Saturday, March 26, 2011

I Love Being Wrong

You read that right. I love being wrong. Especially when I make some dire forecast based on the knowledge I have about astrology. For those of you who would scoff and say, “You mean YOU, a college-educated, 3-language-speaking, home-owning, bill-paying, accordion-playing adult actually believe in that stuff?” I would retort, “I know enough about it to pay attention.”

So, I would love to be wrong about what I see coming up in the next week or so. The planet Mars, which rules war, explosions, fire, etc. is moving from watery Pisces to fiery Aries on April 2. That would be enough to make you check all appliances before you leave the house or review your escape plans, just in case. But it’s also headed for a conjunction with Uranus, which rules unexpected events, blow-ups, uranium (get it?) big upsets and discoveries. Mars plus Uranus in a fire sign? POW!!!

At the time, the planet Saturn will be square the U.S. Sun. I could write the book on Saturn square the Sun, because it is a feature of my own natal chart. In a personal horoscope, Saturn square (a 90º angle) the Sun gives the individual, among other unpleasant things, the feeling of “not being good enough”. Compliments go in one ear and out the other. Insults and slights get stuck in the brain like snot on a silk shirt. With this placement, I would forecast that the U.S. could be headed for an event that will generate national sorrow and “We’re not so great anymore” feelings.

Add one more ingredient, Pluto. It is currently at 7º Capricorn, which puts it within orb of a square to Mars and Uranus. Pluto rules obsessions, destruction and rebirth. With Pluto, Mars, Uranus, the Sun and Saturn all squaring off and glaring at each other, I would suggest saying lots of prayers. The prayer that I made up goes like this: “Dear All-That-Is, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, God and Universe, please make the upcoming week an explosive one for everything positive: discoveries, new innovations, ideas and technologies, and destroy only that which does not serve us. And by the way, keep me and all my stuff intact and safe. Thank you!”

Astrology does not predict exact events, but it does point to the kinds of events we may experience. I’m hoping that we might experience the positive side of what the planets stand for next week when unexpected incidents change our world.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fun on the CTA

Since I’ve gotten a job near downtown Chicago, when I’m not biking I take the CTA. For those of you who don’t live in the Chicago metropolitan area, that stands for Chicago Transit Authority. Apparently there is a CTA Manners and Regulations Handbook that many riders have studied. It goes something like this:

1. If you have a huge backpack, make sure to plant yourself in the aisle so nobody can get past you. If you are seated, place the backpack on the seat next to you so others, especially seniors and the handicapped, are discouraged from taking that seat.

2. If you are taking the train and don’t have a seat, by all means stand in the doorway, no matter how many people need to exit before you. That way, you will make the maximum number of folks uncomfortable as they are obliged to squeeze past you.

3. When riding the bus and there is an open two-seater, plop your carcass down in the aisle seat. It is optional whether you should place your belongings on the window seat or leave it empty. If another passenger has the temerity to request the window seat, allow him or her to take it, but do not move your body as they slither past. Likewise, if the other person needs to get off before you do, do not rise to let them pass, but grudgingly turn your body ever so slightly so that they are forced to brush your face with their behind.

4. There are times when the “T” in CTA is just for show. Such as when the bus drivers crawl along the street, even though the road is empty. The response to this if you are traveling with another person is the following dialogue, “Did that lazy brother-in-law of yours get a job yet?” “No, he’s still a bus driver.” If you are traveling by yourself, loudly request that the driver please slow down, as his reckless driving is making you carsick.

5. Talk as loudly as possible on your cell phone. How else will the other riders be able to enjoy hearing about your latest doctor appointment, fight with your boss or disagreement with the judges on American Idol? Remember, it’s all about YOU. None of those indifferent strangers on the CTA are going to ask about your life, so it’s your responsibility to make sure they get the whole story.

6. Every one of the preceding five points shall be null and void when you remember that all the other riders, like you, are making the city a better place by taking public transit instead of driving.

Friday, August 27, 2010

THAT'S Specious Reasoning!

Don't you love those lies the media tell you that are just implausible enough to make you wonder if they're true after all? The first one I am exposing is that you can get sunburned worse on a cloudy day than on a sunny one. Riiiiiiight. In all my years of busking during peak hours, I have never once gotten burnt on a cloudy day, even in mid-July. However, on sunny days, even in September when the rays aren't as intense as they are in mid-summer, I have gotten burned despite slathering myself with 20 SPF sunscreen. Liars!

Then there is the oft-surfacing lie about tea vs. coffee and which has more caffeine. "Did you know tea has more caffeine than coffee?" scream the headlines every couple years or so. Oh yeah? Then why do people get a wake-up buzz from coffee but not from tea? Perhaps they bury the fact that English breakfast tea has more caffeine than decaf coffee in the fine print as a footnote to a disclaimer. Brilliant; way to get folks to click on your story. (Morons.)

Finally, there is the blatant fashion lie that if a woman has lumps of fat on her back, it's because her bra is too big, not too small. Horse manure! Case in point: at the beginning of this spring, I had unsightly lumps of fat on my back and I was wearing a 38B. All summer long I've been biking 16 miles a day to work and back. The fat on my back is now history, and I'm wearing the same bras that I wore at the beginning of spring, the 38Bs. So it stands to reason that on May 12, the day I started biking regularly, the bras were SMALLER on me, not LARGER. Where do the fashion writers do their research, on Planet Idiocracy?

I rest my case.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cell Phone

Music and Lyrics © 2010 Mazurka Wojciechowska

Well you’re talking on a cell phone (cell phone)
Annoying all the folks around you (cell phone)
Well you’re talking on a cell phone (cell phone)
Oblivious to the damage you do (yes, you!)
Well you’re talking on a cell phone
In your hand that thing’s a real hell phone
Well you’re talking on a cell phone, you self-centered oaf
You think it’s all about you.

            Well you're steering with your knees cuz you’re talking while you drive
            It’s a wonder anybody in your path is still alive
            Your reaction time is slow or not at all,
            Hey! Was that a stop sign?  Ooh, gotta take this call!


            Well you talk in the restaurant on a date
            And you talk during church cuz it just can’t wait
            Your incessant blabbing is out of hand
            And that’s why you’re getting this reprimand


            Well you talk on the train and standing in line
            I’d like to shove that phone where the sun don’t shine
            I bet you even talk on the toilet in the loo
            Well, watch out, we’re gonna play a trick on you! 


Mazurka Wojciechowska, Lead Vocal/Accordion; Jason Monroe, Bass Guitar; Logan Huber, Drums; Cameron Huber and Jackson Lake, Badd Boys; Valerie J. Glowinski, Camera; Katherine Monroe and Jen Parkman, Disciplinarians (not pictured)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Trio of Rants

The Biggest Lie of the Early 21st Century

“Your call is very important to us.” Bull! If it was that important, someone would pick up the damn phone in the first place.

And while we're on the subject...Earth to pathetic optimists: Calls are only important when they benefit the person being called. Calls from friends, family or from parties offering me gigs are "very important to me". But if you’re calling to ask for money or beg me to hire you to perform a service I don’t need in the first place, your call is "not important to me". In fact, I can think of ten things I’d rather do than talk to you, and one of them is cleaning the bathroom.

I Got Laid Off and I’m Better Off

I was a ‘victim’ of the Great Purge of 2009. I spent 21 years at a financial services firm and I loved it. But face it, working for the same company that long can make you fat and lazy if you’re prone to inertia, like I am. Since I hadn’t taken a vacation in 6 years, I was relieved when they kicked my butt out the door. I spent last summer looking for work and hanging out with my pals. That hogwash about how looking for work should be your full-time job is one of the biggest fairy tales of the decade. Since there’s always going to be someone smarter, younger, or willing to work cheaper than you, you might as well enjoy your time off, spend money sparingly, and become acquainted with all the folks you’ve been neglecting over the past few years. Look for work, but don’t kill yourself doing it. 

When the right job came along I grabbed it. Even though I’m making a fraction of what I earned at the financial joint, I am a little less fat and a lot less lazy, and what’s wrong with that?

Those Annoying Cell Phone Talkers

I was riding the train trying to read the Chicago Tribune but couldn’t get past John Kass’s first paragraph. Not that John wasn’t entertaining that day, but there was a loudmouth paralegal gabbing on a cell phone right in front of me going on and on about some boring court garbage that I couldn’t care less about. Miss Blabberpuss treated the entire train car to a long, dull one-sided drone, and that’s part of the reason why I wrote the song Cell Phone.

A line from the song: Well, you talk on the train and standing in line, I’d like to shove that phone where the sun don’t shine! Hear the whole thing on YouTube. It’ll be posted to my channel in the near future:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hora bătrânească

Here is a song from Northeast Romania.  If not for the language, you would think it was Klezmer!  In fact, much of Klezmer music comes from this area: N.E. Romania, Moldova & Ukraine.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cut Education First!

Dateline:  Illinois
The News:  Scott Cohen, the disgraced pawnbroker forced to withdraw from the race for Lieutenant Governor now decides he wants to waste his money trying to get elected Governor!

Hey Scott, Illinois does not need a governor. What it does need is a CFO with an advanced degree in accounting. If he looks like a movie star, so much the better, but I’ve never met anyone with a PhD in accounting who had time to style his – or her – hair six times a day. Absent a CFO, Illinois will have to make some hard choices. Liberals ask, “What services would you cut first?” And this liberal replies, “Education.”

That’s right, if I were the Guv, and be glad I’m not, the first thing I would do is eliminate all public education in Illinois. Nothing warms the heart more than seeing a parade of teachers tromping down to the unemployment office, where they will then be doled out your tax dollars to waste on booze, cigarettes and prostitutes. It’s not just the teachers who will be siphoning off your hard-earned cash, but also the custodians who wipe up all those footprints, the school nurses who aren’t allowed to dispense aspirin without threat of a lawsuit and those cafeteria slackers who sling slop onto your kids’ lunch trays. Throw in all the planners down at the Board of Ed, curriculum writers, administrative assistants and the folks who record those annoying voice mails you get whenever you need to reach someone ASAP, and you’ve got a queue of jobless mopes that would stretch from Alton to Antioch.

What then, you ask, is to be done about our youth’s education? One solution is home school. That’s right, if your idea of home schooling is making sure your kid learns to read at a fifth grade level, develops enough computer skills to find your favorite celebrity’s website, can count to $12,000, maybe learns a couple Bible verses and can tune a radio to the easy listening station, your job will be simple. For those parents who have a marketable skill, you’re probably unemployed yourself and can spend your idle days teaching it to your offspring. If you’ve dreamed of having a doctor or lawyer in the family, time to move to Indiana.

Another solution is vouchers for private schools. Some spoil-sports complain that the vouchers do not cover enough of the tuition to allow truly low-income children to attend. But with the money the state saves on all those education professionals who are now drawing a fraction of their former salary on unemployment, we can pay the kids to sweep the streets, pick up trash, mow the lawns of the richest politicians and clean toilets in hotels. That should earn them enough money to make up the difference. Their new jobs will keep them off the streets, and if they don’t have time to do their homework by the time they finish their shifts, they can join the ranks of Illinoisans who read at a fifth grade level, know how to find their favorite celebrity websites and hum easy-listening tunes while shopping at Aldi. Child labor laws? Hey, that’s why man invented white-out.

So, cut education funding first. Let the big-wigs in the public education system who make six figures while asking their faculties to take pay-cuts and forgo raises find out what peanut butter on crackers for breakfast, lunch and dinner tastes like.

Finally, a quote from my favorite TV show:

Homer: By the way, I was being sarcastic.
Marge: Well, duh.