Thursday, November 10, 2005

November 10, 2005
J.D. and Joe Y. showed up at 7:50 this morning. Joe had a big coffee mug and J.D. had his tools. I pulled the tarp off the John Deere and Joe set the petcocks, and primed the bowl, while I poured in some gas. After a couple of tugs on the exposed fly wheel, the old Bell tractor chugged and wheezed and the big one lunger set out on a jungle beat as the dogs scurried out of the garage for safer climes.

I got an extension cord and activated the air compressor and we aired up two tires on the ‘49 Ford and two on the tractor. J.D. asked me if I had overdrive in the ‘49 and when I told him I did he told a story about when he owned his 1950 Ford Club Coup and came off the hill out of Superior “doin’ bout 95" and a cop got on his tail and “this old boy pulled me over and asked me what I had under the hood and I said 'overdrive.'”

We laughed and kicked the tires. Joe told me about his three tractors and how he catches pack rats every day. They left about nine and I changed clothes and went into work.

One of the West’s most legendary living lawmen turns 70 today. Joaquin Jackson, former Texas Ranger and lawdog extraordinaire. I sent him a hardbound Classic Gunfights, Volume II today with my best wishes. I’m going down to Alpine, Texas to meet him early next year. Very excited about it, as I’ve never been in that part of the west.

Hey, we’re looking for someone to tell us What It’s Like to Live in Leadville, Colorado. Do you know somebody who knows where the locals hang out and what they do for fun? I want to know. It’s for an upcoming feature we’re doing in March of 2006. Email me at the above link. Thanks.

One of the True West Moments that’s running on the Westerns Channel is getting people upset. I’ve gotten more complaints on this one. Here’s one that came in this morning:

“Why must you insist on demeaning the cowboy. Of all people, you should know that the cowboys that you are referring to in your supposed True West stories, pertains to the gang that called themselves the cowboys, not the cowboy in general. please, please, please, correct yourself. thanks, laithe.

Sorry, but it's not that simple. The term "cow-boy" was brand new in the early 1880s and my point is that it had a more negative connotation than it does today. You can look at newspapers from Arizona, New Mexico and Texas and beyond from the 1870s and 1880s and see it over and over. It wasn't just an isolated case. That doesn't denigrate the cowboys of today. Half my family (my favorite half by the way) are cowboys and cowgirls, so I'm on your side.

Laithe Emailed me back this afternoon and said his “boots were too tight” and he’s okay now. Ha. I love that cowboy humor!

Deadwood spoiler alert! Don’t read the next paragraph if you love the HBO series and don’t want to know what's going to happen:
"Cy Tolliver will survive getting knifed in the gut in the Season 2 finale. Good, 'cause them whores ain't gonna mistreat themselves."
—TV Guide

Ate lunch in the office. Gave Carole $5 and she went up to Bashas’ and got her and I some soup and bread. Working hard on more True West Moments scripts. Jeff Hildebrandt at the Westerns Channel is setting up a new shoot, probably down in Tombstone.

Gus, Mark Boardman and I are working on the Ben Thompson, King Fisher shootout in San Antonio in 1884. Pretty bloody, more of an assassination really

We got a new book in, called The Big Book of Car Culture: The Armchair Guide to Automotive Americana by Jim Hinckley and Jon Robinson. I perused it with some interest because of all the great 1950s road and car photos. After I recognized the fourth or fifth photo from the Kingman area (the clincher being a photo of Roy Dunton outside the Biddolf-Dunton dealership, where my dad worked in 1947) I checked out the author bios and discovered Jim Hinckley lives in Kingman. Small world. But here’s the part that really got me thinking:

"In 1909, United States manufacturers produced 828,000 horse-drawn vehicles compared to fewer than 125,000 automobiles. By 1929. . .fewer than 4,000 horse-drawn vehicles were produced.”

This is a stunning turn of events, especially if you were heavily invested in the horse-drawn conveyance biz. Which leads me to this Email:

"I no longer subscribe to a newspaper—I used to receive three. Why should I when I can get all the same news online for free? Now, if magazine subscriptions start coming down, then I might start worrying!!"
—Bob Reece.

Is print media (ink on dead trees) headed for Boothill in a horse-drawn vehicle?

“A bird in the hand is dead.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

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