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My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Saturday, June 8

Two Biggies

The Big Wedding was more appropriately a medium wedding, not tiny (bad) but not very big (good) either. Robert DeNiro was his usual gray-bearded rapscallion, divorced from Diane Keaton and bedding Susan Sarandon. And Diane Keaton was her usual master of the stumbling doubletalk, looking a bit weathered but still lovely enough to be DeNiro’s foil. I remember her from way back when she first appeared on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. She could hardly utter a sensible sentence as she stuttered and giggled and let out an occasional pig-snort laugh. She’s come a long way since then. The Big Wedding involved rather predictable complications wherein the groom’s mother, visiting from Columbia for the wedding, wouldn’t tolerate divorced parents. So, naturally, DeNiro and Keaton had to pose as a happily married couple. What always strikes me as misleading about such movies is the false impression of wealth here. Foreign viewers must assume that all Americans have oodles of money and huge, opulent homes. Like I said, The Big Wedding was pretty much just another wedding.
This leads me to another biggie, Showtime’s series The Big C with Laura Linney playing a middle-aged teacher with stage-4 melanoma. Now, there’s a black humor premise one wouldn’t think would work. But it does. The depth of the story lines and the richness of the characters remind me of Ray Romano’s Men of a Certain Age, a series that got dumped before its time. Cathy Jamison (Linney) confronts the bad news and does everything she can to overcome it. At first, she doesn’t tell anyone about the cancer, but a neighbor across the street, Marlene (Phyllis Somerville), knows when her dog smells it on Cathy. And then she finally tells her ex-husband Paul (Oliver Platt), her bipolar brother Sam (John Benjamin Hickey), and her son Adam (Gabriel Basso). Another plot line involves Andrea Jackson, played wonderfully by Gaboury Sidbe, a seriously overweight black girl whom Cathy takes under her wing to help her lose weight and survive the perils of the teen years. We love what we’ve seen so far in the first two seasons and can hardly wait to see the rest. The show has all the sexual elements of so much of modern television and films—nudity, on-screen fornication, masturbation, cunnilingus, fellatio, and language that would have curled my mother’s hair. My wife and I grew up in conservative South Dakota back when one didn’t talk about such sexual acts, didn’t even know about them, didn’t use anything but occasional four-letter words and that only in the company of one’s closest friends (and never in mixed company). How far we’ve come since then. I remember once giving my sister the finger and she slapped me so hard I spun like a top. “Don’t you ever do that again!” she screamed at me. “Don’t you know what that means?” I knew it was some sort of derisive insult but I didn’t know exactly. Back when I was a teenager too many years ago, using the F-word was unthinkable, and I never heard the MF-word until I joined the army in 1952. Oh, how my ears burned when I heard it. How could anyone say such a thing about any mother? For many years, Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, one of the most moral books I’ve ever read, was banned in high schools because of that one “Fuck” Phoebe saw on a wall in New York. My idea of the naked female body was developed by that Spanish stamp portraying The Naked Maja I once owned until my mother quietly removed it from my collection and did away with it. And Marilyn Monroe’s famous nude pinup I got somewhere in Korea and had hanging near my cot. And then the linguistic and moral restrictions began to lift and lift from mid-20th century to the present. As I said, we’ve come a long way, all the way to a series like The Big C, which seems not to have any restrictions at all. And we’re all the better for it.

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Any comments? Write me at jertrav33@aol.com