Periscope Depth

medals on a wooden mantle next to a handsome face

# After buying Fraley dinner and drinks on Friday, we retired to Katie’s house in Davis Square. Melissa and Christine gave him a lactose-free crepe to blow out for his birthday wish. Then we all read the latest Cosmo for “Ten Secret Ways to Blow Please Your Man.” I should warn you: they’re no longer secret. I’ve read them.

# I’ve been playing a lot of Diplomacy online lately, either on Facebook or on PHPDiplomacy. The Facebook game sloppily ports the latter, so I greatly prefer PHPDiplo. I haven’t played for long enough to see whether my skills have atrophied, although twenty-four hours will reveal the outcome of my latest ambitious move (France attacking England and Italy simultaneously, with Germany’s aid). So we’ll see. If you want to play me on Facebook or on PHP, let me know and I’ll set something up. If you have any love of game theory or European history, or just a general ill-defined distrust of fellow humans, you owe it to yourself to try.

# Out of nowhere, and unbidden by man nor beast, I finally came to terms with the ending of the Bale/Crowe remake of 3:10 to Yuma while driving to work yesterday.

The Apparent Problem: Ben Wade (Crowe) establishes, early on and repeatedly throughout, that his character would kill, gut or betray anyone in his party if he thought he could profit by it. Yet on the basis of one chance confession by Dan Evans (Bale), in re: the nature of his war injury, he suddenly cooperates in helping Evans turn him in. He becomes a lovable scoundrel instead of a villain. He even guns down his own gang after they catch Evans and execute him.

What Finally Hit Me: Ben Wade just wants to play a game. Remember, in the last shot Ben whistles for his horse as the prison train pulls away. So even if he gets to the train, he fully intends to get off before they drop him in Yuma. He’s not surrendering himself to redeem Evans; he’s playing along because he likes Evans. So he runs the race to its finish, congratulates Evans as he boards the train – and then has his fun ruined when Charlie Prince shoots Evans in the back. Wade may not have agreed with Evans’ stated purpose – namely, to convey him to federal prison – but he liked him more than he likes the bootlicks and scum he rides with.

So Therefore: It works.

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