Tuesday, April 20, 2004

April 20, 2004
Overcast today. Went for a walk with the dogs before I went in to work and unfortunately Buddy spied a mother duck and all her babies swimming along behind her and Buddy dived in and the babies were caught or so it seemed but as Buddy’s mouth reached out to nabbed the little brown critters, they ducked under water and escaped. Buddy lumbered up the creek after the mother and the little babies gathered in the tall grass, shivering and waiting. I didn't want the big, bad doggie to come back and gobble them up so I led him up the trail without getting any rocks. That was my excitement for the morning.

Working hard to get a Bill Doolin piece done for the July issue. Marshal Heck Thomas brought down the elusive outlaw at Lawson, Oklahoma which is just east of Stillwater. I visited there several years ago with the Renegades and historian Glenn Shirley, took us on a guided tour of the exact spot it happened so I have a pretty good idea of how that looks.

Got an update on Thomas Bell’s itinerary while he was in Morocco. Here’s the Cliff Notes version:

“We got into Tangiers by ferry where we pìcked up the rental car and then drove an hour to Hamzas house in Tetuan. We stayed in this really nice government hotel for free and ate at Hamza’s house. That´s when we had the really good roast beef dish.

“From there we drove south to a town called Chechouan or something similar. The old quarter there was all painted blue and was nestled into the mountains behind it. We stayed the night near a quaint ski town in the mountains at another one of Hamza’s connection places. There was a lake in the town and it looked a lot like Switzerland.

“We continued on to Fez the next day. The old quarter, or medina, in Fez was huge and we took a guided tour of it. The city has some cool ancient ruins including an old jewish cemetery. Not many jews left in Morocco. They all went to New York or Israel.

“From Fez we drove all day south into the Sahara and did the overnight night camel camping trip. I got diharrea and had to burry some poop in the desert. The next day we drove all day again still sandy and dirty from the night before almost all the way to Marakesh stopping only to see this huge ass canyon. We stayed in some town and drove into Marakesh the next day.

“We had a problem with our booked hotel but Hamza met someone in the lobby who offered to rent us his apartment. It was a nice place. Moroccan houses traditionally have a room that is lined with all coaches to drink tea in and chat. This is where we slept. Marakesh is the biggest tourist city in Morocco and the main square is insane. It is full of people offering everything. Huge glasses of fresh squeezed orange juice for 25 cents. I would say about 50% of the tourist are old French people followed by Spaniards and Americans. At night they have snake handlers, cock fights etc. The last night I saw an old man boxing a 12 year old boy and then later a girl. It was pretty playful but hilarious none the less. We stayed in Marakesh 3 nights and then drove back to Tetuan for the last night and one last diner at Hamzas house. The next night we stayed in Gibraltar where I called you from.”

The language in Deadwood continues to be a turn-off to oldtimers. Jim Hatzell sent me the reaction of an author and historian from the Dakotas named Smith who lives on a ranch 25 miles northeast of Rapid City. As for the language in the first episode, Smith said, “I just wanted to throw up.” He claims he won’t be watching any more episodes. I wonder just how many of these stalwarts the series can afford to alienate?

“Discipline without freedom is tyranny, freedom without discipline is chaos.”
—Cullen Hightower

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