Risk-takers, tools, gamblers, and pilots

Jack wrote this in April, 2005:

Hello readers.

I stopped in to the Pinon Cafe down the road here yesterday.  It happened that Wednesday evenings are a time and Pinon is a place where pilots, home built aircraft enthusiasts, vintage aircraft and warbird enthusiasts get together to show one another pictures of airplanes they own, used to own, wish they owned, and talk over a buffalo burger or taco.

I saw on the chalk board out front that it was happening, noticed a couple of vintage humans sitting across from one another at a bunch of tables that had been pulled together.  Blue haired lady of a certain age, and a geezer.  I told the dishwasher who was doing double duty as a waiter in between reading through a dogeared, worn, vintage copy of Carlos Casteneda, that I was taking a table outside.  There’s a good view from there of the knife-edge northwest face of the Sandias where rosy cheeked, robust flat-lander doctors and entrepreneurs are always getting themselves dead trying to climb the cliff face.

Anyway, I watched the old airplane enthusiasts trickle in until they filled the tables, aging wives of pilots finally able to go somewhere with their hubbies, now he’s too old to take some other woman.  Watched through the window by the table as they passed around picture books and photos.  Got me thinking about airplanes, which got me thinking about my own old darling.  Cessna N90172.

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Jack spotted a Cessna like his when we were in NM in 2015.

A fine old hellion it was.  Might well be partly responsible for the fact that I can’t hear too well these days, except for a lot of ringing in my ears.  Lots of noise inside the cabin of that old bird.

Anyway, watching all those worn-out has-beens with their once glamorous wives, I noticed there weren’t any youngsters among them.  Youngest one there was probably my age, maybe older.  I found myself wondering why it is young people don’t care anything about flying anymore.  Which led me to wonder why they don’t care much about doing anything else, either, except spectator sports and television.

I visited my old friend, Jim, out in Grants the other day… he’s looking a bit worse for the wear, having retired from the military and a couple of other professions during his working years.  We were talking about the fact that nobody around today seems to be anyone you’d like to be young and grow old having to associate with.  Jim allowed that for the last 50 years we’ve created an ignorant, gutless society.

Ah well.  That’s Jim.

I didn’t get around to talking about risk-takers, gamblers and tools, except that old Cessna.  But I will.

Jack

Our special wisdom

Jack wrote this in February, 2006:

Time was I thought this range of subtle energies we use, that we’ve found ourselves with, somehow implies something more.  Some level of wisdom, higher perception, of realization and deeper meaning than the run-of-the-mill, non-metaphysical population carries around.

But as the years have progressed I’ve gradually had to accept it isn’t so.  Not for me, not for almost any of us.

We discover we can fix pain, injury, illness in people, animals, or we can convert subtle energy into intent, and no matter how good we get at doing it, we’re like snakes slithering around still burdened by last year’s skins.

That box we keep in the corner of the room keeps squirting the brainwash into our heads, telling us it matters what the stumblers in Washington did today, what happened somewhere that we can’t do anything about to and by people we know nothing of.

We pull our intelligence down, our perceptions, and we focus on what we can’t change, mightn’t change if we could.

The old Universe has provided us with an amazing obstacle course to wind through.  It’s lined the paths with candy bars and bright red automobiles to give us something, anything to think about so’s we don’t have to know we have do die someday.  We stare at those red hunks of metal and salivate over the candy bars while the minutes, the days, the years pass without our looking inside ourselves, at what we’re doing, what we’re wasting.

We’re mostly just asleep at the wheel, same as everyone else.  Same as old fat Mehitabel, lying there letting it pass without notice.

Jack

 

Risks and risk taking

Jack wrote this on November 19, 2005:

Morning blogsters:

Today marks an event I never expected to see.

That old star that’s about to light things up is going to shake its head and shrug when it looks down and sees there I am again, come spang around it one more time.

Back in the late 1970s I had occasion to spend some time looking around nursing homes.  I managed to do it enough times and look them over closely enough to convince myself that we Americans haven’t kept our eye on the ball when it comes to living and being alive.

The people in those nursing homes are alive, but they aren’t overjoyed about it, and the life they’re living only has in common with actual life that the bodies and food are warm.  The caretakers roll them back and forth or they hobble between television sets, meals, games, then through the long hallways filled with the forever odor of urine, back to their rooms.

I did a lot of thinking about why that happens, those coffins for the living.  Of one thing I was certain.  I didn’t want it to happen to me.

The reason, I decided, people end up in those places is because they live longer than they’d have expected to, wanted to.  The reason they lived so long was that they took all kinds of measures to make certain they did, increasing the intensity and focus as they years built up on them.

Every year those elderly reduced the numbers and kinds of risks they took.  They watched their diets, quit doing things they enjoyed when they were younger, many barely did anything at all as they reached into the advanced years of retirement besides a golf game or sea cruise.

And they got what they paid for.  Lives that endured long past anything a person would call living.  They sidestepped and hid and and ran from Death, and he didn’t find them when he was supposed to.  So now they sit around strapped into wheel chairs watching rolling television screens paying the price for being too worried about dying when they were still alive.

That’s when I came to an important conclusion about how I wanted to live my own life.

From that time until now one of the rituals I’ve tried to perform around birthday time and New Years Day involves examination of the physical risks I’m taking now, and how I’m going to increase them during the coming year.

How I’m going to be out there when Death comes looking for me, in a place where he can find me, doing something I love to do.

Living life and being grateful for it every moment I’m blessed with it, but being absolutely aware that old Death doesn’t have a lot of patience sometimes.

If he can’t find you when he comes looking, he’s a busy fella and he might just go snag some others and forget about you until you are boxed up in a urine-smell generator watching a rolling television and can’t hide from him anymore.

Jack

 

Some thoughts about (The War on) drugs

Jack wrote this in July, 2005:

One of the threads here recently involved a man in the NE who committed grand larceny against a lottery ticket buyer. He was charged with a misdemeanor, a slap on the hands.

This led to a few remarks about why that happened.

The reason it happened is called ‘The War on Drugs’.

We no longer have a priority to prosecute and dissuade crimes with victims because the system is chock full of drug criminals, loaded to the gills. And every piece of the system is biased in favor of continuing in that direction so long as the Feds pour money into local police departments, judges get more jobs, lawyers get richer, prisons bulge with money and funding.

A bank robber was asked why he robbed banks. “Because that’s where the money is,” he replied.

Sorry folks, but the money on the streets is in drugs, the money in criminal justice is in drugs. It’s not in prosecuting the guy who steals your car, rapes your daughter, or mugs you.

I’ve been blessed to have been intimately familiar over the last half century with a lot of people who were users of, or were addicted to illegal drugs. I can say without reservation that I believe use of those drugs is a lousy choice for a person to make with life.

I’d go a step further and say, based on hard experience, that Meth users, both tweakers and blasters, are, without exception, among the sorriest, least-trustworthy, most incorrigible I’ve ever encountered.  To call them swine would be a defamation of character to the hog community.

However, having said that, I’d also point out that the so-called War on Drugs is an abysmal failure. It’s had a quarter century to succeed, cost buzzillions of dollars, filled the prison houses, made legions of lawyers wealthy, gotten us hundreds of thousands more cops, judges, restrictions and intrusions into who can kick our door down, and when. It’s driven the price of drugs so high they’re more available today than when the War on Drugs began in 1980.

Thousands of young girls are now ‘Coke whores’ in every city in America. Thousands of young men who committed no other crime than possessing a forbidden substance are being raped nightly in our prisons. And any drug anyone wants is easily obtainable anywhere, same as always, but with a higher pricetag.  Even inside the prisons.

Maybe it’s time for some re-thinking on how much we’re willing to sacrifice to keep people from making lousy choices.

Maybe it’s time to put recreational drugs, pharmaceutical quality and drugstore prices on the shelves where people can buy them without helping to support the legions of scumballs feeding on the illicit drug business whether they’re Meth cooks, cops, lawyers, judges, legislators, prison guards, or local crack house operators.

Jack

 

Life, adventure, boredom

Jack wrote this in April, 2005:

I saw it on one of the threads on this database. Someone was complaining how he/she was SOOOOO bored with one or another lottery. Reminded me a bit of the old saw from the `70s. Someone asked whether sex was dirty. “If you’re doing it right, it is!” came the answer.

The entire concept of boredom as it pertains to lotteries is a strange one. Almost as strange as boredom, all by itself. The idea that life, anything in life, could be boring. There just ought not be room to squeeze something of that sort into our lives, what with the limited time we have to spend in this reality before we’re whisked away into the ether to reflect on all the choices we made while we were here, plan for whichever choices we’re going to be faced with next time around.

No time at all, thinks I, to be bored, to try to put the mind in a place where it’s even capable of understanding such a concept. I’m not going to do it. Certainly not as it pertains to the whispers of the universe, the ballet of numbers dancing into our reality through the lottery systems.

But rather than digress and settle into some sort of monologue singing the rapture of the dance of numbers, I think I’d rather reflect a bit on why people might believe their lives are empty enough to allow them time for boredom (aside from the sickness of the soul that might allow them to view live as merely a search to fill the moments until death).

I believe it might be the fact that modern life, modern humanity has done everything possible to sever connection to what this reality is all about. We’ve chosen a place for this lifetime where every single organism (with precious few exceptions) has to feast on the carcass of something else, just to survive. Maybe that should tell us something about what we’re supposed to be doing here, beyond just surviving.

I’d offer the possibility that we’re suppose to be trying to transcend the savage environment we’ve placed ourselves into. Not by the lie of avoidance, of turning our eyes away from it in repugnance, as we’re prone to do. Not by disguising the meat or chicken on the plate before us in such a way as to allow us to avoid recognizing that it was a living, breathing animal a while ago, before it came to be there on the platter in front of us. Before it was chopped to pieces and put on a foam plastic tray covered with clear plastic so we can see it, not as a piece of something once alive, but as an object. A rock.

That piece of chicken on the plate was, just recently, a creature that lived several months inside a 2X2X2 cage…spent the entire span of existence there for the exclusive purpose of ending up on that platter looking appealing. The eggs for breakfast were laid by chickens in a similar environment, cages lined up 3 deep, three football fields long, their entire lives.

We have to eat something. We might as well eat the chicken on that plate. Our not eating it isn’t going to change things.

But our failing to recognize, to pause for a moment to consider the creature that piece of chicken used to be, to acknowledge before we put a fork into that egg, that somewhere there’s a 2x2x2 cage with a chicken inside living for no other reason than to drop an egg per day into a chute so we can eat it, so we can spend more time on this planet being bored, seems a dreadful possibility.

We look at life through windows, through cathode-ray tubes connected to cameras held by someone else, someone who might, or might not be living. We shut down our senses to shave away risk, pain, things that taste badly, things that smell objectionable.

And we somehow discover that life is boring.

I’m going to have to think some more about this. Meanwhile, give some thought to adding some adventure to your life if you think it’s boring.

Jack

Sex and the numbers

From Jack’s blog on the lottery website, April, 2005:

Sex and the numbers?  That why you’re reading this, amigo?

There isn’t any.  At least so far as I’ve been able to discover, there isn’t.  But I hang out over on the metaphysical side of the forum street.  Might be that over there with the rocket scientists, the adders and subtractors, the wheel-dealers, maybe they’ve found it, but they’re keeping it a secret.

Closest I’ve ever heard of anyone getting that far away was an apocryphal story in the ’50s about a floor-show in Ciudad Juarez with a woman and a jackass.  Which isn’t getting a lot closer to sex with numbers, but it’s still far enough away from sex with people of your own species to give pause.

So.  Wossname, BigLoooser’s system is loose on the world.  I went there and couldn’t make heads or tails of how to get it to go beyond the number 31, along with some other shortcomings in my intellectualness allowing me to get filthy rich from his method and pretend I’m the hmmmm King of Sheba, Nero, Michael Wossname Jackson, whatever the football player’s name was who cut his Goldilox wife’s head almost off and got away with it, lots of others I’m not going to be able to imitate and maybe REALLY get my life all bolloxed up.  Too bad.

Anyway, I’ve got my Powerball tickets for tonight, came home and began working on the drawing for the 13th.  Discovered to my horror that it looks as though the numbers I picked for the draw tonight stand a lot more terribler probability of hitting on Wednesday.  At least that was my initial once over-lightly appraisal of the number/draw date/which-draw-of-the-month-it-is combo.

This business of thinking 2-3 draws in advance is a thing that needs a lot of work and understanding.  I’m obviously not there yet.

Windy outdoors.  Spend quite a while getting my wind chimes to collide with one another without going that extra mile and tangling up all hell to breakfast.  Not sure whether it was a success.  60 degrees outside with a 90 mile an hour wind gives a wind chill factor of roughly 34 degrees below zero, plus/minus 3.92 degrees, depending on the gusts.

If I had a kite I think I’d go fly it.  But failing that, I thinks I might just go fly the llama next door.

Jack

Ask Old Jules: Why relationships work or don’t, Elders vs. new generation, Believing nonsense, Values to live by

 

JackTownResizedOld Jules, why do some relationships work and last a long time, and others fail after just a short time?

Marriage is an agreement of a man and a woman to attempt to live together in harmony. It can work by accident, or it can work by explicit communications between the two parties involved. If each has explicitly defined what’s expected of the other and each has agreed to march to the drum of the expectations of the other in precise detail it can help. It can also help if each agrees to confine the expectations to those communicated and agreed to, as opposed to allowing them to take root and grow in the background without anything being communicated except through sulking, hand-wringing, tears, and
“What’s wrong?”
“Nothing!”
“No. I can tell something’s wrong. What is it?”
“Nothing.”

Old Jules, why don’t most elders accept that the new generation is a better engineered/evolved product than they are? Instead they want to prove to the young that they are the more intelligent.

I’m probably an elder. So far as I can tell there’s not much difference in the new generation and the previous two when they were the age of the one now.

The other two were abysmally stupid at that time of their lives, same as this one.

So probably the reason elders don’t accept what you say is they know better in ways you can’t even imagine:  the experience of been there, done that.

Old Jules, how do you get people to stop believing nonsense? Someone I know believes in something wrong, so how can I get them to see the truth?

First you have to get over the notion you’re able to recognize nonsense when you see it. A lot of people never manage it. After that you can try looking after your own affairs and quit worrying yourself about what other people believe.

Or maybe you can do both at the same time if you’re able to walk and chew gum simultaneously.

Old Jules, what is the most important value you have for you to live your life by?

Courage and loyalty. I know what I respect in a human being and I intend to respect myself. Every value I have comes out of that faucet.

 

Either handshakes or fistfights

Jack wrote this in April, 2005:

Okay. What’s been on your mind this morning, the readership asks, me adroitly putting the words into the communal mouth.

In between working on my lottery numbers for coming Wednesday night, I’ve been thinking about Discussion Boards and Chat Rooms. What is it about those things? What’s the appeal to us? Why do they so frequently erode into acid exchanges between the users? How do complete strangers come to have such a rancor for one another?  And how to otherwise, probably nice enough people (they have to be… someone would have taught them manners if they behaved that way offline) come to have such nasty streaks when they wear a mask of anonymity?

I’ve seen discussion boards and participated in a few previously. A couple of prospector/treasure hunter boards during the mid-90s when I published the forerunners to The Lost Adams Diggings – Myth, Mystery and Madness.

In those days a few people were still doing non-spectator things outdoors. Enough were, at least, to keep sites of that sort in business selling metal detectors, gold pans, books, sluice boxes, dry-washers and whatnot. That’s when I first noticed this discussion board spinoff phenomenon I eventually came to think of as the snake pit.

People would come to the boards to learn about prospecting, about a particular lost mine, about some piece of equipment or other. But on any site there’d come a time when a specific group of individuals would just sort of hang out there. They weren’t there to learn, and they obviously weren’t there to share information. Mostly, they were just wasting time, disparaging people who asked questions, disparaging the attempts others made to answer. The snake pit.

These weren’t just trolls. They were men who knew the subjects the board was created to discuss. But treasure hunters and prospectors have never been long on the information sharing business. So instead, these guys hung around blustering at one another, arguing which had the most skill with a metal detector, which detector brand was best. Online acquaintances who frequently hated one another and everyone else, but still hung around.

Mid-1998, I became convinced Y2K was an actual threat. That belief led me to another type of chat room. A place where people who believed similarly hung around to talk about TEOLAWKI (the end of life as we know it) and exchange information about Y2K preparedness. At least, that’s how it began.

Before too long we all discovered that, while we each believed Y2K was going to happen, to one degree or another, we had some serious rifts in the other aspects of our lives. Some were born again Christians who wanted to ask one another and answer one another whether this was going to be the Rapture, and if so, when it would begin, and what it would be like, both for themselves, and for the non-believers who’d be left behind to suffer it out on the ground.

That sort of thing. That, and just how bad would things get, post-Y2K. And how much a person should bet that it would happen at all. Attempts at risk analysis, though most of us didn’t know a lot about computers.

From mid-’98 until I departed for my woods-retreat mid-’99, I watched the Y2K chatroom with a measure of awe, disgust, concern and wonderment. I watched those people who came to the chatroom to learn become experts after a few visits (the fundamentals of preparedness were, after all, relatively simple). I watched the competition among the new survival experts when `newbies’ came to the chat room. people who’d just heard about Y2K and wanted to know more. The poor old newbies found themselves swarmed by all the old-timers who were, themselves, newbies a couple of weeks earlier. Everyone wanted to demonstrate his knowledge by telling some newby about it all.

Meanwhile, the rancor, the snapping and snarling, the pro-gun/anti-gun, born-again/non-religious wars raged among those folks who came there first to just learn, who all had the same reason for their original visits. And, of course, the romances.

The snake pit.

So. How do strangers who have no reason to give a hoot in hell what one another think come to such a pass? What is it about discussion boards and chat rooms that draws people so closely into one another that they wish to apply pain, sarcasm, poison? That they actually allow the poison being spewed by the malignant random stranger to pierce their feelings.

It’s a study. I’ll swear it is.

Jack

New Mexico Trip: Sandstone Bluffs, Lava Falls, Dream Sheep cairn (post by Jeanne)

There’s a place you don’t want to miss if you are on Hwy. 117 going south off of I-40 in New Mexico. It’s called the Sandstone Bluffs, and it’s spectacular. The view from the bluffs is over the lava flow. Pictures don’t do it justice, but I always try to get some good ones when I’m heading towards my property. The one below I took on my very first trip to NM in 1999 when Jack was showing off his favorite places.

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Every time I’d come out we would stop here
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There is a nice parking area with picnic tables and it’s easy to explore all around the bluffs. It’s nerve-wracking if you have kids along, though, it’s a very sheer drop from the edge to the lava below.

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I took time to stop both on the way and on the way back. The road to the parking lot is about a mile and there’s a great little ruin along the way, too.


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Father down 117 is another stop one mile off the road, to the Lava Falls. This trailhead goes all the way across the lava flow and again, there is a little parking area and a picnic table. This trail is only marked by cairns. You head towards one cairn, look for the next one, head to it, look for the next one, etc. I followed it early one morning for about about ten minutes in. It was a bit chilly (turned out it was 29 degrees!) so I didn’t stay long. Jack told me he had hiked across it and left stashes of water in various places for a return trip, but never made it back to collect them.

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There’s a drop off to the right side of this picture, so I didn’t get too close to it.

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It was really lovely early in the morning light and the only other sign of life was an animal with a very bushy tail that ran into the trees as I approached driving in. Probably a coyote.

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cairn marking the trail

This last photo is on my property, a different kind of cairn that Jack built with my boys when we were staying there in 2000. He carved the sheep on the top from sandstone in the style of a Zuni “dream sheep” fetish. We keep the statue inside when we are away, and bring it out when we arrive to show we are “home.” This picture was taken in 2015 on our last visit to NM together. Our stay at my cabin lasted about 45 minutes because Jack’s blood oxygen level dropped so much due to his limited lung function that we had to leave the high altitude (it was also a very hot day, which probably did not help matters any). He had asked his dr. if there would be any problems going to a high altitude, but they didn’t predict any difficulties. In Albuquerque (above 5,000 ft.) he was fine, but the property is at 7,400 ft. So we left very shortly after I took this picture.

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on an earlier visit

Here’s another photo of it that I took on my recent trip. I’m so thankful to have this place to sit!

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I left some of Jack’s ashes at each of these places. My plan is to go visit some other of his favorite places in the future and leave some wherever it feels right. He didn’t leave me any precise requests about that, but thought it would be cool if I left some on one side of the Great Divide, and some on the other side of the Great Divide. These are pretty close to the Divide.

As far as cleaning out the pack rat poop and closing up the access holes in my cabin, that didn’t go real well. I may have slowed them down some, but I ran out of foam insulation right before I found the last hole. And everything inside was damaged, so that will take another visit to start hauling out trash. I’ll see what it’s like next spring. But it was a very good visit in perfect weather, so it was worth the long drive and short time to be there.

How will you spend your 180 million?

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In 2005, Jack was intent on finding a way to beat the lottery, and was a member of an online group to discuss it with others who were interested. This post was written on that site.

Today, 12:29 pm Some worthy craziness to fritter away 180 million bucks

Mood: Pretty good, about the same as usual

Now Playing: Gregorian chants

Of course, it’s not really 180 million, the Powerball illusion.

Probably more like 90 million before the feds take their cut to help finance the various wars, pavement repairs, mind control, salaries, bad neighborhoods (such as Washington DC), copshop grants for more tools to keep people from going 5 miles over the speed limits and kevlar suits to make a smaller window of opportunity when they kick down the doors of the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

But I digress.  I’d suppose the 90 million will find itself losing a lot of weight, once the feds take what’s due them, maybe bring it down to $45 million.  Then the State will nibble a bit, maybe bringing it down to what?  $30 million?

Still a pretty fair hunk of change for your average person who used to dream about someday getting a fancy 2-story mobile home with pink flamingos and ceramic elves prancing around the front yard, a living room full of television and plenty of candies and plastic monsters for the brats to make every day into Christmas.  Lots of booze and maybe some nose candy would sneak into the equation just so’s to assure the great American success story manages to run the whole gamut.

On the other hand, a person might begin by buying a piece of remote real estate surrounded by public lands, build a Zen Temple on one hilltop, a Hindu Temple on another, and fill in the space in between with cabins and comfortable meeting areas invisible to one another…. cabins where people so inclined could come meditate between sessions of learning a different way to look at reality, meeting rooms where they could spend their days learning Silva…. a miniature Robert Monroe facility…. Zen…. Reiki….. Remote Viewing…. spiritual healing and psychic surgery, all rolled up in a place so remote and inspiring as to make it impossible to spend time there without having an earthquake in the spiritual well, just for the price of a person wanting to do it.  Drive the money changers out of the temple, you might say.

Cool thing about that, aside from the mere fact of it, is that most of that could qualify as a religion by almost any definition.  Tax attrition of the 180 million might hang a hard left and skid to a stop, narrowly avoiding a collision with the First Baptist Church of the Latter Day Scientists or whatnot.

One of you folks here on the site are bound to win that 180.  How could it be otherwise.  What’s it going to be?  A fancy two-story mobile home, or a Zen temple with tentacles into OBE and Silva?

Something to consider.

Jack