"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

About to comment here for the very first time?
Check Where'd my Comment go?!!! to avoid losing it.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

[FWD: Fw: Important Message ! ! ! ! ! ! !]

Got the following in the email a week ago.  (Updated below)
My only alteration is to the formatting.

*************************************************************

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Fwd: Fw: Important Message ! ! ! ! ! ! !
From: ***** ****** <*************@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, June 21, 2011 10:25 pm
To: undisclosed-recipients:;


---------- Forwarded message ---------


Subject: Fw: Important Message ! ! ! ! ! ! !


Subject: Important Message ! ! ! ! ! ! !

My great great grandfather watched as his friends died in the Civil War, my grandfather watched as his friends died in WW II, and my father watched as my friends died in Vietnam.

None of them died for the Mexican Flag.

Everyone died for the U.S. Flag.

In Texas, a student raised a Mexican flag on a school flag pole; another student took it down. Guess who was expelled...the kid who took it down.

Kids in high school in California were sent home this year on Cinco de Mayo because they wore T-shirts with the American flag printed on them.

Enough is enough.

The below e-mail message needs to be viewed by every American; and every American needs to stand up for America.

We've bent over to appease the America-haters long enough.

I'm taking a stand.

I'm standing up because the hundreds of thousands who died fighting in wars for this country, and for the U.S. Flag can't stand up.

And shame on anyone who tries to make this a racist message.
Let me make this perfectly clear!

This is my country!

And, because I make This statement DOES NOT Mean I'm against immigration!!!

YOU ARE WELCOME HERE, IN MY COUNTRY!

Welcome! To come through legally:

1. Get a sponsor!
2. Get a place to lay your head!
3. Get a job!
4. Live By OUR Rules!
5. Pay YOUR Taxes!
  And
6. Learn the LANGUAGE like immigrants have in the past!!!
  AND
7. Please don't demand that we hand over our lifetime Savings of Social Security Funds to you.

If you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone,
Then YOU'RE PART OF THE PROBLEM!

When will AMERICANS STOP giving away THEIR RIGHTS???

We've gone so far the other way... Bent over backwards not to offend anyone. But it seems no one cares about the AMERICAN CITIZEN that's being offended!

WAKE UP America !!!

If You agree.... Pass this on.

If You don't agree.. Delete It

*************************************************************

And, there you have it.
He's not at all bashful about emphasizing his points.

And, you know what?
I'm damned if I can find anything in there I disagree with.

UPDATE - 11 Jul 2011 - BOOM!!!
A reader just let me have it with both barrels in his comment below.

"No offense,"  -- None taken.
"but I don't agree."  --I appreciate the way you don't agree.

You chose to dispute me with facts. I've seen many blogs where that  wont cut it at all; you'd be expected to use vitriol instead.  You were polite and chose not to chastise me for sloppy (or non-existent) research.

Well, you may consider me properly chastised anyway. Effectively?  Yet to be determined; I'm 69 now, and old habits are hard to break.

The way the flag and t-shirts incidents  were told in the email are pretty much what I had seen on various web sites. I'm guilty of just passing that along without any real attempt to get to the bottom of the story;  all too ready to just take it at face value.  Thanks for the urls, which I am turning into links...

  Mom of TX Student Suspended for Removing Mexican Flag Sets Story Straight 
 (This one, I could not check because of my painfully slow dial-up connection,
   but I have checked the others.)

  California kids blasted for wearing American flag shirts on Cinco de Mayo

One thing in that email that really struck a chord for me was # 6, about learning the language.  I've vented on that before ( in A Profound Sadness at the Polling Station - Did you really think I would pass up an opportunity to blow my own horn? :-), because of personal experience.

That, along with some of the other points is addressed very well in the following post by Christina Elizabeth ...
   I got this email today. I didn’t forward it. You know why?   ...

A reader notes, "The second half of this email came from here..."
  Let me make this perfectly clear! THIS IS MY COUNTRY!  adding,
"And I want to add a correction to that writer's claim about Social Security.",
which is this post:  Econ 101 on Illegal Immigrants

It's an eye-opener:  apparently many are paying;  for which they get nothing.

So, all I can respond to A reader is, "Thank you for the education."

Should you feel I could use a bit more enlightenment on some of my other posts, you are very welcome here.  :-)

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

My own candidate for Spambot of the Day...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What went wrong?":

This is very inspiring work you have created for us. Some people need to know that these things can ensue to anyone. You have shown me a better view now.

Neo-neocon regularly posts some of the more interesting ones that turn up in (or get by) her spam filters.

At long last, I may have a worthy candidate (although she is still the champ in that department).

And the neat thing about it is that it could probably apply to almost any of my postings (or yours, for that matter). :-)
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

"You gotta be careful where you go pokin' ...

... Who knows what you'll find?"

As a Texan from San Antonio (where West Texas really begins), I truly love the movie Lone Star (1996) because it nails our culture so well, showing real people (instead of stereotypical cartoons), who may wear cowboy hats not as a fashion statement, but for the very practical purpose of keeping brains from being fried.

And, who directed this marvel?  John Sayles, from Schenectady, New York!!!  He did the screenplay for Piranha (1978), which was shot in San Marcos, Texas, and when the shoot was over, took a sabbatical by hitchhiking and doing part-time work down in the Rio Grande valley, absorbing a hell of a lot of the local culture, which he apparently remembered when he got around to Lone Star.

Thus, this Yankee from New York has made one of the finest movies I've ever seen that is set in my state, and in which the locale is an integral part of the story...
 Lone Star poster (from esquire.com )

The movie opens with two Army sergeants (Cliff and Mikey) discovering, on a disused rifle range, what may be the remains of an infamous former sheriff who disappeared 40 years ago.

Called out to the scene is Sheriff Sam Deeds (Chris Cooper)...
Chris Cooper as Sam Deeds - (from noisenarcs.com )

Mikey (on finding an old sheriff's badge nearby):
   "The scene of the crime."
Sam: "No telling yet if there's been a crime...
   "...but -- this country's seen a good number of disagreements over the years."

Sam is living in the shadow of his late father, Korean War hero and legendary sheriff for nearly 30 years, "Buddy" Deeds.

Interviewing the widow of Roderick Bledsoe (who ran a colored roadhouse back then)...
Sam: "Mrs. Bledsoe?"
Mrs. Bledsoe: "That's me."
Sam: "I'm Sheriff Deeds."
Mrs. Bledsoe (without a trace of malice;  simply stating a fact of life):
   "Sheriff Deeds is dead, Honey. You just Sheriff Junior."
Sam (sighing): "Yeah -- that's the story of my life."

The discovery of that badge strongly suggests that the remains may indeed be what's left of Sheriff Charlie Wade...
Kris Kristofferson  as  Charlie Wade
(modified from photo at louisianamovies.blogspot.com )

Wade was corrupt ("one of your old-fashioned bribe-or-bullets kind of sheriffs.  He took a healthy bite out of whatever moved through this county.") and brutal, with an earned reputation for casual use of lethal force, especially against minorities.

Sam (to Mrs. Bledsoe): "And no one complained?"
Mrs. Bledsoe (looking at Sam as if wondering what planet he was from):
  "Not if you was colored or Mexican!!!
  "Not if you wanted to keep breathing!"

Sam (to a Mexican jail trustee old enough to remember Wade):
   "So -- Wade was pretty tough on the Mexicans?"
Trustee: "He murdered Eladio Cruz!!  Is that tough enough for you?"
Sam: "Murdered?"
Trustee: "Shot him down in cold blood.  Chucho Montoya was there; he saw it."

In short, Charlie Wade was a first-class son of a bitch, and one of Kris Kristofferson's best roles ever.

At the time of Wade's disappearance, he had a brand new deputy, one Buddy Deeds...
Matthew McConaughey  as  Buddy Deeds
(modified from photo at one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com )

Like Dracula in the original novel, the character of Sheriff Buddy Deeds is actually offstage for much of the movie, but his presence is always felt.  McConaughey takes the limited mount of screen time he actually has here and gets the most out of it.

Mayor Hollis Pogue, who was Wade's chief deputy at the time, and would become Buddy Deeds' chief deputy when Buddy became sheriff after Wade's disappearance, described the final confrontation between Wade and Buddy when Wade was introducing him to his new duties (including collecting bribe money) in a restaurant run by Jimmie Herrara.

Wade explained to Buddy about his arrangement with Herrera to be paid off for looking the other way when Herrera employed illegals in his restaurant...

Wade: "This will be one of your pickups, Buddy --
   "first of the month;  just like the rent"
Buddy: "I'm not doin' it."
Wade: "Come again?"
Buddy: "Your deal."

    * * * * *
Wade: "You do whatever I say you do or else you put it on the trail, son."
Buddy: "Well, how about this, Charlie? ... 
   "How about you lay that shield on this table -- and vanish ... 
   "before you end up dead -- or in jail?"
Wade: "You're not making sense, Buddy."
Buddy: "You stick around and I'm bringing up charges on the county road project.
   "Two thirds of that money went went straight into your pockets."

Wade (resting his hand on the grip of his gun):
  "You're being mighty careless with your mouth, son."
Buddy (laying a Colt Peacemaker on the table in front of him):
  "You ever shoot a man who's looking you in the eye, Charlie?
  "... It's a whole different story, isn't it?"

    * * * * *
Wade: "You're a dead man."
Buddy (to the bartender after Wade storms out): "Mas cerveza por favor."

Fenton (another at the table where Hollis was telling the story to Sam):
  "That Buddy was a cool breeze. 
  "Charlie Wade was known to have put quite a few people in the ground
  "... and your daddy gets eyeball-to-eyeball with him."
Hollis (continuing the story): "He went missing the next day --
  "along with $10,000.00 in county funds from the safe in the jail.
  "Never heard from him again."

As the son of Buddy, Sam has had serious issues with daddy since he was a teenager and, from hearing stories of that confrontation, suspects that his old man just might have been the very one who planted Wade where he was found.  It wouldn't surprise him a bit.

One of the issues was Sam's friendship with Pilar, daughter of Mercedes Cruz.  He absolutely forbade any contact with her, being backed up by Mercedes on this, and managed to successfully keep them apart.

Now, many years and an unsuccessful marriage later, he once again meets ...
Elizabeth Peña as Pilar - (from thisdistractedglobe.com )

Now widowed, with two kids of her own, she finds herself once again attracted to the now available Sam Deeds, only to find her mother still strongly opposed to any connection between them.

Cliff and Mikey (the two sergeants) had come across the remains while prospecting (with a metal detector) for old bullets on that range (Mikey using them to make art sculptures). Cliff has entered into a serious relationship with black Sergeant Priscilla Worth, prompting the following exchange whose only relevance to the investigation is that in the middle of it, they come across a pistol bullet amongst all the rifle bullets they had brought back from the range...
Cliff and Mikey
(modified from photo at one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com)

Mikey: "I never thought I would see the day when a buddy of mine
   "would be dating a woman with three bars on her shoulder."
Cliff: "I think it's beyond what you'd call dating."
Mikey: "You're going to get married?"
Cliff: "Maybe."
Mikey: "You met her family? They gonna be cool about you being a white guy?"
Cliff: "Priscella says they think a woman over 30 who's not married must be
   "a lesbian. She figures that they'll be so relieved that I'm a man..."
Mikey: "Always heartwarming to see a prejudice defeated by a deeper prejudice.
  ...
  "But marriage man -- I don't know.  Let's see ...
  "I did two tours of duty in Southeast Asia -- and I was married for five years.
  "I couldn't tell you which experience was worse.
  "I knew she was Japanese going into it...
  "... but she didn't tell me the Ninja-assassin part.
  "Her parents acted like I was gonna blow my nose on their curtains."


That dialog is one reason why a movie that is two and a quarter hours long flies by as if it was much shorter.  It goes off onto what appear to be tangents (but often aren't) because it is concerned with what happened to Charlie Wade only to the extent that The Maltese Falcon was about "Who killed Miles Archer?";  that is, what at first appears to be the central mystery is only the scaffolding for a much larger structure.

Ok, now it's time to meet the Paynes...

That rifle range is part of an Army base scheduled to be closed in the near future.  Our two sergeants are stationed there.

The newly appointed commander is one Colonel Delmore Payne, son of Otis Payne (who worked in Roderick Bledsoe's roadhouse when Wade disappeared, and had a bit of history with him.  Otis now owns and runs the roadhouse.) ...
Joe Morton  as  Colonel Delmore Payne

Coming back to this place is probably the last thing Delmore ever expected.  He too has major daddy issues, as daddy left him and his mother to move in with another woman when he was just a kid...
Delmore (to his wife): "He didn't leave.
  "He moved three houses down with one of my mother's best friends.

  "Hey, Delmore!  Where's your daddy?!!!
  "Godforsaken town!  Everybody in everybody else's business!"
Wife: "Well, we're stuck here for three years.  We have to see him."
Delmore: "NO!!! -- We don't!"

To add to his fun, Delmore has a son of his own, who's getting just as alienated from him, wondering why in hell he can't even see his own grandfather.  Naturally, the son handles that problem on his own.

But, stubborn as he is, Delmore is capable of thinking and learning.  When disciplining a private who has failed a drug test, after hearing her out he decides to give her another chance.  Afterwards, he just quietly stares off into nothingness for ten or fifteen seconds, and you don't have to be an arts major to realize that he just might be considering that someone else may also deserve a second chance.

Among the people Sam talks to, in his investigation of things past, is Wesley Birdsong, an Indian who knew his father; now running a curio shop where he lives on a desolate road in the middle of nowhere...

Sam: "Sell much out here?"
Wesley: "How am I going to sell things?  Nobody comes around.
   "This stretch of road -- runs between Nowhere -- and Not Much Else."
Sam: "A hell of a spot to put a business."
Wesley (grinning): "Don't see much competition, do you?"

Wesley (continuing on the subject of Buddy Deeds):
  "Now, your father -- this wasn't what he had in mind.
  "He come out of Korea -- bought a Chevy with too much engine.
  "He used to come roaring up and down this road all hours of the day and night...
  "... looking for somebody to race.

Sam (trying to get daddy's measure): "Do you think he killed anybody in Korea?"
Wesley: "They don't hand out those medals for hiding in your foxhole."
 ...
  "If he hadn't found the deputy's job ...
  "... I believe Buddy might've gone down the other path, got into serious trouble.
  "It settled him right down...
  "That -- and your mother.
  "... Of course, he had that other one later."

The movie is largely a journey of discovery by kids now grown, learning that there was far, far more to their parents than they could have possibly imagined.  You think that you know everything there is to know about your folks?  You just might have a hell of a surprise coming.

Yes!  You do learn what happened with Charlie Wade, but it's not the point of the movie.

Family secrets and second chances: That's what the movie is really about.

Wesley probably had the last word on the subject of those secrets...
Gordon Tootoosis  as  Wesley Birdsong
(modified from photo at one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com )

To Sam (while pulling out a snakeskin from a diamondback rattlesnake),
   "Here!  This big fella was sleeping in a crate at Cisco's junkyard...
   "...right when I was going to open it to see what was in 'er...
   "...jumped right at my face."


   "Scared me so bad I had to kill him without thinking."

   "You gotta be careful where you go pokin'.
   "Who knows what you'll find?"


Addendum - 09 Jul 2011 - While browsing through the "Favorite Lone Star quotes" board topic on the IMDB's page for this movie, I came across a comment made a couple of years ago by commenter timmy_501.

For his sig he used this line (from William Faulkner's Requiem for a Nun) ...
 The past is never dead. It's not even past.


That line would make an absolutely perfect tag line for Lone Star.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Light Bulb Law

Under Federal law, incandescent light bulbs are to be ultimately banned entirely.
A phase-out is due to start this coming January, beginning with 100 watt bulbs.

Recently, the Texas Legislature crafted, passed and sent to Governor Rick Perry's desk, a measure to avoid that authority by allowing any bulb manufactured and sold within the state to be exempt from that.

Perry had until Sunday to be able to veto that bill.

Not only did he not veto it, he signed  it.

This may seem a small and inconsequential thing, but by doing so he has placed himself squarely with those radicals who seem to think that mere people have enough common sense to make their own decisions without having a Federal agency telling them what to do.

Radical,  I tell you.  What can that man possibly be thinking?!!!
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What Texas gets so right.

Apparently, Charles Krauthammer tried to do a "Yes, but..." on the possibility of our governor Rick Perry entering the Presidential race and running on how well the Texas economy is doing relative to other states;  by pointing out that we have a lot of oil and those others don't.

Local trial lawyer "Beldar" calls him out on this in Beldar quibbles with Krauthammer over Perry and the Texas economy , pointing out that Texas has a lot more going for it than just oil, and that oil is not nearly the factor in our economy now that it was 30 years ago

The "money" quotes from his post...

When he is at his best, Gov. Perry — who is not a humble man by nature — is appropriately humble about his personal role in Texas' relative economic success during these hard times. Rick Perry didn't create that prosperity. No state governor has such power, and certainly not Texas' governor. No American president has such power over the country, either.

Rather, Perry has continued a long tradition that goes back to the days of Stephen F. Austin, when Texas was still part of Mexico. Texans expect government to perform some core functions competently, and then otherwise to get the hell out of their way.


That last line of Beldar's is the most succinct primer on Texas politics I've ever seen. No way can I improve on that, so I'm content with this being a public service announcement for him.
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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Trivia about True Grit

This is a follow-up to True Grit vs True Grit (comparing the remake to the original).  In that post, I mentioned this item about the original (1969) version...

The novel was adapted into a screenplay by Marguerite Roberts, who was blacklisted in 1952 for refusing to name names in her testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee and had been branded a communist for that.

When she learned that her script was being submitted to John Wayne, she was certain that, because of his right-wing politics, there was no way he would ever read it.

The Duke surprised her, twice, by saying, "Well, let me take a look at the script.  Let's give her a chance.", and then later coming out and saying, "This is the best western written in years.  Let's do it."

Most of the following will concern the 2010 remake and/or the novel.

Judge Isaac Parker - His court and his marshals...
The story takes place in 1878.  At that time, what we know as Oklahoma was then the Indian Territory, occupied by the five civilized tribes (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole). Being free of local law enforcement, it became a magnet for cattle thieves, horse thieves and various other desperadoes.

The only court having any jurisdiction over the territory was the U. S. Court for the Western District of Arkansas, located in Fort Smith, Arkansas right on the western border. In 1875, Judge Isaac Parker was appointed to preside over the court and quickly became known as the "Hanging Judge" (In 21 years, one hundred and sixty men were sentenced to hang, of which 79 actually were).

From Wikipedia (Yeah, I know, I KNOW - Supposedly you can't trust it) ...
One unusual element of the Western District's jurisprudence was the fact that, with respect to the Indian Territory, during this period it was a court of final jurisdiction. From 1875 until 1889, statutory law did not provide for appeals of Indian Territory cases from this court to any court of appeal.

To enforce the law, he used U. S. Deputy Marshals, of which author Charles Portis noted (in his character's words), "There is near about two hundred of them...". Mattie later observes, on someone calling the court "the Parker slaughterhouse", "I don't know who was right.  I know sixty-five of his marshals got killed.  They had some mighty tough folks to deal with."

Among those marshals was one Heck Thomas, who later rode with Bill Tilghman and was the one who killed outlaw Bill Doolin after an escape from the prison that Tilghman had helped to put him in. Thomas became known for that killing, and for his absolutely relentless pursuit of those he went after.  I've seen several mentions that Portis probably had him in mind when he conjured up the character of Rueben J. "Rooster" Cogburn.

Picketwire...
A character in the remake (not in the original nor in the novel) refers to someone currently "hunting north of the Picketwire".  Any who have seen John Wayne's  "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence" may recall mention of it there.

It is a river, in southeastern Colorado, that empties into the Arkansas River.  It was named the Purgatoire River by the French, and is so named on maps.  A Google search for Picketwire Canyon will disclose that parts of the river are famous for the amazing amount of dinosaur tracks preserved there.

Locals, having difficulty wrapping their mouths around the French pronunciation, simply called it the "Picketwire".

Guns, guns and more guns!  Oh, boy!! My favorite subject...
Mattie goes hunting her father's murderer with this...

It is an 1848 Colt Dragoon, carried by her father in the Civil War. She declares to Rooster that, "I intend to kill Tom Chaney with it, if the law fails to do so". To which he replies, "Well, that piece will do the job".

I reckon it would. It is a six-shot, .44 caliber revolver using 50 grains of black powder to propel its bullet.  A powerful weapon, it was an evolution of the even larger 1847 Walker Colt.  You may have noticed that the cylinder does not extend all the way to the frame.  There's a reason for that; in the Walker model, it did, allowing for 60 grains of powder, sometimes resulting in cylinders being blown apart by that charge.  Shortening the cylinder precluded that possibility.

Rooster has, as his main sidearm...



... An 1873 Colt Single-Action Army in .44-40 Winchester caliber.  The caliber is not mentioned in the movie but is mentioned early in the novel, and later confirmed when Mattie is surprised by Rooster using the same cartridges to load that pistol and his rifle.  That, after all, was the whole point of making the pistol for that particular round.

Rooster also carries two of this model...

... in saddle holsters hung from the saddle horn.  This is the Model 1851 "Navy" Colt.  It was never adopted by the Navy; it was so named because (early models at least) came with an engraving on the cylinder of a scene of the victory of the Second Texas Navy at the Battle of Campeche on May 16, 1843.

When this model came out, metallurgy had some ways to go, and guns had to be more heavily built to handle the pressures of the powders used. The use of .36 caliber for this model resulted in a weapon not as powerful as its .44 caliber brothers, but still powerful enough to be taken seriously.

It was lighter than the Dragoon, beautifully balanced and superbly accurate, making it a favorite of people who depended on the weapon for their lives, including (among others) one James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok.

That Rooster carried a pair, in saddle holsters, is another nice touch. He was supposed to have ridden with Quantrill during the Civil War. Quantrill equipped his men with four revolvers each, two carried on their persons, the other two in saddle holsters, giving each man 24 shots without reloading - quite a bit of firepower when they fell upon their prey.

And, finally (for this post), the Texas Ranger LaBoeuf favored...

... the Model 1874 Sharps Cavalry Carbine, in .45-70 Government caliber.  Every bit as accurate as LaBoeuf bragged, and perfectly capable of the shot he made.  There were various .50 caliber models of this weapon available, but an awful lot of Army models in the .45-70 caliber wound up in the hands of the Texas Rangers, so there's nothing at all strange about him having that particular weapon.

One of the things I really loved about the remake was how much they got right.

Update - 12 Jun 2011 - Perceptive readers will notice the addition of two new labels: "History";  which has been retroactively applied to some of my other posts as well, and "Guns";  first applied to this post.  From its addition, you may correctly assume that it is a subject I plan on revisiting from time to time.
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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

True Grit vs True Grit

-So, which one is best?  The 1969 original or the 2010 remake?

The story is dirt-simple.  After her father is murdered by a coward named Tom Chaney, 14-year old Mattie Ross goes into Fort Smith, Arkansas to take care of affairs, including arranging some justice.

Upon learning that the local sheriff is not in pursuit, because Chaney has escaped into the Choctaw Nation and is now the business of the Federal Marshals, she determines to hire one to go after him, and asks the sheriff who would be best.

"I would have to weigh that proposition.

"I reckon William Waters is the best tracker; he's half Comanche, and it is a sight to see him cut sign.

"The meanest one is Rooster Cogburn. He is a pitiless man, double-tough, and fear don't enter into his thinking. He loves to pull a cork.

"The straightest one would be L. T. Quinn. He brings his prisoners in alive. He may let one get by now and then, but he believes that even the worst of men is entitled to a fair shake."


To which, Mattie responds, "Where can I find this Rooster?"

Charles Portis' 1968 novel was first filmed in 1969, directed by Henry Hathaway and starring John Wayne, and later remade in 2010 by the Coen brothers with Jeff Bridges.

In A Boy and his Vampire  (mostly about remakes), I noted that this was one remake that did not fill me with dread.  After seeing it in the theater, I felt it better than the original in almost every way and considered it the best film of 2010.

I may have to re-evaluate that comparison a bit.

I take back nothing of what I felt about the new version, but it's been ages since I saw the original.  A couple of weeks ago, I decided to get the DVD of the original and give it another look.

I had forgotten just how good it really was; it holds up very well, even 42 years later.

Reviews of the remake made a big deal about it going back to the original novel and being more faithful to it.

Well, in some ways, but...

The first third of both movies are very similar and pretty much like the novel.

In the middle third, the two movies seriously part company, with the Wayne version most like the book and the Coen Brothers take either coming from their Twilight Zone imagination, or incorporating bits from other books by Portis (having never read any of those others, I simply don't know; I'm leaning instead to the first possibility).

The last third of the two movies part company again, but in reverse directions; the Coen Brothers version being much closer to the novel.

Ok, how about who's in them?...
 Kim Darby as Mattie Ross - From homevideos.com

Kim Darby, in the 1969 version, is Ok, in a Disney family movie kind of way, but in comparison, she's just completely blown away by...
 Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross - From demeterclarc.com

Hailee Steinfeld, in her first movie role ever, as the 2010 version, is simply one of the most amazing finds in recent movie history.  The sky's the limit for her future.

Update - Thursday, 21 Jun 2012 - It's been a solid year now since I wrote "The sky's the limit for her future."  You might be wondering, "So, what happened?"

Well, she's still working on it. Her page on the IMDB (That's a link - hint, hint, hint :-) shows four movies she's in (one of them a rumor), scheduled for release in 2013 and 2014. It also shows that she did not come out of nowhere; she'd been in a short film, and has done work on TV.

But True Grit (2010) really is her first feature movie, and I stand by my "The sky's the limit" statement.

Glen Campbell and John Wayne - From jamesnava.com

John Wayne, as Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn, finally won an Oscar for this role, and By God, he earned it.  Among the things I'd forgotten about the original was just how good he really was; this is his best work since The Searchers and Red River.

Singer Glen Campbell, as the Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, is Ok.  Not great, but not cringe-worthy either. He gets the job done.

Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon - From nickandkaley.blogspot.com

Jeff Bridges is a worthy successor to John Wayne for the role of "Rooster" Cogburn, looks absolutely perfect for it, and doesn't disappoint.

As for the Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, if Campbell was Ok, Matt Damon (who can make me want to throw things at him when he opens his mouth politically) is simply outstanding.  No real comparison at all.

What about the "coward Tom Chaney"?...
Jeff Corey - From Aveleyman.com

Jeff Corey made Chaney into a whiney, kind of pitiful object of the manhunt.

Whereas...
Josh Brolin - From smithdell.blogspot.com

Josh Brolin, in the new version, made him into a slow-witted but dangerous animal, capable of almost anything. This guy was scary.

Chaney had joined up with the gang of outlaw "Lucky" Ned Pepper...
As played by Robert Duvall in the 1969 version - From blogs.orlandosentinel.com

Played in the 2010 version by...
Barry Pepper - From qoo3me.livejournal.com

Assaying Barry Pepper's performance is a bit difficult because, like Karl Urban channeling the late DeForest Kelly as "Bones" McCoy (in the 2009 version of Star Trek), Pepper makes me feel as though I'm actually watching Robert Duvall again.

I'm trying to imagine Barry Pepper (probably best known as the sniper, in Saving Private Ryan, who would cross himself before blowing out the brains of some poor German soldier) being told to follow in the footsteps of an actor who has been called "an American Olivier".  He did a beautiful job of it.

Piece of John Wayne trivia...

The novel was adapted into a screenplay by Marguerite Roberts, who was blacklisted in 1952 for refusing to name names in her testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee and had been branded a communist for that.

When she learned that her script was being submitted to John Wayne, she was certain that, because of his right-wing politics, there was no way he would ever read it.

The Duke surprised her, twice, by saying, "Well, let me take a look at the script.  Let's give her a chance.", and then later coming out and saying, "This is the best western written in years.  Let's do it."

Bottom line as to which one is best?  Which should you get?

Hell!  BOTH of them!
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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

I'm not gonna do this post.

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I've mentioned, in passing a few times, that since going into early retirement after my IT job was outsourced, I've had to supplement my income by becoming a part-time grocery cashier.

Aside from occasional (but very rare) enlivenment such as the armed robbery mentioned in Well, THAT was interesting..., the job is a soul-killing trap  (see Psychosomatica, and especially the comments).

Were I to do this post, about this job, I would very likely entitle it,  
"All hope abandon, ye who enter here!"

As that sounds a bit of a downer, I think I'll pass for now.
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Thursday, June 02, 2011

"There's sore decline in Adam's line ...

... if this be spawn of Earth."

Having just learned that a fellow blogger (bloggess? :-) shares a love for Kipling, I declared his The Ballad of East and West as my absolute favorite.  She introduced me to his The Female of the Species ("is more deadly than the male" - well worth looking up).

I've become quite fond of the poem below (from whence came the title of this post), and believe that the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue could be thusly described.

How good is the fit?  Well, what do you think? ...

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