Sunday, March 29, 2015


Blogging becomes a drag and a chore after a few years. I don't know about you, but I'm getting to the point where it's no longer fun. I think it's because there are so many other things going on around me that taking a few minutes or an hour or two out of the day to compile a blog becomes a hindrance instead of the joy I used to have.  I'm fighting this, because I like to write.

My computer was off Friday and Saturday because we were having a two-day yard sale, as if one day wasn't enough. My wife went through the house and drug out all the crap she didn't want any longer and we set it up in the yard on tables or the cement driveway and I set up my table with used books and the books I've written  and we waited for customers. Oh yes, my stepdaughter drug her stuff over here and displayed it for sale. She had more items than we did, and made more money, too. Afterward,my wife says "This is the last time I'm going to participate in this. I'm tired of it." I wholeheartedly agreed with her, even though I sold eight books and had some good conversation with the customers. And if that wasn't enough, Saturday during the yard sale the County Inspector shows up to check out some electric work we had done. He marked it 'FAILED" because of some oleander bushes in front of the new electric panel. Even though the bushes have been there over twenty years as part of a hedge, I had to cut them out or he wouldn't approve the work. That cost me forty dollars and a couple of hours of cussing. The Electrician says he will get it re-inspected later next week.

I haven't been able to work on my new project for over a week because of things like this, and trying to keep up a blog just twice a week adds to the turmoil. I could stop writing it, but I don't think I will.
It gives me an excuse to get out of the other stuff once in a while. Life goes on, by golly, and I intend to continue what I'm doing, be damned.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Short Story, The Tallest Indian in Toltepec, by Will Henry

Hm-m-m. I saw the title of this story and I said to myself, "Self, with a title like that this has to be a tall tale with many comedy tid-bits in it." And so I began reading it and looking for the first bit of comedy, but. alas, there was none. It was a deadly serious, super-secret, spy story in which Charlie Shonto was the chief spy for the Texas Express Stage outfit. His only mission was to deliver "Item 13" to the train in Toltepec, Mexico, from El Paso, Texas. As part of this fifty-mile journey he had to get passed the Executioner of Camargo, Colonel Ortega, and his band of ruffians. Ortega was a shifty, dangerous, deadly leader of the so-called militia who was tryng to prevent "Item 13" from getting across the Rio Grande and to the train at Toltepec.

Shonto's accomplice in this drama was a young Chihuahua Indian boy who was to lead Shonto over a hidden Apache trail to their destination. The young Indian escaped from Ortega while Ortega was in the process of shooting the boy's father dead because the father measured up exactly to a line on a tree drawn by Ortega. Ortega was looking for an Indian of that height and shot any Indio who met the line, innocent or not, he was that mean.

Shonto, feared on both sides of the border, drives over the crossing in a Texas Express stagecoach and is immediately hailed to a stop by Ortega and his gang of wolves looking for this short Indian. Through a ruse, Shonto gets the drop on Ortega and picks up Item 13 and the boy, who had crossed over in the water and takes off for Toltepec on the unhitched stage horses with the wolves not far behind.

I like Will Henry's writing. This story has suspense, tension, action, and mystery, and I give it five stars since it already won a Spur Award.

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!