Monday, August 30, 2021

Coach Les Byram Was a Great Coach And A Fine Kingmanite

 August 30, 2021

   When I was in the fifth grade at Palo Christie Elementary School in Kingman, Arizona, a young coach came to our school in the early morning, before classes, and began running basketball drills with us in our small gymnasium. Thanks to him we started having games in the sixth grade and by the seventh and eighth grade we were winning tournaments.

Coach Les Byram and the 1960

Kingman Junior High Basketball Team

  We were seasoned and ready when eighth grade came around. Les also coached our baseball team in eighth grade and we loved the guy and would do anything for him.

  Well, we lost our first basketball game, on the road, at Poston, and on the long ride home, he told us there's more to learn from losing than there is from winning. We won every single game from then on out, including two tournaments. The next year, he extended the winning streak and not only did the Kingman Junior High team beat everyone in northern Arizona, but Coach Byram, called schools in the Valley of the Sun, drove the boys down there and beat them as well. Les engineered the longest, extended winning streak in school history.

The 1961 Championship Team

   That's me (#13) standing next to my best friend Charlie Waters (#9) and that's Dan Harshberger, back row, second from left. We went 16-1, beating both Parker and Poston in the Blythe, California tournament and Philbert Watahomogie (#4) got most valuable player. We also won the Kingman Invitational beating Bagdad, Blythe and Parker Dam for the championship.

   A handwritten note on the back says, "Cheerleaders were, Jan Key, June Smith, Karen Johnson and Michele Gilpin." In high school I dated three of them and one of them hates my guts to this day.

   Whenever I had an event in Kingman, Les would show up to support me. What a great guy.

Mickey Campa, Dan Harshberger,
Coach Les Byram and BBB
at the Kingman Powerhouse Museum
for a "66 Kid" booksigning,
 March 31, 2017

Lester Wade Byram, a longtime Kingman resident and former Mayor, passed away at age 92 on August 19, 2021, at home in the company of family following a brief illness.


Lester was born and grew up in Melbourne, Arkansas, where he played college basketball at Arkansas Tech. He received a graduate degree in Education from Arizona State University and undertook doctoral studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson. In 1957, Lester moved to Kingman, where he taught junior high school and coached champion basketball teams. Lester Byram went on to serve as the principal of Manzanita Elementary School and Kingman Junior High School.  


From the time he moved to Kingman, Lester was actively involved in the community. He served on the Kingman Regional Hospital Board for many years during the time the KRMC campus was constructed.  Lester was a Councilmember as well as Kingman’s longest-serving Mayor. Les was involved with many community service organizations for many decades including Rotary, Elks, and Toastmasters. He enjoyed playing basketball and softball competitively for many years in local Kingman Leagues. He was the Grand Marshal for the Andy Devine Parade.  Les attended Saint Johns United Methodist Church.

Les and Lyndal Byram on their wedding day.


Lester is survived by his wife Lyndal; three sons John, Kevin, and Robert; daughter-in-law, Simran and, grandson, Neil.

"Grandma was slow, but she was old."

—Coach Les Byram, telling us, with a grin, to get the lead out of our pants


Sunday, August 29, 2021

Pioneer Girls In The Wind vs. Wyatt Earp's Dust In The Wind

 August 29, 2021

   Still rammin' and jammin' on my checkerboard Untamed Women of the Wild West cover concept. Here's one young girl I got from a photograph:

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Pioneer Girl In The Wind"

   And, here she is in context.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Outs:
"Checkerboard Untamed Women
of the Wild West, #5"

   Now, notice the directon that is starting to happen at bottom, right, where the angle of the lines in one frame bleeds north into the angle of the kitchen table in the Pioneer Woman stirring the pot? What if more of these individual scenes had unifying direction lines going on, perhap, like this:

Daily Whip Outs; 

"Directional Checkerboard Synergy"

   Meanwhile, out on the north forty. . .

Slinky Coyote?

   This is actually a rare Router Cord Killer Wizenheimeer slinking past our pump house. Here's a close up of him swimming in our pool and laughing at the cord he chewed up.

The Cord Laugher

The Wake Up Call

   Here's a stone cold wake up call. I have long looked at this photograph of Wyatt Earp with some sympathy because I always saw him as an over-the-hill guy,  his life waning away and he can't get his story told, and time is running out.

Wyatt Earp, age 74

   Oh, boy. He is the same age as I am now. He really doesn't seem that old to me now. Just a kid, really.

"I am older than my old man now. I guess that means I kicked his ass. [Or] just that you have survived? Nobody is sure exactly why. Everybody has to die." 

—Loudon Wainwright III, "Older Than My Old Man Now"

Saturday, August 28, 2021

"There's No Money In It."

 August 28, 2021

   In the annals of famous last words, Billy the Kid's retort to a reporter in Santa Fe is right up there in the ironic stratosphere.

We were wrong about this one, too.

   The tintype ultimately went for $2.3 million, and it sold to Bill Koch. Did Koch buy the gun as well?

Gun That Killed The Kid Goes for Twice The Estimate

"There's no money in it."

—Billy the Kid, responding to the supposition that he is becoming as popular as Buffalo Bill, 1880

Friday, August 27, 2021

Quads of Frontier Broads & Chica de Brava at La Roca

 August 27, 2021

   Still rounding up a variety of Untamed Women of The Wild West for our next book. Whipped these out today.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Outs:
"A Quad of Frontier Broads"

   I must say, I have primo images to poach from, like these two mujeres from Opodepe, Mexico in the 1920s.
"Opodepe Mas Mujeres"

"Constantine de Opodepe"

Not to mention this wild mamacita, I captured in a cave near Nogales, Sonora.

Chica Brava de La Roca

I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

"The greatest sin is mediocrity."
—Anthony Bourdain

A Rolling Stone Who Was Married to The Same Woman for Fifty Years!

 August 26, 2021

   Hard to find a drummer who lived so clean and played even cleaner. And, to boot, in all that time he was in arguably the world's most decadent and dark band. That would be this guy.

Charlie And The Original Bad Boys of Rock

   This is a cartoon I did at New Times, lampooning the Stones who were forced to change the lyrics to one of their signature songs on the Ed Sullivan Show back in the mid-sixties.

Charlie Watts (1941-2021)
(photograph by Albert Watson,
New York City, 1989)

   A beacon of joy and light he was. Here's a headline I have never seen but it's indicative of who Charlie Watts was:

Rolling Stone Married to Same Woman for Fifty Years!

   That has to be some sort of record. Of course, I was smitten with the Stones and first saw them on their notorious 1972 tour at the Phoenix Coliseum, and which I tried to capture in that year's first magazomic.

The Doper Roper Burns The Stones

   Not a bad likeness of Charlie and the boys. As for his playing style, I don't think anyone has topped his drop kick intro to "Honkytonk Women." And I have played it often and with much relish sending him good thoughts every single time. So simple and so direct. Among the drummer tribe, he was known for playing behind the beat because of Keith Richards' tendency to dominate and lead the rhythm section (in most bands it's the other way around). Charlie also had what is called an "idiosyncratic high-hat" technique which consisted of him removing his stick from hitting his high-hat cymbals on the upbeat in order to deliver a cleaner shot at the snare. This has always struck me as ridiculous, but, then there was only one Charlie Watts and you can't argue with the results. Thanks for the licks Charlie. You made the ride way more fun.

"I'm not a paradiddle man. I play songs. It's not technical, it's emotional. One of the hardest things of all is to get that feeling across."

—Charlie Watts

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Money for Nothing, Part II

 August 25, 2021

   My daughter Deena saw the Facebook commentary where the guy claimed he had an uncle who went to school with me and that I actually hated cowboys and was only doing the artwork in True West magazine "for the money." Which prompted this question from my daughter: "Dad—what do you do when you see Crap like this? Besides forward it to us for our amusement of course. Do you respond to these crazies? Or 'Bozos' as we like to call them?"

New Year's Eve, 1964

The Exits

Girl's Gym, Mohave County Union High School

The Exits with me on drums, and yes, that is Richard Glancy goosing Grover Thomas, bottom picture. We played for half the door and made $208. I'm proud to say, we outgrossed the Rolling Stones because I read they didn't make a dime in 1964 because of road expenses. We lived at home too, so, naturally we all went to Central Commercial and bought new gas-powered turtleneck sweaters.

Money For Nothing, Part II

   The only thing I can realistically do in terms of the Facebook comment is try to understand where this came from. I can't tell him off, or set the record straight, because then I look like a thin-skinned, overly sensitive artist, which, of course, I am. My hunch is his "uncle" is someone I went to high school with in Kingman and he remembers me being in the Exits with "long hair" (a modest Beatles cut, see above) and just assumed I was anti-cowboy, and, to be honest, from about 1964 to 1974 being a cowboy was about the last thing any rock 'n' roll drummer would  admit to admiring, much less emulate in paintings and artwork. So, in that regard he is maybe about half right. However, me doing it for the money is still totally hilarious.

"I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too."

—Steve Martin

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Fast And Hilarious Plus Olive In Eyelight

 August 24, 2021

Here's an artist's conception, in the 1930s, trying to imagine what picture phones would look like in the future.

Imagine an art director telling him, "No, that's too ornate. Just make them holding little, flat, rectangles. Nothing fancy, just a metal boxy, looking thing." Also, note the phone pack transmitter at her waist. This actually was true in the 1980s. When I was on KSLX (100.7 FM) and we wanted to go out in the field to broadcast bits on our morning show, I carried a big ol' power pack phone with a shoulder strap. Hard to believe now, but the Thirties Artist was just doing his best with what his imagination would tell him about what the future would look like and we have a tendency to miss it every time.

  Truth be known, we are enjoying a Saturday afternoon filmfest, next door at our neighbors. We have made a vow to watch all the Fast & Furious films, one each Saturday. So, of course, we started with F9, then went to what we thought was the first one, but is actually #5? So I Googled the actual correct sequence which took us to the very first one (2001) and I have to say, it is my favorite, so far. Just zany and dramatic with super cool stunts. The only downside is that, as Bob Hoss commented, they drive too many "rental cars." i.e. Japanese imports. Tiny and squirrely looking, at best. As the series goes on they seem to lean on the classic muscle cars (I'm referencing F9 here) because they are so cool, but then you have big chase scenes in, say, Budapest, and a '77 Dodge Charger comes sliding around the corner and it is, well, hilarious. Check it out. It's a total laugh fest. And I mean that in a good way.

Daily Whip Out: "Olive In Eyelight"

File This Next One Under: Money for Nothing And One of My Chicks Is Free

   Our digital director, Mariah, sent me this True West Facebook comment on someone who claims to know my true motives:

   The moral here is, if you live long enough, everything you stand for will be turned upside down.

"You promised me a ten-second car."

—Dom (Vin Diesel)

Monday, August 23, 2021

Looking Back at The Art of Vincent van Gunfighter

 August 23, 2021

   Sometimes I forget just how good I can be.

Daily Whip Out: "Marty Robbins Draws"

“If you count all the shots he missed,

the humanity he embraced,

then Vincent is the greatest gunfighter

who ever lived.”

Vincent Van Gunfighter

   It's the motion, the movement! I forgot I even did this. What the hell? Where did I lose my way? Or, is it just old age?

  • “Bitterness is anger that forgot where it came from.”
  • —Old Vaquero Saying

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Anthony Bourdain: Success Kills


August 22, 2021

   Still on the hunt for Untamed Women.

            Daily Whip Out: "Pioneer Woman"
  And speaking of pioneers, check out "Roadrunner: The Anthony Bourdain Story" on Amazon Prime. If you are a fan, like I am, you have to see this to make some sense of why he chose to leave us. Here's a great example of his way with words. When Tony first went to Japan in December of 2000 (his first trip abroad as a TV travel host), he sent this email back to a friend in New York:

"The jet lag wouldn't let me sleep, so I crashed late and rose early, plunging blindly down dark streets at all hours. The streets were unbelievably dense with pedestrians, people hanging around, flashing neon, flapping banners, more screaming signs. Pimpy-looking young men in suits and patent leather shoes surrounded by dye-blonde Asian women in thigh-high boots and micro-mini skirts. No one, and I mean no one, would meet my eye with a direct gaze. I was the quiet American, the ugly American, the hungry ghost, searching and searching for whatever came next."
—Anthony Bourdain

   This is in an email! That's what made him so damn cool. These stories, fully formed, just oozed out of him. Here's another introspective broadside after a hellish episode in Beirut during an impromtu war zone experience: "In the few years since I started to travel the world, I'd found myself changing. I'd begun to believe that the dinner table was the great leveler. Now I'm not so sure. Maybe the world's not like that at all. Maybe in the real world, the one without cameras and happy food and travel shows, everybody, the good and the bad together, are all crushed under the same terrible wheel. I hope—I really hope—I'm wrong about that."

   In the doc, which I've watched twice now, one of Bourdain's comments rings heavy on the ears of the survivors, that would be us: "When my 15 minutes of fame is over I will be perfectly comfortable with that. If not relieved." He also maintains several times that all he ever wanted was to be normal, but if you're paying attention (I caught this on the second viewing) neither comment is really true. He had his chances and his success at being on the road haunts the entire doc. "I'm looking for extremes of emotion. . ." he proclaims, adding, "I've got nothing to lose."

    Well, in the end, yes he did.

   As one of his producers, Chris Collins, puts it: "That ambiguity, that's what he embraced. Fucking, open-endedness is where the answers are."

   One sad conclusion, at least to me, is that the mega-success of his endeavers killed him. His greatest strength turned out to be his greatest weakness. He traded one addiction for another and when he returned to one of the first ones (there were rumors he was "using" again when he took his life) he found himself at the end of his rope. Literally. 
   When the doc was over, Kathy looked at me on the couch and said, "If you were 10% more successful, we probably wouldn't still be married. " While I would argue with her percentage projection, I think her point is well taken. Too much success breeds too much temptation. Or, as a certain former secretary of state puts it:

"All success does is give you a ticket to a bigger problem."
—Henry Kissinger

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Victorian Beauties In The Wild West

 August 21, 2021

    Spent most of yesterday searching out Victorian Beauties In The Wild West to paint, draw and scratch. Wasn't too hard to find a few to review.

Daily Whip Out: "Victorian Tulip Girl"

   This is for my checkerboard collage concept which I am developing for our book series on Untamed Women of the Wild West. I plan on doing a hundred or so, in varying styles, like this.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Victorian Beauty"

    And also, like this.

Daily Whip Out: "Victorian Asian Beauty"

   And, then, dipping into my archives, I ran across these Victorian Cowgirls:

Daily Whip Out: "Wild Woman Rider"

   Or this:

Daily Whip Out: "Wild Woman Rider II"

And this sweet little vixen.

Daily Whip Out: "Elena"

   Not to mention this little leap of imagination:

Daily Whip Out: "Zulu Vaquero"

   They all will end up in a series of checkerboard collages and also in Volume I of the book Jana and I are working on.

“You can't break a woman like that. She carries an esoteric mind with an oracle soul, she's fiercely connected to spirit whilst dancing the human dance.”

― Nikki Rowe

Friday, August 20, 2021

Old Coots Like Me, Who Never Grow Up

August 20, 2021

    I don't know about you, but I have been accused of never growing up. Here are some quotes to prove that point beyond a shadow of a doubt.

 "I can tell if people are judgmental just by looking at them."

—Old Conundrum Saying

Daily Whip Out: "Old Coot Still Immature"

"My old man is another child who's grown old."
—John Prine, writing as an old woman named after her mother, in "Angel From Montgomery"

"For men, the first 50 years of childhood are the hardest."

—Old Wive's Tale

"I can't believe I forgot to go to the gym today. That's seven years in a row now."

—Old Procrastination Nation Saying

   Yes, instead of the gym I went for a walk with Uno at about six this morning and ran into this ridiculous view.

Big Sky Morning Over Ratcliff Ridge

"Nothing kills a story quicker than the truth."
—Old Vaquero Saying

"Almost every story is some kind of lie, except this time."
—Orson Welles, trying to sell his spotty opus, "The Other Side of The Wind"

Disgusted Victorian Cat
(proof that the theme of cat videos
has been with us for a very long time.)

"Old myths, old gods, old heroes have never died. They are only sleeping at the bottom of our mind, waiting for our call. We have a need for them. They represent the wisdom of our race."
—Stanley Kunitz

Daily Scratchboard Whip Outs Collage:
"Untamed Women of The Wild West"

"I have never made but one prayer to God. A very short one: 'Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it."

"The historian will tell you what happened. The novelist will tell you how it felt."
—E. L. Doctorow

"It's a little embarrassing that after 45 years of research and study, the best advice I can give people is to be a little kinder to each other."
—Aldous Huxley

"If you can talk about it, why paint it?"
—Francis Bacon

"You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from."
—Cormac McCarthy

"Grandpa, tell us about the days when you had to buy the whole album even if you only wanted one song."
—Dave Sipress

"It's easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled."
—Mark Twain

"Originality is nothing more than connecting familiar elements in unfamiliar ways."
—James Scott Bell

"Captain Jack [Crawford] told the account three different times that night, which to Charlie [Utter] was unforgivable for a man drinking milk."
—Pete Dexter, "Deadwood"

"Funny guys are dangerous. They make you laugh and laugh, and laugh and laugh. Then, Boom! you're naked."
—Old Vaquero Saying

"You're on earth. There's no cure for that."
—Samuel Beckett

Daily Whip Out: "Samuel Beckett"

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

"The reason it's so difficult to find men who are sensitive, caring and good looking is because they already have boyfriends."
—Old Maid's Lament

"Life could be really hard on the early pioneers, but every now and then someone would pull out a fiddle and a banjo and make it worse."
—Old Show Low Saying

"Early ZZ Top"

"She wasn't doing a thing that I could see, except standing there, leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together."
—J. D. Salinger

Jane Seymour Holding
The Universe Together by A String

"An intellectual is a man who says a simple thing in a difficult way; an artist is a man who says a difficult thing in a simple way."
—Charles Bukowski

"There's nothing worse than an idiot with a valid point."
—Old Smart Ass Saying

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Miss Defiant"

"The arc of history bends towards delusion."
—Stephen Kotkin

"What did our parents do to kill boredom before the internet? I asked my ten brothers and sisters and they didn't know either."
—Old Depression Era Story

Mama had her hands full

   My grandfather was the oldest of 11, my grandmother, the oldest of six, and I was an only child. Not sure who had it better, but I must say I did miss not having siblings.

"Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man."
—The Big Lebowski

Thursday, August 19, 2021

12,000 Cubic Feet Per Second, A Flying Pegasus & Facebook Live: "Was Wyatt Earp A Hero?"

 Agust 19, 2021

   A big storm rolled through yesterday afternoon, knocking out our internet which almost kaboshed our Facebook Live broadcast at five. Finally came back on about fifteen minutes before showtime. My talk on "Was Wyatt Earp A Hero?" came off without a hitch and afterwards I caught this flying pegasus over the Seven Sisters. Whew! And Wow!

A Flying Pegasus Over The Seven Sisters

   After it quit raining, we took a stroll down to the creek to see what was shaking.

Uno Checks Out The Massive Run Off

   According to my neighbor, Tom Augherton, Cave Creek was ripping at 12,000 CFS (cubic feet per second). It was quite loud and with big boulders crashing and crushing and being carried downstream, it sounded like thunder. All in all it was a sight to see and experience.

flooding video from the Cave Creek Library

   Our internet came back on about fifteen minutes before showtime and here is that presentation:

Facebook Live: "Was Wyatt Earp A Hero?"

   Gad to be here, still.

"One man was flawless but he was the walrus. . ."

—Old Beatles Tune

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

A Wiggling Watchdog And the "New" Unblocked Hat Styles

 August 18, 2021

   Don't be sneaking around The Triple B Bunkhouse because we've installed a vicious watchdog.

Uno Guards The Triple B Bunkhouse

Okay, Uno is not vicious, nor is he much of a watchdog, but he just might wiggle you to death with his unbridled enthusiasm. I mean it. Beware.

  Have you noticed that some of the younger, hipster cowgirls are wearing unblocked crowns with zero brim curl? It appears to be a trend.

Daily Whip Out:

"Unblocked Hipster Cowgirls

Wearing Hats Right Off The Rack"

Well, this style isn't new to these groovy cats.

Navajo Stylin' With The Unblocked Crown

Circa 1930s

  Buckeye Blake sent me this Navajo shot from the same era and asked if the kid in the foreground was me?

Crazy Anglo Kid Hangin' With the Navajos

   I wish. I wish. Too cool for school.

"The more things change, the more they remain the same."

—Old Vaquero Saying