Alex's Asteroid Astrology - Alex Miller

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The Hunter Biden Guilty Verdict

On 11 June 2024, Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, was convicted in a Wilmington, Delaware courtroom on three felony counts related to drug use and gun possession.  US Department of Justice Special Counsel David Weiss brought the case, stemming from an October 2018 purchase where Biden lied about his drug use to obtain a firearm.  Charged with unlawfully possessing a gun as a drug user, lying on a federal form when he bought the gun, and making a false statement about information required to be collected by a federally licensed gun dealer, the jury took less than three hours to decide that Biden was guilty, after a trial lasting six days.

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Asteroid Sleuth: The Case of the Shameless Shove

It was the shove watched ‘round the world.  On Saturday, 1 June 2024, at a WNBA contest between the Chicago Sky and the Indiana Fever, Sky guard Chennedy Carter gave a superfluous shoulder shove to Fever rookie phenom Caitlin Clark, knocking her to the floor.   Clark was not in possession of the ball at the time, and the foul, later upgraded to “flagrant-1,” made local and national news across the country.  Carter’s teammate Angel Reese, a former college rival of Clark’s, was seen to leap off the bench and clap at the infraction; later, she decked Clark herself with an illegal elbow move that wasn’t called by the refs.  After the game, Reese was fined $1000 for failing to make herself available to the media.  Despite the interference, the Indiana Fever came out on top, 71-70, with Clark adding eleven points to the scoreboard.

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Donald Trump’s 78th Solar Return: Restriction and Negation

Former US President, current presumptive GOP presidential nominee, and convicted felon Donald J. Trump turns 78 on 14 June 2024.  A chart cast for the moment when the Sun returns to its natal degree and minute can reveal much of what awaits in the coming year, a year which, for The Donald, is fraught, to say the least.  Before the twelvemonth is out, Trump is likely to find himself an occupant, either of the White House, or the Big House.  With sentence pending on his criminal conviction in New York state, and awaiting three more criminal trials, the stakes couldn’t be higher for the 45th president.

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Asteroid Sleuth: The Case of the Potty-Mouthed Pope

On May 20, 2024, Pope Francis was speaking in camera to a meeting of Italian bishops, following the creation of a new document outlining training for Italian seminarians, not yet released pending review by the Holy See.  The document is reported to include an attempt to soften the current ban on openly gay men entering the Catholic priesthood, by focusing instead on the need for celibacy by priests, whatever their private sexual inclinations.

But the Pontiff was having none of this, despite garnering a reputation for promoting openness and inclusivity for the gays in his flock, and, in what has been describe as a “joking” tone, His Holiness averred that “there is already an air of faggotness” in seminaries.  The Pope, speaking in Italian, used the term “frociaggine,” a slur against gay people that roughly equates to “faggot.”

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Aster-Obit: Morgan Spurlock

Documentarian Morgan Spurlock passed on May 23, 2024, from complications related to cancer.  The name may not ring a bell at first, but doubtless you’ll remember his 2004 documentary film “Supersize Me,” chronicling his month of subsisting on nothing but fast food from McDonald’s.  Spurlock, judged by doctors and nutritionists to be in “above average” shape when he began his experiment on 1 February 2003, gained nearly 25 pounds in his thirty-day Ronald McDonald binge, along the way experiencing heart palpitations, sexual and liver dysfunction, lethargy, depression and headaches.

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Guilty! Justice Comes for Trump

At last!  Some level of accountability for the biggest criminal scofflaw ever to infest the Oval Office.  Fond of setting records, on 30 May 2024 Donald J. Trump entered the history books yet again, as the only former US President, and presumptive GOP nominee, to be convicted of a felony.  And not just one – the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict on each of the 34 criminal counts against him.

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Helicopter Crash Kills Iranian President Raisi

On 19 May 2024, Ebrahim Raisi, president of Iran since 2021, was killed when his helicopter crashed in a remote region of the country, near the village of Uzi.  Dense forests and thick fog impeded rescue efforts for up to twelve hours; by the time the wreckage was reached, there were no survivors.  Also among the eight who died was Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.  A former cleric and Muslim jurist, Raisi had been nicknamed the “Butcher of Tehran” for the part he played as deputy prosecutor general during the infamous 1988 “death commissions” and executions of Iranian political prisoners; for this and other offenses United Nations special rapporteurs accused him of crimes against humanity.

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Asteroid Sleuth: The Case of the Flipped Flag

On 16 May 2024, the New York Times broke a story concerning US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, the gist of which gives another black eye to the fantasy that the SCOTUS, currently embattled by a string of ethics violations revelations, is actually a fair and impartial, nonpartisan body.  Apparently, during the interim between the January 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection and Joe Biden’s January 20th inauguration, Justice Alito flew the American flag at his home in Alexandria, Virginia, upside down. 

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As the Worm Turns: RFK Jr’s Doomed Presidential Bid

The New York Times broke a story on May 8, 2024 that might just explain the antics of presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr, currently polling as much as 15-20% in some key battleground states.  While Kennedy is unlikely to reach his goal of the Oval Office sans major party affiliation, such numbers, should they materialize at the polls in November, could decisively swing the 2024 election one way or another.  The Times story revealed a statement made by Kennedy in 2012, where he alleged that the “brain fog” and memory loss he had experienced two years prior had been “caused by a worm that got into my brain and ate a portion of it and then died.”  Well, that explains a lot!

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Garden Glimpses: Ephemeral Spring

True, Spring can seem fleeting.  But chronicling that phenomenon is not the intent here.  Rather, the title refers to a class of plants known as “Spring ephemerals,” meaning that, like Spring itself, they are here and gone.  Ephemerals tend to emerge early, bloom quickly, and die back well before Summer’s heat holds sway.  They are of the moment, and sometimes, if you blink, you miss them entirely.

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Mystik Dan Wins Kentucky Derby

The 150th Run for the Roses occurred Saturday, May 4, 2024, at the Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, as the Kentucky Derby reached a milestone anniversary.  Despite competing with five higher-ranked horses in a field of twenty, Mystik Dan came across the finish line barely a flared nostril ahead, in the first photo-finish at the Derby since 1996.  The three-year old colt, ridden by jockey Brian Hernandez, paid off at 18-1, and I am heartily wishing I’d had the foresight to investigate this race before its running, and placed my bet!

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Jupiter/Uranus Conjunction Fallout: The American College Protests

As many of you know, I don’t much bother with the planetary patterns of the day.  I mean, I know they’re up there, I just find planetary astrology so frickin’ boring.  Like always getting the fried chicken on a buffet that includes so much more.   And there are plenty of other astrologers covering that base, no need for me to weigh in.

So when protests against the Israeli conduct in their war on Hamas began to erupt on college and university campuses across the US in mid-April, I cast a jaundiced eye skyward to see what was up.  Inescapable was the conjunction between Jupiter and Uranus on April 20th, and my atrophied planetary keyword brain mused, ‘Jupiter = higher education, Uranus = protest.’   I halfheartedly looked for asteroids that would match the nascent story, but found little, so I yawned, rolled over, and went back to celestial slumber.

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Asteroid Sleuth: The Case of the Gruesome Governor

South Dakota Governor and 2024 Republican Vice-Presidential nominee hopeful Kristi Noem was splashed across the news in late April, when an advance copy of her new book, “No Going Back” was obtained by The Guardian.  In it, Noem recounts the story of how she executed her 14-month-old wirehaired pointer puppy Cricket, after she had proved herself to be irrepressibly joyful and an inadequate hunting dog.  Two being better than one, Noem went on to slay a family goat that was smelly and had been annoying her and her children with head butts.

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A Pecker in the Hand Is Worth Two in the Box

The witness box, that is.  And the pecker in question is David Pecker, National Enquirer publisher, long-time Trump friend and political ally, and currently exhibit A in the Manhattan DA’s criminal case against the former US president.  Everybody knew that Pecker, once he’d gone soft on Trump, was gonna spew, but nobody knew how hard he could make it for The Donald.  (And that’s the last of the cheap double entendres you’ll get from me in this article.  Maybe.)

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Man Self-Immolates Outside Trump Trial

On Friday, 21 April 2024, just across the street from the Manhattan courtroom where jury selection in Donald Trump’s hush money trial had recently concluded, a man set himself alight, first dousing himself with a liquid accelerant.  Police responded immediately, being onsite for courthouse protection, but were unable to stop the flames for several minutes; the man was later pronounced dead at a local burn center. 

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Asteroid Sleuth: The Case of the Pompeii Paintings

On April 11, 2024 the BBC was treated to an exclusive look at a recent discovery in the ancient city of Pompeii, buried in volcanic ash by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE, and spectacularly preserved.  Stunning frescoes had been revealed on the walls and entranceway to a banquet hall known as the Black Room, painted that color to disguise the effects of soot from smoking lamps and candles.

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Garden Glimpses: Daffodil Daze

It’s been an odd spring (what else is new?), with temps ping-ponging up and down through March and April.  But strangely, the weirdness seems to have worked well for my daffodils, with early, middle and late season varieties blooming more or less together.  I don’t know when I’ve seen such diversity on display all at once, and it’s made for a lovely panoply of color and form across the garden.

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Trump Trial #1 Begins

The first of Donald Trump’s four pending criminal trials began on Monday, 15 April 2024, with jury selection.  Perhaps not coincidentally, it was also Tax Day, and without doubt, the ordeal of Trump on trial will be taxing for us all.  Trump kicked off the event with a series of his trademark untruths as he bloviated to reporters before entering the Manhattan courtroom for his trial’s appointed start time of 9:30 AM EDT.  The former president characterized the proceedings as “persecution,” “an attack on a political opponent,” and “an assault on America,” averring that “every legal scholar says this case is nonsense” and an “outrage.”

None of that is true, but Trump did state one accurate fact:  “Nothing like this has ever happened before, there’s never been anything like it.”  Indeed, this is the first criminal prosecution of a former US president and current presidential candidate in history.  Congrats, Donnie!  You’ve just set two new records!

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Aster-Obit: O.J. Simpson

On 10 April 2024, news came of the death of sports legend O.J. Simpson, once known as one of the greatest running backs in NFL history.  The Buffalo Bills star, a celebrity on and off the field, was the first player to rush for more than 2000 yards in a single season, winning the NFL MVP award in 1973.  Known as “the Juice” in reference to his OJ initials, after retirement in 1979, Simpson went on to a marginally successful acting career, appearing in “Roots,” “The Towering Inferno,” “The Cassandra Crossing” and three films in “The Naked Gun” series, as well as several dozen film and TV roles.

Of course these accomplishments, noteworthy as they are, were totally eclipsed by the real-life drama Simpson became embroiled in after he was arrested and tried for the brutal murder by stabbing of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman at her home in 1994.  The case, which began with a ten-hour-long slow-motion pursuit by police viewed by 95 million people, as Simpson attempted to avoid arrest for the crime, brought out the ever-present racial divide in America, with many black people thinking he was being framed, and white people assuming he was guilty. 

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AAA Profile: Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn is among the most-honored and best-loved American actresses of all time, with 12 Academy Award nominations and 4 wins as Best Actress.  Hepburn’s tally of Oscar gold has yet to be surpassed, and is only equaled by Meryl Streep (though one of her four was for Best Supporting Actress, she far eclipses Hepburn in nominations, with 21 to date).  Her sixty-plus year career spanned the Great Depression to the edge of the new millennium, with 44 feature films to her credit; she also acted extensively on the stage, in no less than 33 productions (garnering two Tony Award nominations, but no wins).  Hepburn didn’t work often in television, but managed six Emmy nominations and one win regardless.

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Asteroid Tales: Lost in Transmission

It isn’t always possible to chronicle every news item that comes across the digital transom in real time, and sometimes the stories, while intriguing, just don’t merit a full article.  But that doesn’t mean they’re without merit, as I hope this grab bag of bypassed stories proves.  From science to trivia, honors to passings, there’s something for every taste in this catchall article.

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Eclipse Notes: Of Bombs, Bonds and Bridges

Hold onto your cosmic hats!  We’re gonna do a down-and-dirty overview of three stories that made the news in recent days – the terrorist attack in Moscow on March 22nd that left more than 130 dead; the diminution of Donald Trump’s civil fraud bond on the 25th; and the catastrophic bridge collapse in Baltimore on the 26th.  Each deserves a deeper dive, buy hey!  I’m only human.

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Kate’s Fate: Princess of Wales Cancer Diagnosis

What is going on with Britain’s Royal Family and cancer?  King Charles III was revealed to have an undisclosed type of cancer on February 5th, now his daughter-in-law faces the same situation less than two months later.  Catherine, Princess of Wales, more commonly known as Kate, released a video statement about her condition on Friday, 22 March, 2024:  “In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London and at the time, it was thought that my condition was non-cancerous.  The surgery was successful.  However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present.  My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment.”  As with Charles, no specifics were revealed. 

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House Diary: Vernal Equinox 2024

Well, it’s that time again – Spring has sprung, and life is returning to the land.   The first wave of early spring bubs has already passed, after a pre-St Paddy’s week of above normal temps, rising into the 70s locally.  But turnabout is fair play, and Winter’s back for a bit, with highs on Spring’s first day just in the upper 30s.  Yes, it’s March (Meteorological) Madness, as per usual in these crazy climate change days.  Known for its seesawing weather at the best of times, this March has been a ceaseless round of fair and foul, with temperature records set both high and low.  At least indoors things are operating on a more reliable schedule.  Now that the new knee is rested and ready, I’m back to full-on seasonal decorating for my second-favorite season of the year.

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96th Academy Awards Recap

The 96th annual Academy Awards kicked off an hour earlier than usual this year, at 4 PM PDT in Los Angeles, California, with asteroid Oskar 750, for the nickname of the gold statuette given to winners, at 11 Sagittarius widely squared the Sun at 20 Pisces (which, aptly, conjoined Neptune, ruling film, at 27 Pisces).   Oskar is also more closely trine the 14 Leo Ascendant of the event, its public face and the name commonly used to refer to the ceremony.  Asteroid Academia 829 (for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which sponsors the awards) at 27 Aquarius conjoins Venus at 28 Aquarius, outing the Awards as the popularity contest they truly are.

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Asteroid Sleuth: The Case of the Fallen Fowl

Avid avian admirers worldwide were saddened on February 23, 2024, by the news of the untimely passing of Flaco, a Eurasian eagle owl that had become a celebrity bird-about-town after escaping from New York’s Central Park Zoo a year prior.  Concerns that Flaco, who was hatched at a bird park in North Carolina in 2010 and had spent his life in captivity, would not be able to survive in the wild, having never developed hunting skills, prompted various attempts at his recapture, all unsuccessful.

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Happy Birthday, SCOTUS!

The Supreme Court of the United States (AKA SCOTUS) just had a birthday!  Established by the Judiciary Act of 1789, the Court turned 235 on March 4, 2024 (and she doesn’t look a day over 200!).  The Court’s motto is “Equal Justice Under the Law,” but for much of its chequered history it may as well have been, “Often Wrong, But Never in Doubt.”  We don’t have to go as far back as the 1857 “Dred Scott” decision (which found that the U.S. Constitution did not extend American citizenship to people of black African descent) to find a real head-scratcher.  More recent examples include “Heller” in 2008, which confirmed the Second Amendment gun rights free-for-all; “Citizens United” in 2010, which granted corporations the same free speech rights as individuals regarding political spending; or the 2022 ruling in “Dobbs” which eliminated nationwide reproductive health rights (though to be fair, it was also SCOTUS that confirmed those rights, in 1973’s “Roe v Wade”).

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Asteroid Sleuth: The Case of the Captured Catamaran

On 18 February 2024, three prisoners escaped from a holding cell at the South St. George Police Station on Grenada, hijacked the yacht of an American couple docked nearby, took them captive, and sailed the vessel to the island of St. Vincent, where the yacht, a catamaran, was found on the 21st, and the prisoners recaptured.  The boat showed signs of violence, including what appeared to be bloodstains, but of Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry, its owners, there was no sign.  Presumably the couple were somehow disposed of at sea by their attackers, and little hope of their recovery has been offered.

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Redefining Childhood: Alabama Supreme Court Rules Frozen IVF Embryos Are Children

In a shocking/not shocking ruling on February 16, 2024, the Alabama Supreme Court has stated that frozen embryos intended for possible in vitro fertilization use are, legally, children, and their destruction can be prosecuted under Alabama’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act.  The 8-1 decision by the exclusively Republican nine-member Court allows couples whose frozen embryos were inadvertently removed from storage and allowed to deteriorate to sue a Mobile, Alabama fertility clinic for the wrongful death of their “children.”

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Judgment Day: The Trump Civil Business Fraud Trial Penalty

On Friday, 16 February 2024, the long-awaited judgment in the Trump civil business fraud trial was handed down.  Judge Arthur Engoron slammed the Trump Organization with $354 million in fines, also personally fining Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump $4 million each.  Also due, interest on the funds, currently at some $100 million, which continues to accrue until the penalty is paid, for a whopping total of some $450 million.  Included in the judgment, Judge Engoron barred Trump Sr “from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in New York for a period of three years,” further banning his sons for two years.

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Asteroid Sleuth: The Case of the Battered Buggy

On 5 February 2024, Samantha Jo Petersen, 34, was indicted on 21 counts relating to an accident that occurred the previous September, when Petersen crashed her car into an Amish buggy in southeast Minnesota, killing two children and seriously wounding two others.  Petersen, high on meth and texting at the time, tried to switch roles with her twin sister Sarah, fearing jail time.  The charges include vehicular homicide and driving under the influence.  Killed in the September 25th crash were Irma Miller, 11, and her sister Wilma, 7.

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Alexei Navalny: Poisoned (Again)?

On 16 February 2024, the sudden death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was announced from the Polar Wolf prison in Kharp, Siberia, Russia, where he had been held since December, following a series of transfers after his incarceration in 2021.  Navalny, who can be seen laughing and joking in a video just the day before, reportedly felt unwell after a morning walk, collapsed, and could not be revived.

Navalny had long been a thorn in the side of Russian President Vladimir Putin, organizing and leading the opposition to his despotic rule for over a decade.  Putin had tried at least once before to have him killed, using poison, and astrologic factors point to his death being a repeat performance, successful this time.   In August 2020 Navalny became violently ill during a flight, losing consciousness and lapsing into a coma; he was medically evacuated to Berlin, where the cause was determined to be Novichok poisoning, a Soviet era neurotoxin.  Miraculously, Navalny survived, and despite the risk to his life returned to Russia in January 2021, where he was immediately arrested, and has been in detention ever since, under increasingly harsh conditions, serving a nineteen-year sentence for “extremism.”

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AAA Profile: Taylor Swift – Karma?

Taylor Swift, in case you’re unfamiliar with the name, is the latest in a string of global female superstars in the music industry.  At just 34, Swift has a list of smash hits to rival the best, and is only the third female vocal artist to garner a net worth in excess of a billion dollars.  Not just a pretty face and a lilting voice, Swift is a canny businesswoman as well – and she’s got moxie!  In 2019, an ownership dispute between Swift and her former label, Big Machine Records, resulted in Swift rerecording her first six albums, to ensure control of her creative output.

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The New York 3 Special Election: Another One Bites the Dust

On Tuesday, 13 February 2024, New York’s Third Congressional District held a special election to fill the seat vacated by serial fabulist George Santos, ousted from the US House of Representatives last December.  The election in the swing district was viewed by many as a bellwether, an omen of things to come in the general election come November.  Though polling showed a tight race, Democrat Tom Suozzi trounced Republican Mazi Pilip, 54%-46%.  The victory shifts yet another House seat from R to D, giving GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson just a two-vote majority.

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Asteroid Sleuth: The Case of the Decapitated Dad

On January 30, 2024, Justin Mohn, 23, killed and beheaded his father, Michael, 68, at the home they shared in Levittown, PA.  He posted a video of him holding the head, wrapped in a plastic bag, on his YouTube channel, calling his father a traitor because he was a federal employee.  In a 14-minute tirade, Mohn spouted rightwing conspiracy theories and antigovernment slogans, brandishing the head for part of the time, later seen in the background sitting in a cooking pot.  Mohn then took his father’s car and fled the scene, arrested later that evening approximately 100 miles away, after his mother returned home, discovered the body, and phoned 911 at about 7 PM EST. 

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King Charles’ Cancer Diagnosis

On Monday, 5 February 2024, Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles III of the United Kingdom had been diagnosed with cancer.  The 75-year-old monarch had undergone treatment for a benign enlarged prostate on January 26th, and was said to be recovering well.  But another area of concern was noted at the time, and has now been confirmed as cancer, though the Palace has thus far not revealed what type of cancer, beyond stating that it does not involve the prostate.  The King began outpatient cancer treatment the day his diagnosis was announced.

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Orange Is the New Wack

Has anyone else noticed that Donald Trump’s skin tone has become, if possible, even more orange than typical?  And his pronouncements stranger and stranger?  Like confusing fellow GOP nomination contender Nikki Haley with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the January 6th insurrection, opining that Joe Biden will get us into World War II, and repeatedly asserting that he beat Barack Obama in 2016?

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House Diary: Imbolc 2024

Well, it’s official!  Punxsutawney Phil has not seen his shadow, and we’re due for an early spring!  But don’t break out the beachwear just yet, this prognosticating groundhog has a 39% success rate on predictions, almost as bad as my own.

Yes, it’s Groundhog Day, AKA Candlemas, St Brigid’s Day, Oimelc and Imbolc.  There’s a long history of fire and purification associated with the time period, whether that be the Catholic blessing of candles to commemorate the purification of the Virgin Mary at Candlemas, forty days after the “defilement” of birth; or the pagan festival of Imbolc, which means “washing.”  The Roman Lupercalia, a purification festival promoting health and fertility, occurred just two weeks later, with priests using the ritual februa tools (from which February derives its name) to cleanse the city.  Lupercalia also has ties to the she-wolf (lupus) who suckled the mythic brothers Romulus and Remus that were Rome’s founders, and that connects to Oimelc, an alternative pagan term for the holiday, which means “ewe’s milk,” another allusion to life’s rebirth in the next generation, with the coming spring.

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Carroll of the Bills: Trump’s Defamation Price Tag

Some people never learn.  Despite being found liable for sexual assault and defamation last year, in a civil action brought by writer E. Jean Carroll, who sued him for slanderous statements attempting to rebut her claims of rape, Donald Trump continued to defame Carroll, post-verdict.  And Carroll continued to sue him.  And Trump continues to defame her.  Will she sue again?

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She’s Got Bette Davis Skies: An Asteroid Bio of Bette Davis

When it comes to Old Hollywood glamor, style and chic, nobody does it like Bette Davis.  Which is ironic, because, unlike most actresses of her era, Bette never shied away from unglamorous parts, unlikeable characters, and unflattering makeup, even agreeing to aging techniques that had her convincingly playing a 60-year-old Virgin Queen when she was barely 30 herself.

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DeSantis DeParts

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ decision to suspend his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on 21 January 2024 came as a shock to … no one, actually.  Following a dismal finish in the Iowa Caucus six days prior, with Donald Trump thirty points ahead of him and fellow contender Nikki Haley nipping at his heels, just two points behind, it seemed only a matter of time before he pulled the plug.  And with DeSantis polling in the single digits in the New Hampshire Primary two days hence, now was the time.

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The Marvelous Ms. Meryl: An Asteroid Bio of Meryl Streep

What can be said of Meryl Streep?  One of the most talented and versatile actresses of our day, Streep leads the pack in the race for the little gold statuette, with twenty-one Academy Award nominations and three wins.  Only Kate Hepburn has more Oscars, with four victories, but considerably less nominations (just twelve).  Streep is a skilled character actress, able to don a new guise in every film; a gifted mimic, assuming accents and dialects with ease; noted for dramatic work but able to turn out a good comedic performance when called for.  Streep’s honors peak with her Oscar wins, but don’t stop there.  Nominated collectively for more than 400 awards, when Emmys, Golden Globes, Grammys, Tonys and SAG awards are factored in, she has won over 200, about as good a batting average as anyone in the business.

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The 2024 Iowa Caucus

I’m not sure why anyone pays attention to the Iowa caucuses anymore, considering its Republican voters have only picked their Party’s eventual presidential nominee twice since the 1960s, and only one of those went on to win the general election.  But Iowa is the time-honored kickoff to the quadrennial American presidential passion play regardless, and one must observe the conventions and traditions that make the country what it is.

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Appealing Trump

Not hardly, right?  By no stretch of the imagination is the disgraced, twice impeached, four times criminally indicted ex-President an appealing figure, at least not to most folks.  No, the title here applies to Trump’s latest legal gambit, appealing a lower court’s ruling that denied his claims of immunity for his 2020 election interference shenanigans, in the case brought against him by the Justice Department.  The trial date is set for March 4, but will likely be postponed due to delaying tactics such as these. 

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Grace Notes: An Asteroid Bio of Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly has always been one of my favorite actresses, despite a thin body of work, with just ten films to her credit over her truncated, five-year career.  But what credits!  “High Noon” with Gary Cooper; “Mogambo” with Clark Gable; “The Country Girl” with Bing Crosby and William Holden (which garnered her an Oscar); and three Hitchcock classics: “Dial M for Murder” with Ray Milland; “To Catch a Thief” with Cary Grant; and “Rear Window” with Jimmy Stewart.  Kelly abruptly left show business at the peak of her career for a higher calling:  to become a princess as the wife of Prince Rainier III of Monaco.  The connection to royalty didn’t hurt one bit in my admiration of her.

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Her Honor the Mayor

In casting about for a bit of good news to start AAA’s 2024 articles, I must admit, the pickin’s were slim.  In the end, I opted for a post on Philadelphia’s new mayor, Cherelle Parker, the city’s 100th chief executive and the first female to hold the office, milestones on both counts.  Having spent more than thirty years in the City of Brotherly Love, I tend to think of Philly as my home town, and I like to keep tabs on the old gang.  And any woman rising to a position of prominence is always good news, even when I might strongly disagree with her political philosophy.

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2023 Grim Reaper Wrap-Up

What with one thing and another, quite a few celebrity deaths in 2023 slipped through AAA’s bony fingers, unremarked and unmourned.  As the last dregs of the old year are drained from the cup, let’s pause to remember those we’ve lost.  The list below is of necessity incomplete, and for the sake of brevity, we’ll not be doing any full-on Aster-Obits or birth charts, just taking a look at how asteroids representing the dear departed interacted with celestial death indicators on the dates of their passing.

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Happy Birthday, Old Joe!

Now, before you get your knickers in a twist, Old Joe is the name of an asteroid, not just an agist slam on Joe Biden, whose 81st birthday occurs Monday, 20 November 2023.  With vast numbers of Americans, even Democratic supporters, leery about Biden’s ability to continue four more years in the notoriously high-pressure job due to his age, the point seems an increasingly apt celestial moniker to represent the 46th President of the United States.

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AAA Profile: MAGA Mike (AKA Speaker Johnson)

Only today’s GOP could take a bad situation and make it worse.  After weeks of wrangling following the ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, with multiple abortive attempts to install at least four nominees, the Republican caucus unanimously chose Mike Johnson (R-LA) as their new Speaker on October 25th.  Johnson is a MAGA diehard, one of the architects of the attempt to override the 2020 election results; his elevation is a clear signal that the Party has no desire to reform its ways, and is intent more on obstructionism and culture war posing than true governance. 

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Out With the Old (Knee), In With the New

On 26 September 2023, I underwent total knee replacement surgery for my right knee.  Both joints have been bone-on-bone for years, and while I have not experienced much pain from the situation, it has severely restricted my mobility.  This, in turn, had negatively impacted my weight and overall health, as someone who always used walking as a means of weight loss and control.

I’ve been told repeatedly from anyone with a mouth that I will be so very happy with this decision, once the dust clears on my recuperative period.  Let’s just say that at this point, I remain in the “I’ll believe that when I see it!” camp.

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Asteroid Sleuth: The Case of the Murderous Mushroom

On Saturday, 29 July 2023, Erin Patterson of Leongatha, Victoria, Australia, invited her estranged husband Simon, his parents Don and Gail, and his mother’s sister Heather and her husband Ian Wilkinson, a local minister, to lunch, sending her two children to the movies.  The purpose of the gathering was to try to work through the differences that had separated the couple, with a view to their reconciliation.  Simon backed out of the luncheon at the last minute, but the four elders attended, with Reverend Wilkinson attempting to counsel Erin in his absence. 

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Asteroid Sleuth: The Case of the Falling Formaggio

On the evening of Sunday, 6 August 2023, 74-year-old Giacomo Chiapparini entered the storage room of his family-run dairy farm’s cheese factory near Bergamo, Italy, to check the robot used to clean the wheels of Grana Padano as they aged, stacked on floor-to-ceiling shelves.  No one knows what went wrong, but one of the metal shelves buckled, spilling its store of hundreds of 40 kg (approximately 88-pound) cheeses and creating a domino effect, whereby the entire stock came crashing down, crushing the septuagenarian. 

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Donald Trump’s 2023 Solar Return: The Year of Living Litigiously

Donald Trump’s 77th year promises to be a ballbreaker, if I may use the vernacular.  The effects of a lifetime of skirting, circumventing or outright flouting the law look to be finally catching up with him.  As the fatal date approaches, Trump was gifted with an early birthday present of a 37-count indictment from the Justice Department, alleging violation of the Espionage Act in his unlawful possession, retention and obstruction in returning several hundred classified documents, kept in bathrooms, closets and storage rooms at his Mar-a-Lago residence.  We already know of at least one trial date in 2024, set for late March when the porn star hush money payoff trial is slated to begin in Manhattan (more on that later); this case will likely come to trial in 2024 as well, and several more may be in the offing.

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Leaves From the Coronation Journal

A number of moments, before and during the coronation of Charles III, deserve special mention and analysis.  Here, then, is my personal journal of the events surrounding the occasion, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

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Vivat Rex! The Coronation of Charles III

The spectacle of a British royal coronation is something we haven’t seen in 70 years, but there’s one on deck for 6 May 2023, when King Charles III finally comes into his long-awaited inheritance.  The United Kingdom may be in financial tatters, made worse by Brexit, but nobody does panoply, pomp and circumstance like the Brits, and the coronation at Westminster Abbey in London promises to be a sight to remember.

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Joe Biden: Finishing the Job

Joe Biden officially threw his hat into the ring for the 2024 US presidential election, announcing his candidacy in an online video that crossed just after 6 AM EDT on 25 April 2023.  Hardly shocking news, Biden had been signaling his intention to run for reelection for months.  The moment chosen seems to be an auspicious one at the micro astro-level, but its placement in the midst of eclipse season, with a stationary Pluto and a retrograde Mercury, makes it an ill-timed choice over all.

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A Tale of Two Thomases

As asteroid Thomas moved toward its retrograde station, a pair of stories erupted into the American consciousness, with yet another mass shooting at a Louisville, Kentucky bank, where five died, including bank VP Thomas “Tommy” Elliot; and allegations of ethics violations in nonreporting of gifts to US Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas emerged.  Both stories broke within two weeks of Thomas’ cosmic turnabout on April 20th at 25 Sagittarius, a period fraught with peril for those terrestrial entities associated with this celestial body, provoking a literal “turning point” in their lives.  Sagittarius is the sign ruled by Jupiter, which is associated with both banks and the judiciary, making Thomases involved in these fields even more susceptible to asteroid Thomas’ fallout.

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RIP Ashes

At 11:24 AM EDT on March 21, 2023, in Nazareth, PA, my dear girl Ashes passed peacefully into eternity.  We had been together 15 years, with never a cross word between us, a wonderfully close and affectionate relationship.  I brought Ashes in off the West Philly streets in 2007, along with two of her kittens, one of the first beneficiaries of Leo’s Cat Rescue, which I ran with my friend John Mignone for over ten years.

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AAA Profile: King Charles III

On November 14, 2022, Charles III of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will celebrate his 74th birthday, the first as King.  Having served the longest apprenticeship in British royal history, Charles had been heir apparent for seventy years before his mother passed away in early September and the Prince of Wales finally came into his inheritance.   It had been a long road.  Once the world’s most eligible bachelor, Charles became half of the fairytale wedding of the 20th century, followed by scandal and divorce, and a second, controversial marriage with the love of his life.  While kicking his heels for three-quarters of a century, Charles established The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund, founded in 1979, which awards money to grant applicants in six categories:  heritage and conservation, education, health and wellbeing, social inclusion, environment, and countryside.  He is also a noted proponent of efforts to combat climate change and species extinction.

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And So It Begins: Trump Indictment #1

On 21 September 2022, New York State Attorney General Letitia James won the race to be the first to charge Donald Trump with a crime.  The former US President faces legal jeopardy on a variety of fronts, and the civil suit brought against Trump, his adult children Don Jr, Eric and Ivanka, and the Trump Organization may be the least harrowing, though, if successful, would devastate his business.  A civil suit carries no threat of incarceration, but AG James stated in her press conference announcing the indictment that both state and federal laws were broken, and she will be making criminal referrals to both the US Attorney’s office at the Southern District of New York and the IRS.

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Requiem for a Queen

Although national mourning and celebration of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s life has been protracted for more than ten days after her passing, the official State Funeral ceremony is slated to begin in Westminster Abbey at 11 AM BST on Monday, 19 September 2022.   Much of the passing chart remains in effect, but there are significant changes and additions which reflect the funeral itself.

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Aster-Obit: Queen Elizabeth II

She advised 15 Prime Ministers, interacted with 14 American presidents and 7 popes, but the long life and seventy-year reign of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II came to a peaceful close on 8 September 2022, when the 96-year-old sovereign passed away in her sleep at her private estate of Balmoral Castle in Scotland.  Most of the United Kingdom’s population – indeed, most of the world – cannot recall a time when Elizabeth was not Queen; her reign spanned the post-World War II era to our post-Modern society, and her life saw massive technological change, from telegraphs to Twitter.

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Roe Overturned

It didn’t quite make it to fifty, but for almost half a century legal abortion has been the law of the land here in the US.  No more.

On June 24, 2022, the gavel fell on Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision guaranteeing reproductive rights, overturned 5-4 by the current US Supreme Court.  The test case which led to Roe’s reversal was Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which sought to prevent a Mississippi state law virtually eliminating abortion after 15 weeks from conception.  That law was upheld 6-3, but Chief Justice John Roberts joined the progressive minority on the Court when Roe itself became the target of his conservative colleagues.

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AAA Profile: Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin has dominated Russian politics for almost a quarter century.  A former KGB officer, Putin entered politics after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, an event he describes as the greatest tragedy of the Twentieth Century.  In 1996 he joined Boris Yeltsin’s administration; appointed as prime minister in 1999, he filled the role of acting president when Yeltsin resigned later that year, being elected to the office in 2000.  At the time, Russia had a prohibition on an individual serving more than two consecutive terms as president, so after being reelected in 2004, in 2008 Putin swapped jobs with then prime minister Dmitry Medvedev for a term, only to assume the top spot again in the following election, four years later.  That would have entitled him to two more terms, but Putin changed the law to allow himself to run for an additional two terms uninterrupted, potentially continuing his occupancy of the presidency indefinitely.

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Ukraine: Eight Stations of the Cross of War

On Thursday, 24 February 2022, at approximately 5 AM local time, Vladimir Putin’s Russian Army invaded Ukraine, accelerating a process of intimidation and aggression that had begun eight years before with the illegal occupation and annexation of Crimea, and had continued with support for separatist movements in Ukraine’s easternmost sectors, bordering Russia, specifically portions of the oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk, in the Donbass region.  Since the beginning of the year, a series of planetary stations had reflected the inexorable march to war, eight cosmic turning points which built upon each other like tumblers in a lock, eventually unleashing the conflict.

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AAA Profile: Marjorie Taylor Greene

Not since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019 has a freshman congressperson made such a stunning impact in the House of Representatives as Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), quickly emerging as an avatar for the extremist fringe of her Party.  Greene latched onto the Trumpist base with all the furor of a Sarah-Palin-inspired “pit bull in lipstick”, hawking every conspiracy theory to come within range while endorsing the lynching of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and the assassination of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Not surprisingly, Donald Trump strongly supported her candidacy, calling her “a future Republican star.”  Since his departure from the Oval Office, he and Greene have exchanged phone calls frequently, with the newly minted Representative planning a visit to Mar-a-Lago soon, to kiss the ring:  “Great news is, he supports me 100%, and I’ve always supported him,” tweeted Greene.

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AAA Profile: The Biden Administration

By Constitutional fiat, all US administrations begin at 12 Noon on the January 20th following a general election, regardless of when the oath of office is actually sworn.  This provides a celestial continuity from decade to decade, with all administrations having an early Aquarius Sun conjunct a late Capricorn MC, and a mid-Taurus Ascendant (unless begun by the death or resignation of the previous office holder).  But within that rigid framework, the permutations are virtually endless, especially when asteroids are considered.

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Chaos in the Capitol: the Epiphany Coup

On Wednesday, January 6th, 2021, the Feast of the Epiphany, Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol to prevent Congress’ counting and certification of Joe Biden’s election victory, preparatory to his inauguration two weeks later.  Doors were forced, windows broken, as insurrectionists fresh from a Trump rally mere blocks away which featured an in-person address from the President took control from Capitol Police and security, who offered minimal resistance to the crowd, estimated in the tens of thousands.  The Senate and House were evacuated, put on lockdown, as legislators cowered in safe spaces or barricaded themselves in their offices to avoid the mob.

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AAA Profile: Joe Biden

On Thursday 25 April 2019 former Vice President Joe Biden entered the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Biden’s Macbeth routine, “letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would’,” was wearing thin, and at his announcement Biden joined an already crowded field of some twenty rivals who dove into the political (cess)pool ahead of him. Before officially becoming a candidate, Biden’s name recognition kept him at the top of most polls; now that he’s an actual contender, that may change. Fast.

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AAA Profile: Kamala Harris

On Sunday, 27 January 2019, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) officially kicked off her 2020 presidential campaign in her home town of Oakland, California, before a crowd estimated at some 20,000. Harris is the former Attorney General of California, elected to the US Senate in 2016. As a mixed race child of a Jamaican father and a Tamil Indian mother, Harris is the first potentially viable candidate who is a woman of color to run for president. Her candidacy will electrify liberals and promote progressive goals, such as universal pre-K, debt-free college, and Medicare for all, and a long career in law enforcement may help to remove the “soft on crime” sting that many conservatives will attempt to apply.

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HekateHekate was a Greek goddess associated with the wisdom of age, healing, medicinal and herbal knowledge, women’s mysteries, sorcery, witchcraft and necromancy.

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