Saturday, June 25, 2011

What ever happened to the Cowboy

What ever happened to the Cowboy? As I grew up at the foot of the Rocky Mountains the West has always been a part of my life. My heroes were guys like Roy Rogers, John Wayne, Rex Allen and a thousand others who rode across the silver screen. In later years I began reading authors like Will Henry, Louis L’Amour, Zane Grey and many, many others. I learned from the stories of the people who ventured west from the settlements of the east. As a genre the Western tells us the tales of our ancestors as they forged ever westward. Names like Hugh Glass, Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, and Jim Beckwourth filled out tales of the mountain men, John Chisholm, Charlie Goodnight and Oliver Loving did the same for the cattle drives north to the rails. Most people today know very little or nothing of this time period. A couple of times westerns have tried again to find a place in the movies but they haven’t done too well. I’m not sure if it was the movies or the lack of interest that caused them to dwindle into obscurity. “Dances With Wolves” despite a few major changes from the book “Lonesome Dove” and “Tombstone” are the exceptions instead of the rule. Well the movies and books may not be what they once were but as Chris LeDoux so eloquently told us, there are still real cowboys out there “You Just Can’t See Them From the Road.”

I am willing to open this up to guest bloggers on the subject of Westerns as a genre, if you are interested in posting please leave a comment or shoot me an email.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Quartzsite AZ.

I stopped for a couple of hours in the town of Quartzsite Arizona. During the height of the summer months only the hardiest of desert denizens are there. The population is around 3600 or less during the brutal months of the Arizona summer. My stop had two main objectives. One was to see if it was possible to get a good promo video shot for the short story The Ghost of Hi Jolly in the book Rambling. The other was to pick up a few more specimens of Apache Tears. Since the cemetery is closer to the truck stop I decided to tackle that one first.

Walking down the short road to the cemetery I looked at the empty lots on both sides and remembered how different they would be in the winter months when the population of this sleepy little town explodes to somewhere around 1.5 million people. They come from all over for the Mineral and Gem Show. A side effect is that the town also becomes one super large Flea Market. Most of them though had no idea that tucked away back in the grave yard was a National Historic site, The Tomb of Hi Jolly. This Greek/Syrian camel driver came to the U.S. with a load of camels in the 1850's. It was an experiment to see how effective the animals would be in the desert Southwest. When the Civil War broke out it was abandoned, but Hi Jolly stayed on acting a packer, scout, and a number of other useful occupations in the area around Quartzsite. While I use him in my story it bothers me that more people don’t know about him and a lot of other colorful characters from the western expansion. Here is a still photo of the tomb. It really isn’t hard to find, if you know where to look.

I want to thank the great folks at Hardies Beads and Jewelry for keeping me supplied in Apache Tears and information about the town and Hi Jolly’s Tomb.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I stand with Israel.

I usually keep my politics separate from my writing but some times you just have to take a stand. Well this is my stand.

These are names that should never be forgotten and the crimes that were committed there should never be allowed to happen again. It wasn't just the Jews that died there, it was the Gays, the Romanies and anyone that the Nazi Party felt should be there. Now we see that there are those who ignore these things and forget how those who tried to escape the Third Reich had nowhere to go. Not even America would allow them in. Lady Liberty turned her back on them and sent them home to face the wrath of the Gestapo and Der Fuhrer. One of the Major reasons behind the establishment of the nation of Israel was to make sure that there would always be ONE place where the Jews could go to avoid persecution. When people talk about returning Israel to the pre-67 borders I want to know who will get the land that Israel aquired during that short war? Would Gaza return to Egypt? Do the Golan Heights return to Syria, and would the West Bank once again be known as Trans Jordan? Funny, notice that none of the land came from a place called Palestine. There was no Palestine and it wasn't really even considered till after the Yom Kippur War of 73. Now it can be seen that the game is not quite what it has been portrayed as in the news recently. While there are blatant attempts to make the whole mess in the Middle East appear to be the fault of Israel it is plain that people are not telling the whole truth about the matter. It is easy for us to sit here in the U.S. and tell Israel that they have to give up land for the Palestinians forgetting that the people in charge or the these people have only one goal, the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people. Well I for one cannot just sit idly by while that happens. I for one will always STAND WITH ISRAEL.