For the week starting: 8.12.2010

“Crack the lawyer’s voice,
That he may never more false title plead.”
Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens [IV.iii.155]

Uranus slips back into Pisces. Discussing the implications on a global scale, at least one astrologer-buddy, nameless, predicted the end of the world. “I’d be like the Hermit, on the major arcana in the tarot deck, with a lantern, seeking a path.” I’m thinking he’d look like a homeless guy with a sandwich board, “The End is Near!” Leo: For years, I’ve referred to you as “The Leo.” It’s your birthday time, and once again, I’m referring to you as “The Leo.” In front of any of the other signs, the lesser eleven? There’s a single letter, the letter A. Well, except with Aries and Aquarius, then there’s the two letters, “An.”

But for Leo?

The Leo. It’s the smallest of changes, the slightest of tweaks and makes the smallest, tiniest amount of difference in the grand scheme of life. However, as a small, tiny adjustment? Makes all the difference. I’m making sure that the title is there, the correct article. “A” and “an” are indefinite articles. “The” is a definite article.

With all the loose ends crashing down on other signs? How much are you going to get into it? How much are you going to let the smallest of changes, the slightest of infractions, the tiniest mistake? How much are you going to let that get to you?

Me? I know what’s important. Look at how I sign you. The Leo. Virgo: With July 4th behind us? Next big festival here? Maybe in a couple of months. At least one retail giant is already rolling out “back to school” crap, and if I were school-age (in years, not mind set), I’d protest that. I’d refuse to buy.

Not what this is about though. I was looking over the notes from the last festival, outdoor, “mystery meat on a stick,” and rides that make me puke up that festival food?

There was a local delicacy called “Mexican Cucumbers.” It was cool cuke slices in a little plastic drink cup, and the slices were sprinkled with cayenne, chili powder and lemon pepper. The cool cucumber, fresh and the crunch, almost watery and succulent? The piquant spice as a poignant pointer? Refreshing and spicy, sort of the best of both worlds? Good stuff. Besides that, it was the absolute cheapest of the festival foods. Might’ve been healthy, too. Healthy, tasty, zesty, and, most important, cheap. Just what the Virgo ordered. Libra: Disc brakes, originally, were solid platters of iron. Calipers then pneumatically operated on the brake platters. Over time, engineers discovered that drilling holes in the discs would reduce weight, help cool the disc faster, and improve the performance on more than one area. It’s an example of less being more.

“Less is more,” is the watch phrase for the moment. It’s not about lots of stuff, it’s about small, but significant, reduction. My interest was strictly from the perspective of unsprung weight on a motorcycle.

The holes reduced the amount of weight that the suspension had to deal with. It’s a simple engineering move. There was one buddy, back n the day, and he went a little crazy with drilling holes in a disc, and there the resultant “swiss cheese” effect? When that brake rotor was installed? It shattered under the first heavy application of stopping power. More like the third or fourth, but still, it shattered in a relatively quick fashion.

As might be expected, there’s a good story, a funny tale about having only the steering brake to work with, the back brake, and a harrowing close call, and never let the facts interfere with the tale? That’s not what this is about. Subtraction is a form of addition. Just don’t take away too much. Like my buddy. Scorpio: “Beer Bait Ammo Softball.” I was unsure, as I didn’t want to stare at the guy’s chest which was mighty broad as it was a double X L t-shirt, stretched taught against his skin. So I wasn’t quite sure where the punctuation should be.

There was a symbolic “mud flap” girl and an equally symbolic crossed baseball bats. Softball, in all truth, but I wasn’t sure, and I was just a tad too timid to ask. Early on Saturday morning, and I was going someplace for work, and he was headed out, I’ll guess, for beer and softball.

I can’t figure out how to work the bait or ammo in a softball game. I might, also, demonstrate a relative lack of knowledge about the sport. Maybe beer softball does involve bait and ammo. It could happen.

I spent a good portion of my afternoon, trying to figure out how to work all of those elements into a coherent pattern that made sense to me. Beer and softball? Sure. Beer bait and ammo? Sure, like the song of the same title.

But beer, bait, ammo and softball? With a mud flap girl, too? Couldn’t tie them all together, not all at once. Which might be my failing as a Scorpio. And, I’m sure at least one Scorpio will set me straight and explain how all of that can be tied together. I’m at loss, myself. Which is what this is all about. Two or three items in list of four or five? Couple of them can be connected. Connect them all? Can’t be done, and as a good Scorpio? Save yourself the trouble. Sagittarius: I rolled over, I mean, I’m usually not the kind of guy who thrashes around in his sleep, but I rolled over and took a sticky summer sheet with me. Then I rolled again, and I got thoroughly tangled in the sheets. Wrapped up like a cocoon. As a Sagittarius, the idea of confinement — restrictions — is abhorrent. I’ve been known to refuse succor just because the concomitant restrictions were too much. The very thought of being restrained in some manner is repulsive. Instead of fighting against this? The quickest way out? Just unroll.

Roll back in the opposite direction and let the sheets untangle themselves. Think I would do that? Think you can do that? This week? Stuck, wrapped up in sticky summer sheet? The ceiling fan was gently blowing warm air, but the sweat, that, “I’m Sagittarius and trapped” sweat? Started to cool off. Stuck. Tucked in a cocoon of my own making. Easiest way out? Stop thrashing. The more I struggled, the worse it got. Stop struggling. Stop thrashing around, unless, of course, you’re into that kind of thing. I’m not. Stop thrashing and wait. The sheets cool off, the sweat dries, and I can unravel myself, with ease. Unroll. Capricorn: I am, by no means, an expert on gradations and variation with the ubiquitous salsa that makes up an integral portion of local cuisine. However, I was in one place, when the switch was made, from “day” salsa to “night” salsa.

The day variation was typical fresh pico de gallo from the blender, fresh tomato, cilantro, peppers, onions, lime juice. The typical fare. The waiter (Capricorn, why I thought of this) brought out the night variation. It was the smoking, darker red in color, with the roasted pepper flavor, although, I’m pretty sure, the ingredients were about the same except for the chipotle pepper switch.

Slightly more tang but not a lot more kick, and its flavor depended on the smokey essence of the different kind of peppers used. Daytime and nighttime versions. Some kind of a difference there. Until, I’ve been there many times in the last few years, but until I was there at the magic sunset hour? I never knew the difference.

Day Capricorn and Night Capricorn. Don’t get them confused. Aquarius: Think about five places you’ve lived. I’ll give you an example. I’ve lived in Albuquerque, NM, Tempe, AZ, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio, TX. I’ve lived all over the American Southwest. Desert, mountains, lush sub-tropical paradise. Can’t say I’ve lived on the coast, but I’ve been there a lot. The last three places, that leaves a distinct line, an image, a direction in mind.

Which is what this is about.

Picking directions that make sense. Or make sense of directions. Look at the list of Aquarius places you’ve lived. The last three on my list? Dallas, Austin, San Antonio? Look at them on a map. All along the interstate, I-35, that concrete ribbon — runs from Oklahoma and points north on down to Laredo. The course, though, that I was plotting? I’m headed to the coast. The Texas Gulf Coast. Logical procession from mountains to desert to that corridor, headed south.

Look at your own list of five places you’ve lived. Might not be a clear line like me, but there is a progression. The last three stops on my list? Makes it very clear. I’m sure, for you, there’s a clear line. Just have to figure it out. Start by looking at the last five places you’ve lived. Pisces: I like to catalog the strange, the absurd, the irrational. I tend to gather up little inconsistencies and idiosyncrasies as examples. Found one, the other morning, having breakfast at a vegetarian place close to me. “Migas” are a fine example of true TexMex fusion cuisine.

Originally, I’m sure, the dish was kitchen and table scraps, scrambled with eggs. Not exactly the healthiest of meals, peppers, eggs, cheese and the actual ingredients vary from location to location, but the principal parts include fried eggs and corn chips.

So this one place? The side dish was a very healthy bowl of steel-cut oats oatmeal. Tasty, toasty, healthy. Doesn’t match up with cholesterol-laden fried eggs and cheese, scrambled with fried tortilla chips. Something didn’t add up. It was like the oatmeal, fresh and organic, steel-cut oats, the really good stuff? That would offset the bad cholesterol in the eggs, grease, and fried corn chips.

Doesn’t make it wash, but it did make some of the patrons, and, for example, my dining companion? For them, it was okay. No problem. One counteracts the other. One Pisces I know? She’ll go, “Sure. I can see that.” The rest of the Pisces? Think? Does it change everything by pairing (delicious) unhealthy food with healthy food. Do the benefits outweigh the detriments? Aries: Fresh perspective is important. No more so than now. You can really use a little outside, unbiased, opinions on that issue. What issue? Imagine, it’s like me, dressed in my usual, casual attire. Summer time in Texas, shorts are the rule. Maybe a nice shirt, maybe a tank top, maybe a tattered t-shirt. Something. Not much of anything, though.

However, let’s say I have an appointment with a potential client. Big money situation. Should I be allowed to dress myself? As an Aries, I hope you’re getting the image. It’s not matter of whether you have good tastes, we all know I don’t have the best tastes. But I’m comfortable with my lack of good taste. I don’t have a problem asking if the outfit is good, or looks good. However, I’m not an Aries, and what I’m suggesting is that you ask for assistance.

Just another set of eyes on the problem. Issue. Whatever it is. Just get a second, outside opinion. With Mars and Venus, in cahoots across the wheel from your sign? Doesn’t hurt to get a second, unbiased, opinion.

Taurus Taurus: I’m too young to recall the real Roy Rogers except in myth and snippets on the computer. I never watched him on the old black and white (cathode) TV screens. Those things were oval, so I’ve been led to believe.

I’m not of an age where Roy Rogers was anything of serious value. I do know that I’ve seen, in thrift shops, at Goodwill, and even on eBay, Roy Rogers material that is now worth quite a bit. So it would seem. From trash to treasures. What makes the difference? I’m not sure. I have one buddy, older than me, and he was waxing eloquent about a childhood memory.

Do the math on that one, he’s older than me, so he can remember a Roy Rogers bedroom set, of which, he found a passing example for sale, some where on the inter-web. In 2010 dollars, it was high. And compared to whenever it was really made? If it was truly an original? I have to wonder about the value and comparison, but more important? Trying to relive something from the past, is it worth the effort?

Some fads, some phases in our lives, in the Taurus life, stuff that’s in the past? Might want to leave it there. Especially now. You can always find a facsimile on the inter-tubes, someplace. Is that really what it was like, then? Gemini: I rode down to the coast for a day’s worth of fishing. First thing in the morning? Quiet. Solitude. A little good-natured ribbing about the minimalist food choices on the road to the coast, in the summer’s pre-dawn twilight. We hit it before 5 AM. Normal grumbling. However, as the day wore on, boat, fishing, see the images on the website someplace, and while in the midst of fishing, stalking the redfish in the shallows, there was a different attitude.

No talking. No noise. Quiet.

The silence is important. The vibrations of human voice can, in theory be transmitted to the water. Not sure how that works, but there it is. So silence was understood, even necessary. The silence was observed. Don’t interrupt me, I’m fishing.

Unwritten rule in certain situations. Compare that to the boat ride back and all the fun and games. The ribald jokes, the manly comments and the suggestive banter? Time and place.

Gemini: there’s a time when a little silence should be observed. As the moon fills out? As the Sun courses through Leo while Mars, Venus and Saturn bounce through Libra? Think about us fishing, a time to talk and joke, and time to be quiet.

Probably a good week to be quiet. Like the fishing. A time when even the vibration of your lovely Gemini voice might scare away a good meal ticket. Cancer: I’m always curious, where does doctors’ offices’ artwork come from? Is it bad art from a specific source? Some place where real artists send rejects? Or a framing school where prints from masters are butchered?

One office, sort of a low-brow, old time kind of doctor, he has old travel posters, badly framed. Didn’t spend much of his resources on office decor. Wall art, awful stuff.

Where do they come up with this material I suppose, just a guess, but I’d suggest that the artwork is chosen for its none-intrusive qualities. Supposedly healing colors. Non-confrontational art? Just a guess. In some cases, I wonder if the blank walls would be better.

The blank walls, sometimes, rather than bad art, and the taste in artwork? Might be highly subjective, and me? I’m hardly an objective critic. I found those travel posters oddly comforting, the first time, or two. After that? Boring. Maybe a large, digital display would be better, with a rotating source of artwork? Or better yet? How about not going to the doctor more than once a year for an annual check-up? Less time looking at stupid artwork.

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

  • Sarah Smith Aug 12, 2010 @ 10:17

    Absolutely, Kramer. Sagittarius portion of ‘scopes makes perfect sense. You know that feeling as you’re reading, where you say, “Yes, positively, I get it?” Thanks. Got it. Unroll, not unravel.