Category Archives: Human Behavior

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

Who gets to go to heaven? The Christian Dilemma.

sundaybest

Growing up in a small southwestern town with a church on every corner circa 1950s leaves a lot of room for religious confusion. We had our First Baptists, our Calvary Baptists a block away,our Church of Christ, our Church of God, our Seventh Day Adventists, our Methodists, our Presbyterians, and our Mexican Church….Catholics. I’m reasonably sure there were others scattered around that I don’t remember.

I do recall something of a family crisis when my oldest sister went with a friend to a ‘holy roller’ church. Traumatized the hell out of her, and she got baptized all in one fell swoop. I’ve often thought that might have been a piece of what led her to being the goody-two-shoes tattletale teachers pet holier-than-thou hypocrite she was all the remainder of her life I knew her.

But I’ve digressed.

My mother and step-dad were married in 1948 in the Church of Christ. So as a pre-schooler I went to Vacation Bible School there. Then, for reasons I never knew, we changed to the Calvary Baptist Church a while. Then the First Baptist Church. I never felt comfortable in either of those Baptist churches. They’d pass around grape juice and crackers that made my mouth water, but I never got any. I wasn’t baptized.

Then there came a day when I was in the fourth grade when my parents decided they wanted to change again and become Presbyterians. There came a knock on the door and Brother Doyle, preacher for the Baptists asked if he could come in.

“No I don’t want to sit.” The veins were bulging out of his scarlet face. “What’s this about you leaving the church?”

My mom explained quietly, and Brother Doyle began to shout and pace around the living room. Eventually my mom asked him to leave, but he just got louder, waving his arms around. “I WON’T SEE you there! You and your family will burn in HELL!”

I was unsettled watching all this, but my mom got angry and demanded he leave. “I won’t be seeing you there!” He kept shouting.

So my mom picked up the phone and dialed my step-dad at work. Explained it all while Brother Doyle kept stomping around, pointing at me, waving is arms around, veins bulging out all over his face.

Until Charlie, my step-dad arrived and told him to get the hell out.

Presbyterians seemed fairly low-key by comparison. No fire in their bellies. When they baptized people they just sprinkled a little water on their heads quietly. But of course, deep down, I knew those Presbyterians weren’t ever getting into heaven with that sort of wimpy foolishness going on.

So you can see, I had a lot of exposure to religion in my life. But I never got Baptized, and eventually I came to know I was sure as hell not a Christian.

I’d rather spend eternity in hell than in heaven with Brother Doyle and his ilk.

But of course, I don’t happen to believe in hell. Though I count myself a spiritual and to the extent I’m able, a righteous man.

Maybe I’ll write some more about this sometime.

Old Jules

Good solid evil just isn’t that easy to come by

chaos
This was a follow-up to the post about the old guy wearing a Vietnam Veteran cap so’s to try to get people to listen to him talk about his Satanist religion. This was posted October 1, 2013.

Hi readers.

The old Satanist wearing the Vietnam Veteran cap I wrote about a couple of weeks ago was at the coin laundry again. He was telling me the difference between Satanists and devil worshipers, which he isn’t one of, he says.

“Even the devil worshipers,” he explained, “Just aren’t all that evil. They try, but it’s mostly just waving a bloody shirt at it.”

“Devil worshipers try but can’t pull it off?” Me, thinking this over.

“That’s right. You’d think there’d be plenty of evil for them to get into, but the really evil people don’t want anything to do with them. Not even the somewhat evil people, Catholics, Jews, Baptists and Muslims. They find out a person’s a devil worshiper they think poorly of him. Even when they’re jumping the hurdles for award-winning evil.”

Shaking my head. “I never knew that. You’d think especially Catholics and Zionists and Muslims would open their arms and their hearts to honest-to-goodness no-shit devil worshipers. Why is that, do you think?”

He shook his head, too. “I don’t know why it is. I’m not a devil worshiper and I’m not any of those others. I’m just a Satanist trying to get through life as best I can. But if I wanted to be really evil I’d have one hell of a time managing to do it. I wouldn’t know where to start.”

Old Jules

Clean Laundry and Civil Discourse Satanist Style

If you can’t allow adventure to find you in a coin laundry you aren’t living right

 

Most of you probably won’t remember this post from August 10, 2013, back in Kerrville, Texas.    I’ve come to know a lot of veterans since then, but none with quite the flare of the satanist who wore a Vietnam Veteran cap to get people to listen to him talk about his religion.

I noticed a scrawny old guy wearing a Vietnam War Veteran cap watching me as I fed quarters into the machine.   So when I finished I took a chair as far from him as I could get but still see my machine.  Guy’s wearing Vietnam War Veteran caps aren’t part of my repertoire of wanna-get-acquainted.

I watched him out of the corner of my eye while I pretended to do the ‘bored-people scan’, opened my book, read a page, put it down.  Twigged to the fact nobody in the place would meet his eye, and he was trying to get eye contact.  I figured, “Oh jeeze, this guy’s been here enough so everyone wants to avoid the nuisance he makes of himself.”

But he was focusing more attention on me, working up to saying something, or coming over nearer where I was sitting.  I groaned and stood up, stretching, to go out to the RV, head off anything he was thinking.  Too late.

I turned to the door and he caught my eye.  “Hey!  You’re a lefty!”

Um.  Yeah.”  Hell.  How’d he happen to notice that?  Whoopteedoo conversation starter.  He got up and headed to the door with me.

It’s been a chore, hasn’t it?”  Two of us standing in the shade of the overhang.  Me fidgeting to break loose and sprint for the RV.

What has?”

Going through life left-handed.”

Not when I could find a woman willing to sleep on the right side.”  Figured I might as well clarify my sexual preferences in case that was what was coming down the pike.

A few minutes later it came out he was a supply clerk in DaNang during the Vietnam fracas.  Tough gig.  Whoopteedoo.  “So what the hell’s the hat all about?”

“It’s because of my religion.  People around here don’t like me because of it, so I try to put my best foot forward.  Vietnam Vet buys me an edge.”

I shook my head, remembered getting cornered by the guy preaching Urantia outside the library in Grants, New Mexico.  Wanted to be my new best friend.  Real pain in the ass I never broke free of as long as I lived in Grants, always encountering him.

I could either brush the guy off even though he was hungry for talk, or I could grit my teeth, be polite, and hear what he wanted to tell me.  Turned out he’s a Satanist.

Whaaa?  A Satan worshiper?”

No.  We don’t worship Satan.  That’s just something Christian preachers claim we do.”

At least I don’t have a dog in THAT fight.  “Well, hell.  Better than being an atheist, I reckons.”  I really didn’t want to hear this crap.  “Nice talking to you, but I need to take a nap.”

I left him standing in the shade, careful not to look back.

Old Jules

Making America Great Again – Circa 2050

duck and cover

I’ve wondered at times what it was about the 1950s and 1960s that allowed those two decades to dominate the nostalgia market during almost all the late 20th Century. In a lot of ways it just doesn’t make sense.

Sure, we had a better music, rhythm and blues, wailing ballads of quality country ad western, and all that new frontier of rock and roll at its birth. Songs we knew well enough to sing along, or alone as we rode down those roads before super-highways on used tires.

Old cars with personality, greasy hair, dandruff, acne and bad teeth. Parents and grandparents who went through the Great Depression and worked hard to assure we wouldn’t experience those kinds of difficult times.

Mostly at the time it was in the world around us and I don’t recall being all that happy about all the other crap that came with it. Constant brink of war sf a sort that it’s better not to remember. Knowing when you turned 18 you’d have the draft hanging over your head. And a lot of bullying everywhere you turned.

If you worked doing farm work the farmers and ranchers who hired you felt a moral obligation to shout and verbally abuse the workers anytime they got within earshot. Construction jobs? You’ve never seen bullying and abuse that could compete with a construction foreman. It was there on the school playgrounds, on the streets, anywhere people happened to be.

And mostly nobody much said a word. It just went with being alive.

Our little farm was just across the railroad tracks on the ‘Mexican’ side of town. When I was in the first and second grade I walked home from school the same way several ‘Mexican’ kids walked. I was smaller than them, anglo, and outnumbered. They started just by yelling insults, but gradually it worked up they’d chase me with sticks or throwing rocks at me.

There came a day I was running home just in front of them, arrived with my mother on the front porch. They gathered on the dirt road in front of the house, still shouting and throwing rocks.

“Get out of here you little Mescin bastards!” She ran down off the porch waving the broom. “I’ll twist your heads off and shove them up your butts!” She never got close to catching them, but they were off.

Then she came back where I was waiting on the porch and smacked me upside the head with the broom so hard it broke the handle. Grabbed me by the collar and proceeded to beat my backside with the handle fragment. “If I ever see you running away from a fight again you’d better not set foot in this house!”

When my step-dad got home she told him, and it was off to the back porch with his belt. But at least he followed that up a bit later by teaching me to fight.

I don’t know what these kids today are going to have to feel nostalgia about. Maybe some of them will have similar memories or they’ll just remember all the computer games and hum rap music to themselves and smile.

But you can almost bet when they reach 50 or so they’ll be rallying around the flag and trying to elect candidates who promise to make America great again. The way it is today.

Old Jules

How’s that work ethic coming along?

work ethic caption

Growing up in a family where everyone worked, was expected to work, some things are branded on the psyche and tend to remain there. When I was a pre-schooler and my mother was working in the cotton-patch pulling boles during harvest, my sisters and I had our own pillow-case sized sacks. And though we didn’t pull a lot of cotton, the experience established a niche in our thinking processes that never went away, for me.

[The Runaways – 1947, posted here July 9, 2013, tells a bit about that time]

It’s only as I had five-or-so decades of life behind me that I ever seriously examined the values concerning work I’d lived with and adhered to all my life.

I’d pursued a career almost twenty years, blindly believed my dedication to the job, and the job, itself, were a major piece of what made me valuable as a person. And a spinoff of that belief was that a person who didn’t hold that view and allow a job to measure his worth probably wasn’t worth much.

But toward the end of that career the realization began to creep in that I was devoted, pouring my heart into a job that probably didn’t need doing. That I was wasting my life and that I was actually having a negative influence on the lives of many other people by my single-minded pursuit of that career.

Tough wake-up call it was for me. Jangled my entire life.

So I left that career for another, and wasn’t long in realizing that I was not that job. The job was just a way of making a living. That I was actually in another job that probably didn’t need doing. And I looked around me and saw it was true for almost everything going on around me.

Yes, there are essential jobs out there. Jobs that really need doing. Running the municipal sewer plant, for instance. Driving the garbage truck. Making sure the crops farmers plant are nurtured and harvested. Delivering food essentials to the population. Placing food on the counters for sale to the public.

Now isn’t that interesting? The most fundamentally essential jobs in our ‘civilization’ are the least coveted? That the rewards for doing them are less than those for people selling something, or representing someone in a lawsuit, or working in a unionized factory as a piece of an assembly line? Or repairing automobiles?

I’m inclined to believe the entire issue of the work ethic in this country, and the people who embrace the notion it’s a measure of human worth, needs a lot more careful examination.

I hope I’ll be doing some more blog posts about it for a closer look. Which I expect will raise the hackles of some readers.

Old Jules

Amazing quilting

Hi readers.

During the coldest months of last winter a friend from one of my previous lifetimes heard about my situation here and sent me a fantastic, warm, welcome gift. Judy Van Hooser was so long ago I’d have thought she had forgotten I exist.

judy quilt1
Beautiful work and it all appears to be hand-stitched.

judy quilt3
Every year Judy makes one of these and gives it to a veteran somewhere.

judy quilt2
Last year she contacted my ex-wife, Caroline, and said she’d like to give this one to me.

judy quilt flipside

I was both dumbfounded and ecstatic. It’s almost too fine to use as a quilt. But these winter nights don’t leave a lot of room for the luxury of using a warm quilt for a showpiece. This one does what quilts and blankets were always supposed to do.

Thank you Judy. You’ve earned a place in my gratitude affirmations. And every time I use that quilt I remember.

Old Jules

The curse of inheritance

feral hog
Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

Those of you who have read this blog awhile probably know I’m inclined to think we’ve got to quit rewarding people for being born to wealthy, powerful parents. The practice has been around so long it’s almost impossible to force our minds to examine the issue. But when we are able to do it a lot of facets emerge that would argue to the unbiased observer it’s not the way to operate a society.

We all grew up on rags to riches stories and the generations before us had their Horatio Algers, Joseph Kennedys and other self-made millionaires. This country spawned thousands of them during the 19th and 20th Centuries.

But what we rarely consider is that the progeny of those millionaires and billionaires end up being the driving forces in the running of the country. An aristocracy based as thoroughly on inheritance as any European lords and nobles the people who founded this country did their best to assure would never rule here.

In the same way we know about self-made wealth and the men who have it, most of us also know about their offspring. The powerful insanity of the heirs to the DuPont fortune. Teddy Kennedy. Paris Hilton. And the list goes on and on. There’s no evidence at all that being born to conspicuous wealth lends itself to breeding better, more productive people. The opposite is more likely true.

So what, the next obvious question asks itself, should ‘we’ do with billionaire estates after it’s all been confiscated besides, say, a million dollars each to the heirs?

Well, how about this? Use it to finance those damned wars nobody has asked anyone but wealthy people whether they want?

Or use it to build that damned wall most sane people don’t want, but are being threatened with having to pay for.

Or sum it all up each year and divide it into equal parts as a sort of ‘tax refund’ for all the other citizens of the country who don’t have a million bucks?

And every one of these suggestions is certain to infuriate a huge piece of the public. The wealthy and powerful, of course. And those who think they might inherit sometime, somehow. And those who believe they’re clever enough to be a self-made millionaire and that this will keep them from creating a dynasty.

But the really strange ones are those down in the trailer parks, of out there in suburbia who toil for their survival and work hard for everything they get in this life. They are as protective of our power elite aristocracy as their masters who did inherit their fortunes.

There’s no understanding the human mind.

Old Jules

Higamus Hogamus

There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since Dorothy Parker wrote that poem. And there’s been a lot even since I posted it on this blog the first time. But that just goes to prove Parker captured a universal truth. And was never recognized, acknowledged or acclaimed. Never canonized as a saint of the literati.

So Far From Heaven

All this feral swine talk reminded me of one of the most succinct, philosophical, psychological, sociological, sexy and romantic poems I’ve ever read.  Dorothy Parker authored it sometime back in the ’50s, I think:

Hogamus higamus men are polygamous.
Higamus hogamus, women monogamous.

Inspiring, thought-provoking and titillating.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Old Jules

 

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Amber waves of marijuana and shale oil deposits – Protecting the Mexicans from people like us

Re-blogged from September 18, 2013

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

Those damned Mexicans.  They refuse to protect themselves.  This time 150 years ago they had a damned Austrian monarch running the country and French soldiers keeping him in power.  A little before that the US Army had to go down there and whip the bejesus out of them because they wouldn’t give us New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California.

Heck, a century ago they refused to protect themselves again and we had to send General Blackjack Pershing to beat some sense into their heads.  Bastards had the cheek to kill 19 US Navy men when a US ship drove into Vera Cruz and started shelling the town.

Now they’ve got all that marijuana growing down there nobody can make any money from until it gets across the border.  Nobody making a penny off it except Mexicans until it gets up here where someone can use it.  Bad enough, you say?  Well, I agree.  But it isn’t all.

The shale oil deposits Old Sol gave us because we’re his Chosen People don’t necessarily stop at the Rio Grande.  There’s a better-than-even chance some of it’s down there where nobody can make any money off it except Mexicans.

We’ve been patient and we’ve tried hard, but those shiftless, indolent people down there keep having stuff we need to be making money from and they refuse to protect themselves from us.   There doesn’t seem to be any way we’re going to be able to avoid having to invade them to protect them from us.

People like that don’t have any respect for human life the way we do and it gets downright boring and tiresome forever having to invade them.  Time to put a stop to it.

Time to make them Chosen People with us, annex them.  Time to make Mexico a US territory so we can protect them.

Old Jules