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All things on earth point home in old October: sailors to sea, travelers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken.
- Thomas Wolfe

Well, cats n’ kittens, here be mid-October and you know what that means; it’s those last few weeks before holiday madness descends upon the land. Be that as it may, I plan to be elucidating weekly on my pop culture discoveries of the moment from here on in, whether it be a new book or CD or a TV show or a museum or a restaurant, or, perhaps, a movie that I saw when I was 15 that it seems no one has heard of and that I really think you might dig. And without further ado…

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Cupcakes, because why not? So it seems some very twisted souls have come up with a collection of cupcakes inspired by the 1998 film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (which by the way is definitely worth a Netflix lookinto if you’ve never scoped it). Everything from crazy quotes from the book/film to Hunter’s glasses to a smashed cigarette to a drawing of Thompson to a demented clown face to lines of coke next to a rolled up dollar bill and a razor blade adorns these little confections. I think Mr. Thompson would have loved these.

Young Shorpy Higginbotham was a boy who worked the mines in Alabama in 1910. He died in a mine accident in 1928 and his name lives on through the Shorpy website, which does an incredible job of curating vintage photographs. The majority of these amazing images are black and white photographs from the turn of the century that are so amazingly crystal clear it’s really a window into the past. As in this incredible photograph of the Flatiron Building under construction circa 1902. You can also buy large-sized prints from the site suitable for framing, and be sure and get on their mailing list.

Are you crazy about your dog or just crazy? So asks best selling novelist and baby name expert Pamela Redmond Satran in her brand new book Rabid: Are You Crazy About Your Dog Or Just Crazy?, out this week from Bloomsbury Books. States Satran’s tumblr site: I like to think of Rabid as the Jon Stewart of dog books.  Or maybe the Rin Tin Tin of people books. This book will amaze and amuse you, and perhaps even frighten you when you see the lengths many of us go to include our furry friends in our everyday lives. Canine vegans? Pet feng shui? Here. Humans who’ve married their pets? Aqui. Dogs and Art; Dog Weddings; Doggie Daycare; martini-shaped doggie treats; all here and more, much more, as well as a fabulous selection of photos of canines in all shapes and sizes.

Little Steven Van Zandt gets Big Man of the Year Award: Tuesday night October 16th the non-profit organization Little Kids Rock celebrates its 10th anniversary of transforming children’s lives by restoring and revitalizing music education in disadvantaged public schools. This year they honor Little Steven Van Zandt with the Big Man of the Year Award at a gala event taking place at the Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom. Musicians including Dion, Elvis Costello, Tom Morello, Darlene Love, Southside Johnny, Gary US Bonds, Ruben Blades, and others will gather to tribute Steven’s prodigious musical legacy. Van Zandt also has his own non-profit organization, the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, which was formed in 2007 to provide a groundbreaking music-centered curriculum for middle and high school students.

Losers Lounge take on the Dusty Springfield catalogue at Joe’s Pub: Last weekend the fine, fine, superfine Joe McGinty, the Kustard Kings, and friends addressed the mighty archive of recorded work by one Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien – known to us all as Dusty Springfield. McGinty and psycho-cabaret singer Nick Danger started the LL back in 1993, originally as a piano singalong night in the East Village. Since then there have been over 300 shows honoring the canon of more than 50 different artists. The Dusty show was stellar as usual with a number of great guest singers as well as the formidable Connie Petruk, who brought the house down with the closing number “Son of A Preacher Man.” See them in December when they bring to life the storied career gems of Stevie Wonder.

Women’s Rights and Women’s Health: There’s been a lot of talk about these subjects this election year. This begs the age-old question of why the right wing always feels they have to push their beliefs on everyone else. Why can’t we trust women to know what’s best for their own bodies, their own families? Why does it always have to be this absurd absolutism – which seems to be more suited for a dictatorship or a monarchy, not a thriving democracy? Meanwhile, please read brilliant writer Marge Piercy’s poem Right to Life, which says it all. Here’s just a part of that: I will choose what enters me, what becomes / of my flesh. Without choice, no politics, / no ethics lives. I am not your cornfield, / not your uranium mine, not your calf / for fattening, not your cow for milking. / You may not use me as your factory. / Priests and legislators do not hold shares / in my womb or my mind. / This is my body. If I give it to you / I want it back. My life / is a non-negotiable demand.

The bravery of Malala Yousafzai: Last week the spotlight of the world fell on Pakistan and the shameful actions of the Taliban in attempting to assassinate 14-year-old Malala, a schoolgirl who tirelessly advocated on behalf of the right for girls to be educated in her country. Malala had been on the world stage for quite some time as the voice of Pakistani children, and girls in particular, for resistance against the dangerous extremism rampant in their society. The Taliban threatened her many times and finally made good their threat to try to kill her. She underwent surgery for shotgun wounds to the neck and head and has now been airlifted to a hospital in England. Millions of people all over the world rose up in outrage over the attack on this young girl, including in her home country Pakistan. The UN Special Envoy for Global Education took up the cry I Am Malala and created a website in support of her campaign to outlaw discrimination against girls. When she wakes up – and I say when, not if – young Malala will see how she has transformed the world by her bravery.

Project Runway Season Ten: Those of you who have followed my rants and raves through the years may realize that this is the first Project Runway season in a long time I haven’t blogged weekly about the show for the Huffington Post. Why, you ask? Well…there are a few reasons. One of which is that it’s a huge amount of work – hours and hours of work – for very little return. But more importantly, at least this season, is that the designers are a crashing bore. I don’t know if we’ve been spoiled with our Mondos and our Santinos in the past, but hella the pickings this year are slim. And now that the smoke has cleared and four of them (Fabio, Christopher, Dmitry, and Melissa) are left standing to show at Fashion Week, I have to admit there were whole episodes I just glossed over because of the snore factor. One episode left and we’ll know who the winner is, but based on their three representative looks for the judges this week, I don’t think any of them should make it. Catch the Season Finale this Thursday night October 18th on Lifetime.

The Sound of Cylons: Someone who is calling themselves Saul Tigh uploaded this gem a few days ago to Youtube.  It’s a reworking of the Simon and Garfunkel classic to tell the story of Gaius Baltar and his, um, giant fuckup in inadvertently handing the soulless killing machines known as cylons the key to destroying the known world on the brilliant series Battlestar Galactica (I speak here of the remade version which premiered in 2003).  It’s hilarious whether or not you’ve seen the series but if you have not, I urge you to check it out. I came to it late; it had been off the air for years when I finally succumbed to the advice of friends who assured me it was one of the best science fiction series of all time. They were right. You can see it on Netflix and rest assured, you will be just like these characters on Portlandia.

Hugh Howey’s series Wool: I fell down this rabbit hole a few months ago thanks to goodreads and I urge you to do the same. Writer Hugh Howey originally created a novelette about a dystopian society trapped inside of a huge silo buried in the ground. No one ever went outside, except the unlucky ones who were thrown out and died a miserable death in the poisoned atmosphere. As cream rises to the top, this self-published story became a massive bestseller, growing to several more novelettes, attracting global attention, and has now been optioned for a potential feature film by Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian. It’s available either in bite-sized chunks or in the Omnibus version. These characters continue to haunt me and the word cleaning will certainly never be the same.

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If you have any books, music, film, television, or other nugget of pop culture you’d like to submit to me for this column please contact me here


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
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.

March 21 - April 19 Aries
There’s nothing that would behoove you adventurous Aries folks more than a weekend midnight movie at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village. August 8 and 9 you can scope George Axelrod’s 1966 classic Lord Love A Duck starring a wickedly satirical Roddy McDowell and sweet young blonde Tuesday Weld. Let’s just say that Weld starts off as an innocent, shy teenage girl who wants to be popular and ends up as a movie star in Bikini Widow. That should be enough to get you into the theater tonight or tomorrow at midnight. The series continues every weekend through September 27 and ends with Roger Corman’s granddaddy of counterculture genius, The Trip (written by Jack Nicholson). The entire schedule is here.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Famed Taurean William Shakespeare once wrote: Summer’s lease hath all too short a date. To paraphrase: it’s August, bitches! Get your stubborn Taurus behind out there into the world and take in some fresh air, even if it is heavy with humidity. You’ll wish you had done so come wintertime when the air is freezing cold and hurts when you breathe. Move it and shake it, yo ~ before the ice age moves in on us and takes permanent residence like on that scary episode of the Twilight Zone.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
Your dual nature will no doubt thrill to the news that David Byrne and Brian Eno have collaborated again for the first time in 30 years - and that’s gotta be cool. Everything That Happens Will Happen Today is released August 18th but you can download a free copy of one of the songs, Strange Overtones, here. A tour will commence on September 16th in Bethlehem, Pa.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
One of my favorite crab people is Artie Wayne, who is and has been a songwriter, singer, producer, concert promoter, publisher, restaurant host and more during his storied career. He’s also a refreshing stop in the increasingly crowded blogosphere where he shares way cool finds like Simon and Garfunkel performing Sounds of Silence acoustically live on television; The Mighty Quinn by the awesomely underrated Manfred Mann; Society’s Child by shy, sixteen year old Janis Ian; and John, You’ve Gone Too Far This Time by Rainbo (AKA Sissy Spacek prior to her acting career!). AW is apparently working on a book about the music business – sign me up for that one, Amazon!

July 23 - August 22 Leo
Happy Birthday Leo guys and dolls! Yes, Teri, that means YOU! A great way to celebrate your birthday weekend is to crank up the dials to WFMU FM which is celebrating 50 years on the air today through Sunday. And don’t think you can’t listen because you don’t live in the area. Au contraire ma cherie ~ WFMU streams live on the web 24/7! Legendary DJ’s from years past will be dropping in all weekend to help celebrate – including Wildgirl, Vin Scelsa, and Danny Fields! Even the Hound will be back, Saturday August 9 between 3 and 6pm.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
I know you Virgos are very concerned with not acting old – as are we all. Please to rejoice in HowNotToActOld.com which has loads of tips on how to not give away your age, assuming you’re older than Paris Hilton (who still qualifies as young). Writer Pamela Redmond Satran has written 14 books including 5 novels, and 8 bestselling baby-naming books coauthored with Linda Rosenkrantz. Besides her blog, she also writes for the Huffington Post and has a new book out called 1000 Ways To Be A Slightly Better Woman.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
Librans can satisfy their insatiable need for great documentary films this summer with HBO’s terrific weekly series which started in June with Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. Even though it has appeared that Showtime has kicked HBO’s ass this year on drama series, I’m here to tell you that these documentaries make for great television. Last week, Baghdad High showed us what it’s like to be a teenager in Iraq where a daily commute to school is fraught with roadside bombings. Quel teenage wasteland! Every Monday night at 9pm through August 25th a new film is shown. Pop some corn and settle down to leave your world for the duration.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
It’s about time, Scorpio cats n kittens – your basest selves will thrill to the newly opened Erotic Heritage Museum in (where else?) Las Vegas, Nevada. Over 24,000 square feet of permanent and featured exhibits pay tribute to the world of erotica. The Museum opened its legs, I mean, doors to the world on August 3rd and seeks to bridge the gap between that which is commercial and often misidentified as pornographic. No doubt Jesse Helms will be turning in his grave.

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

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
In honor of a Capricorn born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi, I’m speaking of course of Elvis Aaron Presley here, I urge you to visit the 24 Hour Church of Elvis. Here in this pocket of madness on the internets you can purchase refrigerator magnets, stickers, pins, t-shirts, calendars, etc. etc. etc. Proprietor Stephanie G. Pierce has run this establishment since 1985 in Portland, Oregon. There used to be a physical store where weddings were performed, but that’s closed for the moment. In the meantime, flat top cats and dungaree dolls can celebrate The King with a refrigerator magnet.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Our Aquarian of the Week is – yes – Paris Hilton. Girlfriend fired back a hysterical response to John McCain’s Britney/Paris/Obama TV ad from last week. Paris lounges in a leopard bikini as she explains her own energy policy to us (surprise, it’s pretty frickin’ awesome). Quoth Ms. Hilton: “That wrinkly white-haired guy used me in his campaign ad, which I guess means I’m running for President. So thanks for the endorsement, white-haired dude. . . I want America to know that I’m like, totally ready to lead.” Even her parents, who contributed $Hilton$ money to McCain, were horrified by his tasteless ad which compares Obama’s celebrity to that of their daughter and Britney Spears.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
Fish People, here’s a novel you can curl up in for the entire month of August and read your brains out. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts is the largely autobiographical tale of Roberts, who escapes after two years in an Australian prison where he had been jailed for a series of armed robberies performed when he was a heroin addict. He arrives in Bombay with an assumed name and forged papers and luckily meets a street guide who becomes his bridge to an entirely new world. That’s only the beginning; I’m still reading it. The book is so large and heavy it could conceivably be used as a weapon. Fall into this fascinating world like it was a gorgeous colorful silken pillow.