Monthly Archives: March 2012

Jeb Stuarts, Jeb Stuart MacGruders and the Fallen

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

I’m five years older than old Bob Lee was when he had his little problem at Gettysburg.  I’ve fingered a lot earlier than when I was 65 that I could have avoided what happened to him if it had been me, instead of him dealing with a particular horse soldier.  Jeb Stuart, or Jeb Stuart MacGruder, I think it was.

Bobby Lee should have had the good sense to follow the advice of Longstreet and not become an invader, I always figured.  Should have stayed the hell down in Virginia, fought in defense of his home soil.

Lee was plenty old enough to know the great majority of the leadership on both sides was composed of the spiritual kinfolk of Stuart, Lincoln, Custer, Fetterman, Hooker, and other dandies too absorbed in what the newspapers were saying about them to keep their eyes on the ball.

Bobby Lee didn’t think that way, but he got the smell of blood in his nose anyway.  The men following his orders and getting shot to hell would have been just as happy defending Vicksburg, but they trusted his wisdom, they had the smell of blood in their noses, too. 

Same as these today.

But while I was thinking about that last night the damn tree fell on the storage building, so I don’t know where I was going with it.

Old Jules

Today on Ask Old Jules:  Escape from Reality?

Old Jules, why is escaping reality ultimately harmful?


Pardon Me, Roy, . . .

Roy Rogers had a new pair of boots made for him by the best bootmaker in California.  But it was raining when he got back to the ranch and they got muddy on the way to the porch, so he took them off and left them there on the steps.  Later, when he came out to clean them he found they’d been ripped to shreds by a bobcat. 

Roy took his good dog Bullet, hopped on Trigger and went after that cat with a rifle.  In a while he rode back to the ranchhouse with a bobcat draped across his saddle.  Dale Evans came out on the porch, sang:

“Pardon me, Roy,

Is that the cat-that-chewja new shoes?” 

To the tune of the song below.


Old Jules

Today on Ask Old Jules:   Plan for Life?

Old Jules, what’s your plan for life?

Dressing Hoes, Handles and Whips

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

Different world.  This is one of the first adult jokes I ever remember hearing:

First morning on her new job in a hardware store a man approached her.  “I need a flat bastard.”

Cad!”  She slapped him and he rushed out.

The manager was aghast, but she explained the customer swore at her, so he just shook his head and went back to his business as another man approached her.

“I need a flat bastard.”

“Cad!”  She slapped him and he ran from the store.

This time, the manager questioned her and she explained the offending language.

Ahh.  It’s okay.  They were asking for bastard files.  See,” pointing to a bin of files, “Those are called bastard files.”

She apologized, and he went back to work.  Another customer approached her.  “I need a file.”

How about one of these flat bastards?” Glowing with new-found knowledge.

No, I think I’ll take this little round son-of-a-bitch.”

Trying to dress my tools, all the little bastards I could find around here were Chinese s-o-bs.  Worthless.  I ended up using that grinding wheel as a whetstone, which was slow, but worked.  But the stone soaked up a lot of oil while I used it. 

While I was dressing those blades and working linseed oil into the handles I found myself wondering whether anyone does that anymore.  As a kid I was taught that nobody would respect a person who didn’t take care of his tools.  But I suspect there aren’t enough people doing any hoe work anymore to cause them to bother with it.

And of course, the tools aren’t made to last, anyway.  Aren’t even made to do the job they’re shaped for.

I’m going to keep my eye out at auctions and thrift stores for some broken tools with metal D-handles, I reckons.  That shovel has a lot of life left in it if I can find a handle that was made when the folks making it thought someone would use it eventually.

Old Jules

Today on Ask Old Jules:  Open Range Ranching?

Old Jules, what can you tell me about open range ranching in the 1800s?

What about the non-Jews killed by the Nazis?

Note from Jeanne: Here’s another example of a random question answered by Old Jules a while back on another website. If you have a question you’d like answered, please leave it in the comments. And of course, find more equally random questions and his answers at

Old Jules, why does everyone forget the other 10 million people who were killed by the Nazis?  It’s well known that around 17 to 21 million people were killed during the Holocaust. including Jews, Homosexuals, Gypsies, Disabled people, Peasants, ethnic Poles, Soviets, prisoners of war, etc…
But why is it that people only ever remember the “six million Jews” when talking about the Holocaust? Even my friend’s little brother is taking history in school and is being taught about Nazi Germany and even he said he is only being taught about the 6 million Jews,etc…
Isn’t it either ignorant or disrespectful to forget or outright ignore the fact that it wasn’t only Jews who were targeted?

Jews are no better, no worse than the rest of us. If those of us who are non-Jewish were Jews. we’d probably direct a lot of energy to turning the German holocaust to our own advantage, just as they’ve done and continue doing. [In fact, many ethnic groups use similar tactics to keep the memories of wrongs done to their ancestors in sharp focus, probably for the same reasons].

Israeli Zionists are more intelligent and better educated than most citizens of Europe and the US. They understand the populations are mostly shallow ignorant sheep, that their attitudes and viewpoints are easily manipulated by controlling the information fed to them by the media and textbooks. They’d be a lot less intelligent than they are if they failed to take advantage of the obvious.

It’s true a lot of other groups died during the holocaust and that 20th Century genocides killed far larger numbers of others in the USSR, Cambodia, Biafra, French Guiana, Armenia, the Ukraine and elsewhere. Mostly they go forgotten and unnoticed.

There appears to be a deliberate attempt to focus entirely on Jewish victims and the German holocaust and brush all the others aside. This could be the result of a number of possibilities.

This focus isn’t necessarily intended to suggest the only victims of genocide that matter are Jews, and it isn’t necessarily a cynical, opportunistic PR campaign by Israeli Zionists to twang the heartstrings of the world or the US and Europe with constant reminders of the German [Jewish] holocaust so’s to keep military and financial assistance going to them.

It might just be that Jews worldwide feel the pain of the Jewish genocide more than they feel the non-Jewish ones, and since they’re deeply connected within the media, governments, publishing and elsewhere, they naturally focus on their own painful remembrances unconsciously. Not because they don’t care about the others, exactly, but they care more about their own.

But it might also have something to do with keeping the eyes of the world directed away from Israel’s own massacres when they find genocide against others to be convenient.

When Bad Things Happen to Good Megafauna

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

Old Sol and I continued our conversation from the previous morning yesterday.

“So.  You’re saying you think I need more diversity in my art?”

“I’m sure as hell not saying you need more ego.  You’ve got more than enough of that, what with your astrophysicists, Hopi Witch Doctors and Mayan-bean-counter buddies.”

“That was a hurtful thing to say.  What are you so irritated about this morning?”

“I’m not irritated.  Sometimes your bluster’s a bit tedious though.  You’re forever trying to take credit for everything that happens, whether you had anything to do with it or not.  But the most cataclysmic event, for instance, that’s happened since man has been around, you had nothing to do with.”

“Um.  You’re referring to the megafauna?”

“Yeah.  Millions of rhino, mammoth, hippos, sabre-tooth tigers all killed in the space of a few days.  Lots of them frozen fast enough to keep them from decaying much.  Carcasses stacked up like cord wood over half the planet.  If you’re able to do that, big fella, I say go for it.”

“I never said I did.  That wasn’t me.  We stars are mostly uniformists, gradualists, except for a few rare renegade exceptions.  We don’t go in for drama.”

“Okay.  I’ll buy that.  I envy you, though, getting to see all those giant beasties wiped out.”

“Yeah.  It was a sight to behold.  Just out of curiosity, what do you think happened?”

“It’s obvious what happened.  All a person has to do is discount everything he believes he knows already that would keep it from happening.  Then allow himself  to look at whatever options are left on the plate.  There aren’t many.”

“I’m about out of time.  But you’re admitting the reason nobody looks at the obvious isn’t my fault?”

“No.  I guess it isn’t.  They’re all lap-dancing to their own agendas.  Sometimes you end up as part of the agenda, is all.  I reckons.”

Old Jules

Today on Ask Old Jules:  Adopting an Illusion?

Old Jules, if you act like something for long enough, will you become like the illusion?  If you acted as a good moral, rule-abiding citizen, could you eventually adopt those beliefs and habits?

Old Sol’s Just A Leedle Bit Pissed

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

SOLAR STORM HEATS UP EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE: A flurry of solar activity in early March dumped enough heat in Earth’s upper atmosphere to power every residence in New York City for two years. The heat has since dissipated, but there’s more to come as the solar cycle intensifies. [full story] [video]

As I was trying to roust and prod Old Sol up this morning he was whining and complaining something awful.  “Nobody appreciates me.  I’ve just about got a gut full of you people!”  Him barely peeking between the trees on the ridgeline.

“What are you talking about?  That’s crazy.  Everyone appreciates what you do.  Come on now.  Rise and shine!  You’ve got a lot of appointments today.  Things to do and people to see.”  Me, cajoling, persuading, being diplomatic.

“Horse hockey! You see all those diagonal lines I’ve got across me?  All those squiggles and curlycues?  Do you have any idea how much trouble it is for me to do that?  You’re looking at a lot of parallel bands of magnetic fields.  Can you imagine how I do those diagonals?”

“Honestly, I can’t begin to imagine.  Let’s talk more about it after you’re further over the horizon.  I’ll have my people call your people.”  Heehee, him about two-thirds showing, still moving.

“What about all those bumper-stickers you were talking about?  Proud to be an American?  Proud to be a Texan.  Proud to be a Native Texan?  You ever see one saying, ‘Proud of my Solar System’?   ‘Proud of Old Sol’?  Even ‘Proud of my Galaxy’?”

Me, trying to break this off gently.  He’s well up in the air now, no way he can reverse things.  “You’re right.  People don’t pay any mind to your artistic efforts.  They don’t understand them, mostly.  In a lot of ways what you do is  kitch.  Have you considered trying something a bit more subtle?  Something that says something about the human condition?”

He looked behind him and finally realized I’d suckered him.  “We’re going to talk about this again tomorrow.  This isn’t over yet by a long shot.”

Well, hell.  Have a good day then.”

Old Jules

 Today on Ask Old Jules:  Feelings About Time?

Old Jules, how do you feel about time passing by?

Commitment to Dogs That Won’t Hunt

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

Searching around in my mind as I drove to Kerrville yesterday I was trying to find something, almost anything, the word ‘we’ could be applied to that included all of humanity.  Not an easy task, despite most of the lofty notions humans have about themselves.

Intelligence and thinking came to mind, but didn’t survive even long-range scrutiny.  Whatever else we might be, human beings are only intelligent when compared to one another within a miniscule range of options.  Probably the least intelligent human being able to function is somewhat smarter than the next-best up for consideration in the animal kingdom.  And a few notches up on the yardstick, the smartest human being isn’t much more intelligent.  But there’s enough difference top-to-bottom to demolish the word ‘we’ when it comes to defining anything all humans have in common.

As for thinking, there’s just not a hell of a lot of it going on.  The overwhelming majority of humans are riding along on shock waves created by thinkings of an underwhelming few individuals.  Of the several billion humans on this planet there’s not more than a shot-glass full who could figure out how to manufacture a lead pencil.  Or, for that matter, a shot-glass.  Or build a fire without materials provided by some autopilot composite of individuals not-thinking somewhere else.

Pride held up a lot better, but as I turned it over examining all the nuances I found it was handcuffed to something else.  Commitment.  This species couldn’t have survived this long without it any more than a tribe of beavers could survive without the non-thinking commitment to building community dams.

And pride is the glue holding it together.  A necessary virtue to keep things moving, even though the commitments most frequently to dogs that don’t hunt, haven’t hunted for centuries, but nobody’s devoted enough thought to the matter to notice.

When I was a kid the adults used to say if a snapping turtle ever got a bite on you it wouldn’t turn loose until it thundered.  One of the places in this reality where the word ‘we’ can be applied to humanity is our commonality to that imaginary snapping turtle.  Commitments come along, sometimes the result of someone thinking something, sometimes just out of the blue, and ‘we’ lock our pride into it and don’t turn loose until it thunders.

When I began this post I intended it to examine human commitments to failed ideals and myths.  I planned to reflect on our often failing repeated attempts to commit ourselves to individuals, to political parties, to geographic boundaries.

But I’m going to have to save that for some future post. 

I was watching bumper stickers as I drove along considering all this.  Proud to be an American.  Proud to be a Texan.  Proud to be a Native Texan.

Presumably those declarations are a source of pride because of the effort and personal hardship involved in achieving them.  If pride had anything to do with personal achievement.  Or thinking.

Old Jules

Today on Ask Old Jules:  Views on Atheism?

Old Jules, what is your view on my religion? I’m an atheist.