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Archive for May 2008

OK, this has to be the final sign that we are approaching the apocalypse, dear readers. Condoleeza Rice has joined the Kiss Army.

apparently the Secretary of State was in Stockholm for an international conference on Iraq and somehow she came across Gene Simmons and the gang, who were also in town for a concert today. at this very moment Condi’s probably singing along to her favorite Kiss song I Want To Rock & Roll All Night (And Party Every Day) while Gene sticks out his tongue to Swedish screams.

photographic evidence of the incredible meeting can be seen here.

March 21 - April 19 Aries
Take a gander at Scott McClellan’s Top 3 Viral Videos and while you’re at it, sign up for the Damn, News list at My Damn Channel.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Mercury is in retrograde O Best Beloved, and it shall be so until June 19. Taureans and all signs should be aware of what this means: anything to do with communications is in jeopardy during this time. It’s just a lot more possible during this period that misunderstandings can occur. Try to avoid launching new projects and avoid signing legal documents.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
We’re on the aft side of Memorial Day Weekend now, and even though the calendar won’t say Summer for another few weeks, for most people it is, me included. Time to investigate the Gardenscapes of photographer Laurel Fink. Fink, a landscape photographer, created Gardenscapes Studio to produce garden and landscape images of extraordinary grace and beauty. She’ll capture your garden for you or you can purchase one of her images for your wall, and you’ll always be in the warm green no matter the season.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Download of the week is Darlin’ Be Home Soon by the Lovin’ Spoonful. This was a Top 20 hit in 1967. The band’s lead singer at the time, John Sebastian, wrote the folk-rocky masterpiece which swells with violin and bursts into sweet orchestral flame. Remember it here. So go and beat your crazy head against the sky, Try and see beyond the houses and your eyes, It’s ok to shoot the moon.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
Consider a trip to Barcelona, one of the finest cities on this planet of ours. And while there you must not miss anything designed by Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926). His eccentric, warped, neo-psychedelic Gothic style is unique and years before its time. He’s known as the leader of the Art Nouveau moment in Spain, but that doesn’t even come close to describing what his work is like. He designed a park and sculpture garden (La Parc Guell) along with several buildings, and the redoubtable La Sagrada Familia cathedral. See them all and marvel at this man’s twisted, innovative genius.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Seek out The House at Otowi Bridge: The Story of Edith Warner and Los Alamos by Peggy Pond Church. It’s a story not well known outside of New Mexico where it is a classic, about Edith Warner who came to the state for health reasons in the 1930’s. She opened a tearoom in her home, situated very close to Los Alamos at the time of the creation of the hydrogen bomb as well as the San Ildefonso Pueblo. This woman created a sanctuary in which both the highest ranking scientists of the age working on the creation of pure destruction sat side by side with the peaceful Pueblo dwellers drinking tea and eating slices of chocolate cake. The book is pure poetry, and the story will never leave you.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
One of the best-kept secrets of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band is the lovely and accomplished Miss Soozie Tyrell. Springsteen’s recent music has as it’s true heart center Tyrell’s violin. White Lines is her only solo album thus far; it was released in 2003 but is still available and really worth tracking down. Listen to a few of the tracks here - my favorite is the stunningly beautiful Ferdouganal.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
In this house it’s always Halloween, our favorite holiday. And it can be celebrated all year long, my dears, thanks to the folks at Pushin Daisies. Sez owner/operator Catherine, a licensed funeral director in Allenhurst, NJ: This site was created to remind us to take a look at the lighter side of the dark side of life. God, she’s sick - and we love it. Skull beach bags, skull toilet paper, coffin earrings, even skull and skeleton hand potholder sets, all here!

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Ever hear of dark tourism? Woot? Beanpole families? Learn about these and millions of other weird terms on Michael Quinion’s web site World Wide Words, where Quinion elucidates on the English language from a British viewpoint. He was studio manager for BBC Radio, curator of the Cider Museum, author of several books that examine language (Ologies and Isms; Ballyhoo, Buckaroo, and Spuds; Gallimaufry), and now provides citations and advice for the Oxford English Dictionary. Fascinating.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
Take your mouth on a flavor ride with a Pomegranate & Dark Chocolate bar from Haagen Dazs. OMFG, you will be amazed at this marriage of a silky smooth bittersweet dark chocolate shell encasing the soft, creamy fruit rush of pomegranate ice cream.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
My advice to you is to open a can of whoop-ass and have yourself a weekend! Suddenly remember that you have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon and leave early today.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
Spare a thought this weekend for Max Ehrmann who wrote the Desideratra back in 1927. Read the whole thing here, since the 1960’s are over (: and it’s not plastered everywhere as it used to be 40 years ago. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

what a week it has been, my head is spinning between RFK’s death being invoked by a political candidate as one of the justifications for her staying in the race even though no mathematics on this planet could possibly change the outcome of the race to Ellen DeGeneres planning a wedding on the Bush Ranch to new reality show trash (Lohan mom, Denise Richards) to Scott McClellan spilling his guts about his old job (didn’t he have to sign a NDA for God’s sake? not that I’m complaining) and now THIS.

apparently America’s sweetheart AKA Rachael Ray, who has appeared in several ad campaigns for Dunkin Donuts, wears a scarf in a recent ad that Fox News commentator Michelle Malkin among others thought looked a little too much like a jihadist fashion statement. Malkin blogged about it and a shitstorm ensued in the media. and next thing you know, DD has pulled the ad.

they made this statement: “. . . we are no longer using the online ad because the possibility of misperception detracted from its original intention to promote our iced coffee.” in other words, we are caving to those racist enough to think that wearing a scarf indicates that you’re a terrorist.

my fantasy: scores of people with similar scarves swarm into Dunkin Donuts to order the Rachael-Ray-terrorist-scarf blend as soon as possible. i have a scarf like that myself, actually two of them - one in black and one in purple.

i don’t know why this makes me so sad, but i guess i really did think there was a way we could end this like adults and everyone go play on the same team and win this thing.

that scenario seems pretty impossible now.

this campaign has both amazed and amused me, kept me involved like an American Idol fanatic in its twists and turns. but now, it’s making me sick.

how could she say such a thing?………… and then, NOT EVEN APOLOGIZE except to the Kennedy family (which technically wasn’t even an apology to them). to put this statement out there in the zeitgeist and then - walk away and let it hang there without even a proper apology - it boggles the mind and makes HRC seem like a vulture just waiting to swoop in after the worst happens. which, apparently, she is and has been for awhile.

Bosnia —– shmosnia. by all the saints, this absconds with the proverbial cake and blasts off into outer space trailing ribbons of icing.

and, to make matters worse, dailykos reminds us that she said the same thing in March of this year and therefore, like Bosnia, this indicates a really serious train of thought, not a one-off misstatement.

i look towards the certainty of a woman President someday in my lifetime, but Hillary Rodham Clinton is NOT THAT WOMAN.

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THE MORNING AFTER: i’m still flabbergasted at this latest HRC foot-in-the-mouth debacle. for more clarification on exactly what she said and the context, please to visit mydd.com which has a transcript of her comments and video of her saying them. And the comment (which i agree with in every fiber of my being): No context can save her. She must go.

March 21 - April 19 Aries
Escape into the starkly beautiful black&white photographs of Ronnie Farley, award-winning photojournalist and author of Women Of The Native Struggle: Portraits and Testimony of Native American Women (The Library of the American Indian), Cowgirls: Contemporary Portraits of the American West, and Diary of A Pedestrian: A New York Photo Memoir. Farley’s work captures and illuminates the quiet strength and dignity of her subjects in a way that observes without judgment. She’s very special. Currently showing at the Sheldon Art Galleries in St. Louis, Missouri, the Cowgirls Series is on tour through a grant from the Mid-America Arts Alliance from now until 2010. More info, books and prints here.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Staying in New York City for the long weekend? May I suggest a trip to the largest gothic cathedral in the world, The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. Not only do they conduct tours of this vast structure, but you can also throw a Medieval Birthday Party here (now that’s a reason to become a child again if ever I heard one). This Monday night at 8pm come on down and enjoy a free concert by the New York Philharmonic. Now that’s a Memorial Day.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
We lost Dean Johnson last September, and I still can’t wrap my head around the realization that this unforgettable big-hearted towering presence of the New York City club scene is gone. Whether or not you knew him, come out and celebrate his incredible life on what would have been his 47th birthday, Friday May 30 at Don Hill’s. Both bands that he oh-so-fiercely led, Dean and the Weenies and the Velvet Mafia, will play extended sets with copious guest artists. All proceeds benefit Sylvia’s Place, providing emergency shelter to gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transexual, and/or transgendered youth.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Yes, the Sex in the City movie is finally coming out next week and you can see what happens to the quartet from swingsville on the big screen. But allow me to draw your attention to the just-released DVD Square Pegs - The Complete Series. This 1982 television series starred a very young Sarah Jessica Parker (’Patty’) as a high school freshman who tries to fit in. She is the center point of a posse of ’square pegs’ which includes actors John Femia (as comic Marshall Bletchtman) and Merrit Butrick (as New Waver Johnny Slash). Sarah and her best friend Lauren (played by Amy Linker) try to impress the ‘cool kids.’ On the fringe of it all is television’s most obnoxious and preppiest Jewish American princess, Muffy Tepperman (splendidly played by Jami Gertz). Perhaps all that needs to be said is that this series was created and written by the amazing Anne Beatts.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
While you’re on the upper west side visiting St. John the Divine, stop off on Amsterdam Ave. between 101st and 102nd Streets and have the world’s best hot chocolate (outside of Mexico) at Noche Mexicana. One of the city’s best kept secrets, this is totally a family operation. The hot chocolate is made the traditional Mexican way with melted chocolate and cinnamon folded in. Well worth a stop, and the food is great too.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Jack Kerouac
is known for many iconic books, but my personal favorite is one you may never have heard of -Maggie Cassidy. It’s an incredibly sharp snapshot of 1930’s American life in a small town and the agony & ecstasy of Young Love. Revisit the most painful and beautiful time of your life in this book, before you were fully formed and knew the ways of the world.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
Because it’s a long weekend, your suggested download of the week is a full album: the magnificent Imperial Bedroom by Elvis Costello. This 1982 gem was produced impeccably by Geoff Emerick who made his name as an engineer with a little band called the Beatles. Costello’s voice is like mahogany velvet on these songs, suffused with both heavy irony and, on some of them, musical touches like a 40-piece orchestra. Maybe you don’t believe my heart is in the right place / Why don’t you take a good look at my face / Other boys use the splendour of their trembling lip / They’re so teddy bear tender and tragically hip (Town Cryer, (c) Elvis Costello).

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
One of our more wellknown Scorpio Sisters is the formidable Hillary Rodham Clinton. HRC: I know you’re getting a lot of unsolicited advice these days and you’ll quite probably never read this, but stop re-making the rules and be gracious. That’s all I’m sayin’.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Your lucky number is 4815162342. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to watch the Season Finale of LOST next Thursday night. Will they - won’t they - who are they really - and where the hell did Claire go?

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
I admit it; I’m addicted to Green Tea. Ever since I found ITO EN’s TEAS’ TEA, now available in plastic bottles in your local grocery store, I’ve become a junkie for the stuff. Hey - it’s actually really good for you too. Try this instead of a can of soda and see how good you feel afterward.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Discover Six-Word Memoirs. It seems that Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words, to which he replied: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” SMITH Magazine re-upped the ante by asking contributors for their own six-word memoirs and made a cool book out of ‘em, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure. They range from haunting (”Cursed with cancer. Blessed by friends”) to hilarious (”Catholic school backfired. Sin is in!”).

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
You can’t buy it, but you can hear it here: the supremely fabulous 12-inch version of Nona Hendryx’s 1982 dance hit Keep It Confidential. Nona was one-third of Labelle (and their primary songwriter), but also a solo artist of ultra-cool reknown. She is all that and then some, and this song is one of her finest creations.

OK I just don’t get it. I saw a story on MSNBC last night that I was POSITIVE would be splashed on the front page of the New York Times this morning. That story being that Pastor John Hagee, who John McCain was only too happy to accept an endorsement from, has been found to have stated in a sermon that Adolf Hitler was sent by God to kill the Jews and force them to create the state of Israel.

I admit I didn’t think the fallout about Hagee’s sickening remark about a Gay Pride parade calling down the wrath of the Lord on New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina would come to much, and it hasn’t. And of course, he also called the Catholic Church ‘the whore of Babylon’ and apparently apologized to the Church about this recently.

But what am I missing here? Why does Obama get raked across the coals for Rev. Wright’s outlandish comments, and John McCain continually take a pass on his relationship with Hagee? Much more detail on this recent flap (although no one seems to be flapping except MSNBC) can be found here, including meticulous detail on Hagee’s other insane comments.

Seriously - how come this is not on the front page of the New York Times? I’ll tell you what IS on the front page of the New York Times: Many Florida Jews Express Doubts on Obama. Yes, far more important to talk about the racism of Florida Jews who just can’t see past Obama’s skin color. The article goes into great detail about the misconceptions held by elderly Jews in the Sunshine State: that Obama is an Arab, he is part of Chicago’s Palestinian community, Al Quaeda is backing him, and that Rev. Wright is his children’s godfather.

Yes, far far more important to talk about this story on the front page of the newspaper of record rather than discuss an extremely controversial statement that God was in cahoots with Adolf Hitler to wipe out the Jewish population of Europe, made by John McCain supporter Pastor John Hagee.

And with that I give you good day.

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POSTSCRIPT: I learned last night that McCain has now renounced the endorsement of John Hagee. Of course he threw in a dig about Obama and Rev. Wright into his official statement: ” . . . let me also be clear, Reverend Hagee was not and is not my pastor or spiritual advisor, and I did not attend his church for twenty years.”

March 21 - April 19 Aries
One of the best books I’ve ever read about growing up and friendship is writer/cartoonist Lynda Barry’s The Good Times Are Killing Me. Track it down and fall into its spell. No one comes close to LB when it comes to describing adolescence like you’re still right there in it. Entertainment Weekly appropriately called her “America’s leading cartoon artist of childhood angst.” Last weekend The New York Times did a feature about her (including a fabulous interactive element about her writing process) because she just published a new book called What It Is. Also the glorious news was revealed that she teaches writing workshops (titled Writing the Unthinkable) and promotes them via her MySpace page. See you at Omega in July!

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Celebrate the birth of Joey Ramone, who would have been 57 on Monday May 19. Joey was taken from us far too soon, and we loved him dearly. If you’re in Gotham City, head on over to Irving Plaza Monday night and shimmy-shimmy-koko-bop in Joey’s honor at the annual Joey Ramone Birthday Show. This year the performers include Mary Weiss (swoon; former lead singer of the Shangri La’s), Richard Lloyd, Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom, Jesse Malin, and Cheetah Chrome. The bash starts at 7pm.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
And who am I? That’s one secret I’ll never tell. You know you love me. xoxo, Gossip Girl. Monday night May 19 when you’re at the Joey Ramone Birthday Show, make sure to set your DVR to catch the season finale of the most delicious teenage soap opera ever conceived, Gossip Girl. Talk about reliving the adolescence that most of us never had. And if you don’t understand why you should care, read the fantastic piece in New York Magazine about the show. Hurry up and get on this train before it leaves the station. (Don’t expect to see the GG characters on the train though, they’re in a limo drinking chocolatinis.)

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Something’s missing, and has been for a long time. You know it, I know it, and the world knows it. You need the accessory of champions - the HiFi Bag. Mover & Shaker Jill Sternheimer has been creating these groovy bags for years and you need one. Trust me on this. The bags are made from actual record covers and are suitable for both sexes to carry around the weight of the world, in style. Jill also makes HiFi Pocketbooks and Surrealistic HiFi Pillows.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
Download of the Week, since it is Spring (finally), is Joan Armatrading’s exquisite masterpiece Love and Affection from her 1976 self-titled album. Her voice is rich and deep like hot chocolate or mahogany. Oh Lord, just crank this one up and close your eyes and sway. Sing it sing it sing it sing it (once more with feeling).

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
You need Sangria. It’s been obvious for some time. If you’re in New York City, I have just the place for you. Cafe Andalucia, located in the shadow of Port Authority on 9th Ave. between 39th and 40th Streets. Honestly, the best - THE BEST skirt steak I’ve ever had in this burg can be found here. Have it with a side salad (to die for), or indulge in the many succulent tapas on the menu. Then there’s the paella. And the Irish coffee. This tiny hole in the wall is something out of a Jack Kerouac novel, from a New York whose time has mostly ended. Tell Guillermo (the owner and chef) that Holly sent you.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
NASCAR
. It was a foreign language to me until I read (with great relish and fascination) One Helluva Ride: How NASCAR Swept the Nation by Washington Post sports writer Liz Clarke. Clarke has been covering this beat for over 15 years and knows it inside and out. This book reads like a novel, the way all the best nonfiction should. It’s the American Dream come to life. From the sport’s beginning with dirt tracks in the deep south where souped up cars raced far away from the prying eyes of local law enforcement and drivers tinkered on their own sedans to compete, to the latter days of multi-million dollar speedways and primetime racing on television, to the sea change as NASCAR’s original sponsor (cigarette maker RJ Reynolds) stepped aside to make way for more family-friendly advertising and an even wider audience on the world stage. Talk about drama! Talk about pathos! It’s all here, and makes for a great read.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Explore the spooky beautiful photography of O. Winston Link, best known for his photos of American steam locomotives in the late 50’s. In addition to these images he also made sound recordings of the trains and released these on a series of six records called Sounds of Steam Railroading. The O. Winston Link Museum opened in 2004 in Roanoke, Virginia, in the original passenger station of the N&W Railway which was the focus of most of his rail photos. Check out Hotshot Freight Eastbound, a classic shot of lovers cuddling at a drive-in in 1956. They’re sitting together in a Buick made back when cars were really works of art and built like tanks. In the background a steam train is hurtling by, its plume clearly visible. You’ll know you’ve seen this photo before - if only in your dreams.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
We lost Frank Sinatra - a Sagittarius if ever there was one - on May 14, 1998. Crank up some Frank and reflect on this man, this icon. In their work all great artists help transcend the solitude of individuals; they relieve the ache of loneliness; they supply a partial response to the urging of writer E. M. Forster: “Only connect.” In their ultimate triumph over the banality of death, such artists continue to matter. So will Frank Sinatra, wrote Pete Hamill in his book Why Sinatra Matters.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
There are alot of great reasons to go to Iceland, not the least of which is the Icelandic Phallological Museum, which boasts 261 penises from 90 animal species (no humans yet though). The museum is located in the fishing village of Husavik, about 298 miles northeast of Reykjavik. Other great reasons to make the trip to this starkly beautiful country include: The Blue Lagoon, and skyr.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Henry David Thoreau
famously said, “It often happens that a man is more humanely related to a cat or dog than to any human being.” These times are hard, people losing their jobs left and right, and the populations in animal shelters are skyrocketing due to the fact that feeding an animal becomes less important once you don’t know if you can even feed yourself. Therefore consider getting a new best friend who will love you unconditionally, if you can afford to do so. It’s critical right now. And please adopt an older animal - they are much harder to place in homes and much more likely to be euthanized for this reason.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
This weekend take a vacation to Paris in the 1920’s and 30’s with Violette Leduc’s seductive memoir La Batarde. Paris emerged from the earth and I went out to meet it. The zinc, the zinc counters of midday…Lovers in the streets, lovers on the benches, lovers in front of the store windows. They were making love with arms wound around each other’s waist. Their temples kissed even when their mouths didn’t meet….My first summer in Paris, the Paris heat. Fall into this book gracefully like it was a down pillow, and enjoy it thoroughly.

every once in awhile, that brain-dead guy in the White House who neither I nor anyone I know voted for manages to surprise and shock me with one of his ridiculous comments. but this - what’s the phrase - takes the cake? actually it goes far beyond taking the cake… it grabs the cake and runs a marathon with it.

in answer to this question from an interview on May 13 with Politico.com and Yahoo online users, “you haven’t been golfing in recent years. Is that related to Iraq?” that guy who has access to the Doomsday Machine has the temerity to respond: “Yes. It really is. I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died, to see the Commander in Chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be as — to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”

YA THINK??????

there’s a lot more to this incredible interview and i highly recommend reading Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment from last nights Countdown, available here on the Huffington Post. Video clip there as well.

March 21 - April 19 Aries
Long Branch, New Jersey is where it’s at. IT being the Inkwell Coffee House, to be precise. This place harkens back to days of yore when folks gathered around good food and caffeine to read and write poetry, talk into the wee hours, start rock and roll bands, start romances. It’s an old house at 665 2nd Avenue on the corner of New Court and 2nd with a number of cozy rooms to sit in. It’s primarily a college kid hangout but the walls are full of history (it’s said that Bruce Springsteen - who used to live around the corner - and his early drummer Vini Lopez birthed the band Steel Mill in this place, and it was definitely a vintage E Street Band hangout). It opens around 7pm and closes around 3am. Whatever you do, order the chicken salad (unbelievable) and the world’s most decadent Dutch coffee: a mix of coffee, butter, cream and sugar, topped with whipped cream. I know it sounds gross, but it is beyond the pale.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
You’re in that deep dark goth mood again. Go with it, get right down into it, and get yourself to la belle France, Paris to be precise. Walk in the exquisite storied paths of Père-Lachaise Cemetery and visit the final resting places of peeps like Colette, Moliere, Bizet, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Isadora Duncan, Gertrude Stein, Jim Morrison. Do not neglect to visit the crypt of star-crossed lovers Abelard and Heloise, there since 1817. Traditionally couples and heartbroken singles leave notes of tribute to them hoping for eternal true love.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
This week’s download is by the Monkees, but it’s not a song that was probably ever played on the radio. It’s a hidden gem from their (best) album, Headquarters, the one where they finally started playing their own instruments, in 1968. Low key, spooky almost, with the best Davy vocal ever, it’s truly lovely and aching. “A distant night bird mocks the sun…I wake as I have always done…To freshly scented sycamore…and cold bare feet on hardwood floor.”

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Pay a visit to the Delacorte Clock in Central Park in New York City, located at 65th St. between the Wildlife Center and the Children’s Zoo. You’ve got to see and hear it to believe it. It was gifted to the park in 1965 by publisher/philanthropist George T. Delacorte and was designed to be an homage to European musical clocks. The animal figures that adorn the clock and rotate around it when it chimes were created by Italian sculptor Andrea Spadini. Nursery rhymes are played on the hour and half-hour every day between 8am and 6pm.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
Hey Leos and everyone else, don’t forget to honor your mom this weekend - it’s Mothers Day this Sunday. Visit the good people over at My Damn Channel and pick out a sick, twisted Mother’s Day video greeting. And congratulations to the Damned for winning 7 - count ‘em, 7 - Webby Awards this week. If you haven’t seen Wainy Days, You Suck at Photoshop, Harry Shearer’s Found Objects, and Harry Shearer’s music video for Waterboardin’, USA - well, you’re missing out. Go and view now.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Virgos, you are brethren to writer/musician Leonard Cohen, who’s been making haunting music since 1967 and prior to that was a published poet well known in his native country, Canada. His songs (Suzanne, Bird on the Wire, Sisters of Mercy, So Long, Marianne to name a few) are beautiful. But he also authored the remarkably strange and sensual novel Beautiful Losers, which was reissued after being out of print for many years. It’s the story of an obsession with 17th century Iroquois Saint Catherine Tekakwitha. Believe me, you’ve never read anything like it. Not for children.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
There’s nothing like a theremin . . . nothing in this world. If you grew up in the late 60’s you’ll remember the extremely strange gothic soap opera Dark Shadows which aired on daytime television from 1966 to 1971. It was the story of the many denizens of the estate of Collinwood, one of whom was a vampire, the suave and dapper Barnabas Collins (played impeccably by actor Jonathan Frid). You can now buy the episodes on DVD, and I can’t think of a better use for a DVD player. Get a taste for it by viewing a few clips on YouTube (like here, here and here). There are so many plot twists and turns that even now keep viewers entranced, not the least of which was that every time the storyline got a little old and tired, the writers would have the characters jump into a different century (existing in “parallel time”). My favorite character: Dr. Julia Hoffman (Grayson Hall); a medical doctor who falls in love with Barnabas and tries to cure him, but actually is hoping to become one of his victims.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Get off the TMZ and take a mindful walk this weekend. No iPods, no distractions - just you and your feet hitting the ground, listening to the sounds around you. It’s a form of meditation and you need it bad - we all do.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Think back to the worst temp job you ever had and write a short story about it. There, now. Don’t you feel better?

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
If you’re ready for a glorious time suck of epic proportions may I suggest the web site of Vanity Fair Magazine. It’s like the chinese boxes of magazine-land, one thing leads to another, and before you know it, five hours have gone by.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
While away the hours with the soundtrack of soundtracks from Beyond the Beat Generation, 24/7. All the music on this internet station was created between 1964 and 1968, and what can I say - no finer music was ever made, truly. Instead of DJ chatter, they use awesome audio of vintage advertisements. Any station that has as one of its backbones the 13th Floor Elevators is just hunky dory with this hippie chiquita.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
You’re stressed and you need a vacation. Consider a trip to Kripalu Yoga Center in Lenox, Mass. - it’s like a massive new age summer camp for adults. And the food is great. Don’t miss the buddha sauce OMG. You don’t need to sign up for a workshop if that’s not your thing - they also have great R&R packages. Go there and breathe.

last night on the Daily Show, Senator Harry Reid told Jon Stewart that we are spending $5 per second in Iraq. yes, O Best Beloved, this number is echoed in a NY Times editorial by Nicholas D. Kristof from March 23, 2008 that somehow crept by me without me seeing it.

In his piece, Kristof quotes Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist: “The present economic mess is very much related to the Iraq war…. It was at least partially responsible for soaring oil prices. …Moreover, money spent on Iraq did not stimulate the economy as much as the same dollars spent at home would have done. To cover up these weaknesses in the American economy, the Fed let forth a flood of liquidity; that, together with lax regulations, led to a housing bubble and a consumption boom.”

And here is the soul-shattering, frightening and sickening bottom line, per Kristof: Granted, the cost estimates are squishy and controversial, partly because the $12.5 billion a month that we’re now paying for Iraq is only a down payment. We’ll still be making disability payments to Iraq war veterans 50 years from now.

Thanks to the Bush administration, we will never see the end of this in our lifetime.