March 21 - April 19 Aries
Oy vey gevolt! Get yourself in the Hanukkah spirit by watching Hanukkah in Santa Monica by Tom Lehrer. The eight day Festival of Lights starts this Sunday. Full Latke Alert! Dreidel Lockdown! Maccabee Mania! Thank you Lady Tabitha for turning me on to this delightful video (In December there’s just one place for me! Amid the California flora I’ll be lighting my menorah, like a baby in his cradle I’ll be playing with my dreidel) Tom Lehrer, for those who don’t know, is a brilliant singer/songwriter/satirist/mathematician. He crafted a number of fantastic songs in the 50’s and 60’s, the most famous of which are probably The Vatican Rag and The Masochism Tango. Catch some classic Lehrer here doing a medley of math songs (there’s a delta for every epsilon): I suppose nowadays when people think of Harvard and mathematics, they naturally think of Ted Kaczynski. Address that Aries energy to finishing up your gift shopping before the first menorah candle is lit! Here’s a suggestion: Songs & More Songs by Tom Lehrer, available from Amazon. Can you go wrong with a CD that includes Wiener Schnitzel Waltz, The Masochism Tango, and The Old Dope Peddler? More Lehrer fun here!
April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Stellaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!! Yes, they’re back. With a whole channel devoted to their zany antics over at My Damn Channel. Speaking of which, the Damned had the #1 video on YouTube this week with Big Fat Brain’s new episodic web series, Agency of Record (from the folks who brought you You Suck At Photoshop; they’re truly, madly, deeply ill). Speaking of which, Time Magazine included YSAP and the Damned in their Top Ten TV Episodes of the Year (the only non-TV series, alongside Colbert, 30 Rock, Mad Men, Lost!!!). Speaking of which, Time also included Sir Harry Shearer’s Found Objects in its Top Ten Open Mike Moments of the Year. And did I mention, Flight of the Conchords will premiere its new episode next week on My Damn Channel – a full three weeks before HBO? Oh yeah and when you board your American Airlines flight to go home for the holidays, you’ll see a big fat mention of the Damned in this article about web video. And TV Week pegged the Damned as one of the five online video startups to watch in 2009. There’s a lot of ways to fall down the rabbit hole here. Taurus, call in a snow day and sit back with some hot chocolate and viddy this.
May 21 - June 20 Gemini
Note to self: consider Dartford, Kent, England. Here’s a town whose claim to fame happens to be that the Glimmer Twins had their formative years there. (That’s Mick and Keith, silly you). I’d like to thank Teri L for alerting me to this delightful story. Seems that a lucky 13 streets in Dartford will be named after Rolling Stones’ songs. Satisfaction Street … Little Red Walk … Ruby Tuesday Drive. The town council endorsed this brilliant idea last week. Council leader Jeremy Kite (his real name) said: “We are very proud of the Rolling Stones and it is a little bit of our history we can celebrate.” Dartford is also the home of the Mick Jagger Centre, “a live performance facility that aims to programme a high quality range of events and opportunities, in the Performance, Production and Participation of Music and the Arts for the communities of Dartford and North Kent Region“. My dear Gemini, indulge your inquisitive, novelty-loving side and join their email list, after which you’ll receive a warm welcoming note from someone who’s email address is @themickjaggercentre.com.
June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Have Yourself a Tacky Little Xmas (50 Ways to be Totally Tasteless This Holiday Season) with these helpful tips by Pamela Redmond Satran on the Huffington Post. I’m not sure if you home-loving crab people are as into tacky Christmas inflatables as I am (I love to count lawn inflatables when I’m in the suburbs at Christmastime) but I’m sure this list will delight and amuse you. (a few gems from the list: tie antlers on your dog’s head…bake nude, anatomically correct gingerbread men…smoke weed in effort to bond with stoner son home for the holidays) Satran is the co-author of nine best selling baby name guides including The Baby Name Bible and recently launched the new baby naming site nameberry and has also written a plethora of other hot titles. She also writes the blog How Not To Act Old and is the author of the brilliant “30 things every woman should have and should know by the time she’s 30” for Glamour Magazine (“a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill and a black lace bra.”)
July 23 - August 22 Leo
If I know Leos like I think I do, music is an essential part of your needs. Food, shelter, and music. That about sums it up, n’est-ce pas? So hustle your muscle over to iTunes and download Why Don’t You Quit Leaving Me Alone? by Rosanne Cash on her 2005 release King’s Record Shop. Writes the inexplicable, inevitable, incredibly fabulous Holly Gleason: You never hear them coming… the ones that level you, take away your breath, buckle your knees. Those songs that hit the sweetest spot: you find yourself completely disoriented from how squarely they bag the emotional bull’s-eye, you’re not just speechless-you’re hoping nobody noticed. Read her treatise on this Benmont Tench song about a broken heart and much much more at the Don Cesar Hotel in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida. Before you finish the last line I guarandamntee ya you’ll be on iTunes like white on rice to download that sucker. Speaking of Ms. Gleason check into the most recent edition of her very necessary Yummy List here.
August 23 - September 22 Virgo
So don’t say I never told you anything, Virgo boys and girls. Here’s the coolest most awesome gift idea of all time, brought to you by……the U.S. Post Office. Say what?!?! Seriously, you can upload a photo and make your own personalized stamps. Perfect for Holiday cards, or give them as gifts! If you order by 5pm tonight (Friday December 19) and use expedited shipping, they can still arrive by Christmas Eve! Talk about branding for your company. Talk about an awesome way to send thank you cards for wedding presents. Talk about a unique way to send out new baby announcements. The possibilities are truly endless. You can buy them in seven different postage denominations ranging from postcards (26 cents) to package rate stamps ($4.60). You can even buy them in production rolls of up to 10,000 stamps for large mailings. I think this is the greatest idea ever, and I’d love to know who thought it up over there at the US Postal Service, because I would love to send them a handwritten thank you note with a photo stamp of my own design.
September 23 - October 22 Libra
If you find yourself in the City of Brotherly Love, O Libra, be sure and stop in to the Reading Terminal Market. You’ll love the bountiful selection of food, drink, and gifts that can be found here. I used to love tooling around this place when I was a kid… it was cool THEN and it’s been completely remodeled since for ultimate grooviness. Open every day of the week, the Reading Terminal Market at 12th and Arch Streets in Philadelphia ($3 parking, not a typo!) features an exhilarating selection of baked goods, meats, poultry, seafood, produce, flowers, ethnic foods, cookware and eclectic restaurants. Every Wednesday and Saturday, a 75-minute walking tour takes place in which a food writer reveals the 114 year history of the market. Tomorrow (Saturday Dec. 20th) meet Santa Claus between 12 and 2pm in the Green Court. Sunday the Bimas Klezmer Band will play a concert. If you live in the area, sign up for their newsletter so you don’t miss a thing.
October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Oh no, I’m in love again. It happens so quickly sometimes doesn’t it Scorpio? Keri Smith, who’s blog wishjar must be visited immediately, is an author/illustrator turned guerilla artist. She is the author of several bestselling books about creativity including “Wreck this Journal” (2007 Perigee), “The Guerilla Art Kit” (2007 Princeton Architectural Press), “Living Out Loud –Activities to Fuel a Creative Life” (published 2003 by Chronicle Books), and “Tear up this Book! :The Sticker, Stencil, Stationery, Games, Crafts, Doodle, And Journal Book For Girls!”, (2005 American Girl). Her newest book, “How to be an Explorer of the World –the Portable Life/Art Museum”, was recently published by Penguin Books. In this guided journal, readers are encouraged to explore their world as both artists and scientists, who analyze the world around them in surprisingly similar ways, by observing, collecting, documenting, analyzing, and comparing. Smith challenges you “To document and observe the world around you. As if you’ve never seen it before. Take notes. Collect things you find on your travels. Document findings. Notice patterns. Copy. Trace. Focus on one thing at a time. Record what you are drawn to.” With a series of interactive prompts and a beautifully hand-illustrated package, you’ll thoroughly enjoy exploring and discovering the world through this book.
November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
And speaking of books, the site of the week is Flashlight Worthy – Handpicked book recommendations on hundreds of topics. You name it, it’s here. According to their site, this is a labor of love. There’s just two of us, but we try to add new lists when we can. As a little added encouragement, we get a small referral fee when you buy one of our recommendations from Amazon (and we mean small — usually just enough to buy a Hershey bar). We hope, someday, that we earn enough nickels and dimes to let us spend more time on Flashlight Worthy. Most Sagittarians I know are great readers. This site will keep you amused for hours. Penguin Classics Nature Series List? Here. Great Books for Bird Lovers? Here. Books for the Serious Jane Austen fan? Here. Salon.com’s Favorite Fiction of 2008? Here – nonfiction list here too.
December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
Thanks to a tip from the aforementioned Pamela Redmond Satran, my Capricorn friends, I’d like to turn you on to moo cards. Moo is a printing company that produces beautiful products either using your own art, or designs from their own galleries. They make the most exquisite mini cards, business cards, holiday cards, note cards, StickerBooks, postcards, you’ve ever seen. Trust me on this because I just ordered some to promote this blog. My next purchase will be one of their StickerBooks – a pocketsized book containing 90 vinyl stickers on 15 individual sheets (6 stickers per sheet). You can have up to 90 different images on your stickers; graphics and photography work equally well. The print is high quality, full color, and the finish is a scratchproof gloss. Too freaking cool!
January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Apparently a UFO once crashed into the woods near Kecksburg, Pa. on December 9, 1965. It was said to be an object of about 15 feet in length, with writing around its base that resembled Egyptian hieroglyphics. According to ufocasebook.com, It soon became common knowledge that some eager, interested civilians had made a trip into the woods before the Military gained control of the area. These few individuals were interviewed by Stan Gordon, and told an amazing story. They stated that they saw a copper-bronze colored, saucer-shaped object crashed in the woods. This craft was anywhere from 9-12 feet in length, and bore a gold band around its bottom. Some of the witnesses described writing on the craft which resembled Egyptian hieroglyphics. These few witnesses were quickly whisked away when discovered by Military personnel. Later that night, witnesses claimed that they observed a flatbed truck toting a large object, covered by a tarpaulin. Curiouser and curiouser! The 1990’s TV show Unsolved Mysteries heard about this and went to Kecksburg to do a show about it, constructing an object, according to Roadside America, shaped like an acorn and roughly the size of VW bus. Apparently the object is now displayed on Water St. in Kecksburg and a gift shop nearby sells souvenirs to document the event. Aquarians everywhere; get thee hence.
February 19 - March 20 Pisces
Writer Tony Sachs scores big with a lovely piece about tracking down the perfect menorah in nextbook. Sachs, along with buddy Sal Nunziato, used to run the world’s most perfect independent record store, NYCD, frequented by many of my Piscean friends. NYCD was the self-described Frances Farmer of the music industry (We both started our careers with big dreams and stars in our eyes; We quickly became the darlings of our respective industries . . . The cool people “got” us; The imbeciles were turned off by us; We both had our careers unjustly and prematurely taken away from us; We were both institutionalized, had lobotomies, and resumed our happy, if somewhat confused, lives; We both had songs written about us by Nirvana.) Both Sal and Tony are now freelance writers for the Huffington Post, among other things. Tony writes of his perfect menorah quest thus: The first store I hit, Hechal Judaica, is run by older men with long gray beards who resemble Talmudic scholars more than salesmen. I feel inadequately Jewish and thoroughly intimidated until I reveal the nature of my quest, at which point I’m invited into the inner sanctum—behind the counter …. I’m intrigued by two menorahs. One is in the shape of a trumpet. Cheesy, but I’m drawn to it. Could this be the perfect menorah? … At Eichler’s, I nearly hit pay dirt. It’s a menorah that would do Diddy proud, were he a Jew. This baby brings the bling. It’s a beautiful silver wall menorah, with little ornate silver cups you fill with oil from an even more ornate tiny jug; mere candles will not do for this menorah. It has silver chains in front of the oil cups which resemble nothing so much as a velvet rope. All it needs is a little silver bouncer in front of the chains to say “Can I see some ID?” in Hebrew. Read the whole story and see the winning menorah here.