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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Going, going . . .

April 1 and a quarter of 2015 gone already. Can you believe it? All too well. What is the explanataion for time appearing to pass so much more quickly when one grows old? Compare a week, now, with a week when one was five, and it seemed to last forever - the agony of having to wait a whole month for one's birthday. And so on. I read somewhere that scientists are ivestigating the lives of insects who live for only for a day, or even a few hours; the theory being that time passes much morre slowly for them, so that a life of a day seems to them to be a life-span of years. If the explanation could be discovered, maybe a quick injection and at 85 one would still be experiencing a 'normal' life-time, instead of one in which a weekly shopping expedition comes round every second day. Now finding a way to slow down time's winged chariot - that would be useful,

Monday, March 30, 2015

For all you bloggers who down-load ebooks

Hi! Here's Julia's latest news.

I've just put two volumes of an action-packed family saga on the net

If you like good page-turners, lots of intermingled story lines set in various locations and involving some sixty three characters and more, these books are definitely for you!    
The story kicks off with a family of four - actually, my own ancestors - about to emigrate from Plymouth, England, to Sydney, Australia. During their six weeks' voyage they encounter other passengers, all of whom have a powerful influence on their very different lives.
The two books cover the period from 1882 - 1893, and you can expect  to become involved in the  successes and setbacks of the the Tapsons' building and fashion businesses. There are passionate, sexy encounters leading to  romance and weddings -and  a birth and death or two, along with a disastrous fire. The theme of our main characters rising in the social scale makes form an  interesting background, while the plot moves through a number of different countries.

The novel is called Coming South, and because it is a lengthy saga with such a broad picture of life in nineteenth century England and Australia, I've published it in two volumes - Volume One, and Volume Two: I'm sure that once you get stuck into Volume One you'll find it pretty impossible not  to go on to Volume Two - you'll just have to find out what happens next!  

So if holidays are ahead, or long flights - or whatever - I think you'll find it good to get involved with Mary, Fred, Susan and John . . .  and then there are many more, such as Agatha and Orlando - not forgetting his horse Zenobia!

Don't forget - you DON'T need to have a Kindle to read these books - you can download them in any of the many media, such as your ipad or even your phone!

'I saw you on television'

Last night I appeared very briefly pm ABC TV, asing a question on the Australian debating programmme Q&A. I suppose I was on the screen for perhaps twenty seconds. This morning a woman came up to me: 'You were on television last night. And your wife. She looked so beautiful.' I asked hokingly, 'Would you like to touch me?' 'Oh, yes!', she said enthusiastically, and grasped my hand. Extraordinary. I certainly wouldn't remember the face of someone I saw on a similar programme for twenty seconds, unless there was something remarkably characteristic about his or her face., which I had to say I don't think is the case in this instance. Dear me, the power of TV - or some people's remarkable addiction to it.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Keep paedophilia in the family

A ten-year-old girl was accosted by a man in a local park recently. She dodged him and rushed home and her mother called the police. Latet the girl's teacher took her aside to ask what had happened at the police station. 'They showed me photos of men to see if I could find the one who had spoken to me in the park.' 'Did you?' asked the teacher. 'No,' replied the girl, 'But I saw one of Uncle Fred.'

Friday, March 27, 2015

Abortion

Students at the University of California were asked by a professor at the department of Medical History for their reaction to the following:
'The father has syphilis, the mother tuberculosis. They have had four children - the first blind, the second died, the third was deaf and dumb, the fourth had tuberculosis. The mther is pregnant with her fifth child. The parents are willing to have an abortion. You have to make the decision.'
Most of the students voited in favour of abortion. Mr Agnew's comment was: 'Congratulations. You have just murdered Beethoven.'

Calling all dancers and good movers!

Hi Julia here!     My ballet teacher had a wonderful series of aphorisms which kept being called out to us! One favourite was 'make friends with the floor!'   This came into my mind about three weeks ago while I was having  one of my Pilates sessions with Brad Leeon who,as well as being a superb Pilates practitioner as an ex- dancer and with a number of other techniques and disciplines in  his experience, as we were working on balance, he said that I must keep groundedboth  excellent and very similar advice.   The following week  we were working on my balance again and  he suggested that I should try to feel light and free. I came home in a thoughtful mood and began to think that this  was a contradiction in terms.   Keeping light and feel grounded?    So at my last lesson I discussed this with him.  Meanwhile I'd  come to the conclusion that one needed to feel grounded up to various areas of the body, so that for instance, if one was executing something lyrical from the waist  up and needed to keep the lower half of the body very still and controlled, it would be from that area right down that needed to be 'grounded'  He didn't quite agree with me and he felt that the only area of the body that should always to be kept grounded were the feet.  Surely this makes masses of sense in many respects, especially if when en pointe and  psychologically we  are trying to free the weight of the body away from our poor toes!    I leave  the thought with you - no doubt we' ll be taking this theme even further in my next session!   I'll keep you Blogged -  have a little experiment!  Cheers for now - Julia!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

on Vladimir Putin

I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to lighten his load by all possible means - except by getting off his back.      - Tolstoy

The triumph of demagogues is short-lived. But the ruins are eternal.     

Tyrrany is always better organised than freedom.     - Peguy

Nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise.   - Bacon

He who is in love with himself has at least this advantage - he won't encounter many rivals in his love.     - Lichtenberg

Those who insist on thhe dignity of their office show they have not deserved it.     - Cravian.

He who has the greatest power put into his hands will only become the more impatient of any restraint in the use of it.     - Hazlitt

People who have power respond simply. They have no minds but their own.     - Ivy Compton Burnett

However many people a tyrant slaughters he cannot kill his successor.     Seneca


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Jeremy Clarkson

I first have to admit that I don't remember seeing a single programme in which Jeremy Clarkson appeared, and nothing I have heard about him has ever made me feel I wanted to do so. I would suggest that the millions - it seems - of viewers who signed a petition inviting the BBC to re-engage him, after he had not for the first time become enraged about something as simple as the catering arrangements on his show, raged at and everually physically assaulted his producer, should consider for a moment whether any emoployee of any company or organisation anywhere would be exused for such behaviour.
A career as a parking attendant is probably now the best he can hope for.
Good.

Reading

Reading is not idleness - any more than listening to music or looking at picturess - it is the passive, receptive side of civilisation without which the active and creative would be meaningless. It is the immortal spirit of the dead realized within the bodies of the living.

- Stephen Spender, Journal 1980-2, 1 January 1980 (p.399)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

God's divine obtuseness

God gave his angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; mouths justice and invented hell - mouths mercy and invented hell - mouths Golden Rules and forgiveness multiplied by seventy times seven and invented hell; mouths morals to other people and has none himself; frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the reponsibility for man's acts upon  man, instead of honourably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites the poor, abused slave to worship him!

- Mark Train, The Mysterious Strangers.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Elephants in the room

Bertrand Russell, when giving a lecture about the evidence of the senses, asked if anyone could seriously doubt that there were no elephants in the room. Wittgenstein, who was in the audience, said that he could and, after the lecture, the two of them were to be seen crawling about on all fours looking under tables and behind chairs trying to establish whether or not there were in fact any eephants lurking there.

- told by Mary Furness; Times Literary Supplement, December 3, 1976 (p.1518)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Universe 'a great thought'

Today there is a wide measure of agreement, which on the physical side of science approaches almost to unanimity, that the stream of knowlede is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the univrse begins to look for like a great thought than a great machine.'
- Sir James Jeans, Rede Lectures, 1933!

Friday, March 20, 2015

What Mr Lilly thinks of Aries



Qualities of the Sign Aries   Is a Masculine, Diurnal Sign, movable, Cardinall, Equinoctiall; in nature fiery, hot and dry, cholericke, bestial, luxurious, intemperate and violent: the diurnall house of Mars, of the Fierie Triplicity, and of the East.
Diseases   All Whelkes, Pimples in the Face, small Pocks, hare Lips, Polyps, Ringwormes, Falling-sickness, Apoplexies, Megrims, Tooth-ach and Baldnesse.
Places Aries Signifieth   Where Sheep and small Cattle doe feed or use to be, sandy and hilly Grounds, a place of refuge for Theeves (as some unfrequented place); in Houses, the Covering, Seeling or Plastering of it, a Stable of small Beasts, Lands newly taken in, or newly plowed, or where Bricks have been burned or Lyme.
Shape and Description   A dry Body, not exceeding in height, leane or spare, but lusty Bones, and the party in his Lineaments strong; the Visage long; black Eyebrows, a long Neck, thick Shoulders, the Complexion dusky browne or swarthie.
Kingdoms, Countries and Cities subject to Aries   Germany, Burgundy, France, England, Denmark, Silesia the higher, Judea, Syria.   Florence, CApua, Naples, Ferrara, Verona, Utrecht, Marseilles, Augusta, Caeserea, Padua, Bergamo.
-          William Lilly, Christian Astrology (1647)


How not to succeed

'Let everyone mind his own business and endeavour to be what he was made. Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him keep step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Thoreau.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Meteors

'Stones don't come at us from the sky for nothing. Either it's like when a man tosses an apple to you out of his orchard, as you go by. Or it's like when someone shies a stone at you, to cut your head open. You'll never make me believe the sky is like an empty house with a slate falling from the roof. The world has its own life, the sky has a life of its own, and never is it like stones rollling down a rubbish heap and falling into a pond. Many things twitch and tweitter within the sky, and many things happen beyond us. My own way of thinking is my own way.'
- Lewis, the groom, to Mrs Witt, on seeing  meteor - from D. H. Lawrence's St Mawe.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How to find your keys

The Mulla Nasrudin was seen on his knees in the street looking for his key. A helpful passer-by asked where he dropped it. 'At home.' 'Then why, for heaven's sake, are you looking here?' 'There is more light here.'
- Idries Shah, 'The Sufis'.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Style

The style of a man is the direct result of his passion for life. Learning and scholarship are of small value here. Style is the affirmation of a man's heightened awareness of existance and always grows up from within, from out of the marrow of his bones.

-Llewellyn Powys (from a letter to Warner Tayloe)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Down with Music and Dancing

If you would have your son soft, womanish, unclean, smooth-mouthed, affected to bawdry, scurrility, filthy rhymes and unseemly talking, briefly if you would have him, as it were, transnatured into a woman or worse, and inclined to all kinds of whoredom and abomination, set him to dancing school and to learn Music, and then you shall not fail of your purpose. And if you would have your daughter riggish, bawdy and unclean, and dancing, and a filthy speaker and suchlike, bring her up in music and dancing and, my life for yours, you have won the goal!

-Philip Stubbes, The Anatomy of Abuses, 1583.

For all critics of astrology

With regard to the Zodiac, the circle of the twelve signs  that rotates at the peak of heaven, I think one should be silent, lest an obscure and profound subject, which requires a lengthy kind of explanation of its matter, be defamed and cheapened, should it be explicated by a paltry train of interpretation, especially since the skill of the astrological art and the complex reckoning of the horoscope require the laborious investigation of the expert.

- St Adhelm 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

For all dog lovers, please

Hi Julia here!    Did you know that grapes are toxic for dogs?   Please read on.   For a long time we when  we had them, we would give our dog a grape when we had them.   We thought that he had a sensitive stomach and so our vet at the time gave us something to settle his stomach. we then learned that it  was the odd grape that upset his balance and from then on his tummy was okay. . . all this was fine until yesterday. . . read on -
 We left our two fox terriers Crim and Fille in the living room as usual, as went went off to the supermarket.   When we got back I noticed lots of bits of twig on the floor.   They had got up to the dining table and stolen the remains of a sizable bunch of grapes.   I  immediately phoned our vet who told us to bring them in.    Fortunately they'd scoffed them within the hour.   They were made to vomit, but they were at serious risk for renal failure, so since yesterday morning (10th of March) they are on a drip and in the vet's hospital.   We will know how they are later this afternoon (11th of March).   They might be clear of the toxins and the risk will have been checked; but we could well have to wait for another twenty four hours before we can bring them home.   As this was an accident we hope our pet insurance will help out of the huge bill of well over $1000 Australian dollars.      So many people don't know that grapes are very bad for dogs, so  please spread the word around and ask your vet to put up a notice to that effect.    As fox terriers Crim abd Fille (Pronounced 'fee') at eight and nine year olds are in their prime.  This breed live a good long time - that is if we make the effort to check their naughty  stealing habits!!    I'll keep you blogged!


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Ineffectual Obama?

What strange people the Americans are. I was listening to Obama's remarkably inspiring speech from Selma, and reflectig on the wisdom of electing a man like that to lead the country. Then I remembered that the electors have gone on, for the wole of his two terms, to elect representatives who have opposed him at every turn, making it almost impossible for him to achieve fully anything he wanted to do. And now he is being condemned as 'an ineffectual President.' Madness - utter madness.