Thursday, 29 December 2011

Cyd Charisse

What a cracker!! I always thought Cyd Charisse was a bloke ! Take that Strictly...

What I love with this post on you tube was the labelling:
Sinuosi, sensuali, coordinati, unici!

Mark Twain on Death

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”
― Mark Twain

Bertrand Russell on Smoking

Hilarious !  Dedicated to those of us who are going to quit in 2012...

A man for our times ?

The picture of Dorian Gray (Ivan Albright)
From the 1945 Classic based on Oscar Wildes only published Novel (1890)

The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian's beauty and becomes infatuated with him, believing his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil's, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry's world view. Espousing a new hedonism, Lord Henry suggests the only things worth pursuing in life are beauty and fulfillment of the senses. Realizing that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian (whimsically) expresses a desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait Basil has painted would age rather than he. Dorian's wish is fulfilled, plunging him into debauched acts. The portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging.  (taken from wikipeas)

Monday, 26 December 2011

Twelth night January 6th - Epiphany.

An Ephiphany Carol.


1. ( initial capital letter ) a Christian festival, observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day.
2. an appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity.
3. a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
4. a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, such a moment of revelation and insight.

1275–1325; Middle English epiphanie  < Late Latin epiphanīa  < Late Greek epipháneia, Greek:  apparition, equivalent to epi- epi-  + phan-  (stem of phaínein  to appear) + -eia -y3

Single leaf from a gradual:
Initial E with the Adoration of the Magi, January 6
Lombardy, Italy, 1490-1510
Script: Rotunda
Parchment with ink, paint, and gold
Notation: Square

This initial begins the introit for the Feast of the Epiphany: Ecce advenit Dominator Domine (Behold, He is come, the Lord the Ruler).
The leaf shown here has perspective and detail that is not displayed in earlier illustration processes. The Star in the East is prominent in the picture, as is one of the adoring kings, who is quite literally in the very center of the initial. However, attention is appropriately paid by all other figures in the foreground to the baby Jesus. There is a ship in the background, which might signify an escape plan: God warned them in a dream “that they should not return to Herod, they [should depart] into their own country another way” (Matthew 2:1). The initial is clearly a product of the early Renaissance period, as the artist has clothed the subjects of this decoration with heavy gowns and sleeves of the 15th century, donned the soldiers in the background with armor of that period, and painted a ship with a 15th-century gallery and mast.


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Midwinter is upon us- Happy Solstice, and Wassail !


Some Nuggets 
off the back 
O’ Yellowhammer’s 
Wagon :
Sage is a good all round healing herb and delicious is stuffing this time of year.  It's leaf has the appearance of snake skin.
Medically it can be used to combat indigestion, and night sweats. It also boosts liver function.  

Mix a few drops of sage and rose or mandarin essential oils and dilute with vodka to create a room spray , pick me up purifying vibes ...
[The vodka is neutral alcohol and evaporates leaving the fragrance behind, unlike water which may stain]

Building a fire and staring at candles. A wintry must.


Winter’s supposed to be really cold but isn’t - there’s still plenty of berries around for the littleuns.  

Time to meditate on the skills of winter survival..

Cunning, stealth, persistence... Arctic fox as a totem can teach us the ability to go with the flow of life, changing ourselves to suit our ever-evolving environments.
Let it be and Follow the fox...

The Astronomy :
See the hours of daylight and sunise/sunset for my part of the world :
Dec 218:07 AM3:57 PM7h 50m 12s

Dec 228:07 AM3:57 PM7h 50m 11s

Dec 238:08 AM3:58 PM7h 50m 16s

Dec 248:08 AM3:59 PM7h 50m 27s

Dec 258:08 AM3:59 PM7h 50m 46s

Dec 268:09 AM4:00 PM7h 51m 10s

Dec 278:09 AM4:01 PM7h 51m 41s

Winter cocktail:

1/4 vodka, 1/4 Grand Marnier. 1/2 Fizz
Ice to taste.
Best drunk round a bonfire from a mug.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Good with a sherry

The Fool

No I dont mean Andrew Marr - I mean the Tarot Card -  or to the layman, the Joker in the Deck of playing cards:  the lightweight gambling descendant of the Book of Truth..

The Fool is card 0 of the 22 Major Arcana of the Tarot and the Way of potential in the Kabbalah  - He is the representation of the Human Soul and it's leap of faith into the unknown material world.
The rest of the Tarot deck and the Kabbalah attempt to describe his journey in life.
He travels light and with the laws of nature to hand and is the symbol of true innocence, a perfect state of joy and freedom.
The Fool has the number 0, for someone ready to go in any direction, open to all possibilities.
He belongs nowhere, has no past, but an infinite future.
Every moment is a new beginning. ..
The Fool knows no difference between possibility and reality, the zero means a total lack of hope and fear, the Fool suspects and plans nothing.
He reacts directly to the current situation, nothing is calculated, nothing is hidden.
May be this is why he has a reputation for being a bit daft.
I like him though.

Mind and Media

Anyone else noticed we are being led down the wrong path as a group  ?

Then read on..

This is a list of some of the ways I believe society is being discouraged from thinking straight and drawing sound or happy conclusions.

It is inspired by Mark Passio.

1. Obfuscation - idea presented relates to the opposite of what is the important aspect of the issue.  Concealing the nub of the debate.
who does it: politicians, businessmen, think tanks, talk shows, newspapers.
effect: person listening thinks the topic is beyond them or too complex, or that everyones viewpoint is equal.   Or that there are just two opposite views to consider - over simplification. Or they just have an emotional response. Lowered self esteem.
Confused mind maps result in confused behaviour and thoughts, leaving decision making to others even though unsure of their intent. 

TRY : using critical thinking to analyse the main points being made and their relevance.
(see more posts coming up) .

2. The perpetuation of the idea man is born evil and acts evil.
Who does it: newspapers love this.
Effect: World view poisoning. Divide and conquer - Person can see others as separate and dangerous. focus on differences between people...or feels sad.
Find oneself saying things like 'Its human nature for man to have wars'.
Giving up on utopian thought and manifesting a fear of a dystopian future.
Nothing matters as it will keep happening...

TRY : seeing others as all in the same boat with you and a few people at the top acting irresponsibly.
Spark up imagine by John Lennon next time you have a coffee.

3. Exploitation of primal fears
Who does it : Film and TV are allowed to do this aided by distributors and government bodies- disgusting murders, evil poltergeists, beasts of the night - you name it -  it could be you next!.or may be you just enjoy seeing others suffer? Weird. Have you asked Why?
Effect: heightened state of energy, not calm required for logic and consistency. 
Desensitisation to pain and death encourages a lack of caring towards fellow beings.
Lowering the importance of other fears - Like the fear of someone enslaving your children in a debt driven monetry system. 
Desire for danger.  This could cause problems for some younger people who lack experience.

TRY : completely avoiding watching it and channel excitement elsewhere (not the bottle!) - physical activity good.  Or at least watch a plain thriller if you like the hit.

4. Perception management and denial of information - links in with no.1.
Who does it: Whoever is in charge of mass media
Effect: intelligent people have their scope of awareness limited by missing facts and whole stories completely, and thus their solutions are also limited. Overeliance on commentators, or celebrities even, for forming opinions.

TRY: Not watching the news and doing own research on the web for a topic of interest.

5. Illusion of time.

Who does this : Well we all do it to each other, but it is encouraged.
Effect: Person lives with regret for the past (eg Guilt of empire) or fear for the future (nuclear war, societal collapse, dead polar bears etc). and doesn't concentrate on the small steps they must take today and now to ensure a happier outcome. They are being frozen.

TRY: shutting your eyes and listening to now....but remember Living in the moment is not the same as living for the moment...!  (the latter implies fine wines and cakes required)

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Nunc angelorum gloria

Morris Dancing and Andrew Marr

Whilst watching Andrew Marr's saturday 'News' show, the topic of Flash Mob Morris dancers going to the olympics came up - with one guest chuckling that it would show our traditional eccentricity .. .
As a fan of the Icknield Way Morris men and others willing to give this extremely difficult folk dance a go I woke up..

However, the topic of 'Englishness' rearing it's potentially racist head was too much for Andrew to bear on his peak morning show... time to find a quick put down ...
Ahem! Didnt this guest know that Morris Dancing came from the word 'Moorish dancing' , and was actually ..DA DA DAHHH .. Islamic....?...
[inference being I supposed  'we have no identity, it is all built on theft and fakery']

Well Andrew, of course everything can be traced back to somewhere (Africa) and very few cultures are not influenced by their history with others, this is true. ...  But why would a group of people on the crusades or fighting battles on their home turf with the Moors, adopt a dance of the enemy ?

Can you hear the French listening to Wagner or see the English wearing lederhosen to celebrate D-Day.?

Anyway - so Morris Dancing - Croatian Morescu dancing is the more likely culprit I am wisely informed.
It is European in origin and is a folk sword dance performed to celebrate the overthrowing of Moorish invaders in earlier history.
Take that Andrew!

This seems apparant towards the end, and looks a lot like Morris dancing.

Conclusion - Morris is most likely a European dance about fighting the Islamic troops, not being them.

This is not to say Islamic folk dancing is not great too, it's just less likely to be the origin of Morris dancing.

Please feel free to post any folk dancing from any country or origin by way of response...the important thing is that we all keep dancing!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Hopi Ear Candles

Reefers for ears - they may not work that well, and they dont have much to do with the Hopi , but the sound they make whilst alight is brilliant...and worth trying before over the counter meds like sudo-FEDs. I like.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Studio Ghibli

Howl's Moving Castle , Calcipher is my favourite character - a fire spirit linked to the wonderful tortured Howl.

Laputa, Castle in the Sky - also excellent - wonderful girl heroines and mysterious boy teenagers.

And the latest Anime I saw was Tales from Earthsea - inspirational story telling.iya
directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

The secret world of Arrietty is their next offering.

Angela Lansbury

A real professional and graceful lady with an interesting story.

Ideally watch from 1 min in.

also watch angela singing in her heyday..

Sherlock and Watson's Christmas

Sherlock Holmes decorates his chemistry set and buys watson a new cape. Happy Christmas!

Sherlock also has interesting musings on flowers:

"There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion,
It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner. Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence* seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers."

*devine guidance or care.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Tap dancing

Someone at a party once scoffed that Tap Dancing was Boring.
I just looked at them.
Break through the Tap Barrier...!


One purpose of wassailing is to awake the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn . ..but many people like to wassail all winter!
The ceremonies of each wassail vary between cider making villages but they generally all have the same core (!) elements.
A wassail King and Queen lead the song and/or a processional tune to be played/sung from one orchard to the next, the wassail Queen will then be lifted up into the boughs of the tree where she will place toast soaked in Wassail from the Clayen Cup as a gift to the tree spirits (and to show the fruits created the previous year). Then an incantation is usually recited such as:
Here's to thee, old apple tree, 
That blooms well, bears well. 
Hats full, caps full, Three bushel bags full, An' all under one tree. 
Hurrah! Hurrah!
This piece by Mackintosh was done as panels for a Tea Room in Glasgow. I love the little mushrooms in this depiction.
Wassail means BE HEALTHY:
Middle English, contraction of wæshæil, be healthy, from Old Norse ves heill : ves, imperative sing. of vera, to be; see wes-1 in Indo-European roots + heill, healthy

New Friend

Yay ! YellowHammer's new chum is Little Egghorn.
See Little Egghorn's musings at

Sunday, 11 December 2011

winter solstice sun arcs

The earth is tilted at 21degrees as it cycles in a loop around the sun over the year...winter solstice is the shortest day of the year because the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun, so the proportion of day light to shadow night as the earth turns it's 24 hour cycle is lowest...
excellent glossary : Journey North

Friday, 9 December 2011