Remembering Lockerbie

Happy Winter Solstice, everyone!

Has it really been 20 years since Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland? As a graduate of Syracuse University who studied in London, I felt connected to the 35 Syracuse students who died in the explosion, which killed 270 people. They were returning home to their families after spending the fall semester in London as part of SU’s international program.

Here’s an article from The Guardian of London on the somber ceremonies that marked the 20th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in Britain’s history.

In remembrance of Lockerbie, which also resulted in the loss of 11 lives and great suffering on the ground in Scotland, here’s a link to an article by the late great astrologer Zip Dobyns on the horrific event.

The article covers a lot of explosive events in December 2008, so if you’re impatient to read about Lockerbie, please scroll to the bottom. Dobyns, who died in 2003, was a great student of asteroids, and made the following observation about the Lockerbie crash:

“As has been mentioned before, there are two asteroids especially associated with destruction from planes, explosives and fire: Dresden and Guernica, named for cities where ‘innocent’ civilians were bombed in two different wars. The Pan Am plane exploded when heliocentric Dresden was on the MC in Lockerbie and geocentric Guernica was trioctile it. All aspects listed are within one degree.”

Fascinating stuff. I urge to you read the article.


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!

Check Out Astro Chatter!

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome Astro Chatter to the blogosphere. The new blog, which is listed in my blogroll on the right, is the brainchild of astrologer extraordinaire Pamela Cucinell, who is based in Westchester County, New York. You’ll find her at

In the spirit of disclosure, I’ll note that Pamela and I have shared a few things in the intermittent intersections of our life, including the same university (Syracuse) and most recently, a hotel room at the United Astrology Conference. (Don’t worry, Pam, to paraphrase Shakespeare: Discretion is the better part of valor.)

Pamela’s North Node in Capricorn is on my Sun, so it’s fitting that she was the one who lured me to UAC with a great room rate that we were able to split. The prospect of attending the conference was what motivated me to start Astrology Mundo on Mar. 17. I wanted to have a media outlet to report on the celestial proceedings once I arrived in Denver. Thanks for the cosmic push, Pamela!

Pamela is a forward-thinking Aquarian with Mercury in Aquarius on the world axis, at 15 degrees fixed. For non-astro types, this represents a powerful connection to the zeitgeist. As a result, I think her call-in radio show and podcasts are going to be a real success, not to mention the blog.

Even though she calls her blog Astro Chatter, there’s nothing trivial about this conversation. I was really moved by her post on Memorial Day, Mercury retrograde, and the Indy 500, a subject I also blogged about, from a different perspective.

Unlike me, Pamela caught the absurdity of paying tribute to those who have sacrificed their lives for their country, most recently in the invasion of an oil-producing country, as race car drivers burn up the track and lots of gas at the Indy 500! You can read that post here:

Welcome aboard, Pamela!

Could Carmelo Anthony be the New Allen Iverson?

In the spirit of disclosure, I must confess I graduated from Syracuse University, so I’m not exactly an impartial observer of Carmelo Anthony, who led the men’s basketball team to its first NCAA title in 2003. 

Carmelo’s victory was a vindication for long-suffering Orange fans like me. I have many happy memories of screaming at the top of my lungs in Manley Field House before men’s basketball moved to the Carrier Dome. I was in Manley for the very last men’s hoops game in 1980, when Georgetown ended a 57-game home winning streak for the Orange.

To be sure, it hasn’t always been easy being a Syracuse hoops fan. It was a real heartbreak when the Orange lost the NCAA championship, 74-73,  to Indiana, in 1987. In my house, the TV ended up on the floor — though thankfully in one piece — after Keith Smart hit a 16-foot jump shot in the final seconds of the game. 

But all was forgiven in 2003, when Jim Boeheim finally took the Orange all the way and Carmelo Anthony was king of the court. I loved watching Carmelo play and even drove up to Syracuse in the middle of winter to do it. What won me over was “Melo’s” sheer joy while playing the game and that beautiful smile, which graced the cover of Sports Illustrated.

I don’t know what time he was born, but I’d guess that Carmelo has a Cancer rising. Why? That moon face and being a self-described Mama’s boy. This lunar countenance could also be produced with a Taurus Ascendant and the Moon rising. If anybody knows when Carmelo was born, please let me know.

No one, except maybe Carmelo’s mother, Mary Anthony, was sadder than me when this young man sucker-punched Mardy Collins of the New York Knicks in December, 2006. Was this the same guy who was a darling of the 2003 NBA draft season?

Now comes the news that Carmelo, 23, was arrested early in the morning on Apr. 14 for driving under the influence after leading the Denver Nuggets to victory over the Houston Rockets the night before. What gives? Is Carmelo the new Allen Iverson?  Iverson, now one of Carmelo’s fellow Nuggets, became synonymous with thug behavior in the NBA during his days as a Philadelphia 76er. Here’s a picture of Melo and bad boy Iverson:

On Apr. 16, in his first game since being arrested, Carmelo scored 17 points as the Denver Nuggets beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 120-111. It’s the first time in two decades that the Nuggets have won 50 games in a season.

O.K., so Carmelo’s run-in with the law didn’t hurt his team — this time. But it’s definitely hurt his fans, his family, and Syracuse University. The school is building a brand new sports practice facility with Carmelo K. Anthony’s name on it. What’s next? The Carmelo K. Anthony School of Drunk Driving?

What kind of example is Carmelo setting for the college kids up in Syracuse by being arrested? Maybe those multimillion sports contracts should have morals clauses the way the Miss America pageant does. If you don’t behave, you get dropped, and the next hopeful gets his chance. 

Note to Carmelo: You wanna party after the game? No problem — have a limo or a taxi take you home. It was reported by Denver police that Carmelo’s fiancée LaLa Vazquez refused to come pick him up after he was arrested. However, she later released a statement to the Rocky Mountain News contradicting these reports: “I want to make sure the public understands that I fully support my fiance, Carmelo Anthony, and stand by him through this ordeal. I will always have his back and never refused to pick him up from the police station. In fact, they offered to bring him to me,” she told the paper.

Mmmm. Sounds like there’s a little trouble in paradise. A new baby has changed the dynamic. He was born on Mar. 7, 2007 and his name is Kiyan.  Like his dad, Kiyan Carmelo Anthony has a great smile. Here are some pictures:

Carmelo certainly isn’t the first guy to start acting out when he becomes a father. Fatherhood is a big responsibility, no question about it. Becoming a parent can bring up all kinds of unresolved issues from childhood. (By the way, I know Carmelo had a little drama in his life, courtesy of LaLa, back in 2004. But I was willing to cut him a break then because he was new to the NBA, the big bucks, the hip-hop crowd.)

Let’s look at Carmelo’s chart. He was born May 29, 1984 in New York. He’s a Gemini, which is symbolized by the Twins. We all know about the evil twin. With Gemini, he really does exist. He’s the one who thinks it’s O.K. to drive buzzed. He’s not the good guy at the charity fund-raiser. (When Carmelo got to Denver in 2003, he chose Family Resource Centers, a Colorado organization dedicated to family and children’s services, as his community charity.)

Since I don’t have a time of birth for Carmelo, I’ve cast the chart for noon. Here it is, courtesy of Astrodienst:

When Carmelo led the Orange to the Final Four championship on Apr. 7, 2003, his progressed Sun and progressed Venus were conjunct within a half-degree, at 26 degrees of Gemini. What a winning combo! And it was making a nice trine with Melo’s natal Pluto, which is at 29 degrees of Libra. In terms of transits, the North Node in Gemini was close to his natal Venus/Chiron conjunction.

My interpetation? Melo redeemed himself that day along with Boeheim’s Orangemen, who had never gone all the way to a national championship, as well as the city of Syracuse, which doesn’t have a pro sports team and has been economically depressed along with the rest of Upstate New York, for years. Chiron, as you astro folks know, is the wounded healer. The presence of the North Node made the healing a group experience.

Right now, Melo’s progressed Sun, Mercury, and Venus are all in the very early degrees of Cancer (interesting that he’s recently become a parent) and transiting Pluto in Capricorn is opposing that, while sitting on his natal Neptune. Obviously, there is a lot of wealth and beauty surrounding Carmelo, but he’s confused and overwhelmed by it all. With the arrival of the new baby, there’s lot of pressure to settle down, but I don’t think this young man is ready for that. 

He’s got transiting Saturn squaring natal Venus so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Carmelo and LaLa part ways quite soon. The pregnancy may have been an unconscious — or conscious — desire to pin him down. Isn’t it always? With all this Neptune around, Carmelo could benefit from a spiritual adviser of some kind. Someone older and wiser needs to give him some guidance before he spins out of control.

With the NBA playoffs on the horizon, Nuggets fans are willing to forgive Carmelo. Me? I’m worried this is the beginning of a downward spiral. Dude, get some help! You’ve got so many great years ahead of you; don’t mess them up by getting drawn into a gangsta lifestyle.