June 12 , 2004
Got up early and worked in the yard sawing off dead branches and burning brush in our fire pit. Also got lined out on a half-dozen black and white pen drawings. I have a sense of urgency because I know the skill sets for observation and rendering will not last forever.
Last night Kathy and I met a couple we know from New York at Cartwright's. It's an upscale restaurant next to the True West Building but I’ve never eaten there. I got a $50 gift certificate from that commencement speech I gave last month, so we thought we’d give it a try. Sat out on the patio and had wine, then ordered the elk, Kathy had the mahi tuna. We finished with apple cobbler and decaf coffee. Bill was $185 plus a $30 tip. We split it. A tad pricey but it was quite good.
This afternoon I finally finished reading Little Big Man by Thomas Berger. Really enjoyed it. The irony is that while the book is so much better than the movie in almost every respect, when it comes to the end. . .well, the book version was quite a letdown. Remember when Old Lodge Skins takes Little Big Man (Dustin Hoffman) high up on a mountain top and gives his final speech:
“Thank you for making me a Human Being! Thank you for helping me become a warrior! Thankyou for all my victories and for all my defeats. Thank you for my vision, and for the blindness in which I saw further.
“I have killed many men and loved many women and eaten much meat. I have also been hungry, and I thank you for that and for the added sweetness that food has when you receive it after such a time.”
And after more wonderful thankfulness, he says, “I am going to die now, unless Death wants to fight me first. . Take care of my son here [Little Big Man] and see that he does not go crazy.”
And then, in the books, Berger writes, “He laid down then on the damp rocks and died right away.” In the movie version it starts to sprinkle, with the drops landing on his face, which makes him wince and he waits for a moment and then asks, “Am I dead?” and Little Big Man says, “No grandfather, you are still alive.” So he gets up and they walk down the hill with Chief Dan George saying, “Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn’t.” That is brilliant and the punchline to the entire movie. Dare I say, Hollywood actually improved a book? Amazing.
Kathy is joining the Goddesses this evening for drinks at the Java niteclub and I’m staying home with the clicker to watch the most crap possible on the dish.
“There are plenty of recommendations on how to get out of trouble cheaply and fast. Most of them come down to this: Deny your responsibility.”
—Lyndon Baines Johnson
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