Saturday, November 30, 2002

November 30, 2002
Need to take my own advice: draw every day without hope, without despair. Got bogged down yesterday. Got film of the boys as Daltons, looks good (see photos) plus bought three rolls to shoot finished art ($43 something, Sue debit), came back to office and met Eric H and Dan who are movie grads and want to make a Western. They had a two minute trailer they had produced and it was very professional. Shot in Cinerama, letter-box, wide screen, with a musical score (swiped from Legends of The Fall). Very impressive. Eric works for Dustin Hoffman’s company and Dan is a Hollywood shooter. Both are young and full of piss and vinegar and that’s what it takes to make it out there. What they may not have is a strong enough dose of maniacal deviousness that seems to be a prerequisite in H-Land. Unfortunately, it’s a trait many people from the midwest don’t have (I would include myself on that list).

Worked until around six, didn’t get much. Hanging out. Started raining around six. Went over and met Rebecca and she drove us down to Deer Valley 30 to meet Kathy (who was coming from shopping all day with Deena) and see “Frida.” ($16 cash). On the way down Rebecca told me the horror story of her previous tenants who destroyed her house, walked off with three lamps, etc. I was cringing because we were the ones who got the tenants for her. Ouch! Movie was pretty good. I enjoyed it from an artist’s point of view. There were a gaggle of lesbians sitting in the back of the theater and they were hooting and rooting at the dance scene with Salma Hayek and Ashley Judd. It was like we were at a sporting event and they were rooting for their “team.” Ah, the blurring of lines between venues. Welcome to the new millenium. Afterwards we drove down in the rain to Manuel’s for a late dinner ($27 cash). We were hungry for Mexican food because in the movie they were eating all the time, and it looked so scrumptious (Rivera allegedly loved mole and it looked magnificent).

"Anytime a person goes into a delicatessen and orders a pastrami on white bread, somewhere a Jew dies."
—Milton Berle

Friday, November 29, 2002

November 29, 2002
Good, productive day yesterday. Made bacon and pancakes for Tommy and Jake at about 11, Then outiftted them as Daltons and shot off five roles of film. Tried to get shadows going in the right direction, shot some off the roof to get a downward perspective (I’m doing the images for the Phase Three Map of the gunfight and want to get the angles and perspective right. I also had Jake as Grat Dalton with $1,100 worth of currency stuffed in his vest (which really happened). I folded up newspapers and padded him out, then stuck several real twenties and a hundred, sticking out the top. Created a sweet effect. Shot off roof of him getting it in Adam’s Apple, then him slumped in the middle of the alley (of course, Peaches took it as an invitation for some major petting and ran up and jumped in his lap). Got some good stuff. Can’t wait to see it.

We took off at two to go to grandma’s for Thanksgiving dinner. Stopped at Superpumper and filled up T’s truck ($25 something, house account), and vacuumed out all the broken glass ($1 in quarters, someone tried to steal his stereo in Flag last week). Took off out 101, got to grandma Betty’s at about 3:30, Nick and Debbie, Kathy and Justine already there. Deena, Brad and Carol, EJ and ‘Cedes came after four. Ate at about 4:30. Great spread, Went around the table and told what we are thankful for. When it got around to Brad’s turn he said he was thankful he didn’t have javelinas in his back yard and he didn’t have to chase them in his underpants. Everyone looked perplexed but I knew exactly where he got that. Ha.

After dinner went for a walk around the block. EJ got real excited about coming out to “trap the javelinas.” He’s 9, had a pad of paper and was trying to figure out a plan, kept asking me what their weaknesses are (they have trouble seeing, that’s why they charge, uh, they’re short, they smell). He was so excited. Wants to come stay with us so he can see them.

Drizzling out this morning. Good excuse to have a fire in stove. Need to run film up to Foothills Photo at 9. Kathy and Deena are going shopping with the hordes. Tommy is painting a friend’s house. I hope to finish some good artwork today.

“My life has no purpose . . . my life has no direction . . . no aim . . . no meaning . . . and yet I'm happy . . . I can't figure it out . . . What am I doing right?”
—Charles Schulz

Thursday, November 28, 2002

November 28, 2002
Worked hard yesterday afternoon trying to wrap up the Dalton art. Finished one piece, six to go (sigh). Slow going. Went back into office at five. Robert is concerned. No cover yet. He’s being very patient. I assured him I had a good one coming. It’s very late and the pressure’s on. This is right about when I start to wake up. Ha.

Last night, Tommy came down from NAU with his college gang: Jake from Oregon, JJ, Robert Chenalt and Katie Hickox came crashing into the house about sunset. Loud and proud, lewd and rude. I got pizza and buffalo wings at Barros’ Pizza ($44 cash) and we all watched the U of A vs. NAU basketball game. Of course the kids were expecting their school to get clobbered (Wildcats are ranked number one in the nation), but those scrappy Lumberjacks held their own for the first half and in fact led for much of that time. Always fun to joke and watch b-ball with my son. I’m a lucky dad.

Kathy spent the night at her mama’s to help her with today’s turkey. What a sweetheart. So, being alone, I rented porn off the dish ($9.99). Of course I hated it-loved it, hated myself for renting it. I know one thing: I would be so miserable being single because left to my own devices I’d probably be bunking with Robert Downey, Jr. How’d I get so lucky to find a compassionate, liberal partner? I’m just a lucky, stinkin' javelina and that’s the main thing I’m thankful for today.

"Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they've stolen."
—Mort Sahl

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

November 27, 2002
Fun day yesterday. Carole got a Thanksgiving spread of cold cuts, pasta, potato salad, ham, turkey, beef, pickles, cucumbers, refried beans, hot sauce and pumpkin pie. We met in the conference room at noon and had a feast and it was delightful. Jana was in the house, so we laughed and laughed. Dave and Doreen Daiss came with their son (he’s 30).

Ted landed TNT, and we talked about dealing with a certain problem client, who is a pain in the tootie (as Carole would say).

Worked all morning on finishing the Dalton Raid copy for Classic Gunfights. Finally finished tweaking all the cutlines and layout after lunch. Left around 2:15 and came home to do artwork.

Got a good wash going on the Dalton disguises. They supposedly wore fake whiskers and almost everyone in Coffeyville recognized them anyway, so the disguises couldn’t have been that good. It’s a bit of a challenge to illustrate this: how do you make a mustache and goatee look not real? Let me tell you, it ain’t as easy as it sounds. In fact, I’ve been bending the shape and tone of it to make it unreal and I’ve created some of the best looking Real mustaches I’ve ever painted (see sketches).

Worked until around 5:40. Went over to the house and built a fire in the fireplace, and started cooking. Made a batch of spaghetti and cooked salmon for Kathy.

Warning: major negativity ahead. If you are depressed or off your meds, do not read.
Everything conspires against “history.” Almost nothing is remembered accurately. Photographs are lost, destroyed, misidentified. Oldtimers make up windies, eye-witnesses can’t agree two seconds after the event. The fix is in: you can’t retrieve the past, or the truth. It’s all an approximation. I have vivid memories of the 1950s, but of course they are from the perspective of a kid. Last weekend when I was watching the film “Far From Heaven,” which is an homage to Fifties movies, I was constantly nitpicking the cars. Too shiny, too new, too Classic Car Show. I’m guessing that some car group was invited to the movie set to show off their cars. So you had all these cherry autos lined up and down the street, with several ‘57 T-Birds parked prominently. I realize Todd Haynes (the director) was doing the idealized Fifties, but it still bugs me. It’s just false, faux, fake, a cheap abberation. It’s ultimately depressing. Why do we try? What difference does it make?

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie –deliberate, contrived, and dishonest -- but the myth –-persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.”
—John Fitzgerald Kennedy

The world is full of cactus, but we don't have to sit on them.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

November 26, 2002
I actually saw Bill Tilghman move last night! Pretty amazing. When I did my last book, Bad Men: Outlaws & Gunfighters of the Wild West, I came across the nugget that the Old West lawman Tilghman (played by Sam Elliott in “The Last Town” which was on tv a couple years ago) had made a movie called “Passing of The Oklahoma Outlaws” and in it, he used some of the actual outlaws he was up against, like Arkansas Tom and Henry Starr. I became very interested in finding a copy of this movie but when I canvassed my friends and experts they all told me, “No copy has survived.” And one of them added something about rotting canisters in the basement, etc. So imagine my surprise when one of our subscribers told me he had a copy. At first I was quite skeptical because we are always getting these wild claims, like, “I’ve got baby pictures of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday in a playpen together. Wanna see’em?” And then they send ‘em, and they’re so fake, or wrong, you hate to tell ‘em, but when you do, they end up hating you and threatening to kick your ass, but that’s another story.

So, I kind of shined it on, and told the guy to send me copy of the film, never really expecting to get it. Lo and behold, yesterday in the mail I got a packet from Tommy Phillips from Choctaw, Oklahoma. I came home, popped it in the VCR, and there he was, the legendary Bill Tilghman, re-enacting the gunfight at Ingalls (the Classic Gunfight that’s in our current issue). Needless to say the hairs on the back of my neck were standing on end. One of the many surprises is how big the hats were. I have always believed the big Tom Mix style sombreros didn’t come into fashion until the mid-twenties, but here they were bigger than watermelons in 1915! And with the Tom Mix crease.
I finally went to bed around 10, and Kathy said to me, “What’s wrong? The short hairs on the back of your neck are standing up.” I said, “I just saw Bill Tilghman move.”
Kathy grunted, “You crazy Old West nuts.” She should know. She’s a therapist.

The ancients have stolen all our best ideas!”
—Mark Twain

Monday, November 25, 2002

November 25, 2002
Did a bit of artwork yesterday morning, but not enough. Hanging out as usual.

Kathy and I left at 2:30 and drove into Scottsdale. Met Deena at Earl’s for brunch ($43 cash), then went over to Camelview Five and couldn’t decide whether to see “Far From Heaven,” the fifties homage from Tod Haynes, or the Mexican subtitled, “Crimen Padre Amaro” (Crimes of Father Amaro). Finally chose “Far From Heaven” ($18 cash, plus $3.60 for popcorn, no butter, and a bottle of water). Movie was okay. Julianne Moore was quite good, but it really dragged in the middle, and was kind of limp and sappy. We had seen the previews to the “Padre” movie before our movie started and when we got out I asked Deena what she thought of “Heaven” and she said, “I just kept thinking, ‘we could be seeing that priest have sex with that girl.’” Kids today.

Writing this on the fly. Yesterday’s band quote should have been “Tighter than a gnat's ass stretched over a rain barrel.” And, of course, I found a better quote for yesterdays entry:

Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.”
—Giuseppe Mazzini

Sunday, November 24, 2002

November 24, 2002
Yesterday I finally got in the water with artwork. Did a big background painting in late morning, then took a nap, had lunch, came out and finished it off, shot it, then finished off Dalton’s riding into town enveloped in dust. Still not the image I had in my mind’s eye but I need to keep moving. Took a shower, came out to dining room table and whipped out a batch of multi-cultural shooters (see sketches). Felt good. Need to stay loose.

Did several things last night I haven’t done in a long time. Kathy and I had two beers before we left to go up to the Buffalo Chip Saloon (to save money and no, that’s not one of them). Great honkytonk in Cave Creek. It was Dan Harshberger’s 55th birthday party and his wife Darlene invited us and three other couples to come out and have dinner and dance. Had the prime rib special, then the Pat James Band got up on stage and proceeded to rip out a really tight set of excellent Country music. No banter, tuning, or silence between songs (like the many bands I was in where we would talk about what song we should do next, argue about the key it's in, get in a fight, break up, leave the stage, take a piss, come back, make a temporary truce and play the second song of the night, with half the band in the wrong key). These guys (four piece) were as tight as a mosquito’s ass stretched over a rain barrel.

It was fun to watch the dancers. There is the basic Texas Two-Steppers, but there are some new variations, very baroque. It appears they have blended some line dance movements into the steps. It was beyond me. And then there are the urban couples who took a class and do the whirlybird turns (Kathy and I are in that group). And I noticed a new hand style (to me) where the guy puts his right hand on the woman’s shoulder, instead of around her waist, and the woman puts her left hand on his forearm. Then there’s the guy who learned how to do the dances in a very rote way. You can almost see him counting. He has no rhythm and kind of looks like he’s taking an SAT test. And then there’s the old guy, who doesn’t give a shit what you think. He’s out there doing some high school Pony of Frug, clappin’ on the wrong beat (most white people clap on the wrong beat and as a recovering drummer, it drives me nuts). He’s just havin’ a great time, dancin’ with everybody at his table, and he does the same dance whether the song is fast or slow, swingtime or a waltz (when I grow up I want to be him!). But my favorite dancers are the Country people who literally are Country. The guys look like they broke both arms and legs and it pains them to move, except to do a shuffle from the ankles down and they periodically twist their wrists, barely, in a simulation of a roper’s dally. Their women do all the work, gliding and sliding, moving backwards, ducking under his barely extended arm, as if to say: “I’m bakin’ a cake, I got a baby in my arms, I got to fix the sink, but I’m here for you Honey, makin’ you look like the studhoss you are.” Yahoo! It’s a thing of beauty, and a mighty fine metaphor for the American West to boot.

Tom Chambers was in the house (former Phoenix Suns star). His wife is so good-looking it should be illegal to go out looking like that. In fact, I don’t miss that part of nightclubbing (seeing all the women you can never have).

Finally, my eyes were burning so we said our goodnights. As we walked out into the cool Cave Creek night, I said to Kathy: “Well, that was fun, but I’m fried. What time is it?” Kathy laughed. It was 10:30.

"You don't have to hang from a tree to be a nut."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Saturday, November 23, 2002

November 23, 2002
Yesterday morning I saw in the paper the ad for the new Bond movie “Die Another Day.” (see ad). Believe it or not this is very close to the cover concept I have been working on for the next issue. To prove it, I’ve also scanned my Franklin daytimer entry for November 20 (three days before the Bond campaign began). How could this happen? I believe it’s creative combustion. We are all reacting to the same news, headlines and atmospheric conditions. So there is bound to be some duplication of ideas when creative minds get to turning (add to that the copying and stealing and you've got a tidal wave). Either way, it’s a strong concept and I want to get some finished art cranked out this weekend.

Strong day in office (Friday). Totally redesigned the Dalton Classic Gunfights piece, moving images around and writing cutlines to fit, shoehorning in all of the fascinating tidbits. For example, the town hero, John Kloehr, was a modest man and for days after the Coffeyville fight strangers would come up to him and ask his name and he would often say “Jim Spears,” so he wouldn’t have to keep repeating the story. One of the strangers who asked turned out to be a Winchester Arms rep, and so the company sent Kloehr a beautiful rifle with a hand-scrolled inscription to Jim Spears.

Went to lunch with Carole, Robert, Gus and Sue at Tuscan Cafe ($6.36 cash). Talked about the new reader’s poll stats that Carole extracted. According to a large percentage of our reader’s comments, they want more Native American stories. This is at odds with our newsstand stats, where Native American covers have consistently been our weakest sellers. What does this mean? Someone offered that perhaps it simply means they want articles about Native Americans in the mix of the magazine, just don’t put it on the cover. Hmmmm.

Ted talked to Tom Selleck’s office. He got the mags, was quite impressed and is going to be out of the country for two weeks, but when he gets back we will talk. All the females here are ready for that.

Spit In The Sky And It Comes Back Dept.:One of our former employees tried to get a job at a competing national magazine. We heard they passed because of “inconsistencies in the resume.” Call me petty and immature, but this makes me very happy.

Wrote up Emmett Dalton’s bio, utilizing the hed: Life After Death Alley. Worked until around six. Got tons of reference for the cover illustration, loaded up and came home.

You can use all the quantitative data you can get, but you still have to distrust it and use your own intelligence and judgment.”
—Alvin Toffler

Friday, November 22, 2002

November 22, 2002
I’m running a photo of the Renegades ( a loose knit group of my history nut friends) in front of the Condon Bank in Coffeyville, Kansas in the next issue. I wanted to put the exact date of the photo and fortunately, I have a very useful tool. Since 1994 I have used a Franklin Daytimer and I keep a morgue of every year since then. I knew the photo was taken sometime in 1998 so I grabbed the binder on my lunch hour and started flipping pages. In addition to finding the actual date (August 30, 1998 at 9 a.m. and I bought four postcards for $1 at the Defender Museum), I also found the exact date when I began to think seriously about buying True West.

I had a booksigning in Tombstone and Bob McCubbin drove over from El Paso to hang out with me. After the signing and dinner, Bob told me he was retiring and wanted to invest in something. He offered to perhaps help me print my books. I immediately said, “Let’s buy True West and make it work.” The date was May 25, 1998. Later that summer, the first opportunity to buy the magazine came up, but Bob backed off and said he was never serious about it. A year later, all that changed and here we are.

The other book that changed my life is “The Artist’s Way.” In it the author tells about how she would wake up and have coffee and think to herself, “I don’t feel like writing.” So she wrote that down. When she wanted to complain about the cold in her studio, she wrote that down. Whatever she was feeling, she put it in her journal, until it became a habit and words flowed easily. The moral being, “Write every day, without hope, without despair.”

So I customized my Franklin Daytimer to have that component. I get up at six, drink coffee with Kathy, solve life, come out to the studio and turn on the computer, light a fire in my stove, walk out to the end of the driveway and pick up the paper (The Arizona Republic), and thank Robert Urich (the actor was born on the same day as me, December 19, 1946, and he died earlier this year, so every day I thank him because it is an extra day he didn’t get to have.) Then I sart writing. Whatever comes into my mind (as if you hadn’t noticed).

Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you're going to do now and do it.”
—William Durant

Thursday, November 21, 2002

November 21, 2002
We’re growing so fast it’s giving us cash flow fits. Carole and I worry about it, going over the spreadsheets and P&Ls, fretting, mulling and moping. Bob Brink comes in, takes a quick look at the numbers and puts it all in perspective: “You’ve come a long way from last year Kid,” he says sitting on the couch in my office. “We are going to be fine.” Amazing what that calm confidence does for me. I feel like a little kid in a fun house and my dad is holding my hand and saying, “Calm down it’s just trick mirrors.”

We are still trying to determine if the shotgun in the new Western Monte Walsh is the same model as the shotgun Carey Seaman used at Coffeyville against the Dalton Gang. Ted got ahold of Tom Selleck’s office yesterday and they confirmed it is an 1887 Winchester lever-action shotgun that Shorty (George Eads) uses in the movie. Tom Selleck himself is supposed to call us today. Everyone is thrilled about this, especially the women.

Gus and I are still struggling with layout on Classic Gunfights. Printed out what we have and did sketches and moved stuff around. I woke up this morning with several ideas on how to make it work.

Gus and Meghan finished the javelina piece for High Sonoran Style magazine and Abby did a quick half page ad to plug Christmas stuff. Tom will pick up this morning.

Took off a tad early and went up to Bashas’ for groceries ($78 house account). Came home and cooked a pasta-salmon dinner for Kathy. She came home at 6:30 and we had a nice meal with wine. I’m usually such a selfish little javelina, I occassionally just want to pretend to be a good husband and partner.

"If I only had a little humility, I'd be perfect."
 —Ted Turner

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

November 20, 2002
The Dalton Raid has expanded to eight pages. It’s a monster. Going to be very strong. Several never before published photos.

At the staff meeting yesterday morning we discussed bleedover, which is our term for the increasing problem of ads bleeding and blending into editorial. It’s not just our problem. I’ve seen awful examples in Vanity Fair, Time and Newsweek, where the blurring of lines between editorial and advertising creates an irritating mess for the reader’s eyes. Our worst example of this is in the January issue, pages 46 and 47. A house ad, with the same background color as the page of photographs on the right hand page, really obliterates the barrier. It doesn’t help that an ad for American Photograph Archive is also on the left hand page and is too close in style to the editorial photos on right. I want there to be a nice, clean demarcation between ads and editorial, and I’m increasingly leaning towards simpler, white backgrounds on editorial pages, just to distance them from advertising. Daniel leans towards putting color backgrounds on editorial and I think we need to be very selective in doing this.

Had lunch at Pei Wei with Jana, Carole, Robert and Gus (I bought Jana and Carole’s lunch, $26 cash). Sat outside. Just beautiful out. Jana told about her secret project involving “bull”. Going to be a blockbuster.

R.G. had to fly to his mother's funeral in Ohio. We are going to send flowers.

I need to produce a doubletruck for Tom Tumus’s High Sonoran Style magazine, so I came home after lunch and patched together the javelina biker gang entries from this journal, tacked on a lead, and emailed it back to the office for Gus to lay out. Now to find some decent javelina art. I considered luring the actual gang into our front yard with treats and then taking photos from the roof, but Kathy thinks I’m nuts for making this a Cecil B. DeMille production and she’s right. I may just grab a photo of the little hippos out of a book and call it a day. It would be cool though, and then I could scan the photos and put them up here for all to see. Wouldn’t you love to see the little twits who have been terrorizing our neighborhood? Ha. Of course you would.

"The nice thing about egotists is that they don't talk about other people."
 —Lucille S. Harper

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

November 19, 2002
Office copies came yesterday. Got a bucket brigade going out the back door and unloaded about 3,500 January issues into the mail room. UPS guy had to call headquarters to get a release on us helping him (some new union deal).

Went over paper costs with Bob Brink. We were considering a lighter stock but the price break isn’t there.

Came home for lunch and did sketches for Dalton spread and cover. Got a good likeness of John Kloehr, the hero of Coffeyville. Need to translate it to big board today.

Worked hard on writing my editorial. Got several photos from home. Brought back my new video player. Robert Ray hooked it up to his computer and we fast forwarded the Monte Walsh tape to the place where George Eads as Shorty, pulls out what appears to be an 1888 Winchester shotgun. Captured four frames, chose one, Robert scanned it. Called Phil Spangenberger to confirm shotgun model, but he’s in Utah “teaching 50 guys in six hours how to handle firearms,” his wife Linda told me. I asked what movie he is working on and she said “Hidalgo,” which is a film we are touting in the very same issue. That led me to retitling my editorial “Coffeyville Connections,” and rounding up all of the if-I-saw-it-in-a-movie-I-wouldn’t-believe-it coincidences.

We got attacked last night by the Javelina-Hippo-Hos at about midnite. Peaches was barking, Kathy woke me up, we went out in our underwear but they had struck and left. I couldn’t go back to sleep. Mulled all of the work I need to do. Tried to turn my mind off, but the more I tried the more awake I became. Did come up with the subhed: “Life after Death Alley.” I became worried I would forget it, and decided I should get up and write it down, but the very fact that I should get up, was enough to bring on sleep. Ha.

“Make use of trouble. One of my favorite tricks for flipping my mind over to the optimistic side is to ask myself the question: "How can I use this?"
—Steve Chandler, "100 Ways to Motivate Yourself"

Monday, November 18, 2002

November 18, 2002
“There are two myths about javelinas,” Conrad Storad told me yesterday. “One is that they are pigs, and the other is that they are rodents.” Conrad should know. He wrote a book called, “Don’t Call Me Pig.” I met him at a book luncheon at the Four Seasons Resort yesterday. The First Book organization had a pretty amazing lunch and mini-book fair for 11 authors and we all gave short talks about how we became writers, etc. Well, if they’re not pigs and they’re not rats, what are they? “They’re peccaries,” Conrad told me, “and their closest relative is the hippo.” Amazing. We are being attacked by nephews of the hippopotamus. Who’s going to believe that?!

Had another no show on art. Got back from the book fair at about three, then had to go to a baby shower at four. One of Tommy’s best friends, Raf, is going to be a papa. Raf’s girlfriend is a pro snowboarder from Vermont and she is three months pregnant. Great food and fun catching up on all the “kids today” stories.

Did come home and do some sketches for cover ideas. Hope to knock something out this week.

“Love your parents--and change yourself.”
—Steve Chandler

Sunday, November 17, 2002

November 17, 2002
Yesterday I woke up with big plans. I was going to attack the Dalton paintings with new vigor. I had the right reference, the right tools and the right attitude. Of course, I failed miserably. And as the third and fourth botched paintings went on the floor (I’m so vain I can’t even throw the failures in the trash!). I tried to keep at it, but I just couldn’t muster the energy.

I did what so many men do. I fed the chickens, got water for the dogs, built a fire, took a nap, seduced my wife, ordered a pizza, drank two beers and watched three Westerns in a row. (Not necessarily in that order.)

The javelina biker gang attacked again last night. I stayed up late watching TCM’s Western film festival and saw three Gary Cooper classics: “The Westerner,” “The Man From The West,” and “High Noon.” All were excellent and I had forgotten how tight the script was on “Noon.” I sort of remembered the people in the church being a parody of Christians (it was after all, written by a Communist), but they were not caricatures. They were logical and their arguments were sound, and they didn’t all agree, just like real Christians. The whole thing was brilliantly executed, told in real time, a much deserved classic. As Robert Osborne put the finishing touches on the whole deal, I put Peaches in the studio and locked up. As I went to bed (11:40) I heard her barking and thought to myself, “Good luck you lousy Javelina. You got nothing. Ha, ha, ha.”

Somehow, they broke into the garage. Either they rigged up some sort of electronic nose button, that the leader could activate by pushing his snout onto the radio hog’s backpack, thus making the garage door open automatically so they could come in, quickly, in teams, do their damage and leave, activating the garage door on their way out so that they left no trace of their devious entry, or else some idiot left the garage door open to begin with.

I tried to sell Kathy on the former, but I think she saw through my weak premise. I had locked the side door to the garage (where I could have seen into the garage to view the open door), and I had secured all of the surrounding yard gates, but I had failed to look in the garage itself. I might as well have put up a neon sign that said, “Idiot on duty. Come on in and help yourselves!”They made a complete mess of everything. I’d like to say they ate the tires off the Ranger, but they didn’t need to. They had a literal feast before them with large industrial bags of chicken, dog and cat food lined up in a row, ready for the taking. It must have been a real Saturday night Luby’s experience for the whole family. I picture them today, lying in some dusty lair, with homemade toothpicks in their snouts, laughing. “What a loser.” they snort. “He can’t even paint!”

"No one laughs at a reputation. Laughter is purely a voluntary reaction. You might like someone, you might like a million things they've done, but if they don't say something that you truly find funny, you'll die out there."- Jerry Seinfeld, on his doing live stand-up again

Saturday, November 16, 2002

November 16, 2002
Yesterday morning, I had a great call to IPD, our bookstore distributor. They are going to increase our draw there significantly. We already have a very respectable 60% sell-thru at Barnes & Noble and our IPD rep assured me it will be no problem to increase our presence in all the chains. Now I have to be paitent until the payoff from the expansion trickles down to us (which will probably be sometime in the middle of next year).

Hans Olsen asked at Jana’s dinner party on Thursday night what an “Oddfellow” is (he was flown, expenses paid, to one of their lodge meetings in Detroit or somewhere). I told him I think it is a secret club, or a service group like the Elks or Moose Lodge, somewhere between Kiwanis and Masons. I believe the founder rationalized that most extraordinary men are “odd,” so he decided to start a group that would celebrate that “oddness.”. My connection to the Oddfellows is that they sponsored my Little League team when I was growing up in Kingman. We were the Oddfellow Yankees, and, yes, it seemed pretty odd to me and my teammates at the time. Plus, the damn cumbersome name, was sewn on the backs of our jerseys and for a skinny kid like me, it took up most of my back (see photo). I remember very well when I went to get my first uniform (1957) at the Oddfellow’s Hall in downtown Kingman (see photo). The room where the uniforms were being handed out was on the second floor, far left. The uniforms were wool which I remember being quite sratchy, not to mention warm— each of us on the team became a walking sauna in the Arizona summers, when our seasons played out. However, I was so excited to actually have a baseball uniform I wore the ensemble home, including the rubber cleats. I think I would have slept in it, but my mother chased me down and took it off me. Thus ends today’s odd discussion of the Oddfellows

"In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed".
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, November 15, 2002

November 15, 2002
Still trying to shoehorn in all the great maps, photos and graphics into the Dalton piece. Gus and I rammed and jammed all day. We got a packet from Lui (pronounced Lou) Barndollar in Coffeyville, with three photos of Death Alley. One I had never seen before. It’s of a crowd around the side of a shed with the Dalton gang bodies in their coffins, leaning up against the wall. Really spectacular. Article is going to be great.

We got our office copies of January issue on Wednesday. Bob McCubbin’s 50 Most Important Photos piece is really strong. Great photos (they should be, we flew to Santa Fe to scan the originals) and layout. I predict issue is going to sell quite well.

Came home for lunch and Kathy had told me she left the tv on because she is going to come home after dark and I won’t be there. She called me at work, to warn me, and remind me not to turn it off. So I come in the door, and within six seconds I’m sucked into a soap opera. It’s evil and insidious (the genre and the show!). Some hunky guy comes trotting into a back patio with his shirt off (imagine that!) and a real pretty girl is waiting for him and she wants to know about another couple but you can tell they are going to get involved, maybe in the next ten or twelve seconds. I’m kicking myself because I’ve got to eat, take a shower for the dinner party in the evening, grab some items out of studio, feed the dog and cat and get back to work to finish layouts, but here I am sitting in the kitchen eating a bowl of pinto beans, and I hear them talking seductively, and I’m raising up to see over the kitchen half-wall like some housewife in a bathrobe eating bon bons on the edge of the sofa. I finally get done eating, go into the bedroom to take a shower, and Kathy has the damn thing on in there, so now I’ve got a towel and I’m nude, standing by the bathroom door going, “Make your move, Brad! Make your move!”

Worked until six, drove into Phoenix to attend a dinner party at Jana B’s house. Great time with Hans (his 50th birthday party) and Gina Olson, Russs and Wendy Shaw and Christa. Kathy couldn’t come because she had late clients. Jana told a wonderful story about soap operas (after I told the above anecdote). Two college roommates meet twenty years after graduation. They catch up on their different lives and then one says, “Remember how we watched ‘The Bold & The Beautiful' every day? Do you still watch it?” And the other roommate says “No, I had kids and my career leaves me with no time. I haven’t seen it since we left college. It’s hazy, but I remember some guy named Victor and Amber were thinking about having an abortion.” And the other roommate says, “Yes, well now it’s later that same day and...”

Locked myself out of my pickup. Had to call AAA ($10 tip). Got home at 11. Long day.

I don't say we all ought to misbehave, but we ought to look as if we could.
—Orson Welles

Thursday, November 14, 2002

November 14, 2002
Still struggling with Dalton’s Coffeyville Raid. Too much stuff (good art) for five pages. Gus and I roughed in the layout and it’s too tight. So I moved around an Alamo piece in front of the book and liberated another page to add to Classic Gunfights, which will make it a six pager.

Bruce Boxleitner called last week and said he can’t do any work on our Cole Younger video project (his wife is Melissa Gilbert and she is pres of Screen Actor’s Guild). He wants to play Cole Younger, but unless it’s SAG he can’t touch it. This puts us in a weird position because we have the commitment of a Western star and yet we can’t get the project to the next level. Need to be patient, it will happen. He also told me Melissa has been filming a new ABC Western, Then Came Jones. Lots of tv Westerns in the pipeline, maybe six or seven. As many movies. Evidently, it’s a post 9.11 deal. We’ll see if they stick.

Carole and I went to lunch at El Encanto yesterday (she bought). We’re struggling with cash flow, we’re growing almost too fast, and she really takes care of us. Discussed certain employees who are in our rotating dog house.

Got a fire in the stove this morning. A bit nippy out (for Arizona, probably in the low 60s, ha.)

Kathy has been antsy about both our kids. Deena is a senior at ASU and needs to get an internship and Tommy just needs to get a job to help support his college lifestyle. It looks like both are going to happen, and that makes her very happy (and in turn it makes me happy because she’s not unhappy.)

“I have always felt that too much time was given before birth, which is spent learning things like how to breathe in and out with your husband (I had my baby when they gave you a shot in the hip and you didn't wake up until the child was ready to start school), and not enough time given to how to mother after the baby is born.”
—Erma Bombeck

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

November 13, 2002
Strong day in office yesterday. Finally finished first draft of Dalton Raid on Coffeyville (seven pages!). Spent most of the late afternoon pruning it to fit in five pages. Good exercise, because it forces you to study every line for content. Does each paragraph and sentence propel the narrative to the goal, or is it superfluous? If only some of our freelancers would do this. A few of our older writers (okay, it’s one and he lives in Tombstone) refuse to write for us anymore because we have the gall to edit their precious words. When I interviewed Mrs. Joe Small (the founder’s wife), she told me the magazine started to lose readers when “the footnote crowd took over.” And speaking of the footnote crowd, Jim Dullenty, a former editor in the early eighties, has sent me two different letters demanding a retraction and clarification on dubious sources. He primarily attacks the Doc Holliday issue (November-December, 2001) where we cited a newspaper article that supposedly told of Doc Holliday’s final days. The source looks increasingly suspicious but we are waiting for clarification. I intend to run part of Jim’s letter (it’s too long, see above), in an upcoming letters to the editor.
We are also working on a feature called “True West Comes Clean,” wherein we will own up to all of the goofs, gaffs and outright cons we have published in the past fifty years (except for the Jim Dullenty years, which were perfect). We will deal with this alleged bogus Doc source there, among other egregious crimes, no doubt worthy of a firing squad.

Went to lunch with Jana, Robert, Gus and Meghan at Satisfied Frog ($15 cash). Afterwards, I drove by Clantonville (our old office). Lots of memories, mostly bad. Glad we’re out of there.

Met Kathy at five and we went down to Pei Wei for dinner ($17 cash), then over to Target to get a new VCR ($97 Sue debit) so I could watch the sneak preview of Tom Selleck’s new Western, Monte Walsh (TNT sent us an advance copy). Then got groceries at Bashas’ ($98 house account), came home, hooked up the new VCR and watched the movie. Took notes (it was cool to be seeing this before anyone else, but ultimately it felt like I was doing homework). It’s going to run on TNT in January. It’s a remake (Lee Marvin and Jack Palance were in the original). Funny line: William Devane introduces the corporate bean counter to his cowboys (Selleck and Keith Carradine) and tells them the dude is out West for two weeks to learn “cowboyin’”. Carradine’s character quips dryly, “What’s he gonna do the second week?”

The easiest thing for a reader to do, is stop reading.”
—Some dead editor, I think for the Washington Times

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

November 12, 2002
Windy out. Feels good. Went for a walk with Kathy. Big staff meeitng this morning. Lots to talk about. Jim Dullenty, a former editor, is demanding a retraction on our Butch & Sundance issue. More on that tomorrow.

What do you do when you discover your Grandma was a babe? It’s a tough one. It kind of knocks the props out of your vision of the universe, if you know what I mean.

My grandmother on my father’s side, Minnie Hauan Bell, could speak Norweigan fluently. Her favorite sayings were, “What in the Sam Hill?” and “Heavens to Betsy.” I think she also was fond of saying “Uff-dah,” but that may have more to do with me being a faithful listener to Prairie Home Companion than actual memory. She told me that when she was little, her mother told her and her brothers to be good or else “Jesse James will come to get you, and he can ride down the center of the road with his reins in his teeth and shoot coffee cans off the fence posts.” She told me that little family tidbit back in 1984 and I thought it was so great because the actual Jesse James came thru that part of Iowa (Winnebago County) in 1876 when they tried to rob the Northfield Bank, and the idea that Norweigan parents would use that incident to keep their kids in line, as a kind of Boogie Man, is nothing short of fantastic.
I remember Grandma Bell as a great maker of breakfast. She would start my grandpa (and me) out with an orange, a half a grape fruit, then a bowl of Grape Nuts and then she brought out a platter of bacon, ham and “lacy eggs.” We called them lacy because she fried them in the fat from the bacon on high heat and they got real brown and lacy around the edges. My Grandfather ate at least three of these eggs and bacon and ham every day, and I guess the high cholesterol finally got to him because he konked out at 92. Minnie, who stayed right with him in the egg department, lasted until her mid-nineties.

I spent a glorious two weeks with my grandparents in 1971. I hitchhiked from Arizona back to Iowa for my cousin’s wedding and stayed on to go fishing. Every day, my Grandpa would bring out the tackle box and two poles and we would drive in his ‘64 blue Ford to a different lake to go fishing. Sometimes we’d slip over into Minnesota (five miles north), and other times he’d show me some secret little lake behind a corncrib, down some rutty road. Grandma packed us cheese sandwiches on homemade bread. And of course coffee. Not your mamby pamby coffee, but coffee you can stand pencils in. When we got home, Carl and I would clean the bullheads out behind the garage and then Grandma would fry them up for dinner (what we call lunch in the West). We did this every day for two weeks and I never got tired of it!

Anyway, I’m doing a book on Cole Younger and I intend to use her Jesse James quote and I wanted a photo of my Grandmother when she was younger to go along with the quote. So I emailed my cousin Dr. Mike Richards and his wife Ann (who’s wedding we went to back in 1971), asking if his mom, my Aunt Doris (my father’s older sister), had any photographs of Minnie when she was young. About a week later, I got a packet from Des Moines, and inside was a photo of a very young Minnie Hauan. She’s a babe! The right photo is how I remember Grandma Minnie, and the left was taken when Minnie was about eighteen or nineteen.

"Time may be a great healer, but it's a lousy beautician."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Monday, November 11, 2002

November 11, 2002
Got a bugged boy: Big Tom is looking at me pet and coo over Peaches, who’s got her snout in my lap, begging for carresses. I don’t think a cat could show more disdain for human stupidity (actually all cats do, that’s what makes them so loveable and hateable).

Kathy and Tommy (my son, not the cat) are on the roof, putting up Christmas lights. I know, I know, it’s November 11th, but my wife just loves to see the lights and what can I say, I have to live with her (and it’s actually kind of great to see the house lit up at night when you come home in the dark, just don’t tell her I said that). This year Kathy got these little velcroe deals that stick to the stucco, so you can attatch the lights to them and secure the strand. Last year we had a glue gun and it was tedious, and we kept burning our fingers.

Absolutely beautiful out. I’m working on Dalton paintings. Heard T and K yelling on roof, so went out and threw up a 100 foot extension cord onto the roof, They seem to have it under control.

Piddly poop. Struggling (1:03). Good ideas, crappy skills. Excellent photo referene from Time and Newseek, of combatants in Afganistan, lots of chopper prop wash and men running through explosion dust and debris to apply (steal) to my Daltons images of them running from the Coffeyville bank, but my painting skills are so meager. Hate it. Still I mush on.

Now that I have a scanner I can document more of the process. Here’s a piece of crap (at left). Really sucks I just wanted nice, clean, subtle, yet accurate silhouettes of five riders, with the hint of a sixth enveloped in dust, riding into Coffeyville. Is that too much to ask for? Evidently.

Deena called and wanted to meet us for lunch and have Mexican. Debated between the benefits of El Conquistador, El Encanto, Valle de Luna and Grundaldies (new place over on Scotts. Rd., can’t remember the name, wouldn’t their marketing dept. love to hear that). El Conquistador closed at three, so we ended up at Valle de Luna ($52 cash). So-so lunch, good talking with the kids. They are both going to see The Strokes tonight at Mesa Amphitheatre.

Went and saw “Bowling for Columbine” at Cameview Five on Saturday. A doc-propaganda film on guns and the kids at Columbine who allegedly went bowling before the shootings. They showed the cafeteria surveillance tapes of the shootings. Chilling and awful. Really thought the film was compelling and persuasive (why do we have 11,000 shooting deaths and Canada has only about 100? Proportionately, they have as many guns as we do. Moore’s premise is that we are more afraid because of the media—”Coming up at six, why escalators can maim you!”—Hmmmm) until the end. Didn’t like the ambush on Charton Heston. Really made Michael Moore seem like a prick and a bully. I thought it undercut his whole premise. Kathy accused me of being a redneck. She thought it was brilliant, but, of course, she’s a flaming liberal (although she admitted last night the ambush was “unnecessary.”). Of course, the irony is not lost on me. Here I am doing illustrations for Classic Gunfights, our most popular feature, which celebrates and glorifies the shooting deaths of outlaws and lawmen in minute detail (“Coming up at six, why a certain magazine is the reason America is so violent!”).

"If we were logical, the future would be bleak indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings, and we have faith, and we have hope, and we can work."
—Jacques Cousteau

Saturday, November 09, 2002

November 9, 2002
Yesterday was overcast all day. Sprinkled some, but no rain. This morning there is a warm blanket of clouds hanging over the Cave Creek valley and it’s not very cold, but I started a fire in the studio stove anyway because I want to hear it pop.

Yesteday, I trimmed some articles for Feb.-Mar. issue and added to others. Here’s how it happened. I grabbed a trade publication, Advertising Age, and went to the bathroom. While seated on the throne, I was scanning all the gloom and doom in the industry (postal rate hikes, broken distribution models, declining ad sales, declining direct mail stats, declining newsstand, etc.) when I stumbled upon a letter to the editor from a guy at Rolling Stone mag who had attended last month’s magazine convention in Phoenix and thought it was all “a pile of bull.” Here’s part of his letter: “Come up with a great editorial concept that stirs the passions, curiosities and needs of a group of readers and they’ll buy it. After you’ve earned the reader’s attention, you can sell a portion of this attention to advertisors...paper prices are at the lowest point in 40 years. Postage rates have increased at the rate of 3% per year for the past ten years and have actually gone down when adjusted for inflation. The newsstand is the greatest sampling device ever invented; the sample takers actually pay for each sample. Magazines are the most measured of any media. Advertisers will pay three to five times more per impression than TV. So stop whining. Rejoice, strategize, work hard, keep reader satisfaction your primary concern—and make money!”

I flushed, washed my hands, walked into the production area and said (while still holding the magazine), “We are going to make some changes. The Gamut page is still not working, so let’s hold it until next issue and add that page to Westerns, which is real estate I feel confident about and the readers are really responding to.”
Robert Ray smiled and said, “That’s why you’re the boss.” I know he was only half-serious (plus he hated the Gamut page), but it felt good to be firm and confident. Kent Brownridge, the guy who wrote the letter, is right: “Stop whining!”

Speaking of Robert Ray, he’s been out sick for almost a week and we miss his leadership. We did the postcard for the April issue while he was gone and he was bugged today when he saw the finished results. The head is too small and you can’t read it as well as you should be able to. He’s right.

You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
—Walt Disney

Friday, November 08, 2002

November 8, 2002
Watched a bit of TCM’s Every Great Western Except Shane film festival last night. What a great concept and clever title. They are showing 167 oaters, all classics. I saw a bit of “Naked Spur” on Tuesday and a doc called “Big Guns Talk,” which was narrated by James Garner and dealt with all aspects of Western movies. Very enlightening and fun. Last night I saw “The Professionals,” (1966) with Lee Marvin and Burt Lancaster. Somewhat uneven and goofy in parts, but it had a great sweep and stunning scenery. Robert Osborn said it was filmed in Nevada (several locations, one near Lake Meade) and Indio, California. He also commented that Marvin was drunk for most of the shoot, but, to me, he was magnificent. I met Lee Marvin on the street (4th Ave.) in Tucson in 1974. He was wearing levis and a white t-shirt and seemed like a harmless old man. I was yabbering all excited—”Wow! You’re Lee Marvin!”—and he just kind of mumbled something, I don’t remember what (probably, “Fuck you kid, get away from me.”). It was hard to rectify that image with the confident stud who was striding in front of the cameras a mere eight years before.

Overcast this morning. Supposed to rain this weekend. Worked hard to finish copy yesterday. Got In The Works copy done and tried to polish off Classic Gunfights but it wouldn’t fall. Quit around six and came home.

Great talk with Anderson News in Knoxville. We are finally going to get adequate distribution throughout the U.S. and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The guy I was talking to, actually said, “You have been handcuffed for three years and now the handcuffs come off.” Yahoo! Big circulation jump for Feb.-Mar. issue.

Hens don’t like Jerry & The Pacemakers. Maybe Led Zeppelin?

Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see the possibilities -- always see them, for they're always there.”
—Norman Vincent Peale

Thursday, November 07, 2002

November 7, 2002
It seems to me one of the secrets of business success is to give the customer more than they expect. I know this is probably pre-Business 101 but it is a revelation to me. We got gift packets from our printer reps yesterday and it was unexpected. Last night as I poured Kansas City honey on a tortilla, I thought to myself, “What a great bunch of guys, those Banta boys are.” It may sound silly, but a $2.50 jar of honey has helped cement a $250,000 print job (not a bad return).When we were at lunch at Bob Brink’s golf club, we all got salads, etc. and then the waiter brought out a plate of fudge and put it in the center of the table. It was free, unexpected and no matter how cynical I try to be I just have that little voice in my head that goes, “Hey, let’s go back there, free fudge!” So I’m trying to figure out what we can do to give our readers and advertisers something extra and unexpected.

The rent issue got more complicated yesterday. The $3K office space up in Carefree came in at $4.1K, and other spaces seem to be even higher ($27 a Sq. ft). Some office space down in Phoenix is going for $12 a square foot, but somehow that takes the small town charm out of our operation. Going to talk to Dave today about creative solutions. Maybe he’ll take $2K and a jar of honey.

“Difficulty, my brethren, is the nurse of greatness -- a harsh nurse, who roughly rocks her foster children into strength and athletic proportion.”
—William C. Bryant

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

November 6, 2002
We got attacked by a pack of javelinas last night. About ten, I heard banging and barking out at the front gate and went out to see about seven javelinas rooting around (they are basically wild pigs but someone told me today they are not really pigs, but large rats, which makes them even more creepy). They were banging around the dog food trays like a rodent biker gang, chomping on everything (they even eat charcoal briquettes!). I was banging the front door in my shorts and yelling, but they were real casual about leaving—plus they are very aggressive and will charge on a moment’s notice. All but two left (they were too fat to make it through the edge of the gate and the wall, and so they ran into the back yard and started ramming the back gate, almost taking it off the hinges.) Peaches was in the studio barking and scratching at the door. I ventured out in my undies and turned on the hose for defense, sprayed it in their direction which drove them away from the gate, I scrambled over and opened the back gate. The two trapped rats had jumped up on some rocks at the edge of the pool and were glaring at me like John Ashcroft at a press gathering. About this time Peaches got out and the whole back yard became a race track, with the javalenas going one way, me the other, with the hose spraying mostly me, and the dog going the other way (Peaches didn’t really want to catch them any more than they wanted to be caught). After about two laps, out the back they went, scrambling off down the slope to the creek, while Peaches ran to the front and back and cleared the perimeter.

I changed my shorts and sat up in bed wide awake for about an hour.

I voted yesterday. Same ol' pig story (see above).

The boys from Banta, our printer in Kansas City, came in today. Bart Etzenhouser. and Neil Brand flew in with many suggestions on how we can streamline production, save money and create a better magazine (they suggested we go to perfect bound, a square spine, and I’m all over that for Feb.-Mar. issue). Really a class organization (they brought gift bags full of honey, KC bar-b-que sauce, coffee, candy and a coffee cup). Every time they met somebody in our office, two business cards came down in front of the person they were meeting, and each offered to help in any way. Banta is 101 years old. Bart gave us a printout and photos of his “Customer Service Team” and how they operate, with work phone #s, fax #s, pager #s and E-mail addresses. He encouraged us to utilize his box-letterer, and mail custom mags to shows, etc. Very impressive. They have a printing seminar twice a year called Partners In Printing Excellence (PIPE) where they invite all their customers to come to KC and they put us up for three days and nights, feed us and take us through their printing process step by step to educate and maximize efficiency. Wow! Free food. I’m driving!

Bob Brink took them, Robert Ray, Carole and I to lunch at his private golf club. Fun. Learned a bunch.

The only problem is all these meetings have put me behind the eight ball with my Classic Gunfights copy, editorial, Westerns copy, cover illustration, etc.

“A perfect method for adding drama to life is to wait until the deadline looms large.”
—Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

November 5, 2002
Wrestling with rent isssues. We are considering a move to Carefree to Kathy’s building where we can get 3,200 feet of office space for under $3K a month. We had a meeting in my office yesterday with Carole, Bob Brink, Dave and Doreen. Went quite well. They were understanding and told us to take it. I love our building and I think there is some advantage to having consistency, but if we sign a five year lease and can save $150K. Yikes!

Wonderful Russ had a funny line when he first walked into the BBB suite last weekend. He walked around the living room past all the Boze paintings, didn’t comment, came around by the couch, pointed at the stereo and said, “They really paid attention to the small details—it’s a Bose stereo.” Very funny, understated, timing perfect, and of course you had to be there to hear Russ say it in his commanding, over-the-top voice.

Got an E-mail regarding the poor showing of Jennifer Tilly issue (see November 2 posting). Lucinda P. wrote, “I know you went to great expense, but it wasn’t one of your best. I bought it in Tombstone on vacation two weeks ago. But one of the things I like about True West is its apparent willingness to be different. Keep up the good work.” We are having a reader’s poll meeting today to determine what to make of the stats. Women readership actually went down. This is troublesome considering how much energy we expended in the past year, adding departments and items that were aimed in that direction. Perhaps Lucinda has the answer: we need to do a better job in those areas.

Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve started singing to my chickens. I’ve got two cranky hens left and when I approach the chicken house in the morning, I start singing, “Hey baby, Que Pasol!” They aren’t really responding to it, (maybe it’s too Mexican for them, although they are Aricanas). Tomorrow I may try Jerry And The Pacemakers’ “Fairy Across The Mercy.” (I know, I know, it’s “ferry,” or is it?)

“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.”—Hunter S. Thompson

Monday, November 04, 2002

November 4, 2002
WARNING: Yahoo Behavior ahead.

Just back from the sneak preview grand opening at the Westin Kierland Hotel, complete with the Bob Boze Bell suite ($485 a night!). Five rooms and a foyer, with kitchen, two bedrooms, three baths with walk-in closets and a terrace that looks out over the golf course and points directly at our house (about 25 miles away), Eight of my paintings on the wall (all prints) and a big-ass photo of me in the foyer. Of course the room was comped for my involvement in adding to the art (they spent $1 mil on art and I got $2,400 of it. Ha.). We made one mistake. Kathy took a bottled water out of the refreshment frig—$6. Imagine telling someone from the 1950s that you paid $6 for a bottle of water. Amazing. Other than that and tipping ($20 cash) it was a free ride.

Ed Mell showed up with Rose Marie (she looks just like Catherine Zita Jones), and Russ and Wendy Shaw showed up because I called them. Ed has a suite named for him just above mine, but didn’t opt to stay in his and they booked it. So we sat in our living room and debated whether to go up to the fifth floor and knock on the door at 11 p.m. and say, “Excuse me, I’m Ed Mell and you’re staying in my room. Can me and my friends have a look around?” But, alas, some of us are getting older and less immature (although Russ and I were chomping at the bit to do it, and even considered pretending we were both Ed and doing it anyway). Many laughs.

Ed put it all in perspective when he mused, “You know, in about ten years they’re probably going to look at these two suites and say, ‘Who are these guys and why did we name a suite after them?’” AMEN.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

November 2, 2002
Got a big check in from Kable for July issue. Very sweet. And with the increase in newsstand copies starting with the Jan. issue, we should be in great shape for 2003.

Quiet in office. Ted and Stacy out. Waited all day for Jan. proofs to arrive from Kansas City but they didn’t show (printer once again used Fed Ex and they didn’t arrive).

Came home for lunch, had spaghetti. Went back into office at one, worked hard on In The Works (our Westerns section) copy. Many new Westerns in production (at least 7 movies and a half dozen tv shows). Got most of the info from Miles Swarthout. Thanks Miles!

Got an email from Mare Rosenbaum. Our former editor is in Brazil and it was nice to catch up on her life. She says she reads these entries, so Mare, here’s an update on items I know you are dying to know: the Jennifer Tilly issue did not do as well as we had hoped. In spite of the Leno hit, sales for that issue were below all the other collector’s editions. I know, I know, it’s mind-boggling. The cover was sexy, with the alleged Mrs. Wyatt Earp semi-nude image, we got Jennifer on Leno showing the cover to the camera but it did not translate into newsstand sales. On the other hand, the Scout issue is the biggest selling non-collector’s edition ever (500 mores sales than Tilly). I think the image was strong (a classic buckskin clad scout on a horse with a rifle) and it didn’t hurt that John Wayne was down in the corner. On the other hand, we are sold out of the Tilly issue in the office and we get calls almost every day asking for it. Go figure.

Sue H. completed the stats on the latest reader’s poll today and there are some interesting trends. Median age is 48, only 17% own horses, but 73% go to rodeos, 82% own a folding knife, 59% own a shotgun, 63% of our readers also read Wild West, 30% Cowboys & Indians, 28% American Cowboy, 22% Western Horseman. The most popular features in TW are Classic Gunfights-94% readership, Ask The Marshall-87% and the least read department is fashion (ranked dead last at #15). We think it was a mistake to put the word “fashion” in the poll because it is somewhat perjorative (especially to our readers), and perhaps “authentic western wear” would have polled somewhat better. Still, you’ve got to listen to the readers. Or not. Ha.

"There are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics."
—Mark Twain

Friday, November 01, 2002

November 1, 2002
Our daily production meetings are going quite well. Yesterday we caught a big, gaping hole in editorial calendar workings. Mike, Robert Ray and I worked it out. Felt good. I wrote up a cartoonist guideline and two rejection letters to cartoonists (this was difficult because I started out as a cartoonist and hated rejection form letters and here I am writing ours! Ironic, eh?).

Abby knocked out an O.K. Corral postcard for April issue. It looks good and we are cooking. Got a letter from a former editor, demanding a retraction for the Butch Cassidy issue. More on that later.

Came home at six, started the ‘49, pulled it out and hosed it down, put it back. Then walked down to the creek and found saguaro ribs and hauled them back up to house (place in gate). Did a quick felt-tip pen sketch of a vaquero wearing a sugarloaf sombrero. Has promise. Need to develope.
Went to bed and read Vanity Fair, and a great piece on the history of Saturday Night Live. I didn’t know Lorriane Newman was snorting heroin, Chevy was such an ass, and they made such little money. I think the writers were making something like $375 a week (in New York!) and the players were making $750 a show, and only $2,000 a show in the third season. It’s the media myth: we assume because we see somebody in the media they are rich. What’s really ridiculous, is I’ve been doing this for thirty years and I’m still shocked.

As I was reading I got the inspiration to write down the following: “I was in a car going very fast. I thought I would die. Actually, I did. Just not then.” Don’t know where that will fit, but it will.

"When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself."
—Wayne Dyer