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It’s 1959 in San Francisco’s low rent district. At the local beatnik hangout, Walter Paisley busses tables and pines for a comely hipster artist chick named Carla. He’s an outsider the hip kids make fun of and he can never seem to fit in. The place is full of beat poets who recite their self righteous, overly hip poetry to bongo drums. One night Walter is home trying to become a sculptor so he can impress Carla and accidentally kills his neighbor’s cat. He decides to cover the cat in clay and calls it “Dead Cat,” which Carla thinks is genius. This spurs him on to kill other living things and make sculptures out of them. This is the inspired plot of Roger Corman’s A Bucket of Blood, which was shot in its entirety in five days. Corman and writer Charles B. Griffith developed the basic plot and idea for this film in a single day. The sets would later be used for Corman’s next film, The Little Shop of Horrors, in 1960.

Last week Roger Corman received a long overdue honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement from the Academy for his life’s work - 350 movies. He crafted incredible, low budget, lurid B-movie spectaculars starting in the 1950’s and provided career launches for artists like John Sayles, Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme, James Cameron, Ron Howard and Martin Scorsese. His films featured the nascent talents of Jack Nicholson, Robert DeNiro, William Shatner, Charles Bronson, Sylvester Stallone and others.

I salute the genius of Roger Corman. And that’s my Way Cool Item of the Day.


March 21 - April 19 Aries
Ram on, Aries people. It’s Thanksgiving already, where does the time go?! I know you eschew sentimentality and prefer to jump into life sans frills. N’est-ce pas? I also know that you love weird and wacky historical facts. Corn for corn’s sake is good too. Point your mouse to culture vs content and take the Corny Thanksgiving Trivia test. Is Indian corn edible? Where did the word “turkey” come from? And the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America was originally intended to bring over what item to the New World? (hint: not people) A wonderful person named Bonnie does this blog and it is worth a long visit for the posts, photography, and haiku.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
I’m breaking my rule of not repeating things here, because I took my own advice in this here column and went to see Amanda Palmer and the Danger Ensemble at Webster Hall. Ms. Palmer (a Taurus) and her merry gang provided one of the best live concerts I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen several (trust me on this). It was one of those rare occasions when you know that a year from now people will be saying, you were there at Webster Hall that night? with starry eyes. I’m going to write a whole blog post about Amanda so check back in the next week or so. There’s not enough room in this format to say everything that needs to be said. In the meantime go here. And here. And here. Watch everything. Listen to her new album. Read her blog. And she’s still on the road, so if you’re in Pittsburgh, Toronto, Ferndale MI, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Aspen, Salt Lake City, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, or LA – go. Just go.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
Gemini is a curious mix of adaptability and superficiality. Sometimes you need to flex that good-deed muscle a little and get out of your comfort zone. Things are pretty dire right now in the USA – in the world, actually – and here’s a way you can put a smile on someone’s face easily. And rack up some good karma, which we all could use. Thanks to KarmaTube, here’s a story about a Starbucks drive-thru in Loveland, Colorado where people were amazed to get to the window and find out that their coffee was paid for by the person in front of them in line. Lindell Green, a beneficiary of this karma gesture, paid for the person behind him when this happened. So guess what? It’s not just Loveland, Colorado. It’s not just Starbucks. The CNN story documents another random act of kindness taking place at a supermarket elsewhere in the country. Apparently it’s spreading. Like a disease in a Stephen King novel. A disease called pay-it-forward.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Moonchildren and everyone else; as we gather around the Thanksgiving table with family and friends this year and express our gratitude for our blessings (try doing this every day by the way; it will change your life), let’s also mark next Monday, December 1st, on the calendar for World Aids Day. World Aids Day was created exactly ten years ago to raise awareness of the pandemic caused by HIV infection. The date is observed globally by governments, charities, and international organizations. This year you can search the World Aids Day website to find events anywhere in the world. You can find interesting and creative ways to get involved and raise awareness. You can learn about HIV and get the facts about this terrifying disease.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
It’s my feeling that the Leos among us would really dig Dominick Dunne in the unlikely event they don’t already follow his prose as he covers the trials and tribulations of the rich and famous. Mr. Dunne is an investigative journalist who writes for Vanity Fair Magazine. Without fail, his is the first article I go to when I get my copy in the mail. His birds’ eye view of the rarified celebrity lifestyle is always absolutely riveting. Read a collection of twenty five years of his adventures chronicling the greatest scandals of our time from O.J. Simpson to Claus Von Bülow to Imelda Marcos to the Menendez Brothers to Brooke Astor to Princess Diana and more. My advice: get a big dish of ice cream and settle down and read them all. Make sure all the lights are on. Before you settle in, though, go to this site and wish Mr. Dunne a speedy recovery from cancer.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Let us now celebrate the genius that is Elvis Costello, who is a Virgo by the way. There is certainly not enough room here to discuss all the varied strands of his fabulosity. But I want you to be sure and catch his new TV show which debuts Wednesday, December 3 on the Sundance Channel at 9pm. Spectacle: Elvis Costello With… invites viewers to enjoy an intimate conversation between Costello and his guests, sprinkled with musical performances. The debut show features Sir Elton John. Upcoming episodes have Declan McManus (his real name) chatting with Bill Clinton, Lou Reed, James Taylor, The Police, and more. I personally cannot think of anyone I’d rather sit down to tea with than Elvis Costello.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
My favorite all-time Libra is John Lennon. I was surprised and amused to read this week that the Pope has officially forgiven Lennon for his remark in March 1966 that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. Apparently, the Vatican’s official newspaper has absolved J.L. 42 years after the statement was made to a teen magazine called Datebook as part of an interview while the Beatles did their last American tour. L’Osservatore Romano said, “After so many years it sounds merely like the boasting of an English working-class lad struggling to cope with unexpected success.” For those who don’t remember, Lennon’s off the cuff remarks that he’d observed that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus at that time caused a huge shitstorm that ended up with Beatle records and memorabilia being set on fire. Radio stations stopped playing Beatle records. It was huge. And terrifying. And it was a world far unlike our own today in every way you can imagine. Lennon was made to apologize in front of the world at a press conference because of the vast carnage that his remark caused. One has to think that he’s up there shaking his head in wonder that he has now been pardoned by the Catholic Church. Good on ya, Johnny.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
And then there’s ripxoid. Avast ye Scorpio hearties, this is a handsome blog that takes on subjects like Philip K. Dick, pocket-sized primates, Obama, film noir, et cetera. You gotta love a blog with these categories: Bullshit, Movies, Music, Photos, Politics, Video, Web, and Weird News. That’s all I care about! Thank you Jeff Kopp of Garage Punk fame for birthing this baby. Writes Jeff: Yep, this is it. The very first post on a very new blog. Ah yes, just what the world needs, right? More blogs! Yeah, well, so what? Everyone has something to say (even if it isn’t entirely original) and I think us ‘xoidians have just as much if not MORE wacked-out, cool, crazy, funny or just plain INTERESTING stuff to say as any other group of geeks, so let’s make this happen.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Methinks that the refined sensibilities of the Sagittarian would thoroughly enjoy my favorite Scorsese film of all time, The King of Comedy. Released in 1982, the film is about nerdy geeky Rupert Pupkin (played by Robert DeNiro in what I think is his best role ever) and his obsession with becoming a comedian. He lives in his mother’s basement and play acts scenarios where he is a talk show guest discussing his glorious career. He idolizes talk show host Jerry Langford, played spectacularly by Jerry Lewis. I can’t tell you any more, but one of the taglines was: Nobody knows Rupert Pupkin, but by 11:30 tonight, the whole world will know he’s . . . THE KING OF COMEDY.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
Ah Capricorn! Pull up a chair and let’s talk about independent bookstores, shall we? I know you love new books. This week I’ve chosen Pandemonium Booksellers & Café located in beautiful Wasilla, Alaska. According to their website, they are an energetic, comfortable, bookstore & gourmet beverage/dessert establishment. Open every day of the week, this bastion of the free press also provides online ordering. It’s great to know that Wasilla has an indie bookstore. You betcha!

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Every once in awhile don’t you suddenly crave hummus? I do and when that urge comes on I go to Jerusalem Restaurant located between 103rd St. and 104th St. on Broadway. The place is the size of a postage stamp. Seriously, my living room is larger and I have a New York apartment. They’re open late, and they have great falafel as well as shwarma, baba ganoush, stuffed grape leaves, and more. I know that Aquarians have been known to hanker for middle eastern food on occasion. Well, hanker here.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
Speaking of the Catholic Church…Pisceans everywhere need to know about the 33-foot tall stainless steel statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace in New Castle, Delaware. The 8,400 pound statue, sculpted by Charles C. Parks, was dedicated on May 25, 2007 at the Holy Spirit Church. According to their website, At Fatima Our Blessed Mother revealed that Our Lord intends the present world to be saved through devotion to her Immaculate Heart. We have built a statue to make this message known to countless numbers of people who otherwise would not know Her.  In her desire to save her children, she has asked us to Pray The Rosary. In our world of many realities, we have known the REALITY OF THE POWER OF PRAYER. All the prayers we have ever said are ours - a real wealth - treasures stored up for us in heaven.  The Rosaries Our Lady asks for are ours to give - a treasury of prayer for her to use. She needs these Prayers NOW to give to her children in need. Parks, the sculptor, also made another huge steel Mary in Santa Clara, California. The Delaware Mary holds out her arms to bless the travelers on the nearby Delaware Memorial Bridge. It is apparently possible to enter a door at the base of the statue and go up a ladder to view the inside of her immaculate heart.