The very concept of awards and movies seems alien this year, after a twelvemonth of pandemic restrictions and closed theaters, but the Hollywood Dream Factory grinds on, and though it’s been delayed a month from its normal airing, the 93rd Academy Awards will be presented Sunday, 25 April 2021, starting at 8 PM PDT in Los Angeles. And that means it’s also time for my annual Oscar asteroid prognostication!
I love flowers. Not just the blooms, their whole process of unfoldment. Spring flowering bulbs really embody this, as we watch the first tentative emergence of their leafy tips, often while winter still holds sway, giving way to graceful stems and swelling buds held aloft. Starting off slowly at first, at some point critical mass is reached, and the bud bursts into a full-fledged bloom, sometimes within hours. For many varieties, the transformation continues, as the blossom’s initial hue alters over time, deepening, fading or blushing, requiring a daily viewing if the full effect is to be absorbed. In that way, spring flowers teach us a lesson of paying attention, mindfulness, being present, lest any precious stage in their development escape our notice.
Not ten miles away from the George Floyd murder trial, another unarmed black man needlessly lost his life during a traffic stop in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center. When police pulled him over, Daunte called his mother, worried what the outcome might be. The official story of why Daunte was stopped has changed; apparently, the initial charge was car deodorizers hanging from his rearview mirror. This shortly morphed into an expired license plate, during a pandemic where the DMV has been closed for months and processing of registration renewals has been notoriously delayed.
On April 9th, 2021, Buckingham Palace announced the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, at their home in Windsor Castle, just two months shy of his 100th birthday. Prince Philip and the Queen were married 73 years, and he was the longest-serving consort in British history. The couple have four children, eight grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren, with another on the way, due this summer.
During Holy Week 2021, the New York Times broke the story that GOP firebrand Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was under federal investigation for possible sex trafficking of a minor and related offenses. Begun by the William Barr Justice Department, the investigation has been ongoing for more than a year, with the FBI characterizing Gaetz as a “subject”, not a “target.” Gaetz stands accused of multiple incidents involving exchange of cash or goods for sex, but so far only one allegation of underage trafficking; if proved, Gaetz faces up to life in prison. Gaetz’ response to the story being made public has been a staunch denial, and a rather tortured quasi-justification alleging a complicated and improbable blackmail and extortion scenario at the root of the investigation.
Although, as a pagan, I don’t celebrate Easter per se, Christianity’s secular arm has appropriated so many pagan symbols of the season that if you look around the house, it appears that I do. Even the English name for the holiday itself derives from Eostre, a Teutonic deity, goddess of spring, who could transform herself into a rabbit and was fond of handing out colored birds’ eggs to her devotees. That probably sounds familiar, doesn’t it?