Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Road Warrior

March 31, 2019
   Went out for a walk this morning and spotted this old road warrior with her arms in the air.

The Road Warrior

   Of course, she was here long before the road.

  When Al Sieber and crew rode by here in 1874 on their way to the cave fight, she no doubt saw them.

Al Sieber

  By my estimation, I imagine she's been holding this position for about two hundred and fifty years.

   One of these days. . .I'll be gone and she'll still be standing there proud as can be.

"You know you’re an Arizona native, when you 'hug' a cactus only once in your lifetime."
—Nancy Dedera, quoted in You Know You’re an Arizona Native, When…, compiled by Don Dedera, 1993

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Sugarloaf Central And The Last Zapatista!

March 30, 2019
   Samuel Kilborn (real name Samuel K. Dolan) has been researching a book on El Paso and he's been posting some very cool photos he has been finding, including this gem:

Burt Mossman?

   This looks early. Burt was later the head of the Arizona Rangers in the 1900s.

   Here's another little sugarloaf nugget from across the border.

Sugarloaf Central

   Of course, the mighty sugarloaf gave rise to the bigger cowboy hats of the classic era,  at least to my eye:

Apache Sugarloaf!

      And last, but not least, there are guys in Mexico still rockin' the look:

The Last Zapatista

   This photo is billed as the last Zapatista revolutionary still alive. I assume the guy holding him up, at right, is a relative. If the gentleman at left actually fought in the Mexican Revolution, which lasted from 1910 to well into the twenties (some believe it wasn't until 1942 that the country settled into any form of stability) he is probably well over 100 years old. (he likely was in his teens when he fought and even if he fought in the late twenties, well, he's up there!) I also love the little kid running into the scene at right. If you've ever spent time in Mexico you can just hear the noise in that room.

   But here's the most important take away: he's over a hundred years old and he's still got the right hat on!

"Lo que paso, volo!"
—Old Vaquero Saying (That which has passed has flown)

Friday, March 29, 2019

Sharlot Walks Through The Darkness

March 29, 2019
   Her own father thought educating women was a waste of time and he liked to say, "Don't you be gettin' all high toned on me now." 

   She was challenged and discouraged at every turn but she persisted in her quest.

Daily Whip Out:
"Sharlot Walks Through The Darkness"

"Sharlot wants to be a writer, she wants to prove herself. Somebody somewhere has challenged her, discouraged her, forbid her, and she's going to prove them wrong."
—Ron Carlson

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Current Algorithm Hellscape

March 28, 2019
   As much as I enjoy all the connections on social media there are definitely some dark alleys to the place. Just saw this from a friend of mine:

  "I just received a notice from Facebook that a post I made 4 years ago telling everyone about Bob Boze Bell's nifty little TRUE WEST MOMENTS book is against community standards and only I can see it! What the heck?

   "Upon further investigation it appears that someone reported the post as SPAM four years ago. I'm guessing it was the long gone [name of dude who he suspects of doing the reporting]. 

   "He was supposedly one of my good friends, but I discovered in a stealthy way that he was the person that kept reporting my innocuous posts as offensive, spam, and what-have-you, back in the day, resulting in my constantly having my posts removed by Facebook. Or, having Facebook contact me to have me remove them.
   "Anyway, this Bob Boze Bell book post popped up today on my Memories and I noticed no one had ever liked it. So, I tried to share it, today, and received the aforementioned notice. 
It's a weird world, ain't it?"
—Chris Casey

   Yes, this is a crazy, weird example, but, all too common in our new social media world. Strange proclivities and prejudices turn minor, or even non-existent "offenses" into an algorithm hellscape.

"No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft."
—H.G. Wells

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Sharlot's Satchel

March 27, 2019
   I have been having some fun trying to figure out Sharlot's wardrobe and gear as she would travel by train on the Santa Fe line from Ashfork, Arizona to Pasadena, California, circa 1900. I figured she needed to carry more than a purse, so I came up with this.

Sharlot's Satchel

   Yes, my hunch-driven imagination tells me Sharlot carries an old school Navajo-Acoma rug style satchel. Here's another view:

Sharlot's Acoma Style Satchel

   A good friend of ours, Roxy Bacon, gifted us a Navajo rug her father bought at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon when he was a park ranger there in, I believe, 1915.

Roxy's Rug

   That's the patina I want with that Old School gray, red and black. Here's another possible design for the satchel:

Navajo Rug Design With iPhone Shadow

   Who makes these? Any custom satchel makers out there? I'd love to commission one.

   I do know one thing. Sharlot walks with determination and purpose.

Daily Whip Out: "Ma'am On A Mission!"

   And, in my telling, she not only walks the walk, she talks the talk.

"Sharlot Speaks With Passion"

"History makes me horny, for the truth."
—Old Horndog Saying

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Ironwood Copy Cats

March 26, 2019
   You know how people say that two people who live together for a long time start to look and talk like each other? Well, In our side yard, are two old ironwood trees and look how they have mimicked and copied each other in terms of branch divisions.

Ironwood Copy Cats

Sweet, huh? Here's another sweet shot. Same area.

Spring Has Sprung

   Twin saguaros, side by side. Meanwhile, out front we have. . .

Cholla Bay

"Husbands are the best people to share a secret with. They'll never tell anyone, because they aren't even listening."
—Old Wive's Tale

Monday, March 25, 2019

Do Real Cowgirls Cuss?

March 25, 2019
    Got a bit of a controversy going on around here. Just what exactly does it mean that, according to some, the beloved historian, Sharlot Hall, "had a mouth on her"?

   Does it mean she could swear, or does it mean she merely talked back to figures of authority? (i.e. Men!)

Daily Whip Out: "Sharlot Talks Back"

   And, if she did swear, how strong were the oaths?

Daily Whip Out:
"Sharlot Sketches, 'What in the Sam Hill?'"

   Since Sharlot lived with her parents on a ranch outside Prescott—in Lonesome Valley—I assume she could swear. Her father certainly could and did all the time. Sharlot writes that one time she challenged him to go for five minutes without swearing and he couldn't do it.

Daily Whip Out: "Sketches of Sharlot, Part I2"

   So, I sought a higher power. That is, I contacted one of my Kingman Cowgirl Cousins to see what the level of cussing is out on the Arizona rangelands. Here is her reply:

   "Lol! Oh, my, cuz, I never f---ing swear!   "Sh--" is a great standby, and I use "Goddam" for  emphasis.  "F---" is a real no-no in conversation between the sexes, but it slips out occasionally.  Hardly ever use "c---sucker", but I think that's a favorite with the guys.  I'll pay attention for a while and see what is said.  I will tell you, cowboys try to be gentlemen, and do not curse in mixed company.  If Sharlot had a mouth on her, it probably didn't take much, to be given that moniker, and may also have meant she talked back. Just guessing."
—B. H.

   For the record, I have never heard my cowgirl cuz swear.

   I forwarded these comments to Jana Bommersbach, who knows a thing or two about the historic Sharlot Hall and she weighed in with this:

   "Two things:  your cousin's  take on 'she had a mouth on her' that it might have meant she talked back, is far closer to the truth than your thoughts on a potty mouth.  And also, don't ever think Sharlot was a 'regular' ranch girl.  She escaped as soon as she could and only came back because she was obligated to care for her father when her mother died. While she carried out all the duties of a ranch woman—even though she was the only woman in the territory to ever get a cattle slaughtering license—ranch life didn't define her.  In her writings, she tells how she tried in vain to get the ranch women of the Dewey area involved in intellectual pursuits, finding them as dull and uninspired as the men they were married to. Her friends were the women of the Federation of Women's Clubs—some of them were from ranches, too, but they were like Sharlot, that didn't define their lives.  Just some thoughts."

   So, I continue on my quest to both capture Sharlot on paper and, well, in the words that come out of her mouth.

Daily Whip Out: "Armed With An Address"

   And back to scratchboard, for the third time.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Sharlot Portrait, No, 3"

"Life shapes art that shapes life, in rhymes audible only with time."
—Joshua Rothman 

  "Art is not a turning loose from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. . .only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things."
—T.S. Eliot

   And speaking of swearing in the Old West, here is a pretty solid take on the swearing in Deadwood:

Scholars Weigh In On 'Deadwood' Swearing

"I am not young enough to know everything."

—Oscar Wilde

Sunday, March 24, 2019

How I Fell In Love With Heavy Metal Banjo

March 24, 2019
   First, a confession: in the past I have been on record as being dismissive of the banjo as a musical instrument and I have actually laughed out loud at the following jokes:

Q: What is the difference between a banjo and a chain saw? 

A: You can turn off a chainsaw. 

Q: What is the difference between a banjo and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle?

A: You can tune a Harley. 

Q: What is the difference between a banjo and an Uzi submachine gun? A: An Uzi only repeats 40 times.

Q: Why does everyone hate a banjo right off? 

A: Saves time.

Q: Why is the banjo player a fiddle player's best friend?

A: Without him, the fiddle would be the most hated instrument on earth.

Q: How can you tell the difference between all the banjo songs?

A: By their names.

Q: How do you get a million dollars?

A: Start off with 2 million and buy a banjo.


Charlie Poole Banjo Player Extraordinaire

   When Everything Changed: a couple weeks ago I was going to lunch at Z's Thai Palace tucked away in the back alley behind Big Bronco. As I was walking along and talking with my partner about a problem employee, I spied my old friend, Mad Coyote Joe, sitting on top of a table, outside Janey's, talking to a guy seated in a chair. As he saw me coming towards him, he broke off his conversation, and said to me, "You need to hear the banjo lick on Otis Taylor's 'Ten Million Slaves' and you will thank me later."

   I laughed and kept on walking: this is a typical out-of-the-blue Coyote Joe comment.

   A couple days later, I was between jobs, and so I Googled Otis Taylor, and, ten seconds later, I'm listening to the tune in question and I have to say, Dang! That is one fine, contagious lick!

   Now, there are two versions, one with a guitar tuned to sound like a banjo, and then the actual banjo opening.

   Here for your edification is the second lick—full on banjo—that has launched a thousand replays on my phone:

Ten Million Slaves

    I couldn't believe how cool the banjo sounded on this, and then it dawned on me that there are two more contemporary banjos that I have always loved. First, there is Eric Church's epic tune, "How 'Bout You," which is a rockin' song—"I like my Country rockin' how 'bout you?!"—and which I also love because it pays homage to AC/DC in the middle bridge, but underneath it all, it has the coolest banjo underpinning all the heavy metal guitars, and there are more than one.

  Who would have thought that the banjo and heavy metal guitar would go together so well? Not me.

   Second confession: my favorite version of the Eagles is when they had Bernie Leadon on banjo!

When The Eagles Were Cool

   So there!

"Amor con amor se paga."
—Old Vaquero Saying, (Love is repaid with love.)

Friday, March 22, 2019

My Own Personal Wipeout: Luck Has Everything to Do With it

March 22, 2019
   Today is my lucky day. Well, actually, eleven years ago today, was my lucky day.

   It was on March 22, 2008 that I had my wipeout while playing "Wipeout" at the old Elks Hall in downtown Kingman. I am humbled by the experience, thankful for the friends and doctor who saved me and feel fortunate to have witnessed and experienced everything since then, including four grandchildren!

Daily Whip Out: "Sharlot In Red"

      Plus, I am enjoying painting and working on the above project.

    I have been very lucky, not like the poor guy in the quote below.

"Bad luck is meeting your date’s father and realizing he’s the pharmacist you bought condoms from that afternoon."
– Lewis Grizzard

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Balduin Mollhausen Takes Shape

March 21, 2019
   Spent several days this week trying to land a portrait of Balduin Mollhausen, the Prussian artist who accompanied both The Whipple Expedition and the Ives Expedition in the early 1850s. 

   Mollhausen was with Whipple when they entered the Mojave villages along the Colorado River at the time Olive Oatman was a captive there. This has led some to speculate, she didn't want to be found because she was with child.

Whip Out In Progress:
"Balduin Mollhaussen, Part I"

Whip Out In Progress:
"Balduin Mollhaussen, Part II"

Whip Out In Progress:
"Balduin Mollhaussen, Part III"

   Mollhausen will figure prominently in my graphic novel. My painting is based on a litho of him. 

   And, of course, I hate his headgear, so I had to change that! I also made him a little taller, he seemed a little too rolly polly to me.

   Hey, artistic license!

"Too scrupulous an accuracy can but impede the freedom of imagination."
— Harry Graf Kessler

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Saguaros Need A Nurse Plant

March 20, 2019
Went for a walk this morning and spied a budding saguaro on the northern end of our property. I don't know why I hadn't seen it before.

Starter Plant Protects Young Saguaro

   According to a botany-minded friend of mine, "nurse plants protect budding saguaros and it may take 20 years for the bud to emerge into a one foot plant."

   This little plant is well on her way.

"The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Seeking Out Those Blue Highways

March 19, 2019
   For everything you gain, you will lose something. And for every thing you lose, you will gain something.

   That's it. That's all you need to know. Doesn't get much more concise than that.

   Speaking of which, we're approaching road trip season and I have a few destinations in mind this summer, including Seattle, Pasadena, Deadwood and Seligman, Arizona, where I'll be the Grand Marshall of the annual Route 66 Fun Run.

   In the loss column—things we've lost with all the innovations—is the wonderful world of detours and car trouble. Many, if not most, of the great memories of road trips are from those unplanned stops. Certainly, the best stories involve one, or both.

   Today, the cars are more sound and more comfortable and the freeways are faster and more efficient in terms of getting from place to place, but it sure is boring.

   Besides, I still enjoy being on backroads and discovering those little, out of the way places, on what used to be called Blue Highways. You know, on the old fold-out maps, the lines that weren't major thoroughfares were colored blue.

Road Trip Kids

   Those little tykes grew up to appreciate blue highways as much as their old man.

Bells Still Seeking The Big Bull 

   Even a road trip down to the Old Pueblo has its charms.

"I miss the old road trip and the way it could make you feel lost between here and the rest of your life. With a map you believed the world was large and the car was small and every possibility was open. With GPS you know when you will leave and when you will arrive and what will happen along the way. Or you believe you do, which is even worse."
—Rich Cohen, riffing on the 1982 classic book "Blue Highways"

Monday, March 18, 2019

A Pink Wheel Barrow Outside The BBB Hoosegow

March 18, 2019
   After all the rain, last weekend turned out beautiful, which made it especially nice to stay home and enjoy it all.

The Pink Wheel Barrow

   Look how green it is. The middle building, with the wooden bars, is our pump house, or, rather, it houses our water pump and we had Craig Hamilton build the jail-like adobe dwelling to make it look like a Mexican Hoosegow. In point-of-fact, here is an actual Hoosegow:

Juarez, Mexico police station

   Hoosegow is American Spanglish for juzgado, which means court of justice.

Daily Whip Out: "In-din Silhouette"

   Also, working hard on coverage for the opening of the second phase of The Pitch:

Daily Whip Out: "Sharlot Fights Back"

   It always amuses me how serious I tend to get about everything and sometimes I need to step back and take stock of it all.

"I take myself too seriously, probably because I'm a human being. With our big brains and our bigger egos, we can't help building the case to ourselves and others that we are very important creatures, when really we're ludicrous."
—Maeve Higgins, author of "Maeve In America: Essays By a Girl From Somewhere Else."

Sunday, March 17, 2019

White Hills Gunplay & Standing By Peaceful Waters

March 17, 2019
  Some historians today have this revisionist idea that gunfights in the Old West were very rare and a fleeting phenom, invented by Hollywood, and that certainly didn't last into the Twentieth Century. 

   Well, if you are inclined to believe that, here's an illuminating news item from my old stomping grounds:

Mohave County Miner, April 6, 1901

   This was posted by my friend Andy Sansom who goes through the old Mohave Miners and posts daily. Really love this stuff.

   Went for a walk last night with my honey and encountered this standing water up by Van Horn's old place. 

Standing Water

   The last vestiges of all the rain we've had. Thought immediately of a favorite John Prine lyric, "Standing by peaceful waters. . ."

   Worked on and off all weekend on coverage for the opening sequence of my proposed-and-in-progress graphic novel.

Daily Whip Out: "In The Lion's Den"

    And, who, you might ask, has wandered into the Lion's Den at El Alisal, California?

Daily Whip Out: "The Looker"

   To me she is beautiful because she championed history and the truth. Oh, and she carried a satchel like this:
The Navajo Satchel

   At least in my story she does.

"Many years ago along the Illinois-Wisconsin border
There was this Indian tribe
They found two babies in the woods, white babies
One of them was named Elizabeth
She was the fairer of the two
While the smaller and more fragile one was named Marie
Having never seen white girls before
And living on the two lakes known as the Twin Lakes
They named the larger and more beautiful Lake, Lake Elizabeth
And thus the smaller lake that was hidden from the highway
Became known forever as Lake Marie
We were standing
Standing by peaceful waters
Standing by peaceful waters

Whoa wah oh wha oh."
—John Prine, "Lake Marie