Friday, April 30, 2021

How Many Women Is Too Many for The Cover of Women of The Wild West?

 April 30, 2021

   I believe I have enough individual coverage of the most famous women in the Old West for a decent book cover, but which ones do I use? And how many should I composite, all together? That is my creative question for today.

A Quick Inventory of Available Images

  Well, for one thing, it probably wouldn't hurt to have a famous Mexican Mamacita front and center.

Daily Whip Out: "Las Tules"

   Or, I couldn't go wrong to include a famous female who consorted with outlaws, you know, the one with the crazy, cool name.

Daily Whip Out: "Etta Place"

   Or, even a famous captivo who perhaps did not want to be "rescued."

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Olive In Shadow"

   And, of course, a certain Apache warrior would definitely be a must.

Daily Whip Out: "Lozen"

   And, naturally, we need to keep it diverse, thus, this fine figured woman.

Daily Whip Out: "Zulu Bandita"

   And, we need coverage of the Wild West Shows and Rodeo Arena performers. . .

Daily Whip Out: "Vera McGinnis Rides High"

Oh, and we can't forget this little criminal.

Daily Whip Out: "Pearl Hart"

   Okay, who am I missing? Ooops. Can't forget the hatchet lady.

Daily Whip Out: "Carry Nation"

Daily Whip Out:

"The Nude Duel That Will Not Die"

   Oh, and then there's the cigar smoking entertainer who left an estate worth $4 million dollars.

Lotta Crabtree

   Now, how do we composite all of these fine looking women onto one canvas and make a compelling cover out of it? My first reaction is, it can't be done because it'll be too crowded. And my worst fear is, it will look like a bad, high school annual, with postage stamp faces.

   But then I remembered a certain album cover back in the day. 

   True it was crowded and bit too much. But, it couldn't have been any cooler—and it still is!

   I just noticed this, but isn't that Johnny Weissmuller (as Tarzan) between Ringo and Paul? And did you know, Shirley Temple is in there twice? I know, I know, I'm slow. Give me a break, it's only been 54 years!

   Rough sketches tomorrow, plus all the women I left out, like Sakajawea and Annie Oaklley and, the list goes on and on. . .

"So let me introduce to you, the act you've known for all these years. . ."

—The Beatles, title track, Sgt. Peppers 

Bonus Quote:

"Go to the net, or stay behind the baseline. Don't get caught in the middle."

—Old Tennis Coach Saying

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Australian Noir Western Anyone? Anyone?

 April 29, 2021

   We're watching the second season of "Mystery Road" an Australian-Noir-Contemporary Western starring Aaron Pederson, who is Arrente-Arabana Aborigini, seen here backing up his truck.

Had to freeze frame it, so I could capture and poach those lighting effects on his face. Rich, innit, Mate? One technical note: the star burst, square light on his left eye is from our checkerboard, pin-point-sky-lights reflecting on the screen and is not part of the lighting effects.

It's a tad violent, but the setting and premise is cool: squalid desert landscapes and a very conflicted native man who tries to come to grips with the sovereigntry of his nation vs. his ancestrial nation, all the while being a cop in a shithole town. I think you can guess why this resonates with me.

And here's a quick poach of that scene, just for scratchboard giggles.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Outback Cop Backs Up"

"I like to go to the library, get all the books on feng shui out, and put them back in the wrong section."

—Karl Chandler, Australian Comedian

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

How Did White Horse Mesa Get Its Name?

 April 28, 2021

   Damned if I know where some place names came from. Probably the dumbest one is Table Mesa (Mesa is Spanish for Table), just north of here, but there are others, equally ridiculous. South of Ajo (pronounced Ah-hoe, not A-Joe), the locals called their fledgling settlement Y because the road split at the junction in the middle of town, but when they went to apply for a post office, state officials told them it had to have at least three letters and so naturally they asked "Why"? And that's why Why got it's goofy name. Other names seem to be self-evident (Nothing is self-evident) but I still wonder who first named them and what they saw that inspired them.

Daily Whip Out:

"How White Horse Mesa Got Its Name"

   Okay, this one, at least seems like a logical extension of the old cowboy question, "Where'd you see'em?" And the answer, "Up on White Horse Mesa, you know, where that old whore used to live."

Daily Whip Out:
"Dixxy & Her Idle Bridle Tact"

"Fighting Words" Indeed

   I recently read with interest and more than a tinge of dismay the following words in an Essay in the current issue of The Atlantic:

"I grew up in San Diego, which resembles the backdrop of High Noon or Unforgiven not at all but is extremely west, geographically speaking. Maybe this is what disposed me to feel that the Western as a film genre was trite and foolish, dangerously sentimental about horizons and stoicism and men shooting each other for no good reason. I know these are fighting words."

—Jordan Kisner, who goes on to praise four women directors, Choe Zhao, Kelly Reichardt, Debra Granik and Anna Kerrigan who are working in the Western genre seeking, as he puts it, "opportunities for intervention and repair." Well, Mr. Kisner, I've got your intervention, right here at the Y.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Education of Dixxy Diamond

 April 27, 2021

   She never wanted the attention. She never sought the fame, but she landed in that desert community like a midnight monsoon on a pitch black night.

Daily Whip Out:

"The Dixxy Diamond Midnight Monsoon

Has Arrived"

   She knew she was perceived as a punk-ass clown by the cow community but she never let on that it bothered her. In fact, she knew something they did not: that the greatest cosmic joke is us. She knew every last one of us is plumb crazy. But try telling that to people who believe they are not. That was her mission. That and riding horses no one else wanted.

Daily Whip Out:

"In The Land of Big Hats, Hers Was Even Bigger"

   No one in those parts had ever seen anything like her. Of course many were not fans.

   Some of the guys down at the feed store said she had a butt like a dualie truck, but that's just mean men being mean. Those who loved her thought it was more like a goose-necked trailer that had been rear-ended at a stop light by a Mack Truck.

   But to those who didn't belong, she became a dose of hope wrapped inside a myth that didn't quite fit.

   What no one knew, except her grandmother, is that at a very young age, her life had gone haywire, and, consequently, she owned a sordid past and through that regretful past she had an accidental epiphany. All the answers she sought were to be found riding on the back of a spirited horse that everyone else had given up on.

   But you knew that.

"Education is the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertaintly."

—Mark Twain

Monday, April 26, 2021

Close Encounters With An Angry Crow And A '69 Barracuda

 April 26, 2021

 Some said she was the wildest of the wild. Others said she was a jailbird-reprobate who had no business even calling herself a cowgirl. As it turns out, she was both and maybe that's what intrigued me about her.  

Daily Whip Out:

"One Punk Cowgirl Dixxy Diamond"

Close Encounters With An Angry Crow And A '69 Barracuda

Daily Whip Out: "That's Stupid."

• According to 15-year-old Dixxy Diamond, everything is stupid. And, in spite of her Grandmother's patience and understanding, the girl is determined to run away.

• One night, she grabs her lighter off the dresser and takes off, hiking the two miles out to the highway.

• She hears a car coming and strikes a pose.

Daily Whip Out: "Dixxy Strikes A Pose"

• A '69 Hemi Barracuda roars by, hits the brakes, skids to the right shoulder of the narrow two-lane blacktop and stops. The driver's side window rolls down and a burly hand waves her to come and get in.

• A crow lands on a burnt saguaro, on the opposite side of the road and starts cawing loudly.

• Dixxy starts walking towards the car. The crow keeps squawking.

• High in the sky, the crow peers down on the Barracuda navigating the tight curves into the desolate foothills of the Tortalita Range. Whoever is in that car is not coming back.

• Cut to Dixxy's lighter on the dresser.

• Her grandmother, Nellie Odle, comes down the hall with a cup of coffee and peers in Dixxy's bedroom and says, "I didn't expect to see you here. What happened?"

• Dixxy says, "That crow talked to me." 

• "Really?" Nellie says, "What did he say?" 

• Still somewhat stunned, Dixxy shakes her head in disbelief:                                                                            "He kept saying, 'Don't be stupid.'" 

Daily Whip Out: "Dixxy Dust Devil"

"Not to interrupt your story, but do you have a completely different and possibly shorter story?"

—Wonderful Russ

Sunday, April 25, 2021

When Rebellion And Mockery Has Its Limits

 April 25, 2021

   What does it mean, all these limitations on who you cannot mock, who you cannot make fun of? Well, I've got news for you, there's still one group out there who you can disdain until the cows come home and the PC Police will simply look the other way. I, of course, speak of drummers. 

Honkytonk Drummer Confessions

(T. Charles Rocks And Mocks The Position)

"What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend?"


—Old Rock Band Witticism   

Saturday, April 24, 2021

A Herd of The Wildest Colts

 April 24, 2021

   I want to say it was the fictional character, Andy Adams, in "The Log of A Cowboy" where I first encountered the wonderful saying, "The wildest colts make the best horses," but when I tried to track it down on Google, it says the Greek historian Plutarch gets the nod way back in Athenian days. Doesn't really matter. It's still true enough no matter who said it first, or last.

Daily Sketchbook Whip Out:

"The Wildest Horses Make The Best Colts #1"

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"The Wildest Horses Make The Best Colts #2"

Daily Hardboard Color Whip Out:

"The Wildest Horses Make The Best Colts #3"

Daily Pen & Ink Whip Out:

"The Wildest Horses Make The Best Colts #4"

Daily Wing Ding Whip Out:

"The Wildest Horses Make The Best Colts #5"

   And, of course, the wildest colts quote applies to cowgirls as well.

Daily Whip Out:

"Dixxy Diamond, The Wildest of The Wild"

“Maybe some women aren't meant to be tamed. Maybe they just need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with them."
― Candace Bushnell

Friday, April 23, 2021

Even More Lurid Confessions of A Honkytonk Drummer

 April 23, 2021

   Just when you thought I couldn't go any lower.

Even More Lurid Confessions

of A Honkytonk Drummer

   For many a weekend night, I viewed the smoky honkytonk world from behind a Ludwig drum kit, looking at the butts and behinds (no, that is not redundant) of the gitpickers and goobers of that strange and peculiar world where heartache meets a paycheck. 

   I must say I saw some pretty lurid scenes (both on the stage and on the dancefloor), some of which made it into my drawings, like this series of scenes inspired from my nights at the Hayloft Bar, from the original Honkytonk Sue comic strip that ran in The National Lampoon in the summer of 1977.

Daily Whip Out: "Hayloft POV"

   And, of course, what went on inside the Hayloft Bar could not hold a candle to what went on in the parking lot.

Public Service Announcement

"How to Get Pregnant"

by BBB, Low Blows, 1986

"Sreaming out 'BOOM PREGNANT!' during sex is never as funny as you might think it will be."

—Old Virgin Saying

Thursday, April 22, 2021

The Oracle's Twist Is Future Magic

 April 22, 2021

   I am reading "Wonderworks: The 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature," by Angus Fletcher, and I just finished reading about the invention of the "The Oracle's Twist"  and how powerful it is, which "sends the riddle from the future." Then we get this: "For storytellers to fashion themselves into oracles, they needed to invent their own future riddles; ones that the audience couldn't answer—yet." And, "the groundbreaking answer of how to stimulate active wonder without one. The answer is to talk in a voice that interjects the audience's future into the narrative's present." Like this:

Dusty "The Oracle" Springfield
and her singing compadre Petula Clark
sending people "Downtown"

"Listen to my words, you who want to know;  by my mouth you will learn the history of Mali. By my mouth you will get to know the story."
—The Epic of Sundiata, 13th century

   As I read it, we are wired to want information and when a storyteller teases us with a riddle, "the reward center of our brain does a sneaky thing: we get a dose of dopamine. It's like a nibble of cake. It tastes sweet, but it doesn't satisfy our appetite. In fact it makes us more hungry, wracking our brain with a ravenous curiosity."

   For example, "how can a defeat be victorious?" "How could a lame child sprint like a lion?" It is generated by a "future-hinting voice: You will get to know the story." And, if the narrator, acting like an oracle, knows an ending the reader does not, it fills us with suspense and longing. This may be old hat to you guys, but the science of it is new to me.

   Here's a 14th century Arthurian Tale that does this:

 "But of all the British kings, I've heard tell that Arthur was the most noble. And so I will show you something that's astonished the eyes of many, an outrageous adventure of knightly wonder, and if you will listen to my song for oh just a little, I will tell it as I heard it in town." 

   This Brit may have heard it "in town," but here it is, put another way:

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

   The key thing is the last line, which is a "Riddle voice" and is a rhetorical sleight of hand. Tom Wolfe even used it in non-fiction (The Right Stuff), "There was a demon that lived in the air. They said whoever challenged him would die."

   Isn't that damn cool?

   The key is to offer glimpses of the hours ahead, like this racking riddle: What do you get when you put a Sharps next to a Ripped Man?

The Oracle Twist On The Newsstand

   Jim Cross put True West magazine at eye level so that Quigley is taking aim at something next to him, to which the Oracle and Cross person says, "I can neither confirm or deny involvement."

"Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?"

—Steven Wright

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

How Will We Know When It's Over?

 April 20, 2021

   It's getting closer, we can feel it, but how will we know when it's over? 

A very clever cartoon by John Hauge
in The New Yorker

   Here's how I predict we will know it's over: 50,000 people will be packed shoulder to shoulder, in a stadium waiting for the main event. Doesn't have to be a sporting event, but it probably will be.

     Suddenly, and without warning, the entire mass of people will combust with a contageous euphoria and just start cheering, at the top of their lungs. They will roar for many minutes and the people at home will be cheering with them, and they will try to start the game but the crowd will not be finished. They will be hugging and high-fiving complete strangers and on and on they will yell at the top of their lungs.

   I have a hunch this will repeat itself all over the world. That is how we'll know it's over.

"It's not over until the fat lady cries and hugs a complete stranger in the row behind her."

—A Green Bay Packers fan's specific prediction

Monday, April 19, 2021

Dating Go Go Girls In the Swingin' Sixties

 April 19, 2021

   Like most American males my age, I went through a long period of going all slack-jawed whenever I saw a member of the opposite sex do the Pony or the Watusi.

Daily Whip Out: "We Knew How to Pony"

And speaking of slack-jawed horndogs from way back: take a look at the sea of slack-jawed horndogs in this old photo.

Go Go Girls at Christown Mall
Phoenix, Arizona, 1964
(courtesy of Harry Randolph)

   When the Kingman High Bulldogs motored down to the Valley of The Sun on a high school basketball trip in 1964 (Phoenix Christian on Friday night, Agua Fria on Saturday), we were privileged to take a side trip and visit the first indoor mall in Arizona at Bethany Home Road and 19th Avenue. Christown Mall was a state of the art shopping mall. All under one roof, air-conditioned, and all groovy. I bought a bitchin' shirt at National Shirt Shop ($12 American!) and I returned home to Kingman looking like a Beatle in a haystack and with the idea that I had seen the future of retail—and the country—and I knew instinctively, if I played my cards right, someday I might get a job there. 

   Fast forward six years and, in 1970 I moved to Phoenix and I got a job at Chess King at Chris Town Mall ($1.25 an hour which was minimum wage at the time, but guys were lined up around the block to get the gig). In my fantasy, every day, I would be dealing with customers like this:

Daily Whip Out: "A 66 Chix Revisited"

  That was only half true. There were some babes, but mostly there were just normal people and mall rats. After a hard day at work selling tank tops and bell bottoms, I then grabbed a bite to eat at Bob's Big Boy, and motored out to Glendale in my '67 Mustang where I danced my head off doing the Pony and the Watusi downstairs at Mr. Lucky's on Grand Avenue. Upstairs was Country, downstairs was rock. This second shift was grueling: four hours on my feet! Yes, it was damn hard work, but somebody had to do it. And I did that for six weeks until I got laid off at Chess King and went back to being a drummer in a rock band at Fifth National Bank (the nightclub on Central Avenue, run by Tony "The Horse" Cerkvenik, not the financial institution). I knew, even then, that someday I'd have to grow up, but I kept at it, day after day, night after night, seeking out Go Go Girls for another two decades. Okay, it might have been three. Well, now that I think about it, maybe three-and-a-half, max.

   And, what trained me for a life like this? I attribute it to my formative years where I iced jugs for free at Al Bell's Flying A on Hilltop. The ice in those jugs may have been free, but the lessons learned have served me well all these years later.

Daily Whip Out: "Jugs Iced Free, Baby!"

   And, I must say, with all modesty, I can still ice a jug with the best of them.

“Any rascal who misspent his youth in the ‘50s and 60’s toting ice for travelers at his Dad’s gas station in Kingman, Arizona, got his hand tangled up in a motel washing machine wringer, and lost his virginity in a Nash Rambler, should have one hell of a story to tell about his life and times on Route 66. And that is exactly what Bob Boze Bell delivers in this book about a fast life in the slow lane of that varicose and scarred path of concrete and asphalt. BBB’s words and images are as tasty as truck stop pie. You will want another helping.”
—Michael Wallis, Route 66: The Mother Road and “The Sheriff” of Radiator Springs in CARS

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Uno Meet Anal

 April 18, 2021

   Thank heavens we have a protector standing vigilant on the wall to our entrance. Never mind that he's facing the wrong way, we feel confident we can relax, as long as sandwiches are not involved. He will most assuredly protect our home, but sandwiches left out on the table, not so much.

Sunrise Sentinel

   His stiches come out tomorrow, but a certain anal mother is always checking out his belly stitches, looking for licking damage (no cone this time).

Uno Meet Anal

   I know what you're thinking: aren't you two lovebirds a little long in the tooth to be having a pandemic puppy?

   You would be correct. But, we're in it for the long haul now and there's no turning back as long as our sandwiches are safe.

"The buffet is basically like taking your dog to Petco and letting the dog do the shopping. You give him your wallet in the parking lot and go, 'Here's money. Why don't you go in and get whatever you think is the right amount of dog food for you. Use your dog judgement.'"

—Jerry Seinfeld, "Is This Anything?"

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Bold, "Respectable" Women vs. Women Who Drink Bootleg And Shoot Up Towns

 April 17, 2021

   More feedback and debate on our questionable book title, Wild Women of the Wild West. My friend from Down Under, the author, James Mills, thinks I'm being a little too much of a Yank (is that like a Yanker?) and I should quit fretting and use the original title.

   And, although my friend, the artist, Thom Ross, made a good point about the West not being as wild as the legend says it was (he suggests REAL Women of the REAL West), our mutual friend, the Top Secret Writer, had this to say about that:

"You better hope there's Wild Women in the Wild West, otherwise you are not going to be in business much longer."

—Paul Andrew Hutton

   In truth, my interest in Wild Women of the Wild West, runs to these kinds of gals:

Mohave County Miner, January 29, 1916

Courtesy Andy Sansom

Whereas, Jana's interest lies more in this direction:

  My esteemed friend and author from Lincoln, New Mexico, offered this: 

"Whatever title you come up with it needs to be epic as the West is epic.  I will be interested to see your listing of women and the balance that is needed. I do like Paul Hutton's suggestion minus the word Wild.  Leather and Lace: Women of the West;  or Leather and Lace: Women of the Frontier West. Frontier could mean Wild West and then ease into the settling of the West and the taming of the West.  Including leather also applies to the Native American women or the tough ranch women who wore chaps."

—Lynda Sanchez

   I am confident we will find the right title and I thank all of you who offered one!

"Men and women are like right and left hands; it doesn't make sense not to use both."

—Jeannette Rankin (Yes she is in our book!)

Friday, April 16, 2021

Wild Women, Las Bravas Locas, Boss Bitches & Very Angry Women

 April 16, 2021

   I would peg 2020 as the year the entire world lost its sense of humor. Neither you, nor me, can make fun of a whole raft of things that were game BEFORE the pandemic. Actually, it's true, things were ratcheting downward on the Humor Acceptability Thermometer at an alarming rate for the past couple decades but the quarantine has frozen that goose to the gills.

   Speaking of mixing metaphors and alienating the fairer sex, I have spent the past week trying to find a fitting title to a wonderful book Jana Bommersbach and I are co-authoring and publishing on all the trailblazing women on the American frontier. My original title for this book—way back in 1994—was "Wild Women of The Wild West" but today, well, that title is overused and overcooked.

   So, I sent out a querie to 100 of my most creative friends with this rough cover and the question on how to improve it:

    And here are a few of the responses I got back:

   "Do you really need an adjective? What's wrong with Women of the West? I had a month long argument with the publisher over the title of my last book. He kept wanting to layer on adjectives. The Defiant Women of the Copper Country, the Marching Women of the Copper Country. The Courageous Women of the Copper Country. I didn't even want the definite article but we finally compromised on just plain The Women of the Copper Country. I asked the cover artist to put the THE in a smaller font."

—Mary Doria Russell

Brave And Bold And Yaddah Yaddah

"We think the 'Wild Women' title, especially with a subhead of "Corrupt & Crazy" is far too condescending to 21st Century women.  Hedy said that if she saw it on Amazon or at B&N she wouldn't even bother to look beyond the title."

—Allen and Hedy Fossenkemper

"The Fun Loving Slightly Gender Specific Group Of The Half Of The Country That Isn’t East"

—Larry Winget

"My first inclination was to go to Spanish...'Las Jefas Cabronas of the American West' which translates to 'The Boss Bitches of the American West!' but that's probably reaching too much. :-) How about  'Las Bravas Locas'...translates to brave & crazy!"

—Jeanne Sedello 

"Throw the term True West in that pile of words. Put your money where your mag is, is the answer. True Western Women."

—Buckeye Blake

"Since you and Jana are associated with True West magazine why not work that into your title and possible future titles. 'The Illustrated Life & Times of TRUE WEST(ERN) WOMEN Of Frontier America'?"

—Greg Smith

"Instead of Wild, I like 'Dynamic' or better yet 'Real'……..we're are always talking about Real Men… about Real Woman?"
—Dennis Corderman

—Amy Watts


—Juni Fisher

   "One of the real problems is that the 'wild' West wasn't all that wild.  As Evan Connell wrote in 'Son of the Morning Star' it could be downright boring.   For his audiences Cody's Wild West show probably WAS wild but that was because for those few hours it was drama and excitement and therefore non-stop wildness for the audience. But the real 'wild' West wasn't. And were the women of the 'wild' West all that wild? So yeah, the term 'wild' is way overused (and over believed, too). Look how proper Annie Oakley was!  She could shoot with the best of them but that doesn't make her wild, it makes her fascinating. And how did life end for Mattie Earp or Calamity Jane?  Drunk, drugged, and pathetic. So maybe the focus should be off 'wild' and geared more towards 'real'...the REAL women of the West."
—Thom Ross

A Snowball's Chance In Yuma

Charlie Meadows, AKA "Arizona Charlie," co-founded the first Payson Rodeo (it has since billed itself as oldest and longest continuously running rodeo), then went on to a celebrated career in Wild West shows, including Buffalo Bill's, with a stop in Dawson, Alaska where he ran a celebrated theatre. Afterwards he became a rancher and the newspaper publisher of The Scorpion in Yuma, Arizona where he attacked everyone with his pseudonym, I. Sting. He predicted he would die in a snow storm in Yuma, and on December 9, 1932, he did! It had been fifty years since it last snowed in one of the hottest spots in Arizona.

Well, hot damn!

Arizona Charlie Meadows

  I think this is a quote by him.

"I came in on a snowstorm and I'm going out in a snowstorm."

—Charlie Meadows, predicting the weather on his death bed and he was correct!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Horsemen Passes By Horsewomen?

 April 15, 2021

   Man, oh, man, where do conundrum terms go to die? Can a woman be a fly fisherman? Can a woman be a horseman? Can a man be a total pussy?

   Yes, to all of the above.

Daily Whip Out: "Dixxy Diamond In Sepia"

   Is Dixxy Diamond a cowgirl or a horseman? Well, if Juni Fisher has any say in the matter—and she certainly does—Dixxy will be a Horseman. Not a horsewoman, not a horseperson, but a Horseman, with a capital H. Oh, boy.

   Where's the grammar police when you actually need them?

   Here's how Juni puts it: "Remember when Anne Hathaway got after someone for introducing her as an actress? 'I am an actor.' And some made fun of her. But I totally got what she was saying. She did not want to be called 'okay for a girl' ;)"

"Finding the right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug."

—Mark Twain