Category Archives: Solitude

The importance of being insignificant

N90172a

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

President Jimmy Carter was scheduled to visit Fort Hood.  The First Cavalry Division [my old unit in Korea] was to stage massive war games and tank maneuvers and culminate the affair with a chemical substitute for a battlefield tactical nuclear weapon.  Because the President was going to be there, FAA closed down the airspace over Fort Hood for civilian air traffic.

Pissed my old buddy Phil Washburn  

Afterlife of One Hero – Sex, Violence and Crazy Love

  and me off something awful.  We were taxpaying citizens.  Who the hell did they think they were telling people they couldn’t fly around not bothering anyone watching how our tax dollars were being spent?

So when the day arrived we gassed up the old Cessna …. 100+ F on the runway, and began the long climb outside the forbidden airspace.  Burned up a lot of avgas and an hour getting up to 8000-9000 MSL.  Clear day though, and the temperature became comfortable somewhere above 5000′.

We circled at the edge of the airspace boundary watching the specks of gathered tanks and massed troops a few miles to the north waiting for the show to start.  Suddenly, hundreds of roostertails of dust obscured miles of landscape as the tanks charged forward.  Then the sky below us filled with helicopters.  Wow!  Wowowowowow!

I gradually eased us north until we were almost over the action, but still far enough south so’s we weren’t trying to see straight down, kept circling.  Powered back enough to hold the altitude, savor the cool, and watch what a major wartime battle must be like viewed from the air.

Finally, toward the north beyond all the tanks the substitute battlefield nuke sent up a heluva pile of smoke and fire into the sky, rising rising rising until we were looking up at the top.  It kept rising.

Turn off the lights.  The party’s over.  The roostertails behind the tanks had all faded, everyone down there was taking a break, having a drink of orange KoolAid or something, we reckoned.  The helicopters were headed away where ever helicopters go when the shooting stops.

Time for us to get-the-hell-out-of-Dodge before the high sheriff and POLice come gunning for us.

I pointed us back toward the Killeen airport and as we neared the edge of forbidden territory I shut down the engine, pulled up the nose to stop the propeller windmilling.  The old Cessna had a 20:1 glide ratio, so we were a long while circling over the airport just listing to the whisper of the wind over the surfaces of the plane.

I’d intended to push the nose down to re-start the engine when I got on final approach, but I’d never landed dead-stick and figured this was as good a time as any to do it.  Got the numbers and came to a dead stop 50 feet beyond them, restarted the engine and taxied over to the FBO under the admiring stares of everyone who never landed an airplane dead stick on a public air strip. 

Naturally we did a lot of bragging at the FBO, and a lot of people were shaking their heads in various attitudes of disapproval, horror, and awe.

Hell of a fine day to be an outlaw.   I recommend it.

Old Jules

What’s so great about being sane and smart?

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

The cats have been expressing some doubts lately about my sanity and insensitively observing I also ain’t all that smart.  As happens from time to time.  Seems to run in cycles when they’ve been a long while away from towns and cities where they can observe sanity and average intelligence.

When they’ve lived in, or visited towns and cities where they’ve been able to observe the ‘average’ mental conditions representing sanity and the average US human IQs of 100 at work, they lighten up on me.  For them the illusion of a better life and lifestyle associated with human sanity and average IQ loses a lot of glamor when they’re surrounded by it.  While the gulf between me and sane, and smart, take on something of an ideal.  A condition more to be aspired to than what goes on where sanity and average intelligence prevail.

The problem is those cats are brainwashed by sanist and IQist elitist propaganda, even out here.  They pick it up by words, phrases, value judgements when Gale or the neighbor up-the-hill come to call, and it gradually seeps in, trumping their own experiences and observations.  Same as happens, only more so, to the people in town who are submerged in it.

The only way to put a sea anchor on the illusion that sane and smart are somehow to be preferred to the life they live is to lock them up in the RV and take them to town for a looksee, I figures.  Give them a taste of the cat of averagism.

And if they keep hectoring me I’m sure-as-hell going to do it.

Old Jules

Being doomed ain’t all that bad

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

A guy I usually stop and have a cup of coffee with when I’m in Kerrville was exchanging pontifications with me lately.  Seemed everything we could think of to talk about led to a similar ‘where’, and that where didn’t invite any street dances.  At least unless a person could rotate it on the axis enough to recognize all the ‘wheres’ are the same place as they always were.

Problem was we kept switching around looking at things too collectively.  Individually he and the other old codgers who hang around there talking with him, including me, aren’t doing too badly.  Some of us have health issues, and all of us are a lot nearer death [by appearances] than we were ten years, or ten minutes ago.  Same as everyone else, though an argument might be made we’re nearer than them.

Nearer, by appearances, only.  Those people driving by out there on the pavement all are operating under the illusion they’re going to live as long as us, which one-hell-of-a-lot of them won’t.  They’ll get terminal illness, car smashups, all manner of unexpected ways to exit the vehicle while some of us old guys are still stopping by visiting one another.

And by far the greatest likelihood is that we ain’t all, including the ones driving by, ain’t going to all die the same week, the same day, even the same decade.  Which is the difference between individual, and collective doomsday.

But when you come right down to it, what-the-hell is the difference?  If we all pick the same day to die we’ll each still have had our day in the sun.  Same as we would have otherwise. 

Thinking about this during the times I’m not in the company of other people it seems to me there’s a lot more emphasis put on the collective side of things than contributes to uppidyness at an individual level.  If I happened to care a lot whether and when I die, I can see how the prospect of all sorts of risk-taking might seem something to be avoided.  Might be able to influence one-way-or-another [though not nearly as much as I might imagine] whether I kicked sooner, or later.

But looking around me and seeing all manner of cumulonimbus signs of doom coming up on the horizon and concluding it’s worse than just my own personal demise, that it’s something humanity ought to avoid, just doesn’t make any sense at all.  It requires the assumption that there’s something better after I’m dead, about lots of human beings running around watching television, driving to the grocery store, playing games on the computer, and having romances.

Fact is if they all die the same week as I do the great bulk of them will have been spared a lot of pain and worry, and looking around me I’m not certain the happiness and satisfaction they might have experienced is enough to offset it for most of them.  At least not enough to be worth interrupting the happiness and satisfaction of now on an individual level to devote thought to it.

One of the things comes up in those conversations is what a shame it was we waited so long to figure out we could have been living right back then, instead of waiting around to do it.  We’d have gotten a lot more living done, on the one hand.  And on the other, if doomsday had come along and interfered, we’d have still gotten something for our money.

Old Jules

Hitch-hiking from Beatnik to Hippiedom

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

When I got out of the Army, summer 1964, I had a lot of ideas about my bright future.  Shopped around the Portales area for a while and found a quarter-section cotton farm I thought briefly I’d buy and become a starving-to-death farmer, which fell through.  Worked meanwhile, for Abe Ribble at his cement operation, and applied for the Peace Corps, knowing I wouldn’t hear from them for several months.

I was hanging out with a number of other young guys who were at loose ends, drinking coffee and walking around town, sitting on benches around the courthouse trying to figure out the meaning of life.  Going out with a waitress out at the truckstop when she got off work at midnight.  A young woman with goals, and confidence that no matter what a man might want for himself, she could mold him into something more to her liking.  Once she got him nailed down on all the corners.

The World Fair was going on in New York that year.  I could feel the walls of Portales trying to close in on me, and the guys I’d been spending spare time with were mostly thinking of themselves as beatniks, to the extend a person could be a beatnik in Portales.  A slight beard and a beret went a long way in that direction.  Sketchpad and a piece of charcoal, or a lot of free-verse poems jotted on cafe napkins were the tools.

So another aspiring beatnik, Stan Sexton, and I, decided to hitch to beatnik heaven.  Check out the World Fair.  Visit a couple of New Yorker weekend beatniks who went to Eastern New Mexico University, but were home in Westchester that summer.

I’ve told elsewhere on this blog about that summer, about sleeping on the Brooklyn Bridge, about catching the freight-train out late-August, jail in Rochester, and eventually hitching, driving the school bus to California, etc.  About all those would-be beatnik women and the “Eh?  YOU don’t believe in free love?” pickup line that always worked.

When I was accepted for Peace Corps Training and headed out of New York I had no idea I was seeing the dying gasp of the Beatnik phase everywhere.  That a year later everyone who was anyone would be Hippy.  That Greenwich Village would be replaced by San Francisco as the center of ‘what’s happening in America’.  Kids would be burning their draft-cards and taking acid trips.  Doing ‘Love-ins’ in the park.

By the time I got back to Portales to spend my time waiting for the Peace Corps India X training to begin in Hawaii the world had begun a sea-change, though it didn’t know it. 

But at least some of the pressure was off in Portales.  The waitress had found someone else with better prospects for a bright future.  Cotton farmer, he turned out to be, if I remember correctly.

Old Jules

Tequila sunrise

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

Old Ms. Niaid managed to off Brother Rattler without any consequences evidently, so she’s going to have to find something else to flesh out her life experience, I reckons. Her long hair’s growing back from the sheep shearing when the hot weather hit, and it’s filling up with beggar’s lice and grass burrs, which might serve to fend off whatever’s around here dangerous to aging bachelorette felines.

Ms. Tabby, on the other hand, has a nose and front-of-her-face of the usual Tabby-summertime variety. Can’t keep her nose out of cactus, or out of the business of something capable of adding color and romance to an otherwise nondescript Tabby face. I’m thinking when we get out of here she might turn out to be a regular-looking cat.

I decided yesterday I’m going to add mothballs to that storage building to get those rattlers out where they can enjoy life instead of bickering and snarling inside that dark storage building. Can’t tell when someone’s going to want something else out of there and the anxiety level trying to find it ain’t worth not stepping on a snake some night going from the RV to the cabin to check my email.

Today I’m going to nurse the Escape Route V 2.51 into Kerrville on three tires on back and have the two blown ones replace with respectable 10 ply exceptions to the rule. Provided the spare on the ground right-rear doesn’t decide to blow the plan. I’ll try to take back roads and get the roadwork done early before the pavement gets too hot.

Keith emailed me a while back he’s planning to be in New Mexico late August or September, and I’m going to tentatively plan on getting out to visit while he’s in the area. Hopefully by then everything will be settled out here and I’ll be able to think of out-there as home for a while.

Maybe get me a nice little piece of ocean-side ground on the east, or west coast of New Mexico, once all the damned ice goes away and raises sea-level to a reasonable altitude. 4000′ mean sea level might be about right. Maybe the cats and I will open a little bait shop on the west coast near where Arizona used to be. Or maybe rig a surfboard and hang ten mornings after we pray the sun up.

I figure the west coast will probably be less jam packed with Arizonians than the east coast will be with Texans because those Texans already all go to New Mexico deliberately to ski and gamble at Ruidoso and Angel Fire. Arizonians and Californians never go to New Mexico deliberately unless they’re just going through it to get somewhere else.

By the time they wake up and discover they’re living in a salt-water swimming hole I’ll have things nailed down on all the corners, wave to them as they swim to shore, or ride in on their bass boats. Sell them some bait, maybe.

Big plans for the future here.

Old Jules

Macho Robbing High-Tech Living

RV x 2

If you’re like me most of you probably already know there’s something counter-frontiersman, counter-pioneer about just pushing a button to kick on a pump, then stepping inside a little room to have a hot, pressurized shower.  Washing dishes in a sink with hot water instead of putting them upside down over a fire-ant bed and just wiping them down after the ants do their work.

Like me, you probably feel a lot of guilt, something vaguely counter-natural, counter-human when you indulge in this type of behavior.

But yesterday and today I did.

And damn it felt good.  Probably do it again tomorrow and dwindle off some more macho.  I’m old enough to have some to spare that I would have needed for other things when I was younger.

Jules

Various stuff

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

Jeanne called yesterday and said she’d fallen and broken her arm in a parking lot.  Drove to a clinic somewhere and got a temporary cast put on.  Afterward she  said she’s having to type with one hand, so she mightn’t be doing much online work for a while.

I’m fairly concerned about this cat, Tabby.  She’s 10-11 years old ….. seems to have a propensity for skin conditions summers, doesn’t get along well with the two long hairs, goes through phases of beating up Niaid, or being so stand offish the older cats gang up on her and drive her away from the food.  All of them have too many scratches on their faces for my tastes.

Sometimes I’ll go a couple of days without seeing her, and when I do, about half the time she pretends I might hit her, cringes away.  I’m keeping as close an eye on her as I’m able until two weeks passes since the agressive coon incident, because I have the impression she ain’t feeling well at all.

One of the possible jobs I’m looking at is in Arizona, a couple has a self-styled animal rescue setup, would like someone to help out feeding and taking care of the animalcules on their four-acres of land.  In exchange for a site with utilities.  Might be fun to do for a while, and if Tabby did well there I think I might persuade myself she’d be happier there permanently than voyaging around with the two older cats and me.

Spent all day in town Friday trying to get everything done transferring title, insurance etc on the new RV, but the day wasn’t long enough.  Complications with undotted Tees and uncrossed eyes had me scurrying around back and forth up and down a lot of the day.

Back tomorrow to hopefully get it all finalized.

Something’s happening at Slab City

Back when I posted the thing about Slab City, CA, I eventually decided despite my curiosity about the place I just have too many things left I want to do in my life to get out there and check it out:

Slab City, California – An Impromptu Community

The place is so hot summertime only about 100 people stay there during the scorching months.  And winter months there just seemed to be too many other ways to spend the time to justify a visit out there. 

Now they’ve formed some sort of an organization willing to pay someone $400 per month to sweat through the summer months doing some sort of maintenance on Salvation Mountain.  Likely they’ll get a lot of interest in the $400 per month and the fervor among the interested will dwindle rapidly as the thermometer climbs.

But the last RV Workers on Wheels newsletter had this:

CA: Camp Host at Art Preservation Site in Slab City

by Salvation Mountain Inc. – Slab City, California, USA
(Nin-Profit Volunteer Site Manager with Site and Stipend)

Leonard Knight's Salvation Mountain

Leonard Knight’s Salvation Mountain

 

Salvation Mountain is an “outsider art” monument at the entrance to Slab City, created over 30 years by Leonard Knight. Leonard’s unique and enduring vision is one of universal love.

Leonard painted his vision on the cliffs at Slab City over a period of 30 years. He can no longer maintain his monument, due to declining health, so a charitable corporation was formed. The Salvation Mountain Inc. Board of Directors has the responsibility of continuing to preserve Leonard’s dream.

We are looking for a camp host and site manager to work with our board of directors at this monument in the desert. This is a volunteer contract position, where we provide a living space for an RV, a small stipend of $400 per month, plus solar electricity, water, trash removal, and internet access. We also have a park model trailer on the site.

You can learn more about Salvation Mountain at http://www.salvationmountaininc.org.

Slab City is a boondocking “off the grid” community in the desert in Southeast California, just east of the Salton Sea. For information about Slab City, go to this website: http://www.slab-city.com.

Salvation Mountain Inc. is a registered charitable non-profit company charged with preservation of Leonard Knight’s art site called Salvation Mountain. Leonard Knight starting building Salvation Mountain almost 30 years ago. While I, a board member, am not a particularly religious person, I do appreciate Leonard’s dedication and vision, especially his message of universal love. This is not a religious charity, it is an art preservation charity.

We are trying to find a site manger (aka a camp host) to live at the Salvation Mountain site 24/7. It’s a contract position, and there is a stipend of $400 per month to help with expenses. We provide water, solar power, internet and trash removal. We are asking for a one year commitment (with a 90 day probation period to see if the fit is good with our Board of Directors).

We welcome your application and inquiries for this position. We will do a background check (criminal and credit), as this is a position of responsibility.

You can request an application at salvationmountaininc31@gmail.com. Be sure to let us know that you saw our Help Wanted ad on Coleen’s Workers On Wheels website when you contact us about this site manager job. Salvation Mountain Inc. – Slab City, California. Posted June 2013.

I’m mulling it over.  Given my current situation and the violence $400 a month would do to my series of debt responsibilities it might be I could stand the heat.  Going to have a long prayer meeting with the cats to find out whether they’re willing to allow having a look.

Fire ants and fawns

concrete illusions

A few years ago while Jeanne was visiting me here a fawn was born under the cabin porch.  She made a fun video of it and posted it somewhere, here, or on Facebook.

During the years since the deer have usually dropped a fawn or two somewhere within sight of the cabin.  This year, though, there have been three within 30-40 yards.  Maybe they feel safe because I’m not at war with them over chicken feed the way I was previous years.  We’ve settled down to mostly ignoring one another with them going after apple cores I throw out, or one will occasionally come onto the porch to make a try for the cat food.

But the last doe to drop a fawn left it out in the meadow for a while and I noticed it lying out there.  I wasn’t much concerned because a doe will do that, fawn stays until she returns, nobody any worse for the wear.  But after a couple or three hours it was still there, so I walked out for a look.

Fawn was covered with fire ants.  I stood a while deciding whether to try to brush them off but it’s a tough call.  The fawn might run away where the doe couldn’t find it, or the smell of a human might keep the doe from recognizing the fawn when she returned.

But I’ve seen fire ants kill a fawn in similar situations, completely disappear it in 24 hours, not even leaving any hair, teeth or eyeballs.

I finally just decided to let it be and hope the doe would come back to lick off the ants.

Anyone thinks Mama Nature ain’t a cruel lady hasn’t been around her much.

 

Christmas morning assumptions to all

Old Sol

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

I assume all of you are responding to the Universe in whatever ways suit you best this morning, and I wish that on you with profound enthusiasm and cheer.

For those of you who haven’t noticed, things have changed a lot here on earth since last Christmas.  For instance, the barycenters of earth and moon:

                                   Earth                                 
    
                     Barycentric Equatorial Positions                    
                    Mean Equator and Equinox of J2000.0                  
    
   Date        Time               X                Y                Z  
        (UT1) 
             h  m   s             AU               AU               AU
2012 Dec 25 00:00:00.0    -  0.059985055   +  0.898520188   +  0.389478777

                                   Earth                                 
    
                     Barycentric Equatorial Positions                    
                    Mean Equator and Equinox of J2000.0                  
    
   Date        Time               X                Y                Z  
        (UT1) 
             h  m   s             AU               AU               AU
2011 Dec 25 00:00:00.0    -  0.048871098   +  0.900279920   +  0.390286717

                                   Moon                                  
    
                     Barycentric Equatorial Positions                    
                    Mean Equator and Equinox of J2000.0                  
    
   Date        Time               X                Y                Z
        (UT1) 
             h  m   s             AU               AU               AU
2012 Dec 25 00:00:00.0    -  0.058478965   +  0.900591248   +  0.390372982

                                   Moon                                  
    
                     Barycentric Equatorial Positions                    
                    Mean Equator and Equinox of J2000.0                  
    
   Date        Time               X                Y                Z
        (UT1) 
             h  m   s             AU               AU               AU
2011 Dec 25 00:00:00.0    -  0.048617062   +  0.897988672   +  0.389385589

Nothing to be alarmed about, at least not yet, but still something to keep in mind.  I’m a lot more concerned about Old Sol and that Frosty The Snowman carrot he’s got for a nose at the moment.  That can’t bode well for any of us.

However, on a more cheerful note.  Or less ominous, anyway.

I just got around to opening my latest Hawaii KONATE bulletin from December 19, expecting to find out what time it was somewhere sometime.  Instead, I got this:

human clock

time greetings

I’m not certain what to make of it.  The time might be ten minutes until twelve somewhere, or  what?  Ten pm?

Then there’s this thing declaring time is valuable and what I ought to do with mine.  What the hell do these people know about time?  If it’s so valuable, what the hell are they doing lying around pretending to be a clock?

Here I was wanting to know what time it was in Hamburg sometime last week and might be in Peking day-after-tomorrow.  Last thing I wanted Christmas morning was a lot of cryptic meaning telling me what to do with my time and people lying around somewhere sometime on an upside-down clock.

But I hope you’ll all respond to it in whatever barycentric way you choose.

The New Old Jules and the Enlightened Cats