Nothing tastes quite like it. The jolt of the caffeine, the breadth of the tea leaves, the silvery cool of the cold, cold water. Brewed ice tea has depth and subtlety and nuance—it brings refreshment with a sense of purpose, quenches in a way that offers some mystery and mayhem to your circulation—and it’s the kind of thing that ONLY comes from brewing and steeping. Instant, cans and bottles are all chemical excess; but the real thing, well, now that’s worth drinking a pitcher at a time.
The fair unto itself is pretty magical stuff. Hay scattered on the ground, lights lifting and twirling and spinning, suspended in the darkness. The sounds of wakening teenage hormones and children’s laughter and livestock, co-mingled with pop songs on bad speakers designed to lure passersby to the rides and the carnies barking, trying to separate your dollars from your wallet in games of almost, chance and skill, not to mention the scent of fall creeping in over frying and baking and hot light fading food. But when you follow children old enough to feel the thrill, to understand without knowing the why of how much fun this is, it just becomes that much more. They are not jaded, they are surrendered—shyly showing you their crafts and their eggplant, clomping onto the rides with utter abandon and fearlessness, proud of their sheep or their rabbit or their miniature horse, a bottomless pit of energy and excitement. As sweet is the fair is to stroll and observe, with children old enough to explode with the apex of what it’s supposed to be, it may well be about the best thing in the world.
It has been a long time since a bit of footwear has made me drop my jaw, let alone want to reach for a—and I don’t smoke - -cigarette. But there they were on the shelf, tassel dangling off the fold in a way that leads the eye to mid-calf. The leather is exactly what death in a cloud of butter would feel like, and they caress the leg in a way that screams sex almost as loudly as the sloping down and out slightly more bulked up than a 4 inch stiletto might be. I shudder now just typing about them. And soon, it will be chill enough to unleash them on an unsuspecting public. Heh! Heh! Heh! Let the Emma Peel channeling begins
There are so very many Neil Youngs, each compelling in its own idiosyncratic way. But for the acoustic organic melodic junkies, his Prairie Wind shows at “the mother church of country music” - captured on film by no less than Jonathan Demme for a Paramount Pictures! - were the ultimate celebration. The first half was an incredibly graceful performance of the album. With a changing cast of musicians—including Spooner Oldham, Ben Keith, Chad Cromwell, Emmylou Harris, the Fisk Jubilee Singers—for each song, Young explored the themes of the passage of time, the sweetness of innocence and how it was, the realizations of how finite this experience truly is. Young has always been a revelator. With his next album, it is a place for the hippie generation to consider the rest of what’s before them—and taken in concert (literally) the second half offered up elegant takes on his earlier acoustic songs, including a riveting solo in a lone spotlight that singed “The Needle & The Damage Done.” Buy the record, wait for movie, go for a long drive and consider being haunted by that haunting voice. There is truth for many generations, strung across enough time for several different ages to have come to adulthood pondering what Young has offered up.
A first novel in the voice of a disenfranchised teenage girl seems like a tall order, but Philip Beard executes beautifully, gently, warmly. Tess, his heroine, loses her three-year old sister in an accident on 9/11—with the country is focused on the larger disaster, the tragedy is insulated. So she begins writing Zoe a letter and through the course of this slim novel—and a move to her well-meaning, but fiscally-irresponsible biologic father and opening her heart to the boy next door—Tess finds herself. Heartbreakingly real, and wonderful.
Is the S. Thompson even necessary? Especially in light of the cosmic/karmic balance that is shooting his earthly hearth-scraps out of a cannon? Hunter Thompson gonzo of gonzos outgonzoed’em all’em when he—and his executors—secured the right to distribute a man’s ashes not only according to his wishes, but the way that most suited the life he led! He died with his boots on, the taste of lead a decision—and he was flung into the heavens with that same vengeance that he applied to his prose. May we all find such synchronicity in memory and execution.
Drifting around the water, feeling the chop of the waves, the glint of the sun flashing across the top. It is tranquility personified, and quite frankly, more than enough if searching one’s soul is required. But with lures and worms and sinkers and eels, there’s a whole adrenalin rush to be had—just by dragging the line and waiting for the tautness of the rod. For when you hook up a fish, dropping the tip, then coming up and reeling hard and fast. Maintaining the tension and trying to keep up the fight without losing the battle, there is a surging life force that goes through you, where you understand how deeply wired our primal need to connect and conquer is. But there’s also that transference of seeing how alive both you and the fish truly are, rushing up and down that line. In a moment, you become life force with no membrane, no flesh, no blood—just universe. Odd, and yet—electrically explosive.
A finite amount of time means there is only so much that can be done. Discernment dictates where one invests their energy, truth, reality—and in that, a filter emerges that is relative economics. If you can only do X, Y or Z, which one will yield the greatest return? And is the return you’re after monetary, personal, professional? WHAT do you VALUE is it’s own relative economy; but once you start thinking in those terms, it all becomes so much clearer and easier to understand.
Also known as “whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.” The Bible passage about feeding and clothing those who have not being viewed by Jesus as an extension of caring for him—and a lesson worth learning (and living) in the wake of Katrina.
With a voice like an open wound and a heart that is naked and broad, Patty Loveless has been setting matches to bonfires of ache and desire for almost 20 years. That her song choice is exquisite—Richard Thompson’s “Keep Your Distance,” the Waylon Jennings’ classic waltz “Dreamin’ My Dreams”—and her knack for finding the writers who stand out (Jim Lauderdale, Leslie Satcher), Loveless’ Appalachia is both true to the holler and strikingly correct in its reflection of modern human dynamics, often of the self-recognition tip. And with Steve Earle’s “My Old Friend The Blues” completing a circle that began with his Guitar Town, her very first single, a couple men named Emory Gordy, Jr (now Loveless’ husband) and Tony Brown (who co-produced both discs), it is proof positive that great music just drifts forward in time, gaining potency, vibrancy and truth. No more desolate song has been written, no more telling truth about loneliness constant companionship, no more bleeding performance to stand witness to the fact that what burned in Nashville in the mid-80s is still a slow, perhaps even more compelling fire today.
We all have those moments of glitching, gridlock, whining, rotating around ourselves. God love the friends who simply exhale, look indulgently on, reassure, gently remind and keep the line taut while we’re settling into the inevitable. Shifting from side-to-side without going anywhere is so not a look, but that time is often an investment in a resolve that lets us swing harder. Wise friends know that, which is why they exercise forbearance rather than a shotgun.
Dreamcatchers for dewdrops and sunbeams. You look up and there it is—all ready to capture your imagination on a morning walk or afternoon stroll. The way to pause and reflect on the things that so easily rush by. Also, a way to remember there is beauty everywhere, especially in nature, if we just look up and pay attention.
It is hard to know when to quit. It is hard to believe that enough is plenty. It is difficult to let it go when you have a sense of what it can be. You can settle or you can strive. Each is its own reward, but only one of the options will open up into greatness. The choice—and potential derision, followed by personal satisfaction—is yours.
Yet another way to expand a brand. And with so little overlay—this is NOT a candy bar with a cookie wafer on the bottom—the Hershey’s people have found a way to make a crispy cookie evoke the classic candy bar. Like a Girl Scout cookie, only better. Worth seeking out for a snack that’s not quite bakery good, but a whole lot better than most convenience sugar fixes.
There is a novel in progress. Friends who want to know, but don’t really read. So the 5 or 10 minute bursts of narrative began out of that. But in reading to grown-ups, it’s amazing the nuance that grows in the written word, thrilling the way stories open and expand and exciting to see the way your conversations following become more lively and far-flung. Reading to people—or being read to (I once had a beau in another city, who’d read to me late at night over the phone)—is a luxury just this side of massage. Take people on journeys, let them unwind, let them wander, give them the opportunity to pause and escape—just lie there and be taken away.
Serene, smooth, green. The grass is thick, the trees gnarled and waving. The swans move seemingly without motion—gliding as if the earth’s rotation is all they need. Idyllic to sit on the bench by the side of the road, listening to crickets and cars, watching perfection hang weightless in the heat of the day. Languid. Still. Breathtaking. The swan pond is a place to take your thoughts and let them drift.
It had been 10 years. It had seemed unfixable—the betrayal that central to the core, especially from the person who said it. And then you realize, “this is someone I love,” and then you wonder how you let it go this long. In asking what happened, or how it was said, or why it went down; sometimes the understanding of the other side is all you need to dissolve the hurt, the anger, the disappointment or whatever mortar held the wall in place. In the end, we love the people we love for who they are—and that means flaws and all. Sometimes, by asking, we find out the flaws weren’t even what we thought, and we regain so much more than we lost. But you gotta be brave; and you gotta ask.
Classically French, utterly simple, totally decadent, absolutely divine. A strip steak embedded with peppercorns, drowned in a sauce that is brandy and mustard and Lea & Perrins and maybe some shallots and parsley. Not too thick, not too runny and the meat on the plate bursting with flavor.
Trainer to the powers-behind-the-stars, masters of the corporate universe, big league doctors and girl-companion-to-the-boys-of-the-road, Mr. Casey keeps you moving, burning, sweating. Yet he’s figured out a way to keep your mind in the game, maximize what you do and create more energy than you knew you had. Every day is different—except he ALWAYS lets me use the boxing gloves!—and every day sends me home exhilarated. No nonsense, no tricks, no translator necessary—though he explains everything. Work hard, be smart about what you eat, hit the treadmill every 3 exercises and don’t think that every day has to be exquisite exhaustion in order to get results. Indeed, no one’s ever got results like this for me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Adornments inspired by the Goddesses who have influenced Women with their Strength, Love & Divinity says the website for the line of religious icon-grounded jewelry, belt buckles, accessories and rosaries. With Madonnas, various female saints, Sacred Hearts, as well as Frida Kahlo, fairies, mermaids and virgins, Cheryl Finnegan and Tara Miko Grayless have tapped into the mystical in a way that merges beauty with a spirituality designed to elevate the way people walk through the world. And it looks cool. Their Magdelena multi-strand bead and cross pendant necklace is all you need to dazzle, and their double barrel belt buckles sling low and offer a sense of sacred protection from the point of female creation. Sold in the hippest stores—Belle Gray in L.A., the Perfect Pair in Nashville, The Rectory in Delray Beach, Florida and ABC Carpet in New York. . www.vsadesigns.com
When it’s that big, there is no way to begin to make a dent. Rather than being paralyzed by futility, start chipping away. Every dollar is one dollar more. Every small bag of clothes is something they didn’t have to wear. Every jar of peanut butter is an awful lot of sandwiches. It doesn’t take much if everybody does a little bit; and in those little bits, you give your soul wings, you become part of the solace and the solution. What you can may not be very much, but it’s the seeds of absolutely everything.
The Ocean State has a clean license plate with a big swirl that is fresh and clean and makes you wanna buy some OP surfwear.
The world’s greatest rock & roll band has a drummer who’s form is exquisite, who hits the hi hat every second beat, who’s arms aren’t quite akimbo, but they are crisp as they descend. If Keith Richards is the shaggy raggy gypsy rogue, Charlie Watts is the refined gentleman backbeat who maintains the order in the Rolling Stones’ court—and anchors the truth that “as goes Keith and Charlie, so goes the Stones.”
If you’ve looked at the girl porn—you know that triple thick fashion mags to serve as solace when the kids head for the schoolyard—you’re either confused or elated. Let me break it down for you: every decadent fashion ripple is fair game. Classic, romantic, cowgirl, bohemian; deep rich colors, lace embellishments, black is back. Name your poison—and it’s on. Never has there been such a wide open space to color in and be of the moment. Maybe the Garment District is figuring out a wide lariat catches more cowgirls.
Middle of the night, face covered with tears, it’s amazing who will reach out a steadying hand. Not just tell you what will make you feel better, but what you need to hear—often the very thing you’re denying. There are those mountains from your past, the ones who’ve been there and bob in and out of your life like corks on the water, who understand your heart and your soul, and when you’re faltering, they are quick to step up, to stand up, to tell you you’re on the right track. When it seems there is no one to call, there they are. A wonderful gift from above.
Sitting in the curl-up area of my friend’s restaurant with a couple friends, I notice my feet look—well—dirty, and I blush. Upon closer inspection, it wasn’t dirt, but a tan; on my feet. And we all laughed. What kind of life one lives that tan feet seem an impossibility is maybe a life worth re-considering.
Subtitled Meditations on Transforming Difficult Emotions, Buddhist master, peace activist and scholar Hahn brings a gentle approach to the feelings that most strive to avoid—and through gentle embracing helps transform pain into healing. The “not giving into one’s emotions” so many have been raised with may be counter-productive, and the analogies, reflections and meditations on converting fear, diffusing anger and cultivating love in every aspect of one’s life that are contained herein could well be a path to a more tranquil place.
The cosmic mystic man of the sea who brings a metaphysicism to the conjured bait table takes the notion of bait to high seduction. He can say “It’s about catching fish” all he wants; in the end, Elkins’ lures work because of the passionate detail, the way they move in the water, the colors almost as bold as his heart and yes, I’ll say it: the way he infuses his spirit, tranquil yet come hither, a twinkle of Huck Finn cast against the Zen of the great gurus. Steve Elkins’ spirit has carried him across the oceans, in pursuit of the great fish; fish he looks in the eye and releases. And in his holy quest, he’s always made it about how things feel in his hands, not mass-produced, mega-marketed profit margins designed for the mediocre to feel elite. No, no, the man who took Crosby, Stills & Nash into deep waters, named one of his best shapes Bonzoid and has found a refuge somewhere on the edge of Hawaii, it’s about the interconnectedness of being, grace between man, fish and sea and the communion of friends on the water.
What more needs to be said? The ultimate book on the topic from the man who writes like a machine gun, words falling like bullets, staccato and quick. Kinda like reeling one in.
Pretty succinct. Brilliant advice. Clear labeling. Nothing more needs to be said.
When you know it has to last, there’s nothing like it. That one final kiss that says everything, and implies even more. Shudderingly yummy if done right, tenderly sweet even when it isn’t—and utterly sad when it’s final.
Claire is a wide-eyed, very aware yet utterly breathless 24-year old flight attendant who refuses to relinquish the sparkle of dreams and moments. She is the catalytic/romantic point of convergence for Orlando Bloom’s hero in Cameron Crowe’s next film—“Elizabethtown,” which opens Oct 14—and in her love for the character she awakens untold layers of recognition, truth and beauty. In Crowe’s love for his heroine, he has created a place on the film’s web site, where her truth can be explored, expanded upon, offered up and savored. Go to the site, click on “Claire’s America,” share the catalytic/romantic’s take on what makes the world around her so very wonderful. Be amazed at where and how we live. www.elizabethtown.com
The e-mail came in the middle of the night. A rogue poet rebel 9-to-5 friend in Shreveport—close enough to have lots of friends in it, far enough away to be okay—had a houseful of 17, and he was grateful for them all. Sharing their stories—the family who left the wife’s 80- and 81-year old parents because there was no way to get to them, as they makeshift canoed with their children, the elderly couple not sure how to start over—the hugeness of it all became personal, became moving, became empowering. The wife, by the way, got the call at the table: her parents were found and okay, and every single one of those folks got to “be heard” by someone with enough heart to genuinely care. A visiting pastor from Biloxi said it’s as much about having someone to talk to; the notion that someone out there cares, knows they’re okay is everything… because the trauma has to be given away. Or as my friend Clyde said in closing, “On Friday, I was upset that the CD player in my Lexxus wasn’t working. Think I need to realign my priorities.”
The whole wheat bulky bun is pretty good, and the spicy chicken filet and ranch dressing stand up nicely to some crisp lettuce and thick enough, not overcooked bacon. As a chicken filet club sandwich on the run, it’s as good as what you’d get in any syndicated restaurant, quicker and cheaper - and it’s an option at a fast food place we all get stuck at now and then.
Sometimes you just do. It’s a tough decision. You twist. You turn. You fret. You bother. Then suddenly, you know; and you know you know, because a peace settles over you like no other. It’s the notion that “of course…,” because it’s exactly where you’re supposed to be. Amazing.
Quiet. Open. Willing. Committed. To look at him, he’s just a boy, a 12-year old boy on the brink. To really look at him is to understand passion and potential on the verge of unfurling. It’s about bands and books and baseball and anything else that captures his eye, and it’s also about emotional deepening as childhood opens onto adulthood—and a young man grows into who he’s going to be.
A cute notion. Except that in tackling the nation’s sporting realities one state at a time, a lot of downhome, small town and regular sized athletics got their moment of glory. In a world where only two teams go to the Superbowl, how many weekend warriors, scholarship players, kids with dreams and any sundry number of realities between the them pave the way. This is the place where those realities get their moment of glory.
It is a difficult time. Too much information, too many fingers pointing. But people need help—and that’s the bottomline. So you can get caught up in how awful it all is—and the media’s game is to suck you into that—or you can ask yourself, “what else can I do?” And if you apply this lesson closer to home, there are so many people in the world who could benefit from just having someone smile at them, for no reason. I know the look you get back sure does make me feel a lot better about the people crossing my path!