It’s the important little things you forget to bring when you flee Manhattan.
Usually when I go for one of my long overdue haircuts the barber gives me a sneaky eyebrow and ear trimming. He’ll also take care of my snoz hairs if I make the special request. At my age every thing grows quickly everywhere I don’t want it to. Things could become a tangled mess soon. The only scissors in the upstate house are lettuce trimmers. I tried nose plucking with tweezers but it brought tears to my eyes.
I need nostril trimmers.
I need to get to Hannafords.
Crazy as it all is these days, it’s nice to be able to sit outside on a workday with a coffee. There’s nothing to disturb the country silence save the chirping of birds and the sound of my neighbor, Big Lou , shooting small animals somewhere across the corn field.
I think I may have squirrels in my attic (not a metaphor). Those little pricks ate away the cabling in my Mercedes a couple of years back. It cost me $3k to replace. The dealership explained that American rodents have a preference for European rubber. He then tried to sell me a bridge. I’m borrowing Lou’s shotgun.
On to some recommendations.
I’m a huge Elmore Leonard fan. Nobody wrote dialogue and created characters quite like he did. He’s the one they all try to imitate, including fanboy Quentin Tarantino . Tarantino adapted the Leonards Rum Punch into his under appreciated film, Jackie Brown. He never adapted again.
Elmore wrote a total of 48 novels over his fifty year career, shifting from westerns to mainly crime fiction. Elmore Leonard’s crooks are small time, lazy and not nearly as smart as they think they are. His books are tight, fast and fun. If you need a great writer to invest in, there are very few as smart and readable as “Dutch”.
There have been a lot of movie adaptations of Elmore’s novels. These are a few of my favorites, both book and movie.
Out of Sight: This was a high gloss production starring George Clooney and a young Jennifer Lopez, in her best role. Everyone loves that car trunk scene. I’d be happy to get stuck in a trunk with Jen. Shit, it wouldn’t even be too bad to get jammed in there with old George.
Out of Sight was directed by Steven Soderbergh, who’s currently on everyone’s radar for Contagion (Netflix). If you want to see his gem, try and track down The Limey – an excellent neo-noir.
Get Shorty: John Travolta is all kind of cool as a hood who gets involved in the L.A. movie industry. This one also stars Gene Hackman, out of character, as a weasely producer. This is the Leonard adaptation with the cast to beat. The film plays more for laughs than his others. The sequel Be Cool is not cool.
Cat Chaser: It’s not a great film but I have a soft spot for it. This movie nails the low end look and feel I always imagine from his books. Kelly McGillis is beautiful and Peter Weller (Robocop – another rewatchable) should have been a bigger star. I want to stay in that seedy motel movie setting my next sabbatical.
Jackie Brown: When you read Leonard, then watch Tarantino, you’ll see the influence on QT’s characters and dialogue. You’ve got lots of small time hoods talking about nothing much. Jackie Brown is a film as much about loneliness as a gangster film. This one has more in common with Once Upon A Time in Hollywood than Reservoir Dogs (and I loved both). There is one killing in Jackie Brown that shocks me every time. Double bill Jackie Brown with Out of Sight and look out for crossover characters.
All four films are on my Rewatchables list.
The Elmore Leonard list was prompted by an excellent binge recommendation from my good buddy John Sullivan.
For those of us who watched Justified , when it originally aired between 2010 and 2015, it was unmissable. It ran 6 seasons with 78 episodes on FX. Raylan, the lead character originated from an Elmore story called Fire in the Hole. Raylan later got his own novel oddly titled Raylan (I read it last month). Justified is best described as a neo-western crime series – basically a kick-ass modern day deputy fighting slightly organized crime.
As a heads up, the first episodes have a standalone format, but the story settles into a broader arc by the end of season one.
If you want a great hero you need a great villain and Boyd Crowders is the fabulous fast talking, white trash protagonist in Justified. The back and forth dialogue between Good Guy Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) and Bad Guy Boyd (Walter Goggins) makes for some of the shows best moments. But it’s the supporting cast of losers that really seal this excellent binger.
Justified finishes properly and that final line just slayed me.
Tarantino cast both lead actors in Western roles in his last two films. I love those threads.
Shelley – you’ll like this series. Raylan is hot!
I’m currently reading La Brava. Elmore won his only Edgar award for that one.
It is a very supportive community up here in Ancramdale. My property is adjoined by Miller’s farm. When my neighbors lost all their cattle in a barn fire October 2018, the locals came together and organized multiple fundraisers to get the family back on their feet. A new barn was raised and the cattle replaced.
Ancramdale still has a great sense of community. They have been very quick off the mark these recent weeks with community outreach programs.
I’m a big 1st Wave channel 33 Sirius listener. They’ve been keeping it cheery and upbeat these days. There’s nothing like an 80s throwback to lift the spirits. Today it was Never Let Me Down Again – Depeche Mode, while I was driving.
I learned on 1st Wave radio that today is the 30th anniversary of the release of Violator. For those that don’t know their synth pop/alternative/new wave music, Violator is the greatest album from my top band Depeche Mode.
I saw DM for the first time 30 years ago at Wembley Arena starting their global Violator tour. This newly minted fan went out shopping in London soon after and bought himself a pair of white Levi’s and Chelsea boots. But I’m not nearly as cool as lead singer David Gahan and white denim was not the best attire for a sloppy Guinness drinker.
I’ve seen every DM tour since. There’s few better songs to get a stadium roused than Personal Jesus. Check out the cover versions by both Johnny Cash & Matlyn Manson.
I had planned to see Depeche Mode in Cleveland for their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction this May, but things got in the way. It will happen eventually and I’ll be there.
Stacey was supposed to come back from Florida next weekend. But she missed me so much she’s pushing it back another week. Its sunny in Florida and the horse is still there. Better plan!
Hannafords didn’t have any nostril trimmers but I did buy some Star Wars and Finding Nemo balloons and some spare boot laces in assorted lengths and colors. And some Tic-Tacs.