Saturday, November 29, 2014

Turkey Day Gives Way to Turkey Day

November 29, 2014
   Great turkey day. Had great food and a great group of people over the Triple B Ranch on Thursday:

The buffet dinner party table with the Dallas Cowboys on in the background.

L to R: E.J: Radina, Brad Radina, James Radina, Somer Nicole, Debbie Radina, Betty Radina, Kathy Radina, Mike Bortscheller, Deena and Weston Bortscheller

"Hey, son, how 'bout those Cowboys?" E.J. Radina, Mike Bortscheller and his son check out the Cowboys on the tube.

Got up this morning and had a little feed:

Weston and his grandma enjoy a Morning delight

   Went over to Joe Yager's after breakfast to pick up a cord of wood and check out his tractor garage:

Weston Enjoys Tractor Central

"Nothing runs like a deer."
—Old farm equipment saying

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Walkin' With Weston

November 27, 2014
   House full of Thanksgiving guests, Deena, Mike and Weston from Pasadena and James Sol Radina and Summer from Encinitas. The rest of the Radinas are coming over this afternoon for the big feed. Kathy worked all week on prepping the house, including blocking off the pool area with a clever roadblock festooned with flowers.

Grandma Goose, alias G-Ma She Ha, with her flower draped breezeway.

   The boy has a thing for cars. Here he is sitting in the driver's seat:

Weston In The Flex

   G-Paw He Haw and Grandma She Ha went for a walk with Weston this morning. We came back with a pony, a truck and cord of wood. Long story short: the boy attracts gifts from the neighbors.

Walk Number Two with Mamacita Deena

   We stopped at the Barro's where they have two new colts and Mike Barro offered one of them to Weston.

Weston: "Hey, free horse!"

   Across the street we stopped to talk to Jim and Weston spotted a toy truck in a bush, wouldn't leave without it, and Jim graciously offered to let him borrow it for the weekend. On the way back we ran into Joe Y. who offered us a cord of wood.

   So, all in all it was a productive walk.

"Epic is the antidote to oblivion."
—Caroline Alexander

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What Do Rappers Know?

November 26, 2014
   Finished up a couple articles this morning and let everyone go home early for Thanksgiving. Deena, Mike and Weston are driving in from Pasadena and we are quite excited. Tommy and Amy are in Thailand, but we'll go see them soon enough. It's always a thrill to be with this group:

Bell family Christmas Photo, circa 1986 (that's Dusty the dog)

Dang Wu-Tang, Give It Up
   Who knew a rapper would know the the secret to the American Dream?

"I live a very satisfying life. Not because I've made a few dollars, but because I have a wife who loves me and children who wait for me to come home. And that is beautiful. I think that's the American dream: to be at peace at home."
—RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, real name Robert Fitzgerald Diggs

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Last Moments On Earth

November 25, 2014
   Charlie Waters figured prominently in several of my early day cartoon strips, including my first which ran in the University of Arizona Daily Wildcat. Here he is in "Fakeout" a cartoon strip that ran in the Phoenix New Times back in the 1970s about a woman who goes back in time to reclaim her high school years:

Fakeout: Charlie Waters, lower left, sings the Rusty Petry version of "What'd I Say."

   The late, great Gus "The Mapinator" Walker and his wife Patti, assume an old timely pose back in the 1980s. Gus passed this week and he is missed by all of us here at True West magazine.

Gus and Patti Walker

   Working on a cover of Mickey Free, a project I have been working on for a very long time:

Daily Whipout: "Mickey Rides Around Los Muertos"

"Our history is an aggregate of last moments."
—Thomas Pynchon

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Bitter Sweet Season of Honor and Loss

November 24, 2014

   Dr. John Langallier honored 34 of my cartoons at a private opening last night at the Tempe Arizona Historical Society.

BBB and Dr. John Langallier at the opening of the "201 Zany Zonies" show in Tempe

   We had fun with food catered by Mission Mexican food. Two surprise guests were two old flames from Kingman:

Karen Johnson Collins and Jan Prefontaine

   When Dan Harshberger showed up, John Langallier quipped that Sheriff Joe does not allow more than three Kingman people to clog up an access area (It was hilarious because, of course, we four Kingman kids were all standing in a knot at the foot of a staircase, blocking access, as it were). Of course we talked quite a bit about the old days and we remembered fun times with many of our dearly departed, including this guy:

Who Wears Short Shorts? We wear short shorts: Charlie and Linda Waters, BBB and Kathy, 1984 in Lawrence, Kansas when Charlie was a visiting professor of journalism. Kathy and I and the kids (Deena was 4 and Tommy was 1) were on our way to visit all the Bells in Thompson, Iowa.

   Meanwhile, my staff and I are still in shock following the news yesterday that our beloved friend and colleague, Gus Walker, has passed. He is remembered by many in the Phoenix media as well:

"So sad about Gus. He was the nicest guy who ever lived and brilliant at his work. It was so cool he got a third professional act, and a wide following, at True West. Thanks for that."
—Dave Walker

   More on his long career later, but here is a typical Gus Walker map:

A Gus "The Mapinator" Map

   So stylish, so clean and easy to follow. All hallmarks of the Mapinator

"I can't imagine True West without Gus. Our family is not the same without him."
—Meghan Saar

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Mapinator Is Gone

November 23, 2014
   Our good friend and associate, Gus Walker died this morning. If you read True West you have undoubtably seen his wonderful maps. We called him The Mapinator and he will be missed.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Louis The XIV Out West

November 21, 2014
   Had a speech last night at the Phippen Museum in Prescott. A hundred rowdy guests, dinner, tall tales and a great time.  Got up this morning and whipped out a little drawing of Louis The XIV:

Daily Whipout: "Louis The XIV Out West"

   This is for an upcoming True West Moment. Meanwhile, I was cleaning in the studio and ran across this great, old photograph:

Pioneer Cowgirls

   I also ran across this painting which will appear in The Life & Legend of Mickey Free:

Daily Whipout: "Ay Chihuahua an Airborne Apache"

   While digging through my sketchbooks I found this amazing page of images:

Daily Whipouts: "Mucho Mexicanos"

   Dang, wish I could paint like this every day (this was five years ago!). Need to make a commitment to get back into this zone: and thinking about it, isn't the same as commiting. Meanwhile, I have made a thousand beginnings and there's only one end in sight.

"I really thought what I would do is if I ever learned to draw properly—I would try and change the world."
—Ralph Steadman, Hunter Thompson's wingman in the Fear & Loathing franchise, in the new documentary "For No Good Reason

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fork Lift Crazyness

November 20, 2014
   Crazy two days back in the office. Spent all day yesterday moving the entire stock of BBB books, all 17,000 of them, to a new home in Scottsdale.

   It was 25 years ago that Theresa Broniarczyk and Chris Sicarella teamed up with me to produce Tri Star Boze, the publishing arm for all my Old West books. We sold more than 80,000 books, but with the death last month of Chris Sicurella, Theresa decided she wanted to move on, so Ken Amorosano and I bought all the back stock inventory. Here we are moving 2,000 pound pallets with a fork lift. We rented a 26-foot Penske truck and motored out to the westside of Phoenix where we found 14 pallets of books, upstairs in a warehouse on Olive Avenue:

Pallet building upstairs at the old Tri Star Boze building

  And then once the pallets were built they had to be hauled to the edge:


Our hired kid, Mike, pushes a 2,000 pound pallet jack into position for our fork lift operator:

Our "novice" fork lift operator then loaded off the pallets down onto the main floor and out the door where we stacked the 14 pallets in the alleyway:

14 pallets of BBB books waiting to be loaded

Our intrepid fork lift operator

   Yes, Ken had never operated a fork lift before, but he bailed right in and moved those suckers like a pro. It was scary work, at least to me. Lots of dangling poundage and pallet jack sweaty palms on precarious lift gates. This took four of us half a day to load all of the books onto the truck. Then it was off to Scottsdale where we rented storage space:

The truck is too tall for the opening, but we managed anyway.

   Took us all day. In fact, Ken and I have to go back down this morning to bring a pallet's worth up to the True West World Headquarters for shipping. Lots of orders already. A new beginning for an old enterprise. Several new titles in the works, including books on Mickey Free, Wyatt Earp In Hollywood: the untold story and a new take on Billy the Kid In Anton Chico.

"Each new venture is a new beginning—a raid on the inarticulate with shabby equipment, always deteriorating."
—T.S. Elliot

Monday, November 17, 2014

One More Weston and Back to Mickey Free

November 17, 2014
   Yesterday, Deena and Mike came back from Coyote Ranch at about three and the girls went out for one more walk, along with a little guy who trailed along:

Weston and the Women Walkers

   Got home late last night and got up this morning to work on my next book project, which prominently will feature this guy:

Al Sieber In Buckskin (I dig those leather pants with the prickly pear leggings)

  Worked on several sketches from this:

Al Sieber scratchboard

   I also revisited another photograph of Sieber taken at Camp Verde:

A blow-up of a group photo of Apache scouts and Al Sieber.

   Here are some sketches done from that view:

Daily Whipouts: Al Sieber Chief of Scouts, April 11, 2012

   And from these, here is an extrapolated version of Sieber:

Daily Whipout: Al Sieber With Rifle, August 2007

   Of course, it was Sieber who famously said of Mickey Free:

"He's half Mexican, half Irish and all son of a bitch."
—Al Sieber

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Scaring New Parents And Other Babysitting Amusements

November 16, 2014
   We started day three of our babysitting gig like we did the first two: in breakfast mode:

High Chair Bananarama

   How do you scare the wits out of new parents? Well, you send them a video with this title:

Weston Disappears. . .

   This is our last morning babysitting Weston. His parents have been at a B&B in San Inez and are returning this afternoon. We will get our walking papers and a ride to Burbank Airport. It's been fun. Yesterday we went for a walk and looked at the sights:

Weston Sees A Flower

   Weston is in the habit of running up every driveway looking for a "ki-ki" (kitty) or a dog. We also ended up at a Mexican food joint and sat outside where Weston kept up a running commentary:

Weston at Burrito Delight commenting on all the "cars" and "trucks" two words he knows.

  And we also went to a park where the fearless boy hit the slide about twenty times, sometimes head first:

Weston Slides With Abandon. . .

   And here we have Weston playing a certain tickle game:

Weston Keeps His Grandma In Stitches!

"If I had known how much fun grand children were going to be, I would have had them first."
—G-Paw Ha

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Weston's Inna Godda Da Vida, Baby!

November 15, 2014
   You can buy a little boy a cowboy hat, but what you really need to give him is a life skill. And I think this morning I did just that:

Weston's Inna Godda Da Vida, Baby!

Bonding With Grandma Goose

November 15, 2014
   Babysitting in Pasadena, Day II: Weston enjoys rough housing with Grandpa and he'll even put up with a waffle from the G-Paw for breakfast:

Weston contemplates a waffle and scramble eggs (scrambled on his high chair tray),
but when the chips are down he wants his grandma Goose:

I'm With Grandma

"I do not spoil the grandchildren. And I keep my mouth shut when my wife is."
—Bill Cosby

Friday, November 14, 2014

Babysitting In The Land of Weston

November 14, 2014
   Our first day of babysitting duty in Pasadena. Hard work keeping up with the walking boy.

Weston out walking, looking for "Ki-Kis" (kitties).

   Of course, it seems like just a couple days ago when he was just a noodle:

Weston in the summer of 2013

   What I like about the lad today is that, unlike other kids his age, he still appreciates reading a newspaper:

Weston enjoying print media. (Full disclosure: Weston just ripped the page out of one of his favorite books.)

   And, like so many kids his age, he sometimes gets the Chow Time Blues:

Westons Chow Time Blues (broccoli in bowl)

"I've never been swimming, and that's because it's never been more than half an hour since I last ate."
—Archie Lange

Thursday, November 13, 2014

G-Paw Ha

November 13, 2014
  Headed for the coast this afternoon to babysit a certain grandson. His parents are planning a getaway weekend and they need backup. They came to the right place.

Weston in his new slippers. A gift from Aunt Amy.

   I read somewhere recently that little kids cannot fake a laugh, but I know this isn't true because Westies has this little "ha ha" he does (I have him on video doing it), a very sarcastic burst, that sounds sort of like a forced laugh, or, as we call it in the family—a courtesy laugh. Many think he got it from me. Anyway, according to Kathy it looks like my new name is G-paw Ha. Which I actually love.

Old Man, Take A Look at Your Cars
   This is the title, above, of a review of Neil Young's newest book, "Special Deluxe" about his love affair with cars. The reviewer, Earl Swift, in the Wall Street Journal, gets in a few lusty licks: "Neil Young struck out for rock-'n'-roll stardom behind the wheel of a 1953 Pontiac hearse—a great, bulbous mass of pouting chrome and brute force that bludgeoned any air in its way and left a deep atmospheric bruise along old Route 66 when he left Tononto for California in the spring of 1966."

   Wow! That is not only a poetic mouthful—"a great, bulbous mass of pouting chrome"— but it also pretty much sums of Neil's entire life. But Mr. Swift is not done, not by a long shot:

   "Our cars are our partners, our side kicks, our modern take on a cowboy's trusty steed; they're our sanctuaries, love nests and music halls. They are the setting for adventures, dramas and conversations that stay with us for lifetimes."

BBB and "The Toaster" outside the True West World Headquarters

"Well I heard old Neil put her down. Well, I hope Neil Young will remember, a Southern Man don't need him around, anyhow."
—Lynard Skynyrd "Sweet Home Alabama"

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

You Can't Fight City Hall But You Can Visit Forty Years Later

November 11, 2014
   Here's a photo I found recently of my first cognizant visit to Tombstone (my family and I went through there in 1950 but I don't remember it):

BBB, Terry Townsend and Darlene Harshberger standing in front of Tombstone City Hall in April of 1974

   I had just seen David Wolper's "Appointment With Destiny" on the O.K. Corral fight and got all fired up to finally go down to Tombstone. I'm embarrassed to admit I attended the University of Arizona in Tucson from 1965 to 1970 and never made it down there. Came close: delivered meat products to soldiers at Fort Huachuca, five days a week in 1970-71 and every trip looked over at those conical hills longingly but never made it there:

Tombstone's conical hills just south of Monument Ranch

   Well, thanks to Russell and Jay at the Monument Ranch, I got to finally go inside Tombstone City Hall, forty years later!

The Monument Ranch Crew: Russell True, Jay, Greg, BBB and Marcel, in front of city hall on Sunday, November 9.

The view inside Tombstone City Hall out the upstairs window at Schieffelin Hall.

Got This Correction Today:
I'm pretty sure the upstairs of the Tombstone Town Hall was not a court room, that's where the mayor and the Tombstone Common Council held their meetings and decided ordinances, appointments, finances, etc. pertaining to the town.  It looks like its been cleaned out, the last time I was there (seventeen years ago) it was a "catch hall" full of junk and some very precious town history items too.
—Kevin Mulkins
"Everything comes to the man who is patient."
—Old Vaquero Saying