Friday, June 30, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ "King of the Pencil" Didier Mouron

Not much to read today, but do take a few minutes to see the video and feel gobsmacked at the talent of this artist who produces so much from just a pencil, paper, black, white and every shade of grey. He has a birthday coming up next week:
Didier Mouron was born on 3 July 1958, a Swiss artist (naturalized Canadian), who has been called "the king of the pencil".



Also: the artist's website.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Astrological Wisdom

British Astrologer of the 20th century, Ingrid Lind:
It is fatal to think of "the Stars" as determinants. We must not turn them into inexorable or malignant gods. This is altogether to mistake their power and to misunderstand the function of astrology, which is to give us a glimpse of a cosmic purpose with which we should try to harmonise. A man imprisoned in Saturn's dungeons may find real freedom in himself, and the chaos of disillusion of Neptune may drive him inwards until he finds the secret of his own integrity. Hard times may turn him into a walking complaint or he may learn to enjoy freedom from possessions. There is no difficult condition that courage cannot turn to good use.
(From the Conclusion to her book Astrology & Commonsense .)


One never has to go far to find wise words from astrologer Robert Hand. From Chapter 8 of Essays on Astrology (1982):

There are rhythms in human development, rhythms that weave in and out of each other, sometimes working together to reinforce each other, sometimes working against each other. Astrologers have long known about these rhythms, for that is the central study of astrology: the relation between the rhythms of human development and cycles of the heavens. Astrology is nothing more than this. It is not an effort to chart Fate or to describe an individual's immutable destiny. Astrology teaches that every individual is a creature of the cosmos and reflects its cycles. These cycles in turn affect the probabilities of different kinds of experience happening within an individual's life at various times.


From astrologer Liz Greene's Mythic Astrology (1994):
No horoscope can indicate whether an individual will turn healthy self-assertiveness into violence, or imaginative self mythologizing into dangerous delusions of global dominion. Mozart's horoscope may look surprisingly like that of the school music teacher. Factors beyond the scope of astrology - heredity, environment, historical epoch - interact with individual character to produce unpredictable results.



Snippets from the section "Introducing the Moon" in The Psychic Explorer co-written by astrologer Jonathan Cainer, first published 1986. All astrological input was from Mr. Cainer:

Our modern world is very solar. Despite recent advances in the feminist cause, we still live in a society dominated by male energy - and perhaps that is one reason why masculine sun signs have become so popular! There is a strong tendency for most of us to accept glib, generalized information and simplified scientific truisms. The sun rules "simplicity", and it also speaks of "material growth and self-interest", two very characteristic 20th-century ideals. The lunar principles of compassion, sympathy and understanding do exist in our world, but most of us would agree that they normally play a muted second fiddle in the process of human motivation.

It is crucial to recognize that people of either sex have two sides to their personality. Inside every macho man is a soft, poetic, sensitive individual trying to get out. Inside every soft woman is a strong, capable and ambitious person waiting for an opportunity to express herself. However, most women, at least on a superficial level, find it easier to identify with the lunar side of their character, while most men have more affinity with solar energy. In other words, women are often more in touch with their moon signs and men with their sun signs.

If you can accept the notion that each individual is not just a one-dimensional personality with a cardboard cut-out facade but a complicated, sensitive mixture of differing (and sometimes opposing) inclinations, you are ready to enter the world of real astrology.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A need to speak out...

Last week actor Johnny Depp became the latest American "celeb" to make a thinly veiled allusion to the killing of President Donald Trump. He asked the crowd at the Glastonbury arts festival in England, "When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?"Depp later apologized ... well, he would wouldn't he? They all do this after grabbing a day's worth of headlines.

Glastonbury used to be thought of as an annual love-filled gathering, hippie-flavoured - filled with fun, goodwill.

In May, "comedian" Kathy Griffin posed for photos holding a mask styled to look like the bloodied head of President Trump.

At January's Women's March on Washington, "pop icon" Madonna stated in a speech that she'd "thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House."

A production of Shakesepare's "Julius Caesar" at New York's Public Theater, in which the depiction of the titular character bore resemblance to Trump caused unease. Sponsors, including Delta Airlines and Bank of America, pulled their support from the production and protests objecting to the portrayal interrupted the play.

Meryl Streep, when campaigning for Hillary Clinton last year, characterized Trump as a bully who disrespects others during a speech at the Golden Globes.

Alec Baldwin has portrayed Trump unkindly (that's putting it mildly) on "Saturday Night Live".

Jimmy Kimmel, while hosting the Oscars, made several cracks at Trump's expense. Every one of the late and late-late shows' presenters have been guilty of the same on a nightly basis for months, and it's no longer funny.

This rant is is no way defending President Trump, who himself has been criticized for making comments that have appeared to advocate violence against others, including those on the other side of the political aisle. But does that make it alright for others to declare open season on him in such potentially dangerous a manner?

Hat-tip HERE.

People of the USA, in living memory, have seen their president assassinated right before their eyes, and later the same president's bother killed in cold blood, as well as a beloved civil rights activist murdered. If so-called "celebrities" do not dredge up a smidgen of good taste and decency soon, the USA could find itself reliving some of its worst nightmares. Where is the communal outcry, by the entertainment community, against such loose-lipped, hate-drenched hyperbolic spewings as listed above? Some of those hearing such spewings, or even reading of them could become immune to the danger lurking within them. Others with an altogether different agenda might use those spewings as cover for their own dirty deeds. Is there really any need to explain further?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Long Ago and Far Away : From Bluebirds to Ciaos on Music Monday

In the beginning there was a wind-up gramophone, and records known as "78s" (78 rpm - revolutions per minute). These were of brittle, breakable, shiny black stuff. It was wartime in England, I was very young and the only songs I clearly recall from that time are:
"Bless 'em all, bless 'em all,
The long and the short and the tall,
There'll be no promotion this side of the ocean,
So cheer up my lads bless 'em all"
,
and
"There'll be bluebirds over
The white cliffs of Dover,
Tomorrow, just you wait and see."



With the coming of those bluebirds, war over, and a few more years having passed, newfangled "LPs" (long playing records, at 33 and a third revolutions per minute) arrived on the music scene. Instead of containing just one song on each side, these carried five or six, and were unbreakable, though in the early days eminently warp-able. A new record player was needed, wind-up models were no longer suitable. The first LP I bought, using saved-up pocket money: songs from "The Student Prince" sung by Mario Lanza. It cost me, I recall, 37 shillings and 6 pence - a huge sum back then!

78-rpm records were still on sale alongside LPs, and around this time Bill Haley and his Comets, with their seminal rock and roll, burst upon young English ear drums from t'other side of the Atlantic. I was never greatly enamoured of this new music style, preferring to stick with songs from the shows, or big band ballads. I was always something of a square or, perhaps being a tad obtuse by nature, just never keen to be one of the crowd

Late 1950s to early 1960s saw a burgeoning popular music industry throwing up new product at an alarming pace. Elvis, Buddy Holly, The Beatles, and others from both sides of the Atlantic burst forth into the limelight. Juke boxes and coffee bars provided easy entertainment and affordable popular meeting places for teenagers. Pop music had arrived! None of this impressed me much. Nothing of this new phenomenon really "got to me" - perhaps I was born just a couple of years too soon to be part of this avant garde of pop music, and appreciated more easily the previous generation's styles and tastes.

In the early 1960s I met and married an Italian guy. We spent some periods in Italy, and as it happened, Italian songs had become fashionable at the time, probably the result of a few recent Italian-flavoured movies, and the fact that travel to vacation destinations such as Italy were becoming more possible for ordinary people; attendant music flavours began to seep into popular culture. "Ciao Ciao Bambina", "Three Coins in the Fountain", "Volare", and a few other ditties popularly sung by Dean Martin and Perry Como became moderately popular in England. These proved much more to my taste. My then husband also helped me to appreciate a singer I had overlooked, amazingly enough : Frank Sinatra. I soon realised that in a singer (if not in a husband) I'd found "the real deal"!






Saturday, June 24, 2017

Weekend Cyclic Wandering

I've not fallen down an internet rabbit-hole for a while, but did so this week, though this rabbit-hole was not as deep as many, and did eventually lead me back via a T-junction to my very own archives!
My stumble really began outside the internet, in reading an article in a February 1974 edition of The Saturday Evening Post I'd bought in an antique/vintage store on our last trip. I'd been attracted by the magazine's cover illustration of an astrological chart, with Henry Kissinger's photograph at its centre. Title of the article heralded by the cover:
Astrology - Who Believes in It?

The article which, oddly, is not credited to any specific author, is a long one - almost receiving the tl:dr from me(too long did not read). It's printed in fairly small, close font. I did skim it initially, going back to special tid-bits at different times. The piece is certainly not as dismissive as a comparable piece in any current national magazine would be, but then the 1970s were still under a fairly "New Age" atmosphere, astrology back then was enjoying a short respite from ridicule.

My tipping point for rabbit-hole entry was the snippet:
What has astrology to say further about mankind's future? The long-term 794-year recurrence of the two giant planets Jupiter and Saturn in the same part of the Tropical Zodiac correlates closely to a cycle found in history by the great British historian Arnold J. Toynbee. During about half of the cycle the component states of a parochial civilisation engage in civil strife and a "time of troubles". Then during the balance of the cycle they combine as a Universal State or Empire. Northern and Western Europe and North America comprise such a civilisation.......
A 794 year cycle, thought I - Saturn/Jupiter, astrological opposites: Saturn the restrictive limiter, Jupiter the excessive expander. When they come together in conjunction I'm not surprised they make a mark of some kind.

I then began my descent, finding the words of several astrologers on internet pages crossing my eyes, jangling my brain.

If Saturn/Jupiter cycles were the only cycles to watch it'd be easy-peasy, but there are numerous other cycles, certain of my archived posts have explored these. I'm thinking, though, that Saturn and Jupiter, though categorised as inner planets, and still far away are much, much nearer to Earth than outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto whose various cycles are discussed over and over again by mundane astrologers. Whether this fact makes Saturn/Jupiter cycles more significant to us here on Earth isn't clear.

From astrologer Mark Lerner:
[It's necessary to read the whole piece, but just a taster -]

It turns out that Jupiter and Saturn – major planets connected to the social realm, religion, philosophy, education, profession, government and economics – keep energizing the same elemental quality (fire, earth, air or water) in a series of 20-year conjunctions for almost 200 years. Then the Jupiter-Saturn unions shift to the next elemental quality for another series of conjunctions for around two centuries. After a long cycle of 794-800 years, the entire Jupiter-Saturn pattern begins over although never exactly energizing the same degrees of the zodiac as during the previous 800-year cycle.

What is particularly interesting to us, here in mid 2017, is the fact that the 794 year long Saturn/Jupiter cycle will hit a change point in December 2020, when the conjunction will occur in an Air sign, Aquarius, for the first time in around 180 years. Conjunctions have been occurring in Earth signs for the past 180 years. This could reflect the materialistic atmosphere the developed world has experienced during this almost two century time span. Does it indicate that, very gradually (VERY gradually) materialism might recede making way for more a more humanitarian, thoughtful and caring feel? Change of atmosphere will probably be kick-started by an Aquarian revolutionary period, gradually, oh so gradually, morphing into calmer airways during the Gemini and Libra phases.

Whether humans will still be around on planet Earth to encounter these changes is another matter. If climate change proceeds apace, perhaps only the very wealthy who have de-camped to the few safe places Earth will still afford, will be left. How long they could survive without an army of servants and protectors from who knows what, is questionable. So, in the end all speculation is somewhat, as they say, academic.

From my own archives, for any passing reader still interested in this topic, I'd recommend a look at these posts, not missing the comment threads attached too - some interesting stuff there!

http://twilightstarsong.blogspot.com/2010/08/ramblings-on-capitalism-astrology.html


http://twilightstarsong.blogspot.com/2012/09/600-year-arcs-capitalism.html

http://twilightstarsong.blogspot.com/2012/10/600-year-arc-capitalism-astrology-part-2.html
Amalgamating the Jupiter/Saturn pattern with other, outer-planetary cycles is a bit like trying to follow a complex knitting pattern. The full beauty, or otherwise, of the item or garment will not be fully discernible immediately; in the case of planetary cycles, really not fully for centuries, or until, continuing the analogy, we've completed a good few "repeat the above pattern [...] times more". That's a bummer for the average human's less than one century life span!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ Michael Whelan

Fantasy artist Michael Whelan was born on 29 June 1950 - this video is a good place to begin discovering his style.



The artist's own website has lots of interesting content.

For a few large-sized images of some of his work, take a look at THIS WEBSITE.

Lots more examples accessible via Google Image

Michael Whelan's art immediately brought to mind the styles of two other arty Michaels I've covered in the past (and more than once): Michael Parkes and Michael Cheval.

Michael Whelan's natal chart is available at Astrotheme
. It's easy to spot his "draw" to fantasy and sci-fi, his Sun and Uranus are conjunct at 7 and 5 degrees of Cancer. Uranus links to all things futuristic, unreal or "other". Neptune is thought to link to fantasy, yet, when one thinks on it, Uranus in its eccentricity has to have similar connection. His natal Sun at 7 Cancer, in any case, is in tight trine to Jupiter in Pisces (the Neptune-ruled sign).

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Nonagenarian Clancy Sigal

Counterpunch, on Tuesday, posted among its selection of articles: The Big Con by Clancy Sigal. I enjoyed the read, and admired the writer's style. I can't put my finger on exactly why, it's just that some writers chime and some don't - this one did!

First paragraph

A bunch of men in suits and ties in front of TV cameras investigating another bunch of guys in suits and ties could be one of the great shell games of the Trump era. Meanwhile, as the “Russia probes” go on, memos and tweets flying like paper shrapnel, many Americans not in suits and ties sicken and die as a direct result of the suits’ indifference or plunder or both.
Counterpunch offered, regarding the author of the piece:
Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Black Sunset.

I searched around the net for more information on Mr Sigal and found that he has led a very eventful life - and a long one. He was born in 1926, making him to be 91 this year. His natal chart, for anyone interested, is available at Astrodatabank. He has Sun and Moon in Virgo (Mercury-ruled), so writing - good writing - comes as second nature to him.

Three of his books:


From a synopsis of Blacklisted, a feature documentary chronicling the incredible adventures of writer, blacklisted Hollywood player & dissident, Clancy Sigal, created by Cai Howells :
Synopsis
Blacklisted is an examination of an extraordinary man in extraordinary times. Clancy Sigal was raised in the gangland of 1930s Chicago, he served in the occupation of Nazi Germany and witnessed the Nuremberg trials. After returning home he became a Hollywood player, agent to the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyk and Errol Flynn. In 1957, under pressure from the studios and the McCarthyist witch-hunts he was exiled to London. There, Sigal became the lover of Nobel prize-winning author, Doris Lessing. He collaborated with the radical psychiatrist, R D Laing on a halfway house for schizophrenic patients and later, American deserters. He won world-wide respect as a novelist and cultural commentator before returning to Hollywood as a successful screenwriter.

Clancy Sigal's life story plays out like the fanciful yarn of a bombastic Hollywood hack. Like a fiercely political and intellectual Zelig, an everyman compelled to live at the very edge of his times. He seems to have been present at many of the US and UK's most pivotal moments of the last seventy years. .........................
During my search I came across an interview with Mr Sigal, where he was asked for a book recommendation he regularly makes to his fans, he offered that George Orwell's Politics and the English Language will always be a must-read, and is so especially nowadays. Upshot of this: I ordered a used copy, await its arrival, after which perhaps a marked improvement might be noted in my own writing style!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

It is the month of June, The month of leaves and roses...

It is the month of June, The month of leaves and roses, When pleasant sights salute the eyes and pleasant scents the noses. (Nathaniel Parker Willis).
June....Juno: yes, in a handful of past posts I've confidently written that the month of June was named in honour of goddess Juno; such archived posts can be accessed via "Juno" in the Label Cloud in the sidebar. I've lately stumbled across evidence that I (and countless other writers, bloggers and internet websites) could be mistaken in this supposition. An excerpt from a book The Roman Festivals of the Period of the Republic by William Warde Fowler throws doubt on the June/Juno theory. The author includes a passage, in Latin, from Macrobius which he claims shows that Roman scholars were "at sea" as to the answer on whether the months of May and June were named after deities in the same way that March was certainly named in honour of Mars, god of war. There's more detail on the May/Maia question, which I'll not include here. As for June/Juno:


One source giving a hint that June/Juno might be questionable is Encyclopedia Mythica, where it is stated:
June
The fourth month
[In ancient Rome the year began in March] was named in honor of Juno. However, the name might also come from iuniores (young men; juniors) as opposed to maiores (grown men; majors) for May, the two months being dedicated to young and old men.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

Tinfoil Hat Time! Fire in the Sky; Jacques Vallée & Music Monday

We recently watched a 1993 movie, Fire in the Sky, didn't realise until around halfway through it that we had seen the film before. It'd be surprising if we hadn't already sampled it because sci-fi, UFO, speculative fiction in a movie always attracts our attention. This film, based on a true story, tells of what appeared to have been an alien abduction. One of a group of forestry loggers went missing for 5 days, in 1975, after leaving his co-workers and daring to investigate a strange, fiery looking object hovering over the Arizona forest in which they'd been working. There's a book by the abductee, Travis Walton, upon which the film is based. The story was met with general disbelief by the police and authorities, but each member of the logging group took lie-detector tests, and more than once, as did the abductee when he returned - all passed the tests.

In the movie, scenes aboard the space vehicle showing medical experiments on the abductee are made intentionally scary. The abductee himself has said, in more recent years, that he now suspects that he was not taken into the craft for experimentation, but to be healed after stepping into the space vehicle's power source and being accidentally lifted, then thrown violently to the ground unconscious. He now feels that he was being helped back to health - a different perspective entirely from the movie's story. Mr Walton has taken more complex lie detector tests over the years, using "state of the art" equipment, and has always passed the tests. There's a video, from a few years ago, showing Mr Walton, himself, explaining his thoughts, HERE.

Watching Fire in the Sky I recalled an old post of mine:

Back in 2010 I posted a series of pieces under a general heading of "Woo-woo". This is one of them: (Woo-woo (or just plain woo) refers to ideas considered irrational or based on extremely flimsy evidence or that appeal to mysterious occult forces or powers - Skeptic's Dictionary). If not already wearing one, don tinfoil hat...now!

Jacques Vallée, in a nutshell from UFO Watchdog's UFO Hall of Fame:
Astro Physicist, Author, Investigator, Silicon Valley computer scientist, author of numerous UFO books including Anatomy of a Phenomenon, Passport to Magonia, Challenge to Science, Messenger of Deception, and Dimensions among other historical UFO books. Testified at UN hearings stating that serious study was needed regarding UFOs, was reportedly the model for the government scientist in the move Close Encounter of the Third Kind, worked closely with Dr. Hynek.
Vallée initially supported the extraterrestrial hypothesis on the origin of UFOs, but was one of the first to change his mind. In Passport to Magonia he suggests the UFO Phenomenon has much in common with fairies, angels, ghosts, and other paranormal issues and that the sheer number of UFO sightings argues against their extra-planetary origins. In fact, he seems to believe in an Inter or Multi dimensional aspect to UFOs which would indicate they co-exist with us.
There's much more at Wikipedia.

In an even smaller nutshell, Vallée thinks UFOs could be looked on as windows to other dimensions, manipulated by intelligent, often mischievous, always enigmatic beings - as yet unknown to us, of course. As Vallée puts it: "I will be disappointed if UFOs turn out to be nothing more than spaceships."

I've oft surmised that UFOs could be visitors not from outer space, but from another dimension about which we currently know nothing, or even time travellers from our own planet. Vallée's theory is rather more subtle though. He had this to say in his book Passport to Magonia - reported at UFO Evidence.


When the underlying archetypes are extracted," he wrote, "the saucer myth is seen to coincide to a remarkable degree with the fairy-faith of Celtic countries … religious miracles… and the widespread belief among all peoples concerning entities whose physical and psychological descriptions place them in the same category as the present-day ufonauts.

When I speak of a control system for planet earth," he says, " I do not want my words to be misunderstood: I do not mean that some higher order of beings has locked us inside the constraints of a space-bound jail, closely monitored by psychic entities we might call angels or demons. I do not propose to redefine God. What I do mean is that mythology rules at a level of our social reality over which normal political and intellectual action has no power….

Yes....well, I'm lost already! A little further investigation turned up the theories of another scientist, Nick Bostrom who suspects that we may be living in some kind of simulation - computer simulation. I'm not surprised that some other UFO researchers, scientists also, became so disoriented as to commit suicide:
From the interview with Vallée at UFO Evidence, linked above:


Vallée:For another thing you don't want to go around chasing every UFO that's reported. If a sighting gets a lot of publicity, you should stay the hell away from it. Instead you should go after cases that you select yourself, ones that have received very little publicity and you've heard about through personal channels...........
Clark: Are you suggesting that the investigator should attempt to experience the phenomenon himself?

Vallée: Yes, I think that's sound scientific practice.

Clark: But isn't that rather dangerous - in the sense that there's a real risk the investigator, even if he is emotionally stable and intellectually sophisticated, might be overwhelmed by the experiences involved?

Vallée:
Yes, there are dangers. Witness what happened to Morris Jessup or to Jim McDonald. But I think that now we're more aware of what the dangers are. Once you realize the phenomenon may be deliberately misleading, then you can use certain safeguards. I'm not saying that safeguards are always going to work. There is an element of danger you really can't avoid. There's no way to do that kind of study just by reading books.


It's a little bit like the study of volcanoes. You can learn a lot about them by watching them from a distance but you certainly learn a lot more when you can be right there - even if it's somewhat risky.

I called up Wikipedia's pages on the two names mentioned, Jessup and McDonald and find that both men, serious scientists, interested in UFO research and/or The Philadelphia Experiment committed suicide.

This is getting a little weird, even for my tastes!



For any astrology fan passing by here, there's also investigation of Vallée's natal chart at my original post HERE.


Not forgetting that it's still Music Monday. How about Robbie Williams and "Arizona"? I hadn't heard this one before, and it proved to be rather apt for this post.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order. Carl Jung

A few of husband's quirky photos from our trip last week:

 My caption:  Cleanest dirty shirt time!

Toilet? Sorry!  There were lots of sad animal pelts in this corner, and nowhere to barf!

 Mantoys?

 Mantoys II

 Husband's caption: "If you look a little bit closer, it's easy to trace
Oh, the tracks of my tears stairs."

My caption was:  
"Once upon a time
The world was sweeter than we knew
Everything was ours  stairs
How happy we were then
But somehow once upon a time
Never comes again."




My caption:  Ascendancy of The Greens

Friday, June 16, 2017

Arty Farty Sgt. Pepper & Richard Lindner

I landed on the following 2009 Arty Farty post of mine after wondering whether I'd ever written a post about painter Egon Shiele (his date of birth, 12 June 1890, could make him a possibility for this week). Schiele's name appears in the posts's first sentence, with the observation that his work is "too porny and horny for a family blog". Reading on I saw mention of that famous old LP cover illustration from the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album. This album has been in the news (again) recently, heralding another re-mastered version of the recording, released for the occasion of the album's 50th anniversary. The newly re-mastered version has been a project of the late Sir George Martin's son, Giles. George Martin was sometimes referred to as "the fifth Beatle", and was producer of most of the group's classic catalogue - and more.

I shall make that flimsy link my excuse for re-running this post.

There's interesting detailed information about the Sgt. Pepper LP cover illustration and its content at THIS LINK.


Richard Lindner


"Who?" you say. So did I, at first.
(Left:"Hit", by Richard Lindner. 1971)

I settled on writing a few lines about Richard Lindner after considering first Egon Schiele (too porny and horny for a family blog), then Lucian Freud (nudes can get so boring), and finally found something of interest in Mr. Lindner's artwork. Investigating examples via Google Image, his style seemed kind of familiar. It had a general "feel" of The Beatles about it - think of those Yellow Submarine images. Lindner's style is reminiscent of much from the early 70s, even though some of his work was painted well outside that time span - perhaps it provided the inspiration for later artists.

My feeling of a link to the Beatles was triumphantly justified when I happened upon some websites showing the famous cover of their Sgt. Pepper album.




Richard Lindner is one of the numerous faces featured there, the cover was said to be a kind of homage to people they admired.....Lindner's face is behind George Harrison - not immediately behind, but the next one up, and below a female face.


Back to the astrology of artist du jour: Richard Lindner. He was born in Hamburg, Germany on 11 November 1901. His family moved to Nuremburg , later Lindberg studied in Munich but at the rise of Hitler and the Nazis he escaped to Paris, then in 1941 traveled to New York, where he worked as illustrator for various glossy magazines. He became an American citizen in 1948. He later taught at the Pratt Institute and Yale University.

His natal chart is set for 12 noon as no time of birth is available.




It's another of those distinctive-looking charts, with all personal planets clustered within just 3 zodiac signs: Scorpio, Sagittarius and Capricorn. Two outer planets Pluto and Neptune lie roughly opposite. Some astrologers class this type of configuration as a fan or bucket pattern, the "odd" planets form the handle. In this case, because the handle planets are outer, slow-movers which relate to whole age groups, I'm not so sure this applies.

What we can say about his personal planets is that though they are clustered close together, they still present a fairly well-balanced picture, element-wise and mode-wise. In a nutshell Lindner's Sun, and Moon (whatever time of birth) in Scorpio indicate an intense character, one with the ability to see through pretense and get to the core of things. A spot of Sagittarian exaggeration from Mars seeps into all of his art - it's his trademark in fact, along with the bright garish colors, as can be seen below. Venus Jupiter and Saturn all in Capricorn reflect a basically practical, rather than whimsical nature - and perhaps the strange flatness of his paintings comes from the Capricorn and Saturn in his nature, both link to limitation and structure. He lets himself go on color and content but limits himself in depth and perspective.

In this quote his art is described as "erotically drawn" (Scorpio) "highly defined", "mechanistic"(Capricorn/Saturn):

His work has been described by art critics as "mechanistic cubism." Infused with personal imagination, his style has overtones of the "Cabaret-Berlin" culture of the 30's, with flat areas of often garish colors, separated by highly defined edges. His subjects, too, seem to come from that era. His women, archetypal in this respect, are often corseted, erotically drawn in a garish and generic, rather than individuated way. Streetwalkers, continental circus women, and men in uniforms populate the Lindner landscape
Richard Lindner died in 1978.

HOW IT ALL BEGAN



ROCK, ROCK.


PORTRAIT NUMBER 2



HOMAGE TO A CAT



PILLOW AND ALMOST A CIRCLE



5TH AVENUE



FUN CITY



THE MEETING



TELEPHONE



UNTITLED



MAN WALKING ROOSTER BY A CRESTED MOON



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Putin' My Oar In

We had the misfortune, on Monday evening, to accidentally find ourselves on CBS, late evening, when Stephen Colbert was interviewing Oliver Stone. Reason for the interview, as usual, was to advertise something, in this case Mr Stone's new series: 4-part interview with Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation.

There are video clips of the interview around the net today, along with commentary, I shall not link to any though, because I was disgusted, not as Colbert and his (probably auditioned and coached) audience were, i.e. with Oliver Stone's cheek for interviewing in courteous and friendly mode Russia's President Putin, Villain du Jour in the USA just now. My own disgust was with the animosity shown by Colbert to his guest; and by the rudeness of his audience to the show's guest. Having read some relevant threads of comment and opinion pieces today, I suspect I'm probably one of a tiny minority in my views on this...so be it.

I'm not anti-Russian these days, the USSR is no more, Russians in general are, and really always have been, much the same as we are; the USA and Russia could be friends, useful friends too. But NO..oooo, making Russia our friend can never be allowed!

Tsk!

I've scribbled about Oliver Stone in the past, two archived posts are HERE and HERE. I've grown to admire him, especially in regard to his political opinions.

I've never written anything about Stephen Colbert, until now. If you can't say anything good, to say nothing is supposed to be the best guideline, which I'm tempted to cross further but shall desist.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Bill Maher's Word Trouble

Something else in the news during my off-blog week: Bill Maher blotted his copybook - again. He had let slip the "n" word in response to something a Senator from Nebraska had said to him. I'll not repeat the context here, but link to a relevant article for detail - there are numerous others online.

http://variety.com/2017/biz/news/bill-maher-apologies-again-on-hbo-show-1202461271/

I long ago lost all admiration for Bill Maher, but I was an avid fan of his early on in my time in the USA. I hadn't ever marked him as racist though - west coast elitist limousine liberal, yes, Obama apologist, yes (cost him a $ million donation that did!) Anyway, he apologised immediately for his use of the "n" word, also apologised further, multiple times, in the following week's show. That show had several black guests who were given free rein to upbraid and school Maher which, it appears, they did with enthusiasm. Rapper, Ice Cube, declared that the "n" word is the property only of black people, white people are not allowed to use it. Hmmm. Perhaps the best plan would be if black people (especially rappers) didn't use the word either. Take it out of the human lexicon altogether throw it in the trash, burn it - that's what is truly needed. From a report of Ice Cube's other remarks, he had said something to the effect that Bill Maher sometimes sounds like "a redneck trucker". Is that term not objectionable too, thought I? Maybe the term redneck should be reserved only for use by that particular ilk, if Ice Cube's rules are to be followed.

There was likely, I discovered after reading commentary, another layer to Senator Ben Sasse's remark during Real Time. The remark by Nebraska's Republican Senator which caused Maher to respond as he did, possibly had a hidden anti-semitic barb within it. I had not realised this. After Maher said something about visiting Nebraska,
Sasse hit Maher with the comment, “We’d love to see you working in the fields with us.” Maher didn’t hear “with us” so much as “working in the fields.” It was a dog whistle. There’s an old antisemitic caricature of Jews as people who live in cities, who don’t know anything about good, hard, manual labor – not like the Godfearing Protestant Christian farm folk of Nebraska. [Words in italics are from a commenter, Bill Kilpatrick].
If that is a correct assessment, then I can see more clearly why Bill Maher responded, in knee-jerk fashion, instinctively, as he did. That in no way excuses him, but could explain his manner of response more clearly.

Ye gods! When will people in the USA stop with this race thing? Perpetuating it appears to be almost an industry. We are human, all of us. When will we learn? Will it take a visit from extra-terrestrials to bash this point into our thick skulls? If surprise alien visitors decided to do as depicted in an old episode of The Twilight Zone and make it their objective to "Serve Man", then we'd darn well deserve to be broiled or grilled, plated and eaten...And, by the way, we'd taste better with garlic!

Monday, June 12, 2017

"Moons and Junes and ....."

During my week off-blog a glut of news stories fought for prominence. I didn't read or listen to much from the hyper-ventilating writers and characters on TV - just enough to realise the core of events and results.

The face of James Comey greeted us each morn in the breakfast areas of our hotels, thankfully with TVs' sound muted. The moving news clips at foot of screens offered us as much as we needed, or wished, to be knowing. So far nothing of great value appears to have emerged, other than fodder for journalists, TV pundits and hyperbolic bloggers and commenters. A side-effect, for me, has been lots of hits on my June 2016 post about James Comey..."it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good".

I was interested to discover the UK's election result, however, and though Ms May held onto her position by the skin of her teeth, it was good to see Jeremy Corbyn's excellent showing. The UK's tide might, at last, be turning leftward after many years of conservative or pretend-left (à la Blair) experiences. The election result kind of mirrored USA's 2016 campaigns, with regard to Bernie Sanders' burgeoning support - though here that was undermined by You Know Who and her dastardly minions.

One result of the UK's election that I definitely dislike is Ms Mays' proposed linking up with the DUP - Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionists, in order to form a stronger government. A side effect of this could easily be a resurgence of those horrible hate-filled, blood-soaked and dangerous years of The Troubles. I trust not, but am not optimistic. Brexit ? It's going to be a rough ride!

It's Music Monday - let's see - what song would best reflect current atmospheres? I'm feeling a tad flummoxed in general - how about Joni Mitchell's song from the 1960s: "Both Sides Now" - here sung, for a change, by Judy Collins -



Rows and floes of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show
You leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say "I love you" right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

I've looked at life from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all.