Sunday, January 23, 2005

January 23, 2005
The cover for the travel issue is in the can. Dan Harshberger did a stellar job of applicating my “77 Sunset Trips” painting. Here’s a sneak peek at the painting.

Tomcat's B-day today. He's in Telluride snowboarding.

Tired. Sweaty and grimy. Haven't felt this good, or sore (good sore?) in a long time. Kathy and I loaded at least sixteen tons (and what'd'ya get? Another day older. . .), no make that six tons. Blisters on my fingers, forearms and legs very sore. When I do manual labor, I get ideas. Yesterday's entire legal fantasy-morass was born out of being on one of my uptight neighbor's property line (okay, I was within twenty feet of their house) and having major Lutheran guilt. For some reason when I get within spitting distance of guilt I always picture myself in court defending myself. And thanks to some mysterious, legal eagle machinations, I'm always losing. Things I've said in my past come back to haunt me (the living curse of a incessant ham).

Here's one of the ideas that came to me as I trudged up the ridge with fifty pounds of stolen rock in my knapsack:

Mrs. Bad Gun
She is a feminist squaw. Hates men, hates guns (thus, the moniker). She is the epitome of the race-class and gender protagonist—on steroids. A comic book parody, jujitsu ma-ma, kicking major ass on the frontier.

Typical line: “You Colonialist Pig!” K-Pow! Ching! Ching! Arrrgh!

Another typical line: "I will fight no more, forever—my ass!" K-Pow! Ching! Arrrgh!

On another trip, I thought of this: We childproofed our home, but they are still getting in.

As I passed a stand of creosote bushes, the pungent and poisonous perfume of the desert branches sent me back to being twelve in Kingman. I'm on my way to Hood's to get a fireball (hot bubblegum) and a Squirt. I can hear the airpad cooler banging away in the window, pumping cool air into the darkened market on the south side of Route 66 on Hilltop.

About a month ago I got a call from Mrs. Wyatt Earp (I'm not joking) and she asked me to be in a play she has written about Jack Durant, a famous (and some would say infamous) restauranteur in 1950s Phoenix. Terry Earp's concept is pretty cool. On the darkened stage there is a mysterious drunk at the bar with his head down. He's wearing really scruffy cowboy boots, a trenchcoat and a cowboy hat and for the entire play he is passed out with his head on the bar so the audience can't see who it is. Last night was my night to pass out (Marshall Trimble was one of the previous guest drunks). Kathy thought it would be hoot to eat at the real Durant's prior to the play, so she made a reservation for six and invited Deena and Ursula to join us. The Old World Restaurant is in downtown Phoenix and you still enter through the kitchen, right past the cooks and bus boys. Inside it's all red Victorian walloper, red tuck and roll booths, paintings of Jack's bulldogs on the walls. And the food is still fantastic. Had a glass of cabernet ($8.50) plus an 8 oz. prime rib ($17.50). Really fun. Marilyn Monroe, Joe Dimagio, Dizzy Dean and many famous faces used to frequent this watering hole. Wonderful Russ and I used to go to Durant’s quite a bit in the eighties and nineties. The most famous person I saw there was Lew King (a local fake-cowboy saturday afternoon matinee tv guy, whose claim to fame is he discovered Wayne Newton, who never spoke to him again). He was drunk and yelling. I was impressed.

Play went well. Gave everyone in the audience a free True West. Got home about ten. Fun and productive day.

"There are many who lust for the simple answers of doctrine or decree. They are on the left and right. They are not confined to a single part of the society. They are terrorists of the mind."
—Angelo Giamatti (1938-89), President, Yale

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