Thursday, January 31, 2008


Not hiking due to cold, icey weather in the mountains. Icey rocks on mountain trails are not a good thing. Also we have lost many people in the mountains this year due to the heavy snowfall and cold bringing on Hypothermia. 'Freedom' is Hangered for the winter. Not working in movies due to lack of 'casting calls'. Just minor home remodeling, reading books and sitting at computer. Here's some of what comes across my screen daily from friends.


A newly discovered chapter in the Book of Genesis has provided the answer to
"Where do pets come from?"

Adam and Eve said, "Lord, when we were in the garden, you walked with us
every day. Now we do not see you any more We are lonesome here, and it is
difficult for us to remember how much you love us."

And God said, I will create a companion for you that will be with you and
who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will love me even
when you cannot see me.

Regardless of how selfish or childish or unlovable
you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you
as I do, in spite of yourselves."

And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam and Eve.
And it was a good animal.
And God was pleased.

And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and Eve
and he wagged his tail.
And Adam said, "Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom
and I cannot think of a name for this new animal."

And God said, " I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love
for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him

And Dog lived with Adam and Eve and was a companion to them and loved them
And they were comforted.
And God was pleased.
And Dog was content and wagged his tail.

After a while, it came to pass that an angel came to the Lord and said,
"Lord, Adam and Eve have become filled with pride. They strut and preen like
peacocks and they believe they are worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed
taught them that they are loved, but perhaps too well"

And God said, I will create for them a companion who will be with them and
who will see them as they are. The companion will remind them of their
limitations, so they will know that they are not always worthy of

And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam and Eve.
And Cat would not obey them. And when Adam and Eve gazed into Cat's eyes,
they were reminded that they were not the supreme beings.

And Adam and Eve learned humility.
And they were greatly improved.
And God was pleased .
And Dog was happy and wagged his tail.

And Cat didn't give a damn one way or the other.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Retired Green Beret, Shoots Intruder, Gets Court Martial

This came in an em from a 'Kin'. A good story even if not verifiable. Being a 'Geezer Gunner' I liked it right away'. If you play the 'Juke Box', remember 'Smokey' was 21 years old in 1950.

Retired Green Beret shoots intruder, gets court martial;
BREVARD, Jan. 19, 2008 - Retired Army Green Beret James T. (Smokey) Taylor got his court martial this weekend and came away feeling pretty good about it.
Taylor, at age 79, is one of the oldest members of Chapter XXXIII (The Larry Thorne Chapter) of the Special Forces Association.

He was placed on trial by fellow Chapter XXXIII members under the charge of "failing to use a weapon of sufficient caliber" in the shooting of an intruder at his home in Knoxville, TN, in November.
The court martial, of course, was very much tongue in cheek. The event itself was deadly serious.

Taylor had been awakened in the early morning hours of November 5, 2007,when an intruder broke into his home. He investigated the noises with one of his many weapons in hand.

"It was just after Halloween, on Monday morning at
4:30," Taylor said. I heard this commotion at the door and grabbed my fishing gun, a little .22 revolver, to see what was going on. I got to the front door and this fellow had ripped my security door out of its frame. He said, 'you're going to have to kill me. I'm coming in.'"

When a warning to leave went unheeded, Taylor brought his .22 caliber pistol to bear and shot him right between the eyes.
"I was about four feet away from him when I shot," Taylor said. "Looking back now, I'm glad he didn't die, but that boy had the hardest head I've ever seen. The bullet bounced right off."

The impact knocked the would-be thief down momentarily. He crawled out of the house then got up and ran down the street. Taylor dialed 911 and Knoxville police apprehended the wounded man about 200 yards away, hiding in a hedgerow.

Complicating the case, as well as the court martial, the offender was released on bail but failed to appear for his court date. Knoxville police said the man was homeless. They did not know his whereabouts or why he had been given bail.

The charges brought against Taylor by his fellow Green Berets were considered to be serious. He is a retired Special Forces Weapons Sergeant with extensive combat experience during the wars in Korea and Vietnam.

"Charges were brought against him under the premise that he should have saved the county and taxpayers the expense of a trial," said Chapter XXXIII President Bill Long of Asheville, NC.

The trial was held at the Hampton Inn in Brevard, part of the group's regularly scheduled quarterly meeting. Long appointed a judge, Bert Bates, a defense counsel, Jim Hash, and a prosecutor, Charlie Ponds. All are retired Special Forces non-commissioned officers with extensive combat and weapons experience.

Ponds outlined the case against Taylor, emphasizing that the citizens of Knox County were going to be burdened with significant costs to again apprehend, and then prosecute and defend the would-be burglar.

"Proper choice of a larger caliber gun would have spared the citizens this financial burden," Ponds said, "while removing one bad guy from the streets for good. He could have used a .45 or .38. The .22 just wasn't big enough to get the job done. Hash disagreed. He said Taylor had done the right thing in choosing to arm himself with a 22.

"If he'd used a .45 or something like that, the round would have gone right through the perp, the wall, the neighbor's wall and possibly injured some innocent child asleep in its bed. I believe the evidence shows that Smokey Taylor exercised excellent judgment in his choice of weapons. He clearly remains to this day an excellent 'weapons' man."

Hash then floated a theory as to why the bullet bounced off the perp's forehead.
"He was victimized by old ammunition," he said, "just as he was in Korea and again in Vietnam, when his units were issued ammo left over from World War II."
Taylor said nothing in his own defense, choosing instead to allow his peers to debate the matter.

The jury, consisting of all the members of the Chapter, discussed the merits of choosing a larger caliber weapon as well as the obvious benefits to society of permanently deleting the intruder so he would never again threaten any private citizen.

The other side of the coin, that of accidentally causing injury to a completely innocent citizen if a more powerful gun had been used, also gained considerable support.

Following testimony from both sides, Judge Bates determined the charges should be dismissed. The decision was met with a round of applause. In fact, there was strong sentiment expressed that Taylor should receive an award for not only choosing wisely in picking up the 22, but for the accuracy of his aim under difficult and dangerous conditions.

After the trial Taylor said the ammunition was indeed old and added the new information that the perp had soiled his pants as he crawled out the door.
"I would have had an even worse mess to clean up if it had gone through his forehead," Taylor said. "It was good for both of us that it didn't."

Meanwhile, back in Knox County, the word is out: Don't go messing with Smokey Taylor. He just bought a whole bunch of fresh ammo.
Tribune Editor Bill Fishburne is a member of the Larry Thorne Chapter XXXIII of the Special Forces Association.

After reading this account, Blogengeezer got to thinking.... We have hundreds of thousands of 'Smokeys' Coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, to their homes in the USA. If I was a criminal, I would pick a nice honest career starting right now,

Saturday, January 19, 2008


The total story of 'The 8th Air Force' for a mission. Definetly turn on the 'Juke Box' for this one, picked up from another USAF 'wingnut'

Leslie A. Lennox
LtCol USAF (Ret)

Of all the stories that have been written, and movies that have been shown, about the 8th Air Force, very little attention has been given to what was involved in assembling 1200 B-17's and B-24's each day, to get them in formation to carry out a strike against Germany.

Certainly showing bombers under attack by fighters, or encountering heavy flak, was a reality, and are interesting to watch. Also, stories about some of the rougher missions make interesting reading. But what was going on over England, each morning, could get just as scary to the crews as the time spent over some of the targets.

The planning, and coordination, that had to be accomplished during the night, by the operations planners of each Group, so that the crews could be briefed, was unbelievable. If the planners had failed to do their jobs properly, there would have been a free for all among Bomb Groups, in the skies over England.

The rendezvous points, altitude, and times had to be precise, and known by all of the crews, before the Eighth Air Force could get in formation. The success of the planners, in accomplishing their mission, enabled the Eighth Air Force to become the most powerful air armada ever assembled. In my view, how this was accomplished is one of the major untold stories of the war.

I was a pilot in the 95th Bomb Group, in late 1944 and early 1945, and what follows is a typical mission, as I remember it, from a crew member's perspective.
Leslie A. Lennox
LtCol USAF (Ret)

Early in the evening, our Squadron Operations would post the names of the crews that were scheduled to fly the following day. There were two ways we could be notified if the Group had been alerted to fly. One was by means of lights on the front of the orderly room, and the other with raising of colored flags.

If a green light was on, the Group was alerted, if a red light was on we would fly, and if a white light was on, the Group would stand down. The light was monitored frequently throughout the evening to learn our status and, normally, we would know before going to bed if we would be flying the next day.

On the morning of a mission, the CQ (charge of quarters) would awaken the crews about four or five o'clock, depending on takeoff time. The questions we always asked were, "What is the fuel load?" and, "What is the bomb load?" If his answer was, "full Tokyo tanks," we knew we would be going deep into Germany. Shortly after being awakened, "6-by" trucks would start shuttling us to the mess hall.

We always had all the fresh eggs we could eat, when flying a mission. After breakfast, the trucks carried us to the briefing room. All of the crew members attended the main briefing, and then the Navigators, Bombardiers and Radio operators went to a specialized briefing.

At the main briefing, in addition to the target information, anti-aircraft guns, fighter escort and route in, we received a sheet showing our location in the formation, the call signs for the day and all the information we would need to assemble our Group and get into the bomber stream.

After briefing, we got into our flight gear, drew our parachutes and loaded onto the trucks for a ride to our plane. We were now guided by the time on our daily briefing sheet. We started engines at a given time and watched for the airplane we would be flying in formation with to taxi past, and then we would taxi behind him. We were following strict radio silence.

We were now parked, nose to tail around the perimeter, on both sides of the active runway, and extremely vulnerable to a fighter strafing attack. At the designated takeoff time, a green flare would be fired and takeoff would begin. Every thirty seconds an airplane started takeoff roll. We were lined up on the perimeter so that the 12 airplanes of the high squadron would take off first, followed by the lead and then the low squadron.

Each Group had a pattern for the airplanes to fly during climb to assembly altitude. Some would fly a triangle, some a rectangle and our Group flew a circle, using a "Buncher" (a low frequency radio station) which was located on our station. The patterns for each Group fit together like a jig saw puzzle. Unfortunately, strong winds aloft would destroy the integrity of the patterns, and there would be considerable over running of each other's patterns.

Many of our takeoffs were made before daylight, during the winter of '44 and '45, when I was there, so it was not uncommon to climb through several thousand feet of cloud overcast. Also it was not uncommon to experience one or two near misses while climbing through the clouds, although you would never see the other airplane.

You knew you had just had a near miss, when suddenly the airplane would shake violently as it hit the prop wash of another plane. It was a wonderful feeling to break out on top, so you could watch for other planes, to keep from running into each other.

To add to the congestion we were creating, the Royal Air Force


Halifaxes, and

Wimpys, would be returning from their night missions, and flying through our formations. Needless to say, pilots had to keep their heads on a swivel and their eyes out of the cockpit.

After take off, the squadron lead would fire a flare every 30 seconds, so that we could keep him located and enable us to get into formation quicker. The color of our Group flare was red-green. The first thing you would see, when breaking out of the clouds, was a sky filled with pyrotechnics, so you had to search the sky for the Group flare, which would identify the lead airplane of your Squadron.

Once you had it located, you could adjust your pattern to climb more quickly into formation with him. As each airplane pulled into formation, they would also fire a flare, with the lead plane, making it much easier for the following aircraft to keep him in sight. I think most crew members would probably agree that the pyrotechnic show, in the skies over England, in the morning when the Eighth was assembling, was a rare sight to behold.

The order of progression for assembling the Eighth Air Force was to first assemble the Flight elements, the Squadrons, the Groups, the Combat wings, the Divisions and, finally, the Air Force.

As soon as the four Squadron elements were formed, the high, low and second elements would take up their positions on the lead element, to form a Squadron. When the three Squadrons had completed assembly, it was necessary to get into Group formation.

This was accomplished by having the three Squadrons arrive over a pre-selected fix at a precise time and heading. The high and low Squadrons were separated from the lead Squadron by 1000 feet and, after getting into Group formation, they would maintain their positions by following the lead Squadron.

Then it was necessary to get into the Combat Wing formation. We were in the 13th Combat Wing, which consisted of three Bomb Groups: the 95th, the 100th and the 390th. Whichever Group was leading the Wing that day, would arrive over a pre-selected point, at a precise time and heading.

Thirty seconds later, the second Group would pass that fix, followed by the third Group, thirty seconds later. We were then in Combat Wing formation. The navigators in the lead airplanes had a tremendous responsibility, to ensure that the rendezvous times were strictly adhered to.

There were three Divisions in the Eighth, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The 1st and 3rd Divisions consisted of B-17s only, and the 2nd Division was B-24s. The B-24s were faster than the B-17s, but the B-17s could fly higher, therefore, the two were not compatible in formation. As a result the 1st and 3rd Divisions would fly together and the 2nd Division would fly separately.

Now that the Groups were flying in Combat Wing formation, it was necessary to assemble the Divisions. This was usually accomplished at the "coast out" a city on the coast selected as the departure point "fix."

The Group leader in each Combat Wing knew his assigned position in the Division, and the precise time that he should arrive at the 'coast out' departure point, to assume that position in the Division formation.

The lead Group in the Division, which had been selected to lead the Eighth on the mission, would be first over the departure fix. Thirty seconds after the last Group in the first Wing passed that point, the second Wing would fall in trail, and so on, until all Combat Wings were flying in trail and the Division would be formed.

One minute later, the lead Group in the other Division would fly over that point, and the Combat Wings in that Division would follow the same procedure to get into formation.

When all of its Combat Wings were in trail, the Eighth Air Force B-17 strike force was formed and on its way to the target. At the same time the 2nd Division B-24s were assembling in a similar manner and also departing to their target.

Meanwhile, as the bombers were assembling for their mission, pilots from the Fighter Groups were being briefed on their day's mission. Normally, 600 to 800 P-38's, P-47's, and P-51's would accompany the bombers to provide protection against enemy fighter attacks. Fighter cover was not needed by the bombers until they were penetrating enemy territory, therefore to help conserve fuel.

Fighter takeoffs were planned to give them enough time to quickly assemble after takeoff, and climb on course up the bomber stream to the groups they would be covering. The combined strength of the fighters and bombers brought the total number of aircraft participating in a mission to approximately two thousand.

A major problem that presented itself, on each mission, was that the bomber stream was getting too stretched out. It was not uncommon for the headlines in stateside newspapers--in trying to show the strength of our Air Force--to state that the first Group of bombers was bombing Berlin, while the last Group was still over the English Channel.

It made great headlines but was a very undesirable situation. It meant that the Groups were out of position, and not keeping the proper separation. Furthermore, it was almost impossible for them to catch up and get back into the desired formation. This made the entire bomber stream more vulnerable to fighter attacks.

Finally, our planners figured out what we were doing wrong. When the first Group departed the coast out fix, it started its climb to what would be the bombing altitude.

Then, as each succeeding Group departed that fix, it, too, would start climbing. The problem with this procedure was that, as soon as the first Group started its climb, its true airspeed would start to increase, and it would encounter different wind velocities.

Now it would start to pull away from the Group in back of it, and the "stretch-out" of the bomber stream would begin. By the time the last Group had reached the coast out, to start its climb, the first Group would be leveled off, with a true airspeed approaching 250 miles per hour, and the bomber stream would be really stretching out.

The solution to this problem that had been frustrating the Bomber crews for so long was pretty simple. We would no longer start climbing at the coast out, but instead, at a designated time, all Groups would start climbing, irrespective of position.

This meant that we all would have similar true airspeeds and would be influenced by the same winds aloft. That took care of the problem. It was still possible for a Group to be out of position, because of poor timing, but the entire bomber stream wouldn't get all stretched out.

When you consider the way our Air Traffic Control system operates today, and all the facilities at their disposal to guide each individual airplane through the sky to ensure its safety, it's almost unbelievable that we were able to accomplish what we did.

To think of launching hundreds of airplanes, in a small airspace, many times in total darkness, loaded with bombs, with complete radio silence, and no control from the ground, and do it successfully day after day, with young air crews, with minimum experience, is absolutely mind boggling.

The accomplishments of the Eighth Air Force have been and will be reviewed by historians from World War II on. There never will be another air armada to compare to it. I feel confident that they will never cease to be amazed by our ability to assemble hundreds of heavy Bombers, under the conditions we were confronting, into the devastating strike force we now fondly refer to as, "The Mighty Eighth."

Leslie A Lennox LtCol USAF Ret

B-17 and B-24 Details

Thursday, January 10, 2008

COMANCHE MOON 2008 TV Mini Series 'on set' report

COMANCHE MOON will air in the US on CBS Sunday JAN 13th 2008.

This is another really long read, so get a cup of coffee, turn on the 'Juke Box', sit back and relive a few of my days in 'Austin' during the 1860's, or come back another time when you feel pathetic, are 'Lonesome as a Dove', and have nothing else going on in your life. Yes there is contained therin a hyper link to some rare pictures. No, there is not a picture of rough looking, Val Kilmer, only the real Stars, 'The Background'. BTW We were not involved in the 'Gratuitous sex' that hollywood adds to everything these days.

Comanche Moon is the 'prequel' to Lonesome Dove, (Tommy Lee Jones) aired several years ago on TV. It is the Larry McMurtry story of the Indian raids on Austin Texas in the 1860's when the total population of Austin was only about 900 people. I have no idea how they will portray this story, due to the graphic details of the raid in the book. It surely is not politically correct, in todays methodology of News reporting. We had a memorably great time working on the 'set' town of 'Austin Texas', South of Santa Fe New Mexico, located on the Bonanza Creek Ranch.

My call to Wardrobe in Santa Fe was greeted with excitement. The time spent by the assistants picking out my suit, seemed longer than usual. The outfit I wore was very elegant. The wardrobe people told me I was to look very important. Now doesn't that sound good?.

Call time was, as we said in the military "0 Dark 30". I left home way before dawn for the 55 mile (88km) drive to 'Austin', on each long day we filmed, most times returning after dark. Security waved the flashlight for parking directions into a rutted dirt prairie near Base Camp about 1/4 mile (.4km) from the set of 'Austin' just over the hill, out of camera view. The Base Camp was a large white, tent city with many trailer coaches for the principle actors and crew supplies. Hot breakfast with everything includung lots of hot coffee, was welcome. We started shooting at dawn on many mornings to get the lighting effect desired.

The 80 or more highly enthused, athletic young Indians that were easily recruited near the Canadian border, Glacier National Park. Near the Crow reservation, (Blackfoot) in Northern Montana, were fantastic. Their face and body painting was truly artistic. Their horses 'paint jobs' looked just as in old pictures.

They were picked up by bus and brought to Santa Fe, put up in a hotel and transported daily to the set. I shared meal time with them every day while they told me their individual stories. They loved 'riding' in this movie as much as the rest of us enjoyed acting in it. Riding, for them, is equal to walking for any of us.

Many are attending college and do this sort of thing in their spare time. They were excellent riders for the most part. A few of the less agile among them, were thrown off within the first hours by the 'somewhat wild' string of authentic range horses used in this movie. A few made unexpected trips to the hospital in Santa Fe, to reset and cast broken arms, receive stitches and such.

These horses required very experienced riders, no amateurs lasted long. The scenes where the horses came over the hill at full gallop with all four feet off the ground was real. These riders were high on adrenaline and really excited by the attack.
good thing it was only a movie being filmed. I think they could have really 'gotten into it' otherwise.

As townsfolk, My first days as an 'Austin Businessman', were spent walking around 'Austin Texas', wearing a top hat, in a long black frock coat, vest and a cravat, carrying a cane, looking very important. sometimes walking around town with friends while discussing the new saloon we intended to put in on each corner while pointing with our canes to each location for the intended improvements.

Usually with an attractive young lady on my arm. Being very careful to avoid horses, horse drawn wagons and horse manure, We walked to and fro. Crossing the street, standing on the boardwalks, watching the goings on in the street, smoking little black cigars (myself not the ladies).

Being picked up by my carriage driver in front of the bank with a lady on my arm, was repeated over and over to get the desired effect on camera. Just enjoying life in Austin Texas during the 1860's. Watching the Texas Rangers ride in and out of town was one of our practiced scenes while standing on the boardwalks or sitting at a little table, or leaning against railings on porches.

All of that good life was about to come to an end.

My blog began near the end days, after I realised that this should be recorded in some way. My descriptions of each day were less than stellar. I relied on folded napkins for recording each days events. I know a little better these days, I now carry notebooks and attempt to keep the days happenings in order.

While standing by, between our 'calls', much time was spent in 'extras holding' in the smoky barn, the blacksmith working area. A small weathered buggy was parked just outside the doors. We watched the street fights and action through the cracks in the boards or through the slightly opened doors.

The wind blew dirt until our clothing turned brown or gray depending on which way the wind blew and on which day. I spent a lot of time covered up in the barn with it's wide spaces between the boards which let the dirt blow right through, under my heavy, black frock coat, to keep the dirt out of my eyes. The hoop skirted ladies hunkered down in mounds of cloth.

The kids and their 'wranglers' huddled in groups or lumps to try to keep it out of their faces or played around the pond. The temperature at times was in the 100 degree range. Other times it rained, turning the streets to mud. Many times each day the water truck sprayed water on the dirt street to keep the dust down. Therefore the streets looked wet in most scenes.

At one point it was hailing and the horses went a little ballistic. Keeping the cameras clean and functioning is a full time job for the crew. The big 'Ultra bounce' screens want to blow away. The 'grips' are busy 'gripping' the stuff with both hands. Dirt in everything, mouth's, eyes, equipment. A little reminder of what the troops are going through in the Middle East.

'Wardrobe' never stopped trying to keep us clean. They all had little brushes and endlessly swept away the dirt. 'Make up' was always coming up to us and cleaning our faces, applying sunscreen and re-arranging wind blown hair and clothing. The ladies constantly required attention from wardrobe.

Some of the dresses were used in the old film classic "Gone With the Wind". The parasols were vintage as well. We all tried to take care of our elegant clothing as well as possible. The use of the 'port-a-potties' was disdained by the ladies and their hoop skirts. I didn't much care for them either due to the ritual of the suspenders and vest and what to do with the heavy 'frock coat'.
One of the wardrobe people had dozens of large safety pins in rows like a suit of 'chain mail' across her chest. She was constantly tugging and pinning at our wardrobe.

The big barn used in the filming of Billy Bob Thornton's "Astronaut Farmer" was the 'set' for the inside of the 'Mansion' which was a shell structure. The luxurious setting with the stairway and elegant lighting fixtures, was all inside the big barn. It was positioned about 2 hundred yds (183m) South of town.

This is the ragged Re-Post of a small portion near the end of that memorable time, done day by day in comments and not in any order.

Da Flikkers"'Comanche Moon', Movie" June 1st 2006
blogengeezer said...
Early dark morning arrival; Sign in With Casting director.
The food is great at base camp, served in big tents that were covered inside and out, with dirt from the incessant wind. I enjoyed the breakfast so much I drove up in the darkness to be sure and partake in the dimly lit, pre dawn ambiance of our big chow tent. Eggs Bacon Coffee and every other conceivable snack was spread out by the catering company from California. Their big 18 wheeler, kitchen trucks were fantastic and well stocked.

The 'WAR BUS' was loaded for transport to 'the set', after we took a few pictures of ourselves and the fantastic looking Indians.

This day was slow getting started, we finished up a few scenes that needed re-shooting. As the correct sun position approached, all of a sudden it got much busier. The special effects crew was doing some last minute adjustments to the propane burners located in each window. They ran from the buildings then with the remotely lit, quick flames in the windows, Whoosh..and the 2 story, General Store bursts into flame. It did get a little hot when the huge fire got out of hand. The Santa Fe fire dept was on hand to control it, put out the fire and re-light it repeatedly for the re-shoots of the scene.

The big propane tanks fueled the flames throughout the buildings, from lines buried under the street. The fires were all around us. Most buildings were ablaze at various times. The 'alarm horn' sounded as some buildings looked unstable (General Store) and we had to run fast to get out of the way if it fell. It was really hot, the flames licked out at us as we ran past the porches. Blow horn, put out the flames, reset and action! Repeated over and over as the buildings of Austin Texas, were gradually turned into ruins.

What a great day. Over a hundred Horses with wild, war painted, whooping Indian riders galloping through 1860's Austin, Pillaging, raping and terrorising the citizens. We ran every which way to avoid them. Most of the town was still asleep. This was a total surprise for Austin Texas in the early morning hours.
Many of the citizens were slaughtered. I was a survivor. It was so much fun I am going to go back and do it again tomorrow.

Excitement, smoke, flames and burning buildings make for some great fun. I see why pyromaniacs stay in their profession for so long. I think they become 'special effects' crew in the movie industry.

The bleeding, deep cuts and head wounds were a work of art by the 'makeup' dept.
The Indians were fascinating to watch as they massacred the townsfolk. Arrows flying, gunshots firing, screaming, yelling, What fun times.

'Comanche Moon' is the production, at a set south of Santa Fe New Mexico.
What a great life on set, even if it is all an 'Illusion'
We do it out of love and friendship. May the film run be endless and enjoyable for all.

Actual Historic References;

A very rare little paperback book, 'THE OLD TIMERS of WALLACE CREEK' by Jym A. Sloan, San Saba Texas. copywrite 1958, Tells this story from first hand accounts.

Blogengeezers Wife's family were part of the historic story. Texas Rangers and all. While watching the first nights CBS series, she mentioned that Larry McMurtry must have read Mr Sloans account. If you are a reader that likes historic truth, here is another.

'SURVIVING ON THE TEXAS FRONTIER': The Journal of a Frontier Orphan Girl in San Saba County, 1852-1907' (Amazon) tells the actual story of my wifes ancestors during that period.
Her story of raising 13 orphaned children after the Indian raids destroyed their farm, is riveting.

It also is the actual history without hollywoods interpretation of values and morality.

7:56 PM

blogengeezer said...
Many really fun things occurred during the filming, Quacking ducks at inopportune, silent times, caused the director to shout "Make those Ducks Quiet down". It was funny because the ducks are wild and fly in and out of their big pond behind town. They settle in for the night with a lot of chatter. You may see them in scenes from time to time.

Running people doing "endos" while exiting the Burrick house. My young attractive friend, 'Strawberry blond' Debbie leaped over them easily. Most jumped over the falling bodies with no grace whatever, Reset! Repeat! Background Action! Dozens of Wild galloping Horses driving "aspiring actress types" (Shanni), to vault fences in hoop skirts. "Quick reflexes girls".

During stand by time, the young Cowpunchers played 'hacky-sack' for hours. At one point the 'sack' flew up onto the roof of a porch. One young Cowpuncher, with a boost from two others, climbed onto the lower roof nearby. The other roof was higher and a good leap away. With a long running jump, in his boots, he somehow made it, retrieved the 'sack' then ran and jumped to the other roof then swung down in a classic 'Parkour' display. too bad it wasn't captured on film. The directors were a little upset, fearing a lawsuit, and told the Cowpunchers not to try that anymore.

Blood and gore galore, sliced and diced corpses, dead Indians getting killed a little more. Curly and I ran down the street, Curly jumped down near a 'dead' Indian and pulled his head up, while stabbing him with an arrow. The young Indian was enthused and loved it because the camera was pointed his way and maybe someone back home would recognise him.

Blogengeezer just ran around in suspenders, looking at the dead families, "like a chicken with his head cut off". Carnage in very large amounts. A fun day was had by all. Running was the action of the day, lots of it, we all will sleep well tonight.
Maybe we will do some more in a week or so when the crew returns from an out of state shoot. We all love this wild 'Illusory' life, that's for sure.

3:22 AM

blogengeezer said...
I was again awake at yet another unreal hour due to recollections and revelations of the people on the set of COMANCHE MOON.

This entire 'career' was brought about when my wife and I saw a quick reference to Bierfest II (a really poor movie) needing extras at the Albuquerque Biopark. She, being a loving and caring wife, told me to go away to the Bierfest and make a movie.
Honestly she and I disagree on things at times, so much that she wanted time to herself, a lot of it.

A few months earlier, I had stopped shaving and a beard mysteriously appeared. Well it is now getting to the point where I am not quite the same clean cut benefit to society I had appeared to others as.
It allowed the casting people and directors a little discretion in placing 'My character' in the vicinity of some of the cameras for reasons only God knows.
Now I am hooked! I am 'obsessed' as are a lot of others I have met.

One background actor, Nick, is an aspiring screen writer. Another is an attractive young woman, who is one more day on the road to stardom. The attractive 'Shanni'.
Ex bankers, State of NM public servants, personalities from all trades and levels of society are represented on the casting lists,

Another attractive woman from Germany, is a successful European screenwriter. I shall refer to her as 'Der Fraulein'. We walked down the street from the Capitol together, many, many times. The hoop skirts and shoulder wraps are unique in the fact that they reveal very little about the women wearing them. This brings about an aura of mystery that holds the women in a position of power over the men. What's new?

Most of us cling to the dream of getting speaking parts that will one day lead to the goal of being SAG (Screen Actors Guild)card carying members.
I met a gentleman Edward. He is close to his card and counts the days.
Edward set me on this path while we were musing at Bierfest. He em'd me about the Comanche moon call. He was chosen to be the 'stand in' for 'Deets'.

A stand in is an opportunity to get a little more prestige on your resume.
I did turn down, out of ignorance, my one chance to be a stand in for Val Kilmer, due to the requirement of shaving off some of the whiskers which got me the job in WILD HOGS. John Travolta would then have fired me of course...
We even have a Baptist Minister playing the part of 'The Preacher' good idea there, don't you think?

The 'Undertaker' survived the carnage we portrayed. Now that is good, He informed me that, in the book he dies. More trivia as I think about this entire 8 day experience, later faithful readers...Please excuse my spelling and punctuation errors, I am illiterate, that is why I Blog and work Background in the movie industry, that and the fact I am a Geezer with time on my hands.

1:50 AM

blogengeezer said...
Ah that was a short break. Back to the set of COMANCHE MOON. The well dressed banker stood in front of his bank with his wife as we, my Woman of the day, Judi, and I, strolled casually by. We did that about 4 times to get it right. Judi, my woman of the day (as opposed to woman of the night) and I walked up the street, with horses all around us. We did this countless times trying to look sophisticated. I wear a Top hat and long, heavy, black frock coat with striped trousers to make me look prosperous. My lady wore one of those mysterious hoop skirts carrying a parasol (vintage) of which she was ever mindful.

We discovered the next day when 'the Screenwriter' came on set, that women seldom walked in the streets with their hoop skirts, due to the dirt and mud and horse exhaust lying about. 'Re shoot' everything of course.
The wooden board sidewalks were used for that strolling action after that reprimand.
The set is portraying Austin Texas in the mid 1800's when it was only about four blocks long on Congress st. The population was only 839 in about 1850. To say it was small is an understatement. The set looks outstanding due to the attention for detail. The capital building is big. The steps leading up to it are tedious to climb and re climb and re climb as is done each time the call is announced for 'Background Action'. 'Reset' back to one, then re climb the tall steps.

The next day or so, I had a younger 'Lady' I was escorting to my carriage waiting in front of the bank. The irony was that the former banker, Dennis, was now my carriage driver. You will have to notice that in the series, 'if we are left in'. He is an excellent carriage driver. So good in fact that he does that in his real life. He also appears in many screen shots all over the southwest, even appearing with a scene in which he fights with Liam Neeson on another film.

So many characters are multi talented, he is just one of many. My young escort on that day is Shanni' mentioned earlier (the future screen starlet) I hope my previous days wife does not see me escorting 'The other woman' into my waiting carriage. A little conflict would ensue I am sure. It would have made a good street fight though. Mud wrestling in hoop skirts?

2:20 AM

blogengeezer said...
One of the things we do while waiting and passing the time is read books that we can hide during the camera rolling period. I am getting into character for my next film job by reading 'UNDER and ALONE' by William Queen. This is about an undercover ATF officer that Patched into the Mongols (true story) motorcycle club a few years ago. I was surprised to find out a couple of other guys have read it lately.

The film I work in next is Wild Hogs. Four urban men 'Harley Riders' portrayed by John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence and William H Macy. The four are caught by a New Mexico motorcycle Gang in Madrid, which is not far away from here. It sounds like fun, and I have ridden most of my life, so I really look forward to this coming up in a couple of weeks. My 'Lady of the day' Judi, as well as 'my other lady' are working with me. My carriage driver (town banker) may possibly be there, as well as more of my new found brothers/sisters from Comanche Moon.

Another book I noticed being read on the set was 'Bird of Prey' by Michael Crichton. 'Nick' had it almost finished. Prolific readers are evident at all times in our group.

3:14 AM

blogengeezer said...
Another talent that seems to show up during lax minutes is singing whatever song we recall from the past. Remember 'The Age of Aquarius' from 'Hair'?
Did you recall that Fire on the Mountain was in a few different versions, vastly different in context by different performers? I was informed of another while traveling in our old 6 wheel drive, ex military 'War Bus', by one of the extras. He sang his version, I sang mine. Now isn't this an interesting thing we all do? I only know one version by the Marshall Tucker band. Maybe I will post the words some time while at this keyboard with total boredom surrounding me.

While all of us were riding in the 'War Bus' one evening as the setting sun turned the swirling dust into a fantasy scene, The excellent sound system was playing the songs popularised during 'Woodstock'. I found the overall image quite surreal because of the passengers wearing Victorian apparel with our 'war painted' Indian friends sitting among us, rolling along through the dust in the fading sunlight. What a unique scene forever etched in memory.

3:26 AM

blogengeezer said...
Another Comanche Moon recollection from one of the prime filming times, was the scene as the true Star, walks out of the well equipped general store to confront her man at the back of the buckboard parked at the steps. My Young future starlet, Shanni, on my arm and I, walked directly in front of the camera as directed. MY other Lady of a day before, was on the arm of another man while approaching. (shameful).

We acknowledged each other, cordially of course. I tapped my cane to my top hat as walking toward the approaching men and women, Very proper don't you think? That is until I almost poked my eye due to the cane being held a little shorter than on the previous 'background action' segments. MY approaching lady friend, Judi, started to laugh, but choked it back.
I almost choked on my cigar as I jerked back away from the cane. Gotta watch for that when the film comes out.

Another segment had myself and my young starlet Shanni' following directly behind the true Star with long flowing red hair, (Shanni's idol) as she walked briskly out of the mansion, and up the capital steps.
The side saddle riding red head, does some interesting maneuvers around her drunken man in the middle of the street while we walk in the general area. This all was filmed before the indian raid and burning of the town. Well duh...Ah the peace and quiet do not last though, as you are aware, from previous postings.

4:04 AM

blogengeezer said...
Another 'Musing' totally out of order, as is my nature. The Horses and the way they were made up. They had lots of different prints of 'hands', stripes, colors and designs. The white legs and other parts had 'zebra' stripes. These horses not only looked special, they acted special. After an obviously long time of not being ridden, the Indian riders in a lot of cases had to 'break them' to be ridden. While I was sharing lunch with the Indian riders, this came out.

The first day several riders got thrown off. A few minor injuries resulted.
The reality factor came into play at that point. These Indian riders are good, really good. They were brought in from Montana, near the Canadian border. They were not 'Crow' but their reservation is close to them. High speed riding is always in play.

When you see a horse stretched out with the Indian rider laying out forward along the horses neck and all four feet of the horse in the air, that is real, believe me.
One of the Principal Indian riders on a big black horse thundered right by us and the ground literaly shook. We jumped in surprise, to his delight I am sure. This film 'Comanche Moon' is looking very realistic at this point.

10:01 AM

nrotic (J Nathan Simmons) said...
Great Job On This Online Diary of Comanche Moon. Definetly Check out 'New Mexico Actors' in links to see some 'Great Pictures' taken 'on set'

New Mexico Actors

  • These 'very Rare Pictures' were taken between shooting and before the directors threatened to stop unauthorised pictures. After that we left our cameras off set.

    12:44 AM
  • Wednesday, January 02, 2008

    HIGH TIDE, Padre Island

    'Tide is High'... Memory of 1981 song? It's in the

    'JUKE BOX' highlighted here if you are interested. Stuff a coin in under your monitor. Then just find the year, click on it, then select your choice, when it starts then return 'back' to read this while this old 'Juke Box' plays through all of it's 'Old Classic' tunes. Just close window to 'Juke box' to shut it off when you are finished, otherwise it will keep us all awake. I only recommend it, if you are right/left brain compatible, with multi-tasking... like most Women? Guys you had better not try it! "Good, Good, Good, Good Vibrations"! BEWARE, this Juke Box site is from 'Puerto Rico' so don't click on anything you are not interested in, that's not an angel, it's a cupid! A little advice. "Keep your life simple and just enjoy the music".

    For the staff at Il Vicino, turn off the Juke Box because here is

    "BUBBA" doin' his Bodhran. I'll bet none of you knew he was Irish did you? BTW great pizza and brew as always, thanks all.

    This following Story is a long one, so get your coffee or come back when you have some spare time..

    This last trip started out in the Fall to allow some Rest and Relaxation for my wife, who diligently cares for an ageing parent.

    Our pre-flight was a bit hasty and many things were left behind. The 'FREEDOM' pushed back from the ABQ Home Terminal tarmac and was rolling out onto the Runway quite a bit past noon, A Departure time, much later than Scheduled.

    My Navigator was running along side and swung aboard just as the steps retracted. At that time I fully advanced the Throttles for Take Off roll with 3/4 flaps. Pulling back on the Yoke, Rotation acheived, we climbed out to cruise altitude while retracting flaps. Throttles back to cruise power. Seat belt lights 'off'. Free to move about the cabin. Refreshments may be served. "Ladies and Gentlemen we have clear weather all of the way to Corpus Christi Texas, enjoy your flight"!

    My co-pilot, Navigator, (wife) Flight Plan was plotted down the Southerly route. After gaining altitude crossing the Tijeras Canyon Pass through the mountains East of Albuquerque. Cruising down through the little towns of Moriarty, and Estancia, following the long lonely highway toward Carrizozo, then banking East on the climb to 'Capitan' through the mountains. Increase throttle, increase altitude.

    Fuel consumption is increasing during the mountainous climb, which is always the case in the Western States. Sunset was fast approaching as we landed in little 'Capitan' (Historic Home Of Smoky the Bear) 200 miles (322km) later, for a nice little restaurant meal.

    As we cruised out through the mountains toward 'Lincoln', (Billy the Kid's site of the Historic 1800's Lincoln County Range Wars) the sun had completely set and the sky was filled with a telescopically clear, massive appearing, full moon. The silhouetted mountains were reminiscent of 'Ansel Adams' famous black and white photographs. Actually with the exceptional clear visability, we could have cruised without landing lights throughout the night, VFR in the bright moonlight.

    Banking Eastward again toward 'Roswell' New Mexico (Sight of the famous 1947 'Roswell flying saucer incident') The long miles of altitude descent across the plains, brought the fuel consumption back up into the low teens for a couple of hours. Roswell has the famous Space Alien museum and celebrates the 'incident' each year with visitors from around the world.

    We got a lot of 'mileage' out of those last 'Flying Saucers' during 'the cold War'. If things heat up again we will bring down another later model with newer technology. This time we will take better care of the pilots. We will sit down with them in the evenings at the local Pubs. Nurse a few pints, smoke a couple of stogee's (Cuban of course) while we talk some serious flying. Those Pilots keep a great 'Log'. They have many excellent stories. It sure helps for them to share their secrets. Plus we like the notoriety. You know, "All That Jazz".

    The Walmart terminal where we often spend nights while traveling South, is on the North side of Roswell, so the perimeter highway serves to bypass the city on the West and intersects close to the 'Wally World' as we sometimes call it. WMT ATC gives 'Freedom' a CTL. We begin our descent 20 miles (32km) out, circling in VFR from the North in a 10 degree bank, level out, set flaps and throttle back on final, then settle in for a 'greased' landing in the brightly lit parking lot, (Freedom's pilot is a real 'Stick') taxiing to a secluded area on the tarmac, locking the brakes, power down 'Freedom' and settle in for the night.

    It has been documented that the average Walmart Motor Home night guest, spends over 75 dollars in each store. We beat that by hundreds on this particular nights stay. That's what happens when you leave home in haste and with no provisions aboard. Of course the Walmart 'gift card' is also loaded for the Walmart and Sam's Club fuel stations along the route. We thanked Walmart and they in turn thanked us. Morning Liftoff takes us over the distant Eastern plains and eventually out of NM airspace. We cruise over the wide open spaces of West Texas by way of another open highway with no traffic. (eat your heart out, Major City USA)

    Morning starts us on down the long stretch of highway to the next Super Walmart and fuel stop in the Oil Patch town of 'Big Springs' Texas. Fueled up and ready to lift off after a night in that Walmart as well, sends us over this days stretch of highway toward the Gulf. Texas is so big that there are many ways to make this trip. Sometimes we stay in San Angelo's City Park for the night. Other times we check out San Antonio's interesting sights like 'The River Walk' with it's countless little shops and unique restaurants. Of course San Antonio's famous 'Aquarium' is not to be missed.

    At San Angelo Texas, 12 dollars gets you a quiet night with hundreds of Squirrels of various species, Turkey Vultures, Deer and Wild Turkeys for scenery. All of this while parked along side the beautiful man made Lake Nasworthy. The Corps of Engineers, years ago built many, many wonderful huge dams in the USA to hold back water for Flood control, clean Hydro Electrical Generation, Crop Irrigation and Recreation. Thank You 'Corps of Engineers' for another job well done. Thankfully those were the days of sanity and reason. Engineers way outnumbered Lawyers.

    Fredricksburg Texas is a favorite stop along the highway to the Gulf. Another evening Walmart of course and parking near the little grass slope we usually find reserved for our coach with tow car. Fredericksburg is a little, old German flavored town that was the home of brilliant Admiral Nimitz (WWII Battle of Midway). The WWII Pacific Theatre Museum is great and has life size dioramas of the Pacific Theatre battlefields including beautifully restored planes and a very rare, restored, teak wood PT boat. Also plentiful German food of course, so we dine 'out' when in Fredricksburg.

    The long easy cruise to Corpus Christi is broken only by the knowledge that you are covering an ancient shallow seafloor of sandstone and limestone laid down during the Mid Cretaceous Period about 100 million years ago when the entire world was without Ice for millions of years, and the North American Plate (Continent) had not yet been forced upward by the Faralon Plate driving under it from the Pacific Ocean.

    Approaching Corpus Christi Texas with the fuel gauge solidly on empty and the alarm light lit up brightly, Sam's Club is located and the empty 75 gallon tank refueled. The sun is setting rapidly so we immediately set out for our nights destination, crossing the causeway then 'The High Bridge' over the inter coastal waterway, then on to Malaquite Beach on The Padre Island National Seashore, on the Gulf of Mexico. Arriving as night falls, we refill our 75 gallon fresh water supply and empty the holding tanks at the convenient 'dump' station just outside the paved parking sites.

    No large crowds this evening, the pick of the sites is ours. A great sunset again with the fantastic Full Moon rising over the Gulf of Mexico above the endless, sparkling, white crested waves. Freedom's big windshield faces the ocean, the waves are rolling ashore just beyond the low sand dunes, the volume of the repeated waves 'wash' is perfect. The night is partially passed, sitting in the coaches front captains chairs, watching the fantastic moonrise. What else could be better. Natures priceless exhibit.

    Morning brings us to watch a beautiful sunrise over the Gulf. The sky turns a dull orange first. The red blazing sun then appears, coming up out of the low lying fog bank on the horizon. After the 'morning show', it's time for breakfast then into the Jeep for a Quiet morning drive along the deserted beach.

    My wife loves to walk for miles on the sand enjoying the endless array of seabirds, something virtually impossible at home due to physical problems as well as the lack of an ocean shore. Forgetting the last several months concerns is easy at this location along the seashore on this long barrier Island. The shore birds that are plentiful barely notice her walking along the wet sand while they busily scurry to and fro, gathering their tiny morsels of sea life. I drive on ahead only to find a colorful piece of nylon in the receding tide. The tide was unusually high last night according to the monthly 'tide tables'.

    Strangely, Tents were abandoned along the way. Many people were obviously caught by surprise after darkness fell and the tide rolled in after 7 pm. It rose about 2 1/2 vertical feet which is above normal, causing it to reach the distant barrier dunes in places. As I began pulling at the large new Magellan (Academy Sports) tent from the sand. It became apparent to my wife, who came over to see what I was tugging at, while she was looking at the clues, that a woman, possibly with a young child, trying to escape life's difficulties at home, had been camped on the beach alone for the night.

    Save for her Coca-Cola body pillow, lace trimmed pillow case with chenille blanket on her new feather bed, drinking a couple of 'Steel's, watching the rising moon, burning her incense and enjoying the roar of the waves. Safely and wisely above the debris line from the previous tides. She mistakenly assumed.

    As the 'High Tide' unexpectedly approached the dunes, with the rolling waves soaking her entrance door and bedding, she desperately tried to pack, taking the tent partially down. Out of shear terror she jumped into her vehicle and left all of her possessions to be claimed by the waves. She was over four miles (6.4km) from the nearest escape road off the beach.

    The barrier dunes keep a vehicle from escaping the relentless onslaught of the waves. Having been caught by this unpredictable tidal system ourselves last year (previously blogged) We can only imagine her desperation as she drove at dangerously high speed along the remaining wave lashed sand, 4 miles (6.4km) toward safety.

    This 63 mile (101km) stretch of desolate beach claims a lot of things (ships and buoys) so cars are easy to digest. We worked for a couple of hours cleaning out the sand that weighed down the colorful nylon fabric. My wife had found a tumbler with a gallon water container in the debris and used it like a scoop to remove the sand. If the woman had returned for her tent we would have happily given it to her. This being a Monday, indicated that she had just returned to her weekly life on higher ground and left it in the surf for scavengers like my wife and I.

    The next day we left camp early to drive in the wake of the retreating tide toward the far end of this beach, the Mansfield Cut, 63 miles (101KM) south along the wet, sandy beach. Weekend Volunteers work a lot keeping this long stretch of sand cleaned of plastic and flotsam discarded by unthinking humans. Trash that washes ashore in this 'catch basin' of the Caribbean. The home nesting ground of the Kemps-Ridely turtles, 900 miles across the Gulf from Florida.

    Remember there is no way out but the 63 mile (101km) way you drove in, so the tide tables are the best guide book. We noticed many, many buoys indicating heavy storms during this last year, starting with a big white 'mooring' buoy with a heavy chain at '12 mile' (19.3km). 17 mile (27.3km) brought us to the site of 2 more orange buoys of the 'navigation' type. 20 mile (32.1km) a red and yellow 'navigation' buoy and 37 mile (59.5km) another big navigation buoy. The sight of another huge 'mooring' buoy at 40 mile (64.3km). another 'navigation' type at 41 mile (65.9km).

    One more extremely large mooring buoy at 45 mile (72.4km). Navigation buoy at 45.2 (72.7km) mile. 57 mile (91.7km), brought us another 'Nav' buoy and finally at 58 mile (93.3km), one more big mooring buoy. During this drive along the Beach, the sound of crunching and popping starts to get your attention about the 17 mile (27.3km) mark.

    Little seashells are littered for miles along this stretch therefore the name sticks as 'Little Shell' for the locals. Similarly at about the 57 mile (91.7km) area the name 'Big Shell' is used for the same reason. Many times this area is virtually impassable for most vehicles.

    We were able to get turned around barely in time following the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The shells were just too deep and extended for many miles and no traction was available for our 4 wheel drive. It was like driving in a huge pan filled with marbles. Only by keeping our speed very high and making the complete 180 degree turn were we able to escape during that memorable trip.

    At the 63 mile (101.3km) limit the jetty built by the Corps of Engineers to open the Mansfield Cut (shipping channel to Port Mansfield) appears. The shells are now of a variety favored by my wife. A type of spiral, large variety only found near this jetty. She promptly jumped out of the Jeep that I had parked safely up against the dune wall, and began her search. I walked over to a fisherman that had set up a week long camp on the jetty above the beach.

    While my wife was busy searching closer and closer to the water near the jetty, unseen by myself or the fisherman, A large 'Sneaker Wave' came in around her and swept her off her feet. She had just regained her footing when another came in and grabbed her, trying to sweep her out into the surf.

    She could not get my attention with the incessant roar of the waves against the rocks. My wife's rapidly intensifying fear, was that she would soon loose her battle with the waves without her husband even noticing her last minutes. Each crashing wave took her farther down the slope of slick rocks into ever deeper and more turbulent water.

    Standing higher on the jetty rocks, with my attention diverted from her, I was totally oblivious to her desperate plight in the churning waves below the rock Jetty. She was loosing more strength with each struggle against the relentless current. Finally with her last remaining bit of strength, she made one last desperate attempt to get ashore, miraculously the waves relented. She hung on to her little bag of precious shells and slowly retreated to the Jeep, soaked but alive after her extremely frightening ordeal. I very nearly lost my very best friend and love of my life, on that day.

    I walked back to the Jeep to leave and only at this time, as she broke down into tears while telling me the story about what had been happening to her, without my even noticing. Our trip back the 63 miles (101.3km) of beach was in silence. Except for one large sand dune drop off we crashed over at 40 mph (64.3kph). It took over a day to regain her composure about her frightening incident.

    Leaving this beautiful, accessible area, set aside by past visionaries in the Federal Government, was a slight downer. The film 'Appaloosa' was to use Blogengeezer as 'the Carpenter on the 14th of November. Already 'the Carpenter' had been needed for a couple of unsheduled days while we were traveling. No more could be missed.

    The drive back took a stop by a favorite 'Tanger' and 'Prime' dual Mall near San Marcos Texas. We stay in the Pecan Park RV area. A pleasant day to forget past 'near drowning' experiences. Happy moods slowly returned. Cabelas is my favorite sporting goods store to wander around in and dream, so one side trip there in Buda Texas. The AC compressor clutch was slowly binding itself to the faceplate. A little shop was the only place that was willing to even check it out for us. We determined that we would drive home without AC, it was noisy for a time, but we finished the trip home without further incident.

    On the way back Northwest toward Albuquerque New Mexico, a new off highway stop was found to surprise us. Marble Texas has several Corps of Engineers Lakes, now called, Texas State Parks, with Dams and reservoirs. For 22 dollars a night, the space is right on the lake shore. Canoe rentals are a great way to see the ducks and Coots on 'Inks Lake' up close and personal.

    We did not even tip over. Paddling along in the morning sunshine, we approached a little canyon with a small waterfall. I must hike that little canyon some time on a future trip. Birds seem to enjoy it's fall through the rocks. Ducks, Coots and a large number of aquatic turtles are to be seen in this little, silent cove.

    That Park and water area will be our return path through the Texas Hill Country, to the Gulf next spring. The remaining miles were pleasant with the High Plains of Texas and it's incessant wind, driving the fuel economy into the single digit zone. This entire area is being covered with massive electric Wind Turbines.

    Each single blade is 75 feet long and needs its own special permit, over length, flatbed truck. Three blades to each giant turbine. The Highways are endlessly carrying these blades for the new 'wind farms' growing up out of the Cotton fields along side the oil field pump jacks running day and night. Texas is like a Booming economically powerful Nation. It's way too great and powerful to be just a State. Actually it is a Republic, with the capability to allow it to divide into 4 states.

    The smooth Texas highway feels good, 'Freedom' is Purring contentedly like a large powerful Cat and we are not tired. We decide to cruise non stop to the ABQ terminal. This means well over 500 miles on this day. We drive lower than the speed limit, so this day is very long. The headlights are the only contact with the road ahead, so we slow down even more after dark. Surprises are not welcome on a vehicle of this size and weight, as the brakes and steering are not equal to a sports cars.

    The familiar Tijeras canyon descent through the mountains is always viewed with welcome, but with caution. This is the only highway connecting the City of Albuquerque with all of the East Mountain towns and ranches. Also it is one of the major Southern routes across the USA. The downgrade requires a bit of downshift accompanied with 'Full Flaps' to hold the speed in control without overheating the brake linings.

    The big transcontinental highway trucks are always 24/7 using this major East West Runway across the USA Southern Route. It is always crowded with wall to wall, fast moving trucks, bare inches away. We are very used to mountain driving, so nothing extremely dangerous on these last miles toward home, so long as we all maintain our positions on this intensely busy section of I-40 Interstate highway.

    As we taxi Freedom in slowly up to the front of our home terminal, it feels good but the long, desolate, open highways will call again in the spring. We will save our money carefully throughout the cold winter months, to pay the fuel bill for the next trip. It is relatively easy for us, as we have lived a frugal life all along. Only now have we begun to enjoy the fruits of our life's labors and saving.

    The movie set of 'Appaloosa' was the immediate goal upon return from this trip. It was a great little film and Viggo Mortensen with Ed Harris, Renee Zellweger and Jeremy Irons as the bad guy, made it even greater. The Viggo Fans were all wonderful and drove this little 'family' blog to unexpectedly high world attention. Thank You Viggo Fans.

    Jan 13 2008 CBS Larry McMurtry's 'Comanche Moon', Blogengeezer wears a Top Hat like Abe Lincoln, walks around 'Austin Texas' with ladies, rides in carriage with ladies, runs around in street in suspenders (no ladies) Val Kilmer sure looks different. The Blackfoot (they portrayed Comanches) Indians are the greatest as well as their fantastic painted horses. I thouroughly enjoyed working and eating with them every day, even their horses.

    Readers be sure to come back again some time when you are bored to tears and have nothing more to do than read this 'essay' blog by Blogengeezer in the USA, the greatest Nation the world has ever seen. "One Nation Under God".

    As My 'JUKE BOX' Sings 'Hold On Tight To Your Dreams'