END OF THE TRAIL FOR ROY ROGERS MUSEUM

The Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum, a popular tourist attraction in Victorville for more than 35 years, relocated in 2003 to Branson, Mo.

A bad move, as it turned out.

The museum failed to flourish there, and now it has gone bust, as I reported in my column of Jan. 15 (check it out online at sbsun.com/johnweeks). The museum closed its doors for good in mid-December and all its contents will be sold, piece-meal, in a series of auctions that will begin Jan. 30 and continue into the summer.

Roy “Dusty” Rogers Jr., son of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, shares his melancholy thoughts on the demise of the museum in the following statement addressed to fans:

“I guess I will start by saying thank you. Thank you for the years of love, support, prayers and loyalty to the Rogers family. You, the fans, and our Board of Directors, are the ones who have kept our family’s museum going for over 42 years. It has been a wonderful ride. After millions of visitors and countless stories of what Roy and Dale have meant to you, the Board of Directors have voted to close our doors. This has not been an easy decision. Many very emotional and financial issues have been addressed by all of us, as you can well imagine.

“The decision to close the museum has come after two years of steady decline in visitors. A lot of factors have made our decision for us. The economy for one. People are just not traveling as much. Dad’s fans are getting older, and concerned about their retirement funds. Everyone is concerned about their future in this present economy. Secondly, with our high fiscal obligations we cannot continue to accumulate debt to keep the doors open.This situation is one I have not wanted to happen. Dad always said, “If the museum starts costing you money, then liquidate everything and move on.” Myself and my family have tried to hold together the museum and collection. It is very difficult to think that it will all be gone soon.

“What will happen to Roy Rogers Jr. and his family? For those of you who have heard I am retiring, nothing could be farther from the truth. My company, Golden Stallion, and its show tribute to Roy and Dale, will continue. I plan on taking the show to another venue in Branson. (Micky Gilley’s starting in March.) The show will also be available to travel around the country and take the message of Roy and Dale wherever we travel. I feel that this country needs the message that Roy and Dale always put forth, not only in their professional lives, but in their private lives as well.

“Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Remember, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans will live forever in our hearts and minds, and will continue to ride across the silver screen through their movies. Every time you think of Roy and Dale, that warm feeling you have always felt will always return.

“Watch our website for further announcements and special dates (royrogers.com).

“I leave you all with Dad’s favorite saying: Good bye, good luck, and may the good Lord take a likin’ to ya!”

AVATAR: $65,000 PER WORD?

A screenwriter friend of mine obtained a copy of James Cameron’s screenplay for the mega-hit movie “Avatar” and shared it with me. It includes the dialogue heard in the movie as well as descriptions of characters, scenes and actions. It’s 150 pages in length, with an average of about 200 words per page. That works out to a total of about 30,000 words, give or take.

Let’s say the movie makes 2 billion bucks, which seems more than likely at this point.

Now, let’s do the math. A 150-page, 30,000-word screenplay that results in a 2 billion dollar haul is worth roughly $13 million per page or a little more than $65,000 per word.

$65,000 a word!

Wow. Wish I could get that rate.

FEEL THE BURNS

I offered a snippet of the poetry of Robert Burns in my column of Jan. 6, 2010, titled “Have a heapin’ helpin’ of haggis.” The column (check it out at http://sbsun.com/johnweeks) offered details about the upcoming Robert Burns Dinner being hosted by the Scottish Society of the Inland Empire (iescots.com).

I also promised to provide, here, the complete text of two Burns poems, “Address to a Haggis” and “Auld Lang Syne,” along with modern translations. Here goes:

ADDRESS TO A HAGGIS
By Robert Burns

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hudies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut ye up wi’ ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reeking, rich!

Then horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
‘Bethankit!’ hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As fecless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Tho’ bluidy flood or field to dash,
O how unfit.

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whistle;
An’ legs, an’ arms, an’ heads will sned
Like taps o’ thrissle.

Ye pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware,
That jaups in luggies;
But if ye wish her gratfu’ prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!

ADDRESS TO A HAGGIS
By Robert Burns

Fair full your honest, jolly face,
Great chieftain of the sausage race!
Above them all you take your place,
Stomach, tripe, intestines –
Well are you worthy of a “grace”
As long as my arm.

The groaning trencher there you fill,
Your haunches like a distant hill,
Your pin would help to mend a mill
In time of need,
While through your pores the dews distill
Like amber bead.

His knife for rustic labor right
Will cut you up with ready might,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
As in a ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm, steaming, rich!

Then spoon for spoon, they stretch and strive:
Devil take the hindmost, on they drive,
Till all their well-swollen bellies by-and-by
Are bent like drums;
And then the host, his gut alive,
The ‘grace’ he hums.

Is there one who eats French ragout,
Or stew that would sicken a shrew,
Or fricassee that would make one spew
With perfect disgust,
Who’d look down with sneering, scornful view
On such a feast?

Poor devil! See him over his trash,
Feeble, withered with rash,
His thin legs a good whip-lash,
His fist a nut;
Through bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit.

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his ample fist a blade,
He will make it whistle;
And legs, and arms will drop, and heads,
Like tops of thistle.

Powers that be, who make mankind your care,
And dish us out our bill of fare,
Old Scotland wants no watery ware,
That splashes in frail dishes;
If you wish our grateful prayer,
Give us a haggis!

AULD LANG SYNE
By Robert Burns

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o’ auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo’,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo’,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes
And pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo’,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
Frae mornin’ sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo’,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo’,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Auld Lang Syne
By Robert Burns

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And all the days gone by?

For all the days gone by, my joy,
For all the days gone by,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For all the days gone by.

And sure, you’ll pay for your pint,
And sure, I’ll pay for mine,
And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For all the days gone by.

For all the days gone by, my joy,
For all the days gone by,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For all the days gone by.

We two have run about the hills
And pulled the daisies fine;
We’ve wandered many a weary foot
In all the days gone by.

For all the days gone by, my joy,
For all the days gone by,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For all the days gone by.

We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till noon;
And seas between us broad have roared
In all the days gone by.

For all the days gone by, my joy,
For all the days gone by,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For all the days gone by.

And here’s a hand, my trusty friend!
And give me one of yours!
We’ll both enjoy a good-will drink,
For all the days gone by.

For all the days gone by, my joy,
For all the days gone by,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For all the days gone by.

MY CURSE ON THE COLTS

In my column of Dec. 30, 2009, which was headlined “Put these Colts out to pasture,” I raged against football’s Indianapolis Colts, who threw away their virtually assured chance of a rare perfect season by “resting” their starters in the next-to-last game of the regular season. They suffered a well-earned upset loss in that game, then went on to also lose the next game against an even worse underdog. So, instead of entering the post-season triumphantly with a perfect record, they enter red-faced and shamed, with two straight embarrassing losses behind them. Hope they enjoyed that little “rest.”

I’m taking it personally, because I live an hour from Los Angeles and therefore don’t have a football team to call my own. I’m forced to “adopt” other teams that catch my interest. I had allowed myself in recent years to become a Colts fan, and this year I was following their sure shot at a perfect season with great excitement.

They let me down. I brooded about it for days. And then I let them have it. I called them quitters. I said they were symbols of what’s wrong with America these days.

If you want to read the whole column, check online at http://sbsun.com/johnweeks.

But that wasn’t and isn’t the whole column. The column didn’t run in its entirety. Due to limitations of space, a portion was cut. It’s my favorite part. It’s the part at the end, where I put a curse on the Colts.

Here it is. I’m restoring it, for the sake of posterity:

“As a nation, we can change. We must change. We must use the Colts as a cautionary example and choose a different course for ourselves. We must shake the ashes of their ruin from our shoes and march in a new and better direction. We must snatch the victory they forfeited from the defeat they embraced.

“For the Colts, alas, it is too late. What they did on Sunday is in the record books forever. Filed under infamy.

“A hex now has been laid upon them. I predict it. Covered in ignominy, branded with shame, suffering the well-earned scorn of the whole world, they will stumble badly in the playoffs, and next season, and in all the years to come, so long as they are together in their present form.

“The coach is a disgrace. The superstar quarterback and the other starters are broken and belittled men. The backup players are laughingstocks. This team never again will perform well as a unit, or have lasting success.

“The Colts are cursed.”