All Is Not Calm

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A couple of years ago, at a job far, far away, someone remarked that they were in awe that I could remain so steadily calm in the face of what was a customary avalanche of insanity all around us. For the most part, that’s true. It takes a lot – A LOT – to truly rile me up. Especially regarding anything that has to do with a job. I just had this ability to let everything slide off of me, to not take anything very personally, to differentiate my employment from my real life. To this day, it’s one of the secrets of how I find fulfillment, and a certain joy, in an office job. My real world exists here – in writing, in creating, in finding beauty and expressing myself. I live my real life in trips to Boston, in visits to botanical gardens, in books and music and theater, in trying out new restaurants, in finding new fragrances, in attending new art exhibits, in exploring cities and places I’ve never been. Because of that, I’m able to take the rest of daily life with a grain of salt, and that enables me to find a sense of peace and calm no matter how many crises arise on any given work day.

Having said that, my calm does not always belie a tranquil heart. My calm is not often a relaxed or easy calm. It doesn’t always come from within. Sometimes, on difficult days, my calm is coiled and tightly wound. It is a calm imposed from my outer countenance, held together by the threads of Brooks Brothers, the silk of Dior, or the plaid of Burberry. On those days, it is a calm that contains the chaos of a widely beating heart, a calm that carries within its careful construct the terror and rage of  betrayals past and present. My calm then is a very dangerous thing.

On the night that I write this, I’m somewhere between the two, the space where most of us reside, I imagine. I’m a little tired. My heart is slightly weary. Emboldened by fall and fatigued by it at the same time. Part of me wants to cry, and I’m not sure if it’s out of happiness or sadness, or simple relief. That we are still here. That most of us are still intact. That I am still writing this, and that someone, somewhere, might be reading it.

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Hunk of the Day: Glen Powell

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When you do a naked shower scene with John Stamos, sometimes that’s just enough to propel you to Hunk of the Day status. To be fair, Glen Powell should have been named such last year when he made his virgin splash on ‘Scream Queens’ and to e-rectify that here he is in his own HOD feature. (You’ll find the John Stamos nude HOD post here.) Mr. Powell (and Mr. Stamos for that matter) seem suspiciously, and woefully, devoid of much body hair. Sad to see this in an overly-manscaped world.

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Justin Timberlake Gets Great Direction

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How cool do you have to be to have your concert film directed by Jonathan Demme? About as cool as Justin Timberlake, who scores the great director for his upcoming Netflix extravaganza, ‘Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids’. That alone is impressive, but the sneak peeks of this show seem to indicate something much bigger than the usual concert capture. The trailer itself is a thing of power and impact, and one would expect no less from one of the mega-stars of the last decade. Can’t stop the feeling

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Tom Ford: My Private Blend Collection

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If I have an obsession, it’s with fragrance, but compared to other obsessions (crack, heroin, luxury cars, gambling, Louis Vuitton) my cologne fixation has yet to ruin any lives. If anything, it improves things – our bathroom smells sweetly at all times. Still, seeing the long list of fragrances which I have amassed over the years does give me pause, and for now I’m doing just that: taking a pause in the cologne collection, and a look at what currently resides on the Tom Ford shelf of my cologne cabinet.

  • Amber AbsoluteA favorite that was mysteriously discontinued before being brought back when someone realized the mistake. I’m told the second version is slightly weaker than the first, so I’m glad I got part of the first batch because it’s a whopping stomper of incense and warmth and all the best parts of fall.
  • Arabian Wood – An Oriental wood that smolders with old-world elegance.
  • Bois MarocainDry and decadent, with the faintest wisp of the woods.
  • Costa AzzurraOffspring of the Neroli collection, this slightly smoky citrus is ideal for summer nights.
  • Japon Noir – Sadly discontinued, this is a dark and slightly spicy oriental that burns with masculine elegance. Ideal for late fall nights.
  • Lavender PalmThe dryness of this lavender-based floral is what keeps things interesting, with just enough edge to lift it out of the musty verge.
  • Mandarino di AmalfiAnother off-shoot of the Neroli collection, Mandarino is a bright citrus that sparkles with memories of the sun and the sea. (I purchased it while en route to a Cape Cod summer vacation, and it remains heartwarmingly wed to that sunny beach memory.)
  • Neroli PortofinoThe original summer scent for the Private Blend collection, this remains a bright classic, spawning several cousins (as seen above). It’s all about the Neroli here, but that’s one single-note scent that I don’t mind.
  • Oud FleurAs he did with the Neroli line, Ford saw fit to take the seminal ‘Oud Wood’ (seen below) and craft a couple of variations, including this gorgeous rose-tinted floral, whose smokiness lends it the gravitas to put over an otherwise-traditional rose.
  • Oud WoodA classic oud fragrance – woody and intoxicating with more than a little wordly sophistication – it’s a rare cologne that works at all times of the year, perfect for the office but equally adept at strutting itself in fancy form for evening events at the turn of a shoe.
  • Plum JaponaisFord’s Orient line was hit or miss with me, with two of the four being big winners, and two not so much. My favorite, perhaps of all Private Blends thus far, is the Plum Japonais, which gives a sultry glow to the tempered sweetness of the plum.
  • Rive d’AmbreA golden orange orb of spicy, fruity lusciousness, it’s a deep summer bit of enchantment.
  • Santal BlushAnother fragrance bound to a happy memory – the holidays at home. It was a Christmas present from Andy, and I only wear it around the holidays, so it retains that special sheen. Ford’s glittering voyage of sandalwood is a soapy treat of smooth sweetness.
  • Soleil BlancAn impulse buy for a summer beach jaunt, Soleil Blanc turned out to be one of my least favorite Private Blends, perhaps because of such limited wearing options. It’s a floral coconut that basically turns into the (very expensive) remnants of a standard suntan lotion.
  • Venetian BergamotI love bergamot in any way, shape or form, but this gives it a subtle twist that makes for a perfect late summer/early fall bridge fragrance. The freshness is subdued here, even with a floral tweaking that almost sends it into perfume mode.
  • Vert D’EncensMy latest acquisition, I simply couldn’t resist this delicious green take on incense from his Vert line. It begins in bold fashion, but calms down like a pile of burning embers. A second pulse of grassy green breathes life into the trajectory, and then it all dries down to heliotrope and honey, which is every bit as delicious as it sounds.

That’s enough for now, and it really should be enough forever, but just when I think I’m done he comes out with something spectacular. Lately, my love is burning for the leathers – Tuscan Leather and Ombre Leather 16. I’m hoping the samples I have will give me the fix I need. If not, that’s what holiday wish lists are for.

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A Very Naked Pietro Boselli

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Pietro Boselli has been here in various stages of undress before, but never quite as nude as he is today. Here’s a gift to you when things on my Twitter and other social media feeds have gone a little too political for my comfort zone. Gratuitous male nudity trumps everything, and it’s high time we returned to those core values of this blog. Feast your eyes upon Mr. Boselli in all his butt-naked glory.

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South End Dining

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On a brilliant fall afternoon, and early dinner at one of my favorite dining spots: the South End Buttery. Like Dorothy in Oz, I begin my journey with a Ruby Slipper, but there’s nothing wicked or sinister about this yummy brick road. The halibut sounds delightful, and before I know it I’ve devoured the whole thing.

These little nooks of Boston are what I love most.

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Look What Popped Up at the MO

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I love an unexpected pop-up, and I love sushi, so when I heard the news that a sushi stand was visiting the Mandarin Oriental in Boston I made it the next reason to visit that favorite city of mine. Set in a pretty corner of its handsome lobby in cozy proximity to the fireplace, the bar area is manned by a very capable sushi chef. A few seats are available for those who like to belly up to the bar, but guests are also welcome to sit at the lobby tables, which is where I ended up, taking in the warm wood and extravagant orchid bouquets on display.

I’ve said it many times, but it bears repeating: happiness is a hotel lobby and bar, particularly when it’s as fine as the Mandarin. This is the perfect stop for anyone who is slightly peckish, but not quite ready for a full-blown meal.

There are half a dozen maki selections, the majority of which clock in at $10 for 8 pieces – surprisingly reasonable for such fancy surroundings. I splurged on the Mandarin Oriental Maki, which is $18 for 10 pieces, but they are packed with crabmeat, avocado, and cucumber then topped with salmon, tuna, shrimp and more fresh avocado. Suggested wines are available by the glass as well, most hailing from France.

(Above is my photo catch of the day, of the namesake maki – if you’re on Instagram stop by and give it a ‘like’ to help me out.) In the midst of the bustle of Boston, this was another exquisite respite fashioned by the expert powers-that-be at the Mandarin Oriental. Well worth a stop if you need a break.

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As Day Turns to Night in Boston

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Along with myself, fall arrived in Boston this past weekend. Not in a dark and stormy way, but in a brilliant sunlit mash-up of blue skies, brisk breezes and pumpkin spice lattes. As the days waned, the sky grew softer. A few clouds rolled in – high and light and non-threatening – while the descent of the sun made everything look a little richer.

The start of the season is always a colorful thrill, even if the known and inevitable end is dismal, gray and dim. We don’t want to remember that now, and the good thing is that the change is so gradual that it goes almost unnoticed.

Boston is beauty, especially in the fall.

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Hunk of the Day: Wesley Woods

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I love it when a Twitter profile gives you all you need to know about someone. The one for Wesley Woods reads enticingly as follows: “Texas made. Keep your trashy, classy! Comedian. Actor. Model. Host. Lover of life. Nomad. Influencer.” That perfectly sums things up for this Hunk of the Day, who also has the body to merit the mantle of Hunk.

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The Real Great Debate: Battle of Tom Ford Leathers

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Inspired by his recent runway show, Tom Ford has a new leather fragrance out – ‘Ombre Leather 16’ – and it’s a doozy. One of the first Private Blends he ever released was ‘Tuscan Leather’ – a potent beast that I despised for a few years before coming around to its smoldering, dark beauty and delicious dry-down. Which brings me to the dilemma of the day as I seek out a leather fragrance: do I go with the ‘Tuscan’ or branch out to the lesser-known ‘Ombre’? This past weekend I had the opportunity to try both, but rather than sort things out, it only intensified the debate.

‘Tuscan Leather’ was the flagship of the Private Blends when they made their debut. The ultra-luxe line offered a niche for those looking for something exceptional – in quality, sillage, longevity, and, of course, price. Each was a decadent treat, and while a few soon fell by the wayside (‘Purple Pachouli’ and ‘Moss Breches’) about half remain in circulation (and some such as ‘Tuscan Leather’ and ‘Oud Wood’ are gloriously timeless).

The new ‘Ombre Leather 16’ actually opens with a bigger leather burst, and it’s a bit drier than its ‘Tuscan’ predecessor (which appeals to me as we head into fall/winter). However, the ‘Ombre’ dry down becomes something more delicate and soft, while ‘Tuscan’ powers on with its leather kick for a bit longer before softening into a well-renowned raspberry musk sweetness. The bad news for my wallet is that each is beautiful in its own right, and distinct enough to stand alone. Which leaves me in a pickle. A deliciously-scented pickle.

Thanks to the kindness of my Tom Ford experts, however, I have a couple of samples to see me through the decision-making process. These things take time. These things must be done delicately…

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Tom Brady Nude (For Real)

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Despite what we might feel about invasion of privacy, here is Tom Brady doing some naked sunbathing. If this is how Mr. Brady prepares for a new season (even if he is on a little break), I should have been born a football player. Anyway, we are headed into the pigskin season, and based on this peek at a naked Tom Brady, I say Go Pats!

 

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The Clinton vs. Trump Debate

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When I was in high school, part of my American History homework was watching the Presidential debates. That was mighty boring to someone who only wanted to pore over Madonna’s ‘Sex’ book and analyze her ‘Erotica’ album, but the world was a more innocent place in 1992, and a different Clinton was on the books. This time around it’s Hillary vs. Donald, and the stakes are a lot higher.

I vowed that this would never become a political blog, and I’m holding myself to that (for the moment). All I will say for now is that I cannot fathom how anyone could vote for Donald Trump, or any Republican candidate, when their official platform is one of divisiveness and hate. (Unless you’re Russia, in which case Mr. Trump has written some exceptions into the platform. Shady much?) The rest of the platform vows to end marriage equality, and proposes gay conversion therapy (read: torture) for the children of those parents who are not happy that their child was born gay. Look it up, it’s right there. The official Republican platform.

Even without those disgusting facts, Donald Trump is just bat-shit crazy, and I don’t want his fingers anywhere near a button that can start a war.

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The Picture of Hope

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This photo gave the internet, and myself, all sort of tingles. In one fell swoop, I think we were all reminded of what greatness this country encompasses, and how important it is that we preserve such honor.

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Just Like That, A Recap

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As if someone up above flipped a switch from summer to fall, in one day we went from the 80′s to the 60′s, and suddenly it was autumn. I’m not complaining, and the cooler temperatures made for much more pleasant walking in Boston, where I spent most of the weekend. Because of that, I’m easing my way into the work week, and what better way to do so than with our usual recap.

September’s sexy quotient rose a bit thanks to the likes of Sean Smith, Matt Bomer and Ollie Locke.

Keeping things light (pants down).

This summer took three posts to recap: Part One, Part Two and Part Three.

This is how we pull the pork.

Super hot.

Pants down again.

A hotel is my happy place.

Hunks of the Day included Nicolas Dalby, Mike Bissonette, Levi Casboult and Tyler Hilton.

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Hunk of the Day: Tyler Hilton

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Sometimes all it takes to make it into the vaunted realm of the Hunk of the Day is one stunning bare-ass photo, such as the one seen below of first-time Hunk Tyler Hilton. He’s continuing on tour later this fall in support of his latest release ‘Indian Summer’ which sounds like a more complex journey of contemplation:

Ultimately, Indian Summer will be a hand-crafted coming of age exploration into early manhood, family, and home life. “I’ve been getting more in touch with myself as ‘the man’ instead of the boy, or the person, or the guy.  It’s the first time I’ve really wanted to be a man as opposed to anything else, and country music has always lent itself to those kinds of heroes.  As the anger from Forget The Storm dissipates, I’m living a more grounded life, looking inward, and I’m in the first steps towards manhood.  This record is going to be a companion to that experience.”

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