Saturday, May 31, 2003

May 31, 2003
Unseasonably hot for this time of year, but we had a very cool spring. In fact, the Palo Verde trees are just now blooming (they normally bloom in April). Went for a walk with Peaches and Kathy around seven. Cloudy, muggy, supposed to get up to 100.

I’m afraid we lost our cat Big Tom. We got back from our New Mexico road trip and he wasn’t here, but he’s done this before. But as the days mounted I had a sinking feeling the coyotes finally got him. He was very old and had survived where no other cats had made it, but he was a step slower and the predators in the desert are so unforgiving. Kind of like the magazine business.

Speaking of business, I had a couple Coronas with an old friend in the book chain biz after work last night. We met at El Encanto and talked about history and Tombstone, then we got around to the book biz. He said the chains are still suffering from post 9•11 and internet sales (Amazon), and that they have a chainwide 20% discount on everything. However, he told me (after the second beer) one of the aggressive, guerilla business strategies they have developed to survive is they open temporary calendar stores from September to January 15, hire temp help, no advertising and it brings about $50 mil to the bottom line. Yikes! I was intrigued (because we have been flirting with the calendar biz and we could use $50 mil) and asked him how they were able to do this and he basically told me the skinny. Currently they are bidding on a closed Hallmark Card shop in Durango (“great fixturization” as he put it). The owner desperately needs to keep his cash flow up, so they negotiate a low lease, or even better yet, a percentage of the sales and they are off to the races. Multiply this by 600 markets and the math is easy. It just proves there are opportunities in the worst of times (in fact there are probably more opportunities). The difference is attitude. When the big water hole dries up, most people stand around like cattle, mooing and bitching about the poor service.

Speaking of cows, I’m on a new diet. It’s called the “South Beach Diet.” When you think about going to the beach your appetite goes south. Bad joke. No, it really is a diet.

Came home for lunch yesterday and banged out a portrait of Pancho Villa. Got some very nice effects. Nice fade on edges. May use it for a white background cover. Still have ideas of Pancho on a white stallion charging out of a cloud with skeleton Villistas riding with him. Hope to get something like that today.

“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”
—Mark Twain

Friday, May 30, 2003

May 30, 2003
On our roadtrip last weekend my son Thomas was reading aloud from a magazine article on the “Top 50 Cult Movies of All Time.” We were all comparing notes on whether we had seen them. “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” seen it. “Blade Runner,” seen it. “Evil Dead II,” Tommy owns it and has seen it dozens of times. “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure,” seen it. But then he got to number one, “This is Spinal Tap” and both my kids shrugged and admitted they had never even heard of it. This was crushing to me. What a lousy parent I have been. I put the pedal to the metal and vowed to go straight to the nearest Blockbuster Video Store and rent the classic. Unfortunately there is no Blockbuster Video in Cliff, New Mexico, and although there is a Blockbuster in Carefree, Arizona they don’t carry it (Oh, the horror, the horror!).

I mentioned this at a TW staff meeting and no sooner had I got back to my office than Minnesota Mike came in and said, “Here’s a tape of 'Spinal Tap.' Don’t lose it. This is a Melrose family heirloom.”

For the past two nights we have watched this amazing Rockumentary and it gets better with every viewing. The same guys who did “Tap,” Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer also star and made the new film “A Mighty Wind,” which is a parody of folk music. “Spinal Tap” is a parody of English metal bands, but I’ve heard that Aerosmith was really upset when this came out (1982) because they thought it was their life story. Ha. If you’ve seen Behind The Music you’ll know why. The band manager Ian Faith is played by Tony Hendra who was the editor of National Lampoon magazine in the seventies and in fact flew to Phoenix to hang out with Daniel Harshberger and I at the Razz Revue (we co-produced a humor magazine from 1972-76). So it’s a bit weird to see him in this classic movie (he’s brilliant by the way). Another treat is the many cameos by future stars like Billy Crystal, Dana Carvy, Fran Dressler (sp?), Angelica Huston to name a few. The music head honcho, Eaten Hogg, is played by Gene Barry, the guy who played Bat Masterson in the old TV series (he seems clueless to what is going on in this movie which is also perfect). If I remember correctly, one of the parody songs they play in the movie actually charted

If you’ve ever played in a band you have to see this movie. They've got amplifiers that go "up to 11." One of my favorite lines: “There is such a fine line between stupid and clever.”

“If it is true that we have sprung from the ape, there are occasions when my own spring appears not to have been very far.”
—Cornelia Otis Skinner

Thursday, May 29, 2003

May 29, 2003
I gave a talk at the Hubbard Museum last Saturday morning and it was quite intimidating. As I looked over the the packed room I saw the faces of practically every Old West expert in the land. Drew Gomber (Billy the Kid author and expert), Richard Ignarski (weapons expert), Phil Spangenberger (ditto), Al Frisch (ditto), Nora Henn (Lincoln County War expert), Bob McCubbin (photo and well-read expert), Dave Daiss (no slouch on gun and Old West history), Paul Andrew Hutton (a professor of history at UNM). You get the picture.

Normally when I give a speech I can pontificate and pull statistics out of my rectum like this: “Ma’am Jones of the Pecos was an incredible woman. She had nine kids, eight of them boys and she lived 132 miles from the nearest doctor.” But on this speech I found myself saying, “Nora, how far is it from Seven Rivers to Fort Stanton to the nearest doctor?” And Nora would say, “152 miles,” and I would say “Thankyou. It’s nice to have experts here in the room,” when it actually was intimidating as Hell. In spite of this, or maybe because of it, the speech went really well and we laughed and had a good spirited conversation about all things Western.

Later that same day, back in Lincoln, two of Paul Hutton’s young daughter’s came to the main house at Casa de Patron where we were staying and asked if I wanted to join them for a walking tour of Lincoln. I got dressed (I was on my third nap) and went out on the street. There I met Paul, his two daughters and his young son, Paul Andrew, Jr., who must be about seven or eight. We started up the street and right off, Paul Jr. says to his dad, “Where did Billy kill the sherif?” And Paul says pointing, “Right over there son. And he shot two others and they all deserved it.” I, of course blanched and looked at Paul askance. It has never been proven that the Kid killed Sheriff Brady on April Fools Day in 1878. He was shooting with five or six other Regulators through an adobe wall and it was a rather cowardly killing to say the least. But Paul just smiled and kept walking. His son and daughters were hanging on his every word. We got past the Tunstall store and Paul says, “Here’s where Billy escaped from a burning house and killed three men as he ran, hitting one right between the eyes as he jumped into the Rio Bonito river bottom and escaped to fight another day.” The kids eyes were wide but not as wide as mine. Billy shot no one as he escaped, all the killings happened in the next wave of McSween men who tried to escape the burning house. It was legend and Walter Noble Burns who gave those killings to Billy. Paul is an expert on this and so I was appalled but I kept my mouth shut. This went on for an hour or so and at every turn, Paul told his kids the tall tales that I thought we were supposed to disprove and educate the public about.

When we got back to Casa de Patron, his kids were pulling on his arm and saying, “Daddy, Daddy, tell us more stories.” I finally realized he is a genius. My kids never were interested because I would say, “Don’t believe that sign. It really didn’t happen that way.” I told this to Paul and he smiled. “Always tell your kids the legend,” he told me. “Maybe they’ll get interested enough in history and want to find out what really happened.”

That’s why I want to be Paul Andrew Hutton when I grow up.

“If you can’t improve on a story, you have no business retelling it.”
—Old Texan Saying

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

May 28, 2003
There’s this rumor going around that I hate Wyatt Earp and it’s being spread on the internet, etc. Most of it stems from the current issue of True West (July) and an article I wrote called “50 Things You Didn’t Know About Wyatt Earp.” We just got a letter from a disgruntled reader saying all of the “Things” about Wyatt Earp in my article were negative and why do I hate him? I wrote three replys and E-mailed them to Meghan at the office this morning. She will choose which one goes into the magazine (mostly based on space allowance) but you get to read all three:

• I prefer the Man not the Myth.

• I feel your pain, but if the title of my article was “50 Things You All Know About Wyatt Earp” then you would have read all about Earp’s brave and courageous life. To borrow and bend a Huxley quote: “The great tragedy of popular history is the slaying of a beautiful folk hero by an ugly fact.” In this case there were about fifty.

• My grandfather, Bob Guess, was a legendary cowboy from Crow Flat, New Mexico who died just before I was born. As I was growing up almost everyone I met regaled me with stories of his cowboy prowess and stalwart character. I idolized him as a kid, but as I got older I asked my mother to please tell me something negative about him because I was afraid he didn’t really exist. My mother sighed and said that during the depression she came home early from school one day and her father was in the yard with a neighbor’s cow. He was getting ready to butcher it and he told my mother to go in the house. I felt so much relief to know he was human. And so it is with Wyatt Earp.

I have many stories to tell from the trip. How I want to be Paul Andrew Hutton when I grow up. A tour of Billy the Kid’s town at midnite. How the Elfego Baca statue sketches went over (think Fabio). Gossip from the Alamo set (think Disney and cussing and $80 mil). Who picked up the tab at Tinnie? How the taping for the History Channel went? And all the exciting naps I took at Casa de Patron!

“Life is too short for a long story.”
—Mary Wortley Montagu

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

May 27, 2003
Back from a wild road trip. Covered many miles, saw many wonders, almost got a divorce. Just a great big, fat American Family Road Trip experience if you know what I mean and I think you do.

First off, I know it’s not easy being married to a Western history nutcase. Just ask any poor woman whose husband has a subscription to True West. During the meltdown (seven hours into the third day of marathon driving just to see one more “cool ghost town” in the Black Range of New Mexico) my wife snapped and accused me of “deceiving” her and wondered aloud if I was tricking her out into this location to buy land in this god forsaken place. I assured her it was the last thing on my mind (okay, a small lie) and asked her if this was her way of being an agreeable travelling partner ( a vow she had made in our kitchen before the trip). This didn’t go over real well, and five minutes from our destination (dinner with a couple who live in the cool ghost town) I hit the brakes and the swearing contest began. I crammed the F-word into more grammatical situations than a pack of white trash metal heads in a ‘72 Firebird.

The kids were horrified. Then it was silent for a long time. Kathy tried to crack a joke but I wasn’t buying.

The dinner went fine, but I woke up in the middle of the night and I had the divorce papers signed and I went and got that nurse Lisa (see May 13 entry) and we went to every Old West hysterical marker and museum in the entire West and every time we came out of one, she would gush and say, “Oh Boze, let’s make love and go to another museum!” And this went on for years and years (and we hadn’t even been to North Dakota yet) until one day I realized she didn’t laugh like Kathy. Actually, Lisa didn’t even get my sense of humor—she thought I was just “sick.” And ultimately in 2012 I had to go back on my knees to Kathy’s house (I lost it in the divorce) and I cried and begged and admitted I was being a big, fat baby just like a certain friend of mine who acts like this all the time and now I understand why, but it didn’t help because I was in that miserable place and there was no one to blame.

As we waved goodbye yesterday morning and drove up the winding road out of the coolest ghost town in the entire West, this is what I said:

“Some people like to get to fun destinations like the beach in San Diego and they consider the road an obstacle. They read books and play games and listen to music, anything to make the miles go by faster. Others are in love with the road. They hate to return on the same road they came over on even if it means driving farther because they want to see new country and every mile is a wonder, especially if it has history involved. And that’s what this trip is to me. But now I feel different. Since we’ve had this fight I can’t wait to get home and every lousy mile that is ahead of us is just an obstacle and I want to get past it and if I could fly I would because I just want to be home. And feeling like this, I realize that’s how you feel (not just Kathy but Deena too) because you’re not real fond of this country and it’s not fair to torture you like I’ve been doing and I’m sorry.”

Long silence. “That’s exactly how we feel,” both women said. We pulled off into a big wash and hugged. And except for a crappy Jerry’s diner in Safford we made it home tired but happy.

“We stayed together because of the kids.”
—The Widow James (mother of Jesse and Frank)

Thursday, May 22, 2003

May 22, 2003
Very good day painting yesterday. Whipped out a key scene of Sheriff Farr getting hit by a bullet which went through a pine tree. It’s a somewhat controversial shot with some saying it can’t be done, but my ballistic experts (that would be Dave Daiss and Paul Northrop assure me it’s quite possible with the bullets the outlaws were using). Nice scene. Kind of a forest haze long shot (scene wise). Yes, I made gunshot sounds as I painted. Finished around nine last night. One more image to go.

I had two doctor appointments yesterday. My coumadin levels sank back to a 1.20. Amazing. Evidently not totally unusual, but the doctor told me to lay off all veggies until they can get me to “therapeutic levels”. He increased my coumadin to 10 mgs. for yesterday and 7.5 from now on. He also put me on baby Aspirin, Vitamin E and Zocol (anti-cholesterol). I can also swim and walk, but no jogging or wrestling amazon women.

The doctor also told me I can have a healthy sex life if I can put up with looking at naked bodies my age. I told him, “As long as I don’t have to look at myself, I’m fine.”

I was contacted by the BBC in England to do a hot air balloon interview in Albuquerque on June 3. I warned them that historians and hot air balloons don’t mix but they are proceeding anyway. I can’t make it on that date so I recommended Leon Metz and others.

Need to whip out some statue proposals for Elfego Baca this morning. We take off today at one for our New Mexico road trip. Going dark here for a few days.

“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not Eureka! but 'That's funny...'”
—Albert Einstein

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

May 21, 2003
A good day to be alive. When I think of all the people working hard to make True West a great magazine it makes me realize how lucky I am. I’m doing what I love to do (making my critics crazy) and learning history to boot. Speaking of which, Gus showed me a missive on BJ’s chatroom called “Ten Things Bob Boze Bell Doesn’t Know About Wyatt Earp.” Actually quite clever (especially if you’ve seen the July issue of TW) and we may run it in letters.

Drove out to Mort Fleischer’s ranch at two yesterday to shoot a photo of the Pancho Villa saddle. It’s not actually Pancho’s saddle, but it is identical to one Villa is riding in a photograph. Here it is. Check out that saddlehorn. Is that bizarre, or what? As Jana put it, “Pancho must have looked like he had Mini Me in his lap when he rode up to his troops.” Funny.

Speaking of Jana and funny, here’s a line Ann Richards (former governor of Texas) got off this week in Phoenix: “Greetings from the great state of Texas where gas is so high women who want to run over their husbands are carpooling.”

Reworked the Elzy Lay painting and I think it’s much better. Got in Sam Ketchum and Will Carver around the campfire and the cave behind them. Of course I’m cringing because I’m totally guessing on how this all looks in the actual canyon (We were two miles away last March but never got to see it!), but it’s too late to find out in time for this issue (we go to press the first week of June and the soonest I can get back over to Black Jack’s Hideout is June 13. But I plan to run the photos of the real deal right here when I get back.)

My kids are actually looking forward to our New Mexico road trip this weekend. I’m wondering if they’re up to something., It’s too crazy. Maybe the world is ending.

“The Earth is degenerating today. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer obey their parents, Every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching.”
—An alleged Assyrian Tablet, 2800 BC

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

May 20, 2003
It was a year ago today that R.G. Robertson came into my office with a proposal. At the time he was a very good ad salesman who did occasional articles on the side. The two-page proposal included very ambitious goals that seemed almost out of reach at the time. Last week I found his proposal and reread it. Every single thing he proposed he has done. Today he is the editor, a financial partner and the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of the corporation. The most impressive things to me are: he is punctual and he did what he said he was going to do. Quite inspiring for all you young kids out there.

One of my heroes is in a nursing home with a brain tumor. In the summer of 1959 I worked for tips in my father’s gas station to buy Ed Bartholomew’s “Biographical Album of Western Gunfighters.” It cost the unbelievable sum of $15 (at the time) and I saw the ad in True West, sent off my money (I think my dad chipped in a bit) and checked the mail every day waiting for the package. I wasn’t disappointed. The huge book (it’s 20” wide by 14” high) is still in a prominent place in my vast library and, I must confess, it is the very model for all of my illustrated books. Ed’s daughter said if anyone wants to send him a card to mail it to Ed Bartholomew PO Box 805, Fort Davis, Texas 79734. I’m sending a card today, tomorrow and the day after. This guy made all the difference in my life. Very influential.

Finished three paintings yesterday, photographed them by the pool and ran them up to Foothills Photo and got one-hour processing, plus bought more film ($12 something, debit card). Had a doctor’s appointment ($10 co-pay). Came back and Robert Ray scanned the negs and tweaked the sacns (he’s so amazing), then posted the results in Classic Gunfights file. Going to be a very strong one. I want to rework one of the paintings (of Elzy Lay getting it). Some passages don’t quite work. Have one more painting to finish today, then the cover of Pancho Villa and the statue sketches for Elfego Baca. We take off for New Mexico on Thursday. I’ll post images here before I leave.

A former friend called me a “lop-sided jackanapes” online in some chatroom. I didn’t read it but heard about it. I kept telling myself, “Don’t take it personally. This is about him, not me.” But, of course, I had to look it up and here’s the definition of a jackanapes: “a pert or mischievous child.” Can’t duck that one.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names like Jackanapes make me laugh.”

Monday, May 19, 2003

May 19, 2003
Bailed into painting on Sunday morning. Did one of the hardest concepts first: Outlaws Will Carver, Sam Ketchum and Elzy Lay limping over the top of the mountains in a lightning storm. Used a Remington nocturne for the color scheme (Scare In The Pack Train, 1908). Green and fuzzy, as night vision tends to be, especially in the rain. Had a pretty good downpour effect going but, of course, strangled it with too much detail. Now it’s merely sprinkling, but the lightning is pretty strong. Hard to do, especially in the mountains with distant peaks. Need to give depth and the value changes can be quite subtle. Too subtle for me, but it’s done and I’ve got to move on (2:18 PM).

Climbed right into Elzy Lay getting it in the chest and shoulder, down by Turkey Creek. Had excellent reference of Jake (Tommy’s friend), which I shot last weekend in Flagstaff. Good water reflections and tangle of reeds and vegetation creekside. Don’t tell anyone but I still make gunshot sounds as I work in the puffs of smoke coming off the body. Oh, go ahead. Tell everyone. It’s not like anybody is going to be surprised.

Thought about swimming some laps. Technically I’m not supposed to (the Coumadin Nurse forbades me). Nah, chickened out. Water too cold (85 degrees). Ha.

Woke up this morning at 5:30, had coffee, came out to studio at 6:15. Want to finish three of the paintings: Will Carver in his sniper’s nest and Elzy Lay getting it. The lightning storm is done. Need to photograph them and run film up to Foothills Photo in Carefree.

I have a doctor’s appointment today at one, then one with the hematologist on Wednesday and one with the Coumadin Doctor on Wednesday afternoon.

"I tell you, with my doctor, I don't get no respect. I told him I'd swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills. He told me to have a few drinks and get some rest."
—Rodney Dangerfield

Sunday, May 18, 2003

May 18, 2003
Went absolutely nowhere yesterday. What a treat. Didn’t even get in a car. Did go for a walk, but didn’t get far. Actually got to paint on my Pancho Villa ideas. Did three landscapes utilizing the colors of the Mexican flag: reddish sunset, big storm cloud in middle, offset by a green sky with a lightning bolt going through it at the top. Now to superimpose Mr. Villa on a white stallion, with crossed bandoleers, a big head saddle horn and two death riders (skeletons) on either side of him and I’ve got it nailed. Got bogged down on that concept trying to work out the horse and rider problems in pencil last night. Got frustrated and quit around eight.

Got up this morning at six. Read paper. Talked to Kathy about kids. We’ve got a house full of ‘em (Deena brought home a friend). Tommy sold the Land Cruiser for $1,900 cash (it’s been in the family since we bought it new from Ellis Rucker Motors in Kingman in 1991. I think we paid $25K for it new. It was a warhorse. Had about 275,000 miles on it. I’m kind of sad to see it go).

I’m anxious to paint today. Here’s what’s on my wish list:

• Finish scene of Will Carver perched on a rocky knoll shooting down on posse.
• Paint Elzy Lay getting hit in the shoulder and chest as he leans down to fill canteen (he lived!).
• Paint Sheriff Farr and officer Elliott hiding behind trees and shooting.
• Paint Sheriff Farr getting hit as a bullet goes right through a pine tree and hits him near the heart.
• Paint Three outlaws riding in a lightning storm with Sam Ketchum listing in the saddle.
• Paint Pancho Villa bursting right off the page on a thundering steed. He’s laughing and Americans are cowering at the bottom (that ought to get my redneck friend’s hearts pumping).

Found a much better quote for yesterday’s entry:

“One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.”
—Oscar Wilde

Saturday, May 17, 2003

May 17, 2003
Had my first visit to the Coumadin Clinic at two yesterday. Had several disturbing realizations: For the two week period of my outpatient shots, they drew blood almost daily in vials (“wine decanters” is the term I used when describing this to Kathy) and then it took an hour to get my PT results. At the clinic yesterday they pin-pricked my finger, fed the miniscule drop of blood into a portable mouse looking deal and the results came up in three seconds. All that wasted time and blood!

The coumadin nurse also asked me if I was taking Aspirin. “No,” I told him. “The nurses at 3C told me to avoid Aspirin because it counter-acts the coumadin.” The coumadin nurse shook his head as if to say, “I don’t know where you got that Stone Age advice.” He told me they love Aspirin at the Coumadin Clinic and believe it affects different blood platelettes than the coumadin and they recommend taking three Aspirin a day. Ay-yi-yi! I don’t expect everyone to be on the same page, but being on the same chapter might be helpful.

Other oddities I didn’t enjoy hearing: My chronic 1.19 scores were a “probable” sign that the coumadin was just passing through my body (a person who is not on coumadin will score from 0 to 1.20). When the nurse asked me about my diet I told him I was eating more vegetables and that elicited his by now familiar “Tsk, tsk,” and he went on to say that was “probably” why my coumadin scores stayed so low. To which I said, “Well let me see if I’ve got this straight. My regular doctor says I’ve got to eat more vegetables or I’ll die of a blood clot, but you say if I eat more vegetables I’ll counteract the coumadin and die of a blood clot.” The nurse pretended not to hear this and continued his “silly boy” looks.

Other delightful news: when I told the nurse that my regular doctor increased my dosage of coumadin up to 12.5 mg. a day, the nurse said, “I have never heard of a dosage that high in my entire career.” Which prompted me to ask, “Are you saying that is a dangerous dosage?” He mulled this question for a long time (no doubt picturing himself on the witness stand trying to defend his answer) and finally said, “That is a very large dosage.”

That did it. I just snapped and jumped off the examining table and rammed my open hand against his throat, pinning him against the far wall. Vials of drugs and syringes were falling everywhere. The receptionist ran in crying, “For God’s sake don’t kill him! He’s just trying to protect the doctor who’s out golfing!” But it was too late and I broke his neck and left him in a broken heap on the cold, sterile floor. Then I went out to the waiting room and grabbed up the True West I had planted on the coffee table. I shook it at the quivering office staff hiding behind the receptionist's glass window, saying as I went out the door, “Don’t expect anymore free issues!”

Actually I smiled and thanked him for being so “forthcoming.”

"It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument."
—William G. McAdoo

Friday, May 16, 2003

May 16, 2003
Funny who responds when your life creeps close to the edge. My number one Zane Bro, Wonderful Russ came to my hospital room every night. Carole G. and Sue H. also dropped in. Richard Ignarski, the gunfighter artist, sent me a thoughtful card. Mark Boardman, John Boessenecker, J.Rae and Julie, among others, sent me very ice E-mails. But one response I would never have predicted is a very sweet E-mail from our former editor Marcus Huff, who left True West two years ago—in a huff.

For all of you who were wondering what happened to Marcus (and that would include me), he is living in Mesa (what a place-ah!) and working on publications for the FAA.

Another of my compadres, Mad Coyote Joe, brought by an expensive bottle of tequila and cooked lunch for the entire staff yesterday (this had nothing to do with blood clots, but more to do with a publishing contract for his latest cook book). Man was it good! Marinated Tri Tip, homemade potato salad and pintos.

Here’s a photo of the feed in progress. That’s Minnesota Mike front and center, and Mad Coyote Joe at right. Note the time.

Last night, Kathy and I drove out to Copper Creek Elementary School to see our nephew, E.J. Radina star in a Fourth Grade school pageant on Arizona History. He portrayed Wyatt Earp and he was fantastic. He had the string tie and he studied the latest issue of True West to see how he should cock his hat. In fact the entire production was a hoot. One of the kids got stage fright and threw up on the front of the stage (great effects) and then a parade of characters came up to the mikes and chronicled the entire history of Arizona from the Hohokam Indians to Barry Goldwater and Sandra Day O’Connor. A black kid in a great Smiley Burnett hat was Ed Scheffelein, an Asian kid was Father Keno, an anglo kid was Cochise. After each monologue, the kids would run back to the risers—they were spread out like an Up With People array—and they would do the boogaloo while taped music would play and they would sing, “Old Man Tucker” and “I’ve Been Working On The Railroad,” among others. When the cafeteria full of parents began clapping at what they assumed was the end, a young girl dressed as an Apache, signalled her parents, “Not yet! We have to sing another song!” And then they sang “I Love You Arizona,” written by Rex Allen, Jr., who was living in Nashville, Tennessee when he wrote it. The kids got a standing ovation.

“Only a fool would try to compress a hundred centuries into a hundred pages of hazardous conclusions. We proceed.”
—Oscar Wilde

Thursday, May 15, 2003

May 15, 2003
Not to belabor the past three weeks of my life but here’s a few sobering statistics. I got 29 shots in the stomach (Rabies shots? Ha! Bring ‘em on!), I got blood drawn almost every day (missed maybe four days), I drove 1,334 miles and lost 60 hours of time on the road, plus another 50 plus hours in the hospital. On the other hand I could be dead of a blood clot to the brain. Sometimes life leaves some nice choices, eh?

On the other hand, my daughter says I’m not nearly as grumpy today as I’ve been for “a long time” and I cut out most of my bread intake and all sugar and I’ve already lost 18 pounds. My pants fit, I feel svelte (for a 56-year-old) and clear headed. As John Brown said as he sat on his coffin on the way to the gallows, “I never noticed how beautiful the world is.”

The History Channel is doing a new series called Old West Tech and they called today and asked if they could tape an interview with me in New Mexico next week at the Hubbard Museum’s premiere of the Gunfighter Museum Exhibit which opens May 23. I am one of the featured speakers and quite a few of the True West crowd is going, including Dave Daiss, Bob McCubbin (many of his photos are being featured in the exhibit), Leon Metz, Richard Ignarski, Robert Ray and Bea and my whole family. We are staying in Lincoln at my favorite B&B in the whole world.

Henry Martinez called from Reserve, New Mexico and informed me they have bought the land for the Elfego Baca Memorial. He wants me to come up with a statue design. We plan on meeting him on the way over to have some adobada (pork in a red sauce) at the tiny Mexican food place there and I’ll show him my sketches. It’s really an honor and I want to make it a memorial that I would want to see (so somehow I’ve got to get breasts on Elfego).

“Sometimes a noble failure serves the world as faithfully as a distinguished success.”
—Edward Dowden

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

May 14, 2003
I’m a free man! I don’t have to drive in this morning and I feel fantastic. Some progress from the mountain of tests. My iron level in my blood is too high, as is my cholesterol. Hopefully my new diet with fix the latter (I’ve lost 18 pounds!). I had an MRI yesterday. If you haven’t had one, they basically put you in an oversized mailing tube for a half hour and make loud burping sounds (the machine makes the burping sounds, not the gay nurse who asked me what I wanted to listen to on the headphones and I said, “Howard Stern,” because I wanted to laugh but when they got me packed into the tube, Howard cuts to commercials and I’m listening to these awful commercials on the Edge and I’m yelling, “Hey I lied! Give me mellow! Give me soft jazz, give me anything but this!” So the gay nurse, changes the channel and even the jazz sounds screachy and abrasive, but I shutup and held my breath when they told me to.). Results next week.

Bob Brink thinks the new issue is a step backwards. Too much Wyatt Earp. We critiqued the issue in our staff meeting yesterday. Good comments and helpful suggestions. Everyone wants the same thing: a good magazine.

Anxious to attack a Pancho Villa image. He had a saddle horn with his head on it, about the size of a volley ball. I believe Mort Fleischer owns the saddle and I want to get a photo of it. Picture a cover with Pancho and the crossed bandoleers and at the bottom we see his “Mini Me” head. Wouldn’t that make for an arresting cover?

“Fact that is fact every day is not news; it's truth. We report news, not truth.”
—Linda Ellerbee

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

May 13, 2003
“Bristling with authenticity.” I like that phrase. I was in the hospital lounge waiting for my evening shot on Sunday, reading a magazine, I think it was the New Yorker. And I saw a book review and it said the author’s voice was “bristling with authority” and I thought, “I like bristling, it’s like a dangerous porcupine or a Bradley Fighting Vehicle.” That’s what I want to be said in my obit: “He recreated history that bristled with authenticity.” Of course what I’ll probably get is, “He was a comic book clown who never grew up.” But that’s close enough and it’s not really any of my business (I won’t be around to read it).

Sunday night when I got back from my shot we had our first annual Mothers Day bonfire in the front yard. The boys dug a fire pit and all the kids came with their friends. It was fun.

I finally graduated from shot school. Got a 2.01 rating today after the doctor increased my coumadin to 12.5 mgs a day. I feel like Christmas Day times five! Just the idea that I don’t have to drive into Phoenix tonight makes me smile. It’s the little things.

A true nurse story. Three nights ago I showed up at 3C and the nurse said she was too busy to give me my shot. Five minutes later up comes a gorgeous blond nurse in blue scrubs (Pamela Anderson minus the implants). The nurse asks Lisa if she can give me my shot. Lisa smiles and tells me to follow her into her office. We go into a small waiting room and the lights are off (there is a soft glow coming from the window). She closes the door, puts on the gloves, loads the syringe, pulls up my shirt (I’m standing) and gets down on her knees right in front of me. I’m looking down at her and she looks up at me and says, “How can I do this so I won’t hurt you?” I don’t remember what I said and I never felt the needle. I don’t even remember driving on the 101, but I do know I was bristling with strong feelings. Talk about bedside manner!

The new issue of Doc & Wyatt Behind the O.K. Corral is out. Looks very good. Subscribers are getting theirs because we are already getting calls. Craig Fouts bought two bronzes, of Doc and Wyatt from a big doubletruck ad in the front. That was very sweet

“Nobody believes the official spokesman, but everybody trusts an unidentified source.”
—Walter Cronkite

Sunday, May 11, 2003

May 11, 2003
Getting closer. Came back from my morning shot and called the nurse around 11. My coumadin level is at a 1.74 (needs to be a 2.0). Looks like tomorrow could be the possible end of the long and winding shot road. One of the nurses suggested I keep track of my mileage for tax purposes. Here’s the deal so far. I have driven 92 miles a day for two weeks. If someone had told me I would basically drive to Iowa (1,300 miles) I would have been more adamant about giving myself the shots at home (the offer was made to me but the social services woman talked me out of it saying it would be only for four days.

Kathy and I went in yesterday around five and attended a party at Jeanne Sedello and Larry’s house. Great party. Tons of Mexican food being cooked on the premises. Saw many people I hadn’t seen in ages. Katherine, our beautiful radio producer on Young Buck is married and she and her husband Mark play in the AZ IZ band, and they play Vegas for weeks at a time. She looked great. Larry’s dad is on coumadin so we talked it up pretty good. Then his wife came up and she’s on coumadin also. Jeanne and Larry finally got full adoption rights to their daughter Aura (she looks just like Jeanne). Heard many house painting war stories from Larry’s co-workers. Quite funny actually. Went and got evening shot at 7:40. Got home at 8:30.

We’ve got a house full of boys. Tommy brought home Jake and Ben (see photo from Saturday). They are hanging out and being gross. Made them bacon and pancakes both Saturday and Sunday morning. Tried to teach them a thing or two about women. Tommy said, “How come girls always dump guys for being too nice?” And of course the other two boys were nodding their heads and telling horror stories, “And then I did exactly what she wanted and she dumped me! She said I was too nice!” My theory is: don’t confuse weakness with niceness. Most girls don’t like weak. They want someone who is confident and, I assured them, once you can fake that you are in like Flint.

Met Grandma Betty at Mimi’s (at Desert Ridge) for Mother’s Day breakfast this morning. A one hour wait. Place slammed. Had a Santa Fe omelette ($30 cash, includes tip). Had fun talking to Betty and comparing notes about teenagers (was Kathy as bad as we think someone in our house is?). Betty ducked the answer and wished us luck. Got to remember that trick for when I’m a grandparent.

Started on four paintings for Turkey Creek Canyon shoot-out at about 11:30. Feels very good to be doing art again. Now if I can get some time back from my shot trips I’ll be a very happy boy, I promise.

"Liberty doesn't work as well in practice as it does in speeches."
-Will Rogers

Saturday, May 10, 2003

May 10, 2003
I have lived in Arizona for 47 years and here’s a phrase I thought I would never say: “Better get some gas in Flagstaff, it’s mucho cheaper than the Valley.” From the moment in 1956 when my father opened Al Bell’s Flying A on Route 66 in Kingman, Arizona, gas was always 20 cents higher than in Phoenix. When we were at 49.9 a gallon, it was 29.9 in the Valley. For some reason that has now reversed itself and we filled up yesterday in Flag for 1.67 a gallon and it’s 1.87 in Phoenix. More proof that the world is ending (or at least the one I’ve been living in).

Yesterday Kathy drove me down to get my shot at 7:40, then we took off in the pickup for Flag to help Tommy move out of his dorm. Horrible traffic all the way up to Carefree Highway, The only relief was after Cordes Junction when it opened up and was semi-serene. Got to Flag at 10:30, loaded out T’s stuff. Treated his roommate and suitemates to lunch at Martan’s but when I went to pay, the owner said, “We love Tommy. He has brought us so much business and we are going to miss him. This last one is on us.” We took a photo outside for old time’s sake (T is going to Spain this summer to study and won’t return for a year).

That's T.Bell on left, with Jake (from Oregon), Paul (Eager, AZ) and Ben (from Kansas City).

Needed to shoot some photo reference for Turkey Creek Canyon shoot-out and so I had the boys follow me up to Northern Arizona Museum. Snuck all of my guns out of the truck in blankets (two pistols and two Winchesters) and dressed them up, dropped into the canyon next to he museum and shot off two rolls of film. Also shot some video and digital stuff. Got away with it (carrying guns onto government property, etc.).

Took off for Phoenix. Got back at four, unloaded, went up to the office. Got a six page letter from Jeffrey Burton, the English expert on the Turkey Creek fight (he has no computer or even a telephone). He was very gracious in answering my many questions, but, as usual, some of the corrections get in the way of a good story.

Here’s my original lead: “Members of the Hole-In-The-Wall gang are going into camp when they are jumped by a posse out of Cimarron, New Mexico.” This is not technically correct. Jeff recommends using “The Folsom train robbers,” or even “the suspects in the Folson train robbery” and of course it is more factual but it just isn’t as sexy sounding. To boot, they had been in camp most of the day, so the opening line is downgraded to “Outlaws suspected of being the Folsom train robbers are in camp when they are jumped by a posse out of Cimarron, New Mexico.” Kind of makes me want to write fiction, if you know what I mean.

Got a quick one-hour turnaround on the film I shot ($23 Sue debit), picked up Kathy and went down for my evening shot. Found ourselves back on the 101 coming home exactly 12 hours later after a huge loop of 375 miles. Somehow, in spite of the grueling drive it seemed productive.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and a powder blue T-Bird.”

Friday, May 09, 2003

May 9, 2003
For the past two days I have been avoiding the 101 on my drive down. Last night I tracked my mileage and time (I’m driving 100 miles a day to get these shots). The freeway is 13 miles from my house. I bypass the freeway and take the surface streets on the way down and I take the freeway on the way back out (less traffic going north). Here’s the difference for just the freeway part: It’s 8.6 miles and ten minutes if I take the surface streets, and it’s 7 miles and 7 minutes on the freeway. Amazing on the time. I would have thought it was much longer to take the surface streets.

Yesterday’s Republic ran an article about how the DPS (Department of Public Safety) teaches a class for officers on how to survive on the 101. Officers have been rear-ended (unfortunately while standing between cars) and lumber trucks have dumped entire loads coming around the curve right onto the poor officers. One of the reasons sited for the atrocious driving (800 accidents and 8 deaths in 8 months!) is that so many people are driving drunk in this area. It’s right off the Princess golf course, where the PGA tournament is held, Westworld and Rawhide are right there, so when events end, like rodeos or car shows like the Barrett-Jackson Auction, they all jump on the 101 and start rocking and rolling.

Yesterday morning I was waiting for my shot and overhead another guy two chairs down tell the nurse he was waiting for a heart transplant. He went on to say he has been waiting for three years and that he was born with a defective heart. I looked down and the guy was about 35. I whispered to my nurse Tanya (her real name but not the correct spelling), “That’s what keeps me from feeling sorry for myself.” She pulls up her nurses smock to reveal a diabetic belt and battery pack deal. “I know,” she deadpans, “if this goes off I have literally minutes to live. I live every day knowing I could lose a foot or hand. And if I really get my pitty pot going, I go over and work in the hospital for a day.”

In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, I still manage to get my “pitty pot” going. Just raw talent, I guess.

“The great secret of successful marriage is to treat all disasters as incidents and none of the incidents as disasters.”
—Harold Nicholson

Thursday, May 08, 2003

May 8, 2003
Blood thinning levels still too low (1.29). Yesterday it took an hour to get results. Frustrating. Didn’t get into office until 10.

In spite of the hospital problems, it was a productive day in office. Received a bunch of Pancho Villa photos from South Texas. Really some stunners. It’s all connections from people who read the magazine. My friend Paul Northrop told me to call Enrique Guerra, who told me to call Chet Downs in Jourdanton, Texas. They put out a series of Mexican Heritage Collector calendars. We will have access to all of their photos. Going to be really sweet.

Dave Daiss and I are trying to figure out a window to make the trip to Turkey Creek Canyon. I also have a TV taping for the History Channel I need to do. They wanted me to fly over today for two days of filming but because of the shots I couldn’t schedule it. Aiming for next week.

Had a Gang of Four (Executive Council) meeting at three. For the first time in over three years we have a positive cash flow and all the arrows are going in the right direction. And fortunately we have Bob Brink who keeps us reined in on our growth. He very consciously keeps us from going too far too fast (a typical mistake on the road to magazine success and the ditches are lined with corpses of those who didn’t heed the speed limit). It’s so tempting to double the print order, etc., but Bob has preached from day one to take it in “bite sizes” and don’t get caught up in the ego of the moment. We are so lucky to have him.

Met Kathy and Deena at five to celebrate Deena’s birthday. She chose Sushi Brokers near Frank Lloyd Wright and Scottsdale Road for dinner and we had a swell time ($41 house account). Got my shot at 7:30 and got home around 8:40.

Sue sold a gunfighter poster in the store. Personally, I thought it was crap but it sold for $275 (for a poster!). I have to learn from this and simplify my work. Not always easy.

“It takes a long time to learn simplicity.”
—Louis Malle

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

May 7, 2003
Excited about a possible outlaw road trip. I left a message on Dave Daiss’ phone yesterday about wanting to do a photo shoot for the Turkey Creek Canyon shootout for Classic Gunfights. The outlaws were using smokeless powder and the posse could not get a bead on Will Carver who was shooting from a rocky knoll with brush in front of him. Carver dominated the entire fight, basically whipping a seven man posse all by himself. I told Dave I wanted to do a photo shoot, somewhere around here of a rifleman in a similar environment shooting with black powder and then with smokeless powder so the reader can visualize just how hard it is to spot a shooter using smokeless powder. Dave left a message on my phone last night saying, “Hey, let’s drive to Turkey Creek Canyon and shoot it on the exact spot.” That is so Dave Daiss and that’s why we call him Mr. Unstoppable. He’ll take off at the drop of a hat and I love that about him. Trying to figure out when I can go (I need to get these damn shots over with).

Good staff meeting yesterday. Went over the parameters for the Christmas Gift Guide. Sales wants it be total whoreville, while editorial wants it to be separate, or as far away from editorial as possible. We may go with an “advertorial” section.

Also discussed the next cover image and came back to Pancho Villa. Bob Brink’s advice is: “Sometimes you’ve got to roll the dice.”

Meghan and I worked on the True Cowgirl photo layout. We want to emulate the old Life magazine layouts and Gus brought in some classics for us to look at and steal from.

Kathy and I drove in for my shot at six, stopped at Paddock Pools and got a pool cover ($85) so we can warm up the pool enough to swim laps. Shot went good, hope it’s one of the last ones.

It's Deena's birthday today. She's 23.

“Fortune favors the brave.”
—Tobias Smollett

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

May 6, 2003
Warning: Big, whiny, baby comments ahead:

Went to see a new doctor at one yesterday. Very encouraging. New diet, new prognosis, etc. More later.

Had a crappy trip in for my evening shot last night. Forgot my glasses, drove by braille, with one hand out the window so I could feel the lanes better (not really). Got to hospital, nurses told me to go wait in lounge, and of course, they forgot me. After twenty five minutes I took my daytimer and walked out to the nurse’s station and slammed it on the desk. The attending nurse says, “Can I help you?” And I said, “Yes, I was supposed to get a shot a half hour ago.” She makes some lame excuse about a shift change (I’ve been doing this at the same time for a week and a half), so she calls up the nurse and after another five minutes, the shot giver comes sauntering in and it’s the one who likes to throw the syringe. Plus, she’s always covertly hostile. Talks real sweet but says things like, “You can have the shot anywhere you like but it won’t assimilate as quickly.”

On the way back home I tried to get gas, but credit card wouldn’t process at the pump. After three minutes of “processing,” the display said “See cashier inside.” When I went inside, the cashier ran my debit card through and it came back “encripted card error” or some such nonsense, and so I gave him another card, same thing. So fifteen minutes later, I give the guy $3 bucks and call it a night. Drove home really grumpy and blind, cutting off drivers and causing several deaths (well, in my head anyway). Got home and slammed around the house like a big baby.

I was actually enjoying feeling sorry for myself, but I can’t ever seem to get up a full head of steam because I always come back to the people at the Infusion Clinic who are on chemo. You know, the ones with the real problems. So then I just get mad at myself for being such a big, whiny baby.

“Why are we honoring this man? Have we run out of human beings? “
—Milton Berle (at a function for Sports Broadcaster Howard Cosell)

Monday, May 05, 2003

May 5, 2003
Went over to a birthday dinner for Betty (Kathy’s mom) at three yesterday. Brad and Carol, E.J. and Cedes also came. Fun talking to all of them. Unfortunately I had some champagne and when I went in to have my blood work up done this morning, my coumadin levels actually went down! I also had a small cup of homemade soup yesterdy that Kathy made with dark green vegetables (another no-no with coumadin). So I really messed myself up.

I have always eaten anything and everything I ever wanted. Steak and eggs for breakfast, double cheeseburger for lunch, roast beef and gravy for a snack and chicken fried steak for dinner. And I couldn’t put on weight! Once when I was about 14 I went to the lake with a friend’s family (who had a cute sister) and when we got changed into our bathing suits, my friend said, “You’re too skinny to go swimming.” That really helped my self-image. I became obsessed with gaining weight. I ate and ate. Nothing. At 6’1” I weighed 145 in high school and barely got to 165 in college. I could eat like the proverbial pig and never gain weight. I skated on this all thru my twenties and thirties, but he gravy train ended a week ago today.

Since my mid-forties I have hovered around the 200-210 mark (ironically a weight I dreamed of achieving because my dad weighed 200 and I thought, “If only I could get there, then I’d be happy.”). After my hospitalization a week ago last Thursday I have eaten very little (didn’t want to die). And now that I’m semi-out of the woods, I am still keeping a very low intake attitude. I’ve lost 10 pounds already. My pants are loose. I haven’t had Mexican food in two weeks (a world record!). But I blew it with the champagne and the soup and now I get more stomach shots as a reward.

Still managed to finish a drawing for Phil Spangenberger’s new column.

“How come I always get blamed for everything I do?”
—Dennis the Menace

Sunday, May 04, 2003

May 4, 2003
Didn’t go into town yesterday. Took three naps. Felt good. Kathy and I drove in at seven and I got my shot, then we went shopping at PV Mall (Betty’s birthday present). I bought a remainder book at B. Dalton on combat photography from the Civil War to the Gulf War ($5 cash), then we went over to Russ and Wendy Shaw’s. Decided to go down into Phoenix and eat at the Fish Company on Camelback. Great food ($41 house debit). Went back to their house and watched the DVD of transvestite stand-up comedian Eddie Izzard. Really funny guy. Stayed up too late, got home at 1 A.M.

Got up at 7:30 and drove down for shot. Place abandoned on Sunday morning, except me and three old guys on chemo. They weren’t very funny (unless you count the guy next to me, snoring). One of the nurses told me her theory on why the 101 freeway is so dangerous: “It’s those Humvees. They’re aggressive weapons and you always see them parked in front of Mexican food restaurants.” I’m not sure about the last part being why the 101 is so dangerous, but she's right on. As for my coumadin levels, I’m still at a measly 1.35.

Made it home around 10:30, cleaned in studio, went for a walk. Inventoried the “Smoke Signal” booklets, which are pubs from the Tucson Westerners Corral. Very good stuff. I think Gus will really be able to use some of the map stuff.

Going over to Betty’s for dinner. Kathy cooked a turkey.

“I once shook hands with Pat Boone and my whole right side sobered up.”
—Dean Martin

Saturday, May 03, 2003

May 3, 2003
Kind of hit the wall today. Irritated. My blood thinning medicine (coumadin) is not kicking in (I’m at a 1.28 and I need to be at a 2.0) and my driving into Scottsdale has been extended another week. Kathy went in with me last night and we ate at Charleston’s, Scottsdale Road and Frank Lloyd Wright, NE corner ($31.22 debit includes tip). Then down to hospital to get my shot at 7:30, then up to Harkins 14 to see “Phone Booth” with Colin Farrell. I think I read somewhere the movie was filmed about a year and a half ago, but was held back because of 9•11, then again when the serial sniper case gripped the country. Enjoyed the movie. It was tight and Colin was very good (7.8). Got home at 10.

Got up this morning and drove in at 8 for shot. Got back at 9:40, then loaded truck for recycling, Kathy and I drove up and unloaded that, then over to the Cave Creek library to pick up a stack of “Smoke Signals” magazine which the library donated to True West. Then up to Buffalo Chip parking lot for Farmer’s Market and bought a bunch of organic vegetables ($13 cash) then up to Bashas’ for groceries ($98 house debit), came home and unloaded.

Ate a pear and some snow peas. Took a nap. Got up and joined Kathy and Peaches for a walk up the road. Now Kathy wants to go in to Paradise Valley Mall and go shopping, pick up a pool cover, see a movie, go to Costco, but I feel grumpy. I basically have been on the road for the past week, and the idea of driving back in and getting home at 10 again just kind of ticks me off. My studio is a pit. There are all kinds of paintings I want to do for the upcoming issue and I haven’t had time to do diddly.

I still don’t have a doctor in charge of my case, who is pro-active. I’m just playing defense and floating down stream on a very flimsy raft (to force a metaphor). I have an MRI scheduled on May 12th and I see an Gastro Doc in June about getting one of those lovely colonoscopy (rear end roto rooter) deals. And speaking of which, here’s some sound advice from one of my faithful journal readers:

“Hey, I don't think you really want to be knocked out for the colonoscopy. I stayed awake during mine. I wanted to make sure the doctor didn't have both hands on my shoulders while doing the procedure.”
—Daniel J. Patterson

Friday, May 02, 2003

May 2, 2003
The Outpatient Infusion Center where I get my morning shot is more like a hair salon. There are these chairs lined up along the wall with all these young nurses running back and forth. Most of the people coming in are there for chemo and are older women. They sit in the chairs and read and gab. In spite of the seriousness of the situation, there’s a lot of humor wafting around.

When my nurse Melanie quipped that she was creating a mosaic, or work of art on my stomach, I quipped, “Well, you’ve got a mighty big canvas to work on, so knock yourself out.” That got a huge laugh from the ladies. However, yesterday when Melanie commented on how many needle marks I have on my stomach I said, “No kidding. In the past week I feel like I’ve been poked more than Heidi Fleiss.” Not one laugh. Perhaps it was too blue for the blue hairs. Tough crowd. I wanted to say, “Hey, I’m dying here,” but that probably wouldn’t have gone over very well either.

In the afternoon, I painted an overview map of Turkey Creek in the office. Brought my paints in. Gus will now put in the towns and trails in the computer. Hope it turns out decent. Also worked on a Jesse and Frank James painting that was in my office. I just kept looking at it and thought it could use a better sky. Wailed on it and feel good. Needs a tad more, but I’ll get it later.

R.G. is out for the rest of the week. He’s in Idaho. He’s got everything in editorial under control. We’ve never been this far ahead and it feels good.

“Once you get people laughing, they're listening.”
—Herbert Gardner

Thursday, May 01, 2003

May 1, 2003
An old friend from my New Times days started working with us today: Jerry Joslin.

Bob Brink is in New York on business and will return tomorrow. I miss him.

Kathy joined me again for my evening shot last night and we drove down early and had dinner at Coyote Cafe at Scottsdale Road and Frank Lloyd Wright. First time, never been there. Had a spicy green chile soup (very good). I was nervous about it but so far no kick back ($26 cash).

I hoped to end my twice a day drive into Scottsdale today but my blood workups show I’m below the therapeutic levels they want (I’m at a 1.58 and they want a 2.0) so I have to continue, possibly through the weekend. Didn’t like hearing that, but at least the nurses are damn cute.

Went to the post office at lunchtime and one of my neighbors stopped me and said he’s ready to tell his story. It’s a dilly. About five years ago some wacko went off his meds and started driving around north Phoenix looking for Zombies. His luck was good as he spied an entire family of them (my neighbor, his wife and kids). The Zombie Profiler (who was actually a house painter) claimed he could spot them because of the blue air coming out of their noses. So the Zombie Guy proceeded to follow them home (they live two miles north of me!). Having a whole family of Zombies cornered was a big deal so he then plotted on how to eradicate them for the benefit of society. He cleverly set a fire in their garage and when the smoke alarm went off, my neighbor ran out in his pajamas. The Zombie Guy stood in the yard and shot him with a pistol and then shot at everyone fleeing the house. Amazingly, my neighbor lived even though I believe he was hit at least twice. I can’t remember if anyone else was hit (no one was killed). The kicker is my neighbor says dealing with the insurance company after the attack was even stranger than the Zombie Guy. I think it would make a great book. How about the title: “Zombies Are Us?”

"Nothing is fool-proof to a talented fool."
—Old Vaquero Saying