Dances with Fools; or, the Worst of Election ’08

It’s county historical museums like the ones in Oakley, Idaho; Florence, Arizona; Pecos, Texas; and Silverton, Colorado, that should be a part of the stimulus package!

Mining Museum, Silverton, CO ©2008 es

They are fusty and musty and cluttered and jumbled, but filled to the brim with the kind of  real life that Joe the . . . → Read More: Dances with Fools; or, the Worst of Election ’08

I Heart the Obama Kid

The Kid is in. The Great Decider is out–and so are slimy campaign innuendos. I’ll not be sorry to hear the last of the slander of the good Maverick family name. I’ll not be sorry to have less of cowboy-diplomacy-this* and cowboy-foreign-policy-that drop into my inbox with such alarming regularity. And I won’t be surprised if this . . . → Read More: I Heart the Obama Kid

Have Gun Will Travel; or, The Way We Were Before Campaign ’08

Life must have been easier in the 1950s. Within half an hour, it was possible for a good guy to vanquish a bad guy, be a role model for youngsters, and look good in a holster.

Have Gun Will Travel reads the card of a man.
A knight without armor in a savage land.
His fast gun for hire . . . → Read More: Have Gun Will Travel; or, The Way We Were Before Campaign ’08

Buffalo Gal; or, Palin’s Civilizing Influence

Let them kill, skin, and sell until the buffalo is exterminated, as it is the only way to bring lasting peace and allow civilization to advance. –General Philip Sheridan

Buffalo skulls, mid-1870s, waiting to be ground into fertilizer

Here’s a more recent quote:

“I am especially concerned,”  [Governor Palin] said in a written statement in August 2007, when . . . → Read More: Buffalo Gal; or, Palin’s Civilizing Influence

All My Heroes Might Be Cowboys

Plastic Hero © 2008 es

Anything can look heroic–it’s all in the way the lights and camera work. Maybe that’s why cowboys in movies don’t say too much. All candidates on Campaign Trail ’08 have to keep talking, but the more they talk, the less heroic they seem. It’s a problem, buckaroos and buckarettes. I think they know . . . → Read More: All My Heroes Might Be Cowboys

Maverick; or, Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

MAVERICK. Ask not how many times you can say a word, but why you need to say the word so many times in the first place.

“Maverick.” Thou shalt not repeat a word in the hopes that it sticks.

“Maverick” took on a pop culture tone in the 1950s with James Garner’s hat-pushed back, insouciant gambler. The middle . . . → Read More: Maverick; or, Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

Cowboy Up; or, Cowboy Fact #21

To cowboy up means to get going. Get the job done. Get into gear. No matter what.
Sundown Jim, by Ernest Haycox
Cover illustration by Jerry Allison
Pocket Books, 1958
from the collection of es

A good friend of ours has cancer–the late-stage, not-very-posterchild-like kind–and he and his wife have to cowboy up on a daily basis. I can’t always . . . → Read More: Cowboy Up; or, Cowboy Fact #21

Gunlock; or, From Cowboy to Taxi Driver

In times of moral confusion, I turn to my collection of a gajillion western paperbacks from the 1940s and 1950s*. Their bold colors and bolder titles (such as Action by Night, Gunsmoke Justice, Dig the Spurs Deep) bring me back to my center. Good/bad. Right/wrong. Yes/no.

The one-two punch of pulp writers, who must have banged these . . . → Read More: Gunlock; or, From Cowboy to Taxi Driver

Shooting from the Hip; or, What Every Candidate Needs to Know

Shoot from the Hip, copyright es 2008, based on Italian movie poster for A Fistful of Dollars

Everyone’s jumping on the presidential and vice presidential candidates: too cool, too hot-tempered, too much woman, too little man. And like a phantom, the Mythic Cowboy rides through before fading away into the mists of the collective . . . → Read More: Shooting from the Hip; or, What Every Candidate Needs to Know

Cowboys and Aliens

Today’s real world has finally caught up to space westerns–the one place in the universe you could reliably find ethnically diverse crews, competent leaders who just happened to be female, and people of color who weren’t comic relief or cannon fodder. Whether you are red or blue, Campaign 2008 should be cause for back-slapping triumph and puffs of . . . → Read More: Cowboys and Aliens