Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Israel, Hamas, and general idiocy.

One has to be pretty cautious with one's Jewish friends, these days, though a good number of them are beginning to wonder whether Israel hasn't gone too far in the war against Palestine. It's a sad business. I supported the establishment of the state of Israel, though a little leary of the act if terrorism with which they started out; but I have to say that during the past decade or so I have become less and less sympathetic to the state, what with its continually illegal building of Jewish houses on what by any account is Palestinian land; and now they are clearly going to bomb their 'enemies' into submission, however many children and woman and indeed innocent men are killed in the process. It would really be good if a new leader emerged to take the place of the present bomb-happy loon, but it seems that a sufficient number of Israelis support his actions to keep him in place.
The above is not intended to support the bombing of Israel by Hamas, which clearly the action of terrorists. However, if one compares the number of women and children and even soldiers killed by Hamas rockets with the number of  children killed by Israeli bombs, it is clear that the term 'aggressor' does not apply only to Hamas. And as for the children killed while playing on the Palestinian beach and in the Palestinian school, who Israel claim were killed by fault Hamas rockets - phooey. That story has been told too often to be credible.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Life is too short to temper chocolate

O.K., the decision has been made. After great consideration I am embarking on a campaign to return cooking to the early 1950s, when after the shortages of the war everyone was delighted that Butter, cream, good meat and wines were again available - and when especially from France came the finest and best period of cooking, reigned over by the sainted Elizabeth David. Back, even, to the great days of Alexandre Dumas. Away with these tiny meals on enormous plates - vegetables disguised as twigs and pieces of string and cooked for microseconds, everyone terrified at the idea of a small spoonful of cream. Back to the good old days of rich food drenched in cream and brandy, potatoes cooked in half-pounds of butter, plates overflowing with food dripping with rich sauces. Join me - to hell with nouveau cuisine and long long lists of things on packets which are allegedly bad for you. Onward and upward to the very heights of deliciousness; drink cabbage water if you must, revel in the delights of undercooked brussels sprouts. Life is too short to temper chocolate.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The porn's just not exciting enough

Do anonymous ladies and gentlemen telephone you from time to time to warn you that your computer is dangerously faulty, and you should hand it over to them immediately and pay a large fee to have them repair it? Here's a way to get rid of them: I simply ask, 'Oh, are you the people who provide my porn channel? I've been wanting to contact you.' There's a stunned silence; before they can start again, you go on: 'Really the porn has been getting very mild lately - there's more exciting porn in The Daily Telegraph. Could you please send me some stronger stuff?' The noise of someone having some kind of nervous attack is heard. 'Maybe', you say, 'you need to see what you've been sending me recently. If you give me your email address I'll send you a copy of The Bishop Meets Miss Whip . . .'
There is a click from the other end as the receiver is hurriedly replaced.
Honestly - it works.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Kindly speak clearly . . .

I do wish that computer help-lines would employ men and women who speak clear English. I really haven't a racist bone in my body, and I have liked and enjoyed meeting every Indian I have ever encountered, but oh, I am very tired indeed of trying to understand the Indian voices which always seem to answer when I attempt to consult the help-lines. What with indifferent telephone lines to wherever in Indian the office happens to be, a slight hearing problem and the often extremely heavy accents, I have just given up trying to understand them and either live with the problem or search around until I find some in the neighbourhood who can help. I understand that the problem arises for financial reasons, but if the computer companies realized just how much they are frustrating so many customers, they might think again.
End of rant!

Monday, July 21, 2014

What Mr Lilly Thinaks of Cancerians

Qualities of the Sign Cancer   Is the onely house of the Moon, and is the first Sign of the Watry or Northern Triplicity, is Watry, Cold, Moyst, Flegmatick, Feminine, Nocturnal, Moveable, a Solstice Signe, mute and slow of Voyce, Fruitful, Northerne.
Diseases   It signifies Imperfections all over, or in the Brest, Stomack and Paps, weak Digesnion, cold Stomack, Ptifick, salt Flegms, roten Coughs, dropsicall Humours, Impostumations in the Stomach.
Places Cancer signifieth   The sea, great Rivers, Navigable Waters; but in the Inland Countries it notes places neer Rivers, Brooks Springs, Wels, Cellars in Houses, Wash-houses, Marsh grounds, Ditches with Rushes, Sedges, Sea banks, Trenches, Cisternes.
Shape and Description   Gene4rally a low and smal stature, the upper parts of more bignesse then the lower, a round Visage; sickly, pale, a whitely Complexion, the Haire a sad browne, little Eyes, prone to have many Children, if a Woman.
Kingdoms, Countries and Cities subject to Cancer   Scotland, Zealand, Holland, Prussia, Algier, Constantinople, Venice, Millan, Genoa, Amsterdam, Yorke, Magdeburg, Wittenburg, Saint-Lucas, Cadiz.
-          William Lilly, Christian Astrology (1647)

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Hello!   Like everybody I am shattered by the shooting down of an innocent passenger plane in what can only be called an act of war; everyone will have their own responses to it.   What hit me very forcibly was the shot on TV of searchers looking for bodies in that beautiful field of Sunflowers.   To me it was reminiscent of the association of poppy fields with the dead of the First World War.   Then parents of one of the Australian casualties remarked, 'Our son died in the sky -  and we look up,  thinking of him still up there!'    Surely this is the  best kind of spiritual and positive way to begin to come to terms with their dreadful loss.
Love, Julia

Friday, July 18, 2014

So You Think They Can Dance - II

Well, yes, alright - they can. This week's programme - the first with the top 20 - had some dazzling routines, including one which the judges quite properly said was one of the best in the who  series of these programmes. So I apologise! Great stuff - as long as the American public don't or didn't vote out the best dancers just because the others were prettier. However, on the present evidence, they all deserve to succeed.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Calling all dancers:

Hi you gals and guys!        I have been reading that really excellent magazine Dance Australia, and learned that at present there is in Brisbane Queensland a  new production of The Red Shoes, which is fascinating, since it seems to do more than just pay homage to the 1948 cult movie.   When it came out we kids would go to it and as, in those long lost days, performances were continuous, sit through it twice!.   Since then I've never lost touch with this much-loved movie, always seeing it when it was screened anywhere, and more recently I acquired the digitized DVD.   The full Red Shoes ballet in the movie was remarkable,with the beautiful Moira Shearer, Robert Helpmann and many others.  I   think this new production should be great - certainly such an inventive original movie ballet deserves re-birth, and although I'm in Sydney and I know I'll not be able to get up to Brisbane to see its performance by The Expressions Dance Company I'm with it all the way !   
Incidentally, the movie has a dramatic - to say the least - story surrounding the ballet itself, and is well acted by all concerned.   If you have never seen  it look it out. What's also interesting is that there are several rehearsal shots in it, and also there's part of the movie's company's class. Look carefully at those barre exercise!.   We've come along way technically since then and oh what  a different shape those dancers were! But not Miss Shearer herself, who died not very long ago.  I must tell you, a few years ago we were touring by car in the South of France.   I suddenly shouted to Derek to stop!   I noticed we were at the bottom of  a long flight of steps leading to a house.   'Look darling,' I said, that's where  Vicky Page in her marvelous peacock green  Jacques Fath gown, rushed up to  to be told to go home to bed, as the next day she had to start rehearsals for their new  ballet - The Red Shoes ! '
Bye for now.    
P.S. - my blog about pirouettes was obviously popular so at the moment I'm giving thought to Attitudes!  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

So you think they can dance?

Why does the American version of the TV show 'So you think you can dance' get huge viewing figures while the Australian version 'failed' because relatively few viewers watched it? Is it because the Aussies actually danced, while the Americans seem at the moment to be concentrating on something which while it is often amusing and sometimes gymnastically interesting doesn't resemble anything I would call dancing? I suppose it's the old maxim about no-one ever failing because they address the lowest common denominator: the audience is presumably aged  predominantly somewhere between 14 and 25, and to watch ballet would to them be rather like being forced to read a book. What they want is something which they can relate to street life, or at east t something they see about them . . . nothing wrong with that, but maybe the programme should be re-titled, something like 'So you think you can jig about a bit'? O.K., I'm being harsh - the auditions, which are being shown at the moment, clearly reveal some remarkable dancers - it's just that the show is so obviously being dumbed down. When it actually gets going, we may see a difference as the top fifteen or twenty have to interpret real choreograpohy. Let's hope so.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Politics, politics

To Julia's frustration, I have been rather a fan of Parliamentary Question Time ever since Parliament in the UK began to appear on television. Of course it has, sadly, nothing to do with serious politics - which is a pity, because it was designed to hold the Government to account by giving the opposition the opportunity to question the Government  ministers without notice on as many awkward questions as could be thought up. I think before radio and TV was allowed into the British House of Commons, this probably happened; but the moment MPs realized that 'the country' was listening, the rot set in, and now - and it is as bad in Australia as it was and is in the UK - Opposition questions are never properly answered, and questions from Government MPs are carefully 'placed' - handed out in fact by Ministers to ordinary MPs who are expected to read them from the slips of paper: today, every single question asked by Government Members had a line in them about 'the world's largest carbon tax' (actually a questionable statement) making it absolutely crystal clear that they were not genuine questions, but were supplied in order to allow the Ministers the opportunity to give little speeches  attacking the Opposition's record when in Government. In short, the whole operation is a waste of time - except that, rather like American style all-in wrestling, it does provide a spectacle of mindless and 'fixed' antagonism which I enjoy it rather as I enjoy watching the wrestling, slightly ashamed of myself for doing so. Is there such a thing in America, in the Senate? I rather hope not - though doubtless if there is, it is used for political purposes in much the same way.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dogs, dogs . . .

Crim is the introvert, Fille the extravert. He had an unfortunate childhood: a show dog, he won several prizes for his owner, who liked showing dogs but wasn’t very keen on them as beings – the first thing she did was have his vocal chords cut because he barked too much! He was rescued by a breeder friend of ours, who asked if we could take him. He was fairly shy at first and Fille had to teach him how to run and behave normally, because all he’d known was trotting obediently around the show ring. He’s now fine – but exceptionally loving and affectionate, and sometimes just sits staring into one’s eyes as though to say, ‘You’re not sending me back to her, are you?’ Fille, on the other hand – her name incidentally, is French – fille as in daughter, because she was the daughter of Toorak, the dog we brought out from England when we came to Australia to settle – she is the complete extravert, loving and affectionate when there is something in it for her (mainly food); she rules Crim with an iron paw, and he gives in to her every whim obediently climbing down from a cushion if she wants to sit on it, allowing her to finish off his meals . . . During the day they inhabit the couch (towels spread for them to lie on); he gets down obediently on the strike of six o’clock, when the humans take over the couch for the evening drink. She usually has to be turfed off, with grunts of disapproval.  I have to say that if they live as long as most of our previous dogs I shall be taking them on their morning walk when I’m well into by nineties. But hey – who’d be without dogs?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Salutations aux Francaix!

Salutations! Ravis que tant de visiteurs de ce blog sont de belle France. Nous serons toujours heureux de vous accueillir!


Notoriously difficult to write about really good opera performances; easier to pick holes. So when I say that tonight’s Otello was one of the very best-sung I’ve ever heard, in I suppose well over sixty years of opera-going, I’ve more or less said it all. This New Zealand tenor Simon O’Neill  must certainly be  among the finest heldentenors now performing, and Claudio Sgura was a properly dark Iago, robust but never more melodramatic than the music demands. Lianna Haroutounuian a very moving Desdemona. The chorus – as ever – completely in charge of their work, especially in the magnificent opening scene. The elderly production held up well – though what was with the tattered hole in the ceiling? – some calamity there, I fancy. The acting as good as one can expect of fine singers – and that’s especially welcome in Otello, which can seem pretty silly (that Desdemona’s a  fool to herself, carrying on with Cassio when she knows it upsets hubby). Altogether, vocally one of the finest evenings at the Opera House for several seasons.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Another of our astrology books is waking up again!

Hi gals and guys!    Yes, Derek is now working hard on putting our  LIFE SIGNS - An Astrological   Guide to the Way we Live - on the net, re-titled Astrology at Home   I must say it's a book I have been pleased about since it was published some time ago.   It's based on the Sun-Signs, so it's easy to follow, and each sign has a really big crack of the whip!    It  covers all spheres of life with what I hope is a delicious, revealing and interesting emphasis on our love and sex lives, lots about parenting, and the sign members as children, but career hints, finances, and lots more all come under my microscope.   It will be a few weeks before it actually appears, and I'll let you know when it's ready for you to download, because I think you'll not only enjoy it, but identify with many of my comments, and I hope too get a new perspective on what your special sign can do for you, and of course as ever with my books, I don't think for a moment you'll be bored!   More news about it later.    All the best - always Julia!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

What's this Sun-Sign business?

Your Sun-sign - sometimes called 'star-sign' - is the section of the ecliptic through which the Sun is passing at the time of your birth. This is for convenience called by the name of the constellation which occupied that space over two thousand years ago, though the sign no longer completely matches its original zodiac sign. Now seen  by the geneal public as probably the most important astrological consideration, the idea of the 'Sun-sign' dates from 1930; before then, traditionally, the Ascendant or Rising-sign had been considered the more significant of the two. The Sun-sign was thought to portray the hidden personality - that part of one's personality know, if at all, only by one's partner or intimate friends - while the Ascendant showed the outward and obvious personality traits.

Sun-sign astrology - in which the sign occupied by the Sun at the time of birth is the sole factor used to describe a person - began effectively in 1930 with a newspaper column in the English Sunday Express newspaper, when the astrologer R. H. Naylor was commissioned by the editor to write an article examining he birth-chart of Princess Margaret, who had been born on 21 August. This provoked considerable interest, and Naylor was invited to write a series of articles. In the first of the series, published on 5 October 1930, Naylor wrote that British aircraft were likely to be in danger. On the day of publication it was announced that the airship R-101, en route to India with a distinguished group of passengers, had crashed in France with 48 fatalities. Not unnaturally, the newspaper capitalized on Naylor's apparent prediction, he was given much increased space, and soon became the first nationally-known astrologer. Naylor realised quickly that he should find a way of involving all his readers, and since everyone knew the date of his or her birth, he simply published a list of the dates when the Sunpassed through each Zodiac sign, and wrote twelve paragraphs, one for each of them. Within a very short time, people began asking each other 'What's your sign?' and there began the overwhelming interest in astrology which created a number of astrologer millionaires.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Advice for a good life

If you're not familiar with the work of Steven Wright, he's the famous scientist who once said:
"I woke up one morning, and all of my stuff had been stolen and replaced by exact duplicates." He sees things differently than most of us.
Here are some of his gems:

1 - I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.

2 - Borrow money from pessimists -- they don't expect it back.

3 - Half the people you know are below average.

4 - 99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

6 - A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.

7 - A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

8 - If you want the rainbow, you have got to put up with the rain.

9 - All those who believe in psycho kinesis, raise my hand.

10 - The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

11 - I almost had a psychic girlfriend, ....... But she left me before we met.

12 - OK, so what's the speed of dark?

13 - How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?

14 - If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

15 - Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

16 - When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

17 - Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.

18 - Hard work pays off in the future; laziness pays off now.

19 - I intend to live forever... So far, so good.

21 - Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

22 - What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

23 - My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."

24 - Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

25 - If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

26 - A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

27 - Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

28 - The hardness of the butter is proportional to the softness of the bread.

29 - To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.

30 - The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.

31 - The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up.

32 - The colder the x-ray table, the more of your body is required to be on it.

33 - Everyone has a photographic memory; some just don't have film.

34 - If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

And the all-time favourite -

35 - If your car could travel at the speed of light, would your headlights work?