Hurricane Maria, a Trickster?


Hurricane Names for 2017
Atlantic Tropical (and Subtropical) Storm Names for 2017
Arlene Harvey Ophelia
Bret Irma Philippe
Cindy Jose Rina
Don Katia Sean
Emily Lee Tammy
Franklin Maria Vince
Gert Nate Whitney


The 2017 hurricane season held some major surprises that included two category 5 hurricanes – Irma and Maria. Irma reached wind speeds of 185 mph, and a pressure of 914 millibars. She tore through The Caribbean, British Virgin Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands, Cuba, and Florida. Maria’s winds reached 175 mph and a pressure of 908. She ripped through the Lesser Antilles, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and the Turks and Caicos Islands

By comparison, Hurricane Wilma 12 years earlier, in 2005, had top winds of 185 mph and a pressure of 882 millibars, the lowest on record. That pressure made Wilma the most powerful hurricane ever.

Violent weather and its aftermath are covered so extensively by the media that what’s sometimes revealed is a dark undercurrent in American life that becomes glaringly obvious. This revelation often involves trickster synchronicities, as with Hurricane Maria.

Out of the 21 names for hurricanes in 2017, only two were Hispanic names – Jose and Maria. Jose was the longest-lived Atlantic hurricane since Nadine in 2012. It affected the Leeward Islands, Bahamas, Bermuda, brought rain to the east coast of the U.S., and to Nova Scotia. Its damage was minimal.

Maria was a different monster altogether. She slammed into Puerto Rico, an American territory and Hispanic culture, the first layer of the synchronicity. It wasn’t, after all, Irma or Harvey that slammed into  Puerto Rico, but Maria, a Latino named storm. Her winds were just under a cat 5 – 155 mph , cat 5 officially begins with 156 mph winds – and caused catastrophic damage. The humanitarian crisis that has followed, however,  is the result of an inept president who may not have known that Puerto Rico was an American territory and whose racism against Hispanics and other people of color is well-known – and documented.

FEMA is in Puerto Rico, supplies wait on barges, and a floating hospital with 250 beds and full services is just offshore. But in the 2 weeks since the ship’s arrival, only 13 percent of its beds are occupied. Since this post was written several days ago, those percentages may have improved marginally. But maybe not. This story is fascinating.

The problem seems to be coordination among the various agencies on the ground and the attitude of a president whose initial response to the disaster was to attack the island for its poor infrastructure and debt. Every time the San Juan mayor is on American TV, talking about the government’s poor response in the aftermath, trump blames someone else. The democrats. Obama. The mayor. The island itself. His latest tweet about it was that FEMA and the military can’t remain in PR indefinitely. Yet, 12 years after Katrina devastated New Orleans, FEMA is still there.

It took a hurricane with an Hispanic name that hit an island with an Hispanic culture to fully reveal trump’s bias against people of color. It’s a trickster synchro that addresses the pathetic state of the current administration and this country.

PS. A friend just sent this link about  the tiny power company awarded a $300 million contract for Puerto Rico’s power grid reconstruction. It’s linked to a major Trump donor.

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Haunted by Aliens

It either takes courage or naivete to run for U.S. congress after you’ve  done TV interviews in which you claim to be a life-long alien abductee. That’s the case for Miami’s Bettina Rodriquez Alquilera, who is running for an open seat in the house of representative. Even though those interviews took place several years ago, it was inevitable that someone would remember and bring it up.

That’s how Alquilera’s campaign suddenly attracted a national audience in mid-October when the Miami Herald reported the story. In the original interviews, she said that she was taken aboard an alien ship by three blond, big-bodied beings, two females and one male, when she was seven years old. She went on to say that she has been in occasional contract with the aliens since that time.

Three blond, big-bodied beings — two females, one male — visited her when she was 7 years old and have communicated telepathically with her several times in her life, she says. The Republican candidate recounted her experience for a Miami television station in 2009.

Her description of the abduction probably won’t win her many voters among skeptics. She mentioned seeing round seats on the ship and the craft was controlled by “some quartz rocks.” She also said the alien beings reminded her of the famous statue in Rio de Janeiro – Christ the Redeemer with arms spread out. She also said the aliens told her that there was proof of alien existence in a cave in Malta where 30,000 non-human skulls are hidden.

When the Miami Herald asked her about her experience with the aliens on their ship, Alquilera was ready for them with what sounds like a prepared statement that skirted the issue of her involvement. Here’s what she said:

“For years people, including Presidents like Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter and astronauts, have publicly claimed to have seen unidentified flying objects and scientists like Stephen Hawking and institutions like the Vatican have stated that there are billions of galaxies in the universe and we are probably not alone,” she said. “I personally am a Christian and have a strong belief in God. I join the majority of Americans who believe that there must be intelligent life in the billions of planets and galaxies in the universe.”

We wish Bettina luck. Although she probably has now  been labeled as a candidate outside of the mainstream, it seems that hasn’t stopped numerous candidates from being elected to Congress in recent years. But c’mon, why does she think Repugs will embrace her?


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Louise Hay

Yesterday, I did one of my Barnes & Noble trips, where I cruise the aisles and peruse titles. I eventually got back to the New Age section – now broken down into other categories like self-improvement, tarot, divination and magic. I stopped at the self-improvement section, where nearly all the books are published by Hay House.

The only other person in the row was an African-American woman who held one of my favorite books – Ask and It is Given by Esther Hicks. “That’s a great book,” I remarked.

“Really?” Her eyes lit up. “That’s good to know. I was paging through it and was impressed by what I read. It’s the last one here.”

“Here’s another good one.” I plucked out Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life, and showed her the list of ailments at the back, with the probable emotional cause of the ailment and the new thought pattern affirmation to help heal the condition. I explained that Hay was diagnosed with vaginal cancer and cured herself of it. The woman’s eyes widened.


“She went on to write about it in the book, self-published it, and it sold four million copies. With the money she earned, she went on to establish a publishing company – Hay House – and nearly every book in this section is a Hay House book. It’s probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest, New Age publisher in the world now.” I drew my finger across spine after spine that showed the Hay House logo. “She recently died. But what a legacy she left.”

The woman paged through it. “This is so awesome. I’ve got to buy it next week. I’ve been buying so many books lately.” She snapped a photo of the book. “Thank you so much for all the information. I was supposed to meet you. Bless you.”

Afterward, I thought about the weirdness factor. I rarely comment to other browsers about books and I’m still not sure why I said anything to this woman. But here’s the synchro. Today, my friend Julie Scully sent me three ebooks by Louise Hay – Power Thoughts, Everyday Positive Thinking, and I Can Do It Affirmations. I download them to the Kindle app on my phone so I always have them at my fingertips.

After I received the 3 books, I told Julie about my encounter with the woman the day before in the bookstore. Her response nailed the synchro: “Louise heard you.”


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Agent 488

In the late 1980s, Trish and I met famed author Charles Berlitz at a writer’s event, and we later interviewed him AT his home in Fort Lauderdale for a magazine article. In my research about Berlitz before the interview, I discovered that he had been an agent in British intelligence during World War II. Considering that Berlitz, whose family found the Berlitz School of Language, spoke a couple of dozen ‘tongues’ himself, he was an ideal person for undercover work. He could move through different countries and cultures and seemingly blend in while gaining information. However, Berlitz was tight-lipped and would reveal nothing about his activities within British intelligence.  He simply said it remained classified…even after more than four decades.

The same is the case for Agent 488 – psychotherapist Carl Jung, who was recruited by Alan Dulles, a former diplomat, who was associated with the U.S. agency that would become the CIA.

In early November 1942, just as Britain and the United States were launching their invasion of North Africa, Dulles traveled to Switzerland for the  Office of Strategic Services. After it evolved into the CIA, Dulles would be the first and longest serving civilian director. Earlier in the war, the Nazis had attempted to recruit Jung as an agent, but he’d declined. However, he had made contact with German plotting to overthrow Hitler, and he would use the information for the benefit of the allies.

Jung saw Hitler as a mystic, a “medicine man,” channeling the unconscious as well as conscious desires of the German people, and saw similarities with some of his patients who heard voices telling them what to do, according to an article, “The Shrink as Secret Agent,” by Christopher Dickey in the Daily Beast. Jung thought of Hitler as a man who listened to a whispered voice from a mysterious source, and ignored his associates and advisors.

Dulles gave Jung the code name Agent 488 and sent a telegram to David Bruce at the operational headquarters of the OSS in London suggesting he pay close attention to Jung was producing. Among other things, Jung predicted Hitler would commit suicide as the end came near.

Shortly after the war, Allen Dulles told one of Agent 488’s longtime disciples, “Nobody will probably ever know how much Professor Jung contributed to the Allied Cause during the war, by seeing people who were connected somehow with the other side.” But Dulles said there was no way to reveal them: Jung’s services were “highly classified,” they “would have to remain undocumented.”

Dickey’s article made an interesting statement about the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, a comment that sounds strikingly similar to our current political situation in the U.S.

“But as happens when any populist demagogue takes power, many people embraced him at first, many others were willing to makes excuses for him, and still others convinced themselves that they could live with him at least. Indeed, over the previous decade the vast majority of Germans were persuaded that Hitler understood them, and they understood him—such was the chemistry between the man and his constituents—even if much of the rest of the world found him appalling.

To that end, Jung told an American reporter in 1938: “He (Hitler) is the loudspeaker which magnifies the inaudible whispers of the German soul.”


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Carlos the Frog


Over the many years we’ve lived in Florida, we’ve encountered a lot of wildlife in the suburban neighborhoods where we’ve lived. Alligators in a lake we lived on, burrowing owls that had a nest in our backyard, a raccoon that once strolled into our kitchen to help himself to cat food, various types of birds.

Before Hurricane Wilma, we found hordes of fire ants seeking refuge in the aluminum folds of our hurricane shutters. We’ve had spiders, snakes, foxes, and the usual roaches.   Over the years, we’ve also had our share of frogs who appear in odd places in the house. We usually have managed to free them before the cats grab them.

But about a month ago, Rob noticed a little frog living in one of our potted plants on the ledge between the kitchen and the dining room. The pot once held an orchid, too, but only the ivy and the moss it grows in have survived. We tried to free him by picking up the pot to move it outside, but he jumped away. We returned the pot to the ledge and he was back the next morning.

We now leave a shallow container of water next to the plant, but the other morning, Rob found the frog – now named Carlos – in the water in our coffee pot. He has also been spotted on another area of the counter, near the cat food. There are plenty of insects that flit in and out of the house for him to catch, but I’ve been leaving him bits of lettuce and I’ve found it inside the little hole he has dug for himself in the moss.

What’s interesting about this frog is that he’s a totem animal in this house. We have a lot of these metal depictions of frogs:

Frog has often been a messenger for us, a sign that something is on its way into our lives. Whether its appearance is positive or negative depends on the room where the frog is found and its condition. Is it healthy? Sick? Injured? Dead? Hopping around?

Tonight, I placed another plant next to the pot where Carlos has been living and filled a shallow bowl with water so he could sit on the edge of it and drink. And I snapped a photo of him that’s at the top of the post.Look closely to the lower right of the pic. You’ll see one of his eyes.

This weekend when Megan comes home, we’re going to try to free him.

PS Rob freed Carlos several days before Megan got home. He hopped onto the climbing ivy on one of our palm trees in the backyard, where there are plenty of insects!




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A Fitting Name

Sometimes synchronicities are so obvious they’re like the literal elephant in the room. You can’t miss them. But sometimes we do. That was the case in 2014 when an obscure economics professor shocked Washington with a startling upset victory over Eric Cantor, a prominent Republican congressman who was in line to become speaker of the house. The troublemaker’s name: Dave Brat, the perfect surname for the guy who rattled the Republican establishment by bouncing Eric Cantor out of the house. An economics professor, who touted Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman in his classes, Brat said Cantor wasn’t conservative enough for his Virginia district.

The New York Times called Brat’s victory “one of the most stunning primary election upsets in congressional history.” Brat went on to an easy victory in the general election and has remained one of the most conservative and doctrinaire members of congress. In mid-October, Brat showed that he has remained an outsider of sorts on the inside when he welcomed the call by former Trump aide Steve Bannon for conservatives to take on at least a dozen Republican incumbents in next year’s primary election. Brat told MSNBC reporter Katy Tur that he would favor ousting some of his Republican colleagues in favor of more conservative candidates. Apparently, he is still living up to his name as some Republicans fear that Bannon’s divisive efforts will tear apart of the Republican Party.

There’s one other interesting thing about Brat that caught our attention. In one of his academic papers written years ago, he made an interesting prediction about the future of the U.S. He wrote, “…We appear to be a bit passive. Hitler came along and he did not meet with unified resistance. I have the sinking feeling that it could all happen again, quite easily.”

A lot of people now think the same about DJT. But Brat is like most Republicans regarding Trump. He and the rest of them – with one or two exceptions—“appear to be a bit passive,” to quote Brat’s paper. In fact, Brat calls himself a strong Trump supporter and notes that he has voted with him 90 percent of the time. It might be time he read over his old paper!

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A Climate Change Trickster


Air. Fire. Water. Earth. Our four elements. Since the beginning of the summer this year, 2017, these elements have driven home the message of climate change.

Air and water, let’s start there, with wind and flooding embodied in Hurricane Harvey, a cat 4 storm that slammed into Texas and made a loop back to Houston, where it dropped a total of 52 inches of rain.

Shortly afterward came Hurricane Irma, definitely an air event, with sustained winds of 185 mph for a record 36 hours. Irma hit Cuba with 155 mph winds, was supposed to hit the east coast of Florida, but stayed longer than expected over the northern coast of Cuba and made that turn later, sending it up Florida’s west coast. Eventually, it turned inland and struck Orlando as a cat 2 storm as well. The entire state of Florida was placed under a hurricane warning, prompting the largest evacuation in that state’s history.

Less than two weeks later, Hurricane Maria, another cat 5 storm, devastated Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Mexico City was struck by a 7.1 quake on September 19 – an earth event, for sure. And now, we have a fire event in northern California, where 22 wildfires are burning out of control.

“By Wednesday morning, at least 3,500 homes and businesses had been destroyed and nearly 170,000 acres burned, according to Daniel Berlant of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.” (Huffington Post)

So what does the Trump administration do with all this climate change evidence? On October 10, Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA and a climate change denier, released a proposal to eliminate the Clean Power Plan – “a set of Obama-era regulations aimed at slashing emissions from coal-fired power plants and boosting renewable energy production ― had yet to go into effect, after being temporarily blocked by the Supreme Court since February 2016.” This leaves the U.S. without any policy that addresses climate change.

The synchronicity, a sad trickster, is that Pruitt announced this in Hazard, Kentucky.

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Jupiter Enters Scorpio

At 9:20 a.m. ET today, the planet Jupiter enters Scorpio and will be in that sign for the next 13 months.

In astrology, Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, represents good fortune, expansion, luck, serendipity, synchronicity, everything we humans equate with those moments when we dance around, shouting with joy, pumping our collective fists into the air. Jupiter rules the higher mind, law, the judicial system, higher education, philosophy, our spiritual beliefs, foreign countries, cultures, travel, and people. It represents good times, optimism, ideas that are larger than life. I think it also rules synchronicity.

Jupiter rules Sagittarius and co-rules Pisces, so its movements are particularly important for these two signs. But we all have Jupiter somewhere in our natal charts and you don’t want to miss out on what this transit may mean for you.

Every 12 years or so – 11.6 years to be exact – Jupiter returns to the place it occupied when you were born. It’s called a Jupiter return and that year in your life is generally a game changer. The last time Jupiter transited Scorpio began October 26, 2005 and lasted until November 24, 2006. This transit was particularly significant for anyone with a Scorpio sun, moon, rising, or natal Jupiter in Scorpio. Other water and earth signs – Cancer, Virgo, Capricorn, Taurus, Pisces – benefited from this transit. But even fire and air signs benefited in some way.

So before we go any farther with this post, think back to that period in your life. What was going on? What were you doing? What were you involved in? Were you happy? In the midst of big, positive changes? Was your life pivoting in some new direction?

An example. I have Scorpio rising at 00 degrees 49 minutes. Less than a month before Jupiter entered Scorpio back in 2005, my dad died shortly before his 92nd birthday. On October 16, 10 days before Jupiter entered Scorpio, we were hit by Hurricane Wilma, our beloved dusky conure, Kali, died in the aftermath of that storm, and we spent 10 days without electricity. In other words, the shit hit the fan. But after that, the ensuing months were great, with multiple publishing contracts, greater financial ease, and a lot of general happiness and satisfaction with life. By October 2006, Jupiter was at 19 degrees Scorpio and I officially entered my Jupiter return year. Doors crashed open, new opportunities poured in.

It’s as if Jupiter,  good guy that he is, speaks to us of  visceral level. The power of Jupiter returns was driven home for me during the election. I had looked at the birth charts and transits for Clinton, a Scorpio, and Trump, a Gemini. I noted that Trump was entering a Jupiter return year in early December 2016. I knew from experience that some of the effects of the return could be felt more than a month before the return actually started. My first thought was: OMG, he’s gonna win the election.

 But because I’m not a mundane astrologer – someone who studies how transits impact world events – I doubted the power of Trump’s Jupiter return. I doubted what I felt about it. On a radio show for The Biggest Book of Horoscopes Ever, the host asked if I would predict who would win.

I had studied up in the days before the show, reading various articles by mundane astrologers who predicted a Clinton win. What they said made sense and I, who found the possibility of a Trump win so repugnant, an idea so emotionally devastating, predicted a Clinton win in spite of Trump’s pending Jupiter return.

And my prediction was,  of course, wrong.

What I learned from this is to trust my intuition, to call it as I see it. Even though there were many astro interpretations of this election, I realized that sometimes the simplest things you see in a chart are what determine an outcome. But hey, guess what. Trump’s Jupiter return year officially ends today. He’s no longer Teflon, no longer protected. And my gut, the thing I didn’t trust last year, now says that trump’s undoing should come fairly quickly.

Then again, this is my fervently desired outcome and maybe I’m reading into things.

But, for you water and earth signs, expect new opportunities, doors that open suddenly, foreign trips and interactions with foreign-born individuals. You may go to college, grad school, workshops and seminars. You may teach, embark on a quest. For you air and fire signs, you may feel overwhelmed at times, but your goals are becoming clearer and the opportunities you encounter should be positive. You need to be ready, though, to seize the opportunity – and run with it.

Click here to see your own natal chart and find out where your natal Jupiter lies.

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Meet Nigel

At the end of August, before Hurricane Irma, I received a text message from a dog park friend asking if I’d like to look at a couple of Golden Retriever puppies. She said they’d been bought by a couple in Boca Raton, who realized they couldn’t care for the pups properly because they worked so many hours. So on a Sunday afternoon, I met Caren Griffin at the home of local woman who was trying to find homes for the dogs.

I was instantly taken by Nigel’s cool, calm demeanor in a household with three rowdy dogs. He climbed into my lap and if he’d been able to purr, he would have. His name then was Winston – didn’t fit him. Caren, who owns three dogs, was looking for a dog for her grandchildren and chose the other dog, now named Sunny.

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a puppy. Nika was our last pup. We got her in 2011, when she was just six weeks old. Nigel, as we eventually named him, was 10 weeks when we brought him home. At first, Noah didn’t seem to understand who he was or what he was doing here.

During Nigel’s first week or two with us, we were hit by Hurricane Irma. Rob and I were able to watch some of the hurricane on our back porch, with the dogs. In between train bands, Nigel bounded outside to do his business and collected avocados that had flown off our tree and into the pool and the area around it. The wind scared him, but the rain didn’t bother him.

When we lost power for 36 hours, Noah and Nigel were miserable together. The heat and humidity were extreme and they were constantly panting and looking for cooler spots in the house. Once we got the generator going, they laid in front of the freezer, hoping we’d open the door, or sprawled in front of the floor fan.

In the days since then, Nigel follows Noah around, doing whatever he does. There does seem to be a teaching by example here. When Noah chases the Frisbee, so does Nigel. When Noah pees, Nigel mimics. When Noah follows Rob outside while he’s mending our broken yard fence, Nigel trails after him.

Noah now plays with him, chasing him around the front yard, knocking him down, running his teeth through Nigel’s fur.Here’s Noah, tryingf to tech Nigel about SQUIRRELS.

He’s still not fully house trained, but hey, he’s getting there. Meanwhile, Caren’s grandkids are ecstatic about Sunny coming into their lives and we’re going to get the two bros together for a catch up.

During all of this, we were trying to find a home for a neighbor’s German Shepherd who, for the eight months of his life, had been chained to a tree in her backyard or to an even shorter leash in the garage. The day that Irma approached us, the shepherd escaped and came tearing into our yard, so ecstatic to be free that she ran around in circles, lapped haphazardly at the bowl of water we put out, at the food, and then ran around in more circles. She was so starved for attention and affection that I kind of lost my mind and marched next door and told the owner off. I regret that.

But this was an ongoing issue. Neighbors have called Animal Care and Control on this man, the Humane Society, and he continued to keep this shepherd chained to a tree in his backyard. We threw the dog treats over the fence, she knew our voices, so the day she escaped, she knew where to come.

I’m delighted to say she has now been adopted by a family with two kids and another dog, where she’ll have a yard and the freedom to roam and sniff and be a dog. This evening, Noah and Nigel went outside and up to the fence and barked at the shepherd to respond – and heard only silence.

Look at this face, Nigel damp after getting hosed off at the dog park:


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The Emotional Lives of Animals

There’s something so magnificent about these creatures and I think Megan’s painting captures that mystique in the animal’s eyes.

Years ago, I remember reading When Elephants Weep: the Emotional Lives of Animals.   Published in 1996, the book became a national bestseller and parts of it stick with me even today, more than two decades later. For instance, when an elephant is injured or sick and dying, the herd forms a circle around it, all of them facing outward, as if to say, We’re with you, we have your back.

Any pet owner will tell you about incidents when their dog or cat or bird does something that underscores the premise of this book: that animals feel the same way humans do. They mourn, feel happiness, disappointment, triumph, sadness, joy. They aren’t living separately from these emotions; they are immersed in their emotions. Feelings are a sea in which they swim, float, drown.

Some years ago when our Golden Retriever, Jessie, was on her last legs, our cat, Powder, curled up next to her and spent that night – Jessie’s last – next to her, cuddling with her, comforting her. And when we left the next day to have Jessie put down, Powder seemed to understand what had happened when we returned.

In the late 1980s, Rob and I led tours for writers to the Amazon between Leticia, Colombia, and Iquitos, Peru. On one of those trips, we pulled in at an Indian village and I traded several tubes of lipstick and insect repellent for this beautiful Amazonian owl tethered to a young man’s shoulder.

The owl spent the next two days perched on a wooden bar on the main deck of our boat, watching all of us, eating the tidbits of fish we fed him. I was fascinated with this owl, talked to him, and made sure that when we arrived at our destination he would be set free on the animal preserve that was part of where we were staying. I remember that one of the writes, a young guy from New York, laughed at my preoccupation with the owl, and told me I was anthropomorphizing.

“It’s just an owl, Trish. It doesn’t feel anything. No soul there. No comprehension of anything other than anticipation of its next meal.”

“Dude, you need to go live in Central Park. Or in the middle of this jungle.”

Elephants, owls, dogs, cats, birds, any creature great or small, possesses an emotional life. And people who tell you otherwise, who dismiss animals as incapable of anything other than their roles as cogs in a food chain, are to be avoided.

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Las Vegas


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Trump: the Ultimate Trickster

It’s October. The trumpster is officially entering his ninth month in office, and it has been eleven months since he was elected.  About the only thing he has done is launch twitter wars against people who oppose or criticize him. But in that twitter world, he has revealed a great deal about who he is and is not.

I recall that after he won the nomination, media pundits predicted he would become “more presidential.” He didn’t. His tweets eventually became his official  policy statements. Daily, his tweets ignite some new controversy that keeps the news cycle humming for 24 or 48 hours and you can bet that behind that camouflage, Trump is up to no good. He’s trying to divert our attention from Mueller’s Russia probe, the fact that his daughter and son-in-law used private servers for their official emails, the very thing his campaign condemned Clinton for doing during her job as secretary of state.

This past weekend, after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and left people in “apocalyptic” conditions, as one island official expressed it, Trump didn’t bother tweeting about the situation there. (Except like this.) Instead, he attacked the NFL

And then attacked the mayor of San Juan while he was enjoying a weekend at one of his golf resorts.

Seriously, dude?

With each tweet in this administration, each passing day, trump and his administration break so many laws, trample the constitution (since when can a president tell a private organization – the NFL – to fire employees/players?) and do their best to stifle free speech and a free press. In short, with every 3 a.m. tweet, trump creates a new distraction, a new whirlwind, a new international crisis (North Korea) and a new media extravaganza that distracts from the bottom line: he equates the presidency with dictatorship.

His republican cronies fall into line behind him, shrieking, Build a wall, repeal and replace Obamacare, there is no climate change. It’s so glaringly obvious that trump and his republican cronies don’t give a shit about people – only about donors, about the elusive base that got him elected (with help from the Russians), about the angry white men who feel the world is leaving them behind and stick with him in spite of everything.

Remember that kid’s story, The Emperor Has No Clothes? Remember how the wizard in The Wizard of Oz was revealed when the curtain was pulled away from him revealing the little man he actually was? Trump is that emperor, that pathetic wizard, the guy who refused to release his tax returns because we might find out he’s no zillionaire, that he’s in debt to the Russians, that his entire persona is a façade, a farce, a flat-out lie.

So here we are, long past the point where he should have been impeached, tossed out, relegated to the corridors of our darkest history. And our hope lies in Mueller, who I wish would hurry up and get on with it. Yeah, he’s undoubtedly building an airtight case. But will it conclude soon enough to save us from nuclear war with North Korea? From rising oceans and the disastrous effects of climate change? From the suffering of Americans whose health care is stripped away? Will it happen before more American citizens in Puerto Rico die from lack of the basics?

Some people refer to trump as our “karma” – for slavery, racism, war, the intervention in other countries where we installed dictators, then killed them off after we’d stripped their countries of their natural resources. But my sense is that trump is our wakeup call, the manifestation of our collective shadow as a nation, a people, a democracy. How do we hope to live in the future? Enslaved to a narcissistic egomaniac with unsettling parallels to Hitler and other dictators? Or do we live as a a nation where the rule of law matters and compassion for our fellow human beings overcomes divisiveness and hatred?

I think of trump as the ultimate trickster archetype, born in a dark pocket of the American psyche.


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Strange UFO


The above notes and sketch were made Aug. 31 by Wesley Meeks, a former police officer from Midland, Texas. Wes’s stories of UFO/alien encounters as well as out-of-body experiences is featured in chapter one of our latest book, BEYOND STRANGE: True Stories of Alien Encounters and Paranormal Mysteries.

Here is his full description of his latest sighting.

“I  just saw a strange craft of some sort. It was about 8:00 PM here, the son was down but it was still very light, no stars visible, but the moon and a couple of planets were visible. I had the baby (our granddaughter) out for a stroll. I looked into the western sky at about 60 degrees at what I thought was a planet. It was a silver or very bright white light but at first I thought it was a planet.

“As we walked I then noticed that the “planet” started moving to the east, and also climbing slightly. The sphere next seemed to grow in diameter, but it could have been that the object was moving closer to me, like an airplane that is at first a dot then gradually gets larger and the shape becomes visible. Then the object seemed to get even brighter, and that is when I saw the strange structure that was attached to the top of the sphere. I have never seen anything like this in any of the UFO books I have read.

“In #4 the object vanished, instantly. No noise, but if the object was really twenty or more miles away, of course there would not have been a noise. This was a very “Star Trek” style of vehicle. I searched the sky for several minutes but did not see the object again. This craft was moving in a very “normal” pattern and I would have conceded that it may have been a jet flying over Midland International Airport, except that it had the strange shape. But then it vanished. It did not race away or shoot up out of sight….it just vanished. This is a usual type of UFO sighting for me. What is NOT usual is the shape. Again, I have never seen this shape that I can recall. I am still excited about this!”

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Wes’s sighting and report in itself makes an interesting blog post, but there’s also a synchronicity involved. Note that Wes wrote that he had never seen anything like this in any of the UFO books he’s read. I (Rob) agreed that it was an unusual shape and couldn’t recall reading about any such UFOs, either.

At the time, I was reading a book called THE CLOSE ENCOUNTERS MAN, by Mark O’Connell. It’s a biography of Allen J. Hynek, the astronomer who became the government’s lead man on UFOs in the ’60s and a debunker, then later changed to a believer. It’s a fascinating story. Very detailed.

I opened the book the morning after responding to Wes’s e-mail and surprisingly, on the very first page from where I left off, I read a description of a UFO sighting in 1947 in Kentucky that sounds similar to what he had seen.

Here it is from pages 40-41:
“The military police at Fort Knox first described it as ‘a small white object in the Southwest sky. It appeared stationary. Could not determine if object radiated or reflected light. Through binocs it appeared partially as parachute with bright sun reflecting from top of the silk, however, there seemed to be some red light around the lower part of it.’

“Of the tower crew at Goodman Airfield, one witness thought it ‘resembled an ice cream cone topped with red,’ while another said “It would seem that it was at least several hundred feet in diameter.’

“The commanding officer, Colonel Guy Hix, reported, ‘It was very white and looked like an umbrella. I thought it was a celestial body but I can’t account for the fact that it didn’t move. I just don’t know what it was.'”


After all these decades, UFOs continue to appear in our skies and continue to amaze.

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