Peter Shelton

Message from a Secure Location

Posted in Watch columns by pshelton on March 30, 2010

Greetings. Captain Jobaphat here. I want to let you know that despite the round-up of our brethren in Michigan by the foot soldiers of the Antichrist, ie. the Federal Government, all is well and growing in readiness here at our secret location in Montrose County.

In case you didn’t hear, the Hutaree militia, led by Captain Hutaree, a.k.a. David Brian Stone, Sr., and three of his devoted children, one of whom, the daughter I think, is not a skinhead, were ripped from their freedom-loving beds yesterday morning and charged with sedition—whatever that is—and weapons possession, which, last time I looked, commie godless Federal Buttwipes of Insurrection!, was an American Right—no, a duty—preordained by the Second Amendment. And Jesus Christ. (more…)

Let the Conservative Rumpus Begin

Posted in Confessions of a Grandpa, Watch columns by pshelton on March 24, 2010

After the health insurance reform bill passed the House on Sunday, I called our in-family doc (daughter Cloe is a radiologist in Albuquerque) to get her take on the changes. (more…)

On The Brink

Posted in Ski history, Watch columns by pshelton on March 18, 2010

Last week I mentioned our old ski school director at Bear Valley, Peter Brinkman. I was writing about Hollywood connections, and I referenced Peter as the brother-in-law of actress Jeanne Crain (“State Fair”). And I threw in the fact that he had dated a Playboy Playmate. All true. But only a fraction of the story. Peter deserves more.

Ellen and I liked him the minute we met. He was tall and animated, with an uninhibited high giggle for a laugh. I wouldn’t say he had classic, movie-star good looks—he was too goofy for that. But he was magnetic, broad-shouldered (he played football at the University of Washington), and the Bear Valley web site is not wrong to have described him as “one of the country’s hunkiest ski instructors.” (more…)

The Oscar and the killer whale

Posted in At the Movies, Ski history, Watch columns by pshelton on March 10, 2010

It was nice to see Jeff Bridges win the best actor Oscar for Crazy Heart. He’s been at it a long time, with obvious relish and humor.

What’s not to love about The Dude in The Big Lebowski? (“Hey, careful, man, there’s a beverage here.”) As the late, great Pauline Kael said of Bridges’ style: “[he] may be the most natural and least self-conscious screen actor who has ever lived.”

I taught his older brother Beau how to ski at Bear Valley in California when Ellen and I were there in the early 1970s. The whole family hung out at Bear: Jeff, Beau, their actor father Lloyd. Jeff was the handsomer, more famous brother. He had already earned an Oscar nomination for The Last Picture Show in 1971. But I drew Beau, and that was cool. He made progress on skis. They were all regular folks.

Thanks to the small screen, Lloyd was the one, actually, who rocked my boat. I had worshipped him as Mike Nelson, the scuba-diving hero of Sea Hunt, which ran, in stark black-and-white, for three seasons from 1958 to 1961. Mike Nelson could dodge the zig-zag bullets fired at him from a boat above, and he could survive the bad guy cutting his air hose in a vicious underwater tango.

But the episode that is seared into my brain still was the one in which killer whales home in on a disabled dinghy. Those six-foot tall dorsal fins, like ink-black conning towers, gliding, with ultimate menace, and the outboard motor won’t start, the man’s arm pulling and pulling the cord. . .

This image came rushing back a couple of weeks ago when the captive killer whale, Tillikum, dragged a Sea World trainer underwater and drowned her. (more…)

Wake Up Call

Posted in At the Movies, Watch columns by pshelton on March 5, 2010

Lights beaming in on the bedroom wall indicated a vehicle coming up our driveway. Sometimes at six in the morning, I’ll see rectangles of light moving across the wall as early-risers roll to work, headlights on high beam to avoid the deer on Buckhorn Road. But this was different. The light squares didn’t move, and they got brighter. I could hear the crunch of tires on the frozen driveway surface.

“What is it?” Ellen asked, startled awake as I pulled on my robe.

“Somebody coming up the driveway,” I said. In the pre-dawn half light I could see a shape crawling up our hill. It had, in addition to regular headlights, a couple of smaller bright lights up high and wide, like extra insect eyes. (more…)