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Dime Stories: John Cusack’s Unlikely Year

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CusackChiRaqBy Tony Fitzpatrick

It is not every American actor who finds himself in a Moscow hotel room with Edward Snowden, Daniel Ellsberg and Arundhati Roy in a wide-ranging discussion about the nature of democracy, the ideas of personal freedoms and the devaluation of other cultures in the face of those lofty thematic structures. That Cusack and the author Roy fostered this conversation into being is doubly amazing seeing that Daniel Ellsberg was the Edward Snowden of his day—leaking the Pentagon Papers in the early seventies and laying bare our dark and dirty secrets regarding the Vietnam War as well as the surveillance of American citizens perpetrated by the Nixon White House. Sound familiar?

It was also Ellsberg who was accused of the most egregious acts of espionage when in fact his actions, in the historical rear-view mirror, were actually a transformative act of citizenship. The conversation is riveting—for once we get to hear Snowden in his own words explain why what he leaked was a necessary and moral act of civil disobedience. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of December 10, 2015

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “Happiness sneaks through a door you didn’t know that you left open,” said actor John Barrymore. I hope you’ve left open a lot of those doors, Aries. The more there are, the happier you will be. This is the week of all weeks when joy, pleasure and even zany bliss are likely to find their ways into your life from unexpected sources and unanticipated directions. If you’re lucky, you also have a few forgotten cracks and neglected gaps where fierce delights and crisp wonders can come wandering in. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of December 3, 2015

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “Charm is a way of getting the answer ‘yes’ without having asked any clear question,” wrote French author Albert Camus. I have rarely seen you better poised than you are now to embody and capitalize on this definition of “charm,” Aries. That’s good news, right? Well, mostly. But there are two caveats. First, wield your mojo as responsibly as you can. Infuse your bewitching allure with integrity. Second, be precise about what it is you want to achieve—even if you don’t come right out and tell everyone what it is. Resist the temptation to throw your charm around haphazardly. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of November 26, 2015

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange,” wrote novelist Carson McCullers. “As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.” I’m guessing that these days you’re feeling that kind of homesickness, Aries. The people and places that usually comfort you don’t have their customary power. The experiences you typically seek out to strengthen your stability just aren’t having that effect. The proper response, in my opinion, is to go in quest of exotic and experimental stimuli. In ways you may not yet be able to imagine, they can provide the grounding you need. They will steady your nerves and bolster your courage. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of November 19, 2015

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Urbandictionary.com defines the English word “balter” as follows: “to dance without particular skill or grace, but with extreme joy.” It’s related to the Danish term baltre, which means “to romp, tumble, roll, cavort.” I nominate this activity to be one of your ruling metaphors in the coming weeks. You have a mandate to explore the frontiers of amusement and bliss, but you have no mandate to be polite and polished as you do it. To generate optimal levels of righteous fun, your experiments may have to be more than a bit rowdy. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of November 12, 2015

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “I demand unconditional love and complete freedom,” wrote Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun. “That is why I am terrible.” In accordance with the astrological omens, I’m offering you the chance, at least temporarily, to join Šalamun in demanding unconditional love and complete freedom. But unlike him, you must satisfy one condition: Avoid being terrible. Can you do that? I think so, although you will have to summon unprecedented amounts of emotional intelligence and collaborative ingenuity. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of November 5, 2015

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In 1978, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield began selling their new ice cream out of a refurbished gas station in Burlington, Vermont. Thirty-seven years later, Ben & Jerry’s is among the world’s best-selling ice cream brands. Its success stems in part from its willingness to keep transforming the way it does business. “My mantra is ‘Change is a wonderful thing,'” says the current CEO. As evidence of the company’s intention to keep re-evaluating its approach, there’s a “Flavor Graveyard” on its website, where it lists flavors it has tried to sell but ultimately abandoned. “Wavy Gravy,” “Tennessee Mud” and “Turtle Soup” are among the departed. Now is a favorable time for you to engage in a purge of your own, Aries. What parts of your life don’t work any more? What personal changes would be wonderful things? Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of October 29, 2015

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): On a January morning in 1943, the town of Spearfish, South Dakota experienced very weird weather. At 7:30am the temperature was minus-four-degrees Fahrenheit. In the next two minutes, due to an unusual type of wind sweeping down over nearby Lookout Mountain, thermometers shot up forty-nine degrees. Over the next hour and a half, the air grew even warmer. But by 9:30am, the temperature had plummeted back to minus-four degrees. I’m wondering if your moods might swing with this much bounce in the coming weeks. As long as you keep in mind that no single feeling is likely to last very long, it doesn’t have to be a problem. You may even find a way to enjoy the breathtaking ebbs and flows. Halloween costume suggestion: roller-coaster rider, Jekyll and Hyde, warm clothes on one side of your body and shorts or bathing suit on the other. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of October 22, 2015

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): According to the online etymological dictionary, the verb “fascinate” entered the English language in the sixteenth century. It was derived from the Middle French fasciner and the Latin fascinatus, which  are translated as “bewitch, enchant, put under a spell.” In the nineteenth century, “fascinate” expanded in meaning to include “delight, attract, hold the attention of.” I suspect you will soon have experiences that could activate both senses of “fascinate.” My advice is to get the most out of your delightful attractions without slipping into bewitchment. Is that even possible? It will require you to exercise fine discernment, but yes, it is. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of October 15, 2015

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FREE WILL ASTROLOGY
By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Here’s actor Bill Murray’s advice about relationships: “If you have someone that you think is The One, don’t just say, ‘OK, let’s pick a date. Let’s get married.’ Take that person and travel around the world. Buy a plane ticket for the two of you to go to places that are hard to go to and hard to get out of. And if, when you come back, you’re still in love with that person, get married at the airport.” In the coming weeks, Aries, I suggest you make comparable moves to test and deepen your own closest alliances. See what it’s like to get more seriously and deliriously intimate. Read the rest of this entry »