Sunday, December 05, 2021

Out Wickenburg Way

 December 5, 2021

   Heading out to Wickenburg next Friday for a talk at the Desert Caballeros Museum. It's being billed as Geronimo Stories but that is just the tip of the iceburg. We are going to have some fun with all the Arizona legends from Doc Holliday to Billy the Kid to Olive Oatman and Big Nose Kate and everyone in between. Could get deep, so I suggest waders. Friday, December 10 in the Learning Center at the Desert Caballeros Museum. Talk starts at 11 A.M.

Having some fun illustrating a Mickey Free story Vince Murray and I are cooking up for a graphic novel class he is taking at Yavapai Community College in Prescott. Here's a taste:

Daily Whip Out: "Action Sequence #1"

Daily Whip Out: "Action Sequence #2"

Daily Whip Out: "Lightning Rider"

   Tried to watch "The Power of The Dog" last night and I have to agree with Anthony Lane, who reviewed it for the New Yorker: "Do not be misled by the setting into construing this movie as a Western. It's more of a chamber piece with chaps." And the wrong chaps, to boot. I spotted two alleged "working cowboys" wearing Dale Evans style fringe shirts. The hats are a mixed bag—literally—with Phil wearing something "unique" and his brother (Jess Plemons) wearing an Open Road with the current style of an unshaped brim, which is somehow more accurate than the 1970s Resistol bull rider hat that several of the hands wear. And don't get me started on the heavy, Phil Burbank (Benedcit Cumberbach) playing a mean banjo. Yes, a banjo.

"The two emotions that mess us up the most are fear and anger. And you can't be grateful and fearful at the same time. And you can't be angry and grateful simultaneously."

—Tony Robbins

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

EL Ojo Loco And Bedtime for Uno

 November 30, 2021

   I don't know about you, but my dog likes a good story before he retires. He absolutely loves this new book co-written by my friend Jeff Mariotte. I call this photo. . .

Bedtime for Uno

The new book is "Blood and Gold: The Legend of Joaquin Murrieta" by Jeffrey J. Mariotte and Peter Murrieta. Fun reading. I highly recommend it.

  I love so many things in this photo and, frankly, that's why they are near my desk. At far left, is a photo of my parents on their wedding day in 1945 (they were married in Saint John's Methodist Church in Kingman which is the exact same location of Clark Gable's marriage to Carole Lombard in 1939). Next to the photo of my parents, is a coin jar half-full of silver dollars which Criag Schepp used to pay for a BBB painting with. Behind the jar is the temporary grave marker for the "Guest" children, which Sadie Pearl (Guess) Duncan gifted me when we replaced that temporary grave marker with an actual gravestone in 1991. The print is of a Mississippi river boat, The Helena, out of Harper's Weekly. Above the jar is an original BBB scratchboard of Wyatt Earp behind bars, and above that are the legs of Zapata and his horse, by Diego Rivera from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. My reference library, behind me, includes my cartoon heroes on the top shelf (Dick Tracy, M.C. Escher and Steve Canyon, among others), the second shelf contains more eclectic stuff (R. Crumb Sketchbook, Hal Foster and Burne Hogarth's Tarzan), and the lower two shelves are dedicated to books on quotes, slang and dictionaries.

Daily Whip Out:

"In The Valley of Dust Devils"

Daily Whip Out:

"El Ojo de Loco, He Rode Straight Out

of A Dust Devil"

   And here are some roughs for a cover of Ojo de Loco. Or, should that be El Ojo Loco? Crazy Eye?

Daily Whip Out: "Free Roughs"

"Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs."

—Henry Ford

Sunday, November 28, 2021

That Nattering Nabob Voice of Negativity Inside My Head

 November 28, 2021

   I have this negative voice in my head which at times can be completely immobilizing. Here are a few things my voice says to me:

And you call yourself an artist? Ha!

• You can't run a successful magazine.

• You have zero influence on anything or anybody.

• When someone Googles "Old Fool" your picture should be there.

• Most people are laughing at you, not with you. 

• You are a pathetic, show-off loser, from Kingman and when you die you'll be lucky if you are even remembered as the local, untalented, version of Soupy Sales.

My Negative Nay-Bob

   I could go on, but I won't because it's too damned embarrassing. Plus, if you think the examples, above, are vicious, you don't even know what "nattering nabobs of negativity" means.

"The press are nattering nabobs of negativity."

—Spiro T. Agnew 

   Turns out our negative voice is stronger than our positive voice because of survival mechanisms out on the Plains of Serengeti. The negative voice kept us alive. "Don't eat that. What are you thinking?!"

 A Daughter's Fine Gift 

   My daughter Deena, recently gifted me "The 6 Minute Diary" and the first part of the diary is an impressive collection of quotes and information about why it's so important to be grateful in a daily, systemic way.

   There are several studies cited in the book that are eye opening, but the one with the 180 nuns especially stands out for me. When these particular nuns entered the convent they were asked to write out a short (two or three page) autobiography of their life so far, and what they thought their lives would bring them in the future. This was in the 1930s and 1940s and they were  22-years-old, on average. Based on their negative and positive comments they were divided into four groups from the most negative to the most positive. The most incredible aspect of the study is that these subjects didn't smoke, they didn't drink alcohol, they didn't have sex, or kids, and they lived in the same building.

   Here are the amazing findings: the 45 most positive nuns lived an average of 10 years longer than the most negative. At the age of 85, more than 90% of the happiest nuns were still alive!  

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Two Negative Nabobs"

   Wow! The message is clear. Be positive. Be thankful, be grateful. I will do the diary every day. And where can I look for inspiration?

Every day is Christmas Day to a dog.

Uno relishes the wind on his nose.

   Also, we all need to stop judging our insides by the outside of others. Some people "appear" to be in control of their lives, but inside they are just as haunted and cursed as we all are. 

   Athough it's fiction, here is a good example of someone heroic, but tortured inside, Captain Call:

"Sitting on the low bluff, watching the moon climb the dark sky, he felt the old sadness again. He felt, almost, that he didn’t belong with the very men he was leading, and that he ought to just leave: ride west, let the herd go, let Montana go, be done with the whole business of leading men. It was peculiar to seem so infallible in their eyes and yet feel so empty and sad when he thought of himself."

—Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Yaqui Legends Never Told

November 27, 2021

The Yaqui in northern Sinaloa have a legend about a one-eyed captivo who rode out of a dust devil fully formed. All the men feared him but the women could not resist his glowing eye.

Daily Whip Out:

"The Legend of Mickey Free"

(The Uncut Version)

   There is also another old Yaqui legend that ten leagues north of Cold Water (Agua Fria) and three-and-a-half fathoms below the Seven Sisters there is a cactus pointing towards a cave.

   If someone finds that cactus and goes into the cave, that person will be blessed with a ridiculously, large imagination.

A Dying Saguaro Points The Way

    So, don't go into that cave and feel the energy, because the guy who owns the trees behind the cactus will shoot you on sight if you set foot on his property. But you can still stoke your imagination by looking at these two photos, then call the Desert Land Trust and make a donation before you die. Don't tell them I sent you.

"History knocks at a thousand gates at every moment, and the gatekeeper is chance. We shout into the mist for this one or that one to be opened for us, but through every gate are a thousand more. We need wit and courage to make our way while our way is making us." 
—Alexander Herzen

Friday, November 26, 2021

My Fave Billy the Kid Artworks Are Up And Ready to Find New Homes

 November 26, 2021

   Here's a heads up for any of you who want an original BBB Billy the Kid painting or illustration for your very own. Many of these pieces of art I have had in my home and studio for the past thirty-plus years, and now it's time for them to find new homes where someone else can enjoy them.

   If those big Kid paintings are too rich for your blood, I've also included smaller pieces and have kept the prices low, just for you.

   Here's where to go to see the set up:

BBB Billy the Kid Art Sale

And here's the link to see the artwork and the pricing.

Billy Artwork Going Fast

You need to move your fanny, because these historically accurate paintings are going to go fast.

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away."

—Pablo Picasso


Thursday, November 25, 2021

The Beautiful Guess Girls Remembered & Thomas McGuane Nails My Immaturity

 November 25, 2021

   Today marks my 74th Thanksgiving on the planet. I don't remember much about the first six or seven but I do have some scattered, specific memories of some of them. I fondly remember Thanksgiving at my Aunt Doris's stately home in Osage, Iowa where I graduated from the kiddie table to the adult table. I must have been 22 or 23 years old at the time. No, that's just a joke, the kind my grandpa, Carl Bell, was fond of making. Of course, I remember many Thanksgivings at Grandma Guessie's house in Kingman when the house was full of cowboys and their feisty women (my mother was one of five beautiful sisters and most everyone in Mohave County knew them as the Guess Girls). They have all since passed, but the memory of their persistence, their beauty and their humor lives on.

My mother, Bobbie Guess, on horseback

1939, Hilltop (outside Kingman), Arizona,

when she was a senior in high school

   And you wondered where I got my taste in hats.

   Today I am thankful for many things, mostly my family and their familes, and, of course, all my friends who have put up with me longer than I would have put up with them if they acted like me.

The Cold Eyes of A Cartoonist

    I know. I have never really grown up. I wonder what the guy who co-wrote "The Missouri Breaks" has to say about that?

"In real psychological terms, your life is half over at ten."

—Thomas McGuane, "Not Here You Don't"

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Stance Remains The Same And The Key to Happiness

 November 24, 2021

   I received an interview request this week to talk about a sculptor named Lawrence Tenny Stevens, and I was somewhat embarrassed to admit I had never heard of him before. So, of course, I Googled him and found some pretty interesting bio info. He created what became known as "Cowboy High Style," and he lived and worked in Tempe, Arizona from the fifties until his death in 1972, at age 76. All this according to Edward Lebow, who wrote an excellent piece on Stevens in my old newspaper, the Phoenix New Times, in 1996. Wow! This makes it doubly embarrassing because he worked basically in my back yard!

   I also found this interesting photo of him.

Lawrence Tenny Stevens
High In The Rockies 

   Hmmm, where have I seen this pose before?

He's right-handed and I'm left-handed.
Otherwise, the stance remains the same.

 Anyway, yesterday I went for a walk on our burnt land and was sad to see this.

Burnt but still standing.

   This is on the north end of our property. Two of our saguaros have fallen and this one is pretty badly burned, so how long it lasts, I don't know, but I'll take it. I feel the same way about these two youngsters.

Young Love Still Standing

   We've been through some stuff, but we're still standing and still laughing. Forty-two years and counting.

So What Is The Recipe?

   Someone to love, something to do, something to hope for. I've never heard it put more succinctly. If you have these three things, ask for no other blessing. And conversely:

"It is not the happy people who are grateful. It is the grateful people who are happy."

—Old Vaquero Saying