Bill Kirby

Online news editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

Debate over zodiac's accuracy is one more sign of times

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Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy: the mad daughter of a wise mother.

-- Voltaire

When I speak to groups, I'm often asked to describe the benefits for working for a newspaper. Usually I say it's getting to read the comics in advance, but we also used to be able to read the horoscopes ahead of time, too.

The Chronicle hasn't run horoscopes for years. I think they just cost too much, and usually they were so general as to be open to confirmation on whatever happened.

And now it turns out, they might not have even been close to be the real horoscopes.

Earlier this year, a Minneapolis astronomy professor gained maybe 15 hours of fame when he announced that the signs of the zodiac were wrongly calculated.

Parke Kunkle said in a newspaper interview that the "wobble" of the Earth meant our planet was no longer aligned the way it had been when the zodiac was first conceived.

As an example, he said, when astrologers say the sun is in Pisces, it's really in Aquarius. The difference, according to Kunkle, is something astronomers have known for centuries.

Shelly Ackerman, an astrologer and spokeswoman for the American Federation of Astrologers, said she has been swamped with calls and e-mails from worried clients. She told the Associated Press she advises them that this doesn't change anything about their star charts.

I think most of us agree with her about that.

That brings up another thing I tell groups when I speak to them. Many years ago while working for a newspaper far away, we had a week when the horoscope syndicate didn't mail us the week's predictions on time.

As a solution, someone just went back a year and reran the horoscopes for the year before.

I don't think anyone got into trouble.

DIAMOND NOTES: I wrote Friday about waiting for baseball season, and many of you agree.

Lawson Brown wrote: "Augusta State has been playing baseball since the first part of February. Most home games are played at Lake Olmstead Stadium. Sadly only a handful of fans show up for these home games and often the other team seems to have more backers than ASU. These games are great entertainment and a great bargain (5 bucks). Please get the word out to Augusta that they are missing some pretty good baseball."

DOG NAPS: Tom Parker , now of Garland, Texas, liked my idea of dog traveling companions.

He wrote: "My Dad, Lew Parker ... was an avid quail hunter and would allow Lady to sit on the passenger seat of the car to and from hunting trips. Lady, after a long day of running, sniffing, pointing quail and then fetching dead birds would doze off with head bowed down in slumber on the front seat just as a human."

TODAY'S JOKE: From an "anonymous" reader:

After being married 44 years, a man took a careful look at his wife one day and said, "Forty-four years ago, we had a cheap apartment, a cheap car, slept on a sofa bed and watched a 10-inch black-and-white TV, but I went to bed every night with a good-looking 25-year-old girl.

"Now I have a $400,000 home, a $45,000 car, a nice king-size bed and a plasma screen TV, but I'm sleeping with a 69-year-old woman. It seems to me, you're not holding up your side of things."

His wife smiled, and told him then to go out and find a good-looking 25-year-old girl.

"When you do," she said, "I'll make sure you can once again live in a cheap apartment, drive a cheap car, sleep on a sofa-bed and watch a 10-inch black-and-white TV."

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