Thursday, November 30, 2006

November 30, 2006
Even colder today. How cold? When I went out to feed the chickens all the water in the bowls was frozen! This is unheard of in our part of Arizona. Waited until about eight to go for my morning bike ride. Encountered a jogger up at the end of Old Stage and I waited to see if he had a dog. When he got close enough he told me he "knew" my dogs and they'd be fine with his little dog, which evidently was out in the brush, nosing around (we couldn't see her). I told the guy that Peaches is a different dog when she's out on these runs and when we encounter dogs, Buddy runs up to play, but Peaches takes this as a chance to attack and really gets vicious. The jogger quipped: "Just like all women." We laughed, but as I rode on I encountered a female rider coming around the corner of the horse arena closest to us and she said, "Hey now!" in that admonishing way and we all laughed again.

Speaking of being anti-PC, evidently the media police are now digging up an instance where Michael Richards (Kramer on Seinfeld) used a comedy bit about Jews, and Richard's camp defends it by claiming that Michael is Jewish, but the media hawks maintain that his parents are not Jewish, and that he hasn't officially completed the paperwork to become a Jew. My question is: okay, if he had filled out the paperwork, would it then be okay? And if it is, can we fill out paperwork to become black so we can use the N-word with impunity? Someday people are going to look back on these ridiculous times with as much incredulity as we look down on the Salem Witch Trials or the Spanish Inquisition. Our capacity for the most absurd behavior never ceases to amaze me.

And speaking of bad jokes, I'm watching Rio Grande, the John Ford film that is the third in his cavalry trilogy and I was curious why this film, which came out in 1950, after She Wore A Yellow Ribbon would be in black and white. It seems like the wrong progression to me. Well, watching the Maureen O'Hara version, where she talks over the sound track she tells the story that after Yellow Ribbon, Ford wanted to do a picture about an Irish guy but no studio would buy it, until Herbert Yates at Republic Pictures said he would finance the picture, but only if Ford would first give him a Western so Yates could recoup the losses he would most likely take on the Irish guy film (Yates had no faith in the picture either). So Ford took all of his regulars and went back to Monument Valley and produced this black and white classic, and then did the film they really wanted to do, The Quiet Man. According to O'Hara both films made Yates a boatload of money. Funny. But also, Maureen tells about how if you were in John Ford's doghouse it was known on the set as "your turn in the barrel." This is from an old, nasty joke I heard first on the playground at Kingman grammar school. The gist of the joke is that a new sailer is on a ship and the veteran sailers tell him if he wants felatio, to go by this certain barrel at midnite and stick your Johnson in the hole in the barrel and get serviced. He thinks this is great until one night someone says, "It's your turn in the barrel." And if you think I am out of line for telling this I must remind you I've filled out all the appropriate Gay Sailor Blowjob paperwork.

"All progress has resulted from people taking their turn in the barrel."
—Old Sailor Saying

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

November 29, 2006 Bonus Blog
We went down to Barnes & Noble at Desert Ridge for a cover seminar road trip. Met Dan Harshberger, Abby Pearson, Meghan Saar and Robert Ray there, along with Trish and Bob Brink. We looked at all the new covers. So many new titles (Women & Cancer magazine!) and then retired to Rock Bottom to have lunch and decipher it all. A very creative crowd although they have a tendency to get a tad negative (they ride down together and get all worked up), but I kept them on task as much as I could (it really is lke herding cats with creative people, plus they ride back to the office together and undo all I had tried to instill). I still think we got some good direction and I feel confident we will have a couple new looks for 2007. We don't want to get fancy, just keep tweaking our brand so we don't look stale.

My good friend Tom Carpenter commented on my recent sketches and said he admires my "Highway 93 phase." Ha. Kind of true. Here's a couple of the reference shots I took last Friday night while we were stuck on the Arizona side of the dam. That igneous rock is so dramatic and potent looking. Notice the light, creamy patterns that set off the darker browns:

And here's two more, the second one is down on the flats near White Hills. If that name sounds familiar it's because that's where the photo was taken for the To The Point (editorial) in the Resource Book which just went out to subscribers. I also ran the photo here on the blog and it's the one where the Harsh and I are all cowboyed up with toy Winchesters standing on the porch of an abandoned building in the ghost town of White Hills, circa 1959. Well, the second photo, below, looks straight out at the former site of the town.

So I came home Sunday and bailed into a rejection pile board and inspired by all the ancient lava flows, I came up with this:

I need to put in a horse and rider, picking their way through the lava beds, while a lonely campfire wafts up from that creekbed below. And wait until you see who is in that camp! Here's some horse sketches for that scene which I did last night:

Robert Ray and I whipped out a Classic Gunfight page for the next issue of the SASS Chronicle. Worked on that all afternoon. Trish, Joel, Sue and Bethany are off to Vegas in the morning for Cowboy Christmas. We've got a booth there and it's always a huge deal up there.

"Time cools all fires."
—Old Vaquero Saying
November 29, 2006
Cold and windy here. As I rode my bike up Old Stage Road with one hand I was reminded that this is why I moved from Kingman as soon as I could—too much wind and too much cold. As I rode on, shivering, I had the realization that this was the same exact reason my father moved to Kingman from Swea City, Iowa. And, ditto for his father’s father, who moved to Iowa from Norway. The logical progression of all this hit me like a ton of crushed ice: in two more generations we will probably all hail from hell, although I have a hard time picturing my offspring living in Yuma. Why? Well, read this missive I got from my daughter who is on the road for a certain financial institution and you will understand why:

“So, I am in the Denver airport right now, and as you may or may not be aware, Colorado just had a huge snow storm that I had to drive through last night. That's right, my very first time driving in the snow and I was alone, it was dark, and I was on a pretty barren highway on my way to Greeley, Colorado. My trip included skidding, white-knuckle-grips on the steering wheel, driving 40 miles under the speed limit, and definitely some crying. There were half a dozen cars in ditches on the way up, rescue vehicles abounded and people were slip-sliding all over the place. Needless to say, I made it to my hotel okay (after I found the 4-wheel-drive button) and slid into a parking spot far away from other cars. The most fun was waking up to about 7 inches and trying scrape the ice off my car in slip-on loafers. You should have seen the front desk agents laughing with their hot cocoa in their hands! The good news—after driving 50 miles back to Denver (slowly, at first) I am now an expert snow driver. And by expert I mean I can drive about 30 MPH, while gripping the wheel, with the radio off and the heat on full blast. Hooray for me!”
—Deena Bell

”It’s colder than a witch’s breast augmentation out here.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

November 28, 2006
Cold and overcast. Air is moist with a cool sting to the cheeks (the top ones). I had to fast this morning for a doctor's physical at 9:30. I've been having chest pains for about three weeks and after two funerals, with one of them for a friend who was five years younger than me, well, let's just say I've been feeling like I'm living on borrowed time, more than usual.

After an EKG and weigh-in (203 lbs) the PA-C Wendy Veeder said, "Are you aware you had a physical five months ago?" I told her I couldn't remember. She went through my symptoms and when they all were negative, she asked me if any of my siblings had a history of heart trouble and I said, "I have no siblings, I'm an only child." To which Ms. ASS. Physician said, "Oh, now it's beginning to make sense." Ha. Left with a new lease on life and a $20 co-pay.

Since I recently traversed Highway 93 four times in four days, I had a whole bunch of time to study lava flows, igneous rock formations and ancient fire debri. This spawned the following six sketches:

I want to invest The Top Secret Project with liberal doses of this kind of landscape—burning, smouldering, uninhabitable. And if that all conjures up certain levels of Hades, well, so be it.

Charlie Waters and I jammed out last Saturday and played half of every song we ever played in the Exits and come to think of it, we played about half of those songs correctly, so it was nice to know some things never change. Charlie got a keyboard for Christmas last year and had learned the piano intro to the Stones' "Under My Thumb" and that was sweet. I always liked that tune and the refrain always takes me back to Tucson and playing frat parties.

"Genius seems to be the faculty of having faith in everything, and especially oneself."
—Arthur Stringer

Monday, November 27, 2006

November 27, 2006 Bonus Blog
Last week when I was coming back from Sara's funeral in Kingman I took a chance and pulled off onto a rough ranch road, just south of the Santa Maria River. For the past forty years I have glimpsed the top of this big sandstone slab that looks amazing from the highway but you can only see the top of it. Last year, Ed Mell and I tried to access it from the north side of the river but we never could get close enouigh to even glimpse it. This time I chugged up over a ridge and there it was in all its glory. My topo only names the background mountains as Ives Peak, and I don't know the name of this sucker but it's a beaut Butte:

We have a Reader's Survey up and we need you to take it so we can get an idea of who you all are. You can win a Pendelton blanket just for filling it out, so good luck.

"Winners believe in their worth in advance of their performance."
—Old Vaquero Saying
November 27, 2006
I got a call from author Bill O'Neil this morning thanking us for naming him Best Living NonFiction Writer in the resource guide and fifth annual Best of the West awards which just came out . He was thrilled and that made my day.

Woke up to a vivid red sunrise. Pretty spectacular:

Worked yesterday on two landscapes, one an aerial for the Top Secret Project and the other an impending storm. Both have subtle effects I'm not known for. Ha:

As I mentioned yesterday, we encountered a very long line of cars as we approached Hoover Dam on Friday night. The cars were backed up about four miles and it took us an hour and a half to get across. The new bridge and cutoff will be a lifesaver if they ever finish it. You can see it below in the first photo. Evidently two cranes were blown over and put the project behind schedule. They are still supposed to finish by 2008.

As we waited and crawled along I took a ton of reference photos, and captured this shot of bighorn sheep climbing a side canyon. I would have never seen it if we hadn't been stopped. Life is funny that way.

"You can watch football, hook worms and fish, spit on the sidewalk, shoot Bambi's mother, and still be gay as the month of may."
—Donald Rueter, author of Gaydar

Sunday, November 26, 2006

November 26, 2006
Attended my first big, Tongan wedding in Vegas. Much surf dancing and watusi-meets-the-pony gyrations, but incredible as it may seem, not by me. More details later.

Had a one-and-one-half hour wait at Hoover Dam on the trip up. Took a bunch of photos, saw big-horn sheep, ancient lava beds, spectacular rock formations and a shimmering sunset. Funny what happens when you are forced to stop and look at stuff.

Stand-up Hypocracy
I submitted a comment for the "Plugged In" page in the Arizona Republic on Michael Richards (Kramer on Seinfeld) getting crucified last week for using the N-word in a comedy routine. I was pretty steamed when I wrote it because I hate the hypocracy in the usage of that word, especially in stand-up, and I didn't think they'd run my comments because I headlined my piece— "Free Speech, my Ass!"

Well, they went with it in this morning's paper, but they did the Dagwood symbols for the last word: *#%! Here's part of my comments: "I am so sick of this charade that we have freedom of speech in this country. Doesn't anyone see the lunacy that when certain ethnic groups can use ethnic slurs as comedy, while others cannot, that we do not—I repeat, do not—have anything close to freedom of speech? Jon Stewart can riff on Jews, Carlos Mencia can riff on Mexicans and Chris Rock can riff on, well, I can't use the word because I'm anglo. I'm sorry, that's totally pathetic (although kind of funny in a sick, honky way). I agree with the rapper who said we should all use the N-word until it loses its edge. But what are the odds of that happening? I'd say about as good as Michael Richards getting invited to perform at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem."

The bottom line is, until we are all free to use the words that some get to use, but not others, It isn't free speech, is it? You might call it semi-free speech, or maybe Free Speech Based On Race, but it ain't free speech and to pretend anything else is folly. Imagine if a martian came to visit and we showed him examples of our stand-up comedy. First off, I think he'd laugh his ass off, but then his reaction would probably be, "And you think you're different from Iran, how?"

"At least in Vietnam Bush had an exit strategy."
—a bumper sticker I saw on highway 93 south of Wickenburg

Friday, November 24, 2006

November 24, 2006
J.D. came down this morning to help strengthen the north wall of the chicken condo. I came out yesterday and there was Peaches chewing through the plywood like it was angel food cake, with her snout sticking through the inside like Jack Nicholson in the Shining ("Here's Peaches!").

Just packed my snare drum, high hat and two pairs of sticks. Heading to Vegas for a big wedding. On the songlist: "Louie, Louie," and "Lucille." May go spotty for the next 48 hours in terms of posts. Not taking my computer, 'cause I got paradiddles on my mind.

Road trip!!!!!!!

"Woke up this morning, Lucille was on my mind, grabbed a bottle of Joint Juice and all the aspirin I could find."
—Little Richard, if he was a Lutheran living in a condo in Sun City

Thursday, November 23, 2006

November 23, 2006
I have a whole bunch to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, including two dogs who are so excited about receiving new playthings. That would be the ten chickens that J.D. and I brought down to their new roost last night. Buddy was down playing with dog friends at Bruce and Sheila’s house, and when they brought him home he sauntered into the breezeway and his snout went right to the roof (the chicken house is on the other side of my studio at least thirty yards away, and he could smell them. Amazing). So he runs out there in the dark and starts to bark at his new playthings, the chickens. And bark. And bark. For a half hour. Then he comes back to the patio, rests up for about an hour, then runs over there again and barks for another half hour. Proving once again that everyday is Thanksgiving Day to a dog.

We’ve got a new poll up: What is your favorite museum in the West?

Sherry Monahan tells me that Nicole Cox interviewed her for her new show on Sirius radio:

Fred Imus' Doublewide, Double-Fried Turkey Day Bash
"Plug in the deep fryer and pop the top off that longneck bottle, Fred Imus is cookin' up a Doublewide, Double-Fried Turkey Day Bash just for Outlaw Country...and you're invited! So get the in-laws and the kids all ready, and send them to Aunt Susie's for Thanksgiving Weekend, 'cuz Fred is serving up a special plate of Thanksgiving poems and stories with extra helpings of Country Gravy, and it ain't gonna be G Rated."

The show will be rebroadcast: Sat., Nov. 25th @ 6 am-10 am ET; Sun., Nov. 26th @ 10 am-2 pm ET; Mon., Nov. 27th @ midnight-4 am ET.

A longtime Old Pueblo resident has this to say about the Body Shop strip club:

“Good God, I haven't heard that name for years. Was that the one just outside the main gate of Davis Monthan Air Force Base on Craycroft Road? If so I was probably there drinking when you were playing. Those years are a might hazy right now.”
—Kevin Mulkins

Yes, that would be the one. We played right on the bar and the girls came out and danced there as well. The only stripper I remember is “Big D” as in D-cup. She was a big girl, or as they say in Iowa, “corn fed.” In his eulogy to his sister, Charlie doesn’t mention that when he left us, we had to do several nights as a threesome and one horrible night as a duo: a bass player and drummer! We got $15 a night for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. One night I was studying backstage (actually on a staircase leading to the top of the bar) for a humanities test and Big D came by and said, “What are you reading?” And I was embarrassed by the book (Homer’s The Odyssey ) and tried to soft shoe the title lest she think I was putting on airs, and she finally coaxed the title out of me and said with some pride, “Oh, yeh, I read that story in Classic Comics.”

Charlie claims quitting the band at this critical junction saved his life, but what about the bandmembers he left behind? I think Henry Ward Beecher might have something to say about this:

"He who is false to present duty breaks a thread in the loom, and will find the flaw when he may have forgotten its cause."
—Henry Ward Beecher

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

November 22, 2006
It was on this day in 1963 that Charlie Waters and I left Mohave County High School during lunch hour to go get my drum set at my parent's house on Ricca Drive. We were going to be playing for a dance that night in the Girl's Gym. I stopped at my dad's Phillip 66 gas station on Hilltop and he came out to the car and said, "The president's been shot." Needless to say, the dance was cancelled and America turned a dark corner. And speaking of Charlie, as promised, here's his eulogy to his sister, Sara Ann, which he gave yesterday at the funeral in Kingman:

The Teacher's Lessons: A Eulogy for Sara Ann Hargrove

By Charlie Waters, her brother

So what do you say about a sister who as a toddler wished upon a star for a little brother who turned out to be you . . .

Who as a pre-teen was your dance partner at 721 Gold Street in Kingman, trying to copy all the moves we saw on American Bandstand . . .

Who set academic and leadership standards that while making you proud, you knew you could never live up to. It would only be later that you realized and accepted how hard she had worked to achieve such . . .

Who showed you the ropes in college and just smiled when you returned her car on Sunday night with an empty gas tank . . .

Who 33 years ago worked for you as a reporter at the Mohave Valley News for $100 a week even though she knew more than you did and had already taught school for five years . . .

Whose passion for children and learning and the English language and literature and theater and family and friends and all things good were a beacon to thousands of students, many who kept in touch even years later and whose hearts, like her family and friends, now have an unfillable void . . .

Whose selflessness knew no boundaries, and who underestimated and downplayed her importance and her own beauty, both inside and out.

I guess that about all you can say is . . . "That was Sara" . . . and "Thank you" . . . and "Lordy, I am going to miss her."

Dan asked me to deliver a euglogy to my sister . . . and his beloved wife of 39 years . . . soon after I got to Bullhead City on Friday morning. I have thought of little else since. For those gathered here today to celebrate her life and mourn our loss, I want to do her life justice. But also, like one of her students, I didn't and don't want to disappoint Mrs. Hargrove.

At least for some of you, those who got to know her later in life and those too young to have shared the stories, a bit of our family's heritage will give you some knowledge about what Sara came from. (Yes, Mrs. Hargrove, I know that I am not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition.)

One great grandfather, many times removed, was a captain and surgeon in George Washington's army. A hundred years later, another was a U.S. Calvary officer who once served under General Custer. Our grandfather . . . and my namesake . . . was a Wobbly miner and union secretary who fled Colorado after the Ludlow Massacre and later became general manager of the Tom Reed mine in Oatman.

He also was a state senator from Mohave County and wrote Arizona's first workers' compensation bill. He died when our father was just 10, and the man we knew as our grandfather . . . John Putnam, my brother's namesake . . . was a gentle soul whose demeanor and wiry frame belied his background. He was a muleskinner at age 13, driving a freight wagon from Chloride to Wickenburg to earn a living. He walked from Tucson to El Centro, California, to get a job as a young man, and later was deputy sheriff and the only lawman to keep the peace in Oatman when it had thousands . . . yes, thousands . . . of rollicking hard-rock miners. And he didn't wear a gun. As our father recalled, "Nobody messed with John Putnam."

Our Dad was an award-winning writer and passionate reader who is a member of the Arizona Newspaper Hall of Fame; our mother an all-star basketball player and softball player who went on to set records in track and field at what is now Arizona State University. Her father was offered a chance to play major-league baseball in the early 1900s but had to decline it because it didn't pay enough to support his family. Oh, how times have changed.

I share this with you not to brag or in an attempt to elevate our forbearers in your eyes. Our family tree, like most, certainly has its share of 'ner-do-wells and poseurs hanging from its branches.
I write and tell you this . . . particularly to our family . . . simply because Sara's life and achievements, in a much different but maybe more significant way, have elevated our lineage.

When Jill and Michael, and Rylee and Ryan, and their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren tell the young ones where and what they came from, Sara will stand tall. How could she not?

They can tell the story of a young woman who loved to learn, loved to dance, loved to help and please others; a magnet people were drawn to because of her commitment and leadership and strong moral fiber. They can tell of their ancestor who became her high school's first female student body president, well ahead of her time and the women's movement, and who led by example and inclusion.

They can tell of a wife and mother always there for them, who embraced her principles and always . . . always . . . put herself last. She could be strict, at times even stern, but no one could miss what the Greeks called "agape" . . . her unconditional love.

They can tell of the great teacher on the family tree, of her passion for literature and writing and words and knowledge, of her willingness, even eagerness to get involved with her students inside and outside of school.
For if she didn't believe in them, who would?

They can tell of the March 2006 day, when Sara first became so sick, when paramedics argued about who would be on the ambulance that might transport their friend and former teacher to a Las Vegas hospital.

They can tell of November 17, 2006, when a 1,700-student high school, where she had taught for 24 years, closed its doors and sent its students and teachers home upon learning of her death. School officials would later say they had not informed students that Mrs. Hargrove had died because she was so beloved they feared they couldn't fill the need for grief counselors.

In a story in Sunday's Mohave Valley Daily News, David Heath and Deanna Long may have best described what she has meant to those students.

Heath said that, looking back, she was the one teacher who really cared about him: "She pulled out the creative side of me. She made me more expressive. I was really an introvert in high school and she made me more comfortable with putting my feelings and emotions into my writing. I have carried that with me ever since."

Long, who now lives in Texas, says simply that Sara changed her life and those of many others: "She was an amazing woman, especially for the kids who were not on the right track. . . . She stuck by my side through thick and thin."
At a memorial service that is planned for next week at the school, I am sure that faculty and students will have the chance to say what Mrs. Hargrove meant to them. For the next few minutes, however, I would like to share what our Sara has meant to her family and friends and what I believe she would want us to take from her life and her passing.

Sara Ann Waters was the product of a great love affair that began when two unlikely sweethearts met at Bisbee High School. Arizona native Dick Waters at first made fun of the new girl’s Southern drawl. Martha Dean Lucas and her family had moved to Bisbee for her mother's health and the prospect of jobs at the Phelps Dodge copper mine there.

Love blossomed, but after graduation World War II also called. Still, they married and on October 22, 1944, that union produced a baby girl.

Years later . . . and two days before Sara and Dan would marry . . . our father wrote about her in his "People, Places & Things" column in the Mohave County Miner: "First of all, Sara was supposed to be a boy. I lost a lot of money to fellow Air Force officers when she was born. But I've always been glad because I would have never wanted her any other way than as God gave her to us.

"After a brief glimpse of her as a baby, my first recollection is of stepping off a train in Bisbee Junction at the war's end to meet a little blond-headed doll with the biggest smile I had ever seen. Wrapped in a white sweater and red pleated skirt, she was a real sight to behold at the age of 16 months."

Our sister Julie, who has been the rock of our family for many years and a Godsend to Sara and all of us the past few months, says that Sara has always underestimated her own beauty. Says Julie: "I remember as a little girl laying on Sara's bed as she got ready to go out to a formal dance. She was wearing a white, strapless formal and clear plastic shoes and her toenails were painted red. I remember thinking that I would never be as beautiful as she was."

Lest you think this just the vision filtered through the love of family, our Mom recently received a letter from a man who was our neighbor as a boy. Among other things, he said that he always thought Sara was the prettiest girl in high school.

And though Jill and Michael . . . and many of Sara's students . . . may have a hard time believing this about their mother or their teacher, she also was one of the "coolest." Her family was respected, but not well off financially. She didn't smoke, didn't drink, didn't do drugs, didn't wear flashy or revealing clothes, didn't look down on people or attempt to elevate herself at others' expense. But she oozed confidence and cool.

Our brother John remembers her as being the total package: "She was smart and she was the prettiest girl I had ever seen. She was a cheerleader, a lifeguard at the swimming pool and she had been on American Bandstand. One of her boyfriend's had a '57 Chevy. How much cooler can you get?"

Well, you can also be a curious and committed student. In 8th grade, she was runner-up for the County Spelling Bee, losing to Barbara Hull, who would go on to become state champion and compete in the National Spelling Bee. In high school, she was an "A" student in difficult classes, a member of the National Honor Society, and still found time to be a Candy Striper and participate in numerous clubs.

She was a tough act to follow. While I was no slouch in school, I don't know how many teachers told me that I would never measure up to Sara. Years later, Julie and Johnny would hear much the same.

When she left for the University of Arizona, 721 Gold Street had a void as big as a Florida sinkhole. John, only 8 years old at the time, was particularly devastated: "Sara was my pal. She had babysat me. I didn't know what I would do without her." On her visits home or our trips to see her in Tucson, little Johnny would cling to her.

Forty-five years later, granddaughter Rylee became Nana Sara’s shadow. And many more of us now are wondering: What are we going to do without her?

Sara would continue to distinguish herself in college, where she majored in German. She was elected vice president of Associated Women Students and named to Who's Who on American College Campuses.

Her presence and legacy at the University of Arizona, where she was a senior and then a graduate teacher during my first two years there, was a blessing and a curse for me.

I had hoped to escape the comparisons when I went to the U of A as there were more students in the freshmen class than there were people in Mohave County in the mid 1960s. But as the teacher took attendance at my very first class, he stopped after calling my name. "You aren't related to Sara Waters, are you?" he asked. When I nodded yes, he said something about having big shoes to fill.

So much for my precious anonymity.

A year later, as I was doing my best to flunk out of school, she would have a roll in a situation that would change my direction and my life.

The dean of Liberal Arts had written Dad that I was in grave danger academically. When he and Mom called Sara to see if she knew what was causing the nosedive, she casually mentioned that the band Bob Boze Bell and I had was playing nightly at a topless bar and that maybe I didn't have enough time for my school work. I like to call that my "American Pie" moment . . . or the day the music died.

I gave up my calling as a mediocre rock 'n roll guitarist, found journalism the next semester and buckled down. Years later, Dad confided that although he was willing to let me sink or swim on the grades issue . . . I could either get it together or be drafted in the military, where he said he had grown up. But the topless bar was over the top. "When your Mom heard that," he said, "I had to act."

At other times, Sara or her presence was a saving grace. She once told a student ROTC officer who wanted to date her that he didn't have a chance unless he quit hassling her younger brother at drill. All of a sudden, he was very nice to me.
And I was certain to be voted out of the fraternity I had pledged had two active members who were her friends not threatened the two prospective black-ballers, telling them that they were "not going to do that to Sara Waters' little brother."

I tell these stories not just because they give me comfort, but also because I think they shed light on something else special about our sister: It was not only what she said and did that had an impact: It was her goodness and her very presence that brought out the best in others. It is a rare and wonderful trait.

While there was no shortage of boyfriends or dates for Sara, I don't recall any serious romances the first year and a-half we were together at the university. That would all change on New Year's Eve of 1966. Theron Hargrove, her high school classmate, set up a blind date between Sara and his older brother, Dan.

I remember it well as it also happened to be the very last performance of our band, "The Exits," at private party at Lake Mohave Resort. Mom and Dad were spending the night at the lake as guests of Ham and Althea Pratt, and for some reason Sara and I would be the only kids home. When I rolled in about 3 a.m., I was flabbergasted that Sara wasn’t there yet. I was the one who kept bad hours. She was never out late . . . ever.

When she asked the next day if Dan could come over and when we saw the look on her face when he was there, it didn't take a PhD to see the chemistry. A couple of times the next semester, I drove with her to El Paso, where he worked at the nearby White Sands Missile Range, to see him. They married June 24, 1967, and settled in El Paso. Dan would later say that he knew he would ask her to marry him an hour into that very first date.

Sara taught for a year in Texas before they moved to Scottsdale so Dan could attend Arizona State. Times were tough. Frau Hargrove taught German and Dan worked in an underwear factory and odd jobs to try to make ends meet. Upon his graduation four years later, they moved to Bullhead City and bought the home at Chaparral Country Club they would later remodel and expand.

Dan worked for Holiday Shores and Sara worked for me at the Mohave Valley News, then the smallest circulation weekly newspaper in the state. Money was tight for both families and we often ate dinner together.

Pork and bean sandwiches were a favorite . . . you have never lived until you have tried one, but I suggest that you be really hungry. Or we dined on Kraft macaroni and cheese . . . eight boxes for a dollar, on sale at Best Buy Foods, thank you . . . or trout or striped bass we had caught or been given.

She and Dan badly wanted children and, finally, along came Jill. Then Michael. Sara kept her column, Rollin' on the River, in the newspaper and found some part-time things, but mainly was a stay-at-home mother. She would return to the classroom, this time as an English teacher, when Michael started school.

Others will have to tell you about Sara's prowess as a teacher. I only know what I have been told in the past years and days by fellow teachers and one-time students. She was tough, but fair. She challenged her students to be more than they thought they could be. She loved the language and literature and wanted them to appreciate both, too. She cared about them; she was there for them . . . inside and outside of school: cheerleading sponsor for 10 years; Interact Club adviser for 22. The Bullhead City Rotary Club took the unique step of making her a Paul Harris International Fellow because of her work with the latter.

She took great pride that when she first became so ill, she had 180 days of unused sick leave. In sports, they call such a person a "gamer" . . . someone who plays hurt. Through radiation and chemotherapy, she struggled but most days got to school.

Sara loved the fact that she was now teaching the children of some of her former students. And when my wife Linda and I visited her in Bullhead City the Saturday before she died, I asked if she read the comic strip "Zits."
"I love it," she said. "And I need to read it. Those are my kids."

Her "real" kids, however, were Jill and Michael. No parent has ever been more committed . . . you didn't get between that momma and her cubs. She reveled in their successes and wept with them in their failures. She introduced young Rylee to live theater. And she was looking forward to getting to know infant grandson Ryan Michael Hargrove, born just two weeks before her death.

Even knowing the precariousness of her health, Sara eagerly was working with Dan on another remodeling of their home . . . a new kitchen, wood flooring and all of the trimmings.

And her biggest concern as she faced an uncertain, frightening future? It was so typically Sara . . . What would happen to Dan?

In 39-plus years of marriage, they spent very few days apart. They were a team---working, loving, caring . . . raising a family, volunteering for community events, providing leadership to different boards or groups.

Please know, my sister . . . Dan is family too and will be wrapped in our loving arms.

I want to be honest with you all here today. Sara would expect it and deserves nothing less.

Over the years, the four Waters kids and their families have grown somewhat apart. It has not been an estrangement and I guess in some ways it is pretty normal in this day and age. Some can be attributed to geography, some to time focusing on our own families and busy lives, maybe some to a slight . . . real or imagined . . . or a disagreement that we perhaps can't even remember. Families can be like that. When the chips were down, we could all be counted on to rally round the flag, but with only some exceptions the four of us as a whole were not particularly close. (I know, Mrs. Hargrove, I have just mixed my metaphors. Sorry.)

That all changed this year when Sara became so sick. Since then, and to all of the Waters' kids benefit, we have grown much closer again. All of us, however, are just so sorry and so sad that it took us so long to wake up.

And it is with that in mind that I close this eulogy with what I consider the most meaningful lesson we can take from the life and death of a great teacher . . . Sara.

She was not perfect. At times Sara could be judgmental, even say things that were hurtful. She had strong opinions . . . Imagine that, a Waters with a strong opinion.

But none of us are perfect or even close to it. We are, however, and always will be . . . family.

And as we grow older, as we face the sorrows or savor the joys that are life, family is what binds us. Those binds may seem at times too tight or restrictive. They may make demands that are inconvenient or intrusive. They may require us to bite our tongue . . . swallow our pride . . . even put serious issues behind us.

No one said it should or would be easy to be a family.

So the question today is whether we will sit in the back of the class, disengaged, or whether we will be attentive students and act. For we cannot deny that in death, a great teacher has offered us a lesson in life . . . the lesson of family.

And I promise that Mrs. Hargrove is watching.

"The name of the strip club was The Body Shop."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

November 21, 2006
Took off this morning at 7:40 and drove to Kingman (180 miles). Got to Saint John's Methodist Church off Stockton Hill Road with three minutes to spare. The church was packed with mourners and I sat with the Waters' family and although I promised myself I'd be mature and quiet, I almost immediately got into it with the pastor. He wanted to make a parable about college basketball and asked if there were any fans. I raised my hand, as did maybe a half dozen others. Then he asked what we thought about the great basketball program they have at Duke and I found myself booing, outloud (I know, I know, but he started it!) He came over to my side of the stage and asked if I was from North Carolina? (or whatever college is in the same state with those Bastards) And I said, "You could have talked all day and not said that. I'm from the University of Arizona and Duke sucks." He went on with his parable about how the coach looks for heart and so did Sara and I felt bad, but it was a piss poor example and besides, Sara Ann went to the U of A as well, so I kind of hope she was on my side on the deal.

Charlie gave the eulogy and it was brilliant. He told her life story and in turn his family's history, and what it was like growing up in her shadow and through it all gave an honest overview of his life and hers. I cried several times, it was just that poignant. I'll post his comments here later this week.

At the graveside ceremony at Mountain View, I made a point to go up to the pastor and apologize for my snippy and rude comments about Duke. He then proceeded to tell me he got his Masters at ASU and I told him we could never speak again. We laughed, and I left, but not before I said hi to my dad (his grave is nearby), I told him I was glad he was my dad, and then drove back down Highway 93 to Cave Creek.. Got back here at 4:30 and helped unload a Fed Ex truck full of our brand new Resource Books. Man they are cool.

Calaboose Use?
"What's that adobe building behind you? [in the photo of the chicken condo] It looks like a jail."
—Steve Lodge

That is our pump house. When we had our well dug, they plopped an ugly blue tank on top and I had my Kingman Cowboy Cousin Craig Hamilton come out and build a calaboose with wooden bars. Kind of cool, no?

Well, we have two videos up on YouTube and if you've ever wondered what a True West Moment looks like, now you can see it for free. Check them both out right here:

These are examples of the True West Moments that are on the special DVD we have produced and will go on sale in a week or so.

"Many years ago, a large American shoe manufacturer sent two sales reps out to different parts of the Australian outback to see if they could drum up some business among the aborigines. Some time later. the company received telegrams from both agents. The first one said 'No business here.Natives don't wear shoes.' The second one said 'Great opportunity here. Natives don't wear shoes!'"
—Old Vaquero Saying

Monday, November 20, 2006

November 20, 2006
I just received a link to an obit article on Sara Ann (Waters) Hargrove. Check this out, they had to let school out early because they were afraid they wouldn't have enough grief counselors to deal with the news of Sara's passing:

Now that's prime testimony on having a real impact on the lives of young people. Amazing.

"What is success in this world? I would say it consists of four simple things—to live a lot, to love a lot, to laugh a lot, and from it all, to learn a lot."
—Richard Needham
November 20, 2006
Woke up to a beautiful morning. Not cold, just right. Went for bike ride with dogs, proving for the 1,499th time (that's how many blogs I've posted as of today) that every day is Christmas to a dog.

And speaking of keeping score, J.D. and I all but finished the chicken house this weekend. Here's a couple shots of the chicken condo extravaganza. First up is J.D. working on the last corner. A big, sucker, no? And the second photo is of J.D. and I pretending to be working (Kathy came out and took it):

And a victory photo of the man who did all the work (J.D.) and the man who wrote about working but did Jack little (BBB):

While we worked I notice Buddy Boze Hatkiller wasn't anywhere around. When I went into the house for Joint Juice I spotted him. Can you find the hatkiller in this scene across the Spanish Driveway?

Well, how about if we zoom in. Now can you see him?

Big, lazy New Yorker.

Worked most of Saturday on fire images and really ruined a couple. Here they are, lest you think I waltz from victory to Impressionist Victory. Ha:

I had a long one in the Beast yesterday. Left the house at ten, met Steve W. at Mi Patio for a Mexican breakfast (he bought), then drove down to the new Phoenix Art Museum to introduce two films for the film series they do in conjunction with Steve and the Cowboy Artist Show. Checked out the cowboy art (last day of show). Some very fine stuff and much schlock and of course some of the biggest schlock sells for the most dinero. My good friend Dave Powell's stuff looked very fine as did John Moyers, who is the Cowboy to beat for my money. My ex-neighbor, Roy Anderson, resigned from the group over some petty squabbling, but I missed his art just the same.

Introduced the films "Cowgirls" and 'First People: Last Word," both documentaries, one on rodeo cowgirls from Alberta and the other on Indian tribes which was a Danish production.

From there I drove out to Scottsdale for the Dwight Tindle memorial service at the Seventh Day Adventist Church at the foot of Camelback Mountain. Enjoyed meeting many old friends and the music was spectacular. Stan Deveroux's (sp?) rendition of the Beatles' "Let It Be" was stunning, and a tear jerker to boot. Many stories, most funny, some very sad. The service lasted over two hours and the preacher got in the best line when he said, "We knew Dwight liked to talk, but now we know his friends like to talk as well."

Afterwards met Deena at a Starbucks on Scottsdale Road and caught up on her life. She's flying to Rhode Island this Wednesay to attend her boyfriend's 20th high school reunion. Got home late last night.

Got up this morning and worked on another couple fire images. Rather happy with a small, narrow strip of watercolor paper which I turned into a distant shot of a desert ridge, burning hot (see at top, below). The close-up has potential but is not quite right. Still learning. Fire is more difficult than I ever imagined (kind of like life, no?)

Went and saw Borat on Saturday night. Paid $19 for two tickets and $8.50 for a medium popcorn and a water! This was at Deer Valley 30. Loved the first fifteen minutes of the fake documentary, but hated, and I mean hated, the baiting of the rodeo people, the ettiquette people and the church people. Really distasteful to me. It's so obvious he misled them as to his real intentions, mocking them in very crude ways. The nude wrestling didn't bother me at all (it's getting all the attention). Several people are suing the star and writer, Sacha Baron Cohen, including two college kids who made total asses of themselves (I didn't feel sorry for them at all) and Cindy Streit, from Etiquette Training Services. Borat (Sacha) brings a bag of poop and a prostitute to the party (sounds funnier than it is), but takes a cheap shot and rips a minister's wife for being ugly, and I just really found that too mean-spirited for my tastes.

"Getting people to like you is only the other side of liking them."
—Norman Vincent Peale

Saturday, November 18, 2006

November 18, 2006
More sad news. I just got word from Charlie Waters that his older sister, Sara Ann (Waters) Hargrave, passed away this morning.

She had just returned from UCLA Medical Center, where she had started a new round of chemotherapy on Thursday. She got up Friday morning, said she felt fine, went to a weekly breakfast she had with some fellow teachers at Mohave High School, then went home instead of to school and told her husband that she couldn't breathe. He called 911, paramedics arrived quickly and worked 20 minutes trying to save her. She was pronounced dead at the hospital a few minutes after that. She had had a mild heart attack several years ago and it was her congestive heart failure in March that lead to the discovery of the lung cancer.

Sara Ann was the oldest daughter of Martha and Dick Waters who published the Mohave County Miner when I grew up there. She graduated from Mohave County Union High School with the class of 1962 and and was our student body president that year. She promised us a “Career Day” for her campaign pledge and she was true to her word. We all picked five or six careers and then we went from room to room to listen to people in those professions. I only remember a couple I picked, like coach, actor and artist. I remember when I went into Mrs. Burnett’s class (she had been an actress in New York I believe) to hear about becoming an actor and she said to me as I walked in, “What are you doing in here? Actors lead miserable lives.” And, frankly that was the best career advice I could have ever gotten. Thanks Mrs. Burnett and Sara Ann!

I also remember that she was once on "American Bandstand" with Dick Clark and we watched the TV at Charlie's house to see her. She didn't dance, but sat in the bleachers and we spotted her. She was the coolest and I always looked up to her.

Sara’s funeral will be Tuesday at 11 at Sutton Funeral Home in Kingman. An obituary will be in the Miner and the Bullhead City paper on Sunday and you should be able to see it online.

In happier news, J.D. and I finished wiring the chicken house today. I still need to do some interior wiring, but the sucker is up and ready to be inhabited. And speaking of which, I’m considering an ad campaign, sort of like the ones they run in the paper. You know, like: “Cock-Ah-Maimee Manor” or “Casa de Aricana Nirvana”, starting in the low 80s.

Or not.

J.D. nominated it as “Old Tucson.” Ha. I made victory tacos to celebrate our achievement and we chowed down at about one. His wife is still in L.A and he's baching.

Worked on more fire scenes and previewed two documentaries which I will be introducing tomorrow at the Phoenix Art Museum as part of their Cowboy Artist’s coverage and celebration. The two docs are: “Reel West: Cowgirls and Indians.” I enjoyed them both. More later.

“The Vatican is against surrogate mothers. Good thing they didn't have that rule when Jesus was born.”
—Elayne Boosler

Friday, November 17, 2006

November 17, 2006 Bonus Blog
Went home for lunch and ruined big fire painting. Or, at least I left and felt it was beyond hope, but sometimes I come home and see it with different eyes. We'll see.

Speaking of fire paintings, got this from a fire fiighter:

"I've fought a more than a few brush fires in my 30 years as a firefighter, and your painting is almost right on. As in a real fire near dusk, there are always dark shadows on the ground and brush despite the light from a high flames. I don't know why it is, but it just is. I think you captured that well. The only thing no one has ever got right either in paint or film is the smoke. Your effects are better than most. If you aren't happy with this painting, I'd check with local firefighters for help with the small details of wildfire near dusk."
—Jim Catalano

This afternoon, Robert Ray and I went over the available gunfights for CG, Volume III and it really has some sweet ones including the Alamo, Little Big Horn and Butch and Sundance Doomed In the Andes (thanks to Dan Buck and Ann Meadows for allowing me to use their research and photos). Also, we are planning expanded coverage of the Medicine Lodge and Caldwell gunfights with a potential artshow to coincide with the publishing of the book at Old Cowtown in Wichita and then a travelling art show and book premiere in Caldwell and Medicine Lodge. In addition Jeff Hildebrandt is planning on us doing another batch of True West Moments while were there (the tentative date for all of this is in April). Speaking of which, we have a secret little present for all of you, which we have been working on for the past month. Yes, finally, after much talk and a little traction, 20 of my favorite True West Moments will be available on DVD. This is a limited edition and we will start taking orders in a couple weeks. In the meantime, here's a peek at the cover:

"If there is hope in the future, there is power in the present."
—John Maxwell
November 17, 2006
Fred Nolan just Emailed me with some good news:

"Just heard from Texas Tech U Press that TASCOSA, ITS LIFE AND GAUDY TIMES will be published Spring 2007, 384 pages, 7 x 10; 139 b/w photos, 1 map; $39.95 cloth; ISBN 978-0-89672-604-8.

"And the whole thing only took seven years."

If you want to check it out, go here:

"Here, for the first time, is the true, detailed, down-and-dirty story of Tascosa, the “cowboy capital of the Texas Panhandle” and “the hardest place on the frontier.” Here at last are the facts that connect the stories of the “beef bonanza,” Pat Garrett’s “Home Rangers,” the 1883 Cowboy Strike and the relentless, undeclared war that ensued between the corporation
ranchers—Charlie Goodnight, “Alphabet” Lee, Al Boyce of the XIT and the rest of them—and the tough, dangerous fraternity of rustlers manipulated by Tascosa town boss Jesse Jenkins, a thirty year conflict that precipitated as gory a procession
of violence and death as any frontier town ever witnessed."

Fred also had something to say about one of my recent postings:

"I liked your prairie fire painting a lot. Here's a description from the Tascosa book of one that burned about as fast as a horse could run (!!!) :

"In November 1885, while a gang of XIT men were plowing fireguards on the
north line of the pasture, their cook 'let the fire get away from him at their
camp. …The wind was blowing from the west and headed the fire right down the
south side of the Beaver. The next night the wind changed and blew a gale from
the north. The grass was very rank and dry and burned about as fast as a
horse could run. This fire swept the ground clean from the Beaver to the drift
fence and from the New Mexico line 100 miles east.'”

Oh that is too good. I'm going to lift that, especially this part: "the grass was very rank and dry and burned about as fast as a horse could run." Too rich. I've been working more on the big fire set piece and this morning put in a horse and rider, being out run by the fire, skipping and jumping ahead:

I'm working up the remaining scenes for this sequence and plan to finish this weekend. J.D. and I put in another session on the chicken house last night. Got a bunch of chicken wire put on the roof. Our neighbor Tom came by with his dog, and Peaches took the opportunity to get into it with him. Attacked, then Buddy Boze Hatkiller jumped in. Took all three of us to get them apart. Peaches also had a mouth full of cholla from getting into it with them on the road prior to this altercation. Quite a metaphor for Iraq, don't you think?

"Productive achievement is a consequence and an expression of healthy self-esteem, not its cause."
—Nathaniel Branden

Thursday, November 16, 2006

November 16, 2006
Dammit, forgot today is trash day. Was supposed to take out the garbage, but drove off without thinking. And I had two chances. On my way to work I ran across Buddy Boze Hatkiller romping around the horse arena up the street. Got him in the truck and drove him home, admonishing him all the way about what a lousy dog he is and he just looked at me with those New York eyes that say, "Fa-get about it."

More fire studies for the Top Secret Project. Yesterday I did a series of images with ruddy light, given off by a distant fire, then closer up. Here are those efforts:

This morning I worked on a sequence where the fire closes in and a certain rider is reduced to drastic measures.

Carole's taking me lunch (I'm on that damned Bisbee Budget and can't afford nada).

Robert Ray salvaged all of the files off my old computer and put it on a disc. Thanks Roberto!

"Most stress is caused by people who overestimate the importance of their problems."
—Michael LeBoeuf

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

November 15, 2006
Working hard on fire effects for the big prairie fire set piece. Here's a page from my sketchbook

Still need to add in a key horseback figure in the big set piece. I've got good horseback reference from several John Ford classic Westerns such as Fort Apache and She Wore A Yellow Ribbon. I just got Rio Grande from Netflix and I need to inventory that today. Meanwhile, I'm going to lunch and plan to plop that rider in the left-hand corner, trying to make it around the leaping flames.

Carson Mell is in town and he and his dad, Ed, came out last night and we went to dinner down at Tonto. Sat out on the patio (they have heaters but it was quite nice). Fun time talking to them and planning our next trip. While we ate I called Tomas on my cell and passed it around. Ed bought.

The proofs for the January issue arrived this morning from Banta in Kansas City. Everything looks very good. The cover story is "Cowboys Are Indians," about a tribe that morphed into ranching in a successful way. Great photos! And, of course, the new colorized Honkytonk Sue is in there. Needs massaging. A little too strong on the color, but I'll get it yet.

Dwight Tindle's memorial service will be this Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Camelback Seventh Day Adventist Church (next to the Phoenician Resort).

I need to start shipping some 25 paintings to Albuquerque for a big Billy the Kid artshow they are mounting next year. Paul Andrew Hutton is the curator and he picked out a bunch of my paintings last time he was in town.

"Since heterosexual marriage is such a disaster, why on earth would anybody want to imitate it?"
—Gore Vidal, when asked his opinion on gay marriage

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

November 14, 2006
Another cold one. Feels good though. A nice nip in the air. I read a piece in the Republic about Arizona coach Lute Olson, who walks for 70 minutes every day and lifts weights three days a week. He's 72 and just signed another five year extension on his basketball contract. This led to Kathy inviting me to a step class (you know, where women dance to disco songs and step up and down on portable plastic stairs) and then a half-hour yoga class. Fortunately, something blew up at work, and Carole called me and I missed my chance for health (this morning). However, I know I've got to get with it.

Yesterday John Haynes, from Prescott, via Kingman, came by and we caught up on all the dead people we both knew in Kingman. Kind of daunting and a wake-up call to say the least. He graduated in 1952 and at his last reunion only 17 were left. Ouch! Terry Haynes was his neice. She was a year ahead of me in school, and she died several years ago. She was a Kingman beauty. I think she was homecoming queen, among other things.

And with the news of Dwight Tindle's death yesterday, I really feel rather vulnerable. I last saw Dwight at Marty Manning's 60th birthday party earlier this year. We laughed and laughed about the early days of KDKB radio (1971-1980). My first memory of Dwight is when I first went to KDKB to meet with Bill Compton (Carole's brother and the genius and voice of the station), and this long-haired, hippie wearing a fringe jacket, was lying across from me on the lobby couch reading a book on Mickey Mouse. I thought he was a street person, and it turned out he was the co-owner of the station! He had met Eric Hauenstein at Woodstock and they hit it off and decided to start a new style radio station, came west, found one in Mesa, Arizona and launched one of the first free-style-format FM stations in the country. They later sold out for $4 million, but business reversals had wiped that out by the 1990s. Memorial services are this Sunday at Dwight's church in Scottsdale.

Here's a couple of photos from last weekend. First up is Richard "Tequila" Young, the host of Cowboys and a five time Cowboy Action Shooting World Champion. They are filming in my front yard. Cowboys airs on the Outdoor Channel. The second photo is of Jeb (at right) and Stuart Rosebrook and I getting set to do our voice commentary on the True Grit Special Edition DVD for Paramount Home Entertainment. That's the producer Linda Frank over my shoulder. We taped it at PHX Soundlabs:

Yesterday I bailed into a big set piece for the Top Secret Project. When I was coming back from Orme Ranch last summer I encountered a large brush fire east of Sunset Point. I was inspired to put that in our story, because you rarely see desert fires in Westerns. How would a horse and rider deal with this (especially if it was in the way of a destination). I found a cool photo of a prairie fire in a book on Kansas that we were selling on Saturday, and I took it home and used it as a starting point.

Ironically, Stuart Rosebrook teaches at Orme Ranch. Small, petty world, no?

"Memory is life exposed to the bright light of time. It fades."
—Ed Montini

Monday, November 13, 2006

November 13, 2006
I just got a call from Danny Zelisko that Dwight Tindle, one of the founders of KDKB radio, passed away about an hour ago, at about 11:30 a.m.
November 13, 2006
Quite chilly and overcast. Worked yesterday on several scenes for the Top Secret Project. Got some sweet dust storm effects.

Went on three bike rides with the dogs. Enjoyed the brisk air and quietude. Took a nap, went over the Bisbee Budget (we have all the money we’ll ever need as long as we die before Christmas).

Drove into Paradise Valley to meet Deena for lunch. She was flying out to Ontario, California for her company and we met at El Conquistador, but they were closed so we went down the street and landed at Tio Taco, a small neighborhood Mexican food joint that just opened. Had the green chile and a 7-Up. Girls had burritos ($18.75 cash). Fun talking to the Deen. She's a real road warrior. I asked her what her impressions of the country are now that she's been to almost every corner and she laughed and said, she always felt so "deprived" growing up in Arizona because people would kind of dismiss her when they found out she hadn't lived anywhere else. But now that she's travelled extensively she said she has a newfound appreciation for Arizona and the desert. As for living somewhere else, she said most of the midwest "has too many bugs and it's too cold," although she said she really liked the people in Minneapolis, but would only consider it if she could live there only three months of the year. Ha.

I need to thank Neil Schneider of Sonoran Communications, who came out with the PA on Saturday and shot video and stills of the entire event. If you need a good soundman at a fair rate check out Neil at:

“One of the most important reasons for living is to do something—live outside of yourself and put together an idea, an idea that you want to explore and then complete. Awaken your creative sensitivities!”
—Vladimir Palanuik (stage name Jack Palance)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

November 12, 2006 Bonus Bonus Blog
It appears that which side you mount a horse (at least historically) may come down to whether you carried a curved sword (Arab), or a straight sword (Viking, English). Meanwhile:

“Cisco and Pancho mounted from the left. Of course they were American Movie Mexicans. Is it possible people mount whichever way they do to show their political preferences?"
—Steve Lodge

No, However, Steve found this discussion on left-hand mounting via Google:

As The Stirrup Turns
“I must agree with Bowyer that most horses are biased to the left. However, I would dispute the suggestion that mounting from the left is connected to this bias. Horses (in the Western European tradition) are mounted from the left as a result of a closed feedback loop powered by training and tradition. Most riders expect to mount from the left and so the young horse is taught that its rider will mount from the left. Because most horses expect to be mounted from the left, beginner riders are taught to mount from the left, and so on.

“The completely inexperienced horse has no preference for the rider mounting on either side, it is only habit which makes him prefer the left approach. I would always advise someone who owns a horse to teach it to stand to be mounted from the 'wrong' side occasionally. This will ensure that neither the horse nor the rider will face undue problems if it should be necessary to do such a thing in an emergency.

“Historically, I suspect that before the invention of the stirrup most horses were mounted from the right, it being easier for a right-handed person to get a good grip on the mane or neck to help them vault on from that side. With the discovery of stirrups tradition diverged.

“In those countries where armed men (the most numerous class to ride horses) wore short, curved swords belted high on their waist, mounting continued to be from the right. The Arabs mounted from the right and spread that tendency across north Africa and into Spain; from Spain it spread to the New World and Native Americans mounted from the right.

“In Christian Europe the most usual knight's weapon was a long straight sword. Mounting from the right with a long straight sword hanging by your left side is, at best, awkward. Mounting from the left made far more practical sense. From Europe this tradition spread to northeastern America, here white Americans mount from the left.“
—Judith Seaman

“If one always gets on and off at the left side of a horse, it becomes natural to mount from the verge with the horse on the left side of the road. This done, it will be natural to move off on the left, a tendency possibly reinforced by the horse's left bias.

“If meeting a hostile horseman coming the other way, a right-handed rider would surely want to be on the left of the road so as to deploy his weapons on the right, not across his own horse. It thus seems strange that so many countries now ride and drive on the right. Were the rulers of Continental Europe more concerned about the ability of their cavalries to dominate unmounted people at the road-side? Or was it an extension of the rules that applied at sea?

“Turning left may not be just a tendency of the horse. I believe that at one stage in the Second World War, British fighter pilots were instructed to vary the direction in which they turned when attacked, since the Luftwaffe had noticed that most pilots turned left under stress, and had devised tactics to take advantage of this. Was it a universal tendency, or just a result of being brought up with Britain's rule of the road?”
—Alan Self

“Personally I mount them from the back.”
—Tom Mix and Johnny Wadd
November 12, 2006 Bonus Blog
More left-side, right-side mounting theories:

“I was always told the left handed mount was due to sabres (and the like) were on the left side with most people being right handed. this prevented stabbing your self or the horse when mounting.And in my lessons all horses were trained to mount the same .Truth or fiction , thats the way I learned it.”
—Kip Coryea

“The only absolute in history is to remember there are no absolutes. That being said, why did Anglos mount their horses from the left or near side and the Spanish and Plains Indians mount from the right or far side? One answer might be over 2,000 years old. Roman Cavalry wore their swords on the right side, while the Northern Barbarian tribes (Scythians, Alans, Cimmerians, etc.,) tended to wear their sword or arrows suspended from the left side. Mounting a horse with no stirrups required vaulting and getting your weapon caught up in the moment could be problematic. So what has happened was Northern Europeans probably vaulted from the left and Romans from the right. Spain being more heavily influenced by Rome (up to and including today speaking a Romantic Language) and being the first horseman the Plains Tribes encountered the deduction is simple. That and as soon as the first Roman or Scythian noticed that the Nordic and Alpine Europeans were different in this regard, it immediately became "tradition."
—Alan Huffines

So, if the Spanish copied the Romans and mounted on the right, wouldn’t it stand to reason that Mexican vaqueros would likewise, mount from the right. And do they? I can’t think of an example where I’ve seen Mexicans mounting from the right? Did they switch over? Have I just not seen enough Mexicans on horseback?

”Left or right, mounting is such sweet sorrow.”
—Old Cartoonist Saying
November 12, 2006
A crazy last two days. A film crew from the Outdoor Channel taped me all Friday morning for their Cowboy Show, and then I drove into the Beast to do the voiceover commentary on the forthcoming DVD release of True Grit. Came back out to Cave Creek at five, and met the Outdoor Channel guys again for another setup, this time at my studio. Got finished at eight.

Got up Saturday morning and met another film crew at the True West offices to film a history segment for the True Grit DVD, then set up in the parking lot for our Wild West Days celebration, and at five, came home and cooked burgers out on the Spanish Driveway for a staff party. We were celebrating the success of our first Resource Book which goes out to subscribers in about two weeks.

Now I Know How Ted Turner Must Have Felt When He Sought to Colorize Old Movies
“I really love Honkytonk Sue, please do not . . DO NOT . . DO NOT colorize her !”
—A Real Fan.

Stop The Presses And Hold Your Horses (From Either Side)!
“No no no. Brits use the left or near side [to mount]. Spanish and Indians used the right side.”
—Alan Huffines

Ouch! Well, this is a wrench in our left-side mounting segement for True West Moments which we filmed last Monday at Old Tucson. I don't want to duck this, or ignore it. I need to contact Jeff at the Westerns Channel and come up with some sort of save, because I don't want it to air, if it's true that both the Spanish and Indians mounted on the right. If true, I assume the Indians did it because they more or less got their horses from the Spanish and copied them? Are there other examples, say cossacks, or gauchos, mounting on different sides?

This is painful, but on the other hand, exciting. I love to learn about something that everyone sort of takes for granted, like I did. Has anyone in movies ever adhered to this disparity? (showing Apaches mounting and dismounting on the right?). Also, do Mexican vaqueros mount on the right? A very interesting devlopment. Last night around the campfire, I asked Marshall Trimble about this and he didn't know. He also assumed the left-side was the law.

“My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people.”
—Orson Welles

Thursday, November 09, 2006

November 9, 2006
One of my goals for 2007 is to colorize Honkytonk Sue in the magazine. Since I’ve been so busy this week, I just haven’t had time to attack it, but today Robert Ray granted me the time to do it so I went home and converted the next Sue into color. Of course I had big visions of subtle-Southwestern-postcard-style color, but I didn’t quite get there. Still, it’s sweet to see the gal in color and I imagine I’ll get it down better as the year progresses. Here is a close-up frame (sans dialogue ballon of course):

And The Unmasked Cowboy Is?
“The cowboy [in yesterday’s blog] is Allan ‘Rocky’ Lane one of Republic's biggest western and serial stars. In later years he was the voice of Mister Ed the talking horse on tv. He played Red Ryder in seven pictures with Robert Blake as Little Beaver.
—Jim Trumbo

Alan Huffines forwarded me a sneak peek preview of The Assasination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford. It appeard on the Ain’t It Cool News website:

“Long time reader of Aint It Cool this is the first time I have felt compelled to turn in a review of a sneak preview. I am going to keep this review as spoiler free as possible.

“So last night I got to catch a special sneak preview of, ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.’ This is a new western starring Brad Pitt and is directed by Andrew Dominik who also directed the wonderful, ‘Chopper.’

“I went into this film with almost no knowledge of the Jesse James gang or the assassination of the legend. This film surprised me. The opening alone will grab you, with Roger Deakins amazing cinematography, Nick Caves entrancing score and a narration that is strongly reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Barry Lyndon.’

“This is not your average western. This film is very dark, with Brad Pitt playing his darkest character since, ‘Kalifornia.’ Brad Pitt doesn’t use a lot of words in his performance, it’s all looks and internal turmoil, he is truly mesmerizing in this performance, showing a more mature actor then we have seen before.

“He is matched perfectly by Casey Affleck who is finally used to his full potential as Robert Ford. Casey Affleck plays Ford as a very vulnerable, fragile young man with a thirst for recognition. Hopefully this performance might break Casey out of his brother’s shadow. The rest of the cast is superb with a funny and odd performance by Sam Rockwell.

"The cinematography is excellent. Roger Deakins turns in some of the best work of his career. He brings a dream like quality to the images that gives the film a fable like quality. It’s this quality that separates this film from other westerns. It has more in common with Sam Peckinpah’s underrated, ‘Pat Garret and Billy the Kid.’ It has to do with living up to ones own myth and also how far a person will go to be famous.

“But I see one serious problem with this film. A major studio made it. This isn’t a film for everyone. This isn’t, ‘Tombstone,’ it’s not an action packed western. It’s a very emotional film. The action that does happen is quick and realistic much like a Sergio Leone film. This is a film for my father, a person who grew up on westerns and loves them. It has more in common with art house films and this might make it a tough sale for the studio, which will probably try to sell it as another, ‘Legends of the Fall.’ I’m not saying that,’Legends,’ is a bad film; it’s just that this is a much darker film.

“Another problem is that the version I saw the other night was easily three hours in length. That can make any studio nervous and I’m afraid the studio will start cutting the film up in hopes of getting a bigger audience.

"This film needs the three hours, much like Sergio Leone’s westerns (which were notoriously edited by the studios) this film is about anticipation and scope. I wouldn’t be surprised if they cut this film up but I beg the studio not to.

“Basically I hope everyone gets to see this film in its current cut. This is the kind of film that will probably be passed over in theatres but will get a lot of recondition over time and will be seen as the truly great film it is.
You can call me Bronson.”

Ironically, another review on the same site makes the opposite argument, and hopes that the studio cuts the film. It’s eternal, isn’t it? Art vs. commerce. I saw this first hand at Old Tucson, where they rebuilt after the fire and got a little carried away on the theme park side of the equation, thus distorting the originality and uniqueness of the original Old Tucson. It never ends. One of our guides at the park said they were trying to restore some of the original charm and authentic style buildings. I hope so.

Left-hooved Horses?
“Dear Bob, I am 65 years "young" and have the Westerns channel, know a lot, but have a silly question.

“ #1 Why do riders always mount the horses from the left? Is it due to the horse or the dominated rt sided riders? #2 Why don't we see episodes of the Cisco Kid and Pancho? I loved "Hoppy" and the others in my young childhood, Lone Ranger, etc. I am very much female and enjoyed the handsome cowboys. Ha Ha! Love the info you give and learning about words, ‘chaps’, train language that survived the times.”
—Carol Carlson, Carver Massachusetts

You know what's funny? We just taped an answer to your first question about the left-side business, last Monday at Old Tucson. Yours is the fourth question about this. There are various theories as to why this started, here are the two I think that have the most merit: unlike most people who are right-handed, horses are evidently left-side dominant (according to the wrangler on the set), and to mount on that side gives them an extra edge for balance. The other answer is since most cowboys are right-handed and their gear—rifle and rope—are on the right side, it would make sense to mount on the opposite side, the left.

That said, many horse trainers today train horses to be mounted on either side. However, in the Old West, the left side was the law. In the taping we had two cowboys behind me, with one mounting up on the right and the other on the left.

When I was growing up, you wouldn’t think of mounting on the right. It was quite a no-no, a sure sign someone was a dude, or worse. But according to Lou Cady, Jr. everyone around Cody, Wyoming today trains to mount on either side.

So, when I went to the Coolwater Church last Sunday, I sat next to Russ Garrett, an old cowboy and horse trainer, and as soon as I sat down I asked him when the either side mounting began, and a cowboy sitting in front of us, Dave Voita, immediately turned around and said, “I know exactly when it started. In 1974, roper Roy Cooper dismounted on the right and that started it. Before then, ropers dismounted on the left, ducked under the rope to get to the calf.” So, the either sides mounting and dismounting, eminates from there.

Back to the left-sided mounting tradition, I just called Russ to ask him who the cowboy was sitting in front of us, and Russ told me Dave’s name, and that my question about when the left-side business started bugged him and he finally called his old pard Don McKinley in Tucumcari, New Mexico, and he didn’t know, but it bugged him too and he called back several days later and told Russ he had been quizzing everybody and what he found out was: “It goes back to the days of the knights. They had so much armor, swords, shields and such, which all hung on the right side that they couldn’t get on, on that side.” So, essentially, we have come all the way around to the answer I gave on camera, last Monday.


“As they say, even a stopped clock is right twice every day, so after some years, it can boast of a long series of successes.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

November 8, 2006
I'm still trying to figure out who that cowboy is backing down the stairs:

"If memory serves, it's a photo of me coming down the back stairs of the Beale Hotel during the inaugural Village People Tribute Day for which Kingman has become justifiably famous. The gloves were my idea."
—Tom Carpenter

"To be granted some kind of usable talent and to be able to use it to the fullest extent of which you are capable—this, to me, is a kind of joy that is almost unequaled."
—Lawrence Welk
November 8, 2006
Scrambling to finish our January issue. It goes out the door tomorrow and, as usual, I'm hanging out on a couple of points. Wrote up my editorial this morning, went home for lunch, looking for a photo to illustrate it, found a groovy photo of an old Western star (not sure who it is) pulling a gun on a staircase, and came back and totally rewrote the editorial, utilizing the headline: WESTERN TOWNS FIGHT WUSSIFICATION. Meghan had never heard the term "wussy" so she must not read this blog. Put in a small definition and let fly. Here's the photo of the cowboy. I know I should know who he is but I'm drawing a blank. Who is he?

Joel Klasky put out our new sandwich sign which we had printed for the big show this weekend. Here's a photo of it, and that's The True West World Headquarters in the background:

Yesterday I made light of the term "The Talent," as in "Go get The Talent and bring him on set." Evidently, this is a term used on video and film shoots by production crew members, and if you could hear them say it, you would be amazed, as I was, how condescending it sounds. Basically, they say it like, "Get the boom mike and bring it here." To them "The Talent" is a prop, a tool, a thing, and it's quite unsettling to artist types (of which I am one) to realize that to them you are an item to light and get in frame. Nothing more. Ha.

Speaking of Talent, Henry Beck has a great interview with the widow of Sheb Wooley in the January issue. Sheb, who was in Rawhide, High Noon, etc. was a funny Sooner. Let's end with one of his quotes about his home state:

"Oklahoma was so desolate that the only entertainment was to cut a hole in your pocket and play with yourself."
—Sheb Wooley

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

November 7, 2006
Back in office and trying to get to the bottom of my desk. Had a staff meeting at 8:30 and announced a big party at my house this weekend to celebrate the roaring success of the Resource Book. Record revenue and a mighty fine looking resource guide it is.

The video shoot for True West Moments yesterday at Old Tucson was successful although we didn't get as many scripts in the can as we had hoped. We had a big crew (7!) out of Tucson and they were quite professional. Of course, my driver J.D. (below, left) got us to the set right one time (7:45) and the first setup was in the Grand Palace Saloon to tape the opening of an Outhouse segement. The night before, J.D. and I met writers Will Shetterly and Emma Bull (below, right) at their favorite Mexican food restaurant Las Cazuelitas on South Sixth. I had never met them before although I felt like I knew them because we have been Emailing for a couple years or so. We had a great meal and J.D. told us about fights he got into with Mexicans. Ha. So diplomatic. ($75.54, includes tip).

For the "Does This Background Look Familiar" True West Moment, where I list all of the movies shot at Old Tucson, Jeff Hildebrandt (at right), blocked out the shot with the director Rick Rose. The crew, meanwhile waits it out in the shade (it was quite warm!). But before we could shoot anything, "the talent" had to have industrial makeup put on. that's Sandy from Chicago, daubing a certain ham's face. She is a talented gal.

Most of the time I worked off a teleprompter that is mounted right above the lens of the steady-cam camera (see just over the director's shoulder. The teleprompter is quite helpful, but, it did go down late in the day and I had to memorize two of the scripts (Oh, the humanity!). Then, it was time for lunch and we retired to Big Jakes for bar-b-que, paid for by the Westerns Channel (thanks Jeff).

Jeff's line producer, Patrick, wanted a photo taken of him next to the stagecoach we hired, so he could show it to his seven year old daughter in Denver. She's nuts about horses. The park closed at four and we shot until 4:45 and then they brought in the three trucks to load out. J.D. couldn't believe how much money "is wasted" for such small bits on the TV. "All that work for sixty seconds?" He shook his head all the way back to Phoenix.

I got up this morning and finished the Hickok shooting with Phil Coe. It came out rather nice. Here it is in sepia (it will run in color in the mag).

Stayed in the office and didn't go to lunch. Grabbed an apple out of the conference room and whipped this out. Still need to do my editorial and a variety of other things. Have another two video crews coming in this weekend. One to do a DVD supplement for a new DVD release of True Grit and the Outdoor Channel will be filming me and True West during the Wild West Days on Saturday. Lots of stuff to do immediately (if not before). I wonder what Gandhi has to say about that?

"The immediate is often the enemy of the ultimate."
—Indira Gandhi

Monday, November 06, 2006

November 6, 2006
Got back from Tucson this evening at eight. Long day taping at Old Tucson, mixed results. More later. Fried.

J.D. was a laugh riot, drove great, many war stories (he was in the Navy, in the Pacific in WWII).

"If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary."
—Jim Rohn

Sunday, November 05, 2006

November 5, 2006
Last night Kathy and I picked up Jeff Hildebrandt at the Carefree Conference Resort and we went to Alberto's in Carefree for dinner. Tried to get in at Cartwright's but there was a two hour wait. Same at Tonto, so we ended up at Alberto's, an Italian restaurant. Good food, fun time.

Went over the seventeen scripts. He wants to shoot at least a dozen. Jeff had them printed out and binded. Very professional. Talked quite a bit about Jeff's career, how he ended up at the Westerns Channel, and his recent trip to China where he did his original Cowboy Poetry on the Great Wall. Turns out the genesis of the trip happened because Wichita is a big, private jet manufacturing center, and some bigwigs from China flew in to buy some Lear Jets and the local Chamber took them out to Old Cowtown and had a big bar-b-que and Western hoe down. The Chinese loved the music and the food and invited everyone to China. Jeff said they blew through customs and got the royal tour. Amazing stuff.

Started the '49 Ford and pulled it out onto the Spanish Driveway and let it idle while I washed it good. Eric really fixed the carb and float, which was gummed up with bad gas. Ran like a charm. Too bad, I have to pay for it out of my discretionary account. Ha.

Worked yesterday on the Wild Bill Abilene painting. Tried to go bolder after studying Edward Hopper nighttime paintings. Not sure it works. I'll post my progress on Tuesday when I get back.

Off to Tucson this afternoon and then taping all day at Old Tuscon on Monday.

"While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior."
— Henry C. Link

Saturday, November 04, 2006

November 3, 2006
Got into a budget talk this morning. Not fun, but we worked through it. It’s been a week on our new Bisbee Budget and little problems arise (“I had Eric come out yesterday and fix the float on the ‘49. Why should that come out of Bob’s discretionary rather than the house account?”). Worked it out (it’s Bob’s “discretionary account.” Ha.)

Took the recycling up at ten to the Center of Cave Creek (that’s a designation not a locale) and checked the mail.

On the way up there, I fired up my iPod and listened to AC/DC’s “Down Payment Blues” and “Highway to Hell” and The Beach Boys' “Be True to Your School”, “Wendy”, “Do You Wanna Dance?” ,“Fun, Fun, Fun,” and by they way have you noticed that the fantasy of the bodacious blond in the T-Bird—Suzanne Somers in American Grafitti— has been replaced with real old people? Every time I see a T-Bird, old or new, when I look inside it’s Decrepit City. Yikes!. Still, those songs make me happy. The Beach Boys are to music what Norman Rockwell is to art. It may not be realistic, but it damn sure is an ideal, and one that makes me smile. So sue me.

Which reminds me of a Dilbert cartoon:

Why did you leave your last job?

They told me that I have incredibly poor judgement.

So I sued them.

Ad Advice
“Gather up a bunch of other people's print ads that you think are really strong. Lay 'em up in a page with a hole in it. Size your proposed ad and drop it into that hole, step back, and squint. Keep the page with a hole in it for future use. Update it now and then to be sure you're staying competitive.

“Brought to you by the Association for Good Ideas I Meant to Use But Never Did So Maybe It'll Work for You.”
—Emma Bull

Roshoman From A Different Angle
“Amigo, I hope they don't leave in the bit where you say that ROSHOMAN was filmed [at Old Tucson]. That movie, which is usually known as RASHOMAN (nope, you didn't make a mistake on the spelling, per se, both spellings can be correct), was lensed by Akira Kurosawa entirely in Japan (on sets and locations owned by Toho Studios). However, the US/Western remake, called THE OUTRAGE, starring Paul Newman was indeed shot at Old Tucson. I imagine that is where the mix-up came about.”
—Chris Casey, Maniac #946, Sierra Vista, AZ

Actually, I got the filmography out of “Film In Arizona” a booklet published recently that lists all of the films shot in Arizona going back to 1923. Under the 1950 listings they actually have, and I quote, “Rashomon, directed by Akira Kurosawa, Producer Jingo Minovra, starring Toshiro Fiune, Machiko Kyo and Masayuki Mori. They they add: Arizona Locations: Old Tucson.”

Part of my reason for posting the film list was I knew my eagle-eyed readers would find any gaffs. Thanks Chris, to be safe, I’ll probably replace Rashoman with something like Ton of Grass Goes to Pot (1972), or Horse Opera (1992) a British film company.

Also Chris had an interesting post script on the Joey Dillon cup spinning performance last Friday in Tombstone:

“I read, with interest, your post where you said you had tried to get Michael Biehn involved in Joey Dillon's break down of the famous ‘cup spinning scene’ (from TOMBSTONE). Funny thing is: Within minutes of leaving the Bella Union, after Joey's performance, my friend Tom Betts (editor of the WESTERNS ALL'ITALIANA fanzine) met Michael Biehn at the Oriental Saloon. We told him about Joey's demonstration and he told us that he would have LOVED to have seen it...or even been a part of it. ‘Wouldn't it have been fun if I just walked in on that?’, he said with a wide smile and a sparkling, mischievous gleam in his eyes. I think it definitely would have been fun! Too bad it didn't go down. By the way, I was struck by how nice a guy Michael Biehn seems to be.”

“Carry zeroes over until they add up,” I’m now listening to Beck on the trusty iPod. The ad Emma refers to (above) appeared again in the Republic this morning. Damn, we need to learn from this. I wonder if Sir Winston has anything to say about this?

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
—Sir Winston Churchill

Friday, November 03, 2006

November 3, 2006
Working feverishly on three fronts: I needed to get at least a dozen new True West Moments written and sent up to Denver, so Jeff can edit them and get them input into the teleprompter for Monday’s shoot. I roughed in a dozen yesterday, then whipped out another seven today, utilizing all of the questions I have been getting from viewers. For another idea I thought it might be fun to step out of a building and say, “Does this background look familiar? If you’re a fan of Westerns, it should. In fact, more Westerns have been filmed here than any other location. Let me give you a few clues:

Winchester ‘73, Rio Bravo, Rio Lobo, McClintock!, El Dorado, Dirty Dingus McGee, Life & Times of Judge Roy Bean, Joe Kidd, Death of A Gunfighter, The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, Hombre, Heaven With A Gun, The Badlanders, Monte Walsh, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Tombstone, Young Guns II, I Married Wyatt Earp (remember that one with Marie Osmond?), The Gambler, Tom Horn, The Sacketts and The Villain, starring Kirk Douglas and Ann-Margaret.

And then there were the TV shows, like Have Gun Will Travel, Death Valley Days, High Chapparal, The Legend of The Lone Ranger, Young Riders, Little House On The Prairie, Father Murphy, Wild, Wild, West, Hart to Hart, Gunsmoke and even America’s Most Wanted.

Lots of foreign films were filmed at Old Tucson too, like Lucky Luke and Roshoman (1950)

And weird ones, like Four Eyes starring Judge Reinhold and Hawmps! (remember that one about camels out West?), and even Bells of Saint Mary’s starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman.

And, personally, that’s just the type of script I need a teleprompter for.

Robert Ray and I had to whip out an article for The Cowboy Chronicle today. Did a sweet little piece on women and sidesaddles. Found some great photos and wrote that sucker up and Robert tweaked it in, and we finished it at five and pdf’d it to the editor.

We’re also getting ready for Wild West Days in Cave Creek next weekend. Joel Klasky ramrodded a sandwich sign which we’ll put out next week. Increased the size of Marshall Trimble’s name and Joey Dillon’s name (and mine) for marque value.

Also, Joel and I got into it over the ad for Wild West Days that ran in The Republic yesterday morning. He was irritated that I was dissing the ad as being weak, after I had signed off on it, but my response was, and is, “I’m not blaming you. This is my fault. I hate the ad. It’s weak and I helped make it that way. This is what we get sometimes when we design by committee. How do we learn from this and not do it again?” Of course, many times we don’t see how an ad really plays until it is in the environment of seven other ads, all sucking oxygen away from our ad. In this case it wasn’t pretty. Worse yet, it was bland as hell.

Came home at 5:30 and met J.D. Went down to his spread and picked up three cat panels and hauled them down to my place. Went over design changes on the chicken condo, and made plans for our trip to Tucson on Sunday.

Jeff Hildebrandt is flying in tomorrow, then ’m going to the Coolwater Church on Sunday morning to see Jeff do his cowboy poetry thing, then we’re off to Tucson. Supposed to meet some writer friends for dinner at their fave Mexican place on Sunday night and then it’s taping all day Monday and back to Phoenix that night.

Still need to finish the Classic Gunfight art, write my editorial and do some Honkytonk Sue art. I read an interview with Norman Rockwell’s son the other day where he said his father, my hero Norman, was a terrible father, in part because he was a work-acholic, and painted seven days a week. Ouch! Is that me? I worry about this sometimes, but I also have other worries. Like what? Well, George Burns puts it best:

"First you forget names, then you forget faces. Next you forget to pull your zipper up and finally, you forget to pull it down."
—George Burns