Thursday, January 27, 2005

January 26, 2005
Woke up to sprinkles. Rained all day. Still raining (4:45 PM). Didn't go to the creek to get rocks. Too wet out.

Tough business meetings almost all day. Drove down into the beast to visit my dentist at noon. Stopped at Aaron Bros. and got more gouache paints, watercolor sketch pads, brushes and mixing tray ($126 biz account). At the dentist’s office I heard two words I really don’t like the sound of: "Periodontal deterioration." Phoenix has a water contamination problem (some mud seeped into the water works) and the city has been urging everyone to boil water. My dental hygienist, Danielle, moved me to a bottled water fed tube sprayer. You know, the kind where they suck the water out of your mouth with. I have to go back for X-Rays and more poking next week. Got the usual "floss more" speech. Hate it.

Got back to the office at 1:45, went into Executive Session. More tough decisions, but good input all around. It’s very comforting to have good, solid, honest businessmen on my team. And did I mention stubborn? Bob Brink is bound and determined to make this magazine profitable even if he has to bind and gag me. We disagree on the minimum amount of editorial mix in each issue. I want the reader to have enough content, Bob wants us to make enough money. Both are correct, and it's a dance we do when things get tight.

Big controversy brewing on our proposed June issue. Jana B. has written an excellent overview on religion in the West. It never gets covered in magazines like ours and I thought it was time to do a cover story on "Jesus Out West." I did a sensitive scratchboard of Jesus with a cowboy hat on with a hatband of thorns with a desert sweeping out away from him, a saguaro in the background. I took the sketch over to Abby and she blanched. She showed it to several of the women in the office and they are all worried it will offend cranky, uptight people, namely, their parents and by extension, our readers.

A big debate followed. My main question is, if someone is going to be offended by the cover and not even look at the article inside, do I even want them as readers? Robert Ray's belief is that 52% of the voters who went to the polls (red staters) are going to be offended. I think that is way too simplistic and that the American public is more mature than that. Meanwhile Abby took the sketch home to show her parents.

I’m curious to hear how that one comes out. We’ll see.

"Be careful, half knowledge is sometimes much worse than complete ignorance."
—A Japanese cartoonist

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