Friday, April 16, 2021

Wild Women, Las Bravas Locas, Boss Bitches & Very Angry Women

 April 16, 2021

   I would peg 2020 as the year the entire world lost its sense of humor. Neither you, nor me, can make fun of a whole raft of things that were game BEFORE the pandemic. Actually, it's true, things were ratcheting downward on the Humor Acceptability Thermometer at an alarming rate for the past couple decades but the quarantine has frozen that goose to the gills.

   Speaking of mixing metaphors and alienating the fairer sex, I have spent the past week trying to find a fitting title to a wonderful book Jana Bommersbach and I are co-authoring and publishing on all the trailblazing women on the American frontier. My original title for this book—way back in 1994—was "Wild Women of The Wild West" but today, well, that title is overused and overcooked.

   So, I sent out a querie to 100 of my most creative friends with this rough cover and the question on how to improve it:

    And here are a few of the responses I got back:

   "Do you really need an adjective? What's wrong with Women of the West? I had a month long argument with the publisher over the title of my last book. He kept wanting to layer on adjectives. The Defiant Women of the Copper Country, the Marching Women of the Copper Country. The Courageous Women of the Copper Country. I didn't even want the definite article but we finally compromised on just plain The Women of the Copper Country. I asked the cover artist to put the THE in a smaller font."

—Mary Doria Russell

Brave And Bold And Yaddah Yaddah

"We think the 'Wild Women' title, especially with a subhead of "Corrupt & Crazy" is far too condescending to 21st Century women.  Hedy said that if she saw it on Amazon or at B&N she wouldn't even bother to look beyond the title."

—Allen and Hedy Fossenkemper

"The Fun Loving Slightly Gender Specific Group Of The Half Of The Country That Isn’t East"

—Larry Winget

"My first inclination was to go to Spanish...'Las Jefas Cabronas of the American West' which translates to 'The Boss Bitches of the American West!' but that's probably reaching too much. :-) How about  'Las Bravas Locas'...translates to brave & crazy!"

—Jeanne Sedello 

"Throw the term True West in that pile of words. Put your money where your mag is, is the answer. True Western Women."

—Buckeye Blake

"Since you and Jana are associated with True West magazine why not work that into your title and possible future titles. 'The Illustrated Life & Times of TRUE WEST(ERN) WOMEN Of Frontier America'?"

—Greg Smith

"Instead of Wild, I like 'Dynamic' or better yet 'Real'……..we're are always talking about Real Men… about Real Woman?"
—Dennis Corderman

—Amy Watts


—Juni Fisher

   "One of the real problems is that the 'wild' West wasn't all that wild.  As Evan Connell wrote in 'Son of the Morning Star' it could be downright boring.   For his audiences Cody's Wild West show probably WAS wild but that was because for those few hours it was drama and excitement and therefore non-stop wildness for the audience. But the real 'wild' West wasn't. And were the women of the 'wild' West all that wild? So yeah, the term 'wild' is way overused (and over believed, too). Look how proper Annie Oakley was!  She could shoot with the best of them but that doesn't make her wild, it makes her fascinating. And how did life end for Mattie Earp or Calamity Jane?  Drunk, drugged, and pathetic. So maybe the focus should be off 'wild' and geared more towards 'real'...the REAL women of the West."
—Thom Ross

A Snowball's Chance In Yuma

Charlie Meadows, AKA "Arizona Charlie," co-founded the first Payson Rodeo (it has since billed itself as oldest and longest continuously running rodeo), then went on to a celebrated career in Wild West shows, including Buffalo Bill's, with a stop in Dawson, Alaska where he ran a celebrated theatre. Afterwards he became a rancher and the newspaper publisher of The Scorpion in Yuma, Arizona where he attacked everyone with his pseudonym, I. Sting. He predicted he would die in a snow storm in Yuma, and on December 9, 1932, he did! It had been fifty years since it last snowed in one of the hottest spots in Arizona.

Well, hot damn!

Arizona Charlie Meadows

  I think this is a quote by him.

"I came in on a snowstorm and I'm going out in a snowstorm."

—Charlie Meadows, predicting the weather on his death bed and he was correct!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Horsemen Passes By Horsewomen?

 April 15, 2021

   Man, oh, man, where do conundrum terms go to die? Can a woman be a fly fisherman? Can a woman be a horseman? Can a man be a total pussy?

   Yes, to all of the above.

Daily Whip Out: "Dixxy Diamond In Sepia"

   Is Dixxy Diamond a cowgirl or a horseman? Well, if Juni Fisher has any say in the matter—and she certainly does—Dixxy will be a Horseman. Not a horsewoman, not a horseperson, but a Horseman, with a capital H. Oh, boy.

   Where's the grammar police when you actually need them?

   Here's how Juni puts it: "Remember when Anne Hathaway got after someone for introducing her as an actress? 'I am an actor.' And some made fun of her. But I totally got what she was saying. She did not want to be called 'okay for a girl' ;)"

"Finding the right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug."

—Mark Twain

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Two Words Men Do Not Like to Hear

 April 14, 2021

   Here's two words in the English language I do not care for:

Castration Aftercare

   This is the title of a pamphlet we received to care for a male in the family who just had his balls snipped. (Sorry ladies, not me.)

Last photo of Uno with balls

    Harry Randolph posted this cool, old photograph of Paradise Valley, Arizona.

  From the March 12, 1956 issue of LIFE magazine, in an article entitled, "Sands of Desert Turn Gold, Southwest's Boom Enriches Scottsdale."

Location, Location, Speculation

   The above scene takes me back. Around this same time, my family drove down to Phoenix, from Kingman, and we visited with relatives who had moved there. On Sunday, after church, we visited an Open House just beyond the dark horse's head, at East McDonald Drive, just east of Tatum, where someone had built three, spec, state-of-the-art rambling ranch houses. We walked thru them and when we came out, someone asked my dad what he thought of them and he said, "They're great, if you've got $30,000."

"Buy low, sell high."

—Old Vaquero Saying

This picture is from te March 12, 1956 issue of LIFE magazine, and the article is entitled, “Sands of Desert Turn Gold, Southwest’s Boom Enriches Scottsdale.”

Thanks Tom Dr

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Almost Back On The Road Again Post Pandemic

 April 13, 2021

   As the song says, "we just can't wait to get back on the road again." Boy Howdy!

   Got a big road trip planned for June. Heading north taking all the back roads. Here's what I abide and drive by on my adventures:

BBB Back Road Rules

1. No national chains

2. Find the hidden gems in every small town

3. Never return the same way you went

4. Stop at every "hysterical" marker

5. listen to local radio stations if you can find them

   Speaking of small town gems, me and this Kingman guy go way back.

Jack Duey, 1962

   My Kingman compadre dropped in on his way to Phoenix today to give me this knife he made for me.

Jack today with the BBB blade and sheath
 he made for me

   What's interesting about these two photos is that Jack has a knife in the first picture as well. Tough school, mucous high school was. That would be Mohave County Union High School, but we called it "mucous" high to be smart asses. Jack was as smart as they come.

Daily Whip Out:
"Cowboy Comin' at You!"

"All the cowboys I know are afraid of only two things. A decent woman and being set afoot."

—Teddy Blue Abbott

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Rookie With The Rocket Right Arm On Our Patio

 April 12, 2021

   We were living in a rental house off Lone Mountain Road, when our contractor and friend, Bud Glenn, called us to say he had just poured the stem walls on our dream house. We couldn't wait to drive out and take a look.

   First we had dinner at The Tree House in Cave Creek, then Kathy and I, and the kids, motored out Spur Cross Road, at dusk, to see the progress on our new home. When we arrived at the construction site we noticed two people, a man and a woman, scoping out the site. They seemed sheepish about being caught looking at our place but I walked up and introduced myself and we made small talk. They said they were visiting friends in the neighborhood and had come over to see the progress. The year was 1986. The guy was wearing a hated ASU jacket (I went to the U of A), and at one point he gestured at the cave which prompted me to ask, "So where'd you get the world series rings?" He smiled sheepishly, and, of course, by that time I had a pretty good idea who he was. And that would be this kid, on the right.

Two of the heroes of The Miracle Mets,
 after they won the World Series in 1969.
Tom Seaver and Gary Gentry.

The Rookie With The Rocket Arm
Gary Gentry

   In truth, I had some history with the guy. I had watched him pitch for ASU several times at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson (where the U of A often played home games) and I had sort of followed his career along the way. He pitched the winning game at the 1967 College World Series, which accounted for one of the rings he was wearing on our patio.

   A couple weeks later, I invited him on our KSLX morning radio show (Jones, Boze & Jeanne) and afterwards we walked over to the Safari Resort and had breakfast. Over eggs and hashbrowns, he confided to me he never made the big money. Don't quote me but I think he said he only made $30,000 the year he blew out his elbow and washed out of the Bigs. He had to start all over again and he was selling real estate in Scottsdale at that time. 

   When people talk about sports figures being overpaid, I always think of Gary. Someone said he retired recently. I hope he's happy.

"A man's character isn't his fate; a man's fate is the joke that his life plays on his character."

—Philip Roth

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Crows On The Brain

 April 11, 2021

   In case you hadn't noticed, I can get a little gonzo on a subject I am interested in. Last week it was Ghost Rider clouds, the week before that it was Honkytonk Hoo Doos and this week, well, I don't think I need to spell it out, do I?

Daily Whip Out: "Classic Grumpy Crow"

What do you get when you cross a crow with a parrot?

Daily Whip Out: "A Punning Parrot-Head"

   And, if you can believe this, crows using a vending machine!

Vending Machine Crows TED Talk

"The crows seemed to be calling his name, thought Caw."

—Jack Handey

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Something to Crow About

 April 10, 2021

   Since our devastating fire, I certainly have a new appreciation for crows. We have two who visit us almost every day. Some have postulated they are actually ravens, but I discovered the two—ravens and crows—are part of the Crovids family which includes rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, coughs and nutcrackers. Such hilarious monikers. Bottom line: even their variations are clever.

    Earlier this week, I spied one of them perched on a burnt saguaro stalk to the south of us and decided I needed to go out and capture him on paper, at least.

Daily Whip Out: "The Crow Has Landed"

   It was Juni Fisher who got me interested in what the crows were trying to say. If you've ever heard a crow cawing, they are quite insistent about something and according to Juni, it's our job to listen and figure it out.

Daily Whip Out: "Cactus Crow"

 Something to Crow About

   Did you know crows (English magpies) can actually recognize themselves in mirrors?

Daily Whip Out: "Well, Hello Handsome!"

   Did you know crows make their own tools? 

   Did you know crows play elaborate social games, like "King of The Mountain" and "Follow the Leader"? Did you know crows enjoy sliding down slippery surfaces?

   Did you know their favorite dishes include bread, spaghetti, fried potatoes, chile (green), dog food, sandwiches and livestock feed? Not to mention roadkill, cutworms, grasshoppers and "harmful weeds"? 

   Did you know crows not only outperform dogs in cognitive tests, but they then taunt the dogs for being so inferior?

   Did you know crows have elaborate grieving rituals where they lay grass wreaths over the dead body of someone they loved? 

   Did you know a clever crow was observed leaving nuts in a crosswalk so that passing cars would crack the nuts and then when the light turned red, the crow would go out to retrieve the cracked nuts until the light turned green and then he retreated and waited for the next light?

   Did you know crows laugh at scarecrows and perch on them and use them for hunting platforms to mock farmers?

   Did you know crows have excellent memories and often bring gifts to people who have been kind to them? Including jewelry found on the ground!

   Did you know the Crow tribe is literally named for "the children of the big-beaked bird"?

   Did you know crows can recognize you, and they sometimes will give you a special name and your own special caw?

Daily Whip Out: "Something to Crow About"

"Caw, Caw, Caw—Triple C—Meet BBB"

—One Crazy Crow I Know

Special Bonus Crow Humor Quote

"It's only a murder of crows if there's probable caws."

—Old Crow Saying