By Lynn Ashby 31 Jan. 2010
Beware of giant clams. You will find a pile of money or eggplants under your bed tomorrow. An old school chum wants to take you to dinner. Someone named George will try to kill you. If your old school chum is named George, take along a food taster. If you are a Capricorn, you really aren’t, but you may be an Ophiuchus, for which there is no known cure.
I am polishing up my crystal ball which is foggy, or maybe smoggy. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says these toxic clouds are all in my imagination, just like Port Arthur’s. Chicken entrails are also good for determining the future, but only for three days if left unfrozen.
Let me explain: Recently the Star Tribune in Minneapolis reported that a naturally occurring wobble in the direction of the Earth’s axis — what we lunar ticks call a “precession” — had juggled the alignment of stars from their traditional celestial signs. The report cited Parke Kunkle, a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society and professor of astronomy, who explained this change meant our astrological signs were a bit off, too.
For example, Capricorn, which begins its month-long term every Dec. 21 or so, actually starts on Jan. 20, based on the true position of the stars. Aquarius, meanwhile, would be bumped to February, and so on. These changes mean we should add to our 12-sign system a 13th sign — Ophiuchus, the snake holder — which ancient Babylonians had dropped from the team. Its cycle runs from Nov. 29 to Dec. 17.
Prof. Kunkle said the changing star line-up had been noted by an ancient Greek astronomer and was common knowledge among scientists. The professor had only proposed correcting the zodiac arrangement as a class project. No kidding. In fact, he said he has so little interest in horoscopes, he doesn’t know his own sign. Nevertheless, his observation (stand by for cliché du jour) went viral on the Internet among those who depend on a daily dose of celestial wisdom. Some likened the shattering revelation to the 2006 news that Pluto was being reclassified as a small, minor planet.
Roll your eyes if you wish, but astrology is no small matter — a 2009 Pew Research Center poll found that one in four Americans believes in the magic art. At one large newspaper I worked on, surveys consistently put our horoscope column among the leaders in readership. (We must not confuse astrology, the scientific method of divining the future, with astronomy, a shameless fraud to scam the gullible).
I, myself, believe in astronomy (which comes from the Latin astros, meaning “there’s one born every minute.”) I also believe in the peace dividend and the sanctity of matching mudflaps. To help you with your doubts and confusion before you go to Pisces, let me – soothsayer to the stars — now give you fail-safe predictions for the coming days: a great person will die, a plane will crash, one team will win the Final Four while three will lose and, I predict, no one will take credit for “Dancing With The Dwarfs.”
“Enough specifics,” you shout. “Give us the big picture!” OK, Capricorn, you are independent, rocklike, hardworking, unemotional, practical, responsible, persevering. Basically you are as dull as an Amish orgy. No wonder you have trouble getting dates. On the other hand, now that we’ve moved heaven and Earth, you aren’t really a Capricorn. But you’re still dull. You should get together with Aquarius, who spends too much time demonstrating for cleaner lyrics in beer commercials, calling radio talk shows, writing five-page letters to the editor and working Sudoku puzzles. Aquarius, get a life.
Pisces, good fortune will befall you. You will befall down slippery steps to the office of a hedge fund manager and sue for $1 billion, which he calls “Tuesday.” Aries, a loved one will leave you his ranch and oil royalties, but trust no one to handle your fortune except someone with…wait, it’s coming to me…with the initials LA. I shall put you in contact with that person. Eat more plankton. Curb your overriding desire to live in Waco. You are selfish and quick-tempered, impulsive and impatient, foolhardy and a daredevil. Go away.
Attention Taurus, the bull: Seek redress from Ford for using your name on a cheap car. Learn Pashto as it may come in handy in your next job as yak valet at the Hard Rock Café in Kabul. You have too many friends which leads to lots of Christmas cards to answer, birthday presents to buy and requests for organ transplants. Your lucky number is 0. Attention Gemini: stop going around telling everyone you’re Gemini Cricket, but watch out for anyone named Parke Kunkle.
At this point we must recall the wisdom of a comic named London Lee: “I was asked, ‘What sign were you conceived under?’ I said it was, ‘Keep off the grass.’”
Moving on, the age of Aquarius died in 1970 when “Hair” closed on Broadway. Get over it. Cancers: you are considered negative and introverted. Who wants to be named Cancer, anyway? Be born under some other sign. In fact, you were, because Cancer has moved from June 21–July 22 to July 20-August 10. And all this time you just thought you were negative and introverted. Now you can prove it. A Cancer is associated with the astrological fourth house, all of which have been foreclosed.
Leo, Virgo and Scorpio, where have you been? Harpo and Groucho are looking for you. Everyone on stage for the Hawaiian number. As for the Sagittarians among us, you are considered lucky, nice and naïve. Stay away from lawyers. Finally, you there holding a snake, Ophiuchus, your appearance shattered the confidence of millions who daily check their horoscope for advice on their future. Are you happy now? As for everyone else, you owe me a big debt of gratitude, but you won’t pay. Of course, I already knew that.
Ashby predicts at firstname.lastname@example.org