Wednesday, March 05, 2003

March 5, 2003
Had a long one yesterday. Brought all five Custer cover paintings into the office. Everyone weighed in on them, with a split decision on which would work the best. Dan Harshberger came at about noon and picked one of my very first efforts. He thought the one I did at 4 in the morning didn’t look enough like Custer (see yesterday’s comment. Ha.). So he took two scans with him.

Went to lunch at Satisfied Frog with Jana, Dan, Gus, Abby, Meghan and Robert Ray ($20 cash, paid for Dan’s lunch, can’t remember why, but I owed him for something). Talked at length about how to get white space into the magazine. Several good ideas. Looked at Cerca magazine, a Nevada type Arizona Highways pub. Compared styles, their version of “white space.” I brought along a USA Today for some examples of effective white space. Good talk, vigorous discussion, although I had several bruised egos. Had to deal with that later.

Worked on Wyatt Earp package for July issue. Jana wrote a great little sidebar on why Doc Holliday is so sexy. Deals with Val Kilmer, Dennis Quaid, Kirk Douglas, who have all played him. The women will nod their heads (in fact, I predict all the women reading this are nodding their heads).

Kathy picked me up at five and we went down into PV for dinner at Chompies ($20 cash), then over to PVCC for our Conversational Spanish class. Learned a cool deal about South of the border cowboys. In Mexico, the west is north. To them, cowboys, or vaqueros, are people who live in the north part of the country, so their version of Country music, or their Cowboy Country is Norteno, or North. Pretty weird, eh? What we call Westerns, I guess they would call Northerns. Ha.

Went out this morning to a Read Across America program at Copper Creek Elementary School. Spoke to the combined fourth thru sixth grade classes in the school cafeteria. Must have been 400 kids. You couldn’t hear for the din after they all got in there, but then the principal went up on the stage and clapped three times. The kids answered with three claps. Then she clapped two times. They followed suite. Then once. Ditto. Then it was deathly still. It was the most amazing thing I have seen in a long time. “And now students we have a real celebrity with us. He’s an author, the editor of a magazine and he’s on the radio, let’s hear it for Bob Bow-zee Bell!” The kids really clapped hard and they sat very still and were very calm for about ten minutes. After that you could just see the energy spilling off their bodies as they fought a losing battle to hold everything in their skin. At the fifteen minute mark several rows of kids were starting to bounce and buzz like a big box of cell phones on vibrate mode.

Of course I had to introduce my niece and nephew, Mercedes and E.J. “El Diablo” Radina. Both were in the audience (their mama Carol got me the gig) and everyone craned their necks to see who would actually be related to such an old guy in a cowboy hat. Then I took questions from the audience. One of the kids asked, “How much money have you made publishing your books?” And of course the answer was, “Not much, kid.” Then a young girl asked, “What radio station are you on?” And I wanted to say “Your principal is a big liar,” but I actually said, “Well, I was on the radio a long time ago but I got fired for saying a naughty word.” They really seemed to love that (although the principal didn’t seem real happy).

Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.”
—Lady Bird Johnson

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