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Archive for November 2008


March 21 - April 19 Aries
Ram on, Aries people. It’s Thanksgiving already, where does the time go?! I know you eschew sentimentality and prefer to jump into life sans frills. N’est-ce pas? I also know that you love weird and wacky historical facts. Corn for corn’s sake is good too. Point your mouse to culture vs content and take the Corny Thanksgiving Trivia test. Is Indian corn edible? Where did the word “turkey” come from? And the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America was originally intended to bring over what item to the New World? (hint: not people) A wonderful person named Bonnie does this blog and it is worth a long visit for the posts, photography, and haiku.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
I’m breaking my rule of not repeating things here, because I took my own advice in this here column and went to see Amanda Palmer and the Danger Ensemble at Webster Hall. Ms. Palmer (a Taurus) and her merry gang provided one of the best live concerts I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen several (trust me on this). It was one of those rare occasions when you know that a year from now people will be saying, you were there at Webster Hall that night? with starry eyes. I’m going to write a whole blog post about Amanda so check back in the next week or so. There’s not enough room in this format to say everything that needs to be said. In the meantime go here. And here. And here. Watch everything. Listen to her new album. Read her blog. And she’s still on the road, so if you’re in Pittsburgh, Toronto, Ferndale MI, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Aspen, Salt Lake City, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, or LA – go. Just go.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
Gemini is a curious mix of adaptability and superficiality. Sometimes you need to flex that good-deed muscle a little and get out of your comfort zone. Things are pretty dire right now in the USA – in the world, actually – and here’s a way you can put a smile on someone’s face easily. And rack up some good karma, which we all could use. Thanks to KarmaTube, here’s a story about a Starbucks drive-thru in Loveland, Colorado where people were amazed to get to the window and find out that their coffee was paid for by the person in front of them in line. Lindell Green, a beneficiary of this karma gesture, paid for the person behind him when this happened. So guess what? It’s not just Loveland, Colorado. It’s not just Starbucks. The CNN story documents another random act of kindness taking place at a supermarket elsewhere in the country. Apparently it’s spreading. Like a disease in a Stephen King novel. A disease called pay-it-forward.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Moonchildren and everyone else; as we gather around the Thanksgiving table with family and friends this year and express our gratitude for our blessings (try doing this every day by the way; it will change your life), let’s also mark next Monday, December 1st, on the calendar for World Aids Day. World Aids Day was created exactly ten years ago to raise awareness of the pandemic caused by HIV infection. The date is observed globally by governments, charities, and international organizations. This year you can search the World Aids Day website to find events anywhere in the world. You can find interesting and creative ways to get involved and raise awareness. You can learn about HIV and get the facts about this terrifying disease.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
It’s my feeling that the Leos among us would really dig Dominick Dunne in the unlikely event they don’t already follow his prose as he covers the trials and tribulations of the rich and famous. Mr. Dunne is an investigative journalist who writes for Vanity Fair Magazine. Without fail, his is the first article I go to when I get my copy in the mail. His birds’ eye view of the rarified celebrity lifestyle is always absolutely riveting. Read a collection of twenty five years of his adventures chronicling the greatest scandals of our time from O.J. Simpson to Claus Von Bülow to Imelda Marcos to the Menendez Brothers to Brooke Astor to Princess Diana and more. My advice: get a big dish of ice cream and settle down and read them all. Make sure all the lights are on. Before you settle in, though, go to this site and wish Mr. Dunne a speedy recovery from cancer.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Let us now celebrate the genius that is Elvis Costello, who is a Virgo by the way. There is certainly not enough room here to discuss all the varied strands of his fabulosity. But I want you to be sure and catch his new TV show which debuts Wednesday, December 3 on the Sundance Channel at 9pm. Spectacle: Elvis Costello With… invites viewers to enjoy an intimate conversation between Costello and his guests, sprinkled with musical performances. The debut show features Sir Elton John. Upcoming episodes have Declan McManus (his real name) chatting with Bill Clinton, Lou Reed, James Taylor, The Police, and more. I personally cannot think of anyone I’d rather sit down to tea with than Elvis Costello.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
My favorite all-time Libra is John Lennon. I was surprised and amused to read this week that the Pope has officially forgiven Lennon for his remark in March 1966 that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. Apparently, the Vatican’s official newspaper has absolved J.L. 42 years after the statement was made to a teen magazine called Datebook as part of an interview while the Beatles did their last American tour. L’Osservatore Romano said, “After so many years it sounds merely like the boasting of an English working-class lad struggling to cope with unexpected success.” For those who don’t remember, Lennon’s off the cuff remarks that he’d observed that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus at that time caused a huge shitstorm that ended up with Beatle records and memorabilia being set on fire. Radio stations stopped playing Beatle records. It was huge. And terrifying. And it was a world far unlike our own today in every way you can imagine. Lennon was made to apologize in front of the world at a press conference because of the vast carnage that his remark caused. One has to think that he’s up there shaking his head in wonder that he has now been pardoned by the Catholic Church. Good on ya, Johnny.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
And then there’s ripxoid. Avast ye Scorpio hearties, this is a handsome blog that takes on subjects like Philip K. Dick, pocket-sized primates, Obama, film noir, et cetera. You gotta love a blog with these categories: Bullshit, Movies, Music, Photos, Politics, Video, Web, and Weird News. That’s all I care about! Thank you Jeff Kopp of Garage Punk fame for birthing this baby. Writes Jeff: Yep, this is it. The very first post on a very new blog. Ah yes, just what the world needs, right? More blogs! Yeah, well, so what? Everyone has something to say (even if it isn’t entirely original) and I think us ‘xoidians have just as much if not MORE wacked-out, cool, crazy, funny or just plain INTERESTING stuff to say as any other group of geeks, so let’s make this happen.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Methinks that the refined sensibilities of the Sagittarian would thoroughly enjoy my favorite Scorsese film of all time, The King of Comedy. Released in 1982, the film is about nerdy geeky Rupert Pupkin (played by Robert DeNiro in what I think is his best role ever) and his obsession with becoming a comedian. He lives in his mother’s basement and play acts scenarios where he is a talk show guest discussing his glorious career. He idolizes talk show host Jerry Langford, played spectacularly by Jerry Lewis. I can’t tell you any more, but one of the taglines was: Nobody knows Rupert Pupkin, but by 11:30 tonight, the whole world will know he’s . . . THE KING OF COMEDY.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
Ah Capricorn! Pull up a chair and let’s talk about independent bookstores, shall we? I know you love new books. This week I’ve chosen Pandemonium Booksellers & Café located in beautiful Wasilla, Alaska. According to their website, they are an energetic, comfortable, bookstore & gourmet beverage/dessert establishment. Open every day of the week, this bastion of the free press also provides online ordering. It’s great to know that Wasilla has an indie bookstore. You betcha!

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Every once in awhile don’t you suddenly crave hummus? I do and when that urge comes on I go to Jerusalem Restaurant located between 103rd St. and 104th St. on Broadway. The place is the size of a postage stamp. Seriously, my living room is larger and I have a New York apartment. They’re open late, and they have great falafel as well as shwarma, baba ganoush, stuffed grape leaves, and more. I know that Aquarians have been known to hanker for middle eastern food on occasion. Well, hanker here.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
Speaking of the Catholic Church…Pisceans everywhere need to know about the 33-foot tall stainless steel statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace in New Castle, Delaware. The 8,400 pound statue, sculpted by Charles C. Parks, was dedicated on May 25, 2007 at the Holy Spirit Church. According to their website, At Fatima Our Blessed Mother revealed that Our Lord intends the present world to be saved through devotion to her Immaculate Heart. We have built a statue to make this message known to countless numbers of people who otherwise would not know Her.  In her desire to save her children, she has asked us to Pray The Rosary. In our world of many realities, we have known the REALITY OF THE POWER OF PRAYER. All the prayers we have ever said are ours - a real wealth - treasures stored up for us in heaven.  The Rosaries Our Lady asks for are ours to give - a treasury of prayer for her to use. She needs these Prayers NOW to give to her children in need. Parks, the sculptor, also made another huge steel Mary in Santa Clara, California. The Delaware Mary holds out her arms to bless the travelers on the nearby Delaware Memorial Bridge. It is apparently possible to enter a door at the base of the statue and go up a ladder to view the inside of her immaculate heart.


March 21 - April 19 Aries

Blazing Tomato Chutney. There. I said it. If I know Aries, and I think I do, the color alone will attract your eye. And you can buy this elixir and others from Beth’s Farm Kitchen, which I stumbled upon recently at a Green Market on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. According to their website, the magic happens in a 1850’s farmhouse in Columbia County in New York State. All of the fruit used in their chutneys and jams is grown locally or regionally. Beth and friends started in 1981 with strawberry jam and have since developed over 90 flavors. Visit them at one of the many green markets around the city, or buy online and choose from jams, marmalades, fruit spreads, chutneys, jellies, and relishes. Indulge both your sweet tooth and your savory tooth.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
May 13, 1964 is the birthdate of a Taurean that we’ve all come to know and love in the last few years, I’m speaking here of Stephen Tyrone Colbert. Has it really been three years since the launch of The Colbert Report? And I ask you, Nation, is there any better use of your time between 11:30 and midnight every week night? I think not. The redoubtable Mr. C. brings us his twisted holiday special 10pm on Sunday night, November 23 on Comedy Central. A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! is described by S.C. as “the greatest newsman-hosted holiday Christmas special since ‘A Walter Cronkite Tet Offensive’.” With special guests Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello, John Legend, and Jon Stewart, Colbert will no doubt rock us around the Christmas tree in his snarky, lovable way. And if you miss it or you want to remember it forever digitally, the program is issued on November 25 on DVD with extra features: a book burning Yule log, video advent calendar, alternate endings and more. Thank you Santa Colbert!

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
Now that we’re hurtling full speed ahead into that time of year where Halloween has morphed into Thanksgiving and we’re suddenly staring slack-jawed into the aforementioned Christmas abyss, may I suggest a trip to American Celebration on Parade in Shenandoah, Virginia. The Gemini appetite for nostalgia will go into overdrive here. From their website: Thrilling visitors from around the world, Shenandoah Caverns is the only cavern in Virginia with elevator service. Explorers of every age and ability will discover an underground world of wonder. Yes, you can spelunk yourself into a frenzy here and also wax mondo patriotic with the nation’s premier parade float exhibition featuring spectacular parade floats from the Rose Parade, Presidential Inaugurals, the Miss America Parade, the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and more. In case you ever wondered where those parade floats go when the party’s over. The very existence of this place prompts me to quote Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous couplet: The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings. N’est-ce pas?

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Our indie bookstore this week is Tome on the Range in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day. Tome on the Range is a general interest book store housed in an old Victorian building in the small town of Las Vegas, 65 miles east of Santa Fe on I-25. The town itself is worth a visit for its many historic railroad-era houses and commercial buildings, over 900 of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Moonchild, I know you’re fascinated by historical trivia, so listen up. Fact: Most of No Country for Old Men was filmed here; and this is the location of the surreal parade in Easy Rider where Fonda and Nicholson are arrested for ‘parading without a permit.’ Right across the street from Tome on the Range is their sister store, 2nd Tome Around, which sells used books and has a café. Coffee, tea, snacks, books, and wireless internet. Does it get any better than that?

July 23 - August 22 Leo
Are you aware that there are three men in their twenties currently walking across England, traveling without any money and relying on strangers that they meet for hospitality? I’m telling you this, Leo, because I know that deep down you’re the adventurous type who could completely envision yourself doing the same. The Guardian’s Will Hodginkson documents their walkabout here. Three years ago this intrepid trio decided to find out if they could leave home sans cash or cellphones and travel the length of Great Britain by foot. To date they’ve logged three trips of this nature. Quoth one of the three, “People respond to the mythic aspect, that dream of England, of being in the woods and living close to the earth.” They literally sing for their supper in pubs and village greens, their set list consisting of traditional English folk songs. “People ask us why we’re doing this, and we don’t really have an answer. Are we trying to save the world, or become famous, or pretend to be Robin Hood? We don’t know. But there’s one thing that we’ve learned about this life that we’d like to share: it’s much easier than you think.”

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
This week’s blog is Mark Blankenship’s The Critical Condition. I’m putting it under Virgo because Virgos tend to be a little hypercritical sometimes and you’d totally dig Mark B’s mindset. Blankenship had an epiphany in 1999 that made him realize he wanted to document the many twists and turns of pop culture as a critic. He went on to get a Master’s Degree at the Yale School of Drama and became a writer for The New York Times, Variety, and the Village Voice. In the blog, nothing is sacred; from reality shows to classic cinema, Mark weighs in on all. On Brothers and Sisters: TV drama keeps disappointing me. Dirty Sexy Money is crappy this year, and the nation agrees that Heroes is flailing like a beetle on its back. And now another great series has gone down in flames. Brothers and Sisters has become subpar. On Journey (as in Steve Perry): Were Journey the stealth geniuses of eighties music? It seems like everybody likes them, or at least nobody hates them, which is saying a lot. There’s just something about Steve Perry’s voice that defies mockery, you know? You can joke about his tight-tight jeans and his mullet, but his voice? Don’t do it, homeslice. That shit is gold. I think I’ve made my point. Visit The Critical Condition early and often. And dig Mark’s new hip-hop video, Silence (of the Lambs).

September 23 - October 22 Libra
The sophisticated, urbane Libran will no doubt thoroughly enjoy a meal at Lorenzo’s Restaurant in Trenton, New Jersey. Get there a little early and have a scotch (neat) at the 200 year old historic bar, New Jersey Elites Favorite per their website. Lorenzo’s is the oldest restaurant in Trenton and the ultimate in fine dining in NJ’s Mercer County. Mangia! Don’t miss the stuffed mushrooms or the garlic bread. The pasta? Si! The steaks? Succulento! Family owned and operated since 1922, Lorenzo’s was established by Peter Lorenzo, great uncle of the current proprietor. Mr. Lorenzo was a Trenton police officer and also the leader of the local Italian American Democratic Committee. Located directly across from the Trenton train station and easily reachable from both Philadelphia and New York City, this is a scene you really must make. Oh, yeah. Prego.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
He’s back!! You know who I’m talking about. After such a long drought I can’t even discuss it, Mr. Stressbucket himself, Mr. No-Sleep, Mr. Conspiracy, Mr. Crazy Eyes, is going to be back for a 2 hour “special event” on Sunday night November 23 – 24: Redemption. After much thought I decided that the fictional character of Jack Bauer would be a perfect Scorpio. He’s driven, determined, magnetic, and obsessive. Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer is the undisputed Master of Disaster.  Check out this page of pithy show quotes by Our Hero. Read his profile and learn why he’s the Lone Wolf crusading out there for justice. This special is a prequel to Season 7 which will start in January. A little taste of Mad Jack to whet our appetite for the new year. Mmmmm. I’m ready. Bring it on!

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
November 22, 1968 was the date of release for the Beatles’ White Album. 40 years ago tomorrow. Making the double album set a Sagittarius. Thank you Artie Wayne for reminding me about this great event. And, O Best Beloved, this was back in the days when double albums meant you got twice as much fantastic music, not an excuse to dump filler tracks on the public. Watch the top 10 videos from the White Album here. Read Kent Kotal’s fascinating song-by-song dissection of The White Album here, Side 1, Side 2, Side 3, and Side 4. Kent is joined by noted Beatles historian Bruce Spizer, author of The Beatles on Apple Records.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn

The internets has brung us many many splendid things since its inception, am I right Capricorn folks? It never ceases to delight and amaze. Like when I stumbled upon this website for the Essex Mountain Sanatorium. This scary behemoth of a building complex once crouched on a piece of land in Verona, New Jersey. It was established in 1873 as The Newark City Home on property which is today part of Verona High School. In 1917 it became a sanitorium for the vast number of local victims of tuberculosis. In the 1970’s it was also used to care for the overflow of mental patients from the Overbook psychiatric hospital in nearby Cedar Grove. When tuberculosis was eradicated in the late 70’s, the sanitorium closed its doors forever. In 1982 Essex County locked the gates to the property. Of course that wasn’t the end of the story and this website meticulously documents the history of this castle of extreme sadness, with photos and floor plans, hauntings, and memories from patients and their families. In May 2002, after the final demolition of the few buildings which remained, the land was appropriated by the Essex County Parks System. Read all about it and, if you’re so inclined, you can even buy some crazy merch here.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Mary Martin was famous for the role of Peter Pan on Broadway in the 1950’s. The production was later filmed for television. Cyril Ritchard was Captain James Hook, and Sondra Lee was the Indian princess with a Brooklyn accent, Tiger Lily. In case you don’t know the story, Peter Pan (with his free spirit, methinks he was quite possibly an Aquarius) is the boy who refuses to grow up and lives on the island of Never Never Land (address: 2nd star to the right and straight on ‘till morning). One night, Peter ends up in the London nursery of Wendy Darling and her two brothers Michael and John. Long story short, Wendy becomes the mother to all the Lost Boys (children who fell out of their carriages in Kensington Gardens and went to Never Never Land with Peter). They share the island with Tiger Lily’s Indian tribe and are constantly menaced by a gang of pirates who want to capture Wendy to be their mother. Captain Hook is the most layered character, at one point rallying his crew to sing a tarantella and then grousing, “No little children love me. I’m told they play at Peter Pan and the strongest always chooses to be Peter. They force the baby to be Hook.” Big ragged sigh. “The baby!” The music is staggeringly great. Watch the trailer. Buy the DVD. Buy the soundtrack. And read James Barrie’s original book.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
Our Pisces of the Week is the formidable Joe Franklin, born March 19, 1926 in the Bronx. Franklin, known as the King of Nostalgia, hosted the first television talk show, and continues to this day as a popular radio personality. I recently met Mr. Franklin in person and I hope to be even half as spry at his age. According to Wikipedia, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the music, musicians and singers, Broadway stage shows,  films and entertainment stars of the first half of the 20th Century. He is also an acknowledged authority on silent film and owns the largest private sheet music collection in the world. His career began at the age of 16 as a record picker for the radio program Make Believe Ballroom.  His own idols, as he often told television viewers, were Al Jolson, whom he literally “followed around” as a teenager in New York, and Eddie Cantor, who eventually began buying jokes from the young Franklin and whose Carnegie Hall show Franklin later produced. He currently interviews celebrities on the Bloomberg Radio Network and podcasts are available at Bloomberg.com. During his 43-year TV run, he interviewed over 10,000 guests.  Guests ranged from novelty performers like Tiny Tim and Morris Katz to legends like Bing Crosby, Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, John Lennon, Woody Allen, Barbra Streisand, and Frank Sinatra.



March 21 - April 19 Aries

Our Aries friends are ruled by the Red Planet, Mars. You are impulsive and, at times, tend toward the reckless. Well, bring your bad self on down to New York City’s Webster Hall on Friday, November 21 to see Amanda Palmer take the stage. Palmer is best known as the lead singer and lyricist for dark cabaret outfit The Dresden Dolls, and she’s about to bust out in a big way with her first solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer. The album, produced by Ben Folds, was released in September. Explore her YouTube channel and watch the videos, including Oasis (dedicated to Sarah Palin). Read her blog. According to her MySpace page she counts among her favorite books The Clown by Heinrich Boll. That’s all I needed to see to know she is my stone cold soul sister. Between now and mid December she’s got a major tour going on hitting all areas of the United States and I urge you to go, because I feel that someday you’ll be telling people you did. It’s like that.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Taureans love good food, as I have said before. It’s a known fact. Well, if you find yourself up in Duchess County in the hamlet of Beacon, New York, I urge you not to miss a visit to BJ’s Restaurant at 213 Main Street. Talk about home cooking. Fried chicken, mac and cheese, fried fish, potato salad, greens, yams, and the piece de resistance – the incredible fried pork chops. They’re like poetry in your mouth. Juicy and tender and fulsome. Finish your arteries off with a wedge of sweet potato pie and you’re done. Promptly lapse into a contented food coma like Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
Gemini folks come under the direct influence of fleet-footed Mercury - the Messenger of the Gods in Greek mythology. Pretty much everything interests you. Therefore you’ll be fascinated to know that there is yet another interesting religious development taking place in Nepal (where the three year old living goddess was recently discovered). An 18 year old boy named Ram Bahadur Bamjan is believed by many to be the reincarnation of Buddha. He recently came back into society after more than a year in the jungle. Thousands of his followers from as far away as India came to see him once it was learned he came out of his retreat. He’s been worshiped since he was first noticed three years ago meditating for months at a time without food and water. Bamjan is expected to address his followers on November 18 and then return to the jungle for meditation. You can view photos and video here.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
The astrological sign of Cancer is shared by luminaries as diverse as Helen Keller, Princess Diana, Lindsay Lohan, Ringo Starr, and Tom Cruise. Who would ever have thought these people had anything in common? We all have a lot more in common than we realize. And one of the main things we all share as human beings is the desire to love and be loved. Keith Olbermann hit yon nail on the head the other night in one of his Special Comments, this one about California’s passage of Proposition 8 last week. Prop 8, in case you’ve been under a rock, rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry in the state of California. Olbermann is at his finest here, stating flatly that the issue is “about the human heart.” Nothing more, nothing less. Says Keith: “The world is barren enough. It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work. And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling.” Read the whole text here and watch the video. And if you’re as outraged as I am about the whole thing, there are demonstrations taking place across the country in protest tomorrow, Saturday November 15. There is at least one in all fifty states. Find one near you.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
Leos are leaders, warmhearted and beneficent souls who like to inspire others. The good people at SMITH Magazine and the National Constitution Center are asking you now to help President-Elect Obama inspire America. In six words, a President can speak volumes: Malice toward none, charity for all; Nothing to fear but fear itself; Like a thousand points of light. Suggest six words for Obama to inspire America and the world here. The six best submissions will win a six-word memoir book from SMITH Magazine and a year’s membership to the National Constitution Center. Think about it. Let’s make our voices heard. It’s a new day in this country and things will never be the same again. Let’s restore the American dream together (Heather Frank’s entry).

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Virgos are the fussbudget of the Zodiac. I mean that in the nicest possible way. You’re all about tying up loose ends and suchlike. Therefore you’ll be thrilled to know that the venerable PBS series, FRONTLINE, now has a fantastic website that enables us to be able to watch dozens of their programs in full, going back to 1983. The series has served as public television’s flagship public affairs series since its debut 25 years ago. Since its inception, FRONTLINE has never shied away from tough, controversial issues or complex stories. FRONTLINE remains the only regularly scheduled long-form public affairs documentary series on American television, producing more hours of documentary programming than all the commercial networks combined.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
Our independent bookstore this week is in the smallest state in the United States, Rhode Island. Book Nook is located on Block Island, an island which can only be reached by ferry from ports in New York, Connecticut, and R.I.  Book Nook’s fall hours are limited to weekends only, and the store offers a wide range of paperbacks and hardcovers for adults, young adults and children, including a large selection of Block Island titles. Although Librans hate to be alone, they do love to curl up with a good book. If you’re in the tri-state area, make it a reasonably priced day trip in these austere times.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Passion and power are the cornerstones of Scorpio. You’re transfixed by anything that combines these two elements.  And in case you’ve never seen the incredible 1967 film Privilege, I urge you to remedy that situation now that it has become available on DVD. Original tag line: Behind the screams and headlines are the manipulators…the puppet masters who pull the strings and make the pop scene work. This is the story of “Steve” - pop singer extraordinary who dared to say “I won’t conform.” It’s a comedy; it’s a drama; it’s a sci-fi musical. Paul Jones plays the protagonist Steven Shorter with the frighteningly gorgeous Jean Shrimpton (her only feature film) as his gal pal. Director Peter Watkins set the scene in a futuristic Britain as the state attempts to crush popular music.  Watch the trailer here. Netflix it here. Buy it here. See it, whatever you do.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
A perfect afternoon for a Sagittarian would be a stroll around the largest gothic cathedral in the world. That would be The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, located on Amsterdam Ave. between 111th and 112th Streets in New York City. St. John’s is the mother church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. It is chartered as a house of prayer for all people and a unifying center of intellectual light and leadership. There is simply no more peaceful place on the island of Manhattan. Take a tour of its depth and breadth; vertical tours are held every Saturday. Climb 124 feet to the top of the Cathedral on spiral stone staircases. (Ten people limit; reservations highly recommended). Next Sunday November 23 Cathedral Guide Andrew Griffin reveals the biblical messages in the stone and glass of the structure in a special tour entitled Behind the Beauty: Spotlight on Geometry. And try to be there at the end of the month when they strike the keys again on the Great Organ as the entire length of the Cathedral is again revealed after months of renovation.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
The download of the week is from Capricorn Shawn Colvin, Grammy-award winning American singer, songwriter and musician. Colvin was born January 10, 1956 in the town of Vermillion, South Dakota. Steady On, released in 1989, was her debut album. She had a top ten hit with Sunny Came Home almost ten years later, which also nabbed both Song and Record of the Year awards, and there have been quite a few more albums as well. But Steady On remains my favorite record of hers. It’s just about perfect. There is not one thing I would change. The songs seamlessly fit one to the other and every one of them is a moving portrait of a life. From the title song: “Cause he seemed like a miracle / I ate it up like cereal / But it was something like shrapnel.” Colvin is on the road right now touring the northeast United States.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Let’s all of us praise Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim. These three guys invented YouTube in a Menlo Park garage. Thanks to them, we can now find many video clips that we would have assumed lost to time. This no doubt appeals greatly to the Aquarians among us, who are nothing if not independent and inventive, with a healthy dose of total eccentricity. So let me turn you on to David Bowie’s 1980 Floor Show, which was originally aired on Burt Sugarman’s Midnight Special TV show on November 16, 1973. The show had been taped over a period of three days at London’s Marquee Club. It was Bowie’s last public appearance as Ziggy Stardust and was filmed in front of 200 lucky people chosen from the David Bowie International Fan Club. It’s hard to believe but there were only two cameras used in the shoot, due to the small size of the venue. Bowie was absolutely at his most glittering, scary eye makeup best. Other performers: The Troggs and Marianne Faithfull playing a character called Dooshenka (I know, I know). Highlight: Bowie and Marianne singing a duet of the Sonny & Cher classic I Got You, Babe (in which she wears a nun’s outfit). Sublime. Watch Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
And speaking of YouTube, did you happen to catch Bruce Springsteen’s Halloween video a few weeks ago? Our Pisces friends, who dig the mysterious and mystical, will want to see this if you missed it. A Night With the Jersey Devil was posted on his website for Halloween and is now immortalized on YouTube. The Jersey Devil, according to Wikipedia, is a legendary creature said to inhabit the Pine Barrens in southern New Jersey. It was reportedly seen as recently as August 18 of this year by three teenagers in a car who watched it fly past their windshield and land in a farmer’s field. Those of us who grew up in New Jersey have long been regaled with tales of this creature. The video will blow your mind; Bruce looks like nothing so much as a sinister, demented preacher wielding an axe and hunting his prey. And the song proves him to be the devil spawn of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Not that I ever doubted it. “Ram’s head, forked tail, clove hoof, love’s my trail / I sup on your body, sip on your blood like wine / Our world theirs, this world mine” (B. Springsteen)


March 21 - April 19 Aries
Aries is all about change. Change for change’s sake sometimes. So my gut feeling is that you voted on Tuesday, and you most likely voted for that lean and lanky change candidate who won the Presidency after all these long months of campaigning. Well, now that the whole thing is over and the majority of us can draw a huge sigh of relief, I would like to draw your attention to Tina Brown’s piece, The Magic President, which lays it all out in mythic terms. And check out Matt Taibi’s My Campaign Memories, which is terrific. And lastly, viddy this from The Onion. And then, just lie back and relax into the joy.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Courtesy of Sal Nunziato’s brilliant blog Burning Wood, I learned of the recent release of Mavis Staples’ Live: Hope At The Hideout. Quoth Sal; In June of 2008, Mavis Staples went back home to Chicago and played to an intimate audience at the city’s legendary club, The Hideout. Backed by a simple 3 piece band and a few backing singers, this recording is all one could ask for in a live record - you hear what was performed and no more. The recording captures the room so perfectly, you feel as if Mavis is testifying in your living room. Staples is an emotional powerhouse, and her songs and stories continue to inspire. Taureans love music that speaks truth to power – I know this because I am one myself. What are you waiting for? Go buy or download that sucker.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
You explore the world with fresh new eyes everyday; one of the true pleasures of being a Gemini. So let me point you to My Damn Channel’s newest series premiere, Lapdance with Kurt Loder, in which Kurt Loder saves the world – one interview at a time. To wit; Author, journalist, MTV anchor, movie writer, and former Rolling Stone senior editor Kurt Loder interviews filmmakers, musicians, and anyone else who’s around, anywhere in the world, via iChat. Harry Shearer is the first victim and topics discussed include a Spinal Tap reunion, Ricky Gervais, Eddie Izzard, Richard Pryor, Christopher Guest, Tom Leopold, Paul Shaffer, reality TV, TV news, Sarah Palin, Al Franken, and you can find out what kind of world it would be - if it was ruled by Harry Shearer.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
The moonchild loves great art and photography which reflects emotion. Not for you, a cold and uninspiring life. So you can both view the beautiful colors of the trees in Beacon, New York as we move into the latter part of autumn, and also visit 400 Square, a contemporary photography gallery at 149 Main Street, to see Diary of a Pedestrian by award-winning photographer Ronnie Farley. The exhibit opens Saturday November 8 and will run through January 3rd. There is an opening reception tomorrow (Saturday the 8th) at 4pm. Farley’s black and white photo essay reflects images seen while walking around New York City. Odds are she’s captured quite a few things you missed.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
Leos have a tendency to gravitate towards the finer things in life. So, I have one word for you: salt. A few weeks ago, CBS Sunday Morning presented a fascinating segment about salt that tickled my fancy in a big way. In it, Mark and Jennifer Bitterman were interviewed at their shop, The Meadow, in Portland, Oregon – where they sell nothing but salts from all over the world with prices ranging from $4 a pound to $50 a pound. There’s even one that costs $270 a pound, from Korea. The CBS reporter asked Mark why would anyone spend that amount of money on salt, to which he replied, ‘because it makes everything taste better.’ The Meadow also hosts salt tastings, where they present items like ‘radishes with some butter and a fleur de sel from France.’ If this has you eying plane fare to Portland like me, rest assured you can also buy their wares online.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Break out of your box, O Virgo, and explore the genius of Henry Rollins, American singer-songwriter, stand up comedian, spoken word artist, author, actor, musician, and publisher. Many of you will know Rollins from the seminal hardcore punk band Black Flag. After leaving Black Flag in 1986, he formed the Rollins Band and created a record label and publishing company 2.13.61 to release his spoken word albums. He’s written a plethora of books, is an outspoken human rights activist, and is the host of Uncut, a series of Documentary Specials airing every Friday in November (except Nov. 28) on the IFC Channel. Watch Uncut from New Orleans tonight (Friday November 7) at 10:30pm. IFC describes it thus and so: Henry’s spoken word stage show is intertwined with compelling documentary footage shot on location. He also has some tour dates coming up in November, check those out here.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
Stoke that Libran love of beauty and health with Young Living Essential Oils. The company was founded by D. Gary Young. After a crippling injury early in life, Young went on a personal health odyssey that transformed him both physically and emotionally. He ended up traveling the world to study essential oils and alternative health care, becoming a foremost authority in natural health. History’s most advanced ancient civilizations – Egypt, Greece, Rome, China - all relied on nature’s essential oils to increase and maintain health of the body, mind, and spirit. Young Living Essential Oils provides pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils and essential-oil-enhanced products. Believe me, these are the purest, undiluted, non-additive oils you can find; they are absolutely transformative. Used aromatically, applied topically, or taken internally, essential oils can calm, energize, balance, purify, and rejuvenate the mind and body.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Scorpio, you groove on all things that seek to explain the known world, be it Our Lady of Guadalupe images or Tibetan sand mandelas. I know you’ll dig my Saint of the Week: Saint Expedite. True to his name, he is the patron saint of those who wish for a quick solution to a problem. He also can step in to end delays and grants financial success. Procrastinators, this is your guy. He’s apparently quite well known in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Latin America, as well as New Orleans. Thanks to the Lucky Mojo Curio Company Occult Shop, we learn that a good day to burn candles for Saint Expedite is Wednesday, the day of Mercury, the messenger god of the Romans. In fact, Expedite is not only syncretized with that ancient deity, he is symbolized by the metal quicksilver (liquid elemental Mercury), and is also associated with the African and Afro-Caribbean spiritual entities Elegua, Legba, Baron Samedi, Bonsu, and so forth, those being the messengers and tricksters in the Lukumi / Santeria, Voodoo / Vodoun, and Obeah pantheons. When Saint Expedite grants your request, his statue, holy card, or empty candle-glass is given a gift of flowers or flowers and a slice of pound cake…It is often said that you must never seek the aid of Expedite unless you are prepared to give this tribute after the work is done, or he will take back all the good he did for you, and more besides.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Sagittarians, I invite you to revisit (or discover) A Clockwork Orange – the movie, the book, and the soundtrack. They are all amazing. Archer people are fun loving party animals who also secretly seek the meaning of life. This work of art answers all your needs. Directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on the novel by Anthony Burgess, the movie was released in 1972 and was completely unlike any other movie made at the time. It’s hard to believe that it was created over three decades ago when it so accurately predicts a future that might have been ours and, God forbid, still could be. The word visionary doesn’t come close to describing Burgess or Kubrick. Protagonist Alex, the ringleader of a gang of violent young men who love to beat up drunks and rape women, is also a lover of fine art and, in particular, Beethoven. Says he of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony: Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
If you’re a Rock & Roll Capricorn like I envision you to be as a reader of the Weekend Horoscoop*, then you already know about Rock & Rap Confidential, the monthly newsletter edited by Grammy-winning writer Dave Marsh. RRC is positioned at a high volume international crossroads of musical and political information. Due to the fact that RRC refuses to accept advertising, they are completely free to tell the truth about what’s going on in music - all genres and styles. Join the new Facebook group and read the most recent newsletter there; subscribe so it comes direct to your emailbox by sending the word ‘subscribe’ in the subject line to rockrap@aol.com. Oh yeah, and guess what else? It’s free.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Aquarians need to honor the rebel soul of Madelyn Dunham, a true rebel and feminist. Barack Obama, her grandson whom she raised, called her his rock and dedicated his campaign to her. She died of cancer on the night before Election Day at the age of 86. Dunham was one of the first female vice presidents of the Bank of Hawaii in the 60s and 70s after having started there as a secretary. Obama spoke of her passing in Charlotte, N.C.; …She was born in Kansas in a small town in 1922. Which means she lived through the Great Depression, she lived through two world wars, she watched her husband go off to war, while she looked after her baby and worked on a bomber assembly line. When her husband came back they benefited from the GI bill, they moved west and eventually ended up in Hawaii. …. She is one of those quiet heroes we have all across America, who are not famous, their names are not in the newspapers, but each and every day they work hard. They look after their families. They sacrifice for their children, and their grandchildren. They aren’t seeking the limelight. All they try to do is do the right thing… That is what America is about. That is what we are fighting for.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
The best Piscean traits include empathy and compassion. You’re fascinated by those who exhibit those qualities and also exude a strong sense of independence. People like Barack Obama, for example. Thanks to Barnes & Noble, you can read all about our new President in his own words with a 30% off book sale until November 11th. All three of his books are on sale here. You can either print the coupons and take them to a store, or use them online. And speaking of Obama, have you seen his new website? With the same careful deliberation that he used to plan his spectacular Presidential campaign, the President Elect gives us position statements for his Agenda, everything from the Economy to Technology to Defense. Also, you can continue the forward momentum you were living in for the last several months if you were working to get him elected, by telling your story in your own words and sharing your hopes for a real government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Is anyone surprised that he wants to continue the dialogue started by millions of communities around the country, which ended up getting him elected?

I am bone tired. It’s like I just finished watching a marathon of American Idol five nights a week for over a year, voting furiously with my cellphone, becoming intimately involved with every detail of the show, obsessed almost to the brink of madness. Let’s take this scenario a bit further; Paula as Palin Simon as McCain with a British accent – and, obviously, Randy as…you know who.

Ya know, I just have to say that one of the more miraculous things about this great country of ours is that when you walk into that voting booth, your vote is just as valuable as that of Warren Buffet….Bill O’Reilly….Jon StewartParis Hilton, for godsake. We’re all the same in that booth. One person, one vote. Huzzah!

So now it’s over, the finale of finales aired Tuesday night, and the entire world literally danced in the streets as the 44th President of the United States was decided by such a landslide vote that absolutely no one could dream of contesting it. The Dark Lords could not steal this one; it was by no means close. The old maps are obsolete. The red is the blue. The blue is the purple.

I felt a frisson as Pennsylvania was called. That’s when I knew in my heart of hearts that it was going to happen, but of course I was still trepidatious, just in case. And then they fell like dominoes - Ohio?! Virginia!!  Florida???  Colorado! Wisconsin! Iowa? -

And then 11pm came. And the world stopped. And then began again.

A wise woman said to me the other night, ‘you must allow yourself to relax into the joy.’ For extreme joy is the outcome here, no matter who we voted for on Tuesday, we all got a golden ticket to the Land of Hope & Dreams (“Faith will be rewarded” – Bruce Springsteen). There has been a seismic shift – you can practically feel history sifting through the air like very fine snowflakes.

Yes, I know Obama inherits a complete shitstorm from hell; we’re heading into a recession; our health insurance is bankrupting us; we’re foreclosed and broke and we’re losing our jobs. But for a few days, let’s hold onto the fact that we really did change the world.

Wednesday morning I stumbled outside with my eyes still red from a night of little sleep to go buy the newspapers. I kept waking up and turning on the TV to make sure I hadn’t dreamed it all. Did we really get what we wanted and worked for so hard for so long?

As I walked to my corner deli, I saw a black father walking down the street with his son aged about three years old, and it suddenly hit me like a train; yesterday the world was different. Today that child can become whatever he wants to be. It was like those old-fashioned scenes in movies where a page is shown turning in a book. Like a fairy tale ending where good triumphs over evil. Right now it has the tinge of magical realism but as the days march on, it will be our new reality.

From my beloved godson Paul, studying for his masters in England: For the first time in years, I am proud of my country and proud to call myself a citizen of it. There is no more hiding in the shadows and no more need to hang your head in shame. Every morning from now on is different from every morning before it. Goodbye yesterday, Hello tomorrow. I finally cannot wait for tomorrow and I will hold onto that for a long time.

At Grant Park, our new President said: If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

The son of a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya, Barack Hussein Obama, has been chosen by an overwhelming majority of Americans to represent us to the world. His visage is far more that of the real America than any other we’ve ever had. He wants to unite us, not divide us.

His presidency will no doubt be as carefully planned as his campaign – which even detractors grudgingly admit was incredible. Already there are rumblings of a bipartisan cabinet. We will learn what it is like to have a real leader in the Oval Office for the first time in many years. We’ll learn what it is like to have people from other countries not recoil from us when we say we are American. We won’t have to apologize any more for being a citizen of the United States. No more shame.

Many years ago, a little mixed race boy in Jakarta dreamed of bigger and better things, making it possible for all children everywhere to know on November 6, 2008 and for all time, no matter their background or skin color, that their dreams really can come true.

I don’t know about you, but I can feel a sea change taking place. I feel the whole country waking up and participating in a real democracy for perhaps the first time since this country was founded (and women couldn’t even vote then, much less non-whites).

The stories are pouring in;
- a voter driving all night in Virginia to get to the polls (“My friends told me I was crazy, my parents told me I was crazy…but to have missed this election without my vote would have been crazy. I told them it was my civic duty. I didn’t want to look back in 20 years and regret not voting for Barack Obama.”)
- a Utah voter hears people talking in line as he’s waiting to vote (“terrorists will attack us, your guns will be taken away from you, and a rush of Mexicans will flood in from the south . . . all within moments of Obama winning.”)
- the 97 year old black man in a wheelchair who voted for the first time in his entire life today in Southern Maryland, who asked if anyone had an Obama button outside after he’d voted, and a fellow voter gave him hers (“There were none left at the Democrat’s booth so I gave him mine. He was so proud and I started crying. He looked at me and said, “why are you crying? this is a day for glory.” I am still crying.”)

I ran into a pollworker taking a lunch break around 1pm, who told me that 50% of the registered voters in his assigned polling station had already voted by noon. Voter turnout is at record numbers. People are waiting in lines for hours. Yes, machines are breaking down, names are being questioned, computer glitches are being discovered. Because our country has never before actually acted as a democracy. Yeah, I am not kidding. We’re running around the world starting wars and forcing democracy down people’s throats, but we don’t know the first thing about really enacting a democracy in our own country.

Did you know the United States comes in at 139 out of 172 countries generally in voter turnout? Check out the list. Italy comes in first at 92.5%, followed by the Seychelles, Cambodia, then Iceland.

Did you know what people go through in other countries to vote? Intimidation, threats, waiting in line all night, these are all de rigueur in certain Central American countries.

I feel the world changing, the air trembling around us, the long march of hours and days and months and years finally reaching a resolution. We’ll be able to have a real leader again, someone who can inspire us, someone who can unite us. Not the herky-jerky cartoon character currently residing in the White House who has turned the opinion of the world’s population against the United States, but someone we can deeply respect.

This is a moment we will remember the rest of our lives, the day we changed the world and valiantly attempted to prevent unimaginable disaster both in the natural world and beyond. The next president will have the toughest of roads to hoe, but we’ll be united behind him and we’ll be inspired by him and we’ll be proud to have him represent us to the world. It’s a concept that seems inconceivable, doesn’t it?

World without end amen.

Punk rock innovators the Ramones made a joyful racket, but offstage they were rarely in tune.

Band members were known to feud about everything, from their song list to politics. Guitarist Johnny Ramone was a conservative, while singer Joey Ramone was a liberal.

Johnny and Joey are both dead now, but their feud lives on in the presidential race.

You see, Johnny’s widow Linda, using the Ramone moniker, has been campaigning for Republican John McCain, and Joey’s estate is none too happy about that.

“I just want it to be clear that Linda Cummings does not represent the political views of the Ramones,” said Mickey Leigh, the president of Ramones Productions who is also Joey’s brother.

“As for Joey Ramone, the only Ramones song he would sing at a Republican event would be ‘Glad to See You Go,’” Leigh said in a press release.

It’s not the first time Linda has created dischord among the Ramones. She dated Joey but eventually married Johnny, causing the two band members not speak to each other for years, even as they continued to tour and make records.

++++++++++++++++++++++++

posted by Andy Sullivan at Tales from the Trail

America, our moment is now. Now is our chance to turn the page. Now is our chance to write a new chapter.

I am in this race because I don’t want to see us spend the next year re-fighting the Washington battles of the 1990s. I don’t want to pit Blue America against Red America, I want to lead a United States of America. I don’t want this election to be about the past, because if it’s about the future, we all win. If this election is about whether or not to end this war, or pass universal health care, or make more college affordable, it won’t just be a Democratic victory; it will be an American victory.

That’s the victory this country needs right now. This election and this moment are too important to settle for what we already know. The time has come to reach for what we know is possible.

I am not running for this office to fulfill any long-held plans or because I believe it is somehow owed to me. I never expected to be here, and I always knew the journey would be improbable. I’ve never been on one that wasn’t.

I am running because of what Dr. King called “the fierce urgency of now.” I am running because I do believe there’s such a thing as being too late. And that hour is almost here.

I’m running because I don’t want to wake up one morning four years from now, and turn on one of those cable talk shows, and see that Washington is still stuck in the same food fight it’s been in for over a decade. I don’t want to see that more Americans lost their health care and fell into bankruptcy because we let the insurance industry spend millions to stop us for yet another year. I don’t want to see that.

I don’t want to see that the oceans rose another few inches and the planet has reached the point of no return because we couldn’t find a way to stop ourselves from buying oil from dictators. I don’t want to see that.

I don’t want to see that we risked more American lives in another misguided war because no one had the judgment to ask the tough questions before we sent our troops to fight. I don’t want to see that.

I don’t want to see homeless veterans on the street. I don’t want to send another generation of children through corridors of shame. I don’t want this future for my daughters and I do not accept this future for America. It is time to turn the page.

I run for the presidency for the same reason I drove halfway across the country over two decades ago to bring jobs to the jobless and hope to the hopeless on the streets of Chicago; for the same reason I stood up for justice and equality as a civil rights lawyer; for the same reason I’ve fought for Illinois families for over a decade. Because I will never forget that the only reason I am standing here today is because someone, somewhere stood up when it wasn’t popular, when it was risky; when it was hard. And because that someone stood up, a few more did. And then a few thousand. And then a few million. And together, they changed the world.

That’s why I run in this election. I run to give my children and their children the same chances that someone, somewhere gave me. I run so that a year from today, there is a chance that the world will look at America differently, and that America will look at itself differently. And I run to keep the promise of the United States of America alive for all those who still hunger for opportunity and thirst for equality and long to believe again.

That is the change that’s possible in this election. That is the moment I want to seize as President. And I ask you all to join me in this journey. Thank you.

Senator Barack Obama, November 3, 2007, Spartanburg, S.C.
(partial text of speech. Full text here)

Nov 01

one voice

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One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world.
Your voice can change the world
- Barack Obama

your voice can change the world