Friday, July 18, 2008

July 18, 2008
This morning at cardio rehab, I was on the treadmill doing my 20 minute walk, when an ex-New Yorker got on several machines down from me. In a loud voice he boomed out "Do you remember the TV show Queen For A Day when Fred was on with John Mackey?" The old guy next to him, didn't remember it, but the New Yawkah didn't stop there, he wanted to know if we all (he was talking loud enough for the entire gym to hear him) remembered My Life With Riley?

How pathetic, I thought to myself. To be so old and out of it, that all your references to life are from some old TV show that no one today remembers or even cares about?

Then, I remembered yesterday's posting about She Wore A Yellow Ribbon and I realized, "So this is what we sound like to the rest of the world."

Worked last night on another cloud study. This one is of Ratcliff Ridge, which is directly across from our house and we look out on it from our kitchen window:

Yes, it is a spectacular view. And, yes, it is very Ed Mell-ish. Of course, I could worse than emulate Maynard Dixon and Ed Mell, two masters of the desert landscape. Meanwhile, here are my sketches for yesterday:

Also yesterday, I finally got my subscription issue of the notorious New Yorker cover featuring Osama as a terrorist. Stephen Colbert quipped, "It's funny, because it's true." Which is funny (and a great parody of right-wing nuts) in itself.

I can't believe how so many media pundits fail to see the humor in this brilliant cartoon. I heard this morning on NPR, some media guy saying the cartoon is "irresponsible." Having a White Belt in Zane and being a card carrying Humor Master I can say with some authority that any good satire has an element of the irresponsible in it.

That's the underlying point in good satire. If your mother doesn't like it, if the school says you can't do it, and we're all thinking it, well, you have to do it, and it's funny, Man. FYI: yes, that's a George Carlin riff.

Maureen Dowd did an op-ed piece: "For Politics' Sake, Obama Needs A Sense of Humor." She interviewed John Stewart and Stephen Colbert for Rolling Stone a couple years ago and she asked them if it would be harder to make fun of Obama than the other guys, and she quotes them both as saying, in unison, "His dad was a goat-herder!"

Now that is definitely funny. So, why isn't more of this being discussed in the media?

A month or so ago, Jon Stewart was doing several Obama gags on his show and they all fell flat. He finally said to the studio audience, as an aside, "You know, you can laugh at him." But they wouldn't and didn't, and Maureen makes the point that a whole bunch of people seem to have the attitude of "Don't mess with our messiah!" I think she is dead on. Which is depressing because it's the same crap, only in a different degree that all those humor-impaired Muslims pull.

As you may know I do those paintings (above) with my left hand.

A Left-handed Complement?
"Sir, What has happened to Honkytonk Sue? She was the best thing in your magazine. The rest is rather mediocre."
—George Hocutt, True West subscriber over 30 years

Meanwhile, Chester Latham from Michigan called and talked to Sheri today. She told me he absolutely loves the magazine, reads it cover to cover. His three year subscription just expired, so he finally broke down and bought a True West Maniac membership. ($129.95 gets him a TWM decal, a TWM T-shirt, a five-year-sub and a Classic Gunfights, Volume III book by me, BBB).

I've been using my Netflix membership to catch up on film classics. Whenever I see a reference to a classic film I put it in my Queue and check it out. Last weekend I finally watched a Fellini classic called "Nights of Cabiria" (1957). It's about a prostitute named Cabiria (played by Fellini's wife, the actress Giulietta Masina) working the streets of Rome, who never gives up on finding true love. Not sure it totally holds up today, but it has moments of genius, and I can see where David Lynch and others have stolen ideas from the master (the theatre scene in Mulholland Drive is a direct lift from this film).

I love the commentary features and on this one they interview a French guy who worked for Fellini during the making of the film. He met the master at the Cannes Film Festival when Fellini's previous film, La Strada premiered. While it moved the French kid, the audience heckled the film and many left. The French kid was blown away by the film and wanted to tell the filmmaker how much the film impacted him, and someone pointed out the director and he caught up to him on the street and his wife was crying and Fellini felt like a failure, which just goes to show you audiences can be so dumb. La Strada is a brilliant film, one of the most amazing I have ever seen (I saw it on HBO when Martin Scorsese was doing a week long special on Italian films and how to appreciate them).

Anyway, La Strada, Nights of Cabiria, The New Yorker cover, they all point to one thing:

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
—Muriel Strode

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