A Big Entrance

He watched Dewy Crowe bring a pump shotgun out of the trunk and start back this way, all business now, his mind made up, his dumb pride taking him to a place it would be hard to back out of.

. . . Raylan in his shirtsleeves, Dewey Crowe taking careful steps now, holding the shotgun out in front of him.

“Mr. Crowe? Listen, you better hold on there while I tell you something.”

It stopped him about fifty feet away, his shoulders hunched.

“I want you to understand,” Raylan said, “I don’t pull my sidearm ‘less I’m gonna shoot to kill. That’s it’s purpose, huh, to kill. So it’s how I use it.”

Fire in the Hole

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A Fine Bromance

Since self is currently reading Fire in the Hole, she’s on a Justified nostalgia kick.

Lookit these two! The hottest dudes on TV for six glorious seasons:

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Timothy Olyphant as US Marshal Raylan Givens; Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder

Chemistry between these two was high, every encounter struck sparks.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

“Fire in the Hole”

The title story:

They had dug coal together as young men and then lost touch over the years. Now it looked like they’d be meeting again, this time as lawman and felon, Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder.

Boyd did six years in a federal penitentiary for refusing to pay his income tax, came out and found religion. He received his ordination by mail order in South Carolina and formed a sect he called Christian Aggression. The next thing he did, Boyd formed the East Kentucky Militia with a cadre of neo-Nazi skinheads, a bunch of boys wearing Doc Martens and swastika tattoos. They were all natural-born racists and haters of authority, but still had to be taught what Boyd called “the laws of White Supremacy as laid down by the Lord,” which he took from Christian identity doctrines. Next thing, he trained these boys in the use of explosives and automatic weapons. He told them they were now members of Crowder’s Commandos, sworn to take up the fight for freedom against the coming Mongrel World Order and the government’s illegal tax laws.

That’s some opening. Probably one of the best short story openings ever.

So Boyd Crowder was a neo-Nazi skinhead? Somehow, this little fact escaped self’s mind when she was watching the show. Or perhaps they downplayed it for the adaptation, to make Boyd more likeable.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Noir-ish 2

Reading Elmore Leonard’s Chickasaw Charlie Hoke.

There is a “big redhead” named Vernice, looking “like a strawberry sundae in her La-Z-Boy.”

There is “bourbon over crushed ice.”

There are mentions of “a pit boss at Bally’s,” a waitress at the Isle of Capri coffee shop.

There is an “RV in a trailer park on the outskirts of Tunica, Mississippi.”

Very fun reading Elmore Leonard. It brings back all the FEELZ about Justified, the F/X series that ran for six seasons and had Timothy Olyphant! Timothy Olyphant! Who Salon’s TV reviewer described as “one tall, cool drink of water”!

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Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Elmore Leonard’s “Fire In the Hole”

Self checked out a collection of Elmore Leonard short stories from the Redwood City Public Library early this year. She hasn’t managed to get to it yet. COVID happened, and then self’s mind flew out the window.

This afternoon, while browsing through her stack of “To Read” books, she encountered the Elmore Leonard collection, and immediately turned to the title story.

Opening line:

  • They had dug coal together as young men and then lost touch over the years.

omg!

Justified!

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Timothy Olyphand and Walton Goggins! Those two actors were born to play Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder. Did either of the two ever win an Emmy? Did the show itself ever win an Emmy? For the six years of its run, self doesn’t think she ever skipped an episode.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Broad Comedy: ROAD DOGS

Road Dogs, by the immortal Elmore Leonard (who self has worshipped for many years, and who she can never thank enough for giving Timothy Olyphant the chance to strut his stuff in a white Stetson as Raylan Givens, in six seasons of the TV series Justified which was based on a series of Elmore Leonard novels), p. 195:

“Can you tell me,” the monsignor said, “why it’s been twenty-seven years since you’ve been to confession?”

“The last time before this,” Little Jimmy said, “I was in prison in Cuba for a crime that didn’t hurt no one. I was afraid I would die at the hands of prisoners desiring to make love to me in an excessive manner. But I was save by my boss, also in that prison, Combinado, before it could happen.”

The monsignor said, “And this time, why are you confessing?”

“I want to be on the safe side, confess to missing Mass fourteen-hundred times,” Little Jimmy said, “because I’m going to dinner in honor of my boss. There is a possibility he could have the fortune-teller, who’s preparing the food, poison me.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cover Art: Welcome to Self’s Universe (Actual Cover Art)

For this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, COVER ART, self is posting two actual covers — one of a recent issue of Prism International, the Vancouver-based literary magazine; another for Elmore Leonard’s Raylan, adapted for TV on F/X as “Justified” — and one projected:

FCover Art, Prism International 50.4 (Spring 2012 Issue):  "Soup" by Mandy Barker

Cover Art, Prism International 50.4 (Spring 2012 Issue): “Soup” by Mandy Barker

And here's a picture of the Nora Aunor of her time:  Dearest Mum.  Have you read the story "Lizard"?  You should read "Lizard" (in self's first collection, GINSENG AND OTHER TALES FROM MANILA)

The Superstar of her time: Dearest Mum. She played in Carnegie Hall at 14.

For the past couple of years, self has been working on a novella about Dearest Mum’s concert career.  She’s chosen to call it “Ambition.”  If she ever succeeds in getting it published, this photo of Dearest Mum as a young woman would be the cover.  She doesn’t know who took the picture.

At Books, Inc. today, self's eyes were forcibly drawn to a shelf which happened to display:  xxxxx !!!

At Books, Inc. today, self’s eyes were forcibly drawn to a shelf which happened to display: xxxxx !!!  Self loves “Justified” and is sad about Elmore Leonard’s passing. And the show’s entering its final season. And oh, will Timothy Olyphant ever get an Emmy?  He is THE iconic Raylan.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Poem, You Make Self REFLECT

This one’s from The New Yorker of 3 February 2014. Self only began to truly enjoy poetry when she began reading The New Yorker. She adores narrative poetry now. At the latest AWP conference, in Seattle, she bought at least five poetry collections. She is determined to read them all. (She’s lucky, too: her roommate in Seattle was the poet Luisa A. Igloria)

“Ambush at Five O’Clock” (only the first three verses)

by Stephen Dunn

We were by the hedge that separates our properties
when I asked our neighbors about their souls,
I said it with a smile, the way one asks such a thing.
They were somewhat like us, I thought, more
than middle-aged, less dull than most.
Yet they seemed to have no interest
in disputation, our favorite game,
or any of the great national pastimes
like gossip and stories of misfortunes
about people they disliked.

In spite of these differences, kindred
was a word we often felt and used.
The man was shy, though came to life
when he spotted an uncommon bird,
and the woman lively, sometimes even funny
about barometer readings and sudden dips
in pressure, the general state of things.
We liked their affection for each other
and for dogs. We went to their house;
they came to ours.

After I asked about their souls
they laughed and stumbled towards an answer,
then gave up, turned the question back
to me. And because I felt mine always was
in jeopardy I said it went to the movies
and hasn’t been seen since. I said gobbledy
and I said gook. I found myself needing
to fool around, avoid, stay away from myself.

Isn’t that great? The everyday, and the cadence.

And, just like that, self whips out a poem.  But hers is about a man in a white Stetson and his best friend Boyd.

Stay tuned.

Justified 5.4: Still Great

Can it really be five years since self had her first electrifying glimpse of Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens?  Self never missed an episode of Season 1 and Season 2. She watched most of Season 3 (The end of Neil McDonough’s character: classic) and Season 4 (She thought there’d be something between the preacher’s sister and Tim Gutterson.  Self is such an incurable romantic!).

No way was she missing Season 5.  Especially not since they announced this was the penultimate season. Noooo!

Self has a Read the rest of this entry »

American TV (2nd Tuesday of January 2014): Justified 5.2 and True Detective

Self has decided that she will do weekly updates of Justified.  She wasn’t very good about doing that, the last two seasons, but her interest has returned, along with a whole fresh cast of villains and teases — Michael Rapaport, Amy Smart, Alicia Witt.

Last week’s episode, the season opener, began with the trial of dim Dewey Crowe. The defending lawyer was a blonde, no-nonsense woman, plain as day which was great because self would never have believed the scene if the lawyer had been even the least bit attractive. We see Raylan on the witness stand, looking devilishly handsome (even without the Stetson).  Self can’t resist:  Raylan on the witness stand is like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day (cue background music)

Self will never forget the lines:  “300 stands for $300,000 to be awarded to you.  Do you accept?” Dewey Crowe, who was in the midst of lodging a protest, collapses on a seat, mouth open.  The judge intones “I’ll take that as a yes” and bangs his gavel.  End of scene.

BWAH. HA. HA. HAAAA!

Episode 5.1 introduced us to a new form of hillbilly:  Michael Rapaport, very beefed up.  He has a fetching sister (played by Alicia Witt) named Wendy, who’s a legal assistant (This is not the same as being a lawyer, just so you know).  There are a whole lot of murders and blood spatter.  No Jacob Pitts or Erika Taziel, boo.  But the return of Nick Searcy as Raylan’s sardonic boss was reason enough to cheer.

As self watched Episode 5.2, last night, she had very many thoughts about the series hero (Michael Rapaport was MIA until the very last minutes of this episode).  For instance, this weighty observation:

Timothy Olyphant looks so good in distressed blue jeans.  His stance, his physique — just tailor-made for low-slung Levis.  You skateboarding teen-agers with the beanies, you oh-so-cool denizens of high schools and shopping malls, you have nothing on Olyphant. Seriously, someone ought to bottle this man’s mojo and ship overseas with every pair of American jeans. It might just succeed in balancing the trade deficit or in wiping out the national debt.

Next:

Even when he is not opening his mouth, and is just staring into space (while driving, say), he needs no dialogue.  Oh beautiful.  Just keep looking at that face for 50 minutes.  Forget plot, forget who’s trying to off who, forget his low-life BFF Boyd Crowder.  That’s an American icon, right there!

Last night’s episode had brief appearances of Jacob Pitt and Erika Taziel, doing practically nothing.  At least there was more of Art.  He was exhibiting a new form of acquired behavior: bouncing a small black rubber ball on his desktop.  Art doesn’t really need such a behavioral prop.  Of course, it is nice to know that he is manually dexterous and can multi-task.  But self hated that instead of fully committing herself to observing every aspect of Nick Searcy’s delivery, her eyes were kept on that little bouncing ball.  She couldn’t help wondering if it were some kind of loaded gun, to be exploded in a later episode.  Of course, it could really be just a prop.  With absolutely no symbolism whatsoever.

Last night featured the return of another of her favorite characters:  Loretta!  The heart-faced pot dealer.  Self was quite in a tizzy wondering what trouble she’d get up to next.  Raylan is so fatherly with her.  Sweet.

Self is so glad for AMY SMART!  That girl has some serious charisma.  Banish Winona and never bring her back!

Last night’s episode featured almost NO killings.  She wondered why it was moving so slowly.  But every time the script went back to Raylan, the energy of the show increased by a mile.  She wonders what the deal is with that man who’s got all the tubes going in and out, the one with the pretty brunette wife who seems to have some thing going on for Boyd Crowder (Ava’s in jail, how convenient).  Or perhaps self is just imagining the whole frisson.

When Wynn Duffy confronts a roomful of very skanky-looking men, to explain why their drug shipments will be delayed, self kept waiting for an explosion, especially after a dude gets up to complain. He’s just your average low-life. Perfect for elimination.  Not, in other words, a recurring character.  But Wynn did not shoot him for his loud-mouthed ways.  Instead, Boyd walks in, and — get this — the protesting man actually has a name.  It’s “Cyrus.”  At least, that’s what Boyd calls him.  Oh.  So that’s why he wasn’t off-ed.  Yet.

Stay tuned for more Raylan next week.

Self will now turn to the new HBO show, “True Detective.”  This one had her agog for quite a while, ever since she found out it stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.  McConaughey and Harrelson are a dream match-up, almost as dreamy as di Caprio and Jonah Hill.  About the episode (which may have been the first):

McConaughey is so thin. A far cry from his Magic Mike appearance.

There is a dinner scene: McConaughey is the guest at Harrelson’s home.  He sits there with red eyes, looking completely wasted.  It’s a little bizarre.

The story is apparently one of these circular tales that keep switching back and forth between the present and the past.  In the present, Woody Harrelson has settled into being an honest-to-goodness suit, and McConaughey has gone off the deep end or something.  We know this because Harrelson tells his interrogators (who are videotaping the session, so we know it must be very very serious) he’s not been in touch with McConaughey’s character for about 10 years.  And when we finally get to see present-day McConaughey, he has very long stringy grey hair and appears even more gaunt:  this has got to be one of the most entertaining “spring-forward-in-time” scenarios ever.  The hair!  Or, rather, the anti-mane!  It’s like someone draped McConaughey’s head with rat tails.

The murder victim — oh, shoot.  If only self had had time to look away.  But no.  One minute we are observing the very considerable acting chops of the two leads.  The next, we see this human body strung between two trees, draped with antlers.  There’s a rubbed-out section of the torso.  OK, was that the place where . . .  gulp.  Never mind.

“True Detective” has gotten mostly good reviews.  It was a little plodding, but she always enjoys Harrelson and McConaughey.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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