a starguide for skeptics and cynics



A friend recently went to an alternative therapist who specialised in tuning. With a fork. It made me wonder what key we were all supposed to be in. Listen to the grace notes in your heartbeat. It’s not a cardiac incident waiting to happen. You’re sliding out of that maudlin minor and into a major change of tune.


You find yourself at a loose end. Worse, it’s one you’ve been trying to tie up. The result? Some interesting contortions and the possibility of severe fraying. Clumps of frayed rope are actually needed on a ship. They stop the sails from chafing and are called Baggywrinkle. Don’t say I never tell you anything useful.


Conflict abounds, and it’s not of the internal turmoil kind that you can happily leave bubbling away under the surface until one day you snap in a shopping centre with a semi-automatic. This conflict involves other people and specifically them being annoying enough to justify the above. Spend your week concocting alibis.


This week, you will sit over the trash-mag crossword for hours before you admit you are stumped. It’s okay, this attack of the none-too-brights is a temporary hurdle on the way to the heaps-smarters. Until it passes, avoid sudoku puzzles and try not to cross any bridges in case there’s a riddle involved.


This is a good week to keep your head down and go about your work in a quiet and diligent manner. If the idea bores you, just imagine there’s a sniper in the place across the street whose sights are floating just above your grindstone-planted nose. Excitement is a matter of perspective.


Your plan to impersonate the abominable snowman will fail, largely because of the mess that will result from an attempt at realistically melting in the warm spring sun. On the upside you will find solidarity and friendship in one of those backpackers dressed as koalas and boldly strip away the stupid costumes.


Dear Pisces, thankyou for your letter. Your feedback is appreciated and will be used to improve our products and services. We apologise for the faulty product and would like to offer you a free pair of shoes to compensate you for the inconvenience. Please let us know if and when you are able to walk again.


What would you do if I told you that a chapter of the book you are reading contains the secret to happiness? Go on, laugh. Personally, I always thought the secret to happiness was comfortable shoes and a bad memory. Actually, it’s a single word. I’m not telling you which page it’s on.


Spare a thought for the person whose job it is to draw those maps of city rail systems. Or the proofreader who goes through the street directory every year. And the poor bastard who pastes up bus timetables, knowing they’ll be defaced. This week, thank the people who help you navigate this messy old world.


There is no such thing as instant gratification. Even the immediate reaction of pleasure wrought by a caress has a lapse of a few microseconds. That’s because the impulses that travel to your brain from your body have an inherent delay. And you still haven’t worked out how to be patient.


A new job or project will break you out of the pattern you’ve been stewing in, and now’s the time to take it. It will involve a fair bit of talking yourself up, but this is a great time to let go of those humble self-conceptions. You know the ones, they’ve been stopping you from becoming an egomaniac.


The sun slips gracefully into the southern hemisphere on Saturday, heralding spring and its intoxicating scents of blossoming plant genitalia. That was a mouthful, and exactly the shade of purple I suggest you avoid in your prose this week. Keep it simple and you might avoid coming across like a total wanker.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.