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Cover, radio listening tip, modern Western

Friday 2/23/24

Have an idea for the cover for The Ghost Grew Legs: Stories of the Dead for the More or Less Living. Made myself sit here doing nothing else until I came up with it. I'll get back to "Friendship Bracelet" tomorrow, which is in this book. I can't overstate how important every accented beat and offbeat of this ending is. The landing must be absolutely stuck. Stick this ending and it's an ending that walks into history. The whole story is really just something else. It's all about getting everything correct right now.

[Edit: Came up with a second cover idea. Two excellent options.]

Listened to the fifteenth anniversary edition of the Kooks' Inside In/Inside Out. Also, more episodes of Tales of the Texas Rangers, including one of the rare ones without a grisly, shocking murder that I can't believe was allowed to run on the radio in the 1950s. Jace Pearson--a guy who is good at his job but not quite Johnny Dollar good--has to deal with some mean kids who gang up on a girl.

Tip: Just as if Elisha Cook, Jr. is in it it's usually a movie worth your time, same goes when a radio program includes Howard McNear.

I'm very much interested in modern Westerns. The idea of the West, but in the age of the automobile. Tales of the Texas Rangers is a perfect example. These episodes are no less "Westerns" than the pictures of John Ford. Probably the best movie example of the modern Western in cinema is Nicholas Ray's The Lusty Men. Ray was such an uneven filmmaker. You watch most of his films and it's like, "Okay, that bit's not so good, this part works well, that was nice, damn, we're faltering again." I wouldn't say that they cohere very well. Look at In a Lonely Place. It's one of those movies that people praise now, but I think they're full of it and are praising it for other reasons than what they think and what it actually is. It's quite forced and unconvincing when you're being objective.

The Lusty Men, though, pretty much works as what it is all the way through. Then again, you know how it's going to end fairly early on. Some of the best scenes are from before the movie really gets going--or the plot kicks in, perhaps I should say--when the Robert Mitchum character returns to his childhood home. Orson Welles would have parts like that in his movies, which he viewed as the best parts, and that studios would cut out when they could because they weren't directly related to driving the action forward as they saw it. They didn't get what he was doing.

I will watch BC men's hockey play Vermont now and drink lots of water.


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