As the proud owner of a Stationary Direct Mercury, I must say that in general, I’m fairly immune to Merc retro effects. I guess it’s the stalwart, embedded stance of my natal Mercury, which turned direct within ninety minutes of my birth – nothing shakes it. But the recent retrograde period was a notable exception, backed up by unfortunate asteroid placements, resulting in a blown tire the day of the station.
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.
Late on 14 August 2023 Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis finally issued her long-awaited indictment against former US President Donald J. Trump and 18 cohorts in the 2020 election interference case. The 98-page indictment contains 41 counts of alleged criminal activity, mostly charged under Georgia’s RICO racketeering laws, created for dealing with organized crime groups. In addition to the codefendants, 30 more individuals are mentioned as unindicted coconspirators, making it one of the largest such cases on record. Also charged with Trump are former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Trump lawyers Rudy Guiliani and Sidney Powell. Willis alleges in the indictment that rather than abide by Georgia’s legal process for election challenges, the defendants engaged in a criminal racketeering enterprise to overturn Georgia’s presidential election result, including the now-infamous taped phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger where Trump asked him to “find” the number of votes needed to flip the state his way.
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.
In late July 2023 a trio of notable performers exited earth with swan songs of their own. American icon Tony Bennett passed on July 21, Irish singer Sinead O’Connor and Eagles founding member and vocalist Randy Meisner both died on the 26th. They were accompanied by a host of lesser-known (to US audiences, anyway) singers cross the globe, with no less than 10 others passing during that five-day period, from lands as disparate as India, Kenya, Brazil, Chile, Greece, Jamaica and the UK.
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.