In Defense of Hugh Jackman

The Los Angeles Times hated Academy Awards host Hugh Jackman’s opening number last night. We don’t have a TV here, but I just caught up with Jackman’s vaudeville-like schtick via YouTube.

You know what? I love it. Reminds me of Jackman’s winning performance in The Boy From Oz. Jackman’s a Libra with a sizzling Venus/Juno conjunction in Scorpio. He was born Oct. 12, 1968 in Sydney (time unknown). You can view his chart here.

Best known for his portrayal of comic book superhero Wolverine in the X-Men films, Jackman is a consummate performer. He dances, sings, tells jokes (some at his own expense). And did I mention that he’s drop-dead gorgeous?

I’m sorry if the LA Times thinks you’re not allowed to use the words “pubic hair” in an Oscar send-up. I found Jackman’s opening number a breath of fresh air in a company town that takes itself way too seriously.

And even though Anne Hathaway didn’t get the Oscar for Rachel Getting Married, Jackman made her the star of the show last night when he pulled her out of the audience to play Nixon to his Frost. That’s Libra for you: He needs a partner.

The Importance of Being Oscar

I’ve been having a spirited e-mail exchange with a correspondent who wants to know why I’m so fond of Oscar Wilde. I usually have a quote from the playwright, who was a Libra, as my signature at the bottom of my e-mail and also have one in the About section of this Web site:

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Prodded by the question from my e-mail pal, I decided to investigate. Why I am I so partial to Oscar Wilde, the Irish man of letters who was imprisoned in Victorian times for “the love that dare not speak its name.” That phrase, by the way, is not Wilde’s; it was coined by Wilde’s lover Lord Alfred Douglas.

I love word play. I’m no literary lion, but I believe it’s the tension of opposites in many Wilde quotes that makes them sizzle. However, they can also appear contradictory or downright silly. No matter, I love them.

Here’s a Wilde sampler:

We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.

The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.

Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.

The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

What accounts for this sparkling wit? If you look at the natal chart for Wilde, born Oct. 16, 1854 in Ireland, you see a T-square in fixed signs. Mercury (communication) in Scorpio opposes Uranus (electricity) in Taurus, while both planets square the Moon (woman) in flamboyant Leo.

I think the Uranus/Mercury opposition reflects the dynamism of opposites in Wilde’s aphorisms.

Many of the witticisms for which Wilde is known were the lines of female characters in his plays. One of my favorites is from Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest when she is informed by Jack Worthing that he is an orphan: “To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”

Here’s one the economists always appreciate, also from The Importance of Being Earnest. When Miss Prism leaves Cecily to her studies, she tells her pupil: “The chapter on the fall of the rupee you may omit. It is somewhat too sensational.”

Because the North Node in Taurus is conjunct Uranus, Wilde’s quotes were a hit with the public (North Node).

At first I was suspicious that Wilde’s time of birth could be known, but a 3 a.m. time is used by many sources. That produces a Virgo rising that puts Neptune, the planet of deceit and illusion, on the descendant. Given that Wilde once said: “The secret of life is to appreciate the pleasure of being terribly, terribly deceived,” the chart seems to make sense.

I don’t have time to do a full treatment of Wilde’s life and I’m sure other astrologers have already done it, but now I know why I’m wild about Wilde.

Triple Libra Conjunction in September

I’ve never seen The Fantasticks, the world’s longest-running musical that is back on Broadway, but the play’s signature tune Try to Remember lingers in my memory. I think it was on an Andy Williams album that my mother used to play while dusting the Danish Modern furniture in the living room. (The Shadow of Your Smile was on the same LP.)

Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh, so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain was yellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.

The lyrics by Tom Jones may be a bit corny, but the melody by Harvey Schmidt is a classic in my American songbook.

As crazy and chaotic as this month has started out to be, there’s a beautiful triple conjunction of Venus, Mars, and Mercury in the partnership-oriented sign of Libra. It squares Jupiter in Capricorn as the Great Expander is turning direct.

The aspects are most powerful from Sept. 7 to 10. So look deep within your heart, remember your dream, and follow.

Give Paul Simon a Break Already

I was born too late for the heyday of Simon and Garfunkel, but I’ve been a big Paul Simon fan ever since the release of There Goes Rhymin’ Simon in 1973. The Brooklyn Academy of Music recently put together a three-month festival celebrating his songs, Love in Hard Times, but alas, I wasn’t in town for it.

I’ve been catching up on the media coverage of the show, including a piece in New York magazine complaining that Simon exhibited the “enthusiasm of a postal clerk on tax day” during his performance. Sounds like Virgo, I thought. So I did a little legwork and found his birth chart, which has a 6 degree Virgo rising.

Here’s the link to Paul Simon’s natal chart.

Be careful with this site. You may need to have Java running. Anyway, be prepared for a slight delay to look at Simon’s chart, set for Oct. 13, 1941 at 2:33 a.m. in Newark Heights, N.J.

One thing that I’ve never understood is why Simon has been criticized for bringing music from other cultures and countries to the attention of the masses. He hasn’t stolen or plagiarized, but he’s been unfairly accused of exploitation, in my opinion, particularly for his South African tribal-infused works on Graceland.

This kind of Simon-bashing is particularly annoying to me in the age of rap and hip-hop, where the sampling of earlier works is accepted and even encouraged. As a suburban teenager I wouldn’t have learned about the Dixie Hummingbirds if it weren’t for their vocals on Simon’s Loves Me Like a Rock on Rhymin’ Simon. This is his Venus in Sag at work, evincing a love of other cultures and sharing it with others.

Why am I such a Simon defender? Maybe it’s because his Neptune at 28 degrees of Virgo is right on my North Node, which symbolizes a collective and healing experience. His songs have always resonated with me, from America to Homeward Bound to Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard.

I’ve always felt that Simon (and Art Garfunkel) captured the ennui and disillusionment in a land of plenty. In my view, the seminal moment was Mrs. Robinson as the theme song to The Graduate, which debuted in New York on Dec. 21, 1967, according to the Internet Movie Database. At that time, electrical Uranus was at 29 Virgo, conjunct Simon’s Neptune, and transforming Pluto was slightly behind, at 22 Virgo. Expansive Jupiter was at 5 degrees of Virgo, smack on Simon’s ascendant.

Over the years, Simon has continued to work his alchemy on the American psyche. At the same time, he was woven classical riffs, African tribal melodies, and a Caribbean beat, to name just three influences, into the tapestry of his music. Like fellow Libran Bruce Springsteen, Simon has served as the poet of his generation. In Simon’s case, the collective consciousness crystallized with the Uranus/Pluto conjunctions of the late Sixties.

Here’s one of my favorite tunes of this troubled troubadour, recorded during a 1974 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show : Paul Simon’s American Tune

(This is my first music link, coming just a few days after my first photo link. Can you tell that stationing Neptune is trining my natal Jupiter in Sag, which is being opposed by a slow-moving retrograde Mercury?)

What sums up the American experience right now better than these words?

We’ve lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the road
we’re traveling on
I wonder what went wrong
I can’t help it, I wonder what went wrong

If you know the answer, please let me know. I’m still trying to figure it out.