Saturday, December 31, 2005

December 2005

Yes, my astroillogical possums, it's that time again! It hardly seems like it's been a whole year since last Hogswatch, does it? I myself only took down my sausage garlands and mistletoe last week - well, the garlands I left up because they'd become too feral to get near without lion-taming equipment after the first month, and the mistletoe I left up because you never know when you might need it. This year I've spared no expense to travel the Disc, seeking out well-known Personalities born under each Sign and asking them how they plan to be spending Hogswatch; some of them even deigned to answer me, and some of the answers were printable! So grab your star charts, your Great A'Tuin piñatas and your favourite hangover cures and par-tayyy...

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

Cheery Littlebottom: "I'm going to spend Hogswatch in Uberwald this year as a guest of the Low King. I'm so excited! We're going to sort tailings from the new silver mines - sometimes it's nice to get back to cosy traditional things, you know - and there's even a rumour that sh-, I mean he might have a Music With Rocks In disco in the Disused Shaft Club down in Old Number 22. Beats working with smelly chemicals and smellier dead bodies, I can tell you!"

His Grace Samuel Vimes, Duke of Ankh: "This year will be our first true family Hogswatch since our Mam, erm, since. No more shouting across the Ramkin banquetting table while Willikins serves like a silent Thief. No, this year we'll have all the party games and the crackers and the proper festivities, because I want my son to remember every Hogswatch as a joyful time when his father is home all day and no-one dies horribly on the doorstep. Nothing's too good for my Sam."

Mrs Evadne Cake: "Hogswatch will've been a laugh this year. We'll've had mince pies - with minced pork, of course - and roast suckling pig and some of that nice Mr Dibbler's sausages. Ludmilla and her young man will've done great at Charades, and young Mr Shoe from the Watch will've dropped by with a nice card from Lugubri's sorry-for-yer-loss shop. But I have to say that next Hogswatch was even better."

Sergeant Jackrum: "Upon my oath, I'm not a Hogswatch man. I'd sooner spend that day drinking and telling battle stories down the pub. Any pub. But this year, as a special concession to my Little Lads, I'm going to spend Hogswatch in the old traditional Borogravian way - fasting, reading the Book of Nuggan aloud in a sober voice, and toasting the health of the Duchess in mineral water. That's what I'm telling the Ruperts anyway!" And if you believe that, you'd make a good soldier."

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

Reginald Shoe: "Of course I won't be following all those vital people's traditions, because we postvitals don't eat pork products, or any kind of products. No, we rejoice in being by-products. Every Hogswatch the Fresh Start Club gives Ankh-Morpork and the wider Disc the best present of all, by not adding to the population problem. But I do try to keep an open mind, so I'll be participating in some of the less politically-incorrect party games and Hogswatch carolling. Oh, and I intend to pay a social call on Mrs Cake and bring her a card, but that's going to be a surprise."

Mustrum Ridcully: "This Hogswatch, I'll be going hunting. I intend to bag a boar, a stag and a brace of pheasants, then get Mrs Whitlow to stuff the pheasants in the boar and the boar in the stag and roast them with plenty of Wow-Wow sauce. That should make a fine little snack to start off our Hogswatch Breakfast. The Dean wants us to play Charades, but I've warned him that he is under no circumstances allowed to try acting out Beti the Exotic Dancer again."

Hughnon Ridcully: "Hogswatch is at heart a solemn time, a time to ponder on the ineffable ways of the gods and the marvels and miracles of the world around us, a time for abstinence and contemplation, a time of joy to all men. Oh, all right, and to all Golems. Yes, and other sentient species. Very well. I shall be reading the Hogswatch Service in Small Gods myself this year. After that? I hear Mustrum's doing a spot of hunting...abstinence is a state of mind, after all."

C.M.O.T. Dibbler: "I've got just the thing for you this Hogswatch - the finest quality cuddly toys! Fluffy scale-model cuddlies of Slasher, Gouger, Tusker and Rooter. Totally lifelike! And when you pull their hidden strings, they widdle and grunt! Just AM$9.99, and that's cutting my own throat! And can I interest you in a Sonky and Sons life-sized inflatable Hogfather? String of papier-mâché sausages? And of course there's the inimitable Dibbler's Festive Hogswatch Sausages Inna Bun and Holiday Pork (Probably) Pies. Buy one! Buy two! You know it makes sense!"

Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

Mrs Rosie Palm: "Every Hogswatch, my girls and I spare no effort to get into the festive spirit. Of course we're great supporters of pork products - especially, erm, sausages - and we're quite enthusiastic about dances, especially private ones, and wassailing. And mistletoe. Oh, and Charades. My youngest, most attractive girls will be dressing as Hogswatch presents. And I'm sure you know we're very keen on presents that come in stockings..."

Susan Sto Helit: "I don't hold with all that holiday rubbish, but I suppose I can stretch to dropping in on Grandfather for a cup of Albert's fried porridge. Just so long as Grandfather and that rat don't try to make me play Charades."

Tiffany Aching: "This Hogswatch I intend to work very hard on my holiday cheeses. Mistress Ogg has invited me up to her town to teach me the mysteries of the famous Lancre Blue cheese. I'm a bit worried about the way she says 'Blue' though. And about her telling me to bring a heavy leather apron and chain mail. Leather and chain mail for cheesemaking? Perhaps I should bring a frying pan as well, just to be safe."

The Abbot of the History Monks: "To a Yen Buddhist History Monk, all Days are as one day grzzlewaaah!, so we don't celebrate Hogswatch. Of course, if you look at it another way, every day is Hogswatch, but we don't eat pork wannapottywannapottynow! and that much sherry would give me terrible wind. I plan to spend your Hogswatch Day drinking hot yak-butter tea with my favourite Yetis, and shouting at the novices wannawannawannaBIKKIT!"

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

William de Worde: "Has the Hogfather (age unknown) been secretly suffering a debilitating illness? Reports from various sources indicate that, on his Hogswatchnight outing last year, he was seen to appear considerably thinner - 'Almost like a skellington,' said Arthur Nougat (5) of No. 21 The Lane, Little Scullings. There's also the disturbing mystery of 'Albert the Elf', the Hogfather's new assistant; Mrs Elsie Gubbins (62) of Dolly Sisters claims she saw this personage smoking, swearing, scratching himself inappropriately and stealing festive pork pies. Is that the sort of influence we want our children subjected to at this sacrosanct time of year? The public should be told the truth."

Mrs Whitlow: "Polly, Dolly, Molly and H'ai shall be h'engaged in the making of the usual wagonloads of pork pies, mince pies, sausages and roast suckling pigs for the Faculty Hogswatch parties. We shan't have time to 'party', there's too much to be done. H'ai don't hold with this Hogswatch carousing h'anyways. There's far too much drinking, and those Charades can get pretty riskey. Or so H'aive heard. Hmph."

Gytha Ogg: "Our Dreen says she's ordered me one of those ex-o-teek palm trees from Klatch, to put next to the fireplace this Hogswatch Eve. That won't half confuse the Hogfather when he comes down my chimney! Of course, they don't celebrate Hogswatchnight out in Klatch, they decorate their camels instead and do the Dance of the Seven Veils. My second husband used to love me doing the Dance of the Seven Veils. He said I was the most erratic woman in all Lancre - spelling was never his strong point. But he certainly had a strong point...I've invited young Tiffany up to visit as well, going to give her some tips on cheesemaking. Fine young lass, though maybe a bit too serious. I may give her the palm tree - then she'll never lack for dates."

Mrs Marietta Cosmopilite: "I'll be locking my door this Hogswatch. I'm sick to the back teeth of all those little yellow men wandering in and sitting at my feet and taking down everything I say. One of them called me 'great sage' last year. Now I ask you, do I look like a kitchen herb? Some people ought to get out more in the fresh air, I tell you."

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

Dr Dinwiddie, Bursar of UU: "The Archchancellor's going to let me have cutlery! And Distressed Pudding! Wheee!"

HRH Magrat de Lancre: "In the ancient days, when folk were ancient and had far more folk wisdom than the kind of unwise folk we get these days, Hogswatch was all about the death and rebirth of the land, about the affirmation of ancient rituals and paying respects to the earth and to the gods. Now people seem to think it's all just about getting drunk and singing rude songs, and Charades, and who's got the biggest pork pie. I think that's a shame. I made Verence make a proclamation about it, but Shawn Ogg couldn't read it out in the town square because he was too drunk and he'd sprained his ankle acting out the Dance of the Seven Veils during Charades at Nanny's."

C.W.St.J. (Nobby) Nobbs: "I'll be practising traditional Ankh-Morpork folkways for Hogswatch. Why are you looking at me like that? Nothing wrong with traditional folkways. Nothing wrong with hankies; useful things, hankies. And bells. And athletic pursuits outdoors in the fresh smog, erm, air. I might meet Fred Colon for a smoke later in the day. He always tells the missus we're going carolling, and she always falls for it. Good woman, that Mrs Fred."

Agnes Nitt: "Hogswatch is all about giving, and sharing, and putting up with insults from one's family. And desserts, of course. But not mistletoe. Never mistletoe. I'll be carolling again this year, too. They even pay me, because they say my being able to sing two parts at once saves on rehearsal expenses."

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

HRH Verence II de Lancre: "This year, I've decreed an old-fashioned, traditional Hogswatch festival in Lancre Town. There will be sausage bobbing, black pudding pitching, a bonfire, and humorous paper hats for all our subjects. I've tasked Shawn Ogg with setting up a tree recycling collection - can't overestimate the importance of recycling in these enlightened times. I wanted to have Mrs Ogg as our festival traditions consultant since she knows so much about ancient neglected folkways, but Magrat, I mean Her Royal Highness, says Nanny Ogg's traditions are the sort that ought to stay neglected. Oh, and we've sent to Slice for their famous weasel juggler."

Sgt Fred Colon: "Mrs Colon will be making all the traditional Hogswatch foods. We'll eat and drink even more than usual, pull our crackers, play Charades, and then listen to the town criers reading out the Patrician's Speech. Nobby's threatened to drop by later, so we might arrange to go out for a smoke, I mean for carolling. Hopefully no-one will steal the Brass Bridge while I'm on holidays."

Twoflower of Agatea: "Your Hogswatch holiday is so fascinating! So many unusual and exciting activities! I especially like the noble game you call 'Charades', and the exploding crackers with their sage and humorous slogans - very like our misfortune cookies. I intend to don your traditional paper hat, sit on the Hogfather's lap, and kiss him under the mistletoe. And I shall sit up late and eat pork pies with sherry, and wrap presents, and ask total strangers if they've been naughty or nice. I've bought extra paint for my iconograph imps to capture every moment of the festive season!"

Tomjon Vitoller: "I'll be appearing as the Ghost of Hogswatch Past, Present and Yet to Come in Hwel's new play 'Carol Does Hogswatch'. Some weasel juggler from Slice tried to hire me to impersonate him at the Lancre Hogswatch Festival - apparently he's double-booked - but I think I've seen enough of Lancre to last a lifetime."

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

Rincewind: "I intend to stay locked in my study, where I will do quiet, safe, unthreatening things and eat a big plate of steaming potatoes. No sausages for me, they look too dangerous. And I'm certainly not coming out for Charades, no matter what the Dean says."

Constable Washpot Visit: We followers of the great Om don't hold with the pagan frivolities of the unbelievers. The so-called Hogswatch Day, and every day, is for us a time of prayer and contemplation and haranguing all unbelievers to forsake their heathen ways and join the Church of Om. Can I interest you in some educational pamphlets?"

Ponder Stibbons: "We're throwing a little party for Hex this Hogswatch, since he's been working so hard all year. I know Hex is only a machine, but this is a magical University after all, and more and more he - it - acts like a person. Rather like the Bursar, actually. Hex printed us out a Hogswatch card last night, and made the following request, at least I think it's a request: ++ I POSTULATE THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO PLAY CHARADES IN A TEXT-BASED MEDIUM. NEED MORE CHEESE, A DUNGEON, AND A BAG OF HOLDING++ - we'll be looking into that. Hex also managed to somehow send a clacks to Hung Lo's Klatchian Pizzeria, ordering 50 large Tropical Hots with extra Wow-Wow sauce. See? Just like the Bursar."

Stanley of the Post Office: "We have a new special-issue Hogswatch stamp! In two sizes! These are offered in both domestic and foreign denominations and are produced to the highest standard, using vegetable-based paints of my own manufacture. The half-dollar stamps feature a new portrait of Lord Vetinari, specially commissioned, by Leonard of Quirm, and the tenpence stamps are available as a series of reproduced illustrations from the popular children's book 'Where's My Cow?'. These are not-to-be-missed collector's items! Ask me about stamps today! I'll be working at the Post Office all through Hogswatch, of course."

Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

Otto Chriek: "I vill stay home und polish my iconograph lenses, und feed zer imps und zer salamanders. Und not drink zer blood. On no account vill I drink zer blood. Back in Uberwald, ve haff zer blood sausages, und zer blood pudding, und, I zink I vill go haff a little lie-down now, excuse me."

Mrs Vena McGarry: "I just don't know what I'll do with myself now that the lads have buggered off to another realm of pillage and plunder. Things have been dreadfully quiet ever since. I might drop in on Mrs War and help her with the new batch of massage oil and bunion creams, but probably I'll just stay home and knit broadsword scabbards for the grandchildren."

The Dean of UU: "Charades! Pork pies! Cracker-pulling! And even bigger than usual dinners! And Ridcully's agreed to let me lead the paintball battle! Yes! Hut! Yo!"

Carrot Ironfoundersson: "Angua and I will be ski-ing in the Uberwald Alps this Hogswatch. I suggested we drop in on her parents, but for some reason she said she'd rather visit the dwarf bread museum at Copperhead, or dive headfirst into a vat of boiling oil. I think she was displaying sarcasm."

Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

Her Grace Sybil, Duchess of Ankh: "This is the first Hogswatch young Sam will be old enough to remember, so we'll be pushing the boat out to make it a memorable one. We'll have carols by dragonlight, and pork pies - he's on solid foods now, isn't he clever? - and sausages a la Genua, and paper hats with the Ramkin crest on them. I've made sure my husband understands that our son has to have one day when his father is home all day and no-one dies horribly on the doorstep. Nothing's too good for my Sams."

The Great Gaspode: "I'll be doin' a spot o' seasonal begging wiv my human pet Foul Ole Ron. Well, some say he's human. Myself, I'm not so sure. I've met Scoone Avenue poodles more human than Ron. Still, it always helps to have a pet human onna leash, people seem to dig deeper in their pockets for a double act. Oh, and we'll be begging at the Palace kitchens on St Furtive's Day. They're always good for a sausage or two, so long as we promise not to sing carols at them."

Leonard of Quirm: "Oh, is it Hogswatch again? How time flies, it seems like barely a year ago that I had built a chimney-widening apparatus to allow fathers to more easily pretend to be Hogfathers, and incidentally also prise open the walls of castles and fortresses. This year, I shall be finishing my device for using rays of invisible light to cook food very quickly from the inside out. I call it the Cooking Food From The Inside Out With Rays Of Invisible Light Very Quickly Device. Surely no-one would ever think of using it for something so terrible as cooking people very quickly from the inside out. Er, happy Hogswatch!"

Seldom Bucket: "A quiet holiday. Plenty of cheese. No stress. And no opera. Especially no opera."

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

Mrs Erzulie Gogol: "I'll be making my special Hogswatch jambalaya, so's I can have a look at what's goin' to happen in the next year. Young miss Ella says she'll be dropping round for a visit an' a snack on the day. She invited me to the palace, but I declined. After all, I can't afford to be seen lowering my standards."

Esmerelda Weatherwax: "Traditional Hogswatch celebrations? Cuddly Hogfather dolls? Load o' rubbish. I've met the Hogfather and I can tell you he's not even a little bit cuddly. Hogswatch is an important time for witches - keeping the real old traditions - and there's nothing cuddly about those either. And as for paper hats and Charades, I can't be having with that sort of thing."

Lord Havelock Vetinari: "In honour of the festive nature of the day, I shall take an entire thirty minutes off from scrutinising and ruling the city, and consider one glass of wine with my bread and water. For sheer indulgence, I shall read the entire score of Fondel's 'Underwater Music'. One must accept a modicum of frivolity at least one day of the year, especially on the part of others, so I shall give Drumknott an hour off. Don't let me stop you leaving, madam."

Moist von Lipwig: "I was thinking of dropping round to the Golem Trust to ask Miss Dearheart if she wants to go watch the carollers in Sator Square with me. I've taken the precaution of buying six cartons of Klatchian Kools cigarettes, an armload of Higgs & Meakins finest chocolates, and some mistletoe. Does anyone know how to buy off a Golem chaperon?

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

Lu-Tze the Sweeper: Is it not said that to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven? Not that I'd know, but I can tell you that each day is the same as every other one when there's sweeping to be done. It's not like sweepers get time off, you know. Especially on public holidays, when people are partying and making even more rubbish than usual. For is it not said that many hands make light work?"

Count Giamo Casanunda: "Mistletoe. Hogswatch is definitely all about the mistletoe. So, what's a lovely lady like yourself doing out working alone on Hogswatch, when you could be sharing the delights of the language of love with a willing admirer like, say, the world's second greatest lover? Have you ever eaten oysters? Or watched the moonrise over Cori Celesti from a secluded bower? Mmm?"

Conina: "Mmm, wild boar. Roast wild boar. See these hairdressing scissors? I can carve a roast wild boar - or a live one - into perfect portions in twenty seconds flat. And Io help anyone who gets within three feet of me with a paper hat. Herrydeterrity is so embarrassing..."

Angua von Uberwald: "I'll be ski-ing with my...friend Carrot, and enjoying a vegetarian meal. I certainly won't be spending time with my family. I wanted to stay on duty for the Hogswatch season - crime is rife when the dog's away - but Carrot can be very persuasive. And at least he's not the sort to commit, er, indulge in Charades."

Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

Rob Anybody Mac Feegle: "Aye, 'tis Hogswatch, right enough. Me an' the lads'll be oot giein' ship beasties an' Sassenachs a face full o' heid, and havin' a sip o' the auld Special Sheep Liniment. An' stealin', o'course. Wouldn't be Hogswatch wi'out the stealin'. I've commissioned, that's one o' them lawyer words, our gonnagle t' make an extrrra special Hogswatch poem in honour of Kelda Jeannie. Accomp'nied by mousepipes, o'course - it's been a while since the burrow had a good clean-out o' vermin. As for thet Hogfather - crivens, we Feegle don't take kindly to the housebreakin' unless it's us what's doin' it. If he dares shinny down our chimney, we'll gie him a kickin' he'll not soon forget!"

Jason Ogg: "I be decorating our Mam's house for Hogswatch, same as always, and forging some new strings for her banjo. And I always take time on Hogswatch to do a little shoeing job for a very special customer. It ain't easy shoeing boars, but I've got Duties."

Dr "Mossy" Lawn: "Holiday celebrations? As if! Hogswatch is my busiest time of year, what with all the cases of alcohol poisoning, the knife and bludgeon wounds, the frostbitten carollers, the unsuccessful suicides...not to mention all the embarrassing injuries sustained from playing Charades. And young fathers suffering from burns and soot inhalation after attempting to convince their children that the Hogfather really can fit down a chimney. And the jolly uncles with lampshades stuck on their heads. And don't get me started on the body parts I have to extract mistletoe from! But I will be cooking a Hogswatch goose in the surgical sterilising cauldron, though Cori Celesti knows when I'll get time to actually eat it."

Igor: "All I want for Hogthwatch ith my two front teeth. And a few thetth of thpareth. And a couple of new kidneyth. Mind you, the old one'th I got from my Uncle Igor are thill functhioning exthellently. I'd love to do thome thurgery experimenth on the Hogfather; I thuthpect that grafting thome of the flying pig partth onto him would make deliverieth of prethentth eathier and fathter..."

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

November 2005

From far Agatea comes the noble art of Haiku (not to be confused with the lesser Bhangbhangducan arts of Sezyu and Fuku); this month, I've a fancy to cast your Horoscopes in Haiku form. Since this form of arcane Eastern art is bloody difficu-, um, rather delicate and precise, you may find that a certain soupcon of my usual "trademark humour" is missing (no, Mister Throat, I'm not going to explain what a "trademark" is. Yes, my ancient mother quite enjoyed those almost unused false teeth you sold her last week at an even larger than usual discount price. No, I'm still not going to explain to you about "trademarks"). As always, I exhort you to look to your Signs and take my advice without a grain of salt, unless you're a Sea Troll, in which case you can't take anything without a grain of salt. Be well.

Writing horoscopes
Is by far more difficult
Than you'd think. - what? What?

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

Adamant Hedgehog
Sign of cops (and Mrs Cake)
Protects feet and nails

This month, buy new shoes
Invest well in manicures
Sacrifice to Fate

Tend your offspring well
Share with them great lit'rature
"That is not my cow!"

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

Tulips in the sky
Gahoolie, the astral Vase
Smiles on those confused

This month, seek new goals
Try postvital politics
Join the Fresh Start Club

Zombies need hugs too!
Don't avoid them, even if
Bits keep dropping off

Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

Gentle hunted Herne
God of small and helpless lives
Favours nervous types

This month, guard your skin
From Fourecks's brutal sun
(Bring a beer along)

Caution is your friend
Sunstroke is your enemy
Practise "Slip, Slap, Slop"

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

Wizard's Staff and Knob:
Fans of aristology
Know this Star Sign well

This month, take light meals
And eschew things over-rich
(That's eschew, not "chew")

Second breakfast's out
Likewise for elevenses
Soon, you'll see your feet

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

Morning-after woes?
Bilious, God of Hangovers
Groans in sympathy

This month, try "Lite" beers
Sup not of reannuals
That would end in tears

Recent research shows
Unfermented grape juice is
Good for healthy hearts!

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

Lacking artifice?
Mubbo the Hyena can
Inspire subtleness

This month, avoid swords
Unless wielded by yourself
In berserker rage

Empires beg to fall
Trodden 'neath your sandalled feet
Soft the hero sleeps

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

Terrified of risks?
Boring Groups of (Small) Faint Stars
Shines upon your fears

This month, forswear spells
And geography

Seek a quiet life
Magical researches are
Best left to the brave

Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

Starry, starry night
Born under Androgyna?
Casual's the word

This month, brook no fools
Beware Dibblers bearing gifts
(Also, Mrs Cake)

Thrift's for faint of heart
Bargain hunters know no fear
Shop until you drop

Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

Travel free and far
Great T'Phon's Foot will not step
Hard on Footys born

This month, use your head
Swot arcane philosophies
Or invent the Gonne

Thoughts cannot be caged
Even when the thinker's chained
Head-down o'er a pit

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

Magickal adepts
Hoki, Jokester set on high
Brings you eldritch luck

This month, cast dark runes
Study well the entrails' turns
Dead men do tell tales

Shadows, eerie winds
"When shall we three meet again?"
Don't forget the scones

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

Hark to Love's sweet song!
Rather Large Gazunda holds
Sway o'er lovers' lips

This month, make love well
Whether you be Seamstress fair
Or besotted Dwarf

Carrots, oysters, wine
Don't forget the Special Sauce
Thus are legends born

Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

Clever-fingered thieves
Lesser Umbrage favours you
With keen eyes and hands

This month, lose yourself
In the practice of your Arts
Heed nae Laird nor Quin

Steal a passing ship
Or a coo, if you be bold
Blow, ye mousepipes, blow!

Monday, October 31, 2005

October 2005

Alliteration: amazing, amusing, all-astounding alliteration! This month, I pepper your page with confounding confections of literal and literary fonts fantastic. Why, do you ask? Just because I can! Now stand back and marvel as your friendly neighbourhood astrologer aimlessly attempts animatedly acerbic animation without a net. Or a thesaurus.

P.S. This is the sort of alliteration that goes as much by the sound of words as by their first letters. Read aloud for maximum tongue-trippery.

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

This month, you will display diverting depths of debating derring-do and decoct diabolically Dibblerish deceptions in dazzling, dexterous demonstrations of delectably delicate diction. You will dreamily deflect doubt and derision with the disputational deftness of a Descartes or Derrida, as delineated duellists decamp in distress. In the demesne of discourse, you can do definite damage. Dude!

Tip of the month: avoid amorous Agateans.

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

This month, your new-found, nay, nascent knowledge of nimble-fingered needlework will be named newsworthy (note that the nature of this needlework is not...nocturnal). Negate nugatory nay-sayers and Nugganites as you network your Niche-market: nobles, nobs and nabobs (not Nobby), but never niggardly nincompoops nor neolithic nerds. Navigate numismatic narrows to nurture your nest-egg - now!

Tip of the month: bypass bellicose Borogravians.

Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

This month, fulfil your farinaceous fancies with a fecund fiesta of figgin folderol, fresh flatbreads, filigreed filo-pastries and flavoursome fruit other words, free your fertile flights of floury fantasies and fetter your fears and feelings of foreboding and failure in the field of foodstuffs! For fierce Fedecks foretells fair fortune, fine fodder-fashioners.

Tip of the month: upbraid unctuous Uberwaldeans.

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

This month, you'll effectively explore the exquisite efficacy of education as you endeavour to express the elements of erudition from erratic to the erotic, the earthly to the exotic and the ecumenical to the extraordinary. Your expert, enthusiastic exhibition of exceptional excerpts expels ennui and entreats everyone to enter establishments of enlightenment. Enthral 'em with euphonious ekphrasis - or ex-ter-mi-nate!

Tip of the month: jettison gentrified Genuans.

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

This month, a surplus shipment of succulent seafood serendipitously sorts solvency scrapes and spells salvation as Society celebrates and salivates at your Celestial Squishi Shop's chef's specials! Strive sweetly to centre self-supporting schemes: suddenly, struggles cease. Salute psychic strength, savour census surveys, sing softly, sanguinely serve Seamstresses singular selections of stir-fry, and sell sea shells.

(If you are an Igor, under no circumstances try to read this horoscope aloud!!!)

Tip of the month: beleaguer bucolic Brindisians.

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

This month, jump joyfully into a jolly, jumbled, jelly-jawed jamboree of jesting. Generate jocularity, jovial japes, juicy gibes and generic jackassery for geriatric judiciaries, jowly generals, jobbing jackanapes and junior journeymen. Gesticulate generously, jingle janglingly, jab gerbils, jubilantly juxtapose jewels and junk, and juggle, juggle, juggle! Geronimo!

Tip of the month: quash quixotic Quirmians.

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

This month, grasp greatness as you gamble on gardening. Gallivant through goldenrod-gilded greenswards, gossip garrulously about gaudy gardenias, gravitate toward garish gillyflowers and gladioli-girt gazebos, glide gracefully around graduated glades, and gaily give gratuitous grass-growing guidance. Got greedy greenflies? - gather guardian ganders. Grab your gloves and get grubby!

Tip of the month: terrorise truculent Tsorteans.

Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

This month, present pearlescent ponderings that perspicaciously penetrate portentously pantheistic pinnacles with pleasing pyrotechnics of picaresque poetry. Perfunctorily pacify persnickety persons, pre-empting their pitiful protests and peccadilloes, with picturesquely-phrased peregrinations through pertinently poetical plateaus and panoramic parklands. Poetry is your personal portal; pander precariously, prevaricate postmodernistically, but persevere!

Tip of the month: marginalise maladroit Morporkians.

† i.e., Cori Celesti.

Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

This month, orchestrate operatic octaves to obtain an onslaught of outrageous ovations, as you open your ordained oral orifice for orotund outpourings of opulently onomatopoeic aural occasions! Opportunistically overwhelm ordinary oddballs, ostentatiously ornate opera-obsessives, overweight odalisques, obfuscatory operatives, owlishly ossified octogenarians and omnipresent occult Oggs. Otherwise occupied? Oh.

Tip of the month: admonish acrimonious Al-Ybians.

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

This month, make murder your monstrously macabre mandate as you mordantly massacre multitudinous Morporkians: mimes, miscreants, mendicants, misanthropes, martinets, mountebanks, milliners, mathematicians, militiamen, machinists, musicians, musketeers, mariners, mariachis, marchionesses, matriarchs, mentalists, monks, mapmakers, mountaineers, mutterers, matelots, marksmen, misers, madrigal-singers, motley-wearers...and of course, meddling morticians - and Miss Marple. Malevolent motiveless murder makes marvellous merriment!

Tip of the month: evade estranged Ephebians.

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

This month, investigate your inner inventor. Ignore idiosyncratic insinuations of idiocy or impropriety; impervious to imprecations and insults, instinctively ideate ingeniously and intrepidly, interpolate integratedly, and indulge your incipient imaginings - inchworm-irradiation, igloo-icers, inkwell-irrigators, identity-imprinters, indoor illustriously industrious and indicate idealised intelligence. I insist.

Tip of the month: outrage overbearing Omnians.

Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

This month, let love's leitmotif lambently limn your lacklustre life! Lovely, lasting, late-blooming love; languid, lingering love; lascivious, lustful love; lurching, lumbering love; lubricated leather love; and last but not least, lurid lycanthropic love. Love's lucent language lifts lesser lollygaggers to levitation-levels. Leaven less lively love letters, lest love lugubriously languish. Love is all you need!

Tip of the month: harass hirsute Heliodeliphilodelphiboschromenians.

Friday, September 30, 2005

September 2005

This month, in a timely link to Roundworld, we look at the dangers of extreme weather and other natural disasters: which Signs are prone to which, and what you can do to avoid them or at least survive them. On a world as magickal as the Disc, with its whimsical gods, "natural" disasters occur with considerable regularity; in fact, one must be aware that floods, fires and other fell happenings are as often the fault of gods and other magic-wielders as of jograffy and atmospheric disturbances - the denizens of Cori Celesti tend to loose stray thunderbolts the way that, say, we mortals belch at embarrassing times. Some of the more unusual Discly disasters include Hurricane Kev, which struck and destroyed two houses in Ynci Street in Lancre town (the only inland hurricane ever recorded, it is widely assumed to be the result of a feud within a witch-blessed family); Tropical Storm Dibbler, which once threatened low-lying Genua but failed to do major damage due to cutting its own throat at the last minute; and of course the infamous localised earthquake in Dagon Street, Ankh-Morpork, that occurred immediately following the opening of Mr Hong's Three Jolly Luck takeaway fish bar. So remember, keep your wellies close at hand, your powder dry (especially if you're a Seamstress; nothing like a good disaster to boost business) and study your horoscope very carefully this month. It could happen to you!

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

Disaster to beware: tornado

This month is tornado season on the Sto Plains. Remember that one just last year, when the Sto Lat palace privy block got sucked up and landed smack on the Floral Clock in Quirm? Some might say it was a good thing, getting a full delivery of high-quality fertiliser in one shall we say go, but the Dowager Duchess was not amused. And tornadoes are rarely that thoughtful! The best place to go when you see a tornado heading your way is down into the nearest vegetable cellar. It may take months to get the smell of brassica out of your nostrils, but at least your nose will still be connected to your face. Suggested sacrifices to: Flatulus, God of the Winds, and Zephyrus, God of Slight Breezes.

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

Disaster to beware: flood

Old legends tell the tale of a great Flood that once covered the entire Disc, but it's worth noting that these legends all originate in Llamedos where observing rainwater is a national pastime. Naetheless, there are certainly tidal marks in the lower Ramtops, and the plains of Agatea are noted for their floods in the springtime. And if you live near the mouth of the Vieux River, you know that there's nothing like a bevy of levees for when the floods get heavy. If you hear reports of likely flooding, be sure to get out your Sonky Big Buoy Inflatable and your Ramtops oilskins and check that you have plenty of bargepoles. Suggested sacrifices to: Ka-Nuti, the Agatean Sea Goddess; Offler, who has a thing for rivers; Koryolus, God of Drains.

Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

Disaster to beware: meteor strike

As Great A'Tuin swims through the vastness of Space, S/he often encounters swarms of heavenly bodies (like those encountered by roving iconographers at clickpit premieres, only less friendly and accommodating...or maybe not). On occasion, some of these are large enough to make it through the Discly atmosphere, where they appear as "shooting stars", and a few of these remain large enough to land as starstones (often, strangely, in the centre of crop circles or secret desert military bases). But once in a very long while, a truly large heavenly body will cross A'Tuin's migratory path and land with enough force and mass to flatten mountains. These can generally be seen coming, if you know where to look. If you spot a "star" getting larger and brighter every night, it's a good time to take a holiday on the other side of the continent. Especially if that "star" turns out to be made of space-frozen Elephant poo! Suggested sacrifices to: What, the Sky Goddess; Herne.

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

Disaster to beware: hurricane

The best - as in most spectacularly violent - hurricanes tend to make landfall around Chirm on the Circle Sea coast, but as no-one of interest lives there these tend to go unremarked except by Sea Trolls on their holidays. The second-best hurricanes aim for Genua and sometimes Brindisi. Hurricanes have been known in Ankh-Morpork (as a seasonal bonus for the Builders' Guild), but A-M tends to be immune to the threat of storm surge: after all, what tide could possibly fight its way up through the nearly-solid wat-, erm, colloid of the River Ankh? If your area gets a hurricane warning, put up your storm shutters and don't forget to bring the goats into the kitchen. In case of severe hurricane warnings, you may want to take some time off to visit Ankh-Morpork. Or Lancre, as long as you avoid Ynci Street. Suggested sacrifices to: Blind Io; Alohura, Goddess of Lightning.

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

Disaster to beware: volcanic eruption

There are, historically, two sorts of volcanoes on the Disc: the kind that spouts red-hot lava, ash and poisonous smoke, for instance Mount Edina that exploded and buried the Ephebian town of Rumpeii-Pumpeii, and the kind that spouts raw treacle, such as the Big Rock Candy Fountain in upper Uberwald. While the fiery sort is a must to avoid, beware the treacle volcano - being instantly burnt to a crisp is preferable to being boiled alive in a coating of hot toffee! Nature's early warning signal for volcanoes is a sudden stampede of small animals, led by Herne the Hunted, though this is far from foolproof: they could be running from Nanny Ogg's bathtime, which in itself is a sort of natural disaster. If you see smoke and steam beginning to rise from a nearby mountaintop, run away at all speed, but bring a saucepan in case treacle erupts. Suggested sacrifices to: Cubal, God of Fire; Cariees, God of Dentistry and Boiled Sweets.

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

Disaster to beware: tidal wave

We all like to go swimming in the ocean, but we prefer to leave our houses when we do it. When a tidal wave comes along, one doesn't get much choice in the matter! The High Energy Magic department at UU tells us that tidal waves are caused by underwater earthquakes, but Agatean traditionalists believe they're caused by Su-Nami, the Goddess of Vengeful Oceanic Activity, having a bad hair day, and XXXXians believe they are manifestations of Bhondai the Surf God that occur when beer offerings grow scarce. As tidal waves tend to appear with no warning, the best way to avoid them is to live well above sea level, or to join the UU Undersea Thaumic investigations Unit (open only to student wizards, but there's always room for a tea lady or pizza chef). Alternatively, live by the sea but practice running really, really fast. Suggested sacrifices to: Su-Nami; Phucdis, Bhangbhangducian God of Tides; Bhondai.

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

Disaster to beware: bush fire

Where there's smoke there's fire (or a Yen Buddhist temple full of expensive incense, or a treacle volcano ready to blow...), and no-one knows this better than your typical Fourecksian bush ranger. Bush fires are the bane of XXXXian life - they destroy lives and property and play merry hells with the beer harvest! If you live in bush fire country during the dry season (which in Terror Incognita runs from Offle to Ick, with occasional breaks for the June-Grune rainy season) you can take the following precautions: cut down gum trees near your house; clear the dead possums out of your yard (they burn really well); dig a seriously big swimming pool. If all else fails, try not sacrificing to Bhondai, in the hopes that he will send a tidal wave. Suggested sacrifices to: Skelde, Spirit of the Smoke; Cubal.

Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

Disaster to beware: rain of frogs

Not to be confused with the Reign of Frog (as some historians term the Lady Lilith period in Genua) or the Rain of Fog (a seasonal event in Llamedos, distinguishable from normal Llamedosan weather by its extreme intensity and air you can bathe in). Rains of frogs are often looked upon as Blind Io's little comic relief, but in reality there's nothing funny about a veritable downpour of the little cold-blooded buggers - they're wet and messy and can do quite a lot of damage when falling from a great height, and we won't even mention they way the run-off blocks up the privies! And rains of frogs can cause tragedy, as was seen during the Great Batrachian Deluge in Brindisi when dozens of chefs died of exhaustion after trying to fillet and cook endless frogdrifts. Safety tips: carry a willow-reinforced umbrella and at least two well-seasoned frying pans. Suggested sacrifices to: the Lady, on general principles; Herne the Hunted; Hoki (that way you appease two Nature Gods for the price of one).

Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

Disaster to beware: avalanche

Mountains are beautiful, but they do have this distressing tendency to explode or collapse on one's head. If you're planning a skiing holiday in the Ramtops or any other popular mountain ranges, be sure to stay away during avalanche season, which is usually during early Spring; the whole point of skiing is to go downhill really fast, but avalanches have perfected that art beyond the best efforts of men and Yetis. Remember that in any race between you and a mountain, the mountain is bound to win! If you must risk this, at least take along a good teleportation spell - a good, quickly-read teleportation spell - or a troop of Troll bodyguards trained to form protective synchronised foothills. Or stay indoors in a nice warm inn on the lower slopes and enjoy the parade of trapped skiers as they scream past you. Suggested sacrifices to: Foorgol, God of Avalanches; Thwap, the Troll God of Falling Rocks.

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

Disaster to beware: hailstorm

There are few things more disconcerting than being pelted with hail on a sunny day. Oh, all right, there are a number of things more disconcerting, but few are as sudden. Or as hard on the skull. Your basic hailstorms are born high in the upper atmosphere and tend to come downwards without warning. They are also endowed with malice, and supernaturally good aim! Hailstorms disrupt traffic and play merry hells with the soft fruit industries, but have given many a window merchant or glass eye manufacturer a much-needed boost in business. The most dangerous variant is the hailstorm of frogs, although this is welcomed by Brindisian chefs as it keeps the icehouse bills down. Suggested sacrifices to: What, the Sky Goddess; Friflo, the Goddess of Unexpected Spills. Consider converting to Omnianism, as Om is big on falling out of the sky.

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

Disaster to beware: blizzard

A full-blown blizzard is Nature's equivalent of a rowdy block party. When all the winter elements combine, the result is a beast that's part hurricane, part tornado, part avalanche, part hailstorm and all ornery. Unwary visitors to blizzard country are frequently found, when the spring thaw comes, as rather large icicles less than four feet from the privy. But how can you tell when an ordinary, dusts-the-landscape-charmingly-with-pretty-white-powder snowfall is likely to become a blizzard? Well, if you open your front door and get pelted with what feels like a whole herd of Special Snowballs, the best plan is to hope that you've laid in enough root vegetables to last you until springtime. Beware: blizzards can bring out your Inner Cannibal. Or your mother-in-law's. Suggested sacrifices to: Brasbal and Frosantit, Hublandish twin gods of ice and snow. Well really, any Hublands or Chimeran gods will do the trick here. You might also try invoking the Ice Giants.

† The ones with the cleverly concealed rocks in the centres.

Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

Disaster to beware: heatwave

It's funny how the first people to complain about cold winter weather are so often the first to complain about summer heat! A true heatwave is no laughing matter, though. Road paving melts - people melt! - the young, the old and the sick collapse even faster than usual, and all trollish business comes to a stony end for the duration. Heat waves are no respecter of the high and mighty, either. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to rule a city-state when your black robes are stifling? One good thing about heat waves is that the crime rate goes down (good news because the Watchmen are too heat-exhausted to chase criminals anyway). Another is that the female clothing ratio also goes down, although the sight of large matrons wearing very little can also cause fainting. The best way to ride out a heat wave is in a nice cool pole-dancing club; at least the dancers won't be complaining about having to take their clothes off for strangers. Suggested sacrifices to: Thrrp, Charioteer of the Sun; Scrab, Pusher of the Ball of the Sun; Cubal, just to be safe.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

August 2005

Well, my dear Zodiac-ettes, it's another poetry month! Sessifet, Goddess of the Afternoon, has decided to favour my Muse, and you'll just have to suffer, hat hat hat. But in the spirit of horoscopy (not to be confused with horology, which isn't at all what it sounds like) I've chosen poetry to honour a famous Discworldian of each Sign. Some of these poems may bear a certain resemblance to pieces of Roundworld music with rocks in; feel free to sing along with any you recognise. Be warned that the one for Hoki may require an alarming amount of lung power; I suggest you see Archchancellor Ridcully for breath control lessons.

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

For Sergeant Jackrum, a big man under the Hedgehog.

Gather 'round, my little lads
My sons, for you're as much as
A soldier's life awaits you now
Sign here, and kiss the Duchess
Gather 'round, my little lads
The future's looking rosy
A swagger and a pair of socks
Will keep your trousers cosy

My oath, I'm not a violent man
Though I've seen battles many
With macho milit'ry men whose Mums
Once named them Priss or Jenny
Superior officers I've dragged
For miles, to save their bacon
Soft women's clothes I've never worn
But, for my lads, I've taken

So gather 'round, my little lads
The first one's on the house
Get shaved, and then we'll hit the pub
Last one's a big girl's Blouse!

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

For C.M.O.T. Dibbler, entrepreneur and Gahooligan.

I burn my candle at both ends
It will not last the night
But look you on my wares, good friends
And buy! The price is right!

I've everything you need or want
Come here and take a look!
Some "special" orders? Easy! (Those
I'll get by hook or crook)

I've sausages and buns, the best
That Sator Square can boast
I've figgins, only two weeks old
(They soften when you toast)

I've magic books from old U.U.
Such knowledge should be shared!
(Oh yes, they're badgered, wolved and foxed -
(But only slightly beared)

Perhaps some saucy postcards? Psst!
They're here inside my coat
Just tenpence each, these treasures - and
That's cutting my own throat!

Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

For the Abbot of the History Monks, often born under Herne.

I am just an Abbot and my story's often told
I have re-lived my existence
For a pocketful of bikkits and a nice 'lephant
I never jest
Still, Lu-Tze hears what he wants to hear
And sweeps away the rest, hmmm, wannnawannapotty!

Asking only for some pablum, I come back to do my job,
But I get no Offlers
Just the strangest looks from Death each time I'm passing through
I do declare, I would rather be a Yeti
't least I'd get to keep my hair
Lai la lai lai, lai la lai wannawannabikkit!

Lai la lai, waah! waah! Lai la lai lai wanna nap!
Lai la lai, waah! waah! Lai la lai lai lai la waah, burp me now...

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

For Nanny Ogg, who knows all there is to know about knobs.

There was an old lady of Lancre
For bags of spare cash she did hanker
She wrote a cook-book
So successful, it took
Strong salts to revive her poor banker.

This tome, which outsold all competers
Inflamed the community leaders
Her "harmless cook-book"
Was so racy, it took
Strong salts to revive her male readers.

Her pudding was rather surprising
Her oyster pie, quite catalysing
The hausfraus of Ankh
Have old Nanny to thank
When their husbands find some things...arising.

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

For Dr Dinwiddie, Bursar of UU, born under Bilious.

They're coming to give me dried frogs, ha ha!
They're coming to give me dried frogs!
My madness encumbers
But I'm good with numbers
They're coming to give me dried frogs!

They're locking me in Room 3b, ha ha!
They're locking me in Room 3b!
My condition's worser
I'm totally Bursar
They're locking me in Room 3b!

They're taking me in to see Hex, ha ha!
They're taking me in to see Hex!
If he can't compute me
He'll thaumic-reboot me
They're taking me in to see Hex!

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

For Sergeant Colon, the Watch's best Mubboon.

Some people call me the time-waster
Some people call me the Watchman of Ankh
Some people call me "fat sergeant"
Cos I'm built like an armour-plated tank
People laugh about me
Say I'm getting it wrong, getting it wrong
Well, don't you worry, Nobby, don't worry
Cos I'm right here, guarding the Brass Bridge all night long

Cos I'm a slacker, slumpie-packer
Like a bear when knackered
Takin' all that I can cadge
I'm a bodger, I'm a codger
I'm a danger-dodger
Just a blackguard with a badge, oooh

That's the sweetest chair that I ever did see,
I really love the Watch House, want to drink some tea
Lovin' dog-ends, lovin' dog-ends all the time
Ooeee Nobby, someone else can stop crime!

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

For Rincewind, a Boring'un if ever there was...

Beware - if you care
To keep your face fair -
The Beings from the Dungeon Dimensions
They're twisted and odd
They're after your bod
With naught but the worst of intentions

Be fleet on your soles
Should they come through holes
Or leaks in Reality's gizzard
A half-brick (in sock)
Will give them a shock
Especially if you're a Wizzard!

Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

For the ever so majestic Dean of Unseen University.

Sing Yo! for the life of a Dean!
Sing Yo! for the life of a Dean!
I don't much mind if the other wizards laugh
'Cos I've got a knob enormous on my nice big staff!

Sing Yo! for the life of a Dean!
Sing Yo! for the life of a Dean!
I don't much care if I'm slow and fat,
'Cos I've got a lot of sigils on my pointy hat!

Sing Hut! for the life of a Dean!
I'm rough and I'm tough and I'm mean!
And I'll have a little snack, maybe a goose and some pork pies and
Second Breakfast and Elevenses and, oh, another little snack just to
tide me over in the hours between!

Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

For Seldom Bucket, famous Footy and cheesemaker.

'Twas opera, and the smarmy choir
Did gripe and grumble in the wings
All starving were the ballet girls
As the fat lady sings.

Beware the Opera Ghost, old son!
The murd'rousness, the manic laugh
Beware the plainclothes cop, and shun
The canapes - they're naff.

She took her part-time cat in hand
Long time the agile Ghost they sought
Then Greebo sprang as the singers sang
And mrrow! The Ghost was caught!

"And hast thou pawed the Opera Ghost?
"Come to my arms, you soft old thing!
"O Disc-ous joy! Champagne ahoy!"
And the fat lady sings.

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

For Lord Hong, a noted (late) Hokian.

I am the very model of a modern mad Grand Vizier
My enemies are busy plotting plots, but I am busier
I know the Art of War, and lots of hist'ry Anhk-Morporkian
I even have a full tradit'nal cossie I look dorky in

I'm very well acquainted, too, with murders quite artistical
My knowledge of applying poison's positively mystical
About schemes dark and dirty I'm extremely savoir-faireian
I surely can't be bested by some pension-age barbarian!

"He surely can't be bested by some pension-age barbarian!"

I'm very good at origami and exquisite cruelty
I know what evil lurks, no person civilised's yet fooled me
In short, although my schemes are getting dafter yet and dizzier
I am the very model of a modern mad Grand Vizier!

"He is the very model of a modern mad Grand Vizier!"

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

For Angua von Uberwald, Gazundian of the Watch.

I come home in the full moonlight
Carrot says, "When you gonna live your life right?"
My muzzle's full, so I can only say "Grrr!"
Cos girls just want to have fur
Oh girls, they want to have fur.

The Watch calls in the middle of the night
Captain yells, "Why'd you give Lord Rust such a fright?"
Oh Carrot dear, don't you call me a cur
Cos girls just want to have fur
Oh girls just want to have fur.

That's all we really want
Soft fur
When the tracking work is done
Someone to comb out those burrs
Cos girls just want to have fur,
Were-girls just want to have fur.

Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

For B.S. Johnson, a fondly remembered Umbragian...not.

Steam-driven shoehorns and exploding teapots
Minuscule castles and city-sized whatnots
Bows with iron bowstrings and forks with soft tines
These are a few of my fav'rite designs

Dangerous devices (with well-meant intentions)
Plumbing that dips through the Dungeon Dimensions
Unstable vats for reannual wines
These are a few of my fav'rite designs

When the mood strikes
When my brain's bright
When the bills are due
I'll simply recycle my fav'rite designs
And may the gods!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

July 2005

This month's astral theme - Secrets, Lies and Clacks Flimsies - is a very up-to-the-minute one, inspired by the long-awaited release of a minor Roundworld book about the education of a young Wizzard. Watching the rumours, misdirection and "spoilage" fly has been rather entertaining, hasn't it? - so here are some hints about secrets your Signs will lead you to in the next month. As Mistress Ogg is fond of saying, a secret shared is a burden halved, and it doesn't half get the free drinks rolling! Do bear in mind, though, that on the Disc "spoilage" is something that happens to cheesemakers, pie sellers and costermongers, and "slash" is something one does with a sword for self-defence and *never* involves red-headed twins or saturnine Potions Masters...

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

Your temptation: when the Moon hits your eye like a stale Dibbler pie, you will come across a Clacks flimsy that came from Pseudopolis Yard (though how it comes into your possession, only the gods know). The message details a hot tip about the notorious Quirm Post Office Bandit - when he's likely to hole up in Ankh-Morpork, where he'll be staying, and the amount of loot he's likely to have with him. Your stars favour a trip to Ankh on that date. What do you do?

My advice: tell no one, but hire yourself a local guide who will sort out all those fiddly details like your Thieves' Guild Visitor Voucher. And buy a new suitcase. One of those handy ones with hundreds of little legs and a boundless capacity for gold, silver, family heirlooms...

Note: when an eel hits your eye *from* a stale Dibbler pie, that's a moray.

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

Your temptation: a sojourn down Short Street on the 9th will lead you to an innocent-looking piece of paper advertising a meeting of the Koom Valley Re-enactment Society. When treated with wahoonie juice and held near an open flame, however, secret plans for a real battle to settle the score once and for all are revealed. The plans include an ambush of Chrysoprase's viewing party, so the Dwarfs are obviously Up To Something. What do you do?

My advice: cut up your old copies of The Times and use various letters and words to compose an anonymous message to the Watch, then book that holiday in sunny Brindisi that you've always talked about.

Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

Your temptation: a shopping receipt from your weekly sojourn to the Dwarf Quarter turns out to be someone else's - a tally of some extremely personal personal items ordered by the current Low King of the Dwarfs. These are the sort of personal items that, if made public, could cause a major schism in the entire Dwarf community. It's a perfect recipe for blackmail! What do you do?

My advice: invest in Uberwald silver; there may a sudden closure of those new mines in the near future, and you'll be set to make a fortune from the rarity value. Alternatively, invest in cosmetics; there may be a sudden dramatic rise in sales to vertically challenged customers.

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

Your temptation: during the next New Moon, in the Street of Small Gods, you will find a carelessly discarded contract from the Guild of Assassins, relating to a certain Disc-famed celebrity. Even more fascinating than the potential inhumee's name and price are the cautionary notes detailing some very...unexpected features and habits of said celebrity, all unknown to the admiring public. What do you do?

My advice: under no circumstances should you try to use this information to get free drinks from student Assassins! Instead, make at least a dozen copies and hide them in really creative places. Then take that nice Lord Downey out for a drink at your expense. Think of it as insurance.

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

Your temptation: when taking the curative waters of Bad Baden-Worse during the week of the 20th, you will discover complete instructions for performing the other Morris Dance, in plain language and including diagrams that could be easily followed even by teenage witch-wannabes in black lace and black eyeliner. Any unauthorised performance of that dance could unbalance the space-time continuinuinuum. What do you do?

My advice: this is a job for a true professional. Learn to perform the Rite of AshkEnte - the egg and mouse blood version that can be done in any scullery, sans skulls and dribbly candles - and delegate, delegate, delegate!

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

Your temptation: whilst dragging your luggage off the roof of the Ankh-Bonk weekly coach on the 11th, you come across a yellowed parchment envelope which turns out to contain a love letter from a Lady M of Uberwald. Its contents are, to put it mildly, astonishing, as they reveal a dark secret about the Patrician himself; a secret that could at the very least cause rather strained relations between the ruler of A-M and the Duke of Ankh. What do you do?

My advice: you might want to consider turning this over to Drumknott. After hiring a very fast horse.

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

Your temptation: during a stars-favoured cleanout of Room 3b at Unseen University on the Ides of next month, you discover a final exam results notification addressed to one M. Ridcully, which gives the real scores from his Doctor of Thaumology examination plus comments about young Ridcully's true level of magickal ability. What do you do?

My advice: practice dodging very expertly aimed crossbow bolts and staff blasts, then demand that requisition for extra coal in your quarters and lecture room. You'll have a lovely warm winter.

Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

Your temptation: when picking up your laundry on the 22nd, you come across an Appointment Book belonging to the Guild of Seamstresses. It contains names and details that could blow Ankh society higher than the result of another explosion in Jimkin Bearhugger's distillery. You have a pretty good idea what The Times would pay you for even one page. What do you do?

My advice: now is the time for a discreet trip to the Guild house in Sheer Street. You'll never again have to wonder what to get your brothers, uncles and other male relatives for birthday and Hogswatch presents - and it won't cost you a penny. Ever. Sometimes saving money is wiser than, erm, earning it.

Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

Your temptation: a spelunking expedition in the Ramtop foothills during Quarter-Moon sees you finding a Last Will and Testament of one C. Ironfoundersson. Apart from the usual (passing on his herrydeterry axe, hammer and helmet, ecksetra), there's a suspiciously large bequest to the Sanctuary for Lost and Homeless Lycanthropes. The A-M criminal element would love to know about that! What do you do?

My advice: return the Will to Mr Ironfoundersson. Not only will you be quietly thanked for your honesty, but you might get a free tour of the fabled back room at the Dwarf Bread Museum. And no...animal will ever break into your henhouse and eat your chickens.

P.S. Actually, as it's *his* will, that would be "Apart from the, usual..."

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

Your temptation: the Happy Families elixir you bought from a passing Lancre Witch doesn't appear to have worked. At Gibbous Moon, you take it to a nearby student wizard for analysis. It turns out to be a potion that can be used to open a portal to the Realm of the Elves. By coincidence, the stars favour a trip to your cousin in Lancre that very week...your cousin who thinks that Elves are really, really cool...your cousin who always complains that life's far too boring. What do you do?

My advice: put the bottle in a bag of rubbish and bury it at the bottom of the local tip. Then take your cousin for a nice exotic meal at the new KFC (Klatchian Fiery Cuisine) takeaway and remind her of the goings-on at the King's wedding. And forcibly remove her black eyeliner.

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

Your temptation: on your way to make a sacrifice to Offler (on the propitious 26th), you overhear a conversation in a shadowed alleyway. According to one of the dialoguists, Queen Kelirehenna of Sto Lat is going to be assassinated by a cadre of Temporal Revisionists and replaced by a reanimated Duke of Sto Helit (courtesy of a cadre of Neck Romancers). This news could play havoc with the Sto Plains cabbage futures market and severly affect the A-M economy. What do you do?

My advice: who ya gonna call? Susan Sto Helit. Not only is she politically involved here (whether she likes it or not), but she can deal with the problem in the, erm, family way. Sometimes what we inherit from our grandparents is more useful than vintage antimacassars.

Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

Your temptation: a dark-robed Figure strides past your window on the night of the 7+1th. When it's passed - and when you've crawled back out of the laundry cupboard - you notice a pale sparkle on the lawn and upon investigation, discover that it's a tiny golden lifetimer. Engraved with the words MR T. PRATCHETT, ROUNDWORLD. What do you do?

My advice: don't even THINK about it.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

June 2005

Now is the winter of our Disc-content, except in the top bits of Roundworld where the lucky buggers are having summertime. Either way, the Solstice has just passed, and with a full moon too, and we all know what that means: as the N'Tuitif tribesmen tell us, it means that a full moon has coincided with a Solstice, nowt more or less. Ah well, that's the price of being too literal - no romance. But the stars are full of romance this month. Could this be the month your Prince arrives? Or your Princess? Or both, for those of you with a tendency to be good at bargain hunting? Read on.

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

There's no love like careless love, and you Hoggers certainly know about carelessness! This month you'll have multiple opportunities for new-found romance as you trip up and stumble over dozens of members of the opposite sex at the Summer Proms or Winter Ball. Better still, you'll be subpoenaed by a most attractive personal-injury lawyer: do make the most of your time in court! This is also a good time to buy a new mattress, so as to avoid possibly embarrassing injuries to your newfound, erm, friends. While you're at it, may as well clean the attic and dig a new dunny. We all know you've been sweeping your way recklessly through the year, and 'twill soon be Hogswatch. Avoid spiral staircases and banananana peels; Friday the 13th comes on a Monday, Wednesday and Saturday this month.

Romantic tip: try a dab of scumble behind the ears. Guaranteed to kill all known infections.

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

May is gone and December is on its way now; a good month, therefore, to explore the exciting posibilities of age-gap romance, assuming that both you and your would-be romancee are of age, of course! Did you notice the way that middle-aged but still rather handsome eel seller has been looking at you on market days? The 27th is a good time to try getting your hands on his winkles - with a bit of luck (and Luck), the least you'll get is a fine bit of fish pie. Or how about that saucy young lady who works at the tailor's shop on Short Street and is definitely not a Seamstress? Play your cards right and you'll find yourself holding her mushroom before the week of the 16th is out. Speaking of cards, Mrs Cake is giving discounts for Caroc readings this month: ten per cent off, or two free tea-leaf consultations. I suggest you go for it.

Romantic tip: a bag of freshly toasted figgins is worth its weight in stolen kisses. Freshly toasted, mind you.

Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

Now your bold new Hernian confidence can win you the walking-out partner of a lifetime! Or at least a lunchtime. Yes, the stars are just right this month to favour love among the croutons. Take the object of your affections to lunch on the 11th or 19th and you may soon hear the dulcet tones of wedding bells, especially if you share that lunch near the Street of Small Gods. Remember, in June and Grune the gods smile upon weddings. A small sacrifice to Petulia, Goddess of Negotiable Affection, will discourage those so-unromantic prenuptial financial documents (or, if you're wealthy, encourage them), and also sacrifices to Lukar, Demigod of Small Change and to Saint Amaretti, patron saint of snacks taken in bed, will help to ensure a healthy, wealthy, stress-free union. For you Hernians of the Hublandish and Chimerian persuasions, the 22nd is the best time for ransacking, pillaging and most importantly, the carrying off of young nubile priestesses. Today's protesting vestigial virgin could be tomorrow's compliant drudge!

Romantic tip: rinse your mouth with essence of hibiscus before that all-important first date. No, no, the phial behind the oil of scallatine.

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

This month, your caring nature will lead you into the most satisfying of sensitive, tender romances. See all those fundraising dinners you took up attending last month? Well, if you keep your attendance up and look closely at your fellow carers-and-sharers, you're likely to spot more than a few lonely carers-and-sharers. In the second and third weeks of the month, try talking to some of those lonely ones. A quiet word about the dreadful state of women's rights in Borogravia...a knowing nod when the subject of cruelty to dragons is on the agenda...a sympathetic squeeze of a forearm during that Campaign for Equal Heights could all add up to less loneliness and more, well, unilateral action. Jimi, God of Beggars, and Patina (Goddess of Wisdom) are your best bets for sacrifices on the 25th. If you need to show your caring side sooner to a potential co-carer, try burning a clacks message to Fedecks, Messenger of the Gods, on the 6th.

Romantic tip: wear your second-best clothes when stepping out. Jackets with worn elbows, socks with obvious hand-darns and slightly shiny-seated trousers are favourite for showing your thriftiness and ecological concerns.

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

The influence of Bilious will soon bring you the romance of your drams! Um, I mean dreams. No, wait, you're Bilians, so I was right the first time. True love waits in the Mended Drum, in the Troll's Head, in the Bucket, even in Biers...although there, true love is more likely to pounce upon you and sink its fangs into your throat. Take the time to stop smelling the alcohol fumes and look up instead from your glass; the next face you see might be that of your soulmate (or just the barman; then again, there are some fine-looking bar staff out there these days - sturdy, apple-cheeked Quirmian wine wenches; sun-bronzed, grinning Fourecksians financing their gap-year travels with a spot of bartending; young New Age vampires down from Uberwald more for the excitement than for the blood...). There's more to life than that next pint, so go live a little, love a little and try to avoid throwing up in your inamorata's potted aspidistra.

Romantic tip: remember to bring along a waterproof bag and some lemon scented hankies. Better prepared than rejected!

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

Do you believe in love? Of course you do, you're a gullible Mubboon. Why do fools fall in love? Because so many of them are born under Mubbo and thus congenitally incapable of Knowing Any Better. Does love make the world go around? Only if you've been drinking with one of those dodgy Bilians. Is it true that love is all you need? Only if you're a self-determined member of a workers' collective who live off the direct fruits of their labours on the land. Oh dear, you Mubboons do badly need some advice for the lovelorn, don't you? Try repeated sacrifices to Sessifet, Fate and the Lady. Or try one of those love potions the local hedge witch is so fond of hawking on market days. On no account declare your undying love for a member of the Guild of Seamstresses; they have splatters for that sort of thing.

Romantic tip: be sure to invite a chaperone. Or a certified reader of body language. Or a practising headologist...a great help for avoiding embarrassing misunderstandings in the arena of love.

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

You can't dance, you can't talk; the only thing about you is the way that you run away astoundingly quickly at the least sign of danger or excitement...yes, you Boring'uns don't have the greatest track record when it comes to love and relationships, do you? Though you can't all be that bad, or there wouldn't be any Boring'uns. Hmm, I must check my star charts to see which Signs are most likely to produce the parents of Boring'uns...maybe you're all, there are many people who are attracted to Disc-class sprinters and distance runners - so there you go, you're in with a chance. This month, be sure to frequent athletics events (though not the ones where they throw those big, heavy, dangerous hammer wossnames) and keep-fit venues. After all, you want a loved one who can keep up with you when the going gets tough and the Boring'uns get going via the fastest escape route!

Romantic tip: memorise some love poems. Handy for reciting on the run.

Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

What a wonderful month this is for singles! And doubles! And threesom-, er, other romantic configurations! Yes, this is your finest hour for proving that two outta three ain't bad and that you would do anything for love (even though most of you won't do that). The 4th, 7th, 10th, 13th, 17th and the entire last week of the month are good times to look for love. Try attending one of the Duke of Eorle's famous balls (note the complete absence of the word "to" there), or consider mounting a rescue attempt in one of B. S. Johnson's mazes: there are always a few lost young singles trapped in the inner passages. You could also take up streaking at sporting events; while this may land you inthe scorpion pits, it also marks you as someone daring, unusual and, well, sporting. If all else fails, go to church - not all the vestigial virgins will have been swept away by marauding Hernians.

Romantic tip: in olden days, a glimpse of stocking was considered fairly shocking; now it's much harder to manage that shock effect, but really, it's all down to where that glimpse can be had. Think about it.

Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

They say that Love is an er um female dog betimes, and for some of you Footys that's literal. For the rest of you, don't be put off by the ups and downs and the broken hearts (especially all you Igors, since you know that a broken heart is easily mended); go forth and win the heart of a fair maid or a stalwart lad (or Laddie)! Learning to cook exotic dishes is a good way to stir up potentially saucy encounters. Nanny Ogg's Cookbook is the best place to seek culinary knowledge, although her Chocolate Delight with Special Secret Sauce is not recommended for beginners...unless they want to be ex-beginners very, very quickly...flower arranging is also a good thing to learn, since bouquets melt hearts (though for Footy Trolls, brickbats do the job nicely). Make a sacrifice to Hoki the Jokester any time after the 12th, and avoid oysters, paradoxical as that seems; this being a month with no R in it, a case of food poisoning can cramp your wooing style somethin' awful.

Romantic tip: picnics are cheap and cheerful, and tend to take place in usefully private areas. Beware of ants and crocodiles though.

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

Where there's magic, there's love. This is an even better time than last month was for frog-kissing and the rescuing of princesses in towers, as an unexpected conjunction of Thaumsup A and the nearby constellation of Fonsareli has produced a veritable plague of princess-imprisoning in Genua and Brindisi, not to mention those rains of frogs in the Ramtop foothills. So put the potion back in the basket and listen to your secret heart; whither a wizard wanders, there too may a witch win wonderful waywardness. The 18th is a good time for cleaning of pointy hats. Avoid esbats from the 9th to the 15th, unless you want a lot of wizardly gatecrashers (although my charts are unclear on this - I keep reading the rune for that result as "goatcrushers"), and let's just forget about that "...other one" nonsense for once, shall we? I can't be having with hard-headed common sense all the time, and neither can you.

Romantic tip: leave your shamble at home! You don't want it exploding at inconvenient times.

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

Gazundians crave adventure, so what better way to satisfy that craving in the coming weeks than by going on a quest for romance? All the countries of the Disc await your questing presence. There are hearts to be won, jewelled thrones to be trodden under your sandalled feet, contests of skill and strength to be - no, make that contests of skill and daring to be, well, contested, coaches to rob, and did I mention the intimate tete-a-tetes at wayside inns? And the champagne soirées at the opera? The world is your ocean-dwelling thingy this month, particularly in the second and third week. Try a cruise on the warm waters of the Rim (where exotic island tribes are rich in coconuts but starved for love) or a trek across the desert wastes of Klatch (where exotic nomads are rich in camels but short of dates), and keep an eye out for lovelorn Boring'uns crossing your path at high speeds. Nothing like a very quick romance to whet the blood, I always say.

Romantic tip: don't forget the stepladder.

Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

Love and death, or love and Death, pretty much make up most of the human condition - and that of most other species - and though Umbragians traditionally know quite a lot about death, it's now time to explore the delights of the other part! Here's a surprising fact: it's possible to engage the target in a full-on, no-holds-barred romance battle and have both parties emerge still alive at the end of the night. Makes quite a change, doesn't it? When stalking a partner, it's considered good form not to break into their bedroom and set deathtraps beforehand; it's also worth noting that Deadly Nightshade is not a suitable choice for a lover's bouquet. Blind Io himself is the best god to sacrifice to this month, but also don't forget Astoria the Love Goddess. You wouldn't want her little arrows to have the wrong sort of philtre on the tips! Practise being non-stealthy, except when scaling castle walls to drop boxes of chocolates into your loved one's boudoir.

Romantic tip: always be sure to coordinate your weaponry. No-one wants a poison-ring that clashes with one's outfit.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

May 2005

It was a dark and stormy night as Great A'Tuin swam through the vast fastnesses of Space...well, of course it was. It's always dark in Space, unless you happen to swim near one of those balls of burning gas. And this is uncharted Space we're talking about. I mean, who among you would go out into the darkness and the freezing cold and the emptiness and, well, the spaciness of Space just to chart it? Any volunteers? No, I didn't think so. But as it happens, someone has indeed charted the stars of uncharted Space. Um, the constellations at any rate. Er, the ones that ancient eyes once viewed as being noteworthy enough collections-of-stars to resemble some anthropomorphic manifestation or other, or lady in a chair, or a giant starry tortoise, get the idea. And the idea, naturally, is that these might-be-a-turtle-or-just-a-big-sock collections of distant stars actually influence our hearts and minds and daily lives. Of course they do! I should know, I get paid good Ankh-Morpork dollars every month to sell, um, I mean explain the arcane movements of the stars to you. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. As I predicted last month, A'Tuin's wanderings have taken us into a new quadrant of mostly-sort-of-uncharted Space and thus into new skies and new influences. But what with Space being seriously big and all, the main effect has been a perspective-y one: some "new" constellations are actually old ones that weren't obvious from our previous angle of wossname. So without further ado, Lady Asterisk - that's me - shall present:


Fasten your sextants (no, Gytha, that's not what "sextant" means!) and away we go...

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

Hoggers have been known for their short tempers, arrogance and sometime talent for prognostication, but under the slightly skewed new influences on the cusp of Ramjambamalam, you have a new tendency - sheer recklessness! Yes, all the foolhardy schemes you always had the sense not to try are now beckoning you with the allure of an exotic Al-Khali harem dancer (not Beti). So realise your dreams! Follow your wandering star! This month, it's highly possible that those dreams and schemes might actually come true. Especially ones involving daft moneymaking scams. Why, who knows, you might turn out to be the next C.M.O.T. Dibbler! Or, if you're lucky, you might not. Burn an offering of incense to the Lady on the 13th to consolidate your chances. If a short, pale stranger, bedecked with astrological sigils and burdened with star charts, offers you shares in a new overseas pearl-mining company, go for it. The world could be your bivalve.

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

You thick-skinned, single-minded Gahooligans, always known for your odd combination of passion and stoicism, will find yourselves leaning more to the passionate side this month as the new Heavens cause your Moon to rise in Venalus. What's more, your lucky star, Hu Minor, is now positioned in the House of Rausmit-Du, and passion is always in fashion when Hu's in the House - and better still, there's an extra love-life boost on the 21st, owing to the fresh influence of Gahoolie's major star, Euno Hu. Now is the time to trade your brickbats for bouquets (or for those in the dairy industry, buckets) and go get yourselves some good lovin'. Remember, Venalus in the ascendant means Gahooligans in the horizontal. A small sacrifice to Sessifet, Goddess of the Afternoon, never goes amiss. Wear a blue ribbon in your hat during the last week of the month; there's no special astro-illogical reason for it, but Miss Battye has asked me to mention it because she's doing special rates on blue ribbon trim until the first of Grune.

Herne the Hunted (formerly The Two Fat Cousins) 22 May - 21 Jun

Do you feel strange feelings coursing through your veins? That's the new influence of the small but perfectly-formed constellation of Herne the Hunted, the god to whom all prey pray! Paradoxically, beings born under this Sign tend to be bold, forthright, decisive and leaderlike, so what you're feeling is your formerly sensitive Twosie skin thickening as Herne rises from the starry copses to join the Zodiac. The subgroup of stars known as Bulwynkel or Herne's Horns
smiles on you now, so at last you can consider a career in door-to-door retail, or enter the military in a front-line capacity, or even stand for public office. A Hernian (I bet you wondered how I was going to get around that) has the heart of a tiger, the skin of a rhinoceros, the boldness of a brass monkey and the sensitivity of a herrydeterry noble; unsurprisingly, Hernians make good big-game hunters. The 9th will be a good day for you, but then so will every other day of the month. You can even join in those UU bunfights you were once too shy to attend. Orphaned Hernians have exceptionally good aim with projectiles, so let him who is without kin throw the first scone.

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

Staffies, once mainly concerned with self-gratification and big dinners, now find themselves looking outwards and asking, "What's it all about? Can I do more to help my fellow beings? Is there jelly for dessert instead of double-custard cream trifle?" The good news is that there is more that you can do! The Wizard's Staff and Knob, remember, holds sway over the mouth, tongue and index finger, and now, with the extra added astral benefit of heightened oratorial powers, the time is yummily ripe for taking up a career in charity fundraising. What's more, you're no longer so averse to travel - so you can visit the slums of Brindisi, bring aid to flood victims in Llamedos, trek across the wastes of Klatch in search of needy nomads, comfort the downtrodden in Djelibeybi...why, now you can even venture into the Shades to assist at C.M.O.T. Dibbler's Seven Spoons of Sek Soup Kitchen! And best of all, you'll be invited to lots and lots of, wait for it, fundraising dinners. That's right, dinners. See? With the new caring, sharing Staffies, everybody wins.

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

Bilians beware! While some Signs are gaining new benefits from the rearrangement of the Heavens, for you long-suffering victims of this Sign things will only get worse. And you thought that was impossible? Hah! Flatulus, God of Winds, and Dyspepsiacola, Goddess of Acid Indigestion, have been, um, stirred to new action by the celestial discombobulation, and they've not taken kindly to being disturbed - so get ready for some more than usually unsettled times ahead, and a new low mark in ghastly mornings after. But it's not all bad news...ish. Embryosia, demigoddess of nascent nausea-free mornings, will look kindly on offerings given in the second and third weeks of the month, and Heuei and Wralf, twin Guardians of Pylorus, will be helpful after the 24th. Yours is a hard lot to bear - particularly after long company outings and stag nights - but eventually things will get better. In the meantime, consider joining the Temperance Society. Six months is a long - erm, just do it.

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

It's not true that all Mubboons are village idiots! Sure, it's true that they make the best village idiots, but remember that Cohen the Barbarian was born under Mubbo, and no-one ever accused him of being idiotic - well, not more than once, anyway. Now your other natural attributes of honesty, kindness and empathy will come into their best strength. The actors among you will win new kudos (and perhaps even get paid); the Fools among you will be top contenders for this year's Scarlet Bladder and Custard Pail, and the barbarian heroes will do more liberating of slaves and less, well, let's just call it pillaging, shall we? This Sign's tendency to gullibility will also now lead some Mubboons to a stronger religious bent, which may be of some concern to anti-priestly Reformed Llamedosians; keep a careful eye on your Mubboon offspring, or before you know it they'll be utterly gone to rune.

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

Great news for Boring'uns: nothing has changed! Yes, once again the Small Boring Group of Faint Stars has proven to be so small, faint and boring that even Great A'Tuin's far travels haven't caused this Sign's influence to change by a jot or tittle. And by the way, do any of you know what a "tittle" is? The very sound of the word gives the impression of smallness and faintness and boredom. I hereby give you custodianship of this word. It's a nice word, a safe word, a word too inoffensive to attract any danger or undue excitement. Tittle, tittle, tittle. See? Who needs worrying horrorscope predictions when you have nice fluffy little tittles? - oh, all right then: you will have a very boring month. No-one will bother you unduly, no monsters from the Dungeon Dimensions will make sudden unwelcome appearances, no fire will rain on you from Cori Celesti, and your socks will come back from the laundry in perfectly matched pairs. Feeling better now? Tittle.

Androgyna Majestis (formerly Okjok, the Salesman) 24 Oct - 22 Nov

What a...fascinating Sign you've come under at present! Androgyna Majestis, known to the Ancients as Duud Laika-Laadi, is the god and/or Goddess of mixed signals, confused lovers and unusual parades; as s/he straddles the quadrant of empty Space between the Small Boring Group of Faint Stars and Great T'Phon's Foot, the characteristics of your typical Andy owe something to both these Signs. To put it simply, an Andy is both safety-mad and adventurous, both agoraphobic and fond of travel, and simultaneously pessimistic and full of almost insane cheery hopefulness. Needless to say, this makes for some very self-conflicted people! Even as I clacks this horrorscope to my faithful readers, a new branch of Igor-lore and practice is being developed to meet the needs of those born under Androgyna. So my advice to you for this month is to be as patient (ha, ha) as possible, practise lying (also ha, ha) on couches, and for Io's sake keep taking the Dried Frog Pills!

Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

Good things are afoot for Footys this month! As the Foot goes, so goes the Elephant, and Elephants never forget their friends. Your friends will remember you too, when the chips are down; this is a good month for borrowing money, jewellery or cooking pots, especially between the 9th and the 18th. You're also likely to be remembered in wills, so don't forget to pay a visit to any ailing great-aunts or grandparents - in fact, they're the best people to borrow money from, what with being old and sick and likely to remember to change their wills in your favour. D'Jum-Boh, sometimes known as the Grand Trunk Star, will influence matters of hearth and home in the second half of the month, and since home is where the hearth is, be sure to keep yours clean and to make a few choice offerings to the dog of your choice. Not, that's not a misspelling - remember, Great T'Phon's Foot is the Sign of all the best animals. Especially the talking ones, even if they'd never condescend to come home to a hearth.

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

So you thought you could do magic, just because Hoki is the Sign of powerful witches? Well, you ain't seen nothing yet, as they say in the Ramtops (mostly because there isn't a lot to see there). Hold on to your pointy hat, because the new influences of the rare octarine star Thaumsup A mean a mighty surge of magical power is on its way to you this month! On the 5th, you'll master the trick of turning frogs into princes by kicking them - come one now, wouldn't you rather kick a prince than kiss one? On the 11th, you'll finally stop making a shambles of your shambles. On the 22nd, the lotion for your devotion potion will bring forth an ocean of emotion, and on the 30th you'll devise a spell that answers the Hedgehog Question once and for all (make sure you wear thick gloves for that one). Hoki's hold over your sixth sense grows ever more intense; not only will you see dead people, you'll convince them to do the washing-up and sweep under those hard-to-reach places below the cellar stairs. Speaking of Death, make sure to top up your biscuit jar around mid-month. I'd say you never know when exalted company might drop by, but we both know better. Avoid mirrors.

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

The Gazunda is the Sign of Seamstresses, subversives, adventurers and exotic dancers, but few people realise that it's also the Sign of Multiple Personality sufferers. Keep a good hold on your sense of reality this month if you don't want to end up beside yourself! The Rather Large Gazunda is poised directly opposite to Gahoolie in the new Zodiac; this means Hu's also in your House, but yours is the House of Hedbangur, which means you're under the influence of, erm, being Under the Influence - in other words, don't sign any documents after the Sun is over the yardarm, and take a crash course from your Bilian friends in surviving hangovers. Of course, if you do suffer from Multiple Personality thingy, you could always send one of your other selves out to party hard. Be kind to ducks this month and don't forget to give generously to the Distressed Novelists' Appeal (because one should strive to do unto authors, etc.) and to fellow MP sufferer Count Notfaroutoe's rehab appeal (because one should strive to undo two Arthurs). Speaking of senses of reality, I think I just lost mine. It must be all that Space.

Lesser Umbrage (formerly The Flying Moose) 19 Feb - 20 Mar

The constellation and Sign of Lesser Umbrage is, as the name implies, rather...lesser. In fact, it's almost as small and faint as the Small Boring Group of Faint Stars. But don't be fooled by that smallness, because Lesser Umbrage is the sign of the most subtly flamboyant and dangerous people of all - yes, Assassins! Umbragians lead almost charmed lives. They are graceful, daring, ruthless and above all, stylish. And those are just the civilians. A trained Assassins' Guild graduate who's also an Umbragian is as dangerous as they come. So this month's horoscope isn't for the benefit of beings born under this surprising Sign - it's for the benefit of everyone else: be respectful of Umbragians wearing black (if you even notice them passing). Don't make them angry (especially if they're carrying small pointy things). Best of all, avoid them altogether if possible until the 17th, when the Guild holds its annual Reunion Day. You'd be better off doing safer things, like dancing with elves...

† With the exception of the notorious Contessa de Ruth, an Umbragian of many parts, friend to Lord Downey and rumoured to have been Lady Meserole's governess.