Sunday, July 23, 2006

July 23, 2006
Spent the morning immersed in Frederick Remington’s life and art. Grabbed all of my books on him (six) and spent some time studying and tagging scenes of him for use in the top secret project. He was a big, hefty boy (think Randy Quaid), Yale educated (he was a rusher on the football team, 1876) and he had relatives who demanded he not become an artist (this is an oddly recurrent theme among successful artists, including both Roy and Walt Disney, proving, I suspect, you get what you resist. The moral being, perhaps, if our schools spent more time discouraging art, maybe more talented artists would demand to become artists!).

Last night I was channel surfing (one of the great benefits of baching is it’s so great to not have to share the clicker) and landed on the last 45 minutes of L.A. Confidential. I forgot how excellent this film is, and I must say, next to Chinatown, it’s probably the best, sexy, film noir crime potboiler before or since. I totally forgot that the punchline to the movie is Kim Baysinger and Russell Crowe’s characters escaping to Bisbee, Arizona. Baysinger plays a high classed whore who resembles Veronica Lake, and she has a pillow with the state of Arizona stitched on it and Bisbee in big letters down in the corner (didn’t she get the Oscar for best actress for this role?). Early in act three she casually mentions to a big, dumb cop (Crowe) that she was born in Bisbee and plans on going back there to open up a dress shop. In the final scene, with Crowe lying wounded and heavily bandaged in the backseat of a 1950 Packard (Pontiac? Not sure), she tells the ambitious L.A. cop (Guy Pierce): “Some men get the world. Others get hookers and a trip to Arizona.”

That made me laugh out loud. By the way, speaking of Bisbee and the Rose Canyon Suites, when you go to their website (see link below), the room pictured at left, is the suite where we stayed and the table shown is the work space where we spread out our three dozen 3X5 cards and storyboarded our movie on paper.

Nora Roberts has written 162 novels in 25 years, more than once publishing 11 in a single year. She is known mainly as a Romance Writer and I know about her only because Book Crazy Debbie used to tell me how many crates of books Nora sold when Debbie had a bookstore down on Bell Road. Nora writes from 9 to 5 every day of the year and she adds, “If you love what you do, you do a lot of it.” Her favorite TV show? “Deadwood is the most brilliant thing I’ve ever seen on TV. . .it’s all about the writing. Deadwood is Shakespeare with obscenities. It’s brilliant on every possible level. My favorite character is Calamity Jane. She’s riveting.”

I am still playing with the idea of a new Westerns Channel bit where you would have a guy, or gal, all dressed up in authentic 1880s garb and, we would walk them around the modern West, asking them questions about their times and ours, comparing notes as it were. This was inspired by a Comedy Central promo for the Adam Corolla Show where a card on the screen says “Adam explains the Special Olympics to 1770s Man.” Cut to Adam walking next to a guy in Revolutionary times garb and the 1770s guy says with some consternation, “And so you race ‘em?” And as they walk off camera, Adam says defensively, “Well, I don’t.” End of bit.

I just love this and think it could have so much more potential. I thought of this as I skimmed the Arizona Republic this morning and saw Jon Talton’s Opinion piece on “Lotteries, Indian Casinos and Online Betting.” I can just see 1880s Man proudly stating that they cleaned up the West and got rid of vice and gambling and wondering how we’re enjoying the bounty from their efforts. Cut to an Indian Casino. “And Indians own these, and you let them?” Oh, the potential for irony!

I also poached this from the editorial pages on the lack of Putin jokes:

“Stalin, Krushchev and Brezhnev are travelling together on a train when suddenly it lurches to a stop. Stalin has the conductor shot. The train doesn’t move. Krushchev rehabilitates the conductor. The train still doesn’t move. Brezhnev closes the curtains and says, “Now, we’re moving.”

“Luck is being ready for the chance.”
—J Frank Dobie, major historian and True West contributor

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