VIOLENCE WITH GUSTO IN TOMBSTONE

The first movie I remember seeing with my mom was “Gunfight at OK Corral.” It was a busy day at the Utopia Theater. A small movie house. There were hardly any seats left by the time we got there, having walked from home. I had a non-driving mom who believed in healthy outdoor exercise.

Wyatt Earp at about age 33.

Wyatt Earp at 33. (Photo: Wikipedia)

We found a seat in the second row. Burt and Kirk had heads 20 feet high. It left an indelible mark on my mind. I became an O.K. Corral aficionado, catching each new version of the story as it was cranked out by Hollywood. When video taped movies became available, I caught up with all earlier versions, too.

I stayed with “Gunfight” as my favorite for a long time. Maybe I’m just fond of Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. Garry generally favors “My Darling Clementine” but he is a John Ford fan.

In 1993, along came “Tombstone.” One viewing and it was my favorite version of the gunfight story. A few more viewings and it morphed into my favorite western. There are a lot of contenders for second place.

I don’t love it for its historical accuracy, though It is nominally more accurate than other movie versions. It omits as more than it includes. The Earps were a wild and crazy family. Doc Holliday was even wilder and crazier.

English: John Henry "Doc" Holliday, ...

John Henry “Doc” Holliday (Photo: Wikipedia)

They were all lethal and no more honest then they needed to be.

There were other Earp brothers who are always left out of the story, maybe because they weren’t in the peacekeeping business. Dad was a real piece of work and deserves a movie of his own. Although I tend to be prickly about historical details, I do not watch westerns for historical accuracy.

I watch westerns first and foremost, because I love horses. I will watch anything with or about horses. You could just run films of horses in a field and I’d watch that too.

Next, I love westerns because when I was growing up watching Johnny Mack Brown movies on the old channel 13 (before it became PBS) in New York, I always knew the guys in black hats were villains and the ones in white hats were heroes. It appealed to my 8-year old need for moral simplicity.

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In westerns, revenge and righteous violence are good, clean fun. Not merely acceptable, but desirable. In the Old West, when you find a bad guy, get out the six-shooter, shotgun, or both — and mow’em down. Justice is quick and permanent. Without guilt. You can be a wimp in real life, but watching “Tombstone,” as Kurt, Val and the gang cut a swathe of blood and death across the southwest — I can cheer them on.

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“Tombstone” is deliciously violent. The gunfight at O.K. corral is merely the beginning. There’s a deeply satisfying amount of killing to follow. I revel in it. When Kurt Russell declares that he’s coming for them and Hell will follow … I am there. Yes, kill the bastards. It’s so cathartic!

Garry and I made a personal pilgrimage to Tombstone.

Tombstone shopping

I have argued with people who keep saying the movie was filmed on a sound stage. Unless everyone in Tombstone was victim of a mass hallucination  — mass hallucinations are not nearly as common in real life as they are in Hollywood — during which time a movie company rebuilt the town to look like historical Tombstone, then filmed a movie, “Tombstone” was filmed in Tombstone.

I have pictures of Tombstone. We bought tee shirts. It was our favorite part of a long summer’s vacation in Arizona. Although there may have been some re-shooting on a set, the bulk of the film was shot in Tombstone. It was and remains the only thing of note to happen there in the past 100 years.

August was not the best time to visit, but our host worked. It was hard to find a good time to visit. The mercury climbed to 128 and never dropped below 120 while the sun shined. Which, that time of year, it does relentlessly. I think that’s why they invented awnings over the wooden sidewalks.

It was painfully hot. Maybe that how come everyone was shooting everyone else. Who wouldn’t want to shoot people living in that heat without air conditioning? It makes one cranky.

I don’t watch movies for a dose of reality. I have plenty of reality. I watch films to escape and entertainment. Westerns let me immerse myself in raw emotions that are unacceptable otherwise.

I love Tombstone. We’re going out west again in January, this time to Monument Valley. I’m counting on a John Ford rush!

WHY WE ARE NOT ON OUR WAY TO THE MOUNTAINS

That ribbon of highway ...

That ribbon of highway …

Today was the day we were to be heading to Maine, but we aren’t. No packing, no driving. No week spent far away in the mountains.

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Blame it on the spider bite and blame it on the impact of reality on our world. Garry’s leg is better. The muscle into which venom was injected is slowly healing, but it’s still stiff and sore. A little walking goes a long way right now … and Garry is a good walker.

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Facing an eight-hour drive up to the mountains and a week in a place where, if you can’t walk, there is absolutely nothing to do … we passed. Sixteen hours of driving so we can sit around the little vacation condo in Jackman, Maine, didn’t make sense.

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There will be no northward trek this year. No pictures of the glorious mountain sunsets and sunrises. We will be at home. Maybe going out to dinner a couple of times.

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Even when we are as healthy and hearty as we can be these days, that is a long haul. This year, with Garry still hurting from the bite of the spider which doesn’t live around here (not), it was a no-brainer, deciding to stay home.

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I have decided we are, nonetheless, on vacation. Whatever that means.

MORNING UPDATE: HOTEL HELL

A rerun from October, 2013. A great vacation, if you didn’t count the hotel …

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What a perfect prompt  for this bright and shining day. Waking up this morning on an old futon with the entire room buzzing and rumbling from the vibrations of heavy machinery.

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We slept in the tiny living room of our seedy resort because the bed (in the bedroom) was sagging in the middle and hard as concrete. We are in Hyannis, Cape Cod.

Cape Cod Bathroom

Outside, I can hear the machinery thrumming. I don’t know what it’s doing and maybe it’s better if I don’t know. It would just worry me.

The elegant, understated kitchen vent.

The elegant, understated kitchen vent.

In the middle of the night, there was the sound of little feet scrambling around near the bed by the kitchen.

“What the hell?” I said to myself, leaping out of bed but making a circuitous loop before checking out that noise. I wanted to know what that sound was but also I didn’t really want to know — or step on something soft, warm, full of teeth and tiny claws. The non-paying residents of Unit 17 had come out to play (dum de dum dum).

See? They repair stuff. The screen is carefully repaired with cello-tape.

See? They repair stuff. The screen is carefully repaired with cello-tape.

Garry had removed his hearing aids, so he was spared this. I think he might have fled screaming. A brave man and true, but not in the face of rats. He has met rats, figuratively and literally and didn’t like them.

News Flash:  Screams were heard drifting from the Cape Winds Hotel last night. Missing are Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong, of Uxbridge, Massachusetts … Film at 11.

Please, someone … tell me we don’t have rats living in here …. anything but rats (or spiders).

Please join us for coffee on on charming patio.

Please join us for coffee on our charming patio.

CEE’S WHICH WAY PHOTO CHALLENGE – THE ROAD GOES EVER ON

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge:
2015 Week #22

Welcome everyone to Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge. This challenge’s subject is the roads, walks, trails, rails, by which we move from place to place. You can walk them, climb them, drive them, ride them — as long as the way is visible. Any angle of a bridge is acceptable, as are any signs.

St Petersburg bridge

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VACATION AND AN INTERMISSION

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We’ll be on vacation for several weeks in June — Vermont, this week, then Maine later in the month. Although we will have WiFi (but not cell service), neither of us will be spending much time on the computer. I don’t expect to be writing a lot, although who knows when inspiration might strike. I never deny inspiration when it shows up.

Regardless, I need a break and this seems the ideal time to do it.

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I will post pictures, when I can. I hope to come away from this with a lot of photographs!

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So, we are officially off duty. I want to know I can sleep late — or do nothing — without feeling I’m letting anyone down. Doing nothing sounds particularly enticing. It’s been a while since I did nothing.

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We’re off to the great north lands of New England tomorrow. We’ll be back. With stories and pictures!

TRAINS

ON THE WAY – WEEKLY PHOTO PROMPT

My son took these pictures on a slow, rainy train journey through the swamps and woods of the Blackstone Valley. They have lain here, in my files, waiting for a time to properly present them. A little processing to make them more painterly … and they are ready.

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The tracks are old and narrow and the train, which runs once a week and goes from one yard to another, never exceeds five miles per hour.

MY FRIEND IN BLACK AND WHITE

CEE’S BLACK & WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE: HEADS OR FACIAL FEATURES

Cee’s challenge this week is for faces. Being at my friend’s house and her being uncharacteristically willing to let me take her picture, voilà! Taken with my new 60mm Olympus macro/portrait lens using the camera’s art effects and of course, Photoshop.

Cherrie BW pensive portrait

Cherrie bw portrait hadley

Hop on over to Cee’s Photography site for more great pictures.

SHARING MY WORLD – BURGEONING SPRING EDITION

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2015 WEEK #20

What is the most important thing that you ever learned? (I bet it’s not something you learned in school).

That life just happens. Both good and bad. Controlling life, to which we all aspire and in which we fervently believe until we learn otherwise, is a waste of time. You aim yourself in the general direction in which you want to go. After that? You take your cue from what happens along the trail. The people you meet, the opportunities you get.

Taken by the typical friendly passing stranger who, sadly, had no clue about how cameras work. Guess where we are? Hint: The picture was taken yesterday and they are not having a good season.

Taken by the typical friendly passing stranger who, sadly, had no clue about how cameras work. Guess where we are? Hint: The picture was taken yesterday and they are not having a good season.

As they say (with good reason): “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

What feeds your enthusiasm for life?

Writing. Photography. Creating things. Reading. If I feed my mind, I feed everything.

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I don’t know what I would do if I was no longer able to do anything creative.

What’s your most memorable (good or bad) airplane commercial or private flight?

We were coming back from Ft. Lauderdale after a 2-week Caribbean cruise. A lot of unexpected and interesting stuff had happened on that cruise, but we were not prepared for the flight home. Actually, the first leg of the journey, from Florida to Atlanta, was perfectly normal and on time. The connecting flight to Boston was waiting on the runway, our luggage got transferred. So far, so good.

Having boarded, strapped in, we sat on that runway in the plane. No air conditioning, not an offer of water or coffee or a soft drink for three hours. No one explained why. One of the passengers was a diabetic and went into a coma. They removed her from the plane on a stretcher.

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Finally, we actually took off. Thunder storms forced the plane to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia, where we sat for another couple of hours, waiting for the weather to clear. And for a new pilot. Why we needed a new pilot? Your guess is as good as mine.

We got back to Boston at 3 in the morning. Our original arrival had been 6 pm. Garry was scheduled to be at Channel 7 the following morning at five. He was exhausted. They told him “tough luck, you should have planned better.” We went home. Garry took a shower, got dressed, and went to work. So much for (a) Delta Airlines and (b) the glamorous life of a television reporter.

If you were a great explorer, what would you explore

I’ve never thought about exploring. I’d love to see Paris, the Great Wall of China, Japan, India, and Kenya. Among other places.

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That’s travel, not exploration. Exploration makes me think of jungles, insects, snakes, and yellow fever. How about a nice cruise to Tahiti? I’m up for that.