"O! What men dare do! What men may do! What men daily do, not knowing what they do!"
Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing [IV.i.14]

astrofish.net Virgo: Happy Birthday! At least one little Virgo friend is going to look askance at my "happy birthday" wish and she'll make a snippy, snarky, snide comment about my familial lineage, possibly illegitimate birth rights, and imply that prevarication is the common element. All that from a simple "happy birthday" wish? Bit of a stretch, even for me. With a sneer, I'll be reminded that it was hyperbole. The folks with birthdays this very week, honey, have already had Venus slip pass. Not bad, not good, not anything, just means that the sarcasm seems to have an extra amount of bite. Might want to tone back the cutting comments. The rest of the Virgo slice of the heavens is still looking forward to the "make nice" transit of Venus. That's good, for them. Current birthday? Venus is now gone. You have to try to be nice. I'll promise there's a good weekend filled with much promise, rapidly approaching. Cut back on the sarcasm.

There's a special gesture, this week features an extra-length, free, audio track. Called Virgo.mp3. Ya'll enjoy.

Libra: Saturn is at a halfway point in his trip through Libra. Reminds me of a Jimmy Buffett song, Capricorn, and the song's lyric are something about another trip around the sun, indicative, in a poetical and cosmological way, of another year. Another year and little bit older. Saturn's symbolism is apparent by now. Can't be argued with. Can be argued with it, but it's fruitless argument as Saturn tends to win, eventually, every time.
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"Happy in that we are not overhappy.
On Fortune's cap we are not the very button."
Shakespeare's Hamlet [II.ii.231]

Leo: In a coffee taste test, this is my opinion, I've found that the Cafe Richard, in Paris, produced the best espresso and therefore, the best coffee I ever had. For home brew purposes, Pete's Italian Roast is best, with an interchangeable second place, and third place is Starbucks Italian Roast (best logo, too). So the red, grocery store bag of Eight O'Clock Coffee is more genetic memory and childhood recollection instead of true, blue-blood coffee tasting. It's not all about the bean. Part of the secret of really good coffee is the steps employed in preparation. Even Eight O'Clock brand coffee can make a superior cup of coffee. Depends on the method of preparation. All about how you use what you got. I use a metal "French Press," or press-pot, and the beans are stored in an airtight container and those beans are ground fresh. Water's been sitting in the kettle overnight, just tap water, but set out, allowed to breath. Then the brought to a rapid boil and poured over the fresh grounds. The metal strainer allows all the oils of the coffee beans, the full flavor gets infused in the hot water. Superior coffee from cheap, grocery store beans. Leo: think. Leo: there's an easy way to coax royal treatment out of a simple process. Doesn't have to be expensive, just has to be good.

Excellence isn't always pricey.

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Virgo: Jimmy Buffett (Capricorn) wrote a song about it. I've waxed lyrical about it. Sometimes, the best is cheapest, too. Hamburger, the humble American dish. While I prefer a fast-food, local variation because when I order jalapeno peppers, they load them on, that doesn't mean that my version is the best. Sandy's. Malt House. Fran's. All good places. One of my easy to reach preferred locations? What-a-burger. Turns out that's not a national chain. Little did I know. Chain stretches across my horizons, all that matters. Used to be a place in Dallas, oddly enough, with excellent burgers. Or a place in the Hill Country, Llano, to be precise, with BBQ burgers. All good. Pick one. Pick a local favorite. From the marketing alone, In-and-Out Burger would suit my Left Coast friends. Or a good vegan burger.
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"Thous dost talk nothing to me."
The King to Gonzalo in Shakespeare's The Tempest [II.i.166]

Folk remedies. As the heinous nature of Mercury Retrograde starts in earnest, here are some folk remedies from the the annals of Texas Folks Remedies.

Leo: Mark Twain's Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer introduced me to "spunk water" as a natural, curative element. Along with cats, both dead and alive. (Mark Twain was Sagittarius, a Leo-compatible sign.) The water is useful in a number of other recipes from the Texas folk remedy page. The water is rainwater that's been sitting in a hollowed out stump. I have to wonder if the moonshine is what lends to the efficacy of the water, or if it's merely just stagnant, mosquito-infested, all-natural, rain-water. Can never tell. The recipes with "spunk-water" always struck me as a bit odd. Didn't trust them. Dipping animal parts and washing human parts in the water never really worked in my mind. I could see others doing it, just not something I would undertake -- or recommend -- myself. The term itself, while I'm not enamored of the appellation itself, the phrase does paint a picture. The rest of the elements, combined in the folk remedies, the various incantations and emollients, I'm guessing the real active ingredients were something besides water that was sitting in an old, hollowed out tree trunk -- since it last rained. Spunk-water, like that, is just the catalyst, the carrier. What really happens is due to other, active ingredients, the most potent being the imagination. Imagine Mercury problems slipping away. Imagine Mercury problems being drowned in that water. This Mercury retrograde is about catalysts. Catalysts and carrier, vehicle and touchstones.

Virgo: "Rosemary is for remembrance," from memory, accuracy not verified or fact-checked. See fine print for details. Anyway, the quote is from Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet, as Ophelia descends into madness. As the lore goes, this one stretches way back to the Greek pantheon, with Minerva associated with rosemary. Let's update this material a little, as some recent research has shown that rosemary contains carnosic acid which makes it neuro-protective. That means rosemary protects our brains from free radicals. With this Mercury Retrograde, you need all the help you can muster.
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"And as the sun breaks through the darkest clouds,
So honour peereth in the meanest habit."
Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew [IV.iii.167-8]

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo, sliding back into Leo while opposing Neptune moving from Pisces into Aquarius. What does it all mean?

    See travel schedule for new listing and most current data.

Leo: No news that I'm an Apple fanboy. At one time, I was more fanatical than now, but the basic premise is that I like the hardware the "mothership" produces. Good stuff. Usually rock-solid, and when it's not? Rock-solid warranty. It's about the only product that I suggest an extended warranty for. I trust the Apple extended warranty, having, on separate occasions, used that extended warranty. Worked, and worked well. Stand behind what they sell and service. Good stuff. As Mercury backs down into your sign and as Neptune opposes your sign, and as Venus and the Sun move forward in your sign, think about those extended warranties. Some of them are not a good deal. In my examples, it was phone, an iPod, and two laptops. The laptops, each, separately, over two years old, had to have hard drives and batteries. Covered. No questions. That was cool, as, one of the extended warranties had less than a few months left, which, in effect, doubled the usable lifetime of that one machine. However, while not an isolated example, it's the easiest example I've got at hand, for Leo. Most of those extended warranties? Rip-off. Just extra gravy for the dealership, the salesman, someone along the line. Most of those extended service contracts don't really work. That's the problem. I know, from hard-won personal experience, that the Apple one works. And works well, as they tend to honor their obligations. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone did? Here's the hint: most people don't. Further hint: don't buy the extra, add-on stuff. Not now. No extended service warranty. Unless, of course, it's an Apple.

In time for Mercury Retrograde, a new three-minute track.

Binaural -scientific- Beats Engineering, play three times, a day, three times in a row, guaranteed to ameliorate the effects of Mercury Retrograde.

Virgo: Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best. With Mercury doing a little backwards jaunt, and this backwards jaunt, it's opposite from Neptune, with these two planets, a big one and little one, acting in cahoots? Simple. Simpler. Simplest. There's a new tweak with web server software, the backend, the "motor" of what I use to serve my site. Sites. Multiple sites. "Change this, add this plug-in, adjust the output control, and it works better." I've gotten a little smarter -- I've been doing this for some time now, I've gotten to the point where I'll test on one, low-volume website before I'll make wholesale changes.
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"Study is like the heaven's glorious sun,
That will not be deep-search'd with saucy looks."
Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost [I.i.86-7]

Over 60% of Love's Labour's Lost is rhyming lines, making it the most rhymed play out of the Bard's canon.

astrofish.netLeo: Kittens who are weaned too young, or sometimes, just abandoned by their parents, those kittens have a certain observed behavior pattern. What I've watched, I'm cat guy, I like house cats as companions, what I've seen with kittens, weaned too young, they develop this strange tick. Pet one for too long and she'll turn on you so fast. Pet, pet, love, love, and suddenly, she turns and bites. Or claws. Or, my favorite, she turns and digs her claws in then chomps down. Biting the hand that feeds her. Huh. Think there's a lesson here? In the event I'm not perfectly clear, I've seen this behavior. Many times. My old cat used to be like that, she'd turn around and nip at the petting hand, after a certain amount of time. I picked her up from the pound, pretty sure she was abandoned before that, and guessing from the behavior, let go too soon. I watched as one friend tried to correct an adult cat, tried to change that cat's behavior. Cat won -- some surprise -- every time. If you can't change it, why do you keep trying? Dear Leo, don't argue with the cat, the cat's behavior is hardwired. If you can't change it? Why keep trying?

astrofish.net Virgo: "I hate Scorpio's. They are so irresponsible!" Little friend, having a fit of pique. Kind of a tight fit of pique, too, as she's Virgo. "What's his birthday?" Normal question from me. "November. That's Scorpio, right?" "When in November?" "Like, at the end of it." Subsequent (Virgo) investigation revealed that the problem male was Sagittarius, not Scorpio. Hence the trouble. August Virgo and November Sagittarius, we make great friends, but in any other situation? Not so much. Which was the source of the Virgo girl's ire. I'd stick up for my Sagittarius brothers-in-arms, but you know, after hearing the whole tale? Not so much.
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