Alex's Asteroid Astrology - Alex Miller

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Trump Assassination Attempt

“As a man soweth, so shall he reap.” – Galatians 6:7

Former US president Donald Trump, foremost promoter of political violence in America, was injured in an unsuccessful assassination attempt during a campaign rally in Butler, PA on Saturday, 13 July 2024.  Nicked in the ear and bloodied by a shooter some 150 yards away, Secret Service agents quickly swarmed on the 2024 GOP presidential nominee, covering him bodily until word came that the shooter was down.  At that point Trump was taken to an armed vehicle and whisked from the scene.  Several attendees were injured, and one man died, as well as the shooter.

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Losing Their Heads: The Mars/Uranus/Algol Conjunction and the Republican National Convention

The Republican National Convention begins on July 15th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect.  That date just happens to coincide with the precise triple conjunction of Mars, Uranus and Fixed Star Algol, all at 26 Taurus, conjoined the 24 Taurus Midheaven of Donald J. Trump, who will accept the GOP 2024 presidential nomination during the convention.  Mars denotes resentment, anger, hatred and violence; Uranus suggests volatility, controversy, iconoclasm, fanaticism and insurrection; Algol forms the severed head of Medusa in the constellation Perseus, denoting both literal decapitation and metaphorically “losing one’s head.”  If you can think of a better celestial thumbnail sketch of the modern GOP and its felon champion, I’d like to hear it.

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Garden Glimpses: The Middling Time

Ah, June!  That middling month ‘twixt spring and summer, not properly belonging to either, albeit the time when summer officially begins.  Spring is a distant memory, but summer’s promise has not yet come to full fruition.  As the month commences, there’s a sea of green in the garden, punctuated at odd intervals by a stray splash of color.  But as July dawns, more and more of the landscape unfolds into the panoply of tones, both fiery and cooling, which will dominate the next six weeks, until August’s mid-month slump robs us of nature’s palette once again.

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The First 2024 Presidential Debate

“Step right up, ladies and gentlemen!  Step right up to the Greatest Shitshow on Earth!  Ya pays your money, ya takes your chance!  What will it be?  Who will you choose – the Felon or the Feeb?”  So says the Cosmic Carnival Barker to promote the first (and now likely only) 2024 US Presidential debate.  For incumbent Joe Biden, it was an unmitigated disaster, which is an apt word for an astrologer to use, since its literal meaning is “against the stars.”

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Asteroid Sleuth: The Case of the Downsized Don

At 3:30 PM EDT on the afternoon of 12 June 2024, 86-year-old Anthony “Tony Cakes” Conigliaro walked into the crossing at 92nd Street and Dahlgren Place in Brooklyn, NY, against a “Do Not Walk” sign.  He never made it across.  At least, parts of him did, but Tony Cakes was struck by a local Department of Transportation truck turning the corner, crushed and decapitated, with his severed head lying several yards away from his crumpled body.

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Aster-Obit: Willie Mays

On 18 June 2024, baseball legend Willie Mays passed away, at age 93.  Mays’ pro sports career began in high school with the Birmingham Black Barons, a local Negro League team, but he was picked up by the New York Giants upon graduation, spending 23 seasons in the MLB before retiring in 1973.  Mays was the 1951 Rookie of the Year, and MVP for the 1954 season which brought the Giants their last World Series win before moving to San Francisco.  MVP again in 1965, Mays played in two more World Series, and was chosen as an All-Star 24 times, tying the record set by Stan Musial, exceeded only by Hank Aaron.  Mays spent most of his career with the Giants, but was traded to the NY Mets in 1972; he retired the following year, but continued with the organization as a coach until 1980.

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Asteroid Sleuth: The Case of the Man-Killing Manure

Folks, this story is the shit!  Literally.  In the late morning of 13 June 2024, two men died in a manure tanker accident at Champion Dairy Farm in Kirkland, NY; both were volunteer firefighters.  Nathan Doody, 33, was attempting to retrieve a piece of equipment that had fallen into the tanker, became overcome with fumes from the fermenting feces, and fell into the tank.  Coworker Tyler Memory, 29, tried to assist, but also swooned and fell.  Farm personnel called 911, the pair were recovered and medevacked to Wynn Hospital in nearby Utica, where they were pronounced dead.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Garden Glimpses: Lammas Lovelies

It has certainly been an odd growing season.  In the six weeks from May 1 to mid-June, normally a fairly wet period, we recorded just a quarter inch of rain on the property.  The ensuing six weeks, to late July, normally a fairly dry period, saw seventeen inches!  About an inch a week is sufficient to keep most plants going without hydration support, but unfortunately the effect isn’t cumulative – those 17” bunched together won’t last 17 weeks, and now, as August begins, it’s looking drier again.  But I’ve enjoyed the break from the Gunga Din routine that kept me hopping through last summer’s drought.

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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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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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Hekate 100

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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