For the week starting: 1.10.2008

"Ha! Publius, Publius, what hast thou done?
See, see! thou hast shot off one of Taurus’ horns."
Titus in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus [IV.iii.69-70]

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capCapricorn: The sign read, "(Name of pawn shop) Guns. Tools. Jewelry." Makes for complete and balanced shopping experience. Better than "Beer, Bait & Ammo." Or maybe not. However, as signs go, that pawn shop seemed to cover just about everything that was important to Capricorn.

There’s a touch of material about work, the Tools. There’s a touch of the fun stuff, if possible violent overtones, with the Guns part. And for my money, nothing says reconciliation and contrition better Jewelry.

Now, that last one, could just be my take, but consider that the work and the play usually eats up a lot of free time, and that means it’s time to be contrite about some issue. I’m not saying that buying a diamond ring is always the best way to get out of trouble, but I’ve found, in my limited experience, that it does work miracles. Try the pawn shop.

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aquAquarius: At one point, there were close to a dozen of the "forensics" Crime Scene shows. When I was eating breakfast in San Antonio, I really saw a San Antonio Crime Scene Unit. The real item, not a make-believe TV cop.

I started thinking about a Crime Scene Unit: SA (San Antonio) plot. See, this dead body is getting cut open for an autopsy, and they find taco meat and from the breakdown of the spices used in the taco, they can tell which taco stand the guy last ate at. And from there, they catch the killer. The closing shot, though, it would have to be the investigator, eating at the taco stand. Or maybe the coroner, one of them, since the tacos in SA are good. It’s just a matter of finding the right taco stand.

So what I’ve done is given you perfectly acceptable plot outline for a pilot for a new TV series. You just have to flesh out the details. Plot, characters, stuff like that. But I’ve handed you a viable option — it’s up to you to take advantage of what’s been handed to you. So before you start complaining, consider that someone has just handed you a perfectly good option, one you can exploit.

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pisPisces: It’s one of those scenes I’ve never been able to resolve. It’s a cowboy hat on top of someone, a person of obvious non-horse material. I was passing through the airport at vacation time, and there was a guy wearing flip-flops, a t-shirt with the name and brand of a long-board company, jams, and a sharp, black-felt cowboy hat.

Just didn’t quite all fit together. Surfer attire and the hat? I’m not one for hewing to convention too tightly, but there are a couple of items that just don’t belong together, and the guy’s other attire, and the hat, it all just didn’t quite fit. Close, but not quite.

As if there was something slightly wrong. Having traveled a lot, and having traveled with a disparate items like fishing gear and formal attire, I understand how one can wind up with a hat and surfer shorts. It happens. But it doesn’t stop it from being any less odd. Just because you can understand a situation? That doesn’t stop it from being any less odd.

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ariAries: Given where the planets are? It’s all about how you look at the situation. In this example, it’s easy for me explain, I passed a place in my daily walk where there was a simple arrow, done in chalk, outlined on the pavement. It was really a lip on the curb, slanted, or canted, at an angle to provide wheelchair access. Convenient for bicycles and skateboards, too.

The arrow merely pointed up. I grabbed a portable (cheap) camera, and took a single shot of the chalk arrow. Then, passing it the next day, realizing that the arrow would be gone in a good rain, I took a half-dozen shots. The texture changed. In the first picture, the arrow pointed up, next image, left, then right, then down. All about perspective and how that image, then rotated with software, seemed to change its message, all depending the orientation. It all depends on how you see the image.

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tauTaurus: There’s an image I’ve got, opening shot usually in a movie. Could be a TV show, doesn’t much matter. It’s the team, the group, the whatever the coherent group is, walking along. Backlit, usually, and the team’s not in step, not exactly, but it’s only about three of four short steps, done in slow motion, maybe with gear over one shoulder, or a flight helmet in hand, casually dangling to one side.

Despite the slow motion, the short clip implies action. Adventure, action and adventure, motion.

Activity. As long the planets are thusly arrayed? It’s like that long opening shot. I’ve seen it in movie and on TV. Classic way to frame an image. You’ve got a classic way to frame an image, too. Action, adventure? Sure, that too.

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gemGemini: I walked into a Wal-Mart because it was close, cheap, and I just needed a few grocery items. And a pair of shorts. Not fancy or expensive shorts, just cheap shorts. While I was wandering the aisles, I found jeans on sale, marked down from a low price (less than $20) to an unbelievable low price ($9.50). That’s right, real Levi-brand jeans, less than ten bucks. How could I pass that up? That’s a really good deal. The retail giant’s mistake? My gain. Or savings, really.

What I was thinking. I got home, cut the tags off, and tossed the jeans in the laundry machine. What I usually do. Wash before I wear, I know, tad odd like that, but it works for me. Besides, sale item? Off the bottom of the pile? Never hurts to clean them. A day or two later, I got to looking at the receipt, and then I was mildly irritated with myself. I’d already tossed the price tag, and I’d already washed — and presumably worn — the new jeans.

On the receipt? The pice wasn’t discounted like the advertised price. This could be corporate malfeasance on the part of the retail giant. It could be a deliberate "bait & switch," or it could be my mistake. The difficulty with the solution, is there is no right solution. I can’t, not after wearing them, take the jeans back because they were over-priced. No sales tag. This isn’t a huge mistake, but it’s typical of Mars backwards in your sign. The problems didn’t start until I’d already gone past the point of no return, washing, wearing and throwing away the price markers. I’m going to save you the pain and frustration. Save everything, if only until next week. Better yet? Next month. Save everything until the end of February.

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canCancer: "You know, some times, cigarettes and sweets just don’t get it some days." What she said.

I was going to try and keep this short and sweet, since, there are some days, when cigarettes and sweets just don’t get your mind off the problems you’ve got. The bigger issue though, is what part of these problems did you create yourself? What part is something you could’ve addressed instead of seeking escape in items like cigarettes and sweets? Mind you, I’m not one who is going to lay any blame here, or any excuses, about sugar and tobacco as escape mechanisms, nope, those of us in glass trailers shouldn’t be pitching any heavy stones.

But sweets and cigarettes are, ultimately, not really very good for your physical health. The mental health value can be questioned. Personally, I wonder if the mental health attributes, the succor and relief don’t outweigh the other health problems. But that could very well be my own way of seeing and understanding. I’m not a medical doctor. I can’t even play one on TV. Until this issue gets corrected? Perhaps directly addressing the problem? That might be better of way dealing with instead of trying to hide from the problem. Except, if it were me? I’d just add caffeine to the cigarettes and sweets, see if that didn’t help me forget.

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leo Leo: In the past, I’ve spent a lot of time on short shuttle flights, especially when I’m merely commuting from one end of Texas to the other end. So I’ve seen it all. The other day, a young man was sitting in the lounge, then he boarded right before me and it was his backpack that intrigued me. There was the top half of a stuffed monkey protruding upwards. As the kid shouldered his pack, it brought a whole new meaning to "Monkey on your back." The kid wasn’t a Leo, but as I talked to him, I came to understand a fuller message.

It was just like fishing, you know, and that monkey in the backpack was bait. A conversation starter. An introduction. Better yet, as I found out later, that monkey trick was also a "chick magnet," not that it matters, but in this day and age? Whatever works? Then, too, there’s there’s the symbolism of advertising that there’s a monkey on your back, and being blunt and forward about the problem. As I’ve suggested, the kid I ripped this idea from? He’s not a Leo. But as a Leo, and a good one at that, can I recommend a similar kind of travel companion? Or advertising? Or just as a toy to have sticking out of the Leo briefcase, if only for a little while? There’s a hook here, and the point of the hook is to not get caught. Do so by advertising that you are caught?

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vir Virgo: There’s a place, in Bexar County, called Mudd Creek. I was hoping that someone was up to this challenge, use "bear" and "mud" in a scope. But that’s not what I was thinking about. We’ve had a cold snap, in the last week, so I’m less interested in traipsing around in some muddy creek bottom, looking for fish. I am interested in names, though, and I found that one enticing in a weird way.

Perhaps it’s the name, or the names, and the way they sound, especially together. Maybe it’s the location, close to a sporting goods store. Maybe it’s the taco place around the corner. Or the tamale house. Again, this is all wide open as to the original appeal. But the idea that you’re in a creek, maybe called Mudd Creek? Can’t say as I didn’t warn you about that.

See, the little Mars thing is doing his best to make you a little more uncomfortable. How you deal with that discomfort? Up to your Virgo self. I’d suggest spending less time worrying about the why, like me.

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lib Libra: The things I get to see. It was a classic low-rider. Only, it wasn’t a classic car for such modifications, it was a Jeep. Four by Four. I’m not current on model designations and frame numbers, but I do recognize a low-rider when I see it. Lots of hard work goes into a vehicle like that, it becomes, in essence, a rolling piece of art. Magnificent in its obsession.

What struck me as odd, though, was the choice of body and frame combination, like, starting with a Jeep. The four-wheeler of choice, usually, for the off-road set. Or the folks who want to look like they have that "outdoor" image. A real outdoor image to me is one that involves well-worn fishing poles, and I’ve found that can fit with just about any kind of vehicle.

So the low-rider jeep was an anomaly, weird, and yet, given where I live, it sort of fit in. Natural, but not. So that’s the image, the idea as the new year starts to roll along. Some things fit together, like a culture that celebrates both off-road, outdoor images and low-ride sensibilities. A little of both. Shoot for that tenuous middle ground — your Libra self could actually get there.

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sco Scorpio: It’s a brand name. Nope, really: Scorpion (Dirt Devil) Cordless. It’s a little vacuum cleaner. Handheld, the perfect size, rechargeable and has a very strong motor. Which is usually a very Scorpio quality. But the metaphor of something that sucks? Especially a mechanical device that sucks up dirt?

That’s such a perfect analogy for what’s transpiring in Scorpio. Like that Scorpio vacuum cleaner, you’re there, catching every tiny fiber, every speck of dust, all the minute pieces.

It’s a nasty little job, but at this moment in time and space? It’s a job that you’re particularly suited for.

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sagSagittarius: "No, see, it was this fancy place, right? And they brought over three bottles of wine, with the first course, which wasn’t really even an appetizer or anything, then they opened the first bottle, and I thought the service sucked so I started to pour some of that wine into a glass, and the guy rushes back,and he’s all, ‘no, that’s the dessert wine,’ it’s, like, got to breath. Yeah, whatever."

It was a friend of mine, and he was explaining what it was like in a fancy place. Not that all my acquaintances are low-brow, or of poor breeding, but the point has been raised. And the point with our Sagittarius selves, because we’re not really low-brow, when they bring over three bottles of wine, and just when we think the service sucks, take a moment to breath.

Like that bottle of wine. Like that guy who was telling the story. Just slow down for a moment. There’s an order and procedure in place. The steps have to be taken in a particular order. There’s a method at work here, and our underlying haste will get us nowhere. At least, I think that was the point of the story, that getting in hurry won’t make us appreciate the dessert wine any faster. That’s what the guy meant, right?

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About the author: Born and raised in a small town in East Texas, Kramer Wetzel spent years honing his craft in trailer park in South Austin. He hates writing about himself in third person. More at KramerWetzel.com.