My Work

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Reflection or Anticipation

In the ancient days, maybe during the time of Mesopotamia, spring was a time of anticipation with the greening, growing earth responding to all the warmth and water. Winter, the new-year if you will, was more often a time of reflection. How did we do as a species, as a people, as a family, or more often, as the one?

On reflection (bad me), possibly that’s where the idea of resolutions came into play. This particular part of our life might possibly be a bit nicer if we did this or behaved that way, or eliminated the part entirely. For myself? I talk too much. Imagine that. Patty, too often has to say, “Will you just listen for once!!!”

I also have a strong tendency toward arrogance. Read the directions? Yes, I do. Follow the direction? Why? I know what I’m doing. Oops. My mother was one of those people who rarely saw imperfections in her children. Praise heaped on praise leads one to eventually believe what’s being said. A fair IQ coupled with easily attained good grades if I wanted them added to my current level of believed supremacy. See what I mean?

I have a good sense of humor and coupled with a smart ass attitude has managed to get me in deep doo-doo more than once. There was that night at the Bucket of Blood Saloon … no, no. There were those nights at the Stage Stop Saloon … no, no. Well, there was the time I made Dickie Smothers laugh. And Dick Martin used one of my jokes in his show once.

I’m not sure I really want to change any of that. Patty calls me ‘interesting’. That’s cool. If Mom were still alive she’d have autographed copies of all my books and drive the neighbors nuts talking about her famous son, the author. That’s cool. My brother, who lives in Colorado still has me on his Christmas card list. That’s cool.

Yup, no big bad resolutions for this year. My moment of reflection is taken care of, now, dammit, let there be the anticipation of spring, warm sun, good water, and trout in the streams.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Winter. Pagan Party Time?

The concept of a winter festival dates back before the Romans and usually had more to do with the winter solstice than anything resembling today’s religions, and evolved into a Christian holiday.

Today, if you look around, this holiday and festival period has devolved back to a pagan party. Drive through the neighborhoods, walk through shopping centers, and watch television, you will not see very much religion. For that matter, most of the music you’ll hear will be winter related, not Christ related despite the name, Christmas Holiday.

When the earliest people recognized the winter solstice as being the day with the least amount of daylight, and that the following days’ light increased slightly one to the next, it was obviously party time. The next solar year was under way, and they needed to celebrate that. It was a gradual moving ahead, advancing toward the awakening with the arrival of the spring equinox.

Our most ancient ancestors lived by the solar year. They planted, hunted, married, and bred their animals based on where the sun was in the sky. Grand monuments exist even today to attest to that. Think Stonehenge, and many traditional farmers around the world depend on the ancient solar year knowledge.

But, let’s get back to the party thing. Norse, that is Viking, invaders wee probably the last of the Europeans to continue the winter solstice pagan rituals and brought many of those into their invaded lands. Yuletide became Christmastide, for instance. The original Yule log and its burning was pagan as was the hanging of evergreen wreaths.

The Roman church found that it was far easier to incorporate pagan holidays into their religious program than to deny converts their pagan holidays and festivals. Think Saturnalia for example. Whew.

Regardless of what it is you’re celebrating, on or about December 21st, the world will welcome the winter solstice and six weeks later the ground hog will tell us there will be another six weeks of winter, and then six weeks later we will celebrate the spring equinox. Funny how that works.

The idea of the days getting longer brought joy to the so-called pagan world, and today, the period around the winter solstice brings warm fuzzy feelings to businesses across this vast nation of ours.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Lodge Night Frolics

A bunch of us were sitting at the bar at our lodge the other night after I mouthed off about something during the meeting. “You talk almost as much as you write,” one of the guys said. I had to chuckle at that. I spent so many years in radio talking up a storm that it seems to flow with little outside help. As a newsman, writing was something one did if one wanted a paycheck on Friday.

“You don’t have much trouble grabbing a wrench, old son,” I replied, signaling our barman brother for another round. He nodded and the light came on. He was always first to help a brother if his truck broke down or the fridge quit.

“Yup,” he said. “It’s what I do.” We sipped a bit and he continued. “So, what do you like writing the most? For me, I’d rather work on an older car than these new-fangled jobby-dos.”

“News is good to write but sometimes it’s difficult to keep your own opinion to yourself. Novels are very gratifying, particularly when you write ‘the end’ on that last page, but short stories, there you’ve got lots of problems.”

“Why?” A couple of the old boys asked at the same time, and I kind of understood the question. “Seems like a little old short story would be easier to write than a big old long novel,” Pinky said.

“Seems like it,” I said. “But, just ain’t so. With brevity in every part of your mind you tell just the essence of a particular instance in someone’s life or situation when writing a short story, while writing a novel, you tell the entire life and all the situations.”

“You got a favorite short story?” I think it was old man Peebles that asked. I’d autographed three of my novels for him and remembered him saying that he’d never really read many short stories. He said something about they end too soon.

“Actually, I have several that I really enjoyed writing. Two that you can get right now are available on Amazon. Others were published in magazines and would be difficult to find. I really enjoyed writing Miss Minerva’s Sheriff. It was part of an anthology but it is available as a stand alone short story.” I wrote down the Amazon URL for the guys.

“The other one that tickles me came out last year at about this same time in a holiday anthology. You might remember when we took that ride into the mountains to cut Christmas trees for those families that couldn’t afford one for themselves and I read it out loud. Slick’s Special Christmas.”

“You’re always reading something out loud,” Peebles laughed. “I remember that, though. It’s still available?’

“Yup,” I said and wrote down the URL for them.

“You see, guys, telling the story is the most fun I get from all this. That sheriff never knew what hit him when Minerva came to town, but the entire episode had to be told quickly, and long involved details weren’t important to the crux of the matter.

“Same with Slick. He was tore up bad, bleeding, infected, and what happened to him two weeks later wasn’t important. What was important was what was happening at that moment in time. That’s the pleasure and the pain of the short story.”

“Well, just quit talking, now,” old man Peebles said, laughing right out loud. “Drink your beer and we’ll just sit here quietly and think about all this.”

I didn’t say a word, just motioned to our barman brother for another round of cold ones.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Mele Kalikimaka

The holiday season is fast approaching and I thought maybe we could have a quick discussion about some of the aspects of this particular season. Our ancestors thousands of generations past whooped it up some from the winter solstice to the spring equinox and it seems as though we’ve forgotten the concept of having fun. If it doesn’t have something to do with either spending money or making money, it doesn’t exist.

As an example: Black Friday. The initial attack on Thanksgiving was the major box stores putting up Christmas decorations a week or so before Halloween, thus taking a lot of the fun out of celebrating All Hallow’s Eve. But by slamming every square space in retail outlets with Christmas all through the month of November, they diminished the celebration of Thanksgiving.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving was a time for family, for celebrating the harvest, for giving thanks for what we have and for that which we strive. There was some fight by many who wanted the Thanksgiving pleasures, but those that make money and those that spend money fought harder. Thus: Black Friday.

And they weren’t through. If they started the Black Friday sales early, such as maybe on Thursday, Thanksgiving would be but a memory, for in our society today, making it to a sale is far more important than having the family sitting together spinning tales of yesteryear.

As I write this little missive, we are a full two weeks from Thanksgiving and I saw an advertisement this morning for a pre-Black Friday sale to begin tomorrow. All of the blame for this cannot be laid at the feet of the retailer for it is not the retailer that responds to the sales.

With Thanksgiving wiped off the calendar, there is now no less than nine weeks in which to entice us to buy, and buy we will. Whether we buy Christmas gifts or Holiday gifts, or Seasonal gifts, we’ll buy, and in droves.

Obviously Christmas began as a Christian celebration but was absorbed into general society easily since non-Christians were already celebrating the winter solstice with their parties and hooplas. Simple gift-giving has changed slightly more than exponentially over the last two thousand years or so. The gift, it seems, is meaningless. It’s the sale that counts.

If you took the words Christmas, Holiday, and Seasonal out of the picture, took any nine-week period in the calendar, and spent the effort and money that is spent on what we call the holiday period, you would have the same affect. No one seems to give two hoots and a holler about Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the winter solstice. No, it’s the sales that are far more important.

Madison Avenue has not won yet. Advantage: MA. But there are still beat up old zealots like myself fighting them off. I’m not the biggest Halloween nut you’ve ever seen, but I do enjoy the fun of it. I am a Thanksgiving nut and really get into the idea of having lots of family around and spending many hours in the kitchen and at the table.

The winter solstice parties evolving in the Christmas celebrations are big-time around our household, with lights blazing, Yule logs burning, and of course, the Wassail cup must be full at all times. The gifting? That’s fun, but not the driving force. It’s the music, seasonal or religious, and the gay colors and lights, long nights with roaring fires, and family and friends.

Mele Kalikimaka.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Nevada Day ... Why?

Abraham Lincoln signed the papers making Nevada a state on October 31, 1864 and we celebrate that wonderful moment on the fourth Friday of October as a holiday, and then on Saturday, a grand array of special events in the Capitol city, Carson City. A parade, championship hard rock drilling contests, magnificent beard contests, and an opportunity to just have fun.

Only a few states celebrate their admission to this fine Union and I hope Nevada never lets it simply fade away. Every state feels itself unique in some way, and those of us in the Silver State have lots to talk about in that respect. It was the discovery of silver in the Virginia Range that old Henry Comstock declared was his, thus the Comstock Lode, that is basically the reason Nevada became a state.

The area belonged to Spain, then Mexico, and finally, the good old USofA. It was part of Utah Territory, then became Western Utah Territory, then Nevada Territory, and as now, the State of Nevada. Silver was king, cattle and sheep were economic drivers, and the along came Las Touristas and legalized gaming.

Those three today are still the economic drivers of the state. Nevada is the largest producer of gold in the Americas, North, South, and Central. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that there were news releases each year proudly proclaiming that there were more cattle in the state than people, and today, those same newspapers declare the number of tourists that visited set new records.

Only one river in Nevada can say its waters make it to the Pacific Ocean, all the others drain to a lake in the state, go underground to an aquifer, or settle in a sink. The Owyhee is a tributary of the Snake River, which flows into the Columbia River, which mixes with the saline of the Pacific.

Three major rivers, the Walker, Carson, and Truckee have their beginnings in California. Some say the Virgin begins in Utah. The Colorado of course flows through several states and two countries. It’s the Humboldt River that’s homegrown, beginning at what is called the Humboldt Wells. A town grew up near those wells, called itself Wells, then moved when the railroad came through to take advantage of that economic driver. It’s still called Wells.

The Great Basin National Park is home to Lehman Caves, and parts of the Death Valley National Park are inside the state. Hoover Dam is pretty impressive as is Lake Mead, and the largest Lahontan Cutthroat Trout ever was caught at Pyramid Lade.

Sarah Winnemucca was the first Native American to have a book published, the Black Rock Desert has been home to mastadons and burners, and the city of Las Vegas glorifies in its massive over-use of water.

Well, there you are. This is why we celebrate Nevada Day. If you run into me in Carson City Saturday, be sure to say howdy-doo.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fire in the Mountains, Run Boys, Run

That was a pretty good little scare we had on Friday. A wildfire burning across a mountainside close enough that some of our neighbors were put on alert to evacuate the premises. Black smoke billowed from burning brush and piñon pine, cedar, and sage. Controlling anxiety, panic, is most important in a situation like this, and most difficult.

Were we ready? Patty and I have discussed what to do in the event of a wildfire forcing us out. If it were just us, it would sure as hell be easier. Grab the laptops, some documents, a change of clothes, jump in the truck, and go. We have two horses, a dozen or more rabbits, and eight chickens. And one overweight, elderly dog.

Those little problems weren’t enough for us to contemplate yesterday. Our truck was in the hospital and we didn’t have access to it. This was our wake-up call. Our so-called battle plan just went the way of Dunkirk. It wasn’t a battle plan any longer, and it has forced us to seriously face reality.

We know we can’t bring the rabbits and chickens to safety. Maybe a few, but the rest will have to be set free and hope they can survive. Our horses must be brought out. The plan has been altered and over the next few weeks we will hone it down to a workable battle plan.

What goes? What stays? Prepare a kit that can go in the truck, if it’s available, and in either saddlebags or back packs if it’s not. If the truck’s available, Patty takes the most important stuff, what few rabbits and chickens we can get in cages, the dog, and flees. I take bare necessities, ride Poco and pony Sundance, and ride for safety.

If no truck, we each ride for safety with saddlebags and back packs full of most important stuff.

As far as safety goes, being on the horses will be far safer than moving with traffic trying to flee the conflagration.  We can go cross country and they can’t, we won’t be caught up in road rage problems, and you know they will exist, and we can base our direction on what the fire and wind is telling us, not just where pavement has been laid.

It’s the being ready that’s most important right now, because we discovered the stark truth that we were not ready Friday. The fire was almost close enough to feel, fire retardant had been laid behind homes that were close enough to be seen easily. Sheriff’s deputies were telling those people to pack it up. And we weren’t ready.

If there’s a next time, and living in northern Nevada you can bet there will be a next time, we will be ready.  Fire moves fast, has no friends, no will of it’s own. Que sera sera.

To everyone who offered help and good thoughts, thank you, thank you. We’re safe and out of harm’s way, this time.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Score One or a Score

It was in the Viking era that one of today’s less used words or terms came into existence. At the time, it would have been considered most useful. They spelled it skor and we spell it score. It meant to make a mark, that is score or scratch a mark, maybe on a piece of wood, a stone, or something that would be kept. That mark or skor, represented twenty.

So, if you were running cattle in Iceland you would hold a stick in one hand and your knife in the other and as the cattle came through the gate you would make one mark on that stick for every twenty that moved through. We hold little clickers in our hands today and are not any more accurate than the Norseman in 823 AD counting his cattle or sheep or pigs.

In the 1800s, a twenty dollar gold piece was also called a score. To ‘score’ meant you came into possession of twenty bucks by some means or another. Of course ‘to score’ today has an entirely different meaning and may cost you far more than twenty bucks.

Words and how we use them are not set in stone. Trying to read Olde English makes that point understood. Even trying to read the relatively later English spoken by those living at the time of the American Revolution, can be difficult. It is also sadly ironic that many today with a limited knowledge of the language condemn immigrants for not speaking perfect English upon arriving on our shores.

A writer attempting to write in the vernacular of a specific area or era can find nothing but alligators and crocodiles waiting to pounce. If one lives in the hills of West Virginia and tries to write as those living there speak, it should work out fine. If one lives in northern Nevada, has never been to the hills of West Virginia or even known someone from there, it is best not to try to write in the vernacular. You would not score a victory.

Our language changes constantly, generation to generation. In 1870 someone having a gay time means something vastly different than today’s gay time. When reading the Dime Novels of the 1800s one will often find phrases and words that don’t seem to make sense and it takes a little getting used to finding them. It’s like reading Shakespeare for the first time. What am I reading? What does that mean?

Jump now to the year 2210 and picture yourself with a reading instrument of some kind and you’re reading a Ralph Cotton western. Fugm, fugm all, he said, and you say, What? I think it’s time for me to try to score a cold beer. Or a score.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Of Fear and Despair

This is the time of year that is filled with hope and fear of despair. That may not seem likely unless you, too are one who plants a garden each year. You wait, just as the seed package advises, until the last frost before planting, but that is an unknown time in these parts. It could be the end of April, the middle of May, or even the first week or so of June. There’s the despair.

The ground is worked, the rotted manure is spread and tilled in, seeds are ready, and the forecasts change daily. Rows are plotted out, maps are drawn, and the only thing missing is that last frost. When will we feel safe? Tomorrow? Next week? Next month?

Pity the farmer who doesn’t have an out. No, not a greenhouse, but something that takes up the time that would be spent working in that beautiful garden, filled with green and yellow and red things that taste good and are good for you. In my case, I’m lucky to be a writer. I pound on this keyboard until my fingertips ache. I learned to type way back in the fifties on an ancient Royal. I don’t have the foggiest idea how someone can type with finger’s pads. One must pound those keys, with emphasis, using fingertips.

No one typing before the advent of electric machines and now computers had elegantly styled fingernails. They wouldn’t last through the morning’s memos. When spring arrives, I spend the first two or three hours in the office, say from 5:30 to about 8:30, writing the next great American novel, but unlike the winter or mid summer, at scene breaks or chapter breaks, I’m running outside moving the water, chasing those pesky cottontails, or shooing off the ravens.

The seeds are in, I have trust in NOA, that is, the weather bureau, and we’ve had our last frost. But have we? The furrows are geometric designs for the ages, the water system covers everything, and now, the sprouts are emerging.

No! What do you mean cold front arriving overnight? No! I just spread the last of the straw for the chickens. I wouldn’t need it for the garden. The last frost, remember?

Come morning and the thermometer reads 41, not 31. Whew. Write two chapters and at sunrise walk through the garden, searching for that frost burned squash leaf, and can’t find one. Back to book three in the Ezekiel’s Journey series, a smile, not a frown, and the garden is safe for one more night.

The sprouts take form, get strong, grow toward the sun, the corn will be thigh high on the Fourth of July, and the cucumbers and melons will mature, beans will grow long and sweet, and pea pods will fill nicely. Spring is finally over, the garden made it one more time, but I’m not sure about my id.

The garden is green and orange and yellow and red, Ezekiel’s Journey book three now has more than 20,000 words and a new character, Terrence Corcoran is born and his first book has about 5,000 words pounded into its manuscript. In the summer, it’s a case of doing the proper amount of watering, getting down on your hands and knees ripping those blasted weeds from their homes, and picking what’s ripe for tonight’s meal.

The words flow, the garden grows, and there is no fear of Jack Frost. Oh, spring, you tease and taunt, and from time to time you let me win. It’s a time of fear and despair, and at 5,000 feet above sea level in northern Nevada, sometimes, joy.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
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Friday, May 12, 2017

Big Eight-Wheeler is Steaming

I just barely got the engine to turn over and it’s already the most incredible ride I’ve ever even conceived. I think it would be safe to assume that anyone who gets a piece of work published has the words “best seller” dancing about in the head bone. But for it to really happen? That’s for the S. Kings of the world.

I’ve been living in the stratosphere of the publishing world for well over a month now and ranking results seem to get better each day. In addition to the two books leading the pack, my other westerns are getting a good look as well and their rankings are climbing daily.

It is Jack Slater, Orphan Train to Cattle Baron that got this big eight-wheeler steaming down the tracks. It climbed into the bestseller ranks as a YA novel and within days was accepted in the general western categories for adults and YA. My wife has a wonderful way of keeping me halfway grounded.

“Hey you,” she hollers from the back porch. “Yes, you, internationally acclaimed best selling author, it’s time to muck out the corrals. Get to it, cowboy.” With a square nose muck stick and a wheel barrow I know my place in the world. She’s my love for the rest of our lives. She even lets me wash the dishes. Often.

One month after Jack Slater hit the stacks and the best seller lists, Wolfpack Publishing released Ezekiel’s Journey, and within days it was in the bestseller lists at Amazon.

I was all set to put some magnetic signs on the old flatbed and drive around proclaiming this wonderful status I’m coming to enjoy when I got a little note, in cursive, thank you. Patty left it on my half-empty coffee cup. “Better get that tractor warmed up and get the corn patch ready, buster. Quit burnin’ daylight, cowboy.”

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
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Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Western Book is Alive and Well

I'm going to convert this from a standard blog to one in which I discuss writing, my writing, and promote others as well.
For instance, this is the cover of my latest novel. It is basically a YA, that is, young adult novel, but has been well received by adults as well. It is riding high on Amazon lists and has received two good reviews already.

Jack Slater became orphaned at ten when his parents were killed in a buggy crash. He wandered the streets of New York until a copper with a soft heart turned him over to the Children's Aid Society. They ran the orphan trains from the mid 1800s until well into the 1900s, finding homes for thousands of children with farming and ranching families living on the frontier.

Some have called this story hearwarming. Others have used the word uplifting. Jack has a unique outlook on life, doesn't understand the work quit, spends a great amount of time making friends. Be careful, he's just liable to grab your heart, too.
Jacob Chance, U.S. Marshal was my first published western novel and is close to my heart. He's always believed that he was a loner and then was sent to a little podunk of a village in Nevada to clean up a land fraud problem. Yup, this big old law-dog met a pretty girl and she roped him, dragged him to the fire and put her brand smack dab on him.

He did clean up the town, retired from the Marshal Service, took up a homestead and started to raise a family. Then his brother in law went outlaw.
Jacob Chance put the badge back in place and chased the man down. He visits many little communities spread across Nevada's high mountain desert. Blizzards, attempts on his life, and a lack of food tend to slow him down, but he continues the pursuit. Back in Preston, Nevada, there is chaos and Chance returns home in time to get in the middle of that also.
Take Out The Judge wraps up the Jacob Chance trilogy, and it's a humdinger. A Nevada Supreme Court Justice's life is on the line, the same judge that Chance has tremendous respect for, and in the middle of another fierce Nevada winter, he takes on some seriously dangerous, selfish, very rich people looking to take out the judge.

Coming soon, a three book series starting with Ezekiel's journey. Ezekiel Hawthorne has the internal strength of giants, a heart big enough to forgive even those wishing him dead, and a love for a half Shoshone woman that would last through eternity. He carves his way into Oregon history, helping bring the territory to statehood.

You'll meet Terrence Corcoran, sometimes lawman, sometimes pain in back side, soemtimes lover, who rides the open range of 1870s Nevada. His first novel will be called, Name's Corcoran, Terrence Corcoran. Watch for it.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular.

Johnny Gunn
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Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Hows and Whys of an Amazon Best Seller

With the wonderful acceptance of my latest novel, Jack Slater, Orphan Train to Cattle Barron, I thought it might be fun to discuss some of the background and little points of interest in the book. First off, of course, are the orphan trains. These were operated by the Children’s Aid Society in New York City. It’s estimated that as many as 200,000 orphaned or abandoned children were moved from the east coast to homes and families in the hinterlands of the western frontier between 1854 and 1929.

That’s an incredible number. The Children’s Aid Society was founded by Charles Loring Brace in 1853. The 1850s were bad, but it was following the Civil War that the numbers of orphaned and abandoned children soared. Stories have been written about some of the children who grew up to be civic, business, and political leaders in their adopted communities.

It was a combination of stories that the concept of Jack Slater began to form. The greatest majority of the children that rode the trains to their new homes and families found warmth and love, hard work and plentiful food, but I couldn’t let Jack have that kind of happiness. He was a feisty, strong willed boy with an incredible sense of personal responsibility. No, he had to ride into an atmosphere of cold, fear, and depredation.

It was those personal characteristics that kept him alive and made him into the man he became, allowed him to find two strong loves, and become a community leader. Which brings us to one of the fun parts of the book. Fun, that is, from my point of view as the writer. He settled in a wonderful valley south of Elko, Nevada that is home of many fine cattle ranches today. The grass is high and rich, the water is pure and cold.

Slater met a man named Paddock who lived in a little town called Skelton and bought some land from the man for his ranch. Paddock said he named the town after his mother, which Slater found rather humorous. Those of us that wander all over this great state of Nevada are rather familiar with Skelton even if we don’t immediately recognize the name. Today, we call it Jiggs, Nevada. The saloon is closed, but the sign always says open. Paddock’s story about naming the town after his mother is real. It’s history.

On his travels Jack made numerous friends, including the first sheriff of Deadwood, sat at the table where Wild Bill met his end, and participated in protecting the herd of one of Wyoming’s first major cattle ranches.

I have to say, of all the stories I’ve written over the years, this one was plain old fashioned fun to write. I took on the character and just let it flow, and apparently the currents and eddies were adequately postulated. Jack Slater, Orphan Train to Cattle Barron is an Amazon Best Seller, my first best seller. Thank you, Jack, it’s been a fun ride on that old train.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Daylight Saving Time? Not Again!

Stand by. We’re about to start that adventure known as Daylight Saving Time. Note, it is not Daylight Savings Time. We’ll hear all the arguments once again about how someone’s entire life is threatened by this change of deleting an hour here and then adding an hour there, and, oh my God, what will I do?

The idea of lengthening the amount of daylight toward the end of the day started back in 1895 in New Zealand and became popular in Europe during the WWI. It’s not universal, it’s not even practiced in all fifty United States.

Farmers still start work in the dark and quit at sunset. The animals don’t know what a clock is anyway, and neither do the fish. Those that work seven to four-thirty have more time to ruin a good BBQd steak, more time to play softball, more time to drown a worm or two. Those that live for a good sunrise just have to wait a bit longer according to the clock. There is no space-time shift, just an advance of Mickey’s big hand by one revolution.

About that sunrise. Because of the earth’s tilt on it axis, sunrise is at a different time every day anyway. So is sunset. Summer days have more sunlight no matter what the clock says. Does DST save energy as some proclaim. Not in my household. I get up at five every morning, so on standard time I will have lights burning until daylight. On Daylight time, I will have lights burning until daylight.

Canada was the first to introduce DST back in 1916. The German Empire joined in 1917, and the good old US of A came aboard in 1918. The concept faded away following WWI and then came back strong during WWII. It was on its way out when the so-called energy crisis of 1970 hit and proponents of the concept kept it alive.

There are ways to make DST fun. Assume the position of official clock taker care of in your household, and then don’t do it but indicate that you did. Be prepared for a severe beating. Put up signs in the office that say: “Spring back, Fall ahead”. Computers ruin some of the fun by changing automatically. I wonder what the computers do about Arizona, a state that does not make the switch?

The kids complain about having to catch the bus while it’s still dark. Oh, poor little darlings. Most of us had to trudge fifteen miles or more through snowdrifts as high as the telephone poles, didn’t we?

The change this year is Sunday, March 12. Oh my God, what will I do?

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
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Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Blsuhing Geisha for Valentine's Day

This is one of those really strange days set aside that isn’t really a holiday. Many believe it was created by Hallmark and the candy heart manufacturers, but history teaches us even less. Named after a Catholic saint it is believed to date to pre-church Rome. Whatever. It is to be celebrated by boys and girls madly in love with each other, at least for the moment. Candle-lit dinners with sweet music lullabying nearby, after enjoying a Blushing Geisha.

That’s what you read, and here it is.

·  2 ounces TyKu Liqueur
·  1 ounce pomegranate juice
·  2 ounces rose nectar

Seems there is a whole mess of cocktails just for Valentine’s Day. Amarula and Eve and Red Lotus are on the menu also. Go here if you don’t believe me. After all, I’m just the messenger.
I also read somewhere that we should hold a dinner party and have a festive dance party afterward.

Yes, Valentine’s Day is set aside for the romantic, soft music, love candles burning gently, cards dripping with gooey sentimentality.

Wait just a minute, there. Al Capone didn’t think so, and he didn’t offer any heart shaped candy or biliously sweet greeting cards when he had the North Side Irish wiped out in 1929.  There were no cocktails offered, however booze was at the heart of the matter, if you’ll allow that little pun.

Twenty-nine dead on February 14, 1929 in Chicago. Hell, they do that daily in the windy city now-a-days. Pick up a gun on any street corner and fire away, because, dear heart, Chicago has the fiercest gun control laws in the nation.

You’re still stuck on the Amarula and Eve, eh? Okay, fine.

Amarula & Eve

·  1 1/2 oz Amarula Cream
·  1/2 oz citrus vodka​
·  2 1/2 oz lychee juice
·  3/4 oz ruby red grapefruit juice
·  Lychee fruit for garnish

Back to the mushy cards. Supposedly back in the middle ages people sang their romantic greetings to each other rather than sending cards since most couldn’t read during that period. Cards, when they began to emerge, sometime in the 1400s, were of course hand made, so I guess the celebration day itself was probably not originated by Hallmark after all.

Well, cowboy, that’s enough for right now. I’m going out to the corral, sing a little romantic ditty to Poco Rojo and offer him a romantic supper of alfalfa and my undying love. Then, I’m going to make dinner for my child bride, put Mozart on the Victrola, and flirt with her, outrageiously.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
Will you join me on facebook from time to time?
Or Tweet with me, darlin’?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Are We Off to See the Wizard?

I’m sitting in the office looking out a large south-facing window into several inches of fresh snow coating everything in sight, wondering what might our future hold, as a nation, as a people? This little entry in my blog-world isn’t going to be political nor will I reach any conclusions, but, hopefully may evoke some thought.

I’ve been around for many years, lived through ten different presidencies so far, and now the eleventh is taking his turn amid considerable turmoil. The last president we elected who did not come from the ranks of politics was Dwight D. Eisenhower, who came from the battlefields of Europe. Donald Trump is coming from the boardrooms of big business.

That means that nine of our last eleven presidents were professional politicians. Harry Truman had a limited small business background and Jimmie Carter had a farming background, as well as a military background.

What does any of that mean in regards to Mr. Trump? We’ll simply have to wait and see. There are strong forces that believe we are going to be fine, that our future is rosy, that the economy will spike, and all will be sugar and sweet cream. There are equally strong forces that decry the election as bogus, false, ugly, and will lead to the destruction of our country.

Too often we tend to forget that our constitution was written by men who seemed to foresee many of the problems that have cropped up over the last many centuries, and wrote the document in such a way that the president doesn’t really have as much power as we think. Obstacles such as congress and the Supreme Court tend to slow a president’s arbitrary moves more often than is supposed.

The economy has been lethargic for some time and needs a good kick in the butt. Can Mr. Trump’s business background bring that about? Will he come up with programs that small and large businesses can get behind? Wages have not kept up with inflation for many years while top executive and management incomes have risen dramatically. Is that a problem the president should address? If it is, will he?

For a generation, since the presidency of George W. Bush, this country has been at war. For more than sixteen years, many believe, this country has operated without a firm foreign policy, and our population has been fed war-fodder lies, according to many. Is President Trump going to be able to formulate a foreign policy that the population can be proud of?

The questions of our military attacking people in foreign countries that we are not at war with need to be answered, according to a large percentage of the population. Questions of the CIA acting as a military force in foreign countries we are not at war with need to be addressed also according to many.

These are the kinds of questions that our working press should have been asking of all those men and women who attempted to run for the nation’s highest office in this last election period. Our free press has failed miserably in my opinion, has too often become the mouthpiece of one side or another, and not lived up to the high standards we should demand.

Another failure that we have had to endure for too many years is congress. Our representatives in the house and senate have abrogated their basic responsibilities, allowed several administrations to bully their agendas into practice, and not acted in a responsible manner. Will a congress and presidency representing the same political philosophy help or hinder during the next four years? It hasn’t always been helpful in the past.

We’re entering a new concept in American government, one not fully supported by a strong majority, and questions of race relations, education, economics, and foreign intrigue dominate. Mr. Trump is the president of the United States. I’m thinking it might be fun to save this little missive and reread it four years from now and see if any of these questions have been answered.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
Will you join me on facebook from time to time?
Or Tweet with me, darlin’?