Author Archives: mandala56

Brother Coyote and other news

Jack wrote this in March, 2006:

El Palenque

El Palenque doesn’t think;

Knows and loves

His only job

And does it;

Perfection without compromise.


Where owls, hawks

And sly coyotes salivate


To lowest common denominator

When the cackling hen

Rises from a fresh-laid egg.

From Poems of the New Old West

Copyright 2002 Jack Purcell


Evening Blogsters:

I opened the front door just now and two cats rushed inside looking over their shoulders.

Bad sign.

I rushed out onto the porch in time to see old brother coyote slithering through the fence and out through the field to the east.  I suppose things are tough out there in the wild and they’re coming in looking for house pets in yards.  It’s been a dry winter and the rodent population must be just about winnowed down to nothing.

He was looking fairly scroungy and thin.  Last year more pups reached maturity than should have, a lot more than normally would have.  We had a late snowfall and a plethora of rabbits as a result of that brief spell of moisture.  Now there’s nothing much for old brother coyote to eat.

Every night I hear them out on the mesas, but for the past several months they haven’t been making nuisances of themselves coming in killing pets.  I fear it’s beginning again.  Neighbors lost several cats last year to owls and a particular coyote that had to be delt with harshly.

But I’ve been figuring on getting a few chicks this spring, have them laying by mid-summer.  That’s something I’ve missed a lot the last several years, having a flock of chickens around to amuse me.  Gonna be a battle though, I’m thinking, between the coyotes and the neighborhood dogs running loose.

I’m partial to having the birds ranging free catching grasshoppers and eating weed seeds all summer, only going into protection at night.  Plenty of room back in the orchard and the chickens would help keep down the weeds while providing eggs in abundance.  Just a matter of giving them a fair shot at surviving.

Guess we’ll see about a lot of things this spring.


Ask Old Jules: Happiest time, What is man, Reason for belief in God, Unpredictable life, Eye of the beholder

Harper, TX 2010 123

Old Jules, what was the happiest time in your life?

May, 1965, until today. At the tender age of 21 I was fortunate to have what’s sometimes been called a ‘white light’ experience, which provided me with a generalized trust in the overall scheme of things, revealed a lot of the autopilot I’d been flying on all my life and acquainted me with some parts of myself I’d never noticed before. It didn’t provide me with an easy path to follow, but it did allow me to get over the most difficult spots along the way without becoming discouraged.

I was lucky enough to have the experience outside the proximity of preachers, allowing the profundity to define itself as opposed to being attacked with doctrinal interpretations, which I’d have been vulnerable to during the days following.

Old Jules, what is a man?

A man is an android-like motorized inflatable sex-toy and provider of romance fantasies for generic women.

Old Jules, “It is not reasonable to believe in God simply because of miracles.”
Do you agree or disagree?

It’s reasonable to believe in God, miracles, science, anything you decide to believe. Reasonable, but only in the sense that what you believe doesn’t have any bearing on what is and what is not. What would be more reasonable would be to hold back belief until you actually observe something to suggest a direction without a plethora of equally plausible explanations.

Old Jules, life is so unpredictable. Do you agree? I plan, I organize, I worry, I get disappointed, I cry…BUT, somehow, it ends up being a lot better than I ever expected it to be!

You’re trying to hit a moving target. ‘Planning’ is past tense by its nature – you can’t catch up to the present with it. If you want to hit a moving target you have to lead it.


Old Jules, can you explain”It is in the eye of the beholder.” What does this mean through perception?

Visualize shooting a beer can while it’s facing you lengthwise, bottom through the top. Now stand it on its end and shoot it again. Rotate it in your hand and examine the holes. Does the object look the same, despite the fact they share the similarity of having holes through them?

Now take another can and throw it into the air and shoot some more holes in it, followed by examination.

Reality is a moving target. It rotates, revolves and spins, changing appearance. All it has in common with itself is the fact of a lot of holes you can see through.

You, the beholder.

California Mega Millions Hoopla

Jack wrote this in July, 2005:

I used to know a guy, a good man, who was also an alcoholic of the sort you’d rather not be too close to.  Jay was his name, an ex-Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Air Corps, B24 pilot of um-de-umph hundred bombing missions over Germany during WWII.  War hero.

By the mid-1960s Jay had a drinking problem bad enough to be placed repeatedly into the hands of the Texas Alcoholic Rehabilitation Commission to dry out.  Finally, in those days a bright new shining light among the mental health medicos was the pre-frontal lobotomy, was chosen as the tool of choice for curing what ailed old Jay….. But the unfortunate side effects were that a lot of him ceased to be Jay.

But those wise medicos knew what was best for him, they’d read all the recent advances and articles, so they strapped him down to a gurney and inserted electrodes on his temples and shot the juice to him.  Several times.

I’d heard about all this, thought it was fairly awful, but what the hell.  A few months later I was among a group of young folks friends of his who got invited to spend a day on Galveston Bay cruising around in Jay’s cabin cruiser down there.

Jay was wearing a tee -shirt that proclaimed, “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a prefrontal lobotomy”.  And he did.

It finally killed him, alcohol, the lobotomy didn’t change that…. but he always believed, afterward, that it was a fairly shabby thing for society to have done to him, that lobotomy.  Deprived him of his right to make his own mistakes.  At least, it attempted to.

If you boil all that down and scrape the leavings off the bottom of the pot, that’s about the way I feel about the brushwar going on in California about Mega Millions.

And a lot of other things, for that matter.


Hidden by the Trees

Hidden by the Trees

You seek truth, Diogenes?

Begin by forgetting
What they told you was a lie
Even though they might
Have thought it was the truth

Fluid fiction hides
In the syllables of words
In the single-celled inventions
Of the mind

Cancer fiction spreads
With the separating cells
A metastasizing tumor
In reality
Feeding on self-interest
Feeding on the fear of mortality
In a plastic box of pictures
In the cellulose perceptions
Of normality.

Pull the cords.

Pour the liquid
Off the soup
Leave crystal residue:
Tetrahedron maze
Of interlocking molecules

Of truth nobody told you
Of truth nobody wants.


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

Tribal Sovereignty and NA Casino oversight

The ambiguities of tribal sovereignty, the difficulties thereby created for State regulatory scrutiny of Native American casinos (at least, in NM, but likely also in other jurisdictions) create a target-rich environment for house cheating on all games without fear of being snagged.  Players would be well advised to recognize this fact and watch carefully what happens around them.

The following ‘poem’ describes an event as it actually happened in a casino in New Mexico.  I was sitting at that single-deck blackjack table, $3 minimum, $75 table max.  The names of the casinos in the poem are changed, naturally.  NM casinos are NA owned, but Rocco manages them, if you get my meaning.


Familiar Spirits

Arroyo Seco fortune shifted
First hand after Mary,
Toothless Navajo vieja,
Wrinkles doubled under weight
Of  old pawn turquoise
And silver squash blossom
Groaned into second base
3 dollar minimum
Single deck felt
Behind her walker

Plunked down three white chips

Cards turned

Three green button table max,
Weathered gamblers
Plus Mary and the dealer
All drew blackjacks in a single hand

“Ha.”  Steel grip on walker
Hand raised in ‘How!’ salute:

“Ha!”  Plowed brown field surrounds
Frozen narrowed slits of eye

Players, dealer, pit-boss, hangers on
Transfixed on sunlight shaft
In silent forest
Only birdsong
Slot machines

“The tables have an evil spirit!”

Chairs emptied
Puzzled drink server
Stands with tray
Two cokes and one black coffee
Vacant gazing search
For missing thirst

Laguna, Navajo, Acoma,
Mexican and white
Play down the road at Desert Fox

Although they’ve burned sage
Purged the evil
Cleansed the spirits

No dice

Four aces only
In an unenlightened
Single deck


From Poems of the New Old West

Copyright 2002, Jack Purcell

The more they stay the same

Jack wrote this in July, 2005:


The men in this picture, those of them who are still alive, are now enjoying their sixth decade of life. But, this picture finds them a lot younger, somewhere along the Han River in Korea, a few days after the assassination of President John Kennedy.

Most of us (I’m behind the camera, not one of the uglies down range) were drafted, or had enlisted during the Berlin Crisis of 1961, thinking there were a lot of Russians about to be in need of killing.

Thinking we were just the guys to do it.

By the time of picture we were a lot less gung-ho. We were getting ‘short’, and most of us had a jaundiced view of the whole US attempt to save the world from itself. The only firing we’d done with those M-14s had been a month earlier, at the Division Honor Guard down in a rice paddy below us one night, while they fired their own M-14s and a .30 caliber machine gun back at us.

A case of mistaken identity following an incursion across the DMZ a few miles north of us by an unknown number of ‘bad guys’.

However, despite our best efforts, nobody killed, nobody injured. A good time was had by all after we changed our underwear.

Today, despite the fact the poverty we saw in Korea is gone, despite the fact the ROK has a healthier economy than the US, along with a fine military force, despite the fact the International Communist Conspiracy died following Vietnam, despite the fact the Russkies packed up their tents and went home to contemplate their navels in peace, young Americans are still over there.

Maybe they’re standing right there where Zeke Rapoza’s squatted, sneering into a camera held by another GI, thinking similar thoughts to those the young old men in that picture were thinking a few days after the world changed.

But today we’re no longer having to save the world from Communism. Instead, the world is trying to think of ways to save itself from us.

Bye, bye Miss American Pie.


The Great Tick Migration

Written several years previously, Jack posted this in July, 2005:

The Great Tick Migration

Dateline, Socorro, NM

It’s sad, but they have to migrate: there’s no good water in the Rio Grande anymore.  It’s all sewage passed downstream from Albuquerque and other towns.

This was almost home to them. Their ancestors arrived with the first cattle drives from Texas in the 1880s. But finally they’ve had enough. Lemminglike they’ve decided as one to return home, Lone Star Ticks to the Lone Star State, same as those Confederate Texas humans had to finally stagger and stumble home when things took a turn for the worst..

This far south they’ve just begun to gather; just started to come out from under the grassleaves, the treebark, stragglers still coming out of the brush. The main migration gathering is further north in the Isleta lands, Lost Lunas, and up by Belen.

There they’ve mostly already grouped. They’ve dropped off the rats, cows, deer, dogs and coyotes. The earliest ones are drifting south ahead of the others. They’re the lucky ones. Those got far enough south yesterday to find a stray muskrats along the river and get a little something to eat. The stragglers will find it hard going.

It’s sad, but hopeful: tiny seed ticks huddling close to their mamas at night, the great herd constricting in the cold dark, mama and daddy ticks worrying about the great crossing of the Jornada del Muerto, about the dearth of animals on the Jornada. But also knowing in their tiny network of neurons passing for a brain, that once further south, things will still not be easy……the migration there, the gathering will have already emptied the countryside of hosts, bloodmeals will be a rarity.

When those Isleta and Lost Lunas ticks get as far south as Socorro, the southern ticks will have eaten away everything available. Fishermen will know something’s up by then; they’ll be staying away from the river bottom country sensing some new thing, some change in the atmosphere near the river, hectored by the early gathering; the dogs, the feral cats, the rodents, all driven away from the river bottom by the strange new presence of so many tiny pests.

The animals left will be sucked dry. Probably when the latecomers reach Socorro they’ll have to take their chances in town. Maybe they’ll find pets or townspeople for a last meal before they try to cross the dreaded Jornada del Muerto.

Some of them will drift up onto the freeway to find broken-down motorists with flat tires or dead batteries. Truck drivers stopped to urinate by the road or unsuspecting drunks sleeping with the window opened a crack to release the foul tobacco smoke from inside the car will save a few. Maybe an unlucky hitchhiker sleeping under a bridge or one of the frequent escapees from the prison or jail; some hapless hobo along the railroad, waiting for the next train.

If the motorist doesn’t get bitten by too many at once there’ll be a chance for a jump south by vehicle across the Jornada and avoiding the hard crossing….a quick ride to Cruces, or Truth or Consequences, or El Paso for a small group if they don’t get greedy and just take it easy on the driver. But so many of these younger ticks want everything now.

It might be hard going for them when they get down toward Cruces. That’s where they’ll first meet the newly arrived fire ants. Also, those deep southern ticks will resent their presence, nudging their little fat grey bodies aside as they scramble in a fold of flesh for a foothold and a meal. And ahead, Texas.

The ancestral homeland.

Yes, it’s sad, of the hundreds of millions of ticks starting home; tens of millions won’t make it. There’ll be stained smudges on the freeway where they try to cross, but many run over by recklessly speeding cars. Thousands clogging the river with their tiny carcasses where the water rose unexpectedly during a crossing, catching many unaware, the long march, the trail of tears, the trek home; so many dead, so many lost, the seed ticks, the mama ticks, the large swollen soft ticks shriveled and wrinkled with hardship….so many friends left back there along the trail, so many loved ones, lost, so many seed ticks lying there in the massive killing fields along the route.

But they’ll do as they can, do as they are able, do as they must, heading south on that lonely migration that long dusty trek, always knowing they won’t be welcomed by their distant kinsmen. The plethora of ticks in Texas, those hungry, selfish younger generation ticks will push and shove on the hosts, fighting for the best positions in and behind the ears, high on the necks where teeth cant reach, tiny skirmishes and struggles for position everywhere; on cows, on dogs, on rodents, in the thick hair of women and unreconstructed hippy men in cowboy hats..

As always, those selfish Texas ticks will not agree to share their bounty. They’ll fight despite the sad happiness of the return of their distant relations.


The loser syndrome

Jack wrote this in October, 2006:

Strange how often people throw away winning tickets.

Here’s a guy spending $600 on a draw, but who doesn’t take the time to bundle those tickets up and sit around looking at them trying to find out if they win.

The reason is that he didn’t expect to win.  If he did, he’d have gone over those tickets more carefully.  This guy was evidently finding a flat spot in the convenience store and sorting through 600 tickets, tossing the ones with no win, but doing it in a fairly cavalier fashion, since he threw away the one he was looking for.

So if he didn’t expect to win, why was he spending $600 on tickets?

That’s a strange phenomenon I used to discuss occasionally with an old burned out casino blackjack dealer acquaintance named Anthony.  Blackjack players tend to do the same thing.  They’ll sit around playing when the dealer or the table is hot, keep the green chips going to the tray hand after hand, grumbling, cursing the dealer.  Eventually they win a hand and you see shock on their faces…. surprise.

So, they’re surprised they won a hand.  They sat there pushing chips out front and losing hand after hand, and they must have expected to lose because they’re surprised they won.

Brings to mind a woman I mentioned from in an earlier blog entry…. young woman playing the slots, sneaking around because she was too young…. won a jackpot of several thousand bucks, but went wild-eyed and rabbited from the casino because she was under age.

So, why was this woman plugging her money she earned working behind the counter in a convenience store pizza wing into slot machines if she couldn’t  win if she won?

I used to ride to the casino with a couple of guys who played slot machine poker.  Once night the driver had finished playing, got me off the table I was playing on and went to find the other rider, George.

George had pushed a couple of hundred bucks into the machine, but he still had a handful of slugs left.  “Just a minute,” he begged.  “I’ll be ready to go as soon as I lose this.”

Anthony, the burned out blackjack dealer,  arrived at the conclusion that human beings are so stupid it’s amazing they can drive automobiles, much less manufacture them.

I’m more inclined to believe President Lyndon Johnson was correct when he said, “Americans would behave a lot more foolishly if they thought for themselves.”

People don’t grab the opportunity to think for themselves very often, but they tend to do so at a blackjack table, slot machine, or checking the 600 lottery tickets they bought.

They thought about it ahead of time and decided they were going to lose.


Ask Old Jules: Ethics and Morals, Why is America Great, and Loving Yourself


Old Jules, what are your thoughts about ethics and morals?

If I happened to be a Christian, which I’m not, I’d be searching around for an analogy to contrast ethics and morals.

I’d probably offer the first four books of the NT as an example of a rudimentary ethical code codified by the reports of those around him of the words, intents and behaviors of Jesus. I’d go on then to label everything Saul of Tarsus and his gang added to create the doctrinalization, hierarchy, the ‘what-he-intended-to-convey’ side of it all as an attempt to create a moral platform within the overall context of the first four books.

As for my own moral code:

1] Specifics over generalities
2] Personal loyalties over abstractions enshrined in law, nationalism, patriotism, religion
3] Trust, but never believe
4] Follow the gut, not the gonads
5] Belly up to the bar whether they’re serving beer or horse-piss.

Old Jules, isn’t one of the greatest things about America that you don’t have to worry about special interests extra-judiciously and maliciously coercing you into silence instead of pursuing you justly through a court system?

No. One of the greatest things about America is that the Chinese have bought up so much of our national debt. Some other good things about America are the auto parts houses and the fact you can buy a bread-making machine at a thrift store for five bucks. Another great thing about America is that people can go their whole lives without ever seeing anything they eat while it was alive, which allows them to feel smug if they don’t eat meat but eat eggs produced by factory-farmed chickens spending their whole lives inside a 2′ wire cubes.

Old Jules, why is it important to love yourself?

Making yourself someone you can love and respect requires a lot of work and a lot of courage. There’s no way you can make anyone else someone you can love and respect, so the only building materials available to bring love into your life involve those you can mold within yourself.

Attuning cats to Reiki

Jack wrote this on an energy healing forum in response to a question about attuning an animal to Reiki. For those not familiar, Reiki is an energy transfer method which increases the ability of the body to heal itself, among other uses. A person must be introduced to Reiki (attuned)  by another practitioner. I was the person who attuned Jack, but his healing skills went far beyond most who have been attuned. I think it intensified a natural ability that he already had to manipulate energy.
Most traditional Reiki users would never have even thought of attuning an animal. And most teachers like to attach rules about how the energy should be used, or can be used. As usual, Jack did things his own way.

Hi Jack.. can you please tell me how to attune a cat to Reiki?

The Reiki Master who attuned you should have instructed you on how to do
attunements. If that didn’t happen you might want to get back in touch with
him/her and have them explain it. If the person who attuned you was a
traditional Reiki Master, you’d probably want to explain, also, what you
contemplate doing with the technique, once you learn it, so you can hear
what someone besides me believes about the sort of thing I do. I suspect a
lot of people would believe there’s a downside. I’m non-traditional in most
things I do and I’m non-traditional in Reiki.

Attuning cats as a technique is no different than attuning humans. The only
difference is that you can’t explain the use of the symbols to them in a way
they’ll understand. I use exactly the same process for attuning them as any
Reiki Master would use for close proximity attunement. If I were attuning
some cat in Chicago I’d use the same process I use for attuning by distance,
but I’d have to know a lot more about a cat than I’d need to know about a
human distance-attunement because it’s so difficult to connect to an animal
I don’t know and can’t see.

I never attune wild animals, birds or the wild domestic cats outside to
anything higher than first level. That’s partly because I can’t get them to
sit still long enough, but there are other reasons, too.

I originally attuned my cats because they’re participants in so much else I
do. I discussed the issue with another Reiki Master and some lower-degree
Reiki attuned people before I did it. There was a general trepidation about
it for the most part. But I believe a Reiki Attunement is a purely positive
event in the life of any creature. I didn’t originally do it to my cats for
precisely that reason, but having done so I realized that to be true.
They’ve both been attuned for about a year and they haven’t finished the
growth process that appears to have begun with the third level attunement…
they’re still both in a state of rapid behavioral change. Before the
attunements both cats were several years old and more or less set in their
ways and predictable in their behavior. Now they’re full of surprises and
the surprises are all either neutral (though frequently enigmatic) or
positive. I have some theories about what’s happening to them, but there’s
no point in discussing it at this point because it’s all theory.

I’ve attuned a lot of ravens in my area to first degree, also. It’s
difficult to be certain, because ravens have a lot of strange behaviors
anyway, but my upstairs neighbor (who knows nothing about any of this off
the wall stuff including dowsing, Reiki, mirrors and other things I do) has
commented a number of times about recent unusual raven behavior in our
immediate area.

Some of the other (non-Reiki) things I do involve attunements but I don’t
use them on non-humans. I’d be afraid to do that. But I don’t believe a
strictly Reiki attunement can result in anything other than positive
outcomes for anything in this reality and I don’t think any non-human
creature could intuit ways the attunement could be used in a non-positive
way. One of the ways I’m non-traditional is that I’m convinced the secrecy
of arcane societies, arcane methods and tools, and arcane lore has held back
advancement of the development of the human soul. I believe in the process
of hoarding and guarding the knowledge the users of arcane tools have either
caused, or maintained the compartmentalizaton of concepts and inhibited the
general realization that all this is ‘the same stuff’. Secrecy isn’t my bag.

Best to you,