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.
In the aftermath of the slap seen ‘round the world, will anyone remember who actually won Oscars at the 94th annual Academy Awards? Will anyone care? Moments after presenter Chris Rock uttered a rather tasteless joke about Jada Pinkett Smith appearing in “G.I. Jane 2” (based on her shaved scalp due to alopecia hair loss), hubby Will Smith, nominated as Best Actor, strode to the stage and smacked the comedian full on the face, then returned to his seat, and yelled at Rock to “Keep my wife’s name out your fuckin’ mouth!” Minutes later Smith accepted his Oscar, tearfully apologizing to everyone except Chris Rock for his violent outburst.
Spring first unfurls in the garden, not in sweeping vistas, but dots of color punctuating winter’s drab. A snowdrop emerges and glistens pristine white from a mulched bed; a crocus spreads its vibrant yellow blossom widely in response to the waxing sun, its bladed leaves slicing through the encroaching straw-colored grassy turf at the path’s edge. Vivid green tips of mid-season daffodils rise upward in hopeful aspiration, massed in patches across the landscape. The initial change of seasons is emphatic, but lost in panorama; it’s best viewed up close, at the level of the perforated earth, in much the way a passing ant might see it.
If you’re a regular reader of these chronicles, you may recall that from time to time, I’ve referenced the autumn 2021 Pluto station in exact square to Trump’s natal asteroid d’Arrest as a probable timeframe for him being brought to justice. Well, the autumn came and went, and while investigations have increased apace and in quantity, no charges were filed. Astrologers can be purists, and nothing delights the heart so much as an appropriate manifestation exactly on the date in question.
In the garden, March Madness has more to do with the weather than anything else. One day it’s 72, the next night we’re down to 15 again. Nature doesn’t seem to know which season it wants to be, and this dilatory musing can be a real challenge for the gardener intent on coaxing as much bloom as possible from the landscape. Early heat can set tender buds to swelling, which later are subject to freezing if temps dip again, blighting the blossom and eliminating an entire season of bloom for some species.