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January 12, 2011

Host: Ted Simons

Bob Boze Bell

  |   Video
  • His artwork has appeared in comic books and history books; on beer cans, in newspapers, and even on TV. He’s painted the west with his colorful commentary and striking illustrations of history’s most notorious outlaws and legendary lawmen. We’ll take a look at the art and career of Bob Boze Bell, Executive Editor of True West Magazine.
  • Bob Boze Bell
Category: The Arts   |   Keywords: art,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: On tonight's "Arizona Artbeat," we enter the wild west world of Bob Boze Bell. Born in Iowa, raised in kingman, he's now the executive editor of "True West Magazine." Along the way he's been a radio personality, a cartoonist, an author, a painter, historian. His artwork has appeared in comic books and history books, on beer cans, in newspapers, even on TV. He's depicted the west with colorful commentary and striking illustrations of history's most notorious outlaw and legendary lawmen. Fresh now from his home base in Cave Creek, Arizona, here he is, Mr. Bob Boze Bell. Good to see you Bob, thanks for joining us.

Bob Boze Bell: It's great to be here. Thank you.

Ted Simons: What do you -- we've mentioned all the things you've done. I don't even want to say dabbled, because you've done all these things --

Bob Boze Bell: I think dabbled is good. There's an old saying, he who sips from many cups drinks of none. And I think I'm guilty of that. But I really think I'm a cartoonist. That's where I started, and I was at "New Times" for 10 years, and I really everything that I do is an outgrowth of that. Even my stint on radio was cartoon's audio.

Ted Simons: What -- I want to ask you first of all, go back to as a kid, what inspired to you draw? Were you the kid, first and second grade, we're all drawing stick men and they can draw a cat really well. Was that you?

Bob Boze Bell: Yes. And I was the kid whose mother would do anything for me and my father was Norwegian and Stowick and wouldn't smile. But if I give him a drawing that was god enough and he always told the story that I -- by the time I was 3 I was drawing trains better than him and correcting it, he tells me that, I don't remember this, but they said I was always drawing and trying to get his attention.

Ted Simons: That's a key factor. But when did you know that you didn't just draw well, you drew really well, and could you make a life out of this?

Bob Boze Bell: It was about two days ago. Drawing is such an arduous master. You're always trying to get better, and it's relentless. And I woke up today, I was sending my stuff down here for you, and I go, I can't send any of this. It's crap.

Ted Simons: Oh, boy. Still going through that?

Bob Boze Bell: Yeah. I'm 64, but you'd think you'd grow out of that at 12 or 13. But no, I never have.

Ted Simons: Let's talk about artistic influences, when you were first starting, artistic influences now, give us some names.

Bob Boze Bell: I've always – in cartooning I was a mad magazine nut. I graduated to national Lampoon. The editorial cartoonist Oliphant, guys like that I loved them. Then I graduated to Charlie Russell and went to Frederick Remington, and I have illustrators that I absolutely love, and that's pretty much the list.

Ted Simons: We're looking at your work right now, and obvious connection with the west, there's action, there's movement, again, were these things you developed, or were these things as a seventh grader you were noodling and doodling on your note pad.

Bob Boze Bell: I was drawing scenes just like this as early as third grade. And I would do these gun fights in the rain, and they were -- and it would take -- it was -- I was really obsessed with it, and it's kind of amazing to wake up, you know, 50 years later and, go I'm doing the same thing. But I still have the passion for it. That's the key. If it was boring me or somehow I had mastered it, I probably wouldn't be that --

Ted Simons: Are you OK with being considered a western artist?

Bob Boze Bell: Oh, absolutely. I'm proud of it.

Ted Simons: But -- some folks like to think there's a Monet in there somewhere for me. Are you along those lines?

Bob Boze Bell: I admire Monet, in fact I’m a huge fan of Toulouse Lautrec, and those French guys were fantastic. In fact I was just in France in October, I have a publisher who wants to publish my Wyatt Earp book in French. My wife and I made an excuse to go, and he took us up into the Mount Mart where there’s the artist area, and he said Toulouse Lautrec studio is right there. And I go right there across the street? I had this hat on, and I got down on the street, that's his studio right there? So, yeah, I can go with the French guys. I like their sense of humor. When they were doing that, they were really considered immoral and ridiculous, and now you see their stuff in dentist offices.

Ted Simons: We're look at your true west covers, and obviously there is that western influence. Describe the process, the artistic process. Do you see a model, do you see an illustration, a photograph? Does it complete completely from your imagination mix of all three, what goes on here?

Bob Boze Bell: Well I do a serious clipping. I have a clipping morgue that I'll read the "Arizona Republic" every day. If I see a scene like last week there was a picture in one of the bowl games, of a guy jumping over a tackler, and his knee was back, and his arm was forward, I said, that's going to be great to put that in my character of Mickey free and make it 1880 and he's jumping over an Apache. So I keep that in my file. I also do six drawings a day no matter what, and I try to emulate inspirations. Yesterday I did a landscape from a picture I took at the Moab in 1984. Just found the picture and I said that’s great.

Ted Simons: So it's not the situation where you sit down and it just comes flowing from a tablet -- or can that happen as well, do you do that as well?

Bob Boze Bell: I think what I'm trying to say is, you have a variety of attacks. You've got to have different ways to get off the starting block and I've probably got six or seven. And they don't always work. There will be times when I just fail miserably, and with every single thing, and I've got to start over.

Ted Simons: Are there times when you've sketched something, you can figure, I'm going to make a cartoon, a lining something along those lines and you go, oh, no, I got to get some color to this, this could be something really special.

Bob Boze Bell: Well, there's an old saying, every artists should have two artist, there should be two. One person to paint or draw and the second person to stand him them with a hammer and go, stop! Stop! Because I have ruined -- I have a failure pile.

Ted Simons: I wanted to ask you about that. You kind of subscribe to the idea that you have to go through a whole lot of bad before you can get to good.

Bob Boze Bell: I have a cartoonist friend from Canada, Dave Sim is his name, and he said -- he said laid down the challenge that every artist has 10,000 bad drawings in them. And that haunted me. And I thought, you know, I bet that's true, and one day I woke up about three years ago and I said, you know what? I want to get these drawings out of my system, and I'm going to do six drawings a day. Until I get to the 10,000.

Ted Simons: But what happens if number five out of six is fantastic, and you've got -- I guess you've good drawing.

Bob Boze Bell: One of the biggest lessons I got out of it, I call it loosey goosy. One of the first things that kills art is when somebody says this -- this is going to be the best drawing. And they kill it they strangle it. Like cutting the oxygen off. So one of the things doing six drawings a day does is you're just loose as a goose. And I didn't show this to you, but there's some pages that are pretty bad.

Ted Simons: We saw you going through pages, they look pretty good, I’m thinking where’s the bad stuff?

Bob Boze Bell: I showed you the good ones.

Ted Simons: The guy with the hammer behind you? When you do six a day, you don't really care that much.

Bob Boze Bell: That's right. And there's many times that I've just done them loosely and come back to them in the next day, and said, I can't believe I did that. Not often.

Ted Simons: I -- your work at "New Times" back in the day was edgy, it was political, it had a social input to it. Did you ever consider being a full-time political cartoonist?

Bob Boze Bell: I often -- what I really wanted to do, I was trying to do "Saturday Night Live" on paper. That was my goal. And I had a chance to work for National Lampoon and did not -- I was not picked. They picked someone else. So I was -- had to work here, and I -- new times, they believed in me and gave me two pages when nobody else would even give me a page. And so I have a lot to thank.

Ted Simons: You mentioned Oliphant too. Had you that in mind, but still did--

Bob Boze Bell: My own thing.

Ted Simons: Yeah. A difference as opposed to a daily grind.

Bob Boze Bell: I'm all about stories of the west. I love the west.

Ted Simons: Talk to us about that because you're a kid in Iowa, you came out here, you were what 10 years old when you came out her?

Bob Boze Bell: I was nine-ish, yeah.

Ted Simons: Fascinated by the west and still are. Why the fascination, what’s going on?

Bob Boze Bell: My grandmother was from a ranching family. My father's family was from Iowa and my mother's family was from Arizona. And they were ranchers. I grew up to stay at my grandmother's house and she would tell us how we were related to outlaws. And this drove my mother crazy. And so she lit the fire. My grandma was -- she is the one who made me just crazy about the west. I still am.

Ted Simons: Can you still be -- you are famous for calling Scottsdale the west's most Midwestern town, and that was 20 years ago. Things have changed everywhere. We're going through a rough time right now in Arizona. Talk to us about how Arizona has changed over the years.

Bob Boze Bell: You know, there's an old saying, for everything you gain you lose something. For everything you lose you gain something. And we've lost a sense of community that was small town community, and I heard that in the Tucson stories over and over again, I believe the sheriff says this is not the town we grew up in. And I can certainly relate to that. I feel that way all across Arizona. And you know, there's an urban core that goes all the way, it goes from Chino valley to Sierra Vista, and there's only 11 miles that's not slated for development. That's pretty scary. It is to me. It was wonderful when you used to be able to drive to Kingman and you'd get out beyond Wickenberg and there was nothing. Nothing. And I loved that. Some people hated that. But I loved that. And now you go five miles and there's a trailer house. And that's only going to get worse. So that's what we've lost. What we've gained is, some of the best Mexican food in the world, and I going down and see a French movie down at the Camelview 5 and go back out to Cave Creek and escape from the beast. But that's the good news. So there's many things we've gotten. We're much more sophisticated now than we were and that’s a good thing.

Ted Simons: I would imagine, real quickly, you can't imagine living anywhere else.

Bob Boze Bell: I love Arizona and they say work is only work if you'd rather be somewhere else, and I'm right where I want to be.

Ted Simons: Well and you do great work Bob. Thank you so much for joining us we appreciate it.

Bob Boze Bell: My pleasure.

Legislative Update

  |   Video
  • A mid-week legislative update with Arizona Capitol Times reporter Jim Small.
  • Jim Small - Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Legislature   |   Keywords: legislative, update,

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Ted Simons: The governor postponed her state of the state address Monday in honor of those killed or injured in the Tucson shootings. Lawmakers also quickly introduced a bill to keep protestors away from the funerals of the shooting victims. Here to give us an update on the first week of the legislative session is Jim Small of "The Arizona Capitol Times." Jim good to see you. Thanks for joining us. You'll be joining us every Wednesday to update us on the goings-on down there. That opening day, the mood, talk to us.

Jim Small: It was definitely a somber mood, a reflective kind of I think tone to everything. It certainly unlike anything I've ever seen. I haven't talked to anybody that had seen anything quite like this. It's really because of what happened Saturday down in Tucson. The political community in Arizona, while it may be contentious at times is a small-knit community. Especially when you're talking about someone who served at the legislature just a few years ago. Before she went on to run for Congress in 2005, when she resigned. So you have a lot of people down there, staff, legislators, lobbyists, who knew her and who worked alongside her. So this was something that shook a lot of people to their core.

Ted Simons: And most -- it sounds like most of the celebratory aspects of opening day, those were put aside for the most part and the speeches pretty much were about the shootings and just getting along and trying to get thing done.

Jim Small: Yeah they did and I think that was really the focus. Everyone wanted to say we don't want a normal day at the capitol. This shouldn't be politics as usual where you have opening day and you thank family and friends and campaign workers, you talk about some of the political gains you want to make during the year. No one wanted to do that. It didn't feel right given that this was the first time everyone had been together since the shooting. So that was what we saw. And Governor Brewer as you mentioned earlier, kind of put off her traditional speech where she talks about policy issues, and she spoke to what it means to be a public servant and the impact that has on the state and on people around them.

Ted Simons: Regarding the governor's state of the state address, obviously it doesn't have to be a speech, I guess she can just go ahead and deliver to legislatively -- how does that work?

Jim Small: We're still waiting to find out. There was some talk that that may come out by the end of the week, but
it will probably be sometime next week or the week after. At the very least her initiatives and the things she wants to achieve will come out, and some of it I think will be released in the budget that we're going to get at the end of the week from her office. But other things that are not necessarily financial related are going to come out either they'll issue them through press releases or they might just deliver a copy of her agenda to legislative leaders and the press.

Ted Simons: That budget proposal is still scheduled to be released Friday correct?

Jim Small: Yeah, it is. It's statutorily required to be released at the end of the first week of the legislative session. So that has to happen. That's usually the first look at what the governor wants to do in terms of the budget and obviously that's a big deal this year with the massive deficits the state is facing.

Ted Simons: Any ideas what that budget is going to be -- what the proposal at least will entail?

Jim Small: We haven't gotten a lot out of the governor's office. We've certainly been asking her for the kinds of things we can expect to see in there. Certainly I think we can expect to see some cuts. Education and health care, I would imagine the health care they've been petitioning, the federal government to get released from some of the mandate in the federal health care overhaul that is going to cost the state about a billion dollars this year. They're petitioning to get release from those requirements, I imagine the budget will include probably some or all of that funding not paid for contingent on that waiver coming. The other thing I think that a lot of people think might happen is the department of water resources and department of environmental quality and the land department, there's been a lot of rumors that those three agencies may be combined somehow, two or three may be put together and we did just recently see the department of water resources had Herb Gunther resign.

Ted Simons: OK. Real quickly, this bill blocking funeral protestors, passes unanimously. No problem there?

Jim Small: No. For an unprecedented week we saw an unprecedented thing yesterday, which was a bill that passed on the second day, earliest a bill has been sign in addition law, it went through both chambers without debate, without a committee hearing, without amendments. Just went through, probably two or three hours from the time they started to the time they finished.

Ted Simons: Another bill of import and certainly of curiosity is the gun bill from Jack Harper allowing the professors, college professors to carry concealed. What's going on with that?

Jim Small: I spoke with him a little bit this afternoon about it, and he still is pushing it. He says this is the kind of thing that is needed for folks to be able to defend themselves on college campuses, especially in light of the 2002 shooting down at U of A where a nursing professor got shot and the Virginia tech massacre from a few years ago. If professors were allowed to legally carry firearms, assuming they were permitted to do so, that those shootings wouldn't have happened or wouldn't have been as bad as they ended up being.

Ted Simons: Last question, does there seem to be a mood at the capitol that this may not be the best of times for such legislation? What are you hearing?

Jim Small: One of my colleagues spoke today to a gun rights lobbyist who said, we're really not going to be pushing anything this year, we're just going to sit back, we've gotten a lot of victories the last couple years, we're going to take the foot off the gas pedal, and because of what happened and the outrage that there is over some of these gun things, whether this was directly related to anything they've done in the past or not, they want to -- they realize it's in the public's mind and they don't want to try to overreach.

Ted Simons: All right. Good stuff, Jim, thanks for joining us we appreciate it.

Medical Marijuana and the Workplace

  |   Video
  • Rick DeGraw of SCF Arizona, the state’s largest workers compensation insurance company, discusses the potential impact of medical marijuana on the workplace.
  • Rick DeGraw - SCF Arizona
Category: Medical/Health   |   Keywords: marijuana,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Arizonans approved a medical marijuana measure in November. The new law is raising questions, though, regarding drug policies in the workplace. Here on help answer some of those question assist Rick Degraw, vice-president and chief of staff for SCF Arizona, a workers' compensation insurance company. Good to see you here. Thanks for joining us.

Rick Degraw: Good evening.

Ted Simons: The new law impacting personnel policies in the workplace. Give us an overview and then we'll target in on some things.

Rick Degraw: The new law passed of course permitting medical marijuana to be utilized by people that get a card and many of those people are going to be workers in our community. And our concern at SCF is to reduce workplace injuries and increase workplace safety. The issue is that employers need to change many of their personnel policies because of the new law. And if they don't, they could be in jeopardy.

Ted Simons: OK. Let's start with the basic. Can an employer prohibit marijuana use at work?

Rick Degraw: Correct. They can.

Ted Simons: They can.

Rick Degraw: Absolutely.

Ted Simons: Even someone who has a card carrying prescription, recommendation from a doctor?

Rick Degraw: It does not matter. The use of anything that will -- that could impair you at work can be prohibited by an employer.

Ted Simons: OK. So this would be similar to if I were on some sort of pain medication, that obviously I needed, obviously was prescribed, but gets me a little loopy and I'm not quite up to snuff, the employer can say you can't be here.

Rick Degraw: Yes, it will be the treated the same way.

Ted Simons: What if an -- what if a patient is under the influence while at work?

Rick Degraw: The employer has to be sure to understand that they do not have to allow someone at work while they are impaired. From anything. From alcohol, from marijuana, from drugs, from anything else. They do not have to allow them to be at work. And they should make sure their personnel policies reflect that.

Ted Simons: OK. How does all of this now tie in to drug testing at work?

Rick Degraw: Some employers require drug testing before you're hired. If someone tests positive for marijuana, you cannot automatically say, they won't be hired. What you can do is then inquire if they are a card-carrying individual, marijuana user, and if they are, you cannot prohibit them for testing positive.

Ted Simons: OK. So if you don't have the card, don't even try to get through that particular barrier.

Rick Degraw: That's correct. Because if you are not licensed, basically licensing, if you're not license with the card, and you're drug test and you test positive, you're not going to be hired.

Ted Simons: OK. Americans with Disabilities Act, how does that play into all of this?

Rick Degraw: It's interesting. The American -- Americans with Disabilities -- the American Disability Act defines all those issues that can affect an employee, and it is a very difficult issue. In order to comply with Americans with disabilities, you have to not automatically refuse employment for somebody to test positive, you have to make sure your personnel policies reflect the fact that you will not allow someone to work who is impaired, because the ADA does not allow someone impaired to operate machinery or get -- or get into any other situation that could be dangerous to themselves or others.

Ted Simons: OK. But let's say I'm a worker, and I have pain. And I've got the recommendation from a doctor to be able to use marijuana. And I don't want to use marijuana to get high or be impaired, but I do want to use the drug to the extent that it relieves my pain. What is the dynamic there? What's the balancing act?

Rick Degraw: The balancing act is very difficult and it's very complex. And the courts have not been clear on what can and can't be done. But for the most part, you're safe in saying that marijuana cannot be smoked at work or ingested at work. If it will have an impact that impairs you. Now, we all know at various times people that have taken a drink at work. Maybe it impairs them, maybe it doesn't. But that's a judgment call that the employer has to make. And their personnel policies have to be clear that impairment for any reason isn't acceptable.

Ted Simons: I was going to say, that better be pretty clear. An employer needs to be able to say this is the reason I thought this employee was impaired.

Rick Degraw: Right.

Ted Simons: OK. As the bottom line here, because it sounds like this is relatively for the most part commonsensical, in the sense that if it's something that impairs you, it's something that employers can handle. But what else do employers need to know? What's the bottom line?

Rick Degraw: Well employers need to know that they cannot discriminate based on the use of marijuana. They can stop employees from being disabled in any or impaired at work. They must change their drug and alcohol policy so that it reflects the law that allows medical marijuana to be in someone's system. But they do not have to allow them to utilize it at work. It comes down to common sense. If they're driving a car and they're going -- they're impaired, they should not be driving a car, or forklift, or be using an electric saw, or anything else. They can't be impaired at work, and that is the bottom line. But employers must be sure that their policies reflect that. Now, there is something in Arizona law, ASRS 23.493 called the alcohol and drug-free workplace premium. Employers actually get a reduction in their insurance if they do regular testing. If they still do that, even if some people test positive for marijuana because they're card carriers, they will still get their premium reduction. And so there are a few complex steps they have to go through. But for the most part they can't discriminate against users of marijuana who have a licensed card.

Ted Simons: Real quickly, last question. What question are you hearing the most from employers?

Rick Degraw: The biggest question from employers is, can they smoke at work? Can people use marijuana while they're at work? The answer is no.

Ted Simons: All right. Good enough. Rick, thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.

Rick Degraw: Thank you.