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December 1st to December 6th 2003
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MONDAY December 1
Stephen Gough - naked rambler comment
On Friday, Stephen Gough, the naked walker, was sentenced to three months in prison. He has served most of this time already so he will be out soon. Provided he gets dressed. I though, am losing interest. I still think the Inverness authorities are on dodgy legal ground. A team of naturists would have easily completed that stroll from Land's End to John O'Groats. He was challenged because he was alone. I still feel sure there's nothing so bad about his campaign, despite a letter from one outraged reader who asked, disgustedly, "What if a bare bottom touched your sofa?" I was tempted to write back and inquire if she had a dog or a cat. I still don't think Stephen Gough is a nutter or a danger. But I have just found out something about him. He has small children he has not seen for months. Stephen... if you're doing this to make the world a better place for your kids, go back and show them something more important. Your love, your time, your patience and your adaptability. And consider this prediction. By the time they grow up, attitudes to public nudity will have become much more relaxed. So why don't you relax too!
TUESDAY December 2
No Thought for the Day published
WEDNESDAY December 3
Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein email
You recently said Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are unlikely to be captured soon. Do the stars have some sort of closure on terror? Nikki
Saddam will eventually be found. Osama won't be. But terrorists are like dandelions. The more you chop the heads, the more seeds spread on the wind. Aggression breeds more aggression. Retribution creates more retribution. Angry roots can only be treated with a patient willingness to forgive and move on. That's not a political statement. It's just a fact. And sooner than you might expect, this will become more widely understood..
THURSDAY December 4
Unexplained Powers: The power of looks by Rupert Sheldrake
Peta, was making her way in a small boat from a remote island to the coast of Western Australia when it broke down about 20 miles offshore. She was watching the skipper try to fix the motor when she suddenly felt something behind her. " I turned and looked into the water only to be greeted with the biggest eye that I have ever seen - looking right back at me". It was killer whale, far larger than the boat she was in. Luckily it soon submerged and disappeared.
At the other end of the scale, Assunta was in a dimly-lit room listening to music with her eyes closed when she felt she was being watched. "I opened my eyes and stared into the eyes of a mouse, shining in the pale light."
In response to my appeal for information on this page last month, dozens of other readers have told me of their experiences of being stared at by animals. Margaret, in Nottingham, often has visits from a neighbour's cat, who often sits outside the patio doors hoping to be let in. "Nine times out of ten, I feel the stare before I see the cat."
Some people have found that their dogs or cats can wake them up just by staring. It happens to Tia quite often. "If I oversleep in the morning my dog wakes me simply by sitting by the bed and staring at me." Several people have told me they can wake sleeping dogs, cats, children or partners by staring at them. All animals are vulnerable while sleeping. An ability to detect when they are being looked at is likely to help them survive.
Click here to read more.
Dr Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and the author of Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home, And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals
His website is www.sheldrake.org
FRIDAY December 5
Christmas Gifts for Astrology Fans by Bernard Fitzwalter
The first question is, 'How deep do you want to go?' Astrology is a complex subject, and it's best to take it one step at a time. If you like reading your horoscope in newspapers and magazines, but you want to know a little more about yourself, then try Sun Signs, Moon Signs by Charles and Suzi Harvey (published by Element Books). You already know your sun sign, of course, but the Harveys will also tell you your moon sign - and how the two together create your personality. There's lots about how different combinations interact, so you can use it to check out your friends as well.
If you want to go a step further, then How To Read Your Star Signs by Sasha Fenton (Aquarian Press) has sun signs, moon signs and your rising sign as well.
To go the whole way and calculate your own individual horoscope, you'll need a book with tables of planetary positions showing which signs the planets were in when you were born. The best of these is Parkers' Astrology, by Derek and Julia Parker (Dorling Kindersley); it has been around for years, but is now updated with extra tables for the 21st century. It has lots of pictures and is easy to follow.
There's also an excellent simpler version of the same book in the Keep It Simple Series from publishers Dorling Kindersley. Jonathan even wrote the foreword for the K.I.S.S. Guide To Astrology, so that can't be bad, can it?
People who have been studying astrology for years usually have dozens of books already, and it's hard to find them anything new, but they may not have A History of Horoscopic Astrology by James H Holden (published by the American Federation of Astrologers) or the beautiful new edition of William Lilly's works published by Ascella which saves the eyestrain of trying to read the 1647 original!
SATURDAY December 6
Christmas Gifts for Air Signs
Here's Part Two of our festive gift guide. Today we look at Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, the cool, intelligent and perceptive Air signs.
GEMINIS are inquisitive and inventive. Lately, though, they have begun to feel tense and defensive. For Christmas, more than any material gift, they need to be presented with reassurance. But they will also appreciate items that remind them of their childhood, books full of facts, things to think about, puzzle over or talk about.
LIBRANS are idealistic and charming. Recent celestial stresses, though, have obliged them to keep holding arguments that they seemingly can't win. For Christmas, they need ways to heal damage. Get them music by a favourite artist, pictures by a favourite painter, familiar smells and foods, comforts, treats and gestures that say, 'I understand.'
AQUARIANS are friendly eccentrics. They are currently on a journey of discovery which, though difficult in places, is proving very profitable. Get them gadgets and gizmos and books that may awaken new interests and talents. Also, luxury foods and treats that they would never buy for themselves