Friday, August 28, 2015

Things that I'll never stop being fascinated by

Time travel.  I think it's why we have these brains, to think about time travel.  Not thinking about time travel every day is sort of like having electricity and sitting in the dark.  Oh, that's a terrible analogy.  Ok, more like having legs and never walking.  There are all the great campy movies, and the opportunity to think hard. And, we all spend much of our time doing that: thinking about the past, wondering about the future.  (Me?  98 percent time travel.  2 percent on my yoga matt.)

Messages in bottles.  What's not to love? That someone took a bottle with a cork  -- and that's quaint right there -- but they decided to mail someone a message by way of the ocean, and it's often a sweet message full of hope and love.  Arrgh.  A tiny tear leaks out when I think too hard about that.  Why choose the ocean?  Oh right.  Probably because the ocean has been so generous with us.  And is also full of hope and love, not to mention octupuses and seals.

Amnesia stories.  I will confess that these were more compelling when I was 20 and had a great memory, when forgetting seemed so implausible.  But when I hear stories about people who turn up in Dallas, for example, with no idea who they are and how they got there, well, that stops me in my tracks.

Or this tomato, that announced "NO".  Photo
stolen without permission
from The Cake Boss
People who orchestrate their own disappearance.   "I'm just going out for a pack of cigarettes, honey..."  And only years later do their loved ones realize it was strange -- "Hey, he didn't even smoke!"

Amelia Earheart.  Duh.  I love imagining that she flew into some weird vortex-y tessarect and is alive in another dimension.

DB Cooper.  Of course.  Who does that?  Jumps out of an airplane with wads of cash?

Renditions of deities that appear, unannounced, in tortillas.  Emphasizing yet again that we see what we want to see.

Finding mushrooms in the woods.  Because that's magic, to go on a walk and see a giant orange orb popping out of the ground.

Honeybees.  For the obvious reason that they live in extremely tight quarters and get along, always rowing together in the same direction, building comb and making honey.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Half mast and other random thoughts.

1.  About 10 years ago, I was in Black Diamond, a small town near here, and noticed the flag at half mast.  I expected something big, so I pulled over and went into the post office to inquire.  The lady said that the postmaster died.  Right?  Didn't the flag being halfway up the pole used to give you a start?  Like, "OH MY GOD, JFK's BEEN SHOT!"  Or some form of apocalypse happened. Now it's like, "yeah, the guy that put it up has Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and that's as far as he could pull the rope.  Anyway, two out of the three official flags in our town were at half mast yesterday and no one knew why.  I find this disturbing.

2.  I don't know if there will ever be a thing as beautiful as Stevie Nicks singing Landslide.  On this planet, at least.  Go listen right now.

3.  Which reminds me: as far as I know, I won't be able to listen to music after death.  That may be the worst part about being dead, though I won't know til later, I suppose.  Maybe maggots eating the flesh would be worse, but I don't think so.  The music thing makes me panicky, like  I shouldn't stop listening for even a minute while I have ears and a pulse.

4.  Well, there is just the need for a little silence.  Or a lot, if you're me.  I won't go into my long story about the Loud Person in the library who was talking LOUDLY on his cellular telephone, arranging to have a wetland cleared on a Sunday 'SO NO ONE WOULD FIND OUT', he shouted.  No, I won't go into that rant.  Because the real point of #4 is this.  They blast traffic noises in the desert to see how the wildlife like it. Um, let me guess...

5.  I'm almost done with medical school (although I've taken to calling it medical marijuana school because the tests are easier and the hours are shorter.)  Actually, it's massage therapy school and I'm going to be so sad to leave the lovely humans I've met there.  It's been amazing to learn about how people respond to touch.  In a nutshell, yes, we like it.

That's it.  Five things is all I could summon today.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Horoscopes: The Going to College Edition

A friend mentioned something the other day about trying to cram in all the important life lessons in before her son goes to college.  I thought I'd try to figure out what the bare essentials are for being a grownup, so here goes.  

Pisces (2/19 – 3/20):   Everyone going out into the world should know how to chop and saute an onion.  Here's how:  just do it!  Wear goggles if you must.  Or, wad up a piece of bread and stick it under your upper lip when your chop. Pisces, the main point is this:   never avoid real tears, because connecting with our tenderest parts is what makes us human.  And that is why we're more likely to starve than eat our loved ones.  (And do avoid chemical exposure to the eyes.  When's the last time anyone talked about macular regeneration?  The reason?  Because that's not a thing!)

Aries (3/21 - 4/19):  I went to look at property for someone recently; it was really cheap because the owner died inside the house, went unnoticed for a week, and her cats ate her.  I know.  I can't promise I wouldn't do the same -- if I were locked in a cinderblock house for a week, hungry, well, maybe I'd eat my imaginary pet rabbit named Geoffrey after he died of natrual causes.  (Though I don't know if there's much nutritional value in imaginary pets.)  Adulthood requires this, Pisces:  If you'd like to live with a non-human, get a dog!  They may eat you after death, but will leave your face alone, unlike the felines.  (Wait, maybe we don't care about our faces after death? I'm unclear on this, like so much else in adulthood.)  

Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):   The real question is why should you chop and saute the onion?  Here's why: everywhere that's worth going, culinarily, begins there.  The sauted onion is the building block of flavor, the core flavorful sweetness of anything worth eating.    Soup? Stir fry? Omelet? Mirepoix? Please don't let the young people leave home without knowing how to build flavor.

Gemini (5/21 - 6/21):   Have a solid opinion about time travel.  Do you think it's impossible to travel back to a time before you were born for physical reasons, or because it's a paradox?  Do you believe in the kind of time travel where the word "yet" is key?  As in, no time traveler has prevented the holocaust yet.  (Though, of course, there may be other atrocities that were prevented; we just don't know about them.)  And so on.  Be able to defend your position, if needed.  (And, if you go time travelling without me, leave a note, Gemini!)

Cancer (6/22 – 7/21): I stayed in a weird hotel in Tumwater recently where the sweet young desk clerk said, "Yeah, Tumwater is the hub.  I mean, if you're going to the ocean, it's on your way.  Or Portland - it's on your way?  Or Seattle.  Or, if you're going to Chelan, this would be on the way."  She kept going on and on with all the places, and they got increasingly far-fetched, although I don't think she was trying to be funny.  I wanted to play too, and add, "Or Paris!  It's on the way to the moon as well!  And Cairo, for sure."  But I didn't.  Adult Skill:  Know where the hub of your own life is.  Is it Tumwater?  A relationship?  A spiritual practice?  

Leo (7/23 – 8/22): People who lie will lie to you too.  A man who cheats on his wife, for 
example, will lie to everyone else, even about the smallest things.  Try not to judge; it's the only way he knows.  Summon compassion, because his life will be tangled and lonely, and he wishes, more than anyone, that he could tell, and more importantly, live with the truth, but he doesn't have that particular muscle.  Feel pity, not anger, Leo.  The liar needs forgiveness more than you know, but do keep your distance.

Virgo (8/23 – 9/22):  There are two troubling large giant blobs in the ocean.  One is a band of warm water 1,000 feet long, and 5 degrees F warmer than the surrounding area.  The other is the Great Pacific garbage patch, which is maybe 270,000 square miles, a unit of measure that's also known as, "about the size of Texas."  Which brings me to the point, Virgo.  Every adult should know where they stand on using states as units of measure.  I fall on the side of using square miles or meters for area, and furlongs for distance, but that's because I don't really know how large Texas is.  Or even a football field.  

Libra (9/23 – 10/22):  You should know the origin and insertion of the sternocleidomastoid, and what each of the major organs in your body is responsible for. Ok, you can probably get by without that.  But here's something important:  don't resolve issues via The Silent Treatment.  You'll look like an emotional midget, and on that day that happens once a year when peoples' physical size is altered to match their emotional size, you'll slip unnoticed into a crack in the sidewalk. (Wait, is that really a day that happens every year, or is that merely a dream I had? And while we're at it, is library book amnesty day a thing?) Instead of silence, speak your truth kindly and directly.

Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21):  NEVER run out of toilet paper, olive oil, coffee or half and half.  Why put yourself through it?  Oh, and this:  keep prawns in the freezer.  If you already know how to saute an onion, you can instantly whip up a simple yet delicious dinner for a drop in guest.  Staples, scorpio.  Know your staples and keep them on hand.  Be sure to cultivate friendships with people  who eat prawns, or the whole thing falls apart.

Sagittarius (11/22 – 12/21): You should know why Greece is in so much trouble. I know, you don't care, but you should, so it doesn't happen to you!  Here's a quick tour:  
  1. Greece hasn't done a good job at collecting taxes.  The government collects only half of what it should.
  2. Greece used to borrow money from Germany and other wealthy nations, but  there were terms and conditions that kept borrowing in check.
  3. When everyone switched over to Euros, Greece had way more borrowing power, because they were suddenly on Germany's team.  Germany, in a sense, was insuring Greece's debt.
  4. Let the good times roll!  Greece kept borrowing and borrowing, but not having a way to pay it back.
  5. Germany finally said, um, guys, you can't borrow any more money until you go on austerity measures and make a plan to get things under control.
  6. Austerity never works.  (Have you tried it?  It sucks.)
Capricorn (12/22 - 1/19):  When you get offical-looking stuff in the mail, open it and deal with it.  Things that come in official envelopes never improve with time.

Aquarius (1/20 – 2/18): Never swerve for revenge, as William Stafford said.  Let people who disappoint go without a fuss.  They're doing the best they can with the tools they have, and it won't serve you to retaliate in any way.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Horoscopes in Microdoses

Pisces (2/19 – 3/20):   Feeling a little down, Pisces?  Maybe micro-dosing is the answer.  There is no downside to a procedure that causes you to say, at the end of every day, "Now that was a good day.  Find us the hook-up, please?  Anyway, let's all meet in downward dog.  

Aries (3/21 - 4/19): Does anyone know for sure what a "guest internet" is?  You know what I'm talking about:  the one you use when you're lurking in the bushes near your neighbor's house because your own internet isn't working.  It's labeled with their last name plus "guest".  Is that like the guest towels that you save for company?  Meaning, you don't use them to mop up the goo when the washing machine fails and water gets all over the laundry room floor?  Do people do that with their regular internet?  Please explain, Aries.  Your week will be full of guests, in the best way possible.

Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):  I've had a terrible infestation of houseflies lately, maybe because the top to my garbage can is damaged and has cracks in it because it flew off during a windstorm once and by the time I found it, a truck had driven over it.  I resorted to getting fly paper, which is horrible in so many ways.  But when I bought the fly paper ($3 for four rolls), the lady at the hardware store scolded me a bit; said fly paper was  disgusting [I know!], and I should get this other thing, a little fly rectangle that cost $9.  I was sort of shamed into it, but it's basically the same deal:  a sticky box for the flies to die a miserable death on.  But the old kind of fly paper caught way more flies.  Taurus, eliminate suffering in every way this week.

Gemini (5/21 - 6/21):  As you know, I listen to many podcasts, and they advertise things for people who don't get out much, which always causes me to wonder.  But the latest is the Caspar bed, which is surprising in at least two ways:  

  1. It's a mail order bed!  It ships in a box, directly to your door.  
  2. There are no choices.  At first I thought that was weird, but after mulling it over, I'm a big fan.  I want a new bed.  I don't want to leave the house and go practice sleeping in a public place.  I don't want choices.  I want one thing, a good night's sleep.  
The plan is to work a bit more, come up with some dinero, and order the bed.  Oh, and the third surprising thing?  Duh, it's a bed named after a friendly ghost.  What could be finer, Gemini?  Your week will feel like a friendly ghost is always at your side.  Don't be frightened.

Cancer (6/22 – 7/21): Those killers on the loose in upstate NY have reminded me about a family vacation I went on when I was 12.  There was a killer on the loose, also in the in the Adirondacks, where our family had planned to go on a backpacking trip, but due to the killer, we switched to the much safer alternative, a canoe camping trip.  Because we all know that crazy psycho killers couldn't get to an island.  Duh.  But what I remember most was that helicopters were flying overhead, blaring out messages to the killer, asking him to surrender.  Nothing like a relaxing week in the woods, I always say.  Cancer, it's almost your birthday!  Start thinking about cake.

Leo (7/23 – 8/22): I saw my neighbor the other day, something that doesn't happen in the winter, and he asked if I was still planning to cut down a few trees on our shared property line.  "Yeah, I did that last fall.  Five trees."  
"Oh, I hadn't noticed."  
The conversation turned to how unseasonably warm it's been.  Yawn.  But I mentioned how it's already the time of year when we micro-adjust the dial on the shower, because the water we use, which is from the lake, is warm.  And then I thought, yikes, it's come to this.  Me, explaining to a man I hardly know, a man who doesn't notice the removal of five giant trees, that I've dialed back the mix of heated versus unheated water in the shower.  Right?  Boring-ness happens, Leo, but I do think micro-dosing could help. Are you in?

Virgo (8/23 – 9/22): I was driving across Lake Washington the other day, shortly before the rock and roll marathon, when I saw planes flying around dragging encouraging notes for runners and for some reason I almost had to pull over to weep.  An airplane, the biggest fastest way we locomote, cheering on people going the old fashioned way, going the way we've been moving since humans first wanted to get away from the lion.  The sheer sweetness of that took me down.  Virgo, your week will involve lions and tigers and bears, but don't run.  Just watch and learn.

Libra (9/23 – 10/22):  I saw a jar on the counter at a little store in town with the picture of a super sick man.  Pale, hooked up to medical machinery, in a bed.  The jar is a means of collecting money for his kidney transplant.  I think there was a bit of change in the jar, but not much.  There must be a better way, Libra.  If I need to go on a jar, please just do me in.  And use the jar for something good, like honey.

Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21):  I saw this in the alley the other day; it appears to be a rib.  A mystery!  I hope it's from a pig and not a person, but one never knows. Speaking of mysteries, last week I found an earring on an island.  Which as all the makings of a great plot.  A bit later today, with any luck, I'll put a little clip about that mystery right here.  Check back!  I know, the suspense.  It's killing me too, Scorp.

Sagittarius (11/22 – 12/21):  I've talked about this before, how people post death and funeral notices on the window at the post office.  But this week, I noticed a sign where the death notices usually are that says, "I love you Bob! We miss you!" It was written in lipstick on the window.  Apparently, the dead continue to get their mail at the PO, but not in the regular boxes.  Just lipstick on the window.  Take note.

Capricorn (12/22 - 1/19):  I was thinking I should get some sponsors, do product placement here in the 'scopes, and earn big money.  So, sponsors, feel free to contact me.  It's fine if you offer me the item to use so I can genuinely endorse it.  I'm down for the Casper bed, a newer econo car, fly paper, and gutters for a house.  I'll sprinkle endorsements throughout the astrological signs.  Oh, but Cap, your horoscope:  You'll find everything you need at Zabars!

Aquarius (1/20 – 2/18): I was at the Farmer's market yesterday, looking at produce, when I noticed a couple nearby.  The man said, "Wow, look at the giant fava beans!  Let's get some."
And I looked too, and thought I should buy some as well.  Even though they're kind of a pain in the ass to cook.
But the woman said she can never eat fava beans.  "Reminds me of Silence of the Lambs where Hannibal said, 'I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.'"  Then she noticed my look and said, "It's okay, you can eat them alone."  So I did buy them, in an act of defiance.  And I'll eat them alone, maybe today.  Do something bold yourself, Aquarius.  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Super Powers

I was in the field today when I accidentally walked into a hornet's nest, and got stung four times.  Not a huge number, but I wasn't sure how I'd react so I went home.  All stings were on and near my left boob, and were getting swollen and kind of itchy and painful.  I sprayed some liquid Benadryl on the area, and laid down for "a few minutes".

Three hours later l woke up.  I know.  There's almost no evidence of any stings -- just four tiny red marks, no pain or swelling, which seems exactly like something that would happen in a fairy tale or comic book.  Do you think I got inoculated with my super power?  I do too!  I can't tell what it is yet, though.  So far I don't seem able to fly or pass through walls, but I'm about to go test out some other things.  Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Crickets: a gateway bug

Pisces (2/19 – 3/20):   I know there are people who think crickets are just a gateway bug for me, but that's not so.  It's possible I'll get an ant colony someday, but that's a long way off.  And Pisces, is it so wrong to want a little companionship, anyway?  Speaking of which, will I ever see you?  Make it happen!

Aries (3/21 - 4/19): It's time to review the rules of what not to talk about, Aries.  I've added a few more.  The original seven:
  1. Route talk
  2. Period talk
  3. Aches and pains
  4. How you slept
  5. Dietary needs
  6. Dreams
  7. Money
And a few new ones:
  1. Detailed descriptions of procedures that the listener will never need to perform.  
  2. Detailed descriptions of a movie, book, or video that the listener hasn't seen.
  3. What day it was when something happened.  If you don't know, just say it was Tuesday.  DON'T STRUGGLE TO FIGURE OUT IF IT WAS TUESDAY OR WEDNESDAY UNLESS YOU'RE BEING INTERVIEWED BY THE POLICE.
  4. The weather, unless it's super dramatic.
Ok, there are more but I'll leave it there.  Let's get some cards made up and leave them around, shall we?  There's nothing wrong with a bit of silence.  We don't need to fill in all the gaps, Aries.  If you have gaps this week, fill them with your brilliance!  We need more of that.
A crematorium in upstate NY, and
site of a famous Fata Morgana
Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):  It takes a village to do a crossword puzzle.  An intergenerational village.  But that's not your horoscope, it's just something I've noticed.  But here we go:  I was talking to an efficiency expert the other day, and it was remarkable -- he got right to the point the quickest way.  But we want more than that in our lives, Taurus.  We want getting to the point the most interesting way.  We have time.  

Gemini (5/21 - 6/21):  I just finished reading a memoir about a woman who grew up with hoarders as parents; it was pretty grim.  And it made me think how grateful I am that I don't have that particular malady.  The hoarders form strong attachments to objects and feel grief about the prospect of getting rid of them.  I, personally, have a great deal of trouble caring about objects.  I often wish my house would just burn up, poof!  No more stuff!  I would start over with just one pillow, a sleeping bag, a small acorn bowl, and a spoon.  Sigh of happiness.  And bees.  And crickets.  That's all I need, as Steve Martin said.  (When's the last time you saw that movie?  Go do it!)

Cancer (6/22 – 7/21):  One of my sisters is thinking of starting a blog called, "What Makes You Think My Sister Has Crickets?"  I don't think that's such a great idea, Cancer.  No one ever really thought that.  I hope.  But whatever.  If she starts it, I'll let you know, Cancer.  Meanwhile, your week is going to be delightful.  

Leo (7/23 – 8/22)It seemed like for a while, maybe a month, every time I listened to the news, they'd mention that they're about to get to the sentencing phase for the Boston Marathon bomber.  Now they've done it.   And no one asked me, but I don't think taking another life advances us, as a culture, towards greatness.  What advances us toward greatness, Leo, is forgiveness and compassion.  Do what you can this week.

Virgo (8/23 – 9/22): Write for one minute.  Play solitaire for 5 minutes.  Watch crickets for 7 minutes.  Write for one more minute.  And so my life goes by.  But you have to admit that the crickets are pretty damned interesting.  And beautiful.  Dare I say appetizing? 

Libra (9/23 – 10/22): It turns out that we each have a genetic chronotype, and even though you already know yours, there's a test, and it turns out that the humans love tests! It turns out I'm a lark.  Getting the worm isn't all it's cracked up to be, Libra.  See if you can sleep in once in a while.

Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21):  I did what's called a "walkaway split" of my hives.  The real way to do it is to take a bunch of frames from a strong hive and move them into a new empty hive and then walk away for a month.  I didn't do it exactly that way because I'm not good at walking away.  I have two character flaws involving extreme missing (if it's a person) and extreme curiosity (if its something else).  So, I took a few frames, including one with a couple of queen cells, and put it in a new empty hive with some honey, some bees, and some capped brood.  And then looked in there way too often, and added more brood if it seemed like the bees looked lonely, or just not super happy -- if one can tell such a thing about another being. I didn't look every single day, because I have a tiny bit of restraint. There are two kinds of people, Scorpio -- the "out of sight, out of mind" sorts, and the missers.  We know which kind I am. But the good news is that the other day, I found newly laid eggs, which means that either there's a laying queen, or the workers have given up and they're laying drones in a last ditch effort to get their DNA out into the planet.  Time will tell, Scorpio.  In the meantime, I urge you not to give up.  Believe good things until you're forced to do otherwise.  

Sagittarius (11/22 – 12/21):  Speaking of attachments to things, I've been looking at this book, which consists of pictures of what people would save from their burning house.  I honestly don't know if I'd save anything.  I'd walk away and try not to do a little jig, because that would make me seem guilty, like that woman who pushed her rich bf out of the kayak into the Hudson River, and then went to sing karaoke.  If you like podcasts about karaoke, btw, here's one I've been enjoying.

Capricorn (12/22 - 1/19):  They've added signage on a local roadway to show us how to do the zipper merge: stay in this lane, merge here, take turns.  I wasn't surprised to see the new instructions; I know the Zipper Merge is all the rage these days.  But what did surprise me, and kind of choked me up, is that no one follows the instructions.  It turns out that sign or no sign, we tend to think it's the behavior of an asshole to pass on the right, and we won't do it.  I don't know precisely why it actually brings a lump to my throat, but I think it's because people taking a stand.  Even if it's a stand for something tiny and insignificant.  We, the people of the valley, aren't for line cutting.  We'll rot in traffic before we take up the damned zipper merge!  Displays of courage and conviction always cause me to weep just a little bit.  Did you see that movie Pirate Radio?  Like that.

Aquarius (1/20 – 2/18):  If you've somehow missed this video, go watch it.  Ok, in 1969, my sister and I had a club called The Peace People.  Our main activities were creating science museums in the basement, solving mysteries, sending away for free things from the back of the Saturday Review, and making floral collages on old meat trays. I'd like to get that going again now, if anyone's interested.  And speaking of mysteries, this might be my new favorite podcast.  Check it out, Aquarius.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Horoscopes in Times Square

Pisces (2/19 – 3/20):   I took my kids out to my new fort the other day.  They were my first guests; we sat and drank coffee, which was was exciting.  The best part about forts is making them.  But what you think about while you're working on it, and tell me if this isn't true, is 1)  bringing other people there, and 2) bringing food and drink.  It doesn't feel like a real fort until you've eaten crackers in it.  So it was lovely that the young people indulged me.  It's situated so that one can keep an eye on the swarm trap, which is still empty.  A swarm trap is sort of like a crab pot for bees.  No, it's more like one of those sign that says, in bee, "If you lived here, you'd be home now!"  Pisces, make time for your own fort this week.  Build it, then eat crackers.  

Aries (3/21 - 4/19): The 24 hour mite count on my hives was: 10 in A, 13 in B, zero in the new split.  That doesn't sound too bad until you consider:  if this were your home, and there were ten blood-sucking creatures, that would be way too many.  But bees don't have regular blood like the humans because their liquid (hemolymph) isn't tasked with carrying oxygen to tissues. Instead, honeybees have little tiny openings, spiracles, direct conduits from the air to the tissue that needs it.  Efficient!  I know, Aries, you're thinking jeez, let's get back to my horoscope already!  Here it is:  Spiracles are the reason that you never see a bee panting, which I'm sure you've been wondering about.  It is also why you never see a bee wearing pants (they would cover up the spiracles).  Aries, see if you can grow some metaphorical spiracles.  (Two shots of tequila, then say "metaphorical spiracles" 10 times. It's going to be that sort of week.)

Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):  I grew up in a town that had a noon whistle. I forgot about it until the other day when I heard a similar sound, and then I wished for that again.  Lunchtime for a whole town.  Put down your shovel, open up your metal lunch bucket, and crack out your baloney sandwich -- everybody's doing it.  I may start wearing a whistle around my neck and just blow it at noon.  What do you think, Taurus?  Noon whistles, quaint or annoying?  This week, Taurus, listen for whistles.

Gemini (5/21 - 6/21): Someone said I should rename my blog, "What makes you think I have crickets?"  But um, that just hits a little close to home.  Me and the insects.  And seriously, I don't think someone could look at me and know that I'm an actual cricket rancher. Gemini, the crickets are magical, and if you have a little bamboo cage I'll set you up.  

Cancer (6/22 – 7/21): My friend suggested I stop planning to eat the crickets, and instead, develop a cricket circus.  I don't think that's a thing, but she thought I could train them to do tricks, wear clothes, and sing little songs.  Maybe bring them to yoga so they can learn a few poses.  But Cancer, I think being a carney for a cricket circus is weirder than being a cricket farmer.   Although both could be considered exploiting the poor insects, I think one has a more legitimate purpose.  Cancer, follow your legitimate purpose this week.  Don't join the flea circus!

Leo (7/23 – 8/22): I was impersonated twice on Facebook last week, which seems creepy.  I can't imagine what the point is.  Why would anyone want to get my particular news feed?   Right?  To see cute pictures of the children of my friends, learn what various people are eating, and see the same old memes and reposts from a different source?  But I'll try to take it as a good thing, as if there's a human on the planet thinking, "wow, all the cool kids are cricket farmers, I should impersonate her!  I will pose as someone who lives alone with 80,000 bees and 35 crickets.  How cool is that?"  Anyway, I should probably find that person and be their actual friend.  But back to you, Leo.  Mars is in Gemini, and you know what that means.  (Me neither.  But I think it's good.)

Virgo (8/23 – 9/22):  Have you ever noticed how men's names are often verbs, but women's names rarely are?  Rob, Jack, Bill, Bob, Chase, Grant, Mark, Wade, Foster?  The only woman's name I can think of that's a verb is Hope, which, though it's a lovely name, isn't the strongest verb we know of. Live like a verb, Virgo.  Just do it. 

Libra (9/23 – 10/22):  I found myself near a pet store the other day, and thought it was as good a time as any to purchase my crickets.  I went inside and asked the employee, who disappeared into a back room. He returned and handed me a small plastic bag with 35 crickets in it, and asked, "So, what are you feeding?"  
I didn't have an answer ready, and tried to think quickly -- would they be for a pet chameleon?  Or a snake?  But what if I made something up and he asked more questions?  And I'm a terrible liar. So, after a long, awkward silence, I said, "Humans."

He didn't miss a beat, and said I might want to be careful because they 'plump them up'.  I asked what that was, and learned that the pet store injects crickets with vitamins to increase their nutritional value before they're consumed by a snake or lizard.  That seemed especially sad -- one creature being cultivated as a vitamin for another creature that's being used as a pet for a human.  At any rate, I left the store with 35 live crickets and a plastic terrarium with a nice snap-on breathable lid.  So much for no plastic, Libra.  But, if all goes well, I'll be eating home-grown meat that doesn't get plastic wrapped in Arkansas and shipped here in a truck.
Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21):  Good work, NYT.  I've always thought it was inappropriate to go have a non-english-speaking stranger wash my feet and paint my toenails, though I have done it a few times.  But I'm glad of this journalism, and I hope the whole pedicure thing goes out of fashion as something unethical, like wearing fur coats.  Scorpio, do what you can about this.  Although its sandal season, don't succumb to the pedicure thing.

Sagittarius (11/22 – 12/21):  I killed  8 crickets today (although I prefer to say "harvested." Side note:  why isn't Harvest a man's name?)  I gently extracted the insects from their little habitat, scooped them into a plastic (again!) yogurt container, and put them into the freezer; I'll do this every week until I have a cup.  Which could take a while.  I think their last days were better than they could have been -- in a little area with plants and soil and little tiny bits of watermelon, potatoes, and pineapple to eat. Freezing must be preferable to being chased around a cage by a hungry venomous snake.  The crickets are sub-social, meaning they'll hang out with other crickets but don't need them; they prefer some alone time.  I might be subsocial myself.  Oops, I didn't mean to say that aloud.  Sag, there's nothing wrong with preferring some alone time.  One thing I will not do, though, is post a picture of myself lying next to the dead crickets like that one lady, Sag.  

Capricorn (12/22 - 1/19):  There are some great recipes available, but I think I might go off on my own.  How about Jimminy Croquette?  Although Cricket Pad Thai and Hoppin' Good Cricket Fried Rice do sound yummy.  Picture this:  Food Truck in Times Square.  Capricorn, be careful out there this week.  Did you know that Capra is the term for a male goat, while Capella is the term for a female goat?  Capellacorn has a nice ring, although it sounds edible.  

Aquarius (1/20 – 2/18):  Speaking of pants, I have a vague idea for a massage gown -- sort of a one-piece pants suit with slits and openings so you could discretely extract the body part you needed without all that complicated draping business.  Any ideas on that, Aquarius?