Sunday, August 31, 2003

August 31, 2003,
I was interviewed by the Arizona Republic yesterday for a small feature they are doing in the Scottsdale zone paper. We also were scheduled to get a big feature on Vera McGinnis for today but it got pushed back a week because of the gas line coverage several weeks back.

Did some very nice art yesterday. This is my idea of a weekend getaway: sleep in, do art, read, stay home. Kathy and I woke up commiserating on how reclusive we are becoming. Both of us have very “public” jobs and the idea of going out and mingling on the weekends lost its charm about two decades ago (I actually can’t stand bars anymore).

Thomas leaves tomorrow for Spain. He’s excited. He’ll be gone for a year. Gonna miss the lad, but both kids are global and that should be an advantage in this century. As for me, I didn’t fly until I was 36, didn’t go out of the country (not counting Canal Street in Nogales, Mexico) until I was 38, and still haven’t made it to Yellowstone or Custer’s battlefield. Now that’s embarrassing.

Having Wonderful Russ and Wendy over for dinner today. Actually cleaning pool and yard. My dad would be appalled, because we live like Okies, but I don’t care. One man’s junk is another man’s junkyard. And it’s all junk I love, so sue me.

Speaking of which, I had Brad from Elrod Fence come over on Friday to give us an estimate for fencing in the north side of house to encompass the chicken house and garage. Basically a big dog run. Estimate came in at $1,300. We’ve been arguing this all weekend, whether we should spend the money or let the dogs run free. I’m leaning towards killing the dogs.

Not really. However, sawing off their front legs might be a decent alternative.

“One drop of hatred in your soul will spread and discolor everything like a drop of black ink in white milk.”
—Alice Munro

Saturday, August 30, 2003

August 30, 2003,
Great weekend, so far. Met the Radinas, Brad, Carol, E.J., Mercedes and Betty at Shelmita’s last night for dinner (Betty bought for Brad’s B-Day, $100, I got tip, $20 cash). Fun. Had the tampiquena and enchilada, maybe three beers, Pacifico. 'Cedes got cold so I ran her up and down outside. Fun.

Got up this morning and bailed into art. Made a vow to just draw for a half hour every day. I actually love it and have fun doing it, but rarely get the time. So this morning I made the time. Really helped me get in the water, speaking of which, I swam laps and made another batch of pintos. Had to call my mom in Wyoming and ask her if you boil them for one or two hours (it’s two on the first go-round). Almost blew it again. Went out to check on a painting and of course, got engrossed, finally went back over and had turned on the wrong burner. Saved by stupidity.

Had a light lunch, took a nap. Went up to Blockbuster and got three movies: Desperado (for the cool gun shooting to use as reference for Classic Gunfights), Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedian and Secretary.

The new Entertainment Weekly has a big article on the wave of new Westerns (they gave Open Range a B! Wow!). And speaking of which, it looks like we may get a big name from one of these new Westerns for the December cover. I don’t want to jinx it, so I’ll tell you as soon as it is confirmed (probably next week). Hope to paint more this weekend. Came up to the office to post this. My home computer is still kaput.

“It is necessary to relax your muscles when you can. Relaxing your brain is fatal.”
—Sterling Moss, race car champion

Friday, August 29, 2003

August 29, 2003,
The votes are in for the digging up Billy poll. 332 of you voted and 77.1% said dig him up right now and 22.9% of you want to leave the poor boy alone. These stats will run in the next issue. On a related note, the next question is about this week’s running topic: Is Kevin Costner’s new Western Open Range worth seeing? You can click right here and go vote.

Went home for lunch yesterday to check on the big Conehead Dog (Buddy). Poor guy. That neck cone just messes up his navigational abilities. He tries to run through the partially opened gate like before and the edges of the cone bring him to a screeching halt. Kind of like those hook ropes on an aircraft carrier but without the give. Ouch! And like most male dogs (and males, period), he never learns, he just keeps lurching around and getting clotheslined at every turn. Still, you have to admire him. In spite of the severe limitations on his maneuverability, his looks, his ability to lick where other males can only dream, he still wags his tale as if to say, “Life is good.” Actually Ray Bradbury put it best: “Every day is Christmas Day to a dog.”

Big storm rolled over us last night. Sat outside with Satellite Dish Dog, Peaches and Kathy and just stared at the heavens. Really some stunning effects. I took several photos and will try to post them here. My home computer still can’t dial up AOL so I’m posting at work and the configurations and mechanics of getting jpgs up here is kicking my patootie.

We also have been trying to get the results on the Old West Tech Nielson numbers but we haven’t been able to get them yet. Anxious and frustrating.

“Television has spread the habit of instant reaction and has stimulated the hope of instant results.”
—Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

August 28, 2003,
Yesterday, Christine A. said, "I don't believe Open Range was ever intended to be a Western 101 of historical and factual correctness. The movie was intended to entertain."

This prompted Will from Bisbee to respond:

“Many people have a notion that you either entertain or get things right. Not true. Getting the hats right in Open Range wouldn't have cost a penny more, and it wouldn't have hurt the coolness factor, either--look at Tombstone. As for the number of drovers, it would've been cheap to get a couple of unknown actors and have them killed off early in the movie, either in town when Mose gets beaten up or when the night raid happens. That would've added to the action, not taken from it. It would've made Boss and Charlie feel more trapped by the bad rancher--either they abandon the herd now 'cause they no longer have enough drovers, or they fight. And it would've increased their determination to get revenge.

“What I don't get is why Hollywood rarely gets a simple truth: Do anything that'll please the hardcore fans without alienating the general audience. You know the hardcore fans will see a movie. Their praise or complaints affects the word of mouth, and the word of mouth affects the box office.

“Mind you, I don't regret seeing Open Range. But if it'd been all it could've been--a little more accurate, a little less self-indulgent--I would see it twice and buy the DVD.”

These comments led Emma B. to say, “If a western fan pans a western, people don't think, ‘The guy was expecting too much.’ They think, ‘It must really suck if even western fans don't like it.’”

We are working hard in the office on the Classic Gunfights book. Gus is laying the sucker out and Meghan is editing (she is such a stickler for detail, very good at what she does).

I’m also re-reading Gunfighter Nation by Richard Slotkin to get some ideas for the introduction. Slotkin has some interesting ideas about our Frontier “myths.” Among them, he believes the “ideal mythic American” is one who has defeated both the “savages” of the Western wilderness and the class system in the East and beyond. Slotkin also states, “Put simply, our biggest myth is ‘regeneration through violence.’” That we need to eradicate savage foes. And “the fury of class resentment is projected onto the American savage, who becomes the only obstacle to the creation of a perfect republic.” And, “Yes, America has been a peculiarly violent nation.” And, “When history is translated into myth, the complexities are simplified and compressed into the action of ‘heroes.’ The narrative of the hero’s action is the key to the material world.” Somewhat overblown, but I think there are some gems of thought in there that I’ll steal. Ha.

Our new dog Buddy easily slipped off his leash and dog collar and booty wrap, jumped in the pool and blew out his stitches. He went in this morning with Deena and Kathy and now has the dog-dreaded Elizabethan collar and he’s on tranquilizers for five days. Guess who gets to babysit the big twit?

Carole took a call yesterday from a guy who went to Vegas, happened into D Bar J Hatters, saw a True West magazine for the first time, bought it, went back to his hotel room to read it, couldn’t stand it and two hours later, called for a three year subscription. Now if we can only get 60,000 more calls like that we’ll be out of the woods.

“You can't create humor out of happiness.  I'm astonished at the number of people who write to me saying, ‘Why can't you create happy stories for us?  Why does Charlie Brown always have to lose?  Why can't you let him kick the football?’ Well, there is nothing funny about the person who gets to kick the football.”
—Charles M. Schulz

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

August 27, 2003,
Got some female rain last night (as opposed to “male rain” where everything gets ripped up, thrown about and squat upon). Really was sweet and gentle. Smells great out this morning.

Kathy and I picked up a neutered Buddy last night from the vet ($189 house account). He was high on some speedball called “Ace” and morphine. His pupils were pinpoints and he had a stylish t-shirt on his hind legs, tied off above the waist (the newest method of keeping a dog from biting open his stitches) and he looked like a drugged out Axl Rose only with better hair and the headwrap on the opposite end.

The comments on the History Channel’s night of Western programming (on Monday night) continue to pour in here. My favorite so far is from D. Patterson who said, “Dug the show. Trim your mustache.” Ha. This morning I did. “He’s so vain, he probly thinks this show is about him...’bout him...”

Also more feedback on Open Range. Here’s a reaction from Christine A. from Chicago:

“Although I too found there to be self-indulgent moments in Open Range (especially the final three "love" scenes that could have easily been combined into one scene), I don't believe the movie was ever intended to be a Western 101 of historical and factual correctness. The movie was intended to entertain. The audience in the showing I attended was primarily men, the majority of whom cheered, hollered and applauded through much of the movie. I am looking forward to your upcoming issue of the 50 greatest western movies, but will hazard a guess that many of the movies on that list will consist of exciting well made films filled with inaccuracies and impossibilities. These are Hollywood movies, right?!”

Right as rain, Christine. I totally agree with you on the final love scenes. It could have and should have ended in the garden. Enough already! Also, yes, we will concentrate on “moments of authenticity” in the 50 Most Historically Accurate Westerns. And let me add this—I loved the weather in Open Range. The clouds, the rain (I still hate it that Hollywood will not show lightning flashes with the delay on the sound). But the weather effects were totally cool, the muddy streets and soggy look of everything. And as I said the other day, I would have to give Open Range the nod for best gunshots in a Western. For the first time in memory, when those guns went off, it was loud and sounded like the real deal.

“Let us leave pretty women to men without imagination.”
—Marcel Proust

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

August 26, 2003,
Last night the History Channel played both Old West Tech shows and a show on Sex in the Wild West. I thought the Tech shows played very well and the production values were quite good, especially the animation. Now we’ll see how they did by the numbers. According to a friend of mine who knows, a .8 is typical of a run-of-the-mill cable show, anything over a 1.0 is good and a 1.5 would make them ecstatic. As a comparison, the new Tom Berenger series, Peacemakers is hitting a 5.0 and the USA Channel is completely thrilled.

Henry Martinez in Reserve, New Mexico has gotten final approval to do a statue and museum dedicated to Elfego Baca. TW has been supportive of this effort and I have been advising him ever since we ran our Classic Gunfights episode featuring the fight in September of 2000. Henry wants us to do a billboard for the site, stating that this will be the future site of the Elfego Baca memorial. I would like to do a one or two page update on the memorial in an upcoming issue and in production we need to produce the sign. More on this later.

The rankings for movies came out today and Open Range held onto third place and has grossed $29 mil (it cost $26M), so it looks like we may be vindicated in terms of Westerns still being viable. Emma Bull read yesterday’s critique of the movie and added these comments:

“I spent the first ten minutes of the movie pretty darned confused. Huh--here's Boss moving a herd through open country. He's only got three cowboys with him, and only one of 'em appears to be of much use. Is that why, when night and a rainstorm catch them, he doesn't bother to send anyone out to ride night guard? Maybe he wants to give the other two some practice in rounding 'em up in the morning, when the herd has scattered into the next county. But wait--these cowboys can't even keep track of the half-dozen or so horses they've got with them? They've gone south, too?

“After ten minutes of that, I was longing for someone to take over Boss's cattle and show him what to do with them. Breaks my heart to say such a thing about Robert Duvall, but darn, those were the most incompetent cowboys ever to ride the screen.

“It was a swell gunfight, though. Swell enough that I didn't ask very often, ‘What happened to the plan that involved hiding a lot of weapons at the livery stable and waiting for the bad guys to come to them? The one that had Boss holding a shotgun? You know, the good plan?’"

“I kind of had fun anyway, though.”

Deena came home last night to visit her dog Buddy. He’s going in this morning to lose his manhood. Kathy advised me to be good or I’m next.

Read a book on Nick Eggenhofer over the weekend that really impacted me. His famous dry brush technique is quite striking and still works. I was inspired to do more iconic images, spurs, high-back saddles on a fence post, pistols and quirts.

“The worse I do, the more popular I get.”
—John F. Kennedy, after the Bay of Pigs failure

Monday, August 25, 2003

August 25, 2003,
I finally found a way to clean my studio. For the past six months I have come out to the studio every day vowing to get a handle on my mess, and every single day I wade past the filth and piles of crap and start working on my “blog.” Last week lightning took out my modem (the Universe trying to help me?) and I can’t get online, so I started cleaning off one of my art desks at 4 AM on Saturday morning. Even dismantled the brush tray and cleaned it (first time since I bought it in 1992). Felt great. Did my second art desk on Sunday and attacked the floor this morning. Of course I found long lost reference, intriguing half-finished paintings, and a missing neighbor (not really: he was a stranger).

On Saturday I went to see Open Range at Desert Ridge with Kathy and Mike Melrose (he met us there). Lo and behold, in comes Trish and Bob Brink and they sat behind us. What are the odds? One of the previews was for The Alamo and it looks spectacular. I was very encouraged by what I saw and I think it should probably be on the cover with Billy Bob Thorton as Davy. As for Open Range I can only say the telegraph is alive and well. Every scene and every character and every plot point is telegraphed. And like a telegraph message, most of the time you know what is coming but it takes a long time getting there. Way too self-indulgent (“Kevin Costner has an Oscar,” I can hear the studio saying. “let him make his magic”). Still, the gunfights at the end are really cool. For once, the sounds of a rifle and pistol are distinctly different (and loud) and they even captured the echo down the canyon that is so unique to real rifle fire. To show you how starved people are for a Western, Gus Walker’s father (83) went to the movies by himself this weekend, and he loved Open Range.So there. I'm hoping I'm wrong and the thing soars.

Afterwards we went down to El Conquistador for lunch ($28 cash). Had a Corona and the EC tacos. Deena and Melrose joined us. Fun.

From there, Mike and I drove down to the Camelback Inn and visited Paul Hutton who is in town scouting a resort for an upcoming History Association confab. We sat by the pool and drank beers while his kids swam. We mostly talked about the Billy dig and backstabbing production companies.

Tonight the History Channel is running two episodes of Old West Tech. I'm in both shows and the success of these shows will partially determine if we get our Classic Gunfight show. Needless to say we are rooting for them, but they show here at 9PM (not a good time for Baby Boomers like me). Check it out and tell me what you think.

Our editor, R.G. is high in the Sierra Nevadas and plans to conquer two mountains on his vacation. On Friday I asked him, “What’s more exhilarating to you, the climb to the top or the view when you get there?” R.G. thought for a moment and said, “I just enjoy walking uphill.” To which I said, “Well, no wonder you came to work here. You must be having a blast.” We laughed. He’ll be out all week.

”Words spoken on the road are heard by snakes in the grass.”
—Mo Yan

Friday, August 22, 2003

August 22, 2003,
Robert Ray came out to try and get my studio computer modem to work, but to no avail. He got sick (literally) and left. Called AOL tech support this morning and the woman walked me through the system and determined the phone line is working now but the computer is not recognizing my new modem. I just absolutely hate this kind of stuff. My address book is on the home computer and for some reason I can’t access it at the office (where I’m writing this). I can’t post several pieces of art I want to show you because they’re on the scanner-Photo Shop file at home. Crapola!

Thanks for your feedback on the Indian covers Vs. Billy the Kid T-shirts. Marcus Huff thinks we’re preaching to the choir and need to get the Billy shirts over to New Mexico where they’ll sell, and Will Shatterly (who has ordered some of the Native American back issues) believes Indians may not carry a cover but that they would enhance a cover and need to be featured in a secondary position at the very least. Hmmmmm.

Trish Brink came in yesterday and went over some of the more dynamic additions to the website. Website visits have increased by 10% just in the last month. Very exciting.

The first dog I remember having was named “Pal,” because one of my Dad’s gas station cronies came into the Flying A office on Route 66, looked down at the box with the tiny pup and said, “You should name him Pal, because he’s going to grow up to be your buddy.” And he did. Yesterday Deena bailed on her dog Buddy and now he’s ours. The world completes another cycle, from Pal to Buddy. Almost everything I’ve hated, I’ve become. Virtually everything I said I’d never do, I’ve done. And every truth I’ve discovered has had an opposite belief, or truth, just as compelling and believable.

“You can always get the truth from a politician, after he has turned seventy or given up all hope of the Presidency.”
—Joe Moore

Thursday, August 21, 2003

August 21, 2003,
Phone woes galore. Qwest came out to our house yesterday to check on our lightning damage. All three lines going into the house are okay, but two phones, our direct tv transformer and my studio computer modem all got zapped and are useless. Meanwhile, in the office we got a new phone system and yesterday many incoming calls kept getting our fax machine. Missed who knows how much business. Carole and Samantha spent a long time dealing with this (as of this morning, it’s still not resolved), getting the run around. Evidently the problem is connected to the transfer from the old lines to the new and somehow the lines got crossed.

With the recent eastcoast blackout, the busted pipeline gas crunch here and now this phone snafu, it makes me realize that the easier life gets because of networks of technology, the more vulnerable we are to breakdowns. Everything in our business and our home is dependent on electricity. Even our well water is pumped up by electricity. I read that 5,000 people have died in France because of the heat (that’s almost twice as many as died in the World Trade Center). Imagine how catastrophic it would be if the power went out here? No AC, no water. The good news is, maybe some of the Californians would go home.

Talked to the head of programming at a major Hollywood production house yesterday. He warned me to get ready for the big rip-off. He told me about going to a certain network with an idea and getting turned down, only to see the same idea on the network six months later, produced by a rival company. “What can you do?” he told me. “I guess you could sue them, but then where would you be?” Evidently the moral is: when you jump in a pool full of sharks you shouldn’t complain about losing a leg, or two.

One of our house ads is really pulling in the business. On page 88 of the Vera McGinnis issue we have an ad for “Native Americans” and we are selling five back issues of True West that have Indians on the cover. The irony is they weren’t big sellers on the newsstands so we have a decent stock of each, but put into this context the phones won’t stop ringing. We have taken 17 orders since last Friday (when the Vera issue started reaching subscribers). Marketing is so amazing. Why does this ad pull so strongly and others barely pull at all? Is it perceived value? (Kathy’s theory) Or is it context? (where the ad is, how it looks) On the other hand, our new “I Dig Billy” T-shirts ad hasn’t pulled one call. Bad design? Wrong price? Crappy idea? I don’t know. Do you?

“I know for a fact that half my advertising doesn’t work. The only problem is, I don’t know which half.”
—A major advertiser

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

August 20, 2003,
Finally got gas this morning. Left my truck at work last night because Cave Creek was completely out and so was I. Got up this morning and Kathy drove me up to the office, got in Ranger, needle on empty, nursed it up the hill to the Iraqi Shell, got in line. Waited for a half hour (afraid to leave it running, coasted several times), both lines were very orderly, read the paper, filled up ($2.39 a gallon, 14.9 gallons, $35.93). Felt exhilarating, like I got a good grade on a high school paper. “I’ve got gas! I’ve got gas! Where can I drive to? I’ve got gas!” Pathetic. By the way, some places are charging $3.99 a gallon.

Lightning struck more than once yesterday. We were having our weekly editorial meeting at 10 yesterday when it started lightning and raining. Power went out twice. Robert R. was uploading our Best of the West cover to the printer in Kansas City and it crashed. Kathy said lightning hit our roof at home. Scrambled the TV dish (she thinks it took a direct hit). Peaches totally freaked and tried to go through the back gate. Kathy put her in the studio and she hid under my computer table. Blew out two phone lines including my computer modem. Obviously fried the TV.

Got a call from Jeff H. at the Westerns Channel. He wants to move immediately on the bumper series (that’s the third lightning strike). I’m sending him sample scripts this week and we’re scheduled to start filming in the next two weeks.

Gus and I went over the CG book moving things around, tweaking and pruning. I made a hitlist of all the art I’d like to add to the book. Here’s my wishlist:

• Blazer’s Mill: Buckshot shooting it out with Regulators (redo)
• Wyatt Earp returning fire at Mescal Springs
• James-Younger Raiders at Northfield with reins in teeth
• Hanska Slough art, do series to replace photos
• Bat & Wyatt standing in Dodge with badges, Cowboys drunk and disorderly
• Finish McSween fight artwork, full page of breakout from air.
• Head shots of Beckwith, Dummy, Joseph Nash, etc. along wall
• McSween dead in yard with chickens pecking at his eyes.
• Leonard, Crane & Head, fight behind store, plus riders coming in at night, surrounding West McFaddin’s Saloon in.
• Need a better Hickok shooting of Tutt
• Hickok at the Rock Creek shootout, get something better

Kathy and I drove down to Tempe to deliver Deena’s dog carrier last night around six. Her dog Buddy howled during the day and her new roommates were not happy about that. We may take Buddy home in the near future to bond with Peaches. Took Deena and her friend Ursula out to dinner at Outback Steakhouse on Southern. Ursula said she recognized our waitress as having been on MTV. I told her to ask her, but Ursula said she was too shy (“She’s probably tired of all the questions.”), so when our waitress came back I said, “Hey, haven’t I seen you on TV? Like maybe MTV’s Road Rules?” She looked at me more than a little shocked. She admitted she had been and wondered how I would know. “Oh, I’m just an old tweaker from way back,” I said as both Ursula and my daughter looked on with dropped jaws and horror in their eyes. And once I was on a roll, I couldn’t help but adding, “Hey, didn’t you sleep with the mayor of Nogales?” Deena couldn’t take it any longer and said, “He’s not my father, really.” It turns out Ann was on several Road Rules (Ann also denied sleeping with the mayor of Nogales, but admitted to “hooking up” with another cast member who is now a doctor in Chicago) and she was paid $5,000 for the first one, makes considerably more for the “all-star” returns. Meal was real good. I had a tenderloin filet and a salad, Kathy had a 22 ounce beer and a chicken deal ($73, includes tip, house account).

”Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold—but so does a hard-boiled egg.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

August 19, 2003
Running on empty. Literally. I’m going to drive up to the office this morning and I have maybe enough fumes to get through a gas line (both Circle Ks have been out of gas for two days).

Jeb R. hit a home run at the Westerns Channel yesterday. They passed on the proposed gunfighter doc but have counter-proposed a bumper series featuring a middle-aged narrator who they claim “has the camera presence of a Dennis Hopper.” This commentator (that would be me) would give a 60-90 second True West moment and it would run every day. This actually might work better than the full-blown show on the other network.

My painting skills come in spits and spurts. I finally got up to speed on Sunday and although I did six cover paintings I think I could have really nailed it with another dozen or so. I read a great piece on the production of movie posters and the company that produced the classic Jaws movie poster did 691 scenes before they hit on the classic image of the shark coming up from the deep towards a swimming babe. The problem they kept having is all of their other poster images looked like upset dolphins. It took them 691 tries to get to the genius angle of looking at the underbelly of the shark so we could see those vicious teeth. Amazing.

I also talked to Abe Hays at Arizona West Gallery in Scottsdale a year or so ago and he told me Maynard Dixon (one of my illustrator heroes) would sometimes do 85 pen and inks before he captured a single, simple scene. So, I think the dozen or so paintings I did for Billy’s Big Breakout was just a warm-up. Unfortunately, one of the warm-ups is on the cover of the next issue. On the other hand...

“If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing is, stop digging.
—Old Vaquero Saying

Monday, August 18, 2003

August 18, 2003
Marathon painting sessions. Worked all day Sunday until 9:17 PM. Still hadn’t nailed a decent cover. Had six paintings going. Elements of each had wonderful passages in them, unfortunately none of them were in the same painting. Went to bed anxious.

Woke up at five, heavy REM sleep. Mixing paint in my dreams, making mud at a demons pace (when you mix paint too many times it turns to an awful mud color and nothing you do can bring it back). Drank coffee, got up and attacked all six. Lined them up and just started wailing. Finished five, gave up on a sixth, shot photos of them on the front entry way and got into office at 8:40. Brought in all the paintings and put them up in my office. Ted, Mike, Robert, Gus, R.G., Meghan, Abbey and Bob Brink came in and weighed in. Consensus heavy on the “red one.” I wanted to do one that was more modern and would look more compatible with “The Best of The West” theme (A guy lying with his head propped against a gate and blood coming down his chin, with the Kid blasting away above him is, well, it’s just too Town & Country).

Picked up the film prints at Foothills Photo at 10:30, huge lines for gas at the Iraqi Shell. Made a bank deposit (overdrawn), took film back to office and Robert scanned the best one and did his magic, burned it on a CD and I took off for Phoenix at 11:20. More huge lines at gas stations all the way down. Prices hovering above $2, the highest I saw was $2.11 a gallon. Got to Dan’s at about noon. Brought two cover roughs, Mike M’s Sports Illustrated (to steal from) and we went through the problems and goals. Tweaked a few things talked about our kids (rather than pay rent in Tucson for their daughter they bought a house with another couple who also have a daughter at U of A. Smart. The mortgage payment is lower than the rent she’d have to pay.).

Came back out Cave Creek Road looking for gas. Long lines, or completely empty gas lanes (the stations out of gas actually have to put up that police yellow, crime scene tape around their pumps).

Decided to treat myself to lunch at Shelmita’s at Greenway. Airpad cooler banging away, dark inside. Mexican soap opera on the TV (Englado?). Got a big iced tea, which came out in a root beer mug, on a tray with slices of key limes all the way around it. Man, was that good! Had a desegando taco and torta, both exotic and delish ($5, plus $2 tip, cash). Really hit the spot.

Biggest line for gas was around the Standard station at Carefree Highway and Cave Creek Rd. Two lines, coming in from two directions, snaking each way all the way to the horizon (okay, maybe a half mile). Cruised by, just above empty. Memories of 1974 and those gas lines. Not fun. May ride a bike tomorrow, or car pool with Kathy, which is funny. We should have been doing this all along, but it takes a blown pipeline and a major crisis to force us to act with any common sense.

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

Sunday, August 17, 2003

August 17, 2003
Worked all day yesterday on cover paintings. Really getting tight now. The issue goes to press tomorrow. Tried a simple silhouette in red (completely reversing my original concept). Has potential. Need to nail the final today.

Got an inquiry from Finland about Bob Dylan’s character in the movie Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. Jari Teilas, from Kotka (Eagle), Finland wrote me about finding the name “Alias” as one of Billy’s compadres in Authentic Life, Pat Garrett’s book on the Kid. Jari wants to know if Alias was a real person. History says probably not, but we’ll give it to Ask The Marshall and see what he says.

Speaking of Billy, we have a new online poll asking the question “Do you think it’s right to dig up Billy the Kid?” Go right now and vote. I want to know what you think and we will run the results in the next issue.

Helped Deena move into her new house in Tempe yesterday. She’s rooming with two other guys. Drove down the 101 with the usual bungee-tied mattresses and assorted junk piled in the back of the Ranger. Got passed by several other trucks with the same load and destination (next week it’ll be even crazier as 50,000+ ASU students hit town). We ate at Dilly’s Deli on Southern (split the Southwestern Club and a bread pouch of Boston Clam Chowder, with Deena; Kathy had the salad, $28 cash).

At six last night, Mad Coyote Joe came by and we drove up to the MTM Ranch for a photo shoot. Tom Tumas’ High Sonoran Style magazine is doing a cover on Cave Creek’s Wild Western heritage and he invited some of the “colorful locals” to pose for a cover shot. About 25 people were there including the mayor and legendary publisher Don S. Two CC exotics even showed up on horseback. It was definitely a motley crew. In fact, my opinion is it was too many people for an effective cover shot. But that’s my art director opinion and I kept it to myself.

“Never miss a good chance to shut up.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Saturday, August 16, 2003

August 16, 2003
More rain. Feels good. Smells great out. If only I could bottle and patent the smell of wet creosote. It is so intoxicating to desert rats everywhere.

Painted almost all day yesterday. Working on five different paintings.

The good news is I’m in the zone. The bad news is when I’m in the zone I’m worthless at everything else. Yesterday morning I tried to cook up a batch of cowboy pinto beans. I soaked them overnight, par boiled them for an hour in the morning (this is from my mama’s cowgirl recipe handed down from her mama, Grandma Guess). Went into the office, tweaked copy on Classic Gunfights, O.K.d other copy, came home, turned on the beans to boil for another hour before letting them simmer to a tender morsel and came out to the studio to bail into painting. Really got into it and like I said, I was in the zone.

About four, I was sweating and stuck so I decided to cool off and take a swim. Went over to the house and found a kitchen full of smoke and very burnt beans. Ouch! Really sad. So much for multi-tasking. Or, as my grandma Bell used to say, “It don’t amount to a hill of beans.”

Check out the changes to the website. Trish and Jason have been working hard on making the site more pro-active and it’s very exciting. I realized yesterday it has been a year since I started doing this journal online (I have been doing a journal for nine years).

“You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Friday, August 15, 2003

August 15, 2003
Really got slammed with a huge storm last night. Got home around six and saw a thunderhead above Elephant Butte piling straight up at least a mile. Really a huge system. We got hit around eight, big winds, horizontal rain. There were tornado warnings for Mayer and Cordes Junction (45 miles north of us). Rained real hard for at least an hour. Power went out but came back on in about 30 seconds. Big puddles, twigs and branches strewn everywhere this morning.

Woke up this morning at 5:30 mulling cover art. Came out to studio and looked at books (John Singer Sargent, Ludwig Holwein, Goya: I like to steal from the best). Think I have a color scheme I can exploit. My main concern is something that breathes. Flat, solid color is the tempting way to go on a cover, but it is also the most predictable. And you can also do it with a computer, and we are trying to get something that stands out on the newsstand and photographs with clean, solid backgrounds are on 99% of the covers. Need something that transcends that. Thus today’s problem.

“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”
—Carlos Castaneda

Thursday, August 14, 2003

August 14, 2003
Tried to rain last night but only sprinkled. Came home at two and painted non-stop until about 6:30. Got a decent study done of Billy jumping through the side gate. I worked through several lighting problems and hope to execute the real one today. Also worked on the Robert Beckwith shot in the eye painting (my perspective is just prior to the shot). Nice effects in that one. About 80% done. Going to stay home today and work on both of them. Need to finish ASAP (issue goes to press Monday and we have no cover). Ah, sweet deadline. If it wasn’t for you I would have nothing.

Met with Daniel H. and Robert R. yesterday about design problems. The new typography on Classic Gunfights is too lean. I watched Kathy perusing the newest issue and after she cruised by CG I said, “What did you think of Classic Gunfights?” and she said, “Is it in this issue?” That’s a problem. Type is too svelte and urbane. Classic Gunfights should be bold and Wanted Posterish. Hope to rectify this for the next issue.

Went to lunch with Jeb Rosebrook, Bob Brink and R.G. Went to Tonto. We all had half cobb salads, except Bob B. who had the full ($50 biz account). Talked about Jeb’s pitch next Monday at Westerns Channel.

Walked Deena’s dog several times. He is clueless about horses or cactus (he’s from Long Island and has no experience with either). Drug his big butt right over a cholla. Funny what we all have to learn the hard way.

“Never slap a man who's chewing tobacco.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

August 13, 2003
Office copies of the Vera McGinnis issue hit yesterday. Everything looks great but the bindery has screwed up for the second issue in a row. Page 14 jumps to 17. Half the issues sent to us cannot be used or sent to advertisers. Very troubling. I have asked Robert Ray to look at printing bids. If you get your issue this week and the page count is wrong, please contact me right here and I’ll send you a good one.

Tried to work on BOW cover but didn’t get much accomplished. Too much going on in office. We gave the ad department an extension and this causes much grief in production. Talked to Robert R. long after everyone else had gone home last night and his valid question is: “Why am I the only one with a real deadline?”

Deena came in from NY at about noon. She has a dog named Buddy with her (air-freighted two days earlier and kept at her old boyfriend’s house in Tempe). We met her and Pete and Buddy at El Conquistador for dinner (it was mole night, $28 cash). Deena had to go outside and sit with the dog while the rest of us ate (good training for when she has kids). Got everyone home around eight in the evening. Of course Peaches is real thrilled with a new dog in her space and she is a border collie so the nipping and sniping began in earnest about 8:10. Deena was also upset because she wanted to keep Buddy in her old room but Kathy said no, so the two of them are asleep out here in the studio.

“One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

August 12, 2003
Decent day in office yesterday. Abby out for a family reunion. Robert Ray building ads. Best of the West issue is going to be big, probably 136 pages. Concerned that there isn’t enough history in it. R.G. is thinking of adding a four pager on collecting. Good, solid piece. Bush layout for actual BOW listings. Type is leaded out half-way through, nothing is locked to the baseline grid. Disturbing. Supposed to have a meeting today about it.

Came home for lunch, had a warmed over hamburger, started right in on painting. Did a large Billy jumping through the gate. Not sure it works. Stayed on it until around three. Went back to office.

The Custer battlefield called and ordered another 288 Custer issues. This is the second order this month and finally vindicates a decision I made a year-and-a-half ago when I paid $6K (we didn't have) to send that issue (June, 2001) back on the press. We changed the dateline to read “Special Battlefield Edition” and I waited and waited to get that money back. Now that we are in pure profit, and it is a proven moneymaker, I wish I had printed even more. Like Wyatt was fond of saying, “The less you bet, the more you lose when you win.”

Dr. M’s office called and said my colonoscopy was negative and I’ll need another one in 10 years. The nurse also wanted to alert me that the doctor saw “ulceration around the rectal area.” She asked me if I had any symptoms of itching or discomfort. I told her, “Not yet, but now that you’ve told me, I’ll probably start itching like crazy as soon as I hang up.”

“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.”
—Robert Frost

Monday, August 11, 2003

August 11, 2003
Got up yesterday and read the paper. California is going nuts with their recall election. Some 150 candidates including a porn star. Really bizarre and funny, but I can’t get too smug and uppity about it because whatever happens in California, we get ten years later.

At about four yesterday, Kathy and I closed all the windows in the studio and turned on the AC (it was the air-pad cooler that wasn’t working and in Arizona you need both). Moved my paintings over to the main house while it cooled down. Painted on the dining room table and got two very nice images going of Billy leaping through the McSween gate and of Peppin’s men, moving in for the kill on McSween in the darkened corner of his back yard. Good effects, about two-thirds done. Painted until around six.

Also, swam laps, took a nap, charged the battery on the ‘49 Ford (still won’t start), cleaned off the love seat in our bedroom (stacks of books, etc.). Had a steak, pasta and a glass of wine for dinner, then watched Project Greenlight. The two naive directors showed their rough cut movie to a test audience and were cockily predicting at 92 grade. When the screening was over and they ran the numbers the audience gave it a 42. Ouch! I can relate. In 1999 when we tried to relaunch Old West magazine as Old West Journal everyone in the office was so excited and we started predicting what the sell-thru would be. Nobody, myself included, guessed low enough. It came in at half the lowest estimate. Needless to say we don’t publish Old West Journal anymore. We had unrealistic, absurd expectations.

"In politics, absurdity is not a handicap."
—Napoleon Bonaparte

Sunday, August 10, 2003

August 10, 2003
Now the cooler on my studio is kaput. Not pumping water for some reason. Just blowing hot air around. Arm sticking to art paper, etc. Endured it all day yesterday (too hot to work, too hot to go up on the roof and fix it). Went up there this morning and jimmied the panels off with an odd assortment of wrenches and ratchets. Looked inside, calcium buildup is atrocious, scraped off a ton, can’t figure out how to get the pump working, shut everything off, came down, came back to work. Sitting here in the heat waiting for Kathy to come back from exercise class (9:15 AM) so I can have her turn the pump on and off while I “kick the tires” until it decides to magically turn on, or wait until tomorrow and get a repairman out here so we can get saddled with that compressor we dodged buying last Tuesday night (where’s Brad Radina when you really need him?).

Struggled all day yesterday trying to get my art skills back. I really suffer when I go for weeks without drawing and painting. Ruined two or three studies (after procrastinating for two or three hours; note my blogs get significantly longer on the days when I’m having trouble with my art), switched gears and using tracing paper I began the tedious process of building images of Billy the Kid leaping over a dead body in the gate of the McSween house. In my mind’s eye, I picture him in an almost ballet pose, pirouetting high in the air, a la Matrixville, and he is lit up by the house fire raging behind him, the shooters along the back wall are also monster lit by the leaping flames, and the Kid is captured in mid-stride like some exotic butterfly under glass. As my faithful Native American Muse is so fond of yelling in my head, “Not easily achieved White Man.”

Knocked off around four, made margaritas for Kathy and I, solved life, worried about our kids, visited Costa Rica (obtuse metaphor reference #37, see July 28-9 for answer). Went up to El Encanto at about 6:30. Had the G.—Spanish for William—Special and Kathy had the Sonoran enchiladas ($20.10 cash, saved about $50 by having the margaritas at home).

Came home and watched Old School on pay-per-view ($3.99). Really weak. Basically Animal House meets Thirty Something. Very lame. In fact I went to sleep, woke up for the end and Kathy assured me I didn’t miss anything.

“Getting married for sex is like buying a 747 for the free peanuts.”
—Jeff Foxworthy

Saturday, August 09, 2003

August 9, 2003
This morning’s paper reports that the editor of Esquire is pulling the plug on the Jayson Blair stunt. (Blair is the former New York Times reporter who faked a bunch of stories, and the resulting scandal shocked the media world. Blair was fired and the two top editors lost their jobs as well.) David Granger, editor in chief of Esquire, is quoted by AP as saying, “It was intended as a joke that readers would see when they picked up the issue. All the news reports took away that element of surprise.”

I have been a huge fan of Esquire since my college days, and when I told Bob Brink, he set up a breakfast with David Granger when we were in New York last week. As we were being seated in the dining room of the New York Athletic Club overlooking Central Park, I told David I thought the Jayson Blair stunt was brilliant (Granger hired Blair to review Shattered Glass, a film about Stephen Glass who also fabricated stories). I had seen the news report on a crawl while watching CNN and remarked to my staff the next day that whoever thought that up is a genius.

But when I praised him, David reacted in an embarrassed, irritated way: “They’ve totally misconstrued what we were trying to do!” he told me. I could tell by his discomfort that someone had gotten to him. I’m guessing, but someone had definitely shamed him. I tried to tell him he is too close to it, that the rest of us in America “get it” but I could tell he was the lightning rod and the heat of the flash was melting his shoes. I made a mental note to remember this when my petty Wyatt Earp critics get to throwing darts at my rear end.

So David Granger pulled the plug on a clever marketing ploy and he got more press doing it. The big question is: would he have gotten even more press (and more readers) if he had not reined in his horse in the middle of a jump? We’ll never know. And that is the question that haunts editors every day of the week.

The kicker to this whole episode is that when Kathy and I had a layover in Cleveland on the way home last Sunday, I went to get some coffee and a young, black guy came in behind me with a young woman who reeked of being a publicity flack-book tour baby sitter (Blair is allegedly fielding book offerings). I have seen oodles of these types in my decade of being on the radio. I instantly recognized him. It was Jayson Blair (his face made the cover of Newsweek during the scandal). Or was it him? I was 95% sure, but the fear factor was pretty strong. Why would he be in Cleveland? Why would he be flying to Phoenix (he rode in our plane in first class) Ultimately I decided it was too much of an insult to ask: “Hey, excuse me, are you Jayson Blair, the ex-New York Times reporter who has zero credibility?” So I will probably never know if it was in fact the Jayson Blair. And, yes, I reined in my own horse in the middle of a jump.

"Enthusiasm is a volcano on whose top never grows the grass of hesitation."
 —Kahlil Gibran

Friday, August 08, 2003

August 8, 2003
There are some weird and wacky people reading this journal. For example, I got an E-mail from Will S. down Bisbee way and he sent me the following:

I kid you not, someone came to my web log after doing a google search for "bob boze bell herpes." You have some strange fans.

Will’s site is:
More meetings in the office yesterday. Very Roshomanish, getting everyone’s version of the truth. Or, as Robert Evans put it in the recent doc, The Kid Stays In The Picture, “There’s your version, there’s my version, and then there’s the truth.”

Wrote up a new executive editor’s statement for the 2004 media kits. Gus and I worked hard on shoe horning in all the Classic Gunfights into the book template. We are closer (have about 12 holes to fill). Came home for lunch, had hamburger and a tomato. Started a cloud painting to get warmed up for BOW cover. Came back to office, cleaned off my desk and answered mail and fulfilled orders. Theresa from Tri Star came out and had me sign a Wyatt book. She said the new Bad Men books are in. That means every one of my four books is in multiple editions. Billy is in the second edition (almost sold out and going for a third), Wyatt is in the fourth, Doc Holliday is in the third and Bad Men is in the second. We have sold over 50,000 books and to all of the publishers who turned down the idea (that would be 27 including my alma mater, U of A Press who commented on the proposal, “Just what the world needs; another book on Billy the Kid.”) I would just like to say, “Told you so.”

Got a call from a reader who thinks he knows who Kaloma really is. Tantalizing similarities between the infamous, semi-naked photo of Kaloma (allegedly Mrs. Wyatt Earp) and a certain “actress” of that era who was beautiful and who also posed in Victorian cheesecake pictures around the same time (1912-14). We may run it as a potato chip.

No word from NY on proposed show. Did get an air date on the show I worked on: August 19. The buzz is that it’s quite good and “The Suits” are very happy with it. We’ll see. I never believe any of that stuff until I see it with my own eyes, and then I don’t believe them half the time.

“Those who can't laugh at themselves leave the job to others.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Thursday, August 07, 2003

August 7, 2003
A little cooler today (high 90s). Feels good. May wear a sweater to work.

Stress and strain in ad department. We’re growing very fast and Bob Brink assures me this is one of the speedbumps. Met with several salespeople to talk about how to make the department smoother. Good feedback. Everyone in there is working hard.

Went to lunch yesterday with Carole and Kathy at Tuscan Cafe (I had the veggie sando and iced tea: girls had similar fare, $23 cash). We all were roommates about a hundred years ago. Talked about the Oklahoma Land Rush and other events we participated in.

Actually, the years were 1978-79 (and the land rush was in Avondale).

Finished my editorial for Best of the West issue. Got some good inside stuff on the Billy dig, but it was “off the record” which means I can’t tell you, but I can put it on the cover of the next issue. Such is journalism ethics as practiced by a cartoonist who never took a journalism class.

“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.”
Lucille Ball

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

August 6, 2003
Yesterday I talked on the phone to one of the people we met with in New York. She was nice and positive but she told me everyone else is on vacation (in fact, it turns out we were the last meeting all three had on their schedules last Friday so I can just imagine them sitting there while we did our presentation, thinking: “Hurry up, I can’t wait to get out of here.”) When I asked if there was anything else we could provide them (like maybe a script for the pilot) she said, “No. You have given us plenty to think about.” Hmmmm. Bob Brink thinks we need to be patient. I’m trying.

On a related note, Jeb Rosebrook has a meeting with a rival network on the 14th and he has asked if he can pitch the show to them. We are considering it.

When I was on the radio and making $32K a year with no contract, I got a call from a rival station asking if I would meet with them. I was a novice at these things, so, the next morning I stuck my head in my general manager’s office and said, “Hey I got a call from KDKB yesterday and I just thought you should know.” That’s all I said. By that afternoon my station had a contract on the table (literally) which doubled my salary. I wasn’t even trying to leverage them, which probably made the effect all the more effective. Ha.

Last night we had a herd of Radinas over for pizza and salad. Took the kids and the visiting Michiganders to the cave. Warned them of rattlesnakes and we stomped heavily over and back (snakes can’t hear but they can feel the vibrations and will vacate, if possible). Peaches would run up ahead, then stop every so often and act all freaked out about something just off the trail. The first two times she did it I thought it was real (and so did the out of towners), but by the 10th time I seriously think she was playing with us. Just what we need: a comedian dog.

While we were eating our AC went out and Brad R. volunteered to go up on the roof and check it out. Now it was probably at least 100 degrees out, but up the ladder he went (Carol says he loves to do this and it’s actually fun for him. I would rank it somewhere below a root canal). Brad thought it was a blown fuse, so he and Kathy drove down to Home Depot while the rest of us told lies and talked about the people who weren’t there.

About 45 minutes later, Brad came back and went up on the roof and fixed the cooler, thereby saving us at least $750 because you know the repairman would have said, “What year is this cooler? Yep. I thought so. You’re gonna need a new compressor.”).

“A man who lives with nature is used to violence and is companionable with death. There is more violence in a Mexican garden than in the meanest streets of Juarez.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

August 5, 2003
It was good to be back in the office. Had a good day yesterday catching up on the status of our October issue (at the printer) and our Best of The West issue (steaming to completion) and our movie issue (Allen Barra is doing a great piece on the Alamo movie due out December 25).

Had lunch with Carole at China Joy ($10 cash).

Got a massage at four, came home around six, swam laps, got some good ideas in the pool. Very hot out, but I enjoy it.

Went to bed early and read about circulation “dry testing.” Marketing is so crazy. This company wanted to test a mailer for a product that hadn’t been made yet. The FTC gets real upset at this and so the company’s lawyers wanted to put the line “this product does not exist” on the mailer. Of course the creative team fought this and believed it would kill the results. So they came up with this line:

This offer is contingent on a sufficient number of orders being received.

This one line of copy not only worked but it increased the response by 15%. They couldn’t believe it and tested it again but the numbers held. Ultimately it was used on every single mailing and the response on everything (even products that had been in the lineup for five years) went up 15%.

“Choosing the right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug.”
—Mark Twain

Monday, August 04, 2003

August 4, 2003
Woke up this morning trying to distill the NY trip down to the most important parts, or, what really happened. Unfortunately, for me it eerily resembles a trip I took in the mid-eighties when King Syndicate flew me to New York to talk about syndicating my comic strip creation Honkytonk Sue. The meeting went very well and they expressed strong interest in the character, her potential, etc. I remember the guy I would be dealing with directly took me to lunch at an Indian restaurant near the UN. Somewhere, between that meeting and what I turned in to them several months later, the wheels came off the deal. To be blunt, the strips I sent them were not what they wanted. I have kicked myself ever since for not being in direct contact with the guy at King who took me to lunch. Why didn’t I call him and tell him what I was doing and get his input? Big mistake.

On the way to last Friday’s meeting, Bob Brink mentioned to me he thought the network was in the old King Syndicate building. I blanched. He reminded me that Hearst owns King Syndicate (I never made the connection until we were in the limo). It was deja vu all over again. And, the irony is that Bob was above the King honchos who I met with in 1986. Ouch! I think the deja vu of it weighed heavily on my mind during and after the pitch meeting.

In both meetings, it was not all that important what went on in the meeting, but it was, and is, very important what happens after the meeting. Here I am 17 years later. What have I learned?

We’ll soon find out.

"Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”
 —Henry Ford

Sunday, August 03, 2003

August 3, 2003
Just back from a very long and successful trip to New York. Hectic, expensive (one cab ride was $71; one dinner was $396, before tip, with a $31 hamburger, $45 steak and $15 house salad).

Learned a ton just from being in Bob Brink's World.

Wore a suit and tie both coming and going. We couldn’t go through the hotel lobby (The New York Athletic Club at Seventh Ave. and Central Park South) without a suit, tie, slacks and good shoes on. Really kind of interesting (all the formality). Bob had several business lunches which he invited me to, and I met the editor of Esquire magazine and the publisher of Popular Mechanics.

Our meeting at the network went so-so. I thought the presentation was solid but I didn’t think we sold them on much of anything. Bob Brink thinks otherwise, and I’m going to trust his instincts. Nice people. They are referred to as “The Suits” by their LA production company, but the irony was we were the only ones in suits at the meeting (it was casual Friday, summertime attire for them), but it was still funny to me. We had a limo waiting for us at the curb for the entire meeting. So amazing. Just another world.

Bob also treated Kathy, Deena, Thomas and I to dinner at 21. More waiters per customer than I have ever witnessed in my life. Liza Minelli was there but I didn’t see her. Deena said I was leaning over her to look at an original Remington and didn’t even notice. The whole place is packed with original Frederick Remington illustrations (all black and whites, many I’ve never seen before). I’m thinking of giving the 21 Club a Best of the West award for Best Place to See Remingtons East of the Mississippi.

Speaking of my daughter, the brother of the Unabomber thinks Deena should have her own TV show. I can’t tell you how this even happened (how she met him, etc.), but it’s true. On a related note, I met a major NY honcho at a party who told me all the inside story on the World Trade Center investigation. They’ve spent $80 million so far and they have found and archived 15,000 body parts and matched DNA to more than half of the victims and even some of the hijackers (they’ve positively ID’d three). One of the odd asides on the DNA testing is that they have determined through trying to match father and mother DNA with certain victims that some of the fathers were not the father, if you know what I mean.

"I know he's willing to die for his cause, but is he willing to take a hot poker up the ass?"
 —Al Franken, on why we should torture terrorist suspects