Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What Mr Lilly thinks of Capricorn

Qualities of the Signe Capricorn   It’s the House of Saturn, and is Nocturnal, Cold, Dry, Melancholly, Earthly, Feminine, Solsticiall. Cardinall, Moveable, Domesticall, Fourfooted, Southerne; the exaltation of Mars.
Diseases   It hath government of the Knees, and all diseases incident to those places, either by Straines or Fractures; it notes Leprosy, the Itch, the Scab.
Places   It shewes an Oxe-house, or Cow house, or where Calves are kept or Tooles for Husbandry, or old Wood is laid up; or where Sailes for Ships and such Materials are stored; also Sheep-pens ad grounds where Sheepe feed, Fallow-grounds, barren-Fields Bushie and Thorny; Dunghils in Fields, or where Soyle is laid in houses low, dark places, neer the ground or threshold.
Corporature   Usually dry Bodies, not high of Stature, long, leane and slender Visage, thin Beard, black Haire, a narrow Chin, long small Necke and narrow Brest. I have found many times Capricorn ascending the party to have white Hair, but in the seventh ever Blacke, I conceive the whitenesse proceeded from the nature of the Family rather then of the Signs.
Kingdomes, Countries, Cities   Thrace, Macedon in Greec niow Turjkie, Albania, Bugaria, Saxony the South-west part, West-Indies, Stiria, the Isles Orcades, Oxford, Macklin, Clebes, Brandenburge.

-          William Lilly, Christian Astrology (1647)

Does God love children?

I'm always fascinated by the proposition that God loves children. There seems a long catalogue of events that suggests otherwise, from the Aberfan tragedy (a whole infants' school bured in mud) to the more recent massacre of over a hundred children by the Taliban. If one was a parent, and saw someone attacking one's child, I suggest one might intervene. God the Father (sic) who apparently is all-powerful, choses to look on and do nothing. Mind you he seems to hate all mankind, of whatever age, given his recent disinclination to intervene when two innocent people were murdered in a Sydney cafe, to say nothing of the wars that have decimated almost every country on earth since he  . . . oh yes, leaned against a cloud watching  his own son being murdered. Three cheers for Christianity? I think not. One of the sillier religions, I'd say. The only reason to wish that it were true is the sad thought that the Popes and all the rest will never know what nonsense it is, as they slip away into dark emptiness.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hurrah for Christmas?

Christmas comes, but once a year is enough.

'Still xmas is a good time with all those presents and good food and i hope it will never die out or at any rate not until i am grown up and hav to pay for it all.' - The Complete Molesworth (Geoffrey Willans)

The first rule in buying Christmas presents is to select something shiny. If the chosen object is of leather, the leather must look as if it had been well greased; if of silver, it must gleam with the light that never was on sea or land. This is because the wariest person will often mistake shininess for expensiveness.' - P. G. Wodehouse.

How to teach children that violence pays.

For many years I was a fan of Saturday afternoon wrestling on British TV - 'the grunt-'n-groan boys' as they were called. It was skilful, extrenely amusing, and with relatively little violence; simply whatever was necessary to score a fall. The American wresling shown now on TV is really appalling (though you will notice I still watch it, or how would I know?) There are occasional bouts which show some skill, but violence is the keynote, and sometimes is allowed to erupt outside the ring as well as inside. The referees really need scarcely be there at all for all the attention anyone pays them; wrestlers' managers are allowed at ring-side and often interfere in the action; and from time to time four or five guys gang up on someone who has won a bout and beat him into submission. I suppose the actual violence can't be as bad as it looks - no-one appears to suffer from broken bones, unless this is carefully edited out; but the general idea that violence is the way to win is certainly the keynote, and what that dioes to or for American yougnstes I can't imagine.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Keep your dreams to yourself!

The ABC radio news awakened me this morning from a long and extremely detailed dream, which for once I was able to 'fix' before it was forgotten (usually they slip through one's consciousness like fish and wriggle away before one can actually remember them). In another life, I would very much like to have researched dreams much more thoroughly than we did for the two books we wrote on the subject. It's clear that dreams can be 'interpreted' - are revealing, critical, helpful, though I'm sure occasionally (though rarely) meaningless. Maybe in time someone will invent a means of accessing and recording them - though this might be extremely embarrassing from time to time, and maybe new privacy laws would be necessary! Their sexual content still often shocks people, revealing tastes which in waking life they would reject as unreasonable or even offensive. Neither Freud nor Jung seemed to get this quite right - Freud indeed becomes laughable on the subject, when making such assertions as 'The tie is always a sexual symbol!'
For those whose first language is English, puns are often central to the interpretation of a dream. Once when we were for a time appearing on morning TV interpreting viewers' dreams, a young woman had dreamed that she was pulling a sweater overher head, and her head fell off. Clearly (and she admitted it) this referred to the fact that the 'wool had been pulled' over her head by a man over whom she had 'lost herr head'. In another case, a girl kept dreaming that she was desperate to go to Bristol, though in waking life she knew nothing about Bristol and certainly had no intention of going there. But she admitted to wanting breast implants - and in Cockney rhyming slang (and she was a Cocknet) Bristol = Bristol Cities = titties, i.e. breasts!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Tale for Mr Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch might like this anecdote: or not.

Frederick Greenwood, editor of 'The Pall Mall Gazette', met in his club one day Lord Riddell, and in the court of conversation Riddell said to him: 'You know, I own a paper.' 'Oh, do you?' said Greenwood; 'what is it?' 'It's called "The News of the World", said Riddell, "I'll send you a copy." In due course he did so. Next time they met, Riddell said, 'Well, Greenwood, what do you think of my paper?' 'I looked at it,' replied Greenwood, 'and then I put it in the wastepaper basket. And then I thought, "If I leave it there the cook may read it" - so I burned it.'

Just listen, why don't you?

So I've just yeard that during the past twelve months I've been on-air for no fewer than 178 hours and 30 minutes introducing classical music on Sydney's radio station Fine Misic 102.5, And what's nowhgere near the record - Stephen Wilson has done well over 400 hours! The station is completely run by volunteers, with together an enormous knowledge of music (including jazz). Without wanting to boast, I guess this is probably the best independant classical music station in the world, on-air for 24 hours a day every day of the year, with music from every composer from Bach and Monteverdi to Borodin and Mahler and Berlioz to Britten and Tippett and Copland and Adams. Have a listen - we broadcast streaming from finemusicfm.com
Music, ho!