Thursday, March 31, 2005

March 31, 2005
I was supposed to do an intestinal permeability test this morning, after an 8-hour-fast, but I read the instructions and it is just too complicated to do on an empty stomach. Need to urinate in a tube, then drink some potent concoction, pee some more, wait two hours, put it in a freezer bag, call airborne freight, etc. Just didn’t have the patience or the stomach for it this morning.

"Remember, if you’re not going somewhere, you’re just goin'."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Funny, how everything is so relative. I was talking to a guy yesterday who owns a TV network and he told me that in the beginning he was losing $300,000 a month. This pales my own oft-told-story of fiscal hell (if you don't believe me, go click on the business timeline, above) of losing $30,000 a month when we first bought True West. As shocking as our losses were, and still are, it's comforting to know there are people losing even more, in this case ten times more. Incredible.

Last night, right at sunset, I pencilled in twin saguaros for the Papago Station painting (in fact, pencilled it in right on the painting). The giant flowers (saguaros are technically flowers, go figure) are just off my property line to the south of us and they are quite stately and unique. One arm juts out at an odd angle, repeating the same angle as Wyatt Earp's arm as he flags down the freight train at midnite. I know, I know, I’m spending way too much time on this transition scene, but I can't help it.

Had a website meeting at ten this morning with Trish and Bob Brink, Robert Ray, Meghan Saar and Samantha Somers. Good session as we critiqued the site and talked about improvements. Trish and Jason are working very hard on making the site first class and I’m appreciative of all their efforts. However, I wasn't thrilled with the starburst graphic on the home page, at top. I claimed, like the graphic snob I am, that we would never run this in the magazine. Robert Ray and I got into it (it turns out he designed it), and he bet me that we've used several in the magazine and I said, "Not in editorial," and he said, "Do house ads count," and I said, "Yes, and if you find one, I'll buy you lunch."

I owe him lunch. In fact, it was designed by Dan Harshberger.

Finished two scratchboards, one of “The Slopers,” the alleged name for gamblers who were from the West Coast, as in The Western Slope. And the other, called “One-Man-Posse” of Wyatt Earp. Speaking of posses, have you heard they're making a hip-hop Western? I'm just thrilled that they even care, or think it's important enough. Makes me proud.

"Ashton Kutcher is denying reports that his girlfriend, Demi Moore, is pregnant. The confusion was caused when someone said Moore was with child. Turns out, she was just with him."
—Jimmy Kimmel

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

March 30, 2005
The site which is the conduit to getting these posts online has been having technical difficulties for the past four days, so that's the why for the delay and all the odd posting sequences.

The name of the magazine I teased you about several days ago is The Utne Reader. Editor Karen Olson is an NAU grad and she will be joining me in two weeks at the Northern Arizona Book Festival panel discussion on publishing. It will be at the Museum of Northern Arizona in the Branigar Chase auditorium at 2 PM, on April 16th (a Saturday). A few of the things we will be discussing:

• Coping with the internet: has it helped or harmed your magazine? Let’s put it this way, you know those new XK8 Jaguars with the plush leather seats and the sleek, road-worthy drive trains? Well, I don't own one.

• What makes a good cover? Three things: a big idea with a headline you can read from ten feet away; numbers (37 Ways to Achieve Orgasm While Reading History!); and a come hither look from an insanely attractive woman (preferably with deep cleavage). Barring those ingredients, two words: Wyatt Earp.

• What makes a good magazine story? That would be an article that is actually read. And here's something I’ve learned the hard way in my five year tenure: the more awards an article wins, the fewer people actually read it (judges are writers and usually not a good judge of what readers actually want to read). The amount of people who will actually read a 5,000 word article anymore, are the spouse of the person who wrote it (and even then, only half), and people who are dead (and might have read it if they were still alive). That's it. Welcome to the new world.

I got this Email today from a working cowboy down in Texas who has a real problem with the incessant usage of the F-word on Deadwood. As he puts it:

“Until today I just didn't believe the word was used until the 1960s. I grew up around cowboys and worked with them everyday (as a youngster in the 1950s) and I can't remember one of them using it, but I do remember them using every other foul word not to mention assorted guttural sounds har, har. I'm still a working cowboy today and even the old ones I know & work with don't use the F word. At any rate, after a lot of looking/asking around I can finally leave everyone alone and thanks to you I won't think it sounds so fake when I hear it in a western next time.

The “Rangerider” went online and found these factoids:

FYI, from Word Origin:
1) "The earliest usage dates from 1503 and is in the form fukkit. The earliest cite of the current spelling is from 1535."

2) "The word was not in common (published) use prior to the 1960s. Shakespeare did not use it, although he did hint at it for comic effect."

3) "The taboo was so strong that for 170 years, from 1795 to 1965, f___ did not appear in a single dictionary of the English language."

I’ve been feeling really guilty lately about the ‘49 Ford and the tractor. I need to go down to Checker Auto and get some fix-it flat goop for the 1940 John Deere and get the pack rats out of the '49. I know my Dad is really getting bugged about this and I feel his presence and unhappiness over my procrastination.

"As we get older we become more like our fathers. If I become enough like mine, eventually I might be able to fix my car."
—Garrison Keillor

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

March 29, 2005
Woke up at midnite and couldn't go back to sleep. Dogs barking at intruders, probably roving javelinas. Finally got up about 1:30 and went out and studied the moon, trying to figure out how to paint that halo effect. Is it blues, or is it a yellow sheen against a purple hue? Hard to say, could go either way. Turned on the coffee and painted on the Papago Station for about two hours.

Went back to bed about four, and slept until 6:30. Got up and painted some more. Went into the office at 8 and had a short staff meeting at 8:30. Meghan's out today, closing on her house so we had no editorial to talk about.

Chet Provorse sent me the updated versions of Classic Rock songs with new titles, now that we are aging. Here are my favorites:

• Leo Sayer's You Make Me Feel Like Napping

• Johnny Nash's I Can't See Clearly Now

• Bobby Darin's Splish, Splash, I Was Havin' a Flash

• Helen Reddy's I am Woman, Hear me Snore

• Willie Nelson's On the Throne Again

• Ringo Starr's I Get By With a Little Help from Depends

• Roberta Flack's The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face

• Leslie Gore's It's My Procedure and I'll Cry if I Want To

• Procol Harem's A Whiter Shade of Hair

• Abba's Denture Queen

Carole and I went to China Joy for lunch. I invited her and then pulled the Kingman wallet trick (that's when you offer to buy then can't find your wallet because it's hidden in your shoe). Came back, cleaned off my desk (it's made of wood!). Tweaked two scratchboards, one of a pursuit posses and the other of Wyatt Earp (imagine that!). Went over the status of CGII with Gus. Deadline is June 1, going to be tight. What else is new? Had employee reviews with Sue Lambert and then with Crystal Connelly. Both are highly motivated and easy

Got an interesting proposal from Kingman. In 1974, my father and step-mother asked me to paint a mural on a wall in their home. I went to Central Commercial and bought some paints and started this huge, full wall opus landscape of Union Pass, complete with sunset and cowboy, trailing a pony, in the lower left corner. As is my style it was too ambitious and I never quite finished it (actually, I think I freaked out my step-mom who was expecting something smaller or modest and after I slopped paint all over from floor to ceiling for two days, she said with some finality, "It’s finished."). For the next twenty years, every time I visited I couldn't help but sit there in the living room and troubleshoot all of the passages I wanted to reclaim and fix. Shirley died some time later, and when my father passed away in 1998 we sold the house and I thought for sure the first thing the new owners would do would be to repaint that wall.

But no, I just got an Email from the new owners who have contacted the Kingman Daily Miner about doing a story on the historical mural in their home and inviting me to come finish it. After the CGII book is out I may go up and do it.

"Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s."
—Mary Schmich
Missing blog entry for March 27, 2005
Still upset about the U of A loss to Illinois on Saturday night. Much gnashing of teeth by all my fellow Cat fans. Charlie Waters, an actual U of A grad, lays the blame on mental toughness, saying, "Tough teams don't lose 15-point leads in the last four minutes. And this is not a tough team overall. Shakur played well the first 10 minutes, then disappeared. And Salim was basically shut down by Williams. Frye, Adams and the freshman McClellan busted their butts."

Robert Chenalt (summer intern, Marine and friend of Thomas Charles) called me from a bar after the game and said he was crying, and that he almost got into a fight with an Illinois fan.

My son, Tomas, sent me this:

"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment."
—Marcus Aurelius, Greek Philosopher

I hate it when my kids are more mature than me.

Went over to Betty Radina’s for Easter Sunday dinner. Deena Bell joined us. Brad and Carol, EJ and Mercedes came. Debbie and Kenny came later. Nice feed and fun talking. We shared bar fight stories. None of us could top Debbie and Ken’s story, but the closest thing I had was in 1980 I went to a disco in Nogales wearing shorts and cowboy boots and three Nogales homeboys called me out, but a guy we were with, who was so drunk, he mumbled, "You wanna see my face on your dashboard?" and the guys stopped and said, "Wha?" Save my life. And, of course it’s become a family catch-phrase: "Hey Deena, clean up your room!"— "Wanna see your face on my dashboard?" (we do move it around).

Everyone played Scrabble and I read AARP magazine and kept score. Ha. Got home at about eight.

Finally started on the Papago Station painting, laying a big, blue wash. Got the roll of the brush going and got some happy accidents (puddle dry up creating little edges that could be construed as steam, or clouds). Thrilling when that happens.

"Tradition is what you resort to when you don’t have the time or the money to do it right."
—Old Vaquero Saying
March 28, 2005
Trouble in bloggersville. I tried to post two different entries today and neither took.

Frustrating. Many great stories lost forever. I went on one of those sex junkets to Yuma where they bring in women from all over the country (mostly San Bernadino) and you get to pick one to do anything you like. I opted for the chicken fried steak. She really wasn't much of a cook, but I enjoyed watching her around the stove.

Working hard on the Papago Station painting. More later.

"Drawing is not what you see, but what you must make others see."

Monday, March 28, 2005

March 28, 2005
I woke up painting. On a roll. Feel confident in my abilities (this is quite rare, I'm either high on something, or delusional). Painted a nice moonlight halo effect. Witnessed it last Friday night when I walked down the road to get Buddy, who had run off to our neighbors and I had to bring him home. I was walking down the road noticing the creepy shadows and how light it was, when I looked up in the sky and saw this radiant moon burst, with the big, wide halo effect. Really stunning. That inspiration carried over into the Papago Station painting. Funny where we get inspiration, isn't it? "Well, I was going to get my dog. Kind of pissed about it, then looked up, and that’s when I broke my leg. Never been the same way since."

Got into the office at 8:30. Joel is in Mexico, the Brinks are moving and Samantha is helping them. Office kind of quiet. Got quite a bit done. Felt good.

Went home for lunch at two and had an apple and leftover spaghetti. While I was finishing off the apple, I laid in another wash on Papago Station. Hopeful. Got back into the office at about three.

Carole took this call today:
“Mrs. Moss called today to subscribe for her husband. She said they thought
TW had been discontinued because they could no longer find it, but were at
the Autry Museum and found the Travel issue. She said this is her husband's
favorite magazine and he has boxes of old ones that he has gone back to and
re-read over the years. They were delighted to have found TW.”

Somebody called twowheeltango Emailed me a pitch for a Texas gubernatorial candidate. These lines make me sad I'm not a Texas voter:

"Texas was founded by independent, courageous, honorable citizens. The last great Independent elected governor of Texas was Sam Houston, over a hundred and fifty years ago. Texas needs a strong independent voice, if it is ever to regain its greatness. If you elect me, I'll be the first Governor in Texas history with a listed phone number."
—Kinky Friedman

One of the joys of this job is hearing from relatives of famous Westerners. Last week I got this Email from a descendant of the legendary lawman Bob Paul, sheriff of Pima County and the shotgun messenger who foiled the Benson stage robbers: "There was repeated loss of children of Bob and Margaret, some while he was absent, which I am sure was a sore point in that the last lost child was in 1879 after Bob had gone to AZ and Margaret remained in Visalia. She then moved the family to Tucson thereafter and a new son was born 6 weeks before the Benson incident. My gut feeling is that when Bob joined in with the resulting posse, he had prior approval from Margaret. For the record, I am the great-grandson---son of the oldest son of the oldest son."

I’m going to Flag in two weeks to be on a panel about publishing at the Northern Arizona Book Festival. One of my fellow panelists is a national editor. Here is her philosophy about putting out her magazine. Can you guess what magazine she edits?

"We read from approximately 1600 small, independent publications--and hundreds of books from presses large & small--to find out perspectives and ideas you don't see in the mainstream press. We reprint some pieces, summarize others, and write the stories we haven't seen yet. There are quite a few challenges, in fact, given that we never plan ahead. We simply create each issue from the material we find when reading for each issue. That makes the creation of a cover particularly interesting for us. I'm happy to show examples of covers that have sold well, and covers that haven't (that subject would necessarily bring up demographics). I could also speak to what makes makes an existing piece of writing interesting for us--as well as what kinds of freelance queries catch our attention. And we're about to head into a redesign of the magazine, so I could talk about the issues readers have raised and the ways we intend to address them."

The semi-surprising answer tomorrow.

"If my books had been any worse, I should not have been invited to Hollywood, and if they had been any better, I should not have come."
—Raymond Chandler

Saturday, March 26, 2005

March 26, 2005
Bummed. Arizona had Illinois down by 15 points with less than three minutes to go. A win sends them to the final four, and Illinois comes back and wins it in overtime. Bill Murray was there with his big, fat face, grinning like the loon he is. I'll never watch another movie of his again.

Not that I'm being an immature Wildcat alumni who puts way to much importance on sports for self-worth purposes. No, I'm being immature because I never graduated and that's one of the perks of being an underclassman (35 years and counting).

Peaches got into it with Amy on the road. Big fight. Ed, my neighbor tried to break them up and got bit. He called me right at the end of the game and wanted to know if she has had her shots. She has. Thought about killing her after the game. Ed too. Decided I was just being hysterical and washed the dishes (one of the perks of being 58).

This morning, my neighbors who are starting the bakery came by and asked me if I had any photos of Old West troopers from this area and I said I had some dillys. Showed her a great photograph out of a book of Al Seiber, the chief of scouts against the Apaches in the 1870s (played by Robert Duvall in the movie Geronimo). I asked her if she wanted me to whip out a scratchboard of it so she wouldn't have to battle copyrights. She asked me what I'd charge her and I said, "A lot of bread." She laughed.

I whipped it out in about 40 minutes. Nice shot of Al in buckskins, big ol' hat, hand in pocket. I think Herb Peck owns the original. I love homemade bread so now I've got that going for me.

Worked on getting big, flat rocks in the entrance (the driveway is done, but now I need to lay in rock by hand out to the road. Got about five feet of rock in place. Also did some painting and worked on a trio of galloping riders, big storm in the distance, lightning. Pretty loose and nice gouache. After the game I decided to channel some of my excess energy into a series of mini-portraits I've been wanting to do of all the Earps and Holliday and did about six. Interesting results. I'll post a few this coming week.

Got back the film of Festival of the West A($35, includes three rolls of film and a new battery, biz account) and there are some pretty groovy shots of many of the Maniacs who came by the tent. The little kid with the fake 'stash was priceless but I didn't get his name.

Last night I met Kathy at her office and we walked over to Arizona Wine Company and had a few tastes. Met a couple from Nebraska who have a time-share at Rancho Manana. Nice people. He's a banker and he was bummed that Oklahoma State got beat the night before by Arizona. I was gloating like that damned Bill Murray and see what it got me.

At seven, Kathy and I met the Tumalos for dinner at the new Bodega Tapas bar in Spanish Village. Great little restaurant. Had more wine, a nice cabernet. Turns out I know the owner, John, an old Cave Creeker ($72, includes tip, Kathy paid cash).

"Men always make passes at girls who drain glasses."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Friday, March 25, 2005

March 25, 2005
Woke up to more rain this morning. Took the dogs for a bike ride and they loved it.

Last night I watched the University of Arizona—Oklahoma State Sweet 16, B-Ball game. Before the game I started a new painting of the Fifth and Allen nighttime scene, bigger, more ambitious. Game was a real nail-biter. Everytime they went to a commercial (which was a lot), I would run over to the dining room table and lay in a wash. Game went right down to the last 2.3 seconds. Wildcats won, 79-78, on a clutch shot by Salim Stoudamire. The finish got me so jacked up I couldn't go to sleep. In fact I didn't eat dinner. Stayed up until midnite painting. Totally wired. Funny what sports can do to you. I kept saying, "It's just a game, they're just kids, they've had a good run, they'll learn more from defeat than victory, let it go." And then, "YESSSSSSSS!!! Salim!!!!” At one point I jumped over the couch, clapping loudly and yelling. Woke up Kathy, who came out and looked around the corner and said, "Are you alright?"

Obviously not.

One of my favorite show biz stories is of Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle ) who hit it big with the TV series Mayberry back in the 1950s. He kept an account in his small hometown bank, and would deposit his weekly checks (several thousand dollars) from the series there. One day, while home visiting his mother, he went into the bank and one of the local tellers couldn't help herself and said to him, "No offense Jim, but they sure pay you a lot for only working a half -hour a week."

Which leads me to my follow-up questions to John Apicella. I wanted to know how long he worked on the Seinfeld episode, what he got paid, etc. Here's his reply:

"The Seinfeld episode I was in is called 'The Tape,' and aired about 1994. I had eight or nine lines, but they trimmed it for air and I probably ended up with five or six.

"I think I got $1,500 with 'Guest Star' billing, 'top of show' for that era. 'Top of show' is the top pay for guest actors on a given show. Regulars make considerably more, from $10,000 to who knows what. Today, 'top of show' might be $1,800 or more for a sitcom. An hour episodic, like WEST WING, might pay $1,200 for one day, $5,000 for a week. The SEINFELD job worked a full week, (a comparable job these days would be a two or three day job with proportionately less pay).

"The average sitcom week goes something like this: Day One, table reading and initial blocking and rehearsal. Day Two, table reading of revised script, completion of blocking and rehearsal, run-thru for the writers and producers. Day Three, rehearse re-writes, if any; polish blocking, run-thru for the network. Day Four, camera blocking (camera crew, no makeup or costumes). Day Five, Dress Rehearsal with camera, dinner break (dinner is provided, cafeteria-style) then Taping.

"The work day usually starts at 10:00 and you're done by 6:00. If you're in just one scene, you might have shorter days. Since my scene in this show was scene one, I was probably out of there by lunchtime on the first day, got called in later on Day Two, worked 10 to 6 on Days Three and Four, got called at 11:00 am on Tape Day and stayed until the taping was done (in case retakes were needed after the audience was released), until maybe 11:00 pm. When Tape Day goes longer than 8 hours, there is overtime, which can add up to a bundle. My $1,500 might have gone up to $1,750.

"First network rerun gets full fee (i.e., $1,750). Repeated network runs get reduced fees, syndication considerably less, cable (except premium-cable—HBO, Showtime, etc.) almost negligible. DVD payments are a percentage of actual sales, for SEINFELD, not too shabby.

"Sounds like a great gig—and it was—but keep in mind most working actors get maybe one job like that every month or two if they're really busy. What with reality shows, Canadian production, and middle-age, I haven't booked a TV job in nearly two years—that brings the average down a bit."
—John Apicella

Speaking of Seinfeld, the actor who played his dad (there were three or four, but he was the one most identified with the show) just died and one of my mysterious blogger pals, "Scoggin," sent me to this bizarre site which tracks dead people (Our Daily Dead) and gives you links to buy the dead people's stuff (perhaps as a bad omen, True West magazine is linked). Check it out at:

Trying to finish three paintings for the Virgil Earp shooting today. Need to go home and wrap them up. Gus is making a cool little map of where the shooters hid their horses and where they shot from.

"Our children give us the opportunity to become the parents we always wished we’d had."
—Louise Hart, who should have added, "and our children bond with their grandparents and wish they had been raised by them, and so it goes."

Thursday, March 24, 2005

March 24, 2005
I worked last night on a scratchboard of three heavily armed riders coming up the Charleston Road towards Tombstone on the evening of December 28, 1881. I had good reference of Dave Daiss and Tate Wilford and a friend of theirs riding together out at Pioneer. Got to stick in a mining hoist A-frame in the background with tailings galore. Growing up in Kingman and all the mining there I kind of have a feel for that look.

Switched gears and started a trip-tic of the suspects in the shooting. I was inspired by a poster I saw in Flag at the Buffalo Exchange. It was for the play "Where Have You Gone Jimmie Dean?" or "Come Back to the Five & Dime," or whatever that play is, and they took a black and white photo of Dean and roughed it up, lots of scratches and noise. Repeated the image for several frames, a la Andy Warhol. I stood and studied it for some time (I'm sure the Goth clerks thought I was a homeless old man, or a harmless old pervert, and they would be half right).

Got into the office at eight and had Gus scan those images and we placed them in the layout for CG (Classic Gunfights) for June. Went home for lunch with Melrose to give him the partitions in the garage for his new office, but the pack rats got to 'em first and really ate 'em up. Damn little Bastards. I put cayenne pepper all over the engine walls of the '49 Ford and they are still in there. This means war, he said, knowing the little insurgents will fight to the death with their little teeth chewing on my spark plug wires like little toothpicks and laughing at me and my dogs with, "Eh, what's up, Dogs?"

Starting to get feedback on the new train issue:

"I received my Train Issue yesterday. I must admit I opened the magazine fearing the possibility of some unwanted over exposure of certain parts [rear end reference]. I was pleased to see the photos were great and did not strike fear or scare small children and animals. The issue is great. I don't recall reading a magazine cover to cover as I do TW. Thanks for a terrific product. And a personal note of thanks to the photo screener/editor.”
—Hugh Howard, Maniac#9, SASS# 49890

"I like your magazine, and the way you have some articles of substantial interest and topic. Too many just have trendy stuff and what the rich and famous are doing in their boots. The train article was good. Thanks for introducing me to this."
—(name withheld because she advertises in the trendy magazine)

A month or so ago, Kathy and I were watching the DVD of Seinfeld and a repairman came to Jerry's apartment and Kathy yelled out, "Oh, my God, that's John Apasella!" John is from Phoenix and went to Hollywood and has scored some decent bits. I Emailed John and asked him what it was like to be on an episode of Seinfeld. Here’s his reply:

"I actually auditioned for the role of Kramer in the pilot episode—along with a few dozen other guys—though Seinfeld and David and company were only mollifying the network by going through those motions: Michael Richards was the only guy they ever wanted, and they wrote the part for him.

"My little role was in show 13 or so, early in their first full season. The show was not yet a hit —was actually still in peril of cancellation—but the atmosphere on the set was cheerful and relaxed. I was impressed with how hard Michael [Kramer] worked, using an entire lunch hour one day to practice his entrance, perfecting the particular goofy way he'd come up with that week to burst through Jerry's door.

"I was even more impressed with how Seinfeld himself gave most of his best lines to other actors, saying, 'George should say this,' or 'Isn't this an Elaine line?' I've been on plenty of sitcom sets and this is not normal behavior, but it's indicative of the creative mindset that eventually made the show such a unique success.

"One detail I recall is that the 'craft services' table (where they keep the snacks) had a cereal station with an enormous selection of breakfast cereals, just like the huge collection in Jerry's TV apartment.

"David Steinberg directed the episode and was a lot of fun. We'd met previously through Didi Conn and David Shire, so we had lunch together one day and he regaled me with showbiz stories. He told me this one about Milton Berle: Milton was of course famed for the size of his manhood, and David was in the locker room of the Friar's Club and saw Milton naked for the first time. 'My god, Milton,' he cried, 'I heard it was large, but... Good lord! How big does it get when it's hard?' 'I don't know,' Milton replied, 'I always pass out.'

"I've run into Jason Alexander a few times since then (we have mutual friends), most recently at the opening of AS YOU LIKE IT at the Ahmanson last month. He's a very friendly and open guy, and very into the theatre world.

"I've also auditioned about three times for Larry David's show (CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM). The audition is just you and Larry and a couple of the other actors on the show. You get a little slip of paper describing your situation and you improvise from there. I guess he likes me 'cause I've been asked back repeatedly, though I haven't gotten hired yet.

"So that's all I can tell you about my brushes with the SEINFELD world. Thanks to the DVD release I've gotten a new rush of residual payments. The last one paid for about a month's rent, so statistically your DVD purchase bought me about 1.3 minutes of time in my apartment this month. I hope I spent the time doing something worthwhile and not just scratching."
—John Apasella

After lunch I whipped out an aerial view of Fifth and Allen in Tombstone. Brought it back to the office and Gus scanned it and I placed it in the layout. Not sure I like it. I always have an image in my head that is so hard to duplicate. I can just see it! But often I don't have the talent to get it out of there.

"There are no accidents, only nature throwing her weight around. Nature will pick up the cards we have spilled, shuffle them, and begin her game again."
—Camille Paglia

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

March 23, 2005
Proof that we Americans are spoiled rotten. My whining about gas prices being at the unbelievable eye-gouging level of $2.10 a gallon, produced this response from my favorite Brit:

"$2.10 a gallon? True British West hearts bleed for you. Here, gas costs .829 of a British £ pound per litre -- or if you like, £3.7686 a gallon. At current exchange rates that's US $7.23. However, because an American gallon is only .8327 of a British gallon we need to make a small adjustment, so that if you were buying an American gallon at British prices you would ONLY be paying $6.02 a gallon. Keep those figures in mind next time you fill your tank."
—Fred Nolan

Also, here’s feedback on the Buffalo Bill poll in yesterday's blog:

"Very depressing to hear those Scottsdale stats about the Buffalo Bill Museum, but not surprising. While Scottsdale continues to officially carry the 'Most Western Town' banner, it's obvious that way too many folks have moved out there following the sun and forgetting the Western Heritage. They do everything possible to make Arizona just like 'back home'. This rant is not by an AZ native, but a angry Midwesterner who knows in the near future he will have to search high and low for the True West in Arizona on vacations and possible retirement.....Oh well....there is always Wyoming."
—Jim Ed

And here's a clarification on where Jim Clark of Tombstone got his trains:

"The last train used for 'Into the West' that you couldn't remember where it
came from—it was from Hill City, South Dakota."
—Jim Hatzell

Sometimes old coots call up and talk my ear off. Many times, especially if I'm on deadline, Samantha, Carole and Brittany will protect me and put the Long-Talkers into voicemail. This morning I had a message from a guy ranting on and on about "deception and fraud charges" on some John Wayne deal that had something to do with Captain Cook, #28 in the "upper right corner." Like that was any help to me. Some of these guys assume I know the magazine by heart, and have verified every page with my blood.

Occasionally I enjoy talking to them because they are so full of beans. Yesterday I was talking to an old cavalry guy and he was having a hard time hearing. As a way of explanation he grunted, "Too many guns, too many chainsaws." No matter how jaded you are, you have to love that.

Two guys from the BBC in the U.K. came in to talk to me this afternoon. They have spent the past five weeks touring around the West lining up interviews for a four part TV series they are producing on the American West. Several people they talked to in New Mexico recommended me (thanks Leon, Drew and Nora). Of course they are going to do the myth of the West, and then the Cowboy story. They told me that in Ireland a "cowboy builder," or a "cowboy plumber" is a total putdown. A "cowboy tradesman doesn't do a good job," is the connotation they told me matter of factly. Ouch!

Words are so fluid and ever changing. Think of Gay (as in Nineties), Mickey Mouse (as in, "that last paragraph was so Mickey Mouse."), roach, phat, bad, The only sure thing is that the words we use today won't mean the same thing in the future.

Eh, Mate?

"Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape."
—Sue Lambert

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

March 22, 2005
Had a nice staff meeting this morning at 8:30. Lots of Monday morning quarterbacking about the Festival of the West and how we can make it better next year. Everyone worked a shift, some more than one (and to those we ga ve little gifts, tote bags and cameras). On Friday night, Samantha and I sat out there in the dark in our cold tent until after eight. I told her it was beyond the call of duty to be stuck there on the weekend. She is a trooper.

Finished a nice little study of Wyatt Earp flagging down the fre ight train at Papago Station. As is often the case in doing a study, I didn't care about getting it perfect so it is often looser and when you get loose, sometimes the magic happens. You can just make out the gas lights of Tucson in the far, left distance. Notice also that Earp has a pistol stuck in the back of his pants.

Troubling online poll taken by the Scottsdale Republic regarding the failed attempt to bring the Buffalo Bill Historical Center to Scottsdale. Some 52 percent said "the West ern motif is so yesterday," while 39 percent felt the museum would enhance the allure of the town. Here's the shocker: 9 percent said, "Buffalo who?"

Ouch! If we hadn't had such a successful weekend out at Festival of the West, I would be mighty depre ssed about those stats. The bottom line is, there is always going to be a surprising idiot factor in any community (or family!), and even more won’t "get it," and personally, give me the 39 percent who thought it was a cool deal. Those are the people I a m proud to live next door to.

Great quote from Sandra Bullock: "If it doesn’t scare the crap out of you, then you're not doing the right thing." She was referring to picking future movie roles, but I think it applies to us. I was mildly shocked to see all of the people choose the dead John Wesley Hardin cover off the table, over some of the more "safe" covers. I asked one older lady why she chose it and she said, "looks interesting." Another guy said, when asked why he chose us over Wild West magazine: "You guys are more gritty." Hmmmmmm.

I talked at length today with Jim Clark down in Tombstone. He is a master train guy and is working on Steven Spielberg’s next opus “Into the West,” for TNT. Jim brought three different trains to the movie site ("Did you get a Baldwin out there," I asked, proud of my new-found knowledge of locomotives). He got one train from Old Tucson (seen in Tombstone, 1993), one from northern California and another one from somewhere else.

"Man, that has to be expensive!" I said after hearing that he takes them apart, then they are shipped to the site and rebuilt. Yes, but not as expensive as his work on Wild, Wild West, when Warner Bros spent $2 million on the trains alone. Incredible. We are pr obably going to feature Jim and his trains in an upcoming issue. His stories are just amazing.

"When prosperity comes, do not use all of it."

Monday, March 21, 2005

March 21, 2005
Rather tired. Long weekend. Turned out to be a beautiful day today. Sunny and bright. Patented Arizona weather.

One thing is sure. HBO's Deadwood is an uqualified success. How do I know? We received several large gorgeous posters of the show from my friend Kat in New York. We framed one and put it outside our tent this weekend out at Festival of the West and had a sign-up fish bowl to put your name in for a drawing to win it. All weekend long people came over like honey bees to a honey tree. That poster drew people from everywhere. Many offered to buy it. Of course they all complained about the cussing on the show, some even saying it was too much for them and they couldn't watch it. In fact, one tall guy was decked out in Western garb with a black beard and a ponytail and he was standing talking to his mother. He was about fifteen feet off, and when he saw the poster he started ranting, and describing just how awful the language on the show is. He was going on and on, he even shuddered. But after venting his disgust for a good three minutes, he shook his head and said, "Trixie should have never gone back to Al."

Now that is power. Even people who hate the show, watch it! Just amazing. We have the second episode on tape and I wasn't in a hurry to watch it because Carole had said she didn't like it. Well, I finally took a look and I've got to say, that is one exquisitely written show. Nasty? You bet, but good is good. However, I do agree with Alan Huffines that Al Swearengen's henchman needs to get rid of the Bonanza hat. Ha.

We’ve got a new hit t-shirt design on our hands. Out at Festival of the West we sold a whole bunch of the new Curly Bill shirt: "Y'all Killed Two Cow-Boys."

Worked today on the Papago Station images. Joel printed out several shots from his digital of the scenes I took on our trip yesterday (so much has happened, it seems like a week ago). Did a scratchboard and a gouache from Wyatt’s POV of the freight train bearing down on him while he waves a hanky. Nice effects on the gouache version. halo lighting. Might work. Need to sleep on it.

We finally put the finishing touches on the Jesus Out West cover. Dan Harshberger had some suggestions and we added them this morning. Going to be a very strong one. The Autry bought a schedule based on the image (we put it on a postcard which they got).

"The worst thing about war is that it seldom kills off the right people."
—Old Vaquero Saying

March 20, 2005
Joel Klasky and I took off for Tucson before sunrise. Rained off and on, but we cruised through Phoenix encountering very little traffic. Got down to Tucson and had breakfast at Micha's on South Forth Avenue. Huevos rancheros and decaf ($15.27 plus $4 tip, biz account).

Got to the Tucson Train Station at 9:45 for the dedication of the Transportation Museum and the unveiling of the Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday statues. I was very encouraged by the size of the crowd at the station and it proves or at least indicates that more than a few are interested in our little historical corner of the world.

I was anxious to meet Neil Carmony. In this computer age I have worked with him for almost a decade yet I've never met him. He was sitting in the row in front of us and I tapped him on the shoulder and asked him if he was, in fact, the notorious Neil Carmony. We laughed and shook hands. Several times during the ceremonies when some radio commentator named Don Collier would make incorrect historical gaffs (Morgan Earp's body was not on the train, his body came through the day before the Stilwell encounter), Neil would turn to me and mouth the words B-- S----. Funny.

Tom Peterson of the Arizona Historical Society read editorial excerpts from the Tucson newspapers regarding the arrival of the railroad on March 20, 1880. Waxing floridly, as was the style, one editorial writer imagined the day when "aereo-cars" would sail overhead to distant destinations. Of course, other pronouncements were ludicrous as is most prognostication. Just as Tom finished his remarks a Southern Pacific train blared its horn and the crowd cheered as it rumbled by, right on cue.

I met a guy named Bill (a railroader buff, who's allegedly writing a book called "Tucson Was A Railroad Town") and he told me his gut tells him there was a small station house at Papago Station and that it was probably dark at the time the Earp crowd showed up. He claims the SP built these mini-stations at regular intervals to facilitate two-way traffic, with a siding, etc. I agree with him that the name itself, Papago Station, is probably the strongest evidence that it was more than a siding. Anyway that is how I will illustrate it. And in the cutline I'll debate the logic of it, the opposing thoughts and how it changes the dynamic of Wyatt's actions.

After the ceremonies Joel and I drove out to Papago Station. Houghton Road was closed so we had to settle for Rita Road (a mile short), but I got some good reference photos of the view back to downtown and the relationship to the Tucson Mountains, the Catalinas and the Tortilitas (sp?). That was fun.

Speaking of trains, I got this Email from Jim Hatzell:
"I got the new True West magazine in the mail today. I was intending to skim through it but here it is 2 hours later and I'm still reading. I was a brakeman for 2 different railroads on and off for 10 years so I have a soft spot for trains. ( I even have a railroad section in my new website )"

Joel and I then drove back to Phoenix taking the res cut-off and arriving back at Festival of the West at about three. (True West filled up Joel’s van with gas: $48, $2.10 a gallon! Ouch).

It was quite encouraging this year at the Festival how many people are aware of the magazine. Of course some people act so silly. One woman came up to our booth, looked at the array of True Wests spread out on the table and said, and I quote, "Which one has the most history in it?" I grabbed one at random and said authoritatively, "This one." She thanked me and took it. When she left we laughed. That's like picking up a stack of newspapers and saying "Which one has the most news?"

Just got this report from Carole: the total sold at Festival of the West is $1828.

"They who see only what they wish to see in those around them are very fortunate."
—Marie Bashkirtseff

Saturday, March 19, 2005

March 19, 2005
Had brunch with Paul and Tracy Lee Hutton at the Flapjack Deli (I know, terrible name, but a good breakfast place). We had a grand old time talking about how crazy most history buffs are, starting with ourselves, of course. All Tracy could do is nod her head and smile. Paul bought.

A funny encounter out at the Festival of the West yesterday. A guy dressed in full-Old-West regalia approached our tent just after the park opened and started yelling, "Mr. Bob Boze Bell, I have a bone to pick with you!" I couldn't tell if he was serious or not, so I stepped out to meet him and noticed he was carrying a recent issue of True West. "I count on you, Mr. Bob Boze Bell, to project a good, positive example to the youth of this nation about the Cowboy Way," he continued as he started to turn the pages of the magazine. I wondered what we had done to illicit such concern. "And what am I supposed to tell my kids about this?" he chirped as he turned the page. There, in all its behind glory, was the scandalous buns shot of Marshall Trimble and I (see below) which he had printed out and put in the magazine like it is a full-page feature. We laughed and laughed. He got me good.

Speaking of the buns boondoggle, here's what Jim Hatzell had to say: "You've got a lot of sand." Also, on Wednesday night as I waited for Paul to come down from his room at the Carefree Conference room, I stood in the lobby with my gray Stetson and fringe jacket. Paul said he overheard one door man say to another, looking at me, "That man has a good self image."

Possibly, but it doesn't always add up to nirvana. Sometimes I go too far and regret it. Like today. I was on a panel for Western Writers of America at Festival of the West with the screenwriter for The Shootist (Miles Swarthout), the screenwriter for The Honkers and Kingdom of the Spiders, and Paul Hutton, who writes documentaries and played the doctor who delivered OJ's baby in Naked Gun 2 1/2. We were there to talk about screenwriting and the making of documentaries and I got wound up and started using the F-bomb. So unnecessary, but I was talking about Hollywood, Honkytonk Sue and the obscenity of everything, and out it came. Felt bad. Need to clean up my act. It's just so un-Seneca.

Sprinkled on and off almost all day. Didn't seem to dent the crowds at Rawhide, although I imagine if it had been a pretty day the place would have even been more slammed. Mike Melrose's mom and dad were there from Charles City, Iowa. It was his dad's birthday today, so I gave Andy a True West visor cap. Andy introduced me to a minister from Forest City, Iowa and of course we had an old home week. He and his wife knew of the Hauans "from over Thompson way," and my uncle, Glenn Bell was at Waldorf College in Forest City at the same time he and his wife went there. It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it (not original, but true).

Ben Gazzara is in Scottsdale playing Yogi Berra in the one-man-play Nobody Don't Like Yogi. The Republic printed a long list of the most familiar Yogi-isms. Here's my favorites:

• "I wish I had an answer to that because I'm tired of answering that question."

• "If people don't want to come out to the ballpark, nobody's going to stop 'em."

• "The future ain't what it used to be."

• "I just want to thank everyone who made this day necessary."

• "Half the lies they tell about me aren't true."

• "Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours."

• "I always thought that record would stand until it was broken."

• "It gets later early out there."

• "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

Came home at four, watched the Cats on the tube. Yelled "Salim!" and "Assad!" so many times I was afraid the neighbors were going to report me as Al Quaida. Made spaghetti, went for a bike ride with the dogs.

Got to get up early tomorrow morning because Joel Klasky and I are going down to Tucson for the unveiling of the Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday statues. Looking forward to it.

"I write about things I can't explain."
—Paul Haggis, who wrote the screenplay for Million Dollar Baby

Friday, March 18, 2005

March 18, 2005
Big day down at Rawhide for the Festival of the West. Big crowds, sprinkled a bit but otherwise very nice out. I was there from about ten until four and met the following Maniacs:

• Pete Ruh, #993, who quipped, "My Maniac membership is the best Christmas present I ever got."

• Barbara Ray, #177, who is set on getting a dish just so she can see Deadwood.

• Jim Sumpter, #753, he switched from Wild West magazine, and came to the Festival totally based on ads he saw in True West.

• Jim Sylvis, #637, found us on a visit to Tombstone and has been hooked ever since.

• Tia Sylvis, #638, ditto above

• Laura Palmer, #68

• Jeff Coy, #783, originally from Rochester, Minnesota but as Jeff put it, "I’m such a Maniac I moved to Cave Creek to be closer to Bob Boze Bell."

Just what I need, a Maniac stalker.

Writer Leo Banks came by at noon and took me to lunch at the Rawhide Steakhouse. He had a speech in Skull Valley and was on his way home to Tucson. We had a good talk about Arizona Highways (he is a frequent contributor) and book ideas. He's a good writer and a good guy.

Proof that comp mags work; Bob Davis came up to our booth and told me he found a True West two years ago in a hotel room he was staying in in Scottsdale, stole it, got a subscription, just renewed, gives his copy to his brother, who reads it, then the brother gives it to Bob's daughter who is a history teacher, who then uses it in her class. How many people do you think that one comp sub has reached?

I came back to the office at around five, got this blog up and in the process we got a call from Crystal and Brittany down at the Festival that we are supposed to keep the booths open until ten tonight, so I have to go back down and man the place. Going to be a long day, but hey, I get to meet more Maniacs!

"Sticking to it is the genius."
—Thomas Edison

Thursday, March 17, 2005

March 17, 2005
I tried to post earlier but it didn't take. Came home to watch the U of A Wildcats in the first round of the NCAA tournament (Cats are down 26-29 at the half to Utah State!). Came out to the studio at halftime to check and see if the blog somehow made it through the blogasphere and landed, but it isn't up. I will now post a new blog and the original posting will probably appear as soon as I post this blog.

Had dinner last night with Paul Hutton and his daughter at the Carefree Conference Resort. Paul is so impressed with the place he may bring the Western Writers of America to the resort next year (see, sometimes comping pays off). Paul's attractive 21 year-old daughter Laura joined us for dinner. We ate in the main dining room. Very nice meal. I had an appetizer and a caesar salad (no warm food). Paul bought.

Meetings all day today. Many of our writers are in town for Festival of the West. Johnny Boggs, Candy Moulton, Leo Banks is coming in tomorrow. Jana Bommersbach and Marshall Trimble also joined us today for a big editorial pow wow. Got some good story ideas for the rest of the year and clear into 2006.

"I must be getting old because nowadays I find I'm more interested in the food I eat than in the girl who serves it."
???John Steinbeckf
March 17, 2005
Meetings all day. Paul Hutton, Bob McCubbin and Dave Daiss are in my office and I can't get a word in edge wise. So I thought I'd post my blog. More on that later. Here's more feedback on the Behind the Scenes Behind:

"The words big, grand, and limbo just underneath the picture are probably the real story here. . . ."
—Deb Goodrich

"Sorry boys, I can't muster a drool. Your backsides can't compete with Kevin Costner's bare buttocks in Dances with Wolves. Best to leave your bluejeans on! I've seen images like this of geriatric patients in hospital gowns—it isn't pretty. I suggest you grab a couple of Mr. Yuk stickers and secure them over your posterior, pronto! Hopefully, that can gain back a shred of dignity! Kathy Bell must be a Saint for not having you committed."

"The picture looked like poster art for 'Bareback Mountain.' And the tagline could be 'The Gay Caballeros!'"
—Alan Huffines

"Nice color."
—Jeff Hildebrandt

strong>Just got directions to Papago Station:
Take I-10 south past Tucson to the Houghton Rd. Exit 275,
Turn left (north) and go 2.2 miles to Esmond Station Rd.
Turn right, go about 1/2 mile or so to the site.
—Lauren Kormylo, Maniac #19, Phoenix, AZ

"If you look for the truth outside yourself, it gets farther and farther away."
—Tung Shan

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

March 16, 2005
Had a wisdom tooth pulled today. Surprisingly painless, but still it's the idea of the whole thing: long needles in the gums and tongue, pliers wrenching bone away from bone, gaping holes in mouth, that damn suction tube, etc.

One funny thing did happen. I got in there about ten this morning and was quite irritated about it, dreading the needle, sorry I made the appointment, wondering if I could rear end a car on the way there and get out of going. But I got in the office and there's no wait, they take me right in. The dental assistant, Nikka, a tall blond Norwegian, comes in, grabs my hat off the chair and plops it crown up on a table. I snapped: "Don't ever put a hat down like that! It ruins the curl of the brim." She gave one of those kind of sarcastic—Well, excuse me—looks, so I added, “By the way, that is extremely rude to pick up someone's hat without asking them.”

She was clearly upset, but cool about it. After the procedure I asked to see the tooth and she showed it to me and I said "I need my glasses, they're in my hat," and she quipped, "Nice try. I ain't touchin' that hat." We both laughed. I'll bet I'm her lead story at dinner tonight.

Got back in the office at about 11 biting down on a big ol’ wad of gauze in my mouth. Of course everyone wanted to talk to me and I did my Clint Eastwood through the teeth whisper, “Well, do you feel lucky? Punk.”

Worked on an illustration of Lozen, the female Apache warrior. It's for Jana's piece in the next issue. The office copies of the train issue (May) arrived about noon. Everyone buzzing. Looks very strong. Lots of cool photos of trains for all the trainiacs.

Came home about one and took a short nap. Got up and wailed on three different approaches to Lozen. Two gouaches and a scratchboard. I think the scratchboard is going to win out. Has a very Mexican Revolution poster look.

Paul Hutton is flying in tonight and we're putting him up at the Carefree Conference Resort. He just called from the airport and wants to meet for dinner in about an hour. I can't eat anything warm (might blow the clot, which is funny because I'm taking massive doses of coumadin to avoid any clotting) so I'm limited on what I can eat tonight. And dammit, Paul is buying! (I'll take a couple pounds of frozen shrimp and a barrel of bread please.). Hutton is always late, so I imagine he'll call in about two hours. Oops, he just called at 6:45, only fifteen minutes late. Gotta run. Free food.

"In this world, truth can wait; she's used to it.”
—Douglas Jerrold

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

March 15 (bonus blog), 2005
I'm riding herd on two developments: The Papago Station dilemma and the See-More-Buns Scandal. First for the reaction to the Tush Trauma:

"Well, only confident heterosexual men could pose together like that (without anxiety or giggles), so ya got that going for ya."
—Jim Ed-Chicago

"It's not the cheeks that trouble me. Or the hair. It's the socks. Especially the white socks peeking out from the cowboy boots. Eeeeuuuuuwww! (On the other hand--dude, major bicyclist calves! Smokin'!)

"Better keep an eye on Trimble--he looks as if he's ready to make a career of this."
—Emma Bull

Others were not so kind:

"While I salute your bravado, I am compelled to point out that your rear assault photo is the most horrifying thing I have seen since Al-Queda's beheading photos. I could have gone the rest of my life without having the image of those hairy arses seared into my brain. By the way, cheesecake is sweet and creamy. Those hirsute gams of Mr. Trimble's and yours are neither.

"Never again, I beg you!"
—C. Neil Williams

"The photo is real evidence that not one but two villages are missing their respective idiots."
—Hugh Howard, Maniac #9, Sass #49890

Now onto the importance of being Papago Station:

Hi Bob,
Maybe Papago Station wasn't just a water tank. This article is from 2003, when the station burned down. It has the exact street address, too.
—TWM #19

The Arizona Daily Star
"Nov. 28--Flames destroyed a historic, 19th-century train station in the Rita Ranch area Thursday night. Firefighters were unable to save the old Esmond Station in the 10300 block of East Esmond Station Road, said Capt. Paul McDonough, a Tucson Fire Department spokesman.

"The Southern Pacific station was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived around 9:15 p.m. There is no hydrant there, and firefighters had to truck water to the site southeast of Tucson, McDonough said. No one was hurt, and the cause of the fire remains unknown, McDonough said.

"Originally named the Papago Station, Esmond Station was built around 1885 when the Southern Pacific Railroad first made its way through Southern Arizona, said Tucson historian and writer William Kalt. Kalt is now writing 'Tucson Was a Railroad Town.'

"It is very possible that it was part of the initial line,' said Kalt, adding he believes the Esmond Station was the last of its kind in Arizona.

"In its heyday the Esmond Station was a bustling order office, where conductors and engineers would snatch their daily orders -- where to deliver carts and where to pull off and let other trains pass -- that hung from a hoop extending out to the tracks, Kalt said.

"The station is near the site of the ‘Esmond Wreck,’ the early-morning, head-on collision of two trains east of Tucson on Jan. 28, 1903, that killed at least 14 people. The crash is blamed on an order sent from Tucson directing a train traveling west from Vail to pull off at the Esmond siding, four miles down the track, until an eastbound train passed through. The message never made it to the train's conductor, resulting in what may have been the deadliest train wreck in Arizona and the worst involving the Southern Pacific line in Southern Arizona, Kalt said. The station had slipped into disrepair in recent years, but talk of a restoration effort had begun where just 10 years ago the station's original sign was still hanging, Kalt said. 'It's like a little piece of our heart has been ripped out for those of us that care about the history of that area,' Kalt said”

To this, Neil Carmony replies:
"According to Myrick, the Southern Pacific historian, Papago station (which gets a bare mention) seems to have been nothing more than a siding. In the early days of the railroad, water for the engine boilers, and often a supply of fuel, was kept at short distances along the track. And it seems that the trains, which ran at about 25 miles per hour, would stop at any 'station' if someone wanted a ride, and the conductor would sell them a ticket. Then the new passenger could ride in the caboose or on the engine, if it was a freight train(such as the Earp party rode east from Papago Station). I suppose the Earp party would have flagged the train with anything at hand. A lantern would have been best (it was at night) but where they would have gotten it is a question. I would guess that the train had slowed or stopped at Papago Station (the name Myrick uses) for some other reason. See Gatto's Wyatt Earp book page 171. This is much like riding a bus on a Mexican highway. The big old bus will go roaring down a narrow highway and stop for anyone who flags it down. Then they will sell the guy a ticket and go rumbling on. There usually is a guy on the bus along with the driver to sell such tickets.”

Author Dale Devine of Tucson just called me (4:10 PM) and tells me Papago Station was at Houghton Road where it meets Rita Road (just north of I-10).

I plan to get my rear down there this Sunday and take some photos. I intend to get this painting right if it's the last thing I do.

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
March 15, 2005
Warning: semi-naked northern Arizona historians ahead!

I repeat: Do not scroll down unless you have already eaten (and even then there is a chance you'll lose your last meal)!

Several have already looked and have been permanently damaged if not disgusted??? exactly like this missive from Tom Carpenter:

"My eyes! My eyes!"

If you are offended by cheesecake (or in this case, sagging, aging cheesecake), do not proceed!

Several have asked why, and to that I say, "Marshall Trimble is from Ashfork and I'm from Kingman." When told this, a well-known doctor replied, "Oh. I understand."

Shot by John Beckett, this photo is but one of a series. You'll be relieved to know this is the most tasteful photo (as in "less hairy"). When downloading the CD images yesterday, poor Abby Pearson, Sue Lambert and Samantha Somers were stricken with laughter and long eminating "Eeeeeuuuuuuhs!!!" Just be thankful you don't work at True West.

One more warning: They say seeing is believing, and to that I would only add:

???Abby Pearson?

Monday, March 14, 2005

March 14, 2005
After a beautiful weekend, it turned cold and windy this morning. Rather cloudy now (4:15 PM).

So, after all of my painting studies on Wyatt Earp and company flagging down an eastbound freight train at Papago Station, I get this Email from my historical contact Neil Carmony:

"Papago Station, 12 to 15 miles or so east of Tucson was just a siding with maybe a water tank. Evidently it didn't have a regular station house."

Now this totally changes the dynamic of the scene. If Earp showed his badge to a depot agent or employee of the Southern Pacific Railroad and had him flag down the train, that is one thing. But if Earp and crew arrived on foot at a lonely water tank at midnite and decided to flag down the next train with an undershirt or handkerchief, that's another matter entirely. For one thing, imagine what the engineer and fireman must have thought, approaching in the dark, chugging along and up ahead are five men standing on the tracks bristling with shotguns. Does the term "train robbery" mean anything to you? There is some evidence that the engineer was not pleased with the unscheduled stop and may have made the Earp boys ride in a cattle car. Even if they got to ride in the engine compartment, imagine their nervousness as they approached Benson as wanted men and looked suspiciously at the depot in case Sheriff Bob Paul had telegraphed ahead for their arrest (we know he telegraphed Tombstone to that effect).

Anyway, my big, grand painting is now in limbo. I also asked Neil where 11-12 miles east of Tucson would put the "station." Would that make it beyond Wilmont Road? I may drive out there on Sunday and take a photo or two, looking back towards Tucson. I want to see how much of the Old Pueblo shows up, especially at night.

Finished a cool little scratchboard this afternoon titled "Blaze Away!" It's of a gunfighter (imagine that!) ripping off a shot. Nice smoke effects which I stole from a Shoot magazine layout, showing modern shooters at a SASS event (Single Action Shooters).

The NAU Book Festival (April 15-16) sent me a request for a bio. I whipped one out. Here's the first two lines:

Born in Iowa and raised on Route 66, Bob Boze Bell knows a thing or two about tourists and telling the truth (you can guess which locale cancelled out the other).

"It is with words as with sunbeams, the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn."
—Robert Southey

"The way I write, most people get a rash."

Sunday, March 13, 2005

March 13, 2005
Back from Flag. Had a quick trip up the hill with Kathy and Deena. Left on Saturday at about 11:30, got tired of the same ol' freeway, so we took a detour off the Black Canyon near Montezuma's Castle, stopped at Fat's Diner on the way to Cornville. Had a reuben sando and potato salad. The girls had breakfast. ($22 cash, includes tip). From there we took the Page Springs Road at Cornville and meandered up the creek and landed at the Page Springs Winery for a wine tasting (totally spontaneous. Saw the sign, nobody there, made a U-turn and went inside). Sat out on the deck and sampled four different wines ($5 for each person for the four tastes). Bought a nice bottle of cabernet ($30 biz account). Drove through Sedona drunk on our asses, flipping off the tourists and hitting several cats.

Just kidding, although the whole thing was very Sideways.

Went up Oak Creek Canyon. Very pretty drive. Lots of water in the creek. Got into Flag at about two, dropped off a box of True West magazines at the Quality Inn and then drove up Milton and checked into the Highland Country Inn. T. Bell got off work at three (he works at an Alternative Center where they help kids get off the mean streets of Flag) and he joined us. We kept asking him to get stuff off the Television and he finally saw the big, blow-up photo of him driving the lane at Foothills Academy which we had brought up and placed there for his amusement. We had a good laugh about that. At four we went over to lower San Francisco for a hippy Capoeira dance-a-thon ($8 per ticket). This is allegedly Brazilian jujitsu, created by slaves who told their Portuguese masters they were just dancing, when in fact they were practicing martial arts moves to kick certain bootie when the time came (evidently similar to the origins of the River Dance and, of course, the Watusi). One of Tommy's friends' girlfriend was one of the dancers, thus our attendance. What we had before our eyes was a whole bunch of Flagstaff hippies banging on bongos and sticks with various participants jumping in with high kicks and round house moves, all the while banging and shouting out Gary Glitterish gibberish. Needless to say this got real boring real fast. On the third "movement" I faked like I needed to get a glass of water, slipped outside and found a bar across the street called, appropriately The Joint. Went inside and talked the bartender into switching the TV over to the U of A-Washington game. Ordered a beer to be nice ($3 cash) and tipped out the dude $1. Tommy and the girls soon joined me and we watched the Cats go down in flames, losing a number one seed in the process.

Came back out onto the street at about 5:30 and the Capoeria confab across the street was still in full swing. We jumped in the Escape and I had Tommy drive (I had three beers under my belt) and we headed up old Route 66 looking for a new Mexican food place he had heard about. Found a hole-in-the-wall called inanely, El Mexicano Restaurante, and decided this name is either the stupidest and worst, or possibly the best name in the continental United States. Went in and we were the only customers (not a good sign), but the food was excellent. I had a special, Tomas had the fish tacos. Very good ($36 cash, plus $7 tip)

Got up this morning and walked down to Barnes & Noble and bought an Arizona Republic ($2 cash). The View section featured our Tucson train station shooting. I was disappointed. We gave them a whole bunch of art and a wonderful Gus Walker map and they only used one small spot illustration.

On the way home we took a detour at Cherry and jogged over to Dewey (15 miles out of the way) and had lunch at Young’s Farm. Very nice little restaurant. I had a chicken caesar and iced tea. Deena and I split their homemade apple pie a la ice cream ($34 plus $7 tip house account). Got home at about three. My kind of road trip. Lots of side trips and taking the roads less travelled, but as Jerry Seinfeld put it, "Sometimes the road less travelled is less travelled for a reason."

As soon as I got in I got a call from Thadd Turner who is in Scottsdale with David Carradine. He wanted me to come down to the Princess for drinks to talk about interviewing David and possibly do a feature on the movie they are currently filming out at the Mescal set. Declined, but I assured Thadd we’d cover his new movie.

Finished the Virgil and Allie portrait at about five. Need to whip out a Lozen portrait and several others this week. Anxious to get back to work.

“It is not the criminal things which are hardest to confess, but the ridiculous and shameful.”


Saturday, March 12, 2005

March 12, 2005
Worked until about ten last night on a portrait of Virgil and Allie Earp. Virgil's arm is in a makeshift sling and they both look pained and severe, given that Morgan Earp's body has just departed from Tombstone. It is believed this is a very rare painting based on one of the missing Fly photos.

And speaking of historical hoo-ha:

"I suspect you've read the news about the so-called BTK serial killer in Wichita. A couple of us have noted some things that may be nothing more than ironies. First, BTK--which supposedly stands for Bind, Torture and Kill--is also shorthand for Billy the Kid. We know that young McCarty lived in Wichita for a couple of years in the early 1870s. And the first victims of the murderer were three members of the Otero family--and, perhaps coincidentally, the Kid knew Miguel Antonio Otero and his relatives in NM.

"So, did the serial killer have two meanings with the BTK moniker?

“The guy's name is Dennis Rader. Might he have subscribed to True West? And is it possible for you to check the subscriber lists to see if he's in there?

"If he is...well, you've got a story there. But beyond that, maybe there were clues that law enforcement officials failed to see over the past 25 years.

"Scary, eh? Or not."
—Mark Boardman

A Phoenix Magazine photographer just left. Werner is half German and half Puerto Rican, has a ranchito in Mexico. He took a portrait of Deena, Kathy and I and the dogs (actually just Peaches, Buddy Boze Hatkiller ran off). It will accompany an article about areas to live in the Valley and will run later this year.

Deena, Kath and I are off this morning to go up the hill to Flag. Got to drop some mags off at Quality Inn and eat at Marttan's and watch the Wildcats in the PAC-10 Championship at three. Oh, and we're mainly up there to see T. Charles.

"A good picture is equivalent to a good deed."
—Vincent Van Gogh,

Friday, March 11, 2005

March 11, 2005
Carole had to man the phones today all by herself. Sam is out sick and Brittany is on her way to Rocky Point. Carole is real good about keeping notes of calls and giving me a temperature check on our readers and how they found us, etc. Here's this morning’s report:

"Monica Flores from Moreno Valley, CA called and subscribed today. She has been reading her brother's issues and decided she needed TW."

"Edward C Osborne from Hollywood, FL—retired history teacher—found TW at Barns & Noble and really liked it. He said the Gunfight at the OK Corral is of particular interest and the Third Annual Travel issue is great. He ordered two t-shirts and will be coming to AZ in April and wanted to have them for the trip."

"Karen Dailey called because she has not received the bill for the subscription she gave to her brother for Christmas. She said he loves it and she doesn't want him to miss any.”

Carole and I went to lunch today at China Joy ($20 cash, includes tip, we went dutch, or should that be Norwegian?).

We have a modest, but very successful method of getting True West in hotels. Basically, I stay in a hotel and leave a magazine in the room. Ha. Actually, we have about four hotels we stock and one of them is the Quality Inn in Flagstaff. I called up there today to see if they'd like a box of our travel issue but the manager wasn't in. However, Nina at the front desk said, "We love the magazine. Bring them up here!" Makes you wonder if they're even making it to the rooms, but with a response like that, I don't care.

File this one under Blog-headed Behavior:
I got a call from Professor Paul Hutton today who confessed he gets worried about me if I don't post this blog in a timely manner. Scary, eh?

I’m still wrestling with the Papago Station painting. What started out as a small impressionistic scene, has ballooned into a major epic-midnight panorama complete with telegraph poles, baggage on the landing, the gas lights of Tucson in the distance, the Catalinas (with the distinctive needle in the middle distance) and the station manager “flagging” down the freight train which is just picking up steam as it climbs out of the valley. Not to mention Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Texas Jack and Sherm McMasters, bristling with shotguns and rifles as they secure the perimeter. I’ve done ten studies so far! Ridiculous. Welcome to my world, the world of 24/7CADD (Around-the-Clock Complete Attention Deficit Disorder).

Here’s a true story (according to an Email from Carole) about Charles Schwab, president of Bethlehem Steel, and Ivy Lee a consultant who was given the challenge by Schwab: "Show me a way to get more things done with my time." Schwab agreed to pay him "anything within reason" if Lee`s suggestion worked.

Lee later handed the executive a sheet of paper with the following plan:

"Write down the most important tasks you have to do tomorrow. Number them in order of importance. When you arrive in the morning begin at once on No. 1 and stay on it until it is completed. Recheck your priorities, and then begin with No. 2 ... then No. 3. Make this a habit every working day. Pass it on to those under you. Try it as long as you like, then send me your cheque for what you think it's worth."

That one idea turned Bethlehem Steel Corporation into the biggest independent steel producer in the world within five years.

How much did Schwab pay his consultant? Several weeks after receiving the note, he sent Lee a check for $25,000, admitting it was the most profitable lesson he had ever learned.

Sadly, Lee blew the money on coke and whores, but his grandson Alvin Lee did have a brief fling with glory when he gigged at Woodstock I in the marathon-speed induced-rendition of "I'm Goin' Home."

Parts of this story have been made up, but then, it came in off the internet so what else is new?

“Either control your own destiny, or someone else will!”
—John F. Welch, Jr.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

March 10, 2005
Very warm weather now. Low eighties in the afternoons. Mornings very nice and cool. Went for a bike ride with the dogs around seven. Weeds up by Barro's are five feet high! Unbelievable growth, especially when you consider the seeds have to wait, sometimes for years, to germinate. Going to be a very dangerous fire season come August, but in the meantime we'll just enjoy it.

At ten I drove down into the Beast. Dropped off a box of True West mags (April issue) at Bob Willis' house just off the 101 and Via Linda. This is for a big Lost Dutchman Mine Days celebration going on in the Superstition Mountains this weekend. From there I fought my way across Scottsdale on Camelback Road and landed downtown in Phoenix at 24th St. and Campbell at a new photography studio where John Beckett invited me and Marshall Trimble to come sit for formal portraits.

When I got there at 11:30, Marshall was just finishing up his session. John Beckett asked me if I had any crazy ideas for my photo shoot and I said I did. I related to him that when I was leaving the office one of my employees quipped sarcastically that perhaps John could shoot Marshall and I in a cheesecake pose like the babes in his ads (which he runs in True West and the GIs in Iraq and the prisoners in Perryville go crazy for and order all the time. And yes, it was Mike Melrose). I told John that I wanted to do a special gag shot of Marshall and I nude from the waist down, with our backs turned, looking back over our shoulders with a come hither look.

Both John and Marshall said they were game, so I went in the dressing room and took off my pants (both pair) and put on my new fringe jacket which covered everything, or at least shaded it significantly.

Marshall came out in a long, yellow shirt and boots with his guitar over his shoulder. We got into position, turned, hiked up our skirts, pushed out our booties and grinned, or more accurately—mooned the camera. The make-up lady, Julie Koeth, doubled over with laughter, and I think you will too when you see the end result (pun intended).

The guy who owns the studio, Aaron Aslanian came out as John was furiously clicking away with his high speed digital and said, looking at me, “You really must be comfortable in your skin.” I smiled and didn’t say anything, but I thought to myself, “Are you kidding?! I’m from Kingman! My mother is going to be mortified, Charlie Waters is going to embarrassed to even know me, so is my high school principal, if he wasn’t dead. Ditto for my English teacher.”

Only the most tasteful photos will be posted on John Beckett’s website sooner than later. I'll tell you how to get there when they are up.

"In almost any society the quality of the nonconformists is likely to be just as good as and no better than that of the conformists."
—Margaret Mead

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

March 9, 2005
Carole and I are conducting one-on-one interviews with the staff and we've asked each person to come up with accomplishments they are proud of in the last year. Here's Crystal Connelley's list:

• I had the biggest issue ever, selling $31,001.20 worth of ad space in the April issue.

• I was able to make it through all the changes with True West without going insane and keeping my job and learning from it.

• I learned how to become a better salesperson.

• I have gotten True West in Texas bigtime. I actually have events people calling and asking for True West to attend them.

• I came up with the idea for sales and production to have meetings, which I think has brought our happy family back together. No divorce talks going on anymore.

• I have won more prizes for ideas of the week. More than anybody else.

• I have met and said good bye to lots of very talented people.

• I have made a career for myself. Thank You Mike Melrose for believing in me.

• I have Bob Brink to learn from and I think that is an accomplishment because not many people get to sit down and listen and learn from a person of his stature and intelligence.

• I have sold accounts that in my mind I thought I would never get, like Lucchese Boots. I like to prove myself wrong.

• My attitude! I work for True West Magazine. THE magazine for the western enthusiast. I’m proud to say I work for True West. I can’t remember me ever saying that about another job I've had.

As for accomplishments of the magazine, Crystal noted:

• The Maniac Club. Thank You RG.

• True West Moments on the Westerns Channel. Huge success thanks to Bob.

• We have a top-notch production team.

• We are still in business after 52 years. That is a major success on it's own

And speaking of our top-notch production team, Abby has designed a really sweet cover for the Jesus Out West issue (June), and if you were a part of the controversy on these pages, you'll be amazed and heartened when you see the final result (subscribers will get this issue in early May, two weeks before it goes on the newsstand). Gus tweaked a bit of the color. And, according to Sue Lambert, who was quite concerned, "it's a winner, and I'm proud of it."

I went home for lunch and got ten flat rocks from the creek and put them in the driveway (this is the unfinished part that leads out to the road). Also worked on the Papago Station painting. Tricky nighttime effects. Been studying John McNeil Whistler's nocturnes. Verdict still out.

"My gift is that I’m not beautiful. My career was never about looks. It’s about health and being in good shape."
—Shirley Maclaine, who also staunchly believes she was Cleopatra in a former life

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

March 8, 2005
Whipped out another night train study, this one of Papago Station at midnite where Wyatt Earp and his gang flagged down a freight train. I finally get to draw a saguaro! Amazing.

At lunchtime today, Mike Melrose and I delivered True West banners down to Festival of the West (actually Mary Brown's house), then went over to Desert Ridge for lunch at Rockfish ($38, biz account, includes tip, I bought). Then a stop off at Aaron Bros for art supples (mostly watercolor paper at $15 a sheet, $121.85 biz account).

Finished the Seneca book last night. Very inspiring, the life he lived. Not to mention the way he died. Here's the Cliff Notes version of his death, updated for the modern reader:

So, like George Bush sends Michael Moore a letter and asks him to commit suicide for being such a traitor. And Michael ignores the letter and kind of pretends he never received it. So Bush sends Karl Rove to Michigan with a certified letter demanding Michael's death and on the way there, Karl stops off to see Colin Powell and asks him if it's the right thing to do and Colin thinks about it for a minute and finally tells Karl to do his duty. Which is a good thing because Karl was actually in on the plot to off the maker of "Fahrenheit 9•11." So Rowe gets to Michigan but doesn't have the nerve to go to Michael Moore's house, so he sends a gang of Young Republicans to deliver the news. The Young Republican Guards go to the house and Moore's young, second wife answers the door. Michael takes the news bravely, but all around him, the yard men and the union men are wailing and protesting, but Michael tells them he has lived a good life and that he certainly has had plenty to eat and he takes a knife and cuts his arms. The young wife decides she wants to go with him and Michael says, "Whatever," and so she cuts herself in the same way. The only problem is Michael's circulation is so bad he's not bleeding as fast as his pretty wife, so he cuts his ankles and behind his knees (he is so fat his gardner has to utilize a weedwacker to do this last maneuver). Michael finally gets real tired of hearing his young second wife's screaming so he goes in the master bedroom and takes some poison, but he is so big and fat, it doesn't even register. Michael then gets in an oversized bathtub and flicks water on a couple of interns from Michigan State, telling them, "This is my libation from Jupiter." That doesn’t do the trick either, but it does piss off the interns who haul him out back in the snow and throw him in an oversized hot tub where the interns hold him down with car tires until he drowns.
Thanks to Bush, the pretty, second wife's suicide is averted and she served out the second term as his personal trainer.

That's the basic drift, although I have a hard time believing even car tires could hold Michael Moore under water for any length of time.

Tequila contacted me today to tell me the new TV show Cowboy 101 is showing this week on the Outdoor Channel. You can see RG in action.

"I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing."
—Anais Nin

Monday, March 07, 2005

March 7, 2005
Finished six new art pieces for the Tucson train station shootout this weekend. Really cranking and loose. Finished the last one this morning before I went into work.

Here's a staggering number: according to a blog search-engine (Technorati) 23,000 blogs will be created today, or basically one every three seconds. That's a bunch of blogs, by any stretch of the imagination.

Watched the season premiere of Deadwood last night. Was it just me or was it hard to understand some of the dialogue, especially that stuff with Powers Boothe? I don't think I got a third of what he was ranting about. Loved the sex scenes though. They seemed historically accurate to my memory of them.

Started a new phase on the Spanish driveway. Working now on the entry way, utilizing flat rocks to create a harmony type approach. By the way, in the photo of me in the fringe jacket you can see part of the Spanish driveway.

This morning Joel Klasky and I drove down to the Westin Resort so he could see the Bob Boze Bell suite and we could talk to key people about getting a larger presence in the hotel. Afterwards, Joel and I ate a late breakfast in the hotel at the Nellie Cashman restaurant ($38.50, plus $15 tip for oatmeal and English muffins! And don’t forget decaf coffee)

Stopped by Foothills photo and got eight images developed for the new Wyatt Earp-Frank Stilwell art ($7.80 biz account). Gus has scanned them and is getting them ready to ship down to the Republic tomorrow morning.

At one, Bob and Trish Brink, Carole Glenn and I went over our cash flow. Many timing issues (the more money you make the bigger the cash crunch). I think this is my least favorite aspect of the biz, but thankfully I have some good hands helping me.

"I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning."
—J.B. Priestly

Sunday, March 06, 2005

March 5, 2005
Band job came off without a hitch last night. I had a roadie and he did the distasteful aspects of the gig, mainly the load in and the load out. Melrose did a good job and like most roadies you pay him in beer. Like I said before, it was Hawaiian theme and it was at Rawhide. Someone named us the Don Ho Trio, which was sort of cute except there were four of us.

I had forgotten how much everyone ignores the band. Nobody clapped or even acknowledged us, except Melrose, standing way in the back by the beer wagon, "That drummer ROCKS!!" he kept yelling after every song, especially the slow ones.

We played for about an hour and a half while people were looking at the stuff for the silent auction. We knocked off around seven, and ate dinner (cowboy steak chuckwagon style). While we were eating Tommy's old basketball coach came up and said, "Don't go anywhere, have I ever got something for you,” and he went outside and came back with a big three foot blow-up photo of Thomas Charles driving the lane four years ago. They have had the basketball picture up in their office and were about to get rid of it and Terry, the coach remembered that I was playing this gig and rather than throw it away he gave it to Kathy and I. What a cool deal. That made the whole gig worth it right there.

It was fun to play again but I really started to get tired and had to drink a cup of coffee. "Man, what time is it?" I asked our roadie who said, “It's pushing eight o'clock dad."

Worked on two Wyatt Earp blasting Frank Stilwell in the Tucson train station paintings all day today. Nice effects of nighttime shotgun blast. May be to graphic for the Arizona Republic (mucho blood, smoke, death stare, the usual BBB staples).

"I never said all the things I said."
—Yogi Berra

Friday, March 04, 2005

March 4, 2005
Well, the jam session came off at about two. Gus and I jammed on about thirty songs, of which, between us, we knew about half a song each. We started with "Walk Don't Run" by the Ventures. Gus did a great job on "Me And Bobby McGee." I brought in Coronas for everyone and Melrose was table dancing after half a beer. We had fun. I ended with Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love," to which Brittany quipped, "You're lucky your wife is a therapist."

Too true.

Finished the rough of the Republic View piece before the "concert" and Meghan proofed it, making excellent suggestions and I Emailed it down to my editor Phil Boas. It's about 725 words and they requested 650. Always irritating to receive copy that way, but it's always "an exception" when you send it out too long. Ha.

"We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough."
—Niels Bohr

Thursday, March 03, 2005

March 3, 2005
We've got a reservation snafu going with our tour company. Today I received three Emails from different people who sent in their money and have not received confirmation on their gunfighter tour reservations. If you are going with us and have not received a confirmation, would you contact me please. Plus, we still have room for a couple more. Don't miss out on a very historic road trip. You can tell your children you actually felt the completely gay fringe jacket. Or not. You can click at the top of this page on my personal Email address. Let me know ASAP. Thanks.

According to an Email Charlie Waters sent me, Wal-mart is going to produce their own wine. This is my favorite suggested name for their new private reserve: White Trashfindel

Tom Carpenter Emailed me an interesting take on the rise of BS in our culture. Here’s a taste:
“Why should bullshit be so prevalent now? The obvious answer is the communications revolution. Cable television and the Internet have created an unending demand for information, and there simply isn't enough truth to go around. So, we get bullshit instead. Indeed, there are some troubling signs that the consumer has come to prefer bullshit. In choosing guests to appear on cable news, bookers will almost always choose a glib ignoramus over an expert who can't talk in clipped sentences.”

If you’d like to read the entire piece, here’s the address:

And speaking of which:

"I have a theory that the truth is never told during nine-to-five hours."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

March 2, 2005
Working on an editorial piece for The Arizona Republic. It's on the Tucson Transportation Museum's grand unveiling on March 20. It's tentatively entitled— Blood On The Tracks: Do Vicious Killers Deserve Statues?

The short answer is yes. At least as it applies to legendary Old West icons Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday (whenever we run either of these icons on the cover of True West magazine, our sales go up 15-20%).

This just in from Pennsylvania:
We'd all love to see a shot of that fringe jacket on the web site or in the magazine, minus the hawaiian shirt. We're not all as liberated as you are ya know.
—Dave Valerio, Pittsburgh, PA

Allen Fossenkemper came out at 1:30 and took a bunch of my paintings and Bob McCubbin's photos and covers of the magazine out to the Fountain Hills Museum for a temporary show which will feature history and True West magazine. Allen believes the show has the potential to tour. We'll see.

Around noon I went over to Dave Daiss' house and shot about ten photos of him firing a shotgun into the ground. I am intrigued by what effects all those pellets and smoke make on impact. Dave's neighbors evidently are not. Took film up to Foothills Photo, but forgot to take a shot of Frank Stilwell writhing on the ground (from receiving said pellets in the breadbasket area). Asked John Brinkman's new assistant, Meghan, if she'd come out on the sidewalk and shoot off three or four shots of me contorting in pain on the sidewalk. She did. When we came in with the roll of film I quipped to John, who was talking to a customer, "You don't get this extra service at Walgreen's."

Had lunch with Carole at Tuscan Cafe ($13 cash, I bought, includes tip). Went over financials. The good news is, we have plenty of cash—as long as we don't spend any for the rest of the year.

Had a manager's meeting this morning and Trish told us that on the website right here, there is a 15% increase on hits over the same period last year and she feels things are moving in a very positive direction. Subscriptions, the latest issue and Original Huckleberry t-shirts (thanks Marcus) are best sellers.

"Who are you and how did you get in here?"
"I'm a locksmith. And, I'm a locksmith."

—Leslie Nielsen, Police Squad

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

March 1, 2005
When we hired Gus Walker, AKA The Mapinator, away from The Arizona Republic five years ago, Gus said one of the things that sold him was our laid back attitude. He and fellow R&Ger Kee Rash (yes, that's his real name) speculated that we probably "drank beer all day and jammed on guitars." This struck me as quite funny when Gus admitted this not long after he came to work here, and I always intended to someday blow his mind and actually pay off that fantasy.

So, finally, in yesterday's staff meeting, I informed Gus that he and I would be jamming on Friday and that I was bringing in my drums and the beer. Should be fun, fun, fun, til' my daddy takes the Pinto away.

By the way, Gus worked at the Republic for 38 years before coming to work here.

Speaking of my daddy, I went home for lunch today and met Joe Y. and JD, both neighbors and tractor buffs. They came over to start my Grandpa's classic Series D 1940 John Deere. As Joe coaxed the ancient farm horse to life he confessed to me he only has five tractors. "They gotta be 50 years old," Joe said, giving me his buying criteria, "have a hand clutch and two cylinders." He was quick to add, "I'm not a nut like some of these guys in the club. Ol' Hank's got 50 tractors and ain't one that even looks good."

Everytime I hear the throbbing putt-putt of that John Deere it takes me back to Carl Marvin Bell's farm hidden behind Swenson’s grove on the rolling corn fields north of Thompson, Iowa.

Interesting article in the new New Yorker: “Dirty Dancing: The rise and fall of American striptease.” The premise is that sleazy bump and grind is now seen as "passe as waist cinches, white kid gloves, and Buddy Holly’s 'Peggy Sue.'" The author claims the strip tease was "killed off by the general pornification of society which began to affect American culture in the nineteen-sixties." Too true. Where the hell is all this porn going to take us? My hunch is that it will wilt and go underground again, but when? It sure has stayed hard for a very long time (If your erection lasts more than four days, call your doctor).

Started a big, bold Doc Holliday painting. The good dentist has his hand in his coat reaching for steel. His one eye, just visible below his wide, gray hat brim looks demonic and menacing. Got a good underpainting blocked in by about 2:30, then came back to the office.

Everyone quite positive. We are working on new systems and it's quite invigorating. By the way, the William Macey character in Fargo is Jerry Luundergard. How Midwestern perfect is that?

"The reason that I made friends with the wind—with reality—is that I discovered I didn't have a choice."
—Byron Katie