Saturday, November 30, 2013

Turning Down The Empty Glass #2

#1 in this proposed 4-part series featured my paternal grandfather Edward James Scott and his forebears. His wife, my paternal grandmother was Mary, maiden name Midgley. I am fortunate that local genealogists linked to the Midgleys had already done much digging in the parish registers of East and North Yorkshire before I ventured down this family history rabbit hole. Thanks to them I've been able to delve much deeper into this particular part of my gene pool than I could manage in Grandad Scott's case.

MIDGLEY the name: Two possibilities:
1) an old Yorkshire name, probably first arising in West Yorkshire, where there's a village called Midgley; how, or if the East and North Yorkshire Midgley branch links to the village isn't clear.
2) A derivation of Michelson or Mitchelson. There is evidence that a Christopher Midgley on the Acklam Land Tax Assessments, in successive years, went from signing Chris. Michelson to Chris. Midgley. Christopher's father was John Mitchelson. I haven't yet connected John and Christopher to my direct line of Midgleys, but my forebears have clear connections to Acklam, so I'd say that it's highly likely that this is where my line of Midgleys got their name, rather than from a village in West Yorkshire.

My own relatives can be traced back to the mid-1700s; beyond that though, the families of several Midgley spouses, my 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th 8th 9th and 10th great grandmothers, can be traced back - and back - into the 1500s.

My Midgley line's earliest known character was a Richard Midgley probably of Sheriff Hutton, Yorkshire, born about 1734. His son Richard, born 1769 married Hannah Nichols on 6 December 1790 in Kirkby Grindlyth on the East Yorkshire Wolds. Richard the younger was Parish Clerk as well as being involved in some form of agricultural employment. He and Hannah had 10 children. Hannah, maiden name Hicks, hailed from Hutton Bushel, a village between Pickering and Scarborough.

Maps below show the general area involved in the family history included in this #2 chapter.
Click on an image for a bigger version.

Richard and Hannah's large family and their descendants formed a tangled Midgley network around the Wolds of East Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and the Moors. It was very easy to be led astray once entering this network, due to many similarities of first names in similar time spans. More than once I followed mistaken threads and had to start over.

Of Richard and Hannah's ten offspring, two are significant to my own line: Thomas Midgley born 10 June 1801, and Benjamin born 10 January 1812 - both recorded in Kirky Grindlyth parish, though the nearby village of Duggleby could well have been their home.

The reason I link to two members of Richard and Hannah's offspring: Benjamin's youngest daughter married one of Thomas's grandsons. That caused lots of confusion! Thomas Midgley and his wife Mary (nee Wallis) had a son, Abel. Abel and wife Elizabeth (nee Boyes) had a son, John Thomas who married Benjamin Midgley's youngest daughter Fanny.

John Thomas Midgley, born in 1861 in Acklam, and Fanny Midgley born 1863 in Duggleby are recorded as marrying in 1887. They became parents of William, born 1889, Emma Midgley, 1890, Ben Midgley, 1892, Tom Midgley, 1894, George Midgley, 1896 and Ida Midgley,1898. However, and it's a big however, in the census of 1891 there's another offspring listed as daughter of the couple, born 1885, before their marriage. This daughter, Mary, then aged 6, was my grandmother. By the 1901 census Grandma was listed as "servant to veterinary surgeon", and by 1911 she was married to Grandad Scott and mother of four, with six more to come.

Now - was Mary, my grandmother, the daughter of both partners, born before they married, or was she daughter of one partner only? Her name would still be Midgley either way. I'll never know this, it's a second brick wall in my family history, matching that of Grandad Scott's unknown father. The fact that Fanny and John Thomas were...(?) second cousins, or cousins once removed does mean that, in any event, the onward reach into the past, via Midgley spouses will remain relevant to my own genealogy. I think it more likely that Grandma Mary was definitely Fanny's daughter, if not also John Thomas's.

This was Mary Midgley/Grandma Scott:

I have hazy memories of her. She'd visit us during my young childhood, every Friday evening, never failed to leave a shilling for me. She was known as a sweet-natured, hard-working woman. She brought up 10 children of her own and several grandchildren whose parents were encountering difficulty. She attended "chapel" every Sunday, the strangely named Primitive Methodist Continuing Chapel. Grandma died in 1952.

I met Fanny Midgley, my great grandmother, just once when I was very young, around 4 or 5 years old I think. My only memory is of a lady in a long dark dress, and of feeling afraid of her. I was told by my parents, amid laughter, that my only comment to my great grandmother had been "I don't like you!" What a charmingly outspoken brat I had to be! I hereby apologise.

Fanny Midgley's father, as mentioned above, was Benjamin Midgley. Her mother was Mary, maiden name Bogg, born in Duggleby 1821. Mary Bogg's parents were Jonathan Bogg and Margaret Vasey. Whereas most of the later Midgleys were agricultural labourers of one sort or another, several of the Boggs, from various census entries, appear to have been tradesmen, such as grocer, postmaster, joiner.

Margaret Vasey, Jonathan Bogg's wife and my 3rd great grandmother was born in Allerston, North Yorkshire. Her family line is capable of being traced way back, via her father William Vasey.

 Ruins of Rievaulx Abbey
Vasey the surname (and its several alternative spellings) is said to have originated with those involved in the Norman invasion of England. First recorded spelling of the family name is, it is thought, that of Robert L'enveiset, dated 1131, in the register of Rievaulx Abbey, in North Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry 1st of England (1100 - 1135). Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. Surnames in every country have continued to "develop" resulting in variations of the original spelling. L'enveiset became De Vesci; De Vesci became Vasey, Vasie or alternative spellings.

At a website 1066 Medieval Mosaic in the section titled THE BATTLE ABBEY ROLL. WITH SOME ACCOUNT OF THE NORMAN LINEAGES, the Vesci chapter outlines the De Vesci family's tangled ties with lands in a newly Norman England. My interest is in a particular area of Yorkshire, and place names there are mentioned as having been, at some point in the mists of time, in ownership of some member of the De Vesci family. Allerston, Hutton Bushell, Pickering Marishes are mentioned - all villages or areas which turn up regularly in relation to my Vasey connection.

It'd be good to feel fairly confident that the Vaseys named below had some kind of family link to those De Vesci characters from Norman France, but I have no proof. How the surname might have appeared in this area otherwise is puzzling though:

My Vasey line proceeds via: Margaret Vasey (my 3rd great grandmother), her father, William Vasey (1756-1823), his father Matthew of Marishes Vasey (1690-1784). Matthew's father was Thomas of Marishes Vasey (born between1640 &1665, died 1704). Thomas's father was Matthew of Boswell Moor Vasie (1603-1664) and his father was another Thomas Vasie, born 1580.

Place names involved are in a tightly bounded area around Allerston and Pickering (see map above). I haven't yet been able to identify "Boswell Moor", but suspect it could have been the name of a single farm or piece of land in the same general area as Marishes - on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors.

The last mentioned Thomas Vasie is my 8th great grandfather. There the direct Vasie name trail ends. Before leaving the Vaseys though, there's this (click on it for a bigger version). It must refer to the Matthew Vasey noted as "of Boswell Moor", due to the date. Which could be a clue that the location of Boswell Moor was really the same as Marishes, as in the name of his grandson Matthew.

 King Charles II

Restoration of the Monarchy, after the Civil War and Oliver Cromwell's time in power, occurred in 1660. Prince Charles (King Charles the Second)whose father had been beheaded, had been in exile until 1660 by all accounts. I guess he could have slipped into England from Europe, to a quiet port on the Yorkshire coast - there were many - and made his way inland across the area near Allerston.


Another name of interest, linking to the Vaseys, comes via the wife of my 6th great grandfather Thomas of Marishes Vasey, she was Elizabeth Owston.

The name Owston almost certainly refers to a location. There's a village of Owston in South Yorkshire.

Some of the modern Owston family have taken their genealogical investigations to extreme levels - DNA testing. An article titled Owston DNA Studies: Another F2642 Y-DNA Mutation Reported refers. There has, so far, been no definite conclusion as to origins. A recent test shows links to France. That's not surprising because William the Conqueror, after victory in 1066, gifted his many royal relatives, nobles and hangers-on with big chunks of England to play with. Reference the De Vesci's (aka Vasey) above!

The Owston's history is tied up with the Vaseys:

Earliest known Owston is Peter, my 10th great-grandfather, and his wife Petronel my 10th great-grandmother. (Taken from THIS website)
Peter Owston the husbandman of Sherburn, died in 1568 leaving quite a young family made up of three sons, all minors (under twenty one years)....... Peter lived through interesting times. He would have probably been born during the reign of King Henry VIII, seen the abolition of the Monasteries, the rise of Protestantism, possibly heard of the Pilgrimage of Grace and known about the other risings in the North. Petronel survived at East Heslerton with her second husband and was probably the "Widow Borman" who was buried on the 7th April 1594 at West Heslerton.
In spite of misty notions that "we" (via Owston and Vasey connections) could possibly have roots originating in characters involved in the Norman invasion of England, most of my ancestors have remained within the levels of, at best yeoman (owned own farm), or husbandman (tenant or smallholder); the majority, pre-World War 1, were just lowly agricultural labourers, the females domestic servants to the gentry.

Others linked to my Midgleys, through marriage and reaching back into the 1600s, include surnames Fiddis, Belt, Hopkin, Smartfoot and Lawne.

So...concluding my paternal family history wander, a photograph from a Scott family wedding at which both Grandma Scott (Midgley) and Grandad Scott were present, though oddly standing apart, he at the back of the group, she at the front. (Click on photo for a bigger version). In other wedding pictures the same thing happened - Grandad was obviously camera shy! The wedding here was of my father's younger brother, George, just after World War 2, so mid-1940s. My Dad is on George's left and my Mum, whose family history will follow in chapters #3 and #4, is the one in the snazzy hat behind Dad's left shoulder. Grandma Scott is to my Mum's left. Where's Grandad Scott? Hiding: back row second from right. See the Scott likeness, Grandad and sons? I'm not familiar with most others in the photo, relatives of Uncle George's wife, Nan, whose father was the guy in military uniform. I think Dad's youngest sister, Mary, is present but almost hidden behind Grandma; the rest of the Scott clan must have been about their business elsewhere on that occasion.

For Grandma Scott, the Midgleys, Boggs, Vaseys, Owstons, and all others who made up this branch of the family, I turn down an empty glass.
And when Thyself with shining foot shall pass
Among the guests star-scatter'd on the grass,
And in thy joyous errand reach the spot
Where I made one - turn down an empty glass!

Helpful sources on Midgley family history:

Bonson History - Midgleys of the Wolds

Midgley Webpages, East Yorkshire.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Arty Farty Friday ~ Michael Bowen, Beat & Flower Power

Searching for a Sun in Sagittarius painter I hadn't already investigated I found mention of one Michael Bowen, the name wasn't familiar. I discovered he was one of the Beat movement/Beat generation. Whenever I hear that term I think of Jack Kerouac - not much else. Beat was a purely American phenomenon. In Britain we had "angry young men" happening around the same time: 1950s into early 1960s. Neither group has ever appealed to me, in my view they were both what could be described as "up themselves". I've posted on the topic before - see Beat Generation.

Here's what has to say about the Beats:

American social and literary movement originating in the 1950s and centred in the bohemian artist communities of San Francisco’s North Beach, Los Angeles’ Venice West, and New York City’s Greenwich Village. Its adherents, self-styled as “beat” (originally meaning “weary,” but later also connoting a musical sense, a “beatific” spirituality, and other meanings) and derisively called “beatniks,” expressed their alienation from conventional, or “square,” society by adopting an almost uniform style of seedy dress, manners, and “hip” vocabulary borrowed from jazz musicians. Generally apolitical and indifferent to social problems, they advocated personal release, purification, and illumination through the heightened sensory awareness that might be induced by drugs, jazz, sex, or the disciplines of Zen Buddhism. Apologists for the Beats, among them Paul Goodman, found the joylessness and purposelessness of modern society sufficient justification for both withdrawal and protest.

Getting back to the artist, Michael Bowen, said to be an icon of the Beat movement, I found this enlightening snippet from The minute I saw the words "Theosophical Society" my feelings of "meh" doubled.
Bowen's grandmother, Alma Porter, was a member of The Theosophical Society in Ojai, California, where young Bowen was exposed to the significance of esoteric metaphysics and modern art. In Los Angeles, teenage Bowen's many visits to the mystical gatherings at Samson De Brier's house further solidified his early Asian philosophical studies. In the late 50s and early 60s, Bowen continued his spiritual training and research. He investigated and practiced a variety of occult topics, Eastern philosophies, and mysticism, and his artwork reflected these themes. Bowen is often referred to as a mystic artist. As a lifelong student of the Bhagavad-Gita, Bowen's entire career has emulated the spiritual warrior archetype of Arjuna, fighting for the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.

Michael Bowen moved to San Francisco in the late 50s, and along with fellow artist comrades Arthur Monroe and Michael McCracken, lived and worked out of 72 Commercial Street. Painting spontaneous, impromptu, hectic canvases, along with assemblage and collage, Bowen became an integral part of the San Francisco Renaissance.

I don't know why I have this antipathy to Beats and to the Theosophical Society, but I do - it springs up unbidden. I apologise to any fans of the movement who might pass by. Bowen did progress/morph into the hippie era, though, and even had a part in initiating the whole "flower power" thing - now this I do admire! It has been reported that during a Washington Mall war protest in 1968 Bowen drove a car filled with flowers into the Mall and handed the blooms out to all.

There's a good general article about Bowen at THIS BLOG.

Let's take a look at one or two of Bowen's paintings as well as a 12 noon version of his natal chart - his time of birth isn't known. The artist died, aged 71, in 2009, by the way.

His "out of the mainstream" nature is easy to find in the chart: Moon in Aquarius (whatever his time of birth Moon would be here between about 14 and 26 degrees). Additional energy to this facet of his nature comes from Mars close to his Moon - possibly even conjoined. Uranus, ruler of Aquarius in Taurus links by harmonious trine to Mercury in Capricorn. This reflects a mindset prone to eccentricity but blended and calmed with a strain of common sense, and gravitation to things artistic (Taurus is ruled by Venus, planet of the arts).

Venus in Sagittarius (along with natal Sun) forms an out of sign Grand Trine (harmonious circuit) with Saturn and Pluto in Water. Hmm. Odd one this. I get the Venus (and Sun) in Sagittarius, he was an enthusiastic traveller. From the article linked above:
"I travel, observe and paint," Bowen said. "The subjects select themselves based on my curiosity. I can't even say that I adhere to one specific style of painting. Each work evolves according to its need to be created."

When Bowen says he travels, that is an understatement. He has lived and worked in India, Thailand, Meso America, Florence, Italy and "half the world." He's studied American Indian symbology with Ram Dass and mysticism with Sufi masters. He's deeply rooted in the spiritual life.

I don't, as easily, see an interpretation of links to Saturn and Pluto. There's an opposition from Pluto in Cancer to Jupiter in Capricorn; and a trine from Neptune in Virgo to Jupiter.
It's as though some obsessive emotionality is being earthed.....possibly via his imagination and creativity (Neptune).

This snippet from HERE relates:
However, Michael Bowen’s name was never as well known as greatly glorified Beat names such as Allen Ginsberg, Tim Leary or Jack Kerouac were. Why did he not become such an iconic character of the Beat Generation as the previously mentioned characters? I can only speculate that Bowen was not as attention seeker and egocentric like for example Allen Ginsberg, who even said about himself: “Either I am a genius, I’m egocentric, or I’m slightly schizophrenic. Probably the first two.”
I've barely mentioned his Sun in Sagittarius, apart from his love of travel. Sagittarius' other well-known trait is a draw to philosophical thinking. Michael Bowen obviously manifested this in his paintings.

The best place to see many more of Michael Bowen's paintings online is at Royal Maze HERE

Looking Within

Flower Woman

Café Life

Earth Mandala

Let the Sun Shine In

Thursday, November 28, 2013


TO: mike, ex-Chomp, RJ Adams, LB, JD, DC, Sonny, James Higham, Rossa, Vanilla Rose, David Macadam, Juno, Mr or Ms Anonymous, any accidentally left out, and all those who shall be nameless who have wandered past during the year - whether celebrating Thanksgiving or not.......


Thank you for your visits, your time and your comments - always valued and very much appreciated.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Rushing in, looking for wisdom....

Marcel Proust wrote: “We don't receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” True. None of us is born wise. Some of us, though, don't manage to attain wisdom, even after traumatic life-journeys.

Illustration, left, is Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom, renamed Minerva by the Romans; she's accompanied here by her owl, still regarded as a symbol of wisdom. Below, right, is Saraswati, Hindu goddess of wisdom and learning,

Where, I wonder, is wisdom - or the potential to attain it - found in a natal chart? Even the book I usually turn to on such matters, astrologer C.E.O. Carter's Encyclopedia of Psychological Astrology, is silent on the matter. Mr Carter was, perhaps, a wise man to avoid pontificating on this !

My own two penniworth, unwisely offered (sings under her breath: "Fools rush in where wise men never go.....")

Wisdom emerges from a combination of the traits we are born with, and the experiences life, our background and environment hand to us. In a natal chart I'd be looking first and foremost for balance. Without balance, wisdom is going to be difficult to find.

Balance doesn't necessarily mean Libra's scales though. It means balance in the chart as a whole. Balance can come via aspects, blending of elements and qualities, the spread of planets, the patterns they make, the signs occupied, the angles emphasised. If the chart seems generally well-balanced there's a good chance the individual will have a well-balanced attitude to life, and therefore be ripe to acquire the beginnings of wisdom from education, reading, relating, observing, suffering, celebrating, wishing, wondering........all those things and more.

Does this mean then that a chart which is heavy in just one area will manifest as an adult without wisdom? It could mean a lack of circumspection and imbalance of focus. It could mean great success in whatever direction the individual decides to proceed, but success isn't the same as wisdom.

The question now arises: what actually is wisdom? says it is
"the quality of being wise; power of judging rightly and following the soundest course of action, based on knowledge, experience, understanding, etc.; good judgment; sagacity learning; knowledge; erudition ....."
Judgment. Ah yes! Good judgment is the beginning of wisdom. It's still a tricky area to define though. I recall the days when I had to write annual reports for the staff members in my department. One section of the report form required me to assess the individual's judgment. I usually left this part to the last, and always struggled with it.

Whether a person's judgment is good or bad is a subjective decision, and takes good judgment on the part of the one doing the judging! Whether a person has wisdom or is a know-all clever clogs is also somewhat subjective.

Conclusion: I don't know for sure whether wisdom - or the potential to attain it - can be found in a natal chart.
“I'm not young enough to know everything.”
~ J.M. Barrie, in "The Admirable Crichton".

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Chill Factor's High (not only via the weather)

Yesterday morning, with my first mug of coffee I read three articles at Common Dreams:
Tom Engelhardt:
Scared to Death in the USA

Chris Hedges:
Shielding a Flickering Flame

Paul Buchheit:
Unequal Beyond the Edge of Humanness

I then felt absolutely dispirited, generally depressed. There was nothing in the articles of which I was not already aware, but seeing it all put into words - again - by good and knowledgeable writers turns up the chill factor by many notches.

What's the best antidote to this kind of affliction? I took a quick look around the net for advice. There are such suggestions as replacing negative thoughts with positive ones; challenging the reasonableness of negative thoughts; escaping via listening to music, reading a novel, watching TV, taking a break from whatever work one does; sharing worries with a trusted companion.


Replace negative with positive thoughts: "we're all going to Hell in a handbasket one way or another" / "No!. We can slow down the journey, there are ways".

Challenge reasonableness of negative thoughts: Messrs Engelhardt, Hedges and Buchheit write well, are well-meaning, but could tend to overstate problems in order to attract readers. There are problems, of course, serious ones, but spreading negativity will not solve them, it'll simply depress enthusiasm for doing so.

Escaping? Fine, for a time, for as long as it takes to achieve renewed enthusiasm to fight for better things - getting a "second wind".

Sharing worries - good idea, but trying not to also share negativity by doing so would be better. Sharing and seeking the positive from the negative - there always has to be a positive, to balance the negative - nature demands it!

I'm not sure whether that helped at all, so does anyone else have ideas on how to deal with what we have to deal with - apart from not reading articles at Common Dreams, sticking our heads in the sand and letting the rest of the world go by?

Monday, November 25, 2013


Oh this age! How tasteless and ill-bred it is!
Catullus (Latin poet, circa 84–54 BC).

I see there's some controversy about K-mart's Joe Boxer Christmas Commercial, as to its erm...doubtful taste. It might not be in the best possible taste but I didn't find it in any way disgusting. I did find it annoying though. We haven't yet celebrated Thanksgiving and they're already pushing Christmas! Shouldn't be allowed!

Next year Joe Boxer might consider diversifying their output to include tighty-whities and g-strings - and a sequel ad featuring the new products.

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.
~ H L Mencken

Also fun, while managing to give the best possible taste a wide berth:

What is exhilarating in bad taste is the aristocratic pleasure of giving offense.
~ Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) French poet

"In The best possible taste" was a catchphrase of British DJ/comedian Kenny Everett who delighted in quite the opposite, to the delight of viewers. Sadly, he died in 1995, long before his time. Here he is talking about Uranus......yep!


As it's Music Monday, a song whose lyrics begin with: Please allow me to introduce myself, I am a man of wealth and taste.......
Rolling Stones with Sympathy for the Devil.

In 1968, Mick Jagger came out to his friends, parents and adoring public as an antichrist. He did it with style, declaring his Beelzebub a demon “of wealth and taste” before recounting his famous misdeeds throughout history – leading the Nazi blitzkrieg, sparking the Russian revolution, shooting JFK and getting Jesus crucified – before a backing choir of “woo-woo”ers who seemed to think all this was a right old lark. More HERE.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Requiem for (some) Movie Theatres

This could almost stand as a guest post by my husband. It isn't strictly that, it's a set of a few of his own photographs of old movie theatres we've encountered on our travels. Some are still going strong - well, strong-ish. Some stand unused but with facades still kept neat, some are truly derelict, in need of TLC; a few have been recycled.

While compiling the draft of this post I began thinking about old movie theatres in England. How could I have forgotten that for 23 years I'd lived in an apartment attached to an old cinema in North Leeds, Yorkshire? The cinema, built in 1937, had been The Kingsway. By 1973, when we moved into one of the four apartments attached, laughingly called "Kingsway Mansions", film shows had long ceased, the building had been recycled and was in use as a synagogue.....cinemagogue? The building and apartments are no more. They were consumed by fire in 1996, nearly taking us with them. More on this part of my life and adventures is at a post Tranistory Adventures with Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Saturn.

But I digress (nostalgia took over!) Back to husband's photographs, beginning with an introduction he wrote to the first photograph shown below, though it could relate equally to all dead or ailing movie theaters across the land - indoors or out.

(Clicking on any of the following photographs will take you to husband's original at Flickr. This link should take you to the full set of around 54 photographs)

Gone with the past.
A few miles from our home 

What does this photo awaken in you?

Do you feel mystified? Do you ask, “What is that?”

Perhaps it just makes you nostalgic; A little sad.

Do you think of your first time at the movies? Do you think of your first time at the drive-in? Or do you just think of a first time?

Do you think of her? Do you think of “that boy” who had a car?

There are those who will see this as a piece of their past, a piece of their culture. There are those who will re-live a moment; an event; remember a movie, a car, a night.

There was that movie. There was the night it rained. There was the night the car wouldn’t start when the movie was over.. There was that movie you weren’t supposed to see. Mom found out anyway.

There was that trunk full of schoolmates. Sometimes the trunk load was more fun than the movie.

Or maybe you remember your life-mate beside you in the front seat and the children asleep in the back.

There was that movie: Creature from the Black Lagoon, Giant, Splendor in the Grass. The Thing. And those perfectly silly concession-stand advertisements that actually made you hungry for hot-dogs and popcorn, even though you had just had dinner.

And after the movie, as you drove home, you could see the strange flickering, blue-white glow in some of the picture windows of the houses on your street. You didn’t think of that glow as an end of an era. But it was.

Then there are those who will wonder what this is. They will wonder what they missed.

Granada Twin theater
In Plainview, Texas. The name Plainview apparently has something to do with being situated in view of the “High Plains” of Texas. The town is noted for a great archeological find establishing a huge bison like animal named the Bison Taylori and a strain of man inhabiting the area some 10 thousand years ago now called “The Plainview Man.”

The Serf
In Las Vegas, New Mexico

Now Showing
In Dumas Texas

In Clayton, New Mexico

Midwest Theater   Scottsbluff, Nebraska
In Scottsbluff, Nebraska

The Fort - Now Playing
Re-cycled - in Kearney Nebraska

Help me
SOS - from Paris Texas

The Cyclone

The Franroy
2 from Snyder, Oklahoma

The Roby
Just a false front remains of The Roby in Roby, Texas.

The Redlands
In Clinton, Oklahoma

Now playing
El Reno, Oklahoma

Cornes Theater
In tiny Farmersville, Texas.

“Humans had built a world inside the world, which reflected it in pretty much the same way as a drop of water reflected the landscape. And yet ... and yet ...

Inside this little world they had taken pains to put all the things you might think they would want to escape from — hatred, fear, tyranny, and so forth. Death was intrigued. They thought they wanted to be taken out of themselves, and every art humans dreamt up took them further in. He was fascinated.”

~ Terry Pratchett, "Wyrd Sisters".

Theaters are always going to be around, and doing fine. With computers and technology, we're becoming more and more secluded from each other. And the movie theater is one of the last places where we can still gather and experience something together. I don't think the desire for that magic will ever go away. ~ Wolfgang Petersen.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Half a century has gone by.......

It's hard to miss the fact that today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, 1963. The internet has been buzzing with stuff about conspiracy theories, books on the topic, what ifs, and memories of "how I heard the news" for days.

I wasn't in the USA in 1963 - it'd be another 41 years before I came to live in south west Oklahoma - a 3 hour drive from Dallas. We were in the city just a couple of weeks ago (see here).

In 1963 I was staying with my parent's at their home and business, then in Lancashire. It was a messy time in my young life. Marriage had floundered after barely a year. I was spending a short time at home, helping out in the bakery and post office until I could find another hotel office job. In the evening of 22 November we were all in the bakehouse, cleaning and clearing up, dawdling because it was nice and warm in there. The radio was on - the announcement of JFK's assassination came over - we gasped. Shocked. I don't remember much more than that.

I wasn't particularly interested in US politics, or in the USA for that matter, back then. I was more aware of Jackie Kennedy than of JFK. She had frequently graced the pages of fashion magazines and newspapers in Britain. I had even copied her (then) signature pill-box hat for my doomed wedding the previous year.

Would these 50 years have been different in any meaningful way, I wonder, had JFK lived - and avoided any future attempts on his life? If any of the conspiracy theories were near the truth, whoever wanted him gone wouldn't have stopped trying to achieve that end.

“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.”
~ John F. Kennedy

Thursday, November 21, 2013

VERTEXITIES...and some of mine

In a nutshell, the Vertex and its opposite point, the Antivertex form a sensitive axis in an astrological chart, the Moon's Nodes form another, similar, axis. Sensitive axes are created when an astronomically calculated point crosses the Sun's path, the ecliptic. In the case of Vertex, it's when the Prime Vertical crosses the ecliptic.

If, like me, a passing reader feels easily confused about what and where are the various astronomically calculated points used in astrology, here's a good explanation by "Gregory", contributed to an astrology forum some years ago. Hat tip, too, to Mr Townley of Astro Cocktail for his note of Gregory's explanation.

For those die-hards who want to understand what the Vertex "really" is ( ), here's an explanation of the Horizon system of coordinates that we base our horoscopes on. The Horizon system is composed of a "celestial sphere" which can be visualized as a great sphere surrounding the Earth. All of the points on Earth map to equivalent points on the celestial sphere, which contains the various "great circles" that define an astrological chart.

The simplest picture of the horizon system, above, shows the celestial sphere (a projection of the surface of the earth) defined by the North and South poles, the Equator, and the Meridian (longitude) on which you were born. The red X is the point directly above the place on Earth where you were born, and is called the Zenith.

The plane of the ecliptic bisects the Earth as it travels around the Sun. The ecliptic (red circle) is the third "great circle" in the horizon system of coordinates.

From the point on Earth where you are born (beneath the Zenith) the Horizon appears to be another great circle bisecting the Earth from that point of view. Where the Horizon intersects with the Equator is the point due East of the birthplace, called the Equatorial Ascendant. (For those in the Northern hemisphere, it is just north of the Ascendant where the Sun and all the planets appear to "rise" along the ecliptic.)

The final great circle in the Horizon system is called the Prime Vertical. It is the circle drawn through the Equatorial Ascendant, Zenith, and Nadir. Where the Prime Vertical intersects the Ecliptic in the West is called the Vertex. Here the opposite of the Vertex is shown, the Anti-Vertex.

To see the actual Vertex, we have to extend the Prime Vertical and Ecliptic to show the other half of these great circles on the other side of the Celestial Sphere. As you can see, this point is 180 degrees away from the Anti-Vertex. Since the Ecliptic is the plane of the Zodiac, in this example you can see that the Vertex would be in the 8th house. It is almost always in the 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th House.

Of all available astrological explanations, I like Dr.Z's article on this topic: The Vertex in astrology (or Destiny's Gate: the Electric Axis) For me, this explains the Vertex better than anything I've so far encountered.

Metaphorically the crossing point could be likened to a live wire, which, if touched in a certain way will provide a response of some kind. Sometimes, when transiting planets or other points (for example the Moon's Nodes) pass over the Vertex point in a natal chart, I've found from my own experience, that it can (though not always) turn out to be a time for some event of note to take place. I can give a few examples from my own life story, covering a long span of years. Not every crossing of the Vertex heralds a significant event, but when it does, it sure can prove to be a life-changing one!
My Vertex is at 29.8 Scorpio, Anti-vertex point at 29.8 Taurus. Natal Mars lies at 28.54 Scorpio. Having a personal planet conjunct Vertex point could well account for all or some of the events below, or it could simply intensify the experiences.

Some identifiable life events of my own connected to the Vertex/Antivertex axis:

Final split with my first husband came as North Node of the Moon conjoined Antivertex point.

I met a long-term partner of 33 years as Neptune conjoined Vertex, we started to live together as Jupiter conjoined Vertex point in my chart.

I started my 24 year civil service career as North Node of the Moon conjoined Vertex point in my chart.

I met my present husband in person for the first time as transiting North Node conjoined Antivertex point.
Does any of that prove anything? Not conclusively, it does provide food for thought. The whole chart for each event would need to be thoroughly analysed, because there might well be other transiting planetary positions playing a part, both in my chart and those of others involved - but the fact remains that my Vertex point was definitely one factor in the mix. It has to be taken into consideration also that I have a personal planet, Mars, conjoining my Vertex point, which might mean that it's extra sensitive in my chart.

Vertex position in a natal chart can be calculated at After inputting birth data at "Free horoscopes", go to Extended Chart Selection and highlight "Vertex" in the list of options.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Iconic Images or Visual Clichés ?

Icon and iconic ought to be words used sparingly, but nowadays they're attached in some places where a word carrying less gravitas would be a better fit. I got to considering this when starting a scribble about ....well... icons. Cultural icons - kind of but not exactly. Legendary images in their own way, but really they're visual clichés. The images I have in mind are of things which didn't set out to be iconic but which have caught, and kept a place in, the communal memory of the public.

What set me on this track?

It was Alan Moore's birthday on Monday, he wrote V for Vendetta. Post about Alan Moore is here. The mask from the movie version of the tale has become well-known even to those who haven't seen the movie or read the graphic novel. Representations of that mask are now used by the Anonymous group.

The mask has become "iconic" or a visual cliché.
The Guy Fawkes mask is a stylised depiction of Guy Fawkes, the best-known member of the Gunpowder Plot, an attempt to blow up the House of Lords in London in 1605. The use of a mask on an effigy has long roots as part of Guy Fawkes Night celebrations.

A stylised portrayal of a white face with an over-sized smile and red cheeks, a wide moustache upturned at both ends, and a thin vertical pointed beard, designed by illustrator David Lloyd, came to represent broader protest after it was used as a major plot element in V for Vendetta, published in 1982, and its 2006 film adaptation. After appearing in Internet forums, the mask became a well-known symbol for the online hacktivist group Anonymous, the Occupy movement, and other anti-government and anti-establishment protests around the world.

Another example springs to mind as possibly the best ever visual cliché : Marilyn Monroe standing over a grating, white dress billowing up.
The dress is regarded as an icon of film history and the image of Monroe in the white dress standing above a subway grating blowing the dress up has been described as one of the iconic images of the 20th century
(See my old post about this)


How about John Travolta's white suit pose?

From The Guardian

The most famous white suit in the world, a classic example of the finest 1970s polyester tailoring, has been tracked down by the Victoria and Albert Museum after an international search.

The three-piece suit was as much a star of the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever as John Travolta who played Tony Manero, or the Bee Gees, who provided the soundtrack for the story of a young man who disco-dances his way out of the ghetto.

Bought off the peg in a cheap men's clothes store in Brooklyn, the suit was last seen in public 17 years ago, when it was sold at a Christie's auction to an anonymous bidder for $145,000 (£93,000), three times the top estimate. The curators of this autumn/winter's exhibition on Hollywood costume were determined to find it and put out an international appeal. To their surprise it has turned up in London, in immaculate condition, and the owner has agreed to lend it to the museum.

And "I'm Spartacus!"? I've heard or read this phrase used more and more recently in very different situations from the original (naturally!) It could be described as a catch phrase too, but whenever I hear it, my mind's eye sees the scene from the movie.

Any more?