Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March 31, 2010
Just got these picks of our True West Moments taping from Emily Arellano of the National Ranching Heritage Center:

Yes, that's my new custom made Beaver Brand Hat, the jacket is from Larry Bitterman of Old Frontier Clothing Co., the jeans are Wrangler's, the shirt is True West denim, the haircut is by Bev from up the road, the barn is from the famous Four Sixes Ranch.

Here's another shot at the Lost Corralitos site:

That's a steadycam camera so they can follow me walking and talking.

Hey, we need your opinion for an upcoming issue. What is the one Western event you can't miss, and why? Send me your comments and if we use them you'll be very popular.

"The Annual Gold Rush Days Wickenburg Parade is a great event and we love the crowds. Great Western fun. Wouldn't miss that sucker!"

—Joe Freedman
March 31, 2010
Lots of discussion around here about Old Arizona vs. New Arizona. Yesterday I sold the '49 Ford to a gentleman from Michigan who is in love with it because this model and year was his first car. My son is sad, but the pack rats were really doing serious damage and I know that it's going to a good home where someone will take care of it.

Speaking of old vs. new Arizona, an excellent comment from Clay Thompson in the Arizona Republic on Tuesday. Some yahoo newcomer asked him in Clay's column: "Whenever I see that a woodpecker has started a hole in our saguaros, I insert a ball of aluminum foil into the hole. That seems to hinder their pecking and the hole remains small."

Clay's classic answer: "Woodpeckers peck holes in saguaros. Other birds nest in those holes. The saguaros seal up those wounds from the inside. Holes don't kill them.

"But if you plug up these perfectly natural holes with aluminum foil or something like that, you risk trapping water in the cavity, which will lead to possibly fatal rot.

"Look: . . .we live in the desert. Woodpeckers peck holes in saguaros. Coyotes gobble up unguarded small pets. Roadrunners whomp their prey to a pulp. Rattlesnakes are dangerous. We don't have day-light-saving time. Many of our legislators are clowns.

"Get over it."

Perfect. Really sums up my feelings. Thanks Clay.

Working on more True West Moments for the Republic. Worked up a new take on Martha Summerhayes freaking out over bad fashion in 1872 Arizona:

"If I owned Hell and Arizona, I'd live in Hell and rent out Arizona."
—Some 1865 Snowbird Peckerwood named General Sheridan

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March 30, 2010
On our last night in Lubbock my producer Jeff Hildebrandt and I went to a fave local hangout called Gardskie's, which is in an old house, near the downtown. Very nice meal, had the salmon. Afterwards we drove around the downtown area looking for the Buddy Holly statue. Couldn't find it.

My host from the National Ranching Heritage Center told me more people come from all over the world to see the Buddy Holly statue and museum than to see anything else. Tons of people come from England. The other favorite sons are Mac Davis and Waylon Jennings. Our hotel is on Mac Davis Way.

Took a shuttle in the morning from the Overton Hotel to the airport and asked the shaved-head-kid driver if he could take me by the Buddy Holly statue on the way to the airport. He said he didn't know where it was. I asked him how long he had lived in Lubbock and he said "four years."

This really irritated me. Here's a kid in the hospitality industry, working for tips (I would have tipped him an extra $5 for the side trip) and he doesn't know where the statue of Lubbock's favorite son is?

So I say, "Don't get out much?" And he says, "He's before my time, Man." And I say, "Well, so is Davy Crockett but I hope you know where he is." He didn't, said he was from Dallas. Said he's a geology major and wants to work for Exxon and drill Alaska the "right way." I asked him what the right way is and he said, smiling proudly, "Polar bears go bye bye."

So I adopted him and he's living at our house.

Not really.

Got to the airport and tipped the little Bastard $5 anyway. Took off for Albuquerque at 11:10, sat next to a couple from Lubbock who were going on vacation. I asked them where they were headed for fun and they said, "The Ronald Reagan Library" in California. Interesting choice. When I think of California I would put the Reagan Library somewhere between Disneyland and, oh, say, the Barstow recycling plant. They asked me how I liked Lubbock and I said I really enjoyed it but it's a tad windy. He smiled and told me they call that "Yankee repellent."

We laughed. I thought that was funny. Later, as we flew over Ruidoso they told me their son was snow skiing there, and I said, "You know what they say about poor New Mexico, don't you? So far from heaven, so close to Texas." I got the courtesy laugh. That's a laugh that is forced and only done to be polite. More like a short burst of grunts.

Landed in Phoenix close to noon and got my truck out of the parking garage ($93 for four days!), called my son, Thomas Charles and asked him if he wanted to have lunch on his old man? We met at Such Is Life Mexican Food on north 24th Street. We both had the mole and talked Final Four (Anybody but Duke!). Tom told me about a certain person we both know who isn't as funny as he thinks he is. My son says, "Dad, I couldn't even give him a courtesy laugh."

That's my boy—the humor snob.

"I once lived in Lubbock. Tumble weeds were King, dust was Queen, and you walked with your eyes shut when the wind kicked the land into a rumble."
—Celeste Sotola

Monday, March 29, 2010

March 29, 2010
Here's a request I got yesterday:

Dear Bob,
I live in the northeast corner of Tennessee--Bristol--but I have always had horses and have always been a cowboy at heart. For years I have wanted to fulfill a dream of riding an authentic stagecoach in open country, not some tourist ride down a paved street in a contraption that doesn't even look like a stagecoach. I have made two trips to Lincoln, New Mexico only to find the stage line there was not running due to some problem or another. Now I read in the latest issue of True West that the Lincoln stage line is defunct. Can you give me some guidance on how I could have a real ride in a stagecoach before I pass on. Time is getting short. I am 70 years old. Thanks for anything you can do and thanks for providing me with the best reading material in circulation every month.
—Howard Taylor

I have assured Howard that we will find him an authentic stagecoach ride. In fact, I wouldn't mind if we found him several in different parts of the West. Let's find him an authentic, six up rig that will blow his hair back. Any suggestions?

"Well, hello Curly."
—famous sequence from Stagecoach

Sunday, March 28, 2010

March 28, 2010
Just finished a dozen new True West Moments over at the National Ranching Heritage Center. We had a spotty day yesterday with high winds and overcast skies. Only got six segments in the can, including four out at an abandoned county jail in Clairemont, Texas, about 70 miles east of Lubbock. Had to tape on the downwind side of the two story structure and even then my new hat blew off on the very first take. Caught it. Whew!

Hey, Flying R, had on your custom hatband and it looked mighty purdy. Thanks.

After a lunch of Texas style bar-b-que in Dickens (north of Spur, Texas, great name!) we motored, caravan style, back to Lubbock and tried to tape at the Ranching complex, but the light was spotty with heavy overcast skies, and the wind was bitter cold and finally, the teleprompter battery went dead so the producer, Jeff Hildebrandt called it a day at about four.

The locals recommended Josie's Mexican food on University, so we all headed over there for dinner and had a nice meal (had the chicken fajitas with homemade tortillas. Ay-Yi-Yi!) and we had a nice time, with the crew members from San Antonio, telling us their favorite celebrity horror stories. Let's work backwards: the guys they liked to work with are Tony Parker of the Spurs and Tim Duncan (although he can be shy), George Strait and Henry Cisneros (a Texas politico). On the other side of the fence, well, let's just say Tommy Lee Jones, is a handful, but then I've heard that before from others. Val Kilmer also sounds like a challenging assignment.

Made me wonder what they will tell on me at future shoots:"That damn BBB he wouldn't shut up about Billy the Kid!"

Got out to the Ranching Heritage Center at 8:15 this morning and ripped out three right off the bat, then broke for lunch (Emily from the NRHC took us to Spanky's, a Texas Tech hangout). Weather really improved in the afternoon with a cloudless sky and higher temps and the wind even died down to a gentle roar. (a local Lubbock-ite told me to watch for dangling chains. If the chain is blowing straight out, it's going to be a mild day. Now, if the chain links start breaking off. . .you can expect real bad weather.)

The Ranching Center has painstakingly moved and refurbished a wide variety of ranch buildings, including Los Corralitos (Little Corrals) a very early, 1783, ranch house with no windows and 33-inch-walls. Yep, windows were too dangerous in Commanche-Apache country, but they did have a couple gun ports. Amazing. I really enjoyed the grounds, and walked the whole dang place after we finished taping at 3:30.

Flying back to Phoenix in the morning with a stopover in Albuquerque. Should be back in the office by three.

Jeff goes in the editing bay on Tuesday and I would think these new ones will start running in about 60 days.

"That cowboy would ride a goat into a stampede."
—A Cowboy compliment

Friday, March 26, 2010

March 26, 2010
All we are is dust in the wind. I don't know why I'm quoting Journey (or, is "Dust In The Wind" by some other crappy eighties band?) but it is quite windy here in Buddy Holly's hometown. Had a speech tonight at the Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock. Great crowd. Sold every book we had (I think the gift shop person told me they ordered 8 of each of my titles, that would be seven, so that's 56 books). Need to order more. Sent them to this site if they want to get theirs.

Judy, who reads this blog, came to the speech and at the reception asked me about my quotes. I gave her the inside skinny on how I amass them (hint: I have help from Carole Glenn, for one).

Wore my brand new, white 20X Beaver Brand Custom Hat on the plane today and to the speech tonight. The damn X-ray machine at Sky Harbor gigged it, as did the wind when I got out of the car at the hotel, which sent it tumbling in the Lubbock dirt and scuffed it plenty. Gives it character, they all told me. Ha.

Speaking of hats, when I was at J.W. Brooks yesterday getting my Beaver Brand creased with a Will James crease, his wife Jody told me they are watching the new TV show Justified, the Timothy Oliphant Western/Eastern on FX and that J.W. almost gave up on the first episode because Timothy's hatband buckle was on the wrong side. He finally said, "If they don't fix that hatband, I can't watch this show." They fixed it on the second episode.


This speaks to all of us and our intense attention to detail. We all watch Westerns, half because we love them and half for the little details: the quirts, the chaps, the hat brims, the hatbands, the mocassin beading, the saddle tree, the gun stock boners, the quarter horse dilemma, the modern bodice, the saloon girl fantasy fanfare, the buckboard cheaters, the Indian saddle blanket cheaters (with a saddle underneath). Nothing escapes our attention because, dammit, we are watching to see if you are doing your homework. And if you haven't, then get out of town!

You have no business making Westerns.

Speaking of getting out of town, we're driving out tomorrow an hour and a half from here to film new True West Moments at a jail. With the wind being a consistent tomorrow, I'm concerned but Jeff Hildebrandt and a five man crew out of San Antonio think they can handle it. We'll see.

Gee, I wonder what ol' Bob Collier has to say about this?

"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out."
—Robert Collier

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March 25, 2010
Drove out to J.W. Brooks Custom Hat Company near New River this morning and got my 20X Beaver Brand hat blocked in for the trip tomorrow ($20 cash tip). It's a pure white hat and I'm a bit concerned about traveling with it on my head (can't pack it, too cumbersome), but here we go.

Meantime, did a scratchboard a couple days back of "El Jefe":

When I was in jail for a day-and-a-half in Nogales, Sonora in December of 1968, I met a guy who ran the prison, or, at least the back part of the prison where we were thrown in to. In exchange for keeping order, he got his own apartment with a turquoise refrigerator at the top of the stairs leading to his penthouse. We couldn't go up there. He had other prisoners with sticks guarding the stairs. We were put in the hole. Six inches of urine on the floor.

But I digress.

Before I got out, I had a nice talk with him. He spoke perfect English. He claimed to have been the chief of police of Mexico City, but got caught taking the wrong bribe, or was it too much mordida? At least that was his version. He asked me if I thought the Mexican prisons were rough and I laughed. But then he proceeded to tell me how humane their prisons were compared to ours (they can order out for any food they want and their wives and girlfriends get to visit once a week). I had to admit, he had a point. You certainly couldn't cook up a worse recipe for anal sex than we have.

These guys always get portrayed as the heavy in movies and books, but El Jefe was a very smart individual, and I'd like to tell his story some day. I often wonder where he is today?

"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it."
—Mark Twain
March 25, 2010
One of the beliefs among us historic wardrobe buffs, alright fanatics, is that the "Two-Gun Man" is more or less an invention of Hollywood. While it's somewhat true in the later era (1881-1895) there is some pretty convincing evidence that there was a time on the frontier, at least in Arizona, where it was considered almost mandatory to carry two guns. in 1859 at a duel at Tubac, Arizona's first newspaper, The Arizonian, reported on the estimated 1,000 men who showed up, including sporting men from Tucson, farmers from the Santa Cruz River, and "almost everybody connected with the various mines." An eyewitness is quoted as saying:

"Everybody, as a matter of course, was 'en grand toilette,' i.e. two six shooters and a bowie knife around the waist."

En Grand Toilette

And, of course, these two-gun men were also at Tubac to do damage to a 42-gallon barrel of whiskey (see at right, center).

I'm not positive but I think the term "en grand toilette" as it's used here is clever slang for a woman coming out of a French bathroom with makeup and perfume and all the sexiest clothing attire, but in this case twisted to mean how men look in Arizona.


"If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true were really true, there would be little hope of advance."
—Orville Wright

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March 24, 2010
Just got off the phone with a man who bought a box full of negatives at an estate sale. He's been scanning them and it appears they are of Tombstone in the early 1900s. He said he called the historical society and they acted like they didn't want to see anything, so he called me! Man, I tell you, this is why I love owning a history magazine. He's bringing them out next week.

I'm getting ready to fly to Lubbock on Friday. Writing up a series of True West Moments based on lawmen, for Jeff Hildebrandt to run between Lawman, the TV series.

Not everybody loves my sense of humor on True West Moments. Got this email earlier this week:

"If you are the Bob Boze Bell that does the 'True West Moments' on tv..are you making that crap up? I always wondered until I heard your reason for 'Give me a Brake Man', referring to the brake man on the trains.....that is ridiculous and does not even make sense. How in the world do you expect folks to take you serious when you put something like that on?

"'Gimme a Break Bob'...Be for real."

—Nick G.

Need to get my new 20X Beaver Brand hat blocked tomorrow. Taking it out to J.W. Brooks Custom Hat Co. in New River.

And while we're talkin' negative energy, got this in the mail today:

"I've been subbing to True West nigh more than 30 years (actually 40), and have noticed the mag is getting a bit peculiar. The latest one, a female on the back cover and 15 women from page 80, I mean guys—the west was won by hard nosed males—not a bunch of swishes. . .I'm not too crazy about the tourist trap destinations, but will make an exception for Cody, Wyoming. My father was from there, and told me the locals met George Leroy Parker in the 30s. And all that 'House Beautiful' and Hollywood crap—is that the Real West? Also, I'm not too crazy about giving Clint Eastwood all that publicity. He's the same age as me (80), and I'm not fond of his 'spin'. Either too violent or not violent enough. Both "Madison County" [The Bridges of Madison County] and "Unforgiven" made me want to throw up. Let's get [back to] the real West.
—Big Vinny

For what it's worth, Flagstaff has had more than 11 feet of snow this year, yes so far, THIS YEAR. Amazing.

A study by researchers at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, found that the less people smiled in their yearbook photos, the more likely they were to later divorce. When they compared the top 10 percent of brightest smiles with the bottom 10 percent of weakest smilers, the lack of smilers were "five times more likely to be divorced than the top."

This isn't my high school photo, but it's damn close:

And yes, this sad drummer has been divorced. Ha. But he smiles more now!

"It's difficult for anyone to battle against the supremacy of humor."
—Oswalkdo Graziani, of the website El Chiguire Bipolar in Venezuela

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March 23, 2010
If the response from Festival of the West, and my mailbox is any indication, Mike Guli of River Crossing Inc is going to be a very busy boy.

Mike is the one who custom made my Range Rider pullover:

Which I wore on Saturday at the Festival. Lots and lots of comments. You can order your own shirt from Mike at River Crossing Inc

Got a xeroxed page from a book in the mail today called "Shooting Stars of the Small Screen" by Douglas Brode (2009), with the following sentence highlighted:

"The fringe on Range Rider's buckskin jacket rates as the longest ever seen on TV."

"—and that's about the long and short of it."

—Dick Horner, The Villages, Florida

Watched the second installment of HBO's The Pacific last night. Wow! What a great show. Glad I lived to see it.

Also, caught Elmore Leonard's new show Justified, starring Timothy Oliphant (Deadwood) as a U.S. Marshall assigned to a hick town in Kentucky. Even though it's way east, it's way West, and I must say, Tim's hat looks a whole lot like the hat, pictured above.

I sure have a passion for this stuff. Gee, i wonder what ol' Kahlil has to say about all this?

"Reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction."
—Kahlil Gibran
March 23, 2010
Woke up to sprinkles this morning. Kind of nice out. Very green. Working on several new True West Moments for our taping this weekend in Lubbock, Texas.

Meanwhile, I've been filing images in my studio and ran across this photograph:

There is no ID on the back, but isn't this Arizona Charley Meadows? Sure looks like him and he's got on a gunbelt, while roping? Excellent saddle with the long tapaderos. It appears to be taken in the Valley (Phoenix), although I'm basing that on the apparent irrigation in the background and the row of trees, perhaps along a canal. Anybody know about the provinance of this photo?

"A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears."
—MIchel de Montaigne

Monday, March 22, 2010

March 22, 2010
Yes, it was two years ago today, that I had a personal wipeout at the Exits Exit in Kingman, Arizona. And, two heart attacks and four stents later, I have to say, every single day since then has been a bonus.

Meanwhile, get your photos in here, right now.

"The most significant change in a person's life is a change of attitude. Right attitudes produce right actions."
—William J. Johnston
March 22, 2010
Back in the office after a heady weekend at The 20th (and perhaps, last) Festival of The West.

Special thanks to John Larkin who gave me his photos of what The Apache Kid would look like if he was 60.

Talked to Johnny Western (who was chatting with James Drury of The Virginian TV show fame), and had a wonderful time chatting up Goldie Taylor, Buck Taylor's wife. She is so damn cute and fun. Buck was quite busy selling his paintings and I only got to talk to him when he tracked me down away from his booth. He's the actor who's up for one of the roles in True Grit II and I hope he gets it.

Also talked a couple times with Michael Dante (Winterhawk) who claims he's the only actor to portray both a good and bad Native American and a good and bad cowboy outlaw. Talked briefly with Peter Brown (Lawman). He's still busy with his new concept show "Shootin' The Breeze" and his producer told me they taped a bunch of stars at the show.

I missed talking to Barry Corbin (Northern Exposure, Lonesome Dove, No Country For Old Men), because I wanted to tell him how great he was in NCFOM, and I missed a couple panels I was supposed to be on (we couldn't hear the PA from our booth and, of course, we were slammed with people, all talking all the time).

Marty Kove (Wyatt Earp, Rambo, Karate Kid) came by the booth and we had a nice chat. He is a very handsome dude and he was with a stunning starlet-type named Terry who had huge, very visible talents.

Speaking of huge talents, one of the prettiest women I have ever known, and a celebrity in her own right, came by the booth and she, unfortunately, has been botoxed to the gills and it was, well, just weird. It's like they have a frozen mask on. Felt bad for her. This mutated look is brilliantly parodied in Christopher Guest's latest movie For Your Consideration, in which Catherine O'Hara, as an actress up for a possible Oscar, plays half the movie as herself, then shows up on a Jay Leno type show and is suddenly changed (we don't see the transition, we just see her with the "work done"). At the end she teaches acting and implores her students to be "happy in your own skin." Devastating, but then I would expect nothing less from the guy who created, wrote, directed and starred in This Is Spinal Tap

The one guy who I would never have recognized is Tommy Kirk (Old Yeller, The Shaggy Dog). He looked like an accountant. But he was quite gracious and funny.

Clint Walker (Cheyenne, Yellow Stone Kelly, The Dirty Dozen) is a very nice guy. The lines at his table were long for the entire weekend. William Smith (Conan the Barbarian, Falcon Crest) had a few lined up as well.

My staff did a wonderful job. Nobody gets paid for this and they are spending their weekend time to help out. Everyone was great at hawking, but I have to say Abby Goodrich surprised me the most. That girl can hawk ("Get your True West magazine right here! Yes you! Come on, step up! Don't Be shy?").

Met a couple people who kind of blew my mind. Cheryl Manley Lott from Philadelphia is a Muslim-Native American who loves the Wild West. She had on the tight, head-scarf, long dress, with high top mocassins. She was with Maureen and Al Pride of California City, California and they wanted to know about black cowboys. Al is African American, Maureen and Cheryl are not.

Speaking of African Americans, we had probably a dozen come by the booth and rave about the magazine and my work on the Westerns Channel. All were dressed in full Old West gear. Really kind of hopeful in this brittle mash-up we call The United States of America.

So much talent on display, it's sometimes hard to figure out how everyone got to that tent on this particularly beautiful weekend on the Sonoran Desert. Gee, I wonder what ol' Shenk has to say about this?

"We've traditionally regarded superior talent as a rare and mysterious gift bequeathed to a lucky few. In fact, science is revealing it to be the product of highly concentrated effort."
—David Shenk, in The Genius In All of Us: Why Everything You've Been Told About Genetics, Talent and IQ Is Wrong

Sunday, March 21, 2010

March 21, 2010
Spent most of the day yesterday at Festival of the West at Westworld in Scottsale. Huge crowds, bigger than I have seen in a long while.

I received the 2010 Westerner of the Year Award from Beaver Brand Hats in conjunction with Texas Jack (T.J.) Hondo, for my "continued support and setting the example for those living the Western way of life." Quite an honor, and the best part is I was given a new, custom made, white Beaver Brand hat. A very sweet deal. Thanks Texas Jack and Douglas Klabzuba!, president of Beaver Brand Hats.

Met quite a few readers and members of this site, including Hondo Ray, who came all the way from the east coast just for this event.

Need to thank Lee Anderson, our September '09 cover boy. He came to the show in full blown vaquero gear and brought his custom saddle as well, parking outside our booth to meet the fans and chat up the vaquero ways. Tons of people came by to get his autograph. In fact the crush was so severe we quickly ran out of the Vaquero issue (with the cover blurb: "500 Years Before The Cowboy." When someone questioned Lee if that was really true, Lee quipped, "maybe not, but my grandkids think so."). You can still get one of these sought after True West magazines via this website (see store).

In addition to the vaquero issue, we have run through thousands of magazines at this year's event, more than at any show in the 20 year history of the festival. It may be because this is reportedly the last show (Mary Brown's husband has had enough and several of her key people want to retire after 20 years). Lots of talk about who will carry on the tradition. Buck Montgomery is planning a big show in Glendale next year with the idea of picking up the slack, but Mary also said she is talking with a promoter who may buy the company.

Much more to tell but I'm late for today's events and need to get down there (it's about a 40 minute drive from our house).

Meeting all of the fans of our shared Western world really inspires me. And it's fun to finally put a face with an online handle ("Oh, so YOU are Flying R!").

"When the legend becomes fact, print both."
—BBB (my new motto and the title of my May editorial)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March 18, 2010
Since we're coming up on the anniversary of Wyatt Earp's legendary Vendetta Ride (March 21-April 15, 1882), it's only fitting that we look at the men in his notorious posse. While much is made of the outlaw nature of Sheriff John Behan's posse (he deputized Johnny Ringo, Curly Bill, Ike Clanton and others), the movies and more than a few books gloss over Wyatt's riders as being, for the most part, the opposite of Behan's posse. Of course it doesn't hurt that Wyatt's crew had some pretty nifty names: Texas Jack Vermillion, Turkey Creek Jack Johnson, Sherm McMaster and Doc Holliday.

Here's the booking info on the Vendettamen:

• Wyatt Earp, arrested for horse stealing, prostitution and stealing school funds

• Doc Holliday, killed at least two men and a suspect in several stage robberies

• Sherm McMaster, indicted for horse theft and stage robbery

• John Blount, alias "Turkey Creek" Jack Johnson, suspected in stage robbery and horse theft.

• Dan Tipton, later charged with smuggling Chinese immigrant labor certificates and died in prison.

• Origen “Hairlip” Charlie Smith, who had the assignment of going into Tombstone to retrieve much needed cash for Earp's expedition, only to be arrested by one of Behan's deputy while trying to buy a bottle of whiskey at a saloon.

• Ton Kraker, a saloon singer (the lowest of the low in my book)

I think it's safe to say, if Behan's posse was loaded up with Cowboy scum, then Earp's posse was loaded up with gambling scum. Here they are gunning down Florentino Cruz near South Pass on March 22, 1882:

Most of the people in Arizona were appalled and disgusted by the actions of both sides in the vicious warfare in Cochise County. Interestingly, the press reports from the era read like the coverage of the violence in Iraq where Sunni factions attack Shiite factions.

Makes you wonder what fights the Iraqi re-enactors will portray in 2070?

"And now ladies and gentlemen, here is an authentic re-enactment of the Battle of The Green Zone."
—Some goofy Wild East history nut with a hat on like mine

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March 17, 2010
Working on a Classic Gunfight that I thought would be a slam dunk, since I covered it in CGII, our second volume of Classic Gunfights, which featured the 25 gunfights behind the O.K. Corral. On the so-called vendetta ride by Wyatt Earp, his men shot and killed one Florentino Cruz. I had a decent narrative of the actual killing, but then last night, as I cross referenced the event with noted Earp experts, Tefertiller, Barra, Gatto and Fattig, well, it got sticky:

According to Fattig, Wyatt sent two of his men, Smith and Tipton into Tombstone to get $1,000 in posse operating expenses from mining magnate E.B. Gage, then Smith sent two "agents" "Whistling Dick" Wright and Tony Kraker (a singer!) to deliver the money to Earp at Iron Springs. They got there ahead of Earp's party and stopped to chat with "a dozen cowboys" at the spring, and feigning ignorance of why they were actually there, they departed, riding back to Tombstone. Then, according to Fattig, they give the $1K back to Smith, who has no idea where Wyatt is so he gives the money back to Gage! Wyatt never got the money from Gage? Is this true?

Also, a deputy sheriff William Bell (no relation) arrived in Tombstone from Charleston in charge of prisoner Indian Charlie (Hank Swilling). Charlie allegedly shot a man in Charleston and shot out the lights. And, separately, Deputy Sheriff Frank Hereford arrested John Doe Freeze (sic Freis, who is actually a German teamster Frederick Bode). Meanwhile, Spencer had given himself up to Behan and is in jail, right? So, that means three of the defendants in Morgan's murder are in the Tombstone jail, while Earp is riding around Cochise County looking for these very men. Amazing.

The coroner's report, based on the testimony of Marietta Spencer (then why does she say in her testimony, "am the wife of Peter Spence"?) and she clearly accuses her husband of being one of the killers of Morgan, but yet Wyatt later claims Spencer was against us, but did not kill my brother, or words to that effect. What's up with that?

The conclusion to the coroner's jury reports that "Morgan Earp, a native of Iowa. . .came to his death . . .by reason of a gunshot or pistol wound, inflicted at the hands of Pete Spence (sic), Frank Stilwell, a party by the name of Freis, and two Indian half breeds, one whose name is Charlie, but the name of the other was not ascertained. . ."

Fattig maintains Florentino Cruz is actually Manuel Acusto and that Frederick Bode lives with Manuel at his home in Tombstone. Now, who in the hell is the real Indian Charlie and for that matter, who is Florentino Cruz, really? Man, what a confusing mess.

Got these answers from Mark Boardman this morning:

I'll try to help.

Yes, Smith and co. got the money from Gage. The other sources I've checked indicate that Wyatt got the money (and may have gotten another $1000 from others).

Hank Swilling is sometimes called Indian Hank or Apache Hank, and was a half-breed bastard son of Jack Swilling. As far as I know, he's never been identified as being Indian Charlie by pro or anti Earp writers/researchers. Fattig says the cowboys called Swilling Indian Charlie, but his source is a woman who was trying to remember things 50 years after the fact. And I've rarely seen anybody give her account much creedence. Swilling was seen by folks after Cruz was they can't be one and the same.

In fact, in an 1893 interview with the Denver Republican, Wyatt claimed that he killed both Indian Charlie/Cruz and Hank Swilling in separate incidents. Again, most folks think Wyatt was blowing hot air on that one. Like coming back to kill Ringo.

I think it is known that Swilling, Freis and Spencer were taken into custody--all by Behan's men. They were conveniently allowed to leave after the Earps had left the area.

Marietta Spencer (or Spence, as many people called Pete...of course, Pete's real name was Elliott Larkin "Lark" Ferguson) did say that her husband was one of Morgan's killers. But she had an axe to grind--Pete beat on her and her mother pretty regularly, and a fair number of folks believed she was out to get him. That group came to include Wyatt. Barra agrees that Spence was probably an accomplice to Morgan's killing but not the triggerman.

The coroner's report does mention two half-breeds. One was Swilling. Barra and co. say the other was Florentino Cruz, also known as Indian Charlie.

Is it absolutely, 100% proven that Cruz was Indian Charlie? No. But I think the evidence from that time indicates that they were one and the same. There's really no evidence otherwise.

And you thought this would be a "quickie" CG....
—Mark Boardman

Too true for school Mark. Thanks.

And here is another Bob Stinson installment of Babes On Graves:

This is the same model. Debbie Dayton at Doc Holliday's grave in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Haunting, no?

"This is funny."
—Doc Holliday's final words

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March 16, 2010
Over the weekend I whipped out a series of scratchboard landscapes to cleanse my pallet. Here's the first one:

And here's the second study:

Yes, those are riders, off in the distance, kicking up dust. And then, a follow up, version of the above (although it's much longer, I shortened it here to the same width):

"The world was made round so that we would never be able to see too far down the road."
—Isak Dinesen
March 16, 2010
Worked this morning on a scratchboard for a Classic Gunfight we're working on about the killing of Florentino Cruz on the so-called Wyatt Earp vendetta ride.

After the killing of Frank Stilwell in the Tucson train station, Earp went back to Tombstone, gathered up a posse of mostly gambler friends and rode out to South Pass in search of suspects, like Pete Spence and others, who Wyatt ascertained had been involved in the assassination of his brother Morgan.

Spence was not there, but Wyatt asked if the men in the wood camp had seen any saddled horses in the vicinity, then they rode off and within a few moments the witnesses heard firing. Here's the scratchboard of the Earp gang thundering through the sagebrush:

As several Earp authors have pointed out, when Earp killed Florentino, he had gone rogue.

Earp gave three different versions of how, and why, the killing took place and we're going to cover that in detail. Stay tuned.

"A man is fortunate if he encounters living examples of vice, as well as of virtue, to inspire him."
—Brendan Francis
March 16, 2010
Several days ago I posted one of Bob Stinson's "grave babes" as Trish Brink calls them. With my blessing, Mr. Stinson has taken several Las Vegas show girls to Old West graves and posed them with the grave of an True West legend. Here is the photo of Debbie Dayton at Alferd Packer's snow covered grave in Littleton, Colorado:

The Top Secret Writer came out yesterday and we had a fine lunch at Tonto Bar & Grill where we discussed finishing Mickey Free, among other things. After lunch Paul Hutton came back to the True West World Headquarters and saw this photo on my desktop (for some reason, one of the image settings, CMYK, does not allow the photo to show up on Microsoft computers. We were in the process of changing it to RGB when Hutton did a doube take). Paul said he loves the idea and the image and the obvious talents of the model, but doesn't think it belongs in our magazine.

So, what does a distinguished professor of history at a major university know about historically accurate show girls paying tribute to Western icons? Quite a bit, actually, but he doesn't think it belongs in True West magazine.

What do you think?

"A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm."
—Charles Schwab

Monday, March 15, 2010

March 15, 2010
Worked most of the weekend on scratchboards. Here's a new view of Beauty, the Apache maiden who stole the Apache Kid's heart:

And, speaking of the Apache Kid, here's his mug shot photo when he landed on the Rock:

Notice that his prison number appears to be 4441 which, no doubt, humored the Kid since four is considered a lucky number for Apaches. The Kid served 18 months.

Also worked on several desert landscapes and one for this issue's Classic Gunfight, which features "Wyatt Going Rogue." That image later.

By the way, I fixed the Debbie Dayton photo so more of you can view it on last Friday's post.

On Saturday, I thought of a sweet little story from my youth, growing up in Kingman, which is going to be called "Broadjumping to Wickenburg." I want to make it as honest as I can. Gee, I wonder what ol' Luc has to say about this?

"Everyone who writes about himself is a liar and anything processed by memory is fiction."
—Luc Sante

Sunday, March 14, 2010

March 14, 2010
The Top Secret Writer chaired a writing history panel at the Tucson Festival of Books this weekend. The session, at 11:30 A.M. was televised on C-Span2 and I watched it from the comfort of our living room.

Paul Hutton is so good at being an MC and the writers, Hampton Sides, Jeff Guinn and James Donovan were in top form as they discussed the ups and downs of writing history. All three have best selling books out and are working on new projects (Guinn is doing a Wyatt Earp book, tentatively titled The Last Gunfight but from his comments it sounds like he's expanding the theme to talk about southeastern Arizona in the O.K. Corral era and all of the misconceptions).

I met with Jeff in Prescott last year when he attended the annual Arizona History Association gathering at the Hassayampa Hotel. He struck me as a very smart guy and a good reporter. His book Go Down Together is a riveting true crime telling of the Bonnie & Clyde story with great tidbits. For example, did you know that when Bonnie & Clyde were gunned down, they found a copy of Walter Noble Burns' biography The Saga of Billy the Kid in the car? Guinn talked a bit about how both outlaws loved Jesse James and Billy the Kid and it played into how they perceived themselves and tried to position their life story, even though they were quite inept at being outlaws, literally robbing gum ball machines to eat.

Hampton Sides, who attended Yale and wrote Blood and Thunder a best selling bio on Kit Carson, and slated to be made into a movie, told a wonderful story about how deadly serious the professors at Yale were and how he never heard the word pleasure in his entire four-years there, and how he imagined a "corncob-ectomy" as being at the heart, or, would that be, the root, of the problem?

Hutton, as moderator, quipped that he had to stand up to deal with his corncob.

Pretty amusing, although for historians this is considered Chris Rock territory. Ha.

Sides, and Donovan (who, in addition to being a writer is also an agent) talked about how so much of academia has hijacked history and gotten away from compelling narrative (Hutton quipped that in his world it's almost considered selling out to even be published).

Made me proud to be a part of the discussion on the pages of True West magazine. In fact, I think it could be a cover story: "Hijacking History," perhaps written by Professor Paul Hutton?

No, first, he has to finish Mickey Free. Then the cover story.

Paul also gave True West a nice juicy plug, when he mentioned his Kit Carson cover story for us, "Why Is This Man Forgotten?" Thanks Top Secret Writer.

Tonight is the HBO premiere of the ten part series The Pacific which is a follow-up to Tom Hanks' and Steven Spielberg's Band of Brothers.

And speaking of hijacking history (and getting some of it back), here's a great quote from a feature in today's New York Times from one of the producers of The Pacific:

"People yearn in their lives for meaning. We live in a postmodern 21st century world where the meaning has been fractured. The United States is divided politically and culturally. Not only that, even the way narratives are told has been fractured. To tell a big, grand story like this, a crucible where the stakes are clear, the response to the stakes might be complicated. But I think we yearn for that. We yearn for the clarity of not just what happened and why we were fighting historically, but the clarity of narrative storytelling."
—Bruce McKenna, executive co-producer The Pacific

Friday, March 12, 2010

March 12, 2010
Just got this from Allen Fossenkemper and wanted to share it:

Pinal City, 1880

This is evidently from Sharlott Hall Museum. Didn't know there was a photo of the town where Mattie Earp breathed her last. Hard to believe, there is nothing left there today but a few foundations. Pinal City is, or was, a couple miles west of Superior, Arizona.

"Wyatt Earp ruined my life and I don't want to go on living."
—Mattie Earp, as quoted by a "friend" T.J. Flannery
March 12, 2010
Went home for lunch and started a Burnside rifle shooter (see sketches from yesterday). Went up at noon and got my haircut at Bev's. Got all the latest neighborhood news: Paul, one of the oldtime Cave Creek barbers died of a heart attack, and Bev's cousin also passed away. She was cooking Mexican food for the memorial service this weekend. Plus there is a memorial service tomorrow for one of the founders of Page's Bookstore, which I'm going to attend.

Got back to my studio at about 12:40, had an apple and fed it to the chickens, then whipped out a pretty solid Burnside rifle shooter:

This is Edward Cross firing at Sylvester Mowry at Tubac on July 8, 1859. It's going to be part of a composite piece for a Arizona Republic True West Moment.

"They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth."
—Old Vaquero Saying
March 12, 2010
I noticed I got a rise out of a few gents yesterday when I mentioned a certain magazine (Naked Cowgirls From Montana). Well, it just so happens that a friend of mine, Bob Stinson, who is a Vegas git-picker of some renown has a twin obsession: Vegas showgirls and outlaw graves.

I know, I know: twin obsession. It's a Vegas thing, but it works on several levels, no?

He asked me if I would be interested in a feature where he went to various cemeteries in the West and brought along one of his favorite showgirls to pose at the grave. I thought it was so outrageous, I told him to go do a couple and let me see what it looks like. Well, here's what it looks like:

This is Debbie Dayton at Alferd Packer's grave in Littleton, Colorado. He also took two other showgirls, one to Doc Holliday's grave and two others to the Clanton's grave and Warren Earp's grave. Want to see those?

"I was born as pure as the driven snow. But I drifted."
—Mae West
March 12, 2010
Now this is more like it!d Very clear day, with today's high temp in the low seventies. Went for a walk with Peaches this morning and enjoyed the green.

And Now For Something Completely Different:

Started a scratchboard of Alcatraz last night and scratched in the water this morning:

Kind of kicking myself. Overdid it on the water scratching. Could have been a contender, but not sure it works like this.

"Opportunities multiply as they are seized; they die when neglected. Life is a long line of opportunities."
—John Wicker

Thursday, March 11, 2010

March 11, 2010
Mark Boardman is working on a cover story that is quite amazing: it includes a white In-din, a rodeo champ, a basketball star and a deadly Wild West shootout. Going to be a great one. Just read Mark's rough draft before lunch. Goes to press in a week. Dan The Man is busy doing a cover. Should come up this afternoon. Can't show it to you because it's top secret (at this point).

Talked to Celeste today about the response to her graphic novel and the responses on this site. I have to admit I am encouraged by the response and believe she is onto something. She is a renowned artist in her own right. If you don't believe me, check out her site right here.

She asked me if I knew that a rival magazine reads my blog and I said, "Well, I hope so." Part of the reason for doing this is to entertain and inspire our competition. That would be you: Cowboys & Indians, Wild West, American Cowboy, and Naked Cowgirls of Montana.

Sometimes I Get Requests That Are On The Outer Edge of My Abilities:
Have you heard anything from Sam Elliott or Tom Selleck? These two top western actors seemed to have turned their backs on them. Not to mention Kevin Costner. If you ever talk to them, tell them to get off their keisters and get back in the saddle. Their fans are screaming for more westerns and not the stuff they've been putting out lately. Adios!

John, the next time I see Sam, Kevin and Tom I'll give them the message.

Playing with design elements more than anything. And here's another take on Tom Horn for Mickey Free:

He was barrel-chested, wore a bibbed shirt and shotgun chaps. I'm getting closer to capturing the lanky bastardo. I realized this morning, Woody Harrellson is the actor with the closest demeaner and look of the Apache packer.

Also working on a tough perspective of the Burnside rifle duel in Tubac that we recently covered in True West. But these sketches are for the Arizona Republic version of layout:

It's a very tricky perspective and I had Robert Ray take a series of photo reference of my cheapest model out back of the True West World Headquarters.

Dan's cover just came up and it is a winner. Dan The Man is three for three. He is on a roll!

"Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room."
—Sir Winston Churchill

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March 10, 2010
Just got back from a speech for the Men's Club at Winfield, a gated community south of Carefree. Great guys. At 11:30, the incoming pres Steve Wall picked me up in his cherry '56 Ford convertable and we cruised down in Detroit style to the gig.

Hey, FYI: we are under attack from a series of bots (outlaw spammers) pushing drugs and faking names. We are killing them as fast as we can. I shot down six before I left last night around six. Drove home, went for a walk with the dog, ate a chicken taco from El Encanto leftover from our design meeting, went out to check on the site and there were six more drug coyotes squatting on the blog inbox. Killed 'em all dead and went to bed.

Came into the office and met Trish and Carole, their arms covered in blood. They had killed "at least fifty" according to Trish. These are zombies and won't die.

I repeat: we are surrounded and being attacked by outlaw zombie spammers and we're doing the best we can to kill them as fast as they storm over our ramparts.

"Bring packs. Be quick."
—Custer's last known written request
March 10, 2010
Just got word from our Military Editor Alan Huffines that Granger, Texas, which is northeast of Austin, will be converted into an Old West street for the Coen brothers new take on True Grit. Oscar winner Jeff Bridges will play the John Wayne part.

Here's the news report:

GRANGER - "True Grit," a film classic that saw John Wayne receive an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1969, is being refilmed in Granger.

This rural crossroads of 1,400 situated on state Highway 95 between Bartlett and Taylor dates back to 1882 when the Houston and San Antonio branches of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad intersected here.

The brick facades of the buildings along its 100-foot wide main street reflect the era of the late 19th century.

"If everybody was satisfied with himself, there would be no heroes."
—Mark Twain

Monday, March 08, 2010

March 8, 2010
It's been raining off and on for the last 48 hours. Stayed home yesterday and worked on True West Moments illustrations, like this one for Nazi Westerns filmed in Arizona, "Heil Hickok!":

The stain at the top right stems from our new cat Honey Boy Roy, who tipped over my brush cleaner jar and the water stained the Esdee scratchboard on my desk.

Also worked on a Sedona landscape for use in the background of the above scene:

This is a Sedona outcropping known as The Nuns Formation. While I was looking for this image in my files, I found a potential dead ringer for "'Ol Pinetop," a character from Old Arizona I plan on using for a True West Moment. According to Marshall Trimble:

"The White Mountains of Arizona boasts the largest stand of ponderosa pine in the country. In the early days the soldiers at Fort Apache made the long ride up to the top of the Rim and followed the Crook Military Road all the way across to Fort Verde. Right at the top of the hill, a tall, lanky fellow with red, bushy hair named Walter Rigney had a saloon. His hair stuck out like a pine bough and the soldiers called him Ol’ Pinetop. The boys in blue were always happy to stop at Ol’ Pinetops place and belly up to the bar before continuing on to Fort Verde.

"When the Apache Wars came to a close people began building cabins around Ol’ Pinetop's saloon and pretty soon a town was born. And they named it Pinetop, not because it was located midst the largest stand of ponderosa pine in the world but for a tall, bushy-headed bartender."

So, barring a photo of Walter Rigney, I wonder if this guy would fit the bill?

It was done for something completely different, but he has a bit of an "Ol' Pinetop" look, no?

My first print version of True West Moments appeared in the Arizona Republic yesterday. I thought the layout was fine, although our art director Dan The Man Harshberger was miffed that they paid no heed to his creative design layout. And Robert Ray was miffed that they converted a carefully constructed bit map into a halftone, which washed out the blacks, robbing it of a crisper tone.

While I thought it looked fine, it is an issue that we are spending a whole bunch of time creating these and then they are sent down to the Republic and dismantled and rebuilt as per their specs. Not sure quite what to do about this, but something needs to give. Still, I have to keep it in perspective and remember that the important thing is, they ran it along with a good plug for our website and magazine.

Gee, I wonder what ol' Samuel Clemens has to say about this?

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

Saturday, March 06, 2010

March 6, 2010
There is a new book coming out that is quite a mind blower. We got an advance preview copy last week and I've been reading it every chance I get. I'm only up to page 48 and I've ear-marked three features and a potential cover story.

Did you know that in 1936 a Nazi propaganda film—a Western!— called Der Kaiser von Kalifornien (The Emperor of California) was filmed partly in Sedona and the Grand Canyon, among other U.S. locations? More on this, along with my proposed sketches, later.

"It's wonderful but we still must change the end a little."
—A sneak preview review by Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels

Friday, March 05, 2010

March 5, 2010
Got up this morning and tweaked the Goyahkla (also spelled Goyathlay) illustration a bit. Lowered her left eye to match right, fiddled with the yawn and hands. Brought it into the office and scanned it at 600 dpi and handed off to Robert Ray who plunked it into the Arizona Republic layout and here it is:

Pretty damn clean, if I do say so myself. These tidbits, styled under True West Moments will start running in the Republic this coming Sunday.

"Beauty is whatever gives joy."
—Edna St. Vincent

Thursday, March 04, 2010

March 4, 2010
Went home for lunch and bailed into a scratchboard of the Baby G yawning like a just fed kitten in a bay window. That's a Norman Rockwell dog I poached from a book featuring his work.

As you know, Baby G's parent's named him Goyathlay—He Who Yawns, but he had a life that was anything but a yawner. As a young Apache warrior, his Spanish speaking adversaries exclaimed in the heat of battle that he fought like Saint Jerome. That was appropriated to the Spanish pronunciation of Hay-ron-imo, and of course, the Americans flattened it from there to Geronimo.

Some yawner, eh?

As promised, here is a photo of Don Imus and his brother Fred on their parent's ranch east of Kingman:

I believe that's Don in the foreground. The Willows is the name of the ranch and according to Marshall Trimble it's closer to Seligman than Kingman. This photo is from a book Don published with his brother Fred called "Two Guys Four Corners," and was published in 1997.

"Time is the justice that examines all offenders."
—William Shakespeare
March 4, 2010
I was filing some artwork in my art morgue (where terminal art goes to die) and I ran across a comic strip that ran in the New Times in the seventies. My high school life was still quite raw in my mind and I created this strip called "Fakeout" about a young high school girl with horn rim glasses who, in 1963, is visited by her future self and gets to go back in time and live through the Kennedy assassination and horny jocks with the knowledge of someone from the seventies:

I was paid $15 a week for the comic strip and it was not an overnight success and in fact, among the readers it was a love hate-deal. One hippie mailed in this one-line comment: "Fakeout is f###ed, period!"

Still, I was channeling my own experience in the Exits. Yes, that is Bugs Waters, above, left. And I was also playing on the Vietnam War:

Chapo Sanchez was a composite of several vatos and In-dins I grew up with and that is Mr. Wallace at the black board. He was our civics teacher.

Of course, in every band there is the clueless bandmate who doesn't know the key to any of the four songs the band knows and that person in the Exits shall remain nameless. Rhonda Rhodes is based on several cheerleaders I knew from Kingman and Connie Sitz, the heroine is loosely based on this girl:

This is a frame taken from an 8mm film of a dance at the American Legion in Kingman in 1964.

Anyway, fast forward to 1983 or 84 and I'm in Hollywood to meet two screenwriters who the studio (Columbia) wants to write a screenplay for Goldie Hawn to play my cartoon creation Honkytonk Sue. Jerry Leischling (sic) and Arlene Sarner have written a movie called "Peggy Sue Got Married" and in it, a woman (Kathleen Turner) gets to go back in time to her high school days and relive her life with the full knowledge of what happens, with the idea of changing the outcome (getting pregnant by her boyfriend and future husband, Nick Cage). It was directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Kathy and I go to the premiere and about five minutes in, she leans over and says, "Didn't you do a comic strip about this?"

I never mentioned "Fakeout" to either Jerry or Arlene because it would have sounded too, well, fake.

"Do you know what a penis is? Stay away from it."
—Kathleen Turner's mother's advice in Peggy Sue Got Married

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

March 3, 2010
We are getting ready for our first annual True West photo contest. Winners will get a chance to be published in True West magazine. Here are the four categories we will be awarding first-place prizes:

• Historic Spot

• Landscape

• Re-enactment

• Ghost Town

Each category winner will receive $200, while the grand prize winner will receive $500!

Here's the link for the contest.

Speaking of good photos, we have talked on this site about stagecoaches and how crowded were they. Well, here are two photos and the two basic types: the Concord and the mud-wagon. Here is a good photo of a very crowded Concord style stage:

And here's a crowded mud wagon:

Notice how the design of the coach is flatter and squats lower on the wheels. This is for traction on bad roads, thus "mud wagon." This photo is allegedly of the last Deadwood stage in 1888, I believe it is.

"The past is inescapable, though it can be reinvented, reinterpreted, into something entirely your own."
—Old Vaquero Saying
March 3, 2010
On Monday The Arizona Republic reported that Tiger Woods was seeking treatment for sex addiction at a private residence in Cave Creek. When I got into the office someone cornered me and said, "Your wife is a therapist. You can tell me, is Tiger at your house?"

I can categorically state that Tiger Woods is not at my house at the current time. He and I are hardly friends and while my wife is a therapist, her practice is in Carefree.

I repeat: Tiger Woods is currently not at my house.

"All that a man does outwardly is but the expression and completion of his inward thought. To work effectively, he must think clearly; to act nobly, he must think nobly."
—William Ellery Channing
March 3, 2010
Went home for lunch yesterday and worked on a separate scratchboard to "marry" to the Lt. Joseph Ives scratchboard I posted earlier. Here's the new bottom:

Here are the sketches I utilized to get there:

And, here is one of the goofy models I utilized to capture the thumbs down look:

Hey, the guy works cheap.

"I'm a real cool head, makin' real good bread."
—Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys, "I Get Around"

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

March 2, 2010
As I mentioned, over the weekend I was cleaning out the garage and found a drawer full of photos chewed to shreds by packrats. However, one photo survives and it's a very early shot of our band The Exits:

A couple notes: Yes, a packrat bit out of the top of the photo and two, notice that the film was developed in May of 1964, five months after the photo was taken. Typical sixties behavior, take two pics, put the camera away for six months, take another one, forget about it, finally take the film in for developing and find that there are photos of Aunt Bea who has been dead for three years.

This was taken New Year's Eve 1963 when the band was mostly surf oriented (The Beatles blew all of that away two months later when they appeared on Ed Sullivan). This is also about five weeks after the Kennedy assassination, maybe that's why Charlie is wearing black pants. Actually, white Levis were all the go and I seem to remember that Charlie wasn't into that hipster scene. That's Wayne Rutschman on sax, Charlie Waters in the black pants, Flattop Bozo on the Montgomery Ward drums (really crappy logo on the bass drum head by the way) and the late, great Wendell Havatone. Photo was taken in the Girl's Gym at Mohave County Union High School in Kingman and on the back it has the important information: our names and "got paid $60." That's for the entire band, not individually. Ha.

"Guy Man, you guys are bitchin'!"
—Miss Deines, our chaparone
March 2, 2010
Went to yoga this morning for the first time in a month. Felt good.

Mark Boardman flew in yesterday and we went over editorial plans for the rest of the year. Lots of good ideas all around. I'm very excited about what we have coming up. He spent the night at our house and took off this morning for Shakespeare, New Mexico and points beyond.

Speaking of Mark, last week I put out the word that I needed a photo of Lt. Ives, who was instrumental in exploring Arizona in the late 1850s. In spite of the fact that he later joined the confederacy and served directly under Jefferson Davis, neither Mark nor Marshall Trimble could find a photo of Ives either on Google (lots of Burl Ives but no Lt. Ives) or in the numerous state historical societies. All had info on him, none had a photo.

So once again I went to my clip file to find a likely face and uniform for the intrepid but not very visionary explorer (after exploring northern Arizona he wrote in his official report that a certain canyon was "worthless" and his party would be the last "white" people to ever see it. The worthless canyon later became known as Grand Canyon National Park). So, here is my weekend take on the Man With Zero Vision:

In spite of my best efforts, I'm afraid he looks a little too much like a 1950s movie western character. The hat and face, which I studied off of an 1860s photograph of a great looking miner doesn't help, even though I was quite faithful to the actual look. I also botched the canyon (bottom right), even though I had great Ed Mell reference. And, I haven't finished the "crew" with Ives, with the Indians, probably Mohaves and Hualapais, ashamed for having wasted his time and taking him to such a worthless place. Ha.

Very ambitious and I've already spent way too much time on it, but hey, that's what I love to do: waste time on historic authenticity to the point of ruining a modest joke.

"I believe we have a proud history if you don't count the last 500 years."

Monday, March 01, 2010

March 1, 2010
Over the weekend I worked on a scratchboard illustration of a general who lost several times in the Civil War and still ended up with a mountain range in Arizona named for him (along with a fort and a road):

The challenge: how to illustrate General McDowell as a loser without denigrating his character? Well, how about with a broken sword, and a riddled coat and his arm in a sling, but still standing defiantly? The McDowell Mountains near Scottsdale are studded with some of the most expensive homes in the U.S. with Steven Spielberg and other movie elites rumored to have houses in a pricey subdivision called Troon. Some irony in a mountain range named for a losing general ending up as a desert refuge for the mega-successful, eh?

On the way to "The Question Jar Show" featuring Mike Doughty on Saturday night, we encountered a dramatic nocturne sky with a brilliant moon breaking the edge of a spindly storm cloud. Got up Sunday and tried to capture it in a quick gouache study:

"It takes time to succeed because success is merely the natural reward of taking time to do anything well."
—Joseph Ross