Saturday, August 18, 2018

Things You Should Know I Know

August 18, 2018
   Here's a quote I love: "If you are going to tell the truth, better make them laugh, otherwise they will kill you."

   This brilliant sentiment—variously ascribed to George Berhnard Shaw, Cecile Starr, Charles Ludlam, Richard Pryor, James L. Brooks and others, I kid you not—perfectly captures what I am about to tell you.

   Two weeks ago I talked my good friend, the Top Secret Writer, into giving us a no-holds-barred rant on the state of history in this country. Long story short, he did just that, at some expense,  in terms of time and effort.

   I love Paul Andrew Hutton and I love his rants. When he gets going on a topic, it is nothing short of mesmerizing to hear him launch off on something he sees as untrue, unfair and hypocritical. And through it all, he makes me laugh, and then some.

   I asked for a thousand words, I got two thousand. I asked for examples and he was quite specific.

   I believed my staff and our readers would get the acerbic wit and the insights and enjoy the hell out of it. Well, my staff had a cow when they read it, so the piece has gone through some emotional editing gyrations since last Thursday and the tweaking continues into the weekend. I will keep you posted.

   Meanwhile, other sources are weighing in as well on this controversial subject, i.e., our sordid past.

   "The U.S. has. . . endured reversals, crises, malaise and committed its share of crimes. There is an extensive literature, dating to the 1780s and continuing through the present, predicting imminent doom or long-term decline. There's an equally long literature cataloging America's many sins, most of them real but very few of them all that particular to us, including slavery, ethnic cleansing, territorial conquest, racism and misogyny.

   "But the consistent theme of American history has been one of continual overcoming by way of direct recourse to first principals—principals that are timeless and universal, even if they were laid down by hypocrites."
—Bret Stephens, in The New York Times

"There is nothing wrong with America, that cannot be cured by what is right with America."
—President Bill Clinton

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Richest Hole of All

August 17, 2018
   Got up this morning and re-attacked a painting that I thought needed another tweak, or two:

"Ace Up The Sleeve, Death at The Door, #4"

   This is for the third edition of "The Illustrated Life & Times of Doc Holliday" which will come out next year.

   Speaking of rare and out of print books, when I was at Bookman's in Flag on Tuesday, I spied three of my books. A first edition of "The Illustrated life & Times of Billy the Kid," signed by me to "Lynda, your grandparents got you this. They must really love you. 10-24-92". That was at Suzanne Brown's Art Gallery when the book premiered and evidently Lynda didn't love the book as much as her grandparents because it's for sale at Bookman's for $30. The other two books were hardback editions of my Wyatt Earp books and one was for sale for $50 and the other for $60 (with the annotation "Very rare").

    I picked up a great little gem at Bookman's. "Ballad of a Laughing Mountain" by Art Clark and Richard Snodgreass. It's a black and white photo book that documents the not-quite-ghost town of Jerome from the year 1955, when the town went from 16,000 down to 300 almost over night. The striking photos are of the stubborn stragglers who hung on, hoping the town would come back. 

 One of those stragglers was an old Mexican miner named Tisnado who walked from Phoenix in 1899 to get a job (that is a 110 mile hike!). He worked in the mines for 53 years, and as he puts it, "never lose one shift. Never sick, never hurt." Now THERE is a hero.

"The Ballad of Tisnado"

   The local bartender at Paul's Place, in Jerome, remembers when the town was roaring: "Rough as hell, and tougher. Four deep at shift time, she was. Dutch lunch every Monday. Them boys [could] kill six, seven kegs [every] Mondays. A shot was fifteen, beer a dime. I've still got a tear gas bomb the cops gave me over in the safe. They could drink, them boys."

   According to the book, by 1897 they were pulling four million pounds of copper out of the mines every month! In 1915 the Little Daisy claim was discovered and is considered "the richest hole of all." The mines and the town went on highrolling until "one cool morning in 1953" when it all ran out.

"To see a mine die is to see a living thing die. For months, even years after the last shift comes off, the people refuse to accept or recognize the death, laugh about it, agree this is only temporary."
—Richard Snodgrass

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Face Out vs. Face Down

August 16, 2018
   Back from Flagstaff, and back into the fireball. It wasn't all work and no play while we were there. I checked out all the local bookstores because I love books and because I want to check up on a certain magazine's rack position:


Face-out at a Flagstaff Bookstore

   Unfortunately, this is not where I found the magazine. When I walked into the bookstore, our rack position was here:

Original Rack Position

   Look at that! You can't even see the headline in the sweet spot.

   A day later, I walked into Bookman's next to the NAU campus and saw this:

Bookman's Triple Face Out!

   Bookman's is a used book store and they had three True West issues on the front rack (full disclosure: I spread them out for the effect).

   The end result is this. We live and die by the newsstand and when our magazines are hidden, we don't get seen and our sales go down. I need you to check your local newsstand and when you see us there, make sure we're in front!

   Thank you.

"Bite the bullet, old man, and don't let them think you are afraid."

—Rudyard Kipling, 1890

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Did An Amazon Warrior Woman Name California?

August 14, 2018
    Another cool day in Flagstaff. Had breakfast at this little cafe, Carmels. Fresh squeezed orange juice, huevos rancheros with homemade pinto beans. Excellent food.

Breakfast at Carmel's

   And then dinner here:

BBB at Tourist Home

Rush hour weather in the rain

Queen Califia 
  Doing research on Baja I ran across a reference to an Amazon queen named Calafia (also styled as Califia) who allegedly lived on an island—California was thought to be an island until abut 1710—and it is from her that the name California resulted. 

   Here's a clarification on the island concept: "In 1539 Francisco de Ulloa sailed around both shores of the Sea of Cortes/Gulf of California and half way up the Pacific coast of Baja.  So he proved it was a peninsula.  A lot of people continued to claim Baja was an island, but there might be a method to this madness.  Spain claimed a lot of unexplored land in North & South America and they didn't want too much information to get out to the other European powers. This might be an early example of disinformation."
—Richard Coyer

 Queen Califia of the Baja Amazons

Here is a quote from the first published reference to her is mentioned:

“Know ye that at the right hand of the Indies [the American Continent] there is an island called California, very close to that part of the Terrestrial Paradise, which was inhabited by black women without a single man among them, and they lived in the manner of Amazons. They were robust of body with strong passionate hearts and great virtue. The island itself is one of the wildest in the world on account of the bold and craggy rocks.”
—Spanish writer, Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, in 1500 in his novel, "Las sergas de Esplandián" (The Adventures of Esplandián)

    Some 30 years later, Hernan Cortez, who was very familiar with the popular novel, mounted two expeditions to find this island and the Amazon queen. The first expedition was marred by mutiny and the leaders were wiped out when they went ashore to find water, but Cortez himself succeeded in the second expedition and this is where the name The Sea of Cortez originated.

 From Wikipedia, we get this: "The name of Calafia was likely formed from the Arabic word khalifa (religious state leader) which is known as caliph in English and califa in Spanish. Similarly, the name of Calafia's monarchy, California, likely originated from the same root, fabricated by the author to remind the 16th-century Spanish reader of the reconquista, a centuries-long fight between Christians and Muslims which had recently concluded in Spain."

"Once you go black you'll never go back."
—Rejected early California state motto

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Making more mistakes

August 12, 2018
   Kathy got in from Korea at seven last night. We drove up the hill this morning to escape the heat and celebrate 39 years together.

   At 11:30, we checked into our hotel with a suite overlooking the San Francisco peaks.  

Kathy's Rack in Flag

   Check out those massive tetons, the Chi-Chi’s the Tatas, the big ol’ rack on those peaks in the background.

   We had a celebratory brunch at one of our favorite little restaurants, The Cottage, which is in an old house, and then we walked in the rain back to the hotel. For scorched flatlanders from the Valley of the Sun, this is as close to heaven as we can get.

Blessed Rain and 71 degrees

   As Charlie Daniels sings in one of my favorite tunes, "I know where heaven is, it's just above the trees."

   Heading out tonight to hear some music, The Grass Fed Giants, and the Americana folk group The Kruger Brothers at the Opheum Theater.

    I've made some mistakes in my life, but this isn't one of them.

"Some mistakes are just too much fun to only make once."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Saturday, August 11, 2018

You talkin' to me, Pendejo?

August 11, 2018
    Worked on a variety of images today, including this one:

Daily Whip Out:
"Tall, Dark Rider"

   Also worked on a back story for Gringo Eyes:

   "His mother is Indio. His father was a missionary from the States who ended up teaching her the missionary position. There was a scandal in the church and he was sent home. 

Daily Whip Out: "The Missionary Position"

   The boy grew up as an outsider. The Mexicans don't trust him cuz he's a half-breed and he's got the Yankee eyes. The Gringos don't trust him cuz he looks too Mexican. We trust him a little, cuz he's my cousin."

   Ojos is shy, like most of us Indios. He don't make a scene. One time I seen a group of toughs from Ensenada try to bully him and his friends. They punched a friend of Ojos in the face and then beat another boy, knocking him in the dirt. They didn't think Ojos was a threat. Finally, after one of the cavrones was laughing at how weak our boys were, Ojos calmly pulled a pistol out of his jacket and said,

"You talkin' to me, Pendejo?"

   That changed their tune. "Don't hurt us, Gringo Eyes!" they yelped like the dogs they were. It was very funny.

   Ojos didn't hurt them but he put the hurt on their manhood, and they don't like that down here.

   He grew up to be a first rate vaquero and horse trainer. He has the magic hands. He got that from his mamacita. She was a healer.

Daily Whip Out:
"You talkin' to me, Pendejo"

   Kathy flies home tonight. We're headed to Flagstaff for a couple days of coolness.

"We don't have a lot of Latinos in Canada. It's too cold. We don't need a wall. We have winter."
—Sammy Sugar

Friday, August 10, 2018

Jaw Droppers & Random Renderings

August 10, 2018
   My son, Thomas Charles, wants to know where he got his jutting jaw and I told him it most likely came from this Norsky guy:

Carl Marvel Bell

   That is my farming grandfather on my father's side, from Thompson, Iowa, who I greatly admire.

Daily Whip Out: "Ojos Quest"

   I was going through my sketchbook and found this little gem:

   I was impressed with the Ed Borein art gallery at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum when I was attending the Hutton wedding a couple weeks ago. I did a couple sketches while I was there. The wedding was on the grounds and I had some time before it started.

   I have always loved the song "Peter Gunn," and that's where this sketch ended up.

Daily Whip Out: "Peter's Gun"

   I'm also still dealing with word balloons and how to do them effectively.

Daily Whip Out: Mexicali Balloons"

My sketchbooks are full of notes and excerpts from articles that inspire me, like this:

   This was very impactful. How? I'll show you tomorrow.

"We want to know what happens next."
—Adam Kirsch