is the edge of the tip of an iceberg of knowledge that'll emerge teeny bit by teeny bit over coming centuries...if man survives."

Sunday, June 17, 2018


My own Dad died in 1992. He'd be amazed to know that his photographs are being sent into cyber-space, and to know exactly where his only child, his daughter, was sitting - in Oklahoma U.S.A - sending them winging out!

My Dad was the eldest son of 10 siblings, 5 male, 5 female. He had to leave school earlier than he would have wished in order to contribute to family finances. After a couple of nondescript jobs he acquired an apprenticeship to a local baker, eventually became a master baker himself, managed a group of bakeries in Hull during the war years. After the war he and mother never worked for an employer again, they remained self-employed, first building up and running their own small but successful and much sought out, bakery business. They worked so darned hard! Dad was up every day before 4 a.m. making bread, there were few rest days, few vacations. Mum ran their small bakery store. After around a decade they decided to move on to try other things, always remaining self-employed. What followed included a fruit and veg. store, a small private hotel on the coast, a tourist snack bar, a coffee bar with juke box. Then my Dad was accepted as a sub-postmaster and they went on to run some sub-post offices - mixed business stores combined with post office business. So my Dad, by the last years of his working life via a convoluted and very varied route, was able to do a job similar to that he had longed for as a schoolboy - to work in the post office or in the offices of the local railway company.

 Around 1990





 About 1947