Category Archives: Leavenworth

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

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Mister Midnight’s flaw

mr midnight bracelet 2 all

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by.

A cat only has so much dignity he can hold on to. We all know that. So imagine how tough life must be for a black cat forced to go through life with a silver bracelet of hair on one of his back legs.
mr midnight bracelet
Naturally I find myself trying to grab that leg for a closer look at it. And naturally he’s become particularly sensitive about it.

Oh yeah, I tell him it’s great, it’s what I like about him. What makes him special. But every time I grab for it to have a better look, the tries to jerk it away, sometimes even bites at me an hisses.

Because deep down, no matter what I say, Mister Midnight knows the truth.

Old Jules

Great big old ducks

Original Hospital and Lake1
Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

Back in the late 1800s when they dug that lake to excavate clay to make bricks for that original VA hospital they had to do something about the hole it left behind. So they filled it with water. Made a nice little recreation facility for the biggest piece of a century.

But what nobody could anticipate was that a time would come when nobody would give a damn about maintaining the lake. That it would become a sedimentation pond for the droppings of hundreds of waterfowl migrating in every winter, and some who just stay year around.

And over time the lake would mostly fill with those droppings until it was so shallow a person would have to work to drown in it.

That lake mostly can’t handle the biological oxygen demand because of all the manure. And nobody is about to spend the money to blow that water into the air to keep it alive. There’s a little bubbler at one end that sometimes works, but otherwise the pond turns over, stinks, kills a lot of fish, and is a sad reminder of how much maintenance man-made creations demand over the course of time.

great big old ducks

Nobody in my life has ever appreciated my sense of humor, and the same applies here. But at least I figure it helps make these drunks, derelicts, and opinionated old men feel better about themselves by being able to think me stupid. So anytime I get the chance to work it into a conversation I say something about those ‘great big old ducks’ running around crapping on everything.

And crap they do….. the grounds are speckled with them…. looks like someone ran one of those plugging things across the lawns. Yeah, and the streets, [and they do let fly as they pass over cars…. nothing like a splash of great big old duck droppings on your windshield].

But I digress.

A man staggering by knee-walking drunk will pause, gaze at me a moment, and shake his head almost every time if I remark to him, “Reckon where all those great big old ducks come from, anyway?”

Makes him feel better about himself. I’m convince of it. Yeah, I know they’re geese. But what the hell?

We all have our own small parts to play helping veterans, I figure.

Old Jules

A new way to write

typewriter

Hi readers.

A couple of weeks ago at the Gold River Auction in Olathe Jeanne found this thing for free because nobody bid on it. She gave me a call and asked if I’d like to have it. Seemed a strange concept to me, but I told her to snag it for me.

Believe it or not this thing is not electric, doesn’t require any software, and you can just type words into it to get them printed right away. No hassle with a printer, no hookups, no dried out printer-ink.

Jeeze! You just type into this thing and if there’s a sheet of paper in it, you end up with a page with what you typed right there already.

I love this thing.

Is this a great country, or what?

Old Jules

2018 Influenza epidemic seems somehow appropriate

1918 influenza pandemic

Over coffee this morning Johnny, across the hall, described the 2018 flue that is evidently stalking around scaring innocent people.   Johnny tells me it’s killing people like flies.   He said 1200 people died of it somewhere he couldn’t remember, either in a day or a week.   Or during the passage of some other length of time.

But the downside of not being able to believe anything the news media tells you is that you can’t believe anything the news media tells you.    And by extension, even though Johnny is my main source of news, he gets it off the television.   So I can’t trust the news he gives me.

But he did tell me some horror stories about entire families showing up at hospitals with this stuff and croaking right there under the noses of whole tribes of medicos.  Which, if true, might mean we actually are going to experience something more in tune with the 1918 pandemic than most of the later scares.   Cemeteries all over the US have lines of graves of people who were offed by that bull goose 1918 flu.

If you’re like me, you aren’t all that interested in coming down with the damned stuff.   Whether it’s just a little bitty pissant flu, or a great big Alpha-Male gorilla flu that expresses itself more forcefully.

Johnny also said they were telling people to avoid gatherings of people and think twice before sitting around a waiting room in a hospital or doctors office.

Well gee whiz.    I have appointments at the KC VA tomorrow over at Kansas City, MO.   I’ll bet there won’t be any people over there blowing flu virus around all over the rest of us, though.   I’ll bet everyone going over to that vet hospital will be suffering from broken legs and poor vision is the only reason they’re hanging around.

Yeah.     Bound to be no flu sneezers and coughers  over there in the halls, or in the cafeteria, or waiting rooms.

medical masks

Usually I don’t bother with those mask dispensers by the entryways and scattered here and there by the elevators and halls at VA medical centers.    But I’m thinking tomorrow I’ll just snag one of those as I come through the door, and step back outside to put it on.

Or better yet I’ll just trip over to the Leavenworth Emergency room a couple of blocks from here, snag a mask or two, and have it in my pocket tomorrow morning when I arrive.

Not that those things are going to filter out an influenza virus.    They won’t.   But they might confuse it enough so’s it goes and finds someone else to hex.

I’ve donealready had the required minimum of flu for this lifetime.

Thanks for the read.

Old Jules

What the heck is a ‘domiciliary?

These were the Domiciliary Buildings…. they we used from the 1880s until after the Vietnam War.    One of the guys I play chess with lived in one of them a few times back in the late 1970s    They were full back then.

There was a time when the Doms had residents from the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish American War and World War 1.   They kept them separated by wards because they all thought their war was the ‘Big One’ and tended to try to injure one another over it.

Back then they fed everyone in a single building, had formations most days with everyone required to wear a uniform and turn out on the streets.   And they were kept busy repairing, landscaping, even digging clay for the bricks to build and repair the buildings on the campus.

The old house I live in was built in 1896 by these old guys, and it’s easy to see they weren’t carpenters.

Beginning January 1, 2018, they began some renovation on the old ‘dom’ buildings.    Some entrepreneur was given a 99 year lease on the buildings and they’ll have the interiors, currently death traps, torn out so’s the buildings can be rented out as apartments.

They’ve already done that to a few others not shown here, and the campus has around 200 residents living in the four buildings.  Maybe more.     When they’ve done the other thirteen old ‘dom’ buildings this place is going to be jam-packed again, but with all sorts of people I imagine.

Time hurries on.

Old Jules

Photos VA Chapel and Weston, MO house courtesy of Jeanne

These are photos posted after the first time I ever saw this place back in early 2014. Jeanne took most of the pictures and I just walked around amazed at the place. But back then I was still in the process of dying on her couch and didn’t have a lot of energy.

All in all it hasn’t changed much.    Just a bit more run down and crumbling.

Anyway, I sure as heck never dreamed a few years later I’d be living here. Old Jules

So Far From Heaven

IMG_2234 Possumly Jesse James, or a Younger or Dalton or someone else lived here, or visited here, or rode a horse by the place and gazed at it as he/she went by.

IMG_2237 !895 Chapel for VA Center at Fort Leavenworth in seriously bad repair. Protestant downstairs, Catholic further downstairs though the signs are somewhat misleading. No harm in a protestant attending Mass or a Catholic racking up some fire and brimstone occasionally, I reckons.

IMG_2245 Interesting stained glass work. Dunno whether it’s Catholic or the other one.

IMG_2238 Gargoyles are shared equally by Catholics and Protestants.

IMG_2239 The VA hospital environment surrounding this seems obliquely appropriate.

IMG_2240 The metalwork on those doors is probably symbolic of something, but everyone who once knew what it was is dead.

IMG_2243 This end of the building is in bad repair threatening collapse in places, but ain’t likely to get any better.

IMG_2249 Directly across the street from the chapel. It’s…

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