Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This Doesn't Look Good

In case you had somewhat of a bumpy ride in your life the past couple of weeks, some people think it was due to the planet Mercury going through a retrograde. A retrograde is when a planet appears to reverse the direction of its movement through the sky as seen from earth for a short period of time. Normally planets move in a west-to-east direction but due to their differing orbital speeds around the sun, and the fact that our earth is moving around the sun in its own orbit too, sometimes things line up so that it looks like a planet is doing a small loop-de-loop in the sky. This does not happen immediately but over a couple of weeks or months, depending on the planet.

(Click on the above picture to view a larger version)
Astrologers tell us that bad things happen during Mercury retrogrades. The good thing about these retrogrades is they only last a couple of weeks at a time. The bad thing is that that happen fairly often, usually every 3-5 months because Mercury zips around the sun every 88 Earth days. Whether the bad karma of a Mercury retrograde is true or not is debatable, but let's take these things at face value and rejoice in the fact that the latest retrograde ended yesterday, September 29th. Don't get too comfortable because the next retrograde starts the day after Christmas and goes to January 15, 2010.

But whoever is running the Great Karmic Universal Drama that is our lives decided to throw in a whole bunch of bad stuff right at the end of the retrograde. This is some of the stuff we have to deal with, now and in the future, in no particular order:

1) Nuclear Iran - The revelation that Iran has built a secret underground lab in the mountains in the middle of a military base camp - quite the unusual site for what they claim is a commercial power-generation station - is very bad news for an area of the world already critically unstable. One slip-up anywhere and oil gets shut off to the world, immediately scuttling whatever kind of tepid economic recovery we're seeing. That, coupled with Iran's missile capabilities and the completely batshit-crazy Ahmadinejad, who looks like a homeless person who has been huffing paint thinner for 20 years, does not auger well for anyone who has even a passing interest in living on this planet.

2) Earthquake/Tsunami - People always love to blame seismic activity on astrological alignments, and the end of the retrograde gave them a great chance to write off the tsunami that hit American Samoa and the monster quake in western Indonesia yesterday as more evidence that the gods are angry with us. I'm not so sure, because sometimes things just happen in the same time-frame and don't have a causal relationship. That brings up the old adage of there are no coincidences in the universe, stuff always happens for a reason. Maybe they do and maybe they don't, I don't know.

3) Butt bombs - Terrorists have come up with a new, fiendishly effective and wildly bizarre way to blow up people. They have taken to inserting explosives in their rectums along with a detonator that operates like a cell phone. The bomb can be triggered remotely by texting something to it. Recently a terrorist with an implanted bomb got past extremely tight security and nearly assassinated a Saudi prince. Security experts worldwide are fretting that such a bomb is pretty much undetectable by current security measures, and that alone should give everyone pause. Such an explosion in an airliner at 36000 feet would be catastrophic. This is an extremely unsettling and dangerous escalation in the war on terror.

4) Double-dip recession - Economists have been cautiously optimistic that things have been turning in a better direction recently, and we may officially be out of the recession and heading toward positive economic growth. But before we break out the Andre champagne and the Dixie cups, we need to remember that this "recovery" appears to be weak and fragile, and easily reversible. Lots of people don't have jobs and are afraid to spend money, and if people don't start buying stuff companies will not start to create jobs, and around and around it goes. The big fear is that this will be a jobless, double-dip recession, in which the economy will appear to start to recover but then crash again and hit another bottom, before limping back to another weak recovery. Economists put the odds of such a double-dip at 50/50. It looks like we will be dealing with the bad effects of a very sick economy for a long, long time.

Well, there you have it, your entire ration of depressing news in one place, you can thank me later. If you can stand it, throw in the stuff we've been dealing with for a much longer time, such as global warming, environmental degradation, an interminable, rancorous heath care debacle, the looming H1N1 virus season coming soon and the future bankrupting of Social Security and Medicare, and we have a whole plateful of nasty, unpleasant events to contend with. It seems as if this current decade has been one of very drastic, permanent, negative change. Starting with the 9/11 attacks and continuing through the collapse of the U.S. economy and the recession, things in our lives are changing at warp speed, and definitely not for the better.

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