Thursday, September 30, 2010

Goodbye Tony Curtis

I came in from feeding and running errands this afternoon and turned on the TV for the first time today. I was probably one of the last people in the country to learn that Tony Curtis had died last night.
I felt a real sense of loss at this news. Tony Curtis had been one of my favorite actors since child hood, the kind of actor that will have you sat through a movie you don't really care for just because he was in it. There weren't many like that.

As much as I enjoyed Tony's movies I was more impressed with his early history. He was one of the young men that didn't wait to be drafted in World War Two, but joined the US Navy after seeing Destination Tokyo and Crash Dive.
He never became a submariner during the war, but it wasn't lack of effort. Tony was on the crew of the USS PROTEUS (AS-19) a subtender, and was a proud member of Submarine Relief Crew 202. He was able to make short run on USS DRAGONET (SS-293) before the end of the war. He watched the Japanese Surrender from the signal bridge of the PORTEUS.
After the war Tony started the career he is known for. Of all the Movies my favorite, and I think one of his, was OPERATION PETTICOAT.
In an interview he talked about a dream come true. As a kid he had sat in movie houses and watched Cary Grant drape himself around a periscope in Destination Tokyo and he wanted to be him. Later, on the set of OPERATION PETTICOAT he stood next to Cary Grant draped around a periscope. He said it was an amazing moment.
With all his success Tony Curtis never forgot his beginning in the US Navy. For as long as his health allowed he gave of his time and resources to vetrans groups, especially his beloved submariners.
When searching the internet this afternoon I came across this still taken of Tony Curtis while making OPERATION PETTICOAT . I will take it down if anyone objects to my using it, but this is the way I want to remember him.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Project

Got a call from our friend Tom a couple of days ago, asking if we still had our Motorcycle / Sidecar rig. We do, but it hasn't run for a while.

We have been chasing parts, and recently discovered a fule leak, so I thought I was sunk. It turns out the job is a photo shoot with models posing on and around the vehicles, so as long as it looks good, that's all that matters. He asked for pictures, this is one of the photos we sent.

Tom will be taking a Willys Jeep. When he was asked about a Motorcycle with Sidecar he thought of ours. Tom is a pro, and a good friend I have worked for in the past. His vehicles work on a regular basis, so I have a good feeling about this.

This is a still photo shot so the bike not running isn't a problem. If the photographer likes the photos of the bike I sent him, I may have an interested project to report on in the near future.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Are There Any Remington Model 8 Rifles in Central Texas?

I have always loved this illustration. This guy is having the mother of all rude awakenings. And it stresses the need to have a really good rifle. He is either really happy he bought the best ammunition the store had, or he is praying the gun will go bang and cursing his cheapskate ways.

The rifle is a Remington Model 8, a classic dating back before World War I.

I have admired these iconic weapons pretty much all my life, but have never had the pleasure and honor of fireing one. I need to change that and hope some of you folks might be able to give me a hand.

Last month I posted Them Bank Robbers is Worth Money about the Dead Bank Robbers Reward Program and asked if any readers had additional information. I got an excellent lead, thanks Bob.

In the same story I have a character using a Remington Model 8. I have read a couple dozen articles about the rifle. The shooters reading this know that won't tell me half as much as getting together with someone who has one and running a box of cartridges through it.

So, if anyone in the Central Texas Area has one of these rifles and would like to go shooting some time, please email me at and let me know when. If some of you folks out of the area know of anyone who lives here, please pass them my information.

I realize getting the guns wrong has never kept anything out of print, but I want to do the Remington Model 8 justice.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dark Moments, But Never Dull Moments

If you were to ask me today, I would say on the eighth day the Lord created the Gas Generator.

Sunday Morning my wife likes to watch CBS Sunday Morning to get her day started. Fifteen minutes into the program the power went out. That time they had service restored within an hour. Annoying, but livible.

This evening we had settled down to select viewing for the night, about five thirty PM, and the lights went out again. This time I plug the entertainment center into what Sportsmans Guide called a "Generator Cart."

It's a 1000 Watt Inverter mounted on a housing that I installed a Marine Deep Cycle Battery into. I have no idea why they discontinued this wonderful beastie. It's good for about four hours fully charged, depending on how you use it. It turned out I was only going to have about an hour on it, which should have been enough.

I called the (unnamed, at least for this entry) power company and got an estimate of fourty five minutes to an hour to have service restored. When the generator cart gave out I plugged it and the entertainment center into the Gas Generator. After making the switch I came back in and called the power company again. This time their best guess was by three AM.

If I seem a little over the top on the subject, it's because of Ike. I think it was two years ago the hurricane hit the Texas Coast. No one has yet explained to me why folks in Central Texas should be without power for most of a week when a hurricane hits the coast. For most of the first day they kept insisting we would have power back on in two or three hours. The most annoying part was driving past houses, in the country or other towns, served by other companies with lights on the entire time. So, we waited.

Finally the power was restored. The part I find really galling is when they drop the ball, it happens and we should live with it.



The power company actually got the power back on an hour early, two AM rather than three AM,

It seems in this case I need to cut them a little slack. The power outage was due to some fool in Calvert, Texas shooting up the relay station. One can only hope they are found. They should hope the locals aren't the ones that find them. They are even more upset than I was.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

This is the year for it

Greetings from Texas friends and neighbors. It seems I have lived a charmed life these last ten years here at the HomePlace. I havc had the usual scoldings about my bloodpressure, which I am taking care of. There are the cuts and scrapes that come with working outdoors but nothing that required more than a bandaid. To date both Helene and I have seen the Copperheads before they were a problem - knock on wood. I am nothing short of a Nazi on the subject of firearms safety and have no intention of changing that, no problems on there.

The worse I have delt with health wise up to this year was a really bad flu that sent me to see the doctor several times before it ran it's course. Then of course there was the nerve damage I wrote about not too long ago. I seem to be making up for lost time.

The arm is doing fine, in fact I don't even notice any problems from it these days. I made another visit to my good friend Dr. Sterling last week, who assures me I do not have a broken rib.

I will take his word for it.
Broken ribs are another of those injuries I have heard lots but had no previous experience with. I've known lots of people who have. Growing up in a farming and ranching family busted ribs were a common injury.
The most recent was suffered by an older cousin and caused by a kicking horse.
A lady in our writers group told me her husband got his broken in a karate lession.
An old cropduster I knew in the Texas Panhandle busted most of the ribs on his left side in an airplane crash. He said the part that hurt the worst was that he didn't do it on the job, but playing around in an AT-6 on a Sunday afternoon.
And what daring exploit did I recieve my injury from? Playing with the dog. I am never going to live that one down.
For anyone who has never experienced this injury, let me hit the high points. The term "knocked the breath out of me" is no exaggeration. I spent a good minute thinking I was going to die. When I was able to breath again, I didn't want to. I was afraid I wouldn't die for twice that amount of time. And of course, the dog wanted to help.
A cough is like revisiting the orginal injury and is to be avoided at all cost. Good luck with that. Sneezing, if possible, is worse. This morning it hurt like blazes, but I didn't spend a full minute not being able to breath, so I am getting better.
The first two nights sitting and standing hurt like hell. Sitting down in my recliner wasn't too bad. Getting out of it made up for it. Having said that, if you have a recliner - sleep there! Sitting down on the edge of the bed was only exceeded by lying flat, which was nothing compaired to getting back up. I spent three nights in the recliner before even trying to go back to bed.
The doctor told me both injuries hurt the same, but if the ribs aren't broken the hurting goes away faster. Thank God for that.
I am on the mend, and no lasting damage. All things being equal, I would just as soon not have any more new injuries for a while. We are getting ready for THE GREAT PUMPKIN SHOOT II in October.