Archive for February, 2019

Notable Naval Quotes

February 25, 2019

From the succinct to the semi-sarcastic:

  • “I have not yet begun to fight!”
  • “Don’t give up the ship!”
  • “We have met the enemy and he is ours.”
  • “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”
  • “You may fire when ready, Gridley.”
  • “The naval officer in the next war had better know his aviation.”
  • “Sighted sub, sank same.”
  • “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”

Recently, Lunghu was surprised, humbled, and moderately pleased to discover that the United States Navy has been able to find a small measure of merit in his earnestly intended counsel.  It’s also good to see that the Navy has mastered the art of speaking between the lines as well as reading between them.

A few weeks back, Waking the Dragon noted that nations which used the snake as an emblem would encounter difficulty during the Year of the Boar, who is an avowed enemy of the serpent.  That blogpost used an illustration of the 1776 yellow Gadsden “Don’t Tread On Me” banner as an example of snake-on-a-flag that might cause feng shui problems for anyone waving it.  Lunghu very carefully avoided mentioning another well-known “Don’t Tread On Me” flag …

After nearly two decades flying the First Navy Jack in what was supposed to be a temporary measure during the war on terrorism, the Navy plans to return to flying the 50-star Union Jack on its warships around the globe.  The First Navy Jack consists of 13 horizontal red and white stripes with a rattlesnake on it and the motto “Don’t Tread on Me.”  [On February 21st], Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson issued an order calling for a return of the Union Jack beginning on June 4 to commemorate the Battle of Midway.

“The Union Jack is deeply connected to our heritage and our rise as a global nation with a global Navy,” Adm. Richardson said in a statement.  “The Navy is a symbol that projects American values to the world.  Just as the Navy embodies the values and principles that we hold dear, our very appearance in port and at anchor communicates important messages.”

Lunghu thinks it’s also worth noting that 4 June 2019 also marks the end of the Snake Month and the beginning of the Horse Month … in addition to being the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Midway.  Whose emblem is the seahorse?


Meteoric Lies

February 19, 2019

When your run-of-the-mill feng shui soothsayer is running low on inspiration during a slow news day, s/he can always have recourse to Flying Star prognostication in order to fill in the blanks.  This is also a useful technique to distract attention from the inconvenient instances in which particular prophecies deviate from subsequent events. For example:

  • Prediction of possible August flooding (Yang Water) in New South Wales (south-southeast Australia) –> actual January flooding in NW Queensland (north-northeast Australia)

All of the above predictions were originally predicated on the assumption that Tai Sui‘s north-northwest throne would provide a direct line-of-sight to the south-southeast, with unfortunate consequences for those mortals beneath his gaze.  These particular predictions chose to de-emphasize the feng shui “fact” that Tai Sui is also keeping a close eye on what’s happening near his celestial seat: noisy disturbances such as construction/ renovation (“moving earth”) in the north-northwest sector [e.g., St. Petersburg] are therefore extremely ill-advised.  Furthermore, this entire group of offhand/ superficial predictions basically ignored or minimized the potential influence of feng shui’s nine Flying Stars.

The Dao’s complexity, together with (thus far) an absence of algorithmic precision in humanity’s feeble attempts at feng shui prophecy, is at least one small part of what makes life interesting.  Adding the Flying Star factor to feng shui calculations is either a valiant effort to attain greater precision in our predictions … or a desperate detour down a dead end path that in no way improves our scanty ability to foresee the future.  Permutations of 10 Stems and 12 Branches are strain enough, but to add permutations of 9 Flying Stars as a further complication? That would seem to muddy the waters considerably.  It also gives the self-styled seer much of the wiggle-room s/he needs to operate.

Therefore, let us linger a while in the luminous glow of Flying Stars, seeking a way to discern portents from among the meanings we have assigned to their invisible annual presence in imagined locations.  Here’s a quick re-cap of what each Flying Star brings to the table:

  • #1 Victory Star: personal success and triumph over the competition
  • #2 Illness Star: risk of health problems and overall danger
  • #3 Conflict Star: hostility, arguments, misunderstanding and litigation
  • #4 Peach Blossom Star: knowledge, creativity and amorous interaction
  • #5 Yellow Misfortune Star: chaos, tumult, bad luck and potential danger
  • #6 Heaven Star: good luck, personal power, helpful mentors and lucky assistance
  • #7 Robbery Star: monetary losses, increased violence, aggressive behavior and political confrontation
  • #8 Wealth Star: auspicious financial success, prosperity, happiness and joy
  • #9 Future Prosperity Star: benefits will accrue in the future

Each year, each Flying Star occupies a specific cardinal or semi-cardinal point of the compass, and one Flying Star is located at the center.  Each of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac are also associated with one of the cardinal and semi-cardinal directions, but in order to get 12 animals to fit into 8 slots, four pairs of animals are positioned flanking each of the semi-cardinal directions: ox/tiger; dragon/snake; sheep/monkey; and dog/boar.  Rat/ rabbit/ horse/ fowl have N-E-S-W all to themselves.  The animals’ permanent association with a particular direction implies that the attributes of a specific Flying Star may become especially relevant when it takes up temporary year-long residence in the home base location.  This is where professional feng shui specialists hear the sound of “kachinnnng” ringing in their ears: once a negative Flying Star arrives in your celestial neighborhood, cosmic security countermeasures can be monetized almost immediately.

Here’s what to look out for in 2019.  First, the good news: all of the good stuff is clustered in the Northern Hemisphere this year, with only one negative star located north of the celestial equator.  Takin’ it from the top, the auspicious #4 Peach Blossom Star is in the North. Creativity, knowledge and general sexiness will accrue to those in the Northern regions: Canadians, Russians, Scandinavians, Greenlanders and Alaskans won’t mind their long winter nights, and will revel long hours in summer’s midnight sun.  People born in the Year of the Rat may also benefit, since they’re associated with the North direction.

In the East, the #6 Heaven Star will bring good luck, personal power, helpful mentors and lucky assistance to residents of Bermuda, Eastern Europe, East Africa, and East Asia.  Maybe even Brazil, where it will probably be needed most.  People born in the Year of the Rabbit can rub both of their rabbit’s feet for good luck.

During 2019 the #8 Wealth Star is located at the center, bringing financial success, prosperity, happiness and joy to those who reside in central areas of continents, landmasses and nations.  China (zhong-guo –the central nation) probably doesn’t need the #8 Wealth Star to get even richer, but maybe the poor folk in Szechuan and Hubei provinces will finally benefit.  Bolivia, Paraguay, Panama, Congo, Switzerland, Austria, Kazakhstan and maybe even Nepal or Bhutan should see an uptick in their GDP or Gross National Happiness.  How about the American Great Plains states?  Perhaps not: Tai Sui knows who you voted for.

In the West, the #1 Victory Star portends personal success and triumph over the competition.  Good news for Ireland, Portugal, Ecuador, Peru, the Azores, Cape Verde, West Africa in general, Ukraine and Turkey.  Hawaii.  California?  Uber alles.  Despite their association with the West, people born in the Year of the Fowl should avoid the temptation to crow too loudly or preen their feathers in public..

The #9 Future Prosperity Star is in the Northwest octant this year.  Even if the present doesn’t look too bright, people in places like Iceland, Scotland, Morocco, Mauritania, and Colombia can expect the future to be better.  Washington State will probably sell more apples, jetliners, computer operating systems and overpriced weak coffee next year even if sales are down right now.  This also applies to people born in the Year of the Dog or Boar: the former is just emerging from a year of self-penalty and the latter is just beginning one.  Hang in there at least until 2020.

Now the bad news. The #2 Sickness Star is in the Northeast sector during 2019.  This is not good for the Ox (hoof-and-mouth disease) and Tiger (hunted for its body parts and driven to extinction), nor will this be auspicious for residents of Egypt, Sudan, Kamchatka and Chukotska, Manchuria, Guyana and Newfoundland.  Anti-vaxers from Maine to New Jersey will be spreading measles, flu and who-knows-what throughout the northeastern United States.  Beyond its usual effect on health problems, the #2 Sickness Star is often manifest as non-specific malaise or outright danger in manifold forms.  It’s a general feng shui menace, second only to …

The #5 Yellow Misfortune Star.  This year the #5 Flying Star is in the Southwest, spelling trouble for people born in the Year of the Sheep or Monkey (among others).  Here’s why: the Yellow Misfortune Star brings a year of chaos, tumult, potential danger and just plain bad luck.  Who’s in the Southwest?  People in Chile, Angola, Namibia, Mexico, Spain, Mysore state in India, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.  Probably Malaysia too.  Closer to home, Arizona and New Mexico will need more than a border wall to avoid the #5 Yellow Misfortune Star.

It doesn’t get too much better in the deep South: the #3 Conflict Star will bring rampant hostility, fervid arguments, mutual misunderstanding and outright litigation.  People born in the Year of the Horse are already associated with Yang Fire, but tempers are gonna get even hotter.  The kettle is likely to boil over in places like Italy, South Africa, Argentina, Kerala and Tamil Nadu in India, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Indonesia, New Guinea and Australia.  In the USA, the Gulf Coast states –Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama– will reap as they have sown.  I don’t mean cotton, either.

Last, but scarcely least, the #7 Robbery Star will alight in the Southeast.  People born in the Year of the Dragon or Snake are likely to endure financial losses or be confronted with menacing behavior when they least expect it.  The Robbery Star also brings increased violence and political confrontation, which we might see developing in Greece or Bulgaria; Mozambique or Madagascar; Uruguay; Thailand, Cambodia or the Philippines; or perhaps (let’s hope not) Fiji and Tonga.  The Greater and Lesser Antilles won’t fare so well either.  Back on the mainland, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina will be rollin’ sevens when they’re trying to make their point: shooting loaded dice in a rigged crap game is a sucker’s way to get robbed. Just ask Stagger Lee.


But wait,” you interject: “what about the southeast region of Lesser Britain?”  You must be referring to the City of London and its extended environs, where the lager lout populace is doomed to be robbed of its current prosperity and future prospects by gin-addled Brexiteer politicos on Comrade Bear’s payroll.  April and May (the Dragon and Snake months) will seal all their fates.  Since you asked.


Where The Woodbine Twineth

February 4, 2019

During the Year of the Boar, the Snake is deemed to be “in clash with the year” because of traditional enmity between the two animals. This culturally-ascribed antipathy is derived from –and/or symbolized by– their location 180° apart on the circular Chinese zodiac.  In addition, the yin water Boar is always trying to extinguish the yin fire Snake because their respective elements have a destructive relationship to each other (water quenches fire).  Of course, there is also some “real-world” basis to these traditions: feral hogs have been observed to use their hooves to pin the heads of venomous snakes to the earth before decapitating them and eating the bodies.  And the foodchain relationship is reciprocal, because pythons, anacondas and their kin on at least three continents consider a juicy little piglet or capybara to be a particularly filling meal.  So all in all, little love is lost between the two animals whether in the celestial realm or here on earth below.

For these reasons, Snake affiliations do not bode well for individuals or collective entities with something serpentine in their background (or foreground, for that matter).  Some feng-shui soothsayers rely on celebrity cachet to make their annual predictions more pressworthy.  Thus they hasten to note that several current political figures were born in a Snake Year and may encounter misfortune during 2019:

Bashar al Assad
Dimitry Medvedev
Bernie Sanders
Donald Trump Jr.
Xi Jinping (Comrade Eleven)

It is Lunghu’s view that such individuals are merely manufactured strawmen whose avidly-promoted prominence in official media is little more than lavishly-painted scenery on a theater stage: the actual action occurs in the wings and among the audience. Therefore, let us instead concentrate our attention on others imperiled by the belligerent Boar –organizations and commercial enterprises that have chosen some variety of Snake as their emblem.

Copperheadism was a highly contentious grass-roots anti-war movement in the 1860s.  It had its strongest base in the area just north of the Ohio River as well as in some urban ethnic districts.  The Copperhead movement attracted Southerners who had settled north of the Ohio River, merchants who had lost profitable Southern trade, and the poor.  Some historians have claimed that it represented a traditionalist element alarmed at the rapid mechanization of society.  The largest Copperhead group was the Knights of the Golden Circle.  Formed in Ohio in the 1850s, it reorganized as the Order of American Knights in 1863 and again in early 1864 as the Order of the Sons of Liberty.