Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fun with the Pollies

No doubt there are Australians who are deeply distressed by the present side-show involving Tony Abbott. For the sake of those in other countries who have no idea who he is, he is a deeply Conservative politician who was by one vote elected to lead the coalition of right-wing parties in the lower house of the Australian parliament when it was in opposition. By dint of the relentless repetition of childish slogans opposing in particular the carbon tax put in place to lower polution ('this great big tax') and assisted by the insanely self-destructive behaviour of the Labor government, he brought the Liberals (the Conbservatives in Australia call temselves Liberals, a misnomer if ever there was one) to power. Since then he has proved beyond doubt the old adage, 'How could we know he couldn't govern if he hadn't been elected.' He has proved certainly the most inept political leader any Australian political party has ever had, and within the past week (I write on 29 Januatry 2015) has by simple stupidity and stumbling brought himself to a position from which some commentators find it difficult to believe that he can survive.
But the point I wanted to make is - to repeat myself - that no doubt there are Australias who are deeply distressed by all this: certainly this will include members of the Liberal party, faced with the fact that the only way in which they can make ground would be to swallow their pride and dismiss Abbott in favour of Malcolm Turnbull, a more liberal Conservative (for that reason hated by the right wing of his party). Replacing him with those cronies who have pressed their noses firmly against his bottom for the past year simply will not solve the problem. But apart from members of the Coalition, I imagine that serious political commentators and philosophers who actually care about the country and wish to see it well governed (by whichever party) wil be seriously worried by the present state of affairs.
Unlike the rest of us, for whom this is - short of Punch and Judy -  the best free farce we have been able to enjoy for years.

What Mr Lilly thinks of Aquarians

Qualities of the Signe Aquarius   Is an aierial, hot and moyst Signe, of the aiery Triplicity, diurnal, sanguine, fixed, rational, humane; masculine, the principall house of Saturn, and house wherein he most rejoiceth; Westerne.
Sicknesse   Governeth the legs, Ancles, and all manner of infirmities incident to those members, all melancholy Winds coagulated in the Veines, or disturbing the Blood, Cramps, &c.
Places   Hilly and uneven places, places new digged, or where quarries of Stone are, or any Minerals have been digged up; in Houses, the roofs, eaves or upper parts; Vineyards, or neer some little Spring or Conduit-head.
Shape and Forme   In presents a squat, thick Corporature, or one of a strong, well composed Body, not tall; a long Visage, sanguine Complexiojn; if Saturn is Lord of this House, be in Caoricorn or Aquarius, the party is black in Haire, and in Complexion sanguine, with distorted Teeth; otherwayes, I have observed the party is of cleer, white or faire Complexion, and of sandy coloured Haire, or very flaxen, and a very pure Skin.
Kingdomes, Countries, Cities   Tartary, Croatia, Valachia, Westphalia in Germany, Piemont in Savoy, the West and South parts of Bavaria, Media, Srabia, Hamburgh, Breme, Montsfarat and Pisaurum in Italy, Trent, Tagelstad.

-          William Lilly, Christian Astrology (1647)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Neglected sculpture

I am very concerned at the state of Jan Torcrea's 'Father and Son' out at North Head Port Jackson, Australia. This late work of Torcrea's is overgrown and in serious need of cleaning and restoring. It is admittedly fenced off, so unlikely to be damaged - I gather this was done after an attempt to steal it in 1998 -, but the plaque giving the details and title of the work has long since vanished and should be replaced. It is sad that one of the few works of this most distinguished of lesser-known Australian sculptors (an early student of Henry Moore) exhibited outside his native town of Cooladdi has been allowed to get into such a state.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Terrorism lives!

London, Paris, Sydney - recent terrorist attacks seem to have almost paralised people's thought processes, and there is almost a feeling that at any minute one's life may be brought to an end by  some new almost random attack.Nothing new, really, however.- anyone who is tempted to be really frightened by the situatio might well ponder how things were 70 or so years ago: if you lived in England you were likely at any hour of the day or night to be carried off by a German bomb - and indeed the same was true in Germany, where the bomb would have been English. In the occupied countries any attempt to live a 'free' life was likely to bring you under the hand of the Gestapo, with consequences pretty much the same as those if today you live in an Islanic state. It is true that the enormities being perpetrated by the extreme Islamists probably almost equal those in the concentration camps of Europe in the 1940s; and then one can look for equal horrors to life in some areas of Africa. But then, look back through history and equally dreadful pograms are to be found on an annual basis. Men, it seems - mankind - is devoted to the idea of inflicting the utmost terror and pain on those who disagree with this position or that. It sometimes seems a positive relief that it looks as though within a century or so we will have destroyed the planet (2013 the hottest year so far ever recorded). It seems, at times, that all we can do is find what personal happiness we can in our own lives, and try not to feel to guilty about it.