Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pawns in their game: SCOTUS, ACA, Chief Justice Roberts, Re-consideration, Retrograde Planets.

Re-visiting my March 29 post on the SCOTUS debate on health care I noticed, and thought again, about these lines:
I stumbled upon a non-astrological blog: His Vorpal Sword written by Hart Williams. Mr Williams' post dated 26 March is titled Athena and the Jurists and opens like this:
Any astrologer worth her salt would tell you that there is not a lot of good that you can expect from a grand Supreme Court argument over the future of health care, held on a day when Mercury is retrograde, Saturn is retrograde, and Mars is retrograde. And, since, like global warming, astrology is easily refuted, except by observation, allow me to make this observation on the madness of the zeitgeist.
That's the only mention of astrology in the complex and interesting post......rather a good astrological point he made....

In an UPDATE to this Thursday's post I wrote: "trust a triple Aquarian to do the unexpected" - referring to Chief Justice Roberts' voting with the liberal justices rather than with the four right-wing conservatives on the bench, as has been usual. Recalling, via the above extract, that retrograde planets were around at the time of the initial arguments makes me wonder whether those retrograde planets have turned out to have had some symbolism or astrological importance: i.e. an eventual revision, reversal, reconsideration (retrograding) of one justice's crucially important opinion ?

I've read several comments from lawyers who, having perused the SCOTUS decision, and the dissent, have come to the conclusion that the dissent seems to have been written more in the style of a majority decision. If they are correct, and I have no means of knowing how reliable their opinion is, it might mean that there was a last-minute change by someone - Chief Justice Roberts?

Part of my My 1 April response to blog buddy R.J. Adams has turned out to seem correct:
I'm suspecting now that SCOTUS was only showboating, and they'll uphold the Act but don't want to make it look too easy. They couldn't possibly take away all that extra dosh from their pals the insurance corporations.
Chief Justice Roberts achieved two things by upholding ACA: he somewhat rescued SCOTUS's image from appearing to be politically-driven and partisan; it has been seen that way due to many recent rulings, leading to a huge dip in public approval of the Court. CJ Roberts has managed to adjust Scotus's image for the better while still buttering up the corporations - again. This time the insurance corporations benefit. CJ Roberts might even have achieved a third result: Gov. Romney now has another weapon to wield in his campaign against President Obama - that newly named "tax".

They say that President Obama is a political chess player. It now seems that Chief Justice Roberts can match him, move for move. And where are we in all this? To paraphrase a line from Bob Dylan: "We're just pawns in their game".

During coming months it will be interesting to note whether the SCOTUS decision will benefit President Obama in his re-election campaign because his flagship legislation, The Affordable Care Act or so-called Obamacare, has survived SCOTUS. Or, whether the categorising as a dreaded "tax" the penalty for not buying health insurance will assist Gov. Romney in firing up his base, along with some independents and libertarians.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Arty Farty Friday ~ André Kertész, Photographer, Sun Cancer, Stellium Gemini.

As a change from the painters, a photographer with natal Sun in Cancer: born 2 July 1894: André Kertész: not a household name by any means. I wasn't familar with his photographs, but he, and they, are well worth investigation.

Born in Hungary, began taking photographs as a hobby in 1912, while working as a clerk in the Budapest stock exchange. Kertész eventually decided to take up photography as a career, moved to Paris in 1925, became a successful photojournalist there. He met and photographed some of the era's glamorous personalities including Chagall, Colette and Mondrian. His poetic pictures of Paris are some of his most praised - for example "Clock of the Académie Française" (1929), in which the black numerals of an antique clock face are layered over a bird's-eye view of the city.
(Note from now on I shall omit, with apologies, the accents in the artist's name)

Copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner.

Satiric Dancer

One of his most widely reproduced pictures: "Satiric Dancer" (1926), surrealistic image of a young woman reclining on a love seat next to a modernist marble sculpture of a male torso. "It looks more like a Man Ray than something the author of "Chez Mondrian" could havemade."

Chez Mondrian


"Meudon" (1928), the view down a narrow street opens up to a high aqueduct, across which a locomotive travels. In the foreground, a man with eyes shadowed by his hat brim approaches carrying a large flat package wrapped in newspaper. "In its sinister mystery, it is like something dreamed by de Chirico."

Eleven years later, as war clouds gathered over Europe, Andre Kertesz and his wife, Elizabeth, emigrated to the USA, New York, where he spent the rest of his life.

My Elizabeth, Paris 1931

Captivated by New York, awed by its scale, his photographs record his fascination yet sense of alienation . At times his personal photographic style did not mesh well with the straightforward fashion photography the American public (and magazines) expected. He continued to exhibit individual work as best he could but his reputation slowly faded, and he became disillusioned.

Washington Square, New York

New York Boy (1944)

World Trade Center (1972)

Solitude (1960)

3rd Avenue & 46th Street (1936)

East River Esplanade (1948)

A solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1964 relaunched his career and reputation, caught the mood of the times and he became something of an elder statesman to the photographers of the late 1960s and early 1970s. By the mid-1970s he was showing his work in galleries all over the world. He continued working very productively into old age, and was experimenting with instant Polaroid photography shortly before he died.

His personal history spanned political upheavals of two world wars and life in three countries. He died at age ninety-one. Kertész is now recognized as one of the seminal figures of photojournalism.


Sun in Cancer = sensitivity, sentimentality, emotionally intelligent, intuitive.
A few relevant quotes from articles linked at foot of post:

Kertesz was an unabashedly sentimental symbolist, and many of his pictures have what seems an almost naïve quality. "Lost Cloud" (1937), in which a little cotton puff of a cloud hovers in an otherwise empty sky next to a soaring Empire State Building, is a good example. He made the picture shortly after he and his wife moved to the United States and his new professional opportunities were not working out. Kertesz identified with the little cloud. The photographer once commented that it touched him when he saw it because "it didn't know which way to go." It would be a mistake, however, to believe Kertesz's claims to have been only an amateur and to overlook the intensely cultivated sophistication it took to produce pictures of such seemingly naïve charm.

"You don't see" the things you photograph, he explained, "you feel them."

"What distinguishes Kertesz's work is not a particular visual style or signature subject matter, but its emotional resonance. Undoubtedly Kertesz was a great formalist, but in his most persuasive pictures, form is put to the service of feeling."

Moon could have been in either Cancer or Gemini depending on time of birth (chart is set for 12 noon). There are four other planets clustered in Gemini - Venus, Pluto, Neptune and Jupiter, all lend strength to the mutable Geminian strain in his nature -easily detected in his variety of styles

Experts surmise that Kertesz's relative lack of recognition is linked to his variety of styles. He didn't find and stick to any "signature" style making his work instantly recognisable, he didn't take political or historically topical photographs....there was "something chameleonlike about him: not that he mimicked the styles of others, but in the sense that he adapted photographically to different kinds of worldly realities."

Sun in Cancer is harmoniously in trine to Uranus (the unexpected, avant garde) in Scorpio. Clearly manifests in Kertesz's series of "Distortions" (1933), nudes reflected in distorting mirrors - strange, different, yet among his best-known work. Two examples from many :

Near the end of his life Kertesz acquired an SX-70 Polaroid camera and immersed himself in experimenting with it.



Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Newsroom ~ Aaron Sorkin. & UPDATE on Health Care/Insurance Result

TV and radio newsrooms, or newspaper offices, have been favourite settings for movies and TV series over the years, some famous ones: Network, All the President's Men, Broadcast News, Goodnight and Good Luck, and others, too many to name. A zany take on a TV newsroom, possibly unknown to US audiences, was one of my favouirtes from the 1990s in the UK: channel 4's Drop the Dead Donkey . Some enterprising US producer might profitably look into that series and come up with a modern US version. Newest in the newsroom genre is HBO's series created by Aaron Sorkin, The Newsroom. Its pilot episode aired this week. I'd seen a couple of scathing articles by critics, so wasn't expecting too much. We were pleasantly surprised! We're unfamiliar with Aaron Sorkin's other work, apart from Social Network - which was hmmm: just about okay (my post on it HERE); but his West Wing sounds interesting, as a possible future DVD rental.

Newsroom is being panned by many critics and others in the media because, basically, it aims to point out their faults, show them a mirror image of themselves, warts an' all. The warts are more noticeable than ever these days.

Chief character in The Newsroom is news anchor Will McAvoy played by Jeff Daniels (whose work in Good Night and Good Luck might have suggested him for the part). We are led to believe that he once had the reputation of being a first-class news hound, incisive insightful, but has, in order to keep his job and programme ratings, dumbed-down his style to bland and boring in order for his target audience to relate to him more easily, thus causing the show to pull in better audience figures, and thus sell more advertising. It's always all about the money.

It seems the thrust of the series to come will highlight a near disappearance of decent investigative TV journalism and consequent rise of dumbed-down partisan-style "infotainment". The pilot episode kicked off leaving us in no doubt as to McAvoy's opinions.

Female lead, McAvoy's producer, is British actress Emily Mortimer playing the rather awkwardly named MacKenzie McHale. Inclusion of a Brit leads me to suspect that it's hoped to sell the TV series in Britain. All about money! Surely there are hundreds of competent, even brilliant, actresses in the USA who'd have jumped at the chance of such a part? I didn't feel Ms Mortimer was quite right, or quite comfortable, in the part - but perhaps future episodes will change my mind on that.

Critics slam the dialogue, and Sorkin's work in general, as "preachy". I like preachy, preachy is sorely needed here!

In this first episode we go back in time to 2010 and the unfolding of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Sorkin gives us some idea what could have happened had someone with the right attitude, the right contacts, the right will to find the truth from the start of it all, been around at that time.

I look forward to finding out how the series will unfold and how coming episodes will be received. Will Newsroom survive for more than a season?

A look at the natal chart of Aaron Sorkin:

Born in New York City on 9 June 1961. No time of birth is known, so chart is set for 12 noon.

His natal Sun in Gemini, ruled by Mercury the communications planet is classic for a professional writer.
Mercury itself was in Cancer and making a close harmonious trine to Neptune (creativity) in Scorpio - another classic for a writer. The Watery input from Cancer and Scorpio reflects his sensitivity and passion for the subjects of which he writes.

I'll pinpoint one more thing which stands out for me: a Yod (Finger of Fate)which links Mercury and Pluto in helpful sextile, then both planets to Jupiter in Aquarius by two 150 degree aspects known as quincunxes. Astrologers find that such configurations signify the "energies" attributed to the sextiled planets are channeled through the planet/sign at the apex of the Yod. Being translated in this case as Mercury (his writing) and Pluto (his passion for his subject) are channeled through Jupiter (publication to masses)via Aquarius (social consciousness). That works for me!

NEWS UPDATE - on another topic - from yours truly:

Trust a triple (Sun, Mercury, Chiron) Aquarian, Chief Justice John Roberts to do the unexpected (sometimes). The usually conservative Chief Justice joined four liberal justices to uphold the Affordable Care Act almost intact (with one adjustment regarding Medicaid).

Some pundits will assume that Chief Justice Roberts was feeling sensitive about increasingly adverse public opinion of SCOTUS, so because ACA was constitutional anyway - or could be deemed to be so by declaring the individual mandate as a tax - he saved SCOTUS face, and the President's reputation - for now.

In any case the ACA is nothing but a supporting document for the insurance corporations - why wouldn't it be upheld? I've always thought it would, for that reason, but am surprised that Roberts upheld it with a deciding vote.

Here's what I wrote about him in a post about other individuals who share my birthday (27 January)
Hard to be Humble Birthdays ~~~
US Chief Justice John Roberts has Sun and Mercury in Aquarius, with Aquarius' modern ruler Uranus conjunct Jupiter in Cancer. Jupiter is traditionally connected with law, and government. Incidentally, with his natal Moon almost certainly in Pisces, Sun in humanitarian Aquarius, and that conjunction in sensitive Cancer , I'd say Chief Justice Roberts is a compassionate man, it's good to see such a person occupying that lofty position.(27 Jan. 1955, Buffalo, New York ).
I'm happy for the people the ACA will help - and it will certainly help some people, as well as making extra profits for the insurance corporations, come 2014 when most of its provisions kick in. The people are most important though......always.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Discovering John Grisham

I'm on a John Grisham kick at the moment, since watching The Rainmaker on HBO channel. Intrigued, I picked up a couple of Grisham novels in Goodwill, quickly read The King of Torts, am reading The Summons at present. Next I found a used set of four John Grisham movies on Ebay. We've now watched all but one, which we'd both seen before, in my case more than once -The Client, saw it years ago because Tommy Lee Jones co-stars in it. I wasn't aware that it was an adaptation of a Grisham novel at the time. The other three: A Time to Kill, The Pelican Brief and Runaway Jury have all been "right up my street".

How could I have missed John Grisham 'til now? Why does he appeal to me so much? His views on politics seem similar to my own; he writes in a "quick-reading, get hooked immediately" style I enjoy. His novels are classed as "potboilers" by critics and others. So what? I can't be bothered reading arty-farty long-winded tomes these days. I like a good story, with something of a message embedded.

From John Grisham's official website, the opening lines of his bio:
Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990....
So, Mr Grisham knows intimately that of which he writes so entertainingly and profusely!

John Grishamn's natal chart offers a clue to my new-found attraction to his work. Data is from Astrodatabank, rated only "X" (not reliable). Apparently there was some question about his birthplace. There's no time of birth available. Still, even from the 12 noon chart there's enough to identify the astro-source of my attraction. My father's birthday was 8 February too, coincidentally.

Sun and Mercury in Aquarius (my own Sun sign and re-located rising sign).
Mars in Aries close to my natal Moon.
Uranus and Jupiter conjoined in Cancer - my natal rising sign.

He has a nice harmonious trine from Neptune (creativity) in Libra to Mercury (writing, communication) in Aquarius; also Moon in Virgo (ruled by Mercury the writer's planet)....all excellent astro credentials for writers.

A clear attraction to his subject and earlier career, the law, is represented by Saturn (law) in harmonious trine to the Uranus/Jupiter conjunction in Cancer. Uranus's link to Saturn's more establishment "feel" reflects Grisham's often anti-establishment traits.

So there are astrological reasons why I enjoy Grisham's work; a real life one too: I worked for 24 years among lawyers and judges in the UK. I'm looking forward to sampling more from the wide choice of his book titles, as well as any adapted for movies.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Astrology ? Elemental My Dear Watson!

A recent article at Huffington Post written by Sara Calabro: Are You a Fire Type begins like this:
Summer is officially upon us. You may be noticing yourself having more energy, feeling more social, or experiencing all-around better moods. This is normal for this time of year, when, from an acupuncture perspective, the yang -- extroverted, lively, enthusiastic, active -- aspects of a person are at their peak.

In acupuncture theory, humans are viewed as microcosms of the natural world that surrounds them. Weather and climate, particularly during the transition from one season to another, factor significantly into diagnoses and treatment plans. Each season is linked with a natural element, organ and emotion.

The element, organ and emotion of summer are, respectively, Fire, heart and joy. So, how does this influence the way we feel in summertime?

Do You Like to Play With Fire?

How we feel during summer is largely determined by our constitutional expression of the Fire element.
That theory, if considering the astrological element of Fire, doesn't work for me though. I have more personal (as against generational) planets in Fire signs (3) than in the other elements (Air 1) (Earth 1) Water (2).... I do not enjoy hot summer weather. Perhaps a Fire sign rising could be the key to what Ms Calabro suggests? My natal rising sign is Cancer, re-located to my current home it's Aquarius - Water and Air - no Fire involved. Or perhaps the elemental Fire of which she writes is something different from astrological Fire.

Astrological elements are astrology's building blocks. A re-run of an archived post from 2008 on this very topic coming up:........................

Building blocks of astrology, the elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air; and the modes or qualities: Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable, were bequeathed to Western astrology by the Greeks via their illustrious philosophers. The elements equate to what modern physics has identified as the four states of matter - building blocks of the Universe: solid, liquid, gas and plasma.
(Illustration, above, from The Particle Adventure)

Modern-day wits have other ideas, tongue-in-cheek. Author Terry Pratchett has a character in one of his books stipulating that the universe depends for its operation on the balance of four forces which can be identified as "charm, persuasion, uncertainty and bloody-mindedness.” While comedian Dave Barry has it on good authority that "the four building blocks of the universe are fire, water, gravel and vinyl."

Jokes aside, without a basic understanding of how the elements relate to each other, it'd be impossible to "get" astrology. The four elements, each modified by one of the three modes/qualities are at the the root of all interpretations.

The circle we use to depict the sky in astrology is split into 12 equal segments, each allocated to an element, modified by a mode (eg. Aries = Cardinal Fire, Taurus = Fixed Earth...) It's possible, with an understanding of each element and mode, to produce a basic interpretation of a chart using only these concepts, ignoring labels placed on signs by ancient astrologers.

The elements and modes progress around the zodiac circle, alternating in regular succession, forming wave-like patterns. If spread out in line the patterns looks like this ~ please excuse the awful diagram! F=Fire. E=Earth. W=Water. A=Air.....C=Cardinal. Fx=Fixed. M=Mutable. Wave above line =Elements. Wave below = Modes. To avoid more confusion I've ignored a third quality - Polarity (positive/negative or masculine/feminine), which would form another wave, alternating between signs, starting at Positive = Aries.

Why? Did those Greeks, long ago, grasp, intuit, or have access to some lost knowledge which led to this particular way of laying out the zodiac? More questions than answers - as usual!

The elements and modes are factors amid a plethora of astrological principles and methods, which remain completely reliable and consistent. They never let you down. As I see it, something somehow connected to these will, one day, explain (partially) why astrology works.

In The Night Sky by Richard Grossinger, I found a paragraph which may or may not have any relevance in this context, it caught my eye as I searched for information.
In 1869, the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev discovered that the chemical properties of the elements (My note: this refers to the non-astrological elements)are periodic functions of their atomic weights, i.e. of the number of protons in their nuclei. When he arranged the then-known elements in a series, he found that there were familial resemblances among elements at regular numerical intervals. For instance, carbon, silicon and tin lie in a series for which the member between silicon and tin was then apparently missing. This was later found to be germanium. Fluourine, chlorine, bromine and iodine constitute another family. Then there's a group of lithium, sodium and potassium; another of nitrogen phosphorus, arsenic and antimony; and so on. Nature contains a hidden periodic function which is basic to form and order in the world. (My note: There are "families" in astrological elements too, at regular numerical intervals - the Fire family Aries, Leo, Sagittarius, the Air family Gemini, Libra, Aquarius etc.) All the other elements are based on the simplest one, hydrogen with its single proton, which is also - we were to find out - the fuel of the stars.

Mendeleev's periodic table, and the reality that lay behind it gave a new basis for understanding the history and evolution of matter. Mathematical relationships determined the seemingly limitless display of forms in nature, from plants and animals to stars and galaxies. It was hauntingly Pythagorean, as Heisenberg would remind us.
The echo of astrological elements and modes and the way they were arranged by ancient astrologers is discernible. They had no knowledge of periodic tables and suchlike, as far as we know.

I have confidence that astrology is more than mere superstition. It's something rooted in the very nature of the universe. Oh - it's rough and ready, imperfect and encumbered with a plethora of unnecessary accessories, but beneath it all there is a gem. I can't say it better than the wonderful Carl Sagan said it..."Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Music Monday ~ Carly Simon

Happy Birthday, Carly Simon! I felt sure I'd already written a post about her, but unless the tag has gone AWOL I'm mistaken. I definitely posted a video of one of her best-known songs when the result of 2008's presidential election was announced. Let the River Run. I wrote some really, really stooopid stuff around that time too.

On 4 November, in a brief post
I'm so proud of America! On two fronts. They have overwhelmingly supported a black president, and, for me far more important - a left-wing president who will, in turn support ALL Americans, not just the chosen few.
YIKES - I got that wrong - and how!! I was so naive, along with many, many people in the USA thirsting for political change.

Next day I posted the video with these words
Speaking of the President Elect, and the joy many Americans, myself included, feel this morning, I simply have to post this song.
Let the River Run??? Turns out that Let the River Run away might have been more appropriate!
We're coming to the edge
Running on the water
Coming through the fog
Your sons and daughters
Let the rivers run
Let all the dreamers wake the nation
Come, the new Jerusalem
Silver cities rise
The morning lights, the streets that meet them
Sirens call them on with a song
Asking for the taking
Trembling, shaking
Oh, my heart is aching
Coming to the edge, running on the water
Coming through the fog, your sons and daughters
Sing the greatest song
Stand on a star
And blaze a trail of desire
Through the dark'ning dawn............................................ etc.
That was four years ago. I still love the song, but it brings me sadness rather than exhileration now.

Carly Simon was born 25 June 1945 in New York City. In a 2008 book by Sheila Weller, Girls Like Us, about the lives of three "rock queens", singer-songwriters of the 1960/70s: Carole King, Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell who are now no longer girls but grandmothers, of Ms Simon the author writes:

The mid-1960s liberal arts college girl like Ms. Simon is described as “a polished young woman from a family of means, who wore an expensive suede jacket and hoop earrings, with the sides of her shiny long hair gathered at the back of her head by a wooden-chopstick-clasped leather thong.”
Carly Simon was born into a well-to-do family, all with music in their bood. Her father was co-founder of Simon & Schuster, one of the four largest English-language publishers and publishing houses. Her ancestry includes Jewish, German, African, Cuban and French - quite a mix!

Many love affairs and engagements to luminaries of the 1970s music world and two marriages, the first to singer-songwriter James Taylor, have decorated her life. A stammer, a brush with breast cancer and loss of millions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme of financial advisor Kenneth I. Starr, now a prison inmate, have marred it. She has never felt comfortable on stage - surprising for one so gifted and goodlooking, but her stammer must be the prime reason, I guess.

For details of her career and recordings see Wikipedia's page

Best known of her songs is You're So Vain. The mystery of who was the song's subject has kept it in the public's memory. More about that HERE

Ms Simon was honored this year with one of the industry's highest honors, celebrated for her lifetime of achievements as this year's recipient of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Founders Award.

There's a loose link with last Monday's post in that Carly Simon sang Nobody Does It Better, theme song for another James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)- music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager.

I have one Carly Simon CD: Film Noir, a collection of standards, cream of American songwriting from past decades, beautifully performed by Ms Simon. My husband has a Greatest Hits Live compilation CD, and no doubt he also has some of her LPs in his vast, seemingly bottomless collection.


The chart is set for 12 noon as no time of birth for Ms Simon is known.

Sun, Saturn and Mercury in ultra-sensitive Cancer are at base of her nature. Mercury (communication) conjunct Saturn (restriction), to me represents her stammer.
Without a time of birth exact degree of Moon can't be established. Unless she was born before 6:00 AM Moon would be in early Capricorn and opposing Cancer Sun. Natal Moon opposing her emotional and sentimental Sun from down-to-earth Capricorn would bring in some needed balance.

Venus (the music planet) in its home sign Taurus, and conjunct Mars; both sextile Mercury/Saturn. There's a kind of good news/bad news feel to this. Venus and Mercury both have itchy/scratchy conjunctions with more negative planets.

Another sextile from Jupiter in Virgo to Mecury/Saturn provides some benign input. In spite of her challenges in life, things have turned out pretty well for Ms Simon, all in all.

Here she is with a song written by Paul McCartney: Blackbird

and My Romance, by Rodgers & Hart:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Lion and The Ram ~ Gillespie & Maddow ~ Partisan?

It was fun to see "the lion" and "the ram" go head to head a couple of times, or more, on Friday evening's Real Time.

The Lion with Sun and Venus in Leo: Nick Gillespie of and Reason TV (an "independent" libertarian). The Ram with Sun and Venus in Aries: Rachel Maddow, MSNBC talking head with a nightly show supporting just about anything the president and Democrats say or do.

I no longer watch MSNBC (bad for my BP!) In the days when I did watch, when Rachel Maddow's show first aired, in 2008, I wrote a post about her and her natal chart. That was before the political scales dropped from my eyes. I still enjoy hearing Rachel speak when interviewed outside of her show, but feel now much as Nick Gillespie indicated. He accused Maddow and Maher of being partisan. Well DUH!! They are. Maher gave President Obama's campaign fund $1 million cheque recently. In Maddow's professional eyes Democrats and President Obama can do no wrong. We have no means of knowing how she really feels.

Nick Gillespie asked Rachel Maddow to name a Republican she likes or would choose over a Democrat. Rachel didn't answer. Bill Maher said that it was an unfair question. Had it been 20 years ago, he could name one. But Republicans of today are so far gone that there is a lack of options, he said.

Gillespie went on thoughout the show to try to dominate the conversation, talking over everyone else - all the time. I rolled back my initial positive reaction.

(NOTE: The matter under debate on Friday when the "spat" began was the recent refusal of Attorney General Eric Holder to hand over certain documents related to Fast and Furious - a federal operation allowing weapons from the U.S. to pass into the hands of suspected gun smugglers so the arms could be traced to the higher echelons of Mexican drug cartels. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which ran the operation, lost track of hundreds of firearms, many of which have been linked to crimes, including the fatal shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010 and some 200 Mexicans.)

Partisan in political context = a committed member of a political party. The term often carries negative connotation, referring to people who wholly support their party's policies and remain reluctant to acknowledge correctness on the part of their political opponents in almost any situation.

Talking heads - all of them, including Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert as well as the MSNBC and Fox crowd are there to serve a single purpose - support for the two political establishments in the USA, to keep the controversy going, keep the country divided. They are, have to be, partisan. They never, never criticise their own or acknowledge anything or anyone who might be saying or doing anything halfway decent from the other "team".

If the people of USA, or most of them, would simply stop with the partisanship it could be the start of something interesting. If they'd only be willing to see through what's really going on, throw away their team shirts, stop labelling themselves and others.

Am I partisan? Not with regard to Republican/Democrat - I'm neither. But could I name someone from the right who I admire (bearing in mind that I'm about as left as you can go without falling off the edge of the USA)? Well.... I 'd name Jon Huntsman, Republican, as a guy I'd have felt quite comfortable voting for in the presidential election, had he been given the support he should have received to obtain the nomination.

On a lighter(?) note - we came across this sign outside a gas station, just across the Red River in Texas, on Friday ~~

My immediate comment: Will someone please tell both of 'em that they ought to be doing a better job?!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

"Home is where you hang your head"

Sun's in Cancer now. Cancer represents, among other things, home-loving, nurturing, all those warm Mom 'n' apple-pie feelings. Home.

The words of Groucho Marx in the post title could remind us that we do "hang our heads" in our homes, but in a way unintended by Groucho. We do so in the way we set the style of our home, in the mix of ingredients we need to feel comfortably, or stylishly, "at home".

I often visualise living in a house or apartment decorated and furnished in minimalist style....something along these lines, or even more minimalist:

Photograph from here.

Natal Neptune (dreams) in Virgo (perfectionist) in 4th house (home) could well be responsible for my constant craving. The years have proved my yen for minimalism to be one of Neptune's many illusions. An ever growing collection of paintings, prints and the usual decorative tid-bits ensures that our home is far from minimalist. Being married to a clutter-bug of the highest order excludes any hope of ever satisfying a recurring craving for purity of style.

I must attract clutter-bugs. My late partner was the type who'd go through the trash to reclaim just about anything I threw away because "we might need it one day - you'll be grateful then!" My husband is one step further along the road to clutterdom. He can often be seen picking stuff up off the street: shopping lists, buttons, coins (in his natal chart: Neptune in Virgo in 2nd house of possessions - what went wrong?)

I suspect there's a marked difference in natal charts of those who prefer, and achieve, a minimalist environment, who feel comfortably at home with starkness, and of those who need lots of homely comforting clutter, pretty flowery prints, pillows/cushions, ornaments etc. The following doesn't refer to Sun signs, though the zodiac sign in which the Sun was placed at the birth of an individual is important, it's only part of the picture. Moon, rising sign and planetary emphasis on other signs also have impact.

Taurus and Cancer, by nature the homeliest of the signs. A lot of emphasis on either in one's natal chart would tend to incline a body to crave comfort before style.

Virgo, whilst an Earth sign, could still cope with the starkness of minimalism, though the Earthy element of the sign would incline natives to prefer wood tones rather than the black and white usually associated with minmalism.

Capricorn and Aquarius (both traditionally ruled by Saturn) could easily deal with starkness, Saturn has starkness at its heart! Uranus, modern ruler of Aquarius, rules all that is different - minimalism is different.

Leo would embrace minimalism if considered as a status symbol. Usually, though, a person with lots of Leo hankers after luxury, opulence, designer labels.

Anyone with a strong showing of Sagittarius in their chart likes a lot (of everything)- comfort, clutter, whatever. Innate love of travel could mean they're able to feel at home almost anywhere in any environment - as long as the next trip is "on the books".

Prominent Libra enjoys beauty rather than utility or trendiness, so an artistic, well-designed yet comfortable style would be their first choice.

Gemini emphasised in a natal chart = a couldn't care less attitude to surroundings, as long as a bookshelf, a TV, CD player, phone and computer are around. They could live with minimalism, but wouldn't notice.

Pisces and Scorpio two emotional Water signs would, I think, go for imaginative and attractive styles, more likely leaning towards comfort rather than minimalism.

Aries: I'm not sure - someone with lots of Aries in their natal chart wouldn't care deeply about their surroundings, they're too restless and too busy doing stuff.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Arty Farty Friday ~ Andrew Wyeth

There's no lack of artists with natal Sun in zodiac sign Cancer. I've already featured some of them in past Arty Farty Friday posts. With relevant links, these are: Kahlo, Hockney, Degas, Calder, Hopper.

Still to tackle are Cancerians: Chagall, Whistler (thought I'd "done" them but can't locate the posts), and Rembrandt; and.....there's another Cancerian artist, much loved in the USA:

Andrew Wyeth (1917 - 2009).

Sources for biographical details:
An obituary piece By Henry Allen and Bart BarnesWashington Post Staff Writers, January 17, 2009.
And from a brief
Astrodatabank bio.

Andrew was born in a Pennsylvania farming village. He was a frail boy, the youngest of five children. His mother was Pennsylvania Dutch with family in Lancaster County and his father was Swiss. His father was a benevolent tyrant, dominating his five offspring while encouraging them to be geniuses by allowing only the best music, the best poetry in the house. Andrew was his favorite, a "daddy's boy."

On his 22nd birthday, Andrew met Betsy James. Against his father's wishes, they married in May 1940. One ruler had replaced another. Betsy assumed control over his life and work. He relied on her fine critical eye, but needed periods of escape.

In 1945, his father stalled his car on a railroad crossing in Chadds Ford, and a train killed him and his daughter's 4-year-old son. ..."When he died, I was just a clever watercolorist - lots of swish and swash," Wyeth said. Soon he produced the unsettling tempera "Winter 1946," (below) in which a boy runs down a winter hill, casting a wild lurch of a shadow on dead grass. As it happens, on the other side of the hill is the railroad crossing.
(NOTE: There is a correction to detail of the above in the comments below).

Andrew Wyeth's "signature" style was "in making unhappiness beautiful, in the manner of Edward Hopper, Mark Rothko, Ernest Hemingway or Miles Davis".

He became more reclusive as he grew older and famous, though he was said to be a tease and a mimic with friends, a good story-teller.

His paintings give away his inner solitude, and possibly some repressed anger.

His style is defined as realist but because the objects in his paintings are metaphors, he can also be considered an abstractionist.

In the years between 1970-1985, Wyeth secretly painted a Pennsylvania neighbour, Helga Testorf, often in the nude. He had completed 65 paintings of Helga when his wife discovered his secret, almost destroying their marriage.

Wyeth's work was never beloved by critics, but was loved and defended by Americans because of the way his paintings made them feel - about themselves and their country -a country not of the 21st century, but one fast disappearing.

The obituary piece linked above begins:

Andrew Wyeth, best-loved painter of wistfulness, rural bleakness, menace, Puritanical solitude and an America lost to 20th-century dry rot, died yesterday morning in his sleep at the Wyeth family estate in Chadds Ford, Pa., between Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del. He was 91. He died in just the sort of weather he loved, the empty cold and the sharp sunlight of the dead of winter.....................


Data from Astrodatabank.

I'll not ramble on about Wyeth's chart, I'll pick out what I see as the astro-signature of his unique art style.
It's not exactly in his sensitive Cancerian Sun and Mercury, it's more to be found in Saturn/Neptune/Venus conjoined in Leo and semi-sextile Pluto in Cancer.

Translation: Saturn (hard, realistic coldness; also business sense). Neptune (creativity) Venus (art). Pluto (darkness or death, obsession). All are ingredients of his style, a blend of the astrological input.

The cluster of Leo planets is in helpful sextile to Jupiter (expansive, publication) in Gemini (communication) exactly on the ascendant, and translates to Wyeth's ability to communicate the feeling in his work to a large audience.

Christina's World

One of Wyeth's best known paintings:

The woman in the painting was the artist's neighbor in Maine, who, crippled by polio, "was limited physically but by no means spiritually." Wyeth: "The challenge to me was to do justice to her extraordinary conquest of a life which most people would consider hopeless."

Albinos Study



Ground Hog Day

From Smithsonian website~

Wyeth also says that “intensity—painting emotion into objects,” is what he cares about most. His 1959 painting Groundhog Day, for instance, appears to portray a cozy country kitchen. Only gradually does the viewer become aware that there’s something off, something uncomfortable, strangely surreal, about the painting. The only cutlery on the table is a knife. Outside the window, a barbed-wire fence and jagged log wrapped in a chain dominate the landscape. As Kathleen Foster notes in her catalog essay, the painting adds up to a portrait of Wyeth’s neighbor, the volatile, gun-loving Karl Kuerner, and his troubled wife, Anna. Far from cozy, the painting suggests the violence and even madness that often simmers beneath the surface of daily life.

Day Dream