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O Best Beloved, our first anniversary actually was on March 14 but I was otherwise occupied during the ides of March - therefore this weekend I am celebrating with the first ever Best Of column! Here’s some zodiac nuggets you might have missed the first time around.

March 21 - April 19 Aries
It’s that Aries time of year ~ birthday time, Ram people! It’s also time for Passover and Easter. Well, fellow Hebrews; I have a question for you. Have you believed for lo these many years that because you’re of the Jewish persuasion you’re totally unable to get your religious groove on with rosary beads? Thanks to Brooklyn designer and Nice Jewish Girl Carlen Altman, may I assure you that is no longer the case. Altman makes these mitzvah beads by hand and offers a variety of styles, even providing a glow in the dark option for the more adventurous amongst us. Such a bargain! Good Yom Tov!

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
During the Taurus transit in 1967, May 1 to be exact, was the date of Elvis Presley’s wedding to his long time girlfriend Priscilla Beaulieu. And thanks to Mattel (they’re swell) you can now purchase a set of Elvis & Priscilla wedding day Barbies, dressed in tiny replicas of their wedding attire, though the Priscilla doll could use a lot more eye makeup and her bouffant hairdo isn’t as frozen in place as the real Mrs. P’s was that day. The packaging also contains a sticker reading Direct from Graceland. I don’t know about you, but this is one of those times where I just say – I don’t care what I have to do without; I gotta have this item. Then there’s the added bonus that though the real-life Elvis-Priscilla union only lasted 5 years, your dolls will live forever in the first romantic blush of their wedding day.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
I’m going to just come out and say it and I know there is at least one Gemini or two out there that will understand. I am a pen fetishist. There - I said it - and I am not ashamed. A good pen is everything to me. And I recently discovered one that is as close to perfect as they get; it glides over the page; it seems to encourage my recalcitrant hand to write more and better. That would be the Uniball Bold 0.8mm Vision Elite. I recently bought a pack of them at Staples and I’ve been hoarding them like a miser - when someone asks to borrow a pen, it’s not this one that I give out in case I don’t get it back. Declarative statement on the package: won’t leak in flight.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
The novel Whistle Down the Wind was published in 1958 by Mary Hayley Bell, wife of actor John Mills and the mother of actresses Juliet and Hayley Mills. The story was made into a movie in 1961 starring Hayley as a young farm girl who finds an escaped convict (sexily played by Alan Bates) sleeping in the family’s barn and believes him to be Jesus Christ. She and her brothers and sisters attempt to keep him a secret from the grownups so they don’t find him and crucify him again. The book is stunning, spare, and haunting. The film will break your heart. Apparently it’s now been Andrew Lloyd Weberized into a Broadway musical set in the American South but I urge you to check out the original book and film. What can I say, Moonchild? Your overemotional, moody side will truly dig Mary Hayley Bell’s sweet masterpiece.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
If there’s one thing that Leos go ga-ga over, it’s rare 50’s and 60’s movies and TV shows. Aren’t you lucky - The Video Beat! is just about the most fun you can have with your clothes on. This web site specializes in the aforementioned. To quote them: When you order from The VIDEO BEAT! you’re not just gettin’ a hard to find movie, you’re gettin’ a full evening’s worth of high-cultured, jet-propelled rock and roll entertainment 100% guaranteed to make you the host with the most! Crazy man! Check out LSD: Insight or Insanity from 1966 or Marijuana - Sonny Bono’s anti-drug film from 1968 which he hosts wearing what looks like gold lame pajamas. I think we all need to see the 1968 TV Special Noel Harrison is Where The Girls Are. Guests include The Byrds, the Association, Cher, Don Adams, Professor Irwin Corey, and Rob Reiner. Highlights: a comedy skit about Transcendental Meditation; Noel Harrison visiting Sunset Strip nightspots like the Haunted House. They just don’t make television like this anymore.

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 gifts! 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 to package rate stamps. 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 U.S. Postal Service, because I would love to send them a handwritten thank you note with a Snoop* du Jour photo stamp.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
Let’s talk about one of our favorite Libras, John Winston Ono Lennon. Back in 1969, 14 year old Beatle fan Jerry Levitan interviewed John in the hotel room in Toronto that he and Yoko stayed in during one of their Bed-Ins for Peace. Now, 38 years later, Levitan has produced a short film about this encounter which he calls I Met the Walrus, during which he interviewed John about peace and non-violence. Using the original interview recording as the soundtrack, director Josh Raskin presents a visual element in which Lennon’s words are beautifully illustrated by Alex Kurina and James Braithwaite. It will take your breath away.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Yes, we’re in a recession. Yes, money is scarce. But if you have it, now is the time to travel because they’re practically giving away plane tickets these days in a frenzy to get you to buy them. And I’ve got just the destination for you passionate, obsessive Scorpios:  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.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Sagittarians know from crazy crazy love. Therefore this week’s download is targeted to our self-indulgent, sociable, flirtatious centaur friends. The song is Bernadette by the Four Tops and is a testament to complete and utter jealousy and obsession. This 1967 Motown hit was produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland and recorded at Hitsville USA. The stellar lead vocal is of course by the unbelievable Levi Stubbs. Listen to the raw urgency in his voice as he cries, Bernadette! They want you because of the pride that it gives; But Bernadette, I want you because I need you to live.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
It’s because of your really great sense of humor, Capricorn Goat People, that I urge you to spend some “time” playing hide and go seek with “superfluous” quotes. First get your feet wet with The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. For instance: Leave the Light “On” (??); “Labor Day Weekend” (is it or isn’t it??); “Best Coffee in Town” (so I guess it really isn’t). Hours of fun can be had here and you’ll find yourself with a whole new “lease on life.” Once you get into the swing of this, you’ll see them everywhere. All hail the “Internet”, also known as the “World Wide Web,” Mother of a Quadrillion Obsessions.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
O Aquarians, you share your birth sign with the ultra-hip, ultra-amazing, legendary Andrew Loog Oldham. While working for Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein in the early 1960’s, Oldham found the Rolling Stones and turned them into the greatest rock and roll band in the world. He was 19 years old at the time. He became the band’s co-manager and assisted them in creating the most compelling music of their storied, lengthy career. He’s done five million other incredible things as well. Read about him, track down his two books (Stoned, and 2 Stoned, both currently out of print), read his blog, listen to him liven up the satellite airwaves daily on Sirius’ Channel 25 Underground Garage.

February 19 – March 20 Pisces
Alice Austen, Piscean, born March 17, 1866, was a photographer from the age of 10 almost until she died at the age of 85. She took amazing, stunningly beautiful photos of her family and surroundings as well as contemporary life in New York City. The Austen family fortune dwindled so grievously after the stock market crash of 1929 that she had to declare herself a pauper. Her photographs were discovered and published in Life Magazine and the money enabled her to live out her last years in a nursing home. Her childhood home is a national historic landmark on Staten Island and well worth a visit.

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.