Category Archives: Adventure

The Six-Dollar [American] Watch

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

Those of you who’ve been reading here a while might recall the soul-searching I had to do when my Timex Expedition wouldn’t belly up to the bar after the batteries went dead and I tried replacing them.  That poor old watch breathed its last.  I figured I’d be replacing it, but what with heart attacks and one thing and another, I didn’t.

Instead I picked up a digital watch at Dollar Tree for a buck to hold me over until I could decide whether I was going to live long enough to be needing a $25-$30 watch until the batteries died.  No point putting out all that money for extra watch a man wasn’t going to live long enough to look at the full $25 worth.  Or more.  Hell you can’t take it with you.  It’s like buying new underwear, if you’re me.  When your life is on a short leash you debate hard with yourself whether these jockey’s can’t be stretched long enough to hold out until I croak.

Aesthetics gradually rolled over me with that dollar watch.  Damned thing had a stiff plastic band that raised welts on my wrist and I’ve really never been able to make my mind absorb the numbers on a watch without any damned hands at a quick glance.  I have to squint and study on it to figure out where the hands would be if it were a real watch.

So last year at Andrews, Texas, while my bud Eddie Brewer was being host for the RV, the cats and me while I awaited the pleasure of the VA medical folks, I spang went to a discount-type store in Andrews and found myself a $6.00 [American] real watch with hands.  Figured I couldn’t die until the VA got around to telling me why I was going to, and it might take a few more bucks of watch to outlast them.

That was about this time last year, got myself a nice $6.00 watch with a leather-looking band and a quartz movement.  That watch saw me through some damned difficult times I can tell you. I spent last Christmas in the parking lot of an AutoZone store in Big Spring, Texas, digging through the dumpster and admiring the life left in that new watch.

When the store re-opened after Christmas my brake master cylinder arrived, I installed it using tools I got out of their dumpster, and trucked to San Angelo.  Where I suspect I had another heart attack in the WalMart parking lot, but nevertheless trucked back to Gale’s.  All this is probably written up here in the archives.

Then the Kerrville, Texas hospital.

More damned needles, tests, hospital beds than a person has to put up with if he’s only relying on the VA for his health care.  Those damned private medical facilities get downright enthusiastic when it comes to poking and prodding.

Anyway, after the hospital in Kerrville the watch was still working, so naturally I had to try to stay alive, which didn’t seem all that likely if I didn’t take some sort of decisive steps to outlast the damned watch.  I could barely stagger up the steps into the RV and out again to pee.  And I was worried about the cats being stuck inside if I croaked and nobody found me for a few days.

So I headed for Kansas during the coldest weather in living memory in Texas and it was no slouch in Kansas, either.  Made it north of Dallas, checked into a motel to croak or whatever.  But the damned watch was still running and Jeanne’s sons came down, drove me up here.  Coldest damned road trip I recall in my life except one in Korea.  But that’s another story.

So, you know the rest, mostly.  Hospitals, more VA, all the usual suspects, and that $6 Andrews, Texas watch kept on ticking.

It was the band that killed it off.  Watch is fine but the band broke up next to the watch.  I was afraid that was going to happen, saw it coming.  I even went so far as to shop around for another watch band, which would have cost double what the watch set me back.  Then I sneaked around and looked at the cost of Timex Expeditions.  And I knew in my defibrillatored heart I couldn’t outlive a damned Timex.  I had to draw my line in the sand.

Jeanne took me over to a Big Lot store, me thinking they might have something I could live as long as, and spang!  There it was.  A six-dollar [American] watch, that had the look of something that probably wouldn’t outlast me.

The lady at the register helped me unfasten all the security belts and extra packaging a person hates to throw away, but hell, damned stuff is shaped to be worthless.  I strapped that mama on, set it to the time on the clock above the register, and I was ready to rock and roll again.

Brief panic when I checked the time against my computer an hour later and it seemed to have lost 10 minutes, but it was just they had their clock set fast at Big Lot.  Those folks are young enough they don’t have any appreciation for throwing their time away fooling around with clocks.

So I’m back in the saddle.  Got me a watch I can feel confident will last me the remainder of my life if need be, without wasting a damned cent.  And not likely to put a lot of pressure on me to live past my time.

Old Jules

Tough call, this Ferguson thing

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

The Internet’s buzzing with opinions about the original Ferguson, MO, incident, and the rioting afterward.  Everyone feels qualified at this stage to have an opinion.

I don’t have an opinion, but here it is.

I don’t like cops.  I think they are a gang of bullying thugs attracted to the job because of personality deficiencies.  I believe they see themselves as a ‘brotherhood [gang] and use phrases such as ‘authority figure’ to explain to themselves why nobody likes them.  But deep down they know why.  They demonstrate the truth of this most profoundly when one of them gets killed on the job.

However, under the current structure of this society it’s a job that satisfies a necessary need in society, probably marginally keeping things from going completely off the rails by other gangs of thugs taking over and doing even worse.

Such as the gang of thugs who are setting fire to homes and businesses in response to Ferguson, opportunistically running off with stolen booze, television sets, anything they can take and run.  Here’s what a couple of black men have to say about all that:

For beginners, the store camera just before he was killed proved to my satisfaction the dead youngster was a bullying thug and a thief.  If he’d run into you or run into me anywhere adversarial such as a dark alley he’d happily make us sorry some cop hadn’t offed him sometime earlier.  In a year or two when he went to prison [as he was certainly going to do] he’d have been big enough to be on the happy end of the raping of his cell mate.

So the issue isn’t whether the world is any better off or worse off with him dead.  I’m personally satisfied there are people all over the place he didn’t live to occupy who are being spared a lot of pain and heartache as a consequence of his demise.

So the issue is really not him getting killed.  Nobody would be rioting if he’d been one of the far more numerous black men being killed by other black men.  Nobody is lamenting those, partly because a huge percentage of them might be suspected without prejudice to have ‘needed killing’ in the same sense this one did.  Gangsters, street hoods, living and behaving in a way to invite getting shot in a war zone.

So the real issue is cops.  Police officers coldly and deliberately killing blacks, not all of them as needful of being killed as this one.  And getting by with it.

My opinion is that whenever a black kills a black it’s an equal offense to a black killing a cop, a cop killing a black, anyone else killing a cop or black.  It needs to stop.  Cops need to be thrown under the bus whenever they kill anyone and it’s not clearly self-defense [against an armed suspect].  Same as a black gets thrown under the bus the instant a cop dies.

And blacks need to belly up to the bar and take some responsibility for the way their kids are behaving out there on the streets.  Same as white people need to.  One of the ways they need to do that is to make certain the black folks getting shot are the right ones to eradicate all this street shooting.  Whether they are cops or gangsters.

But what the hell do I know.

Old Jules

Stolen valor? Give me a freaking break.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Gangs, whether it’s Hell’s Angels, Banditos, cops or [now] Army Navy Marine and Airforce volunteerees, tend to be jealous whenever some non-member sports their colors.  A tattoo artist acquaintance in Austin, Texas, started keeping a Thompson submachine gun under his mattress when he learned he’d tattooed a non-Bambino with a Bandito badge of honor, for instance.

But now what with the Valor-this and Valor-that being bandied about by the ‘thankyouforyourservice’ clubs, the big issue of the day is what you can see down at the VA hospital any working day.  People sitting around lying to one another about what John Waynes they used to be.

However, this is mostly a different breed.  Guys claiming to have been Navy Seals or Army Snipers getting all riled up because some dumbass down at the mall is pretending to be a soldier.  Sick enough the dumbass wants to do it, but how needy are those Seals and Snipers who haven’t suicided yet over the serious bullshit going on inside their heads?  They’ve got to go around looking for dumbasses to out to jack themselves up into something with a life worth living?

Probably there needs to be a little Ferguson platoon burning down the local recruiting offices.  This stuff is getting all out of hand.  Those guys are beginning to believe their own bullshit.

Now back in the day when I was John Wayne I wouldn’t have put up with all that crap by either side.

Old Jules

A salt with a deadly weapon

Old Jules:

I’m always in the market for positive reinforcements to what I’ve decided already to take as Gospel for the time being. J

Originally posted on half-priced hippie:

I am PISSED.

I hadn’t meant to make most of my posts about food, but the clean living fat man inside me cannot be silenced. I pinky promise all my posts won’t be like this. I forget why I was looking into salt in general (random, I know, but I love to learn as much as I can about whatever is in my world) and as soon as I started my research, I immediately regretted it. Same deal as lemons – what in the hell can be in there aside from salt?!

Let’s have a look-see at the back of my salt container:

IMG_20140910_240958902

Salt – Seems legit.

Potassium iodide – Overloads the thyroid to help block the absorption of radioactive iodine. Bonus!

Dextrose – Sugar… IN SALT!!!!! ….why??

Sodium bicarbonate – Baking soda. Sounds harmless, depending on what’s actually in it. Some brands don’t sell you pure baking soda (shock!)…

View original 561 more words

A Raven at Breitenbush Hot Springs

Old Jules:

Even though Jeanne’s back working 70-80 hours a week she’s savoring the patch of time she had off this summer. Jack

Originally posted on Jeanne Kasten Studio:

One morning at Breitenbush, while I was sitting on a bench reading Girl in Reverse by Barbara Stuber and waiting for the lunch gong, this raven came walking up the sidewalk, much to everyone’s amusement.

IMG_3115
He was not at all shy, and I decided to grab my camera.

IMG_3117
In another minute he had flapped up to my bench, and started trying to eat my book!

IMG_3108
I never expected to get this close to a fearsome looking bird.

IMG_3111

IMG_3113What, it’s not edible?

A day or so later, I saw him again in a tree right by the kitchen. I think he was waiting for the lunch gong, too. IMG_3164
By the way, Girl in Reverse is an excellent Young Adult book. I enjoyed every bit of it.  It takes place in Kansas City in 1951 and features one of my favorite places, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. I don’t write book…

View original 14 more words

Hell of a fine no sodium added breakfast. Less than 8.5 mg sodium

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.  I just topped off my smile with a deeeeelux double-extra-heaven breakfast I threw together.

First off I built a fat tortilla using half-cup of masa and a quarter-cup+one tablespoon water wadded into a ball, flattened thick, and place onto a frying pan.  Hot frying pan.  Really hot frying pan.  Then flipped it and browned the other side.

Okay, now that goes onto a plate and the frying pan gets a smack of no sodium butter melting into which goes an onion ice-cube, a tomato ice-cube, and a Hatch green chile ice-cube, all sizzling to beat hell.  Two eggs into that, carefully flipped over light at the proper moment.

Then, spang onto that tortilla and you’ve got yourself a breakfast real people would pay good money to have a second serving of in a real eating joint.

And you still have 1991.5 mg sodium left to squander during the rest of the day.

Damn that was good!

Old Jules

More collages from last summer~

Old Jules:

Jeanne is trying to pack 200 years of living into her three-score-and-ten [plus or minus]. Working two jobs is certainly practical [as well as necessary to meet expenses] but stuffing art projects into the cracks between jobs might be seen as somewhat extreme by some. People, for instance, who have no jobs and just do what they want, such as me. Or people who work only 40-50 hours a week at some job. During my stay here I’ve watched her scurrying from the day job to eat before running off to a night job, coming home around 9:30-10:00 pm, and always with a quick answer to the question, “How you feeling?” Tired, she’ll inevitably answer. Anyway, here’s what she squeezed into her days this summer. J

Originally posted on Jeanne Kasten Studio:

Here are a few more postcards I made this last summer. The first one was made from a 78 record cover:June 2, 2014 (6)
I’ve seen other people use old stamps on photos of other people. So I combined stamp faces with an old pattern envelope. I had lots of fun with this one, and now I’m collecting face stamps for future variations!
July 8, 2014 (2)

I combined pieces from two magazines for this one. I’m not sure why Elsie was asking questions about husbands, but that line really was part of the Borden ad.

July 9, 2014 (7) - Copy

Here’s one I’m particularly pleased with. I added a couple of “stamps” that weren’t originally on the packages, as well as the other oddities.

June 7, 2014 (3)

And one more, which started out as an ad for State Farm Insurance. I got to use up some of my sticker collection for this one.

June 7 2014b
It’s hard to find the time to spread out all my…

View original 31 more words