Category Archives: Thrift Stores

Earth in Upheaval – Immanuel Velikovsky – Book Review

During the last 18 months of Albert Einstein’s life, November 1953 until April, 1955. he sat around with Immanuel Velikovsky on numerous occasions mulling over the implications of the historical/geological evidence described here.  Largely ignored, met with a shrug by the scientific community because no explanation within accepted scientific theory could account for the massive physical evidence, the two men examined other possibilities, no matter how unconventional.

Mountain ranges yanked from their roots and moved laterally, sometimes as much as 100 miles during a short passage of time.  Megafauna stacked like cordwood in cracks from southern Asia to the Arctic Circle by the millions, perhaps hundreds of millions.  Countless among them quick-frozen rapidly enough to leave them relatively undecayed for examination by modern man thousands of years later. 

Entire tropical forests uprooted, moved by massive waves and left to petrify when the water receded.   When Bad Things Happen to Good Megafauna

If Einstein had lived to see the publication of Velikovsky’s book his interest, prestige and comments might have provided the momentum to carry the discussion into the overall scientific community and more widespread recognition.  Might have forced the unpalatable conclusions to which examination of the evidence leads without leaving many alternatives.

Instead, Planet in Upheaval was published quietly, largely ignored by science, Velikovsky vilified and often denounced by his peers.

But the book’s still out there, used.  Probably available from Amazon for pennies.  I bought my copy in a thrift store in Kerrville for $.25.  I couldn’t have afforded it, wouldn’t have bought it had it cost a buck.

But I bought it for quarter and have now read it enough times to make up for a lot of the people who never did.  Pick up a copy somewhere and you can make up for a few others.  I suspect you won’t be satisfied with a single reading.

If you do read it you’ll be forced to conclude, Stuff Happens.  Sometimes it happens fast and big.  And it doesn’t need man to push it along, make it happen.  Doesn’t even pause to explain itself and why it happens for the benefit of the best minds of humanity to carefully ignore.

Old Jules

Afterthought – Edited in to avoid confusion:

The book referred to here is not Chariots of the Gods.  The author is not Erich von Daniken, of whom you probably have a vague recollection as a discredited ‘scientist’, author of half-truths, incomplete truths, and fig-newtons of the imagination. 

Erich von Daniken.  Immanuel Velikovsky.  Two entirely different individuals.  They even spell their names differently.  Admittedly both foreigners by heritage, but they had little else in common.  Von Daniken actually had a following and readership.  Velikovsky, on the other hand, was a scientist.

Clean Underwear and Couscous – One Dose Addictions

Clean Underwear and Hard Times

Hi readers.  Thanks for the visit.

It’s been almost a year since that old Kenmore dropped into my life. 

I hate to think I’m becoming addicted to modern conveniences, but here’s my back yard today.  It’s been and is still a blessing I have to stop and take a deep breath when allow myself to appreciate it fully, the gestalt, I mean.

I never found a wringer, so there are tricks to it I’ve gradually learned, and will gladly unlearn sometime if I ever locate a wringer at the right price.

In some ways that qualifies as a blessing associated with the whole hauling-water experience.  A person finds himself experimenting with all manner approaches to personal cleanliness honing down the amount of water required.  For instance, it’s actually about 1/3 gallon less water than the pump-up insecticide sprayer to shower using one-gallon orange juice jugs left out in the sun.  Just pouring enough to wet down, scrub down, and rinse.

I’d actually be about a gallon cheaper if I cut my hair, which I’ve considered because the water required to rinse shampoo out afterward.  But my hair hasn’t been cut since Y2K and I hate to bust into a winning streak taking chances of that sort.

But I wanted to tell you about couscous.  I’d never heard of the stuff, but at the HEB store they offered a package coupon deal including it.  Bought a bag of farm raised fish filets imported Vietnam, got all manner of other things free.

Got out my magnifying glass to make sure it didn’t have MSG in it, then eventually made myself fix it.  Herbal chicken couscous.  Doctored it up with ginger and curry, chopped some onion into it, added chopped jalapeno.

Sheeeeeeeze that stuff’s good.

Instant addiction.  Next time I’m in town I’m going to see what it costs.  If it’s reasonable I think I might find myself chowing down on couscous a couple of times a week.

Old dog, new tricks, instant addiction.

So it goes.

Old Jules

They Ought to Add ‘Barbara Allen’ to the Controlled Substance List

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

I’m really glad I don’t have free will.  If I’d had free will I’d almost certainly have screwed things up something awful.  I can’t see any way a person making a lifetime of deliberate, conscious choices could have made the necessary ones to allow me to eventually become me.  If I’d had to find my way through that maze all by myself there’s no guessing what I’d have become, what would have become of me.

I’m a firm believer the Universe gave us scorpions, black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders and similar poisonous orthropods to train a man to shake out his trousers and boots before he puts them on.  But he no sooner learns it than he begins to forget slowly, and eventually he’s pulling on his britches or boots same as if the Universe hadn’t blessed us with Brother Scorpion.

But if the timing is good, if the Universe is feeling generous, and if the asteroid Pallas is 85 days since a conjunction with Old Sol and 293 days since an opposition, sometimes the Universe will cut us a break.  A man can slip on his britches, pull up his galluses, feel something crawling up his leg under the cloth, dance around slapping his pants, and shake out a regular big bug carcass instead of the various alternatives.

But I’ve digressed. 

Yesterday I borrowed Little Red and headed to town feeling good, but worn down to a small frazzle from cutting big cedars with my expensively repaired chainsaw, dragging them over piece-by-piece to construct a tasteful aspiring beaver dam.  Made all the feedstore, thrift store, grocery store and dollar store stops grinning like a possum, joking with the store clerks.  Bought a can of Chinese boot wax and asked the clerk whether he could tell it from Shinola, which brought a blank look.

Even bought two packages of this for a buck each at Dollar Tree.  I’ve never seen the stuff before, but my thigh was itching something fierce from that non-black widow earlier.  I was feeling a strong urge to find a restroom and drop my pants for a looksee.

As a backup, in case whatever was going on down there was as full of drama as it felt, I picked up a tube of this, too, at a buck.

But I’ve digressed again.

On the way out of Dodge I swung by the Boys Ranch Thrift Store, second to the last stop.  Not much of interest there except a shopping cart full of hardback books with a sign, “Free Books”.  I nosed around, popped open an anthology, A Treasure of the Familiar.  It opened to “Barbara Allen“, which I haven’t thought of in half-a-century.  Walked out singing to myself, trying to remember the words to “Barbara Allen“, putting the first few stanza together.  Sang it a mile down the road to the dog-catcher thrift store, debating with myself whether to go inside, or just head home.

In the parking lot a joyful sight grabbed me.

The finest off-road vehicle I’ve ever owned was a 1986 Montero.  Thousands of giddy miles up and down mountains, desert and canyons in my old Montero.  That truck would squeeze between any two trees the Universe could invent, climb anything, go through hip-deep water.  But when you got it stuck, it was for-sure, lead-pipe cinch, STUCK.

So I left that place singing “Barbara Allen” at the top of my lungs, pretending Little Red was my old Montero, remembering and flying low to the ground.

Stopped in to drop off a few bags of feed at Gale’s, needing to lift something to bring myself down, but even after unloading a few hundred pounds of sacks, still singing, still flying.

Middling good day, it was.

Old Jules

Fans, Compromises and Drowning in Over-My-Head Math

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.  I see people continue to read here, or at least visit here, and I’m dazzled by some internal response I can’t put a name to.  But reading the posts Jeanne’s added I’m also reminded that being me is a fairly weird experience for a human being to spend a life doing.

Whatever it is brings you here to read these fragments of my life, thank you for the interest. 

Last year I spang wore out seven [7] garage sale, thrift store and auction fans.   This, despite spending hours on each before it crapped out, taking it apart, oiling, cleaning.   I concluded there’s meaning to the word false economy occasionally. 

So I visited the Big Lot store in Kerrville, studied the assortment of fans, and picked out a few to hopefully carry me through the summer.  The box fans and window fan are for me and any cats willing to suffer sultry nights indoors during the coming oven-nights.  The two smaller, clamp-on fans are for the computers, hopefully to give them something to hope for.

But there must have been someone else doing the same thing in the Big Lot at the same time I was.  As I was waiting in line to pay I kept hearing people behind me talking about ‘the old fart buying all the fans’.  I didn’t want to be obvious, but I searched out of the corner of my eye for him.  Never did locate him.

Likely he’d had problems keeping his fans running, same as me.  I’d sure like to have all his old throwaway fans.  I love pulling the damned things apart trying to figure out what I can salvage out of them.

Meanwhile I’m spending as many hours every day as my mind allows following the tracks of whatever it is running this Universe, or this phenomenon we think is reality, sniffing down trails of obscure facts and barking up trees of complex math puzzlements.  Gaining new understanding daily, unwinding the warp and weave.

Clearing my head at intervals lopping cedar, placing it in a hundred places where drainage water attempts to go Communist by channelizing, forcing it back into sheet flow.  Forcing it to drop its silt loading.  Robbing it of the energy to carry the land away with it.

Last time in town I did something I’ve  never done before.  Took my poor old chainsaw to town and handed it to a real person  to work on.  Some things in this life are worth compromising.

Thanks again for coming by.  Live long and prosper if that’s what you have in mind for yourselves.

Old Jules

Incentives Not to Go Off Food – Rice and Veggie Steamer

I’ve been mildly curious watching myself for a considerable while.  Weight was peeling off me and I was forgetting to eat.  My body would notify me I hadn’t eaten anything in a day or two by a dose of the blind staggers, or just a dizzy spell to get me thinking back on when I last ate something.

Most of what I cook around here’s cheap and simple because of the fact I ran out of propane early last year and haven’t refilled the bottle, and because hauling water makes washing cookware an expense measured in hauling trips.  So I was living mostly on potato combinations, yogurt combinations, fruit combinations and various bean concoctions.  I was at the point of hating to look any one of them in the eye.

Then one day in the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Kerrvillle I saw that rice and veggie steamer still in the box for sale for a dollar.  It didn’t appear to ever have been used.  So, I bought it, thinking rice and steamed veggies would at least be different.

Sheeze, the best purchase since my High Roller back in 1972.  The tow bar I bought the other day might turn out to be a better deal, but I haven’t figured out anyway to cook with it.  But I’ve digressed.

What I’ve re-discovered is the absolute, euphoria-laden joy of food.  I’m making better meals on that thing than I could even find in a restaurant in town, but if I could, couldn’t afford them.  I’ll make up a batch of one or another Asian-like mix thinking it will last two days, then find I have to fight a war with myself to keep from eating it at a single sitting.

It does require loads of fresh onion, garlic, jalapeno, cayenne, curry and ginger.  I buy bags of trail mix of various sorts, dried mango, papaya, raisins and cranberrys at the Dollar Tree and pour on top, a little of each.  The food bills went up something awful last month.  But I don’t forget to eat.

And the simple truth is, some of these meals turn out to be classed among the best I’m able to recall having anytime in my  life.

Anyone says an old dog can’t learn new tricks is kidding himself.

Old Jules


Computer Saga Proposed Denouement

Good morning readers and thanks for coming by for a read.

Hopefully by the time you read this I’ll be strutting like a peacock, wearing my Texas Hatters Manny Gammidge High Roller tilted at a jaunty angle, certain I’m a smarty-pants extraordinaire.  At least that’s how I’m planning the final chapter of this monumental butt show.

But it’s 7:56 pm Monday evening, and I’m 43 % done on a 79 mb download of a modem driver.  Six hours 29 minutes from now the box says, I’ll know whether this is going to work.  Except I’ll be in bed six hours and 29 minutes from now, unless I pick that as one of the times I get up to pee.

But here’s the rundown on the plot thus far. 

Ed’s comment reminded me I had a weirdly shaped and sized hard drive I’d yanked out of an old Vista E Machine I bought new at WalMart a few years ago and it died after about six months and $150 spent in repair shops.

So I pulled open the Dell and voil’aismimo!  The drive looked more-or-less the same as the one from the E Machine, aside from some extra parts.  I worked an hour-or-so getting the extra parts off the Dell drive and onto the E Machine one, installed it, reassembled everything, clenched my teeth really hard and squeezed my eyes shut and I turned that commie pig on.

She booted spang up, showed me a screen I hadn’t seen since the E Machine died.  But, the fly in the ointment was that the modem still didn’t get recognized.  I ran through a flurry of downloading alleged drivers from sites all over the web, putting them on a CD, loading in the E Dell Machine and having them snubbed like clerks in camera stores used to snub a person brought in a Brownie Hawkeye for a roll of film.

Meanwhile Norton Symantic was slipping me mickeys behind the scenes, popping screens up at me threatening to keep me company if I kept downloading from non-regular free driver places.

Which I’ll keep short by saying, led me to Dell and my current act of genius downloading 79 mb on a dialup with 12/2 Romax wrapped in electrical tape between me and the power pole. 

So, tomorrow morning when you read this you’ll be seeing words of a man with a modem working on an E Dell Machine running Vista, is the way I want to end this chapter.  Wearing a 1972 vintage Manny Gammidge Texas Hatters High Roller.  A man commanding respect, admiration and quite possibly veneration.  A man you want to be like.  Same as before all this crap happened.

That’s the proposal for the chapter.  Assuming the editors don’t think that 79 mb download wasn’t a high enough price for our guy to pay to get a damned modem working.

I’m going to schedule this tonight before I go to bed to post at 6:00 am.   Just to make sure it goes to work before the editors finish breakfast.

Old Jules

6:46 am edit:  Seems prudent to get other things done before I unplug the modem here and plug it into the other machine to test the driver.  The world needs coffee before it begins the kind of foolishness this day might be destined to bring.  It isn’t that I’m reluctant to step boldly into the future.  It’s just a minor fit of hesitation on my part to contemplate the Odyssey Homer never had to deal with.  Putting a computer on my shoulder and walking inland until someone asks me what it is might be the next step, dragging the Toyota 4-Runner along behind until someone asks me what that is, too, seems a lousy day to anticipate.

12:23 pm edit:

Done Deal

Possible Mistaken Identity

Morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a visit.

Now that my freezer compartment’s thawed out I was due to make a town run for necessaries.  Yesterday I took Little Red in and took the back road past Habitat for Humanity thinking they’d be open, but they weren’t. 

But there’s a pallet out front where they always put things that didn’t sell for anyone who wants them, free.  Whether they’re open, or closed, there’s often a lot of stuff there a person with the right turn of mind might find a use for.  Around the other side of the building there’s a similar area marked, DONATIONS, clearly separated from this one.

The ‘Free’ sign wasn’t out, but the pallet did have a lot of junk on it, so I pulled in and looked it over.  I figured the store was just closed for the day for some reason.  I picked off three ceiling fan motors and a few other possibly useful items.  I’ve got a number of other ceiling fan motors I picked off that pallet here I haven’t decided what to do with yet, but copper’s got a high pricetag on it, at the very least.

But when I got back and swung by Gale’s to brag about it he shook his head.  “Man, they’ve been closed since before Christmas.  I’m amazed someone hadn’t picked them up.”

“Closed?  Since before Christmas?”  Wrinkled brow, puzzling.  “Sheeze!  I’ll bet somebody dropped those off as donations.  Just left them in the wrong place.”

So maybe I made a haul of some discarded fan motors and maybe I temporarily stole some intended to be donations to Habitat for Humanity.  I’m going to have to contact Linda, the manager, to find out whether I need to haul them back to town.  And if they’re closed until after New Year I reckons I’ll have the use of them until the status is nailed down as to whether they’re stolen property or pre-emptively rescued from some other less deserving scavenger.

Seems life’s never simple.

Old Jules