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Tom wrangles with the remote control and dreams up a modern version of Tombstone with a cast of loveable political characters

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There are times late at night, when a man is flipping through the channels, contemplating his existence and occasionally cursing Philo Farnsworth for having invented the time-sucking television device in the first place. As discussed herein back in the day, there are certain movies that, no matter how many times they've been seen or, for that matter, whether they are actually owned on one or more viewing platforms by the numbskull holding the remote control, have a hypnotic hold on the viewer.

It doesn't matter how many times a guy has seen it, if he clicks onto The Shawshank Redemption, he's got to stay on that channel and watch Andy Dufresne crawl through that sewer pipe and come out into the rainy night. It doesn't matter that it's on the dark side of 2 a.m., it's written in the Guy Code that he has to stay up to watch Daniel LaRusso use the Crane technique to win the Under-18 All-Valley Karate Tournament; to see Vince Papale make a crushing tackle and scoop up the loose ball for the winning touchdown against the New York Giants; or to glory in Dave Stohler winning the Little 500 bike relay race pretty much all by himself.

It's not just sports, either. You have to keep watching until Lloyd Christmas says, "So you're tellin' me there's a chance ..." There's the courtroom scene in A Few Good Men. Heck, there's the courtroom scene in Legally Blonde.

The other night, I was heading toward the Land of Nod...ding Off, when I clicked one more time and who should appear but Val Kilmer uttering his glorious, "I'm your huckleberry." So now I've got to stay up until Kurt Russell and Dana Delany dance in the snow in San Francisco at the end of the movie. I always thought that part was stupid because it doesn't snow in San Francisco. But then I looked it up and found that while it has only snowed in San Francisco five times in the past 140 years, one of those times was in December of 1882, just 14 months after the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. It snowed again in February of 1887, so either one of those could conceivably fit the timeline.

Now, thanks to Google, I can declare Tombstone to be a perfectly accurate movie.

I had been reading the news-paper(s) as I flipped through the channels and, as I began to straddle the mental line between here and there, so too did I fluctuate between then and now. In that hazy state where one's eyelids begin to weigh 400 pounds each, it all seemed so clear to me. Some things never change.

If we were all in Tombstone circa 1881:

• Guy Atchley would be Mayor John Clum, the crusading journalist who ran the Tombstone Epitaph and had a dark secret in his past. I actually have no idea about Clum, but any guy named Guy has to have a dark secret in his past.

• You just have to have Chucky Huckleberry play Doc Holliday. He's been using that Huckleberry line his entire life.

• Regina Romero would be Josephine Marcus. No reason, really; they just both have dark hair.

• David Gowan would be the faro dealer played by Billy Bob Thornton (so heavy as to be unrecognizable). He gives you the fast shuffle, then resorts to bluster when called on his questionable practices.

• Paul Babeu would be Sheriff Johnny Behan, a tough talker (but quick walker) who was incredibly indiscreet about his love interest.

• My gun-owning buddy, Emil Franzi, would probably want to be Wyatt Earp, but he's closer to Fred White, the geezer lawman who gets gunned down by opium-addled Curly Bill Brocius.

• In early 1881 (but not at the time of the famous Gunfight), Lew Wallace was governor of the neighboring New Mexico Territory. There's no doubt that Doug Douche-y fancies himself to be a Renaissance man like Lew Wallace, who was a Civil War general and wrote the best-selling novel of the 19th century, Ben-Hur: A Tale of The Christ. He might want to be Lew Wallace, but he governs more like George Wallace. (This is the 21st century, so instead of openly hating on black people, Ducey hates on poor people. Apparently, that's still acceptable.)

Did you happen to see that Ducey wants to boost Arizona's economy by (surprise!) cutting taxes on corporations and rich people in hopes of luring new businesses to Arizona. (Yeah, that worked really well in Kansas.) During his State of the State, he said that 9,000 businesses have left California since the start of the Great Recession. He claims that California is not business-friendly due to its high taxes and strong regulation.

Well, the Governor is certainly correct when he says that 9,000 companies have left California since 2008. (He says they are "fleeing.") What he leaves out is that there are at least 3.2 MILLION companies left in California, so those that left comprised roughly .003 (three-tenths of one percent) of the total. Fleeing, indeed.

• Ducey's mouthpiece, Daniel Scarpinato, is like that guy Billy, who is a sycophant for the Cowboys and has a man-crush on the androgynous actor played by Billy Zane.

And, oh yeah, The Birdcage Theatre is now The Rialto, the silver mines are copper mines, and the beautiful sunsets are still the same.

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