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

May 2005

May 2005: Jack Nicklaus Retires, Spanish Phrases, Faygo & Real Country Singers


Jack Nicklaus Retires After 2005 British Open



This very weekend, the Jack Nicklaus plays at Muirfield Village, representing the last vestige of an age of uncommon grace in an ultimate gentlemen’s sport. Dignity was as much a touchstone of the Golden Bear’s dominance of the game of golf as deadly accurate iron play and an ability to roll putts directly to the edge of the cup—and for an icon of this magnitude to orchestrate a final tournament with the apropos tinge of the British Open at the Old Course at St Andrews, the mother church of golf, his sense of meaning remains perfect. We should all know when and how as clearly, for that way our meanings could be elevated rather than diminished with the inevitable passage of time.



be free where you are—Thich Nhat Hanh



The body of a talk given at the Maryland Correctional Institution at Hagerstown, Vietnamese activist/pacifist Hanh brings the notion of 
mindfulness down to a very digestible tome. Slightly larger than palm-sized, this 66-page book brings you into the practices of breathing, walking, working and eating in the present moment—and offers a simple reality check on our choices of response. Compassion leads to understanding leads to forgiveness—and if you follow Hanh’s quiet path, freedom from whatever binds you becomes attainable in very manageable, insanely humane steps. Mindfulness is everything, here it becomes inevitable.



Changes


Sometimes it’s just time. So many of us fear change, dread shifting, are concerned about the unknown variables. But there are two deals we miss in all of this: it’s inevitable—and it can be for the better if we just relax into it. Letting go of things no one can believe you would (if you truly do a strong moral inventory) only leaves room for things that’ll truly make you happy. Sign out, sign up, be excited rather than fearful.


Faygo


If Jello powder were effervescent, it would be Faygo Soda, the down low carbonated beverage that pulls every beyond natural fruit flavor one can imagine - and sets it on neon. The through your tastebuds full-immersion to pucker-inducing rendering of Peach, Pineapple and their ubiquitous Red Pop are the stuff of artificial tantric responses—and the fuse of how full-tilt the best of summer can be. Nothing like a window rolled down, a sweating bottle between your knees and the car radio at just beyond half-mast as the countryside rolls by.



Wallflowers Forest Room W Hotel 49th + Lexington



Why is it so easy to take a really good rock & roll band for granted? And what feels better than a band that can hit the curve, gun it and hold the arc? The Wallflowers write tight songs with smart hooks that’re big enough to avoid being dumb, lean into clean instrumentation that’s done its push-ups and maintain the tautness for Jakob Dylan’s ardent bray.
   With Rebel, Sweetheart out this week, the Wallflowers, now more than ever.



Laundry


The smell. The satisfaction. The warm clothes. When you want to get your grounding, feel anchored to your life, nothing does the trick quite like a few loads of clothes.



mucho nubes para su cabesa



About the dreamiest phrase I’ve run across in a long time—and utterly expanding on that Joe Ely franchise “Spanish Is A Loving Tongue.” Mucho nubes para su cabesa suggests pillowy, downy clouds in one’s head. Something to lull one into the utter placidity that draws one from the rush and into the serene contentment of a sweet day and deep slumber.


Big Boss Man—the Kentucky HeadHunters



Loose-jointed, but driving, the HeadHunters make good on the real truth of their promise—scraggly rock & roll that ain’t above its raising. So you have 12 country and rock classics given a full-throttle, brakes-failing whup-up, that finds Greg Martin lashing the time-honored relics with a relish that’s all barbed-wire and cat-o-nine tails and Doug Phelps has that wide-open growl that’s as nasal as bluegrass, but as swaggering as a good ole boy Robert Plant at his most straight-up. Just the way they drag “Honky Tonk Blues” is bruise-inducing, vocal-chord-bleeding swagger and libidinal pole-twisting with a long neck bottle and a whiskey back. 



“Okay, so you’re not perfect perfect, you’re just perfect.”
 —Janie Hoffman


It really is as simple as that: perfection is relative. We’re all exquisite in our own way. We can sweat the whatever we’re lacking—or celebrate the gifts we’re given. And those gifts are potent stuff. If we’ll just honor and acknowledge our own strengths and sparkles, there’s more than enough perfection for the house.


Robeworks Robes


Terry on the inside, silky whatever on the out. They have them at the spa at Vegas’ 4 Seasons (luxe, luxe), but they’ve also turned up at a couple hotels on the road. A warm nest with a soft exterior, it’s the best of both worlds, the cocoon that nurtures and the demi-decadence that your hands will run down as you get dressed or go to the sleepy place.



Nonviolent Communication—Marshall Rosenberg (Books on CD)


There are so very many ways to share what’s on your mind—and due to differences in communication styles, it’s amazing how often we end up not getting the other person to understand our needs. Indeed, it’s amazing how impactful understanding where the other person is can be; and again, the cavernous gap in communications can be chasmic.
   And so, in 4 CDs, with a gentle reassuring voice, Marshall Rosenberg—who’s initiated peace amongst warring African tribes where the stakes are much higher than mere ego—tells stories, illustrates paradigms and offers tools to connect instead of crash into the person you want to be in harmony with. Expanding one’s palette of tools to reach another is invaluable, and this creates a peace and a common ground in the chaos.
www.soundstrue.com



Danica Patrick


Who says women can’t drive? Teeny, tiny girl falls to 4th with 6 laps to go, sets record, kicks butt AND looks damn fine doing it! The Indy 500 is the Holy Grail of auto racing, and this 23-year old just showed the boys what a girl with a quick mind, mercury reaction time and a will to go fast can do!



Brewed Ice Tea


Not from a can. Not from an industrial strength supplier. Not instant. But By God Brewed and Steeped ice tea! Ain’t nothing like it. That crisp jolt of life on your tongue, that quick kick that doesn’t bite back, that essence of why they sailed to China so many years ago in search of the elixir of everything that makes one feel vital. With sugar (only 16 calories, save the Splenda for fat-free desserts) or lemon or just straight up over ice. Mmmmmmm.


Real Country Singers


Just damn and hellfire. Ain’t nothing like a full-on, tried’n'true, hardcore unapologetic hillbilly singer that’s got no aspirations except bending notes and making ‘em bleed. And there in the hall of the Grand Ole Opry was Daryle Singletary of the deep down holler-dragging baritone—as humble as a new morning, as country as pot likker’n'bisquits—that evokes Vern Gosdin’s most mellifluous, melted deep butterscotch on a stack of hoecakes voice.
   Singletary’s cut a record—and a damn fine one at that—that needs a home. He sounds as good or better than ever, and has jewels like “Bartenders & Jesus” that square the deal on where we go to unload. There’s fun, there’s frolic, sure, but there’s also a lot of four square solid country music, a commodity that’s all but extinct in the 6-1-5, though the kind prominently displayed on any old school juke joint jukebox worth its buzzin’ neon. Anyone looking for a copy—or an artist worth having—just hit reply.



Naked Body Butter Bliss


In spite of its name, there is absolutely nothing “adult” about Bliss Labs’ latest beauty product. What you get is their signature non-greasy deep-penetrating (no, STOP THAT) body moisturizer with no fragrance. So the deep nurturing for your flesh comes with all the rich emollients, but none of the perfume-clashing essence of whatever that is in their other equally yummy configurations of their tres-in-demand body cream. In an easily packed tube, this is the stuff the skin of dreams is made of.



Keeping Your Head Down


My sainted father John F Gleason Jr used to say “As in golf, as in life,” and it’s held truer than any conventional wisdom I’ve ever embraced. He also said, “If you wanna know a man, get him on the golf course” because one can’t hide their true nature, along with the ever-ready practice range admonition that spoke volumes about bigger picture conduct “Your fundamentals tell you everything about what you need to be doing.”
   So after a particularly troublesome trip to the driving range, it occurs to me the simplest law of life is the very thing I needed to remember: keep your head down. Just stay in your swing. Do what you know. Don’t even think. Just stay solid. Don’t waver. Your swing will be there. As John Gleason said, “As in golf, as in life” indeed.



Energymuse Jewelry


Heather Askinosie and Timmi Jandro came together in an unconventional way—and their partnership has brought the world gemstone jewelry that is more than lovely, it supports one’s spiritual self. Many contend that gems embody vibrational energy—and that with proper intention, one can actualize desired results. Certainly it’s what brought Jandro into a business whose pieces—dedicated to grounding, prosperity, creativity, focus, performance, peace, power, love and health—have been worn and adorned everyone from Anatomy of the Spirit author Caroline Myss to classical singer Charlotte Church, rocker Scott Weiland to actor Billy Zane. And if the higher consciousness isn’t what you’re after, the top quality lapis, jade, quartz, tourmalines and spare but pretty designs make these necklaces worth wearing for their sheer accessorability. 
www.energymuse.com or 866-NRG-GEMS



Airborne


Developed by a school teacher—where students are the conventional name for flesh covered Petri dishes—to avoid colds, flu, et al. Citrus flavored, high in natural immune boosters. Did one coming back from the Academy of Country Music Awards, following two weeks of no sleep, and actually didn’t get sick. Talk about a miracle! It’s not dreadful to take. It appears to be effective. It’s readily available. Perfect for anyone convinced there’s another, better way.

Webzen.org

   When you need something light to clear your mind, this site’s for you. The sheep-poking and haggis-hurling games alone are mind-melting tension releasers of the first order (think pogo stick livestock bowling and shuffleboard with hedgehog looking creatures). But this is also a creative hatch to open your mind up to non-linear thinking. 
   Mental grid lock is the enemy—and this can be the white flag that makes it all stop.



Voss

Maybe the cleanest tasting water I’ve ever drunk. Billed as Artesian Water from Norway, it sounds like one more hype for something essential, but Voss really is everything you want to believe pure mountain tastes like. Clean, sweet, delicious—and the cylindrical bottle is a perfect vase for Gerber daisies.



Grayson McCouch


With the cheek bones you can shave with and the steely gray eyes that seer into you, way too much life force jutting out of his pores, Grayson McCouch is a friend of a friend who fearlessly—and at times futilely—pursues what he wants. Still his passion for the quest and shamelessness in seeking without return is inspiring in its brashness, evoking—perhaps—Edie Sedgewick’s incandescence with more discipline, but just as intense firepower.


No Country For Old Men—Cormac McCarthy


In July, there will be a new book - after seven years - from the man who gave us All The Pretty Horses. It will be set in the West. It will have that lonely wind blowing through the tableaus that define character. It will remind us about life from the bone. And it will, no doubt, have been worth the wait.



Peonies


The ultimate burst of petals. The ultimate flower’s flower. Heavy-headed, leaning stems that can barely support the lushness of the blooms. Nothing is lovelier, or more breath-taking in the garden. 


Cumberland River From Overhead



Like a great big thick green snake from a South American folk story, the Cumberland turns and weaves throughout verdant Tennessee land—and it signals the fluidity and power of life’s blood. Languid, but moving. Thick, but liquid. And even from many thousands of feet, the kind of unspoken strength that cuts through without ever needing to rise up. Utterly inspiring.



Barbara Mandrell as Hottie



Doing arrivals with the “Sleeping Single In A Double Bed”/“I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool”/“Midnight Oil” diva at the Academy of Country Music Awards, it immediately hits you that this lady’s got game—and barrels of it. Old school, high class and utterly decent, yes, but watching the boys with their tongues hanging out—at Mandrell in her form-fitted, white net fishtailed Vera Wang gown—was enough to say “sexy knows no age.” Aquamarine eyes that sparkle, that turned under hair, that figure that could stop a clock. Young’uns, take a lesson!


Superbly Efficient Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant Kiehl’s


Using orange, lemon and linseed extract, this is skin conditioning, hair softening, sweat-slowing hygiene in a tube. It uses the dreaded aluminum chlorhydrate—but requires less actual product each day, so hopefully the collective damage is less. No scent. No sticky ucky feeling.


“Hope arouses, as nothing else can arouse, a passion for the possible.
 —William Sloane Coffin,

All you have to do is believe, with apologies to Tug McGraw. And take that belief to fuel your passion, then let your passion fire the work. Simple, yet everything. Starts with hope, ends with joy—and conviction, achievement, satisfaction for following your dream.


“Quincy” on DVD


As a baby rock critic in West Palm Beach, I scheduled my entire life around the 4 p.m. re-runs of “Quincy.” Editorial meetings, interviews, everything—if there was a way to get it done in time to be home for Jack Klugman as the coroner/detective, I would move heaven and earth to get there. Just the notion of true forensics—working from the ultimate end point—to understand what happened set my brain on fire, made me realize there are always paths to the answers and Jack Klugman was just the right amount wrinkled lived-in savvy schlep to delight my craving for common men who were so much more than they appeared to be.



Goldie: A Lotus Grows In The Mud


A most unconventional memoir. Goldie Hawn takes her golden sunshine persona and brings it, along with a lot more heart and truth that would be expected, and tackles life on her terms. Yes, there are famous names and moments that will titillate the bold-faced craving, but there’s a lot of compassion—for self and others—between the covers, and that may well be what makes this book matter more than its mere retelling of a sparkling celebrity life. Bravo to the girl most got to know as the giggle girl on “Laugh-In.”


Flatotel  52nd, bet. 6th & 7th


So nondescript, you could almost miss it—and hardly the sumptuous yummy high end New York business hotel one would expect. Yet the staff is incredible—whatever you need, they actually seem thrilled to help you—and the rooms (formerly condos and apartments) are bigger than most. My elongated corner not only had a view of the sun coming up 7th that almost ran the length of the room, but the oversized tub also had a window that allowed me to bathe in candlelight, while looking down on the sparkling streets of New York. 
   Large contingents of European travelers stay here as well, making the continental breakfast everything it’s supposed to be—and the lounge is quietly relaxed, but elegant enough to bring anyone to. In midtown, to get off the beaten path and not be so amped up from the adrenal seizure that is New York, this is worth noting.



Pacifica Nile Lily Candles


A friend lights them for low impact vibe in the studio, something that relaxes without mummifying, that eases the tension and heightens the good vibe—and there’s much to be said for setting the deep red tin can candles in rooms where interaction of the deepest connections are desired. They increase comfort, invite openness and prompt the comment, “ooooh, what is that?”
   Soy based, slow burning, but a bit floral—so if the florid makes one cringe, sniff before buying. But anyone who loves the way nature smells in bloom should be becalmed rather than annoyed.

Pineapple Juice and Dark Chocolate


Truly yummy; for the consumer and the consumed. If you have to ask, it probably goes double. So find the kick inside, enjoy with slow presence, trust that it’s working.


“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice w…

Swim toward your passion. Revel in your doubts, celebrate the beauty they hide. Whatever you’re brokered, if you yearn for it, reach out. How often are we afraid to want for not being enough? And who is to say what enough is? If it feeds your soul, stick figures are masterpieces if rendered with your heart.
   Make it about the journey, about self-exploration—and perhaps even growth. Let the critics (those voices in your head, the naysayers, the ones who won’t ever truly bother to try to understand) be damned.