Sunday, July 29, 2012

Unusual Cloud Formation

Damn! I'm having a helluva time getting this post on the blog! Anyway here goes.

We just returned from the high country about an hour ago.  We spent Friday and Saturday in Payson, AZ, and checked out the Rim Country Museum. It was a fine exhibition and included a tour of Zane Grey's house, not the original but a replica built on the Museum grounds. The original cabin was burned up in a forest fire a few years ago. The tour guide said the house was about a thousand square feet in size, and we goggled at the one room where he slept and wrote his novels. The kitchen was a separate room added on the back. Grey sat in a chair and wrote his books in longhand on a board set on the arms of the chair, and his secretary typed the manuscripts at a large table. Grey's saddle was set up in the room and there were replicas of the firearms he used, a rifle and a pistol. There were recorded details of his life on two speakers, just push the button.

The unusual cloud formation comes into the picture with the build up of the clouds prior to a rainstorm. Payson got very little rain out of it, but it rained like hell higher up toward Heber.

Here is the unusual formation. I thought the image in the hole looked like a pitcher or a coffee pot.

The rain clouds are the white ones just above the trees.

It was raining so heavy and fast when we got in the vicinity of Heber we had to pull off the road and wait for the storm to pass and we were in rain all the way back to near Payson. And down in the valley there was only dusty wind.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

True West Books in Sep 2012 edition

One of the books reviewed in True West is Butch Cassidy, My Uncle, by Bill Betenson. His great-grandmother also had a book, Butch Cassidy, My Brother. And I'm waiting for one called Butch Cassidy, My Cousin, or Butch Cassidy, My Fourth Cousin's Outlaw Great-Uncle or such. According to the review there is no new information regarding Cassidy's life after Bolivia, but the book does provide more info on the family and the outlaw with more research material available now than earlier. I wouldn't mind giving it a read to satisfy my inquiring mind of the new details, since he is always a good subject to read and write about. A fine review by Mike Bell, author of Incidents of Owl Creek: Butch Cassidy's Big Horn Basin Bunch.

This reminds me of an old high school friend, who claimed to be a relative of the Parker (Cassidy) family and whose name was Parker. Whether he was telling the truth or not, I don't know, but he was pretty convincing.   We both attended the same school in Utah and he had a real good sense of humor. I can see him now writing Butch Cassidy, My Idol, The Further Adventures of the Robin Hood of the Old West. It would've been a humdinger of a novel and a fantastic movie epic after the Broadway play had run its course, however, he has gone to meet his maker. When or how, I don't know. Just like Butch Cassidy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Latest purchases/Good story

I picked up the books I ordered with B&N, only three of them came in:

1. Wild Cow Tales by Ben K. Green - Thirteen stories about Ben's days of catching wild cows. This should be good!

2. Roy & Lillie, A Love Story by Loren D. Estleman - Roy Bean and Lillie Langtry fall in love. This should be just as good!

3. A little diversion from the old West is A Matter of Honor by William C. Hammond. This is the first in a series of sea novels. "Bill Hammond brings the American Revolution to life in this outstanding blend of drama, action, and romance infused with details so rich you'll feel the blast of cannon and taste the salt in the air," so says Suzanne Giesemann, Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.), author of Living the Dream, so states a back cover blurb. Can't wait to get into this one.

I also ordered Beat To A Pulp, Vol. 1, short stories edited by David Cranmerbut it wasn't available. I'll have to order it from Amazon.

A short story titled Six Guns and Pitch Forks  by Matthew Pizzolato at Fires on the Plain  is worth spending a few minutes reading. Fine story!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

It's Raining in Phoenix!

This is the second shower we've had in the last 48 hours:

WOW! A whole eighth of an inch!!

Another view of the rain guage!

LOOK at all the water in the gutters running down the street!

The  rain guage shows about an eighth of an inch so far this Friday morning. We had about a quarter-inch Wednesday night with lots of thunder and lightning. Today, Friday, no thunder/lightning yet at ten in the AM. The monsoonal flow looks good for the next week. We sure need it, being about two-and-a-half inches behind the average. We get about 7 to 8 inches for the year and so far we've had less than an inch as measured at the airport.  Saturday we received a few sprinkles on this side of town, but the other side had up to an inch and a half. YIPPEE!!  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Guns of the Timberlands

Finished reading Guns of the Timberlands by Louis L'Amour. A gent by the name of Jud Devitt has his eye set on the timber in Deep Creek, but the land is occupied by Clay Bell. The way this started out gave me the impression that Jud Devitt was going to be the hero in the white hat, but that soon changed to Clay Bell when Devitt tries to force his way into Deep Creek to have a go at the timber. Mr. Bell is a forward thinker and thwarts every attempt by Devitt to get through to the timber, even though he has the local banker supporting him. The romantic interest for both men is the Judge's daughter, Colleen Riley, who came west with Devitt and her father. So, on top of the timber, both Bell and Devitt try to get on top of Colleen, and it takes to the bitter end to find out who the winner is with plenty of hints on the way. Devitt gets a government grant to the timber, but a couple of people are killed trying to get through Bell's defenses. Bell also has a government grant for grazing on the land, and he retaliates, killing a couple of Devitt's men. Devitt hires a couple of slick gunslingers to kill Bell, but they get shot instead, and it comes to a barefisted, knockdown, dragout fight between Bell and Devitt well described by Mr. L'Amour to determine the winner. By that time you know very well who the winner will be and the conqueror of Miss Riley.

This was a fairly short novel of 148 pages in the pocket book edition by Bantam Books. A satisfying read.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Complaining Again!

We spent an hour or two looking around Barnes & Noble at Arrowhead Mall in Glendale, AZ, and purchased some fine books for the great-grandsons, ages 9 and 8. But I must complain again over the lack of Western novels represented by the small section set aside for Westerns. Louis L'Amour and William C. Johnstone each took up a shelf, leaving only three or four shelves for everyone else. There were some Elmer Keltons, Robert B. Parkers,  Charles Wests, and three or four other authors, but that was all.  I know it doesn't do any good to complain, and when I mentioned it to the clerk, he just shook his head.

We need to complain more to the management. They don't do anything when only one person bitches about it, but if two or three hundred said something, it might make a difference.

Anyway, I had to order the three or four books I wanted and now I'm waiting for the phone call to go pick 'em up.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Heart of the Country, Part Deux

What happened next in this novel of misfits and outcasts in the prairies? Well, Joe Cobden, ugly hunchback half-breed, is still taking care of the idiot's son and living in the same house. He realizes that their money will soon run out, so he goes into business selling firewood. The other lumber dealer who has been making all the money from firewood is against it and the town council passes a law that he has to take his business out of the city limits. Joe sets up shop just outside the town limits and business is good with his loyal customers, so Joe continues cutting down trees on the ridge around the house while the idiot, Calvin, digs holes all over the property looking for gold or who knows what. The son, Noah, is growing up and lends a hand with the wood business by helping Joe chop down the trees, after Joe tells him he has to do something to earn his keep. Joe is put out of business later on by this unscrupulous lumber dealer, and Joe turns to carving tobacco store Indians.

The town's undertaker catches pneumonia and dies and into town moves a new undertaker, a gentleman by the name of Pike, and with him comes his wife, mother, and daughter. Of course, the family turns out to be misfits, except for the daughter, who has a fair brain. Pike's elderly mother can't stand to walk up and down the stairs where the bedrooms are, so she falls down the stairs and after that lives in her upstairs bed, even though she is perfectly healthy. She bangs on the floor with her can when she needs something. The last third to half of the book is taken up mostly with this family and the Reverend Wilkes' family. Mr. Pike had flunked out of medical school and takes up embalming although he never finishes the course due to some frailty on his part. Phoebe, the daughter, sneaks down to the basement to take a look at a recent female corpse and sees her father indulge in an immoral act, but doesn't tell anyone. Phoebe eventually escapes to Chicago and further east after her mother is committed.

The Wilkes family is just as screwed up as the other characters, at least the Reverend is. He makes whoopee with his daughter, who turns up pregnant, and is aborted in Joe's living room and the baby's remains buried near a tree on the ridge. Sadie, the daughter, never speaks to anyone anymore and comes to a tragic end.

Noah, the idiot's son, is a smart and wise kid who turns into his teen years and gets to hate his situation, so he takes off to see the world, and is the unwitting instrument of Sadie Wilkes' death, but never learns how or why.

All in all, the story was interesting to the end that takes the main characters to their final days on earth. I had almost reached the end when I realized that I had read the book before. It was just a sentence or two that allowed my brain to channel this fact and I won't disclose it, since it may (or may not) reveal too much of it to a future reader. Like I've said too many times, I used to read for entertainment only and have read several books two or three times without realizing it until near the end.

(I hope everyone had a safe, relaxing, and fun Fourth of July. We went to the step-daughter's house and had a grill-out. The great grandsons wanted to set off a smoke bomb and kept bugging their father long enough that he said okay. Out to the back yard they went and BLAM! Smoke everywhere in a large cloud, pretty smoke, blue, green, turquoise smoke. I smelled nitrate, sulfate, iodate, and potentate, it was so powerful. Reminded me of the times when they shot off the 5 inchers on the ship. A good time was had by all!)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fourth of July Celebrations in AZ

The new header photo was in the album purchased at an estate sale and this one is, yes, more huge rocks in northern Arizona. I wish they had identified the images, so I wouldn't have to ponder over 'em. I think this is the stream bed from nowhere to nowhere.

Here are some local Arizona celebrations planned for July 4th. Join in if you're in the area. These towns need all the money they can drag in to get them over the hump:

Chandler - Fireworks Spectacular. I hope they don't set the town on fire.

Florence - Freedom Fest - This is the home of the State Prison. I hope it doesn't mean what I think it means.

Greer - National Bell Ringing Ceremony - Every time I hear a bell ringing I'm reminded of that damn poem by Edgar Allan Poe, The Bells. Since high school, BELLS, BELLS, BELLS, BELLS. I would rather it would have been the rules of Grammar or something more useful that stuck in my meat grinder brain.

Peoria - All American Festival - Hot dogs and hamburgers, beer and wine, and centennial activities and displays and fireworks, and two headaches from fighting the crowd.

Show Low - "American Road Trip" Parade. Those people in the mountains have nothing better to do but watch one of the largest parades in the State.  Bring a raincoat. The summer monsoons have started.

Show Low - I thought I just posted this, but here it is again called FreedomFest this time. See, those mountain people have nothing to do.

Tempe - Tempe Town Lake Festival. Fireworks and concerts. Nobody goes to this one, it's too crowded. (Thanks Yogi Berra.)

Tusayan - Grand Canyon 4th of July. The smallest town in AZ (144 acres) and the eight hotels are going to be jampacked by people who will fall into the canyon on the 4th. Well, maybe one will lose his head and fall over the edge, there hasn't been any for a couple of weeks.

Yuma - Annual Independence Day Flag Raising Ceremony. The longest description of any of them. It will include a Military color guard and firing party. Stand back when the Marines start shooting. Sounds like live fireworks to me.

(Thanks to the AAA Magazine, Highroads, July/August 2012.)