31 May 2012

A Duel at Lincoln Center

Ridley Scott's first film, The Duellists, must have jinxed the film maker. I don't think he ever came close to the style and honesty of this little seen film. Every shot is like an 18th Century painting and many were pure luck according to Scott. Light appearing for seconds it took to shoot and then gone.

The lush 18th Century conflicts with a dark story of unintentional slight. An honor sullied and a series of resulting duels based on a true story. Whenever anyone expresses regret to me about not serving, I tell them the Army has a lot of nuts. My Dad warned me about 'em and I ran into plenty. That military honor slipping into lunacy is beautifully described here. Not much has changed.

It's playing at Lincoln Center's, Walter Reade Theater today at 1:00PM. There's a brilliant review in the New Yorker here. If you can't make it, pick up the DVD with Scott's commentary and interview. He'll tell you what happened to the hot chocolate pot and the crate of champagne.

29 May 2012

Tretorn Archives: 1970s

Once upon a time, long before sockless, double monk - douche bags were born...

28 May 2012

"Let me tell you something, my friend -- Being a fat narcissist isn't easy."

Not many have seen the movie produced by Blake Edwards starring Jackie Gleason, Steve McQueen and Tuesday Weld. Fewer still have the read the book by William Goldman. I saw the movie 10 or more years ago. It'll make a rock cry. I ordered the book tonight. A character study of the early '60s peace time Army. Gleason is magical as a wheeler-dealer supply master sergeant and mentor to ambitious buck sergeant, Steve McQueen. It's solid gold.

Military Relationships

Special Forces Detachment A-228, Vinh Thanh, South Vietnam, 1966

"The Koreans in photo with me and Team Sergeant, MSG Don Briscoe (splendid soldier and good friend) at my SF camp in VN (Vinh Thanh) were with the Korean "Tiger Division" who protected part of the highway between the coast and the 1st Cav base at An Khe. (Very tough soldiers; very competent.)

I was to their north (at the end of nowhere). We related well. They had minimal water and I had plenty (so they came up for hot showers, good booze and food). We stopped at their place for jars of Korean kimchi, "sticky rice" (marvelous large grains the size of rice krispies and ginseng adult beverage (with root still in the bottle). In all, I spent well over 4 years working with Koreans in the U.S., VN, and Korea. Relations always cordial and successful (old Army slogan -- Cooperate and Graduate).

I used the same dodge when working with the "hated" media. I never lied to them. I told it like it really was and even showed them the covered maps and let them talk to the troops without monitoring the conversations. If a media type noted this frankness and inquired, I'd remind them that I'd arranged for their helicopter to pick them up very late in the day. And that by the time they reached Saigon it would all be history. The good ones appreciated this. The losers, as usual, just looked vacant. Relationships really work!"

Comment from FM Tinseth on blog, 'I'm Here To Leave,' - November 28, 2009 2:53 PM

26 May 2012

Miller's Guide to Pornography

Martin Miller started Miller's Price Guides with his ex-wife, Judith. He told me a hysterical story of placing the prices under each photo by hand. I still have this Collector Car Guide. Don Draper called the XKE, "pornographic." I was always fond of the 2+2 fixed head coupe in English biscuit white. Better looking and far more endowed than the convertible. The automatic 2+2 is a steal and the transmission is easily converted to a five speed standard.

25 May 2012

Three Gin Stories

Martini's are like women's breasts -- One's not enough and three's too many

I jacked up the brightness in Photo Shop with the Beefeater because that's what it taste like. Bright, like walking out of a movie theatre at high noon. There's a tingling in the mouth and lips and it almost takes your breath away. Soon after tingles, a smooth and long finish kicks in. It was the gin of my father and his father. It's probably in my Y chromosome.

Not the greatest for a G&T or Negroni. I think there's too much backbone -- almost heat. What it's good for is a serious, no bullshit, man up-up Martini. Skip the vermouth. Shaken until the stainless steel frosts over and sticks to your hand. That's why you never order this in a bar.Most state's Worker's Compensation laws prohibit bartenders from shaking a Martini more than five seconds.

Make this at home and risk the frost bite. I'm sure you can do without a finger or two. Rub lemon rind around the edge of the glass for a pleasant glass to mouth experience. I use olives or onions. Full Disclosure: I paid $21 for a 750 ml bottle. No one from Beefeater has ever contacted me.

Guy goes into his local bar- "Hey, Ralph. Give me 10 Martinis and make it fast." Ralph pours the Martinis and the guy drinks 'em in less than a minute. "Give me 10 more." Ralph arches an eyebrow, "Say, you celebrating something?" "Yeah," the guys says. "My first blow job." "Hey! Maybe I know the girl?" says Ralph. "Nope," the guy says. "I'm trying to get the taste outta my mouth."
Cue rimshot.

Caorunn is a small batch gin cooked up in a single malt distillery in Scotland. The Scots never miss a trick to make a buck -- or, a pound. Making gin is not that difficult. That's why it was the preferred spirit to make in a bathtub during Prohibition. Gin is on a world wide tear right now and whenever something old is new again, strange things happen.

Taking the heart out of something usually comes first. That's because most folk can't handle the original. Which is why it went out of favor in the first place. Bowties, work boots, unfused collars, stick shifts and gin. They've all been diluted. Caorunn (ka-roon) is soft and alone is far more complex than Beefeater. "Six traditional and five Celtic botanicals are hand infused by our Gin Master." Never underestimate a Scotsman in marketing.

That's not to say this stuff doesn't belong in your bar or freezer. It's perfect for the fella who comes over in work boots and a bow tie. It'll also suit your wife or girlfriend who's put off by the bright slap that's Beefeater. I like it cold but not shaken. Which explains the freezer.

You don't want the water from shaken ice to dilute the nuance you get when you drink this. So, like a single malt, you drink it neat but ice cold. A slice of apple is recommended as a garnish but you really don't need it less you get the attention of the guy in the work boots and bow tie.

Caorunn has a contest for bartenders who can create a cocktail and a story using their gin. Go here for details. Full Disclosure: Gifted a 750 ml bottle of Gin.

Martin Miller's Gin

Martin Miller is the kind of certifiable (I mean that in a good way) Brit you meet and never forget. A crazy Brit friend told me in a bar, "I'm not a homosexual -- but I once slept with a man who was." These guys love to shock and the more PC you are the better. There's a shocking rumor going around that Miller's Gin was created one drunken night by two guys who mixed the remains of gin and vodka. I have no idea.

Miller's claim to fame is the Icelandic water. Which, by the way, has a, 'hand infused -Gin Master' ring to it but I admit, it's very soft. That cucumber-water softness that I find addictive in Summer but a pain to make. I didn't like Martin's Gin as Martini nor did I like it as G&T. Too soft for me. 'Big Girl's Blouse' to paraphrase London's term for 'panty waist.' I did enjoy it as a punch.

The Punch

The secret to the punch

Amazingly refreshing and very dangerous since they go down faster than Amanda Logue. Reminded me of all good things British. Pimm's Cup, side bacon sandwiches, Stone's Green Ginger and all those certifiable crazies.

Full Disclosure: Gifted two Nips, Cocktail Recipe book & a very nice party

24 May 2012

'M' The Civilized Man "...makes a comeback"

(click image to enlarge)

Congratulations to Peter Kaplan. First issue will be out this September.

23 May 2012

Memorial Day Weekend...& Ghosts

American Airpower Museum: For tickets and directions go here.

"This weekend, the American Airpower Museum will pay tribute to the Flying Tigers of World War II as the museum P-40 flies in special salute along with the a B-25 to mark the famous Doolittle Raid on Japan within months of Pearl Harbor.

In addition to the legends of airpower, the museum will field an entire armor division which now includes a Sherman tank, a towed 155 mm howitzer used from World War II through Vietnam as well as armored cars, jeeps and military fire power."

It'll be a busy Memorial Day weekend in NYC. If Manhattan starts to close in on you, take the Long Island Railroad to Farmingdale Station and from there it's a two minute cab ride to Republic Airport and the museum. I was thinking of the museum and Charlie Davidson's B-24 when I remembered a little known CBS movie I saw in 1970.

'Sole Survivor,' written by Guerdon Trueblood, grandson of General Billy Mitchell, is based on the true story of a missing B-24, Lady Be Good and it's crew. This rare film can be seen on You Tube here. The quality is pretty bad but you'll never forget this simple and chilling story of forgotten ghosts and war.

Diary from The Lady Be Good's Co Pilot, Robert F Toner

21 May 2012

Opportunity at Andover

Charlie Davidson tells me the Andover Shop is the perfect store. You'd be wrong as sin to disagree. If you're a young man with good taste and a passion for clothes -- Charlie has a job for you. I volunteered but Charlie said I was too old. My attorney, Aaron Schtzenberger is proceeding with an age discrimination suit but I suspect we'll be able to settle.

I need a couple pair of khakis. There's a pile of 'em in the back of the store where Larry usually holds court and dryly informs customers the shop is not for sale. I might see Larry laugh someday but I'm not holding my breath. Bespectacled in tortoise shell, Larry has worked at Andover for...

Me: How long has Larry been here?

Charlie: Shit, I don't know. How long have you been here, Larry?

Larry: No idea.

Tumbleweeds bounce behind Larry's words. I'm bored thinking about khakis and look up behind a cash register covered in books, retail ephemera, shipping boxes and clothes. It gives an unsuspecting customer the idea money is not taken here. High on a shelf, next to a model of a B-24 Charlie crewed in WWII, are bolts of Marimekko selected for Bud Collins.

The Gig? Are you 24 or 25? Maybe you're a college drop out with a prep school diploma and clothes mad. If you are, do you have any idea how much I hate you?

I point to the bolts of Marimekko over the cash register.

Me: Charlie, any of that for sale?

Charlie: Yeah, don't believe that Flusser crap about this place being a museum.

Me: What are you getting for custom?

Charlie: I don't know. Larry, what do we charge for a cotton custom pant?

Larry: Two fifty.

Charlie: $250.

Me: Make me a pair. Outta this (I reach for the most obnoxious fabric).

Charlie: You sure? I have some others.

Me: I'm sure. This is perfect.

Charlie: Belt loops?

Me: No, side tabs.

Charlie: Good idea. You'd never find a belt. Button Fly?

Me: Perfect.

Charlie: Tab Closure...

Me: Sure.

Charlie: One back pocket.

Me: No, Charlie. That's a little...

Charlie: 20 years ago. Not anymore.

Me: You sure?

Charlie: Trust me.

Me: The selvedge is beautiful. Seems a shame to waste it.

Charlie: What do you wanna do?

Me: Can you make side tabs out of of it?

Charlie: Sure I can (Charlie runs a hand across the fabric). You know...

Me: What?

Charlie: I was thinking...Why don't we run the selvedge down the out seam?

Me: Holy shit.

Charlie: I think there's enough.

Me: Ho-ly shit.

Charlie (Measures) Yep. There's enough.

Me: That would be... hysterical.

Charlie: It would.

Me: You don't think it's too much?

Charlie: Hell, I don't think it's ever been done. You'd be the first.

Me: You don't think it's too...? You know? Label obsessed?

Charlie: It would be if everyone did it -- but no one's doing this...

Me: I'll be damned. Lets do it.

Charlie measures and Larry writes it all down.

Larry: How wide of a leg opening?

Charlie: Nine inches. No, wait. John, what size shoe do you wear?

Me: Nine.

Charlie: Make it eight and three quarters.

Charlie: Cuffs?

Me: I dunno.

Charlie: You gotta have cuffs.

Me: They're for the beach. Sand'll get in 'em.

Charlie: We'll make 'em narrow.

Me: Inch and a half?

Charlie: Inch and three eighths.

Me: Done.

Me: How long, Charlie?

Charlie: Couple weeks.

Think you can handle all that? It's a chance to work for the very best. Early to mid-twenties. Full time job. The center of the menswear universe. Call the shop in Cambridge for more information. Ask to speak to Larry. He'll be your first test. (617) 876-4900

18 May 2012

Something For The Weekend: God Bless America

"Thanks for not talking during the feature."

Remember when the title, "Something For The Weekend" was about buying a classic car? British racing green with butterscotch leather upholstery and a mahogany rimmed steering wheel. These days, I can barely cough up enough for a movie. But if I can, I refuse to be crammed into a mall multiplex with The Avengers nor will I be witness to the Dench - Nighy spiritual awakening in India.

Nope. I'm middle aged, moronic and pissed off -- So, I'll try Bobcat (Shakes The Clown) Goldthwait's, God Bless America this weekend. It looks perfect. Back in 2005, I pitched a screenplay about a Special Force's operative who murders hedge fund executives responsible for the death of his mother and hundreds more at a national chain of negligently run, albeit profitable, nursing homes. But my screenplay, 'Sgt. Knight,' isn't a comedy. Screenplay open to Hip-Pocket representation.

Cities and dates here.

17 May 2012

New York Photo Festival '12 by Alice Olive

Flattered By Flow ...

Click to enlarge (if still too small - click on, guys)

and impressed by these guys.

New York Photo Festival '12

Close Up of Photographer Christian Witkin's, "Bill" West 13th St, 1992

Gallery at The powerHouse Arena, 37 Main Street, Brooklyn

Press Preview

Running from today until May 20th in Brooklyn, the New York Photo Festival offers up a diverse sea of images and thoughts -- All the more special considering anyone with enough dough for a Canon 5D can easily duplicate the work of Pete Turner, Bruce Davidson or W. Eugene Smith. What can't be easily created is emotion and connection that stops a viewer in his tracks. Click here for details.

16 May 2012

It Says More About Me Than I Care To Admit

Special Forces Recruitment Ad - 1976

I sat across from Army recruiter Dusty Rhodes in early May of 1976. A wooden name plate flanked by SFC chevrons was centered on his steel desk. He chain smoked Parliaments that he put out in a giant Army issue glass ash tray and two finger typed at a computer terminal.

"No, doesn't look good. You're too short."

"Too short?"

"Yeah, you gotta be five-ten to be an MP. I thought it might have changed by now but no luck."

"You mean it might change?"

"Sure. Hispanics are suing for discrimination. That sort'a thing. Could be next month or next year."

I stand. Shake Rhode's hand and head for the Air Force recruiter down the hall ignoring the Old Man's advice, "Join the Air Force as an MP and you'll be freezing your ass off guarding B-52s in Minot, North Dakota."

In the hallway is a poster. The understated graphic lends guts to the words, "It says more about you than you'd ever say about yourself." Words of comfort to a boy whose father always said, "You can't do anything right" and a mother who complained, "Nothing makes you happy." I'll be a Green Beret and everything will change.

MGB Ad - 1971

Little did I know the power and deception of Madison Avenue. Not to mention the plagiarism.

15 May 2012

Come Up Screaming: Big Country

"You gotta love a band whose members are uglier than you." Wallace Stroby, 1983

As promised in Comments, above is the thuderous live version of Fields of Fire at the 1983 Glasgow Barrowlands New Year's Eve Concert.

14 May 2012

The Ameriphile by David James Frost Mellor

I love America - Or, rather, I love the best of America.

I love what America symbolised to me growing up as a kid in London. America meant choices and options. America meant possibilities. America meant a bigger world with a greater embrace of style - I'd seen the films...I knew America had style.

America blended formality with casualness - America had Cary Grant! Had Cary 'Carried On' like Cary back in his native Bristol, UK, he would have been floating down the Docks within minutes ! And that's another American freedom I love. Showbiz is allowed !

Today I live in Bristol., By The Harbourside which used to be the Docks and to go into town I have to walk past a certain statue which means a lot to me:

Archie Leach in bronze carrying the script from 'To Catch A Thief.'

It's always lovely to see him....

Archie - We remember all the impossible possibilities you offered us all in terms of style and class. And we love you for that. And we know that if we were ever to say this to your face that you would just raise an eyebrow and say "Oh, come on..."

We'd expect nothing less.

To you, Sir.