Monthly Archives: May 2021

National Defense Stockpile of Cat Hair and Burrs

Jack wrote this in June, 2005:

When I was a kid during the ’50s it used to be common for people to have a burlap bag (toe sack) hanging in the barn where they’d put the leavings from the curry comb every day.  When the bag got full they’d put it under the saddle, toe sack and all, and pack it tight until the burlap wore away, leaving a pretty fine saddle blanket about a half-inch thick with a texture of felt.

For a number of years I’ve intended to do something similar with cat hair.  During the ’80s I used to pick the burrs out of the dead hair when I brushed the cats and stuffed it into a growing mat between the mattress and bedsprings.  Had a pretty good mess of it built up before my marriage broke up in ’92, but when I was packing my goods I forgot to retrieve it.

I’ve begun the project several more times during the years since, but I don’t have the stamina and stick-with-itness anymore, I suppose.  Those hairballs get a foot or so in diameter and I lose heart, forget it until the stuff ends up discarded, then begin again when the thought returns as a mild enthusiasm.

I’m reminded of this because such a project would be out of question of late.  Those cats are determined to bring every burr in the village of Placitas into the house and store them up for hard times.

Maybe they know something they can do with them.  Make some sort of basket to lie in and sleep.  I dunno.


Memorial Day- Honoring Heroes

Jack wrote this in 2005 or 2006:

Honoring ‘heroes’?

To suggest Memorial Day is for honoring ‘heroes’ is to rob the 99 percent of those rows of graves in National Cemeteries of being honored (by you) on Memorial Day. Those runned over by trucks, drowned, killed by accident far from any contact with enemies weren’t heroes. Those who died in plane crashes, ships hit by torpedoes.

To suggest they were is an insult to the men of courage who did throw themselves on hand grenades.

But to suggest those who weren’t heroes aren’t worthy of remembrance measures the worth of those who say it.

Memorial Day became Memorial Day in 1882 for remembering those who died in the Civil War on both sides.

Depending on perspective, one side, or the other, definitely wasn’t defending freedom.
Whether they’d be correct in believing they died in vain, whether almost all our ancestors who’d look at us and despise us for what we’ve become, are correct, those rows of graves include thousands of reluctant draftees who served and died because they had to do so or go to jail.

Many didn’t believe they were defending freedom, nor anything else worth dying for. If they could look at this country today and speak of what they see here many would tell you their deaths were meaningless. They died for nothing, many would say.

Memorial Day ain’t for flag waving, for drumming up support for current wars.

Memorial Day is for remembering those who died in uniform.

Ask Old Jules: Incarnating with lessons, Who goes on a spaceship when earth is destroyed, How the world is not working perfectly

Harper, TX 2010 123

NOTE FROM JEANNE: I’ll be offline for a week or so, heading out to the wilderness to commune with pack rats and sunsets and the Milky Way. I’ll catch up with comments when I get back!

Old Jules, do we incarnate with specific lessons to learn as I frequently hear in spiritual circles?

I personally believe we do. The reason I think so [or one of the reasons] is that we learn from hardships and don’t learn from ease. A good case can be made that life is about challenges, going into them or avoiding them as a matter of self definition.

But I happen to also be convinced that what we don’t do this time around we’ll do next, or the next or the next. And what we do manage isn’t an escape because there’ll be more, just as growth-oriented and probably just as difficult whatever we might get done this time.

In my view this provides the strongest possible incentive to face challenges and do what growing we’re able, even if it’s not rewarded with something easier, but at least something different.

Old Jules, if earth was going to be destroyed and only option left to design a spaceship…? If earth was going to be destroyed within a year and only option left was to construct a large spaceship let’s say all countries came together and it was technologically and financially feasible to construct self-sustaining spaceships for just 2000 people, which people do you think should be on it? and how should the people be chosen?

2000 fertile women along with viable sperm from men with courage, mechanical abilities, intelligence and achievement in fields of literature, philosophy, science and math. No sperm from politicians, bankers, shoe salesmen, hamburger flippers, lawyers, cops, or stockbrokers.

Old Jules, in what ways is the world not working perfectly?

The moon wanders around badly in its orbit and people who don’t speak Hindi use the Hindi word ‘Namaste’ to elevate themselves in the eyes of others.

Brave new world

Jack wrote this in October, 2006:

anne c’s blog, ugly Americans, about anti-homosexual bigotry got me thinking on the subject.  As I considered the matter it dawned on me, maybe the reason people aren’t horrified about sending our youngsters off to the penal institions for victimless crimes to be gang-raped for a few years is partly the result of changes in our attitudes about homosexuality.

Send a 20 year old middle class Anglo kid off to the pen and it’s a done deal.  Any problem with that?

I suppose the answer would be, “He’s lucky.  Lots of sex to be had in prison these days.  No need for women.”

That’s the only rationale I can put together that would explain Americans condoning what’s happening.

A few years ago early ’90s I was working in a NM State office in Santa Fe. We had prisoners from the NM State Correctional Institute cleaning up the offices daytimes.

One was a kid, maybe 20, 21, Anglo, two years into a 5 year sentence for possession with intent to sell a pound of jade. A courteous young man, but pained and bitter.

One day I was standing outside on break and he came and stood beside me… smokers exchanging small talk. “You ought to be coming up for parole before long. You must be behaving yourself to be able to work away outside this way.”

“I don’t want parole.”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“I can’t go home. I can’t face anyone anymore.”


“Listen man. I wasn’t in that hole a week before I’d been raped by every prick in the place who was bigger than me. I came in there as a man and I’ll be leaving as something else.

“You think I can go home? You think I can ever go anywhere and look people in the eye? If I live to get out of there I’m going to kill myself.”

Not much I could think of to say to that kid. Tough gig, sexual preference, sometimes. Tough gig, life and learning to live with the consequences of lousy judgements.


Bad Moon Rising

Jack wrote this in March, 2006:

Morning blogsters:

Actually that old moon isn’t bad at all, and she ain’t rising.  She’s maybe 30, 40 degrees above the western horizon this pre-dawn.  I just had the old Creedence Clearwater Revival song going through my head and figured I’d remind you of it, see if I could get it going through yours.

Rooster’s crowing down in the village, though it’s too early for that.  Likely the villagers piddling around getting ready for the day has the chickens fooled.  I’d really never thought of it before this moment, but in a human packed environment, even one as remote and relatively unpacked as this one, a chicken probably has some problems getting his head on straight and eeking out a night’s sleep.

Still haven’t made up my mind whether to find a few chicks this spring.  I love having them around, but it offers me challenges I don’t need when dogs, coyotes and other predators begin stalking them.  I’m not big on possessions, but while I don’t precisely ‘own’ my cats and whenever possible, chickens, I do take care of them, offer them shelter and food and friendship.  Hospitality that gets me riled when some outsider, be it canine, feline, bird of prey or human, threatens my guests.

Sometimes when I remember how much I came to admire those Y2K chickens, how much I came to value their friendship I’m still surprised.  I’ve had quite a number of human friends I valued more, but not as many as a person might expect.

More later,


Edited in later:

Moon’s still high enough to take advantage of it.  Red-gold moon.

Noticed one of the large water bowls for the felines was empty…. they paced and stomped around the dry water-hole fussing…. telling me about it.  Even though there was another with plenty in it across the room.  So I drew a quart or two and poured it in.

Suddenly that new water was a threat.  Had to be sneaked up on and sniffed carefully before losing interest entirely without so much as a tease of the tongue.

Humans in cat form is what they are.  Humans without all the complications.  So, like humans, they create their own.


Black helicopters

Jack wrote this in August, 2005:

Black helicopters, et al.

Chewie made an amusing reference to black helicopters on one of the threads recently, though I doubt he intended to be amusing.  It got me thinking about them and a lot of other matters I usually don’t give much thought to.

I don’t know much about black helicopters.  I recall there was a considerable flap about them on the Art Bell show during the late ‘90s, I think it probably was.  But I was never clear about why anyone cared what color a helicopter was painted.

Along about that same while there was a lot of talk about aliens of various sorts, some other things about chupa-somethingorothers, critters that kill goats, I gather.  And people who believed they’d been abducted by aliens.  All in all, the usual fare to keep truckers and graveyard shifters alert.

I don’t do much thinking about black helicopters and aliens.  I don’t know how a person could know enough about it to form an opinion without personal experience.  I saw some things at various times in my life that might have been UFOs, but they also mightn’t.  Whether there are aliens or black helicopters, I don’t see where there’s anything I can do about it, anything almost anyone can do about it, provided something needs to be done.  Not much point in devoting the energy to forming an opinion.

However, Chewie’s reference to black helicopters was more of a blanket condemnation of matters going a lot further.  It was a rhetorical trick to sweep the US government murder of a lot of people at Waco and the Ruby Ridge debacle into the same category as aliens and black helicopters.

I’d imagine Chewie is probably a generally honest man.  He probably is just ignorant.  The facts of Ruby Ridge and Waco are too readily available for it to be anything other than a lack of interest on the part of Chewie to learn anything about a matter that might disturb his carefully structured notions about how things are.  I’m fuzzy on the details since it’s been several years since I’ve read anything on either event, but as  I recall, the US government acknowledged what happened at Ruby Ridge, including killing Weaver’s wife and son, and the State of Texas has generally disavowed what the government did at Waco, including Feds being involved at all.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not upset, not angry about the Federal law enforcement people entrapping Danny Weaver into cutting a shotgun barrel an inch shorter than was legal, then setting up an ambush raid on his home, killing his wife and son.  I never knew Weaver.  It’s a tough gig, but things happen.  Not my affair.

As for Waco, I’m not upset, not angry about that, either.  The US government murdered all those people fair and square.  I didn’t know any of them, probably wouldn’t have liked them if I did.  Too bad, but such things happen.  I couldn’t do anything about it if I wished.  It’s none of my affair.

To my way of thinking, the important thing about Ruby Ridge, Waco, and a fairly large number of other things I have personal knowledge of, is the recognition that this sort of thing can happen.  The acknowledgement that this isn’t the Pollyanna nation we might wish it was.

And in so acknowledging that fact, conducting our affairs in ways calculated not to bring that dark side of reality to bear on our own lives.  To me, that’s the only good that can come of it all.  Chewie’s in no danger of having anyone kick his door down…. If anything, he’d be back cheering the kickers.  But there’s a poster here from Whyoming or some such place who seems to me to need to do some thinking along these lines.


A Military Man


Jack wrote this in August, 2005:

The man in this picture is my old friend Richard Sturm.

Richard died in December, 2004, in Port Lavaca, Texas.

Richard was a 100% disabled veteran of the United States Army. From 1964, until his death he spent his entire adult life in and out of Veterans hospitals. When he wasn’t in a hospital he was usually in a café somewhere drinking coffee and being friendly with anyone who’d give him the time of day.

Or he was with me, camping, fishing, seeing the sights, singing, passing the time. That happened less than he’d have liked, probably more than I’d have preferred. Richard wasn’t an easy man to be around.

Before he volunteered for the Army he was a patriotic youth, intelligent, dynamic, from a family of super-achievers. He graduated from high school with honors, well liked and respected by his teachers and classmates. A young man with a future. Then he joined the US Army.

In 1964, he was stationed in Massachusetts with the Army Security Agency. Without his knowledge or consent, he was selected for an experiment by the career military men who were his superiors. He was given a massive dose of LSD. He sustained permanent brain damage as a result.

Richard spent several months in a mental ward of an Army hospital, presumably under observation by the powers-that-be, to see what they’d wrought. Then they gave him is medical discharge, released him from service and from the hospital, and sent him home without confiding to anyone what the problem was and why it happened.

Several years later after he’d been examined, had his thyroid removed, given electric shock treatments, everything the puzzled medicos could think of to try and improve this mysterious condition, his brother, an attorney, came to suspect something of what had happened. The stories of events of this sort had begun to creep out of hiding and into the press.

A formal demand was made for release of his records, and finally the story came out.

Richard wasn’t injured defending his country. He didn’t get his skull fractured on some battlefield by enemies. He was betrayed by the career military men of his own country, officers and enlisted men, whom he’d given an oath to obey and defend. He served in good faith, and he was betrayed by his country.

Some have noted on the threads that I don’t have an automatic high regard for career military men. They’re correct. Richard’s just an extreme example of thousands of men who’ve been killed, injured, disabled by irresponsible, insane, and idiotic decisions by men who make a career of blindly following orders without thinking, weighing consequences, not feeling any remorse so long as they were ordered to do it.

Like good little Germans.


Ask Old Jules: Caring what people think, Not caring about money, Intellectual decline of the US, Philosophical questions, How to repay someone who saved your life

Harper, TX 2010 123

Old Jules,  would you say its human nature to care what others think? Many people try to not care but, it is really hard to not care. Why is this?

I don’t believe it’s human nature [which would result in something akin to a unanimous set of views]. But society has learned a lot over the past century about how to condition human beings to think in lockstep with those around them. It manifests itself in ‘caring what others think’ and feels natural enough for those who’ve responded to the conditioning to cause them to believe it’s human nature.

I don’t care about money and material things? 20 year old guy and I just can’t bring myself to care about money, material possessions and careers. The only reason I work for money is to get by, otherwise I couldn’t give a shit less how much money I make a year or how many expensive things I own.  Am I in for a rough life ahead because I don’t care about money and material things?

20 is probably a bit premature to believe you’re able to recognize what’s BS and what isn’t. Even though a lot is, discerning which is and which isn’t takes more times around the block than you’ve experienced. Not to suggest triple or quadruple times around the star will give you a solid handle on it. It won’t.
But listening and watching with an open mind helps a lot, as opposed to ‘knowing’ too much at any given time to allow yourself the option of noticing what you might have otherwise been able to learn.
Probably it doesn’t have a bearing on whether your life will be a tough one or won’t. It’s a middling good shot it will be tough. Most are for those who don’t manage to pull off ‘numb’ as a state of being.

      Old Jules, when and how did the intellectual decline of United States start?
I’m more concerned of the current generation which seems duller and more inert than previous generations.

My personal thought is that educational decline began immediately after WWII with the WWII baby boomers hitting the school systems unprepared for them. I started grammar school in 1949 and by the time I finished high school I had to admit my parents were better educated than myself in many areas even though neither had gone to a university. Both of them could read [and had read] Cicero and Pliny in Latin, for example.

When television first came to my area in 1957-1958, I think things declined more rapidly and the manifestations of poorer education were complicated by everything that went with television entertainment.

But the death-knell, I believe, came with the advent of ‘canned laughter’ which came on the TV with sitcoms late 1960s-early 1970s. At the time there was a lot of noise from psychiatrists and psychologists about potential of training the mind to be voluntarily brainwashed by canned laughter, rendering it malleable to television ‘training’ in habits of thought.

Now a lot of generations have seen infants staring at television and trained not to think, beginning with whether it’s funny, but listening for the hive, the tribe, the artifact of conventional or popular [by the sound of laughter] wisdom.

It’s no damned wonder they can’t think.

Old Jules, I need some deep, hard to answer philosophical questions? Like “Are we real?” et cetera. Something that I will have to think about all day. Oh and please introduce me to some interesting philosophies!

Do some thinking about the concept of ‘now’ or ‘the present’ and get what you believe it is firmly fleshed out in your mind. Then try to chase your thoughts upstream to a place where it isn’t ‘the past’.

You can’t do it. So the question isn’t, does ‘now’ or ‘the present’ exist… it doesn’t. Before you can form a microscopic piece of a thought it’s already past.

The question is, what are the philosophical implications of a reality where ‘now’ doesn’t exist. Where are those things you think you’re thinking coming from? Do you believe you actually can extrapolate anything about the ‘front’ side of human thinking?

Old Jules, if someone saved your life, how would you repay them?

I’d be fairly hacked off if someone intruded in my affairs that way without knowing whether I’d wish it or wouldn’t. I’ll live as long as I’m able, but when the time comes I don’t want any busybody doooogooder blocking the road out. I had my life saved once a few decades ago and was grateful, thanked him repeatedly, but I didn’t have so many miles behind me yet.

Life is full of surprises

Jack wrote this in August, 2005:

Life is a more-or-less constant source of learning, and if you hold your mouth right, amusement.  So’s the lottery forum.  A person can learn about numbers, lotteries, about other people and their thoughts and motivations, and there’s even an occasional surprise about one’s self.

Last night or the night before a European gent was on one of the threads teetering on the brink of umbrage.  Seems the guy actually believes Americans put Hitler into power, that the 3rd Reich was somehow the product of efforts by the US.

Naturally the conversation didn’t linger.  It was painfully clear this wasn’t a subject that could be discussed without some angry words being exchanged.  That was obviously his state of mind, and I could feel my own gorge rising just reading his inane, almost unbelievable remarks.

Whew.  How in the name of anything anyone could conjure up as truth could a sane human being come to believe something along those lines?

I’ll tell you how.  He wants to believe it.

That’s mostly how we all come  to believe what we do.  We have an abundance of information sources…. our parents, our teachers, preachers, scientists, government officials, friends.  And everything any of them ‘knows’, they heard from someone else.  They regale us with their facts, and we sift through them and draw from them the ones that best suit our own dispositions.

So there is obviously a body of opinion somewhere in Europe that’s constructed an edifice of ‘fact’ that allows people who wish to believe that way to go right on ahead and believe it.

Sort of reminds me of a guy I knew a long time ago, a lunatic, who believed Communism was created and maintained by ‘The International Zionist Conspiracy’.  Had a whole roomful of pamphlets and posters someone ELSE had put together to support this pile of drivel presented as truth.

Interestingly, tonight brought another insight into human abilities to wrap preferences around factoids.

Ah well.  I suppose I’d best not go into that one.

But I promise you, I love every minute of it, once I get over being stupefied, being tempted toward the seed of anger.  What’s not to love about us humans, after all.


Dragon Morning

3.22.03 and back ups 1019

Dragon Morning

Soft rain of star noise
Patters on the dawn
Tin roof

He listens
Half awake
Slowly redefining
This reality
From the mist
Of dreams

Of spear point
Of dragons slain
Of noble quests

And virtue
Never owned


From Poems of the New Old West

Copyright 2002, Jack  Purcell