Thursday, August 16, 2018

Rant Central with Ian Lang

Here's another super rant by Ian Lang (of Quora), posted with his (blanket) gracious permission. This time Ian is blowing off steam in regard to Brexit and the way specific, and other, aspects of the proposed exit from the EU are dragging on...and on....and... The question which brought on his recent rant was:
After 40+ years of common EU regulation and compliance, is it odd that the EU suddenly has an issue with UK driver’s licenses?
However, his words could be applied equally to any of the numerous stumbling blocks presented by the UK's proposed goodbye wave to the European Union.

By Ian Lang, Leading Technician

All of this sort of bollocks could be sorted out over a couple of G&Ts on a Wednesday afternoon if both sides really wanted to, but no, we have to have these long, drawn-out dramas because bloody career politicians and pundits on both sides want a bit of publicity.

For Christ’s sake. The bloody Yalta Conference only lasted eight days and that was sorting a proper mess out. The Congress of Vienna only lasted nine months; most of the work was done inside a week by little blokes with pencils and it might not have gone on as long as it did if bleeding Napoleon hadn’t slipped out of Elba in February and spoiled things. The Armistice of 1918 took three days. The German surrender at Luneberg took the same.

We’ve got these things we keep hanging around at great expense. They’re called diplomats. Granted, some of the ones at the top might not be any good but behind Sir Rupert Twaittingly-Corpulent KCBE etc (PPE Cambridge) and whatever his foreign equivalents are there are men and women who know how to strike a good compromise for both sides so lock them up in a room somewhere quiet with a pile of sandwiches and vol-au-vents and a tankerful of tea and coffee and let ’em hammer it out.

It’s bloody well symptomatic of our times. In industrial circles it used to be “go and make one of these and we’ll see if anybody’s got a use for it and sell it to ‘em” now it’s five years case study and cost-benefit analysis and worrying about how it fits in to the business model, by which time whatever it is you were going to make has been denecessitated by something else. In government it used to be chaps (hardly ever chapesses but never mind for the moment) had words in French and stuff got sorted that afternoon. It’s not that hard to be a moderately succesful shopkeeper, you buy a load of stuff and if it’s cheap quality you sell it on at a reasonable price, if it’s high quality you charge a premium, and where it falls between the two you judge it and set the right price adding a bit for profit and a bit more for tax. As long as you aren’t selling utter tat, keep your shop clean and you don’t throw cabbages at great velocity and scream “get out you bastards!” at customers as they come in the door they will give you money. But no. We have to have retail professionals running things. If anybody ever tells you they are a retail professional just say “oh, you mean you work in a shop?” and watch their faces. Retail professionals ran Woolworths. BHS. Toys R Us. Maplin. House of Fraser. Marks and Spencer. Need I go on?

It’s the same sort of professional that’s running politics as it is retail. They think they know it all and won’t let the people who do know how to do it actually do it. It strokes their egos but nothing gets done. Then there’s a big old mess to clear up but by that time they’ve had their bonuses and buggered off to ruin something else.

We could have a Brexit deal done and dusted by September and this sort of arsing about shouldn’t be necessary. But no. The politicos on both sides want to grandstand and bluster and in the end all that happens is we do nothing.

Politicos. You’re all bastards. We should have a European-wide rising to give you all a last cigarette before a nice, sunny wall in Madrid or somewhere. That’s the sort of EU I’d back. Then the rest of us could just get on with it. Now take your giant egos and insert them rectally at an oblique angle, you bunch of publicity-chasing charlatans.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Detoxing the War Machine

“The most persistent sound which reverberates through men’s history is the beating of war drums.”
~ Arthur Koestler

An excellent and concise piece by Paul Edwards, titled
The Bonfire of Humanity was published at Counterpunch at the weekend.


What’s the difference between an alcoholic or a junkie… and the American Deep State War Machine?

Nothing. There isn’t any.

Both are deep in the grip of addictions.......

...Just as the addict’s out-of-control behavior breaks down and humiliates love, trust and hope in those who care, and tramples their loyalty and support in the mud, so the rabid, fathomless, ungovernable greed of the War Machine has broken, deceived and betrayed the American people, who stand in the same violated, scorned relation to it as a soul-scarred Alanon wife to a mad, lost drunk or a heartbroken, brutalized child to a smack-ravaged parent.

They will tell you, the wise ones, that the only sane way to treat an addict is with “tough love”: accepting that his horror is his own and deciding to cease being part of it.

The great difference in the cases is, of course, that while the addict can destroy both himself and those who love him most, the War Machine, if we continue to feed its appalling disease, can and will destroy us all...

Lying, deception, denial, are the techniques of addiction. All have been employed to convince us that its disease makes us safe, when in truth everything it does robs and cheats our society, bringing us decay, ruin and misery at home, and anger, hatred, and enmity all around the world.

Love never had anything to do with citizens’ support of the War Machine, of course, at least not for the sane. It was always fear that was used to enslave us. This should be liberating. Perhaps, if Americans could once see through the toxic cloud of cloddish, vapid, idiotic propaganda, and realize that no nation on earth threatens us as a people, they might turn their justifiable wrath on the mainlining monster that jeopardizes our society and all our lives.

It’s the only way to detox the monstrous War Machine.

“War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.” – Thomas Mann

Monday, August 13, 2018

Music Monday ~ After the Weekend's Post - Guess What!

Here's a voice worthy of the song!

Ain't this the truth? This version from the 1958 film:

Muriel Smith sang this for Juanita Hall because she could not sing the high notes in the [1958] film and they decided to dub her with Muriel, even though she sang on Broadway herself for the play version in 1949.

This snip is from the film featured in the weekend's post:

Saturday, August 11, 2018

South, In the Pacific with R & H - "Who can explain it, who can tell you why?"

Last week, in a thrift store, I found a DVD of South Pacific in a version I'd not had the pleasure of seeing - a film made for TV in 2001. In this version Glen Close plays Ensign Nellie Forbush, the part played in the original, 1958, film by Mitzi Gaynor. Another well-known name in the cast: Harry Connick Jnr playing Lt. Joe Cable (John Kerr's part in the 1958 film). The rest of the cast weren't well-known (to me, anyway).

I thoroughly enjoyed this version of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical. It'd be hard to dislike anything by that well-matched pair of musical wonders! The themes of the film are based on parts of James Michener's book of linked short stories about South Pacific Island life during World War 2.

After reading reviews of this 2001 version at imdb HERE I suspect that I'm the only person with a good word to say about it - I'm easily pleased, I guess!

Glen Close, of course, was not quite right for Nellie, as originally written - but I found it easy to view the story from a slightly different perspective age-wise. It wasn't Glen Close's age that mattered to me, but I did find it hard to see her as an unsophisticated racist "hick" from Arkansas - we know her from so many other roles, just too well - and no amount of decent acting could erase our ingrained image of her. Harry Connick Jnr was a tad underwhelming, but perhaps that was how he interpreted Joe Cable. I'm waiting for the the book to arrive from e-bay find out how Mr Michener originally described him.

The singing and dancing in this newer version, while not up to the best stage musical level, were adequate. Rodgers and Hammerstein's words and music are of such high quality, and have magic enough to carry a less than top notch vocalist.

I liked the fact that more background detail of the war was included in this 2001 film - it kept things more real and properly oriented for me, rather than being completely swept away by the froth of the lighter side of the stories being told.

I read, on the net, that another re-make of the film version of South Pacific was in the works (but some five years ago). Names being thrown around, then, for starring roles were Michelle Williams, Hugh Jackman and Justin Timberlake. Hmm.

I was sure I'd done a post on Rodgers and Hammerstein in the past - they certainly had a magical bond - but on checking the archives - nope! That needs to be rectified. Below are their natal charts - I'm interested to see what astrological links there were. Richard Rodgers was the composer, and Oscar Hammerstein the lyricist, by the way. Their greatest successes include: Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music.

A snip from HERE
As businessmen, R&H revolutionized Broadway. Rodgers and Hammerstein fully understood that the show is just half of show business, wrote business historian John Steele Gordon in American Heritage (1990). They became the first men from the creative side of Broadway to establish a permanent organization to handle the business side of what they created. In doing so, they built a business empire that earned them the first great American fortune to be based on creative theatrical talent.

Like ASCAP [American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers ], which had been established a generation before, R&H wanted to protect the writer; that they were writers themselves made the duo especially sensitive to the issues. They both detested Hollywood because there the writer was well paid but stuck at the bottom of the evolutionary scale; but on Broadway, on stage, they knew the writer could and should have control over his or her work. Producers held too many of the cards, they felt, and the best way to wrest some of that control was to become producers themselves.

Richard Rodgers born in New York City on 28 June 1902 at 2.3-AM. (Astrodatabank)

Oscar Hammerstein born in New York City on 12 July 1895 at 4.30 AM. (Astrodatabank)

Both men had natal Sun in Cancer and natal Moon in Pisces. Hammerstein had Cancer rising, with Mercury on the ascendant angle (excellent placement for a lyricist!). Rodgers had Taurus rising, with Venus, planet of the arts in Taurus, a sign ruled by Venus, and in First House.

There are helpful links between Uranus (innovation) and Jupiter (expansion, publication) in both charts, trine for Hammerstein, sextile for Rodgers.

In relation to the link above describing this duo's building of a business empire - I look to Saturn in their charts and find it well placed in both. Rodgers had a trine from Saturn in Capricorn (it's sign of rulership) to Venus in Taurus - linking business (Saturn in Capricorn) to the arts (Venus in Taurus). Hammerstein had Saturn in Scorpio in trine to...yes Mercury on the Cancer ascendant - linking business (Saturn) to sensitive word-smithing (Mercury in Cancer).

It's not hard to see, astrologically, why these two were such a successful pair!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Arty Farty Friday ~ Susan Dorothea White and Sins & Isms

Over the years I've featured so many painters, illustrators, sculptors and photographers on Arty Farty Fridays, that it's getting ever more difficult to find different faces, interesting enough to feature. When setting out to prepare today's post I settled upon Susan Dorothea White whose birthday it is today - only to find that she was featured in 2014. Never mind - I like this post and the images included in it - it'll stand a second airing.

Australian painter and sculptor Susan Dorothea White (born 10 August 1941), among her many and varied paintings and sculptures created two items I found especially intriguing: artwork painted on wooden table tops. Ms White's work, in general depicts the natural world and human situation, sometimes satire and irony are used to convey concern for human rights and equality. Her own website is HERE.

I'm featuring just the two unique and insightful pieces which immediately demanded my attention:

She explains:
The idea to paint both The Seven Deadly Isms and The Seven Deadly Sins of Modern Times, came from Bosch's circular painting on a tabletop The Seven Deadly Sins. I was struck by the novelty of viewing a painting by walking around its circumference, rather than standing before it. To paint a continuous, circular composition with interconnecting narratives was a challenge and an alternative to compositions with a single static viewpoint, limited by four sides. Instead of the enormous eye of God used by Bosch, I chose to enlarge he iris of our pet cat to represent Gaia, the goddess of the universe.

Her Seven Deadly Isms are:

Ideally, see the large image here. This small version cannot show sufficient detail. (If website is still unavailable see HERE)

"Each ism has its own deadly Australian creature. In Dogmatism, a crocodile is about to snap up the missionary. Dogmatism merges into Racism, where my Aboriginal friend is taken away from her mother, forever. The deadly sea wasp (box jellyfish) hovers illogically in the sky near a youth, who is hanging from a rope, representing the tragic Aboriginal deaths in custody. A shark seemed appropriate for Materialism, and a blue-ringed octopus complements the oil slick in environmental Vandalism.

The colours of the red-back spider fitted Fascism. In Sexism, women struggle to unroll a giant scroll listing names of famous women, while I am painting a deadly taipan. Marilyn Monroe bearing the cross symbolises the suffering of women as sex objects. Indifferentism shows people oblivious to the suffering around them; the funnel web spider seemed appropriate since it lurks in our comfortable suburbs."
(Susan D White).

The Seven Deadly Sins of Modern Times

I reversed the traditional sins, replacing each with its antonym because the opposite extremes are just as "deadly". A noxious species, introduced to Australia, symbolises each "sin". I developed a perspective based on concentric circles for this painting, and for the block-print with the same title.


large image here for full detail. If website is unavailable click on image for a slightly bigger version.

Ms White's choices of -isms and sins are apt and thought provoking. The artwork "just right" for the subject too.

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Thursday, August 09, 2018

Same Language, Subtly Different Cultures

In the early years of my life in the USA I used to read and contribute to a British Ex-Pat's forum. Subject matter often turned to the cultural and personality differences we new immigrants were quite surprised to find between British and American people. I've noticed a lot of questions and answers at Quora on a similar topic recently. Subtle differences between the English speaking races is a popular talking point. I sometimes get to wondering about astrologers in this regard.

When an American astrologer prepares a report for a British person or an Australian (or vice versa), or indeed for a person of any other nationality than their own, are cultural differences taken into account? Is the astrologer aware of the differences, or do astrologers say "people are people are people, and astrology is astrology, irrespective of the subject's nationality"? Do English-speaking astrologers of different nationalities use subtly different approaches ?

Although the "nuts and bolts" of astrological principles remain constant, how these are interpreted and expressed will differ from person to person, astrologer to astrologer, not forgetting that the astrologers' own astrological makeup has to be thrown into the mix. Beyond those individual differences though, there may be a blanket factor common to astrologers of the same nationality, who have lived with the same problems and joys, prides and prejudices. This has nothing to do with "Britishness" or "Americanness", stereotypes, patriotism or nationalism, it's simply a question of different experience, and the way it colours interpretation, understanding, and mode of expression.

Astrologers from past decades, such as C.E.O Carter (British), Grant Lewi and Carl Payne Tobey (American) seem to me to be further apart in their styles, outlook, and modes of expression than do current British and American astrologers. The world is shrinking fast, our common experiences are becoming more global than national, aided and assisted by the internet. I guess subtle differences will always remain, but with each generation these are likely to become less and less significant.