‘You See This Sign?’

Wonderful Los Angeles Times obit, reprinted in the Chicago Tribune, on Carole Eastman, who cowrote “Five Easy Pieces.” Director Bob Rafelson:

” ‘Here she was, this rather thin and kind of fragile-looking woman,’ he said, ‘and she could easily write about the most obscure things like waitresses, Tammy Wynette, bowling alleys, oil fields. There was nothing common about what Carole chose to write about.’ “

I’d love to read more about her.

The Busher

Talking of Canseco, the man with the invisible knot on his head, made me remember The Busher, Ring Lardner’s guy (protagonist is too big a word for him) in “You Know Me Al“):

“Detroit, Michigan, April 28
“Friend Al: What do you think of a rotten maager that bawls me out and fines me $50.00 for loosing a 1 to 0 game in 10 innings when it was my 1st start this season? And no woinder I was a little wild in the 10th when I had not had no chance to work and get control. I got a good notion to quit this rotten club and jump to the Federals where a man gets some kind of treatment. Callahan says I throwed the game away on purpose but I did not do no such a thing Al because when I throwed that ball at Joe Hill’s head I forgot that the bases was full and besides if Gleason had not of starved me to death the ball that hit him in the head would of killed him.”

Real True-to-Life Inspirations …

CansecoYou can have your “hooray, little Jimmy overcame the mumps” and “Stalin loved cats and parakeets” sites. For me, the feel-good site of the day has got to be Canseconet.com, celebrating the past and … well, past … of the player who redefined dumb and caused the Society for American Baseball Research to come up with a formula (“squandered talent quotient” or STQ) to describe mathematically what became of him.

Oh, yeah, the news: Jose had a walk-on tryout with the Dodgers today in Florida. Early reports are that he sucked.

 (Pictured: The formerly promising Canseco twin. Used without permission).

Fantasy: An Oscar Hairsplit

People are saying “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” is the first fantasy film to win best picture. Yes, but:
–In the first place, it’s a stretch to call the story a fantasy. Sure, there’s lots of imaginary beings and the whole quest thing going on. But I think Tolkien really invented his world not to spin stories about elves and wizards and talking trees, but to create a setting against which he could explore some basic themes about mythology and events in the real world.
–In the second place, a short list of Best Picture winners that could also be considered fantasy — if you buy one dictionary definition of the word as “literary or dramatic fiction marked by highly fanciful or supernatural elements”: “Chicago” (2002), “Shakespeare in Love” (1998), “Titanic” (1997), “Forrest Gump” (1994), “Amadeus” (1984), “The Sound of Music” (1965), “My Fair Lady” (1963), “Tom Jones” (1963).