Author Archives: Old Jules

Zombies On Boogie Street, Methamphetamine In the New Millenium

Around 2003 I was writing the book.  I never got around to finishing it.   Maybe one of the reasons I never finished it was the fact Mchael Powell passed out of my life after Chapter 3.

Hi Michael (Ratso, from Midnight Cowboy, always seemed more appropriate, but you lacked his charm and virtue):

It must have been Veterans Day, you commented you didn’t understand why I was allowing you to hang around or some such thing.  You claimed you never understood what I saw in you.  I almost told you that night, after you’d flitted around Sky City and the streets of Albuquerque behaving like a lunatic, approaching one stranger after another trying to sell meth to them.

You,  persuading me that morning to take you; urging me to keep in there with you, almost begging me to allow you to continue.  I’d never before observed anything in that league for human folly.  You, a man out on bond for a couple of felonies, evidently manifesting the best behavior you could muster, were an irresistible experience for any writer worth his salt.

I never made any bones about the fact I’m a writer.  When we first met I was completing a book about the lost gold mine.  You sat in my apartment one night and read part of it.  When all the refinements on that were finished, you might say I was a writer all dressed up with no place to go.  I was always surprised you never made the connection.

The study of human frailty is meat and potatoes for a writer.  You dropped into my life as a voodoo-doll on a parachute.  You reminded me of a 1950s cartoon of a Tasmanian devil.  A sort of whirlwind energy creature dedicated to breaking anything breakable, and disrupting anything disruptable.

You are one of those rare, incorrigible folks incorporating the entire catalog of human vice and frailty, and showing none of the virtue, so far as I was ever able to detect.  You stayed in my life from March 1, until a couple of weeks after Veterans’ Day without much input from me, sponging, begging, stealing, banging on my door at all hours, and generally rebuilding my enthusiasm for the project whenever it flagged.

The name of the new book is, Zombies On Boogie Street, Methamphetamine In the New Millenium.  It’s all about blasters, pathological liars, rats, snitches,  thieves, sex-addicts, stupidity; people who shoot meth and people who believe they are possessed.  Generally, in short, about the low-life scum bottom-feeders who choose to make meth their major goal in life.

You inspired a book, and you earned a major piece of it.

Three chapters, so far, although your part isn’t really finished yet.  I expect the Michael J. Powell ones will be the centerpiece.  There’s nothing in the book I didn’t see for myself, if it’s stated as fact, or that you didn’t tell me as fact.  The reader will be forewarned that that whatever came from you can be trusted only as far as you can be trusted.  Which is to say, not at all.

I do believe your assertion that you are possessed, though I don’t know much about possession by demons.  I think my readers will be as convinced of your possession as I am.  I expect they’ll be convinced some of the homicides, burglaries, rapes, robberies, and other mayhem you claim to have committed, actually happened, as well.  Even a pathological liar doesn’t lie all the time.

For a long while I really felt sorry for you.  That’s why I prepared and took food to you and your mother when you didn’t have any.  It’s why I prepared the Caisse’s Tea for you when you dreamed up the story about having a brain tumor.  I knew it was probably a lie, but figured, just in case, it couldn’t hurt.

Anyway, being around you cost a lot of money, time, and energy.  Probably most ‘normal’ people would agree that a day with you leaves a person feeling a good hot bath isn’t enough to wash off the residue you leave behind.

I’ve already done what I can to make sure some unsuspecting person doesn’t get blown away by your ‘satchell charges’, assuming they exist.  If someone does get hurt by your burying the damned things, then allowing them to stay there, dangerous as you described, responsibility will fall where it belongs.  The same applies if you actually manage to snuff me, or someone near me.  You’ll be right up there at the top of the list.

That brings me to the threats you’ve been making about me and folks I care about.  If you want to try to carry them out, it’s your call.  The widow-lady figures there’s nothing about you a .357 magnum won’t cure if you come bothering her anymore.  If you manage to harm her, or her daughter and the law doesn’t do anything, you’ll be well advised to move to Bangor, Maine, and change your name.   I intend to make certain you don’t get off without any consequences.  ‘Nuff said.

As for your intentions toward me, I just don’t give a damn.  You do what you think is best and we’ll see what happens next.  Exposing the Michael J. Powells to the world is a worthy enough job for now.  If you blow a hole in me, I’ll heave a sigh and consider it a job well done, knowing you’ll finally be off the damned streets.

See you around, Space-Monkey.

Best to you,


A conversation about justice, responsibility, mercenaries, and spirituality:

I’ve been through the experience enough times in my life to know how angry and involved it can get a person into matters that aren’t worth the trouble of thinking about. Cops are generally lowlifes who are attracted to the magnet of the copshop, the cameraderie of legal gangship, and not worth not fastening one’s seatbelt to offend. However, I take the attitude that one of the legitimate ways of leaving the vehicle this lifetime is in a gunfight with cops. Preferably over some matter involving a burned out bulb on the license-tag light developing into something a lot more serious because some cop feels the need to push someone around.

It came close to that last summer when I was in deep financial doodoo and got stopped by a motorcycle cop and his compadre because the license tag had expired… they pushed me around some and towed the car … cost me $100 I could ill afford… and the cop put the word out to the wrecker driver that he was gonna “get me,” watch me and stop me every time he saw the car. He hasn’t done it, so we haven’t had a gun battle. I’m pretty much indifferent to whether he does it or not, and whether we have a gun battle as a result. It’s his choice, not mine.

The Friend: You’re literally saying that we should put our lives at risk and ruin by over-reacting to minor power abuses by people and institutions?

Ergo: No. I’m not saying what anyone “should” do, or “shouldn’t do.” What other people do is no business of mine. Instead, what I’m doing is making an observation about how people handle issues that concern them, as opposed to how humans of the past (in some quarters) believed “honor” required them to handle such issues. It’s all about personal responsibility and grinding our own axes, as opposed to employing mercenaries (cops, judges, lawyers) to grind our axes for us on condition that we submit to our own axes being ground by someone else. It’s safe and convenient and the only cost, other than the fact that our mercenaries now own us, is vaguely spiritual.

On the other hand, it follows that I probably wouldn’t be a good person to sit on a jury of my “peers.” If a person’s only crime was to kill a cop I’d have to take a close look at the circumstances before I’d vote to convict. If a person was only guilty of drug abuse or prostitution I’d vote to acquit no matter what the law says. I don’t subscribe to the notion that part of my role in life demands that I become the tool of the institutions of tyranny and punishment for victimless crimes. But I do subscribe to the view expressed by a famous frontier judge, when he hanged a horse thief, but turned a man loose who’d killed a man who was threatening his family, “There are men who need killing, but there are no horses that need stealing.” I don’t believe the definition men who “need killing” is confined to lousy neighborhoods, nor are the hiding places for such men necessarily outside the institutions of “justice.” How we approach such matters, as I’ve suggested, is vaguely “spiritual.”

Flying Story: Citabria Killeen

I spent several years trying to find new ways to frighten myself in a 1947 Cessna 140 without killing myself. Lots of hair-raisers and close calls in the left seat.

But I was with a guy who later became an airline pilot one day in his Aerocobra, him piloting, and came nearest to scaring the pants off me.

We were buzzing the house of a pilot friend during the super bowl game, lower and lower, then up, hard around and back down and over.

The guy in the house came running out and sprayed us with the water hose….. spray all over the windshield and we couldn’t see anything except out the side windows.

We had a lot of airspeed coming down so John pulled the nose up hard and up we went until the airspeed was gone gone gone and we were a couple of held-breaths from being scattered all over someones yard.

Last possible fraction of a second John kicked the rudder hard over and we reversed nose down, plane falling, not flying. Full throttle and the plane got enough fly into the wings to allow him to pull the nose up in time to knock down the television antenna, tear up the prop and send guy-wires from the antenna whipping around battering and tearing the wingtips.

We staggered back to the airport and hid the plane in John’s hanger hoping to avoid an FAA in-flight accident report.

Close enough for government work.

Lion in Winter and Anthony Hopkins

Hi readers.   Thanks for coming by.

I was watching one of the half-dozen movies I consider the best of the 20th Century [and this one, thus far] for the 20th time a few days ago.   Kate Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine  and wossname, Peter O’Toole or someone as Henry II.    Loving every minute of it, but I was finding the guy who played Richard 1 fairly distracting.

I went back half dozen times to watch him speak, his facial features and the way he mouthed words.    Something damned familiar about him.   Out of place.

So finally I ran the credits and discovered the reason.    This was Hannibal the Cannibal from Silence of the Lamb, and various other not-too-bad movies I’d watched without recognizing it was Richard 1 I was seeing.

Well now, that was fun.   Here was young Richard before he went off crusading, becoming Lionheart, getting himself held hostage in France, Being away while his idiot brother, John, made himself the darker piece of the Robin Hood legend.

Yeah, there it all was, old Richard the Cannibal and Lackland John, a Magna Carta  looming out there a few decades away.

But that would be what?   1215 or so and those would be years with a lot of history packed inside them   Lion in Winter would be nearer 1167, 68, and all those brothers and their parents squabbling with enough venom to satisfy most purposes over who would be the heir to the throne.

Great movie.    I was trying last night to remember what the several other movies are I considered the best every…   Jeanne helped me remember a few which I’ve mostly forgotten now.     But one was The Rainmaker, with Kate Hepburn and Burt Lancaster.

Another was Doctor Strangelove, with Peter Sellers and one heck of a cast.

I’ve tried to persuade Jeanne to watch most of my favorites sometime during the almost-20 years we’ve known one another, so maybe she can add the ones I’m forgetting.

But if she can’t, you’d gift yourself a couple of hours of pleasure if you call up your library page and put Lion in Winter on hold.    Likely as not they still have a copy somewhere in their system.


Old Jules



VA Overrun by critters

old dom

A few of these abandoned wards ….. the old ‘domiciliary’ are being rebuilt to rent out as apartments.   Naturally because they’ve been abandoned for decades virtually without any maintenance or upkeep they’re the home to countless varmints, predatory birds, bats, feral cats, coons, possum, skunk and the occasional groundhog.

Needless to say, this is the year someone in the lofty realms of management decided to allow the residents here a ‘community garden’, also.

Turns out, I’m the only resident with a passion for a garden.   So, while they cut a 30×30 foot piece out of the yard outside my window in a fit of delusional optimism, I’m only farming about 300 square feet of it.  Feeling every moment of my74-and-some-change years.

A guy came out with a tiller on a tractor and did his patriotic best.   Cut slices of this red clay that was actually quarried and used to make the bricks you see on those buildings in the photo.    Tiller guy got off his tractor and observed for those of us standing around watching in horror and awe, “Not really the best soil for a garden.”

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing with my time instead of blogging or going on FaceBook.    Testing the ability of my heart to continue function when I’d have to feel better to die.   But I planted okra, several varieties of peppers, garlic, onions, chives, cilantro, …… 90 linear feet of rows.

Bought lots of cow manure in bags, bought lots of earthworms down at the bait shop.   Bought an anti-bird net to try to keep the robins off the earthworms.   And so on.

It’s good, been good, and I figure although there’s a middling chance one thing or another will result in me not getting anything worth mentioning out of the garden this year, I’ll have all summer to build up the soil and maybe next year, when I’m 75 and wiser, I’ll be able to eat something I planted out there.

Meanwhile, I’ve got garlic, peppers, cilantro, and mustard greens in planters on the back porch.  And I’ve got a Best Boy and a Roma tomato plant with plenty of blossoms.  So I don’t need no stinking garden.

Have a happy Cinco de Mayo.     That means FIFTH of Mayo in English.

Old Jules

Tinker to Evers to Chance

Three of the past four months I’ve been blocked from Facebook thirty days at a time with brief intervals between so’s to allow me the freedom to get blocked again.     The what?  reason?  explanation?  Ah well, the nature of the offenses have been comments made in reference to two [2] different issues about which I hold opinions Facebook finds unacceptable.

The first was the Israeli occupation and annexation of the parts of Jerusalem that are outside the boundaries of Israel established by International Law in 1947.   Evidently Facebook and many FB users find this opinion to be antisemitic and offensive.

Similarly an opinion expressed involving the IDF molestation of a pre-adolescent Palestinian youth in the Hebron area where Israel has confiscated homes and land from the owners outside the International Boundaries of Israel was worthy of a second 30 day block from Facebook use.

And finally, strong skepticism concerning US military activities in Syria, the motives for those activities, and the complicity of Israel in those activities were the subject of a comment FB deleted and banned me another 30 days.

Facebook is a free service and I don’t argue their ‘right’ to disallow any sort of comments they wish, nor their punishment of commenters who express opinions they find unappropriated, or offensive.   Of course they have that right!  There are no ‘freedom of speech’ issues on Internet social media sites because they are all privately owned.    What would be the point of furnishing a service of that sort if you didn’t intend to use it to further your own agenda, whatever that agenda might be.

However, I think it can be said without danger of inaccuracy that even though the FB agenda isn’t stated outright, certain facets of that agenda can be deduced by the choices of what description of opinions to delete, and what opinion-holders to punish for having expressed those opinions.

Life is a learning experience and I’m gratified to discover I live in a world where supporting Semitic Palestinians to preserve their homes from theft by a secular state controlled by invading European Jews is anti-Semitic.

And that believing the US government is performing as a puppet to the only nation on earth named for a family, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, in its involvement in Syria is also offensive enough to be worthy of punishment by a social medium seems a statement worthy of the 21sc Century.

Old Jules

Resolving resolved issues

The thing about your life flashing before your eyes is the real deal, except it doesn’t flash and it doesn’t wait until the last minute so’s to have to rush around and maybe forget something.  But if you get into your 70s and have any memory left, I can promise you you’ll find yourself re-living all the tiny events of your life you thought nothing about at the time.   Then, a few nights or months or maybe years later, doing it again, and remembering you’ve done it, remembered it before this time.

For instance, I was thinking the other night about an incident on the playground when I was in the fourth grade in grammar school.   It was an incident I’ve written about here involving a kid named Winkie Hodges, and another named Keith Kelt.  [They still call him Winkie – posted July 29, 2014]

But this time I was remembering it all in a different context.   I was thinking about several of us who were around at that time, but who lived to a ripe old age.   One died a few months ago – Eddie Hiner – and I was thinking about how surprised we would have been back then if someone had told us, “Hey kid…..let me flash your life before your eyes [the way it gets flashed backward nowadays but faster] and give you a look at what you think as an old man was valuable about your life.   What was worth doing.   What was worth remembering.

I don’t think it would have changed much about our lives, but we’d probably have shuddered some and figured it was a nightmare.    Everything I thought I wanted out of life back then, everything I thought made life worth living, got replaced and eroded so many times I should have realized a lot sooner how little difference any of it actually made.

The area between this old 1890s house I live in and the next one over is all grass.   We’ve been told they’re going to let us put in a ‘community garden’.   Got my fingers itching to dig them around in some cow manure and soil.    Went out and bought a Roma and a Big Boy each tomatoes to put in the solarium porch… [one’s going to blossom tonight or tomorrow – but stumbling blocks keep showing up for starting to dig that community garden].

But my point is, breaking up a little dirt, putting some seeds down, it’s probably as important ans anything I’ve ever done this lifetime, and that’s just fine.   In fact, I’d count it as important as anything anyone I knew this lifetime ever did, too [at least anything they did that I knew about].

So I’m wondering how everything came to be so complicated back then.   How Winkie, and Eddie Hiner, and Keith, and all those other kids ever came to believe there was something we could do that didn’t involve turning over some dirt, squeezing in some cow manure, and putting some seeds in the ground, that was going to produce something of lasting value.

In those days it was a given that old people were where you’d find wisdom.  By hindsight I tend to think wisdom escaped them, too.

The old men in that photo at the top of this post were out there at that time, doing what they’re doing in the photo.    I’m thinking they probably knew that thing about putting seeds in the ground and cowshit..

But they weren’t telling.

Old Jules


Have yourselves a merry little day all you Vietnam veterans!

And be sure to make time to stop by your Vietnam Veterans Prize Headquarters sometime today to pick up one or more of these great prizes before the US Congress privatizes the whole mess:

Vietnam vets prize headquarters

Everyone needs to replace those bifocals now and then and this is your chance to get a brand new clean pair and have a look at the world the way it is now!



Artillery ears getting you down?     Do you cup that hand behind the ear and tell that cashier, “Eh?   Say again?” Every time you go to the grocery store?

Your Vietnam Veterans Prize Headquarters has the answer for you…. they’ll take care of those attempts at lip reading in a jiffy!

Diabetes?   Yeah, those needles and insulin are getting expensive, too!

But not for you!    Just stop by the prize HQ and claim yours.

Knees?   Hips?   Ankles?   Feet?   While you’re there, pick up a cane.

The old ticker running down on you?  Have them check out your pacemaker!

Yes, all that and more.    When you finish and you’re ready to head for the parking lot, stop by the rehab office and pick up one of these beauties!

It doesn’t get any better than that!

Thank you for that war.   We couldn’t have done it without you.

Old Jules

Seven decade tug-of-war between organized religion and the 1st Amendment

Nobody paid a lot of attention to issues of the ‘Separation of Church and State’ between Reynolds v. the United States in 1789 [upholding federal bigamy laws], and Everson v. The Board of Education, 1947 ruling it was okay for Catholic parents to be reimbursed for sending their kids to Catholic schools on buses, same as for public school kids using buses.

Those of us who attended public schools prior to Engels v. Vitale in 1962 managed to survive prayers coming over the intercom each morning without any permanent damage and the only eyebrows raised were in response to boredom.   In one school I attended, popular kids were selected each day to give the prayers and they seemed to compete with one another to add dramatic emphasis, but generally I’d count it all harmless.

Around that time Madalyn Murray O’Hair entered the picture and atheists became militant and vocal.   Maybe it was something in the water.    The Murray v. Curlett Supreme Court decision in 1963 ending religious study in public schools became a harbinger for a long series of religion versus state legal battles.

Maybe it was the times…. the fact is, a person declaring himself to be an atheist prior to the 1960s would have been asking for all manner of difficulties.   My granddad got a visit from the FBI out on his hardscrabble farm around 1953, because one of his neighbors reported he was an ‘atheistic Communist’.   In those times that was serious invective indeed.

But though I’ve spent almost all my adult life not subscribing to any organized religion, which in some circles damns me as an atheist, I’ve often thought the church/state religious battles that emerged to the US Supreme Court were mostly petty embarrassments.     If those were the worst infringements accusers could come up with insofar as the separation of church and state, it would have been better left alone than hold them up as evidence atheists were a lot of nit-picking whiners about nothing.

But that’s roughly what we’re left with.    Lawsuits filed, court time wasted about nativity scenes on courthouse lawns and plaques containing the Ten Commandments.

Ironically, now we see the Christian fundamentalists trying to establish a foothold as a state religion to protect the US from Islamics and scary Sharia Law.    While splinter groups of Mormons drift back into polygamy and assortments of Asian religious establishments creep into suburbia.

Keeping in mind that no legal battle arrives at the door of SCOTUS until it’s been through lower courts and appeal courts.    So the list below really doesn’t convey just how much legal time and money has found its way into the pockets of lawyers as a consequence of the determination of people who don’t want religion anywhere in their lives, and those who want their own religion to be implied as valid by display at public expense:

U.S. Supreme Court Decisions
(arranged by date)

Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1879)

Court finds that the federal antibigamy statute does not violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion.

Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947)

Court finds that a New Jersey law which included students of Catholic schools in reimbursements to parents who sent their children to school on buses operated by the public transportation system does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

McCollum v. Board of Education Dist. 71, 333 U.S. 203 (1948)

Court finds religious instruction in public schools a violation of the establishment clause and therefore unconstitutional.

Burstyn v. Wilson, 72 S. Ct. 777 (1952)

Government may not censor a motion picture because it is offensive to religious beliefs.

Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488 (1961)

Court holds that the state of Maryland cannot require applicants for public office to swear that they believed in the existence of God. The court unanimously rules that a religious test violates the Establishment Clause.

Engel v. Vitale, 82 S. Ct. 1261 (1962)

Any kind of prayer, composed by public school districts, even nondenominational prayer, is unconstitutional government sponsorship of religion.

Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963)

Court finds Bible reading over school intercom unconstitutional and Murray v. Curlett, 374 U.S. 203 (1963) – Court finds forcing a child to participate in Bible reading and prayer unconstitutional.

Epperson v. Arkansas, 89 S. Ct. 266 (1968)

State statue banning teaching of evolution is unconstitutional. A state cannot alter any element in a course of study in order to promote a religious point of view. A state’s attempt to hide behind a nonreligious motivation will not be given credence unless that state can show a secular reason as the foundation for its actions.

Lemon v. Kurtzman, 91 S. Ct. 2105 (1971)

Established the three part test for determining if an action of government violates First Amendment’s separation of church and state:
1) the government action must have a secular purpose;
2) its primary purpose must not be to inhibit or to advance religion;
3) there must be no excessive entanglement between government and religion.

Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980)

Court finds posting of the Ten Commandments in schools unconstitutional.

Wallace v. Jaffree, 105 S. Ct. 2479 (1985)

State’s moment of silence at public school statute is unconstitutional where legislative record reveals that motivation for statute was the encouragement of prayer. Court majority silent on whether “pure” moment of silence scheme, with no bias in favor of prayer or any other mental process, would be constitutional.

Edwards v. Aquillard, 107 S. Ct. 2573 (1987)

Unconstitutional for state to require teaching of “creation science” in all instances in which evolution is taught. Statute had a clear religious motivation.

Allegheny County v. ACLU, 492 U.S. 573 (1989)

Court finds that a nativity scene displayed inside a government building violates the Establishment Clause.

Lee v. Weisman, 112 S. Ct. 2649 (1992)

Unconstitutional for a school district to provide any clergy to perform nondenominational prayer at elementary or secondary school graduation. It involves government sponsorship of worship. Court majority was particularly concerned about psychological coercion to which children, as opposed to adults, would be subjected, by having prayers that may violate their beliefs recited at their graduation ceremonies.

Church of Lukumi Babalu Ave., Inc. v. Hialeah, 113 S. Ct. 2217 (1993)

City’s ban on killing animals for religious sacrifices, while allowing sport killing and hunting, was unconstitutional discrimination against the Santeria religion.

If you believe this isn’t over yet, you are probably correct.   Because even though religious affiliation in the US is evidently dropping somewhat rapidly, the strength of the fundamentalist right, the Latter Day Saints, the Jews, and the Islamics is gaining, rather than losing momentum.

There’s cause to suspect we’ll see at least another half century before any of the parties involved are powerless.    It’s a crapshoot who will be the last man standing.

Old Jules

Two rich men and the eye of a needle – Philosophy by limerick

Mark 10:25 – “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Some things don’t need to be said
And a jet plane can mess with your head
Oxygen deprivation
While preaching salvation
Makes camels appear to be thread.

Old Jules