Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Stuff

While I finished the chapter I needed for the book proposal, the rest of the proposal turned out not to be in quite as good a shape as I'd remembered. So that's what I worked on this weekend. I think I'm going to need chapter 2 in the proposal, so I'll be writing that as well, so look for that to be posted in a few days or so.

In the meantime, I just wanted to share this thing: I was watching 1947's The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, and although I love me some old-school Hollywood black-and-white, and Gene Tierney is so beautiful she can burn through case-hardened steel, I resisted this one's charms completely. Okay ending, lovely Bernard Hermann score, but mostly, enough with the dialogue and the slowness already! (Maybe part of my problem was that the heroine has to decide between Rex Harrison and a romantic rival played by ... George Sanders! If you don't know George Sanders is a weasel, you haven't watched, like, any of his movies. Even as The Saint, he was a deceptive ass. So it was hard for me to work up much sympathy.)

But the reason I mention this is because if you happen to LIKE The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, or are merely curious (I'll tell you right now that, although there's a ghost in it, there are no Topper-like flights of special effects. One fade in 100 minutes! Treasure it), the DVD features one of the most interesting commentaries I've ever seen. I'm sure it was an accident, but there are two shared commentary tracks. The first commentary is by two guys, one of whom opens by saying, "This is my favorite movie of all time"--but the second commentary, with some woman and some guy trading off taped comments, divides its time between the woman ("Wasn't Gene Tierney lovely? And listen to that score!") and the man, who is much more sarcastic ("Rex Harrison hated this film because he felt Gene Tierney couldn't act and he wanted to work with Claudette Colbert. He was right; Gene pretty much brings only one note to the role and flattens every line. But what can you do?") Dueling commentaries! On the same track! I've never seen its like, and this is why it's worth checking out the extras even if you didn't like the film all that much.



Blogger Joshua Kosman said...

Thanks for the tip, Dave. I own that DVD, because I LOVE that movie so very very much, but I never thought to listen to the commentary tracks.

I guess if you don't like it there's not much I can say, but perhaps I might explicate a plot point that seems to have eluded you. The reason the decision between Rex Harrison and George Sanders is so, um, piquant for poor Gene is that Rex Harrison is dead. Of course she knows that George Sanders is kind of slippery; but she's been alone for so long, and even a manly, bearded hard-cussing ship's captain can't give a girl what she needs if he's not corporeal. Y'know?

10/15/2007 11:13 PM  
Blogger Joshua Kosman said...

Not that we needed one, but I suddenly have a new theory about why our friend Cowboy Dave doesn't like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

The message of the movie is that the pleasures of the flesh are a snare and a delusion; George Sanders lies in wait to tempt you with his lies. But if you lead a patient, stoic, virtuous life, then you will be rewarded after you die through the good graces of a handsome bearded man who has bequeathed to the world a book laying out his philosophy of the world.

Now, what could there be in a movie like that to put ol' Dave off his feed? :)

Actually, I suppose the real question is why I love it so much. Its splendors are certainly Riefenstahlian — it's a gorgeous, emotionally irresistible depiction of a truly pernicious world view (the only path to happiness is to wait for death). But I can't help it; it gets me every single time.

10/16/2007 8:40 PM  

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