Monthly Archives: December 2020

Here’s to 2021- a post from Jeanne

Harper, TX 2006

Hello to all friends of this blog, I hope this time of year is seeing you well and safe. I don’t want to write about this dumpster fire of a year, but want to mention that I’m gratified to see that there are regular readers here still, and those of you who hit the “like” button are much appreciated. There are even some new followers, which would have had Jack shaking his head in amazement. I don’t promote the blog or even use all the tools that WordPress offers to make it more visible, so it’s nice to see this. You readers feel like friends who share this one unique trait, an appreciation for Jack’s writing.
One of the nice results of this project (scheduling posts ahead for the next two years) is the fact that I have forgotten most of the writing that I looked at last spring and summer, and I’m enjoying all of it as a fresh experience, same as you. This is exactly what I was hoping for as I navigate months without seeing him… tricking myself into seeing new “communication.” It may be an odd way to handle things, but I’m fortunate to have so much material to help me through this. I also put all the files of posts in order for the first time… although they are not posted here in order of month and year, I now have back-up files of all the posts I scheduled and all the years of posts on this blog backed up in an orderly fashion. Because I prefer to do my reading from books instead of on the screen, I hope to someday put these into a book format using (print on demand) so I can browse through them easily. But that is a project for next year, if I’m still into it by then. I’ve got more projects in mind for when I retire than I can probably accomplish in one lifetime.
Jack liked making lists, and I’m looking over lists of his favorite movies and music. My plans for New Year’s Eve are to get carry out at a Mexican restaurant and watch The Rainmaker or Cabaret. Nothing is the same but there are pockets of peace here and there, and I will see the new year in with gratitude.
With appreciation and best wishes for your 2021,

Double ought five approaching climax

Jack wrote this New Year’s Eve, 2005:

Hi blogsters.

Been a fun day of not much going on.  Couldn’t bring myself to look another batch of numbers seriously in the eye so I just did a minimal workup and did the usual handstand, look-out-of-the-corner-of-my-eye while juggling and saying mantras backward routine.  Never fails in a pinch.

All the cats have been tricked or cajoled inside out of harms way.  Naiad, the long-haired black Reiki Master puss cat was the one had to be both, cajoled and tricked, indoors.  Hydrox came in easy and somewhat serene as should a cat who’s been attuned, both as a Reiki Master, and in a lot of other things cats most generally don’t get attuned for.

Tabby, second-level Reiki, nearly as I can figure, old Tabby really never spent much time outdoors today, so she wasn’t a problem in that regard.  Had to figure out other methodology problem wise.

Shiva, not really attuned to anything, but a cagey survivor, stayed in back closeted for the day.

I have before me my numbers, but I’m thinking I won’t even look until tomorrow morning, the New Year shining bright.  Or maybe pre-dawn.  But definitely not until double ought six come blaring down the pike horns fiery slobber slinging from its noostrils and mouth looking for a likely suspect to do a bit of spitting at noostril/mouthwise and hornwise both.

I’m not a drinking man, but did some serious contemplating earlier that I just might put together a Margarita and get a little buzz on, but I decided against it.  Decided is probably the wrong word.  Making it would have required me to make it, which I didn’t.  Default.  Ergo, no Margarita for the dying breath of 2005.

I suppose if I had something else I could snort it, or smoke it, or inject it, or shove it up suppository style, but I don’t do that, either, so I didn’t.

But weirdly enough, I feel somewhat as though I did.  Feeling pretty nigh on happy here…. downright ecstatic.  Not the spiritual state of grace ecstatic …. can’t do that one on demand….. but pretty damned fine.

Nice way to finish out a year.


Flight in Time


Flight in Time

I glow
Residue of full moons past;
Faded sunburn beaches,
Shells worn thin by sand caressed
Rain storm remnants, snow storms,
Dust storms, hail storms, heart storms
Spirit flush with neon sheen
Soft radiance
Into waning years.

Smiling, youthful conceits
Bereft of engine roar
Propeller blur
Impending wingtip stall
The pattern fields and farms
Dust-plume roads of youth
No solace there:
No dead-stick landing
On that rocky patch,
Thank God.

From Poems of the New Old West
Copyright 2002, Jack Purcell


Q&A– Life in the 60’s

Old Jules, could you answer these questions about life in the 60’s?

What was something that you enjoyed doing?
Sex on a country road, rock and roll, heavy drinking.

Where was your favorite place to hang out?
Mac’s Drive In

Where did you live during the 60’s?
New Mexico and Texas

According to you, how was the economy?
Nobody had any money more than he made doing hard work but jobs were easy to find.

How did you dress?
Western boots, hat, Levis, same as now.

How was education back then?
I think better than now. You had to work to pass, work harder to get good grades.

What movies were really popular?
Hud, On the Waterfront, Cool Hand Luke, The Good The Bad and The Ugly

How were young people treated?
Adults expected a lot more from younger people and were less forgiving.

What was the most popular car?
I’d guess the ’49 Ford and the ’56 Ford Crown Victoria were the favorites, along with ’56 Chevys because that’s the first year GM came out with a V8. I had a ’40 Model Chevy I liked a lot. People liked ’58 Chevys pretty well except they were lousy cars, but pretty, and they liked the ’57 Plymouths because they had big fins. ’49 Mercurys were also popular.

Least popular cars were Nash, Hudson, Willys, ’52 Plymouth, DeSoto, ’46, ’47, ’48 Fords because they were so gawdawful ugly.

Did you like that era? Do you miss it?
I liked it fine so long as I don’t have to do it again.

Sweat socks, milo maize and microwaves

Jack wrote this in December, 2005:

Evening blogsters:

Some of you are too young to remember why microwave ovens and electricity were invented.  It’s a fact worth knowing.

The pioneers, when they invented this country, lived mostly in dugouts.  Dugout canoes in the summer, dugout houses in the winter.  Those winters tended to get them cold on their backsides and necks.  So they started growing wheat, milo maize, rice, to try heating up and putting in some warm container to throw around their necks to try to keep warm.

They tried all manner of containers, those cold-natured ancestors of ours.  Tried skinning rabbits and sewing up grain inside the hides, but it didn’t take any time at all before the only benefit they were getting from it was the smell of burning hair.  So they invented sweat socks to put it in.

But they needed a way to heat it up without burning it, so they invented microwave ovens.  Trouble was, the microwaves sat there for generations full of sweatsox waiting for electricity to be invented.

Then along came Nicoli Tesla Edison with the solution.

So nowadays all you have to do is plug that mama in, that microwave, shove in a sweat sock full of grain, run it about five minutes, and you have a thingamabob you can drape around your neck when it’s cold, or stiff, or for when the old shoulder’s reminding you of a motorcycle that wrapped itself around a tree 40 years ago, and you can toss in another one for putting at the foot of your blankets to give the cats a place to get hacked off when you throw them off it and go to bed.

Got two of them in that microwave right this very moment.

Thankee universe for nicola tesla edison and joseph h. microwave and their yankee ingenuity inventions.  And thankee universe for joseph cotton’s development of sweatsocks.  Also Horatio Milo, the developer of Milo Maize.

We lucky to have this universe to provide such blessings.


Casino’s shut down for Christmas

Jack wrote this December, 24, 2005:

Hi again blogsters:

Went back down there for some more blackjack and didn’t get in more than a few hands before a pit boss announced they were shutting down the tables, the casino, and sending everyone home to spend time with their families.

Surprised me, but a worthy cause I wouldn’t have expected of them.

Fact is, all those gamblers who aren’t aware that blackjack’s a spiritual experience needed to be off somewhere else, anyway.  Which is to say, pretty much all of them except me.

So, I smiled to meself with a warm red glow that a casino would let the employees go home to be with their kinfolks instead of staying there making a lot of money for the mafia.  Swung over by Taco Bell on the way back out of Bernallilo and picked up three bean burritos and three crispy tacos to celebrate a victory for those employees over casino management.

Brung those tacos and burritos back up to the village and capped the hill looking down into Placitas…. looked as though something awful had happened here….. flashing emergency lights copcar style all down on the main road.  Sheriff with a flashlight was waving me to take a back road.  I rolled down my window, “Accident?”

“No.  Most of the roads are shut down.  People in groups in the middle of the roads singing Carols.  You’ll have to take this road.  Be careful.”

Happened ‘this road’ was the very selfsame road I needed to take to trip my young arse home as fast as safety allowed to lock the front gates and turn off the outside lights before any carol singers could catch me unawares and make me listen to Christmas carols.

I don’t so much mind people singing carols.  I think it’s kind of cool, actually, especially if they were to go a step further and listen to the words they’re singing.

On the other hand, I honestly don’t want to listen to the words, the music, nuthun do do with Christmas carols.

I figure if I can go through an entire presidential term without knowing who’s president, and go through Thanksgiving to New Year without hearing a single Christmas carol (most especially ones involving Santy and reindeers), it will be okay to die.  I’ll know I’ve lived right, at least one period of my life.

Anyway blogsters, if you’re reading this blog you need to get your young arse off the computer and go spend some time with the family.

But if you don’t have somewhere else to be, don’t have someone else, why heck, amigos, rejoice.  Luxuriate in the beauty of being alone with yourself and any cats you might have.

If you don’t have any cats, nor any particular self you can bring yourself to rejoice about, heck.  As Sonny and Cher used to say back when everything was supposed to be pretty well straightened out by now,

You got me, babe.


The price of happiness

Jack wrote this in November, 2005:

Hi blogsters:

Over the T-day feasting someone was telling me about a movie they said I’d enjoy.  The name almost turned me aside, being “A Christmas Story”, which sounded a lot like a class of movie a lady-friend of the past used to insist I endure with her every Xmas season.

But this one, I’m told, is about a boy with a BB gun.

Brought to mind my first BB gun.

I was living on that small farm in the picture above….must have been 5-6 years old.  I was fairly sure I should get, and that they owed it to themselves to get me a .22 calibre rifle for Christmas.

Turned out it was a Daisy Pump BB gun, instead.  A PUMP!  Now anyone with any savvy knows the only BB gun an in-the-know kid would own is a Daisy Red Ryder lever-action.  Kids our size could take that Red Ryder and lock the butt behind their knee strain upward stopping short of a hernia, and get that thing ready for action in a New York minute.

But a pump was a different matter.  You had to put the butt on the ground, grab the pump with both hands tight, lift your feet off the ground and it would slide down far enough to pinch a blood blister on each of your little fingers, but it would be ready to go.

But it beat not having one.  Wasn’t any time after that Christmas we were all over creation having BB gun fights.  They’d usually last until someone chipped off a piece of tooth or went home crying.

My mama went through a ritual with that Daisy pump taking it away from me and giving it back after a while, always with the admonishment:

“You aren’t really going to be happy until you put someone’s eye out with that BB gun.”

I never put anyone’s eye out with it, but I never was really happy, either.


Have you ever seen a UFO?

Old Jules, have you ever seen a UFO?

I’ve seen a lot of UFOs but only two couldn’t possibly be explained away one way or another.

One with a lot of other witnesses on California Avenue in Socorro, New Mexico.

The second,  long-lasting and relatively close.

I was in the only telephone booth in Pie Town, New Mexico around midnight,early fall of 1999. I’d driven in specifically for the purpose of using the telephone because there was no telephone at the cabin where I lived several miles outside town.

The town only has a couple-hundred people and there were no lights in town. Low overcast, 500 feet or less. It appeared above me and stayed there while I told the person on the phone what was happening. It stayed maybe 10-15 minutes and gave me the willies badly enough I got thinking I was the reason it was there. I told the person I was talking to adios and went to the truck, took a .45 out from under the seat and racked in a round.

It moved a bit about then, not much but some, while I stood there pointing a pistol at it waiting in the dark. It moved a little more, seemed to descend — at least it got larger, and stopped again.

I decided to just get the hell out of there if I could. Cranked up the truck and drove about a quarter mile and pulled off the highway to make sure it wasn’t following me. It sort of drifted or glided off to the north and vanished into the overcast.

Edit: Pie Town’s located about 30 miles west of the VLA almost atop the Continental Divide, an isolated community in the middle of nowhere. The experience motivated me enough to try to find out whether objects of that particular description and configuration were common, because I’d never heard of one. I occasionally would research various UFO sighting archives on the web.

Turned out years later I found that within a few days of my own sighting an object of almost identical description upset a lot of on-duty military personnel by behaving almost the same way at White Sands Missile Testing Range near Alamogordo, New Mexico, a couple of hundred miles SE from Pie Town. White Sands is an extremely high security area and they take it personally when something intrudes into the airspace over the place, more personally yet when it hangs around and isn’t scared.

There was (maybe still is) a squadron of F117s stationed at Alamogordo [Luftwaffe] at the time, and they scrambled. But the object removed itself before they arrived.

As for my own experience and the times involved — I’m having to best guess. The person I was describing it to on the telephone and I took a stab at it toward the end of our conversation before I decided to evacuate. But things seem longer and it mightn’t have been that long. Afterward, while I was standing there watching and pointing the .45 it’s anyone’s guess. Might have been as little as 5 minutes, but it seemed a lot longer.

Future shock

Jack wrote this in July, 2005:

Went down to Bernalillo a bit ago to get my tickees for tonight… found myself talking with a guy about my age sitting outside with a bicycle… two wheel thing with pedals… with a pack and all manner of water jugs.  Guy had a helmet shaped like a horizontal teardrop he wears… point facing backward, along with a stretchy black short legged suit made of something that might have been a tailored wetsuit.  Distracts from the conversation a bit, talking to a likeable sort of person wearing something like that, wondering what the hell THAT’s all about.

He’s gearing up to ride that two wheeler from Newfoundland to Mass in a couple of weeks… old guy.  Put some chin whiskers on me, take away my cavalry whiskers, make me a bit uglier and longer winded, hell, the guy might have been me.

Anyway, I’ve wandered off the purpose of this entry.  Coming back up the hill leaving Bernalillio I was stopped at a red light…. car on my left had it’s window down….(incidentally, that car resembled a 1947 Dodge sedan scaled down to maybe 2/3 size…. we used to call the trunk of the car the ‘turtle’ because of the looks of those post WWII sedans)… A spanking new futuristic looking 1947 Dodge sedan is how I’d have described it if the guy turned out to be some kind of whatchacallit, drive-by shoe salesman and I had to give a description to the law…. anyway threads of music coming out the window nearest me sounded to be strangely familiar, though it had a chipmunks ring to it.

Then it struck me…. this song was popular during the Berlin Crisis of 1961 when I was a bootcamper at Fort Jackson, SC……. no chipmunks in those days…..”I’mmmmmm just a soooooldier…A loooooonely sooooooldier, so far from home with no something of my ooooooown, etc”.

Whew.  I haven’t heard that song in 40 years or more, haven’t even thought about it.  Coming out of a brand shiny new 1947 Dodge sedan.  The chipmunk sound made it even eerier.

I’m enlisting next week in a parallel universe.


Hooooookay — some puzzling human behavior

Jack wrote this in June,  2005:

A friend and I down in Las Lunas were chewing the fat outside a car wash business he owns next to a convenience store a while back.  A pregnant woman who works at the convenience store came outside and plopped down out of sight of the front door, smoking a cigarette, sitting on the concrete and leaning against the building.

We’d discussed this woman before…. a real nice young lady with a life a person wouldn’t wish on anyone…. last time I’d seen her she was sitting in the same spot crying, which is how I came to ask my bud about her story.

Anyway, seeing her brought her into the conversation again.  Most recent weirdness in her life:

The lady is 20 years old.  She went into Isleta Casino a while back with a friend, began feeding her paycheck into the slot machines.  Now, it was illegal for this woman and her friend to be playing the slots, minimum age being 21.

So what happens?  She hits a $5000 jackpot on the machine she’s playing.  It lights up like Times Square on New Years Eve, making all kinds of commotion, people coming from all directions to see.

She knows she’s going to have to show an ID to get the money.  So what does this poor lady do?  She and her friend beat feet out of there, leaving the jackpot.

I suppose the first thing that comes to mind is this:  What the hell was she doing putting her money into a gambling machine if she couldn’t accept a payoff, supposing she hit?

But, she ought to have been able to get someone legal to accept the payoff and split it with her, thinks I.

But she knew she was breaking the law, and what do you do when you get caught red handed?

Why hell, you run if your knees are still good enough to allow it.

That’s what’s called thinking on your feet.