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Published: Friday, 7/13/2012

COMMENTARY

Stars not always aligned

BY KIRK BAIRD
CULTURE SHOCK

Nelson Mandela. John Glenn. Hunter S. Thompson. Joe Torre. Vin Diesel. Me.

It's an admittedly strange collection of the famous (everyone else) and the not famous (me). And what do we all share in common? July 18 as a birth date.

Actually, I left out several other well-known names born on that day as well: actors Hume Cronyn and Red Skelton and actresses Elizabeth McGovern and Kristen Bell. Singer Martha Reeves. Angels outfielder Torii Hunter. Filmmaker Paul Verhoeven. Wealthy businessmen Steve Forbes and Sir Richard Branson.

As disparate as we may be, astrology says we are (or were, in some cases) in fact mostly identical -- at least, in our personality. Our moods, temperament, and general demeanor should be the same as Cancers and as July 18th-ers.

Yes, I know that our emotional chemistry isn't simply a reflection of celestial body alignment on that date, but more as snapshots of the year and moment of our birth. It also seems to me that such details as the alignment of planets, moons, the sun, and even asteroids that comprise our solar system are merely qualifiers for astrology believers, just as baseball enthusiasts might put an asterisk next to admitted steroids user Alex Rodriguez for much of his slugging achievements in major league baseball.

It counts, but not really, and only under certain conditions.

At the very least these objects in our sky say those of us born July 18 will possibly "discuss a business proposition this Wednesday" with an associate, "and it gives you the opportunity to hit on just the right approach to get exactly what you both want," according to dailyhoroscopes.com.

The actual wording by the astrology site was "may discuss," which is just vague enough to give them an out if it doesn't happen. Spoiler Alert! It won't.

To really gauge the accuracy of horoscopes, I opted to look back to last year's astrological prediction in The Blade.

"You quickly learn what you need to learn in order to make a situation work."

This, of course, is the kind of generic, innocuous statement that could be applied to anyone on any day.

"This may mean communicating differently with someone or adding new skills to your arsenal."

Or, it may not. For a life-planning guide, it's amazing how nonspecific this prediction was.

And finally, "Exceptional good fortune comes this month and in December."

This is easily the bravest prediction last year's horoscope made for all of us born on July 18. And for me, at least, it was exceptionally wrong.

Good fortune did not arrive in July, 2011. In fact, the end of the month brought some unexpected financial issues, through no fault of my own. December wasn't any better, since that month meant loading up on Christmas gifts for family and friends. Now, if the horoscope made the same prediction but substituted July and December for March, well, then I might be a believer. But just like demolishing a home or building, there are no second chances for predictions, and last year's horoscope was either too vague to consider or inaccurate.

So allow me to make a horoscope of my own for Wednesday's birthday.

"I will have a better-than-average day, surrounded by likable coworkers, good friends and neighbors, and my wonderful wife and cheery daughter. I will have a sumptuous lunch and dinner, and will enjoy either cake or ice cream. And I may cap the day with a game of Skyrim."

And it's not just my profound sense of optimism and previous birthday experiences that allow me to make this bold birthday prediction.

I also read it on a fortune cookie, so you know it must be true.

Contact Kirk Baird at kbaird@theblade.com or 419-724-6734.



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