Friday, November 27, 2009

The 2009 Holiday Gift Edition

Welcome back Dear Readers.

Nice to be with you again.

Today is Black Friday

and in honor of this,

I thought I'd begin my

2009 Holiday Gift Edition.

Goodies here for that special someone.

To start things off, a couple of suggestions for that dreamer in your life:

1. Federico Fellini - The Book of Dreams

From The New Yorker

"In the early nineteen-sixties, under the influence of a Jungian analyst, Fellini started keeping a dream diary. His films, always fantastical, soon took a distinctly oneiric turn, and he eventually filled some five hundred sheets with drawings and descriptions of his dreams, here reproduced in facsimile with English translations. Fellini archetypes (chiefly, gargantuan women in various states of undress and arousal), characters, and collaborators abound. The actor and playwright Eduardo di Filippo performs his own death onstage to rapturous, if insincere, acclaim; Pope Paul VI, who, as a cardinal, had condemned La Dolce Vita, ascends with Fellini in a balloon basket and points excitedly to a blimp-sized beauty in a bathing costume whose exhalations, he explains, create the clouds in the sky. As a child, Fellini named the four corners of his bed after movie theatres: The show started as soon as I shut my eyes."

And BTW,

Fellini fans will not want to miss the upcoming film


Check it out.

It looks spectacular!

And continuing with dreams...
how about a little recently released treasure from:
2. Carl Gustav Jung - The Red Book
Wikipedia has this to say about that -

"The Red Book, also known as Liber Novus (The New Book), is a 205-page manuscript written and illustrated by Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung between approximately 1914 and 1930, which was not published or shown to the public until 2009. Until 2001, his heirs denied scholars access to the book, which he began after a falling-out with Sigmund Freud in 1913. The book is written in calligraphic text and contains many illuminations."

To soothe you or your loved one while reading these fascinating works,
how about a stunning cup of

3. First Flush Darjeeling from the Puttabong Estate.
Order from Peet's where this is described as having -
"the bright, greenish, floral flavor of great First Flush tea, yet with the rounded Muscat grape notes and brisk flavor of a classic Darjeeling."

And if tea isn't your thang...
How about a nice cup of Joe?
A rich & succulent, rather rare
4. Kona Peaberry perhaps?
I've received wonderful coffee from KOA Coffee.
Here's what they have to say about this delicious nectar -
"When we pick our kona coffee (by hand) most coffee cherries contain two coffee beans nestled face to face. That's why coffeebeans are flat on one side.

But, about 3-5% of coffee cherries hold just one small oval-shaped bean instead of two flat-sided beans. These small oval beans are called "peaberry" beans.

Peaberry kona is rare simply because nature makes it so. Out of every 100 bags of Kona coffee produced at our plantation, only 3-5 bags will be Peaberry.

Peaberry beans roast up wonderfully; full bodied and smooth -- with just a hint of bite. Connoisseurs have dubbed Peaberry the "Champagne of Kona"."

I've ordered from KOA on numerous occasions.
The people there are wonderful.
The product sensational.

Aframomum melegueta

Another way to add color to your palette...
experience a rediscovered spice.
Many chefs and food personalities
have been using and enjoying -

5. Grains of Paradise.

It is not a pepper BUT it is peppery.
It has a warmth to it that reminds me of cardamom.
The bitterness reminds me of lime.
Great with peppers crusted on a steak!
A nice gift for the foodie in your life.

Another possibility for that foodie...

6. A Buffalo & Elk Combination Pack
from Jackson Hole Buffalo Meat Co.
I've been grilling up Buffalo recently and have been loving it.
It is very tender and flavorful.
A New York that I grilled rare had the texture of a filet
or sashimi for that matter.
Like buttah.

This gorgeous offering from Cowgirl Creamery is a seasonal one,
so you'll want to grab their
7. Pierce PT as soon as it becomes available.

"Made from organic whole milk from the Straus Family dairy, PIERCE PT is washed in a muscato wine and rolled in dried herbs from the Tomales Bay coastal region. The result is a delicious cheese - semi-firm yet creamy, complex yet never overpowering - that you'll recall longingly when it's out-of-season."

All of their cheeses are spectacular and a wonderful way to end a meal.

And if you're like me,
you may want to wash that down with one of -

8. Navarro's delicious Gewurztraminer or Pinot Noir juices.

These juices have all the magnificent complexities you'd expect
from an award winning wine
"The Gewürztraminer juice is floral and golden and will make you think you have a honeysuckle blossom in the glass. The Pinot Noir juice is a striking garnet color and reminds us of rhubarb-strawberry pie."
and none of the alcohol.
Great for those lucky kiddies
as well as for those who simply don't want a buzz.

back to fantasy here.
For that artsy friend or family member
how about this vision of perfection.
9. The Fantasy Collection
Jaime Hayon
for Lladro -
this is
Family Portrait.
I don't know about you,
but this sure looks like my family.
You can find these amazing porcelain pieces
at Unica Home.

one of my greatest pleasures this past year or so,
has been exploring the world of incense.
There are so many great fragrances,
it has been a real
nose opening experience.
Shoyeido is one of the premier producers of very high quality incense.
Everything they make is fantastic.
My favorite though,
and a timely one for the Holidays,
is their wonderful

10. Nan-Zan
or Southern Mountain.

This frankincense is a warm
and luxurious scent that will not break the bank.
I burn it all the time.
I'm burning it now in fact.
It will give a lovely glow to your home,
to your holiday,
to your friends
& family.
You can find it at
Japan Incense
where Jay and his colleagues could not be nicer.

Happy Gift Giving To All!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Premiere of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - Millennium: Men Who Hate Women

Just got back from this wonderful showing,

one of the first in the US,

of this great film.

Millions have read it.

("the coolest crime-fighting side kick to come along in many years")

Millions have seen the movie in much of Europe.

I think it was very well done.

Casting was good.

Pace and depiction of the story fine.

With one exception, there were no particular exclusions

of important events from the novel.

The exception, and perhaps this will be fleshed out in the following films,

- the movie does not depict the on going

relationship between Blomkvist and Erika Berger.

And it only hints at his dalliance with a tipsy

Cecilia Vanger.

I can't imagine why the director would play down

this romantic, sexy portion of the story, as it did really color a healthy,

progressive sexuality, that I really enjoyed.

And in stark contrast to the main thrust of The Millennium Trilogy,

namely various forms of abuse of women,

these scenes showed women enjoying themselves, men, and sex.

That said...

All in all

it is a very good movie made from an excellent novel.

Thanks to AFI Silver Spring,

which is a gorgeous and comfortable venue,

for bringing The Girl here in conjunction with


EU Showcase.

(Stieg Larsson)

Thanks too,

to director Niels Arden Oplev

for his humorous and insightful


For enticing trailers of The Millennium Trilogy

have fun exploring

the YellowBird website at:


if you're heading to Stockholm any time soon,

you may not want to miss:

The Stieg Larsson Millennium Tour

"The Millennium Phenomena

Millions of people have already read the Millennium-series by Stieg Larsson and the books have been bestsellers around the world. In February 2009 the first Millennium film was released in Sweden and the film rights have already been sold to several countries in Europe.

The leading characters in the books live and work in Södermalm, the southern part of the inner city, were also the film have been recorded. Since these locations have attracted many fans we have developed a city-walk in the footsteps of the Millennium Trilogy.

The Millennium
Our tour takes you to Mikael Blomkvist´s home, the Millennium Magazine, Lisbeth Salander´s luxurious apartment and many other locations that you will recognize from the books. In addition to that the tour will give you information about the contemporary and the historical Stockholm.

The tour will not only take you to locations from the books but also locations from the film including facts from the production. The tour ends at the film exhibition at the Stockholm City museum where you will get glimpse from the work behind the scenes from the Millennium film.

Duration: Approximately 2 hours.

Starting point: Bellmansgatan 1, Södermalm, Stockholm. Metro:
Slussen or Mariatorget.

Price: 100 SEK"

(Tour information courtesy of The Stockholm City Museum)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Eberhard Weber Wins German Jazz Award/Albert Mangelsdorff Prize

A couple years ago I traveled to Stuttgart to visit friends,

to check out the Porsche factory,

and to check out the Art, Music, and Cuisine ...

The first night there I took my friends to see The Jan Garbarek Group.

When the group began to play I was disappointed to see that Eberhard was not there.

After the concert I was saddened to hear that this great musician/composer had had a stroke.

Eberhard has been recovering but I don't believe he's been playing that much.

Somehow, I hope he'll be able to keep creating.

He has offered us so much, for so many years.

In the meantime,

here's the new release from ECM

and their notice of its release.

"This three CD box brings together music recorded for ECM by Eberhard Weber’s band Colours: the albums “Yellow Fields” (1975), “Silent Feet” (1977) and “Little Movements” (1980). Throughout the six years of its existence, Colours was one of the most popular ensembles on the European jazz touring circuit – although Weber has always stressed the group’s conceptual distance from a jazz mainstream. Many idiomatic elements were combined in Colours’ stylistic mix. The group’s sound-world consciously extended the palette proposed by “The Colours of Chloё”, Weber’s prize-winning ECM disc of 1974. As the innovative German bassist explains in the liner notes, “there were various aspects to the [Chloё] session, from the reflective European or chamber music side of the writing, to some jazz-rock and a kind of pictorial play with minimalism. Eventually, all these aspects would be developed in Colours.”

This box set, the latest in ECM’s acclaimed Old & Masters Edition, is rush-released in time for the presentation of the German Jazz Award/Albert Mangelsdorff Prize to Eberhard Weber in Berlin on November 6."

Congratulations to you Eberhard on this much deserved award.

All the best to you.