Author Archives: mandala56

Ask Old Jules: Ask God a question, Hippies loving nature, The dominant species, Escaping reality

Harper, TX 2010 079

Old Jules, if you got a chance to ask God one question, what would you ask?

With the benefit of hindsight and reflection, God, what are your thoughts about making a bet with the devil to play mind and misery games with the life of Job? Would you do it again, faced with the same situation?

Old Jules, how did hippies show love for nature ?

They painted 20 foot high peace symbols on cliff walls in the middle of nowhere [some are still out there], left the ruins of attempted communes all over the US southwest, scattered trash from hell to breakfast, generally showed their love for nature the same ways as the rest of society, only in more remote locations.

Old Jules, is it possible that a species we cannot perceive is actually the dominant species on Earth?

They exist. Until now they’ve gone unnamed, but henceforth they’ll be known as the Coincidence Coordinators.

Old Jules, why is escaping reality ultimately harmful?

There’s no way of generalizing about life and how a person should deal with it. Every choice a person makes leads to a growth experience of one sort or another, and the composite of those make each of us what we are. Clich’es such as ‘escaping reality’ and ‘running away from problems’ are merely ways we can pretend we can see deeply into the lives of others to know what choices they ‘should’ make.

An honest, workable solution with a future

Jack wrote this in September, 2005. More about Hurricane Katrina.

An honest, workable solution with a future:

Those people are going to be a long time without homes, without jobs, without incomes.

What can we as a nation do to help?

You might think I’m being sarcastic, but I’m not. This can really be done:

1)  Vacate Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Sill Oklahoma, Fort Wachuka, AZ, Abilene Air Force Base, Abilene, Texas..

2)  Create a new tribe of Native Americans. Issue tribal census numbers to all the refugees and deed them each a residence and a few acres of land on the new Coonahss Reservations.

3)  Send them checks every month, let them have free health care from the US Public Health Service, same as other tribes.

4)  Assist them in building tribal casinos, but make it plain that THIS time the money has to go exclusively to the tribe, has to be used for the betterment of the individuals of the Coonahss tribe.

5)  Bring Bourbon Street, brick by brick to the new Reservation and allow them to use their own labors to rebuild it there as part of the new Coonahss Casino resort complex.

6)  Ship in truckloads of farm surplus that’s going to waste in grain elevators, or being shipped to other countries, so they can cook for themselves.

This is a plan that will work, blog readers. It’s a means of providing income, health care, homes to all those refugees at a minimal cost in deficit tax dollars.

All Americans have to do to see this happen is move a lot of troops to other military compounds and open their minds and imaginations to look for innovation as a solution.

But make no mistake about it.

These people are natives to America, mostly. They were born here, their ancestors were born here. They are certainly as deserving of a chance at a new life, a new start and any Native American born since 1900. They deserve the same rights and privileges derived from having been the victims of misfortune.

Jack

Labor Day News Sidebars

Jack wrote this in September, 2005:

Most of this is none of your business and certainly none of my business by the definition I posted a couple of entries ago.  But here it is, anyway.  Remember where you heard it first:

One headline: Congress May Act On Immigration.

Hmmm. Interesting timing.

A rising tide of national outrage over failing immigration policies will finally force some kind of action this session, says the ABQ Journal. Says US Rep. Tom Udall’s statement about it is, “Part of the reason we haven’t done anything is that it’s a political bombshell.”

There are bombshells, and then there are bombshells. Sometimes it takes a fast moving disaster to make people notice a slower moving one that’s equally devastating but harder to pin on any specific King, Congress or Agency. (Opinion)

It’s an ill wind, the bard shrewdly observed, that blows no good.

Seems what’s her name, ex-queen of the US is now a US Senator, thinks a good witch-hunt for those RESPONSIBLE for this hurricane event need to be hunted down and burned. No real surprises there. (Opinion) 

Poor old Chaos might be in for a tongue-lashing from her ladyship.

Meanwhile, seems they’re anticipating the need for $1.5 billion (deficit-bucks) to rebuild roads where the houri cane hit. But that point might be moot because gasoline’s gonna be so expensive nobody’s going to be able to afford to drive, and the places they might want to drive to will probably still be under water.

At least we can hope so. This issue of what to rebuild, where to rebuild it and how to rebuild it is a matter we need to pause a while to consider. (Opinion)

The Chinese are having to do some re-tooling of their magnet-flag ribbon industry. They thought they had it covered, yellow ones, blue ones, pink ones, red-white-and-blue ones. But now there’s black ones for the hurricane victims, which naturally caught the CHICOMs in their factories unawares.

We can probably trust that American know-how and ingenuity will fill the need until the CHICOMs can crank back up and get a few shiploads to us. Meanwhile, we’ll probably need to pay higher prices and put up with a critical shortage.

The refugees are pouring into New Mexico. 6000 expected soon for Farmington, Roswell and Clovis, and Albuquerque. Conspicuously missing are Las Cruces and Santa Fe, but those are towns with a lot of rich folks and tourists who probably don’t want the scenery cluttered up with New Orleans victims causing no end of unpleasant reminders that everyone doesn’t have a house to sell so’s to make enough money to buy one here.

Texas has taken the full brunt of this tidal wave of refugees with a quarter million and more coming. New Mexico’s got a thousand already, committed to 6000 but will probably have more.

But one of the other bloggers observed recently that we’re one country and always will be. That those refugees and victims are like family. So, how are the other States, the other parts of this one country that we are and will always be, coming along with accepting refugees?

Arkansas is getting them, Mississippi’s handling a lot, and Florida. Then there’s West Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, Michigan, Iowa, New York and Pennsylvania pledged to take some. Most likely some of those other States will come in if it turns out everyone else can’t handle it.

Haven’t seen where any of the tribes are doing anything much, though there are some nice resorts attached to the casinos.

Other news. Seems the State’s considering cracking down on those high-speed Police chases that are so bad about killing people they were chasing, unsuspecting drivers of other automobiles on the road, and pedestrians. Too bad. Some carload 17 year olds comes to a ‘rolling stop’ at a stop sign, prowl car parked back somewhere with his lights off wipes the sleep out of his eyes, and the race is on at 100 miles an hour through city streets. Good way to get the juices flowing again after a little nap.

But I expect they might put a stop to it, make them just get their thrills just watching old Gene Hackman movies.

Ahhhh…. Only mildly related. Looks as though they’re contemplating mandatory jail time for DWI convictions, confiscating the automobiles to add to the police fleet (summarily upon arrest) and a few other measures to hopefully curb the New Mexico dark secret of being number one nationwide in drunken driver deaths.

Jack

Brush up your Shakespeare (and Coyotes)

Jack wrote these the same day in September, 2005:

Maybe it’s this moon.

Watching an old video tonight, Kiss Me Kate, Keenan Winn and James Whitmore doing the soft-shoe tap dancing scene and singing, ‘Brush Up Your Shakespeare’.  All the windows open, curtains pulled, when a coyote howled almost under the window, certainly in the front yard.  Threw the cats into a panic, them going to catnap to get-outta-downrange-of-that-booger faster than I can tell it.

Not sure whether the coyote was just commenting on Winn and Whitmore, or whether it was something more fundamental to the film.

Shortly afterward the largest coyote concert I’ve ever heard began up on the mesa to the west.  Lots of spring pups solidly into adulthood now.

I’m thinking bro coyote’s going to make a powerful nuisance of himself this winter.

Jack

Behavioral changes and coyotes

When I awakened at 5:00 this morning, which is my custom, I did my business and decided to try to get back to sleep.  Didn’t want to go out front for a smoke and cup of coffee because I didn’t want the cats bothering me to death or trying to sneak outside before sunrise.

It’s that coyote in the yard last night.

Coyote is a a lot like humans in his ways.  He’s difficult to trap without a lot of elaborate doings, even after a person knows him well enough to do it.  And if he’s ever had anything to do with traps, it’s a lot more difficult than that, probably impossible with one who’s had his leg in a trap.  Nothing in the universe more cunning than a three legged coyote.

But he forms habits.  He’ll go through the fence in the same place every time.  He’ll jump the irrigation ditch between those two trees right over there, go diagonal off the bank and down.  Every time.  And those habits make him vulnerable to a snare.

Unfortunately, brother coyote, while he doesn’t know this about himself, he knows it about other animals, including man.  A coyote will study a human and his prey the way a human who wants to get rid of him will study a coyote.

That’s the reason I’m going to have to keep those cats inside during the hours of darkness, though that won’t save them after the food availability out there on the mesa battens down the hatches this winter.  There was a good rabbit population, which allowed a lot of pups to reach adulthood.  But with that many adult coyotes the rabbits and rodents won’t last long, and when they’re gone it’s going to be the village and whatever they can find.

A friend of mine, a trapper, uses road-kill cats for coyote bait.  Coyotes love the taste and smell of cat.

Jack

Ask Old Jules: Love during war, Why God created us, Born loony, What is freedom, Proud to be an American

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Old Jules, how can love help you through war?

Hitler had Eva Braun. Assuming they loved one another she probably provided him solace during the retreat in the East and up until the fall of Berlin. Maximillian of Mexico had his lady who provided him support and solace until she returned to Austria, whereupon she sent him letters of love until he went before a firing squad. Abe Lincoln had Mary Todd to provide him love and support during the Great War of Secession and have seances in the White House until John Wilkes Booth intervened in the Ford Theater. Eisenhower had his lady jeep driver who provided him solace during the hardships of the war in Europe. FDR had his lady-on-the-side to provide him support and solace when Eleanor was busy during the dark years of the War in the Pacific.

Old Jules, why did GOD create us?

The motives of a deity would depend entirely on the nature of the creature. The motives for an ambiguous deity to create mankind are entirely matters of conjecture, but the nature, traits, activities of mankind might offer hints.

Old Jules, was you born loony with a smile?

Bull goose loony and the smile was real, though crooked.

Old Jules, what is freedom? what is associated with it?

Divorce, death, solvency, heavier than air flight, lighter than air flight, antimatter, OBEs, bankruptcy, shredders, ex-patriots, meditation.

Old Jules, why should I be proud to be an American?

If you’re proud to be an American it’s probably because you’re devoid of anything else to be proud of and feel an inadequacy in the form of a hole that needs filling.

The still before the storm

Jack wrote this in September, 2005, a few days after a post which he repeats in this post:

This morning a close friend of mine attended services at the San Antonio Mission Church (Catholic) in the village. I’m a bit incredulous what happened next.

The priest was discussing the issue of how Christians ought to point out the sins of their neighbors. Then he stuck his toe into different waters.

“A lot of you mightn’t have noticed,” I’ll paraphrase him, “that on the very day the hurricane hit New Orleans, a hundred thousand gays and lesbians arrived to have a celebration of their sexuality and an enormous parade.

“Now, this mightn’t have been the work of the Lord, hitting New Orleans the way he once destroyed Sodom and Gonorrhea (me smiling to meself), but I just want you to think about it.”

Hey blog readers.

I refer you to this blog entry Thursday, September 01, 2005, entitled,

“Who’d have thunk it?

“Seems a body of leading edge Christian thinkers has figured out what caused that hurricane to hit New Orleans and do so much damage.

“It ain’t a chaos butterfly at all.

“It’s the Wrath of the Good Lord done it.

“All that sinning and drinking and whoring down on Bourbon Streetfinally caught up with them, evidently. The Good Lord finally got a belly-full of Mardi Gras.

“But don’t be surprised if you begin hearing all those flood victims in New Orleansaren’t deserving of Christian pity and help in their sufferings. They just naturally brought it all on themselves, like Sodomand whatchallit, Gonorrhea.

Next thing down the pike is probably going to involve those homeless Louisianans bringing the wrath down on the rest of us, as well, with their Godless frivolity.”

I’m not a Mormon, but I’ve always appreciated Brigham Young’s response when he heard there was a Christian army headed for Utah to straighten things out.

“We’ve all experienced a lot of Christian Charity before we came here, them confiscating our property, burning our houses, killing, beating and raping our families, murdering Joseph Smith.

Now they want to send us some more Christian Charity. Arm yourselves, stock up food, clothing, blankets, guns and ammunition and hide in the hills if you hope to survive.”

Don’t get the idea I’m as good at predicting lottery numbers as I am at predicting the behaviors of Christians. I’m not.

Jack

Is there something wrong with this picture?

Jack wrote this in September, 2005. He gave the disaster of Hurricane Katrina a lot of thought.

An October, 2004, synopsis in a national magazine.  (A post which I am not including was a very long article written the previous year by National Geographic-J.). A well-researched, widely publicized feature that reads like a news story from last week?

That story didn’t come out of a crystal ball.  It came out of the mouths of all the people in a position to know what to expect, who knew it would happen.  People who study hurricanes and what they do, people who study geography, hydrology, emergency managements and disaster.

They all agreed.

Those people who were interviewed for the feature didn’t keep the information hidden.  It wasn’t in a folder drawing dust in the file cabinet.

Every one of the agencies who were interviewed to create the story had been communicating the information to the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans for decades, where evidently it DID sit in file drawers drawing dust.

I know for a fact this is true from personal observation.

During the early 1990s I toured those levies, the lower lying areas with FEMA officials, Red Cross officials, Emergency Management Coordinators from other States inthe FEMA Region VI, Corps of Engineers officials, and Louisiana State and local officials.  The precisely same information concerning what would happen if a major storm hit was communicated to and by everyone present.  It was obvious.  We even kicked around ideas involving specifics of needed emergency plans with City and State emergency managers.

A case can be made that when a tsunami hits and kills people it’s an accident.  When an earthquake hits in an earthquake prone area and lives are destroyed, it’s still an event that mightn’t have happened, had reason to catch residents by surprise.  A tornado in West Texas tornado alley is still a low probability at any give spot.

This is a disaster of another sort.

Responsibility lies with every human being to behave prudently in matters involving his own personal safety.  To look carefully at the traffic before venturing to cross a street with the knowledge that cars use that street.  To mosey over toward Metairie if there’s a hurricane stalking in the gulf.  But, before that, to elect officials of the sort who were responsible officials, who weren’t merely demigogues and rhetoriticians.

In this instance the secondary responsibility for the safety of the residents, making sure they had the information to allow them to make prudent choices, lay with the City and the Parrish.  An evacuation plan in place and tested.  Intergovernmental agreements with inland communities for shelters in the event of an evacuation.  Disaster plans in place and exercised.  Everyone educated on the possibilities, everyone knowing what would need to be done and when, where and how to do it.

The next level of responsibility lay with the State of Louisiana, and the Governor to absolutely drop a hammer on the heads on responsible local officials who weren’t doing their jobs.  To use every means available, legal, publicity, and volume to order, threaten, plead and cajole those City and Parrish officials to prepare for the inevitable.

This storm could have happened a decade from now and it would have been no different, maybe worse.  The City of New Orleans would have been no better prepared, and Louisiana would have been no better prepared.  The population would have been no better prepared.

The lazy, irresponsible, shirking attitude of the residents, the City and Parrish governments and the State of Louisiana would not have changed even though every year the inevitability of this event increased and they knew damned well it was doing it.

There are disasters, and there are disasters.

Jack

Edited in as an afterthought:

I did some drinking on Bourbon Street with the Louisiana State Flood Plain Administrator after that tour.  We talked about his problems implementing any kind of plan, even the minimums required by law in Louisiana.  He was a good guy, a solid, caring black man who’d really like to do his job.

“It’s politics, man.  The City doesn’t like exercising emergency plans.  It might upset the tourists.  Out in the parrishes it’s all cousins and nephews.  They don’t want to hear anything about anything but Federal grant money and new roads.”

Kings, dictators, and presidents

Jack wrote this in September, 2005:

The framers of the US Constitution knew all about kings.

That’s the reason when they created the job of president, they were careful to studiously limit his powers, making it so almost anything he did required the consent of the US Congress.

The Constitution of the US gives the President the power to pass, or veto acts passed by Congress, with the caveat that Congress can over-ride his veto.

The Constitution makes him the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. He’s allowed to make war, provided a declaration of war has been passed by Congress.

He owns the diplomatic corps and gets to appoint judges and cabinet members, but only with the advice and consent of Congress.

Otherwise, the framers didn’t allow the president to do much of anything.

They didn’t want a king. They knew perfectly well what kings, dictators emperors, and presidents behaving as any of the above were capable of doing.

Today, Americans have come the full circle.

While the dictators have mostly been stripped of their powers all over the world, while the monarchs are eunich figureheads, while the emporers have all fallen into the wastebins of history, Americans are demanding, absolutely begging for the American president to become a king, (or remain one) and continue ignoring the limits of the office established by the US Constitution.

This hurricane disaster is a glowing example of Americans once more demanding that their president act as a king, or emperor.

The people who are whining and complaining aren’t, as they should be, demanding that the president act precisely in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution. They are screaming hatred at him because he’s not behaving the way they fanaticize some king they’d prefer from another political party might behave, given the opportunity.

I don’t like this guy. He’s already performing plenty well enough like a king to overly satisfy my needs and desires. The people who are demanding he become a monarch wouldn’t like him better if he was more like one, either.

And there’s cause to doubt any of us would like a king from the other party any better, comes to that.

This country doesn’t need a king. It doesn’t even need a president. The machinery of government is so entrenched the country would go on operating business as usual indefinitely, were he to simply vanish.

The only people who would miss him, miss the office are the king worshipers and the media.

The framers of the US Constitution knew all about kings and king worshipers.

Jack

Ramblings- about Zuni Salt Lake

Jack wrote this in September, 2005:

This is Zuni Salt Lake.

It’s about forty miles south of the Zuni Rez, almost in AZ.

There’s a ghost town you can barely see in the pic…. used to be a considerable community down in there when it was private land, from the 1840s until the 1950s, evaporating salt from the huge concrete beds.  Most of the buildings are still intact, though they’re going away rapidly.

Today it belongs to the Zuni tribe, one section of land, but it’s not in the national trust as part of the Rez.  Tribes have been acquiring a lot of land from casino monies and other ways during the past decades, making the lands acquired ‘tribal’, but not Rez, which puts them into an interestingly ambiguous position insofar as road maintenance and county taxes.

Salt Lake was acquired as a piece of a lawsuit against the US government involving an airplane with a hydrogen bomb aboard that crashed on the Rez, with first responders being Zunis, but which the feds didn’t bother telling them about the bomb, leaving emergency workers exposed to hazardous materials without knowing it.  The tribe got a few million out of that, which they used to purchase 60k acres of land to the south of the Rez, but Salt Lake was thrown in as a bonus.

Salt Lake’s a sacred place for the Zunis, home of Salt Mother.  If you are willing to risk hopping the fence and wandering around down there ….. it’s a volcano crater with a hollow secondary plug you can climb, then a spiral trail leading back down inside … that’s where most of the rituals for Salt Mother are held… but all over that section you’ll pass over various religious items from recent times you’d be well advised to leave untouched.

Anyway, Salt Lake used to be the place all the tribes got their salt throughout history.  A place where a constant truce between warring tribes existed.

It’s also part of what the power companies would love to strip mine so El Paso and Phoenix can fire up their hair dryers every morning, and keep their homes refrigerated.

Which the Zunis believe would thoroughly piss off Salt Mother, with considerable resulting pain for the Zunis, and all the rest of us.

They might be right.

Jack

Pledge of Allegiance woes

Jack wrote this in September, 2005:

I recall being in a school auditorium as a youngster when they added the words, ‘under God’ to the Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Doak and Mr. Burke, Civics and History teachers were up there trying to get it right while teaching it to a couple of hundred kids.

Kid’s who were still on shaky ground from learning it the first time. That would have been in the mid-1950s.

Now, a Federal District Judge in San Francisco’s declared the phrase, ‘under God’, to be unconstitutional, which means the US Supreme Court will one day devote time and energy to deciding which way the wind’s blowing. The question of whether the framers of the Constitution would have thought a child having to say, ‘under God’ is a fairly weird one.

The reason it’s weird lies in the fact that the question of whether this nation is indivisible was never considered by the Supreme Court, never mentioned in the US Constitution.

It was decided by force of arms, one half, (the half possessing an army) of the nation believing it was indivisible, the other half believing it was divisible. The stronger half forced the weaker half to accept indivisibility at gunpoint after a lot of bloodshed.

Thus, the Pledge of Allegiance came into existence after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. The winning side forced each surrendering Confederate soldier to say a pledge accepting indivisibility as one of the precepts of citizenship, followed afterward by many generations saying the pledge from early childhood since then.

But the US Supreme Court was never asked whether that Pledge acknowledging indivisibility was Constitutional, which might have saved a hundred thousand lives, legs, arms, and a whole different approach to US governance.

Instead, they’ll be asked to decide the easier matter of whether it’s a violation of a child’s civil liberty to utter the words, “Under God”.

Jack