The Yummy List


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

November 2008

The Buzzard, “Oui, nous pouvons,” 71 Chevelle, Studs Terkel

Holiday Shopping Edition

Outlaw Journalist: The Life & Times of Hunter S. Thompson, William McKeen

Disproving the old saw that “those who can’t teach,” University of Florida Journalism School chair William McKeen captures the how of the what of the mythic Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson of Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas ilk with compassion, reality and the willingness to consider the man beyond the myth - because Thompson’s myth was so large, it obscured the loyalty, perspective and awareness inside the drugging, drinking, hell-raisin’ journo-of-the-absurb.

Certainly an unconventional life, but also one of relentless consumption - of experiences, people, assignments as much as mind-alterers - there is pathos to the journey, well-researched and honoring the at-times strained truth of a man who took no prisoners, got swallowed by the caricature and wished to have made a meaningful mark on American letters. To hear his intimates, to consider the insight McKeen roots out is the mark of strong reporting. Fear & Loathing, indeed.

94% Fat Free Microwave Popcorn, Trader Joe’s

Guilty pleasure as healthily rendered as humanly possible. All natural ingredients, 130 calories per bag. When you crave something salty, something savory, 3 minutes on high, listen to the pop and you’ve got something warm to sate your hunger. Trader Joes = reasonable price, good quality, extravagance within reason. 6 packs to the box. Instant gratification - with or without home cinema experience.

Sugar Mountain, Neil Young

Five days before his 23rd birthday, Neil Young got onstage at Ann Arbor, MI’s Canterbury House for solo acoustic nights - in part to determine the viability of his solo career. The repertoire, in part drawn from his Buffalo Springfield tenure and part from his soon-to-be-released solo debut - both shimmers with the simplicity of Young’s beautifully molten   melodies and rivets lyrical sketches that capture fulcrum moments in a few lines.

There is a vulnerability to his spoken raps, that move from hilarity to the way it is when you’re young, gifted and sorting out life in 1968. Opening with the tugging “On The Way Home” and moving through “Expecting To Fly,” “The Loner,” “Birds,” “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing,” “The Old Laughing Lady” and “Broken Arrow,” the fragility of his reedy voice underscores the inherent greatness of his writing, the firefly-in-a-jar perfection of the moments and a raw intimacy most performers can’t withstand. In a world of utterly disposable wunderkind, Sugar Mountain makes the case for work of merit at an impossibly young age.

Harry Shearer’s Found Objects,

Salvaging unobserved moments from network newsfeed, throwaway video most people don’t bother with, comic raconteur and motion picture iconoclast Harry Shearer has pulled the façade of Katie Couric to great effect. But the beauty pageant “question segment” illuminates much of Sara Palin’s oratory greatness - and the off-air Laura Ingram and Ann Coulter demonstrate the ill-tempered vaginus dentatus reality that extends beyond their authoritative talking headedness.

When one needs a reality check about plastic anchors, facades and humanity, this is the place to debunk pseudo-perfection that’s brokered, though anything but real.

Jaime   Dorian Get Married, Nov. 15, 2008, Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

Every now and then, you’re in the presence of the fairy tale: a love so pure and real and lovely, it takes your breath away. Beyond innocence, there’s knowing with acceptance - and there is love that is genuinely pledged to last a lifetime. In a small church, as dusk fell, with candles and branches, Dorian Stinson - the loveliest of young women, a former assistant and the daughter of an Americana icon - married Jamie Hanna - named for the Band’s Robbie Robertson, the son of the man who sang “Mr Bojangles” and a young man I’ve known since he was 11 - looked each other in the eyes, made official the promise they were already living and reduced a vast cast of characters to tears.

These are the rare moments when believing in love isn’t just a sucker’s bet. These are the moments that renew your faith, ignite your imagination and help you live to seek another hope in what can truly be.

Half A Grapefruit

The simplest breakfast of them all. Chill, cut in half and plunge your spoon into each individual section. Tart, bursting, the embodiment of citrus, this is a wake-up call that is brisk without bracing - and invigorating without slapping you in the face. Vitamin C in its most direct form. No additives required.

“Oui, nous pouvons.” Carla Bruni

The sophisticate chanteuse/French First Lady embraces Barack Obama’s mantra - and gives it that qu’elle que sophistication with the ever so elevated French translation. “We, new poo-VON” is how you say “Yes, we can…” en francais, and more than the bilinguality of the declaration, there is a truly universal sense that things are possible. To empower is to incite achievement - and in a world that can sometimes seem overwhelming, impossible and chaotic, the notion of possibility is a stepping stone to making the difference that shifts the dynamic in ways that matter.

“Kid” The Pretenders

Such a bright happy pop record from the woman who could unequivocally kick your lame scene around the clock and back. Yet, the butterfly net she sweeps… trying to sort out the emotional pall that’s descended upon that certain someone, the confusion and the will to make it better, is a perfect vehicle for the tear beneath the yowling fist-in-your-face that defines so much of Chrissie Hynde’s rock persona. Yes, she can be brazen, hard-charging and tonally brutal, but here, she is ether-lite and almost angel-winged feathery in a way that invokes the same wide-open vulnerability of Tom Petty’s “Wild One.”

Yes, the Pretenders are a rock band that never flinches. But every now and then, even the toughest ones sigh and grow tender. In those moments, when all guards are down and the bets are off, the bewitchery is complete.

All About Eyes, Clinique

First, it cools and soothes, so even if it provided no benefit the sensation upon application alone would be worth it. But this botanically-based eye gel boosts collagen, eases puffing and diminishes undereye circles and shadows. When sleep is the ultimate luxury and eye strain appears to be a fact of modern living, All About Eyes eases the inevitable and offers a respite from the things that take away from our sparkle’n’shine.

Bone Health, Emergen-C

The immune-boosting Vitamin C blast amps up the calcium in this mixed berry formula that can be poured into water, juice or vodka to bump your nutrients in a few quick swallows. In a world that seems increasingly stripped of nutrients, think of this as kool aid with a purpose. And with bone health being critical to aging in terms of both avoiding osteoporosis and bones that shatter from being brittle, a few packs a day gives your hydration flavor and ups your margins with very little effort.

Play Clothes, Gretchen Scott

With a company manifesto of “Laugh More. Gripe Less. Ignore Critics. Say Yes. Order Dessert. Love Life.” Gretchen Scott set out - and delivered - clothes to play (and party) in. Mostly gaily printed cotton tunics, dresses and jackets, these are clean lines, forgiving silhouettes, timeless styles and enough playfulness that you can go from errands to cocktails, the pool to school without missing a beat.

Whether it’s an off-the-shoulder dress, a mandarin jacket, a suede peacoat, a shantung big bow skirt, a variety of linen blouses, even a white crocheted skirt embellished with seashells, these are clothes for happy people. Bright colors, basic shades and enough variations to set one’s imagination ablaze.

fulgent       (ful-GENT)  adjective

Blazing. Shining. Brilliant. Luminous. Radiant. Dazzling.
You get the idea. Apply at will. Look smart. Make conversation brighter in more ways than one.

1971 Chevelle Supersport

Low to the ground, with an even lower rumble and the gentle shake that demonstrates the power beneath the hood, the Chevelle Supersport is the very best of American heavy metal. The kind of car that inspires men like Bruce Springsteen to pen songs like “Racing in the Street,” that gives street legal a reason to be just this side of the law, a sense of defying gravity on city streets.

Even in a coat of military gray primer, there is no denying the glory of the Chevelle Supersport. It is everything that fast cars and freedom are meant to embody: flying with enough mass to make it mean something, tires gripping and squealing, torque manifested in a tangible expression of speed, power and the blur of broken white lines. Palms sweat just thinking about it…

Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future, The Bird & the Bee

The atmospherics and almost Doris Day-pop remain, along with the Latin-tinged rhythms that have defined duo Inara George and Greg Kurstin. She the daughter of late Little Feat magnet Lowell George, he thr producer of Katy Perry and Flaming Lips, their union is wide-eyed smart aleck over 60s Palm Springs atmospherics - and enough irony to make Woody Allen seem dour.

“Diamond Dave” is, indeed, a tribute to Van Halen’s first frontman, while the riotously happy “Love Letter To Japan” is unabashed euphoria with layers of sequenced patterns and “Polite Dance Song” takes the whitey Aphrodite stiffness to the hip-hop altar. This is smart, insidious music aimed at raising the mood without numbing the brain - and it’s cocktail frolic, afternoon chill and late night canoodling at its finest.

Triad Box Kite, LL Bean

A three-dimensional triangle rendered in rainbow colored patches of nylon, this kite is aluminum framed and easy to fly. Needing little wind, the light-weight bit of sunshine and laughter can find the sky and sail around for even the most beginning flyer… In a world of heavy, serious, dour and adult, Bean’s Triad Box Kite is instant kid… easily assembled and ready to go, keep it in your car, give it to a friend or send it anonymously to anyone who needs a bit more joy in their life.

Attain Chocolate Caramel Nut Bars,

A cross between a turtle and a rice krispie treat, these are whole food nutrition bars designed to curb cravings, deliver nutrients and fill you up while sating the chocosweet tooth that derails the best intentions. 160 calories… they replace meals, quiet rumbling tummies and offer milk, peanuts and soy for basic nutritional requirements in the process.

Hope Every Day Journal, Compendium Books

224 pages, every other one emblazoned with a quote to inspire, inflame, enrich. A fleshy pink with fuchsia printing, it’s slightly larger than a handful - so it’s neither too compact for genuine thought nor too large to fill with reasonable wishes and dreams.

As the cover wrap suggests: Believe, affirm, inspire and celebrate daily as needed. The back cover makes the point even more directly: “We are the hero of our own story.” Amen.

Francophile Dog Dinner Plate, Anthropologie

French designer Nathalie Lete has created a perfectly insouciant dinner plate, banded in green, flourished with pink and crowned with a… cocker spaniel! The well-mannered chien has whiskers, freckles and looks straight out of the 10” hand-glazed earthware plate with one well-articulated “Ouaf.” Just the sort of wink and nudge to keep dinner from being sooooo painfully serious, this dishwasher and microwave safe dining companion can be your new low-key best friend. Or for the tres charmante cottage decorator touch, they can be hung on the walls as a bit of homey art.

Also rendered in Eiffel Tower, kingfisher and mushroom designs. But it’s the spaniel that reigns.

The Buzzard, John Gorman

WMMS defined what was possible when a radio station committed to owning a genre, embodying a city and fomenting passions grounded in music. As the audible ground zero for the Rock & Roll Capitol of the World, Cleveland, Ohio’s “Home of the Buzzard” was the pulse-point for all things that rocked - and therefore everything that mattered. They broke acts - ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie to Tom Petty, Todd Rundgren to U2 - and pumped up local acts from Wild Horses to the Michael Stanley Band that made them matter like major label acts that were busting through

Coffeebreak Concerts, Nights Out at the Agora, World Series of Rocks, disc jockeys with personalities that made them - and the acts that they played - your friends, and a freeform, free-for-all aesthetic that was both game-on and carefully constructed assault. To be such a lightning rod, much commitment went into it - and The Buzzard, written by longtime program director John Gorman, captures the wild and crazy times, high jinks, stunts, tricks, competition, moments, memories and reasons to believe in an unlikely city the pilot light of music that meant everything wouldn’t just burn, it would blaze.

A must read for anyone who’s curious about programming philosophies, pop culture mandates, the history of AOR and beyond, tides of taste and/or the radio station that won 9 straight Radio Station of the Year Awards in Rolling Stone’s Annual Readers’ Poll on its way to being one of modern music’s most celebrated radio stations in America.

“No drugs, just bass” Jerusalem Graffiti

It really is that simple: nothing gets you higher than the beats. Big fat thick beats. So global that in the war torn Middle East, in the heart of the Holy Land, it is the bass that makes it matter. You wanna alter your state of mind? Pump up the volume, push the bass, feel the throb, melt into the groove. Surrender.

Lillyopoly, Lilly Pulitzer Jubilee Edition Monopoly

What’s pink & green & WASP all over? The real estate acquisition boardgame turned pure prep in honor of Lilly Pulitzer’s 50th Anniversary. And it’s all here - the Breakers, Jungle Road, the Vintage Vault. Only a woman as larger-than-life and quick-to-laugh as the Technicolor Pulizter Rousseau could inspire such a token of Palm Beach living - and yet when one thinks about having a monopoly on effortless grace’n’good times, the doyenne of perky prints, exploding crayola colors and bare feet at all times, there is no other name to call. A very limited edition: get yours quick!

Chateau Lafite-Rothschild

In every life, there are two or three bottles of some vintage or vineyard that warrant tasting. Such is the legendary Chateau Lafite-Rothschild - a family proposition traced back 1234 and a declared favorite of Thomas Jefferson. Handed down through generations, withstanding hardships and disasters, the Bordeaux vineyards have been maintained, restored and modernized to maintain the consistency of one of the world’s truest indulgences.

Light on the tongue, the predominantly cabernet sauvignon - supplemented with merlot and the occasional cabernet franc and petit verdot grape - evaporates on the tongue, leaving only the whisper of violets, earth, vines and rain. It is every reason people drink red wine, and it is a glass you will remember always. For the most special occasions, it is worth the splurge.

Hard Times, Studs Terkel

At a time when newspapers are collapsing under their own drive for homogenization, the sterilization of strong local voices like the recently deceased Studs Terkel is the ultimate death knell. An author, oral historian and radio host who could meld music and sweeping interviews, his broad take on the experience of living in America stands as both definitive and highly personal.

Hard Times, originally published in 1970, is a far-reaching oral history of the Great Depression. Told from the perspective of politicians, veterans, the unemployed, the stoic, the hopeless, hobos, children, relief workers, he examines hunger marches, the New Deal, coping with having not and losing everything, humiliation, the struggle to get by and the ones who lost the struggle. Poignant, painful, compassionate, but ultimately truthful, this is a book that offers a glimpse behind the curtain of the fall-out of the 1929 Stock Market Crash that destroyed the American way of life as we know it.

The quirky, unconventional, unexpected and, well, quixotic. Gifts at all price ranges for every occasion, for even the hardest to buy for. Weddings, graduations, all major holidays and just ’cause presents - quick, click, order and arriving on your intended’s doorstep in no time at all. And in these days of environmental awareness, 22 pages of recycled options, ranging from windshield glass stemless wine glasses to repurposed flip-flop doormats and baskets, chairs from wine barrels, bowls from bicycle chains, vintage typewriter key jewelry and old tin frames are just part of second lives and new contexts.

Whatever note you wish to strike: nostalgic, romantic, frenzied, funny or merely friendly, that thing you would’ve never set out looking for but is the exactly most right gift is waiting for you. Exotic to practical, there are housewares, intriguing books, office things, clothing, toys, money clips, picnic backpacks, sail cloth shower curtains and beyond. Budget, be damned, there’s the memorable gift no matter what the budget.

Barn Boots with Evening Clothes

The red carpet was sodden. The dress suggested Stella McCartney or Chloe doing vintage Chanel. The shoes didn’t have a chance, so I reached for my tall rubber boots. With the shiny black opaque tights and the fluttery chiffon French maid mini dress, the juxtaposition delivered the moment—and then the reality sunk in. Sometimes playing polemics is as chic as stilettos. With Christmas parties coming, take note: a clunky pair of muddy barn boots might just be sexier—and earthier—than you’d think.

Moroccan Inspired Couscous, Archer Farm, Target stores

One little box. One small pan. 2/3 cup of water and a couple teaspoons of olive oil. Let it boil. Let it sit. Fork’n’fluff some raisins and pignoli - and you have a moist grainy side dish that suggests that most exotic of locales: Morroco. Hot or cold, this is a curry-ish starch that is subtle seasonings, yet even in its anything but common taste, there is a heavy element of comfort food.

“Better As A Memory” #1 Party, Nov. 24, 2008

Sometimes it’s time. Sometimes you just gotta… close your eyes, hold your breath and jump. And so, Lady Goodman comes out and owns her reality. “Better as a memory than as your girl…” scrawled all over textbooks and in the margins of notebooks for a 7th, 8th, 9th grader at the Laurel Day School for Girls, the messages in a bottle from a sad little youth that was buoyed by bits of John Prine, Rodney Crowell filtered through Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, Merle Haggard, Cleveland boy Alex Bevan and too many singer/songwriters to mention.

“My only friends are pirates…,” indeed. The musicians who gave harbor to a wild child seeking refuge in the night, who let her into the wonder of songs and the thrill of music igniting in the moment. To mere mortals, it may’ve been no way to live, but to me coming of age in the rock & roll capitol of the world, it was pure heaven. Pin the tail on the heartache, look twice in the rearview mirror and know there is perfection in the distance. It was the rule that I lived by - and the haunted boys from my past are witnesses to the tragic beauty of this truth. Celebrate, commemorate and embrace what comes next.