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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring Sales

Yesterday the temperature reached 86 degrees and today it's likely to be 88. We received nearly a half-inch of rain last Wed or Thur when the temp was only 68. It is supposed to hit 90 tomorrow or the next day then drop a few degrees again.

Now that I have covered the weather, what I set out to say is that yesterday I took a box of books to a church swap meet that is held annually, sometimes it's cold and sometimes it's hot. Last year I barely sold only five or six books but this year it shot up to 15. Anything over ten is fantastic, so I had a good day in warm weather. I thank all those who bought a book, it is encouraging.

Afterward we went to lunch, returned home and watched Arizona whip Ohio State. After that we watched Utah beat Georgetown, Yay!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Killing Patton by Bill O'Reilly

Well, another trip away from the Wild West and into Wild Western Europe during World War II. This book Killing Patton is 352 pages of historical heroism of General George S. Patton and his journey through France, Belgium and Germany with just a touch of Africa. Mister O'Reilly and Martin Dugard follow the Third Army on the heels of Patton across Fance as the story unfolds into Belgium and on to Germany fighting the Nazis all the way. A part of the Third gets surrounded in the area of Bastogne where the Nazis send a message to surrender or be killed and General McAullife tells them "Nuts to you" and the fighting resumes. General Patton sends his men to take the small town with its vital crossroads and free the men holding on to it.

After taking Bastogne, the Third Army races the British General Montgomery to the Rhine River and beats him across it, and Patton is ready to beat the Russians to Berlin but couldn't quite do it. Patton didn't get along well with his boss, General Eisenhower or Montgomery or anyone else who deterred him from his objective. He "lost his head" a couple of times when he took out his frustration on enlisted men who had had enough of the fighting and were combat fatigued. He slapped them with his gloves and he knew he shouldn't have and the upper brass was on his tail about it. And as he gets closer to Berlin and the Russians, he wants to continue fighting and kick the hell out of the Red Army and drive them back to Moscow.

Patton wasn't ready to end the war with the Russians holding Berlin, but that was the way it had to be. He had heard about threats on his life from about everyone, including the Russians who had a price on his head.

Anyway, I really enjoyed reading this fairly detailed review of the war and Patton's life, and O'Reilly left me with the feeling that the authorities should have looked more into Patton's death. There were many questions left unanswered.

I give it 4-and-a-half stars. It has been on the NYT best-seller list for a long time. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Author Interview

I kindly request that you take a look at the blog Ashedit by Elaine Ashe. Please go to the right hand column of this blog and just click on her blog title Ashedit's blog and read the fine interview she posted on yours truly and my doodling. I appreciate the kind words. Thanks, Elaine!  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Gun Job, Short Story by Thomas Thompson

Gun Job is included in the 14 Spurs Anthology published by Bantam Books.

Jeff Anderson was the sheriff of Alkali for fifteen years and had changed the town from a rip-roaring place to a quiet little spot on the map. When he retired, he recommended Billy Lang to take over the sheriff's job. Billy was not a lawman at heart, having worked in the store selling dry goods, clothing, etc., but he took the the job now that all the hard work was done. But Hank Fetterman saw his chance to take over seeing that Jeff was out of the way.

Throw in a Bohemian who didn't speak good English and a farmer besides, making claims that Fetterman's cattle had ruined his corn crop and broken his fences, and the plot thickens. Anderson is a witness to the dispute as he buys Fetterman a shot of whiskey in the saloon and stays out of it. Lang shows up to see what's going on. Not wanting to face down Fetterman, Lang takes off his badge and walks away. But no bohunk is going to get away with damning claims against Fetterman, and later in the day, Fetterman sets out to the home of the Bohemian to let him know who is boss around here. And it so happens that Anderson is visiting when Fetterman shows up, and this makes a serious dilemma for Anderson, who is now a rancher with a wife and trying to live the life of a peaceful man.

Well, you can bet your last nickel that the conscience of the former sheriff won't let him continue being a peaceful rancher, especially after he told the young son of the Bohemians all about America and what it stands for. And you know that you are near the end of the story when Anderson stands up to Hugh Fetterman.

Whew! With all the reasons not to, Anderson does the right thing with a lot of hemming and hawing and arguing with himself. This was a nice little story and entertained me for a half-hour or so while the wife worked on another quilt.  

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Charles Russell's Studio

Life was just fine for Charles Russell and his wife in Montana, but one day he thought it could be made better. He casually mentioned that life would be better if he had a studio separate from the house where visitors didn't have to traipse through the space where he painted. His wife, Nancy, got right on it and had thrown together a small building of telephone poles and rocks and he soon had a place where he could paint and remember things past in private.

This tribute to Charlie Russell's log cabin studio was written by Lola Shelton and published in 1968 by Bantam Books in an anthology of  the Western Writers of America, 14 Spurs.

Russell wasn't paying much attention to the construction and wondered if it should be built after someone said it looked like it was going to be an old corral in the middle of town. Later, his neighbor told him it looked like it was going to be a fine addition to the town, which brightened up Charlie's spirits enough to take the neighbor on a tour through it and told him all about what was going to transpire inside. And after Russell's death, an addition was added to it where a collection of Russell paintings could be shown to the public.

My thanks to Lola Shelton for writing this short story adding to the history of the West. Charles Russell's paintings captured the Real West and the Indians. Places like this studio and Zane Grey's cabin in Arizona are inspirational in keeping the West alive.                                                            

Friday, March 6, 2015

Josey Wales

I'll be dadburned or flabbergasted or transmogrified or dadblasted or dad- something else because I knew for certain that I had seen the movie The Outlaw Josey Wales, and I still think I may have seen it, it just does not come to my memory from the deepest, darkest recesses of my mind (so they say). By golly, my wife picked a copy up at Walmart while shopping with the great-gandsons, and we watched it last Saturday or was it Sunday?

We enjoyed Mr. Eastwood as Josey running away from the Redlegs after the Civil War. They had burned his house to the ground, killed his boy and wife and he would never forget it, and neither would the men chasing him. His buddy got shot and died a short time later and Josey picked up a friend, an old Indian played by Chief Dan George who was great in this one, adding humor to his role and the movie. Josey saves another Indian, this time a woman played by Geraldine Keams, and she follows him and won't let him go. They continue on to Texas where they save a wagon with an old woman and her granddaughter (Sandra Locke) from the Cherokees. Josey kills about a dozen or two men while he's doing all this saving and they end up at the old grandmother's old home where they are attacked by the Redlegs.

This is a funny, action-packed Western, with some real historical characters names being used like Senator Lane from Kansas, and Bloody Bill Anderson. It ends in a big shoot-out of course and a big romance. Well worth the five bucks for the DVD, and I give it the holy five stars.     

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Arizona Events

If you missed out on the Wickenburg Rodeo Days, here is another chance to catch a rodeo live and in-person on March 8 below. But we'll start off with March 1st since that is the beginning of this month and you better hurry or you'll miss it.

Mar l - Line Dance on the London Bridge at Lake Havasu city. They want to see if they can put a maximum number of line dancers on the bridge and set a record. Shucks, that's going on right now! They better hurry or they're gonna get all wet from the rain.

Mar 4 - Author Robin Pinto will be lecturing about Arizona's Civilian Conservation Corps and other stuff. The CCC was an FDR program before and during WWII where it fell apart since no one was available to join up. I had a half-dozen older brothers who joined and worked on canals in Utah. Make that one or two brothers. Will be held at the Pueblo Grande Museum on east Washington Street, Phoenix.

Mar 5-8 - Shakespeare at the Herberger Theater in Phoenix. Enough said.

Mar 6-8 - Fountain Hills Tour d'Artistes in Fountain Hills, AZ. Studio tours where you can observe the creative process firsthand or secondhand, if you want.

Mar 6-8 - The Rodeo mentioned above. Roots N' Boots in Queen Creek, a suburb of Phoenix and Mesa and Gilbert and maybe a few others. This is a PRCA event where grown men (and possibly ladies) try to ride horses and bulls and the kids ride little lambs a divey and maybe pigs and chickens. Some ladies will do barrel racing after all the beer is drank. A good time will be had by all.

Mar 14 - Apache Leap Mining Festival in Superior, AZ. A superior festival of demonstrations in drilling and mucking and etc. Bring your Chihuahua and enter it in the Chihuahua race or bring all of Chihuahua from Old Mexico, too. Everybody's welcome.

Mar 16-21 There's a New Sheriff in Town in Kingman, the birthplace of Bob Boze Bell and the hometown of Andy Devine. Heidi Osselaer will discuss the early women of Arizona law enforcement at the Mohave Museum of History and Arts, 400 West Beale Street. How exciting can that get?

And a teaser in April:

Apr 11 - Yuma Tunes and Tacos in Yuma, AZ. A competition for the best taco. Hot stuff on a hot day!

My thanks to Highroads Magazine and AAA Arizona. The Ides of March are coming!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Another Anniversary

I sure seems like a long time since we stood before the preacher and he pronounced us man and wife. Well, it is a long time, say 43 years of married bliss (tsk, tsk), many miles we've traveled together and many exciting times have passed down the drain of life.

My Rules for a Long and Happy Marriage:

1. The husband is never right and concedes every time.
2. The wife is NEVER wrong. As long as she thinks that, everything is calm.
3. Back seat driving is just fine, as long as the husband says: It's that way, all right, and continues to the destination.
4. Never criticize your wife's cooking.
5. Never complain about her shopping. It's a necessary outlet to relieve the stress of being wrong.
6. Never mention money or overspending and always suggest she put the money in her account. 
7. Always suggest going out for dinner. She will get tired of restaurant food and start cooking again.
8. Don't forget to tell her she looks pretty in her new dress, even though it might be a little off kilter.
 9. Her relatives are just fine to visit over Christmas while the man's are never going to step foot in this house.
10. Don't forget, she is NEVER wrong.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Horse Named Buck That Didn't

There were many cowboys and people of different stripe that have owned or ridden horses at one time or another. Many of them have been atop horses they never paid much attention to, like hopping on a horse for a short excursion to check out a neighbor's cattle or a pleasure ride down to the river for a picnic. And then there are those who have known a horse since birth, fed him, and cared for him during his lifetime.

My father used to own a horse or two, mainly as a team pulling a plow or a wagon with a load of hay as he worked on the the farms he owned or leased back when he was a farmer. But when I came along he had moved past that life and became a leather worker, working in his small shop making shoes and repairing harness and any leather jobs that came along. He and my mother also owned and operated a small hamburger stand that they would open up on holidays and other times when they felt like they could make a dollar or two. The Fourth of July was always great for selling hot dogs and burgers. But, I'm getting away from horses.

What got me started was a short story by J. Frank Dobie, I Remember Buck. Buck was his horse from the time it was brought into the world until it passed away. He knew Buck like he was his brother or closer. Buck was cunning, aware of his surroundings, and was a great cow horse. And Buck was always alert when it came to the rider as he showed one day when the rider had a mishap and was thrown off. Well, Buck could turn on a dime which he did, stopping in mid-turn and letting the rider disentangle himself. I would say Buck was a fine horse and would always be remembered even though some humans would be forgotten.

Another great story from Mr. Dobie.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Guns and a River

This is a partial re-run of an article I posted on November 26, 2009, entitled Books.

By the Gun, a collection of short stories by Richard Matheson and published in 1994 by Berkley, had some exciting and brutal stories but that's what you would expect from the title. The one about the sixteen-year-old taking some cattle to market, but couldn't cross some land without giving up some of them in payment was especially good. And the first one in the book about a city boy going west to make a name for himself was also worth the time it took to read it. Mr. Matheson is the author of Journal of the Gun Years (a Spur Award winner) and The Gunfight. He writes sci-fi novels, too, like The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man, and others in the horror and sci-fi genre, and more westerns and movies and TV.

Another book from my shelf is Reminiscing Along the Sweetwater by Ruth Beebe, published in 1974 by Johnson Publishing Company, Boulder, CO. This particular one is autographed by Ms. Beebe, and I don't know from what used book store I procured it. The author gives some history of the area and enumerates the farmers and ranchers along the river and its tributaries from the first settlers to the present day (1974), giving an abbreviated history of each rancher. A valuable tool for researchers, historians, and writers in my humble opinion.