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

September 2007

September 2007: Mountain Dew, Marilyn’s Ghost, Joe Galante’s Speech + Resonant Frequencies

Apple Fritters   Black Dog Bakery

   They are as light as they are dense… not quite batter, not quite dough. Large chunks of apples floating in the yeasty tasting cakey cloud. They are—as expected—glazed with the traditional powdered sugar/water mix, and are moist and chewy with enough body to make coffee or hot cider proud.. Breakfast, break or treat. Yummy.


Men’s Vogue

   An odd sort of style porn: good looking men in better looking clothes, shot almost as much for women as aspiring men of taste. But beyond the haberdasher-dashers are the articles—well-written and thought-out examinations of myriad people, places, things. The current cover is Illinois Senator Barack Obama and it examines the price and the toll his life in D.C. takes on his family back home, the balance of race and reality, the can-he-go-all-the-way unspoken question that filters through the minds of Democrats everywhere. Smartly written, like GQ and Esquire used to be… But maybe more for women to mack hot looking guys than for men to gain style points.


Oak can’t be domesticated


   Too strong. Too wild. Too free. They grow where they will, shoot up and reach for the sky. They know where they wish to root, spread their bows, cast their leaves—and they will not flourish just because someone wishes to impose their landscaping realities on them. If only people had such strength, courage and conviction…


“Sexy Love” Ne-Yo

   Not since the glory days of the young Michael Jackson has their been such a patina of innocence covering desire. This is want expressed with a silky tenor, some near vintage soul/r&b tracks and a hook that recalls Jackson’s utterly sweet “Human Nature.” For all the light effervescence of Off The Wall, Ne-Yo updates it without losing the pearlescent sheen of youth and the beauty of being free enough to fall.

Resonant Frequencies

   There is a note at which all things vibrate. In a room or on an instrument, it’s the note that pops up, sounds louder, shines brighter. In people, even more than an E above middle C, it is the true love, the absolute purpose. Whether it’s building boats, rocking crowds, reading Russian novels, it is the passion point at which we are most alive… and the people who bring our hearts to their peak.

  Resonant frequencies are the stars to steer by. All we have to do is hear them.


“Real Sports” HBO

   The stories that add the humanity to the achievement. Whether looking at the backend of scandals, assessing the merits of non-performance hooks or merely profiling athletes who’re fascinating, Bryant Gumbel has hit on a show that creates a third dimension to America’s favorite past-times in a way that brings casual fans in, expands what arm chair quarterbacks already know and create contexts for the stories that allow them to resonate in the world at large.

The Ones You Love… No Matter What

   They are the ones so lost in their own twirl, they sometimes make decisions that make no sense, side with people who are their own liability, seek things that are beneath them. We all have those friends, the people who break our hearts—not by how they let us down, but with how they betray their own dreams and aspirations.

   Still, they have that cock-eyed smile, that will to love you even in their failings. They are the ones who can’t get out of their own way, so like a dog who keeps having accidents in the house, yet loves you above all other humans, you shake your head and just keep loving them. You may cover the rug with plastic, but you’re gonna love ‘em because of the sheer force of their goodness beneath everything else.

Lobster T’s The Net Result, Tisbury, MA

   Whether you get the small lobster that sits just above the sternum or any of the bold colors with the jumbo crustacean, there is something so rock & roll about the large tale, jumbo-clawed creatures on a heavy cotton t. Sure, it screams preppy Vineyard souvenir with a certain sort of posture, but slouch or toss those shoulders back and you’re on your way to a full-tilt anti-fashion fashion insurrection statement. Leather jacket not included, but you know what to do.

Combing from the Bottom

   Start low, work up. Take your time, keep breathing. In that process, you can actually untangle the mats and seaweed rather than intensify a very aggravating problem. Bit by bit, snarl by snarl—it gets easier and quicker as you go. Start low and keep rising; just like life, huh?


“Ugly Betty” ABC

   Not a pretty girl, and yet, the joy she brings to the dignity of her struggle, the hope—almost in spite of how superficially our world pivots—she applies to making her life better and the happiness she feels at the smallest victories make this comedy one of the most heartening laughs on TV. A uni-brow, braces, serious nerd glasses and bad posture mark our heroine as a “big loser,” yet you root for her—in the shallow realm of beauty, advertising, publishing and models—as you root for any underdog who deserves the shot that seems impossible.

   Smartly written and willing to maintain the reality-based sting (at the end of this week’s show, after saving the rich son of the owner’s biggest account, the young man thanks her then town cars off with whatever is attached to the lithe, perfectly manicured hand that extends through the back window), this is tell-it-like-it-really is inspiration growing through the cracks in the Bronx sidewalk. Like and unlike “My So Called Life,” there is much freedom and go-get-it imbued to the how-it-is. Thursdays, 8 p.m.

Shenpa (shehn-PAH)

   In the Tibetan dictionary, it means “attachment,” but really, it goes so much deeper. It is the sting, the tug, the hook, the trigger, the urge… This is the part of our psyche that responds, that clings, that responds in spite of our better knowledge.

   It can come from the desire to have another cigarette, that drink, buying into that unkind thing someone said to—or about—you. It is the core reaction—whether it is to turn inward at ourself or out at the person who hits the sore place. It is fundamental, and we can almost not help ourselves, so conditioned—almost beyond awareness—are we to whatever it is. It’s very American to turn on ourselves with recrimination and self-loathing or self-sabotage, but it can be a response… a shutting down—and knowing it, especially if you can breathe, be aware, shift—is common, but can be worked through, whether it happens to you or someone you’re talking to as long as you realize it’s happening.

Joe Galante’s Speech Kenny Chesney 25 Million Party

   In a business of bigger, harder, yeah, wow, WOW! more-more-more hyperbole, a party for 25 million records sold seems like the ultimate high dive opportunity. Yet Joe Galante, a small competitive man who knows how to sell records, took the stage at Nashville’s Musicians’ Hall of Fame and offered the most impassioned comments about an unlikely young man who was not an obvious star, but who had a strength of character and purpose that made people believe long before there was reason to.

   It was a speech that talked about how hard he worked—as hard as the best anyone could give, how much he believed there was more—often beyond what anyone else could see, and made the people around him believe, too; how committed the musician was to giving back, going further, reaching those fans—and the bitten-to-the-quick nails that demonstrate it. There was so much heart, so much flesh and aching muscle evoked, it became apparent how serious application and sacrifice truly are on the way to “can you believe this is happening?”

“All The King’s Men”

   An amazing cast, including Sean Penn, Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, James Gandolfini, Patricia Clarkson and Kathy Baker, bring to life Robert Penn Warren’s tale of the ascension and possible corruption of Louisiana’s populist Governor Willie Stark. Loving shot and framed to celebrate the languid beauty of the Crescent City in the early mid-century, “All The King’s Men” merges tales of class entitlement, the have-nots having what those who do do—and the cataclysmic turns that flipping the tables can wreak.

   Heavy handed at times, overly wrought and soap operatic, it is a visual feast. When it works—and it does more than not—it makes the elevated accessible to the rest of us.


Viva Glam VI MAC


   Slightly terra cotte, slightly pink, it is—as are all of the Viva Glam shades—universally flattering, utterly wearable. This is the kind of lipstick that is feminine without being prissy, subtle without being boring, present without being jarring. A bit more than au naturel, Viva Glam VI lets one looked pulled together without overly primped—and, as always, all proceeds from every tube goes to supporting children and adults with AIDS.


Full Circle Deryl Dodd


   Old school vintage jukebox country… harkening back to the days when Dwight Yoakam was bar-room fare, guitars were needle-nose precise and pedal steels swept pools of tears that drenched loop-de-loop melodies. A serious Texan, Dodd is a man’s man with a voice that is equal parts dusty suede, cracked leather that’s polished to make the best of what’s there and three fingers of tequila soaking the rust off barbed wire that still has enough meat on its barbs to make it deadly.


Marilyn’s Ghost

   There at the pool. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Her presence: faded, lush, glamorous, slightly dissolute and just a bit frenetic pauses, sighs and maybe even reclines. If you wander out there and wait, still, quiet, willing—she shows up. She needs respect and belief, but just as she was then, so is her presence now. Chilling in its own way; and yet, if you’re big on skepticism, then you can just label it “an uneasy feeling” and let what could be cool become the creepiness beside you.

Right Association

   In the Buddhist sense of the reality: keep company with people who share your vision, your values. If you seek the highest ground, you shall find your best self. It’s everything you know, yet in the gravitational pull of wanting to be cool, it is easy to get swept up in things that only compromise your true essence. Right association lights the path to where you truly wish to be.

Penne a la Vodka

  A creamy red sauce with the tiniest bit of kick. Decadent without drowning you in heaviness, tangy tomatoey—and just enough taste to stand up to the classic semolina-based pasta. Cooked al dente, the sauce clings to the tubes for one of the most engaging classic pasta dishes there is. Feasting on it at Carmine’s just off Times Square, the kind of place that’s a half-step from “tourist trap,” even the high camp Italiano setting couldn’t blunt the bowl of steaming pasta’s ability to capture the entire table’s—even the non-carb-eater in our midst—tastebuds.

Brown Knee High Soft Leather High Heel Boots Ted Baker

   The russet shade of brown. The thinnest leather. The highest heel (just over 4”) that will carry you where you want to go with authority and a taper that is daunting . To the knee, sloping lower in the back, it’s not gypsy, not quite cowgirl—absolute boots made for walking anywhere you wanna go.


Wandering the streets of New York

   Wherever you are, look around. Walk and walk and walk, and then walk some more. Tall buildings, a kaleidoscope of humanity, carts with pretzels, knishes, hot dogs and soda fight for sidewalk space with the cheap fake bag men and the street musicians/ singers/dancers who believe the whole world’s a stage. The energy, the rhythm, the honking and construction… and that’s only the beginning.

Notre Dame Inspirations Hannah Storm

   There are very few universities beyond the Ivy League that have the same kind of mythic associations, yet Notre Dame, the pride of North Bend, Indiana, inhabits the same storied ground. As the definitive Catholic college of the Midwest, Notre Dame was a magnet for the best athletes, the no-nonsense brains and the all-around Catholic kids on their way to finding their extra-important places in the world.

   CBS’ “Early Show” anchor Hannah Storm, who’s spent years as a sports journalist, is one such alum. A spirited woman who can talk NASCAR, understands global politics (she was actually an international government major) and isn’t afraid to ask the hard questions—but in a way that makes people lean in rather than recoil. Her higher education plays a role in that, and so Storm combed the alumni roster to exhume the truths, lessons and major memories of that institution that shaped Joe Montana, Coach Ted Hesburgh, Phil Donahue, author Nicholas Sparks, Regis Philbin, Rabbi Richard Libowitz among others. To know and remember why college is more than just classes, quarter beers and football games, this is a good way to reconsider wherever your diploma came from

Mountain Dew

   The jacked up citrus drink that delivers the most kick from caffeine this side of Red Bull. Old school Southern soda that slow hiss fizzes, makes the tongue tingle and keeps one awake on all night drives.


Skinny Black Pants The Gap

   Lean. Close to the leg. Tailored to look sleek, not like so much sausage casing. In heavy-weave cotton or a draping twill, this gives you the line of the season without breaking the bank. Well-cut—the inseam is neither droopy pants low or bisecting one’s trunk high, universally flattering (and slimming) and with a white t- or buttondown shirt, as easy to wear as a favorite pair of jeans.
  
Bonus: Audrey Dances (To AC/DC)
     
  The commercials—taking Audrey Hepburn’s turn in the Beat coffee house from her turn as the rebellious intellectual recruited to model in “Funny Face” and removing the color for an even more bongo, beret and coffee look—are genius. Hepburn’s wild interpretive dance is now set to AC/DC’s “Back In Black,” and it looks as if it was choreographed to the hard rock classic—for a jarring juxtaposition that is delightful in its topsy turvy collage of cultural touchstones. Do not mute… the merge is more than half the jubilance.

The Wreckage as a Starting Point


   Sometimes it all falls apart. The best intentions, the people you were sure you could count on. But then, there you are among the smoke and the debris, wondering how it all came to this. It’s easy to see what’s wrong… to stop there… but sometimes in that glorious leveling, there is the ultimate gift (if you can see it), you have the ability to start over and build it just as you’d like.

   From the profound wreckage, you can fly on wings of what not to do, knowing the people you might not want to continue with. It is a clean slate with knowledge. It is a resolve forged in the fire of experience. You can see what you gained, or mourn what you lost—and it’s obvious which is lighter. The choice is yours.


Flyer Bars

   They are small enough to consume with only a modicum of guilt. High cocoa concentration—both bitter dark chocolate and creamy milk chocolate, each punctuated with interesting bits of things (toffee, coffee nibs, coconut, pretzels). These are the good ones—and having sampled them all, every one piqued my tongue, sated my serotonin wishes, kept me sane on one of those cat-in-the-dryer weeks of not enough sleep, too many agendas and the need to create from thin air. Heartily recommended.

Night Guard

   Slipped in at bed time, just like a teenager with a retainer, the night guard keeps your teeth where they’re supposed to be. Relief for the jaw of the night time clencher or grinder, freedom from the headaches of the impossibly tight—and better sleep because the body responds over a little bit of time.


Over-gigging

   Too many gigs. Too much playing, Rehearsed beyond any sense of life or spark. Precise to where you can’t get any real swerve. Over-gigging is being overprepared to where you’ve strangled the life right out of it.


Cold Rinse

  Nothing like the pounding assault of a hot shower on one’s sore muscles… Warms one up, unkinks the knots, tackles the tension. But when it comes to shining up one’s locks, nothing makes the tresses sparkle quite like a blast of cold water. Closes the shaft, heightens the brilliance and reminds one what the rush of being alive truly feels like!

The Five Things We Cannot Change… David Richo

   Subtitled “and the Happiness We Find By Embracing Them” explores the middle ground between Western psychology and Eastern spirituality with a clear-eyed, even-handed sense of compassion merged with the unshifting facts of reality. Life’s non-negotiables: Everything changes and ends; things do not always go according to plan; life is not always fair; pain is a part of life; and people are not loving and loyal all the time.

   Richo, a practicing psychotherapist, offers a path of acceptance rather than resistance. Offers ways of working through the difficult by transforming how we view these difficulties: seeing them for what they are, but accepting them as part of it, transcending them to find higher ground—and making what could be a stone in our road into a pebble in our path by allowing the uneasy feeling to come, be and dissipate. Freedom from the hard stuff with a paper binding.

“Quite Frankly” ESPN-2


   Host Stephen A has a full-tilt, tell-it-like-it is takedown on who’s who and what’s what in the world of sports. The plays, the pros, the controversies… Stephen has it all in his crosshairs, draws in the men who’re getting it done on the court, the field, the diamond and isn’t afraid to keep it real with throwing down the questions just the way anyone watching at home would, given the chance.

Losing Friends

   It was an e-mail. Someone I’d gone to prep school with—a sardonic boy with wheat hair who made me think and made me glad I’d gone to Florida to finish high school—was gone. Suddenly. No more information. Someone, who by the way, I’d had no contact with since graduation, yet who had seared a place on my soul.

   And so it happens. So much a part of your life, so missing or suspended in the rush, rush, so gone. But what’s ironic isn’t ruing the time that you lose, but the potency of what they gave you in that moment: the perfection of a few months of life merged, torn out of the whole like Polaroids from a shoe box. In that, the condolences turn to celebration of the intensity of the gift of the tiniest bits of time and the gratitude for that which passed through my world.

“The United States v. John Lennon”

   From the people who brought you the brilliant documentary about the genius cum insanity that was Brian Wilson’s mythic masterwork Smile, this is their first theatrical release—and it’s timing couldn’t be more compelling. John Lennon, the Beatle with the deepest social consciousness and willingness to try and make a difference, had major problems with the Viet Nam War (a war interestingly enough that gets scarcely a passing mention in today’s history books), a performance artist wife and the ability to get the media’s attention.

   Deemed such a threat by President Nixon and his closet of henchmen, there was an unacknowledged movement within his Cabinet and the FBI to deport the voice of a generation. This film—which opens this weekend—examines what was aggressively obscured at the time, considers the significance and the relevance in today’s spincentric world and offers up the kind of insight that can only come from the perspective of time. Riveting


White Tea w. Pomegranate Teany

   No additives, no sticky sweet. There in the mini-bar. Green tea with a hint of pomegranate juice. Slightly tart, absolutely thirst quenching, Positively delicious. From techno-raver Moby’s restaurant/tea room, this is a way of experiencing the Lowest Village in a bottle—and it demonstrates how clean, fresh and clear this sort of healthy vegan consuming can be.

“It is better to suffer an injustice than to commit one.”
         —Socrates

  How many times is no one looking? Is it just as easy to say the mean thing? To judge someone harshly? And it only gets worse from there. In a world of justification, of everyone’s doing it, it becomes a matter of coarse, of being, of keeping up, of course… and yet. There is a difference between knowing, recognizing what’s going on and speaking up and being cruel, heartless, mocking - and how we decide to walk that talk is up to us. But as Socrates succinctly points out, forbearance is a grace, wrong action is its own karmic shackle.

http://www.banksy.co.uk/


   A British graffiti artist who understands the common ground between cultural marketing totems, political perspectives and iconic historical images, banksy’s site embraces journal entries from Nazi concentration camp victims, street work, line drawings, films and a plethora of messages that charge us with looking at the truth beneath the surface of our environment.

   Painting on Palestine’s West Bank dividing wall, various found surfaces in England and America—kissing bobbies, rats dumping toxic waste, torn holes to reveal beautiful tropical views and dotted lines to cut away the blockade, not to mention provocative sayings that speak to the heart of callousness, callowness and inhumanity—bankys opens up a whole worldview in stolen, but obvious places. And his drawings of Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald flanking the naked Vietnamese girl burned in the My Lai massacre, flanked tanks and militiamen with ‘60s Smiley faces where their heads are supposed to be and helicopters sporting pink bows mocks about the Disneytization that goes into the way the serious issues are broken down into easy to chew, easier to desensitize our response morsels. Take a moment, consider the content, think how the obvious can be anything but it, and then let it serve you.