Saturday, September 30, 2017


So would we! I'm not sure how far we'll get this time (if we ever get on the road, that is) probably not as far as we did on our last big adventure in Colorado, back in 2006. Posts about that trip are 11 years old, but I'll link to them, and to some of husband's photos on Flickr, in the highly unlikely event of any passing reader being short of reading matter.

"...all this travelling and seeing things is fine but there’s also a lot of fun to be had in having been. You know, sticking all your pictures in a book and remembering things."

(Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic)


Photos at Flickr

Also, from a later trip, in 2010, to a different area of Colorado.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ Anthony Green R.A.

Anthony Green R.A.
(born 30 September 1939) is an English realist painter and printmaker best known for his paintings of his own middle-class domestic life.

From Alfred Hickling in The Guardian, 2001
(SNIP) - -

Anthony Green may be one of our least fashionable senior painters, but he is no square - nor any regular shape at all. Green is a homespun visionary, the Stanley Spencer of the Pop generation, who decided in the 1960s that since he did not dream in rectangles, he should not paint in them either.

Green's highly keyed images have a peculiar intensity, the kind of second sight that comes from contemplating your cabbage patch for too long. He paints his cottage in Little Eversden, Cambridgeshire, and domestic life with his wife Mary with an obsessiveness that makes Spencer's relationship with Cookham look like a passing interest. But it is neither this, nor the Pre-Raphaelite palette, that makes his work so distinctive; rather it is his hallucinatory tendency to twist the very outlines of the paintings askew.

Many more examples at Google Image.

Mr Green loves angles doesn't he? He loves angles as much as Jean Arp the sculptor, featured Friday 15 September, seemed to dislike them!

A 12 noon natal chart (as no time of birth is known) for the day of Anthony Green's birth, 30 September 1939, in Luton, Bedfordshire, UK. Moon position and rising sign here will not be accurate.

It's tempting to relate the artist's love of angles to the several hard (square, 90 degree) angles in his natal chart, but that could well be simple coincidence. A more reliable astro-indication of the man's personality is the fact that his natal Sun, Mercury and Venus were conjoined in charming, Venus-ruled Libra. There's an opposition from jovial Jupiter in impulsive Aries, indicating that while of a charming and tactful nature, this is balanced by a fun, ebullient side. I'll hazard a guess that Mr Green was born before noon, putting Moon somewhat earlier in Aries, which would further underline a warm and enthusiastic nature. There's lots more, but that'll do for now!

Snips from this interview highlight something of Anthony Green's personality:
.......The man himself exuded enthusiasm, warmth and charm, similar to the atmosphere he creates in his vivid narrative paintings. However the magic well and truly begins when he speaks to you; it’s a flow of eloquent words delivered with passion and bursting with excitement. The first thing I notice when interviewing Anthony Green is how utterly down to earth he is, despite his eminence in the art world. He has achieved success on a grand scale; from being elected Royal Academician, being appointed trustee of the Royal Academy and being elected to the New English Art Club, to name but a few........

But what inspires such a talented artist? His answer is simple: “Love”. Green describes the dilemma that hit him in 1960 after he left art school, “I didn’t know what artist I wanted to be, I could be Picasso, or Damien Hirst, or Tracey Emin. So I came up with a question; what am I really interested in? And the answer was; I had fallen in love with this girl – so basically I was a young man in love and I thought I ought to be painting about that.” And that is exactly what he did. The first few paintings of his future wife were very raw, but Green says that once you’ve got the reason for being an artist, then you can start refining your work and it becomes a journey through your life........

Green is keen to point out that he never got up in the morning and thought; “What art shall I create today?” he simply got up and thought; “I’m telling a story about me, and my life.” This is how he creates such personal and emotive paintings: art is his life and life is his art. Green says “Everyday that happened I was a day older and it was a different story. As I’ve gone through life, the story has evolved, so there is always something fresh to add to the mix.” Almost all of Green’s paintings in his current exhibition portray his wife, daughter, himself and his early married life, as “That is what I care most about in the world”.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

American Fable ~ "...The darkness drops again..."

As mentioned in Tuesday's post, more on a recent film in which Yeats' poem The Second Coming is recited in full.

There's American Beauty, American Graffiti, American Hustle, American Gigolo, American Gothic....and on, and on.... many more. 2016 delivered American Fable, written and directed by Anne Hamilton- it's her feature film debut. Ms Hamilton had studied philosophy and law before turning to her first love - film. She acquired internship with Terrence Malick on the set of The Tree of Life, and as was quite likely to happen, some of that director's technique embedded itself into Ms Hamilton's new-minted style. I'd categorise it as pleasantly arty-farty but still accessible on several levels.

American Fable - the "fable" part of the film's title has to be highly significant, so should be kept in mind while watching the story unfold. A fable = a short story conveying a moral, message or lesson, same kind of thing as a parable or allegory, often containing supernatural or mythical elements. This tale is set in Wisconsin farming country in the early 1980s, when farmers in the United States were confronted by an economic crisis more severe than any since the Great Depression. Many of those who relied on agriculture for their livelihoods faced financial ruin. The epicenter of the downturn was the Midwest.
The film's story is told from the perspective of "Gitty" (short for Gertrude), 11-year old daughter of farmer Abe and wife Sarah, young sister of Martin (an absolute psychotic monster of an elder brother if ever I saw one!) The performance of Peyton Kennedy, 13 year old actress playing the part of Gitty, is something to behold - and worth seeing the film for that alone. She's in almost every scene, and carries the weight as effortlessly and as skillfully as any seasoned actor or actress.

Getting down to brass tacks, as my grandmother used to say: (spoilers ahead) Gitty's father's farm is in deep, financial trouble, many neighbouring farms have already failed, land has been bought up by developers, rumours of suicides become common, any remaining farmers are desperate, trying to hold on to their legacy, and their way of life. As a way of fighting back, and with the help of a shadowy female character, Vera, about whom I'm still puzzled, Gitty's father has managed to trap, and hold captive in an old crumbling silo on the farm property, an official (CEO?) of a huge agribusiness development company. We suppose that the intention was to use hoped for ransom money to save their farm...though quite how this could work out wasn't clear to me! Never mind, this is a fable, with a message.
The captive guy, Jonathan, is played by lovely Richard Schiff (who, for husband and I, will forever be known as "Toby from The West Wing"). Scenes between Jonathan and Gitty are some of the best in the movie in my opinion. It is in one of these scenes that Jonathan reads William Butler Yeats' poem, The Second Coming [see Tuesday's post] to Gitty from one of the pile of library books she has brought for him - to assist in his escape rather than for literary reasons.

The main arty-fartiness in American Fable, comes from many dreamy, mystical shots and sequences, also in some colour coding, a particular colour is associated with each character. For me, the colour thing, discovered only after having seen the film, seemed a wee bit superfluous, not to mention pretentious. Who has sufficient immediate insight to be watching a movie for colour coding?

There's a trailer HERE - but I don't see it as a good representation of the movie.

Without giving any more of the plot's detail away, I'll move quickly on to try to define this modern fable's moral message/lesson - nutshell-wise, as I perceived it:

The ages-old right versus wrong, good versus evil contest has shades of grey rather than being a sharp, clean black and white affair. Who, in this fable, is good; who has a good side and a bad side; who is bad, simply out of necessity, and who is downright evil out of no necessity at all? Perceiving the differences in these fictional characters, in these fictional circumstances, should assist us, in real life, to see the grey shades more clearly.

Others could well perceive the film, and its fable's lesson differently, it is left largely up to the viewer to decide. A brief review of the film in USA Today included that: The timing of its release, within weeks of Trump's inauguration as the 45th president, makes it all the more prescient, given its look at the hardscrabble Rust Belt. From the same piece:
No, we aren't revisiting the jolting results of last month's presidential election, in which Donald Trump successfully railed against the elitist culture and punched a ticket to the White House. Many have hailed his ascent as redemption for the forgotten American, the Rust Belt.

But a generation ago, in 1982, the situation was eerily similar: Ronald Reagan had been ushered into the presidency in 1980 through the overwhelming support of what Richard Nixon famously coined the Silent Majority. But his populist message also had a downside.

"Yet, we still have to choose what kinds of people we will be and what we will fight for — without certainty," Hamilton says. "American Fable is about a girl making that choice, and it's a very difficult one. Even she gets blood on her hands."

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

"...Vexed to Nightmare..."

Irish poet William Butler Yeats was born on 13 June, in 1865. His natal chart and brief biography are at William painted in words - his father, John Butler Yeats, was an artist in the more traditional sense.

Rather than concentrate on the story of W.B. Yeats, his life and loves, a ponder upon one of his poems:

The Second Coming. This is a poem containing several memorable phrases which tend to pop up here and there, in quotation marks, in the work of other writers, so evocative have they become. Today's ponderings were first made some three years past, in 2014. Since then I've noticed Yeat's poem coming up more and more frequently in writings on the internet, and in TV shows and, as it happens, it was quoted in full in a movie* we watched at the weekend, and about which I shall scribble in my next post.

The Second Coming was written in 1919, published in 1920. The title could imply a Christian theme, but Yeats was a mystic and occultist, not particularly impressed by organised religion, including Christianity. The poem goes deeper.

When Yeats wrote The Second Coming the world in general was in a state of shock in the aftermath of The Great War (1914-1918). His own, Irish world, was in the throes of upheaval as Irish revolutionaries, many of whom he counted as friends and/or lovers, attempted to rid Ireland of centuries of British rule. Those facts indicate the poet's state of mind and emotions as he wrote. This poem, though, can be enjoyed like a painting from which each viewer draws a slightly different meaning, or like some modern song lyrics which, on the surface, seem nonsensical, but from which each listener is able to find their own meaning.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

The gyre, at the heart of this poem refers to something those keen on astrology's principles understand well - cycles - here further expanded to the form of an ever-widening sprial.

The gyre reaches a point wide enough that a symbolic falcon flies beyond control of its keeper and becomes destabilised. Astrology's 2,100-year Ages fit the gyre imagery, I think.

Yeats had lived through the opening of the 20th century - 2,000 years from the birth of Christ - and speculated that a new "coming", or awakening, or major change of some kind, was to be expected, though not an exact repeat of the last one. I understand that Yeats' book A Vision details his beliefs in this direction.

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold": each generation might see a different reference there. Things going too far....too much excess, too much progress, too much control, too much technology, more and more until..... "mere anarchy" emerges (the word 'mere' is used here in its ancient meaning of pure and unadulterated).

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." We can all relate those words to something familiar today, to apathetic and passive citizens as against the overly intense on both sides of the political divide.

The second part of the poem proceeds to speculate "what next then?" The poet has a vision of what seemed like the Sphinx in the desert, birds wheeling overhead, but representing what? Life as it was lived before Christ - a pagan world? Then darkness fell as Christianity emerged to bring about change? 2,000 years on Yeats expected another "coming", some as yet unknown event or "beast" to emerge and change things yet again, as Christ's coming had changed things last time around.

The "slouching" imagery indicates to me a slow, murky advance with no glorious overtures. I can easily identify that something coming, advancing slowly, while the best of us lack all conviction, and the worst are full of passionate intensity; something which will, inevitably, change things for us all.

See? Time, even since 2014 ponderings, has given the poem a potential newer meaning, something which Yeats could never have envisioned in detail. An original meaning is still there, but exists a little further back on the loop of that ever-widening gyre. As the gyre continues to widen, scenes will further change.

Regarding that *movie I mentioned - more in next post.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Movie Monday ~ Requiem for a Dream & Hippopotamus

For our double bill, one evening last week, I picked two films from the Netflix collection pretty much at random, by title and without prior research. I thought them unlikely candidates for slash-bang, or police procedural themes - of which we've had our fill. As it turned out, though the films had very different themes, styles, and locations, there was a gauzy link between them... well, I saw one!

Requiem for a Dream, at times proved quite hard to watch, theme and style are raw and brutal!

Directed by Darren Aronofsky, the film is set in Brooklyn Beach, New York, and is worth enduring to wonder at the superb, academy award-winning performance by Ellen Burstyn. The theme of Requiem for a Dream is addiction - to various types of drug. I'll say no more, the full plot is available at the Wikipedia link above.

The second movie of our double bill : The Hippopotamus. This one, in contrast to the first, is set in a snobby, snooty region of southern England, it's an adaptation of a novel by Stephen Fry.

Nutshell: Lead character Edward "Ted" Wallace is an alcoholic washed-up poet and theatre critic. He has been fired from his newspaper job, accepts a lucrative commission from his terminally ill goddaughter to investigate rumours of miracle healings at Swafford Hall, country mansion of Wallace's old friend Lord Logan. Synopsis available at Wikipedia.

Roger Allam plays Wallace, does a lot of narrating (probably words culled directly from Fry's novel) in a beautifully modulated plummy accent, an accent quite different from his more ordinary southern English, used in his role, in Endeavour, as Detective Inspector Fred Thursday.

So...where's that promised "gauzy" link then? Well, it's Neptunian in nature (waxing astrological!) Addiction is traditionally thought to link to Neptune, as are things considered to be "miraculous". Requiem for a Dream is totally Neptunian, The Hippopotamus less so, but bear in mind that its lead character is an alcoholic and the film's theme leans on supposed miraculous healing powers of a young man.

Nutshell: Requiem is brutal but well-meaning and superbly acted. Hippopotmus is stylised and fun - though I'm not sure it is capable of being fully appreciated by any but those with a good grasp of English fads and foibles.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Saturday & Sundry Shorter Religions


"What are TL;DRs for some religions?"

(TL;DR = too long;did not read.)

I guess, really, the questioner was asking: what are shorter definitions/explanations of some religions. But what do I know ? In acronym-laden cyberland much is taken for granted!

Barry Goldberg's great answer (and I trust he will not object to my borrowing it):

Barry Goldberg, Born Jewish, Raised Mormon, Discovered Philosophy and Became Atheist.[With a VERY large grain of salt and tongue firmly planted in cheek] ----

Judaism: People hate us because we’re God’s chosen people, and what God apparently chose us for is to be hated by everybody else.

Catholicism: God sacrificed Himself to Himself to appease Himself in order to save us from Himself.

Islam: We are the Religion of Peace™ and we will totally kill anybody who says otherwise.

Sikhism: We wear turbans and carry ceremonial swords and no, we are not Muslims!

Hinduism: Don’t eat meat; that cow could be your great-grandfather.

Buddhism: We’re a religion, but we don’t believe in God. Psyche!

Mormonism: “As Man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.”

Born Again Christians: “I know because I know because I know. Oh — and everybody else is going to burn in hell forever and ever!”

Jehovah’s Witnesses: We may believe some crazy stuff and be annoying as all get out, but at least we’re not as bad as Scientologists!

Universal Unitarianism: We don’t actually believe anything in particular, but we love to dress the part.

[Bonus joke: What do you get if you cross a Jehovah’s Witness with a Universal Unitarian? Somebody who knocks on your door for no particular reason.]

Even more!

Lutherans: We’re just like Catholics, except grumpier.

Anglican/Church of England
: We’re just like Catholics, except we can get divorced.

Episcopalians: We’re just like the Church of England, but without the posh accent.

Wicca: We recently decided to call ourselves witches and now claim the right to define what the word “witch” has meant throughout all of recorded history.

Shakers: We enforce celibacy for everybody. And now there’s only two of us left. Seriously. I am not making this up.

Satanists: Baby-eating practitioners of the dark arts, or just a parody religion to poke fun at Christianity? We’ll never tell! BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

: OK, we really are just a parody religion to poke fun at Christianity. All hail the Spaghetti Monster, praise be His Noodly Appendages, Ramen!

Zoroastrianism: You know that cool music at the beginning of “2001: A Space Odyssey” called Also Sprach Zarathustra? That’s us, Baby!

Scientology: Trillions of years ago the evil galactic overlord Xenu flew a bunch of aliens to earth in Boeing 747s and blew them up with hydrogen bombs inside volcanoes and… Never mind, just give us all your money!

Young Earth Creationism
: Our minds are made up, don’t confuse us with the facts!

And finally…

Atheism: “We’re not a religion, damn it!”

Friday, September 22, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ 3 Female Painters born 22 September

A trio of female artists born this day, in different eras - here they are with an example of the work of each:

Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe (22 September 1762 – 17 January 1850) was a British artist and diarist in colonial Canada. She was the wife of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada.

Below: Niagara Falls, Ontario by Elizabeth Simcoe, summer 1792.

Alma Woodsey Thomas (September 22, 1891 – February 24, 1978) was an African-American Expressionist painter and art educator. She lived and worked primarily in Washington, D.C. and the Washington Post described her as a force in the Washington Color School. The Wall Street Journal describes her as a previously "underappreciated artist" who is more recently recognized for her "exuberant" works, noteworthy for their pattern, rhythm and color.

Lillian Chestney (September 22, 1913 – August 6, 2000) was an American illustrator and painter. She studied in New York City and illustrated children's books, comic books (during the Golden Age of Comic Books), and magazine and book covers at a time when few women held artist positions in the industry.

Oh!... Remembering also, today is ~

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Hand-held Earth

This week I'm continually being reminded of things. The image below was pulled from my over-filled memory banks after reading my weekly forecast, commencing 21 September 2017, by one of my favourite astrologers,
Rob Brezsny of Free Will Astrology.
Snips from THIS:
"The brain is wider than the sky," wrote Emily Dickinson. "The brain is deeper than the sea." I hope you cultivate a vivid awareness of those truths in the coming days, Aquarius...............

Try this visualization exercise: Picture yourself bigger than the planet Earth, holding it tenderly in your hands".
The image that brought to mind is one I originally found on a notice board in a gallery or museum, years ago, while on our travels - we took a photograph of it then; later I found it online, and discovered that it was written by Joe Miller for a children's book, illustrated by Wilson McLean.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"No Man is an................"

From a book titled Pools of Lodging for the Moon by David K. Reynolds, PhD, a modern parable. I used this some seven years ago; recent inundations in Houston, Florida, the Islands and India brought it to mind again. Now I read that another severe hurricane threatens Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, before they've even had a chance to recover from the last one.

A repeat airing:
Water World

Once upon a fragile time people lived on the surface of a huge body of water. They walked on a thin film that covered the water's great depths. Sometimes the surface tension weakened in spots and someone began to sink. Those around the sinking person risked breaching the surface tension in order to rescue him or her. It was the custom. Such self-sacrifice was necessary in that world. When the rescuers were in danger they, too, could expect help.

Sometimes the tear in the surface film spread, there were whole chains of people lending a hand to their fellows. In that risky world it was good to know that supporting hands were ready to help when needed.

Nearby, another group of people lived on a small island. They were proud that each of them walked by the individual's own strength with no help or support from others. In other ways they were a very bright people. Yet because of their pride they were confined to their island. And they knew a chilly loneliness that their water-borne cousins never felt.

One of the part-truths in American culture is the part-myth of the self-made individual. That notion has both stimulated us and limited us. The other side of that truth is that we are all dependent on others for our successes and for our moment-by-moment existence.

My politically slanted brain read that tale as an analogy for socialism and conservatism/capitalism. Others might read it differently...if so it would be interesting to hear about it.

Comments from 2010 - summarised:
Astrology Unboxed/Fabienne said:
I saw it more in terms of religion. Catholics versus Protestants. Catholics putting more emphasis on the family, group and individuality is subordinated to the needs of the family, society and state. for example, it is still common for a women to live with her parents until she gets married even tough she has a career and could afford to live by herself.
On the other hand, protestants put emphasis on individual rights and children need to be independent as soon as possible. For example, if you are 18, you have to leave the house.
Having had the experience of both types of society emphasis, I can see the benefits from both. Although I must say that the emphasis on group does seems to provide more support, warmth and gregariousness. Individual rights, from my experience, leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Great for developing your individuality and assertiveness. Not so great for companionship.

Gian Paul responded...Astrology Unboxed/Fabienne: In an ideal, harmonious world family should be what you say, no matter of what religion. The cradle which prepares for empathy, love and understanding. But these days, considering the great number of divorced parents, tough educational curriculum (money, money) and general impossibility to believe in "authorities", young people must feel quite lost to whatever wind or fashion/fad is blowing.

Twilight said...Gian Paul ~ Agreed, it's a different world. Family and culture has changed a lot in the last 3 decades. I think that, in the USA for example, there was more feeling of the first Water World example of wanting everyone to have assistance when needed than there is now....FDR's way was getting there, but the path got lost somewhere.

R J Adams said...I agree with you, Twilight, though on reading the piece my mind immediately saw America as the island:
"They were proud that each of them walked by the individual's own strength with no help or support from others. In other ways they were a very bright people. Yet because of their pride they were confined to their island. And they knew a chilly loneliness that their water-borne cousins never felt."

Most Americans never leave their 'island', unless it's to vacation in Mexico or Canada. Much of the rest of the world is united, but because of its pride, America stands alone; an 'island', indeed.

Twilight said...RJ Adams ~~~ Yes, that is what the author had in mind too, according to his last lines - that the USA is akin to an island society, in spite of its size. The book was published in 1989 by the way. Politically, the US has never been a haven of social reform for long, there have been a few tries to get onto that road, or into a more Water World scenario, but always eventually attempts have been assassination, persuasion, bribery, whatever.

Wisewebwoman said ...No (wo)man is an island indeed. What a marvellous book, T, you discover such interesting titles! Any more nuggets in this?

Twilight replied... There are more, yes. Maybe I'll return to it sometime - don't want to get into bother re copyright though. I think it'll be okay to use a couple of examples, as this is a not-for-profit blog.

Wisewebwoman, in 2010, quoted from John Donne - I thank them both for today's post title.

No Man is an Island by John Donne (1572-1631)

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Music Monday ~ Shape-wise

Looking for someone musical to feature today I came upon Benjamin Franklin White (September 20, 1800 – December 5, 1879). He was a "shape note singing master", and compiler of the shape note tune book known as The Sacred Harp. He was born near Cross Keys in Union County, South Carolina, the twelfth child of Robert and Mildred White.

Alright then...but what are shape notes?

Climbing onto my learning curve once more: Encyclopedia Britannica reveals that:
Shape-note singing, a musical practice and tradition of social singing from music books printed in shape notes. Shape notes are a variant system of Western musical notation whereby the note heads are printed in distinct shapes to indicate their scale degree and solmization syllable (fa, sol, la, etc.). Since 1801 shape notes have been associated with American sacred music, specifically with singing schools, with musical conventions, and with all-day gatherings known as “singings.” Denounced by critics as uncouth, the simplified notation has persisted in the rural South, where it continues to form the basis of strong traditions of church and community singing.

The solmization system used in shape-note singing can be traced to Guido d’Arezzo, an 11th-century Italian monk who assigned the syllables ut, re, mi, fa, sol, and la to the six-note series—or hexachord—that corresponds to what are now recognized as the first six degrees of the major scale. Use of these syllables helped singers keep track of their place within a melody, especially when sight-reading. In 16th-century England, singers discovered they could operate effectively with only four syllables (mi, fa, sol, and la). English colonists carried the four-syllable system to North America. Meanwhile, on the European continent, the hexachord was expanded to seven syllables, one for each note in the major scale (in Italy, do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, and si). The seven-syllable system ultimately prevailed during the 19th century in England and America. Shape notation has been adapted to both the four-note fasola and the seven-note doremi system.

I'm probably being extremely dense now but, immediately, I don't understand the benefit of this system. Trying again, there's more HERE.

So...well, I'm enlightened - kind of. This is an interesting and historic musical sidelight.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saturday and Sundries

We're currently re-watching the 1970s TV mini-series Centennial, via a DVD set. I never tire of this story - often think that it was my love of Centennial, and another mini-series and novel, Lonesome Dove, which set my mind on the right track for my move across the Atlantic, and at a late stage of life. I still wake up surprised some mornings, to find myself smack-dab on the Chisholm Trail! That cattle trail is not the exact one featured in a chapter of Centennial - but it's comparable.

On this viewing of the TV adaptation of James A. Michener's epic novel - we're two-thirds through the series, as I type this - what I've noticed most is how, though passage of time has brought massive changes in lifestyle, especially in the 21st century, in deeper aspects nothing much has changed. The pattern of killing, retribution killing, then killing again, remains. Much of today's killing is done far away from the USA in the Middle East; retribution occasionally occurs here at home as well as directly, abroad. It's as though this nation, born in blood, is fated to live on in blood. There were some good men then (fictional in this case, but actual also), there are good men now, but never enough - then or now.

My 2008 archived post on Centennial is HERE.

Husband's new blog/website Cabinet Card Photographers has taken him many long hours of research work, which he has enjoyed and pronounced addictive.

Fall foliage Prediction Map -

It's interactive - could come in useful for leaf-peepers.

by Carl Sandburg

Among the mountains I wandered and saw blue haze and red crag and was amazed;

On the beach where the long push under the endless tide maneuvers, I stood silent;

Under the stars on the prairie watching the Dipper slant over the horizon’s grass, I was full of thoughts.

Great men, pageants of war and labor, soldiers and workers, mothers lifting their children—these all I touched, and felt the solemn thrill of them.

And then one day I got a true look at the Poor, millions of the Poor, patient and toiling; more patient than crags, tides, and stars; innumerable, patient as the darkness of night—and all broken, humble ruins of nations.

If an infinite number of rednecks
fired an infinite number of shotguns
at an infinite number of road signs,
they'd eventually recreate
the complete works of Shakespeare
in Braille.
Ann and the Bullet Holes
 I discovered the truth of it when on vacation, meeting  Himself, in 2003.

Wot - no astrology?
This Twitter offering, from #Rejected Horoscopes, might be good for a titter:

Friday, September 15, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ Jean Arp

Jean Arp or Hans Arp (16 September 1886 – 7 June 1966) was a German-French sculptor, painter, poet, and abstract artist in other media such as torn and pasted paper.

When Arp spoke in German he referred to himself as "Hans", and when he spoke in French he referred to himself as "Jean".

Excerpts from an article written by John Russell in the New York Times in 1986, to mark the centenary of Arp's birth:

As of the end of World War I, there can have been no doubt that although the name of Jean Arp was known to only a few well-informed observers he was a key figure in the European art world. His qualifications were obvious to all. In 1910 or 1911, according to his own account, he had ''begun to produce what is now called 'abstract art.' ...... In Paris in 1914, he had his portrait drawn by Modigliani and came to know Picasso, Delaunay and others. Likewise in 1914, he went to Cologne, and was recognized as a kindred spirit by Max Ernst. At the out-break of World War I, Arp was in Continued on page 29 Paris, and quite happy to remain there. But as he was German by birth, it became more and more risky for him to do so. Rather than return to Germany and be faced with military service, he made his way to Zurich, represented himself to the German consul as mentally defective and - thanks to feigned oddities of behavior - was exempted from military service. (The German consul could not believe that anyone who made the sign of the cross on seeing a portrait of Field Marshal Hindenburg could be good military material.) ..... As a founding member of the Zurich Dada group, he pioneered the acceptance of accident in art that for 50 or 60 years to come was one of the key notions of avant-garde art... He was also a pioneer of the automatic writing and drawing that were to be fundamental to surrealism in the 1920's.

And, not least, he fell in love at first sight with a young painter called Sophie Taeuber, who later became his wife. Theirs was a marriage of equals, with never a hint of rivalry. When we look at the work that they produced jointly in Zurich, we find it impossible to say who did what, so perfectly did their imaginations meet and match. With her clear, bell-like laugh, her almost magical affinity with all living creatures and her never-failing sense of wonder, she was poetry personified.

By the time that he turned 30, in 1916, Arp had developed more than one of the modalities that have been an enduring part of 20th-century art. Deliberately, he took the stressful, body-building element out of art and made it look weightless, incorporeal and full of wit. ''Life is a puzzling puff of wind,'' he once wrote, and he liked to feel that his work had that kind of aerial energy.......................

Turning to poetry, for which he had a free-flowing lyrical gift that rarely failed him, he found that a sentence taken at random from a newspaper was as compelling to him as anything in the great poetry of the past. The big fat volume of his collected poems is there to prove that this was neither a silly nor a presumptuous idea. Arp was a word man as much as an image man, and to the end of his life he was still, in a sense, the 17-year-old boy who, as he remembered it, ''had filled page after page with unusual word-combinations, invented unusable verbs from nouns, altered well-known verses and declaimed them constantly with abandon and elation, on and on as if it would never come to an end . . .''

 Pagoda Fruit

 Winged Being


 Sculpture to be Lost in the Forest

What's impossible to ignore when looking at Arp's sculptures, those shown here (and the many more to be seen via Google Image) is the lack of sharp angles. Everything is extremely smooth, rounded, curved - there's nothing harsh or jarring. So this is his sculptural "signature". His other artwork, mainly collages show the same tendency.

The shapes in his work evoke worn pebbles, buds and other natural forms. He created these sculptures using a quasi-automatic process of sanding away at a plaster model until he was satisfied with the shape. ‘I work until enough of my life has flowed into its body’, he said.

I wondered whether his "rounded with no sharp angle" signature style might, somehow, be reflected in Arp's natal chart.

Born on 16 September 1886 at 6:00 AM in Strasbourg, France. (Data from Astrodatabank.)

With Sun, Mercury, Venus and ascendant in Earthy and meticulous Virgo it's no surprise to find his urge for perfection and reflections of nature in the form of his sculptures; nor to discover that he was also "a word man as much as an image man" (Virgo is ruled by Mercury).

Arp had Jupiter and Uranus conjunct in Venus-ruled Libra. Uranus reflects his gravitation to modernity and abstract art, while Jupiter...well, when asking myself which planet I think of when considering smooth rounded shapes, first thought, for some reason, was...Jupiter.