Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

61 Thoughts on This Day

griffith-observatory-los-angeles

In no particular order on this the thirteenth day of August, halfway through the second decade of the 21st century:

  1. On its 40th Anniversary year, few movies can beat Jaws. Saw it first-run, then became quite sick of it a year later when I had to project the film for six straight weeks. Then over time, re-learned to love what had so thrilled me back in 1975. But it’s this scene in particular that resonates the most. Watching it as an almost 21 single guy then, and especially now as a married father, it still hits deep.529 jaws-brody-and-son
  2. Seeing Dune first-run, I hadn’t yet read Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi saga, but it pushed me to do so. Blown away by the author’s work, subsequently read the rest in the series. I know many fans criticized the film mercilessly, and later miniseries attempted to be more exact with the material. Yet, like my friend Richard Kirkham, I’ll take David Lynch’s stunning 1984 film version any day of the week.Dune-4
  3. Gotta love the work of the American artist extraordinaire Drew Struzan. Even though I’m not a fan of a certain poster of his, beautiful as it undoubtably is, used for one of the most iconic sci-fi/horror films ever done, which friends Richard and Tableninemutant lay claim to, I still adore his fantastic artwork in film and on record albums.thing-struzan-screenprint
  4. I will never, ever tire of listening to The Lads. From that day in 1964 to this one, not only did one triumphant strum of a guitar, bass, and grand piano herald the opening of the song, but also the album, a movie of the same name, and a Pop era. It brought to my 10-year old eyes and ears all the possibilities of what film and music could deliver.
  5. Being a Leo (astrological sign), I find it a strange and wonderful coincidence that actor Bert Lahr (he of The Wizard of Oz Cowardly Lion fame) and I share the same birthdate.cowardly-lion
  6. This piece of dialogue: “”The venom of a black mamba can kill a human in four hours if, say, bitten on the ankle or the thumb. However, a bite to the face or torso can bring death from paralysis within 20 minutes.” Now, you should listen to this, ’cause this concerns you. “The amount of venom that can be delivered from a single bite can be gargantuan.” You know, I’ve always liked that word… ‘gargantuan’… so rarely have an opportunity to use it in a sentence. “If not treated quickly with antivenom, 10 to 15 milligrams can be fatal to human beings. However, the black mamba can deliver as much as 100 to 400 milligrams of venom from a single bite.”ElleAndANotepad
  7. Did I mention I adore brunettes?
  8. Speaking of ’64, the Chad & Jeremy hit, A Summer Song, was one of my earliest music purchases as a kid. Played that 45 till its vinyl grooves were barely there, and it’s still one of the most beautiful I’ve heard…then and now.
  9. I’m not afraid to admit this scene, a rousing cinematic moment if there ever was one, primarily through its music, in my favorite film, Casablanca, still gets to me. It’s inspiring beyond my own belief whenever I watch it, or hear the French national anthem that is La Marseillaise, sung. Still sends chills up my spine and I mist over every single time.
  10. As I already said regarding Roy Orbison’s “Crying”, “So when Rebekha Del Rio performed an a cappella version of the song, in Spanish no less, entitled “Llorando”, for all the world to see in Silencio theatre for David Lynch’s 2001 film, Mulholland Drive, the result was simply jaw-dropping. The movie scene says it all, and then some. Without shame, Rebekha’s cover can get me crying. Every time.” A lovely, haunting moment.
  11. That look James Garner gives to wife Doris Day in “The Thrill of It All” is just classic, and most husbands will immediate recognize it.garner-thrill-of-it-all
  12. Key Largo. Not the island off the Florida coast, but for both the ’48 film by John Huston, and the sentimental ’82 Bertie Higgins song my wife hates, but I love:
  13. For those wondering why It Rains… You Get Wet is the title of this blog, I’ll refer to my answer I gave to my colleague Bubbawheat’s question from his Follow Friday article:“It’s part of a piece of dialogue from one of my favorite films, Michael Mann’s Heat. It could be thought of as a throw away line by one of its main characters, Neil McCauley (portrayed by Robert De Niro), but it’s the capper. And it comes at a critical juncture of the film, after McCauley’s bank heist goes terribly wrong, and all his crew have been killed or wounded. The full quote goes, “He knew the risks, he didn’t have to be there. It rains… you get wet.” I admire it because it’s a small bit of words that speaks volumes. Hopefully, it’s what I strive to do with the blog, but I know I don’t come close.”
  14. I absolutely love the smell of coffee…but I’ve not exactly ever really enjoyed the taste of it, says this longtime tea-drinker.coffee
  15. baseball-background1My greatest baseball memory is this: the summer after completing my sophomore year in high school, spending a warm Saturday night at my grandmother’s home, in my room, listening to the Dodger game on radio. For three hours plus, I’d be on the phone at the time with the junior I’d crushed on that year, we both lent an ear to it while flirting over the wires.*
  16. Michelle Pfeiffer for being one of the most bewitching and versatile actresses to have claimed me as a longtime fan. Her work in this film partly explains why.Pfeifer
  17. Speaking of that film, this image remains my all-time favorite sunset scene, shot by the late and great Conrad L. Hall for “Tequila Sunrise”, which speaks to friendship.tequila sunrise silhouette
  18. My favorite food as a kid was my grandmother’s delish Mexican Bread Pudding, Capirotada. Her’s didn’t exactly look like this, but it’s close enough.Capirotada-with-Rum
  19. Initially falling in love with Audrey Hepburn in “Sabrina” late one Saturday night.Holden-Hepburn-Sabrina
  20. This movie-ending dialogue: “I have to believe in a world outside my own mind. I have to believe that my actions still have meaning, even if I can’t remember them. I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, the world’s still there. Do I believe the world’s still there? Is it still out there?… Yeah. We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are. I’m no different. Now… where was I?”memento
  21. I’m right-handed, but I give applause like a southpaw (clapping my left hand into my right instead of the other way around). Just seems natural.
  22. Each and every priceless double-take by Cary Grant in my second favorite Frank Capra film, Arsenic and Old Lace.Arsenic and Old Lace 7
  23. I absolutely suck at golf. It’s the most frustrating pastime the Scots ever invented, bar none. Taken an enormous bit of my time in the last couple of decades, eaten an equal amount of resources hopefully my wife will never learn of, and where you’ll find me this fine morning. On the links. 😉golf
  24. Tacos my other favorite food as a kid. The authentic kind my grandmother made, not the ones she’d have an altogether different word for.taco chingadera
  25. These closing credits from Alan Parker’s 1987 film, adapted from the novel Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg, Angel Heart. The dark, contrasty images of Harry Angel’s “elevator ride to Hell” intercut with the end titles, along with creaking sounds and sinister musical score. All of it, make this closing sequence well worth staying to the end for
  26. Not that I ever thought I’d become a pro, but at one time shooting 35mm film images with my trusty (and non-digital) SLR was one of my favorite things to do.camera-aperture
  27. This is awesome! And I have “Whipped Cream & Other Delights” framed and on my wall.

    Album covers with the original models holding them

    Album covers with the original models holding them

  28. I must love working where I do, why else stay 38 years at the same damn place? Just sayin’.
  29. Perhaps it’s the same reason I love and continue to play this, my favorite song by The Association. Hard to explain it.
  30. Okay, this my second favorite sunset scene from a movie — that of the silhouetted William Munny burying his beloved wife from “Unforgiven”.unforgiven1
  31. All I can say is, thank God Robert Crais has his next Elvis Cole-Joe Pike novel coming out in the Fall. Don’t think I could wait much longer, honestly. And the reason for this, and why it remains my favorite book series, is simple:la_requiem
  32. Along with those people who call themselves, “Craisies”.icraisies
  33. One After 909 remains a thoroughly underrated song from the Let It Be album I picked awhile back, which doesn’t get either the play or the credit it deserves.
  34. Whether it was her intent to guilt me, or just relate a memory to her oldest by default, my mother mentioned when I was born, I did not cry — nor did the obstetrician even attempt to spank me to induce†. Naturally, fearing another stillborn delivery, I scared my mother right off the bat!
  35. The other thing my mother gave me was an appreciation of this See’s Candy treat (though I can’t eat it like I once did):tipperary bon bon
  36. My favorite cinema theater to come see a movie remains the famed Chinese Theatre:graumans-chinese-theatre
  37. My favorite movie monster of all-time? Without a doubt, it’s the stuff of penile nightmares, H.R. Giger’s Alien:Alien (1979)
  38. This quote from Jesus Raza, “The Professionals”, written by the great writer-director Richard Brooks: “La revolución is like a great love affair. In the beginning, she is a goddess. A holy cause. But…every love affair has a terrible enemy: time. We see her as she is. La revolución is not a goddess but a whore. She was never pure, never saintly, never perfect. And we run away, find another lover, another cause. Quick, sordid affairs. Lust, but no love. Passion, but no compassion. Without love, without a cause, we are… nothing! We stay because we believe. We leave because we are disillusioned. We come back because we are lost. We die because we are committed.”jesus
  39. alphabet_q…is for Quick Change. A highly underrated 1990 New York comedy that has a recognizable ’70s vibe to it. J.D. explained why, “You can go ahead and shoot us now!”quick change
  40. I once almost ran over Kurt Russell’s toes with a wheelchair. True story.
  41. fifty grand audiobookWhat I think is a “criminally” ignored and thoroughly underrated crime novel would be author Adrian McKinty’s “Fifty Grand“. This the novel that got me locked on to the decidedly keen writing of the Northern Ireland author, now living in Down Under. It also shameful that the wonderfulness of its audiobook production’s reader, Paula Christensen, was too often ignored. The clip below demonstrates why all of that is:
  42. My favorite “tourist stop” to visit in my hometown of Los Angeles is the Griffith Observatory:observatory
  43. Q: “What is your favorite song or piece of music you put on to pull you out of a funk?”
    A: Strangely, it’s the earliest pop song I recall instantly loving, and it’s an instrumental: Theme from A Summer Place performed by the Percy Faith Orchestra. I covered it here awhile back.

  44. I will be forever beholden to Xerox. The reason I married the love of my life, I reckon, is because of copier technology. She’d come up to use our photocopier machine on my floor at work, and the rest is history.for-your-office-1
  45. These immortal words by writer-director Robert Towne from “Tequila Sunrise”, espoused so eloquently by the late- and still very much missed Raul Julia:
  46. As a longtime fan of opening title sequences in movies, I can’t think of a better one for any Angeleno than this. Blade Runner. Ridley Scott’s 1982 film may have relatively simple titles onscreen in its opening, but the look of it (along with the eerie and distinctive Vangelis score) made it unforgettable. What comes after the LOS ANGELES NOVEMBER, 2019 title has to be one of the all-time best cityscape eye-openers ever for audiences. It’s a favorite.
  47. Speaking of main titles, might as well include that of Charade. The 1963 rom-com slash murder mystery with two of my all-time favorites, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. As my friend Colin puts it, “I also love the beginning of Stanley Donen’s Charade, as the body is tossed from the train before that superb score and credit sequence kicks in.” Those vortex-like graphics, with the accompanying rhythmic Henry Mancini track, is one of the great old-time title sequences in film history.
  48. I’ve broken exactly three bones over six decades. While in high school, my jaw c/o car crash in 1971. My right ankle in ’74, playing a pick-up one-on-one game of basketball — for which I blame my brother. And a metacarpal in my right hand in the early 90s, the classic “puncher’s break” — don’t ask, it’s really stupid.Neck_Fracture_of_the_Fourth_Metacarpal_Bone
  49. Since I’m chronicling injuries, my first concussion came from falling out of a tree at age 7. The second, during a Judo tournament in the mid-70s. Neither took any skill on my part to accomplish, by the way.photography by Jochen Kohl
  50. Which reminds me of my favorite Paddy Chayefsky screenplay (for either television or motion pictures), The Hospital; primarily for this quote: “It is all rubbish isn’t it. I mean… transplants, anti-bodies, we can produce birth ectogenetically, we can clone people like carrots, and half the kids in this ghetto haven’t been inoculated for polio. We have established an enormous medical entity and we’re sicker than ever. We cure nothing! We heal, nothing! The whole goddamn wretched world, strangulating in front of our eyes.”george-the-hospital
  51. Last Sunday I kept the Jazz-Fusion glow going that morning by putting on the turntable the album that introduced me to Tom Scott in ’75. His “New York Connection” LP, featuring era greats Bob James, Hugh McCracken, Ralph McDonald, Eric Gale, Gary King, Steve Gadd, Richard Tee, and ex-Beatle George Harrison, opened up my music world.
  52. Q: “The one song that will instantly cause you to change the cable channel, radio station, whatever, when it comes on is?”
    A: My kids can tell you what that song is. I’ve switched it off often enough on the radio while driving them in car for many years now. Harry Chapin’s Cat’s in the Cradle. It’s represents all of my parental fears and nightmares set to music and lyrics, and the reason I refuse to embed here it 😉
  53. If someone told me I’d have only one Stephen King novel to read on a vagabond to the unknown, it’d be this one:The_Stand_Uncut
  54. I don’t think there has been a more devastatingly truthful verbal comeback by a wife to her husband onscreen than Justine Hanna’s, from the Michael Mann masterwork, Heat, “You prefer the normal routine. We f*ck, then you lose the power of speech.”justine-vincent
  55. As a kid, my first crush with a singer came by way of the British Invasion during the mid-60s, and it wasn’t with The Lads:pet clark
  56. My favorite gut-wrenching multi-book saga involves violence, culture, torture, greed, deception, love and loyalty. All in 40+ years with the “War on Drugs”, too.
  57. In less than two weeks, my wonderful bride will have her birthday…and on the same day this beloved musical of mine (not her’s) reaches its 50th Anniversary. Oh, the irony:
  58. If I had to choose my last meal, I’d come here:enterprise-fish-co
  59. …with both my children who I absolutely adore
  60. …and the love of my life, she-who-must-be-obeyed, who I owe it all to
  61. …with this playing in the background — best way to close, I’d say.

* The Dodgers playing their hated rival, the San Francisco Giants, that night. Winning 8-3, though Willie Mays would hit a home run in the game.

† The doctor later told her I started breathing immediately, so there was no need to induce crying.

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19 Responses to “61 Thoughts on This Day”

  1. Cindy Bruchman

    Michael, I feel I know all about you. 😉 Tell me this chronicling isn’t because your leaving us all soon? No terminal illness, I hope! Are you the Craisie standing up?
    I’d love to go to the Chinese theater. I come from the generation where a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I think it’s insightful that most all your fond memories of your mom have to do with food! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  2. 70srichard

    Starting over, I pushed something and my whole comment vanished.

    I have not heard Key Largo in 15 years, it was kinda fun. The Percy Faith tune is so evocative of the 1960s for me it is not funny. It is like a smell that instantly reminds you of a moment in your life. Theme from a Summer Place was in elevators, movie theaters and the car radio throughout the 60s even if it is from a 59 film. Your love of the mystery novels reminds me how much I enjoy that kind of reading when I do it, I want to do more of it now. Alien, La Marseillaise from Casablanca, Quick Change are you sure we are not occupying the same brain? I guess I know there are some differences, my favorite Tourist spot is The Hollywood Bowl, I’d choose El Coyote Combo meal Number 2 or a Lawry’s Diamond Jim for a last meal. Thanks for a terrific Thursday morning on-line.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      Yeah, the Hollywood Bowl is another quite magical place here. A number of visits over the years give it a special place in memory, as well. Ah, El Coyote…work not too far from it. Can’t tell you the number of “Liver Rounds” have been conducted over there via my fellow workers over the decades ;-).

      Thank you so much, Richard. 🙂

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      Reply
  3. table9mutant

    Great post! Giger’s Alien is the best thing ever. 🙂 Love Jaws! And LOVE the album cover models posing with their album covers. And love Drew Struzan! (As you know). Thanks for the mention! 🙂 Oh… And love how you got your blog name! I hadn’t known that until you mentioned it the other day.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  4. ruth

    What a spectacular nostalgic post Michael! Oh my, what a wonderful trip down memory lane for you. I LOVE the idea for your blog name… Michael Mann’s Heat remains one of the best modern noir ever. And you are a man of fine taste… Le Pfeiffer is one of the most beautiful woman ever!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  5. broadandhigh

    You already know I’m in agreement with you on most things to do with The Lads and ‘Casablanca,’ but I also agree about Bertie Higgins’ “Key Largo.” I haven’t seen that photo of the Craisies in a while; brings back good memories and I thank you for that. I preferred the late Cilla Black to Pet Clark, though my heart belonged then (and now, and always) to Paul McCartney.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      Yes, a lot a great memories of St. Louis Bouchercon. Now that you mention her, must tee up some Cilla Black. And one can’t go wrong with Macca. Even finishing up Peter Doggett’s “You Never Give Me Your Money” book on the break-up of The Lads, he remains one fascinating artist. Many, many thanks, Naomi. 😀

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      Reply
  6. Claire Packer

    The Xerox Machine of Destiny! Funny how something so ordinary as photocopying a piece of paper could have such an impact on your life.

    I think if I ever visit LA I’ll have to check something out at the Chinese Theatre.

    Alien is certainly a cinematic legend (though the comparison with a stapler does make me chuckle) and that quote from Daryl Hannah is so memorable. I loved her performance in Kill Bill.

    Happy early birthday to your wife 😀

    Like

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