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Matter Journal 13

While I was in Boulder over Thanksgiving weekend, I happened upon the new Matter Journal while roaming down Pearl Street. Matter is a semi-annual literary journal published by Wolverine Publications in Fort Collins, CO, and their newest issue, Numero 13, is dedicated to the life and times of Cactus Ed.

Wolverine was nice enough to send Cold Splinters a copy, and, trust us, it’s a humdinger. It’s huge, full of great stories, pictures and all that good stuff that, if you’re here and reading this, you’ll enjoy.

Buy it here and then read a much better review at the wonderful High Country News.

December 20, 2010 | Art/Photography, Desert Solitaire, Music/Movies/Books | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Edward Abbey’s Car For Sale On Ebay

If you frequent this rag, you’ll know that there are two things that I post about rather often: Edward Abbey and the Grateful Dead. So when I found out that Edward Abbey’s 1975 Cadillac Eldorado convertible is being auctioned off on eBay and then saw that there was a Grateful Dead sticker on the back of the car, I was rather excited. It seems as though the car has seen a few owners (one of them being foolish enough to think that the license plate should read E ABBEY) and a few face lifts since Mr. Abbey passed, so who knows if the sticker was put on there by Ed himself. I highly doubt it, but holy hell would that have been cool.

More info:

Ed purchased this car on March 8, 1984 just after his 61st birthday and owned it through the end of his life. After sitting for a while, Ernie Bulow, a book collector and author purchased the car from Abbey’s widow and put on the New Mexico vanity plates “Hayduke”. In 1995, another book dealer, Tony Delcavo purchased the caddie and began to restore it including the present day vanity plates “E. Abbey” from the state of Colorado. Since 2008 the car has resided in Moab, UT and is being sold by Andy Nettell, book dealer and owner of Back of Beyond Books, a store dedicated to Ed’s memory.

Purchaser will also receive numerous original signed documents (including the original signed application for title from the state of Arizona) relating to this car. Included is also the 8-track tape player that Ed purchased for the car, but alas it no longer works and has been replaced with a slightly newer radio.

Proceeds from this sale will go to Confluence: A Celebration of Reading and Writing in Moab, now in its third year. See for more information on this festival whose first year was dedicated to Edward Abbey. We think Ed would appreciate his car funding a writers festival.

Edward Abbey’s 1975 Red Cadillac Eldorado Convertible can be yours! This 8 cylinder beast runs well and is sold as is. It has a new paint job and the previous owner replaced the ragtop and reupholstered the interior. New hood hinges are needed and various smaller items need some love, i.e. glove box knob has fallen off, interior aluminum strip is loose and back window is sticky. An issue in the electrical system sometimes drains the battery. The odomotor no longer works and the sun visors need attention. The top raises and lowers splendidly and I’ve had a hoot driving around Arches National Park with the top down. I’m sure Ed threw a few beer cans out while cruising.

MP3: Ed Abbey – Excerpt from “Freedom and Wilderness, Wilderness and Freedom”

November 19, 2010 | Desert Solitaire | Continue Reading | Comments { 5 }

Edward Abbey Continued..

A good man named Eric Temple has a couple of great Edward Abbey videos that he’s uploaded on Vimeo for our viewing pleasure. You can enjoy those right here. Included in the set is this one from an old NBC show called Almanac, which if I had to choose, I’d watch first.

September 21, 2010 | Camping, Desert Solitaire | Continue Reading | Comments { 6 }


The Chihuahuan Desert straddles the U.S.-Mexico border in the central and northern portions of the Mexican Plateau, bordered on the west by the extensive Sierra Madre Occidental range, and overlaying northern portions of the east range, the Sierra Madre Oriental. On the U.S. side it occupies the valleys and basins of central and southern New Mexico, Texas west of the Pecos River and southeastern Arizona. The Chihuahuan has an area of 139,769 sq miles, making it the third largest desert in the Western Hemisphere and the second largest in North America, after the Great Basin Desert.

Above are drawings from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s BIG BEND REGION COLORING BOOK, which includes Big Bend Ranch State Park, the largest state park in Texas, with over 300,000 acres of Chihuahuan Desert wilderness and 66 miles of trail. Have at it.

July 19, 2010 | Art/Photography, Camping, Desert Solitaire | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Hardcase Survival Pinto Bean Sludge

Victoria McCabe
19 May 1973

Dear Victoria,
Herewith my bit for your cookbook. This recipe is not original but a variation on an old (perhaps ancient) Southwestern dish. It has also been a favorite of mine and was for many years the staple, the sole staple, of my personal nutritional program. (I am six feet three and weigh 190 pounds, sober.)

I call it Hardcase Survival Pinto Bean Sludge.

1. Take one fifty-pound sack Colorado pinto beans. Remove stones, cockleburs, horseshit, ants, lizards, etc. Wash in clear cold crick water. Soak for twenty-four hours in iron kettle or earthenware cooking pot. (DO NOT USE TEFLON, ALUMINUM OR PYREX CONTAINER. THIS WARNING CANNOT BE OVERSTRESSED.)

2. Place kettle or pot with entire fifty lbs. of pinto beans on low fire and simmer for twenty-four hours. (DO NOT POUR OFF WATER IN WHICH BEANS HAVE BEEN IMMERSED. THIS IS IMPORTANT.) Fire must be of juniper, pinyon pine, mesquite or ironwood; other fuels tend to modify the subtle flavor and delicate aroma of Pinto Bean Sludge.



5. After simmering on low fire for twenty-four hours, add one gallon green chile peppers. Stir vigorously. Add one quart natural (non-iodized) pure sea salt. Add black pepper. Stir some more and throw in additional flavoring materials, as desired, such as old bacon rinds, corncobs, salt pork, hog jowls, kidney stones, ham hocks, sowbelly, saddle blankets, jungle boots, worn-out tennis shoes, cinch straps, whatnot, use your own judgment. Simmer an additional twenty-four hours.

6. Now ladle as many servings as desired from pot but do not remove pot from fire. Allow to simmer continuously for hours, days or weeks if necessary, until all contents have been thoroughly consumed. Continue to stir vigorously, whenever in vicinity or whenever you think of it.

7. Serve Pinto Bean Sludge on large flat stones or on any convenient fairly level surface. Garnish liberally with parsley flakes. Slather generously with raw ketchup. Sprinkle with endive, anchovy crumbs and boiled cruets and eat hearty.

8. One potful Pinto Bean Sludge, as above specified, will feed one poet for two full weeks at a cost of about $11.45 at current prices. Annual costs less than $300.

9. The philosopher Pythagoras found flatulence incompatible with meditation and therefore urged his followers not to eat beans. I have found, however, that custom and thorough cooking will alleviate this problem.

Yrs, Edward Abbey—Tucson ***

June 24, 2010 | Desert Solitaire, Food | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Freedom and Wilderness

I suppose doing a post about Edward Abbey is becoming a weekly thing now, but this one is the toppermost of the poppermost. Moab, Utah’s Back of Beyond Books sells a 4 CD collection of Abbey reading his own work that you can (and should) buy here. Each disc contains around 45 minutes of talking, which usually amounts to a chapter or two from one of his books. If you’re an Abbey fan, which it seems as though some of you are, you need this. Immediately. And if you’re not, listen below to an excerpt of “Freedom and Wilderness, Wilderness and Freedom” from The Journey Home. Who wouldn’t want to hear the guy who wrote this repeat it into a microphone?

We need wilderness because we are wild animals. Every man needs a place where he can go to go crazy in peace. Every Boy Scout troop deserves a forest to get lost, miserable, and starving in. Even the maddest murderer of the sweetest wife should get a chance for a run to the sanctuary of the hills. If only for the sport of it. For the terror, freedom, and delirium. Because we need brutality and raw adventure, because men and women first learned to love in, under, and all around trees, because we need for every pair of feet and legs about ten leagues of naked nature, crags to leap from, mountains to measure by, deserts to finally die in when the heart fails.

MP3: Ed Abbey – Excerpt from “Freedom and Wilderness, Wilderness and Freedom”

March 23, 2010 | Desert Solitaire | Continue Reading | Comments { 6 }

Edward Abbey Self-Portrait

Over the last thirty or so years, Burt Britton has worked at The Village Vanguard, The Strand, and The Sheridan Square Book Store. He was then a co-owner of the Upper East Side’s Books and Company, which closed in the early 90s. While he worked, he would ask people to draw self-portraits, including Miles Davis, a teenage Kareem Abdul Jabar, Tennesse Williams, and of course, Edward Abbey, whose self-portrait is above. Over 200 were selected for auction this past September, and Abbey’s, in the company of people like Normal Mailer, Frank Gehry and Saul Bellow, still fetched $1900.

MP3: Kate & Anna McGarrigle – Swimming Song

March 1, 2010 | Desert Solitaire | Continue Reading | Comments { 4 }

Cold Splinters + The FADER

A few weeks ago, The FADER asked if I would write up a blog for them, doing the things I do here, but with more of an emphasis on fashion. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know much of anything about fashion and/or style, but, as I mentioned at The FADER earlier today, I’ll damn well do my best. You can read my entire first post here:

My first hike was a catastrophe. I was on a vacation with my family in Arizona, and after a morning of eggs, bacon and swimming, my father, my brother and I all went on what would be the first of many family hikes up Phoenix’s Camelback Mountain. Camelback is a prominent landmark in the area, impossible to miss unless you’re above 60 and have started to lose your sight and/or mind. The hike up the mountain is difficult and steep, enough so that rails have been put in several places along the trail to keep the college visor wearing hikers hydrated by Mountain Dew from falling to their premature deaths.

Thanks again to everyone who reads this rag. I can’t tell you how much it means when someone writes and says they enjoy coming around these parts. And an obvious thanks to the staff at FADER (especially Chioma) for a) knowing what Cold Splinters is and b) writing the best music magazine around. Can’t wait to see what JTK has in store for you.

MP3: Electric Light Orchestra – Shine A Little Love

February 17, 2010 | Desert Solitaire | Continue Reading | Comments { 4 }

Desert Winds

Another dark and lonely night from the amazing Closet Of Curiosities’ “Sounds Of Nature” series.

More here

MP3: Uncredited Artist – Track 4

November 24, 2008 | Desert Solitaire | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Southern Arizona, USA

Backpacker’s guide to beautiful Saguaro National Park

There’s still no backcountry camping in the Organ Pipes.

MP3: Blind Willie McTell – Searching The Desert For The Blues (Thank You One Particular Wave)

October 13, 2008 | Desert Solitaire | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }