It’s Written In The Stars! …Or The Newspaper

In my research last week on Astrology I had the thought … why are horoscopes published in newspapers? The news is factual (we hope), astrology is predictions and prophecy.

Here’s a brief history from Smithsonian Magazine.

“The first real newspaper horoscope column is widely credited to R.H. Naylor, a prominent British astrologer of the first half of the 20th century. Naylor was an assistant to high-society neo-shaman, Cheiro (born William Warne) who’d read the palms of Mark Twain, Grover Cleveland, and Winston Churchill and who was routinely tapped to do celebrity star charts. Cheiro, however, wasn’t available in August 1930 to do the horoscope for the recently born Princess Margaret, so Britain’s Sunday Express newspaper asked Naylor.

Three days after the Princess’s birth, Naylor’s published report predicted that her life would be “eventful.” He also noted that “events of tremendous importance to the Royal Family and the nation will come about near her seventh year,” a prediction more precise – her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne to her father.

But though it wasn’t the first of its kind, Naylor’s article was a tipping point for the popular consumption of horoscopes. Following the interest the public showed in the Princess Margaret horoscope, the paper decided to run several more forecasts from Naylor. 

The then-editor of the Sunday Express offered Naylor a weekly column, “What the Stars Foretell” and the first real newspaper horoscope column was born. The column offered advice to people whose birthdays fell that week, but within a few years, Naylor determined that he needed to come up with something that could apply to larger volumes of readers. By 1937, he’d hit upon the idea using “star signs,” also known as “sun signs,” the familiar zodiac signs that we see today.”

So the answer to why newspapers run horoscopes? They are wildly popular and gain readership. Today we find horoscopes not only in the newspaper but in magazines and tabloids and it’s become a $2 billion market through apps and social media accounts.

When you really think about it, it’s astonishing how Astrology, as an ancient academic discipline, devolved into generalized forecasts relating to money, life, and love – “Find out why a Sagittarius will be your soulmate!” These thin, page-filler predictions must be infuriating (or comical) to accredited astrologers of today.

Speaking of which, after publishing my column last week, Catherine Yeager Mcquaid reached out. She said she loves reading my column!

Locals know Catherine runs her own Integrative Therapeutic Massage practice located at The Castle Wellness Center. She’s highly recommended. Catherine is also an Astrologer. She earned her professional training at the Oraculos School of Astrology, certified in Magical Elections through STA. Mcquaid completed a two-year study at the Qabalistic Tarot Professional School and furthered her education with the National Council for Geocosmic Research as a certified level I and II Astrologer.

Catherine invited me to join the Astrology and Divination Club. The next meeting is on Monday, May 8, 5 p.m. at Ocean Bliss (Yacht Club, 533 Beach 126th St. Belle Harbor). This gathering focuses on retrogrades. If you’re curious or called to the stars, sign up here: And reach out to Catherine directly if you’d like to learn about your Zodiac.

To schedule a reading, Catherine can be reached by email here.

In Lieu Of Flowers…

scratch offs

Flowers remind my mother of funerals. I remember her uttering this notion to my father many times when I was a kid. And around the holidays I recall hearing, “Well, so-and-so sent an expensive arrangement but she knows I don’t like flowers.”

It’s the standard mixed bouquet in particular that generates “funeral perfume.”  The arrangement consists of dyed carnations, Madonna lily, Peruvian lily, roses, asters, and a few other fillers.

The older you get, the more funerals you attend and you start to take notice of these things. And you know what? My mother is right. I associate the fragrance of a bouquet with funerals. When I first enter Stop & Shop and see the flower section to my right, I think of Grandma Mary’s beautiful satin, blue dress she wore to her wake. When I’m in Bushwick passing a bodega and catch the scent of the flowers on the sidewalk, it’s a subtle reminder that I really need to write a Will.

Generational trauma?

The point is, gifting my mother a bouquet for Mother’s Day is out of the question. In lieu of flowers, I get her scratch-offs. She loves scratch-offs! For many years now, it’s what my sisters and I buy her exclusively for Christmas, her birthday, and Mother’s Day. And she is very pleased to receive them. Over the years, in an effort to show I care, I’ve gotten creative with presentation. I’ve given Mom scratch-offs in a gold satchel. I made a scratch-off Christmas wreath once and perhaps my best… a slot machine that “puked out” scratch-offs.

This Sunday for Mother’s Day, we’re going to Aqueduct Casino. It’s been a mother/daughter outing we’ve been wanting to do for some time!

If your Mother also associates flowers with death and you’re looking for last-minute gift ideas, do not fret, I’ve figured it out for you…

Shop local: The Swellife has beautiful gifty items for mom, jewelry, candles, clothing, and more. Self-care: Holland Avenue Soap Co. products can be picked up at the last min. this weekend at Fat Cardinal Bakery and Lisena Garden Center. The word Dengo in Portuguese means affection, love, and charm. Dengo Botanic is a new local, handcrafted organic skincare company, sourcing healing ingredients from Brazil. For products and pick-up DM – @dengobotanica

Sweet treats never fail: (unless your mother is diabetic like mine): Pop in Fat Cardinal, Rockaway Beach Bakery, or Ciro’s Bakery for fresh breads, pastries, cookies, and cakes.

An experience: If your mother isn’t into gambling then Aqueduct isn’t in the cards. Alternatives: enjoy time at her favorite local eatery:  Cuisine by Claudette, Bungalow Bar, Super Burrito, breakfast at Brothers or enjoy a coffee together at Greenhouse Cafe. What about a day pass to the sauna at the Rockaway Hotel? Experience a restorative yoga class with your mother atGoodForm Studio. Go birding at Jamaica Bay Refuge with the whole family.

A homemade card: Your mother has everything already, right? Spend intentional time creating a card for Mom. It can be a collage of printed family photos. How about a drawing of a special memory you shared together? Make a funny card, and make her laugh! Write meaningful words inside this card to let her know how much she is loved and appreciated.

Mother’s Day is a celebration of all women and our maternal essence. This Sunday reach out to the special women in your life and let them know how much you love them! Happy Mother’s Day!

tagged in mom, moms

2 Plant Sales, 1 Weekend!

Garden nerds unite! There are two spring plant sale events this weekend – The Beach 91st Street Community Garden is hosting a plant sale tomorrow, Saturday May 6, from 11am-2pm. On Sunday – the following day – head to Edgemere Farm for more plants of different varieties and music. Below are the details for both community happenings.

b91 garden plant sale 2 crop bw

B91 Garden Plant Sale – Saturday, May 6 from 11am-2pm
For sale find veg starters and herbs – many varieties of tomatoes, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, soybeans, basil, sage, parsley and more. Add to your ornamental garden salt torrent perennials – the lovely yellow stella d’oro daylily, pink echinacea, walkers low (hello cat people) with its irresistible purple, popping flora in June, autumn joy will deliver late season burgundy bursts. Look out for a few other perennial surprises and some annual plants too!  Shop house plants – spider plants and purple queens. The plants for sale have been propagated by garden members with love or purchased by members as donation from our favorite local nursery Lisena Garden Center.

The garden gates are open to all. Tour the space, bring a picnic and stay a while. There will be sidewalk chalk for the kiddos and freebies for the community. Come hang!

Location: 136 Beach 91st Street, (beach block) Rockaway Beach. Follow the B91 Garden on IG (@beach91communitygarden) to watch it grow, for educational garden tips and to view their monthly rotating art exhibit.

edgemere farm far rockaway

Edgemere Farm Plant Sale – Sunday, May 7 from 10am – 1pm
Edgemere Farm is kicking off their season with a spring plant sale which is an important fundraiser for the farm. Seed swap, free compost giveaway, and a live performance by Rockaway Chamber Music is on the agenda. Flowers for sale – cosmos, french marigold, snapdragon, coreopsis, anise hyssop and many more. Get your veggie starters – broccoli, cabbage, bell peppers, swiss chard, strawberries to name a few. And of course your staple cooking herbs will be available for purchase.

Edgemere Farm is a volunteer-run, half-acre urban farm in Far Rockaway that provides homegrown organic foods to the Edgemere community and beyond. This is a special place, please visit on Sunday and support!

Location: 385 Beach 45th St. Far Rockaway . A little birdy told me there will be some jammin events this season at the farm. Keep an eye out  on IG @edgemerefarm and visit for additional information.

tagged in community, garden, plants

Simple And Delicious Italian Zucchini “Bread”


This zucchini bread is a crowd-pleaser. I know because my Aunt Marie brought it to my Easter party last week and it very much pleased us all.

Aunt Marie calls it bread. It contains Bisquick, so that makes sense. I thought it was more like a crustless quiche, but wouldn’t that be a frittata? But the recipe does not include milk. What’s in a name? Call it what you will, this recipe is bellissimo!

The taste is punchy. The sweet onions and parmesan cheese are rich and dominant. The texture is fluffy with a complementary crispy edge. Aunt Marie says, “Serve it very hot!”

What I like and most often gravitate toward in a recipe is simplicity. This one is that. Let the flavors of the limited ingredients shine. Italian Zucchini Bread is perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or to impress guests at a party.*

2 cups diced zucchini (peeled or unpeeled)
1 large white onion chopped
1/2 cup extra light Colavita oil (or vegetable oil as a last resort)
1/2 cup parmesan (or more, you know how we Italians do it)
1 cup Bisquick
4 eggs beaten
Salt and pepper to taste

Grease a 9 inch pie pan or a 9×9 square pan
Combine all ingredients
Bake at 350 for 35-40 Minutes or until lightly brown



Update: My friend Roberta said after reading my column that this recipe was on the back of the Bisquick box back in the day and many homemakers of the time would make this bread! 

tagged in recipe, recipes