Tag Archives: New Mexico

Flea circus, Portales, New Mexico circa 1955

Flea Circus. Torps Flea Circus Tivoli Copenhagen 1956

Hi readers.  I’d just about decided my memory played tricks.  Two years in a row I remember  the carnival at the Roosevelt County Fair having a flea circus a kid could see for a dime.  Vivid memory because I somehow accidently went into the tent next door where a woman in a bathing suit who had no arms was typing on a typewriter with her toes.

But I’ve told a lot of people who grew up in Portales at that time about the flea circus and none remember it.  Most think I just dreamed it up, or remembered wrongly, which can happen.

Only the reason they thought so, and the reason I’d begun to thnk so, was that I came to believe no such thing as a flea circus ever existed outside imaginations.

The magic of YouTube doesn’t prove a flea market came to town with the carnival in Portales, New Mexico circa 1956, but it proves beyond doubt it might have.

Secrets of the Flea Circus

Secrets of the Real Flea Circus Revealed! National Geographic (Professor Oddnaught)

Genuine Flea Circus

No shortage of flea circuses were making the rounds those days.

So all you people who went to school beside me and don’t remember attending the flea circus I, think there wasn’t one, I say, “Horsefeathers!”  If you hadn’t been spending all your money on the steam shovels and cotton candy you’d have seen it too.  Playing bingo with pieces of corn on a checkerboard never got anyone into a tent where a woman with no arms in a bathing suit typed with her toes.

Old Jules

 

Tiger Eyes – a movie filmed in New Mexico

Based on the acclaimed novel by Judy Blume. Following her father’s murder, a teenager goes to stay with relatives in New Mexico and falls in love.  Takes place mostly around Los Alamos and Santa Fe.  More just a story of adapting to pain and loss.  Of growing old enough to learn that most of the adventure hurts somewhere.

Reminded me a lot of the years I lived in Santa Fe, and the scene on the Rez was strikingly similar to a Christmas celebration my lady friend of the time, Amy Nevitt took me to at Jemez Pueblo in the home of friends.

If I didn’t miss New Mexico so much I think I’d have hated it.  I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.  Fairly lousy movie except for the scenery.

Old Jules

Migration – New tire obligation – Respiration – Palpitation and Coincidence Coordination

Sheeze.  Hi readers .  Sometimes I disgust myself, make no sense whatever.

Went out to the tire place this morning and ordered two each 10 ply 16.5 inch tires to arrive Wednesday and have mounted before I even know whether I’m going to kick the bucket before I can wear them out.    Jumped the gun something awful, but it feels okay, me betting the Universe I can drive on those tires long enough to justify having them before the Universe can draw a tight bead on me and squeeze off a round.

Meanwhile I’m figuring to hear from the VA around Wednesday setting me up for a sawbones to look me over, poke me here and there, tell me to stick out my tongue and say “Ahhh.”  Once that’s accomplished he’ll offer up a theory of what I’d least like to hear from a person in his position and watch my facial expressions to decide whether he needs to trump it.

Generally the whole situation’s seeming better than it did a week ago, though.  Haven’t been toking the oxygen machine nights, generally been getting all the hyperventilating under control, thinking whatever it was happened was just some damned trick of anomalyism trying to rob my macho.

And hells bells, I’ve got a couple of new tires coming down the pike I have to live long enough to wear out.  Hell of a deal.

Got me and address here in Andrews, too, right here on the west coast of Texas, so’s to be able to be a Texas resident dangeriously close to the boundary with New Mexico.

Psychomosomatic heart attacks and similarly life-threatening imaginary events can be a blessing.  Boots a man off his ass and gets him out there betting against the Universe, buying tires and sneering into the future with reckless aplomb.

Old Jules

Bonfire of the vanities

Hi Readers:

I’ve got this box of US Archives microfilm of all the US Army Civil War correspondence for the Department of New Mexico and Arizona staring at me.  Wasted a phone call to the  Arizona State Archives, talked to a clerk who’d have her boss get back to me if they wanted them.

Microfilm of Yankee Army Civil War correspondence

No joy.  I suppose I might yet find a university, or the NM or Texans might want them for their State Archives.  It’s got the California Volunteers activities, and the Union perspectives on what all those Texas troops were doing raising hell up the Rio Grande.  Nice description of how, when the last Texans had retreated to Fort Davis, left their wounded in the hospital there for the Union to treat when they arrived.

Apache got there between the exit of the Texans and the arrival of the Union troops.  Slaughtered them all in their beds, mutilated the corpses.

We’re talking good stuff here.  Somebody sure as hell ought to want it.

Maybe I can swing up by Ruidoso and blackmail the Mescalero with it.

Or maybe it’s time for all that stuff to go into the burn pile.

Old Jules

Microfilm of Yankee Army Civil War correspondence

Packing up things I came across a box containing 30-some spools of microfilm I bought from the US Archives 20 years ago.  All the US military correspondence in the Department of New Mexico and Arizona, 1856 [I think] through 1866.  Includes California Volunteers after they crossed the Yuma River headed for the Rio Grande, also the Apache campaign and Navajo 1863-64 business.  And the late-1850s Bonneville campaign against the Apache with the occasional Navajo thrown in to spice it up.

I don’t think I’m going back to a place in my life where I’m staring at microfilm reader screens anymore.  If any of you have any interest in owning those spools, or know anyone who’d like to have them for the price of parcel post sending them, contact me at josephusminimus@hotmail.com.

Or if you have any ideas about some research library might like to own them under those conditions.  Or any other ideas how I can find someone who might get some use out of them.  Scads of interesting, intriguing, baffling stuff in there.

I’m not carrying them around with me anymore.

Old Jules

“It’s just you and me here. Do we want to go to war?”

Hi readers.

An email acquaintance who has a mining claim on Federal land in New Mexico sent out an anecdote to his email friends about an incident this weekend.

He headed out to his claim, bypassed a barricade, and began doing what he always does there.  He was spang in the midst of doing it when he looked up and a guy in a USFS law enforcement uniform wearing mirror sunglasses was scowling down with his hands on his hips.  “Come out of there.  You are going to jail.”

He scrambled up onto the bank and stood face-to-face with the sneering mirror sunglasses.  “This is a filed mining claim.  My fees are all paid, everything’s legal here.  I have a right to be here.  What law do you think I’m breaking?”

Mirror sunglasses ran his fingers over his holster.  “This is Federal land.  You are trespassing.  You’re either leaving or going to jail. “

“I’m armed too.  Get your hand away from that holster and don’t even think about pointing a pistol at me unless you want to shoot me.  I’m not doing anything illegal.  You are.  Get the hell out of here, or try handcuffing me and we’ll see what happens.  It’s just you and me here.  Do we want to go to war?”

Mirror sunglasses stepped back and assumed a gunfighter stance, the ghost of Billy the Kid in a USFS uniform.  Then he must have considered what he was doing and come to his senses.  “I can have backup out here in half-an-hour.  If you’re still here you’ll be in a lot of trouble.”

He backed to his vehicle, glared again, and drove away.

The miner did some thinking on his own part and decided the price of a shootout with the Forces of Darkness wasn’t the lesser of evils in this situation.  Loaded his gear and headed back to civilization, figuring he’d meet the US Cavalry on the road.

But he didn’t encounter anyone.  He says he hasn’t decided whether to try it again next weekend.

Claude Dallas is evidently alive and well in the boondocks.

Old Jules

Wild as a Texas blue norther

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

This norther turned out to be not all that wild, but it spang brought the first taste of fall.  Caught me not knowing exactly where I’ve got my sleeping caps stored away.  Had to settle for a sweatsuit jacket with a hood.

Cats mostly stayed in the RV with me during the night, though they had to trip outdoors occasionally to make certain things were going okay out there.  Didn’t take them long to decide everything was hunkie dorie enough to scratch on the screen and trust to the Universe to protect things from the space aliens sneaking around out there.

Heluva a fine morning out there.  More stars than I’ve seen for a while, Orion and the Pleiades romancing.

The Toyota RV should be gone from here within the next few days, along with the old 4 Runner and the pickup-bed trailer, got a guy wants the chainlink dog-runs I used for a chicken pen, too.  Put my Toyota RV Onan generator up on Craigslist a few days ago, but it hasn’t drawn any excitement.  Might have to lower my expectations about the value of it.

ONAN RV generator sell or trade for Moped – $275 (Harper, Texas)

http://bigbend.craigslist.org/rvs/4111000059.html

So here I am being methodical about running off into the sunset, which represents something of a behavioral change for me.  But I’m getting a bit long in the tooth to be responding to the wild as a Texas blue norther side of my youthful character I’ve always tried to nurture.

I’m figuring by the end of October I’ll be somewhere I don’t need to be wild to still have a few challenges and healthy moments of self-doubt.

I still have to figure out some way of getting a mailing address in the neighborhood of the Texas/New Mexico boundary, which is probably going to be challenge enough for most usual purposes.

Old Jules

The moving finger writes and then moves on: NM Floodplain Managers Association

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

Fairly weird.  I was websearching for Mike Czosnek, a guy I used to do some Lost Adams Diggings searching with, and came across something that rocked me back on my heels. 

New Mexico Floodplain Managers Association http://www.nmfma.org/content.aspx?page_id=0&club_id=920799

An egg I laid, nurtured, hatched, and promptly forgot as soon as my career ended in 1999.

When I assumed the job of State Floodplain Manager for the State of New Mexico in 1992 the state had a law on the books to allow localities to adopt ordinances regulating building in designated floodplain areas, and for the residents of those to buy federally sponsored flood insurance to cover their damages when the creek did what it would inevitably do.

Someone had screwed up when the law was passed and left in language that could be construed [by me] requiring that the locally designated floodplain managers be trained and registered or licensed by the State Floodplain Manager or Administrator.  All that happened 15 years before my arrival, and had lain dormant and unnoticed.  Nobody in New Mexico had a clue what they’d agreed to, what they were supposed to be doing. 

The reason I was hired for the job was that FEMA was losing patience.  I was mandated by my grant to audit the local programs, report to FEMA what they weren’t doing according to their federal agreement, and hassle them to death until they did it.

Lousy, lousy, lousy job I had for a while travelling around the state being ignored and tolerated barely.  Then I happened to study the statute and came up with the idea.  Started hassling the hell out of local governments about not having registered or licensed [by me] floodplain managers whom I could lay some heavy crap on if they didn’t do their jobs.

“How do they become licensed?”

“They have to go through training.  Take a test.  I do the training at the [non-existent Floodplain Managers Association meetings.  Your people will have to join.”

The cage took a lot of rattling, but 1993, 1994, I put together an organizational meeting in Las Vegas, New Mexico.  Almost every participating community in New Mexico was represented.  Did some rudimentary training, had them adopt a constitution and by-laws, create officers [of which I refused to be one].

NM Floodplain Managers Association made my life a lot easier, reduced the amount of heckling and hassling I had to take from FEMA.  And became my primary training tool for the local communities.  Gradually got them training one another.

And my old buddy Mike Czosnek is still out there, treasurer of the damned thing.  Might have to stop in and see him when I get out that way.

Old Jules

SWAT teams and militarized police forces – An outlet for frustrating human needs

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

I’ve noticed a few scattered concerns on the WEB by people who think the 21st Century militarization of civilian police forces is a bad thing.  Seems to me those complainers aren’t looking at the bigger picture.

Time was when a person with a mean streak, or just a desire  to kill someone didn’t have many options.  He could sneak around and do it and maybe get by with it a while, or he could get drunk and do it, and go to the slammer.  Or he could unhealthily suppress it and go around frustrated and unhappy.

But nowadays there are plenty of outlets for a person with those needs.  Sure, he might spend years becoming a SEAL, a Marine Sniper, or a Green Beret.  But those are really too large and too institutionalized for the local badass who just wants to blow the face off someone without being criticized for doing it.   Municipal, County, or State Police SWAT teams offer a lot easier outlet.  Plus, they’re clubs where all the members have the same goals and can be depended upon to protect one another by keeping their mouths shut if it’s needed. 

For instance, there used to be a cop in Socorro, New Mexico, who was involved in a couple of extremely questionable shootings.  Residents and city officials had all witnessed, or heard about his blusterings, his posturings, his suspected desire to use that firearm as frequently as possible.  After the second shooting incident he was quietly encouraged to find greener pastures elsewhere.

So he applied for, and was accepted to the Albuquerque Police.  Trained for the SWAT team.  Wasn’t long before he got to put a bullet into a suspect and got a lot of praise for doing it.  Short while later they were raiding a drug house and an 80 year old neighbor saw what was going on, thought it was a gang.  Ran out of his house with a flashlight, yelling, and the Ex-Socorro cop stopped him in his tracks.  Turned out the raid was conducted at the wrong address, but the 80 year old was found ex post facto to should have minded his own business.

A year or two later someone was holding a baby over a freeway overpass threatening to drop it into the traffic below.  Ex-Socorro cop plugged him so’s the baby only dropped on the overpass.  Hero again.

I heard over the years he got to kill a number of other people who got downrange of the Albuquerque SWAT team, as well.  Managed to make what would otherwise probably just been a lifetime spent in prison, or sneaking around murdering people, into a healthy, productive life.

People who criticize militarized police forces aren’t considering the needs of the SWAT teamers and the healthy way they’ve dovetailed themselves into the greater good of society.

Old Jules

Should’a done its

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

The last post about creeping cowardice was going to have some of this as a part of it, but became too lengthy so I saved it with the thought I’ve got a while to live yet and might still work it in somewhere.

I believe one of the ways a person might attain valid perspectives about himself and his life events is through hindsight.  Might be the only way.  If a person can look back and seriously say to himself, “I should have done it,” probably he should have done it.

I can’t say that about those two mine shafts because I know even now I’d have done them if I could, and I recognize for whatever reason, I couldn’t.  No ‘should have done it’ hidden in there.

But around 2002, 2003, there’s a should have done it I still occasionally experience a flash of regret about.  Just until my insistence about not to regret anything in my life kicks in to trump it.

There’s an airstrip, or was an airstrip parallel to the old highway running between Belen, Los Lunas, and Isleta Pueblo I used to always swing into when I was in the area.  A number of old airplanes to walk around and look at, wonder about, kick the tires of.  The airstrip was gradually becoming inactive.

But at one end there was an old Cessna 140 tied down.  I’d always go over and walk around, check it out.  Sometimes sit inside it.  Watch the tires gradually lose their air and grass get taller around it.

I asked the guys running a motorcycle shop that used to be an airplane related business about it.  The 140 belonged to a man who lived in the neighborhood adjacent to the air park.  He’d been experiencing advancing dementia … quit flying the plane a couple of years back.  One of them heard he was in a nursing home, and that his wife had died.  The house and plane were in an ambiguous ownership state as a result of complicated family matters.

When I heard that I began to realize that old plane needed to be taken around the patch a few times before it rotted to the ground.  Or before it found its way into Trade-A-Plane and got sold to someone in Alabama to fly off or be hauled off.

I did a lot of planning about that plane.  The battery was going to be dead, and maybe the fuel would have gone bad, but probably not.  Avgas tends to last a long time in a tied down airplane.  But there’s probably water condensed inside the tank if it wasn’t left full.  Water under the gas that would be drained off before the engine started.

I borrowed an air bottle and brought the tire pressure up on one of the trips, checked the oil, got inside and tested the controls.  Everything hunky dory.  Just needed to draw the water off the fuel tanks.  Fuel guages showed one full, one 3/4 tank.  The 3/4 tank would be the one most likely to have water in the fuel tank.

I never made a conscious decision not to take that old bird around the patch, do a few touch and goes.  My bud in Belen,  Deano, died and other matters kept me from going into that area without a special trip.  I suppose it just slipped my mind.

Which didn’t keep it from creeping back into my consciousness for years afterward, including now.  I can tell you today, I should have done it.  The way I know I should have is that I can’t think of a single reason why I shouldn’t have.

I’d be remembering that as my last pilot in command this lifetime, if I’d done it.  And instead of a sense of loss when it sneaks into my head, I’d be remembering those touch and goes in a Cessna 140.

Old Jules