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.

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