Saturday, July 28, 2012

This Is the Best Thing I Have Heard About In Years!

OK, picture it.  The City of Detroit is a cratered wasteland, with people streaming out by the hundreds, taking whatever they can carry, because there is nothing left for them there.  More and more houses stand empty.  More and more factories, welding shops, stores, warehouses, apartment buildings, single-family houses are gutted of everything useful and left to rot.  There are more than a few places in this city where the rats enter only in pairs.

That's not even intended as a scary fantasy -- it's what's been happening to the Motor City for years.  At one point, not that long ago, 100 people a day were leaving the state looking for work.  I think that has slowed down, but maybe that is because there is nobody left who can afford to leave.  I have thought more than once that if you could find a vein and put in an IV that has jobs in it instead of Ringer's solution, we might just be able to save the city.  But it doesn't work that way.

But things are starting to turn around, and it's happening in the oddest ways possible.  People are coming in and buying up the vacant lots at fire-sale prices -- I have heard that $100 will get you a house with a yard, and the empty plots are even cheaper -- and the buyers are plowing it all up to plant vegetables.  Since nobody ever got around to outlawing the keeping of livestock in the downtown area, they may soon be raising Goats and Cassowaries as well.  Maybe even Chinchillas!   I have heard that Deer and Geese are starting to roam the city streets in the most neglected areas.  It is all returning to farmland and forest.  I didn't really know what to expect when the Big Three started circling the drain, but I never pictured this!  Farming, marketing, wholesaling and delivery of the produce means JOBS, JOBS, JOBS.  I have even heard of grocery stores springing up in neighborhoods that used to have none.  You know what that means?  MORE FRIKKIN' JOBS, IS WHAT IT MEANS.

The locally-raised produce is no doubt doing wonders for what you're now served at the local eateries.  One thing Metro Detroit still has plenty of is really good restaurants.  More and more of these have a 'south of the border' theme, as the most entrepreneurial segment of the metro area is Mexican and these people are just peeling rubber, starting up one family eatery after another.  Now, can you ever have too many good Mexican restaurants in a well-ordered metropolitan area?  No, you cannot.

Meanwhile, a small army of artists has invaded the rats-enter-only-in-pairs districts of the city, turning the wreckage into street displays.  Their products range from upscale graffiti to grandiose debris sculptures -- like all artwork, you'll find that some of it is hideous and some of it is stunning.  (Some, of course, is stunningly hideous, but that's all part of the fun.)  And then there's the Heidelberg Project, which transformed an entire street on the East Side into a work of art.  The soot-belching heap of old tires that used to be Detroit, inch by inch, is turning into a thing of beauty.  And I don't mean a chilling, Grosse Pointe Shores, magazine-ad kind of beauty.  I mean a place you would want to hang out in, eat dinner there, stay the night, maybe even own a home there.  Or a Chinchilla farm!!

But I just learned today about something even wilder.  Someone, at some point, took a long, hard squint at a section of the downtown area that is still so gross that if you look at it too long, you might go blind.  But this someone didn't go blind.  This someone spotted an opportunity as big as the neighborhood that used to stand there.  Someone turned to someone else standing there, also squinting into the hideousness, and someone in the group of squinters said those three little words we didn't realize we were waiting to hear:  "ZOMBIE THEME PARK." 

OK, that doesn't really have the same ring to it as "LET THERE BE LIGHT."  But the effect is just the same, honestly.  The idea is to simply put a fence around this whole neighborhood, as is, and inside the fence they will turn loose 2 groups of people.  One group is made up of paying customers, campers equipped with survival gear.  The other group?  Flesh-eating dead folk, putting the munch on the shrieking campers.  CAN YOU IMAGINE A BETTER METAPHOR FOR THE REVIVAL -- or do I mean 'resurrection'? -- OF THE MOST FEARED CITY ON EARTH?

Here is where you click to find out more, and maybe make a pledge.  Can you think of a worthier cause?  What do you mean, "starving children in the rainforest"?  This is about ZOMBIES, you fool!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It Would Appear Discordia Has Spoken!

OK, did you read the entry just before this one?  I'm sure you noticed immediately that the upside-down Mars symbol, used by some to denote Eris in astrological shorthand, DID NOT SHOW UP on the entry.


I Googled up a pageful of images of the two competing glyphs and pasted one of each into the blog entry.  When I published the entry, NEITHER WAS VISIBLE.  They were just a couple of black rectangles, without even the predictable red "X" in the corner that you see when you select a dud image.

OK, so I went back to Google and tried again.  Pasted in two other versions of the images. 


I used the "Holy Hand Grenade" or upside-down Venus symbol off Zane Stein's site, and THAT finally stuck on properly.

I tried every single one of the "Mars Needs Viagra" symbols available on Google. 

El zilcho. 

NONE of them likes my blog, or at any rate, none of them likes what I had to say in my blog.  Or you can read it to mean that Discordia wants my readers to choose the Holy Hand Grenade, period dot.

That is a true story!

Honestly, I'm pretty frustrated about this.  I wanted my devoted readers to be able to compare and contrast.  So much for that, I guess.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One More Thing About Planet Eris...

There is an outstanding point of controversy about my newly-discovered ruling planet, Eris.  I would like to discuss it with you here.  First there was the struggle to assign her the correct name (UB313?  Xena? Lilah?).  Then they REALLY got into it over her astronomical status (dwarf planet?  regular planet?  Kuiper Belt object?).  As type this, hate mail is still being delivered over this issue

As far as I know, all those problems have been more or less settled, but there is still the burning question of the astrological symbol we're going to be using when placing Eris in a natal chart or what have you.

I have seen 2 main contenders gaining ground:



Let me point out that Thomas Canfield uses the first one, the one that looks like Mars upside-down, on the cover of his book (reviewed immediately before this blog entry) called Yankee Doodle Discord.  He uses it throughout the charts in his book.  He explains that Eris is the twin sister of Ares, aka Mars, so in a way I guess that makes sense. 

But is Eris really Ares in reverse?  They walk the battlefields together after every conflict, tasting the pain, sowing the rage and confusion needed to get the next battle started.  They are totally into that stuff.  They are a lot alike, as are all twins.  Opposites, they are not. 

And, let's be real -- the symbol looks like Mars with erectile dysfunction.  Impotent?  Eris?  Say it ain't so!

Now check out the second one, favored (last I heard) by the man who introduced me to Eris on the astrological level, Zane Stein. It looks more like Venus upside down.  Now, that makes better sense to me.  Eris is definitely a woman (although you can't really call her a lady).  Any symbol used for her should reflect that.  As Canfield himself points out, Eris is 'Planet Frenemy,' and the Frenemy archetype is nothing if not feminine, right? 

Also, the Venus-in-reverse symbol fits because Venus is the planet of harmony and Eris is the slinger of the Golden Apples of Discord.  She's not the opposite of Mars; she's the opposite of Venus.

Also, the second symbol looks very much to me like the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch from Monty Python And The Holy Grail.  In that profoundly Discordian film, the appearance and use of the Holy Hand Grenade remains one of the most Discordian moments of all.  Meanwhile, in the hand of the figure of Discordia on the cover of Canfield's book, we see the Golden Apple of Discord held aloft, ready to throw.  The apple's stem is lit on fire, like the fuse on a bomb.  See the parallel?

One final point:  When I look at the upside-down-Venus symbol, I can hear Michael Palin's voice reciting the sacred words from the Book of Armaments:  "Lobbest thou the Holy Hand Grenade!"  I do NOT hear Ed McMahon intoning, "MARS NEEDS VIAGRA!"


What a delightful read! 

This is a brand-new release by Thomas Canfield (who signed my copy "E Pluribus Discordia"), via ACS Publications.  NOT TO BE  MISSED.

Why, you ask?

>> It traces the effects of the newly-discovered planet Eris through American history, placing the chuckling grenade in the charts of some of the big names in your old high-school textbooks like Henry Clay, Ben Franklin, and John F. Kennedy. 

>> He also runs the charts of some well-known events, like the Waco disaster and the destruction of the World Trade Center. VERY educational.

>> The man sees the humor in what he's doing and also really works to help the reader underdstand the astrological influence of my ruling planet.

DISAPPOINTMENTS?  Yes, there were a few...

>> This is strictly American history and the book barely mentions some large events that I, personally, would like to know more about in this context.  He skimmed right past the Great War, for instance, the most Discordian event I can think of off the top of my head.  Hey, it ONLY destroyed civilization as we knew it, trashed the very concept of honor, deconstructed empires, changed every man in the trenches from a hero into a lemming, and directly led to a few other minor upsets like the Russian Revolution, the Holocaust, the Cold War...

>> At times I wish he had explained more carefully what he saw as the effect of Eris in this or that area of someone's chart.  Astrology is not really my specialty, and I came away feeling like I missed something here and there.

>> He never gave us the birth chart of the Pentagon.  Come on, man, what's a discussion of Eris without any mention of the Pentagon!?  Especially since he gave us the chart of September 11th.  You NEED that in the next edition, Tom.  Seriously.

Overall, though, this is a delightful and worthwhile read.  I honestly wish it had been longer.  You can't say that about just any book in these dark times.  Buy it.  Read it.  Keep it in a place of honor.