Movie Review: Highwaymen

by Steve Lancaster3/31/19
It is western story as old as Texas. Two Texas Rangers are charged by the governor of Texas to find and bring to justice two outlaws who were robbing banks and killing people in five states. If you get a picture of John Wayne, or Randolph Scott in your mind, don’t feel bad to discover it is not. Instead of Wayne or Scott imagine Woody Harrelson and Kevin Costner. The time is not 1875 but 1934 and the gang they are chasing is not the James gang or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.

Movies and books are filled with the romantic story of Bonnie and Clyde. This is the first, to my knowledge, to tell the story of the two retired Texas Rangers that tracked them down and put them down.  In the early 30s the Governor of Texas, for reasons passing understanding, disbands the Rangers and Hamer and Gault find other employment. Hamer becomes a successful security consultant and Gault tries ranching.

Both men were born at the end of the romantic cowboy age, 1880s, by 1934 they are in their mid 50s, thick about the middle and haven’t fired a weapon in years. The story presents that they will have to outthink Bonnie and Clyde not out gun them. Just the same we see Hamer in a gun store stocking up. Thompson with 30 round mags, Colt 1911s, Shotguns and a BAR, Browning Automatic Rifle, and a case of ammo. Just what I need for a fun weekend!

Bonnie and Clyde had been on the run for two years before Hamer (Costner) and Gault (Harrelson) began their hunt for them.  The movie stresses that Hamer and Gault are not expected to bring the duo in alive. The subtext says very plainly dead, no messy trials, or crying relatives. Dead or alive is not the option, there is only dead. This is frontier justice in probably the only two states it would be condoned even in 1934, Texas and Louisiana. Hamer and Gault were out of their jurisdiction, and technically could have been charged with murder. No DA in Louisiana or Texas would ever charge them.

One of the refreshing things about this movie is there is no PC crap. It is straight forward. Go find the bad guys and kill them. In spite of their progressive credentials both Harrelson and Costner play that line to the fullest. In that regard it must be some of the best acting done by either man in this century. The movie does not play up Bonnie and Clyde as romantic kids, but as the cold-blooded killers they were, also a refreshing change. It is a good movie, not one you will want to repeat on a regular basis, but Netflix has hit one out of the park with this one. • (252 views)

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82 Responses to Movie Review: Highwaymen

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I’m pretty sure this isn’t part of the soundtrack. But it’s stuck in my mind now. I hope to check out this movie at the earliest opportunity. Thanks for the review, Steve. [I really love the live version of that.]

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    I’ve read about this, and especially the way it demythologizes the story. There’s no attempt to continue the romantic image of ruthless killers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, though I doubt it goes into the fact that for most of their career, they weren’t bank robbers at all. Their victims were small stores, with correspondingly small hauls.

    But they also make it clear that, even as Texas officially sought to catch and jail Bonnie and Clyde, the intention was to kill them. Bonnie, an amateur poet, predicted as much in an autobiographical poem that mocked the tendency to blame every crime on them. It also predicted that eventually they would “go down together” and be buried “side by side”. It turned out she was half right; their families took care of the burials so they were buried with other family members, not each other.

    Incidentally, I gather Hamer (or his surviving family, anyway) successfully sued the producer of Bonnie and Clyde for smearing him. I will also note that there was a previous movie, The Bonnie Parker Story, which came on one Sunday when the TV was on (we were visiting relatives in Sweeden, KY at the time).

    • David Ray says:

      I hear that that weasel James Cameron made a $5000.00 donation to the Lt. William Murdoch Memorial Foundation.
      It was crumbs (not the Pelosi kind) thrown at Murdoch’s descendant’s to quiet their protests over how Murdoch was portrayed in “The Titanic”.

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    This sounds like an interesting movie. Bonney and Clyde were a couple of low-life slugs, what was called white trash, who had no redeeming qualities. I take that back, apparently Clyde could drive very well and could have made it as a race-car driver. As I recall, Bonnie was more vicious than Clyde.

    One fellow, whose grandfather had been a Texas Ranger, told me that his grandfather told him there were two types of people which were especially dangerous, 1) kids, because they had no brains or experience and were unpredictable, 2) women, as they were generally good shots and if you cut them any slake, because they were females, you would end up shot, as likely as not. The old man’s advice when confronted with either, was shoot to kill.

  4. Steve Lancaster says:

    It used to be that animals like Bonnie and Clyde would never be tolerated and made into myth in our culture. Thousands of people attended the funerals I wonder how many attended Hamer or Gault funerals. My guess is just Rangers and family. With the exception of some of our best known warriors like Kris Kyle, most of us will venture into the unknown country with just friends and family say goodby.

    Along the Appian Way leading into Rome you can still find grave markers of the Romans. Most have the usual information, however some are remarkable for telling in a few words who is buried in the tomb. One I recall, says something like, “I tried to do justice when I could, defend the weak, and care for my family. Think of me stranger, as you pass by”.

    I bet Hamer and Gault would like this old Roman. I do.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      My favorite Jew, Dennis Prager, is fond of the quote by Viktor Frankl:

      “There are two races of men in this world but only these two: the race of the decent man and the race of the indecent man.”

      An oversimplification? Surely, because I think every man and woman has it within them to be either. In fact, they’re usually either depeding upon the circumstance.

      Only a belief in God (and I’m not necessarily talking about fear of judgment or hell) can give people the foundation to act ethically. The simple-minded atheists are fond of ridiculing this notion. But without the broadness of our moral, intellectual, and spiritual foundation, there’s really no need to bother with the very idea of other people if nothing ever matters anywhere, anyway, anytime. Let the jungle rule. Do whatever you can get away with.

      And that’s exactly how far too many people act (fully or part-time). And that will always show you what people really believe. Of course, it depends too on what Creator you believe in. You can believe in Mars, the God of War, and maybe that doesn’t really broaden your scope. This is yet another god who simply exists to justify one’s appetites. Same with Islam.

      Does our conception of Jesus and/or Jehovah exist only to satisfy our appetites? Or implicit and front-and-center is there a call to go beyond our animal selves to something greater, more meaningful, good, and longer-lasting? Is your identity tied up on your ego or something larger, better, and more substantial?

      Race, gender, and class is the identity of the Left after national and real religious belief are cast off. You can find Prager’s summing up of this in his 2-1/2 minute video: The Two Most Important Identities.Here’s a longer version of it.

      Here’s a teacher.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      “Race and ethnicity have defined every nation on earth, except one: The United States of America. It is defined by values.” — Dennis Prager

      Prager makes an exceedingly important point: Race/gender/class is a primitive way of identifying. It’s not an idea. It’s an accident. Americanism (with its trinity of E Pluribus Unum, Liberty, In God We Trust) is an idea beyond mere superficial traits.

      These happen to be good ideas. Of course there are many ideas beyond superficial traits that are bad ideas. But without the good ideas we are left to live our lives down to the animal (or, with bad ideas, to anoint the animal and call it “good”). And that’s what most people will do without teachers, a proper sense of direction, and a good deal of stick along with the carrot.

      What are Bonnie and Clyde but the freest of a free-market going concern? They live as they want. They take what they want. Other people are just objects to them. The abide no limits to their behavior. In a world where nothing means nothing (and nature worship is no substitute), why not be a Bonnie and Clyde? Why shouldn’t they be heroes and the Kris Kyle’s be cast off as fools for standing in the way of this, giving their lives for some misplaced and ultimately fanciful notion of justice?

      Socialism is Bonnie and Clyde infused into the government. There are no rules but power and what a usually quite small and ruthless elite want. Yeah, there will always be fools who glorify the criminals. And, quite unfortunately, we have millions of fools in this country who are glorifying the criminals and keep voting them into office.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Actually, they were more tribal, maintaining connections with their families to the end — even as some paid the price for it even before Bonnie and Clyde did. But, especially considering how many of their crimes were mom-and-pop stores definitely not owned by the hated rich, they definitely didn’t care what damage their actions did to other people.

        A woman discussing sayings that no longer mean anything to most people (“right as rain” is very true for farmers, but by the 1960s most people weren’t farmers or even immediately dependent on farmers as customers or suppliers) in an article I read sometime in he 1960s in Reader’s Digest. One should listed was “easier than taking candy from a baby”. Physically that’s true, but you have to be really hard-hearted to endure that squalling without giving the candy back. But then, a lot of criminals wouldn’t have a problem with that. At least ever since then, I’ve thought of that as a saying for crooks.

        When MAD Magazine parodied Bonnie and Clyde, they noted their (alleged) popularity but also received responses seeing them as Robin Hood types. They weren’t.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          By complete coincidence and serendipity, Timothy, I was listening to a song by Joni Mitchell today titled Raised on Robbery.

          I’m a pretty good cook
          Sitting on my groceries
          Come up to my kitchen
          I’ll show you my best recipe
          I try and I try but I can’t save a cent
          I’m up after midnight, cooking
          Trying to make my rent
          I’m rough but I’m pleasin’
          I was raised on robbery

          Nice euphemism there for prostitution. At least I don’t think Bonnie was a prostitute. But she was surely raised on robbery. The rest of the lyrics.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Actually, the Parkers seem to have been middle class for that era. She wasn’t raised a crook, but she developed an addiction for excitement. See the Twilight Zone episode “A Nice Place to Visit” for where that mindset can lead. Violent crime is certainly very exciting.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              She wasn’t raised a crook, but she developed an addiction for excitement.

              This is why The Highwaymen will never replace 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde with Beatty and Dunaway. Maybe that was a glamorized portrayal (I haven’t seen it in years), but I suspect this aspect (if it is a legitimate aspect) came through. We know nothing about Bonnie in this one other than a few passing factoids given by someone who knew her. But he seems a poor witness in the best of circumstances.

  5. pst4gop says:

    Sandy and I enjoyed this one as well. No PC is right, (Gault shows tiny amounts from time to time), but both actors were at their best. As Steve said, this is the first time Bonnie and Clyde were show as less than little angles in my recollection. I did find it fascinating how they showed how the mob idolized them. If true, it was discussing how the crowds reacted when they brought in the car with Bonnie and Clyde all shot up.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      As I recall, my father said that as a child he paid a nickel or dime to see the car Bonnie and Clyde were shot it. There wasn’t much to do in small town Oklahoma in those days.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        A lot of criminals became folk heroes going back at least to Jesse James. Consider the popular reputation of “the dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard” who “lived in Jesse’s house and ate of Jesse’s food” and then shot him in the back. John Dillinger was very popular in his way, and Elizabeth and I have attended 2 different museums about him. (The Nashville, IN museum largely had memorabilia of the era — including a small token with an early image of a yokel with a gap-toothed smile, eventually used for Alfred E. Neuman.)

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Oh….I definitely want to see this now.

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I watched Highwaymen on Netflix last night. This review is bound to roam into Steve’s category of “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?”

    Overall, I enjoyed this. It was refreshing to see a point-of-view that didn’t glorify B&C. Although slow-developing (too slow), this was a sober film made for viewers with an emotional I.Q. over that of your typical 13-year-old adult. This is all good.

    Where it failed was in the realism and the often tiresome (but sometimes brilliant) comments between the buddy-buddy pursuers of B&C, Costner and Harrelson. It became apparent that Sean Connery would have been better suited in the role of lead Highwayman. I’m not a reflexive Costner-basher. I rather like him as a movie star. But he didn’t bring much pep to this role. And Harrelson became particularly tiresome with his whinny comments about how violent this project all was. Remind me again what his job is? Is he a former Texas Ranger or an ongoing extremely liberal virtue-signaler who tries to act on screen once in a while?

    The movie started with a sense of realism. It lost that in the really stupid scene where Hamer & Gault lose B&C in a cloud of dust in a flat country field where you had a view of at least a country mile. Hamer brings the car to a halt to get his bearings and stands on the hood. B&C are nowhere to be seen. What the heck?

    I would agree with anyone who says that Wiki is not the last word on a subject, but I read their Bonnie and Clyde article and if even half of this information is correct, it’s clear the movie had little intention to be realistic. It is apparently not even apparent that Bonnie killed anyone. That seems to be an open question.

    One of the things that never comes across is how B&C evaded capture for so long. The cops are portrayed as gullible and incompetent (perhaps this was the case all too often). They routinely approach cars with their guard down even though everyone should have been on high alert. But the Wiki article points out that the B&C strategy (obviously Clyde’s strategy) was to exploit the “state line” rule that prevented officers from one jurisdiction from pursuing a fugitive into another.” None of this crucial information is in the film. One is just left wondering how they can drive anywhere and everywhere and not be spotted or caught.

    And although I like the technique of keeping B&C at arm’s length and mostly ghostly criminals, the downside is that we get no historic sense for who they were. The Wiki article notes that although they knocked over their share of banks, they mostly were doing small-time stuff. And they would frequently kidnap people and later let them go and give them some money so that they could get home. None of this comes across in the film.

    Nor does Clyde’s apparent real motivation for the spree: He was trying to get back at Texas law enforcement. The Wiki article says that he was diddled in jail by a fellow inmate and later smashed in the skull of this fellow with a lead pipe….his first killing. Another prisoner already serving a life sentence took the rap for him. Wouldn’t these have been interesting points to set up some of the motivation?

    And Bonnie is truly a ghost. She’s somehow a nice girl gone bad but we have no insight into her. The real story (going by the bits and pieces offered in Wiki) is interesting. B&C had more than a couple of close calls. But they play out (I think one of those close calls is sort of included) with little tension or interest. But we spend an inordinate time chasing a kid with a bottle.

    I will say, that was a lot of holes they put into that Ford automobile. Hamer was right to be riding around with an armory in his backseat. But although Hamer demonstrated the power of the Browning Automatic Rifle (holy mackerel), he’s usually seen walking around with a shotgun in his hand. Me, I’d have the BAR with me at all times.

    Once that “lost them in the dust” scene transpired, the movie lacked credibility. I didn’t know whether to believe if any of this stuff ever happened. What seems amazing (again, this was told in the Wiki article but not in the movie) is that often B&C were anything but stealthy, at least in the early going. It’s a wonder they weren’t stopped early. Obviously they were getting help from Democrat voters along the way. But it would have been interesting to have this aspect come across on the screen.

    But B&C were relegated to ghosts. Realism was dropped for what became an increasingly non-compelling buddy-buddy movie between two actors, who certainly had their moments, but who were a bit boring.

    One final question I have: What in the hell were Texas voters thinking when they elected that idiotic Ma Ferguson as governor? I guess Washington State has had its Dixie Lee Ray. But then we’re not Texas. We’re supposed to go off half-cocked. She must have found a way to fool all of the people some of the time.

    Even though I have no idea if this really happened, one of the better scenes was when Hamer was talking to Henry Barrow — Clyde’s father. William Sadler is excellent in that role. Although this may have been all made up, it was a great scene.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      They prepared for violence because it was clear that Bonnie and Clyde wouldn’t allow a peaceful arrest. In particular, Clyde really didn’t want to go back to jail — and the alternative solution (obey the law) was never under consideration.

      I’m sure they did talk to Clyde Barrow’s family, and also Bonnie Parker’s. In fact, one way the government fought the public enemies of that era was by going after their friends and family for harboring them.

      Well, was Dixie Lee Ray (a relatively conservative governor, definitely pro-nuclear, despite being a Democrat) worse than the Demagogues who’ve run the state for the past couple of decades?

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        There was a running question in the film as to whether they could be captured (and given the chair) or couldn’t be taken alive. Again, regarding my fuller review, I don’t trust this film in regards to factual content. But certainly Mr. Barrow did not think they could and specifically (at least in this film) asked Costner to get it over with quickly. No trial. Just kill him.

        But in this one they did avoid the “Hands up, don’t shoot” moment in the final ambush. Costner says he’s going to pop out in front of the car and he’ll give the order to fire if need be.

        As it actually happens, Harrelson and others pop out as well. But Costner does step in front of the car and say something like “You’re under arrest.” Then there is a delay. Either B or C then reaches for a gun and the entire ambush team opens up on them without B&C apparently even getting off a shot.

        And this scene does track with the Wiki info. Once the automatic weapons are empty, they used their shotguns. When they were empty, they shot their pistols into the car as it rolled slowly by, not taking any chances. This was one of the better-filmed moments in this.

        Wiki notes that “Barrow was killed instantly by Oakley’s initial head shot, but Hinton reported hearing Parker scream as she realized Barrow was dead before the shooting at her fully began.” None of this comes across in the film.

        Harrelson’s best scene is around a poker table with the Louisiana cops who are in on the ambush team. This is near the trail’s end. One of the junior cops there asks Harrelson if it’s true the he and Hamer have killed 50 men. Harrelson then goes on to relate a story of being a part of a Texas Ranger force who was tasked with hunting down a group of 60 or more bandits. He tells them that they’ve done 50 men in one night alone.

        It’s a good story (god only knows if it’s a true one). And it may be inserted only to placate the sensibilities of the Snowflakes who might catch this film. That also maybe why Costner gives B&C one last chance to surrender. Maybe it happened this way in real life. I don’t know. But it would certainly placate the tender feelings of those who would think it horrendous that law enforcement wouldn’t stop first and offer them every chance to surrender. (Seattle cops would be dead by the dozen if a B&C ever visited their city.)

        • Timothy Lane says:

          I checked the wikipedia entry, and it largely matches what I’ve read. But then, my main sources — Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn and Public Enemies by Brian Burrough — were also major sources for the article. The latter covers the “public enemies” era criminals. (Ma Barker, it turns out, was as mythologized as Bonnie Parker, and Machine Gun Kelly nearly so. Hoover was willing to see his targets’ exploits and villainies exaggerated to stoke his own reputation.)

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I was Googling about “the best books about B&C” and Go Down Together came up.

            There’s an excellent comment from a reviewer (who is certainly kinda-sorta playing Devil’s advocate but asking an interesting question):

            Was society partly to blame for Barrow’s decision to become a career criminal? Before you answer, read the chapters about Clyde’s incarceration in Huntsville prison and how he lost one job after another because of his past crimes. There is no easy answer, and Guinn knows this. He allows the reader to make up his or her own mind.

            I recommend this book to anyone who is remotely interested any facet of crime and/or the Depression era. It is, for now, the last and best word on the Bonnie and Clyde story.

            In Costner’s conversation with the father, Mr. Barrow blames a “society” who just couldn’t look past a harmless little chicken stealing (apparently turkeys, actually). But, according to Wiki, this was after other illegal activity and was followed by even more illegal activity. Costner, in the film, in reply to the father’s apologizing for his son, asked something like “Was the law harassing your son or simply keeping an eye on him?”

            I don’t doubt that law enforcement in Texas could often be overbearing. But we’ve tried the touchy-feely approach (or just outright letting them out of prison) and that does little good. But it’s likely that Clyde endured some horrendous conditions in prison (something I am against….prisons should be tightly regulated as the Japanese apparently do it….no chance for Lord of the Flies….they are on their asses all the way making sure they either learn a trade or at least do something useful other than creating a gang culture on the inside).

            I have little direct knowledge of the Japanese prison system, but I’ve heard and seen a few documentaries that suggest that this is their approach. There’s a quote from a fellow inmate at Eastham Prison Farm who said the he watched Clyde “change from a schoolboy to a rattlesnake.”

            I would kill them all and let God sort them out. But it’s not heresy (or shouldn’t be) in the conservative sphere to want criminals to not to come out of prison worse than when they went in.

            The problem with any such book is immersing yourself in such scum. I certainly wouldn’t be reading it for vicarious hero-worshipping. I would read it to try to get to the real story behind the myths and the movies. I’m not sure I want to spend $14.00 on it.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              One can’t ignore the families either. I mentioned that Ma Barker wasn’t the criminal the FBI made her out to be (after she was killed in the attack on the gang’s hideout). But her sons all were, and it’s fair to say that she lacked something as a mother. Clyde’s brother was also a crook, and briefly joined the gang (briefly because he was killed, I think at Joplin or shortly thereafter).

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            One review of Go Down Together writes:

            I certainly felt no admiration for their supposed friend and fellow gang member, Henry Methvin, who caused them to meet their end by alerting the lawmen of a future meeting spot. Methvin was given a lighter sentence for turning in the duo. His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on September 18, 1936, and he was paroled on March 20, 1942. It did not do him much good as he met his end on April 19, 1948. Methvin was intoxicated while attempting to cross a railroad track and was killed by an oncoming train.

            This is where I have to hold my nose and hold my tongue. They are all rats. Methvin was no worse a rat for betraying B&C. No matter how reasonable and well-rounded my opinion, I could never get myself to write such drivel as this same reviewer does in the following:

            They were obviously in love with each other and showed true loyalty. Although I knew the ending, I tended to feel sympathy for them and did not want to get to the end and read about their demise. That being said, against the odds, they could have somehow managed to lead decent lives.

            Save your sympathy for the victims. If you want to stay out of a Bonnie & Clyde situation then don’t become a criminal. Yes, these are human beings. They are still going to have motivations and a history to their lives. There can also be some sense of loss of a good life not lived and instead wasted. I’m not for simply dispensing with them as “animals” because that denies causes and moral choices. To assert causes is not necessarily to weave excuses (although that is exactly how dishonest or ignorant people work).

            It is obviously conceivable that neither of these needed to follow the path they did. But it would be silly and dishonest to suggest that “There but for the Grace of God go I.” No. Although it’s an interesting discussion between Costner and Mr. Barrow about making a wrong turn, I’m not so fatalistic about human beings. This is the materialist view of human beings in which we are complete victims in regards to circumstances — with the obvious observation that one bad choice can indeed lead to another, breaking down the walls of civil being.

            Maybe people are born bad. Maybe not. But people can double-down on bad. B&C obviously did.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              They were obviously in love with each other and showed true loyalty. Although I knew the ending, I tended to feel sympathy for them and did not want to get to the end and read about their demise.

              What a nut! Unfortunately, such types (mainly females) have been around forever. Think of those idiot women who correspond with and even marry serial killers who are in prison. It’s all so romantic! Yuk!

              In the end, people are what they do and the B & C types, including Ma Barker and others who revisionists seem to want to excuse, are scum.

              If Ma Barker is just the poor illiterate mommy who would do anything for her boys, then she should be a case-study for the contention that women will do anything (including ignoring the law) to protect their children while men demand some discipline and orderly conduct.

              As a side-note, I think it should be remembered that the aura created around such people as Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger was largely a result of the press, which like today’s media makes a huge amount of money on selling sensationalism and lies.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                Hoover encouraged this, at least up to a point. He didn’t want criminals glamorized, but he wanted them to be famous so that his boys would get more credit for stopping them. Machine Gun Kelly was a minor crook who was built up as a major public enemy. On the other hand, Baby Face Nelson was every bit as bad as they made him out to be, or even worse. (He was with Dillinger for a while, but the latter preferred to minimize violence.)

                Ma Barker wasn’t a criminal, though she could have been charged with harboring if she had lived. When she was killed in an FBI attack on the gang’s hideout, they made a big deal of her.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                Ma Barker wasn’t a criminal, though she could have been charged with harboring if she had lived.

                If you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas. I have not looked into Ma Barker with any detail, but suspect she could have been charged with more than simply harboring, maybe aiding and abetting to start with.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                All you need is love
                All you need is love
                All you need is love, love
                Love is all you need

                And maybe a good Browning Automatic Rifle. I swear, Mr. Kung, I really never want to turn into a crotchety old man. I’m not going to let that happen. But as the years go by, the The Beatles (once one of my favorite groups) just seem more and more like the spreading of a musical disease.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                The Beatles (once one of my favorite groups) just seem more and more like the spreading of a musical disease.

                Particularly John Lennon.

                I think you are on the right path by listening to Frank. But I would also suggest you listen to more Bach, Brahms and Debussy. It will help alleviate some of the irritation which can lead to becoming a cranky old man. And it might also help lower blood pressure.

                I too am an admirer of the BAR. They tried to replace it with various weapons, including the M-14, but I guess the SAW is closest to comparable handheld firepower in a squad.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                But I would also suggest you listen to more Bach, Brahms and Debussy. It will help alleviate some of the irritation which can lead to becoming a cranky old man.

                Mr. Kung, I’ve got about 972 songs on my Apple Watch. I often “shuffle” the entire collection and let it play at random. Probably a good 40% or more are various classic pieces — including a lot of Bach. So I consider that good advice.

                Via Apple Music I’ve done a lot of sampling of classical music. I find that violin-only tends to grate on me. But when accompanied by cello or piano, we’re good. A trio is even better.

                But violin solos can be fine. I know this sound (and looks) pretty girly-man, but the latest album I ran into that I thought was a keeper was Romance of the Violin by Joshua Bell. Here’s a sample. It works for me for background music.

                One of my favorite chicks is Rachel Podger. I have about 3 or 4 of her albums in the rotation. The latest I found was Mozart: Complete Sonatas for Keyboard and Violin, Vol. 3. You get a free sampling of the songs on that Amazon link. It’s really a nice combo with these two.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                When it comes to classical music, I prefer Tchaikovsky as a general rule. Elizabeth likes Mozart, and a friend is a big Bach fan.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:


                This is the piece that Jesse Stone puts on the turntable when he gets home. You may recall some woman in the town had recommended he listen to Brahms when things got tense or confusing.


                This piece is on par with Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” in its beauty and evocative power. I particularly like this rendition by Gould. It is much more sensitive than one I heard by Rubenstein which was a bit too bubbly for me.

                I strongly recommend you listen to the full piece.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Me. Kung, via Apple Music I found the whole album by Glenn Gould from which that track is from. Listening now while in hockey intermission. B&C should have listened to this. It might have civilized them. Think what rap music is doing to people.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                I am glad you like it. The democratization of the arts has taken its predictable course and we have gone from Brahms to Tupac in just over 100 years. Today it takes little more than freakishness, low morals and poor taste to become famous.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              I agree that too often solo violin music can be grating, but this is not the case when a really great violinist is playing. In such a case, the music is not thin but full. It is pretty rare.

              I recall only seeing two great violinists live. The first was Gidon Kremer in Vienna in the middle 1970s. The other was Eugen Fodor in Hongkong in the mid-to-late 1980s. In my opinion, Kremer was better. But there should probably be an * next to that opinion as Fodor was on the downward slope by the time my wife and I saw him.

              I had a listen to the Joshua Bell piece and it had a nice full sound. I would have to hear more to get a real feel for his overall style and sound.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      What in the hell were Texas voters thinking when they elected that idiotic Ma Ferguson as governor?

      In those days in Texas, if a politician had a (D) behind his or her name, he was going to be elected. Ma Ferguson was elected as a substitute for her husband who had been impeached and removed from the governorship. This was well know. So clearly, there were plenty of dumb voters who were easily led to vote for less than sound political reasons.

      William Sadler is excellent in that role.

      Over the last week or so, I have watched four episodes of the Jesse Stone series and Sadler is very good in his role as Gino Fish.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Thank for the Texas info.

        Yes, I remember Sadler first and foremost from the Stone series. He’s creepily excellent in that. I’d like to watch the Stone series from start to finish again. I’ll see if I can find those.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          We moved to Texas in 1957 and it was still strongly Democrat. As they used to say, “A Republican couldn’t get elected dogcatcher.”

          Only in 1978 was the first Republican governor, since the 1860s-1870s, elected. I was living overseas, but do vaguely recall the stir this caused.

          For the next few elections after 1978 different Dems and Reps held the governorship. Only since 1994 has the governor’s office been firmly in the hands of Reps.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Is she remembered fondly or as the idiot who dispensed with the Rangers?

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              I am relying on my Texas History which would have been in 7th grade and I believe again in 11th grade, but the impression I have is that she was not held in particularly high regard. When every I hear “Ma” whoever it my apply to, I also think of Ma Barker. Not a very positive association.

              I have to admit that I don’t recall much as it has been so long ago.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            The first GOP Senator, on the other hand, was John Tower, elected in 1961 in the special election to replace LBJ. (The Democrats nominated a conservative, so many liberals voted for Tower.) He had previously run against LBJ in 1960, and got something like 41% of the vote. (The GOP has held the seat ever since.) People forget how long it took for the GOP to win the old South, and how quickly some of the states flipped when it happened.

            The GOP won a few House seats in 1928, but lost them after the Depression struck. I think their next House victory in Texas came in 1960, in Dallas. As late as 1972 they only won 4 seats, and lost 1 or 2 of them in 1974. Ron Paul picked up a seat in 1975 in a special election (he lost in 1976 and won it back in 1978). I think 1984 was when they really began to have a modest House delegation from the state, but it was 20 years or so before they held a majority, I think.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Hoover encouraged this, at least up to a point. He didn’t want criminals glamorized, but he wanted them to be famous so that his boys would get more credit for stopping them. Machine Gun Kelly was a minor crook who was built up as a major public enemy. On the other hand, Baby Face Nelson was every bit as bad as they made him out to be, or even worse. (He was with Dillinger for a while, but the latter preferred to minimize violence.)

    That’s an interesting point, Timothy. Given that so many during The Great Democrat-Prolonged and Deepened Depression were siding with and romanticizing the worst of criminals, I can’t begrudge Hoover publicizing and even glamorizing the crime-fighters.

    And this is basically the entire backbone of early comic book heroes (before Superman considered himself not an American but a “citizen of the world”). I love glamorizing crime-fighters and I know a big draw for this film is the fact that it’s not counter-culture in the way so many other films are. I like that aspect. It doesn’t disguise the movie’s weaknesses. But I do like that aspect.

    And they could have done a better job comparing and contrasting the old-school techniques of these two Rangers with Hoover’s modern boys and others. They do a little of it but it seems superficial. My guess is that the writer didn’t have the time or inclination to do the research. Mostly it jumps past the nuts-and-bolts of what a good Ranger relies on to catch the bad guys and turns Costner into more of a gangster-whisperer.

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Today it takes little more than freakishness, low morals and poor taste to become famous.

    Mr. Kung, the only person right now that I’m glad is getting some fame is Tucker Carlson. Add Dennis Prager in that as well. Ted Cruz on a good day. Same with Palin. Beyond that, I’m hard-pressed to find any value in popular culture.

    One thing that is apparently true that this movie portrayed (and that I was not otherwise aware of) is the mini fashion craze of look-alike Bonnies. Whether the movie over-played it or not (I’m guessing they did), it’s still an interesting glimpse into human nature and the human condition. Even if the connection is to pure evil, there is such great power in fame-via-association.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Bonnie and Clyde, like many public enemies of that era, were popular — until they killed a young cop with a family. Seeing what their record of murder could actually mean in terms of the victims got rid of most of their popularity. They would soon be dead, and this may have contributed.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        There once was a gangster twosome
        Whose crimes were many and gruesome
        But to the vulgarians
        They were pearls, not carrion
        The 10 Commandments, they blew some

        • Timothy Lane says:

          I wonder if there were any of the Commandments they didn’t break, and frequently.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            My heroes have always been cowpokes
            And Rangers who shoot all the bad blokes
            As for the dark side
            Whether Bonnie or Clyde
            Just send them to hell when they’s croaks

  9. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Netflix also has the old 1967 “Bonnie and Clyde” with Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. I saw at least parts of this years ago on TV. That is to say, it’s basically an unknown quantity. I recognized very little about it so far.

    I’ve never been a Warren Beatty fan. But Dunaway’s done some great stuff including “The Three Musketeers,” “Chinatown,” and “Network.” Both actors are probably too glamorous for the roles. But then this is Hollywood and Dunaway seems perfect in the role of destructive female. Dunaway has always had a beauty that was hard to place. In the guise of Bonnie Parker, that ambiguous beauty works well in the role.

    This, I imagine, is a much more glamorized version of the story. Where I had thought that “The Highwaymen” was going to veer toward strict realism (I don’t think it did), it’s clear one can enjoy the 1967 film as a purely Hollywood treatment of the subject. I’ll report back as I go through this more.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I think I’ve seen a bit of it, but not all of it. I do remember the MAD satire, “Balmy and Clod”, and the responses to it.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        There once was a glamorous lady
        The women she played were all shady
        It was awfully monstrous
        Harming D’Artagnan’s Constance
        But better than Barrow-cum-Beatty

  10. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I’m 25 minutes into 1976’s Bonnie and Clyde with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. I can’t say that this is a particularly compelling movie so far. Bonnie is clearly bored with her life, is smitten with Clyde, and is up for adventure.

    But Clyde just glibly declares “I’m a bank robber.” There’s nothing ominous about this declaration. And it comes after a scene where B&C, way out in farmland country, happen upon a farmhouse that has been recently repossessed. By coincidence, the former owners are there having a last look at their place. B&C hear the owner’s story about the evil banks. In sympathy, Clyde starts shooting his pistol into the bank repossession sign. The owners ask to borrow the pistol and do the same thing.

    So the setup is that the banks have it coming to them. The first bank they try to knock over has no money. They then rob a small grocery store. One of the owners there resists and comes after Clyde with a meat clever. (Clyde beats his face up rather severely.) Clyde later protests as if the owner’s reaction was an overreaction. What could Clyde do but beat him up? Basically Clyde professes that he meant no harm.

    We see the reluctant, almost innocent, Clyde behave like a child on a school outing. This is just a big adventure. Why are people taking it so seriously when he demands food and goods at the point of a gun? Can’t they tell the sun is shining, I’ve got a beautiful girl next to my side, and her hair waves in the wind as we speed down the road in our classic 1930 Ford Model A De Luxe Roadster?

    As of yet, there is no menacing side to Clyde. Beatty might as well be Jimmy Stewart trying to play the role. With his handsome good-looks, he can’t really be bad, can he?

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Of course the Hollyweirders never think of themselves as being on the other side of the gun, seeing their little store effectively wiped out. And people like that were Clyde’s victims, not banks, until long after he and Bonnie got together. It wasn’t a matter of uninterest, but rather a lack of skill. Wealthy people can’t understand how crucial a small amount of money can be to the poor.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I have no intention of reading the purportedly excellent “Go Down Together,” so it’s difficult to sift fact from fiction from afar. But it’s darkly hilarious that Clyde’s first murder (a cop jumps on the running-board of his car as they’re getting away from a bank robbery) he blames on his driver for not parking the car where it should have been.

        Apparently the cops are all portrayed as buffoons in this. This is another instance (unless that really happened). But sometimes cops are buffoons such as the recent incident where they gun down some black guy who fell asleep in a drive-thru lane with a gun on his lap. The cops are hemming and hawing what to do. The door is open. The fellow is asleep. Open the door and grab the damn gun. Instead, their own stupidity and cowardice escalated the situation.

        I’m fast losing respect for law enforcement. “To Serve and Protect” doesn’t occur to them. They see a guy with a gun and they are frozen as to what to do other than either to over-react (in this case) or in the case of Broward County law enforcement in regards to the Parkland school shootings, they do nothing.

        I remember when one mentally deranged guy with a sword held back the entire Seattle police department for hours while they tried to figure out what to do. I really think the standards have been lowered (likely for PC reasons) that the basic level of professionalism is shot.

        In the case of Bonnie and Clyde, I suspect their sociopathic tendency toward quickly-escalated violence, combined with Clyde’s BAR (which apparently was indeed his weapon of choice), made them extremely dangerous, even to competent cops.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Lower standards are a consequence of affirmative action (i.e., pro-black racism). The DC PD junked their requirement that cops have no criminal record 30 years ago, with the results that you would expect. I believe the Washington Post was surprised when that happened.

          They also lower educational standards to encourage more blacks, as well as aptitude tests. So they end up with cops who simply can’t handle the paperwork and the numerous legal technicalities they have to deal with.

          Similarly, physical standards are lowered to allow more women to join, even though it often turns out that the main beneficiaries are weaker men, not women, few of whom want to join the police.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            even though it often turns out that the main beneficiaries are weaker men,

            Not to put too fine a point on it, but these hardly look like Dirty Harrys running around. I realize that it’s the cop, not me, facing a guy with a gun.

            So then why don’t they face him? In this incident,Dirty Harry would have opened the door (while being covered) and simply grabbed the guy’s gun.

            Here’s one body-cam video of it. Basically it’s a ridiculous situation where six cops surround the guy in a drive-thru lane (he’s not going anywhere) and do nothing. They seem paralyzed and have no idea how to handle this. Feckless and cowardly comes to mind.

            Or maybe just stupid. They’ve got the guy covered. Have one guy open the damn door slowly and reach in and get the gun. But the cops are so indecisive. They don’t know what to do. And as they add more cops to this (at least six), I’m pretty sure that makes it difficult for any one person to step up and just handle the situation without a hail of bullets being the first response. Incredible.

  11. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    1967’s Bonnie & Clyde is highly-rated at IMDB. There are many nine- and ten-star reviews showering praise on it. Many note that it was the first movie to exhibit graphic violence.

    My impression of the movie is that it is Stylized Hollywood Liberal Cornball. This is an awful movie. Hackman is terrible as Clyde’s older brother. Estelle Parsons as Blanche, his wife, is horribly over-acting in the scenes I saw.

    That is, the movie is so pathetic, I have no desire to watch further scenes.

    One reviewer at IMDB was a voice of sanity. Here’s the first two paragraphs of that review, but the entirety is worth reading:

    This film is irresponsible. I’m not talking about omissions because of the limitations of movie making. I’m talking about outright lies. I can almost forgive making stuff up about B&C since they were a couple of dirt bags, but I can’t forgive making Frank Hamer (mispronounced in the movie) and other lawmen look like fools.

    Frank’s service to society was quite remarkable. It was so remarkable that the justified slaughter of B&C was but a footnote to his illustrious career. And what of the officers and innocents killed or injured by the Barrow gang? The movie makes their loss seem like so much fun at the penny arcade. Director Penn should be ashamed.

    This is a buffoonish movie. It was like (as the reviewer noted) taking the events of the Charles Manson’s murders and turning into in a stylish semi-comical light drama. This is some libtard’s psychedelic depiction of Bonnie and Clyde.

    Director Arthur Penn is thought to be a genius. But this is true only within the confines of a clownish liberal sensibility. In the end, I’m left as limp as this invented bit of shtick regarding Clyde’s inability to perform for Bonnie. Why is this in there? Who knows?

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I recall MAD brought that last part up a couple of times. One came when they met, and Clyde was mentioning that his gun was symbolic and it had to do with Freud (Bonnie responded that it was his mother — “and you a son of a gun”). The second came when Bonnie asked for sex, and when he said no, wondered why — “Cause you need a haid doctor?”. He said, “No, because I’m driving this car at 90 miles per hour.” Sounds reasonable to me.

      Well, I never saw much of the movie, as I said earlier, and it doesn’t sounds like I missed much.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      That is why I said it was a western. Hamer and Gault are typical John Ford cowboys. The kind we don’t invite over for afternoon tea. Think of the Searchers, Shane, Hondo, High Noon or even a Few Good Men. these are the people society knows deep down they need to have on the wall, but when the job is done they are sent away.

      the essence of character is that when sent away they don’t make a fuss but know how to leave with dignity. TR once said of the American character, “The world will never love us, they may respect us, even fear us, for we have too much audacity” Two people who would have understood Hamer and Gault–Curtis Lemay and George Patton.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Technically, Shane wasn’t sent away — he left on his own, to the great disappointment of the boy who admired him. But he knew there was no longer a place for him, and he couldn’t simply become another farmhand. Similarly, the sheriff in High Noon had actually resigned, but came back to deal with Frank Miller and his gang. And then left again. After the failure of the town to support him, he didn’t want to stay there any longer.

        Another example of such a movie is Pale Rider. In this case, the protector came back from the dead.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        these are the people society knows deep down they need to have on the wall, but when the job is done they are sent away.

        Oh, I couldn’t agree more, Steve. In fact, perhaps the prime malady of our culture to denigrate the bedrock and venerate the poison ivy.

        Certainly the awful 1967 “Bonnie and Clyde” does the latter. And “The Highwaymen” does the former. I enjoyed “The Highwaymen” (although I noted numerous places where I thought it fell short). But I couldn’t make it through “Bonnie and Clyde.”

        And, really, it’s not so much that I have a deep-seated offensive reaction against glorified violence and criminals. I love gangster and crime movies. And sometimes the bad guys are cool. No question about it.

        But in “Bonnie and Clyde” it’s just too much. It’s too self-consciously glib. If you can ruin Gene Hackman, you’re doing a good job. Never cared for Beatty, but always had a soft spot for the bitchy Faye Dunaway roles. But everything in this is so over-acted (or non-acted, in the case of Beatty). It’s quite possible that Dunaway’s performance would have been more noteworthy had she not been surrounded by such awful performances.

        Man, I can see a younger Harry Dean Stanton playing Clyde. Pair him with Kathleen Turner. Take away the corny soundtrack (which so many reviews seem to like). Give it some reality and grit. If you glamorize it a little…fine. I’m pretty sure this pair of miscreants where having their share of fun for a while (but apparently things got touch and living conditions were pretty awful toward the latter part of their run).

        The great irony is that the obsessively high reviews of this 1967 movies at IMDB reflect the same kind of rabble who venerated the real B& at the time. Just a mob with little or no taste.

        I really loved Costner and Connery in “The Untouchables.” I love these kind of tough-guy, under-appreciated heroes. I was expecting “The Highwaymen” to be a little more like that. But then with Woody Harrelson, one is limited in that regard.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Just out of curiosity, what do you think of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?

          • Steve Lancaster says:

            The movie or the train robbers? The only good thing about the movie was a cute song.

            The Sundance Kid probably died in (Bolivia?) However, Robert Leroy Parker is question mark. Tertiary evidence has him dying in the same shootout. But, there is some Parker family evidence he might have escaped back to the US and died a natural death in Idaho. Parker was born LDS and Idaho was a strong LDS strong hold.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Southeastern Idaho still is a Mormon stronghold. I recall that there were towns there where George McGrovel came in third, behind Nixon and Schmitz, in 1972.

              • Steve Lancaster says:

                In 1861 there was strong sediment in Utah to join the CSA. The commander of FT Douglas invited Brigham Young to visit and took him for a tour. He pointed out that every gun in the fort was pointed at two targets, the LDS Temple and the official residence of BY, the Beehive House. Young took the hint and Utah officially stayed out of the war, but it would be another 40 years before Utah became a state.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                A lot of that was because of polygamy. After the latest Prophet suddenly discovered that polygamy wasn’t acceptable after all, the state was finally admitted. Of course, some breakaway Mormons continue to practice polygamy.

                For what it’s worth, in Harry Turtledove’s alternate history series that starts with Lee winning decisively in Maryland after some Confederate soldiers point out that a courier had dropped something wrapped around 3 cigars, the Mormons revolt against the US in the later renewal of the war (1881, I think) and the state is never admitted. Eventually they resort to suicide bomber tactics, one of the victims being Robert Taft (pity about that).

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Timothy, I think I last time I saw Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was about 3 or 4 years ago. It’s got star power and Newman settles the picture, if memory serves, into something quite watchable.

            One of the best star-power collaborations of this type that was neither flippant and glib (B&C) or too cutesy and perhaps anachronistically stylish (sometimes with BC&TSK) was the masterful movie, The Sting. This is another one of those movies, like Lawrence of Arabia, that you can put on the gold-medal platform and say, “This is what this art form can achieve.”

            Few big names came together and worked as well as in this movie. Not being a gigantic Redford fan (although I think he’s okay), his work in this is top-notch and matches his overall persona as an actor: stylish, handsome, but just a little bit of a rogue underneath. Rarely does a soundtrack of a non-musical film become this big of a hit as well while always meshing with the action, not overpowering it.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              I recall MAD, in its satire of The Sting, had Newman noting that he was the big star in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, whereas by the later movie Redford was the big star.

              When I saw The Sting with a friend, I guessed the date (September 1936) because the newspaper in their introductory picture had a headline mentioning that the Spanish rebels had captured Irun (9/2/36). The latter was a border town with a road leading from the Basque area of Spain into France, and its seizure isolated the Loyalist area in the north.

              Incidentally, there really was a conman named Gondorff, often mentioned in David Mauro’s study The Big Con. (He was a linguist and the book started as a study of thieves’ argot. Mauro later taught at the University of Louisville.) The book was a conceptual source for the TV series The Rogues and Mission: Impossible as well as The Sting. The real Gondorff would have had the most important role, which was actually the man in the telegraph office.

              • Steve Lancaster says:

                I thought that character was some kind of Hollywood slang for a Yiddish term for thief, gonnif,.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                A book I had on Mission: Impossible points out that the Mauro book was well known in Hollyweird. (That show started out relying on strong-arm tactics, hence Peter Lupus as Willy — billed as the world’s strongest man — being a regular. But after a while they decided that there was only so much they could do with that approach, and instead chose the con job approach.)

  12. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I want to take a moment to thank Steve for going with the spirit of StubbornThings. Our job here isn’t to avoid conflict and be so chummy-chummy that we never say anything of substance. But too many sites out there (nearly all of them) feed to the darker side of human nature which is to be: argumentative, vulgar, trivial, superficial, and hyper-political.

    I think through movies and movie reviews we can learn a lot about life. Does anyone really think that by parsing every word of either Donald Trump or AOC we’re going to get the same thing? No. We’ll just get caught in The Daily Drama.

    Steve brings something to the site other than just bitching. I don’t mind a little bitching. But as a steady diet, it’s relatively non-nutritive. And give him credit for laying down his ego (we all have one, and they love to be fed) and taking a more generous and laid back attitude toward online content.

    But in writing about things in more substantive ways, I think it is nutritive. I think ultimately we flatter and strengthen something more powerful and long-lasting than mere ego which feeds on “likes” and is energized by grievance. Thanks, Steve. For at least another year (I think) ST will be around to hopefully be something different. A flower growing in the compost heap of the internet.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Well, I hope you’re able to stay around. It’s good to have a place to express myself, and blogging on (mostly) Disqus isn’t enough.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Thanks, Timothy. I’m going to try for now. I’ll be having a fundraising drive next month. If I can get half my expenses (or so) in donations, I’ll keep it going. But right now I have other things tugging at my time and money.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      Ah Brad, you’re going to turn me into lovable marshmallow, three ex wives will contend with that and the current one thinks I’m merely eccentric. But I’m the only Jewish Marine she ever met. Before we met she thought meshugas was a food supplement. On vacation in 2010 I told her we were having lunch at CIA in Napa Valley. Imagine her shock when she found out it was Culinary Institute of America.

      Movies reflect our culture, the good, bad and ugly and some movies manage in spite of the PC crowd to entertain, educate and inform, maybe 5%. A good actor can make an average movie better, but a superior script and actor(s) transport the viewer to another world or another time. More often to our own education about a place or time, even the most bizarre or improbable. It is one of the reasons that Turner Classic Movies have stayed on cable, almost from the time of the first cable network.

      The media, movies and TV the daily drama is filtered and often refined into a more palpable form. Bosch is one of those as is Game of Thrones, Westworld, The first season of True Detective even Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad and many others. Note none of these are alphabet network shows.

      In the book world the same is generally true. We as readers can be more selective about what we we read and how much of the daily drama we chose to encounter. The nice thing about a book is you can set it down for years and if you mark your page its still there waiting for you to discover truth, justice and the American way.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        A good actor can make an average movie better, but a superior script and actor(s) transport the viewer to another world or another time.

        Good point about movies.

        three ex wives

        It is not the policy of StubbornThings or your dear Editorto delve into the personal lives of its fellow writers (unless they make it the subject of their literary endeavors) or to make judgments about them. Also….something about living in glass houses. However, the Editor most sincerely hopes you have found a Ruth after having passed through a few fruit-bearing Eves. With women trying to wear the pants in the family these days, I honestly don’t know how modern men make a go of it. Poison fruit abounds. I guess the fill-ins are porn, video games, and sports.

        However, the Editor does make three demands of everyone:

        1) Seek to improve one’s writing
        2) Imbibe good literature and movies (which will greatly aid #1….and the Bosch series, for instance, more than fits the bill)
        3) Provide great content for this small patch that is mostly outside The Daily Drama.

        This is always a win-win thing. And not many have stood the test. But the bar is so relatively low. I guess the first lesson is to just get over ourselves. We are already God-made creatures in some capacity. We don’t need to prove anything (at least here….the rest of the world sort of sucks in that regard). Just astound us all with your gift of language as you creatively describe and parse the various aspects of life itself….even a thoughtful review of the latest leaf-blower one has purchased will fit that bill. Anything that gets to the point and is low on the B.S. scale will do.

        But I’ve found that this is either really hard for people to understand or (more likely) they just don’t want to do it. I still think of this place as a creative writing workshop although, sure, it’s probably mislabeled a bit. But I always wanted something open-ended where the creativity of the participants could draw it hither and yonder.

        • Steve Lancaster says:

          Yes, there are three ex wives. My current is a gem among women, a Ruth in a world of Eves.

          It has been my pleasure to love several remarkable women. Each has qualities that make a good companion. The one that I let get away, and the only Jew in the mix is the mother of my oldest son. She moved to Israel in 79 after he was born, got her doctorate in psychology from Hebrew University and was murdered by a Palestinian outside of Jerusalem 7 March 96, she was only 36. I miss her every day.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Steve, I was having a little thought-bubble on the Negation thread and mentioned James K. Kilpatrick’s The Writer’s Art. I own the digital version of this compendium of articles and delved in at random and found something that I thought you might appreciate:

        In his preface to The Joys of Yiddish, Rosten touched upon the difficulties inherent to the writer of dialect:

        Jews had to become psychologists, and their preoccupation with human, no less than divine behavior made Yiddish remarkably rich in names for the delineation of character types. Little miracles of discriminatory precision are contained in the distinctions between such simpletons as a nebech, a shlemiel, a shmendrick, a shnook; or between such dolts as a klutz, a yold, a Kuni Lemmel, a shlep, a Chaim Yankel. All of them inhabit the kingdom of the ineffectual, but each is assigned a separate place in the roll call.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Peter Beagle included Schmendrick the Magician in The Last Unicorn. The word is also used in Robin and the Seven Hoods, a fun Brat Pack movie (though that may be a bit redundant).

          Schlemiel turns up in the theme song to Laverne and Shirley.

          Schnook is or was fairly common, and klutz even more so. I would think of the latter is specifically referring to someone very clumsy.

          I sometimes described Bush 41 as a nebbish, partly as form of wordplay. The other words seem unfamiliar to me.

        • Steve Lancaster says:

          In most of the US Yiddish has all but disappeared even among the Hasids. There have been efforts to bring back the Yiddish theater and in parts of the lower East side you can still hear it on the street, but in all practical aspects Yiddish died in the camps between 1939-1945.

          The revival of Hebrew in 1920s mandate Palestine marked a return to our traditional language. Today, any educated Israeli can read Torah as it was written.

          As of this time the election in Israel looks to be a nail biter Benny or Bibi both have claimed victory, however the righest parties have a majority the overall direction will not change much.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Good luck, Bibi.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Apparently most of the exit polls show the opposition party winning a few more seats than Likud, but also show the rightist coalition overall winning a majority (and the one exception predicts a 60-60 result). It may be a few days before we know the final results, especially since exit polls are no more reliable there than they are here.

            • Steve Lancaster says:

              Times of Israel is reporting victory for Bibi

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Israeli elections: Right Wing Bloc in Clear Lead.

                Likud and Kahol Lavan (parties, I presume, right and left) tied with 35 seats each. But the coalition of right-leaning seats leads 65.55.

                I don’t have any firsthand experience with Israel. But they seem to be a country with a rightwing head and a leftwing heart. The dangers are too real and at hand for the liberal heart to go off half-cocked with airy beliefs that my enemy is really my friend if I will just reach out to him. But it seems to me they come awfully too close to that for comfort.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                The left in America is very unhappy that they still have Bibi Netanyahu to kick around. In a few months (and even the corruption trial probably won’t interfere with it, at least not that soon) he’ll be the longest-serving Israeli prime minster. The current record holder is David Ben-Gurion.

              • Steve Lancaster says:

                In Israel politics is like religion. You go to yours, I’ll go to mine and we will both boycott that SOB on the hill.

                The socialist influence comes from the early settlers at the turn of the 19th century, Most were European socialists and Marxists of various factions. The establishment of the Kibbutz (socialized farms) was actually a great benefit through the 1950s. It had the ability to absorb millions of refugees from Europe and the rest of the Mid East. The establishment of the state resulted in over 800,000 Jews being summarily thrown out of their homes from Morocco to Iran. Israel took all of them in. It is one of the reasons why we don’t have much sympathy for the so-called refugees from the 48 war.

                Most of the early leaders were Labor Party and grew up on the kibbutz farms and small factories thus, their socialist leanings.

                However, the labor party failed to spark the economy in a manner that fostered growth for the average Israeli and they may not hold any seats when all the votes are counted.

                The right wing (conservative) parties hold a clear majority. It is good to see Bibi in for another 4 years.

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