Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January 30, 2008
Still soggy out, but clearing. Working on several sequences for Mickey Free and lining up the new departments in True West. Quite ambitious and proactive. Lots to do.

Got some nice comments on my mother's watercolor, posted yesterday, like this one:

"At first glance, before reading the story, I thought you had entered a certain sphere of tranquility while in Cody and this was the result! What beautiful work! Some of her lives on in you whether she admitted it or not!"
—Bill Dunn

Former New York photographer David Spindel dropped by our offices last week and showed me his portfolio. He actually photographed John Lennon a week or two before Lennon was shot. This is from his last stint in the studio:

David flew to London late last year for a big photography show on Lennon. Spindel now lives in Anthem, which is a brand spanking new community east of here. I'm trying to find an assignment for him. Good guy.

Kathy and I met Deena for dinner last night down at Frank Llloyd Wright and Scottsdale Road. We talked more about No Country For Old Men and exactly what Cormac and the Coens were trying to say. Here's another take on it:

Uplifted & Flattened
"I liked the movie-'enjoyed' might be the wrong word but I felt uplifted at the end and I've spent some time trying to figure out why. I think about the movie whenever something jogs my memory--here are some of my observations:

"• TLJ's character seems to embody the good in our species, 'flattened out' possibly but alive and good nonetheless.

"• Bardem's character and Harrelson's character seem to be two of the many faces of evil. Kill one and there is a meaner SOB behind him.

"• Kind of spiritual but I think TLJ's dad, at least in his dream, is God or the Great Spirit, or whoever is waiting up at the end of the trail with a warm fire for the good folks-even those that think God doesn't like them much.

"• I must admit that I related most to the Brolin character. I can remember that self confidence and the rationalization of dumb decisions....age has 'flattened' me a bit too.

"• It is a tough world, for most of us the evil is not murdering drug dealers, it's disease, divorce, senility and losing faith, being 'flattened' to the point were you can't be seen or heard. No country for old men is a good description and I suspect why there are so few of them around."
—Larry Murphy

Meanwhile, many are talking about how two of the big contenders for this year's Oscar race are No Country and There Will Be Blood which are small movies (when I asked for a show of hands at the Dude Ranch Association Confab only two had seen Country and only one had seen Blood). Still, they are Westerns and we are thrilled about that aspect, but according to a piece I read recently, the Oscar telecasts are "shedding viewers" at an alarming rate and the theory is that in the old days, everyone had seen Lawrence of Arabia and The Godfather and could root for their favorite film, but these days, the Oscar contenders are little, obscure films that hardly anyone has seen. Case in point: Into the Wild and Kite Runner and Margot are critic's darlings, but only No Country, so far, has made a profit. Ouch!

More On The Kindle And How Much We Actually Read
"Steve Jobs the chief executive of Apple, has nothing to fear from the Kindle. No one would regard it as competition for the iPod. It displays text in four exciting shades of gray, and does that one thing very well. It can do a few other things: for instance, it has a headphone jack and can play MP3 files, but it is not well suited for navigating a large collection of music tracks.

"Yet, when Mr. Jobs was asked two weeks ago at the Macworld Expo what he thought of the Kindle, he heaped scorn on the book industry. 'It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is; the fact is that people don’t read anymore,' he said. 'Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year.'

"To Mr. Jobs, this statistic dooms everyone in the book business to inevitable failure.

"Only the business is not as ghostly as he suggests. In 2008, book publishing will bring in about $15 billion in revenue in the United States, according to the Book Industry Study Group, a trade association.

"One can only wonder why, by the Study Group’s estimate, 408 million books will be bought this year if no one reads anymore?

"A survey conducted in August 2007 by Ipsos Public Affairs for The Associated Press found that 27 percent of Americans had not read a book in the previous year. Not as bad as Mr. Jobs’s figure, but dismaying to be sure. Happily, however, the same share — 27 percent — read 15 or more books.

"In fact, when we exclude Americans who had not read a single book in that year, the average number of books read was 20, raised by the 8 percent who read 51 books or more. In other words, a sizable minority does not read, but the overall distribution is balanced somewhat by those who read a lot."
—Randall Stross, New York Times

Nice to read that. Thanks, Dan Buck.

"The world doesn't come to the clever folks, it comes to the stubborn, obstinate, one-idea-at-a-time people."
—Mary Roberts Rinehart

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