Monthly Archives: November 2020


Jack wrote this in November, 2005:

Morning blogsters:

Comes an end to the long weekend.  Had a bit of snow here last night, so I suppose we can conclude summer’s at an end, as well.

I was thinking this morning about how we tend to move across the countryside of years and geography not paying a lot of attention to what we’re doing, not looking at the tracks we’re leaving.  From Saint Louis, MO, to old Fort Union, New Mexico there’s still a track made by men who were looking out ahead of them, never thinking about it.  You can see that track from the moon… the Old Santa Fe Trail.

On the ground it’s hard to recognize.  Just a series of gullies and washes.  But get up a few hundred feet above and it’s plain where all those wagons followed that trail, moved over when the ruts got too deep and moved over again when they got too deep there.

The trail they left with those ruts carried water, which carried soil and on every incline and decline it eroded further until it’s an arroyo sometimes 30-40 feet deep abraded across the prairie a hundred yards wide or more.

Those guys cracking whips on the backs of mules and oxen never thought twice about it.  They had their attention locked on the horizon.  Their goals weren’t much.  Getting somewhere.  Selling something.  Having a woman in Santa Fe, maybe getting good and snockered, and heading home.  Trying to survive weather, hostiles, day to day.  But you can still see the mark they made in their passing.  The dreadful damage to the surface they never dreamed they were accomplishing without ever intending about it, never thinking about it at all.

We living creatures tend to leave a lot of tracks where we go.

On the North San Gabriel River in Texas, North of Austin on US Highway 183, there’s probably still a vertical wall with the tracks of some prehistoric critter on the bottom vanishing into it.  You can see the trail of tracks, see where that thing paused to look at something, leaned back in one of his prints to make a double of it.  Paused and walked on.

Got his picture taken without ever knowing it.  Umpteeumph million years later along comes a river, washes down to that layer of rock, uncovers that moment for a while until a flood comes down the river rolling boulders with it to destroy that moment.

Makes me think maybe we humans ought to look just a bit more closely at the ground behind where we’re walking, literally and figuratively.  Every moment of this life we’re getting our pictures taken.  Might be worth considering whether we’d admire ourselves in those photographs stored in the land, the minds and spirits where we’re leaving our tracks.


Ask Old Jules: Folk Music, Roots of the Civil War, Cowardly atheists/theists, Why does the unexpected happen?


Old Jules, what happened to folk music?

My personal view is that it bulged in popularity among the young people who were the driving force in defining popularity with the Kingston Trio release of Tom Dooley, 1957 or ’58. It stayed fairly popular until the early ’70s and fell from grace in favor of the next wave of Stones and acid rock [after beatniks vanished in favor of hippies]. When Bob Dylan came out with “Everybody Must Get Stoned” and introduced “Folk Rock” it was the beginning of the end of the folk boom. I’ve heard it’s making a come-back on public radio stations.

I spent the day at the Kerrville Folk Festival a few years ago, which used to be attended by all the big names including just about anyone who was anyone. Sad to say it’s been replaced by something called ‘new folk’ which is the rough equivalent of what’s happened to country music. As we shuddered with revulsion on the way to the parking lot the volunteers asked if we wanted our tickets stamped so’s we could get back in.

“I’d pay $100 never to have come here at all,” was my response.

Old Jules, would you agree that the roots of the American Civil War lay in the westward expansion of the nation from 1820-1860?

I wouldn’t agree. The roots of the Civil War lay in the fact the US Constitution made no mention that, once joined, states couldn’t withdraw. It did state that whatever powers weren’t given specifically to the federal government belonged to the states.

The southern states believed they had the implied Constitutional right to withdraw. It was a Constitutional crisis for Lincoln to deal with. Probably the southern states believed he’d deal with in a Constitutional way. They underestimated the degree to which he was insulated from his oath of office and influenced by northern industrialists sufficiently to ignore the Constitution.

Old Jules, who would you like to see and talk to right now?

Albert Einstein, hoping he could clear a few things up for me.

Jim Bridger, just to ask him a few questions that have troubled me.

A guy known as ‘Old Jules’, hardscrabble settler in the Nebraska panhandle in the 1860s through 1890s because I used to be him.

Old Jules, who is the bigger coward, atheists or theists, to believe in GOD?

Atheists and theists who are preoccupied with prolonging their lives by worrying about second-hand smoke, air-bags, red dye, the Mayan calendar, and eternal life don’t appear to possess much courage, moral or spiritual. Some occasionally demonstrate physical courage.

Old Jules, why does the unexpected happen in life so much?

Plotting mainly. Think of yourself as a product of characterization. It’s a necessary ingredient, but it’s worthless, even in a single frame cartoon, without dialogue, plot, and suspense. Characters come and go but plots rely on the unexpected for momentum and energy.

A morning to remember

Jack wrote this on Thanksgiving, 2005:

Morning blogsters:

I see ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ signs all over the place, so I know you’ve already been given your marching orders on that part of the equation.  You already know you’d best hunker down and be happy on this day, or else.

But I hope in the midst of all the distractions, the driving down the pavement, packing down all manner of foodstuffs, watching ballgames, tolerating family members who’d prefer to fight or get their hackles up about something, you’ll pause a moment during the day, occasionally.

I hope you’ll pull your awareness away from the immediacy of all that’s going on and just spend a few minutes reflecting on why you have any reason to be happy.  Separate out the particles of all the things you have to be grateful for and run the fingers of your mind over them, savor them, be grateful.

We’ve sort of lost track of that aspect of Thanksgiving, even though it’s the only day I’m aware of officially dedicated to that single purpose above all others by tradition.  We haven’t found a Santy Claus hidden in any of the turkeys we could put into it to take away the meaning, haven’t put any turkey bunnies out there for us to hunt.

So it ought to be okay, nobody to offend or feel guilty you didn’t buy them a gift.  No song you’ve come to hate from hearing it so many times about pilgrims and ears of corn.  No merchants heckling you to dig out the credit card and buy plastic stuff and ruin it for them if you don’t.

It’s okay to spend a little time just being thankful.

43 and a great pick

Jack wrote this in April, 2005, when he was studying the behavior patterns of lottery numbers:

This is the great pick. (Note: Sorry, can’t locate the photo of the pick- Jeanne)

 It was found in a collapsed tool shed in the Zuni Mountains, handle intact, though it had been hidden there at least 50 years and maybe 75 or longer.

It’s Bowdil 6-10, an extremely unusual tool.  Has an axe handle instead of the usually cylindrical handle found on picks, replacable tips, so’s the man using it can wear them out with impunity.  The man who once owned this amazingly high quality tool managed to break it completely out of the handle (see the vertical weld along the left side – there’s a similar one on the flip side), but valued it high enough to weld it back together.

You don’t see picks like this one much anymore.  Certainly not on Power Ball or Mega Millions.

So. What do we really know about 43? We actually know quite a lot.

For beginners, we know that despite all that pink and her preference for black lace undergarments, 43 is not a lady. She prefers to hang out with low company, the Power Ball draws, far more than with the highbrow Mega Millions cliques.

We know she’s a bit promiscuous, though she’s maintained a long-term, if intermittent relationship with a few rangy specimens such as 15, 18, 32, 34, 26, 46, 47, and 48, all of whom are known to hang around in biker bars, covering the political spectrum from anarchist to pink.

We know she’s something of a racist, repudiating the Red Ball flamboyance when she’s able, though she doesn’t mind putting on the dog with her friends, 31, 34, and 26 have come into a bit of unexpected cash and want to whoop it up a bit in the Red Ball Saloon.

We know that, while she doesn’t frequent any date consistently, lately she’s been putting her two-bits in on the 22nd and that in the past she’s done the same on the 26th, the 12th, the 3rd, and the 17th.

We know she recently made a trip to  Georgia, where she was seen in familiar company.

All in all, I’d look for her to dance a bit more when she shows up again.

But don’t make the mistake of believing she’s a lady, despite all that pink and the black lace underwear.



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.


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.



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.



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.



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.


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.