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ARIES (March 21-April 19): A trip or an adventure with friends or family will help you put your life back in perspective. Too much work and not enough play can result in your not giving your best. Look at the negatives in your life, and make adjustments.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Get moving. Idle time will be your downfall. Take care of responsibilities at home in order to avoid criticism. Someone you deal with at work or school will capture your interest and your heart. Community events will lead to an interesting proposal.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Make plans with friends. Digging into a project that helps others in your community will enhance your reputation but may also lead to being taken advantage of by a slick opportunist. Realize your potential and your value.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Take part in unusual events, or research information that will set you apart from any competition you face professionally. Making an abrupt move that will alter your status will not turn out as planned. Sit tight, and work on you, not others.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): The more interest you show in what everyone else is doing, the better prepared you will be to take control and create solutions. Your leadership will improve your position, but it may hinder a relationship. You will face demands on your time.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Evaluate your situation. Before you make a move, present an understated assessment of what you plan to do. It's better to hold back some of your intentions until you are in a better position to avoid interference. Love and romance are highlighted.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Secretive action will give you an edge. Someone you deal with will not be straightforward. You must adjust your roster regarding who is valuable to you and who isn't. Problems at home are likely to overflow into your productivity at work.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Change things up a bit. Get out, and do something that will motivate you or spark your imagination to come up with new ways to use your talents. Diversification will be key to getting the most for the least.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Money matters will surface if you haven't been keeping tabs on your expenditures. Seeking adventure and keeping up with the people you want to play with will be costly if you aren't realistic. Size down, and budget wisely.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Put more time and effort into important partnerships. Don't let changes occur that will put you in a vulnerable position. Compromise coupled with a strategic plan will help you get past any pitfalls you face. Put love and romance first.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): A move or associating with different people will change your life drastically. Make choices that will lead to a better future. Someone you love will offer support. A kind gesture must be countered with something you can offer in return.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Caution while traveling or dealing with authorities will be a must. Misunderstandings will lead to an argument or mishap that will be difficult to reverse. Stick close to home, and focus on keeping the peace and giving attention to the ones you love.

Why We Can't Have Nice Things:

• Because Nice Things Inc. has had to face the stark realities of the market and is closing its doors permanently.

• Because the baby would barf on them, or the dog would, or your cousin the drunk, etc. The inevitability of barf, basically.

• Because it would make it hard to tell the successful from the couch-bound.

• I can't see what's not "nice" about a futon made of pizza boxes, thank you very kindly.

• Because it's China's turn for a while. Why don't you go color a picture or something?

• Because of the datgum government, that's why.

• Because some douche-pocket on eBay outbid us at the last second.

• Because we'd only fetishize them and forget about what's really important in life: the latest season of "American Idol."

• Because Mom said so, dumb-butt.

• Because we'd hoard them in a vault and try to swim around in them, leading to all manner of wealth-related injuries.

• Because we'd just pawn them for beer and cigs.

• Because it was a hoax. As it turns out, the nice things we were promised are merely adequate things.

• Because we're poor, duh.

• Because our system of beliefs does not allow for the qualification of things as either "nice" or "less nice." (But really, because we're poor.)

Andrew R. Juhl thanks Will Hartman for the material in today's Ledge.

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