July 25, 2004
Just got some female rain (4:10 p.m.). We needed it, cooled everything off. Back from the Westin Hotel stay. Had the Radina’s over for a big pool party and suite feed last night. Brad (who wore his True West Maniac t-shirt), E.J., ‘Cedes, Betty and Debbie joined us, along with Deena, Mike and Tommy.
When we woke up this morning we had two extra women in the house, Ursula and Lori. Took them all out to breakfast after we checked out at noon. Went down to The Eggery at Scottsdale Rd. and Thunderbird ($62 house account). On Friday night we wandered through Kierland Commons and ended up at Ra Shushi for dinner. Place packed with hipsters and beautiful people. fit right in. Ha. ($42 cash, includes tip).
Spent almost all weekend reading and stealing snippets from John Reed’s “Insurgent Mexico” which I borrowed from Bart Bull (isn’t that double indemnity?). A true revolutionary book in more ways than one. Written in 1914, it is a classic war correspondent’s dispatches from the front in the Mexican Revolution. You can see and feel Reed’s influence in almost everything done on the border since then. He spent two weeks with Pancho Villa in Chihuahua City and his insights and descriptions of the revolution are masterful, poignant and worthy. He is the war correspondent who later wrote “Ten Days That Shook The World,” and while I haven’t read that classic, I can see why his writing is worshipped and revered. Here’s a sample of his first person account of a lonely outpost being overrun: “We could see them now, hundreds of little black figures riding everywhere through the chaparral; the desert swarmed with them. Savage Indian yells reached us. A spent bullet droned overhead, then another; then one unspent, and then a whole flock singing fiercely. Thud! went the adobe walls as bits of clay flew. Peons and their women rushed from house to house, distracted with fear. A trooper, his face black with powder and hateful with killing and terror, galloped past, shouting that all was lost.” Reed is also very evocative, as in this scene, on the march on a cold winter morning: “The [troops] were wrapped in serapes up to their eyes, so that they looked like colored toadstools under their great sombreros. The level rays of the sun. . .caught them unaware, glorifying the serapes to more brilliant colors than they possessed.”
Thomas, Kathy and I sat out on the patio and watched the rain as Peaches took refuge under Kathy’s chair, hiding from the thunder as it rolled across the Seven Sisters. Forced Tomcat to watch the first thirty minutes of “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.” I know it pretty much by heart now and I’ve become one of those hated movie watchers who interrupt every thirty seconds with, “Okay, watch for the looped in dialogue by the Italian priest, playing a Spanish priest and dubbed into English. It’s going to be hilarious. Okay, now, watch for the so-called ‘grotto scene’ where Eli Wallach overdubbed his voice forty years after the fact. Ha. Ha. Ha. Isn’t this great?”
“Actually, no dad. Just let me watch the god-damned film by myself. I’d sort of like to enjoy it first—then you can ruin it, like you’ve ruined everything Western in my entire life.” (he didn’t actually say these words, but that’s what my “critic voice” imagines him saying after one of my “Western spells”.)
“‘Hello,’ he lied.”
—Don Carpenter quoting a Hollywood agento
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