Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The Girl In The Flatbed Ford

 April 24, 2024

   Once and for all, who was the girl in the flatbed Ford? You know, the one who slowed down and took a look at the hitchhiker, Jackson Browne, in Winslow, Arizona back in the early seventies?

A 1970 Flatbed Ford

   Kathy taught at Moon Mountain Elementary School back in the seventies and one of her fellow teachers was from Winslow and claimed to be the girl in the flatbed Ford. In my mind, she fits the bill and I have always believed her story and when I hear the song I see her face and, it makes me smile. She was, and is, a cutie, who married a prominent judge.

A convincing, but unconfirmed
photo of the girl in the flatbed Ford

"300 people, or more, stop for photographs every day at the corner to take photographs with the statue of Jackson Browne. On holidays and weekends it's non-stop."

—Stephanie Lugo, a board member of the Standing On A Corner Foundation

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Class Dismissed & New Billys Framed

 April 23. 2024

   Spoke via Zoom yesterday to an Ann King class of Art & Visual Communcation kids at Mohave County Community College. Mostly Kingman kids with some from Bullhead and Havasu. Always enjoy talking to eager young artists.

   Meanwhile, got a couple more Billy paintings framed for the upcoming art show in Lincoln. Can you spot them?

New Billys Framed (plus a Lovely Linda)

   Great interview with Jerry Seinfeld in the Hollywood Reporter. He was talking about his new film "Unfrosted" which will be released on Netflix next month. He talks about how the experience was new to him. "I thought I had done some cool stuff, but it was nothing like the way these people work. They're so dead serious! They don't have any idea that the movie business is over. They have no idea."

   Jerry goes on to say, "film doesn't occupy the pinnacle in the social, cultural hierarchy that it did for most of our lives. When a movie came  out, if it was good, we all went to see it. We all discussed it. We quoted lines and scenes we liked. Now we're walking through a fire hose of water, just trying to see."
   Had lunch at the Grotto today with two of my favorite long time employees today. We laughed and laughed about the good times and the bad. 

The Grotto Crew:
Sheri Riley Jenson and Rebecca Edwards

   Sheri has been with me for 16 years and Rebecca for 12. When it comes to being a good manager, I agree with David.

"We assume we are being judged on our competence, but mostly we are judged on our warmth. Ethical leaders communicate a joyfulness in what they do and attract followers in part by showing pleasure." 

—David Brooks

Monday, April 22, 2024

Rumble City Mahem

 April 22, 2024

   Hey mama, look at me, I'm on the way to the promised land. . .

Rumble City Mahem

   Not to beat a dead horse, but that is my mama on the hood of that '56 Fairlane and I have Dan The Man to thank for swiping her off the hood of a '32 Dodge.

Bobbi Guess on the hood of
her dad's new Dodge Pickup
out at the Diamond Bar Ranch
in Mohave County, Arizona

   Of course, not everybody loves this stuff like I do and sometimes I get push back, even hate mail. But I take solace in knowing what that really means.

"It's good to know who hates you, and it's good to be hated by the right people."

—Johnny Cash

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Three Billys at The Back Door & J. R. R. Tolkein at The Front Door

 April 21, 2024

   As mentioned yesterday, we are in the planning stages of a Billy the Kid Art Show & Confab in Lincoln on July 12. I found out from the new owner of the Ellis Store, Amy, that because of severe termite damage they had to refurbish the room the Kid allegedly stayed in and she wanted to know if I might like some of the salvageable wood for an art frame?

Daily Reworked Whip Out:

"Billy at The Backdoor of The Ellis Store"

(I added a period vest and a smirk)

   Now imagine this piece framed with the floorboards that Bonney actually walked on. If you ask me, I think that is a couple steps beyond groovamente!

   Meanwhile, my favorite Aussie Bastard, James B. Mills, who is as much of a period snob as I am, weighs in, saying, "I'd go with the painted visage [below]. It has some shadowy enigma about it, which is appropriate for Bonney." Or, as one BtK tintype expert phrased it, it looks like  "enraged mud turtles crawling on a ferrotype wash." Or, something like that.

Daily Reworked Whip Out:

"The Shadowy Enigma of Billy

at The Backdoor of The Ellis Store"

   Meanwhile, my grandson Weston prefers this one:

Daily Reworked Whip Out:

"Billy In An Above Ground Swimming Pool

at The Backdoor of the Ellis Store"

   Yes, my Canon printer ran out of ink in the middle of the run and, well, that's what it looks like: Billy the Kid up to his waist in an above ground swimming pool, at the back door of the Ellis Store.

Every hat I love is in this picture.

Mexican Revolution Soldados, circa 1915

   I especially dig the guy, at lower left with the swept back surgarloaf and the spoiler backfin and black shirt. I want to see this guy move, in a film about the true story of Pedro Pasqual.

Daily Whip Out:
"Pedro Pasqual's Sugarloaf"

Daily Whip Out:
"Pedro Heads Out to Meet His Fate"

      And, I don't see this as some fruity allegory either. This will not be a story that reveals a hidden meaning. With this I am on the side of Tolkein.

". . .I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varired applicability to the thought and experience of readers."

—J.R.R. Tolkein in the foreword to "The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring"

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Pump House Blooms, Ellis Store Savior & Mickey Free Characters

 April 20, 2024

   This is a beautiful time of year on the Great Sonoran Desert. Here's the view looking north from my studio.

Pump House Blooms

   An Old West Savior has arrived in Lincoln, New Mexico and she has made it her mission to revive and restore the historic Ellis Store which had fallen into major decline. Thanks to our historian compadre, Lynda Sanchez, who lives in Lincoln, we are covering Amy's efforts in the next issue of True West.

Amy Gautheir on a work break
at the historic Ellis Store

   Me and the Boys are going to bring some of our Billy the Kid art to hang in the store when she has her grand reopening on July 12. If you read this blog you know who the Boys are. I'll have more details when we get closer to the date. 

   I went for a walk with Uno this morning and ran into these two:

Fluffy and Miss Aubry Piddybutting

   I asked how her mother is doing (Bev just had surgery) and she replied, "She's doing well, she's in the yard piddybutting." I had never heard that term before. If I didn't know better, I would assume it means she is headbutting an errant ram?

Heads Up Humor Alert

   My son Thomas Charles alerts me to humor I might have missed. I try to do the same back his way.

"I was hit by a bicycle. No, it was my fault. I was standing on the sidewalk. He was a food deliverer—a third responder. Heroes delivering heroes to heroes."

—Dave Attell, on his Netflix special, Hot Cross Buns

   You know who doesn't get the respect they deserve? These guys:

Daily Whip Out:

"Mickey Free On His Big, Bad Jack"

   Of course I am referring to Jack mules and half-breed captivos who definitely don't get the respect they deserve. Besides them, or, actually, in addition to them, everyone else in my story on Mickey Free's hunt for the Apache Kid is based on real, historic characters.

Daily Whip Outs:

"My Favorite Mickey Free Characters"

   And, as you may, or may not, know, one of these real life characters begat Mitt Romney.

"Just because you were conceived in the back seat of a Jeep doesn't make you Cherokee."
—Old In-din saying

Friday, April 19, 2024

Bandido Sneer And When Jugs Iced Free Saved Humanity!

 April 19, 2024

   Had some fun with this one.

Daily Whip Out: "Bandido Sneer" 

  It's that time of year.

Prickly Pear Solamente!

Bust Shots Busted

   If you thought, like I did, that the faces on Mount Rushmore were always planned with just their heads, check out the artist's preliminary concept.

The Original Concept for Mount Rushmore

(completely busted)

Random Teasers for The 66 Kids

   Don't look now, but your past is in the rearview mirror.


(objects in mirror are closer than they appear)

   When Jugs Iced Free Saved Humanity!

Meet one of the heroes
who iced those jugs.

Number One Ice Jugger With A Bullet


You think you're big enough to fill this, Kid?

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

—Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Black Cat Cowboy Who Lost His Leg But Won The Girl

   April 18, 2024

   It's rare when horror stories have a happy ending. This is one of them.

Danny and Mary Romero

The Black Cat Cowboy

   Danny Romero is a Kingman kid who lost his leg, but won the girl. He was helping load 800 head of cattle on the Sevens, a storied ranch northeast of Seligman, Arizona, when he banged his knee on this loading chute.

The Loading Chute From Hell

   "I woke up ten days later looking up at a doctor who told me the infection—necrotizing fasciitis—was crawling up my leg an inch an hour. They took my leg and I was there for five weeks. In fact, I turned 36 in ICU. I was born on Route 66 and damn near died on 66."

—Danny Romero

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Is It Too Early To Start On Volume III?

 April 17, 2024

   What is it about cheesy that sometimes can be so satisfying? Or put another way, some stuff can be so cheesy it's actually kind of endearing.

First Class Cheese? Or, So Bad It's Good?

   Sometimes cheesy is way too close to awful and sometimes classic literature is awful close to cheesy.

   Bottom line: get ready for some major cheese in The 66 Kids, Volume III.

   So, what exactly is cheesy? Basically cheesy is bad taste done so boldly it almost passes as good taste.

   Can you use "cheesy" in a sentence? Yes, a cheesy smile is wide but not sincere.

   Can you show me an example of a cheesy, goofball look? 


The Stifleman?

   Can you show me a photo of a certain granddaughter doing a cheesy pose?


Frances Mocks Up Some Major Cheese

Can you show me two cheeseballs who don't even mind if you call them that?

Marshall & Me Tee Hee Hee

"Two kids who have grown older but have never grown up."

—Some Critic With A Cheesy Sense of Humor

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

One Strange Hat: The Deep Dish Sombrero

 April 16, 2024

   Several years ago I ran across one of the strangest hat styles I have ever encountered in my many years of studying and collecting hats. 

A Bad Basket Gone Awry Sombrero?

   At first I thought it was a one-off, some weird byproduct of a basket weaver converting a wicker basket into a sombrero. But then, I started noticing more of these deep dish hats in photographs, like this one:

Deep Dish Sombrero Exhibit B

   And, then I began to spot more. . .

Deep Dish Sombrero Exhibit C

   And more. . .

Deep Dish Sombrero Exhibit D

(the dude in the doorway)

Deep Dish Sombrero Exhibit E

Deep Dish Sombrero Exhibit F

Deep Dish Sombrero?

Or a literal basket on the head of a vendor?


   So, what is this strange style of headgear called? Did it have a name? Was it prevalent in one region of Mexico? Did it have a function, besides shade? Who thought it was cool to wear? Why do we not see these styles in Westerns?

"I see by your outfit you enjoy being a basket head."

—Old Vaquero Saying

AI Beauty Pageant? AI-Yi-Yi!

 April 16, 2024

   The 66 Kids is in the can. It's been fun, but it is done.


   Get ready for the world's first AI beauty pageant, featuring AI-generated models competing for the title of Miss AI. Unlike conventional beauty contests, this competition evaluates participants not only on aesthetics but on the technical sophistication behind their creation and their social media influence.

Miss Cringy Congeniality

(sorry, too creepy even for me)

   Meanwhile, in analogue news:


"It is unrealistic to expect people to see you as you see yourself."


Monday, April 15, 2024

Another Dan-O-Rama Panorama Orgasma!

 April 15, 2024

   Last day on book. Clean up on aisle six. Plugging holes and fixing orphans. Everyone is a little buggy (we all worked straight thru the weekend) and it doesn't help that we are in our separate silos. We miss the board on the wall in the office and, unfortunately, the chain of emails and disparate texts is a big problem and a rabbit hole of confusion, to say the least.

   Still, I love the process and what is lost in the techno-swamp is still a huge high in terms of creative collaboration. Check out this spread that Dan The Man turned this morning. Could have been a throw away doubletruck, which got left until the end, but look at this cute little puppy!

Another Dan-O-Rama Panorama Orgasma!

   I tell you, that Kingman kid has a future in design. He also colorized both bottom images from badly faded photos. A treasure all by itself. Not to brag (too much) but here's another one, just for grins.

Link Wray Paved the Way

   And, here's a cartoon I have been putting off for a month or two. Finally had the time this morning to knock it out, to plug one of the last holes in the book.

Daily Whip Out:

"When Commie Surfers And Mucous Cowboys Meet!"

   Yes, this is an homage (or, a parody!) of the Charlie Russell painting, "When Sioux and Blackfeet Meet," but you probably knew that. This is my take on the Battle of Perfume Pass, where nothing actually happened, but it just wants to look like this and perhaps in the poster for the Netflix Special it will look like this.

"Everything is historic, nothing is true."

—Old Cynic Saying

Sunday, April 14, 2024

When Static Was The Only Sound On The Radio

 April 14, 2024

   With all of us connected 24/7 it's sometimes hard to remember that it wasn't all that long ago when there were sections of Arizona that were out of range.

When Static Was The Only Sound On The Radio

   After WWII, on long stretches of Route 66, radio and music were simply out of reach. When you were on the road you mostly got static and distant livestock reports and sometimes as you got closer to a town you might pick up a high-pitched hillbilly song and country fiddles going in and out. 

The Arizona Wranglers

   In the late fifties, things began to change and a distant rumble, like a coming storm, could be heard on the Mother Road.

Passing Lane Fever on old 66

Daily Whip Out: "Link Wray's 'Rumble'"

Not to overstate it, but Link changed everything.

Here's How Marshall Saw It

"Hell, I was just a kid working after school at Fred Fegley’s gas station during the glorious heydays of Route 66, filling the gas tanks of the tourists listening to them complain about the high price of gas (31.9) a gallon, never realizing I was an eyewitness to an important chapter in America’s rich history." 

—Marshall Trimble

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Funeral for A Friend, Logo Featuring My Mama

 April 13, 2024

   Today is the funeral for Fayrene Hume, the Angel of Ashfork, as Marshall Trimble calls her in our new book, "The 66 Kids." We have dedicated the book to her loving memory.

Fayrene with Marshall Trimble

On The Hood And In The Hood

   My mother came to Kingman in 1933, after her father went broke in the Great Depression (he bought his dream ranch in 1929). And, yes, that is her, above, on the hood of her dad's Dodge pickup at the Diamond Bar Ranch north of Kingman.

   My earliest memory is of being on the road in the back seat with my dad driving, somewhere west of Peach Springs, Arizona. Growing up, it seemed like we were always on the road, actually THAT road: Route 66. As I mentioned in the first volume of this series, every summer we made the trek back to the family farm in Iowa. And, not only were the memories vivid, some were life changing—when I bought a bogus Billy the Kid photo at the Longhorn Museum east of Albuquerque, New Mexico, you can draw almost a straight line from there to owning True West magazine, which is also where I met Marshall Trimble and we have worked together for the past 25 years. 

   About a year ago, Marshall and I compared notes and found out we had a lot in common growing up on 66 and we decided we should write a book about it! So, as you have no doubt discovered, we have.

   And, when that book is finally printed, we are going to do a live version of the show in Prescott at the Elks Theater on May 24. Here is Dan The Man's clever logo for that event:

Dan-O-Rama Panorama

   And, yes, that is my mama ridin' the hood of that Ford Fairlane! What goes around, comes around!

"We are like books. Most people only see our cover, the minority read only the introduction, many people believe the critics. Few will know our content."

—Emile Zola


Friday, April 12, 2024

Hitcher From Heaven, Boxlip Darrell Plus The History of The Arizona Historical Society

 April 12, 2024

   Here's a road trip fantasy for all the guys I grew up with.

Daily Whip Out: "Goin' My Way?"

   Yes, this is the ultimate road trip fantasy for almost every guy of a certain age. A long stretch of barren highway and a lone hitchhiker, alluring and innocent, yet somehow road worthy. I must report that this fantasy evaporates completely when these same guys become fathers of daughters who might flirt with the very idea of hitchhiking!

   And speaking of daughters who fall for guys in my tribe.

Daily Whip Out:

"Boxlip Darrell Goes to Prom"

Boxlip Darrell

   He was small but he had a big mouth on him. Actually, he had a very profane mouth. Plus he had a devilish theory: if you said a swear word loud enough—like when you were entering English class for example—nobody would believe you were saying a swear word. So, every day during fifth period in Mrs. Logsdon's class, everyone would wait with baited breath for Darrell to come through the door and shout out some profanity. It sounded like CUN-FUN with a slight distortion, but it was painfully clear if you were in on the joke. I'm happy to say, his theory held for the entire year. Our dear teacher merely smiled and welcomed him to class. Surely, she must have thought, he couldn't be swearing in English class? Of course not.
   He was a devout Mormon, of course.

   The Arizona 1864 legislation about abortion has been in the news lately, but it's also good to point out a positive aspect of that legislative effort:

   "In 1863 Congress passed the Arizona Organic Act which determined that 14 year old New Mexico Territory (Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo 1848 and Gadsden Purchase 1854) would be divided in half. In 1864 the present day boundary between AZ and NM was drawn, a territorial governor named and a legislature elected/ chosen. They met in Prescott in a recently built log building (a replica of this building can be visited at the Sharlot Hall Museum) for 43 days. Among items passed into law; AT was divided into four Counties, a legal code decided upon, a system of schools somewhat established and, recognizing the historical importance of what they were doing, an Arizona Historical Society was formed. Now, 160 years later, AZ is a State (1912), there are 15 counties, the state school system boasts 3 major Universities and AHS is thriving. AHS morphed from what was essentially a social club debating exactly who was a pioneer and keeper/displayer of private collections of things like Apache basketry (in spite of the 1906 Antiquities Act, (cough, cough). In the 1920s AHS transitioned toward the research, educational and research/publishing institution it is today."

—Greg Scott

"Our school was so small, we had Driver's Ed and Sex Ed in the same car."

—Boxlip Darrell