Thursday, July 09, 2020

Mexico In The Crosshairs

July 9, 2020
   My son, Thomas Charles Bell, loves Mexico as much as I do and, unlike me, he speaks fluent Spanish. But like his father, the boy has always had an appreciation for those big Mexican brims.

Thomas Charles Bell at Cholla Bay, Mexico

   Now it turns out the boy can write. What does he write about? Well, grandmothers with shotguns of course.

Daily Whip Out: "Mamacita Luisa Escopita"

   Shotgun in Spanish is "escopita".

   And, of course, there are a few brujas in the boy's stories.

Daily Whip Out: "Bruja In Dust"

Witch in Spanish is "bruja."

   And, of course, we encounter mucho macho Mexicanos, the armed riders of the apocalypse.

Daily Whip Out: "Rifles at The Ready"

   I know, what's not to like? So, what else does he like to write about?

Daily Whip Out: "Changing Woman 2.0"

   Okay, this last one is totally mine, but you never know, she may show up in one of his zany stories yet.

   I have sent him several tomes for inspiration, but in my estimation, no one has topped John Reed for Mexican Revolution authenticity.

"Fierro rode by, cruelly roweling his horse with the bloody mouth—Fierro, the handsome, cruel and insolent—The Butcher they called him, because he killed defenseless prisoners with his revolver, and shot down his own men without provocation."
—John Reed, "Insurgent Mexico," 1914


Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Virgil Earp In Prescott & Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke

July 8, 2020
  Got a cool scene in my head that I'm trying to get down on paper.

Daily Whip Out: "Virgil In Prescott #3"

   This is for our October issue. We've got a fine piece by Bradley G. Courtney on Virgil and Allie Earp landing in Prescott, two different times, with brothers Wyatt and Morgan and friend Doc Holliday trailing behind, and I want to do it justice.

Daily Whip Out: "Virgil In Prescott #4"

   Not there yet, but I'm not worried. Whenever I get discouraged I simply think of something Abe Hayes once told me about one of my heroes: Abe told me that Maynard Dixon sometimes did as many as 85 sketches and drawings before he got it to his satisfaction.

   So I've got eighty more to go and I certainly have the scrap to get it right.

Daily Whip Outs: "Virgil Array"

Speaking of legendary lawmen.

"Victor French directed this [episode of 'Gunsmoke'] and thought it'd be great for me to be sitting in a rocking chair watching Matt Dillon dig his own grave. . .and the dialogue was that I said, 'Alright Dillon that's deep enough. You got any last words?' And Matt was supposed to say, 'You'll never get away with this. The law will track you down. You'll live to regret it.' So, I watch Dillon dig for awhile and I say, "Alright Dillon that's deep enough. You got any last words to say/' And Jim [Arness] takes off his hat and looks skyward, and he says, 'The lord giveth and the lord taketh away. And if that ain't a square deal I'll kiss your ass.' We didn't get back to filming for a half hour."
—Morgan Woodward reminiscing with Jeff Hildebrandt, from Jeff's new book "Gunsmoke Memories"

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Ringo and Curly Bill By Fly?

July 7, 2020
   Richard Starkey—Ringo Star—is eighty today? Holy Ludwig floor tom, how could that be?

  It was twenty years ago today, well, okay, it's more like fifty-six years ago, now, if you know what I mean. The Liverpool Lad was a tad inspirational to me.

The Exits, Girl's Gym, Kingman, Arizona,
9 P.M. December 31, 1964. L to R: Charlie Waters, BBB and Wayne Rutschman

    I bought that three-piece Beatles suit at Central Commercial in Kingman for $17 because no one wanted it. I still have the jacket. In fact, my son Thomas wore it to his prom. That's how cool it was. Here's me wearing it today.

 Just don't ask me
to button it.

   This is a scratchboard done from a Fly photo of an unidentified Cochise County cowboy. Could it be the notorious Galeyville leader of the Cowboys?

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"The Galeyville Cowboy"

   If it isn't Curly Bill, you can damn sure know it is a cowboy who knew Brocius.

"I see by your outfit you are from Galeyville."

—Old Cochise County Saying


Monday, July 06, 2020

How Blessings Brighten As They Take Their Flight

July 6, 2020
   Not so long ago, this was the view out our driveway towards a certain ridge.

Looking Towards Ratcliff Ridge,
February 22, 2019

   Fast forward to May 30 of this year and here is the same view.

Flames Advance On Ratcliff Ridge,
May 30, 2020 at 12:47 P.M.

   And here's the view now.

"How blessings brighten as they take their flight."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Mexico Reaps The Whirlwind

July 5, 2020
   While living through one calamity, it's calming, or, at least distracting, to read about another human catastrophe in a not-so-distant land.

Daily Whip Out:
"Mexico Reaps The Whirlwind"

I am fascinated by this time period because the entire world was going off the rails, with revolutions and a world war. And it was a time, not unlike now.
A True West Moment, June 2015

   The Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920 killed 1.5 million citizens of Mexico. That is more than all the casualties of all the wars the U.S. has fought. And, in the end, what was proved from all this mayhem? 

"Equality does not exist and cannot exist. It is a lie that we can all be equal."
—Pancho Villa, disillusioned after fighting for more than a decade

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Droning On About The Shot of A lifetime

July 4, 2020
   This has been a Fourth of July I will not soon forget. At least twenty five years ago I dreamed up a saguaro shot sequence that I was dying to utilize in a Western story. In my mind's eye, the camera is floating high above a desert studded with monarch saguaros. You know, like this:

Ratcliff Ridge, 2014

   I envisioned the camera gliding along the tops of these saguaros and even navigating between the arms—especially between the arms. Down below we see a blond in a convertable and we are following her, through the arms of a series of saguaros. I thought it would be a very organic style shot that would just be dang cool to open a story or a movie. 

   This was just prior to the drone era so I knew the shot would be tough to do, perhaps it could be done with a crane, and I was hoping if I cheated with angles—pushing the crane arm through the opening and then stopping to pick it up on the other side and then matching the two, somehow I could splice it together a get a sequence that made it work. Anyway, that was the theory, but what did I know? I needed someone technically proficient enough to make this dream shot sequence a reality.

   Three days before the Ocotillo Fire, videographer Bill Watters was at my house to shoot a history tidbit for the Cave Creek Museum. When he got out his drone, I mentioned my dream saguaro sequence and he casually mentioned he could easily do that shot. 

Bill Watters with his drone controls
attempting the dream shot three days ago.

   Turns out it was not so easy because the drone has a safety application beeper-deal that will not allow the drone to fly in a space as tight as the prickly arms of a giant saguaro. He made several runs at it, but we didn't get the shot.

Bill and Amy returned today
to give it another shot.

   Bill and Amy showed up this morning to take a second run at it. We went over to Ratcliff Ridge before sunrise and I told him we weren't leaving until we got the shot of his drone gliding through the arms of a saguaro.

   It was hairy, but Bill finally got the shot. Here's a small taste of the sequence.

That's me in the turquoise shirt waiting
patiently for the drone to slide thru the gap.

   This is for the opening sequence of "Honkytonk Sue: Last Fandango at The Heatwave Cafe"

"That's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again."
—Walt Disney

Friday, July 03, 2020

Rearing Pendejo And Other Pendejos In Progress

July 3, 2020
   Yes, I have pendejos on the brain.

Daily Whip Out: "Rearing Pendejo"

   Although, I have been thinking quite bit about a certain, local landscape.

Daily Whip Out:
"Ratcliff Ridge Before The Fire"

   Then there's this retweak of a retweak.

Daily Whip Out: "Fireside Chat"

   And a couple random scratchboards.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Lone Star Amigo"

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Cactus Spines Galore"

"Pick your battles. Pick fewer battles than that. Put some battles back. That's too many."
—Mort Mortensen

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Name That Statue?

July 2, 2020
   Okay, from my perspective, here's where we are with statues. The president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe wants Mount Rushmore removed because it's on Sioux land. Okay, good luck with that one.

   Anybody who had anything to do with slavery should come down. Okay, the biggest slave traders in the Southwest were the Comanche, the Apache and Navajo, so take all those statues down.

Name That Statue?

   I'll give you ten bucks if you can identify who is portrayed on this statue. Hint: he's a white guy and he liked to ride horses.

Okay Wise Guy, What About Your Own Statue?
   It started with an Arizona Centennial painting to honor both of my grandmother's pluck and tenacity. 

Daily Whip Out: "Not-So-Gentle-Tamer"

   Thanks to the folks at Bronzesmith, this painting turned into a statue which stands in front of the courthouse in Prescott Valley, Arizona. It has been attacked for being anti-reptile. One herpetologist has complained to me it's a myth that rattlesnakes are aggressive and they don't deserve having their heads cut off and glorified in this manner. I'll give the statue fifteen years, max.

   Okay, one final offer: I'll give you twenty bucks if you can tell me who is being honored on this statue?

   Hint: He's a white guy who liked to ride horses.

"Any jackass can tear down a barn. It takes skill to build one."
—Lyndon Baines Johnson

Daily Whip Out: "Rifles at The Ready"

      I could see this as a statue.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

The Battle of Agua Prieta

July 1, 2020
   I've been intrigued for some time by a certain battle down on the border that, in many ways, signaled the end of the Wild West.

   On November 1, 1915, Pancho Villa launched a midnight attack on the garrison at Agua Prieta (across from Douglas, Arizona). It did not go as planned. 

Daily Whip Out:
"Into The Darkness And Straight to Hell"

   I have portrayed one of the attackers, at left, as a mere youth, because many of the captured Villistas were quite young, like these two POWs:

Villistas captured after the Battle of Agua Prieta

   The second photo, on the right, is of the Carranza troops at Agua Prieta (who fought against Villa) coming in on the train. Notice the two youths, even younger than the Villista fighters, in the foreground. The one at extreme left is armed with a rifle.

   This is for a Classic Gunfight in the November issue. And, I'm also noodling this for a book on the border wars.

Prescient Advice I Followed to The Letter
"When I grow up, I want to be an artist."

"Well son, you have to decide. You can't do both."

Daily Whip Out: "Virgil In Prescott II"

   Dang it! Not quite what I wanted to achieve here. Wish it was easier.

"Don't wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don't wish for less problems, wish for more skills."
—Jim Rohn

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Viva Vaqueros!

June 30, 2020
   Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when people could actually mingle and swap spit.

   So many people I know think this is all a hoax, some dress rehearsal for Communism. What a crazy time this is.

   Are we crazy? Absolutely insane. All of us.

Daily Whip Out:
"Vaquero Comin' Right At Ya'!"

   Me, I'm staying close to home and attempting to master the game I was sent here to play.

"There's an odd combination of intuition and intelligence that has to be mustered to do this work. The part that is logical is only half the job. The other half is truly intuitive and comes out of some part of the brain that you can't control. It's the reconciliation of those two aspects that makes things happen. But since the brain is an instrument that holds everything in the universe, it's there somewhere."
—Milton Glazer, the late, great, master graphic arts designer

Monday, June 29, 2020

Queen of The Weed Wackers & Bulgemobiles Galore

June 29, 2020
My neighbor, Beverly Whitlow, had her entire family out in the yard for days, weed wacking her entire property. I would see all of them out in the yard whacking away at the stinknet and bottlebrush, almost every day, on my morning walks.

Now, this was BEFORE the Ocotillo Fire hit on May 30. The conflagration burned everything right up to her property line.

Bev Whitlow Queen of The Weed Wackers

The moral is: Hey fire, don't you mess with the Queen of the Weed Wackers!

   Speaking of Queens and the Queen Mary, here's a throwback to a more land yacht time.

When Bulgemobiles Were All The Go

      Seemed kind of cool at the time, but I'm sorry, that is REE-donk-u-lous. That's not a ride, that's a cruise ship.

    Back to the conflagration.

The Three Amigos

   We're hard at work on the Ocotillo Fire doc. That would be me and this guy.

Bill Watters Dronemaster

   Got some cool stuff in the can. Going to have a big survivor party when this is all over. Stay tuned.

"When you live in the shadow of insanity, the appearance of another mind that thinks and talks as yours does is something close to a blessed event."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Sunday, June 28, 2020

El Pendejo In Cactusland & Ocotillo Fire Doc Crew

June 28, 2020
   Had fun with a whimsical piece this morning.

Daily Whip Out:
"El Pendejo Wanders Through Cactusland"

   I am working with videographer Bill Watters to produce a documentary on the Ocotillo Fire. Here we are yesterday, interviewing two fire survivors, Fran and Mike Douglas.

   Thankful for good neighbors: Mike & Fran

Another take on Erasing History
   "When people suggest tearing down statues is 'erasing history,' I must point out that there are no statues of Adolf Hitler but his history has not been erased. Point being; historical figures do not need statues in order to be remembered, for better or worse."
—James Mills 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Virgil Earp In Prescott And The Earps In Arizona

June 27, 2020
   We've got a good, in depth, story coming up in True West on Virgil Earp's time in Prescott, Arizona. Wyatt's older brother landed in the Mile High City a couple times and we've got the goods.

   So, I've been noodling some cover ideas.

   Daily Whip Out: "Virgil In Prescott"

   Another angle into the story which will broaden the issue a bit, is to include Wyatt's controversial episode of standing off a mob in the Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce embroglio.

Daily Whip Out:
"Wyatt Earp vs. A Tombstone Mob"

And, then there's the painting I did yesterday which could also work.

Daily Whip Out:
"The Law Is Just A Suggestion With A Gun."

Here's a statue I'd like to see:

Daily Whip Out:
"Cara del Caballo" (Horse Face)

   And here's one of our favorite one-eyed captivos.

Daily Whip Out: 
"Mickey's Head In The Clouds

      And, here's the view on my walk this morning.

Sunrise on Ratcliff Ridge

   Still looking a little bleak over there, but the monsoons are on the way and we are hoping for some healing in our neighborhood.

"There's a vast difference between thinking critically about the past, for the sake of learning from it, and behaving destructively toward the past, with the aim of erasing it."
—Bret Stephens in The New York Times, on the tearing down of statues

Friday, June 26, 2020

Statue Power II: Ten Million Pigeons Are Concerned

June 26, 2020
   Lots of feedback on yesterday's post about the power of statues and the idiots surrounding them.

   "According to a British newspaper, pigeons in London have started a SAVE THE STATUES! movement."
—Richard Coyer, Surprise, Arizona

   "Bob, in your post today, where you call for the removal of all monuments, I'm assuming you're also including the controversial Not-So-Gentle-Tamer? It's sad to know that that particular statue didn't make you 'proud to be anything.' I don't know, maybe proud to be an artist?"
—Mark Lee Gardner, New Mexico

"Not-So-Gentle-Tamer," the BBB ten-foot-tall statue that stands on the plaza at Prescott Valley Court House

   Okay Mark, first of all, I didn't call for the removal of any statues. I said it wouldn't bother me if they were all removed. And second, I am very proud of the Prescott Valley Court House statue, but when it comes down I will still be proud of it. That's my point.

   In Carson City, Nevada, radicals made a run at Kit Carson the other night. 

Buckeye Blake's "Kit Carson"

   Gee, I wonder what the artist who created this nifty sculpture has to say about that? Actually, I have just received a quote from Buckeye, but it's a little too strong for this forum.

Limitations of Statues
"I subscribe to Paul Hutton’s view as well. I travel in Sonora regularly and they have some serious memorials. The four Sonoran Presidents along the main boulevard through Hermosillo comes to mind. I’m more impressed with the memorial and statue encountered as one enters Agua Prieta on the main interstate hwy 2. There is a statue of Relámpago (also known as el Zaino) the local horse who won a match race on St. Patrick’s Day in 1957. There is a famous corrido written about that race and a movie was made as well. The local AP horse beat the famous grey from Cumpas, El Moro. If one heads south from that monument about a hundred miles to the ranching community of Cumpas there is a beautiful statue of El Moro the loser of the famous race. I guess it could be said that Relámpago came in next to last. Regardless I doubt there’ll be few who complain if Pancho Villa is evicted from Veinte de Agosto park in downtown Tucson. Yesterday was Dia de San Juan with scarcely a cloud in the sky. We’ll wait."
—Greg Scott

Daily Whip Out:
"Inspired By A Mexican Statue of A Horse
That Came In Second"

   Oh, the insanity of our entire human race.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"A Mother's Grief"

"The world will cease because rage has been released."
—Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) referring to the Mexican Revolution