Thursday, June 26, 2014

Il cattivo

The above fellow is Eli Wallach, aka "the Ugly" starring in his film stealing role as Tuco Ramirez. M. Wallach made his appearance as a "Hero of the Day" back when I was writing those posts, and he has become, much to my sadness, the first of my live heroes to pass on to the great silver screen in the sky. There is a saying that you should never meet your heroes because they will disappoint you. That is probably as true as statement as any saying can be, and luckily for both him and me, I never met Eli Wallach.

M. Wallach died on the 24th of this month, a day before my birthday. We all die, and few of us get to pick the time of our departure, I must confess that I was relieved that M. Wallach did not die on my actual birthday.  It is a sad enough occasion in my life as it is, and to have a 'hero' die on it would have made it even worse. Sharing my birthday with another hero, one George Orwell, is enough of a burden for me to bear, to have to share it with the death of another might be more than I could bear. M. Wallach lived to the ripe old age of 98, and still managed, in my opinion, to die way too soon. His career was mostly a raging success, and the length of his filmography would be quite long. I am not here to go through his career role by role. I am here to mourn Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez. The role that cemented his place in my hero worship.

The 1966 film that was the last of the 'Dollar Trilogy' was also, in my opinion, the best of the films and the best role in the film. It is my considered belief that Clint Eastwood, who famously said that 'in the first film there was me, the second there was two, and in the third there were three, what is next me and the 7th Calvary?" did not make anymore films because he realized that Eli Wallach had stolen the film from him.  He did with equal parts buffoonery and consummate acting skill. That skill that allows us (along with the screen play) to understand Tuco as the deepest character of the three main characters. We see his humanity, and his religion (semi-fake though it may be), we see his brother, and hear of the recent death of his father. The Good, and the Bad do not get to possess the depth of character that Tuco shows us.

Mourning is a tricky business, and mourning what is in many was a complete stranger or a 'person' that never really existed is even more tricky. Of course, Tuco is not 'real' in the sense of being a person that exists beyond the screen on which he plays out his role. But, in many ways all of our lives are our own screen be it big or small, and each of us is playing a role that may or may not be the one we chose for ourselves.  It does become imperative upon us to play that roles or roles to best of our acting ability. Much like M. Wallach we get a chance to play more than one role in our lives, and hopefully we have the chance to steal the screen from our co-stars.

Mourning Tuco is made even harder by the fact that he isn't really dead. All I have to do is turn on my TV, and put in a DVD of 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly' and there is Tuco in all his glory alive and well playing the part that will forever make Eli Wallach a hero of mine. Today, while mourning the 'real' man that played the 'fake' character of Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez, I will watch that performance, and shed quite real tears in the hopes that it will make everything all right. And will that fails, which I am sure that it will, I will go out with my own co-stars, and drink a few Peronis in tribute to a man who played his role so very well. Goodnight sweet prince.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Over a month since my last post, and that is way too long for a blog to go without something new to keep the massive readership happy. Mea culpa my dear readers, part of today's post will explain my 'resolution' to do better, just be aware I have made such resolutions before, and failed. Also, I have recently received some advice (freely given, and without criticism) about the 'type' of blog posts that I am better at writing, this will not be that type of blog post.

'Do you have plans for your birthday' she asked, probably hoping that whatever plans I had managed to concoct did not include her.  'Plans?' I asked. 'Well no, not unless you call going home, and crying over my wasted life into my pillow. Or in the exciting alternative, going out to a bar, getting drunk, and then going home and crying into my pillow about my misspent youth, my wasted adulthood, my quickly approaching old age, and my even quicker approaching demise. Either way my pillow is in for a rough time of it.'

Needless to say, (but I'll say it anyway) that response was not quite the one she was looking for. I am not sure what reply she was looking for, but that is because I have, even after four and a half decades on this rock, no idea what any woman is thinking at any given time.  However, my inability to understand the members of the fairer sex is (for once) not the point of this post. The actual truth of the matter that I did not share with her, was that I do in fact have plans. Another lie gliding softly by her without her knowledge (at least I hope it is without her knowledge). That 'plan' did not include some other female, or any other person, animal, mineral, or even a blow up doll (the pillow does not inflate).

This plan, which since it is mine I consider to be a brilliant one, is not the type of plan that can come to its fruition in one day (birthday or not). It is a long term plan, a five year plan that I have determined is best for me. Yes, for once, I am trying not to self-destruct and make a plan that is actually best for me. Though I suppose that doesn't mean that it is good for me just best for me, a difference that is hopefully without distinction.  I don't think that my Five Year Plan is quite up to par with Stalin's plan for the Soviet Union, but it is based upon similar theories. I have got to get 'my shit together' (a key component of Stalin's plan), and a five year time frame is a pretty good place to start. There has to be a goal to my continued existence on this planet, and this plan accounts for that. Of course no term of life is for certain, and I can only hope that I am around to see the entire five years of this plan.

The details of this plan are, for anyone not involved in it, are just as boring as the details of M. Stalin's plan are today. They are not exactly secret, but they are my business and my business alone. The plan is, as much as any plan can be, is designed to be self-sustaining, and enclosed, like a Fremen stillstuit, is it a closed system. It is designed to recycle a lot of things that need to be recycled, and I am not talking about plastic bottles, and tin cans.  Parts of the plan are still vague, and many of the details are still in committee. Like most of my plans, I have reverse engineered this plan. I have the ending all worked out, but am a little unclear on some of the paths I must tread to get there.

I do at least know why I am following this plan, which for me is a major step forward. It is not like some village idiot finding religion, and then dedicating his life to converting other idiots to his way of thinking, it does not rise to the level of a religion, but it is probably as close as I will ever come. This plan will require a bit of discipline, but most plans (game plans, life plans, dinner plans) do. It is designed to achieve a certain goal, and if production starts to lag, then slogans will have to be fashioned to make the proles (i.e. me) work harder for the greater good. Propaganda can be a very effective tool when used properly, and if I have to use it, I will use it properly.

I have actually told two people the ending to this plan, but luckily for me both were just as blotto drunk as I was at the time, and I am fairly certain that neither one of them remember it. Small mercy for them, and for me, because for this plan to work there can be no co-conspirators. If you want to keep a secret or embark on a good, solid Five Year Plan, tell exactly no one what the secret or plan consists of, that way your chances of success are dramatically improved. The plans needs to be cloaked in secrecy, pale, undistinguished colours that prevent it from standing out as too obvious, and being halted by the 'powers that be.' Even though this plan is solely mine, there is a school of thought that exists that it is a plan that does not need to reach its logical ending.

The possible opposition to the plan, makes it both more important, and more challenging. Important because it is the result of considerable thought on my part, and while I am not a genius, I am a clever man, and it is a clever plan. Challenging because it has to be carried out behind that veil of secrecy, and not spoken of in polite (or any) company. Most of the plan can be done exactly that way, there are bits that I can foresee that will need a bit of outside help, but workers don't always have to know they are building a Deathstar in order to do the necessary work. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, and this is one best laid plan that does not need to go 'aft, aglee.'  

 As I mentioned above, this plan started with the ending. I thought to myself that 'this is how I want it (the plan) to end.' And I intend to work backwards from that point. I suppose you can say with a bit of irony that today my 45th birthday, is when life begins.