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

September 2005

September 2005: Christmas at L.L. Bean, Standing Pigeon, Coty Musk, Orlando Bloom


Aqua Jump


A trampoline that sits out in the middle of the water—on a giant yellow rubber donut. Big enough for 5 or 6, high enough you can dive off. Jumping up and down—should you feel the free enough to do it—there’s a give that’s a whole other kind of sensation, almost like being inside a lava lamp without the goo. And you can just lay there, watching the water and not get wet if you so desire.


L.L. Bean Christmas catalogue


There is Neiman Marcus and there is L.L. Bean when it comes to the Superbowl of holiday shopping at home. And the LL Bean is so reasonable, so rugged, so reality-based programming and cozy it gets your mind opened up for the adventures you’ll have in those flannel-lined jeans, tin-coffee-pots, cozy down sleeping bags in amazing colors, rubber duck boots, personalized ice cream/popcorn bowls, alpaca sweaters. Man, woman, dog or child—indoor, outdoor, on the door—L. L. Bean will get you outfitted, geared-up and gone.


Orlando Bloom


In terms of the sensitive guy with the pale skin and the black shoulder-dusting curls, Orlando Bloom is the face of sighs. And his slightly awkward grace makes him the one every girl would die to hold in her arms even for one tender perfect moment with that ultimate “sensitive guy.” 
   But what truly kills about Bloom is his heart. At a screening for “Elizabethtown” in Louisville, Kentucky, he worked the red carpet with advance moves—feet back, body leaning forward—and the ability to look each fan directly in the eye. When he had to get in so they could start the screening, he was overheard to proclaim, “I hate this,” but rather than protesting how hard it is to put up with the drooling girls, he was ruing the need to leave the fans who’d been waiting all day. 
   “Be sure and let them know we’re coming back,” he told the escort with him. “They need to know we’re gonna be back out there.”
   It is the people who appreciate the people who appreciate them that’re of the highest order. In a world of jaded cynicism, Orlando Bloom proves genuine is perhaps the most scintillating currency of all—because good actors can always get over, but true hearts are undeniable no matter the context.


Standing Pigeon Pose on a hotel room bed!



The name alone makes this worth mastering, but the hip/thigh stretch is just this side of needing a cigarette (and I don’t smoke). Put a foot flat on the bed. Turn out from the hip and let the outside ankle bone rest gently on the covers, so you’re opened out into a strange looking Y. Get your balance. Get comfortable. Now gently lean forward from the hips. Go slow, let your body dictate how far over you can bend, but as your trunk descends, you’ll feel the hip open up and give—and the thigh stretch back to its normal shape. Ahhhhhhhhhh!


Milk Chocolate with Corn Flakes Ritter Sport


They call it a “Corn Crisp,” and as odd as it sounds, it’s got just the right amount of crunchy and salty to offset the impossibly rich and deliriously melt-in-your-mouth decadence of this German-made chocolate. Imagine breakfast served by Willie Wonka, and you’re getting close. So full-immersion rich butter/cocoa combo, that small bites that turn into puddles on the tongue—with a quick bite down before it all turns to mush—is the only way to chew!

Weiner National Fresno, CA


   It sounds so, well, tabloid. But it’s actually racing daschunds. That’s right the tubesteak of the canine kingdom gets packed into a little starting gate, the bell sounds and those short little legs that seem to go straight to paw let fly and burn up a straight away, all in the name of the race.
   For anyone who’s ever loved pig races, this is a whole new twist. Something to seek out, indeed.


Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote


The Puck of the NYC Social Swan Era of the late 50s and 60s, that will most likely be viewed as the Versailles of American 20th Century culture, Truman Capote was a brilliant commentator and writer who just couldn’t help himself. His Black & White Ball was a social event to end all. His Music For Chameleons could show you how thrilling prose writing can be—and Breakfast at Tiffany’s gave the world the irrepressibly ebullient, if heart-broken Holly Golightly. But it was his fall—post-Esquire profile outing the social jungle of New Yorks thin and beautiful rich women—that led to his tremendous inside-the-story non-fiction tale of murder In Cold Blood that scraped the max of his gift.
   Philip Seymour Hoffman is a Roman Candle channeler of humanity. His Lester Bangs from “Almost Famous” is every bit the falling-down, burning-for-the-music bombastic teddy bear, while the tentative clinger-on gofer in porno world who is so glad to be there he’d pop his knuckles hanging onto his place of “Boogie Nights” mark the poles of his gift. Now, the full immersion gift of Hoffman meets the mercury quickness of Capote—and it opens next week. 


“What we call failure is not falling down, but failing to get up.”
—Mary Pickford


You can’t fail if you don’t try. But if you don’t try, you’ll never fly, either. Everybody blows up something on the way to their dream; it’s almost to be expected. If you don’t make some brilliant, beautiful mistakes along the way, how will you learn? No, the grace comes from how you handle the loss, the boo-boo, the wrong turn—for it is in how one shoulders defeat that character is defined, resilience is born and appreciation is heightened.

“Rocky Mountain Way” Joe Walsh


The ultimate ravaged guitar solo that swaggers from side-to-side with the bravado of a high stakes hooker with one thing on her mind. When you hit ground zero for hard-rocking, blues-steeped excursions into what the melodic grounding can anchor, this slow-burn, deep churn slice of a whole other kind of Rocky Mountain high can get you revved up, turned out and ready in the 7 minutes it takes to splay out.


Cucumber Slices


In a world of expensive beauty products and promises of eternal perfection, here’s the easiest quickest trick in the book. Take a cucumber out of the refrigerator. Slice. Lie down. Places to slices over eyes. It cools. It soothes. It takes away the puff. And in the 5-to-10 minutes you let mother nature draw everything away from your tender ocular region, you can breath deep and slow and let the stress seep into the universe as a lovely by-product of the produce section facial treatment.



“The Grim Adventures of Mandy & Billy” Cartoon Network


   Smart. Snarky. Ironic. A little Goth. Neo-Woody Allen. Two kids with smart mouths and deadpan delivery are turned into a cartoon this side of “The Adams Family.” Almost “Emily The Strange” meets an urbane “South Park.” You have to pay attention, but if you do…...


Heavenly Bed Westin Hotels


With travel being the first order of so many businesses, tossing and turning has become the price you pay. It’s not lost on the good folks at the Westin Hotel chain—the slightly more accessible cousin to the W and St Regis Hotels—who set out to solve the problem. The bed they came up with has nice linens, a firm mattress with something soft on top for sinking into. A duvet filled with a down comforter. Two kinds of pillows, plus a streamlined body pillow for those who realize sleeping on one’s side with a pillow between the knees removes oodles of pressure from the spine and hips.
   For business travel, this alone is a reason to seek out the Westins if you can.


Vinnie Testaverde



You gotta love a guy who’s 41, retired and still willing to get out there, get beat up, get none of the real glory—yet is willing to help out the team where he defined himself as a professional football player. Maybe not since Bull Durham went off to break that minor league record towards the end of the movie has an athlete showed that kind of heart, but Vinnie Testaverde, who spent college in the shadow of Bernie Kosar, has the elegance of the Little Engine That Could—he’s just gonna get out there with the Giants, run the plays and hold the center for a team that lost it’s #1 and #2 quarterback in the matter of a couple quarters.


Lining the Broiler Pan Bed with Tin Foil


Sure, you could spend a long time scrubbing the baked-on drippings. Or you could just lift out the tin foil, toss it in the trash and move on. One of those simple things that makes it all so much easier.


Red Stripe



Slightly malty, slightly sweet, slightly thick. With it’s squat keg of a bottle and clean label, you pull on an ice cold Red Stripe and your day melts away. Just sit there savoring how good a cold beer with a little bit of body can be—and feel full rather than bloated when you’re done. If ever a beer has been the quaffing equivalent of Dobie Gray’s “Driftaway,” Jamaica’s export would have to be it. Ice ‘em down, serve ‘em up—feel the tension ease.


Ashton & Demi Get Married


They beat the odds, the tabloids, conventional wisdom—and they’re happy. Sometimes people who’re willing to be who they are with each other, rather than getting bogged down in what people think/say/feel/believe, can transcend the obvious. Yes, she’s older. Sure, he can come off like a knucklehead. But in the end, they’re smart, they’re having fun and they support each other. A-Men.



Tangerine Candles


It’s a happy smell. But a little tart, to keep it from having that back-of-the-throat-coating cloying sweetness that often comes with orange candles. Tangerine candles have the same kick as tangerine lifesavers—and that citric burst is one of the most exhilarating ways to know you’re alive.

Grand Green Zhena’s Gypsy Tea



There are all kinds of green teas out there—packed with antioxidants and miracles of nature as trumpeted in the media—but this one may be the single most potable. Not only does it bring high quality green tea leaves to the steepage, the good folks at Zhena merge fresh mint leaves and a bit of Stevia, the natural sweetener. Hot or iced, the Indian-grown tea leaves are put to their best advantage.


Coty Musk



When you wanna smell like the hippie/boho/glamazon babysitter, all you gotta do is hit the local Walgreen’s. There is no substitute for the utterly affordable, eternally timeless smell of musk—and nobody does it quite like Coty. Two quick blasts and it’s instant Summer of Love.


“Lords of Dogtown” DVD


The dramatization of the kernel from which the skateboard nation emerged. Five kids hanging with surf refugees on Venice Beach find a way to distinguish themselves, let it fly and become rock stars in a world where gravity is something to work against. In some ways, a parable about the power of press and perception cast against the pressures of greed and financial gain, there’s a sweetness beneath the seaminess that salvages what could almost play out as an afterschool special
   Heath Ledger portrays a surf board artisan who creates Zephyr Skateboards, fields a team, throws legendary parties and comes off as a cross between Jim Morrison and the counter culture’s Boss Hog. Rebecca DeMornay as the leathery surf-chick reduced to factory piecework is painful in her hollow-eyed hunger. And the kids are an eyeful, so young and gorgeous and filled with the promise of passion for something that’s theirs.



Post-Tournament Letdown



You’re geared up for the big game/job interview/major push/current crisis. You get your head down; you keep rocking. You get it done. You stand in shock and awe when it’s over. Then you crash. If you can know that your adrenals are finite, accept that the feeling of the tide washing out, leaving you alone in the wreckage is perfectly normal, you won’t find yourself facedown in Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?”
   For the people who believe in recoil, it’s merely the beginning of the sleep/heal cycle that is necessary to gear it back up and get it back out. Just surrender and feel the relief.



“People who fight fire with fire end up with ashes.”
—Abigail Van Buren


Like begets like. Why come down to their level? Who wants to be tarred by what appalls them? Dear Abby is, of course, right. You bring the heat, you burn up everything around you. Caution. Compassion. What you sow can turn around a bumper crop of rancor and spleen. Let it begin with you.



David Ortiz


The epicenter of the Boston Red Sox, Big Papi should probably be called “Annie Sullivan,” because as the baseball season winds down, he’s become an absolute miracle worker. Looking like one of the hippos from “Fantasia”—sans tutu, don’t worry—Ortiz keeps walking into the clinch, setting his feet square and getting the kind of major wood that snatches victory from the bowels of defeat. A swing that is thunder encased in muscle, a willingness to give everything every time, Ortiz understands that it’s more than a game, it’s an act of faith—a fact that is undeniable when you look in those eyes sizing up whatever’s coming off that mound. 


Bring ‘Em In—Buddy Guy



When you have guests like Carlos Santana, John Mayer, Tracy Chapman and Keith Richards—and in all their luminescence they still stand in the shadow of the artist in question, then you know you’re talking about a real deal bluesman like Buddy Guy, whose Bring ‘Em In brings soul and blues classics to a slow burn without matches. The always ardent “I’ve Got Dreams To Remember” and Bill Withers’ shivering “Ain’t No Sunshine” are positively haunted and haunting - and Guy’s serpentine guitar work slithers through and around the melody lines in a way that says it’s what’s beyond the obvious, indeed, positively unseen just felt, that truly tells the story.



Hit The Sky



Take aim. Throw hard. Throw with abandon. Know even if you miss the target, you’ll hit the sky.