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Regular readers of my blogs will know that I am fascinated by time travel.  I would like to believe it’s possible, but so far, no proof.

It has long been asked: If at some point in the future time travel is possible, why haven’t some travelers come back to THIS time to tell us?  Fear of creating a paradox?  Unable to go back, only forward?

I saw on the news that an Irish filmmaker, George Clarke,  says he thinks that he discovered footage from a 1928 Charlie Chaplin promotional film that shows a woman talking on a cell phone.  He – and others – have concluded that the woman is a time traveler from the future.

I’m not sure that the only explanation is that the woman at the promotion for  “The Circus” has a cell phone and is therefore from the future (maybe our “present”).

traveler 1

After seeing the video (see link bottom of this post) and watching the slow-motion replays, it’s unclear to me. Some people say she is using an early hearing aid – but she does seem to be talking, not just listening.

Who is she talking to?  Herself? Does she have a cell phone that can actually call the future? What 1928 cell tower is she using? Could a cell signal travel back to the future?  Is she calling another time traveler also in 1928 using some type of other technology? Why does she look right at the camera?  Is she a she?

It’s not the first report of a time traveler I  have found.

An earlier one was a still image. I’m less trusting of still images which are much easier to fake than video. (Especially video from 1928 that is pretty well documented.) But I found the image on a site that says the image was made available by the official website for Canada’s museums as part of an exhibit “Their Past Lives Here.”

The photo is labeled “Reopening of the South Fork Bridge after flood in Nov. 1940. 1941 (?)”

traveler 2

See that guy on the right? Those look like pretty modern sunglasses for 1940. What’s with his silk-screened “M” t-shirt? Is that some kind of compact camera he is holding? What was a  time traveler doing at a bridge reopening in 1940? Was he stupid enough not to wear 1940s clothing for his trip?

So many unanswered questions. I want to believe.

Seen any time travelers? Are YOU a time traveler? If so, please post a comment and let us know what’s coming.

Video by George Clarke showing the 1928 time traveler.

All my life I have been a Libra (Libran?). And now, I might be a Virgo.

An astronomer claims that a shift in the Earth’s alignment has changed zodiac dates and added a 13th Zodiac sign which is being called Ophiuchus. (watch a news clip)

I am not someone who reads my daily horoscope, or gives much attention to readings. But people who are fans of astrology are not happy with this suggested change. A girlfriend in college was very serious about all this. She did my sky chart for the hour that I was born. It was pretty close to me, for what that’s worth. She did tell me that those generalized horoscopes in the newspaper that cover a whole month and have no connection to the position of the stars and planets in the year you were born mean almost nothing.

The 12 signs we are familiar with were assigned almost 3,000 years ago by the Greeks. Since then, the position of the Earth in relation to the sun has changed, so your sign may have changed. For example, I was born on October 20 which was near the edge of Libra. With the shift I have moved into Virgo. This might explain some lousy things that have happened in my life when I expected Libra goodness. Or maybe not.

The New Dates:

Capricorn: Jan. 20 – Feb. 16
Aquarius: Feb. 16 – March 11
Pisces: March 11- April 18
Aries: April 18- May 13
Taurus: May 13- June 21
Gemini: June 21- July 20
Cancer: July 20- Aug. 10
Leo: Aug. 10- Sept. 16
Virgo: Sept. 16- Oct. 30
Libra: Oct. 30- Nov. 23
Scorpio: Nov. 23- Nov. 29
Ophiuchus: Nov. 29- Dec. 17
Sagittarius: Dec. 17- Jan. 20


Ophiuchus as depicted in Urania’s Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c. 1825

And who or what is Ophiuchus? It’s a constellation and it’s not new. It is a large constellation located around the celestial equator. Its name is from the Greek and means “serpent-bearer”, and it is commonly represented as a man grasping the snake that is represented by the constellation Serpens. Ophiuchus was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations.

Maybe what is news to non-astronomers is that since the Greeks first cataloged the constellations, the gravitational pull between the Earth and the Moon has caused a 23 degree shift in the Earth’s celestial position.

To an astrologer, we should look for signs and effects on human events caused by the motions of the planets and stars. Astronomers are the scientific observers of the motion and behavior of stars, planets and other celestial objects.  Similar names, similar interests but very different missions.

I haven’t done any deep research on this, but here’s two things I have concluded.

This new sign isn’t really new. It has been known since the first century. Even the astronomer who started all this talk – Parke Kunkle – has taken a step back and admitted that this isn’t really “new news.”

Some confusion comes from the fact that there two astrologies. The tropical zodiac (Western) is the one Americans would know and it follows the seasons. But the sidereal zodiac (Eastern) is based on the constellations and has different signs including a 13th.

All this jabber got me curious though. I discovered that I could get my daily horoscope on my Google homepage
They say that they use “real Astrology” and that my horoscope is calculated from my “unique personal birth chart” not just from your zodiac sign. My old college girlfriend would be pleased. Their analysis of the connections between the planets in your birth chart, and the planet’s positions every day are powered by

In my Libra mode, today will be like this:

You could find yourself on a creative roll today, but you’ll have to take a risk in order to get the most from it. It’s important to keep yourself motivated, for if you become lazy, you might miss a significant opportunity. Forget about the tried and true path to success. If you want to accomplish something extraordinary now, you must set your comfort aside, step out of the box and do something you’ve never done before.

But if I am really a Virgo, then today looks like this:

Your personal life has merged with your professional world, but you still may feel somewhat restrained today as you attempt to limit your energy to what’s going on between you and a co-worker or friend. Your life may seem like it’s full of static; everywhere you turn there’s more information coming in and your senses are temporarily overwhelmed by the noise. Step back from all the commotion; reclaiming your objectivity is a smart way to restore your vitality and tune up your resonance.

I’m more on the side with Cassius in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar when he says, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves…” Fate (in whatever incarnation you choose for it) is not what drives our lives, rather, it is our decisions and actions and the human condition in which we live.

Walking the Labyrinth

Recommended listening: Opening to Our Lives — Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Science of Mindfulness from Being

Scientist and author Jon Kabat-Zinn has changed medicine through his work on meditation and stress. This program explores what he has learned, through science and experience, about mindfulness as a way of life; about slowing down time, as he says, and “opening to our lives.” This is wisdom with immediate relevance to the ordinary and extreme stresses of our time — from economic peril, to parenting, to life in a digital age.

Krista Tippet writes:

“…I had read and heard of Jon Kabat-Zinn for years. But I hadn’t really grasped that he is first a scientist — a molecular biologist — and second one of the world’s leading experts on meditation. And it was when I listened to talks he’d given at Google and MIT that I really wanted to have this conversation with him. He is the real thing — a teacher — with a personal combination of erudition, warmth, wit, and wisdom. As we began to speak, he told me that the seeds were planted in his earliest life with his microbiologist father and painter mother to pursue the nature of the human condition in its fullest sense.

In more than three decades of work at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Jon Kabat-Zinn has contributed mightily to demystifying meditation — taking it out of a box that says it is only for Buddhists or special practitioners, then studying its effects clinically and bringing the fruits of his research into life-changing work with the ill and dying, with leaders, and with Olympic athletes. He has followed a conviction that began to grow in him after he began to meditate while a doctoral student at MIT in 1966: that if the deepest insights behind mindfulness meditation are true, they must be true for everyone, in every circumstance.

Krista Tippett, host of Being

Krista Tippett, host of Being

Listen to the Show:
» Find your local radio station
» Download an MP3
» Subscribe to the podcast

Books By Jon Kabat-Zinn include Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness and The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness. Mindfulness for Beginners is an audio introduction to study.


Brian looking very much like “The Dude”

“Well, I’m lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did.”

So, I posted online as my “status” this weekend that I had a Brian Wilson kind of day. Never got out of my robe. Ate junk food. Sang harmony with myself in my room.

It got a few Facebook “likes” which makes me think that people don’t know what that kind of day is all about.

Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys had a high note in 1966 when they released the Pet Sounds album. It’s the album that Paul McCartney said is his “favorite album of all time.” But Brian went into deepening seclusion in the late 60s and early 70s.

I love that album. It has some very happy songs. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” kicks right off on a high and keeps going. I never really liked “Sloop John B.” from that album but it was a hit and an up tempo tune.

But you can hear the sadness creeping into the album too. I most identified with “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times.”

They say I got brains

But they ain’t doing me no good

I wish they could

Each time things start to happen again

I think I got something good going for myself

But what goes wrong

Sometimes I feel very sad

Sometimes I feel very sad

Can’t find nothing I can put my heart and soul into

I remember reading some long Rolling Stone articles about his drug use, overeating and depression. The part that I really connected with was that he spent days, weeks, months in bed. He lived in his robe.

I know the feeling. When I had my worst days, weeks and months, it was when I didn’t want to get out of bed. Under the covers was one of the only places I felt safe.

Brian got connected with the controversial psychiatrist Eugene Landy around 1976. It seems like that may have screwed him up even worse, but eventually Brian got dressed, went outside and started producing records again. Landy moved his piano into a giant sandbox that was constructed in his living room to inspire him. He wrote “Surf’s Up” there. (see comment)

I was thinking about Brian this weekend and listening to some of his music. And when I searched online for a photo to use of Brian in his robe, I came across a number of related articles.  I also came across another blogger, Charlie, who also went through his Brian phase.

Turns out he also got some relief hearing the song “Brian Wilson” by the Bare Naked Ladies.

So I’m lying here, just staring at the ceiling tiles.

and I’m thinking about what to think about.

Just listening and relistening to Smiley Smile

and I’m wondering if this is some kind of creative drought

I never quite understood why, but I know that whenever I am depressed, I tend to listen to depressing music. Maybe it’s just that you can’t stomach “happy” music right then and just identify with the sadness. Maybe you want to go down deeper until there is nowhere left to go but up.

Well, I’m lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did.

That particular song isn’t a real downer. It’s hopeful in the end and pulls out of the dive, like Brian did –

And if you want to find me I’ll be out in the sandbox,

wondering where the hell all the love has gone.

Playing my guitar and building castles in the sun,

and singing “Fun, Fun, Fun.”

A song that always brings me down to the bottom of the well is Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today” from his eponymous album.
How sad is this verse –

Lonely, lonely

Tin can at my feet

Think I’ll kick it down the street

That’s the way to treat a friend

And yet that is how it feels then.

It’s late now. It’s night, but it’s really morning. I haven’t made it into bed yet, unless the couch and a blanket counts. In a few hours, I have to go to work.

Or maybe I’ll be out in the sandbox. In my robe. Just like Brian Wilson.

Brian Wilson, Official Site

Far from the scientific side of the Moon, eclipses and solstices is the lore and legend of  our favorite satellite. It’s the stuff that was once passed on to children and published in places like The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

As Native American and colonists monitored their gardens and nature, we inherited a similar mix of gardening lore, that oftentimes crosses paths with the phases of the Moon and the passing of the seasons which were recorded in gardening calendars.

Here is some of that side of the lunar lore which I will try to post throughout the year.

Image: NASA

Whatever the weather is like the first twelve days of January indicates what the weather will be like for the next 12 solar months. Each day equals one month in succession.

To wish on the Moon in order to see a specific person soon, say, while looking at the Moon:
” I see the Moon, The Moon sees me. The Moon sees (name of the person) who I want to see.”

To get rid of warts, take a slice of apple and while looking at the New Moon, rub the flesh of the apple against the wart and say: “What I see is growing, What I rub is going.”  Bury the piece of apple. As it rots, the wart will disappear.

In prophesying marriage, on must look at the first Moon of the new year through a silk handkerchief. The number of Moons showing through it represents the number of months (Moons) of single life.

The Danes believed in a type of elves they called the Moon Folk. These were perfect in appearance when seen from the front, but were hollow when seen from the back. It was said that the Moon Folk caused sickness by blowing on humans.

In Italy they say that if the Moon changes on a Sunday, there will be a flood before the month is out.

By way of the Being blog, I discovered the guided practice of bell sound meditation as taught by Arthur Zajonc.

They suggested this practice as a weekend contemplative meditation that can be as brief as ten minutes. It’s an odd thing to ask you to do – focus using the sound of a bell.

They asked readers to reflect on the experience by asking:

  1. How did the sound of the bell help you focus your attention?
  2. Did you find that paying close attention allowed you to “let go” and be openly aware?
  3. How did/didn’t the voice of a guide help you in this exercise?

At the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society site, there are other guided meditations and Zajonc’s five-minute introduction to the bell sound meditation and the full 10 minute walk-through of the practice, bell sounds and all. I tried it, but I found his “teaching” a distraction. Good for an intro, but then I would want just the sound of the bell.

I first heard of Zajonc through his book The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal which connects with my own teaching life and is a call to advance integrative teaching and learning.

I had encountered the use of temple bells before in reading Thich Nhat Hanh. It is another way to allow your self to simply be aware of the gentle physical sensation of your breath moving in and out of your body. Will this allow you to experience “the infinite timelessness of now?”  Don’t expect any revelations in your first thousand attempts.

Today is the Full Wolf Moon, so named by Native Americans because it was the time of year when the wolf packs howled hungrily outside villages.

Other names have been attached to this moon by tribes including the Old Moon, the Cherokee Cold Moon, the Cooking Moon of the Choctaw, the Terrible Moon of the Dakotah Sioux and the Full Snow Moon (though that seems to have been applied more often to the next Full Moon).

It should be noted that the Full Moon names used by Native Americans were a way to record the seasons and the names applied to the entire “month” that began with the full moon.

Also, variation in the names for the moons is often geographic and based on the flora and fauna of their climate.

The European settlers created names of their own for the full moons such as Moon After the Yule and Winter Moon.

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