Monthly Archives: March 2022

A nudging reminder

Jack wrote this in November, 2005:

There’s a supreme law of the land in the US.

It’s called the US Constitution.

Section. 8.

Clause 1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Clause 10: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

Clause 11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

Clause 12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

Clause 13: To provide and maintain a Navy;

Clause 14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

Clause 15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

Clause 16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Clause 17: To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;–And

Clause 18: To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

There’s no such thing as a Democratic, not Republican war mentioned in that Constitution.  There’s no such thing, no such power granted in that document to the President of the US to wage war.

Wars are declared by Congress.

CONGRESS:  To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

CONGRESS:  To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

Like it or not, that is the supreme law of the land.

THE PRESIDENT:  Clause 8: Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

That is what the US Constitution says about the war in Iraq.  It’s what the US Constitution says about this president of the US.

That is what the US Constitution says about who conducts wars and punishes pirates, et al.

That is what the US Constitution says about whether this president is fulfilling his oath of office.

The unsolved homicides

Jack wrote this in November, 2005:

That little tributary channel that got me expounding about things of no interest to you non-southwestern blogsters diverted me from filling your hearts with adventure and your heads with more yarns about treasure hunting.

Here’s something to get me back on track.

Early in the ’90s I came across a canyon that satisfied a lot of the needs to be the Lost Adams Diggings.  It had most of the right stuff men have searched for during the last 150 years.  The place occupied several years of my life, took me through a couple of lady friends and wore two good vehicles down to a small nub.

The place was located on a mountain in Catron County, New Mexico.  Fox Mountain.

One weekend in ’93 or ’94, I took off in my old Mitzubishi Montero with the intention of spending a couple of weeks down there solving it all.  I was about twenty miles out of Grants, NM, when a hose sprung a leak and the Mitzu began steaming under the hood.  I nursed it in to a parts house in Grants, feeding it water every mile or so, got the hose and changed it.  All during a light rainfall.

I was chilled to the bone when I finished, my clothes soaked, but I was in a hurry to get down there and set up camp, maybe get some work done before nightfall.  I didn’t change out of those wet clothes, just headed on down.

By the time I got to the place I was going to set up camp and trek in I could tell I’d been another of the many fools I’ve been.  I was running a fever and my chest was in a vice.  I decided to just throw down a sleeping bag and pull a pancho over me to let this thing go on over.

That night I burned alive with fever.  I was hallucinating and getting the blind staggers when I tried to walk.  Finally, about mid-day the following day I knew I’d best try to get out of there while I could.

I made it back to Albuquerque and crashed on the living room floor of a lady friend for several days getting over pneamonia.  While I was lying there she told me the news.  Somewhere down there in the same area as my claim there was a couple, Gary and Judy Wilson, missing.  Search and Rescue was scouring the area for them.

I’d never met Gary and Judy Wilson, but I knew their sign.  They were woodcutters, and I knew the kind of soft-drinks they preferred, their footprints, their habits from studying where they’d been ahead of me.

It was about nine months later when their bodies were discovered a couple of canyons over from where I was working, folded up yen/yang style together buried carefully in an ancient ruin in a 4x4x4 hole by someone who knew an awfully lot about forensics and police investigations.  A bear dug them up and ate away all the soft tissue, leaving them for elk hunters to find.

Gary and Judy Wilson were a part of a series of homicides committed within a 25 mile radius of that place over a period of a couple of years.  Those homicides remain unsolved today, but the reasons they were probably murdered were a matter of constant problems for me for several years, working that mountain.

It took a lot of the fun out of it, being constantly stalked by folks who didn’t want me on that mountain, and for the law enforcement people who appeared to be cooperating with them.  They warned me off every way they knew how short of putting me into a 4x4x4 hole they already had prepared in another ancient ruin.  (Disturbed me some, I’ll confess, when I stumbled across that vacant hole sitting there waiting for me)

I always figured someday a homicide investigator would want to ask me some questions about that weekend Gary and Judy vanished.  I had a lot of discussions with them about other matters, but that one never interested them.  The prevailing opinion expressed by law enforcement personnel working in that county was that I needed to stay the hell off that mountain.

I’ll probably have some more anecdotes about incidents over the next few years in later blog entries.


Ask Old Jules: Courtly love, Soul-mate vs. dream guy, Is hell other people, Concept of fairness, Evidence for no evidence of God?

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Old Jules, could the most virtuous life be lived with courtly love for women? If so, where does the gay man fit in?

The interactions between the genders have always been decided on a trial-and-error basis. Courtly love for women was one of the ways that ‘worked’ for both for a time within a range of circumstances. But it was never practiced precisely in the ways suggested by romance novels. The dark underbelly of the courtly love for women was male dominance in home affairs, patronization, condescension, under a shroud of elaborate manners disguised as deference. Women as a genre chose a different route for the current experiment. Women in the workplace had a lot to do with it. But some obviously miss the ideal they believe once existed and many would faint for a dozen long-stemmed roses, candlelight dinners, walks in moonlight, and file sexual harassment charges against a man who kissed the tip of their fingers or opened a door for them. The two behaviors by men and desires by women are difficult to reconcile. Gays don’t fit the picture at all so far as I can discern. Nor does any concept of virtue.

Old Jules, I’m confused, do I settle for my soul-mate or my dream guy?

Your soul mate is just another flash drive on the same hub as you. Your dream guy is feedback from some other flash drive bleeding over while you defrag. Short term you’re better off with the dream guy, but over the long haul the soul mate is the better bet because you don’t need to be defragging so much.

Old Jules, do you agree that “Hell is other people”?

I don’t agree. Other people might be hell for themselves, but they’re mostly just plodding along trying to find their way as I’ve done throughout my life. They’re important to themselves. They aren’t important to me in a way they could ever become hell, heaven, happiness, sadness or anything similarly distracting.

Old Jules, do you play fair? Is the word “fair” even realistic?

Nice question. Seems to me the word “fair” is possibly the most self-righteously deceptive, egocentric, meaningless word in the English language.

Old Jules, where is the evidence that there is not a single piece of evidence for the existence of God?

I tend to agree with you that no evidence exists that something a person might choose to label a deity is not involved in the workings of the universe, if I’m reading you correctly. In fact, I believe there’s a plethora of recognizable and undeniable evidence that something that might be construed as a deity has a piece of the action. It’s illogical as hell for anyone to say there’s not a single piece of evidence, IMO.

Update and a few quotes from Jack

Jack in Placitas with Tabby

Hello, readers, you are few in number, but faithful! I appreciate you.
The update is that I am finally working on getting these blog posts into book form. I decided to put them in chronological order, so at the moment, I’m putting posts from 2005 into one book. After a lot of sorting and checking on spelling, punctuation, and formatting, I have the Table of Contents and the text ready. I’ll need an introduction and then I’ll be looking at designing a cover, adding other information pages that need to be inserted, and then looking at how to actually upload it to, which is where it will be available for print-on-demand. This first volume has around 213 pages. I have sorted the blog files in order for 2006 and other years, and if I can get 2005 right, I’ll work on the others.
Retirement feels really good. I’ve also been painting more watercolors, but I can’t work on the painting and text preparation at the same time. But for now, I am doing okay, and I hope you are, too.

I found a few quotes from Jack that aren’t in the blog, so I thought I’d share:

Human beings frequently believe they understand without actually knowing anything. On the other hand, they also frequently believe they know without really knowing anything. It’s probably possible to understand, either without knowing, or knowing something that isn’t true. The sequence most likely isn’t important. What’s probably a lot more important is the recognition that a lot of what we know doesn’t have anything to do with anything akin to reality and that understanding it stands a middling good chance at being flawed, as well.

You can’t get free from one perception of reality or another. You can, however, alter, mitigate and mold the reality that exists for you as an individual by choosing your priorities, values, and perspectives to something more akin to what you want out of life.

I try not to have any expectations and just ride the roller coaster. It’s all good. Even the bad and the ugly. Takes a long while to realize that for most of us, but whatever you become it will be because of the growth that came from the bad and the ugly. The good is just for break-time.

Hope you have a good week,


No Name Canyon revisited

Jack wrote this in November, 2005:

Afternoon blogsters:

Yesterday I told you a bit about a happening early in the No Name Canyon debacle.  It was a beginning, of sorts.  But myriad other tales of foolishness were to come out of that channel before any sort of conclusion.  The lightning storm experienced just elevated the level of priority for solving the mysteries there.

A while after the lightning/shovel event my old buddy Mel King and I were in that canyon determined to move a lot of dirt some easier way than with a pick and shovel.  I’ve told you a bit about Mel in an earlier blog entry here.

The bottom of that canyon’s already been described as V-bottomed, which is was.  But in the small box where the channel began there was a sedimentation layer I guessed to be 6-8 feet deep, judging from the angle where the walls would intersect underneath the surface.  It was clear that water ceased to move enough of that sedimentation to stratify things a long time before all the current material arrived on the scene.  I’d been getting all the stuff from the earlier visit I described out of the soil about a foot below the surface, which didn’t involve hardpan or bedrock.

Mel and I were relatively convinced the bottom of the Vee underneath all that unstratified material would be a glory hole.  Our reasoning was that in the distant past there was enough water movement to create the channel, so it should have dumped the richest material early and taken it as deep as it could go.

Neither of us had an explosives license, dynamite had become a hard-to-get commodity, equipment other than shovels was out of the question, so we made up a mess of home-made black powder.

Mel, his man-sized son Eric, and I trekked in there with every intention of moving some serious dirt and rock.  We dug down at what we calculated to be the best spot, about 3.5 feet and placed a pound of powder into the hole inside a plastic bottle.  We made a fuse by pouring a powder train into a masking tape tube and stuck that down into the powder vessel.

Meanwhile, Eric gathered as many musk melon sized boulders as he could find and we carefully placed them around and above the charge up to about a foot below the surface with the fuse sticking a few inches above the covering material.

A herd of geniuses at work.

I lit a cigarette and slid the unlighted end about an inch down around the end of the fuse, and we hurried down canyon about 75 yards just around a bend to wait for the big event.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

After about half an hour it was clear we had a problem.  Someone had to go try to see if the cig had gone out, or what.  Naturally, we all went, each trying to say a bit behind the others.

We arrived on the scene, bent down over the fuse and all jumped backward in rolling runs down canyon.  There was smoke coming out of that hole.

We repeated this sequence twice before we decided we’d just come back another day and try to figure out what happened.

Never did get around to trying to explode that canyon bottom again.


Black sand, gold and precious metals

Jack wrote this in November, 2005:

Afternoon blogsters:

JAP69 pointed out to me in a comment on the Lightning Strike entry that I didn’t explain myself in a way I could expect anyone to understand, which I appreciate.  Sometimes I take too much for granted.

Gold, silver, platinum and several other precious metals are the heaviest elements around.  When the rocks weather away from around them and erosion carries them into channels it drops them at the first opportunity.  It takes a lot of energy (velocity) for the water to carry any particulate, but it takes more, the greater the density of the material being moved.  So the heaviest sediment load drops to the bottom first.

Prospectors rely on this.  It’s how placer gold is found.  Nature has spent millions of years concentrating these precious metals, shaking the ligher overburdens with water movement, sinking the heavier particles to the bottom of the sediment layers.

Lighter than the precious metals, but heavier than the silicone sands the water also carries, is the black sand.  It’s mainly an iron product.

So a prospector studies the channel, examines it for places where the water loses energy, particularly during flood stage.  Where there’s a curve in the channel there’ll be a place just on the downstream side of the curve where the stream drops silt.  That’s one of the places a prospector looks for gold.  Similarly, backwaters behind rocks and other obstructions, ancient beaver dams, anywhere the stream flow was interrupted.

The prospector digs into these spots and finds a hardpan or bedrock, or maybe a crack.  He takes the material and places it into a pan, sluicebox, dry washer, and agitates it to stratify the material, just as nature has done to concentrate the metals in this spot.

Gradually the prospector washes away the sand until there’s only black sand in the lower rim of his pan, and hopefully a few specks of gold, sometimes a nugget.

What happened to me in No Name Canyon was that there was a LOT of material that was heavier than black sand.  So much of it that the black sand was floating above it in a barely noticeable layer.  Such things don’t happen, or happen so rarely that when a person sees them he tends not to consider it a possibility.

There’s a thing that happens to gold sometimes.  It’s called telluride.  Prospectors have to know about it to recognize it.  Throughout history prospectors who didn’t recognize telluride gold because it doesn’t look like gold, have thrown it aside with a few curses because it’s screwing up their panning.


Getting struck by lightning

Jack wrote this in November, 2005:

Morning blogsters:

Someone told me about some poor guy in Waco, Texas, who got himself electrocuted.  Guy was a minister standing in a baptismal about to baptize someone in front of a congregation of 800.  Reached for a microphone and got struck dead.

I commented that it was a bit like being struck by lightning, to which the reply was, “No it wasn’t!  You don’t get struck by lightning from carelessness and stupidity.”

Fact is, that’s precisely why people tend to get struck by lightning, along with a bit of lousy luck.  Lightning behavior is a lot more easily predictable than lottery numbers.

I went on to tell the story of something that happened to me along those lines once.

I was working a canyon I’d dubbed “No Name Canyon”.  I was finding something completely absorbing and confusing.  Heavy precious metals sink to the bottom of a pan, get covered by the next heaviest, which is magnetite or hematite, black sand.

I was in a heavily mineralized area and the bottom of the pan should have been filled with black sand, but I wasn’t getting any.  About an inch or more in the bottom of the pan was filled with a grainy material of a reddish brown color that was pervasive and frustrating.  (Sometimes you get to expecting what not to see and find yourself not seeing what’s in front of you)

Anyway, I’d worked there alone half the afternoon in that V-bottomed canyon when I heard thunder and saw clouds moving across the sliver of sky visible to me.  I didn’t care to get caught in that canyon in a cloudburst, so I hoisted my daypack, shovel, pan and headed up the mountain.

About halfway back up there’s a relatively steep, bald face just with a scattering of large pines.  That’s where I realized I was a damned fool.

Suddenly lightning was striking all around me.  I gave it some quick thought and decided my best shot was to sort of lie down on the slope, though lying down doesn’t precisely describe what I was doing because of the grade.

So, it began sprinkling some, lighting hitting everywhere, me wondering if I make less of a target this way, when I observed that every tree within my range of seeing had a lightning strike burn on it.  That place has been a magnet for lightning for a long time.

I reached to push the shovel further away from myself in case the metal might make a better target.  As I gazed at the sprinkles hitting the blade of the shovel, where there was still a lot of residue of what I’d been digging below, I suddenly found myself looking at black sand washing out of the small clods glued to the surface.

Hmmm, thinks I.  That is really weird.  I couldn’t get any black sand down below, but here it is on the shovel.  Lots of it.

Then it came to me.  The stuff on the bottom of the pan was heavier than the black sand and was floating it.  I’d been looking for the black sand below below the brown grainy material on the assumption that what I was looking at was worthless.

Instead I was looking at something the likes of which I’d never seen before, thanks to being on a mountainside with lightning striking all around me like the fool I have a tendency to be.

Anyway, the storm ended, left me unstruck, but a lot wiser.  I’d never have understood what was happening mineral-wise in that canyon if I hadn’t been stupid and careless.  But on that day I managed to also have mama-luck on my side.


Why’s he a treasure hunter?

TH equipment

A map and compass, a shoulder rig, a bag of bugler, a rag hat and some color in the bottom of a pan leads to the kinds of moments people tend to remember.

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If you young guys have noticed your lives don’t include moments you care to remember you might put some imagination into changing it.

Give some thought to tossing out the television, Good-Willing that jacket with the football team emblem on the back, and go find yourself something worth remembering,

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Immortal Porpoises

Jack wrote this in November, 2005:

Morning blogsters:

It’s alway good to see the government backing away from sticking its nose into the private lives of the citizenry.  The Texas voters have wisely forced the Texas government to divorce itself from the issue of marriage.

In Texas it used to be illegal even to take a gull across a sedate lion for immortal porpoises, for gosh sakes.  Talk about government scattering itself around to find unlikely events to prohibit.

Wasn’t long ago Sammy Davis Jr. used to forever get himself in trouble for having some sort of genital exchange with women of the white gender, which was forbidden a lot of places.

I’m glad to see Texans point out to the Texas government that matters of marriage are private, spiritual and no business of the government.  Same with sex, for the most part.  The voters of Texas have demanded their government cease recognizing the institution of marriage.

Now people can go back to jumping across a broomstick, whatever, without having to worry about the thorny future issues of divorce, tax breaks for marriage partners, anything but just marriage bliss until death do them part.

In a somewhat fluid gender-environment of the brave new world questions such as who can marry whom achieve an ambiguity probably too complex, anyway.  There’s already been a case where two lesbians married one another in Texas because one of the two was born male.

Twenty years ago it was still a misdemeanor to shoot an Indian on a street car in Austin, which no longer had street cars and few enough Indians.  The sanctity of marriage, street cars and Indians in Austin, Texas are all a bit safer today because of the wisdom of Texas voters, the forced migrations of Texas Indians who survived the invention of Colt firearms, to Oklahoma, and the automobile.


Iron will power. Discipline.

Jack wrote this in November, 2005:

Evening blogsters:

I managed to get home without picking up a carton of smokes from the Rez the other day.  Ran through a partial can of Bugler that had been lying around here for just such an emergency, but it spang ran out.

The question is, do I make my decisions, or do smokes make my decisions for me.  Am I going to be ruled by habit and drive ten miles down this mountain just for tobacco?

Of course not!

Instead, I’m digging around in the garbage cans and ashtrays for snipes with a little left on the end, rolling up tea, coffee grounds testing them for smokability.

I’m not a man gonna be ruled by stupid habits.