All Charged Up About Scranton

Something’s happening with Scranton. It started with the U.S. version of The Office, which is set in the “Electric City,” the nickname Scranton gave itself in 1886 after becoming home to the nation’s first electrified trolley system.

Then, at the end of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, when New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd dubbed her the “Scranton gal” because Clinton had struck a chord with Wal-Mart Moms, Scranton got another notch in its tattered belt.

The hometown of Delaware Senator Joe Biden, Scranton received some more high-voltage exposure over the weekend, thanks to the hilarious vice-presidential debate routine on Saturday Night Live.

In the skit, Biden, played by actor Jason Sudeikis, runs Scranton through the mud, calling it a “hell hole,” among other things, to establish his working-class street cred. From Scranton’s point of view, though, any publicity is good publicity.

While trawling the Net this morning, I discovered a T-shirt for a Police cover band called Scrantonicity on the Snorg Tees Web site that’s at the top of this post. Commenter Marge informs me that Scrantonicity is a “fake” Police cover band that Kevin from TV’s The Office plays in.

Still, the “icity” suffix in Scrantonicity suggests a Uranus transit for the hardscrabble city in Northeastern Pennsylvania, as does all the TV and Internet coverage. (Uranus is associated with electricity.)

Carolyn Dodson’s Horoscopes of the U.S. shows a Scranton chart with Neptune rising at 15 degrees of Virgo, just past a 14 degree Ascendant. The chart is set for noon on June 2, 1773, when an ordinance was adopted to establish the town. The noon time suggests that the actual time the ordinance was passed is unknown.

Even so, natal Neptune is getting an opposition from starmaker Uranus in Pisces. Bingo! Transiting Saturn is also conjuncting that Neptune as it moves toward an opposition with Uranus on Election Day. Maybe the presence of Saturn is why the buzz (Uranus) surrounding Scranton is of the backhanded-compliment kind.

The natal chart has a Sun/Venus conjunction at 12 and 11 degrees of Gemini, respectively, at the Midheaven, squaring Neptune in Virgo. My brother (there’s a Gemini word for you) once observed that Scranton had more bars and churches (both ruled by Neptune) per capita than any place he had ever visited.

The chart also features a Mercury/Uranus conjunction in Taurus in the Ninth House fortunately trined by Pluto in the fifth at 22 degrees of Capricorn. That Taurus/Capricorn aspect reflects the city’s wealth from coal and its reputation as a leading industrial center from 1846 until 1945, when the city began a long steady descent. By the 1970s, the city known for generating energy by producing coal was becoming an arson capital.

In recent years, Scranton’s fortunes have been revived somewhat by good old-fashioned pork barrel, which led to the creation of a new National Park Service site called Steamtown. Founded in 1986, Steamtown is dedicated to the history of steam railroading.

Evidently, millions of taxpayer dollars are being wasted to maintain Steamtown and its attendance figures have fallen short of the mark. Still, it’s a feather in Scranton’s newsboy cap.

In the spirit of disclosure, especially since the SNL skit labeled Scranton as a “genetic cesspool,” my grandfather emigrated from a part of Austria-Hungary that is now in Ukraine and became a coal miner in Scranton. Like Biden, my father clawed his way out of Scranton, actually a “suburb” called Peckville, but his exit strategy was to join the military.

In the SNL skit, “Biden” claims to be the only good thing ever to come out of Scranton. That’s not quite true. The city has produced a Pennsylvania political dynasty for the family that gave Scranton its name as well as some exceptional athletes. Gerry McNamara, who played for the Syracuse University Orangemen from 2002 to 2006, comes to mind.

No doubt some young punk or punkette is walking Scranton’s mean streets today, with just one goal: to get out of the Electric City and see his or her name in lights. Hey, I’ve got your back. We’re from the same genetic cesspool!

Geena Davis Will Play Sarah Palin in the Movie

Somebody else in the blogosphere may have noticed this resemblance, but after watching Sarah Palin’s speech last night at the Republican National Convention, it suddenly dawned on me who she reminded me of.

No, not Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality, as suggested by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. No, not Saturday Night Live’s Tina Fey, as noted by StarIQ’s Michael WolfStar.

I think Sarah Palin is a dead ringer for fellow Aquarian Geena Davis, who played Mackenzie Allen, the first female President of the U.S., in the short-lived ABC TV series Commander in Chief, which ran during the 2005-06 season. According to the Wiki, Allen becomes commander-in-chief after her boss dies in office from a sudden cerebral aneurysm. Are you listening, John McCain?

Born on Jan. 21, 1956, Davis is nearly a decade older than McCain’s vice-presidential pick Palin, but is surprisingly youthful. What they both share is a toothy grin, a no-nonsense manner, and a square between an Aquarian Sun and Neptune in Scorpio (nearly exact in the case of Davis.)

You can look at Davis’ chart here.

Commander in Chief started off on a high note, and was the No. 1 rated TV show on Tuesday nights until it got knocked from the top spot by American Idol, according to the Wiki. After last night’s triumphant speech by Palin, Davis should get her agent on the phone to Disney, which owns ABC, and try to revive Commander in Chief.

But maybe life will imitate art and Palin will lose steam the way that Commander in Chief did. As numerous commentators have pointed out, Palin’s got transiting Neptune on her Aquarius stellium of Sun/Mars/Saturn, so her dreams could dissolve.

I’ve seen some provocative photos of Palin on the Net, including one where she’s wearing a tight T-shirt that says, “I may be broke, but I’m not flat busted.” This particular snapshot is being disseminated by a leftie friend of mine. For some reason, many liberals have decided that women are cheating in the battle of the sexes if they flaunt their femininity.

I’m amazed that the Madonna/whore schism is still alive and well in this country. I’ve got Moon quincunx Venus in my chart so reconciling the many faces of Eve is part of my life’s work.

With all my Sag, I can laugh at bawdy T-shirts, but I wonder whether there aren’t some racier pics or videos of the former beauty pageant contestant floating around since her natal Neptune (film) in Scorpio (sex) squares her Aquarius (Internet, collective) stellium. Still, French First Lady Carla Bruni has that issue and it hasn’t hurt her popularity.

Sarah Palin has brains, beauty, and brawn (she was nicknamed “Sarah Barracuda” for her aggressive basketball moves in high school), and she’s not afraid to use all three to get what she wants. What’s wrong with that?

I don’t share her views that abortion shouldn’t be permitted even in cases of rape and incest and that creationism should be taught in public school but not sex education. In my view, all of these beliefs surrender feminine power to a patriarchal father figure, which is consistent with Palin’s Jupiter in Aries.

This is the same aspect, incidentally, that prompted Palin to declare that U.S. troops are in Iraq on a “task that is from God.” Funny, that’s the rationale that Islamic terrorists use for their jihad against the U.S. Isn’t it great that God is on everyone’s side?

Whatever surfaces about Palin’s past, we must keep in mind that her Sun/Mars/Saturn triple conjunction in Aquarius falls on the U.S. Moon. She’s going to force us to examine our stereotypes about the role of women and highlight the contradictory beliefs about female sexuality held by conservatives and liberals alike.

What we saw last night in Palin’s speech emphasizing small-town roots and family values is the presence of her North Node at 10 degrees of Cancer on the U.S. Sun. Her message resonated with the American people.

Like the audience at the feel-good film Juno a couple of years ago, we want everything to turn out O.K. for Bristol Palin, Sarah’s 17-year-old daughter who is five months pregnant. Let’s hope Bristol gets a happy ending the way the teenage mom did in Juno.

As Maureen Dowd and others have noted, Sarah Palin is a modern-day Cinderella — a hockey mom active in the PTA who ends up as the GOP’s vice-presidential candidate. What’s not to love? I can hear my husband in the background doing his imitation of Bill Murray in Caddy Shack: “It’s a Cinderella story…”

As an astrologer and a follower of Carl Jung, I revel in mythology, symbolism, and Hollywood plots. Life does imitate art and vice versa. That’s why Frank Rich’s pedigree as a theater critic makes him such an insightful political columnist for The New York Times.

But we must not get so wrapped up in the story line that we lose sight of the 299 million extras in this larger-than-life drama — the man struggling to find work after his factory job got outsourced to China, the seniors forced to choose between paying for expensive medications or heating the house this winter, and the single mom who is raiding the piggybank to buy school supplies for her son.

We can’t afford to leave them on the cutting room floor.