Gemini, Sport and the Number 2… ChatterLog June 2013

Greetings everyone – and welcome to the June ChatterBulletin and the “dual” sign of Gemini!

Gemini, The Twins

Why dual when it is the 3rd sign of the zodiac? Well, look at the Symbol for starters and we have a pair, The Twins, and with the Glyph the duality is expressed by two Vertical Lines, along with two Horizontal Lines. Now, they say that things come in three’s, and they do, but with Gemini, they come in two’s, they just do. They say things twice, they have dual personalities, they eat two helpings of their food and if they’re smart, they will always buy two of everything because once the first one is gone or broken, they wish they had that second one! So what’s the theme for this month? I’m going with Sport and the Number 2.

So, speaking of pairs, there are some sports that require two people to compete against one another – tennis, Ping-Pong, pool, boxing, fencing, darts and badminton, for example. Why is this interesting, because the Ruler of Gemini is Mercury, and it was Mercury, or Hermes who gave us boxing, gymnastics, track & field, tennis, and the invention of weights & measures. And speaking of tennis, I would be remiss not to mention that while preparing the Gemini newsletter, I watched some of the French Open Tennis Finals, in which Rafael Nadalwon the Men’s trophy for an unprecedented 8th time – he is the first man ever (as in ever) to win the same Grand Slam tournament that many times! And, he did it after being out of the game for 7 months due to injuries. He is truly remarkable.

Now, not only is tennis a Gemini sport, but there are lots of Geminitennis players starting with the French Open champion, Rafael Nadal, born June 3, 1986 in Manacor, Spain. Fellow racquet-swingers are Novak DjokovicRichard Gasquet, Steffi Graf, Lindsay Davenport,Justine HeninKim Clijsters, Venus Williams, and Anna Kournikova. And, while we’re talking about Gemini and sport, a few Gemini athletes you may also be familiar with are golfer Phil Mickelson, quarterbacks Joe Montana & Joe Namath, basketball player Carmelo Anthony and Olympic speed skater Apollo Anton Ohno.

So here’s a two-player sport that I witnessed within two consecutive days in two different locations. On Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, 2013 I was traveling back from Massachusetts with my friend by bus, and I sat by the window so I could take some photographs. In one town, I looked out and saw a pair of young men playing Ping-Pong. Everyone was outside, walking around on this beautiful sunny day, some speeches were still in progress while many families had already attended the local parade and were now strolling the streets, and here were these two playing Ping-Pong on the front lawn!

Ping-Pong on the front lawn © Louisa J. Curtis

Now, the very next day, back in New York, I attended the PDN Annual Photo Party at the Tribeca Skyline Studios. During the presentations and speeches I was standing towards the back of the room on the left by the windows, and at one point when I glanced out I noticed on one of the roofs below, amongst all the beautiful rooftop gardens, none other than a Ping-Pong table! So I pulled out my iPhone and discreetly took a couple of shots. How bizarre, I thought, and what’s up with the Ping-Pong?

Ping-Pong on the roof © Louisa J. Curtis

Now, continuing on with the sporting and dual theme, let’s talk about the latest transportation trend in our city – the invasion of the blue bikes, and bikes have 2 wheels! I know you’ve seen them, they’re everywhere, and they’re part of a big new bike-share program called Citibike sponsored by Citibank [which is naturally why the bikes are blue] and the City of New York to encourage everyone to ride around the city on bicycles, that you rent. Now I do appreciate encouraging people to exercise, but of course it has to be about making money as well, we’re talking after all about Mercury, the Planet of “value exchange” and you know how our mayor loves to make a dollar! All I had to do was walk outside my front door and across the street and there was a whole row of them for me to take a picture of.

Preparing to Ride © Louisa J. Curtis

Here’s how it works, and this may sound simple, but there’s a couple (!) of things you should know upfront before you run up the credit card! You can use any of the bikes at any of the locations around the city, and you can choose between a 24-hour Pass for $9.95 + tax, a 7-day Access Pass for $25.00 + tax, or you can sign up for an Annual Membership for $95.00 + tax. But hold it right there, even if you decide on the Annual Membership, and you have unlimited trips, the website clearly states that on any single trip, after 45 minutes of riding, you will start to incur overtime fees! [Really? Are you kidding me?] So if you want to go for a long bike ride, you have to either keep stopping and switching bikes every 45 minutes, or pay the extra money!

24-hour and 7-day riders are also entitled to unlimited trips but for only 30 minutes in duration, after which they too will be charged overtime. [Ching Ching – is it just me, or are they going to make a killing with this one?] 24-hour and 7-day riders are provided with an access code they must punch onto the keypad each time they unlock a bike [so for goodness sake don’t forget it!] while annual members are mailed their own unique key that slots right into the dock to unlock any bike at any time. [Except you have to wait for that key to arrive in the mail for that first time!] Another interesting note while we’re talking about bikes is that Gemini is the sign associated with short-term travel, short trips, so if rented bicycles doesn’t fit into that characteristic, I don’t know what does! Gemini‘s color is not in fact blue, it is Yellow, so at least the NY taxicabs got it right!

Citibikes © Louisa J. Curtis – Don’t you just love the defiant non-Citibike bikes, especially the blue one, still parked nearby!

As summer approaches, so do all of the wonderful outdoor activities in the city, and for 2 weeks (did I say 2 weeks?) in June (from June 1 – 16), they have brought back the wonderful free Pianos as part of Sing for Hope – 88 Pianos and 5 Boroughs. Again, I only have to walk outside my building and we have one right there amongst the benches. So here is someone already at the keys, being filmed and not just photographed by me! And I love that we have the piano painted like a “jigsaw” puzzle. Who better to solve a jigsaw puzzle than the analytical mind of Mercury and the sign of Gemini? In music, Mercury and the sign of Gemini are also associated with “harmony” and “rhythm” – so again how fitting for the pianos to be around during the sign of Gemini.

Man at Piano © Louisa J. Curtis

Now in closing, here are two (!) more funny things I saw from the Peter Pan bus (yes, the bus line was Peter Pan, part of the Bonanza Bus Line and of course Gemini is the Peter Pan of the zodiac) so how perfect for my Gemini friend to be riding the Peter Pan bus back to the city on his 65th birthday! This first one made me laugh because it was so unexpected. We were parked at one of the stops outside a pick-up terminal, and there was a big tree on the sidewalk – I looked up and saw in among the leaves and branches none other than an electrical outlet, albeit a bit rusty, it was the end of a extension cord. Gemini is connected with the electricity in your body after all… so I took a quick snap and the bus rolled on.

Electric Tree © Louisa J. Curtis

One other sign that had me curious and yet highly amused at the same time was in Torrington, CT, in the car park, where the fine for littering was not only seriously hefty, but also simply a weird amount? Back to that “value exchange” again, I guess – even a small town has to make money too!

Fine for Littering in Torrington, CT © Louisa J. Curtis

One last ironic note: Gemini is the sign connected with your breathing, your sinus and your lungs. I have spent the last couple of weeks, and in particular the last few days completely sneezing my head off. And when I say sneezing, I mean sneezing! I’m not one of those quiet sneezers, I literally shake the ceiling! Now, I don’t always suffer from allergies, but as soon as we went in to the sign of Gemini this year, and I started writing  this newsletter, it got worse and worse! So I’m hoping it will start to subside soon…

And as usual, Happy Birthday to all you Gemini’s out there!