Theodore / Jupiter

During most of Kim’s pregnancy we were trying to decide if Jupiter was too crazy of a name, or if it was just crazy enough. Theodore was an easier pick; we had both independently thought of it as a possibility.

On the afternoon of November 25, 2018, more than a week after the due date, Kim wondered aloud whether Jupiter the planet was in the current zodiac sign. A few hours later I checked, and it wasn’t–Sagittarius is the current zodiac sign, and Jupiter is just entering Scorpius.

Jupiter’s position in the zodiac was not significant, but it turns out that Jupiter’s birth in Sagittarius is.

The zodiac system that is most common in the west is called the Tropical Zodiac, and traces back to Ptolemy.  In the 2nd century AD he collected astrological knowledge in his Tetrabibilo.  Book 1 Chapter 17 contains this:

The planets also have familiarity with the parts of the zodiac, through what are called their houses, triangles, exaltations, terms, and the like. The system of houses is of the following nature. Since of the twelve signs the most northern, which are closer than the others to our zenith and therefore most productive of heat and of warmth are Cancer and Leo, they assigned these to the greatest and most powerful heavenly bodies, that is, to the luminaries, as houses, Leo, which is masculine, to the sun and Cancer, feminine, to the moon. In keeping with this they assumed the semicircle from Leo to Capricorn to be solar and that from Aquarius to Cancer to be lunar, so that in each of the semicircles One sign might be assigned to each of the five planets as its own, One bearing aspect to the sun and the other to the moon, consistently with the spheres of their motion and the peculiarities of their natures. For to Saturn, in whose nature cold prevails, as opposed to heat, and which occupies the orbit highest and farthest from the luminaries, were assigned the signs opposite Cancer and Leo, namely Capricorn and Aquarius, with the additional reason that these signs are cold and wintry, and further that their diametrical aspect is not consistent with beneficence. To Jupiter, which is moderate and below Saturn’s sphere, were assigned the two signs next to the foregoing, windy and fecund, Sagittarius and Pisces, in triangular aspect to the luminaries, which is a harmonious and beneficent configuration.

Jupiter our boy was conceived in Pisces and born in Sagittarius.

That’s not all: early on November 26th, three days before the birth of the boy, the planet moved into conjunction with the Earth on the other side of the Sun.  You can look towards him, but you can’t really see Jupiter right now because he’s just emerging from behind the brilliance of the Sun.

To top it off, he was born on Thursday, ie Thor’s Day.  Thor is identified with Jupiter, as seen in the French name for the day: Jeudi, Jupiter Day.

Kim had also wondered whether there were any King Theodores.  The one we found, King Theodore of Corsica, was a German adventurer who in 1736 convinced a group of Corsican rebels to name him their King in return for helping them liberate their island from Genoese occupation. With military aid from the Bey of Tunis, he landed on Corsica in March and waged a war of independence for nine months until he left to secure more foreign military aid in November. These months correspond with our Theodore’s reign in his island womb.

The Bitter Cold of Nevada in Summer

Northern Nevada

In Nevada, which should have been the hottest and driest stretch of the trip, or so I thought, ignorantly assuming north was the same as south, after brief periods of minor showers we made our way to the western half of the state.  Cruising along in calm air, a sudden change of wind hit us head-on, bringing a cold ominous foreboding that physically slowed our progress, and mentally assaulted my resolve, so that, in confusion, I stopped at a barren rest stop, void of even a single wall as shelter.  But there was nothing to do, nothing but go on right into the thick of the menacing storm heralded by the bitter relentless gale.  My resolve would be tested yet further as the wind pierced deeper, driving cold wet closer to our souls.  Not heat and aridness would we find, but winding roads littered with fog, snow, and mud–and of course a most beautiful sunset.  Other bikers turned around. We shrugged as they passed and turned our faces forward, the throttle open, and the handlebars naught.

On the other side of it, tired and shaking uncontrollably and rattling frozen bones, I proposed an early stop–why not right here? It was not too far till sundown. Kim was unreceptive and indomitably undeterred, thankfully dragging me out of my momentary weakness. We’ll say the back seat is shielded, more pleasant, less draining. That’s what we’ll say. Knowingly into the dark trap, then. We let the sun duck under the hills and spring an ambush, catching us on the road with a falling shroud of darkness. Groping blindly along the highway, occasionally accompanied by one of the shrugged-at bikers who’d apparently decided to turn around a second time, we snaked westward. At the hotel, we booked the last room and received free cookies.

A grim glorious day that was, but perhaps not as grim as the escape from San Francisco. The transportation networks were choked with traffic; a plethorous mass of human flesh clogging the roads out of San Francisco, slowing the flow to fully stationary, punctuated by brief rolls forward half the length of a car.  Even outside the city, the swelling hominid profusity pressed out and filled all spaces, not sparing the “in and out burger” we stopped at.  Living talking ape meat spread its teeming overabundance into every seat and table so that we were forced out when we eventually received our order, and we ate outside. The masticating mass was repulsively nauseating. As repulsively nauseating as the pink centre of my burger, which I pushed down my throat in a clinically calculating decision to gain nourishment to counter sleepiness without needing to stop at another restaurant. A cheery employee walked by and asked how the food was.  I gave him a cold, dead, “it’s pink”.  As dead and cold as the centre of my burger.  “What?”  “The burger is pink.”  “So… that’s good?”  “No.  It’s bad.”  “Oh… sorry.”  And he walked away.

Later we rolled into Mark and Shannon’s driveway with the relief of Atlas at the apocalypse.

Man and Television, a Music Video

Man is the only beast capable of becoming enthralled to television. He is alone in his desire to turn from reality and life and fixate on the hypnotizing hypercolour display. Unlike the lesser beasts whose existence is tied closely to the world and life around them, he is seemingly freed from the necessity of struggling for sustenance and survival. But he is a natural born slave, and seeks a new master immediately upon release. This he finds in television, and he gladly submits to its remaking of him fully, from the toes up, in its own image. The other beasts are immune to its enticing glow, and instead must be ripped apart and rendered into the new oversaturated and overexposed existence by force, as they flee. Man reclines dumbly into blissful oblivion and welcomes the damaging overstimulation to his senses, and the toxic hypercolor poison blasted into his mind. The fullness of sunlight and its broadly continuous spectrum which nourishes a teeming superorganism of unfathomable beauty and nuance is supplanted and made dull in comparison to the dominating harsh plastic brilliance of the screen’s discreet cold chromatic distillations. Invigorated by its supple prey, television evolves quickly into the apex predator of man’s attention, its obscene glare and hum outcompeting and drowning out all thought in man that is not television. But the wind and beasts and thermodynamic laws have no mental glandes to tickle and continue unperturbed by television. Man’s neglected civilization crumbles around him beside his unwatching eyes, and the synthetic tentacles that went forth from it to give birth to television go slack. A vestigial glow from the unpowered screen shows the deflation and unravelling of the new man in the absence of his animating essence; his flickering screen and hyperstimulation. Flashless to flashless, dull to dull.