Wednesday, April 30, 2003

April 30, 2003
Had a nice day yesterday with no pain. Slept very good. Kathy went with me at 6:30 and we drove down for my evening shot. Ate at Foster’s a sea food place ($30 cash). Got my shot and got home at around 9:30. With all of the driving and waiting it takes a good 4 to 5 hours out of my day, but it beats the alternative: being in the hospital 24-7.

The nurses are still trying to find out who my doctor is. This morning at Outpatient Infusions, Julie (her real name) says, “Who is the lead dog here?” and I said I have no clue. She said “That can’t be.” And I said, “I’ve had five doctors poking at me and now that I’m an outpatient they all act like they’ve never seen me.” (In fact I called for an appointment with a GI doc this morning and his receptionist says, “We have no record of the doctor ever seeing you and he doesn’t remember you.” “Well, I remember him” I told her, “he’s got a shaved head and he’s the one who wants to put a roto-rooter up my backside and as much as I’d like to forget him, I can’t” She laughed).

Cancelled a photo session in Tombstone this weekend. It was the right call. I need to be there and it’s a tricky shoot and fortunately everyone involved understood.

Working hard on Hole-in-the wall Gang shootout in Turkey Creek Canyon, New Mexico. Dan Buck is providing much needed information. Haven’t heard back from the guy in England who is supposed to be the source. He has no phone, no E-mail. Hard to believe, eh?

"History is a vast early warning system."
—Norman Cousins

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

April 29, 2003
Twice a day I cruise down into Scottsdale to go to the hospital for my stomach shots. The last five miles are on the new loop 101. Today in the Arizona Republic there is an article on all the deaths on this road. In eight months there have been 800 accidents and 8 deaths. And this isn’t for the entire freeway, just the part I drive on! Yikes! And I’m here to assure you it is the wildest freeway I have ever had the misfortune to drive on (this includes LA and Austin). I’ve seen more reckless driving and crazy vehicular stunts in the last two days than I have ever seen in my life (and I used to race motorcycles). A really scary stretch of road.

What’s with the name of couples on new buildings? At the Scottsdale Healthcare complex there are all these buildings with names like the “Bruce & Diane Halle Pavillion” which is in the “Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center.” Inside you can go in the Eugene L. Levy bathroom. I realize it’s a feasible way to mix fundraising with vanity. So, what’s next? I just might like to donate to the “Bob and Kathy Bell Crack House.”

More pain last night. Woke up at midnite. Hope it’s something I ate, as opposed to wandering blood clots. Took two pain pills and finally got to sleep. Not out of the woods yet.

Big staff meeting this morning and then an editorial meeting to go over a possible new fashion piece Ted wants to do. Much controversy and discussion about “tone” and what is our look, and not our look. Jana and Meghan are dead set against the “meat” aspect of it. All around a good discussion of what we can do to breath some life into a very weak category.

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it."
 —Groucho Marx

Monday, April 28, 2003

April 28, 2003
I don’t feel pain! It’s a major cliche, but like they say, you can have all the success and money in the world, but if you don’t have your health it ain’t worth diddly. I actually ate a solid lunch yesterday: bread, chicken, cheese, watermelon. Incredible! One of the most amazing meals I have ever eaten.

My daily diet in the hospital was what they refer to as “the bland packet.” And when you combine that with the term “hospital food” I think you get the picture,

Read, went for a walk, took a nap, talked to our daughter about her goals in life. Went well..

Of course I had to drive back down to the hospital at 7:30 last night to get my stomach shot. The service in the hospital was quite amazing when I was in there (nurses coming in every ten minutes and taking vitals, tucking my pillow, gushing over my forearms—"Great veins!"— the usual). But now that I’m an “outpatient” I immediately encountered the disappearing paper trail syndrome. I showed up at 3C nurse station at 7:40 and the nurse asks me if I’m a doctor (it was the cell phone on my daytimer). When I tell her I’m not a doctor, but I sometimes play one with my wife, she gives me that blank look that says, “We know nothing about you and we will do everything in our power to erase your existence from the face of the earth.” I explain how I was up in 4C this very morning and they told me to come back in the evening and get my shot. The nurse isn’t convinced and looks at me like I might be Al Quaida and asks me for some “blue plate” ID clearance, and I say, “Hey, I don’t know, they just told me to come up here.” So then they go through the computer deal, “What’s your social?” “How do you spell your last name?” “You know, Taco, Mountain, Tinker, Alexander Graham, how hard is it to spell Bell?” After about five minutes they decide I don’t exist. At least in their system. Finally, after twenty minutes, they determine I’m a WD-40 and why didn’t I tell them to begin with (I still have no idea what I am) But then they tell me they need to order the damn drug from the pharmacy and I should wait in the lounge room.

Finally got two stomach shots at about 8:40 (bedside manner is everything, the first nurse gave me the shot in the center of my stomach and I was looking at it and never even felt it. This nurse tossed the damn syringe like a dart and it hurt like hell (about a three, but still!). Got home at 9:20.

Got up this morning and took off around 7:15, waded down Scottsdale Road and got on the 101. Horrendous traffic. Just jammed and people passing crazy-like, what a madhouse. I’m so grateful I don’t have to go south of Carefree Highway except for stuff like this.

Need to appreciate my life more. I take so much for granted. Right now I’m feeling no pain. Thankyou. Thankyou. Thankyou.

“Funny how blessings brighten as they take their flight.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Sunday, April 27, 2003

April 27, 2003
Came home from hospital around noon. Great to be outdoors and not have an IV stand to drag around. It’s the little things: I can walk, I can see, I have a house, someone who puts up with me. Thankyou God.

Actually I’m still an outpatient and will need to return tonight at 7:30 to get a stomach injection (not as bad as it sounds, I got my first before I checked out and it didn’t hurt at all. Needle goes straight in. Amazing). And then I return in the morning and again at night, for five days. It’s a forty minute drive, one way, but I get to sleep in my own bed. Seems like a fair trade. The blood clot is still a mystery and three doctors are trying to figure it out. They are ordering all sorts of tests and I’m going to have to endure a colon-rectal exam (they knock me out with that “no memory of it” drug, which is kind of scary when you think of them entering the “Hey, that’s an exit!” territory).

Speaking of Exit Terriotry, the first doctor who looked at me, put on one of those gloves and told me to roll over on my side. He also warned my wife not to look, but she did. After the probe, he asked me if I had been taking Pepto Bismol and I said yes. Evidently, the proof was in the pudding, so to speak. Later, when I had my own room, another doctor came in and started asking me questions. As he did he started to put on the glove. I couldn't help it, and said, "Are we going some place with that?" And he laughed and assured me he was only going to listen to my heart. That's what they all say.

Thanks for all the thoughtful, supportive and funny E-mails. No Eric, the next issue of True West won’t be delayed. My staff is on top of the whole deadline deal and it goes out the door to Kansas City tomorrow. Going to be a very strong issue.

While in the hospital, I read most of “Jeff Milton: A Good Man With A Gun,” by J. Evetts Haley. Milton was a fascinating guy. Backed down John Wesley Hardin and John Selman. Shot it out with numerous outlaws. Really a tough hombre who lived to be 85. He finally married at 57 (his bride was 40) and one time she noticed a scar under his chin and said, “Jeff, who shot you there?” And the old gunfighter said, “A man who is not alive.”

"The difference between a violin and a viola is that a viola burns longer."
 —Victor Borge

Friday, April 25, 2003

April 25, 2003
This is Kathy, the wife. Bob entered the ER yesterday at 4:45, and was admitted to the hospital at about 8:30. He has an IV drip in his arm giving him medicine to thin his blood. He doesn't seem to be in any pain, his room looks like a hotel and the nurses are all young and cute. What a deal! He will be there "for two or three days" according to the Docs. He is in great spirits, and we are all happy that he is doing something other than wait for the Hematologist to see him. ("The soonest I can get you in is April 30.")I'll let him tell you about when the doctor asked if he had Pepto Bismal lately.

Of course he is losing weight, that happens when it hurts to eat. Several years ago, when he had trouble with his thyroid, he was eating whole pecan pies after chicken fried steak with cream gravy and losing weight. Does that seem fair to you? Me either. The only disease I ever get is pregnancy. I'm still trying to lose the weight I gained, and my daughter is 22. My sister-in-law summed it up nicely when she said;

"How come Bob gets all the good diseases?"

Thursday, April 24, 2003

April 24, 2003
The catscan diagnosis is: “a partially obstructing thrombus in the superior mesenteric vein.” Or, in everyday terms, it’s a blood clot on one of the outer veins that wrap around the small intestine. My doctor has never seen one, ever. He called a Hematologist and asked him if I should be sent immediately to an ER, and the Hema guy says, “Nah, I’ll call him tomorrow.” Now this either means the Hema guy could care less about what happens to me, or it isn’t that big of a deal. I’m choosing to believe the latter, but when I told Jeanne Sedello (my old radio partner on KSLX) she said, “Bob, don’t those blood clots travel?” And I said, “I hope I have the stay-at-home clots.”

Actually had a very nice sleep last night. Got up at six and ate a banana and talked to Kathy about our kids (one we want a refund on, and the other we may actually keep). Went into the office at seven, picked up some mags and walked up to the Buffalo Chip Saloon for a Chamber of Commerce breakfast mixer ($5 cash). Mike Melrose joined me. Lots of laughs with Mike. Networked and had a real meal: scrambled eggs and fried potatoes. Tasted real good. Got back to office and bailed into work.

Had a website meeting at ten and my lower stomach started to go south. Pressure and raw pain feeling. Regretted the potatoes and scrambled eggs, big time. Meeting was good.

By 12:30 the pain was pretty constant, but only a 3 (halfway to death). Trying to get an appointment with the Hema doc but his office won’t call me back. Came home for lunch to rest. Kind of draining. Feel slightly better. Don’t want to eat ever again. Kathy told me if I lose weight over this whole deal she is going to kill me. Ironic, eh?

"I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it."
—Jack Handey

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

April 23, 2003
Just got back from a catscan. Drove down to Phoenix at seven this morning to get a blood test, then back up to Carefree to pick up my Ready Cat (which is a barium drink to prep and highlight your innards for the catscan). The jar was big and industrial looking. In fact, the logo on the front could easily be mistaken for a generic Draino design. But I drank the stuff (it actually tasted great because I had been fasting for five hours!) and I got ready for the big scanorama at 1:30.

Finished quite a bit of work in the office (funny what you can get done when you think you might die). Lots of mortality thoughts. The doctor asked me Monday, “On a scale of one to ten how bad is the pain?” and I said, “A six.” He then told me very emphatically, “Do not be a hero. You need to go to ER if the pain continues and is bad.” Yeh, yeh, I thought. But what is bad? Guys are taught to suck it up. No pain, no gain. Don’t be a crybaby.

On Tuesday night, when I couldn’t find a position that didn’t hurt, Kathy asked me how bad was the pain and I said “A six.” Don’t you think we should go to the emergency room?” she pleaded with me. “No,” I said, “It’s just a six.” Later that night, after she had gone to sleep and I couldn’t because of the pain, I thought of a ton of things, mostly regrets at all the things I didn’t do, all the crap food I wished I hadn’t eaten, and of a paramedic friend of a friend, who told the story of answering a 911 call in Prescott Valley. He and his team pulled up to a double-wide and followed a frantic woman into their kitchen and there they found her husband on the floor, clutching his chest. The paramedic got down on his knees and said in a loud voice, “Can you hear me?” The guy shook his head yes. “What is the pain level, on a scale of one to ten?” The guy said, “A six.” And died.

So on a guy scale, if six is death, what is a ten? Purgatory squared? Do we “gut it out” when we should be “heading out” to the ER? Believe me, these thoughts were on my mind, but for some reason I still couldn’t bring myself to wake up my wife and go to the emergency room. Why? I didn’t want to spend the money (the next day my wife said, “But it’s free!” and I said, “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it’s free.”) and I didn’t want to put on that stupid gown and sit on a cold, metal examining table and answer stupid questions from third-shifters. I know. I know. With an attitude like this, I deserve to die.

Somehow I survived until now and even as I type this I’m waiting for the verdict (the catscan people said my doctor would have the results this afternoon).

“Life is suffering.”
—Buddha (Thanks Fat Boy)

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

April 22, 2003
Had a painful night last night. Went to the doctor yesterday and he gave me some acid pills and I got three X-Rays and came home, took a nap. Felt great. Came out to studio and finished a painting for Paul Hutton on Custer being shot in the side.

But after a dinner of chicken noodle soup and toast I started to get the same severe pains in my lower stomach. Really bad. Had trouble sleeping. Couldn’t find a comfortable position. Finally slept on my stomach and that seemed to be the least painful position. Thought about Custer being shot in the side and how that would have to be less painful than this.

Got a second opinion from a faithful blogger reader this morning: “Did you consider the possibility your stomach pains may be related to gallstones? Sounds real familiar - eat rich or greasy type foods (Easter brunch) and have a severe attack that lasts for hours - and not much relieves the misery. If it happens again, you may want to ask your doctor to do an ultrasound and check for stones. I've seen it happen to a number of patients in the healthcare facility I work at and experienced it myself. It took 3 different doctors before they nailed my symptoms down, mostly because the attacks come and go. Good Luck!”—j.rae

I feel better this morning and went for a walk. As bad as my problems are it could be worse:

Evidently Glenn Boyer’s (author of “I Married Wyatt Earp”) step-son shot his live-in girlfriend’s sister in the face over the weekend. It’s not clear if he thought she was an intruder, or what. The police report says that they were partying and then had some sort of altercation earlier in the evening, near Rodeo, NM, then Danny Coleman (he’s Jane Candia Coleman’s son) and his wife went home to Portal and went to bed. His girlfriend’s sister drove over to their house, and while the kids and her husband waited in the car, she went inside. That’s when the shooting took place. Awful. I feel bad for them all.

“A good writer of history is a guy who is suspicious. Suspicion marks the real difference between the man who wants to write honest history and the one who'd rather write a good story.”
—Jim Bishop

Monday, April 21, 2003

April 21, 2003
Nice Easter weekend but it ended with severe pains. On Saturday I painted and poked around in my studio. Thomas arrived from Flag around two and we had lunch and talked about the history of Christianity. He is drawn to the philosophy of C.W. Lewis who was an agnostic until he was 30, then read the bible and thought, “Wait a minute. This isn’t myth or legend. It’s too clumsy, it doesn’t answer every question, which all myths do.” Very intriguing and thought provoking.

Kathy and T. went up to Blockbuster at around four and rented “Salton Sea” and “Danny Darko.” Watched “Darko” at about seven. Enjoyed it, but then, since it was on DVD we started watching the drector’s comments version which has the writer-director and the star talking over the movie and saying things like, “Remember when we shot this, you asked me to smile, right here, and I asked you what my motivation is and you said, ‘You survived getting up at two in the morning.” From their discussion we realized we missed half the concepts in the movie! I wonder how many movies are like that? It will probably become standard with every movie in the near future. Way cool. Really enjoyed it.

On Sunday we had an Easter brunch at the house for Grandma Betty. Both Deena and Thomas were here and we had a good time. Then painted some more, but noticed I was getting a sharp stomach pain that lasted longer and longer. Last Friday I assumed it was heartburn, but by Sunday night I was miserable. On the way back from Betty’s we stopped at a drugstore and I got some Pepto Bismol. Hard time sleeping. The only thing that would knock it back at all was Alka Seltzer.

Went to the doctor this morning and he said it is either the onset of ulcers, a blocked, telescoped intestine, or worse. Said if the pain continued too long to go right to ER. That was sobering. He gave me some pills, took some blood and sent me over for X-Rays. I got those done and went back to work.

"My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way."
—Ernest Hemingway

Saturday, April 19, 2003

April 19, 2003
Much stronger day in office yesterday. Meetings all morning, mostly to discuss design issues. Bob Brink and R.G. were helpful in creating running room to get flows straightened out and put focus in the appropriate areas. Had a long meeting with Robert Ray and he was helpful and I trust his abilities to deal with his department.

Came home for lunch. E-mailed Dan Buck in Washington D.C. about getting the address of Jeff Burton in England, who is the expert on the Turkey Creek Canyon shootout. Many questions and loose ends. Unfortunately, Burton doesn’t have E-mail so I had to write a letter (imagine that?!), print out the rough copy for the gunfight, enclose two magazines in an envelope and express him. In the process I learned from Dan Buck that Elza Lay, Hole-in-the-wall gangmember extraordinaire, is related to the founder of Frito Lay. Amazing.

Ad sales are in solid territory. I left at four to drive down into the bowels of Phoenix. First stop was Dan Harshberger’s studio to look at the new Wyatt cover. It’s a winner. Lots of color. I feel great about it. Then we talked about getting him into the flow more. His suggestion was to do more PDF files of layouts, E-mail them to his studio. Makes good sense.

Caught up on our respective offspring (he has two daughters, one at NAU and the other at U of A), had a few Kingman style laughs at other’s expense. Also laughed about ourselves and our lifelong folly (plenty of fodder there).

Left Dan’s about 5:20, drove across town in rush hour. Fortunately I was going against the grain. Most people are going north and west, and I was going south and east. Landed at the Biltmore Hotel at about 5:40. One of Arizona’s oldest resorts. Very posh. Met my hosts and they set me up on the patio with chairs and tables, lights and a micorphone and PA. Talked to a small group from 6 to 7. Sold one book. We sat looking at Piestewa Peak (formerly Squaw Peak, until a special vote this very day changed it to honor the female Hopi soldier who was killed in Iraq).

Got out of the Biltmore at around 7:10 and drove over to Ed Mell’s house. Flooded with many memories of the older, genteel neighborhood where several of my friend’s lived. Ed’s house is a first class art gallery. In addition to the stunning Maynard Dixon paintings in his living room and den, he has several choice Lon Megargee’s and a couple of new additions I hadn’t seen. A great little Frank Tenney Johnson landscape, two Jimmy Swinnerton’s (the famous cartoonist who did Canyon Kiddies). I actually enjoyed the art in his house more than the El Greco to Picasso show at the Phoenix Art Museum.

We had 8 PM reservations at Nonni’s. Very hip little bistro on 40th below Camelback. When the waiter came and asked what we’d like to drink, I said, “The cheapest cabernet you have.” Ed said, “Don’t worry about it.” and he gave that look (the owner greeted Ed like a rock star when we came in). So I got the $10.50 a glass St. Chermaine. Very dry with a nice bouquet. We shared an art studio for six years, but haven’t seen each other for about six months. So we toasted each other’s success and traded war stories and family stories and had a great meal. Many laughs. I always get inspired around Ed because as an artist he’s so focussed (as opposed to say, artists who are not focussed, like, say, me).

Got home at 11. Long, but productive day.

“I am doomed to an eternity of compulsive work. No set goal achieved satisfies. Success only breeds a new goal. The golden apple devoured has seeds. It is endless.”
 —Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Friday, April 18, 2003

April 18, 2003
Frustrating day yesterday. Fought many battles from changing out the cover and killing a major article to dealing with numerous bumps in the process.

Came home at lunch and tweaked a painting of mine which is running in editorial. Robert Ray thought it was a tad weak and he was right. I think I improved it and I appreciated the critique. Ironically, I’m not sure it cuts both ways.

Encountered a problem in production with changing or “enhancing” paintings in the Art of The True West department. In the current issue we are working on I noticed there were rounded corners and a frame on all the paintings being featured. I assumed the artist sent them to us this way, but when I asked I discovered that production had created these. I told them this is a potential problem and that the rule of thumb is when you are dealing with Fine Art you can’t monkey with it. Of course Robert and Abby fought this and said they have been doing this for months and why haven’t I said anything about it before. My answer was, “If I’ve been missing it doesn’t make it right and besides, they are two separate issues. I’m not criticizing the layouts or the quality of the scans. We can’t change Fine Art in this particular department.” Period.

They all went to lunch together and got their indignant flags flying and when they came back we went at it again. I called my old studio mate and very Fine Artist, Ed Mell and asked his opinion and then I called Diana Tyo at Native Peoples magazine to ask their policy. They both concurred: you can’t change or add to Fine Art unless you have the artist’s permission (and Ed Mell added he would be wary of what someone else thought was “groovy”). Now illustration for an editorial feature is a different deal and you can crop in, tweak lighter or darker, put in drop shadows, reverse, add effects ‘til the cows come home (even on a piece of art that might run on the Fine Arts page), but when it comes to Fine Art in the Fine Art department, you have to keep your mittens off the product. It’s not called Fine Art After We Add Some Stuff To It.

Ted G. called the artist being featured and he loved the rounded corners, so we dodged a bullet with this one and I let it go.

That was a problem hashed out with mature people. I had other problems during the day where the people were not as mature. Exasperating.

“Patience and fortitude conquer all things.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, April 17, 2003

April 17, 2003
Oops! I spoke too soon. This morning I pulled the current cover and the supporting article inside. A good part of it was due to the distress of my friends and part of it was due to poll results from last weekend’s End of Trail festival in Norco, California.

Al Frisch had a booth at the festival. We had sent him our three proposed covers (see last week's entry with cover art of the three) and he placed them on his table and had people vote on them. Which one would they pick up at the newsstand? Here are the results:

• Wyatt Photo cover (Is This Wyatt Earp?): 6 votes
• New cover painting of Wyatt in foreground and Doc behind him: 72 votes
• My old painting of Wyatt & Doc approaching the O.K. Corral with guns pulled: 89 votes.

This casual focus group told me two things: people are not as interested in the veracity of the Wyatt photo as we thought. And, they are still excited about the traditional illustration of Wyatt and Doc at the most famous moment of their lives. And, sometimes we get too hip for the room. We get all worked up about it and we think the world is waiting and going to go nuts over this, when in fact, they could care less. As the Hearst woman said, “Magazine publishing ain’t rocket science. It’s actually harder.”

So we are scrambling today, with Daniel working up a new cover at the last minute (we go to press next week). R.G. and Meghan are juggling inside pages and rewriting copy to make it all fit.

Don’t tell anyone, but this is actually fun.

“I am one of those people who just can't help getting a kick out of life -- even when it's a kick in the teeth.”
—Madam Polly Adler, she wrote "A House Is Not a Home,"

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

April 16, 2003
Well, I got some good nominations for the name of the painting (see painting on April 14). Here’s a few from Julie in Wyoming: “Earp Girls Are Easy. I'm thinking Chicken Little also, The Earps Are Falling! The Earps Are Falling! Attack of the Killer Earps. When Earps Ruled the Earth. Invasion of the Earp Snatchers. Close Encounters of the Earp Kind. Star Wars, Return of the Earps, The Earps Strike Back. Is this enough?” Yes.

Meghan chose “Earpageddon.”

Challenged with a tricky ethical situation yesterday. Involved a controversial photo and a friend of ours who owns it.. With the help of Jana B., Meghan S. and R.G. I think we did the right thing. We had compromised the article somewhat because of our relationship with our friend. After some strong debate (we went to lunch and talked about it in depth) we decided to back up and rewrite the piece as we would if we didn’t know him. Jana rewrote it and I faxed it to him (we normally don’t do that, but he is a friend and we felt he should at least see it before everyone else. We also knew he could pull the photo but we took that risk.).Our friend wasn’t thrilled with some of the items in the piece but he signed off on them. I feel good that we did the right thing. Worked out fine. Was touch and go for awhile. One of those gray areas where friendship and journalism ethics collide.

"The lessons taught in great books are misleading. The commerce in life is rarely so simple and never so just."
 —Anita Brookner

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

April 15, 2003
Woke up at 3 A.M. because it was raining in my face. After about five minutes (I of course was dreaming this was happening as it was happening) stumbled over to the window and cranked it shut. The window is at least ten feet from the bed. The wind must have been whipping the rain just right because it had to go through the screen, past the love seat, over a stack of books and into my face. From now on, just call me Bob Rain In The Face.

Thanks for the suggestions on what to name the Wyatt Earp painting. I’ll post the finalists tomorrow.

Worked hard on laying out final versions of several articles, little tweaks, misspellings, semantics, run-on sentences. Daniel E-mailed up the latest version of the Wyatt cover and I really like it. Hope you will also. Added the cover blurb: Why Is Doc Holliday So Sexy? And a couple more.

Went to lunch late, at around one, drove up to House of Joy and had a quiet meal ($6 cash). Got a massage at four ($50 biz check) from Christie. She is trying to cut down on how many times she says, “How does that feel?” She still counted 12 times, wanted to come in at under 10. It doesn’t bother me.

Read the new issue of CM magazine (Circulation Management). A woman from Hearst said, “Some might say that putting out a magazine is not rocket science. I would agree. I actually think that it’s harder than that.” Ha. She’s right. She also added that sometimes “success is counter-intuitive.” Oh, so true. Getting back to the covers, As a graphics person I don’t like covers that are loaded up with type but yet I have many a time bought a magazine because of some small blurb stacked into the mix. So when I add cover blurbs I’m going against my intuition. Ah, it’s all rocket science.

“It took me 17 years to get 3,000 hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course.”—Hank Aaron

Monday, April 14, 2003

April 14, 2003
Finished three paintings for this issue over the weekend. Worked last night on an illustration for our book reviews. There are two new bios on Wyatt Earp and both are huge. One weighs five pounds! (and is the first of four volumes) So I decided to approach it like a science fiction movie, with these huge books falling out of the sky and people on the ground running to save their lives.

I need to name this painting and I need your help. I thought of “They Came From Wyatt Space,” and “War of The Wyatt Books,” and “Target Earp!” and “Earpzilla” and “Earpophiles Strikes Back” and “Attack of the Bigger Books” and “Wyattworld” and “Earps Attack!” and “Earpageddon” Nominations and votes, just contact me. Thanks

Words must surely be counted among the most powerful drugs man ever invented.”
—Leo Rosten

Sunday, April 13, 2003

April 13, 2003
Finally got untracked about four yesterday and did a coyote painting for Craig Hamilton’s column in the May-June issue. Kind of a soupy mess but at least I’m moving. Kathy came home with pizza from Barro’s (she was at a dream seminar at Rancho Manana). Had a beer and four slices of pizza. Watched a ton of TV last night, including Dennis Miller’s new standup (recorded in Chicago) and then Bill Maher’s Real Time. Lots of laughs, lots of timely humor. Both Dennis and Bill are fearless, tackling the latest “off-limits” subjects. Very inspiring.

Finally went to bed around 10:30. Slept in until after eight. Went for a walk to meet Kathy and Peaches on the road. Several jogging miracles for both of us: ideas flowing because of increased heartrate.

Having a very nice Sunday (took a nap). Deena went camping at Seven Springs and came home this morning. We had a nice talk. Kathy and I are going up on the roof later to put our cooler pads back on. My allergy medicine is really working. I feel better.

Got an E-mail from an old Kingmanite: “This from a Kingmanite a bit older than you - but - in the good days when we all knew everyone else.  My daughter and I went to have a hot dog today and of all things I remembered the great grilled hot dogs Mary Lou used to make at the Tydway Cafe [adjacent to the Flying A gas station my dad ran].  Do you have a clue how to make the sauce that went on them?  I worked at the Mon Petite Beauty Salon and had a hot dog every day!  My husband worked with Allen - Marty Martin.  Wasn't Kingman great when it was really small?  Had my 45th class reunion this summer and could have cried over all the changes.  Not the Kingman I knew.”—Sandi Martin

Wrote her back. I don’t remember the hotdogs or how they were made but the Tydway (pronounced Tide-way) was a classic Route 66 diner with an L-shaped counter with stools, no booths or tables. I think it seated no more than twenty people at a time but the owners drove a pink Caddie and seemed to do quite well for themselves My dad’s Flying A gas station was attatched and it was the first of the Super-stations with one-stop convenience. I have a great photo of it and will post it when I find it.

If you're going to do something wrong, at least enjoy it.”
—Leo Rosten

Saturday, April 12, 2003

April 12, 2003
Daniel worked all day on new Wyatt Earp covers and E-mailed them up late in the day yesterday. Strong consensus on one but Ted G. hates it. Really hates it. I asked Dan to change a few things and he massaged it and sent it back up. Still not quite there but we are getting closer.

Went to lunch with Carole at Tuscan Cafe (she bought). Fun talking to her and finding out what is really going on in my business. Ha.

Had a doctor’s appointment at 2:45. I had convinced myself that I had throat cancer and confessed this to the doctor. He laughed and said when he was in graduate school and going through all the diseases he convinced himself he had each and every one. He asked me if I ever smoked. No. Has anyone in my family died of cancer. Yes. What kind? I don’t know but it was cancer of the something else. He gave me allergy medicine and told me to enjoy the weekend. As I drove away it felt good to know I would probably live at least through the weekend.

Worked on the-hole-in-the-wall gang shootout in Turkey Creek Canyon until around six, then Kathy picked me up and we drove down to Scottsdale to meet Wonderful Russ and Wendy for dinner at Buster’s. Russ told about his fantastic drive across the country (he bought a tricked-out BMW from an American Airlines pilot in Virginia, who’s afraid he’s going to lose his job). One of the gadgets on the vehicle is one of those computer maps that talks to you. The pilot programmed the map to take Russ from the pilot’s carpeted garage in Virginia to Russ’s house in Paradise Valley, Arizona. When Russ was in Saint Louis, the map narrator came on and said, “Get ready to bear right...” and Russ turned off an exit ramp before he heard the rest, “ about two miles.” But then the map narrator took over and said, “To get back on the freeway turn right here, go to next intersection,” when Russ would arrive at the intersection, the narrator would continue, “look for the sign that says Butherus Way, turn right and you will see the road splits, keep to the left...” It guided him right back on the freeway in a jumbled, complicated city maze. The only problem with it, according to Russ, is that when he got to Phoenix, the map softwear didn’t know the 101 Freeway has been finished so it told him “take this exit ramp and get ready to turn left.” (under the freeway and onto Beardsley Road) But there is now a freeway cloverleaf and Hal didn’t like this and all the way down the 101 he kept saying, “turn around, you have made a wrong turn...I repeat, you have made a wrong turn...” And Russ couldn't shut him up. Scary, eh?

I'm always making a comeback but nobody ever tells me where I've been.”—Pee Wee Herman

Friday, April 11, 2003

April 11, 2003
Allergies really bothering me. I’ve had a sore throat and headache for two weeks now. Going to doctor today.

Long pow wow with Daniel regarding cover. I’ve been forwarding him all of your comments. Consensus seems to be between the middle cover design and the one on the right. He’s working hard on it today.

Tweaked Wyatt photos piece and the pimp face-off. Abby did a very good job of laying that out. We must have 80 to 100 hours in these features. It really takes time to do these—right.

After work Kathy and I ate at El Encanto. Deena started work there Monday. Had the Sonoran enchiladas ($20 cash, plus $2 tip to strolling mariachi).

Came home and watched war news. My favorite reporter is Walter Rogers. He always has on a crusty t-shirt and he won’t go where the anchors want him to. They give him leading questions and he shuts them off. Every time he does this my estimation of him goes up.

"You've got to take the bitter with the sour."
 —Samuel Goldwyn

Thursday, April 10, 2003

April 9, 2003
Heavy debating going on over cover for Wyatt Earp issue. Good feedback from here (see yesterday’s posting). Daniel H. is leaning toward the photo although there is significant voting for the middle image. I think it’s because it has all the icons in it. The OK Corral sign, a long-barreled Colt, both Doc and Wyatt. For some reason they all add up. We had a similar success with last summer’s Scout issue. It had a horse, a rifle, a big hat, a wagon train, John Wayne (in the bottom corner) and an American flag. It has a cumulative effect.

Met with Chris and Theresa from Tri Star on Monday night at Tonto. Bob Brink and R.G. and I met them to have dinner and discuss doing a Classic Gunfights: Vol. I book. Crunched numbers and talked over old times. We have fought many a war together and so the war stories flowed.

Just received a two year subscription from Charles Baker of Anchorage, Alaska. He said he has been reading this diary and that’s what got him to subscribe “I really get a kick out of it,” he says. That made my day. Sometimes I think I’m writing this for my employees and the blogger police. Ha.

Had a financial meeting yesterday. Trying to stay focused on keeping it lean and mean. Nervous about big increases on newsstand and our special issue being on top of all that. Need to ride herd on our distributors. Made two calls yesterday to ask for data. Need to keep it all in perspective, like Willie.

“There are more serious problems in life than financial ones, and I've had a lot of those.  I've been broke before, and will be again.  Heartbroke?  That's serious.  Lose a few bucks.  That's not.”
—Willie Nelson

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

April 8, 2003
Missed a couple days in here. Been busy painting pictures. Finished two big images of Doc and Wyatt Behind The OK Corral on Monday, got them shot and developed and Robert Ray put them in production where Gus and Abby worked up three possible covers. Here’s what they came up with. Which one would you buy off the newsstand? (if any) Do any of them work better than the others? You can contact me right here. Just send me your opinions. Thanks.

You don't have much hope of getting the truth if you think you know in advance what the truth ought to be”.
—Robert B. Parker

Sunday, April 06, 2003

April 6, 2003
Don’t feel good. Headache, slight fever and scratchy throat. Came home for lunch on Friday and went straight to bed. Felt good to rest.

Got up at three and worked on two paintings of Wyatt Earp. Knocked off at six and picked around. Watched war coverage and went to bed early.

Woke up at seven on Saturday morning. Got up, made breakfast, loaded up the truck with recycling garbage. Kathy and I drove it up to Town Center and dumped it, then checked mail. Went by office and Sue was there working overtime. She’s great.

Came home and started two possible cover paintings. I have good sketches and laid in several washes. Got several good passages going, unfortunately not in the same painting.

Worked until around five. Deena came home and I suggested we all go out to dinner. Got dressed and drove up to Tonto. Sat outside. Rather cool out (snowing in Flagstaff) but sat by fire and it was toasty. Had two glasses of wine, corn chowder and a salad ($55 cash). Then went up to El Encanto so Deena could apply for a job there. Place slammed. Sat in bar and watched some of the Texas final four game. Kansas trounced Marquette earlier. The really irritating thing is the Wildcats beat both Texas and Kansas in the regular season.

Came home watched more war coverage, got tired of the repetition, watched a taped “Real Time” with Bill Mahr (sp?). Very funny. Also watched some of Richard Pryor Live at The Sunset Strip. He was so funny. Really a genius. Then watched some of “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.” Lee Van Cleef was such a great bad guy. The living embodiment of a vulture. Great style. I forgot how good it was. Went to bed around 11:30.

Never, never trust anyone who asks for white wine. It means they're phonies.”
—Bette Davis

Friday, April 04, 2003

April 4, 2003
Woke up and turned on the TV. Paula Zahn of CNN was saying there were important developments in the war. I put my glasses on. There was a tight shot on the back of a tank and the reporter was saying “Coalition forces are on the move and within five miles of Baghdad.” I watched while I got dressed, went out to studio, checked E-mail, fed the dog, made breakfast. Kept coming back to the TV. Same shot of tank. Went into work. Fretted all day. Worried about the troops. Between meetings, imagined big battles and ambushes. Worked hard on copy for Wyatt Earp photos spread. Called Craig Fouts, Bob McCubbin and Lee Simmons. Finally got the skinny on the Wichita photo. Finished about six. Locked up, drove home, turned on the TV. Paula Zahn was still there (when does she sleep?) and she pitches to an embedded reporter who says, “U.S. troops are within six miles of Baghdad.”

Sometimes we know too much about too little.

The ingenuity of self-deception is inexhaustible.”
—Hannah More

Thursday, April 03, 2003

April 3, 2003
Lots of work on Doc & Wyatt issue but I haven’t been able to squeeze in any art time. I come home at night and think I’m going to work, but by the time I eat and watch some war news, I’m pooped and end up going to bed. I have some great photo and art reference for this issue and I really want to do some good stuff.

We’ve expanded the Wyatt Earp photo spread to four pages. Strong images and controversial conclusions. Plus, Allen Barra turned in his copy for the Face Off on Was Wyatt Earp A Pimp? Allen makes a strong case for Wyatt (as I knew he would). Steve Gatto’s copy is also strong. I’m very curious to see how the readers respond, beyond the usual suspects (the nut cases who equate any criticism of Wyatt Earp with hating him).

Bernie’s back in town so we’ll finally put up the Boy Scout Suburban stuck up on the side of the mountain photo from my trip up to Turkey Creek Canyon near Cimarron, New Mexico, two weeks ago. Notice how everyone is standing around doing nothing (including the guy taking the photo) while the lone guy from the Philmont Ranch tries to jack up the come-along. Really a statement about guys and trucks and snow. Ha.

We’re thinking of hiring a circulation director. Met with our prime candidate in our Executive Committee meeting yesterday. We’re quite impressed and excited about taking care of this important part of the biz. We have been really flying blind in that arena, tyring to catch as catch can.

Got bad allergies. Stuff is really blooming. Hacking, sneezing, throat is a mess. Came home and took a nap at lunch. Feel drained.

And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh."
 —Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

April 1, 2003
A big controversy is brewing over an upcoming big budget Western. There is some evidence the character they are going to portray on the big screen is a total fake. More later.

Wonderful Russ called on a cellphone from Tucumcari. He bought a BMW from a guy in Virginia, flew back, bought the car and was driving it 2,400 miles back to Phoenix. I was so jealous. I love roadtrips and it sounded like so much fun.

Craig Fouts sent us four images of Wyatt Earp he has just purchased. One has never been published and another one is quite unflattering and shows him looking like a tough. Virtually everyone who has seen it comments, “That’s not Wyatt Earp!” I admit I’ve never liked the photo either and really thought it wasn’t him, but Robert Ray took a known photo of Earp from Lamar and superimposed it on the suspect photo and the ears, jawline, eyes and mouth matched perfectly. Virtually everyone did an about face and said, “That’s him!” We will run this juxtaposition in the next issue (July)

Worked in office until around five. Kathy picked me up and I stopped at Aaron Bros and bought more art supplies ($65 biz account), then we got her car washed ($10 cash) then went to our Conversational Spanish final at Shelmita’s Mexican Food restaurant at Greenway and Cave Creek Road. Really fun. Jim Ramsay, our teacher made us order in Spanish, asked us questions about the items in the restaurant, held up utensils and asked for the word (La cucharo: spoon). I had a taco cabeza (cheek meat) and pescado diablo (fish in a hot read sauce). Really excellent ($36 cash). Passed the test. Got home around nine and watched war coverage. It’s so addicting and so draining. I keep saying to myself, I’ll read one more crawl then I’ll shut it off, then I go to another news channel and read their crawls. It’s just pathetic.

"Television - a medium. So called because it is neither rare nor well-done."
—Ernie Kovacs