Monday, April 28, 2014

Territorial News

The newspaper, Territorial News, is distributed around to stores and Circle K's and other places and you can pick up a copy for FREE, or you can subscribe to it at the reasonable rate of $29.95 for a whole year. 

Anyway I was going through  a copy I picked up in Apache Junction yesterday and a couple of things caught my eye: The paper is running The Captivity of the Oatman Girls Among the Apache and Mohave Indians by R. B. Stratton who wrote it in 1857. This edition of the News had Chapter 2 - The Massacre: The Capture of Olive and Mary Ann.  I have this book on my shelf, so I didn't read the Chapter.

Another article was "Buffalo Bill Cody A True Legend of the West", which he was. I didn't read this one either. Anoither item was "A Previously Unknown Picture of Bill the Kid Surfaces in NM". I looked at the photo and I looked at the only known photo of Billy the Kid next to it and decided they should never have taken the trouble to run this article in my opinion. Comparing the photos, I noticed in the Unknown Picture the feller they alleged may be Billy didn't look much like the only picture of Billy, again in my opinion. The new pic of Billy and Dan Dedrick shows a young man with a pointed chin which the only pic of Billy shows his chin was broader and that's why I don't think it was Billy.

A full page ad showed that The Righteous Brother's Bill Medley; A Frankie Valli Tribute; the Little River Band; Roots and Boots; Billy Cosby; and 3 Redneck Tenors will all be making their appearance in the Valley. WOOPS! I should have looked at the dates. They've all come and gone, so that ain't goin' to help anybody git a l'il culcher. However, The Montana Guys play every Monday from 5 to 8 pm at the Hitching Post lounge on Hwy 88 E. Apache Junction. And the McNasty Brothers will be at the Mining Camp Restaurant until May 17th.

And there was an article on "Fur Trapping in Canada", which I didn't read. I don't think I'll be doin' any of that this summer or next.

A very interesting newspaper, maybe I'll subscribe or maybe not.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Out of the Blue

Out of the blue, the postal person delivered a card the other day. It was from the Ventana Sierra Advanced Writing Workshop to notify me of their upcoming shop on June 6-8, 2014, in Carson City, Nevada.  I appreciate getting this information, although I have no plans to attend this year. Maybe they included me in their address list as a good candidate for more education in this line of endeavor, and I can readily understand that.  I would be the first one to admit that I sorely need something like this, but courses like this are usually too costly for my pocketbook.

Poets and Writers magazine contains a lot of ads for courses like this and MFA studies, all of which makes interesting reading for some folks but not me until I hit the lottery.  The issue of May/June 2014 also has a guide to Free Writing contests, which would be more up my alley if only I had more time to write a short story or poem. I think later on in the year, I'll be able to devote some time for just such an enterprise as I finish my present project. I will put this item on my handy bookshelf
for now, but if you are interested in sending some work to a contest or two, this issue is your baby.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Single Jack by Max Brand

Another story by the prolific author Max Brand, this edition published in 1966, the third printing by Pocket Books.

Andrew Apperly visits his lawyer brother, David, in New York City to convince David to return West with him..
Andrew brought with him a dog, or a wolf, or a wolf-dog to be trained by a man who handles tigers and other wild animals.
"The dog can't be trained," admits the wild animal trainer in so many words.
The dog, Comanche, saves a man from drowning in the East River. The man is running from the law.
Comanche is this man's dog.
This man is Jack Deems (Single Jack).
The Apperly bros head west with the dog, leaving Jack behind, but not for long. He shows up at the Apperly Ranch to get his dog. Apperly says he can have him for nothing but a little assistance in fighting off the big rancher who is stealing his cattle and running the town of Yeoville, Alex
It turns out that Jack is the fastest, slickest, gol-darndest gunman ever, and the best gol-darndest knifeman and ropeman and everythingman ever seen or heard of out West or back East or up North or down South.
And this Apperly lawyer feller, David Apperly, starts his lawyering in Yeoville, right in the midst of all the bad men of that portion of the country controlled by Alex Shodress, the biggest, gol-darndest cattleman outlaw, and crookedest town owner you ever met.    
 Single Jack is told to keep an eye on David, but David gets shot two or three times and is hauled away to a pretty girls' house, where she takes care of him, since he isn't dead.
And the plot thickens and thickens right up till Shodress and his men catch Jack and throw him in jail in leg irons, wrist irons, arm irons, hand irons, lead cannon balls and a twenty-four hour guard by the fasstest guinamn on Shodress' payroll and ole Shodress himself. Darn, what a pickle he's in.
But darn, this girl's brother, Steve, who works for Shodress and who David had locked up for extreme killing, and who Shodress busted out of jail, slips Jack a file. Jack goes to work right under the noses of his guards and at an opportune moment overcomes a guard and steals his guns, and you guessed it, is on his way to extreme freedom with his dog and new wife, the girl who was helping David.

I'm telling you, it was one of the gol-darndest, amusing, exciting stories right up to the very end. But the author changed the tone a couple of times like he was writing with his tongue planted firmly in cheek in my estimation which threw me for a loppy curve for an instant, but was soon back to the regular tone and style of writin', the Max Brand style. Max Brand is really Frederick Faust, which you already know.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

More Books

My computer has been off-OFF-OFF the last few days while we entertained relatives from Texas and Kansas, except for a brief time on one afternoon. On our quick visit to Scottsdale, I stopped in the antiquarian book store, Alcuin Books, and browsed partway through the Western and Arizona sections before the wife caught up with me and I quickly settled on three books:

1. Hands Up, True Stories of the Six-Gun Fighters of the Old Wild West, as told by Fred E. Sutton and written down by A. B. Mac Donald and printed by the A. L. Burt Company. On the inside front flap of the book cover it says "This popular priced edition is made possible by the author's acceptance of a reduced royalty." It was copyrighted in 1926 and 1927 by the Bobbs-Merrill Company. And that flap also states: "Here's REAL action for you. Over 300 pages of blood-curdling, thrilling Western, taken direct from the lips of one who participated." Can't wait to get started on it.

2. Deadly Dozen, Twelve Forgotten Gunfighters of the Old West, by Robert K. DeArment, and published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2003.  (Not an old book.) This one covers gunmen that I'm not familiar with, that is, I didn't recognize many names, except John Bull. I probably have seen their names in some book where they weren't the subject of the story.

3. Law West of Fort Smith, An authentic history of frontier justice in the old Indian Territory, by Glenn Shirley. This was published by Henry Holt & Company and copyrighted by  Glenn Shirley in 1957. On the front inner flap of the cover it states, among other things: "Replete with colorful anecdotes and full of the flavor of the Old West, this thrillingly authentic book puts Judge Parker in his proper place in American history and paints a vivid picture of the Indian Territory and the social changes that came in the wake of the pioneers.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Book Signing

Yesterday was the annual swap meet at the Methodist Church a couple blocks away. We took some books to sell and sign if anyone cared to buy, and the day turned out pretty darn good. The weather could have been a little better, starting out in the high 50's with a cold breeze blowing things around. It warmed up as the morning progressed and the people started showing up to have a look at all the tables and wares and a few nice people even stopped by our setup. Not everyone purchased a book (Darn!) but some were readers and bought a book or two. One nice couple from Moab, Utah, even bought four of my novels and took a photo of us standing at the end of the table. (Thanks, Moabians.)

Moab is a nice, friendly little town situated along the Colorado River in southeast Utah not too far from the Colorado Border. The place attracts a lot of tourists since it is not too far from the Monument Valley, where John Wayne and others have made movies, and Canyonlands. The Arches National Monument is on the outskirts as you head north out of town. A great stopping place for touring these national parks. Butch Cassidy and his gang hid out in the desolate rocks and hills to the northwest of Moab and south and east of the town of Hanksville.

Anyway, back to the sale. Springtime is the time around here when everyone wants to get outside and get rid of the old clutter that has collected over the wintertime, and it seems like anyone who has a bare spot in their yard or in a parking lot hold these "swap meets." So, the crowd was not as big as last year, but enough to call the sale a success in my book. Around 11:30 AM we packed up the remainders and toddled off home, with a sigh of relief and a hope we can make it next year. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Bret Harte

I've forgotten everything I ever knew about Mr. Bret Harte, the subject of the sketch in the header, so I looked him up on Wikipedia to revive my memory somewhat. I do remember reading The Outcasts of Poker Flat when I was in high school and enjoyed it, although my mind is telling me that I don't remember anything about the story other than I liked it. And we did have a fairly long look at his life and some of his writings besides the aforementioned story in our class taught by our "Socialist" teacher at the time. I call the teacher "Socialist" because of his ravings about Marx in the class and I didn't understand what he doth talk about until later. It has nothing to do with Mr. Harte. 

Harte was born in 1836 and moved to California in 1853 where he received experience in the mining and camping world while working as a miner, teacher, and journalist in the Humboldt Bay area and from which he later wrote his stories, including The Luck of Roaring Camp. Mister Harte married Anna Griswold in 1862 in San Rafael, California and must have had a miserable life with her because she "was impossible to live with" said Henry C. Merwin an early biographer.

In school, I never learned the extent of his writings, which are considerable according to the bibliography on Project Gutenberg, which lists about 65 publications, including his poem written for Charles Dickens, Dickens in Camp. I hereby furnish the first stanza or two below to give you a taste of his poetic ability, which Frederick S. Myrtle says "Bret Hart has been generally accepted as the one American writer who possessed above all others the faculty of what may be called heart appeal, the power to give to his work that quality of human interest which enables the writer and his writings to  lie in the memory of the reading public for all time." (From the foreward to the poem.)

     "Above the pines the moon was slowly drifting
              The river sang below;
       The dim Sierras, far beyond, uplifting
               Their minarets of snow.

       The roaring camp fire, with rude humor, painted
               The ruddy tints of health
       On haggard face and form that drooped and fainted
               In the fierce race for wealth;"

And there you have it, and my thanks to Wikipedia and Project Gutenberg. I will read further of the works as time goes by for inspiration for my own simple writings.