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Monday, January 21, 2008

Bruck's Practical Zodiac

One of the first things the kids of Bruck learned to read was the standard placemat at the Chinese restaurant, containing the Chinese zodiac. It's got everything needed to capture a youngster's imagination - cute stylized animals, light reading, self-identification - how many times I've listened to my 2-sentence psychoanalysis while waiting for the soup and egg rolls to arrive! BTW, I'm a Rabbit, according to Chinese legend, while the extraordinary Mrs. Bruck is a Tiger, which pretty much sums up our relationship.

And you won't get far into the comic section of your local newspaper without encountering this staple of American journalism - your daily horoscope, which is based on Greek zodiac signs. According to this system, I'm a Gemini, which means I can multitask and/or have multiple personalities.

Aside from the fact that these systems are built upon myth and superstition, and to no small extent, the exploitation of the ignorant, there is something entirely unsatisfying about these systems, namely the lack of practical applicability. Who cares if I'm witty and sentimental? So what if you're talented and sensitive? We need something we can sink our teeth into, something to get us through the day, something to help us make those tough decisions. As usual, we're at your service with Bruck's Practical Zodiac.

First, let's determine a timeframe to base it on. Traditionally, zodiacs are based on your birthday, which is a suitable variable allowing for maximal subjectivity, considering that (1) you have no control over it whatsoever, and (2) you personally can not remember your own birthday or anything anywhere near it. Also, a degree of psuedo-objectivity can be deduced from astrology - the stars were in some calculable position on your birthday, and gullible acolytes are easily convinced that this affects their success or failure in various aspects of life - willingly, too, as it absolves them of culpability for failure or any other responsibility for whatever of their existence.

The Chinese zodiac is based on birth year (Chinese year, which is approx. a month offset the Julian year), while the Greek one is based on the day of the year on which you were born, broken into approximately 1-month segments. These convenient delineators already taken, your faithful editor is left with the day of the week of your birthday. This simplifies things somewhat, leaving me only seven groups to keep track of, instead of twelve. It also takes me out of the realm of astrology, as the position of the stars is not aligned with weekday. BTW, in case you're too old to remember what day you were born on, here's a convenient calculator thereof: http://www.paulsadowski.com/birthday.asp.

Next, we have to name the groups. It would be boring, and less convincing overall, to just name them after the weekdays. Since this is a 21st century zodiac, we'll use modern icons. What's a Sagittarius anyway?

Sunday: Spatula
Monday: Moose
Tuesday: Duct Tape
Wednesday: Mudflap
Thursday: Kidney
Friday: Banjo
Saturday: Chainsaw

Spatula (Sunday)

Your Profile: It's easy to ignore those signs that say "Bridge may be icy," as they are irrelevant just about all the time. However, when conditions are right, the bridge does become icy while the roads are still maneuverable, catching you off guard. Now think, what other benign objects and situations become perilous under rare but plausible circumstances? You should devote considerable time to this question.

Interactions with other signs:
Marry or send money to a: Mudflap
Do not make direct eye contact with a: Banjo

Today's horoscope: figure out a socially-acceptable way to return the items you found in your pockets the day after the Christmas party.

Moose (Monday)

Your Profile: Tammy Wynette (Stand By Your Man, D-I-V-O-R-C-E) went to beauty school in 1963, and renewed her cosmetology license every year thereafter, in case she ever needed to go back to a day job. Not really necessary in her case, maybe not such a bad idea for you.

Interactions with other signs:
File a pre-emptive restraining order against a: Spatula
Dial random phone numbers until you reach a: Chainsaw

Today's horoscope: you're a little gassy today - avoid open flames.

Duct Tape (Tuesday)

Your Profile: Have you ever peed in your backyard? You should try it. I dare you. I double dare you! Okay, you can wait till it's dark out.

Interactions with other signs:
Believe anything told you by a: Moose
Have cheese and crackers with a: Kidney

Today's horoscope: Diversify.

Mudflap (Wednesday)

Your Profile: I think most people realize that they won't play tennis at Wimbeldon without having trained and practiced for years, starting at a young age, and likewise they won't be invited to the Buick Open the week after buying their first set of clubs. So what makes you think you can show up on American Idol, or for that matter, the local Karaoke bar, and make the people think you're the reincarnation of Frank Sinatra?

Interactions with other signs:
Never swim in the same pool with a: Banjo
File a frivilous lawsuit against a: Duct Tape

Today's horoscope: Your fly's open. Made you look! Made you look!

Kidney (Thursday)

Your Profile: When they say, "follow your dreams," they don't mean try to recreate the absurd, bizarre situations you dreamed last night after a midnight snack of leftover pizza; what they mean is, pursue your goals and aspirations in life. I'm glad we got that straightened out.

Interactions with other signs:
Share your deepest, darkest secrets with a: Spatula
Steal something from a: Duct Tape

Today's horoscope: The Mullet is coming back in style - beat the rush!

Banjo (Friday)

Your Profile: The ninth commandment is, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor," which is commonly understood to mean, "do not lie." So why do you continually encounter situations where a fabrication seems like the right course of action? Maybe you need a new set of friends.

Interactions with other signs:
Buy lunch for a: Mudflap
Give unsolicited advice to a: Chainsaw

Today's horoscope: Buy low, sell high, split the profits with Bruck

Chainsaw (Saturday)

Your Profile: The US interstate highway system uses the following convention for naming its highways: east-west routes get even numbers, while north-south routes get odd ones. Numbers go higher as you go from west to east, indicating the approximate percentage of the continental US that lies to the west of them, e.g., I-75 runs north-south and approximately 75% of the land mass of the continental US lies to the west of it. Similarly, numbers go higher as you go from south to north; I-94 runs generally east-west and approx. 94% of the continental US lies to the south of it. Routes that divert from the main highway, such as those that circumscribe a city, get the main highway's number plus an extra digit on the front, e.g., I-275 diverts from I-75 south of Detroit, and bypasses the city to the west.

Interactions with other signs:
Aid and abet crimes committed by a: Kidney
(Men only) Never stand at a urinal adjacent to one in use by a: Moose

Today's horoscope: Before any decision, ask yourself WWBD (what would Bruck do?).


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