Monday, December 31, 2007

December 31, 2007
Took a couple days off from doing the blog. Felt like a free man! Ha.

Working on commissions in the studio, going for bike rides and pampering the chickens, especially Bea-52 and Bea-53.

Went into the Beast twice and saw movies: Juno and then Walk Hard yesterday. One was a nine and one was a two. Shouldn't be too hard to guess which one was a huge disappointment. More details in 2008.

Still really enjoying the Charlie Schulz biography, but I'm now up to the late sixties and after unbridled success and acclaim it's turning darker (it's funny, I wouldn't even be reading it if I hadn't read that it's controversial, the family hates it because of his alleged affairs and yet as he and Joyce slide towards the inevitable divorce I find myself going, "No, No! Turn back! Work it out!") Gee, I wonder if Sparky himself has anything to say about this?

"Unhappiness is very funny. Happiness is not funny at all."
—Charles Schulz

Friday, December 28, 2007

December 28, 2007
Last one in the office. It's four P.M. on Friday and everyone's taken off for the New Year's weekend. Kind of quiet and nice here. Cold out (have my jacket on). Cleaned off my desk this morning. Carole stuck her head in my office and said, "You've been robbed!" She's so funny.

Went home for lunch and had a ham sando and two pickles and an apple. Sat out by the pool in the sunshine to get warm. Been working half-days, going into the office in the morning and then coming home to work in studio, and then back at four to close up shop.

I'm really enjoying the Charlie Schulz biography. He and his first wife Joyce (smitten by The Lone Ranger, she ran away to New Mexico at 18, got pregnant by a charming cowboy named Bill Lewis in Glenwood, New Mexico, got married in Silver City, then he left her. Note to self: I am practically related to a whole gaggle of Lewis's over in eastern New Mexico, actually Crow Flats, and I wonder. . I may know this cad, or his kids?) So, anyway, Joyce goes home to Saint Paul and has a daughter and she's practically ostracized by her snooty Saint Paul relatives. In the meantime she meets Sparkie and they fall in love and get married (she wears black to her wedding, since her family won't let her wear virgin white!) and they move to Colorado Springs to get away from these snobs, where the daughter, Merideth, inspires Schulz to create Lucy Van Pelt, the lynchpin to the whole comic strip he is just getting his sea legs on, but he's such a woosie, he misses his father, so after nine months they move back to Minnesota, and he's just on the verge of becoming a very rich cartoonist. But Man, what a haul he had (and hey, I'm only about half way into the book. We still have a couple more wives and alleged mistresses and a boatload of money to go. Ha.

Having just read the Steve Martin memoir, Born Standing Up, I'm thinking of doing a series on "Hitting It Big: What it takes to make the Big Time." I am very intrigued by the journey these guys made. How did these guys get there? How much was the sacrifice, what was the discipline and exactly what was the originality that made each of them an icon? That is the journey I am interested in. What did they do prior to hitting it big? And what was the breakthrough?

Gee, I wonder if Ol' Whistler has anything to say on this?

An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.
—James McNeill Whistler

Thursday, December 27, 2007

December 27, 2007
Got several new books in this week: Missing White Girl by Jeffrey J. Mariotte, a border story about a dark world of bizarre supernatural forces. And Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce, Guilty Until Proven Innocent: The True Story of Mike O'Rourke And The Shooting of Philip Schneider by Roy B. Young. And Nantan: The Life & Times of John P. Clum, Volume I: Claverack to Tombstone, 1851-1881 by Gary Ledoux.

One of Deena Bean's oldest friends, Maki Sato, came by last night for dinner. Kathy made turkey and the fixin's and we caught up on her life. She is living in Salt Lake City and going back to college.

Several of my Kingman friends worked at Jordan's Engineering when I lived there and so it was a pleasant surprise to hear from one of the Jordan grandkids, Will Jordan, who now lives in Billings, Montana and is involved as Director of Sales in the Montana Sporting Journal a bi-monthly magazine dedicated to fishing, hunting and gear. Check them out here.

Will wanted to pick my brain about magazine circulation and making it in the biz. Fun talk, and I had plenty of experience to tell on What Not To Do. Ha.

Speaking of online goodies, we have our Official 2008 True West Magazine Reader's Survey up on the website. You can access it on the front page or click here to take survey.

The Skinny On Kinney
"Time you Kingmanites 'fessed up that at one time John Kinney operated a feed lot in your home town."
—Fred Nolan

John Kinney led a band of rogues in 1870s New Mexico, including a young Billy the Kid. Kinney later cleaned up his act and moved to Arizona, but I didn't know he spent time in my hometown (which kind of takes him down another notch). Amazing.

Here's Fred's update: "By his own account, after he was released from jail in 1886 he spent time in El Paso, Tex., Denison, Iowa, (his sister Nora Kinney lived in Crawford County) and Omaha, Neb. before returning to Arizona around 1890. He ran a feed lot in Kingman, and after service in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, mined successfully at Chaparral Gulch in Yavapai county, finally settling at Prescott, where he earned the reputation of being a valued and popular citizen."

"A large section of the intelligentsia seems wholly devoid of intelligence."
—G. K. Chesterton

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

December 26, 2007
Back in office. Had a very nice Christmas at home. Stayed close to family and the studio stove. Took the dogs out a couple times a day and they frolicked like the dogs they are.

Yesterday we watched the very well produced Semester at Sea video of Kathy's South America trip, and Deena told us stories of her trip to Peru. She and Tommy hiked up to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, which is in a "cloud Forest." Very dramatic, as the clouds obliterated everything and then, as Deena described it, "you are standing there, can't see a thing and the clouds give way to the incredible site of the ruins." Also, the locals say that Machu Picchu is the "Seja de la selva" which means the "eyebrow of the jungle." Is that cool, or what? The clouds form the eyebrow of the jungle. Amazing stuff. As it stands, I'm the only member of the family that hasn't been there. Ha.

Here's a sketch done in the chicken house of "Spike", the Silkie Rooster (at left) and "Bea-52" one of J.D.'s last surviving hens. Of course, I have exaggerated their size difference, but not by much:

Really enjoying the new Charlie Schulz (Peanuts) biography. We have quite a bit in common: he was an only child with a Lutheran farmer's side of the family; his mother's name was Dena (our Deena is named for Dena Madison my great Aunt on the Hauan side); his family moved to Needles, California for two years, which is sixty miles from Kingman; both of us entered the "Draw Me!" contest to win a free cartoonist course, we both "won" the right to buy the course for $170; he felt strongly that his hometown (Saint Paul) didn't appreciate his talents; and, he had a severe inferiority complex about being a small-town boy, but he also had a wicked sense of humor about himself:

"I suppose I'm the worst kind of egotist, the kind who pretends to be humble."
—Charlie Schulz

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

December 25, 2007
Woke up to a bitter wind. Took the dogs up the road and of course, they were as happy as if it was Christmas Day.

Wonderful day at home. Deena and Frank came out, as did James and Aaron Radina and Grandma Betty. I made pancakes and we solved life, gave gifts and played games and went out to take a gander at the chickens (who got all of the leftover pancakes).

Piddled in the studio, read the Schulz bio (Man, that guy's life has some strong parallels to my own) and, mainly, just snuggled in.

"Every day is Christmas Day to a dog."
—Ray Bradbury

Sunday, December 23, 2007

December 23, 2007
Quite nippy out this morning. Fed the chickens and went for a bike ride. Started a fire in the studio stove and painted on commissions.

Kathy worked until noon, then we drove into the Beast for an Open House at the Hawkin's on Central. Grand time, great wine and good food (catered by Razz). Lots of prominent Arizonians, as always at the Hawkins.

Got home at around seven. Big day tomorrow. Going to Grandma Betty's at four.

"Behind almost every great man there stands either a good parent or a good teacher."
—Gilbert Highet

"Behind every successful man is a surprised woman."
—Fred Nolan

Saturday, December 22, 2007

December 22, 2007
Nice day at home. Worked on two commissions: a Stagecoach Pass painting and Powhattan Clark, for friends in Arkansas who requested the piece.It's also a set piece for Mickey Free.

Also, this afternoon I spent time in the chicken coop sketching the Silkies and Bea-52, the big oldtime bomber hen, who towers over her new condo-mates. Left the inner-door open yesterday and so far they haven't killed each other and seem to be cohabitating. May change, once the liittle Silkie Rooster gets his fight on. Not looking forward to that. He's already a cocky little guy. As I sketched them, I noticed little quirks among them, like one of the Silkies has a crooked beak. I've named him "Bilko" as in, the Phil Silvers' TV character fromthe fifties.

Charlie Waters called and I wished him a happy sixtieth birthday. He's coming down in February for a rehearsal for a big Kingman show we are planning with Scott Dunton and Mike Torres. More on that later.

Going to a Christmas party tonight up in Carefree. They're Kathy's friends and so I'm just arm candy, or, should that be arm-hanger-on? Maybe not.

"Even the woodpecker owes his success to the fact that he uses his head and keeps pecking away until he finishes the job he starts."
—Coleman Cox

Friday, December 21, 2007

December 21, 2007 Bonus Bonus Blog Post
Went home for lunch to check on the chickens. I let the two big hens (the biggest I call Bea-52) out with the six little Silkies and was concerned that they were going to kill the little ones. Nope, just fine, so far. Tricia emailed me and wants to see what they look like, so I'll try and do some sketches this weekend.

Time magazine has named the Coen brother's No Country For Old Men as the top movie of 2007. The film, which started slow at the box office, is hanging in there at number five, chugging along at about $2 mil a week (I think it's at about $33 million). This is good news for us, because we have Tommy Lee Jones on the cover for our next issue (on press even as you read this).

Not so good for our current issue with the Jesse James coverage. The film was gone almost before we got on the newsstand. We still recommend seeing it though, and I just heard the DVD will be out in February and if you love Westerns, this is a must have.

Recently, in The Arizona Republic, a reader described going to Cochise County and Bisbee and how he and his wife enjoyed the history of the area. Then, he added, "I love to read and learn about the Wild West. I am an advocate for the past happenings, as I feel people had more respect for one another back in the 1880s."

What an interesting concept. Do we echo this sentiment enough in True West? We should.

A while back we were talking about Cudia City, which was an Old West movie town built at 40th Street and Camelback in the 1950s. It's long gone now, but it's where they filmed the TV show "26 Men," the show about the Arizona Rangers.

Recently, Steve Lodge was going through some old files and found this photo:

The problem with the location is that it appears to be quite a bit farther south of Camelback Mountain (see, at left, background). This photo seems to be down around Thomas or even further south. I seem to remember Marshall Trimble saying the Mr. Cudia, the man, started with a movie town in another location. Perhaps this is it?

I'm still so irritated by all of the web loose ends. Gee, I wonder what Mr. Lovasik has to say about this?

"Irritability is immaturity of character. If you are subject to being cross and unpleasant with others for no apparent reason, you need to come face-to-face with the fact that you are thinking too much of yourself. After all, your feelings are not the most important thing in this world."
—Lawrence G. Lovasik
December 21, 2007 Bonus Blog Post
Quiet in the office. Besides me, only Robert Ray, Carole Glenn, Samantha Somers, Joel Klasky, Michele Hazut and Sue Lambert are in.

We're still fixing "bugs" from the changeover to the new website. I just tried to log on to the Mickey Free Online site and both Google and AOl say it doesn't exist. Evidently it needs to be "redirected." So frustrating.

Meanwhile, while it's being fixed, let's take another look at the subject of The Top Secret Project:

Mickey Free: Lobo Sin Ojo (The One-Eyed Wolf)

A white boy raised by Apaches--an Apache raised by whites--once brothers in
arms but now deadly enemies. Their true story is a blood-soaked Southwestern
epic that has never before been told before.

By Frederic Sackrider Remington

Freddy Boy was a genius at plein air sketching. Gee, I wonder what Eakins has to say about this?

"The big artist...keeps an eye on nature and steals her tools."
—Thomas Eakins
December 21, 2007
Perused a whole stack of new books yesterday looking for possible Classic Gunfights. Gary A. Wilson's long-awaited Tiger of the Wild bunch: The Life and Death of Harvey 'Kid Curry' Logan is out. I'm taking that home to read.

Woke up to a light sprinkle. Remarkably warm out. Bike ride was a delight. Peaches is limping. Don't know if it's a muscle pull or arthritis (she's 45 in dog years). Still, in spite of the limp, she still gives it a go on the ride back and the daily fence fight with the three-legged Barro dog named Frosty. They meet up at the south end of the Barro property and run back and forth on each side of the fence corner and growl and bare teeth at each other. You'd think they wanted to kill each other but dogs have that lie detector deal going: Frosty is frothing at the mouth, but at the same time is wagging his tail. Ha.

I often get questioned about my old radio partner, Buffalo Rick. What's he doing these days? Well, yesterday we all found out:

Here's a close-up on "The Buff" doing his darndest to make hispanics feel at home in the Valley:

As you may know, I'm not a political guy (as fellow cartoonist Steve Benson aptly puts it, "I'm an equal opportunity offender."), so I was not amused by this "zinger" sent to Carole Glenn from barber-shop quartet leader Allen Fossenkemper:

"Did you see Buffalo Rick Galeaner on the front page of the East Valley Republic today. He was at the illegal migrant rally yesterday harassing the Mexicans. I thought Bob might have been there too since he and Rick are both major right wingers."
—Allen Fossenkemper

I couldn't make it to that rally. I was busy saving a beached whale. By the way, Ted Kennedy says hi.


"If anyone speaks badly of you, live so none will believe it."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Thursday, December 20, 2007

December 20, 2007 Bonus Blog Post
Okay, let's play catch-up and post some of the backlog from the past week:

Here's a series of stacked panels (above) inspired by a sketch I did last week. Not finished, but it has potential.

This is a Mickey Free scene "Climbing Up Through The Clouds," (above) poached from one of the photos Deena took at Machu Pichu, which is actually in a "cloud forest," in Peru, which I didn't know until last night when she was telling about how dramatic it was to go to this dramatic site.

And this is a simple scene of "Ratcliff Ridge," (above) which is the saguaro clad hill to the east of our house.

And, finally, here's the "Mysterious Woman On The Train to Regret." But she's not half as regretful as I am for ruining this subtle window scene. As it is, it could either be Laguna Pueblo in snow, or Regretville in snow. Take your pick.

Gee, I wonder of Ed has anything to add to this?

"You cannot explore the darkness by flooding it with light."
—Edward Abbey
December 20, 2007
I had a wonderful birthday party last night at our secluded adobe ranchito. Kathy whipped up a fabulous batch of chicken-fried-steaks (Texan Carole Compton taught her the recipe), complete with mashed potatoes, corn bread and green beans. Oh, and don't forget cornbread gravy. Carole Glenn gave me a bottle of Brut champaigne and a banana creme pie. Deena told Peru stories and Frank told Rhode Island roommate stories. The Deana Bean gave me the new bio Schulz And Peanuts, and I started reading it last night. Really an incredible story of a barber's son from Saint Paul (those Minnesota boys!) who ended up making $64 million a year drawing and inking his little four panels on Charlie Brown and friends. Charlie Schulz ended up doing 17,897 strips all by himself. I remember in the 1990s when neighbor Jerry Scott (Zits and Baby Blues) told me that one time at a cartoonist convention, Jerry and several other cartoonists were complaining about the work load of doing a strip every day (Jerry was doing two strips a day!) and the pros and cons of hiring inkers and others to "ghost" the strip, and Charlie Schulz weighed in and told these youngsters that he thought this was ridiculous, making his point by asking them, "What are you going to do next, pay someone to golf for you?"

A brilliant boy, he was.

Well, it's been a week and they tell me I can finally post images again (Frankly, I'd like to put all the Safari and Firefox people in a room and see who comes out alive). Okay, here we go:

This is a scratchboard of regret (see Cézanne quote on Dec. 14 post). A mysterious woman is riding on a train. Out the frosted window we see—something. I'm going to work on this some more and see what else we can see (a move I'll probably regret). Ha.

Thanks for all the birthday greetings. Here's one I particularly enjoyed:

Owner of chicken chasing dog,
Hilarious writer of a daily blog.

Absolutely no question, a Master of art,
But apparently a pain to a certain Kingman tart.

Let your pen & brush always lead the way,
I hope you had an amazing birthday.

and many, many more!

—Ray Geier

"Do you remember the last time anyone was terrorized by agnostic fundamentalists?"
—Dave Shulman

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

December 19, 2007 Bonus Blog Post
Got a couple Birthday greetings and words of advice. First the advice:

"Don't let yourself forget what it's like to be sixteen."
—Carole Compton Glenn

"When people ask how old you are, say, 'I'm almost sixty."
—Daniel Harshberger

Ha. Like Roger Maris, I just hit sixty-one (and without any Barry Bonds-style artificial enhancement, although I have bulked out in recent years).

Rock Around The Frock?
"BBB Having hard time getting thru to your blog. Happy Birthday!!!!!! I don't know how old you are, but I remember you telling me when you were a kid in Iowa, you use to watch Dick Clark's first show: 'Colonial Bandstand'. Merry Christmas also. Santa Claus-out!"
—Minnesota Mike

Pony Up Old Man
"Happy birthday to you—the best friend any kid from Kingman could ever hope to have. Hope your headache(s) go(es) away and that you get some chicken fried steak for dinner. I sent Kathy an e-mail yesterday, telling her that Linda and I would be glad to make a modest contribution to the Buddy Boze Hatkiller pony fund. You realize, I hope, that she is actually much funnier than you. :-)"
—Charlie Waters

FYI: both Charlie and Dan Harshberger just turned sixty, so they can't use the "almost" line. Ha.

Yes, I'm taking the afternoon off and my "funnier" wife is making me my fave dish— chicken-fried-steak for dinner. My daughter Deena, and her beau Frank are coming out. Makes me feel kind of famous. Gee, I wonder what Waldo has to say about that?

"Fame is proof that people are gullible."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
December 19, 2007
I've got a roaring headache (on my birthday!) mainly from the web conflict between Safari and Firefox and a half dozen other browsers, platforms and scuzzy wuzzy-terms I can't keep straight or remember. We've got dueling IT guys all pointing at each other and blaming one or the other browser. I've got blog readers who are complaining that the new web settings are crashing their computers. I was told to start publishing my posts in Firefox but when I do it doesn't recognize quote marks, dashes or apostrophes and puts in question marks. So I have gone back to posting in Safari. The Firefox guys claim Safari is on the way out. Shades of Beta vs. VHS (and the irony there is that VHS won the battle, but lost the war to BlueRay or whatever else has come along).

Meanwhile, I still can't post images on the blog.

Other than that I'm having a great birthday.

“I’m from USA Today so I’ll be brief.”
—David Colton, USA Today’s Page-one editor

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

December 18, 2007 Bonus Blog Post
Cleaned off a shelf in my studio and found a whole bunch of computer stuff, like floppys and scuzzy cords and old Quark Xpress manuals and discs. Put them in a box and brought them in for Robert Ray to peruse and see if any of it is even usable now (it has been eight years you know). Robert laughed at all the "floppys", so 1990s.

Speaking of the nineties, while cleaning off the shelf I found a desk calendar for 1992, with "funny sayings" for each day. I burned most of them for kindling in the studio stove, but I did pull a couple:

Dated Humor Doesn't Travel Very Well

What did Tennesse?

Same thing Arkansas.

Screw Up de Jour At Your Service
"Glad you decided to continue the BLOG. It makes me feel good to read it and know someone else screws up like I do.
— James (Butch) Speer, Lifetime Maniac # 1534

"Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one less rascal in the world."
—Thomas Carlyle
December 18, 2007
I'm reading Life Among The Apaches, by John C. Cremony. This is one of a series in the "Time-Life Classics of The Old West" published in 1981 from the 1868 edition. It's funny, but even the reprint is now fading into the past and is considered an antique.

My main interest is in the Battle of Apache Pass, which we are featuring in the next Classic Gunfights. Excellent narrative from Cremony, riding with the California Column, as they arrive at the San Pedro (probably about where Benson, Arizona is today). He describes an eerie incident. During a violent thunder shower, as Cremony is hunkered down in the stage station near the banks of the San Pedro, one of his detachment comes in and wakes him up at "about two o'clock A.M." The sergeant of the guard informed him that "strange lights were visible, coming down the hills on the west, north and south sides."

As the soldiers snuff all the lights and prepare for attack, Cremony notes "seven or eight more lights made their appearance, and seemed to be carried by persons walking at a rapid pace." After a tense hour and a half wait, the lights "gradually united and faded away toward the east."

A full year later, Cremony learned what he and his men had witnessed. Apache runners were dispatched throughout the area carrying torches, "which would indicate that the aid of all within sight was required." The scattered torches led the swelling forces of Apaches who would descend on the troops at Apache Pass.

Simply amazing, and a spectacular sight to put on film, but I don't recall ever seeing this in a Western.

Just got this news story from the TSW:

I Married Wyatt Earp (A New Musical)!

The musical was staged at the CSUF Performing Arts Center, Young Theatre, Fullerton, CA This exciting new musical mystery is a "creative nonfictional" West Coast premiere with an all-female cast blending a shocking and haunting ghost story with terrific songs. Phone: (714) 278-3371

It's always quite astounding to me how people can take the same old stuff and spin it out in new directions. I guess that's what imagination is all about. Gee, I wonder if Francis Bacon has anything to say about this?

"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is."
—Francis Bacon

Monday, December 17, 2007

December 17, 2007
Had to drive down into the Beast this morning for a Channel 8 Documentary they are doing on "Phoenix In The Seventies." The producer, John Booth, is interviewing "oldtimers" who were actually alive then, and involved with KDKB, New Times or The Razz Revue. I was intimately involved with all three and it took John about an hour just to shut me up. Then, as if the BS could not get any deeper, they brought in Wonderful Russ and we did a tag team interview, with both Russ and I on camera. We discussed, among other historical moments, "Googing Out" (Russ and I liked to go to Googies afterhours and entertain the late night diners), Russ posing as an FBI agent to "bust" William Edward Compton, and how Russ ran for governor (his slogan: "He Knows What Arizona Needs" and Dan Harshberger photographed him in front of the State House holding an enema bag). Lots of laughs all around.

Got back out to Cave Creek and the office at about 1:30. No lunch, went right into a job interview with a copy writer I met at an art show last Thursday in Phoenix.

Talked on the phone to Sammy Armstrong of the Las Vegas Buffalo Soldiers. We are going to be taping new episodes of "Gunfight of The Week" for the Outdoor Channel in January, and I want to do the Wham Payroll Robbery where Isiah Mays earned the Medal of Honor. Sammy has about 30 guys, eight who ride. Should work.

Received an early birthday present from The Top Secret Writer. Inside a big box were two Golden Creme Cakes (better known as Twinkies, Hutton's idea of health food) and a bitchin' "MaFrlane's Monsters III: 6 Faces Of Madness—Billy the Kid." Thanks TSW, or as he's better known, PAH! You can see the kid in all his madness at

Meanwhile, in the Christmas mail, Meghan Saar and I both received Chile Creams, made by Senor Murphy, the Santa Fe Candymaker, from our zany contributor and friend, Johnny Boggs. Thanks Johnny!

I have a ton of new artwork to show you but we're still working out the bugs on the new website blog site, and they tell me it should be back in full running order soon. All weekend I stoked the stove in the studio, painted and scratched on about six scratchboards. Oh, and I took a couple naps. Gee, I wonder if the Old Vaqueros have anything to say about that?

"A good rest is half the work."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Sunday, December 16, 2007

December 16, 2007
Wonderful day at home today. Hauled in wood for the studio stove and kept it stoked all day. Worked on a variety of scratchboard scenes, even starting a gouache cloud scene.

Lots to show and tell, but the images aren't showing up yet. Hopefully the new website bugs and logistics will be straightened out soon.

I'm reading Edgar Rice Burroughs for inspiration (and good action writing to steal from). Edgar supposedly spent some time in Phoenix in the early 1900s before he hit it big with Tarzan.

"Skirts may change, but human nature never."
—Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan At The Earth's Core

Saturday, December 15, 2007

December 15, 2007
Got the third bid on the roof repair today. Floyd Rivera, Jr. of R&F Roofing showed up at noon, got out his ladder and tromped around on the roof while I stoked the fire in the studio and fretted over an ambitious scratchboard for Mickey Free that's looking like three shades of regret at the moment.

The first bid we got for the roof repair was $5K, the second $2K. I heard Floyd coming down the ladder so I walked out and said, "Okay, give me the damage."

"Floyd said, "Are you Bob Boze Bell?" When I admitted to as much he said, "I grew up in Wickenburg and have lived here all my life. Hell, I'll fix that leaky scupper for $250 and patch a couple of those bad spots to boot."

"Is that it?" I asked him suspiciously. "Yep," he said with a big smile. "You don't need some big, expensive roof job right now." Then he shrugged and added, "I guess I'm not much of a salesman."

"Yes, you are," I assured him. "I want you to fix the scupper, and when it's time to do the roof again, for the long dollar, I want you to do it."

I got two issues of True West out of my truck while Floyd wrote up the bid. As we traded paper, he told me he was talking about me just the other night: "We were watching the Westerns Channel and my wife said, 'There's Bob Boze Bell,' and my ten-year-old son said, 'Who's that?' and I told him 'He's an oldtimer, you don't hear too much about him anymore.'"

I took one of the magazines back and sent him on his way.

Not really.

Bitter cold out today. Been hauling wood into the studio all morning and stoking the fire. Buddy Boze Hatkiller is alseep on his ugly orange barka-lounger, with, no doubt, images of pet Shetlands running in his head.

Phone just rang (1:30 PM) and it was Hugh O'Brian ("Personal friend of mine," as Steve Martin would say with that mock Vegas schmoozee-tone of voice). We talked about the SASS show last weekend and then he asked if I sold any Wyatt Earp giclees. I told him we didn't and explained that after my brief book signing, I noticed the art prints sitting on the checkout table behind the counter. I reminded Hugh his wife is a saint, he blessed me and said goodbye. Do you think Hugh was lonesome for his old friend "Booze" or was he fishing for a commission?

I'm going to assume the best and go with the commission. Ha. Still, it's a total hoot to look on the caller ID and see the name "Hugh O'Brian." I keep wanting to call my grandmother, Louise Guess Swafford, who I watched The Life & Times of Wyatt Earp with in 1957, but she has been gone a long time. Still, I have to believe she is somewhere up there smiling and shaking her head at the absurdity of it all.

"That's right grandma, I predict I'm going to meet that guy in fifty years and he's going to gig me for $700 on the sale of a giclee series I'm going to produce of his likeness!"

“The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Friday, December 14, 2007

December 14, 2007 Bonus Blog Post
A long time blog reader, Lee, corrected me in an email saying the label "Bonus Blog" is like saying I'm creating another universe. Still, I like the alliteration, so sue me.

We just launched our new, interactive website this morning and there have been some bugs. Sorry if you tried to access this blog in the A.M. as it was not there. Now (3:40 P.M.) it's up, but none of the images are there. According to Trish Brink, who has been in touch with the I.T. guy, who's travelling in South America, it should "populate" any time now.

Went home for lunch and met a roofing guy about several leaks on our flat roof. Turns out our wooden vegas (the poles that stick out from an adobe style home) are shrinking and the water is going in through there and they all need to be refitted. He wants $2K. As I told him, "So do I."

Nice guy though. Another roofer coming out tomorrow for a bid as well.

As you probably know, Buddy Boze Hatkiller has a mind all his own. On our morning bike rides, I can't go all the way to the end of Old Stage Road if the million dollar women on the ten-thousand-dollar horses are in the arena. Why? Because Buddy runs in among them and "plays" with the horses, barking and circling them all. We've worn out two shock collars trying to get him to heel, but to no avail. When some of Kathy's horse friends found out she is the owner of the notorious "horse hater," one of the women sneered, "You're lucky someone doesn't shoot that dog." Just the way the woman said "that dog," it was obvious what our horse neighbors would like to do to that dog-gone ex-New Yorker.

So the other morning as we were waking up, Kathy groggily said, "I know what I'm going to get Buddy for Christmas." When I asked what that would be, she said with some finality, "A pony."

I laughed until I cried. The idea of a little Shetland pony tied up in the backyard, for Buddy to circle and bark at til the cows come home, well, let's just say it made my day.

Buddy's Little Pony arrives tomorrow.

Just kidding.

Received a gaggle of artist quotes from someone who reads this blog (Jeff, Scott, Art himself?) and one of these quotes really got my attention this afternoon. This led to the following scratchboard:

The emotion is regret and I think Mr. Cezanne has a point. It's starting to work. And, I intend to work it some more and as I do, I'll publish the results (probably with some regret).

"A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art."
—Paul Cézanne
December 14, 2007
Cold out. Still have my jacket on at work. Only four of us in this morning: Sue Lambert, Joel Klasky, Samantha Somers and me. Everyone else is out Christmas shopping!

One way to guage a good book is if it stays with you and agitates you long after you've finished it. I have been mulling several passages in Exit Ghost. The author, Philip Roth, injects, a real, live (actually dead) person, George Plimpton, (Paper Tiger, remember, he's the guy who boxed with Archie Moore, actually ran a play as a quarterback in the NFL, etc. and then wrote about it). According to Roth’s account, George wrote a book called Shadow Box (published in 1977), where he interviewed his literary friends about how they fantasized dying. Art Buchwald told Plimpton he “fancied himself dropping dead on the center court at Wimbledon during the men’s final—at the age of ninety-three.” Norman Mailer "seemed fondest of being killed by an animal—if on land, a lion; if at sea, a whale.” Plimpton himself fantasized about dying at Yankee Stadium, as a batter beaned by a “villainous man with a beard. . .”

Here’s the paragraph where Roth nails the whole shootin’ match:

“Humorously and unusually—that’s how George and his friends imagined themselves dying back before they believed they would, back when dying was just another idea to have fun with. ‘Oh, there’s death too!’ But the death of George Plimpton was neither humorous nor unusual. It was no fantasy either. He died not in pinstripes at Yankee Stadium but in his pajamas in his sleep. He died as we all do: a rank amateur.”


And here's Roth's take on doing battle with youngsters:

“In taking on the young and courting all the dangers of someone of this age [he’s 71] intermingling too closely with people of that age, I can only end up bloodied, a big fat target of a scar for unknowing youth, savage with health and armed to the teeth with time.”
—Philip Roth, Exit Ghost

Speaking of being a big, fat target:

Poor Me, The Kingmanite
Been following your skewering by the Kingman bloggers. Congratulations on a very classy and resilient response. When you referred to the Kingmanites it reminded me of Desmond Dekker and The Aces, "The Israelites," amended:

Get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir
So that every mouth can be fed
Poor me, the Kingmanite

My wife and my kids, they are packed up and leave me
Darling, she said, I was yours to be seen
Poor me, the Kingmanite

Shirt them a-tear up, trousers are gone
I dont want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde
Poor me, the Kingmanite

After a storm there must be a calm
They catch me in the farm You sound the alarm
Poor me, the Kingmanite

Poor me, the Kingmanite
I wonder who Im working for
Poor me, Kingmanite
I look a-down and out, sir

Here's another theory:

“Joan what's her name might just be a troll although trolls don't usually post under their real name. A troll is someone who likes to go online for the specific purpose of finding someone to harass and cajole via rude and nasty comments on their blog or via emails or as response to online newsgroup/bulletin board posts. Their entire reward is knowing they got your goat and received a response to their rudeness. The saying is "don't feed the trolls" which means: ignore them and they will go away. You also don't have to share all the responses you get to your posts unless you want to...”

Okay, I'll keep that in mind.

My neighbor Charlene Yager just dropped off her photos of the big John Deere tractor-fest we had last week. Here's a shot of me and Diesel (he's two) and Christa Barro going for a spin.

“I just found out I’m vain. I thought that song was about me.”
—Steve Martin

Thursday, December 13, 2007

December 13, 2007
Just got this and want to get it posted. Check out our fave Westerns in bold:

Nominees for the 65th annual Golden Globe Awards announced Thursday in Beverly Hills, Calif.:


Picture, Drama: "American Gangster," "Atonement," "Eastern Promises," "The Great Debaters," "Michael Clayton," "No Country for Old Men," "There Will Be Blood."

Actress, Drama: Cate Blanchett, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"; Julie Christie, "Away From Her"; Jodie Foster, "The Brave One"; Angelina Jolie, "A Mighty Heart"; Kiera Knightley, "Atonement."

Actor, Drama: George Clooney, "Michael Clayton"; Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood"; James McAvoy, "Atonement"; Viggo Mortensen, "Eastern Promises"; Denzel Washington, "American Gangster."

Picture, Musical or Comedy: "Across the Universe," "Charlie Wilson's War," "Hairspray," "Juno," "Sweeney Todd."

Actress, Musical or Comedy: Amy Adams, "Enchanted"; Nikki Blonsky, "Hairspray"; Helena Bonham Carter, "Sweeney Todd"; Marion Cotillard, "La Vie En Rose"; Ellen Page, "Juno."

Actor, Musical or Comedy: Johnny Depp, "Sweeney Todd"; Ryan Gosling, "Lars and the Real Girl"; Tom Hanks, "Charlie Wilson's War"; Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Savages"; John C. Reilly, "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story."

Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett, "I'm Not There"; Julia Roberts, "Charlie Wilson's War"; Saoirse Ronan, "Atonement"; Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone"; Tilda Swinton, "Michael Clayton."

Supporting Actor: Casey Affleck, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"; Javier Bardem, "No Country for Old Men"; Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Charlie Wilson's War"; John Travolta, "Hairspray"; Tom Wilkinson, "Michael Clayton."

Director: Tim Burton, "Sweeney Todd"; Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, "No Country for Old Men"; Julian Schnabel, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"; Ridley Scott, "American Gangster"; Joe Wright, "Atonement."

Screenplay: Diablo Cody, "Juno"; Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, "No Country for Old Men"; Christopher Hampton, "Atonement"; Ronald Harwood, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"; Aaron Sorkin, "Charlie Wilson's War."

Foreign Language: "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," Romania; "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," France and U.S.; "The Kite Runner," U.S.; "Lust, Caution," Taiwan; "Persepolis," France.

Animated Film: "Bee Movie," "Ratatouille," "The Simpsons Movie."

Original Score: Michael Brook, Kaki King, Eddie Edder, "Into the Wild"; Clint Eastwood, "Grace Is Gone"; Alberto Iglesias, "The Kite Runner"; Dario Marianelli, "Atonement"; Howard Shore, "Eastern Promises."

Original Song: "Despedida" from "Love in the Time of Cholera"; "Grace Is Gone" from "Grace Is Gone"; "Guaranteed" from "Into the Wild"; "That's How You Know" from "Enchanted"; "Walk Hard" from "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story."



Series, Drama: "Big Love," HBO; "Damages," FX Networks; "Grey's Anatomy," ABC; "House," Fox; "Mad Men," AMC; "The Tudors," Showtime.

Actress, Drama: Patricia Arquette, "Medium"; Glenn Close, "Damages"; Minnie Driver, "The Riches"; Edie Falco, "The Sopranos"; Sally Field, "Brothers & Sisters"; Holly Hunter, "Saving Grace"; Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer."

Actor, Drama: Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"; Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"; Hugh Laurie, "House"; Jonathan Rhys Meyers, "The Tudors"; Bill Paxton, "Big Love."

Series, Musical or Comedy: "30 Rock," NBC; "Californication," Showtime; "Entourage," HBO; "Extras," HBO; "Pushing Daisies," ABC.

Actress, Musical or Comedy: Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?"; America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty"; Tina Fey, "30 Rock"; Anna Friel, "Pushing Daisies"; Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds."

Actor, Musical or Comedy: Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"; Steve Carell, "The Office"; David Duchovny, "Californication"; Ricky Gervais, "Extras"; Lee Pace, "Pushing Daisies."

Miniseries or Movie: "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," HBO; "The Company," TNT; "Five Days," HBO; "Longford," HBO; "The State Within," BBC America.

Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Bryce Dallas Howard, "As You Like It"; Debra Messing, "The Starter Wife"; Queen Latifah, "Life Support"; Sissy Spacek, "Pictures of Hollis Woods"; Ruth Wilson, "Jane Eyre (Masterpiece Theatre)."

Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Adam Beach, "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"; Ernest Borgnine, "A Grandpa for Christmas"; Jim Broadbent, "Longford"; Jason Isaacs, "The State Within"; James Nesbitt, "Jekyll."

Supporting Actress, Series, Miniseries or Movie: Rose Byrne, "Damages"; Rachel Griffiths, "Brothers & Sisters"; Katherine Heigl, "Grey's Anatomy"; Samantha Morton, "Longford"; Anna Paquin, "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"; Jaime Pressly, "My Name Is Earl."

Supporting Actor, Series, Miniseries or Movie: Ted Danson, "Damages"; Kevin Dillon, "Entourage"; Jeremy Piven, "Entourage"; Andy Serkis, "Longford"; William Shatner, "Boston Legal"; Donald Sutherland, "Dirty Sexy Money."


“I have no fear, no fear at all. I wake up, and I have no fear. I go to bed without fear. Fear, fear, fear, fear. Yes, ‘fear’ is a word that is not in my vocabulary.”
—Steve Martin
December 13, 2007
Finished Exit Ghost, the Philip Roth novel, last night. Really enjoyed it. Lots of death, though.

“I’m so depressed today. I just found out this ‘death thing’ applies to me.”
—Steve Martin

Speaking of Steve, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, Boze, you claimed you did six sketches yesterday, but isn't that just one drawing you posted?

Well, yes, I had the same reaction when I got home at about seven last night and took a good gander at it. I was tired, but I didn't want the asterisk next to the 10,000 bad drawings claim (I'm at 5,345 sketches and at this clip I'll be done in about two years), so, I forced myself to pump out another five:


Top Secret Secret Revealed
"I am hurt and somewhat bewildered that all the support shown by your regular 'Blog' readers did not convince you to continue. It took a wild attack from a non supporter to get you inspired."
—Hugh Howard

Make no mistake: the main reason I'm continuing this blog is because of the overwhelming support from daily readers like yourself. Yesterday's posting was based on a whim and a couple of assumptions.

First, I assumed, based on Joan Walton's comments, that the "Kingman bloggers" were gloating over my blog-wavering and second, Ms. Joan came over to my blog to give me a much needed spanking (something certain Kingman people, mainly teachers, have been doing for decades now). So, turning the tables, I wanted to give her a public spanking and at the same time give her full credit for giving me the incentive to write another 1,000 blogs. My hope is Ms. Walton will be greeted by her KB buddies with, "Thanks a lot Joan." Ha. That's it. Nothing more.

I'm always out for the giggle or the groan, if you haven't noticed.

Good Neighbors
While we were in Vegas I asked our neighbor Kelly Augherton to feed my dogs and chickens. Not only did she feed them, but she and her dad, Tom, put a new roof over the chicken condo, bought a new feed barrel and another bale of hay for the coop. Now that's neighborly love. Thanks Tom and Kelly!

“I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, ‘Steve, how can you be so f***in’ funny?”
—Steve Martin

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

December 12, 2007 Bonus Joan Walton Blog
A whole bunch of people have inspired me in my life: R. Crumb, Frederic Remington, Charlie Russell, Pat Oliphant and Richard Pryor to name just a few. But it's been rare that someone has picked me up off the canvas, got my heart going again and pushed me, with force, right back into the ring, to take another swing. . .

So, I dedicate this blog to Joan Walton. Just when I was about to pack it in, she came to my rescue and inspired me to write another 1,000 blogs. Thankyou Joan, and please thank all those Kingman bloggers whoever they are.

I ran home for lunch today (okay, I drove) and whipped out my six sketches in record time. Thankyou Joan Walton. Because my energy levels are so high, I bailed in with no expectations, just let my hand glide along, confident form would follow. And follow it did. Within a half hour I stepped back and realized what my unconscious mind was noodling:

Parapets To Heaven

From there I went out into the garage and found a New Times cartoon, circa 1985, inspired by growing up in Kingman (and inspired by Joan Walton's love for these cartoons!). The piece is entitled "Drivel Pursuit," which was a play off of Trivia Pursuit with the caveat that "We all have a ton of answers stored away in our brains—if only we were asked the right questions!"

Highlights include: Who Pretended to Enjoy Kingman, Arizona? And the answer is, "Cornell Wilde in his toughest role yet as he pretends to actually ENJOY being in KINGMAN, ARIZONA!" [He filmed Edge of Eternity in Kingman]

And Joan, you'll love this, the blurb coming out of Cornell's mouth is: "What's an obnoxious little twerp like you doing in Kingman?" He's talking to me Joan. Don't you just love it?

On page two of the doubletruck is the question: Who Opened for the Beatles in 1964? And the answer in the cartoon is:

Paul: "Well maties, wot if no one comes to see us in Vegas? [the Beatles played the Convention Center in August of 1964]

Ringo: "Righto, we'd better add some drawing power to the bill."

George: "Wot about Bill Black's Combo?"

John: "Yep, that'll get the Kingman crowd for sure!"

And here's a bonus question: "Name six movies filmed in or around Kingman, Arizona, and the year they were released?"

Answer: The Badlanders, 1958; Edge of Eternity, 1959; How The West Was Won, 1963; The Rebel Rousers, 1967 [Jack Nicholson's first film]; Easy Rider, 1969; Two-lane Blacktop, 1971.

And, because I'm so inspired by all of this Kingman love, here's a holiday offer: Send me $25 (includes shippng and handling for "media mail" which can take three weeks to deliver. If you want faster delivery, please add $10) and I'll send you a signed copy of Even Lower Blows, the book these cartoons appeared in. Supplies are limited, so order yours today!

Send your check to:

Bob Boze Bell
PO Box 4410
Cave Creek, AZ 85327

No, don't thank me, thank Joan Walton.

"Peace is the skillful management of conflict."
—Old Kingman saying
December 12, 2007 Bonus Blog
Our cover story on Tommy Lee Jones and No Country For Old Men has some heat. Here are two items for your perusal:

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN was named Best Film by the National Board of Review yesterday and Casey Affleck won for THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES.

Henry Beck Discovered This Little Gem While Researching No Country
"I admire (although not worship) the Coen Brothers-Cormac McCarthy collaboration No Country for Old Men (which I reviewed here).While watching the movie, something unusual struck me. A weird coincidence. Or perhaps a non-coincidence. In fact, that is what'sinteresting about it.

"You must understand that I share one big thing in common with the great American author Cormac McCarthy. We both have spent considerable portions of our lives living in El Paso, Texas.I grew up there. He spent most of his adult life there. Which explains why No Country for Old Men revolves around a drug deal gone bad in the arid desert of West Texas about 1980. The hit man sent to recover the drug money, played by Javier Bardem, is named Anton Chigurh. To an El Pasoan, that name can’t help but ring a bell.

One of the big drug kingpins in the Southwest in the 1970s was allegedly an El Pasoan, Jamiel 'Jimmy' Chagra. He was (and presumably still is) a colorful character. Raised in a Lebanese family who moved up from Mexico, he spent much of his riches gambling in Las Vegas. He was once presented with a trophy by a Vegas hotel staff recognizing him as their most generous tipper. Ever. His brother Lee, until his murder in 1978, was a flamboyant El Paso defense attorney, noted for representing drug suspects, often successfully. Asan El Pasoan, it’s hard not to notice that the two names – Chagra and Chigurh – share the same consonants.

"Now, I can't say for sure that this is the case, and you would not have seen any member of the Chagra family stalking through West Texas on a killing spree. Whatever was done or not done, it was white-collar. However, if I were a novelist writing a book about drug trafficking in and around El Paso circa 1980, I might be tempted to play around with the name Chagra.

"Now this is where it starts getting really interesting. The most infamous event involving the Chagra family took place in 1979. While walking ina San Antonio parking lot, Federal Judge John Wood was shot and killed by a hidden gunman. Wood’s nickname was 'Maximum John.' When it came to drug sentencing, he threw the book, the galleys, the sequel and the original manuscript. His shooting was the first assassination of a federal judge in nearly a century. And it happened on the eve of the trial of Jimmy Chagra on drug trafficking charges in Wood’s courtroom.

"In the coming years, several members of the Chagra family would serve time related to the purported murder conspiracy. Curiously, one who served zero was Jimmy Chagra himself. He would be acquitted of a murder conspiracy charge, but found guilty on adrug trafficking charge and sent to prison until early this decade.(Naturally, someone is writing a film script.)

"Nowhere’s the big twist that brings it back to the film ….. the man convicted of accepting $250,000 to do the shooting? The late Charles Harrelson.The father of Woody Harrelson. Who appears in this movie. Not only does he appear in the movie. He’s the only person in the movie who is said to be able to recognize the killer.

"So is that coincidence, or casting? I don’t know. Certainly Harrelson has worked for the Coens before. Maybe no one thought about this. But I have my sneaking suspicion."
—K. Bowen

Read the article here.

Definition of An Earlier Tom Carpenter Slam
Prig: A self-righteously correct or moralist person, as in, “Does that make us Chloride cousins?”

Gordon Smith Goes to New York
"We went up to the 86th floor observatory of the Empire State building. The skyline from there appears to be significantly different than that of Cave Creek, although it was a bit foggy and perhaps misleading."
—Gordon Smith

T. Charles is in Peru and doesn't get to follow University of Arizona basketball like he normally would, so his father tries to keep him posted:

Hope your stomach distress has passed. Man, that can't be any fun. Hopefully the third time is the charm.

Lute Olsen has taken a leave of abscence from the team. His 50-year-old hot wife is evidently the problem. He filed for divorce and she is quoted as saying she still wants to work it out. According to Uncle Charles, Lute's family hates her, etc. Sad stuff.

So, I must beseech you, if your mama ever remarries, be sure to be nice to the prick.

"The more we live by our intellect, the less we understand the meaning of life."
—Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy
December 12, 2007
All of the drought talk has evaporated into, well, thick air, as this morning's Arizona Republic reports that the reservoirs are full or filling and now we have to worry about too much water. Oh, well, when it rains. . .

Worked last night until about 8:30 trying to dig out from a backlog of work piled high because of the Vegas trip. As I reported yesterday, my six daily sketches got a little thin there for awhile. Here's an example from December 8:

When I got home and actually had some time, the sketches improved (although there is something to be said for the starkness of some of the Vegas sketches):

The December tenth page (above, right) was created by turning the sketchbook upside down and trying to see what I could create by connecting the ink dots that bled through from the previous page. When I use thick magic markers, the ink often bleeds through and splotches the next page.

Came in to the office and tweaked my editorial. We're saying goodbye to Bob McCubbin as publisher and welcoming two new contributors, Ken Amorosano and Dr. Jim Kornberg (Frontier Doc). The latter is writing a new column on frontier medicine. For example, could the Peter Fonda character in 3:10 to Yuma, who was gutshot in the first sequence, actually be up and riding a horse several scenes later? Hint: not too likely. Ha. Speaking of gutshot. . .

Hometown Hanging
"Well Joan doesn't seem to care for you. While I'm not one of your high school buddies, I do enjoy your scratchboards, your dogged pursuit of history and your meal suggestions, pretty good reflection of a balanced life."
—Larry Murphy

"I was thinking of having a blog on my web-site when I get it up and running but now I'm not so sure. After reading your December 11, 2007 Bonus Bonus Blog and the e-mail you got from someone in Kingman, I realize how much crap a blogger might have to put up with. I guess giving us something like this is what you mean by handing us actual journal entries, laid out raw and uncensored, all of it painfully true! I certainly do admire your honesty!"
—Bill Dunn

"Holy crap Boze!......Is Kingman Az. the town that humor forgot? (insert campy 1950's B movie poster art here) They DO know that most of what you write IS funny, don't they?"
—Jeff Prechtel

"They get it....they just don't GET it!"
—Phil Silvers

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

December 11, 2007 Bonus Bonus Blog
Working late on Classic Gunfights. Decided to do an extra illustration of Gee McMeans unlimbering his pistol at Frank Hamer:

I'm trying to capture that 1917 Texas suit look. I think I nailed the hat anyway. Ha.

Meanwhile, here are two of the sketch pages done in Vegas. The first (below, left) was the one that I struggled to do after realizing at midnite that I hadn't done my sketches and that the sketchbook was in the car, way off in some faraway parking lot:

And it looks like it.

Speaking of weak, I got this response to my response to the Kingmanite about being "Chloride cousins":

—Tom Carpenter
December 11, 2007 Bonus Bitching Blog
If I was ever on the fence about doing this blog, this email cinches it:

"I’ve not seen your blog before but had to check it out after seeing how happy the Kingman bloggers were at the prospect of your ending the BBB Blog. As a Kingman resident, I must say I have to agree with them, please stop advertising the fact that you are from Kingman. We’re really not all low I.Q redneck, racist, sexist cowboys as you would like to have people believe. However, as it is obvious that only a small group of people do read your blog and share your Nascar I.Q., it probably doesn’t matter much. It is amusing how you moan about how much work the blog is, when all it consists of is a bunch of old drawings you dug out of your garage, extended quotes from other people’s books and raves about the blog provided by your faithful readers and old high school friends. Oh, I forgot, how interesting it is to see what you had for lunch, how much it cost and who paid. The reason that no one in Kingman knew who you were at the parade and why only one person showed up at your book signing, is that you really are a nobody in the REAL world. Get it?

"If it really is just taken ‘straight from your Franklin Daytimer’ then it isn’t all that much work and by the number of ‘bonus bonus’ blogs you post, it would appear that you actually don’t have much else to do."
—Joan Walton

Being from Kingman I have often felt I'm too defensive when it comes to defending my hometown, so it's a delight to know that other Kingmanites, like you, are just as guilty as I am.


P.S. If you don't have a low IQ and I have a NASCAR IQ, does that make us Chloride cousins?

"If you see a bomb technician running, follow him."
—Old Kingman Saying
December 11, 2007
Scrambling to finish the Frank and Gladys Hamer vs. Gee McMeans gunfight. Just got this from Mark Boardman:

“Just to be clear—Gladys Hamer participated in the shooting of her ex-husband, Ed Sims, putting a couple of nonfatal rounds into him. Her brother was the one who unloaded the fatal shotgun blast into Sims' back. So—to correct the blog just a tad—Gladys didn't kill Sims. She might have, given another moment or two. And it's clear that she wanted to.

“This was one tough woman.

“I expect some Hamer folks will also argue about Frank's permanent smirk and alleged cockiness. Most of the photos I've seen of the man don't show anything but a tough customer with no real emotion on his face. And the record seems clear that Hamer was self-confident but humble. He didn't discuss his accomplishments; in fact, he downplayed them and gave credit to others. He was one of the few Rangers of that period who got along well with blacks and Hispanics. He may have related to their situations because he'd grown up dirt poor. He wasn't without faults—some of his work as a strikebreaker in the '30s and '40s was brutal. And he hit the bottle pretty hard in his last few years.

“Yep, I'm a Hamer fan. I think the man was the personification of what the Texas Rangers want their men to be.”
—Mark Boardman

And to boot, it turns out that, although Gladys was married at fourteen, she had the shootout when she was an adult, so scratch the great caption. Man, I hate it when the facts ruin cool cutlines. Ha.

A Challenge to Tomas In Peru
Hey son, Charlie Waters, Dan Harshberger and I had an argument about who was Valedictorian of our high school class, so I went out in the studio and got my M.C.U.H. S. annual to look it up. On the next page is a full page photo of our foreign exchange student, who is from Peru! (the signature is hard to read and so is her town, but here is my best effort at deciphering her handwriting):

Peggy Corina Acosta Carrion


Tquitos (first letter could be an "F")—Loreto—Peru

—Father Bell

I got this from Thomas Charles this morning:

"Well dad, not much luck on the search for Peggy. The city is most likely Iquitos with an i. I'm checking the Peruvian white pages as we speak.

"Had a blast with Deena and Pati. Laughed the whole time, even when Deena was sick and we were tired as hell from traveling. It was really sad to see them go as I headed back to site by myself. It was just my luck too that after making a big speach about how for some reason you can eat the lettuce at Burger King I was sick by the time I got back to site. Since I know so well the symptoms of a bacterial infection I took a Cipro in the moring but threw it up two hours later. My doctor said to wait it out and see if my body gets rid of it on its own. Which it did after much sleep and peeing out the back end. I was even able to make it to Chivay yesterday afternoon to see the Wititi festival with the other volunteers.

"That's the news from here. Im sure Deena will give you more details. Can't wait to see you guys in August."
—T. Charles

"One day in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful."
—Sigmund Freud

Monday, December 10, 2007

December 10, 2007 Bonus Blog
Everyone from True West who went to Vegas is fried, but we have an issue going out the door on Wednesday, so here we are, right back at it.

When I left last Thursday I was really hanging out on images for the next Classic Gunfight between Frank and Gladys Hamer and Gee McMeans in Sweetwater, Texas. For some reason I haven't been able to locate any photos of Sweetwater in 1917, nor a suitable image of Gladys Hamer.

This morning I finally got in touch with a Hamer relative. I won't mention his name because, he has a photo of Gladys in a wedding picture taken of her and her first husband, who she later shot dead over a child custody conflict. She was 14 when she married him. In fact, that killing led almost directly to the shootout for this issue. The photo is "owned" by someone else, and my contact understandably didn't want to betray that trust, so I went home for lunch and started a fire in the studio stove and sat down to do a painting of the couple, based on the photograph.

The name of my painting is:

Don't Mess With A Teenaged, Pistol Packin' Mama From Texas

After the shooting death of her first husband she fell in love with Texas Ranger Frank Hamer. Photos of the daring lawman show a cocky young kid with a permanent smirk. Here's my scratchboard take on him, also based on a photograph:

It's been raining again, and as I came back to work at five, the washes were running. I'm a little concerned about getting home but wanted to come in and scan the artwork, so we can hit the ground running in the morning.

"I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this."
—Emo Philips
December 10, 2007
More rain. Spectacular drive home from Vegas yesterday. The Hualapai Mountains were snow covered, and there are few more breathtaking sights to me than the one coming up Coyote Pass and topping out as the entire Hualapai range comes into stunning view. I've threatened for at least four decades to come up here and paint this incredible panorama from Dynamite Rock to the Cerbats with the Hualapais sitting in regal dominance. Maybe some day.

It's a little over 300 miles from Vegas to Cave Creek and to pass the time I tabulated the number of valleys traversed on the trek and I count 13, including climbing out of the Las Vegas-Henderson basin, then across the Boulder City escarpment, across the dam, skimming the wash riddled Battle Mountain range, out across the White Hills flats and Detrital Wash where Chris McCandless (Into The Wild) left his car, Sailor's Camp, past my cousin's ranch—The Turkey Track—on to Grasshopper Junction, Chloride, Mineral Park and Santa Clause. A memory every mile. My father loved to drive out to Santa Claus after church on Sunday and eat breakfast at the Three Little Pigs restaurant. It's all falling down now.

Drove through my hometown. The train's still there. The venerable City Cafe is now The Hot Rod Cafe. Each time I pass through Kingman another landmark is gone. It's like waves coming ashore with the tide, erasing all the sand castles that were so carefully built.

Got home about four. Long weekend. Worked hard, played hard, stayed up too late. On Saturday night, Kathy and I met Charlie and Linda Waters and Paul and Tracie Hutton at the Mandolay Bay Cowboy Marketplace, and we walked through the huge walkways, catacombs actually, spidering through several casinos, and had dinner at The Burger Bar ($103, plus a $18 gratuity which I just now saw on the bill, but I didn't see it in the dark and added another $20 cash tip. Ouch!), landing at the cavernous New York, New York Casino where we caught an Irish Band at an Irish pub. On the way back through the maze, we ran into all of the fight fans attending the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs Ricky Hatton welterweight rumble coming out of the MGM Grand and pouring over the bridge to the NYNY casino. A sea of Brits with shaved heads chanting the Ricky Hatton theme song (their fighter lost in a TKO in the tenth). Charlie told me at least 10,000 Hatton fans came from the British Isles and didn't have tickets to the fight!

As we got clear of the fight fans, and were traversing back through the Mandolay Bay labyrinth, we thought we were home free, only to run into a sea of eerily dressed fans coming out of the Spice Girls' concert. As they drained into the large walkway and came towards us, all spiked out, and at 10 to 15 abreast, we were forced to hug the right hand wall and fight our way forward. To this, the Top Secret Writer quipped, "This is such a metaphor for you and I working on the Top Secret Project and fighting our way against the entire culture." Two old men stumbling against the tide. Ha. It was the defining moment of the entire trip for me.

Too true. Too true.

"This is funny. You just haven't gotten it yet."
—Steve Martin, in his new autobiography, Born Standing Up

Friday, December 07, 2007

December 7, 2007
I'm looking out at The Strip from the north tower of the Riviera Hotel. Rained overnight, tattered clouds hug the mountains.

Got here at about 5:30 yesterday. Kathy and I drove. Stopped in Kingman and met Scott Dunton at the old Elks Hall. Charlie Waters and I are planning a big gig there next year and I wanted to see the venue.

The Top Secret Writer was the keynote speaker at the opening of the SASS convention and he and I went out for dinner last night. We walked up The Strip and landed at the Capital Grill which is on a third floor of a modern glass building across from the torn down Frontier. The lonely sign still stands as one of the last vestiges of Las Vegas's attempt to be Western. Meal was excellent, although pricey ($125 plus $25 tip, Sue account).

Kathy didn't want to endure our endless chatter about plot points and character arc, so she ate at Denny's ($9 cash).

I have a presentation this morning at 11 and then dinner plans with Charlie and Linda Waters. We have a bet that I intend to win. More on that later.

After a nightcap in the Riviera lounge I got back to the room way past my bedtime at 11:30 and realized I hadn't done my six sketches. Couldn't find my sketchbook. Reluctantly, woke up Kathy and made her describe where she parked the car (she parked while I brought the luggage up with the porter, $25 cash tip). She mumbled where she thought the car was so I went out and in the sea of parking lots, found her Escape, three parking lots down and in the second row, got my sketchbook and came back to the room, via the casino where all the SASS guys were roaring at full volumne. Sat on the edge of the bed and whipped out the sketches. As I look at them this morning I kind of admire the loosey gooseyness of the red pen strokes. There is something to be said for a wasted mind, it shuts off and allows your hand to do the work. Interesting. I'll post it when I get home.

Gee, I wonder if Florence has anything to say about this?

"I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse."
—Florence Nightingale

Thursday, December 06, 2007

December 6, 2007
Carole Glenn got me an early birthday present: Steve Martin's new memoir, Born Standing Up. Very inspiring as he describes his early comedy career, starting at Disneyland and on thru Knott's Berry Farm, The Ice House, Coffee And Confusion (a coffee house in San Francisco where the club owner advised a ventriloquist, "You need to put the mike closer to the dummy."). Good read. Funny stuff. Gail Mell's sister used to date him, so I have heard several stories I'm curious to see from his point of view.

I had a weird dream last night. I'm pitching the Mickey Free story to Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone. I'm quite nervous, and intimidated and embarrassed because I'm afraid the story isn't good enough and I'm worried about the violence quotient (over the top). When I finished, they both laughed and Clint said, "Don't be such a pussy, Kid."

Woke up with a start and checked under the covers. Nope. Still there. Need to be a Man though, and step up. Thanks Clint.

Speaking of stepping up, noodled some interesting sketches last night. Interesting litho-type cross-hatching which sort of simulates the old photo patina I love in Old West photos. Hope I can capture this consistently:

Leaving in two hourse to drive to Vegas. Going thru Kingman. Want to stop and take a gander at the Elks Club. More on that later.

Regarding QTL, Jim Hatzell sent me the following excellent quote:

"When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice."
—Cherokee Proverb

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

December 5, 2007 Bonus Blog
Working hard on geting our slide show done for the big SASS convention on Friday in Vegas. Robert Ray is fine tuning images for "Low Slung Guns" and is geting ready to export the images onto my laptop with a thumb drive.

Went home at nine this morning for the tractor start and lo and behold the whole neighborhood showed up! Must have been half the people from the party last night, including two-year-old Deisel who is mad about trucks, backhoes and tractors. It took four of us about twenty minutes to keep turning that John Deere fly wheel, wheezing and grunting each time, until if finally caught and that patented thump of a Series B 1940 John Deere filled the air and was a thing of beauty. I hopped on and pulled it out and took it around the Spanish Driveway, then out into the street, turned a donut, brought it back. Took Deisel out and back and he was thrilled. Memories of Iowa took me right back to the Bell farm and riding with my grandpa on this very tractor. Got kind of misty out for a minute or two.

Sometimes I get tired of drawing people, and try and let go and just see what subconscious designs come out of my head:

I'm not sure what it means, but it feels good. Gee, I wonder what one of my underground comic heroes Robert Crumb has to say about this?

"It's just lines on paper, folks."
—R. Crumb
December 5, 2007
Came into the office early. Lots of mountain dew on my Ranger windows (desert dew?). Had the defroster on high most of the way into work.

Trish, Joel, Sam are on their way to Vegas for Cowboy Christmas. I'm leaving tomorrow and Sue Lambert on Friday.

Last night was the surprise going away party for J.D. and his wife Kaylea who are moving to Utah to be near her kids. Christa Barro made him a plaque from all of us thanking him for all he has done for everyone in the neighborhood, and he read it and cried. He told several stories, including the one of being at a driver's meeting for food delivery (J.D. drives food to shut-ins) and the woman in front of him turned around, took a good look at him and said, "You must be 'Mad Dog.'" She read it on this blog and recognized him from the photos I ran.

J.D. and Joe Yaeger are coming down this morning to start the John Deere one more time. J.D. said, "You don't need me down there," but I told him, "Who is going to boss us around and tell us where to stand?" He's getting a haircut from Bev at eight and we're supposed to meet at my tractor barn at nine.

I have always loved drawing saguaros and for the last thirty years I have noodled around the idea that:

Saguaros Say The Darndest Things

Working on the Frank Hamer shootout in Sweetwater, Texas in 1917. His wife Gladys was in the shootout as well, trading shots with a shotgunner. Amazing story. Hamer was a famous Texas Ranger who is probably best known for bringing down Bonnie and Clyde. John Fusco has written a screenplay on Hamer's life and we're all eagerly awaiting that movie.

I've received lots of good comments on QTL and I'll run those later, but now I need to run home and join Mad Dog and Joe to start that Deere.

"Truth and life are all around you. What matters is where and when you decide to put your focus."
—Roger von Oech

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

December 4, 2007 Bonus Blog
Just got this from the Dakotas:

"I just finished reading your latest blog. Interesting about Artists & health problems.....I used to joke all the time that the Impressionist era was most likely started by Artists too poor to afford glasses when they hit 40. It's not so funny now. By the way....I found out this Summer that one of your painter heroes, Jim Bama, is going blind and not painting anymore.

"I also worked at my Father's gas first job. I started right out of 8th grade and worked until I was almost 19. I paid for my Art School education with the money I made there. Oh last thing, I may be related to 'Bigfoot' Wallace too. That's the rumor anyway......(My Grandmother was Irma Wallace before she married Clarence Hatzell near Wichita, Kansas.) Howdy cuz!

"I'm very glad that you have continued the blog. I'm reading it now instead of working on the Christmas Illustrations that are due today. Quality time you see."

I didn't know that about James Bama. Ouch! He lives near Cody and I have long admired his work.

Meanwhile, because of the reaction on this blog, I have decided to give Honkytonk Sue at least one more airing. I found this sequence in the garage and am quite amazed at how clean it is. It was created with models: Jackie King Ellis as Sue and Kathy Turner as Donna Jean:

And here's the rest of the panel. Nice silhouette of Sue's face. Clean and mean. Can't believe I did it. Ha. Notice the cat about to pounce on the dog (actually Smokie, a neighborhood dog who died mysteriously about ten years ago):

And by the way, those pencil marks in the corners (see bottle drawings below) are the percentage tags for the PMT camera operator. In the old days, before computers, I would deliver my drawings to a camera operator in production at New Times and he would put the drawings on a big flatbed, glass covered tray. And pulling it up to a vertical position, take a photo of it with this huge camera in a dark room and print out a PMT (Photo Mechanical Transfer, a registered trademark name by Kodak), which we would then paste down on layout boards (paper actually) and then that and all the text, which was also pasted down, would be taken to the printing company where the entire page was photographed again, and metal plates made, and then inked and printed. Whew! A few things have changed, no?

My favorite horror story concerning these paste-up boards happened in 1978, when I was the art director at New Times. We had just graduated to a wax fixative for the sticky material on the back of the type, which was easier than glue and yet pliable enough to pull up if changes were needed.

It was my job to drive the finished boards to the printing plant which was about ten miles away. It was July and the AC in my F-150 was on the fritz. So as I'm driving in rush hour traffic, and I'm looking over at the paste-up boards and every single piece of waxed copy is curling at the edges. I have the window down because it's 122 degrees out, but now I'm leaning over to roll up the window (remember roll-up windows?), but the curling is still happening. Now it's probably 150 degrees in the truck, and I speed up, but now the type is coming completely loose and blowing around the cab of the truck. By the time I get to the printing plant, my dash looks like I drove through a confetti parade. I scoop everything up, throw it back in the box and run inside. The pressmen all roll their eyes ("Oh look what the hippie dragged in.") The presses are idling as I'm frantically trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Miraculously I found where everything went, slammed it down and we got on press without a single mistake, that I know of. Ha. Oh, and I went and got my AC fixed the next day.

"All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own."
—Edwin Markham
December 4, 2007
Now that I've finished reading Robert McKee's Story, I went back and picked up Exit Ghost by Philip Roth. It's a well-written, but depressing tale about a 71 year-old-author who has had cancer, wears a diaper and still has "feelings" for a 30-year-old babe, although he can't do much about it. It's an excellent book, and I'm enjoying it, but a bit of a downer.

Cut to: Kathy and I talking on Sunday about QTL (this is our shorthand for "Quality Time Left.") How much do we have? Ten years? Ten weeks? I've got more than a few friends and classmates with bad knees, hip replacement surgery, all kinds of cancer and even several that already checked out. So, when Kathy says she wants to go to South America for ten weeks, do I want to join her, I say, "Hon, I can't. I'm running a business," and she says: "QTL Baby. QTL."

I'm proud to say, between the Roth book and my wife, I'm still holding my own, trying to stay positive, finding artwork in the garage that seems decent enough, maybe even worthy of the Big, Black & Bold book she has proposed:

This is a scene I developed for Honkytonk Sue in about 1989. Very ambitious. I, of course, had to buy all of the beer bottles rendered above and open them, and then, well, I didn't want to throw the contents away, that would be ridiculous. And, I must admit, it did lead to some Quality Time, although I can't remember exactly how or what. Some decent effects, but, a tad overworked (one of my main problems). This led to a simpler version:

This piece was in last year's Phippen Art Museum Humor Show and Sam took a call from a guy yesterday who saw it, and wants to buy it. He's coming by tomorrow.

Meanwhile, here's a New Times illustration I did on Artists vs. Gallery Owners:

And here's the application as it appeared in the paper:

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm just showing you the decent stuff. There are piles and piles of dog doo doo that I'm embarrassed to even be seen carrying to the dumpster. I'd say the ratio is about 9 to one, garbage to keepers. The moral is: I need to draw faster, especially if nine out of ten things I do are no good. Well, all of this leads to this morning when I got the following link and article in The New York Times from Dan Buck:

"For some, disease ended careers. Cataract surgery was possible in the early 1900s, but it did not always work.
'I look forward with horror to utter darkness,' [Mary] Cassatt wrote in 1919, fearing that an operation on her left eye would be 'as great a failure as the last one.' It was, and she stopped painting.

"Renoir had his first arthritis attack in 1888, and over time his fine motor skills were compromised. For the rest of his life, arthritis progressively deformed his hands and swelled his joints. 'It is so painful to see him in the morning,' wrote Julie Manet, a niece of Edouard Manet. 'He does not have the strength to turn a doorknob.'

"A Renoir biographer, the art historian Barbara Ehrlich White, wrote in an e-mail message: 'Because of his physical disabilities,' Renoir 'had to change, to become less detailed and freer. He continued to paint until the day he died, but because of his handicap, his later work could not approach the brilliance of his earlier paintings.'”

Here's the entire piece from The New York Times for all of you who are doomed to disease and death (and want to wallow in it like me.)

I still have eye floaters, my father and grandmother both had eye problems and so as I approach 61, I hear my wife's voice in my head wherever I go:

"QTL Baby, QTL."
—Kathy Sue

Monday, December 03, 2007

December 3, 2007 Bonus Blog
As promised, here's the interview with Preston Randolph for a history class at Cody High School:

When and where were you born? Married? Children?

I was born on December 19, 1946 in Forest City Iowa. When I was six months old, my parents moved me to Kingman, Arizona, which was my mama's hometown. My father had a Whiting Brothers gas station at McConnico, then Peach Springs on the Hualapai Indian Reservation. We went back to Iowa in about 1949, but then moved back to Kingman in 1956, where I basically grew up, graduating from high school in 1965.

Later, I met Kathy Radina at her boyfriend's wake and we've been married for 28 years and have two children, Deena (27) and Thomas Charles (25).

When did you come to the west? Or, your parents come to the west and why?

My mother's family were ranchers and her father, Bob Guess, went bust in 1929 after buying his dream ranch on the Gila River near Duncan, Arizona. Earlier in his life, he had cowboyed for legendary rancher Tap Duncan. This was in 1912, up on the Diamond Bar, near the Grand Canyon, Bob Guess walked away from his Gila River ranch and moved the whole family to Mohave County (Kingman is the county seat) and went to work for Tap and tried to make a comeback. He didn't quite make it back into the game, dying of complications from an ulcer (he had five daughters).

My father was raised on a farm near Thompson, Iowa and was drafted in the Army AIr Corp in 1941. After basic training in Alabama, he was shipped by train to Kingman Air Base on his 21st birthday. As he walked down the deserted main drag with his duffle bag over his shoulder, he muttered, "I'll never come back to this hell hole."

My mother, who was living with her parents in Kingman, was among the 500 or so eligible females in town who suddenly had their pick of 10,000 "eager" GIs (I wanted to use a word that starts with an "h" but since this is for a school project I decided to be quasi-mature). She dated a lieutenant, a captain, and had the pick of the sprawling base before choosing a buck private from Thompson, Iowa to be her husband.

Parent occupations?

My mother worked for the local justice of the peace in the courthouse and my father opened Al Bell's Flying A on east Route 66.

Where were you raised? What was your life like as a child?

I worked in my dad's gas station icing jugs for tourists. I wasn't paid but got tips. With my entire first summer's savings ($11) I ordered Ed Bartholomew's "Biography of Western Gunfighters" which I ordered out of True West magazine.

I also played right field for the Oddfellow Yankees.

What was your education like? What was school like?

My senior English teacher, Mrs. Fay Logsdon, told me almost daily, "Pay attention Mr. Bell, or you'll regret it later." Oh, boy, was she ever right. Here I am a so-called writer, and I don't know jack about active verbs or passive blah blah. Big mistake. Take it from me—pay attention Buckos!

Who were you heroes as a child?

Most of my heroes were outlaws. My grandmother told me stories about Billy the Kid, John Wesley Hardin and Billy Clanton and how we were related to Big Foot Wallace. This thrilled me to no end.

As I grew up and started pursuing art as a career, I came under the spell of Charlie Russell and Frederic Remington, then later other talented artists like Nick Eggenhoffer and James Bama and that Jackson guy, who I can't think of right now, but did that great sculpture of the fleeing outlaw.

What did you do for fun?

The usual childhood pastimes like cruising for chicks and puking on our shoes.

When you first came to Cody what was it like? When was it?

I came to Cody for the first time in 1996. My mother and her second husband Lou Cady, Jr., bought a little ranchito out towards that lake west of town. It was cold, it was windy. I've been back several times since then, and the wind never quits, does it?

What has changed the most in the west since your childhood?

Too many damn chains. I hate it that the Chili's in Butte is exactly like the Chili's in Queen Creek, Arizona. And they're both in a strip mall that looks exactly like the strip mall in Provo, Utah, or Cleveland, Ohio.

And everything's paved! When I was a kid growing up in Kingman it was a dirt road to Phoenix!

When was the first time you went to yellowstone? What did you think?

I finally got to Yellowstone Park three years ago after a writer's conference in Cody. What a staggering piece of nature! You can read about it and see photos of the place til the cows come home, but until you stand at the edge of a lake and see primordial juices from the earth's core oozing up out of the ground all around you, well, let's just say we don't have that in Kingman.

What is your opinion on the Hollywood version of the West?

It's so easy to knock Hollywood's version of the West, but you know what? It's the main reason I became interested in Old West history. And, as much as we complain, Hollywood has gotten the history right more often than we give it credit for. That said, most Westerns suck. Ha.

What is your thoughts toward the Buffalo Bill Historical Museum?

I could live in the Buffalo Bill Historical Museum. I would rotate between the wings, living in each museum one day a week. On the weekends I would go to Trail Dust Town and eat at Zapata's. But that's just me. [Preston's parents opened Zapata's and now his aunt runs it]

What is the best thing about living out West?

No damned easterners and their snotty, condescending ways.

What do you think of America and the West as we head into the new millennium?

We are Westerners and we are proud of who we are and we like to have fun. If you don't like that, go back home and make someone else miserable.

What is your occupation and what do you do?

I am a troublemaker who likes to draw scandalous cartoons and provoke people, starting with my parents (and Mrs. Logsdon) and right up to now. If you don't believe me, check out my blog at

When did you start and what has been the problems along the way?

I started causing trouble in the first grade and I dropped out of college three units shy of a degree. Does the term Attention Deficit Disorder mean anything to you? I also paint.

What do you see happening in the future?

More of the same ridiculous, insane behavior by crazy humans, only with different names.

What is your favorite part of the west?

The parts that haven't been subdivided, yet.

What are your accoplishments?

I'm 60 and I've only spent 14 hours in jail for a crime I did commit.

Any famous people you have met?

Does Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top count?

Anyone throughout history who would you like to meet and what would you ask them?

I would love to talk to JFK about Ms. Monroe. That had to be hot.

In your oppinion What is the West?

A rough place where big space confronts big ideas.

"Thanks for sharing, Mr. Bell, now come up here, bend over and grab your ankles."
—Coach Cook
December 3, 2007
Brisk out this morning. Most of the puddles are gone but the ground is still moist. Went down to the creek yesterday afternoon and the creek has basically rechanneled itself. Big boulders, stuck in hardened sediment (the water and the chemicals in the soil creates this very hard cement) were gone, leaving craters like a sliced avacado with the pit taken out. Hard to believe the power of water sometimes.

NASCAR Publishing Inspiration
When Kathy and I were driving out to PIR to meet Jeff Gordon and crew several weeks ago, we got to talking about book publishing and I was complaining how hard I work on my illustrated history books for such a meager return. She agreed I overproduce and said something to the effect that she and Theresa, at Tri Star, could probably put out a commercial success if I would butt out. This led to the following challenge: Kathy and Theresa will choose the content; the title of the book will be, "The Best of Bob Boze Bell In Black And White," and it will be 64 pages on gloss paper. The only catch is, she gets to keep the profit. Ha. Being the successful businessman I am, I accepted immediately.

Here's a typical black and white illustration I would put in the book:

Not sure if Theresa and Kathy will choose this but there are plenty of others. And speaking of a work in progress:

Hey, Top Secret Writer!
Yes, you. Here is a rough sketch of the master shot, scene 38 (below, right). Notice the gate in middle distance and who is walking and who is riding (lower, left). I'll explain when I see you in Vegas Friday.

And speaking of Vegas, I have a ton to do before we leave on Thursday. Seems like there aren't enough hours in the day. Gee, I wonder what Earl has to say about this?

"When the days are too short chances are you are living at your best."
—Earl Nightingale

Sunday, December 02, 2007

December 2, 2007 Bonus Blog
As a parent of two kids in South America I must say there is always that nagging feeling that something is going to happen and you are totally out of control. The phone rings and you expect a call from the American Consulate. A news flash produces images of jail, and worse. The last I heard, Deena missed a connecting flight to Lima last Wednesday, and it's been totally quiet ever since.

Until 23 minutes ago, when I got this from my Number One Daughter:

The News From Lake Titicaca
"Hey guys!!! I just wanted to let you know that we made it to Peru and we are having a freaking blast. Mom, Dad, your favorite son is doing great and is as hilarious as always. It has been NON STOP laughter since we stepped off the train, and Patricia just fits right in. Although she is pregnant now with Tom's baby, so you guys should probably meet her soon...Tom farted in her face on Machu Picchu today and how could she resist??

"To give you a reference of what's going on, we got to Aguas Calientes yesterday, did Machu today with a 40 dollar local guide-all Spanish, young guy, he was great. Tomorrow we head to Ollantaytambo to see the ruins there and then on to Puno and Lake Titicaca. Patricia is so Catholic she couldnt even tell her mom she was going to lake Titicaca because of the name. That's funny. But not as funny as your son farting in her face at one of the seven wonders of the world.

Love you!!!

your favorite daughter

I told you she was a good storyteller. Patricia is a young woman Deena works with who tagged along on the trip. We were relieved because we weren't real thrilled with Deena going into Lima all by herself.

"Life is meant to be a never-ending education, and when this is fully appreciated, we are no longer survivors but adventurers."
-David McNally
December 2, 2007
Almost missed the True West Christmas Party last night. Our neighbors to the south of us told us the roads were all open, but when we got up to Grapevine Wash at five, a sheriff's vehicle had its lights on and two signs met us in the middle of the road: "Wash flooded" and "Road closed." I quickly turned a U-ee and headed for the only other crossing at School House, which spans the same exact wash only further east. We met a ton of trucks coming our way and they were either vehicles being turned away or trucks that had successfully made it across. At about 100 yards I saw the County front-end loader clearing sand and mud from the roadway and they had flashing lights up, but people were crossing. We waded across (it was still running about thirty yards wide) and headed for the Brink's stellar adobe nestled into the south side of Black Mountain. Made it with seconds to spare and joined the party in full swing.

What's fun for me at these parties is getting to talk about something besides cover blurbs and deadlines with the same people who I talk (and fight with) about this with 320 days a year. For example, I was chatting with our art director, Dan Harshberger, and Bud Glenn (Carole's husband) and they got to talking about building "Rat Rods." When I asked what that was they looked at me like I was some gay guy who lives in another universe, where arch plots and Inciting Incidents abound.

Dan told me a "Rat Rod" is a Model A that you rebuild, but you leave the body as is. So, as I understand it, you have a spotless, powerful engine under the hood but from the outside it looks like a Rat Rod. See, if we didn't have a Christmas party once a year, I would never know these things.

Jana talked about her Mexico adventures (friends of hers have bought and rebuilt an old hacienda deep in Mexico (a rat adobe?). I got to meet Abby's fiance Scott (nice guy, ex-marine), Ken and Lucinda were in from New Mexico and they talked about how cold it is at their ranchito east of Albuquerque (he has to break ice on the horse trough every morning), and Kathy turned me onto the Brink's original Ed Borein sketches in the guest bathroom. Really sweet illustrations of two cowboys on prancing horses (Ed's specialty), and in the other, Apaches riding up a ridgeline. Had to go back twice to admire them: the second time I had to lean over Robert Ray's shoulder who was seeing a man about a horse.

Not really, but I did go back twice to check them out.

Joel Klasky made his signature Caesar Salad, Samantha cooked up some great pasta dishes, Darlene Harshberger brought her grandparent's Swedish dessert and pastry chef Michele had a cheescake tort, or cupcake deal with a strawberry on top, that was sinfully delicious. Robert Ray made his patented margaritas and Sue Lambert also brought a great dish, which I can't remember, but it was good.

Marshall Trimble came with his girlfriend (Vanessa) and we had just under 30 people show up, which is quite a crowd for such a small staff.

The Brinks were quite gracious, opening their home to us for the third year in a row. I believe this is our ninth Christmas party. The first, held in 1999, was in the Goatsucker Saloon behind Crazy Ed's and, well, it was fun, but this is a total delight.

My Suspicions Confirmed
"The problem I have seen with [the author Robert] McKee is that many of those (the non-creative) who control Hollywood, use his formula as their 'bible.' Any deviation from the 'bible,' and the script is tossed without further reading, no matter how good it is."
—Steve Lodge, screenwriter for The Honkers

Sky is crystal blue today. Not a cloud in sight. Nice and warm out, although I have a fire in the studio stove and the dogs are sacked out nearby. The chickens survived the storms and my little Silkie Rooster was crowing this morning like the budding cock he is.

Did an email interview with Preston Randolph in Cody, Wyoming this morning. It's for a high school history project. Those questions and answers tomorrow.

Went on two bike rides with the dogs. Met Bev on the road and made an appointment to get my haircut on Tuesday after work. We leave on Thursday for Vegas and I need the moss knocked off my antlers before we go.

"One of the illusions is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it in your heart that every day is the best day of the year."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (who is saying basically what Ray Bradbury said yesterday)