Another Saturday and another weekend that finds me at my computer, one eye on my typing, one eye on the tiny tv set to my left. Right now I'm watching Rafa Nadal finally polishing off Gonzalez after two days of rain delays. Next up will be Serena Williams against Kim Clijsters. I'll watch that match until the golf comes on at noon. Tiger is tied for the lead with two rounds to play. I always feel somewhat guilty about how many hours I spend on weekends watching tv sports. Even though the Diamondbacks are dogs this year, I continue to watch them lose most of their games. And tomorrow, NFL football begins, with me pinned to the set for five or six hours watching the big boys try to kill each other. Then in late fall, the NBA gets started and I'll sweat blood with the Suns, agonizing with them over the course of 82 games, rooting for them against the hateful Lakers and Spurs. Ah, weekends.
This is a view of my library/computer room. Busy little wall, isn't it? I took this through the window from our back patio. The computer is right below the foreground. That window opening with the figurines and plants opens into our kitchen. The black figures to the left are one of the Green Stamps gifts we got way back in Redfield, S. D., right after we were married in 1960. That would make those figures almost half a century old. Sitting Bull is on the wall in the upper left, next to a Sioux tomahawk. There's a Sioux peace pipe to the left, just out of the picture. In the center, under the kitchen opening, is a long photo of cats, our favorite pets of choice. And right below the right corner of the cat photo is my signed photo of Arnold Palmer. I got this from a former student whose aunt worked as Arnie's secretary. Lots of books and cd's make up my room, lots of knickknacks that keep the whole room so busy. Just the way I want it.
The other night, for lack of anything better to do, I watched High Noon, one I’d taped from nearly a year ago off the AMC Channel. Wow, what a hokie flick. I’d always remembered it from the days of my youth and thought it was a good film. Wrong! Even today, lots of film critics regard it as an American classic. I guess they're seeing it differently than I am.Dimitri Tiomkin did the music and it was equally bad. I guess bad isn’t the right word. It’s hard to believe our tastes have changed so dramatically. Mine, anyway. The background music in those days was really intrusive. Whenever there was a dramatic moment, the music tried to shove it down our throats. Really dumb. And now I know that Gary Cooper really wasn’t a very good actor. A great matinee idol, but not an actor. Nor was Grace Kelley. I remembered in a typically unreliable way that the shootout at noon was in the middle of the street and that it involved only Gary and the bad guy. Instead, it was the marshal against four bad guys and the five of them were running all over town shooting and shooting and ducking and ducking. And after he and Grace (she helped him by plugging the third guy from behind) had killed the three underlings and he finally confronted the bad guy, who was using Grace for a cover, Grace tried to scratch his eyes out and that’s when Gary shot him dead. So, no dramatic face-to-face confrontation in the street, seeing who was quicker on the draw. I guess I have a bad memory. Or a very selective one. Then, almost immediately, everyone in town, all of whom had been too chicken to help old Gare out when push came to shove, came out of their holes and were on the street. Gary drops his badge in the dust and that's the end of it. Really dumb. I wonder if in fifty years, viewers then will think the movies of today are all as stupid as High Noon. Probably.
To counter that argument, though, last night I watched Braveheart, with Mel Gibson, and realized it would probably always be considered a great movie. It was a fabulous film. I hadn’t remembered Wallace’s connection with the French princess. I knew she was attracted to him, but I didn’t remember their consummating anything. What a role for Gibson, a tour de force. I mean, Sir William Wallace? And the center of the stage throughout? And the chance at the end to do a Christ impression with cross and everything? I remember what Rosalie so objected to when we saw it twelve years ago (TWELVE YEARS AGO!!??). The warfare was really up close and personal, with blood and guts just flying around. But the scenery of Scotland was impressive and beautiful, as was the story.