Tuesday, May 23, 2006

May 23, 2006
I went up to Bev’s this morning for a haircut and to catch up on the neighborhood gossip. Turns out a certain ex-neighbor sold his horse property, then sicced the town on the new owner for having a fence too close to the road and also for building a horse barn without a permit. Still not sure what precipitated it, but it’s nasty stuff. Bev and her husband have a sweet deal going with the local pizza parlor to get all of their old pizza grease which they’re going to strain and reclaim the vegetable oil to put in their bio-diesel Ford truck, thereby reducing their gas bills by half. The big roping arena going up on Rockaway Hills is going to be supplemented by a big barn (hope they have a permit). The owners are also building a huge house overlooking the creek. Some people just have way too much money, but hey, sometimes they keep the rest of us employed. Ha.

It's funny what navigational problems can do to enthusiasm and internet business. After I got the advance peek at the Illustration Magazine article by David Ashford, I went to their site and tried to order a sub and all the back issues. Unfortunately, the Pay Pal softwear kept telling me my address was wrong (they asked for a second address and when I put it in, I assume it didn't match the primary credit card address so it was denied. I have no idea, I'm just assuming this). I tried to correct it but after four attempts I finally got discouraged and left. Pay Pal followed me back to my computer and offered some download deal which I don't want to do. Then I got a nice e-mail from someone at the magazine offering me the same deal, but in pounds! Being a dumb American, I don't know the exchange rate, so as of now, I haven't ordered anything.

News From The Front Lines
Thomas J. Gryl from Downers Grove, IL called to subscribe today. He read TW at his barber shop and was surprised to learn it has been around so long. He loves the west and was very surprised to learn that we are located in Cave Creek - his daughter, Kimberly Gryl, is a vet here (CC Rd and the 101). Mr Gryl said he thoroughly enjoyed the article that he read by you and the BBB 5 Rules of the Road.
—Carole Glenn

Wow! That issue in the barbershop has to be at least three years old. I wrote my Five Road Rules way back in 2002, after I drove from Cody, Wyoming to Casper to visit my mama, and had breakfast at Patti’s Walleye Cafe in Shoshoni. The subsequent article, appeared in the July 2003 Travel Issue, and contained these BBB’s Road Rules:

•You must leave before daylight preferably one hour before (This was my dad’s regimen and I rarely get my wife, Kathy, to do it. She likes to leave around 10 in the morning and it ain’t the same. In fact, it’s totally unpioneer!)

•After you’ve driven for an hour or so, you must stop and eat at a real cafe that serves bacon and eggs (no franchises).

• If you listen to the radio, you must find a local station that does the hog report.

• You must stop at every museum and hysterical marker (or historical marker, if you prefer).

• You must avoid the freeway when possible, especially in towns. Take the business route and see the downtown decay (towns decay because the freeway bypasses them).

More Scan This Book Fallout
Explosive Words
At BookExpo America, Publishing's Digital Wave Crashes Against a Literary Pillar
By Bob Thompson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 22, 2006

When John Updike approached the lectern in the Convention Center ballroom Saturday morning, most of his bleary-eyed, coffee-swilling audience expected him to talk about his latest novel, "Terrorist." But Updike, the much-honored 74-year-old author of dozens of volumes of fiction, poetry, essays and criticism, said that would be "immodest." Instead, he praised the assembled booksellers as "the salt of the book world" and reminisced for a while about bookstores he had loved in his youth.

Then, without warning, he opened fire on the technorati.

"I read last Sunday, and maybe some of you did too, a quite long article by a man called Kevin Kelly," he began. He proposed to read a few paragraphs so that listeners who hadn't seen the article might "have a sense of your future."

The reference was to a piece called "Scan This Book!" in the previous week's New York Times Magazine. (The title echoes activist Abbie Hoffman's 1970 provocation, "Steal This Book.") In it, Kelly described -- in the messianic/hyperbolic style favored by Wired, the magazine with which he has long been associated -- the inexorable march toward an "Eden" in which the totality of human knowledge will be downloadable onto a single iPod-size device.

" 'When Google announced in December 2004 that it would digitally scan the books of five major research libraries to make their contents searchable, the promise of a universal library was resurrected,' " Updike read. He then followed up with later selections that had, he said, "clarified" Kelly's vision: " 'At the same time, once digitized, books can be unraveled into single pages or be reduced further into snippets of a page. These snippets will be remixed into re-ordered books and virtual bookshelves . . . once created, these "bookshelves" will be published and swapped in the public commons. . . .

" 'The new model of course is based on the intangible assets of digital bits, where copies are no longer cheap but free.' "

Reading further, Updike noted Kelly's assertion that "copy-protection schemes" are helpless to hold back the technological tide. "Schemes," he repeated sarcastically, drawing a laugh. As his audience well knew, the Association of American Publishers filed suit last year on behalf of five major publishers alleging that Google's library scanning project is a massive and flagrant violation of copyright law.

Updike went on at some length, heaping scorn on Kelly's notion that authors who no longer got paid for copies of their work could profit from it by selling "performances" or "access to the creator." ("Now as I read it, this is a pretty grisly scenario.")

Unlike the commingled, unedited, frequently inaccurate mass of "information" on the Web, he said, "books traditionally have edges." But "the book revolution, which from the Renaissance on taught men and women to cherish and cultivate their individuality, threatens to end in a sparkling pod of snippets.

"So, booksellers," he concluded, "defend your lonely forts. Keep your edges dry. Your edges are our edges. For some of us, books are intrinsic to our human identity."

Amen, and Bravo to you, Mr. Updike.

Another True West Moment Question
What about those fancy mirrors hanging above the bar in the old saloons? Seems every time a rowdy cowboy came to town they broke the mirror and threw each other through the windows. Did the old west saloons really have those luxuries or is it Hollywood? Thanks for your great work.
—Stan and Becky, Conroe, Texas

Stan and Becky,
Yes, it's pretty amazing just how much luxurious stuff the old saloons actually had. As you probably know, shipping glass by wagon is not the easiest thing to do on even a smooth dirt road. But they had plenty of tricks, like putting glass in with the flour which acted as a shock absorber (and yes, sometimes the roads were so rough, the glass still broke, and you can likely guess if they still tried to sell the flour! ha). But the back bars of those frontier saloons did make it to the most isolated places and they were highly prized by the locals as something to go see ("Let's go look at the back bar in the Oriental this Sunday, Honey.").

As far as cow-boys shooting the mirrors and busting out the windows, it did happen occasionally, but I believe that's really more of an invention of Hollywood stuntmen, who always want to make bar room fights more dramatic.

Another Billy the Kid Book Author Needs Your Help
Please publish this for me. I need your help to to get the word out. Most all retirees and a few of the younger generation know the saga of Billy the Kid and would really enjoy this book.

Book Summary

I have just completed my first book, Billy the Kid, His Real Name Was ...., which can be viewed and/or purchased on the web page below from either amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com The book was published by Outskirts Press out of Denver, Colorado.

As you probably know, Billy the Kid's real name has never been substantiated. Also, it has never been proven that he was actually killed by Pat Garrett at Fort Sumner, New Mexico in 1881. Many people think that Garrett killed someone else and Billy the Kid lived to be an old man in Old Mexico, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, or even England.

Brushy Bill had claimed to be Billy the Kid just a year or so before he died in Hico, Texas in December, 1950. An Attorney named W. C. Morrison interviewed Brushy and even took him to New Mexico to try to get a pardon from the Governor. Brushy was very knowledgeable of Billy the Kid and New Mexico. He was very convincing, and a lot of Billy the Kid fans still believe that he was Billy the Kid.

On the other hand, John Miller never really claimed to be Billy the Kid except when he was drinking. When he sobered up, he denied that he was Billy the Kid. His family and close friends always thought he was Billy. He talked about Billy all the time and knew a lot about Billy's escapades in Lincoln County, NM. He died in Prescott, Arizona in 1937. After he died, his family and friends came out with convincing testimony that he was Billy the Kid. John Miller lived in northwestern New Mexico for 25 - 30 years after his supposed escape from death at Fort Sumner, and lived in southern and central Arizona for the last 20+ years of his life.

I think this will be one of the most memorable books ever published about Billy the Kid. It is factual with appropriate documentation. It will go a long way in helping identify who he was and who he was not. Communicate this to your friends and neighbors.

To view and/or purchase my book, you can go to my web page:


Jim Johnson, Author

End of plug.

Favorite Onion Headline de Jour
Homosexual Tearfully Admits To Being Governor Of New Jersey

”Never look for this year's birds in last year's nests.”
—Miguel de Cervantes

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