Category Archives: Free

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

Misplaced Worries

Writing an earlier y2k entry got me thinking how often we humans tend to worry about the wrong things.  Reminded me of a guy I used to fly with a bit during the late 1970s named John Rynertson.  John was a man who flew a blue Cessna 120.  It was a lot like the 140 Helldragger I flew (pictured above).  But he was also a man prone to introduce himself to people around the Killeen, Texas airport as “one of the best pilots around”.

Naturally there were those who didn’t favor his self-introductions involving pilot skills.

John wasn’t a man who could claim a lot of friends.  But he did have a wife almost as desirable as that 120 he flew.  So pretty, she was, that whenever he wasn’t flying, John was worrying about her.  He fretted over what she might be doing when he was off flying, or when he was almost anywhere he couldn’t keep an eye on her.  Which was a good bit of the time.  Old John just worried himself silly about that woman.

Then one day he was flying with some warrant officer from Fort Hood and managed to get more airspeed than that old airframe was willing to put up with.  The 120 wasn’t rated for snap rolls.  But being one of the best pilots around, John just naturally figured they weren’t referring to him when they rated the airplane.  Wings came spang off that mama at about 3,000 feet above the ground.

Turned out John didn’t need to be worrying about what his wife was doing.  If he was going to worry, he needed to be focusing on learning to stay alive and fly at the same time.

Whatever his wife might or mightn’t have been doing while he was alive, she certainly did it after he was grease scattered over an acre of ground.

Similarly, I recall all those kids who used to spend all their time worrying about getting drafted for Vietnam, then overdosed on something and ended up corpses right here in the good old US of A with never having been fired at in anger.

A person needs to use a lot of care, consult an internal map, look at the compass and GPS, picking things to be worried about.  Otherwise he’ll spend all his time worrying about things that don’t happen while the things that do sneak up behind him and tap him above the ear with a ball-peen hammer.
Old Jules

Nat Shilkret & The Victor Orchestra – Lucky Lindy

Riding the Bread Line

Someone sent me an email forward the other day explaining to me how illegal aliens, welfare recipients, other low-lifes and me, retired and living off Social Security,  is what’s causing this great country to go down the tube.  I swan.

I don’t have a TV, don’t listen to radio, don’t read newspapers or magazines, but I do get email forwards and see sidebar news flashes at Internet sites.  So knowing the country is down the tube didn’t come as a complete shock to me.  Every couple of weeks I go to town for groceries, chicken feed and other necessaries, and the fact gasoline prices are a mite high, bread, milk and produce are worth more than they used to be, and people are older, all had me wondering if things hadn’t slipped downhill.

But knowing all those old people in the grocery lines and I are causing it surely gave me pause.

Made me realize life is harder for people with ball-caps turned sideways, studs in their nostrils, belly buttons and lips, tattoo-tears running down off their faces, and attitude have it tougher than I did all those years I was younger than I am now, because I wasn’t up here then.

I mostly try to mind my own business and tend my own affairs.  I don’t want to be a part of a problem someone else has.  If people living down in the trailer parks sitting in the backs of their pickups drinking beer Saturday afternoons are suffering harder than they would if I was out living under a bridge somewhere dumpster-diving for a living I wouldn’t be half the man I think I am if I didn’t consider it a viable alternative.

I paid money every paycheck for about 50 years into Social Security, but I never figured I’d come to depend on it for a living.  When it happened I never stopped to consider that expecting some of it back was different from people living off their military retirement, Federal Employment Retirement, or Congressional Retirement systems.

If I need to go dumpster-diving and live under a bridge to clear my conscience I figure I can do it.  Lots of people are already doing it.  Just looking at them I hadn’t thought about the moral high ground they’re holding.

Old Jules

King of the Road- Roger Miller