February 1, 2003
Woke up at 6:45, had coffee in bed and then Kathy drove me up to office so I could get my pickup (last night we went into Phoenix, ate at El Conquistador, $20 cash, and saw the movie “Chicago”, $17, includes popcorn.) Drove back home, had breakfast then came over to studio to work. Kathy came back from exercise class and told me the Columbia space shuttle exploded and they fear there are no survivors. My first reaction was I didn’t even know they were flying, but that is true of most of the history I have lived through (I didn’t know Kennedy was in Dallas either). Had the usual gamut of emotions, remembering the Challenger explosion, where I was (in production at New Times), how the more things change the more things remain the same. How dangerous it is to be alive, how fleeting it is. I saw a great Jackson Brown special last night where he sings, “they say in the end it’s just a blink of an eye.” Also caught the new video by Johnny Cash called “Hurt,” where he sings a Trent Reznor (sp?) Nine Inch Nails song. Just haunting. Here’s Cash looking like death warmed over and all through the song they flash images of him and his wife in younger days, cavorting and snickering at death. Very powerful song and images. Cash is so god-damn honest, he makes it fly with dignity to spare. Now, to me, that is the highest art, to flip the bird right into death’s face. Is there anything more noble?
At 1:30 I drove out to Ben Avery Shooting Range for Winter Range. We have a very big tent in a very nice spot, although the crowds have been so-so. It’s always nice to talk to the people and ask them what they like and dislike about the magazine. One guy nailed it: “I like your maps, especially your Custer map. That was amazing. How do you do that?” Well, we have the best map maker in the U.S., Gus Walker. I told him how that map took weeks to do and we spent a pretty penny producing it. He said, “Well, it was worth it. That’s why I read you guys.”
Another guy said he doesn’t like how we featured the mounted shooters (we ran fashion pieces on Jim Rodgers, his daughter and Annie Bianco, all mounted shooters) and have basically “snubbed the regular, ground shooters.” That was interesting. I didn’t know we were snubbing anybody. First, Kennedy in Dallas and now this. What else am i missing?
Went by Jennie Smith’s tent. She is selling off her incredible clothing collection. She has an 1880s corset, never worn, still in the box. Ditto for men’s garters, a Chinese outfit, all hand embroidered from 1881. I bought fifteen French postcards showing love birds in naughty (for then!) embraces ($20 cash). Plan to use them for a feature I want to do on Sex In The West.
“The only thing I regret about my past is the length of it. If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner.”