Sunday, August 31, 2008

Baddite Proverb of the Day

Karma isn't an instant rebate program.

Tarot Card of the Day for August 31, AT5

King of Swords
Finally free of the Pentacles! I wish I knew what I did. It might have something to do with the new credit card bill arriving in the mail yesterday, begging to be paid; but I forgot to pull a card yesterday, so...
Swords represent Fire; healing, transformation, passion.
Kings represent mastery.
In traditional divination, this card is about justice; swords are about decisions, and the king has mastered the art of decision-making. This is Fire's aspect of transformation.

I rather hope this card came up for my dear friend who had surgery this morning; that this mastery of fire is the surgeon's hand and she will have a full recovery. I don't really see anything else in my life at the moment that is relevant to such a powerful, straight-forward card as this.
In the name of my beautiful god Cernunnos who rules Fire, and of Hygieia goddess of health, I dedicate this card to her.

Deep Thought of the Day

After attending the neighborhood dog romp this evening, it occurred to me: dogs are often thought of as aggressive and unrelenting. But after sniffing butts, they play well together.

Couldn't we just let George Bush and Osama bin Laden sniff each other's butt?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Tarot Card of the Day for August 29, AT5

OK, enough with the upside-down pents, dammit.

Nines signify final completion; accomplishment. Reversed, it's a shallow achievement, a shoddy job, or an abrupt end. Pentacles represent the element of earth: physical needs, stability, bounty.

The illustration is of a woman who obviously has few needs. The earth has provided her abundance; she is calm and carefree, her work is done.

I was thinking about all the things that need doing on my house this morning. That manifestation of earth needs a lot of attention, but I've been blowing it off playing frakking solitaire and putzing around on the interwebs.

So, yeah, I get the message, dear Tarot. Can we maybe talk about something else?

'As if,' replies the deck...

Doric Triumph

OK, now I get it.

Barak Obama gave a slam-dunk of a speech last night, extolling the real virtues of democracy as it was intended to be from the beginning. The neoclassical backdrop, as poorly executed as it was, served as a symbol of what is best about Western civilization as Obama outlined an excellent, ambitious plan to return our country to those ideals, free of the dogma in which the Republican party and its fundamentalist Huns have attempted to mire us. Unfortunately, I didn't get to hear the whole speech. I was on my way home from Coffee Coven. I heard most of it, and was deeply impressed. I whole-heartedly support his agenda; they are issues that have been dear to me for years, if not decades. Finally, a candidate for President has stood up and unabashedly call for progressive action without feeling the need to apologize for being too liberal.

I only wish they would have found a competent stage designer. Now every bleeding heart liberal in America is going to want cantilevered Doric porticoes.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Doric Abuse

Imagine my horror when I turned on the news and saw the stage from which Barack Obama will give his acceptance speech. Has classicism become an icon for political progressiveness again, and are there no classicists in Denver?
It's almost like watching the discovery channel, especially if Barack wears bed sheets and a mussed wig with laurels.

photo credit

Tarot Card of the Day for August 28, AT5

Oi weh. Again with the reversed pentacles [yes, I did shuffle, and I don't always pick up the deck from the same direction...].

So I guess I better get my financials together.

An ace is a gift in common interpretation; it is also a beginning. Pentacles represent prosperity. This reversed ace is no doubt chiding my financial irresponsibility [still haven't made a payment to the credit card].

If anybody sees a lucky penny [heads up and shiny], give me a call 555-BUH-ROKE. I'll come and pick it up.

My Latest Unwanted Obsession

If you see me playing one-card-draw solitaire on the computer, please whack me upside the head.

If you see me playing it with real cards, leave me alone; I'm cheating.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could pick our obsessions? I'm one of those aspies who cycle thru them almost as fast as I cycle thru my sock drawer. I almost never go back to one once it's broken, which is a shame, because I've actually had some productive ones [we'll see how long this blog lasts...]. I suppose I need to do a spell to recapture the writing obsession, but I'm hoping that blogging will get me back into it in a more serious, less obsessive fashion. Solitaire is distracting me from work and sleep. Work's on a low ebb, which is how I got sucked into this particular vortex; unfortunately, sleep is on a low ebb, too. I was up until 3 a.m. Wednesday night playing that stupid game, insisting on a win before turning out the light; then ultimately not satisfied with only one win after all of those absurd card combinations.

Temple Grandin has it lucky: a life-time obsession with market value.

I'm so jealous.

Baddite Proverb of the Day

You don't need to herd the cats, you just need to put their litter boxes in the same general area.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tarot Card of the Day for August 26, AT5

Page of Pentacles, Rev.

A page signifies naivete. Waite says this card signifies wealth when reversed, but I'm not buying it [pa-dump-dum]. I believe the gods are making a joke on my constant juggling of the various manifestations of my prosperity [from the last Card of the Day] and telling me I should know better. Of course I do; and of course, the gods are always right.

But I reserve the right to be rebellious. I'm a Sagittarius, after all.

Driver Education

Today, I had to educate two drivers about the purpose of crosswalks.

The first class took place at 11th and Pine. I was crossing Pine and apparently, the little hand started flashing. The driver who happened to be turning had the nerve to honk at me, so I stopped. 'It says stop,' she informed me. Yeah, I had already done that and was forming an appropriate expletive while she enjoyed her lesson on right-of-way.

The second class convened a little more than an hour later. Full of pizza and trekking back to city hall, I took my normal route from Gregory's; down Pine, across 12th, and thru the park to the tunnel entrance. Well, the light at 12th was flashing, so being a pedestrian, I proceeded. As I stepped past the median, a little guy in a little minivan gunned it, no doubt thinking I was one of those people who stood in the middle of a major boulevard hoping for a break in traffic. I'm not. I'm a tenured professor of driver education. He had to switch lanes as I yelled 'crosswalk' into his ear, tho I doubt he understood the significance of the word. Amazingly, out of eight lanes of traffic, he was the only driver in need of education.

Pedestrians have the right of way, even at crosswalks were there is no light. It amazes me how many drivers ignore this law. There was a news story last week stating that Missouri is the most dangerous state for pedestrians. With the total lack of driving courtesy demonstrated by our police, it's no surprise.

I believe the private automobile will be the downfall of civilization, and will gladly argue that it is the cause of many of our current social problems. People in cars have no interaction with the world outside their windshield except as an obstacle course. They go about their daily business without the need to speak to another human being. They get in the car, drive to the super-grocery, buy our milk without acknowledging the humanity of the cashier, and drive back home in a cone of silence. It's easy to curse the aggressive guy in the SUV because you can do it safely, because the only thing you can do is swear at him since he's in his own bubble. With each incident you become more brazen and the person in the next car becomes less human.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

International Festival

Those of you who know me have heard me bitching about the International Festival in Tower Grove Park. In past years it has been noisy and attracted rude people to the neighborhood. The first three or four years of the festival, I was rudely awakened early Sunday morning with gospel music blaring from speakers pointed directly at my house. We're talking 8am here, a time when sensible people are polite about the possibility of hangovers. The year before last, one of the residents on the block actually walked over there and asked them to turn it down, which they did. But, that year and last year, a stage sat where it's sound system pointed toward the houses, and we were treated to excessively amplified music and DJ's of varying quality [mostly, the quality of the music varied, the DJ was annoying every time he stuck a mic up to his mouth].
This year, to my great surprise and pleasure, the stages were set up in a manner similar to Pridefest, oriented to the long axis of the park, and the Scottish Games were set up in a lawn where they were visible from the porch [hate me if you want, ladies]. Quieter activities were placed closest to the houses, and the noise was kept well away. It was nice, and it was a better distribution of the heavy crowd, tho they should work on some of those bottlenecks in the food row. Attendees were more respectful of the neighborhood, too. We've had less litter [one year a woman left a dirty diaper on the sidewalk], and the only cars parked collision-close were apparently vendors or International Institute staff, because they've been bumper-to-bumper all day. This year was the largest I've seen it, and the beautiful weather brought out a huge crowd. The rude people were still there, but they were more outnumbered than usual.
My dear friend Sue and I started the day with brunch at MoKaBe's, then walked up to Cheap TRX [web page under construction] before heading back to the park. You might want to sit down for this... cars turning from Grand to Arsenal actually stopped for pedestrians [I know, unbelievable; I'll make a video next year]. We had a great time and are looking forward to next year.
Looking forward to International Festival; something I always hoped for but feared never would happen...

Tarot Card of the Day for August 24, AT5

My Tarot tutor describes this card as a juggler in front of a turbulent sea, indicating that he is juggling his material resources and is unsteady. Tho that's not Waite's description of the scene, he is known to have misrepresented the symbolism to throw off outsiders. The caption link will take you to Waite's published interpretation.

I pulled this card in reversed position. Some don't heed reversals, but I think it deepens the interpretation [or complicates it, depending on the Universe's mood at the moment]. In Papus' system, a two indicates a setback in initial action; Pentacles are earth, so that means material matters. Reversed, it means smooth sailing [let's just hope]. I think it indicates financial recklessness on my part. I forgot to pay my credit card bill this month. I haven't balanced my accounts in so long that my handheld shows a negative balance of over $3,000.00 because I haven't entered my paychecks. Waite's interpretation of 'gaiety' fits in this case, because I've been playing around instead of working, and the reversal is telling me that my bill is overdue. Apparently, VISA has connections in the higher planes.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Baddite Proverb of the Day

Flying thru life with your eyes on paradise is the best way to get a return ticket in economy class.

[for the benefit of full disclosure, i rewrote this. so on the rare chance that somebody read it, yes, it did change.]

Tarot Card of the Day for August 22, AT5

Wands represent the element air; communication and intellect, or mental and physical health in the traditional system I learned from Susabelle [author of several of the blogs in my 'other rants' section, check them out, she's a great writer].
Three represents action [so, here I sit in bed when I should be cleaning up the basement to make room for the new HVAC system...].

I believe this card is saying that today is the day I'm finally going to get around to using that neti pot I bought last week. It could also be getting at that A/C system. I've been holed up in the bedroom to take advantage of the allergy-free environment provided by the window unit. Or, it's saying that if I don't go pay the $6 I owe courtesy diner, I'm going to get my knees busted [not really].

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tarot Card of the Day for August 21, AT5*


I shouldn't have pulled this while writing my previous rant...

Literal messages aside, Judgment is the second-to-last card in the spiritual journey mapped out in the Tarot. It signifies karma. It's like the weighing of the heart against a feather in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. In blogger terms, it's the final spell-check before you hit the 'publish post' button; the final step of attaining perfection before acheiving unity with the world wide web. In divination, it's fairly literal. It means you have baggage you need to handle [and if you're lucky enough to work for an airline, you can now charge for this].

Of course, there's much more to the symbology, but I'm not writing a book.

Hokus-pokus aside, I'm pretty sure this came up because I was waiting for a webpage to load so I could get a hyperlink for the rant below.

*AT5 = Anno Timmianii 5, the fifth year of the Church of Bad Tim of Latter-Day Reincarnates [for the sake of any scholar who might happen to read this, Timmianii is pidgin latin and does not construe any attempt to correctly use the latin language].

St Louis: a Case Study in Sprawl

St Louis loves sprawl so much that we've perfected it to an art. Our outer suburbs are a fashionable display of fussy strip malls and quaint light posts dividing seas of cookie-cutter vinyl boxes, occupied only by strands of lurching cars under the twinkling red-amber-green of traffic signals. Here in the central city, we are so impressed by this sterile beauty that we are turning our historic core into a shadow of suburbia.

Our administration imported a celebrity planner from Toronto, and have proven themselves just as good at ignoring him as they were at ignoring a long line of his competent predecessors. We have a plan, tho. One more expensive master plan that the board of aldermen will never adopt because it will threaten the 28 fiefdoms we have incorrectly labeled as wards.

A stunning downtown plan was nullified mere months after its completion when the administration fought like caged beasts to demolish an architecturally and historically significant building in order to build a parking garage for the Missouri state courts. They deceived the National Trust for Historic Preservation into funding this demolition that severed an awe-inspiring streetscape in a late-eighteenth century urban canyon. They shamed a successful loft developer who dared to suggest that the building could be saved and still provide the court's parking needs while adding to the city's inventory of residential lofts and unique commercial space.

Now, they're building a cookie-cutter Walgreen's and its asphalt lagoon between two of the city's most important historic district. Bohemian hill was to have been a cutting-edge urban infill project of affordable and market-rate housing with [omg!!!] office and retail space mixed in. This dire threat to sprawl had to be put down! So, they pulled the eminent domain card. Luckily, they got smacked down on that one, but land had already been assembled so here comes suburbia to the big city yet again.

I think that very soon, if the housing market ever recovers, the north side will be indistinguishable from Wentzville. Our brave politicians helped the former president of a large contracting company assemble large tracts of land there in secret. He acquired stable, occupied houses and evicted their occupants, then left the buildings open to vandalism and deterioration. In spite of the growing presence and success of independent rehabbers in the area, the administration helped him get legislation introduced to state government that would give huge economic benefits to developers who assemble large tracts of land in 'distressed communities'. The legislation encouraged land clearance along the lines of the failed urban renewal programs of the 1960's, and threatened to destroy existing neighborhoods. But this was o.k. with the powers that be in St Louis because it would put 'marketable' [read suburban] housing in the north side. Also, one must conclude, because it helped their campaign funds.

The latest developmental whimper is the scaling-down of Ballpark Village. In a desperate attempt to get development--any development--our fine city fathers are pressuring the Cardinals to move forward with the remnants of the old Busch Stadium site. There must be an election coming up, but to be fair, the Cardinals left the site in deplorable condition. The Riverfront Times did the best story on the situation in 'A Village Runs Through It'. The current plan is to eliminate most of the housing and scale back the commercial space, effectively rendering Ballpark Village a pretty set-piece rather than a neighborhood.

It's like I always say, 'If you can't build it right, don't build it at all.'

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My First Blog Post

I'm an aspie.

Asperger's Syndrome gives me the gift of viewing the world from a different perspective. Aspies tend to be frank and detail-oriented, so you should expect these posts to be very direct and drone on endlessly about seemingly trivial issues. Hopefully, I'll be able to do this in an entertaining manner.

I'm an architect.

I've had a life-long fascination for the built environment, and adore monumentalism. Every city should have a senselessly grand space and be dotted with random acts of beauty, but between and behind these, should be intimate, walkable neighborhoods that offer their residents everything they need within a short walk or tram ride. American suburbs are abominations that need to be eradicated from the face of the earth. They are wasteful and anti-social. Over time, I hope my readers will become active in demanding quality urban design and learn to appreciate a sense of place.

I'm a Pagan.

I've always had an affinity for trees. Even when I was a little catholic boy in the suburban fringe, I was shocked at the carefree way developers bulldozed the land all around our barren little subdivided patch. Cernunnos called me even back then, and forty years later, I finally got the clue. He has led me on a rewarding journey in which I continue to discover the awesome diversity and power of our world. Thru his alter-ego Shiva, he has drawn me toward Hinduism, which is my latest area of spiritual study. More on that later as I continue to discover this rich traditon...

I'm a classicist; my tastes are strongly biased toward Greek and Roman precedents in design and philosophy. As a classicist, I embrace Hindu religious philosophy as the source of classical religion. Cernunnos is Shiva; both emerged from the same prehistoric archetype, just as the Celtic pantheon of Cernunnos came from the same prehistoric tradition as the Hindu pantheon.

But I'm a dreamer foremost. Autism has given me the ability to know an alternate world of my own creation which I have built as an illustration of my ideals, and I plan to reveal it here and in my ongoing writing project, "The Book of Baddite", a farcical scripture with a very serious spiritual message.

I love to learn, and welcome reading suggestions and links.

OK, enough of the dry introductions...

Architecture of the World:

Hindu God of the Week: