Answers for Your Meaningless Life

Astrology doesn't ask much of its believers. Just a frivolous reading of a horoscope in the morning and you've done your duty. No wonder you still hunger for a purpose in life.

You need a guiding philosophy. You need beliefs worth fighting for, worth dying for. I don't see astrologers drinking cyanide punch and hitching rides on comets. That takes guts.

If astrologers want respect, they need to cough up an end-of-the-world prediction and some bomb shelters. You have to invest in your future: How about a houseful of assault rifles? How about some UFOs and alien abductions? At least get some goofy robes and poison us for our own good. The future of civilization depends on it.

See you at the next head-shrinking. - The Skeptic


Am I Fired, or What?

At least the publisher of the Examiner had the decency to hand out pink slips. I arrived for work on Monday to find the offices of Zodiac-Smack locked, with a note tacked to the door: "Taking a break until April. Call back then."

I didn't have to. I found those fuzzy-brained stargazers right where I expected to: flat on their backs in the local bar. Guess you can see the planets through the ceiling. Now that's hard science.

It didn't take a galactic map to see the joy on their faces. Don't buy that muck about the website not making any money. Those whiz kids are rolling in it, and they're drinking all the profits while my checks repeatedly bounce (they blamed it on there being too many Scorpios in the accounting department and bought me a shot). "So am I fired, or what?" I asked. No, no, they assured me. Show up on April 1. So maybe I'm the chump.

I asked the publisher if I would have seen it coming, that is, if I followed astrology. Er, well, he didn't really have an answer. I asked what star movement had determined the website's return in April. Gosh, he hadn't considered that; he just felt tired and wanted to take a month off to travel and research astrology practices in Third World countries. Bravo!

Seeing as I can't get paid, here's some free advice. Don't come back in April. Don't ever come back. These hucksters are selling you snake oil. It's about time you bit back. See you at the next trepanation.

The Skeptic, c


Why no astrology holiday?

This month we honor Saint Valentine, and next month we honor Saint Patrick. Teachers, mothers, fathers, and secretaries get their day in the sun--hell, even the lowly groundhog. Why not astrologers?

Very simple. You have to serve a purpose to earn yourself a holiday. And you need a few influential friends.

Astrologers have had a few thousand years to convince us that they're worthy of anything above contempt, but have failed miserably. The Bible threw them into the fire (Isaiah 46.13-14), Dante cast them into Lower Hell, and the Chinese executed them. Not exactly a good track record. And, big surprise, there is no astrology in utopia, wrote Sir Thomas More.

But it's not a perfect world, and astrologers continue to dole out their hair-brained advice. After all that persecution, you almost have to feel sorry for them. Maybe this Valentine's Day, send your astrologer a box of chocolates.

See you at the next virgin sacrifice.

The Skeptic, c



Mercury hits Skeptic

Now that Mercury is finally out of retrograde, all you superstitious misfits can rejoice--and get on with your lives. But not me. Mercury hit retrograde and I lost my day job. How could that be? Astrology is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and disbelieving such bogus claims is your best defense. I refuse to knock on wood--I've seen too many wood-knockers cut down in the prime of their lives. I open an umbrella indoors every chance I get, and walk under every ladder I find. Never brought me any bad luck. Hell, the Grand Poobah of Zodiac-Smack owns a black cat, and it's crossed my path a hundred times or more. What gives?

Maybe if I'd believed Mercury's wobble was going to screw up my life, I would have been better prepared for hardship. But it's going to take a lot more than one goofy coincidence to convince me that stargazers who draw silly charts can predict the future any better than Nostradamus. You call this the wisdom of the ancients? The real wisdom came from Dante: He didn't assign astrologers to Upper Hell. He put them in Lower Hell with the rest of the frauds and hypocrites.

See you at the next virgin sacrifice.

The Skeptic, c



Go Ahead, Kill a Baby

The yahoos are at it again. One of the planets goes a bit wobbly and they say you'll forget how to speak. Whatever. Mercury looks like it's moving backwards because it's on the other side of the Sun. No mystery there. But if you want to believe this hampers your communications skills, talk like you have a swollen tongue, for all I care. It's a free country. You don't have to use your brain if you don't want to. But if you insist on believing in myths, why be half-assed about it?

Demand affirmative action for nymphs. Warn children not to talk to hundred-eyed giants--then eat them anyway. Sisyphus is still rolling his boulder on Capitol where's the next goat slaughter and baby sacrifice?

The Skeptic, c


Your source of truth when the planets lie

When the offices of Zodiac Smack first contacted me, I thought it was a ruse-why would these astrology quacks invite a nonbeliever to reveal the lie right under their noses? Did they really believe astrology could stand up to common sense? Yes, they said, and gave me free reign to satirize astrology's baseless claims.

So let's cut to the chase-Skeptics Corner is the only place on this website you will find an ounce of truth. In contrast to the typical fawning over frizzy-haired gurus, there will be no sacred cows in Skeptics Corner. Pseudo science deserves no mercy. This week, we flay the high beastess of quackery, Linda Goodman.

Linda Goodman's "Sun Signs" has become something of a bible to millions of astrology followers since its publication in 1968. I can think of nothing more fitting than that each chapter begins with a quote from a Lewis Carroll fairytale. But in case your rational mind still hasn't kicked in after almost 500 pages of speculative rubbish, Goodman proves her imbecility by trying to argue that astrology is a real science-after kicking off the afterward with a choice quote from Mother Goose. Hello? Anybody in there?

Just because the Moon's gravity triggers the oceans' tides, doesn't mean it predetermines personality. Hell, we landed on the thing. No psychology secrets hidden in those craters. But if you want to believe in fairytales, go ahead. Just be ready to swallow some heinous contradictions.

Goodman says our horoscopes "fit us like a fingerprint. We're moved like pawns on a chessboard in the game of life, even while some of us scoff at or ignore the very powers which are moving us. But anyone can rise above the afflictions of his nativity. By using free will or the power of the soul."

So which is it? Are we under our own power, or are we pawns? I guess that all depends on what you want to believe and when you need to believe it. Goodman is very accommodating in this way. She's the Burger King of astrology. You get to believe in superstitious hooey, and be personally empowered. If there's one thing I'll never accuse astrology of, it's of being inflexible.

And I'll never accuse Goodman of not providing some of the best arguments for ignoring her: "There's enough magnetic power in you to make you immune to the strongest planetary pulls."

Well, that's wonderful. So why does Goodman waste her breath exhaustively detailing avoidable problems? Why doesn't she tell us once and for all how to conquer the negative aspects of our astrological sign? Because the answer is simple: Don't believe it. If you don't believe the lies, you won't become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The stars don't determine your destiny, dummy. You determine your destiny.

Linda Goodman might have gotten a lot of people laid in the '70s, but let's face it: She was full of shit.

The Skeptic, c




More lies from a '60s crack pot

It's hard to live by astrology when your true ruler hasn't been found. That is, if you believe Linda Goodman. You see, according to Goodman, the true ruler of my sign, Virgo, is the "still unseen" planet Vulcan. Astronomers probably didn't take much notice, but in 1968 Goodman wrote that this planet's "discovery is said to be imminent." We're still waiting.

This discovery would supposedly change my character, but of course Goodman has no reasonable argument why it would. The only conceivable effect a planet can have is its gravity, or its position in the sky. But even if discovered, neither would not have changed. What gives? Taurus is also without a ruling planet in this half-baked scenario, awaiting the discovery of the planet Apollo. Reminds me that the Chinese used to execute astrologers who made bad predictions. Ah, the good old days.

Goodman's crack-pot ideas might have been more forgivable had she left them in the realm of astrology. But she glorified astrology as an aspiring hard science soon to be part of standard school curriculum alongside biology and physics. Sure, it was the '60s, and a couple quack doctors in Berkeley were checking planet alignments. But would you just lie still on the cutting table if your surgeon stopped to consult his daily horoscope for guidance on your triple bypass?

Astrology was also going to make travel safer. You see, according to Goodman, several insurance companies and airlines were secretly investigating the natal charts of people on fatal plane crashes. Now there's some solid airport security. Who needs metal detectors? "Have your bags been in your possession the whole time? What's your sign?"

Thankfully, the world has proved saner than many people supposed while tripping on acid at all-day rock festivals, and none of these hair-brained ideas have come to pass. But as the very existence of this website proves, too many people still refuse to give up the silly superstitions of primitive cultures.

The Skeptic, c






Why gaze at the stars when you can join them? Stick out your thumb--there's a comet coming.


Seeing stars, divining the future.

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