For the Week starting: 11.10.2005

“To such a boasting show their scars,/A mock is due.”
Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida [IV.v.289]

Aries: The top of my desk is a ticklish affair at best. There’s a row of books, usually, but not limited to, reference manuals for astrology and wordsmith chores, like a dictionary, and manual of style. Some folks would recommend I check both those tomes more often. It’s not my spelling that’s a problem, it’s the way the fingers type it. Bad fingers, good spelling. Anyway, the other afternoon, I reached up for a book, to look something up, and as soon as I pulled the book out of the stack, like the cliché domino-effect, the remaining texts fell over, which shoved the printer down further, which then pushed the coffee can full of pencils against the lamp, and that little desk lamp went tumbling to the floor. Shattered glass is bad enough, shattered light bulb is worse. I had to stop, clean up the mess, and realize that the only person I could blame was myself. No one else was responsible. I set off the chain reaction that might resemble a physics experiment, one item sliding into another, sliding into another. Mars is backwards in the sign after you. What that means, if you’re not careful, you’ll set something off, too. Look here, my most excellent Aries friend, there’s no need to set off this kind of chain reaction. You know the worst part? I still don’t remember what word I was supposed to look up.

Taurus: I was reading last month’s bass something magazine. Or fishing something magazine. One of them. “Now’s the best time to crank up winter crank baits,” the headlines exploded out of one article. Funny, and I don’t have a copy of the magazine, but what I recall, in the fall? “Now’s the best time for Fall Crank Baits.” Last summer? Heat up your summer with summer crank baits. Spring into the new year with crank baits. See a trend here? Might be me, and maybe I’m reading one too many fishing magazines. But every season seems like there’s one, seasoned-pro who will explain why, “This is the time to use such-and-such a product. In fact, let me list some of my sponsor’s products here.” See where this pitch is going? I doubt you’re looking for seasonal information about bass lures. Instead of being induced into a media-driven buying frenzy, stop and wonder if that product wasn’t also listed as Summer, Spring, Fall product as well as a Winter idea. I’m not so sure that, given where Mars is, that your gentle Taurus self needs to run off and purchase a big ticket item like a whole new line of crank baits, just because. I’ll bet, down in your own Taurus Tackle Box, you’ve already got what you need. Right there. Consideration is the watch word. Either that, or maybe the winter really is the best time for crank baits, I’m not sure how much I trust these other guys.

Gemini: I was relating a tale I’d heard, advice from single guy on how to stay single, to another, more delicate person. I thought the story was funny especially the way I heard the story the first time. And when I’m doling out advice to young men bent on being single, it’s a useful tale. The problem is, when I tell the story, the implied references indicate that I’m single and want to stay that way. Plus, there’s a slightly coarse tone to the tale, and it’s not going to endear me to any female listeners. But that doesn’t stop the story from being funny — to me. Or to adolescent males. Or males who would be adolescent in their behaviors. Wrongfully, or perhaps it was just a lapse in my own judgment, I related this story to a particular female I was trying to impress. Didn’t work. In fact, she was much “not amused” by the little story. In fact, if she had fur on the back of her neck, that fur would’ve stood straight up. Glad she wasn’t the furry type, huh? You’re a Gemini, and you’ve got a similar tale in your repertoire. The problem being, the listener? Might not be the right story for that audience. I’ll agree that your little illustrative tale is amusing, but gauge your audience a little better. Not everyone can be as adaptable as you are.

Cancer: I was walking home from a particular spot on South First Street, after sunset one evening. My hair was down, as in, I didn’t have it knotted in a ponytail or bun, and I was just meandering along, digging on the cool winter’s eve, looking up at the few stars sprinkled above. I was right by the campus for the Texas School for the Deaf, and another pedestrian was approaching. He sized me up, and then asked in a mute’s language if I was deaf. It’s times like this that I wish I could sign. I can’t. It’s a whole other language I don’t understand. I appreciate it, and I stand in awe of anyone who can do it. But I don’t. Best I could do was shake my head. After dark? On dim lit street? Doubt he could read my lips, either. Proximity was the question. You’re going to find yourself in a similar situation, due to your relative Cancer location, someone — maybe just a passing stranger — will make an assumption about you. Smile, decline, and politely continue on your way, unhurried. It’s what I did, and nobody got their feelings hurt. Did make me think, and there’s that resolution again, yes, I’m going to learn some American Sign Language, any day now. Sounds familiar?

Leo: I was out with one of my buddies — his name is not “bubba” — and he was consuming some tequila, probably mixed with lime juice and triple sec, but I’m not sure. He was getting towards that magic moment when he was about 7 feet tall, and he was thinking he was the handsomest devil in the bar. Not that I would want to burst his bubble or anything, but he was not quite as amusing as he would have us believe. Or maybe not. “Dude, that girl, she’s looking at me, I know it.” Then came the line that I had to write down, not for its sheer audacity, but for the fact that it didn’t work. At all. “Hey, am I drunk, or is she really cute?” Tequila has many restorative and healthful applications, in moderation. In excess? It gets real ugly, real fast. Saturn is making life a little more tedious than usual, especially for my delicate and sensitive Leo buddies. The problem is finding that line between the medicinal use of tequila and the abuse thereof. Or maybe, find some way to put a limit on the Leo mouth. Save yourself — and your buddies — some embarrassment. But she was a very attractive female, but alas, she was not taken with my buddy’s comments. At all. Imagine that.

Virgo: November fishing is weird, at best. The old line about “any day fishing is a good day,” that certainly applies. But some mornings, it’s just too cold for my tastes. Or the fishes’ tastes, too. Other days, when it warms up nicely, then there’s a chance to get out in the middle of the afternoon, sneak away or, at the very least, wander down to the dock. Maybe once a week, I’ll get lucky in the middle of an afternoon, and land a little fish. Not much, more like practice than real fishing. Always brings a spot of joy into cold November afternoon. I’ve always wondered what the fish thinks, “Wow! That was fun! I’ve got to do that again!” I’m imagining that the little buckaroo fish figure that they did battle with the big monster — and won. Here’s a fish that’s maybe 7 or 8 inches long, weighs a pound and half, or maybe two, and that little ride up onto the bank is just like carnival ride for them. Sure, that works. I really don’t count on catching much, and neither should your Virgo self, but if you do? Consider what the fish feels like, you know, “Wow! That was fun! Scared me to death! Let’s do it again!”

Libra: I like the pacing of the “three steps forward, two steps backward,” theorem, and I like the way that looks. It indicates cautious forward motion. It indicates progress. It proves that you are getting ahead, a little bit at time. It includes some backsliding, and it indicates that there is a little trouble, but you’re basically getting ahead; albeit, not as fast as you or I would like. Yes, it’s just a function of Mars and so forth, and you’ve heard it all before, and at this point, you’re not exactly overjoyed with the “three steps forward, two steps backwards” analogy. Wait, it gets worse, because this week has some really strange energy to it. It’s more like three steps forward and then it’s three steps backwards. That leaves you exactly where you were when we started out. It’s as if you’re taking three steps forward and then it feels like you’re sliding backwards about four steps. That’s a negative step in the wrong direction. Maybe you’re not so good at math. Never claimed that fractions were a great strength of mine, either, but the way I see it, it’s like a couple of steps forward and just when you think you’re making progress, it’s like sliding backwards, back beyond the place where you first stated. Almost feels like a treadmill at the gym, lots of exercise, but not real forward motion. Or lots of forward motion, just no real progress. Soldier on, dear Libra, as there will be results. Just not quite as fast as you like. Or, you don’t always end up where you want to be, but you end up where you’re supposed to be.

Scorpio: The Great Blue Heron is a good fishing bird. Long, elegant legs, long beak for, I suppose, spearing dinner. Or breakfast. Last month, a neighbor was pointing at a Great Blue Heron. I’d watched as the bird glided into a spot in front of my fishing dock, and the bird consumed a little Black Bass Sashimi for breakfast. A nutritious meal, I suppose. Since I’d seen the bird, across the lake, scouting then supposedly spearing its meal, I wasn’t too worried that the bird was eating my pets. The fish I catch and release. I murmured and made acquiescing noises, and got back to flipping bait into the lake. Took that bird a while to chow down on the fish. The bird eventually got done with its meal, and took to standing on a sand bar, right out in front of my dock, looking for my fish. I sailed a heavy lure throw the air, and it plopped down, not really that close, but close enough, to the bird. It took to wing, flew off. I don’t care if it fishes someplace else, but not in my backyard. Okay, so that one long cast to scare the bird off? Reeling it in, I picked up a branch and doing so, I disturbed the fish, the serene quality of life, and probably irritated a birder or two. But my fish were safe. Are you just getting through a satisfying meal of raw fish? Or are you scared off by some guy’s lure landing too close? Or, are you like me, reeling in extra muck from the bottom, trying to protect your turf?

Sagittarius: I’ve got two fishing poles, rigged and ready at all times, parked right by the front door of the trailer. One has topwater lure, just a lightweight, tried and true formula, and the other pole has a special plastic worm. Always rigged. Always ready. Just in case I get a break, or a chance to dash down to the water’s edge for a quick spin, just to see if the fish are biting. They’re not. It’s getting on into the wintertime, and the fishes are deep in their winter homes. But every once in a while, I’ll get lucky. There are a couple of big old boys who lurk just offshore here. Plus, there’s always a rambunctious rascal of a juvenile bass who’s willing to take the bait. It’s just I can’t cont on any of this activity, not in the wintertime, and not with any degree of regularity. Fish are funny like that, I suppose. I tend to use, especially in the wintertime, that topwater lure as a teaser, just something to warm-up with, instead of seriously fishing. I’ll toss it a few times, just watch the way it dances across the lake’s surface. I’ll daydream about a big mouth gulping down that lure. Then I’ll get to some serious fishing, a little deeper. Because it’s wintertime, I have expectations of catching, maybe, some water weeds, a tree branch, and not much lese. So far, under the undue influence of the planets, I’ve been 100% with those expectations. By adjusting my “expected catch meter” down to zero, I haven’t failed. I’d make the same recommendation for all Sagittarius.

Capricorn: I was listening to the sound track for a movie. More or less. The movie was running on the computer’s DVD player, and I was doing something besides watching the film. The acoustical background was, to me just an orchestrated piece of music that sort of wandered around. The music sounded like a musician was just sort of meandering about, wandering aimlessly, picking his or her way along the various strains. Except: it was orchestra music. You know, sounded like a strings section, a brass section, a drum section. Lots of instruments. Which made me think about the idea of something that sounded so casual, and yet, it was highly structured. Seemed like a Capricorn, particularly with Mars like he is. The way to approach the problems, the day-in and day-out stuff that presents obstacles? Have a carefully orchestrated plan to deal with everything. Now, unlike that orchestra music I was listening to? You’re plan will go sideways at the worst possible time. Just pick up the string section, get them back up to speed, and it’ll be okay.

Aquarius: I’m in a position where I need to warn you about something that is approaching. Usually, I cover the span of about seven days. But I was looking a little further down the Aquarius road, and looking at something that was fast approaching, by my way of looking at it. It’s a healthy dose of reality. It’s like the end of a cheap murder-mystery, where everyone gets unmasked. The twist, the plot device that keeps us on the edge of our seat, or, in my case, the plot device that keeps me up all night, reading some stupid cheesy novel? At the end? The bad guy is the hero, the good guy is the culprit, and the innocent bystander isn’t so innocent. It’s just a trick that some authors employ with plot lines and tricks to keep the reader interested. Likewise, in the land of the Aquarius, there’s a plot line that is developing, and all I’m suggesting is that you spend a little extra time, looking for clues. What kind of clues? If I knew, that might ruin the surprise ending. Which doesn’t stop there from a delightful surprise at the end. I’m not sure how you’re fixed for a dose of reality, but it’s coming, so bet to get prepared as you can.

Pisces: Fishing buddy of mine had a theory, once I’d a caught a particular fish, I’d never be able to catch that fish again. Doesn’t mean I can’t catch other fish, but fish, especially local Black Bass, they all seem to remember. I’m not sure about that theory, though, as I’m pretty sure I’ve caught the same fish, over and over, maybe, two, even three or four times, over the span of a year or more. “You ought to be marking them, tagging, them, so you’d know for sure.” Probably a good idea. Fashion statement among Austin’s better heeled black bass, a fin tag from Kramer? Nice idea. I prefer my way though, I just look at the fish, occasionally, there’s a hole in the lip, obviously, I’d been there before. Or sometimes, there’s one big, old lunker, and catch her about every six months or so, but again, I don’t have anyway to prove that I’ve caught her before. She’s just a tad bit larger each time. My problem is proof, and that problem stretches over to the Pisces slice of the sky, too. Evidence is necessary. Don’t be making any claims you can’t back up. It’s perfectly all right to posit a hypothesis, just make sure you have some kind of method of proving that you’re right. Which, I don’t doubt that you are, but without corroborating data? Not everyone will believe fish tales.

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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