Singing the Bite Me Song

« March 2005 | Main | May 2005 »

April 25, 2005

Do I really care what celebrities have to say?

While my title begs the question, my own cynicism is not so well-ingrained. Sure, I don't really give a flying flip about most of those fawning "entertainment news" programs out there. They are driven by PR people and agents, the publicity machine, so they're compromised, not to mention obnoxious with more time spent teasing vapid stories than is actually spent on the vapid stories.

Still, I can't say I'd fault celebrities for wanting to break out of that relentless ET and talk show promo-circuit box that is usually the only way people get to know them. There are smart and thoughtful people who just happen to be celebrities, you know? (check out their 10th house... did they do it on purpose?)

What I can't stand is the endless fawning. Maybe this will help them break out of that massive ego stroke. Maybe it will expose a few ridiculous egos along the way, and perhaps even take some of these schmoes to task for the money they spend on stupid things to prove they are richer than rich ($80 pair of socks, Winona? Your feet were THAT cold?), while lacking the common sense of Angelina Jolie, who gets that people are living on a pittance in other parts of the world so they can hoard their unreflexive bling.

Maybe we will discover different measures by which to assess the cult of celebrity, eh? Wouldn't that be nice?

The mainstream media force-feeds this courtier-wannabe world on a passive audience, makes us think that celebrities are all lords and ladies from the Middle Ages, and if we don't aspire to be a courtier hanger-on, we might as well be a trailer park serf. Who can resist such pressure?

Active and empowered users with interactive media, perhaps? Whoo doggie!


Link: The New York Times > Technology > A Boldface Name Invites Others to Blog With Her.

A Boldface Name Invites Others to Blog With Her

New York Times
April 25, 2005

OS ANGELES, April 23 - Get ready for the next level in the blogosphere.

Arianna Huffington, the columnist and onetime candidate for governor of California, is about to move blogging from the realm of the anonymous individual to the realm of the celebrity collective.

She has lined up more than 250 of what she calls "the most creative minds" in the country to write a group blog that will range over topics from politics and entertainment to sports and religion. It is essentially a nonstop virtual talk show that will be part of a Web site that will also serve up breaking news around the clock. It is to be introduced May 9.

Having prominent people join the blogosphere, Ms. Huffington said in an interview, "is an affirmation of its success and will only enrich and strengthen its impact on the national conversation." Among those signed up to contribute are Walter Cronkite, David Mamet, Nora Ephron, Warren Beatty, James Fallows, Vernon E. Jordan Jr., Maggie Gyllenhaal, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Diane Keaton, Norman Mailer and Mortimer B. Zuckerman.

"This gives me a chance to sound off with a few words or a long editorial," said Mr. Cronkite, 88, the longtime "CBS Evening News" anchorman. "It's a medium that is new and interesting, and I thought I'd have some fun."


Ms. Huffington's effort - to be called the Huffington Post ( - will also seek to ferret out potentially juicy items and give them legs. In fact, she has hired away Mr. Drudge's right-hand Web whiz, Andrew Breitbart, who used to be her researcher.

But unlike the Drudge Report, the Huffington Post will be interactive, offering news as well as commentary from famous people and allowing the masses to comment too, although not always directly with the celebs. Notables will oversee certain sections, with Gary Hart, the former Colorado senator, for example, taking the lead on national security issues. R. O. Blechman, the magazine illustrator, has designed the site. All material will be free and available on archives.

While many of the bloggers are on the left of the political spectrum, some conservatives have also signed on, among them Tony Blankley, editorial page editor of The Washington Times, and David Frum, the writer who coined the phrase "axis of evil" when he was a speechwriter for President Bush.

In a solicitation letter to hundreds of people in her eclectic Rolodex, Ms. Huffington said the site "won't be left wing or right wing; indeed, it will punch holes in that very stale way of looking at the world."


April 25, 2005 at 11:38 PM in Current Affairs, Cyberculture, Interactivity, Media & Journalism, Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 23, 2005

Why Dave Weinberger is still my hero

It has suddenly become fashionable for cable news to cover the "blog beat," but in a typical shoehorn move, blog voices must be forced into the pre-existing TV news template: every issue has exactly two and no more barely distinguishable sides with about a teaspoonful intellectual depth or complexity. Plug in X and Y, let them bristle at each other for about two minutes (any longer and the story count drops, and whoops! there goes that 18-35 demographic), and then move on.

I get a good laugh at one method of covering blogs... sticking a couple of "blog babes" in front of two computers to talk about the text, highlight unreadable text, and just generally gesture at the screen.

Since when is waving your hands in front of an illegible screen a good use of the video medium? Is that an acceptable method to translate the ethos of cyberspace and geek chic to the couch potato sonambulists? At least when news programs answer or report on email responses on the air, they make a screen graphic of the quoted email, instead of displaying little gray lines of highlighted hieroglyphs.

I shouldn't be surprised. After all, this is a medium that turned every tech story into a PR-driven "nifty gadget of the week to fill the segment hole."

Dave tells the story best. Here are my favorite bits.

Link: Joho the Blog: The spit fight that ended my career at MSNBC.

The spit fight that ended my career at MSNBC


They want reports on what moderate left and right wing bloggers — "Nothing out of the mainstream," the producer told me yesterday — say about a "major" topic. What the hell does that have to do with blogging? And when two of the producers yesterday independently suggested that I report on the blogosphere's reaction to a Vietnam veteran spitting on Jane Fonda, I blurted out — because the flu had lowered my normal Walls of Timidity — that this wasn't a job I'm comfortable with.

What makes the blogosphere interesting to me is not that there are moderate left and right voices talking about mainstream topics. Mainstream major stories are about issues such as freakish celebrity pedophiles, a spit match over a fight from 30 years ago that the press is hoping to revive, and whatever unfortunate child has been reported missing and presumed (better for the story) murdered. I'm in the blogosphere to escape from this degradation of values.

In the ninety seconds MSNBC gives over to blogging, they want to pair A-Listers into a he-said/she-said report on a Major Topic. Yippee for the A-Team! You do two of those and the last of the three segments should be something "fun," i.e., humorous and trivial because the news no longer knows how to operate without a closing joke. It's downright pathological.


The odd thing is that the two I did for them (1 2) didn't follow the pattern they want, but they were happy with them nonetheless, so I probably could have kept on if I hadn't raised the issue. But I just couldn't face implicitly confirming the idea that the blogosphere consists of big voices arguing with one another — spit fights! — instead of 10 million real voices engaged in every variety of human conversation and delight.

So, fuck it. I quit.

April 23, 2005 at 12:16 AM in Favorite Links, Interactivity, Media & Journalism, Television, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 15, 2005

Popapalooza 2005


April 15, 2005 at 04:52 PM in Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 10, 2005

If the filibuster goes, will it be death of the Roman Republic?

I was just watching the exchange on CBS's "Face the Nation" this morning. Bob Scheiffer usually tells it straight and I look forward to his wry sensibility every Sunday, but it seems today he was downplaying the seriousness of what seems to be happening in the Senate by casting it strictly as a political issue instead of looking at it through the lens of history.

I believe the historical ramifications are exactly what the Republicans have in mind, and they are just using politics of the day to push it through, to change the tradition of the Senate to act as a check and balance on other branches of government just as the founders intended, and to protect minority positions in a way the House of Representatives never would be able to.

In short, I don't believe the GOP would be threatening this kind of "scorched earth" tactic, the "nuclear" option, if they had any DOUBT that the Republican Party WILL NOT EVER be out of power again in the U.S. If the party in power ever changes hands again, the GOP would have deliberately screwed themselves royally.

Do they know something we don't? Is the fix in?

I know people who truly believe there will never be another free election in the U.S. (presuming that the last election was actually "free").

What boggles the mind is that they would fundamentally restructure the government FOR TEN JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS. 10. Out of several hundred approved. Is there any kind of proportionality to these actions?

That is what tells me this has NOTHING to do with those nominees. They are merely an excuse to heap power on an unchecked executive branch.

And there is an important historical correlary that we all should have in the forefront of our minds before the political considerations: look at what happened with the Senate in Roman Republic when the head of state was given unchecked power. The Roman Republic became the Roman Empire, and for those who don't get this part, THAT WAS NOT A GOOD THING.

There were people at that time willing to fight and die to keep Rome a republic, it was that important. Where are those people now?

For the many times President Bush utters the words "freedom" and "democracy" in his talking points speeches that never say anything, he has done more to undermine any idea of "democracy" and "freedom" than any other president in the history of the United States.

Hell, even ABC's "This Week" is taking on checks and balances today as well, and Stephanopoulis has been practicing his GOP goosestepping these days or his general smarminess makes it look that way sometimes. The Republicans are taking on the overthrow of BOTH the legislative and judicial branches, to hand unchecked power directly to the executive branch, something that hasn't been done in the history of overwrought legislative wrangling in the U.S.

I think this is a mad power grab, pure and simple. This is the moment of the shift from republic to empire.

Yes, I know the U.S is technically already an empire, as was Rome even when it was a republic.

The difference was apparent to anyone who lived in that time. Look at the difference between the writings of Cicero and Quintillian. Cicero was a great speaker and leader because Rome did have an actual tradition of speaking and writing having an influence on policy. Quintillian was a great teacher, but the subject he taught, rhetoric, to argue persuasively and have an influence, was toothless by then. Words and ideas had no power in Rome by Quintillian's day because the Empire and the Caesars were by then unchecked by anything resembling democracy.

And there's no Brutus in sight. The fact that I even bring that subject up probably puts me on some kind of a "watch list."

Would you believe I was actually afraid to write that sentence, and I erased it several times?

That is the most revealing thing about the status of dissent in this Roman Empire. I'm forcing myself to leave that sentence in, a factual reference to Roman history, in spite of my active fear.

The truth is, no matter how hard I try to be bold, I have begun to fear my own attachment to freedom of speech, to the Bill of Rights in the constitution. I'm afraid these days of even speaking out. Wow. I NEVER thought I'd see the day where would say that and mean it. Will my very thoughts and my inability to "govern" my speech based on those thoughts be my downfall? Will they be yours?


April 10, 2005 at 11:16 AM in Best Essays, Current Affairs, Democracy, Favorite Links, News to Note, Politics, Privacy & Free Speech, Rhetoric, Singing the Bite Me Song, Writing | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 09, 2005

CNET's Charles Cooper rips on the DMCA

Link: Rethinking the DMCA | Perspectives | CNET

Ya gotta love this tag line:

"At its inception, many people called it a lousy law. CNET's Charles Cooper says that proved to be too charitable an appraisal."

He's letting it rip, and here are a few of the highlights... don't hold back man, tell 'em what you really think.

Rethinking the DMCA

April 8, 2005, 4:00 AM PT

By Charles Cooper

Time and again since its 1998 passage, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has proved to be one of the worst-ever pieces of technology legislation.

By now, nearly every sentient being in Silicon Valley must wonder why Congress couldn't have done a better job thinking through the implications of its handicraft before voting the DMCA into law. The act has been responsible for needless litigation and even transmogrified into something of a gag on free expression. More about that in a moment.


So it was that Congress bowed to the copyright industry's demands and created a marvelously one-sided document. By making it illegal to circumvent technology used by the copyright industries to protect digital content, legislators took care of a key constituency. But they also created an invitation to trouble.

With no clear boundaries and very little legal precedent, the predictable result has been a messy conflict between the public and the moneyed interests. And that's where we are now with the specter of the DMCA, like Marley's Ghost, rising up to chill the spirit of free inquiry when it comes to encryption and computer security research.

Here's my favorite example he gives:

2003: In an extreme example of the application of the DMCA, an Illinois-based manufacturer of garage-door openers claimed that a rival's replacement product violated copyright law. A federal court later dismissed the lawsuit.

Cooper's main point is that the threat of lawsuits is having worse than a chilling effect on free speech, and the suits are being used to keep QA folks from fairly evaluating the software.

Now where I come from, that is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, called "fair comment and criticism." Imagine if such an odious rule were applied to movie and theater critics who gave away endings, for instance!

It seems to me that the whole point of the DMCA is to create a catch-all black box that anything created or produced can be stuck in and held exempt from nearly any kind of scrutiny at all.

This has far-reaching ramifications that Cooper doesn't look at here. I'm talking about proprietary voting software in the US, and its potential for manipulation.

It is beyond my comprehension that ANY kind of legal precedent is allowing Diebold and other e-voting providers to operate outside the public interest and the public trust by monitoring democratic processes inside a black box!

Hypothetically, I'd speculate that if property law (you know, the deeds and such that are open records at most counties in the US) were being created from scratch right now, I think these same folks would find a way to keep property ownership records, hell, all government procedures and processes, in that same black box. Hell, they'd subcontract it out to a private company in the name of government "efficiency," and that company would claim it's paperwork and software was so proprietary that all property records would be closed to the public, unless some "government" or whatever interest wanted to pay for it.

We know what company would be running such a venture in that black box, if that were the case. ChoicePoint.

April 9, 2005 at 11:37 PM in Cyberculture, Democracy, Intellectual Property, Interactivity, Media & Journalism, Politics, Privacy & Free Speech, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 03, 2005

Something I missed: Herald Sun: Last Fatima witness dies

Link: Herald Sun: Last Fatima witness dies (archived).

Last Fatima witness dies

From correspondents in Lisbon

February 14, 2005

LUCIA de Jesus dos Santos, the last survivor of three children to whom the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared at Fatima in central Portugal, has died, aged 97.

Her death at a convent in Coimbra, central Portugal, was reported by the Lusa news agency today.

She has been described as one of the women to have most influenced Catholicism in the 20th century.

The apparitions made Fatima one of Catholicism's most revered sites.

And here is the report on her funeral and connection with the Pope.

Pope Had Special Bond With Fatima Visionary

Link: Fatima Prophecies.

February 15, 2005

John Paul II expressed gratitude for the support he felt he always received from Sister Lucia's prayers, especially in moments of suffering, reports.

The pope expressed his gratitude in a message read by his special envoy, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, at the end of the funeral for the Fatima visionary, held Tuesday in the cathedral of Coimbra, Portugal.

The multitude that filled the cathedral and its surroundings responded with prolonged applause to the Holy Father's message.

Tens of thousands of people had arrived from all over Portugal and from other countries to bid farewell to Sister Lucia and to participate in the funeral for the Carmelite nun. She died last Sunday at age 97.

Most of the faithful had to follow the ceremony from the square and adjacent streets, reported the Italian newspaper Avvenire.

Waving white handkerchiefs, they bid Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart farewell as her coffin passed by from the church to her burial in the Carmelite convent where she lived for 57 years and where she died. In one year, her remains will be taken to the shrine of Fatima.

The funeral was presided over by Cardinal Bertone, archbishop of Genoa, who on several occasions had met with Sister Lucia, the last time in 2003, when the Carmelite gave him her walking stick so that he could give it to John Paul II.

The pope entrusted to Cardinal Bertone a message, addressed to Bishop Albino Cleto of Coimbra, in which he expressed his "profound emotion" over Sister Lucia's death and expressed his "last farewell to this humble and devout Carmelite."

"The visit of the Virgin Mary, which little Lucia received in Fatima together with her cousins Francisco and Jacinta in 1917, was for her the beginning of a singular mission to which she remained faithful until the end of her days. Sister Lucia leaves us an example of great fidelity to the Lord and of joyful adherence to his divine will," wrote the Holy Father.

"I remember with emotion the various meetings I had with her and the bonds of spiritual friendship that, with the passing of time, were intensified," he stated.

"I have always felt supported by the daily gift of her prayer, especially in the harsh moments of trial and suffering. May the Lord reward her amply for the great and hidden service she has done to the Church," the pope added.

John Paul II met with the Carmelite nun on three occasions: on May 13, 1982, and on the same day in 1991 and 2000, the Vatican Information Service recalled.

The first meeting took place exactly one year after the 1981 assassination attempt against the pope in St. Peter's Square. On that occasion in 1982, the Holy Father went to Fatima to thank the Blessed Virgin for saving his life.

He desired that one of the bullets used in the attack be set in the crown of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, as a sign of gratitude.

The second meeting, in 1991, took place on the 10th anniversary of the attack. The last time that the Holy Father and Sister Lucia met personally was on May 13, 2000.

On that day, the pope beatified the two other visionaries, the little shepherds Jacinta and Francisco, and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, read the text relative to the third secret of Fatima.

On the eve of Sister Lucia's death, the pope had sent a fax to her in which he expressed his closeness and assured her of his prayers so that she would be able "to live this moment of pain, suffering and offering with the spirit of Easter, of the passing."


A nephew of the nun, Salesian Father Jose dos Santos Valinho, said his aunt "prayed until the last moment for the pope and his health," and "when John Paul II sent her a fax message of gratitude" for her prayers, during his recent hospitalization, she wished to hold those sheets of paper.

Even though she was almost blind, she said to her sisters in the community: "'Let me read, it's the pope who is writing me,'" recalled her nephew.

The priest was invited by the Carmelites of Coimbra to preside in the convent at the first Mass for the repose of his aunt's soul.

"When the prioress of the convent would give [Sister Lucia] a message, a communication from the pope, for her it was always a great emotional moment," the priest told Avvenire.

"What was most impressive was the arrival of the last message," he added. "In those dying moments it was as if all of a sudden she recovered her lost strength and her little eyes were illuminated."

And finally, I found this site, which claims to have Lucia's last words. In light of the Pope's death just over a month from the Nun's death, I'm just struck by the similarity between the proximity of the deaths of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa.

But more than that, the Pope regarded the Lady of Fatima as his personal protector, since the early 80s. If she left to take Lucia home, did he feel less strong, less protected?

Interestingly enough, they both died of complications of the flu, the same one that's going around.

People are getting it even if they managed to get a flu shot this year. It starts as a sore throat, but then the virus runs all through your body, leaving you open to infections, rapidly falling blood pressure, fever and extreme cold. It'll knock even a healthy person out for a good two weeks, and a co-worker even had to go to the emergency room when the falling blood pressure made him pass out.

BTW, the two little shepherds who were with Lucia for the visions in the early 1900s also died of the flu, when they were still children.

Link: Lucia's Last Words.


By Richard Salbato

Sister Lucy of Fatima died on February 13, 2005 at 97 years of age.  Doctor Branca, a gifted doctor and painter, was at her bedside taking her pulse, and felt her last heart beat. Lucia did not die of any sickness other than a flu that was going around all of Portugal, and most of the nuns in Coimbra had it.  Lucia just died of old age and the flu was more than the old body could take. 

I went to the funeral at the Basilica (flying in from Brazil) and then the following Saturday I was invited to a farewell Mass for Lucia, where I talked with the nuns and Doctor Branca.  At the Mass they passed out for the first time, the last words of Lucia, I assume recorded by the Doctor or Mother Superior at her bedside.   The cards were made quickly just for this farewell Mass, but in the future they will be a mainstay of gifts to anyone visiting the convent.  I knew what the words were In Portuguese, but just to be sure I had a nun translate them into English for me.  My translation was the same and it was evident something very supernatural happened at her death.  I asked some questions and the best I can write (waiting an official report) is this.

Lucia was not going to last long, according to her doctor, as her will to live was gone, and her breathing difficult, so doctor Branca could do nothing except wait for the end.  Then suddenly Lucia moved her head from the right to the left and back again as if wanting to see all in front of her.  She was seeing something and more than one thing.

"For the Holy Father! ... Our Lady, Our Lady, Holy Angels, Heart of Jesus, Heart of Jesus! We are going, we are going.

"Where?" asked Mother Celina

"To Heaven..."

"With whom?" asked Mother Celina

With Our Lord ... Our Lady ... and the little Shepherds."

And she breathed her last. 

It is evident that Lucia was seeing Our Lady, Jesus, Angels, and Jacinta and Francisco, who had come to take her to Heaven, and finally in audible words she said, let "US" go, and not let me go, for she knew they would go up to Heaven together, as they had come down to take her with them.  Jacinta and Francisco had felt sorry for Lucia when they learned that Lucia would not go to Heaven with them right away, but promised to pray for her from Heaven.  Lucia complained that she would be alone without her two little shepherds with her, but Our Lady promised to be with her always to comfort her.  Now her two little friends had come with the Heavenly Host to get her and take her with them to Heaven. Amen.

Earlier Sister Lucia had said, and I wrote, that the story of Fatima is only half done, and so if we think of a 1000 page book on Fatima, this is only page 500 that has turned, and the rest should be very exciting to say the least.  Today the Holy Father is back again in the hospital with a hole in his neck to breathe.  How long he lasts is anyone's guess.  But for the Portuguese people, they have said for years that the world is held up with two hands, the Holy Father's and Lucia's.  When they are both gone, heaven help us.  This is the feeling of the Portuguese, and it may be a self-fulfilling prophesy. 


Beware when taking this link, as there is nasty anti-abortion and other homophobic drivel mixed in with the interesting stuff. In roaming around today, I hit a few of those sites, claiming heresy for this thing or that thing, making this Cardinal Ratzinger look like Maury Milquetoast.

For all the folks who found this Pope's positions on women priests and gays abhorrent and were willing to condemn the man for it rather than looking at all the other things he did, geez, look at some of these hardcore hothouse nutjobs. I hit some fringe priest site that was claiming John Paul II was the antichrist.

Link: Has Rome Become the Seat of the Antichrist?.

I went digging around to try to find their reasons, and amid all the footnotes and legalistic Vatican blather, I find out that they believe Vatican II to be the grounds of all heresy, of which, any sign of ecumenicism from the Pope merely reinforced.

The horrors they breathlessly announced! He spoke to Muslims! He talked to Hindus and didn't try to convert them on the spot or vanish into a puddle of jello just to be in the presence of their idolatrous beliefs! And ooh, it gets worse! He talked to Jews! Religion after religion, signs of world cultures and mythologies and belief systems, to these nutjobs, a sign of heresy. One should fall over in a dead faint in the presence of a representation of any other religion, esp. those savage heathens who don't have the great benefit of being white and European.

It is part of the infallibility of previous Popes. If Galileo was excommunicated, he must STAY excommunicated for all time, whether the Earth revolves around the Sun or not! To even CONSIDER talking to Lutherans, to talk about the value of the contribution of Martin Luther, THIS is a sign of the antichrist.

I know this Pope slipped up big time on the issue of priests sexually abusing children. But if these racist fucks, these Catholic versions of far right fringe nutjobs, take control at the Vatican, feminists are going to WISH they still had John Paul II around to have civil little arguments about women priests. These wack jobs would probably take such a heretical suggestion as a sign of witchcraft and start gathering wood for a fire.

April 3, 2005 at 01:03 AM in Current Affairs, Favorite Links, News to Note, Religion | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 02, 2005

Looking at Pope John Paul II's astrological chart


To the professional astrologers out there, forgive me, as I am just a dabbler, but in meditating today on the Pope's death, I went digging around and found his natal chart, and also looked up some of his planetary aspects for the time before and just after his passing.

Most of this is just stream of conscious rambling about what I see in those charts and aspects. I should note that I got all my data from a personal account at the excellent Astrodienst site at Times are set to Italy time.

Difficult aspects that could push a sick body over to the other side... anything with Mars, like the opposition to Neptune. The Moon square Mars.

Mars Opposition Neptune exact at 05:47 activity period from 31 March 2005 to 3 April 2005.
Moon Square Mars, exact at 19:48

However, note the Mars Sextile Chiron, exact at 13:03.

VERY interesting. Chiron is an asteroid linked to healing, like the Greek Centaur who trained Hercules. A warrior-healer, see? And sextile is a positive aspect, yet Mars is also a warrior. This is a guy who has fought a good fight, but all those wonderful Moon trines, esp the one with his Med Coeli (directly overhead, career and public calling) say emotionally, he has done all that could possibly be expected of him, and it is time for some well-earned rest. Long term Chiron Trine Moon also says this has been coming on for a while, a larger healing (one book I read calls one sector of life on the other side a "healing room" to recover from our time on Earth).

Mercury Trine Med.Coeli, exact at 21:48
Moon Trine Venus, exact at 07:01
Moon Trine Mercury, exact at 13:15
Moon Last quarter, exact at 02:50
Chiron Trine Moon long-term influence

In the natal chart (seen in the graphic above) there is a portrait of his personality that I find to be pretty uncanny, esp the contrast of Taurus (stable, grounded, stubborn) and Gemini (intellectual, traveling, teaching, communicating).

Note the cluster of planets directly at the top of the circle. The piece of the pie numbered 10 is where we discover if a person is a public figure or could become famous. Saturn is in the 10th house, which tends to say he won't be famous (Saturn being a very difficult influence to carry in that spot... it indicates heavy adversity to be overcome... sound about right?). Saturn is also an indicator of many of the trials and burdens of both his early life under Nazis and Soviets, and later years, struggling with Parkinsons.

But JUPITER is in the 10th House with Saturn. Wow. That means two almost contradictory influences in his public personality. Jupiter in the 10th House nearly ALWAYS conveys a person with a high public profile that seems to come almost effortlessly.

Saturn (the Titan Chronos, the fickle finger of fate) in the 10th adds to that a sense of destiny that he would have carried his entire life, along with those heavy burdens. But Jupiter would have made it seem like, even with the burdens, some things that made him famous just inexplicably fell in his lap. And he would have earned and deserved them, because Saturn makes certain of that. But coming out of nowhere, he would suddenly appear on the world stage and BE perfectly qualified, tempered in the kind of fire we read about in the book of James.

Isn't that just freaky? Oh, and Jupiter is in LEO, while Saturn is in Virgo, a hard-working, idealistic perfectionist. Leo, ruled by the Sun. Virgo, a life devoted to service and work. Like the Malachy prophecy, the LABORS OF THE SUN. De labore Solis. THAT is freaky. And he was born during a near-total eclipse of the Sun over Europe.

The other thing to look at is the 8th House (piece of the pie labled 8). Eighth house is ruled by Scorpio, which sits almost opposite it in the 1st house, the house of self (which also contains his True Node and Part of Fortune: sense of self linked inextricably to his fate/fortune, as well the site of the deepest life lessons).

But dig on this 8th House thing. Mysticism, sure, but also hidden power, and other people's money. (Priests take a vow of poverty, yet he ends up the head of perhaps the richest church ever, built with other people's money?). Split between a solid Taurus head and a wandering Gemini heart? Mercury and Venus in Taurus give the Bull the edge in this tug of war.

Yeah, but Gemini Moon LOVES yakking it up with that Libra rising, yak yak yak yak yak. Oooh, the voices in my head! Should I do this thing or that thing? What does my evil twin have to say about it? Back and forth, abstract city, until Taurus and Virgo step up and say "Hey, let's bring this intellectual BS down to earth pronto!"

Chiron is in Aries. Uh, that would make the idealistic healer-warrior just a tad aggressive ("Be healed or else!" He says to the Soviet Union). Activist always. Make it happen, he says.

But let's talk about his mysticism and artsy side. Pluto hanging out in Cancer. Ok, he's a spiritual dude with a bit of a fixation on issues of life and death, complete transformation (transubstantiation?), the deep secrets of the place beyond death. And if you doubted this, what the heck is MARS doing in the 12th House, the house of deepest secrets and mysteries? (I have Mars there too, and I have no clue what it's doing in the 12th House either. I think it's being kept a secret from me as well) Libra ascendant will balance that out a bit tho.

The Libra rising keeps some of that heavy Scorpio energy nipping up under the horizon from getting too out of control in the first house. He's not so mystical he'd go off to the east and get down with a yogi, attend a seance, or be the Buddha and meditate on the nothing all day. That Taurus Sun demands a practical focal point, and will keep a good rein on watery mysticism, while Scorpio can still work some devious schemes to upset a power player or two.

Uranus in Pisces gives all that water (spirituality) a good jolt of electricity, literally. I bet he was a secret web surfer, btw. Lightning changes in spiritual practices? Using electronic means in service of spirituality? Vatican ring tones for cell phones? Isn't there some phone number you can program into your phone for a direct link to Vatican news?

Incidently, Venus is a VERY happy camper there in the 7th house with Taurus. What is that, exalted, I think? Ruler O Taurus. Yet this is a guy who never got married. True, he may have found love once as a young man, but with WWII and the camps, they could have been permanently torn apart and he never got over it. This is an aspect for a very happy marriage, a wonderful partnership.

For a guy who married the Church. A church that not only venerates Mary, but John Paul has always cited a close spiritual relationship with the mother of Jesus, especially since the assassination attempt, where he said it was an image of the Lady of Fatima on a poster that he turned to look at, that changed the angle of the gunshot and inexplicably allowed him to live (some readers of Nostradamus might argue that he was supposed to die in that attempt, and that Jupiter helped him cheat the fickle finger of fate).

There is also the assumption that the Third Fatima Prophecy contained a warning of something like the assassination attempt. The Fatima Prophecies came to three little children in the early 1900s in a vision of the Virgin Mary.

That sounds like one heck of a successful marriage and deep spiritual relationship to me. Pope John Paul II has been cited, despite all the disparagement of feminists and gays, as the FIRST pope to acknowledge the matriarchial nature of "god."

(Pagans would of course point out that the misogynistic, patriarchial church altered the feminine side of the triune deity to morph the Great Mother into the Holy Spirit, some sort of wafty vapor instead of a fierce goddess, a she-bear for her children. And then there's the bit about the uncanny way all those statues of Mary and baby Jesus resemble Egyptian statues of Isis and Horus. And Isis is directly linked to Venus of classical mythology and the Morning Star)

(However, the Pauline constructions I think feminize the Church as a Bride of Christ and cast Jesus as the Bridegroom, so there's a bit of a gender bend going on all around, methinks!)

Venus in the seventh house indeed!


April 2, 2005 at 11:55 PM in Best Essays, Current Affairs, Favorite Links, News to Note, Religion | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Those April Foolers at Google

I know I give Google a hard time on this site sometimes, but that's just because those to whom much is given, much is expected.

Today they had a pretty good one, tho. (hey Google folks, I sure hope you weren't fooling about increasing the memory for gmail... that was slick, that running number!)

Link: Google Gulp.

Think fruity. Think refreshing. Think a DNA scanner embedded in the lip of your bottle reading all 3 gigabytes of your base pair genetic data in a fraction of a second, fine-tuning your individual hormonal cocktail in real time using our patented Auto-Drink™ technology, and slamming a truckload of electrolytic neurotransmitter smart-drug stimulants past the blood-brain barrier to achieve maximum optimization of your soon-to-be-grateful cerebral cortex. Plus, it's low in carbs! And with flavors ranging from Beta Carroty to Glutamate Grape, you'll never run out of ways to quench your thirst for knowledge.


I'm also giggling at the fine print Privacy Policy too:

Google Gulp and Your Privacy

From time to time, in order to improve Google Gulp's usefulness for our users, Google Gulp will send packets of data related to your usage of this product from a wireless transmitter embedded in the base of your Google Gulp bottle to the GulpPlex™, a heavily guarded, massively parallel server farm whose location is known only to Eric Schmidt, who carries its GPS coordinates on a 64-bit-encrypted smart card locked in a stainless-steel briefcase handcuffed to his right wrist. No personally identifiable information of any kind related to your consumption of Google Gulp or any other current or future Google Foods product will ever be given, sold, bartered, auctioned off, tossed into a late-night poker pot, or otherwise transferred in any way to any untrustworthy third party, ever, we swear. See our Privacy Policy.


Best of all is the FAQ, which has these gems:

1. How does Google Gulp work?

Well, to comprehend the long version of this answer, you'd need a PhD (from Stanford, natch). The short version is, our brains process data by sending electrical impulses called neurotransmitters between billions of neurons via axons running between synapses, much the way buses travel between stations, or MP3 files travel between felonious suburban teenagers. The molecular compound that fuels Google Gulp speeds up this process by, among various startling feats of neurochemical legerdemain, limiting the activity of the enzyme monoamine oxidase. You think faster – and feel better.

What's more, through our patented real-time DNA-scanning process, Auto-Drink™, Google Gulp is actually able to "take a picture" of your genetic profile, reconfigure its molecular composition on the fly, and subtly alter your brain's intricate mosaic of axonial patterns in order to facilitate even faster cognitive processing.

2. Wait – you're saying Auto-Drink™ changes my brain chemistry?


Um, yeah – but for the better.

3. Isn't that kind of dangerous?

Well, none of the lab rats who've been pounding this stuff for the past eight months have keeled over yet, which we find fairly reassuring. At any rate, you should be aware that by popping the seal on the twist-off Gulp cap, you send a wireless signal to Google's servers indicating your irrevocable acceptance of the Google Gulp Terms and Conditions, which do include the possibility, however remote, of hideous genetic mutation resulting from your consumption of this product. We're pretty sure you won't die, though.

4. What if I don't want to use Auto-Drink™?

No problem – simply turn off Auto-Drink™ on your Google Gulp preferences page.

5. Well, shouldn't Auto-Drink™ be default-off?

You mean we should cripple a perfectly useful feature just because of a little bad PR?

6. Yes.



April 2, 2005 at 01:03 AM in Favorite Links, Food and Drink, Intellectual Property, Singing the Bite Me Song, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack