Wednesday, December 13, 2006

December 13, 2006
Got up early and finished a gouache painting of "Dead Men Riding," which is how I perceive the Dalton Gang as they rode gamely towards Adair, Oklahoma for their last successful raid. Riding some eight strong virtually everyone in the horseback group had one thing in common: they all stopped bullets in the coming months. Only one of them survived into old age, and he himself stopped 23 bullets at Coffeyville. I'm tempted to say, "Those poor Bastards," but it's a life they chose and it was a poor choice. Mother Dalton, on the other hand, had some fifteen kids and some say, considering the odds, only four of her sons became outlaws and the rest of the family turned out rather fine. Now, if you ask me, that is the definition of a "Poor Bastard."

Robert Ray is laying out the piece. Gus Walker did a sweet map of the Dalton's Oklahoma raids and I've got three more small illustrations to complete tonight. One of Bob Dalton shooting the lights out on the nine man train guards who holed up in a coal shed and Bob clipped three of them (through the walls!) in no time, completely taking the fight out of them. Bob tried the same thing at Coffeyville, killing three townsmen, but he ran into Death Alley and got caught in a shooting gallery and took one in the chest from Isham's Hardware Store, where Coffeyville citizens were handed free rifles and told to have fun. Bob "died game", then told his younger brother, Emmett, to do the same, but although the young Dalton took a shotgun blast to the lower back, he not only survived but lived out his life, game, in California, where he "advised" the movies and became a celebrity. Kind of turns karma on its pointy head, no?

In the staff meeting Monday Trish Brink raved about Jolyn Gagnon, who manned (or should that be personned?) our booth at Cowboy Christmas in Vegas last week, handing out some 6,000 source books, sold subscriptions, got flyers out and did us all proud. Good help is hard to find and we're trying to find a job for Mrs. Gagnon. She really impressed us with her attitude and pro-active efforts. It's so rare these days.

Spent an hour this afternoon and wrote notes of thanks to some of our top contributors and enclosed a bonus check for each of them. We aim to be a good company and one of the things that's essential is to thank the people who make it happen day in and day out.

I had lunch with Wonderful Russ and Mad Coyote Joe down at the Keg Steakhouse yesterday ($59, Russ bought). Lots of laughs and I told Russ that Charlie Waters thought yesterday's post about his antics at the Excaliber Hotel was one of the funniest blogs he's ever read, and Charlie went on to say that Russ is funnier than many of today's highest paid comedians and we had a long talk about how Russ doesn't regret his choice to go into real estate instead of stand-up. I actually agree with Charlie, and at one time I told Russ he could have his cake and eat it too. I suggested he be "The Angriest Real Estate Agent In The World," and although Russ agreed it was a funny concept, he didn't have the energy to put into it. Unfortunately, Lewis Black has usurped that angle, and done quite well with it, but it's still interesting to wonder what would have happened if Russ had run with it. Still, funny is funny and it's hard to top Great Big Wonderful.

Just as a follow-up to the episode I shared yesterday, after we left the jousting arena, Russ walked through the casino holding the photo (posted in yesterday's blog) and would stop people (mostly from Iowa) and say, pointing at the photo and me, "This is a photo of Bob Boze Bell," and the people would look at the photo and then at me, and kind of go "So?", and then Russ would put his hand up under the photo and let his forefinger dangle down and he'd add, "You can't see his penis in the photo but it would be about right here," indicating his wagging finger. One guy in a fisherman's hat, looked at Russ in complete horror, and scrinched his neck back like a turtle and attempted to wiggle behind his wife (the casino was very crowded). Another zane moment and another new friend for Russ.

Later at the Mirage, we were given a tour of the shark tanks but they were all empty and it was in the middle of the night, but as the tour guide walked us by giving his usual speech, Wendy, Russ's wife said, "Look Russ, a microphone." Russ jumped up on a small amphitheatre stage and turned on the mike (we couldn't believe it was on!) and started in, "You're dazed, confused, trapped in a world without time. . ." He did almost the entire Twilight Zone intro, booming out into the night. I say almost because security came and suggested he stop, and he eventually did. One of things that makes this so funny to me, is that there is so little humor in Vegas. All those dealers, bouncers and pit bosses must have had humor bypasses to work there, and of course, that makes it even funniier when Russ messes with them. There's more, but I'll save you the stitches.

"Cheney Urged Not To Work Blue During Convention
—Onion headline

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