Sunday, September 16, 2018

There's A Place Where I Can Go And Tell My Secrets To

September 16, 2018
   We have been talking about the pros and cons of selling our house. My only concern is what am I going to do with all my stuff, like this:

The Arizona Republic, September 1964

  This historic newspaper has survived at least two dozen moves, starting with my parent's house on Ricca Drive in Kingman. Isn't it funny, I can remember where I put this newspaper in my room? Not sure how it survived my college years—moving almost every semester— then my parent's divorce (an entire storage shed worth of stuff was trashed because no one would come get it!). It has spent the last 30 years in my studio here in Cave Creek and I found it in a box looking for something else. 

   Now, I just don't know. I can't imagine my kids wanting it. Or, this:

"There's a place where I can go and tell my secrets to, in my room. In my room."
—Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys

Friday, September 14, 2018

Prairie Girls Are Back In Style

September 14, 2018
   Guess who's back?

Prairie Woman With Load of Buffalo Chips

Yes, the Prairie Girl look is back in style, proving that, if you live long enough, you get to see things go out of style and come back in, at least a couple times. When I was a precocious lad (1965-75), they were called "Granny Dresses," and a certain hippie-type girl wore them with style and pride.

A Retro Hippie "Chick" in a Granny Dress

   They were called Granny Dresses because to young females in the sixties, their grandmothers wore dresses like this, and if there's one thing that drives young fashion, it's the answer to the age old question: "What will piss off my mother?"

  Proving once again the reason grandparents and grandkids get on so well is because they have a common enemy.

   Here is the latest version, as reported in The New York Times, yesterday:

Millennials are "Totally Frocking Out"

   This time around the look is more inclusive. Quoting from the article, "Politically speaking, my head space right now, I'm trying to maintain my love for this country and for some reason that makes me gravitate toward wearing a certain style of prairie dress, which is interesting because that was never, as a woman of color, something I was included in."
—Aurora James

      So, let's take a look at the real deal.

A Joseph E. Smith photo of a ranching family near Socorro, New Mexico in 1888

A mother and her children pore over
an 1880s Montgomery Ward catalog.

"Some women have embraced the straightforward prettiness of the trend, adding a wicker basket and clog sandals. . .It's a whole new breed of Pioneer Woman. Call her the Urban Prairie Girl (U.P.G.?)"
—Chloe Malle

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Range Rider And Sally Field?!

September 13, 2018
   Sally Field has a new book coming out, "In Pieces" and in the book she drops dime on her step-father Jock Mahoney.

   The Range Rider and Sally Field? 
Oh, boy, is nothing sacred?

Jock Mahoney as
"The Range Rider"

So, let's get more positive. Check this out:

A great hat from the 1860s

And this:

Cross Draw Pistol Fighter

"You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic." 
—Robert A. Heinlein

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

New Growth: The Artist's Field Guide

September 12, 2018
   Learning to draw is all about holding on and letting go. First we grapple with learning a new skill by honing in all our concentration and with extra effort execute, however crudely our first attempt.

Daily Whip Out: "Ojos In Red"

   We do it again, and again.

Daily Whip Out: "Trail of Tears #4"

   When we let go, we have the opportunity to take it to a new level, somewhere beyond craftsmanship.

Daily Whip Out: "Doc Advances"

   And, speaking of craftsmanship, how many times have you heard someone say about an artist or a band, "They sound as good as the Beatles why aren't they famous?" Well, because they are copying the tunes, they didn't CREATE the tunes. There is a difference, you know?

Daily Whip Out: "Billy In The Rough"

   Most people don't know. Gee, my kid could do that, they say. Yes, perhaps if you gave him enough acid, he could create that, but that's not the real deal, Jackass.

   "I don't understand abstract art, but I'm not stupid enough to think it's worthless."

—Norm Macdonald

New Growth
   Of course, growing isn't everything.

"Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell."

—Edward Abbey

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Case Against Geronimo

September 11, 2018
   Imagine a time in the future when Osama bin Laden is enshrined as an American hero.

   If that sounds ludicrous—and it should—this is exactly how the majority of people living in the United States in the 1880s would feel if they could witness how we currently view Geronimo.

"Apache Raiders Terrorize Northern Mexico"

The Case Against Geronimo
   This is not easy to write because I know it's going to upset many of my Native American friends, but it must be said.

   Geronimo had many fine traits, bravery and adaptability being among them. But the warrior had a few ugly traits that make it hard for me to admire or accept him as an American hero.

   When, late in life, he was asked if he had any regrets he replied, "I wish I had killed more Mexicans."

   Okay, so not only was he a racist, but a racist killer. How many Mexicans did Geronimo kill in his lifetime? If you have read his autobiography, you know the number must surely be in the hundreds, if not the high hundreds. Were many of these soldiers or individuals who were trying to kill him? Yes, of course, but many were, by his own admission, merely in the wrong place at the wrong time. That is to say, people living on their land and farming it, for example. Was it Apache land? Sometimes. But more often than not, the Apaches were on long range raiding parties, deep into Mexico. In other words, a long way from their homeland.

   The G-Man had serious issues with alcohol. The peace parlay with General Crook in 1886 went south because Geronimo, Naiche and their warriors bought whiskey, got roaring drunk, set the grass in their camp on fire and Naiche shot his wife in a drunken stupor. Perhaps embarrassed and no doubt hung over, they bolted the peace talks and went on a barbaric rampage killing dozens of innocent men, women and children on both sides of the border.

   Here is how my hometown newspaper, the Mohave County Miner, covered the carnage on May 30, 1886:

"Geronimo still continues his savage and murderous depredations, and the chances of his capture seem as remote as ever. Mexicans and Americans, old and young, helpless woman and tender child, alike fall victims to his unsparing barbarities, and our great and glorious Government is apparently unable to cope with the emergency."

   The constant raiding and the murders of innocent people were not done in a spirt of protecting their homeland, they were made to take other peoples stuff, and lives. Granted, they were no different than the Vikings or the Huns, but they were not freedom fighters fighting for their homeland. They were, in fact, fighting for their way of life, which was a way of life that depended on killing and stealing from anyone within striking distance.

Geronimo 1904
From terrorist to freedom fighter?

   After the successful raid that killed Osama bin Laden, we ran a cover story that answered this very question:

   Paul Andrew Hutton wrote the cover story, and in it, he tracked Geronimo's incredible transition from villain to hero. By the way, according to Hutton, the last negative portrayal of Geronimo was a Disney film, "Geronimo's Revenge" filmed in 1960. After than, Hutton notes "Hollywood screenwriters joined their literary cousins in portraying the Apache warrior as a heroic defender of native rights against the duplicitous white invader."

   Hutton wraps up his brilliant commentary with this: "The U.S. government, in what might easily be viewed as acts of more hypocrisy than contrition, honored Geronimo with a 1993 postage stamp. A February 2009 U.S. House resolution declared him a 'spiritual and intellectual leader' who 'led his people in a war of self-defense.'" 

   And then: "So the transition from bloodthirsty terrorist to patriot chief is complete. Now officially sainted as a native 'spiritual and intellectual leader' by the U.S. Congress that had once sent a quarter of its military forces to destroy him, Geronimo—'He Who Yawns'—has certainly had the last laugh. Peace to his bones—wherever they are."

   My prediction is that a similar transition looms out ahead of us, and it's coming whether you believe it, or not. It may not be Osama bin Laden that someday turns from a hated enemy into an American hero, but I can guarantee you it will be someone equally as appalling to our current sensibilities.

"The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Post Doc Thought

September 11, 2018
   People who knew the deadly dentist weigh in on his looks and his character.

"Doc Behind Bars"

   Bat Masterson described Doc Holliday as " a weakling who could not have whipped a healthy fifteen-year-old boy in a go-as-you-please fight."

   A Denver reporter, who met Holliday in 1882, wrote, "Holliday was of medium stature and blonde complexion. He was small boned and of that generally slumped appearance common to sufferers from inherited pulmonary disease. The clenched setting of his firmly pointed lower jaw and the steadyness of his blue eyes were the only striking features of his pallid countenance. He was scrupulously neat and precise in his attire, though neither a ladie's man nor a dandy. . ."

—E. D. Cowen

Doc In Prescott, 1879

   Of course there were those who didn't see the sickly dentist in a good light: "Holliday was the most thoroughly equipped liar and smoothest scoundrel in the United States."

   Holliday was a"shiftless bagged-legged character—a killer and a professional cut-throat and not a whit too refined to rob stages or even steal sheep."

—The editor of the Las Vegas Daily Optic

   A little known fact gleaned from Gary L. Roberts' fine book, "Doc Holliday: The Life And Legend": Five of Henry's brothers and sisters had died before the age of ten.

   After mentioning that Holliday left no writing to speak of (his cousin, or someone in the family, threw away all his letters). Roberts sums up Doc's life like this: "for one so well-known, Doc Holliday remains a mystery, a legend in the shadows."

"The truth of a life is more than a sum of the facts."

—Gary L. Roberts

Monday, September 10, 2018

When Tie Downs Become Lie Downs

September 10, 2018
   Still noodling my black-clad vaquero with the long, red scarf.

"Ojos Leans In"

   Also, noodling skies and lies.

"Rider In The Clouds"

   Have you ever heard a snotty purist talk about how nobody in the Old West ever used a tie-down on their holster?

Tie Down Lie Down

   Okay, well, besides THAT one? Ha.

"There is an exception to every rule and a rule for every exception."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Just When You Think You've Seen It All

September 9, 2018
   We know the dude is lean, mean and looming. He's Purple Rain in a vaquero outfit. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you, the act you've known for all these months:

"The Mexicali Stud"

   As for his headgear, here's the high pinch sugarloaf I recently got from RJ Preston:

My Own Personal Stash of Sugarloafs

   And, just when I thought I had seen every photo of Tom Mix ever taken, someone sends me this early publicity photo of Tom Mix wearing a high pinch sugarloaf:

High Pinch Sugarloaf on Tom Mix

     And just when I think vaquero style is limited to a narrow range—as in cowboy style—I stumble across an old Frederic Remington painting of the real deal:

Remington vaquero high style

  And just when snotty purists say there are no photographs of tie downs in the Old West, someone finds this little dittie from Arizona Territory, 1872:

The Tie Down

   And just when I think I should leave well enough alone, I go back into an old Daily Whip Out and give it another go:

"Trail of Tears Reprise"

    And just when I think I've seen every frontiersman-mountain man photo there ever has been taken, someone posts this:

"The Frontiersman"

   And just when I think I'm done with today's post, I find this:

Double-belted Amigos

    The moral is, just when you think you've seen it all, you ain't seen nothin', yet.

"Simpler and more specific is always better. People get it."
—Bill Hader

Saturday, September 08, 2018

The Return of Bisti Badman

September 8, 2018
   Here's an original character of mine that's ripe for our times. 

   In 1904 a Navajo boy graduates from a boarding school in the east where he has been taught the white man's ways. But before he is allowed to go home, he is paraded around Washington as a fine example of the U.S. government's ability to tame the savage beast and turn him into a solid citizen.

   The young grad returns home to the reservation to find poverty and degradation. He vows to fight it and change people's minds. He is unsuccessful. In fact he is accused of a crime he did not commit and, on the run, in the Bisti Badlands, he escapes the authorities by fooling the people who robbed him of his culture. He is hard to catch because, well, he learned the white man's ways and he's very, very smart.

"Bisti Badman"

"Do the work and the luck will come."
—Wild Bill Wellman

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Geronimo Cashes In

September 6, 2018
   Going up the hill this evening to talk to the Prescott Westerners Corral about this guy:

"He Sold The Buttons Off His Coat"

   Also known as Goyathlay, or Goyathla: "He Who Yawns."

"The Sentinel"

Geronimo Cashes In
   In May of 1904 Geronimo is invited to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition being held in St. Louis. He's offered a dollar a day, but settles on $100 a month. He stays at the fair for six months. 

“I sold my photographs for twenty-five cents, and was allowed to keep ten cents of this for myself. I also wrote my name for ten, fifteen, or twenty-five cents, as the case might be, and kept all of that money. I often made as much as two dollars a day, and when I returned I had plenty of money—more than I had ever owned before.”
Geronimo is accompanied everywhere by two armed soldiers, who stand on either side of him. The effect creates the aura that the warrior is still dangerous even though he is 76 years old. In spite of, or, perhaps because of, the “prisoner of war” trappings, Geronimo is becoming quite a celebrity, and as he puts it, “Many people in St. Louis invited me to come to their homes, but my keeper always refused.”
“I am glad I went to the Fair. I saw many interesting things and learned much of the white people. They are a very kind and peaceful people. During all the time I was at the Fair no one tried to harm me in any way. Had this been among the Mexicans I am sure I should have been compelled to defend myself often.”

March 5, 1905
Geronimo is invited to ride in Teddy Roosevelt’s inaugural parade. The army gives him a check for $171 before he leaves (to pay for traveling expenses, etc.). Geronimo takes the check to Lawton, deposits $170 in his bank account and leaves for Washington DC with $1 in his pocket. He is not in need of cash though—all the way to the capital, at every stop of the train, he sells his autographs as fast as he can print his name. When he runs out of photographs, he sells his hat, then the buttons on his coat. When the train leaves the station, Geronimo pulls out his suitcase and sews more buttons on his coat, and buys a new hat for the next stop.
When he gets to Washington the G-Man is asked where his horse is, and he tells them they will find him one. They do.
The inaugural parade moves along Pennsylvania Avenue with Teddy in the lead, doffing his silk hat and grinning his big-toothed grin. Next comes the army band and then come six “wild” Indians (this was supposed to be a “before” and “after” demonstration with the “wild” Indians followed by a unit of well-dressed, disciplined Carlisle cadets, showing off the government’s success in guiding the Indians to “civilization”). The “wild” party, and Geronimo in particular, steals the show. No one even takes a picture of the Carlisle cadets—or remembers them in the parade. Geronimo is a huge hit and holds himself erect, completely calm and self-possessed. Men along the route throw their hats in the air and shout, “Hooray for Geronimo!” and “Public Hero Number Two!” A disgusted Woodworth Clum (son of former Apache agent John Clum) has been on the inaugural committee, and he takes the opportunity to ask Roosevelt, “Why did you select Geronimo to march in your parade, Mr. President? He is the greatest single-handed murderer in American History.”
“ I wanted to give the people a good show,” 

March 9, 1905
Geronimo and a group of old-time warriors visit the White House. This is his chance to appeal to the highest authority for a return to Arizona. His appeal, interpreted by George Wratten is touching: “...When the soldiers of the Great White Chief drove me and my people from our home we went to the mountains. When they followed us we slew all we could. We said we would not be captured. No. We starved but we killed. I said that we would never yield, for I was a fool.
“So I was punished, and all my people were punished with me. The white soldiers took me and made me a prisoner far from my own country”...
“Great Father, other Indians have homes where they can live and be happy. I and my people have no homes. The place where we are kept is bad for us...We are sick there and we die. White men are in the country that was my home. I pray you to tell them to go away and let my people go there and be happy.”
“Great Father, my hands are tied as with a rope. My heart is no longer bad. I will tell my people to obey no chief but the Great White Chief. I pray you to cut the  ropes and make me free. Let me die in my own country, an old man who has been punished enough and is free.”
Teddy Roosevelt answers him with compassion, tinged with hard-nosed political reality: “...I do not think I can hold out any hope for you. That is all I can say, Geronimo, except that I am sorry, and have no feeling against you.”

June 11, 1905
The National Editorial Association holds its annual convention in Guthrie, Oklahoma. An excursion by train  brings the visiting editors to the 101 Ranch where they witness “the tiger of the human race” and “the Apache terror” in person.
Geronimo is the main feature of the morning events and he shoots a buffalo (provided by Charles Goodnight’s JA ranch in the Texas Panhandle) from a fast-moving car. This is where the photograph of Geronimo behind the wheel of a Cadillac is taken. The buffalo meat is served to the guests in the afternoon.

Geronimo's Cadillac

(Yes, this photograph is where Michael Martin Murphy got the inspiration to write the song.)

October, 1905
Lawton School Superintendent Stephen M. Barrett approaches Geronimo about writing his life story. Geronimo agrees on the stipulation that Barrett can ask no questions. Geronimo also refuses to be questioned about details or to add another word. He simply says, “Write what I have spoken.”
After striking a deal with Geronimo (the wily old horse trader will get half of anything the author gets), Barrett tries to get the army’s permission, but the officer in charge, George A. Purington, bluntly refuses, saying Geronimo should be hanged instead of being “spoiled by so much attention from civilians.” Barrett finally appeals directly to President Teddy Roosevelt, and after a series of communications through channels (five pages of fine print, ten endorsements and six weeks of bureaucratic paper shuffling) permission is approved on the stipulation that the manuscript be submitted to the army before publication.

July 4, 1907
After attending a parade and picnic in Cache, Oklahoma, Geronimo starts home in the evening but turns south and hides in the timber (speculation is that he was drunk). The newspapers have a field day reporting he is on his way to join the still-hostile Apaches in Old Mexico (he’s eighty four years old!) The soldiers find him the next day and bring him back to Fort Sill.

February 12, 1909
Not far from Geronimo’s house, Mrs. Jozhe sees his horse saddled on the bank of a creek. She and others investigate and find Geronimo lying partly in the water. They deduce that he was thrown from his horse on the ride home and has been laying in the cold water, unconscious, all night.

February 15, 1909
A severe cold has turned into pneumonia. One of the scouts has told the post surgeon, who sends an ambulance to Geronimo’s house. The bedridden war leader is surrounded by about a dozen Apache women who refuse to let him go to “the death house,” which is the Apache name for the hospital. Finally, returning with a scout, the ambulance brings the old warrior in. The post surgeon expects him to die within the next few hours, but Geronimo asks that his son Robert and his daughter Eva be brought from Chilocco.

February 17, 1909
For two days his strong spirit has refused to give up until he could see his children one more time. They have not arrived. Now, at 6:15 a.m. he closes his eyes and surrenders for the last time.

February, 18, 1909
The funeral is at three o’clock. The army grants a half-day work furlough for the Apache men so they can attend. Robert and Eva finally arrive by train and the funeral procession starts for the cemetery.
Before the grave is filled, relatives solemnly place his riding whip and blanket in the casket. (Before he died, Geronimo told his wife to tie his horse to a certain tree and to hang up his belongings on the east side of his grave, and in three days he would come and get them.)
When his bank account is checked in Lawton, it is revealed that Geronimo had more than ten thousand dollars in the bank at the time of his death! It turns out the old boy had cashed in on his fame (in today's money, this would be more than a quarter million dollars).

Dan The Man's Gag Cover Which Ken Hates

"Whoa boys, take me back
I want to ride in Geronimo's Cadillac
Whoa boys, take me back
I want to ride in Geronimo's Cadillac"
—Michael Martin Murphey

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Five Docs For You to Choose From

September 5, 2018
   It's been 25 years since my first book on Doc Holliday sold out in record time. The second edition is long gone as well. In that time, much new scholarship on the deadly dentist has emerged, most specifically, Gary L. Roberts' masterful "Doc Holliday: The Life And Legend," 2006. 

   So, just in time for Christmas, you can expect to find the third edition—revised and expanded—under your tree.

   In addition to all the new information there is quite a bit of new artwork that I have done over the past 19 years for the pages of True West magazine. And, just to spruce things up for the occasion we are designing a new cover.

   One of the problems with an excellent designer and art director is: it makes it damn tough to choose! Case in point, Dan The Man Harshberger has whipped out a dozen different looks for the third edition of "The Illustrated Life & Times of Doc Holliday." 

   We are going to press in 10 days and I can't decide which one we should use. I love them all! 

   What to do.

   Please take a good look at these five designs and help us choose the best one. Thank you.

Doc Holliday cover #1

Doc Holliday cover #2

Doc Holliday cover #3

Doc Holliday cover #4

Doc Holliday cover #5

"He was a study in contrasts: the legendary gunslinger who made his living as a dentist; the emaciated consumptive whose very name struck fear in the hearts of his enemies; the degenerate gambler and alcoholic whose fierce loyalty to his friends compelled him more than once, to risk his own life; the sidekick whose near-mythic status has come to rival that of the West's greatest heroes."
—Gary L. Roberts

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

The Genesis of "The Mexicali Stud"

September 4, 2019
   Slipping into darkness, riding down the hall. Still taking notes from John Reed's "Insurgent Mexico." 

"Bow-legged Vaquero"

In the foreword, Renato Leduc, writes about Reed being a "great muralist, he is also a magnificent, incisive portrait artist. There, to prove it. . .the masterly profile he makes in three lines of Pablo Seanez's mistress:

The Mistress of The March
"And so I got inside the coach, with Rafaelito, Pablo Seanes, and his mistress. She was a strange creature. Young, slender, and beautiful, she was poison and a stone to everybody but Pablo. I never saw her smile and never heard he say a gentle word. Sometimes she treated us with dull ferocity; sometimes with bestial indifference. But Pablo she cradled like a baby. When he lay across the seat with his head in her lap, she would hug it fiercely to her breast, making noises like a tigress with her young."

"Mistress of The March"
also known as
"My Eyes Are Up Here #2"

   "The mountains had withdrawn somewhere beyond the horizon, and we rode in the midst of a great bowl of desert, rolling up the edges to meet the furnace-blue of the Mexican sky."

"Juan Sanchez"
also known as
"Rider of the Purple Sage"

   "Is there war in the United States now?" [Juan Sanchez] asked.

   "No," I said untruthfully.

   "No war at all?" He meditated or a moment. "How do you pass the time, then. . .?"

"Stud Storm"

   "And, of course, jealousy is a stabbing matter."
—John Reed, "Insurgent Mexico"