I just couldn’t let the 25th anniversary of the premiere of my favorite show ever slip by without due acknowledgement, so here we go! On March 10, 1997, the Warner Brothers television network opened the gates of Hell and unleashed “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, a teen angst horror hell-odrama about a high school age Valley Girl fated to battle evil in all its forms; the world would never be the same. Creator Joss Whedon had assailed the topic in a 1992 theatrical film starring Kristy Swanson, but wasn’t done with the idea, not by a long shot! TV’s Buffy was the guardian of a hell mouth in “everyman” Sunnydale, California, charged with slaying, not just vampires, but all manner of demons, ghosts, zombies, hell-beasts and things that go bump in the night.
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.
On December 1, 1955, an African American seamstress named Rosa Parks boarded a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and stepped into history. At the time, buses were segregated, with “Whites Only” sections up front that were created by movable signs. If the white section filled up, drivers adjusted the markers and asked already seated black patrons to move further to the back. Parks, who according to custom paid her fee up front, then exited the bus and re-entered through the rear door, had initially sat in the black section, but when the driver expanded the white area and requested she vacate her seat, she refused.
On February 8th, 2022, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences released its nominees for the upcoming Oscars, to be presented at 5 PM PDT in Hollywood, California on March 27th. With the Academy agreeing to expand eligibility into films made for streaming platforms, there are a record eleven Best Picture nominations, though acting and directing categories have been maintained at the traditional five nominees per. From an asteroid perspective, Best Picture nominations are a wasteland – just three have exact matches for any portion of their titles (“Nightmare Alley”, “West Side Story” and “King Richard”), though “Drive My Car” weighs in with an alternate spelling (asteroid Carr).
As the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing begin to wind down, let’s take a quick look back at memorable moments from the competition. A chart set for the opening ceremonies (8 PM local time, 4 February 2022, Beijing, China) shows an exact conjunction of the Sun with Saturn at 15 Aquarius, pulling focus (Sun) to acknowledged masters and top achievers (Saturn) in their fields, in a quest for professional (Saturn again) recognition (Sun).
Winter can seem a very bleak period, but there’s beauty and wonder everywhere, if you know where to look for it. Last year we had a blizzard in late January, which dropped more than 30 inches on the property, and kept it snowbound until mid-March. In my youth, this used to be the natural state of things in my area, snow cover from Christmas to Easter, but climate change has made that a rarity. The year before there was no measurable snow accumulation the entire season, and this year, though we’re still running below average, we’ve managed to have a series of smaller snowfalls which, aided by bitter cold spells, have helped to keep the ground covered throughout January, if only by a few inches.