Monday, October 31, 2022

Get Ready to Rock The Granite Dells!

 October 31, 2022

   Our big weekend is coming up at the Phippen Art Museum just north of Prescott. This Saturday, November 5, Jana and I are speaking at the museum at 1 PM about our adventures co-writing the Hellraisers book and the dark secret Olive Oatman took to her grave.

Plus, we will be talking about this feisty woman as well.

   And also this hometown girl. . .

     And a couple hundred more (if we have time). You don't want to miss this! It's open to the public and we will be signing our book, so come see us and enjoy a very lively discussion.

"Don't strive to be well known. Strive to be worth knowing."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Get Ready for the Bozecard Roadside Rack & Grandpa Ha Ha's Road Rules

 October 30, 2022

   Here's the prototype for a new product: The Bozecard Roadside Rack, full of beans and all the Old West characters you and I love, writ large.

A Bozecard Roadside Attraction

   I'm aiming it at the Phippen Art Museum opening next Friday. So look for it in the gift shop.

   From Dust to Dust is a pretty accurate epitaph for my tombstone, since I am so enamored of impressionistic dust in Westerns and Western scenes, like this:

Daily Whip Out Revisited:
"Mexico Reaps The Whirlwind"

   We're planning a big road trip next April with the Bortscheller grandkids. Deena mentioned her kids are the perfect age to travel because they are not yet teenagers. True-true-true-true-so true! So, I thought it was time to lay down grandpa's Road Trip Rules.

The Ten Grandpa Ha Ha Road Trip Rules

Road Rule #1: Take plenty of goofball photos posed especially goofy so that when they grow up they can show these photos to their kids.

Road Rule #2: If possible do not come back on the same road that you left on. It's more fun to see new country.

Road Rule #3: at least once on the trip take an unknown side road and see where it goes.

Road Rule #4: Always stop at hysterical markers, I mean historical markers. We want to find out what happened there and learn something!

Road Rule #5: No chains like McDonald's or Wendy's. We want to support the local business whenever possible and also to try the local dishes.

Road Rule #6: Uno picks the pee stops. I mean it— every single one. If you don't like it, take it up with Unocito!
"No, really, I can hold it another ten miles"

Road Rule #7: When we drive by a ranch or an isolated farm house, imagine what it would be like to live there. Where would you go to school? What would it be like to have Hillbilly parents?

Road Rule #8: Avoid freeways whenever possible and take the back roads. It's more fun.

Road Rule #9: Have at least one picnic. Buy food and take it to a lake, or a scenic vista. The food will taste better there.

Road Rule #10: Save your whining for the whining window. That's where we roll down the window closest to you and you whine and whine with your head out the window. Be sure to save up your whines, because we wouldn't want to miss any!

"Okay, buckle up and let's roll!"
—Grandpa Ha ha

Saturday, October 29, 2022

When Neighborhood Dogs Meet And Road Kids Hit The Road

 October 29, 2022

   On our morning walk yesterday, Uno wanted so bad to go after a coyote. Fortunately he was on a leash and I kept him at bay. Later—off the leash—he encountered this.

Friend or foe?

   Actually, it's Bev's dog Fluffy from up the road. And they do this dance every single time they meet.

Okay, let's touch noses first. . .

   Then, they do that attractive smelling of the rear deal about seven times. It must be some dog protocol thing.

   Speaking of road rituals. . .

Grandpa Ha Ha's Road Rituals

   We are taking our grandkids on a road trip next spring and the first thing I do is to remind everyone where we've been.

Our Road Kids on the way to
Billy the Kid's grave, summer of 1984

   And. . .

Thomas Charles at the fort named for him, December 18, 1992, 6:05 PM

   Yes, I like to remind everyone of the history of road trips in our family.

   One of the extra benefits of road trips is finding good postcards that capture the flavor of the locale you are going to visit.

A Roadside Bozecard

   And, then this one:

Another Roadside Bozecard

   There's many more rules, but we'll cover those tomorrow.

"Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason."

—Jerry Seinfeld

Friday, October 28, 2022

Muy Muy Mexicano: He's In The Jailhouse Now

 October 28, 2022

   Took this last night of Uno outside the Jailhouse. Actually with that hang dog look Uno looks like he is IN the jailhouse, which is actually our pumphouse but we built it to look like an old jail.

Uno's In The Jailhouse Now

   The stone driveway was inspired by our 2003 trip to Spain when Thomas Charles was on a student exchange program in Valencia and we took a car trip and landed in the hanging village of Cuenca, and the entire town was paved with stones like this and I took that inspiration with me back to Cave Creek. Every day I would go for a walk down in the creek bottom and bring back flat stones and we built this driveway a la Cuenca, as I like to put it.

Muy Muy Mexicano

Daily Whip Out:

"Carlos Maraca Dressed to The Nueves"

   Do you know how insane someone would sound if they time traveled from the present, back to the past, to report on what is going on in our world?

Here is what I have to report:

   Your grandkids will sport disparate, jumbo tattoos all over their arms and legs, and the more different and weird the designs are, the more they will like it.

   Your phone will kill the flashlight business and the Yellow Pages and the phone book itself. Oh, and your phone will kill the map store, the wall calendar and many radio stations, oh, and the CD, and the need for a wallet or a newspaper. Not to mention your attention span.

"The problem with Hollywood is, they've all read the book, they've been to these lectures. They know how to tell a story, but they don't have anything to say."

—Robert McKee, best selling author on story, character and script development

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Is It Just Me, Or, Is That Bob Dylan's Head?

 October 27, 2022

   Went over to my neighbor's house last night for wine, snacks and a life solving session. While Bob Hoss and I we were talking about the future of everything I happened to look out his living room window and spied a very unuusal sunset shaping up over the Seven Sisters. So, we both went outside and I snapped this photo.

Hoss House Sunset

   Call me a brain-addled-old Hippie, but is that the face of someone we all know in that cloud shape?

Daily Whip Out:

"Bob Dylan's Head In The Clouds"

   Okay, some visually challenged persons in my family don't see it. Here's a drawing to give you a clue:

Daily Whip Out:

"Dylan's Head In Clouds Cheat Sheet"   

Now do you see it? I'm glad we got that straightened out.

"You just kindah wasted my precious time, but don't think twice, it's alright."

—Bob Dylan

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

To quote A Girl

 October 26, 2022

   Yes, it's that day. Enough said, for this year.

   Meanwhile, had a big pow wow with the folks at the Phippen this morning about the premiere of the book and the cascading collage.

Section Five of The Cascading Collage

   And here are the rest of the quotes you will see on the walls at that fateful date in early November.

"I shot him because I love him. Damn him!"

—Jennie Rogers

"Welcome to Harvey House. Wanna get married?"
—Harvey House Mamacita

"I'm a bulldog running along the feet of Jesus, barking at what he doesn't like."
—Carrie Nation

"I ain't afraid to love a man. I ain't afraid to shoot him either."
—Annie Oakley

"Who wants a wife with $15,000 and the biggest leg in Mexico."
—The Great Western (Sarah Bowman)

"Leave me alone and let me go to hell by my own route."
—Calamity Jane

"I do not wish women to have power over men: but over themselves."
—Mary Wollstonecraft

Monday, October 24, 2022

Headwork for Hat-Check Gals And Scarves for Cowboys

 October 24, 2022

   In the late fifties it was wall to wall Westerns on TV and, according to the below featurette, this created "headwork" for the hat-check girl. Check it out.

   A note attached says this is from 1957. I could name maybe three, but frankly, they're all hard to see from this angle. The Wyatt Earp hat (#7) looks like a pie tin (or a black hole in the wall). Probably the most recognizeable lid is No. 10 James Arness "Gunsmoke" because you can actually see the crease and brim.

   A good friend sent me this. I just can't remember which one.

Uno Last Seen With Balls

   Yes, he lost some humping tendencies, but all in all, he is much more even tempered.

Cowboy Gear Question

    In most photos of the old style vaqueros they don't often wear scarves. Por que?

Old School Vaqueros

   Meanwhile, the Texan cowboys in old photos wear scarves and the Mexican vaqueros do not. What the hell is the deal there?

Seems like it would be the other way around? If anybody had a scarf tendency, it would seem those flamboyant vaquaros would be sporting them. But no. Just the uptight anglos? Ha.

   Meanwhile, closer to home.

The Kid Remains

The ride and the office are gone

"Everything you say should be true, but not everything true should be said."


Sunday, October 23, 2022

The Blue Line Beginnings of The Cascading Collage

 October 23, 2022

   It started in a barn with blue lines (and white socks).

The Blue Line Beginning of

The Cascading Collage

       Followed by a flurry of sketches. . .

  And, then Mark McDowell and Brent Bond, of Cattletrack Arts Compound, created five big sections of board to fit within that blue line and we went through some gyrations until we ended up here.

   And, then here. . .

 Section Five of the Cascading Collage

And here is a short film on the process from Ken Amorosano.

The Making of The Cascading Collage

   This crazy and ambitious project will premiere on November 4, at the Phippen Art Museum outside Prescott, Arizona.

   Be there, or be square.

"Never mind the mule bein' blind—jes load the wagon."
—Glendon Swarthout, "Cadillac Cowboys"

"Tinker's Team" by Harold Septimus Powers

Saturday, October 22, 2022

A Kingman Kaboy In Van Gogh Country

 October 22, 2022

   Thanks to my third-grade-school-mate, Bill Blake, I got to witness one of the last, oldtime dances at the Wikieup School House on the Big Sandy. It was the summer of 1957 and the queen of the dance was a young cowgirl named Roxie Stephens.

Roxie as I remember her

   As an impressionable ten-year-old, there were oodles of cakes and a couple fiddles—no drums—and no drinking allowed in the schoolhouse. But, many, if not all, the cowboys went outside for a nip and sure enough there was a fight between two young cowboys between two pickups and I got to witness the KO punch.

   Okay, that photo above, is actually of Angie Dickinson, back in the day, but in my memory, that's how Roxie looked.

   Whenever I see old photos of cowboys I am always taken back to those wonderful memories of the Big Sandy and the strapping vision those young bucks cut.

   These great looking guys with the double-gun-belts are not Big Sandy Cowboys but I say, close enough for government work. A favorite line, by the way, of a Big Sandy cowboy I worked with at the Highway Department.

The Kaboys of Mohave County

   In my memory, this is how they looked, as rough as they come.

   Of course, when I was growing up, Mohave County wasn't just full of cantankorous cowboys.

The Raunchy And Legendary Candy Barr

   She wasn't from Mojave County either but she sure looks the part. Anyway, that could all be bad memory because, as I grew older, I wandered away from the Big Sandy and the cowpokes and the rangy, scallywags who made it wild, only to find other wild ones in other wild parts of the world.

Kingman Kaboy in van Gogh Homeboy Bar
Auvers-Sur-Oise, France, 2015

   Somehow, in my mind they are all connected. And, bottom line, to this day, I have vivid and fond memories of the harshest and most beautiful desert in the world.

Daily Whip Out: "Memories of The Mojave"

"Our memory is a more perfect world than the universe. It gives back life to those who no longer exist."
—Guy de Maupassant, some piss-ant from France

Friday, October 21, 2022

The Cascading Collage Is In The Can!

 October 21, 2022

   Yesterday, Uno and I drove down to Cattletrack to put the finishing touches on the Cascading Collage. The Collage Boys, Brent and Mark, set up a painting station outdoors with two sections at a time propped up at a 45 degree angle, as I requested. When I finally got there and saw the task before me, I kind of had to agree with Uno.

"Don't mess it up, Dude."

   There were tours going thru the compound and a film crew was also working on the property, so I didn't feel comfortable leaving Uno loose, so I worked with my left hand and held onto his leash with my right.

   An hour and a half later, we were finished and we posed for this formal shot.

The Cascading Collage Is Finished!

   The Phippen Art Musem Show and this collage will premiere on November 4th at 5:30 P.M. and you need to RSVP at if you want to avoid a $20 cover charge.

   And, if you'd like to get a preview of the art in the show, here are all 66 pieces:

The Hellraisers & Trailblazers Art Show

   I'll see you there! It may be a total disaster but I firmly believe in what Joseph has to say:

"Any disaster you can survive is an improvment in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! this is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow."

—Joseph Campbell

Thursday, October 20, 2022

The Cave 500 Years Ago And Today

 October 20, 2022

   Good morning from the cave that Cave Creek is named for. 

   This is exactly how this scene would have looked 500 years ago, except for two details: the sign in the cave (look close and you will see a small white rectangle, lower center) and the iPhone 11 clarity. Other than that, you are there.

Daily Whip Out: "Free Barrels On"

   The irony is that if you went back 150 years, the Apaches who lived in that cave probably knew Mickey Free.  

   Another irony is my phone killed the phone book.

"Society is like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top."

—Ed Abbey

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Our Favorite Old West Photographs, Part I

 October 19, 2022

   This coming January we, at True West magazine, will celebrate our 70th anniversary of continuous publishing. We are asking our writers, contributing editors and our readers to tell us about their favorite Old West photos. Here are a couple examples to get you going.

"For me it has to be the Civil War photo of George Armstrong Custer standing, almost in profile, his arms crossed across his chest, his face looking at you with all that long hair and mustache, and, he is what, 22 years old? The camera captures that feeling that no matter what happens, this kid is destined for Valhalla; and he made it!"
—Thom Ross

"The dead Daltons after their failed Coffeyville Raid (and there is that kid peering at the camera from the hole in the fence; this is NOT child abuse!  This is a fabulous photo of grim death being watched over by a child)."
—Thom Ross

Pearl Hart
Colorized by Gary Sheaf

   "I love the rifle-toting pic of Pearl Hart in the 'bandit' outfit she wore when she robbed the stage to Globe in 1889. She needed suspenders to hold up the pants; her boots were way too big, and if she hadn't cocked her dirty white hat, it would have covered her eyes. This is the 'tough' photo of her that captured the nation."
—Jana Bommersbach

   Believe it or not, one of our contributing editors has nominated a photo I took:

Shoutout at The O.K. Corral
Glenn Boyer And Ron Fischer
Confront Allen Barra, November 4, 2000

"In the True West Wyatt Earp issue (2001) there is the 'OKII Shoutout at Schieffelin Hall' article. There is an image of Ron Fischer standing over Allen Barra and I think this photo, perhaps above all others, demonstrates the huge shift in the field I saw from the Glenn Boyer years to the modern era."

—Erik J. Wright, contributing editor, Tombstone Epitaph

"Unlike Camilius Fly, I was ready and I took the photo."

—BBB, comparing the most famous gunfight in the history of the West to the nitpickers and footnoters who staged the second confrontation, which ironically was over the events at the first event