Here is a great one!

February 10, 2009

 

Snakey Joe Post, Guardian Of The Treasure

Written by Richard Lapidus

Here is what Ben had to say.

This volume by Richard Lapidus is a truly fascinating account of a remarkable young man, Joe Post, who has no formal education but possesses uncanny common sense and has an intense admiration for all of God’s creatures.  In fact, he likes animals so well that he lives his life as a strict vegetarian.

 

One day Joe Post accidentally discovers a treasure of incalculable value.  Oddly, he wants nothing to do with it, but, being the sort of man that he is, he ultimately realizes that he must do everything he can to protect it from the ruthless cowboys who robbed the bank in Monterrey and plundered the sacred cathedral in Matamoros.

 

The story of this fabulous treasure is quite prominent in southeast Arizona history.  Legend tells that this treasure (consisting of pouches of dazzling gemstones, bars of gold, sacks of silver and gold coins, and life size solid gold statues of the Virgin Mary and Christ child) came from a raid that a large number of cowboys made on a church and a bank deep in Old Mexico.  They brought it north and buried it on the Haslett brothers’ ranch in southern New Mexico.

 

Author Lapidus places Joe Post and all his unusual friends (including a beautiful Apache girl, a fallen Angel named Stormy Jones and all kinds of animals) right into Arizona history, telling their story with Tombstone and its characters as background in their adventures.

 

The author has created a most outstanding book.  He calls it a novel—but he has included more good Tombstone history in it than most historians will ever write.  It is a book that readers of all ages and interests will enjoy.  I know that it is the most interesting and enjoyable novel that I have read in a very long time.

 

This introduction was written by  BEN T. TRAYWICK, TOMBSTONE TOWN HISTORIAN

**Arizona In The ’50s Learn More at my blog

 http://azinthe50s.wordpress.com/

 


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The World Of Love

May 9, 2009

from Irise Lapidus

“Love doesn’t make the world go round..
Love is what makes the ride worthwhile…”

To Those I Love

May 9, 2009

from Irise Lapidus

May the fleas of a thousand camels
infest the crotch of the person who
screws up your day…and may their
arms be too short to scratch !!!
AMEN

Just A Little Help Lord

May 6, 2009

from Irise Lapidus

Dear Lord,
I have not gossiped, lost my temper, been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or self-indulgent. I have not whined, complained, cursed, or eaten any chocolate. I have charged nothing on my credit card.

But…I will be getting out of bed in a minute and I think I will really need your help then.

MONSTERS IN THE OLD WEST

May 6, 2009

Written by Richard Lapidus

Amongst the outlaws, lawmen, cacti and mesquite, scorpions and rattlesnakes roamed a creature so famously terrible that the mere sight of it brought tremors and fear to some of the bravest and baddest hombres in Arizona Territory. Unlike the rattlesnake, which would likely sound a warning, or the scorpion, which would generally hide during daylight hours, gila monsters were believed to be aggressive, deadly and behind every boulder. In actuality, they were none of those things.

With the word “monster” in their name, it is not surprising that there would be many myths and legends relating to North America’s largest lizard. Even their scientific name, Heloderma suspectum, loosely translates to suspect with the terrible skin. Animals having red in their coloration, such as certain wasps and snakes, also seem to elicit fear in humans. The gila monster is large, up to three feet, and is colored with bumpy skin of red (or orange) and black. It is a myth that they are aggressive. For a lizard, they are rather slow and clumsy. However, the belief that they will bite and hang on with long teeth and powerful jaws, is factual. But they don’t attack unless provoked.

Although gila monsters are one of two venomous lizards, it is a major rarity that their bite is fatal. Tombstone’s famous Doctor George Emery Goodfellow heard many stories about the deadly nature of these reptiles. His curiosity caused him to collect a few specimens for study. Eventually he irritated one into biting him so he could analyze the effects. The bite forced Goodfellow into bed for five days, but his conclusions were weighted on the side of the lizard. “The belief in the [deadly] poisonous nature of the lizard [is] purely mythical and superstitious, the remnant of primitive man’s antagonism to all creepy things.”

When Doc Goodfellow discovered that two deaths, which were attributed to the bite of gila monsters, were actually due to acute alcoholism, he published his work, “The Gila Monster,” in Scientific American.

Many images of gila monsters were captured by pioneer photographers in Arizona. Here are a couple from my collection.

The Dreaded Gila Monster

The Dreaded Gila Monster

Gila Monster And Other Creatures

Gila Monster And Other Creatures

KOMODO DRAGONS

May 6, 2009

Written by Richard Lapidus

Komodo Dragons are very special lizards. I hadn’t seen one in person in a very long time, so when I visited the San Diego Zoo yesterday I made a point of stopping by the Komodo Dragon enclosure.

The specimen that was out (not seeking shelter from the weather or the gawkers) was nothing short of magnificent. It is not necessary to create a Jurassic Park to see what dinosaurs looked like. A quick viewing of an adult Komodo Dragon is all it takes. This specimen was at least twelve feet long and two hundred pounds. It seemed to wear a smirk that said, “Oh Yeah, oh yeah human chump. I’m the king of all lizards and there’s no other like me.”

As a life-long reptile enthusiast, I have had a few monitor lizards as pets, but their only similarities to the Komodos is their general shape and habits. The difference in size is like a kitty cat to a lion. (Or like a fence swift to a velociraptor.)

Some say that the Komodos are venomous. Wild specimens have so much bacteria in their mouths from eating (anything!) carrion, that their bite is deadly. Scientists do not classify them as venomous, but who cares? I’d rather get bitten by a rattlesnake then by a Komodo, for when they bite, they grab with long sharp teeth and powerful jaws, and they shake their big heads. You have to know that some body parts of the victim are coming off.

One of my sons read a book years ago, where the author, Douglas Adams, travelled around the world searching for unique oddities. One such place he visited was the island of Komodo in Indonesia. My son was thrilled and amazed by the description of the author’s observations. It is my goal to oneday take my son to see these amazing lizards in the wild.

Until then, we can’t beat the Komodo Dragon exhibit at the San Diego Zoo.

Komodo Dragons

Komodo Dragons

Proud Komodo Dragons

Proud Komodo Dragons

JAGUARS IN ARIZONA…

March 30, 2009

Wriiten by Author Richard Lapidus
Not the cars (although they are certainly cool), the big spotted cats. Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. When I learned that they were occasionally encountered in southeastern Arizona I nearly freaked. I had been a cat lover as a kid, and I once almost bought an ocelot as a pet.
Jaguars are the largest cats in North America, sometimes attaining a length of 9 feet (including tail), and a weight of 350 lbs. They resemble the Old World leopard, but the jaguars are larger. Although spotted like many other cats, jaguars’ spots are arranged like flowers or rosettes with a dark spot in the middle. Their ground color is usually tan or light orange. They are imposing creatures to regard.
Jaguars were much more common in Arizona before the turn of the Twentieth Century. An exhibit at the Chiricahua National Monument visitor’s center explains that they once roamed those and other ranges close to the Mexican border. Today they are seen only occasionally in Arizona and their sightings are sometimes chronicled in articles or books. They range from our border to most of South America.
These are ferocious cats, but they don’t seem to attack humans. They’re known for feeding on javalina, tapirs, capybaras, deer, birds and sometimes fish.
As an adult, I’m glad I never purchased that ocelot I wanted so badly. A visit to a tiger rescue facility near Riverside, California proves that big exotic cats should never become pets. All manner of exotic felines exist in this facility, having been disgarded by their (sometimes famous) owners.
It is an amazing opportunity to see a jaguar in their natural habitat. To possibly encounter one in Arizona is an amazing opportunity.

A Note From The Tinker:
Richard Lapidus displays his fascination with jaguars in his new western novel, Snakey Joe Post, Guardian of the Treasure, by having a jaguar (he calls Luke) as a minor character. Here is an illustration from that book, drawn by Richard Ignarski, “The Gunfighter Artist.”

Luke The Jaguar In Snakey Joe Post, Guardian Of The Treasure Illustration by Richard Ignarski

'Luke' The Jaguar In Snakey Joe Post, Guardian Of The Treasure Illustration by Richard Ignarski

The Chiricahua National Monument

March 23, 2009

Written by Richard Lapidus, author of Snakey Joe Post, Gurardian Of The Treasure

One of the best-kept secrets in Arizona is the Chiricahua Nationional Monument. Let’s face it. The Grand Canyon gets all the glory (and the lion’s share of all the tourists.) Well, Arizona is the Grand Canyon State. Go there any day of the year and you can observe, among all the other wildlife, hundreds, if not thousands, of tourists, cameras in hand, wearing fanny packs, toting water bottles, standing at the edge of one of the look-outs, sometimes staggering back in fear of falling, speaking all languages and scurrying about as if on a tight schedule to get to the next Kodak spot.
Another major attraction is Sedona, with its red rock formations that seem right out of a John Ford movie, it’s scenic Oak Creek, Pink Jeep Tours all over the place, health spas, and trendy shops. They say you can experience real spirituality amongst the red rocks, and I believe that’s true if you are open to the experience.
However, for real scenery, phenomenal spirituality, and real history (both natural and cultural), I heartily recommend a visit to the Chiricahua National Monument. To go there, you will need to first find Willcox, in extreme southeastern Arizona. Once there you are only 35 miles from your destination.
On your way from Willcox to the C.N.M., take a leisurely drive along Highway 186. You will pass by the (living) ghost town of Dos Cabezas, an old mining town. You will also pass by the cut-off to Fort Bowie, and, as a side trip, it’s well worth the experience hiking there. There are many marked areas on that hike that explain events that occurred during the Apache Wars, involving, among others, Cochise, Geronimo and Tom Jeffords. You’ll also pass by many historic ranches, some of which are still owned by the same families that first settled there in the 1880s.
Once inside the C.N.M., make a stop at the visitor’s center and take the time to see the interpretive displays.
You can take a short hike on the nature trail (especially with young children), or drive up to Massai Point. The rangers at the visitor’s center can direct you. Once you get out of your vehicle in the parking lot at Massai Point, your jaw will probably drop in Amazement. Huge pillars of stone, many with balanced rocks surround you as you hike through a forested area that is so quiet, if you stand still, you can sometimes hear your heart beat.
On a moderate hike you will walk through such places as Wall Street and the heavily forested Echo Canyon. You can take a side trip to Heart of Rocks where the most famous formations stand. And don’t miss Inspiration Point, where it seems like you can see forever.
You will walk in the footsteps of the Chiricahua Apache people, on trails built during the Great Depression by the C.C.C. Up until around 1900, many mountain lions and jaguars roamed the forests there.
You will undoubtedly be surprised that on your hike you’ll pass by very few others. However, don’t be surprised if you see lots of birds, and a few birders. They will be attired with hanging binoculars, cameras, field vests and hat or cap.
Don’t forget to carry water with you on your hike.
Perhaps, after your visit, you’ll be able to explain why relatively few tourists go to this amazing place. Perhaps it’s much better for the few who do.

Map Of The Chiricahua National Monument

Map Of The Chiricahua National Monument

The Chiricahua National Monument

The Chiricahua National Monument

The Chiricahua National Monument

The Chiricahua National Monument

The Chiricahua National Monument

The Chiricahua National Monument

Ghost Town, Dos Cabezas

Ghost Town, Dos Cabezas

Massai Point, Chiricahua National Monument

Massai Point, Chiricahua National Monument

A Word About This From The Tinker
How does this relate to the Old West you may be asking yourself.
An infamous outlaw from the Tombstone boom days was John Ringo. John Ringo was found in the foothills of the Chiricahua Mountians in a cluster of Oak trees near the Turkey Creek. His grave site today has a headstone that was placed there as an historical marker in 1970. His death, a controversial suicide, was on July 12th 1882. Additionally, in the Chiricahua Mountians was the town of Galeyville, not too far from where Ringo was found sitting upright against the Oak trees. Galeyville was the home of many famous outlaws such as Billy Claibourne “Arizona Billy The Kid”, “Curley Bill” Brocius, Ike Clanton, and many other notables from the Tombstone era.
The Chiricahua National Monument is just north of the above mentioned grave site and Galeyville.

Richard Lapidus Tells

February 11, 2009

HOW I CAME TO WRITE THE NOVEL,

 SNAKEY JOE POST, GUARDIAN OF THE TREASURE

Author Richard Lapidus

By Richard Lapidus

I first came to southeastern Arizona to collect snakes in the 1970s. When I visited the Chiricahua Mountains near Willcox, I knew that this would make a wonderful setting for a western novel. I kept a small notebook in my pocket and began scribbling notes.

My travels took me to Tombstone and I was in awe of the Birdcage Theatre, the O.K. Corral and the Boot Hill Graveyard. I started buying books, and read all the history I could get about Tombstone and Cochise County.

When I read about a mysterious treasure and the cowboys who stole it, I knew I had a story to go along with the Chiricahua Mountains setting. It was fairly easy to develop a main character. That was Joe Post. The inciting incident was when he accidentally discovers the treasure.

It is impossible to visit Tombstone often and not garner some kind of interest in the Earps, Doc Holliday, the Clantons and John Ringo. I decided that these would all become characters in my saga. One of the greatest mysteries in western history is the death of John Ringo. Was it suicide or murder? If the latter, who was it that pulled the trigger on the so-called King of the Cowboys? I had an opinion on the matter, and decided that the book would end with Ringo’s death.

The middle of the book tells several stories. The main story is how a simple farmer, Joe Post, deals with the treasure. Clearly he wants nothing to do with it, but prefers the solitude of his life on his farm, where he grows “enchanted” crops and gets regular visits from deer, rabbits and many other animals.

I realized early on that the novel needed minor characters to help keep the action moving forward. That’s when I invented Stormy Jones, a likeable fallen angel from Tombstone who takes an interest in Joe. The novel also tells her story.

The book also explains what happens to the Cochise County cowboys who robbed the bank and raided the sacred cathedral in Mexico. Legend tells that these men participated in some of the boldest robberies of all times. Did they live to enjoy the spoils? And what do they do when they discover that a simple farmer now has possession of their treasure?

I wanted to include some of the characters from actual Tombstone history, so I placed real people like Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Johnny Behan, Doc George Goodfellow, C. S. Fly, Crazy Horse Lil and several others into the story.

It took several years to come up with the correct blend of fiction and real history to make the story believable and to make the chapters flow. It became a labor of love.

I found that I could put a creative twist on events like the Gunfight at the O. K. Corral, and somehow make it work to the satisfaction of those who take the side of the Earps and to those whose sympathies lie with the cowboys. That kind of writing was absolute fun.

I have been told that Joe Post and some of the others are compelling characters. If that is true, than I have exceeded any expectations I had during the writing process.

Listen to Chris…

February 10, 2009

The Reality of the Old West by Chris Robertson

I have no idea why the mere words “Wild West” and “Old West” conjure up such images of adventure, but they do. When I was a young boy we played “cowboys and Indians” and fought who got to be sheriff. Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were practically household names to us. I read German author Karl May’s books about the Wild West and relished the adventures of Old Shatterhand and his friend, the noble Indian chief Winnetou. Although May, who had written his cowboy and western adventures in the late 1800s, never ventured farther West than Buffalo, his books felt real and we loved them. Later, I watched the television series “Bonanza” and many others like it, fascinated by all those stories of the old west and how people lived in those pioneering days.

As a young adult I still loved Westerns and was a big fan of Sergio Leone’s “spaghetti Western” films like the “Man with No Name” trilogy, “Once Upon a Time in the West” with Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson and Jason Robards, and, of course, movies with the incomparable John Wayne. I enjoyed the hilarious humor and drama in Westerns with Bud Spencer and Terrence Hill. Later I fell in love with movies like “Tombstone” with Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer and, especially, Sam Elliott. All of them showed the old West in the same way. Cowboys, Indians, the Cavalry, old West clothes, old West outlaws, old West lawmen, old West guns, and the towns it all took place in.

When I moved to California and drove through the country I passed through Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming and those two places, together with several other Western towns, personified the Wild West to me, like Dodge, Santa Fe, and so on. It was almost magical. I saw the Cartwright family’s recreated Ponderosa ranch near Incline Village on Lake Tahoe and that brought back memories of “Bonanza,” and then Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento, close to where the California Gold Rush began in 1848, another part of Wild West lore.

There is only one problem with all this. Much of what I had seen in all those movies was a romanticized, glorified and rather one-sided Hollywood version of the Old West. There were, of course, cowboys and Indians and tents and guns and the cavalry. But it wasn’t all gun-toting cowboys and tomahawk-throwing Indians. The real Old West was quite different and much more down-to-earth. It was an exceptionally turbulent period of time when the Western part of the United States was settled between the Civil War and the end of the century. Much has been written about the Old West, but it was mostly by writers who did not actually have first-hand experience. Those who actually partook of the Old West experience were usually too busy to write about it.

I still love Westerns, but these days I am much more interested in reading how the Old West really was. I have a small library of books describing life back then, including all the adventure and hardship – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Many of those books are painstakingly compiled from various newspaper and eyewitness accounts. Some are a bit dry. But occasionally you come across a real memoir, the story of a real lawman of the Old West, one of those rugged characters who was chasing outlaws and trying to keep the peace. This is when it all becomes more than just history, when the Old West comes alive with cattlemen’s associations, hired guns, horseback cowboys, cowboy action shootouts, gunfighters, stampedes. It all took place, and it’s terrific reading about it in the words of someone who was actually there.

Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies.
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