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Movie Wisdom- Wendell Mayes Edition

29 May

The other day, I got a call from Ken Beck, a friend and journalist who writes a lot of articles about local history. He asked if I have ever heard of a former Cumberland University student named Wendell Mayes. When I said that I did not know the name, Ken began to explain.

While doing research on something else, he came across Wendell Mayes and learned that he was a Hollywood screenwriter who worked on screenplays for such movies as The Spirit of St. Louis, Anatomy of a Murder, North to Alaska, The Poseidon Adventure and Death Wish. Ken wanted to write a story about Mayes but discovered that he had no children to interview. He found a great article about Mayes. However, one great article does not turn into another great article. In short, I was sent on a mission to find out about his time at our university.

After spending time not finding much at the Alumni House, I asked one of our librarians. Here is a hint. If you need to find information then see a librarian. They know all of the tricks. One of their best tricks is finding someone who can find the answer. Within a few hours, Joshua, one of my former students, sent an email with information.

Wendell Mayes was born in Caruthersville, Missouri in 1914. This is important because most sources list him as being born five years later. He attended law school at Cumberland University in the 1933-1934 academic year. Joshua even found a copy of his student registration card.

Internet Movie Database list Mayes’ first writing credit in 1951. If anyone knows what happened in those 17 years please let me know.

In the meantime, I will honor Wendell Mayes’ legacy by listing some words of wisdom that came from his movies.

From The Spirit of St. Louis

Nothing too wrong with this dead reckoning navigation… except maybe the name.

From The Hanging Tree

If you open your eyes and look, you’ll see things for what they are.

Where the wind blows too hard, the trees gotta bend.

From Anatomy of a Murder

People aren’t just good or just bad. People are many things.

I never met a gin drinker yet that you could trust.

From In Harm’s Way

All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be someplace else.

On the most exalted throne in the world, we are seated on nothing but our own arse.

Fish, or cut bait.

Indecision is a virus.

From Hotel

A sure way to empty a hotel fast: drop an elevator.

 

 

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Picture This – New Mexico

24 May

We just returned from our annual field trip to New Mexico. For those who may not know, every spring another professor and I take students on a journey through the land, art and cuisine of the Land of Enchantment. This was one of our best experiences with great students and great learning opportunities. Instead of chronicling the entire venture, I decided to post my favorite photograph from each day.

On the drive out, we stopped at Cadillac Ranch, one of the most famous examples of Pop Art, and we all added our own touch to the masterpiece. 

On the second day, we made our way closer to the final destination of Santa Fe. However, we stopped at the home of artist Peter de la Fuente along the way. He is the grandson of Henriette Wyeth and Peter Hurd and does everything he can to carry on the family tradition. Currently, he does it on an 80,000 acre ranch.

Once in Santa Fe, we went on daily excursions that included hikes and moments of historical instruction. However, the highlight of the next say was our meal at Horseman’s Haven. If you love breakfast burritos covered in green chili sauce, then that is the place you need to go.

By far, my favorite hike is at Tent Rocks. It is a stroll through a slot canyon before a climb to the top of a mesa. Its true name is Kasha-Katuwe.

Our most time-consuming excursion is the drive to Chaco Canyon, the home of the Anasazi. No one knows for sure what if the canyon was a religious center, a commercial center or the home to thousands. It could have been all of that. 

We also drove to Taos. However, we did not stop in town. We went straight to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and walked across to get some great pictures and some great shakiness over the height.

Acoma Pueblo is always one of our favorite stops. It is the oldest inhabited community in North America. There are great views from the top of the mesa on which the pueblo sits. However, I am always amazed by the streets within the community. I expect Henry Fonda to ride up on a horse at any minute. In fact, he did ride up on a horse in My Name is Nobody.

We also visited the ruins at Bandelier National Monument. Climbing the 140 foot ladders is always a highlight. However, it best moment is when we convince the students to sniff a tree.

On the final day, we did something completely different and new to our trip. A few of us went to Meow Wolf, an interactive art experience supported by Santa Fe resident George R.R. Martin. It was a weird and awesome thing to do.

After that, we made the long drive back to Tennessee. Hopefully, this trip to New Mexico was a learning experience for everyone.

It Has Been a While

17 Feb

It has been a while since I posted something on this blog. Actually, it has been a month. That is the longest I have ever gone without writing. However, there is a good reason.

We moved.

For those who do not know, moving is a time-consuming process with a lot of moving parts. Heck, we just got internet today. It is hard to blog without internet.

Although we have been here for a couple of weeks, things are still in a state of flux. Many things are not in the places that they should be in. We have not figured out all of the light switches. However, we are getting settled in.

I really have nothing to write about. I just wanted everyone to know that I have not gone anywhere.

I will leave you with this.

Today, I sat around the house while the internet got hooked up. I got some reading done. Currently, I am reading The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins. I always liked the movie and decided to read the book. It must have been scandalous when it came out in 1961.

I also watched Waterworld for the first time. According to everything I had heard, it is one of the worst movies of all time. Well, it was not that bad. In fact, I kind of enjoyed Dennis Hopper as the bad guy.

Anyway, I promise to not to stay gone for a month in the future.

Haiku Because I Could Not Think of Anything Else

4 Jan

I feel the need to write, but I do not know what to write. I could delve into the mind of my iPod, but that has been done a lot. I could explore wisdom in movies, but those posts take longer than you might imagine.

It has been a while since I wrote some haiku. Maybe that is the thing to do.

Watched American

Werewolf in London. It starred

Jenny Agutter.

Jenny Agutter

also starred in Logan’s Run,

an awesome movie.

Inservice today.

School has begun. Man, time flies

when you’re having fun.

Cold. Cold. Cold. Cold. Cold.

Colder. Coldest. Cold. Cold. Cold.

Freezing. It’s freezing.

Twitter is angry.

Everyone’s mad about

something. It gets old.

The Titans made the

playoffs. It’s a miracle.

Music City style.

We have Alexa.

Wait, we have two Alexa.

Plurally proper?

A Cool Week in December

14 Dec

From December 4 to December 10, I had a pretty cool week. No, that is not a weather report. Rather, some cool things happened.

It all started on December 4 when my wife and I had the opportunity to sit on the glass for the Nashville Predators. We, along with some friends, purchased the tickets at a fundraiser. It was an awesome experience. Pregame and intermissions were spent in the Lexus Lounge, where food and drink were flowing. It was also where we could bump fists with the Predators as they made their way to the ice.

During the game, we got a good view of stuff like this.

To make it even better, the Predators defeated the Boston Bruins 5-3.

On December 7, I went with my brother, my nephew and some friends to see the John Wayne exhibit at the Opryland Hotel. We are all fans of the Duke and were able to discuss our fandom amongst his personal memorabilia. It was a great exhibit with his Oscar and a bunch of costumes. Do you know which movies these costumes represent?

We finished the night with whiskey and steaks at a restaurant inside the hotel. We figured that was the perfect way to honor the Duke.

On December 10, my wife and I attended a private concert by Eric Church. We were invited a few weeks earlier and are thrilled that we had this opportunity. We saw him perform at Bridgestone Arena, but this was completely different. On the big stage, he covers himself in sunglasses and a cap. He also performs with a chip on his shoulder. This show did not involve all of that. It was him sitting on a stool with a guitar and telling personal stories about the songs.

It was a great way to end a cool week in December.

Of Old Boxers and Old Movies

12 Dec

My friends and I have some weird text conversations. We talk about all sorts of things, but we mostly try to stump each other on trivia. We consider ourselves experts in all knowledge that will only lead to fortune on a game show. The other night we had one such conversation. Hopefully, you can tell that the conversations can go in any direction.

It went, with slight edits, as follows. to help guide you through this high level conversation, my friend’s comments are in bold.

85 years ago the old Southern Conference became the SEC. There were 13 original members. Did you know Sewanee was one of them?

I knew that.

So was Tulane.

Georgia Tech also. I believe they dropped out in 64… when did Sewanee get out?

1940

John Lennon was killed 37 years ago today.

That was yesterday.

Although, Archie Moore died on this day in 1998.

Correct. My bad. The Ole Mongoose was cornerman for Foreman when Ali stopped him in Zaire. Moore’s last fight was against a young Cassius Clay in 62.

He also played Jedediah in The Carpetbaggers, one of the all time great movies.

Yes, and was in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Sugar Ray Robinson was in a couple of Sinatra movies. Archie Moore also worked with James “Quick” Tillis, a Tulsa heavyweight who was a great boxer but not much heart. Tillis played in The Color Purple with Oprah. I flew in 81 to Chicago on a junket to see Tillis fight Mike “Hercules” Weaver for the WBA title. Tillis was named Sprint Tillis after the fight. He ran all night long. I saw better fights in the halls of high school.

Which boxer was in the Tony Rome movies?

Tillis’ daughter was an outstanding basketball player at Duke. Iciss Tillis.

I remember her.

Cassius Clay in 62 was in Requiem for a Heavyweight with Jackie Gleason and Anthony Quinn.

I didn’t know that.

Rocky Graziano was in Tony Rome.

I thought somebody else was in those movies.

Sugar Ray Robinson was in The Detective with Sinatra. LaMotta had a bit part in Graziano’s bio played by Paul Newman…

Sinatra got Joe Louis a job as a greeter at Caesar’s Palace.

Max Schmeling paid for his funeral.

 

 

 

Movie Wisdom – Kirk Douglas Edition

9 Dec

Today is the 101st birthday of Kirk Douglas, one of Hollywood’s great leading men. To celebrate this day, I decided to look for words of wisdom in his movies. He starred in many films, but, under the established rules, the quotes must come from movies that I have seen. If you have other favorites please let me know.

Without further adieu, here are some wise words from the movies of Kirk Douglas.

From 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

I’ve yet to see the day you can make a deal with a mad dog.

From Man Without a Star

Twirlin’ a gun never saved a man’s life.

From Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

Poker’s played by desperate men who cherish money.

From The Vikings

Lies will not sustain a tyrant.

Love and hate are two horns on the same goat.

From Last Train from Gun Hill

Always take the long view.

From Spartacus

Taste is not the same as appetite.

From In Harm’s Way

All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be someplace else.

On the most exalted throne in the world, we are seated on nothing but our own arse.

Fish, or cut bait.

Indecision is a virus.

From The War Wagon

The world needs more simple understanding to bring people together.

From The Man from Snowy River

There’s more to life than death.