“Tell the truth. Sing with passion. Work with laughter. Love with heart.
“’Cause that’s all that matters in the end.”
– Kris Kristofferson
Really what else needs to be said? Start the year here, thrive on.
Three dimensional, boxy blocky straight lines: two vertical, one horizontal as a bar between them. But then rendered again and again… until the H becomes a cube, and it dangles almost weightless from the wispiest spun gold chain. It is an “H” for Hermes, of course. But also for Holly, or Hailey, or Help, or Hello, or Heavenly. As a logo flex, it is subtle, yet personal. For me, it was the mark of love from one sister not genetically mine… but ever bit as dear to my soul.
You take gap-toothed howler/guitar basher Danny Baird from raging Replacements gone Rebel Yell circuit ravers the Georgia Satellites. Add veteran guitar Warner Hodges from original cowpunk icons Jason & the Scorchers, and consider this is a band so combustive, they’ve confined their playing to Scandinavia and Western Europe until now.
Three chords, a Marshall amp set on stun, the kinda dust that catches in your throat and can only be cleared with whiskey. If there is anyone who knows about temptation, damnation, lures, vice, sex, sin, the fall of Saturday night and the figuring out how to claw your way out of the barrel to do it all over again, it is this scrappy 4-piece that is lean and meaner’n kerosene. This is the South writ roots-punk-combustive, and anyone with a pulse that revs when you take the curve on two-wheels would do well to be there. One of those gigs everyone will lie and say they were there… absolutely.
Each named for a different aspect, The Hours Bath Salts are compounded with organically harvested sea salt from the Dead or Bali Seas. Each scented with essential oils to conjure the mood and moment required, this is an aromatherapy fix that also soaks away muscle tension and eases aches, softens skin and draws the mind out to, well, sea..
Whether it’s the reviving Waking Hours with lemongrass, mint and rose essential oils, the uplifting Happy Hours with clary sage and fennel, warming Flexible Hours with cardamon and long leaf pine, Immune Boosting Finest Hours with lavender and eucalyptus, sensual After Hours with orange and sandalwood or sleep deepening Midnight Hour with rose geranium and jasmine, there is an unlocking of one’s core that happens in the soaking in water and inhaling essential ions and oils. It is beyond lush, more a velvet immersion of the senses designed to draw you into your own most nurturing places.
Meltingly gooily chocolaty doughy old school toaster pastry gets its just desserts. With the dominant flavor being fudge laced with a bit of vanilla - toasted with butter or crumbled over vanilla ice cream — the warmth brings out the molten side of the hot fudge sundae in a way that’s oddly wrong, yet somehow right. If you need a nostalgia jolt of a different stripe, this is a variation on a theme that works.
With branches in Manhattan, Los Angeles, Michigan, Boston, Seattle and Chicago, this David Eggers-founded, Valencia, CA-based non-profit is dedicated to getting young people from 6-18 into creative and extemporaneous writing. Believing that strong written communications skills are fundamental for success, 826 works in myriad ways: tutoring, writing and publishing opportunities to students and helps teachers get kids enthused about the prospect of the written word.
Beyond the hands on opportunities to get young people involved and teachers reinforced, 826 locals are raising money and awareness through a plethora of projects. Mostly recently there was the romantic anthology My Mistress’ Sparrow Died, edited by board member Jeffrey Eugenides, that sweeps from Anton Chekov to Alice Munro… and there are the six stealth stores — ranging from Pirate to Spy to Secret — that fund the operation.
Check it out, explore, sign on in various capacities, but empower young people to communicate, express, explore the language in a dynamic that lasts. The impact can - and will - be staggering, especially for kids and teachers trapped in legislatively-shackled, non-creative learning environments. Empower, embolden and see what happens.
Literally, a bolt of lightning. One quick definitive event that changes everything. It is most often applied to love at first sight — ooooh la la, those French — but it can be any sudden revelation. It makes you a skosh more continental, a bit more je ne sais something. And in that moment, that coup de foudre you may charm or startle someone who will change your very life. Alors! and then some….
A collection of songs - from Guy Clark, Randy Newman, Bob Dylan, Paul Craft and Kris Kristofferson’s heartbreakingly tender “Moment of Forever” — that are as good as the man singing them. Restrained production allows the tremble, the cedar and amber tones of Nelson’s understated emotionalism to bring us into intimate moments of life strung over music.
Dave Matthews’ “Gravedigger” is a chilling wake-up to the impermanence of being, the perfect juxtaposition to “the gratefully present and utterly life-embracing “I’m Alive.” Nelson’s own “Got To Get Over You Again” walks the line between them — stabbing at a memory and even more so a hope for a flame that will not die. To hear Nelson engaged, enthralled, working classic songs is to understand why he is one of the great American stylists of the past 50 years.
From Stardust, this outlaw cowboy’s classic American songbook record. A revolution at the time. Timeless now. Hoagy Carmichael’s zen brushstroke lyric that capture fall, absolutely, and the weightless migration of crimson, chocolate and golden leaves fluttering earthward — perfectly embodied by Nelson’s subliminity. But it is also a song about the passage of years, of life, of how we live — and it is jaw-dropping in its distillation of the awareness engendered with Nelson’s few trembling notes.
Even in the rush, there are those times -sudden and just right now, or strung slowly over time - where the dialogue opens, the wisdom is given, the connection is made. To bring someone’s child to life, to inspire or acknowledge, open the door or the window, to make them see what their parent (nerely because they’re “the parent”) couldn’t is its own private reward. We grow in what we share, we learn if we really listen.
It is an honor to have these lunches, these car rides, these moments and memories. When you’re very young or cusping on adulthood, it is the grown-up who shows up, shuts up, then shows you the truth and the triggers that make us come into our own with confidence. There is no more rewarding experience than how we sow the future in the hearts, the souls, the minds of our friends’ children.
Heavy, even a bit bulky. They are the perfect footwear to put on for boots that are a little big, especially on a cold and penetrating kind of day. Wooly socks are substantial enough to let you know you’ve got’em on, yet that mass also reminds you that your body’s temperature is in good care. On a cold day, wooly socks can change everything… and when you go to sleep, it’s like being wrapped in the embrace of a sheep’s coat in the name of drifting off on your own cloud of bodyheat hugging knit.
To take the obvious and then recast it as life extruding from myth. A bar, a bunch of beautiful sultry women - some being talked up by hind leg standing porkers, while porcine-types on four legs trot through the scene and others nurse their drinks while plotting their next move. Surreal, yet — perhaps — metaphorically correct.
And then, as if one safe sex cue, one little piggy trots off the bathroom, drops his quarters into the machine on the wall. As a small square falls into his outstretched little hoof, a magical transformation occurs: the pig becomes a handsome and responsible gentleman transmuted by his consideration and commitment to protected coupling. Re-entering the bar, the object of his desire finds him even more desirable — lifting the prophylactic beil in a way that is as literal as you can get. In times like this, subliminal isn’t enough; make the point, save the risk. If only all advertising were so direct.
Old books. New books. Obscure books. Classic books. Having moved less than a month ago, much is still in boxes, yet even in the unpacking mode, it is obvious that this is a book temple spun from their love the written word. As ground zero in world of Hemingway, they have an exhaustive collection of books by and about the masculinely iconic American writer (including original printings of The Old Man & The Sea and The Sun Also Rises).
But just as importantly is the attitude of the staff: curious, willing, enthused about the notion of perfect bindings and the people who crave them. Whether it’s marginal magazines - running the gamut from Story to The Progressive to The Oxford American, No Depression to Venus, rare teas to drink while you linger, impossibly intriguing books about the outdoors, travel, philosophy, history and coffeetable tomes that’re luxury personified whether its Cindy Sherman’s self-portaits, 500 cupcakes, a definitive look at Ralph Lauren or cowboy living. Yes, you can run in and pick up a New York Times, but that would be a squander of a wonderful destination for anyone who embraces writing.
Made with 75% single origin bean, uber cacao and made with unprocessed cane sugar, this is mainlining the depths of dark chocolate. Rich, murky, dare I say unrelenting? This is eating the darkest chocolate from the inside out — and the unprocessed cane sugar only heightens the intensity of the experience. Served European style (with water) or American (steamed milk), it comes in beautiful Limoge tea cups that ranging from demitasse small to double tea cup sized.
Be warned: this is so insanely indulgent, it was impossible to finish the large - and what would have been a medium, most likely, was almost beyond the point of enjoyment. Anyone wishing to truly commit suicide by chocolate, could try drowning in a double. And with light savory snacks, crepes ranging from goat cheese and leeks to dulce de leche with cinnamon and a plethora of decadently sublime chocolate desserts, this is tantric release for anyone who craves chocolate on a cellular level.
They call it the cabana line — evoking romping by cerulean waves under striped tents and oversized umbrellas, and that chic beach freshness permeates their new line with the retro playfulness for which Milly has become known. Clean lines, classic silhouettes given fillips and flourishes with feminine fabrications and a sun-soaked palette of the sunniest yellows, tangerines, lime and palm greens and various shades of turquoise, sky, baby and deep medium blue, not to mention a suite a clean deeper than bubble gum pink play-to-cocktail-party dresses that are frolicy, feminine and festive. Silk, cotton, chiffon.
Inspired by the Punta Mite resort on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, the flower prints evoke Van Gogh’s sun flowers or a more watercoloricious George O’Keefe. With little straps, flowing ties, body-skimming lines and skirts that flare and whirl away from the body, not to mention perfect bikinis and cover-ups, this is as perfect as shedding the heaviness of winter and walking into the beauty of being a woman line as has been rendered in the last several years. All one has to do is girl — rather than man — up to wear it.
She writes like a dishy girlfriend - bringing you into how the moments physically scan — especially if your girlfriend just happens to be a Pulitzer Prize winner. For Australian novelist Geraldine Page, though, her brand new novel is the tale of a manuscript authenticator suddenly plopped down in the unraveling of the much storied Sarajevo Haggadah.
A tale of Serbian/Croatian dischord, ancient Jewish tradition, verfication and restoration of a truly historic and deeply significant document, this book reveals far larger truths about who we are as people and as nationals - as much as it recounts a very specific story cast across ages, conflicts and the faith of the Chosen People of Israel. Page’s put-you-there-prose sweeps you up, places you in the heart of discovery and takes you into a world easily as engaging — and less belief-challenging — as The Da Vinci Code (though with far fewer manipulative plot turns). To be taken hostage by a fairly modern book is a wonderful thing, and Page doesn’t even bother asking for ransom for the trouble.
Rootless, they roll and tumble, turning over and over in the throes of the wind. Tumbleweeds all grayish green, coral growths turned supple, yet landlocked wisk across the plains, prairies, fields at their own pace — almost weightless to the breeze’s breath, quietly creating a sense of motion beyond time or place. They give one a sense of freedom. They offer the thrill of easy motion. They make you smile.
Fresh, enlivening, awakening. The kaffir lime is distinctively citrus without that tartness, something that will permeate one’s brain with an invigorating wake-up call. But more than just the rush-rush of jet engines firing, the basil leaf offers a slowly unfolding green mellowing counter. Basil, a sweet earthy leaf, is the perfect temper for something so sparkling and quick… like the best cocktails, they merge into something that transforms both, makes more, creates an aura of wellness that is present, but balanced. Coming in a traditional single wick or the lower setting three wick, this natural soy wax candle is ambiance with a flare for visual aesthetics
Just because they have maturity, temerity and a level of get it done stick-to-itness that doesn’t mean they have to be dour, dire or lacking in femininity. To the contrary, their competence is a free pass to wear all the pink, ribbons, trimming and perfume that makes them happy. Grown up girly girls aren’t afraid to take pleasure in pretty things, flowers, good tea, simple pleasures and whatever else strikes their fancy.
Girly doesn’t mean frivolous, it means not becoming a man/woman. It is about civility and welcoming people, making them feel at ease, comfortable in the moment. A grown up girly girl can probably outdrive, outperform and outlast you, but they’ll do it with such warmth, you won’t feel any less for the reality — only glad that you came in contact with a woman who’s not afraid to let the best part of her gender shine on you. Look around and you’ll be surprised by what you see.
With a “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” style cover profile on snowboarding/half-piping uberforce Shaun White and a flip the book over trek through the man known as “the Flying Tomato”’s conditioning protcol, Men’s Journal defines its testosteronic turf as endorphin-driven and thrill-seeking. Still it’s not all the rush of the extreme sport realm. Beyond the normal buy this, try this editorial (covering food, drink, clothes and exercise modalities), there is a behind-the-lines piece on the Hayden Pantierre Japanese dolphin rescue mission that demonstrates the cruelty to the fish and the courage of the activists, celebrities and journalists involved.
To be a magazine for men rather than metrosexuals, one most walk a line between awareness of style and an inhabited not postured or brokered athleticism that’s for the experience not the abs. It is what made Hemingway, Cormac McCarthy, McGuane and even Steinbeck such a profound read, and it is how Men’s Journal seems to be defining itself in a crowded marketplace. Thankfully, it’s intelligent, gripping and culturally on pointe enough to give even women a rush for their money.
They have it on tap, right there at the counter. In another place or time, it would be the creamiest local beer imaginable. But this is Whole Foods, and they are not adult beverage equipped. So instead, there’s a deep chocolate frosty foamy mug of root beer that is equal parts sasparilla and vanilla.
Tough enough to go wherever you want, warm enough to spare you the chill, but thin enough to allow you all the motion you could want. It’s not quite being locked in a big nurturing hug - and heaven knows the men wearing them solely for work will have the notion — more like being inside a soft flannel cloud. To put on a pair of flannel lined Carharts, especially in winter, is the best of sleeping in your favorite jammies and wearing a broken-in pair of jeans.
A no good kid who simmered and seethed. A good girl on the precipice of going wild. Two hearts that needed somewhere to cling, yet also somewhere to combust. It is Romeo & Juliet with Romeo on revolt and self-destruct, and against that backdrop James Dean and Natalie Wood became a new kind of youthquake. These were people with a bit more verve, hyper-kinetic, exuding sexuality threatening to burst through the restraint and in their almost beyond control jettisoning of conventions, it created a world for the coming of age fraught with a more immediate impact.
To go back in time when innocence was much moreso, when rebellion was truly an act of insurrection, to when there was a difference between us and them, good girls and bad boys, this is the watershed. A classic for a reason, and then some.
It is brilliant. Clean. Inspiring. The brightest of the bright. A flash of white that keeps on flashing. So filled with the possibility of whatever, however. No matter what you’re thinking, the option can and will work. Black? Absolutely. Navy? Certainly. Pale yellow? Pink? Sky blue? Sure.
Optic white is its own country. It is an accent. It is an odd state of being, and yet it is perfection no matter how you choose to caste it. Mmmmmmmm…
When they appeared — wildly lo-fi in the backcombed Aquanet bombast of hard rock and heavy metal — Cowboy Junkies were bewitching with their slow rhythms, dusky arrangements and the musky whisper of Margot Timmons, a midnight angel on a dissolute altar of despair, awareness and yearning. So quiet, one had to hush and draw near to appreciate the subtlety of the musicianship, but once one listened, the junkie kicked in and it was difficult to turn away from a band that could embrace “Sweet Jane” as easily as old folk songs.
Imagine, almost, Andy Warhol’s Factory aesthetic applied to Appalachia. That was — and remains — leader Peter Timmons reality for the loose-knit collective spun into sonic morphine by the siblings. And now, twenty years later, The Trinity Sessions remain every bit as powerful in its barely exhaled ardor. These are the acoustic murmurs and subdued weavings that draw one leave with a shudder-inducing late night sense of loss and what remains. Blues without the undulation, timeless the way the best punk is, minimal without being barren.
In a world of emollient creams and lotions, this is the King Kong monster truck of all healing, soothing and smoothing. With a fragrance free thickness, it glides on and takes a few moments on the skin’s surface, melting its way into the flesh with a serious sense of buttery goodness. It is almost too much to work with - until it’s gone, absorbed and hard at work keeping your dermis in a state of moisture density in the midst of cold winds, artificial heat and often not enough consumed fluids.
At a time when chemicals are everywhere and then some, defending out body through any means necessary means keeping our skin strong and supple. Now, right there at our local drugstore is an easy, affordable effective solution. If it were any more accessible, it’d be a byproduct of breathing.
It was a tradition that wasn’t even suggested, but popped out of a conversation. Why not? If you want something endemic of a new way of going about it all, why not a set of sheets where you will lay your head for the first time in the new year? Perhaps that’s why white sales were always geared to January… because that’s when people did away with the old, sought something fresh.
What could be better than sinking into virgin linen as you dream of what can, what will be? Sheets like sighs, blankets that billow and comfort. It is the place where our minds wandered without our feeble interference. As the year starts, lets set it up so our dreams have the best possible environment, no ghosts or holdovers from what was and only the blissful nature of cotton, flannel, linen or whatever else you deem to sleep on.
“Those little lines going this way? And those lines going the other way? They’re really the same.”
We can get so obsessed with the differences that we miss the universality of life is right now, and no matter what we’re up to, we’re all headed in the same ultimate direction. No matter what you’re doing, what you’re dreaming, someone else is doing it, too. Maybe something polemic, maybe something parellel, but in the end, dreams like breathing are the gasoline we all require. If you view the gaps through that aesthetic sense, suddenly there’s reason for a lot of commonality and celebration.
She rocks, that little yellow now turning white cocker spaniel. Ready to go, at the door, tail wagging, leaping with joy and spinning in anticipation. And she can go and go and go and go. But when Zelda has had enough, she yawns as big as a crocodile, slowly stretches front then back and looks up at you with those big brown eyes to say “Enough.”
Her eye lids start to sink and slowly fall. Involuntarily — she doesn’t wish to miss anything — and yet, as she slowly melts into herself a tiny curl of thighs and paws and ears and a wet black nose, it is the picture of perfect repose. When Zelda sleeps, she is still and almost smiling, dreaming of monks and rice cakes and Mommy. When Zelda sleeps, it is obvious angels take many forms.
Doesn’t matter the piece of clothing, this is the motif of the year. A friendly yet imposing dragon print rendered with enough frilly detail to rival the best Asian representations. Whimsical, daunting in a friendly way, this takes the Occidental makes it wearable and offers up a high chic that straddles the realms of fantasy and sporty. Whether a men’s sport coat, a slouchy pair of women’s pants or a roomy shift dress with buttons, True Navy Tail Lights gives the classic navy and white palette a fresh and sprightly revamping. A must have for spring 2008.
Written by former stripper, anchored by Allison Janey’s always snarky common sense sideswipes as the stepmother and directed by Jason Reitman, this is a wry fairy tale about level headed teens, consequences and the ability to sidestep implosion. When Juno gets pregnant after a curiosity liason with the boy in mad-crush-on-her, the reality of the situation veers from pragmatic (termination) to livable (adoption) — and through that filter, the dynamics of human love, commitment, decency, attraction and betrayal are illuminated and considered.
Ellen Page, already being touted as “the Johnny Depp of this generation,” is wry and sweet — often at the same time. With her punk aesthetics, pithy retorts and will to get through it, she is the anti-Barbie and the anti-angst monster. Jennifer Garner as the baby-starved Yuppie businesswoman is transparently needy, yet also an open trench of wanting in the most gentle ways, while Jason Bateman plays a self-involved 30-something who can’t relinquish his youth long enough to seek a less temporal truth. It is a tangled mess, weathered beautifully by Juno and her family - and in the rough waters much is learned by and about each character. A fairy tale, yes, but also the kind of tale that reminds us what we could be if we’d just surrender to the best of our nature rather than fear.
It is the French tea institutions signature mint brew. For years, it had taken the edge off their exceptional loose black tea. Now the wisdom of the French extends across the various kinds of tea now being enjoyed around the world - extending the kiss of brisk mint to both green and red teas. If you want to explore the possibilities and variables, this is the top of the tea leaves. Various high end stores - including Bergdorf Goodman - carry it, and there is always their website.
Sylph-like white tubes reaching towards the sky - palest gray against a greyer winter sky. The black swirls mark the almost paper like bark add dimension, a bit of ruggedness to the adult tree with the impossibly lean trunk. Yet for all its spare beauty, there is something about a birch tree that draws you to it. Not an elm or an oak or a maple, yet there is a loveliness at play here that makes you stop and consider it.
In this crazy world in which we live, a place often seeming devoid of common sense and reason, there is no greater luxury than logic. The ability to do the deductive reasoning, follow the direct conclusion and act accordingly. Decisions based on the facts and basic morality — rather than the whims, the politics, nepotism and day of the week.
How many times have you asked yourself, “who could have thought this was a good idea?” Usually in the midst of some sort of corporate policy tangle wrangle. In a time where luxury has been rendered almost meaningless, logic is a way to return the concept to its true grounded meaning.
For the price of a red v neck good cotton t-shirt, you can feed a child in Africa for two weeks. You get a shirt that will make you stylish, serve as a gentle reminder about others’ plights and make a difference for someone a world away. Without even trying, you can help someone you’ll never know.
Making science sexy, exciting, enthralling. What if a brainaic magazine had the same pull that Rolling Stone did back in the day? Without sacrificing any of the research, intellect or forward thinking, Seed takes the geeks and makes their way of looking at the world so much hipper than the rest of us.
Algorithmic inelegance, redefining genes, deep space, a profound sense of time, the climate crucible, a genetics crib sheet and more from a publication that declares “Science Is Culture.” Whether your Oliver Sacks observing the mind through music, you get the sense the esoteric isn’t merely guinea pig feed, and there’s an odd comfort in that. Feel the passion, embrace the concepts, marvel at what you find your learning!
Considered to be the Hindu Lord of Success, Ganesh is a majestic elephant with luze robes and a way that inspires those around him. As our globe shrinks, Ganesh is one of the most cross-culturally embraced totems, evoking triumph, accomplishment and the path to achieving one’s goals. With a new year upon us, the not-so-little elephant who more than could is a smile-inducer of symbolic proportions… If you’re looking for a Bollywood graphic, or deeper truth, to embrace, Ganesh is a wonderful place to start.
To lift ones hips, while gently pressing your rib cage back into the cradle of your pelvis - feeling the working against the floor in ones feet, legs and arms is the beauty of the strength building downward dog. But to drop the tail bone and bring the trunk just a little bit forward, then feel your body press into the variation is to open up the posture just a little bit more.
It’s like — in strippers’ parlance — grinding. But it is so much more. The range of motion with the traditional downard dog offers breadth of one’s sense of self, a realization of how much strength lies coiled in one’s body, how much balance, how much finely tuned synchronization of nerves and muscles and sinews. The next time you’re in downward dog, drop, tilt and gently move forward. You’ll see…
A Texas redneck — as played by the languorous songwriter - faces the ultimate cheating situation: his girlfriend finds the Lord. Now this long time consort is so up with going to church, walking the talking, reading the book, that he is more than the odd man out, he is Salvation Target #1.
Drolly written, it captures the yeah, whatever spirituality of the typical good ole boy with an uncanny sense of humanity, noting that Jesus “is a freak in those sandals/ with His long purty hair…” The ruminations consider the Saviour to be — potentially — a Commie or even worse “a Jew…,” yet its sweet-tempered in its frustration and assbackwards nature belies hamfisted redneck bafflement more than malice, so you can’t help but laugh.
They are classics for reasons. A tragic tale of the beautiful people who have it all, of loves engaged in, cast off, capriciously treated and hysterically held aloft, this is American privilege at the height of the Roaring 20s. Ultimately empty, bereft, aimlessly wandering and circling without ever landing anywhere of refuge, the writing captures the images, scenes and ephemerality like a butterfly under a bell jar. Breathtakingly gently heartrendingly lovely… Nick and Daisy Buchanon represent boredom, self-absorption and the unquenchable yearning for more, while Jay Gatsby is the by-any-means necessary arriviste who realizes that even wtth the financials he shall never ever quite be “one of them,” no matter what.
The parties, salons, moral relativity and faux gaiety. It’s all here, alive and quivering. Once when, then and still. Crack it open and see how fresh fictional heartbreak can remain over time.
Curios, geehaws and other high end touches fill up Charlotte Moss’ tony Madison Avenue boutique Bungalow, along with fine linens, china, unusual furniture and various types of lighting. For those not headed to New York, or merely anyone who wants a quick fix to put some good spirits into their home, www.charlottemoss.com is an opportunity to pick up some of the brightly colored touches with a click your mouse.
In a world where a certain kind of graciousness is unrestrained, yet seemingly unattainable, this is one stop shopping. There is a look defined and refined, and if one is on the go, the ideas, the accent pieces, indeed even the larger ticket items are all here. In the store or on the web, it’s as easy as a click of your mouse or a languid hour roaming the various floors.
There is no shortage of punditry as this election heads into its first meaningful turn - the New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucuses. Lotta bi brains discussing big issues in ways that almost seem like they have no impact on our lives. After all, most of us are just trying to figure out dental bills, will there be enough to retire and why anyone cares about Britney Spears lack of parenting skills?
The Washington Times, DC’s other - and absolutely staunchly conservative - daily has gone unorthodox for Campaign 08: they’ve brought in a Southern woman with a shopping Jones to frame the events, issues and candidates the way the folks would at the beauty shop or beer joint. The only difference is that beyond the slices of life on the campaign trail, the humanity of the candidates (both good and clay footed) and analysis of the media analysis, it’s all rendered in post-sorrority breathlessness, the perfect juxtaposition-leaning tone given the graveness or ego of so many reporters.
His name was Jim Ballard and he had a bowl cut of limp dark hair, a caramel colored blazer. The album was Thunderhead on a label quite possibly his own. You’ve never heard it. Probably no one you know — unless you’re from Northeastern Ohio, liked singer/songwriters and are of a certain age. And yet…
How does one argue with lines like “The years pile up like dusty books/in a third floor corner where no one looks/ The past is only what you think it is?,” which is how the album - perhaps the best Jackson Browne album never made — begins. With churning rhythms, Ballard wades through the tides, tumult and at times quiet contentment of chasing love across one’s life. A messy conundrum at best, the willingness to scrape one’s emotions raw, to drop one’s defenses and especially call one’s own fouls in the pursuit of a soulmate give insight for us all to steer by - if only we knew to seek it out.
These are the albums to cling to. For whether anyone knows or not, the truth and the beauty remain.
A rustic looking log cabin with the deer head above the one fireplace, the antler chandeliers in each room, the heavy red and white tapestry curtains. Like a hardy Humphrey Bogart scenario, this is the rugged opulence of American sporting life - and it embodies everything macho novelist/essayist Ernest Hemingway stood for.
So it’s no wonder that the rough-hewn superstar of American letters spent all of his New Year’s Eves in the decidedly outdoorsy chic of this little outpost in the midst of a great field tucked within a span of mountains. Hardy basic fare well prepared is the stock in trade, and the wine list is tidy, but exemplary. To feel the environment that fired some of the best writing of the 2oth Century, one needs to just find their way past the Hemingway Memorial and down a winding road… it is there for lunch or dinner, and for the most sentimental, the Sun Valley Lodge will set up sleigh rides in the winter to carry you to the place where Papa dined as each year gave way to the next.
To look heavenward on a clear night is to be dazzled by the small lights shining, glimmering, sparkling for all to see. The night sky is all vastness and possibility; there is nothing that can be tossed into the great darkness that shall fall short or beyond. It is stars and dreams and the chill of what might be.
To feel alive, aware, emboldened by what might could be, all you have to do is look up. Dare to dream, consider the myriad stars and constellations reflecting Earth’s reflection of the sun’s light back at us - and understand how bright the future can be. To sink into that revelation is all one needs to get started, surrender to the size of that notion and find out no dream is to big if you’re willing.
A 1940s log bungalow with fireplaces at either end and a bar in the middle. A chef — Lynn Sheehan — who wasn’t afraid to walk away from the full-contact celebuchefery for high classic American with a local, fresh and tad funky bent. Her French fries in cheese sauce, finished with a quick grate of wonderfully pungent asiago, are narcotic. Her smoked prime rib is beyond what the carving table intended.
The staff is warm and friendly, with a wine list that’s reasonable and some of the local lagers made less than 3 minutes away. Creatively sauced, delightfully seasoned - whether it’s a caramel reduction on the apple dumpling or the chipotle laced “fry sauce” — this is where the little things, even the panko-breaded French fried pickles or deep fried Twinkies, stand up on their own merits.