Monthly Archives: July 2012

Calamari Gumbo Over Saffron Rice

Hi readers.  Grocery stores always make my mouth water, but I actually got started thinking about calamari at the tire store.  Wandered over to the Chici Pizza Buffet, Senior Special $5, while I waited for them to mount and balance my new tire.  Thought an uncomfortable amount of pizza might rid my mind of calamari.

Went to the AutoZone for brake pads, found a pair for $10 and change, mind still in orbit around calamari.  Bent down for a look under the car to check out the oil leak as a precaution.  Going up the hill the lower clearance because of the donut sized spare caused a rock to puncture the oil pan, so I was keeping an eye on it.

That oil pan leak’s going to be a blessing until I can lift the car and whittle a wooden plug to stick in the hole.  Keeps me from having to change the oil.  I’ll just add oil, top it off as it goes down.  Voila.  Automatic oil change constant.

Anyway, went to the HEB and bought a few essentials, actually went by the fish department to have a look at the calamari, thinking actually seeing it might help rid my mind of it.  But it didn’t.

Meanwhile, I was over on the isle for bread and tortillas and a guy with a hand-carry basket walked up pretending he didn’t know his wife as she studied a shelf, took a big chuck roast out of his hand carry basket and stuck it in her backpack.  Looked me right in the eye.  Snake eyes.

His wife, kid in her shopping cart, edged to get around me.

“Hey man!  Let me show you something!  You like to barbeque?”

He gave me a what-the-hell look while I reached inside her backpack and took out the roast.  “See this crap?”  I held the roast out to him.  “Shoplifting meat is a felony in Texas.  They’ll barbeque her if they catch her.”

Asshole!”  He mumbled and turned back toward the meat section.

You going to stick around and take care of the kid, hotshot?”  I stayed on his heels.  “While she’s doing time you going to change the diapers?”

He ignored me, kept walking.

Screw it.

I cashed out and headed home.  Still thinking about calamari.  Calamari over saffron rice.  When I arrived I checked the freezer, but there wasn’t any calamari in there.  Must have used the last of it sometime before Y2K.  And I’ve been trying to cut down on my saffron intake.  Since around Y2K, as I recall.  Coincidence Coordinator thing.

Old Jules

Philosophy by Limerick – The Genius MBA

Made his money the hard way, inherited.
Went to Yale where he struggled and merited
Every cent that he earned
With his MBA, spurned
Do-nothings with slogans he parroted.

Old Jules

Spang Blew It!

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

Having a running vehicle I can just brush the cats off of, scare the chickens out from underneath and drive somewhere is surprisingly uplifting.  Not having to borrow Little Red wouldn’t seem to the disinterested observer to be that big a deal, but it is.

Got me feeling uppidy in ways I’m going to need to treat with circumspection and discipline so’s I don’t run myself dry buying gasoline for trips I wouldn’t have made in a borrowed machine.  But damn it feels good anyway.

Those trips to TimeWarpVille [Junction, Texas] trying to get something they’d accept at the courthouse as valid to transfer the title, trips to Kerrville trying to chase down the guy who sold it to me would have been frustrating teeth-grinding to me most of my life.  But they were pure joy, driving along looking at the country, looking at whatever, ignoring the 100+ F. wind blowing through the windows in favor of the freedom it represented.

So yesterday I thought of a reason to drive into Harper.  The day before I’d noticed a piece of the right front tire peeled back on the side, probably something on the driveway flipped up and cut it.  So I was being careful, occupying 30-35 MPH when it blew.  Got her stopped without ruining the rim.

Sweated blood and bullets getting the car up on the jack.  Crumpled a piece of the underbody before I found the secret, unlikely place the top of the jack has to go to lift it.  Discovered the spare is a wheelbarrow tire, which was under-inflated, but left part of an inch of inflated tire between the rim and the ground.  Inched that money-maker home at 2.5 miles per hour.

Gave me time to shoot gratitude affirmations for it all out to the Universe and Old Sol.  Because that blowout’s a major blessing.

When I pulled the tire off the brake disk rotor was exposed to me, badly eaten because there was nothing much like a pad.  Bare metal just grinding pleasant rings into the rotor.  A lot of people would probably replace that rotor, but I think I’ll try just buying pads.  No reason to get extreme, over-react, do anything dramatic. 

But if that tire hadn’t blown I’d never have noticed I had problem needed immediate attention, not to put off until the next Social Security pension check arrives to provide me a something for nothing entitlement [as these Texans are fond of calling it].

So today I’m going into Kerrville and buy me a spanking new tire, buy a set of brake pads, and even let the guys who sell me the tire put the new one on the ground.

Christmas.  It just don’t get much better than this.

Old Jules

The Boy Captives – J. Marvin Hunter – Book Review

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming for a read.  I bought this tome in a thrift store in Kerrville before I knew it’s the hottest piece of literature to be had in TimeWarpVille [Junction], Texas. 

I suppose that qualifies me to brag I have a nose for cool, an instinct for hot, to boast that I was also country when country wasn’t cool, same as the song said. 

Over in TimeWarpVille every business in town has a stack of these with a $10+ pricetag.  And customers standing in line to buy soft drinks, potato chips, deer corn, and steel fenceposts will each answer verbal quiz questions about it, when asked. 

They likes it.  They likes it real good.  They know the family heirs to the publishing history.  This I know to be true because I asked and was answered.

I’m reasonably comfortable some of the other parts of this non-fiction book are also true.  There’s a fair amount of documentation and affidavits from people alive at the time of the incidents certifying various parts of the story they had personal knowledge about.

I’d guess the older brother, Clinton’s part of the tale he’d possibly be able to pass a polygraph on 75-80%.  Maybe higher.  Most of the details he gives don’t conflict with anything clearly different and known under more verifiable circumstances elsewhere.

Brother Jeff’s part of the tale, however, has a somewhat different air about it, to my suspicious mind.  I ain’t going to say he wasn’t traded to the Apache, not going to say he wasn’t adopted by Geronimo.  But if I had to stake any money on the truth or fiction of it I’d put my large bills on most of his story being lost in the dust of history because it ain’t on these pages.

Not that it matters.  Fact is, the book is a hoot, an interesting read, a flashback to a time when Brother Comanche still rode southeast under a Comanche moon, killing, taking captives, stealing horses.   Good descriptions from a couple of kids of settlers before their capture about their lives, the family.

And both brothers succeed in spinning yarns Marvin Hunter could put on a printed page well enough to keep the reader turning them, not putting the book aside for something with more potential for holding the mind in place.

You Texas readers would almost certainly enjoy this tome, thinks I.

Old Jules

From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler – Book Review

Hi readers.  I don’t know whether I’ve ever mentioned on this blog that I’m a big admirer of a lot of young adult fiction writers.  Mainly Newbery Award folk because I wouldn’t take a chance on anything else that didn’t come highly recommended.  So, when I found From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler, by EL Konigsberg in a 10 cent basket at the dogpound thrift store in Kerrville, I snagged it.  Same as I’d have done with any Newbery.

I’m glad I did.  Fact is, while I haven’t encountered many books with that award I considered unworthy of the time spent reading them, occasionally I have.  But this one’s from back when writers were writers and readers were glad they were.

The basic plot’s just a brother and sister who decide to run away from home.  But beyond that summary it becomes a reading experience, as opposed to the alternatives too frequently provided in best selling books.

The kids each have talents, each balancing the weaknesses of the other, each recognizing that fact, and the entire plot and characterization orbits it, relies on it.  The brother’s the financial side of things.  The sister’s a planner.

So she plans where two youngers could probably really have gotten by with hiding in 1967 for a couple of weeks without being discovered, without getting bored.  And the brother provides the funds needed to get there with his winnings from cheating at cards on the school bus.

What’s not to like?  Hell, nothing’s not to like.  It’s a fast read, so it leaves the reader with plenty of time to read it twice, which he’ll want to do if he’s an admirer of good, serious wordsmithing manifested in plots, characters and fast moving events.

They hide in the Metropolitan Museum, evade guards, study a sculpting by a master, discovering secrets about it,  and bathe in the fountain at night fishing for coins.

Great read if you aren’t a snob who only reads really good Stevie Ray King, Norbert Robbers and Louis L’Amour.

Old Jules

Naked City in the Sticks

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

I’ve resisted posting a blog entry about this incident a couple of days now.  Felt I needed to allow it to settle in my mind enough to think calmly and clearly about it.

I’ve explained before that the nearest property line is almost 1/4 mile away from here.  No line-of-sight to the nearest dwellings.  Woods, rough roads and rough country between here and the nearest neighbor.  Aside from Gale, no reason whatever for anyone to be anywhere near here, and Gale rarely comes, never without honking his horn at the top of the hill. [That bluelike speck right-of-center in the pic is the roof of the cabin.  The barely-visible white loop’s the turnaround.]

Sooooo.  A couple of days ago I’d just finished my afternoon solar shower, poured a couple of gallons of water over my head for a soapdown shampoo and rinse out in the driveway.  Went inside to towel off and stepped back outdoors onto the porch to let the sun finish things off.

“DAMMITTOHELLSHIT!”

A cammie 4-wheeler with two people aboard was creeping by about 30 feet from the porch.  I jumped back inside to throw on some trousers and by the time I got back outside it was gone.  Not a sign of whomever I was wanting to throw rocks at and shout lectures about respecting property lines and the not-to-be-aspired-to human trait of nosy intrusion.

Because that 4 wheeler wasn’t coming down the driveway.  It came from the direction of the chicken house.  Nothing in that direction for another quarter-mile to the north property boundary fence. 

Even though that new neighbor’s got 90-odd acres for himself and his family to fart around on knocking down trees and blasting away with every caliber firearm ever invented, 90 acres just isn’t big enough when a man’s richer than 18 inches up a bull’s ass.  Got rich early enough to get thinking he could run over everyone in reach, bluff whomever he couldn’t buy outright.

When he was coming down here trying to get me to go on wages working for him I had a vague suspicion this was the kind of thing he had in mind, ultimately.  Getting a leverage in place so’s he could do anything he pleased.  He’d already described every property and house within sight of here in enough detail to suggest he’d explored already what was none of his business.  Described it without blushing, as though it was a given.

Sometime during those visits he was making down here I asked permission to haul water from his well up beside the driveway, and he’d given permission.  His water’s nearer than Gale’s from here, and the road’s better.  I’d done it once already.

But after this incident I’ll be going back to hauling water from Gale’s.  And the only thing I’ve got to say to him about what happened the other day:

“Stay the hell away from this part of Gale’s property and keep the kids and grandkids away from it when they’re visiting.  One of the rare positive stereotypes about Texans is that they respect property lines.  Where the hell did you grow up?”

Says he reads this blog.  I hope he does.

Old Jules

The National Synthetic Grief Olympics [NSGO] Deadline

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

This is just a reminder.  If you, or your community, plan to enter the NSGO this year, time is running out.   For the orchestrated [team] events the competition is going to be stiff and the weather’s likely to be hot. 

Parades might be out of the question unless your community is prepared to haul off horseflesh collapsed on the streets and fried to the pavement.  Evening candlelight services conducted a few hours after sundown might be a better option.  That will allow the darkness to hide the furtive yawns while the names are being read from the podiums and so on.  It will also take a lot of the pressure off those who’d prefer to go home and watch television after they’ve carefully shown their faces and pronounced themselves present and grief-stricken. 

Slipping away to the car in darkness will maintain the illusion of mourners for the dedicated name-readers, and deniability later.  There’s even a next-day potential for smug, holier-than-thou denouncements of those who sneaked off without having to actually have stayed.

But the individual competitions will be tough this years, as well.  A lot of celebrities bit the dust this year, while a few big ones from the past are still lingering to be celebrated for the novelty.  Michael Jackson, JFK, Pearl Harbor, Elvis Presley and Rin Tin Tin come to mind.

If you’re only in this for a lot of public drama, pretense and shameless exploitation of the dead, you probably still have some time to prepare.  But if you’re in this to sell flags and bumper stickers, or create a commercial illusion of patriotic zeal for people to pretend to believe, you need to be out there now.

Old Jules