Tag Archives: senior citizens

The dual-citizenship US/Israeli friend to So Far From Heaven

Perhaps you readers will find this anecdote interesting and edifying.  I certainly do.

So Far From Heaven blog has a reader and sometimes commenter who holds dual US/Israeli citizenship.  Not to suggest it’s unusual.  I might be the only US citizen alive who doesn’t hold dual Israeli citizenship.

But this So Far From Heaven reader is special.  Back during the Vietnam War, maybe 1966-67, he adopted Judaism and fled to Israel to avoid the draft.  Became a weaponry salesman for Israel, maybe to Israel, probably helping them furnish weapons for every drug lord in South America.

And a thoroughly interesting, admirably loyal [to Israel] US citizen. http://leanpower.wordpress.com/

Yeah, this guy was a sight to behold back in the day.  Running along the railroad tracks with a backpack full of rocks in training for the Israeli army when he arrived in Israel sometime hence.  He knew if he became an Israeli he’d have to be in the military, but Israel never loses anyone in their wars.

Tens of thousands of casualties in the armed forces the Israeli military attacks by surprise and defeats.  A few hundred Israeli casualties.  Fell off trucks or something, most likely, or accidentally shot themselves.

Look up the statistics on every Israel war if you don’t believe me.  Any one.  Take your pick.  Look at the Israeli casualty counts, and the body counts of the countries they attacked.  Including the USS Liberty.  No Israeli casualties on that surprise attack on a US warship lasting several hours.  Not one.

Obviously our Israeli/US citizen reader/draft-dodger knew that.  He picked a winner for a country he could ‘serve’ in complete safety.  And when it was all over he came back to the Good Old US of A to buy and sell big guns.

They’re everywhere.  Even here on So Far From Heaven.

Old Jules

Damned treadmill distractions

Hi readers.  I was on the treadmill down at the Olathe Community Center around 0530 this morning, walking to New Orleans, Fats Domino style when some guy in an orange jump suite completed the preliminaries to get his head chopped off.  Fairly unexpected thing on my end.  He explained his loss was a consequence of the US foreign policy in the Middle East.

But the guy in the black Ninja-like garb might have coerced him to say that.  Might have told him there were other body parts could be cut off in advance if it weren’t properly explained for viewers.  Afterward he offered up another guy in an orange jump suit and asserted he’d be next, depending on the activities of the US wossname, president in the White House.

Luckily the guy in the Ninja suit spoke with a British accent.  Gives the prez and all the lackeys an opportunity to send a drone to knock off someone we don’t like in the British Isles.  Maybe snag the British Museum and haul it off just to teach them a lesson.

But the fact is, the guy in the orange jumpsuit is probably not in a position to judge who’s at fault for his demise, unless it’s the Ninja.  Nobody ever said running around in pestholes full of poisonous human beings was going to be without some measure of risk.  Maybe it’s his own fault he was there, the orange jump suit guy.  If it was the fault of his government, I hope he had time to ask himself whether the fault existed back before the day he was kidnapped.  And if it did, was he aware of it.  And if he was cognizant of it, was it his own fault he didn’t beat feet out of harms way?  Or was it the fault of a government comprised of scum who aspire to run the United States?

I’m in a mood to say it was his own damned fault.  If he didn’t know it was a good place to get your head chopped off, he should have.

Same with all these damned US troops who reenlist after having gone over there already and seen it if they were too stupid to know before they enlisted the first time.  When one of them gets killed, hell, it ain’t as though he wasn’t asking for it.  Begging for it.

Too bad.  Maybe, though, it’s better in the long run.  The damned human gene pool doesn’t need any more stupidity than it’s already got, with a lion share in governments, pulpits, Pentagon-like places, and the Middle East.

Harmless stupidity takes place in safe environments.  Stupidity that gets people killed gets people killed.  Condolences to the kinfolks and hope you teach your other kids to use their heads instead of getting them chopped off.

Old Jules

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

 

Bob Dylan goes Senior Citizen

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I’m not a person who toadies to celebrities.  I couldn’t care less what they say or think about anything, what they do with their genitalia, what they eat, drink, or snort.  If I like something they do on stage, on audio, on screen, that’s what gets my attention.  I mostly don’t read biographies, autobiographies, mostly don’t watch interviews.

With rare exceptions.  Leonard Cohen interests me.  Louden Wainwright III interests me, Guy Clark interests me, and Tom Russell interests me.  But Guy Clark and Leonard Cohen are the only ones I’d ever seen interviewed until now.

But I got to wondering whether Bob Dylan is still alive.  I first was introduced to his music at a place on Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village during the summer of 1964.  McDougal’s might have been the name of the place.  And same as everyone else at that time and place, I was blown away.

So I went to the miracle of YouTube and started searching, thinking at least to hear some good music.  And there they were, interviews with Bob Dylan, interviews with other people talking about Bob Dylan.  Dozens of them scattered over half-century.  So I picked a few, beginning with back when he was my age, 70 times around the sun.

Bob Dylan Interview and a very revealing one at that

For Bob Dylan it is Always the Same Interview 42 Years in 24 Minutes

Bob Dylan.Funny Interview.

I don’t care what the Beetles think, or thought about Bob Dylan, nor about anything else for that matter.  But they did have a few good songs, and maybe what they say about Dylan will interest someone.

The Beatles talk about Bob Dylan

John Lennon and Bob Dylan Conversation

Bob Dylan and John Lennon on God and Religion

Bob Dylan: San Francisco Press Conference (Dec. 1965) 1/6

Bob Dylan – After The Crash – 1966-1978 (Part 1 of 12).mp4

I never knew Dylan got religion, or whatever it was he got, but I’m glad for him, though I don’t care whether he did or not from the perspective of knowing about it.

Bob Dylan – The Gospel Interview

Bob Dylan 1966 Interview, WBAI

Bob Dylan – Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award – 1991 Grammy Awards

Dylan and I didn’t know it because we never got around to discussing the matter, but we shared a lot of respect for Johnny Cash.  Johnny Cash, I suppose, might qualify as another person I’d have possibly cared what he thought about some things.  If I’d ever met Dylan we could have regaled one another with Johnny Cash respect, I suppose.

Bob Dylan on Johnny Cash. NDH outtake

I’ve mentioned Loudon Wainwright III is one of the people I’m mildly interested in what they might say about something outside the context of a song.  Well, in this instance I didn’t have to look outside Loudon Wainwright’s music.  He wrote this song to Dylan on Dylan’s 50th birthday.

Loudon Wainwright III – Talking New Bob Dylan.wmv

The Simon and Garfunkel thing about Dylan has always seemed to me to be a cheap shot.  Dylan wrote the song that launched Simon and Garfunkel into fame.  Sound of Silence.  But when Dylan left ‘folk’ behind to invent ‘folk rock’ Simon and Garfunkel got offended enough to personally attack him in song:  Bastards, both of them.  Screw them, though they did one-hell-of-a-lot of great songs.  If they’d kept their nasty little comments off their albums I’d never have known.  Pricks.

Simon & Garfunkel – A Simple Desultory Philippic (or How I Was Robert McNamara’d into Submission)

The Sound of Silence (Original Version from 1964)

Peter, Paul and Mary got pretty pissed when Dylan drifted to folk rock, too.  I saw an interview with one of the guys several years later in which he said it was the only really nasty attack song they ever recorded, and that they all regretted it.  Something about what he said made me thing it was directed at Dylan.  Listen to the words carefully to hear the sarcasm “between the lines”.  But at least they did it with some class.  They made a lot of money and miles off Bob Dylan creations.

I dig rock n roll music

So I think I’ll just toadie to Loudon Wainwright’s birthday tribute to Bobby Dylan and make a wish when I think he’s blowing out the candles in the wind:  “Here’s hoping you outlive me Bobby Dylan.  I’d like an excuse to begin my next lifetime in time to hear what you do after I exit the vehicle.”

Old Jules

Depression

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

I noticed on the television down at the Olathe Community Center to be stared at by people on treadmills and other torture machines that some big name celebrity killed himself.  Guy who was in an amusing movie once about a house that an airplane crashed into and he bought it because it had been pre-disastered.

I don’t know.  Maybe the guy was terminally ill, or maybe just depressed.  That crap can surely happen.  Back in my younger days I used to go into a black pit of depression there seemed no way out of.  Where it seemed the Universe was trying to drag me into the hole a person doesn’t come back out of, the way this Williams guy exited.

I was lucky in a lot of ways, though I’m not sure what all of them were.  I had a name for the ‘entity’ that seemed to take possession of my mind and spirit during those times.  I called it the blue demon.  Because it seemed to be a real being.

And the way I eventually got it into my past so’s I have to work to remember about it, was by treating it as a living, thinking creature with a will I could do battle with, wrestle it to the ground.  Banish it from my psyche.

And once I discovered I could do that and did it successfully and thoroughly one time, afterward it was a lot easier.  For decades afterward anytime I sensed that blue demon out of the corner of my perceptions I’d immediately jump in and do battle with it again, drive it out before it got a foothold.

It worked so well for me that I’ve sometimes gone years, maybe decades without ever sensing it, doing battle with it.  But it’s still there, lurking, waiting for things to happen in its favor.  When my health began the slide down the slippery slope the old blue demon tried whispering to me out of the wings a few times.

Interestingly, I think I have a lot of the symptoms of clinical depression right now, today, minus the blue demon black pit and the anguish that goes with it.  I’m a happy, lucky man, grateful and congratulating myself for it a thousand times per day.

But I can’t force myself to open my mail.  I don’t answer the telephone unless I’m confident who is calling. Have to force myself to do anything that falls into the  arena of acknowledging one hell of a lot of life that would love to come in and say hello.

I’m probably going to have to do something about that.  Maybe give it a name, shake hands with it, and do battle.  I’m just not there yet.

Old Jules

 

It’s been a hard days night

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

I was going to tell you and forgot.  Graduation day at the cardiac physical therapy facility a little fat guy about my age who’s always pretended I don’t exist was standing nearby as I chugged water.  He asked one of the other guys who the graduation banner was up for.

It’s for Jack.  He’s graduating today.”

I wonder if he’ll celebrate by getting a shave and haircut.”

To which I couldn’t resist, “No, but I might try to gain 40 pounds, get six inches shorter and start picking my nose a lot.”

I’m thinking I might have run into the guy in an all-night truck stop when I was hitching through in 1965.  2 am drunken local good old boys noticed me in a back booth swilling coffee waiting for daybreak.

Hey, what have we got here?  Are you one of the Beetles?”

Isn’t it a little late for that shit?”

Some things never change.

Old Jules

Graduation March

Hi readers.  Monday after Physical Therapy they stood me in front of a Happy Graduation banner, gave me a diploma and card signed by all the nurse-ladies, put a mortarboard hat on me and took a picure.  Then they played Graduation March and I went around the room shaking hands while all the old codgers on machines cheered and waved on their various machines.

So the VA paid-for session of my return to physical perfection is done.

I’ve paid for another month use of the Olathe Community Center machines because I’m not 17 years old again yet.

Some of the guys who’ve been using the medical center facility a long time who’d been through similar cardiac situations to mine said they kept improving a while after the first physical therapy, is the reason I’m still hopeful it’s going to improve more despite congestive heart failure.  But they also said, every one I discussed it with, that there’s a plateau that comes somewhere afterward, and things don’t get better from then on.  It becomes a matter of maintaining, holding what you’ve got.

So I’m hoping the plateau for me will involve an ejection factor a bit higher than the 10-15% the VA and private cardiologists measured before therapy.  I need to be able to go out in the world and climb over fences, trespass onto forbidden places.  I need to be able to walk down to the grocery store somewhere and back with a bag of groceries inside each arm.

Or at least I need to be able to walk around the streets somewhere pusing a shopping cart with my belongings in it without tiring myself out too terribly.  Some things in life a person just hates to give up the prospects for.

But phase one is done.  Sorry if you didn’t get your invitation but graduation was never a sure thing.  Even during the final weeks, even the next-to-the-last session the fast six minute measured distance walk took the wind out of my sails.

I’m going to miss all those old guys.  Especially the ones doing post-graduate work hanging around because they didn’t have a courthouse square to hang around in playing dominoes and spitting tobacco.  They’re paying a dear price to go there and can’t even spit.

Old Jules

 

Elizabeth’s UK looks a lot different these days

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

Back when she was still Princess Elizabeth the US magazines had a love affair with her.  We kids in Portales, NM, saw pictures of her looking her best and didn’t think she looked all that great, for a princess.  A bit horse-faced, we thought.  And the kid, prince Charles with his snooty little spoiled brat look.  We hated his guts.

Didn’t much care who knew it, either.

Law law law.  The British still had themselves thinking maybe it was an empire in those days.  Didn’t take a lot of the reign of Liz to put that thought out of the minds of anyone with an eye to see.  No Victoria, our Liz.

So here she is today, maybe still alive and in the catbird seat.  Been there longer than Victoria.  Hasn’t been poisoned or strangled by either of her offspring.  And actually managed to win one war during her watch.

That was the Falklands War.  Whupped Argentina all by themselves, those British did.  Still had a whisper of a navy in those days.  Lots of fireworks and generally a fairly safe war without any danger of contagion carrying it out of the ocean and onto places with Argentina firebombing London or vicee versee.

Put Britain down on record as the only civilized country in the world to win a war after 1918.  A clear win, no illusions with the losers popping up as economic giants taking over the world marketplaces.

Hell, Liz was there when most of the shooting stopped in Northern Ireland.  Might still be there when Mr. Scotland thumbs his nose at who?  Henry was it?  And tells the rest of the island to go piss up a rope.  [After thinking on it while I showered I'm thinking it was Longshanks, Lackland, wossname, maybe Henry II.  They all run together these days.]

Anyway, I’m just glad little Prince Charles with his snooty little short pants never got to be king.  That was worth the price of admission, having to know something about what the damned British monarchy did or didn’t do anytime in my life.

Old Jules

Afterthought:  I recall sometime during the 1980s the other kid, Andrew, I think, had a girlfriend who was a porn star, which I applauded.  If he’d gotten to be king I mightn’t have minded knowing about it.  Randy Andy they dubbed him at the time.  If the bard had been reincarnated to see that he might have written a good tragedy about it.

 

Pretty enjoyable grannylady chick flick

 
Hi readers.  She snuck out of the nursing home they put her in after they snagged her car and sold her house.  When a movie begins with that there’s nothing much can be done to spoil the ending.  I’d put it up beside Harry and Tonto, generally.
Redwood Highway, 2013PG-131hr 30m, You rated this movie: 5 ,  Itching to get out of her retirement community but estranged from her family, Marie uses her granddaughter’s wedding as an excuse to go on a walk.
Woman my age dons a backpack and hikes roughly 100 miles up the California coast dodging search and rescue, refusing rides and shooting molesters in the face with bear spray.

Winkie Hodges – They still called him Winkie

Hi readers.  When Keith and I were kids in Portales in 1954,  a boy named Harold Hodges ran around with us a little.  For some reason we called him Winkie.  Keith and I discussed him sometime a while back and he knew Winkie a long while after I lost track.  Winkie was one of the really honest-to-goodness poor kids we knew.  Hardscrabble farm kid out in the sand hills off the Clovis highway.

I knew his dad died in the mountains deer hunting in 1955, I remembered that.  And I remembered his mom became a bootlegger to make a living in alcohol-dry Roosevelt County.

Anyway, I was remembering an incident on the school grounds involving Winkie, Keith and I getting into one hell of a lot of trouble with a teacher named Mrs. Tate.  The meanest teacher I ever had, maybe the meanest woman I ever encountered this lifetime, though she had stiff competition on both avenues.

But Winkie, Keith and I made her cry.  On the other hand, thanks to her I didn’t learn long division until a quarter-century later.  It wasn’t an even trade, but it was the best three 4th graders could do given the resources available.

Anyway, I did a websearch for Harold Hodges, then Winkie Hodges.  Just curious.  All I came up with was an obit for a name I’d encountered several years later when I lived in Borger, Texas.  Small world.  Winkie was still alive in 1998, still in Portales, and they were still calling him Winkie.

Abbie G. Friend
  BORGER – Abbie G. Friend, 85, died Monday, Nov. 2, 1998.

She married Deane Friend in 1975 at Borger. She was preceded in death
by a son.

Survivors include her husband; three sons, Wayne Vaughan of Mission,
Jack Vaughan of Pryor, Okla., and Gerald Vaughan of Long Beach,
Calif.; three brothers, Volly Hodges of Friona, Teet Hodges of
Roswell, N.M., and Winkie Hodges of Portales, N.M.; seven sisters,
Lorene Cunningham of Lubbock, Lois Hill of Odessa, Bernice Alexander
and Natoma Reigle, both of San Antonio, Geraldine Farmer of Ozark,
Ark., Maggie Rae Gibbs of Silver City, N.M., and Lena May Gibbs of
Portales, N.M.; seven grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

The family suggests memorials be to the Women’s Abuse Center.

Sooooo.  Bound to be a story worth knowing why the family wanted memorials sent to the Women’s Abuse Center, but it didn’t have anything I could discern to do with Winkie Hodges.  Just Coincideneces trekking around roping and branding everything in sight.

Anyway, Winkie’s dad died of a heart attack early in life, but I think he might still be alive.  I didn’t find an obit on him, anyway.  If I ever figure out I’ve got enough heart left to travel I think I might try to look him up or find his gravestone.

Old Jules