Friday, June 30, 2006

June 30, 2006
Tired of my whining about not finishing projects my wife sent me to a doctor for a physical checkup and a request to get some ADD medication. I don’t even like to take aspirin, but since I’ve been “swirling” and bouncing off the walls for oh, fifty-five years, I thought I’d at least try something. The doctor gave me a sample of Strattera and I took 25 mg. on Wednesday. I gave him my reservations (I don’t want to lose my creativity) and I asked him how I will know if I have changed and he said my friends will notice it almost immediately.

So if you notice any change in my comments here, please let me know.

Talk About Balls
“The movie Broken Trail had the scene of the castration all wrong. When we castrated, we saved the mountain oysters to clean, fry and eat. My Granddad liked to just drop them into the fire and when they turned black and popped open, he would fish them out and eat them on the spot. I still love Mountain Oysters.”
—Reggie Selman, Alamagordo, New Mexico

Yesterday, I rode my bike twice, swam ten laps, cleaned off two desks in the office, wrote the introduction to Mickey Free, transcribed my June 11, 1993 journal entry where I visited the set of Tombstone and met Val Kilmer and Kurt Russell and saw them film the scene where the director, Kevin Jarre, got fired (I’ll print the whole thing here later), started three new paintings and cleaned off the patio. Woke up in the middle of the night with a bad dream where I was trying to hide in a narrow passageway behind a steel fence and someone kept pushing hand grenades under the metal fence and I kept kicking them out. Finally, they (I couldn’t seee them, just their hands) held their hands against the bottom of the fence so I couldn’t kick it out and I woke up (1.30 a.m.).

Went out to the kitchen to read the side effects of taking Strattera and this is what it said:

The most common side effects of STRATTERA used in adults are:

• constipation (nope)

• dry mouth (yep)

• nausea (nope)

• decreased appetite (yep)

• dizziness (not really, well sort of)

• heavy flatulence (well, yes, but I did eat a pint of those homemade refried beans from El Sarape in Quemado, New Mexico)

• problems sleeping (duh)

• sexual side effects (can’t wait for this one!)

• problems urinating (nope)

• menstrual cramps (not yet)

Gus Walker, The Mapinator, Weighs In On Sci-Fi Westerns
Hey, regarding those crazy titles how about:

• Angel and The Batman

• Three Godfathers Meet The Sopranos

• The Lone Ranger and Tonto Open for the Village People

•Harry Tracey Meets Two-Face

Gus Walker just won himself a new Deadwood poster (Third Season, just out). You too can win a Deadwood poster or a “I’m Your Huckleberry” mousepad, featuring my painting of Val Kilmer spinning the cup. If we use one of your titles in the magazine, you get your pick. Send it right here.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to Latigo Ranch
“We were delighted to receive our bundle of July/August magazines and eventually see the article 'Celebrating the kids who are saving our ranching heritage'. It's naturally exciting when one of our own is featured! There really is a funny story behind this, too. When the magazines arrived, none of us saw them—they just went straight up to the cabins. This past Sunday, one of our new guests came down to the lodge after getting settled in and said, 'We want to meet David. He sounds like a great guy!' We agreed, but we were puzzled at what would have caused her to form this opinion. She said it was the article, so we retrieved a magazine and read it.

“Thanks so much. Great article.”
—Lisa George, Latigo Ranch, Kremmling, Colorado

"No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Thursday, June 29, 2006

June 29, 2006
Great news for us Western movie fans:

“The debut of Broken Trail, an AMC network western starring Oscar winner Robert Duvall, rounded up nearly 10 million viewers to rank as the biggest cable telecast so far this year, Nielsen Media Research reported on Tuesday.

“The two-hour premiere on Sunday night also achieved the rare feat of drawing the night's largest audience of any show on all of U.S. television, including the four major broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.”

Meanwhile, several of my readers are not amused by Alan Huffines’ critique of the movie in yesterday’s posting:

“Who is this Huffines guy. Geez Louise, I would hate to be his customer service rep at anything. Some things go way beyond even nit picking. Broken Trail was excellent. It's the most watched event of it's type this year and beat all networks, even the big four Sunday night.

“The big plus is getting to see Robert Duvall, America's greatest actor, in another western. He was marvelous as was the rest of the cast. I think once again the statement has been made to the network weasels that there is an audience for westerns. Maybe Mr Huffines should read your June issue and the interview by Tim Lasiuts to get an idea of the story line.

“This ‘Nazism’ is a little out of hand. If Mr Huffines listened to Duvall around the camp fire, his character was uneasy around women, especially when he started caring for them. The last scene in the movie where he is outside with a "what might have been look" says it all. That is why the girls were sent off the first time. The Winchester comes out first or in a tie because the desperado is wearing a coat/duster and most likely had his sidearm strapped down while riding a horse. The bottom line, I guess, is Mr Huffines does say he enjoyed the show even with all his nit picking. I guess shows like this will never be authentic enough for some but at least the spirit is there.”
—Hugh Howard, Maniac# 9

“It's kind of sad that people can't watch a movie just for entertainment. They have to try and pick it apart for correct verbiage, correct attire and anything else they can find wrong. Just sit back and enjoy Robert Duvall’s acting, the beautiful scenery and everything else that the movie has to offer. Thus the old vaquero saying, "Some people wouldn't even be happy if they were hung with a new rope!" Hell , we'll never know what really happened back then. All we have to go on is somebodys word about what happened.

Well enough is enough! Life is to short to take serious, so just sit back and let the movies entertain us. So what is the gloves weren't actually what you think they should be...GET OVER IT!”
—Scott Bell

“I said I liked the show. Are we to assume that Westerns fall into the category of Canonized Literature and therefore are beyond textual-criticism? Horse apples! Just like the Alamo, this ain't a religion.”
—Alan Huffines

Dueling Old Vaquero Quotes
“When all you have is a hammer, all your problems look like nails.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

"Sometimes it is entirely appropriate to kill a fly with a sledge-hammer!"
—Old Vaquero Saying

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

June 28, 2006
Writing this high on drugs. More on that later.

The town of Cripple Creek, Colorado has announced that they are deferring until next year their Pony Express Classic Horse Race. Complete information for the 2007 race is on the website at

A Fellow Hat and Clothes Nazi Weighs In On Duvall’s Latest
If you have not seen BROKEN TRAIL yet, spoilers are below. BROKEN TRAIL Thoughts in Random Order

• Horse equipage stunk.

• Clothing decent, could have even given some of them Batwings, due to the date. Not sure about Duvall's strap gloves. I know this pattern is issued late in WWII.

• Story seemed to default to convenience a bit much. The third guy (comparable to a red-shirted Star Trek cast member) was fluent in Crow, played the violin and was from Virginia. Come again? He seemed to have been added only to have the music in a scene and for the Crow negotiations on horse tariff. The scene would have been better in sign language anyway.

• Loved the Indian line about beautiful women with ugly white men, but this was almost missed due to following the translation. And when he died it was anti-climatic at best. I thought he had just been wounded. Too often this movie "told" rather than "showed." If we had seen Jake get the back of his head blown off, we wouldn't need Duvall to tell us what had happened.

• Why did Duvall send the girls away the first time? Why wasn't he pissed when they brought them back? Too convenient to bring the "seamstress" along.

• Gus McRae would have killed the bad guys at his campfire.

• Loved the lynching and the violence level overall. Some of it did not seem blocked well. Duvall beats a guy to the draw by pulling his Winchester?

• Should have delved more into race than it did. We see Church getting into a confrontation over a panhandler being thrown out of a bar, but then he and Duvall seem indifferent to the Chinese girls, and only get involved because they are robbed. Would have been nice to explore that a bit more.

• Too surreal with the final torture-killing of Duvall. Surrendering did not work for what we knew about the character and seemed too set piece for the killing to take time so Church could come in and kill them. Again too convenient and too clichéd.

• Loved most of the dialogue and little nuggets. Therapeutic paper in a box (correct), the girls' inspection prior to sale, castrating and feeding the remnants to the dogs. Good stuff and was usually not disappointed.

• Decent musical score.

“Overall enjoyed it much, at least as much as OPEN RANGE. Hats were better in this but OR had that superb gun battle. Waiting patiently for JESSE JAMES.”
—Alan Huffines

News From The Front Lines
“Janet Haigh of Burbank, CA subscribed today. She was on and
takes Cowboys & Indians magazine, Amazon showed, ‘If you like this magazine, you might like True West and she decided to give it a try.’ She loves the old west and has a mule named Tom.”
—Carole Glenn

Hello, Mr. Bell!
“Isn't Lincoln the best place to visit? I'm a huge Billy the Kid fan, and when I stayed in the Billy the Kid Room at the Ellis Store B&B, I thought I died and went to heaven. We stayed there in August 2005, during the Old Lincoln Town Days, and watched 'The Last Escape of Bill the Kid' twice.

“I have a tiny ghost story to share with you. We were getting settled in the room, and my husband Tom was laying on the bed, while I was hanging our clothes up in this very old armoire. (When I talked to the owner, he said they were trying to keep that room as authentic as possible). Well, Tom was saying something, about why in the heck I'm so nuts about the Old West (he isn't!) and I turned around to give him some witty answer. Before I could speak...the armoire door s-l-o-w-l-y started to close, with a loud squeaking noise, and then the latch locked itself. Tom jumped off the bed and yelled: 'BILLEEEEE!'

“I wrote what happened in the diary that is left in the Billy the Kid room. I also told everyone else about it during breakfast the next morning. Everyone there agreed it was Billy's ghost. My co-workers back at work in Holbrook, AZ, weren't convinced. They stated that it was due to uneven flooring.

“NO WAY, MAN! It was Billy. I KNOW it!!”
—Beth H., TW Maniac #1334

The Ultimate Complement
"Lincoln today would look familiar to Billy the Kid."
The Best of The West, a new book out by Bill O'Neal

”Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you're going to do now and do it.”
—William Durant, founder of General Motors

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

June 27, 2006
While I was on the road yesterday, heading for home, others were as well. Rob Bandhauer and Joey Dillon got caught in a gully washer, helped clean up the End of Trail ranch after the deluge (think Woodstock for shooters: “No rain! Pow! Bang! No Rain! Pow! Budda-Budda! Zing!”). Rob and Joey didn’t get out of Founder’s Ranch until 7:30 Sunday night, then drove home to Phoenix. Here’s a report of that trip from Joey:

“Hey bob, had a great time, thanks for all of your help. It is an honor helping to support your magazine and to be supported by it. Next time, if my bags arrive in time, we'll add the background music, and firing the guns, and that will add a lot. Let me know when you need me to peruse the gunspinning article to finalize it. Also, just wanted to tell you what a great worker rob is. That guy seems to always be talking to clients, tentative clients, and seems to really care and respect them, not just doing it to do his job. definitely goes above and beyond. Also, he met any need I had and offered to do even more. I appreciated his help and on the way home we talked for most of the 7 or 8 hours. he is definitely passionate about the west, its history, and preserving it. we had a lot in common in those respects. Looks like he is in a perfect job for him. it is rare in this world to find people like that, genuine and honest, and a heart to help when there is nothing in it for themselves. When i do find people of this caliber, I like to let others know, so I felt you might like to know.”
—Joey Dillon

Fred Nolan was impressed (or depressed) by the mileage I put on the little ol’ Ranger. Here’s his take on my trip:

“Phew. If I drove that many miles from here, I'd wind up in Moscow, having visited Paris, Berlin, and Warsaw en route. Or Casablanca via Paris, Madrid and Gibraltar. Tad more exotic than Mogollon, Moriarty and Quemado, wouldn't you say? Mind you, it would also cost me about five times what it cost you in gas alone.”
—Frederick Nolan, Chalfont St. Giles, England

Rob told me today, he and some of the die-hards got into a poker game in the Bella Union Saloon on Saturday night and about midnite they got to jamming on Science Fiction Western movies they’d like to see (inspired by the real movie, “Billy the Kid vs. Dracula”. Here’s a few of the titles Rob, Joey, Wild Bill and Samantha Free came up with:

• The Daughters of Dracula Meet the Sons of Katie Elder
• Black on Black: Black Bart Takes on The Creature from the Black Lagoon
• Mothra Interferes at The Little Big Horn
• Calamity Jane Meets the Bride of Frankenstein
• The Warwagon Enters Valley of the Mummies

So they got me inspired, and although I wasn’t at the poker game, here’s my nominations:

• Rio Psycho
• High Noon of the Living Dead
• Rosemary’s Baby The Kid
• The Man Who Shot Barbarella
• I Was a Teenage Werewolf Who Dances With Wolves On Brokeback Mountain
• The Bride of Chuck Bowdre
• A Nightmare On Fremont Street
• Night of the Living Doc Hollidays
• Dawn of The Dead Little Big Man
• An American Cow-boy Whorehound In London
• A Man Called Carrie
• The Good, The Bad and The Alien
• A Fistful of Freaks
• Hang ‘Em High Hannibal Lector
• The Shining Winchester ‘73
• The Grey Humpback Fox of Notre Dame
• The Quick And The Dead Zone
• Mark of the Vampire Zorro
• Murders In The Rue Morgan Earp
• House on Haunted Boothill
• Kit’s Alive! (Carson, that is)
• Westworld (see, it works both ways)

“The study of history is a resistance against oblivion, against loss. It tells you about what it was like to be a human being."
—Simon Schama

Monday, June 26, 2006

June 26, 2006
Just got home from a very long drive. The day trip speedometer says 1,436.6 miles and I must say, I feel like it.

Took off from Lincoln this morning at six. It's about a nine hour run to Cave Creek. Tattered clouds still hung low over the Capitans as I took one last look at my favorite Old West town (lots of for sales signs, including the Wortley Hotel, which looks a tad peaked). Very cool out as I drove on the deserted two-lane road that winds its way through Capitan (home of Smokey THE Bear), and Carrizozo. Shot through the Valley of Fire (Malpais, referenced in Young Guns), then out across the Trinity Site. These are wide, lonely vistas and I stopped twice to take photos of the pale early lit ridges. Once again, the traffic was almost non-existent until I got to San Antonio, New Mexico, the home of Conrad Hilton. Yes, hard to believe, but the hotel magnate and genetic precurser to Paris Hilton, got his start in this little, dinky town. Today, it's known as the home of the green chile burger at The Owl Bar, but they were closed so I cruised up I-25 to Socorro. Didn't like anything I saw there, but did get some coffee just off the plaza, and shot out towards Magdalena. Kept going, past Datil (rhymes with saddle) and Pie Town (almost stopped but the idea of pie for breakfast is just too much for me). I got gas in Quemado (pronounced Kay-mod-oh) and asked the woman attendant if she could recommend any restaurant in town (there looks to be maybe three or four in the little berg). She gave me one of those, "It depends on what you want,' answers which I hate, so I yelled "Good food! Did I stutter?"

Not really.

She mentioned "Mexican," and I said is it any good? And she said "My husband is just crazy about the place." And I don't know why, but there was something about the way she said it that I decided to give it a try. I paid for my gas, and turned around and drove back down the main drag to El Sarape Cafe. Parked right in front and went in. Cozy little building with elk heads and deer heads here and there (not in the booths, but on the walls). The pleated Old West ceiling gave the place a musty, but authentic feel. I was met by the owner, Irene Jaramillo and before she could even seat me or hand me a menu I said, "huevos rancheros, over easy, flour tortilla and coffee."

I wasn't disappointed. Homemade beans (so, so rare these days), great salsa, home fries (not frozen!) and good, thick coffee. The only gig I would give it is the tortilla was store bought, but everything else was so damn fresh and tasty I didn't care.

Ordered a pint of pintos to take home, took Irene and Terry (the other waitress who came in after I ordered) outside and shot a photo of them to run in a future roadtrip article in the magazine.

Not long after I hit Springerville, Arizona and the traffic increased dramatically. By the time I drove through Show Low, it was three to six lanes of bumper to bumper. I might as well have been in Phoenix. And actually, it was like that all the way home, with the exception of the shortcut I took across the Fort McDowell reservation, and suddenly I was back in New Mexico (traffic wise).

"The principal behind the timing of traffic lights is to trick the pedestrian into the middle of the street."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Sunday, June 25, 2006

June 25, 2006
As I type this there is a light rain on the tin roof of Casa de Patron, one of my favorite spots (and definitely my favorite B&B!) on planet earth. I got here, in Lincoln, New Mexico, just after six p.m. after a wonderful visit with my aunt and uncle, Bud and Jean Linn, in Fort Sumner, New Mexico this afternoon. They lived and ranched in the Kingman area for some sixty-some-odd years, bought a ranch near Yeso (locally pronounced Yay-so), then they bought two farms and moved into the Bosque Redondo area, about a mile from Billy the Kid's grave. I got the big tour of the farms. And I got excited because, by my calculations, on the evening of December 19, 1880, Billy the Kid, Chuck Bowdre, Tom O'Folliard and others rode across my uncle's land on their way into Sumner from the Bazil-Wilcox ranch. They were ambushed at the old fort by Sheriff-elect Pat Garrett and a posse and rode back through this very area. That realization was quite exciting.

After catching up on family stuff, we joined Stormy Linn, their daughter, and her Kingman boyfriend Bob and had a late breakfast at Sadie's in downtown Sumner. I had the huevos rancheros and we laughed and laughed. This is the same place the late Joe Bowlin brought me for lunch after my first visit to Stinking Springs in the summer of 1991 when I was doing research for my Billy the Kid book.

I left Moriarity at seven this morning and had a serene drive out I-40 to Cline's Corners. I stopped at The Longhorn Ranch exit to see the location of the Longhorn Museum where I bought an alleged authentic photo of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid for a quarter in 1957, and when I found out it was a fake photo (in True West!) it pissed me off so bad I vowed to find out about the real Billy the Kid. Hard to believe that was all but a half century ago. The Longhorn sign was still there, but only the foundation of the old musuem remained. Across the road was a strip bar ("Totally Nude 203"?) and it was surrounded by semis, idling in the early morning twilight, a surreal image of American trucks surrounding the teat of tawdry sex, across Route 66 from the site of my historic awakening. Oh, the sucking symbolism!

Heavy rain is now falling at the Patron de Casa. Jerry and Cleis Jordan have the front door open and we are luxuriating at the sound of pelting rain. I am staying in the room where Billy the Kid was held during the Lincoln County War and I must say, for Maniacs like me, it doesn't get much better than this.

It hailed at the End of Trail Festival on Friday night, so hopefully (Whoa, it just started hailing here: 9:06 p.m.). Amazing.

I didn't meet one car coming down Highway 285 from Cline's Corners to Vaughn. These New Mexico back roads are so wonderful. Coming from Reserve to Datil, on Saturday morning, I encountered only two pickups (both pulled off on ranch roads after a mile or two), and then when I got on Highway 60 at Datil and cruised past the Very Large Array to Magdalena, I only met 14 cars and one truck (I counted, and by the way, nobody was going my way). This is so relaxing, to drive and not have to worry about the guy behind you, the guy ahead, you just cruise, listen to Bob Dylan and John Hyatt and The Hives on the iPod and dream about being alive in the Old West. Theraputic? Oh, I think so!

Ditto for this morning: I never met a car from Cline's Corners to Vaughn. It's so serene and the most ideal way to travel. My theory is that all the traffic is on I-40, I-10 and I-25.

Jerry and Cleis had a great little salmon dinner as we caught up on Lincoln real estate. I still really want to have a second home here and there are quite a few little adobe bungalos here I'd like to have for an artist retreat. Kathy's not big on the place (she really can't stand Billy the Kid and I think that clouds her judgement almost as much as it clouds mine, the other way!) Ha.

"When it rains, it pours. When it hails, it hurts."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Saturday, June 24, 2006

June 24, 2006
Just now got back to the Econolodge Motel in Moriarity (9 pm). Took the crew out to dinner at Buford's Steakhouse $120, biz account). Tony Cassanova and his pard Dennis Moore drove over just to be a part of our gig. They are driving back to Phoenix tonight and will get into Phoenix at about three in the morning. Joey Dillon had a similiar experience last night. Heavy thunderstorms knocked his flight off schedule in Boston (he did a show in New England), he was diverted to Philly, missed his connection there, rerouted through Vegas and back to Albuquerque. Rob picked him up at 2:30 in the morning and they got back here at 3:30. OF course, all of Joey's guns and equipment were lost and he had to borrow wardrobe and pistols from vendors at the show here.

We had a long day at the Founder's Ranch, with heat, a thundershower, lots of True West Maniacs, and two performances in the big tent, and a radio interview with Dakota at three. Sold quite a few books and subs, lots of complements on True West Moments. People stopping me and thanking me for giving them the real skinny. Very encouraging.

Hitting the road for Fort Sumner in the morning. My aunt and uncle, Jean and Bud Linn, have bought a ranch over there and I've never seen it.

"We must always change, renew, rejuvinate ourselves, otherwise we harden."

Friday, June 23, 2006

June 23, 2006
Skirted five different fires to get up here to Moriarity, New Mexico this afternoon. Carole Glenn called me at 12:55 and said, "Rob just called and you go on the main stage in five minutes. Are you going to make it?"

"Nope," I had to honestly tell her. "I'm at least two hours away." I was in Socorro, New Mexico and it took another two and a half hours to make it to the big top at the Founder's Ranch, east of Albuquerque for the SASS End of Trail Festival. Over 980 shooters were on hand to hear me talk about True West Moments and I was stuck following a truck up I-25.

Spent the night last night in Mogollon at Lew and Tara's tricked out miner's cabin. I had to have permission to get past the forest service guards down on the flats. Lots of smoke and fire crews everywhere. Sat on their expansive porch and had a great steak dinner as we solved life and listened to the two-way radio crackle with fire crew chatter:

"Big Boy. You comin' up tomorrow to pump water?"

"I don't know yet. You need me up there? Over."

Of course, Lew and Tara were completely burned out last year in Rackensack Canyon, northest of Cave Creek, so the very idea that they could be burned out in New Mexico as well, seemed like an awful cruel trick for nature to be pulling on them. Lew lost all of the old MIneshaft bar relics and a car and tons of collectables. When I asked about home owner's insurance he just shook his head. Evidently they will only pay 25% of the estimated full value, but only after you go out and buy the replacements, paying full value. Of course, most people can't afford to do this, so the insurance companies skate away. Nasty stuff.

The Bear Fire is the one threatening their locale, and it's one of those huge ones with its own weather system. Really scary.

Listen to the Forest Service's Bear Fire update #3:

"The Bear Fire was detected on 6/19/06 and is burning in mixed conifer forest, ponderosa pine and grasslands 15 miles northeast of Glenwood, NM. The fire is now estimated to be 24,300 acres. . .The fire passed the Negrito Lookout without destroying it. The western side of the fire has not reached the bearwallow Lookout. Crews will be working today to secure the western fire edge."

And if you ever wondered what their philosophy about these fires is, wonder no more: "Wildland fire use is the management of naturally-ignited wildland fires to accomplish specific pre-stated resource management objectives in predefined geographic areas outlined in Fire Management Plans."

Gee, it sounds almost like they planned the fires, no?

I got up early this morning and took off at seven, hoping to jump out before it got any worse. As I pulled into Reserve, the fire line headquarters sprawled for acres and acress with dome tents dotting the river bed and huge trucks with bulldozers and heavy equipment on the back went up and down the road into town. It looked like a war zone, and I guess it really is one. At Henry's full serve, crews from idaho, Springerville and other places around the West filled up with gas and bought snacks, as Henry and I walked down to take a good look at the Elfego Baca unveiling billboard on the site of the proposed museum. The billboard looks great (good job Gus Walker!) and I took a couple photos for posterity.

Got to Founder's Ranch at three (Arizona time).

My talk got moved to tomorrow. Doing two speeches, one at 11 and the one with Joey at one. Walked around the SASS ranch and had a nice talk with Buck Taylor and Goldie. Buck is in the new Commanche Moon, the prequel to Lonesome Dove. He says Val Kilmer is in it with a shaved head and his character's name is "Skull." Could be good. Saw my old friend Jim Dunham, who works now at the Boothe Museum in Georgia. Met several new subscribers who found us in The Cowboy Chronicle (the SASS organ). That was nice to hear.

Watched part of Waddie Mitchell's act in the big tent (funny cowboy from Jiggs, Nevada) and then came down old Route 66 to Moriarity to our motel. Meanwhile, Rob Bandhauer drove into Albuquerque to pick up Joey Dillon at the airport. As I said, we're doing our big joint show tomorrow.

"Find the truth and print it."
—My new slogan, thought up between Datil and Magdalena

Thursday, June 22, 2006

June 22, 2006
Taking off for New Mexico in about ten minutes. The five day forcast here for highs is: 111, 111, 111, 111, 111. The five day forcast for New Mexico and Arizona is: fires, fires, fires, fires and more fires. I'm heading up through Payson, and on to Pinetop-Lakeside where I'm meeting with a Lutheran pastor, Rev. Guenther, who knows all of the Apaches up there and his father knew Mickey Free. He also has a "jacuzzi full of original photos" and his wife wants me to get them out of there so she can use the hot tub. Looking forward to seeing that (the photos, not her in the hot tub).

After the Apache preacher visit, I'm off to the ghost town of Mogollon, where there are two fires raging. Tara Jones wasn't sure last night if I can get in, but she said to come on over. I also want to meet with Henry Martinez in Reserve, to see his progress on the Elfego Baca museum, but they have a fire near there as well and I may have to detour. My goal is to make it to Moriarity, New Mexico tomorrow night for the Single Action Shooting event End of Trail at Founder's Ranch. Going to be a long two days of travel and I doubt there will be much chance to post, so I'm doing it now.

I'm still irritated about that damn Hell to Pay painting, and wish I could have redone it, but I probably need to be philosophical about it.

"Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly."
—St. Francis de Sales

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

June 21, 2006 Bonus Blog
Got into the office early to finish the Medicine Lodge layouts. I needed to fax the finished gunfight to the experts in Caldwell and Medicine Lodge, Kansas and get the corrections in place before I hit the road for New Mexico in the morning.

Robert Ray personally tweaked my very complicated map (which Gus perfected in Alabama), which follows the outlaws every move out of Medicine Lodge to Jackass Canyon (or so I thought it was named. Read on). Robert, Meghan and I crammed and jammed, working around niggling layout obstacles and confusing, jigsaw culdesacs until it all finally fit. We printed it out at about 10:30 and I faxed it to Bev McCollom, who works at the Medicine Lodge Hospital (remember, she was the one who wanted to title her tome “I’ll Always Be Horney”?). She called me right back and had four corrections. The outlaws rode into town on Kansas Avenue not First Avenue, Brown and Wheeler were not lawmen in “the next county”, there is another county between the two bergs, and last, but most importantly, Jackass Canyon was never called that in the old days. A promoter, Jibo Hewitt, came to town in the 1960s and tried to make everything sexier, and he named the canyon “Jackass Canyon.” Ouch! We pulled the four references to that immediately (two were in my editorial column). Another case of revisionist history gone amuck.

At eleven, Kathy and I took Carole to lunch at Saba’s for her birthday ($35, my biz account). Fun yacking to my two favorite ex-roommates.

After Lunch I Got This E-Mail
“My name is Len Gratteri and I was reading the Caldwell Kansas newspaper and seen where True West is going to do a story on Caldwell and Medicine Lodge. I have been researching Ben Wheeler and Henry Brown since 1989. I know more about Ben Wheeler than anyone else. After he was hung in 1884 his wife remarried and in 1905 moved to Portland Oregon. In 1988 from her family I was able to buy Ben Wheeler's asst. marshals badge, photos of his wife, his son and other documents. I since purchased his gun that he killed the bank cashier with. I have hundreds of unpublished photos along with a room full of artifacts from these two towns. The badge was also worn by Henry Brown since he too was an asst. marshal. I have the clock that hung in the bank during the robbery and also a piece of one of the hanging ropes. By the way there was only two ropes, they hung Ben with one and Smith and Wesley with the other. For four years a man in Texas has been researching Wheeler’s past criminal activity and I have more than enough for a book, I just need to start writing. The three people you met in Caldwell know me, Rod Cook, Colin Wood and Karen Strum. Bob McCubbin also is aware of my collection and interest in this event. If you are interested I am willing to share information for your article.”
—Len Gratteri, Sisters, Oregon

I am very familiar with Len’s work and had been hearing about his extraordinary collection all over Kansas (and by the way, we got front page press in the Caldwell Messenger and The Gyp Hill Premiere). So, I immediately faxed Len a copy of the article and got this reply back:

“Your article is very close, however very few people think that the photo of Fred Waite has Henry Brown at his side. Fred Waite was said to be six feet tall and Brown was not over five feet eight inches. Ask McCubbin his thoughts on the photo. I wish I could have been involved early on with this project. There is much more to tell especially about Ben Wheeler. "
—Len Gratteri

The photo in question has been identified as Henry Brown and Frederick Waite for a long time and in fact I used it in both editions of my Billy books. So I e-mailed Len back and asked when this change, or debate, of ID happened, or who determined this? Here’s his reply:

"Bob I am not sure as to the why, when, or where but if you look at the photo of the four bank robbers you can see how much taller Ben Wheeler is than Henry Brown. Wheeler is six feet two and Brown is much shorter. McCubbin has this photo and he and I have talked about it several times. I think you will find Fred Nolan is not sold on it either.”

Oh, great. Fred, The Cranky One is involved! Again. So, Meghan went online and found that the photo in question is now speculated to be John Middleton (see Fred Nolan’s quotes and footnotes extraordinaire, regarding Brown and Middleton, posted here last week). And, if you’d like to see the photo for yourself, check out page 85 of my Billy book (editions, II and III), under the heading “Pards.” So we massaged that clarification in, but the best, or worst boner, was yet to come.

After reading the proofs for the 78th time, I noticed the copy of the mobbing, where it says, “”Wheeler has been shot several times, and he staggers through the crowd with his vest on fire, ignited by the point blank explosions. A bullet rips off two fingers of his left hand (above), and a Winchester ball shatters his right arm.” Wait a minute. That damn, bad painting I slaved over yesterday shows him missing two fingers on his right hand! Yikes! I ran into production and Meghan, Robert Ray and I debated the pros and cons of flopping the artwork. The problem with this is all the shooters become left-handed and Brown is running the wrong way (I know, I know, like anybody but the faxed people above, and me, actually cares, but we do!). So we flopped it.

The artwork is posted here (see above), with Wheeler going the right way, but the wrong hand has the missing fingers. Maybe I should just listen to the old vaqueros.

”The surest way to to spoil a good story is by sticking to the facts.”
—Old Vaquero Saying
June 21, 2006
Slept good, feel better this morning. Gee, I wonder if Lily Tomlin has anything to say about yesterday’s downer?

"For fast acting relief, try slowing down. "
—Lily Tomlin

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

June 20, 2006
Fried. And major down on my artwork. I have great ideas but can’t seem to make them reality. Very discouraging. Did three illustrations today to finish up the Medicine Lodge bank robbery. Here’s where I failed:

• Impromptu Posse: I had this vision of the pent-up cow-boys exploding out of the Medicine Lodge Livery Stable, the ground is wet and they are hell bent for leather as they blast past the livery sign with weapons out and mouths wide open, in a rebel yell. So-so. No livery stable sign, ground is soggy, but so are the horses. Ha. Pretty weak. It sure was great looking in my mind.

• Inside The Bank: Henry Brown reacts, shooting the bank president as the latter reaches for a pistol. Brown is wearing a wet slicker and he’s got that special Winchester that is so distinctive (and I have great reference!). Too bad he looks like he was drawn with a shovel, and the Winchester could just as well be a stick, although a stick would be straighter. Damn!

• Hell to Pay: Ben Wheeler stumbles through the night with his vest on fire as Henry Brown is cut almost in half by a double barrelled shotgun. Well, it could be Henry, or it could be Gumby, getting ripped in half by a Norsky midget wielding cotton candy. And Ben Wheeler looks like your typical Weasels Ripped My Flesh style. pulp goober. Biggest disappointment of the week. I wanted it to be stunning, but it ended up stuttering suck-a-stash. Pai-inga! Pancho!

Old Chap (Vaquero) Saying?
"If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work."
—Frederick Nolan, Old vaquero from Stratford-upon-Avon saying

Monday, June 19, 2006

June 19, 2006
Very busy day in the office. Had our first staff meeting in a long time. I told Carole Glenn, Meghan Saar, Abby Pearson, Robert Ray, Robert McElroy, Samantha Somers, Rob Bandhauer, Sue Lambert, Joel Klasky, Bob and Trish Brink about our very successful trip to Cody. I told them we have come a long way since my first Western Writers of America Conference in Idaho several years ago. We have a much stronger profile among the writers and publishers and it was fun to tell everyone here that seven years of hard work is finally starting to pay off.

I had a much longer post, including comments from Alan Huffines (Jack Black was considered for the role of Travis in the most recent Alamo), Randy Edens, a Father's Day card from Cowboy Dan Martin (quotes and all), a plug for our new Best of the West Reader's poll (click here) and a nasty review of the HBO series Empire Falls. In fact, I Googled the show to find out the spelling of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the blogger post disappeared. Twenty minutes and some very hilarious comments, I might add, down the flippin' drain.

"Nobody cares if you had a cheese sandwich for lunch."
—An early critique on blogs and I've forgotten who said it, but if I had the skills (and the patience) I'll bet I could use the Google bar on our home page and find who said it, but I'm tired and am going home.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

June 18, 2006
Got a wake-up call for six yesterday morning at the Comfort Inn in Cody, Wyoming. Got in last night at about one. We shot out at Trail Dust Town, and got some very cool shots. Preston Randolph is a talented shooter (he's only sixteen!). Excellent barroom fight scenes complete with breakaway glass, packed ice to simulate snow in the stove, fogger effects (also used to create pistol shot smoke coming off Pike Landusky's buffalo coat), apple sellers, absinth drinkers, peg-legged bartenders and a jerry-rigged Borchardt pistol, created out of a water pistol bought at Wal-Mart). Much fun. Had a slight dust-up with the caretaker and owner of Trail Dust Town. They were concerned we were being too rough on the historical stuff. Calmed the caretaker down. Promised him good promotion in True West and we will support him. He's a good guy, as is Randy, the manager.

Went over to the Randolph's after the shoot, had a Coors Lite and watched the rushes (raw footage). Very exciting. This is part of our DVD project and is going to give us some much needed northern representation (most of our shooting has been in Tombstone and Arizona and it's nice to get those Wyoming skies and windswept bluffs, like Killpecker Canyon).

Caught the Blair Hotels Shuttle at 6:40, flew out of Cody at 7:30 to Denver and had a three hour layover. Bought the New York Times and the Denver Post and treated the long wait like I had a couple of hours for quiet reading time. Unfortunately, I'd like to strangle that recorded female voice that says, "Due to increased security we ask that you not leave your luggage unattended. . ." I must have heard that 125 times. I wanted to stand up and yell at the ceiling, "People! People! Watch your luggage and maybe she'll shut up!!" But I wanted to go home so I didn't.

Did my six sketches on the plane (1407 total, without missing a day!). Got into Phoenix at one, picked up my luggage at carousel 3, turned around and there were two cute blonds holding a big sign that said, "Happy Father's Day He-Bob!" It was Kathy and Deena. Everyone on my flight gave us the big, "Awwwww, flippin' sweet" sound.

Here's where the He-Bob reference comes from: When Deena and Tommy were little they loved the He-Man comicbook and TV show character and one time I puffed up and said, "I can take He-Man. I'm He-Dad." And Deena just looked at me and said, "Daddy, no you can't. He-Man has muscles on the outside."

The girls took me to the Matador and we had special Father's Day huevos rancheros and then walked over to the Arizona Center to see Jack Black in "Nacho Libre." I had fun and enjoyed the movie (The Mexican wrestlers were good), but the first third of the movie is very slow, with hardly any laughs. In fact, the scenes from the previews are not funny at all. Jack going into a corral and tempting a bull with his red cape and getting flipped is just flat as Kansas, with really poor CGI. Just fake and embarrassing. However, If you like Jack Black (and I do) and Mexican wrestlers (ditto), it's a must, but if it's a negativo on either of those, I wouldn't bother. It definitely ain't Napoleon Dynamite. One thing to check out, though, if you do go, is when Jack is leaving the orphanage to go out in the desert (end of second act), they play Bob Dylan's Billy the Kid theme from Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (same chords and arrangement, but at the end of the movie we waited to see the credits and it wasn't sited. Hmmmmm.).

Got home at five. Long one. Lots of artwork to do. Got to get crankin'. Big road trip coming up on Thursday again.

The theater is so endlessly fascinating because it's so accidental. It's so much like life."
Â?Arthur Miller

Saturday, June 17, 2006

June 17, 2006
After visiting with my mother at her home yesterday afternoon, I attended the WWA cocktail mixer at the Buffalo Bill Museum. Thom Ross and I perused the new painting exhibition (a very good painter from the 1840s who I had never heard of and can't remember now). Thom and I had fun riffing on the good and bad painting and stealing ideas right and left. Saw Bob McCubbin in the private party room. He is evidently in town for a Buffalo Bill board meeting. Chatted it up with Sherry Monihan, her husband Larry and their neice, Jamie, also Meghan Saar. Talked with Dr. Bob Brubaker and Dietmar Kuelglar of Germany. Dietmar is from Rebbelstieg and is a huge Jesse James fan. He has ridden in the Northfield Raid reenactments for the past three years, and he actually put on Northfield Raid shows in three German towns. He says they love the Wild West over there. My good friend Chip DeMann from Northfield evidently came over to Germany for the shows and rode as Bob Younger. Amazing.

At seven, I hitched a ride with the Hutton family (their three daughters were lobbying their mother to go see a movie, "Cars" at the local theater. The same theater that wouldn't run "Brokeback Mountain"). We ended up at Paul Fees' house for dinner on the patio. Beautiful night and the legends were in attendance. I walked up to a guy with a great hat and said, "Nice lid. Where'd you get it." Loren Estelman was standing there and he said, "Do you know who he is?" Turns out it was Stan Lynde, who wrote and illustrated the late, great comic strip, Rick O'Shay, and later Latigo. He's now writing Western novels, but I asked him if he'd create a graphic novel to run in True West, utilizing his great graphic skills. A real thrill to meet Stan. I am a huge fan of his illustration skills.

Had an excellent steak dinner and talked to Paul Fees about him growing up in Ajo. We have much in common and both of us have many, many half-true stories (if you believe Phyllis Morton) to tell, and we tell them at the drop of a hat. Ha.

At about nine, Thom Ross drove me out to Trail Dust Town where Steve Randolph and his son were busy video taping the Kid Curry gunfight. Great shots, with great buffalo coats and a fogger gave cool effects, and Preston had rigged up a peg leg for "Jew Jake" the bartender to wear. Got home at about 11:30, tired but happy.

Another big one today. Got to go over right now (11) for some executive session deal. Met with Meghan about her interviews and she's getting great stuff. A very successful trip. I must say Cody has been very good to us. It's almost a second home, and I know Sue Lambert wants to have a second home here.

"The greatest test of courage on the earth is to bear defeat without losing

Â?Robert G. Ingersoll

Friday, June 16, 2006

June 16, 2006
Busy days and nights in Cody. Did a dress rehearsal last night out at Trail Dust Town. Good costuming and great faces. We are doing another shoot today.

Meghan Saar and I served on an editorial panel at nine this morning on writing non-fiction. Candy Moulton ran it and she lined up ten editors. Good questions and fun answers. One of the editors is creating a series on frontier prostitution (which is a hot topic right now) and he facetiously said they were calling the series "Western Ho." Groans from the audience and one woman right in front of me was quite offended. I decided not to tell her my proposed book title, "A Caring Father Talks to His Son About Pussy."

Taped an interview for the Wyoming Tourist Board, being ramrodded by Cotton Smith out of Kansas City. Paul Hutton interviewed me and he kept cracking me up with his deadpan stares. I was asked about the landscape in Wyoming and I said, "The landscape in Wyoming is larger than life and the names are there to match the topography. From Killpecker Canyon to Ten Sleep Canyon, from Lizard Creek to Crazy Woman Creek, from the Grand Tetons to Graybull and Jackson Hole to Medicine Bow, if you are a writer and can't make drama out of that, you probably shouldn't be a writer." Hutton deadpans to me, "Could you come up with a little stronger sexual imagery?"

Ran into several heavyweights, including Elmer Kelton (perennial Spur winner and writer of "Good Old Boys" among a slew of other famous titles), Loren Estelman, Paul Hedren, Stephen Lodge (Nickle Plated Dreams) and Dusty Richards. I sat across from Dusty at today's luncheon and regaled me with stories of growing up in Phoenix and herding horses down Camelback Road and 24th Street (don't try this today, Kaboys and Kagirls). He also taught me two new phrases: "Bar ditch," as in "That ol' boy was so drunk he was driving in the bar ditch." Bar is slang for borrowed, as in, you know, the ditch they "borrowed" dirt from to make the road. Ha. The other phrase is "stangin' lizard," which is cow-boy slang for a scorpion. Funny stuff.

"What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly."
—Thomas Paine

Thursday, June 15, 2006

June 15, 2006
Today is Olive Mondello's birthday. I knew her as Terry Townsend (actually I married her once upon a time, 1973-77). Happy Birthday Olive!

Kathy got up at five and drove me to the airport this morning (just one of the reasons we are still married). For once, I flew out of terminal two, which doesn't have as long lines. Flew Frontier to Denver, then switched to Great Lakes and puddle-jumped it to Cody, landing at 1:30 (did 12 sketches on the plane, mostly clouds). As we deplaned, I ran into Chuck Rankin from University of Oklahoma Press. As we waited for our luggage I pumped him about their recent acquisition (they bought publisher and bookseller Arthur Clark). They paid $300,000 for about 75 titles. I praised him for being so pro-active. Usually state run organizations are so fuddy duddy. We shared a ride on the Cody Shuttle and chatted up new books. He's got a new bio coming out on Jedediah Smith and one on Crazy Horse. He promised an excerpt from both (see, that paid for the trip right there).

The Cody Shuttle dropped me off at Comfort Inn where I breezed through because Sue Lambert got my room comped. Free internet wireless hook-up. Couldn't resist, checked my e-mail and wrote this up). Need to go over to the Holiday Inn and check in, then go visit my mama. Then check in with Steve Randolph (his family owns the local Zapata's Mexican Food joint). Having lunch with Juti Winchester of the Buffalo Bill museum tomorrow. Lots of work to do.

Here's One of The E-Mails
"Have you ever thought of doing a DVD collection of True West Moments? Heck, I know I'd buy one! But, then again, I am a Maniac!"
—Chris, Maniac #946, Sierra Vista, AZ

Funny you should ask, Chris. Even as you read this we are working on a full blown DVD including the Making Of True West Moments, with behind the scenes footage and how each one is hand crafted and lifted from legitimate sources.

"Every time a Mexican puts on a mask, it changes the world."
—Richard Montoya, referring to Zorro and Nacho Libre

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

June 14, 2006
I had a long one trying to wrap up the Henry Brown vs. Medicine Lodge Cow-boys gunfight. Did a scratchboard before I went into work of The Newlyweds. Not bad. Worked all day trying to get all the copy in. Very tight. I had a couple of questions about Henry, then received the following e-mail from across the pond:

Leave It To An Englishman To Know This!
“Gwyn Nell, actress former, mistress of King Second the Charles, lived close to Castle Windsor. I don't just do Billy the Kid, kiddo.”
—Frederick Nolan, responding to yesterday’s quote

So I wrote Fred back and asked him two questions: The first: I seem to remember that there was a controversy several years ago about whether the Henry Brown who rode with Billy the Kid in the Lincoln County War was in fact the same guy as the marshal of Caldwell who got himself killed trying to rob the bank at Medicine Lodge, Kansas. Did that controversy ever get resolved? And, two, I’ve seen Henry styled as Hendry. Where did that come from?

And The Foremost Lincoln County War Expert Replied. . .
“For (as much as you'll need of) the latest on whether Henry of Lincoln was Henry of Caldwell, cf. Betty Jay, ‘From Henry Brown to Henry Newton Brown’ in the NOLA Quarterly, XXX (2) April-June, 2006, pp.21-27. She kind of chickens out on the argument, which renders the piece pretty pointless, but if it matters, I have Tascosa material that quite definitely ID's the Henry Brown who was a constable there as the Henry Brown who rode with the Kid and that he went on from there to Caldwell. This is to some extent backed up in a series of newspaper articles ‘The True Trail of Billy the Kid,’ by Alvin Rucker, and which appeared in the Oklahoma City The Daily Oklahoman in July, 1929, which suggests [issue of July 7] that Henry was very friendly with John Middleton and that they went north to Caldwell where they became friendly with the Colcord family. The Colcords nursed Middleton back to health (he married one of the daughters) and ‘took an interest in Henry Brown and helped obtain for him the appointment of deputy city marshal of Caldwell.’ QED, I would say.

“The ‘Hendry’ goes back at least as far as Emerson Hough's Story of the Outlaw (1907) and maybe before that, but it was probably Siringo who popularized the error in A Cowboy Detective (1912) and others like Eugene Cunningham carried it on.

“It's good to see you having so much fun. A long haul from 1999, old friend.”
—Frederick Nolan

Oh, the detail! The footnoting, the amazing minutia that emanates from Fred’s head! It is a total pleasure and honor to know someone so committed to the historical truth. And yes, this is the same guy who called me an “asshole” two weeks ago in this space. Ha.

Joey “Spinmaster” Dillon came by the office at 11 today with his producer Tony Cassanova. On my team were Mark Boardman and Rob Bandhauer, and we all retired to El Encanto to plot a decent presentation for The Joey & BBB Show at End of Trail in ten days. Lots of good ideas and bits bandied about. While there I ran into Debora Gifford, True West Maniac #17, looking ravishing as ever. She got out of real estate and is now doing skin care with Arbonne. You can check her out at:

My comments in The Arizona Republic have been getting some odd responses. When I got back from Frisco, my office phone had a mumbled message that sounded something like this:

“I read your comment in the Plugged In section last Sunday and then I read about a girl who was shot in the head and I went back and looked at what you are wearing in your photo and it made total sense.” Click.

Yesterday I got my “Yo Say, Jose!” comments clipped out and sent to me with the following scribbled note: “Either you had too many margaritas when you wrote this or you don’t get out of Cave Creek enough!”

Leaving at five in the morning for Cody and the Western Writers of America Convention. While there, Steve Randolph and his son are going to film the Pike Landusky vs. Kid Curry gunfight out at Trail Dust Town. Should be fun.

”I have no money and no resources. I am the happiest man alive.”
—Henry Miller

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

June 13, 2006
Today is Meghan Saar's birthday (26) and we had a special party for her after lunch with a big cake and lots of cheering. She is a very important part of our success and she makes my life so much easier. She's on her way to Cody, Wyoming tomorrow for the annual Western Writer's of America Conference. I'm flying up on Thursday. It's my third jet-setting trip in as many weeks and I've got another one next week, only I'm driving to New Mexico for that one.

On my way home for lunch I heard Brad Radina on my old radio station, KXAM 1310 AM, talking about Earl's Restaurant, so I had to call in and brag on Brad's Chile Colorado and excellent margaritas and how we drive all the way from Cave Creek to eat there. It's always fun to support my in-laws (Brad is a True West Maniac).

Robert Ray helped me get my new computer straightened out. He's having trouble with his as well. Working hard on shoe horning in all of the cool Medicine Lodge, Kansas stuff for the bank robbery coverage we are doing. Spent most of today massaging copy. Also did seven sketches of scenes I want to do, including:

• Henry and Maude Brown's Wedding Picture (he's holding his presentation Winchester proudly as you might expect and I brought my 73 Winchester in, had Robert Ray shoot me and Abby Pearson in a wedding pose for reference)

• The Cow-Boy Posse Busting Out of the Medicine Lodge Livery Stable (a dozen cowboys were headed for a local roundup when a storm blew in, and they were waiting it out in the livery stable when Brown and Crew tried to rob the bank, right across the street. It was tantamount to a SWAT team coming out of that barn)

• Wheeler On Fire (When a mob came to the jail, Brown and his deputy Ben Wheeler tried to run for it. Brown was cut in half by a shotgun blast, and Wheeler ran through the dark with his vest on fire. Perhaps a greeting card company could use this image for a sympathy card?).

Need to go home and do more artwork. Gus is working on a cool map in Alabama for me. I wish we had one more page in the next issue for all the Kansas photos we took, including the parade and special reception in Wichita. They really rallied for us up there, and I'd sure like to give them the credit they deserve. Perhaps in the next issue. We are packed to the gills with great stuff in this one.

"Pray, good people, be civil; I am the Protestant whore."
—Gwyn Nell, mistress of Charles II when surrounded by a mob in her coach

Monday, June 12, 2006

June 12, 2006
Back in the office and things are cooking. Our three ad salespeople have carried us into record-breaking territory. This is a beautiful thing to come home to I must say.

Mark Boardman forwarded me a new phrase that applies to us and our website:

"But how do media institutions make that leap to new media? They face the quandary of 'Tarzan economics,' a phrase adopted by several speakers. As old media swing on vines through the digital jungle, they sometimes must let go of one income stream before they can grasp the next one.

"Fortunately for people in broadcasting, they have the luxury of not letting go of the first vine quite yet, Pizzi said in a panel discussion. Adding broadcasting to new media creates 'one of the most powerful synergies going,' he said. 'It’s your game to lose.'”

Gus Walker just got back from Nashville and has this report:

"Went to Nashville over the weekend. Big doin's there. CMA Festival. Mucho touristas with those Doper Roper/Toby Keith cowboys hats . . . in all colors (yech). never seen so many in my life. like being in Dizzyland with all those mouse ear caps. Also had a cowboy mime painted all silver. he would stand like a statue then jump out and scare the snot out of tourists. What is it with that silver stuff?

So the scaring tourists thing is catching on. Hmmmmm.

My road warrior daughter called from a rental car outside West Columbia, Texas. She flew into Houston, then drove way south for her first financial presentation. Got to the West Columbia Resort at about ten to seven, only to find out the resort restaurant closes at two on Sunday. The desk clerk recommended the Sonic Drive-in. Being much like her father, The Deen wasn't in the mood for fast food, so she decided to find some local flavor and drove to the heart of West Columbia and stopped at a convenience store to query the locals on excellent local cuisine. She met a line of customers inside and asked them for a good recommendation. A woman in a tanktop and blue pedal pushers, holding an 84 ounce of Diet Coke says, "Honey, you need to try the Bayside Restaurant, but you gotta tell em you want your burger well done." Nobody else had a nomination and so, against all good sense, my daughter, once again acting like you know who, decides to try the Bayside, where it turns out she can get grilled salmon for $6.99, 30 shrimp for $15 and two lobster tails for $12. What's wrong with this picture? Well, when she asked the 17-year-old waiter what he would recommend, he said, and I quote, "The cheeseburger." Needless to say, everything was deep fried and then deep fried again just to make sure. She said she ate part of the fries and the deep fried lettuce and went back to the hotel. I asked her what she had learned from all of this and she said, "If someone's holding a barrel of diet coke, it's probably not a good idea to put stock in their eating suggestions."

Now, she's acting like her mother.

" We do not necessarily improve with age: for better or worse we become more like ourselves."
—Sir Peter Hall

Sunday, June 11, 2006

June 11, 2006
Spent all day doing artwork for True West. Finished a scratchboard of Honkytonk Sue gazing back at reality (it's the same color pose as I posted last month, only a scratchboard). Also did a title piece, also a scratchboard, of the Henry Brown gang riding into Medicine Lodge with a big storm rolling in behind them. Decent effects.

Since I left my BBB identity at home over the weekend, I wondered if anyone would take advantage of the situation. I didn't have to wait long to find out:

Flag Bad Boy Makes Hay While BBB Is Away
"By the way, since you didn't take the usual BBB accoutrements with you to Frisco, I spent the last three days impersonating you in Nogales, Sonora. Please contact AAA Bail Bonds immediately. Be sure to tell them you're very, very sorry about the burro."
—Tom Carpenter

"It's easier to stay out than to get out."
—Mark Twain

Saturday, June 10, 2006

June 10, 2006
Last morning in Frisco. Caught the Super Shuttle at 9:30 at Lombard and Sansome, our Russian (Ukraine) driver picked up four others and we got to the airport at 10:20. The driver laughed like a crazy Russian when I applied the non-existent passenger brake (from the seat directly behind him), with my long leg coming out as a driver swerved and looked like she was coming into our lane. "You trying to help me drive?" he bellowed. We all laughed, but it's true, I'm a notorious back seat driver.

I had on a t-shirt, dress shirt and a suit coat to start the day off, but when we landed at Sky Harbor at three, and it was 104 out, I stripped off most of the above, as we limped home in the heat.

Deena and Frank were house sitting at our abode and Frank made us a great shish kabob dinner. Lots of artwork to do tomorrow, so I'm heading in.

"The natural flights of the human mind are not from preasure to pleasure, but from hope to hope."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Friday, June 09, 2006

June 9, 2006
Delightful day in Frisco (residents here in "The City" hate the "Frisco" nickname, so naturally I have to use it whenever I can). We lounged around this morning and tried to clean off the wine stains on the carpet, caused by my foot kicking a glass off the nightstand, while turning around in bed to do, well, do my midnite yoga exercises.

Got out on the streets at about ten, and walked down to the Embarcadero, the old ferry building, which is like a giant train station that has been converted to hip food vender stores and boutiques. We ended up at the Perry (or Ferry) Fish Company and ate at the counter. I had the two kinds of smoked salmon and Kathy had the crab salad. Place slammed with business district lunch hour devotees. Norton's had the longest lines, both inside and out.

From there we walked through the financial district, up Market and then across to
Sutter, where I stopped at Argonaut Bookstore to talk to my old friend Bob, about the Old West and books and the biz. It was in the Argonaut that Kathy said her famous take on outlaws, and which is related in the foreword to my book, Bad Men. Bob had his "Best of The West: Best California Bookstore, 2004" award up on his wall and pointed to it proudly.

While I did my Old West thing, Kathy landed at a java joint across the street and I picked up a couple local papers to read while she drank coffee and returned calls. I picked up the SF Weekly and there were my old homies, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, listed in the masthead. Nice to see the Zonies, causing grief in Frisco. Ha.

Also picked up the Chronicle, The Examiner and The Onion. I enjoyed them all but the Onion makes me laugh out loud. Here's a couple headlines:

NSA Wiretap Reveals Subject May Be Paying Too Much For Long-Distance

Tea-Party Host Struggling To Keep Conversation Going (run with photo of small girl at toy table with dolls)

Paul McCartney's Mix-CD For New Girlfriend A Little Self-Indulgent

Caught the #2 busline ($1.50 each) out to The Legion of Honor. Rode through block after block of Asian businesses, actually thicker than Chinatown. Looked like Little Taiwan in places.

Hiked up to the Legion of Honor in a stiff ocean breeze ($5 each). Really enjoyed the permanent painting collection. Many great paintings, including a master classic by James Tissot, a self-portrait, that I could admire and stare at for hours. Wonderful Manets, Monets, Degas and a Renoir to kill for. I've been here several times but never tire of it, as it's a religious experience for me. I always leave feeling good, although I did mutter, "You Bastard!" in front of a brilliant Florence scene by Manet. Several people around me moved away, but I was serious. How could that Bastard paint that good? It's just not right.

After the Legion (and museum store gifts for the kids and family $65 cash), we walked to the Cliff House for an early dinner. Sat overlooking the ocean and watched the waves crash. Every time I come here I think of John Henry Tunstall eating at the same restaurant before decamping for New Mexico and meeting Billy the Kid.

Took a taxi from there out to Parkside to pick up a special bottle of wine to leave as a gift for the Hawkins, and caught the L-Train back into Frisco. Ha.

Got back to the condo about seven. Long, fun day. Last night here. Carole told me it's hot back in Phoenix, so I'm going to enjoy wearing a sweatshirt, one more time until November.

"Anybody who enjoys writing a book is an idiot. It's like having a homework assignment every stinking day until it's done. And by the time you get it in, it's done and you're sitting there reading it, and you realize the 12,000 things you didn't do. I mean writing isn't fun. It's never been fun. . .And when you're done people tell you 'Well, gee, I'm not interested.' Great, I'm glad I sat down and wrote this!"
-Lewis Black, interviewed in The Onion

Thursday, June 08, 2006

June 8, 2006
Slept in. Felt good. We took off at about nine and hiked up the stairs behind the place where we're staying, and ended up at Coit Tower. Named for Lillie Coit, an orphan saved by firemen in an 1800s hotel fire. She became their mascot and had her own badge and uniform. Followed the fires. When she died at age 86, the city's fireman turned out en masse. She was cremated wearing the gold badge of Company No. 5 and she left $100,000 for the construction of the tower.

From there we walked down Stockton to Fisherman's Warf and checked out the panhandlers. Gave a buck to a black kid all painted silver, doing the frozen statue routine (quite popular in Spain as well). He broke his pose and ran after me and gave me a bunch of Tootsie Rolls. I really didn't want them, so as we walked down the sidewalk I started hawking them to the tourists: "Mime candy, right here. Get your Mime candy." One couple actually took one. Amazing.

Reverse Psychology is in full bloom on the warf, with panhandlers utilizing the somewhat new ruse of a sign that says, "Why lie, it's for beer." Another new angle, which I had never seen was a big, black kid with two overgrown pom pons, that were bushes, or miniature hedges. He would crouch down and hide behind them at the edge of the sidewalk and when people would come by he would jump out, or shake the bush at them. A large crowd gathered across the street to guffaw and marvel at each Candid Camera type scenario. We saw a woman in Nikes walking fast with a cell phone and when he jumped out she did a huge jump and the crowd across the street went crazy. Funny what people find entertaining, and the big question is, how does he get paid. I didn't see any basket for money, but he certainly had the corner on Out Of Town Zane.

Tried to go to Scoma's for lunch, but they weren't open yet, so we ended up sitting at the outdoor tables Tarantino's and had crab cakes and sourdough bread. Really fun. Then went out on the historic Hyde Street Pier and checked out the Balclutha, a square-rigged ship built in 1886 in Glascow, Scotland, and the Eureka, an 1890 side-wheel ferry, built in 1890.

Went out tonight and ate at Butterfly, at Pier 33. Almost too hip for my tastes, but we had fun, came back to the condo to read and write this up. More fun tomorrow. Going to the cartoon museum, Legion of Honor and the Cliff House.

"Man is born to live, not to prepare for life."
-Boris Pasternak

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

June 7, 2006
Four days ago I was standing in a wheat field in the middle of Kansas, and today I'm staring out a sixth floor window at the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. Today is Kathy's birthday (56) and I treated her to one of our favorite cities. We landed at noon and took a shuttle to Lombard and Sansome, just below the Coit Tower and a stone's throw from the Embarcadero. Wonderful to be cold (the ultimate vacation for two desert rats). Treated Kathy to a great lunch at the landmark Fog City Diner. Drank two glasses each of sparkling Gloria Ferrer, assorted breads and soups, racked up a decent bill ($75 plus $15 tip), but, hey, it's my Honey's birthday.

The condo belongs to our good friends Mike and Phyllis Hawkins. Very generous of them to let us borrow it.

Walked up to Chinatown at about seven in the evening and had a light dinner at Sam Wo's. The same abusive Chinese waitress we always have. She barks at everyone, and we watch in awe, like the Yahoos we are (I told the couple next to us, "We fly in every year to watch this abuse, because you just can't get enough of this where we come from.") Sam's prices are amazingly low. Had the special fish salad ($8), Kung Pau Chicken and Won Ton with Pork BBQ ($21, left $25 cash).

Strolled down Grant, just by accident, saw the historical marker for the first "American building" in Yerba Buena, which later became San Francisco. Big adobe building high up on this hill, that is today in the middle of Chinatown. Ironic, no?

Don't tell anyone but I left my cowboy hat, my scarves, my boots and my cell phone and my laptop at home. I needed a vacation from being Bob Boze Bell, although I did bring my sketchbook and dutifully did my six sketches, or I should say I've done two, need to do four more.

I brought a great book to read: An Informal History of The Pulp Magazine, by Ron Goulart, which gives a great overview and background and tracks the progression from dime novels, to the pulps to comic books. What's amazing to me is that True West really grew out of the pulp phenom, but then didn't evolve, but stayed pulp way too long (2000!), although there are those who believe we made a mistake by leaving that dead niche. Recently we flirted with running some pulp pages so the old guys would get a thrill, only to find out that pulp paper is now more expensive than gloss, mainly because no one uses it anymore.

"You must dare to disassociate yourself from those who would delay your journey. Leave, depart, if not physically, then mentally. Go your own way, quietly, undramatically, and venture toward trueness at last."
-Vernon Howard

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

June 6, 2006
Working hard to nail the Medicine Lodge bank robbery for the next episode of Classic Gunfights. While in Medicine Lodge last Friday, I met Bev McCollom, whose maiden name was Horney and her father figured prominently in the story. She wrote a book on Lodge history and in the opening (Memorandum), she admits: “I considered calling this book I’ll Always Be Horney in order to appeal to the prurient interests of my readers and perhaps to make it a best-seller.” She evidently had a stellar media career in New York City and she relates that “One of the NBC directors loved it when someone would come into the office and ask, ‘Where is Bev Horney?’ His gleeful reply was, ‘Anywhere!’”

The name of her book is, alas, Meandering Medicine Lodge: The 1880’s. But it has some great first person accounts of the robbery and subsequent lynching of the Brown boys. She walked us down to where the jail was, which turns out to be in the drive-thru lane of a local bank. I had her stand there as cars jockeyed and idled by and took her photo on the exact spot, pointing to the photo of Henry Brown and his outlaw pards, standing at the same spot.

More Proof That The Higher Up The Flag Pole You Go, The More People Can See Your Rear End.
“They say [on the Billy boards] that you [BBB] are self-centered and you blow your own horn. But, like everything else on these boards, I just ignored it.”
—Jim Johnson, author of “Billy the Kid: His Real Name Was. . .”

“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”
—Mark Twain

Monday, June 05, 2006

June 5, 2006
Good to go, good to come back. Back in the desert where I belong. Flew in this morning from Wichita on an 8:30 A.M. flight, landed at nine, our time (an hour and a half flight). Got back in the office at noon.

Yesterday, we took off from Meade at three, and climbed up Highway 54, through Fowler (where my parade wagon driver’s farm is), Minneola, Bloom, Kingsdom, Bucklin and Greensburg (“Home of the World’s Largest Man Made Well”), Haviland, Wellsford, Pratt (great little town, two story Gingerbread Victorian for sale at $79K), Cunningham and Kingman. Yes, there is a sister town in Kansas named Kingman. I remember staying there in the late 1950s with my parents on a return trip from Iowa and wondering if they knew about us out in Arizona. I seem to remember asking the motel manager and him making some snotty remark about us copying them.

Got back into Wichita at about 6:15 and went by Wal-Mart to get all my film developed (I was afraid of running six rolls through the airport security X-Rays). Dropped off the film and took Rob Brandhauer and Ed LeRoy to Outback Steakhouse ($85 biz account). Picked up film on the way back to the Hyatt ($26 something, biz account). Got up this morning at six. Long weekend. Really fried, but I can’t top my new friend on the Fort Worth Police Department. Tom Weiderholt got off his Gang Unit shift at five on Friday, drove eight hours to Meade, got in at around four in the morning. Got up at seven, performed all day Saturday and Sunday. By the way, Tom is 11 months from retirement. Anyway, after the awards ceremony at the Dalton Gang Hideout on Sunday, Tom went back to the Lakeview Hotel, laid down for three hours, got up and drove back to Fort Worth in time to go on shift this morning.

And you thought I was crazy about this stuff.

News From The Front Lines
James T. Blincoe from Green Valley, AZ called to subscribe today and decided to become a TW Maniac. He also ordered 4 back issues. He mentioned that he has difficulty finding TW on newsstands, but did find it in a barber shop. He asked me to let you know that he enjoys True West Moments!
—Carole Glenn

Another One Bites The (Conglom) Dust
We just learned that Active Interest Media acquired American Cowboy magazine. Flagship titles are Vegetarian Times and Better Nutrition; they also own Southwest Art and some log home titles.

“If it is once again one against 48, then I am very sorry for the 48.”
—Margaret Thatcher

Sunday, June 04, 2006

June 4, 2006
Big Kansas storm last night. After posting last night's blog, I went down for dinner in the Lakeview Hotel dining room, nestled in the heart of downtown Meade, Kansas. Heard the roar of 21 gunfighting reenactors as I cleared the second floor landing. Guys hooting and squealing like pigs (literally!). Got into the back dining room and there they were, lined up at a long table, rowdy Texas, Kansas and Arkansas roughnecks, ripping and snorting at everything that moved. Nancy, the poor, lone waitress, skittered from chair to chair trying to take drink orders as each belching, cowboy shot verbal ricochets at her feet, at the same time cooing sweet nothings, and flirting with her to beat the band.

As the first fistfull of beers came out of the kitchen a woman knocked loudly on the sidedoor, and as Randy opened it, we saw and heard the big storm roaring in overhead. "We got 50 mile an hour winds coming in!" the lone woman yelled, holding her parka. "All those with tents in the riverbottom need to get down there now!" Thankfully, I was staying in the hotel, but I expected all hands to get up and go save the camp site from imminent disaster. One guy, Randy Edens, the Kansas State gunfigher president, got up to do his duty. Gary Chafin, the Kansas State Safety Inspector (and all the others) stayed to drink beer and yell at Nancy. Randy's Killian Red came out of the kitchen and we set it at the end of the table as a tribute to someone who actually cares. We could hear the rain on the brick building and see the dark trees, out the lobby windows, bending in the 50-mph-winds. There was talk of a tornado, Kansas style death and destruction, but the party raged one, as we talked of a not-too-distant-day when all the world loves the Old West as much as we do.

Forty-five minutes later, Randy came in, wearing a cowboy slicker and his face wet with sweat and rain. With his scout style Van Dyke and wind-swept sombrero, he looked like a night-watch buckaroo right out of a Remington painting. "How bad is it?" one of the cow-boys asked, to be nice. "Hand me that Killian," Gary commanded and the party hit high gear with steaks all around. Fortunately, many of us were wearing hip boots as the BS got quite deep (deeper than any storm could produce). We toasted Nancy. We toasted each other and we toasted the West we love. I had a rib-eye and three Coronas (but not in that order). When the bill came Chuck Watts from Texas grabbed my ticket and wouldn't let me pay. I offered to fight him for it, but nobody heard me. I'm not sure why, but maybe, it was because I whispered it very softly.

I got to bed at eleven, but heard carousing cow-boys far into the night.

Got down to the breakfast call at eight this morning, but I was the only one there. Had the oatmeal and a glass of tomato juice. The day looked to be another good one, and I went back up to the honeymoon suite to get ready.

"Blessed is the man who, having nothing to report, abstains from a wordy report to that effect."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Saturday, June 03, 2006

June 3, 2006
Fun times in Meade, Kansas. Got up at six, had a hearty breakfast in the Lakeway Hotel B&B restaurant. Homemade hash browns, farm eggs, Kansas bred bacon, thick sourdough toast, orange juice and thick black cofee, and it was all on the house!

Got to the Dalton hideout at 8:45 and judged several gunfight scenarios put on by the American Frontier Reenactors Guild. We sold a couple dozen BBB books (Classic Gunfights, Vol. I and Bad Men).

Met Jim Gray of the Great American Race. He's from Ellsworth, Kansas and owns Drovers Mercantile a great store and resource all throughout the West. Also enjoyed meeting a policeman from Fort Worth who drove eight hours after he got off work (East Side Gang Unit) to make the event. Tom Wiederhold has faithfully recreated an early Fort Worth police costume and does third person narrative of period lawmen. Cool stuff.

Also met Randy and Debbie Edens from Cheney, Kansas. They are also big supporters of the event. I enjoyed talking with two guys, Frank Deramo and Gary Burden from Arkansas who have been beat up by a local reenactor who claims nobody in the Old West wore their hair long. So I gave them the Sports Issue of True West which has a big photo of Commodore Perry Owens of Holbrook fame, who has a Greg Allman mane to beat the band. They had me inscribe it to their fanatical "friend" with this inscription: "Long hair in the Old West? Oh, yes!"

One of the judges was a Dodge City historian named George Lougheed, Jr. who shocked me by saying as the events began, "What does the term 'O.K. Wonderful Russ' mean to you?" Turns out he got his degree at ASU and knew Russ in the 1970s when Russell would stamp all his money with an O.K. Wonderful Russ stamp, thereby approving of the currency as passing his inspection. I have often wondered what people encountering the money, in say, far off Vermont might think of such a stamp on their greenbacks.

The parade came off at six. Jim McDowell, a farmer with two white horses pulling a farm wagon bore me down the main street past literally dozens and dozens of waving citizens. Rob Bandhauer ran behind the wagon, handing out True West magazines to the throng. When we pulled up to the courthouse area, where the announcing stand was, the guy says to us, "Who are you?" (Now that is small town!) I started to yell at him who I was, but the event organizer, Susen Foster came screaming up in a golf cart and gave him the script, and then we got the proper going over.

Going to a late dinner downstairs. Many of the gunfighters are joining us. Long day, but worth it. Meade, Kansas is my kind of town.

"Even on the most exalted throne in the world we are still sitting on our own bottom."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Friday, June 02, 2006

June 2, 2006
Big road trip today. Ed LeRoy met Rob and me at the Wichita Hyatt at seven this morning and we had a nice breakfast ($32 biz account) in the lobby restaurant, then we hit the road and landed in Caldwell, Kansas at nine. It's about an hour south of Wichita on the Oklahoma line. This is the home of Henry Newton Brown and I wanted to see the place he took off from, when he and a deputy faked like they were going to Texas to hunt outlaws, then snuck across the Cherokee Outlet and tried to rob the Medicine Lodge Bank. I wanted to see the landscape, smell the air, and feel what they felt. Thanks to Kay Kuhn at the museum, Rod Cook and Colin Wood I got a good insight into the historic cattle drive town. Plus it's wheat harvest time and these huge John Deere combines ($250,000 behemouths) were rolling down the streets getting ready. They looked like the alien machines from Spielberg's War of the Worlds, throbbing and lurching to and fro. Kay's family still has a farm east of town and she told us, "a team from North Dakota was coming to town to cut them out." Such local slang is so odd, amazing, and I enjoy it.

From Caldwell, we drove to Medicine Lodge where we got the town tour from three local historians. Local rancher Dillman Ash (great name!) drove Rob and I out to his ranch to see firsthand the canyon the outlaws were trapped in as they tried to make their way to the Gyp Hills. It really puts everything into perspective. I totally get it now. The canyon they were trapped in, is virtually ride-out-proof. There is no way they could have escaped. When you read it, your mind can't imagine it, but when you see it, it totally makes sense.

From Medicine Lodge, we shot across the Gyp Hills, and Kansas took on a whole different configeration. It's not all flat, but canyons and red rock, spread out in a big, uninhabited area about ten miles wide. Hard to believe but it's true (Kansas ain't all flat!).

Landed in Meade at about seven, got to the Dalton Hideout and met all the gunfighters and participants for the weekend. Most know me from True West and the Westerns Channel. Big deal. Glad we are here. Ate dinner at the Lakeway Hotel, in the dining room, took a photo of the human dog, "Cuma," and came up to my honeymoon room (206) to post this.

On Thursday night, Ed took us out to eat at the Texas Roadhouse in Wichita. Place slammed. A very successful chain with dancing waiters and waitresses. Had a filet and two margaritas. Ed bought ($140 plus tip).

Speaking of road warriors, Deena called from Portland to tell me she found a great restaurant called "Mothers" where the food is fresh and homemade. Check it out Northwesterners.

Big day tomorrow and the parade. I'm the Grand Marshal. Kind of nervous about it. More later.

"A day's work is a day's work, neither more nor less, plus a night's sleep and due leisure, whether a painter or a ploughman be."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Thursday, June 01, 2006

June 1, 2006
Landed in Kansas at 1:30 their time. Picked up at the airport by Ed LeRoy of the Wichita Cowtown Historical Group. He took Rob and me to the museum for a luncheon and presentation. Met many of the local Chamber people, local volunteers. Nice lunch. They gave me a new cowboy hat and a cool knife (that I'm going to have fun getting through security on the ride home). Dr. Jay Price accompanied me and two harlots, Amazing Grace and Daisy Long Stockings. Toured the entire property and learned a bunch. The harlots flirted shamelessly, so that was fun. Very professional and inspiring. Local people doing great stuff to preserve our West.

Roy took us for a car tour of Wichita and we saw where The Earp Whore House was, Rowdy Joe Lowe's and we landed at Wichita Hat Works and met Jack Kellogg. Cool store full of great hats. Loved it. He took me in the back and showed me his collection of 1880s hat blocks. Definitely a TW story there.

Going out to dinner tonight with Roy and crew. We hit the road in the morning for Caldwell and Medicine Lodge and Meade. A road trip with history nuts. It doesn't get any better than that.

"The road is the only thing."
—Old Vaquero Saying