BITS & PIECES
John Enright did the artwork above. It is called Enigma. I really like his work. One day I hope that the Powers-That-Be hire him to do the cover art for one of my novels. (I can dream, can’t I?) More of John’s incredible paintings and drawings can be seen at: http://www.hammondgallery.co.uk/artist.php3?aid=215&offset=0&sort=
FROM RUSSIA, WITH SCAM SPAM
Some new bad guys have adopted the infamous Nigerian email scam. A Russian billionaire is in jail. His "wife," "secretary," and "prison bunkmate" discovered “your” email address in his business directory. Can you help? She/she/who knows has access to the billionaire’s money but need your bank account number to email the money out of the country before corrupt officials steal it all. Do people really fall for this crap? I guess so or they still wouldn’t be running the con.
MSNBC News has an article about this at:
THE HOT KID
I have been reading Elmore Leonard’s novels for years. For writers studying his dialogue alone should be a requirement. I have seven of his novels in hard cover including Get Shorty, Killshot, and Freaky Deaky. I just picked up a First Edition copy of The Hot Kid. It’s about a cool US Marshal facing Depression Era gangsters. I intended to just read the first chapter and ended up reading a hundred pages. Should finish it in the next day or so. Good stuff, Maynard.
Tangent: A Favorite Genre Moment. In Elmore Leonard’s Hombre, outlaws have a group of stagecoach passengers trapped in a mining shack atop a steep hill. The bad guys want the gold the passengers have. The outlaw leader, Grimes (Richard Boone), walks half way up the hill to give the passengers an ultimatum. This is what they’re going to do or they’re all going to die. You’ve seen this kind of scene a thousand times.
But then the kicker comes. John Russell (Paul Newman) looks at Grimes and says:
“Hey. I got a question. How are you planning to get back down that hill?”
Classic moment. Love it.
My desk has a high cubby-holed back to it. Stuff is lined across the top shelf. This is what I have. From left to right: copies of my novels Rebel Nation and The Inheritance and the anthologies I’ve been a part of ; a Mayan face mask that I got when Annie and I were on our honeymoon in Playa del Carmen; a glass paperweight with a picture of my father and me (I had to have been about one); a can of Story House’s Earthy Beans Coffee with my tale "Seeds of Evil" on the back, a full-size replica of the Maltese Falcon statuette that my late Aunt Lou and my cousin Scott gave me; a small Egyptian Cat figurine from the British Museum that my nephew Brian got for me; two God of Money tikis from Hawaii; a dwarf souvenir mug from Disneyland (yes, the dwarf is Grumpy – who else would I have); a key chain from Hong Kong also from Brian, my Dream Realm Award for The Inheritance; and a porcelain old-time desk ornament. Don’t know why I shared that but I did.
Splurged this week and bought the Sam Peckinpah’s The Legendary Western Collection. I’ve been up to my butt in trail dust and blood all weekend. There’re four movies in this boxed set.
The Wild Bunch is a deservedly classic. One of my favorites. William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson and an unrecognizable Edmund O’Brien give pitch-perfect performances in the tale of outlaws on their final raid. Strother Martin and L.Q. Jones are incredible as two members of the railroad posse.
Ride the High Country is a mostly forgotten gem. A final film for Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea before Hollywood retirement. A simple tale of two former lawmen transporting gold from a high country mining camp to the bank. It is cool. Warren Oates, L.Q. Jones, John Anderson, John Chandler, and James Drury are the redneck, peckerwood Southern trash Hammond brothers. “All I want is to enter my house justified,” says Steve Judd (McCrea). Yeah, we all would like that.
The Ballad of Cable Hogue. Not great, not terrible. Jason Robards plays the title character who discovers a waterhole in the desert and becomes rich. Has it’s moments. Okay, Stella Stevens looks great in the buff. I said it, now leave me alone.
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. This should’ve been much better. Had all the elements and almost every western character actor alive in 1973 must be in bit parts in this film. Some good gunfights and James Coburn does well as Garrett but Kris Kristofferson looks too old to be the Kid (among other problems) and who-in-the-hell thought Bob Dylan could play a western adventurer. If you remember the Guns ‘n’ Roses song, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” this movie features the original version of the song. By Dylan. Who never could sing.
Buy The Wild Bunch and Ride the High Country. Rent Cable Hogue. Catch PG&BtK on TV some night when nothing else but Law and Order reruns are on. Okay watch the featured L&O episode for the tenth time instead.
That’s it for now. In the words of Pike Bishop (William Holden) in The Wild Bunch: