Author Archives: Old Jules

That time again

We’ve seen enough  to allow us to draw some conclusions about the White House and those who occupy it these days.   They’re not bothering to wear masks anymore.

The storm of finger pointing and claims of authoritative evidence this side, that side, or some other side the daily deluge is not  going to bring sanity into the equation.  When all parties and at least two foreign governments illegally influenced the last elections or otherwise sold the country out maybe it’s time to back away a while.   See who’s left standing when the dust settles.

I seems clear nobody’s going to come out of this thing clean if they’ve occupied the White House since 1992, or aspired to occupy it.   And the irony that everyone in the White House or aspiring to be there sold their souls to the Russians ought to be funny because it’s too overwhelmingly absurd to be anything else.

What we do know, or ought to know, is that one way to become wealthy is get elected to National Office.   And that doing what makes you wealthy once in office is evidently universally irresistible.   Even when the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court dies in spang in the middle of a piece of a bribe payoff it barely raises an eyebrow.   It certainly doesn’t interrupt the public display of remorse at his loss.

I get all my news off Facebook and from Johnny, my neighbor-across-the-hall, who owns a television.   Watches sports, stock-car racing, weather, and picks up the occasional piece of juicy Washington gossip.

Which might be too much news for me to stomach.

Back in the Clinton years I vowed to go through an entire presidential term without knowing who was in the White House.   I would have succeeded, I think, were it not from the interruption of 9-11.   After that I gradually allowed news to creep back into my consciousness.

Now, it seems I can resign myself to be constantly dumbstruck, or I can just retreat back into my worship of Old Sol, listen to Gregorian chants mornings, classical music the rest of the day, and leave current events to those who love knowing them.

If I have the will power to manage it.

Old Jules

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What ever happened to William Zantzinger?

William Zantzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll with a cane that he twirled ’round his diamond ringed finger.

Hi readers.    I noticed earlier today I was singing ‘The Lonesome Death of Poor Hattie Carroll” by Bobby Dylan back around 1964.   Surprisingly I seem to remember all the words.

Anyway, I smiled at myself as I sang it, rewarding myself for even noticing I was singing it.    Song ran through my head a while and I remembered a nasty incident sometime in the early 1970s when I played the song for my step-dad, which he had no appreciation for.

But then I began wondering what the hell ever happened to William Zantzinger, the rich tobacco farmer who killed a black woman with eleven children with is cane because she was slow serving him drinks.

Of course, we know he got a six month sentence.   But after that?

After prison, Mr. Zantzinger left the farm and went into real estate. He sold antiques, became an auctioneer and owned a night club.

In 1991, The Maryland Independent disclosed that Mr. Zantzinger had been collecting rent from black families living in shanties that he no longer owned; Charles County, Md., had foreclosed on them for unpaid taxes. The shanties lacked running water, toilets or outhouses. Not only had Mr. Zantzinger collected rent for properties he did not own, he also went to court to demand past-due rent, and won.

He pleaded guilty to 50 misdemeanor counts of deceptive trade practices, paid $62,000 in penalties and, under an 18-month sentence, spent only nights in jail.

Information on Mr. Zantzinger’s survivors was unavailable. Though he long refused interviews, he did speak to the author Howard Sounes for his book “Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan” (2001) , telling him of his scorn for Mr. Dylan.

“I should have sued him and put him in jail,” he said.

Damn!   And he lived such a GOOD life.   Who’d have thought it back in 1963 when he was whacking Hattie Carroll in the head with a cane?

RIP.

Old Jules

Disturbing insights

This ignorant cracker entered the US Army in 1961 during the Berlin Crisis [when the Berlin Wall went up]. Given the similarities of patriotic rhetoric between countries he’d as happily taken the orders of an Adolph Hitler as John Kennedy.

Yesterday I was down at the laundromat, which was a bit crowded with the lower-end of the socioeconomic scale of Leavenworth, Kansas.   But because of the time of day, most were senior citizens or younger wives with kiddos.   Several old Vietnam era vets and a couple of granny-ladies.

When it’s that crowded in the place it forces people to become social instead of just staring at the clothing tumbling in their washers or dryers.   And when strangers discuss anything these days it will be sports, television, politics, or Muslims, for the most part.   Some of which inevitably leads to confessions of some nasty hatreds and deep biases.

I was a bit shocked when the discussion centered almost entirely on the president and the enthusiasm shared among the ones who were vocal on the subject.    These people, senior citizens who obviously rely on Social Security pensions and Medicare, are still devoted and determined to to see this president and the Congress with intentions to destroy their Medicare and Social Security remain in office.   Increase their power.

I’ll confess to have been quietly dumbfounded.   They sneered at the class of people who are openly critical or have doubts about the prez and the Congress that’s likely to put them out on the streets cold an hungry.  And the old vets were noisy about the opposition being expressed in some quarters to a proposed military parade somewhere.   Which I couldn’t care less about one way or the other.

But I’ve digressed somewhat.    All that got me remembering, wondering just what sort of people we veterans are, on the whole.   Obviously we aren’t deep thinkers.    And while many spout patriotic rhetoric and indignation, as nearly as I can tell most have remained the ignorant crackers most of us were back when we entered the military 50 years or so ago.

But what’s more disturbing than our lack of growth and acquired wisdom over the decades, is the fact so many of us evidently are using our stupidity as a launchpad for active participation in the political process.

To demolish our own livelihood.

Figure that one out.

Old Jules

Old Sol’s becoming difficult again

ROARING BEAVER APPEARS IN NORTHERN LIGHTS: Seeing animals in clouds is a physiological phenomenon called pareidolia. On Feb. 6th, Markus Varik of Tromsø, Norway, experienced auroradolia. “We saw a roaring beaver in the Northern Lights!” he says.

Hi readers.

“Things got even stranger after that. “The shapes we witnessed were unlike anything I have ever seen before as an aurora tour guide,” says Varik. “For about 30 minutes the lights transformed from a beaver to Mother Theresa and many other things. Our guests were as happy as can be!”

“Warning: Auroradolia may be contagious. Browse the gallery for more examples.”     Spaceweather.com

This morning while praying up Old Sol I was so distracted by Sunspot AR2699 that I neglected to pay proper homage to the coronal hole on the northeastern face of our star.    It’s Old Sol’s way of sending us videos to communicate his reactions to happenings on earth via a solar wind coming off that coronal hole.

old sol coronal hole feb 8 2018

As you can easily see, Old Sol has some issues at the moment.   When he comes to earth and does the Roaring Beaver, heck, there’s just no telling what he’ll do next.

But stay tuned and remember where you heard it.

Old Jules

 

Ponderings for the idle mind

bookstack

I was sitting on the john the other day and began wondering how many rolls of toilet paper I’ve been through in my life. Got to figuring it out in my head based on a roll every two weeks for 74 years roughly.

Comes out to almost 2000 rolls. Just think about that a moment.

Figure a roll is six inches high and six in diameter. it would take a middling size storage locker just to store it all if my parents had to buy it as soon as I got out of the hospital. And I’d have had to drag it around with me all my life in some sort of trailer, I suppose.

But of course as the years went by the amount of paper to haul behind me would have gradually diminished.    By now I’d be down to a manageable sized load, I expect.

Gosh, I wonder if I could know how much longer I am going to live by counting how many rolls are left?

Something to think about if you forgot to bring in something to read.

Old Jules

I won’t tolerate rude behavior

Israeli soldier and a couple of Palestinian children in the ‘occupied territories’.

Hi readers.   Thanks for coming by for a read.

How in the world did we human beings come to be such violent animals?

It’s tempting to conjecture it was after we became ‘civilized’, but that can’t be it.   A person would have to search deeply and far to find aboriginals who aren’t as savage as the Israeli soldier pictured above.    People anywhere no matter what their level of weaponry, cultural sophistication, religious convictions, when they discover someone has something they want, become savages.

And what they want doesn’t have to be, as in the case of the Israelis, land to steal from the people who own it.    Virtually anything of current value will do, and almost any quantity.    Or, failing that, when it comes to killing the ambiguous and abstract can serve as well.

I suppose we’re fond of telling ourselves that unlike our savage ancestors, our own killing and stealing is necessary, patriotic if it’s done by soldiery.   Or if it’s done because of some threat we can contrive the people we wish to kill or rob pose to our tribe.    From down in the streets in drive-by shootings all the way up through the braided channels of finance, race, ethnicity, language and tribe in the undercurrent of our lives.

Our males, young and old, abdicate their moral and ethical choices to politicians they wouldn’t trust to sell them a used automobile.   Politicians who tell them who to kill, who the enemy is.

We hate it when someone kills for reasons we can’t pin to a category that allows revenge by genre.     Some insane fanatic with no ethnic, religious, or philosophical axe to grind slips into a theater, school, mall and starts shooting, sets off a bomb, kills all those people without giving us a target for our reciprocal hatred.

And we aren’t comfortable enough to even talk about the fact so many of those lone killers are veterans, or otherwise somehow connected to the military, were trained by the military to kill.    Maybe because that gets entirely too close to the core of something nobody cares to think about.    School kids in the US aren’t who we trained them to kill, though the training sufficed anyway.

In one of the big movies of the last century a Texas Ranger named Woodrow Call takes the gun away from a bad person we didn’t like and proceeds to beat the bad guy almost to death.     After he’s pulled of the bleeding wreck by several men and a horse, he comments, “He was rude.   I don’t tolerate rude behavior.”  And the audience giggles with satisfaction.

What a puzzlement.     Where the hell did we get so violent?

Old Jules

It’s no Disney World, but it still draws a lot of business

federal prison gated community

Hi readers.   Thanks for coming by.

A lot of you have probably never been to a federal prison, so I thought you might enjoy seeing one of our more famous local attractions.   A lot of people come here to see it and decide to stay a while.  It seems almost majestic to me, but of course I have a biased view, being a resident of the town.

People come from all over the country to see this place and hobnob with like minded residents.

Of course, there are five, or more prisons in this community [nobody seems sure] including one other federal one.   In addition to providing food and shelter for hundreds, maybe thousands of individuals, it’s a source of employment for multitudes.   In my coffee group meeting twice a month at the Council on Aging more than a fourth of the 20+ old guys who attend are retired from prison careers.    Interestingly, no long-time released inmates are part of the group.

Five gated communities in a single small urban environment might seem a lot for those accustomed to Santa Fe, Santa Barbara, or Tuscon.   But around here it feels just about right.    After all, there’d be no place for all those inmates to stay if we had fewer gated communities.

Old Jules