Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Saint Saturninus

Feast day of St Saturninus (Sernin; Saturnin; Saturnino; Cernin), Bishop of Toulouse, France, martyr
(Sphenogyne, Sphenogyne piliflora, is today's plant, dedicated to this saint.)

This Saturninus was a 3rd-Century missionary from Rome to Gaul, the Pyrenees, and the Iberian peninsula who, with a farmer now known as St Honestus, whom he had converted, was imprisoned at Carcassone by the prefect Rufinus, but they were freed by an angel. As the first bishop of Toulouse, France, he teamed with St Martial to perform miraculous healings. When Saturninus began his work in Toulouse, the local pagan priests stopped receiving oracular messages from their gods. One day in 257, pagan idols fell to pieces in front of the bishop, so the crowd murdered him, his punishment being dragged to death by a bull. Or so it is said.

His relics are kept at the basilica at Toulouse. 

More at November 29, in Wilson's Almanac online.

Monday, November 28, 2011

New header

This is just part of the new header I'm made for Wilson's Almanac pages. I invite your comments, from the many readers on the seven continents who read the Almanac. (I have no expectation of being overwhelmed with comments, but all are invited.) The whole header is at About Pip and November 27, at the Almanac, as it's hard to post here. Pip

    Wilson's Almanac Scriptorium home Slowly but slowly asking my way through the underpants                                                                       

. . . .
Welcome, honoured guest. I intend, over some time, to place this introductory matter beneath the animated masthead above, on virtually every page of Wilson's Almanac, though possibly it's temporarily missing
(or badly busted, due to my months of non-attention, long away from home in hospital with my Extreme TBI), because many
readers arrive on a certain page here, for their first time,
and don't know their way around as I do. I'm well aware that it might be a nuisance to some, but please feel free to use, or ignore, any links, and scroll down to other matters if you wish.
You'll generally know when you've reached the foot of the page when you see a mauve Almanac directory bar. The whole almanac, and I, are under reconstruction. A big thankyou, and bright blessings to you.
Subscribe for free to the daily illustrated ezine     Eternity    

Pip Wilson, your very fortunate almanackist. November 26, 2011. Carpe diem!

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Feast of Hathor as Sekhmet, ancient Egypt

HathorIn Egyptian mythology, Hathor is the mother goddess and goddess of love of ancient Egypt. She was worshipped c. 2700 BCE or possibly earlier, to c. 400 CE, in a cult that flourished in Ta-Netjer (‘Land of God’ – modern day Dendera, or Dendara) in Upper Egypt, as well as Thebes and Giza, and her priests included both men and women.

Other names for Hathor are Het-Hert, Athyr and Hetheru. Her name appears to mean ‘house of
Horus’, a reference to her role as a sky goddess, the ‘house’ denoting the heavens depicted as a great cow. (At the temple of Queen Nefertari at Abu Simbel, Nefertari is shown as Hathor, and her husband Ramses II is shown in one sanctuary receiving milk from Hathor the cow.) Hathor was often regarded as the mother of the Egyptian pharaoh, who styled himself the ‘son of Hathor’. During the Old Kingdom she assumed the properties of an earlier bovine goddess, Bat. She is an ancient goddess and appears to have been mentioned as early as the 2nd Dynasty.  

Read on at
Hathor: Egyptian goddess of sky – and terror

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Cream Disraeli Gears

November 26, 1968 The rock group Cream played their farewell concert at London's Albert Hall.
Pictured: Cream's famous 'Disraeli Gears' album cover, designed by Sydney artist Martin Sharp, one of the Oz Trial defendants

Friday, November 25, 2011


I'm back home in Bellingen from Sydney, after a beautiful funeral for my beloved friend, Uncle Ray Hillis, 96 (one of my three Uncle Rays), where my euology was delivered, on the feast day of St Catherine of Alexandria. Catherine was a virgin (nun) and martyr of noble birth in Alexandria, Egypt, who defended the Christian faith against 'heathen' philosophers commanded by Roman emperor Maximinus. The Catherine wheel's well known to many, and Ray loved them. Vale, Ray.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Piltdown Man

Piltdown Man
1953 Whodunnit? The Piltdown Man was revealed as a fake.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Important matters

I regret that I've not replied to quite a few old comments here, when I said that I would. I spent quite some time today trying to find very old ones to reply to, but, frankly, my eyesight is so poor, and the Almanac office in my bedroom under a corrugated upstairs room, like all of Bellingen Shire, so hot lately, and as I believe that no one has made a complaint so far, I decided that I'll leave them. (It would help if the footer of each post told me how many comments were on it, but unless I can improve the template somehow, my blog doesn't show that, and that's no good for very old posts. I'll see what I can do about all that, and readers' advice is welcome.) I'm now of a firm intention to post on the Blogmanac each day if I can, and comments are not only welcome, I intend to reply each day.

The other important matter is that my uncle, Raymond Bowles Hillis, died in Sydney two days ago. That's him pictured on his 90th birthday, several years ago. (I'm in the red T-shirt.) Uncle Ray was an incredibly important part of my life. As I've mentioned at other Wilson's Almanac-associated pages, Ray and his wife Norma, beside him in life and in the photo, also deceased in recent years, were childless, and "almost adopted me". By that I mean that they holidayed with my family when I was young, took me on an important holiday to Dalmeny, on the south coast of New South Wales for a weeek or more, and never forgot my birthday, or failed to chat with me about my interests, whenever we met. They were a big part of my Christmases as well.

I have a number of times been told how much I look like Ray, as many have told me. As you can see, he was thin, as I am, and like me he had blue eyes. Some have noted that I'm like my mother's brother in other ways. An avid gardener and bird lover, some of his traits affected me greatly. It's a very, very sad time for me in many ways, but I'm happy that I'm able to travel by train on Tuesday night to attend his funeral in Sydney, where I've been invited to address the congregation. So I'll be offline for a few days.

I'll be back later today, I trust, then gone for a short time while attending Uncle Ray's funeral. Seeya.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The big lie

Iraq is still in a helluva mess, and much of it is because of the West. Today at wilsonsalmanac.com shows some of the reasons.

By the way, I still haven't forgotten that some old Comments from Blogmanac readers await reply - I've been very busy, even for me. Within days, or a week, OK? All is going well, with more than 100 new Facebook friends for me and Wilson's Almanac, only today. You can't keep a bad man down.

UNSCOM evacuates, not because Iraq told them to, but because the UK and USA were about to bomb Baghdad
The big lie
UNSCOM weapons inspectors were not expelled from Iraq
1998 President Saddam Hussein of Iraq, after having ceased to comply with UN weapons inspectors on October 31, sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan offering to facilitate the inspections. On December 16, Australian Richard Butler, head of the UN weapons inspection team (UNSCOM), withdrew the team from Iraq, to protect his staff from the air strikes that the US and UK governments were threatening. 

From that day on, it became de rigeur for media and politicians to falsely assert that Iraq "expelled the weapons inspectors", an important falsehood, as it is still used as a main pretext for the illegally invasion of the country – the other main one, of course, being the similarly egregious WMDs argument.
Within hours, Operation Desert Fox began: the US and UK began pre-emptively bombing Iraq – hundreds of cruise missiles raining down on the country, marking the start of strikes to punish the Baghdad government. An avalanche of US and British propaganda was published by a mostly unsuspecting world media, justifying the aggression and ignoring the destruction of Baghdad's utilities and the deaths of many innocent civilians and service people. On ABC's This Week (September 27, 2003), US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, publicly lied that the Clinton administration "conducted a four-day bombing campaign in late 1998 based on the intelligence that he [Butler] had. That resulted in the weapons inspectors being thrown out."
Funeral services were held for 68 people who Iraqi officials say were killed in the raids. But Iraq's Ambassador to the UN, Nizar Hamdoon, said: "I'm told that the casualties are in the thousands in terms of numbers of people who were killed or wounded".
US bombs food storage, schools, college, maternity centres
Several weeks after the strikes, the UN children's fund, UNICEF, made a first preliminary assessment of damage to civilian facilities. They reported the destruction of a rice warehouse in Tikrit in northern Iraq, damage to ten schools in the southern port city of Basra, and an agricultural college in Kirkuk in northern Iraq received a direct hit.
They said that in Baghdad medical and maternity centres, a water supply system and parts of the health and social affairs ministries were damaged.
Since Butler's forced withdrawal in the face of US-UK threats, many Western media and politicians have usually pretended to the public that Iraq "expelled" the team.
The events surrounding the withdrawal are recounted in Butler's book, Saddam Defiant (2000):
"I received a telephone call from US Ambassador Peter Burleigh inviting me for a private conversation at the US mission ... Burleigh informed me that on instructions from Washington it would be 'prudent to take measures to ensure the safety and security of UNSCOM staff presently in Iraq.' I told him that I would act on his advice and remove my staff from Iraq."
Disarming Iraq!Oft-repeated error of fact 
The 'mistake' (that UNSCOM was ejected by Hussein in 1998) has been made not only by pro-war people such as George W Bush in his 2002 State of the Union address ('the axis of evil' speech), Dick Cheney, Alexander Rose, the Canadian right-wing Washington correspondent of the National Post, and the editorial writers of the Sunday Times
It has also been made by those who have shown concern for the humanitarian situation in Iraq, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, UK Liberal Democrats foreign affairs spokesperson Menzies Campbell, and the usually trustworthy Guardian Middle East editor Brian Whitaker. The BBC often makes the same incorrect assertion, although it usually acknowledges its error when it is pointed out to them.
Richard Butler became a fierce critic of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, strongly criticising Australian Prime Minister Howard (accusing him of misleading the Australian people) and marching with more than a quarter of a million others in the Sydney pro-peace march on February 16, 2003. On the morning of the peace march, he told ABC interviewer Terry Lane (The National Interest) ...

Sunday, November 13, 2011


RL Stevenson in Sydney, 18931850 Robert Louis Stevenson (d. December 3, 1894), Scottish author (Kidnapped; Treasure Island; The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde) who spent some of the last years of his life on the Pacific island of Samoa, originally going there for his health and staying because he loved the 'South Seas'.
He stayed some months in Sydney, Australia, in 1890, and on three other visits during the early part of the decade. On one of his visits, with his mother and some in-laws, their party was turned away from at least one Sydney hotel because they appeared to be dishevelled bohemians carrying South Sea islands souvenirs and buckets.

On February 25, 1890, from the foyer of the Union Club, Sydney, Stevenson wrote his famous diatribe, Father Damien: An Open Letter to the Reverend Dr. Hyde of Honolulu. He wrote the letter, which took up nearly the whole of the front page of the broadsheet The Australian Star of May 24, 1890, in defence of Belgian missionary Father Damien (Damien De Veuster) of Molokai, Hawaii, whom Dr Charles M Hyde, a former missionary to Molokai, had accused of contracting leprosy from having sexual relations with women at the leper colony he worked in. Stevenson also stayed in Sydney at the Oxford Hotel*, and at Richmond Terrace in the Sydney Domain (while on the seas his address was care of R. Towns & Co, Sydney). Around this time, he also wrote about the poverty he witnessed in the Domain. Stevenson arrived in Sydney in February on the German steamship, Lubeck,but suffered a relapse of his serious ill health in Sydney ("being a blooming prisoner here in the club, and indeed in my bedroom" he wrote in a letter to Charles Baxter**), and, since it seemed that only in the warmer climes of the South Pacific did he ever have respite from his illness, he and his wife Fanny set sail from Sydney on April 10, on board the Janet Nicoll ("had a cruel rough passage to Auckland, for the JANET is the worst roller I was ever aboard of. I was confined to my cabin, ports closed, self shied out of the berth, stomach [pampered till the day I left on a diet of perpetual egg-nogg] revolted at ship's food and ship eating, in a frowsy bunk, clinging with one hand to the plate, with the other to the glass, and using the knife and fork [except at intervals] with the eyelid," he wrote to Sidney Colvin), visiting dozens of islands and returning to Sydney in August, by which time the writer's health had returned. They stayed until September; during this short visit he wrote to Henry James from the Union Club, "Kipling*** is too clever to live ... I must tell you plainly – I can't tell Colvin – I do not think I shall come to England more than once, and then it'll be to die. Health I enjoy in the tropics; even here, which they call sub- or semi-tropical, I come only to catch cold. I have not been out since my arrival; live here in a nice bedroom by the fireside, and read books and letters from Henry James, and send out to get his TRAGIC MUSE, only to be told they can't be had as yet in Sydney, and have altogether a placid time. But I can't go out! The thermometer was nearly down to 50 degrees the other day – no temperature for me, Mr. James: how should I do in England? ... The sea, islands, the islanders, the island life and climate, make and keep me truly happier. These last two years I have been much at sea, and I have NEVER WEARIED". From the Union Club, in September, he wrote to Mrs Charles Fairchild, "You are quite right; our civilisation is a hollow fraud, all the fun of life is lost by it; all it gains is that a larger number of persons can continue to be contemporaneously unhappy on the surface of the globe." On August 19, from the Union Club, Stevenson wrote to Marcel Schwob: "I am just now overloaded with work. I have two huge novels on hand – THE WRECKER and the PEARL FISHER, in collaboration with my stepson: the latter, the PEARL FISHER, I think highly of, for a black, ugly, trampling, violent story, full of strange scenes and striking characters. And then I am about waist-deep in my big book on the South Seas: THE big book on the South Seas it ought to be, and shall. And besides, I have some verses in the press, which, however, I hesitate to publish. For I am no judge of my own verse; self-deception is there so facile. All this and the cares of an impending settlement in Samoa keep me very busy, and a cold (as usual) keeps me in bed." ,,,

Friday, November 11, 2011

A big day, and an auspicious one

 November 11 is a big day at wilsonsalmanac.com. Lunantishees; Mayflower Compact; Ned Kelly hanged; Boycotting began; the Human Fly; Typhoid Mary died; PM Gough Whitlam dismissed by the Queen's man. The saint of conscientious objection to military service. My grandfather was a 'conshy' in WWI, risking 12 month's imprisonment, with only 7 kids alive out of 11. A peacenik, like me. Births of Tycho Brahe, Colonel David Hackworth - Hack wrote for Simply Living when I edited it. At 11 minutes past 11 am, the time and date were 11:11/11:11:11, a very auspicious time for Pip to attend a delightful Poppy Day ceremony in Bellingen. Read about Poppy Day, and why it's called that, at the Almy. 
Every day's a good one, and auspicious, although we don't always see it. We all should, as Janis Joplin sang, "Try, just a little bit harder now, baby".
See you tomorrow, babe, I trust. Pip

1930 David Hackworth (d. May 4, 2005), United States Army colonel and prominent military journalist. 'Hack' was the founder of Tiger Force, the legendary unit in Vietnam that went on to commit outrageous atrocities (like My Lai but longer). Hackworth earned 91 military decorations (including two Distinguished Service Crosses, ten Silver Stars, eight Bronze Stars and eight Purple Hearts). He was awarded numerous individual citations for valour as well as unit citations earned by units he served in or commanded. Settling on the Australian Gold Coast, Hackworth soon made a fortune through profitable real estate investing, a lucrative duck farm, and a popular restaurant called Scaramouche. He was also active in the Australian anti-nuclear movement. Hack sometimes wrote for a magazine I edited in the '80s, Simply Living.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nov 10: Screaming Lord Sutch

It's been a very hot day hee in Bellingen, considering summer hasn't begun yet. It just goes to show you don't have to be born, and live and die, in a cold climate, like Screaming Lord Sutch, to be mental.

I intend to respond to all outstanding blog comments by the weekend. I've been busy, with not a lot of sleep, mainly because I've been putting the new Planet Directory online at wilsonsalmanac.com. It'll be unfolding itself over the next few days and weeks. It's linked prominently from the homepage. I hope you enjoy it as I launch it, bit by bit, and I also hope you'll get involved by sending intersting links to go in the new directory.

See you tomorrow with November 11 - it's a very important day in Australian history and our culture, and worth reading at the Almy. (Commercial break from our sponsor now finished.)

Screamin' Lord Sutch 
1940 Dave Screaming Lord Sutch, British singer, eccentric and founder of the Monster Raving Loony Party, who died by his own hand on June 16, 1999

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Like a nine-stone cowboy, I go on. The Almanac continues. Best days ahead.


Are you finding missing text or images on Wilson's Almanac, especially newer pages? So am I, friends. It's due to my recently acquired poor eyesight, and a host of computer and software problems, which emerged while I was in hospital for months with Extreme Traumatic Brain Injury  when I was nearly murdered (again) by unknown assailants. I'm working on it. Periodically inspired. I expect all such errors to be repaired by very late-2011. Meanwhile, there is still a lot of undamaged stuff at the Almy. Please 'abide with me'. The whole site, and I, are Under Reconstruction.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Nov 8 at wilsonsalmanac.com: Tenochtitlán (and the Battle of Cajamarca)

Arrival of Cortes
1519 Hernán Cortés entered Tenochtitlán and Aztec ruler Moctezuma welcomed him with great pomp as would befit a returning god.

It was the year that Italy saw the death, on May 2, of Leonardo da Vinci, followed shortly by his countrywoman Lucrezia Borgia on June 24

In Rome, Germany's Martin Luther was gazing on new works by Michelangelo and Raphael adorning the palace of Pope Leo X, while answering charges that he had called the pontiff "fallible". Meanwhile, off the coast of Italy, Mediterranean traders sailed in fear of the corsairs of the notorious North African pirate, Khair ad Din (Barbarossa).

At the time, in England, the ink was scarcely dry on Thomas More's Utopia (1516), while elsewhere in Europe, King Charles of Spain was being elected Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire. Meanwhile, across the big pond, Pedro Arias de Ávila, the new Governor of Panama was no doubt explaining to his superiors in Spain why in January he had beheaded Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the explorer and conquistador. In Holland, Erasmus published his Colloquia.

To the east, Persia's great Safavid Dynasty empire now rivalled that of the Ottomans, and in Switzerland, Protestant reformer Ulrich Zwingli was busy banning the sale of Roman Catholic indulgences. On September 20, Portugal's intrepid navigator, Ferdinand Magellan embarked to circumnavigate the globe, while over in Venice, Italy, rich citizens enjoying the full flush of the Renaissance were revelling in the works of the likes of the recently deceased Giovanni Bellini and Giorgione, and the city was the glory of Europe ...
 Scale model of the temple district of Tenochtitlán

Scale model of the temple district of Tenochtitlán
in the Anthropology museum in Mexico City.
Today nothing is left of the temple
except a few remains that can be seen near
the eastern walls of the Cathedral of Mexico.
Tenochtitlán, Mexico's great city of the world
Aztec pyramid iconAcross the Atlantic Ocean stood the great Aztec capital, Tenochtitlán, situated where Mexico City stands today. Criss-crossed with canals, and featuring many aqueducts and markets, and a grand lake with floating gardens, it was the Venice of the New World (or, rather, Venice was the mini-Tenochtitlán of Europe, for the Mexican city was much larger and grander than that Italian town).
Moctezuma contemplates a comet

According to early Spanish accounts, it was unlike the European cities they knew, but more like the ones they had seen in romantic books, as it was not crowded and dirty. Tenochtitlán was larger, more beautiful and more complex than any European city at the time. The population of the lake city was some 200,000 - 300,000 people, at a time when London's numbered about 40,000 and only 65,000 people lived in Paris. Tenochtitlán's craftsmen, such as its fine goldsmiths, were a match for those in Europe, and the grandeur of the city's pyramids rivalled that of the Egyptian wonders ...
Read on at the Greed, gold and God, Part 1, page in the Scriptorium

Sunday, November 06, 2011

A change at wilsonsalmanac.com

Gday, Blogmanac reader. I intend to place this introductory matter beneath the animated masthead above, on each page of the Almanac, because many readers arrive for their first time and don't know their way around. I'm aware that it might be a nuisance to some, but feel free to use, or ignore, any links, and scroll down to other matters if you wish.
I haven't forgotten that some replies are to be made to comments on the Blogmanac. Honestly, I've barely had time to scratch myself if it itches. I intend do them very soon. 
Thank you, as always. And I'm sorry the text here is slightly askew. I tried a lot, but I can't fix it. It's OK beginning November 5 at the Almy, I believe. Love, Pip
Big deal.
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Most pages, and some photos at the Almanac are big. If any fails to load fully, please click Refresh on your browser menu.
The page is fully loaded when you see the purple menu bar, usually at the foot of the page.
fnordreetings from Bellingen, Australia.
Welcome to this Red-Letter Day. Below you will find today's global celebrations, birthdays and events.
First time here?  See the Book of Days Index for Information How it works
Celebrate each and every day with a free subscription to the daily ezine. You can apply by form or send a blank email. Read what the 'Almaniacs' (members) say about the Almy.
I request your support if this website pleases and informs you, as this is my livelihood. Thank you, from the bottom of my fridge. 
Inquiries from publishers are welcome, but, dear reader, please don't use my work without my written permission. If I've inadvertently used something of yours that you consider not to fall under the fair use and copyleft doctrines, please tell me and I'll gladly and quickly remove it. See you tomorrow!
Carpe diem! (Seize the day!) And, as they say in McDonald’s, ‘have a nice da-ay’ (add plastic smile). Nup. Make a great day.
Pip Wilson
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