Friday, January 31, 2020

How Do You Pronounce "Ake"?

January 31, 2020
   We all know what a minefield it is to pronounce Western names and places. It's not A-Joe, it's Ah-hoe. It's not Mongolian, it's Muggy-own. 

   It's even crazier how place names are mangled by the locals until it becomes the law. The locals pronounce it as Dew-boyce, even though the place is a French term, Dubois, and the French pronounce it as Duwb-wah. And here in Arizona it's pronounced Press-kit by the locals even though the historian it's named for pronounced it as Press-cott. In New Mexico, the locals have mangled Henry David Thorough's last name to Threw. And even when you remind them their berg is named for Henry David Thorough, who pronounced it as Thoe-row, they insist on the mangled version. Go figure.

   All of which brings us to a curious name in the margins of history. I'll let Matt explain:

"Between gigs with John McEuen (the longtime banjo guy with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) I produce audiobooks for Simon & Schuster. I'm working on one now called THE THREE CORNERED WAR, and it has a lot of Arizona names in it... and I'm having special trouble with one of them. Do you have any idea how the "Ake" in Felix Grundy Ake, or the Ake-Wadsworth wagon train would be pronounced? I'd be much obliged... hope all is well!
—Matt Cartsonis

Matt Cartsonis With His Fave Mag

   I have always pronounced Ake as a rhyme of Jake, but then I have never heard anyone say it out loud, which is one of the liabilities of reading. 

   In the Billy the Kid story, I always assumed Tunstall's bunk buddy, Widenmann was pronounced Wide-en-man, until I had a roommate in college with the same name and spelling and his family pronounced it as Weed-ah-man.

   So I sent out this question to my historian friends and they all concurred that it's Ake as in Jake for the go to pronunciation.

   Still, there have been many times we historians have been subverted and proven wrong by family pronunciations and there but for the grace of God, go I.

"Grace is the WD-40 of life. It changes us, heals us. Get your sense of humor back. Laughter is carbonated holiness."
—Anne Lamont

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Geronimo T-Shirts Are In The House!

January 30, 2020
   Ken Amorosano has put up the new Geronimo T-Shirts. Check it out:

Geronimo T-Shirt!

And here's the other design:

Geronimo No. 2

   Got up this morning and did this:

Daily Whip Out:
"Midnight Guards In The Pass"

   Got a little muddy, but I want to do more of these nocturnes.

"It's like Watergate with morons."
—Old Washington Saying

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Tara's Mineshaft vs. The Infield Fly Rule

January 29, 2020
   So I've been taking online Master Classes on how to tell a story. Why?

A Classic Frame From Alex Raymond

   Because, as much as I have published I'm not sure I know the basics of storytelling and it was, indeed, "drivin' me nuts!"

   I went to the bank this morning and then had lunch at Sesame Inn in Carefree. Guess who walked in and joined me?

Tara and Lou Jones of Tara's Mineshaft fame

   Back in the late 1990s we did the Jones & Boze Radio Show on KXAM FM radio, live inside the Mineshaft Restaurant (we opened with frying eggs and bacon on a skillet) and it was these two legendary sweethearts who put up with us. As you can clearly see from Lou's expression, he could be a tad grumpy at times, but that's part of his enduring charm.

   Meanwhile, just when we think we've seen all there is to see, along comes a juicy little tidbit about our boy.

Daily Whip Out: "Billy From The Side"

   Thanks to a kid from Australia, we have another insight into the boy bandit. More on the developing story as we get it pinned down. Very exciting.

"I think that what separates our planet Earth from all the other planets is (1) the infield fly rule and (2) Boz Scaggs."

—Thom Ross

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

1917, Cuttin' A Rug In 1980 and They All Go Out Praying

January 28, 2020
  Got to see the new film "1917" last weekend and I really enjoyed it. Best war film since "Dunkirk" which I saw three times in IMAX, and not quite as good as "Saving Private Ryan" but right up there. 


   Dan The Man Harshberger brought out some old photographs today. This one made me smile. 

   Cuttin' a rug, with Darlene Harshberger at our old house at 707 West MacKenzie in Phoenix, Arizona, circa 1980.

   I'm still noodlin' campfire images.

Daily Whip Out: "Campfire Bravado"

"They all go out praying."

—lawman Jeff Milton, in reference to bad men he witnessed dying

Monday, January 27, 2020

More Campfire Faces

January 27, 2020
   Had fun this weekend working out in my studio. I'm seeking ways to portray campfire light.

Daily Whip Out: "I'm all ears, Pendejo!"

   Pendejo is an odd duck who is captured by the bandit chieftain Doroteo Arrango and is going to be "adobed" (shot against an adobe wall) when, on a whim, Arrango spares his life momentarily and asks for a story.

   El  Pendejo quickly spins a horse flesh tale about a lame horse and the deception of a nefarious horse seller which appeals to the brutal, hard riding El Jefe.

Daily Whip Out: "Campfire Bravado"

   El Pendejo becomes a court jester to the brutal bandit king and he continues to spin stories within stories, each triggered by the next reveal.

"Bandito Supremo"

   Several times Arrango threatens to kill Pendejo, but his stories save the day. Plus, Pendejo seems to know the secret desires of his listeners, capturing them like butterflies under glass.

   Eventually, El Jefe tires of the stories and puts Pendejo up against a firing squad. Appealing to the bandits lust for riches, Pendejos last words foretell of a great treasure. Pendejo is put to the challenge with every story, until the end when the game runs out and all is lost.

   Or, is it?

   That, my friend gives way to another impending, improbable tale from El Pendejo.

   Trust me, you will not like how this story ends.

   A good horse has justice in his heart.

   The storyteller appears weak. He affects all the mannerisms of the victim. He appears to be one thing, but he is another.

   He saw terrible things. Mud walls sprayed with layers of blood turned black. The slow drift of riflesmoke, the carretas filled with corpses headed for nameless graves.

   His mighty stallion went down, tripping in a gopher hole.

"A thousand different forces are killing student interest in the humanities."

"Wife Confident Husband's Band Too Crappy for Groupies"
—OK Boomer headline

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Hat Club Board Members And The Rules They Made

January 26, 2020
   Last night there was a board meeting of certain mysterious Hat Club board members down at Keg Steakhouse at Desert Ridge.

BBB, Rusty York and Thom Ross

Several items were on the agenda, including the ratification of new hat rules and exculpatory methods of extraction. A nice bottle of Cab was consumed and much nitpicking of myth and movies ensued.

Unelected Hat Club Board Members

Hat Rule #1: "Do not touch my hat!"

   Let's get this straight: a cowboy hat is not a toy. It is not okay to touch a cowboy's hat, or put on a stray cowboy hat lying around a bunkhouse or a truckstop. It is not okay to grab it off a cowboy's head, and it is absolutely forbidden to say, as you reach out, "Gee, what's that made of?"

"Do not touch my hat."

Exception: A fiance may touch a cowboy's hat once—on the honeymoon—but that's it. Also, a grandchild may do whatever they want to a cowboy hat, short of sleeping in it. It is, after all, just a hat. I know that doesn't seem fair, but that's just the deal. 

Hat Rule #2: "Do not wear your cowboy hat in mama's house."

   There is no more disrespectful thing you can do, short of killing the family dog, than wearing your cowboy hat inside your mama's house. This includes all your friend's mama's houses, as well. This even includes mamas from other nations. Moms are sacred and every cowboy knows it. Don't do it.

Exception: You may wear your cowboy hat when you are forced to enter the house of your ex-wife's mother. You know, the one who never thought you were good enough to marry her daughter. If you do, though, you must be prepared to fight your ex-wife, her mother and whoever is sleeping with the two sluts at the time of the entry. That's a hard trade off, but it's usually worth it.

Hat Rule #3: "Wearing Hats Indoors Is Complicated. "

   Many cowboys have been in the armed services where it was drilled in to them to take off their lid when they are indoors. This wasn't true in the Old West where you see cowboys wearing hats in saloons and dining halls, but today is a different deal. When in doubt—Doff it.

Exceptions: In some parts of the country, if you enter a restaurant, it's okay to wear your hat at the counter, but not in a booth. This can be dicey if you see someone you know at a table when you are sitting at the counter, with your hat on. If you approach your friend at the table you can say hi and keep your hat on, but if you sit down, the hat must come off. This is known as the "heading-towards-the-door" rule. It is perfectly acceptable to wear your hat, as you cross the dining room towards the door, but do not dilly dally, or the hat must come off.

An Exception to The Exception: While everyone agrees the hat comes off in church, it is okay to wear your hat in Cowboy Church, but then it comes off for the Lord's Prayer.

Hat Rule #4: "The Dance Floor Dilemma"
In the old days, cowboys wore their hats to dances and never took them off, especially while struttin' around the dance floor. But, so many fights broke out when hats got bumped during dances that there are still places—mostly in Texas—where there is a hard and fast rule that you must take your hat off while dancing.

Exception: When a cowboy and a cowgirl are both wearing hats and it's time for a grinder, it is considered appropriate to leave both hats with a babysitter back at the booth.

Bonus Hat Rule: If you are in a cantina, drinking tequila and playing cards with
banditos who call themselves Los Muertos, do not make fun of their sombreros.

Hat Rule #5: "Cowgirls Can Get Away With Murder"

   Most of the hat rules cowboys adhere to are not applicable to a pretty cowgirl.

Exceptions: there are no exceptions to this sexist and ridiculous rule.

"So Sue us."

And the final Hat Rule Is:

Do not ever put your hat on a bed! If you find it there it has to be burned, immediately. I didn't make these rules but they were put into effect by the Hat Board, above, so get with the program!

"Sounds like a bunch of hat Nazis to me."
—Someone's wife who didn't want to go to the dinner last night

Friday, January 24, 2020

You Can't Go Home Again

January 24, 2020
   Pictures take me back to my youth in Mohave County.

The Kimo Cafe, 1950. Jim Weinke at door

   I had my fourteenth birthday party at the Kimo Cafe.

The Kingman Drive-in, 1963

   We tried to sneak into the drive-in with Michele Gilpin and Rick Ridenour in the trunk of Michele's cousin's GTO. We got caught when the Hurst gear shifter got locked in reverse and I had to open the trunk to let Rick out.

    Both Rick and Michele are gone.

Jugs Iced Free, Hilltop, 1947

Al Bell's Mobiloil Station, Peach Springs, 1947

Tommy and his grandfather
at the Copper Cart in Seligman
on the annual Fun Run

The Exits, New Year's Eve, 1964

   A sad irony is I am still trying to impress five girls I went to school with. Three of them are gone, but I'm still trying.

"You go back home and everything you wished was different is still the same and everything you wished was the same is different."
—Cormac McCarthy, "Cities of The Plain"

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Four Geronimo T-Shirt Designs For You to Consider

January 23, 2020
   My boy turns 37 today. Happy Birthday Thomas Charles!

   Meanwhile, I had our design team, Dan Harshberger and Rebecca Edwards come up with four Geronimo T-Shirt designs to consider. With help from our Marketing Guru, Ken Amorosano, here's what we came up with for your consideration:

Design #1: "Geronimo Warrior"

Design #2: "Geronimo Warrior #2"

Design #3: "Geronimo Triptych"

Design #4: "Geronimo Never Surrender"

   Let me know which one you have to have in your closet and on your body. Thanks!

"You go back home and everything you wished was different is still the same and everything you wished was the same is different."
—Cormac McCarthy, "Cities of The Plain"

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Another Socked In Morning

January 22, 2020
   Woke up to another socked in morning.

Socked In Clouds This Morning

This is looking north towards Elephant Butte.

Socked In Clouds Up On Morning Star

Same mountain range at the top of the hill.

More Socked In

Socked In Again

"Sock it me, sock it to me, sock it to me, show a little respect."
—Aretha Franklin, "Respect"

"My biggest fear in life is that the audience will beat me to the punchline."
—David Mamet

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The True West Staff On A Rainy Day In Cave Creek

January 21, 2020
   So I had to eat two of the Geronimo banners because of a controversy over one of the words, and rather than throw them away, I put them up on the True West World Headquarters, and since they looked kind of cool, I thought we'd do a staff photo after our Design Review on Tuesday morning and since it rained all night, Robert Ray begged off driving out, so, minus Robert and Stuart Rosebrook, who is in Iowa, here are the staff who showed up today to argue for better things in the magazine.

The True West Staff
L to R: Christine Lake, Rebecca Edwards, Jenna Link, Ken Amorosano, BBB, Carole Glenn, Greg Carroll, Samantha Crowley and Dan The Man Harshberger

   As I mentioned, it rained most of the night and Elephant Butte was socked in this morning.

Elephant Butte Socked In

Still noodling campfire scenes for a project my son and I are working on.

Daily Whip Outs: "Ring Around The Moon"

"Great art is clear thinking about mixed feelings."
—John Baldessari

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Crybaby & The Liar

January 20, 2020
   Take note: there are three 20s in today's date.

   I hate lies but not as much as I hate liars. I have no love for cry babies, either.

Daily Whip Out: "The Crybaby"

A True Confession
   As much as I hate lies and liars, I have to come clean on something. After the truly ridiculous difficulty of finishing my Geronimo book last October I made the announcement to my friends and family that this would be my last book. It was too painful and I am too old, is how I framed it. It didn't help that the magazine business went through a violent upheaval right in the middle of the production of the book and that the twin storms took a toll on my physical and mental well being. By the end of October, I was, to say the least, beside myself and exhausted.

   Show me to the pasture, I am done.

   Fast forward to this last Thursday night at the official launch of the Geronimo book and then the big celebration in Wickenburg for my friend Ed's fifty year retrospective, when I was asked about my statement, I had to laugh. Here is my current to do list:

Sketchbook Confession, January 18, 2020

   So, as a close female friend who laughed at my quick capitulation, put it, "You are like a woman after childbirth who says, 'No more!' and then six weeks later is pregnant again!"

   Knocked up is more like it. Knocked up with a ton of projects. John McPhee calls them "Old Man Projects," and Kathy Sue calls them her "Senior Projects." For some reason I feel a little bit like Jack Crabb.

"I took a slug in the ham once near Rocky Ford and cut it out myself with a Bowie and a mirror, and the sight of my hairy behind was a real pleasure alongside of looking at what you carry on top of your neck."
—Jack Crabb, "Little Big Man" by Thomas Berger

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Edmundo Segundo Out Wickenburg Way

January 19, 2020
   Last Night was a big night in Wickenburg, Arizona for the Ed Mell 50-Year Retrospective. One hundred, stellar, rock-hard paintings taking up three rooms at the Desert Caballeros Museum.

The Honored Artist: Ed Mell
and his wife Rose Mari

   Edmundo confessed to me he was going for a look that landed somewhere between me and Billy G (Gibbons). I think he nailed it.

   At the banquet in Edmundo's honor I provided the laughs and Ed provided a painting which sold at auction for $30,000.

BBB, Edmundo Segundo & The Duke

   For my testimonial, the museum comped me a room at the exquisite Rancho de los Caballeros Resort and I must say it was delightful and desert-gorgeous.

That's my casita, middle right

Sunrise on nearby Vulture Peak

   Nice breakfast this morning in the guest ranch dining room. Fun talking to Carson Mell about his ideas for a new style Western. We drew quite a crowd of guys in the process.

Male Bonding Breakfast

"Don't bore people with the facts."
—David Mamet, in his Master Class

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Ed Mell Fifty Years On

January 18, 2020,
   Time flies when you are having artistic fun. This afternoon, I am heading over to Wickenburg to introduce my former studio mate at a dinner to celebrate Ed Mell's Fifty Year Retrospective, being held at the Desert Caballeros Museum.

Edmundo Goofin' With My Hat
(look how happy I am about it!)

   I have known Ed since 1973 when he arrived back in Phoenix from a stint in advertising and commercial art in New York, where he famously got National Lampoon sued by Disney for doing a cover of Minnie Mouse topless!

   Of course, Ed grew up in Phoenix and went to North High, where he knew John Harvey Adamson (the guy who allegedly blew up Don Bolles) and Ed's cousin got beat up by Wayne Newton's brother at Coronado Pool. I'm tellin' you, the guy was connected.

   Ed had two brothers. The Mell Boys, as we called them, Frank, Ed and Lee, and they were all three excellent artists and they all had a studio, Twin Palms Studio in downtown Phoenix and all three did art and covers for The Razz Revue, the humor magazine founded by Dan The Man Harshberger and myself. Frank did a classic cover, "Turquoise Lust" which is still highly collectable today.

   In 1980, I joined Ed's studio, and rented space from him in a run down grocery store which he bought at the corner of 10th and Oak Streets near downtown Phoenix. Once, a famous newsperson asked me to take her to the studio and introduce her to the famous artist and as we drove over there, she said, slightly alarmed, "Oh, this is a bad neighborhood. Look at that gang graffiti on the walls of that building." As I pulled up to the curb, I said, "Welcome to Ed's studio." He left the gang graffiti on the walls to keep out the timid. 

   Ha. That is SO Ed.

   I spent six years in the studio with Ed and I tell everyone I learned more by osmosis, from Ed, than I did in five years at the University of Arizona.

  Back in 2012, Ed designed a commemorative postage stamp for the state of Arizona's centennial, 1912-2012. The stamp was unveiled on the steps of the Prescott Courthouse.

Edmundo Segundo Stands Tall

   Afterwards we were serenaded by Ed's friends, The Tubes, who closed the show with "White Punks On Dope." Afterwards, Ed took me backstage and introduced me to Prairie Prince, the drummer. Ed knew the whole band. They were from Phoenix and were known in the early days as The Beans. Like I said, the guy is connected.

   In the 1980s, we started taking trips with our sons, Tommy and Carson, and we went to New York City where we ate soup from the "Soup Nazi," the inspiration for the Seinfeld episode. We went to Mexico and rode the Copper Canyon Railway, where we met the son of Victorio (this adventure is in my Geronimo book) and we went to Santa Fe, where Ed was treated like a rock star (and this was in the eighties!). Everywhere we went, people would buy us drinks and stop and ask for his autograph. It was crazy. Thanks to his son Carson, we decided to short sheet Ed at the hotel we were staying at. We all stayed up waiting to see the prank play out, but Ed finally got in bed, wiggled out of the predicament and went right to sleep.

   That also is SO Ed.

   So, what am I going to say, tonight? Well, for one thing, I agree with ZZ Top:

ZZ Top Celebrating Fifty Years on The Road

   And, Edmundo Segundo and I have a history of being on the road as well.

Tomas Bell, Carson and Ed Mell at our
rented house in Rocky Point many moons ago.

Newlyweds Kelly and Carson Mell coming out
of the chapel from "The Graduate."

Edmundo Segundo and B.F.G.

   Don't quote me on this, but I wouldn't be surprised if you see the painting in the background on an upcoming ZZ Top album cover.

"Through combining a realist view with a design aesthetic, [Ed Mell's] landscapes emerged bold and bare, with a hard sun and sharp shadow."
—Don Hagerty, in the foreword to the catalogue for the retrospective