Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October 31, 2007 Bonus Bonus Blog
Dan Harshberger and I have been working together since 1972 when we co-created The Razz Revue. Of course we've known each other since 1957 when we played catch on Chambers Avenue before Little League practice. As a designer, he does things I can't even approach doing. For example, here's a concept we sent down to him last week. The logo, the layout, the treatment is all Daniel:

He tips so many photos (see example, above), we have come to calling it a "Danielization," as in "why don't you Danielize that layout?" Ha. The look of True West has been Danielized for eight years, going on nine. It's a damn good look, too.

"The heat of the meat is equal to the dangle of the angle."
—Dan The Man
October 31, 2007 Bonus Blog
Went home for lunch to change out of my damn clown suit. Had a serious meeting with one of my staff and caught a glimpse of myself in the glass of a painting and winced. Hard. To my credit, at least I took off the dunce cap for the rest of the meeting.

Working hard on scene 27 of the Top Secret Project:

Going round and round. Stronger, darker, lighter more subtle. Trying to keep the Maynard Dixon model in mind. When I get to 85 attempts and it's still not there, then it's time to rethink the strategy:

Gee, I wonder what the Old Vaqueros have to say about this?

"The believer is happy; the doubter is wise."
—Old Vaquero Saying
October 31, 2007
Halloween at the office. Every year I fret about this and every year Kathy saves my bacon. Woke up at 6:05, grumbling. She went into Tommy's room and got me his clown outfit. I'm wearing it now, in the office.

Got a newspaper this morning but didn't wash my face (until later), or get anything worthwhile done (on the priority list) in the 4 AM to 7 AM zone. Did finish my six sketches before I left the house in the clown outfit. Several neighbors waved at me, laughing, and I kept thinking to myself, "why are they all laughing?" then, looked in the mirror and saw the pointy hat with the ball on the end, and realized why.

News From The Front Lines
"I just picked up your current copy of True West and my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It also made me remember that I have several back issues from 1953-1956. They are a real hoot to read the articles and see the advertisements. Are they currently worth anything to a collector?"

Yes, Marcia, some of those early issues, especially in the first year, are fetching $25 to $50. And, our Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp issues from 2001 and 2002 are going for $200 each. The moral: save them.

"Leadership cannot really be taught. It can only be learned."
—Harold Geneen

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

October 30, 2007 Bonus Bonus Bonus Blog
Did a fun radio interview last night on the BIG KIIC, 96.7 FM in Albia, Iowa. Rich Grimes is the host of "Just Start Talkin'" and, I did. We had a blast talking about all things Iowa and Western. I met Rich at the John Wayne Birthday Bash in Winterset, Iowa last May. Good guy. Loves our magazine and the West and promoted the hell out of us to all of southern Iowa.

Royal Wade Kimes surprised me with his latest CD which has a cut (#15) called, "The Apache Kid," inspired by his visit to Cave Creek earlier this year. Over a tall cool one at Coco's in Scottsdale I told him the story of the Kid's escape and he started tapping his fingers on the table and kind of went into a trance, crying out In-din snippets with a bitchin' beat. The resulting song is major groovy (and soundtrack worthy), and I'll try and get it up on the site as soon as production gets a breath (they are on deadline for the Second Annual Source Book which goes to press next week).

Zoning in on the wordless graphic novel and the inherent visual potential of the medium. I've been thinking in scenes rather than words (besides, that's The Top Secret Writer's domain). Gee, I wonder if Walt Disney has anything to say about that?

"Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language."
—Walt Disney
October 30, 2007 Bonus Bonus Blog
Henry Beck got us an interview with Tommy Lee Jones. I asked Henry to share with me a couple quotes from Al Gore's old roommate:

"Well I don’t have anything to say about Westerns because I don’t know what they are. I assume it’s kind of a generic terms to indicate a movie that’s got big hats and horses and maybe some dust in it."

"The thing I appreciated most about Joel and Ethan (Coen) is their respect for Cormac’s book and how closely they adhered to it and the fact that they had the wisdom to not presume to improve it."

Too funny. One of the reasons Tommy Lee is probably so glowing about the Coens sticking close to Cormac's book, is that Jones himself owns the rights to "Blood Meridian", another Cormac book, which, I've heard, Tommy Lee wants to film, playing "The Judge." As for the Westerns response, I told Henry coming from anyone else I would assume the guy who said it is an ass. Well, is he?

Beck On Tommy Lee
"Yes and no. He's interesting, intimidating, bored with this side of the process, disinclined to answer questions or overtalk things. But when he gets a little warmed up he'll elaborate. He's loquacious in bursts, but I don't know that anyone would accuse him of being generous to unknown voices on telephones, even if they are from True West.

"I think he's a great actor, extremely smart, and tough. Under some circumstances though I think he would have been 'touchy as an old cook' but with a few shots in him I think he would have been longer winded. I think he has to be courted. He doesn't suffer fools, and I think maybe he deals with fools all the time. I really admire his work, probably as much as anyone working. Don't know if you saw The Valley Of Elah, but he's amazing. If I were an actor, he's the guy I'd want to work with because he's grounded the way actors used to be, especially the ones who saw service in WW2. Another guy who owned his space like that was Walter Matthau Like Matthau, nobody and no movie can knock him from his spot. It looks like Will Smith drew light in Men In Black, but TLJ owned it. The only other actor with a gravity point as low as Jones in that was Rip Torn. In The Fugitive he's Tex Avery's Droopy Dog with a Texas drawl. I don't think Jones was ever stunned or staggered, even as far back as The Executioner's Song. Jones has been in some bad pictures, and he's had some bad parts (Two Face in one of those Batman shitheaps), but I don't think he's ever made a bad movie worse, and he's made a lot of movies better. I don't recall he was ever a romantic lead but if someone could write the right script it would be fascinating.

"We also talked about the use of metaphors and Hopalong Cassidy."
—Henry Beck

Look for Henry's interview with Tommy Lee Jones in an upcoming issue of True West.

“I hate to advertise because I get business.”
—Shamie Maxwell, one of True West oldest advertisers
October 30, 2007 Bonus Blog
Remember the dinner party Kathy and I attended in Mesa two weekends ago, where I told the story about the Texas Hold-em dealer being a former sniper for the LAPD, who was involved in the SLA shootout? Well, here's two photos from that event, and the dealer (right photo, right-hand-side). And, yes, that's Kathy in the wide shot (left photo, top, right):

Speaking of photos that nail a moment (same laugh, 27 years apart), here's a photo I found online when I Googled my name yesterday:

It's on one of those photo sites that has millions of samples. The photgrapher is Mike Bergin and the photo is of a local, well-known country rock performer, Ron Privett (left); myself and a Honkytonk Sue impersonator (can't remember her name but she appeared at the Scottsdale niteclub Honkytonk Sue's and on Bill Heywood's morning radio show quite often). The photo must date from about 1980-81 at the Mill Avenue Street Fair in Tempe, Arizona. The T-shirt designs on the manequins are mine. I still have the shirt I'm wearing, which I bought for $40 at Eclipse on Fourth Avenue in Tucson. My son Thomas wears the shirt today.

Some of my best friends are writers and journalists, so I have, by default, become aware of the "good lead," which is newspeak for the grabber, first sentence, which opens an article. With that in mind, I think this is one of the strongest and weirdest leads I have ever read:

"In 1967, the year his boyfriend beat him to death with a hammer, the British playwright Joe Orton wrote 'What the Butler Saw,' a brilliant deconstruction of farce, which broadened the expressive boundaries of the genre, pushing it toward the kind of comedy that Ionesco called 'a theatre of violence: violently comic, violently dramatic.'"
—John Lahr, "Lay It As It Plays" in The New Yorker
October 30, 2007
Didn't get a newspaper this morning. Hmmmmmm.

"Please knock off the Swami stuff. It may give you inner piece, but it is scaring your friends."

The irony is I haven't even received the Swami book from Amazon yet. The regimen I talked about yesterday I basically patched together from odd reference points (the washing the face comes from the best-selling-book, Eat, Pray Love which I didn't read, but Kathy did and read that passage out loud to me).

My problem is consistency, and sustaining gains. Yesterday I got up at five, hit the ground running, did some pretty decent sketches, got to work early and accomplished some important stuff on the magazine. This morning I woke up at 5:20, slacked around and didn't get up until six. However, after my bike ride I did go for a long walk with Kathy, so I did some good things today that I didn't do yesterday. The problem is doing enough of the same things every day. In an ideal world, here is my version of the ideal Swami Regimen:

• Up at four

• Wash face

• Exercise for 40 mintues, or swim laps in ice cold pool (when I don't want to get in 50 degree water, think of the people on the Titantic who had to get in 33 degree water)

• Wash face again to get off chlorine

• Write a scene for Mickey Free

• Draw six sketches for Top Secret Project

• Drink water, have a carrot (Right.)

• Skip into the office and give everyone hugs

• Work until 7:30 PM and go home skipping all the way

• Watch a classic movie and take notes

• Entertain 72 virgins

Or, something like that.

"Make it a great day. Do the difficult work that will get things accomplished, and enjoy the anticipation of the good things that will come when you're finished."
—Ralph Marston

Monday, October 29, 2007

October 29, 2007 Bonus Blog
Okay, I'm half-way into my first day of Swami Lifestyle and it feels pretty good. Here's today's sketches (finished early, of course):

"Been readin' your new Swami practices. I admire you for always trying something new. If you're not careful, you're gonna become a New Age Cowboy—reg'ler Zen Gray."
—Steve Sanders

"OK, my favorite is the middle sketch from Oct 27th. Left side. I like that you don't see where it ends. Sort of metaphorical. The vertical angle of each section of the fall I think is more true to life. Thanks for sharing."
—Scott Matula

Funny, but I not only feel competent but on top of my humor game as well. Gee, I wonder what the Old Vaqueros have to say about that?

"A humorist is a man who feels bad but feels good about it."
—Old Vaquero Saying
October 29, 2007
Woke up to the swami lifestyle, or, more specifically I woke up to attempt the Swami Lifestyle. Got up at five and washed my face (part of the dicipline is to start "clean"), went into the kichen, poured a cup of coffee and ate part of a banana (neither of which are part of the practice) and reflected on the saying that "courage is the ability to face your fears." So, what are mine?

Things I Fear
• I fear the blank page

• I fear failure

• I fear pain

• I fear the cold

• I fear the unknown

• I fear I will die and not finish anything worthwhile.

Went back to bed.

Just kidding.

Kept going. Turned on the computer and walked out to the end of the driveway in the dark. Heard a truck coming. Stood there and waited. The truck pulled up, I held out my hand and my newspaper carrier rolled down her window and handed me the paper. "Good morning," she said, half surprised. "Thanks for delivering my paper," I told her, like a swami would. "Do you fear you'll die and not finish anything worthwhile?" She sped off into the night. Hope I get a paper tomorrow.

Worked on more waterfalls:

Although it feels excessive, I know that Maynard Dixon often did 85 sketeches of a scene before he felt it was right. I'm not even to a dozen, but the more I work, the more ideas come. Worry about going sideways, but that's the anti-swami talking (regret for the past, fear of the future).

Went for a bike ride in the twilight. Temperature just right. Basked in that blessing. I hate being cold. Makes me want to go back to bed. Saw a rattlesnake and a king snake over the weekend. Saw a bobcat last week. Must mean something.

Came back, switched gears and wrote part of a scene on the Mickey Free project and emailed it to the Top Secret Writer. Went into the office an hour earlier than usual. So far, so good. I like the Swami lifestyle. Now we'll see how I feel tonight at 9:30 when I'm still at it.

The Lone Book Signing Attendee Weighs In
"Seeing your blog of Oct 26, I had to write and make a brief comment concerning your book signing. I greatly enjoyed being there and talking with you. It's a pleasure to listen to someone as enthusiastic about 'The Old West' as you are. Also, the books I picked up are terrific, of course!

"I didn't expect neon lights or giant banners when I entered the store, but I did expect to see something telling me you were going to be there that night. After a couple of trips around the store, I discovered the display stuck way over against the west wall. The effort, or lack thereof, that B&N put into promoting your appearance seemed rather anemic. I had no idea Hampton Sides was there Sunday. If I had, I probably would have gone to see him too.

"Just wanted to write and tell you I appreciated your coming down to Tempe."
—Jerry Prather

"That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest."
—Henry David Thoreau
October 28, 2007
Got waterfalls on the brain. Not as easy as I thought (but then, what is?):

Speaking of waterfalls:

The Highest Falls?
"Angel Falls in Venezuela is the wold's tallest waterfall, at 3,212 feet. It's located in the state of Bolivar, hence perhaps the confusion with Bolivia.

"The falls is named after James 'Jimmie' Crawford Angel, a Missouri-born WWI avaitor,soldier of fortune, prospector, and bush pilot, who is generally credited as being the first to spot the falls -- in 1933 -- and report it to the waterfall-discovery authorities. Actually, he logged it in his flight book: 'I found myself a waterfall.' Not quite 'One giant waterfall for mankind,' but it'll do.

"Others claimed to have seen the cascade first, but Angel put his name on it. Source: "The Angel Falls Discovery Jangle," Daniel Buck, SOUTH AMERICAN EXPLORER, May 1995."
—Dan Buck

Beautiful day, although we broke a record for the highest temperature this late in the year (97). Went on two bike rides, took a nap. Stayed home and pretended every day would be like today (part of my sabatical fantasy). Ha.

Watched the Alfred Hitchcock classic Dial M For Murder. I had never seen it (my Netflix fix). Quite clever and fun. Enjoyed it

"You can fool too many of the people too much of the time."
— James Thurber
October 27, 2007
Woke up looking for a toe hold. Somewhere. Sputtering, sideways. The usual mind battle.

Went up to the Black Mountain Feed Store at about ten. Got a bale of hay for my two remaining chickens and a bag of dogfood ($29-something cash, plus $2 tip to the illegal who loaded the hay into my Ranger). Came home and carried the bale of hay into the chicken condo. Left it there overnight. ("What is it? Cluck Cluck." "Maybe a wide-screen TV? Cluck Cluck").

Planned on going into town at four to see the Cowboy Artist's annual show at the Phoenix Art Museum, but the girls were late and hungry, so, instead, Kathy, Deena and Frank met me at Outback Steakhouse at Tatum and Cactus for an early dinner ($55, includes tip, house account). Fun talking to them. Deena told me the ending of Gone, Baby, Gone which she didn't like, but it sounded like it has integrity.

Caught the 5:15 showing of the Wes Anderson movie Darjeeling Express ($36 for four tickets, $10 for popcorn,etc., cash). So-so, althought the ending salvaged it for me (7.5). The other troubling thing about the movie is that Owen Wilson plays a guy who apparently tried to commit suicide. Ouch! Hard to get past that.

"Ever thought of suicide Charley?"
—Jesse James (Brad Pitt) to Charley Ford (Sam Rockwell) in The Assassination of Jesse James by The Coward Robert Ford. Charley claims he never has, "Always something else I want to do," but he later does just that, killing himself with a bullet to the heart. Ouch! Ouch!

Friday, October 26, 2007

October 26, 2007 Bonus Bonus Blog
Working hard on a Tarahumara Eden scene. A four-tiered waterfall deep in the Sierra Madres cascades back to earth. Actually modeled from a real four-tiered monster, between Creel and El Fortes on the Rio Urique in Chihuahua, Mexico. Working on perspective. Here's yesterday's sketches (left) and a scratchboard attempt to capture tattered clouds, which I poached from Kathy's Spanish textbook: "Como Se Dice?" where they have a photo of The Mother of all waterfalls in Bolivia (I think it's the tallest in the world):

My hope is to give some truth in the context of the story, so that it is believable. Gee, I wonder what the Old Vaqueros have to say about that?

"A half truth is a whole lie."
—Old Vaquero Saying
October 26, 2007 Bonus Blog
Lots of stress in the office as we deal with a new partner, a new arm of the company, and the usual drop dead deadlines. I mentioned to Carole Glenn and Trish Brink this morning that I read about this swami guy in Time who has a new book out on how to eliminate stress, and Carole just told me she found it on Amazon (The Fall of The Human Intellect) and I told her I wanted a copy. She ordered two copies. Ha.

Fighting Fire With Fire
"That photo of the California fires reminded me so much of this image by English Romanticist, Turner. Painted while the building burned, he dragged his easel and canvasses out into the night and stood there until he felt he captured the horror and beauty of the event."
—Scott Matula

"Advertising is legalized lying."
—H.G. Wells
October 26, 2007
A year ago today we were in Tombstone celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the Gunfight At The O.K. Corral. Speaking of which, I had a book signing last night down at the new Tempe Marketplace Mall's Barnes & Noble, and Jerry showed up (he was also in attendance at our Bella Union events in Tombstone) for my discussion. When I asked him how he knew about the book signing, he said, "I read it on your blog." So, my blog outpulled the PR efforts of the Barnes & Noble chain. Yes, He was the lone attendee. He bought two books, Classic Gunfights, Volume II and III.

Here's the poster the store handed out for Hampton Sides (author of "Blood And Thunder") and myself. According to Jason, I oudrew Hampton, so maybe my name is a draw. Ha.

Here's the fine print if you can't read it: "Book signing and Discussion with one of the most respected and rowdiest historians on Arizona legend and lore. . ." I actually like and agree with the "rowdiest" part.

After the signing (singular), Jason Strykowski and I checked out the Manga and Graphic Novel aisle, which was adjacent to my speaking area. I picked up two titles: "Scalped: Indian Country", which is a graphic novel where The Sopranos meets the Res; and "The Fountain", from the director of Requiem For a Dream darren Aronofsky and "acclaimed artist" Kent Williams. I bought both for the art, which is very good.

Bonus Quote
"Man is always worse than most people suspect, but also generally better than most people dream."
—Reinhold Niebuhr

Slamming Kingman By Omission?
"Hey Bob, does the below statement from your new friend (October 24 blog) mean that a University Professor 'cannot' be from Kingman? Or, asked another way, is the insinuation being that Kingman is incapable of providing the cerebral human material to create a University Professor? Faye Logsdon [our beloved English teacher] would be distressed.

"By the way, I am not a resident of Kingman or 'irate Kingmanite' as you put it, I am a university professor."
—Bob The Dog

"If I were from Kingman (Oh, I forgot. I am from Kingman!) I would be truly offended."
—Ben E. Connor

My Favorite Chuck Norris "Facts"
• Chuck Norris once challenged Lance Armstrong in a "Who has more testicles?" contest. Chuck Norris won by 5.

• Chuck Norris once bet NASA he could survive re-entry without a spacesuit. On July 19th, 1999, a naked Chuck Norris re-entered the earth's atmosphere, streaking over 14 states and reaching a temperature of 3000 degrees. An embarrassed NASA publically claimed it was a meteor, and still owes him a beer.

• If you ask Chuck Norris what time it is, he always says, "Two seconds 'til." After you ask, "Two seconds 'til what?" he roundhouse kicks you in the face.

• Chuck Norris once roundhouse kicked someone so hard that his foot broke the speed of light, went back in time, and killed Amelia Earhart while she was flying over the Pacific Ocean.

A Movie For Old Men
The buzz on the Coen Brothers' forthcoming movie No Country For Old Men is getting hotter and hotter. I'm going to go see the sneak next Tuesday. Here's a couple of snippets from Ain't It

"[Javier] Bardem's Anton Chigurh is the epitome of pure screen terror. A man with intelligence, wit, resourcefulness, a carefree nature, and worst of all, a conscience the size of a crumb to create the most beautifully crafted killer that the world will hope never exists. He's a beast of a man. He's the Atticus Finch for bad people. . .

"They brought noir elements to a story that takes place in West Texas, and brought them hard, and pulled it off to make the best American crime thriller since their last crime thriller. It doesn't get much more impressive than this."

To see the entire review, check it out right here:

"Only after the last tree has been cut down; Only after the last fish has been caught; Only after the last river has been poisoned; Only then will you realize that money cannot be eaten."
—Apache prophecy

Thursday, October 25, 2007

October 25, 2007 Bonus Bonus Blog
We all know friends and relatives in the path of the fires in Cal. Here is a stunning photo taken by a Kingman classmate of mine:

Lake Mission Viejo on Tuesday Night

"And, yes we are safe. Never in danger of anything but major smoke inhalation. Three schools (of the 36 + alternative ed, etc.) had to be closed from the start; the rest were closed today and tomorrow. Winds mean bigger fires; no winds mean seriously unhealthy air quality. Double-edged. Kind of like the picture: beautiful and horrifying. This picture was taken 2-3 miles from our house. Two of our elementaries are in the middle of the territory you see. I know several of you (here or in Arizona or Utah, etc.) can relate and have your own stories. Most of my stories are about lame-brained behavior by parents and incredibly touching acts of kindness."
—Trudy (Peart) Burrus
October 25, 2007 Bonus Blog
Working on a vertical scene of four water falls, deep in the Sierra Madres:

Sometimes the stress of my life gets to me. I'm always on the move, going somewhere, speaking here, signing there (I have a book signing tonight at Barnes & Noble in Tempe). For the past several months I have been telling Kathy that my fantasy is to take ten weeks off and not go anywhere (Kathy took that ten week Semester At Sea cruise, so that's where the ten weeks came from). I just want to stay home and piddle around, go for a walk, take a nap—no deadlines, no budget meetings, no management hassles.

Someone, not Kathy, has speculated that I would go stir crazy within two weeks, but I want to find out. I have a hunch I would enjoy it immensely. Anyway, that's the fantasy. So, imagine my interest when I read in the new Time magazine about a business guru, Swami Parthasarathy, who enlightens CEOs on the real nature of stress:

"You believe work tires you? Work can never tire you! What tires you are your worries about the past and anxiety for the future."

The Swami, who's 80, (oops, sorry, had to do a phone interview with the Salt Lake Journal on our pick of Heber City as the number one Poetry Gathering), says all stress is internal. He starts his day at 4 a.m. and ends it at 9:30 p.m., never needing a break or vacation, "with plenty of time to maintain his health with yoga and cricket." He's written ten books ("every word [written], between 4 and 6 in the morning. After six, it's not worth reading.")

So, I'm going home for lunch, to take a nap and think about all of this.

"You are the architect of your fortune. You are the architect of your misfortune."
—Swami Parthasarathy

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

October 25, 2007
I'm reading a great book: "Tarahumara: Where Night Is The Day of The Moon." Excellent imagry and commentary. Illustrating a four-tiered waterfall from a photo in the book. Going to be sweet for the ending of Mickey Free.

Beautiful morning out. Took the dogs (minus Bob The Dog) up the road at about 6:34 AM.

What's In A Name?
“BBB: I think a better name for Bob The Dog would be Bob The D--kwad.”
—Daniel Patterson

“BBB: No, this guy is wrong. He should just be known as Kingman Bob.”
—A former Kingman resident

BBB: The guy is a professor! What did you expect? Case closed.”
—Professor Paul Andrew Hutton

"It takes one to know one."
—Old Vaquero Saying
October 24, 2007 Bonus Bonus Blog
Some things just dog a person, like this:

Musings From Afar
"I wonder how this conflict between Bob, the dog and Bob, the Bell would be written if we heeded the observations from the New Yorker and used the services of a Narrator?

Call me Narrator!
Through the mystical looking glass high atop the human nature observatory I chance to focus on a big hat in a cluttered office. It’s noir shadow revealing a wild-eyed, twisted face. Shoulders shrug, the hat shakes back and forth and the face, that anguished face, cries out, 'what more can I do?' He slumps over his keyboard and sends his dilemma echoing through the internet.

"At a rest stop somewhere along the cross-hatched highway of accusations and innuendo, sits someone of importance who has been neglected and rejected. 'I’ll not accept your apology', he muses. 'I don’t care if was someone else’s mistake. I didn’t get what I came for and you’re the one who has to pay'.

"And I, from my lofty perch, want to shout 'Can’t we all just get along? Can’t we admit that everyone makes mistakes? Can’t we….' Instead, I bite my tongue, sip my mid-day chocolate-mint refresher and shift the telescope to a more interesting window where two flight attendants get really involved while watching Dancing with the Stars."

"I always felt that the great high privilege, relief, and comfort of friendship was that one had to explain nothing."
—Katherine Mansfield
October 24, 2007 Bonus Blog
Proof that the universe can be rather testy (I announced to the world recently right here on the blog that it is my goal to forgive everyone before I die):

On Oct 24, 2007, at 7:23 AM, bob the dog wrote:
"No, you really don't seem to get it, what you could do is apologize to the several very elderly ladies seated near us at the scheduled 5:30 p.m. time. They obviously had known you or your family and were eager to see you only to be blown off by you and lied to with the bands 'family emergency' announcement (even they didn't buy it).

"By the way, I am not a resident of Kingman or 'irate Kingmanite' as you put it, I am a university professor."
—Bob The Dog

Bob The Professor Dog,
Oh, I get it. Do you? I've already apologized to you and Mrs. Lamb and her friends. I gave you a Cliff Notes version of my speech. I offered you a free True West magazine. What else would you like me to do professor?
October 24, 2007
The current issue of the New Yorker has a thought-provoking piece on narration in books, movies and DVDs. The piece, written by Adam Gopnik, makes some profound leaps of imagination, such as:

"Western literature begins not with the Trojan War but with the poet's announcement that he is going to tell a story about the Trojan War."

And: "The trouble with popular entertainment is perhaps not that we don't have enough strong stories but that there are not enough weak narrators—not enough Ishmaels, whose slack and troubled attentiveness, accumulated sighs and second thoughts, make the Ahabs live."

And: "Movies need their Thompsons as much as their Kanes. (Thompson? He's the roving reporter who makes the story go for Welles; nobody remembers his name, but without him there's no Rosebud, and no movie.)"

And: "What makes writing matter is not a story, cleanly told, but a voice, however odd or ordinary, and a point of view, however strange or sentimental."

This applies directly to our efforts on the Top Secret Project and our narrator, Freddy Remington (he said, speaking directly to the Top Secret Writer)

In meetings all morning. We're creating a preservation component and it's pretty exciting. Ken. O. flew in and is spear heading the drive.

Went to lunch at Tonto Bar & Grill. Beautiful day out. We all had the Cobb salad ($55 plus $11 tip, biz account).

Bouncing back and forth between my black and white efforts and sepia wash. As I move into the second half of the journey towards 10,000 bad drawings, I feel a strong pull in the direction of the sepia shadows. There's something in there (below, left) that intrigues me. It seems mysterious. I can't believe I even painted it. That's exciting.

The black and white page is also strong (I had a thicker felt-tip pen). FYI: the angry man at bottom, right is a face off the current issue of Newsweek. He's allegedly a Pakistani student. One angry mo-fo. No?

"Meaning resides in the margins."
—Andrew Gopnik, in the same New Yorker piece:"The Corrections: Abridgment, enrichment, and the nature of art"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

October 23, 2007 Bonus Blog
Excellent article in the newest issue of Wired magazine on how Manga has conquered America. Manga, of course, is Japanese comics and I knew it was big, but I had no idea. Get this: "in the last six years, Manga has gone from being about a third of the $75 million graphic-novel industry to claiming almost two-thirds of what is now a $330 million movement!"

Yes, Manga sales have tripled in the US in the past four years. And, here's the kicker, the generation that grew up on Pokemon are now voracious readers of traditional Manga—which is to read from right to left! And from the back to the front! It is a sign of hipness to be able to do this, and it's changing everything.

One of these Manga properties, Dragonball, started as a 20-page-comic in 1984 and today it is a multibillion-dollar international franchise comprising movies, games and cards. This whole phemom is being called "The Manga Industrial Complex." Just amazing.

So I am working on a graphic novel and could possibly catch part of this wave. Or, maybe not:

Manga Mania Means Nothing In Mohave County!
"BBB: So you go to Kingman for free. You are treated like a nobody in your beloved home town. Now the one Kingman fan you actually have is so pissed off because you were not at the appointed time and place that he obviously wants to shoot you--and essentially labels you a liar when you attempt to explain. You offer him a free TW despite the fact that he already told you that he is so angry he is cancelling his subscription (which will just piss him off even more). And I thought I had troubles."
—The Top Secret Writer
October 23, 2007
Book alert: Gary Wilson's long awaited book on Kid Curry, Tiger of The Wild Bunch is finally out. Gary spent 11 years researching the outlaw and has dispelled many myths about him. Gary helped me out with the Pike Landusky shooting and provided much historical detail to that encounter.

The Assassination of Jesse James is struggling along: domestic total as of Oct. 21, 2007: $2,178,826. The budget was $30 million, so they have a ways to go. The film opened in England and France this week. I have a hunch the French are going to go crazy over this film.

Had a snafu in Kingman on the time of my speech. By the way, I did the parade and speech for free, and didn't charge them for my hotel, etc. Here's the excahnge so far:

On Oct 21, 2007, at 1:59 PM, bob the dog wrote:
"Judging by the October 19, blog entry copied below 'returning by noon tomorrow' it's obvious that you had no intention of keeping your 5:30 p.m. speaking engagement at Kingman Locomotive Park on Oct. 20th. Too bad those of us who waited until well after 5:30 to be told that you had a 'family emergency', hadn't read your blog on Friday, then we would have known that you had no intention honoring your speaking committment. No wonder there were so few people there.

"We have forwarded your blog to the event organizers and other interested parties and are cancelling our subscriptions to your publications.

"Thanks for nothing."
—Bob The Dog

Bob The Dog,
When I called my contact at the Beale Days Parade, she told me they had me down for 1:30. I asked if they could move me up to 11. She told me they could. I was not aware of the 5:30 speaking time.

On Oct 22, 2007, at 1:17 PM, bob thedog wrote:
"Then why the announcement that 'Bob Boze Bell won't be speaking due to a family emergency' that was provided to the people waiting after 5:30 p.m., obviously that was a complete lie and someone was aware that you were supposed to be speaking at that time or there would have been no such announcement. Also, a schedule printed several times in the Kingman Daily Miner had the 5:30 p.m. time listed as did posters placed in business around town, we have copies of both."
—Bob The Dog

Bob The Dog,
All I can say is I'm sorry you didn't get to hear my speech. The high points are these:

• My father had a gas station on Route 66 and the price of gas was 39.9 cents a gallon (and we got complaints all day long).

• My grandmother lived up on Hilltop on Jefferson Street and she told me how we were related to outlaws. Also, when we watched the TV show "Wyatt Earp" she told me "Wyatt Earp was the biggest jerk to ever walk the West." That set me off on a life of finding out the truth about all the Old West icons.

• I used to read True West magazine, and bought my copies at Desert Drugs in downtown Kingman (on Front Street, or Andy Devine as it's called now).

• I remember when they hauled the locomotive to its current location, building tracks right down the center of Route 66 and pulling it with cranes.

• At about the same time I saw a brand new Edsel in the show room of Dunton Motors. And, ironically, it was one of the last I ever saw.

• I received my nickname "Boze" on Dickie Grounds Field (right across the street from Locomotive Park). I ran backwards to first and second base in a baseball game with Needles and Coach Baca called me "Piaso," and cruel teammates, mainly Charlie Waters (whose father owned the Mohave Miner), picked up on this and called me "Bozo." Then it got shortened to Boze. It stuck.

• Lt. Beale's camels came through slightly before this (1857). The camels were imported from Persia and spent three months at sea, lashed on deck, on their knees. When they got off the boat in Indianola, Texas, they romped and ran, so glad to be free.

• The toughest part of the journey was at the Colorado River. Beale and his men lost 11 horses and 3 mules trying to cross. The Mohave Indians retrieved the carcasses and had a feast.

• Martha Summerhays came through Mohave County in the 1870s. She was a newlywed, married to a soldier on his way to Fort Apache, via a steamer from San Francisco. She couldn't believe how out of date the women's clothing was, who she met in Yuma, coming out of Arizona on their husband's tour of duty (think Iraq). On the steamer coming up to Fort Mojave, it was so hot, the soldiers and their wives stayed on the west side of the boat, and in the afternoon, on the east. The boat listed both ways all the way up the river.

• When Martha and the troops were crossing Golden Valley, coming towards Beale Springs, one of the soldier's dogs went crazy from the heat, and ran to its death. Martha wrote in her diary, "What a God forsaken country. No civilized people will ever live here." Her prediction is true to this day.

See, you didn't miss much.


P.S. In 1999, two crazy friends and myself bought True West and moved it to Cave Creek, Arizona. May I send you a copy?

"Don't worry about it, I think they got what they paid for."
—Kathy Radina

Monday, October 22, 2007

October 22, 2007 Bonus Bonus Blog
Well, when I step in it, I really step in it. The following email is in response to my review of Jesse James where I said, and I quote, "I felt genuine empathy for Robert Ford! No Jesse movie has ever attempted or
achieved that."

Got this just now:

"Have you ever seen the peculiar Sam Fuller film, 'I Shot Jesse James,' from 1949?

"It is more about Ford than James, and how Ford, re-enacting the murder on stage over the years, warps his personality.

"It's currently out on DVD in a cheap set (by Criterion standards) of the first three Fuller films (including the Arizona history story, 'The Baron of Arizona' with Vincent Price as a slightly fictionalized James Addison Reavis (1843-1914, who attempted fraudulently to seize Arizona land-grant properties.

"(The third film in the set, 'The Steel Helmet' is one of the first war movies ever made in Hollywood to question the pieties of war films, and the pieties of America's moral superiority -- a North Korean captured soldier taunts a Black American about his so-called freedom in the U.S. It's a pretty good film, too.)"
—Richard Nilsen, The Arizona Republic
October 22, 2007 Bonus Bonus Blog
Okay, here are the frenetic, last thumbnails of the run-up to the halfway point (5,000 sketches):

Like I said, I woke up this morning, looking at the far wall. I thought I saw Mickey Free on a white horse in the cup on the wall. It looked like an Apache rendering of the boy, so I went and got my sketchbook and whipped out what I saw (the blurred version).

After I was finished, I walked up and put on my glasses and saw the birds. Hmmmmmm.

"Draw what you see, not what you think you see."
—Old Vaquero Artista Saying
October 22, 2007
Went home for lunch and whipped out the 5,000 sketch. It's a bit of a reversal, from what I've been doing. I woke up this morning and looked at a Tarahumara cup on the far wall of our bedroom. I didn't have my glasses on. I went with that.

Anyway, our server has been acting up all day (Meghan left to work at home) and it won't load scans from the server onto the blog. I'll try again later.


Bye Bye Ms. Peru Piggy Pie
"So I woke up a few days ago to the screaming of what turned out to be a pig. My host mom said in her heavy Quechua accent, ]van a matar chancho'. So I jumped up on the rock wall that seperates our house from my host dad's son's house and saw that they had the beast on the ground and were tying its legs. They all laughed when they saw me on the wall. 'Tomas quiere mirar'. The next part gets a little heavy for the weak at heart. Using a razorblade, they cut a whole in her backside and pulled out her eggs. They then took a steak to her heart with a hammer and through the screaming she slowly died.

"The reason they killed the pig was to celebrate the completion of putting on the roof on the newly built parts of the health post. The idea being that people from the town show up to help the contracted workers and when its finished there's a celebration and food. Well I showed up thursday at 8:30 to work and I was the only one from the town that came. A couple of guys showed up two hours before we finished and some ladies came to serve chicha but that was it. I worked my ass off all day with these guys. I was in charge of throwing buckets of water into the cement mixer. The pig afterward was delicious."
—Tomas Bell

"If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven't done anything yet."
—Lou Holtz
October 21, 2007
Worked all morning on scenes for The Top Secret Project. Did a whole gaggle of black and white thumbnails. Got ready to go down into the Beast to see a movie, and counted up the sketches. Did 21, which puts me at 4,999 sketches. Not a bad place to stop. I'll post number 5,000 tomorrow.

At 2:30 Kathy and I drove down to the Harkins at 101 to see The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford ($14 for two, popcorn $5.50, left a .50 cent tip). About 100 people in the theatre. I really enjoyed the whole experience (the time flew by), although I have to agree with Jason Strykowski that it seemed more like a History Channel documentary with a bigger budget. But I say that not as a knock, because I love those History Channel docs. Some of my friends have knocked the narration, but I really enjoyed it. And, this is a movie I want to own. It is the most honest retelling of the Jesse James story I have ever seen. Now I'm sure the Ted Yeatmans of the world will nitpick it to death, but it created an accurate world for me. Not one cowboy (although one of the only dings I would give it is in the Kansas City scenes they had too many saddle horses, but at least they were dressed as businessmen and not cowboys!). The acting is superb. Brad has never been more nuanced and menacing (he said in a recent interview he hates most of the scripts he gets sent because it's all the same guy. In this film, I can assure you, it ain't that guy). Casey Affleck (as Robert Ford) is brilliant and so is Sam Rockwell (as Charley Ford). Sam Shepard as Frank James was dead on, I only wish he could have been in the film more. Even the police officer from the TV show Monk was brilliant in his small part (Sheriff Timberlake?). And, here's the kicker: At the end I felt genuine empathy for Robert Ford! No Jesse movie has ever attempted or achieved that. Congrats to all. It is a work of art. I'd give it five stars and a good solid nine, on a scale of ten.

"It is true that no one can harm the person who wears armor. But no one can help him, either."
—Kristin Hunter
October 20, 2007
Got to Kingman last night at about six. 177 mile run. Checked into the Hampton Inn Suites on Stockton Hill Road (special parade rate: $99). Got down to the Beale Days Parade deployment area at 8:30 (at 6th and Beale, in the parking lot of the old Safeway). Checked in with Paulette Dollarhide and ran into old classmate June Smith, her son and her mom, who rode in the parade). Rode in a new Ford F-150 down the parade route, Beale Street of course. Gave away two boxes of True Wests en route. Kids would run out and I'd give them the mags. One snotty kid gave the magazine back, "I don't want this." Ha. Kids today.

Also, I was standing in the back of the Ford with no identification on the truck. So I had to yell out who I was and why I was standing in the truck. Even at that, when we rounded a corner I said to a pretty mother sitting on the curb, "I'll bet you're wondering who the hell I am?" And she replied, "I'll bet you sell Fords." Ouch.

The parade ended at Railroad Park and I jumped out and walked over to the tent where I was to speak. No one was there so I walked back up to get my car. On the way up Spring Street, ran into my old Eighth Grade Coach Les Byram and his wife. Nice talk with them. Les is the mayor of Kingman.

Spoke at 11 (got an irate email from a Kingmanite who said I was scheduled to speak at 5:30). After the short talk, two old classmates came up to me: Joe Hart and Richard Glancy. We chatted about being old and old Kingman. When I mentioned in my speech that I remembered the day the steam engine arrived in Locomotive Park (they built tracks right off the rail line and onto Route 66, then pulled it into position with cranes), the young people looked at me like I am old as dirt. Ha.

Did my daily sketches in room 421 looking out at the Cerbats. When I was a kid, I ran all over those hills. None of the houses in the sketches were there when I was growing up. But then, neither was the Hampton Inn. Ha:

Checked out of the Hampton at one and drove home. Nasty wreck south of the Santa Maria River. Two cars way off in the bushes and Joshua Trees. Met ambulences and fire trucks all the way to Wickenburg and beyond, all going out to the wreck.

Got home at four to work on the Source Book and the Top Secret Project. Worked late.

Long day, but enjoyed the quality time in my hometown.

"I'd walk through hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball."
—Pete Rose

Friday, October 19, 2007

October 19, 2007 Bonus Blog
Leaving for Kingman at three. Returning tomorrow at noon. Going to be a short one. Got some good press, thanks to Roger Galloway of Lake Havasu. You can check out the press coverage at:

And the radio interview will be accessible in the upper right hand corner. Click on Good Sunday.

Worked on the Toast of The Town postcard with Robert Ray today. Here's what he came up with:

Not bad. Should work nicely.

Two of my former employers and nemesis(s?), Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, are in jail. Too bad I already forgave them. Ha. Actually, I'm kind of proud of the two jailbirds. America's Toughest Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, is out to get them, and in the process (Jim and Mike allegedly leaked Grand Jury stuff), Joe is making them into Freedom of The Press Legends. This is the kind of stuff that gives both of them erections and I hate to admit it but I'm mildly turned on myself.

"All we have of freedom
all we use or know
This our fathers bought for us,
long and long ago."

—Rudyard Kipling
October 19, 2007
Taking off today for Kingman. Big Beale Days celebration tomorrow. Going to ride in the parade and then talk about Lt. Beale, poaching directly from Paul Andrew Hutton's excellent piece on the Beale Camel Campaign in the 1850s. The parade will take place on Beale Street in downtown Kingman.

Last night, Joel Klasky and I manned a True West table down at Scottsdale Main Street Artwalk Night. Tons of people, many Cowboy Artist celebrities walking the streets. Beautiful night. Legendary Joe Bethencourt played music next to us and I really enjoyed his music. It's funny, Joe has been a musical fixture in the Valley for over 40 years and yet I had never met him until last night. He played some cool oldstyle Arizona songs, like "Glory Trail", AKA "High Chin Bob." Here's a sample lyric:

"And now I know beyond a doubt the heroes I have read about are only fools who stuck it out, until the end of mortal breath."
—Charles Badger Clark

Now that is one fantastic lyric, no? Joe also got off a couple funny quips. Like this one:

"If it wasn't for the cows they'd just be boys."
—Joe Bethencourt

Thursday, October 18, 2007

October 18, 2007 Bonus Bonus Blog
Last Friday my daughter Deena came by the office and she asked me what we were working on and I said, "We need an idea for a postcard for our annual Town Of The Year issue." Without even pausing she said, "Have an Indian and a cowboy toasting tea cups."

Not bad, number one daughter.

And the headline is: "Toast Of The (#1) Town."

Went home for lunch and poached a Remington head from one of the oodles of books I have. I love his profiles with the big mustaches.

"Walls turned sideways are bridges."
—General George S. Patton (actually Angela Davis, but I liked it better when I thought it was Patton)
October 18, 2007
Last night I had a conversation with Kathy about problematic relationships. You know, people we hate. No, that's too strong. We don't really hate anyone, we just get very irritated with certain people. Her and I have different lists, although there is some overlap as you might expect. After we compared notes about the ones that really bug us, I told her that I have come to the conclusion that my goal for the rest of my life is to forgive everyone.

Meanwhile, I have a new ritual in the mornings where I force myself to sit down at the computer and bang out a scene for the Top Secret Project. Whenever I sit down I am fighting pre-failure, pre-fatigue and all negativity, but I just keep going ("Write a little every day, without hope, without despair."). Lo and behold, it just starts coming out. I then forward the scene to the Top Secret Writer for his input. I call it playing ping pong. So far, it's been mostly ping and very little pong.

Like I said, I'm trying to forgive everyone.

"One of the most time-consuming things is to have an enemy."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

October 17, 2007 Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Blog
A month or so ago I was doing a book signing at Barnes & Noble in Scottsdale and gave a talk beforehand to talk about the gunfights in my latest book, Classic Gunfights, Volume III. One of the stories I told was the story of the Apache Kid's escape, and how one of the Apache prisoners grabbed Hunkydory Holme's Winchester and ran up to shoot Eugene Middleton, the stage driver, in the face (he survived). But, as I was describing this, I said, for dramatic impact, "Imagine a guy with a thirty-thirty shooting at you from ten feet away and hitting you in the face."

I finished my talk and asked if there were any questions. A guy in the back raises his hand. He's an outdoor type, husky, farmer's tan. He says, "Hey, Boze, could you explain to me how an Apache could shoot someone in 1888 with a rifle that wasn't created until the 1890s?"

Well, we all laughed and I cringed, to say the least. As I drove home with a head the size of a shrunken pea, I made a mental note to myself: "Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use gun references in the future when speaking."

Unfortunately, I should have expanded that mental referendum to include the written word:

Bisley Unwisely?
“Bob, in your new ad for Mickey Free in the current issue of True West, Remington says, 'In 1888, I met a most unusual character at San Carlos… He rode a Mammoth Jack, 18-hands high, And he carried a long-barreled Sharps, a BISLEY COLT....'

"Friend Bob, the Colt Bisley model was produced between 1894-1915. Is Remington writing about seeing him in 1888 or later (after 1894)?"
—Richard Ignarski

You see, Remington saw Mickey Free in 1888, but when he was writing up his memories of the events, it was in 1896 and he misremembered what Free was carrying.

At least that would be my defense if I was a flaky liar. Instead I'm just flaky, and didn't know Jack about the dates of the Bisley, just liked the name and thought it would be a cool weapon for Mickey to carry.

"Note to self: 'Don't do specific gun stuff without talking to the experts. Better yet, don't even mention gun specifics—'he had a long-barreled pistol'."
October 17, 2007 Bonus Bonus Bonus Blog
Inspired by our trip down to see Mark McDowell's studio at Cattle Track in Scottsdale, Jason Strykowski ordered several books off Amazon for us to study. The first is God's Man: A Novel In Woodcuts by Lynd Ward, and the second is Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Graphic Novels, featuring woodcut masters, Frans Masereel, Lyn Ward, Giacomo Patri and Laurence Hyde.

Both books have a stark brilliance to them, and supposedly there is a physiological reason for this. According to George Walker, the author of Graphic Witness, "The human eye consists of rods and cones that process the reflected light of our world. These signals are then translated into color and form for processing by our brain. The rods, which are sensitive only to black and white, are the first components activated in a baby's eyes. That's why infants readily respond to high-contrast black-and-white images. We are hardwired to appreciate black-and-white artwork.

"Let's not resist its temptation. I know I can't."
—George A. Walker

I took the books home for lunch today and took a good look. Got very excited and brought two black Essdee scraperboards into the office. I quickly whipped out this mug shot of The Apache Kid. Not a great likeness but there is some truth in there. Gee, I wonder if George has anything to say about that?

"The truth is always easier to take in black and white."
—George A. Walker
October 17, 2007 Bonus Blog
One of our prettiest staffers is getting married. Ms. Abby Pearson, our crack designer, is marrying Mr. Scott Goodrich this coming January 19th.

We often talk about the graying of our audience, and how do we reach younger readers. Here's a Hollywood example of reaching younger viewers at the expense of people my age:

"This new generation may all become deaf.

"Attending the movie 3:10 to Yuma with a friend, the sound was so loud, she had to remove her hearing aids. And I held my hands over my ears the whole time.

"This is not what concerns me. Growing up in the 1930s, movies were not allowed to show violence or sex. Even married couples were shown in twin beds because the actors were not married.

"Obviously, things have greatly changed, and it is no wonder we have so much violence and sexual harassment today.

"Thinking back to the 'good ol' days,' we left the keys in the car when shopping downtown, did not have keys to the house beause we never locked it anyway, and my parents allowed my 13-year-old girlfriend and I to walk home from the evening movie without concern for our safety.

"Perhaps if we reinstated the ban on violence and sex in the media, we would experience a safer environment."
—Martha Ackerman, Scottsdale, letter to the editor in The Arizona Republic

"To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given a chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy."
—Bette Davis
October 18, 2007
Much cooler out in the mornings. Ran across three coyotes on the bike ride. Buddy Boze Hatkiller runs among them with his tail wagging and they snarl and snip at him (he's got the hind end scars to prove it). Amazing how dumb luck plays in survival. Until it runs out of course.

Speaking of dumb luck and running out of it, my email conversations with writer Dan Buck (see below), got me to thinking about the endless cycle in Tinseltown:

Hollywood Ending
You are miserable and unfulfilled. People think you are a loser. You lock yourself away and work on a project that will prove everyone wrong. It fails. You try again and it fails again. So does your marriage. But you are stubborn and you keep at it and lo and behold, your umpteenth project hits the jackpot, but unfortunately you gave away the rights cheaply because of child support needs and now you want to repeat the jackpot part in order to cash in and to prove it wasn't a fluke. You fail at that, but you have connections now and you get a dogbone assignment to write something tawdry, but it pays boatloads of money. Now you are fat, rich and jaded and you wish you were as happy as you were when you were first starting out. You are miserable and unfulfilled.

The End.

Jesse James Sputtering Off To Respectability?
"Domestic total for TAJJBTCRF is $1,404,225.00 which is not terrible for three cities, 163 theatres, and twenty-four days. Movie is two hours, forty minutes long. Budget was $30 M. I think it will be an earner and an award winner."
—Alan Huffines

Working on white space and specific faces, this one Powhattan Clark (the tall guy, below, left) and two very unhappy Apache lovers behind him. More white space attempts, and design

"The good is the greatest rival of the best."
—Nellie L. McClung

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

October 16, 2007
My Aunt Fern Hauan, 95, passed away last Friday at the Good Samaritan Center in Forest City, Iowa. Funeral service will be Wednesday, October 17, 2007 at 1:00 PM at Bethany Lutheran Church in Thompson with Pastor Mark Decker officiating. Burial wil be at Rose Hill Cemetery in Thompson. Visitation will be Wednesday, October 17 from 11 AM until time of service at the church.

Fern Lucille Hauan was born in McCallsburg, Iowa on August 27, 1912, the daughter of Paul and Sophia (Strum) Lura. She moved with her family to Winnebago County in 1920 and received her education in Thompson. She graduated from high school there in 1930. She was my father's mother's brother's wife.

Back in the 1970s she made us a homemade Norwegian quilt, which we treasure and use to this day.

My son Thomas sent me this photo of himself in Peru:

At first I was concerned because I thought he might be going into politics, or worse yet, a life in media. But, no, he was just goofing at an empty podium. Whew! A life dedicated to humor I can handle.

"Like father, like his son."
—Old Vaquero Saying
October 16, 2007 Bonus Blog
This might seem too obvious to even mention, but I have always been fascinated by gunfights, and not just Old West gunfights. When I was eight or nine I would go up to my grandmother's house in Kingman and while she told me stories about outlaws she knew, or we were related to, I would draw pictures on her dining room table (well, actually on paper on her dining room table) of guys shooting it out. For some reason, the idea of illustrating where gunfighters stood and where they fired and what they hit, has always fascinated me (see Classic Gunfights, Volume I, Volume II and Volume III).

So, last Saturday night I went with my lovely wife to a party in Mesa. After a fine catered dinner in the back yard we retired to the carport for a Casino Nite deal, with three dealers. Kathy and I sat at the Texas Hold'em table and the dealer, a silver-haired, gregarious guy who looked to be in his mid-sixties, taught us the game and entertained us with his stories. I'm not much of a card player but I really started paying attention when he said he was a sniper for the LAPD in a former life. I immediately asked, "We're you in the SLA shootout?"

He laughed and told me they were so outgunned in that fight they were lucky to have survived. Ever since I read about that fight in the newspapers I have always wondered what actually went down. Here are the basic perameters of the fight, which I Googled:

May 17, 1974: Six heavily armed members of the SLA, including leader Donald DeFreeze, die in a shootout and fire that consumes their Los Angeles hideout. [Patty] Hearst and Bill and Emily Harris escape because they had been stopped at a store for shoplifting. The Harrises eventually serve eight years in prison for the Hearst kidnapping.

After the card games broke up, I approached him and asked him for his card.

I called him this afternoon and this is what he told me (he requested that his name not be used): he was part of a ten-man police unit in Los Angeles. He was armed with a 308 Remington bolt-action rifle. When they got the call that the Symbionese Liberation Army (the radicals who kidnapped Patty Hearst), were holed up in a house in LA, every unit in the entire region sped to the area. There was only one problem: they were two blocks away at the wrong house (no Google Earth). In the meantime a TV reporter (Christie Lund?) walked up to the right house and asked if she could interview the inhabitants, so Donald DeFreeze, Charlie Wolfe, and seven other fighters had time to get ready to rumble. They were all armed with fully automatic weapons (while serving time in prison Wolfe learned how to bypass the M-1 mechanism and make it fully automatic).

So many bullets were sprayed in the ensuing firefight that houses three blocks away had bullet holes in them. The police were totally outgunned and my guy says the SLA could have come out of the house at any time and nobody could have stopped them.

Instead, they were hunkered down for the Last Stand. They had been using the house as a safe haven for several weeks, and they threw up plywood sheets inside the main walls and poured dirt in between, which absorbed most of the firepower from the outside. My guy said the only thing they could do was "shoot off their fingers when they stuck their guns out of the portholes." I think he said he shot three fingers off one of the shooters.

Ever since I read the news reports in 1974 I always pictured the snipers trying to find a clear shot from 150 yards and through the trees, etc. but when I asked him where he was he said "Twenty feet behind the rear door—and out of bullets." They had never been involved in this kind of fight and had only brought two boxes of shells each.

Someone went to the property division where impounded guns and stuff are stored, and when they came back, he got a MP-30, one of those German WWII machine guns with the wire stock. As the fight resumed, SLA member Nancy Ling Perry appeared at the back door and he cut her in half. She fell to a sitting position, in two parts.

When I asked him what it felt like, he said, "it all kicks into slow motion action and you think you've fired two shots and you've fired ten or fifteen times, and they're going so fast, and you feel like you're going so slow. You can actually go into shock. You feel lethargic, you're coherant to a certain degree. And when people ask you if you're okay, you say you're fine and they say, 'Then why are you talking so slow?'"

"Give peace a chance."
—John Lennon
October 16, 2007
Just got off the phone with a radio interview from Lake Havasu. More on that later. just got this review on The Assasination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford and wanted to get it up here:

"Even three days after seeing it, I think TAJJBTCRF may be one of the best period films made. This one will not be for everybody—it is a mature BIO-PIC concerning the complicated relationships between two men. What little action there is, is violent and bloody but conscientiously awkward, almost like a local dinner theatre might attempt. This is not to say it looks bad, just the reverse—it looks all too real.

"Since we all stand on the shoulders of giants, this film seems to have been influenced by THE GREYFOX, BARRY LYNDON and a bit of HEAVEN’S GATE. Depending on what one thinks of these films will probably determine how TAJJBTCRF will be received.

"A viewing of RIDE WITH THE DEVIL followed by THE LONG RIDERS will do anyone a good turn to refresh the palate prior to seeing the new movie. It is the perfect threequel, but at the same time in many ways surpasses the other two. Production design, wardrobe, and dialogue are all as good as can be found. The minor quibble is the horse equipage—it sucks. Probably not productions’ fault so much as the wranglers. Until films put saddlery in the props category, it will not get better. Wranglers generally bring every high cantled/pommeled saddle they can find and assume it will be right. I have no quarrel with this on background, but for goodness sake, the principles need accurate saddles. Our mutual friend David Caarrico built nice gun leather for the film and it’s a pity he was not allowed to build saddles as well.

"The movie flows at a 19th Century pace, which some might say is slow, but it is not at all. The editing will not allow us to get in front of the story; we must follow at the stroll rather than the overthetoptwohourblockbuster speed. It worked perfectly.

"Each scene is masterfully composed. The streets are filled with people going about their days and dressed as they would have been in NYC or London (rather then the normal back and forth in front of the camera stuff). The DP was fantastic, spare, stark, and beautiful. Many shots are through appropriate period windows (remember the dustup with DEADWOOD?) and the saloons are cramped and authentic going even further than TOMBSTONE in this regard.

"I stand by my original comments that this is not a Western, but rather the final act of a failed insurgency. While preparing for the only train robbery in the film, Wood sings 'I’m A Good Ol’ Rebel' (last heard on film in THE LONG RIDERS), and an important story point reminds us from whence Jesse came, when he beats a young man while questioning him, then stops and weeps like a child must be remembered from teenage Jesse’s beating by Union forces at the family farm during the War. I understood his shame because I know the backstory, others may not.

"I have long been a fan of the novel, and own a threadbare mass market edition from the eighties. I am reminded of LONESOME DOVE in that both novel and mini-series do not detract from each other but form some sort of continuum and compliment each other. The same can be said for TAJJBTCRF. I eagerly await a Special Edition DVD with the uncut movie."

Monday, October 15, 2007

October 15, 2007 Bonus Bonus Bonus Blog
Richard Nilsen wrote a spectacular piece in Sunday's Arizona Republic on the state of art and art galleries in the Valley of the Sun. Some highlights:

The failure rate of art galleries is "nearly 100 percent—almost every gallery eventually goes out of business."

I also loved these definitions of art terms:

• Acid Free—The art-world marketing adjective equivalent to "free range."

• Art Gallery—Like a shooting gallery, only with paintings instead of tin ducks, and critics instead of rifles.

• Atelier—Originally, a master artist's studio, with his apprentices or assistants. Now, a fancy way of saying the art was made by the assistants and signed by the superstar artist.

• Giclee—A $4 word for a computer inkjet print. . .

• Group Show—An art exhibition, catering not to the individual ego of an artist, but to the common jealousies of several.

• Retrospective—A show looking at the work of a single artists over his lifetime and demonstrating the development of a body of work. Often reserved for the very young.

• Stable—The group of artists represented by a commercial gallery. The suggestion of cattle is not unnoticed by artists.

Ha. I also loved this line:

"People think art galleries are glamorous. Well, who do you think cleans the toilets?"
—Victoria Boyce, gallery owner
October 15, 2007 Bonus Bonus Blog
Looking forward to seeing a media screening of No Country For Old Men in two weeks. Here's the synopsis of the Coen brothers film:

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is a mesmerizing new thriller from Academy Award®-winning filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, based on the acclaimed novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning American master, Cormac McCarthy. The time is our own, when rustlers have given way to drug-runners and small towns have become free-fire zones. Featuring a cast that includes Academy Award®-winner Tommy Lee Jones (“The Fugitive,” “Men in Black”), Josh Brolin (“Grindhouse”), Academy Award®-nominee Javier Bardem (“The Sea Inside”), Academy Award®-nominee Woody Harrelson (“The People Vs. Larry Flynt”) and Kelly Macdonald (“Trainspotting”), NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is written for the screen and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, produced by Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, and executive produced by Robert Graf and Mark Roybal.
The story begins when Llewelyn Moss (BROLIN) finds a pickup truck surrounded by a sentry of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law –in the person of aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell (JONES) – can contain. As Moss tries to evade his pursuers – in particular a mysterious mastermind who flips coins for human lives (BARDEM) – the film simultaneously strips down the American crime drama and broadens its concerns to encompass themes as ancient as the Bible, and as bloodily contemporary as this morning’s headlines.

And here's the poster. Sweet, eh?

Meet The Top Secret Project's MacGuffin
A MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin or Maguffin) is a plot device that motivates the characters and/or advances the story, but has little other relevance to the story.

The director and producer Alfred Hitchcock popularized both the term "MacGuffin" and the technique. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Hitchcock explained the term in a 1939 lecture at Columbia University: "[We] have a name in the studio, and we call it the 'MacGuffin.' It is the mechanical element that usually crops up in any story. In crook stories it is most always the necklace and in spy stories it is most always the papers."

There are a couple things to notice about this MacGuffin. Note the time on the watch (lower left), and note the back of the watch (two lambs, one lying down). These clues will point directly towards the climax. Kind of exciting. I sketched these off of three photos that came from a museum in Texas who has Glenn Reynold's MacGuffin, I mean watch.

I'm still a long way from the goal line on the project, but I try to take a whack at it every day. Gee, I wonder if Goethe has anything to say on this subject?

"Self-knowledge is best learned, not by contemplation, but by action. Strive to do your duty and you will soon discover of what stuff you are made."
October 15, 2007 Bonus Blog
As promised, here are two photos from the Bison Museum opening on Saturday. The first was taken in the museum and shows Marshall Trimble (at left in red), Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross (in saddle), U.S. Senator Jon Kyl and me squatting and spitting:

After the tour of the museum we went outside for the ribbon cutting. Cutting with fake, plastic scissors, left to right: former Dalllas Cowboys quarterback Danny White, BBB, Senator Jon Kyl, Mayor Manross, Marshall Trimble and Gary Martinson (the owner of the museum):

Thanks to Larry Manross (Mary's husband) for sending me the pics.

"There are times when life surpises one, and anything may happen, even what one had hoped for."
—Ellen Glasgow
October 15, 2007
Excellent weekend working on The Top Secret Project. Got a timepiece page going. I'll post that this afternoon.

The Buck & Boze Show
"I haven't read a lot on movies, Hollywood, etc, but David Thomson's THE WHOLE
EQUATION is a marvelous book, insightful and stylishly written. The phrase
"the whole equation" refers to when it all comes together, commerce, art, and
box office. It's a rare confluence, and a wonder to behold when it occurs.

There are many movies that are huge box office hits, but not art. And the
other way round, like THE ASSASSINATION OF. We may quarrel with WB's
distribution approach, but it's possible that what makes THE ASSASSINATION OF engrossing
and atmospheric kills it as a wide release film.
—Dan Buck

Yes, you've nailed it. The stories are legion of meddling. Have you seen "The
Kid Stays In The Picture"? It's an excellent documentary of the rise and fall
of Robert Evans who produced "The Godfather." As producer he claims he forced
Francis Ford Coppola to change parts of the film, and he claims, this made it
a classic (he was trimming or reining in Francis' wandering excess). Then,
later, when Francis had enough clout he gets a restraining order against Evans
on the film "The Cotton Club," and Evans is banned from touching the film,
which turns out to be a pile of total doo doo.

On the other side of the fence is Ridley Scott and "Blade Runner" and
Scott has just released his intended version 25 years later. He nuked out the
"lame narrative voice over" and killed other studio tampering. it wasn't a box
office hit then, it is a critic's darling now. Will the box office follow? I
doubt it, but what do I know? Very little, but then I take some comfort in William
Goldman's comment, "Nobody knows anything." Ha.

You are right when you say it's a rare thing when commerce and art mesh.
It's a fluke of nature really. And the older I get the more in awe I am of
films that still work, and I would include "Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid" on
that list. Amazing.

Never saw "The Kid,"' but heard good things about it.

Evans is all over Thomson's first chapter, "The Gamble and the Lost Rights,"
re the making of CHINATOWN, which he considers emblematic to his history of
Hollywood. Robert Towne, Jack Nicholson, Roman Polanski, and Robert Evans all
threw dice in that venture. For Thomson, moviemaking is as much gambling, as
it is dreaming.

Towne had a dream for a trio of movies about Los Angeles. CHINATOWN he lost
control of (sold the rights because he was short of cash). But in spite of
his ceding control to the studio, which is to say Polanski, that film ended up
being the beau ideal whole equation.

Towne and Nicholson went to war over the second film in the trio, THE TWO
JAKES, which Nicholson, being the more powerful at that moment, took over and
directed, into the ground.

Towne? He went on to get filthy rich writing two MISSION: IMPOSSIBLES, the
equivalent of Edward Hopper making a fortune painting barns. The third in
Towne's dream trio was never made.

Thomson: "The gap between CHINATOWN and the umpteen future MISSION:
IMPOSSIBLE is the lament of this book."

The profile of hedge fund corsair Victor Niederhoffer in the current NEW
YORKER makes reference to what mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot calls "the
'multifractal nature of trading time,'" that is, the market when it's is volatile and
fast-moving and chaotic.

Multifractal -- I had to look it up -- is from mathematics, a field that is
not only alien to me, but which makes me break out in hives. A multifractal
system, e.g., the stock market, current events (history as its unfolding and
biting us in the arse when we least expect it), and many phenomenon in nature,
cannot be explained or standardized with a single exponent. The making of a
movie is a multifractal system.

Didn't know this. Amazing. In a recent interview with Warren Beatty, Towne
shows up for a meeting with Beatty, or maybe he's just leaving a meeting, I
can't remember, and the interviewer notes this and surmises that Beatty and
Towne have a project together. Beatty wouldn't divulge anything, but I wonder?

Didn't Towne also do that Lesbian runner movie "Personal Best"? I was
rather underwhelmed by that one. Also, "The Two Jakes" was so bad. Nicholson has a
gut (supposedly planned, because Jake would have been middle-aged in the
sequel, etc. but Pa-leeze!), and there are major gaffs in the settings. I seem to
remember an ATM machine in the background, and the plot twist, of winding up
the alleged bad guy a la Walter Huston, (The Gray Fox guy—Richard
Farnsworth!!), and then slowly letting the air out of the whole mess, I mean movie. I
remember thinking to myself, "Maybe Towne isn't a genius. Maybe he just got lucky."

And maybe he did, but "Chinatown: is so good I don't care. When you look
at what Polanski did after that ("Tess," what a mess!). He actually said
somewhere that he did Chinatown to show the movie bosses that he could make a box
office success, and then he planned to do the movies he really wanted to do.
Ouch!! A warning fable for us all.

You found the director/actor's dream zone: I want to do the movies I've
always wanted to do. Which is inevitably leads to a nightmare.

My final contribution to our dialogue I poached from the November ATLANTIC,
which landed in our mail box this afternoon: Bernard Schwarz, the magazine's
erudite book critic, on several new Hollywood tomes (below). During
Hollywood's so-called golden rea, most of which they made was schlock. They had to make
schlock, to make money to make the really important pictures. But, most of
those important pictures are forgotten today, and it's the handful of creative
entertainments and noirs that survived, like MY MAN GODFREY and DOUBLE
—Dan Buck

Photos of Saturday's opening at the Bison Museum coming right up.

"It takes as much courage to have tried and failed as it does to have tried and succeeded."
—Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Saturday, October 13, 2007

October 13, 2007
Just got back from the ribbon cutting at The Bison Museum down in Scottsdale. I was on the dignitary platform with the mayor of Scottsdale, Mary Manross; Senator John Kyl; former Dallas Cowboy Danny White; and our own Marshall Trimble. Actually participated in the ribbon cutting (a first for me). Also ran into Scottsdale Councilwoman Betty Drake. She and I go way back to Razz Revue days when we were both budding cartoonists. She ended up as an environmentalist and activist who got herself elected to a very controversial post, and I paid $350,000 to have an outlet to publish my stuff. Somehow I think we both made out like bandits. She looked great by the way. We both hung out nude on the Recession Artists' River Trip down the Grand Canyon in 1982. The group, formed by artist Meryl Mahaffey, just had their (our) 25th anniversary get together last week, but I didn't go. Had some conflicting event.

Came back out to Cave Creek at 11 and ran into a massive traffic jam in front of our offices. It's the Cactus Shadows' High School Homecoming Parade, which came off at ten, but evidently there are still events going on. Pulled out of line and came in the office to check my email and write this up.

Had dinner last night down at Keg Steakhouse with Kathy, Wonderful Russ and his wife Wendy. Had the mahi tuna special ($60, plus $12 tip, Sue account). Fun time. Ran into Karen Bell (no relation) and her very attractive children and grandchildren. She's moving to Montana. Deena was also there and met her boyfriend Frank in the bar. We had drinks before dinner and chatted up the other Bells and Frank.

"There are two people you have to be true to—those people who came before you and those people who come after you."
—Gayl Jones

Friday, October 12, 2007

October 12, 2007 Bonus Bonus Blog
Deena Bell just dropped by the True West offices, after giving all day consultations for 401(k) plans at Desert Mountain, which is up the road east of Carefree. She is in town all this week and loving it, because she is literally on the road every week. Last week she was in upstate New York, hitting six different towns and flying home out of Newark, New Jersey. The week before she was in Coldwater, Michigan and the week before that in Chicago Heights and the week before in Terre Haute, Indiana.

She is a bonified road warrior.

Brad Pitt Cooks His Own Goose?
"I asked a major film critic this afternoon—just e'd him out of the blue. He replied that Warner Brothers fought Brad Pitt over length and lost, and his 'guess' is that now they're punishing him by releasing it in 'dribs and drabs.'

"Hmm, passive-aggressive behavior, the engine that powers most marriages.

"I will say though, that nobody ever got criticized for making a shorter movie, and star or director driven projects often suffer because they want to keep everything in. The hardest thing for writers learn is that you have to kill off your 'little darlings.' I forget who came up with that figure of speech to describe all the cutesy stuff, the garlands, the baubles, that writers want in and good editors take out."
—Dan Buck

"Never let the urgent crowd out the important."
—Kelly Catlin Walker
October 12, 2007 Bonus Blog
Working hard on the black and white game. Pulled a couple of scratchboards out of my morgue for reference. This is the tonal qualities I want for the Top Secret Project (Limited Edition Custom Book Phase):

Both were done from photos, but free hand. Nice effects. Yesterday I did some sketches of Walter Camp running for a touchdown with one of those oldstyle footballs (very medicine ball-ish). That's Jim Thorpe at top, most of the scenes from the new book, which touts: "In 1903, a group of defeated warriors stepped out onto a field in front of thousands of hostile fans. They walked off heroes." The title is: "The Real All Americans," by Sally Jenkins.

The right hand page, done this morning, reflects the sparse ("This is Sparta!"), white space design of the books we saw down at Mark McDowell's. Trying to push things in that direction rather than the crowded, paranoid world of the usual comic book design.

Jesse James Backstory
"There's a backstory in here somewhere: what did Warner Brothers know about THE ASSASSINATION OF that caused them to embark on the desultory roll-out?  Something happened.  What?  Sour focus groups?  Ran out of mazuma for distribution?  Competition from other movies being released at the same time?  Or! Or!  WB is not done.  It's a trick.  It's a slow build-up.  A cinematic-distribution tsunami in slow motion.  What?  Unleash your beagle.

"Second, since the movie is running 3 to 1 fresh tomatoes to rotten, why would the ARIZONA REPUBLIC run an uninformed, negative review from a small newspaper 1,500 miles away, or however far NJ is from AZ.  And:  there's no East Coast bias here.  Most NYC critics like THE ASSASSINATION OF, for all the right reasons. It's moody and elegiac, and the acting dazzles.

"My guess is REPUBLIC editor just grabbed the review off the wire without thinking twice."
—Dan Buck

Yes, I agree. My theory is they did the limited release and the business wasn't there for a winner and they dumped it. It has had a very mixed focus group track record for over a year, so it really isn't a surprise, but still, I was hoping it would come out of nowhere, slowly and steadily build business and redefine Westerns as we know them. But then, I'm a hopeless artist (brilliant cartoonist but a hopeless artist and capitalist). ha.

"Be aware. For there are shadows within the shadows."
—Leonardo da Vinci (quote sent to me by Scott Matula—Thanks!)
October 12, 2007
I read more of Elmore Leonard's Classic Tales last night. "The Kid" is a short story about a white boy raised by Apaches who shows up in southern Arizona and, wait a minute! That sounds familiar. Ha. There is nothing new under the sun, or as Lennon said, "Nothing you can know that isn't known."

Jesse James On The Brink of Doom
More evidence that Warner Brothers has written off The Assasinatioin of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford. This morning's Arizona Republic printed a sour opinion of the Brad Pitt flick, running an eastcoast review (since it is opening here without a press preview). The author, Eleanor O'Sullivan, gives it two stars and pouts, "a movie that feels endless—160 minutes—and repetitive to the point of excess."

Meanwhile, the new movie Into The Wild has numerous Arizona locations, including Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Bullhead City, Parker, Page and Yuma. Turns out the executive-producer, John J. Kelly lives out here by me. Kathy and I may go see the movie this weekend.

Buckeye Blake's Cursed Dead Billy Goat
Buckeye's son Teal, sent me a photo of the black billy goat that died under the sculpture of the dead Billy Kid. Here it is:

Man, I wish I had this for photo reference when I was producing all of those death goats for my Illustrated Life & Times of Billy the Kid. Isn't that death stare haunting? Real death eyeballs are so fixated and scary, it's hard to capture.

"All you need is love."
—John Lennon

Thursday, October 11, 2007

October 11, 2007 Bonus Blog
Okay, I finally got to read the Larry McMurtry piece on Billy the Kid on the New York Review of Books website. But only because Meghan Saar went on with her computer and registered me ($3, business account).

Here's the paragraph in question:

"In the last three decades, scholarship about Billy has shaken off its pulp origins and become professional, the three best books, in my view, being Robert M. Utley's Billy the Kid: A Short and Violent Life (1989), Frederick Nolan's The West of Billy the Kid (1998), and now Michael Wallis's Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride. Nor should one forget the brilliant cartoonist Bob Boze Bell's Illustrated Life and Times of Billy the Kid, a fine contribution to the vast literature on the Kid."
—Larry McMurtry

Heady company I must say. Utley, Nolan and Wallis are heroes of mine. And FYI, he only uses the term brilliant one other time, when discussing other mythical characters, as in, "The folk heroes you might put against [Billy]—Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox Babe, Pecos Bill—seem pretty tame these days, though the Coen brothers did their best for Paul Bunyan, in their brilliant movie Fargo."

And, I'll certainly take that comparison standing up as well.

"A peacock who sits on his tail is just another turkey."
—Old Vaquero Saying
October 11, 2007
Cool at night but still hot in daytime (yesterday's high of 105 is a record). Quite nice to wear long pants on the morning bike ride.

Bandits In Black
"Liked 'Our Favorite Bandit'. I often wonder why he got tagged with the monicker 'the Kid'? He really wasn't much of a kid, more like a mad yearling bull.

"The black and white is good, it lets us think color!

"Snow is back in the Alberta Rockies!"
—Bill Dunn

I asked Jason Strykowski to pick up the Elmore Leonard short story 3:10 To Yuma which was among "seven clalssic tales of the West from America's premier storyteller." We both thought it would be a good exercise to see exactly what they got from Elmore's version for the two movies. I put the paperback on my nightstand and thought I'd read it in several bites, but the sucker is only two dozen pages long! Finished it in one sitting. They weren't kidding when they said, "Based on a short story." What's amazing to me is how they fleshed this out into an entire movie—twice!

In Elmore's short story, the outlaw's name is Jim Kidd ( hmmmmm, I wonder if Joe Jidd was poached from this?). The deputy with his prisoner are coming from Fort Huachuca, not Bisbee, and there are maybe three scenes: riding into Contention, waiting in the hotel, a brief fight at the train station against Charlie Prince (a half page) and then they jump on the mail car and as the train pulls away, Kidd says, "You know, you really earn your hundred and a half." That's it.

Jason speculates it's the title that gives it heft and the kid is probably right.

Spent most of this morning trying to corral The Top Secret Project down into a clean and mean narrative (absolutely no help from the Top Secret Writer who sniffs, "I'm not writing a short story, I'm writing a screenplay."). Managed to knock a big hole in it (the project not the TSW's head) and I'm hoping to have a working document by tommorrow. Still, it's been a marathon run and I'm used to sprints. Gee, I wonder if William James has anything to say about this?

"Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task."
—William James

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

October 10, 2007 Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Blog
Well, this is a record of sorts (more Bonus Blogs than ever before), but this can't wait:

Our Favorite Bandit
By Larry McMurtry, Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride, by Michael Wallis, Norton, 328 pp., $25.95
Billy the Kid was ambidextrous—according to some. His favorite song —according to some—was 'Silver Threads Among the Gold,' though once he discovered dancing, for which he had a flair, 'Silver Threads' may have been bumped for 'Turkey in the Straw.' According to some, his last (and perhaps only true) girlfriend, Paulita Maxwell, was pregnant by him on that fateful night—July 14, 1881—when Sheriff Pat Garrett, of Lincoln County, New Mexico, snuck up on her father's ranch house and shot Billy dead, firing into darkness at the sound of Billy's voice.

"You need to go on the NYRB website < > and fork over three dollars (house account) for the complete review, which I am sure you will be doing in what's known as a New York second, because deep in the piece McMurty refers to "the brilliant cartoonist Bob Boze Bell's ILLUSTRATED LIFE AND TIMES OF BILLY THE KID."

"Could he have meant 'brillantine cartoonist,' 'brindled cartoonist,' or 'bright-eyed cartoonist'? No, he said brilliant. Now we know."
—Dan Buck

Personally, I would have settled for "brillantine cartoonist," but hey, it's McMurtry, and I'll take it standing up.

And, by the way, about the segue from sepia to. . .

BBB Back In Black

"Back in black, I hit the sack,
I've been too long, I'm glad to be back
Yes I'm let loose from the noose,
That's kept me hangin' about

"'Cause I'm back! Yes, I'm back!
Well, I'm back! Yes, I'm back!
Well, I'm baaack, baaack...
Well, I'm back in black,
Yes, I'm back in black!"

October 10, 2007 Bonus Bonus Bonus Blog
Since I ran a quote two days ago, I've had so many requests to run an excerpt from Stephen Colbert's new book (okay it was two, Kathy and Meghan). Here it is:

"It's time to impregnate this country with my mind.

"See, at one time America was pure. Men were men, women were women, and gays were 'confirmed bachelors.' But somewhere around the late 60's, it became 'groovy' to 'let it all hang out' while you 'kept on truckin'' stopping only to 'give a hoot.' And today, Lady Liberty is under attack from the cable channels, the internet blogs, and the Hollywood celebritocracy, out there spewing 'facts' like so many locusts descending on America's crop of ripe, tender values. And as any farmer or biblical scholar will tell you, locusts are damn hard to get rid of.

"I said on the very first episode of The Colbert Report that, together, I was going to change the world, and I've kept up my end of the bargain. But it's not changing fast enough. Last time I checked my supermarket still sold yogurt. From France! See a pattern? Turns out, it takes more than thirty minutes a night to fix everything that's destroying America, and that's where this book comes in. It's not just some collection of reasoned arguments supported by facts. That's the coward's way out.

"This book is Truth. My Truth.

"I deliver my Truth hot and hard. Fast and Furious. So either accept it without hesitation or get out of the way, because somebody might get hurt, and it's not going to be me.

"Think you can handle it?

"I'm scared of Koreans.

"Bam! That's me off the cuff. Blunt and in your face. No editing. I think it. I say it. You read it. Sometimes I don't even think it, I just say it.

"Baby carrots are trying to turn me gay.

"See? I'm not pulling any punches. I'm telling it like it is. Get used to it or put this book down. Because this book is for America's Heroes. And who are the Heroes? The people who bought this book. That bears repeating. People who borrow this book are not Heroes. They are no better then welfare queens mooching off the system like card-carrying library card-carriers. For the record, we're not offering this book to libraries. No free rides."
—Stephen Colbert, I Am America (And So Can You)