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Snakes on a Plain

May 7, 2019

As of Cinco de Mayo, the Snake Month has begun.  Let’s review:

  • Snake is in clash with the Boar: generally speaking, May will be a tumultuous month.
  • Snake is associated with the South-southeast direction.
  • People, places and things in the South-southeast direction are confronting Tai Sui (in the NNW).

In 2019, the Snake Month is characterized by yin earth above yin fire.

  • Fire creates Earth in the feng shui creative cycle: increased geothermal activity should be expected.
  • Fire beneath Earth: underground/mine shaft fires are possible in addition to the aforementioned volcanic eruptions and lava flows .
  • May 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th are Fire days.

In four weeks, the Yang-Metal-above-Yang-Fire Horse Month will begin.  Last week’s North Korean missile tests (metal over fire) are thus a trifle premature.  So is last Sunday’s Aeroflot aviation disaster (metal over fire) at Sheremetyevo airport.  Perhaps that’s because both incidents actually involve yin metal (aircraft-grade aluminum, etc.) above Yang Fire.



Hare-Brained Scheming

March 4, 2019

Professor Longhair was certainly correct when he announced for all time that “you will see the Zulu King/down on Saint Claude and Dumaine,” but the upcoming week brings us much more than Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday:  arrival of the new moon on March 6/7 also ushers in the lunar year’s Rabbit Month.  Feng-shui fanciers will probably be happy to learn that the Rabbit is widely known as a friend of the Boar, and that this year’s March Hare generally appears to be in harmony with the elemental configuration of 2019.  Thus, feng-shui soothsayers have predicted that the Rabbit Month will be a relatively auspicious one. Details to follow.

Waking the Dragon has previously noted that the Year of the Boar is shaped by the presence of the yin earth Celestial Stem [ 己] above the yin water Earthly Branch [hài 亥].  Overall, this is not a beneficial arrangement, because the two elements are in a destructive relationship with each other: earth obstructs water.  The fact that both are “weak” yin elements helps to mitigate the negativity … somewhat.  In this context, the Celestial Stem and Earthly Branch associated with the Rabbit provide a bit of counter-balance, because the Rabbit’s yin wood Branch [mǎo 卯] is in a positive relationship with the Boar’s yin water Branch: water nourishes wood.  And the Celestial Stem for March 2019 is yin fire [dīng 丁], which is in harmony with the annual Stem yin earth: fire creates earth.  Thus, the Stem of the Rabbit Month is supporting the annual Stem, and the annual Branch reciprocates by supporting its terrestrial counterpart for the duration of the month.

What might this mean in practical terms?  Let’s accentuate the positive.  On the one hand it implies that low-intensity volcanic eruptions may become more frequent during March, as fire goes about its business of creating earth.  Furthermore, the concept of water nourishing yin wood suggests that crops –drought-stricken or otherwise– may receive much-needed rain.

In the un-natural world of commerce and capital, yin fire may briefly warm the chilly hearths of people active in Earth industries: agriculture, real estate, landscaping, mining, insurance, and software enterprises.  Yin water may nourish the tender spring growth of Wood industries: lumber, paper, apparel, media, publishing, education, and environmental enterprises.  Remember, though, that these are transient/ short-term effects that will be felt only during the Rabbit Month.  So although the SAP will flow during maple sugarin’ time, it could be a different story when the Dragon Month rolls into town.

Meanwhile, things look good for the Rabbit all year long: the #6 Heaven Star is in the Rabbit’s home sector [East], which helps to attract allies, friendships and all-around good fortune.  That’s good news for people like Igor Dodon, Eva Longoria, Veselin Topalov,, Delphine Arnault, David Beckham, 50 Cent, David Ortiz, Paloma Herrera, Charles Michel and Tiger Woods –they were all born in the 1975 Rabbit Year.  Certain other folk had the misfortune to be born during a Snake or Monkey Month in 1975, so they’re gonna need all the #6 Heaven Star luck they can get: Enrique Iglesias, Lauryn Hill and Angelina Jolie (Snake) or Charlize Theron (Monkey).

As for the rest of us, we’ll just have to eke out our Rabbit luck any way we can, by moving our beds to the East side of the house, getting up early to watch the sun rise, and savoring the Rabbit’s trademark warm-and-fuzzy feeling whenever possible.  That ought to be enough.

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.

Smooth Boar Musk-etry

January 31, 2019

With the arrival of a double yin Ox Month, the year of the Double Yang Earth Dog is straggling toward its inevitable finale.  This particular January’s Celestial Stem –stubby yin wood– rises (just barely) above the ox’s perennial yin earth Branch.  Wood depletes Earth, the ancient adage says: it’s a degenerative/entropic aspect of the Dao’s perpetual cycle.  The double Yang Earth energy of the Dog Year is dwindling away.

Yes, but … yin wood is grassy, brushy plant growth (Yang Wood is the mighty oak, majestic sequoia and so forth). And yin earth is meadow, cropland, fruited plains (Yang Earth manifests as vertiginous mountain ranges or towering volcanoes, etc.). So January’s yin wood/yin earth combination can also be seen in the two-inch-tall shoots of winter wheat bristling above the frozen soil: July’s harvest is already in the making. If we look far enough ahead, the news ain’t all bad.

In the meantime, we earthbound peasants will have some tough rows to hoe. The Year of the Boar will arrive in less than a week, so it’s time for Lunghu’s (long overdue) annual feng-shui forecast. As usual, and as is traditional, we begin with the cosmic ‘big picture’ –the alignment of the year’s Celestial Stem with the Earthly Branch.  Longstoryshort, yin earth [jǐ 己] over yin water [hài 亥].  Not particularly auspicious, because Earth obstructs Water, as the saying goes.  At the same time, from a 21st-century geophysical perspective, water erodes earth.  Thus, obstruction and undermining are simultaneously occurring.  If you catch my drift.  What better image of the Dao could you possibly want?

Yin earth above yin water. A grassy riverbank beside a sluggish stream. A levee or earthen dam.  A fen, marsh, swamp, brackish bayou or wetteland.  These are landscapes that inspire mosquitoes, blues lyrics and the brushstrokes of Aelbert Cuyp, but perhaps not much else.  We should therefore not expect 2019 to excite or enthrall us by providing external stimulation:  instead, the Year of the Boar is a time to release the inner yin water that is stored within each of us, washing away weak earth obstacles that vainly attempt to impose constraint on ever-changing flow.  The yin earth [己] Celestial Stem is an emblem of the center and of the self, so its attributes are most relevant to changes within our inner being –particularly the ways we perceive the “external” world and the illusory obstructions that seem to block our path.

But ice must melt before Water can begin to move. In the Northern Hemisphere, that means another month or two of stasis and confinement.  This is appropriate, because hài and the Boar [] are traditionally associated with the winter season and the north-northwest direction from which cold winter winds descend.  And, of course, because ice is just about the yin-est yin water available anywhere.

The Year of the Boar begins (as does every lunar year) with the Tiger month.  Many feng-shui soothsayers claim that the Tiger is on neutral terms with the Boar (unlike the Snake and Monkey), but I think it’s possible that this is more of a “frenemy” relationship.  After all, the Tiger is located 90° clockwise around the zodiac from the Boar (often an orthogonal angle of conflict), and the two animals are not very chummy in the natural world.  Furthermore, although February’s Celestial Stem is Yang Fire, the element that creates earth (the year’s Stem), Tiger is a Yang Wood animal –nourished by the Boar’s (Earthly Branch) yin water, but simultaneously sapping the energy of Earth.  So it seems likely that the first month of the Boar Year may be one of struggle and contention.  Be ready for something bad in the one or two days around Valentine’s Day.

Things look better for the month of March, because the yin wood Rabbit (at 120° counterclockwise relative bearing around the zodiac) is a friend of the Boar.  The Boar’s other ally this (and every) year is the yin earth Sheep/Goat (120° clockwise), whose month is July.  The yin earth Sheep/Goat is in harmony with the year’s yin earth Celestial Stem, and should enjoy doubly good fortune as a friend of the Boar.

Two other animals are in constant conflict with the Boar: the yin fire Snake (May) directly across the zodiac, and the Yang Metal Monkey (August) at 90° counterclockwise.  Since yin water quenches yin fire, we should perhaps anticipate price weakness in financial markets during May (“sell in May and go away,” as the old Wall Street saying goes).  We almost certainly won’t have to wait until the Snake Month to see it, but England’s not-so-PM Teresa May is in big trouble too.

And the Monkey?  August this year aligns the Yang Water Celestial Stem above the Yang Metal monkey.  In the feng-shui creative cycle, metal produces water (via vapor condensation on metal objects).  Yang Metal producing Yang Water implies the possibility of heavy flooding.  This year Tai Sui (the Grand Duke of Heaven) is presiding over terrestrial affairs from his seat in the Boar’s north-northwest home.  That means he’s looking directly at the south-southeast … Miami.  Buenos Aires/Montevideo.  Lourenço Marques.  Athens.  Stockholm.  Irkutsk.  Madras. Fuzhou.  New South Wales.  It all depends on your line-of-sight perspective.

Then again, Yang Water is associated with the north direction, and the year’s weak yin earth is at the center. So southward-flowing August flood waters may instead erode terrain in the central region of your favorite landmass:  Saint Louis/Memphis.  Stalin/Volgograd.  Bangui.  Qongqing.  Jabalpur.  Cuiabá. We’ll have to wait to see which way the Monkey swings.

From General to Specific

As in previous years, individuals and collective entities identified with the annual animal [Boar] and its opposite [Snake] will be in particular jeopardy during the current year.  That’s because the Snake is in clash with the year (the Boar), and the Boar is said to be “in self-penalty.”  Basically, the Boar will be trying to attack the Snake all year long, and Tai Sui will be all over the Boar’s case (for making trouble) at the same time.  As usual, there will be considerable collateral damage among lowly earthlings affiliated –however tenuously– with these two animals. Although no nation on earth is foolish enough to have an actual pig for its national emblem, a handful have chosen a pig-like creature as their national animal.  Here are some countries that can expect Boar self-penalty trouble in 2019:

Canada:   beaver
Belize:   Baird’s tapir
Costa Rica:   West Indian manatee
Papua New Guinea:   Dugong

These last two countries may be able avoid disaster by claiming that the manatee and dugong were traditionally called the “seacow” (or mermaids) by European mariners, but Tai Sui may believe that they look much more porcine than bovine. It’s a toss-up.

The Snake is another animal whose qualities are such that national legislatures almost never select it as a patriotic emblem.  But there’s always an exception to prove the rule:

India:   King cobra (national reptile)

Two neighboring nations in the Western Hemisphere have included images of the snake on their flags, but both have wisely chosen the eagle as their national animal. In both cases, the Snake is part of the national founding myth.

Aztec wayfarers at Lake Texcoco

the banner of right-wing “patriot” zealots


But enough of such trivial matters!  Let us now return to omens of true peril. Here are some commercial enterprises that have rashly chosen the Boar as their business emblem:

Next time:  serpentine stress and feng-shui flying star omens for the Year of the Boar.


Underwood Andover Water

September 14, 2018

In case you were wondering what hybrid warfare looks like, here are some examples from really close to home:

Investigators suspect that over-pressurization of a gas main belonging to Columbia Gas of Massachusetts led to the series of explosions and fires, Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield said on Thursday.

I’d say it’s time for some computer network forensics at Columbia Gas.

Render\Undo Cesare

September 9, 2018


When the Duke [Cesare Borgia] had taken Romagna he found it had been governed by weak rulers, who had rather preyed on their subjects than governed them, giving them more motive for disunion than union, so much so that the province was rife with … all kinds of lawlessness. To make it peaceful and obedient to his rule, he appointed Messer Remiro d’Orco, a cruel and energetic man, as governor, giving him full powers.  This official, to his own great renown, soon made the province peaceful and united.

Then the Duke, judging that such excessive authority was no longer needed as he feared that it might become odious, set up a civil court of justice in the middle of the province with an excellent president and a representative from each city.  And being aware that the recent harshness [of d’Orco] had aroused some hatred against him [Borgia], and wishing to purge the minds of the people and win them over to him without reserve, he decided to make it apparent that if there had been any cruelty it was not his responsibility but had resulted from the harsh temperament of his minister.  And taking advantage of the occasion he had this official cut in two pieces one morning and exposed on the piazza of Cesena with a piece of wood and a bloody knife by his side. This ferocious spectacle left the people at once content and horrified.

Il Principe, Capitolo VII


M’abuse 2018

September 1, 2018

German firefighters have controlled a Saturday morning fire that injured 10 people at the Vohburg refinery, part of the Bayernoil complex in Ingolstadt, Bavaria. … Bayernoil is 45 percent owned by [the Carlyle Group], with Rosneft Deutschland holding 25 percent, Eni Deutschland 20 percent and BP Europe 10 percent.

“Come, my boy. There’s nothing left to do here for a mere police inspector.”

“Our whole rotten world is long overdue for destruction. This godless world, devoid of justice and compassion, consists only of selfishness, cruelty and hatred. [Dr. Mabuse] would have destroyed mankind, which itself knows only destruction and extermination and which could only have been saved in its final hour through terror and horror.”

I regret to inform Herr Lang that seventy-five years of unrelenting terror and horror have not sufficed to save mankind from the endless agony of its final hour, a self-inflicted slow-motion catastrophe that rolls on and on, without the saving grace of a filmmaker’s closing credits.


Moon-Qi Business

August 16, 2018

On August 11, with the arrival of the new moon, the Double Yang Metal Monkey succeeded the yin earth sheep, beginning the seventh month of the soli-lunar/luni-solar year.  You probably didn’t even notice, but people in East Asia have been paying attention and calibrating their actions accordingly.  In case you’ve forgotten, Yang Metal is strong metal –generally associated with materials like iron and steel (or their alloys). Yin metal (which we’ll begin to encounter in mid-September) evokes thoughts of malleable, ductile substances such as gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead etc.  This year, August is a Double Yang Metal month because both the Celestial Stem [gēng 庚] and Earthly Branch [shēn 申] are associated with the Yang Metal element.  August’s Earthly Branch is always 申 Yang Metal, but the Celestial Stem varies from year to year because each successive month advances one more step through the endless cycle of the ten stems as they alternate between yin/Yang aspects of the five elements.  So: what should we expect from August’s double dose of Yang Metal?  And what should we expect from the lively, likeable, clever and inventive problem-solving Monkey during the coming weeks?

First, the glaringly obvious: although the transition from double yin earth (as we saw in July) to August’s Double Yang Metal appears at first glance to be doubly in accordance with cosmic ‘rules’ of yin/Yang alternation and the succession of earth by metal in the five elements creative cycle, it’s sometimes possible to have a little too much of an ostensibly good thing.  Earth (mineral ore) creates metal, but how much metal do you actually need?  Too much of any one element creates imbalance in the Dao, and the inexorable process of rebalancing can be abrupt or jarring.  We may find ourselves looking beyond the arrival of double yin metal in 3+ weeks, toward mid-October’s mix of Yang Water and Yang Earth.

But some people can’t wait that long.  In Korea, August 15th is Liberation Day, a national holiday marking the day when thirty-five years of Japanese colonial oppression was finally ended (more or less) in 1945.  It’s usually the occasion for political speeches and bold pronouncements about the nation’s destiny:

President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday used his Liberation Day address at the National Museum of Korea in Yongsan to [promote] his Korea peace initiative, calling for railway, energy and economic cooperation with the North as a cornerstone for Northeast Asian peace and prosperity. He renewed his commitment to end the division of the Koreas, saying, “We must overcome [this] division for our survival and development. Even though a political unification may be a long way from here, establishing peace between the South and the North, freely visiting each other, and forming a joint economic community is true liberation to us.”

“[As the next step in this process] I propose an East Asian Railway Community in which the six countries of Northeast Asia — South Korea, North Korea, China, Japan, Russia and Mongolia– in addition to the United States, would participate,” Moon said.

“This community will extend our economic horizon into the lands to the north and will become the principal artery of coexistence and co-prosperity in Northeast Asia. This will lead to an energy community and economic community in East Asia and will be the starting point for a multilateral peace and security system in Northeast Asia,” Moon said.

And so on and so forth …


Over at Chaebol Central, the eager foot-soldiers of economic progress have already sharpened their pencils and ribbon-cuttin’ scissors:


Hyundai Glovis is introducing regular nonstop express freight train service over the Trans-Siberian Railway (TSR) between the Russian cities of Vladivostok and Saint Petersburg. On August 14, Hyundai Glovis held a commemorative ceremony for the departure of 64 freight containers from Vladivostok, marking the beginning of regular weekly express “block train” freight service [to western Russia] via Siberia. [The first shipment consisted of] 64 FEU (forty-foot equivalent units) of knock-down automobile parts ordered by a Hyundai Motor factory in Russia. The shipment will take 22 days to arrive at its destination: two days from Busan to Vladivostok; eight days for unloading, customs clearance, and reloading in Vladivostok; and twelve days via rail from Vladivostok to Shushary Station near Saint Petersburg. Marine transportation from Busan to western Russia via the Indian Ocean, Suez Canal, and Mediterranean Sea currently takes forty-three days.


Yo: where the feng shui at?

To those of you who don’t yet see the connection between Double Yang Metal and this flurry of railroad-related commentary, I would merely ask: what part of ‘Iron Horse’ do you fail to understand?  Double Yang Metal = twin ribbons of transcontinental steel.  The Horse = the friend of this year’s Dog.  The Horse is a Yang Fire element, and thus is able to control Yang Metal (Fire melts Metal).  As if that weren’t enough, the horse is also the corporate symbol of Yandex, Russia’s version of Google.  Thus, even though these initiatives have been planned for months, it’s no coincidence that they’re being publicized at the beginning of the Double Yang Metal Monkey month.

But seriously, folks: even without the feng shui ‘elements’ of these developments, people in the United States should be paying much more attention to what’s happening in Korea.  In the broader geo-political scheme of things, this initiative is just the latest sign that South Korea’s government fully recognizes that it has been abandoned by the United States, and must now make its own way in a world dominated by China and Russia.  Another win for Comrade Bear.  For the moment.