Category Archives: Free

Running from the law: The Great Cockfight Bust, or The Great C*ckfight Bust

El Palenque2

Hi readers.   Thanks for coming by for a read.  Those of you who have any morals and are offended by the alternative name for the male chicken will be soothed to see I’ve name this twice to avoid criticism.

Must have been 1996, 1997, I was living in Socorro, NM, and I got wind there was a major cock [c*ck] fight going to happen Saturday night.  They happened a few times a month in that area, and though official NM law allowed it as a local option at the time, murmurings in the State House rumored it was going to be prohibited soon.  They’d raided a couple of them in counties where the local option had people thinking it was legal.

Anyway, Saturday night I was at loose ends so I headed out to put hero roosters into my body of life experience.  The place was a mile beyond a gate and down a dirt road into the Rio Grande bosque.  The salt cedars opened up to a large cleared area of several acres with a large metal building toward the back.  Room to park 200 vehicles or more.

I got there early to look things over, still some daylight.  Maybe 20-30 cars and pickups in the lot, guys hanging around talking and smoking outside.  Moseyed into the barn, looked over the seating arrangements, looked a lot like an auction barn for livestock.  But with a cage blocked off in the center for the fighters and their handlers.

Nobody was in a hurry to go inside because it was hot in that barn.  I decided it would be hotter when the place filled up, so I staked a standing-up claim against the support for a tall sliding metal door at the back. 

When the place filled it was noisy, it was hot, and things were happening fast.  Bets, chickens, arms waving and yelling, every reason to be enamored of my place at the door.

But toward the shank of the evening a horn honked out in the parking lot and someone yelled, “Raid!  Cops!”  Sirens blaring, suddenly everyone inside stampeding for the doors.  I ran to the corner of the building and saw the parking lot was filled with flashing lightbars, half-dozen, maybe a dozen police cars.  Sheeze.  This is bullshit!  Guys running out toward their cars getting snagged by the cops.

So I ran like hell out into the bosque dodging salt cedars, rattlers, just put as much distance between myself and that barn as I could manage.  When I went knee deep in mud I knew I wasn’t going any further.  The Rio Grande was right in here somewhere close.

I tucked myself in next to a dead tree in a thicket of salt cedar and watched the lights through the trees, listened to the angry yells of men being arrested, watched the lights threading through the cedars chasing people trying to get away too late.  Waited, waited, felt ticks crawling all over me, found myself wondering about the rattlers, waited, more ticks, waited.

Gradually things calmed down, engines started, gradually the sirens stopped.  Things got really quiet.  But no way I was about to be fooled by that crap.  Full dark, I waited, listened.  Ticks by the hundreds crawling around on me.  Waited, caught myself dozing, jerked myself awake and waited some more.

Finally Old Sol began crawling in, me praying him up.  Still quiet except for the sounds of the morning birds and water rustling down the channel.  I carefully, carefully began working my way through the salt cedars toward the parking area.

I squatted and watched peeking out there as light filled the parking area.  There it was.  My old Mitzubishi Montero and a scattering of other vehicles.  Sitting there trying to lure me to jail.  I scratched and watched.

Finally a guy came creeping out of the bosque maybe 50 yards away, creeping toward a pickup the other side of the Montero.   Heeheehee.  Bait.  Now we’ll see where the law’s hiding.  Glad it ain’t me!

He seemed surprised.  Got into his truck, started it, no sign of the fuzz.  Spun around and vanished in a trail of dust back toward the pavement.

Hmmmm.  Hokay.  I stood up straight, Tried to act like I was just a normal guy coming out of those salt cedars.  Wandered over to the Montero and watched a dozen other guys coming out of the trees.  Cranked up the Mitzubishi and tooled home free as a bird.

The paper was full of it, the Socorro Chieftain, the Albuquerque Journal.  Printed the names of all those guys who got busted.

Served them right, too, going out there watching c*ckfights.

If people don’t have ethics and morals enough to stay away from places like that they need to be in jail.

Old Jules

Picking your symbolism: The biggest food bird, or the biggest predator?

hero patriot2

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Hydrox, Niaid and I were out in the RV a little while ago, two of we three scurrying for new places to hide every time a new dash of thunder rolled across the landscape, rain pelting the roof and some edifying lightning to season it all.

Finally the drama ended, but the rain continued a while and the cats decided the world wouldn’t end.  I sat there gazing across the meadow, opened a side window to let the odor of fresh rain inside.  Something big moved around the other RV ……. six wild turkeys grazing on apple cores I’d thrown out the window.  Occasionally letting out enough turkey noise to scare the bejesus out of the cats and have them scurrying for cover.

Watching those turkeys got me thinking about how they were runners-up to become the National Bird, once.  This is no BS.

Time was when most of the people in this country were acutely aware they had relatives, distant cousins somewhere, still laboring for nothing, starving to death, fighting wars and living under the iron heel of aristocrats.  Aristocrats who had histories as far back as anyone could remember of using the biggest predatory bird anyone could think of as a symbol of what aggressive sons-of-bitches they were.

Eagles.  Imperial eagles.  Regal Eagles.  Birds that didn’t do a damned thing but come down out of the sky and kill anything they could catch.  Birds nobody anywhere ever ate.

So a lot of people in this new land thought they’d donealready had everything they wanted to do with eagles and starving, and having heavy heels on their necks by a bunch of damned aristocrats.  They figured if they were going to pick a bird to symbolize the way of life they wanted, a the biggest bird people could make a meal of would be a good symbol.

A symbol of common people with full bellies for a change.  A symbol of people being able to go out into the woods and get a wild meal without some aristocrat telling them that deer, or turkey, or rabbit belonged to them, the aristorcrat, and common people would do better to starve than get caught eating one.

Well, friends and neighbors, we donealready had an aristocracy putting itself together, deciding whether we wanted to be represented by the biggest predatory bird with a complete history of aggression, repression and exploitation.  They knew whether they wanted to be represented by a turkey, or a Regal Eagle.

You can look around you and see which one they picked.  And you can consider the 50 tons of laws they’ve made since they adopted that eagle for their symbol, the several tons they’ll pass this year, and know why they picked it.  50 tons of laws telling you what you can’t do, a few tons more this year.

But you have the satisfaction of knowing you have a proud bird for a national symbol.  Not some damned turkey you could make a meal of in a pinch if there weren’t a law against it.

Old Jules

The Illusion of Urgency

Lying in bed last night distracted from sleep by gallons of sweat pouring off my body I found myself wondering just why the hell the Coincidence Coordinators seem to be throwing so many obstacles in front of me and the cats getting the hell out of here, one way or another.  It just oughtn’t be this difficult if I’m not chasing a wrong path, or am avoiding one I ought to be chasing.

I take this stuff seriously [and honestly don’t give a damn whether anyone else believes it’s insane for me to do so].  Seems clear to me in moments of insight the function the cats serve in my life is that of an anchor.  The weight of my contracts with them keep me from taking the easy way out and living in a tent, a cave, somewhere I’d rather be.  Somewhere the humidity’s not so high and the heat’s more bearable.

On the other hand, I’m not certain I’d find life worth living at all without these damned cats.  That’s another feature of my life a lot of people might find insane, and another feature of it I don’t need to explain, even to myself.  It’s good enough just riding the satisfaction I get sharing my life with them without demanding sanity out of it.

I think I’d do just fine without them if they exited my life without my having violated my contracts with them.  But violating the contracts as a means to drive my life somewhere I’d rather be would cut just about everything I value in myself off at the knees.

Of course, there’s this damned project over there dancing around in the wings waving its arms around demanding a particular uncertainty principle be dismantled, provided the Coincidence Coordinators continue providing the means to pursue it.  Which, thus far, they’ve continued to do.

So where’s the urgency in it all, thinks I?  Where’s the source of the fire I’m building under myself to provide a driving ‘need’ to be in a tent or under a bridge?

Physical discomfort, thinks I, must be a big piece of it.  Cripes, I think of myself as immune to allowing that to influence my life, but there it is. 

And of course, I allowed a number of expectations to creep into my mind, demands on a future I’ve no reason at all to believe will come to pass.  Things involving smelling pinon burning beside a stream, looking at rocks through a magnifier.

Enough of all that was still lingering in my mind this morning to get me asking the I Ching about it.  He ain’t always all that helpful, but “any port in a storm,” eh?

Consultation on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:04 AM.

Present: Hexagram 61 Centering in Truth

Question:  What about just blowing it off and going to live in a cave or under a bridge somewhere?

Truth involves establishing an aware relationship between your inner core and the circumstances in your life.  Centering in truth involves the ability to perceive a fundamental wisdom, reflected within yourself – and also in others.

Truth is transformed into power when you disperse all prejudice and make yourself receptive to the world as it really is.  This power can be a remarkable force indeed – yet is rarer than generally imagined.  It can be maintained only by cultivating a genuine openness to things as they are – a willingness to see, rather than merely look.

Whenever your inner life is clouded, your influence in the world is under a shadow.  If you are fearful, you will be attacked; if you cloak genuine mysteries in dogma, opportunities for new insight will be lost.  If you vacillate in upholding your principles, you will be tested.  Yet, when you are firm and strong, the power of truth can break through even the most stubborn minds.

In any debate, the power to perceive the truth in the other side’s argument is essential to achieving success.  It is possible to influence even the most difficult people, or improve the most difficult circumstance, through the power of universal truth – for truth is something to which all things naturally respond.  Get in touch with that part of yourself that is aware of this universal force of truth.  Cultivate this inner resource, and you will become adept at using it to bind others to a common purpose.

The condition of things in the present is fairly stable. There are no specific changes indicated right now.


Guess I’d better dig out John Richard Lynn and read the judgements on Hexagram 61.  Otherwise I might get thinking it matters whether I’m crazy.

Old Jules

Shinola, etc.

I’ve been coming across the word disambiguation somewhat frequently on the web lately. It always brings a smile when I see it, gives me a momentary ambition to disambiguate something.

But the problem is that I don’t know anything much.  Even inside the 21st Century where uninformed opinion is respectable, almost universal, and carries the certainty and power of positive speaking, I just don’t know anything much.

Besides, the dialup connection, or WordPress is being a pure D Communist this morning.  It’s taking me forever to even load the site.  I’m rolling on the floor with joy everytime it tells me it can’t find the webpage.

So instead of disambiguating you readers on some uninformed opinion I have, I think I’ll give you a quick and dirty on something I know something about because I’ve discovered it around here and watched it happen.

I’ve told you about the Great Speckled Bird and how he’s in decline because of something he did in his youth to cripple him up something awful.  One side of him just doesn’t work the way it ought to, and it causes him a lot of pain and distress.  I’ve expected him almost every morning to be dead when I go out to turn them out for free ranging.

But  I’ve been making up orange-peel tincture and treating him with it for a longish while, and it always makes him feel better after I’ve done it.  Sometimes when he’s in particular pain he actually volunteers, gimps over and sits around near where I am, hinting.

I don’t have arthritis troubling me, but if I did, the Great Speckled Bird testifies it’s the way to the truth and the light, orange peel tincture.  He says it’s the difference between Chit and Shinola.

Costs almost nothing to make, too.  Just put your orange or grapefruit peels into a jar of vinegar instead of throwing them away.  In a while you’ll have a tincture.

Chit and Shinola disambiguated.

Old Jules

Today on Ask Old Jules:  State of Democracy?

A Side to ‘Freedom’ Worth Considering

Those of us spoiled to a particular concept of freedom and the fear it’s coming unravelled might be well served to read Papillon once in a while.  I didn’t mention it in my review of it here, but I should have:  Papillon.

From one perspective the entire book is about freedom of a sort we, confined to our mental boxes containing what freedom is, refuse to acknowledge exists, can exist, for ourselves and those around us.  It’s the story by Henri Charriere of his own life, searching and occasionally finding that kind of freedom while trapped in an environment few slaves in history could match for savagery endured.  A deliberate, carefully devised savagery imposed by a modern, civilized nation.

A nation, I’ll add, not too unlike our own.

But what I intended to say about Papillon this post is one of the corner-of-the-eye aspects of freedom and Charriere’s finding of it during the most trying of times.  Once when he was in solitary confinement so severe as to be intended to drive him insane, to break him, destroy him.  Another when he was confined to a boat with other escapees mid-ocean.

These shreds of rhetorical freedom we savor can be unravelled like a wool sweater with a touch of pen to paper.  The freedom Charriere describes are immune to confiscation.   But they’re the responsibility of each of us to find within ourselves.  Nobody’s capable of giving them to us by signing a paper.  We can’t win them by force of arms by storming a Bastille, or Winter Palace.

The winds of history are eroding away those easy freedoms written on parchment and signed into some illusion of reality for most of the citizenry.  That’s happening and there aren’t any heroes likely to ride in on white horses, nor White Houses to save them. 

But we don’t have to allow ourselves the anguish of loss.  A piece of each of us lives outside the rules and the rule-makers, the savages, the rapacious Viking kings of government and finance.

Maybe the starting place for finding real freedom requires losing the illusion that Viking kings can give it to us and take it away.

Choose Something Like a Star


 Choose Something Like a Star

by Robert Frost – 1947

O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud –
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.

Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says “I burn.”
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.

It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

It isn’t as though you have a more favorable alternative.

Old Jules

The Trap of ‘Wanting’

A person used to hear young men say, “I’d give my left nut for [fill in the blank]” and everyone knew precisely what he was saying. 

Sometime over the past few decades I filtered out allowing myself to precisely  ‘want’ anything without consciously intending to do it.  When I get the silly-assed notion I ‘need’ or ‘want’ something I just stuff it into a file folder in my mind marked, ‘tentative’, and go into a patience mode.  That just involves waiting for the Universe to drop whatever it was, or the components to fabricate it into my life.  Which the Universe consistently indulges eventually.

But yesterday in town I saw this and it stopped me in my tracks.  “Wow!” thinks I.  “That thing could wash a lot of clothes at once, and it has a wringer.”

I’ve been using the Thrift Store busted near-freebee 1947 Kenmore for some time and I’m generally tickled pea-green with it:  Clean Underwear and Hard Times.  But it has the decided disadvantage of not having a wringer.  This results in not getting so much water out of the clothes, so they take a lot longer to dry on the line.

I tagged and numbered the concept of the washer above and sent an order for something along those lines out to the Universe.  But as I thought about it driving away it dawned on me what I actually ‘need’ if I were going to do some needing is a carwash chamois wringer.

Or this:

But the cheapest of those new runs almost $100, which doesn’t fit into any strong likelihoods of me ever forking out.  Even on EBay they run that price and upward.

But those things appear to be built to last.  I’m betting when car washes go out of business they end up in places nobody expected, taking up space and not getting much use.  I’m going to watch for them at flea-markets, auctions and garage sales.  And maybe I’ll post something on the Yahoo FreeCycle groups for Kerrville and Fredericksburg.

I wouldn’t give my left nut for one of those wringers, but if I wanted one I might.

Steve Goodman knew all about the trap of wanting dream things, though.  In this song he just about says it all:

Steve Goodman — Vegematic [Live]


Old Jules


Cathouse urgencies


Salvaged wheelbarrow, salvaged nightstand and salvaged material stapled over door opening

Salvaged microwave stripped of components with the back cut off makes a great means of keeping the cat food dry

Heavy rain and the cool snap last got me scrambling to give the cats a way to get out of the weather and keep the food dry.  Looks as though it will serve, but I’ve got to work on several more shelters.  They’re there, but need upgrading a bit. 

Cat houses and such

I’ll confess I’m behind the curve on a lot of things.  I should have re-wrapped that electrical tape around the busted phone line before the rain hit.  Internet’s back in tin-can telephone speeds this morning.

Artful Communications – White Trash Repairs 3

Old Jules

Gordon Lightfoot – Early Morning Rain (Live in Chicago – 1979)



Gale and Kay were working the Mesquite Show in Fredericksburg this weekend, so I borrowed Little Red today and went into town for necessaries.  But when I’m on the road I always shop the grader ditches and investigate any potentially useful items thrown or blown out of vehicles.  Today was great insofar as upgrading cathouses:

The top was missing on this, but otherwise it's in good shape

The cats will be fighting over which gets to sleep inside this

I find a lot of these lids in the ditches and this one almost fits.


Also found these rubber bungie cords near another bunch of trash in the ditch

Old Jules

A Few Noticings in Town

The sign and that line of people outside the building suggests the Christians in Washington mightn’t have anything in common with regular old actual Christians of the old actual Christianity faith.

I don’t know what they’re doing to help those people in there, being a non-Christian, but they must be doing something.  That line stretches all the way out into the parking lot.

I don’t need a gas grille, but if I did I’d have snapped this one up from the Salvation Army:

It’s missing the burners and regulator, cheap to add and retrofit, looks barely used, but the price is amazing:

Only thing I can figure is the Chinese have bought out Harley Davidson:

Damned thing is 200cc and has a pull starter like a lawn mower.  They charge extra for ape-hangers.

But it looks as though they’re also wanting to cash in on some of the automotive company bailouts:

Notice the suicide shift above the right fender.  You have to turn loose the steering wheel to shift gears.  Can’t imagine how they got that through Ralph Nader’s US Department of Transportation and Welfare.

Best for last, though.  Here’s a free crapper and exercycle from Habitat for Humanity:

Tempting, but I’ve already got the one, and I get my exercise just trying to stay alive.  Fact of life.

Old Jules

Loudon Wainwright– Glad To See You Got Religion

The Hitch-Hiking Hoodoos

I was reading clickclack gorilla’s hitching story and it dawned on me what’s going on in Europe with hitch-hiking is entirely different from it in the US.  Evidently thumbing rides there still includes ‘respectable’ people.  It wasn’t so long ago the same was true in the US.

As a youngster and young man I hitched across the US up-down and sideways more times than I’ve traveled it any other way.  In the military it used to be the most common way soldiers traveled, but it was also a legitimate way of getting to a destination for anyone else, as well.  When I got out of jail for riding trains in Rochester, New York, in 1964, the judge at the arraignment told me, “Don’t you know hopping trains in New York is a FELONY?”

“No sir.  I didn’t know that.”

“Is there someone you can contact to get money for a bus ticket to get back to New Mexico?”

“No sir, there isn’t.”

“I’m going to say this, then I’m going to let you go.  Hitch-hiking is only a misdemeanor in New York.”

After I was released a police officer drove me out to the Interstate and let me off at a freeway entrance.  And way led onto way.

All that hitching as a youth was an adventure I suspect a lot of people alive today haven’t experienced.  Every trip was a hundred stories, including the one above.  And every hitch-hiker I’ve picked up over the decades since [I still do] has been a story in itself.  I keep a case of Dinty Moore stew in the truck and usually give them a can or two if they’ve convinced me they’re hungry.

Today people are generally frightened of hitch-hikers, or just don’t believe the potential feel-good rewards of picking them up is worth the risk of getting robbed, assaulted, or just being trapped inside a vehicle with a person who smells as though he’s been on the road a while is worth it.  I’d opine they’re thinking smart.   I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had some close calls, both hitching, and picking up hitch-hikers.

But I do it anyway, and I’m glad I do, glad I have, wouldn’t trade having done it for the alternative.

I’m thinking I might throw in a few of those hitch-hiking, hitch-hiker tales on this blog occasionally.  Some are chilling, some are strange, but every one is unique.

Old Jules


Something Rhyming with Joy in the Pre-dawn

The temperature dropped enough last night so’s I turned off  the fans.  When I walked outdoors the cats were doing those little rear-on-hindlegs-pivot happiness acts they’ve taught one another, all gathered for a some grub, a refill on the water bowl,  having their tails tugged and a few words of greeting.

They all explained they’re grateful to me for turning down the heat, and I didn’t tell them any different.  Anytime a person can get a cat feeling beholden he’d best take advantage of it.  I took my coffee out to the porch swing hangs under the oak and let them take turns snagging a few scratches behind the ears, held Tabby upside down and explained how she was one of the best cats around here and just listened to the night trailing away.

I stay fairly joyful around here always, but somehow it managed to get itself trumped this morning.

If I was shorter and had me a mirror and a sink to stand on I’d do what Jessica’s doing in the video below.

Jessica’s “Daily Affirmation”

Instead, I reckons I’ll have another cup of java and wait for the roosters to begin their concert.


8:00 AM

Without taking anything away from Jessica, here are a few of my own gratitude affirmations this morning:

I’m grateful Gale’s got water up there I can haul, grateful for all these jugs to haul it in, and grateful he’ll loan me Little Red for packing it down here.

I’m grateful Gale gave me this new truck:


The wiring's too Communist and beyond my ken to fix myself, turns out. I'm grateful there's a real mechanic in town and we can tow it in when he gets back.

Won’t be long now before I have transportation again and whoooeee will I ever be grateful.

I'm grateful we don't have to depend entirely on rain.

If I had a sink I’d dance on it, same as Jessica.
Old Jules