Archive for March, 2018

Dog v. Dragon

March 28, 2018

Now is not the time for a nostalgic look back at how much better things used to be: it’s the Year of the Dog (YoDg for short), and the Dragon Month is just a few weeks away.  Why does that matter?  Mere mortals may soon learn.  As any friendly neighborhood feng shui soothsayer can tell you, the Dragon and Dog are fierce enemies.  They directly confront each other across the boundless sky from their respective positions in the celestial zodiac, and since each is a Yang Earth animal, they’re scrapping for possession of the same contested turf (so to speak).  When the Dog is the ruler of the year and the Dragon Month rolls around, their conflict is inevitable and immediate.  We humans must strive to minimize the collateral damage by exerting our feeble powers to protect what little we can.

Forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes: here are a few salient features of this year’s Dragon Month which may provide some guidelines for what to expect.  The first thing to know is that Lunghu calibrates the beginning of lunar months with the new moon phase, which means that the Dragon Month will “officially” start on April 15th.  In the United States that’s also the day your federal income taxes are due, but that’s undoubtedly(?) just a coincidence this year.  Secondly, in 2018’s YoDg the Dragon Month is governed by the Yang Fire celestial stem, which means that the Yang Earth Dragon will writhe beneath (strong) Yang Fire.  Furthermore, the Dragon is associated with the East-Southeast direction, while the Dog is located in the West-Northwest.  So there you have it: a convergence of time, vector and what we might call “cosmic meterological conditions.”  In the Lorenzian brane-space of our puny little bubble adrift in the infinite multiverse, these things may actually “matter.”

So … what kinds of material manifestations should we anticipate for this coming April, “the cruelest month“?

East-Southeast is all relative, depending on who and where you are –>

  • Bermuda seen from New York?
  • Kazakhstan from Moscow?
  • Jeju-do relative to Beijing?
  • As Bern and Basel are to Paris, or Budapest to Bonn?

Bearing all that in mind, it’s worth noting that very soon we’ll be getting a preview of fire-over-earth, when a certain “Celestial Palace” tumbles from high in the sky to the ground far, far below:

“China’s experimental space station Tiangong-1 is now orbiting at an [extremely low] altitude of approximately 126 miles, and is expected to deorbit between March 31 and April 2 2018. The station will re-enter the earth’s atmosphere between 42.7°N and 42.7°S latitude, at an unknown longitude.”

Eighty-five degrees of latitude is a rather large swath of Mother Earth, so this broadly indeterminate splashdown zone will inevitably be ESE of somebody.  It also just so happens to include the Southern Ocean area where MH370 is almost certainly submerged.  Is this some kind of a cosmic April Fool’s joke?  Or is Tai Sui calibrating his version of the lunar calendar according to the full moon rather than the new moon?  Just another mystery of the Dao.

However, once Tiangong-1 has landed, we’ll still have the entire Dragon Month stretched out before us, giving us (at least) a further four weeks of fire-over-earth.  April 1st or April 15th: does it really matter when the Dragon Month begins?  If we’re lucky, the Yang Fire/Yang Earth combination will manifest in relatively harmless forms such as intensified displays of the aurora borealis or a few dramatic volcanic eruptions in sparsely populated regions of the globe.  Dragons in clash with the Dog Year may not escape so lightly.

अवतु वक्तारम्।
तेजस्विनावधीतमस्तु मा
ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय ।
शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः


“The [text] shifts between voices of satire and prophecy featuring abrupt and unannounced changes of speaker, location, and time … while conjuring a vast and dissonant range of cultures and literatures.”



Code Blue

March 1, 2018

As usual, message-mongers in Moscow are still stuck on the steep up-slope of modern media’s oscillatory learning curve.  Despite pioneering 20th c. work by the Tartu School of Semiotics, United Russia’s party hacks do not yet seem to have fully mastered the techniques of deploying signs and symbols as cultural referents in the service of mass mental manipulation.  F’rinstance, yon scenic backdrop.

Yes, it’s vast, it’s mighty, it’s YUGE.  These are all attributes that customarily denote strength, power and perhaps invulnerability. But … it’s blue.  Light blue.  Perhaps this is the blue of the Russian tricolor flag, but the light blue color also has another significance in modern Russian culture: it is a codeword and signifier for homosexuality.  So what’s the subliminal message here?  Are the average Boris and Natasha supposed to see a Real Man who stands in stark contrast to the overwhelming mass of wimpy, craven light-blue gayboys that swarm across the endless steppes and taiga?  Or does the emperor’s new wardrobe reveal what many people have suspected for years –that Comrade Bear secretly skates on both sides of the hockey rink?  After all, this is the guy who “found his thrill on Blueberry Hill.

What would Ser”gay” Eisenstein say about this particular form of intellectual montage?