Sunday, May 30, 2010

This Week's Horoscope's (Friday, May 28 to Friday, June 4)

This Week's Horoscope Would Like to Know More about the Dharma Initiative (But who wouldn't?) by Jane Cassady

(Please note: Your fake horoscope-ist is still misty from the Lost finale. I may be indulging my morbid side a little. Except when I'm talking about water ice or baby sloths or something.)

Gemini: They (the neuroscientists) say that when our friends aren't around, we run algorithms of them in our heads. You ask yourself “What would so-and-so do?” and your brain uses all of the information it has on the person to give you an answer. If you don't see that person anymore, that person becomes less and less him/herself and more just the version of him or her you've created. I guess that's why we should look each other in the face.

Cancer: On the Lost finale, we learned that the castaways had created a purgatory/meeting place so that they could celebrate and comfort each other at the time of death. Who would you contrive to meet in that fabricated Los Angeles? Who'd be there waiting for your uncrashed plane? Whose not-letting-gos complement yours? What is your real life?

Leo: Maybe you didn't know this, but it's Leo Appreciation Week (except for my brother's ex-girlfriend). To celebrate I completely ignored the Categorical Imperative and picked you a delphinium out of the public garden by the Rittenhouse overpass. The stalk bent and twisted, it wasn't a clean break, but I got the flower. It's sitting like a blue mirage in a green glass pitcher. I would ignore any number of philosophers for you.

Virgo: While I was moping around after the Lost finale, I took comfort in an old Radiolab podcast: . It contains 11 meditations on the moment of death. One story suggested that groups have their own souls, their own afterlives. Call on the spirit of your elementary school play, your first venue, your old castaways: they're floating there waiting.

Libra: Your power animal is the little girl doing affirmations in that viral video. You've mastered the art of self-esteem, and your hair is magnificent. Teach workshops for this. Round up your most milquetoast friends, hand out backbone-shaped pencils for souvenirs. They'll be free of their daily mirror-mutterings.

Scorpio: I was recently reunited with a Scorpio friend I hadn't seen in about 12 years. It amazed me that we were so easily still friends, even though we didn't really even know what each other's jobs were. It may have been the cumin-magical uniting powers of Indian food. Go out for some samosas with someone you'd like to remember, and already do.

Sagittarius: All of the gifts at your wedding were/will be handmade. Your children or manuscripts have such perfect smiles, sitting there eating grapes like gurus. The long table you inherited is perfect for someone with so many friends. A beautiful tree sculpted from corn husks sits in the middle of the table, I want to ask if it's a self portrait.

Capricorn: Let's make up a future for Walt, the most mourned loose end of the Byzantine Lost arcana. He wasn't the Smoke Monster/First when he appeared that time. He's somewhere painting comic books that come true. No,wait, that's Heroes. Adult Walt will be an artist with a showplace apartment, skyline views from floor to ceiling. His beautiful partner is always the one to turn out the light, bring tea. Walt is special, he makes things happen. He's alright.

Aquarius: Thank you so much for posting that video of the baby sloths at the sloth orphanage: Whenever I need to practice stillness, I look into their half-open eyes, watch them sit like Buddhas on rattan chairs and hang by their toes from baby-sized rails. I get my gurus wherever I can.

Pisces: To paraphrase Elizabeth Bishop, the art of hoarding isn't hard to master. Last week I read a book I really loved and now I have reader's block. There're lots of reasons to move to a quieter place, but I'm too attatched to the current apartment. I loved last year's Christmas tree so much that I have a framed photo of it next to my writing chair. I'm not quite in call-Niecy-Nash territory, but I guess letting go would be an okay thing to try.

Aries: Welcome to the summer of you. Rita's named a water ice after you.The ice cream trucks are playing the first song you fell in love to. The car radio made you a mix tape. The So You Think You Can Dance-ers dedicate their leaps to your cat. The water is displaying its fish for you, the sand is arranging itself to the sound of your footprints.

Taurus: Nobody let you see the script. There's no alternate ending. You never imagined yourself in this situation. There's no fortune cookie for it, no WTF tarot card spread, no break-glass-in-case-of, no grocery-aisle devotional candle. No matter. You have to leave those things burning for like a week, and then what could you think about but the burning?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Five Kids’ Books with Quirky Facts that Jen Loves

Great Estimations by Bruce Goldstone
(Hardcover: Henry Holt, $17.99; Paperback: Square Fish, $6.99)
Illustrations provide examples of ten of something, one hundred of something, one thousand of something. This gives the reader a real-life reference for estimating the size of a crowd or the number of flowers in a flowerbed or jellybeans in a jar.

Life-Size Zoo, edited by Teruyuki Komiya
(Seven Footer Press, $17.95)
How often do you find a life-sized elephant in a book? (Well, part of an elephant.) An up-close and personal view of some common and uncommon mammals, including sloths, meerkats, hedgehogs, aardvarks, zebras, and capybaras.
(Newly published May 1: More Life-Size Zoo!)

How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (Houghton, $16.00)
Beautiful illustrations and detailed descriptions of symbiotic relationships between numerous pairs of animals. Strong emphasis on the importance of holding still while being cleaned.

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston (Chronicle Books, $16.99)
Larger-than life illustrations describe all kinds of seeds in brilliant detail: dandelions to sunflowers, milkweed pods to hamburger beans! And the book is laced with little facts about growth patterns, storage, methods of travel, and lengths of germination time.

A Really Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
(Random House, $19.00)
Did you know chlorofluorocarbons were invented by the same person who added lead to gasoline? That Marie Curie’s notebooks are still dangerously radioactive? An entertaining and excellently accessible history of science.

May 2010, Jennifer Sheffield

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Three Garden Books That Nif Refers to Over and Over (Plus Two More She Covets Dearly)

The All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholemew
(Cool Springs Press, $19.99)
THE guide for anyone who wants to grow vegetables in a small space. Essential.

100 Easy-to-Grow Native Plants by Lorraine Johnson
(Firefly Press $22.95)
My favorite feature is the suggested companions, which make for dazzling floral displays.

Wildflowers: a Guide to Growing and Propagating Native Flowers of North America by William Cullina
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt $40)
This book is gorgeous...and indispensable for anyone who wants to plant a variety of native plants to support wildlife. I cuddle with it day and night as I make my spring plans. I dream of acquiring his other volumes to round out my garden planning:
Native Trees, Shrubs, & Vines and Native Ferns, Moss & Grasses
(also $40 each from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

May 2010, Jennifer Woodfin

(Editor's Note: She's not kidding about the book cuddling.)

Janet’s Picks for May

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
(Penguin, $24.95)

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
(Penguin, $19.99)

Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger
(Simon & Schuster, $16.99)

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
(Penguin, $17.99)

The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth
(Scholastic Press, $17.99)

May 2010, Janet Elfant

Monday, May 24, 2010

Claudia’s May Picks: Five Books by Cynthia Rylant

Cynthia Rylant is the author of more than one hundred books for children. The five books I picked for the lovely month of May celebrate our beautiful world -- a world that is filled with so many wonderful things and creatures: sparkling stars, birds flying through the blue sky, peaches growing on trees, blooming flowers, purring cats, joyful children, you and me. The writer works with illustrators like Nikki McClure and Tiphanie Beeke. The text and illustrations will nurture your heart and soul and let you rejoice in the beauty and goodness of life.

The Beautiful Stories of Life: 6 Greek Myths Retold
(Harcourt; $16.00)

The Wonderful Happens
(Simon & Schuster; $7.99)

The Stars Will Still Shine
(HarperCollins; $16.99)

All in a Day
(Abrams Books; $17.95)

Moonlight, the Halloween Cat
(Harper Trophy; $6.99)

May 2010, Claudia Vesterby

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Five Books That Have Inspired Maleka's Creativity

How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Art Life Museum by Keri Smith (Penguin, $14.95)

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg (Random House, $14.00)

Run Toward Fear by Haki R. Madhubuti (Third World Press, $12.00)

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde (Random House, $15.95)

Creative Family by Amanda Soule (Random House, $18.95)

May 2010, Maleka Fruean

Friday, May 21, 2010

This Week's Horoscope: May 21 to May 28

Poetic Horoscopes by Jane Cassady

Gemini: Happy birthday month! Go to a Michael's (or similar craft store) and see just how many kinds of cake decorations and sprinkles there are: letters made out of stiff sugar, Super Mario figurines, sugars dyed every hue and tint, star-shaped sprinkles, fish-shaped sprinkles, regular jimmies, I could go on and on. That's your coming year, Gemini—all kinds of decoration.

Cancer: One of my favorite things to do with my nephew Kieran is to play with his elaborate Play Doh mold collection. My sister and I have differing theories when it comes to Play Doh—she likes the colors kept neatly separate, so they last longer, but I don't mind the colors proceeding together towards day-glo entropy. However, we are both really excellent at making pink Play Doh roses with realistic stems.

Leo: Take apart the structure of your days, brick by brick. Turn the clocks back and forth to suit your moods. Warp time with frequent naps. Never watch our shows at the appointed times, only on Hulu. Ignore sunsets, exit signs, and train stations. Your power animal is the amoeba.

Virgo: Last weekend, Amy and I went for a picnic in our old favorite hometown wetlands, Barry Park in Syracuse. May is our old town's best month, lilacs in the air, turtles sunning themselves at the edge of the swamp, everything light bright new green. We didn't see the great blue heron, but we knew he was there. We couldn't believe how quiet it was. Our hearts broke a little for everything that's changed and been lost. (Including, I guess, Lost.)

Libra: Today I stopped at the Chestnut Hill Library, paid an unVirgolike fine, and got out a chick lit book with a lotus on the cover called Enlightenment for Idiots. Then I stopped by the Woodmere Art Museum and saw some very bright doodly lotus paintings that must've been really fun to make. The other day my mom emailed me a picture of Lakshmi as a get-rich good luck charm. Let's get transcendified in a nice, goofy, glittery way.

Scorpio: Also at the Woodmere Art Museum—some school children made their own dollhouse art museum. It had long miniature benches, sculptures of cute animals, crocheted wall hangings, and tiny reproductions of famous art. Make a cute dollhouse version of your important life, Scorpio, and put it in your permanent collection.

Sagittarius: Find the nearest small, adorable niece or nephew and spend about 2 hours looking at with her or him. There you'll find surprised-looking baby marmosets, a pile of baby otters, husky puppies lined up like Wii remotes, every possible permutation of kitten, and even a baby octopus! I'm sure that this is at least as good for one's soul as church.

Capricorn: Capricorn pal Rachel McKibbens says on her status update that she “is often completely unimpressed by what others find impressive. Is that a Capricorn thing, or good old fashioned bitchassery?” On a related note, don't you wonder if Betty White might have gotten tired of the same joke for an hour and a half on SNL the other week? It's like, oh, the pleasant old lady is saying something scandalous. OVER AND OVER. Don't let anybody write you boring like that, Capricorn.

Aquarius: Your power animal this week is the Magic Cephalopod from Lynda Barry's wonderful wonderful book “What it Is.” She says (in a very tiny seashell of a synopsis) that if you can relax yourself and practice letting your images out, this magic creature will buoy you up and guide your writing/drawing/whatevering hands. Go make something.

Pisces: In 2005, ornithologists found the ivory billed woodpecker, previously thought to be extinct. Frank Gill, senior ornithologist at the New York City-based National Audubon Society, said "It is kind of like finding Elvis." Don't stop looking at every leaf-bend, every wing movement. You could be surprised by flight at any time. Imagine a few weeks, days, years from now when you can run through the streets yelling FOUND!

Aries: The people at Volkswagen are trying to get us to do the slug-bug thing for every Volkswagen, and I don't thing we're buying it. I tried to start a “pinch Mini” thing a few years ago, but so far it's only spread to my mom. Inspired by my beloved off-red ex-car, I really think Mazda Proteg├ęs might be my guardian angel. I think people should pat each others' heads and say “Awww” when they see one. Start a silly meme this week, see how far it gets.

Taurus: My therapist confided in me than she envies her veterinarian--he gets more thank you notes than she does. Make a list of the things you love more than your own psyche—pets, the computer, poetry slams? Write a thank you note to your brain for letting you think with it, to your hands for writing your thank you notes, to your neuroses for all the adventures

Mo's May Picks

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
(William Morrow and Co., $25.99)
In parts I find the way this book was co-written slightly annoying; however, it is a hugely inspiring tale of a young man who assembles a windmill out of discarded parts to power his Malawi village which had previously had little or no electricity.

Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom for the Urban Wilderness by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
(Little Brown and Co., $23.99)
The crow population has skyrocketed in recent years, partly as a result of urban sprawl. Crows are ever present in cities and suburbs (you may have also noted they are heavily featured in Nikki McClure's illustrations). Haupt investigates how crows are a sympton of the ecological damage wrought human civilization, but also a reminder of the wildness and wonder we should strive to protect. This book is a primer on urban naturalism and works to break down the false dichotomy between cities and nature.

Picture Books
The End by David Rochelle, illustrated by Richard Egielski
(Scholastic, $16.99)
This picture book inverts the classic fairytale form and the results are very silly.

Gracias/Thanks by Pat Mora
(Lee and Low Books, $17.95)
This is such a sweet book. I think my favorite line is "For my family, who clapped and clapped even when I tripped on the stage in the school play. Thanks."

Lark and Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips
(Random House, $14.95)
This is the first book I've read by Jayne Anne Phillips. Funnily enough I decided to read it for three reasons:
1. It had a cool cover in the hardcover version.
2. It was reviewed well by some great authors including Junot Diaz. It was also reviewed well by NPR.
3. I had just read some beautiful short stories by Phillips.
I read and loved this book and then when it came out in paperback it had an awful cover that makes the books seem really weepy and sentimental. So please remember the adage "Don't judge a book by its cover." This book is beautifully written and reveals Phillips' background as a poet, especially in her chapters written from the perspective of Termite--a boy with extremely limited mobility and abilities to communicate--who, as only Lark seems to understand, knows and perceives more than anyone else.

May 2010, Mo Speller

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kasey's Top Five Cookbooks

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
(Broadway Books, $40)
I'm not a vegetarian, but this is still the most-used cookbook in my kitchen. Deborah Madison writes from a perspective of abundance; she clearly loves the world of food (especially vegetables) and cooking, and her prose is so beautiful it's a joy to read. Plus, there truly are tons of recipes in here, ranging from the very simple to more complex and unusual dishes; you could cook from this book for years and not get tired of it.

Love Soup by Anna Thomas (Norton, $22.95)
The title really says it all! Like Deborah Madison, Anna Thomas is passionate about vegetarian fare, specifically soups. And she also writes beautifully and engagingly, interspersing her recipes with brief stories from her life. I like the way the book also includes chapters about breads and side dishes, so it's easy to plan bigger, more substantial meals around the soups. And I also like the fact that the book is organized by season, making it easy to use if you're trying (as I am) to cook and eat locally.

Bread Alone by Daniel Leader (William Morrow, $32.50)
I learned how to bake bread using this book; it is wonderful. Daniel Leader really demystifies the process, making his book easy for a beginner to follow, though I think more experienced bakers would still love it and find a lot to discover and explore inside. His process of baking is really a sort of mindfulness practice as well as a way to make amazing bread.

Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros (Andrews McMeel, $29.95)
This gorgeous cookbook is organized by color, and is full of photographs interspersed with children's drawings. The recipes are eclectic; to create them, Tessa Kiros drew on her own culinary heritage, which includes Scandinavian and Greek, as well as that of her adopted home, Italy. Definitely the most fun, and one of the most inspiring and happy-making, cookbooks I own.

Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings by Ed Espe Brown
(Riverhead, $15.95)
Part memoir and part cookbook; it is equally rewarding to read and to cook from. Ed Brown writes about early food memories and the time he spent working as a cook at a Buddhist retreat center; he is funny and down-to-earth and joyful about food. Cooking is a sort of spiritual practice for him, as well, and the recipes are unfussy and uncomplicated--the ones I have tried are also really good.

May 2010, Kasey Jueds

Friday, May 14, 2010

This Week's Horoscope: The Stars Made You a Mix Tape

Poetic Horoscopes by Jane Cassady

Taurus: “Time to Pretend” (MGMT) Let's envision your rockstar future, without the Behind the Music ending. There won't be any backstage-heartbreak, just you and your guitar collection, just you and your high-maintenance riders, you and your screaming legions of fans.

Gemini: “Everything is Everything” (Lauryn Hill) Last summer I was working in a summer camp where there were a lot of stupid tensions between the adults, but every time we put on “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” we turned into a smiling utopian lovefest. You can do that. This week, be like Lauryn and “Develop a negative into a positive picture.”

Cancer: “Fireflies” (Owl City) The Cancer of the Week is my nephew Kieran. Sometimes a song just works its way in. Last Thanksgiving, my brother played this song on his phone and my niece and three nephews (ages 4-7) gathered round and sang it. “I'd like a thousand hugs, from ten thousand lightning bugs.” Just try not to like a song after that. Some things, like little kids voices, are just perfect, sincere, and sweet.

Leo: “Hallelujah” (cover version, Jeff Buckley) When I lived in Laguna Beach, I used to walk home at night through Laguna Canyon singing this song at the top of my lungs, hoping no one would hear but not really caring that much if they did. Do something loud and self-indulgent, Leo. Let your voice echo in the canyon, off the kitchen walls, under highway overpasses, anywhere.

Virgo: “Handle With Care” (cover version, Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins feat. Conner Oberst and Ben Gibbard) “Everybody's/got somebody/ to lean on/put your body/next to mine/and dream on.” Snuggle up this week to someone and something that makes you feel wrapped in blankets, brought tea, and patted on the head. You've “Still got some love to give.”

Libra: “To all the Girls” (Wyclef Jean) Wyclef says: “To all the girls I've cheated on before/it's a new year/I got a new change of gear/I swear. I can see clear now the clouds disappear.” Time to start over, start fresh. Talk yourself out of some stuff, and move on to your next pretty.

Scorpio: “Hurt Feelings” (Flight of the Conchordes) Did someone come over to dinner and forget to compliment your casserole? Did your friends ditch you to go into town? Write an awesome rap about it, or paint a painting, or make an origami of your squished-up heart.

Sagittarius: “Our House” (Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) One of my favorite Saggitari is getting married this week, so this one's for her. Some days, may your narrative be so uneventful as to include putting flowers in a vase as a plot point. May you enjoy sweet harmonious peace with your family. “I'll light the fire.”

Capricorn: “Lollipop” (Mika) Your life is the happiest pop song I know. Sometimes I drive fast to it and bounce around, shake my head and belt it out like a ninny. “Suck too hard on a lollipop, yeah, love is gonna get you down,” says Mika. I have NO IDEA what that means, but I really, really like it.

Aquarius: “Paparazzi” (Lady Gaga) To your friends, you're already totally famous. Get your glossy headshots ready for some autographs, reach past the velvet rope and touch some hands. When you drop by your fan club, they might seem calm, but trust me, in their heads, they're like those girls from the Beatles footage, just bonkers. Walk around with a glow like everybody's looking.

Pisces: “If I Knew You Were Coming I'd've Baked a Cake” (Eileen Barton and the New Yorkers) Not only does this song contain my favorite contraction of all time (I'd've!), but it's a harbinger of every sweet sticky thing that's coming your way. Whatever you're waiting for, bake it a cake, write it a lovenote in glitter-gel frosting. It's coming.

Aries: “Don't Look Back” (She and Him) From what I can tell, your life is pretty similar to Zooey Deschanel's, as depicted in her cotton commercial. Make it moreso: adorably arrange sticky notes on a piano, lovingly pat furniture at flea markets, go everywhere with a half-smile. You can invite me over to have tea and try on vintage dresses.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Erica’s Five Books for May: This Ain’t Your Preteen’s Vampire

Saddened and affronted by the fact that the modern vampire mythos has been hijacked by Stephenie Meyer and the CW television network? Below are five selections for readers in search of vampire tales with teeth—er, fangs.

1. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (Grand Central Publishing, $21.99).
It turns out that Honest Abe, our 16th President, wasn’t so honest after all. Mr. Grahame-Smith has stumbled upon Lincoln’s secret journals, which reveal his secret life as a vampire hunter. This sly, funny and fast-paced work of fiction reads like an historical biography in the vein of David McCullough, primly citing “primary source material” that documents the horrors of vampirism and one man’s quest to free the nation from its cold, bony, grasp. It’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Team of Rivals. To quote another famous president: I cannot tell a lie. I loved it.

2. Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler (Grand Central Publishing, $13.99).
Two words: black vampire. I don’t mean like “black is the night” or “black is my soul” or some sort of weird poetic expression. I mean that the protagonist, Shori, is an evolved form of vampire who, due to the increased melanin in her skin, is able to walk about during the day. Brilliant, right? It seems the pale, ghostly, alabaster-skinned vampires who run rampant across the landscape of Western fiction are at a disadvantage since most of them tend to flame up at the first hint of sunlight. Butler explores the politics of otherness and what it means to be human in this gripping read that presents a refreshingly original take on the vampire legend.

3. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (Back Bay Books, $15.99).
I’m going to warn you, the title of this book says it all. It’s a vampire tale couched in the form of an academic investigation. It’s more likely to inspire you to return to grad school than to hang garlic from your window sash. The protagonist scours libraries and historical archives for maps and ancient manuscripts which provide clues to the mystery of a dear friend and mentor’s disappearance. Research leads the way. There is a lot of conversation, a lot of intellectual foreplay, and a journey which crisscrosses Eastern Europe. Yet, as the mystery unfolds so too does the truth about one famous vampire in particular: not only does Dracula have a penchant for blood, it turns out he’s a fan of books as well.

4. Dracula by Bram Stoker (Signet Classics, $4.95).
You probably know what this one’s about even if you haven’t officially read it — or at least you think you know. I saw several movie versions before I got around to actually reading it. I had the impression it was about a vampire count with a grudge, a horrendous accent and a cape. Boy was I wrong. I mean, I don’t think Stoker mentions the cape even once! There’s Dracula and Van Helsing and all that, but really the book is about this poor working stiff named Harker who has to follow up on the signing of some really boring papers in Transylvania because the first guy to try to do this job went bonkers. You know how it is when you’re at work just trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents and your co-worker calls in sick and then you get his crappy assignment? That’s kinda what Dracula is about: getting really screwed by a co-worker. All I’m saying is read it. You’d be surprised how much you identify with it. Not unlike my life, this book somehow manages to walk that fine line between the gothic and the mundane.

5. Lord of the Dead by Tom Holland (Pocket Books, $22.95).
There’s a reason Caro Lamb once called Lord Byron “mad, bad and dangerous to know” — it’s because he was a vampire. Author Tom Holland recognizes that anyone as reputedly wicked as Byron had to have been playing for Team Undead. Basically, it’s the life of Byron as a vampire with events in the book mirroring actual biographical events. Byron’s world-weary voice, leads us through the narrative, reflecting on his travels and his struggle against the mysterious Vakel Pasha, the adversary who transforms him from man to fiend. I felt totally smart reading this because I remember Lord Byron from high school English class and have spent the better part of my adult life thinking of my boyfriends as Byronic heroes when really they were just socially inept.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Horoscope, May 7 to May 14

Poetic Horoscopes by Jane Cassady

Taurus: In the song “The Lusty Month of May” from the Camelot musical, we are advised to participate in all kinds of untoward activities, both “Proper and im-” I recently attended a Beltane celebration at which we sang that song before making a wish and jumping over a fire. I interrupted the ceremony by saying, “Wow, this is actually really good advice!” There you have it Taurus, it's “blissfully astray” for you.

Gemini: Today I was cooking up some schemes with a (handsome!) Gemini co-conspirator. Once we were done talking about the summer calendar, I said to him “Wow, we sure are busy for two people who don't have jobs.” This week, indulge in some activities usually reserved for the unemployed: contemplate the insides of Tastykakes, map out the topography of your couch, save up for a token and ride a bus to an exciting new stroll. Set arbitrary distances and walk them, maybe with somebody nice.

Cancer: (Spoiler Alert) There aren't many Lost characters left. Was Jack always meant to be the Lighthouse Keeper? Will anyone ever escape? Is the parallel-time realm the real one? (Geez I hope so—less of a body count.) Would you rather be enlightened and healed on an island, or here in the world with a bedraggled soul? Would you marry the Lighthouse Keeper? Also: Is the island on Lost the same as the Hellmouth on Buffy? Discuss.

Leo: Leo, you're rich, and not just because you haven't checked that Powerball slip in your pocket yet. You have million-dollar landscapes in your heart. You have an alphabet of gemstones. You have a library of rare meltdowns, a sea of sweet cream compliments. You are the king/queen/whatever of a vast empire of sticky notes. I'd marry you for your money.

Virgo: I woke up this morning thinking about a fellow Virgo, my first serious love, whose birthday is the day before mine. Mike Sumner was a grunge-era heartthrob, complete with long, fluffy brown hair and green Dr. Martens. Our love affair was conducted mainly at Six Flags Great Adventure. I can still hear him singing Rage Against the Machine on that space shuttle thing that goes upside down. (“Now you do what they toldya.”) It was real, but just as much a period piece as that movie The Wackness, and as we know, the dopeness far outweighs the wackness.

Libra: A year or so after we'd broken up, said heartthrob sent me the most beautiful mix tape which included “I Wanna Be Adored” by The Stone Roses, a rare Jane's Addiction track I haven't heard since, and “Thinking About You” by Radiohead. (Wow! Radiohead's been around for a while!) Anyway, I had a terrible roommate named Megan who taped over that mix tape. She recorded herself and her friends getting high and calling the kittens by racial epithets. Is there anything you've lost in such a stupid way?

Scorpio: Take the Implicit Association Test, that psych experiment from Blink. It demonstrates that everyone has biases whether we want to or not, or, in the words of Avenue Q: “Everyone's a little bit racist.” The good news, says Malcolm Gladwell, is that you can do the tests/experiments again and again, and maybe improve your score.

Sagittarius: At what point do we learn to make fun of love, sincerity, vulnerability? Did we learn it from TV? Or hipsters? Let's bathe in a pudding of sweet sentiment, bury ourselves in a paradigm of roses, talk about the sweet smushed blossoms of ourselves. And if anyone barfs? That's their problem.

Capricorn: The musician Zefrank got a request from a frazzled woman who asked him to write her a song to calm down by. He asked listeners to contribute recordings of their voices singing “Hey, you're okay, you'll be fine, just breathe.” He mixed everyone's voices into harmony, and presented the woman with the resulting song: She felt better.

Aquarius: I wish I had more exciting news for you, Aquarius, but this is your week for domestic Zen. Have supper in bed with the perfect book. Plan a date with the dishes. Catch up on your Scrabble. Sweep the dust mice out from under the stove. I promise you more thrills next week.

Pisces: Practice believing compliments. Copy them down. Sing them to the tune of Row Row Row Your Boat. (That's how little kids memorize their sight words.)Make an email folder called “I Am Cool” and file every nice note you get in there.

Aries: I used to have a shirt with a line from a Buzzy Ennis poem on it. It said “Tell Me I Am Beautiful.” If I could, I would send it to you to wear because, let me tell you, that shirt works. Practice effusive self-narration this week, Pisces. You ARE beautiful.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Horoscope, Week Of April 30-May 6

Horoscope, Week Of April 30-May 6 by Jane Cassady
(Sorry this is posted so late everyone. My account was hacked into!)

Taurus: I asked a Taurus what she hoped for when she reads her horoscope and she said “I don't believe in horoscopes, I like Psalms.” Well, I know when I can't compete, so let's look up a nice one: “He will be like a tree planted by the streams of water, /that brings forth its fruit in its season,
/whose leaf also does not wither. /Whatever he does shall prosper.” Neat!

Gemini: Make a list of all the furniture you'd like to find on the side of the road. Include measurements, color, and number of compartments. Go for a walk on garbage day, fill up your flea market dance card, find Freecycle penpals.

Cancer: As you know, the Lorax speaks for the trees. Who speaks for the daffodils as we lop off their heads in early spring? Who's the spokesperson of bridges? Maybe the hollering wren I saw yesterday. Take up for the tea cups, the patio stones, the weekly Pennysaver. Bless an inanimate cause with your lovely voice.

Leo: Oh, Leo, I hear the edge in your voice but I'm not worried. According to the calendar, this is grumblings high tide, but beds are being made up for you in the Bed and Breakfast of the Soul. Snarl all you want, give folks the what-for, anything. I promise you, you'll snuggle up soon.

Virgo: In her memoir Helping Me Help Myself, Beth Lisick spends a year immersing herself in different self-help programs. She mostly had a lot of fun being a good sport, but she had trouble with the idea of putting on a nametag at the programs' events. She felt like pinning, for instance, Richard Simmons Celebrity Cruise to her shirt would somehow alter her identity. (I felt a similar sensation this week when I changed my coffee to half-decaf.) Anyway, this week, put on the nametag, see what happens.

Libra: This Book is Not Required is mandatory reading for all incoming freshpersons at Delaware State University. Zenning out on the inventory is just one of the delightful activities available to me as I fill in for a few days in their bookstore. Also: opening up Zane books (blush!) to random pages, wondering why my wife is asking her boss for the “tender report,” and remembering the register codes after three years off them. Let's hear it for the comfort and magic of jobs.

Scorpio: What's your idea of a good time? Playing Pictionary with Tim Gunn? Shuffling the element-deck with Mendleev? Researching the culture of mimes? Making collages out of only jewelry advertisements? Setting arbitrary goals and then meeting them? In the immortal words of T.I.: “You can have whatever you like.”

Sagittarius: Speaking of Tim Gunn, this week, “Go with your viscera.” Ignore the thunder clatter of advice striking your limbs and decide with your guts. You always do, and it really does seem to work out. (Of course me saying this is also advice, so what can you do?)

Capricorn: Today is the last day of the Twin Peaks Art Show at Pirhana Betty's Art Market. For the opening, they had a pie contest, and the sight of those judged and traumatized crusts at the end of the night was too much of some. This time, they have announced their intentions to JUST EAT THE PIE. Need I say more?

Aquarius: How do you like your sleep? Camping style-- endorphin drenched, damp and wary of bears? On the other side of the sunrise, after a meteor shower with your (as it turns out) soulmate? Taking the blue Tylenol for no particular reason? In a solar-storm of afterglow? Drunk after a Di Chirico Exhibit? Having forgotten to blow out the candles? This week, you are a sleep-taster. Become a connoisseur.

Pisces: When you send away for Sea Monkeys, they come with a packet marked “Sea Diamonds,” which is actually a salt that stimulates the brine shrimp's sex drive, making them all seem so much more lively. Pretend your art is a Sea Monkey's sex drive, and someone just dumped the diamonds into your little tank.

Aries: Make friends with the songs in your head. Refrain from speaking of Traumatizing Things. Become a euphemist until the schisms are healed. You have no need for bluntness. Answer only in whispers, if you answer at all. (Aries was brought to you this week by the Radiolab Podcast and by the book Crazy Like Us by Ethan Watters.)