January 29, 2013
Got up this morning and started a fire in the studio stove and bailed into a couple studies of characters from my past. One is an infamous Kingmanite. Andy Sansom sent me a couple photos of the legendary guy (see below):
Blocked in a composite wash based on the two photos and went into the office. While I was gone, Betsy the Chicken Lady came to the house and along with my neighbor, Tom Augherton, had a little Chicken Rodeo in the coop out back. The mission: grab four of the five roosters and box them up. Betsy found homes for them. Tom told me it got quite wild in there but they got 'er done.
Had a Design Review at the office and argued about the entire April issue, traded up a couple times, fixed more than one train wreck and finished at noon. Came home for lunch and put the finishing touches on the sketch I started in the morning:
When I was a boy growing up in Kingman every election cyle we would all look at the election results for Mohave County in the newspaper (The Miner) because in every single election someone would write-in the name "Harry Nipple" and the newspaper had to print it. I can't tell you how much joy this gave me and my friends. "Did you see the Miner? Yes, he's in there. Look, they had to print it. Crazy!'
Harry was born in 1876 and died in 1961 I believe. He allegedly ran a whore house down by McConnico, which is where my father ran a Whiting Brothers gas station in the late 40s.
Meanwhile, when I went home for lunch I whipped out another Kingman character:
My father always told the story of an old miner who liked to hang around the gas station named Ben Rux. One time my father needed to go somewhere on business and my mother was working at the Highway Department (she was a secretary). So my dad dropped me off at Ben Rux's shotgun shack, which was across the tracks in downtown Kingman, behind the welding shop, which was on the way to the Little League baseball park. I remember vaguely that Ben had little or no furniture. I quickly got bored and fussy, as my dad tells it, so Ben brought out a coffee can of Silver Dollars and let me bang around with those. I always remember ol' Ben and never knew what happened to him. This painting is for good ol' Ben Rux.
Bill Close, 92, died. He was the TV anchor at KOOL television in 1982 when a deranged Joseph Billie Gwin broke into the studios with a gun and demanded Bill Close read a statement on the air. Taking a cameraman hostage with a gun Gwin demanded his rambling message be read live. He even brought a portable TV with him so the station couldn't trick him into pretending to read it live but keeping the signal in the station. Here's the quote from this morning's Republic: "Close gave a tight read in his signature anchorman voice, 'Johnny Cash, you will have 72 hours to tell the queen to evacuate London.'"
Now THAT is humor writing.
"Remember: this isn't just a search party, it's a chance to do some first-class scouting. Any questions?"
—Scout Master Ward (Ed Norton) in Moonrise Kingdom