What’s your sign? It’s not what you think…

American Avocet

The constellation "American Avocet" as seen in the skies of the Northern Hemisphere in April

If you were born between April 20 & May 20, you may have thought you were a Taurus. It’s a common mistake. You’re actually an American Avocet.

A few months ago, I decided it would be nice to recognize family & friends on their birthdays. After all, who doesn’t love a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” first thing in the morning? Turns out, quite a few people. Most of whom have changed their phone numbers. So I decided to use e-mail instead.

But I realized something was missing. Yes, it was nice to have a little acknowledgement that you survived another year, but I wanted to do something more. It was then that I decided to write horoscopes for everyone. And, having been affiliated with Rare Bird for quite a while, I decided to write them with a bird theme. I call them ‘avascopes’. Corny, I know.

After a few weeks of research into the habits of particular birds, I settled in to write. Strangely, in retrospect, it seems they kind of wrote themselves, but I’ll still take some of the credit. If you’d like to get your birthday email with your avascope included, send me an email with your birthday (the year isn’t necessary, so you can remain 29 as long as you wish.)

In the meantime, I thought you might be interested to know what’s in store for people born under the sign of the American Avocet:

You are unique. Born under the sign of the Avocet, your elegant stature and adaptability set you apart from the rest. Your confidence and bearing put you at ease in the most difficult and trying circumstances. You adjust to shifting realities with aplomb and the duress this might cause others simply rolls off your back.

Avocets are creative and resourceful. When faced with a difficult or trying circumstance, you marshal your inherent skills of persuasion to help others see the benefits of your viewpoint.

What to expect for the coming year? For Avocets, it matters little. Should things be coming up roses, you’ll enjoy the spoils of your efforts as well as anyone else. If things don’t go your way, you’ll simply fall back on your ability to adapt to the shifting environment and make the most of available resources. So regardless of what’s in store, you’ll be fine.

Memories of Lots-o-Huggin’ Bear

Ah, remember those old toys you used to love? Lincoln Logs. Stretch Armstong. Lots-o-Huggin’ Bear. Especially that Huggin’ Bear. Pink fur, purple fuzzy nose and a soft belly that just begged to be squeezed. Smelled like, strawberries. Remember that?

This might help:

You can see other vintage commercials featuring the toys you love on YouTube on the MrCrazyCommercial Channel.


[Note: As an added bonus, look for Lots-o-Huggin’ Bear to show up on the big screen! This summer he’ll have a supporting role in Toy Story 3! File this whole thing under “brilliant marketing”.]

The Mystery of My “Disappearing” iPad

So a few weeks ago I made the decision to join my Dad and some other early adopters and ordered an iPad 3G. At the time, Apple (about whom I normally would have little negative to say) was predicting the shipping date for this product as “Late April.” Since the time of my order was “early April”, I was okay with that.

But you know how things are… As time progressed and early April turned to middle and then late (the 24th qualifies as late April, I think) I began to wonder on what day the order would actually ship. Rumors abound on the Net, but there didn’t seem to be anything official until Apple announced that orders had exceeded their capacity, they were delaying the International rollout, and people who ordered after April 19 would have their orders shipped “by May 7.” My first thought was, “Great! Since they know exactly when the NEXT batch of orders will be shipped, they should know when the FIRST batch will go out.”

After checking my order status (I’ll admit, repeatedly) over the past week, I see that the expected ship date remains “Late April.”

Hope sprung eternal on Monday, however, when I noticed that the charge for the order showed up in online banking. And, knowing Apple’s policy about charging for products when they ship (“Apple will not bill your credit card or process a transaction under your debit or check card until your order ships.”) I grew… well, expectant, is the best word I can think of. Surely this was a sign that things are moving forward…

On Tuesday, however, the charge remained “pending.” Same on Wednesday. And Thursday. And there it sat, pending — taunting — until it disappeared on Friday. Well, I’m an optimistic guy, most people would tell you that. So I took this odd occurrence with the thought that — maybe — it moved from pending so it could become a real live charge and I would shortly receive the shipping notification that would create a whole new level of anticipation.

Nada. Nothing. Ain’t gonna happen. I’ve read a few places that Apple expects me to have it on April 30, a few hours before they are released in local Apple Stores. But strangely, Apple hasn’t bothered to tell me that, either with an email, an automated phone message, a carrier pigeon, or by simply updating my order status to reflect this information.

On the other hand, I did get an unsolicited email from GM the other day telling me that they’ve paid back their loan (with interest) five years ahead of schedule. I have no idea how I got on their list.

On the Phone by Michael Milburn

That whooshing, watery,
radio-being-tuned sound
tells me he’s outdoors
on his way somewhere
and I’d better talk fast.
I can’t remember
the last time I phoned him
without dreading that countdown
to when he says, “I’m going
into the subway, Dad, got to go.”
Lately, he even calls me from the street—
a convenient way to keep
his keeping in touch short. He’s right—
I’d talk to him for an hour,
marching through my pent-up questions.
It tires me, wanting him so much,
the resistance with which he responds.
I bet there’s a girl out there
he’d duck into a lobby
to keep speaking to
as long as she desired. Instead,
he tells me that I’m breaking up,
and there’s a sound
as if he’s dropped the phone
into a rushing river, which then
pulls him in too, his life.

“On the Phone” by Michael Milburn, from Drive By Heart. © Word Press, 2009.