June 9, 2004
We have Africanized killer bees out our way. In fact, several years ago some poor guy in Carefree was cleaning his pool and inadvertently bumped a hive in his back yard and when they attacked he jumped in the pool and dove under water. Big mistake. The bees, who have some peculiar rod and cone deal going, could see him perfectly, and massed above his head waiting for him to surface. When he couldn’t hold his breath any longer and surfaced, the killer bees nailed him in the eyes, nose, mouth and ears. In short, they killed him.
This is always on my mind (he lived five miles from my house!) when I walk to the creek, like this morning. I hear the bees in the blooming palo verde trees and as I walk by I’m always walking very lightly and looking for an escape route at the same time.
The official advice goes something like this: bees can only fly fifteen miles an hour and if you can run 16 miles an hour and zig-zag through the brush, you’ll easily lose them. So, I’m always alert and looking for the path of most resistance.
Imagine my horror this morning when I read in the Arizona Republic that a 20-year-old Mesa man backed into a hive Tuesday morning while using a leaf blower. He was immediately attacked by a killer swarm and started to run. So far, so good. Unfortunately, he ran into the street and was hit by a Salt River Project truck. He didn’t die but he has a fractured skull and compound fractures on both legs. The article didn’t say if they dispersed the bees, or not.
Had a speech at Pinnacle High School down on Deer Valley Road this morning. Didn’t even know this high school was there. When I asked Coach Riff how long it has been in existence, he said, “Five years.” He could have said five minutes and I would have believed him. Speech went well and I sold several books.
Number one question: “Is the cussing on Deadwood historically accurate?” Hmmmm, read True West, my dear.
Got back into the office at about 11, whipped out two John Wesley Hardin pen and ink illustrations (JWH shooting at playing cards with soiled doves drinking and laughing with their Johns in the background). Had lunch with Carole at Tuscan Cafe. I bought ($15 cash, includes tip). Got some typical office politics going on. Going to deal with it tomorrow.
“I've been fired for being disruptive several times, but this is first time I've been hired for it.”
—Brad Bird, on being pursued and ultimately hired by Pixar
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