Tuesday, November 30, 2004

November 30, 2004
Good staff meeting this morning as we critiqued the newest issue (some concern about the new design being too gray, although Crystal came in later and said one of her clients thinks it's "classy"). We have started a reward system for good ideas and this morning Crystal won a crisp $10 bill and Joel Klasky won a $5 spot. The entire sales staff is going to Vegas this weekend for Cowboy Christmas and they vowed to use it for gas money. Yeh, right.

The general public often gets confused between Wild Bill Hickok and Buffalo Bill Cody. They sort of overlap a bit in the public's imagination. They share the Bill name and their long hair and style are quite interchangeable, and we can understand the confusion, but it was with great mirth that I held up this morning's Scottsdale zone edition of the Arizona Republic with the headline: WILD BILL MUSEUM BRANCH ON HOLD. Ooops. It's the Buffalo Bill Museum branch that's actually on hold, which the body copy got right, but the headline writer missed, or mashed.

Had lunch with Carole and Kathy at the Bad Donkey ($5 cash, just had the "two scoop soup" and iced tea, trying to watch what I eat a bit better, especially after seeing Supersize Me this last weekend, you know, the doc where the guy ate at McDonald's three meals a day for 30 days).

Worked all afternoon on CGII copy, finishing parts of three different sections. Still not working fast enough, but I'm in the water and moving towards the goal. And, of course, once I get going I can't stop, and most of the time go too far. Is there a life lesson to be learned in all of this?

"The secret of life is to know when enough is enough.”"
—Dr. Vincent Ryan

Monday, November 29, 2004

November 29, 2004
Very cold here on the Sonoran Desert this morning. A reported 39 degrees in Phoenix and we always run about 10 degrees cooler out here (we're about 22 miles north), so you can imagine the shock to our systems and our thinned-out blood (I know this is wussy weather for all my northern friends, but it is quite oppressive to us Southwesterners).

We've got a new poll up: Has History treated Ike Clanton fairly? Yes/No Vote here.

Worked very hard yesterday and today on getting copy finished on my big list. Knocked off at least five or six (some are all but finished, but need a tweak). Home stretch. I can feel it.

Went down into the Beast (Bell Road) at 11 for a pro-time blood test (a coumadin gauge). Hit a 1.8 which is barely in the therapeutic range. Got a slight slap on the wrist from the nurse and left. Drove downtown into Phoenix to Gert Mell's house just off Central and Maryland. Ed Mell's mom had about five boxes of old books and wanted to know if I wanted any. I took them all. Just great stuff, full of oldtime illustrations which I love. And a big surprise: a book and several paintings by Mabel Cason! I asked Gert, she's 92, if she knew who Mabel is, and she looked at me like I'm a doe-doe head and said, "She was one of my best friends!" Well, it was Mabel Earp Cason who tried unsuccessfully to co-write Josephine Earp's memoirs, and it was her work that ended up as the only legitimate part of the best-selling book "I Married Wyatt Earp," by Glenn Boyer. Gert's family knew her as more of a painter. Amazing. Six degrees of separation indeed!

Ed and I went to lunch at the Dane Dog House on Seventh Street for hot dogs ($11 cash I paid). Never eaten there. Talked about art and our friends getting sick, and all the land we couldah, shouldah bought. Ed told of a friend who bought a lot in the McDowells for $640,000 last year and sold it this week for $1.2 mil. If you've read this blog for any length of time you know about the Zombie killer who followed some of my neighbors home at night and then set the carport on fire and shot them when they ran out (they lived, the shooter's back on his meds and in jail). That house just sold for $1.4 mil. I think he paid $150,000 for the place, then rebuilt it after the fire and shooting for $300,000, but don't quote me on that.

Is there an elitist attitude in U.S. universities? Of course. One of the academics who reads this blog (and the second to warn me that he is in "deep cover"), gave me this quote, which he claims he received from one of his professors upon graduation:

"Remember this, it's us against the barbarians."

My co-publisher, Theresa down at Tri Star-Boze, has uncovered some gems from the bowels of their storeroom. She has found 13 special editions of my Billy, Doc and Wyatt books that are quite rare (deerskin covers). Only 12 of each were printed and they are quite slick, each with its own linen slipcase. If you’d like to get one, call Samantha at (888) 687-1881, extension 201. If you get her voicemail, leave your vitals and she'll call you back.

"Anger is never without an argument, but seldom with a good one.
—George Savile

Sunday, November 28, 2004

November 28, 2004
Mixed results on my new $100-deadline-focus- regimen. I lost an entire day Thursday (Thanksgiving) as I spent all my available time in the morning working on this blog. Was it worth it? Maybe, but it was a distraction and off purpose, and is so typical of a person, like me, with ADD. Still, it's no excuse.

We went over to Betty Radina's for the traditional dinner at 1:30. Very nice meal and fun. Debbie Radina was there, along with James Radina who drove over from Southern Cal, and Brad, Carol, EJ and Mercedes Radina were there, along with Deena and Thomas, and Justine and Lee. Towards evening we played Scrabble. Haven't played since at least 1967. Tomcat won on a disputed word ("jax") but nobody cared too much.

Came home and watched a brilliant documentary called American Movie which is about this obsessed young guy in Wisconsin who wants to make horror movies ("The Coven," and "Northwestern" are his corny vehicles, both written, directed and starring himself, of course). The doc painfully captures his ridiculous, immature, adolescent obsession with making these loser movies, complete with his stoned-out-friend and his poor, put-upon family who he abuses for money and their time, all the while avoiding getting a real job. And although it has a quasi-happy ending, the psychosis of the guy and his insidious, selfish dream which he puts above everything and everybody else was downright painful to watch. Obviously I totally related to the guy. And although Kathy cut me some slack (afterwards I asked her on a scale of one to ten, how much she thought the guy was like me, and she answered "a five.") I must admit I'm way too much like the guy in too many ways. As Elliot West put it on the H-West board a few days ago, "Sometimes you have to put the mirror up to yourself and take a good, long look." And when I look in the mirror, I'd say it is a solid eight. Ouch!

Yesterday was much more focussed and successful. Worked almost all day on writing and inputting copy for the book. The rest of the family went down to Scottsdale to visit Deena in her new condo. They went to a movie (Invincibles) and ate Mexican food (Rolberto's) but I was a good boy and stayed home.

Looking for another good working day today. I sure do battle with discipline. I'll do good for a couple days then lose three. Really an issue with me. Ralph thinks it is merely a choice. Hmmmmm:

"Discipline is a matter of choice. You can discipline yourself now, or you can have a much harsher discipline imposed on you later."
—Ralph Marston

Thursday, November 25, 2004

November 25, 2004
The news from Lake Knife-Be-Gone (More WHA sniping and whining): Being an outsider and reading about the travails of the Western History Conference is a bit like driving by a bad pileup on the freeway: you feel so bad about the death and damage, but you can't stop rubbernecking. So, if like me, spectacular and petty carnage is your cup of tea, strap on your seat-belt and get ready for some smashmouth history.

We start off with a smug, condescending bromide from the heartland. The bracket comments [like this] are mine:

"Let's just say it loud and clear: the banquet was a disaster. That the person who gave the address [Bill Kurtis] thought he was at an Elks Lodge meeting and could make sexist and crude jokes [I counted one weak joke, and one reference to a female as a "Honey"] and then show all-male gun historical reenactment films [Kurtis showed snippets from his Investigating History TV series, one on the O.K. Corral and the other on the Dalton's Coffeyville raid, both written by WHA member and emcee Paul Hutton] is his fault, not anyone elses [sorry, didn't mean to entertain you]. The problem is that the banquet has been the scene of continuous speaker malfeasances, most in the recent past. This years is over and done with. We move on, but resolved not to do this again [Yes, if this keeps up we may actually have some fun].

"I knew we were in trouble when we started the long list of awards and our President announced she sure was glad this was her last duty as president. Now how would you feel if you had traveled a very long distance, had footed the bill for an overpriced and very average meal [Hey, my meal was actually pretty good, but I'm a Colonialist CARNIVORE!], and your leader says that your award is just one big 'pain'? [Excuse me Mr. Historian, but I never heard her say it was a "pain." Do you have a footnote on that?] I'm sure she did not mean to convey this message, but it felt that way at our table [or as it was known at the banquet: the table where "fun goes to die"]. Remember, words are very important [Thanks, I was about to throw them all away. Whew!] And so off we began with a trip through insult after insult. Names mispronounced [three, max]. Native American names stumbled over [one: “Tohono O’odham” try it, it ain't easy]. The shameful mispronunciation [this hyperbolic usage of the word shameful is shameful] of a young Finnish scholar who then was disgendered [Iris mistook the Finnish winner for a person without testicles, sort of like the writer of this posting]. Finns in the audience were publicly amused and privately astounded [that's funny, I'm half Norwegian and I was publicly empathetic and privately ambivalent. Why don't you try getting up in front of a crowd of 800 and attempt to correctly pronounce the names Philbert Watahomogie, Squibe Nish, Alex Suthogomie, Bennie Whatanome and Alan Tapija. I can. These are all Hualapai Indians, excuse me, indigenous peoples, I grew up with. But I don't expect others to flawlessly pronounce their names and more importantly, neither do they]. As the scholar was one of my former students, I can tell you I wasn't amused [hard to imagine]. He was much more graceful about it when told in Helsinki [of course, he didn't have to sit at your damn table]. He was less impressed to be called a Swede in subsequent factless electronic commentary [this appears to be a veiled reference to this blog, and I guess with the publication of this posting the trend continues]. One university press editor had her name mispronounced both times and in two different ways for the two awards her press received [Oh, the horror! The horror!]. So I was grateful when the person who took the mike at the end of the event to call everyone's attention to all of these slights after the unfortunate 'joke.'"

—John "The Big Red Joker" Wunder
University of Nebraska

Now by way of contrast, read this posting:

"What's in a name? Lots, apparently. John Wunder and others have made much of the outgoing president's mispronunciation of the name of a prizewinner, saying that she thereby compromised his identity. The first to protest that mispronunciation was the person who spoke out at the end of the banquet, but she in turn misidentified him as Native American (in fact he's a Finn). She later compounded the error by apologizing on another listserv for calling him 'indigenous,' thereby inadvertently denying him any identity whatsoever. After all, we are all indigenous to somewhere. The point is that well meaning persons can stumble, as did both of these individuals. Is each of us comfortable with being criticized to this degree for every one of our own slip-ups? More generally, can we take more deep breaths, cultivate our senses of humor and loosen up?"
—Elliott West, Co-moderator, H-West

Wow! Is that the voice of reason, or what? Too bad he'll probably be strung up by the Joker Brigade.

"We need to be a party that stands for more than the sum of our resentments.  In the heartland, where I am from, there are doubts.  Too often, we're caricatured as a bicoastal cultural elite that is condescending at best and contemptuous at worst to the values that Americans hold in their daily lives."
—Evan Bayh, Democratic Senatorr

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

November 24, 2004
At approximately 3:30 yesterday afternoon, Samantha sold the 1,000th True West Maniac Club membership. Everyone came out of their workspace and applauded. Some of us did a victory lap. What a thrill! We have decided to extend the lifetime subscription offer up to 1,100 because there were so many spouse memberships (spouses of the Maniac member get a number for a small additional fee). So if you want the lifetime deal don't dilly dally, because it'll be gone before the end of the year. It is the ultimate gift for someone who loves the West.

Yesterday I made the commitment of finishing the writing of my book by December 3rd (a week from this Friday) by putting up a crisp $100 bill as collateral. As promised, the results have been immediate. For example, this morning I woke up at five, brimming with ideas and tasks I wanted to accomplish on the book. I went out to the studio at six and started a fire in the stove, and did five sketches of potential scenes I want to include in the book, took the dogs for a walk down to the creek. It was quite foggy and Southern California looking out as the big storm that hit us three days ago lingers over the high Sonoran Desert.

Got into the office at eight, had several meetings with the staff regarding goals and morale. I should give Bob Davies another plug, since it's his concept that Carole stumbled across on the internet. Here's his basic philosophy:

1) I do what I say I will do
2) I am better as a part of a team than alone
3) Accountability-I am the source of all that I experience

And here's his website address: www.bobdavies.com

At 10:40 I bailed into the book and did an inventory of holes to fill. I came up with 28 copy holes that need to be fleshed out, and I have eight days to do it, so that's about four a day I need to accomplish. Not going to be easy, but I have a goal and I intend to meet it. I'll keep an honest appraisal of my progress as we go along. One of my liabilities is that we're going into Thanksgiving and I have all of the usual family obligations, etc., but I need to perform around those distractions. Or, make up for it on the weekend.

Tomcat is coming down from Flag at one today. I’m going to shoot video and stills of him and Jake the Flake utilizing that picket fence I borrowed the other day.

"Procrastination and worry are the twin thieves that will try to rob you of your brilliance, but even the smallest action will drive them from your camp."
—Gil Atkinson

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

November 23, 2004
Earp researcher and author, Steve Gatto, got back to me on the "d--d ------" cursing in the Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce story. Here's what he says:

"I will have to dig out the article tonight to see what's up with the dashes. I'll try to get back to you on it tomorrow. Also, I do have the transcript to the preliminary hearing somewhere, I'll see if there is a reference to the word that was used. It might have been 'faggot' but I'll have to check to be sure."

Very interesting. As I surmised several days ago, I figured the phrase had to be quite emasculating, but I never even thought of "faggot," which would certainly embarrass Mr. Deuce in front of the women in Smith's Cafe.

I got an Email from Frederick Nolan in Chalfont St. Giles, England and this is what he had to say: "regarding memories of JFK and the slipperiness of legend, I trust you'll remember whose 145th birthday it is supposed to be today when you get around to writing your diary."

And of course, he's referring to Henry McCarty, a.k.a., Kid Antrim, Billy Bonney, Billy Kid, Billy the Kid. And yes, I forgot. Thanks Fred.

Fred also sent me this for the vaquero file:

"Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone."

As you know, I’m a sucker for motivation of any kind. Why? Well, if you've read this for any length of time you know I am the King of Procrastination. That's why I cling to anything that gives me focus, hope and artificial strength of any kind (Hello, Kathy?). This morning I got this from Carole Glenn, who got it from a motivator named Bob Davies:

"All human performance is either the avoidance of pain or the seeking of

"As human beings we have very limited perceptions. We can only see certain
wavelengths of light; we can only hear certain levels of sound. We have
limited perceptual abilities in all of our senses. Since our ability to
perceive and interpret our environment is so limited, nature has designed us
to be very discriminating in what we pay attention to.

"Think about driving your car as an example. When is the last time you really
thought about the techniques of driving your car? This has become an
automated process thus enabling you to place your attention on other more
dangerous elements in your environment. In fact, our very survival relies on
our ability to discriminate between what is dangerous, unsafe, can hurt us,
and that which is benign. Our entire day is spent in the perceptual realm of
paying attention to what is painful, and avoiding it in favor of what is

"This is very necessary to sustain your safety. If you did not have the
ability to instinctively know that an activity you were about to engage in
was dangerous and needed to be avoided, you would not be able to function on
a daily basis. For example, let's say you goal is to cross the street. You
have the innate ability to tell if the oncoming traffic is approaching at a
rate of speed that makes that activity dangerous and a threat to your

"All human beings have this automatic process called the 'survival
mechanism'. This is our neurological ability to immediately label a
situation as dangerous and appropriately respond in a way that ensures our

"The survival mechanism has two parts. First, it overrides our desire to
reach our goal and perform the dangerous activity and secondly, it compels
us to avoid.

"The problem is that this powerful mechanism of avoidance doesn't only work
when it is appropriate and the danger is real. It takes effect whenever we
perceive an activity that we want to do as being either dangerous or
uncomfortable, whether the danger is real or not!

"Think about it. What is dangerous about getting up at 5:00 am and going to
the gym to start your day out with exercise? What is dangerous about making
a prospecting call? What is dangerous about pushing away from that second
helping when you are not hungry? Nothing! Reality doesn't matter! If our
brain has anything resembling pain linked to that activity, we will be
compelled to avoid and we will justify the avoidance with rationalization!

"Look at the links, dieting with hunger, prospecting with rejection, getting
up early with being tired. This is the natural process. Although this
survival mechanism ensures our safety, it also ensures our mediocrity or
worse! We must have an intervention if we want elite performance.

"Try this intervention for just one week. I promise you results. Use human
nature to compel you to take the actions you want to take. So, for the next
seven days here is what I want you to do. Sunday evening, write down one
specific activity that you absolutely want to accomplish by the end of the
week. (Specific Declaration) Next, make sure you can take this action no
matter what might come up during the week. Reduce the commitment if you are
not sure. Finally, put a $100 fine on not doing the activity and tell
another person to hold you accountable. (Accountability) Watch what happens
throughout the week. Watch how your perception changes as you select to
perceive opportunities to take that action that you are being held
accountable to and avoid paying the fine. Remember, all human performance is
the avoidance of pain, (the fine), and the seeking of comfort, (keeping your
money and honoring your word). Try this, it will work immediately!"

Okay, I’m game. So, after lunch I had Carole drop me off at the bank where I cashed a check and gave her a $100 bill. When we got back to the office I typed up the following, printed it out and then handed it to every staff member:

Bob Boze Bell’s Contract With Carole Glenn and True West
Since all human performance is either the avoidance of pain or the seeking of comfort I am putting up the sum of $100 cash to Carole Glenn. I am vowing to input all of the rough copy of the 24 Classic Gunfights (for the new book, Volume II: The Gunfights Behind the OK Corral) and have it on the pages in the templates by Friday, December 3 at 5 p.m.

If I do not have the rough copy for all of the gunfights in, the $100 will be spent on a staff party to be decided on by Carole Glenn.
—Bob Boze Bell
November 23, 2004

"Ninety percent of everything is crap."
—Theordore Sturgeon

Monday, November 22, 2004

November 22, 2004
Forty one years ago? Is that possible? JFK visits Dallas. If the study of history has taught me anything it's that the big myth, yes, even bigger than anything we've seen so far, will really kick in at the fifty mark. That's when the survivors get down to a couple dozen and the stories get bigger and the writers get younger and the theories get weirder and strangely, more believable. At least that's how the Old West characters I love ascended into immortality. It was in the late forties, that would be the 1940s, and early fifties that the fantasies hit full stride and the few oldtimers left, Al Jennings, 93 (who shot and killed a neighbor by accident trying to show him a real fast draw) and Brushy Bill, 74 (Yes, I’m in the James Gang, no wait, I’m Billy the Kid!) captured the center stage. The only thing they were believable on is that every time they retold the stories they'd get closer to the center of the stage.

I was talking to Charlie Waters on the phone this afternoon and he was laughing about me riding my bike in my slippers and red shorts and he told me he remembered seeing old codgers in his neighborhood (Gold Street!) when he was growing up. And just how embarrassed he would be for these old coots in their mismatched clothes and all of their dumpy, goofiness. "And now," I admitted, "I'm that guy. And, I don't care."

I finally understand why oldtimers get so cranky when you try and talk to them about "how it really was back then." I get it. I'm not cranky yet, but I get it.

Rained all day again. Snow closed I-40 east of Kingman for forty miles. My friends Buckeye Blake and his wife Tona were driving down from Idaho and said everyone was stopped at the 93 turn-off east of Kingman and many turned around, but more than a few headed south on 93 and it was wall to wall trucks all the way to Wickenburg, which is a treacherous section without the extra traffic. They got into Cave Creek at two and I met them at El Encanto. We had a great lunch (they bought) and we laughed about everything from crooked art dealers to Italian biker tours to Davey Powell getting accepted into the Cowboy Artists of America to Brian Label's new Legacy Gallery up in Carefree.

Finally finished the Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce copy. It's going to be a great little epic. So much of this story has been mis-reported for so long (see JFK paragraph). Ha.

"When I was growing up, there were two things that were unpopular in my house.  One was me, and the other was my guitar."
—Bruce Springsteen

Sunday, November 21, 2004

November 21, 2004
Woke up to rain. Drizzled and misted all day. Big, rolling thunder at about six. Buddy scratching on the door. Kathy pokin' me to go take care of "my dog." I muttered, "It's your dog who's a little baby." She got up in a huff, but sure enough it was the little Hatkiller scratching at the door and whining. Kathy in her mother-wisdom mode, closed the blinds and went back to sleep.

I got up at seven and made bacon and eggs, read the paper, then slogged out to get firewood. Built two fires, one in the studio stove and the other in the house fireplace. Stoked them all day. Feels real good.

Went for a bike ride at about ten. Misting, felt like Rain-in-the-face. Met my neighbor Bob, a retired airline piolot, on the road who was coming back from his daughter's place with a section of picket fence in the back of his pickup. I asked him what he was going to do with it and he said he was just going to burn it. "Could you drop it off at my house for a few days?" I asked. "I'm doing a painting where four guys are walking past a picket fence and I want to see how the shadows fall on their legs, looking from the inside of the fence." He looked at me like I'm crazy and laughed (I think he seriously loves living down the street from a weirdo, artist type).

Got some good painting done. I think I've nailed the cover for my new book. Still full of doubt. Need to sleep on it. And speaking of whining, I wish I could have a posting where I write, "Woke up with supreme confidence, whipped out several paintings, all of them exactly as I pictured in my head. My skills are supreme and I am a God among the painterly." Or, something like that.

Unfortunately it's doubt and more doubt and muddy despair. And don't forget flailing. I do have to admit that sometimes I'll see something I did in the past and go, "Wow! I actually did that. Amazing." I'll remember thinking it was pure doo-doo at the time, but it ain't bad. How did I get that cloud effect? I don't know. But more often than not it's, "Man I wish I had that one back. I can't believe I let that one out of my sight."

Finished working about 4:30, cleaned up and started dinner. Deena's gone, moved into her new condo. House seems kind of empty, again.

"The best of all things is to learn. Money can be lost or stolen, health and strength may fail, but what you have committed to your mind is yours forever."
—Louis L'Amourh

Saturday, November 20, 2004

November 20, 2004
Worked on paintngs in the morning and helped Deena move into her condo down in Scottsdale this afternoon.

Tom Wolfe really nails the election in the latest Rolling Stone:

"I've never seen an election taken so personally by people—not even Nixon vs. Kennedy. But this country is so centrist, we're not really going to go wrong whoever's elected. Our government is like a train on a track: People yell at it from the left, and they yell at it from the right, but the train goes right down the middle where the tracks are."
—Tom Wolfe

Friday, November 19, 2004

November 19, 2004
Here's a smattering of possible curses from readers to this blog on the "d--d------" question: "dog dingus," comes in from J.Rae, a noted Jesse James aficionado (the story goes that Jesse, as the son of a minister, pinched his finger on a piece of equipment during the Civil War and rather than cuss said, "Dingus!" which stuck as a nickname.) Another possible angle is "Dandydick" which is submitted by D.J. Gobbledick (his alleged nom de plume). Gobble also submitted "dim dickhed" but with the caveat that it is "a term only used for present day Arizona cow-boys."

Someone claiming to be my mother submitted the phrase "dam donkey," but I’m not sure if donkeys ever built dams.

One of the employees of the Arizona Tourism Board who wishes to remain anonymous submitted the guess of "dip doodle," which just might be quaint enough, and obscure, although not very profane.

A certain employee of mine who is whip smart came up with the simple term "deadbeat" which has the "ds" in the right place and would certainly fit the situation since Philip Schneider was a mining engineer and Mike O’Rourke (Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce) was a tinhorn gambler, who was bumming around Charleston. Although it does beg the question, "Why would the paper censor the word 'deadbeat.'?" Another possibility off of this is "deadass," but it doesn’t quite ring true.

Oh, this is interesting. Yesterday I postulated facetiously that maybe it was "deadhead," and just now I looked up the term in my New Dictionary of American Slang (1986) and here's what it says: "deadhead:, from the French, middle 1800s, a nonpaying spectator at a game, show, etc.=FREELOADER." A variation is listed as "deadneck." Also listed: "Deadwood" which also dates from the 1800s and the definition is: "Unproductive persons; lazy and useless staff."

I think the first word being "dog" is pretty strong, and I would guess that the second half of the phrase severely emasculates Mr. Deuce. However, if the dashes were not meant to be taken literally, then that opens up the possibilities even more, such as:

"doodly squat" or "dry donkey" or "dog dick" or "doc dick" or "dog dater" or "dog doo-doo" or "dog doofus" or "dodo dimwit" or "damned dipshit," or "diddle dooker" or "dead deucer" or "defecating dunce" or "dew dancer" (Hey, it could happen!) or "diadromous douchebag" or "dog douchebag" or "dice dick" or "dik-dik" (a small African antelope) or "dyke dancer'"or "dim-witted dickhead" or "ding bastard" or "disdainful disapator" or, maybe not.

Personally, I think "deadneck" and "deadwood" and "deadhead" is pretty tempting to believe, although it sure doesn’t seem offensive enough to censor, does it?

"Every thought is a seed.  If you plant crab apples, don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious."
—Edge Keynote

Thursday, November 18, 2004

November 18, 2004
Our budget session was brutal but necessary. Took about three hours. We are growing faster than our plans and ambitions and it creates severe stress on the bookkeeping aspect of the biz. We whittled and whacked and I whined at some of the cuts, but we pruned it into shape. RG runs a tight ship and it is a blessing for us to have him, damn him.

Went to lunch yesterday with Dave Daiss down at the Desert View Deli & Breakfast joint. Had the scrambled eggs and sourdough toast ($15 cash, I bought). Dave had a Rueben sando (he said it is the first since he got sick last year). Talked about our Tombstone shoot. One of the local papers down there ran a small news item about us being in town filming. They made it sound bigger than it was. From there we laughed about the rough road we've been on and Dave told the anecdote about a botanist friend of his who worked at the Biosphere north of Tucson and how the branches on their trees kept falling off and Dave asked why, and the guy said, "No wind." The trees were protected inside the Biosphere, behind glass, so they never got blown about and it's the wind that makes the branches strong strong. No wind, the branches fall off and the tree moves back in with his parents. Kind of applies to raising kids too, doesn't it?

Finally got our "Ya'll Killed Two Cowboys" T-shirts in today. Really a strong design. What do you think?

One of the amusing and intriguing aspects of studying old newspaper accounts is the veiled, semi-censored cursing. Of course, it was very Victorian in the 1880s and they would censor even mild oaths with the first letter followed by dashes. It is still in vogue today with mainstream publications blanking out curse words like f----in' crazy. In the Old West they did the same and it's quite common to see a newspaper quote like this: "You s--- of b----- have been looking for a fight and now you can have it." That one is easy to decipher. But here’s one that’s driving me nuts. In the Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce story, Mr. Deuce (real name, Mike O'Rourke, I know, I know, how does a Mike turn into a John? When he solicits a soiled dove, perhaps?) was in Smith's restaurant in Charleston, Arizona (between Sierra Vista and Tombstone on the San Pedro) when he got crossways with a fellow diner. After an exchange over the weather turned ugly, O’Rourke muttered "Well, you’re a little too smart, anyhow." His antagonist, Philip Schneider, a mining engineer, suddenly leapt to his feet, and moving towards O'Rourke, waved his hand saying, "That will do now, I don't want any of that." O’Rourke claimed later to a newspaper reporter that Schneider called him a "d--d------," adding, "There were some ladies in the restaurant, and it made me awful mad to be called that." So, what is a d_ _ d_ _ _ _ _? All I can come up with is "dim dickhed" or "dead” something, maybe a “Dead Head”? Nah. I have a hunch it’s something very easy, but I can't see it. Can you?

"The strongest man in the world is the man who stands alone."
—Thomas Henry Huxley

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

November 17, 2004
My Las Vegas postings on the Western History Association banquet brew-ha-ha has solicited comments from concerned members on both sides of the aisle. Here's a thoughtful take from an academic who wishes to remain anonymous:

"Over the years, there have been attempts to purge the WHA of non-academics. The Westerners are not as welcome as once they were; the mining historians are crowded into a session and I am sure that you figured out that Earpophiles and Billyologists are thin on the ground. There are fewer western-cut suits in evidence than once there were, likewise honest hats (although yours was a notable corrective). I am sorry that this was your first WHA, and I hope that it's not your last—some of the other sessions had some cracking good papers, and usually the venues provide ample opportunity for sitting down, irrigating and telling sea stories (the real attraction of most conferences) with friends of long acquaintance and new alike. I meant in fact to seek you out and congratulate you on the look and content of True West—and I'm sure that I'm not the only one there who reads it. I also owe you a debt: I was a student (under Peter Iverson) at ASU back in the early 90s, when you were drawing for the New Times. I've used your 'Seven Deadly Sins of Political Correctness' series in class more than once, and they have stopped several classes cold. And no, ASU isn't that bad. Just homely and set in a poor excuse for a desert community, now complete with faux lake.

"Peter Iverson is a fine historian and his career is a great example of civility and productivity. His stuff is readable and his insistence on solid scholarship sets a high standard for those of us who studied under him. He believes in the need for the WHA to include academic and non-academic alike, yet some of his students are thin-skinned and a little reverse-ethnocentric and, maybe, snobs. Moreover, I suspect that like many grad students some have little experience outside of the library and seminar room; time and life may teach them patience, tolerance (even of fools) and maybe a touch of good manners. Maybe some maturation will descend before next year's do in Phoenix; I hope so, and hope to see you there."

Had to fast this morning and go for my third MRI down at Scottsdale Imaging. Not fun being inside that damn tube with the loud clicking and BR-K-K-K-K-K-ing sound effects with an IV stuck in the arm and "cool jazz" on the headphones. Got there at 6:20, got out at 8:15, drank some coffee and drove up to the office.

Got a big budget meeting this afternoon. We're staring at a projected $170K deficit for 2005, based on all the things we want to do. Obviously, some things need to be cut.

"I am certain that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice."
—Fredrich August von Hayek

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

November 16, 2004
Been reading some impactful stuff lately, mostly out of magazines, because, hey, I'm a magazine kind of guy (I probably have 26 or 27 subscriptions). The New Yorker did a big profile on the French newspaper Le Monde. Here is a quote that really hit me where I live:

"Scoops and masterpieces are few and far between, and what keeps a reader addicted to this paper is a continuity of tone. Reading Le Monde became a daily, secular ritual of French rectitude."
The New Yorker, November 15, 2004

And speaking of "continuity of tone," I believe the new incarnation of Esquire magazine is now the best Men's magazine bar none. The writing is quite edgy and brilliant in a smart-ass kind of way. Two examples:

"Real people's lives don't conform to narrative expectation. They tend to be random and discursive: And then this happened and then that happened and this happened and then that happened. . . Not a problem if you're telling the Joe Blow story, since only historians and the Blow family will object to the necessary omissions and distortions."
—Mike D'Angelo, Esquire

"In humans, say the experts, males suffer increased mortality because—instead of whining about historical injustice—they compete: for resources, for jobs, and for silly, shiny trophies."
—Answer Fella, Esquire

Tried to finish up the Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce story today but it just wouldn't fall. Lots of great new stuff, need to shoe horn it all in five pages. Going to be tight, but good.

At lunch I drove out to Peoria to Earl's Eating and Drinking Establishment and met Dan Harshberger for lunch (huevos rancheros and decaf coffee, Betty bought) and had a talk about redesigning their menu. We did their last one about 15 years ago and it was fun talking to Brad, Betty and Carol Radina about their ideas and what they want for the new one. We looked at old menus (steak dinner with all the fixins, $4.99). Ah, but we were so much thinner then, we’re older than that now.

"Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact."
—William S. Burroughs

Monday, November 15, 2004

November 15, 2004
Big, dramatic sunrise. More clouds and rain today, although mostly sprinkles. Went for a bike ride as the sun broke over Ratcliff Ridge. The air, cold and wet. Really beautiful out. Of course I thanked Robert Urich for the extra day.

Got into the office at eight and received a packet from Neil Carmony containing an in depth report by Steve Gatto on the killing of Phillip Schneider at Charleston, Arizona Territory on January 14, 1881. Very different from the "accepted version," or the version in most of the books. More on this later.

Shot photos of my Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce painting and ran it up to Foothills Photo. Went by the bank and made a deposit, cashed a royalty check ($111.20).

Western singing star Dennis Jay came by the True West offices around noon and sang songs for the staff. Gus Walker set it up. Really great music, with the rain outside and songs like "Letters from Mexico" and "Christmas in the Badlands" it doesn’t get much better than that. You can check him out at:


After lunch Brian Label and Bill Welch came by the office with more Buffalo Bill images for an upcoming show in Ruidoso. Brian showed me several fake Bill Codys being sold on Ebay. The conmen are quite cunning. They take famous photos cheaply reproduced as laser prints then mount them onto old photo cards (pulling off some worthless landscape or family image and replacing it with the laser Cody), then price them to hook the greedy. Here's how: A real photo of Cody would run, say, $2,400, so if the price for a Cody on Ebay was $100 most people would know it was a fake. but they hit the price range of $750 and the buyers think, "Oh, this guy doesn’t know what he has, I’ll scarf it up." But, alas, the prints are worth maybe $1.75 so the scarfer becomes the scarfee. According to Brian the fraud is rampant and extends to saddles, spurs, bits, gunbelts and all kinds of artwork. Just too much money to be made. We talked about doing another piece on this so our readers can learn how to spot the damn things. Would be a great public service. We almost need to run a department to keep up with the fraud.

Got a massage from Christie at four ($50 biz account). Felt good. My left shoulder has been real sore all week.

For those of you who don't know, actor Robert Urich (Lonesome Dove, Vegas) was born on the same day as I was, and he's been gone for a year or two, so I often thank him, for the extra time I got and he didn't.

"A pessimist counting his blessings: 10... 9... 8... 7..."
—Old Contrarian Saying

Sunday, November 14, 2004

November 14, 2004
It was an amber alert. Everyone knew an attack was coming, they just didn't know when. Sleeper cells had activated on Saturday morning and made various probes at the defenses, trying to spot the weakest points.

The strike, code-named "Packrat Freedom" came off at three hundred hours today. A borrowed pair of kitchen tongs and four grocery bags (Bashas' and Albertson's) made up the special ops munitions, and the first Dadtallion, the point of the spear, so to speak, went in first, pouncing on the hood area of the '49 Ford like a weasel on a Weasels for Mayhem vacation. The team leader, began removing acres of dead cholla from around the wheel wells. Dog soldiers, led by Peaches and Buddy (way back, in reserve, if you call under a palo verde tree, reserve) took up positions beneath the car waiting for the trapped insurgents to appear.

Much swearing (those RPG cholla really hurt when they stick ya) yet 35 minutes and four bags full of cholla later, not one insurgent had appeared. So we called in the artillery. A garden hose from the back yard did the trick, softening up the defenses with well-aimed firepower, until the first, fat little rat leader scurried across the engine wall and Peaches grabbed him in a dog-like grip and took him out to Guantanimo (the driveway) to play with.

Earlier, a bird had flown into the studio and like the two dozen birds before him, he flew from hat to hat, leaving a little bird calling card on each and every lid. I finally went up to the loft and tried to shoo him downstairs and out the door, but he took a left turn and went into the bathroom. I was actually relieved because I figured in that small, contained space I could keep him away from the dogs, capture him and take him outside and grant him his freedom. I closed the door, had him cornered in the shower, but he scurried free, hit the window and before I could get to him and thus save his little life, he went to the bottom of the door and scurried under the crack, straight into Peaches' mouth.

But it wasn't all death and destruction out here on the Sonoran Desert. Kathy and I got up early and headed downtown to the Matador for huevos rancheros (free, they never charge us, but we left a $4 tip for the waitress and a $5 tip for the mariachis, plus $1 for parking) and a visit to the Phoenix Art Museum to catch the annual Cowboy Artist's show ($18 cash). Always inspiring, although much of that stuff is getting quite tired. My faves were painted by the usual suspects, Roy Anderson (an old neighbor), John Moyers (a very colorful wood carrying donkey) and a couple others.

Got home around one. Worked on Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce. May try another one, although I can't keep repainting this. Many other scenes to do.

"In the discipline of the human, the toil of doing the work precedes the delight of understanding the truth."
—Aurelius Augustinuss

Saturday, November 13, 2004

November 13, 2004
Worked all day on Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce. Did 11 sketches, then shifted to gouache. Fun, but I think I overworked it. I'll post one tomorrow.

Girls went shopping at the new Ikea store down in Chandler. Huge hype and lines, traffic jams. I wouldn't even dream of going near the place, but Kathy and Deena are drawn there like moths to a flame sale.

Speaking of flames, had my second fire of the season in the studio stove this morning. Felt good.

Pack rats got in the engine of the '49 Ford. Need to clean out the cholla tomorrow. Have Eric from 24 Hour Car Care coming out Monday to assess the damage.

Went up town at three to check mail, drop off Cody photographs to Bill Welch, make a bank deposit, check the mail. Buddy Boze Hatkiller rode along. Not sure if that was a good idea, but he pretty much behaved. He did pass some gas on the way home that made me wish he had stayed home. It's funny, males, and even male dogs give you that, "Hey, it wasn't me!" look. Must be a chromosone deal.

I knew Emma Bull would come through on the Bisbee movie being filmed down there. Here's her commentary:

"It's called Desolation, you silly git.Yesterday they were shooting on Subway Street, behind the old Woolworth building. The fading paint on the business signs and the old stained brick wall wasn't good enough for 'em—they dressed the set with old wooden pallets, ratty cardboard boxes, miscellaneous discarded junk, more dented galvanized metal trash cans than can be found in all of Bisbee--and three imported tumbleweeds. I have no idea where they
brought those in from.

“It was a hoot, and reminded me of the magic of movies. The process itself is like watching paint dry, everyone involved is worked like a slave and subject to verbal abuse from whoever's above them in the pecking order, projects that start off promising are usually compromised into the ground before they're finished... And yet, there was a back street in a near-abandoned mining town in Nevada, on the back side of a building that houses one of the best and fanciest restaurants in Arizona and not ten yards from one of the most beautiful houses in Bisbee.

"Moviemaking is like Fairyland--it'll kill you if you try to live there, but visiting is like nothing else on earth."

And here’s some astute commentary from one who knows on the recent flap over the banquet speaker, etc. at the recent WHA conference in Vegas: "The Mountain Man toast and the Green River knife ceremony are . . . toast. The banquet speaker is a thing of the past. The buffs have been shown the door. High Seriousness reigns. We will in the future not meet in any Western state not colored ‘blue’ on the electoral map, since while Nevada may be unionized, it's a bit too titty for some, leaving only California to host future meetings. C'est fini, I said, using the language of America's favorite ally."

"The truth will set you free.
But before it does, it will make you angry."

—Jerry Joiner

Friday, November 12, 2004

November 12, 2004
Looks like we'll get more rain tonight. Quite wet out, the air that is (5:27 P.M.). Worked all morning on Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce copy. Shamie, from Ireland, and the foremost card expert I know (his cards have been featured in numerous Westerns, including Deadwood) came in to visit Mike Melrose and I took the opportunity to ask him how Mr. Deuce got his name. Later, he phoned me with this answer: "Because of his habit of betting heavily when he held no more than a deuce as a hole-card, he earned his everlasting pseudonym Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce." Makes sense, eh?

Got a call from Grant of Optimo Hats down in Bisbee and he told me all about a Steven King novel, or story they are filming down there. Evidently, they"re using sepia toned 16 mm film and making it stutter to give the flashback sequences an oldtime effect. I swore I"d remember the name of the movie but I've already forgotten it. I'm not worried, Emma will tell me.

Minnesota Mike and I went up to Carefree at lunch time to see Brian Label's and Bill Welch's new store Cowboy Legacy Gallery. Wow! It really has some cool stuff. Saddles, big artwork by the likes of John Moyers (Cowboy Artist), Donna Sickle Howells and oldtime Western posters (at $4,500 a pop!), spurs, guns, sculpture, and some pretty cool old photos including a series of Buffalo Bill crossing with a Mormon wagon train at Lee's Ferry. Begged Bill to allow us to scan them for a future True West article and he brought them down and Robert scanned them. One of them has a great 1950s style cowpunchers style hat, and this is in 1890 (I want it for my "Confessions of a hat Nazi" piece next summer).

Did a portrait of Buckskin Frank Leslie in full scout regalia for my new book, then whipped out a pretty neat little image of a rifle toting Frank McLaury. Not bad. Copped it from a Jeremy Rowe photograph, or I should say, one from his stunning collection.

Had lunch at the Bad Donkey (A cob snob salad and an iced tea, $10.80 cash, I thought Melrose would buy but he's so damned cheap).

Kathy seemed quite nice this morning, and I guess I should count my blessings. And one of my blessings is I'm thankful she doesn't read this blog.

"If a man says something in the woods and there are no women there, is he still wrong?"
—Old Guy Saying

Thursday, November 11, 2004

November 11, 2004
Slept in until 7:15, got up and had coffee. Got into it with Kathy about whether the Tombstone tv project is off purpose. I tried to assure her it all will dovetail together, with the tv show complementing the magazine but her analogy was, "That's like me going to the gym and hoping it will help my business." And my answer to that was, "That's a dumb comparison. I'm not doing the pilot for exercise." And, of course it went south from there. Escaped the house at 8:10 and got into work where I have a tad more respect.

Worked all morning on finishing Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce copy, Gus put it in magazine template. Need some good art for Mr. Deuce. There is no known photo, but here's his description from a reporter for the Tucson Citizen, c. 1881: "rather under the average size, has a fair face, slight black mustache and well-marked eyebrows, blue eyes and black hair and seemed quiet and self-possessed." I think I know this guy. Now to capture him.

Went home for lunch and had leftover salmon and pasta and an apple. Took the dogs for a walk to the creek and at the edge of the creek bank they started barking and pointing. I thought it might be javalina or, worse, a real estate agent, but no, it was a surveyor with one of those modern, tall transit poles with a GPS satellite mini-dish on top. He claimed to be doing a river bottom survey for flood control. Half believed him and went back up to the house.

Got back in the office around 1:30 and whipped out two scratchboards of Tom Waters, the plaid shirt corpse. Took good reference photos in Tombstone (so there, Kathy!) and got some good barroom effects, lighting, etc. Finished around 4:20.

Talked on the phone yesterday to Dale Evan's former agent, Dick Baxter. He ordered several copies of the new issue with Dale's shapely image on the cover. Dick said he got tears in his eyes when he saw it. He told me Dale's last words to him were, “Now don’t you forget me now. You’re like my little brother." He choked up just telling me. Roy and Dale were quite a couple, weren't they?

RG just came in (4:55) and handed me a two-page memo on the pros and cons of doing a tv show and a True Wesrt Production Company. He said he did it for Kathy. That was nice. I guess I'll cancel the divorce proceedings.

"The perfect age is somewhere between old enough to know better and too young to care."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

November 10, 2002
The Tombstone tape is mighty fine. In fact, the money shot, Ike Clanton letting fly with both barrels at Virgil Earp, shot on the exact spot where it happened is just too cool for school. I've Emailed our web guru, Jason, to see if he can load the sequence onto the site here so you can see it. He's out of town and it may take several days, but you need to see this. I've watched it multiple times and each and every time I let out a whoop. It is so believable.

Of course, it's not all perfect. Some of the other stuff is so-so (the two-story adobe Huachuca Water Co. building under construction is obviously cinderblock and although we went out of our way to disguise it, it's still glaring and fooled no one on the staff who viewed the tape this morning), but all in all, it is a winner. The sawing of Virgil Earp's arm is outrageous and several were fooled by the doggy bone. Amazing. Mike P. stayed up last night tweaking the editing until midnite and I can't wait to see it fine tuned.

Worked on two black and blue plaid shirt killing scratchboards and wrote up a proposal for the show. Had an executive session with RG, Bob Brink and Carole at 1:30. We are working on several big projects and we talked quite a bit about the pros and cons. More later.

Well, I spoke too soon on the success of last weekend’s Wild West Days. A horseman was killed on Saturday afternoon at the event. In fact, as I drove up town on Saturday to get film I passed the accident site unaware of what had just happened. I heard the sirens, and a firetruck passed us going on the shoulder but I never made the connection. I assumed it was some horse accident but didn't dream it was of the deadly kind.

Evidently a horse participating in a poker run got spooked by a hayride wagon and backed into cholla cactus, then, no doubt in extreme pain, galloped across Cave Creek Road, in traffic, and dumped the rider, who landed on his head in the Horny Toad's parking lot, which is about fifty yards east of our offices. A bystander who witnessed the wreck, ran over to help and noticed the rider was "unconscious, with blood coming out of his ears." He was 63 and, according to the Republic, an accomplished rider.

Of course, now critics are slamming the event as being poorly run and too dangerous. I feel so bad for the family and the community. Everyone worked so hard to make it a success. All that work and now this.

"Death is never at a loss for an occasion."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

November 9, 2002
Worked hard today on five scratchboards. One on John Wayne. One on Monet. One on a back shooter. One on Kevin Costner as Wyatt Earp and one on a posse in full gallop. I really like the Monet. He looks like he belongs in Tombstone and in fact, he may end up there in my new book.

Carole and I went to lunch at Pai Wei. Had the hot and spicy soup and an iced tea. Carole had the vegi combo (I bought, $14 cash). Good talk about our kids, both at home and at the office.

Worked until 5:30, heading over to Mike Pellegatti's to look at the Tombstone footage. Got a call from Sir John in Tombstone this morning. Someone told him the footage we shot last Wednesday would be on tv tonight. "We're fast, but we don’t work quite that fast," I told him.

"If you get mad at critics, you almost always can be sure they are right."
—Stephen King

Monday, November 08, 2004

November 8, 2002
Woke up to more rain. Our January issue goes out the door today. Lots of last minute changes and angst over missed deadlines. Going to Tombstone last Wednesday didn't help.

Whipped out a John Wayne scratchboard, but he looks too goofy (bloated, puffy eyes, half-crocked, wait! Maybe it's dead on!).

Set up all of the re-enactors from the Vigilantes of Tombstone with free subscriptions. It's the least we can do. There were about twenty of them. They did great work. We're also running a photo of them in front of the Oriental in the January issue.

By now I'm sure you've heard of the Clay Aiken diet put forth by Larry the Cable Guy? "That's where you pop in a Clay Aiken CD and try to keep food down."

Went home for lunch and had a pastrami sando and an apple. Heated up some tea, sat out in the studio and studied three paintings, each about half done. In spite of all this I kept the food down.

Worked until six, headed home.

"The primary function of the government is—and here I am quoting directly from the U.S. Constitution—'to spew out paper.'"
—Dave Barry

Sunday, November 07, 2004

November 7, 2004
Woke up to light rain. Always a nice way to start a Sunday. Drank coffee and read the paper. Much about the Democrats and their malaise, or their disbelief. Great quote from Sam Rayburn, used in association with the election results of 2000 and now 2004: "There's no education in the second kick of a mule."

Got a new poll up: Have you ever taken a scenic train trip in the American West? Yes/No. Vote here.

On Friday I had lunch with Michael Wallis, the so-called King of Route 66. His book on the Mother Road has sold close to a million copies. He's since written a book on Pretty Boy Floyd and now he's turning his attention to Billy the Kid. He came with his son John and we ate at El Encanto and talked about all things Billy. Michael lives in Tulsa, flew in and his son is driving him on a big tour of Arizona Billy sites, including Globe, Clifton, Bonita, etc. Almost the same exact route we'll be taking on our Maniac tour next April.

I took the opportunity to ask him about the unstoppable, mythic attraction of all things Route 66. It's kind of hard for me to understand since I grew up on the damn thing and don't quite get how and why it has transcended almost everything in the culture. When I was in Tombstone last week they had Route 66 shirts for sale on Allen Street. When we were in Heathrow Airport in London last December they had a Route 66 diner in the terminal.

Michael summed it up like this: "It's the allure of the open road." Wow! so simple and yet so true. See, I remember the poodle skirts and the '57 Chevys and the Sno-Cap Drive-in, but I also remember the tragic wrecks (one section of 66 east of Kingman was known as "Death Alley") and the petty, conniving, cheap tourists and the Okies with no money and the blacks pulling in on the outside drive and asking me where they could stay and I said, "Anywhere you want to," and the black man said, "Is your father here?" and I went and got him and he told the guy that his family could stay at a little motel next to the Coronado Courts. And this was in 1964!

Anyway, Michael also told me that if you think the Route 66 phenom is big now wait until next year when Pixar releases Cars, a movie about Route 66 and a ficticious bypassed town called Radiator Springs. A NASCAR car (voiced by Owen Wilson) gets pulled over by a '49 Merc cop car (voiced by Michael Wallis—he has great pipes) and Wilson's car is taken to the local judge car (voiced by Paul Newman), and on and on. If their other movies, Toy Story, Monstors, Inc., Finding Nemo, including the Incredibles, which opened Friday, is any indication, Cars is probably going to be huge. Michael told me Pixar contacted him about being a consultant when the project was first dreamed up and they rented a fleet of Cadillacs and travelled 66 with him showing them all the legendary mileposts, etc.

I guess Charlie Waters and I need to get hopping on our Route 66 epic, The Exits. Or, maybe we should just chill, and wait.

"All things come to him who waits, especially things not worth waiting for."
—Old Vaquero Sayingg

Saturday, November 06, 2004

November 6, 2004
It's Wild West Weekend in Cave Creek and we've got the crowds. Horses everywhere. The Merchant's Association has a winner.

I was in the Territorial Bookstore in Tombstone on Wednesday talking to Doc Ingalls (he's the guy who coined the phrase Wild West Ghetto) and a couple came in and pointed at my book knowingly. When I casually asked them why they said they were True West subscribers from Virginia City, Nevada. I shook hands with Mike and Joy McDonough and we had a good laugh. Mike said he is thinking about joining the Maniac Club and I told him he'd better get a move on because we are at 940 and counting. I started to leave and his wife asked me if I’d sign a hardbound Classic Gunfights and as he pulled one down from the shelf I said as diplomatically as I could, "I need to tell you that you get a free Classic Gunfights if you join the True West Maniac Club," and Doc gives me a dirty look as the guy considers putting it back. "Great Bob," Doc snarls, "we're trying to make a living here, you know." I told the guy to buy the book and he did.

The Moral: When in Tombstone do as the Ghetto Boys do.

Got up this morning and went for a bike ride in my slippers (hmmmmm, ex-DJ, red shorts. . ), came back, took the dogs to the creek. A guy came in last week with a map of the upper Verde, drawn by the military and commissioned by a Lt. C.C. Cooke, I think his name was, and the guy told me he has a carved inscription by Cooke up on his property near Seven Springs and it's dated 1868, or so. He told me Cooke also signed his name in the CC Cave, supposedly in the ceiling. So when I walked over there this morning I took a good look, but couldn't find it. The earliest inscription I have found, besides the sinagua pictographs, is 1903, or so.

Bailed into drawings and did six Old West sketches, then bailed into a gunfight image of Luke Short out front of the Oriental. Then took a stab at two big night scenes of Tombstone's deadliest intersection. Got about half done. Did a big gouache of Tom Waters looking belligerent in his black and blue plaid shirt. Very good undertone. Excellent smokey barroom effects. Can't wait to ruin it tomorrow.

At 2:30 went up to Foothills Photo and got the prints from our nighttime shoot in Tombstone. Really struck out. Most everything is badly underexposed ($27 something, biz account). Win some, lose some. Mike P. said he'd pop off some stills of the video and I'm counting on that for some good effects.

Yes, Emma, we shot the horses reined up at the hitching post but it looks a tad phony. The intro is good, but the shooter had the Cowboys cheat and pull their horses off the rail and it looks, well, it looks phony. We may try it again, but the problem is the Cowboys don't want their horses running with loose reins because they're concerned their cayuses will step on them and get hurt, or break the reins, so they weren't real thrilled to actually let the horses "do their thing." This is funny, because one of the cowboys, (his initials are D.D.) was kicked out of Tombstone a few weeks ago because two of his horses pulled out a light pole. Now I wish I had video of that!

"The truth may not be helpful but the concealment of it cannot be."
—Melvin Konner˜

Friday, November 05, 2004

November 5, 2004
Some highs and lows on our second trip down to the Land of the Wild West Ghetto. Paul Hutton flew over from Albuquerque on Tuesday and Minnesota Mike and I rode down to Tombstone with him on Wednesday morning. Lots of laughs both coming and going. Quite rude and crude, of course, and a running joke from Hutton went along the lines of, "That’s real tasteful, would you like to be the banquet speaker next year at WHA?" I’d tell you some of the specifics, but Paul still has one year left on his contract and I don’t want to give his enemies any more ammunition than they already think they have. I will say that on one occasion Paul launched off into a rant at his adversaries in which he gripped the steering wheel until his knuckles were white, and we watched with some alarm as his venting grew into a rage as flying phlegm skittered across the interior, until he swerved across the median straight into oncoming traffic (not easy to do on a divided highway). Both Mike and I managed to guide him back into our lane until he calmed down. I imagine the scissor-hold Mike put on Hutton's neck helped to slow the blood to his brain enough so that we could get control of the car. Other than that, Paul was very calm for the entire trip.

Mike Pellegatti got to Tombstone first and began to take over the intersection of Fifth and Allen. He put lights up on top of the Oriental, he took down Stop signs (don't tell the sheriff) and he put dimmer switches on the pan lighting in front of the Crystal Palace Saloon. Our key grip (Melrose) helped him put trash bags over the numerous street lamps ("too much low sodium light").

At about nine in the evening we pulled out the double-barrelled shotguns and went to work, firing off four or five rounds, simulating the shooting of Virgil Earp on December 28, 1881. After each one we expected to hear sirens, but the law never showed.

We quickly "struck the set" and headed for the Buford House B&B where our hosts Richard and Ruth put plastic on a Victorian bed and we poured blood and customized chicken parts and dog bones on Kent Cooksley to simulate Virgil Earp's elbow wound. Jerry from Curly Bill's B&B did a masterful portrayal of Doc Goodfellow and we even sawed the elbow bone in half (actually the dog bone) and everyone went, "Eeeeuuuuuuuuu," and we wrapped at about midnite.

Started drinking beer and fell into bed around one. Got up at 6:30 and immediately began watching Tombstone over breakfast (don't try this at home kids). Took off at 8:30 and got gas in Benson and headed up the Ten to Cave Creek. Got here at 12:30. Paul and I met Bob Brink and RG at Tonto for lunch. Had a good discussion on the footage we shot and how we can utilize it (the Outdoor channel only wants to shoot in high def).

"Sure I felt stupid, but I was also mighty relieved when my doctor told me the burning sensation I was experiencing while urinating was due to standing too close to the campfire."
—Jack Handy

Thursday, November 04, 2004

November 4, 2004
Went down to Tombstone yesterday and we filmed until midnite last night. Big scenes in dark, utilizing chicken parts, a dog bone and a doctor's saw. Stayed at Curly Bill’s B&B. Paul Hutton and Minnesota Mike (as a key grip) joined us. Got home this afternoon. Had a bunch to do to catch up. Totally fried. I’ll write more tomorrow.

"You call this a script? Give me a couple of $5,000 dollar-a-week writers and I'll write it myself."
—Joe Pasternak, movie producer

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

November 2, 2004
An old man came up to us in line and said, “I remember when people didn’t
vote!” We were about halfway across the parking lot from our Cave Creek
polling booths, and we laughed. The long lines to vote were incredible all day.
Kathy called me at 6:15 a.m. on her cell and said the wait was already over an
hour. I thought to myself, “I’ll just wait for those fitness Nazis to shoot
their chads, and I’ll waltz in at later and breeze through.

Big mistake.

At about noon, I drove up to Carefree to pick up some film at Foothills
Photo and Tom Darlington was under construction so I detoured through the usually deserted downtown. It was packed, with cars. I looked around for festival signs, saw none and then saw the crowd in front of city hall. The town was full of voters! Wow! It looked like an Elton John ticket window line.

After a lunch at China Joy (spicy hot beef, hot tea, $6.25 plus 2$ tip, cash), I coasted down the hill to Cave Creek and cruised by city hall. Every empty open space on either side of the road was jammed with cars. Two sheriff’s deputies directed traffic. It also looked like a concert site (but with more of a Hall & Oates feel). I quickly checked out the line and saw it went out across the parking lot to about fifty yards, so I cruised by, went into Paul’s Barbershop and asked Bev if I could get a haircut. I was going to let the line go down a bit, then walk over and vote. Bev caught me up on all the Cave Creek gossip (a former radio host rides a girls bike by her house every morning in fluffy slippers and red shorts, and a former mayor is being a doo doo head).

At two I walked over to city hall, only now the line was twice as long as it was when I drove by a mere half hour ago. I waded in and the wait began.

It’s funny how much of life you can catch in a slow moving line. A self-described unemployed woman behind me said to the guy behind her, “Did you know Theresa Heinz Kerry gets all of her catsup from overseas and not one American farmer gets a penny?” I wanted to turn to her and say, “Let me guess, you listen to AM talk radio.” But I didn’t.

After an hour and a half and maybe a 50 yard gain, a woman in front of me pulled out her cell, dialed a number and said, “You were right. I should have voted absentee.”

The smokers got out of line and blew their smoke towards the Territorial Bar & Grill across the street, where they had erected a homemade plywood sign that said, “Electoral Special: hot dog and soda $3.” It was a clever, capitalist pig idea but I never saw any takers. And I had a lot of time to monitor their business activity.

By hour two we got up to the handicap parking space (still about 75 yards
from the door), and a voting volunteer came up to the car with a ballot, handed it to an old woman in the front seat and turned away so she could vote in private. Several cowboys behind me taunted the volunteer: “Hey, I’m handicapped too, give me a ballot.”

The woman smiled and said, “We’re not talking about your golf game.” It was clever but I imagine it was a line she had perfected all day.

As the line inched along, we learned more about each other: “So then during my second marriage, I moved from Tucson and had a couple kids.”

Finally, three and a half hours later, I voted. I had lost a half day’s work, but one scene stayed with me as I drove home in the dark. A barmaid from the Satisfied Frog got out of line when she saw someone she knew coming across the parking lot. The guy, who had on a suit and tie was heading for the end of the line, which by that time, was stretching around three sides of the long parking lot. “Hey, why are you here?” she yelled at him. “We’re just going to cancel out each other’s vote.” They walked up close and said something we couldn’t hear. And they hugged. I couldn’t imagine that scene taking place in Baghdad.

”Vote for the man who promises least—he’ll be the least disappointing.”
—Bernard Baruch

Monday, November 01, 2004

November 1, 2004
Went over to Brad and Carol Radina's last night for halloween trick or treating. Grandma Betty was a crack-up. She came as a "Gay Blade." Pink ruffled shirt, fedora, spangly shoes. She was so fine. Carol and 'Cedes had the vampire deal down cold and I do mean cold. Brad was a big, bad wolf. Kathy and I came as ski instructors (which was a really lame outfit, except it kept us warm). Brad and Carole set up a table in the carport so the kids don't have to knock on the door, they can just come up and get the goodies. Kind of cool. Saw a whole bunch of witches, dirt bike riders, Spidy men, but not one Martha Stewart. Kind of disappointing.

Speaking of disappointing, today I got one of those subscription cancellation Dear John letters that I hate to get. But this one was kind of funny. A Texan named Roy Clowers scribbled across his subscription form, "My sub has run out, that’s good! These mags are hard to burn." I had to laugh. He's upset about the new format ("old Hosstail would turn over in his grave."). I'm not upset with him, I consider him part of the family, so I wrote him a nice letter.

"When in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns."
—Raymond Chandler