Archive for January, 2017

Tigers & You-Freightees

January 31, 2017

Just a few indicators that we’re now into the month of the Tiger during the Year of the Fowl:

Korean tigers return to Baekdu-daegan mountain range

The [South] Korea Forest Service announced that it has transported a pair of male Korean tigers named Duman and Geumgang to the tiger forest at the Baekdu-daegan National Arboretum in Seobyeok, North Gyeongsang Province. The Forest Service has set up a system of barriers around the forest to allow visitors to observe the tigers in safety.

“Mt. Baekdu tigers are a protected species designated as Level 1 endangered wild fauna,” said Park Jong-ho, director of the Forest Service’s forest usage bureau.

 

Bobcat escapes from National Zoo in Washington

A female bobcat, believed to be about 7 years old, was found to be missing Monday morning from its enclosure at the National Zoo when it didn’t show up for breakfast.

“We know that she is absolutely capable of surviving, even thriving, in this area,” said Brandie Smith, the zoo’s associate director of animal care. “If she doesn’t return, she would likely survive on a diet of birds, small rodents, house cats or small dogs that are left alone outside,” Smith added.

 

Man Mauled by Tiger, Killed at Eastern China Resort

A man named Zhang who climbed a fence at Dongqian Lake Resort in Zhejiang province to avoid paying the entry fee was attacked and killed by tigers when he into ventured into their enclosure.  The attack occurred on Saturday [New Year’s Day] at the Tiger Hill enclosure in Ningbo Youngor Zoo.  One tiger was shot dead by local police, and three others nearby were dispersed using firecrackers.

 

Precautionary measures in the Fire Fowl Year

Russia grounds Proton-M rocket for 3½ months

Russia’s workhorse Proton-M rockets will be out of service for three and a half months because of engine problems.  Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said some employees at the Voronezh factory had been involved in faking documentation linked to the rocket and would be “harshly punished.”  The director of the factory resigned last week after Russian officials concluded that the crash of a Progress [space] cargo ship in December was the result of a malfunction by engines built at the plant.

 

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Fowl Bawl

January 29, 2017

My previous post introduced some of the salient feng-shui characteristics of the Year of the Fowl and mentioned a few top-of-the-mind/out-of-the hat forecasts offered by self-styled feng-shui specialists who regularly opine on such matters.  Now it’s amateur hour, time for my own outlandish predictions on what may lie ahead in the Year of the Yin Fire Fowl.

Last time I focused the bulk of my remarks on the various misfortunes likely to be caused by clashes between the annual Celestial Stem and this year’s Earthly Branch.  However, friction between various members of the Earthly Branches also causes upheaval every year.  2017 will pose special problems for two particular animals in the Chinese zodiac, the Rabbit and the Fowl itself.  This is because the Rabbit is in direct clash with (Fowl) year, and the Fowl is said to be in “self-penalty” during its 12-month service as the year’s Earthly Branch.

Tai Sui, the Grand Duke of Heaven (arbiter of celestial justice), is partly responsible for this situation. During the Year of the Fowl, he takes up residence in the Fowl’s sector of the Heavens: the West.  Thus he’s keeping a very close eye on any and all transgressive or non-harmonious developments that may occur there.  The Fowl will be held responsible and called to account.  At the same time, from his celestial throne, Tai Sui is gazing directly across the Heavens toward the East, where the Rabbit resides.  A similar dynamic is at work in the East: merely by facing the Grand Duke, the Rabbit is looking for trouble and is likely to find plenty of it.

So what might be the likely ramifications here on earth during 2017?  Old-school feng-shui seers tend to emphasize the fate of particular well-known celebrities who were born in prior Fowl or Rabbit years, but I prefer to cast a wider net by looking at entire groups in jeopardy rather than just a few individuals.  So, first and foremost, organizations that use a Fowl or a Rabbit as their emblem can expect the unexpected in 2017.  Ordinarily we might first think of business entities or sports teams as the principal vectors of risk, and they’re certainly in the mix this year.  However, while it’s always good to think big, in 2017 it’s better to think even bigger:  not just major corporations, but entire nations under Tai Sui’s scrutiny.  Which ones?  For starters, two perennial woe-magnets  –France and Israel.

France is the obvious case, since their national emblem is the Rooster, which appears on the logo of their Olympic national teams and –in a different form– for the national rugby team as well.

fr_logos

The pending French presidential election of 2017 has already exacerbated tremendous social tensions in the country, so establishment (i.e., maçonique) candidates from the traditional parties of the left and right have been facing a disenchanted and hostile electorate that doesn’t much care for the far-right/nationalist/populist alternative either.  For the right-wing Republicains, things just recently went from terrible to worse: their candidate, former Prime Minister François Fillon, has (allegedly) been carrying his wife as a no-show employee on the parliamentary payroll and may have to withdraw from the campaign. (As a matter of egalité, French law doesn’t permit officials to hire their mistresses either.)  His principal virtue as a candidate has been that he isn’t Marine Le Pen, but that probably won’t be enough.  The only good news for French citoyens is that the election will occur in late April and early May during the Snake (yin Fire) month. But first they have to survive the Rabbit month … in March.

As long as we’re speaking of the Rabbit, let’s consider the topic of the second nation in jeopardy this year: Israel.  Why is the Rabbit an unacknowledged emblem of Israel?  Admittedly, this feng-shui association may seem applicable only in the English language (mother tongue of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) … but you can’t spell the word Rabbit without “Rabbi.”  Bah-dum-bump! [rimshot sound effect]

rabbi_5

But seriously, folks: every year is a bad year for Bibi-land.  Netanyahu is being questioned yet again in a corruption scandal –is this for the third time? Fourth?  Likud thinks they have Donald Trump in their pocket and have an inside track to Putin, but they’ve completely alienated the rest of the world and are now more of a pariah apartheid state than ever.  The Israeli economy relies heavily on outside investment and laundered money from organized criminal activities around the world, so even partial consumer boycotts of Israeli products in global markets are beginning to sting.  And in a yin Fire year we shouldn’t expect much soothing rain on the Galilee Plain –or anywhere else in Palestine.

Here’s what the usual feng-shui suspects are predicting for the Rabbit this year:

  • The animal sign Rabbit clashes with the year of Yin Fire Rooster. Clash means confrontation with others. [Meh \_^^_/: same old, same old.]
  • The Rooster is in clash against the Rabbit.  This is yin Metal cutting into yin Wood, which is manifested as stabbing with a knife [if you catch my drift], risky surgical operations, or injuries to the backbone and neck.
  • It is a traveling year for the Rabbit, who should avoid going to the West (the Tai Sui) direction, which will increase the intensity of the clash for Rabbit.
  • Rabbits must control themseves and be calm or their work will bring them distress.
  • Both Rooster and Rabbit are “Peach Blossom” animals, so their clash can manifest as serious sex scandals. [for an Onion-esque perspective, see here]
  • Rabbits should avoid risky sports such as auto racing, piloting aircraft, scubadiving, or parachuting. [So attacking Iran is definitely out this year.]
  • In March 2017 the yin Water Rabbit month is in total clash against the yin Fire Fowl year, with Flying Star 5 in the South sector.  In this direct clash between Fire and Water, we can expect fire disasters and explosions, heart attacks and strokes.

Apart from France and Israel, there are other nations which are also likely to experience difficulty because their national emblems are rabbit-like or fowl-like.  Here are a few:

  • Australia: the kangaroo … looks like a rabbit to a drunken Aussie.
  • Malta: the Pharoah hound, Kelb tal-Fenek, means “Rabbit dog” in Maltese.
  • Monaco: one of its three national animals is the European rabbit.
  • Wales: its official emblem is the dragon, but it’s known for the March hare … and Welsh rabbit.
  • Denmark: swan
  • Finland: swan
  • Israel: the hoopoe
  • Japan: pheasant
  • Lithuania: stork
  • Mauritius: the dodo, an extinct fowl.  Not a good choice for 2017.
  • Iraq & Pakistan: chukar partridge
  • New Zealand: kiwi

Profit Prophecies

A bit closer to home, the Fowl’s self-penalty can be expected to cause bottom-line problems for major corporations that use a Fowl image as part of their logo … or operate in the poultry business. For example:

 

seeing more red in 2017.

… seeing more red in 2017.

 

the Colonel's military rank emblem is also a bird

the Colonel’s military rank emblem is also a bird

 

 a French word meaning "lost"

a French word meaning “lost”

 

tyson

butterball_

will the brand still be cool in 2017?

will the brand still be cool in 2017?

 

paper sales in a Fire year may be "stationary."

paper sales in a Fire year may be “stationary.”

 

Here are just a few rabbits to round out the threat picture for 2017:

 

the original "Peach Blossom" brand.

the original “Peach Blossom” brand.

 

Volkswagen can't outrun trouble this year, either.

Volkswagen can’t outrun trouble this year, either.

 

qantas

 

o-hare

u_ft_hare

rainbow_hare

… will the skein run out for Rainbow Hare?

 

... things may not be smooth as silk in 2017.

… things may not be smooth as silk in 2017.

 

... profits may be more of a red hare-ing.

… profits may be more of a red hare-ing.

Fowl Play

January 24, 2017

Winter Solstice –> subsequent full moon –> subsequent new moon = Lunar New Year.  January 28 2017 marks the beginning of the Year of the Fowl (elsewhere known as the Year of the Rooster or Year of the Chicken).  In the unceasing alternation of yin and yang, the Year of the Yang Fire Monkey will give way to the Year of the Yin Fire Fowl.  Because Yin Fire has feminine characteristics, it is not appropriate to refer to this year’s particular poultry specimen as a rooster … perhaps not even as a capon.  Thus my choice of the gender-neutral term Fowl.

 

jiaxing_fowl_1

I’ve decided not to use the word “Hen” because of the dismissively pejorative sense in which it is often used by a certain category of person.  Furthermore, the word Fowl is more broadly inclusive, permitting us to evoke such related species as quail, pheasants, turkeys, ducks, cormorants, geese, cranes, storks, and swans.  Thus we move our minds and imaginative vision beyond the familiar domestic barnyard into the great outdoors, with its woodlands, prairies, tundra, marshes, streams, ponds and lakes.  Under the vast sweep of the endless sky, flocking fowl of all descriptions fly from place to place in search of forage and their ancestral nesting grounds.  Most will never end their days in a bubbling bath of mushroom wine sauce.

But let’s take it from the top: first the Celestial Stem, then the Earthly Branch.  This year’s stem is Ding [ 丁 ] (meaning “an individual”).  Ding is governed by the yin Fire element and is therefore associated with the South direction.  Yin Fire is the weaker form of fire, manifested in small light sources such as candlelight, starlight, torches, stoves and sparks. The association with fire gives Ding a visual affinity with colors such as red, orange, pink and purple. It is the fourth in the sequence of ten Celestial Stems, and is thus almost halfway through the celestial cycle.  For feng-shui soothsayers it is the yin Fire element that constitutes Ding‘s most influential attribute.  According to your neighborhood Daoist seer, interaction between the year’s Celestial Stem element and its Earthly Branch element is what causes the manifold terrestrial phenomena that we see unfold before our eyes as the year progresses.

Which brings us to this year’s Earthly Branch, You [ 酉 ] (meaning “ripe” or “complete”).  In the animal zodiac it corresponds to the Fowl.  The Fowl is a yin Metal element associated with the West direction.  Yin Metal represents the lesser, weaker form of metal, so it is associated with small metal objects: small knives, scissors, garden implements, farming tools or pins and needles … or items made of soft metals like gold, silver, copper or lead (coins, jewelry, plumbing or bullets, for example).

The Fowl (yin Metal) is also one of four “Peach Blossom” animals in the Chinese zodiac associated with heightened sexuality. The other three are Rabbit (yin Wood), Horse (yang Fire), and Rat (yang Water).  Two yin animals, two yang animals: understand?  You may also have noticed that only four out of the five elements are represented among the “Peach Blossom” animals.  That’s because you gotta have yin-yang balance for the heavenly cycle to continue its eternal rotation.  An Earth element presence among the Peach Blossoms, whether yin (Cow or Sheep) or yang (Dragon or Dog), would be like a third wheel on the bicycle built for two.

What does all this mean for 2017?  Well, the Celestial Stem above controls the Earthly Branch below, and thus we have yin Fire above the yin Metal Fowl.  In the Five Elements destructive cycle of relationships, Fire has a controlling/ destructive influence on Metal (fire melts metal).  This is definitely a negative portent for 2017:  the strong of this world will continue to bully and exploit the weak.  It’s scant consolation that the strong will be somewhat weaker this year than in 2016 now that yin Fire has succeeded yang Fire.  That’s because the weak will also be weaker this year: yin Metal Fowl has replaced yang Metal Monkey, a stronger Metal element who was better able to resist yang Fire.

The combination of Fire and Metal in 2017 has prompted some feng shui soothsayers to warn of fire-related disasters initiated by sparks or flame –such as brush fires, lightning strikes, power failures, electrical accidents, explosions or perhaps a towering inferno in a very prominent steel-frame building.  Because Ding yin Fire is associated with the South direction, these possible misfortunes are said to be more likely to occur in southern regions of the globe, southern portions of a nation, or southern areas of a large city.  Houston, do we have a problem?  SDNY?  Perhaps we’ll see.

But wait, there’s more.  The avian presence of a Metal Fowl in the Earthly Branch implies that airborne soft metal (aluminum?) objects are at risk of fire as well.  In this context, rocket and missile launches may not go well.  Some prognosticators go so far as advising travelers to avoid airlines with a red logo (the color of Ding Fire), a bird in their logo (Lufthansa?) or the word “East” in the airline name.  This last proviso seems to rooted in the fact that East is the direction of the Rabbit, who is directly “in clash” with the Fowl this year.  Thus East is “offending the year.”

Jan 25th update: this could really cut down on your travel options, since cursory research indicates that at least 50 air carriers have a bird of some kind in their logo.  Several prominent airlines that don’t use a bird image instead have predominantly red logos:

  • Air Canada (a maple leaf)
  • Avianca
  • Dragonair (a red dragon)
  • Emirates (Arabic script in red)
  • Iberia (a stylized Spanish flag of red & gold)
  • Malaysian Airlines (’nuff said)
  • Quantas (a kangaroo on a red background)
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Swissair (the Swiss flag)
  • Virgin Atlantic

daedong_ck

I’m going to briefly riff off this last point to make a prediction of my own.  In Korean, as in Chinese, the word for East is ‘Dong‘ (pronounced ‘doong’).  Daedong (Great East) Industrial Company, Ltd. is a manufacturer of farm machinery based in Daegu, South Korea.  Their tractors are red (or maybe orange).  Daegu is a political stronghold of Korea’s beleaguered Saenuri party, whose leader is recently-impeached President Park Geun-hye … born in the Year of the Rabbit … in Daegu.  I’m thinking this combination won’t be good for soon-to-be-ex-President Park in 2017, and it won’t be good for Daedong Industrial Company, Ltd either.  The Rabbit month (March) will be when Korea’s Constitutional Court is likely to rule on the validity of Park’s impeachment.

Of course, there’s another Daedong in Korea, too.  It’s the Taedong River in North Korea, which runs right through the capital Pyongyang.  Since I haven’t looked at the Four Pillars feng-shui birth chart of Kim Jong-un, that’s all I’m gonna say.

Economic Portents

The interaction of Fire and Metal can also be expected to have an influence on human economic activity throughout the world.  Since Fire element controls the Metal element, Metal industries like banking, engineering, computers, automobiles and precious metals might be expected to do poorly during 2017.

On the other hand, Fire industries should prosper: electrical power, entertainment, fashion, beauty, film, and broadcasting may do quite well. The influence of the Peach Blossom Fowl should also assist entrepreneurs in sex and pornography businesses, bars, nightclubs and matchmaking/dating services.  The combination of yin Fire sparks and Peach Blossom should make things hot-hot-hot.

Less obviously, the unseen interaction of Water and Fire may provide an opportunity for investors in Water industries.  This is because Water conquers (quenches) Fire, so Water will benefit from its dominant position during a (weak) Fire year.  Water industries are all about flow: transport, communications, water purification/treatment, shipping, and logistics.

Can investing really be this easy?  Perhaps not.  The lunar calendar divides the twelve months of the year among the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, starting with the tiger in the first month (February, to you Gregorians).  Each of the twelve animals has harmonious relations with some –but not all– of the others.  Animals located 90⁰, 180⁰, and 270⁰ degrees away from each other are in conflict.  The animal directly across the zodiac (180⁰ away) is most severely “in clash” but the two at right angles are also in disfavor.  In the grand scheme of things, it’s the animals that clash with the Earthly Branch that matter most each year.

In the Year of the Fowl, these animals are the Rat (90⁰), Rabbit (180⁰), and Horse (270⁰).  Each of these animals corresponds to a calendar month: March [Rabbit], June [Horse], December [Rat].  The Fowl itself corresponds to September, when it will be in “Self-Penalty.”  These four months supposedly constitute investment “danger zones” when clashes between the Earthly Branch yearly animal and the monthly animals may cause disruption to Fire element price-support optimism.

In my opinion, June doesn’t look too bad, because it’s a yang Fire month with a yang Fire Horse: even if the Fowl and Horse don’t get along, double yang Fire month should support the yin Fire year.  However, December is a completely different story, where you have a yang Water month with a yang Water Rat.  This double yang Water month is quite likely to thoroughly quench the weak and waning yin Fire of 2017.  Investors should probably try to cash out by Halloween in order to avoid a truly frightful holiday season.  The Year of the Double Yang Earth Dog will right around the corner.

 

 

Cold Comfort

January 11, 2017

As we approach the Year of the Rooster, here are two questions that nobody in South Korea is asking (publicly, at least):

  1. What did the National Intelligence Service know about Choi Soon-sil, and when did they know it?
  2. Which Japanese corporations contributed funds to Choi’s K-Sports and Mir Foundations (or her other businesses) in exchange for South Korea’s acquiescence in the December 2015 comfort women agreement?

lee-kyu-chul_20170111

At the moment, the first question is still too dangerous to ask.  There’s a presidential election coming up, and none of the potential aspirants for office wants to rouse that particular tiger from his den. Right now NIS seems to be layin’ low in domestic affairs and emphasizing its regional threat assessment responsibilities.  Between PRC reaction to THAAD deployment and DPRK’s missile program, they should be plenty busy.

Asking the second question doesn’t carry quite the same risks, but it seems no one has thought to ask it.  Most people in South Korea consider the agreement to be a shamefully inadequate “resolution” of Japan’s wartime human trafficking crimes, and yet nobody has wondered why Park Geun-hye would have consented to such unequal terms.  Is Choi Soon-sil the key to this mystery?

ROK prosecutors are currently focusing their efforts (and rightly so) on the Korean corporations which were extorted by/bribed Choi.  However, should we not also consider the possibility that Choi was shaking down foreign companies as well?  Investigators are undoubtedly looking very closely at bank records and financial transactions linked to Choi and her coterie.  They’ve been to Germany: how about taking a peek across the East Sea?

busan_20170107