SMOKE: It's In The Stars (Or Not)

Originally published: 21 August 2003

Being my birthday today (thank you, thank you, please send all monies and related material splendour to blah blah blah) makes me a Leo, born in the Year Of The Rat (1972).

I looked up the official blurb for the Rat bit, and this is what I found:

"Creative problem solver, imaginative, hyperactive worker respected for it's resourcefulness. Intuitive with ability in acquiring and holding on to things it values."

This is the point where I'm supposed to go: "Oh my Gaaaawwwwdddd!!!! That's just sooo me, babes!" Yeah, right. Let's break that down a little.

"Creative problem solver" - Nope. I try and plan as much as possible to avoid problems, but when they do happen I've usually prepared so well for something else that I am unable to extricate myself from the direction I've been heading, and find I can't get on top of the problem at all.

When this happens I haul out strong drugs and disappear into a hedonistic orgy of hallucinogenic escapism, and hope like hell that someone else sorts it out while I'm gone.

"Imaginative" - Sure - but who doesn't like to think they are imaginative? What - is anyone in the world going to admit that they are not imaginative? I'd imagine not.

"Hyperactive worker respected for it's resourcefulness" - I'm not an "it", you motherfucker, and if you call me that again I'll rip your throat our and eat it in front of you and your children.

I'm also the last possible thing to hyperactive - I'm a real low-temperature spade, and not geared towards doing things in a hurry. I'm not particularly resourceful either - I can find a pic of some titties on the Internet no problem, but ask me to get you a secure line and I make like Norris and chuck.

"Intuitive with ability in acquiring and holding on to things it values" - Yesbutwhatdoyoumean? What does that mean? By virtue of the fact that something is valuable means it will always be held onto, and you don't need to be a Leo to work that one out.

What that incredibly convoluted statement is designed to do is confuse and daze you with the first wave attack, and on second or third reading get you to realise that yes, indeed - there is someone you love, and that yes indeed you have held onto them. Who hasn't?

Two-penny, mumbo-jumbo horseshit, and just the perfect thing to get my blood pressure rising at an alarming rate.

Here's how I see it - a star, or a constellation, or any other celestial body - is a bunch of molecules billions of miles away, and to think that I would willingly dish out my intelligently-earned money on some hippie quack who thinks he can hoodwink me into believing that the twain are somehow invisibly yet intricately entertwined, would be an erroneous and very misguided thought.

There are too many John Edward's and Madame Shakira's and other brilliantly intelligent but phenomenally fraudulent mystic con artists out there for me to remain calm, and what kills me is that this stuff actually sells. Makes millions. Billions. Every year, across the globe.

According to an article published on UK newspaper The Telegraph's website, a single profitable astrology website can be worth upward of $50-million, and then you still have horoscope services like newspapers, magazines and telephone lines all over the world, raking it in as well.

It's a mega global business and whenever you find yourself calling something a "mega global business", it's time to skim off the top layer of scum and slime and find the truth lurking beneath the surface.

According to the Telegraph, a study was begun in London in 1958 into how the circumstances of birth can affect future health, and was conducted over 2000 babies that were born in early March of that year.

The researchers checked up on the subjects from time to time over the years, assessing things like occupation, anxiety levels, marital status, aggressiveness, sociability, IQ levels and ability in art, sport, mathematics and reading, all of which are things astrologers claim can be read from birth charts.

But they found absolutely no evidence of any similarities from subject to subject.

The researchers behind the project - and the subsequent publication of their findings in the Journal of Consciousness Studies - were Geoffrey Dean, a scientist and former astrologer based in Perth, Australia, and Ivan Kelly, a psychologist at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Dean concluded in his paper that the results were uniformly negative, despite test conditions which were hugely conducive to success.

"It has no acceptable mechanism, its principles are invalid and it has failed hundreds of tests," he said. "But no hint of these problems will be found in astrology books which, in effect, are exercises in deception."

Of course the astrology world is in uproar over Dean, who they perceive to be a turncoat attempting to discredit their profession, but what's really troubling them, of course, is the fact that they want him to shut up before people start catching on and they start losing millions.

Because no matter whether Dean and pal are legitimate or not, I still know full well that it's all a load of bunkum - I've opened up three daily publications on the same day before, and each one had a completely different horoscope for me that day.

Of course - astrologers will use their mumbo-jumbo harem-scarem lingo to assure you that your "house cusp" could well be different given your time of birth, or that "you are what you perceive", or some other such crap.

But while you may think I exhibit all the qualities of a Leo through my writing (and I don't know if I do, although if you're a Believer then you ought to know), believe me - there are plenty of Virgos and Aries and Cantaloupes and Badgers who all show exactly the same qualities I do, and I've never yet received any reasonable explanation for why this is so.

Although no doubt there are thousands of explanations, which could be told to me by thousands of people, at the end of it all I still ain't connected to no cloud of gasses and rocks posing as a Lion in the sky.

The Lion and The Rat. That's me? Nope - I'm the oke behind the monitor, hauling down my 53rd smoke of the evening into blackened, tortured lungs, and looking forward to that plate of roast chicken my sweet wife just cooked me. Once upon a time it may have been the Year of the Chicken, but that sucker's mine now, baby.


All Smoked Out,
Luke Tagg
Spending time online does bad things to a person, but I'm OK.

Look at me now - all the way from Uitenhage to the bright lights of the big internet.

Find out more using the handy links provided.

Copyright © Luke Tagg. All rights reserved. A few lefts as well.

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