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