Happy Birthday, Astrology Mundo!

It was one year ago today that I decided to join the blogosphere by launching Astrology Mundo. Now, 422 posts, 1,353 (approved) comments, and 136,901 hits later, Astrology Mundo is celebrating its first birthday.

My output has varied since I fired up the blog for the first time, courtesy of WordPress, on Mar. 17, 2008, but my love of the astrological and blogging community hasn’t.

There have been two contributors who have kept this blog afloat over the past year when my energy flagged — Regina at Gastriques and Gian Paul, who has given us The View from Brazil. Thanks to both of you!

Also, thanks to the astrobloggers who have taken the time to comment on my posts and to link to them. I can’t name them all, but I’m thinking of Jude Cowell at Stars Over Washington and Jude’s Threshold, Comet at Out the Comet’s Ass, Julie Demboski, Beth Turnage at Astrology Explored, and ElsaElsa of blog aggregator AstroDispatch, to name a few. I couldn’t have done it without you. (More links later!)

Away from the cosmos, SFMike of Civic Center and Susan DeMark of Mindful Walker have helped keep my feet firmly on the ground while I’m looking up at the stars.

Last but not least, a big shout-out to Pamela Cucinell, my roommate at last year’s United Astrology Conference and the host of AstroChatter Radio, where I put my two astro cents in on a (mostly) regular basis.

Thanks everybody! I love all of you, especially my readers!

The Fargo Connection: Sarah Meets Marge

Last night, as I was watching Republican Sarah Palin sprinkle her answers in the vice-presidential debate with such folksy phrases as “Doggone it, Joe,” “I’ll betcha,” and ‚ÄúDarn right,” one word came to mind: Fargo.

Don’t you get the feeling that Palin is channeling Police Chief Marge Gunderson? You betcha! Frances McDormand won a best actress Oscar for her performance in the 1996 film by the Coen brothers.

Here are some choice quotes from Palin and Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Joe Biden last night, courtesy of Yahoo, and the Fargo trailer.

Well, it turns out that I’m not the only one who made the Fargo connection. My tipster Gastriques sent along a clip that will have you LOL. Leave it to Marge to get the truth out of Palin! (P.S. This is funnier if you watch the Fargo trailer first!)

Biden called to mind Terms of Endearment when he got choked up talking about what it was like to be a single parent. It wasn’t entirely convincing, though, when Biden said the “people in my neighborhood get it…they know the middle class is getting the short end of the stick.”

Despite Biden’s working-class roots in Scranton, Pa., I don’t imagine he lives in a neighborhood where people are struggling. Maybe I’m wrong, goshdarnit.

As for the astrological angle, there isn’t one, except looking at the snowy landscape in the Fargo trailer got me thinking of Pluto in Capricorn. Brrrr!

Helen Thomas, Queen of the White House Correspondents

Back on Aug. 4, when it was Barack Obama’s birthday and I was busily calculating his solar return, my tipster Gastriques was prodding me to look at the chart of longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas, another Leo born Aug. 4.

I’m catching up with Learning Curve on the Ecliptic and I see this weekend that she featured Thomas as the first in a series of “superwomen” that she plans to write about on Saturdays. So, here you go, Gastriques. Here’s everything you wanted to know about Helen Thomas, together with her natal chart.

So, in true Cindy Adams style, I’ll say: Don’t say I never did anything for you! (I know you wouldn’t, but it’s fun to channel Cindy!)

Saturn in Virgo: Handmade Nation

Folks, something really big is happening out there. As usual, I’m late to the party and I’m going to wax nostalgic about my Army brat childhood somewhere in this post.

First, kudos to Gastriques, my faithful tipster, who sent me a link a few weeks ago about Etsy, a eBay for handmade crafts. Duly noted, but not yet a trend in my mind. Then, last Thursday, while I was reading The New York Times (which used to benefit from the insight of Gastriques), I noticed an article in the Home section about the modern-day mother of Handmade Nation: a crafty chick called Faythe Levine.

So far, so good. Then I noticed that Jim Kunstler, my guru on the post-oil future, has written a book called World Made by Hand, a novel about an apocalyptic future where we’re not knitting sweaters for fun or to express our creativity. Handmade Nation, World Made by Hand: I sense a trend here.

Today, I stopped on Main Street in Beacon, N.Y., to participate in our “Second Saturday,” where there are always lots of gallery openings and other interesting happenings (as they used to say on Mod Squad. I stopped by Paper Presence to admire the window full of origami cranes, a continuation of the dream of Hiroshima victim Sadako Sasaki, and then stepped into a garage-cum-workshop with saws, hammers, and other tools artistically displayed on the wall.

This was the venue of the Handmade Calvacade of Etsy vendors that rolled into Beacon. The vendors were mostly hipsters from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who had to restrain themselves from rolling their eyes when I asked: “What’s Etsy?” Of course, I knew, but the journalist in me had to play dumb to get information. I bought a couple of really cool tote bags made from embossed Indian burlap sacks and decorated with ribbon and beads.

The Handmade Calvacade seems to be a younger, groovier version of the craft bazaar that is well-known to church ladies and militry wives. I remember in the early Seventies when my Mom complained that the general’s wife at Fort Riley, Kans. was snubbing her because she didn’t knit enough hats for the Officers Wives Club’s Christmas bazaar. Yes, crafty folks can get catty and petty.

What’s driving all this hipster interest in making things by hand? It’s definitely Saturn in Virgo, which is fueling an appreciation for craftsmanship. But I believe this trend is being electrified by the opposition with Uranus in Pisces. By buying something handmade at Etsy, I’m declaring to the world that I’ve rejected the crap at the mall in favor of unique things made by hand, and I’m on the cutting edge.

The handmade movement seems a little more gritty and low-budget than the upscale arts and crafts exhibition held in places like Lincoln Center and Grand Central Terminal in New York. It also seems more political than artsy-fartsy.

Making things by hand can indeed be revolutionary. Think of Gandhi with his spinning wheel, exhorting Indians to reject the textiles made in British mills.

Who is the loser in the handmade movement? Wal-Mart, with all its cheesy Chinese goods. Who is the winner? Wal-Mart, the only store in my neighborhood where you can still buy fabric by the yard, an embroidery hoop, thread, and other tools of the crafty trades.

Let me leave you with my reminiscence of the coolest mall I ever visited. It was in Japan, where peak shopping experiences abound. The mall that blew my mind was near Mount Aso, Japan’s largest active volcano. This was a place where you could drop in unannounced and learn how to make handmade paper, arrange flowers, or do calligraphy. Yes, I was a consumer. I was spending money. But after two or so hours, I left with something I had made by hand.

What did the adults do with the kids? Well, this crafts center mall had day care, a working farm, and a petting zoo!

I’ve got to study Japan’s chart, but I think this nation epitomizes the yen (pun intended!) to make something by hand. I also think the Land of the Rising Sun has a great appreciation for nature and generally knows how to live in a civilized fashion, though I can do without the special slippers for the loo.

I’ve written previously about the Japanese version of Ikea, a store called Muji, which I think epitomizes Saturn in Virgo.

Obviously, the crafts revival has been percolating for quite while in the U.S. It never went out of fashion if you were a member of 4-H and working on a quilt for the county fair. But the handmade movement seems ready to go mainstream in a big way.

What are you making by hand? It’s not too early to start making your holiday gifts because I’m predicting this will be a Handmade Christmas, Yuletide, Saturnalia, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa.

Arianna Huffington’s Star Power

Michael WolfStar at StarIQ joins the party by analyzing the political astrology coverage at Huffington Post. HuffPo is the online news aggregator run by liberal political pundit Arianna Huffington, a Cancer who has enthusiastically embraced her adopted country. Don’t miss his great post.

Astrology Mundo had a post on this last month, after my faithful tipster Gastriques first alerted me to the celestial election coverage on Aug. 7.

WolfStar and I don’t agree on the exact date that HuffPollstrology first appeared (I say Jan. 24; he says Jan. 27), but what else is new? He’s probably right, though you know how the Web is: One person makes a mistake and then everybody else picks it up.

What would I do without Gastriques? I pray I don’t lose her to another astrology blog. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, you know, and no one is better than finding man-bites-dog stories than Gastriques.

Rickrolled in Minneapolis

It’s too bad that Liverpool singer Rick Astley doesn’t get a royalty everytime Never Gonna Give You Up gets played on the Internet.

The latest incarnation of the Rickroll, the Barack Roll, has been magically transported to the screen at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. I love it when John McCain raises his eyebrows and shrugs.

This comes to Astrology Mundo courtesy of Gastriques, as do most of my political links. After getting pelted with 4 inches of rain yesterday (I know, I shouldn’t be complaining because at least I’ve got power, unlike many in Louisiana) and waking up to find the financial system back in meltdown mode, I was temporarily distracted from my funk by this latest version of the Rickroll.

Is Sarah Palin the next politician to get Rickrolled? Definitely, like Rick Astley, she’s an Aquarius and is getting Neptune on her Sun/Mars/Saturn triple conjunction right now.

The 700 Club

Some people fantasize about joining the mile-high club. Me? I’ve been waiting for the day when I would be a member of the 700 Club. No, not the one founded back in 1960 by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson.

No, the one where your astrology blog gets at least 700 hits in one day. And I just became a member of the club, thanks to you and Joe Biden.

I want to take this opportunity to express my continuing thanks to Regina at Gastriques, who has tipped me off to everything from a new birth time for John McCain to the Barack Roll video. Nobody covers the Web like Regina.

Also, thanks to Elsa at Elsa Elsa Astro News, for persevering through her technical nightmare and continuing to provide a great service to astrological bloggers and surfers alike. Elsa, you’re the best! The soldier is one lucky guy.

The generosity of fellow bloggers never ceases to amaze me. I’ve been searching for community my entire life and I truly feel that I’ve found it.

Last, I’d like to thank my husband, who has patiently sat through dozens of conversations that begin with the words “Guess how many hits my blog got today?” That’s right up there with “Guess what my golf score was today?” And it’s a question that he never asks me.

I promise to refrain from this kind of self-aggrandizement until I hit the next milestone. I have, however, stopped sending e-mails to my entire Yahoo! address book begging for traffic. So I am making progress, I guess.

Bush Buzzed in Beijing?

You’ve got to love astrology. We’ve got the North Node (mass events), Neptune (alcohol, water, oil), and Chiron (the Wounded Leader, oops, Healer) all traveling together in Aquarius.

With this celestial lineup, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing pictures of a red-faced President George W. Bush apparently so inebriated that he requires assistance to sit down during the swimming competition at the Beijing Olympics.

Where’s the Chirotic wound? Check out the scabs on his elbow. Gastriques, as always, is on the case.

Whether Bush is drunk or not doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that photos are being transmitted by the Associated Press, Reuters, and other wire services around the world of the U.S. President looking very un-Presidential.

Hey, W., this isn’t a Deke party and you’re not a private citizen. Show a little respect for the good ole USA. You’re embarrassing us — and your family — with your sophomoric antics at the Olympics.

Perhaps it was a good thing that our Cancer Sun President used to stay close to home before he got to the White House. Someone needs to get him back to the ranch in Crawford, Tex. — or to rehab, if needed — pretty darn fast.

Interestingly, Bush himself has a broad conjunction between Neptune and Chiron that is trine the North Node.

With a Leo rising, the Sun is the ruler of his chart and it’s in the 12th house of self-undoing and deception. Everything that Bush has ever been involved in has been a failure that was bailed out by friends and family. Why should the Presidency be any different?

Obama Does the Rickroll

I’m spiritually refreshed after a long weekend in Lily Dale, N.Y. that included a wedding at 8 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2008. More on that later.

Regina at Gastriques, my ever-faithful tipster, has sent me a link to a “rickroll” featuring Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama groovin’ to Liverpool crooner Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up. It’s here on YouTube.

Unlike most rickrolls, this one isn’t a prank.

I predict that the rickrolling phenomenon will get even stronger over the next month as the North Node in Aquarius moves backward to exactly conjunct Astley’s natal Sun conjunct Mercury at 16 degrees of Aquarius.

In fact, since I first posted on this a few hours ago, the YouTube “Barack Roll” video, which also features Ellen DeGeneres, has gotten 100,000 more views, to 558,000. (Unfortunately, all those viewers didn’t link from Astrology Mundo!)

And while Obama rickrolls, Regina rocks! In addition to being a shrewd political observer and an indefatigable supporter of her friends’ blogs, whether they be about food or astrology, she’s got a new food blog at Epicurious.

Now, let’s see if John McCain can bust a move!

Presidential Astrology at HuffPo

I’m going to have put Regina at Gastriques on the payroll here at Astrology Mundo. She was the one who tipped me off to the John McCain Mother’s Day commercial with an 11 a.m. birth time for the candidate and to the post at the Daily Kos with an official birth certificate for Barack Obama.

Here’s Regina’s scoop of the day: The Huffington Post has jumped on the Presidential astrology bandwagon with this column. You read that right, folks: a column dedicated to the candidates based on astrology.

Just the other night before our maiden radio show, my astro-pal Pamela Cucinell from Astro Chatter was predicting that astrology was getting ready to go mainstream. Maybe she’s right.

What’s great about the HuffPo column by astrologer Philip Sedgwick is that it’s funny, it’s smart, it’s accurate, and it’s accessible — all of which are musts for a mainstream astrology column. Kudos to you, Philip!

But back to Regina: How can I ever pay her back for all her scoops? The only way I know how — by clicking on the Google Ads on her Web site. Give it a try. You don’t have to buy anything. All you have to do is click and the money goes into her account at the Googleplex.

I am tempted to go the extra step and buy the Campaign Cola on offer today at Gastriques. I’m not going to link to it here. Check it out yourself. It’s pretty funny. I just hope that the soda is made with sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup, or Regina might boot the ad from her site.

Darn, I should have copied the link for Campaign Cola. Gastriques has been overtaken by a mother lode of kosher food ads in response to one of Regina’s posts. Well, I can always Google Campaign Cola. Where would we be without Google?