Category Archives: Survival

Running from the law: The Great Cockfight Bust, or The Great C*ckfight Bust

El Palenque2

Hi readers.   Thanks for coming by for a read.  Those of you who have any morals and are offended by the alternative name for the male chicken will be soothed to see I’ve name this twice to avoid criticism.

Must have been 1996, 1997, I was living in Socorro, NM, and I got wind there was a major cock [c*ck] fight going to happen Saturday night.  They happened a few times a month in that area, and though official NM law allowed it as a local option at the time, murmurings in the State House rumored it was going to be prohibited soon.  They’d raided a couple of them in counties where the local option had people thinking it was legal.

Anyway, Saturday night I was at loose ends so I headed out to put hero roosters into my body of life experience.  The place was a mile beyond a gate and down a dirt road into the Rio Grande bosque.  The salt cedars opened up to a large cleared area of several acres with a large metal building toward the back.  Room to park 200 vehicles or more.

I got there early to look things over, still some daylight.  Maybe 20-30 cars and pickups in the lot, guys hanging around talking and smoking outside.  Moseyed into the barn, looked over the seating arrangements, looked a lot like an auction barn for livestock.  But with a cage blocked off in the center for the fighters and their handlers.

Nobody was in a hurry to go inside because it was hot in that barn.  I decided it would be hotter when the place filled up, so I staked a standing-up claim against the support for a tall sliding metal door at the back. 

When the place filled it was noisy, it was hot, and things were happening fast.  Bets, chickens, arms waving and yelling, every reason to be enamored of my place at the door.

But toward the shank of the evening a horn honked out in the parking lot and someone yelled, “Raid!  Cops!”  Sirens blaring, suddenly everyone inside stampeding for the doors.  I ran to the corner of the building and saw the parking lot was filled with flashing lightbars, half-dozen, maybe a dozen police cars.  Sheeze.  This is bullshit!  Guys running out toward their cars getting snagged by the cops.

So I ran like hell out into the bosque dodging salt cedars, rattlers, just put as much distance between myself and that barn as I could manage.  When I went knee deep in mud I knew I wasn’t going any further.  The Rio Grande was right in here somewhere close.

I tucked myself in next to a dead tree in a thicket of salt cedar and watched the lights through the trees, listened to the angry yells of men being arrested, watched the lights threading through the cedars chasing people trying to get away too late.  Waited, waited, felt ticks crawling all over me, found myself wondering about the rattlers, waited, more ticks, waited.

Gradually things calmed down, engines started, gradually the sirens stopped.  Things got really quiet.  But no way I was about to be fooled by that crap.  Full dark, I waited, listened.  Ticks by the hundreds crawling around on me.  Waited, caught myself dozing, jerked myself awake and waited some more.

Finally Old Sol began crawling in, me praying him up.  Still quiet except for the sounds of the morning birds and water rustling down the channel.  I carefully, carefully began working my way through the salt cedars toward the parking area.

I squatted and watched peeking out there as light filled the parking area.  There it was.  My old Mitzubishi Montero and a scattering of other vehicles.  Sitting there trying to lure me to jail.  I scratched and watched.

Finally a guy came creeping out of the bosque maybe 50 yards away, creeping toward a pickup the other side of the Montero.   Heeheehee.  Bait.  Now we’ll see where the law’s hiding.  Glad it ain’t me!

He seemed surprised.  Got into his truck, started it, no sign of the fuzz.  Spun around and vanished in a trail of dust back toward the pavement.

Hmmmm.  Hokay.  I stood up straight, Tried to act like I was just a normal guy coming out of those salt cedars.  Wandered over to the Montero and watched a dozen other guys coming out of the trees.  Cranked up the Mitzubishi and tooled home free as a bird.

The paper was full of it, the Socorro Chieftain, the Albuquerque Journal.  Printed the names of all those guys who got busted.

Served them right, too, going out there watching c*ckfights.

If people don’t have ethics and morals enough to stay away from places like that they need to be in jail.

Old Jules

Hey! Lookee here! Manmade climate change! Ohshitodear!

Prosecutor:  Your honor, members of the jury, we have a guy with an IQ here.  An expert witness.  He knows all kinds of things about climate change.  After I ask him a few questions you jury members will be asked to decide whether climate change is guilty of being man made and what everyone ought to have to do to keep it from happening.  Professor Honest-to-Goodness, have you compiled data and examined it enough to form an opinion that climate change is happening?

Honest-to-goodness no-shit scientist:  Yes.  Climate change appears to be happening.

Prosecutor:  Have you created any hypothesis to explain why this might be happening?

Honest-to-goodness no-shit scientist:  Of course I have.  Hundreds, thousands of hypotheses are possible to explain ever piece of that data leading me to conclude climate change is happening.

Prosecutor:  Have you tested those hypotheses?

Honest-to-goodness no-shit scientist:  Um, well, I’ve tested one of them.  It would take forever to test all of them, and every time one’s tested the additional data the testing provides brings in more hypotheses to explain the data.

Prosecutor:  And did you reach any conclusions from the hypothesis you tested.

Honest-to-goodness no-shit scientist:  Well, it’s entirely possible man is contributing to the current climate changes, though it’s not absolutely certain what those climate changes actually are.  Climate change isn’t fully understood at this time.

Prosecutor:  Ah ha.  So your test of the hypothesis did show beyond a reasonable doubt that climate change is happening?  And a preponderance of the part of the evidence you believe you understand supports the hypothesis might be contributing to that climate change? 

Honest-to-goodness no-shit scientist:  Um.  There’s a strong possibility that might explain the parts we do understand about it.

Prosecutor:  Thank you Professor Honest-to-goodness no-shit scientist.  Your honor, members of the jury, I rest my case.  What we have here is prima faci evidence man is contributing to devastating climate change.  I suggest we dismiss this expert and call in some social engineers to recommend the appropriate penalties we can’t enforce in order to make the weather better.

Judge:  Members of the jury, you’ve heard the evidence.  Now I instruct you to go to the jury room and decide the case based only on the evidence before you.  Decide whether we have a preponderance of evidence [somewhat bad], or beyond a reasonable doubt [a lot worse].  Afterward you’ll all be asked to give television interviews explaining how you arrived at your verdict.

Old Jules

Turnbuckles – The Final Solution

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

carrier and box 1

A guy over in Rock Springs built this platform to fit into the hitch receiver out of scrap iron for me.  Another guy threw in the junk toolbox and bolted it into the platform.  Cost for the whole shooting match was too insignificant to believe.

And once I had it I could carry an el cheapo 2.5 ton floor jack to ease my concerns about future blowouts.  But carrying that floor jack home in there showed me the hitch receiver doesn’t have the moxie to keep the thing straight and level.  By the time I got home it was listing a few inches on the side the floor jack was riding.

carrier and box 2

I studied on it for a day trying to think of every possible solution.  I had a set of tiedown turnbuckles and clamps from a roof rack carrier I knew someday I’d find a use for.

carrier and box 3

Voila!

carrier and box 4a

Ran cables across the top of the bumper and attached them to the RV frame.  Pulled that mama back up level with the bumper slicker than greased owl-scat.

One of the nice things about this thing is that I can trailer it, along with other containers when I want to pull a trailer, leave the trailer behind and put this into the hitch receiver when I want to slum and go spartan.

And always have a floor jack along to do the heavy lifting.

Old Jules

Fad science and self-made a monkeyof-ism

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by.

Some of you thought I was joking with my recent post about climate change and the current yakyakyakyak by the excitement industry concerning ‘manmade global warming’.

Some of you probably also didn’t notice the comment by Trapper Gale remembering a time four-or-so decades ago when the previous generation of the same institutional experts ran in increasingly small circles setting their hair on fire predicting a coming ice age.

AmericaLaurentideIceSheet.jpg

http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange2/01_1.shtml

http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/images/AmericaLaurentideIceSheet.jpg

The last of the ice ages in human experience (often referred to as the Ice Age) reached its maximum roughly 20,000 years ago, and then gave way to warming. Sea level rose in two major steps, one centered near 14,000 years and the other near 11,500 years. However, between these two periods of rapid melting there was a pause in melting and sea level rise, known as the “Younger Dryas” period. During the Younger Dryas the climate system went back into almost fully glacial conditions, after having offered balmy conditions for more than 1000 years. The reasons for these large swings in climate change are not yet well understood.

Which is an understatement.

Academians have a vested interest in manmade climate change today. They get their names in the journals and newspapers through the power of positive speaking. If they can stir up enough fear by presenting what they don’t know as ‘not yet well understood’ they generate government grants, jobs, power and prestige within their fields. Further study of what they don’t yet well understand, it’s assumed, will provide better understanding in the direction of their assertions.

Somehow the fact their disciplinary ancestors also didn’t yet well understand similarly the precise opposite interpretation of the data. Mined it for all it was worth at the time in study, grants, power and prestige. Opened new frontiers for their progeny when the time came, by reversing what a few decades later remained not yet fully understood.

I’m not suggesting there’s no manmade climate change. Maybe there is. And I’m not suggesting that if there is, it won’t speed the natural progress of planetary warming.

What I am saying is that anytime scientific observers examine data with an expected, hoped-for outcome, [especially when power, money, career advancement and prestige are factors] they have a way of observing selectively.

Same as human beings are prone to do in all other walks of life.

What I’m also saying is that three, maybe four decades from now there’s a reasonable possibility they’ll have mined this crisis dry and be setting their hair on fire with a new crisis to be mined for power, prestige, money and career advancement. Humanity induced plate tectonics, maybe. Earth’s decaying orbit because of atmospheric drag created by airliners.

Maybe they’ll be right. Hell, there’s even a remote chance they’re right about of what they’re saying today. Some piece of it-or-other.

The damned problem is you can’t trust them. They watch the same television you do. They know which way the wind’s blowing and muddling along trying to sail downwind getting the most out of it while it’s hot. Joining the gold rush with the knowledge when this one plays out there’s another lode in Alaska or Nevada they can move to.

Same as the rest of us.

Old Jules

Climate Change – A matter of perspective

Morning to you, readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Now that the planet’s finally recovering from that last ice age, all the glaciers and permafrost finally melting, maybe things can get back to normal, the way things used to be in the good old days.  All that ice covering things up has been one hell of an inconvenience.

We’re lucky to live now instead of a while back when the Great Lakes were covered by half-mile of ice.  But things are getting better, just as they’ve been getting better all along as the ice receded.  Imagine how tough it would have been for all those automotive manufacturers to turn out cars if Detroit had been under half-mile of ice.  And those super-highways?  Heck, how do you build an Interstate on top of melting ice?  Same with all sorts of other things we spent the past few centuries doing.

Sure, things are going to change when things get back to normal.  And nobody can guess what those changes are going to be, how a normal climate’s going to manifest itself.  Nobody who lived during normal times was writing anything much down about the situation at the time. 

But the good news is that the planet goes a longish while between ice ages usually.  So once things are back to normal folks living then will have all kinds of time to get used to it.  Besides, they’ll be busy as hell working to pay off the debts the people living today are promising they’ll pay.  Maybe they’ll find some new ways of doing it in places where the ground’s covered with ice.

Running around screaming and setting our hair on fire isn’t going to keep this planet from doing what it’s going to do.  Those glaciers are going to keep receding.  No stopping it.

And there aren’t any laws, any human behaviors anyone’s going to change to keep it from doing it.  Any more than humans before this ice age came along could have done anything to keep it from happening.

Might as well relax and enjoy it.  The forward thinkers will find ways to make money from it, get rich off it one way or another.  The stainless steel agers will find ways to exploit whatever’s been hidden under all that ice.

Cultures, religions and civilizations will rise and fall, same as they always have.  Everyone will think it’s perfectly normal.

Nothing to get excited about.

Old Jules

Alas Babylon, by Pat Frank – sculpting post-1959 culture

Before Alas Babylon hit the bookstores and was made a movie the US population hadn’t yet done any heavy thinking about the implications of Sputnik 1 and hydrogen bomb arsenals capable of being delivered to the US heartland.  Strategic Air Command was centered in Omaha, NE, and B47 bombers filled the skies.  Civil Defense was mostly the local mortuary because they owned the ambulances.  Complacency with having been victors of WWII, affluence, abundance and confidence in the future were the rule of the day.

Then along came Alas Babylon.   The story of a small piece of Florida spared the bombs and fallout from an attack by the USSR and a prolonged nuclear war.   Because it was early in the day the post-nuclear-holocaust genre hadn’t yet decided everyone had to die or turn into mutant barbarians.

The story was subdued enough to be believed.  And Americans believed it.  Beefed up Civil Defense, began the individual preparedness planning that would be required if they were to survive.

The first 20 pages of Alas Babylon describes the days leading to the war, all the usual suspects you’d hear tonight if you watched the evening news, minus the USSR.  A buildup of tensions, a US Navy fighter-bomber pilot mistakenly releases a bomb over a port in Syria destroying an ammunition train.  Secondary explosions and the beginning of mutual destruction for the US and USSR.

The book is a microscope look at the minds of the US citizenry as they existed in 1959, before ICBMs, before the moon launch, before the oceans were filled with attack and missile launching submarines.  Martin Luther King was still in the future, along with the Vietnam War, race riots in US cities, Kennedy assassinations. automobile seat belts, gas mileage and foreign cars.  Women were there to be protected, first into the lifeboats of whatever safety could be constructed during and after a nuclear war.

Alas Babylon is a good read, a great study in sociology and a particular slice of history frozen in time. 

Old Jules

 

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Picking your symbolism: The biggest food bird, or the biggest predator?

hero patriot2

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

Hydrox, Niaid and I were out in the RV a little while ago, two of we three scurrying for new places to hide every time a new dash of thunder rolled across the landscape, rain pelting the roof and some edifying lightning to season it all.

Finally the drama ended, but the rain continued a while and the cats decided the world wouldn’t end.  I sat there gazing across the meadow, opened a side window to let the odor of fresh rain inside.  Something big moved around the other RV ……. six wild turkeys grazing on apple cores I’d thrown out the window.  Occasionally letting out enough turkey noise to scare the bejesus out of the cats and have them scurrying for cover.

Watching those turkeys got me thinking about how they were runners-up to become the National Bird, once.  This is no BS.

Time was when most of the people in this country were acutely aware they had relatives, distant cousins somewhere, still laboring for nothing, starving to death, fighting wars and living under the iron heel of aristocrats.  Aristocrats who had histories as far back as anyone could remember of using the biggest predatory bird anyone could think of as a symbol of what aggressive sons-of-bitches they were.

Eagles.  Imperial eagles.  Regal Eagles.  Birds that didn’t do a damned thing but come down out of the sky and kill anything they could catch.  Birds nobody anywhere ever ate.

So a lot of people in this new land thought they’d donealready had everything they wanted to do with eagles and starving, and having heavy heels on their necks by a bunch of damned aristocrats.  They figured if they were going to pick a bird to symbolize the way of life they wanted, a the biggest bird people could make a meal of would be a good symbol.

A symbol of common people with full bellies for a change.  A symbol of people being able to go out into the woods and get a wild meal without some aristocrat telling them that deer, or turkey, or rabbit belonged to them, the aristorcrat, and common people would do better to starve than get caught eating one.

Well, friends and neighbors, we donealready had an aristocracy putting itself together, deciding whether we wanted to be represented by the biggest predatory bird with a complete history of aggression, repression and exploitation.  They knew whether they wanted to be represented by a turkey, or a Regal Eagle.

You can look around you and see which one they picked.  And you can consider the 50 tons of laws they’ve made since they adopted that eagle for their symbol, the several tons they’ll pass this year, and know why they picked it.  50 tons of laws telling you what you can’t do, a few tons more this year.

But you have the satisfaction of knowing you have a proud bird for a national symbol.  Not some damned turkey you could make a meal of in a pinch if there weren’t a law against it.

Old Jules

Solar Shower – Overdesigned under-utilized

Shower

This was briefly my smartassed solar shower.  Lasted through one, count’em: 1 each of those 8 gallon water jugs.  Getting 60 pounds of water up there in a way so’s it will stay decided me the showering I got wasn’t worth the hernia I almost got.

So next time in town I went to Walmart and bought a 2 gallon insecticide sprayer.

Thinking positive about bologna – The new paradigm

If you think you’ve reached the point where you just can’t look a bologna sandwich in the eye one more time, maybe it’s time to begin using your noggin.  Even if all you’ve got is a frying pan and a Coleman camp stove you can make a concoction you’ll savor.

Chop up that bologna into bits the size of dill pickle slices and throw it in the pan with chopped onion, minced garlic, and a teaspoon of grapeseed oil.  Turn it and stir it until the bologna browns and curls up on the sides.

Once it’s done, throw on a teaspoon of chopped dill pickles, and smear it all between those two slices of bread.  Curry, ginger, ancho, jalapeno, green pepper, all of them will add some variety to carry you through until payday.

The old ‘pound of red and a loaf of bread’ method of squeezing through hard times was never good past the second day.  Torturing yourself to death after the third was just a method of robbing life of potential joy.

This ain’t the 20th Century anymore.

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.