My daughter challenged me to write a blog post every day using a topic she chooses. This was supposed to be Tuesday’s but I kinda fell asleep while writing it so it is now Wednesday’s. Hey, life happens. And I had a rehearsal. For a play. You know how it is.

I think I will start this post with a drop cap, an absurdly large letter because it’s fun and I can. Thanks Gutenberg! Yes, I am stalling on writing tonight’s entry. You caught me. Why am I stalling? Because I haven’t really seen all that many westerns. It was never a genre I got into or knew all that well. I mean, I know all of the tropes: Stagecoach, the duel at high noon (or at dawn), the saloon fight with the easy-to-break tables, chair, bottles, the barkeep who has wisdom and is unconventional, the poker game, the gallows, the jail break, the British Sheriff played by John Cleese… wait a minute, I am describing Silverado. But Silverado is the perfect western because they put every trope into it! And that cast! Kevin Kline, Linda Hunt, Danny Glover, Scott Glenn, Kevin Kostner (in his first not-a-dead-body movie role), Brian Dennehy, Rosanna Arquette, Jeff Goldblum, and, of course, John Cleese. And it was written by Lawrence Kasdan who helped write the good Star Wars movies (Empire Strikes Back anyone?)

I’ve seen a small handful of westerns over the years. These include, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Silverado, Unforgiven, Dances with Wolves (sorta counts), The Great Train Robbery, and Back to the Future III (that counts, right?) Oh and Blazing Saddles if you count that. But when you add in all of the TV shows that were either westerns themselves (Wild Wild West and How the West Was Won especially) or that had episodes set in the Wild West (too many to count), then I’ve had a reasonable grounding in the genre.

I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen but also know there is a lot I have missed. Marci has decided we are taking a weekend day and doing a marathon. Going to watch some spaghetti westerns, some classic westerns, and I insisted on adding Silverado because I really want to see it again. I’d also like to find movies that have pre-Star Trek Shatner, Kelley, and/or Nimoy in them because that would be fun.

While the genre is one I enjoy, I find that I enjoy even more the idea of the sci-fi approach. Shows like, Firefly, Star Trek TOS (at times), and such that take the idea of the lawless frontiers into which civilization is slowly expanding and place it in space instead of the American west.

And, hey, what kid didn’t go through a phase of wanting a cowboy hat, two (cap) six-shooters, boots, and a piece of straw in their mouth?

But, lest we forget, here is the greatest western of all time:

Noticing Stuff

Some years ago I directed the play version of M*A*S*H. It was really excellent and if you didn’t see it, you have to live with that fact. You missed a great show. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. In getting myself into a M*A*S*H*Y state of mind, I binged up to Season six (then I ran out of gas and time). I noticed things that I had never seen before when I watched as a child on TV (leave my age out of it). For example, I had no idea that Radar in so many of the early season episodes, was seen eating a ton of food. It was a running gag I’d never noticed before. But because I was watching 3-6 episodes a day, every day for a few weeks, I noticed it.

For the last half year or so, I’ve been working on a daily streak of doing the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. It’s partly to honor my mother who did it all the time (she died last summer) but also because I just really enjoy doing the puzzle. But when you do it every day, you really notice the clues that get reused over and over and over. A few examples. One day last fall or so there was a clue for which the answer was OREOTHINS. In the NYT’s blog about the puzzle, the author pointed out that this was a debut in the puzzle. It had never appeared in it before. Over the next three weeks or so, it showed up again one or two more times. More recently, clues about parabolas being an ARC have been prevelent. And who knew there were so many ways to clue OGRE/OGRES?

This is apropos of nothing, really. I just thought it was interesting the stuff you notice when you do a lot of something vs. dipping in and out every once and a while. Makes me wonder what else I am missing…