Thursday, October 31, 2002

October 31, 2002
It’s Halloween and my staff always makes a big deal about dressing up. I hate this, but this morning my son emailed us saying he is going to a party tonight as an old school rapper-gangster. That did it: Kathy went into T’s room and brought out a pair of his old baggy pants, a hockey sweatshirt and a ski mask and before I was even out of bed, I became “Run BM Boze.” It’s the new me.

“Only the mediocre are always at their best.”
—Homer Simpson

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

October 30, 2002
We were coming back from a walk yesterday and I took a good look at Ratcliff Ridge which is smothered with tall, stately saguaros. I remembered that when we first moved out here in the 80s there were even taller ones, but they were hit by lightning and destroyed. In nature, you can be punished for being too tall. Just like in business.

We were attacked by a gang of javelinas last night. Garbage cans tipped over, crap everywhere. They are worse than artists.

Did a couple more washes last night. Got it down pretty good, but now I need to move to the next level. Nervous and full of doubt.

"The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it."

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

October 29, 2002
Big staff meeting today. Went over the success of the new issue and how to improve our efforts. Had a second meeting with sales and production. Heated, petty, emotional, educational and hopeful. Lots of angst all around. Good suggestions by Jana and Carole, two wise women. The good news is we all want the same thing: a great magazine.

I forced the principals to all go to lunch with me. That would be Robert Ray, Abby, Roland, Mike and Ted. We went to El Encanto and had a good time ($62 cash, it was worth it).

Got a reservation at the Keirland Westin Hotel for this Saturday, hopefully in the Bob Boze Bell suite. Ha. Hard to believe. It’s their pre-grand opening and they’ve invited all the vendors and craftspersons to come out and have fun. Got a book signing on Saturday at 90th and Shea, then I’ll meet Kathy at the suite.

One of the images they bought is of Curly Bill (see October 7-14 entries). Robert Ray came out today and installed a new scanner and we scanned that image and I forwarded it to Bernie who is going to put it up on the site for your perusal. More will follow, once I learn all the ropes here.

“We do not attract what we want, but what we are.”
—James Allen

October 28, 2002
Power went out three times this weekend. The last time was Sunday afternoon and we were expecting Wonderful Russ over for dinner. Couldn’t cook, or anything, so we met him at Crew for dinner ($47 cash). Good talking with him, many laughs.

Started my first fire in my studio stove (I’ve got a pot-bellied stove I bought at Big Bug Creek Antiques up near Dewey). Feels quite good.

I did 17 wild washes this weekend, and of course, didn’t do jack on cleaning my studio. If I ever want to get going on painting, all I have to do is have something else to do. And, evidently, if I ever want to get my studio cleaned, have some artwork that’s due. Ha.

Our January issue goes to the printer today. We are in great shape. Editorial has never been this smooth. Ads could use a little tweaking and I’ll take care of that tomorrow. Robert R. finished early and left to do errands (this is huge). Ted is cleaning up some accounts. R.G.and Meghan are working on Feb.-Mar. issue. Feels great.

Took Sue. H. and Carole out to lunch at El Encanto ($26 cash) and talked about the store and mailings. Sue will have reader’s poll numbers by Friday.

“Being a funny person does an awful lot of things to you. You feel that you mustn't get serious with people. They don't expect it from you, and they don't want to see it. You're not entitled to be serious, you're a clown.”
—Fanny Brice

Monday, October 28, 2002

October 27, 2002
I’m onto something wonderful (12:23 p.m.). I have been experimenting with wild washes and underpainting for some time but I feel like I haven’t quite pushed it far enough. So today I got the inspiration to try it on cold press board (I was cleaning and found a dirty board lying around and cut it in half, put a monochromatic wash of yellow ochre on one and a wash of raw sienna on the other. I fought the urge to keep going (adding more paint, or trying to “make it into something”) and let them dry as is. The yellow ochre one was quite harsh and had heavy transitions, but I let it go (it was difficult!). I went over to the house and had lunch, fiddled around, took a nap, came back out (it’s raining) and reversed the order, using a yellow ochre over the raw sienna and a new coat of raw sienna over the yellow ochre one. Then I dabbed the pooling paint with a wet paper towel and the transitions blended and the results are spectacular! Quite raw and “found” looking, with the aged patina of an old photograph (my goal all along). Now to work it to the next level. I’d like to create a scene on these but leave a significant portion showing through, so that the entire field looks like it has been in storage for 125 years. Very exciting.

Went into town with Kathy about three. Washes really running on Scottsdale Road. Heavy traffic all the way in. Stopped at Target and while K. shopped I went over to Starbucks and got a hot chocolate ($2.35 cash), picked her up and then we went down to Costco for groceries, etc. ($38 house account), while she was shopping I got gas ($15.92, gas is $1.31 a gal.) house debit), then we went across on the 101 and met Deena at Rock Bottom in Desert Ridge for lunch. One of the cooks recognized Deena (he used to work with her at another place) and comped the entire meal (we tipped our waiter $15 and the cook $15 cash). Kathy left her purse in Deena’s car so we had to drive all the way over to Ice Breaker’s to pick that up, then waded across town to make deposit at Desert Credit Union.

Got home around four. Power out. No electricity, couldn't cook, go online, call anyone. Had to read on the patio (Oh, the horror! The horror!).

Friday night we watched a riveting documentary on Sundance Channel called “Is Anybody Listening?” It’s about a band from Michigan called NC-17. They moved to LA, and were going to make it big, and of course, haven’t. They have doggedly pursued “the big time” for 12 years; they won on Star Search, won on MTV’s Basement Tapes, still no deal, no money. Their girlfriends and wives are all fed up with them. They looked very crushed and defeated. When is it time to give it up and admit failure, grow up and get a real job? Needless to say, this theme struck a nerve in our house! Ha. I totally related to the guys having been in many rock bands myself for too many years to count, and my media career is not that different, It’s a tough one. Kathy feels quite burned out by the feast and famine nature of my so-called career, and I must say she is a saint to have put up with all of my “promises,” for 23 years. Ouch!

"It is the follow through that makes the great difference between
ultimate success and failure, because it is so easy to stop."

—Charles F. Kettering

Saturday, October 26, 2002

October 26, 2002
Stress and strain with employee relations. Sales vs. production. Age old animosities. Resentment on both sides. Need to deal with that on Tuesday after the magazine goes to the printer.

Kathy still resents these blogger entries and the freelance art I did for Kierland Hotel. She feels it’s off purpose and I’m not running the magazine. Heated conversation this morning over breakfast. It’s all stressful, but like Joan of Ark said, “I’m not afraid. I was born to do this.”

Talked to Doug Dragoo yesterday about doing something at Rawhide. He’s in the process of buying the property for $45 million. Actually could make sense, finally. He’s interested in a museum and us having an office there.

Didn’t finish off cleaning my office yesterday. Got carried away with various business items and Dalton research (Classic Gunfights for Feb.-Mar). By the way, the outlaw Dalton boys came from a family of 15 children. And the family has always maintained, “Hey, we weren’t that bad, only three of our siblings became outlaws.” And in the land of statistical averages, they’re probably right. That poor mother, it represents almost two decades of childbirth, and she had twins towards the end. Ay-yi-yi!

Went to lunch with Carole and Robert Ray at Tuscani. I bought ($27 cash). Good talkiing with both of them.

Today is anniversary of the O.K. Corral embroglio. It’s been 21 years since I attended the Centennial of the event in Tombstone. Lee Silva’s new tome on Wyatt has a photo showing me on the roof of Fly’s shooting 8mm movies. I remember I had a state of the art camera ($250) and when I see the footage now, it looks like Civil War film, very grainy, jerky, of course it’s silent (which seems so odd today with video cameras). I was shooting for the ages and now it just looks aged.

Eric from 24-hour-mobile-car-care put in new sparkplugs in the ‘49 and cleaned carburetor ($60 Sue check).

It’s very cool out and it’s supposed to snow up in Flag. Going to clean my home studio today. Kathy is off to Tempe to help Deena clean her house (what a mom!).

Friday, October 25, 2002

October 25, 2002
I had the worst headache I’ve ever had in my life last night. Just a real migraine. Finally went to sleep around 11. Don’t know if I’ve been working too hard, or eating wrong, no exercise. Probably all of the above.

Delivered a small painting to JD yesterday, as a token of appreciation for him helping to grade our driveway. He’s a great neighbor. Loves any excuse to use his tractor. Can’t hear though, so you have to yell everything: “I SAID THIS IS A SMALL TOKEN OF APPRECIATION!” What? “APPRECIATION...TOKEN...THANKS FOR GRADING THE DRIVEWAY!” Giving the bride away? “NO, GRADING THE DRIVEWAY!!” You get the picture.

Can’t put up pictures of the art until next week. My scanner is down and Robert Ray asked me to wait until the magazine is out the door to scan at the office. No problem.

Almost have my office cleaned. Going to finish today and start on studio this weekend. Also want to do an illustration of John Wayne riding a Jackalope. I’ll explain later.

“To solve big problems you have to be willing to do unpopular things.”
—Lee Iacocca

Thursday, October 24, 2002

October 24, 2002
We are crankin’. Robert Ray has 75 pages in the can for January issue. We’ve never been this far ahead. It has allowed us to tweak articles and exchange better photos, etc. Really exciting.

Still, some are not happy. Got a call from Bob McCubbin, complaining about all the edits on his photography piece. He said, “Now I understand how all your writers feel when you edit their pieces to shreds.”

Took Meghan to lunch at China Joy ($13.60 cash)..It was fun to catch up on her life story. She’s a hard worker.

I drove the ‘49 Ford to work yesterday. A tire needed air, so I nursed it up to Circle K, got it aired up, then decided “It made it this far, might as well take it to work and show it off.” Well, last night I went out in the dark and it wouldn’t start. Called Kathy to pick me up on her way home and she did. Today, when Eric, from 24-hour-mobile-car-care, came by to help me start it, he said, “You left this here overnight?! You’re lucky no one stole it.” Then, when he told me he couldn’t put in new spark plugs until tomorrow, I said, “Well, let’s start this puppy and I’ll nurse her home.” It finally turned over, was hitting on about 4 cylinders, and I lurched out of the TW driveway and steered the barge down Cave Creek Road. You forget how many automobile advances there have been that we take for granted. No blinkers, so you have to roll down the window and give hand signals, like a Boy Scout. No seat belts, tiny mirrors. You’re sitting up on a high couch with a steering wheel that would give Mark Twain an erection, and the whole thing sidles down the street like two tons of Minnesota sludge. Aw, I’m makin’ it sound awful, but it was fun. The car was bought at Senseth Motors, in Forest City, Iowa in 1949 and has been in the family ever since. The speedometer has never rolled over. Amazing.

"The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the
child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm."
—Aldous Huxley

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

October 23, 2002
Woke up to the sound of gentle rain on the roof this morning. Drank coffee in bed and listened. to the distant rolling thunder. This is such a treat on the desert where it rarely rains.

Got an E-mail from an Arizona Highways magazine photographer who has the assignment to shoot me for an upcoming article on Kingman. He asked me where I would want to be photographed and I E-mailed back several Kingman locations that have meaning to me:
• I lost my virginity at White Cliffs.
• In the article I rave about the Hualapai Mountains and I think a photo at Coyote Pass with the Hualapais in full glory in the background would be just about perfect.
• I got my nickname "Boze" from running the bases backwards at Dickie Grounds baseball field in 1964.
• My dad had Al Bell's Flying A gas station on Route 66, just across from the Smoke House (it's an empty shell now, but the butte behind there has much meaning).
• My Grandmother lived on Jefferson Street, just down from "Radar Hill." I grew up, running around those foothills and listening to her stories about our outlaw relatives.
• I once lost a drag race in a 1957 Austin Healey way out of town on a lonely stretch of Old Stockton Hill Road (it's where the hospital is now. Ha.).

Came home early last night and worked on several painting studies. Want to do good mood stuff and it’s so hard to be bold and yet hold back. Really exasperating. I did see a goofy cable movie last night called Degas and the Dancer Girl, or something like that. It was really lame, but the character Degas said he had to do paintings ten to twenty times before he got close to getting them right. That was freeing to me (I know, I know, it’s a stupid movie written by a stupid screenwriter probably making the quote up entirely, but I don’t care, I’ll take solace and encouragement where I can find it).

Bernie, our web guru, is coming in tomorrow and I am going to have him scan all of the artwork I have been slaving on, so you can see for yourself if it was a waste of time.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

October 22, 2002
Time, memory and history, the three things I am fascinated with the most. Kathy gave me these while reading about someone, I can’t remember who (Ha. Creativity is remembering what was said, but forgetting who said it.). Went for a walk in the cool morning air. Beautiful sunrise. Almost ran back to the house to get my camera but decided to just enjoy it. Inspired to do a story about the discovery of a photo that changes everything.

The entire staff and I went to lunch at El Encanto to celebrate Mike M. birthday (43) and Abby (25) and belatedly Boss' Day (that would be me). Great time, talked about movies, media gossip, sat outside by the lagoon. Really nice out. When it came time to pay, I predicted that we would be at least $25 short (there were 15 of us and my experience has always been everyone puts in short). Imagine my surprise when Carole said we were over and did anybody need any money back. Now that's an honest staff! Somebody must have really put in the dough because I only put in $2. Or so.

When I handed my artwork in yesterday, a guy came in with a large Anasazi painting and set it in the conference room where I was unbundling my paintings. I looked at it and thought, “My stuff is shit. I am totally unworthy to even be in the building with that. Here, let’s get some lighter fluid and light my crap on fire and burn it before anyone else sees it.” Of course, what I actually said was, “Nice image.” What a phony Bastard I am.

And speaking of phony Bastards, we have received a supposed journal from Tombstone and it reads too good to be true. Of course, we all want to believe that there are these letters that will tell the true story, but my gut tells me there’s something terribly fishy here.

“Trust your hunches. . . . Hunches are usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level. “
—Dr. Joyce Brothers

Monday, October 21, 2002

October 21, 2002
Finally delivered the 12 paintings to Kierland Commons Resort. Drove down at 11 and dropped them off with Pam Hollingsworth. She said she liked them. Check’s in the mail. Drove over to El Conquistador for lunch but they were closed on Monday, so I backtracked down to Rolberto’s. Got a Seven-up, two carne asado burros, a machaca burro and a bean burro to go ($`2 cash). Ate half the carne asado burro and drank the Seven-up (old style bottle) great.

Got back to office around 12:30. Bob Brink came in around one, he was at the national magazine conference at the Biltmore. Wants me to go with him tomorrow. Sounds like a good networking deal. We got a nice hit in the Republic this morning. They ran a picture of our Billy issue and our stats (an article on pubs done locally).

Wrote up the financials. Got some very good things going from Don’s (the accountant) numbers: Financials for September show excellent trends: We grossed a record number for September. We have decreased losses by 75%.And, probably the most exciting number in the report, showed a healthy 40+% growth from this quarter to the same quarter in 2001.

Sub monies are down, but we expect the museum mailings to kick in next month. We are expecting the museum program to bring us 20,000 new subscribers
in 2003, and this will help our bottom line significantly.

Newsstand revenues are increasing significantly and we expect them to double by the middle of 2003.

Our ad goals for 2003 are to put out 10 issues and average above [a record number]. Already, sales for the special travel issue are showing strong potential. Mike has hired a fifth sales person who will start on November 1, and Mike assures me we will be in record territory for the rest of the year. I believe him. Mike hasn’t been wrong yet.

Some of the staff leaving too early, need to nip that in the bud. This is deadline week and several have bailed at four! Just disgusting (and exactly what I would have done when I was an overpaid employee).

Worked until 5:30 and interviewed Cynthia Williams. She wants a job editing. Bob McCubbin’s mom fell and broke her foot. He’s in the hospital in Colorado Springs (where she lives). We need him to proof Fifty Photos piece before it goes to press on Friday.
I feel very competent. So rare (unique to turning in a big assignment). I have big ideas on houw to build on this. We’ll see.

“There is only one journey—going inside yourself.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke
October 19, 2002
Computer acting up. Lost yesterday’s entries (and Saturday’s). Ouch!

We met Deena at Chompies Deli on Saturday afternoon and had lunch ($42 cash), then went to Costco for groceries, etc. ( $89 house debit), went thru Walgreen’s drive-thru for headache prescription for Kathy ($8 co-pay), then stopped at Dairy Queen for a treat ($4.38 cash).

Very good weekend. Painted four images, two of Ike Clanton, one of Pearl Hart and redid Marshall Trimble’s face (I think I saved the painting). Came up with the title “Bandit Babe,” for title of Pearl painting. I actually leaned on her looks and gave her a Gibson Girl look, with knitted eyebrows, bedroom eyes, bee stung mouth, petite nose. Basically utilizing everything I’ve learned from my publishing experience: distorting history for commercial gain (see quote below).

Kathy made a turkey and took half of it to Deena’s house in Tempe. I finished painting around 4:30, had two glasses of wine and some turkey. Watched the Sopranos. Best show on television. Our satellite feed went out twice during the last ten minutes so we missed some vital dialogue.

"When any creativity becomes useful, it is sucked into the vortex of commercialism, and when a thing becomes commercial, it becomes the enemy of man."
—Arthur Miller

Friday, October 18, 2002

October 18, 2002
Kathy got sick last night. Bad headache, she took a pain pill, but at about midnite, she threw up. I had a headache also (I’m hoping it’s from my work marathon and not cancer). Woke up about 4:30 and heard a clipped yelp from Peaches. I was worried that it was the coyotes coming into the yard and they got her. Scrambled up and out in the dark, but Peaches was in studio (must have dreamed it). I let her out and went back to bed.

Called Bob McCubbin last night and he told me where I could find a photo of “Black Faced Charlie” Bryant for the Ingalls shootout. I’ll call John Boessenecker today (it’s rarely been published, and turns out we published it in 1995, Gus found it. He’s so good.). Bob also put in a plug for including the Rose of Cimarron, Nora “Rose” Dunn, the legend of the girl who allegedly brought a gun to Bitter Crreek during the fight (I don’t believe it and neither did Glenn Shirley, but Bob M. wants to believe it).

Need to deliver the Kierland Commons images today. I’m going to give them the last three originals (Commodore Perry Owens, Climax Jim and Marshall Trimble) rather than go to all the trouble of scanning them, taking them to Techniprint, getting prints, etc. I was going to give Marshall his original, but I missed his likeness and I’ll redo it for him.

Got into work around 8:30. We are still tweaking and correcting the Fifty Most Important Photos piece. Really a marathon. Pam from Kierland Commons called at about 11 and said today is a bad one to turn in art, and could I do another piece of art, this one on Pearl Hart, the female bandit? So I need to do another painting this weekend and turn everything in on Monday. Kind of nice to get a reprieve.

Came home for lunch and ate leftover tacos. Got back in office around one, Bob Brink came in (he’s been in New York all week on Hearst biz). He brings so much calmness to our operation. I told him I wanted to hug him I was so glad to see him, which always makes him cringe. Ha. We went over various problems and opportunities and he gave me the skinny on it all (he really is like my Godfather!).
Worked on correspondance and returning poetry, art requests, etc. Attempted to clean off my desk, but it’s such a losing proposition. Came home at around 5:30, stopping at the post office to mail off around 20 letters and postcards.

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible."
-- Walt Disney

Thursday, October 17, 2002

October 17, 2002
Woke up at three again. Came out and went to work. Finished Climax Jim at 5:12. Two more to go.

Rained last night. Just beautiful out. Got going on Marshall’s face and body. Pants look good. Going to take a break (6:13) and go for a walk with Kathy.

Nice and cool on walk. Coyote tried to take Peaches down. She was yelping and crying. They attacked again when we came back, coming right into the yard. I need to get my paintball gun fixed.

Got Marshall’s shirt painted in, working on guitar and face (7:42).

Carole E-mailed me with financial conerns. Need to go over recievables and spread sheet.

I think I got Marshall’s face (8:19). God Dammit, don’t touch it!

Of course, I went right back over and diddled with the face, got caught in a corner, cursed, rubbed out, almost lost it, got him back, he looks too old. Jesus! Give it up! (8:45).

Finally finished Marshall painting (9:24). Overworked. Face is too light. Can’t stop, got one more to finish.

Wailing on Commodore Perry Owens, last one. Got in face (overworked), hair okay (he has very long hair, very unusual for Old West). Shirt is good (10:15). Got to finish.

Kathy is disappointed in me. She thinks this is really off purpose. I’m afraid it is. Need to protect magazine. I know, I know.

Ruined the face (Commodore's), did a wash over it, made it messy, knocked it back. it’s okay, not great (10:38). Going to shoot it and go. Tired. Exhausted. Not real happy. Too rushed. Marathon.

Shot it (10:48), now to my real work.

Gus took the initiative and laid out the Ingalls second spread all by his lonesome. He didn’t need me, it looks great! Worked and shoehorned in all the copy and cutlines.

Sue H. is restocking the store and it’s never looked so good.

Went to lunch with Carole at House of Joy. She bought (it's bosse's day). Good talking with her.

Daniel’s layout for The Fifty Most Important Photos came back and it is a knockout. Dan is on a roll. My only complaint was he put a big “50” over a Charlie Russell painting (on another layout for Lewis & Clark piece). When I called him he said it was because the print we had was so crappy, he felt he had to do something. The only problem is with the Helena Historical Society, and I’m sure I’ll hear from them.

Came home. Big storm coming in (5:45). Tired, have a headache. It is nice to have the assignment done. I’m going to see about posting the above images on here so you can see if they were worth the angst. Ha.

"When any creativity becomes useful, it is sucked into the vortex of commercialism, and when a thing becomes commercial, it becomes the enemy of man."
—Arthur Miller

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

October 16, 2002
Woke up at three in the morning mulling all the paintings I have to finish today. Finally got up around 3:45 and came out to studio and started in. Got a good likeness of Commodore Perry Owens going, swithced gears and started on Marshall Trimble painting, got a good Santa Fe railroad car in the foreground and Bill Williams Mountain in the background (thankyou photo reference). Now to nail his image. Decent early morning light in sky. Need to move quick and bold. Need to finish six images by noon. Here goes:
Struggling (7:09). Got in a decent shirt and vest on Bucky O’Neil, then switched to Marshall’s Levi’s. Verdict still out. Moving too slow.
Got the usual mud pies going. (10:44). Nothing finished. Robert just called and said I need everything to him this afternon to get it to Techniprint. Good passages on Curly Bill image (unfortunately, the one I already had one, and I decided to do a better one. Ouch!)
Finished one! (12:36) Curly Bill has fallen. He is laughing. Got to keep moving.
Finished number two, Bucky O’Neil (12:49).
Finished number three, George Ruffner (1:06)
Finished number four, Jim Roberts (1:31)
Climax Jim won’t fall (1:55). Still have rifle and gunbelts to do. Hanging out on Commodore Perry Owens and Marshall. Damn! Ran out of gas. Took a shower, ran film up to Foothills Photos and had them do a rush. Picked up the prints at four, Robert Ray began scanning, to get ready to take to Techniprint in the morning.

Worked with Gus to do a better layout on the Ingalls gunfight. Need to add some of the outlaws. Unfortunately, they are only photographed dead, so I may do some head shots, extrapolating from their death photos. That is, if I can finish this hotel stuff.

Came home. Fried. Going to bed early. Checked E-mails. Got good messages from Kondi (I worked with him at KXAM) and Bill Whitmer from San Diego regarding the business history journal. Thanks guys.

To learn the worth of a man's religion, do business with him.
- John Lancaster Spalding

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

October 14, 2002
More flak from friends and readers saying my journal entries are too negative and will only drive people away from the magazine and the biz. Got a long E-mail from a publisher in Washington saying he felt my pain from reading the business journal entries but it will drive customers (both readers and advertisers) away because it appears True West is a sinking ship. He said he even declined to subscribe. Needless to say, that is not the effect I was hoping for.

Well, if you’ve read the journal history all the way to the end, you know that it has a happy ending. We are in record ad sales territory and our newsstand sales have tripled. But, still I took the advice to heart (I have several friends who are successful business people—okay, it's Russ and Wendy Shaw— and they agree with the E-mail). So I called our website guru, Bernie and told him of my dilemma and told him I was considering taking down the business history part of the journal. I asked his advice. Here’s what he said:

"Open Book Management" was the term I came up with to describe one aspect of your journal. I'm not an expert on Bloggers [Web log= blog it is the format we use to put up the journal entries] but I'm not aware of anyone who is using an online journal to discuss, among other things, the daily management of their business. Who knows what may come of this, but I think it's great. How can you go wrong with telling the truth and speaking from the heart. In this instance you are truly a pioneer of the web. Keep emphasizing the True in True West! I see your business in terms of the town of Tombstone. True West magazine is main street on Sunday with everyone in their finest. But if you travel the back streets you will find the real characters of the West. The website does not have the social standing of the magazine and so it can dare to travel the back streets and portray a tiny bit of what really fascinates us about the West.”

A perfect example of everyone being about half-right. Who do I listen to? Is my journal (the business history part) too negative? Did you get the impression we are going out of business when you read it? Drop me a line at my home address: and let me know what you think. Thanks.

Good day today. Gus and I are slaving away on Classic Gunfights. The Ingalls fight is very deadly, with three U.S. marshals dying in the battle.

I came home and painted at lunch, got some good passages for the Keirland Commons paintings. Worked until around seven. Got a massage from Christie at 4:30 ($50 house check).

Monday, October 14, 2002

October 13, 2002
Back from a weekend in Flagstaff. We left at 10:30 on Sat. morning. Ha. After I made such a big deal about leaving early and Kathy gave in, I decided I needed to work on the paintings for Kierland Commons before I left. It was worth it. I pencilled in six tight images ranging from Commodore Perry Owens to Curly Bill Brocius. Called Marshall Trimble and asked him about Ashfork, which is where he’s from and told him I wanted to do the painting of him standing next to the railroad tracks in Ashfork. Which direction, or landmarks would he like in the painting? He told me he wanted Bill Williams Mountain behind him. Ashfork used to be a big train town with eight tracks splitting off there and a huge Harvey House. It’s all gone now.

Deena came with us and we got to Flag at noon, picked up Tommy at his dorm and had breakfast at The Place ($22 cash). Deena had us in stitches, telling us about this movie she keeps seeing on cable called “Kung Pow-Enter The Fist.” She was doing the voices and I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard.

As a treat I forced the kids to go to the Northern Arizona Museum to see the Maynard Dixon show ($15 cash). He’s one of my heroes and what a draftsman he was. Really great and enjoyed it.

Checked into Aspen B&B, tried to take a nap, but didn’t take. We all went down town to go shopping. Bought an illustrated book on Absynth ($21 cash). Very cool. I bought Deena some shoes ($29 cash).

Went to the Parent’s Day bar-b-que at 6:30. Buffet outside, cold burgers and beans, but hey, it was free (except for the $18,000 tuition and dorm fees). Football game was kind of cool. They have an inside arena and you can really hear the hits and the coach’s swearing. Good game (Sacramento State won), lots of Phoenix kids on NAU team. We left at half-time (the girls are wimps and Deena’s feet hurt from new shoes. Ha.). We went to Blockbuster and rented “Kung Pow—Enter the Fist.” ($4 cash) Took it back to T’s room and watched it. Of course it wasn’t nearly as funny as Deena’s description of it. At about 10:30, T’s girlfriend Amber and another girl came in and we were introduced. I smiled and worked my way around to her blind side and after a sharp yell, Kathy kind of clothes-lined her and we held her down and inspected her. Kathy took her ears and teeth and I took a close gander at her back and thighs looking for tattoos or needle marks. Just kidding.

Kathy and I went back to the Aspen B&B, but the kids went out and partied. When you are in your fifties, sleep is better than sex (it feels so ilicit: strange bed, no work to do, Now we’re really sleeping together. All right!).

Got up Sunday and read my new book on Absynth. Really fascinating. It was so sixties (that would be the 1860s) with all of the drug use. Virtually all of my painting heroes were absynth drinkers (in fact, it was totally legal and in France they had “The Green Hour” which was essentially Happy Hour, from 5 to 7; the more things change...).

Took off at 11 and drove to Ashfork on I-40. Took about a dozen shots on the railroad tracks looking towards Bill Williams Mountain. Got some good photo reference, took off south to Paulden. Got gas ($18 cash), lots of white trash with bad teeth, and trailer houses. Drove into Prescott via Chino Valley and Willow Creek Rd.

Had lunch at Frontier Natural Market ($23 cash). Tried to return the “Kung Pow” video to the Prescott Blockbuster, but, of course, they wouldn’t touch it. Took off down thru Dewey. Young Farms Pumkin Festival was in full swing and there appeared to be thousands in the fields. I-17 was bumper to bumper all the way in. Got home around four, unloaded and started in on washes for the six remaining paintings. Got some very nice subtle tones going on all six. Watched the Sopranos (really getting dark and foreboding), and went to bed, exhausted but happy.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of
getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small
manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”
—Mark Twain

Saturday, October 12, 2002

October 11, 2002
Got up teeming with ideas about the “Bullpen” logo. Finished a gouache version and may use it. I still want to do a utility scratchboard version.

Waiting for Eric from Mobil Car Care (8:40) to show up and start ‘49 Ford. Put trickle charge on about eight so at least the battery will have some charge.

Got into office at nine. Gus back from vacation, so we scrambled to put together Classic Gunfights: Assault On Ingalls Turns Bloody. Gus has a great map and we shoehorned it in (it always looks like it won’t fit, then you keep massaging and massaging and it all fits perfectly. One of the miracles of layout.) Ha.

Met Kathy for lunch at El Ped ($12 cash). Big crowd there for the “bowl” charity (buy a custom made bowl for $10 and the money goes to charity). Talked about our Parent’s Day trip tomorrow to Flag: NAU. Deena is bringing her 6 foot 7 boyfriend. Changes the dynamics of the trip.

Good solid afternoon, finished roughing in Classic Gunfights, tweaked the new Outfitting The West column with Abbey. Meghan did very well. There’s only a couple things hanging and we’ll fix them Monday. Issue is going to be very strong.

Kathy picked me up at 5:20 and we drove down to PV Mall area (called Russ—every time I drive by Hearn— I call him). While Kathy returned a pool gizmo, I bought two Coronas at a market ($4.50 cash) and, then while she went into Target, I sat in the parking lot and drank one (trying to save money from ordering in restaurant). Shot up to El Conquistador for dinner ($26 cash) and had the chicken mole enchiladas (Man they were good!). Ran into my ex-mother-in-law. Really great to see her. Asked about all her kids (really tragic: one heroin overdose, another recovering heroin user, two gay, one estranged, guess which one I was married to? Ha.)

Got gas ($8 cash), got into an argument on the way home about me wanting to leave early (see BBB Road Rules, Sept. 28) tomorrow morning. We’ll see who wins.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

October 10, 2002
Tough transitions. I stayed home today to try and paint the 6 remaining images for Keirland Commons Resort (it's an 11 image deal, with five badmen and five lawmen and Marshall Trimble). Of course I ruined the first three, worked to death a fourth and finally got an underwash going around three, played it bold, but safe, one tone (yellow ochre) trying for an old photo effect. Disappearing edges, water spots (hey, those are easy!), subtle facial tones (not so easy). I’m finally cooking, and I have one-half of one image done. Ha! At least I’m in the water.

Also need to do a logo for a new column that will appear on the Last Stand page. It’s a cute little history-sports quiz that a writer sent us. We came up with the title “Bull Pen” and I thought it might be cool to have a profile of a big, mean bull with a Chicago Bulls cap on. In the old days, I would have torn through my acres and acres of reference clip files, looking for the Bulls logo. Then, if I didn’t find it, which was often the case, I would call the Suns office and ask for a catalogue of NBA caps and jersies, They would promise to send me one and I would check the mail every day for a week and when it didn’t come, I’d drive down to Phoenix (35 miles) and go to the clothing shop at America West Arena and buy a $30 Bulls cap, take Ed Mell out to lunch at Adriana’s ($30), buy some $20 sheets of Essdee Scratchboard at Arizona Art and drive home, too tired to work.

This morning, I went to Google, typed in Chicago Bulls, went right to the home site, clicked on caps and 30 seconds later, I was drawing the logo, and the cap for free (if you don’t count the $3K worth of computer equipment). Now that’s progress.

More later, need to try and get another two drawings in place.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

October 9, 2002
Had lunch with Bob Brink and Chuck Soderstrom from Anderson Distributors. We went to Bob’s private golf club up in Carefree. Had a great salmon salad and iced tea (Bob signed for it). Good talk about the distribution biz. Chuck is a big supporter of ours and is going to do a redistribution on our Arizona circ. Real solid guy.

Came back and met Gary Avey, publisher of Native Peoples. We went down to El Encanto and sat outside by the pond. He drank coffee and me more iced tea and we traded publishing stories. Realized several things: we are all in similiar boats, the problems are almost identical but then, so are the opportunities. He detailed the infamous shootout with then Governor Bruce Babbitt, who tried to get Arizona Highways to run a column by him. Gary was editor and it led to the legendary episode where an aide to the governor started doing pushups in a meeting (because he was so stressed). I did a cartoon of it which ran in New Times Weekly and I had forgotten I had given Gary the original. Publishing is brutal and political enough without throwing real politics into the mix.

Lately, I have been inundated with stories of embezzlement. A certain local paper had an HR director who burned the biz for $250,000 and they didn’t press charges! (they were doing a deal and didn’t want the grief of bad publicity) Just amazing and scary. When you go out to hire from the general public, you really are playing Russian roulette. No wonder so many successful businesses (and outlaw gangs) hire family. Ha.

Mehgan’s first day yesterday. She’s in the middle of a deadline, thrown in with the pitbulls. Hope she can survive.

Speaking of survival, Big Tom jumped up in my lap yesterday. This is so unusual for a production assistant. No wait, Tom is a cat! And a very wary cat who has never jumped up in my lap in all the years I have known him. We have had probably two dozen cats over the 17 years we’ve lived out here on the desert and everyone of them has been done in by coyotes. Except for Big Tom. Even Big Tom’s mom, who was a wary cat herself, and taught her son to live on the roof, finally came down one night and got waylaid. The coyotes hunt in threes. They wait for the cats (and sometimes dogs!) to come out away from the house. One of the coyotes usually fakes an injury, limping and acting weak. When the animals come out to act tough two or more coyotes come in behind them and take the poor critter down. This is not the Disney desert. In fact, when the food chain conga line gets to crankin’ it is a dark and deadly place.

Big Tom has had some close calls (we have found him more than once with cholla cactus embedded in his body—he obviously jumped into the middle of one to escape the trap).Tom survived mainly because he lives on the roof and because he would have nothing to do with anybody. I never even touched him until he was about four, and then it was just for a second.

Tom has beat all the odds, living on the roof (we hear him running across the beams at night and it makes us smile). It’s actually amazing the horned owls haven’t got him because they too, love cats.

Anyway, every day I come out in the morning to see if Big Tom survived another night and there he is, unsmiling, and with a look that says, “Shutup and feed me.” If he had a grapefruit, he'd rub my face in it. You get the picture.

So you can see, I was more than a little shocked when he jumped up in my lap yesterday and demanded to be cuddled. What a guy. By the way, I haven’t seen him today. Yikes! Better go look.

Found him up in the studio loft, spread out on a big sofa. As I came up the wooden stairs and saw him, he yawned, spread out his hind legs and said, “Shutup and scratch me, you know where.” Ha. Also, in his old age he has begun to sleep with dogs. Certainly another sign of the impending apocalypse.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

October 8, 2002
Finished three paintings Sunday. Decent stabs at Lewis & Clark (which is way out of my normal territory). The January issue is going to be quite strong with Bob McCubbin’s 50 Best Photos feature.

Kathy spent the day hanging up paintings in my studio hallway. Really looks nice. I am such a pig. Just disgusting how I trash out my area. I was reading Lon Megargee’s life story last night and they said he had “a messy studio,” and I thought so little of him, it was such a turn-off (projection, eh?).

Knocked off around four and made salmon, cooked some pasta and opened a bottle of 1999 Merlot from Costco ($14 bottles of $24 wine, or so the wine steward told us). It was quite good.Watched the Sopranos and enjoyed it.

Got to finish 11 paintings for Keirland Commons by this Friday. Going to be tight. Need to divide my time at office and studio. Plan to go in early, then come home for lunch and work all afternoon here.

What a joke! Got caught up in office embroglio. Had two employees flip out on me. Just nasty stuff. After it calms down some I’ll tell you the gritty truth, but at this moment it’s too raw for human consumption.

In spite of this, we had an excellent staff meeting this morning with the whole crew. Invited Dewey Webb who is working on a piece on the top ten grossing Westerns. It is not who you think it is. Staff got quite into it arguing about the real top three (they couldn’t believe it), lots of energy expended. It’s that energy I want to capture in the magazine.

David K. read my journal entries and posted the following: “I am still mad at your mother for giving you the Billy the Kid book that changed you from "rock bad boy" to "cowboy bad boy." And Kathy is right, you should get a brain scan.” He also added, “By the way, everytime I see a lost penny I think "western" (true!). It's like having a Tex Ritter tune stuck in my head and I can't get rid of it. I may have to go to therapy to have your subliminal suggestion removed from my head.”

Got the photos developed for the three paintings ($11.87 cash). Just hate them. Want to repaint all three, but I can’t. I’m just such a pathetic painter, it’s not even funny.

Big Tom has survived where at least two dozen cats have not. His story tomorrow.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

October 6, 2002
I have been missing my daily entries. It’s due to the blogger mentality and I don’t like that. I’ve sort of downgraded these comments to short vingettes, and while it is safer, it is less of a record.

For instance, last Saturday (a week ago) we spent more money than we have in a long time. I need to go back and post these numbers.

“Capitalism is the mother who forgives all her sons.” Great quote from a poet on Prairie Home Companion this morning.

David K. Jones, who I used to do the morning show with is now at WBBY FM in Tampa-St. Pertersburg, Florida. He’s so funny. I forwarded him a liberal bashing E-mail and he sent the following: “Thanks for the liberal bashing email. I have seen the light! I now will follow the wisdom of Rush Limbaugh and Jerry Falwell. A civilization's greatness comes from its ability to extract swift retribution from advisaries not related to any recent transgression. So what if the Tigres and Euphrates are the "Cradle of Civilization." Did Iraq ever produce one person with the skill of Dick Dale? I say, let the carpet bombing begin.”

Finished three paintings today. Did a parody of “Meet The Beatles” album cover only applying it to Lewis & Clark, York and Sacajawea—The Fab Four of American history. Got a pretty good image, although I tend to work stuff to death. Also did an impressionistic Sacajawea “fading” into the background (obvious, heavy handed symbolism). I’m doing pretty good.

Have new glasses with progressive lenses. Now I wear glasses all the time. Takes some getting used to, transition is tricky.

Tried to start the ‘49 Ford but it’s got carburetor problems. Couldn’t remember the charging details (it’s a six volt battery). Tried to call from phone book—Vintage Ford. A guy answers phone, I say, “I’ve got a ‘49 Ford and I want to know what the wattage charge should be on.” He says, “I think you have the wrong number, this is Vintage Fashion.” I say, “Okay, say I’m in casual slacks, and I’m in a ‘49 Ford going to a malt shop, is that the proper attire?” Long pause and a click.
Ed Mell calls just as I’m trying to get the right number. “Hey Ed,” I say knowing he owns several classic cars including a cherry Packard, “What is the correct wattage to charge a ‘49 Ford?” He thinks for a moment: “Well, I don’t know about wattage, but the amps should be on trickle charge, maybe 2 amps.” I say, “Yeh, that’s right, amps, not wattage. Thanks.” Ed is incredulous: “And your dad had a garage?”
“Yeh, well, every time I tried to do anything, he would come over and say, ‘Here, let me do that.’ And he never let me do anything. So I always had to call him to get information, and then he died. So now I’ve got you. Don’t die on me Ed.”
He laughed. Ed just got back from a plein air painting trip with Gary Ernest Smith. Both are monster painters. Very talented and high dollar guys. Good talk with Ed and we caught up on all the painting and kid stories, etc. Great guy. He actually paints so good it pisses me off. Ha.

Saturday, October 05, 2002

October 5, 2002
People sometimes ask me, “How did you get started with all this Western stuff?” And the honest answer is: A penny.

Of course, I have been interested in the Wild West since I was a little tyke, but during the eighties I sort of drifted away and got caught up in being a media bad boy (I did scathing cartoons for Playboy, National Lampoon and mainly New Times Weekly, and I was on a popular rock and roll radio show, Jones & Boze for most of the eighties and nineties). In 1989, my mother sent me a book: The Saga of Billy the Kid by Walter Noble Burns (1924) and reading it really reignited my passion for all things Western. There was only one problem: no one outside of my immediate family knew this. Everyone thought of me as just a rock and roll, cartoonist bad boy (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

So I decided to change that preception, both inside and out. I started picking up pennies. Yes, when I would see stray pennies lying on the ground, I picked them up and squeezed them and said to myself the word “Western.” Ha. That’s it. It sounds so goofy but that is what I did and continue to do (I just found one in our driveway this morning—Kathy is cleaning out the garage). The ritual of this little “superstition” helps me refocus and keep me centered on the goal (I learned several things from doing this: it’s the little things that keep me focused and you’d be amazed how many pennies there are on the ground!).

It’s hopeful to me that since I’ve started doing this little exercise, I have published four books on Wild West characters, been on the cover of Arizona Highways twice (with paintings and articles on Billy the Kid and Wyatt Earp), appeared on at least a dozen national documentaries as “an expert” and bought True West magazine. Not too shabby.
Today, fewer and fewer people remember my modest rock and roll exploits. They think of me as a real “Western” kind of guy. Amazing.

A penny for your thoughts.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

October 3, 2002
“Life is a gift: thank someone every day.” I dreamed that last night (Wednesday).

On the way back from my mom’s last Monday, I stopped in Shishoni at the local drug store which is famous for its malts and shakes (or so said the desk clerk at the Cody Holiday Inn). I went in and sat at the counter. There was a hub bub going on. A local guy with his name on his shirt came in and sat on the stool next to me. Three of the “girls” behind the counter were talking loudly about being “bitched out” by the owner. One of them brought over a yellow legal pad paper and handed it to the guy sitting next to me. Of course, I had to look, but I couldn’t really make much out of it. There were little hearts and a demand to “clean off racks.” But I knew one thing: it was written by a crazy person. The girls were on a roll. “Why don’t she bitch out that nephew she hired that pilfered $60 out of the till?” the cook sneered. “She expects me to do the books. I ain’t doing no books if she ain’t payin’ me!” That was offered by the young woman making my blackberry milk shake. I wondered what it would take to get my staff to be so revealing and entertaining in front of customers. It may takes some doing but I intend to get them to open up a little. It was a sight to see and hear. It was actually excruciating. A real cringer.

Pee Wee was my waitress. She was diminuitive and sweet, and seemed like the mother figure. She didn’t really participate in the owner bashing like the others who were younger, more harried and stupid beyond belief.

The blackberry milkshake was good ($3 cash, plus $1 tip to Pee Wee). As I went out the door I noticed the place was for sale. The Texaco with the Fast Forward market-takeout seemed much more appealing as I drove by this time. I took one more look at Patti’s Walleye Cafe (it looked closed but I assume there were dozens of people inside) as I shot up 789 towards the Wind River Canyon.

Stopped at Meeteetse and visited the museum. Cute little Old West town. The Meeteetse Mercantile across the street form the museum was shut down. It looked like a substantial business with a soda fountain and a recent remodel but evidently they couldn’t make it. I imagined some easterners coming to town with big plans, sinking $250,000 into the remodel but all their grand scheming fell thru. They are now divorced. The kids are suffering. Of course I’m making all this up, but I imagine I’m not too far off.

The museum had a ton of photos of the Pitchfork ranch. So many of them are classics that you’ve seen a hundred times. The herd in the snow which was used in Time-Life’s The Cowboys and ran as a doubletruck came from here (and it dates from the 1920s, not the 1880s as the series played it). Also, the Pitchfork is the location for all of the Marlboro ad campaign photos. I always assumed it was somewhere in Colorado (I don’t know why) but once you see the area and the photos, it all comes into focus. Beautiful country all around, just not very good at providing a living to anyone. Ha.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

October 1, 2002
We are sending out a press release regarding one of our articles in the new issue: some of the highlights:

Contact True West Executive Editor Bob Boze Bell, 480-575-1881
In the summer of1891, one of Tombstone’s most infamous characters
showed up in town without a gun, without a name and without clothes.
Calling himself “O Homo,” the naked man became a sensation, spending a
month in jail for indecent exposure while simulataneously writting a
column for the The Prospector.

Famous Tombstone photographer Camillus S. Fly paid him $5 to sit for a
photo, and then snapped three shots of him the Thursday afternoon of
July 30, 1891. They sold for a pricey $1 each and became a popular

But no known copy of that photo has ever turned up, and True West
Magazine--telling O Homo’s amazing story in its November/December
issue--is offering a $500 reward for the right to publish a verified
authentic photo.

“In an old West populated by notorious characters, O Homo is one of the
gems,” says True West Executive Editor Bob Boze Bell. “We have an
artist’s rendering of what Fly’s photograph might look like; we have an
engraving published by the San Francisco Chronicle, but we’re after the
real thing. And we’re willing to pay real money to publish it.”

Bell said he’s betting someone has a copy of the photo in an old album
somewhere, not knowing what they have. He’s hoping the reward will make
people dig out those old albums to take another look.

Anyone finding O Homo’s picture should contact True West immediately.

Call toll free at 888-687-1881 or email to