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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:


April 20 - May 20 Taurus
It’s that time again, Taurus cowpunks and all zodiac zydecats. Time for the Ponderosa Stomp! The 8th Annual P-Stomp pulls into New Orleans next week on Tuesday 4/28 and Wednesday 4/29. The lineup includes Wanda Jackson, Howard Tate, James Burton, Dan Penn and Bobby Emmons, Howard Tate, Otis Clay, The Hi Rhythm Section, The Remains, Question Mark and the Mysterians, The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, Kenny and the Kasuals, Deke Dickerson and the Eccofonics, and 75-year-old Lazy Lester, the patron saint of the P-Stomp, whose instrumental 1966 track for Excello Records provided the festival’s namesake. And that’s only a few of the musical acts. By the by, Flamin’ Groovies Cyril Jordan and Roy Loney haven’t played a full set together since 1971, but will perform this year at the P-Stomp, backed by the A-Bones! It’s the biggest P-Stomp to date, with an expanded 3-day conference and a Stomp-curated exhibition at the NOLA’s Louisiana State Museum at The Cabildo. The 2nd Annual Music Conference and Exhibit is presented in partnership with The Louisiana State Museum and The Rock + Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. From our friends at Norton Records: A daytime conference has been added to the Stomp. There will be interviews and panels with and about the music and artists featured on the festival. The conference happens at the beautiful Louisiana State Museum at the Cabildo. Much anticipated at Norton HQ is a Peanut buttery Tom Snyder style Q&A starring Question Mark with his biggest fan Miriam Linna firing questions at the Arsenal! (April 29 2:00 - 3:00 PM ) More info here. Schedule here. Tickets here. And New Yorkers, hearken unto this: the P-Stomp is pulling into Lincoln Center for 3 dates in July.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
I know Geminis are mindful that Mother’s Day is coming up very quickly on May 10. Because you twin people love your mamas! As it should be! Heads up for a really great deal on the perfect Mother’s Day Gift from One Meaning Couture, a new jewelry and apparel company. All OMC designs are based on the words “I love you” - 8 letters, 3 words, 1 meaning.  The numbers 813 form a butterfly shape– the symbol of change and renewal, and now, love. Company owners Karen Chesleigh and Ingrid Hobbs believe that love really can change the world. That change starts with their policy to give back 8.13% of all sales to a different highlighted charity each month. As OMC grows in sales, so will its charitable contribution – one day they hope to donate 81.3% of all proceeds to a deserving organization each month. During the month of May, in honor of Mother’s Day, OMC is donating 8.13% of all proceeds to the Get in Touch Foundation, which encourages girls and women of all ages to “get in touch” with their bodies in the crusade against breast cancer. Weekend Horoscoop* readers are invited to take 10% off their orders between now and May 10. Enter the word “horoscoop” at checkout and you’ll receive a 10% credit off your total purchase price!

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
As the Tribeca Film Festival pulls into town, it reminds us that we must support independent film every way we can, especially in these dark financial times. I know that those born under the sign of Cancer, the Crab, like to support quality, first-run independent film, n’est-ce pas? Well, pull up a chair and let’s talk about Gigantic Digital – a website committed to making these films available to everyone, everywhere, anytime. Employing the latest digital video technologies, their goal is to even the playing field for independent filmmakers. Throughout the history of independent film distribution, theaters that show them have been few and far between. The bigger problem is that only a tiny percentage of independent films are ever released at all. The cost of traditional film distribution is just too high for film companies to take a chance on unknown filmmakers, films without high-profile festival pedigrees or films without movie stars. Which is why you should buy tickets for the Tribeca Film Festival if you’re able to. And no matter where you are geographically, you can watch three days of indie productions at Gigantic Digital for a mere $2.99 – on your computer! Now playing: David Kaplan’s Year of the Fish, Wayne Price’s The Doorman, and Morgan DewsMust Read After My Death. Also, feel free to watch your fill of the site’s free content which they add to regularly. Thanks to Kathryn B. for this tip!

July 23 - August 22 Leo
I don’t think I know any Leos who aren’t rock & roll animals, so this one’s for you. Did you know about the Ravin’ Wire, a commercial free, not for profit project created and maintained by San Francisco-based filmmaker Bob Sarles? Sarles regularly posts fascinating articles about popular culture, music, film, television, new media, emerging technologies, obituaries, humor, politics, and anything else that strikes his interest at any given moment. Today on the site he’s spotlighting Greg Kot’s Chicago Tribune piece Why the Grateful Dead live on; a review of Ayelet Waldman’s book Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace; and an article about the new Bruce Springsteen exhibit at Cleveland’s Rock + Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. More about Sarles and his production company Ravin’ Films here. Mr. Sarles welcomes comments on posted articles; submissions for original and referred articles are encouraged. Please feel free to submit any articles for the Wire, or send feedback to ravinwire@aol.com. Join Ravin’ Wire on Facebook here.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Virgos tend to be know-it-alls. You know what I’m talking about. Well us tribal members call such folks yentas. And a certified yenta / veteran celebrity assistant from L.A. has taken it upon herself to start a great website called The Yenta Report. Loren Elkins, said Yenta, has assisted luminaries such as Faye Dunaway, Nathan Lane, Ellen Barkin, and Matthew Perry, to name a few. After many years of people asking her advice on where to find this, or how do I do that, she decided to start this fabulous online resource which dishes out advice on all kinds of L.A.-specific topics. Features include The Yenta Review (a weekly L.A. insider profile); Ask the Yenta (every week Loren answers three submitted questions in her weekly email newsletter); and The Yenta List (where to shop, eat, rent cars, and find cool stuff in the L.A. area). There’s even a blog. Thanks to Janice N. for this fabulous tip. Love you, mean it!

September 23 - October 22 Libra
Urbane, polished Librans love to be on the cutting edge of everything, including viral video. With that in mind, may I present to you one David Wain, comic genius / boy wonder. Wain was a member of the multiheaded sketch troupe that was behind MTV’s The State. Wet Hot American Summer, a summer camp comedy cult classic, was directed by Wain in 2001. Wainy Days, his hilarious web series, is both directed by Wain and also features him as the star. The storyline is about an oversexed, nebbishy Brooklynite who continually gets his heart broken in a series of really bad dates. Season 4 debuts on May 7 at My Damn Channel – be there or be square, as the saying goes. If you’re in or near New York City, you are so in luck. Wain will host Wainy Days Live at 92YTribeca (200 Hudson St.) featuring musical performances from past and upcoming episodes along with a passel of series cast members. Tickets are $15 in advance and can be purchased here.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
I know Scorpios are often drawn to the dark side, the monsters that lurk under the bed, horror movies, et de plus en plus. Possibly because Halloween falls within your birth sign. Well, folks, have I got a museum for you! How about a trip to Springfield, Illinois to visit The Museum of Funeral Customs? Talk about a once in a “lifetime” experience. Alas, the museum is under severe budget restraints at the present time and is only open by appointment. But make an appointment and go, because I’m absolutely positive you’ll be enthralled by this place. Among other things, the museum has a replica of the coffin that carried Abraham Lincoln from Washington to Springfield in 1865. Also on view are a 1920’s horse-drawn hearse, Victorian era mourning clothes, an embalming supply cabinet from the 1920’s, and prosthetics for preparing bodies in the mid-20th century. There’s also a one of a kind gift shop that sells coffin shaped key chains and chocolates. The museum explores death-related customs in different cultures. The Museum of Funeral Customs is located at 1440 Monument Ave. in Springfield, Illinois, a stone’s throw from Lincoln’s final resting place at Oak Ridge Cemetery. Call to make an appointment at 217-544-3480.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Sagittarians are friendly folk. You make a great friend and you love to make new friends. Well surprise, surprise – it turns out that making and keeping friends is good for your health. The New York Times reported this week that a 10-year Australian study found that older people with a large circle of friends were 22 percent less likely to die during the study period than those with fewer friends . .  And last year, Harvard researchers reported that strong social ties could promote brain health as we age. The Times article cites a new book called The Girls From Ames: A Story of Women and a 40-Year Friendship (Gotham), in which author Jeffrey Zaslow recounts the story of 11 childhood friends originally from Ames, Iowa, who eventually settled in eight different states. Despite the distance, their bond has stayed strong through the years. Two of the women recently found that they have breast cancer. One of those women is a high school teacher in Minnesota who found it easier to discuss her illness with her friends rather than her doctor, and maintains that her friends were instrumental in her treatment and recovery process. Turns out that a 2006 study of nurses with breast cancer found that women who had no close friends were four times as likely to die than women with ten or more friends. Karen A. Roberto, director of Virginia Tech’s center for gerontology, told The Times that “People with stronger friendship networks feel like there is someone they can turn to . . . Friendship is an undervalued resource. The consistent message of these studies is that friends make your life better.”

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
Our album of the week is a new release from the brilliant Ian McLagan, Never Say Never on 00:02:59. CBS Sunday Morning’s Bill Flanagan, music critic and rock writer, had this to say: Never Say Never mixes mischief and heartbreak, dancing on the bar and crying in your beer, in perfect proportion. The album is a collaboration with Glyn Johns, Mac’s old pal from Small Faces and Faces days. The self produced and directed album features McLagan’s award winning Bump Band: ‘Scrappy’ Jud Newcomb, Don Harvey and Mark Andes. Patty Griffin graces Never Say Never with her soulful vocals, and both Patty and the Tosca Strings can be heard on the final track, the heart wrenching When The Crying Is Over. If I know Capricorns like I think I do, you’ll enjoy this great new set of songs from an old friend. You can catch him doing some live shows in the next couple of weeks on the west coast. Tour dates here.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Times are tough for everyone. We know this. I also know that Aquarians are very responsive to new, unique ways to solve problems. So I have a unique way for you to approach this depressing, scary, sad financial meltdown that’s reached it’s evil tentacles into the lives of all of us. It’s going to surprise you. But I ask you to give it a try. You’ll be amazed. What is this trick? It is learning how to be thankful. Re-learning the lost art of gratitude. Karen Krakower Kaplan writes in the Health Leader, the online wellness magazine of the University of Texas Health Science Center: Gratitude is the gentle recognition, rediscovery or “re-remembering” of the simple abundance around you . . . Gratitude is noticing the extraordinary in the ordinary. And then taking the nanosecond to feel it. Kaplan gives us 7 steps to connecting to gratitude and, through gratitude, abundance. Honestly, it works. I’ve tried it; I know. Even if you think you have nothing to be grateful for, make a list – you will find something – and it will turn your life around.

February 19 – March 20 Pisces
The Pisces of the Week is Sir Michael Caine, who is back in the spotlight with a new film; John Crowley’s Is Anybody There? Caine plays a retired magician who has been shunted off into a rest home as he experiences the slow darkness of the mind that is Alzheimer’s. Caine, now 76, says it is one of his favorite roles in his long career of over a hundred films (two Oscars, mind you). And this is from the man who starred in The Ipcress File, The Man Who Would Be King, The Italian Job, Educating Rita, Zulu, Billion Dollar Brain, Alfie, etc. etc. etc. Caine was born Maurice Joseph Mickelwhite, Jr. on March 14, 1933. He is also known for his wickedly funny asides, like “The best research for playing a drunk is being a British actor for 20 years” and “I’m a sort of boy next door. If that boy has a good scriptwriter.” The British ska band Madness included a song called Michael Caine on their 1984 release Keep Moving. At the urging of his daughter, a fan of the band, Caine contributed vocal samples to the song. The music video can be seen here.



March 21 - April 19 Aries

Whether you’re a Ram or not, no matter what your Zodiac persuasion may be, if you’re one of the three people on this earth who seemingly have not yet seen Susan Boyle’s appearance this week on Britain’s Got Talent, please take a few minutes to see what all the fuss is about. Susan, a 47 year old unemployed church volunteer from Blackburn, Scotland, is a now an overnight sensation due to her incredible performance of I Dreamed A Dream from the Broadway show Les Miserables. She’s gone viral, cats ‘n kittens. It’s such a pleasure when something like this happens; her undeniable talent cut off the judges at the knees. And those judges included both Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan, two fellows not known for their unmitigated support of anyone. They practically laughed her off the stage before she started to sing. Susan, unmarried, never even been kissed, her only companion her 10 year old cat Pebbles, has completely turned the snarky world of reality TV competitions upside down. Mark Blankenship insightfully writes on the Huffington Post: Watching an older person—especially an older person who doesn’t seem very hip—prove she still has time to emerge from her cocoon is exciting because it reminds us that we can still sort through our own problems.No matter how old we are, we’re dealing with something, and it’s refreshing to be told that that’s okay.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Taureans love music and culture. It’s part of the fabric of their lives in some fashion, every day. Therefore I need you to get out there tomorrow, Saturday April 18, and celebrate Record Store Day. This is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day; hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances. Festivities include performances, meet & greets with artists, parades, DJ’s spinning record, and more. Metallica officially kicked off Record Store Day in San Francisco on April 19, 2008 and Record Store Day is now celebrated the third Saturday in April. A Record Store Day participating store is defined as a physical retailer whose product line consists of at least 50% music retail, whose company is not publicly traded and whose ownership is at least 70% located in the state of operation. (In other words, real, live, physical, indie record stores–not online retailers or corporate behemoths). Participating stores across the U.S. can be found here. A list of stores taking part across the world can be found here.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
Geminis delight in constantly learning about new and interesting things. So the blog of the week is for you: I give you Harriet’s Tomato … all food, all the time. Blogger Michele Gentille attended Culinary Schools in Paris and Burgundy before working at resorts, restaurants, and embassies the world over. She freelances as a chef and food writer for the Wall Street Journal, Time Out New York, and The New York Times. She’s currently working as a sous-chef at a scientific research station at the South Pole. This week’s post is about keeping vegetables at 100 below zero: When these greens fall on the ground, they shatter like glass…and straight out of the bag they stick together in freeform sculpture. Gentille wrote in February about the pleasures of eating fresh donuts at the South Pole station, where 43 souls are currently working: None of us can leave. It’s too cold for an airplane to land and the station is officially closed for winter. We have only each other…and some really good donuts…to keep us amused for the next 8 months. Fascinating stuff! Read more here.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Those born under the sign of Cancer have a world of hurt inside them. There’s so much going on these days to be sad about, Lord knows. Besides the fact that our economy is in a free fall, our environment is totally messed up, people are getting guns too easily and shooting innocent people for no reason, um, you name it, times are tough. But every once in awhile there are the Susan Boyles who blow our minds with their amazing talent and the Sully Sullenbergers who land planes on the Hudson and the myriad other underdogs who rise to the top and capture our fancy. All hail to them. And all hail to Ashton Kutcher, who went toe to toe with media giant CNN in a race to sign up Twitter subscribers to his feed and won the challenge today when his millionth subscriber signed on. “Twitter allows people to share, to connect in a way that they weren’t able to connect before,” said Kutcher. He used the Twitter war to raise global awareness and big bucks for Malaria No More. See? There are some things we can still smile about.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
Hey Leo - you are the sort who like to do fun things and have them count for something. So here’s something you can do tomorrow night - Saturday April 18 - if you’re in New York City - and even if you’re not. It’s the 15th anniversary of A Night to Remember - The Kristen Ann Carr Fund Annual Gala at the Tribeca Grill. The Kristen Ann Carr Fund honors the life of a remarkable young woman who died way too young of sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. The Fund raises money to both provide education for physicians about sarcoma and improve the quality of cancer patients’ lives. They do a tremendous amount of great work. If you can go tomorrow night to the star-studded event, go; tickets are $500 and a few are still available here. If not, make a donation anyway to a wonderful cause that’s really making a difference.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Trustworthy. Genuine. Committed. All synonyms for Virgo. Virgos hate to leave their comfort zone but you know what? Every once in awhile it’s a really good idea to jump out of the zone and give your psyche a shake. Did you know that the world’s weirdest events are found in Finland? Apparently so. There’s the Air Guitar World Championship, the Kutemajarvi Sex Festival, the Ant-Nest Sitting Competition, and last but by no means least, the Milking Stool Throwing Contest. And that’s only four on this list of 13 crazy Finnish events. Go book your flight now.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
I’ve got two words for you Librans out there: Ice. Cream. Mark it on your calendars; next Tuesday April 21 is Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s. As a way to thank their customers for the support and to celebrate 31 years of scooping the chunkiest, funkiest ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet, Ben & Jerry’s will happily give it away that day as they do every year. The hours are noon to 8pm, and participating locations can be found here. Try a new flavor that you’ve been wondering about! Enjoy an old favorite! I scream, you scream, no matter what zodiac sign we are, we all scream for ice cream.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Hey Scorpio; Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Check out this list of the 10 best poetry books compiled from recommendations of independent booksellers across America. Our indie bookstore of the week is Fahrenheit’s Books on 210 S. Broadway in Denver, Colorado. ‘Cuz we love their name and their site is awesome. They both buy and sell used books and maintain an eclectic collection that specializes in Vintage Paperbacks, SciFi, Metaphysics, History, Western Americana, and Fiction. They also sell some titles on the AbeBooks.com website. Hours are Tues. to Sat. 11am to 6pm and Sundays noon to 5pm. Find more great indie bookstores on the Indie Bound website.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
There are websites, mes cheres, and there are websites. But there is only ONE My Damn Channel, n’est-ce pas? Sagittarians have that constant need to be on the cutting edge, so I target this entry at you centaurs. Veteran TV and radio exec Rob Barnett started this site back in the Wild Web West days of 2007 (seems like years ago don’t it?) and it’s risen consistently way above the fray to provide some of the best and most freshest viral video anywhere. David Wain’s hilarious Wainy Days (Season 4 launches in May), Harry Shearer’s side-splitting social commentary music videos, and the viral juggernaut You Suck at Photoshop by boy geniuses Big Fat Brain, all make their home here. Then there’s Don Was, a record producer of no small reknown, who has his own digital studio parked right here. Monday April 20, My Damn Channel will roll the curtain up on Pilot Season starring Sarah Silverman, Andy Dick, Isla Fisher, and David Cross. And hey! You Suck at Photoshop is up for another Webby Award in the Online Film and Video section under Comedy: Long Form or Series - register and vote right here.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
Our Capricorn of the Week is the lovely singer-songwriter Jill Sobule, who just released her seventh studio album this week on April 14, California Years. Now here’s a CD you can buy on Record Store Day, tomorrow! Entirely financed by her fans to the tune of 75K, Jill’s new album was produced by the aforementioned redoubtable Don Was. Entertainment Weekly says, Pop’s original girl-kisser has a lonesome diarist’s ear for observational, self-conversational lyricism, whether she’s drunk-Googling her exes (both boys and girls) on ”Wendell Lee” or fantasizing about running off and growing old with the waitstaff on ”Sweetheart.’ Oh and by the way, any album that includes a song titled “Where is Bobbie Gentry?” already has my full attention. Go, girl! She’s touring through April and May to promote the record - check out the dates here.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809 in one-room log cabin to two uneducated farmers, Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks. Making him one of the most famous Aquarians who ever lived. Daniel Wolff’s fascinating tome, How Lincoln Learned to Read: Twelve Great Americans and the Educations That Made Them examines the training, formal or otherwise, of Lincoln and 11 other unique Americans in an effort to identify what makes for a “good education.” From Lincoln’s obsession with books and newspapers to Elvis Presley’s fascination with movies and soundtracks, Wolff ties these and other personalities (W.E.B. DuBois, George Washington, Abigail Adams, Helen Keller, JFK, and more) together with common historical threads, discerning how each was able to surmount difficulties and make his or her mark. Enriched by historical details of the Civil War and world wars, the Great Depression, and the rise of unions, and backed by extensive primary sources, Wolff’s essays provide enlightening glimpses into the often-serendipitous process of education. This makes for a fascinating read. Buy it at the aforementioned Fahrenheit’s Books in Denver or click over to Amazon and purchase it here.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
Pisceans are generally idealist dreamers who can, if allowed, live in a fairy tale world of knights and dragons. I betcha you’ll thoroughly enjoy the HBO film Grey Gardens due to premiere tomorrow, Saturday April 18 at 8PM. In 1973, the famous filmmaking brothers Albert and David Maysles entered the strange world of Jackie O’s relatives Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier Beale. Spending six weeks with the reclusive mother and daughter who chose to live in squalor and almost total isolation in a decaying, 28-room mansion in East Hampton, the Maysles captured their day-to-day life in its raw, uncensored, captivatingly honest moments for a multiple award-winning documentary entitled Grey Gardens. Now, using that film as a framework, director-writer Michael Sucsy’s Grey Gardens offers a wry, behind-the-scenes look at the Beales and their unique mother-daughter bond. Drew Barrymore stars as the daughter and Jessica Lange stars as the mother in this hotly anticipated HBO Films production about the early years of the mother-daughter duo, as well as chronicling the making of the iconic documentary by the Maysles brothers.


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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 21 - April 19 Aries
You’re a mover and a shaker. Enthusiastic, adventurous, a true pioneer. You’re not one to let the most important election of our lives go by without casting a ballot. Yes, we all have a civic duty to enact on Tuesday, November 4th. Make sure you’re all set for this date with destiny by checking here. This site will give you the lowdown on whether you are registered and tell you where your polling place is.  Be certain to have your voice heard in this election, no matter where you live. It’s incredibly important that we all weigh in on this one and act like the democracy we’re supposed to be.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Taureans adore rituals and have a deep spiritual streak. In case you weren’t aware, a few weeks ago a new kumari (living goddess) was appointed in Katmandu. The child, 3 year old Matani Shakya, was so named by Hindu and Buddhist priests and Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav. She will be worshiped by both Hindus and Buddhists as a direct incarnation of the Hindu deity Taleju until she begins to menstruate, at which time she will leave the temple where she now resides to go back to live with her family. While she is regarded as a kumari, she must always be dressed in the color red and exhibit a painted third eye on her forehead. This tradition dates back many centuries.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
Being Gemini, you have an insatiable need to know everything. You crave information, you eat it for breakfast. You need to have all your proverbial ducks in a row. Well, if you’re a Gemini mom-to-be, I’ve got just the website for you. Check out nameberry; baby name experts Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz recently launched this incredible resource for anyone researching baby names. Search through over 50,000 boy and girl names and meanings culled from the Satran/Rosenkrantz’ bestselling baby name books. Cool name lists, popular, unusual and unique names, plus the latest naming news and expert advice – all here. Latest celebrity babies? Listed here. Spiritual names? Stylish names? Supermodel names? Biblical place names? All here. I have to agree with the website’s claim – it’s pregnant with possibilities!

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Our independent bookstore of the week is An Open Book in Greeley, Colorado, which I chose because it’s located in a swing state. Being a Cancer moonchild, you’re all about a cozy atmosphere, which An Open Book is known for. The owner, Ann M. Lacefield, is a retired teacher with many ties to the local community. The store offers personalized service in finding the right book for you, a Book Club with a 20% discount, monthly events for both children and adults, a Young Readers’ Loyalty Program, and more. There’s even a Mother/Daughter Book Club that meets on the last Saturday of every month from 2 to 3pm.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
The download of the week was chosen specifically with Leo in mind. It’s my favorite BeeGees song ever, Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You. If you’ve heard of it, I’ll eat my hat (unless you happen to be the lead singer of the Chesterfield Kings, that is). Released in 1967 as the flip slide of the hit single Holiday, it was included on the album Bee Gee’s 1st. The album cover, designed by Klaus Voorman, is the height of freaky psychedelia. The lyrics are beyond bizarre; it’s obvious that the Brothers Gibb were ingesting some sort of hallucinatory agent (Oh solo Dominique…Don’t walk so tall – before you crawl – for every child – is thinking of something wild). It sounds like Marilyn Manson crawled into a time machine and emerged in the beating technicolor heart of the Swinging Sixties on Carnaby Street. Listen to it here.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Mayhap every Puritan could have been a Virgo; straight-laced, critical, detail-oriented to the degree of …um… obsession. Sarah Vowell breaks it all down for us in her new book The Wordy Shipmates. Marrying serious research to the zing of pop culture, Vowell opens the book with Reverend James Cotton’s sermon in 1630 to passengers about to set sail for the New World. She calls Cotton the smartest man in England and notes that ‘Getting him to bless the send-off would be like scoring Nelson Mandela to deliver the commencement address at the neighbor kid’s eighth grade graduation.’ You get the drift. Vowell, a social observer, is a regular contributor to Public Radio International’s This American Life. She has frequently appeared on The Daily Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
Librans love beautiful jewelry, it’s a known and well documented fact. Get your religious groove on with SaintsforSinners, Rob Clemenz’ stunning, one-of-a-kind Saints serenity medals, imported from Italy and hand-painted in New Orleans. They come to you with a greeting card and beaded chain for wearing. Says Rob, ‘The stories are a little off beat but most are historically accurate, though I do tend to stray or stretch the facts a bit every now and then so I can try and reach as many folks as possible to provide serenity … for sharing!’ Rob even provides same day shipping in case you want to order one pronto for special Election Day blessings!

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
You eschew being pinned down and analyzed. Being a Scorpio, you’re intense, full of mysteries, and very very resourceful. It’s possible you already know that Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibi now has a blog, Taibi Unbound. And not a moment too soon. Taibi’s pen is – doubt me not – mightier than a sword –and woe betide ye if you’re the subject matter. To wit: ‘Not only is Sarah Palin a fraud, she’s the tawdriest, most half-assed fraud imaginable, 20 floors below the lowest common denominator, a character too dumb even for daytime TV — and this country is going to eat her up, cheering her every step of the way. All because most Americans no longer have the energy to do anything but lie back and allow ourselves to be jacked off by the calculating thieves who run this grasping consumer paradise we call a nation.’ This from his manifesto on Palin’s speech at the RNC, Mad Dog Palin. Taibi is my new favorite writer. Witness his first blog post: ‘… Blogger. What a horrible word. It has such an awful, dirty, biological sound to it. The words it reminds me of are words like felch, belch, bilge, log, globes and rubber. It sounds like belching log-rubber. And now I am one. I feel sick.‘ Thank you Rolling Stone for giving this man his very own bitching post on the world wide web.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Sagittarians are wholeheartedly curious about everything and everyone. They seek adventure. They’re party animals. And they’re endlessly fascinated by old slang terms. Check out A Hepcat’s Guide to 50’s Slang Terms. Literally hours of fun. Funsville, I mean – according to this site, to qualify as slang of this particular era, most words can be padded out just by adding the phrase ‘ville’ to them – e.g. coolsville, deadsville, squaresville, weirdsville, etc. All the flat top cats and the dungaree dolls are headed to the gym for the sock hop ball (quoth Buddy Holly). There’s even a whole page here dedicated to just the slang used by Edd ‘Kookie’ Byrnes in 77 Sunset Strip. For instance: antsville – a place full of people; front burner – current crisis; and smog in the noggin’ – memory loss.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
One of my favorite Capricorns, Harry Shearer, will be bringing his merry band, The High-Value Detainees, to Gotham City Saturday November 1st. The location is the 92nd Street Y-Tribeca at 200 Hudson Street and if you hurry you can still grab tix. Author, director, satirist, musician, radio host (the weekly Le Show which has been on the air for well over 20 years – on NPR, XM, and podcast), playwright, multi-media artist, record label owner, voice of many Simpsons characters, founding member of Spinal Tap, and channelmeister over at My Damn Channel – check out his ode to La Palin Bridge to Nowhere and the final item of his Silent Debates Series. And make sure you’re not drinking any liquids, because they might come out your nose while watching these vids. The tour will also take in Seattle (Dec. 2 and 3), LA (Dec 5 and 6), Evanston IL (Dec 11), Sellersville PA (Dec 16), and New Orleans (Dec 20).

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius

The bar of the week (the first of an intermittent series) is Puck Fair, a revisionist Irish pub located directly across from the Puck Building just south of Houston Street in lower Manhattan. Aquarians, at once intellectual and charismatic, will enjoy the very swinging atmosphere of this awesome watering hole. New York Magazine said ‘From above, Puck Fair’s sleek neo-rustica looks like the bar in The Shining somehow transported to Tolkien’s Middle Earth.’ Also, couldja ask for more, the ciders, ales, beers and stout are kept at the best possible temperatures for their delicate ingredients. The food rocks too; mini burgers, bangers and mash, fish and chips, etc.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
You tend towards escapism and the current financial crisis has you burrowing under the covers hoping it’s all a bad dream. Alas, it’s not. But get on the good foot and investigate the Palace of Depression in Vineland, NJ. If nothing else you’ll be completely fascinated by the story of this bizarre castle built in 1932 by George Daynor. Daynor claimed to have struck gold in Alaska and then lost his entire fortune in the crash of 1929. Somehow he made his way to New Jersey and bought four acres for four dollars in Vineland, after which he built this structure from the ground up. It was destroyed by fire in the 1960’s but is now in the process of being rebuilt. Amazing photos of the original palace are here.

Sarah Palin sings a lament to a bridge she’s had a love-hate relationship with, in a tone of latter-day exotica. Brought to you by the good folks at MyDamnChannel.com.

Palin: Bridge to Nowhere

March 21 - April 19 Aries
Aries, the Ram. Your impulsive, pioneering spirit will no doubt be energized and cheered by seeing Judith Owen Saturday night September 27 at the Metropolitan Room, a cabaret located on West 22nd St. between 5th and 6th Avenue. For the uninitiated, Judith’s is a unique, beautiful voice and her performances combine music with a running commentary about everyday life and the state of the world. For one night, put aside your worry about the implosion of our economy and join Judith, who was called “whip smart, soulfully cool and deeply introspective” by the L.A. Times. Her newest album is Mopping Up Karma (Courgette Records, a label Owen formed with her husband/collaborator Harry Shearer). Stephen Holden in The New York Times: She has the kind of wailing folk-jazz voice that slices away surfaces to touch vulnerable emotional nerve endings and leave you quivering. Come on down and quiver; I’ll see you there.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Our Taurus of the Week is my soul sister Tina Fey, to whom I offer heartfelt congratulations on the Emmy win(s) for 30 Rock. Seven awards this year went to 30 Rock, which starts its third season October 30th (special online premiere October 23). Ms. Fey, originally head writer (and performer) on Saturday Night Live, created this show about a television show producer and the challenges of putting together a variety show, and she also produces and stars in it. Alec Baldwin makes me cry with laughter every week. It’s almost better than an orgasm. In case you haven’t yet basked in its brilliance, there’s still time for you to catch up via DVD and iTunes downloads before Season 3. A couple of quotes just to reel you in further: Liz Lemon (Fey): I want to do that thing rich people do when they turn money into more money. Jack Donaghy (Baldwin): Now, there are 140 people on this show, so go out there and make 126 people very happy. One last caveat; Tina’s from Upper Darby, Pa. – my hometown.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
During the sign of Gemini in 1967, June 12 to be exact, the album Dusty in Memphis by Dusty Springfield was released. A great year for great records, this one was produced by Arif Mardin and Jerry Wexler and engineered by Tom Dowd. Those three names on any album virtually guarantees a classic. Rolling Stone placed it as Number 89 in the Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: …blazing soul and sexual honesty…that transcended both race and geography. The back-up singers were the Sweet Inspirations and the band was Reggie Young’s Memphis Cats. Read more about the fascinating story behind this record in renowned music historian Warren Zanes’ fascinating book Dusty in Memphis, part of the 33 1/3 book series. Zanes discusses the record and the book here.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Moonchild ~ you’ve got a tendency to stress out on occasion. Of course we all do, but your proclivity towards overemotionality sometimes works against you in destructive ways. May I suggest Ujjayi Pranayama, a yoga breathing technique which simultaneously relaxes and rejuvenates the entire body. It’s a great way to combat stress, or to get yourself into sleep mode, or to refresh yourself and get more energy. It is sometimes known as ocean breath. Ujjayi strengthens your digestive system as well as your nervous system. It is said that 20 minutes of Ujjayi equals a full night of sleep. Ujjayi is also believed to help lengthen the span of life by lengthening the breath.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
The indie bookstore of the week is Page 1 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Leos are courageous, positive, and creative, and love to read. This is the go-to store for you lion people when you’re under the sign of the Zia (New Mexico’s state symbol – based on an ancient symbol for the Sun by Native Americans of the region). Seriously, is there anything better than a great bookstore? I can literally spend hours going up and down the corridors perusing book titles. Page 1 also has a café and wine bar, so there’s no need to even leave the store, which was established in 1981 and sells new, used and rare books. Spend a day in there but make sure to get outside to see the stunning New Mexico sunset. Or shop online.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Virgo is a mutable earth sign ruled by Mercury. There are four mutable signs (Gemini, Pisces, and Sagittarius in addition to Virgo). Basically mutable signs indicate an astrological sign that falls within the change of a season – in this case, Virgo falls between summer and autumn. I say to you meticulous Virgo people, its time to place yourself squarely in the 21st century and make sure you’re listed on LinkedIn. Whether you’re in the job market or not, put yourself on the map with this online network of more than 25 million experienced professionals around the globe, representing 150 industries. And that’s just today – it continues to grow exponentially. Recruiters troll it to find employees. Use it to rekindle old friendships and professional relationships. I can honestly say it changed my life. Thank you Rhonda Markowitz, who first told me about it.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
The sun moved into Libra this week, so happy birthday Librans. With that said, Mercury also went retrograde on September 24 and won’t go direct again until October 15. Which means basically all communications are affected and can be delayed and disrupted. Computers break down. Trains are late. The up side is this is a great time for reorganizing things and reflection. If you’re anywhere near San Francisco, may I suggest the Saint John Coltrane Church as a stop on your metaphysical highway. This church was created in the name of Libran John Coltrane after Founders Archbishop Franzo King and Reverend Mother Marina King saw him perform in 1965. Being raised in the Pentecostal Church, Franzo King knew the presence of the Lord when it came through the power of the Holy Ghost. Seeing John Coltrane and hearing his sound that night kindled that familiar feeling he had known in childhood. It was the presence of God. Archbishop King refers to this as a “sound baptism” which touched their hearts and minds. Further investigation into this John Coltrane proved him to be not just a ‘jazz musician’ but one who was chosen to guide souls back to God. I can safely say you’ve never been to a church like this. Go in and reflect.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Compulsive! Passionate! Magnetic! Mysterious! Can you say Scorpio! Well guess what; its time for the season premiere of Shoot the Messenger, Monday September 29 at the Green Room Theater. Shoot The Messenger is a comedy troupe performing a satirical wrap-up of the week’s news from the brain of Daily Show Co-creator Lizz Winstead. A live sketch comedy show incorporating multi-media elements, it presents the world as seen through the filters of fictional producers and on-air talent at Wake Up World, the worst morning news show in America. Each week Lizz interviews a media figure who digs deep and gets it right. They’ll give us the lowdown on the big stories that were buried (or ignored) by the corporate media mill. This week’s guest is Naomi Wolf, author of The End of America, and former consultant to both the Clinton and Gore campaigns. Naomi and Lizz will have a timely conversation about tyranny, the election, and what we can do to save democracy before it’s too late. Tickets here. Tick tock!

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Oh Sagittarius, you optimistic, intellectual, sensual folks. Stop the presses! Have you heard that chocolate is good for you? Yes – it truly is very good for your health in moderation. Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate makes lovely little dark chocolate squares in exactly the right size for an energy/health pick me up that you can pop when approaching the mid-afternoon slump. Their exceptional chocolate begins life as organic cocoa in Belize and the Dominican Republic. G&B makes chocolate bars, ice cream, and incredible hot chocolate mix powder. LiveScience.com tells us that a small square of dark chocolate daily protects the heart from inflammation and subsequent heart disease. Read more here.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
Capricorns dig uncomplicated, simple food; comfort food. You would really enjoy the classic Manhattan coffee shop / Greek diner I stumbled upon last week – having passed it on the street for decades but never going in before. The Astro Restaurant is something out of Old New York and therefore sticks out like a sore thumb in the New New York, especially in west midtown on 6th Avenue and 55th Street. It is very rare to find a place like this that can still afford New York City rent prices. Check out the 2nd Astroburger Revolution with a plethora of crazy burgers (somehow I missed the first); including The Greek and The Real Greek.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Water-bearing Aquarians love to know what is going on all the time so they can make a judicious decision about what deserves their time. Hence I want you to know about The Weekly Gigometer, presented by Home Office Records, an independent record label in Brooklyn with big plans for fine music and a penchant for exceptionally fine beer. This is what’s called a community service and a really great one. They are amazing. I love them. Subscribe. Throw money at them. Tell your friends about them.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
Fish people traits include escapism and dreaminess. Well, let this be your wake up call! We’re creeping inexorably towards November 4, a day that will change all our lives, Americans or not. The beauteous Grace Helbig (AKA Daily Grace) channels Bristol Palin in My Damn Channel’s Voting is Sexy video which also imparts practical advice on where and how to register. The deadline to register in most states is early October. That means next week. Get on the good foot, people!

March 21 - April 19 Aries
Let me say this plain and clear: if you haven’t seen Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, a viral video hit of epic proportions, you are missing something huge. Pausch, who died a few days ago after contracting pancreatic cancer in 2006, has changed many lives and will change many more. A Carnegie Mellon professor of computer science, he saw his terminal illness as a challenge to live out the life of his dreams and have fun doing it. We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand is one of the things he said. And Tell The Truth. All The Time.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus

Travel Betty is a blog that encourages Fearless Independent Travel For Women. Per the site, Travel Betty is a woman in love and lust with travel. All kinds of different travel. From pampering to roughing it, she’s an experience collector. Travel Betty desires to be the old woman with the good stories. To her, travel is freedom. Yay! TB, you’re living my dream! When I was in high school, my friend Janice and I both became enamored of James Michener’s novel The Drifters. The book is about six young people of all different international backgrounds who meet in Spain, and then describes how each got there. A few of the characters work multiple jobs for six months and travel the rest of the year. I could not think of anything cooler than that. It’s terribly dated but still a lot of fun to read. And check in with Miss Betty too. She’s all that.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
Thanks to the good people at Vosges, you can have a marvelous experience with chocolate that will blow your mind. The Vosges Exotic Barcelona Bar is a mix of dark and milk chocolate married to hickory smoked almonds and grey sea salt. On the packaging are loving directions telling you exactly how to consume this item to get the full experience. There are five steps: See, Smell, Snap, Taste, Feel. The sweet salty creamy crunchiness of the chocolate is like waves hitting the shore of your taste buds.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
He’s as handsome as they come, per the name (Handsome Dick Manitoba), he’s the lead singer of the Dictators (a band for which he was formerly a roadie), he’s got a radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio’s Underground Garage Channel, and he owns the coolest rock and roll bar on the planet – Manitoba’s, located (of course) on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Many a beer has been hoisted inside those august walls, many a tale has been told. For the moment they don’t have any live music going on due to some annoying neighbors, but it’s still the best place around to listen to a great jukebox and shoot some pool. And the photos of great punk legends on the walls are worth the trip alone.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
Bonne anniversaire! ¡feliz cumpleaños! Janam Din Mubarak! Sretan Rodendan! Happy Birthday, My Damn Channel! One Year Today, July 31! It feels like you’ve been our friend forever. You thrill us and inspire us, you make us laugh until soda comes out of our noses. Your peeps – Don Was, Harry Shearer, Andy Milonakis, David Wain, A.D. Miles, Coolio, Steve Kerper, and Big Fat Brain – are now our beloved heroes. We love you ~ keep on keepin’ on.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Strange human remains found in the hills of West Virginia…no one has a clue what might have happened…evidence of bizarre medical experiments…well, it has to be a case for the X-Files. And it is; my beloved Moldy and Scoldy are back, reunited to chase down the dark demons once again. The trailers tease us with a shot of them being quite romantic. The TV show, in its early years, stunned and delighted before collapsing in on itself in a classic case of a show lasting too long. I could do with a trip back to 1993 just for a couple of hours. I want to believe!

September 23 - October 22 Libra

The Beat Goes On forever at Sonny Bono Memorial Park, located on a traffic island near Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. The 800 square foot area was developed into a tribute to Mr. Bono in 1998 by his friend, local real estate developer Geary Simon. Perhaps the only Congressman who also had a string of hit records in the 1960’s and co-hosted a popular variety show, Sonny is memorialized here with a plaque and a vault of memorabilia which includes the sheet music for The Beat Goes On and a set of his official Congressional cufflinks.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Gretchen Craft Rubin is a former lawyer and U.S. Supreme Court clerk for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor who has written a number of books. Her daily blog, The Happiness Project, tests happiness principles and theories from Oprah to St. Theresa to report on what works and it’s a terrific read. A book based on The Happiness Project will be published in 2009. Watch her film The Years Are Short in which she suddenly comes to the realization that life is a string of precious moments that we need to be grateful for.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Shoyeido is a 300 year old Japanese company, established in 1705, which produces what is thought to be the highest quality and finest natural incense in the world. A family owned business, the company operates in the same location it has occupied in Kyoto, Japan for three centuries. The incense blends are Inspiration, Peace, Joy, Love, and Hope. Hope, a blend of sandalwood, frankincense, vanilla, ginger lily and spices, is my favorite. Each box of approximately 35 sticks comes with its own ceramic burner.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn

This week’s musical treat is Tracey Ullman, a Capricorn lass. Ullman is known primarily in the States for her acting and comedy (she has a hit show - State of the Union - right now on Showtime), but our U.K. friends know that she was quite a musical sensation in the 1980’s. And you can download The Best of Tracey Ullman and hear why. It’s always a mystery why some things don’t make it across the pond and she barely created a ripple here with some great material. My favorite is the fabulously dramatic Doc Pomus-y I Close My Eyes and Count To Ten. There’s 20 songs in total and nary a clunker in the bunch. Check out the video for They Don’t Know which was a big hit in England and features a famous British rock star who’s also been knighted. (Hmm, who could it be?)

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Housing Works Used Book Café is located on 126 Crosby Street – a few steps from the intersection of Canal and Crosby in Soho. Open every day until 9pm on weekdays and until 7pm on weekends, the store is a reminder of the days when Soho was not chockablock with high end couture stores and packs of tourists. A selection of some 45,000 new, used, and rare books and records make this by far the best book outlet in New York City. Add to that a café with sandwiches and salads, coffee, wine, beer and desserts. Add to that live events and readings. And add to that the fact that all proceeds go to Housing Works, which provides housing, health care, job training, advocacy, and other services for homeless New Yorkers living with AIDS and HIV.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
Glory in the timeless beauty of Hedy Lamarr as you listen to Tony Bennett’s Stranger in Paradise. This kind of clip is what I love about YouTube – a truly creative, well edited slideshow which pays tribute to an actress who was thought to be the most beautiful woman of her time. Lamarr, born in 1913, was known for her appearances in Samson and Delilah, Boom Town, Ziegfield Girl, and other films. She was also a brilliant inventor. In 1942, at her highest peak of popularity, Lamarr and composer George Antheil patented a frequency-switching system for torpedo guidance that was well ahead of its time. Along with Antheil, in 1997 she was awarded both the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award and the Bulbie Gnass Spirit of Achievement Bronze Award which is given to individuals whose creative lifetime achievements in the arts, sciences, business, or invention fields have significantly contributed to society or the earth at large.

March 21 - April 19 Aries
Zut alors! It’s been - count ‘em - three months this weekend since I first got bit by the horoscoop* bug in March. Gentle readers, I’ve really come to love doing this and I welcome your comments and suggestions for future columns. Now I just have to figure out a way to make this labor of love lucrative. Again, your input is welcomed on that point as well.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
You have three more days (and it’s open 24 hours a day) to view The Telectroscope, an extraordinary optical device that visually connects New York and London through a tunnel beneath the Atlantic Ocean. Harry Potter step aside, this is the real thing: the stuff dreams are made of. In this case, the dreams of Alexander Stanhope St. George - an eccentric British engineer in the Victorian age. His great-grandson Paul found notes in an old trunk in his grandmother’s attic which explained St. George’s plan to build what he called a ‘device for the suppression of absence.’ So the story goes. This is your chance to wave to people on the other side of the world - in real time.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
Sunday June 15 is Father’s Day and I urge you to reach out and tell your father you love him, if you’re lucky enough to have him alive in the world. This will be my first Father’s Day since my dad passed on last July and I would give anything to tell him Happy Father’s Day one more time.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Spare a thought for Richard J. Hollingshead Jr., the brilliant inventor of the drive-in theater in Camden New Jersey (of course, where else?). The very first drive-in theater opened on June 6, 1933 and in their heyday (1950’s and 1960’s) there were about 5,000 of them in the United States enabling teenagers to get all hot and bothered inside the safety of a parked car. Wired Magazine has a great piece about all this which includes an awesome gallery of photos of some of the 500 or so drive-ins that still exist today.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
Today’s the day, Leo. You can be the change you want to see in the world by signing a petition to put the Monkees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame where they rightfully belong. They were eligible for induction a decade ago. Did you know…that in 1967 they sold more records than the Beatles and the Stones - combined? That Mickey Dolenz owned one of the first three Moog Synthesizers ever sold, and that the first album to feature this instrument was by the Monkees? That their only movie, Head, is one of the strangest movies ever made and well worth seeking out and watching if you’ve never seen it? That Mike Nesmith invented MTV but never really got the credit (and certainly did not get the money) for doing so?

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Download of the week is John Prine’s achingly beautiful It’s A Big Old Goofy World. Prine is a national treasure; he brought us unforgettable iconic songs like Angel From Montgomery, Illegal Smile, Sam Stone, Hello In There. This one came a lot later and is from the great collection The Missing Years. But it’s sweet and glorious and fumbling and honest just like all of his best work. And ooh baby, it’s a big old goofy world.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
Need a special gift for that special someone? How about Kama Sutra Chocolates. You’ve never seen anything quite like them, I can guarandamntee ya. Overnight Shipping is recommended because you sure don’t want these to arrive in broken pieces.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Something is missing. You know it. I know it. What in the sam hill is it? It’s been only a week since the drama that was the long long road to the democratic nomination drew to a close ~ is that it? Or is it, perhaps, weather that didn’t make you sweat like a stevedore? Or could it be…yes…I think it is Wainy Days, one man’s absurdly hilarious quest for love and sex in the big city. Damn! You’re in luck. Season 3 of David Wain’s award-winning smash internet hit series starts this coming Monday, June 16 on My Damn Channel. Set your alarm NOW for Monday morning.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
It being prom season & all puts me in mind of one of my favorite teenage angst films ever, Splendor in the Grass. Directed by Elia Kazan, written by William Inge, and starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty. Just check out the tag lines they used for this classic in 1961: A LOVE STORY UNLIKE ANY OTHERS!! It’s unrelenting moments, its tragedies and splendors! There is a miracle in being young…and a fear. Bud (WB) and Deanie (NW) are terribly, terribly in love in 1920’s Kansas. Societal pressures force them apart via sexual obsession and madness. The movie’s title comes from a Wordsworth poem which is read during a high school English class by Deanie before she completely loses it. OMG they just don’t make movies like this anymore ~ alas!

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
A friend of mine once diverted a cross country business trip to stop in San Francisco just to dine at the family-owned Vietnamese restaurant Thanh Long and having been there myself, I can understand that. It’s worth a trip to San Fran just for the signature dishes of Roasted Crab and Garlic Noodles with Tiger Prawns. Be warned; it’s nowhere near downtown but well worth the ride.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” In that spirit, have a look at this list of the most unusual buildings in the world. There’s the Crooked House in Poland - the Dancing House in Prague - there’s even a really bizarre one in (of course) Florida.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
Portland, Oregon
is chockablock with interesting places and one of its crown jewels is Powell’s Books. You can have your Borders and your Barnes & Nobles and your Amazons, I’ll take this place hands down. You could spend hours, days and weeks in here and you’d still never take it all in. The Seattle Times called it ‘probably the world’s greatest bookstore.’ When you enter, they give you a map because it’s the size of a warehouse - yet it still feels homey and intimate. And their entire inventory is available on the web.