Tuesday, January 31, 2006

January 31, 2006
Nice to be home in my own bed. Warm out this morning. Of course, just about anything is warmer than northern Wyoming in January. Got into the office at about 8:30 and had a meeting with Trish Brink and Sue Lambert on how to leverage all the good will we encountered last weekend. I want to send one of my books and complimentary subs to a long list of people, both in Cody and Sheridan. Speaking of Sheridan. . .

Dance With The Injun Who Brung Ya Department
“If I'm not mistaken (it's been since 1988) but Joe LaForge is a descendent of one of Custer's scout's Mitch Bouyer:


"Joe was one of the family that represented Bouyer at the unveiling of his new marble marker at Little Bighorn Battlefield in 1988. You danced with a descendent of a Sitting Bull victim!!!"
—Bob Reece, Maniac # 21

Stranger Than Crap Department
"I love this magazine. I love Mexican food and I love Star Trek:TNG. It's on top of mind since I am watching an episode at lunch at work right now. Sorry I digress!

"What did people do on horseback or wagon train years ago for toilet paper? Or was it around?"

The short answer: leaves, smooth rocks and pages out of the Montgomery Ward Catalogue. Native Americans were even more creative utilizing other plants and even their off hand (which allegedly is why we shake with our right hand, to show good faith and not our poo poo hand). We'll see what the Marshall says (I forwarded your question to him). He knows his crap pretty well.

And how! Here’s Marshall’s answer:

"Things like dysentery and diaper rash were the nemesis of frontier life and makes one question whether the 'good old days' were really that good.

"Early-day Americans used a variety of ways to clean up ranging from leaves and grass to corn cobs. That old 'Monkey Ward' or Sears and Roebuck catalog cleaned many a butt. Nice thing about those is a man could look at the women's underwear ads while he was doing his business. To some the hand had to suffice. Hopefully they used their left hand. In some cultures today the right hand is the eating hand and the left is 'dung hand.' Eueee!

"Other countries in early times used a variety of things. The Vikings used discarded wool; French royalty used lace or silk; and the Romans used sponge. It wasn't until 1890, about the time of the closing of the frontier, that the Scott Paper Company came out with toilet paper on a roll. The marketing of such an unmentionable product caused the company to be so embarrassed it wouldn't put it's name on the package. It turned out to be a great success and the company really cleaned up...sorry.

"Today Americans are far and away the biggest consumers of toilet paper. Not a bad idea to take some along when you travel abroad. It's something you don't think much about until you need it."
—Marshall Trimble

“P.S. But wait....there's more. I just thought of this one....sand or dirt. It doesn't sound too pleasant but what if there was nothing else? Think of those pour souls Jedediah Smith and his band out in the Mojave Desert. If you had a choice between a cholla cactus or sand, which would you choose?”
—M. T.

Favorite Onion Headline de Jour
Some Dork Brought In To Address Civics Class

I never realized this before, but I'm dung-handed. Also, I’m getting set to do a Classic Gunfight on the Apache Kid and his fight with Al Seiber at San Carlos. Called Phyllis De Garza this morning and had a nice talk with her. She is the most knowledgeable Apache Kid expert and in fact wrote a biography on him several years ago. She gave me the name of a gentleman in Tucson who has tracked down the exact spot where the Kid, and other Apache prisoners, escaped as as they were being taken to Casa Grande for shipment to the Yuma Territorial Prison. The attack happened at a place called Kelvin Grade, west of Winkleman, Arizona. I have to go there and see it. Supposed to be rugged territory. May have to hike in. Don’t tell anyone, but this is the part of the job I would do for free. Actually I would pay big time money to do it. Wait, I did pay big time money to do it ($350,000 and counting). Ha.

I guess by now you know the theme of this entire blog?

“What you are thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, January 30, 2006

January 30, 2006
We finally made it home this morning. Had a flight snafu in Cody yesterday. Missed our flight. Delta was quite forgiving and didn’t gig us for the flight change. I’m impressed. Spent an extra night at the local Holiday Inn. Took my mama and Lou out to the Irma Hotel for dinner ($57, plus $10 tip, cash).

Had a 4:15 wakeup call. We took off at 6:05 in total darkness. Small prop plane, extremely windy. They asked if any passengers would volunteer to go later. The airline was worried about the weight (always a bad sign), but we made it fine.

Saturday was a huge day in Sheridan. Over a thousand people turned out in the snow (they got five inches during the night and the town was beautiful, especially to desert rats like us). My Regional Sales Manager Sue Lambert and I joined the mayor and his wife and we were taken in a carriage from the City Court House to the Buffalo Bill Sheraton Inn where they fired off a cannon (fortunately after we were out of the carriage). They had a big brass band playing on the porch. Wall to wall TV cameras. I did three TV interviews and one radio station interview before we even got inside. They had a big, long 30 foot banner draped across the veranda railing that said, "The Number One Western Town In America!" Standing room only. The mayor introduced me, but not before Joe LaForge, a local Native American did a couple dances along with a woman and then he presented me with a Pendleton blanket. Then Joe asked me to dance with him (I’m not making this up!) and I took his arm, with the Indian Maiden on the other, and we took off on a turn around the room and I fell into a kind of mating ritual dance meets the pony, thanks to all the Girl’s Gym dances at Mohave County Union High School, and on the second time around the room, I said to Joe, “How many laps are we gonna do?” and he laughed and then the song ended and I jumped up on the stage and spoke and presented the mayor the trophy. Loud cheers for a town that finally got its day in the sun. It was a proud moment for Sue and I. She leaned over to me at one point and whispered, “Can you believe this all started around our little conference table?” It was quite a sight. More later.

Favorite Onion Headline de Jour
Boy, Dolphin No Longer On Speaking Terms

Had a board meeting today at one. Bob McCubbin was in town and we met in the above, mentioned conference room. Approved the 2006 budget. A very nice meeting for a change. We have come a long way and we’re all quite proud of the progress we’ve made.

“The time is now, the place is here. Stay in the present. You can do nothing to change the past, and the future will never come exactly as you plan or hope for.”
—Dan Millman

Saturday, January 28, 2006

January 28, 2006
Sue Lambert and I are on our way to Sheridan, Wyoming for the big Town of the Year celebration today. We get a parade and everything. Here’s the news release:

SHERIDAN—Sheridan has been voted as True West Magazine's first-ever #1 Western Town in America. A celebration will be held from 1:45 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Historic Sheridan Inn.

“Dozens of Western towns applied or were nominated for the award. The judges noted that Sheridan has several historic districts and dozens of historic sites - and hosts numerous Western events each year. The town raised $1 million for a new history museum, scheduled to open in 2006. And renovation work continues on the historic Sheridan Inn, where Buffalo Bill Cody auditioned acts for his Wild West show in the 1890s.”

This Just In From Penny In Sheridan “I know you on the way and I am looking forward to your arrival this morning at the Wingate, and then meeting you by 1:30 at City Hall, 55 East Grinnell Plaza, for our horse drawn carriage ride to the Inn! Please let me know if I need to prepare for anything else—besides getting REALLY EXCITED!!!"
—Penny L. Becker, Executive Director, Sheridan Travel and Tourism, Sheridan, Wyoming

Favorite Onion Headline de Jour
Celebrity Saddened By Death Of Other Celebrity

“We may go to the moon, but that’s not very far. The greatest distance we have to cover still lies within us.” —Charles de Gaulle

Friday, January 27, 2006

January 27, 2006
Here’s news from a True West Maniac in Hawaii:

"Lew and I are in Hawaii with no tv and no radio, so we rent movies and watch everything on the DVD. We were watching ‘Young Guns’ again and enjoyed very much the BTK documentary with you, Leon Metz and a couple of other western historians. Your artwork was a great addition to the piece. We also laughed ourselves silly at the commentary by Lou Diamond Phillips and two of the other cast members. The movie doesn't seem old until you realize what the cast members look like now, does it?"

Yes, it has been 18 years. Doesn’t seem possible. Much of John Fusco's classic still stands, but the one part that I cringed at when I re-watched it recently was the peyote sequence. Which reminds me of. . .

My Favorite Onion Headline de Jour
Quaaludes Are Back, Reports Quaalude-Taking Journalist

“Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshipped.” —Calvin Coolidge

Thursday, January 26, 2006

January 26, 2006
I’m in the cool country. While I’m digging out of a snowdrift, let’s catch up on some correspondence:

Neil Young Feedback
"I too am a fan of Neil’s. I haven't thought out the process nearly with the almost poetic thought he has put into it. I guess Dr. Buford might put it better than I..."You jes’ need some words and some music and it should be pretty.
Plus jes’ sell it for about a million dollars and jes’ keep the money. If you want you can give some to David K."
—Gordon Smith

News From The Front Lines
"Mark Drummond with the Kit Carson Home & Museum in Taos called to order more of the March issue. He said that they are all really pleased with the issue and Paul Hutton's article."
—Carole Glenn

Travelling the Weird West
"So has TW done a travel article on the Weird West? You could mention Carhenge, in Alliance, Nebraska (www.carhenge.com/)

"and Ed Galloway's Totem Pole Park in Foyil, Oklahoma

"and, yes, The Thing (www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/AZCOCthing.html),

"in addition to a slew of others which have presently slipped my mind. All proof that the West was, and still is, a haven for America's weirdos, I mean, iconoclasts."
—Emma Bull

Favorite Onion Headline de Jour
Man Stays Up All Night Procrastinating

"I have come to realize that all my trouble with living has come from fear and smallness within me." —Angela Wozniak

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

January 25, 2006
I’m flying to Cody, Wyoming today with our Regional Sales Manager Sue Lambert. We will be attending the Dude Ranchers’ Association Annual Convention.


On Saturday we will be driving to Sheridan to present the award for the True West Town of the Year. I’ll also visit with my mother.

"And you were worried that your drawing of Jesus was sacrilegious? Look at the latest Rolling Stone cover!"
—Meghan Saar, Managing Editor, True West magazine


Wranglers vs. Levi’s
"In my own humble opinion Levi's are like a cheap hotel—‘No Ballroom’.
Wranglers have a higher waist and a longer crotch, which to my own preference, makes them more comfortable to wear while riding horses. Especially while steer wrestling and team roping."
—Scott Bell

"Dig it. A jeans company thinks that they can make money off of their jeans on your ass. Drop to your knees (on a pillow) and accept the gift. I sure would."
—Pamela Brown

Favorite Onion Headline de Jour
Coin Flip Disputed

"The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater their power to harm us." —Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

January 24, 2006
Warmer out, but windy. Reminds me of Kingman. I went for a bike ride in the desert twilight, then came back and made hot cereal and read the morning paper. Here’s a headline that made me laugh out loud:

Bush says he hasn’t seen ‘Brokeback Mountain’

I’m not making this up. The Associated Press article says President Bush was at Kansas State University when a man in the audience said, "You would love it. You should check it out." The article also said, quoting now, "After some hesitation and laughter in the audience, Bush said, ‘I’d be glad to talk about ranching, but I haven’t seen the movie.’ The audience laughed some more, and Bush, who owns a ranch in Texas, allowed that, ‘I’ve heard about it.'"

Frankly, I was disappointed in the president. Here’s three things I wish he would have said:

• "Isn’t that the movie where they pack the peanut butter?"

• “Man, don’t get me started on that film. I’m going to cry just thinking about it.”

• “I may be the most powerful man in the world, but I’ve got to tell you, that tent scene sure made me pucker.”

Of course, these comments are more than any president is allowed to say, but if I had to guess, this is how George W. would probably answer if he was totally candid:

• “Don’t get me wrong, I love blue films, Cinemax is one of my favorite channels, but that’s a blue state film, I'm a red state guy and I’m just not going to go there. My wife probably will, and my daughters, but we’ll just wait and see. I’ll probably rent it, or watch it at Cheny’s daughter’s house.”

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”
—George Santayana

Monday, January 23, 2006

January 23, 2006
The Tomcat is 23 today. He’s lounging at a beach house on the North Fork of Long Island with his model girlfriend. Must be nice.

More Wrangler vs. Levi’s History
"I know the 13MWZ [Wrangler] was developed in 1947 supposedly using Casey Tibbs and others to help with the design. After that I don't know, but I have just recently made the move from Wranglers to 501s and find the Levi’s more to my middle-aged liking. I still have Wranglers a plenty, but my heart has to be with the working cow-boys as opposed to the athletes. Not that there is anything wrong with that!"
—Alan Huffines

History Channel Feedback
"Saw you again on television today. I think it was the History Channel and you were talking about Jesse James. I watch a lot of the History Channel and by now I've seen most of your quotes (two or three times as a matter of fact).

"Nonetheless, I'm one of those long-timers that remembers you fondly from the old Jones & Boze radio show. So every time I see you on TV, I just automatically start chuckling. Don't know why. I don't even remember any of your bits, except for the ‘West's most mid-Western town’ crack. And, oh, I do remember driving by one time and seeing you frantically trying to see thru the bushs at the Cardinal's training facility in Tempe while you were on the air. That was hilarious!

“So, I just wanted to say thanks for the art, wit and humor. Keep up the good work. You're an Arizona original!”
—Paul from Chandler, Arizona

What Paul is referring to is back in the early nineties the Arizona Cardinals kicked out the media from their practice field in South Tempe and it was a big deal in the local press. The whole place was off limits to The Arizona Republic, The Mesa Tribune, TV and radio. So at the Jones & Boze show we decided to rent a cherry picker and have it parked next to the fence at the outer edge of the field. We just called up a rental place and told them the address and where to park it. We never dreamed they would actually get past Cardinal security. Jeanne and I showed up at six the next morning and there it was, complete with an operator. We jumped in, had the operator crank us up over the fence and I started broadcasting with a bull horn, yelling at the Cardinal’s owner, Bill Bidwill, and the coach (I think it was Gene Stallings at that time). Of course, on the air it sounded absolutely obnoxious with the distortion of the bull horn and me yelling rude and ridiculous things at them (“Hey Bill, cut me some slack Jack. let us in, Man! Let us in! I mean it!!”). What was not apparent on the air was the fact that there wasn’t anyone there—not a soul. All the fields were empty and the whole facility was deserted (it was too early). It didn’t sound that way on the air, and of course, I leaned on it, pretending Bidwill and the whole team could hear me, which really underscores the power of Theater of the Mind.

Writing Tips From A Master
When it comes to writing or capturing the muse, there’s much to learn from Neil Young in the new issue of Rolling Stone.

“[Neil Young] regards editing as as a loss of confidence, as a failure of method. His experience is that if he is sufficiently responsive, the song will arrive in its final form. ‘You have to be open,’ he said in the car. ‘If you’re paying too much attention, you’re not open. I just want to be there, and the thoughts and ides will come. Don’t rush them, and when they’re there, don’t criticize them. If I have to edit something, it’s because I wasn’t open enough to receive it. And I’m not always successful.’”

“In writing you have to try to be as unaffected as you can by what’s going on around you, while also writing about what’s going on around you. I like to remove myself from me to be able to write about the thing I want to write about. I like to think about myself as another soul on the planet.”

“Writing songs is like hunting for a wild animal, but you’re not trying to kill it. You’re trying to communicate with it, to coax it out of its lair. You don’t go over and set a fire and try to force it from it’s lair, or try to scare it out. When it comes out, you don’t want it to be scared of you. You have to be part of what it sees as it’s looking around, what it takes as natural, so that it doesnt regard you as a threat. To me, songs are a living thing. Its not hunting to capture. I just want to get a glimpse of it, so I can record it”

Favorite Onion Headline de Jour
Concert Ruined By Guy Enjoying Himself

One More Favorite Onion Headline de Jour
Most Self-Abuse Goes Unreported

“In victory, you deserve champagne; in defeat, you need it.”
—Napoleon Bonaparte

Sunday, January 22, 2006

January 22, 2006
More Mexican bandidos paintings, another fire in the studio stove. Warmed up in the afternoon to about 70. Took the dogs out twice.

Here’s a thought: maybe Wrangler will pay me not to wear their jeans. Ha.

“I never questioned the integrity of an umpire. Their eyesight, yes.”
—Leo Durocher
January 21, 2006
Chilly out. Took the dogs for a bike run. Bundled up, rode with one hand in pocket, came back and cleaned out my studio stove (bought at Big Bug Creek Antique Barn for $900 many years ago. One of the best investments I've ever made). Got a big fire going, then went over to the house and started drawing on the kitchen table (I know, I know, mega-ADD behavior). I bailed into painting Mexican bandidos and it’s mucho fun. I clip mug shots out of the paper when the mood strikes me. You can’t make up those perp stares! I then cannibalize the facial expressions and marry them to Old West period photos from the many books on Mexico, vaqueros and California outlaws (thanks Bill Secrest and John Boessenecker) in my library. I whipped out nine so far today. I want to put them together in a yearbook like sequence, which is how the early California lawmen did it. This is for the Tiburcio Vasquez raid on Kingston, California (near Fresno). We know the names of many of the raiders but there’s only two or three photos of the participants, so I want to flesh out the rest, but in a vague, less specific sort of way.

Speaking of vague, several readers of this blog asked to see the eye-patch I wore after my torn retina operation and I have hesitated to post them because, well, it’s not the most flattering photos ever taken of me. But this blog is about the truth, warts and all, so here you go.

Perhaps Wrangler will think twice about giving me those free jeans to wear, although I really think I could open up their clothing line to a new audience. Here’s a couple of slogans and ad copy I came up with to get them inspired:

• Trendsetters Tout New Torn Retina Look

• Wrangler: Our Jeans Look Good On Asses

• Baby Boomers With Budding Spare Tires Seek to Emulate Semi-blind Ex-Drummer

These slogans are totally free! Although I have a hunch their legal department may have a problem with this. Maybe this is a more accurate headline in the coming days and months:

• Wrangler Seeks Restraining Order Against Media Whore

Favorite Onion Headline de Jour
Woman With Amazing Rack Told She Has Beautiful Eyes

“The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.”
—Charles Darwinn

Friday, January 20, 2006

January 20, 2006
It’s funny how music can inspire and even change our minds on this life and the things in it. I’ve been listening to Beck on my new iPod. Tomcat loaded the Guero Cd on without my permission, or request, but, unlike that damned Steely Dan, I really have grown to dig the Beck kid (he’s the guy who had the hit "I’m A Loser Baby, So Why Don’t You Kill Me" several years back). Three songs really ring my chimes: “E-Pro,” a head-banging, guitar heavy anthem that had me dancing on the Spanish driveway two nights ago just like in those iPod TV silhouette commercials except the dancer in this case is pushing 60 and doing the frug and ska in slow motion in a creaky, underwater kind of way (I’m assuming this to be true, because in my mind’s eye I’m still 22 with bitchin’, awe-inspiring dance moves and footwork). The second song is “Farewell Ride,” which is the perfect soundtrack for my forthcoming graphic novel and movie, The Mexicali Stud; and the third song is the Mexican dance track, “Que Onda Guero” which utilizes hispanic males shouting out and mumbling Spanglish slang and then Beck gives the whole stew a hip hop, repetitive rhythm. Muy Groovo-mente

Anyway, last night I’m listening to "Que Onda Guero" as I’m doing sketches and studies for Classic Gunfights and it’s changing my view of Tiburcio Vasquez. I now see the 1870s Californio bandido as the hispanic equivalent to Billy the Kid and Jesse James. While most of my historian friends see Vasquez as nothing more than a brutal thug, I have started gravitating more towards the social bandit aspect, wherein we forgive his sins and demonize his opponents, in this case anglo authority. Just like we do with Billy the Kid. Thanks Beck.

Number of Songs Bought Online From iTunes Since Its 2003 Launch
850 million

Number of Songs I Have Bought Online From iTunes
1 (Jack Johnson’s “Where’d All The Good People Go?”)

Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top is in town for the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction and he will be signing copies of his new book on Saturday at the Rock Star Gallery in Scottsdale.

Wrangler Whore Update
A column in today’s Scottsdale Republic talks about Levi’s being the "unwritten dress code" at Scottsdale High in the mid-1940s. Paul Messinger also says, "Our mothers just knew that they couldn’t send us to school with some other make of trousers.” Paul also says, “We wore our Levi’s to Scottsdale High dances. They were held in the old ‘tin gymnasium’ after football and baseball games. . .Dress at these dances was for boys, Levi’s, a clean shirt, a string tie, your best pair of polished cowboy boots and, usually a tweed sport coat. This was considered formal attire.”

I would second this unwritten dress code for the late 1950s in Kingman, although it was starting to change. In the early sixties, surf clothing washed inland, all the way to Kingman, and then the Beatles changed everything. Somewhere in that timeframe, Wrangler’s started sponsoring rodeos and Levi’s started taking the cowboy market for granted. Anyway, that’s my obtuse take on it. I’d love to know more about the “tipping point” when Levi’s went urban and Wrangler’s took over the cowboy market. Anybody have a clue?

Me, I’m conforming to the new Wrangler look, which Jane Bischoff and George Laibe and Grant down at Optimo Hats are fashioning for me. Grant called yesterday and asked, “Do you have a tapered face?” And I said, “I don’t know. I try not to look at myself, and frankly I’m not the most objective person to ask.” Grant is working on the crease on my new $1,000 hat and wanted to know more about my facial terrain. Consequently, Robert Ray shot two photos of me like a mug shot and we Emailed Grant the images (Robert actually had me hold a long card with numbers on it. Ha.). Oh, I tell you, it’s hard being a Wrangler Whore. But it does beat being a crack whore.

“The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Thursday, January 19, 2006

January 19, 2006
Cloudy and cooler. Got another tie on today from my Jane Bischoff stash. Working hard to finish the Tiburcio Vasquez Classic Gunfights feature this morning. Did more studies last night, still not quite there. John Boessenecker wants something cover worthy for his upcoming book, so I’m putting extra effort into the process.

We got an advance look at Gary Roberts’ new tome on Doc Holliday. Intriguing insights and new findings from the foremost Doc expert in the land. Mark Boardman just finished reading it yesterday and is recommending we do some sort of excerpt in the magazine. Meanwhile, Gary contacted me about a source on the comments Wyatt Earp made when Billy Breckenridge’s book, Helldorado came out and, in it, Breck accused Earp of wearing an iron vest at the Mescal Springs fight. As the story goes, the Earp party, including Doc Holliday, rode into a ranch, north of Willcox, and Doc allegedly said, "The steel saved you that time." The steel being a crude, bullet-proof vest. Years later, Earp was quoted as saying, "I wonder if they thought about how hot one of those things would be on the Arizona desert." Gary wants to know the source of that quote (it’s in my Wyatt book) but for the life of me I can’t find it. Perhaps one of the Earp experts who reads this blog will remember the source and citation.

Wrangler Comments From Yesterday's Post
“Dear Wrangler Whore: I hate to be the first to break the news to you, but you most likely can no longer wear the slim-cut denims that Wrangler is famous for unless you have gotten rid of the budding spare tire I saw at our 40th reunion. No offense, man, it's just physics. You will look like one of those chubby women at the mall wearing those low-rider jeans, and that is not a pretty sight."
—Charlie Waters

"Hysterical. And by the way, do REAL cow-boys wear Levis 501 or Wrangler 13MWZ? Here in West Texas, ranch working cow-boys tend to favor the Levis as the original cow-boy jean (although their 19th Century ancestors would have rather died than dress as a nester or miner) and seemingly, to separate themselves from the PRCA types who insist on Wranglers or suitable variant."
—Alan Huffines

I grew up on Levi's being the only cowboy brand of jeans, but the San Francisco company has become so PC (politically correct) in recent years that they’ve turned off most of the cowboys I know. I think Marshall Trimble had in a recent Ask the Marshall column the news item about Levi’s coming out against rodeo as being cruel to animals, etc. In spite of the snide comments made by my old Kingman compadre (above) I actually enjoy the fit of Wranglers, but still feel some residual guilt over abandoning my Levi's roots. But, in my defense, I still drive a Ford, just like my father and his father. Unfortunately, my daughter didn’t get that gene and drives some Godless Prius vehicle.

Depressing Statistic for Small Business Owners Like Myself
“Over 90 percent of new businesses fail, while over 90 percent of franchises succeed.”
—Dale Dauton

Maybe this is why whenever I go on a road trip I go out of my way to eat in a homegrown cafe and not a franchise restaurant, unless there is no other choice. I want regional uniqueness, not bland homogenization.

Favorite Onion Headline de Jour
U.S. To Give Every Iraqi $3,544.91, Let Free-Market Capitalism Do The Rest

Much talk in our house this morning about the current memoir argument regarding made up stories, or fiction passing as fact. Kathy believes the furor over the book, “A Million Pieces” is ridiculous, and that the alleged exaggerations have very little to do with the overall book. I agreed, although I had to cringe about the controversy because in a recent posting where I told the genesis of the name Boze, I was confronted by one of my former teammates who insists the naming incident didn’t happen in a game with Needles, but in a scrimmage. Ouch! If true, it severely reduces the dramatic impact of the story. Oh, well.

“Mysticism and exaggeration go together.”
—Milan Kundera

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

January 18, 2006
Our Style Editor, Jane Bischoff, just got back from the Denver International Stock and Trade Show and she brought me a whole slew of different colored cowboy scarves ($18.50, IOU-Jane). They’re the old fashioned, 1950s style neckties, like Roy Rogers wore around his bare neck, you now, those kind. Only I wear them like a traditional tie, with a buttoned up shirt and tied in a windsor knot. Kind of different, as my mom would say. It’s all part of a new, slicker-but-retro-Western look Jane is fashioning for me. She told me she also got me some free Wrangler jeans and shirts. I hope I won’t have to whore out and mention them all the time, because that’s just not me.

Wrangler sure is cool, though. I just went to their website:


News From The Front Lines
“Erika Madrigal of Sheridan, WY called to subscribe today. I asked if she
could tell me how she found True West and she said that it was the 'talk of
the town' since Sheridan was named #1 True Western town and that they went
out and bought an issue and loved it and decided to subscribe.”
—Carole Glenn

Favorite Onion Headline de Jour
Narcissist Mentally Undresses Self

File Under "What A Hualapai Surprise"
“I have a bit of a mystery that maybe you or your readers could help solve. I have been working with the Hualapai tribe to promote the Grand Canyon West project and we have been trying to put history to the names of various landmarks. One of these is Quartermaster Viewpoint.

“I have two leads but both are very vague. Arizona place names says the canyon below, Quartermaster Canyon, was named for an Indian who was known as Quartermaster that lived in the canyon around 1900.

“However, another source indicates the name dates to the Sitgreaves topographical expedition of 1858 when a quartermaster and small contingent of troopers was sent north of the main body to explore the canyon rim. Any ideas, thoughts or suggestions?”
—Jim Hinckley, Kingman

This Just In From Ex-Radio Partner David K. Jones
"I dug up one of your works of art that foreshadowed trends to come [actually, David K. has jerry-rigged an old New Times Weekly cartoon of mine. The balloon captions are original, the rest is a backdated concoction of his perverse imagination]. By the way, the next time you fly to Guam, don't be alarmed, I am now the ‘voice’ of the Guam International Airport."
—David K. Jones

I whipped out an illustration of an Old West character clad in Long Johns for an upcoming book that’s coming out later this year. The publisher commissioned us to come up with old photos. We had a couple photographs featuring the famous "trapdoor" underwear but they were kind of underwhelming, so Robert M. found me a posed, modern photo and I did a custom illustration to date it a bit.

More Tiburcio Advice
"You should show a picture of Vasquez, along with the description and then
show your image of how he SHOULD HAVE looked. Nice pop-culture twist there."
—Alan Huffines

Great idea. See art for yesterday. That's exactly where I'm headed. Thanks, Alan.

Newest True West Moments Schedule for 2006-07
Jeff Hildebrandt is busy editing the new True West Moment segments and he just released the new schedule today and the dates each segment will premiere:

March: Tucson Train Shooting (Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday vs. Frank Stilwell, taped on the actual spot where it happened)

April: They Died With Their Boots Off (taped in Tombstone's Boothill Graveyard); The Hitching Rail Myth (taped in front of the O.K. Corral)

May: The Endurance of The Horse (taped on Comstock Hill in Tombstone); How Far Could A Train Travel? (taped at Tucson Train Station)

June: Call Drinks In The Old West (taped in the Birdcage Theater); The Most Dangerous Train Job (taped at Tucson Train Station)

July:The Plaid Shirt Killing (taped in the Crystal Palace Saloon)

August: Where Does The Term “Hoosegow” Come From? (taped in the Tombstone Courthouse)

September: The Most Dangerous Intersection In The West (a secret)

October: The Exact O.K. Corral Shooting Location (not a secret)

November: Train Slang (taped at Tombstone Train Depot)

December: Virgil Earp Shooting (taped at Fifth and Allen, Tombstone)

January, 2007:Johnny Behind the Duce Shooting Prevented (taped on Allen Street, Tombstone)

I tried to schedule events in the month they occurred where appropriate. We will also be repeating previously aired segments each month, but I don't have that scheduled at this point.
—Jeff Hildebrandt, Westerns Channel

Dan Harshberger just sent up three layouts for the April issue and they are stellar. His take on the cover story “I’ve Been Everywhere, Man,” is just the coolest. Big ol’ head of Johnny Cash looming out like a Tiki God. Too cool for school, Jewell.

"The years teach much which the days never know."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

January 17, 2006
For the next issue of True West I’m working on an illustration of Californio Bandido Tiburcio Vasquez, and this is where my art director proclivities collide with my higher, historian aspirations. Call it “The Tale of the Two Tiburcios.”

Tiburcio was a legendary bandido who spread terror and awe all across California in the early 1870s (and despite being hanged by the “Americans,” he has a high school, a hospital and rock outcroppings named for him and is considered a hero by many hispanics today) and, so, it’s tempting to illustrate him with a high Spanish flair—a big sombrero, vaquero style leggings and waist coat, concho studded breeches and gunbelt. I can just see him astride a strutting, black stallion, his dark, black goatee glistening in the California moonlight, leading a large band of followers dressed just as dramatically, but not quite as dashing as El Jefe.

But when I asked my friend and author John Boessenecker if there are any contemporary descriptions of Tiburcio and the way he dressed, here’s his reply:

“Sheriff Harry Morse obtained a description of Vasquez in early 1872, and wrote in his diary that Tiburcio wore a black coat trimmed with a beaver collar, black trousers, and a black velvet vest decorated with floral designs from which protruded a silver watch chain and open face watch. By all accounts he always dressed like this—in fine and fashionable clothes, even while he was in the saddle and committing robberies.”

There is a photograph of Vasquez taken at about this time which bears out John’s description and he looks nothing like a Mexican bandido at all and more like a banker from Fresno. He’s even holding his hat, which is a flat-brimmed modest affair. It’s always tempting to rationalize that he dressed that way for the photographer but perhaps he got more funky out in the field, but the Morse diary entry negates that. So, I have to fight the urge to give him a stylish flair. Sometimes I hate being chained to historical accuracy!

My son Thomas was on TV last night. He appeared on the Fuse network on a show called “7th Avenue Drop.” The Strokes, a rock group he adores, were featured and the Bell kid was seen pumping his fist to the beat, not once, but twice (the son of a drummer is also a drummer). I asked him to describe the scene in the Manhattan studio where the show was taped and this is what he said:

“They kicked ass as usual. I'm not a big fan of their new single but the other songs they played from the new album were really good. They had to play one of them three times. Jules, the lead singer, was a funny guy and they were all very nice. He kept thanking us in between songs saying we were a great crowd. In between one song Frank [a male model and the guy who got T. in] said, ‘Whats up?’ Jules replied, ‘Not much, Buttercup.’ He basically just talked to us in between the jams. I had a brief conversation with them about what Albert (rhythm guitar) was drinking. Jules replied for him, ‘orange juice’ and then was immediately corrected by Albert saying it was grapefruit juice. It was a blast. Great music, the highlights of all the albums, and an intimate environment. As I told you before, there were only about 50 people in the crowd.”

“History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.”
—Abba Eban

Monday, January 16, 2006

January 16, 2006
The annual Road Runner Regional Rodeo was held last weekend down at the new Rawhide location (next to Firebird Lake on the way to Tucson). For those of you who don’t know, this is the annual gay and lesbian rodeo. Yes, they’ve been holding it for a decade or so, and yes, they said in the paper they are hoping the movie Brokeback Mountain will increase awareness about their sport and event. And yes, in addition to bull riding and bareback bronc riding, they have goat dressing and something called “wild drag racing.” I am going to be curious to see who the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, got to be the “bigoted straight guy” since Marshall Trimble flat turned them down. I would guess the piece will probably run this week on the Comedy Channel.

Meanwhile, here’s another comment on the movie seconding the connection of Jake and Heath being sheepherders and gay in the movie:
"I would hazard a guess that most cowboys would rather be called queer than be labeled a sheepherder."
—Paul Rolly, in the The Salt Lake Tribune

Ed Mell’s son Carson has a piece in the LA Weekly on a forgotten science fiction writer named Lucas Reed. Here’s the link and a taste:


Burnt Past Black (Wizard Serials)
“We were blasting them back with our laser cannons, the smell of their burning hides wafting across the dunes. 'Full Power!' I shouted. Before I’d finished issuing the command, one of the Ginger Wasps whipped past my lips, darted down my throat, its razor sharp backside hot and frothing with eggs. How long now until I became one of them?”
—Lucas Reed

“The art of reading is to skip judiciously.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Sunday, January 15, 2006

January 15, 2006
I worked today on a project that's been on my mind for some time.

Confessions of a Honkytonk Drummer

It’s been almost 25 years since I played drums in a series of Country bands in the Old Pueblo. It was a decadent time in a decadent town and I hesitate to admit I was more than up to the challenge.

Most of the bars and honkytonks I played in are long gone, but their names can still raise a smile on an oldtimer’s face: Grant Road Tavern, The Dunes, The Doll House, The Cedars, The Hi Ho Club, The Maverick, Nashville West, Choo Choos, The Oxbow, The Stumble Inn, the Body Shop, The Crossroads, El Torero, the Hayloft, the Longhorn, The Big T, The Embers, The Cedars, The Red Rooster and the Buckaroo, to name just a few of the places I played and commited adultery in.

One of the constants in each of the bands I played it was this: Each of us thought we were the only reason the band sounded half-way decent. We had shitty gigs. We all hated each other. We all wanted to quit. We were family.

I usually sat up high on my drum riser, looking down and passing judgement on the unwashed and the unaware. From my little paradiddle roost, I’ve seen fist fights, standup noodlin’, dancin’ handjobs, limbo lechin’, hair pullin’ shoot outs and ball peen hammer wielding exes. Some of it was pretty. As in pretty ridiculous, but I learned a bunch playing drums in a honkytonk. Among the lessons:

• When you’re in a band, some people think you’re a god. Others think you’re scum. And the main difference between the two is the latter ain’t too silent about it.

• People who hang in honkytonks usually have pretty good advice. Like this bit of wisdom I got one night at the Red Rooster on South Nogales Highway from a truck driver who assured me he had a Phd: “Let me tell you something about ‘Thorny Relationships.’ You just need to take off the ‘T’ Hoss. Take off the ‘T.’”

• Honkytonk Band Law #76: The gigs that pay the most are the suckiest gigs.

• Guys who build bars always scrimp on the bandstand. Usually, it’s an afterthought, tiny and unrealistic for a four piece country band.

• Jam sessions: Sad Sunday affairs, where lackluster performers plinked and plucked, crooned and croaked, their tiny talents on pathetic display.

• If you’ve never smelled the inside of a bar on Sunday morning, you’ve never lived. There’s this pungent, gagging mix of stale beer and booze, mixed with cigarette smoke and lysol, all ground into a pulp and covered with a glossy sheen. Like lime dumped on a ditch full of dead bodies.

• Band Fights always start between the two strongest players in the band. The maddest one usually starts bad-mouthing the other to all the other members until everyone is infected and upset.

• No matter how big or small the band is, there’s always one guy falling in love and another guy falling out of love.

• The more important the gig, the more things goes wrong.

• In-house P.A.s are the worst. The doorman is the soundman.

• The higher the ponytail, the lower the I.Q.

• Bass players work all the time. Nobody wants to play bass. It’s boring.

• drummers don’t want to stay in back. They want to sing lead (Guilty as charged, your honor).

• We played a wedding reception at a dog track on south 4th Ave. It was cheesy. We set up in the tri-fecta area and played looking out on the darkened track. There was a palpable tension between the guests at the party. Finally the groom jammed cake in the bride’s nose and she choked and tried to slap him. He laughed and grabbed her hands and did it again. As we broke down, I had to step over the groom and his father-in-law rolling between the tables, cursing and punching each other in the face. Sometimes I think about that bride and groom and wonder if they’re still married.

• “We’re so excited to be here...Testing 1-2-3-4...”

Bad Band Etiquette
• The double-edged sword. When you work all the time-you don’t want to even see each other, so you never practice, you never grow. If one guy bails on practice, they all do, happy that the first guy takes the fall and gets the blame.

Really Hurtful Joke #67
Q: How can you tell if the stage is level?
A: Drool comes out both sides of the drummer’s mouth.

"She appeared out of a smoky haze. Spaghetti straps anchoring her floating, rocket ship bosoms, set off by a cascading mane of bleach-blond-hair, piled sky high. She was a headturning, knocked-out Country goddess and she knew it. As she picked her way to an empty table near the dancefloor, every guy in the place craned his neck to get a glimpse. They all wanted her, but she kept looking straight ahead at the bandstand. She smiled and blew me a kiss during 'Wipeout.' Instinctively, I knew if there was some way to blow it, I would find a way. But on this particular hot and muggy monsoon night I discovered the wanton ways of what we came to call—The Nympho Rodeo."

“Those of you who know me will easily recognize the painful truths in this story. To those of you who don’t know me, I completely understand. I wouldn’t believe it either.”
January 14, 2006
I met historian Vince Murray down at the Carefree Highway Chevron at 7:30 this morning and we took off for Harqua Hala south of Salome, Arizona ("Where she danced"). Vince has done extensive research on this little-known mining boom town and when I asked him if he had uncovered anything on Wyatt Earp being out there he smiled and said, "I know where his mining claim is."

For years I have driven past the Harqua Hala Mountains and wondered where the town was. Earp was spotted on his way to the boom town in 1888 with a wagon load of gambling equipment and two women. That's the only reference I've ever seen to the town or Earp being there.

We got within a mile of the mine at about one in the afternoon and hoofed it the rest of the way. Vince had a GPS unit so we had fun checking it every couple hundred yards or so, when one of us would say, "We're too far south, it must be over that way."

Wyatt named the mining claim "The Sore Finger," and the surrounding mountains became the Sore Finger Mountains. To my knowledge this has never been cited in any of the Earp literature. It's always thrilling to have a day like this, where you discover a hidden place and stand where they stood, worked and dreamed. More later.

Got home at about five, had a dinner party to go to in honor of the author Tom Miller. He's in town to speak at the Universalist Church on Lincoln tomorrow.

Onion Headline de Jour
Air Marshal Stuck In Conversation About Passenger's Patio

"We don't remember days, we remember moments."
???Old Vaquero Sayingg

Friday, January 13, 2006

January 13, 2006 Bonus Blog
Well, that was quick. A former Kingman classmate gives us the Horse answer, muy pronto:

The saying goes:

One white foot, buy him.
Two white feet, try him.
Three white feet, be on the shy.
Four white feet, pass him by.

Another one goes:

One white sock, buy.
Two white socks,try him.
Three white socks, be on the shy.
Four white socks and a white nose, feed him to the crows.

At least that's the way they said it in when I lived in Montana and was raising
and training quarter horses for steer wrestling and team roping. I like the second one the best.
—Scott Bell

Coming This Weekend, A New Installment of Tales From The Triple B:
"Nympho Rodeo: Bitter Life Lessons Experienced From A Drum Riser"

"An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field."
—Old Vaquero Saying
January 13, 2006
I whipped out a couple "Still Miserable?" illustrations this morning for a certain therapist I know and often sleep with. It’s for an ad in the Sonoran News that will run next week. Robert McElroy helped me design the ad (I tipped him and Robert Ray $20 because it was on company time).

Dave Daiss stuck his head in my office yesterday and said, "Did you say on the History Channel that Billy the Kid was a transsexual?" Dave was over in Tombstone last week and one of the local gunleather guys was all in a lather about it. I repeated to Dave the old vaquero saying, “If you’re out to beat a dog, you’re bound to find a stick.” Seems like a whole bunch of folks down there have got me on their “Must Beat Boze Now” list and if you read this blog (or the magazine) you know why. The alleged "transsexual" comment is probably a distortion of a point I made on a History Channel program (I forget which) where I pointed out that some crazies actually believe because the Kid reportedly had small hands and feet that he was actually a woman. That part is true: that there are nuts who believe this, I’m just not one of them. But I do believe that the guy in Tombstone who made the comment is probably a transsexual wanna-be.

I guess I just found my own stick.

Another Google-Related Google Story
“I found your blog while googling for ‘McCracken Mine, Arizona’ which is where our club went last week for our field trip. I'm VP of the Needles Gem and Mineral Club, located (of course) in the only town junkies show an instant affinity for, as soon as you mention it by name. Not me, I live across the river in AZ!!!! I'm loving your blog! Being a retired engineer, exotic car freak and ex-musician (guitar of course—why ask?) I can relate to your blog which I have passed on to my e-mail lists as ‘blog of the week’. Probably more like ‘of the year’ actually, especially your wonderful ‘Old Vaquero Sayings’. Your blog may actually be the ‘gun to the head’ so to speak that forces people like me without the time to read another magazine into subscribing to your True West periodical.”

Speaking of Needles, author Diana Gabaldon requested a copy of Even Lower Blows, a compilation of my New Times Weekly cartoons, for her husband. This morning, she added this question: “My husband Doug is dying to know about the ‘Boze’—is it a family name you adopted, or your actual middle name, or did you have siblings who called you ‘Bozo’ as a child?”

As the lead-off hitter in a high school baseball game against our arch rivals, Needles, California, I hit a sharp, line drive into right-center field. As I rounded first, I realized I could easily make it to second, so I turned around and ran backwards the rest of the way, in a strutting, dyslexic rooster kind of way. We hated Needles, so this was my way of saying, on behalf of my teammates: "Welcome to Kingman, Putos." Our coach, Frank Baca (also my Spanish teacher), yelled out, "Payaso!" which means "clown" in Spanish. Cruel teammates, Charlie Waters prime among them, picked up on this and started calling me "Bozo," then "Boze." It stuck.

Our Train Extravaganza Is Picking Up Some Steam
“A new client of mine in Scobey, MT just received the March issue. He loved it and especially liked the big feature on trains. As a result of receiving the issue Mike Stebleton with the Daniel County Museum decided to advertise in this issue instead of next year’s travel issue.

“Their BIG thing is the "Dirty Shame Show" which is celebrating 40 years in
2006. Check out their show at this site:”
—Sue Lambert


Calling All Horse Saying Experts
I have been searching for this horse saying:

One sock, buy him

Two socks, try him

three socks, ??

four socks, pass him by.

“Do you know this saying?? Can you finish the missing lines? Or who said it? Maybe you can refer me to a book for reference? Thanks!”

I can’t, but I’ll bet someone reading this can (perhaps that Transsexual Horse's Ass Expert in Tombstone?)

Managing Editor Defends Turf
“Pilgrimage is also an intransitive verb, but that's besides the point. It is used as a noun. I wouldn't even have list in there, I'd write it as:

My Personal Pilgrimages
(and the years I finally landed)

“Year should be pluralized, not singular as it was in the copy.”
—Meghan Saar, Managing Editor, True West magazine

Favorite Onion Headline de Jour
Headlights Caught In Deer

“It takes one to know one.”
—Old Transsexual Saying

Thursday, January 12, 2006

January 12, 2006
I had dinner last night with Art-Talk Publisher Shari Morrison and Editor Renee Targos, at Melee’s on Main Street in Old Town Scottsdale. Had much fun talking shop and swapping trade secrets and eating great Thai food (Shari bought). I wrote them a fan letter several weeks ago, congratulating them on their 25th Anniversary issue and their much improved graphic design.

From Melee’s I motored up to the Kerr Cultural Center for an evening with the author’s event to benefit Reading for the Blind. I joined authors Diana Gabaldon (Outlander), Jon Talton (Camelback Falls) and Syvia Nobel (Chasing Rayna). Sold some 15 books and Poisoned Pen Bookstore bought the rest. Great crowd, only about sixty in attendance but all of them big book buyers.

This morning I worked on Classic Gunfights and the Tiburcio Vasquez Gang robbing an entire town story. Edited copy down and put it in layout and handed off to Meghan. Robert Ray finished the Honkytonk Sue-Editorial layout. I got this Email from a certain editor in Fresno, regarding yesterday’s nighttime epiphany:

“Pilgrimage is a noun and your suggested headline uses it as an adjective.”

The Curse of Billy the Kid Strikes Again
For those of you who believe, like I do, that William Bonney cursed the towns that betrayed him, a news story from Fort Sumner, New Mexico should make your day. A local resident trapped a rat in his house in one of those sticky, wax job deals, took the rat in the trap, outside where he was burning leaves and threw the rat in the trap into the fire. The fire melted the wax, the rat broke free and ran back into the house. Oh, and since he was on fire, he subsequently burned down the house.

No, I’m not making this up. “Rats!” Okay, I made that up.

“Billy, in one of his nice new sashes,
Fell in the fire and was burnt to ashes,
Now, although the room grows chilly,
I haven’t the heart to poke poor Billy.”

—Harry Graham, British writer

Flag On Fags: A Northern Arizona Review of Brokeback Mountain
“I watched the movie last weekend at our small independent theater at the mall. The place seats about 300 and it was packed on a sunny and chilly Saturday afternoon. The anal-sex-in-the-tent scene was a little more information than I needed—whatever happened to nuance & innuendo? Nobody left the theater, but the collective butt-clenching sounded like somebody was digging through a plastic bowl for the last red M & M. I wonder how much time Ang Lee spent in the editing room before he finally said, "f---- it, it's my movie and I say, let 'em squirm." It was an interesting love story—the other team notwithstanding—about choices and consequences and human frailty. Geez, I sound like an undergrad lit major. My second biggest complaint? It attaches an unfortunate subtext to ‘gone fishing.’"
—Tom Carpenter

I second Tom’s every squirm.

“Loved your piece on Billy Gibbons. Back in 1970 or 71 my hometown of Harlingen, Texas was one of those ‘small venues’ where they performed. My friends and I were seated on the front row. In those days (it might still be the same today) there were no "underground" FM stations in the Rio Grande Valley. Our only choice was KRIO-AM playing bubblegum music. So, we didn't really know who ZZ Top was—we just liked their name, so we went to the concert.

“When ZZ Top stepped out on the stage they looked liked they had just been released from either the Army or prison - no beards and practically no hair. I remember this distinctly; the first thing Gibbons said was, ‘We are going to get you out of your chairs’ and they started their good Texas blues. It was an awesome concert.”
—Bob Reece

Favorite Onion Headline de Jour
Maid Frenched

Went to lunch with Mad Coyote Joe at Rubio’s down below Terravita. Had the fish tacos and an iced tea ($7 cash). Talked about his new TV show, and his novel.

“We have, I fear, confused power with greatness.”
—Stewart I. Udall

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

January 11, 2006
I switched gears this morning and inked in two new scenes of Honkytonk Sue for the April issue. Felt good to be illuminating the Queen of Country Swing once again. She is so sexy (when I draw her right!). I turned over the finished illustrations to Robert Ray at about ten and he’ll scan the images and we’ll lay out the panels this afternoon.

Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top just sent me his new book: "Rock+Roll Gearhead" It’s a monster book befitting a monster git-picker. Billy and I go way back to my Razz Revue days when he almost single-handedly kept our little ol’ humor magazine afloat with his generous subscription orders.

The massive coffee table book comes complete with a fold out poster, showing BFG in front of one of his street rods with the headline “Hot Cars +Cool Guitars.” The best part of the book to me is the history of his band days, complete with photos of his days in his first band, The Moving Sidewalks, and his long road to makin’ it. He tells a hilarious story about driving out to LA from Texas in a “hopped-up Pontiac GTO,” hitched up to a “gear-haulin’ trailer.” When they got to Hollywood, the place was slammed and jammed and here they were, some unknown guys from Texas, so Billy had them pull the GTO up to the curb outside a niteclub called the Galaxy, and they loaded in their gear, plugged in and just started to play “before anybody knew what was up.” Evidently, they made enough of an impression because they got the gig. Now that’s Texas sized huevos, Man.

Everything wasn’t that easy, of course. Billy tells a great story about the early days of ZZ Top when they had a modest hit on the radio called “Salt Lick” and they were still doing very small venues around Texas. One night they pulled up to a gig in Alvin, Texas, set up and went on with only one paying customer in front of the stage. They did their entire show for this one guy (and they’ve stayed in touch with him ever since because he was so loyal). It turned out the announcement card that advertised the gig said, “Bizzy Top from Salt Lake.” Ha.

News From the Front Lines
“Joann and Steve MeGee, owners of the Rainbow in downtown Pendleton, received notice recently that their establishment was named the best saloon in Oregon.

“PENDLETON — True West magazine has named the Rainbow Cafe as the best
saloon in Oregon.

“‘This was a total surprise to us,’ said Joanne McGee, who owns the downtown bar and restaurant with her husband, Steve. ‘We were just selected.’ The Rainbow Cafe doesn’t advertise in True West, so the selection wasn’t a perk. ‘To tell you the truth, I’d never even heard of the magazine,’ Steve McGee said.”
—East Oregonian

Onion Headline de Jour
Perverted Ninja Enjoys Being Seen

I’m going down into the Beast tonight for a dinner with a fellow publisher and then attending an author’s book signing at the Kerr Cultural Center.

Mark Boardman and I are tweaking the Tiburcio Vasquez Classic Gunfights copy today. It’s too long and Mark took a stab at cutting it down this morning.

I wrestled with Meghan yesterday over a sub-hed in my editorial of all the historic sites I have been to. She wanted to change the head to all the sites “I’ve Visited,” but I protested that when me and my Old West friends go to these places, it’s more than a visit. No, in fact, It approaches a religious experience. She offered the word “pilgrimage,” but we couldn’t figure out a smooth way to work that into the headline. I woke up at about three this morning and there it was: “My Personal Pilgrimage List.” Ah, sweet sleep.

"Nothing increases the value of a cow so much and so quickly as to get killed by a train."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

January 10, 2006
Cold out this morning. At about seven I bundled up and took the bike and ran the dogs up Old Stage road. Great streaks of reddish twilight on Fortification Rock. Of course, Peaches and Buddy Boze Hatkiller do their daily fence fighting with the Barro dogs, who meet them on the ride back in the far south corner of the Barro's multi-acre fenced ranchito. My dogs run to either side of the corner corner and do the bared-teeth barking and big, bad, dog posturing thang, while Frosty (a three-legged- marvel) and her mates do the same on the inside of the fence. They are all so brave with a fence between them and Peaches does this sweet Michael Jordon spin, where she makes a feint at the fence, then does a complete turn-round, before running to the other spot and repeating the process (and with her tongue out just like Jordan). Some mornings I have to encourge her, "Do the spin, Peaches! Do the spin!" Ah, we're so easily entertained out here on the desert.

At around 11:30, one of our old employees, DeAnn Giago, came by with her new beau, Joseph, ex-studio musician and artist. It was great to see her and she is as beautiful as ever. The two of them joined Carole Glenn, Robert Ray, Abby Pearson and I for lunch at El Encanto. We sat inside at a windows on the pond table. I had the Sonoran enchiladas with an egg on top. Carole bought mine. When we got back to the office I gave DeAnn a new Classic Gunfights hardbound, partially in appreciation for all the times she has posed for me.

News From the Front Lines
Frankie from Gaston, AL called and complained that he cannot find True West in his area. He said that he used to get it at Walmart in Gaston, but can no longer find it there. He said that he questioned them about it and was told that they have requested copies, but not received. He also said that he used to get it at Bookland in Gaston Mall, but was told by someone working there that they have made several requests to receive more copies. Frankie said that more people would buy TW if they could locate it.
—Carole Glenn

This is a vexing problem for us at True West. We all too often get lost in the sea of magazines out there on the newsstands (over 6,500 titles at last count), but I really appreciate Frankie staying on the case like this, and I wish more of you would do the same. I contacted our rep at Kable News (our newsstand distributor), Bob Peterson, and he sent me several Emails, copying all of his up-chain partners in crime, but I couldn’t make out who was talking to whom, because all of the Emails, including mine, were addressed to Bob. I sent him back this Email:

I’m confused. Are you talking to me or another Bob? We are suffering from too many Bobs! You're a Bob, I'm a Bob, I've got Bob Brink, Bob Ray, Bob McElroy, Bob McCubbin (in a staff of 15!) and you've got Bob Owen and Bob Olszewski. Don't tell me there are any more Bobs at your end, please!

Bob assured me all the Bobs on his end were accounted for, but for some reason I really don’t believe him. (It’s a Bob thing)

Favorite Onion Headline de Jour
Mom Finds Out About Blog

“If I had to give a definition of capitalism I would say: the process whereby American girls turn into American women.”
—Christopher Hampton

Monday, January 09, 2006

January 9, 2006
I got a call today from Michael Blake, the author of Dances With Wolves. He is working on several new books and we talked about his love of history and True West (he bought a copy of our Special Custer Battlefield Edition at the Little Bighorn Battlefield Museum several years ago and has been a fan ever since). He pitched several ideas on possible articles and we talked about other subject matter. An interesting guy. Enjoyed talking with him.

Our office copies of the March issue with the Why Is This Man Forgotten? cover came in from Banta late this morning. Everyone was jumping with joy about the issue. Some problems with cross-overs, because of the perfect binding, but Robert Ray is all over it: we need to expand our gutters a tad. Not a big problem, but I like it that people care about the small stuff. There’s a lot of pride about the mag and as an owner that makes me feel good. Meanwhile sales continues to pound it out. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Several years ago we took the whole staff out to Rawhide for dinner because we topped $23,000 in sales. Today, both Sue Lambert and Joel Klasky are above $43,000. Each of them! And they’re not done yet.

Daniel Harshberger PDF’d up a very refined cover design for our travel issue. I had asked for a more coffee table look and I got it. Now we’ve got to score the original photo which is at the Bancroft Library in Berkeley. I filled out all the paperwork and faxed it to them. Going to cost a couple hundred bucks but it’s a very cool photo.

Immediate Smart Alecky Response On Johnny Loco Story Idea:
“Is this also the explanation why when we asked some girl if she'd like to have sex, the reply was always ‘Are you Loco?’"
—Fred Nolan, Chalfont St. Giles, England

Daily Onion Headline de Jour
Laugh Track Easily Amused

News From The Front Lines:
“My husband and I have been watching the Encore Westerns Channel for about a year now. He gets to watch the movies he saw when he was a child at the Saturday matinees, and I've been learning about cowboy heroes I'd never known before. The first tv western hero I remember is Roy Rogers. We enjoy your True West Moment on the Westerns Channel. Over the holidays, my hubby went online and subscribed to your magazine. Way to go, Pardner!”
—Jane Beman

We’ve got a new poll up: Which Colt Dragoon Model do you prefer? Go vote!
• First Model?
• Second Model?
• Third Model?

I finished my April editorial and wrote too long, so had to cut something and ended up axing this paragraph:
Growing up on Route 66 in Kingman, Arizona and travelling to the family farm in Iowa every summer afforded me great memories of legendary Route 66 towns like Gallup, New Mexico, Flagstaff, Arizona, don’t forget Winona. In fact I stood on a corner in Winslow, Arizona during the 1957 Northern Arizona Little league Championship Tournament. Plus, one summer, along about 1961, my dad took a cutoff and we stopped in Meade, Kansas, home of the Dalton’s hideout. Ironically I’m returning to Meade this summer as the Grand Marshal at their annual Dalton Days festivities this June 2-4.

End of Ax

Which Reminds Me of Another Onion Headline I love:
African-American Neighborhood Terrorized by Ask Murderer

“Men are afraid to rock the boat in which they hope to drift safely through life’s currents, when, actually, the boat is stuck on a sandbar. They would be better off to rock the boat and try to shake it loose.”
—Thomas Szasz

Sunday, January 08, 2006

January 8, 2006
Yesterday afternoon I attended a memorial service for Irissa Wilcox, the 20-year-old daughter of Christie who died in a car wreck last week. It was very sad, but at the same time beautiful and inspiring. Rissa's friends got up, one by one and honored her short life. The kids were quite eloquent, funny and touching (as Bill B. from Cave Creek put it after the ceremony, "If these kids are indicative of the next generation we are in fine shape."). From her friend's comments we learned that Irissa (which means sunset by the way) was holding down three jobs, going to ASU and taking flight training from Emory Riddle, and by all accounts was a math whiz, a stunning dancer, and a great friend. The service included a slide show set to rock music that was both heartbreaking and empowering. More than once I had tears streaming down my cheeks as I laughed and cried, cried and laughed. Chrisite was beatific and so centered. We all teared up as we hugged her. She is so strong and so giving to all of us even though her heart had to be breaking.

Of course I've been thinking about them both all week and who the bell really tolls for. In this case, the bell tolls for bell. Ha.

It's cooler out today. Got a fire in the studio stove. Buddy Boze Hatkiller is lounging on his chair with his big, fat head drooping over the arm, sound asleep. Kathy is at a seminar down in Tempe, but we're meeting later this afternoon to catch a movie.

I'm on the Email list of one of Tomcat's fave bands, the Necronauts. They mentioned in their last update that they were injured on New Year's Eve, so, as their band father and mentor (I've never met them), I wrote them back and asked what happened: Car wreck? Band fight? Ninja groupies?. I got this response back:

"hello mr. bell. give tom our greetings and such. is he still working on his movie? i imagine he thinks of us often, being that he works at a mental hospital! haha. we are good though. i got tackled after our set at the monte vista [bar in Flagstaff] on new years eve and thrown into the drumset and dogpiled by our 'adoring' fans/friends. so the scar is gonna be worth it. Carlito on the other hand got into a tiff with en ex-girlfriend who went haywire at the show, pouring beer on his pedal s and 'taking back' a $800 guitar she got him. hahaha. so i guess you could say he had a demon he needed to exorcise, but the exorcision involved him punching a brick wall. hope all is well with you sir.best reguards."
—william, of the Necronauts

Tales From the Triple B
I often get story ideas at the oddest times, usually when I should be working on something else. Here's one I think would make a great movie

In the summer of 1886, a young, and very handsome Apache lad named Johnny Loco was rounded up, along with 86 other Apache, Navajo and Haulapai kids. The youngsters, who ranged from the ages of eight to eighteen, were to be part of a "grand experiment" and sent off to a Carlisle, Pennsylvania school to become "Americans." Unlike some of the "In-din" kids, Johnny, 17, actually thrived in the school and quickly became the poster boy for the school program and the entire assimilation process. Unfortunately he was also very attractive to some of the local white girls, and after being caught inflagro delecti with Alderman Chauncy Stallingsworth's nubile daughter, Johnny was summarily kicked out of the school and ordered to be sent home as incorrigible. But before he could be shipped off by train, he went on a small crime spree, raiding the houses of all the teachers and town councilmen who he felt had wronged him, leaving deer intestines and a sack of four dog turds on each of their dining room tables with a note that said, "Yatahey! Thanks for the education—Loco" It should be noted four is a sacred number for Apaches and the deer intestines had been chloroformed, thanks to knowledge gleaned in Johnny's chemistry labs. As one of his teachers later said, off the record of course, "That little Apache Bastard learned his lessons all too well." A large manhunt was launched to bring the errant Apache boy to justice (at least East Coast American style justice), but of course no white man in Pennsylvania was ever going to catch an Apache, in Pennsylvania, or, for that matter, in th e neighboring states west of Pennsylvania, which is where the search spread to.

As the manhunt dragged on, the story captured the entire nation's attention as sightings of the Apache renegade, spread ever westward, past Saint Louis and out into the plains states. Zany clues left along the way, made the newspapers every day, with rabid reporters speculating about the clues and whether they were left haphazardly, or on purpose, "We may never know," they pontificated in historically correct verbage.

Our story begins as the latest sighting has Johnny Loco travelling somewhere west of Laguna, New Mexico and north of Gallup. He is reportedly hiding out in the wilds of the vast Bisti Badlands. The Santa Fe Railroad has brought down-track the legendary lawman, and sheriff of Apache County, Commodore Perry Owens to lead a posse to run down the "young buck," and teach him a lesson. Or two. Accompanied by several Navajo and Apache scouts, two or three who were fr iends of Loco, the posse runs straight up against the toughest and most elusive outlaw they will ever encounter. For one thing he has all of the woodsman skills of his people, but secondly, he majored in chemistry and minored in philosophy, so he knows all too well the White Man's ways

The student becomes the teacher in Bisti Badman. To be continued. . .

Onion Headline de Jour
Understudy Overacting

"Men have two emotions: Hungry and Horny. If you see him without an erection, make him a taco."
—Old Vaquero Sayingg

Saturday, January 07, 2006

January 7, 2006
Well, we are cruising into our seventh year at the helm of True West and since day one, Bob McCubbin has maintained that we need to somehow, someway locate all of the old True West readers and let them know we are still in business. Sometimes it happens one magazine at a time. Case in point:

“I bought this month's issue [January] and found a photo I was interested in, two actually. The photo is on page 41 of Texas Ranger Jack Webb.

“We are west Texans, and we have west Texan Webbs in the family tree, so I thought hmm, I just wonder. I took the photo out to my Dad, and he too, is wondering. His sister, my Aunt, is researching the family tree and has been looking into it.

“But what I wanted to share with you specifically was my Dad's reaction to the magazine itself. He was happily astonished to see the title on the magazine, True West. He was amazed you guys are still in circulation. A few days later, (today) he presented me with a near mint condition issue dated June of 1962. The mailing label is to my Dad at his home at the time in Sierra Blanca TX, where my parents were married. Dad is also tickled that you guys are here in AZ. I just wanted to share, thought you might like food for thought.
—Kim Taylore
PS. The other photo was an advertisement for Rawhide in Chandler. One of the men pictured is an old friend of ours, we are driving up from Tucson to see him Sunday.

“Don't look where you fall, but where you slipped.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

And how are they responding to the movie Brokeback Mountain up in Wyoming? This is from a friend of a friend up that way:
"I ain't never met a queer cowboy. Any queer cowboy ain't no cowboy, it’s a sheep herder."

More News from the Front Lines:
"Store manager, Larry Siegel, from the Shea and 101 Barnes & Noble ordered 6 more Classic Gunfights, Vol I on Tuesday. He called today to say they are selling well and that he has put them on their Regional Display Table, so they will have better exposure."
—Carole Glenn

A couple responses to Bob Dylan’s classic Billy the Kid tunes:
"Billy 4 is incredibly sad—seems to capture the whole story in one fell swoop!!”
—Bob Reece

Yes, that's what makes Dylan so amazing to me. That he can moan (almost croak) these poetic words and weave out a tapestry of truth that is just stunning. He is a freak of nature really. I have this fantasy of doing a new Billy the Kid movie but of using all his music from PG&BTK. Ha. And speaking of which, here’s another response:

“Peckinpah suffered a hailstorm of criticism and abuse over that soundtrack back in '73, and I thought I was the only person who ever really loved it. Your words on the subject were refreshing; thanks. I'm attaching an mp3 file I think you'll enjoy. It's an out-take from the Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid album called, ‘And He Killed Me Too.’ When you hear it, you'll wonder why it didn't make it into the movie. (Probably would have if Sam had had final cut.) Regards...
—Sarge McClintock

Classic Onion Headline de Jour
More Than $30 Worth of Burned CDs Stolen From Residence

I'm closing in on 300 drawings in my sketchbook and this morning's first piece, right out of the chute, was blur-fect! By that, I mean, I have often been accused of being a "motion" freak, or an "action-ary" with my art, and so recently I've been going with that notion and seeing if I could push it even further. Yesterday, I xeroxed a blurred photo of a bulldogger at a West Texas rodeo and, this morning, I laid it out sideways on the kitchen table and then laid my sketchbook sideways as well. Then I quickly sketched what I saw (not what I thought I saw!). And, when I got that blocked in, I turned the sketchbook around and Viola! that sucker was moving! This is a trick I learned in college where they taught us to get past our minds by drawing with our toes and projecting slide images upside down, or blurred. It's also the theme of the best-selling art book, "Drawing On The Right-Side of the Brain." Anyway, it works, and works very well and is another baby-step towards drawing like John Bonham drums. I hope.

“In this life we get only those things for which we hunt, for which we strive, and for which we are willing to sacrifice.”
—George Matthew Adams

Friday, January 06, 2006

January 6, 2006
Another warm one on the high Sonoran Desert. Supposed to break a record today with 82 for the high (I think the previous high was 80 in 1946, or something). The office is really humming, Trish Brink and crew are really fighting and scrambling to bring in our travel issue at a record high 152 pages. Joel Klasky and Sue Lamber both are flirting with personal best sales records and George Laibe is doing his damndest to grab as much of Texas as he can with two fists and a headset.

My spies in the Dakotas tell me Martin Scorsese is looking at locations for an upcoming bio-epic on Teddy Roosevelt’s years as a cowboy. Variety says Paramount Pictures has optioned the Pulitzer Prize-winning Edmund Morris' book “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” for screenwriter Nicholas Meyer (The Human Stain) to adapt for the big screen. The movie will start when Roosevelt was 25, and portrays the future 26th president as he transforms himself from an “asthmatic, nearsighted 125-pounder to this Sherman tank of a man so tough that he once got shot on his way to make a speech and completed his talk, bleeding with a bullet in his chest.” Let’s hope they film this one in the Dakotas and not Canada.

More Inside Info on the Mark Boardman wedding from the Newlywed Himself:
“On December 28, Patty Youngberg and I were joined in matrimony at a small Presbyterian Church just outside our hometown of Lafayette, IN, with a small number of family members in attendance.

“Patty and I go way back. We were in band together at Lafayette Jefferson High School. I was a year ahead of her, a sloppy trombone player who was out for good times. Patty was the good girl first chair in the saxophone section. We actually went out a couple of times (the second date was to see Rare Earth) before she got smart and said "enough of that junk." And she held to that for 30 years. Until the day she made the big mistake. A little over a year ago, I appeared on a History Channel show on the Dalton Gang. The Lafayette newspaper carried a blurb on the show, which Patty's mom saw and mailed to her in Florida. Patty, very unwisely, found my email address on my website and contacted me. I responded. And she responded. And that went on and on and on...And last week we ended up in front of a minister.”
—Mark Boardman

“‘Menage a trois’ is French for ‘in your dreams.”
—Esquire magazine

Thursday, January 05, 2006

January 5, 2006
It’s supposed to reach eighty degrees today. No clouds, very nice out.

I had a radio “phoner” interview at nine this morning with Doug Bernard on the Voice of America Radio Network. You can’t get it in the U.S. but it’s allegedly broadcast to over 100 million listeners in 44 different languages. Fortunately, I speak one of the languages being broadcast.

I co-guested on the show “Talk to America” with Professor Patty Limerick of Boulder, Colorado and we answered questions about the Old West and its legends and mystique (the host found True West by googling “Amazing Tales of the Old West” and found our Crown book with the similiar title, and then our website). Doug also took questions by phone and by Email and the first one was from Shawn in China, who had an economic question which I didn’t really understand. Fortunately Patty answered that one with much aplomb. Then came a question from Celine in India, then Joseph in Nigeria (who asked a cryptic question about U.S. involvement in a coup, or something, and the host said it was “off topic” and shuttled him off the air), then two calls from Russia and another call from Nigeria, before ending with Andre in England, who asked a pointed question about how a country that celebrates the O.K. Corral and believes the legend, how does that apply to Al-Qaeda today. Well, I really wanted to answer that question but Doug gave it to Patty with an oblique disclaimer about terrorism (I sensed, or had my suspicions, this was also off topic). Patty fielded the question with professorial diplomacy and we were thanked. The show lasted an hour. Interesting experience as I imagined tribesmen gathered around an ancient Victrola in outer Mongolia, listening to our bantering and looking at each other with some wonder: “Crazy Mo Fos in America,” one of them says, warming his hands and smirking. They laugh, throw their handrolled cigarettes into the fire, mount up their hairy ponies and ride off across the snowy steppes wondering about life in America.

Or some such uninformed American fantasy like that.

And speaking of Marxist rebels and insurgent reactionaries, I got this today:
“Hope your holidays were well. Glad you hired a retired Marine to balance
out the Marxists you have on staff.”
—Alan Huffines

Onion Headline de Jour
Ridiculous Small-Business Plan Encouraged By Friends

“At its best, life is completely unpredictable.”
—Christopher Walken

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

January 4, 2006
Drove into the Beast this morning and had a meeting with Dan Harshberger at his studio at 9:30. Went over some ideas I have on a new cover look. Dan was quite receptive and of course, had good ideas of his own, some better than mine.

Went to the eye doctor at 10:30 to check up on my operation. Everything was fine. Used the waiting time to sketch. A fellow female patient walked over at one point and took a look at my drawings and said, "That’s a lot of work." I didn’t look up but said, "Well, it sure beats a poke in the eye." And considering our shared circumstance (everyone in the room was eye challenged) you’d have thought she would have at least chuckled or given me a courtesy laugh, but no. Which just goes to show you can lead a blind person to humor but you can’t make them laugh.

Speaking of sketches done by semi-blind artists, here's a juicy page from my rapidly filling sketchbook. I’ve done over 280 drawings at a clip of six a day. It’s not exactly John Bonham territory yet, but I do sense a Sandy Nelson tom tom riff going in the top sky scene.

Back to the retina specialist office: of course they gave me those damned eye drops that dilate your eyes, so when you go outside you stumble around like a, well, a blind person, and so, on your way out, they give you these cheap, throwaway, wrap around shades to wear, so I’m driving up the freeway looking like the Lone Ranger—literally!

I took the Cactus exit and got gas at a Circle K ($2.14 a gallon, $29, debit). Stopped at La Parilla Suisa: Mexico City Style Mexican Food on north Tatum and had lunch. Had the pork suisa in green sauce, olla beans and flour tortillas and a decaf coffee ($12 cash, includes tip). Afterwards I went over to CompUSA and bought Kathy some zip drive discs ($37 cash) and got back into the office at 1:30. Worked on the next Classic Gunfights, this one on Tiburcio Vasquez, the California bandito. Got some cool inside info from my friend and author, John Boessenecker, who’s doing a Vasquez biography. Here’s a clue from John on how Vasquez may have looked:

“Vasquez was known to carry four pistols (Colt Navys). I don't know, this may be an exaggeration, however, he had an arsenal when he was captured, two 1873 Winchesters, a Spencer carbine, plus a number of six-shooters and the bowie knife which I now have. The Colt Dragoon which I have also is supposed to be one of the guns taken from him when he was captured. I would think that the easiest way would be two revolvers in pommel holsters [hanging over the saddle horn] and two more on his belt.”

Great Onion Headline de Jour:
Peruvian Shockingly Knowledgeable About U.S. History

Newlywed Mark Boardman found this out this afternoon:
“Did you know that there is a Tiburcio Vasquez Health Clinic in Southern Cal? I didn't either until I googled the name—and, yes, it is named after the outlaw. It's run by Hispanics for Hispanics, and seems to be part of the historical/cultural interpretation of Murieta, Vasquez, etc., as bold protectors and avengers of their people.”

“Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

January 3, 2006
Today is the first day for Robert McElroy at True West magazine. He originally came to our offices two years ago and took me to lunch and asked me what he would need to do in order for me to hire him. I told the ex-marine (22 years, intelligence) to go to a graphic design school and learn layout. He graduated from the Art Institute of Phoenix on a Friday two weeks ago and came out with his portfolio the next Monday. I gave him a spec assignment to do a map and he came back three days later with five maps done in different styles. Talk about taking an opportunity and running with it. Mighty impressive.

One of our staffers got married over the Christmas holidays. Mark Boardman got hitched to Ms. Patty, December 28th in the Elston Presbyterian Church outside Lafayette, Indiana. Everyone at True West has been predicting this since the two lovebirds went to Vegas last month and it finally came true. Congrats you Hoosier Hummingbirds.

Hey, Old West cooking enthusiasts, we need your contribution for a feature we’re working on for the magazine. We need great chili (and chile) recipes, along with your recipes for biscuits and mouth-watering, authentic stew (the more regional the better). Send them to me at bozebell@aol.com. Thanks.

News From the Front Lines
Michael Collins of Rossville, GA called to subscribe. He has been buying on
newsstand and said he really enjoys TW. He subscribes to C&I, WW and others
as well. He is a SASS member and really likes that TW mixes old and new and
likes the articles on clothing.
—Carole Glenn

Life is full of ironies—the movie you spoke of this week in your journal FINALLY makes it to DVD in a big way. Check it out:


It makes it to a store near you on January 10. I received the first volume of "The Rifleman" collection on DVD for Christmas. The show was my favorite when a kid—one year for Christmas I even received a toy Rifleman's rifle!! You may already know this, but Sam Peckinpah had a lot to do with the Rifleman series. He wrote many of the first screenplays. Yep, it's true, his name is up there in the credits.
—Bob Reece, Maniac #21

Onion Headline de Jour
Voice Recognition Software Yelled at

We had a design meeting at 3:30 to talk about developing a specific color palette for the magazine and our covers. Good feedback and ideas. Robert Ray is leading this charge. We're also looking at all undeveloped territories we can find.

"The greatest undeveloped territory in the world lies under your hat."
—Harvey Mackay

Monday, January 02, 2006

January 2, 2006
Spent a good part of yesterday and this morning reviewing the past year and making goals for this year. Last year was pretty solid with the publishing of two books and ten strong issues of True West.

I also spent a good amount of time trying to organize all my new books. Between my birthday and Christmas I got a whole bunch of great books, but now I’ve got to figure out how to read them all. With my ADD I’ve been jumping around quite a bit. So far, here’s what I’ve been reading:

1776 by David McCullough, sample: “For the ‘riotous rebels’ of America, [Lord George Germain] had no sympathy. What was needed, Germain said, was a ‘decisive blow.’”

Big Money by Dos Passos, sample: “The girls fell for him so that Ellen Rolfe kept leaving him. He’d take summer trips abroad without his wife. There was a scandal about a girl on an ocean liner.”

Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter, sample: “The irresolvable differences of opinion on abortion, homosexuality, and other sensitive social issues have been exacerbated by the insistence of intensely committed hardliners on imposing their minority views on a more moderate majority.”

America, the Book by Jon Stewart and the Daily Show crew, sample: “Were you Aware? The office of president affords its holder many, many opportunities to have sex with women who would otherwise find him unremarkable.”

Zane Grey: His Life, His Adventures, His Women by Thomas H. Pauly, sample: “When Zane characterized Louise as ‘young and innocent’ in a letter to Dolly, his thirty-nine-year-old wife shot back, ‘Bunk! I’m younger and innocenter than anyone you know, old dear!’”

Mickey Free: Apache Captive, Interpreter, and Indian Scout by Allan Radbouirne, sample: “Mickey told [Tom] Horn that ‘the white lady with the blue eyes and blonde hair was the prettiest woman he had ever seen.’ The next day, Horn ‘noticed she had Mickey in her house feeding him sweet cakes and give him lemonade to drink.’”

Blog! How the Newest Media Revolution Is Changing Politics, Business, and Culture by David Kline and Dan Burstein, sample: “On the one hand there are the bloggerati, who think mainstream media are moribund if not dead already; that bloggers are inherently more authentic and trustworthy than other voices in our culture; and that now everything changes because of blogs. On the other hand, there are the naysayers who think blogs are already overhyped; that most bloggers have nothing to say; and that without traditional editing, rules, filtering, and financial incentives, blogs will soon go the way of CB radios.”

“The more one reads, the more one sees we have to read.”
—John Adams
January 1, 2006
On Saturday at 11:15 AM I got the call. One of our good friend’s daughter has been killed in a car wreck. Happened on the way back from Prescott on I-17 and Happy Valley Road. She wasn’t feeling well and got into the back seat to lie down. She always wears a seat belt, but they were almost home. We’ve all done that. The news said the 16-year-old driver was impaired. Someone told us today he may have nodded off, but at any rate he went off on the shoulder, over-corrected and flipped the car, a ‘97 Saturn, and she was ejected and killed. Every parent’s worst nightmare.

Spent all day today thinking about it. On New Year’s Eve I called my kids and told them to be careful driving. Deena quipped that Thomas is on foot, and I said, “Well, true, but as a parent I’ve thought of all the ways he can die on foot in New York City and frankly, there’s more ways than I'm comfortable with.”

“We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake. Let us use it before it is too late.”
—Marie Beyon Ray