Friday, November 30, 2012

Jimmy Page, Frank Dalton and The Whipout-er Gets Whipped

November 30, 2012

   Working in office. Need to video-tape a snap tag for the cover. Working hard on the next CG (Classic Gunfight). More on that in a minute.


The Day The Music Died (and was born again)

   Great interview with Jimmy Page in the new Rolling Stone. We think of the British recording studios in the early sixties as being open to new ideas and that's what led to the Beatles. Not true at all. In fact the opposite is true. Here, I'll let Jimmy tell it: "When I was in Neil Christian and the Crusaders, we got a recording contract, but we didn't play on the tracks. Session musicians did. Record companies had staff producers who would supply songs written by their pals. There would be a deal on the publishing. It was a shut-down situation. Then the Beatles came along."

   And totally destroyed the Good Ol' Boys' Club. Ha. The beauty of this world is that nobody can really quite put a stranglehold on anything. Not Ghengis Khan, not Rupert Murdoch and certainly not recording studios, record companies or even movie companies. Content is king. Long live content!

Sometimes I'm the whipout-er and sometimes the whipout whips me. Worked both in the morning and at lunch yesterday on a painting for the next Classic Gunfight. Tried to finish this morning but it just won't fall. Here it is, a work in progress, "The Death Tent."

The Death Tent (fpo: for position only)

Had a very simple plan to finish this in short order. Two riders, Deputy U.S. Marshal Frank Dalton and Deputy U.S. Marshal James Cole come upon a tent in the Indian Nations. They have warrants for an illegal bootlegger named Smith. Unbeknownst to both, Smith is in the tent with his wife and a kid, plus three other outlaws and a whole bunch of women and kids. The ensuing gunfight cost Dalton his life Two others were killed, including Smith and a woman. Will try to finish this weekend. Need to add some laundry hanging on a line. Smoke coming out a stove chimney, blankets hanging on the tent lines and assorted barrels and still-type materials. A simple plan ended up very ambitious. Can't look back now. Got to keep going. Why?

"Don't look back—you're not going that way."

—Old Vaquero Saying

Thursday, November 29, 2012

U.S. Marshal Frank Dalton Gets His Due

November 29, 2012

We're doing a crazy, sad Classic Gunfight in the next issue. Mark Boardman has been guiding me through the bizarre twists and turns in the tragic death of U.S. Marshal Frank Dalton in the Indian Nation. For some reason I had never really studied this fight, but it is a doozy. Going home for lunch in about an hour to whip out the illustrations for it.

Here's a great photo of U.S. Marshals working out of Judge Parker's court. This was taken sometime after the fight with Ned Christie, and shows the tough, gritty resolve of these brave men.

Found a half-finished Duke of Dust special in the garage a couple days ago and thought I could save it.

Whipout Painting #41, "Mexicali Stud In Dust Storm"

I want it!

I realized, seeing it with fresh eyes that it needed a strong foreground in order to contrast the dust storm in the back. Stay tuned if you want it. It will go up for sale after lunch.

"You know you're getting old when all your cultural references are met with blank stares."

 —Old Vaquero Saying

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Answer to Naiche's V-Top Boots Question

November 28, 2012

   Sent out a query to both Robert Utley and Paul Andrew Hutton yesterday about the Naiche boot mystery. And I also posted the photos yesterday on this blog to see if anyone knew the answer. To recap: here is a photo of Naiche and Geronimo at Fort Bowie, Arizona in 1886. It was taken after their surrender at Skeleton Canyon. They rode to Fort Bowie, near Apache Pass, to await their removal to Florida. While they waited Geronimo went into the sutler's store on the base and bought new boots:

The next photo we see of the two, six days later, Naiche is wearing new boots as well. In fact, the son of Cochise has on V-tops! Many Old West re-enactors deny that there were V-top boots in the old west but this clearly blows that long-held belief to smithereens.

It's clear that Naiche decided to get new boots as well, but after the first photo was taken. I thought they only stayed at Bowie for a short time, but according to Utley, "At Bowie, Naiche still had moccasins but at trainside he had boots. My guess is that Geronimo got the boots at Fort Bowie and, later, so did Naiche. Remember that they spent several days at Bowie awaiting Maus and the rest of the band, ample time for the purchases."

Utley and Hutton also raved about the link to the many Apache photos provided by Brian Burroughs, who also informs us that the train photo was taken at the Texas Nueces River, six days after they surrendered. They were headed for Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. We see numerous photos of the Apaches camped in tents at Fort Houston at this incredible link:

Naiche and The Captive Apaches

Both Hutton (who is writing a giant book on the Apaches even as you read this) and Utley (who has a new book on Geronimo coming out from Yale Press even as you read this) were mighty impressed with the photos. Says, the Old Bison, "The link does in fact leads to amazing Apache photos, for me especially those taken at Mount Vernon Barracks. Looking forward to next True West. Send me several copies."

So, it's probably safe to say, that after the first photo was taken (there's actually two photos, one of them standing and this one, we are running both in the article) Naiche got to looking at G-Man's boots and thinking, Man, those are fine boots, I want a pair for myself. Or, maybe the photographer said, "Hey G-Man, dig the new boots. Where'd you gett'em?" And Naiche goes, "Sheez, Ya-goosh, I want some of them bad boys myself." Or, words to that effect. The photo we really want is the two of them in the sutler store looking at the latest clothing styles just in from the east. Imagine Geronimo asking to try on a pair. Did he try on several? Did the clerk use a shoe horn? Did G-Man pay with cash? Did he try to haggle on the price?

"I can get these same boots in Fronteras for free. All I have to do is raid the town and kill the clerk. Tu sabe?"

—Geronimo, quote approximate

Playing A Mean Game of Javelina Hide & Seek

November 28, 2012

   Went down to deliver the paper to my neighbor Tom Augherton this morning at eight. As I came onto his back patio I flushed out a big, fat Bieber, who went about five steps and stopped. I whipped out my cell phone and got this:

Pushing my luck I walked towards him to see if the rest of his rowdy crowd was in the neighborhood. I would take two steps and he would reluctantly move off about five feet:

We finally got into a game of Hide & Seek, although, it was like playing with a five-year-old who says, "pretend you don't see me here," it was actually kind of pathetic:

I yelled out, "That's some fat ass you've got there Bieber!" But he didn't seem to get the humor. In fact he kind of gave up at that point as if to say, "That's just mean, Ese."

"Why'd you have to be so mean?"

—Taylor Swift

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Naiche's New Boots: Where'd He Get 'em?

November 27, 2012

Woke up this morning to the sound of what sounded like a hundred coyotes yipping and yapping down the canyon. Thought about getting up and trying to record it but was too lazy.

Betsey The Chicken Lady came over at 12:30 and ascertained I have five roosters and three hens, and she believes one of the roosters killed a hen yesterday. We made plans for what to do. Details to come.

We're running an excerpt from Robert Utley's forthcoming Geronimo book in the next issue and today I discovered a nifty little insight. When Geronimo and Naiche surrendered to General Miles in September of 1886 they rode to Fort Bowie to await their conveyance to the Bowie Train Station, where they would catch a train on to Florida. A photographer took a couple photos of the two prisoners of war. This is one of them:

I love two things about this photo. For one thing, the G-Man is smiling, or smirking, to be more accurate, but check out his new boots. I seem to remember he bought them at the Sutler Store at Bowie. Now, check out Naiche's feet. Traditional, homemade Apache moccasins. Well, here he is on their next stop, which I believe is at San Antonio, Texas:

That's Naiche, front row, third from the left—center—but check out his NEW BOOTS, complete with V-tops! So where did Naiche buy his new boots? Does anybody know?

"The secret of success is to be in harmony with existence, to be always calm. . .to let each wave of life wash us a little farther up the shore."

—Cyril Connolly

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rooster Death

November 26, 2012

   First day back in office after Thanksgiving. Got an issue going to the printer on Thursday. Need to finish a Classic Gunfights and my editorial on Unsung Heroes: Little Known Characters of the Old West.

   I've got rooster problems in my chicken coop. Remember when I thought I didn't have any roosters? I was told by Betsy I bought seven hens. So, I went and bought a little rooster called Peckasso to give the hens something to live for, but when I put him in the hen house they all tried to kill him. I even tried the wait-until-midnite-and-put-the-chicken-in-amongst-the-sleeping-hens deal and in the morning they will accept the guy? Did that twice and each time when I came out to check in the morning, there Peckasso was running around trying to avoid getting speared to death. So I kept Peckasso in my studio for a month until the cleaning lady, Olga, threatened to wring my neck, after cleaning up all the chicken droppings. So then I gave Peckasso to my neighbor Tom and as the days have gone by it appears I have, ahem, a YMCA deal going on here. Instead of all hens it appears I have mostly roosters. Came home for lunch today and had an apple for dessert, and started laying in brush strokes of the saguaros in a study I've been working on (below). Came to a logical place and stopped, then took the apple core out to give to the chickens and saw this:

Rooster Death, 1:12 p.m. Chicken Condo Central, Cave Creek, Arizona

The big red rooster kept jumping on the white rooster, who was still breathing, but fading fast. Big Red jumped up on top of Whitie and pecked at the face and eyes and pulled with his beak at the face until the breathing stopped. Oh, and this is the NATURAL WORLD.

   Threw the dead rooster over the fence and went back inside to finish an ambitious study: "August Clouds Over Ratcliff Ridge".

This is a scene I look at out our kitchen window. Really a spectacular stand of saguaros on the ridge across the road.

When we were in LA last week, we ate at Tacos Delta on Friday morning, a place Carson Mell turned us on to.

As we were leaving I saw this billboard in the parking lot:

I couldn't get anyone to go see "Lincoln" because it clocks in at three hours. Dang. I need a good review. You got one?

"Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

—Old Vaquero Joke

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Wanna Talk About Heat!

November 25, 2012

   Nice, quiet day at home yesterday. Built a fire in my studio stove.

Read the paper, fed the chickens, started a couple paintings (all clouds). Went down the hill to Tom Augherton's house to deliver the paper (we share). Tom was outside stacking wood:

Tom fed my chickens while we were in LA for Thanksgiving. He bought a cord of wood from a local guy who has been delivering wood to the neighborhood for at least three decades. In the beginning I think he would deliver and stack a cord for $120. Today it's $340 and he doesn't stack it. There's a metaphor for the times we live in, eh?

   Speaking of the times we live in, I noticed two things on our trip to LA: in the security check-in line only two people in the entire line of hundreds of holiday travelers were wearing traditional clothing. By traditonal I mean business attire, jacket, slacks and dress shirt. Me and another old guy were the only ones. We were wearing jackets and dress shirts. Everyone else was grubby to the point of slobby. Everyone is Balkanized in black tattered off-shoot stuff.

   The other trend that is beyond the tipping point: 85% of the people you see in the airport are looking at hand-held devices. Kids on the floor holding them and frantically thumbing them. People walking and texting, in line everyone checks their phones incessantly. it's somewhere beyond epidemic. Even homeless people are doing it! We're all connected to the cloud. it's got a kind of Invasion of the Body Snatchers vibe, only scarier.

   In my studio yesterday I hit on a couple very cool cloud patterns, somewhat by accident. Working wet into wet and on a whim, I loaded up my brush with purple and laid it into a bank of gray. Left to watch a movie on cable with Kathy, "Tower Heist" and when I came back the purple had dried into a nice blend, which created a subtle reflection off the earth into the underbelly of the cloud. This is one of those Happy Accidents where I'm not entirely sure how I got it, but it's quite impressive.

Studied this cloud painting this morning while I ate huevos rancheros and read the Sunday New York Times:

By the way, really enjoyed "Tower Heist" which we blundered onto by accident, while setting up the TV for the DVD player. I remember the movie did so-so and everyone kind of ripped Eddie Murphy for it (a quick Google search resulted in an overview from Wikepedia that it was an Eddie Murphy project, got changed, he came back, did so so at the box office), but we laughed and laughed and thought it was quite good.

Reminds me of Jim Gaffagin's funny bit where he says adamantly, "I wanna talk about Heat!" But Jim, that movie is five years old. "Just saw it. Wanna talk about Heat!"

"You brought a stolen car to a robbery?"

—One of the incredulous anglo robbers to Eddie Murphy in Tower Heist

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving With The Kids

November 23, 2012

   We enjoyed a very nice Thanksgiving dinner at the newlywed's apartment in Silver Lake, California yesterday. Here's the cook yesterday morning, checking on the turkey:

And here's the assembled cousins and in-laws sitting down to feed:

And here's the lonely cleanup person afterwards:

Deena C. Bell Bortscheller (the DCBB mentioned in the header yesterday) actually had plenty of help, but i just like the name of the photo which is a  lame takeoff on the Lonely Bull, one of my fave teenage songs.

"Got to get you into my life."

—Another fave song from 1966

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Silver Linings Play Date

November 22, 2012

Our kids have always come to us for the holidays. This year marks the first time we are going to them. Kathy and I flew into Burbank on Wednesday night where our daughter Deena picked us up. After Thai food in Silver Lake, we slept on the floor of Deena's apartment.

We got up early and joined Deena on her professional rounds. First stop, Pasadena, where Deena had an appointment at a very large bank headquarters.

Pasadena Deena, 8:27 a.m. November 21, 2012

I asked if we could join her in the meeting ("Good morning. These are my parents from Arizona and they are shadowing me all day today. If you have any questions about the Old West my father has an opinion. . .") For some unnamed reason Deena wanted us to stay in the lobby.

I was too restless for that, so I took off walking up Green Street which was quite green with tree-shaded streets. Ran across a movie being filmed and the key grip made me cross to the other side of the street. But before I complied I got the name of the movie "Bad Words" an indie that appears to be about a spelling bee. There was a faux news conference at the foot of the stairs of an old twenties style courthouse building and the reporters are jostling and yelling and two of the actors walk back up the steps and into the building, first one, then the other. Big banners are draped down the front of the building and the middle one has the word spelling bee on it. Bad words: spelling bee. Get it?

Thanks to GPS Deena found me wandering the streets and we headed to her second appointment about a mile away. By the way, the bleachers are already going up for the Pasadena Rose Bowl Parade.

This time Kathy and I both wandered the streets looking for book stores. Everyone appeared to be closed for the holidays, so we ended up at Starbucks, where I borrowed a New York Times, sat outside with my coffee and read while a homeless man yelled at his surroundings the entire time.

From Pasadena, we motored up the 2 to Montrose, a lovely mountainside community where Deena's new husband, Mike, works at a motorcycle dealership. Here he is in their new showroom where they are going to feature Triumphs.

Mike And His Bikes, 12:30 p.m. in Montrose, California

The middle bike is a TT Scrambler made to the specs of the Steve McQueen bike he rode in "The Great Escape." I, of course, owned several Triumphs in my amateur racing days so I was amazed at how much bikes haven't changed and at the same time how much they have (better suspensions, fuel injection, etc.). Mike couldn't join us for lunch so the girls and I headed to the quaint, and also tree-lined main street of Montrose where we landed at The Black Cow.


t was during this lunch that Kathy and I both came to the realization that Deena has my mother's nose. I thought it was just me, but Kathy later told me she had the same realization. Food was great. I had the salmon, Kathy got the grilled chicken salad and Deena had the grilled chicken and avacado sando (I paid, $56, whipped-out-painting money).

After lunch we went to two grocery stores to get Thanksgiving supplies. First stop Trader Joe's, which was slammed, and then Von's. We got back to Deena's apartment, mid-afternoon, which is high on a hill in Silver Lake.

Home for The Holidays, 2:14 p.m., November 21, 2012

After a nap on the floor, Deena, Kathy and I took off on a foot tour of Silver Lake. Loved this bus stop advertisement:

Silver Lake Tequila Wisdom, 5:22 p.m. November 21, 2012

After street tacos and margaritas at Chola Restaurant on Sunset Blvd. we walked to The Vista an old school movie theatre with handprints on the sidewalk a la the Chinese deal in Hollywood. the only name i recognized was Martin Landau, but I loved the ticket booth, the old popcorn popper and, of course, the wonderful decor inside.

Silver Linings Play Date, 6:05 p.m., November 21, 2012

I know I've said this before but these photos were taken with MY PHONE! It is the best camera I've ever had and that includes many Nikons and Canons and other brand names I have forgotten already.

Yes, the movie was very odd in a good way. We all enjoyed it. Walked home about three miles and then checked into the Comfort Inn at 11 our time. Long day, but much fun.

"Home is where the heart is."

—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Buffalo Soldiers (The Tenth Horse) Dust It Up

November 20, 2013

   Sometimes I shoot photographs that I forget about, then discover again, get all excited and print them out for future usage. This is one of those photos, shot last summer in Santa Fe at the Centennial Art Show at Due West Art Gallery. I was looking for something else and ran across this (ON MY PHONE!) This is Rusty York.

The Man With The Angst

Been noodling dust effects since last weekend. Had about a dozen "starters" on the floor, dabbing and blotting, puddling and splotching. This morning I grabbed one (the biggest failure) and went for broke on a study I call "The Tenth Horse: Dust Storm Guidon."

Daily Whipout #41, "The Tenth Horse: Dust Storm Guidon"

I want it!

"As painters we must always remember that the spirit is more important than the fact."

—Harold Von Schmidt

Monday, November 19, 2012

Air Cooled Rooms With A View

November 19, 2012

   It is Dan The Man's birthday today. He came out for Design Review and we had a great session, going over design issues for the February issue, cover performance (newsstand is up 10%) and plans for a 60th anniversary surprise.

   Went home for lunch and whipped out a little study I call "Haze Rider".

Had a couple requests for prints of this.

Spent part of the weekend perusing John Hinkley's new Route 66 Encyclopedia"

I don't know what it is exactly, but I get a thrill looking at a certain type of 1950s motels and cafes. Especially the kind that are carved out of the desert, a kind of little oasis in the middle of nowhere (Amboy, Truxton, Seligman, etc) and just the words "air-cooled" and "auto-court" makes me smile. I guess it reminds me of being a little, bitty kid, on the road with my mom and dad. I think there is a really good story in there. Gee, I wonder what ol' professor Currier has to say about this?

"Find a good story, tell it well, and the rest will take care of itself."

— Professor Frank Currier

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's Time to Honor The Women of Arizona With A Monument

November 18, 2012

   Got up to Bronzesmith in Prescott Valley yesterday at 10:05 and the place was already packed with people who drove in from all corners of the state to see Not-So-Gentle Tamer. Out of the crowd I spotted my cousin Froggy Hauan and his wife Trudy, who flew in from Rochester, Minnesota just to see for themselves the ten-foot-tall clay sculpture co-dedicated to my grandmothers, Minnie Hauan Bell and Louise Guess Swafford. Froggy (his given name is Norm) is related to my grandmother Bell and still farms in Thompson, Iowa.

Here we are posed in front of Deb Gessner's masterpiece. And here is the sculptor Deb with me:

The Open House was supposed to be from 10 until 2, but the crowds were so strong I stayed until three. Everyone seems awed by the sheer size of the tough-old-gal but it is the eyes that are the window to her soul. Her eyes say loud-and-clear, "Do not mess with my family." That remarkable achievement is totally Deb Gessner. They had my painting next to the statue (which inspired the project) and someone commented that my painting is estrogen and the sculpture is testosterone. Ouch! Funny, but true.

Several patrons commented that of all the state's centennial projects this year, Not-So-Gentle Tamer is the only one that will honor women. Here's the deal: we need to raise $85,000 to make the bronze monument happen. We have raised half of that. You can help in several ways. You can buy one of the smaller versions of the sculpture (half the money goes to casting the bronze), or you can buy raffle tickets to win one of the small bronzes and you can donate money to the cause at

The plan is to dedicate the full-sized bronze in front of the Prescott Valley Courhouse on Statehood Day, February 14, 2013. It takes two months to cast the bronze so it's going to be a challenge to raise the money in time but with your help we can do it. I hope you'll consider supporting this worthy cause, especially if you agree with Lora Lee, the tireless champion of this project.

"It's time to honor the women of Arizona with a monument."

—Lora Lee Nye

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Biebers Invade And Peckasso Rules The Roost

November 17, 2012

   The Biebers showed up this morning at 7:30. Heard the head Bieber chewing through the gate and went around the studio to the back yard just in time to see one of the smaller Biebers staring at the chickens. He finally saw me, scampered to a hole in the fence (which they made with their tusks) and loped across the side yard on the outside of the fence. Caught him in full stride looking rather Sasquatchy:

Going up the hill this morning for the Open House at Bronzesmith in Prescott Valley. If you are in the area stop by for refreshments and to take a gander at the big 10-foot-tall clay version of "Not-So-Gentle Tamer." i'll be there from 10 to 2.

Hey, remember this little chick roosting on my arm?

Well, Peckasso, is quite a rooster today with hens of his own. I'll get you a photo of what a bigshot he has become with his own condo on the creek and everything. Amazing how far one can go in this world with just a little pluck and cluck.

"Would a rooster by any other name taste so sweet?"

—Old Vaquero Saying

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Whipout Stealfest Continues

November 16, 2012

Went home for lunch and whipped out nothing. Hit the wall. Got part of a windswept canyon going, but had to come back to work. Here's another batch of Whipout Paintings! 

Daily Whipouts #36, "Kid In The Clouds II"

Daily Whipout #37, "Red Ghost I"

Daily Whipout #38, "Cubists at The O.K. Corral"

Daily Whipouts #39, "Old Trails"

Daily Whipout #40, "Lawton's Scouts: Over The Mogollon Rim And Under A Monsoon Sky"

"Hold yourself responsible to a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself—and be lenient to everybody else"

—Henry Ward Beecher

The French O.K. Corral Fight?

November 16, 2012

   Got a couple new books that really ring my chimes, and being a hard-headed Bell, that is not easy to do. First up, a brand new, hot off the press book by my Kingman compadre, Jim Hinkley:

One of the entries is on Al Bell's Flying A gas station where I iced jugs for free. If you love Route 66 stuff, this is a great Christmas gift (over 1,000 photos).

Meanwhile, I was looking through my vast collection of comics and books on comics, this morning and found this French comic, gifted to me by master collector Paul Andrew Hutton. It's the French version of the O.K. Corral fight.

"Ike. . .Me Vengera," Indeed! Is that French, or Italian?

A week ago, Greg Carroll and I manned the True West table at the Scottsdale Artwalk on Main Street, right outside Abe and Greg Haye's Arizona West Gallery and all night I looked at a Maynard Dixon book in the window (it was straight away from our table). It haunted me all weekend. On the cover was this fantastic painting of wild horses in Nevada ripping up a draw in the moonlight. Yesterday Greg and I went back to Main Street to do some business and see some clients and I walked right in the gallery and bought the book. Here it is:

Damn, that guy was good. Very inspirational.

Meanwhile, the new guy Chad Hays, has posted some of daily whipouts on Pinterest. Check this out:

BBB artwork on Pinterest

"The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it."

—Teddy Roosevelt

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nick Bags Jesse, Wyatt, Kid Curry and Texas Ranger

November 15, 2012

   Spent most of the day in Scottsdale. Drove over to the Four Seasons Hotel this morning at the base of Pinnacle Peak with Greg Carroll and Ken Amorosano to attend the AOT (Arizona Office of Tourism) annual convention. Lots of great Arizona towns and businesses there. Met the owners of the Jacob Lake Lodge and plan on going up there to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Always have wanted to explore that area from Kanab to Fredonia. The Navajos and the Hopi were doing a communal painting and encouraging all the white guys to participate. Here's Greg adding a stroke or two to the painting:

Ken added a few bold strokes and then I attempted to blend his strokes to the actual painting which come to think of it is exactly how we approach the publishing business.

If you've been following my Whipped Out paintings sale, you may be interested to know that Nicholas Narog bought five of them. We shipped them at the end of last week and he has them received them and sent this photo of all five:

He actually poached some iconic paintings there, which include Wyatt Earp, Kid Curry, Frank and Jesse James and a Texas Ranger.

"Never trust the teller, always trust the tale."

—D. H. Lawrence

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Doc Holliday Keeps Climbing And Is This Jesse James?

November 14, 2012

   Doc Holliday continues to roll. Facebook stats show the good doctor's grave post is at 43,000 page views—and counting. Just amazing. A photograph of a grave!

   Our production manager, Robert Ray is searching for train images to illustrate the new batch of True West Moments we filmed in Durango last August. Jeff Hildebrandt of Encore Westerns sent us a wish list of images to add coverage to the bits. While looking for images on the Library of Congress website, Robert found this:

Is this Jesse James?

Although small, it looks somewhat fake to me, or patched together from a variety of images, but it is new to me. Speaking of train robbers, found this scratchboard in my morgue of a train robbery who let his mask slip during a robbery and the engineer recognized him. Can't remember the outlaw, but I think it was a series on outlaws for the Learning Channel in the mid-nineties. A production house in LA paid me $200 per image to help illustrate the show.

I believe this was based on a train robbery Oklahoma in the 1890s. Here's another scratchboard for your consideration. One of my favorites. Quite loose, but strong.

Daily Whipouts #35, "Border Banditos"

I want it!

"Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted, but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known."

—Garrison Keillor

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Moon of The Mojaves

November 13, 2012

   We were attacked last night by the Biebers, with the lead javelina ripping at the cardboard on the doggy door. I kept yelling and going out to shoo the little bastard away, but he kept coming back and gnawing on the door with his sharp little tusks. Finally cleared the yard at about eight.

   One of the amazing feats these little obnoxious Biebers do is to come right through our front gate. Here is a photo of the gate. Can you spot where they are coming through?

Okay, see that little sliver of space on the right of the gate? Yes, that six inch opening right here:

We had a pipe spacer in there attached to the adobe wall, but they gnawed right through that like it was taffy. Yes, javelina look like fat pigs, don't they? Yes, I know, they are not pigs.

But I have personally watched a whole herd go through the slit in that gate, so I know they can really slim down when they want to.

Our neighbors Cal and Jon Nelson gifted us a Bieber-Away contraption they made for their yard and they claim it works. It is a rack with four old CDs on it that spin in the wind and reflect sunlight. Allegedly the swirling light freaks them out.

I'll keep you posted on the success of this colorful little contraption.

Woke up this morning and whipped out a little study I call "Moon of the Mojaves".

Full disclosure: I went to school with a Mojave named Moon Nish at Mohave County Union High School. Mojaves are very large and Moon was six foot three. He played tight end on our JV football team and his head was too big for most of the football helmets belonging to the school. Coach Frank Baca finally found a slightly off color yellow helmet (our colors were blue and gold and the regular helmets were gold) that sort of fit him.

Baca had this weird idea that I could be a quarterback. Although I was flattered, it was really because the talented quarterbacks, Wayne Rutschman and Heber Nelson were often called up to varsity and they needed someone to hold down the fort when no one was home. One day in practice, our half back, Bill Blake was not effectively blocking out the tight end, who was, ta da—Vincent "Moon" Nish. Baca, made me drop back to pass over and over so that Moon would crash into Bill Blake and then smash me into the ground. As I dropped back each and every time, all I could see was this off-yellow football helmet coming in on the right, and then, blue sky. I had nightmares about that helmet for many years. Anyway, this is for Moon.

"What does not kill us, makes us slightly neurotic."

—Old Vaquero Saying