Saturday, July 30, 2016

Saturday and Sundries

I got nuttin' again, so a few thoughts, and a video, from around the virtual community aka the internet:

There is a common objection to third party voting that it wastes one’s vote. Because of our style of voting , there is some truth to this. But it is only in swing states where this is valid. In most parts of the country, the result of the election is preordained. Clinton will win California, New York, and Illinois; Trump will win Texas, and most of the great plains and the south east. In those states, a vote for Republican Trump or Democrat Clinton is a wasted vote. People should vote Green (or Libertarian) in non-swing states such as Texas and California. In 2016, 5% is the goal.
Comment: Vatch July 29, 2016 at 11:26 am at naked capitalism (link at sidebar).

The Democrats are supposed to be the party of the people, of the progressives, of the left, and yet the Democratic Party is roughly equivalent to a major corporation, operating with all of the ruthlessness and profit-driven mind state that that implies................Everything is not good. The Democrats can enjoy this convention behind the security barriers and closed doors. When they emerge, an angry country will be there waiting for them.
Hamilton Nolan at

“If the world go wrong, it was, in some off-hand manner, never meant to go right.”

"When he has nothing else to do, he can always contemplate his own greatness. It is a considerable advantage to a man, to have so inexhaustible a subject.”

Both from Charles Dickens' Bleak House

My own words from a post about the conventions in 2008:
Even if it meant anything at all, politically talented as these people may be (or may not be), they are flippin' public servants, not pop stars. American citizens are their masters - or should be - something oft forgotten in these self-congratulatory bun-fights.

"The luckiest woman alive"

M'Hog's parked out back ... (photo & caption by husband, anyjazz - in an antique store somewhere on our travels) ~

M'Hog's parked out back ...

A video, link was sent to me by occasional commenter "JD":

Friday, July 29, 2016

Arty Farty Friday ~ Vali Myers

It's good to find an artist who is likely to have a very distinctive astro-signature, to discover whether that, in fact, is the case. This lady could fit that description:

Vali Myers, an Australian visionary artist, dancer, bohemian and muse of the 1950s and 60s in Europe and the USA.

Born: 2 August 1930, Canterbury, Sydney, Australia. Died: 12 February 2003 (age 72).
A website dedicated to this lady is HERE, and contains biographical material, with examples of her paintings.

From that website:

Vali Myers was a unique spirit born out of time. She lived her extraordinary life like a bright flame, cutting her own unique path and living on her own terms: a tightrope walker - one foot in this world and one in a dreamworld that we can only glimpse in her profound artwork.

Artist, dancer, shamaness, muse and powerful creatrix, Vali left a body of work which started with her early drawings in the cafes of Paris in 1950 and spanned till her death in 2003.

"Let it all be animal, my life and death, hard and clean like that, anything but human... a lot I care, me with my red heart in the dark earth and my tattooed feet following the animal ways."

(Diary entry: 1963)

From the blurb at Amazon about Vali Myers: A Memoir by Gianni Menichetti :

The Australian artist, Vali Meyers, was a legend in her own time. Premiere danseuse of the Melbourne Modern Ballet at seventeen, she left home and spent ten years in Paris, living much of the time on the streets but never ceasing to draw. Ed van der Elskin famously put her on the cover of his Love on the Left Bank, that manifesto of Paris in the 1950's and her work was praised by George Plimpton in his Paris Review. Then, saying good-bye to all that, she spent forty years in semi-seclusion in a wild canyon in Italy, where she continued producing her minute, mystical, and passionate drawings. Tough as nails, she fought the local authorities who wanted to introduce loggers into the valley, after a long struggle succeeding in having it designated an Environmental Oasis. Finally, Vali returned triumphant to her native Melbourne, where she was recognized as an artist sui generis. In this brilliant memoir by her friend and lover, Gianni Menichetti, her art, times, and personality come through unforgettably.

There's a post about this artist at a blog called Roses and Vellum. The blogger has read the Vali Myers' biography mentioned above. Mention of the artist's positive and negative characteristics there could highlight other parts of the natal chart shown below.

A taste of her style - more at Google Image or the website linked above.

 The Golden Toad

ASTROLOGY (briefly):

Born in Canterbury, Sydney, Australia on 2 August 1930. Time unknown, chart set for noon.

Her natal chart, it turns out, is not as dramatically representative of her as I'd hoped it might be. I'd suspected Sun conjunct Uranus, or some prominent Aquarius planets. What she had was Leo Sun trining Uranus in Aries. Uranus could have been in a strong area of the chart, close to an angle, but that's not possible to establish without time of birth. Aquarius might have been rising, I guess.

Moon's position cannot be pin-pointed without time of birth but would have been somewhere in Scorpio. If within orb of sextile to Venus (planet of the arts), a Yod with Uranus at its apex would emerge, throwing more emphasis on planet of the unexpected and of eccentricity.

Perhaps the conjunction of creative, dreamy Neptune and Mercury, planet of communication (though in adjoining signs) is more representative of this lady's art style and bohemian lifestyle.

The Saturn-Jupiter opposition, a push-pull between planet of seriousness and restriction and planet of joviality and excess, might reflect the balance in some of Myers' more negative characteristics, as described in the post at Roses and Vellum.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Zodiac Sign Leo Considered

 Leo by Erté,

In his book, Astrology published 1964, Louis MacNeice, not an astrologer, but a poet and scholar, gathered together much of interest from a variety of sources, ancient and modern. On zodiac sign Leo, through which the Sun now travels, he wrote the paragraphs below, quoting from a variety of professional astrologers. This extract was not copied and pasted from elsewhere, but copy-typed by my own fair fingers; the Mussolini illustration comes from the book; additional illustrations were added by me.

Leo the Lion
July 23 to Aug 23.
A fixed and fiery sign. With Leo, Ingrid Lind begins by picking on the apparent paradox "or the thought of fixed fire ". The answer, she says, lies in "molten gold", but she could also perhaps have used her cookery ingredients analogy. She goes on to contrast Leo with the first Fiery sign, Aries, who is anything but fixed. Aries is impulsive and restless; Leo, like the Sun, stays put on his throne. People born with Leo rising include Bismarck, Garibaldi, Huey Long and Picasso. Among those who had Leo as their Sun-sign were Lorenzo de Medici, Louis XIV ("le Roi Soleil"), Napoleon and Rubens.

Caption under photograph: Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) was born with Sun in Leo. The planet and the sign have similar astrological character; when combined (as in Mussolini's horoscope) they are said to lead to aggressive ambition and power seeking.
This, then, is obviously an extravert sign; it has produced far more than its share of presidents both in the U.S.A. and in France. As to the physical characteristics of Leo men, Pearce attributes to them "a large, fair stature, broad shoulders; prominent and large eyes; hair generally light and often yellowish; oval, ruddy countenance; of a high, resolute, haughty, and ambitious temper." Varley, less flatteringly describes Leo physiognomy as "most resembling a lion, especially in the nose and retreating chin; such as the profile of King George III." Barbault distinguishes two physical types of Leo - the Herculean and the Apollonian - but they are both athletic and fine figures of men. As for Leo ladies, Barbault notes that they go in for la grande toilette [translation: the full dress. Perhaps indicating a flashy dresser?]

 Leo,  from drawings by Ronald Searle
The Sun in Leo is at his greatest strength, and it is this strength that is the essence of this sign - the strength of a fire that has now been brought under control and is harnessed to useful ends. Morrish (in his psycho-evolutionary scheme) brackets Leo with Cancer as the "fundamental positive and negative polarities underlying everything." Barbault contrasts Leo with Cancer: In Cancer the umbilical cord has not yet been cut; it is Leo who breaks out into independence.

But though independent and very full of himself, the Leo man is far from anti-social: "His ego disappears in his vocation" and he is a great worker. However passionate and ambitious he may be (with him "vouloir c'est déjà pouvoir" [translation: not sure - ? to want something and it's already done - maybe our equivalent would be "no sooner said than done".]) Barbault says, his ruler the Sun acts as a sort of internal gendarme. Not that he always obeys this gendarme. As with any other sign, the types can go wrong. One should specially beware of Saturn in Leo, a sign in which he is "in exile": This can produce people like 'Cesare Borgia.

There seems no need to stress the animal symbolism of Leo - the king of beasts etc. His 30 degrees of the Zodiac are filled with roaring. But when we step over the border between this sign and the next we perhaps hear a typewriter, or a vacuum cleaner, a secretarial voice reading the minutes, a whispered aside of criticism. We have entered territory where everything must be "just so" - floors must be swept, files must be kept, i's must be dotted and t's crossed, beds (in all senses) must be properly made.

Astrologers mentioned:
André Barbault
A.J. Pearce
John Varley
Morrish (L. Furze-Morrish?)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


The establishment Democrats' wish is that once again, all must fall in line. Bernie promised from the start that he would support the eventual nominee, and is doing so, much to the chagrin of some, though not all, of his supporters. After the roll call late yesterday afternoon, most of which I watched online, he conceded the nomination to Secretary Clinton. This is the end of the road for me regarding interest in the campaign. Establishment Democrats are not my cup o' tea, never have been, never will be. I can't wait to regain registration as Independent after 1 September.

Extract from a comment at naked capitalism yesterday, from "JM"
(July 26, 2016 at 11:09 am)

..... As much as I would have loved to see him [Bernie Sanders] stand up there and blast Clinton and Clintoinian politics, that would have been the wrong thing to do. I saw his speech [Monday night] as attempting to tie Clinton to his agenda. The “Hillary knows” phrasing is as much a threat as it is a demonstrative statement of fact. The fact of the matter is that he lost the rigged primary. In the eyes of Clinton’s supporters, he has shown now to be magnanimous in defeat while still working to get some “paper” accomplishments (the platform, etc.).

One can interpret it as him selling out or him compromising his “principles” but I see it as him taking small but strategic steps to win over the other half of the Democratic party. Look, a lot of democratic party members are uneasy with Sanders. And I get it. The language he uses is very forward for the credentialed class and they are not used to it. As much as the credentialed class is lambasted here (and rightfully so), I have many friends in that group and they are not horrible people. They work hard, within a system they will readily admit is unfair and rigged, but they are on the conservative end of the democratic party. For these people, it is not enough to point out the system is rigged. That much is obvious. Had Bernie had more time, I think he could have convinced more of the credentialed class but he ran out of time.

By continuing to organize Bernie has a shot at winning these people over to his side. By verbally demonizing Clinton in a primetime address, his chances of bringing them over to his side would have decreased substantially. So my guess is Bernie is holding out for Clinton to lose (though he would never admit it) and then go aggressive to further capture the national party apparatus. Will it work? Who knows. Though it is incontrovertible that Nader did not cost Gore the election, Bernie must at all costs avoid having that label hung around his neck. Given the low information voters that follow Clinton, that is a tremendous risk he should not be willing to take.

Of course, the establishment media will likely try to pin a loss on him anyway but with that primetime address I don’t think people will buy it. Before Bernie’s speech, Jane Sanders was on NBC countering the nonsense that Bernie must deliver his followers. The NBC people sounded ridiculous to Jane’s straightforward explanation that they cannot force their supporters to do anything. If Trump wins the election and Bernie is seen as not doing anything major to subvert Clinton’s run, my sense is people will come around and the progressive wing of the party will be emboldened. As it is now that outcome is looking more and more likely and I think that is the best possible outcome given the circumstances.

"hreik" responded with: Good comment. Nuanced and imho correct. However, I think the fix is already in with the voting machines. [Presumably in the November election]

I agree with "JM". Bernie has needed to make the best of a bad lot. He'll be a continuing asset in the Senate, until retirement. He should go down in history as the man who, in 2016, tried very hard to turn things around but, in the end, was steam-rolled by the establishment.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Driving by Charles Bukowski, poet.

A poet new to me: Charles Bukowski. He had Sun in Leo His natal chart is at astro-databank HERE. Wow! Look at all those aspects zooming in on Uranus, planet of the unexpected, and the rebel.

A 2004 article by William Booth in the Washington Post, Charles Bukowski, Bard of Booze
A Filmmaker Toasts the L.A. Writer Who Poured Over His Work
begins like this:
LOS ANGELES -- One of his old haunts still stands, a cement hangover in the smoggy sunshine, the courtyard apartment with dead plants on De Longpre Avenue in East Hollywood where Charles Bukowski lived and wrote and drank and wrote some more. He was literature's most prolific boozer.

The self-styled "dirty old man," besotted and beatific, lived his life in Los Angeles, the poet laureate of sour alleys and dark bars, of racetracks and long shots. "LA was the end of a dead culture crawled west to get away from itself," he once wrote. "LA knew it was rotten and laughed at it."

Bukowski wrote about men and women as beaten down as a crunched beer can, about endurance, rage, longing, sex and, mostly, about himself. He was a bestseller in Brazil; his poetry is taught to high school students in France; in the United States, in his day, he was a symbol of rebellion, but is probably best known for the 1987 film "Barfly," where he was portrayed by Mickey Rourke (alongside Faye Dunaway), the screenplay written by Bukowski himself for a movie he didn't really like very much.

Today, Bukowski remains a cult favorite, though the critics aren't exactly sure whether to consider him a modern Walt Whitman or a minor misogynistic poet in the post-Beat tradition.....

Two of Charles Bukowski's poems, plus a few more of his words:

The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski

your life is your life
don't let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Beasts Bounding Through Time
by Charles Bukowski

Van Gogh writing his brother for paints
Hemingway testing his shotgun
Celine going broke as a doctor of medicine
the impossibility of being human
Villon expelled from Paris for being a thief
Faulkner drunk in the gutters of his town
the impossibility of being human
Burroughs killing his wife with a gun
Mailer stabbing his
the impossibility of being human
Maupassant going mad in a rowboat
Dostoyevsky lined up against a wall to be shot
Crane off the back of a boat into the propeller
the impossibility
Sylvia with her head in the oven like a baked potato
Harry Crosby leaping into that Black Sun
Lorca murdered in the road by Spanish troops
the impossibility
Artaud sitting on a madhouse bench
Chatterton drinking rat poison
Shakespeare a plagiarist
Beethoven with a horn stuck into his head against deafness
the impossibility the impossibility
Nietzsche gone totally mad
the impossibility of being human
all too human
this breathing
in and out
out and in
these punks
these cowards
these champions
these mad dogs of glory
moving this little bit of light toward us

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

“An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.”

“For each Joan of Arc there is a Hitler perched at the other end of the teeter-totter.”
― Charles Bukowski, Factotum

“We are
Born like this
Into this
Into these carefully mad wars
Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness
Into bars where people no longer speak to each other
Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings
Born into this
Into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die
Into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty
Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes”

Monday, July 25, 2016

Music Monday ~ Kumbaya (or not!)

Happy birthday to Bruce Woodley !
Bruce William Woodley (born 25 July 1942 in Melbourne), Australian singer-songwriter and musician. He was a founding member of the successful 1960s pop-folk group The Seekers.

Then and now images: Bruce Woodley is on the right in the first pic and on the left in the second. Other original group members: Judith Durham, Athol Guy and Keith Potger.

The Seekers' songs were mainly sweet and gentle: The Carnival is Over and A World of Our Own spring to mind first. The group also recorded Kumbaya, my Lord - a little information on that, of which I wasn't previously aware - ain't Google great?

"Kumbaya, my Lord" was first recorded by an out-of-work English professor, Robert Winslow Gordon, in 1927. Gordon went on a search for black spirituals and recorded a song "Come by Here, My Lord", sung by H. Wylie. The song was sung in Gullah on the islands of South Carolina between Charleston and Beaufort. Gullah is the creole language featured in the Uncle Remus series of Joel Chandler Harris and the Walt Disney production of Song of the South. "Come by here, my Lord" in Gullah is "Kum by (h)yuh, my lawd" (see our Gullah dictionary).

American missionaries took the song to Angola after its publication in the 1930s, where its origins were forgotten. In the late 1950s the song was rediscovered in Angola and returned to North American where it swept the campfire circuit as a beautiful and mysterious religious lyric. That is why the song is associated with Angola in many current printed versions.

In the US, however, the song was associated with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other campers sitting around a campfire in perfect harmony. The picture of a warm, cozy community without conflict associated itself with the song and especially that foreign-sounding word in its title, kumbaya. Since the word had no actual meaning in English, cynics eventually converted this harmless connotation into the actual English definition of the word. That definition now seems to be "naive, unrealistic optimism" to many of us.

"Naive, unrealistic optimism"? At this point in the 2016 election season my own naive unrealistic optimism has taken a hike, I can barely see its backpack disappearing over the far horizon - and nary a wave farewell!

This song is striking a rather unrealistic note, as things are right now - but it's a pleasant enough tune:

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday and Sundries

Occasional commenter "JD" in the UK sent me, as a "wonderful antidote to the general madness all around us", a link to a story about one Justo Gallego (right). He is building a Cathedral in Mejorada del Campo near Madrid.

The Madman & The Cathedral
Also a video. More are available at YouTube.

I noticed, in glancing down Wikipedia's list of people, events, holidays and observances for 24 July a note that the date marks the feast day of Christina the Astonishing (c.1150 – 24 July 1224). Curious to know about this lady's ability to astonish, I read further. Christina
first astonished those gathered at her funeral by waking up and reportedly floating to the rafters. From then on her life seems to have consisted of a long line of astonishments - Wikipedia has details; for a lighter read see Ship of Fools, HERE.

I do wonder about husband's photo, snapped in an antique store somewhere on our travels. Did the store owner deliberately set that clock to quarter to 3? It's quarter to three there's no one in the place except you and me....

Okay, that's enough

Not sure whether I've seen one of these on our travels - maybe not, or I'd surely remember it!
Rescuing America's roadside giantsBy Jasmine Taylor-Coleman.
Anyone making a road trip across America will sooner or later run across a giant statue - a cowboy, an American Indian chief or a lumberjack, perhaps...........

On Summer

“I believe someone made a grievous mistake when summer was created; no novitiate or god in their right mind would make a season akin to hell on purpose. Someone should be fired.” ― Michelle Franklin

When I think of Hillary Clinton (I do try not to) I also think of Eva Perón, and The show Evita. Yeah - I know there are massive differences, but.... For me the ultimate definitive version of the show's music and lyrics is the original concept album, recorded long before any stage show or movie had appeared. Below, from the original concept album singing "High Flying Adored": Julie Covington as Eva and CT Wilkinson as Che - accompanied by some nice high flying photography.

Twitter had an amusing theme one day this week:
#Upper-class Beatles. A few of my favourite entries, with, for any Beatles-challenged readers, translation to the originals:

I want to own your land  (I want to hold your hand)

Lovely Rita, meet the maid  (Lovely Rita meter-maid)

Why don't we do it in the Rolls?  (Why don't we do it in the road?)

Hey, you gotta hide your Chardonnay  (Hey, you gotta hide your love away)

Heir comes the son  (Here comes the sun)

While my gardener gently sweeps  (While my guitar gently weeps)

Lucy in Dubai buying diamonds (Lucy in the sky with diamonds).

Friday, July 22, 2016

Arty Farty Friday ~ Artemisia Gentileschi

 Self portrait as lute player
Artemisia Gentileschi
(1593 - 1652/1653), a website HERE
is dedicated to her, the following is extracted from it:
Artemisia Gentileschi daughter of well-known Roman artist, Orazio Gentileschi (1563 - 1639), was one of the first women artists to achieve recognition in the male-dominated world of post-Renaissance art. In an era when female artists were limited to portrait painting and imitative poses, she was the first woman to paint major historical and religious scenarios.

Born in Rome in 1593, she received her early training from her father, but after art academies rejected her, she continued study under a friend of her father, Agostino Tassi. In 1612, her father brought suit against Tassi for raping Artemisia. There followed a highly publicised seven-month trial. This event makes up the central theme of a controversial French film, Artemisia (1998), directed by Agnes Merlet.

The trauma of the rape and trial impacted on Artemisia's painting. Her graphic depictions were cathartic and symbolic attempts to deal with the physical and psychic pain. The heroines of her art, especially Judith, are powerful women exacting revenge on such male evildoers as the Assyrian general Holofernes. Her style was heavily influenced by dramatic realism and marked chiaroscuro (contrasting light and dark) of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1573 - 1610).

After her death, she drifted into obscurity, her works often attributed to her father or other artists. Art historian and expert on Artemisia, Mary D. Garrard notes that Artemisia "has suffered a scholarly neglect that is unthinkable for an artist of her calibre." Renewed and overdue interest in Artemisia in recent years has recognized her as a talented seventeenth-century painter and one of the world's greatest female artists. The first book devoted to her, Artemisia Gentileschi - The Image of The Female Hero in Italian Baroque Art. by Mary D. Garrard, was issued in 1989; her first exhibition was held in Florence in 1991. A TV documentary, a play and, more recently, a film have advanced her visibilty as an important artist.

  Giuditta e la sua ancella.  (Giuditta and her handmaid)

Further information at Wikipedia HERE.

A brief (under 5 minutes) video showing some of her paintings - there are some longer, narrated videos at YouTube also -

ASTROLOGY (briefly)

Born in Rome, Italy on July 8, 1593. Chart set for 12 noon as birth time unknown.

A powerful, emotionally energetic network: cardinal axis Cancer/Capricorn opposition links Sun to Jupiter, with a helpful sextile from Jupiter to Mars, Mars being in trine to natal Sun. Without a time of birth Moon's exact position can't be established, but if it were somewhere mid-sign Scorpio, in trine to Cancer Sun, Moon would have been involved in the network too. That this lady was able to overcome such traumatic events, with strength of character, using her creative skills as an aid and outlet, is no doubt reflected in that astro-network.

Venus, planet of the arts, conjunct Neptune (imagination) from Leo trines Uranus in Aries: a reflection of the unexpectedness (Uranus) in those days, of a talented female painter, and an initiator (Aries). Chiron (known as the wounded healer) sextiles Venus/Neptune from Gemini - an indication of her method of dealing with inner pain via her art?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Female Trailblazers, Unbeaten Paths.

During Seth Myers' Late Late Show monologue recently he presented a video clip which reminded me of another old post of mine, about special or famous women. This is the clip Mr Myers played when commenting on gun control issues:

Gun control is a deadly serious issue these days, in Annie Oakley's day things were a tad different.

Anyway here's the content of that old post of which I was reminded:

Women trailblazers come in many guises, they are/were not necessarily in politics breaking glass ceilings, or doers of heroic deeds, some did what they did simply in order to provide for their families. Occasionally this came about in ways not "nice" for a female, ways considered scandalous. Women sometimes discovered they possessed skills normally reserved for males of their times, and put them to good use. Stepping out of the norm for one's era is, in my book, the basic factor in a trailblazer's blueprint. Here are two such women.

These two ladies didn't comply with the norm for women of their times, but each in their own way overcame male domination, without the backing of feminist groups or public opinion. Their determination arose from an inner driving force. One had a cluster of planets in Aquarius, the other a cluster in Leo. One had a clever mind, quick enough to out-think her male opponents, the other a steady hand, a good eye, and a talent for show-biz.

Annie Oakley (real name Phoebe Ann Mosey )

Annie possessed a talent unusual in women of her era - sharpshooting. Using a .22 caliber rifle at 90 feet (27 m), she was said to be able split a playing card edge-on and put five or six more holes in it before it touched the ground.

Her skill propelled her to super-stardom in the USA. She took part in touring Wild West shows, exhibitions and set many records, continuing into her 60s. She also engaged in extensive, albeit quiet, philanthropy for women's rights and other causes, including the support of specific young women that she knew. After her death, at age 66, it was discovered that her entire fortune had been spent on her family and her charities.

Born 13 August 1860 (time given by Astrotheme 12.01pm) in Willowdale, Ohio.
she had four personal planets in show-bizzy Leo, with Venus in Cancer opposing Mars in Capricorn. Venus opposing Mars symbolises feminine versus masculine - her femininity and diminutive size (just 5 ft tall) taking on what was then a very masculine occupation, via show business.

In a stage musical and movie based on Annie's story there's a song, directed at her male companion, appropriate for all superwomen, through the ages. The opening lines:

"Anything you can do, I can do better
I can do anything better than you.........."

Poker Alice, a female gambling legend of old frontier days in America.

There's confusion about Alice's year of birth (1851 or 1853) and place of birth -England or Virginia USA, to Irish parents. From whichever side of the Atlantic she originated, it appears that Alice Ivers accompanied her family at some point in early life to Colorado where she later married a mining engineer, Frank Duffield, from whom she learned to play poker. She was an intelligent lass and soon got the hang of things, probably good looking enough to turn the heads of male poker players too! Frank was killed in a mining accident, and Alice took up a career on the poker and faro tables of the west. In New Mexico, she broke the bank at one of the saloons, and the dealer was forced to close the game. She became a local legend. Alice's winnings at the table are fabled to have reached as much as $6,000 in one night. Alice once claimed that she had won more than $250,000 gambling over the years and that she never once cheated. Both of these claims are probably true. Poker Alice didn't have to cheat. She knew how to count cards.

Alice re-married, had 7 children but was left a widow again in 1910, and she marrried yet again. Her third husband died after just three years of marriage. She went on to open a brothel, and during a skirmish there accidentally killed a man with a stray rifle shot. She was arrested but later released. Many arrests for drunkenness and keeping a disorderly house followed in subsequent years. Her days of glamour and success waned in later life. She died following a gall bladder operation on 27 February 1930.
Story in more detail

For a brief look at Alice's natal chart, to acertain position of planets in signs, the year of birth is more important than the exact place of birth. 1851 or 1853? Whichever date is correct the constant factors are Sun, Mercury, Mars and possibly Venus, all in Aquarius. Quirky, independent Aquarius is the key. How different Alice was from most of her contemporaries, what a rebel from the norm! What a novel way she found to use her quick, incisive Aquarian mind! There's no doubt at all that Alice "followed a different drummer".

After looking at various aspects in the different charts (more detail in my earlier post about her here) I'd bet that Poker Alice was born in Virginia 17 February 1853, and that she decided to spread tales of her English origins in an attempt to intrigue others at the poker tables. A bit of early PR work!
Photograph courtesy of South Dakota State Historical Society.

Women everywhere, other than those of the super variety, have really only ever wanted the opportunity to compete on equal terms with their male counterparts. Some women might prove to be better in their chosen field, others might not - opportunity is all !

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Hat-tip to Avedon's Sideshow for the link to this:

The Fascinating History of Flour Sack Dresses. A portrait of a different way of life in the 1930's and 1940's.

Just prior to reading that article I'd read, in stark contrast, that Melania Trump's dress, worn at the opening night of the 2016 Republican Convention in Cleveland, cost $2,190. The dress was designed by Roksanda Ilincic, a Serbian-born designer based in London. Reportedly stocks of dresses of the same design were quickly sold out. Ah well, I guess $2,190 is chump change to some. It's a pretty modest price anyway, compared to that $12,000 for the jacket Hillary Clinton sashayed around in when campaigning, a few weeks ago.

While mentioning Melania Trump - I do not give two hoots whether she plagiarised some of, or all of, a convention speech given by Michelle Obama! What does it matter? Are there not more important things to obsess over? Seems not, at least not for online websites yesterday!

Tsk....back to dressing. Even in the 1930s, though, while some girls were wearing flour sack dresses, there'd have been some pert young things whose rich daddies hadn't been totally cleaned out by the stock market crash, flaunting some very expensive fashions. And, in 2016, though flour sack dresses aren't a possibility, frugal dressers, by choice or by necessity, can shop at Goodwill, thrift stores or at E-bay for pre-owned goodies.

It has always been thus, and will always be...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Literary River

Stepping away from political chatter for a while - down a shady river. I originally intended to use the rabbit-hole analogy, but scarcely an internet rabbit-hole this, more like following the course of a winding river on a might even be a shady river, and cool. Let's see!

The mouth of the river begins at a 2006 film, now available on Netflix: "The Painted Veil". Earlier versions of Somerset Maugham's 20th century novel exist, I've seen at least one other adaptation. It's a gloomy tale with mainly irritating characters, but it has survived at least three film adaptations.

Following the first bend in this "river": the book and film's title came from a sonnet by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822).

Lift not the painted veil which those who live
Call Life: though unreal shapes be pictured there,
And it but mimic all we would believe
With colours idly spread,--behind, lurk Fear
And Hope, twin Destinies; who ever weave
Their shadows, o'er the chasm, sightless and drear.
I knew one who had lifted it--he sought,
For his lost heart was tender, things to love,
But found them not, alas! nor was there aught
The world contains, the which he could approve.
Through the unheeding many he did move,
A splendour among shadows, a bright blot
Upon this gloomy scene, a Spirit that strove
For truth, and like the Preacher found it not.

The sonnet can be read in various ways, a comment at a website presenting the sonnet offered this:

Life is an illusion, and most are clueless people who play along with the backdrop provided. Shelley is playing the role of a wise man giving us the famous warning: innocence and even ignorance may be the best path to stick with, since to be wise is to suffer.

The famous “painted veil” which reveals life in line 1 can be a metaphor for many things: love (as described in line 8), death, or even truth (as described in the final line).

The sonnet was published by Mrs. Shelley in Posthumous Poems, 1824.

Searching further - this "river's" source still lies ahead. Some of the lines from Shelley's sonnet also appeared in his 1820 play "Prometheus Unbound". These words are part of a speech by Spirit of the Hour, Act 3, Scene4.

The painted veil, by those who were, called life,
Which mimicked, as with colors idly spread,
All men believed and hoped, is torn aside;
The loathsome mask has fallen, the man remains
Sceptreless, free, uncircumscribed, but man
Equal, unclassed, tribeless, and nationless,
Exempt from awe, worship, degree, the king
Over himself; just, gentle, wise; but man
Passionless--no, yet free from guilt or pain,
Which were, for his will made or suffered them;
Nor yet exempt, though ruling them like slaves,
From chance, and death, and mutability,
The clogs of that which else might oversoar
The loftiest star of unascended heaven,
Pinnacled dim in the intense inane.

Prometheus Unbound is a four-act lyrical drama by Percy Bysshe Shelley, first published in 1820. It is concerned with the torments of the Greek mythological figure Prometheus, who defies the gods and gives fire to humanity, for which he is subjected to eternal punishment and suffering at the hands of Zeus. It is inspired by the classical Prometheia, a trilogy of plays attributed to Aeschylus. Shelley's play concerns Prometheus' release from captivity, but unlike Aeschylus' version, there is no reconciliation between Prometheus and Jupiter (Zeus). Instead, Jupiter is abandoned by his supportive elements and falls from power, which allows Prometheus to be released.

So then, the river's original source is Aeschylus.

Aeschylus, (born 525/524 BC — died 456/455 BC, Gela, Sicily) the first of classical Athens’ great dramatists, who raised the emerging art of tragedy to great heights of poetry and theatrical power.

This river flows all the way from ancient Greece to the 21st century, via Aeschylus, Shelley, Maugham, and several 20th and 21st century film-makers. Yep, cool!