Monday, March 27, 2017


MUSIC DID wonders for Dad.

Wandering with his shadow, Dad saw deep and Dad saw far. The shit that couldn't kill Dad only made him stronger.

After Wagner and the Valkyries, after he had left the mountain with its high icy seclusion to share the honey of his wisdom, after he had leaped free, all full of the Ninth Symphony, Dad formed an elite fighting team to save the world, then hooked up with three far out women with access to arcane knowledge and got it on.

Everybody knows about us Malones. Everybody we know, anyway. And we oughta know on account we been around here an awful long time.

I'm Marvin. Most folks call me Moose. They used to call me a galoot. When I was a kid sometimes folks made fun of me. They'd point and say that I had antlers. No they're not, I said. They're antennae.

Neither me nor either of my brothers ever seen the Mystery House inside. Mom never let us see where we were born. And the Russian gypsy, she never did like me. I didn't like her right back and Marlow understood. But Marlon's mom, Lizzie, she always treated me like these antennae of mine are a crown, and Marlon never did get that. Probably he gets his cockiness from his dads.

One thing my dad gave me was a strong appreciation for the power of music. Mom loved music, too, but she was more into architecture and gateways to other places beyond what is widely known. The places my brothers and I come from. Music always helped me enhance my abilities, what Mom and Dad called my special gifts.

My brothers and I saw decades fly by unaffected by time, even continually improving. Marlow, or Marz, the eldest of the Malone triplets, he can move things with his mind. Marlon, or Catman, as my older brother is more often called, is entirely dynamic. He's great with electrical gadgets, extremely physically impressive, with a penchant for escaping straight-jackets and chains matched only by the love of hatchets he shared with his mother...


          When Sergio Leone perfected the Spaghetti Western, he was using his noodle.
          The gunfighter movies he shot in Italy had no basis in history, but rather existed in a realm of pure imagination.
          The documentary Sergio Leone: The Way I See Things primarily features Italian screenwriters and producers reflecting on their experiences with the visionary filmmaker who made Clint Eastwood a star.
          "My films are basically silent films," according to Leone, who died in 1989 at sixty. "The dialogue just adds some weight."
          His first feature film, Colossus of Rhodes, fell into the "sword and sandal" genre of the 1950s. His second feature, however, an un-credited re-make of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1961), was an instant hit. Kurosawa successfully sued Leone for A Fistful of Dollars (1964), and made more money from that than he ever did from any of his own pictures.
          Music proved instrumental to Leone's directorial success. He and his composer, Ennio Morricone, had been friends in grade school. Unlike other collaborators, Leone worked his films around Morricone's music, resulting in a seamless blend which left even A-list heavyweights such as Stanley Kubrick in awe.
          Contrasting long background shots with close-ups on faces is part of Leone's extreme visual style. The documentary reveals particulars on the relationship between cutting production costs and subsequent techniques which inadvertently contributed to his trademark look. But what the documentary lacks is a sense of Leone himself. At no point do we ever even hear him speak.
          That said, sundry other online sources merit perusal.
          Few other directors create films as personal, artistic, and popular as Leone. Most film fans would probably agree that his greatest work is the "Dollars" trilogy. For a Few Dollars More (1965) exceeds Fistful, surpassed in turn by The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966). Most critics, however, generally cite Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) as his best Western.
          Busted window shutters banging idly in a sullen breeze and sweaty outcasts in long dusters framed in doorways with faces lined like sunbaked slats provide the foreplay to the gunshots inevitably reverberating over the inhospitable landscapes of Leone's cinematic mythos.
          The 2006 documentary and Leone's films are easily found online.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Toolbeltin'-up at the new construction job.

It's a few bucks more an hour, learnin' a trade with fewer coworkers, less bullshit, and more job security. Just to keep ya--wait for it--thoroughly in-formed.

Currently working with no days off.
Love it.

Cracked a Corona and kickin' back to some Stones.

True to form, I've got a new chapter of THE GOLDEN CITY written and ready to go.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


Starring Emma Watson,
Dan Stevens,
Luke Evans,
Josh Gad,
Kevin Kline,
Ewan McGregor,
Ian McKellen,
Emma Thompson
Directed by Bill Condon
Written by Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Runtime 129 minutes
Rated PG

          Highly enjoyable live-action version of the 1991 Disney animated musical.
          When a selfish prince is cursed by an enchantress to look like a beast, the only cure for the spell is true love.
          Remaining close to the Disney blockbuster, this new version keeps things fresh with additional back story and a few new songs. It's a superior experience--Emma Watson is excellently cast as the heroine, Belle--but the film still lacks the authenticity and charm of Jean Cocteau's 1946 classic.
          Live-action, and packed with computer-generated images. Pretty much just like watching the other one, except better. This opens the door to a complete hauling over of any and all Disney cartoon movies. With built-in markets assured, it's a natural fit fully to be expected. Just as Hammer films in the '50s colorfully re-made black-and-white Universal horror pictures from the '30s, Disney will likely update oldies with available technology.
          Though not a shot-for-shot production by any stretch, neither does this version significantly depart from the '91 story. Belle loves books, subsequently standing out from the provincial crowd of the old French town. Equally brainy and beautiful, she looks after her eccentric father, Maurice (Kline), and looks out for unwanted advances from the narcissistic Gaston (Evans).
          When Maurice stumbles on a magic castle in the forest one night, he finds himself a prisoner of the Beast (Stevens). But Belle saves him by working out a bargain with the Beast to take her father's place. Her presence in the castle raises the hopes of more than just the Beast, however, for the enchanted residents of the castle are anxious to return to human form.
          The action takes place in France, yet inexplicably the cast predominately speaks in prestige British dialect. Somehow this has gotten common. Norse gods in Marvel movies have to be British. If there was a new version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, even that would probably have to be British, too.
          Fun as it is to watch, one can't help but wonder how things would go if the form of the Beast was something less cuddly and more repellent. Plus, what if he wasn't rich? At the end of the day, it's the story of a small-town gal who stoops to settle for a guy with a castle. Even so, the presentation is pleasing to the eye.