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

December 2007

December 2007: 1-20 S, Mockingbird, Beatnik Cocktails, New Roses 
+ the Long Players Do Zeppelin


Live at Massey Hall, 1971 Neil Young

A restless icon(oclast) at the height of his creative powers, announces to a “home field” audience that “I’m gonna play mostly new songs tonight ‘cause that seems to be the thing to do with them…,” and then unfurls so many future rock acoustic classics that the impact now—over 35 years later—is still dizzyingly for the sheer achievement of the pen and paper etchings. Self-deprecating glimpses into the formidable talent’s world, Live at Massey Hall is a witness to the acoustic genius of Neil Young.

“A Man Needs A Maid/Heart of Gold” is delivered as a suite, while “Old Man” is set up as a bridge between rather than a generational rejoinder. “Cowgirl In The Sand” is stripped of its lurching cacophonic glory and stands as a romantic tour de force, while “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” positively has wind beneath our wings. “I Am A Child” closes the set as an exultant benediction, yet there is sorrow (a haunted “The Needle & The Damage Done,” with a moving introduction about the ravages of addiction), rage (“Ohio,” “Down By The River”), futility (“Helpless”) and all shades of moments (“See The Sky About To Rain,” “Bad Fog of Loneliness,” “Dance Dance Dance”).

There is a reason he’s Neil Young. The talent endures because the songwriting—lean and essential—is emblematic of the upheaval of his generation, and the generations that followed. In a voice that is mercury and fire, something so to the core I was not allowed to play it in the house, he sets these songs to molten life: charged, bold, absolute.

triple chocolate pie Waffle House

The crust is milled from those budget black wafers that suggested chocolate omnipresent in grade school snack times. The filling is a thick chocolate pudding that’s thick and creamy and a state of cohesion that’s almost remarkable. It is topped with some kind of instant-whip that is absolutely artificial, yet cream is the essence evoked. Sprinkled on top is a dusting of cookie crumbs.

While it sounds like nothing more than another machined generic diner dessert product, there is something about the frozen solid and not completely thawed out treat that is worth lingering over. In its faux chococream smoothness, it’s not so rich as to be overwhelming, nor too overwhelming in terms of taste. With a cup of coffee and a good book, this is an afternoon linger that evokes Café Des Flores without need of passport, currency exchange or even enduring haughty waiters.

Astromeria


Somewhere between a snapdragon and an iris, the absolute peasant of the grocery store flower buckets ($2.99 and $3.99 a bunch), astromeria lives longer, suggests a heavenly reach and has buds that gently open. Coming in white, ranges of pink and fuchsia, greens and yellows, even the occasional deep burgundy and the always essential white, they are flecked and hosts to the thinnest little lines, nuanced blossoms that are more nuanced, the more you look at them.

You buy a few bunches and throw them in a pitcher, instant thrown off beauty. You place a stem or two in a bottle and it is found prettiness in an odd bit of juxtaposition. You take 5 or 6 stems, cut them down and set them artfully in a traditional vase and you have a true bit of design that is elegance personified. They are as you cast them, and they will stay there—with proper freshening of the water—for two weeks or more. So inexpensive to not even be a splurge, more a matter of natural loveliness during the starkness of winter.


Hot Pink John Deere Gardening Gloves

True hot pink, double seamed’n'stitched gardening gloves with the all cotton panel designed to cling to the wrist without causing puckering from the elastic, there workhorses can handle the job while still invoking the Muffycentric world of preppy-being-as-preppy-does. The John Deere logo is proudly emblazoned on the back of both hands in all its middle-green/lemon-yellow glory, declaring, “I might be for a certain kind of girl, but she’s a girl who knows the power of working hard and being built to last.”

No more expensive than standard John Deere gear, far cheaper from the fancy brands. But for the character, the joie de vie, the unrepentant exuberance of the execution, this is where chores and play intersect with a high level of a wink and some serious style.

Jack Earle

The death of an American poet’s father. The passing of a paternal force that shaped a distinctly, proudly courageous voice. Steve Earle wouldn’t say he was a patriot, nor would be proclaim himself a blue collar hero - yet the songs he’s sung about the American way of life, good and shrinking, speak volumes about the truth of this nation. Jack Earle, the man who held a tobacco can of Texas dirt so his newborn son’s feet could first sink into Lone Star soil, is the sort of man stubborn enough to believe in the tenets that makes heroes out of every day men: his legacy is in good hands.

Angel Kisses Cloud 9 Caterers

Impossibly marvelously decadently wonderful. An almost macaroon with an almond paste center, dipped into impossibly dark chocolate. Crisp outside, moist inside, chocolate bottom, It is like a cloud only better—seriously almond flavor, a bevy of textures and tastes colliding with each other, a burst of soul satisfying sweetness. It is more than a cookie, it is a gift… the kind of surprising gift that makes you consider amoretti cookies in a way that is nostalgic but also outrun what was with something so very much more.

Only from a very special specialty store/caterer in Burlington, Vermont.



www.cloud9caterer.com 


“One cannot have too large a party.”
           —Jane Austen

The very next line, from Emma (of course), completes the notion: “A large party secures its own amusement.” But even beyond the notion of the guests foibles, intersections and gambits is the idea that there will always be plenty of joy happening in so many quadrants, it can’t help but spill over. It is, indeed, the wonder to have a party where all may not be seen—and the stories can trickle in for days to follow.

No party too large, only too boring seems to be the egregiousness of the season. Laugh, then. Be merry… the moreso, the better. Enjoy each moment. Come together to celebrate whatever excuse one can muster. Our lives are now: savor, delight, revel. After all, these are the moments that make it all worthwhile.

Sprawling Mission Style Houses

Not big so much as rooms large enough to hold dreams and ambition. Exposed wood, open space, 90 degree angles, tongue and groove beams. It is a ballet of construction—leaving lots of light, impossibly clean lines, natural timber, spans of white and stone walls to hold the floor plan to terre firme.

It is in honoring classic American materials that Mission style houses cement Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision, streamline the best construction modes and offer comfort with a distinct sense of clarity, Anyone who’s ever read American Bungalow more than understands… and anyone existing within the well-apportioned walls, stairways, halls and floorplans recognizes living space designed to maximize one’s ability to live. Breath-taking.

“Margot at the Wedding”

Strange herky jerky quirky performances from Nicole Kidman as the neurotic, frozen gifted writer, Jack Black as the imploding load of libido and lost opportunity, Jennifer Jason Leigh as the seeking younger sister trying to make the world right in spite of how self-involved everyone around her is. With jagged dialogue, a plot that covers very little ground and the folly of selfish people mostly considering their own wants, this is a character sketch of people you may never know - and will be glad of.

Not for everyone perhaps. But as a pinning the needle meter of familial dysfunction and less than ideal circumstances being more than plenty, this is a work that will leave plenty of folks feeling far better when they walk out of the theatre. Brittle in places, spacy in others, this is real life as inhabited by all kinds of people—sometimes people we don’t even want to admit are like this.

I will check email only occasionally. Peace Everywhere. Don’t steal music.

He is a labelhead who loves music. Truly. Absolutely. Genuinely. And he gently believes and nurtures those acts—some of whom will fail, a few who will hear of, one who is a pretty big star—from the ground up, slowly and with reasonable expectations. That his holiday away message would say this speaks a lot about the antidote to our go-go, get it, more/me/mine gimme/grabby culture. Consider the attitude, embrace the reality, know that to suggest is sometimes far more compelling than to blare.

Paley Rosette Sweater Lilly Pulitzer

Part 50s movie virgin/vixen movie star, part Moschino goes Muffy, the cashmere/wool cardigan is close fitting and girly without being too curlicue to take seriously. Available in lemon yellow, grass green, true navy, pure white and two shades of pink, this is a workhorse variable that—with its three detachable flower pins—brings a femininity to what could be a basic cardigan. Just the tiniest wink and nod, it takes you from morning meeting to perky cocktails to a black tie cover-up of a far more effervescent nature. In a world where everything is far too serious, this says pretty can co-exist with professional and party with the best of them. Just like the woman who inspired the line herself!

On Chesil Beach Ian McEwan

A small book, a potent novel. A young English couple, wed on the brink of JFK’s era of hope and Britain’s wane, retires to the seaside for their honeymoon night. The perpendicular dynamics, anxieties and expectations of a far more Puritanical time, as well as suppressed dialogue about all things wedded and bedded, make for a glorious study on the discomfort of one of the intrinsic human pleasure zones. Deftly-written, immaculately-detailed and awkward in every possible way, this is the trembling of real life coming off the most intimate tracks even as the deepest bonds are being forged.

To be lost for several hours, to be reintroduced to the gaps between carnal relief and release, to recognize that the playing field is anything but level, McEwan’s novel is fraught with the churning discomfort of portended failure, revulsion at passion unleashed and one aspect drowning the full-spectrum of relationships. Masterful, tense, wonderful.

2004 Toscano Monte Antico

The tart part of the grape, slightly lush, definitely long on the sunshine and the rain. To feel Tuscan’s farflung vineyards on your tongue, this wildly affordable bottle brings it all back home. Aged in oak barrels, the sangiovese varietal brings the abundant flavor with a smoothness that’s more than earthy. For cheese, serious pasta or meat, uncork, breathe, serve.

An hour of one’s own

Every day. Sixty minutes… to do with what you please. If you start thinking like that, the rest of it isn’t nearly so crummy. You have that allotment of time for yourself… for whatever you wish. One hour. Completely your own, To paint your nails… or read significant history… or listen to folk music… or become an inverted pretzel. Whatever you wish, it can be yours. Just dream and be selfish. For one hour out of every twenty-four.

“Teacher and Apprentice” Mark Ambinder, The Atlantic December

It is a particularly compelling issue with its pieces on the whitewashing of the anti-religious- establishment tone of the fantasy epic “The Golden Compass,” Google’s inherent governmental blind spot, science impacts blue jeans, scent provides a Middle East nation with economic opportunity and Andrew Sullivan’s measured assessing the reality of Candidate Clinton mid-primary, yet nothing resonates with as much wide-open willingness to share the truth and straightforward reality checking as this piece. Waiting one’s turn, soliciting the mentorship of the once front-runner, Obama seemed like a classic slow-rise political professional intent on building a constituency from the ground up. That is until you see the various strands that eventually twisted into one of the rare dynamic campaigns in this election cycle.
For anyone who ever wonders “why?” or “how?” we end up with the candidates and elected officials we do, this is a case of a true comer perhaps getting ahead of himself—or else recognizing when the moment was right. Either way, though, it’s about ambition, being a quick learner and the stakes of a nation that truly needs a great leader.

Long Players Play Led Zeppelin 4 Mercy Lounge, Nashville Dec. 28

Bill Lloyd, the pop half of roots country duo Foster & Lloyd, is a genius. A musicologist who makes connections no one ever sees and creates patchworks and hybrids that will take your breath away… He has the purest, most joyous relationship with all genres of music, and that thrill with how songs move through one’s being is contagious in his presence.
The Long Players are Lloyd’s all-star band who come together every month to six weeks to play a classic rock album with guest vocalists who’ve included members of Cheap Trick, Dez Dickerson from the Revolution. The band is a wonder: Lloyd, Steve Allen, John Deaderick, Steve Ebe and E-Street Band bassist Gary Tallent, and they shall move effortlessly and seamlessly through the quixotic folk, lumbering blues, scathing rock that made Zeppelin the heaviest and most dizzying of the metals being alchemed—whew—3+ decades ago.

BONUS: Mothership—Led Zeppelin. Ubiquitous it seems. Don’t write off the one-stop shopping remastered macro-Zap collection ‘cause it’s at Starbucks. It is comprehensive immersion blues-steeped cock rock in a way where the intensity heightens the reasons to believe.


Soap & Glory Skin/Bodycare Target

Bliss Spa in New York is too rich and removed for most of us… and even the dedicated Sephora shoppers amongst us get to the point where how much more can we spend? Leave it to Marcia Kilgore to make self care to the populus with a well-made line for that retailer to the elevated mass Target. Exfoliants, body cremes and washes, glow potions ground a hands-on, user friendly romp through nurture and indulgence. Perhaps not as many variables as the Bliss signature line, but with lip gloss, hand crème, body butter and beyond, there’s more than plenty to cover the most fundamental little luxuries—and the price point is far more within reason.


I Got The News Today

So many opinions, reasons, recriminations, explanations…. There’s just one thing: real American lives are being spent. If no one knows quite why or if it matters, what of these people, many young people with new families of their own? Do their lives mean nothing in the data, the facts, the lists of what has been expended?
Started as a way to remember the humanity of the lives lost amongst the insanity of war and other skirmishes, I Got The News Today is not about being political or pointing fingers… it’s about telling the stories of these men and women who died in the name of something that may or may not have been as important as the life they give up. But rather than allow those lives to fade into a hazy blur, the facts of who they were, what they valued are gathered, captured and retold to remind us of the humanity beyond the stats. To understand the real cost of our current engagement, one need only read this diary to realize this isn’t our country’s war, but one of various subgroups—and for just a few moments, it’s only the people making the sacrifice who matter.

http://www.diatribune.com/node/973

Zanzibar Racing Sails Graffitti Zoo

Dark chocolate with cranberries and roasted almonds folded in, dusted with sea salt and sugar crystals. The contrast of rich and bittersweet, the cranberries fresh enough to still be a little juicy, the almonds moist. The juxtaposition is heightened by the acrid bite of crunchy salt and the crystallized intense sweet of the sugar. So simple, yet so sweetly bitter.

I-20 South Out of Boise at Night

The clouds, illuminated by a full moon roll like waves crashing on the ocean. The plains—and even the land undulating up to the foothills seem like a vast tablecloth. The moon, dangling like some too ripe fruit all orange/gold, offers a sense of almost fairy tale magic. The two lane black top, scorched to a dull gray, cuts through the vastness silently.
It is a quiet ride that speaks volumes. So much land, space, possibility in the balance. You drive, somewhere beyond a mile a minute, across the plains and you consider what might be. In the crisp December air, you can only smile at the net of diamonds cast above you, the limitless land that lies before. Somewhere out here, there are answers… To find them, all you have to do is drive.

Mockingbird Allison Moorer

A voice like claret, indigo and amethyst paisley thick silk velvet, Oscar and current Grammy Award nominee Allison Moorer’s deep alto conjures smoldering sensuality beyond the obvious verbal cues. It is in that slow burning tone that the promise and knowledge slowly unfurl, beckoning, captivating, unraveling mysteries that are most often unarticulated.

With Mockingbird, the singer/songwriter’s Buddy Miller-produced follow-up to the ebulliently empowering Getting Somewhere, Moorer turns that lush smokiness to other writers, specifically of the double X varietal. What emerges is a dervishly delicious take on Patti Smith’s “Dancing Barefoot,” the dignified devastation and strength of Kate McGarrigle’s “Go, Leave,” the naughtily seduction take on Nina Simone’s “I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl” and the wailingly tender embrace of Julie Miller’s “Orphan Train.” To capture the vastness of women songwriters means a knowing reinvention of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” exhuming sister Shelby Lynne’s stoic dreaminess of “She Knows Where She Goes” and the timelessness of Cat Power’s “Where Is My Love” or Gillian Welch’s “Revelator.”
Tasteful, hushed, acoustic, yet powered up when necessary, Mockingbird offers the possibilities of communion with fellow travelers, the wide open nature of women feeling their feelings and a peak into vulnerable, victorious and painful places. For anyone who enjoys subtlety in the depths, this is a survey course worth taking.

Holiday Candle Thistle Farm

Anything but the traditional Christmas tree-evoking waft of pine, Thistle Farms “Holiday Scent” is a cozy blend of apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and spices that offers a cozy, homey glow of good cheer and comfort in the rush rush of the season. Not so much a Noel-specific smell, but absolutely something that suggests family, friends, warmth and comfort, this all soy candle settles anyone within olfactory range a sense of well-being and an easing of all that is unnecessarily stressful. Year round essence of hopeful, helpful goodness in spite of the name. Promise.

www.thistlefarm.org

Bumbola Pasta

An oversized three chambered shell with ribbons of pasta running along the seams, this is a mouthful on every fork. It will hold sauce, stand up to vinaigrettes, offer a bed to a pounded bit of chicken. But mostly, this semolina-based bit of macaroni is an interesting shape, size and variation on a well-worn, time-honored theme. For pure fun on your plate, this is a clever way to change up your marinara, puttanesca or sauce a la vodka.

St. Cecilia

She is considered the patron saint of musicians… and she is often shown with a lute, violin or a mandolin. A martyr who failed to succumb to suffocation and lived three days after three strokes of a sword meant to decapitate her, Cecilia was a pious young woman who inspired her husband and his brother to convert - and who arranged for her home to become a church after her death. November 22 is her feast, and there are several musical programs in her name worldwide.

Heart Link Bracelet  Tiffany’s


Heavy enough to stand up to daily life, each heart shaped link is forged with the heft to be meaningful and noticeable. Not so heavy as to weigh one down, but with enough bulk, that one can’t help but notice. A flat chain bracelet from the romantic sans frilly set, Tiffany’s Heart Link Bracelet allows for sentimentality without wussing out… and the wristful of silver hearts is punctuated by that one true love who is symbolized by a heart made from solid gold.

Clean in its execution, dear in its rendering, this is one of those rare perfect for anyone pieces. And with Valentines Day less than 6 weeks away, absolutely something for all my Y-chromed readers to take note of.


Snow on Pine Boughs

They are tall, with branches dotted by bursts of long deep green needles tempered with an almost icy blue. Looking up at them, they seem weightless, beyond the passage of days and months and yet strong in a silent almost Japanese etching or pen and ink rendering. Clinging gently, almost weightlessly to some of the boughs are covered in caps of pure white snow—cold, crisp, the blanket of water turned solid to remind us how interconnected it all is.

Descending just the smallest bit from their normal position of perpendicularity to the trunk, the pine arms reach out to the night, the sun, the future with a willingness to carry whatever burden might exist in the atmosphere. With the snow, there is implied possibility of unsullied canvas, the clean contrast to the earthy winter arbor and the elements coming together in a way that’s not necessary, but breathtaking when beheld.

Beurre Couvert

Long, slender, quickly yielding to the bite. A lemon chiffon colored cousin of the French verts couvert—the wispy green beans that have long graced plats du maison in French bistros in Gallic lands and across America—they have the mellowed taste of wax beans, but the gentle chewiness of the more elevated vegetable. As a way of turning the culinary tables, to make the familiar just the tiniest bit strange, look for the yellow exotic beans in the fresh produce section—and splurge just a little.
Whether you cook them up in bacon grease and shallots, blanch and douse with vinaigrette or litter a beef stew or vegetable soup with them, they will do more than provoke conversation. An excellent variation on the theme… and a delicious change of taste.

Listen Again: A Momentary History of Pop Music Eric Weisbard, editor

Seattle’s Experience Music Project is more about making music something that lives in people’s lives than it is a temple to what has happened. Not that they shirk the notion of the importance of music’s past, but this is a more tactile, steep and soak in it proposition. To that end, noted critic Eric Weisbard has seen his tenure at EMP present some amazing papers on the state of music, the impact of genres, the socio-politi-econ overtones and undertones of various aspects of songs, artists, moments in time - and this star-studded critic/musician/culture commentarian book featuring Benjamin Melendez, Greil Marcus, Daphne Carr, Michaelangelo Matos, Holly George Warren, Drew Daniel and Neil Sublette volume shows how vast and vital the EMP’s conferences can be.  
To consider a slice of anything in an extreme way is to offer full immersion consideration of an oeuvre. It is not the standard graze’n'drive-by take on modern music afforded by ever-shrinking space constraints, and many of the papers presented (collected here as a book for those who do not venture to their highly academic seminar) may defy one’s plane of intrigue. But each essay-by voices as thoughtful and quirky as groundbreaking punk band Pere Ubu’s Davis Thomas on the importance of Cleveland horror film host Ghoulardi—is fascinating in the way it parses, makes connections, offers insights that would be missed by most. For anyone who thinks the music business is in trouble, this is not your answer-strewn anthology; but anyone who wants to believe music is healthy and driven by passions—some impossibly minute - all you need to keep the faith is perfectly bound and ready for consumption.

Paisley Elephant Breast Cancer Silk Scarf Vera Bradley

Pink and lime green paisley elephants, trunks raised in triumph and only the best luck punctuate the lush silk scarf from quilted bag’n'person effector Vera Bradley. As part of their ongoing charity effort for breast cancer research, the 30 inch square is adorned with the traditional pink bow and emblazoned with the call to elephontically correct arms: “Never forget.”
Worn around the neck, it is a snap of pink, green, white and blank on a conservative turtleneck or white blouse. Tied around a certain sized waist, it’s a belt of whimsy. Used as a headscarf or band, it brings gypsy bohemia to the preppy-core. No matter the what or the why - or even the who - this scarf is a jubilant adornment in the name of a universal threat to women of every stripe.


Pomarita Tequileria, many major American airports

It is better than decent tequila with a splash of pomegranate juice and liquor, and it is the sort of manufactured cocktail that seems more gag-inducing than thirst quenching. But there in the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, flight cancelled due to a blizzard, I needed something exotic, evoking climates far warmer than where I was… and it caught my eye.
Dubious at best, it more than delivered. As a shocking collision of fruit and alcohol, this is neither cloying nor chemical. Refreshing, tantalizing—and if you’re me, well worth the upcharge to have it made with the best tequila—which will not be nosebleed expensive in the least—they’ve got.

“Far and way, the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

Not just to do, but to believe… No one wants to be aimless, drifting, nor do they wish to labor at something trivial or unfulfilling. Rather than a passionless widgetmaker to be enlivened, emboldened by one’s pursuits. As the new year dawns, consider what makes you feel the most engaged, the most inspired—or even the most impactful. For sometimes it is the small kindness that makes someone else’s lives more that we reap the greatest rewards—and that is more than plenty, that is life’s greatest reward.

Truffle Kisses Hersheys

One of the classic chocolate renderings that is a slow-melting lump of basic pedestrian candy just got a whole lot more interesting. Inside a coating of timeless Hershey’s chocolate is a creamier, richer cocoa confection that melts in a puddle of truffle-like wonder. This is not going to make you forget Maison du Chocolate’s beyond sublime confections, but as something subtler in your grocery store check-out line, this is a quick fix sweet treat.


Stationary Bike

If the Byrds via Bob Dylan were right, “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” is a battle cry for the work-out limited. Whether it’s a knee injury or a back issue, this is a no strain way to get up your cardio and enhance endurance. Racing in place. Pedaling faster and faster. You can watch, read, dream or blaze to wherever you wish to be, no balance or handbrakes required.

Davey Jones Battery Toothbrush Oral-B

With an octopus for a bead and a peg for a leg, the “Pirates of the Caribbean” antihero is a formidable foe for our beloved Capt. Jack Sparrow, so imagine what a battery toothbrush from our good friends at Oral B will mean to common plaque? A pirate toothbrush, rendered with topographical detail, is the perfect dental insurrection. To start one’s day in pure rogue fashion, one need no more than the basic handful of shiver me timbers gusto shimmying a soft bristle brush back and forth across one’s enamel.

New Roses, New Roses anti-anxiety mantra

When it starts to be just a little bit too much, rather than knotting one’s stomache into 9 kind of sailor’s ties, take a moment to inhale, exhale, then embrace the above nonsensical mantra. What could be lovelier than new roses? New roses… fresh and blooming… imagine whatever color you like while you repeat those three syllables over and over like that’s all you need to be thinking about.

With visions of flowers swirling in your head, suddenly your smile shall return, a lightness descends and things aren’t so dire. Neurosis becomes new roses, sanity prevails and your visualization gets a massive dose of creative inspiration. New roses, new roses, new roses: a perfect battle cry for a new year!


Pomegranate Yogurt Greek God Yogurt

Thicker, creamier and with more active enzymes, the yogurt alone supersedes any competitor. But when you factor in the sublimely deep fuchsia-meets-crimson color of this creamy bit of calcium and yogurt cultures, flavored with one of nature’s best antioxidant sources. If the smoothness of the high quality substance wasn’t enough, Greek God’s commitment to natural ingredients lends extra nutritional punch. Oh, and it’s delicious. Who knew that which is good for you can taste good, too?

Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life Steve Martin

A humble book, Martin’s autobiography traces relationships with paramours, influences and his own doubt, offers an often self-deprecating examination of his slow arc and unwillingness to do the obvious and without preaching suggests much about what makes comedy work. A self-skewerer from way back, Martin was a sports arena selling out phenomenon who’s gone on to star in serious films, write acclaimed plays, offer adroit commentary in The New Yorker and live a life beyond the spotlight’s glare. If not forthcoming about the why and how of his life now, this journey is well-turned and -told, a gospel of one of the greatest stand-up, situation and sketch comics of the past three decades.

Beauty Elixir Spray Caudalie

Part toner, part serum, part hydration, mist it on, feel the moistness, the plumping, the tightening. In a world of never enough benefits, this is a wonder do-all with a sense of instant refreshment, pore-minimizing and radiance revealed. Working from grapes as their base ingredient, Caudalie has fashioned a line of antioxidant, skin nurtutring beauty products that moisturizes, corrects and enhances. Spray it on, feel reinvigorated and ready to take on a whole other day. Refrigerated, it gives you a whole new life in those moments you most need it.

“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” 
         ——Emily Dickinson


Life is right now. No substitutes, no time-outs. There is an immediacy if you’re paying attention that makes it mean more… challenges us to dig in and realize it’s our turn on the merry-go-round. Look around, understand you will not pass this way again. With that sort of unique perspective, the sweetness - like cream - rises to the top.

Boys Who Are Bold

They reach out. They do what moves them. They don’t think of the consequences. They just are. And in their grounded execution of desire, there’s no spilled milk or tears. To come from the truest place, to arrive at one’s destiny, sometimes boys must be bold.

Silk Long Underwear

Light as a whisper. Practically unaware that it’s being worn. The pants run down your legs, holding in the warmth. The long sleeved v neck stays close to the body, creating a second insulating skin that keeps the chill from being a problem. In ballerina pink, it is almost like a nude two-piece dermis enhancer… and when the wind blows, the thin little bit of cloth changes everything. Revolutionary without trying.

Asour Ossau Iraty

A slightly pungent, firm goats milk cheese that suggests the nosiest Swiss, this is the perfect tang to punctuate browned butter pasta dish or create a gold top to one’s quiche with a few passes across a coarse grater. A bit exotic, yet utterly consumable. Body, full flavored and the headiest chewiness. For something that’s not the basic cheese plate, but not so strong, so stinky, so oozy, runny that it takes an act of gustorial courage or—depending on how you look at it—idiocy. Let the adventure begin.

The Patriots v. the NY Football Giants Saturday, Dec. 29

16 and O. Not since the 1972 Dolphins has a team gone undefeated for an entire season. These are the moments where a team who is beyond being in the zone reach out, show us what is possible. For Tom Brady, the man who Giselle Bundchen calls “Daddy” and actress Bridgett Moynihan calls her “Baby Daddy,” has distinguished himself as an athlete of the highest order… and this is his blazing moment. For New York, it is in the hands of Manning dynasty middle son Eli. Even me, the girl who knows naught of the pigskin, recognizes the potency of this moment. All eyes shall watch greatness in action.

Black & White Pictures

There is an elegance to black and white photographs that raises the stakes. Only gray to provide depth and shading, a gravitas emerges from the works of Walker Evans, the news stills of Bill Campbell, the sweeping landscapes of Ansel Adams. But even now, in a world of Technicolor full immersion, there is a quietness, a solemnity to black and white that implies much while adding no outside elements.
If you want to capture someone’s essence, this is the way to do it. Ditto the world around us. Even the inanimate takes on a sense of being shot without the various shades and tones of the rainbow. Start looking around; you’ll be shocked what you see.

Three-Way Clean Protein Sheen Hair Care Rique

Cleanse. Reconstruct. Moisture. All-natural haircare that smells more than vaguely tropical, this moisture enhancing three item hair regimen suggests easy living and carefree times. With the pledge “Our products are only tested on musicians,” Rique—the man who died Rosanne Cash’s hair eggplant and cut Emmylou Harris’ storied locks—brings out the best in what’s on your head with one small extra step and no appreciable trick to the execution.
In a toxic world of too many chemicals, atmospheric dangers and stressed hair from overstyling, this is the antidote to the madness. To see lather so rich… hair shafts noticeably stronger and plumper… overall texture silky and smoother… that’s what Rique products can do. All you have to do is order.
So much happens in the 365 days it takes to travel around the sun. In thus rush to get up, keep up, go, do, it is easy to not savor the moments as they happen. But that doesn’t mean that the accomplishments, lessons and emotions should be lost or left behind. Take a moment to marvel at all that happened. Square back your shoulders, consider all that was learned, embraced, cast off or even taken from you… not to settle any scores but to recognize what an amazing being you are.

Reflecting on the Year That Was

Take a moment… before it’s all over… to think about all that happened, all you achieved, all you let slip away. Sometimes the losses—of a bad habit, a paramour who gave far less than received, perhaps a job that was ill-suited—can be a major pain, and just maybe what was gained—a sense of peace, an awareness of some aspect of life or nuance of feeling—is worth far more than it’s appraised value might indicate.
So much happens in the 365 days it takes to travel around the sun. In thus rush to get up, keep up, go, do, it is easy to not savor the moments as they happen. But that doesn’t mean that the accomplishments, lessons and emotions should be lost or left behind. Take a moment to marvel at all that happened. Square back your shoulders, consider all that was learned, embraced, cast off or even taken from you… not to settle any scores but to recognize what an amazing being you are.

Beatnik Cocktail

Start with an ounce and a half of Knob Creek or Bullet Bourbon, an ounce and a half Averna Amaro, which is an Italian aperitif that is part herbal, more orange and finish it with a half ounce of Yalumba Galway Pipe tawny port. Shake and strain like any martini. Garnish with an orange twist. Instant fabulosity, no waiting.  
Or to be even more fabulous you can have Terry Raley, the originator, spin one up for you any Tuesday through Saturday at Ombi Restaurant on Elliston Place in Nashville. After all, how often can the master shake, chill, then serve you?

Coming Down Anders Osborne

Languid is not a word to describe most records, yet the sultry fetid nature of the way melody hangs and drips from Anders Osborne’s thick vocal chords—recalling no less than a less phlegmy fellow Nawlinser Dr. John—it is the only word that applies. To languish in grace, to savor the senses and details that he draws from the moments and revelations is to experience the core of Coming Down, a phunky, swampy delight of singer/songwriter confessionalism.

Whether it’s the quietly redemptive blessing counting of “Lucky One,” the detail-strewn joyful/elegiac “Oh Katrina,” the undulating “Summertime in New Orleans” or the seekingly hopeful title track and “When I’m Back On My Feet,” this lulling meditation on the most intimate tides of one man’s life, ability to love and world he lives in is as inspiring as it is lulling. To put on, to drown quietly, to be pulled from the rushing shore of right now, right here, hurry up is to be returned more grounded, aware and willing. Not just a gratifying musical experience (which it is), but just as importantly, a charm bracelet of glistening life lessons that don’t preach only show the power of will, the heart and recognition.