Friday, November 30, 2018

Okay, Smarty Pants, How Do You Pronounce Nietsche?

November 30, 2018
   So, how in the hell do you pronounce the name of the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche? I have long pronounced it as Nai-chay, but then that's how I also pronounce the Apache comrade of Geronimo: Naiche. Turns out, just like with van Gogh, there are various pronunciations, most of them wrong.


   As in, HOW in the hell do you pronounce Nietzsche?

   Okay, here are a couple online answers:

   Because American English has a lot of silent “e”s, some people don't pronounce the schwa, in much the same way they mispronounce the automobile “Porsche”. This is pronounced as in Shakespeare, “Portia.” The first syllable of Nietzsche “neet” is ever so slightly longer than the second, but not much.


I pronounce it 'Nee-Cha' ...but my high school English teacher pronounces it 'Ni-et-zee' or some shit. 


I hear so many people say Nee-Chee, which I know is wrong. Nee-Chuh seems to be the true one, although my friend INSISTS that it is Nee-Shuh.

   Okay, I am going with Nee-Chu.

"Vincent van Gunfighter"

   On a similar note, here is a particularly succinct take on the various pronunciations of van Gogh:

   The correct pronunciation for most Americans "is 'van Go,' and the joke is that none of them are right. Nor are the English, who plump for a cozy 'van Goff.' Let's be honest: we will never be sufficiently glottal. We should leave van Gogh to the Dutch, from whose lips 'Gogh' emerges as a two-part catarrhal feast. Thank heaven for Vincent."
—Anthony Lane, in The New Yorker

Thursday, November 29, 2018

From Dust to Dust

November 29, 2018
   Growing up in Kingman I had a lot of experience with dust. In fact, I moved to Cave Creek, partly because of the lack of wind and dust, but, that said, I must admit I sure spend a lot of time trying to capture the subtle translucency of airborne dirt.

Daily Whip Out:
"Mexicali Stud In Dust Storm"

Daily Whip Out:
"Dust Storm Rolling"

Daily Whip Out:
"Dusty Saguaros"

Another obsession I obtained from my hometown region is a fascination with the harshness of a certain desert:

This is also the title of a forthcoming book I am working on, and the title—designed by Robert Steinhilber—is a reference to the desert, the tribe, and a certain captivo:

Daily Whip Out:
"Girl Gone Mojave"

Of course, I have other obsessions, which I won't blame on Mohave County, but, full disclosure, I was there at the time I contracted the fever for them.

Cactus Babe In My Neighborhood

   We all have our desires and proclivities, and the dust of a harsh desert and the females who dwell behind the prickly pear, gives me much joy.

"It's the work you need to fall in love with, not the end result."
—Concepcion de Leon

Bonus Quote
"Sometimes I think of political leaders as boat passengers who climb onto the deck and to avoid seasickness, pretend to steer the heaving vessel."
—Stephen Breyer, in The Atlantic

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Siege of The Alamo: Day 99,930

November 28, 2018
   We are all hard at work at the True West World Headquarters today. We want to follow up on a recent, positive development at the Alamo. It appears there may be a possible solution to a controversy that has dogged the historic site for a very long time. 

   A new plan has been approved, championed by a friend of ours, Gary Foreman. Good things are happening there but the challenge for us is, how do we sell this on the cover in a new way?

   In the past, we have done Alamo covers like this:

True West Alamo covers, 1950s

   And, ten years ago we did this cover:

   So, the trick is how do we sell this once again to a very fickle newsstand buyer? Here is Dan The Man's first pass at it:

   This cover has potential but it has two problems: that is Fess Parker as Davy Crockett floating over the Alamo and Disney is real territorial about rights usage; and two, it just seems flat to me and doesn't say controversy, or what the current situation is. 

   This morning I whipped up my version of Davy to marry to the Alamo shrine facade:

Daily Whip Out: "Crockett In Red"

   This garnered a one sentence reply from The Top Secret Writer: "Nope."

   The cranky bastard then suggested doing a parody of the fight, only this time, instead of Santa Anna's troops attacking, we have architects, politicos, angry picketers and bureaucrats scrambling up the ramparts. 

Daily Whip Out: "They Crossed A Line"

      Not much support for this concept in the office. We'll ultimately get it, but this is a tough one. I feel we've got to catch the wave of current events to a degree. With these roughs in mind, perhaps:

The Siege of The Alamo: Day 99,930
Who cares about the fate of the Alamo?
A Whole Bunch of People Who Can't Agree.

"Sorry I'm so cranky, I'm in my terrible sixties right now."
—Old College Professor Saying

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Future of History: Circles Within Circles

November 27, 2018
  First, a confession: for a guy who flunked art history, not once, but twice, in college, I have to admit I am in the same exact, same boat with the Duke of Earl: 

   "Don't know much about History. . ."

   Okay, okay, that was technically Sam Cook, with music by Herb Abert and Lou Adler, HOWEVER, it should have been The Duke of Earl—know what I mean?

   And, if push comes to shove, that is where I got the self-appointed title: The Duke of Dust.

Selected Scenes from The Duke of Dust

The Duke of Dust

Hysterical and Historical Conclusions

   I've been seeking out the truth about Old West history for at least four decades. Here's what I have learned, so far:

   Old West fans, especially the men, seem to have a very conflicted (constricted?) idea about sex in the Old West. When we featured Jane Russell, above, on the cover of True West, it didn't sell well. This went against every Madison Avenue bromide I have ever learned (nothing sells magazines, or products, faster than a come hither look from a woman who appears to want sex!).
  This troubled and confused me for some time.
  Eventually, a couple from Wyoming came into the True West World Headquarters, and I asked them the usual questions (How did you find us? What cover first got your attention?) and then I pointed to the Jane Russell cover and asked the cowboy what he thought about it and he scrunched up his nose in a distasteful way and said, "Might (he pronounced it as Maht) as well put a red light on it." This blew my mind. I took this to mean he was not interested in "sex" in the context of the Old West. Go figure.

More Hysterical and Historical Conclusions

   Nothing changes more than the past.
   Everything in this world tries to be round. All the planets are round, all the atoms—same—all the cycles of crops, the days and the weeks and the months, all cyclical. Records are round, and even the progression of records to other delivery system platforms has turned out to be round.

What goes around. . .

   Plus, the more things change the more they remain the same (because it's all tracking on a big wheel!). When I was growing up, what appeared to be a progressive arc, up and up and away from fascism and tyranny has turned into a circle and here we are, back in the year 1930,  with the rise of Hitler, or is it 1890 when anarchy ruled? Or, 1850? Each of those years is when fascists and capitalists squared off against socialists. So, here we go again.

Circles Within Circles Circling Circles

"Big wheel keep on turnin', Proud Mary keep on burnin'. . ."
—John Fogerty of Credence Clearwater Revival, "Proud Mary"

   Ties go out wide, then they go in narrow. Dress hems go up, then they come down.

Another Serious Swimsuit Violation

   Mark Twain was right when he said, "History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

   The rock solid formula of history is the tension between two opposing forces and the destruction of one of them. Or both. 

   "If you fail to prepare for all that might happen, you'll ensure that some of it will."
—John Lewis Gaddis

Cowgirl Actress Olive Borden, 1926

"Don't know much about the middle ages, looked at the pictures then I turned the pages,
Don't know nothin' 'bout no rise and fall, don't know nothin' 'bout nothin' at all.
Girl it's you that I've been thinkin' of, and if I could only win your love, oh, girl,
What a wonderful, wonderful world this would be."
—The Art Garfunkel version of "Wonderful World"

Monday, November 26, 2018

Triple B Bling On The Hoof

November 25, 2018
   So I found all the Triple B bling in the closet over the weekend and thought to myself this morning, What the hell, I should wear that classic, silk rodeo tie my dad gifted me in 1965 and my Bishop Mule Days Grand Marshal belt buckle to work today. So I did.

BBB Bling On The Hoof

   Kathy said to me as she was taking this next shot, "Suck in your gut." To which I said: 

"I am sucking in my gut!"

"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
—Dr. Wayne Dyer

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Out of The Triple B Closet

November 25, 2018
   Cleaning out the closet today. Found some very groovy, wide rodeo ties my father gifted me when I was in high school (1965, ties date to 1940s). 

Out of the Triple B Closet

   Also found numerous BBB belt buckles and scorpion bolos (Best of Phoenix, New Times, 1986). That's the Bishop Mule Days Grand Marshal belt buckle 2017, at center. Mighty proud of that puppy. Here's a closer look:

BBB Gear Galore

  Yes, that's a rattlesnake skin belt buckle, at right. And here's an even closer look at the Bishop Mule Days belt buckle:

BBB Gear Up Close & Personal

"They went into my closet looking for skeletons, but thank God, all they found were multiple do-dads and belts with my initials on them."
—Old Kingman Saying

Friday, November 23, 2018

Artist Gone Wild

November 23, 2018
   I am noodling an idea about how to open the limited edition book I am producing for my Cattletrack opening in January. I want to deal directly with Olive Oatman's time among the Mojave. So I have been casting around for an opening scene. I was inspired by something I read by the director Steve McQueen: "Save the best for first. The opening scene should jar and jolt. I want your attention."

   Okay, here you go:

"Girl Gone Wild #1"

"Girl Gone Wild #2"

"Girl Gone Wild #3"

"Girl Gone Wild #4"

   The story starts in water and ends in water. How's that for a grabber?

"The beginning of a movie is never the beginning of a story. Scramble the narrative, especially in the first act."
—Steve McQueen

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Even Lower Blows Blowout

November 22, 2018
    Back in 1983, I was voted editorial cartoonist of the year by the Arizona Press Club for a double-truck cartoon that appeared in the Phoenix New Times. I then collaborated with Jim Larkin, the publisher of New Times, and published, "The Best of Bob Boze Bell: Low Blows" – 120 pages of my best editorial comics & illustrations that ran in New Times. This popular king-sized (13.5” x 11”) edition quickly sold out and in 1986 we published another 120-page collection titled “Even Lower Blows”. Here are a couple sample cartoons from Even Lower Blows: 


   This next cartoon was based on the fact that local rock promoter Danny Zelisko couldn't get the folks who run Sun Devil stadium to rent it to him for a concert featuring Bruce Springsteen, because it was on a school night. I know, you can't make this stuff up. If memory serves me correctly, The Zelisko Kid was not as amused as I was, both by losing the gig or by my cartoon of him as the Cisco Kid.

 The photograph on the back of the book, below, is by Ralph Rippe and it was taken outside the back door of Ed Mell's art studio at Tenth and Oak in Phoenix. That is Apache, the laughing dog.

    The cover of Even Lower Blows was designed by Dan The Man Harhberger.

   A secret stash of “Even Lower Blows” has been discovered in my garage. I must warn you: this is only for the hardcore Humor Master type. There are some very edgy concepts in here: "The Lighter Side of Abortion," and "Is Nothing Sacred?" featuring Jesus Moving And Storage and Jesus Boat & Tackle to name but a few. To that end, I’m offering this limited edition for $15 each – shipping via USPS media rate included. If you think you can handle it, send your request via email to me at

   As usual, I stand by my life long pledge: If I sign it, I absolutely guarantee that someday it will be worth the cover price.

"Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man."
—The Big Lebowski

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Seeking New Narrative Structure & One Long Dumb Trip

November 21, 2018
   Working on more narrative structure:

Olive Narrative Structure #1

   Love that black-scratch wandering line, squirming from frame to frame. Need to retain that looseness but keep the story alive. Or, rather, make it track. Not easy.

Olive Narrative Structure #2

   My good friend and former art studio-mate, Ed Mell, has a son who is a blossoming screenwriter. Here is Carson Mell's latest:

A new road trip movie
co-written by Carson Mell

   There are some classic road trip scenes in here and nobody can do crazy BSers on a rant better than Carson. Watch for the Rolling Stones rant about half-way in. It's a classic. In fact, the daughter of a famous actress is in this scene and she is wonderful. Hint: her mother is on this 1986 list of my Top Ten Crushes (number 10):

   This cartoon is from my 1986 New Times Editorial Cartoons compilation, Even Lower Blows.

   I found a couple pristine copies of this book in mint condition recently and if you'd like one I'll give you the details on how to score one on Black Friday, which is fitting, since the humor is, ahem, pretty black.

"As a writer I believe that all the basic human truths are known. And what we try to do as best we can is come at those truths from our own unique angle, to re-illuminate those truths in a hopefully different way."
—William Goldman

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Buster Scruggs Sings A Pretty Tune

November 20, 2018
   Saw "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" last weekend in the theater (it's also streaming on Netflix at the same time). So, it's time to talk about the six stories included in the anthology, hopefully without giving too much away. You need to go see it for yourself, but here we go:

Tim Blake Nelson as Buster Scruggs

   It opens with a full blown parody of Gene and Roy and all those singing Westerns, although it's not really a parody, it's an authentic song, sung ALL THE WAY through, then quickly the scene devolves into a Sergio Leone parody, which gets the biggest laughs and deservedly so.

   Unfortunately, this is short-lived and we are off on other stories that do not connect. So, the title of the entire film is a sort of false front come-on, which in itself is kind of frustrating and satisfying in a I-sure-didn't-expect-that! way. Get used to it. It is a Coen brothers film, after all.

   According to an interview I heard the Coens have been writing some of these Western stories for "about 20 years" as stand alone stories without any concern about whether they are commercial, or not. This is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that none of the stories go where you might think they should go, and the curse is, you will find yourself muttering, "Well, that was a long way to go for a half-assed ending."

   On the plus side, the Boys get credit for tying the stories together with a throwback to early Old West book covers and artwork.

   It's an homage to the clean and mean 1920s and 1930s designed book covers with duotone graphics. It gives all the stories told in the movie, a warm bath glow. And we also get a parallel view of the stories as the camera pans out from the first page, then in on the last page as the story ends (it is revealing in the dog story that the ride back to the wagon train is "ten miles" but in the scene, the train is just over the hill. This will make sense when you see it for yourself.

Full blown Leone homage

The bar scene with the full blown Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western characters, is my least favorite setup, although it's done well (see the wonderful, grizzled bastards, above). The story with the best arc, is of a prospector whose voice will be familiar to some of you.

Tom Waits shines as a hearty prospector

Plus, the bad guy in this story doesn't have one line of dialogue but it's so obviously Billy the Kid, it's not even funny.

   The quirkiest story, with the most amazing character is the dog on the wagon train story. The actress Zoe Kazan is simply amazing in her complex delivery, showcasing insecurity, hope and spilling-over emotion, often in the same scene, and in a few cases, in the same sentence! By far, she is my most favorite character in the whole film. Truly a classic pioneer portrayal with a sober message. 

Zoe Kazan shines in awkward glory

   There's more, but that should give you enough of a taste to check it out. Oh, and be sure to remind me how wrong I am in all of my appraisals.


BUTCH CASSIDY (Paul Newman): Then you jump first.

THE SUNDANCE KID (Robert Redford): No, I said.

BUTCH: What's the matter with you?

SUNDANCE: I can't swim!

BUTCH: Are you crazy? The fall will probably kill ya!

Bonus Butch:

BUTCH: Kid, there's something I ought to tell you. I never shot anybody before.

SUNDANCE: One hell of a time to tell me.