Friday, July 29, 2005

July 29, 2005
I finished four paintings, two this afternoon, as we come down to the wire on the book. Writing, rewriting, wrestling with Meghan over dangling participles and parenthetical mumbo jumbo. The goood new is, it gets better as we go along. Unfortunately, as the holes appear I want to plug them with new illustrations, ten to be exact. Not going to have time to do that many. The absolute, drop dead deadline is Tuesday and I’m staying down at the Westin Hotel this weekend for our 26th wedding anniversary and I have a wife who will kick my patootie if I bring work to the Bob Boze Bell suite. Somehow I’ll make it happen, perhaps Sunday night?

Had a meeting with Trish and Bob Brink this morning to go over ways to make the art show and premiere of the book a success. They have great ideas and I’m so thankful they are on my team.

Samantha and Brittany have already sold 33 Crown books to the Maniacs via phone. Amazing. We are on a roll. Maniacs call 888-687-1881 to preorder your copy now or email Sam at!

Went to the dentist yesterday and got my teeth belt sanded. ($115, need better insurance, or teeth).

I solicited ideas on how to save Tombstone and we’ve gotten some great comments. The funniest one, so far, is from author and friend Leon Metz, who writes:

"Historians who write another dreary book on the Gunfight at the OK Corral, aren't doing the city any favors. Who cares any longer? Been there, done that! The continuous arguments about who shot who are silly and unproductive."

Thanks Leon. I may put that as a blurb on my new book. Ha. Actually another item in Leon’s suggestions gave us a great cover blurb. More on that later.

"If your happiness depends on what somebody else says about you, I guess you do have a problem."
—Richard Bach

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

July 27, 2005
We took Cristina (I’ve been spelling it wrong. There is no H) and Tomas out to dinner last night at Tonto. Very nice time and meal. Sat outside on the covered patio. Big raintclouds and dramatic sunset. Fun. ($179 house account). Tom is taking her to the airport. She flies out to Spain at two. We miss her already.

Yesterday, I had Tomcat pose for me as a stage robber. It was hot so I let him put on a frock coat, gunbelt, hat, aiming a Winchester down a hill. Cristina was greatly amused as we went out on the edge of our land and I sketched him aiming at a non-existent stagecoach. Of course, he had on shorts and flip flops, so he looked a tad goofy (I’ll paint in the boots and pants. I was interested in the folds in the jacket and how the rifle would look against his shoulder). Got some good sketches and transferred them to a big painting. And speaking of which. . .

Whenever I get stuck on a passage (that anatomical pose is not right. Must grab my ‘73 Winchester and put it together with a free model), I sometimes will do little studies for future work, utilizing scrap, or leftover watercolor paper. After getting stuck on a street scene depicting the Grand Hotel, I put it aside and sloshed in a very small study of a nighttime streetscape behind Hatch’s Pool Hall. I didn’t even care how the figures looked, it was the color scheme I was after. I just swished everything in haphazardly. Got some great purples and blue-greens going in the building shadows and mushed it together, wet into wet. After about three minutes I thought to myself, “Not bad, now I need to go get a big 300# watercolor sheet and apply the things I’ve accomplished in this little study in the big painting, which is going to be dynamic and spectacular!”

Of course the big painting, “Alley Snakes #1” is muy ambitious and took me about three hours to execute. And I was pretty proud of it. But last night, as I was going to throw away the study, I decided to add some more paint to it just for the fun of it. Long story short, I brought it in this morning and Gus scanned it and we sandwiched it in the book layout, above the Morgan playing pool scene (this new combo will appear in the book, but not the magazine) and it looks magnificent. Very cinematic. Amazing. A dashed off simple study trumps the serious one. Perhaps there's a moral in here.

“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness and truth.”
—Leo Tolstoy

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

July 26, 2005
Spent all yesterday afternoon painting Tombstone snakes. Heavily influenced by Sergio Leone, with Indian Charley in extreme close-up and the other snakes in the alley slithering into position behind Hatch’s Pool Hall. Excellent nighttime effects. Can’t believe I did it. Unfortunately, I’m still hanging out on Dodge City Gang (about 85% done) and Doc Vs. Ringo (about 55% done). Worked until about nine last night. Fried, but a good fried.

Finishing a book is like moving. You make about six trips and you think, "Man, we’re almost done. We only have the closets left. This wasn't so bad." And then you make a closet load, and you load out, and you load out and it’s like things in the closet are reproducing (I think this is a classic Dave Barry column). The damn book won’t die! We keep going thru and fixing stuff and more stuff keeps falling out. Happens every time.

This is Christina’s last night in the States. We are taking her to Tonto Bar & Grill tonight for dinner. We have really enjoyed having her around. On Sunday, Deena and Ursula came out for a salmon dinner and afterwards I dug out a video of our family at Panguitch Lake in July of 1995 (exactly ten years ago). Of course, Christina and Tomas were just there and rented a boat and cruised around the lake, and there on the video is Tommy at 12 years old, with braces and a pony tail, doing the same thing, only in a smaller body. Tom commented he thought they rented the same boat.

Also on the tape was my 30th high school reunion. I captured Charlie and Linda Waters coming up the walk to the Elks Hall in Kingman (Chas had never been to a reunion). Tons of other classmates. It was funny watching the tape because we are having our 40th in about three weeks and it was painfully obvious on the video that a couple of my female classmates really dislike me. You could see it in their eyes plain as day (I held the camera and walked around obnoxiously talking but keeping the video going). Kind of painful. So high school. Ha.

"Show biz is high school with money."
—Martin Mull

Monday, July 25, 2005

July 25, 2005
Hanging out all over the place. Double background, super short posting today. No time for tidbits or stories. Here’s the Cliff Notes version of the last three days:

• Kids came back from road trip. No apparent fights or squabbling. Amazing. They had fun.

• I grabbed a rattlesnake by the neck several days ago, and threw him over the fence. (Actually I had a neck grabber deal that our old neighbor Larry Steinegger made, so it wasn’t quite as brave, or foolish as it sounds.)

• Spent all day Sunday on Nekkid Fandango painting. Not good. Really sucks, in fact. A total waste of time.

• Proofs got out on Friday. Waiting to hear back.

• My editor, Meghan, is a total taskmaster. Here is a list of today’s edits she wants:

p. 28 The occupation of John H. Riley was going to be added to his quote
You also need the first name of Lt. Butler.

p. 30, Death by Shakespeare gunfight: you were going to supply Stiles’ first name. Make sure the new copy reads right with the addition of the outlaws’ names into the copy. Also approve the Idle Speculation sidebar (the “Some believe Leonard and King…. no longer works with the addition into the story, so it has been deleted).

P. 40 Add who E.M. Peel is to the gunfight (miner, etc.)

p. 50 Caption missing for Vogan’s Pin Alley

p. 51 Decide if going to keep “Gambler’s War” entry in there. If not, it’s probably best to continue the gambling theme due to the art that
is currently in there.

p. 57 No caption for lesbian illustration

“good manners and good was” [Parsons may have left out a word here] This is my fix as the journal by Bailey does write it out this way.

Gus says you may have copies of Parsons’ entry from someone else, who may have recorded it down correctly.

p. 74 Only story (along with Leonard & Head) that does not have
cow-boys hyphenated (so have hyphenated them)

p. 88 I didn’t see any change made to O.K. Corral copy and I believe
you said you had wanted to change some things about the “new ordinance”

p. 42 Please put the newspaper that wrote the report (at the end of the

p. 43 This same photo of Charleston is used in our Charleston layout.
Just wanted to make sure this is intentional.

p. 58 Cut out all the copy on bottom. Replace with ???

p. 59 Tombstone lifestyle page?

p. 82 Clayton is a local??? (needs some identifier)

p. 90 Is new end for Spicer caption correct? See if layout works. Had

to rearrange a bit because captions were on top of each other for
Spicer and Behan.

p. 93 I took out “former Oriental head man” as not necessary and interrupts story. Please put back in if you feel it is necessary

Changed last part of caption related to Behan, so do not repeat too much in what is said in the other caption.

p. 94 No aftermath is here

Idle Speculation does not connect to gunfight

State Spicer hearing ends November 29, but in the Spicer Hearing
story, your date is November 30

p. 104-105 Does not appear to be done. What is the story supposed to be?

p. 109 Got rid of “One for Morg!” sidebar beneath the photo as it repeats, verbatim, what is in the Eyewitness sidebar.

p. 114 Separated autopsy sidebar from gunfight

p. 116 Does not state where Wyatt goes (only where Holliday goes)

p. 117 two different spellings: Tavoli and Tivoli (since Tivoli was used most, I substituted that. Please change ALL if it is Tavoli)

p. 124-128 Please see me. Many questions here. Many missing captions,


"I would have written a shorter letter, but I didn't have the time."
—Mark Twain

Friday, July 22, 2005

July 22, 2005
Came into the office at seven. Had a very successful day. Gus, Robert Ray, Meghan and I wailed on CGII pages, hammering away at the loose ends and irritating holes and transitions. I rewrote two of the gunfights (Zwing Hunt and Billy Breakenridge; and the final Aftermath). Gus finished his Earp Exodus map and we put that in place. I finished two posse pictures last night and we put those into their allotted slots. Very nice.

We are printing out three page proof editions for our editors to look at this weekend.

In the meantime, this morning we got our first advance copy of the new Crown book, True Tales and Amazing Legends of the Old West. from the editors of True West magazine. And it is a thing of beauty. Congrats to Bart Bull, James Fitsgerald, Dan Buck and Anne Meadows, Leo Banks, Johnny Boggs, Gary Roberts, Larry Johns, Linda Wommack, Neil Carmony, Larry K. Brown, Tom Carpenter, Joseph Rosa, John Haradon, Downs Mathews, Mike Coppock, RG Robertson, Meghan Saar, Jana Bommersbach, Candy Moulton, and our entire design team, Dan Harshberger, Gus Walker, Abby Pearson and Robert Ray. They all did a fine job.

More smoke this morning. It was quite oppressive with the air a kind of gun metal gray and you could taste the embers. Eerily, there are no reported fires in our neighborhood. Still not sure exactly what’s causing it. Strange to say the least.

I haven’t heard from the road trip kids. They should be somewhere on the north rim of the canyon. Perhaps they’re out of cell phone range, or they’re tired of talking to me.

As you may have heard, Tombstone is on the verge of losing its National Historic Landmark status because "Tombstone’s historic integrity has declined to become a blend of authentic history and fake Hollywood flair," federal and state officials claim. Well, what should be done? We have some ideas on what exactly would improve the place, but we want to hear from you. If you’ve been to Tombstone lately, what’s wrong with the place, and what would you do to improve it? We want to hear from you. Click here to contact me and give me your best ideas and thoughts on how to fix Tombstone. We may use your comments in the article. Thanks.

"Being extremely honest with oneself is a good exercise."
—Sigmund Freud

Thursday, July 21, 2005

July 21, 2005
Robert Ray got peeved this morning about the looming deadline on CGII. Feels rushed. Wants to do a good job. Feels hung out to dry by tardy artist types (that would be me). I called Theresa at Tri Star and got an extension for us. Takes a bit of pressure off. Good cooperation all around.

Finished and tweaked Florentino Cruz and Birdcage copy. Meghan had suggestions on Allen Street map. Hammered those changes. Got Gus lined out on one more map of the Earp exodus. It’s quite confusing all the places Wyatt’s Vendetta posse goes to and blows through, and I asked him to give us a blow by blow, day by day map quest of their itinerary.

And speaking of itinerary, Tomcat asked me to put together a personal itinerary for his trip with Christina. Here it is en toto:

The Christina Southwestern USA Extravaganza Tour

Day One: Flag to Vegas
• West of Ashfork on I-40 take the Old Route 66 turn-off at milepost 139. You are now travelling on the longest stretch of existing Route 66 highway left in the country. Billed as The Mother Road, the original Route 66 went from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. In the 1950s it was packed with tourists heading to California, but in our family we were going eastbound, from Kingman, like Lutheran lemmings swimming upstream, on our way to Iowa so we could eat five times a day and talk about crops.

• Seligman, home of the classic Sno-Cap drive-in. It’s worth stopping and getting a milkshake here. The signs inside are so awful they are funny and if Juan Delgadio is still alive (he is one of the founders) he will insult you and call you names (I’m not making this up).

• Peach Springs: it was here in 1947 that my father ran a Whiting Brothers gas station on the west end of town. When I was three, I became fascinated by a washing machine wringer and put my hand in it when my mother wasn’t looking. The wringer ate my arm all the way up to the elbow where it ground on the meat there until my arm broke the machine. My father, Tommy’s grandpa, had to put me in a car and drive to Kingman to the nearest doctor. Dr. Arnold had to graft skin off my butt to put on my elbow. To this day I can fart out of my arm (not really, but I threaten to do it whenever I’m wearing a short sleeved shirt).

• Valentine: Tommy’s grandmother, Bobbie Guess Bell Cady, worked in the big red school house on your right. We lived in Kingman and she drove up here every day when I was just a small kid.

• Hackberry: Tommy’s great, great, great grandmother is buried in the cemetery here. Her name was Dolce Guess and she died about 1912. The cemetery is over on the left side of the road, about a half mile away, next to a grammar school, very small. You should be able to still see it.

• The Hackberry bridge: This bridge was built on a curve, which is very unusual for a bridge. Since the road was narrow and only two-lane, many people hit head-on here and died. The highway department put up crosses for each person that died, and they finally had to stop doing it at about #13, because there were too many, and it was too distracting and more people were killed looking at the crosses and taking their eyes off the road and hitting head-on.

• The Kingman Airport: this was built during World War II as a training base for US fighter plane pilots. Allen P. Bell (known as “Poppy” to T. Charles) was drafted into the Army Air Corp and sent to this base on his twenty-first birthday. When he got off the troop train, in downtown Kingman, he allegedly said, "I’ll never come back to this hell hole!" There were 10,000 GIs stationed at this base and at that time Kingman only had about 3,000 people and only about 300 available females of dating age. Rancher and cowboy Bob Guess had five daughters who lived in Kingman. Bobbie Guess was one of them. She could have her pick of 10,000 young, handsome fly boys. She dated Captains and fighter pilots but she picked a buck private from Thompson, Iowa named Allen Bell. When they met at a dance, he said, "What’s your name?" and she answered, "Guess,” and he said, "Hell, I don’t know, Gertrude?" Her name was Bobbie Guess and they married in 1945.

• Kingman, Arizona: the town where I grew up and graduated from high school in 1965. Poppy, Tommy’s beloved grandpa is buried at the Mountain View Cemetery on Stockton Hill Road. Take the Stockton Hill exit and go into the Wal-Mart, or K-Mart and buy a toy car. Get back in the Escape and take it south of the free-way on Stockton Hill Road. About a mile or so down you’ll come to the Mountain View Cemetery on the right, pull in the main gate. Poppy’s grave is in the southeast corner, about three rows from the street. It says, "He loved cars" on the flat headstone. Put the model car on the gravestone, say a prayer for Poppy and tell him what the hell you’re doing in this godforsaken part of the country with such a good looking girl. He’ll get a laugh out of that, and you’ll feel good for visiting him. He always really liked Tommy because secretly, I think Tommy reminded my father of when he was young.

• So-Hi Estates: where Poppy lived his last years. Tommy and Deena visited here many times. It’s not necessary to stop, but be sure to wave.

• Chloride: rip-roaring mining town from the early 1900s. It has been featured in several movies including "The Badlanders" with Alan Ladd, and a biker movie starring Jack Nicholson.

• Dolan Springs turnoff: Tommy’s cowboy cousins, Craig Hamilton, and his dad Billy Hamilton, have a ranch out here and Tommy and Deena spent one summer playing cowboy and scuba diving at Lake Mohave (over those mountains to your left).

• Hoover Dam: one of the world’s tallest dams, built in the 1930s during the American Depression when everyone was out of work. The legend that several workers fell to their deaths in the concrete forms as they were setting up, and their bodies are still in there, is not true. I believed this urban myth growing up and told many people. You’re welcome to start telling the story again.

• Boulder City: this is the town built for the people building the dam. Very pretty oasis in the middle of some of the most rugged, forboding land on the entire North American continent.

• Las Vegas: everything you’ve heard about this town is true and it’s even worse. Vegas is what Kingman would look like if a bunch of hillbillys inherited $13 billion dollars and said, "Hey, let’s build something groovy." You want to get to the "Strip" and park somewhere and walk down the area from about Caesar’s Palace out to Excalibur. Everyone is walking in this area. It’s like a huge open air mall, and the newest area where the Wynn Hotel is (you need to go inside it’s supposed to be decadent beyond belief!). Check out a cheap show in one of the lounges, and then get out ot town ASAP.

• Colorado City: on the way to Saint George, this area is called the strip because technically it’s a part of Mohave County (Kingman is the county seat), but it’s so isolated that it’s become a haven for polygamists (religious nuts with multiple wives). Many Mormon men here have 20 or 30 wives and you can see them walking along like dutiful autowomen, shopping for their man. A recent raid and indictments may have cooled their ardour, but look out for an extra wife for Andy. I know he’d like it if you brought one home for him.

• The Mountain Meadows Massacre: this is a sad, sad, place where a bunch of Mormons massacred a group of Missourians on a wagon train in the 1850s. They killed everyone but some little kids who they then used as servants. The kids would see other women wearing their mother’s dress, etc. You don’t want to go there, but just be aware that this is the kind of country you are travelling through. Kind of creepy, no? No wonder Tomcat is an agnostic!

• Zion Park: a stunning park with magnificent peaks and vistas. Be sure to drive up in there and take in the view.

• Panguitch Lake: T. Boy has the angle on a cabin. Very fun place to camp or stay.

• Panguitch, the town: little Mormon town, very pretty. John D. Lee is buried here. He is the only one executed for the Mountain Meadows Massacre (many beleive the church sold him out). He is the namesake for Lee’s Ferry also, which you may see when you leave the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

• Kanab: many movies were filmed up here, including “Maverick” starring Mel Gibson. Pretty country.

• The North Rim: 4.5 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year, but only about 10% go to the north rim. It’s way less crowded and the view is still spectacular. I want a full report since I’ve never been there.

• After leaving the North Rim, take 89 east to Marble Canyon (you’ll see the turnoff to Lee’s Ferry and you’ll turn to Tommy and say, “See that’s the guy they killed for the Mountain Meadows Massacre”).

• If you want to see Marble Canyon Dam you’ll need to backtrack back to Page. That is up to you. If you do go back to Page to see the dam, and you are going on to Kayenta and Monument Valley, I would take 98 over to Kayenta. From Kayenta you take163 up to Monument Valley. This is the setting for many Westerns including “Once Upon A Time In The West” where Sergio Leone cut between Spain and here. Kind of bizarre when you think about it, but in the movie you don’t even flinch at the continental divide.

• From Monument Valley take the cuttoff to Many Farms (it’s about ten miles out of town, going northeast). We’re now going to Chinle at the mouth of Canyon de Chelly. This is where Kit Carson rounded up the Navajos and sent them on their "Long Walk" to Fort Sumner, New Mexico. That experiment failed miserably, so after about ten years they were allowed to walk home and they’ve been here ever since. Don’t expect to see a statue to Kit out here. In fact, don’t even mention his name while you’re here. If it’s late and you need a place to stay, the Thunderbird Lodge is the best. Nice little cafeteria, etc.

• From Canyon de Chelly, got south to I-40 and take it towards Holbrook, but be sure to take the Petrified Forest cutoff and take it south through this amazing phenomenon. Don’t steal any of the petrified wood as it brings a curse on your family.

• In Winslow: take the business detour and stop downtown at the corner. You know, the Eagles song where they sing, "I’m standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl my lord in a flat bed Ford slowin’t down to take a look at me." They have a statue to the dude, on the corner (imagine that?) and it’s so bad, you need to stop and take a picture for your homeys back in Spain.

• That’s it! It’s been an incredible trip. You’ve seen some spectacular country, learned a thing or two about a wacky country and the boy who drove you through it. Namastay.

"The road is the only thing."
—a famous author when asked if it was the road getting there or arriving at succes that was more fulfilling?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

July 20, 2005
I woke up at two in the morning mulling my bad painting. Finally got up at 2:30 and went out to the studio and painted for about two hours. Sort of saved the Milt Joyce confrontation, although it’s not what I originally wanted. Also worked on the Doc vs. Ringo painting. Got some decent passages going on that ambitious sucker.

Went back to bed at about five. Got up at six. Took the dogs for a bike ride. Swam 10 laps. Finished the Papago Station painting.

Drove into work at 8:50, picked up Carole at Tobias Motors (she dropped her car off for repairs). Got into the office at nine. Worked on hangout copy. Meghan added a nice sidebar to the Tombstone whore’s page (balancing it out with legitimate acts of dancers and performers. I had leaned too heavily on the soiled doves angle—like a typical horndog male—and she gave it some credibility).

Kingman Comments:
"What do you mean, good luck on good food in Kingman? What about that great Mexican restaurant down the street from the old hotel across from the railroad tracks? Damn, now I can't remember the name of either the hotel or the restaurant. Wait, Google...

"Hotel Brunswick. The place was maybe a block or so from the hotel. And I don't know if they're always like that, but that night the food was divine (no pun intended on famous Kingman residents).

"More Google, this time Google Local, yields...El Palacio. Yep, that was it. 401 E. Andy Devine.

"And suddenly it occurs to me, y'know, modern life ain't so bad."
—Emma Bull

Too funny, and too true. Yes, Emma I didn’t recommend El Palacio because our Spanish chica doesn’t like Mexican food. Too spicy. Tomcat warned me that most Spaniards are not fans of Mexican food and prefer a more bland diet. Hard to believe, but true, at least with our guest.

Went to lunch with the legendary Dee Dee Wood (choreographer for Mary Poppins, Beaches, oodles more, she's been on the cover of Life mag, etc. is a Cave Creek legend). She took me to lunch at Cave Creek Roadhouse and proceeded to rave about the latest issue of True West (History of Western Wear). I couldn’t get her to stop. She really thinks we have finally broadened out to be a more full-service magazine appealing to true Westerners and not just history nuts, like me and my pards. Needless to say it was music to my ears. I had the chicken caesar salad and an iced tea.

Went home at about one and took a short nap, then took Kathy up to her office (we have only one car because Tomas is on that Spanish road trip with her car).

Got back into the office and helped Gus tweak and finesse several more spreads. They are really starting to fall now. Feels good. Need to paint tonight.

Met with Mike Melrose about getting along with people. He's doing better, but he still pisses people off. Mainly me. He seemed receptive although he did flip me off when he left my office.

"To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child."
—Marcus Cicero

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

July 19, 2005
So far, eight people have died because of the heat here in Arizona. Supposed to be 116 in Phoenix today. But when I get to feeling sorry for myself I always think, Hey, I could be in Needles, California where it's 125 degrees, with Colorado River humidity thrown in to boot.

A correction on the Sandra Bullock marriage deal:
"Jesse James was born in 1847. That would make him 157 years old, not 128."

I blocked in the copy for the Spicer hearing today and also rewrote the Lang Ranch spread. Went home for lunch and started the Milt Joyce confrontation with the Earps painting. Worked on it for about five hours. I think I ruined it! Damn! Damn! Flam! I just hate it when I overwork stuff. I want it to be bold and loose, but too much bold deadens everything. And I’ve got dead going on everywhere. Instead of bringing it in to be scanned I left it at home so I can look at it tonight and determine if I should redo it, or just live with it. Tough choice (see below)

Got a call from Tomcat who’s one the road with Christina. They’re doing a big roadtrip to see Old Route 66, Kingman, Vegas, North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Colorado City (Polygamy Central!), Zion, Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, Painted Desert and Meteor Crater. Tommy called me as they came into Kingman and asked where was a good place to eat, and I told him "Good luck." Actually, I sent him downtown to the Kingman Deli. Later, in Vegas he called me and asked me to Google cheap hotels. The Sahara has rooms starting at $59 (Isn’t Google amazing? What did we do before?).

Came back to the office at 4:30. Meghan is working hard on the editing of CGII. Lots of questions and corrections. Robert Ray warned me I need to get my part of the book done as quickly as possible so he can have a week to scale images, etc. My deadline is a week from tomorrow. Basically a week to finish 12 images and plug seven copy holes. My art wish list includes:

• Doc & Ringo Standoff (half done, big sucker)
• The Earp Posse (making dust on the road to Charleston)
• The Maxey City Shootout (Cow-boy Dick Lloyd rides into a Saloon and a poker game for the last time)
• Nekkid Fandango (Curly Bill forces dancers to strip nude and keep on dancing)
• Curly Bill’s Dinnertime Nap (Bill told everyone in a restaurant to not leave as he passed out in his plate. Everyone was afraid to move, thinking he was faking it as an excuse to shoot them. Eventually, he woke up, paid and left)
• Cow-boys treeing town (half done)
• Birdcage Opening Night (Locals dancing up a storm with hanky panky going on up in the private boxes)
• The Dodge City Gang (group shot of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Luke Short and Doc Holliday standing behind a faro table in the Oriental).
• Gas Light Shooters (Tucson cow-boys shooting in the air as the gas lights are turned on for the first time on March 18, 1881)
• Finish Papago Station painting (all but done)
• Rattlesnake coiled to strike (goes with George Parsons diary entries about all the flies, and pestilence in Tombstone)
• Virgil, Allie, Wyatt, Warren, Texas Jack, Doc, and Turkey Creek Johnson on train, armed to the teeth, looking glum. Other passengers are wary. Who are these odd ducks?
• Hume being relieved of his pearl handled pistols in a stage robbery

Of course I’m scared I’m going to do crappy art because I’m rushed (I’ve only had a year to do this).

"Being scared can keep a man from getting killed, and often makes a better
fighter of him."

—Louis L'Amour

Monday, July 18, 2005

July 18, 2005
This just in: actress Sandra Bullock has married Jesse James. Bullock, 40 and James, 128, exchanged vows Saturday in a cemetery in southwestern Missouri. No, wait. She married Jesse James the biker guy who has the reality show. Dammit! I got real excited there for a minute.

I think the smoke we are smelling in the evenings is probably monsoon winds kicking up the ash from the expired Cave Creek Complex fire and blowing it in our faces. Just a theory. No more fires have been reported in our area.

Christina and Tomcat went to Blockbuster yesterday and got a Spanish movie: The Sea Inside. Of course it was in Spanish with English subtitles and she appreciated that because she could enjoy it and not have to think so hard. Besides, we don’t like dubbed in our house. Very sad movie, about euthanasia. The Spanish seem to like going for more serious subjects than Americans (Fantastic Four!). Enjoyed it though. We all cried and then went to Dairy Queen.

Regarding Tomcat and Christina being trapped in Mexico:
"So next time I am hung up in a Mexican Jail, I can call you and you will send Lawyers, Guns and Money or whatever to get me home. Excellent"
—Jim Ed

Finished the OK Corral opium scene this morning. Excellent effects on curling smoke and the dusty street scene where the body was found. Unfortunately, I spent way too long on it and now I’m behind bigtime. Also need to finish the writing, which is hanging out also.

"Writing is no trouble: you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity itself—it is the occurring which is difficult."
—Stephen Leacock

Sunday, July 17, 2005

July 17, 2005
Another hot one. Supposed to hit 115 in Phoenix. Smells like smoke outside (second night in a row). Big winds right now (5:22 PM). We’re in our monsoon season. Lots of dust and lightning, sometimes, but rarely, a storm.

The wayfaring wanderers are back home. I made them all pancakes this morning. Lots of San Diego stories. Tomcat said everywhere they went the guys were hooting and clapping and coming on to Christina. The waitress at Old Town San Diego thought she was a famous Mexican singer. One day they were walking on the boardwalk at Mission Beach and these macho guys came right up to them and said, “Hey Dudes,” acknowledging the Tomcat and Andy, then leering at Christina (she’s holding T’s hand!) the guys said, “Oh, Baby!” I asked if this was as rude as it sounds and Thomas replied, "Well, yes, but me and Andy aren’t that big." Ha. Too honest. It sure seems thuggish to me, but then I’m an old man.

Here’s a photo of the Tomcat and Christina (Yes, that’s the Spanish driveway. Ironic, no?). She's waiting to hear if she’s made it into med school in Valencia. Really a sweet girl. What she sees in my son I’m not sure.

Got a new poll up. Do you believe Doc Holliday waylaid and killed Johnny Ringo? With the current issue explaining the facts in Ringo’s demise, I’m quite curious to see your vote on this one. Vote today.

"Circumstances? What are circumstances? I make my own circumstances."


Saturday, July 16, 2005

July 16, 2005
Really a scorcher today. Heat warnings from the weather service. Jumped in the pool a couple times just to get wet. How bad is it? The dogs are lying on the cement floor, under the fan in the studio, with the cooler on, and they're still panting. Oh, I tell ya’, it’s bad

James Radina was able to spring the kids out of Mexico. He got the passport via UPS ($29) at about 10:30 this morning and took off for the border. I got a call from Tomcat at about four asking me where a certain Mexican food restaurant is in El Centro. I told him it’s the Hacienda but I think they’ve given up the ghost. Still, I can’t deny that he’s my kid. Three hours out of Mexico and he’s looking for a Mexican food restaurant. They’re supposed to blow in tonight at about eight.

Deena went camping up at Lake Mary. She took her mom’s car and two boys (they’re just friends she says).

Worked all morning on a Tombstone lesbian scene which I call "Ladie’s Choice." It shows two women dancing together perhaps a tad too close (This is inspired from a George Parsons diary entry where he lambastes a couple he spied at a social function. He couldn’t even bring himself to say the word, so we're not even sure that's what he meant). Spent too long on it. Aped John Singer Sargent’s El Jaleo, both the color scheme and the design. I’m not sure anyone will get it but I get a kick out of "honoring" the guys I love, and steal from. For the bystanders looking on, I gave them a variety of expressions, with disdain, disgust and shock being the basic ones. I couldn’t help but include a cow-boy on the far right with a look of Boy Howdy! I know. I know. It's so juvenile, but it makes me happy.

Switched gears this afternoon and started an opium scene. Blended two scenes together. One of a guy on the pipe, zonked to the eyeballs and smoke enveloping his entire body and that evaporates into a street scene in front of the OK Corral where bystanders are gathering around a prostrate body lying in the dust. It’s about half done. Hope to finish in the morning.

Kind of bugged at my painting skills. I have great cinematic scenes in my head but I have a hard time getting the effects I want on paper. Maybe I’m expecting too much.

"There is no such thing as expecting too much."
—Susan Cheever


Friday, July 15, 2005

July 15, 2005
Finally knocked out a decent illustration of Morgan Earp lining up his last pool shot on this planet. Had excellent photo reference of Jeff Morey and Jerry Weddle playing pool at the Larian Motel office in Tombstone. That was in May of 1993, and I just got around to utilizing it. Ha.

Gus, Meghan and I wrestled with the layout and copy for the magazine version of the killing. Last night I whipped out several loose washes of Marietta Spence and her mama, both of them with shiners (left eye on both, which would make Spence right handed). Decided to put that in the cutline. I’ve been feeling saucy lately, and want to stick it to some of the uptight Earp nuts.

Went home for lunch and painted Frank Stilwell’s Midnight Ride, depicting Frank’s alleged run to Tucson after the killing of Morgan. Stilwell was spotted in Tucson on Sunday morning, which means he had to make the 70 mile trip in about seven hours. Not impossible, but still . . .nice effects of nighttime lighting and dust. Stole liberally from Frank Tenney Johnson. You can see Contention in the middle distance, lights twinkling along the San Pedro, and just a smattering of lights up the hill at Tombstone. Frank is blowing by Mescal Springs, a location that will become a hot spot several days later.

Got everything scanned and put in place around three and sighed a sigh of relief that all my stuff was finally finished and I could relax a bit. Sam came on my phone intercom and said Tomcat is in Mexico and needs my help. Christina forgot her passport and they are stuck in Tijuana, Mexico and can’t come back across. I wished them well and gave them a real estate agent's name. "Thanks father," Tomas said, but he still wanted to know if I could go home and look in Christina’s brown bag for her passport, then Fed Ex it to James Radina in San Diego and he’ll drive it down to the border tomorrow so they can come home.

I went home, looked in Deena’s room, found the bag, dreaded the search (I hate looking in female’s handbags because you just never know what you may find there). Found a small, mumified Shetland Pony. No, I found the passport in the first pouch, called my son in Mexico, got Carole and Samantha at the office to get a packet ready for Fed Ex and shot back up to the office.

Tomcat said, "I owe you bigtime Father Goose,” and I said, “Hey, I was 22 once. You don’t owe me anything. I’m the dad."

Somehow I remember someone told me that the universe gives us what we can handle.

The Arizona Republic asked me to write up a short solution to the Tombstone’s problem (they are getting so shlocky, they may lose their historic status). My comments will appear in the View Section of this Sunday's edition. Ironically, a tv show hosted by Marshall Trimble called "Arizona Backroads" will also run Sunday at 6:30 PM. They interviewed me and it runs on AZTV 13 and on 27 Broadcast.

"Don’t hurry. Don’t worry."
—Walter Hagan

Thursday, July 14, 2005

July 14, 2005
Yesterday, I finished a painting for a big Texas event we are co-sponsoring (The Old West Show!). Abby Pearson designed the ad for it and finished it at about three. Crystal launched the layout into cyberspace so the client could see the ad, and the owner, Susan Franks, loved the piece so much she bought the original painting from me. That was timely because I have a framer coming by today to pick up some of my Blaze Away! artwork and he wants an advance to buy moulding, etc. and this helps pay for that. The artshow is going to be quite expensive. I plan on framing over 100 pieces of art and at $100 to $200 a frame, well, you do the math.

On the Tom Mix never wearing a Tom Mix style hat controversy, I got this observation from Jim Hatzell this morning:

"The closest I can come to your Tom Mix wearing a sugar loaf sombrero with the crease you described, is a photo in your own May 2005 Magazine. (page 70 in the article about Seth Bullock) Mr Mix is in the front row, third from the right. It was taken almost 100 years ago, before he had ever appeared in a motion picture."
—Jim Hatzell

Good eye, Jim. Yes, it could be construed that the hat crease in the photo is at least half a Tom Mix. So I will buy you half a lunch next time you're out. And speaking of Jim Hatzell, he has his annual Artist Ride in August where he gathers great models from Native Americans to horse soldiers, to mountain men and gunfighters on this ranch and then the artists fly up there and spend the weekend photographing and sketching these great models in a Western setting. I have been trying to attend for the past five years but so far I haven’t been able to make it. Unfortunately this year, my high school reunion is the same weekend (August 19-20). You can see a feature on the Artist Ride in the current issue (July) of Smithsonian magazine.

Because of the crunch for the September issue, which goes to the printer on Monday, I got a two week extension on the CGII book, and we will need to attack that project with both hands and feet to finish. I have a goal of doing 20 more illustrations, and I'm going home early for lunch today to work on the Morgan Earp pool players, among other things. In the past I've flirted with disaster on deadlines on this, and in the future I intend to change, but at crunchtime I've always made it. Perhaps Henry David Thoreau has something to say about this.

"I live in the present. I only remember the past and anticipate the future. I love to live!"
—Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

July 13, 2005
We’ve got a mystery brewing. For the next issue (September) we wanted to do something on the ever increasing popularity of the so-called Tom Mix hat style. You know, the single crease down the middle with the two side pinches (if you don’t know what I'm referring to, look at my hat, above).

As popular as the style is today (in fact it's almost a glut), when I was a kid nobody would be caught dead in this style hat unless you were a rodeo clown or going to a costume ball and wanted to look ridiculous. Of course, the style predominated in the 1920s thru the 1930s in the Western serials and with Hank Williams, Bob Wills and Country Swing types, but about the end of WWII it started to fade and by the time I was growing up in the 1950s it was long gone.

As I remember it, in the seventies certain outlaw musicians like Asleep at the Wheel and Jerry Jeff Walker started wearing the big Tom Mix style hats again. I remember being at the Prescott Rodeo Parade in about 1977 and one of the sheriff's posse guys came by wearing one and I thought, "Man, that is so out, it’s in." I bought my first Tom Mix that year and have worn the style ever since (and of course, it's no coincidence that Honkytonk Sue wears the hat style as well).

As we developed the article we had to deal with the other names for this hat style that have evolved, like "The Gus," in honor of Robert Duvall who, as Gus, wears this crease in the tv series Lonesome Dove. Peter Fonda also wore the crease in The Hired Hand and Steve McQueen dons one in Tom Horn. Some companies even call the hat style “The Quigley” in honor of Tom Selleck who starred in Quigley Down Under and wore the crease.

But I grew up knowing this hat style as the Tom Mix. So when it came time to illustrate this piece, I looked in our massive photo archives for a photo of the Western silent film idol wearing his namesake and lo and behold, every single photo I found, Tom is not wearing the crease. Of course he's wearing a big, ol' hat, but white or black, his crease is more "reach and grab," meaning as you reach for the crown of a hat to pick it up, your thumb and forefinger creates indentations on either side if you squeeze. But no center crease with the distinctive 45 degree angle.

This is shocking to a hat Nazi like me! I just naturally assumed there were tons of photos of Tom Mix wearing his signature hat. But I have to confess, I've been looking for two days now and I can't find a single photo of Tom Mix wearing a Tom Mix. Amazing. This afternoon I solicited Gary Rosenthal of the Stetson Hat Co. and he insisted they have a photo of Tom Mix in the lobby wearing the hat style, but when I challenged him, he put the phone down and ran out there and looked, and you guessed it, it was a different crease. Gary still can’t believe it because he's been with Stetson for 35 years and they have always called this hat style, the Tom Mix. He assures me he is going home tonight and look through his files because like me, he just assumed Stetson called the hat the Tom Mix because, well, Tom wore one.

There are theories of course. Hatmaker Tom Hirt from Penrose, Colorado believes someone just called the hat a "Tom Mix" when his name came to mind and the name just settled on the star, even though he perhaps never wore one.

Here's the challenge: if anyone can find me a photo of Tom Mix wearing a Tom Mix style I’ll eat my hat. Ha. Actually I'll buy you lunch at your favorite place. I'm not joking.

"Truth burns up error."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

July 11, 2005
Had a long day in Phoenix. Finished a couple of gouache paintings of the suspects in the Morgan Earp murder at about eight a.m., and stopped at Document Depot in Cave Creek and got color xeroxes of them. Dropped the original off with Gus at the office and headed into the Beast. Took Central and stopped at Alphagraphics and gave them about twenty originals to have color xeroxes made. Also made about fifty black and white xeroxes of my scratchboard work. Got to Armstrong-Prior at about 10:30 and bailed in as John and Alexis primed the hand press and we worked on designs for an art piece that is to go with the Blaze Away! motiff (and will be sold at the art opening in September). I let the two of them lead because they have better fine art instincts, while mine run more towards the symmetrical and magazine layout zone. Both John and Alexis pushed the images into odd angles, some going off the paper, and ghosted the images through press trickery.

After lunch we had about six big suckers in the drying rack, but something was terribly wrong. They seemed lame to me. I kept biting my tongue. Don’t panic, I thought. Be cool. It’s going to be okay. Have faith. The problem was it looked like a scrapbook with found images glued onto a big piece of note paper. It was quite first level, if you know what I mean.

At lunch John and I talked about how a true artist is always open for the unexpected and ultimately goes with the accidents and odd turns and ends up in a completely new place. At least in theory. We agreed that this is true in music also. Alexis added poetry to the list.

Still, I was clearly worried. I just didn’t feel like the session was going in the right direction and I was paying for this one ($600).

Finally at about three I asked John if it was too late to do the rusted plate technique we used a couple years ago. He jumped at the idea, went in the back and brought out several large pieces of metal with imperfections and rust galore. He and Alexis inked up these puppies and reran the big images back through the press. Viola! It was a thing of beauty! Instant patina and authenticity. Now everything jelled and it looked like an old newspaper or archival document that had been moulding in an attic for 127 years. I really loved it and it saved the day.

Got home at 6:30, tired but satisfied. Swam laps and went to bed early.

"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Sunday, July 10, 2005

July 10, 2005
Christina from Valencia, Spain is here staying with us for several days. She and Thomas are driving to San Diego tomorrow to spend some time on the beaches. She's here for several weeks. We took her out to Earl's in Peoria for dinner last night. That was fun. Brad had a prime rib special and I had that. Most of the Radinas were there. Carole, 'Cedes, Debbie and Betty. Debbie's boyfriend Kenny and I were the only civilians, or outsiders. Mother Radina bought ($88, Kenny left a tip, $20 cash, we left $5).

Took the dogs on two bikerides today and swam laps trying to stay cool. Worked all day on CGII artwork. Finished Morgan and Wyatt Earp at the comedy play, Stolen Kisses. Everyone in the audience is howling, laughing up a storm except for two people. Sadie Marcus who is all decked out with a lowcut dress and seems a bit peeved that Wyatt is paying more attention to the play than her ample cleavage. The other sour puss is Frederick Bode, a German, and he seems more intent on monitoring the Earps than the stage. This makes some sense since Mr. Bode helped kill Morgan after the play, while the younger Earp was playing pool (still need to illustrate that sequence).

Also completed a gouache painting of the five suspects in the assasination of Morgan, almost in a police lineup scene or a Pinkerton’s rogue file type file photo. Pretty cool. Got lots of amber washes and cribbed from the known photo of Peter Spence (aka Spencer) taken at Yuma Territorial Prison. He looks absolutely demonic. The old jail bird served his time (for another crime, he got off completely in the Morgan murder in spite of his wife totally dropping dime on him. And I need to illustrate that scene as well, her with a black eye and her mother behind her in a Mexican shawl). After prison Pete married Ike Clanton’s younger brother’s wife (Phin Clanton) at Globe. Amazing what some of these old coots got away with. Kind of like today but with better style and more romance.(at least to me).

Got to keep on painting. Have about twenty more scenes I want to illustrate and only a week to finish. Fortunately I thrive on pressure and seem to do better with the kettle screaming at me.

"Problems worthy of attack prove their worth by hitting back."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Friday, July 08, 2005

July 8, 2005
Gus and I worked hard all day on wrangling CGII pages into shape. Also finished my editorial for the magazine and got it laid in with cool artwork for a change. Abby is working on a gambling cover. Good typography. Still wrestling with layout and images.

I got a call from my old radio partner Jeanne Sedello this morning. She said she had a dream that David K. and I were back on KSLX with Gordon Smith and she came by to see us and my son Thomas showed up and he was seven feet tall and had an NBA contract. "What does that mean, Bob?" she asked me. "Honey," I told her as gently as I could, "you gotta lay off the garbanzo beans late at night."

We laughed. I asked her if she's heard anything from David K. and she said she hadn’t. I told her I was worried about him because the last couple of Emails I’ve sent to Tampa, bounced. She suggested I Google him so I did. All I found was a site called Los Angeles Radio People: Where Have They Gone? ( In addition to finding out what happened to "Jed the Fish" and the 50-some-odd Johnsons who plied and plowed the airwaves in LA, I found this entry for David K.:

David K. Jones, KOST 1982-85. David left mornings at WBBY-Tampa in Feb. 2003.

Well, I already knew that. So maybe someone is a better Googler and will find him. Be sure to let me know. Thanks.

Thomas came in last night from Flag and he and Deena went to the Melody Lounge down at Seventh Ave. and McDowell to see Mickey from OKC. According to Tomcat, our fave Turtle vs. Sloth guitarist is having problems. In the Phoenix gig only 7 people showed up, Tommy, Deena and two friends included. Mickey insisted on setting up in the center of the room (no doubt inspired or infected by Phil Bunkman’s stagemanship) and he had a drummer with him which totally ruins the one-man-band angle. I was so sad, because I think the Kid has so much potential and, of course, it's always easier to see what someone else should do. Ha. I'd go help him with advice but I just can't stay up that late again for several more weeks.

Tomcat and I ate at El Encanto at noon today and sat outside. Even though it was probably close to 85 or 90 out, the lagoon kept it cool enough. The ducks are still obnoxious, but Suzie is a great waitress. Had the fajita salad special, as did T. (Dad picked up the tab, $25 cash, includes tip).

Speaking of my son, he’s on the way to Sky Harbor even as I type this to pick up his ex-girlfriend Christina, who is flying in from Valencia (pronounced Valen-thia by the homeys), Spain. She will be here for a couple weeks and T. is in charge of squiring her around the country (she's never been to America). So, if you should look up and see a seven foot tall Bell kid squiring a Penelope Cruz type babe through your neighborhood in a 2002 Ford Escape with Turtle vs. Sloth blasting from the boom box, be sure to wave. His dad thanks you in advance.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Thursday, July 07, 2005

July 7, 2005
Kathy called me on her way to the gym this morning and told me to turn on the news. Big bomb blasts in Britain. Avoided turning it on until I drove into the office. I knew it was going to be depressing, and of course, it was.

Regarding Thom Ross’s Custer Battlefield art installation two weeks ago, I got this update from Jim Hatzell:

"I did drive out to the Battlefield early Saturday morning June 25th...getting there about 8AM. I saw and photographed the Thom Ross exhibit which was sure interesting. Mike Donahue talked to him about bringing some of it to Temple, Texas for a show. The weather turned bad Sunday afternoon and I drove home in a violent rainstorm. I heard a rumor (unconfirmed) that Saturday night some of the mounted Indians there for the festivities rode over to the Ross exhibit and 'counted coup' on a bunch of the Soldier figures....breaking some."


Our newsstand consultant, Dick Glassman called me last week and told me a certain local publisher has defaulted on their promotion fees to be in all of the airline terminals at Sky Harbor and asked me if I wanted True West magazine to take their place. Abso-flying-lutely! It’s really hard to break in there. We have been trying for six years and have been in a couple shops, but never all of them. Here’s where you can find us, starting today:

Name of outlet: Extra! Extra!
Terminal: 4
Location: Lobby
Airlines: British Air: twice weekly, Hawaiian Air: 4 times weekly, AERO Mexico: Daily, Lufthansa Air: once a week, America West: ("Puddle Jumpers") varies.

Name: News Travels Fast North
Terminal: 3
Location: Gate 18
Airlines: Delta, and Frontier

Name: News Travels Fast South
Terminal: 3
Location: Gate 6
Airlines: American, and ATA.

Name: News Travels Fast Lobby
Terminal: 3
Location: Lobby

Worked on Frank Stilwell, Pete Spencer and Indian Charley copy. Also went home for lunch and looked through my massive photo collection for facial and clothing reference to illustrate the “suspects” in the Morgan Earp murder. Gus masterminded a new Honkytonk Sue: Sage Advice from the Queen of Country Swing cartoon for the September issue. Also found a sexy shot of Jennifer Tilly to run with my editorial. She won a big poker tournament last week, but any excuse will do. It's from the Birdcage photo shoot we did several years ago with John Beckett down in Tombstone. We put her on the cover and she ended up on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, holding the magazine toward the camera and doing a three minute info-mercial for True West. As you might have guessed we consider Jennifer family around here.

"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."
—Susan B. Anthony

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

July 6, 2005
Went home for lunch and finished two paintings of Tombstone burning. Swam ten passes. Kicked Peaches in the head on a kick return, and came back in the office.

Finished the Comanche Jack Stilwell copy, cribbing royally from Roy B. Young's excellent piece in the WOLA Newsletter from Summer 2004. Gus and I attacked more pages on the CGII book. By my count we have 98 pages in the can with 30 to go. Finished the South Pass fight, and half the Spicer Hearing. Working hard on the Morgan Earp murder and George Hearst and lesbians in Tombstone. Also need to finish an opium overdose death in front of the OK Corral.

With the Cave Creek Complex fire winding down, the fire legends are sprouting up and circulating. This morning I heard about a guy who allegedly defied the firelines up near Seven Springs and went in the back way to Rackensack Canyon via Bartlett Lake (quite a hike!) and hosed down his house and everything around it, then stood on the roof and fought the fire face to face as it came up the canyon. Back down at the firefighter's blockade his wife was frantically calling 911 and the fire department, demanding that they go up and arrest him (she was afraid he'd burn up) and the firemen were declining with plenty of headaches of their own. He saved his house, as the fire went around him.

A contractor friend of ours, Jeff Carneal (he built my studio extension) has a home up in the canyon and according to one of the stories I've heard, an aircraft dropped a water slurry on his wife's macrame shed which caved in the roof, but the water then ran out the door and down to the main house, surrounding it like a moat and the fire went around their house, saving it also.

Lew and Tara Jones of Mineshaft fame (it was at the Mineshaft Restaurant that David K. and I broadcast our radio show from 1998-99) weren’t as lucky. Their cozy little cabin, tucked into the creek bottom was lost. They have another cabin in New Mexico and I’ve been trying to reach them all day without success.

This morning I discovered a postcard of David K. and I posing in a radio publicity shot on the headframe of the Mistress Mine, which was also lost.

"Strength of numbers is the delight of the timid. The valiant in spirit glory in fighting alone."
—Mahatma Gandhi
July 5, 2005
When I was in Yellowstone I fell in love with Thomas Moran. I had known about him for some time and thought he was decent, but after we watched Old Faithful erupt, I went over to the bookstore, saw a big illustrated book called “Drawn to Yellowstone,” or something like that (the book is at the office for editorial reference). As I read about this young English artist coming out on one of the first explorations of the park (1871, five years before the Little Bighorn), I had to admire his tenacity and spirit. There were other “artists” and draftsmen on the trip but it was Moran who really captured the park in paint, especially the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone in stunning strokes. Really a great artist. I would go so far as to say he was a flippin’ genius.

Another thing I loved about Yellowstone—no cellphones! There is no signal in the park and I hope they keep it that way. It was like going back in time ten years. Nobody babbling, or talking loud. You don’t realize how oppressive cellphone-hell has become until it goes away. It was such a blessed relief!

On the way up to Montana, when we were waiting for our plane in Denver, this rube from Alabama comes and sits down next to me and immediately calls his wife on the hands free: "We’re waiting for the plane. . .Oh, nothing, about an hour. . .is that Ajax? Tell him to come to the phone. Ajax? Ajax! Be good now! You mind your mama!! That’s a GOOD BOY! GOOD BOY!! He’s a GOOD BOY!! Could he hear me? Put him on again."

I swear to God this is an accurate transcription. Kathy later told me the new method of dealing with these cretins is to stare at them. I’m not sure that would be enough. Maybe if I had gotten down on all fours in front of him and started pretending I’m a dog and get all excited and lick his face and hump his leg. Damn! I’m sorry I didn’t think of this at the time. Oh, well. There’ll be plenty of other opportunities the way things are going.

Worked most of the day on finishing three possible gambling covers. Brought four finished images into the office at about two, and did four different design roughs.

Really hot out. Swam twice today. Once in the morning and then when I came home at about six. Felt good. Buddy Boze Hatkiller joined me for the afternoon plunge. Of course Peaches can’t stand it and tries to herd us from the pool deck, which is kind of ridiculous. Okay, he’s turning the other way, must get ahead and bark at him. Wish I could nip his heels but can’t reach. Keep him moving. That’s it, he’s heeding my herding commands. Now he’s turning again. I’m good. This is working like a charm! I’m a doggin’ genius!

"A man who is a genius and doesn’t know it, isn’t."
—Old Vaquero SayingV

Monday, July 04, 2005

July 4, 2005
Stayed home all day and worked on a possible Doc Holliday image for our September cover. Bob Brink keeps hammering us on getting an icon for the cover and I was jamming on some sketches and remembered the old saw, "Never eat at a cafe named 'Mom’s', never play cards with someone called 'Doc'," and I worked up a couple head shots of the Good Dentist whipping out an ace from his sleeve and looking out at us with that smooth-dog look, "Wanna play?" From there I played with cover heads, but we may still do a photo cover. Got two great models and it would still be my first choice but it's nice to have a backup.

Cave Creek cancelled their fireworks tonight because of the fire danger. Kind of sad because they’re consistently top notch.

Kathy went over to her mom's for the fourth this afternoon and I stayed home to work on artwork. She was kind of disappointed, but I felt like I had to buckle down and get this stuff in the can. September is coming sooner than we think and I don’t want to be at the Cowboy Legacy premiere with blank pages in our new book. Or worse, weak art that I wanted to be better.

Turns out the kid with the Okie-fied drums and Strat is named Mickey and his CD is called "El Paso Hot Button," which is not nearly as cool as “Turtle Vs. Sloth.” But then I'm an old man who thinks he's still hip to the scene, Man.

On Sunday morning, seven of us met at Martan's for breakfast, and I put the CD in the Ford Escape on the way over to find out if we were just delirious the night before. As I’m sure you know, this happens. You get so excited about some live performance, buy the CD and the next day discover you let your loopy, bar brain do the purchasing. This time it was not the case. The Mickey Kid from OKC (after his set I went up to him and told him his music was amazing and I thought he was the greatest. I asked him where he was from and he said, "Oklahoma City" and I asked him where he got his style and he shrugged and said, "I just stole stuff from other people." How much street cred is that?!).

Tomcat partied with him after the show and found out his name is Mickey. Mickey from OKC. So mysterious, eh?

Allen Fossenkemper Emailed me this morning and told me that Google has a new web access deal and they have "hundreds of BBB images." So I went there and realized that most of the images and photos are from this blog. Check it out at:

"Want to think of something new? Go to a museum."
—Harvey Mackay

Sunday, July 03, 2005

July 3, 2005
On the road up to Flag yesterday we saw firsthand the wide-ranging-smoking-fronts of the so-called Cave Creek Complex fire, and it is quite complex. There appears to be several fronts, many miles apart. We have one front that burned to the south edges of Elephant Butte, just above our house, and then there’s another front just outside Black Canyon City, along I-17, about 15 or 20 miles northwest of us, and another one up on Table Top Mesa (a typical Anglo redundancy as Mesa means table. The other one I love is Calle Street—Calle is Spanish for street). The name Black Canyon City had extra resonance because the surrounding cliffs and mesas had recently been burned black by firefighters starting backfires with incendiary ping pong balls they drop from aircraft (I’m not making this up). One side of the road was stripped and blackened like cajun catfish and the other was a milky brown with amber waves of weeds. It’s always amazing in a fire zone to see the peculiar areas passed over by fires. We noticed this in Yellowstone as well, where the big fires of 1988 scorched mile after mile of ridgeline and then for some odd reason, would leave a narrow patch of tall trees, while everything around them was burned into oblivion.

As we neared Sunset Point, here and there you could see narrow spits of dried grass, oddly passed over, like some stray outhouse in a tornado.

We got up to Flag at about 2:30 and checked into the Quality Inn. Coming out of 112 degree heat, the 7,000 foot cool breeze (80 was the high) that bathed our faces was wonderful. I dropped off a box of True Wests for the rooms at the front desk and then Kath and I took a nap to get ready for a long night. When we got up, my wife of 26 years talked me out of drinking wine (I brought half a bottle of cabernet from the house) and after dinner at Los Altenos ($36 cash includes tip) we walked over to Bookman’s (used book store) and I bought a cool Cavalcade of America book full of timelines in American history ($10 cash). We can certainly use this in editorial.

After a pit stop at the Campus Coffee Bean for an espresso booster shot, we drove over to the Boardwalk (next to Thai Rhama on South San Francisco St.) and tailgated until nine when the first group came on. Keep in mind I go to bed at nine. Many of Tomcat’s friends joined us for this, being that this is Phil Bunkman’s last gig as the much-loved I Hate You When You’re Pregnant, or as they all refer to him, IHYWYP (you can check him out at, and the other bands at Waded inside past all the Goths, punks, mohawks and Flag hipsters ($5 cover), got the drinking wristband deal (for some reason they didn’t card me) and went up by the stage where a virtual one-man-band was wailing on a Strat and playing an Okie-fied drum set with his feet at the same time. He had on a cheap, black, costume ball mask, a narrow tie with a striped arm warmer up and down his right arm (at first I thought it was a tattoo) that matched his guitar strap (he was sleeveless on his left arm).and he head pumped away from the mike as aggressively as he stroked his Strat. He had a crappy little fog machine behind him which he had to activate with a free hand and a hip-hop sound machine on the top of his bass drum that he used when he wasn’t crankin’ chords. I have to say, he was the coolest damn thing I’ve seen in a long time. On the drum head were the stenciled words “Turtle Vs. Sloth.” The songs were strange and wonderful, funky and original. I gave Deena money to go buy his CD.

Unfortunately, the next two bands didn’t clear the trees. Speed Metal and Local Metal just isn't my deal. Phil finally came on at about midnite and I was so glad I didn’t have that wine! The entire crowd knew every lyric and they gathered around him and lovingly shouted out all the words to his goofily oddball songs, throwing him up in the air like some hillbilly deity. Of course he was only wearing shoes and women’s underwear (according to my son Phil’s a health specialist during the day and I tried to imagine some poor patient off his meds stumbling into this dive and losing it). Unfortunately we didn’t get to hear any of Phil’s newer stuff because one of his fans stepped on his drum machine and destroyed all of his new beats. After the gig, Phil gave the machine to my son and asked him to fix it.

Japanther was the headliner, but by 12:30 I must have looked like grandpa Jones trapped all night in a carnival fun house. I certainly felt like grandpa Jones. We got back to the motel at one and I don’t even remember getting undressed.

“During adolescence the music you enjoy is good music no matter how bad it is.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Saturday, July 02, 2005

July 2, 2005
Last Tuesday morning, after breakfast, I was sitting in the Yellowstone Lake Lodge lobby, staring into the fireplace when I heard someone behind me say in a measured, and clearly exasperated tone, "What’s-the-matter-now?” Without even turning around I knew it was a dad.

"I was just walking by," the young female voice whined, "and Cody went Waagh!"

Once again, no visual verification was necessary for me, a veteran of the Lost Cause, better known in abnormal psych textbooks as the "summer family vacation." Besides, to any parent of young adults, the scene was crystal clear: This totally innocent daughter wanted her brother Cody to be put to death and for the sake of the free world, the sooner the better

Of course, the dadster then tried the oldest and lamest trick in the book:“Were you doing anything to taunt him?”

“I wasn’t doing anything!”

They never are, and as long as they’re teenagers, they never will. Cop to it, that is.

When I shared this all-too-common and tragic incident with Kathy, she laughed as we recalled other poor, miserable family encounters we had witnessed in the park. The day before, as we waited for Old Faithful, a tall, thin girl named Emily (maybe 11), sitting in front of us, turned to her mother and said, "Mom, Gray is spitting on me."

"Were you doing anything to your brother?"
You know the answer.

Later that same day as we returned from a hike up to Misty Falls in the Lower Geyser section in a light sprinkle we met a couple on the edge of the boardwalk portion of the trail and the man said to me, "Is it worth going up there?" I told him it definitely was worth it, but as I walked by, I spied his two teenage girls lagging behind, with their coats over their heads, holding their noses with the most miserable expression on their faces one can imagine. "But not," I said turning back to the father, "with two of those," as I pointed at the young prisoners of war, forced to go on this inhumane Family Death March.

The look of disgust on their faces was priceless. Where is Amnesty International when you really need them? The father laughed, but the mom looked kind of miffed at me for pointing out the obvious (some mothers are perpetually in denial, you know, like mine).

Like milk, Kathy and I decided that family summer vacations have an expiration date. Kids, especially with the boy-girl sibling combo which we had, get very sour and rank just beyond the decade mark. For girls, according to Kathy, it curdles at about 11 or 12. Sometimes boys can last until 13, but by the teenage years everything the parents want to do and see “sucks” and about the only thing that can make your attitude challenged offspring happy is a mall drop-off and a credit card.

Deena and Thomas finally came out the other end of the Negativo Tunnel at about age 22. As proof, today Deena is joining Kathy and I and we are going on a road trip to Flag to see Tomcat’s favorite singer Phil Bunkman (I Hate You When You’re Pregnant) perform his swan song tonight at about 11.

Kathy and I will have ear plugs and be jacked up on espresso, but it just goes to prove that the family that stays out late together, still hits the wall from time to time.

"A father believes in heredity until his kids start acting like damn fools."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Friday, July 01, 2005

July 1, 2005
Robert Ray, Gus Walker and I went through the CGII book layouts yesterday and marked all the holes. There are about 10 big ones, with about 21 art holes that I’d like to fill. Some will get filled up with other things (photos, cutlines and maps) and I will lose the window of opportunity to create more images. However, the art, photographs and layout is quite possibly the best book we’ve ever done. Bob McCubbin was in town yesterday and he got to take a gander at several spreads, especially the Fly photos spread and he pronounced it as good.

Tombstone researcher Gary McLelland has made a stunning find: "The Lost Streets of Tombstone Newsreels" shot in 1925 and 1929. (Approx. seven minutes. Included is the first Helldorado celebration). Can’t wait to see those. Gary is going to try and bring them to the NOLA and WOLA conventions this month in New Mexico.

I just witnessed a lean and mean coyote walk right by my office window ( 8: 20 A.M.). I waved my arms just to mess with his head. He jumped and ran up the hill. I’m looking for the others. Most coyotes hunt in packs.

Speaking of clever predators, wolves being re-released into Yellowstone is still causing problems to the surrounding ranchers. When Sue Lambert and I visited the museum in Meteetsie, we saw their newest display of two stuffed wolves (big suckers, didn’t realize they got that huge: somewhere between a Saint Bernard and a Shetland Pony) standing over a kill. They intend to put blood and guts all over the ground, and already people have come in the door, took one look at the display and left. There is this PC crowd that thinks wolves and grizzlies have never taken advantage of any human being and that all the reported incidents are myths, created by ranchers and Republicans. Ha.

We saw a ton of buffalo in Yellowstone Park (cars would pull over, sometimes 20 at a time), but no wolves or bears. I read in one of the brochures there are 600 bears in the park. We did see a yellow-bellied marmont/varmint (sp?) on the trail up to Misty Falls. Cute little sucker. Didn’t really know what it was until a professor type came up the trail and ID it. Of course, he could have been totally bluffing (it’s exactly something I would do), so I’m not 100% sure.

Yellowstone gets 2 million visitors a year and most of these are crammed into the warm months. We stayed in a pretty crappy cabin at Lake Lodge (on the banks of Yellowstone Lake) for two nights. Heater didn’t work, tiny windows, paper thin walls with neighbors banging around, virtually no room to move (in fairness it was only $63 a night), but when we cancelled the last night, the desk clerk said, "No problem, the cabin will be rented by this afternoon. We are totally booked solid for the entire summer." Amazing.

I guess the weirdest thing about Yellowstone is the multiple kinds of geysers, some right in the lake itself. It’s all supposedly a by-product of the earth’s molten core (magma?) coming right up to within one mile of the surface, and shooting out the crevices and vents. You can read about the earth’s molten core in school and shine it on as "out of sight, out of mind" but it's a bit unnerving that in this weird area of the continent it's close enough to see with your own eyes. One woman in a wheelchair said it all for me when she shook her head and muttered, "This is too weird." Ha. Yes it is.

"I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks."
—Daniel Boone