Friday, December 03, 2010


Welcome to Horn Lake, Mississippi where we’re sanctioned to vandalize your car. We’re serious about our parking ordinances in Horn Lake; so serious that we skip the courtesy notice and fair warning, and go straight to defacing your property. After all, you should have known you’re not allowed to park on your own grass. How long have you lived in Horn Lake? A month? A month is plenty long enough to acquaint yourself with our local ordinances. Don’t you go to the town meetings? Haven’t you stopped by City Hall to research all the possible laws you might be breaking just by living in Horn Lake? Well, too bad for you, then. Paper tickets under the windshield wiper? Why, yes, we’ve heard of them, but those are too easy to ignore, too easy to throw away. We really want your attention!

The cop next door to you had us come out and post the entire street corner by his house as a No Parking Zone, so on-street parking is forbidden. Then there’s that fire hydrant you can’t block between the corner and the only four feet of grass that’s yours, so don’t have anyone over to visit unless you can talk a neighbor into letting them park in his or her driveway, because there just isn’t anywhere else. You might try the edge of the park one street over. Just don’t let us catch you there. You also can’t bike, rollerblade, or skateboard there. God knows The South, and Horn Lake, in particular, is famous for the residents being tubs of lard so no exercise in the park! No fun! It’s forbidden. 

We must keep our reputation for being an ignorant bunch of hicks at all cost! Now go move your car before we tow it off. And welcome to Horn Lake, Mississippi.  Notice that this ticket is signed by Dan Smith, who is now head of Animal Control.

Thinking of moving to Horn Lake? Here's another post you might want to read before finalizing that decision! Welcome to Horn Lake, MS Again

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Jessica’s Trap by K Hillman

Jessica’s Trap is everything a good yarn should be.  

The story takes place in the UK  in 1647, and Jessica Chadwick is a young witch who lives in a hovel at the edge of the woods where she grows herbs that she uses to heal ailing villagers. Her mother was burned at the stake. Jessica didn’t witness her death, but overheard her father and a family friend discussing a betrayal by someone named Demdike.

War and plague blight the land, and Jessica’s father is drafted into the army. She is alone in the world now but for the family friend, Simon Bulcock, who is a kind, slightly older than middle-aged man who looks out for her and poaches rabbits from the King’s land. As the story begins, Simon is on his way to share a little of his bounty with Jessica at the same time that she is conjuring her mother’s ghostly spirit.

Jessica’s mother advises her to forget about Demdike; she has much bigger problems. There is a Witchfinder, one of the Golab. It possesses men’s bodies and feeds on the terror of women. Jessica should conjure a demon named Foras and ask for help, but to make sure she understands his price before agreeing. Jessica’s powers are strong, but she is inexperienced, and Foras is the President of Hell. 

Together, with a whole host of demons who soon overrun her house, Foras sets a trap to capture the Golab, and Jessica becomes the bait.   

This story has all the tension and conflict a good story should have—the likable main character has a specific goal and endless obstacles thrown in her path. Will she make it, or won’t she?  

Who knew there are worse things out there than demons?

Unfortunately for you, this book is an advance copy from the author. It has been accepted for publication, but unless the publishing business in Great Britain moves faster than the glacial pace it moves in the U.S., it will probably be April before you’ll see it on bookstore shelves, and most likely with a different cover because that's what happens in the publishing biz. I’ll remind you of it again then. I hope you'll have it in time for next Halloween!

The story doesn’t have the gut-wrenching, heartbreaking power of say…Sophie’s Choice or Lonesome Dove, but for horror,  

I like it as much as any Stephen King book I’ve ever read
Five bookmarks.

For an explanation of my Bookmark System, click here.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Pet Toss

My neighbor, Brandy Gull, moved out over the weekend. It was the last day of July, and I’m sure the need to be out by August 1st explains her big hurry. Four pickup trucks, one towing a flatbed trailer, all backed into her front yard at the same time on Saturday afternoon. She and her kids rushed back and forth, carrying out their belongings, which weren’t packed. The trailer was loaded with pots, soil, and other landscaping items from her job. I’m sure her big hurry explains why she forgot to take her pets with her.

I’m not sure about the woman. Sometimes she’s very nice; sometimes, she’s very defensive. One day, when I dropped the very heavy bowl of my birdbath while cleaning it, she came over and helped me pick it up. The next day, when I was looking for my cat, I asked if it might have gone into her house because a low, unscreened window a few feet from the last place I had seen her had been wide open at the time. The neighbor crossed her arms over her chest and responded as if I were accusing her of hiding my cat or something. Then of course, later, I learned the punk across the street had kidnapped it. But was it that unreasonable to ask if a cat had jumped through an open window? Sheesh.

The lady has a big family…four children whose various fathers often come and pick them up for the weekends, two dogs, at least two adult cats, maybe three, and three kittens. I know her children love those pets. Although I have nothing against the woman, we haven’t been on the friendliest terms during her year here. One of her dogs liked to run all over my yard, through a garden I had just planted. I love dogs, so I didn’t say much about it. But when the dog came in our yard and started barking at my ex, he said, “no way.” He wasn’t going to have a dog that wasn’t his stand in his yard and aggressively bark at him. I admit it made me a little leery that it might chase or attack my cats. That was before she acquired a few cats of her own; I couldn’t be sure. So when my ex talked to the lady about her dog, it put a damper on any friendship that might have blossomed.

The dog in question was skilled at climbing over the gate from her back yard, so her attempts to keep it confined was a problem, I know. She complained to me that the landlord wouldn’t “fix the gate,” which wasn’t broken. I knew he wouldn’t. He wouldn’t fix things that were broken. This is the same man who neglected two different, beautiful dogs when he lived there; someone I had never been so happy to see go. I hinted to my ex that maybe he could help with her gate. I guess he didn’t want to. The lady took to keeping the dogs inside, and sending her teenage son with them when they needed to go out.

Saturday evening, about 6:30, I noticed two of her kittens on my porch. I headed over to her house to see if she was completely gone, or only partially gone. As I made my way over, I saw that the blinds in a window that faces my house had been shredded, a new condition. I looked in. Imagine my surprise when that dog looked back. The poor thing was so happy to see someone that she didn’t even bark at me. It was obvious she was terrified that she had been left behind, and was trying to get out. My heart broke for her. I told her I was sure they were coming back for her, and I waited until midnight, August 1st, which I figured was her deadline to move, and then called the police. They came and told me wait until Monday, then call the shelter.

I was gone all day Sunday. I made a special trip back home in the middle of the day to see if the lady had come for her animals. I couldn’t rouse the dog by knocking on the glass or ringing the doorbell, so I assumed she did, and was glad of that much. But the kittens remained on my porch, and the third one joined them.

I only knew of one place I might reach the woman. Her daughter had once told me about a family business they all help out in on the weekends. So I called and spoke to a young-voiced woman who claimed to be the manager, and told her my dilemma. Did the woman want her cats, or did she want me to take them to the shelter? About two minutes later, the neighbor called me and said if I ever called her at work again, she would sue me. So I called the shelter. I don’t understand how people can have pets that they love and fight for, then abandon them when they become inconvenient. She may as well have thrown those kittens on the trash pile she left by the curb.

How can anyone keep an animal for any length of time and not know that the animal experiences emotion just like we do? That they love us even at our worst. That they are dependent on us for their lives, and in every lick of our hands, and every purr in our arms, they show their gratitude. How can anyone look into the eyes of a pet and say, “Sorry, buddy, you’re not going?”

10/14/10 I've been meaning to add this post script for quite a while, but have been too busy and distracted lately. Very shortly after this happened, a nearly 20-year-old jade plant I had sitting on my front porch suddenly collapsed and died -- a lot like it had been poisoned. It made me a little suspicious.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mel Gibson and Chinese Music / Part 1 of the Astrology of Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson’s birth data isn’t in Lois Rodden's data bank, but is generally accepted to be January 3, 1956, at 4:45 PM EST, in Peekskill, NY, USA. From comparing the transits to his natal chart for the time the news broke that tapes of his shocking rants exist, I'd have to say it's pretty accurate. First Tiger Woods, now Mel. I think there will be one more big scandal this summer, in late August. I'm also expecting another Gulf Oil Spill event around that time.

But we came here to talk about Mel.

Mel Gibson is beginning to remind me of Nathan in Sophie's Choice, the Oscar-winning film of the hauntingly tragic novel (
William Styron). He's brilliant, talented, and fucked up as Chinese music.

Did you just laugh?

Or did you just think, "she did exactly what Mel did, only not in a drunken rant," as I disparaged Chinese music?
I think that's an important issue because it's a matter of individual sensibilities, as all ethnic jokes are. Personally, I find them extremely funny because there is a kernel of truth in them. I also find them fairly offensive because I believe that we are all brothers and sisters under the skin, even though some of you are as bat-shit crazy as Mel. You're the ones sitting there nodding, and wondering what nutty thing I'm going to write next, and the rest of you... Hey, wait! Where ya goin'?

The line between
funny and unacceptable is in the delivery, isn't it? If you're in a comedy club, you expect it. If your best friend tells you, you laugh. If someone at work tells it, you smile. If a complete stranger whispers it in a conspiratorial tone like a Russian spy, you move away quickly. And if it's bellowed loudly enough for the world to hear by a raging drunk, we gasp in horror and declare him a monster. Let's have a look at the man Mel used to be, when the whole world fell in love with him:

Remember this guy?

As we all know, Mel is a better-than-average-looking-middle-aged Caucasian male, upper class by financial standards, a celebrity, and a world traveler.
He's in the Herd phase of his evolutionary journey, with occasional forays into the Individuated state.

Before we go on, let's get you oriented:

Now, about Mel:

His moon's south node (the past, the crutch, the indicator of peddling backwards and backtracking) in Gemini shows that it's a repeat condition; that it's not the first time he's being given these particular lessons. Gemini represents the transfer of information in all its forms: communication, reading, writing, language skills, primary education, all written materials from letters to newspapers, from memoirs to novels, writing instruments, messages and messengers, telephones, telegrams, email, gossip, and the ability (or not) to reason and communicate clearly and effectively.

Bear with me for a bit, because this might sound a little crazy: Normally, Mel is quite rational. He possesses a balanced mind, neither leaping to conclusions nor slow to make decisions. It's indicated by the moon moving fast at the time of his birth, and Mercury (communication, rational mind) trailing his natal Sun (self-identity and ego). The evidence is in the smart career choices he's made.

His Mercury, the first position in the Triumvirate of the Transmission of Information, Lord of Gemini, Lord of the third house, is in serious, conservative, staid Capricorn, upholder of truth, tradition and authority. Mercury isn’t weakened in Capricorn, nor is it strengthened necessarily by engineering Saturn. In Capricorn, Saturn puts the breaks on the fun parts of Mercury. That’s his job.

Eventually every Peter Pan must grow up, even if it is kicking and screaming the whole way. Mercury in Capricorn gives a steady mind, but a dull tongue. It’s extremely helpful in performing Shakespeare, but not for tossing out just the right bon mot for an occasion. Some people with Mercury in an earth sign live with it just fine. For others, it’s an albatross. If Mel had been born one minute later, his Mercury would have been in lightning-fast, quirky Aquarius, where it’s exalted, and he would have been so much more comfortable with that.

. . .

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Broad Strokes / Part 2 of the Astrology of Mel Gibson

Another indication that Mel is in a disseminating and reaping phase of karma, is that the moon at his birth was not only fast in its movement, but was also in the disseminating lunar phase, literally known in astrology as the "show and tell moon." You can't say Mel hasn't lived up to that part of his chart.

People born during this moon phase have to synchronize their work with that of others, willingly or not, but are usually astute in business, and fortunate in both contacts and contracts. Plans and dreams (or roles) studied for or begun in previous lives become concrete reality in this one. His work is well known, widely shared, and constantly under a microscope being reviewed for artistic, social and commercial value, never more than now.

Another clue that Mel is in a disseminating karmic phase is that his moon, which is highly significant in his life and important in his chart, is at precisely zero degrees and zero minutes of Libra, the exact moment of the autumnal equinox. This degree of a chart represents ripening and reaping. It's the day of the year when the ancient god of light is defeated by his evil twin, the god of darkness. It is the time of the year when night conquers day. It is preparing to wind down, a ticking internal clock that warns time is almost up.

Let's see what he brought with him this time around to help him achieve his life's purpose.
In Mel's chart, the majority of his planets are in the western hemisphere, indicating that his choices and actions in life must be made with consideration of those to whom he is obligated, and also that he has life issues regarding playing well with others. He must interact and gain their cooperation in order to make his own goals a reality.

The majority are also below the horizon, which in an ordinary person's chart might mean shyness or reticence, because the opposite, having the majority of planets in the upper half of the chart, gives a public persona. But in Mel's chart, all those hiding planets are indicative of a very private person in his personal life.

Likewise, the majority of his planets are in cardinal mode and the water element, which gives his life and personality an over-all Cancer flavor, emphasizing his home/ family/ domestic matters/ real estate / and issues with women and children, in both his personality and his karmic lessons.

The pattern of the planets in Mel's chart create a bowl pattern, with Uranus in Leo and Venus in Aquarius forming the opposition that creates the rim. This gives him the nagging and unquenchable feeling that something is missing in his life, and he spends a great deal of subconscious time trying to reach a sense of completeness and sustained direction.


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Cancer Rising, Libra Moon / Part 3 of the Astrology of Mel Gibson

Mel is a Capricorn (a born executive, an ambitious and hard worker), with Cancer rising (a family man, someone to whom home and hearth are essential to life), so that's a challenge already. It's kind of a schizo way to have to live. He is literally torn between the two halves of himself: the ambitious, successful, money-making, A-list actor and Hollywood Power Exec, and the family-loving guy with an emotional need to create children, either of his body or mind. Mel has lost both of the things that are most important to him in the past couple of years--his family and his career.

In the human body, Capricorn rules the knees, and sooner or later, every Capricorn must bend his. I'm just going to bluntly tell you because it's true, that Capricorns think they run everything, and that no one can do anything as well as they can do it themselves. They have a tendency to take over everything in their path. Sadly, for them, unless they come to realize that they do not run the universe, that something much greater than they runs the universe, then the day they will be driven to their knees is somewhere in their future. For Mel, that future is now.

The moon is the ruler of his chart because it's associated with Cancer, the sign on his Ascendant, affectionately referred to as the rising sign.

The rising sign is the outer part of ourselves that we show the world. It's our physical form, the first and lasting impression we make, and our personality as a whole. It's a kind of mug shot. Until his DUI, Mel’s mug shot portrayed him as a family man who loved his wife. Often. That was our Cancer-induced perception of him.

This place on the chart often indicates "you, in this place, at this time," when the moon traverses it like a second hand on a clock.

Mel's moon in Libra, the sign of relationships, makes it dignified, or very strong. He needs another person to balance him, to bounce things off, to be with. The moon represents his emotional needs, and how he feels about women, particularly his mother, his wife, and his lover. He was born to be married and to be a father. His deepest and innermost self requires it.
Do you need a refresher?

The moon occupies his 4th house, directing his emotional needs and attention to his home / family/ domestic matters / issues with mother, women and children / foundations and early childhood memories / and his ultimate ending.

FUN FACT: The moon is often prominent in the charts of writers and alcoholics.

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A Pisces Midheaven / Part 4 of the Astrology of Mel Gibson

Mel has Pisces on the Midheaven, the place that represents his career, reputation, and direction in life. It's a place of both fame and notoriety, of honor and dishonor. Pisces, which is ruled by Neptune, is a sign of creativity: of acting, writing, directing, drawing, imagining, painting, music and magic.
But Neptune is the planet of illusion, delusion, deception, confusion, seeing things that aren't there, and not seeing things that are. It represents water and oil, liquids, bodies of water, and vast open spaces like oceans and skies and space. The Gulf Oil spill is a prime example of a Neptune affliction.

{Neptune may represent snowy mountains, too, but that's a theory that needs more data.}

Neptune has dominion over alcohol and drugs, disappearances, and conspiracies. That's why they can seldom be figured out. There's always some clue missing.

Mel's Neptune, the planet with the majority control over his direction in life, is also in his 4th house of home, family, domestic matters, real estate, and beginnings / endings, along with his moon. The 4th house shows us his foundations --peekaboo--and early life, as well as a partial view of his ultimate demise.
That's a very watery, boozy, cocaine kind of place.

Neptune doesn't get full control of Mel's career, reputation and direction, however. He has an interception in his chart. That's when one house swallows up one whole sign, and little bits of the following and preceding signs. At some latitudes, it can swallow up two whole signs, but the closer we move toward the poles, the whole chart begins to fall apart and is unreadable. An interception that falls into one house also falls into the opposite house. It's caused by an irregular curvature of the earth.

Old school astrologer Noel Tyl,
a former opera singer, an authoritative sort with a voice like God, who happens to be a champion of my favorite astrologer, Jeffrey Wolf Green, wrote on the subject of interceptions:

"Interpretively...interception has little significance."

[From the glossary of "Teaching and Study Guide to the Principles and Practice of Astrology, by Noel Tyl; Llewellyn, 1976; page 706]

I disagree! Interceptions are like blinking neon arrows that point and flash an urgent message: Pay Attention Here.

In my experience, the intercepted houses are always a driving force of the person's life, almost like a secondary Midheaven. A huge amount of what happens to him can be described by the houses and signs involved. Esoterically, they, and any planets they contain, indicate lessons failed in a previous life that must now be repeated in an intensified course.
And here is a prime example of that theory in action. Which two houses in Mel Gibson's chart are intercepted? The 10th (career, reputation, honor / dishonor) and the 4th, (home family, domestic issues / foundations / endings / and all those Oedipus complex / personal, private Madonna / Whore issues he’s having to very publicly (10th house) deal with right now.

With the moon intercepted in the 4th house, Mel withdraws emotionally. His feelings of rejection are intensified.
Intercepted in Mel's 10th house / Midheaven is the sign of "Me first!" Aries. Aries is a very assertive, sometimes aggressive sign. They're take-charge-git-'er-done kinds of people. They tend to stomp all over the places and people upon which even angels fear to tread.

Mars is the ruler of Aries. It's also a co-ruler with Pluto of the sign Scorpio. Mel's Mars, a/k/a the Penis Planet (sex, sports, recreation, procreation, blood, scars, wounds, tools, weapons, wars, anger, hostility, impulses, and a bunch of others I respectfully refer to as “dick things”) is in sexy, smoldering, intense, passionate Scorpio.

It's conjunct (that's fancy astrology talk for "right next to"), his natal Saturn, the planet that gives weight and concrete form to whatever it touches. Saturn is also the planet that rules his sun sign, Capricorn. Both planets are in Mel's 5th house, the house of children and creativity (the child of one's mind). The 5th house is the house of entertainment, including such things as movies, theater, hobbies, games, vacations, recreation, love affairs and recreational sex.


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Mad Max / Part 5 of the Astrology of Mel Gibson

Mel has a T-square in his chart, made up of Uranus opposed to Mercury and the asteroid Chiron; all of them in turn form a stressful square with his watery, boozy, Neptune in the 4th house of foundations and ultimate demise.

Uranus represents the sudden, unexpected, and accidental. Its position in the chart indicates the area of life where the person seeks independence and freedom. It’s a rogue and renegade, eccentric and quirky. It’s the planet that ruled over both the American and French Revolutions. Uranus coined the phrase that rules are meant to be broken. It’s rash, impulsive, headstrong, and fearless, accident prone, and gets into a lot of trouble. Although Mel’s Capricorn sun makes him a very conservative guy (he’s a faithful Catholic and devout Republican), Uranus in his first house makes him a very unpredictable lit fuse. This kind of energy opposing Mercury, the planet of communication, results in the type of verbal incidents for which he’s become infamous.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Winding Up Mel's Meltdown / Part 6 of the Astrology of Mel Gibson

Here's what was going on in Mel Gibson's chart on the day the news broke that tapes existed of his abusive behavior. The chart for the transits was made for July 9, 2010, at 5:59 p. m., the time I heard about it online.

First, so you can follow along, here's his natal chart again. It should be familiar to you by now.

Below is a chart made for the time that I heard about the tapes. It's the same as if I held a camera up to the sky and took a picture. Or better yet, began shooting a video, because unlike the chart above, which is frozen in time, this picture moves clockwise:

What? You thought it was really going to turn? You have to make it turn. Follow along, okay? Here's a little magic. I'm going to combine them. Let me know if I go too fast for you.

Voila! Now the natal chart is on the inside, and the transits (where the planets were that day) are on the outside. It makes it very easy to see what was going on in his chart.

The outer planets take a long time to move through their cycles. Pluto takes an average of 246 years to go around a chart just one time. It takes Neptune 164. It takes Uranus 84. There are some places in everyone's chart that those planets are never going to reach in our lifetime. In fact, they move so slowly that sometimes it appears they're moving backwards. We call it "retrograde," and those planets have a whole new set of "rules."

When a planet takes that long to move through a chart, imagine how important it is, if and when, it makes an aspect to a natal planet. Y'all, don't get all tweaked about aspects. They're easy. Think of a chart as a pool table with rounded corners. Two balls kissing is a conjunction. The cue ball at one end, and the 8 ball at the other, is an opposition. Or the cue ball centered at one end, and the 8 sitting just in front of either side pocket is a square--90 degrees. Sextiles (nothing to do with sex on the floor), are 60 degrees. That would be sort of like the cue ball being in front of the right pocket, and the 8 ball being half way between the near-left corner pocket and the left side pocket. And a trine would be similar, except the 8 ball would be twice as far away...say near the rail between the left side pocket and the left corner pocket at the far end of the table. 120 degrees. Easy shot, right?

One of the aspects that's giving Mel hell right now, is the same one that's causing a lot of us hell. If you were born at the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation--mid 1950's to early 1960's--when Pluto was in the last degrees of Leo, you're in the same boat with him. If you were born later than that, you're not off the hook. Your time is coming. Pluto is the planet of extremes, so it's both a generational influence, and the most personal one: the journey our own soul is on.

So while we as a generation may lose something--like our way of life as we know it--we will likely lose something unique to us, as well. A person. A place. A thing. Something that has helped to define us will be removed. It depends on where Pluto is in our chart, and which house it rules.
In Mel's chart, Pluto represents his soul's need to disseminate information, which is filtered through his Scorpio-ruled 5th house of creativity and entertainment. Along with spreading information, Mel likes to spread his wild oats. The 5th house is the house of children. Will he only lose the love child, or the others, as well? If this aspect is happening in your chart, too, don't forget that Neptune can rule spirituality, as well as addictions and conspiracies.

Neptune isn't working alone here. The asteroid Chiron is adding to the mix. Our losses will be painful. They are, or will become, the scab that keeps getting picked, the echoing thought in the future that this is the milk we wish we hadn't spilled. It will become one of our greatest regrets in the realization that time cannot be turned back, and it is too late; some things cannot be undone. And we will learn from that. Besides being the wounded, Chiron is the teacher.

Sorry, the eclipse came and went before I could get all this posted. It took place July 11, 2010 at 12:42 PM PDT..

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