Friday, February 29, 2008

February 29, 2008
Really mild out in the mornings. Low 80s makes the days sweet. Wore my Hawaiian shirt to work today, the one I bought in Cody in January for the Dude Ranchers Association Hawaiian Luau. I forgot to bring one and The Sierra Trading Post in Cody dug into their back stock and pulled out an entire rack for me to choose a shirt from. That's what I love about small towns. Charlotte from Big Horn Art Galleries heard my dilemma (how am I going to get a Hawaiian shirt in Cody, Wyoming in the dead of winter?), called the Sierra Trading Company and they went into storage and pulled out a dozen shirts.

The Final Word on Chaps
"Since we Americans render Pueblo -- as in Pueblo, Colorado -- pee-eb-low, accent on the second syllable, I guess we can damn well pronounce chaps any way we want.

"Shaps does seem to be the American pronunciation, because it's now an American word, though I'm not exactly in living in chaps country so who I am to say?

"The earliest American reference in Frederic G. Cassidy's DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN REGIONAL ENGLISH (1985) is chaparerros (1861), and other 19th century spellings included chaperreras, chaparajos, and chaparas, but not chaparejos.

"His earliest reference for chaps, spelled (and pronounced) shaps, is 1884. Ramon F. Adams, WESTERN WORDS (1981), votes for spelling chaps with a c, but pronouncing it shaps.

"The Real Academia Espanola's DICCIONARIO DE LA LENGUA ESPANOLA -- I'm looking at the 6th edition, ca. 1939 -- calls them chaparerras, 'especie de zahones de piel adobada que se usan en Mejico.' What the heck are zahones, you might ask. Zahones are chaps.

"So, chaparreras are a type of chaps made of tanned leather, used in Mexico.

"Where does the word zahon come from? Zafon, which is Arabic, though Joan Corominas BREVE DICCIONARIO ETIMOLOGICO DE LA LENGUA CASTELLANA (1987), suggests that the word came from the Basque zagon and the Mozoarabe siqan. And so on and so forth. And is related to calzones, stockings.

"How did zahones become in Mexico chaparreras? Good question."
—Dan Buck

100 Years Ago Today.
should be a national holiday, but it isn't.
should be a national day of mourning, but it isn't.

resurrected in poems, paintings, and movies,
yet all but forgotten except by such as we.

so pull a bottle of whiskey out from under the counter,
(shake it up, it got a little oil on top)
and take a swig (best sipping whiskey YOU ever threw your lip over!)
and hoist one for Patrick Floyd Jarvis Garrett...........gone now a century.
—Thom Ross

To See A Man About A Horse
And on this date--Feb. 29--in 1908, 100 years ago, Pat Garrett made an unexpected and unexpectedly fatal pit stop on a lonely road in New Mexico.

Wayne Brazel allegedly put a couple of bullets into the ex-lawman. Brazel successfully claimed self-defense. Which seems to indicate that Garrett's weapon of choice in that instance--his manhood--was far more powerful and dangerous than those of normal men.

Adios, Big Casino.

—Mark Boardman

Yes, Mark is referring to Pat Garrett's last nature call. He stopped his wagon on the way to Las Cruces, one hundred years ago today, and got out to—in the parlance of the times—"see a man about a horse." Wayne Brazel, who was riding next to the wagon and had allegedly been taking verbal abuse from Garrett on the ride for running goats on Garrett's leased land, took the opportunity to shoot Garrett, in the back, as Pat watered a rear wheel of the wagon. Brazel, defended by Albert Fall, got off on self-defense, which prompted El Paso historian Leon Metz to quip, "It's the only time in history a man has been assasinated while urinating that the defendant claimed self-defense."

According to a recently released Digital Life America tracking study conducted by Solutions Research Group, nearly 80 million Americans (43% of the online population) have watched one of their favorite TV shows on the Internet, up significantly from 12 months ago when that figure was just 25%.

As long as I don't have to lean forward while watching.

One of our most controversial and outrageous governors, Evan Mecham, died last week. Talk about unintentional zane:

"I'm not a racist. I've got Black friends. I employ Black people. I don't employ them because they're Black. I employ them because they are the best people for the cotton-picking job."
—Ev Mecham

Thursday, February 28, 2008

February 28, 2008 Bonus Blog Post
One of the things I almost missed at the Academy Awards last Sunday was a film clip for a short film called "Tonto Woman." The snippet clearly showed a woman with the distinctive chin tattoos of Olive Oatman. Could it be? The clip went by so fast I couldn't tell what was going on but I was intrigued enough to Google the title and, sure enough, it's a short, based on an Elmore Leanord story and the YouTube clip is quite cool. Here's the link:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=12t0-wgq0g0

Evidently, the guy who made it, Daniel Barber, funded his own short film as a way of breaking into the film industry. It was up for Best Live Action Short Film. There are two different versions on YouTube and both are quite good. Check it out.

Chaps vs. Shaps, Part II
"CHaps vs SHaps. I don't know of anyone around here that calls chaps CHaps. Chaps is chapped lips or chapped butt, 'That really CHaps my ass'. It's SHaps for the outlaw country."
—Julie Smith, Wyoming

Dan Harshberger came out today for a design review and we did a working lunch and I ordered out from The Bad Donkey. Got some good ideas from the meeting, then studied our covers to determine what worked and what didn't in 2007. Surprisingly, the Glenn Ford cover on 3:10 To Yuma stands tall (in spite of the Top Secret Writer's bitching about it being back-assward—he thought Russell Crowe should have been on the top). Hit on an interesting angle and that is: some covers feature dead guys, who are really dead. Other dead guys seem to live on. It's a tricky equation, but we need to nail this if we are to survive and thrive.

"“Don’t make a big exit. Just go.”
—Marlene Dietrich
February 28, 2008

BBB: The video was MOVING! Can't wait to see your poultry!"
—Larry Murphy

Well, I thought I had the first poultry video ready to go, but we're having major problems posting anything beyond words right now. as soon as we get this figure out. . .

Obsolete Man Will Let You Know!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

February 27, 2008 Bonus Bonus Blog Post
Here's a Western word that gives many people fits:

Chaps or Shaps?
"My husband is a real fan of the Western Channel and your True Western Moments. Yesterday he watched one of your video blogs regarding Cowboys' Chaps and told me you said 'the correct pronounciation was CHaps instead of SHaps.' Is he correct, did you say this? Or did he misunderstand? I've always taken it to be pronounced SHaps and am now totally confused. This is going to be a 'na-na-na-boogie' moment for one of us. You can restore peace to our home by letting us know."
—Carla Edwards

Carla,
What happened was this: we were on a shoot at Pioneer Living History Museum, north of Phoenix, and I was in the corral doing a segment on the different variety of chaps. When I pronounced it as "shaps," a cowboy, in the background yelled out "Chaps," and it was funny, and we left it in the final bit.

Okay, let's see what a third party, say Marshall Trimble, might say on this subject:

"I would say it’s a matter of choice. As you know, chaps is the abbreviation of the Spanish word, chaparejos (chah-par-ray-hose). So, it could be 'shaps' “chaps' or even 'chops'. Here’s another comparison: Chaparral is pronounced shaparral, not chaparral. I’d say you were correct in your pronunciation. It’s by far the most familiar."
—Marsh

Yes, I would agree. 'Mericans (as opposed to Americans), and especially Texans (as opposed to Tejanos: Tey-hanos) have a tendency to butcher Spanish with no apologies: example it's Amarillo (Ahm-ah-rio in Spanish) but the Texicans say Am-ah-rillo—rhymes with pillow. Same for San Jacinto, which in spanish is San Ha-seento. Texicans steamroll the battle and the Ha to a hard Jah-seento.

So, I still tend to lean towards Shaps, in deference to the Spanish, but hard-edged cowboys probably prefer Chaps. Choose yer poison Pard.
—BBB

"Next thing yer gonna tell us is it ain't Hoose-gow fer jail."
—Some smart cowboy
February 27, 2008 Bonus Blog Video!
I have a new camera, and if you have been following along, you know I have a learning curve just to operate it. Last Saturday Kathy and I went to the feed store for some hay. This is bedding for my chickens. I pulled out my camera and shot video of the hay master loading the hay into the back of my Ranger ($1 cash tip). Here it is:

video

Okay, there it is. Amazing. I have (with Robert Ray's help) stumbled into the video age in terms of blogging. Now if I could only post still photos (for some reason, since we migrated to a new host, I have lost the ability to post my sketchbook drawings—it grinds and grinds and won't post). I would call tech support, but then I wouldn't be

The Obsolete Man Ranter!

Now would I?

"Well, no you wouldn't."
—Old Vaquero Saying
February 27, 2008
Last night I watched the legendary Spaghetti Western Django, which I have heard about forever, but had never seen. In 1959, Sergio Corbucci, the second unit director of an Italian film being made in Spain, called The Last Days of Pompei said to the director of the film, "For God's sake, if the Germans can make Westerns, why the hell can't we?" The director's name was Sergio Leone and both filmmakers marvelled at how Spain's southern regions resembled the American West. According to the extras on the DVD, Sergio Corbucci beat Leone to the punch with a Western called Massacre At Grand Canyon in early 1964. Leone's Fistful of Dollars followed with Clint Eastwood.

For all of its legendary status, the DVD commentary says Django never played in America, but became almost an industry in Europe with multiple Django knockoffs that spilled over into other genres ("more than 50 unofficial sequels!"). Franco Nero plays the "American" and Corbucci claimed he was making "an anti-Western" where his characters moved "in the cold rather than the heat, fighting with mud and snow instead of sweat and dust."

The film is notorious for its violence quotient, but even the cutting-off-the-ear scene seems rather quaint today (especially after Quentin Tarrantino poached it for Reservoir Dogs).

Still, it had some cool stuff in it (great vaquero-bandidos-bandoleered to the hilt). And Maria, the Mexican whore, is a looker, from the Claudia Cardinale school of pouting. BBB rank: two Bs (for cool battles) and one R (for ridiculous plot points, like the one where Franco hauls a coffin around behind himself—the idea evidently stolen from an Italian comic book—which has a machine gun inside: Holy Mariachi, nee Desperado, Robert Rodriguez!).

As the music industry lies in shambles, and with our dear-old print world currently under atttack (a website has instituted a New York Times deathwatch and vows to run it until "the last Schulzberg leaves the building.") a new cover story in the latest issue of Wired caught my eye. The premise: that everything is going towards free. Hmmmm, I wonder what ol' Stewart has to say about this?



"Information wants to be free. Information wants to be expensive. That tension will not go away."
—Stewart Brand

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

February 26, 2008
Now this is more like it. Very nice out this morning. Supposed to get up to almost 80 today, and for the rest of the week.

Trish Brink, Robert Ray, Meghan Saar, Carole Glenn and I went down to the Buffalo Chip this morning to see the site of our first annual Fandango for the True West Preservation Society a week from Friday night. Very nice, outdoor venue. Larry, the owner, was outside supervising excavation on the hillside to create a larger buildout with stone masonry.

Having problems posting images on Blogger.com which only enhances my image as. . .

The Obsolete Man Rant, Part II
Evidently Blu-ray has won a war that I didn't even know was being waged. According to Wired magazine "the format war is over, and this time the better tech won." (They are referring to the ancient 1980s video battle between Beta and the inferior VHS, which bested Beta). "When Warner Bros.' announcement that it'll be Blu-ray only by mid-2008, Sony's format locked up 70 percent of the production houses."

Can't wait to get one, but I guess I better find out what it does first.

"Life lived for tomorrow will always be just a day away from being realized."
—Leo Buscaglia

Monday, February 25, 2008

February 25, 2008 Bonus Blog Post
Getting set to have our first annual True West Perservation Society Fandango at the Buffalo Chip, a week from Friday night. I sent an invite to Marshall Trimble and got this reply:

Ashfork Lust
"Hi Bob: March 7th at Buffalo Chip is good for me. Is it all right to bring my girl friend?I just got in late last night from Ash Fork. Spent the day in a snow storm. My new Ash Fork book came out and I went up for a booksigning at the museum. I sat down to sign at 1 and didn't get up until 6:30. The museum sold nearly 200 copies of "Ash Fork." It's part of the "Images of America Series." There were several envious people from Kingman who drove all the way over to get a book. They all said they wished they'd grown up in Ash Fork instead of Kingman. I told them that only a chosen few had that privilege."
—Marshall

Got four eggs today. The little Silkies lay little gum drops, of course Bea-52 and Bea-53 drop the big bombs. Mighty tasty. Hey, anybody want my two extra roosters? They make great pets. Ha. Or, should that be pests? Actually when all three of them get to cock-a-doodle-dooing it sounds like that coyote inspired wah-wahing bit from The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.

Working hard on Mickey Free's likeness. Have several pages of sketches to post. Will do that tomorrow.

"I'm looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done."
—Henry Ford
February 25, 2008
Both Meghan and I sighed a sigh of relief last night when Daniel-Day Lewis won the Oscar for his performance of Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood. It vindicated a cover blurb we wrote before the Oscar nominations were even announced: "Daniel-Day Lewis Hits A Gusher: There Will Be Oscars."

Of course, I rationalized that even if he didn't win, the hed would still be half true: There Will Be Oscars.

Also, I enjoyed the Coen brothers winning for what Joel has pegged as, "No Country is a horror movie to me. It's sort of a horror Western." And I really got a kick out of his brother Ethan saying that he remembered his brother and him going to Minneapolis airport to film an 8 mm movie when they were kids, called Henry Kissinger: Man On The Go. "What we do now doesn't feel that much different from what we were doing then," he added.

We have been high on both movies so it was a sort of sweet victory for all our efforts here at the magazine as well. The only miss, for me, was Casey Afflect not getting best supporting actor for his brilliant portrayal of Robert Ford in The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Of course, he was up against Javier Bardem and nobody was going to beat that instant classic hairdo, I mean, performance.

Speaking of watching movies, the new on-demand movie onslaught available instantly online is creating a divide in our culture: "People older [than 30] would rather lean back instead of forward to watch a movie," says Steve Swasey, of Netflix, who has 6,000 flicks avaiable to download. That would include me, as regards leaning back, although I'm rapidly approaching the next phase, Barca-lounger semi-prone watching, followed closely, no doubt, by the Hospice death bed flat on the back style of watching movies.

During a recent poll in Washington D.C., women were asked if they would sleep with Bill Clinton. 84% responded 'not again.'

“Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought.”
—William Hazlitt

Saturday, February 23, 2008

February 23, 2008
Worked on a campfire sequence for Mickey Free all day today. Had good reference, but didn't quite get it.

An Obsolete Man Rants
I bought a camera at Office Max several weeks ago for less than $100. It's supposed to do video and stills, but when I tried to shoot video at the Exits Exit practice it shut off after about 15 seconds and the message in the viewfinder said the internal memory was full. So, when I mentioned this to my kids they told me I needed to buy a memory card. Gee, I wish the young Poo Poo head who sold it to me would have told me. I just want a camera I can turn on and shoot photos and call it a day. So last week I went back down to Office Max and told another young Poo Poo Head (someone younger than my kids) my problem. He asked me how much memory I wanted to buy and I said as much as I can afford. So he sold me a $29.95 memory card with mucho gigs of whatever and I made the checkout Kid take it out of the superbonded plastic it's imbedded in, and asked him to insert it in the proper receptacle. He did. I left feeling pretty good about myself.

This weekend I pulled out the camera to take a photo and it wouldn't let me. Said I had to format the disc, but when I hit format, it warned me by formatting the disc I would erase everything on the disc. I hit continue, but it told me it couldn't format the disc and I got caught in a vicious circle of "install it" then "can't read disc, reinstall it."

I gave the camera to my wife and she couldn't get it to format.

So Kathy and I made another trip to Office Max ths morning. The third Poo Poo Head told me there is a problem with the "HC" and sometimes the camera won't accept the HC memory card disc. He suggested another memory card. This time I made the checkout girl, Katelyn, install it. She didn't like doing this (and called for a backup cashier), because those plastic super-bonded packages are hell to get into. She went through two pairs of scissors before getting the first layer open. I gleefully watched this because I always assumed it was just old people, like me, who had such a hard time opening these damn things.

She finally got into the third layer, pulled out the memory card, and installed it. I turned it on and took a photo of her. It worked. Her image on Monday.

"It's not the technology that's the problem, it's the people who buy it who are stupid, that's the problem."
—Poo Poo Head logic

Friday, February 22, 2008

February 22, 2008 Bonus Bonus Bonus Blog Post
More rain. Socked in and cloudy. Quite unusual. Just got word from Robert Ray that our printer, RR Donnelley, did not receive our discs today. Evidently a big sleet storm scuttled the delivery which went out UPS, so now Robert is uploading 80-plus pages via the internet. A bit of a crunch as they are shutting down their servers at five, Missouri time.

Ah, the joys of deadlines and production schedules.

One thing I have noticed on my daily sketches is that if I am tired I tend to doodle more and that was the case last night for sketches #5,800-5,805. Worked on these at about seven. I was fried from the deadline for the Travel Issue. Not much left in the tank.



Buggy? Oh, yeh, perhaps even a subconscious self-portrait. Some decent swirls though.



With plenty of rest I tend to get specific: Yes, this is a knockoff of the Jumper movie ad posted earlier this week. I couldn't find a black pen, only had a red and a blue, so I went with that and it produced some interesting effects (I did find a black pen at the end and added a few highlights here and there). Need to keep going, but. . .

I still feel limited on my range and I wonder if ol' Brendan has anything to say about this?

"If you accept your limitations you go beyond them."
—Brendan Francis
February 22, 2008 Bonus Bonus Blog Post
Still trying to alert author Jeffrey Burton in England about the impending Classic Gunfight which plugs his book The Deadliest Outlaws. This morning I got in touch with The Westerners which is an international group Burton belongs to. I wondered if they could contact him quicker than a letter could (Burton has no phone nor computer). I got this enigmatic reply:

Hi Bob,
Your request is thoughtful, but remember that in the spirit of the
West, folks are prone to disappearing. Westerners International does try to
keep track of its various chapters, but structure and organization is by
design always in short supply. It's spelled out that way in our by-laws.
That's the way of the West. I did a little "googling" on Jeffrey Burton and
turned up your name as well. Here is your best bet:

English Westerners Society (9) org Nov 1954. 114 members. Meets about three
times a year. Sheriff Richard J. Pratt. "Rep" K. E. Galvin, 130 The Keep,
Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey, UK KT2 5UE. E-mail keg.cagb@btinternet.com

If he is a member, you can at least alert the local representative. Try our
website that lists our various local organizations at
http://www.westerners-international.org/corrals.htm . The "Tally Sheet" is
first listed alphabetically by state and then by nation. Best of luck to
you.
Kent McInnis
Chairman, Board of Directors
Cyberslinger
Westerners International

Meanwhile, got this from a friend in Tucson this morning:

"In my opinion Jeff Burton's, first edition book, The Deadliest Outlaws is a modern day rarity! If you have one hang on to it. The last one I had sold for $145.00 very, very fast."
—Kevin Mulkins

What does all of this mean? Gee, I wonder if Ben has anything to say on this?

"Content makes poor men rich."
—Ben Franklin
February 22, 2008
Sprinkling this morning. Man it's been a wet winter. The desert is quite green and beautiful, which is a double-edged sword, because all of the quick grass will dry out in the summer and become a severe fire hazzard.

Robert uploaded the last pages of the Travel Issue this morning at 8:30. Ran up to the bank to cover some checks in the house account. We fixed a scupper on the house and I covered it with a Sue check.

Yesterday I mentioned the new Elfego Baca monument going up in Reserve, New Mexico. When I first went over there on a research trip in 2001 there wasn't anything there, not even a marker to tell visitors what happend. One man changed all of that. Henry Martinez, who owns the corner Phillips 66 made it happen.

Carole Glenn found this YouTube video showing the architectural plan for the monument and the museum. Very cool. It goes all the way around the statue, then inside, outside, with cars and trucks parked in the parking lot that hasn't been built yet. Amazing. Here's the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OFa6Rc3nUg

I was looking for an image in my BBB files on the server and found these three shots from last summer's art show at End of Trail in New Mexico:



That's Lady Trish Brink, at left, and our new partner, Ken Amorosano, center, with Lady Stetson at right. My good friend Jackie King Ellis (below, left) drove down from Durango, Colorado for the opening. She has modeled for me for quite some time.



And this was the moment when we unveiled my art print "Get Out Of Dodge," onstage, and when Hugh O'Brian, at left, began his mantra, "What's my cut?" Makes me cringe just remembering it. Ha.



"There are two ways of exerting one's strenth: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up."
—Booker T. Washington

Thursday, February 21, 2008

February 21, 2008 Bonus Bonus Blog Post
Still trying to get the travel issue out the door (4:22 p.m.). Lots of problems. Robert Ray is going to upload some of the pages in the morning to the printer. We've never been this late, ever.

Meanwhile, I have been trying to track down somewhere to send book buyers for the Jeffrey Burton book The Deadliest Outlaws, which I used extensively on the Steins Pass Classic Gunfight for this issue. We have a copy (he sent me a review copy) but when I contacted one of the Ketchum descendants, Berry Spradley, I got this reply:

"Jeff told me once that only 100 were printed, due to the cost. I think he self-published. I don't know if he has sold out or not. If so, maybe demand has caused him to do a second run. I have had several people contact me wanting to know how to contact him to purchase a copy. His address is:

Jeffrey Burton
Palomino Books
58 Albert Street
Gosport
Hampshire PO124TY
England

Burton supposedly doesn't even have a telephone, much less a computer. We got a call from a subscriber saying he found a copy online for sale for $80 and he wanted to know if that is a good price. Well, if only 100 books are in print, I'd say that is a steal.

I just got off the phone with Aaron Cohen at Guidon Books; T.A. Swinford at his bookstore in Avondale; and Bob Pugh in Tucson and they all told me they have no copies. Bob also told me he had 40 and sold them in a heartbeat, and that Burton has no copies.

Hopefully, with the promotion in the next issue of True West (and here) we can change that.

Speaking of stealing, I'm planning a big steal away for May. Henry Martinez is finally getting set to unveil the long-awaited Elfego Baca sculpture on May 24 in Reserve, New Mexico. I helped Henry come up with the concept for the statue and James Muir really nailed the concept:



here's the link to check it out:

http://www.jamesmuir.com/elfego-baca-one-man-sculpture-maquette.html

I'll post more info as we move along. Steve Hagaman at the Economic Development Department in New Mexico has asked me to come up with a catchy billboard campaign for the event and the unveiling. This is a project I can gladly get behind.

"We should always be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldome generates action."
—Frank Tibolt
February 21, 2008
Got home last night at 8:30 and turned on the TV and lo and behold, there was Stalag 17 playing on Turner Classic Movies. This was Billy Wilder's next film after Ace In The Hole and I had never seen it. Great flick, and it's obvious it was the model for the hit TV comedy series Hogan's Heroes. Big storm blew in while the movie was running, lots of lightning. After a particularly close flash and a loud thunderclap, Buddy Boze Hatkiller headbutted the front door and ran in, cowering at the far end of the couch. He knows he's an outside dog, but he kept pretending to be watching TV, and would look over at me from time to time with that look, "Don't make me go out. I'll watch this damn show with you, but just don't make me go out!"

I walked to the front door and called him and he reluctantly came, as did Peaches, who was hiding in the bedroom hallway. This time I closed the front door completely and went back to Stalag 17. Several more headbutts later, Kathy came home and I went out on the patio and sat with the dogs on their little round beds. Peaches was shivering (from fear), as we heard it start to hail. Small, marble-sized hail peppered the patio as we rode out the storm. Buddy parked his big, fat butt in my face, in case the Thunder Monster grabbed him I could save his ass.

They are dogs, and I have to tell them this from time to time: "You're dogs," I say with some emphasis. "You're dogs!"

Did catch the ending to Stalag 17 and Robert Osborn's wrap-up commentary. I told Kathy I could listen to Osborn all night long. He is so smooth and so good.

Got into the office early to fight a fire. We have a train wreck layout for the main travel piece ("Booking It") and it is unreadable (too much reverse out type). Although quite ambitious, the concept just proved to be too unwieldly, with too much copy for the opening spread. Robert Ray was already working on it and between him, Meghan and I, we think we salvaged the effort.

Made a couple tweaks on the Steins Pass Classic Gunfight, and we are currently proof reading the last pieces of the giant puzzle. This is traditionally our largest issue of the year and it really gets complicated at the end as we squeeze in all of the commas, ads and graphics.

Fun though. This is what I do.

Ray Gier sent me a funny cartoon:



It's by Dan Piraro and it ran in Parade magazine on January 6 of this year. Very funny Dan.

"Just because you're a perfectionist doesn't mean you're perfect."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

February 20, 2008 Bonus Bonus Blog Post
Working late tonight in order to get our monster Sixth Annual Travel Issue out the door tomorrow. I took food orders from Robert Ray, Abby Pearson and Meghan Saar, then drove up to The Bad Donkey in Carefree and got them dinner ($31.46, includes tip, TW account). Looks like we'll be here for another hour (it's a little after seven now).

Finally finished the Classic Gunfight for the Steins Pass Blast this afternoon around four. Really a complicated puppy. John Boessenecker sent me a great photo of Eugene Thacker, one of the express guards who fought off the Black Jack Ketchum Gang. Arrived this morning. Thacker was only nineteen at the time of the robbery. Pretty amazing for a kid to experience that kind of shootout so young. His father was the head detective for Wells Fargo, so he evidently came by it naturally. The sand, that is.

Well, finished all my work, so might as well answer some mail:

On Feb 19, 2008, at 5:02 PM, Bill Dunn wrote:
"Who is the gal in sketches 5780 through 5787? You do such a wonderful job on the eyes and lips."
—Bill Dunn

Bill,
That is none other than Tyra Banks, from the cover of Entertainment Weekly. I was struck by her facial structure as it relates to our character Beauty in the Mickey Free story. I wanted to see if I could apply some of her 21st Century sexiness to the nineteenth century. I think I can.
—BBB

Ever sat around and wondered what bandmate Mike Torres and his pretty wife looked like 30 years ago? Me too. Here we go:



Mike and Lee have been married for 29 years and been together for 30. He met her downstairs at Mr. Lucky's (Country upstairs, Rock downstairs) in Phoenix (or is that Glendale?). When she walked down the stairs and he saw her, Mike told a friend, "That's the girl I'm going to marry." I told Mike I have a similar story. I met my first wife at Mr. Lucky's as well, although I wasn't as lucky (and if you asked her, she wasn't either).

"Life is for most of us a continuous process of getting used to things we hadn't expected."
—Martha Lupton
February 20, 2008 Bonus Blog Post
Worked all morning on getting a good portrait of Ed "Shoot 'em Up Dick" Cullen. He's the poor sap who got his brains blown all over the tracks at Steins Pass on December 9, 1897. Before that he was a cowboy and cook for the Erie Cattle Company in Cochise County in the 1890s. He allegedly got his goofy nickname when he refused to pay for a meal at a Chinese restaurant, warning the owner, "I'm Shoot 'em Up Dick." Hardly impressed, the Chinese restauranteur retrieved a pistol and pointed it at the cowboy cookie saying, "I'm Shoot 'em Up Sam. You pay!" It's not known, or told in the books, but I believe Ed, also known as a Dick, paid up. Cullen later decided to throw in with the Black Jack Ketchum gang and rob trains. He wasn't very good at that either. There is a very non-flattering photo of him in his casket and a strip of cloth holding his head together. Using his facial likeness from the death photo, I have extrapolated six sketches (how convenient!) of what he may have looked like while alive:



I'm leaning towards one of the top two, although the one on the right seems to be a tad too Alfred E. Newmanish. He probably looked, in real life, more like the scraggly guy, middle, left, but we'll see. I'm going to lunch and I'll take a look when I get back. If you have an opinon, please speak up, or forever regret it.

I know I will, regardless of which one I choose. Ha.

"Choose wisely grasshopper."
—The same Chinese cook (from Hutton's script)
February 20, 2008
Worked late again last night on Steins Pass images. Here are sketches of suspects in the failed train robbery:



Can you spot the criminal? Top, left is cowboy Bill Warderman, and to his right, cowboy Leonard Alverson, and, (bottom, left) cowboy Walter Hovey (aka "Fatty Ryan"). Before he was hanged, Black Jack Ketchum wrote a letter to President McKinley, claiming the three were "as innocent of the crime as an unborn babe." President Teddy Roosevelt finally pardoned them. Meanwhile, Dave Atkins, (lower, right) looking innocent as a lamb, was definitely one of the train robbers, and a killer to boot. Proving for the umpteenth time that looks can be mighty deceiving.

Or, at least drawings of killers can. Ha.

Every time Ace In The Hole comes on TV, I get a call from Lew Jones in Mogollon, New Mexico, telling me to turn it on. I invariably do. This morning Gus Walker sent me some other tidbits about the slick, little film:

• When the film was released, it got bad reviews and lost money. The studio, without Billy Wilder's permission, changed the title to The Big Carnival to increase the box office take of the film. It didn't work. On top of that, Billy Wilder's next picture Stalag 17 (1953) was a hit and Billy Wilder expected a share of the profits.

• Paramount accountants told him that since Ace lost money, the money it lost would be subtracted from the profits of Stalag 17.

• The studio constructed a replica cliff dwelling at a cost of $30,000. The set was located behind the Lookout Point Trading Post on U.S. Route 66, west of Gallup, New Mexico. After filming was completed, the set was left intact and the owner of the trading post used it to draw tourists to his store.

• Residents of Gallup, New Mexico were hired as extras. They were paid 75 cents an hour for a ten-hour day. Extras earned an additional three dollars if they could bring an automobile to the set.

• Billy Wilder's wife Audrey came up with the line "I don't pray. Kneeling bags my nylons."

• Actor Victor Desny brought a lawsuit against this film while the script was being written. He claimed the film was an unauthorized version of the Floyd Collins story. Collins was actually stuck in a cave years earlier, as mentioned in the film. Since Desny had the rights to the story, he claimed copyright infringement. The lawsuit was settled before production began.

Meanwhile, Back At The Hats
"I don’t understand folks that get upset with your blog. It’s yours. I always enjoy reading and sometimes get quite an education. I have come to realize in the last little while what makes a great western. Hats! That is the be all and end all of what makes a movie worth watching. Sometimes I feel guilty when I’m watching an old western. The other day I was watching True Grit on Turner Classics. I caught myself enjoying it again. Then all of a sudden I realized not all the hats were correct. I grabbed my hankie, covered my face and began to weep.

"I checked and there is no Oscar for Hats. I find that appalling. The closest Oscar would be for costuming. That is to general and does not give the Hat quite the honor it deserves. I have a solution. You need to develop a Hat Award at TW. You could give it to any western themed flick that has the correct type hats or limit it to the best of the best and give out one a year

"I think the award should be called The Boze or The Bozo. I envision a BBB Bobblehead Doll with your El Grando on top of your head.

"I’m looking forward to seeing you at the Booth western Art Museum in April. I hope you like my hat.

"See You down The Trail."

—Hugh Howard, Maniac# 9

"Hats say the darndest things."
—Art Linkhatter

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

February 19, 2008
Got a complaint from a reader who maintains I don't know what I'm talking about in my February editorial in True West where I raved about the hats in There Will Be Blood. It's the usual anti-Hollywood hat brigade line, of which I was once a member. Meanwhile, here's a great insight to Daniel Plainview's lid. Got this from Mark Boardman:

And to Top It All Off. . .

Daniel Day-Lewis is considered a shoo-in for the Best Actor Oscar, along with the broad-brimmed, brown, sweat-stained hat he wore. There Will Be Blood director Paul Thomas Anderson has said it was key to the portrayal of Daniel Plainview, the rapacious California oilman. Anderson's longtime costume designer, Mark Bridges, talks about The Hat.

How did you choose that hat? What did it mean to the movie?
Leading up to the first time we see that hat, his hats kind of echo or inform what's going on with his career and life. He starts with a miner hat that is unshaped and unformed. By 1911, he had this hat. Daniel Day-Lewis felt the hats were very important to his character. There were three choices that were all good, and he took them and lived with them for days. He sort of creates mini-worlds, and so he took them, just took them for a spin, so to speak, and settled on that one as what he felt most comfortable with and most represented in his mind the character he was creating. And it took on a kind of magic where he would be Daniel Day-Lewis, but you knew he was Daniel Plainview once the hat went on. So that was very rewarding to me.

And by the way, the sweat stains are real. It was worn day in and day out and has been much loved by all who've come in contact with it.

And it's great that it's become an iconic image of the film. It was a found item, from one of the local costume rental shops. The hat size, the height of the crown, the coloring, the quality of it, everything about it was right. Again I have to say it took on a kind of magic, too, that we had it, that it was found. I love when that happens.
—Interview conducted and condensed by John Pancake

Meanwhile here are sketches 5,780 thru 5,787:



Still working hard on the Steins Pass robbery. The guy in red is a study for Tom Black Jack Ketchum, as he may have looked in 1897 at the time of the Classic Gunfight:



Finally watched Ace In The Hole (1951), the Billy Wilder film starring Kirk Douglas about a New York reporter, Charles Tatum (Douglas) who is stranded in Albuquerque and stumbles onto a story of a miner trapped in a cave-in near Gallup, New Mexico. I've seen parts of it several times on Turner Classic Movies, but I wanted to see it en toto—watched the commentary track and it is amazing, giving all the backstory and production problems and hidden symbolism (the term "friend" evolves throughout the film and takes on a sinister aspect at the end). And, of course, as a bonus, the trading post and surrounding area where they filmed the exteriors really reminds me of our family car trips to Iowa from Arizona and back. I always looked forward to that stretch of old Route 66 because of all the gigantic signs ("World's Largest Buffalo!"), curio shops and the In-din villages, like Laguna Pueblo.

The film was not successful in the U.S. but found a large following in Europe. Then when Woody Allen and Sam Pecinpah both listed it as one of their favorites it has sort of been rediscovered here. It's very dark but it has an integrity lacking in so much of the early fifties pap.

I've had the flick for two weeks (Netflix) and finally got a chance to view it last night.

"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."
—Beverly Sills
February 19, 2008
Worked late last night and early this morning on a Classic Gunfights painting.

Bright Lights, Big Illio
I have been itching to do a technique I only recently have become aware of. I'm speaking of the back lit figure, where the light from behind is so strong it bleeds out the edge of the object (usually in silhouette) in front of it. Case in point: the ad for the number one movie in America last week: Jumper. The sun is behind him and see how it eats away at the solid silhouette of the "Jumper" standing atop the Sphinx?



I'm illustrating the unsuccessful train robbery at Steins Pass by the Black Jack Ketchum gang in December of 1897. The robbers built two bonfires on either side of the railroad tracks about two miles west of the train depot at Steins. Two of the robbers commandeered the train when it stopped at the depot, then rode the engine as they told the engineer to go until they got to the bonfires. Three of the outlaws took the horses and waited at the bonfires for the train, right at the foot of Steins Mountain. I wanted to illustrate the three guys waiting for the train with the bonfires blazing behind them. I nailed the effect on the second guy from left (Sam Ketchum). Notice the bonfire light behind him, eating away at his right arm. Very effective, if I do say so myself.



By the way, the bonfires did in the gang, as the train had two extra express guards on it (an undercover stock detective, George Scarborough had ferreted out the info that a train would be robbed in that district and lawmen put extra guards on the trains). When the outlaws demanded the express agent open the doors, he did, and all the outlaws were lit up and exposed by the bonfires as the shotgun weilding guards let them have it. All the outlaws were hit by "blue whistlers" and one of them, Ed "Shoot-em-up-Dick" Cullen got his head ventilated by the barrage.

Old Exits vs. The Even Older Exits
"Glad your rehearsal went fine. Loved what you had to say about the 'olf folks'. Whenever i see older people grooving to some 60s or 70s music i at first say to myself, how do those old folks know the words to that song? Then i remember, that was the music that was popular when they (and myself) were young! Why do we have a hard time believing they were young once . . .and that their youthful years paralleled ours? Imagine some stranger in his 60s stumbling upon the EXITS concert and thinking how do those old guys know those songs?"
—Gus Walker

Speaking for everyone that's going to be in attendance, that's exactly what they're going to think. Mike told me when his father-in-law showed up during our practice last Saturday, his bandmate Roger Enrico, thought it was another Exit showing up for practice. The father-in-law is in his seventies. Ha.

"“Tough times make tough men.”
—Benny Binion

Monday, February 18, 2008

February 18, 2008
Wild weekend (for someone my age). Charlie and Linda Waters drove in from Henderson, Nevada and stayed with us. Kathy rigged up the Kingman bridal suite with a curtain rod deal separating the two kid's bedrooms from the hallway so they could have some privacy (when Deena and Tommy were precocious teenagers, the last thing we wanted for them was privacy).

On Friday night the Waters, Kathy and I met Dan and Darlene Harshberger at El Conquistador (my kids call it "The Conky Donkey") for dinner. Charles tried the mole enchiladas and I had the tampiquena. We also drained two pitchers of margaritas, so our IQs were getting pretty elevated.

On Saturday morning, the rehearsal at Mike's house came off good enough. We practiced for about four hours. Steve Burford came and we worked on him playing bass on "Pipeline" and "House of The Rising Sun," and "Gloria." Charlie ripped it pretty good on "Good Guys Don't Wear White," and a sweet version of "Angel Baby" which he will be doing with his brother John as a tribute to their sister Sara Ann, who passed away last year.

From there, Charlie and I met the girls for an early dinner at the Keg Steakhouse at Desert Ridge. We also stayed up late every night (several minutes past 11 on Friday night!). On Saturday night Charlie and I drove down into the Beast to hear Kokomo (Mike Torres' duo) at Bobbie's: A Mancuso Restaurant. Place was slammed with the beautiful people, although, for some reason there were also some really old people upstairs in the bar. When Mike's partner, Roger Enrico, did a stirring rendition of "My Girl" I noticed this table of old people singing along on the chorus (along with me and Bugs) and I thought, "How could those geezers know the words to this hip song?" Finally, it dawned on me, they are Boomers, like me, and this is what we all look like. Ouch!

I had two glasses of wine and Charlie had two triple secs & tonic: $65, Charlie bought (includes tip).

Had much fun with Charlie and Linda. We had breakfast at El Encanto. Sat outside by the pond and had huevos rancheros and then they took off for home.

Sore today and I know why.

"Old age is a damned high price to pay for maturity."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Friday, February 15, 2008

February 15, 2008
Woke up to more rain. Nice and warm out, though. Went for a bike ride in the sprinkles. Dogs didn't care. Didn't even notice the rain. Prancing around like it's Christmas Day.

Sam got me a book she thought I might like:



I'm interested in learning something from it, but I can't find the time, because I'm checking my email right now.

My old studio mate, Ed Mell, just got a big, splashy spread in the latest issue of Western Interior & Design. Very nice piece on his art studio in downtown Phoenix. I spent six years in that space in the mid-eighties:



Last weekend the whole family, sans Tomas, who's in Peru, met up at Antojos in west Phoenix for Mexcian food. We had the restaurant review (by Howard Settel in The Arizona Republic) cut out and on the refrigerator since, March 2, 2006. We had to pick up Grandma Betty and a friend of hers at 75th Avenue and Bell Road, so we decided to give it a try. Fun place. Deena and Frank met us there. While we were finishing up a guy and his wife came in and he said, "You're a long way from Cave Creek." Turns out TJ Wyatt is a True West subscriber and F-16 Flight Instructor for Lockheed Martin in Litchfield Park, Arizona. Had a nice chat with him and his wife. He says he loves the magazine and has been a subscriber since the early nineties.

By the way, Antojos means "cravings." Good name, hard to remember.

Just got off the phone with author and researcher Bob Alexander. He proofed my copy for the Blast At Steins Pass. He had one request. I told him I would honor it, but held my breath. He said he wanted to make sure Jeffrey Burton got the lion's share of the credit for his lifetime of research. I assured Bob he gets it (in fact, I'm dedicating my editorial to the both of them and their amazing efforts at historical accuracy). What a guy. What a pair of guys.

Speaking of guys, just got this from Iraq:

"The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a great deal longer."
—Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Sigh, still quoting [in]famous homosexuals just to see if I'm paying attention.

"Your Custer quote was great and I'm sure he thought it once or twice if he didn't actually say it."
—Alan Huffines

Holmes was gay? Where have I been?

"Flaming. He was a male nurse during the Civil War. I understand he was lethal with enemas."
—Alan Huffines

Carole Glenn just took this order from Europe:

"we'd like to order one copy of Classic Gunfights 3 vols. set. We'd ask for retail discount and delivery via our US-freightforwarder - please send by surface mail to: Der Buchfreund, Vienna (Austria)."

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. "
—The Dalai Lama

Thursday, February 14, 2008

February 14, 2008
It's Valentine's Day. Fortunately, Kathy and I had an agreement not to get each other anything. But, of course, she got me a nice card which she gave to me over the breakfast table this morning on her return from yoga. As far as I'm concerned, that's 28 years down the tubes. I won't tolerate someone who is so untruthful.

The card is damn funny, and she got a big kiss. Seems like a decent trade.

When I study the masters, I've noticed several things: one is I always learn something, but more importantly, I can't copy them without morphing the work into something Old West. Here's a poster Fred Nolan sent me of a Rembrandt (Self Portrait at the Age of 63, 1669). It hangs over my desk in the studio:



Last night when I got home from work I went out into the studio and decided I was going to do dialogue in my six sketches. You know, people talking. Word balloons, all that graphic novel stuff. I had no dialogue in mind, I just started drawing and figured the words would come. They did, and that's lesson number two: I sure have a tendency to go profane. Also, as you can clearly see, my drawing of Rembrandt quickly evolved into The Boy General:



"The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a great deal longer."
—Oliver Wendell Holmes

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

February 13, 2008 Bonus Bonus Blog Post
Meghan Saar, our managing editor, just forwarded me this letter we got today and I had to share it:

"Picked up True West magazine at the library for the Tommy Lee Jones interview, then enjoyed the magazine more than I expected. Pulls no punches about our country's history, including Mistakes Made.

"Re 'Gut shot': one movie which handled the gut wound truthfully was Will Penny. A young man is gut shot, and expected to die. Rather than moving him, he is left in the wagon where he is comfortable, despite the bitter cold. A kindly saloon keeper promises his party he'll keep the young man in all the corn liqour he can drink, and out of pain, until he passes on. The party moves on, never expecting to see him alive again.

"Later, during an ambush, the young man shows up -- admittedly still a bit rickety -- and holds his own, much to the surprise of his party. But the story works because bitter cold will keep off infection, and no infection or virus can stand up to alcohol. The cold and the booze and the lack of food or water gave the hurt man's gut time to turn around and start healing.

"Whether or not this would work every time, it's still handled with much more realism -- including recognition that a gut wound was usually mortal -- than is often portrayed today."
—Donna Barr, Clallam Bay, WA

I love this letter for multiple reasons: It's a woman (70% of our readers are male), she found it at the library, she lives in the Northwest, she likes Tommy Lee Jones and the interview. She likes our new column Frontier Doc, she has an excellent example of another movie that portrays someone being "gutshot," in an authentic way.

I'm telling you, if I wasn't happily married, I'd be truckin' on up to Clallam Bay, Baby!

""It has become fashionable in our modern, more cynical time to re-examine our history, to throw a supposedly new light on those who are famous for their accomplishments, to instead expose their faults, to topple the statue of the hero, to replace the honor and respect with the sensational and the shameful, as though it were the only meaningful way these characters can be relevant to today's world.

"I most adamantly disagree. That we know so much about these characters today is a testament to their accomplishments, their extraordinary achievements, and yes, their astounding heroism. That they can so easily become targets is a testament to their humanity. They are, after all, so very much like us. Measuring their behavior with the crystal clarity of hindsight, with twenty-first-century standards and judgments, is a convenient and cynical shortcut to learning history, but it does little to help us understand their character and why they deserve to be not only remembered, but revered."

—Jeff Shaara, writing in the preface to Rise to Rebellion, Ballantine Books, New York
February 13, 2008 Bonus Blog Post
Working on Beauty (the character in Mickey Free):



and Ed "Shoot'em Up Dick" Cullen (bottom, left):



There Will Be Earp
"Ed Doheny, the guy who was more or less the model for Plainview in There Will Be Blood, also had a direct connection with another Old West character--

"Wyatt Earp.

"Another comparison for Josephine was petroleum speculator Edward L. Doheny, who as a young man worked for Wyatt Earp in Tombstone as a faro lookout at $8 a day. Now, he was not only rich beyond imagination but enjoyed the trappings of wealth, including a mansion befitting his status and a private railroad car. Josephine constantly chided Wyatt, 'Look at him. He used to work for you. Now he has his own private car. We have nothing. What’s the matter with you?' Earp often responded with silence.

"His wife’s constant complaining did not discourage her from coaxing a hundred dollar loan from Doheny, claiming it was for Wyatt. Earp knew nothing of the transaction, Josephine keeping all that information to herself after gambling away the money. Doheny eventually asked Wyatt about the loan. Embarrassed, Earp was forced to admit ignorance. The amused millionaire accepted the situation, but never 'loaned' any more money to Mrs. Earp.
—Mark Boardman

"Look at him. He works for you. He has his own private car. All we have is a magazine. What's the matter with you?"
—Kathy Radina, to BBB regarding Mark Boardman
February 13, 2008
Big Exits Exit practice coming up this weekend at Mike Torres garage in west Phoenix. Charlie Waters is driving down from Henderson, Nevada and Steve Burford is dropping in from Cherry (south of Cottonwood). Talk about garage bands, we certainly qualify. One of the semi-original Exits is Wayne Rutschman, who played tenor sax on two songs and sang falsetto more than he should have. He now lives in Tucson. His wife, Marilyn, sent this photo of the two of us at his thirtieth high school reunion in Kingman (1996). Mike Torres provided the music for them and I sat in for a few tunes wearing my original Exits jacket:



As I told Charlie Waters, this jacket has survived at least 76 moves, including Cochise Hall, Park Lee Apartments, Lambda Chi, Vietnam, Woodstock, Watergate and our cleaning lady. Even my son, Thomas, wore it to a couple dances when he was in junior high. I literally dug it out of a trash bag in my studio and Kathy took it to the dry cleaners last week. It looks great and we plan on having it onstage, on a hanger, as a tribute to Wendell Havatone.

And no, I couldn't button it in 1996 either.

"I see that you have a Buffalo Bill issue coming up. If you do the 'Shootout' between Him and Yellowhand let me know ahead of time. I have some very good reference of what he was wearing that day (His stage costume) plus I did a ton of research on Yellowhand's garb. I finally saw There Will Be Blood last weekend. You were right, GREAT HATS!!!!! They also had great boots for the period. You could tell when it went from 1898 to 1908 how subtle the costume change was but it was DEAD ON! His quail hunting outfit was right out of a Philip R Goodwin painting. Nice cover on the latest magazine too.
—JIM HATZELL

"Hey, Bungalo Bill, what did you kill? Bungalo Bill."
—John Lennon, The White Album

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

February 12, 2008
T. Charles called from Peru on Sunday and we had a nice, but quick chat. Last time he called we talked for 53 minutes and it cost us $120. He's teaching English and basketball to the kids.

The rooster problem is even bigger than I first thought. Out of the six new Silkies we got, I finally realized, three, not two, are males. Need to find them a home ASAP before the testosterone kicks in high gear. The little suckers are already jumping up on the backs of the old hens, Bea-52 and Bea-53, and, well, acting like males do whenever starlets or coffee table legs come into view. It's kind of humorous to watch because they are so small they look like sparrows mounting a condor. If you've ever been around roosters, you know it won't be funny for long.

Did get four eggs. Had them for lunch. Yummy.

You Go Grandma!
Speaking of the Grammys (Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, I Got Love In My Grammy), I was knocked out by the performance of Tina Turner who ripped up the stage on Sunday night and showed the youngsters (Beyonce mainly) how it is done on her searing version of Proud Mary. She's got to be close to seventy. They cut to a shot of John Fogerty, who I believe wrote the song for his old band Credence, but his smile said it all: "Honey, you own that song."

We're working on a big Buffalo Bill spread for an upcoming issue and I mentioned I got some very cool images from the Buffalo Bill Museum when I was in Cody last month. Here's one of them:



He was one good-looking Dude, no?

The new issue of Entertainment Weekly has a piece on the new Bad Boys of cinema, Daniel-Day Lewis and Javier Bardem. Inside they comment on the fact that there will probably not be a franchise coming out of No Country or There Will Be Blood: "No Chigurh Rising. No There Will Be Blood II: Oil Be Back.

Now that's funny. Oil Be Back. I'd actually pay to see that.

Six Degrees of Billy The Kid
If you haven't heard, there is a new catchphrase spawned from Blood—"I drink your milkshake." The line comes in the last scene when Daniel-Day Lewis describes his ability to take oil from an adversary (i.e. using a long straw). The writer, and director, Paul Thomas Anderson, admits he took it straight from a transcript of the 1924 congressional hearings on oil-drilling which became known as The Teapot Dome Scandal. What most don't know is that the person who testified using the milkshake metaphor, was none other than Albert B. Fall from New Mexico (and, who, because of the scandal, ended up being "the fall guy" and yes, that's where the term comes from). Anyway, Fall had a life before he fell, and that was as a lawyer in Las Cruces, New Mexico where he successfully defended powerful rancher Oliver Lee and his ranch hand Jim Gilliland on murder charges. The two cowboys had been arrested for the murder of Albert Jennings Fountain and his young son, by the legendary lawman and killer of Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett. In the subsequent trial, attorney Fall and Garrett sparred on the witness stand. In turn, when Garrett was murdered in 1908, Fall was retained to defend Pat's killer, Wayne Brazel, who Fall also got off.

So, you see, there is a direct line from Daniel Plainview to Albert Fall to Pat Garrett to Billy the Kid. Kevin Bacon ain't got nothin' on the Kid.

"Strong people are made by oppostion like kites that go up against the wind."
—Frank Harris

Monday, February 11, 2008

February 11, 2008 Bonus Blog Post
Last night at the Grammys, Kanye West, accepted the award for best rap album, and then proceeded to get all preachy and maudlin about his mother and how he did this for her. When the producers tried to play music to get him to end his creepy, crap rap, he said, "It would be in good taste to stop the music now." They backed off and let him go on. And on. As an only child, I was cringing for him. Of course, it didn't help that Kanye had the word "Mama" shaved in high relief across the back of his head.

Meanwhile, I've never much liked Vince Gill's music. He seems like the Country version of Neil Sadaka or Wayne Newton. Kind of prissy, if you will. He also strikes me as a mama's boy, with the pocket protecter proclaiming he's the vice-president of student council, or something.

So, when Vince wins best country album and Ringo Starr hands him the statuette. Vince holds it, then says, "I just had an award given to me by a Beatle." Then looking out into the audience, Vince quips, "Have you had that happen Kanye?"

I laughed until I cried. And I am happy to report I am going to get the word Gill shaved into the back of my head.

"Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true."
—Robert Brault
February 11, 2008
Worked on art this weekend. Struggled with an Apache woman's profile for most of Sunday. Ended up with "Changing Woman":



Not bad, but had such high hopes. Meanwhile, I'm back to red and black for my sketches and I'm infected with Charlie Russell influence from a new book, Charles M. Russell: A Catalogue Raisonne by Byron Price. Great new book featuring all of the original Cowboy Artist's work:



Yesterday I wailed on dramatic shading:



Watched the Grammys last night. One guy gave me the creepy cringe, one grandma really rocked and one high-voiced Country star won me over. Details after a trip to the dentist.

"The heart has eyes that the brain knows nothing of."
—Charles H,. Parkhurst

Saturday, February 09, 2008

February 9, 2008
Beautiful day today. Supposed to get up to 74. This is the weather they wanted last week for the Super Bowl, but instead we got Utah weather.

Pulled out my floor tom, crammed behind the '49 Ford and put it in the breezeway so I have to walk by it on my way to the studio. We are planning a big, three drumsolo-fest with three of us playing Wipeout at the Exits Exit and I need to loosen up my wrists. When I told this to Kathy she told me to lope my mule more (she always could outgross me).

Speaking of cock problems, I've got two roosters, Spike and Pike, and they are starting to wail on each other. Need to separate them, soon.

"Can't we all just get along?"
—Rodney King

Friday, February 08, 2008

February 8, 2008 Bonus Blog Post
As you know, I loved The Assasinatioin of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford. The three hours flew by (and I could have easily watched another two), I loved the narration, I loved most of the hats, the scenery was spectacular, as was the dialogue and the acting. Gee, I wonder if my artist friend Jeff Prechtel agrees with me:

"Well, one thing is true...You CAN'T ever go home again! And Brad Pitt just proved that last night to me....and I doubt after that movie that he OR the director will be welcome back in Missoura anytime soon!

"Good gawd, after watching the Assassination of Jesse James last night.....which I'm sad to say that I fell asleep with about 20 minutes left to go in the film. Finished it this morning while I sipped a cup of coffee before work......still didn't help! I'm torn between Pitt's fine performance as Jesse, as well as Afleck's as Bob Ford, and all the things that pissed me off that was in the movie....Saskatchawan as st. Jo, Mo???....WTF, over???? Gee, I was unaware there's Giant snow covered alpine peaks in Missouri.... somebody better alert National Geographic!

"And how about the hats.....did EVERYBODy in 1881 own a bowler?, Or perhaps Dick Liddle didn't even own a hat after Blue cut? and WHO in hell, decided James Carville could act? Micheal Parks yes!........Carville no.

"And the whole damn movie was just cold....colorless, bland and dreary, and yes that wasn't lost on me, I KNOW they did that for a reason, but in that, along with the continual bothersome, on again-off again narration by the David McCullough sound alike, was completely distracting, and the wannbe art-house stylish effects, that clash with a "Western" like seer-sucker suit at a Metallica concert. Leave the art-house films to Japanese and Norwegian film makers. Let the Westerns be what they are.....morality plays, with six guns, and a little bit of 'make-believe'. If you strip away ALL the legend, then the only thing that's left is a lifeless and ugly corpse......which is what you have in The Assassination of Jesse James, by the coward Robert Ford

"I know.....Hollywood and film critics everywhere are probably breakin their arms pattin themselves on the back, on what a grand piece of artful cinema this is, but in the end, that's all just aggrandizing, self-congradulitory masturbation.

"Now before you think I'm just bitchin about everythin, i DID enjoys Pitt and Affleck's performances as Jesse & Ford, I liked the cinematography, even tho it looked like each frame was a composition for a painting, and overall the costuming was pretty good, albeit a little monochromatic. i REALLY wanted to like this picture, but in the end, I guess I'd rather watch the Long Riders & the Last Days of Frank & Jesse James, with Cash & Kristopherson!

"Does that make me a bad person?
—Jeff Prechtel

Yes, Jeff, unfortunately it does.
February 8, 2008
As promised, here's the page of sketches where I was trying to learn from the master Gus Arriola, of Gordo fame, who died last weekend:



His line is so clean and cocksure. He was truly ahead of his time.

Speaking of time and being out of it, I had a spirited discussion with a certain writer last November regarding minorities and their portrayal in the Wild West. The writer assured me that he planned on infusing his script with plenty of minstrel singing Buffalo Soldiers and Chinese cooks. Aghast, I then forced the writer, who can be rather secretive, to watch the Brit flic Snatch by director Guy Ritchie (Madonna's husband) wherein we meet an ethnic stew of crime characters, including Russians, Jewish gangsters from New York, Blacks (with thick Brit accents) and a mumbling Brad Pitt as a Gypsy fighter. I was trying to expose this writer to the polyglot nature of the new world, but alas, he seems, to me, to be gleefully mired in the John Ford version of the past.

His Chinese cook comment has been bothering me ever since and last night I whipped out my version of the kind of Chinese cooks Mickey Free runs into in the graphic novel:



Sympathy cards may be sent to:

Paul Andrew Hutton
Department of History
University of New Mexico
Mesa Vista 1080
Albuquerque, NM 87131

"Do not trust your memory, it is a net full of holes; the most beautiful prizes slip through it."
—Georges Duhamel

Thursday, February 07, 2008

February 7, 2008 Bonus Blog Post
These are the kinds of messages that make me smile:

"It is a great surprise to see the 'Faith and Hope' article in your Jan/Feb issue on St. Augustine's restoration.

"I don't know how you found out about us, but I am very thankful!

"We are a small mountain town of under 300, but have a wonderful old west legacy of buildings from the 1860s. We are trying our best to keep them from falling down.

"Thank you for helping us spread the word!"

—Jan Morrison
Post Office Box 503
Historic Austin, NV 89310
http://www.goaustinnevada.com
February 7, 2008
Woke up to sad news: Gus Arriola, the creator of one of my favorite comic strips, Gordo, has died. He was 90. One of my favorite books is Accidental Ambassador Gordo which was published in 2000 and chronicles the arc of the superb graphics created by Arriola for his strip. As the paper noted, "The Sundy strip was a stunning composition of lively line work and dazzling colors." And I agree, some of the frames "stood alone as abstract artworks."

Last month I spent a day shadowing Gordo for linework clues (i.e. poaching like a Crazed Copy Cat Goober). I'll post those efforts this afternoon.

In other cartoonist news, Bill Schorn showed up at our offices about ten minutes ago and asked for me, saying "J.D. sent me to say hi to Triple B." When I went up front Bill was busy signing up for a subscription (thanks J.D.!) and we got to talking. When he told me he was originally from Saint Paul, I asked him if he knew the Schulze's as in Charles Schulz of Peanuts fame. And Bill said in that midwestern twang, "Oh shore. His dad told me in his barber shop one time, his son would be famous some day, and he shore was." Amen to that.

I haven't heard from Alan Huffines lately, and that's because he has been deploying:

"I am living on CAMP VICTORY (Baghdad) and working in Al-Faw Palace (which looks like a low budget sword and sandals set). Not bad though, have my own room and inside plumbing. Last time I was here I lived in the desert in a Bedouin tent for eight months and no modern utilities within hours.

"Read Boggs' comments on There Will Be Blood. As you know I loved it and am delighted there are movies being made outside the typical 'three-act character arc' model. All three excellent period films this year managed to do this successfully. Otherwise we would have had Anton with a kitten or puppy fetish."

—ALAN C. HUFFINES

Shot Thru The Heart, Baby!
Another movie Alan and I both loved is coming out on DVD today: The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is out with the High-definition HD DVD and Blu-ray releases of the film to follow on February 26. The DVD is $27.95 and the Blu-ray and HD DVD is $35.99. I loved this movie so much I'll probably get both.

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."
— John Muir

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

February 6, 2008
True West board meeting today. Everyone is cleaning and getting ready. Lots of budget work yesterday. Never fun, but necessary. Left the office about six last night, worked at home another hour, or so.

"There Will Be Blood": Redemption With No Redemption
"Caught that one today. Boy, the joy of life has been sucked right out of me, but what an amazing visual movie, great acting, and (you're right) great hats, a story of redemption with no redemption, and a bunch of unlikable people, and the poster child for Santa Fe's Say No To Oil protest!

"Suicidally yours,"
—Johnny Boggs

Working on the Steins Pass robbery for CG. Gus sent in his site map showing the surrounding area where the events took place. Got two photos from Bob Alexander that are spectacular. Where he finds this stuff I don't know, but he is an excellent researcher.

Finished sketch number 5,708 last night. When I was cleaning and organizing in my studio last weekend, I found a list of graphic novel projects I wanted to do in 1990 (the heading was: "My Goals For The 90s"):




A book on Billy the Kid. Check. A book on Wyatt Earp. Check. A book on Doc Holliday. Check. A book on Tombstone. Check twice. About 12th on the list was the name "Mickey Free," with a priority star in front of it. Still working on that one. Somewhat surprising that I have had the Mickster on my radar for 18 years and counting. Still struggling with exactly how to do it. And I get down on myself for not having the skills I need to get it done. Gee, I wonder if John Wooden has anything to say about this?

"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
—John Wooden

Thanks, coach. I needed that.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

February 5, 2008
Woke up to snow on the plateaus to the north of us. Very pretty out and cold. Frost on all the windows and plants.

Last Saturday, Kathy and I attended an art opening at the Cattle Track Compound in Scottsdale. The show featured Contemporary Photography In The West, with work by Brent Bond, Jay Dusard, William Fulller, Bill Schenck and Robb Kendrick. Kendrick has photographed ranch hands utilzing the tin type method and the results are stunning, as this little portrait of "Ashley" attests:



Working hard on the Steins Pass robbery attempt for the next issue's Classic Gunfights. Author Bob Alexander sent me a couple rare photographs to use in the piece. Wrote up questions for artist Thom Ross who we are going to feature in an upcoming What History Has Taught Me.

Also working on scheduling a video shoot for Royal Wade Kimes and his "Apache Kid" song.

"In Hollywood, imitation isn't just the sincerest form of flattery—it's standard business practice."
—Christine Spines, in Entertainment Weekly

Monday, February 04, 2008

February 4, 2008 Bonus Bitchin' Blog Post
Funny what hits a nerve. This Wooly Bully stuff has pricked the Blogzone bigtime:

Boardman Blogs On Bully & Boxtops
"Here we go, kids...

"--The Box Tops. I actually met lead singer Alex Chilton about 20 years ago in a DC club. He was only 16 when they did The Letter, which makes him younger than you. He later was part of the cult band Big Star, which is a personal fave. In person, he was very short (about 5'5") and skinny (maybe 130 lbs). And he was treating a cold with orange juice and joints, which he invited me to sample. I was working and had to decline.

"--Keith Olsen, the bass player for the Music Machine, went on to bigger and better things, producing albums by the Grateful Dead, Joe Walsh, Heart, etc., etc. He's best known for producing Fleetwood Mac's gigantic albums of the '70s, Fleetwood Mac and Rumours. In fact, he's credited with bringing Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks into the band (they'd previously lived with him).

"--Sam the Sham's real name is Domingo Samudio. He's still around and has a website, www.samthesham.com ; Interesting stuff--including his first hand account of falling out of the band's hearse at over 60 miles an hour back in the '60s. Oh, those were halcyon days...

"--L 7 does refer to "square." Anybody who doesn't know that IS an L 7.

"Rock on, my brother..."
—Mark Boardman

Steve Sander's Cheap Sunglasses
"I'm really enjoying your trip into yesteryear and the reunion of The Exits. Talk about reminiscing! I also played drums a few years later in a 50-60s band called Cheap Sunglasses. Youre right about that music and memories making you feel young and vibrant. That music is ageless. I watched the video clip of Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs and boy did that bring back some memories: Where the Action Is after school each day; Lloyd Thaxton telling one of the couples on his show 'Boy, dont dance near me, you'll stomp me to death.' And the best: my dad coming home from work at the same time me and my friends were watching that same clip; he took a look at the screen and said, 'God help us if we ever have to go to war.' Ha! Priceless! And that bitchin go-go dancer?! Talk about conjuring up early naive and unknowing fantasies. Forget about it! Thanks again. This journey will be great to witness. Rock on dude!"
—Steve Sanders

"Lonely days are gone, I'm ah goin' home, my baby, she wrote me a letter."
—The Boxtops, "The Letter" (1966)
February 4, 2008 Bonus Blog Post
Finally got in touch with our original lead guitarist, Terry Mitchell, in Flagstaff: Really enjoyed talking with him. Sounds like he made if farther than we did (in the Exits) with his band The Purple Bottle. They were from Silver City, New Mexico and they toured with The Boxtops and the Music Machine ("Talk Talk"). They were advertised on KOMA in Oklahoma City all the time (KOMA was the only rock station we could get in Kingman growing up, and only at night). This was in the 1968-69 era. Pretty amazing. It all came crashing down when their lead guitarist (Terry played rhythm and sang lead) got a girl pregnant in Santa Fe, New Mexico, married her, hated being married and joined the service. Ha. From the frying pan, into. . .

Terry lost one of his fingers dallying (he worked as a cowboy for a time and was roping), but he said he can still get it done. Don't know if he'll make it, but it was a hoot talking to him.



That's Terry, second from left, ripping out "Surfbeat" by Dick Dale in the Girl's Gym, on New Year's Eve, 1964.
February 4, 2008
Robert Ray's car was in the shop so I drove him home on Friday. Yes, all the way into the Beast (he lives near 20th Street and Thomas), then fought my way home. Took two hours, but Robert has often taken Kathy and meI to the airport and allowed us to park at his house on our trips, so it seemed the right thing to do.

Saturday was crazed. Got up early, started the '49 Ford and pulled it out into the driveway and dug out my Ludwigs (1973 classic chrome casings), loaded up the Ranger and took off for Mike Torres' abode for the first Exits Exit rehearsal.

Mike had his garage cleared out and we played in there with the door open, blasting out into the neighborhood. I told him, "You must have very tolerant neighbors." Steve Peroni on bass, Mike on guitar and Roger Enrico on everything else. We started with "The Lonely Bull" which I have always wanted to play, but we never had a trumpet in the band. Now we do. Roger played it well. Then we jumped right into "Pipeline," "Walk Don't Run," "Surfbeat" and "Miserlou," I kept waiting for the cop cars to roll up, but they never did. Not even when we rippped out "Route 66" and "Honkytonk Women" by the Stones. It was a ton of fun and I felt like I was 14 all over again. It's amazing what music can do. Meanwhile, 350 miles to the northwest:

Bugs Bears Down
"While some of the musicians for the Exits Exit gathered in Phoenix on Saturday to shake off some rust, I spent a few hours in Henderson doing the same. The more I sing, the less confident I get though I am able to make some of the songs decent. Linda says I sound pretty good, but Linda loves me.

"Worked on some of the instrumentals for the opening set. Feel pretty good about my parts on Apache, Misserlou, Surf Beat (in my sleep, thank you), Tequila and Walk Don't Run. Lonely Bull is iffy but I think I can get there with more work. Telstar is absolutely out for me and if I can't get Pipeline down today after three days total of fighting that song, I will have to bow out on that one, too. Vern definitely is going to have to play some that first set to cover my inability as a guitarist.

"Got the first two RSVPs by e-mail---Wayne Rutschman's daughter Kameron and my niece Stephanie---but my invitation still hasn't shown up. Still, I worry that we may have created a nightmare. Got an e-mail from another longtime family friend, Janet Leichsenring (not in our class, but her sister Lynn was and our families go back 60 years). She heard about it from Ray Bonham, and wants to come. I told her that I'd send her an invite if she e-mails me her address.

" We still have seven weeks to go---or is it six?---and no one can ever guess what kind of turnout something like this will get. But I am starting to fear that we may have created a nightmare. Oh well, we'll deal with that if it happens. It's only money, right? And our family's chief financial officer assures me that we got it covered.

"Anyway, I hope that your practice went well and that you have some degree of confidence that we can pull this off musically. (My greatest fear right now is that Steve and Roger will, after the first two songs we practice on Feb. 16, wonder: Where did they dig up this guy? And Mike will say to you: Funny, I remember him being better than he is now.)"
—Charlie Waters

From the band practice, Kathy and I drove out to Mesa and the closing Levitz store to pick up a couch for her office (a $1,000 job for $150), hauled it out and got her old couch out and the new one in (not fun, really a bear getting both through the narrow door).

Watched the Super Bowl yesterday, which took place right down the road, and it was interesting to see the aerial shots of the sunset, then look out our own window and see the same thing. Game was great (only NFL game I watched this entire season). Here's another local take on it:

Minnesota Mike's Super Superlatives
"BBB After all the coverage, media-hype, predictions, parties and NFL logos and players photos on downtown buildings, the game DID live up to the hype. Gotta be the second biggest upset in Super Bowl history (first one-Joe Namaths NY Jets win over Baltimore Colts in '69). Heck, probably one of the top 5 Super Bowls of all time. Great game. Congratulations to the New York Giant football team. Hey BBB- if you had to vote by the end of the day for the next President of the U.S., who would you vote for? Me too, I have no idea. Our options; 1) Billary......please 2) Barack Obama...do we need a President named Obama? 3) John McCain..wasn't he too old....., last time he ran? 4) Mitt Romney...he looks like the guy who goes to a party and hands out his card. I'll end up writing in...Ralph Nader. Tom Petty-out!"
—Minnesota Mike

Regarding the lyrics I ran last Friday for "Wooly Bully." Margaret9753 emailed me and wondered "What does 'let's not be L-seven' refer to?" I believe it refers to being a square, as in "Let's not be squares." Write down the letter L and then the number 7 and it makes an oblique square. Get it?

Kingman drummer Ken Kingman sent me this link (below) to see Sam the Sham actually performing Wooly Bully in 1965. Check out the blond (early Charo?) Go Go girl in the right hand corner at the end of the sax solo and imagine what that bitchin' grandmother looks like today. Ha.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJOvCHD1uHY

"Goes Thru Saint Lew-ee, Joplin, Misourri, Oklahoma City looks oh so pretty, and see Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico, Flagstaff, Arizona, don't forget Winona, K-I-N-G-M-A-N. . .Barstow, San Bernadino."
—Bobby Troup, author of "Get Your Kicks On Route 66"

Friday, February 01, 2008

February 1, 2008 Bonus Blog Post
Kathy got me a new camera last weekend and I documented some of the rain. The storm squatted on Cave Creek for about 48 hours and even as it started to lift it left tattered clouds over Black Mountain, making it look more like Hawaii than Arizona:



Of course, every day is Christmas Day to a dog, and here's Peaches kicking out the jams, going up Old Stage Road at a fair clip (photo taken over the handle bars of my girl's bike). That's Buddy Boze Hatkiller, way up the way:



When we get back the dogs get a drink, collapse and get set to snooze for the rest of the day. Resting up, of course, to bark all night, which is their main job, if you ask them:



Got an email from Dirk Rash asking how his painting is coming and I told him I've got the underpainting done. Here it is:



Yes, it's an oil and quite ambitious: "Ambush At Stagecoach Pass." Hope to finish in another week.

Meanwhile, here's the actual lyrics to Wooly Bully, in case you were interested:

WOOLY BULLY (Domingo Samudio)

Uno, dos, one, two, tres, quatro
Matty told Hatty about a thing she saw.
Had two big horns and a wooly jaw.
Wooly bully, wooly bully.
Wooly bully, wooly bully, wooly bully.
Hatty told Matty, "Let's don't take no chance.
Let's not be L-seven, come and learn to dance."
Wooly bully, wooly bully
Wooly bully, wooly bully, wooly bully.
Matty told Hatty, "That's the thing to do.
Get you someone really to pull the wool with you."
Wooly bully, wooly bully.
Wooly bully, wooly bully, wooly bully.

like many old blues songs, do you think there
are sexual inuendos in those lyrics?

—gus walker

"You can't have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time."
—Paul McCartney
February 1, 2008
Had a going away party for Joel Klasky yesterday afternoon in the conference room. Trish Brink brought champagne and snacks and I played "Wipeout" on the conference room table as a going away present. Joel kind of teared up, but maybe it was merely the flying drumstick splinters.

Speaking of drumsticks, the Exits Exit postcard invitations are printed and I sent out the first two batches: the first batch went out two days ago, and the second batch last night. If you get the postcard with the Liberty Bell stamp on it (get it?), it means you were in the first batch and by extension a favorite of mine (I just cherry-picked the names off the mailing list). If you get the second batch with the Marvel Comics Super Heroes stamps on them, it means you are my second favorite friends, and if you haven't received the postcard, well, it means you need to send me your mailing address (click above to contact me). Here's the poster design, which goes to the printer today:



Our musical director, Mike Torres, has ordered the first musical rehearsal at his studio tomorrow morning. The only time I've played in the last two years is when Gus Walker, Mike and I put on a True West noontime concert for the crew (and, of course, my Wipeout session yesterday). Rusty? Oh, I think so. But I'll be in shape by March 21st. You can count on it. . .Uno, dos, one, two, tres, QUATRO!" (Wooley Bully anyone?)

Buck Naked Immigration
"True West's Marshall Trimble gets a cameo in today's Wall Street Journal, 'Arizona Seizes Spotlight in U.S. Immigration Debate,' making a wry observation about transplanted Americans -- migrants from the other 49 states --influencing Arizona's attitude about immigrants from Latin America.

"Note the graph, in the 1870s -- when the territory was but two decades out of Mexico -- 60.1% of the inhabitants of the territory were foreign born, as opposed to 14.4% of the entire country. Today, Arizona's percentage, 15.1%, is not much higher than the national average, 12.5%

"Of course, if we sold Arizona back to Mexico, 85% of the population would be foreign born, if you get my drift.

"Question: what percentage of the state's citizen inhabitants were born outside of Arizona? Which is to say, how many Arizonians live in Arizona.

"When I lived in Colorado (a transplanted Minnesotan, by way of Peru) in the early 1970s, the catch phrase was "Don't Californicate Colorado." All for naught. Not only did we Californicate, our state became so attractive, Californians began moving there. "
—Dan Buck

News From The Front Lines
Carole Glenn took a call from an elderly lady (she's 84 and her husband, Jasper Parson is 91) who pulled out an ad in True West from 1978 featuring a metal detecter, which they bought. Their son now has it but doesn't know how to operate it, and wanted to know if there was an operating manual for the Metroteck 220A. Carole Googled the company, called them and got the owner's manual shipped to the Parsons. Now if that isn't good customer service, I don't know what is.

By the way, their original order included a subscription ad for True West (Gift Rates!) and you could get 6 issues for $4.95 or $8.85 for 12 issues. Ha.

"And now I have to confess the unpardonable and the scandalous. I am a happy man. And I am going to tell you the secret of my happiness. It is quite simple. I love mankind. I love love. I hate hate. I try to understand and accept."
— Jean Cocteau