Category Archives: Adventure

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,

About the London events (terrorist attacks)

Jack wrote this in July, 2005:

I figure this is going to be a subject that’s going to be beaten to death all over the internet for a while, so I might as well muscle up to the trough early.

I usually try not to give current news events more attention than they deserve.  However, someone sent me an email saying there were terrorist attacks in London, suggesting I turn on my TV.  When I responded that I don’t have a TV along came a link to Fox News.

I pondered this a while, wondering idly about the magnitude of the event, wondering vaguely about whether it was time for an addendum to my gratitude affirmations for being old enough to have been inoculated against smallpox.

Gradually my curiosity got the better of me and I found myself clicking the link to the story.

Seems there’s been some Englishmen and other Brittishers who won’t be living as long as they’d supposed as a result of a series of coordinated explosions.  These explosions were particularly loathsome because they were the actions, not of good Christian Catholic IRA terrorists, which the Brits are accustomed to, but rather by nasty Muslims with absolutely none of the milk of Christian human kindness and brotherly love coursing through their veins.

Still, careful reading of the story assured me the attack wasn’t on a scale of, say, the German Luftwaffe WWII bombing of Coventry or the US/British bombing of Hamburg.  None of those theater nukes sold off the back doorstep of the Soviet Union flattening half of London yet.  No need, just yet, to examine the pucker left by the old smallpox vaccination of my youth.

Likely as not they’re saving those theater nukes and vanished-from-the-laboratory smallpox bugs  for a more savory, delicious target elsewhere.

Measured in terms of body counts he US and the European nations have grown accustomed to a relatively economical kind of warfare.  From the Falklands to the Gulf War(s) they’ve sat at home cheering the evening news, applauding scenes such as the one in London this morning happening to human beings located on elsewhere geography.

It’s puzzling the USSR in Afghanisomething-or-other, even with overwhelming force, superior weaponry and cold willingness to use napalm on a civilian population never had such a long run of luck.

And, make no mistake.  A long run of luck is what it’s been.  Those explosions rocking London today might well mark a shift in the wind direction, a preview of coming attractions.

A man I used to know had been a Hungarian tank commander on the Eastern front during WWII.  (He bore a strikiing resemblence an aging to Robert Shaw in his role as a German tank commander in Battle of the Bulge).  He was there for the Axis invasion of the USSR, all the way to the suburbs of Moscow.

I asked him once about the experience, knowing he was unrepentent, knowing he was an unreconstructed Nazi who’d escaped to South America after managing to surrender to American forces.

Those were heady times,” he smiled, Kind of fun, actually.  Going up against infantry and squadrons of Soviet cavalry in an armored vehicle.  Sometimes you might kill a hundred men before breakfast.

He stopped and pondered a moment.

Then they got the T-34.  That took a lot of the fun out of it.”


Ask Old Jules: Relationship issues, Individual uniqueness, Life without purpose, Is life what you expected


Old Jules, do you think is it always One Man-One Woman (or other couple situations) or can we have a bunch of best friends in our life with whom we can share everything in our life?

Any relationship not involving ownership and dependency would be an improvement in my opinion. My personal view is that most male/female relationships get serious a bit prematurely and that sets of unspoken expectations result. Assumed agreements never agreed to by both parties, frequently never even verbalized, which eventually lead to accusations, misunderstandings, more unspoken resentments and guilt.

I think human beings would do better in relationships if they sat down when they saw something serious coming down the pike, each carefully thinking through how much and what he/she expects of a partner in a meaningful relationship, writes it down and thoroughly discusses every aspect and nuance, short-term and long term.

Probably even something in the form of a written contract each can draw out in future times, examine what he/she actually agreed to and whether behavior has actually fallen short of it, or whether ex-post-facto expectations have crept in and become a source of problems.

Of the countless failed relationships I’ve observed [and experienced] over the past decades I believe most wouldn’t have developed at all beyond something temporary and pleasant, or wouldn’t have failed eventually had this been part of the early process.

But I’ve also observed that during the early stages both sides are hiding, holding back, avoiding all manner of matters and expectations which will later become important. Tacit dishonesty based on the ‘I don’t like this about him/her, but I’ll work on changing him/her after he/she is ‘hooked’.

Though probably nobody consciously comes out and directly articulates it to himself/herself.

Old Jules, what’s something unique and strange that makes you, you?

I’m a hermit getting along towards 70 years old living in the middle of nowhere in Texas. I talk to my large flock of free ranging chickens and my four cats. I don’t listen to the radio, don’t have a television, and I once almost went an entire presidential term without knowing who was prez. I became a private pilot by buying an airplane, hiring an instructor, firing him when I got sick of his antics and soloing myself. I had more than 500 hours logged before I ever applied to take an FAA test ride and get a license.

Old Jules, why should I live a life without purpose or happiness?
For a non-drinker the phrase, “You never water good whiskey down,” is meaningless.

I don’t drink much but on special occasions I enjoy a shot of sipping whiskey.
If there’s a reason you should live your life without purpose or happiness it might be because you eventually discover you’ve been watering down good whiskey and all you need to do is take it straight and sip.

Old Jules, has your life been what you expected? If not, in the end does it really matter?

I don’t believe I could have ever imagined much of it ahead of time, but it’s a smile and it’s been a constant adventure. When people talk about being bored I file it away as something to look into next lifetime to see if it’s as interesting as not being bored.

I don’t believe anything about this lifetime is going to end unless I manage to figure out how to do it right so’s I don’t get into the same set of challenges next time around. The prospect gives me a strong motive.

Something that came to mind

Jack wrote this in June, 2005:

aye’ made a comment on this blog a couple of entries ago that I’ve been thinking about some. Comment was an observation obliquely involving focus.

Brought to mind something I saw a few years ago over an extended period, sort of fits.

The hottest blackjack dealer I’ve ever seen was a young man who looked straight ahead, watched the whole table out of the corners of his eyes, peripheral. He didn’t want to be hot. It killed his tips when he emptied the table and filled the tray with player chips. Almost every new dealer is hot for a few months, but this kid dealt for two years, remained hot as a two-dollar pistol.

Well, I got to be on pretty good terms with him…. he was a Laguna, and I had some interests on tribal lands ‘way off south on the Rez, so we made a trip or two together, but talking about his ‘hot’ problem. He didn’t know what to make of it.

There are some not-too-generally-known ‘psi’ practices that also involve doing just about what he was doing to make things happen…. looking at things out of the ‘corner-of-your-eye-of-the-mind’.

I’d wondered if maybe that wasn’t what he was doing without knowing it.

So I suggested that he try just allowing his eyes to wander over the table and cut out that staring straight ahead thing he did.

It brought immediate improvement…. he started losing about the right amount, same as other dealers.

Then he did something stupid coincidental with his having to pee into a bottle a few days later on a random test and lost his job.

Nice kid, though.


Presidents Day – Remember those you can’t recall

Jack wrote this in February, 2006:

If you remember them they’re best forgotten.

So, here we are, blogsters.  Good morning to you.

Another Presidents Day’s rolled around.  I hope it hasn’t caught you unprepared.  All you bank employees, Postal workers, government agency employees home from work getting ready to kick up your heels in remembrance.

Hope you got all your shopping done early.  However, today I want to remind you of a couple of things that are often forgotten, get lost in all the hoopla of Presidents Day, most venerated of times.

Think of Franklin Pierce, of Millard Fillmore, of McKinley, Taft and Dwight Eisenhower.

What makes for a truly great President of the US, blogsters?  What symptoms of greatness do you search for?

He’s forgotten.

He managed to pass through the office of President without doing anything much to be remembered for.  He didn’t get enough of his fellow Americans killed to stick in the headlines of memory.

That’s right, blogsters.  The greatest US Presidents are the ones who let the country run itself as it’s supposed to.  They didn’t try to be kings.

They let Congress do the jobs Congress is charged to do by the Constitution, they signed and vetoed Bills put before them by Congress, they signed budget proposals, and didn’t get overly impressed with the powers of office.  If there was a war to be fought, they let Congress declare it to be so, and if Congress hadn’t done so they got us the hell out of it.

They managed to remember that Americans never really wanted a king.

Franklin PierceMillard Fillmore, McKinley, Taft, Dwight Eisenhower and the others you can’t recall.

Those were the great US Presidents.  The ones with names you don’t recognize.  The ones who didn’t try to be kings.


Say It Like You Mean It

From Poems of the New Old West:

Say It Like You Mean It

(Trust me on this)


Send her roses now and then

A box of chocolates might help

She loves to hear, “I love you”

Even if you don’t

Candy lies with chocolates and roses


When things get bad

And the secretary winks

Keep in mind

This won’t make it any better


Keep your valentines at home

Secretaries don’t come easy

And two women in your life

Ain’t a big improvement

Over one


When the embers cease to glow

Don’t forget or you’ll regret

You forgot the anniversary

There’s nothing out there better


Give her candlelight and roses

Candy lies with candlelight and roses


From Poems of the New Old West

Copyright 2002, Jack Purcell


There’s something noble in satisfying her yearnings for romance.  It won’t cost you much and, for some reason I never understood, she needs it.


Clear-headed thinking

Jack wrote this in June, 2005:

I read somewhere about fifty years ago that you can tell the exact moment of dawn by holding a white thread at arms length and when you’re able to distinguish whether the thread is black or white, it’s dawn.  I’ve always intended to try that sometime.  But I’ve never been able to make it a priority enough to remember to do it.  Can’t think of a single reason, that time of the morning, to want to know the exact moment of dawn.

You can get a fair bead on when it is because of all the night critters tucking themselves in and yawning, and all the day critters walking around yawning and wiping the sleep from their eyes.  Makes it a good time for the cats, because nothing’s as alert as it might be, except felines.

Occasionally one of the closeby people will see a pair of coyotes run between our houses on their way to a lair in that pile of wood in the thicket yonder about this time, but after they’ve killed a few pets bunched up too closely together in time, things tend to get too hot for them to be showing themselves for a while.

But I see I’m rambling …. I was planning to offer up a few observations about those Mega Millions numbers last night, but I think I’d best put on some coffee, instead, and go out front for another smoke while I wait for it to burble.


Ask Old Jules: Aspects of the ’40s and ’50s, History of open range ranching, War/Peace, Why study history

3.22.03 and back ups 1098

Old Jules, what were some of the social, political, and religious aspects of the 1940’s and 1950’s?
Socially everyone got together and played canasta or dominos while the kids ran around finding ways to get into trouble without being noticed while they did it. No such event ever happened without one father or another taking off his belt and giving his kid a strapping on the behind.

Politically, most people supported the government, worried about Communism, hated Harry Truman, Ike, and Keefaufer with his coonskin hat. The UnAmerican Activities Committee filled the radios daytimes, and the investigations of the US prisoners from Korea who were accused of collaborating with the enemy. The ‘cheerleaders’, white housewives, went out every day in Arkansas to yell insults and harass eleven black children who were being integrated into ‘white’ schools, accompanied by US Marshalls to protect them from the cheerleaders and the Arkansas National Guard placed there by Governor Orville Faubus to keep them from attending.

Religious, most people were Christians. The more they hated blacks the more Christian they were. They also hated Mormons, in most areas, Catholics, Hispanics, and whatever ethnic groups and religious denominations they weren’t members of.

As a youngster I witnessed heated, vicious debates between Church of Christ kids and Baptist kids about which of them were doomed to hell and which would be going to heaven. The favorite putdown for days afterward:

“I won’t be seeing YOU there!”

Old Jules, what can you tell me about open range ranching in the 1800s?

It still exists in a lot of states. The person owning the livestock isn’t responsible for fencing them in. Instead, anyone who doesn’t want them grazing and damaging his property has to fence them out. Cattle graze across public highways and if someone hits one he’s responsible for the damages, both to the animal and to his own vehicle (if the road had a sign on it showing a cow on a yellow background).

It’s a holdover from the wild west days when ranchers developed a tradition of running roughshod over anyone who got in their way, and they still do it and the cattleman organizations are powerful enough to keep it that way.

Old Jules, what are some of the disadvantages of war and advantages of peace?

The disadvantage of wars is that usually both sides begin them with the expectation of winning and one or the other side eventually is proven to be wrong. This fact becomes established at the cost of large reductions in the size of the gene pool on both sides among men of reproductive age.

As a rule, wars breed physical and moral cowardice, overall reductions in character and intelligence, and reduced incentives in succeeding generations because of this gene pool phenomenon.

The advantage of peace is that it’s cheap, easy, and the patriots can’t get their claws into the aftermath, make money from the exercise, and gain power so thoroughly and rapidly.

Old Jules, why should I study history?

Nobody who quotes the cliche can go a step further and show where any mistake in history was avoided by knowing history. The opposite is true.

You are required to study and memorize something called history to indoctrinate you to the views your elders and government believe you should be indoctrinated to in order for you to hold the viewpoints they wish you to hold. You need to know the names of forgotten, obscure females of the past so’s to give modern females a feeling of worth and an idea they, themselves might possibly accomplish something in life (implying they couldn’t do so if there weren’t obscure females in history who did something worth memorizing).

You are required to memorize facts about oppressed peoples and slavery so you will feel sorry about it and will conclude those people of the past who experienced hardship represent an explanation for their descendants who didn’t experience it to have reason for resentment and frequently an excuse for resisting becoming educated so’s they have a chance to amount to something.

There are solid reasons you are required to study history, though nobody cares whether you actually learn it, but those reasons don’t include anything akin to history.