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

February 2001

February 2001: Post-Valentines Hangover Edition

Introduction

In the immortal words of John Prine:
    “Broken hearts and dirty windows makes life difficult to see/
        It’s the late late nights and early mornings all look the same to me…”
    Of course, if it gets broke, you can fix it. Something to remember if you 
get bucked off a heart in these romantically charged times!
                       And with that, onto the list…


Zora Neale Hurston Postage Stamps

Alice Walker searched out the Harlem Renaissance author’s anonymous grave to put a tombstone there—such is the power of her best known novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, which traces black life post-slavery in idiomatic language. But just as importantly demonstrates the phases and depths of forgiveness, longing, understanding and courage that evolve over a woman’s life. But that’s the tip of the iceberg: folklore, autobiography, more novels, short stories, a play written with Langtson Hughes. And a voice that is life and the smell of dirt and the feel of the crispest, finest cotton. Seek her out—and put her visage on your letters, make people ask you why, prompt them to consider the woman on the stamp.

 On a related note…

Wrapped In Rainbows—Valerie Boyd

Atlanta Journal Constitution Arts Editor Boyd lovingly traces the life of 
one of black literature’s most dynamic women. Tracing a most unconventional life—from dropping 10 years from her age to get a high school education and attending Howard University and Barnard College to being swept up in Harlem’s dynamic Renaissance to traveling the world seeking out indigenous culture and folk lore, in addition to her relationships with benefactors, men and collaborators—Boyd offers insight into why she mattered then and offers a sense of what high living and large sacrifice mean in the process. Utterly worth the read.


“Big Urban Myth Show” - MTV

The hostess is nominally annoying, but it moves fast and debunks (or 
proves) all those tall stories that have no quantifiable genesis. The Shakira 
Bug truly is a computer virus that will take you apart and poppyseeds will 
indeed throw a drug test—but most of the rest is merely hoaxsome.
   These guys do the empiric testing to validate whichever stories are being 
examined on that episode; sometimes the results are downright hilarious. In 
an attempt to get to the truth of the Wintergreen-Lifesaver-spark-generating 
rumor, they actually dressed two guys up as sugar atoms and have them bump into each other to simulate the kinetic reaction triggered by friction with 
those chemical elements being acted upon with force. Then to reinforce the 
spark reality, they shot people in the dark chomping and sparking.
   Think of it as a street-level “Mr. Wizard” for slacker youth.


Braeburn Apples

Crisp. Juicy. Tart, yet sweet. As grocery stores are diversifying, 
they’re bringing in more varieties of the old stand-bys… These apples make 
for both great eating and yummy cooking. The skin isn’t as bright or as 
glossy (or else my Kroger is actually buying unwaxed apples—pretty 
doubtful, right?), so they don’t have quite as much curbside appeal. But 
pop ‘em in the fridge, and you won’t be going back to those red or gold 
delicious any time soon.

A New Kind of Gossip

When was the last time you picked up a phone and called a friend to tell 
them about something wonderful that happened to someone else? To share the details of some triumph? Some lucky break that made another person’s life better? Rather than always sharing the bad news, why not promise yourself that you’re gonna try spreading the positive—because what you put out there, you’ll probably get back.
   Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in jealousy or feeling inferior. But 
let’s look at other people’s victories as inspiration for what will be ours. 
And when we hit walls and setbacks, we can draw on that and remind ourselves that if it can happen to them, it’s only a matter of time—as long as we’re willing to put in the work and thought—‘til it happens to us.

Home—The Dixie Chicks

In the Oh, Brotherization of American music lovers, suddenly only country 
at its most arcane is legit—and for that reason, God love the Dixie 
Chicks, who strip down, tie it to the organic essence of acoustic music, yet 
still bring a ferocity to what their doing that’ll make you quake. Built on 
musicianship, genius songs (some ironic like “White Trash Wedding,” some old faves like Stevie Nicks’ “Landslide,” some eerily topical “Wand’ring Soldier” and “Long Time Gone”), honest-to-gawd-harmonies and that straight razor of emotion that is Natalie Maines’ voice, Home isn’t suffering the burn-off of country’s other divas because it starts with the music, clamps down hard on the music and then lays back in the arms of the music.
   That the girls have a feisty demeanor, a sense of humor, fashion forward 
sense and the will to stand their ground only adds zest to the already 
unbeatable package. And come Grammy night, where they’re up for a mere 7, they’ll show people that country music can be country and rock just hard as anything Aerosmith, Nickelback or Insane Clown Posse can muster.


Neutrogena Leave-In Overnight Conditioner

Spray it on before you go to bed. Sleep and let it do the work. 
Nongreasy, quickly absorbed—and activated on a deeper level by the warmth of your shower. Any excess goes down the drain as your luster picks up and your softness deepens. The kind of no-muss, no-fuss deep treatment that defies imagination.


caiprinihas

Welcome to the new mojito! Take Cachaca—a sugarcane liquor that’s like 
Carribbean moonshine—add fresh mint, muddled limes, sugar and (if you’re 
swinging) a stalk of stripped sugar cane to stir and chew and welcome to your island holiday via bar-stool. Beware too treacly renditions by the people 
who’ve never been there, because it should be light, a bit effervescent and 
ultimately slightly tangy.


Salon.com

The opinions expressed are provocative. And even if you don’t agree with 
what you’re reading, you’re gonna think—and thinking is what it’s all 
about. Former New Yorker editrix Tina Brown does a column, as does 
conservative wench Arianna Huffington and deposed Nation editor Andrew 
Sullivan. Among the other voices you’ll be enjoying: Greil Marcus, Amy 
Reiter, Anne Lamott, Mark Fiore, Garrison Keillor and aggressive 
feminist/culturist Camille Paglia, along with Stephanie Zacharek, one of my 
very favorite people covering pop entertainment.
   And if you’ve not heard: the site is in demi-danger. It’s got a subscribe 
or view advertising note up now… and if we don’t use it, we’ll lose it. Check 
it out. See for yourself. Enjoy the stimulation, then do the right thing. 
Where else can you get your buttons pushed on News & Politics, Tech and 
Business, Arts & Entertainment, Books, Life, Sex and Comics? Exactly.


Girl Scout Cookies

It’s that time of year again. Aside from the killer chocolate covered 
Thin Mints, the chocolatey coconut confection that are Samoas and classic 
buttery Trefoils, you’re supporting a tradition that helps girls think on 
their feet, feel confident in their abilities to do things and function 
beyond their normal reality. Support young women seeking another kind of 
independence… or just get fat on some pretty yummy cookies. Either way, it’s a good thing.


Revlon Skinlights Illusion Wand

Don’t tell the girls at the expensive make-up counter, but… this is every 
bit as good as Yves St. Laurent’s Touche Eclat, the luminizing cover-up that 
goes for $37 a pop! Need to deflect, reflect and sparkle? Well, kids, here 
you go. The package, mind you, isn’t that gloriously elegant golden tube 
which looks sooooo divine in an evening bag, nor will you get that 
authoritative click as you pump up the spackle. But in a compact clear 
plastic tube, you can turn the bottom and have the nearly identical 
foundation ooze up onto a brush that sweeps across tired eyes, around noses or anywhere you need a little relief.


Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word—Randall Kennedy


Looking Amos ‘n’ Andy, Huck Finn and Mark Twain in the eye, Kennedy 
deconstructs the various realities and truths that come with, through and to 
the most racially-charged epithet in existence. Never excusing the use of the 
term, he creates a blanket of circumstantial understanding for the know 
no-betters, yet also cites Richard Wright’s “Ethics of Living Jim Crowe” to 
be comprehensive on a tar mark that most people would rather just pretend 
wasn’t.


Hand-Written Notes

As anyone who has e-mail and knows me knows: this is how I stay connected to the people I care about. But as much as it’s here-when-I-can and waiting-when-you’re-ready, there’s no substitute for putting pen to paper and sharing your thoughts. As a sender, it gives you a little extra dimension to let the recipient know they’re important to you—what kind of paper? card? pen? stamp?—and just seems more tangible in its sharing.
   And as someone who gets these precious packages of sentiment in the mail, it’s always the first thing opened—and the last thing parted with. Knowing someone took a moment out of their day, just to share whatever… Well, it elevates the walk to the mailbox from junk-mail and whatever to a trek that elevates one’s feeling for the day.


Miu Miu Pink & Green Silk Cheongasm (yeah, it’s phonetic)

No, it’s not some clenched jawed-opening pleasure trick or erotic 
adventure. Current major objet de lust here at Joe’s Garage. Bubble gum pink 
with green oriental symbol, it’s a boxy variation on the sexy dresses in the 
Madame Wong movies… a crinkled silk shirt with the diagonal top closed by 
frogs toggles. Anything that can be equal parts occidental and country club 
with a big dose of whimsy’s exactly what you need for spring.


California Pizza Kitchen (In Your Grocer’s Freezer)

For those lucky enough to live within striking distance, it’s liberation 
from hours of operation and travel. For the rest of us, California Pizza 
Kitchen frozen pizzas mean being able to have that crisp yet slightly doughy 
crust and just the right amount of unconventional toppings (figure there’s 
honey in the pizza dough and everything from Thai Chicken with bean sprouts 
to traditional with pieces of flash-frozen fresh tomatoes) to make late night 
defrosting just a bit more exciting. 
   A big fan of the Roasted Garlic Chicken pizza, it’s been sold out at my 
Kroger, but it’s got a nutty goodness that stays with you. And for $5.99, 
it’s even cheaper than ordering off the menu.

George Wills’ Case for Re-Naming President’s Day—
“This Week with George Stephanopoulus” (ABC)

Wills remains a cranky conservative, but his skewering of what—for his 
money—is nothing more than a generic holiday that’s become devoid of 
meaning beyond being an excuse for Presidents’ Day sales is hilarious. 
Initially meant to celebrate Washington’s Birthday—and the name changed 
when merged with Lincoln’s Birthday—sends Wills into spasms about the 
contradiction over other holidays named for the leaders they’re named for 
(“Martin Luther King Day is not Slain Civil Rights Leaders Day…” goes the 
rant).
   Try www.abcnews.com and see if it’s posted under the show’s folder. A 
good way to remember what this country’s real priorities have become: 
commerce.


“Amelie”—out now on DVD, and if I can find it at Target, it’s easy

A charming French film confection—with subtitles—that captures the 
tale of a lonely, isolated little girl who grows up to punch through her 
sadness by doing small miracles of goodness for others. Shot in rich 
color-steeped moments, it is beautifully framed and utterly evocative, and 
Audrey Tattou is mesmerizing as the enfante innocente looking for meaning and hoping it will come through creating unseen joy for others.
  

If Alice’s Wonderland was a café called the Two Windmills, and the 
characters she met were extreme eccentrics, but utterly human, this would be the work of Lewis Carroll. With an elder figure as shaman/godfather offering insight and encouragement via a painting he can’t quite “get,” Amelie is pushed towards knowing her own shadows and doubts even as she ultimately embraces the life that’s been evaded.


Diptyque Chevrefeuille Candle

Warning up front: it’s a little sweet and very floral. But if you want to 
light a wick and have spring roll through your house, this is the number to 
fire up. As the scent of freshly cut jasmine wafts through your house, life 
in New Orleans right after a morning rain emerges. There’s a relaxation to 
breathing deeply—and remembering how sweet simple basic things can be.

http://www.gracioushome.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay_10001_10051_23869_-1

Lisa Robinson’s Hot Tracks Column—Vanity Fair

If ever there’s been a woman who’s seen it all in terms of rock music of 
the modern era, it’s Robinson who was on the bus and on the plane, basking in the rumblings that fired the music. Every month, she covers a lot of ground 
and in a few phrases pretty much defines what the best records coming out 
each month are made of. An informed overview where the vignettes are more 
than clever but actually insightful can only come from one who exhales music… and that one would be Lisa Robinson. 
  

Even better than a Listening Station, because her terse writing and 
insider’s understanding captures these records’ essence. And her taste is 
exquisite, so you can trust her with your hard earned money.


http://www.vanityfair.com/

Yves St Laurent Brown Wedge Lace-Ups

The go with anything bare as you dare, yet not overtly whorey shoes for 
spring into summer. These will be the ones that the girls who know fight each 
other for—or else narrow their eyes and hiss under their breath because 
somebody else has them. Woven with lots of room to flaunt the foot and 
perfect pedicureon top, laces that can go high or just encircle the ankle a 
few times like the promise of some kind fetish entanglement, the wedge is 
narrow enough to remain true to feminine curves while sturdy enough to offer 
the kind of support and comfort these shoes never have. Investment 
shoeing to the max, but something that will also survive the season.


http://www.ysl.com/us/en/onlineBoutique/Women.aspx

Bonne Bell Lip D’Votion Latte Lite

An almost nude lip gloss that tastes just a bit like its namesake, this 
is sheer with one coat and offers a nice natural opaque finish with two. But 
even more importantly in these windy chilly days, it’s rich in emollients to 
protect and nurture element-abused lips as it imparts a finished look that’s 
as natural as it is polished.

http://www.bonnebell.com/lipdvotion.html

Make A New Friend Every Year

It’s the rule of Kate Des Enfants McMahon’s mother. And if you knew Kate, 
you’d know what a fountain of light, good cheer and better energy she is! The 
logic behind this is wonderful: If you make a new friend every year—and 
that’s a real, deep, meaningful friend as opposed to the drive-by 
acquaintances most of us have in our majority—when we’re old, we’ll have 
the greatest trove of riches that money can’t buy.
  

What is more energizing than friends? What lifts you up? Helps you 
through? Brings you joy? Busts you when you’re delusional? Makes you laugh and see the idiocy when you just can’t take any more? Exactly!
   Kate—and her mother—are right. And if you’re starting later than 
you’d've liked, make it two! But, don’t sacrifice depth and meaning because 
you’re trying to make up ground… that utterly defeats the purpose.

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