Libra, 49

Anatomical Man, Les Très Riches Heures du duc ...
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When the moon is in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligns with Mars. Then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars.

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, The Age of Aquarius…. Aquarius! Aquarius!

(Aquarius, Hair)

I just hit 49.  It sounds like a lucky number.  7 is its square root.  It is a mere one year before the mortal male equinox of 50 – a life moment that is generally followed by the purchase of a sport’s car, a pointless fling with someone in the personal training industry or a kidney stone. These gray temple birthdays are generally a time where I just want to be left alone to eat five Clark bars sitting by myself in the closet.

As a younger man, I sought to find meaning in everything and was desperate to unlock the mysteries of life – and my brother’s piggy bank safe where he kept his loose change.  My mother was a classic mid-70’s, new age Californian who believed that cosmic law superseded dogmatic religious doctrine.  My father, on the other hand, was a huge fan of dogma. He felt that authoritarian religion was the glue that held together the family, the community and society. If we had lived in the 12th century, we would have rose to the call of Pope Gregory VIII and his band of crusaders to take the stuffing out of  Saladin.  While we were in Jerusalem fighting for the Holy Father, my mother, most likely would have been stoned, burned or drowned as a witch – simply for her insubordinate fascination with the sacred and profane.

Her preoccupation with new age spirituality resulted in a library of coffee table books on the paranormal, psychic pets, vortexes, and Native American mythology, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism and Astrology.  We were encouraged to employ such ground breaking devices such as the Bio Mate, a calibrated series of dials that could track one’s biorhythms and in doing so, better understand your invisible meridians that moved like radioactive sine waves through your body. On our 21st birthday, my mother paid for each son to see a famous psychic to have our auras read.

Astrology was very popular in the 70s.  It seemed everyone knew “his or her sign” in the Age of Aquarius.  I was born Libra, Cancer rising.  The “rising”, known as the ascendant, was explained to me to be the astrological sign that was emerging in the east at the time that I was born.  The ascendant is the initial impression one might make in a first encounter.  One’s ascendant is your veneer to the world.  Years later, an astrologer would show me my birth chart replete with its Conjunctions, Opposites, Squares, Trines, Sextiles, Semi-Squares, Sesqui-Quadrates, Semi-Sextiles, Quintiles, Bi-Quintiles and Inconjunctions.  It was harder to grasp than my college Statistics course.

Secretly, I did not buy into this celestial gobbledygook but it really seemed to resonate with my primary target: new age girls. Being so fluent in these strange sciences and dark arts gave me confidence like I was secretly wearing the coolest psychedelic shirt at a Dead show. It was my destiny to wait until the moon was in the seventh house and then I would find a Virgo with whom I would mate.  In reality, I loathed the sign of Virgo because it sounded like Virgil – which was the name of our neighbor who mowed his lawn shirtless each Sunday revealing more hair on his back than our entire family had on its heads.  I decided instead that I wanted a Gemini, maybe two – since they normally travel in pairs.

I could not reconcile my Mom’s Bay Area spirituality with my father’s rigid Southern Cal religious Christianity. I sort of played on both teams – depending on the circumstances. My mom had equipped me well to disguise myself as a new age chameleon.  While, it resulted in some memorable liaisons, I did not meet any sane individuals.  Eventually, I grew weary of the Stevie Nicks knock-off who believed she was a Welsh witch. I gagged on the fruit and granola sprite that swore that she could talk to her dead grandmother.  I longed for a more traditional partner whose religious order did not include running naked through redwoods at night.   Like the prodigal son, I staggered back to traditional Christianity. But, to this day, out of habit, I always check my horoscope.

I remain a classical Libra. Librans are a creative lot and look strong at first glance but we are essentially fragile spirits.  We are the equivalent to that knock off antique furniture you buy at Pier One or The Bombay Company.  We look so good in the store but once assembled, we can’t stop wobbling or handle much pressure.

We are an “air” sign.  Astrological insiders know that each sign is comprised of one of the four elements.  It could also mean that we are airheads.  We value freedom – of thought, expression and movement – which explains why most Libran men prefer to wear boxer shorts.

We are diplomats, aesthetes and easy-going ne’er do wells who prefer justice, balance and a good piece of cherry pie. We despise loud people and find smoking a huge turn-off.  We like long walks on the beach and oops, wait, I am sounding like a former playmate of the month.  Where was I?

Our Achilles heel is our vanity.  The fact that my wife and I both love the same person seems to support this theory.  I am told we Librans can be unreliable, superficial and indecisive.  This explains why friends have repeatedly encouraged me to run for public office.

I am told our “ruling planet” is Venus.  I am uncertain what a ruling planet does but I assume it involves some form of disapproval.  To have “Venus in Libra” suggests you are intimate, adore the attention of others, passionate, naturally compromising and always in search of a harmonious, good time.  This explains the behavior of several Librans: Bill Clinton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Bill Wilson (Founder of AA), Genghis Khan, John Lennon, Princess Grace and HP Lovecraft.  Boy, I would kill to attend that dinner party.

Librans are politically independent – except once a year when Venus is aligned with Mars. On this night, we have an uncontrollable urge to eat a quart of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and vote for William Howard Taft for President. Fortunately, Taft is dead – all 300lbs of him, but we still long for more full figured politicians.

Other famous Libras include Evel Knieval – which explains every bad choice I ever made in college.  As you survey the list of Mr. and Mrs. Librans – you unearth myriad writers, actors, poets, activists, educators, politicians and only one Nazi.  Alas, you find only two Presidents.  It seems the law of averages would suggest we should have at least twice as many heads of state.  Perhaps we were writing poetry in Math class instead of being like the Taurus tool in the front row that kept raising his sycophantic hoof for attention.

Some websites advise you on how to attract a Libran woman.  They are sensual and visceral creatures.   You are most likely to meet one at a Mother’s Natural Food store, a Grateful Dead concert or in France. Traffic stopping Parisian Librans include Catherine Denueve and Bridget Bardot.

According to Zodiac Signs “Environment is important for the Libran woman.  Make sure the first date is somewhere classy and elegant with posh surroundings, such as lunch at an elegant bistro. (Immediately following lunch) walk along the tree lined pathways of a ravine in the summertime with the flowers blooming.  She will feel at peace and love it.  Give her compliments and tell her how much she is appreciated. She may reply bashfully but with each compliments, the radiant glow inside her will shine brighter and brighter. She may need a few days away from you.  But don’t despair, she is merely pressing the reset button on the relationship. Be dramatically romantic by tucking sweet love notes into her pocket. Pick her flowers and watch old films. These things bring great joy to the Libra woman and they make her feel special”.

You know, come to think of it, forget it.  This is way, way too much work.  Find a tree-lined ravine with wild flowers?  Love notes? Are you kidding me? What if you live in Cleveland?

My advice is to those who have grown weary of e Harmony and and want to attempt celestial matchmaking – is go in search of another sign.  I actually hear Aquarians are cheap dates and do not mind washing other people’s underwear.  Obviously, if you can find those Gemini twins, that would be, well – – a spiritual experience.

America’s Ex-Wife

image1The number of American presidential candidates varies with the sunspot cycle and the phases of the moon. Being a Republican, I’m backing Hillary Clinton.  Because she could lose.  The reason is not that she’s a woman.  The reason is that she’s the particular woman who taught the 4th grade class that every man in America wished he were dead in.  Hillary Clinton is Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown.  Hillary Clinton is “America’s ex-wife.”  ~PJ O’Rourke

 I have to sheepishly confess my petty satisfaction when Obama garnered the democratic nomination for President.  It was pure schadenfreude for many watching Hillary Clinton cede her manifest destiny.  I am still not entirely sure why she bugs the hell out of me.  I begrudged her candidacy each painful step of the way.  It was the first time I felt like voting against someone instead for someone.  And yet, on the day it became clear that Obama had the mandate from his party, I felt a twinge of guilt.  Was it me?  Or was it her?

Many may vehemently disagree with me, but I have concluded that Hillary Clinton was perhaps the most qualified in the field of presidential nominees – both Democratic and Republican.  Wait, wait, don’t roll your eyes and groan.  Even my father, an ardent anti-Clintonite, agrees with me that as president, she may have very well turned out to be the most balanced – tough, focused and as a beltway insider, perhaps most bipartisan.  I have no doubt some of her policies would have had impact on those already concerned about being in too high a tax bracket and given shivers to those laboring in industries that would prefer less regulation and government intrusion.  Yet, curiously, our aversion to Mrs. Clinton seems to be driven less by her policies and politics and more by her persona.  It seems we focus less on what she is saying because we’re so focused on how she is saying it.  What is it about Hillary that gets so far under our skin?

I asked a psychologist friend to help me deconstruct my visceral reaction to Citizen Clinton in hopes that I might come to grips with my Hillary heartburn.  After hours of analyzing my misspent youth, relationship with my mother, ex-girlfriends, conservative father – all the while having me play with a GI Joe to get in touch with my inner child – he offered several theories..

1)    Latent Misogynist – This suggested that I secretly hated all women, particularly women who possessed intellect, confidence and ability.  Given that I married a woman who brought many of these attributes to our relationship, I could confidently say I was not harboring a secret nostalgia for the good old days “whar’ women folk was in the kichun’ bar’foot and pregnunt.”  I actually loved the fact that my teenage daughter had a role model who was cutting a path all the way to the White House.  Just why did it have to be Hillary?

2)    Clinton Hatred – I voted for Bill Clinton – twice.  He did a good job as President.  I recognize he was helped by a Republican congress that would not let him drift too far left.  Bill was and is a charismatic windsock – blowing in whatever direction the breezes of public opinion direct him.  However, he made you feel like you were important and possessed a great ability to motivate people into action.  I also spent several years living overseas and witnessed the incredible surfeit of goodwill the Clinton presidency accumulated for America, which the Bush administration has now overdrawn like a profligate teen.  Hillary was there every step of the way – physically, emotionally and intellectually.  And, if Primary Colors is to be believed, the woman some have dubbed “Lady Macbeth” had a lot to do with Bill’s success, including sweeping up behind his many personal transgressions.

3)    Clinton Conspiracy Theorist – What really happened to Vince Foster?  What about the mysterious deaths befalling the state troopers who had provided protective services for Bill during his alleged extracurricular activity?  Is Hillary really Jimmy Hoffa?  Oliver Stone, is there a grassy knoll here?

4)    Xenophobia – From the moment Hillary “took on healthcare” during the ‘80s, I was annoyed at her gall to tackle something as complicated, dysfunctional and profoundly in need of change as the US healthcare system.  Besides, she was proposing changes that would effectively mess with my industry’s mess…and my livelihood.  I mean, how dare she?  It didn’t matter that our efforts to date had done nothing to really fix the problems.  Who was this presumptuous interloper talking about healthcare purchasing cooperatives and increased regulation?  The male chauvinist in me wanted to yell, “Hey, lady, I smell something burning in the White House kitchen!”  It did not matter to me, or Harry and Louise for that matter, that much of what she was saying had merit.

5)    Political and Economic Mistrust – I was genetically programmed from the time of conception to distrust anyone who espoused the 3 R’s: regulation, redistribution or redistricting.  The road to serfdom is carved by politicos who enjoy spending other people’s money advocating collectivism and a massive centralized government.  Hillary scared me on several occasions with her bellicose rhetoric against business and free market economics.  She had a penchant for distorting issues that I felt did not inform the public’s IQ around energy, healthcare and foreign policy.  Here’s the problem: we are in the midst of a Republican presidency that has presided over historic deficit spending and its own dubious distortions.  So how can I hammer Hillary when the neo cons have led us so deep into a quagmire of self-inflicted decline.

At the end of our session, my counselor said he was pleased with my progress but that my recovery would still probably take years.  He recommended that I repeat over and over “Kenneth Starr swims out to meet troop ships” while walking around the house wearing Ilsa, the She-wolf, pumps.  We agreed that I should continue my therapy as one thing was for certain: Hillary Clinton is a fixture in American politics and will be a constant storm on the horizon.  With our country’s never-ending jet stream of social, economic and political crosswinds, she will remain an omnipresent low pressure system drawing purpose and strength from inequity in America.

Yes, Hillary has been voted off the island. But don’t count her out.

She’ll be back….