Monthly Archives: May 2014

Library Art Received May, 2014 – Jeanne’s project

Received May 26, 2014 – May 31, 2014.  Lackman Library – International submissions

Visit the blog and submit some mail art


21st Century Automotives

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Jeanne’s ride, a 1991 Oldsmobile 98, tried to go kerplunk.  Her working two jobs and depending on it didn’t keep it from wearing out and the brakes going soft around the time I began borrowing it for physical therapy three times a week.

Well, I’m nothing if not confident when it comes to replacing master cylinders on vintage vehicles.  Hell I’ve done it over Christmas [you might recall] on an aging RV in the parking lot of an AutoZone in Big Spring, Texas while enjoying heart attacks on the side].  [ A merry little dumpster diving year-end adventure]

So I assured her I could replace that master cylinder in a New York minute.  Instead, what happened in a New York minute is the discovery I’ve got nothing in me if it’s strength or endurance you’re measuring.  So not far into the job she called her son, Michael, and I kibitzed while he changed it out.

Which is why I didn’t be the one to twist off the left front bleeder valve inside the wossname, como se llama caliper.  I was the one who did the talking at the parts houses trying to get a non-Chinese steel easy-out, buying one out of hunger that deformed and didn’t break, but also didn’t back out that bleeder valve.

So Jeanne took the Olds to the Firestorm store and got an estimate to fix it.  But they told her all manner of things else needed fixing amounting to 2000 3000 smackers.

So she went to the credit union and borrowed money hopefully enough to buy a car, an old one, but good, or better than the Olds.  Decided on a Subaru Forester or Toyota RVsomething, or Honda CRV with 150k miles or thereabouts.  Needs something high enough off the ground to go on unpaved roads sometimes.

A couple of Sikhs, offspring of Punjabi parents who migrated here in the what? 80s maybe, had one listed on Craigslist.  2002 Subaru Forester with 165000 miles that looked good and fit inside her budget with a little hammering.

Looked great.  So she had them hold it with $200 until she could have a mechanic go over it for another $100.  Mechanic says, “Subaru’s a great vehicle, but not this one.  You don’t want this one unless you want to spend $3000 trying to get it fixed.”

Hot damn.  They kept $100 of the earnest money, those Punjabi bastards, but agreed to pay for the mechanic examination.

No pain, no gain.  She told her boys to fix the damned brakes, replace the caliper on the Olds, that it didn’t look so bad after all.  What’s a bad radiator, electrical problems, rearview mirrors that flap in the wind and power windows going to hell among friends?

Maybe I could sell her the old 1978 Ford Econoline RV that has a new master cylinder and most of the damage of blown tires hidden out of sight underneath the truck.  Except I’m going to have to live in that again one day if I live so long.

Old Jules

“Don’t plug this in” mystery untangled

Seems to me that's asking for it.  I did manage to resist the temptation, but it was difficult.

Seems to me that’s asking for it. I did manage to resist the temptation, but it was difficult.

Do not plug in this USB connector

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I had an appointment with the cardiologists over at the KC VA yesterday and they clarified that USB plugged device I got in the mail.  Future shock is what it is.  They’re sending me a thing to sleep in the vicinity of that will communicate each night with my nocturnal electrical emissions device [defibrillator].

They’re sending  it to me and all I have to do is plug this into it and around 2:00 am the shocker will download my days affairs of the heart to it.  And it will quickly upload it all to someplace in San Francisco where another machine will look it over, twiddle its thumbs, and decide whether there’s anything illegal my heart muscle’s been up to.

In the unlikely event my heart’s been sneaking around getting cheap thrills and got busted by the defibrillator whispering gossip about it to the Coleman Camp Stove piece, and it reporting it to the San Francisco Heart Police, they’ll send it to the KCVA cardiologist right after breakfast, next day.

Then, if he thinks it’s worth it, the cardiologist will contact me and explain what’s going on, or went on, while I slept.

So KC VA cardiologists don’t want to see me until something interesting happens and they find out about it from the heartthrob gossip columnists.  And the previous day the private cardiologist who put it there in my shoulder examined it and said essentially the same thing,

How about that?  Barring any new drama I don’t have to see anyone about my broken heart for a year.  And other than the physical therapy that will go on for another month-or-so, I’m draft-exempt insofar as medicos.  Sure, I’ll have to fill various prescriptions and be financially crippled for the remainder of my life because of this series of events beginning November 9, 2013.  But I’ll just be writing $10 checks to each of them every month unless they turn me over to their collection agencies.

If they send out their constables with summonses or their leg breakers trying to squeeze blood out of a broken heart shaped more like a turnip, power to them.  Get in line.  I’ve got no more sympathy for them than a multinational bank has for someone loses his job and gets behind on house payments.

Except the VA.  If you can’t pay whatever’s due them for co-pay they go directly to Social Security and get it deducted from your pension.  I’ve naturally got more than my fair share of sympathy for folks who can do that.

Old Jules


Kansas City Star

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

The KS Star gave Boy Scout merit badge hunters a gold star on Sunday.  Jeanne and I figured to visit the Union Cemetery, oldest one in KC, on Memorial Day just for the hell of it.  Then I saw the KC Star front page had Boy Scouts out decorating graves of veterans there.  And everyone using the words ‘Veteran’ and ‘Warrior’ interchangeably.

This isn't Union Cemetery, but you get the idea anyway.

This isn’t Union Cemetery, but you get the idea anyway.

As it happens a lot of  one-time Confederates are buried at the Union Cemetery.  Once a person gets into the spirit of putting flags on graves, might as well send the troop out with Confederate battle flags, too.  Most were one-time Confederates who died decades after the Great War of Secession, but there’s a monument over the mass grave of Confederate POWs who died in a prison camp near here.  That one got a forest of Confederate battle flags.

I say this with some authority, though we took a pass on the Memorial Day visit.  Went out there Sunday, Memorial Day Eve, instead.  Though most of the burying that’s ever going to be done there has already happened, 55,000 funerals seems plenty for most normal purposes.  And a surprising lot had flags sticking up from them courtesy of Boy Scouts.  Back in the heyday of Union Cemetery veterans had a lot bigger wars to get drafted into.

Likely as not somewhere out there the Boy Scouts put German flags on WWI Germans who fought in the Big one on the wrong side before migrating to the US.  Maybe even a few from WWII.

Because the only way past the post-WWII series of incomprehensible US military adventures in foreign lands with any hope of inspiring those Boy Scouts to enlist to buy a piece of one is to ignore the Wars and glorify the warriors.  Dead or alive.  Company clerks, regimental band trumpet players, helicopter mechanics.  All heroes, all warriors, all guilty of conspicuous courage without having to do a damned thing to demonstrate it to anyone.

If you’ve never done anything worth mentioning in your entire life and never will, visit your Army recruiter.  Gets you a flag on your grave after everyone’s forgotten everything else about you.

A lot of old US Veterans have to be getting a lot of secret laughs about this in the privacy of their home bathrooms before they hoist their trousers, pluck their galluses over their shoulders, and carefully place their cammy ball caps with VETERAN over the visor onto their gray pompadours.

Old Jules



Curry fish for the Gods only

ironhorse wall menu

The pink haired, much pierced daughter of the Hong Kongish couple owning the Iron Horse [low sodium] Asian restaurant spent a year or more doing the menu-items on the walls and ceiling. Prices don’t change much and aren’t likely to, I’m thinking.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

A person gets a hankering to eat someplace with storebought food occasionally, and if he does he can figure on getting a salt-load worthy of the Morton Girl.  Here in Olathe there’s a Chinese joint named the Iron Horse tries to breach the pattern, might even succeed except for the taste.  It’s not great, but they’ll swear there’s no added salt and no wossname monosodium glutamate.

But I gradually am coming to think I can’t afford to eat in food joints, and that they can’t make as good an Asian food as I can, and I know how much salt is in it.  Without having to listen and feel around for spots in front of my eyes or blind staggers.  Maybe if Chinese steel weren’t so lousy I’d be more prone to believe what’s said about the contents of food items.

Anyway, I was leading up to saying I made up the most toothsome stir-fry  curry dish without any salt at all last night, with steamed rice.  Gave Jeanne a taste before dumping it onto the rice.  A look of delight crossed her face briefly before she gasped, “Wow!” and ran for something to drink.

She’s of the opinion that all my years of loving habenero and other seasonings have left me bereft of taste buds.  Claimed she could feel that spoonful burning it’s way all the way down her goozle.

Being the best no-sodium Asian chef in Christiandom’s fairly nice, but I can’t find anyone else who can eat my creations.

Old Jules



The Monastery: Mr. Vid and the Nun [Russian Orthodox in Norway]

Hi readers.  More Nun stuff.

Worlds collide, tempers flare and dreams come true when Mr. Vig, an 82-year-old Danish recluse who has never known love, and Sister Amvrosija, a headstrong nun, join forces to transform Mr. Vig’s run-down castle into a Russian Orthodox monastery.

The heel of the loaf

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I mostly never forget to do my gratitude affirmation ritual as many times per day as I remember to do it.  Suffice to say, many times each day.  But I’m prone to forget my forgiveness rituals unless I catch myself being angry, or sense a seed of anger feeling around for a hold on my consciousness.

This morning I had to add forgiveness affirmations as an adjunct to the gratitudes, however.  Old memories climbing up into my head for a breath of air.

I was associated for a number of years with a family who didn’t throw away the heel of the loaf, as some families do and my own family would have never considered because it was too alien a concept.  In my childhood home you ate the heel if it arrived on pain of I can’t imagine what.

But this family I had to forgive this morning found a way around throwing the heel away, or throwing it away.  They’d each reach past it and get the next slice down, leaving the heel for someone else.  Me when I was around, because they all just passed it by.

When the loaf bag went empty except for two heels, someone would carefully place the two heels into a bag of left over heels, presumably in case anyone came along who’d prefer eating a dry heel to a piece of wasp nest fresh out of the loaf.

A lot of it got thrown away I’m sure, and a fair amount fed birds or went into stuffings.  Meatloafs got rice instead of dry breadcrumbs.

Something got me remembering that after all these years, and I felt my gorge rising.  Damned people leaving the heel for someone else.  And what it implies.

And had myself a specially scheduled on-the-spot ritual of forgiveness affirmations.

Old Jules