The Yummy List


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

December 2008

Warming Fried Pies, B-12 Shots, 3rd Law of White Fang + Disquiet, Please

Orgasm Nail Polish, NARS

Not quite peach. Not exactly pink. Somehow more succulent than flesh. Won’t call it pearl or iridescent, yet there is some shimmer to it. Matching NARS’ legendary blush - so named for cheek enhancing flush that comes naturally, this nail lacquer has a certain low impact beckon that sends the mind trotting off after far more intriguing daydreams.

Just the sort of “you shouldn’t have” indulgence that marks the truly savvy extravaganter.

“Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…” Sundance Channel

He of the wry dry Brit wit. A master musician who can write a slicing lyric that falls ironic, poignant, biting or euphoric. When he hosted “Letterman” several years ago, his brains and curiosity proved to be a winning combination - and now the Sundance Channel is providing Declan McManus with an outlet that reminds viewers what truly great chat - versus the pimp’n'puff of many talk shows - can be: stimulating, provocative and informative.

With guests starting with Elton John, the season’s first guest, not only do you get someone who understands the creative process exploring likeminded performers’ realities, this is about trolling the best of pop culture at the source. Plus, there’s enough spontaneous performing to make it a must-watch. Oh, If only the networks are taking notes - and expanding upon the market researched nuggets that belie any sense of intellect or subtly that currently passes as meaningful interaction.

Dada Candle, Cire Trudon

Tea and vetiver shot through with crushed mint and eucalyptus, there is something about Dada candles that wakes you up, but leaves you almost too aware. Nothing is lost in the moment, You are alert, you are engaged, you are willing - and perhaps like its name there is a surrealism to the moment that is bohemian yet somehow more elegant than mere gypsy living truly is.

From a centuries old French candle-maker, this is the reinvention of the line - and all 12 scents are equally complex, equally enthralling. Scent of the Moon, Marrakech Market, Pondicherry. You get the notion. Barneys New York carries some of the candles; but Cuffs in Chagrin Falls, Ohio not only carries the complete line, they are slated to receive the 6 news scents about to debut—and they have the poetry to make you understand how they smell even by phone, (440)-247-2828.

A splurge that will invoke spells in your home for months.

Michael Heaton

All great daily newspapers have writers who aren’t just voices, they’re the very cell structure of the city. These are writers who not only root out the most interesting stories and illuminate the smallest details, the ones that really define the story, but their view speaks volumes about the place they live and the people who make that place their home.
Michael Heaton - the son of The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s legendary sportswriter Chuck Heaton - is one of the very best of this exceptionally rare breed. He can ferret out the humanity, recognize heroism in the daily grind, celebrate the special things that go unseen and ground his readers to the nobility of a proud city that won’t fold. That his past - People to The San Francisco Chronicle - is far vaster than his current home is testimony to his passion for the soil his roots are cast in, and also witness to the quality of the work he delivers.

A must read. If only to remember the bravura aspects of any hometown.

To take trauma and put it into song is a recycling proposition that heals. Violence of any kind… physical, sexual, emotional, even witnessing… can be exorcised through music… and to that end Robin Lane, of the ‘70s rock group Robin Lane & the Chartbusters, has found a way to make pain into something far more beneficial to the world at large - and offer the people who need it a place to bury the bad that has happened.

In a world of trauma, ghosts, nightmares and horrible memories, A Woman’s Voice offers programs to help make the transition from receptacle to recycler - and in that some very meaningful freedom can be found. Whether you need the help, know someone who does - or just want to give something back to the thousands of women everywhere who suffer without anyone knowing, this is an incredible place to start.

Just Call Me Crazy, Lee Ann Womack

If Waterford was to distill a voice, it would be this one: pure, sparkling, riddled with light. But where high end crystal can be heavy and shatter, Lee Ann Womack’s voice is crisp and - and capable of riddling the hardest hearts with some kind of laser vision that sees the pain, the hope the once was beneath the armor. For Womack, heartache is her canvas - and when that angel’s voice flutters around the shipwreck if a marriage endured (“Either Way”), the slinky down-on-her-luck of a loser’s lounge (“Solitary Drinkin’”) or the recognition that demons aren’t always seen (“I Think I Know,” which chronicles the Achilles heels of Keith Whitley, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams - and it’s not what you’d think).

With a jeweler’s eye, she recognizes raw gems and knows how many facets to cut into something, be it the almost Bakersfield romp of “The King of Broken Hearts,” the hushed sweetness of “The Bees” or the innocent shine of inspiration “I Found It In You.”  Yes, the Grammy-nominated “Last Call” is a Wurlitzer wonder, but this Tony Brown-produced classic harkens back to the classic country that falls somewhere between vintage Tammy Wynette and Emmylou Harris’ progressive honky tonk beginnings.

“Through repetition, the magic will be forced to rise.” an Alchemical precept

To conjure. To coax. To create. It is never as simple as “Poof!” no matter how many movies or Grimm’s fairy tales you embrace. Magic comes from the margin beyond knowing you can… It comes when the mastery isn’t the issue, but what lies beyond.

Rather than giving up, press in, press on. Breathe and relax into it. Let go. Hang on gently. Keep applying what you know. Exhale. Marvel as the magic appears…. Effortlessly. Believe. Know it all come.

Shutters, Santa Monica, CA

Rarely does a hotel meet, let alone exceed the hype. And then there is Shutters, on a quiet street where Pico falls into the sand. It is comfortable in a beachy way that doesn’t shriek tropics, but more British colonial and unfiltered sunlight - and the fire is the lobby, the heavy wood furniture and periwinkle and muted turquoise touches evoke a feeling of almost return-to-womb calm/ Luxe without being ostentatious, the touches are the mark of old money ramble.

Guests rooms have consoles with books - about yoga, French expressionism, architectural movements, ailing vessels, Isadora Duncan - as well yoyos and leather balls for juggling, sea shells and yes, modern entertainment options that allow for DVDs, I-Pods, Spectra vision. With a multi-head stall shower and a deep whirlpool bath with jets that truly unwind and relax, not to mention mini bars filled with exclusive personal products, wonderful wines and comfort snacks of a most decadent order, this is the white framed cottage with ocean views you’ve always dreamed of and never seemed to locate.

Andy Warhol’s Tiffany Christmas

Before he was “Andy Warhol,” the sociological iconoclast, the Pittsburgh artist was a whimsical illustrator and window dresser who’s sense of folly created a series of Christmas cards and illustrations for many of Manhattan’s high end department stores. Tiffany’s creative director John Loring delves into the archives for this exquisitely turned little book - delivered in its own little slipcase - that is pastels, ribbons, filigreed illustrations of ornaments, doves, holly, reindeer and plenty of gaily wrapped gifts.

To get a sense of the once upon a time spirit of the season, this is an art quality reproducing of Warhol’s designs. Jubilant, joyful, iconic and redolent with the talisman’s that marked 50s and mod Christmas past! As a little taste of Tiffany for the impossible to shop for, this is the way to get that blue wrap with the silky white signature bow… A hostess gift nonpareil.

Lotta Love: Grass Roots Acoustica Dec. 13, Talking Stick Coffee Lounge, Venice, CA

She was the one and only real true Rumba Girl - and when Nicolette Larson passed away, America lost a true idyllic spirit, world class harmony singer (see Neil Young’s best acoustic work, as well as the Doobie Brothers Minute by Minute and the Dirt Band’s smoky pop “Make A Little Magic”) and exuberant songstress who could swing from the effervescence of Young’s “Lotta Love” to the Louvin Brothers’ angstgrass “Angels Rejoiced” or J.D. Souther’s sorrow-drenched “Last In Love.”

December 13th in Venice, her spirit lives on with Mark Islam’s annual memorial edition of Grass Roots Acoustica featuring friends (Rosemary Butler), fans and even her daughter Elsie Mae Larson Kunkel. To see her songs take light is a reminder that singers transcend the mortal coil - and their charm continues for those who remember. On a night like this, Nicolette Larson is impossible to forget.

Fall/Winter Menu, Sunset Grille

Heavy on the roots vegetables, the slow cooked meats, the hearty grains. This is more than comfort food, this is soul cooking with subtle shades of spices, herbs and unlikely sauces. Whether it’s the milk braised pork roast, the baby Swiss cheese potatoes gratin or the slow roasted brussell sprouts and carrots, a very few ingredients go an incredibly long way to not just sustaining, but warming the soul as well as the tummy.

“The Wrestler”

Touted as Mickey Rourke’s “comeback vehicle,” is this bracing, at times brutal portrayal of a fighter long past his prime, needing not just stay in the game, but win in a world where he’s outmoded a metaphor for Rourke’s own celebrated contretemps? Chris Nashawaty’s brilliant Entertainment Weekly profile is as candid and wide open as feature reporting can get and tendered with a great deal of style.

Meanwhile, Rourke was one of his generation’s true lights - brighter, more intense than Sean Penn, more aggressively erotic and coild than Nicholas Cage - before the booze, drugs and a tumultuous love affair reduced him to chunking out B faux thrillers to get by. After an extended foray into boxing, which like “The Wrestler,” was truncated by physical need, he returns with his gift not just in tact but more front, center and wrenching than ever. Gritty, hard to watch, raw and vulnerable, it marks not just a phoenix turn, but a probably Oscar nomination.

Car Coats

They are not long enough to be a proper coat, they cover the entire trunk. Jauntily swinging as you make your way down the street, a car coat keeps the body warm without encumbering the girl on the move - and has far more style than a mere jacket. To look polished, pulled together - and honestly, to have the most versatile of outerwear - the car coat has a sophisticated pluck that goes anywhere.

“Believe there are no limits, but the sky.” Cervantes

Yes, he gave us the ultimate tilter at windmills, Don Quixote. But more importantly, he threw open the window and gave us permission to leap into whatever might be out… there. For it is in the vastness that the big dreams lie; and why not for us? To refuse to be bound by superimposed notions is the first step to reaching for the impossible that becomes all the more likely because you were willing.

In this season of giving, festivity, presents and celebration, what greater gift can there be?


his is going to sound… crazy… until you think about it. In a world of bikini, Brazilian and various topiary variations on “the hair down there,” unless your personal misogyny includes a complete and total bare where legs join the trunk, this is just one more way of framing the game. Aside from truly allowing the carpet to match the drapes, Betty offers you a walk on the wild side: fuchsia, teal, holiday green or red…

Necessary? No. Hilarious? Yes. Possibly a whole new way to consider grooming? It’s all about your imagination. As outrageous… or demure as you wanna be… Made with all natural ingredients, Betty was created for that most sensitive - and responsive - of regions. Over 100,000 served, and still counting!

Les Pellerins de Lafon Rochet

Named for the pilgrims who pass through the Chateau Lafon-Rochet vineyards in Saint-Estephe on their way to the burial place of St. James in northern Spain, Les Pellerins de Lafon Rochet has that sun and earth merging flavor that is dry, but full. The more air it gets, the deeper the flavors - and that sense of the vine brings the grapes a groundedness that is pure essence. How often can a glass of wine seem to tell you the story of a region, to give you a sense of the verdance, the warmth of the summers, the sweetness of the rain? Indeed, how many bottles of wine are imagination uncorked?

And so, this right bank Bordeaux offers a splurge with abundant possibility. Let it breathe and fly.


For a time, it was all the rage. A fold-over board game of moving round discs around attenuated half diamonds. Jumping one’s opponents or sending them to the netherworld of between the halves, requiring doubles and an open space to get out. It was a game that could draw you in, create evenings spent in civilized competition, expansive conversations and low impact intellectual engagement.

Everyone was playing it. And then… no one. But the simplicity of the game is just as satisfying as ever. Indeed, it is strategy and patience and the roll of the dice and the second hand sweeping away the hours. If you’ve not played in a while, get your backgammon set out and be amazed.

Soul Searching: The Journey of Thomas Merton, Morgan C. Atkinson

The companion to a documentary about the Catholic mystic demi-zen monk, this is a holy exploration of now just who, but how a man with all the venal faltering places emerged as one of the most charismatic thinkers of modern Catholicism. Based in Gethsemane, Kentucky, this was a religious thinker whose take on his faith and God’s realm bordered on the full-immersion passions that defined St Therese Lisieux

Though in many ways a restrictive faith, often bent to an unyielding bastardization by doctrine and dogma, Merton’s explorations went far afield conventional Vatican thought - and there is a transformative quality to his vision that makes the original vein of Christianity not just inclusive, but thrilling. For anyone who has lapsed, wondered or doubted the power of what being Catholic can mean, this is a wonderful volume - which offers underpinnings to Merton’s own myriad writings—to consider.

B-12 Shots

The stuff of Elvis legend. The quick little pick-me-up. The grown-ups’ booster shot and exhausted rock star’s helper. But in this rush-rush, go-go-get’em world, the difference between sick and staying healthy may well be fortifying the system. And B vitamins go straight to the central nervous system, imbuing clarity and eradicating the gitchiness of the overly tired.

Everyone has those batten down the hatches drives to the finish. When you just gotta get it done and can feel the fade fading, that’s the time to brace yourself. Because in this high-stress, turbo-germ world, the difference between getting through and remaining healthy may be as simple as one quick old school injection.

Santa Pub Crawl: Dec. 13, starting at 8:30 at the Beer Seller in Nashville, TN

Leave it to the free spirits on the “other side of Music City”! Not just the opportunity to meet friends, make new acquaintances and drink, they’ve come up with a sensory overload of truly Santacular proportions. It is an over-the-river-n-through-the-(neighbor)hood proposition, but it’s only open to people sporting the Santa suit or doing a reasonable proximity of Mrs. Klaus in her Polar best.

Given both the caliber of downtown Music City and East Nashville quaffage holes and the zeal of the locals for concept art, this should be the sort of thing that will offer inspiration to mall Santas, hope to the beleaguered who’ve relinquished the joy of Father Christmas and optical overload to the Scrooges who just wish it would all go away. With Santa suits on sale at many local drugstores and discount retailers, why watch when you can be part of the jocular revelry? Short of 8 tiny reindeer, what else could provide such a sight?

Black Honey Almost Lipstick, Clinique

There’s a reason some things are perennial. Clinique’s Almost Lipstick packs so much moisture, it’s almost better than chapstick - and leaves your lips feeling fresh and full rather than parched and papery. Year in and year out, Black Honey has been a best-seller, because its dark enough to show up, with just enough burgundy to make it feminine and brown enough to seem professional.

If you’re gonna have one tub of something in your purse, this is the stuff that works wherever you’re heading: the office, the gym, errands or out on the town. Minimal investment, major polish.

Battered Onion Rings

Buttermilk- or beer-based batter, there is nothing like thick rings of onion coated with a thick layer of batter, quickly fried and rendered moist, but chewy. Like fried chicken only more pungent, battered onion rings are crisp and evokes some forbidden thing that only you and Grandma knew about. Certainly nothing nutritionally charged, and yet some things you do just for your soul…

Confirmation bias

We want to be right, to be validated. As the information cycles tighten, reporting gets more about sizzle and exploiting sex and fear, the pundits are louder and leaning into shouting opposing views down, it gets harder to hear the truth within the bombast. And it’s frightening to consider a world out of control or reported to support a desired end result - be it ratings, influence or a hurried harried overworked staff being spun by the sources - that bastes us in the sense that we’ve done our homework more than we’re pawns to what we hope to believe.

This is a world where the information can reinforce the way we wish to see ourselves, No matter where or how, someone will sell us a truth that supports our definition of compassion, morality, decency… and a way to mitigate those inconvenient dissenters. To find the truth may mean jettisoning our blind faith in not just what we know, but where we get it, truly realigning our moral compass and seeking a true level against the horizon - because confirmation bias makes us feel safe in the chaos, but ultimately is the toxic pushback that has destroyed so much of everything this nation was built on.

“Slumdog Millionaire”

Bollywood has been the fancy of serious film lovers since long before the Merchant Ivory costume and serious script sagas became a mark by which other periods films were measured. Now - with the Mumbai terror in full focus - comes “Slumdog Millionaire,” a small film about a poor boy who “makes it” the old-fashioned way: winning big on a game show.   

Celebrity. Wealth. New horizons. Old friends. Sorting it out. Values that bulge and retract. Not quite a morality play, but certainly a film that is clear even in the ridiculousness it sometimes casts for commentary. A small budget. A cast you’ve never seen. A reason to know the best movies come from unexpected places.


For those who aren’t afraid of what might… who are enraptured with what could… In a world of people who go to work every day, there are those who want something bigger - and they know they gotta start somewhere. This isn’t a how-to, but there’s plenty of practical advice for how to make it happen, what you need to know, resources worth exploring, ways you don’t want to go astray.

It is profiles of those who’ve started something successful. It is business- filling voids. It is the recasting of almost into oh yeah. And in all of those pieces, there are truths to extrapolate and apply to wherever it is you wanna go. A small little book that ain’t glossy, but packs more practical punch than the fantasy play for those of us trying to get that first million than the Fortune 500 ever will.

Find Your Way Home, The Women of Magdalene a Becca Stevens

They were hookers, junkies, castaways—and they were beautiful. Beautiful in the eyes of God, and those who choose to see the God in them. Such a person was Episcopal priest Becca Stevens, who started the Magdalene House and then Thistle Farms, a company that makes organic bath and beauty products, to help transition women off the streets and into society.

This tiny volume is the collected wisdom of many of these women, structured to reflect the precepts that guide their lives. It is simple truth, grounded in lives that have been fought for, yet surrendered in love to a love greater than anything most of us have known. There is philosophy, grit, faith and especially grace. It is an easy read that will make you more, indeed, that will set your spirit to live out loud and in compassion on fire. 24 Rules that will change your life, bring miracles and fill your heart—all in a beautiful palm sized paperback.

Zelda in the Hole

I could hear her breathing, just like some bad hair band ballad. The inhale, the exhale, the rising and falling of her little spaniel body. But she was nowhere to be seen… and yet, like some mother hard-wired to her child, I could sense her, feel her breathing there in the darkness. But not on the bed… nor under the window… or the hall… or the bathroom on the tile.

Finally, turning on the light, there she was. Tucked into a small space between the bed and the big chair, trapped by the ottoman she uses to leap onto the comforter. She’d obviously wiggled in her sleep, slipped and landed in this perfect Zelda-sized space, and comforted by the closeness of the space, slept on - dreaming of bunnies and chipmunks and little bits of filet. Little Zelda, dreaming and dreaming and smiling wherever she romped in her sleep… and groggily grateful when I scooped her up and put her back in the bed with me.

Dancing with the Muse, Alex Bevan

This is - for the most part - a quiet record. A man, a guitar, some lovingly etched songs as much about his native Northern Ohio as the passages and hallways of his own heart. A facile finger-picking, he crewels his melodies in a way that casts webs, sparkling with single note diamonds, and propelled by columns of chords. And for anyone who lived or learned anywhere in the Buckeye State from the mod-70s on this live from the Kent Stages recording is a wonderful bit of utterly sweet nostalgia.

But for the people who’ve never heard Alex Bevan, this is a kaleidoscope of heroic tales of regular people (the college grad who chases silver buckles in “Rodeo Rider,” the NYC street saxman “Jazzbo”), pure love that we all want (“Carey Come Smiling,” “Grand River Lullaby”), yearning that pulls us (“Silver Wings,” the benediction for local folkie pioneer John Bassette “Welcome Home”) and mirth that comes with a wink and a giggle (“Streamline,” the sardonic “Skinny Little Boy (From Cleveland, Ohio)”). It is how songs move at the ends of one’s fingers that can cast our own wings to the sky - and this is one unseen troubadour who knows how to help the more earthbound amongst us fly.

Big Fat Snowflakes

So big, falling like feathers. Disappearing on contact with streets not quite cooled off enough to support them. Stacking up like mountains of down and pillows exploding across fields that have been waiting in the fall chill for their blanket of thick velvet white. It is a muffled silence that is as big as the night, wrapping the world in some kind of promise of renewal.

Big fat snowflakes float almost weightless, suspended in the air. Gentle and grand and covering that which may or may not have a story with a blank clean coat of whatever might be. As it accumulates, quickly and thickly, anything is possible.

Wastrel (noun)

It looks so sexy, like those nip-waist ‘40s suits that made the women all seem like sirens and femme fatales. And that is the beauty of perhaps the season’s most damming epithet. For in times like these, the squanderous, the compulsive acquisitor, the wildly must have is the mark of someone who obviously missed the economic memo.

And even better, the word wastrel comes with a side order of lazy. You can read that as entitled if you fancy. But certainly it reeks of someone who doesn’t work for what they expect. Qu’elle fantastique! To damn and make it sound as tres charmante as possible. Because sometimes telling the truth can have an arc all its own.

Scarf/Wrap, Moksha

Natural fibers loomed into a chunky funky cloth that is as much about its nubby texture as it is the wool that keeps you warm. Dyed to flaming intensity, the colors practically lap off the oversized scarf or reasonable wrap - stopping you with the brilliant lime green, the genuinely shocking fuchsia, the pink that’s saturated to brilliance. Working palettes ranging from the Lilly Pulitzer Technicolor pastel to earthy lavenders and browns or almost glowing rusts and coppers, Moksha is giving organics a sense of flash, flair and joie de vie.

Third Law of White Fang

When you’re needing to do something out of town, find an expert. And go to where the experts are. Don’t rely on well-intentioned friends - or worse blind internet referrals or local florists Telefloral networks. If it’s a florist, a restaurant, dry cleaner or similar well-heeled service, find a good (preferably best) hotel and ask for the concierge.

Do not rely on those whose business it’s not to know. Unless they are so well-heeled and impossibly refined, it is their lifeblood and a matter of inhaling. When you’re spending the money, don’t be taken advantage of by people who will never see your face, my mother would say dryly, because they do not care and they like their profit margin. It is a sad commentary, and yet, as time rolls by, the third law of white fang has always held true…

Disquiet Please, David Remnick & Henry Finder, Editors

A collection of The New Yorker’s comedic essays. The sort of bright witty writing that has been part and parcel of the storied literary and cultural weekly since the hallowed days of Dorothy Parker. Embracing David Sedaris among other names you may not know, but will love and laugh to, the writing is tight, at times biting, quietly humorous to out-loud funny - and it comes in that erudite, lofty scraping style that has defined The New Yorker well over a hundred years. At a time when our lips need to curl up far more than down, this is a thinking person’s respite and a common reader’s relief.

Warming the Fried Pies

The ultimate truck stop delicacy: fried dough wrapped around some kind of chemically-suspended fruit notion (except the chocolate pudding sorta) filling. Deep fried, sometimes sugar glazed, then racked for the illusion of home cooking. Don’t seem like much in that garish printed wax paper, but put a fried pie in a slow oven and watch that fruit filling become less artificial tasting, the crust become crisper and flakier. Shake a bit of cinnamon on top… maybe a squeeze of lemon or cocoa powder… and you have yourself the commonest exotic of the season.

Maria Bertran

Bold brush strokes heavy with oil. Maria Bertran is a woman whose passion falls straight onto the canvas, pouring sunlight, old walls, vast field, thatched roof Southern France cottages and a myriad of flora. Her flowers - single stems and complex arrangements - are petals bursting with color, nuanced and wildly alive; her trees weightlessly wipe across cerulean skies and reach for clouds that float beyond the seeming gravity of mortality.

Chunkier than Georgia O’Keefe, more evocative than Gauguin, this makes Impressionism far more literal - and fauvism cast in a way that can be experienced. As an artist who paints on location and watches the light frolic and migrate, she captures the scenery that captures her imagination at its headiest and fixes that perfection forever.

La Cachette Galleries, 18 E. Orange Street, Chagrin Falls, Ohio

“Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid”

Redford and Newman as outlaws who were as much about the sport of it as the conquest. High spirits, lots of laughs, one hot babe and yes, heists and gunplay. But this wasn’t violence or rampaging for the pornography of it, but more a tale of two men whose lives merged and expanded by virtue of their collective dynamic. With an unlikely dynamic and lust for living, they break the laws that rule the conventional - and get their just reward, but even then they go out blazing.

Tautly written, this is an object lesson in the power of great dialogue - a lost art in today’s world of big budgets and sagging SAT scores. Visually luscious in a sepia toned way, it is a friend film between men who aren’t afraid to flaunt the rules and are willing to die by a code of honor that’s loftier than those who hide behind the law of the land. To see the spark of a young Robert Redford, who was adorable, and the zen stillness of the sage that is Paul Newman at his second - and still young - career apex is a reminder of what is possible if only we’ll reach a little higher.

Cantaloupe White Tea, Gypsy Zhena Teas

It is the delicious manifestation of seeds and stems - as well as leaves and buds. A lumpy, chunky mess of organic matter that recalls nothing so much as the detritus of one’s garden in fall, but it yields a subtle, slightly sweet, definitely earthy pot of tea. With all the antioxidant power of green tea without the whang, Cantaloupe White has a delicate flavor that hints at fruit without being cloying and suggests the tannins that make tea so intriguing without making one’s empty stomach spin. A perfect gentle wake-up or afternoon pick-up that won’t boomerang with night-time restlessness.

Ferdinand The Bull

All he wanted to do was smell the pretty flowers. A bull of peace. A gentle creature who loved nature and sunshine, and not one for the anger and flash that was what made the matadors’ hero. And so, Ferdinand failed as a bull, mocked as a sissy and treated as something other than the mucho gusto specimen. Until the bee.

A story that holds for grown-ups as much as the children it was intended for. A parable about the intersection of fate and serendipity, the way accidents can have a manifest destiny to them - and a happy ending to what is perhaps traumatic, absolutely unforeseen. In that, there is the freedom to be without the pressure of get it, get it, get it. Honor your truth, live in the moment - and like Ferdinand, smell those pretty flowers.

Chex Mix Snack Bars

Oh, sure… the label says “whole grain.” Whatever! If it’s salty, sticky, sweet you’re craving, this is the answer to your dilemma. The chocolate chunk is a little less gooey; the turtle a bit more buttery chewy. All are plenty salty with that Chex Mis zing that made it Grandma’s savory secret weapon when you wanted something, but just didn’t know what…

Probably nutritionally bankrupt, but that’s not the reason for something like this. Is it?

You wanna know what they really said? Well, this is a good place to start. The pointed. The controversial. The smart. The inspiring. You need a little jolt of how it is or why it matters. A one stop pop of voices that aren’t afraid to make a point. Every now and then a central clearinghouse of reality-based reality pops up, and this is one of those no-nonsense, less triple-talking refuges.

Just know you gotta be strong enough - agree or dissent—to swallow it whole.

“The Old Valley Road”      Bruce Hornsby & the Range

He has won a Grammy for the high octane bluegrass recasting on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s genre-melting country-based Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Vol 2 and reprised it with Ricky Skaggs along with a wildly unlikely cover of Rick James “Superfreak” on the pair’s collaborative CD, but Bruce Hornsby’s song of smalltown Southern morality and what happens when hormones go awry is its most eloquent and utterly soulful in its original casting. With the piano having the room to expand and the always stellar range maintaining tension on the arrangement, the shame, the regret, the way everyone acts as if nothing ever happened - except the girl haunted by the ghost of what shouldn’t - ripples with a conviction the freneticism never quite matches.

As a gauge for double standards and deep denial, “The Old Valley Road” is pastoral perfection. Rolling, striding, moving like the time racing and standing still all at once at this desolate place of adolescent merging and the ghosts of innocence gone and bitterness that can never quite be tasted. We are all haunted by our choices, especially in the jagged moments, and this is a witness that’s charged with the electric wire that cuts without compassion.

Keeping the geraniums indoors

They say that they can’t come in, that the geranium isn’t suited to life in your home. Well, over a month into the “I just can’t let’em die” experiment, not only are my geraniums alive, they’re blooming better than ever. A small cluster of hottest fuchsia clumped up by my dining room window. A splash of color floating in the chill and the best of summer flowering with a gusto I’m not sure even my porch enjoyed. Bring’em in, Mircle-Gro’em and let’em live long into the winter and beyond.

Boom Box

Pale pale pink, like ballerina toe shoes, it is the most feminine-seeming thing in the world - and the little birds and ribbony banners reinforce that notion of girly to perfection. And then you look closer, see the skull, the giant Spike Lee “Do The Right Thing” looking ghetto blaster. World collide, there on a field of 100% cotton. You can have it both ways: prissy and urban, pretty and street, lovely and just slightly ghetto fab. With the curlicue details and the huge round speakers threaten to throb you away, this makes the beats and the dBs something for the girly girls who want more than anemic indie rock or over-accelerated teen pop.