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THE WORLD ACCORDING TO HOOTER MCCORMICK -- READING THE STARS

by: Wes Ishmael

Peetie and Hooter were swapping thoughts about the economy, the state of the world and how it was that ammunition and gun sales were off the charts.

“Just you watch, it won't be long before a whole new slug of people will be buying Ouija Boards and going to fortune tellers looking for answers,” Peetie said. “I've seen it every time we get into a major scrape. Folks start looking for answers and they don't care where they come from or whether they're right.”

Hooter put no store in such things, although he did have a purple and flea-bitten rabbit's foot that he made sure was in his pocket back when he was rodeoing hard; the left front pocket to be exact, stroked three times just before climbing on.

“I've even seen good Christians who know better get all caught up in that stuff,” Peetie continued. “Don't ever tell anybody this, but back during that first oil crisis in the 70's, I even saw Nelda Isselfrick, herself, coming out of one of those palm-reading places on one of those back streets in Fort Worth during the stock show.”

Hooter wondered what Peetie was doing on that same back street, but thought it best not to ask.

“I wonder who makes those Ouija Boards anyway,” Peetie wondered, jotting a note in the book he always kept in his shirt pocket. “Have to call my broker, could be a good time to buy.”

Celestial Profiling

That conversation got Hooter to thinking: why not me, just for the gang, and just for fun.

So, late that night he dug out his old rabbit's foot, consulted the Big Dipper, looked at the local paper for zodiac reference points, and came up with his own Cattlemen's horoscope.

Aquarius (January 20-February 19)

Even though you thrive on expressing your uniqueness, not to mention your opinion, and have been dreaming of acquiring a Tamworth boar in order to prove a point, now is not the time. Yes, this is the year of the ox, but 2009 continues to be ruled by the opposing forces of Neptune and Saturn, which means…well something surely. Keep in mind bulls born under this sign will likely sire about half heifers.

Pisces (February 20-March 20)

Yes, your sun sign chases its own tail, literally, one fish fighting upstream while the other glides down, but that's no reason you have to. Rather than leave so many projects unfinished, choose a few and stick to them…or not…well, either way is OK, and there's nothing wishy-washy about that. If you fix fence in the horse pasture when the moon enters your sign, odds are they'll lean on it.

Aries (March 21-April 19)

With your sign ruled by Mars, we know exactly what you think of these tree-hugging panty-waists and their yuppie pals…because we heard you tell them and everybody else last week. Good for you. Now put your inherent leadership skills to work and find us some boots that last like they used to. Even you need to be careful on Friday the 13 this year; Sunday's comin'. ‘Nuff said.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Just because you like to weigh all of the options…over and over…doesn't mean you're slow. Tell them to hold their water. If they don't know by now that you could care less what they think, that's their problem. Born under this sign, you can never make a wrong decision when buying a bull. Of course, you won't necessarily make the right one, either, no matter how long you take deciding.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Hey, pleased to meet you and so am I. Having two distinct sides to your personality doesn't mean you're schizophrenic any more than knowing everyone is after you makes you paranoid, no matter what that shadow in the corner says. But, it wouldn't hurt to stay close to home, just in case. Heifers born under this sign will throw twins less than one percent of the time; on average, collectively, and according to some valid research somewhere.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Being prone to act on emotion, ask yourself, “Do I really need to go to that auction without doing my homework?” After you go anyway, ask yourself, “Should I really bid one last time?” Of course, you should. Be careful of buying bulls or doing your taxes when the moon is ascendant in this house, though; you'll likely end up having to pay more than you think you ought to.

Leo (July 23-August 22)

Roar on brothers and sisters of the lion, roar on. Just make sure you get your facts straight this time. Speaking of which, the stars will be aligned perfectly September 31 for you to tell the bank exactly what you think of their declining personal service and hoity-toity attitude. Castrate bulls under this moon, and it's likely that you can render then steers…if you pay attention this time, for crying out loud.

Virgo (August 23-Spetember 22)

Wanting the best is fine, but slow down and smell the muck once in a while. Be cautious when Mars is in your house this year; you know how those people like to party. Seriously, your hacienda is smaller than it appears. Your stars and analytical nature are ruled by reason. So, is it reasonable to justify buying that new roping horse as a way to expand your portfolio? We think so, too.

Libra (September 23-October 23)

Ahhh, the sweet scales of justice; who better to run the weights than you? Remember that next time you negotiate the shrink and slide on a load of calves. Heifers bred under this sign will have a gestation length of approximately 283 days, give or take, and dependent on the moon phase, of course. One more thing: No matter how much you'd like them to, not everyone is going to think you're swell; get over it.

Scorpio (October 23-November 22)

You remember that first serious boyfriend/girlfriend you had that you ended up disliking just as much as they ended up disliking you, and it was all their fault? Why would you expect your order buyer to be any different when they or someone in their family was born under that very same sign? Bet you never thought of that. If they're Scorpio, too, disregard.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

You know what my great Aunt Lucy meant when she said, “I never met a Sagittarius I didn't think I could like?” Me either. Rather than fret about those dormant New Year's Resolutions, use them for pre-planning next year, so you're actually ahead of game. Given the opposition of Jupiter to Mercury in October, that would be a dandy time to find a new hidey-hole for that chokecherry wine you've been hoarding.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

Slow and steady, Bub…like we need to tell you that. Corn is part of the name of your sun sign. Corn is worth lots these days. You have corns on your feet. Need we say more? OK, we will. Your birthday is within two weeks of Christmas, give or take. Cattle born under this sign have a 50% chance of grading Choice, unless the moon is in the sign of Scorpio or the grader's in-laws are in town.

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