Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April 2008

by Fernando Magnifico

Buongiorno my friends, it is I, Fernando! The Lady Asterisk is indisposed this month, because a swarm of bees have moved into her hair. But do not worry, for I will be your astrologer today.

Last month, I announced that the star signs will be changing! The next few months will be exciting times. The times, they are always exciting for Fernando, but now they will be exciting for everybody else as well. Fernando will tell you more about that later, but first, Fernando is very excited that he has received a letter from one of his readers. Fernando is used to people coming up to him in the street to ask him questions (often that question is "Hey mister, can you spare a few pennies?" or "Are you interested in learning the good news about Om?") but this is his first letter from a reader.

Mrs W. from Unseen University writes:

    "Dear Mister Magnifico,

    Ai am your greatest fan and love to read your horoscopes and to learn more about you. Ai hwork as house-cleaner to many fine gentlemen of a hwizardly persuasion, and would never hear a word said hagainst them, but sometimes they vex me so with their bad habits and lack of grooming. How can Ai convince them to take better care of their happearance like you do?"

Fernando believes that it is his duty to always look magnificent for the ladies and the gentlemen who look at him. Fortunately, this is not difficult for Fernando! But even so, it takes Fernando many hours every day to look as good as he does, and many many men are not willing to put in that much hard work. But Fernando will teach you a secret that was taught to him by his dear older sister Rosita. "Fernando," she said, "if you want a man to pay more attention to himself, start by complimenting him on whatever you want them to fix." (But of course she said that in Brindisian, in which it sounds much more beautiful, like Rosita herself). So if you want your employers to groom their beards, or at least remove the crumbs and food scraps from them, you should compliment them on what manly, thick beards they have, and how magnificent they would look with the occasional combing. Fernando does not grow his beard, but he brushes his hair twice a day, to remove the knots and also the small biting animals that Ankh-Morpork has in such abundance.

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

If you are a Hogger, the stars say that this is a good month for building an Empire. Fernando is a man of peace, but he remembers sitting at his grandfather's knees and listing to the stirring tales of ancient Brindisi, when men like the Emperor Julius Aurelius Ramone Cannelloni III carved out an empire reaching to the mountains of Uberwald and the famous ports of Ghat. If you too have an army of ten million men, you can also conquer the surrounding cities and tribes and become Emperor. Just don't let the Patrician find out about your plans.

The Half-Eaten Sandwich 21 Apr - 21 May
(formerly Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips)

This is the first of the signs which are changing this month. Those of you formerly known as Gahooligans will find the next few weeks will be a time of change as you leave the influence of Gahoolie while coming under the influence of the Half-Eaten Sandwich. How fortunate for you Munchers, as you are now known, that this month both signs agree in their influence: Cobblers! For the first half of the month, the stars favour a career as a cobbler, shoe-maker or booterer. This is good news for Munchers who are already shoe-makers, like Fernando's uncle Giovanni, but for those who aren't, just wait and towards the end of the month the Half-Eaten Sandwich's influence will take over and you will find yourself having cravings for cobblers: apple cobblers, peach cobblers, and if you are a lady who is making the little bambinos, bacon and Wahoonie cobblers.

Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

For Hernians, the stars reveal this month that it is a good time to further your education. Perhaps you would like to learn another language, like Fernando whose tongue is very talented and speaks many languages fluently? Or you wish to learn the natural philosophy? When Fernando was a young man, still innocent to the ways of the world, he would go on long walks through the countryside with Sophia the baker's daughter, and we would pick flowers and study the birds and the bees and the natural philosophy. Or perhaps you want to study the stars at the feet of the Lady Asterisk, as Fernando has done? Or even become the expert on heraldry, and help the Dragon King of Arms with his project to rebuild the city's records after the fire some years ago. All these things you can do this month. The stars have spoken!

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

For Staffies, this month the stars predict the crash of bricks, clouds of cement dust and the squelch of mortar being slapped with a trowel: this is a good month for bricklayers. For the next few weeks, the stars say you should not fear dropping a load of bricks on your foot, or having a bag of cement burst next to you, or having your apprentice drop your lunch into the mortar, or the mortar into your lunch. Carry your hod with pride, for the stars smile upon you.

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

This month, the stars say that this is a good time for those born under Bilious to become a henchman or henchwoman. There is no shortage of Dark Lords, crime bosses, mad doctors who can't get the Igor, fanatical priests and mothers of would-be prima ballerinas who need a henchman or ten to do their dirty work. Somebody has to do it, and no self-respecting Dark Lord would be caught dead dragging the Hero to a horrible death in his dungeons himself if he can afford to have a minion do so.

(If you are looking for a boss, Fernando knows a man who knows a man who knows a dwarf who knows a man who can put you in touch with the barber who cuts the hair of the brother of the capo of the Purple Hand society.)

The Celestial Parsnip 24 Aug - 23 Sept
(formerly Mubbo the Hyena)

The Parsnip has returned! Long ago, deep in the mists of time [it was actually a little more than four years ago -- Ed.], the Celestial Parsnip ruled the horoscopes of those who today are under the sign of Hoki the Jokester. But Great A'Tuin moves, and the Parsnip gave way as Hoki the Jokester moved into its place. Great A'Tuin continues to swim through the icy depths of space, and the Parsnip has come back into position -- but four signs earlier in the year, ruling over those who used to be ruled by Mubbo. Confused? Do not fear, for Fernando has checked his sums, and if you were a Mubboon, now you are a Snippy!

(Fernando sneers at Roundworld astrologers, who pay no attention to the change of position of the stars as their world moves. Fernando does not approve of such sloppiness, and is sure that no good will come from it.)

The parsnip is a humorous vegetable, the punchline of many jokes which Fernando is much too polite to repeat, and many a quiet bachelor or spinster has been known to purchase more parsnips than any stew-for-one could possibly contain. As a Snippy, formerly a Mubboon, you may find unfamiliar thoughts and feelings, and may entertain certain private speculations about parsnips and perhaps even other root vegetables. Do not be concerned! Fernando can tell you, these thoughts and feelings are only natural, especially in Spring, for the Celestial Parsnip rules the glands, especially the glands concerned with the romance.

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

Last month, the stars were cruel to Boring'uns, and predicted the exciting career as a technomage. If you have managed to avoid being transported into the Dungeon Dimensions or the Wrong Trousers of Time, Fernando has good news for you! For the stars this month are kind and considerate, like Fernando himself, and favour a career as junior clerk, third grade, where the most exciting thing that you can expect is to catalogue the catalogues. And if the Lady smiles upon you, you can look forward to many years of being overlooked for promotions.

Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

Fernando is saddened that many people can never be more than a pale shadow of his magnificence. Fernando, as well as being humble, is compassionate towards those who suffer under the burden of not being Fernando. This month, Fernando also feels compassion for Andies, for the stars will not be kind. Andies can expect a month of stubbed toes, spilt milk, sausages-inna-bun from Mr C.M.O.T. Dibbler, Feegles in the drinks cabinet, and visits from Omnians bearing pamphlets. But do not worry, for this too shall come to pass, and you can comfort yourself with the thought that at this difficult time Fernando sends his sympathy.

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

Do you want to live an exciting life beyond city and the law, living by your wits, with every man's hand turned against you? Then you are very fortunate, for this month the stars recommend that Footies like yourself take on the exciting and dangerous, but very rewarding, career of chicken rustling. Out on the Octarine Grass Country, chicken-farmers from Quirm and Pseudopolis raise vast herds of Old Morporkian Bantams, Brindisian Leghorns, Klatchian Game Fowl and Burpingtons. Fernando feels sorry for the Pseudopolitans, but the Quirmians and their cheating footsballers do not deserve chickens.

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

Hokians are known for their mischievous sense of humour, and the stars say that this month will be a good time to let your imagination run wild with the practical jokes, japes and gags. But Fernando must warn you: there are many people who do not appreciate the Ankh-Morporkian idea of a good joke, like the burning bag of dog-doings on the front step, putting salt in the sugar jar, stink bombs, or gluing a cat inside somebody's hat. So be imaginative, be safe, and especially be far away when you are found out.

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

Every day Fernando gets many letters from kind Morporkian business men telling him that he can make money fast. Fernando is very grateful for their offers, but Fernando's needs are simple and he is already making enough to pay the bills, and a little extra to send home to Mamma, may the Gods smile upon her. But for Gazundians, this month the stars say that you too can make money fast, as much as you want, for the stars recommend you take up a career as a banker. All you need is a charter from the Patrician, a large expensive building made of marble, and a top hat, and you too can have a licence to make as much money as you want.

Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

Fernando wishes to make love, not war, but Fernando is also a realist and knows that there is always a war or revolution happening somewhere. This month, war is good news for Umbragians, because the stars say you should take up arms dealing. Igors may also sell legs. If you are especially keen, you should consider travelling to faraway lands and whipping up some new business. Just stay out of Brindisi.


Next month: one more sign will change! But do not fear, for Fernando will guide you through these tumultuous times! Ciao bella!

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