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All content copyright 2009 by Holly Gleason. Web design by Lauren Carelli.

November 2003

November 2003: Duck, Duck, Turkey Edition

“Pieces of April”

Amidst the how-it-is hilarity, Kate Holmes sheds her wide-eyed naïf 
for streetwise urchin trying to find love and sense amidst the chaos she’s built for herself. There’s a brutality to the truth delivered with a wry twinkle - 
and as one of those Thanksgiving with the family movies, it injects its truth 
with compassion, its irony with compassion.
   In the end, too many loose ends become a rope to pull your hope to 
shore with. Quirky perhaps for the more mainstream family members, but if they’ll surrender to the aesthetic, even they will go home with their faith in 
family, love, union and reaching out strengthened or restored. A must must must.

“I Still Miss Someone” - Rosanne Cash, “Tribute To Johnny Cash”

If you wanna know what sorrow and dignity look like, CMT will re-air 
this in perpetuity. On the stage of the Ryman Auditorium—the Grand Ole 
Opry’s original home, the place her father literally kicked out the footlights and was banned—Rosanne Cash stood alone with one acoustic guitar behind her and used that moist velvet voice to offer up a kind of suffering that made her all the more beautiful.
   Daughters who lose fathers, dreamers who see the moment fail, anyone 
who’s ever been carried on the current of a song will recognize their own 
falter in the way an elegy for a lover gone is transformed by a lush alto stained with tears and memories. The notion that “I never got over those blue eyes…” speaks, too, to the fact that what we love stays with us always—even in the hurting transitional phases, even in the places where the pain is the loss, but also the merging of one life into another’s spirit. Transfixing.

“If something is not beautiful, it is probably not true.”
  —  John Keats

We are a culture obsessed with fame, shock and horror. But there’s a 
deeper, more meaningful truth: beauty. That which is beautiful in the truest 
sense, the things that make us want to be more, are the truest things there are. 
   It’s not about the perfect curve of a calf or the exact shade of burnished 
copper hair, but the colors of one’s soul, the depth of one’s heart, the clarity 
of what one sees. That kind of beauty transcends all - and it is the essence 
of all truth.

The Heart of the Soul—  Gary Zukav + Linda Wells

The man who gave the world the physics meditation The Dancing Wu Li 
Masters digs into the essence of the human soul—examining the meaning of energy in our body, how it manifests under different circumstances and how to make it mean more. It also tackles behaviors we all use—often without thinking—to distance us from what’s really going on, and offers ways to rechannel for fuller, happier, saner lives.
   Now I know anyone reading this list is pretty much perfection 
personified, but we all have to deal with those other kind of (ha ha) people. Think of this as a manual, if it’s something you’re sure doesn’t apply. Though if it doesn’t, take a moment and get very honest…

Brown’s Diner Cheeseburgers Nashville, Tennessee

Same grill forever. And they cook the chili meat—with the onions 
and the peppers and the spices—every morning before the burgers start getting flipped. The burgers, by the way, are hand-patted. Hand-patted. As in shaped by human hands, with love and whatever else there is to the magic of burger making. Get’em with an order of hush puppies, and don’t forget to have grilled onions with everything else.

“Pagliacci ” Nashville Opera, Polk Theatre

Gives the notion of Insane Clown Posse a whole new depth of meaning. 
Intrigue and betrayal cast against the tableau of a traveling comedy/clown 
show… as Paggliaci, the owner/lead’s wife rebuffs the show’s hunchback only to have the rejected one learn of her great love affair. In the freak’s pain, he shows her husband the truth of his young wife’s fleeting heart - and the 
over-the-top climax plays out in front of the villagers as the big clown breaks down during the show, which even back them, must go on.
   Huge emotions. Evocative music. Drama within drama called a comedy. 
This is everything people adore about opera… the rush of feelings cast against melody, swept up in gala costumes and delivered with humanity. If you’ve never opera’ed and this is being mounted near you, seek it out.

Mariage Freres Tea de Pluies Candles

There’s a sense of mystery, drawn curtains, cleanness that is a bit, 
well, haunting. From Paris’ oldest tea broker, this brings the notion of travel 
from the Far East, over land and water, to deliver something that will wash 
away whatever that was—and fill it with something that will warm you. 
Depending on your level of poetry, it is either the tea of rain or the tea of tears. You do the math, right after you strike the match and hold it to the wick.
    Regardless, this rather pricey candle will evoke something dormant 
inside.

The Ground—Michael Stanley (Level Line)

For the man who should’ve been the biggest rock star ever—and has the 
attendance records at every major venue in Cleveland, Ohio (a place that 
should know) to prove it—this meditation on keeping the faith in the face of 
dire inevitability is the wisest rumination of the power of dreams, the eternal 
flame of true love and the honor that is decency held in the hands of common men.
   The title track is a forceful truth about the price we pay, while “Some 
Things” quietly reflects upon the timing and the yearning of getting and 
working for what we want. Along the way there’s a bitter rocker about owning one’s place at the table in the face of uninformed judgement (“In For A Dollar”), a rumba about shifting modern reality and the grounding of a true center (“Romeo’s Bleeding”), acceptance and wonder of inevitability and the fullness of life (“My Last Day On Earth”) and a deeper look at what drives us (“Different Reasons,” which acknowledges “You can always tell a dreamer/ You just can’t tell them anything…”).
   The thrust. The glory. The will. The honest rock & roll that offers regular lives a sense that no matter how basic the life, there’s meaning, moments 
that matter and much more to it than we might accept in the trudge.
www.michaelstanley.com to get your’s

Unctuous  (adjective)

   1) full of oil or grease. 2) unduly ingratiating.

We all know someone like this. Someone who makes an apple polisher 
look like a crass rageaholic… As the holidays gear up and the notion of 
obsequious (adj; fawning, servile) sucking up finds its ways into parties and homes away from home like bulimia in crushed velvet my advice is to smile, level the eyes and agree. Someone that needy will never be stopped through anything but judo of the intention… and in that moment, they will either recognize that they’ve been found out or trumped. And the aggravation you save will be your own.

Mason Jars

The world’s most utility glass ware. Use it to put up tomatoes or chow 
chow or jelly. Use it to store loose screws or other small household goods. 
Use it as a receptacle for contraband (“Peach moonshine, anyone?”). Use it to drink sweet tea from.
   Whatever you need, practically, a mason jar can get it done. In a 
world of narrow usage, what a wonderful thing that can be.

Mentoring

If you want the world to be a better place, this is a pretty good 
place to start. Find younger (or less worldly) people with promise and share your insight and wisdom - especially the why. For there is no more powerful reality than understanding… because that sows the seeds to all reason.
   Pass it on. Pass it back. What you sow will more than come back to the 
rest of us.

www.chowhound.com

Where are you going? What do you want? This web site is all about 
regional specialties, local secrets and a deep commitment to eating. Anyone who wants the best barbeque, ultimate cheeseburger, uber-burrito or any regional delicacy just needs to log on, type in and scroll down. It’s all there, written in mouth-watering prose by people who live to eat —  rather than eat to live,

www.chowhound.com

Calendars

They’re popping up in time for affordable Christmas gift-giving. But 
beyond the cynicism of there for less than $20 is the notion of recognition is 
a vast best-of-everything in the world. Stand by a decent display and drink in 
twelve hits of the every and any aspect of the world that might interest 
anyone.
   Great pictures of roses… Fighter planes… vintage canisters… famous 
people… cartoons… children’s books… recipes… sports teams… inspiring quotes… places in the world… andandandandandand. For the investment of a few minutes, you can experience so much of what makes this world sweet and lovely and worth being curious. Do it any time between now and Christmas and marvel at how vast and rich this world really is.

Prada Calzature Donna, Tulipano Print

Silk twill. Utterly impractical. Compulsively soignée in that Audrey 
Hepburn/Jackie Kennedy ‘50s repressed sex pot way. The heel swells out, then slopes under. The top is cut low and punctuated with the teeniest little bow that says innocence even as it sits on top of the toe cleavage like a maraschino crown. And the print—a William Morris/American craftsman-style feeling rendering of pink tulips and green stems that is as needlepoint pillow as it is Tiffany glass window or lamp.
   Just don’t look down at the charge slip!

The Essential Bruce Springsteen (Columbia)

Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, where “Saint Bruce” was almost assigned 
healing powers, no one gave the overlooked more dignity and passion. For 
those who’ve only done the drive-by reality, this one digs a little deeper—
excavating the reasons the pre-“Hungry Heart,” pre-Born In the USA faithful signed on. And for those who’re not obsessives to the point of exchanging bootlegs, there are enough obscurities on the third bonus CD to feel like a backroom insider somewhere on the boardwalk under the Jersey shore.
   Most importantly, both the evolution and the revolution of a soul born 
to rock us is presented cogently. If the revving of the pulse, the raring of 
the Phil Spector-esque arrangements, the reality of his stores have ever 
resonated, this is a one-stop shopping raison d’etre for the rustbelt faithful 
yearning for their place in the sun.

Perspective

How you see it depends on where you stand. The more places you look 
from, the deeper your understanding. Whether it’s looking at a piece of art or a moment of revelation (I’m so mad… This makes me cry… Don’t let it stop…), the more you see it, the more sense it will make.
   To truly savor something, the more you can experience it. And with 
something that’s difficult, the easier it will be to access a gentler place of 
acceptance. Most people aren’t mean or angry, they’re tired or scared… and this might just help you understand why, because during this somewhat frantic, hectic, pushed to the edge time of year, the grace you sow might just come back to you in ways you’d never even expect.

Nivea Restorative Night Hand Crème

Not sure that it’s any more hydrating than really rich shea 
butter-driven hand creams, but for something that gets rid of that parchment feel that often comes with handling a lot of paper, it rocks. All the dead skin is either renewed or destroyed by morning - and I choose not to consider which, just thrill at the drugstore reality and according price tag.
   If shaking makes you wince for the knowledge that fieldworkers have 
smootherm, softer hands, this is the answer to your shame. It even has evening primrose oil!

Tiffany’s Cut Rock Glass Votives

Looking like big jagged lumps of facets and crags, you might not wanna 
hit someone in the head with these. But they give an almost organic chicness to the table (or room) scattered about with all the refractive light play.
   And using tea candles—the ones that come in their own little tin 
casing—clean up is easier than just flipping them over, no wax anywhere. They burn just long enough. They add nuance and a fairy-like charm to the moment. They’re an affordable luxury that can be reused and recast and rethought over and over, but always with that same twinkling warmth and effect.

Grace

Both the state of… and saying of… In all the hassle of getting by, 
the accelerate pace of life as it’s being lived in this technoadvanced reality 
we reside in, it’s easy to forget about all that is good. The half-full glass, 
the beauty of sunset, the tranquility of rain (or even the majesty and power 
of a good electrical storm), the wonder of the depth of cranberries, the 
richness of chocolate, the jolt of coffee. So many, many small wonders and moments and things…
   Be there. Think about it. Say “thanks.” Sparkle with the knowledge.

Vogue’s Alice in Wonderland Fashion Fairy Tale   (December)

“Curiouser… and curiouser…,” proclaimed Alice, as she transmutated 
post-falling down the rabbit hole on her way to Wonderland. Lewis Carroll’s 
wonderfully warped and suspended reality tale sets the stage for some of the 
season’s most lavish gowns with the design world’s most flamboyant and sought after designers cast in the whimsical roles that populate the classic children’s tale. Especially wonderful role-assignment to Donatella Versace as the Gryphon, Viktor + Rolf as Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee and John Galliano as the Chesire Cat.