Wednesday, May 11, 2005

May 11, 2005
I woke up at 3:30 mulling my current situation with the magazine. So many options and problems and opportunities. So many aspects of the magazine biz are fluid and changing (even while I’m in bed!). Someone in the biz told me it's kind of like changing a tire on a car, only the car is going forty miles an hour! Ha.

At 8:30 this morning I drove out to John Beckett's home-studio to photograph the real Honkytonk Sue. Jackie King Ellis is down from Durango and we shot her out by John's rounding pen. She looked great. While we shot, a dozen earth movers were scraping a distant ridge to make way for some 400 new homes for Anthem. The ground all around here is literally teeming with the hiss of real estate tremors and obscene offers. Speaking of which, Kathy called me and wants to sell our house for [an obscene amount], move into a condo and relax. I told her I'd think about it. I imagine if we did actually sell the first thing the buyers would do is rip out my Spanish driveway.

The Irish host of the BBC show I taped in Tombstone last Friday once toured with Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks. This is the band that ended up to be The Band, as in Bob Dylan's Band. When we were having lunch in Big Nose Kate's a guy came up and recognized him from the "telley." Fun talking to Jerry between takes on Allen Street. When I asked him what the biggest culture shock is in America, he said, "You get up too bloody early!" I guess they think eight is the crack of dawn over there.

After the taping, the director, Moore Sinnerton, asked me if I'd pick up a rear seat that they left in Tucson at their hotel. This simple task produced the following two Emails:

Last Friday I was in Tombstone filming with the BBC. When we got done the director asked me if I would stop in Tucson and pick up a rear bench seat they had stored at your hotel. I told him I'd be glad to, as long as I had a contact person at the hotel so I wouldn't get held up there.

He gave me your name. When we got to Tucson at 4:30, I couldn't resist grabbing dinner at one of my favorite Mexican food places, El Charro, and so that put us behind and we arrived at Inn Suites at about 5:30. The young woman at the front desk informed me that you had already left. When I asked if she could help me find the seat she got very defensive and said, "Sir, he's not here and we have no record of anything like this being here."

There were people behind me, but I just wanted her to check because I knew it had to be there. She begrudgingly called you and left a message. Realizing I would have to wait until you came back to work, or hell froze over, I asked her if there was anywhere else she could check. Her attitude was, "Sir, if it's not in luggage, we have no record of it." At this point she apparently went in the back and hid.

Enter Erik. This young man came out and asked me politely if he could help me. I told him about the missing seat. He immediately called "Banquet" and asked. They didn't have it. Erik was not deterred. He said, and I quote, "Let me try one other place." And he called "Maintenance." They had it.

Wow! Thankyou Erik! Someone on the premises who actually can think outside the box and be pro-active, even though it's probably "technically" not his job.

As a business owner myself (True West magazine at I would want to know when someone on my staff turned around a negative situation. Erik actually made me feel good about Inn Suites.

As for the curt, unhelpful young lady, someone needs to talk to her. I would recommend Erik.


Bob Boze Bell
Executive Editor, True West magazine

This morning I got this reply from Steve:

“Thanks so much for your input, I find this to be very helpful. Erik is one of our exemplarily employees and we are well aware of this, he has saved the day numerous times. I'm not making excuses for our Gal at the front desk, but I'm partly to blame for what happened, Moore Sinnerton asked me to have the seat up front for you however; we had a Tour group coming in at the time and our maintenance guy felt it would be in the way, I assumed he let the front desk know about it, here was my mistake. I do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.”

This just in from Tom Carpenter in Flag:
The comedian Mark Hedberg died last month, age 37. Here's a quote of his I
thought you might enjoy: "I had a stick of Carefree gum, but it didn't
work. I felt pretty good while I was blowing that bubble, but as soon as
the gum lost its flavor, I was back to pondering my mortality."

"The schools and university curricula today are stuffed with therapy -- drug counseling, AIDS warnings, self-improvement advice, sex education, women's/gay/Chicano/African-American/ Asian/peace/urban/environmental/leisure studies. These are all well-meaning and nice -isms and -ologies that once would have been seen as either non-academic or left to the individual, family or community. But in the zero-sum game of daily instruction, something else was given up -- too often knowledge of the past."
—Victor Davis Hanson

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