For the Week starting: 10.13.2005

“Why this is lunatic! This is mad as a mad dog!”
Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor [IV.ii.115] Aries: Note to self: “Oil the fishing reel.” I’ve got dozens of fishing reels. But I’ve got this one, it was a rather expensive, titanium-bodied, 17 gear and 12 ball-bearings, or something like that. Plus it had 7 layers of finish coat and lord only knows what all else goes with this super-high-tech fishing reel. So I had a note to myself to use some of the light, clear machine oil that came in the original packaging, to oil up the reel. The problem is moving parts, and even though the ball-bearings are supposedly sealed and guaranteed for life, it never hurts to add some lubricant. Just the way it works. Same problem in Aries land: moving parts. The problem isn’t the moving parts themselves, it the place where the parts contact each other. Just needs a little bit of “Mars-branded, Aries-style” lube. Something to make sure that that contact between moving parts, like on my super high-tech fishing reel, got to make sure there’s a layer of slippery substance between the parts that make contact, just to help ease through these next few days.

Taurus: Look: I was going to give you a nice, long-winded explanation about this Mars stuff that’s hitting Taurus these days. But I’ve got to dash out and meet a client for a personal reading. Such is the vagaries of being a consulting astrologer who really does readings in person. So my fancy metaphor, my idea, my long-winded, carefully handcrafted message? Ain’t got time for it. Know what? That’s the same for my darling Taurus friends. Keep it short and to the point. Along with Mars being backwards in your sign, there’s a problem with being only so many minutes in an hour and only so many hours in day, and then, only so many days in a week. Not quite enough time — or Taurus — to go around.

Gemini: It’s one of my favorite pictures, from the Gulf Coast: “No fishing from bridge.” This picture is usually accentuated by either a name, like “Fish Pass,” or better yet, a picture of a couple of fisherman, obviously not paying heed to what the sign says. I realize that it can be construed as some kind of fishing activism, or creative civil disobedience, but I’m not sure that your Gemini self wants to be caught in such a picture. With technology and the police state such as it is? Not that I’m paranoid or worried about a conspiracy theory, or anything like that, but given where the planets are, relative to Gemini? You know that “no fishing from bridge” sign? It’s there for a reason. And while that makes a great picture, your Gemini self with a fishing pole in hand, right beside the sign, obviously flaunting the local ordinance? I’m not so sure that it’s really a pose you want, not right now. Someone would see that picture, and then you would get a kindly note in the mail, identifying you, the bridge, the time, the date, and a little reminder that the city, county or parish was fining you for breaking their rules. I can save you the trouble and the fine. Don’t break the rules. Even if the rules are stupid, like no fishing from the bridge.

Cancer: I took a sip of my morning coffee, swirled the dark roast coffee around in my mouth, letting the slightly oily concoction roll off my tongue and I located, in my mouth, a stray coffee ground. My preferred method of making coffee is less than perfect. If the coffee is ground up too fine, I wind up with a sedimentary layer of grounds in the bottom of the espresso cup. If the coffee is too coarse, it’s just not quite as flavorful. Or as potent. It’s a subtle distinction, and before I’ve had any coffee, trying to gauge the correct grind for the beans is a tough call. Balance. Or lack thereof. Lots of stuff is floating around in the cosmos, a lot of material is making the life in the land of the Cancer a little less than wonderful. Uncomfortable. But like that one stray coffee ground in my mouth? I just worked it around to the tip of my tongue, and spit it out. Pretty simple. I could get all worked up, in dither, or a tizzy, or even have a hissy fit over coffee grounds in my coffee. Or, I could just take an immediate action and rid myself of the offending grain of coffee. Which route is more expedient for Cancer? Spit it out.

Leo: “Life is a freak show, Kramer, and you’re the ringmaster.” It was snide comment by one of my buddies, a neighbor in Shady Acres. Not a Leo. I only have room for one Leo, that one, special Leo. Anyway, I was thinking about the “life is a freak show” comment, and I was looking at your chart. Mars, in Taurus (backwards, no less), makes for a tension angle in your Mars department. Neptune, in Aquarius, opposite you, makes for some illusive tension in the Neptune department. Mercury, in Scorpio, yet another fixed sign, makes for some Scorpio trademark “hidden” problems in the Leo Mercury department. Again, a little tension. Now, the other stuff in the great circle? That’s much better, but the immediate material, what’s at hand for an overview? Tension. Not all bad, but not great by any stretch of the imagination. A lesser sign, lesser than Leo, would quake under such pressure. I’m pretty sure you’re not going to crack, but there will be some tension in your world. I’ve used this advice before, but I believe that it bears repeating, “When life gives you lemons, get a bottle of Tequila.” That won’t solve all the problems, but it will make some of the tension, some of those stress lines? Makes them harder to see. And if the stress is harder to see? Then it’s less of a problem.

Virgo: I was digging around in the closet of the trailer, desperately seeking something clean to wear. It’d been a while since I’d done laundry, and I was tired of sniffing old clothes to see what was clean. I’d been through several pairs of fishing shorts, and I just knew, in my heart, and in my head, that I had some more clean clothes in there. I just couldn’t find them. I looked in the drawers for my drawers, but no shorts. I wasn’t about to wear long pants, but I was getting a little desperate. Not quite desperate enough to do laundry, but I was getting close to that kind of action. In the past, when I find a type of attire that suits me, I usually purchase in quantity. Two or three, just to make sure I’ve always got a clean pair on hand. I knew that I had more clothes that were clean, but somehow, the desired attire wasn’t where it was supposed to be. After two thorough searches through the messy drawers with no success, I finally did something different. I looked elsewhere. There was a clean pair of shorts, all laid out, been laying there so long, it looked like the sorts were pressed. But the shorts weren’t where they were supposed to be, and I’d missed them, several times. I’d been wearing the same pair for days, weeks even, because I wouldn’t open my own eyes. In the Virgo world, like my closet, there’s something that you’re missing. It’s right in front of you, only it’s off to the left, instead of being on the right hand side, where it’s supposed to be. If it’s not where you think it should be, look someplace else. It’s usually in the last place that you look.

Libra: I watching two guys paddle a boat that had a motor on it, to assist the motor while going upstream, against the wind. Two factors against them, huh? The wind and the current. What made this worse, I was watching this on Austin’s Town Lake, and there’s a ban on motors over a certain size, unless officially sanctioned by the city’s permit process. Hampered might be a better word. Might be a good word, or that boat with the men in it? That might be a good picture for my pretty little Libra friends, too. Got two things running against you. Might want to help matters along by paddling. I know it seems a little weird, in this day and age, but that good ship Libra could use a little assistance, and there’s nothing quite like doing a little paddling to help with your forward motion. Like those two guys. Seemed like they weren’t making very good progress, but then, that might’ve been just the way it seemed from my point-of-view on the shore — I can walk faster than they were paddling.

Scorpio: I was sitting, with a friend, on a little bridge that spans the “river” alongside, in the middle of, San Antonio’s famed “river walk.” Top of the arch, a not-so-cool night in late September, the faintest breeze ruffled her hair. It felt like summer. In parts of the country, it’s already winter, but in Texas, like South Texas, like San Antonio, it was still, a few weeks ago, summer-like. We were stopped, in the middle of the river, on top of the little bridge’s arch, and we were just chatting. Every few minutes, a group would walk by and ask me to take their picture. It was almost idyllic. Scenic spot, atop the river walk’s arched span, the lights of the gaily-lit businesses starting to glow against the backdrop of twilight, then night. Every few minutes, I heard German, several Eastern dialects, lots of Spanish, and occasionally, English. Got to the point that I’d break off the conversation when tourists approached with a camera, sensing their questions. I could’ve paid more attention the lady I was with, but then, I didn’t want to appear too unctuous. Or too anxious. Like me, Scorpio dear, you didn’t plan it this way. Like me, though, if there’s a convenient break, and a chance to do something nice for someone else? Might I suggest you try that route? Worked for me.

Sagittarius: Last week, I was lamenting the way this whole thing works, with the Mars going backwards and Venus going forward. Mars is retrograde in Taurus while Venus is forward in Sagittarius. I’m less about lamenting, accepting the cards where they fall, and playing on through this miserable hand the fates have dealt us. Not much to do about it. Can’t seem to change much of anything; therefore, soldier forward through the mess. It’s not nearly half as bad as it looks. Or maybe it is, but I doubt that. Personally, I’m taking all of this all right, but then, I saw this one coming, and I warned myself about. Buttressed up against odd way the fates saw fit to deal these cards. Feeling good and miserable at the same time. I’m used to it. The rest of my most excellent Sagittarius brethren (and sisteren)? Deal with it. It’s that simple. A Mars-related problem crops up. Stop, assess the damage, make a quick, thumbnail sketch of a solution, preferably with pencil on the back of a paper napkin, then slip that idea into your pocket. What I wind up with a pocketful of papers that don’t make a lot of sense. But out of all those little notes on napkins, one of those “solutions” might pay off. Might be a way out of this mess. Or, at the very least, it might be a stop-gap measure that will help stem the flow of bad luck until we can get the planets all sorted out.

Capricorn: I was watching the “weather radio animation.” Okay, so imagine this, you know what Texas looks like, that Big Bend, the Gulf Coast, the area called the Coastal Bend? Properly, it starts at the Louisiana border and stretches to Mexico. The part I was watching was the point where I like to fish, when I get a chance, which isn’t often enough, the bendy part of the bend. The way the animation presented the data, warm air was blowing in from the ocean, the Gulf, really, and it was meeting cold air. Clouds were forming, right along that coastline. Pretty cool to look at, in Doppler Radar Animation form. The Gulf was clear, then the clouds formed up at the coastline and blew on inland, eventually turning into a fall rainstorm someplace. I’m guessing at the weather and rain part. Having Mr. Mars going backwards, though, it’s like being right there on the coastline. Looking out over the sea, it looks clear and calm, a decent little offshore breeze. Then, behind you, it’s cloudy-like. Now the question, as long as Mars is backwards like this, are you inland, getting ready to get soaked? On the coast, looking out over the clear ocean skies? Or are you one a boat, in the middle of the Gulf, with nary a hint of problems?

Aquarius: I needed one of those things that plugs into the back of this computer. You know, one of those USB-Firewire-SCSI-UFO-AC/DC-FBI things? I stopped at the local “business supply super warehouse” store, looked at a couple of items, and found what I was looking for. Price? $19.95, and even better, it came with an instant, in-store coupon for $10, and rebate offer of $9.95. I may not be wicked brilliant, but the math sort of confused me, at that point. $10 + $9.95 = $19.95, the retail price? Whatever, I thought, and flipped the coupon over to see what the details were, the fine print. Just needed a sales slip. That was doable. So I did it. Took “six to eight weeks,” but when the check arrived, long after Mars was headed into apparent retrograde motion, I got to wondering about the whole transaction. Sales tax? Around a dollar-sixty. Postage and envelope? Since I bought the envelopes at the business warehouse, in bulk, that was a few cents, certainly much less than the stamp. Regular post. So I’m still seeing that I’m out, for the whole transaction, maybe a little over two bucks. Plus, like that sales tax? As a merchant myself, I know that it’s just what I would call “pass-through” money. I charge tax and then give it to the state comptroller’s office. So where does the merchant, the vendor and the store, where’s the profit in this whole arrangement? Mars is backwards, and as long as Mars is backwards, may be someone can explain this to me.

Pisces: The Colorado River runs through downtown Austin, and it’s not the river that made the Grand Canyon for you New York folks. The river gets sparkling clear in the early fall. Visibility is pretty good, I can almost see the lake’s bottom. Can, in places, in fact. I was fishing a Carolina Rigged Devil’s Tongue, sort of a French-fry looking bait, and I was just watching it as a nice sized buck popped it into his mouth, just to taste. Before I could twitch and set the hook, that buck had spit the bait out. Probably didn’t like the taste. Might’ve tasted the metal hook. Looks like a fish I’ve caught before, too. Thought I’d snookered him with that Devil’s Tongue. No such luck. If I’d set the hook faster, I could’ve gotten a picture. Mars? Retrograde? It has a profound effect on everything these days. Like missing a good hook set. Would’ve, could’ve, might-near had, a decent sized-bass for a little fall morning entertainment. Instead, he swam off, and we’ll (hopefully) tangle some other day. If you’re missing connections, hook-ups and hook-sets? It’s just Mars. At least, that’s my excuse, and you can use it, too. “No, I had the fish, I just missed the hook set. Bait was in its mouth. No, really it was. Darn Mars.”

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

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