Monday, September 28, 2020

The Kid In The Red Shirt On The Santa Fe Trail

 September 28, 2020

   The young McCarty brothers and their sick mother endured a long and circuitous 2,500 mile journey from New York to New Mexico, probably all by wagon. They joined thousands of migrants moving along westward trails, in the late 1860s, trying to find a better life. The wagons creaked and bumped along the rough, uneven roads and once they crossed the Mississippi, they encountered seemingly endless expanses of short and tall prairie grass. One traveler on the Santa Fe trail marveled, "In spring, the vast plain heaves and rolls around like a green ocean." Others spoke of the "purity of the plains" and how it seemed to cure sickness. This was surely the silent wish of the McCarty kids whose mother was sick with tuberculosis.


Daily Whip Out:
"The Kid In The Red Shirt
On The Santa Fe Trail"

   Josie (above, left) and his brother Henry (in the red fireman shirt) often scampered along the trails and explored the byways, which must have prompted this line, more than once.


"You boys get down from there. You'll hurt yourself."

—Every mother who ever lived


The Daily Routine On The Trail

   At dawn, they heard the cries of the trail hands, rounding up stock, sorting and hitching up the teams. The women and children packing up and moving out, the air ringing with whoops and cries of "Stretch out!" And "Catch up! Catch Up!" Someone was always lagging behind. On good days, there was usually a stop at mid-morning and the crews unhitched and grazed the teams. They hauled water, gathered wood and buffalo chips for fires. They cooked and ate the day's main meal, usually coffee, beans, dried apples and wild game when it was available. After dinner (the main meal at noon) men repaired the wagons, yokes and harnesses, greased the wagon wheels and doctored animals. Soon enough they were back out on the trail, pushing across and past running streams and dry washes. They often timed their crossings to make it across before dark because storms could turn into raging torrents and more than one wagon train was swept away after lounging too long on the banks of a placid stream. On a good day, wagon trains could make about fifteen to twenty miles, before finding a high, safe spot, and bedding down for the night. This routine was continued for eight weeks on a straight run, but the McCartys stopped often and even tried to put down routes at various locations (see map), but they didn't take and by the March of 1873, they found themselves in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

   Inspired by the greatest paragraph in the history of New Mexico, which says in part: "Shrewd as the coyote. Free as the hawk. The outlaw of our dreams—forever free, forever young, forever riding."


Daily Whip Out:
"Forever Young, Forever Riding"
final

   Thanks Top Secret Writer for the timless quote.

"When I was researching my dual biography of William H. Bonney and Pat Garrett, Bob Boze Bell’s The Illustrated Life and Times of Billy the Kid proved to be an important and delightful reference.  With its invaluable timeline for the Kid, numerous historic photographs, and, of course, Bell’s arresting artwork, I was immersed in the color, mayhem, and tragedy of the Kid’s world.  There wasn’t a Billy book I enjoyed more, and this welcome new edition is even better."

—Mark Lee Gardner, author of To Hell on a Fast Horse: The Untold Story of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett


Sunday, September 27, 2020

The ZZ Top Connection

 September 27, 2020

   The other day Bob Reece asked me how I met Billy Gibbons and here is the true story.

   Back in 1977 I was living in Tucson and doing a humor magazine with Dan The Man Harshberger, called the Razz Revue


The Razz Fanned Out

   I was always looking for ways to promote the magazine—I mean Magazomic! One day I came up with the bright idea of putting together a care package of back issues and T-shirt designs, like these:


The Razz T-Shirt Designs

   Yes that is Ed Mell, doing his best Doper Roper, second from left, and that is Dan The Man, far right. The female model was the girlfriend of a publisher friend and she was very pretty, but she thought giving a cross-eyed look would help "zane it up," and she might be correct, although I doubt her grandchildren would agree.

   So, I put a handfull of back issues and an assortment of Razz T-shirts in a box and then I would drive downtown and drop it off at the box office, whenever big time rock groups came to town. The first box went to the Beach Boys. I went to the concert and nothing happened, no mention, no thank you, no contact from the band, not even the promoter had the courtesy to respond. Undeterred, I did Jethro Tull. Same result. Then came the Eagles, and I got real excited when a roadie came out on stage before the show and he was wearing a Razz shirt (the one, above that the cross-eyed looker is wearing). But then, nothing else. I was very discouraged, but I decided to do one more and that was a ZZ Top show at the Convention Center in Tucson. At the last minute, I had to go to Phoenix on Razz business and couldn't attend the show. When I got back to Tucson, I dropped in to see these guys.



The Wyly's Leather Crew


   "Hey, Boze," said Johnny Weinkauf (kneeling at left, with the Coors can), "you must have been thrilled when Billy Gibbons gave you a shout out at the show last night?"

   "What the hell?" I said.

   Johnny laughed: "You weren't there?"

   "Dammit, no," I said, "You've got to be kidding me? What did he say?

   "Well the lights went down, the band came out and Billy came up to the microphone and said, 'Anybody here tonight from the Razz Revue?' And someone yelled, and I thought it was you, and Billy said, 'This one's for you,' and they went into La Grange." 

   A few days later, I got a funky, low rider postcard from Billy, who was still on the road. The greeting said "Hay Mane," which was just the coolest. In fact, it inspired me to do all of my own postcards, I mean Bozecards. From there, he ordered subscriptions for all of his friends and we were off to the races. Everything I hoped the care packages would bring, had come true. I just had to get the right band and the right guy. And, I'm here to tell you, Billy Gibbons is the right Guy.

   We had breakfast at the Nogales Cafe in 1982. He sent me a ZZ Top ball cap. For many years I got Christmas cards from the band and then last year we did this.

Holy Mole!

   Yes, that's Ed Mell, center, once again. Turns out Billy is writing a Billy the Kid song and he asked me if I wanted co-writing credit. Ha. I'll believe it when I see it, but still, Hey Mane! Can't complain.

   And now, you know the true story of my ZZ Top connection.

"Lord take me downtown, I'm just looking for some good mole."

—Billy Gibbons at Mariscos Ensenada, Phoenix





Friday, September 25, 2020

Jesus Silva Claims The Kid Dressed As A Girl to Avoid Capture

 September 25, 2020

   I love oldtimers and their stories. Invariably you have to take some of the stuff we say—I mean THEY say—with a grain of salt. Other times, well, it kind of blows your mind, if it's true.

   This is for a section of the book where Billy's friends remember him and are being interviewed by the press.


They Knew The Kid


Jesus Silva, age 85,  outstanding in his field 
(FYI: he's wearing the same dented-in crown the Kid is wearing in his only known photo)


   Jesus Silva built the coffin and helped dig the grave for his friend Billy the Kid. A newspaperman interviewed him in 1936 when he was 85 and Silva had this to say about the Kid: “If Chisum had paid him, Billy would have been all right."

   As regards the Kid and his fugitive status, “I gave him a hat or shirt or somethin’ ever’ time he came. There were many times when the outlaw was broke, even hungry."

   In the interview, Silva claimed to have helped the Kid hide out after his escape from the Lincoln County Courthouse, when he killed deputies Bell and Olinger.

“I was riding down south looking for some Maxwell horses. It was getting close to dark and I hadn’t eaten all day, so I started looking for a sheep camp. I was 40 miles from home.

 "Then I looked up and saw a man afoot on top of the hill, and thinkin’ it was a sheep herder, I made for him. It was Billy. He recognized me first, and shot at me three times, just for fun.

‘Billy said he rode all day until about midnight, then he tied his horse and went to sleep. After he had been asleep about two hours, somethin’ scared the horse and it broke away, and he was afraid somebody huntin’ him was close, so he put up afoot.

   Silva said he put the Kid on his horse and walked most of the way back to the home of Jesus Anaya, eight miles south of Fort Sumner. The Kid, though hampered by his leg irons, walked part of the way while Jesus rode. Silva left the Kid at the Anaya home, and claimed he stayed for almost a month.

   Here's the kicker: “Anaya had three daughters, and when strangers would come, Billy dressed up like a girl and stayed in the kitchen with the Anaya girls. And he made a good one, too — he was small, his hair was long and he talked Mexican just as good as them."

   Silva also claimed he went to the Maxwell house when he heard the Kid had been shot by Garrett.

   "There wasn’t even one Mexican cent in the outlaw’s pockets when the officers searched him; Pat Garrett took his gun."

—Jesus Silva, in The Amarillo Daily News, Friday Morning, Nov. 13, 1936

   Crazy, huh?

"I had avoided Billy the Kid, knowing that down that road lies madness."

—The Top Secret Writer

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Hillbilly Trilogy: The Final Word

 September 24, 2020

   Here is my foreword to the new Billy book.


Hillbilly Trilogy

    My first book on Billy the Kid was published back in 1992. It was supposed to be a graphic novel, but thanks to my art studio mate at the time, Ed Mell, I landed at his prestigious art gallery in Scottsdale—Suzanne Brown's—to premiere the art from the book, and the next thing you know, I'm publishing a half-art, half-history, quasi-graphic novel. Looking back, I would call this first effort a naive-mash-up-lark.


Billy, Book One


   The second book was born from my reaction to a comment made by the late, great historian, Nora Henn, about the first book. She took me aside, in Lincoln, and said, "I like you Bob, but if you are going to do history, you need to be serious, and do history. You can't tell jokes at the expense of the reader." She was correct, of course, because there were numerous jokes in the first effort, because, well, I am a cartoonist. So, I threw myself into putting together a massive extension of the first book, adding 70-some pages and including every aspect of the Lincoln County War AND Billy's life. I would deem this second effort the Nora Henn-Kitchen Sink version of the Kid story.


Billy, Book Two


   And, so, here we are, with the third book. I am combining all the lessons learned from the first two and, I might add, it's much more lyrical in nature. By now, thirty years later, I know the story backwards and forward and I have nothing to prove or add to the scholarship. I have left the rigorous documenting behind (sorry, Nora!) and I've attempted to get at the beating heart of Billy the Kid. Is it the final word on Billy the Kid? No, of course not. That is the cartoonist making a joke. But it is my final word.



The Third & Final Billy Book


   Can you trust a cartoonist to never do anything on the Kid ever again?


"Never say never."  

—Charles Dickens, 1837 



Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Viva Zapata!

 September 23, 2020

   Get ready for some mucho-macho-muy-Mexicano Mayhem on the Mexican Revolution. Thanks to the True West creative team—that would be Stuart Rosebrook, Dan Harshberger and Robert Ray—and some humongous support from heavyweight historians, Linda Sanchez and Salome Hernandez, we've got some  muy malamigos features in the next issue (November) of True West magazine.

   Here's a taste:






   Of course, I haven't forgotten about the kid. He's up next.

Daily Whip Out:
"Billy In Darkness"

"Zapata was the embodiment of sullen, suspicious, defiant, insolent brute force."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 11, 1914

Monday, September 21, 2020

Saint Billy And The King of The Fanner Fifty

 September 21, 2020

   Like most cartoonists who are owners of history magazines, I have my share of mental issues. For one thing I am still chasing ghosts from my childhood.


Daily Whip Out: "Saint Billy"


   I can't justify the obsession, but thanks to a certain therapist, I think I can spot the cause.


The Good-Bad Boy

   Walter Noble Burns gets the credit for creating the first good-bad boy in his seminal book, "The Saga of Billy the Kid." Burns is the one who gave form and substance to the conundrum: William H. Bonney was the All-American Boy and a cold-blooded killer. Those are two poles apart and that is the perfect metaphor: two poles of a battery, a plus and a minus, that keep the sparks flying and the legend burning bright.

   Of course, not everyone loves Billy the Kid like I do. Just ask the history honchos in Santa Fe who look down their noses at the boy bandit and refuse to even mention his name at the state monument in Old Fort Sumner. "He's not historically worthy," one of them told me with glee, as if it was a badge of honor to NOT mention, much less glorify, arguably the most famous citizen in the history of New Mexico.

   But the snotheads in Santa Fe are not alone. Here's a typical letter I get from time to time:

"I wouldn't want your job which entails glorifying outlaws, murderers and thieves. My integrity means more to me than fame and fortune. The lawless Old West myth was created by journalists, so-called historians, dime-novelists and movie producers."

—Franklin L. Boren, Tinnie, New Mexico

  I believe Mr. Boren is about half right. The lawlessness in the Old West was real enough—as is the lawlessness in our own era. Has it been fanned by journalists and "so-called historians" like me? Absolutely. But that doesn't mean the lawlessness didn't exist.

   Sometimes the Billy blowback hits closer to home. I know this very attractive woman, she shall remain nameless, who has serious issues with Billy the Kid. She once said to me, "What do you find so fascinating about this thug? He seems like a psychopath to me?"

  Full disclosure: she has a Masters Degree in Counseling and she is the mother of my children.


The mother of my children, along with the
actual children, on Mission Beach, San Diego, California, mid-eighties.


   So, I asked this very attractive woman, who, thank God is a family therapist, why she thinks I am so enamored of this boy bandit and she said, and I quote, "If I had to venture a guess, I would say you were like many young boys and were probably compensating for a lack of courage."


Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Young BBB King of The Fanner-Fifty"



All I can say is, "Boy Howdy. I resemble that remark."


"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway."

—Old Vaquero Saying

   
   

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Billy the Kid: The Trilogy Is Almost Complete

 September 20, 2020

   Here's a sneak peek at a full page ad designed by Dan The Man for our November issue.


   Now all I have to do is finish the book! Actually, most of it is done, it just needs to be designed and laid out. It's actually fun, but when you're also trying to put out a magazine, it can get get a little crazy trying to juggle everything. And since we're all working remotely, the design meetings are trickier as we meet and discuss layouts on Slack (a cousin to Zoom).

   Still noodling some new images I want for the book, like this unfinished piece:

Daily Whip Out:

"Forever Young, Forever Riding"


   And this painfully accurate depiction:

Daily Whip Out:

"White Bread Boy Whips It Out"


   Part of my angle on this book is how a certain skinny kid from the sticks got courage from modeling that historical Kid.


"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."

—E.E. Cummings

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Black Mountain Feed Burns to The Ground

September 19, 2020

   I mentioned yesterday that back in 2002 I met Dave Daiss at the Black Mountain Feed Store when he showed me the plans for what became the True West World Headquarters and this prompted my friend Jim Arndt to email me his classic picture of the place back in the day.

Black Mountain Feed Supply Store

by Jim Arndt


   Jim sent me this great photo and then asked if it was still in business. Well, yes, they are still in business, but the whole place burned to the ground the day after our neighborhood fire. Here is a photo I took the morning after, on June 1.


The Smouldering Ruins of Black Mountain
Feed Store on June 1, 2020

 There was an explosion and an all-engulfing fire. Local gossip had it that it was Antifa (rioters did loot the Apple store at Kierland Commons in Scottsdale the night before) and rumors claimed two suspects in "hoodies" were seen running away.

   We were staying in the Tumbleweed Motel cattycorner from the feed store and we were told several nearby residents spent the night after the fire, armed to the teeth, on the roof of the motel office, but apparently no Democrats showed up, other than my wife who was already there and never left the room.

   Of course they weren't gunning for Democrats, per se, but our little community has gotten so polarized lately that it wouldn't surprise me.

"They've got one thing in common, they got the fire down below."
—Bob Seger

 

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Last Load Out From The True West World Headquarters

 September 18, 2020

   We moved into the True West World Headquarters way back in 2002 when you could walk into a grocery store and actually start making out with someone. Anyone. And it was healthy!

   Those days are gone. 

   Previously, we were in a funky house in the wash behind the Goatsucker Saloon in Frontier Town. It was the late, great Bob McCubbin who dubbed it "Clantonville." 

   About two years later, I went into the Black Mountain Feed store and ran into a neighbor from down the creek, named Dave Daiss who had some building plans rolled up under his arm. He said to me as I was buying feed for my chickens, "Hey, Bob Bell, you're a creative guy. I want you to look at these plans and tell me what I should call this building I am constructing east of the Dairy Queen." So we stepped outside and he unrolled the plans on the hood of his pickup and I took one look at the falsefront Old West style look of the architectural drawings and said, "I know exactly what the name of that building is," and he looked at me kind of funny and said, "What?" And I said, "That, my friend is the True West Building."

   Darned if he didn't agree with me.


Me at my desk in the True West Building which we later began calling The True West World Headquarters.
Photo by Mort Mortensen

   Moving is such a pain. You think you are on the last load out when you spot something you missed, and then twenty loads later you are still finding crap—or treasures—like this:


A Whole Bunch of Stuff I Can't Throw Away!

   Yes, that is an original Arizona Republic Moon Landing front page from Monday, July 21, 1969. And yes, that is a publicity still for "26 Men" the short-lived, but long-loved TV show about the Arizona Rangers. And yes, that is the wild and crazy bartenders and hangers-on from the legendary Oxbow Bar on Stone Ave. in Tucson, circa 1974 doing the high kicks(just under the headline and to the left of the Hats book). And, yes, that is Frank James on the postcard and yes, that is my name tag from the Mohave County Union High School Class of 1965 Reunion. But the one thing that defies my memory is the lone key, just above the word "moon" in the headline. What does it go to? The bathroom? Carole Glenn will know.

   I have made a couple passes at my office, loading out the big stuff, the computer, the desk, but today was the last gasp effort to get into all the nooks and crannys and save it or dumpster it. Got up to the offices at seven attempting to avoid the heat and about ten loads later I got down to this stage:

Cleaned Out? Not Quite

   But then, Kathy Sue came in and said, "No, everything has to go," so three loads later, we had this.


   And then Kathy took this shot of the boy who spent many a day in this very corner, trying to get out of the proverbial corner!



   This is the end my friend, and, as the song says, those were days we thought would never end.


“I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them.”
― Andy Bernard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Own A Piece of The Historic True West World Headquarters

September 17, 2020

   This morning you have a chance to own a piece of the historic True West World Headquarters.


Moving On


   Got to this link and check out the paintings that are priced ridiculously low.


BBB Epic Art Sale: First Come, First Serve


We are selling off 75 paintings that were hung in the hallowed halls of the soon-to-be-vacated offices we inhabited for the better part of the past two decades. Here's one of my favorites that is still available.


Mickey Free Straddles Two Worlds



Wednesday, September 16, 2020

A Sneak Peek at An Epic Sale

 September 16, 2020

   Putting the finishing touches on our big Zapata & Villa issue which goes to press this weekend. Got up this morning and tweaked an ambitious idea I have for the forthcoming book, "The Illustrated Life & Times of Pancho Villa," which will come out in 2021. This image will also be used in my editorial for the November issue.


   Speaking of Pancho & Lefty, I am left-handed but the Federales never really showed me any kindness.



Daily Whip Out:
"Mexico Reaps The Whirlwind"


  Meanwhile, here is a sneak peek at the paintings and artwork for sale in tomorrow's art auction. The actual auction will formally open at nine a.m. tomorrow morning, but if you want an edge, email me at bozebell@twmag.com and I will give you the inside skinny. Here is the artwork.



   Good luck!

"All the Federales say, they could have had him any day, but they just let him slip away, out of kindness, I assume. . ."
—Townes van Zandt, "Pancho & Lefty

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Top Secret Writer Goes All Billy On Me

 September 15, 2020

   Nobody has a better collection of Billy the Kid stuff than The Top Secret Writer.



I thought I had seen it all, but Noooo. . .

Billy the Kid Ballet, 1920s

   Billy's sugarloaf here is more accurate than most movie portrayals! There's more, but I need to save it for the book.

"For a period of four or five years I saw every film made, I sat there and I thought, well, I don't know a god-damned thing about movies, but I know I can make a better film than that."
—Stanley Kubrick

Monday, September 14, 2020

Brown Water & Studio Duress

 September 14, 2020

   Up to my eyebrows in dueling projects. This is my view of the battlefield this morning.


Studio Duress


   My biggest problem is trying to understand Pulse call technology in order to attack the Billy book and it's just kicking my old, sagging patootie.


   Meanwhile, we have an issue going out the door on Thursday and I need to finish this "Brown Water" project as well.

   

"Agua Prieta is going to be mine. I am through with them, and all and forever. Do you understand?"

—Pancho Villa


Daily Whip Out:
"Midnight Charge of The Villistas"


The End of the Cavalry Charge

   Pancho Villa was known for his furious, full strength cavalry charges, usually unleashed at around midnight for full suprise effect. After the almost complete destruction of his forces at the Battle of Celaya the previous April, by General Alvara Obregon, Villa hedged his charges at Agua Prieta. Still, 200 Villista horses were killed and left on the battlefield, so some habits died hard.


November 1, 1915

   Moving into position two miles east of Agua Prieta, Pancho Villa and a force of 8,000 soldiers spread out along a low ridge, shielding them from the fire of the bordertown defenders. At 1:37 p.m. a vigorous artillery shelling begins with Villa's big guns unleashing round after round on their objective. Several small buildings and a flour mill are hit and set afire. Under cover of the artillery barrage, Villa's infantry advance forward, which draws the fire of the Calles defenders, including their own heavy artillery.

   Incredibly, as the Villista infantry troops advance towards a slaughter house they then veer off to the border fence and beg a line of American specators for water! Ironically, Agua Prieta is Spanish for "brown water."

   By 3:15 p.m. Villa's second wave of attackers advance a quarter mile and they also went to the fence and begged for water. The main attack comes at 2 a.m. but even the darkness did not protect them as the Carranza defenders utilize search lights to light up and mow down the invaders. By dawn, no attackers have breached the mine strewn battlefield, or the town itself.

   Another attack is attempted on the west side of Agua Prieta on the morning of the second, but it too is repulsed. Villa and his troops stumble on to Naco to reassemble, but some 1,400 of his troops desert him. The battle is over and so is the cavalry charge.


News Dispatches On The Fighting

"Reinforcements for Calles have begun to arrive through the United States. . .the first of nine trains bearing Carranza troops, and equipment from Laredo [Texas] arrived late today for Agua Prieta.

". . .the Carranza garrison was sweeping from all sides of the town with rifles and machine gun volleys guilded by searchlights. Although it is believed the volleys went over the heads of the Villa forces, cheers rang out in the Carranza trenches as every volley was fired."

"The general opinion among American army officers is that Villa has fooled the Crranza forces; that he merely 'nibbled' at Agua Prieta, and finding it much tougher than he expected, will now ignore it with its much coveted supplies or provisions and ammunition, and after his army is thoroughly rested and provisioned, will strike down through Hermosilla and Magdalena to the west coast for a campaign of much greater importance."

The Arizona Republican, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 1915


"Further information, concerning Villa forces, was given by Juan Mendoza aged sixteen, who was wounded in the leg during a skirmish at Gallardo yesterday and brought to the Carranza hospital at Agua Prieta.

   "We have had no beans or flour sine we left Casas Grandes," the boy declared. "Our food has been just. plain vaca—cow." Mendoza declared the Villa men were tired and hungry."

DOUGLAS, Nov. 1 (11 p.m.)—Corporal M. Jones, Company G. Seventh Infantry, stationed with his company near the United States customs house, was shot through both legs in a sharp firing between 9 and 10 o'clock tonight. The soldier was taken to the Y.M.C.A. building. His wound is not considered dangerous.

DOUGLAS, Nov. 2 (2 a.m.)—The fighting has commenced at 1 o'clock and has grown apace and the bullets from the Mexican rifles are flying over the southern part of Douglas. The artillery bombardment is terrific.

   H.K. Jones, a letter carrier was shot during the firing and was hurried to the Calumet hospital. [apparently, these are two different Jones, this Jones was standing in his front yard when he was hit]

DOUGLAS, Nov. 2 (3:15 a.m.)—Though the firing has abated somewhat there is every indication the fighting will continue all morning. Villa's big guns seem to have stopped and Calles' artillery appears to be, alone, active in this division."

"It was apparent at sundown that Villa had extended his lines to the south and west in an enveloping movement, striving to get to the west of Agua Prieta whence a dash could be made should opportunity afford."

   "At no time during the day did other than random bullets fall across the international boundary line. Some of these fell on the roof of the Douglas Y.M.C.A. but their force was spent and no one was injurted."

"[General] Calles reported his losses today as eight killed and 24 wounded. He claimed the dash of the Villa troops to the Agua Prieta barbed wire entanglements had been repulsed with a loss of at least 200 to the Villa troops."

One of the Villa attackers, Captain Estrella has been wounded. He crawled over the boundary "west of the slaughter house where he was found by Sheriff Harry Wheeler and taken to the Twenty-Second infantry camp hospital."

The Bisbee Daily Review


"Tall tales make the impossible possible."

—Scott Nelson

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Tall Tales Vs Hard History

 September 13, 2020

   As I head for the last roundup of all things Billy the Kid I am struck by the circuitous nature of tall tales vs. hard history. While seeking the latter, it's damn hard to avoid stepping in the former.


   Eventually, it's all "he said-she said" memory and this is undercut by the cold fact that everytime an oldtimer retells a "true" story he gets closer to the center of the stage.


An oldtimer regales the artist Peter Hurd
about the exciting days of Billy the Kid.

   After the blockbuster success of Walter Noble Burns' book, "The Saga of Billy the Kid," in 1924, many Lincoln County stalwarts got book deals, including George Coe who rode with the Kid and lost his trigger finger at the Gunfight at Blazer's Mill.

A photograph of the WPA writer Edith L. Crawford and George Coe standing in front of the Lincoln County Courthouse, shortly before Coe's death in 1941

"Chisum gave us [The Regulators] a right to kill his cattle whenever we wanted to as he knew we would do it anyhow. He said: 'Boys, always kill a heifer as I can sell the steers.' Whether we did that depended on how we felt and how far it was to a steer."
—George Coe, "Frontier Fighter" 1927

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Home Is Where The Heart of The Cactus Is

 September 12, 2020

   Spied this Cactus Wren Home Security System today. 


Home, Home On The Cactus Spines


   Not too many predators are going to try a home invasion on this little duplex. Very homey inside. Back porch is a little small, but the amenities are nice.

   Cleaned out my office today and realized I haven't seen the bottom of my desk in 18 years. It's wood!



A clean desk is the sign of a warped mind


   We will be releasing the offer on my 75 pieces of BBB Original Artwork from the TW offices on a first come first serve basis beginning on Wednesday September 16.    Keep an eye on the website link below, beginning Monday.        


“Beyond myself, somewhere,
I wait for my arrival.”

― Octavio Paz


Friday, September 11, 2020

Art And The Lies of History Spinning In Their Graves

 September 11, 2020

   A day—9 •11—that will shift in infamy. I predict if you live long enough, like I have, you will see things that once seemed inviolate, become the opposite. Mark my words, this is on the way.




   Osama bin Laden has recently been declared a martyr. I would give it maybe twenty years before there is a demand to put his statue at the foot of the Twin Towers. It's coming whether you like it or not.



Too close to call. These guys knew. When BBB met The Top Secret Writer


"There are no historians in the mob."

—Dana Perino




"Nothing is more dangerous than ignorance and intolerance armed with power."

—Voltaire


A Fitting Headline for 2020

Founding Fathers Strapped Down In Graves to Prevent Further Spinning




"Art gives life to what history killed. Art gives voice to what history denied, silenced, or persecuted. Art brings truth to the lies of history."

—Carlos Fuentes


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Plan de Wellton

 September 10, 2020

     Here's how we ended up in Wellton last night. For grins, Kathy put in our route from Mission Beach to our home in Cave Creek and then asked Google Maps what the half-way point would be and it turned out to be Wellton, Arizona, which is about 35 miles east of Yuma. So then she Googled out-of-the-way places to stay and, well, we ended up here.


Wellton Sunrise


   And, here's the view looking the other way.


Room #1 at The Desert Motel in Wellton

   In the Mexican Revolution Francisco Madero came up with his Plan de San Luis, giving specific goals to take back Mexico from the dictator Porfirio Diaz. Feeling betrayed by Madero, Emiliano Zapata came up with his counter plan, which he called Plan de Ayela. And, then Carranza had his Plan of Guadalupe.

   So, in that spirit, Kathy and I came to Wellton to work on our own plan.

The Three Provisions of Plan de Wellton

1. Our relationship is the most important thing.

2. Balance the vibrations of the desert with the waves of the ocean.

3. The goal is joy. Find the joy every day.


Covid Lessons Learned, So Far:

"Everyone who is more cautious than you seems insane, and everyone slightly less cautious seems reckless."

—Susan Mathews

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Dining Out In The Age of Covid And Spending The Night In Wellton

 September 9, 2020

   We took off for home at ten this morning and up on the mountain we took a side road and ended up here for lunch.


Dining Out—Literally— In The Time of Covid

   This is at a barely open deli up on the mountain. Only takeout and, well, they allowed us to take two chairs out in the front yard. It looks pretty dire, but it was actually fun. Meanwhile, we hit the road again for another two hours, then pulled off to find this:


   We stopped for the night in Wellton, because, well, who wouldn't want to spend the night in Wellton, Arizona?

    Meanwhile, I'm still noodling the Agua Prieta fight and I found this:

He was a brigadier general at the age of 25 when he fought Pancho Villa at the Battle of Agua Prieta in 1915. He is also considered the most popular president of Mexico in the 20th Century.

Daily Whip Out:
"Lazaro Cardenas"
(from a photograph)

"A life lived well, is long enough."
—Elliott Dallen, 31, diagnosed with terminal cancer