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Herewith a completely solipsistic list of things that tickled my fancy this past week and that bear further investigation by The World Out There. IMHO.

Kate McKinnon on Saturday Night Live: She had me with her recent channeling of Ann Romney, but last night took the cake with her wondrous portraits of the Long Island Medium, Ellen deGeneres, and (most side splitting of all) Celia Gimenez, the eighty-year-old Spanish lady who painted over a 100 year old fresco of the face of Christ. I’ve got my eye on you, McKinnon. You’re now officially the one to watch on SNL. Gracias.

Not Fade Away, David Chase’s new movie: Well I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I have been waiting for this film to come out for what seems like years. The feature film directorial debut of genius David Chase (ahem, The Sopranos), it stars James Gandolfini, John Magaro, Jack Huston, Will Brill, Bella Heathcote, Brad Garrett and others and is the story of a rock group in 1960’s New Jersey. The music supervisor is Steven Van Zandt, so ’nuff said.  It’s due out in December from Paramount. Check out the trailer here.

The return of Homeland, on Showtime: Even if you didn’t watch the first season, or know anything at all about this show, you probably grokked that it swept the Emmys and also racked up a few Golden Globes. Apparently all this attention resulted in a huge ratings win last week when Season 2 premiered, and it did not disappoint. We find Claire Danes’ character Carrie puttering around in the garden and closing down her laptop when a news story about the Middle East pops up, until her old buddy Mandy Patinkin (um, J’adore) reaches out to get her help with an asset she recruited years before. Of course it doesn’t take much to get her on the plane to Beirut. And suddenly our Sunday nights look a whole lot better for the next few months.

Theatre Is Evil, By Amanda Palmer, racks up the establishment kudos: Rolling Stone named Amanda Palmer’s new album Theatre Is Evil one of the year’s best rock records. Palmer made world headlines earlier this year with her massively successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of this album, from which she raised $1.2 million. The record is kickass. The band is magnificent. Palmer is a goddess. You can stream and purchase the record here for as little as $1.00 in a Pay-What-You-Want scenario. Mark my words; she’s the Queen of Social Media and she puts on one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. Plenty of chances to see if I’m right on that, here.

The Candy Bar of the Week goes to the New Smoked Banana Caramel Chocolate Bar by Vosges: I haven’t had it yet, but who needs to with a description like this: Smoked bananas blended into soft caramel, with a touch of Alderwood smoked salt and tucked it into the pockets of a 72% cacao dark chocolate bar. When tasting the bar, the smoke flavor is distinct with the smoky notes found primarily in the Mesquite smoked banana. Who writes these things? Vosges always comes through and I’m sure this is my tastebuds’ version of a rocket to the moon.

Janey Milstead, Editor In Chief of my favorite magazine, like, ever, TeenSet, located via Google!: Well, to me, this is Ultra Mega. Not only did I locate the website of Ms. Milstead, I also found out that while at TeenSet she wrote under many names and one of those was Shirley Poston, possibly my favorite writer…ever. All these years, I never knew they were the same person. To my teenage self this is the equivalent of the Mars Landing or some other huge scientific discovery. I’m still hoping to find someone has digitized all those TeenSet magazines, somehow, somewhere.

The Communication Cure, by Dr. Neha Sangwan: I was lucky enough to meet Dr. Neha at a nutritional seminar several years ago and have stayed abreast of her work ever since.  Sangwan is an internal medicine physician as well as a gifted corporate communication strategist who speaks internationally on the topics of conflict resolution, stress management, and wellness. This video sets out the premise of her upcoming book, and I guarantee you she’s going to be a household name when it comes out.

The 30th Anniversary of Men Without Women by Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul: Earlier this week, it was thirty years to the day of the release of Men Without Women, an album that, to be quite honest, I probably played more than any other record I own. Ten songs - a masterpiece of passion - the first solo statement from an artist who had already proven himself as an incredibly gifted songwriter, though until this album, not for himself. In July 2011, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes paid tribute to the record with a live show bringing those songs to life again, and you can now pay homage to it by purchasing SSJ’s version here.

Oh yeah; two guys who want to be President for the next four years were onstage together for 90 minutes in Denver: If you know me, you know how I feel. And if you don’t may I quote Immanuel Kant to you:  We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals. Under no circumstances would I vote for Mitt Romney to be President of a Block Association let alone the US, once I heard the story of Seamus strapped to the top of a car in a cage for hours during a highway drive. Laugh all you want, if you think this is trivial, but the mere fact that Mitt Romney did this; that the dog was ill and had the runs; that Romney pulled over and hosed off the dog and put him back up there, now soaking wet, to freeze in the wind; it doesn’t even bear thinking about. So yes, I was disappointed in Obama’s performance this week at the debate. But if you don’t want half the country, the poor, the unemployed, the 47% he spoke so disgustingly of when he thought no one but big money donors were listening, to be strapped on top of Mitt’s car while the special people ride inside as he races up the highway to glory — I beg you — don’t vote for him.

And lastly, if you need another reason to love Bruce Springsteen, he was part of a big campaign this week for gay marriage:
Springsteen joined The Four2012 Campaign, putting forth his macho Jersey stare right into your soul and blasting some strong words in support of marriage equality specifically in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington. Marriage equality is now a plank in the DNC’s platform, at last, and is sure to be a subject that will continue to be discussed as we head towards the Election on November 6.

ALSO ON MY RADAR:

in art, everything must be fair game, everything must be explorable, everything must be speakable, or we go BACKWARDS! we go DOWN!
~ Amanda Palmer ~


March 21 - April 19 Aries
Aries, my sweet. I’ve got two words for you: 1) Amanda. 2) Palmer. Hear me now and believe me later; she’s the real thing. There isn’t space here to wax on about her incredibleness so suffice it to say that this weekend she’s doing a play at Massachusetts’ Lexington High School (she’s a ’94 grad of same) called With The Needle That Sings In Her Heart. The play can be seen Friday night (tonight) and twice on Saturday, this weekend, yes, go there if you can (tickets available here until 5pm tonight). And if you can’t, glory hallelujah, the play will be webcast on Saturday night here. The play, which was written by Palmer with 23 students, is based on Neutral Milk Hotel’s 1998 album In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, which was inspired by the story of Anne Frank. The whole shebang was born of Palmer’s desire to come back to her alma mater to collaborate with former theater teacher Steven Bogart. And by the way, Ms. Palmer’s going to be appearing with Neil Gaiman on June 3 at Housing Works Books in NYC. Tickets here and going fast. Lucky New Yorkers can see her perform at the Highline Ballroom on June 5 (tix here), in LA on June 25th, and San Diego on July 24. If you’ve believed nothing else I ever wrote in this column believe this: Amanda Palmer is amazing. See her now while you can still get tickets.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Us Taureans, we love good food, yes, indeed we do. And recently we were privy to same, the southern soul food variety, at Murphy’s in Atlanta, Georgia, thanks to Katy J. Seriously: fried green tomatoes with delicious dipping sauce; cheddar cheese grits; eggs benedict with sundried tomato hollandaise. Add in a couple of Bloody Marys and oh man! what a meal. And there were about twenty other things on the menu we wanted, bad, but had to consign to another trip. Murphy’s has been on the Atlanta landscape for 25 years and people wait, as we did, in line for hours to eat there. If you’re lucky enough to live in the area – I can hardly think of a better place for a Mother’s Day Brunch. It’s this Sunday so plan on getting in line early. Free roses to all Moms!

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
Mercury – that foxy trickster – turned retrograde in the sign of Gemini on Thursday May 7. You know, even my friends who don’t believe anything else about astrology believe in mercury retrograde. Right on schedule for me Thursday morning I felt the retrograde presence when my computer suddenly stopped being able to burn discs. Then I went to a store to print photos at a kiosk that mysteriously stopped working when I used it. Typical M.R. stuff. If it has to do with machines or communications, just beware. And try never to sign legal documents during M.R. The retrograde period generally lasts about three weeks which is a stone drag, but there are – believe it or not – a few good things about this time. It’s a fine time to clean your house, do creative work (write, paint, make music), and sleep. Mercury goes retrograde four times this year – each time for three weeks or so – which is about one more time than usual. The planet Mercury turns direct again on May 31, though the effects can last until June 9. Keep your head down and don’t sign anything. Except for your rent check.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Cancer presides over home life and comfort. You love to be safe and secure in your feathered nest. And don’t we all like to snuggle up to the hearth with a nice glass of wine, n’est-ce pas? Therefore I’d like to suggest that you consider purchasing said wine at Artisan Wine Shop in Beacon, New York. If you’re anywhere near the Hudson Valley, Beacon’s definitely worth a day trip. And every Saturday you can pretty much count on a wine tasting with some delicious snacks at the shop. Call for times (845-440-6923), but generally this takes place in the late afternoon / early evening. You won’t find the ordinary group of labels here. Artisan specializes in lesser-known smaller-production wines, putting a great deal of time and effort into finding well-balanced, great-tasting wines. Proprietors Tim Buzinski and Mei Ying So are both graduates of the Culinary Institute of America and are delighted to help customers pick just the right bottle of wine for whatever occasion it happens to be. They’re also available as wine consultants and to lead private tastings and events. The current Wine of the Week is Tomàs Cusiné Geol Costers del Segre 2004; available for 31% off. Artisan Wine Shop is at 180 Main Street in Beacon (845-440-6923).

July 23 - August 22 Leo
I know that Leos love music of all genres and varieties. I’m sure you’d like to be apprised of the good work of the New Orleans String Project, which is all about making high-quality stringed instrument instruction accessible to inner-city NOLA kids. The New Orleans String Project believes in the importance of early music education to improve the well-being and overall quality of life for children. To enroll your child in this marvelous program, to send them a contribution for the wonderful work they’re doing, to donate an instrument, to read about the correct postures for playing the cello or viola, visit their website here. Thanks to Norena B. for this tip!

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Hey, while you’re in Beacon picking up some vino at Artisan Wine Shop, stop by Mount Beacon Fine Art at 155 Main Street to check out the beautiful photographs of one of my favorite Virgos, Ronnie Farley. The show is called Earth Keepers: Portraits and Testimonies of Native American Women and opens May 9. Join Ronnie in celebrating the spiritual, strong women that she’s interviewed and photographed over the past 23 years. If you’re in Beacon this Saturday May 9 stop in for the opening night reception from 6 to 9pm. See more of Ronnie’s work here. She is the author of Women of the Native Struggle: Portraits and Testimonies of Native American Women, Cowgirls: Contemporary Portraits of the American West, and Diary of A Pedestrian: A New York Photo Memoir. A three year national tour of the Cowgirls photo series is currently on exhibit through the Mid-America Arts Alliance and appears from May 15 to August 16 at the Sheldon Art Galleries in St. Louis, Missouri.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
One of the best Libras you can find anywhere is Bruce Springsteen. Celebrate his magnificent career, literally From Asbury Park to the Promised Land, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. This exhibit, the first of its kind about Springsteen, will be on display through the spring of 2010. The first artifact-driven exhibit about Springsteen’s life and work includes several of his guitars, handwritten lyrics, posters and handbills, numerous photos, and the 1960 Corvette he purchased in 1975 after the Born to Run album catapulted him onto the national stage. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is open seven days a week (seven nights to rock, anyone?) from 10am to 5:30pm.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Whilst in Atlanta, hanging out with Katy J. as mentioned earlier, we also visited the incredible Paris on Ponce – 50,000 square feet of Antique and Modern Detritus, a veritable bohemian warehouse located in the heart of midtown Atlanta. I know that you Scorpios like to keep on the cusp of what’s cool and suchlike. Paris on Ponce was created about eleven years ago by George and Judi Lee, who aimed to create an interesting experience where everyone is welcome to browse and dream. Which you will do, as you stroll through three buildings which include everything from 18th century antiques to new designer furniture at lower than wholesale prices. If you’re looking for something, chances are they have it in this incredible place. Plus, they have a spring sale on at the moment – up to 75% off. Slideshow here. Can’t make it to Atlanta right now? Check out their ebay store. Need an amazing place for a film or music video shoot – or a party? Look no further than the burgundy velvet nightclub Le Maison Rouge inside Paris on Ponce. It’s kind of like walking into 1920’s Paris. Rental info here.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Sagittarius, the Archer, lover of travel and culture and idealism. Be the first on your block to experience the total awesomeness of the debut CD by Montreal’s Elephant Stone, The Seven Seas. Formerly of the band The High Dials, for which he played bass and sitar, Rishi Dhir started this new band in 2008. After leaving The High Dials in 2006 after six years, Dhir studied up on classical Indian music, which informs this new release. Dhir also played sitar on recordings by the Black Angels and the Earlies. The Seven Seas is true psychedelic pop and you can hear the sparkling, gorgeous tunes on Elephant Stone’s myspace page. Close your eyes and it’s 1966 again. And I mean that as the highest compliment. According to Rishi, we worship at the altar of Sri Ganesha, the Beatles, Ananda Shankar, and Indian food. Buy it here.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
I know that Capricorns love to support artists and writers and also love ethnic food and old New York. At least the ones I know have these characteristics. May I present the new book Sizzle in Hell’s Kitchen by Carliss Retif Pond, recently published by Gibbs Smith and available here as well as in your local bookstore (if you’re lucky enough to have one). Pond earned a masters in English Lit from the University of New Orleans and received a culinary education at Paris’ Le Cordon Bleu and the Ritz Escoffier School. She’s been a culinary advisor for Bloomingdale’s and a banquet coordinator for the Plaza Hotel. The book gathers ethnic recipes from 27 different cuisines in the colorful Ninth Avenue neighborhood of Manhattan, also known as Hell’s Kitchen. HK is internationally known for its diversity and the longevity of its restaurants, many of which are in the same family for generations.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
On a recent Aquarian-themed fact finding mission SDJ signed up for a three day free trial with Sirius XM. Whilst perusing the channels, we came upon the beauteous Elizabeth Cook, who has her own show twice a week on Outlaw Country, Channel 63. We’ve told you before how great Outlaw Country is - Steven Van Zandt’s sanctuary for the rebels and renegades, rabble rousers and rogues of country music. They’re all here: Bob Dylan, Loretta Lynn, Steve Earle, David Allan Coe, Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and of course all generations of the Hank Williams Dynasty. Cook’s show, Apron Strings, is worth getting up early for (it is broadcast from 6 to 10am on Thursday and Friday mornings). She’s fresh and awesome and just plain fabulous. She’s also got a bunch of records out, the most recent being the Rodney Crowell-produced Balls on Thirty Tigers Records, available here.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
The website of the week was picked with our Piscean friends in mind. Creativity, sensitivity, and spirituality – that’s you guys. I know you’ll dig Crazy Sexy Life, the brainchild of author/filmmaker/motivational speaker Kris Carr. You may have heard of Crazy Sexy Cancer, the film which Carr wrote and directed about herself for TLC and Discovery Health. The site is a self-described supercharged health hub which gathers together resources and cutting edge experts in one easy to navigate hot spot. Kris has gathered a terrific Blog Posse (featuring Kathy Freston, Rory Freedman, Sara Melngailis, Chloé Jo Berman, and others) to augment her own writings on the site. Quoth the site: Whether you want to dazzle your guests with a rockin’ vegan dinner, embark on a juice feast, clean up mama earth, or connect with other like minded bright lights, you’ll find that, and a whole lot more here . . . An entire community loaded with love and support awaits you. Don’t miss their store which features one hundred percent vegan, cruelty free products.



Who Killed Amanda Palmer
Amanda Palmer. Stunning. Heartbreaking. She’s going to be a supernova. Thank you Sandy & Harry for telling me about AFP.

The Way I See It - Raphael Saddiq. I did not know that they made records like this anymore. Back to the future. Thanks Laree B for turning me on to this.

Sunday at Devil Dirt - Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan. Clearly Mark L is the Leonard Cohen of his generation. Sal Nunziato at Burning Wood clued me in to this record.

Live: Hope at the Hideout - Mavis Staples. Stirring. Absolutely terrific. Again props to Burning Wood.

Dream Baby Dream Bruce Springsteen. (CD single) This Suicide cover was the set closer for the shows on Springsteen’s “Devils and Dust” Tour. Spare and haunting.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The following are not 2008 releases but I either discovered (as in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) or rediscovered them again and fell in love with them again this year – in no particular order:

  • Jesus Christ Superstar (Original Soundtrack)
  • Nurds - The Roches
  • Peter Pan (Original Cast Recording)
  • Play It As It Lays - Patti Scialfa
  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Original Soundtrack)
  • Will the Circle Be UnbrokenNitty Gritty Dirt Band
  • Hobo’s Lullaby - Arlo Guthrie
  • Wednesday Morning 3 AM Simon & Garfunkel
  • Nebraska Bruce Springsteen
  • Just about everything by The Kinks

O Best Beloved, the weekend horoscoop* column returns Thursday January 1st. in honor of finally kissing 2008 goodbye, i bring you SDJ’s list of the 12 best things of the year; a completely subjective list, in no particular order except for the 1st slot - cuz Obama is #1 no matter how you slice it:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1. BARACK OBAMAI spent much of this year being consumed by and working for Obama’s magnificent presidential campaign. I believe him to be a leader the likes of which we’ve never seen before. We’ve so desperately needed to hear those words we heard him speak during the moment of victory on November 4, 2008 in Grant Park, especially after the incredibly bloody, hateful, divisive road he had to walk on to get to the White House: We have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States; we are, and always will be, the United States of America. Two wonderful strong women are smiling down at him from the next world; his mother Stanley Ann Dunham and his grandmother Madelyn Dunham.

2. AMANDA PALMER - A tip from a friend whose taste I implicitly trust led me to see Amanda Palmer perform in November at New York City’s Webster Hall. I stared openmouthed at the stage for much of the night. She’s brilliant, she’s special, she’s beyond belief. There is no doubt in my mind that she’s going to be a supernova. Someday I’ll be telling people that yes, I was there, in the way people have told me they witnessed Nirvana’s CMJ gig (I think I was home washing my hair that night). Which reminds me - she’s playing the Bowery Ballroom at 2am on January 1st. Go. Just go. And next New Year’s you can tell people you were there. Because she won’t be playing at places that size for very long.

3. LYNDA BARRY - I was lucky enough to spend a week studying with writer/cartoonist Lynda Barry this summer at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. Picture going to summer camp again - but you’re an adult and therefore you can enjoy it even more than when you were a kid and had to do what other people told you to. And picture the very best teacher you ever had, a full week of studying with that teacher, who regularly inspires you to take your creativity to the next level. Made you laugh. Made you cry. And you’ll get a little bit of what that week was like.

4. DAY OF THE DEAD IN QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO - After a blissful week I spent in Mexico at the end of October, I’m now in love with the country, particularly the Yucatan. I was able to join with a community of beautiful Mayan women in preparing their Day of the Dead altar, tamale making, and participating in the Day of the Dead ceremonies when the wall between the worlds dissolves. What a beautiful custom, what a spectacular country, and what warm and lovely people. Not to mention the tamales and chocolate coffee.

5. DR. MARK HYMAN - My dear friend Gloria P clued me in to Ultrametabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss by Dr. Mark Hyman, formerly the medical director of Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Mass.  It was a life changing read; after dropping gluten, dairy, and sugar from my diet I realized a sense of health and well being I hadn’t had in years. Also, no longer eating any processed foods or high fructose corn syrup. Read it and try it; even just for a few days. You’ll be amazed at how your life changes for the better.

6. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and the E STREET BAND - Bruce and his merry band were on the road again this year supporting the album Magic. The shows; electrifying, magnificent. Just when I thought he couldn’t possibly wow me any more (I’ve been seeing his concerts since 1978 - a staggering 30 years) he completely whips out the rug from under me and blows my mind again. During this tour he started a delightful practice of reading and honoring fans’ song requests on signs. Hence, many songs were played live (can you say Drive All Night?) that I never thought I’d see again except in my mind’s eye. Also, the mighty E Street Band suffered its first casualty; Danny Federici died in April of melanoma. I think we were all humbled to realize that Bruce and his paisans were indeed not superhuman and the fabric of that splendid musical texture they’ve created for so many years could be rent.

7. FACEBOOK / LINKED IN - Both these sites have changed my life, rekindled old friendships, found me new clients, and allowed me to keep in touch with people I thought I would never see again. Facebook is like sitting in homeroom but the teacher never coming in so you’re free to do whatever you want and even throw a paper clip at the cute guy across the room. Linked In is far more serious, yet endlessly entertaining in its own right.

8. RACHEL MADDOW - I pegged her months ago as someone who needed and deserved her own teevee show on MSNBC after admiringly watching her punt for Keith Olbermann. Apparently the suits at the network also realized her great potential and now she’s the hostess with the mostest. She’s so damn smart and likeable! Yay, Rachel, yay.

9. FRIENDS AND FAMILY - My friends and family are wonderful and I love you all. And undying thanks for your love and support. Happy 2009!!!

10. MR. BOY, MY CAT - Saturday May 10 was a big day here, the day that Mr. Boy came to live at my house. He’s a rescue, five years old, and a sweeter more friendly feline there never was. Thank you Teri L and Dorothy S for putting us together!

11. DEMOCRACY - This election brought so many new people into the political process (me, for one); it energized and moved me, it made me want to keep my eyes wide open and my mind engaged instead of burying my head in the sand. I want to know what’s happening and who’s doing what. I don’t want to go back to sleep.

12. BLOGGING - I started this blog one year ago and made a commitment to it. Blogging and the internet have changed our world beyond recognition. We can all have a voice. We don’t have to wait for a magazine publisher to hire us and pay us to write. Quoting Barack Obama again - We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.



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
I don’t know about you, but Barack Obama is definitely my new bicycle and has been for some time. Wired Magazine contributing editor Mathew Honan created his website in February of this year and it was a screaming success, like millions of hits - the kind of success web sites dream about. His site is simple and direct and provides mondo entertainment. On August 5th he will be publishing a book collecting all the things ‘America’s sweetheart of a senator’ has done for you, like dancing with your mom at your sister’s wedding. Shoveling the snow from your walkway. Leaving a comment on your blog. (I’m waiting…) Preorder it here.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Thanks to Sree Sreenivasan, Dean of Students and New Media Director Columbia University Journalism School and Technology Reporter for WNBC-TV in New York, I learned about Nike Plus. It was actually through one of Mr. Sreenivasan’s fascinating online video courses at the mediabistro website, of which more later. Get this: you can connect a pair of Nikes to your iPod nano and presto! you’ve got your own personal trainer. The iPod will log each step you take and keep track of it on a special website. It’s rather amazing. More info here.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
As we move into the white hot heart of summer, dangerously close to the famed dog days of August, my thoughts naturally turn to where to find the best margarita in town. Rosa Mexicano is well known for their signature pomegranate margarita and they have three locations in New York City as well as Atlanta, Palm Beach Gardens, and Miami. The food’s divine as well. I have it on good authority that Barrio Chino and Dos Caminos, both in Soho, are also very skilled with the juice of the blue agave plant.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Knit One, Haiku Too is a pocket sized gem which incorporates stories, quotes, and haiku about knitting and how it grounds and centers us in our lives. Author and poet Maria Fire, a knitter since childhood, has been a lawyer, hospice director, and massage therapist. The book sparkles with snapshots of sweet moments. Maria as a fourth grader, sitting on the porch with her grandfather as he recited poetry by heart and she knitted by lamplight. At girl scout camp arguing with her best friend about where babies come from. Shaving her head in solidarity with a sick friend. Knitting socks for her father, who’s illness caused him to have cold feet. Her son, inspired by Baryshnikov, dancing at a recital with a long gold silk scarf she’d made.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
We lost Johnny Cash in 2003 when he followed his beloved June to the sweet by and by. But you can celebrate his music on Saturday July 26 at 8pm over at the World Financial Center in Manhattan – free – at The Big River Project: The Music of Johnny Cash. Artists from a variety of genres will cover well known and obscure Cash songs. Performing their own arrangements will be John Doe, Ollabelle, Laura Cantrell, David Bromberg, The Persuasions, Hymns, Catherine Russell, Marshall Crenshaw, and more. Check out Gary Pig Gold’s great column The Mantra in Black: Ten Reasons Why Johnny Cash Always Matters.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
For the celiac-challenged among us, take heart: Glutino manufactures a couple of really good breads that you can eat sans gluten. Their premium fiber bread and premium flax seed bread are terrific. They also make corn bread, cinnamon bread, English muffins, and bagels. I’m finding their stuff in more and more health food stores and you can also purchase it online. For an unbelievably enlightening experience, try a day without gluten; you will not believe the health benefits of not eating it. Whether or not you have celiac disease, many people have a sensitivity to gluten and don’t know it until they remove it from their diet.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
In 1972 the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band released the triple album set Will the Circle Be Unbroken. The ambitious project attempted to unite the folk-rock Nitty Gritty Dirt Band from Southern California with country legends like Roy Acuff, Mother Maybelle Carter, Doc Watson, Merle Travis, Vassar Clements and others. The album’s 38 tracks were for the most part recorded in one or two takes. It’s a reverent and moving document to the power of country music and sounds as fresh today as if it were just recorded. From Orange Blossom Special to Tennessee Stud to Sunny Side of the Mountain to Wildwood Flower, they’re all here and waiting for you at iTunes and Amazon.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
There are films and there are films. And some films have the power to shake you so thoroughly that nothing looks the same when you’re finished viewing them. Such a film is The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Directed by artist Julian Schnabel, it is the true story of Elle Magazine editor-in-chief Jean-Dominque Bauby, who suffered a massive stroke at the age of 43. A victim of the rare locked in syndrome, in which one is completely aware of his surroundings but paralyzed, Bauby was able to communicate solely through blinking his left eyelid, and dictated a memoir in this fashion which was published ten days before he died. All I can say is see this film and you’ll be forever changed.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within was written in 1986 by Natalie Goldberg and resonates today just as it did then. It’s inspirational and vivid and moving and dare I say, just plain magical. Whether you’re an aspiring writer or just sad and tired, you’ll find a new way to view things with Goldberg’s techniques. Her rules: keep your hand moving, don’t cross out, don’t worry about spelling – punctuation – grammar, lose control, don’t think – don’t get logical, and go for the jugular (if something comes up in your writing that is scary or naked, dive right into it. It probably has lots of energy).

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
Two words: Bruce Springsteen. Yes, he’s back with his merry band of E Streeters at Giants Stadium this week. July 27, 28, and 31. Beg, borrow, steal, do whatever you have to do, but go. I know it’s a stadium. So what. Just go. They just got back from a five week sweep of Europe during which many thousands of souls were healed and rejuvenated. And they actually performed Drive All Night for the first time in 27 years. Do I have to say any more?

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
It’s that time again, O Best Beloved. And I say unto you, Make It Work. Yes, Project Runway is back. Episode 2 of the new season just aired and it’s the usual bitchy nonsense that we love to watch. Heidi Klum is her usual flawless Germanic ice princess self (you’re either in or you’re out), Nina Garcia stll scares the pants off everyone, and Michael Kors continues to act as if he is the Voice of the God of Fashion. And Tim Gunn - well, he’s my dream man. The web site can be as addictive as the show, with blogs, video outtakes, photo galleries and more. I’ll bet you’re not surprised to hear Ms. Garcia hates crocs. And we have to keep watching in case a new Santino or Christian Siriano reveals him/herself.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
I just returned from the Omega Institute where I was privileged to spend part of an afternoon with Sister Alice Martin, who teaches gospel singing workshops there every year. She was Marion Williams‘ teacher and is currently the music instructor of the Bryn Mawr Haverford Gospel Choir in addition to serving on the music faculty of the B.N. Oakley Memorial Temple. There’s another chance coming up to take a class with her at Omega from August 10 to August 15 and if you want a really life-changing experience, honey, get yourself there and raise your voice in praise of God.

March 21 - April 19 Aries
If you’re anything like me, nothing delights you more than a huge Jesus head appearing in the middle of nowhere along the boring nothingness of Route I-75 close to Cincinnati. This is the location of the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio. Word has it that the statue of Christ’s head and hands reaching up to the sky has been submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Largest Christ. The statue presides over a gargantuan cross and a very large peaceful baptismal pool. You really have to see it to believe it.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
All I kept thinking during this week of trying to make sense of losing Tim Russert was oh no, and now he will not know who wins the General Election. I can’t think of a worse fate for this incredibly gifted newsman. His untimely death was a complete sucker punch in the soul to me and everyone else that I know. And Bruce Springsteen had a few well chosen words on the subject as well as a song.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
We’re right on the cusp of the Summer Solstice - the longest day of the year. This signals the pagan holiday of Midsummer’s Eve. Go all Swedish and mark the occasion with boiled new potatoes and fresh dill, grilled meat or fish, and strawberries. It is said that young girls should pick flowers for under their pillow on Midsummer’s Eve and their future husbands will appear to them in a dream.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
On July 18 Nelson Mandela will be 90 years of age. That’s totally KIF! Wish him a happy birthday by signing this card. I remember watching Mandela’s first steps out of jail on global live television in 1990 in complete and utter shock and disbelief that this man was finally free. He was later elected President of the country that had kept him prisoner, South Africa. Mandela once said: “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

July 23 - August 22 Leo
Alice Austen was a photographer from the age of 10 almost until she died at the age of 85 in 1952. She took amazing, stunningly beautiful photos of her family and surroundings as well as contemporary life in New York City. In the later years of her life, the family fortune after the stock market crash of 1929 had dwindled so grievously that she had to declare herself a pauper. Her photographs were discovered and published in Life Magazine and the money enabled her to live her last years in a nursing home. Now her childhood home is a national historic landmark on Staten Island.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
If you’re like me and sometimes require the companionship of an iPod during mundane tasks like waiting in line at the bank, it’s all about the headphones apparently. And thanks to Stock Footage Goddess & Starbucks Employee of the Week Melinda, I now am in possession of Koss ‘plug’ stereophones. And simply put: you need them. They’re not even as much as $25 and they really bring the music on home, up close and personal.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
This must be the Ohio edition. I need to tell you about the Quaker Square Inn in Akron, which has a secret connection to a very special Libra that I know (not telling). The structure was formerly mills and silos used by the Quaker Oats Company back at the turn of the century. Every room in the hotel is totally round and the silos are 120 feet tall and 24 feet in diameter. You can view photos on their website but to really see how cool it is you have got to go there in person.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Due to the writers strike, we won’t be getting with Jack Bauer until much later this year. God, don’t you miss him? His one dimensional acting, his manic intensity, the time he took a bite out of a guy’s ear, the certainty that whatever happened next it would be so much worse than you could even imagine, and dare I even mention Chloe?? The bitchiest, bitchenest IT genius with a soft marshmallow heart that you could ever conjure up. Remember when she was hiding the baby at her desk? If you’re a 24-head from the beginning you’ll remember well the old intros: Right now I’m <insert horrible situation here> and <insert horrible outcome here>. I’m Federal Agent Jack Bauer and this is the longest day of my life. So now go to 24 dreaming and you can generate zany versions of that classic open by refreshing the page. For instance: I’m Federal Agent Jack Bauer and this is the most defibrillating banshee of my life.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Chick-O-Stick. Bottle Caps. Necco Wafers. Sugar Daddy. Need I say more. Yes, you can still find all these and more at the outrageously addictive website Groovy Candies. This is the best gift in the history of the world: to rediscover the candy of your childhood. Go ahead and tell me I’m wrong.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
Celebrate Elvis Presley by visiting Elvisly Yours. It’s a shop in London where you can buy all things Elvis.  You know you need a talking Elvis Clock. Honestly, we really all do. You can also send Elvis greeting cards to your friends for free through the site. Coming soon: Elvis Duvets. Check out Gary “Pig” Gold’s list of the top ten reasons why Elvis rules. All Hail The King!

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Two words: Genya Ravan. There really is not enough room here to explain how incredible this woman is. Read her bio Lollipop Lounge where you’ll find out her amazing story from holocaust survivor to leading the first all-female band Goldie and the Gingerbreads and touring Europe with the creme de la creme of the British Invasion to being the first female record producer hired by a major label. And then go straight to the download site of your choice and download the heart stopping ballad Junkman where she duets with the formidable Ian Hunter. And there’s a lot more where that came from. Oh yeah and did I mention she now has her own radio show from 10pm to midnight the first Friday of every month on Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 25 (Little Steven’s Underground Garage). And she takes requests!

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
Let’s pretend that it’s story time and I’ll tell a tale to you, I’ll tell you a story of make believe and all your dreams will come true. And when the story’s over and when we reach the end, we’ll live happily ever after where? In the Land of Let’s Pretend.
Those lyrics were sung every afternoon on Gene London’s TV show Cartoon Corners, a children’s show broadcast on local TV in Philadelphia from 1959 to 1977. Gene played a store clerk in a general store who had an evil, stingy boss. Of course Gene was in love with the boss’ beautiful daughter. After the TV show was cancelled London became a dress designer and owned a collection of incredible Hollywood movie costumes. Sometime in the early 1980’s my compatriot Dayle and I (who had both been guests on the TV show as children) went to his store in Manhattan so we could meet this man who we had both had a raging crush on when we were eight years old.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

amen and freakin’ hallelujah………… the boss is on board.

“After the terrible damage done over the past eight years, a great American reclamation project needs to be undertaken. I believe that Senator Obama is the best candidate to lead that project and to lead us into the 21st Century with a renewed sense of moral purpose and of ourselves as Americans.” - Bruce Springsteen

Read the whole endorsement here