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

May 2005

May 2005: Bungalow 43, Iron & Wine, St. Peregrine, Flower Bundles & “Hitch”

Josh Green Hills Wine Shoppe Nashville, TN

To see someone so passionate about wine, so thrilled to make suggestions, so willing to consider what you’re looking for and raise the ante. People who drink to drink even get “saved” by Josh’s animated revelry about the fruit of the vine—and anyone who is willing to explore can find their tongue tantalized by a plethora of notes, ranging from earthy to light. Know where your head is, and Josh will get your vintage groove just right.

Hummingbirds v. Vocal Folks at A Below Middle C

The hummingbird’s wings beat between 80-100 times per second. For comparison, the vocal folds cycle 200 times a second when hitting the A below Middle C. If you step back and consider how quickly the hummingbird’s wings move, it gives one a newfound respect for the human larynx and all the things one does with it. Perspective, baby, makes a mountain, well, a mountain—even if it was diminished to a mole hill prior.

Jasmine & Lily Healing Mask Chantecaille

Planes, stress, weather, dehydration are no match for Chantecaille’s cleanly sweet-smelling healing mask. With chamomile and vitamins, the Jasmine and Lily mask heals, calms, soothes and smooths skin in crisis—and with no artificial ingredients, you can leave it on long enough to make a difference. A saving grace as I fall through space of late.

Running with the Bus Drivers

The show is over. You want to get to the next city. Now. While traffic is nil. You fall in with the drivers, get your place in the line-up and roll. These guys are professional. If you maintain the pace, they’ll make sure you get fueled up, nothing happens on the long stretches of freeway and find the best way from point A to point B. And if you can keep up, what could be more validating than long hauling with the long haulers?


Lesbian Males

They look like ordinary guys. They are quite often married—though their wives often have no idea. The best ones kick and protest, but every single lesbian male has all the earmarks of a good woman. With a propensity for detail, a love of tales of who’s cheating who, a willingness to seek what one eats, the patience to root around for the perfect thing. They are, of course, straight, but they know how to be one of the girls. Delicious.

Pastel del Ruffino Border Grille, Santa Monica, CA/Las Vegas, NV

There is nothing but everything to recommend this. Puff pastry crust—with the outside baby cream puffs—and a filling of the heaviest whipped cream and chunks of chocolate. Dotted with berries, Pastel del Ruffino combines everything good about every desert that ever matters—and chilled to exquisite perfection, it is maximum fat and sweet factor squared. If you’re gonna do it, this is the one-stop shopping tantric sweet thing.

“That’s The Way Love Goes”

How can you go wrong with a song that opens with “I’ve been pitching horse shoes/ over my left shoulder. I’ve been searching/ for that 4-leaf clover.” Especially when it’s delivered with Merle Haggard’s effortlessly exhaled lyric?

Jasmine Frangipani Massage Oil Jamu

A trip to Hawaii without the flight time. A way to moisturize your skin that’s more than just body cream. A reason to rub and knead and press into one’s flesh—or another’s—that releases, refreshes, relaxes. Mmmmm.


white jeans

Take a page from the Jackie Kennedy Book of Style, and be instant chic; just add anything. A close silhouette, effortless and easy. You can romp and play, recline, be swanlike. With a t-shirt and flip-flops, a silk shirt and high heels, a khurta and strappy whatevers, white jeans go anywhere any way anyhow. Pretty much perfection that can not be screwed up. And whether you follow Joss Stone—in those genius Gap ads—or listen to the sainted Kathi Orrico, who’s got me in size 4 Trina Turks, there is a style that will bring it all home without trying.


Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to 
understand.
—Neil Armstrong

That which seems beyond begs deconstruction. What defies us creates a need to comprehend. And in that, deeper truths unfold, discoveries are made—and the human condition evolves. Leave it to an astronaut to articulate this truth in a way that is so simple everyone can be enchanted.


Doing Nothing


Nothing. Quiet. Peaceful. Hushed. Looking at the sky. Eyes closed, looking at the most silent places in one’s mind. Feeling the sun on one’s skin. Or lying under the shadows of the branches of trees. Heaven, or the place closest on Earth. No expectations, definitions, deadlines or much of anything—except friendship and laughter and languid hours, slow-pouring like syrup and every bit as sweet.


Amos Lee

Languid guitar parts evoke rural blues, as Amos Lee’s slunk back witness is earthy folkie and down-low boy about the streets. There’s nothing urban or urbane, just a lived-in knowing that takes Keb Mo’s blues and puts it more in the throat of the singer/songwriter. Touches of gospel, rhythms that define, minor moments that matter—Amos Lee focuses on what’s within his realm to create a world broad enough we can all see ourselves in. “Arms of a Woman” is a picture perfect refuge, attainable on one’s own front porch, while “Give It Up” with its randy catch-and-release rhythm offers the notion of surrender being a small, but exultant thing.


Being Perfect—Anna Quindlen

What could be more life-crushing than the relentless pursuit of perfection? Yet for anyone of above average ability—and even those below who were met with the arched eyebrow and recommended Rx of self-improvement—perfection is a life sentence and a curse on par with the Chinese wish for “an interesting life.” Here Newsweek columnist Quindlen—a vet of The New York Times as well—deflates the chase for the perfect execution in a 48 page mini-book that’s littered with vintage black & white images and strong arguments for savoring the sweetness of seconds rather than surrendering one’s life for the unattainable. A 15-minute throwaway read that could well, no should, change your life for the better.


Gambol Quail

Remember the little bird from the opening of “The Partridge Family”? Well, they’re real. They’re called gambol quail, and they pitch and dart like those thin-legged teeny sea birds chasing the waves. Free range, freewheeling little morsels with their own couture chapeau, gambol quail are as cute as can be, suggestive of something.

Gambol Quail

Remember the little bird from the opening of “The Partridge Family”? Well, they’re real. They’re called gambol quail, and they pitch and dart like those thin-legged teeny sea birds chasing the waves. Free range, freewheeling little morsels with their own couture chapeau, gambol quail are as cute as can be, suggestive of something.

Penthouse Hard Rock, Las Vegas


As decadent as it gets: a bowling alley, full bar, a wall length shoe closet, an oversized marble hot tub with two 18-spout shower heads on opposite sides of a window overlooking all of Las Vegas. Flocked wall-paper burnished with gothic patterns—and photographs of rock royalty—from Springsteen to Zeppelin, Jagger and Richards to Neil Young by no less than Lynn Goldsmith, Neal Preston and Henry Diltz.
   Even more surprising: the Swingos scenes, designed to celebrate the legendary rock & roll hotel in Cleveland, Ohio, from “Almost Famous” were shot here. Each bedroom—and the erstwhile living spaces—given their close-ups, and commemorated by a particularly fetching shot of the ever-so-bony Kate Hudson with a Les Paul in her panties hung in the red room. If not for the over-the-top aspect, then there’s the history for anyone who’s ever mainlined the sweetest rock story ever filmed.

“Hitch” SpectraVision

Another of those utterly B romantic comedies, where only someone who can get their tongue around the saccharine lick could find the humor. But Will Smith is utterly engaging—and quite possibly closing in on his generation’s Cary Grant form—as the “date doctor,” who can help hapless males close the deal. All is well, until of course, the doctor catches the very virus he offers others the antidote for. And so it is. For long road trips when a little bit of sweetness can go a long way, “Hitch” is an ease of operation direct current into same.

Dragging The Anchor

Ahhhh, the speech of the sea. Dragging the anchor; pulling whatever drama one has across every other little thing one comes in contact with, churning even more trouble, angst and icky. We all know this person—the flesh covered embodiment of a rash—too taxing to consider, even more omnipresent than kudzu or bamboo by the freeway. A little nautical code to signal the flight of the tranquil to innocent bystanders.

Little Deaths

The French have such a way of metaphoric handling what Americans crush under crudity like so many aluminum beer cans. Stacked like tapas plates or dim sum steam-cases and perhaps even more sensually pleasurable, little deaths signify a spiraling number of gasping and sigh-inducing returns on a far broader spectrum of carnal fulfillment—the rising of one’s soul and one’s body to a higher plane even as a merging of two into one supremely tangled reality is the anchor for same. In a world devoid of poetry, little deaths offer much for the imagination as a physical embodiment of heaven on earth is revealed.

Rolling Stones On Tour

Hadn’t seen ‘em since ‘75. Only went last time because my dear Rodney Crowell insisted. No tricks, no bells, no whistles—just the canon of basic 3-chord rock & roll, swagger, tautness and more hooks than a night with Tyson. “Satisfaction,” “Jumpin Jack Flash,” “Tumbling Dice,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Wild Horses,” “Brown Sugar,” Straight-up, no chaser.

Leadership—Rudy Gulliani

Me? A book with NY’s Republican mayoral reality Rudy Guilliani on the cover? Well, you’re rushing out the door. It’s there, and you can reckon it “history” and maintain—sorta—one’s libcred dignity. But what’s funny about this book is that cast against a backdrop of one of this nation’s defining moments, it delivers as titled: a treatise on leadership. Within this mental exploration of how to do it, much value is ascertained—and in my case validation for what some would mitigate as obsessive or too much attention to certain details. Exoneration from the other side; clear thinking; compassion and humanity riddled through what some might deem hard-line thinking. As a map to making it all make sense, it’s powerful stuff.


Miller Ferry Whistle Put In Bay, Ohio

My beloved Alex Bevan rides the tides and lakes of Ohio with an acoustic guitar and a sparkle in his eye—and everyone who encounters him falls in love with the beams that protrude from his psyche. On a ferry trip out to the lake refuge of Northern Ohio, he promised me a boat captain’s whistle—only to realize that we’d missed it. Yet as the landing approached, my very first idol singer/songwriter called back, with dashing Captain Eric Engle in tow, to treat me to an extra long pull on a sound that beckons and beacons arrival and passage and a grown-man strength that implies courage, strength and resolve. Musky in its breathiness, solid in its force, the Miller Ferry Whistle begs for adventure of a docile sort—and the history inherent to Midwestern refuge. Something—the sound and the gesture—to dream on for sure.


Splash Pools

You can’t do anything really but splash around in them. Big enough for a few chaise lounges and tall cool drinks, they can serve as the African watering holes to the gazelles who need to cool off in the afternoon. A place to escape, congregate, kick back, celebrate, splash pools are the perfect excuse, a training wheels chill-out and the demi-decadent lounge area perfect for suburbia of normal scale execution.


Lizard Pumps with Croc Toes Prada

Currently on sale, they are neither lavender nor pink—and marked by the natural markings of the lizard skin. The black toe evokes classic Chanel footwear, but the sloping and arcing heel, more solid than a stiletto, but utterly more dangerous in its curve is the utter evocation of sex. In many ways, a conservative bit of 4 extra inches—but as lethal as anything in my closet and every bit as dangerous as I’m capable of being.

“Entourage” 1st Season on DVD

The story isn’t the red carpets, the far-flung work locations, the story is the back story. And here, HBO’s true behind-the-scenes docudrama—brought to you by Marky Mark, who went from rapper to Calvin Klein underwear jockey to actor of some merit—offers a lot of real downlow about the what and how it really goes. The hangers-on, who’re trusted by virtue of their “before affiliation,” yet utterly lacking in true understanding of what happens. The conflict of what’s known, what’s desired, how it operates and the license fame—or notoriety—grants mere mortals is eye-opening, even as it confers a deeper understanding of how or why some of this stuff goes down.

Flower Bundles 4 Seasons

Leave it to the 4 Seasons to come up with another innovation. Giant vases holding perfect bunches of one flower—all same color, relatively uniform in size whether it’s apricot tulips, white roses, pink hydrangeas, cala lilies, spray orchids—placed at an angle to have them leaning toward the viewer. Bouquets, nestled in clear glass, of perfect blossoms, reaching out eagerly to share their beauty. Utterly simple, startlingly pretty.


Bowling

The ultimate blue collar grouping activity. Roll those balls down the alley wearing funny shoes. Drink a few beers or cups of coffee, waist deep in camaraderie. Laughter like crazy, no real pressure to perform, just an aimless way to kill a few hours, listening to the sound of balls rolling down thick lacquered wood and that hollow impact sound of pins going down. Harkens back to a simpler time, opens windows to a less-stressed hour of nothing more than almost nothing.