March 21 - April 19 Aries
Let me say this plain and clear: if you haven’t seen Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, a viral video hit of epic proportions, you are missing something huge. Pausch, who died a few days ago after contracting pancreatic cancer in 2006, has changed many lives and will change many more. A Carnegie Mellon professor of computer science, he saw his terminal illness as a challenge to live out the life of his dreams and have fun doing it. We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand is one of the things he said. And Tell The Truth. All The Time.
April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Travel Betty is a blog that encourages Fearless Independent Travel For Women. Per the site, Travel Betty is a woman in love and lust with travel. All kinds of different travel. From pampering to roughing it, she’s an experience collector. Travel Betty desires to be the old woman with the good stories. To her, travel is freedom. Yay! TB, you’re living my dream! When I was in high school, my friend Janice and I both became enamored of James Michener’s novel The Drifters. The book is about six young people of all different international backgrounds who meet in Spain, and then describes how each got there. A few of the characters work multiple jobs for six months and travel the rest of the year. I could not think of anything cooler than that. It’s terribly dated but still a lot of fun to read. And check in with Miss Betty too. She’s all that.
May 21 - June 20 Gemini
Thanks to the good people at Vosges, you can have a marvelous experience with chocolate that will blow your mind. The Vosges Exotic Barcelona Bar is a mix of dark and milk chocolate married to hickory smoked almonds and grey sea salt. On the packaging are loving directions telling you exactly how to consume this item to get the full experience. There are five steps: See, Smell, Snap, Taste, Feel. The sweet salty creamy crunchiness of the chocolate is like waves hitting the shore of your taste buds.
June 21 - July 22 Cancer
He’s as handsome as they come, per the name (Handsome Dick Manitoba), he’s the lead singer of the Dictators (a band for which he was formerly a roadie), he’s got a radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio’s Underground Garage Channel, and he owns the coolest rock and roll bar on the planet – Manitoba’s, located (of course) on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Many a beer has been hoisted inside those august walls, many a tale has been told. For the moment they don’t have any live music going on due to some annoying neighbors, but it’s still the best place around to listen to a great jukebox and shoot some pool. And the photos of great punk legends on the walls are worth the trip alone.
July 23 - August 22 Leo
Bonne anniversaire! ¡feliz cumpleaños! Janam Din Mubarak! Sretan Rodendan! Happy Birthday, My Damn Channel! One Year Today, July 31! It feels like you’ve been our friend forever. You thrill us and inspire us, you make us laugh until soda comes out of our noses. Your peeps – Don Was, Harry Shearer, Andy Milonakis, David Wain, A.D. Miles, Coolio, Steve Kerper, and Big Fat Brain – are now our beloved heroes. We love you ~ keep on keepin’ on.
August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Strange human remains found in the hills of West Virginia…no one has a clue what might have happened…evidence of bizarre medical experiments…well, it has to be a case for the X-Files. And it is; my beloved Moldy and Scoldy are back, reunited to chase down the dark demons once again. The trailers tease us with a shot of them being quite romantic. The TV show, in its early years, stunned and delighted before collapsing in on itself in a classic case of a show lasting too long. I could do with a trip back to 1993 just for a couple of hours. I want to believe!
September 23 - October 22 Libra
The Beat Goes On forever at Sonny Bono Memorial Park, located on a traffic island near Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. The 800 square foot area was developed into a tribute to Mr. Bono in 1998 by his friend, local real estate developer Geary Simon. Perhaps the only Congressman who also had a string of hit records in the 1960’s and co-hosted a popular variety show, Sonny is memorialized here with a plaque and a vault of memorabilia which includes the sheet music for The Beat Goes On and a set of his official Congressional cufflinks.
October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Gretchen Craft Rubin is a former lawyer and U.S. Supreme Court clerk for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor who has written a number of books. Her daily blog, The Happiness Project, tests happiness principles and theories from Oprah to St. Theresa to report on what works and it’s a terrific read. A book based on The Happiness Project will be published in 2009. Watch her film The Years Are Short in which she suddenly comes to the realization that life is a string of precious moments that we need to be grateful for.
November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Shoyeido is a 300 year old Japanese company, established in 1705, which produces what is thought to be the highest quality and finest natural incense in the world. A family owned business, the company operates in the same location it has occupied in Kyoto, Japan for three centuries. The incense blends are Inspiration, Peace, Joy, Love, and Hope. Hope, a blend of sandalwood, frankincense, vanilla, ginger lily and spices, is my favorite. Each box of approximately 35 sticks comes with its own ceramic burner.
December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
This week’s musical treat is Tracey Ullman, a Capricorn lass. Ullman is known primarily in the States for her acting and comedy (she has a hit show - State of the Union - right now on Showtime), but our U.K. friends know that she was quite a musical sensation in the 1980’s. And you can download The Best of Tracey Ullman and hear why. It’s always a mystery why some things don’t make it across the pond and she barely created a ripple here with some great material. My favorite is the fabulously dramatic Doc Pomus-y I Close My Eyes and Count To Ten. There’s 20 songs in total and nary a clunker in the bunch. Check out the video for They Don’t Know which was a big hit in England and features a famous British rock star who’s also been knighted. (Hmm, who could it be?)
January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Housing Works Used Book Café is located on 126 Crosby Street – a few steps from the intersection of Canal and Crosby in Soho. Open every day until 9pm on weekdays and until 7pm on weekends, the store is a reminder of the days when Soho was not chockablock with high end couture stores and packs of tourists. A selection of some 45,000 new, used, and rare books and records make this by far the best book outlet in New York City. Add to that a café with sandwiches and salads, coffee, wine, beer and desserts. Add to that live events and readings. And add to that the fact that all proceeds go to Housing Works, which provides housing, health care, job training, advocacy, and other services for homeless New Yorkers living with AIDS and HIV.
February 19 - March 20 Pisces
Glory in the timeless beauty of Hedy Lamarr as you listen to Tony Bennett’s Stranger in Paradise. This kind of clip is what I love about YouTube – a truly creative, well edited slideshow which pays tribute to an actress who was thought to be the most beautiful woman of her time. Lamarr, born in 1913, was known for her appearances in Samson and Delilah, Boom Town, Ziegfield Girl, and other films. She was also a brilliant inventor. In 1942, at her highest peak of popularity, Lamarr and composer George Antheil patented a frequency-switching system for torpedo guidance that was well ahead of its time. Along with Antheil, in 1997 she was awarded both the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award and the Bulbie Gnass Spirit of Achievement Bronze Award which is given to individuals whose creative lifetime achievements in the arts, sciences, business, or invention fields have significantly contributed to society or the earth at large.