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A Sunny Place for Shady People

Pithy, contrarian, politically incorrect and curmudgeonly rants on sex, money, power and politics and religion and philosophy. In short: Nothing matters, everything changes and there are no guarantees. The rest is rationalization and bribery. (c) Tom Milner 2002-2003. DIRECTORY of offensive POSTS at Archives: 07/09/03. RECOMMENDED BLOGS: Archives: 07/29/03. email: theoldbuzzard AT sunnyplaceforshadypeople DOT com.


Friday, May 02, 2003
 
Monday, May 05, 2003


If you believe in astrology, you may as well go the whole route and believe in god while you're at it.

The zodiac or the bible: both equally dubious.

And, like religion, mostly women are drawn to astrology.

The mumbo jumbo of the zodiacal crowd -- triads, houses, quadruplicity, elements, polarities, imprints, and signs -- is much akin to the theocratically authoritarian.

But you may as well read your morning horoscope for guidance as mumble to the ground or talk to the sky.

Astrology has about as much relevance as religion.

It's all, in short, bullshit.

(The "signs" of the zodiac are essentially and certainly historically meaningless: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces -- although the ignorant know their sign quicker than their social security number.)

Astrology is famously an ancient pseudoscience which holds that "the positions of the solar planets at the time an individual is born are somehow correlated with his ... personality, activities, preferences, and even major life events (accidents, marriages, divorces, etc.)." (See Chris Walker's Astrology Debunked , a well reasoned discussion on the subject.)

Science has proved over and over again that astrology simply doesn't "work."

Points to consider: historically the number of "signs" has varied from culture to culture, as well as their names. Also, life begins, apparently, at conception, not birth, rendering inane the whole horoscope racket.

Walker rightly calls astrology a random-word generation, which relies on an illusion in logical thought called personal validation. (And, yes, god is watching your every move; he has nothing better to do).

"[Validation] depends on the selective nature of memory. If we believe something is so, we tend to remember the events that support it, and forget those which don't."

Neither religious nor astrological superstitious nonsense will occupy this space further.

-30-

Aside: And if you believe in gurus, leaders (and the led) consider the painful case of Bill Bennett, conservative darling of the right, now exposed as a profligate gambler.

We're always suspicious of the pious, prudish, and puritanical -- and Bennett is all three -- and we have come to expect a tragic flaw or two lurking underneath such arrogant moralism.

What surprised us was Bennett's irrational choice of games: video poker and slot machines, which require no skill and guarantee the gamer's loss because of the huge house odds advantage.

We thought this jerk was at least minimally intelligent.

Smart gamblers engage games of skill, like blackjack, poker, and (arguably) craps.

Avoid those who preach morality and virtue -- both overrated pastimes.

Like gambling.

The rant appears on Mondays and Thursdays.

email: theoldbuzzard AT sunnyplaceforshadypeople DOT com









Tuesday, April 29, 2003
 
Thursday, May 01, 2003


Approaches our "Xmas," our own most revered holy day, which comes once a year on the first Saturday in May: the 129th Run for the Roses, the Kentucky Derby.

More than a horse race, more than an excuse for our old hometown of Louisville to stage its equivalent of Mardi Gras, more than a reason to get so drunk you can't see the horses (which you probably wouldn't anyway), this is a hallowed day.

At Churchill Downs on Saturday there will be frenzy, juleps, the ladies' hats, the jostling of the in-field crowd, the confusion and madness of touts crazed by drink.

This is an adult celebration. No children or other pets, please.

Watching a First Derby was a rite de passage for Louisville adolescents of a certain station.

Clad in white linen suits, sporting boaters, tie and shirt by the Brothers Brooks, we dutifully climbed the grand old staircase at the Downs to the Clubhouse (those steps since augmented, unfortunately, by an elevator, which renders the interior architecture less grand), mingled jovially, bet madly, drank too many juleps, and watched people watching the Sport of Kings.

We were convinced that we were at least Princes.

While we no longer journey to the Old Kentucky Home for the yearly pilgrimage, we do host a small party and gather in camaraderie and joy for a few short hours with friends.

(Secret of a great mint julep: a splash of mint sugar water, three ounces of Maker's Mark bourbon poured gently into a shaved ice-engorged silver julep cup, and topped with a powdered sugar mint leaf -- leaving one's nose suspiciously cocaine-white.)

We have no idea the names of the horses entered for the Race, but we appreciate watching their grace and beauty on the track.

We don't care which horse wins.

That is not what Derby Day is really about anyway.

-30-

email: theoldbuzzard AT sunnyplaceforshadypeople DOT com










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