Mirror, Mirror on the Wall; or, The Magnificent Seven’s Professionals ‘R’ Us

“We deal in lead, friend,” says Steve McQueen. And the 1960s western was born.

Exit stage left the single-minded lone gunfighter shooting it out with a single-minded lone villain, the only real conflict between the two being who is the fairest of them all. It had been an epic time–a time when one man’s word had more . . . → Read More: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall; or, The Magnificent Seven’s Professionals ‘R’ Us

Of Rock Stars and the Rest of Us; The Seven Samurai’s Western Revival

“Find hungry samurai. Even bears come down from the mountains when they are hungry,” states the Old Man of the beleaguered village in Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai.

In the next scene, in a nearby town, four peasants look for samurai who would deign to fight for them against ruthless bandits. But would a noble samurai ever . . . → Read More: Of Rock Stars and the Rest of Us; The Seven Samurai’s Western Revival

The Way of the Novel; or, Cowboy Up and Write Already

Writing a novel is not for the common mortal. And I have been all too mortal these days. Too whiney. Too morose. Too passive. Just like the hero of my novel (or so I’ve heard from my ever-patient agent). The End. Ho hum.

Or have I been pressed to set the novel-in-progress . . . → Read More: The Way of the Novel; or, Cowboy Up and Write Already

Get Your Heroic Story Arc On; or, The Teachable Moments of Cliffhangers

It’s one of the hoariest cliches of westerns known to humankind: the cliffhanger. You know, the dramatic end of the episode when the good guy faces certain death and hangs from a cliff/is trapped in a room with a powderkeg’s lit fuse/is about to be eaten by mountain lions, only to save himself against all odds . . . → Read More: Get Your Heroic Story Arc On; or, The Teachable Moments of Cliffhangers

On Blizzards and Canceled Flights; or, The Holing Up of Cowboylands

Bemoaning a canceled flight is uncowboylike.

Would the Duke have crabbed about a few snowflakes and a change in travel plans? Would Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn have groused about downscaling from flight to bus, which exponentially increases the chance of seat mate with bad breath, fartage capability, and/or x-treme chattiness?

No!

As a poet friend reminds . . . → Read More: On Blizzards and Canceled Flights; or, The Holing Up of Cowboylands

What to Do When You Shoot Up the Town; or, The Cowboy Code in Action

Cowboy accidentally fires gun in hotel.

Is this what the Wild Western World has come to? “Accidentally”?

Aren’t cowboys–the rough-riding kind that gallop through streets shooting guns in the air, whooping and hollering and making schoolmarms dive for cover behind Randolph Scott–supPOSED to fire guns in town streets, saloons, and hotels?

Oh, movies. Right. Where . . . → Read More: What to Do When You Shoot Up the Town; or, The Cowboy Code in Action

Get It On; or, Western Fetishes, from Michael Jackson to Appaloosa

Get it on! Another da bomb of a Wild Western Web find! Michael Jackson as cowboy, circa 1977. *swoon*

Even through the anemic strains of a stoopit disco arrangement, you can discern the moves that made MJ great. Taking on the butch character of a cowboy/gunslinger, Michael Jackson’s dancing transforms classic western movie clichés into fetish objects. Check . . . → Read More: Get It On; or, Western Fetishes, from Michael Jackson to Appaloosa

Wild Western Whiskey; or, How to Drink Like a Cowboy (Without Getting Tossed Through a Window)

The buzz of saloon drinkers. The plunkity plunk of a piano. The clink of coins at the card table. Then a hush falls. Silence.

Slow, heavy  footfalls sound, with a chiiing chiiing trailing each step. A pause. A creak, a thwap of the batwing doors and the gunslinger/sheriff/cowboy approaches the bar. Not a rustle is heard. The gunslinger . . . → Read More: Wild Western Whiskey; or, How to Drink Like a Cowboy (Without Getting Tossed Through a Window)

Novel High Noon Approaching; or, Gary Cooper as Seen Through the Eyes of…

I’m revising a novel at a sprint now, so some days will be bloggier than others! Not to worry–my famed western how-tos on achieving happiness through following the filmsteps of silver-screen western hero Gary Cooper’s Virginian will return tomorrow. Just keep practicing those squints and stares and epic pauses, y’hear?

As author Paul Green commented, when . . . → Read More: Novel High Noon Approaching; or, Gary Cooper as Seen Through the Eyes of…

Trying Hard to Look like Gary Cooper; or, How to Act Super-Dooper

What would the Virginian do?

That’s a worthy question, whether you’re seeking direction in love, life, business, or baking mac and cheese.

As I’ve said before, the Virginian’s a proven success story, whether in Owen Wister’s hundred-year-old best-seller or Gary Cooper’s first talkie (1929). The role made the Coop a star, and cemented the popular view of the . . . → Read More: Trying Hard to Look like Gary Cooper; or, How to Act Super-Dooper