Monday, December 22, 2008

Duck Stamps

One of my favorite movies is “Fargo”, the 1996 film about a car salesman who hires two men to kidnap his wife for an $80,000 ransom. The star of the show is the pregnant small-town police chief Marge Gunderson, played by Frances McDormand, a role that won her an Academy Award.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Marge is lying in bed with her husband, Norm. Norm is a wildlife painter, who lacks a bit of confidence. Here is the dialog from that scene:

Norm Gunderson: They announced it.

Marge Gunderson: They announced it?

Norm Gunderson: Three-cent stamp.

Marge Gunderson: Your mallard?

Marge Gunderson: Oh, that's terrific.

Norm Gunderson: It's just a three-cent stamp.

Marge Gunderson: It's terrific.

Norm Gunderson: Hautman's blue-winged teal got the 29-cent. People don't much use the three-cent.

Marge Gunderson: Oh, for Pete's sake. Of course they do. Whenever they raise the postage, people need the little stamps.

Never in a million years, would I have believed that there actually is a Hautman painter, something that Norm mentioned several times in the film with his awe-shucks, “Oh the Hautmans will probably win.”

Turns out there really are the Hautman brothers. Bob, Jim and Joe have won the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, the most prestigious event in wildlife art, eight times since 1990. Brother Joe won the competition in 2007 and Jim placed second this year.

I’m learning all sorts of things out on the road. I’m just not certain that some of them are going to ever do me any good.

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