Category Archives: Adventure

Adding adventure to commercial flying

Jack wrote this in March, 2006:

Morning blogsters:

Some days those feeds pay the price of admission.  Today is one such.

I see Canadian Airlines is being pondered in court.  Union says flight attendants, mostly women, are as valuable as the pilots and mechanics (mostly men) and should be paid the same.

In fact, having known, and flown beside a fair number of gents who became airline pilots, I think the flight attendants are probably worth more than the pilots.

As far as the mechanics, it’s a mixed bag.  Even though a lot of mechanics aren’t much count, I’d hate to go up in an airplane that hadn’t, at least, been examined by one occasionally.  Even if the mechanic’s drunk or on something, it’s better than nothing.

But I think Canadian Airlines might be missing out on getting into the leading edge of a new concept.  Adding fairness and adventure to flying, while cutting the cost in salaries.

When a person gets his boarding pass, his number is placed into a hopper.  Then, while everyone is standing in line by in the boarding area, they roll the squirrelcage around a few times and draw numbers for the pilot, co-pilot and navigator positions.

  • Passenger pilot: “Wow!  Cool!  I always wanted to fly one of these things!”
  • Passenger co-pilot: “No big deal.  They practically fly themselves.  About like driving a car with a 200 foot wingspan.  If you get nervous just hand the controls over to me.  I’m a long-haul truck-driver.”

Flight attendents?  Hire hire waitresses away from Denny’s and Applebys and let them try to survive on tips.

Wonder if there’s any way I can make Canadian Airlines pay me if they adopt this idea….

Someday I’ll tell you a few stories about flying, either in the same plane, or playing around in the air, future airline pilot in one airplane, me in another.  Chasing cows, throwing rolls of toilet paper out the window at 3000′ AGL and seeing how many times we could cut it without having a mid air collision, before it (or one of us) hit the ground.  That sort of thing.

Best to you,


Mexico trip complete

I don’t know when this was written, but after he quit seeing doctors for a long while  Jack went to Mexico for his prescription meds . –Jeanne

Mexico trip complete.  Home to the felines, with a gift bag to myself.  Another year of life.

Another time around the sun contained in these dozen plastic bottles rattling with medications.  Normal blood pressure. Pain and internal bleeding from acid reflux avoided 12 more months at the cost a few uninsured cents on the insured pharmaceutical US dollar.

Traitorous, cowardly purchases in these times when our nation needs our blind, unquestioning support.

Border guard:  “What country were you born in?”

Old man:  “This one.”

Border guard:  “What are these?”

Old man:  “Drugs”

Border guard:  “Who are they for?”

Old Man:  “Me.”

Border guard:  “Do you have a prescription?”

Old man:  “No.”

Border guard: (Shrugs).  “Go on through.”

Turnstile clockticks planet-wise around a steel post.

Foreign enemy homeland fades  (No. No. That was a different century.  They’re friends now.  If not friends, at least neutral.  They’ve mostly forgiven us for taking this spot of land from them by force of arms), pulsebeat slows.

A dozen Hail Marys and a flag-waving parade in penance, I promise.  I pop a cap and sink a Prinivil dry into mouth cavern, feel the rush of sinking blood pressure.


Ask Old Jules: Unhappy Women, How to treat a woman, Using scripture to fight demons

mexican saguaro

Old Jules, why do women become unhappier as they age?

I’m a dozen years older than you and a male so you can trust what I say to be true.

Women get unhappier, those of them who do, because they never learned to live with themselves without the belief they need someone to carry them around like a turd between two sticks, send them flowers, candy, do moonlight walks with them and be worried when they pout.

Women who come to that understanding with themselves are strong, self-sufficient and don’t become unhappier with every circuit of the star.

Men, on the other hand, have definitely become more pansy-assed than they used to be. Weaklings for the most part, because they try to live life like a spectator sport.

Old Jules, what can you tell me about how to treat a woman I care about?

I was only married 25 years, divorced 15 years ago. Still learning a lot, but I think there are some learnings I’ve gleaned from 45 years of intimate contacts with women.

1] Be attentive and listen to what they say, even if you don’t agree or like what you hear. The person probably knows you better than anyone else on the planet. Knows things about you that you don’t even know about yourself. Listen and consider what’s said, ponder whether it’s true, or untrue. And ponder whether, if true, it’s something you respect in yourself and don’t wish to change, or something you’d like yourself better if you changed. Not for the woman you care about, but for yourself.

2] Respect boundaries. Recognize the woman you care about is a human being with a life and desires unrelated to your own. Recognize for your own benefit and for hers that much of what goes on in her head, her heart, and her life is simply none of your business unless she chooses to tell you. Care enough about her to support her needs and goals even if they mean nothing to you.

3] Don’t expect your woman, nor anyone else, to ‘make you happy’. That’s your responsibility. Not hers.

4] Don’t use the phrase, “You make me feel [fill in the blank]”. Nobody ‘makes you feel’ any way. People behave the way they do and you choose how you will feel about it.

5] Remember things you might consider unimportant if they are important to her. Valentines, anniversaries, birthdays and just simple hugs, hand-squeezes and touches mean a lot more to most women than they mean to many of us men. It’s a small thing to us, but frequently a big thing to them. Not doing it is nearly certain to result in frustration and tension.

6] Remember to say “I love you” frequently if you want to keep the woman you care about feeling you are the man she cares about.

Old Jules, what scripture do you use most in helping you fight your demons?

I’m fond of the one in Proverbs: “Better to go live alone in the woods than to try living with a contentious woman.”

End of Summer- 1965 (unpublished poem)

End of Summer

Autumn, harlot of the year
wanders past September shadows;
a coarse crisp whisper;
her breath, a steel blue wind kiss
on eyelid and cheek;
her touch a harvest moon lips
on forehead
her bare chill feet rustling
leaf carpet
as she creeps in to be my bedpartner.

Jack Purcell

Quid pro quo maybe

Jack wrote this in July, 2006:

I was in here working on the numbers when I heard Tabby talking through her nose thumping the screen door.  Went for a look and she had a mouth full of young finch.

I took it away from her.  Didn’t appear to be too badly injured, but was in that catatonic-I-ain’t-waking-up-to-die thing birds do, so I cupped it in my hands and shot some healing and calm into it.

About five minutes of that and the heartbeat was strong, it began to stir and do a bit of minor struggling.

So I took it over and put it on top of the trash barrel to see if it could fly.  It did.  Flew to the porch where Tabby was sitting, watching.

In less time than it takes to tell it she had it again.  This time there’s no question of me taking away from her again.  Meal time.

So, Mr. Bald Eagle.  Come in and get me, coppers.


The Rez – “Where commodity cheese rules!”

Jack wrote this in October, 2006:

I was browsing Native American forums, blogs and websites, reading about white racism.  One NA has a signature mentioning the Navajo Rez, “where commodity cheese rules!”

Don’t get me wrong.  The NAs on those sites weren’t complaining about all the privileges they get that non-Native Americans don’t.

But the accusations and complaints about racism in this government and among non-Natives got me thinking on the subject.

Racism manifests itself in a lot of ways.  Including patronizing, providing special privilege and freebies for no explainable reason.

I had to conclude, after thinking on it a while, they are absolutely right.  I can’t fathom any other explanation than racism for the commodity cheese, health care, tax-free land, and all the rest:

  • Do you (and your government) believe Native Americans are stupid?
  • Do you believe after more than a century of generations being schooled the same as your own children, that Native Americans are more ignorant than non-Native children when they come to the legal age of maturity.
  • Do you believe they are lazy and irresponsible?

I’ll bet you answered no on all counts.


So think about it.

Why are you providing Native Americans free commodities you have to pay for?

Why, exactly, do you believe Native Americans can’t get jobs, same as you do, to pay for their own food?

Why do you provide them roads and schools on the reservations with your tax money, when you have to also pay for the roads and schools in your own communities?

Why, exactly, do you believe Native Americans can’t pay taxes to build schools for their children and roads in their communities with their taxes the same as you do? 

Why do you believe they shouldn’t pay property taxes on their lands, same as you do?

You have to worry, try to find health insurance, pay for dentists, plan and save, give up other things so you can assure when you or your kids get sick there’s a doctor, a hospital.  Braces for their teeth, dentists to drill the cavities.

Why do you believe Native Americans can’t provide for their own health and dental care, same as you do?  Save, sacrifice, plan.  Same as you have to do in your own life?

The reason is obvious enough.

You are a racist.

Somewhere inside yourself you believe Native Americans are more ignorant than you, less intelligent, less responsible, shiftless. 

You believe they are a bunch of lazy drunks and can’t work, can’t plan, can’t take responsibility for their own lives.

No matter how much you pad it with sensitivity and phony warmth, with sentimentality and fantasies about how sweetly they love the land, with excuses about how badly men who have been dead centuries treated other long-dead men, the bottom line is you believe they can’t make it the same way you do. 

If you didn’t believe they were all those things, you’d scream to high heavenInstead, you hug yourselves with good feelings about all that’s being done for the NAs.  Give yourselves warm huggies.

And they hate you for it.

Nobody loves a racist.


Some thoughts about that 700 mile fence

Jack wrote this in October, 2006:

I keep hearing about the multi-billion dollar 700 mile fence debate, despite myself.  At first I thought it was a silly idea, doomed to just be a way of pouring a lot of money into the pockets of contractors using cheap Mexican labor.

But on second thought, if approached properly, I think it might be a boon, an improvement in the lives of a lot of people.

Consider this.  Suppose, instead of hiring contractors to build that fence and spending all that money, we use labor from our fullsome prisons.

Each day we send, say, a couple of thousand prisoners down to the International Border with a suitcase full of clothes, a pair of running shoes, hammers, shovels, and a hundred or so bucks to buy refreshments while they work.

For each group of a hundred or so, a guard.  A guard hired from one of the sheriff departments.  You know the sort.  The kind who would consider it a cramping imposition to squeeze another person into the front seat of a full-sized automobile with him.

The fence might take a while being built, but it would pay for itself many times over.

For every illegal alien crossing northward for honest work, hundreds of prostitutes, gang-raped-to-death 20 year-olds who got caught with an ounce of weed, wife beaters, child molesters, gangsters, robbers, and politicians-caught-with-a-hand-in-the-till would probably escape to the south.

They’d have all their fences behind them.  Those prisons in the US would empty, the cost of maintaining them would vanish.

All those folk who used to be prison guards would have to go back to selling dope to school kids, doing stickups at convenience stores, and eventually they, too, would have their day in the sun.

I like it.

A win-win-win is rarely seen in this life.


Avatar Meyer Baba

3.22.03 and back ups 095JackCDbackupJune03 173

Avatar Meyer Baba

Desert sun
And oven wind

Who were you
And what happened?

In 1969 someone built
A shrine in the desert
A shrine for you

Maintained it for many years
Fresh palm leaves inside
In the alter area
I believed so long
Was an urn
For your ashes
I thought

Fresh paint on the shrine
The sign kept your picture
There, safe

Desert sun
And oven wind

Chain link fence
Around an acre or three
Set up with water
So the world could
Come to you here

A world that never came

Desert sun
And oven wind

I watched the keepers
Grow old
And never saw them

Watched the paint crack
The palm leaves
Gradually became
Less frequent
Until they ceased

In favor of
Easier plant life

Desert sun
And oven wind

And knew

Those who remembered
Were stooping
Under the weight
Of years

Desert sun
And oven wind

Revisited after a pause
Three years ago
And found the names
Scratched away
Bernal Rubias
Reyda Fresna

Your picture
Torn from the sign
By vandals

Desert sun
And oven wind

“I am the ancient
And I come
To Redeem
The modern

A world that never came
Desert sun
And oven wind


From Poems of the New Old West by Jack Purcell, copyright 2003
(This shrine can be seen in Columbus, New Mexico)

Ask Old Jules: Space travel, Wounded Knee, Memory of Universe, Development of America

Harper, TX 2010 123

Old Jules, suppose you had your own private spacecraft capable of interstellar flight.  So you travel to a distant world that you suspect is populated.
You see cities and towns, and  there groups at war.  In other areas there is nothing but plant life. You want to explore, so where would you land?

I’d try to find a safe place to land on each of the warring sides, try to establish communications, and explain to them they need to quit fighting because there’s a race of human beings back where I came from. Explain that once I get back and report they’re here, likely or not there’ll be human beings who aren’t much good at anything but killing, who’ll be coming along ecstatic to know there’s something new they can kill.

I’d pass on all the human weapons, defense,  and strategy I was privy to so’s to give them half a chance. Let them know they need to batten down the hatches, quit fighting, get together and figure out what kind of weaponry they’re going to need to fight off a species of lunatic savages.

 Old Jules, why did historians refer to Wounded Knee as a “battle” and what does this say about the ways in which we should evaluate historical accounts?

Calling it a battle was a means of legitimatizing what happened, a way to imply it wasn’t what it was. It says we should take a careful critical, unbiased and analytical look at all historical events. Particularly watching for nuance, implications, propagandizing and what goes unsaid.

Old Jules, has the universe any kind of memory?

Yes. The universe has both a long-term memory and a short-term memory.

The long-term memory is used to keep track of how the expansion is coming along, doing the occasional reality check, etc.

The short-term memory is used to track specific projects, such as Sol (our star) reversing magnetic poles every eleven years, that sort of thing.

Old Jules, how long did it take America to develop after its independence?

Development in the US lasted until after WWII, when the Marshall Plan began the gradual decline by rebuilding industry in Japan and Germany, creating the beginnings of US industry being unable to compete.

The slide downhill gained speed when US industrialists began selling technology and outsourcing for products produced in the Third World as a means of lowering prices through cheap labor.

Today development inside the US has pretty well halted except within a few narrow areas. Almost everything a US citizen uses in daily life is manufactured or produced outside US boundaries except for some food.

Old Jules, what is worth knowing and what would you rather not know?

It’s worth knowing that we don’t actually know anything. Then it’s worth knowing that again every time we think we know something.

The International 700-Yard Fence Olympics


We’re missing a good bet here.

How about this?

Instead of a worthless, meaningless, ineffective and costly 700 mile fence, suppose we build the same fence 700 yards long, with bleachers, ticket booths for spectators.

Anyone who wishes to compete can do so, but only after having signed away all television and media rights.

Anyone who can cross the fence, or go around the end of it carrying whatever he wants to take with him is assured a hassle-free life in the country of his choice, only having to earn an honest living there.

The starter gun fires.  All down the line Chinamen who want to go to Hong Kong or Australia, Russian and Filipino women who want to find husbands in the US, gunrunners from the US with backpacks full of machine guns who want to go to more exciting places, starving Africans, pot-bellied from malnutrition, flies swarming over them, ribs showing, who want to go somewhere, anywhere out of the sun where there’s food…. Bang! goes the starter pistol.

The competitors run, walk, crawl to the fence, examine it, and decide whether to cut through, go over, go around.  Same as they’d have done if it were 700 miles long.

The way things are going in this land, I think there might come a day when a lot of American citizens are down there, televisions packed up on their backs, pizzas and hamburgers in their lunchkits, crouched on the starting line waiting for the pistol.

I might be there myself.  A cage full of angry cats on my back, trying for some deserted island somewhere.