Thursday, March 31, 2011


While I was lying in the hospital having been operated on earlier that day, our roofmate calls and says we need to get a new roof. Roofmate? Yes, we live in a duplex and we both have to agree on things like this. Anyway, she tells us that she's getting a free roof from the hail damage and we should take advantage of it and get ours done, too. Nice timing!

The upshot of this was, we did get a new roof (it looks nice), but now the patio cover needs replacement from the damage, and a couple of screens and some gutter.
The wife says, "Now is a good time to do some window replacements, too." And that was added on. No, there was no damage to the windows, so that won't be covered by the insurance, oh, yes, add some new lights on the garage and replace those old post lights on the patio. So, you can tell where this is going or where it went.
The window rep came yesterday to measure the front windows, and DOORS!, and a side window. The patio man came out Monday and did his measurements, but we still have to get a hold of the screen man. The electrician is coming next Monday, and the gutter rep WON'T be coming; there just wasn't that much damage to it. 

I'm never going into the hospital again! Who knows what might happen next time? No, sir, I'm staying away from hospitals or we may end up with a completely remodeled house that we can't afford and nobody will want to buy. AA-ARGH! 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chris Enss' new book

Chris Enss has a new book entitled,  None Wounded, None Missing, All Dead: The Story of Elizabeth Bacon Custer. The official launch will be in Dodge City, the Long Branch Saloon, and is the story of General Custer's wife's life. It should be an enlightening and gratifying read.

Ms. Enss also has written a more detailed review of the Festival of the West which can be read on her journal site, You may have to google the url.

The wife and I went to breakfast at the bowling alley yesterday morning and then stopped at a used book sale run by the Sun City Daily News. This is a charity event held annually. I found few westerrns, but picked out the following for my TBR pile:

1. A Death in Indian Wells by Lewis B. Patten. I've never heard of this author, but will check him out when I get into the book.
2. The Fastest Gun in Texas by J. T. Edson. Haven't read him that I recall, either, but I know he has written more than one western.
3. West of the Wolverine by Paul Evan Lehman, another unknown by me.
4. The Prairie by James Fenimore Cooper. Everyone has heard of him. This is the last of the Leatherstocking tales about Natty Bumpo, not one have I read.
5. Knights of the Range by Zane Grey, the most beautiful lady in Texas tames a wild outlaw gang, the cover declares. Haven't read this one before.
6. And a hardback, The Great Southwest by Charles McCarry, photographed by George F. Mobley,
a National Geographic Publication. Mucho photos covering the States of Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and southern Nevada and southern California.

These will keep me occupied for quite awhile.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The West An Illustrated History

I picked this book off my shelf this morning and almost dropped it, it was so heavy. It is 9  1/2" by 11 1/2", not quite as large as the normal coffee table book, but is jammed and crammed with 445 pages of writing and photos. It's authored by Geoffrey C. Ward with a Preface by Stephen Ives and Ken Burns. This is the book that resulted from the television series that puts the whole thing in one place for those interested in delving more into it.

The Preface states, "With all its heroism and inequity, exploitation and adventure, sober realities and bright myths, it is the story of all of us, no matter where on the continent we happen to live, no matter how recently our ancestors arrived on its shores." So be it.

It covers the first explorers, the gold-seekers, the Indians, the ditch-diggers, the pioneers, the good, the bad and the ugly, all of us included. You may have watched the TV series and enjoyed it along with the rest of us or you may have picked up a copy of the book and fumbled through it, reading parts here and there, and set it aside to return later and give it a more thorough going over. Whatever, I'm sure you'll find the movie series and this book to be a fine example of history and something you may look at and refer to on questions concerning the West.

As for myself right now, I'm going to return the book to its position on the shelf and whenever something comes up in which I have only a vague recollelction or none at all, maybe I'll pull it out and enlighten myself about whatever it is. It's just too heavy to hold up for very long.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

National Festival of the West, Scottsdale, AZ

The National Festival of the West is gong on this weekend at Westworld in Scottsdale, but I will not be attending this one. It has a star-studded lineup including Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, the New Pioneers, Crosstown Cowboys, and other musical groups. And a great lineup of celebrities signing autographs and goods for sale, and the Buffalo Soldiers, Arizona Gunfighters, Poets, Chuckwagon Cooking, Mountain Men, and all that good stuff. There weill be several TV and Movie Actors there including Clint Black, John Saxon, Ed Faulkner, Dan Haggerty, and others. Among the authors will be Rusty Richards, John Conley, Becky Burgoyne and others.

And a good time will be had by all and one of them will receive the Cowboy Spirit Award.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

True West Mag

Just received the April 2011 edition of True West magazine. It has the answers to the "Three True Grits, Which one is the true masterpiece?" Includes info on the author Charles Portis, and may answer your many questions about the movie.

The mag also lists 75 historic towns, "Snapshots of Old West History," where to go, what to do regarding the subject. Another fine issue full of exciting facts, pictures, and ads, of course. Whew-ee, it'll keep me occupied for an hour or two.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I didn't get completely away from reading and writing the west while I was in the hospital and recuperating. I have another short story about ready for submission and The Bloody Gulch is almost at the brink of submission. Just a little polish to be added and another proof reading.

I finished reading the following novels, The Man from Shenandoah by Marsha Ward, The Sundown Chaser by Dusty Richards, and The Wild Breed by Frank Leslie.  Three different stories and three different writing styles, but all very enjoyable. Can't say that one is better than the other, although Mr. Leslie's detailed descriptions of the action and landscape left me with the feeling that it was a bit wordy, but he carried it off with enthusiasm and liveliness and carried me right into the scenery, a silent partner.

And I'm getting well into Sea of Glory by Nathaniel Philbrick, the story of the U. S. Exploring Expedition of 1838-41. After years of haggling and arguing and indecision, Lieutenant Charles Wilkes is off to explore the southern reaches of the great seas. Of course he arrives in the vicinity of Antartica at the wrong time of the year, but he will not be deterred. The ships sail from Norfolk, Virginia, and head to Madeira and then on to Rio de Janeiro where they spent too much time, before heading south. And now they are floating among the ice bergs in the snow looking for that elusive land that's supposed to be down there, maybe. I will have to keep reading to see if they find it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


The operation was a success, but the patient is taking a long time to recover. He is up walking about some and grocery shopping, improving a little each day. The surgeon removed a section of the transverse colon which was found to have a polyp out of control and increasing in size and girth. It urned out to be benign, thank God, but his abdomen is still tender and getting used to the new setup.

He will have a lot of blogs to catch up on, including the patient's own, but he hopes to get back in the swing of things before too long. His mental attitude is such that he's not quiet ready to resume a full load, what with income tax staring down his throat and ready to rip his brain asunder figuring it out. It gets more complicated each year.

He says, The Hell With It! and wishes everyone a HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY! Begorra.