Sunday, May 20, 2018

Custer Wore Arrow Shirts And Beating A Dead Horse

May 20, 2018
   It's an old joke first told by Vine Deloria, Jr. in his seminal book, "Custer Died for Your Sins" (1969). "Indians say Custer was well-dressed for the occasion. When the Sioux found his body after the battle, he had on an Arrow shirt." 

Daily Whip Out:
"Custer Wore Arrow Shirts, Idea #1"

   In terms of illustrating this joke for the upcoming article (August issue), I wanted to approach it more from an advertising angle, as if the 150-year-old clothing company was going to mount an ad campaign to promote their line of Custer Arrow Shirts.

"Custer Wore Arrow Shirts, Idea #2"

   According to a Google search, "The idea of a man’s shirt having a detachable collar was invented in Troy, New York, in 1825. Hannah Lord Montague came up with the idea as a way to keep a shirt looking fresh and crisp without daily laundering. Soon, several companies in the area began manufacturing the collars, including Maullin & Blanchard. Cluett Peabody & Company acquired the company in 1885, and soon Arrow collars and cuffs were being widely distributed."

   This is from the Arrow Shirt Co. website. Reading on, I found out this:

The Arrow Collar Man

   "Part of the Arrow collar popularity was the creation of the Arrow Collar Man by artist J.C. Leyendecker. This good-looking man, always dressed in the latest Arrow items, became one of the most recognizable brand icons of the time. President Theodore Roosevelt was among his many fans, and at the height of his popularity, the fictional Arrow Collar Man was getting up to 17,000 fan letters a day -- mostly from young women."

   Wow! A day? That is in the Shawn Cassidy-Princess Diana zone. And, to me, it just proves there is nothing new under the sun. Here is a good example of the Leyendecker look:

The Arrow Collar Stud, by J.C. Leyendecker

   I have been a longtime fan and knew that J.C. Leyendecker was a prolific commercial artist and a neighbor of Norman Rockwell (the recent biography on Rockwell outed Leyendecker). "Not that there's anything wrong with that," said the defensive artist, referring to the artist's alleged gayness, not the scumbag journalism.

   So, back to the arrow shirt concept. It's a decent parody, but is it funny? Because what I really want, is to portray the joke in the funniest way I can. One of my first ideas—first idea, best idea—was to have Custer in a Vaudeville pose, strutting across the prairie with his "arrow" shirt:

"Custer Wears Arrow Shirts, Idea #4"

  Then I got caught up in the whole hair problem deal (everyone knows Custer didn't have long hair at the Little Big Horn, yadda, yadda. . .) so I decided, okay, what if he's scalped, and still strutting?

"Custer Wears Arrow Shirts, Idea #5"

   Ben Foster, maybe, but not a great likeness of the Boy General and besides, my late mother and the still here, Paul Hutton, would hate this one.

   This is my usual problem: overwrought and under-rendered. I often beat myself up for beating a dead horse,  which is an ugly metaphor, but an accurate one, just the same.

Dead at the Post Office

   Our post office has become the go-to place to find out who has died in our small town. Here is the entrance, a couple days ago, featuring two recently passed Cave Creekers. As I was reading the details, a guy came out and saw me reading and said, "I hope I don't see myself up there."

  "Don't worry," I said with all the gravity I could muster, "You won't live to see it, but my only hope is that the graphics on mine are better than these."

"All men think all men mortal but themselves."
—Edward Young

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Bogus Cherokee Princess

May 19, 2018
   Additions to our upcoming In-din Humor issue include:

   Why do so many Americans (my own family included) persist in believing they have Cherokee blood? And why are there so many of us who believe our grandmother, or, great-grandmother, was a "Cherokee Princess"?

           My Cherokee Grandmother Princess

    Just kidding. This is actually "Zacharias Bones" and "Running White Fawn" of Wichita, Kansas, circa "recently." They illustrate a typical fantasy of many White Eyes (myself included). So, where did this In-din envy come from, and why Cherokees?

"Throughout the South in the 1840s and 1850s, large numbers of whites began claiming they were descended from a Cherokee great-grandmother. That great-grandmother was often a 'princess,' a not-inconsequential detail in a region obsessed with social status and suspicious of outsiders. By claiming a royal Cherokee ancestor, white Southerners were legitimating the antiquity of their native-born status as sons or daughters of the South, as well as establishing their determination to defend their rights against an aggressive federal government, as they imagined the Cherokees had done. These may have been self-serving historical delusions, but they have proven to be enduring."

Check out these stats:

"In 2000, the federal census reported that 729,533 Americans self-identified as Cherokee. By 2010, that number increased, with the Census Bureau reporting that 819,105 Americans claimed at least one Cherokee ancestor."

   Both quotes are from a very good article by Gregory D. Smithers, and you can read it right here:

Why Do So Many Americans Believe They Have Cherokee Blood?

"If every white person who claims to have Cherokee blood is really Cherokee, our grandfathers would not have had time to sleep."
—Old Cherokee Saying

Friday, May 18, 2018

Madame La Tule Offer

May 18, 2018
   Got a sweet little offer for just the people who read this blog:

Madame La Tule

   Her real name was Maria Gertrudis Tules Barcel√≥ (c. 1800 – January 17, 1852), she was commonly known as La Tules, and she was a Santa Fe saloon owner and master gambler in the Territory of New Mexico at the time of the U.S.-Mexican War.

Special Limited Edition of Madame La Tule

   I am OFFERING a LIMITED EDITION of fifteen (15) black and white relief prints of Madame La Tules printed with archival inks and embossed with the Santo Press chop. All are titled, numbered, copyrighted and hand-signed by me: Bob Boze Bell. Priced at $100 plus shipping and handling, the image measures 15.5”h x 7”w on 20”h x 11”w on 300-gram acid free paper.

A SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION of ten (10) hand-colored prints is offered at 
$150 each plus shipping and handling.

"Painted Lady Tules #1"

Going to go quick, so send me an email to lock down your order. Place your order to me at so I have your
email and can more readily respond to your requests.

"In truth, every person deserves a museum of his, or her, own life, because every life is so irreducibly strange, every mind so infinitely rich. There ought to be 7.6 billion little museums all over the world."

—Samanth Subramanian

The Earth Is Passing Gas, Man

May 18, 2018
    Sometimes scientists fall short in conveying to the rest of us what is actually happening on the planet.

The Best Explanation I Have Heard So Far
"That's the earth, farting, Man. All I know is, that volcano is demanding some respect."
—Rufus Daigle, 69, Klaueo, Hawaii

A ring of flowers on budding saguaro, Cahava Ranch Road

Where Do My Book Ideas Come From?
   Book ideas come to me like female hot flashes: out of the blue, often at odd hours, they burn bright, then I go back to sleep and I'm awakened by another one. Got this from my curator, Kristi Jacobs who was digging deep in my blog for a missing art piece:

"Your May 10, 2010 blog ends with. . .

"These are grave matters."
—BBB, from the forthcoming book The Fine Art of Becoming A Fine Artist
   "What ever happened to that book?"

   Oh, my, I have had so many book ideas it's not even funny. This "Fine Art" idea is one of them. I saw this quote today which pretty much sums it all up:

"It's never been easy to make something new. Inspiration strikes; insight occurs; shit happens."
—Bijan Stephen

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Duke of Dust Gets Down In The Dirt

May 17, 2018
   Back in May of 2010, Ed Mell and I, traveled to Utah on a plein air expedition. On the way home we hit a really bad dust storm at Kayenta and it sandblasted Ed's new car (he still growls about it), but I got a vivid memory of Agatha Peak shrouded like a ghost off in the middle-distance. A scene I have taken several runs at.

   This morning I was looking for something else (actually a painting called "Magic Hour" for Juni Fisher) when I came across a half-finished study of Agatha Peak painted from the memory of that trip, and I knew what it needed—a rippling, sand swept foreground to lock it together.

"Agatha Peak Shrouded In Dust"

   I also found another unfinished mesa which I gave a couple key strokes to:

Daily Whip Out: "Windswept Mesa"

   And I added a background to another piece:

Daily Whip out: "Mojave Laughers"

   And gave another one a go here:

Daily Whip Out: "Foolish Cloud People"

   Funny what you can accomplish when you're supposed to be doing something else.

Daily Whip Out: "Land of Dry Lakes"

   "Originality is the art of concealing your sources."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Snake Eyes And Miss Kitty's Dream

May 16, 2018
   Finished the Power brothers coverage yesterday morning and went home for lunch to just have some fun. 

Daily Whip Out: "Snake Eyes"

   Wanted to do a storm this morning and found some good cloud reference and sat down to see where it would go. When I was a lad I dreamed of having my own horse—Shamrock—and riding home ahead of the storm.

Daily Whip Out: "A Cowboy's Dream"

   It always makes me happy when one of my paintings finds a good home. 

   This is "Billy the Kid Laughs" and it hangs in Carole Glenn's entry way in Fountain Hills, Arizona. Her son Bill Glenn posed for it and the cat's name is Booger.

   Carole told me she's also known as "Miss Kitty."

"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A Report From the Newsstand Wars

May 15, 2018
   We live or die by our success on the newsstand. 

Sky Harbor Airport Newsstand

   Last Friday, Ken Amorosano and I flew to Albuquerque and as we headed for the gate I had to check out all the newsstands. I always study the layouts and placement. What pops out in a crowded field, or, more importantly, what gets lost? For me, the Fast Company cover (actually two) is the first thing I see, above, with the Rolling Stone cover a strong second. Almost everything else gets lost in too many graphics, wall-to-wall color and muddled ideas. And, of course the most painful aspect of this is that we are not even represented.

   So, it gives me some solace when we get special treatment, at places like this:

Special Treatment

   This is the Buffalo Bill Museum Gift Shop in Cody, Wyoming where we have our own special rack, all by our selves!

   Thanks to John Langellier (who wrote the Grant cover story in the rack) for sending this along. John also tells me the Wild Bill issue is all but sold out. This makes me very happy.

"Location, location, location."
—Old Real Estate Advice

Black Bean Revolt

May 15, 2018
   If you want to get my wife's panties in a wad, take her to a Mexican food joint that serves black beans.

   She don't like it. She will let you know.

Kathy in happier times,
where they DON'T serve black beans.

   Turns out, my wife is not alone.

"If I walk into a Mexican restaurant and I see one single black bean, I turn around and walk out. They don't belong in Mexican restaurants except in the Caribbean, but it's become this thing now, I want pinto beans, refried in lard."

—Steve Earle

Monday, May 14, 2018

Don Dedera: "Society is on trial. Our way of justice has an issue before it."

May 14, 2018
   It was sixty years ago that my friend, Don Dedera, started the wheels of redemption rolling with these simple words: "Society, I believe, is on trial. Our way of justice has an issue before it."
   Don's subsequent columns in the Arizona Republic resulted in the Power brothers being released from prison after serving more than forty years behind bars.

Don Dedera and the love of his life,
Nance, back in the day.

   Heidi Osselaer first came to this story in the summer of 2012. She spent over three years researching and interviewing everyone she could find. She even rode horseback into the rugged site of the shootout and, in retrospect, she says, "The journey helped me realize that the posse was pure lunacy. It just wasn't rational to undertake such an operation for men charged with non-violent crimes". 

In 2014 Heidi Osselair rode horseback
out into the rugged Galiuro Mountains so she could stand where the fight took place at the Power cabin.

   Heidi's book has a bombshell revelation, which I promised not to divulge. But if you want to find out what it is, it's on pages 217-218. You won't be disappointed.

At any rate, this is a story we are finally telling in the August issue of True West magazine with help from Don and a new book out on the 100th anniversary of the killing, "Arizona's Deadliest Gunfight: Draft Resistance and Tragedy at the Power Cabin, 1918," by Heidi Osselaer.

   Thanks to Don Dedera, the Power brothers were forgiven and redeemed. Thanks to Heidi Osselaer's formidable research and book the true history of what happened has been reclaimed. Thank you both! 
"Two old men, ghosts from the Old West, freed from prison by a crusading newspaper columnist, into a world of freeways, jetliners and space exploration."
—Scott Seckel

"These guys were in prison for 10 years before I was born. They served another decade before I ever set foot in Arizona. We're talking 20 years. They served another decade before I could get through school and my service and get through (Arizona State College) and get a job on the paper. Thirty years! They served another decade before I'm sitting across the table from them at Florence. That's 40 years!"

—Don Dedera, on how he came to the story of the Power brothers

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Long, Strange Trip

May 13, 2018
   Got back from Santa Fe yesterday afternoon and bailed right back into the final sketches and sidebars for our big Power Brothers Classic Gunfight package that goes to press tomorrow.

Long Strange Trip
   One of the sidebars I want to include in the package is to track the distance and rough terrain the four-man posse encountered just trying to get to the Power cabin. This is not a stroll to a nearby corral.

Daily Whip Out: "Dawn Demise"

  I emailed author Heidi Osselaer, this morning asking her if she could add any light to the following questions:

• So, the four-man posse drove from Safford to Klondyke in Sheriff Frank McBride's Model T. It's about 30 miles, or a forty-five minute drive today. How long do you think it took them in 1918?

The Power Posse barreled down the road to Klondyke in a ride like this.

• When they arrived in Klondyke they were provided horses and weapons by a Mr. Upchurch. Who was he and what time did they leave his ranch for the trek to the Power cabin?

• Since they approached the cabin to attempt the arrest at 7:30 the next morning, I assume they basically rode all night?

• I noticed there is no photograph of U.S. Marshal Frank Haynes in your book. Why is that? And where can I find a photo of him?

   End of questions.

   Here for your behind-the-scenes-history-reading-pleasure are the deep details from a consummate, meticulous researcher:

   "Travel time: roads were poor and Model Ts slow (max speed 45 mph).  The drive from Safford to Klondyke was 2 to 3 hours depending on conditions (and how many tires you had to change). Also, in 1918, the old Aravaipa road wasn't finished. To go from Klondyke to the Gila Valley back then, one had to drive south around the mountains and through Bonita [Yes, the spot where Billy the Kid killed his first man, Windy Cahill]. The trip was probably around 50 miles, rather than the 30 miles it is today.  When I went to Klondyke from Safford a few months ago on the direct route, it was about a 45 minute drive—much of it is unpaved and slow going.

   "They had supper at the Upchurch ranch, owned by Wootan's brother-in-law.  He provided them with the four mounts and provided Haynes and Wootan with rifles only.  There is speculation that Wootan's gun had a hair trigger, causing him to fire prematurely.  They all had their own pistols and Kempton and McBride had their own rifles.  Haynes said they left when it was "good and dark."  I'm thinking they left around 10 or 11 p.m.  Seems like Wootan led the way, but McBride had been up to Power Garden and Gold Mountain as well. 

   "They rode 3 or 4 hours up the trail to Power Garden, where the Powers had lived from 1911 to 1915, found it was empty, built a fire, and left between 4 and 4:30 am.   I'm not sure which trail they took in, because there are many and they change depending on the toll floods take.  The one I took was 8 or 9 miles, with a lot of elevation changes. It is no longer accessible. The grade at Power Hill is 35%, so it is slow going.  

   "They headed to Gold Mountain, an abandoned mining town where the Powers had lived after Granny Jane's death and the sale of Power Garden.  It's about 2 1/2 miles from Power Garden, half way to the mine.  It is where the stamp mill was and the only consistent source of water in the canyon.  That's where the Power men and Sisson had lived in an abandoned saloon before Ola died.  No one home, so they followed the trail, with Kane Wootan leading, to the Power Mine, another 2 1/2 miles.  They killed about a half hour at the top of the ridge somewhere.  I speculate in the book it was because state law required them to serve misdemeanor warrants in daylight (failing to register for the draft), but who knows why they waited.

   "I made the trip on horseback in 2014 with experienced riders who knew the trail, in daylight.  I'd say it is 5-6 hours in the saddle, about 12 or 13 miles. It sounds like they took longer because they didn't know exactly where the Powers were, made frequent stops at places they thought they might be, all at night on extremely rough trails. I suspect none of the posse members had ever been to the Power Mine, and it isn't an easy trip in the dark.  One of our crew had to do it because of a horse accident. He brought equipment up the cabin so the documentary crew could do a night shoot, and he came back to Power Garden in the dark and said it was really frightening.

One of the stellar shots the documentary crew
got of the Power cabin at night. for, "Power's War: Arizona's Deadliest Shootout."

Many folks suggested the Power posse members were drinking, because liquor bottles were found on the trail. But that's rumor. 

   "I've attached a newspaper photo of Frank Haynes that has been given to me recently.  Couldn't find a good quality one for the book.  His own granddaughter doesn't even have a good photo of him." 

   End of Heidi's excellent notes. If you like detail, like I like detail, it doesn't get any better than this.

   Here is my take on the photograph Heidi enclosed:

Frank Haynes, from a photograph

"It was dark down in the canyon, awful dark."
—Frank Haynes, testifying at the coroner's inquest

Pulling A Word Or Two Out of My Orifice

May 13, 2018
   Happy Mother's Day to the late, great Lilly Louise "Bobbie" Guess-Bell-Cady. 

My Mamacita at the King Tut Mine,
northern Mohave County, 1936

   She brought me here, she raised me, she always encouraged me and she ultimately forgave me. You can't ask for more than that.

   And, speaking of unconditional encouragement, because of her constant praise, when I was in Kingman Junior High I was fearless. I thought I could do anything. I walked right up to the prettiest girls and kissed them (sorry about the chipped tooth, Jan!) and I was elected student body president without making any campaign speeches.

   I also got it in my head that I was going to be a bonafide Spelling Bee champion. I just knew I was going all the way to Washington DC. The elimination process began in our home room and it started with each row. There were four rows of desks facing the teacher and to narrow it down, the best speller from each row competed with the winners from the other rows and then those winners went up against the other three classes and then the winners went up against the entire Junior High and then, that winner went to state.

   A small hurdle for someone as confident as I was.

   To make a long story, a little shorter, I couldn't make it out of my row! This happened three years in a row (6th, 7th and 8th grades). And, to add insult to injury, the girls dominated. In fact, I seem to remember the only guy who had a shot at the Kingman Junior High Spelling Bee Championship was Charlie Waters and I think he made it to the finals before getting bumped by this girl:

   So, how far did Dorian go?

   And what was the word that brought Dorian down?


   As for my own dismal spelling skills, when I had my heart attack scare in 2008, the above-mentioned Charlie Waters took over this blog and for the first several days he attempted to ghost the blog in my voice. This prompted my sales manager at True West to snipe: 

"I knew it wasn't Boze because there weren't any spelling errors."
"Minnesota" Mike Melrose

Friday, May 11, 2018

Listen, or your tongue will keep you deaf.

May 11, 2018
   My friend and partner, Ken Amorosano, and I, flew to Albuquerque today and then drove on up to Santa Fe to spend some quality time with this guy. 

Wes Studi at home

   Ken shot him for our August cover and I interviewed him about his many films. His first words to me were, "Do you know how to open a gate?"

   We were about eight minutes late and as I got out of the rental car in his long driveway, I looked over the top of the turquoise, five-foot-gate to Wes Studi's adobe home and saw him and his wife, Maura, standing on the patio, above, waiting for us. I hesitated. Should I barge in, or should I wait for an invitation to come in? Wes gave me the steely-eyed look he is famous for and said, "Do you know how to open a gate?"

   Later as we were leaving, he laughed and said, "That was In-din humor."

   Indeed, it was.

"Listen, or your tongue will keep you deaf."
—Old In-din Saying

A Teachable Moment

May 12, 2018
   Kane Wooten yells out, "Throw up your hands!" and Jeff Power says, "Son, stand down. I do not want to fight you or the people you have come up here with. Put your gun down and let's talk."

   Just then, Sheriff McBride comes around the corner and says, "Boys, boys, boys, what is going on here?"

   Setting his rifle down, Jeff says to the sheriff, "I believe we have a misunderstanding here. Why are all of you here and how may I help you achieve what it is you want to achieve?"

   With this simple variation, all of the people involved would have lived and Sheriff McBride would have  attended his daughter's birthday party the next day. That is the outcome everyone there at the Power cabin would have welcomed and cherished. It is an outcome that we all would have preferred.

Heidi Osselaer, center, showed up at the True West World Headquarters last Wednesday and showed, Rebecca Edwards, at left, and Robert Ray, at right, how the Power brothers confrontation should have happened.

"There is no history. There is no truth. There is only how the story is told."
—Richard Avedon