Monday, September 20, 2021

Cry Macho Gate

 September 20, 2021

   We started watching "Cry Macho" last night. Didn't finish it, but intend to watch the end tonight. Got some issues with it, but I did see a cool gate.


Cry Macho Gate 


  I have always prided myself on having a good memory. Not as good as Charlie Waters, perhaps, but I could always hold my own with remembering who wore what and when, who said what, and why and who sang that at what concert. I say "could" because like all geezers I am slipping, which gives me pause and also makes me want to get down on paper what I remember before it's lost. That said, recent studies on memory and "self-awareness" are more than a little depressing. Turns out all of our memories are pretty shabby and can't be trusted.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Contemplation"


Covering Myself

   I am going to write a memoir and call it:


Tall, Dark & Handsome

My life as a gifted liar.

Cover roughs for The Exits and

Tall, Dark & Handsome


   In the spring of 1963, I was a sophomore at Mohave County Union High School in Kingman, Arizona. My best friend and I had just started a surf band. On our way to third period in the New Building, we were walking up the stairs to Miss Deines' class, debating possible band names. Charlie looked up at the stairwell signage and quipped, "Why don't we call ourselves 'The Exits,' because that's where everyone will go when they hear us play?"

   What a prophetic name that turned out to be. Charlie exited in October of 2014, Steve Burford and Wendell Havatone have both passed. And now we are down to two original members.

More Accurate Narratives

   But, back to sloppy memories. In spite of the bad news, I still strive to be a more accurate storyteller. Is it a fool's errand? Yes, on some level, of course it is.

   In 1993 I worked closely with researcher and Wyatt Earp scholar, Jeff Morey, on the exact movements of the Earps and the Cowboys in the so-called O.K. Corral fight. By pouring over the volumnous evidence and testimony, and by drawing rough maps and correcting them, and by going to Tombstone and walking the actual ground, I was able to pinpoint almost exactly where each combatant stood and their movements in that legendary 30-second street fight.

   Recently, Jeff contacted me and told me he now thinks they were closer to the sidewalk and didn't get all that deep into the lot. And so it goes.


Taking Our Medicine

   A local hospital here is going to replace doctors with parents who have done their research. "I can't tell you how happy and relieved I am when a patient tells me they have done some research on the internet," said the head of Epidemiology, Dr. Greg House. "It's only topped by a patient telling me they have a family member who is a nurse."


The Four Stages of Covid Denial

1. It's a hoax

2. Don't be a sheep

3. Prayers needed

4. Visit our GoFundMe


"Hotel California is asshole music, in some ways introspect from the window of a Learjet."

—James Parker, on The Eagles' current "Hotel California" tour

Sunday, September 19, 2021

On The Fence With Checkered Women And Indigenous Cross Dressers

 September 19, 2021

   Just wrapped up another sketchbook this morning. This one was pretty much dedicated to the pursuit of Checkered Women. You know, like this:

Daily Whip Out: "On The Fence"

  And this. . .

Daily Whip Out: "Gracey from Greer"


   Of course, not every cutie in my studio is a girl.

Uno gets the bandana humiliation treatment.


   Framed a colorized photograph of a certain Tombstone lawman. Thanks Chris Eveland.

Earp On The Door


      Still trying to capture a certain, ahem, domestic.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Indentured II"



Daily Whip Out: "Eva Chin"

   And I want to go lighter as well on tone.

Daily Whip Out: "Faded Love"


   One of the aspect of the Old West most people forget is that all the variations in our culture, were present before we came.

Daily Whip Out: "Navajo Cross Dresser"


   It's the truth. Look it up. It's one of the things I thought was so brilliant in Thomas Berger's "Little Big Man."


"Failure lies at the heart of all art and any story about art is a story about progressive failures."

—B.D. McCay





Friday, September 17, 2021

The Difference Between Lying And Fibbing And The Zone of Ridiculousness

 September 17, 2021

   I hate lies and the liars who tell them. While I basically consider this to be a virtue, I have to confess I am perhaps a tad too zealous in my hatred of untruths and the worthless scumbags who spread lies all over the landscape. Not exactly sure where I got this from, but if I had to guess I would put the blame at the feet of The Boy Scouts, my mother, Luther League, or Spin & Marty. Or, perhaps, I was influenced by all of them together! Some of my friends have even made the connection that this hatred of lying led directly to me buying True West magazine, for the title alone. Perhaps there's some truth to that as well.

   I say all this because, I have to confess, I am, by nature, a giant "fibber." I know, I know. It's probably a sad conundrum mascerading as a life quest. And, well, frankly, I come from a long line of fibbers (the Iowa-Norsky brand) and some of my earliest memories are of my grandfather, Carl Bell, "pulling my leg."

Carl "The Leg Puller" with BBB,

 north of Thompson, Iowa, 1950

   All of which begs the question: what is the difference between a fib and a lie? A quick search online brought up these good examples:

   "A fib is telling your mother-in-law you love her meatloaf when you don’t."

   "A lie is telling your wife you have no idea how she suddenly has herpes."

   It’s a matter of scale and intention:

   "You don’t want to hurt your mother-in-law’s feelings, and it’s just one meatloaf dinner—no harm is done, but you may have to eat meatloaf every time you dine at your in-law’s house. A fib.

   "You don’t want your wife to divorce you when she finds out you’ve been cheating on her and gave her an STD - you’ve deceived your partner and endangered her health with your lie."


   And, then, there's this:


   "They are the same thing, a fib is considered a “small lie.” We probably invented the term fib to make ourselves feel less guilty about lying. But it’s really the same."


Lying vs. Fibbing

   So, if I hate lying so much, why do I like fibbing? Perhaps as a guilt ridden compensation? In my defense, I see most fibbing like hyperbole—obvious exaggeration. The receiver of the fib certainly must see the twinkle in my eye, telegraphing I am not serious, only "joshing." 

   Still, it's a bit unnerving to realize how close they are on the tone scale.


Now, The Greatest Scratchboards Ever Done!

   Okay, this is somewhere beyond bragging, fibbing and hyperbole and we are close to being in the Zone of Ridiculousness.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Checkered Women #4"

   I'll have more to say about this and the drawings to prove it. Tomorrow.


"Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost."

—Khalil Gibran

Thursday, September 16, 2021

BBB Entryway Display And The Ginger Baker Drummersberg Address

 September 16, 2021

   Sometimes I see scenes as if for the very first time that I have been looking at for months and even years. This is an example of that.

BBB Entryway Display.

    The historic blanket is a gift from Roxy Bacon. Her grandfather was a park ranger at the Grand Canyon in the early 1900s and scored this beautiful Navajo blanket. The sculpture at top is an Ed Mell and the scultpure below is dedicated to my grandmothers. Our skylights did the rest. Thank you Perry Nathan Becker (the first-time architect who riddled our living room with rows of checkered skylights).

   Meanwhile, on the Checkered Women Quest:

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out: "Indentured"


   And, finally, what do Abraham Lincoln and the drummer for Cream have in common?

Ginger Baker's Drummersberg Address


   You have to admit, this photo of Ginger looks like that creepy new AI app where an old photo starts moving and smiling.


"A really good band with a bad drummer is not a good band. A really bad band with a good drummer sounds better."

—Ginger Baker's Drummersberg Address

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Back Story On The $6 Million Dollar Gun That Killed The Kid

 September 15, 2021

   If you missed today's Facebook Live broadcast, here is basically what we talked about:

   What the hell is the back story on the $6 million dollar gun that killed Billy the Kid? And who do I think has the ponies to pay that price tag? And what does Pancho Villa and a Teddy Bear have to do with anything?


Sheriff Elect Pat Garrett

   In the fall of 1880, Sheriff-elect Pat Garrett was given his marching orders by the cattle king of New Mexico, John Chisum: "Clean out that squad east of Sumner." By mid-December, Garrett and a motley crew of Texas cowboys had surrounded a rock house at Stinking Springs, New Mexico in the freezing dark and as the sun came up they coldly shot down the first person who walked out the door. It turned out to be Charlie Bowdre and not the Kid. Garrett's posse had already shot and killed another of Billy's pards, Tom Folliard, back in Fort Sumner and with the death of Bowdre, two of the Kid's gang were toast. After a long standoff, everyone inside eventually surrendered and, gave up their arms. They included, Billy the Kid, Dirty Dave Rudabaugh, Tom Pickett and Billy Wilson. At some point Pat Garrett took a liking to Billy Wilson's Winchester and pistol and like lawmen have been doing for a long time, he purloined these two guns for his own use. 

   Beaver Smith ended up with the Kid's Winchester, Frank Stewart was gifted the Kid's horse by Billy himself and the young outlaw is reported to have given his pistol to the mail carrier's brother Mike Cosgrove.

   As a side note, after a stand off in Las Vegas, New Mexico, Garrett delivers his prisoners to the Santa Fe jail, where the Kid spends three months before being tried in Mesilla and sentenced to hang. While in the jail, a reporter asks him what he thinks about getting as famous as Buffalo Bill and the Kid replies, "There's no money in it."

   Nineteen months later, Garrett dispatched Billy the Kid with Wilson's Seven-and-a-half inch, .44 single action Colt.

• So, how do we know, 141 years later that the gun that recently sold for over $6 million is actually this same gun? And, more importantly, what do Pancho Villa and a Teddy Bear have to do with this whole story? And, finally, who would pay that kind of money for a gun even if it turns out it is the actual gun that killed the Kid?

   Well, let's examine the evidence.

• In the early eighties—that would be the 1980s, I was in a small cafe-saloon in Goldfield Nevada, and behind the bar on the wall was a non-descript pistol and under it was a sign that said, "This is the ONLY gun in the West that did not kill Billy the Kid."

• Sometimes it seems like there are enough Billy the Kid guns to arm a junior high school. They show up everywhere and often. During a debate about all this in the 1930s the newspaper reported there were at least 50 guns that claimed to be the killer of the Kid.


• Pat Garrett rode the fame of killing the Kid all the way to the White House. In 1901 he was called to Washington and gets the job as Customs Inspector in El Paso, Texas. It is the top of the roller coaster for the old lawman. But the Rough Riders Reunion in San Antonio, in 1905, did him in when Garrett introduced his friend Tom Powers as a "cattleman," when in actuality Powers was a "saloon man," an occupation Garrett didn't want the president to know about because there were suspicions about Pat's drinking issues. Of course, when the Texas newspapers ran this item then corrected Garrett and the president felt like a "chump," and Garrett wasn't reinstated.




Tom Powers, second from right, at the event

where Garrett lost his gig.


• Pat Garrett drinks more, loses money and asks for a loan from the same Tom Powers who owns The Coney Island Saloon in El Paso. Powers is then loaned the gun for display, or he took it as collateral, or he flat out bought it. Powers had a signed agreement with Pat's signature and the serial number on the pistol.


• In 1908, Pat Garrett is assassinated while urinating along the road to Las Cruces, which prompted his biographer, Leon Metz, to dryly note, "It's the only time in history a man has been assassinated while urinating that the defendant claimed self-defense."


• And then the story went dark. The Kid was forgotten and nobody cared about the pistol or what it meant. Then a strange set of circumstances changed everything. In 1915, the United States supported Vestuciano Carranza and a crime reporter from Chicago covered the attack on Columbus, New Mexico by Pancho Villa and later, went to El Paso and went into the Coney Island Saloon for a beer and asked the bartender what was the significance of the pistol behind the bar, which resulted in 1924's "The Saga of Billy the Kid," by Walter Noble Burns and the Kid is back on the map.




• Rich, despondant and riddled with cancer, in October of 1930 Tom Powers shoots himself in the heart at his house on Wyoming Street in El Paso, Texas. Incredibly, Powers lives for three months and dies in January of 1931.


"The pistol is value at approximately $500."




• Widowed and poor in the middle of a national Depression, Mrs. Pat Garrett sues the Powers's estate to return the gun. The Power's estate claims the gun was payment for bad debt and not a loan and they have the paperwork to prove it. The case goes all the way to the Texas Supreme Court. The court sides with a lower appelate court that stated Pat couldn't have signed over the gun without his wife's consent and on October 7, 1934, Apolinario Garrett stands on the front porch of her modest Las Cruces home holding the returned Colt. She is comforted by the fact that someone told her it could be worth as much as $500.

Mrs. Pat Garrett with the gun.




• Two weeks later, after riding in the Roswell parade as the grand marshall, Mrs. Pat Garrett dies and the valuable pistol is kept in the family until 1983, when Jarvis Garrett sells it to a collector, who then sells it to Jim and Theresa Earle of College Station, Texas. Jim also bought the Wilson Winchester as well. It is believed that Jim paid in the ballpark of $45,000 to $150,000 for the gun. With the passing of Jim Earle, the daughters are the one who put it up for auction at Bonham's where it sold for over $6 million dollars. I would say it has very solid provenance as being the actual pistol that killed the Kid.

Now, as for the question, who would have paid that price? It is a bit of a mystery because during the Bonham auction the buyer was on the phone and he requested his name not be used. Now everyone in our history world has one suspect in mind, the one who we think has the ponys and the motive to pull this off and I think if you watch our video of an event at the Denver Merchandise Mart from 2010 you might recognize who that would be.


Our Number One Suspect


   And, by the way, we HOPE he did buy the pistol because then both the only known photo AND the pistol belong to the same person. Someone we know cares about preserving the history of the Wild West.


• And, so, finally how does a Teddy Bear come into this story? Well, after the dustup with President Teddy Roosevelt at San Antonio in 1905 that lost Pat Garrett his job, Tom Powers remained friendly with the president and later gifted the president a bear cub from a hunting trip which he nick-named "Teddy" as in "Teddy Bear." And, so now you know the entire story behind the the $6 million dollar gun that killed the Kid.

• I want to thank Samuel K. Dolan for the fabulous newspaper clippings from El Paso and Mark Lee Gardner for his research on this piece and also James B. Mills.

• And The final word goes to the guy who started it all and bought low, but didn't get to sell high.

"There's no money in it."

—Billy the Kid

A Little Humor Por Favor

 September 15, 2021

   A full disclosure on my recent semi-sexist, semi-controversial Facebook post:

Two of my favorite things: an Arizona sunrise

and great, big American breasts.

   So, here's the backstory. Kathy, Uno and I were walking out to the end of the driveway yesterday at sunrise and I complained that I missed the sunrise and Kathy said, "Let me take my big, American breasts out there and it will make it better." Ha. So, I HAD to use that line!

   Meanwhile, it's time for somes much needed levity.

The Funniest Serious Headline I Saw Today:

Fauci Suggests Nicki Minaj's 'Swollen Balls' Vaccine Claim Is Just Nuts
—Huffington Post

Classic Onion Headlines From 9•11:

• U.S. Vows to Defeat Whoever It Is We're at War With

• Rest of Country Temporarily Feels Deep Affection for New York

• Open Casket Ruining Vibe at Funeral

Best Advice from The Old Vaqueros:

If you are ever attacked by a group of clowns, always go for the juggler.

Best punchline to an extended Norm MacDonald joke:

The set up: So a moth goes to a podiatrist. Then, the late, great Norm goes on and on about the moth pouring out his emotional troubles, and eventually, the podiatrist asks the insect why it came to a podiatrist rather than a psychiatrist. And, the moth says, "Because the light was on."

And, one more Norm-ism:

"I am basically interested in finding out the truth, but I just hope it's within walking distance."
—Norm MacDonald (1959-2021)

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The Checkered Women Quest Continues: Bonnie's Bonnet, The Mourner, Miss Defiant & Miss Not Amused

 September 14, 2021

   Deep into it. Scratching like crazy, learning new techniques as I go. Love this stuff.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Miss Bonnie's Bonnet"


Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Miss Defiant"


Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Miss Not Amused"


Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"The Mourner"


"Open casket really ruining vibe at funeral."

—The Onion



Monday, September 13, 2021

The Real Reason I Suddenly Hate Emerson Lake & Palmer

 September 13, 2021

  Pardon me if I bitch a little bit more, but yesterday morning I was in an MRI tube for three straight hours without a break. Ay-Yi-Yi! Donna, the technician at Barrow's Neurological Center, asked me if I was claustrophobic before going in and I said, No, but after about 45 minutes I started to get very uncomfortable. My nose itched, but I couldn't reach it, etc. THEN Donna said to me via the headset, "Okay we're doing your thorax so don't swallow." Impossible! And the more I tried to not swallow, the more I had to swallow! At about the two-hour-and-fifteen minute mark I used the clicker to ask to come out and when she slowly cranked me out I said, "I don't think I can do this any more," and she told me to try and pace myself because we ONLY had one 30 minute scan and then another ten minute one to finish. So I concentrated on the songs they were playing on YouTube in my headset (I chose Classic Rock) and figured that was about ten songs, so I put all my energy into listening to the songs and counting them down like a radio station would do. I must say there were some great ones ("We Won't Get Fooled Again" by the Who, and, "Sympathy for The Devil" by the Stones really stood out as brilliant). That is, except for one. Can't think of the title but it's by Emerson Lake & Palmer and it irritated me beyond belief. I now loathe them like a Pavlov dog (another Stones reference, "Bitch"). Somehow, in this harrowing experience—Rock 'n' Roll saved my life!—I managed to make it to the end and if anyone ever schedules one of these for me again and tries to convince me by saying it will save my life, I will have to say, in all honesty, "Let me think about that and get back to you."


   Speaking of music saving the world, our entire family is head over heels in love with Bo Burnham. Got this from Deena this morning: "I just finished 'Inside' and I want to talk about it. It left a big lump in my throat—it was wonderful and sad and funny and heartbreaking all at the same time. It made me incredibly grateful to not be lonely during the pandemic. That was my first thought. Then I had to start it over so I could watch a little of the beginning all over again. I had to split it up over two nights (I’m so old and tired I can’t stay up that late!). So many good lines. The internet “A little bit of everything all of the time,” and “If you see smoke don’t panic call me and I’ll tell you a joke,” and, I absolutely loved the “That is how the world works” song. Geez so well done with the sock on his hand. Genius. The Jeffrey Bezos song is all over Tik Tok, which I think is hilarious. “Come on Jeffrey you can do it!” And of course “Clear my schedule and pour me a drink imma face time with my mom tonight.”

   As an end note, Deena noted that her husband Mike didn't like it as much because of the "auto tuning." I had to laugh because I am the same damn way, just a different kind of pettiness. When Kathy and I watched "News of The World" and it was over Kathy told me about how much she loved the relationship between Tom Hanks' character and the little girl and the rich way it was told. She asked me what I thought and I said, "The saddles weren't right."

   Meanwhile, on the Untamed Women of The Wild West waterfront:

Operation Checkerboard Women

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out: "Miss Wanton"

You wouldn't want to meet her at her boyfriend's wake. Or, maybe you would?


Daily Scratchboard Whip Out: "Celsa"

   And on a more somber note:

Daily Whip Out:

"The First Lady of Las Vegas"  

   Her husband was murdered when she was pregnant with their sixth child. She did not give up.


"Did a character die in a book you read. You may be entitled to compensation."

—Old Vaquero Come On