June 7, 2005
Kathy's birthday. She's 55. Just a baby. Nice talking to her this morning. We're going for a birthday treat to Taco Villa on Friday. The kids are coming.
Got a new poll up. Do you believe the upcoming gay western Brokeback Mountain will be successful? Cast your vote here.
Worked on John Ringo copy all day. Had great reference from Steve Gatto's new book on Ringo. The evolution of this odd dude, John Ringo, who probably commited suicide, into one of the icons of the West is quite amazing. It was in the 1950s when his name morphed almost magically into Johnny Ringo (the historical Ringo was always John), culminating with the Lorne Greene hit “talking” song in 1964. Strange to say the least.
By the way, I started the showdown painting of Doc Holliday facing off with John Ringo on Allen Street and as the painting developed I started to make mud. Not painting mud, which I'm very good at, but rain mud, as in a muddy street. For some reason this just seemed right. Then, being the history nut I am, I worried that this weather wouldn’t be accurate to the actual event and I wondered if it was cold. Well, I knew it was January, but other than that I didn't know. Anyway, I couldn’t help it and kept painting mud and of course the next thing you know it's a cloudy sky. This morning, I held my breath and looked up Parsons' diary entry for that day, and here it is:
January 17, 1882
Snow yesterday. Light fall. Much blood in the air this afternoon. Ringo and Doc Holliday came nearly having it with pistols and Ben Maynard and Rickabaugh later tried to kick each other’s lungs out. Bad time expected with the cowboy leader [Ringo] and [Doc Holliday]. I passed both not knowing blood was up. One with hand in breast pocket and the other probably ready. Earps just beyond. Crowded street and looked like another battle. Police vigilant for once and both disarmed.
Perfect. Snow yesterday, mud today.
Here’s a diatribe from Mark Boardman responding to my claim that "Desperado" by the Eagles is the best outlaw song, ever, bar none:
"You've been out in the AZ sun too long. Or riding with Sonny Barger into a
strong headwind. Or maybe a javelina attacked your brain.
"Desperado? The best Old West outlaw-rock 'n' roll song? You've gotta stop
"Yes, I like the tune and the record it came from. It's pretty good for a wimpy-
assed, California pap band that hasn't come up with a new record in...how many
years? Cripe, in your old age you must be listening to the soft rock stations,
the middle of the road for our times, while gently rocking in that chair on the
front porch of True West.
"The best Old West outlaw-rock 'n' roll song is and was 'I Fought the Law' by the Bobby Fuller Four. That pounding drum beat kicks things off, followed by the furious guitar lines and the plaintive vocals. No virtuoso solos--the guitar break is hard chord strumming that most anybody can do. Simple, clean lyrics about 'robbin' people with a six-gun,' breakin' rocks in the hot sun,' and a guy who is missing his baby. Everything speaks of youthful rebellion, taking on The Man, and losing in a blaze of glory--and all in just over 2 minutes. This is a song you listen to in the car, that pushes you to hit the accelerator and speed down the highway with the wind in your face and the blood pumping hard through your veins.
"And unlike the Eagles, who totter on through their older years, playing all the hits to balding boomers who can't really remember the '70s, Bobby Fuller had the good sense to die young (and mysteriously). That's rock and roll.
"C'mon, brother. It's time to get real about this thing. Let your air guitar lead you. 'I Fought the Law' is pure rock for the outlaw heart, with a good beat that you can dance to and anybody who disagrees will have to meet me in the street for some leather slappin'."
—Mark "Outlaw" Boardman
I got a call from a dentist yesterday who told me he has an idea for a tv show. He said he wants to have a camera crew follow him on horseback on trails up into the mountains where most people have never been. He asked me if I knew who might buy a show like that and I said, "Nobody I know." He laughed and asked why and I said, "Well, what’s the story? Why are you riding?" He told me he looks good on his horse and the trails are pretty and wasn’t that enough? "Well," I told him, "you better have cancer and it’s your last ride, or you’re riding to find a lost treasure, or to kill the last remaining Graham Mountain squirrel. Something. You've got to have narrative." He seemed mildly shocked at this, like it had never occurred to him that millions wouldn’t tune in to watch him ride his horse. And it was at this moment that I realized what I must sound like sometimes at staff meetings.
"In every company, people are going to make fun of the boss; it’s just that in the good companies, it happens when the boss is around."
—Old Vaquero Saying
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