Elmore Leonard, RIP, II.

The thing about the death of most 87-year-olds is, their heyday is usually long past. The other day Kate was mourning the loss of Ray Manzarek, and I pointed out the Doors stopped making music more than 40 years ago. Acknowledge great work when its maker passes, sure, but don’t soak your pillow with tears. We live in the age of the internet. Everybody’s best work is right here at our fingertips.

Elmore Leonard, though — he’s an exception. At 87, he got a lot more years than our allotted threescore-and-ten, and made them count. He was working, and writing exceptionally well, until the very end. I don’t think “Raylan,” “Djibouti” or “Road Dogs” (his last three novels) belong in his very top rank, but they were still better than 90 percent of the crime fiction published today, still very entertaining reads. If I’m doing work like this past my 80th birthday, I will die happy.

Leonard has been dead less than 24 hours, and already I’m tired of reading his 10 tips for writing, which is a good lesson, but if you really want to learn how to write, just read his books. Figure out how he does it.

In “Unknown Man #89,” a process server is looking for a man and thinks he may have found his wife. She’s an alcoholic, drinking the afternoon away at he Good Times Bar in the Cass Corridor in Detroit. (Just those details alone — the name of the bar and the neighborhood — tells you something, at least if you’re a Detroiter.) See the way he captures a drunk’s speech patterns, how they laugh at their own jokes and go off on their little verbal jags. Less observant writers make it all about slurring. Later on, he sets up a showdown at a bar, deep in a black neighborhood, called Watts Club Mozambique. It’s midafternoon, hardly anyone in the place, when the shit starts to go down:

The manager and the lady bartender, in the pen of the U-shaped bar, standing by the cash register, didn’t move. It it wasn’t a robbery, they assumed it was dope business. The employee in the cloakroom stood by the counter of the hall door. No one in the place screamed; no one said a thing.

You go to work in a place called Watts Club Mozambique, you know how these things play out.

A friend of mine, an English professor, says that when the historians of the future want to know how we lived, the details of our daily lives, they’ll turn to the genre novelists to tell us. They will find a deep vein in Leonard’s work. Take “52 Pickup,” a great slice of ’70s life in Detroit. It’s about an extortion attempt on a successful businessman who’s been having an affair. He runs an auto supplier in Mount Clemens, lives in Bloomfield Village. The girlfriend was in on it, and has turned over some home movies to the two guys running the deal, one of whom is showing him the spliced-together film of him on the Bahamian beach with her, narrating the action:

“Here comes sport now, rum collins for the broad and a Heineken. Loaded and he still drinks beer. That’s your background showing, man. Eleven years on the line at Dodge Main. Couple of shots and a beer every day after the shift, right?”

Loaded and he still drinks beer. Perfect. You can learn more about white-collar and blue-collar lives, and how they intersected in Detroit, from that novel than any dissertation on class boundaries in the Wayne State library.

There’s more, there’s so much more, but I don’t have time to pull down every book and transcribe long passages. I do want to hit some bullet points, though:

** He wrote great female characters, not the way women write them, but the way a man who likes women does. I interviewed him once, and commented on it. He said, “I don’t think of them as women. I think of them as people.” Quick, read “The Switch,” published in 1978, before Hollywood pollutes it forever.

** His villains are great, too. I’m with Matt Zoller Seitz:

His books were tough, but his heart was warm. He liked people. He felt for them. He was able to see through their eyes, no matter how naive or cruel or dumb or scared they were. He didn’t seem to believe in evil, only in stupidity: meaning, you have to be stupid, or stupidly selfish, to be evil. Most of his villains are pathetic and deluded. He never wrote a Hannibal Lecter or Tom Ripley. No masterminds, no puppet masters, no Corleone-style crime lords. His criminals were criminals because they were too dumb or greedy to do anything else, or because they’d fallen into crime a long time ago and never got out. Maybe they were lazy. Maybe they had bad luck. Whatever the explanation, Leonard understood it, even if he didn’t condone it. He believed in free will, but he also had compassion. He got it.

** Speaking of Hollywood. For a writer best-known for his great dialogue, filmmakers hardly ever got his material right. Leonard told the story many times of how he coached Barry Sonnenfeld on how to direct his characters in “Get Shorty,” which many acknowledge as the first adaptation to be worthy of the source material. He told Sonnenfeld no reaction shots, medium shots only and tell your actors that they are saying funny things, but their characters don’t know they’re funny. Personally, I think “Get Shorty” is overrated as an adaptation; it can’t hold a candle to “Out of Sight,” which to this day remains my favorite EL movie, my favorite Detroit movie and my favorite George Clooney movie — the actor was just emerging as a heavy-duty movie star but didn’t act like it and (more important) director Steven Soderbergh didn’t shoot him like one. Can we also say that Soderbergh achieved the miracle of a fine performance out of Jennifer Lopez? Because he did. Her wardrobe in that movie was killer, too. Favorite scene:

And though “Out of Sight” is my No. 1, “Jackie Brown” was also very good. After that, it mostly sucks. Some profoundly so. “Freaky Deaky,” shot in Detroit two summers ago, went straight to video and who can be surprised, when it was uprooted out of its time period and cast with standouts like Crispin Glover? “Killshot” did even worse; thanks, Mickey Rourke and …Joseph Gordon-Levitt? As the bad guy?

** Leonard was refreshingly bullshit-free. About pretty much everything. He always told the truth about writing, anyway. Besides the 10 rules, mainly you just have to sit down every day and do it.

So, I have some links for you:

First and best of all, the Detroit News, bless ‘em, re-ran a 1978 piece by the man himself, a deep embed with a Detroit homicide squad. It’s great:

Five a.m. on Terry Street, Detroit’s Northwest side. The fire equipment had left the scene. The gutted two-story colonial stood empty, with its door open, windows smashed, the smell of wet ashes filling its darkness, a faint sound of water dripping in the basement. Someone said the woman found down there, lying on a bed, had been “iced.” A curious verb to use. The woman had burned to death, or had been beaten to death with a blunt instrument. The fire had been started to destroy evidence.

Dick Newcomb, Executive Sergeant of Squad 7, came out of the house with his foot-and-a-half-long flashlight and a photo album of smiling high school graduates in red caps and gowns.

One of them, a 17-year-old girl named Michelle, was at that moment in intensive care at Mount Carmel. She had been found unconscious — severely beaten and bleeding from deep lacerations – in an abandoned house several doors north of the burned-out colonial.

“You can go in if you want,” Newcomb said, “but you’ll smell of smoke all day, have to have your suit cleaned.”

While we’re at the News, a seven-year-old piece by columnist Neal Rubin on EL’s relationship with Woodward Avenue, the city’s spine and east-west dividing line. Again, very good but maybe of less interest outside of Detroit.

A five-year-old profile by Neely Tucker at the WashPost.

Glenn Kenny, to whom I link because lots of you probably don’t know about him. A film blogger, but an appreciator of prose as well. I had to laugh because Abel Ferrara agrees with me about “Get Shorty:”

He rolled his eyes. “God. So studio-ized. Every time they shoot Travolta from a low angle they’ve got the fucking key light giving him a halo.”

I laugh because Ferrara was fired midway through a p.o.s. movie a friend of mine worked on here, and achieved the remarkable feat of being banned from every single restaurant in the Book Cadillac hotel in something like 10 days. And Kenny takes a look at a typical paragraph of EL text, and explains why it’s good.

Here’s an audio piece I did years ago, for WDET, a version of the blog I linked to yesterday. My takeaway: I hate the sound of my own voice.

Finally, the Onion. Because.

Have a good Wednesday, all.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Detroit life, Movies, Popculch |
 

57 responses to “Elmore Leonard, RIP, II.”

  1. Dexter said on August 21, 2013 at 3:04 am

    http://ronbenningtoninterviews.com/2009/01/14/elmore-leonard/

    An interview with Elmore Leonard.

  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 21, 2013 at 7:29 am

    The Onion’s piece was very neatly done. From the Prologue on . . .

  3. Deborah said on August 21, 2013 at 7:53 am

    You have a fine voice. What’s to hate? Your voice is exactly as I expected it to sound, don’t know why. You and some of the commenters here have turned up in a couple of my dreams, which seemed strange when I woke up.

  4. coozledad said on August 21, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Your voice sounds young.

  5. Laura Lippman said on August 21, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I love The Switch, and fear for the film adaptation. Very hard to capture an ending like that in a movie. I also have a soft spot for Pronto.

  6. brian stouder said on August 21, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I read a few of the obits, and one cannot help but notice Mr Leonard’s late start on writing, as Nancy says; and the obvious conclusion is that first he lived and experienced, and then he conveyed.

    Also, it is interesting that he got more-or-less surplussed (or out-sourced, considering the spate of ‘spaghetti Westerns’ that cropped up), when the Hollywood Western franchise faded away…and then he adapted and succeeded anew.

    His own story presents a vibrant parallel, or humanity alongside the unfolding Detroit story. And just as Leonard’s work will always be around, so will his city endure and prevail – even despite what our modern-day vandals would seek to do to it. (I’m hoping that, at some point after a decent interval, a straightforward, incisive monograph or two emerges from Leonard’s estate, in defense of his town)

    ps – I’ve seen several of the movies alluded to, but I’ve not yet read his books

  7. nancy said on August 21, 2013 at 10:04 am

    I fear for “The Switch” because it’s really a period piece, and the main character is very much an early-’70s upper-middle-class housewife — her self-image and interior monologues are dawning-feminist-era. Her actions and decisions flow from that. If they try to make it contemporary, she simply won’t make sense.

  8. Clark said on August 21, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Watts Club Mozambique is a seedy male strip club on Fenkell, right in the middle of the hood. The bus route I took home from Wayne State took me by it every day, and I’d always wonder exactly who would show their face there. Funny that it showed up in one of his older novels — kinda wonder if it was filled with exotic dancers back in ’77.

  9. nancy said on August 21, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Clark, in the book it has another sign out front: “Jazz nightly.” Had no idea it was a real place. And yes, it’s on Fenkell. Quite a transformation.

  10. MichaelG said on August 21, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I like your voice. Your tone and pacing are just right for the type of piece you did. You’ve got a nice intelligent urban sound. More please.

    Ken Levine had some nice things to say from a little different perspective. Ten rules warning: http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/

  11. MarkH said on August 21, 2013 at 11:25 am

    I dislike my own voice as well, Nance, but not yours. You sound great. In fact, from what I remember of your voice, I thought NPR’s Andrea Seabrook was you when I first heard her.

  12. coozledad said on August 21, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Jazz Nightly sounds like a good drag name; right up there with Curtis E. Wipes.

  13. Dorothy said on August 21, 2013 at 11:46 am

    I like your voice, Nancy. You use good expressions and speak clearly and emphatically. Wouldn’t it be fun if we could all hear each other’s voices? Many of us have been hanging out here so long I’m guessing our imaginations are making up what we sound like. But to actually be able to HEAR Cooz/Deborah/Brian Stouder/etc. BAM! ZING! If anyone knows how we could do that, I’m making that the big Class Assignment for us for the next week or so.

  14. brian stouder said on August 21, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Cooz – you got me laughing!

    And given the funereal feel hereabouts, this reminds me that I almost always get in trouble with Pam over whatever stupid thing she says I said, as we depart from places of that sort.

    When we go to events of that sort anymore (which is more often, these days!) I’ve learned to navigate through the folks a half step astern of her, while she greets and exchanges an appropriate remark or two, and moves on.

    You’d have had me guffawing, and then behind the 8-ball on the way to dinner!

  15. beb said on August 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    My wsife, the crazycatlady grew up on Fenkell, which was, then, a blue-collar white suburb. She goes back every so often to check on things (Fenkell is West side, we’re Eastsiders now) which scares the bejesus out of me. I can’t place Watts Club Mozambique but knoew that it’s a real place. (Maybe it advertised on the black TV station, 62.) Whether Leonard ever went inside doesn’t matter because the name sounds so ‘Detroit.’

    35 years for Bradley Manning. A lot less than the 90 they could have given him, but a lot more than he deserves.

  16. Deborah said on August 21, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Beb, I heard that Manning will be eligible for parole in 10 years.

  17. Dexter said on August 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I was not surprised at the sound of nance’s voice. Remember, she was not only a star in newsprint, but she had a radio show (WGL-AM, Fort Wayne) as well as TV show in Fort Wayne. I think. I do recall listening to the radio show in my car on the way to work.

  18. MarkH said on August 21, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    I don’t agree, beb. He was in the military and he took an oath. 35 years is more than fair, opportunity for parole or not.

  19. brian stouder said on August 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    MarkH – agreed.

  20. Prospero said on August 21, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Bradley Manning was offered a plea deal several months ago that would have required less that 1-1/2 prison years. He chose instead to protect the stalker/rapist/pschopath Julian Assange. Bone stupid move Brad. Assange does not give a shit about you or anybody but himself. Pfc Manning willingly subjected himself to the UCMJ when he took an army paycheck. Boo-hoo. Manning was completely unaware of what sort of damage his revelations might cause or whom he might be getting killed.

    I read Sherri’s somewhat impassioned defense of basic American principles from yesterday, and I understand her arguments. It seems I missed the brave and vigorous legal challenges of the civil liberties community launched against the formation of the FISA courts and a host of other bullshit foisted on Americans a decade ago, when, according to the WSJ, it was much more than data mining. The only evidence of any such behavior now is the word of the sociopath Snowden and the WSJ report (brought to you by the king of cellphone hackers). As far as of the people, etc. The atrocity of Citizens United and the fact that almost half of Americans have been convinced by disinformation that Social Security and Medicare should go down the drain with ACA seem to have put that principle to rest for the forseeable future, not NSA data mining. When nearly half the population would like to prolong a health care delivery system that ensures 75mill of their compatriots will go without (including 40mill children), and when gerrymandering purchased under the CU plan means that 2.5 votes for democrats to one vote for a GOPer produced the Teabanger House, I’m a little bit shaky on by the people. At my age, and with the knowledge that my only child, her husband and my two grandchildren left Copley Square on Marathon Day 1/2 hour ahead of the bombing, I’m far more concerned about all of these things than I am about the federal government knowing whom I email.

  21. Bob (not Greene) said on August 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I really have never been to Detroit, but through the magic of Google Maps street view, I have taken virtual tours of many of Detroit’s neighborhoods directly as the result of Nancy’s posts and comments by the assembled throng. Checked out the Watts club on Fenkle today. It’s not as scary as you’d think in broad daylight. The thing that never ceases to amaze me about Detroit is the vast swaths of vacant lots and crappy, crumbling infrastructure. I was tooling virtually down Woodward Avenue a few weeks ago and was struck by the terrible condition of what I’m guessing is a main drag.

    By the way, I traveled down the Cass corridor (though I’m not sure officially where on Cass that corridor is supposed to be) trying to find the bar Elmore Leonard was referring to. There was a dingy place (surrounded by vacant lots and boarded up buildings) called the Temple Bar that I thought might be a good fit.

    Also, the former Tiger Stadium land — now that’s a weird site. There’s the field — the grass still looks pretty good — completely fenced in from anyone using it (at least that’s the way it seems) and visible through a fence that surrounds the site. What a strange, strange sight to see.

    Oh, and that Packard plant. You get a good sense just how vast that complex was.

  22. Crazycatlady said on August 21, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    I know about Watt’s Club Mozambique. It was a hot spot in it’s day, but off limits for white folk. It was rough for sure.Recently cruised the old hood. It’s funny, but my old neighborhood seems so much smaller than before. Time shrinks perceptions I guess.

  23. adrianne said on August 21, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    And among the more deranged products of the Greater Detroit area…Who IS this colossal dick masquerading as a Congressman?

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/Your_Wingnut_Congresscritter_is_Kerry_Bentivolio

  24. Sherri said on August 21, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    James Clapper took an oath, too, not to lie to Congress, but if you’re high enough up, oaths don’t seem to matter. Dick Cheney took an oath. John Yoo took an oath. Alberto Gonzalez took an oath.

  25. Sherri said on August 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Prospero, I’m very happy that your family was safe from the bomb in Boston, and I will note that nothing the FBI or NSA did alerted them to any possibility of danger. We’ve sacrificed our civil liberties, and we haven’t gained security in the bargain.

  26. nancy said on August 21, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Adrianne,

    Kerry Bentivolio is truly a piece of work. He was elected after the man for whom the district was custom-gerrymandered crafted self-destructed in a bizarre chain of events last year. Bentivolio got on the ballot as a tea party protest vote, and suddenly became the only Republican on the ballot in a district where no one else could get elected. He’s a former teacher, reindeer farmer and Santa portrayer. And a one-term congressman? Who knows?

  27. adrianne said on August 21, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Nance, my favorite part is the link to a Detroit News article about how the school district Bentivolio worked for essentially fired him because he was out of control in the classroom and his students hated him. He began the school year by saying that his goal was to make each of the students cry before the end of the year. What an a-hole!

  28. Connie said on August 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    I was just going to post this about Bentilio: Michigan Rep. Kerry Bentivolio at a town hall on Monday, explaining that it would be a “dream come true” to impeach President Obama, if only he could scrape up some kind of evidence of a crime.

    This guy is my rep.

  29. Prospero said on August 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Putative Chicago architecture.

  30. Prospero said on August 21, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Detroit Police Department goes to stop and frisk school.

  31. alex said on August 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Our Rep, Stutz the Yutz, is holding a Tea Party Town Hall tonight. I’m sure the local “liberal media” will be giving it the usual fawning coverage so as to avoid angry phone calls and bomb threats from the local cranks.

  32. brian stouder said on August 21, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    And it’s on my end of town.

    I’d be tempted to go see, but having gone to Rep caught-with-his-pants-down-&-mr-happy-in-the-wife-of-a-major-donor’s town hall meeting at IPFW, and seeing the insuperable insolence of ignorance ONCE –

    was quite enough for me.

    Still…

  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 21, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Dorothy and I have gotten to talk face to face three or four times, but if you want to know what I sound like, click the video at the top of this story. Which is worth reading, IMHO, in its own right.

    http://www.newarkadvocate.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013308090046

  34. nancy said on August 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Did Rick Warren loan you one of his shirts?

  35. alex said on August 21, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Jeff, you have a good presence on video.

    And those toilet seat thingies! We have one. It came by way of our investment property that had been owned by an elderly lady with a lot of infirmities. Because it has rubber feet with a lot of traction, we use it as a chair on our pontoon raft. One of the neighbors likes to say “Hey that chair isn’t Coast Guard approved.”

  36. adrianne said on August 21, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Connie, sorry that this guy allegedly represents you. Even by Teanut standards, Bentivolio is a disgrace.

  37. Prospero said on August 21, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Hell, Joe “You lie” Wilson is my Rep. Nobody beats that guy for assholishness

  38. Prospero said on August 21, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Goober-not Goodhair Perry, professional whited sepulcher, hypocrisy all-star. Good Lord, what a jerk.

    Sherri: I didn’t mean to imply that the FBI or NSA had anything on the Tsarnaev bros. But it’s easy to see how they might have. I just think taking away the efficacy or the reality of Americans’ votes is more dangerous to civil liberties than any data mining program. And all I’ve seen to indicate anything more has taken place is the WSJ report and vague allegations from Snowden about actual eavesdropping back in 2002 in the Shrubministration. And I wouldn’t be too quick to buy anything from the weaselly little xociopath or from the big cellphone hacking media mogul psychopath.

    That shirt wouldn’t cover half of Rick Warren.

  39. Deborah said on August 21, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Jeff, maybe it’s because I’m on my iPad but I don’t see a video on that link?

  40. Jolene said on August 21, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I wasn’t able to view it either, Deborah. Am also using an iPad, so maybe that’s the problem.

  41. Deborah said on August 21, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    By the way the Beaver Brook group has been meeting via video conference for the last couple of months. Maybe we could have a nn.c video conference. I have no Idea how to set it up, I know it works better on the browser Chrome and the system we’ve been using is a Google deal. Might be kinda fun, once?

  42. Basset said on August 21, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    I’ll try again, post didn’t take this morning for some reason… exactly what kind of misbehavior does it take to get barred from all the restaurants in the Book-Cadillac Hotel?

  43. Prospero said on August 21, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    GOPers willing to defund the entire federal government because of ACA. Because: Obama.

    Very cool videos with Leonard Cohen poems, courtesy of Alyssa Milano via Twitter sent to me by an old friend. Who woulda thought? And she’s a diehard Dodgers fan.

  44. LAMary said on August 21, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Until just now I didn’t know this video existed. I’m in it. I look like shit.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPSTnC4glSA

  45. MarkH said on August 21, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Prospero @20 – Somehow I missed that Manning was offered that deal. You’re right. Not only is he treasonous but he’s a bonehead with lousy legal advice. And Assange is such a worm.

    Nancy – I must respectfully disagree with you on one point regarding the films of Leonard’s work, specifically, Out of Sight. Last year, I spotted it on NetFlix, saw it for the first time and really liked the film. I liked it more than the wife did, great cast including Clooney, Albert Brooks who was unrecognizable, Don Cheadle, Luis Guzman, etc. The exception was…JLo. Yes it was a decent performance, hats off to Soderberg if he managed to get her that far. But not once did I buy her in that role as a deputy US Marshall let alone any kind of bad-ass. And I quickly tired of the close-ups of her and her smoldering fantasies of Clooney’s bone. For me she was just too busy being JLo in what amounted to Clooney’s film.

    So here’s an irony: maybe I was too affected by my first exposure to the Karen Sisco character, that being the short-lived TV series of the same name about five or six years ago. For me, the luscious, earthy Carla Gugino as Karen had it down, everything going. A bonus was Robert Forster as her dad, Marshall Sisco, much better than the animated Dennis Farina in the film. They say there is subtlety in great art and these two had all kinds of subtle background issues the series had time to explore with some really decent story telling. Then, a few years back, you had another thread dealing with Leonard including a link to an interview of him you dissed. In the interview, Leonard said the film really nailed Out of Sight, especially JLo, and that the Sisco TV series missed the mark! Huh? See, what the hell do I know?? Anyway, I’d recommend the TV series to anyone who likes Leonard’s work, just to see what they think in comparison to the film.

  46. Prospero said on August 21, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    If Assad is indeed using gas as a weapon, it’s very likely that it came from the Raygunistas, either via Saddam or through the Ayatollahs in Iran. Raygun administration armed both sides with gas during the Iran vs. Iraq war.

  47. MarkH said on August 21, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    I disagree, Mary, FWIW.

  48. MichaelG said on August 21, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    You look just fine, Mary. I’d never seen that show before. Unlike Mary, that show looked obnoxious and ugly. That hostess, whomever she was, is a raving bitch. I don’t know how long it lasted but I wouldn’t have gotten past the first episode.

  49. Deborah said on August 21, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Mary, you look so sophisticated! For some reason I always pictured you in my mind with light colored hair. Is there more? It only said Part 1, but I couldn’t find the rest?

  50. LAMary said on August 21, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    I think that’s it. That was a pretty lousy experience. It took 12 hours to tape the show. I see myself in that tape and see what a year of sedentary employment did to my bod.

  51. Prospero said on August 21, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Any female US Marshall in any movie based on an Elmore Leonard book should be played by Carla Gugino, who played Karen Sisco in the very good TeeVee series of the same name. The show also featured the estimable Robert Forster as Karen’s dad, a crusty retired Marshall she was intent on impressing and making proud of her. Wonderful chemistry between those two, and Ms. Gugino actually is convincing as somebody that could out-tough the bad guys, including beating the shit out of them when necessary, and was better at, let’s say, irony, than JLo ever imagined. I do think Ms. Lopez is a decent actor. She was pretty convincing in The Cell, a very disturbing movie. Gugino is a professional, Lopez is a stunt. Actually, that pint-sized bundle of tough that plays Raylan’s sometimes partner wouldn’t be a bad choice either.

    Mark H. It’s sad that Manning said no to that deal to protect Assange, who is clearly the sort of psychopath that never considered the wellbeing of anybody but his narcisistic self. The scorpion riding the frog across the pond. Creepy as all get out. As stupid as it is that people insist on seeing Snowden as a heroic whistleblower, those who view Assange in that way are delusional, like poor Bradley Manning.

  52. Prospero said on August 21, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Ted Cruz, wetback or drug mule with cantaloupe calves? Of course, he can always go to Saskatoon for free health care.

  53. brian stouder said on August 21, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Mary, you ROCK!!

    I just spent a half hour watching three rounds with you in there, ending with when Marcus got voted out and you were “statistically the strongest” (as if we didn’t already know that!)

    At 4 minutes into that first episode, one of your colleagues missed the question about who was the author of OUT OF SIGHT & GET SHORTY!!!!!!

    Gotta be the thread winner.

    (and btw, you’re quite beautiful, especially given the purposely harsh lighting they subjected you all to)

  54. alex said on August 21, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    How fitting—Elmore Leonard came up in Mary’s appearance on the Weakest Link. (And the guy who was asked who wrote “Get Shorty” got it wrong.)

  55. LAMary said on August 21, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    I remember that Jeff, Kira and the woman in the pink shirt were all professional actors, but were working in other jobs at the time and said those jobs in the introductions. The funeral director guy won. He was by far the coolest person there.
    And thank you for the compliments.

  56. Dorothy said on August 22, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Jeff a professional actor? Well, maybe so, but I thought he looked like a complete goofus when he got voted off and the camera stayed on him long enough to see him look back with a disapproving look and shake his head. Then again, maybe he was prompted to do that.

    You looked terrific, Mary! I was trying to find a clip from a play I did about 10 years ago in Fairfield OH with the Fairfield Footlighters, but it appears it’s no longer around. If I do ever find it, you guys have to be kind. And remember that it was a PLAY and I wasn’t being MYSELF and my character’s name was Maw Hassenpfeffer. Or something like that.

    Hey – check out the Google Doodle today. A tribute to Claude Debussy!

  57. LAMary said on August 22, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    We were prompted to look really ticked off when we got voted out. Also, the crap people said after being kicked off was suggested to them.

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