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

October 2005

October 2005: Courtland Apples, Hit The Sky , Wax Vampire Teeth   Hockey Returns


Hit The Sky



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

“My Name Is Earl” NBC


Jason Lee as a scumbag bent on redemption. Written to punch the irony in all the white-trash cliché‘s, Lee’s heart of gold shines through even the snarkiest reality-chop-busters. With genius musical cues from Jane’s Addiction, Steve Winwood, Tom Petty, Beck, Herb Alpert + the Tijuana Brass, this is a spot-on approach to the people on the wrong side of the fringe, somehow a little lovability peaks through the seedy veneer and corroded truth about the folks who fall through the cracks and don’t care.



Adventure Hotel Stories Francesca Matteoli


Though conceived as a coffee table book—and the pictures, lay-out, illustrations are nothing short of glorious—it’s the quick trip through the road refuges of writers and film-makers that matter that makes this a breathless one-stop shopping experience for the most pulse-quickening spots in the world. Seen through the eyes and fingertips of Hemingway, Somerset Maugham, Kerouac, Van Gogh, St. Exupery as well as films like “Easy Rider,” “The Man Who Would Be King,” “Little Big Man,” “The African Queen,” “A River Runs Through it” and “Dr. Zhivago,” its Cliff Notes for big, braveheart set. 
   Morocco, Russia, Africa, the American West. Wherever dreams are cast large and there’s a hotel to capture the imagination like a firefly in a jar, this book lights. An escape with thick coated paper and a narrative voice that—like a mermaid—will lull you from shore without realizing how far your minds drifted.


Old Gringo Cowboy Boots



Not quite as pricey—or as intricate—as Rocketbusters, this New Mexico-based company crafts old school cowboy flash with a flair. Smart use of skins, interesting embroidery dominates. Colors that range from battery pack bright to pale tasteful pastels. For style that almost evokes Ralph Lauren gone Porter Wagoner.

Greta Garbo Stamps U.S. Postal Service


Black and white and actually textured. The ultimate muse/mystery woman who maintained her mystique until the very end is given a wave of hair tumbling over one of those impossibly high cheek bones for a commemorative stamp that is sexy as anything Victoria Secret’s mongering this season. And with only two dimensions, it’s a reminder that how we walk through the world defines all the possibilities for the frisson that is real life played well.


Courtland Apples


Juicy. Crisp. Sweet—with just a hint of tartness. The flesh isn’t mealy, the skin gives way with a snap. Obviously NOT agribusinessed, these are apples as they’re meant to be grown. Old school apples, like you once bought from truck farmers in the Midwest, this is absolutely what Johnny Appleseed had in mind. 


Gwen Stefani Tours


The bhindi-sporting ska queen with the dance floor rap/pop bent is watching her solo Love Angel Music Baby have the same thundering street/suburb success No Doubt defined, proving that CHR can be musically stimulating as well as popular. Now the young woman who’s rock’s fashion diva (John Galliano worships her, her L.A.M.B. line is too cute AND had the fashionistas foaming at this year’s shows) is ready to pack her bags and bring “Hollaback Girls” and “Cool” to the concert stage.
   What she wears. How she dances. But especially which songs and the way they’re treated are the true bottomline for music lovers. As a girl who knows no fear, who creates hooks out of tossed away bits of everything Caribbean, contemporary, Cali and punk/dance/hip hop/pop, this could be the musical confectionary road to the Emerald City; get your tickets early.


Waiting for the Storm


There is nothing like the air before the storm, slightly chilled, softer, more moist. It’s the anticipation slung against a gray sky, low pressure reminding you it’s coming, winds saying we’re bringing it in. For three days, they’ve been promising—and now it’s beginning to rain, the delicious, enough falling to let you know the trees and the grass will be healthy, not the scary wash it all away ordeal. To sleep, perchance to dream through that is its own full-immersion in something that washes away whatever plagues you, unwinding your coil as you lay there, listening.



“Elizabethtown”


Born out of exquisite failure and a death among family factions, Orlando Bloom heads to Kentucky to bury his father in a way that honors the “California side”—even as he awaits the news of his billion dollar business debacle to break. He meets a flight attendant who throws her heart to the wind, sees sparkling truth and captivation everywhere she looks, with her pulse set to the songs she loves and her faith on something brighter.
In death, he finds life. In the flight attendant, as much as his self-absorption stands in his own way, he finds love. If ever a movie evoked reasons to believe, a will to seek something greater, a need for human communion, the truth in how we live our lives, this is it. 
   Cameron Crowe will be our generation’s Billy Wilder; this is the greatest document to that end yet. Written with grace and humor, directed with a gentle touch, shot for real life filtered through the golden hope of moments, this is a movie to see and believe and embrace.


Braised Short Ribs & Smoked Cheddar Panini Alchemy, Edgartown, MA



Taking comfort food to an even cozier level. Sliced short ribs with horseradish crème, caramelized onions and smoky good quality Cheddar that’s oozingly melted everywhere. Put it on French bread, set it under a sandwich press and get ready to have the ultimate home cooked your-Mama-loves-you-meal as a buttery, crisp sandwich. 



Wax vampire teeth


They are instant transformation—not so much into blood-sucking predator, just takes imagination—but instant kid, biting down and unlocking the garden of fancy. You flash your vampire smile, you talk from the back of your throat, you laugh spookily and you’ve return to a time when being young and being willing was all it took to become someone else, even if for only a few moments.


Tibetan Buddhist Deck Chronicle Books


A deck with the various deities, buddhas and bodhisattvas that have formed Buddhist truths, beautifully rendered on the front and thoroughly explained on the back. In addition, there is some application of the entities gifts and role in our world—plus a meditation or life exercise at the bottom, meant to deepen the way one approaches life and the way we view it..


The Return of Hockey



Quick-silver. Hard-skating. Harder hitting. Pucks and sticks and giant men covered in padding and protective gear flashing past at the speed of scoring. After a long lock-out, hockey is back to supercharge the winter sports-fever, moving too fast, sending ice into the air in the name of the goal. 



Fruit & Passion Espresso Candles Cucina Dolci 


The scent of the very best moment after a hearty dinner in an old school Italian family. Biscotti sweetness, strong espresso, a hint of chocolate, a bit of natural fruit scent. Poured in old school liqueur kitchen glasses, these are an instant passport to jovial family-style meals and the robustly full recoil after


Details 5th Anniversary Edition Oct. 2005


Taking on the breakdown of the macho American male, Details reads like the metrosexual’s reality check. Smart profiles of Claire Dane’s coming of age, Joaquin Phoenix’s life post-River, during “Ring of Fire” and who he’s evolving into, not to mention a treatise on size truly not mattering, and yet; and acclaimed novelist Michael Chabon’s brilliant essay on being indoctrinated into the culture of “not good enough”—and how it drove him—are just a few of the issue’s defining moments.



“Half My Mistakes” Jace Everett or Radney Foster, The World We Live In


With an escalating melody and an acoustic guitar that chimes with warmth and the penetration of good wood and wound strings, this gently undulating confessional that weighs the impact of bad decisions sows gentle in the fields of recriminations, tempering regret with perspective and truth in the wake that sometimes mistakes don’t just teach us, but take us where we need to be. “Half of my mistakes were made because I was moving too quickly/ Half of’em were made cause my heart was moving too slow/ Nobody can tell you a damn thing if you ain’t listening/ Half of my mistakes I made ‘cause I couldn’t let go” goes one verse, while the chorus tempers it with, “If I had it all to do it over, I’d win and lose just as much/I’d spend less time on right and wrong and a lot more time on love.”
   Radney Foster, the song’s writer, brings a gate-banging groove and his wide-open Del Rio drawl to the party, while new Texas rogue poet Jace Everett imbues it with an old hickory strength and a gentle forbearance to witness a deep truth that’s as much about letting go as hanging on. Either way, it’s a redemption and an invitation and a better filter to live by.


Holy Basil New Chapel


Mental acuity. Cortisol metabolism (the byproduct of an over-tripped fight or flight response). Radiation insulation for healthy cells. When it’s rushing too fast, this is a good place to start—an Ayurvedic treatment, it has thousands of years to recommend it. See for yourself.


“Coach Carter” DVD


Samuel Jackson’s pilot light always burns blue hot, and in this true story - where he plays the testicle-busting coach determined to get ghetto kids to a better place that’s more than a few glory quarters of high school basketball—- he is riveting, and real. What could easily descend into scene chewing obviousness is held aloft by the tension Carter creates with these kids, demanding push-ups, creating consequences (locking the 16-0 tournament winners out of the gym and forfeiting games) on the way to getting them an education, a sense of self-respect and breaking the system, whose futility has arrived at a place where just getting kids to show up is enough. For anyone who’s ever railed against the inertia of ennui and mediocrity, good enough and fine, this is a match to your dry field of rancor.

The Untamed Tongue



Last week’s sermon at my beloved Grace Chapel focused on the way our culture feels free to say anything about anyone at any time—and if it sounded extreme when Pastor Steve lobbed it, it was universal about 3 minutes in. Somehow in the media saturation, though, it has come to this; whether we have first hand knowledge or not, whether our intentions are good, boredom or slightly reveling in the there-but-for-the-grace-of follies, we’ve all done it. Heck, sometimes even out of thinking we’re being supportive.
   Plus there’s the character assassination aspect so many engage in. There are 7 kinds of hearts, including wounded, insecure and yes, jealous—and most of them act out of pain or fear. If we could step back when we catch ourselves doing this, we could heal our own pain, make the world a lovelier, more supportive place and give others the grace we’d want for ourselves. Think about it.

Lemon-Basil or Mint Tea Shower Gel Korres Natural Products


Imported from Greece, this simply packaged shower gel smells fresh and alive: the lemon-basil being more clearing/calming, while the mint/tea is all about waking up. With wheat proteins and something called active aloe, it might not prevent aging through ingredients listed - as the miracles are promised, but in terms of slowing the process by means of creating a womblike bath reality to relax and let the stress ebb away, well, that’s a whole other set of benefits. 



WVUM Alumni Week Oct. 24-30 University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL


“The Voice of the University of Miami” The place where I learned about the Psychedelic Furs’ “Pretty In Pink,” Romeo Void’s “Never Say Never,” Lene Lovich’s “Lucky Number” and Depeche Mode’s “Just About Enough” (“and it’s party time”). The place where I got to be the first person in Florida to play Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Southern Cross”; the place where the hotline rang not once, but twice for the polemic infractions of the long version of Pure Prairie League’s “Amy” (“Holly, what in God’s name are you thinking?”) [too cornpone] and Prince’s “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” (“Holly, what in God’s name are you thinking?”) [too graphically honeymoon].
   Angel (Dust), scourge of mid-days, interviewing Kidz - featuring a 15-year old lead singer named Johnny Depp, r.e.m on their first ever tour, opening up for the English Beat or Soul Asylum, two indie label (TwinTone) records in, but still not even close to their “Runaway Train,” though packing the crazy hair, not to mention unheard of bands like Culture Club, U2, Men At Work, the Fixx, the Cure, the Pixies—and playing myriad songs that papered the ragtag world of punk, pop, reggae, rock and whatever else didn’t have a steel guitar in the name of independent radio.


Hershey Nut Lovers Special Edition



Almonds. Pecans. Peanuts. Cashews. All different kinds of nuts, broken into pieces, full immersed on mouth-melting Hershey’s chocolate. The classic American candy bar, jam-packed with every kind of common nut there is. Think of it as a protein fix wrapped in milk chocolate goodness.



“Al Pacino: An American Cinematheque Tribute” Oct. 21 American Movie Classics



You’ve got Merle Street and Robert DeNiro sharing on the ultimate seering laserbeam actor of our time. Johnny Depp shows up. Jeremy Piven—“Swingers” hippest regular Joe—hosts. And there will be plenty of clips, as well as tributes from some wonderful actors, who show insight into their craft as well as what they learned from the man who set “Scarface” on fire.


Fugees Reunion


Pras. Wyclef Jean. Lauren Hill. Together again to bring the gently undulating reggae undertow to the merge point of rap and r&b that was so stunning when The Score hit all those years ago. Word is it’s slow going from the studio - which to half-empty crowd is “oh, no, too long,” but to us half-full folks, it’s like, “Right on! They’re engaged in the music and they’re committed to doing it right.” As urban/Caribbean kaleidoscope/collagists, they twist so many strands into thread, this is fascinating stuff.



Bench Dips


You turn your fingers out, twist your wrists around and place your palms down on the seat of a bench. Put your feet a few feet out and spread them 18 inches apart. Gently lower your rear end off the seat and keep lowering til you feel it getting almost heavy for your arms and raise. Knees bent, legs limp, so your arms do all the work. Amazing way to build up your strength. Amazingly easy to execute.


Crisp

A cup of brown sugar, 3/4 cup of instant oatmeal or flour, 1/2 stick or slightly more of butter. Put in bowl, pinch and break up and press together with your fingers until it’s crumbly. Pour over fruit—my most recent creation was peaches, nectarines, plums and blueberries, to inspire your gustatory fancy—and bake at 350 until it bubbles and the crisp is golden.


Walking Away



   Sometimes how much you care doesn’t matter and how much you believe is moot. The other people have got to be willing to reach back, to open up, to respect the give-and-take, but especially to hear what is being said as it’s being said, not through their own fears and filters. If they can’t do that, wanting and wishing will never be enough, so there’s only one sad option; but in it, you get your freedom and your broken heart back, they get to live where they choose to—regardless of whether they get what they said wanted or not.



Buffalo Garden Nashville, TN


It’s really just a field on one side of Hillsboro Road, south of Green Hills, that’s usually overgrown. But inside all that tall grass are wire-frame models of buffalo, which will become topiary bison. Why? One might ask. And that’s the beauty of it. There’s no deep reason. It’s just out there, and it makes you pause, consider the folly and the irony and the how-cool-is-this? Find—or better yet, create your very own Buffalo Garden of whimsy and why not.


“The Greatest Game Ever Played”


Not just a true story, but a tale of David and Goliath cast across the rolling fairways of America’s oldest golf course: the Country Club at Brookline, Massachusetts. Frances Ouimet, a humble 20 year old former caddy with a dream, set out to play the 1913 U.S. Open in a field that included formidable Brit Harry Vardon, an architect of the modern grip and game—and somehow the self-taught youngster, who was lowly born and would never have been able to enter a clubhouse of his own standing, managed to press a play-off and then win soundly.
   As a passion play for those who desire no matter what their class or station, “The Greatest Game Ever Played” is the reminder that focus and discipline—along with clarity about one’s talents and faith in one’s being—is the true commonality of creating the impossible out of “normal lives.” To see a movie—from the makers of “Miracle,” the celebration of the American hockey team that went to the Olympics and beat the Russians for the gold, no less—that gets its history right, but is so visually enrapturing, what better escape on a sleepy fall afternoon?