IN LIVID COLOR: Folks around town are excited about a smash new TV show coming in July, featuring the hottest celebrity of the year: Donald Trump shaking up the GOP convention.

“It’ll be bigger than the Demos in Chicago in 1968,” a friend predicted. (That I doubt, but we’ll see.) Cleveland, surely one of the most boring cities in America, will probably never be the same, and neither will the Republican Party.

Barney Brantingham

In fact, democracy may never be the same. If you’re thinking of going, at last report nearly all the hotel rooms are sold out between July 18-21.

SHADOW COUNTRY: Santa Barbara’s Jeff Bridges looks like the perfect guy to play Edgar “Bloody” Watson ​— ​if and when David Milch finishes the script of Shadow Country.

Watson was a notorious Everglades sugar planter and outlaw chronicled in Peter Matthiessen’s 892-page book, which I just started. (I have a weakness for phone-book-sized works that put me to sleep.)

Not that Watson’s colorful life in Chokoloskee country is a snooze. Nor, for that matter, is the career of 70-year-old gambleholic Milch. The Hollywood Reporter headlined a recent piece about him: “How the $100 million ‘NYPD Blue’ Creator Gambled Away His Fortune.”

Milch, also the storied mind behind the TV series Deadwood, has been hit with a lawsuit saying that the racetrack regular has lost his homes, owes the IRS $17 million, and is on a $40-a-week allowance until he gets his work done.

<strong>CHOKOLOSKEE THIS:</strong> Could a favorite area actor play Edgar “Bloody” Watson?
Paul Wellman (file)

Not only is the former Yale English professor working on Shadow Country, to which Bridges is “attached,” as the Hollywood expression goes, but also writing a TV movie version of Deadwood. Good luck, Jeff.

According to legend, Watson killed many people, including Belle Starr, “Queen of the Outlaws.” His saga ended when he was shot to pieces by his friends and neighbors in 1910.

Do you think there just might be a movie in all this?

My favorite Bridges movie is Rancho Deluxe, a 1975 romp where he and Sam Waterston play inept young cattle rustlers. The great cast includes Harry Dean Stanton, Slim Pickens, and sexy Elizabeth Ashley. Jimmy Buffett’s band provides the music, with Warren Oates playing harmonica and scriptwriter Thomas McGuane on mandolin.

FITBIT ANYONE? I’m usually the last guy in Santa Barbara to climb aboard the latest gadget-driven trend. Plug it in, and a year later I’m still behind. But the other day I was reading right out in the open on my front porch (a real book, that is), and neighbor Pastor Dale swung by.

I couldn’t help but notice his wristband, which led him to wax enthusiastic about his Fitbit watch. As far as I could tell, it not only tells time, but it also counts your steps and translates them into miles. You also log in everything you eat and how much of it and your weight and weight-loss target.

With no one around to tell me not to, I drove out to Best Buy and put more than $100 on my credit card. Pretty soon I was racking up hundreds of steps just around the house, garage, yard, and store, doing miles without realizing it. And since my right knee is hors de combat (out of serious action pending replacement), it’s the best thing I know compared with real, honest, gym-style exercising.

I’m not selling these things, nor is Pastor Dale, and mine may end up in a drawer in a month.

One fly in the ointment is that I found it hard to keep on. The first night I lost it in bed. The second day I took some stuff to a thrift store, did other errands, and visited my ex-wife, Angela. I got home, and it was gone. I called around. Angela called back. She found it in the garbage can, where I’d dropped it.

One other disadvantage is that the watch face is small; it’s hard to tell time. So Andrew, a friend, wears a real watch on his other wrist. Now I do, too.

I bought a floor scale at the thrift for $9 and keep checking my weight. Fitbit says I’ve logged 1,428 steps since I got up today, even though I haven’t done much but putter around the kitchen, feed the cat, and get the car washed. But according to Fitbit, that’s equivalent to 0.63 miles, and I’ve burned off 931 calories. But I haven’t lost a pound. Maybe tomorrow.


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