Category Archives: VA campus

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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How’s that empire thing working?

Maybe most of us don’t care for the idea of empires because we think of them as being something other countries have, but we don’t.    Despite what’s before our eyes ever time we look at a map or watch a news program.  And of course, empires haven’t been faring too well lately.

US expansion 1867 1914

Heck, the British Empire folded up more-or-less spontaneously during the decades after WWII.    Around the same time as the French were getting their deserving asses kicked out of Indo-China to them, Vietnam to us.   Indo-China, Algeria, and pretty much everything else they called their empire.

colonial empires 1910

But around a century ago everyone was still doing it.   Grabbing real estate outside their boundaries and making a fight to keep it.

Here’s a short video demonstrating how empires worked worldwide until around 1945:

https://youtu.be/1csr0dxalpI

That’s how it was done mostly, except when the imperial powers fought one another.   Which wasn’t something anyone liked to do if they could help it because it tended to get a lot of white people killed.

But I’ve digressed.   What I intended to talk about was a remark I made this morning during coffee with Johnny, across the hall.   In some context or other involving the government shut-down and Puerto Rico, I casually mentioned the American empire.

“American empire?   Haw haw haw!   What the hell are you talking about?”

“Heck Johnny, do you think we aren’t an empire.”

“Haw haw haw!   Where do you come up with this stuff?”

I tried a while longer, but the discussion just couldn’t move forward on that tack.   Johnny doesn’t believe the US is an empire and the concept is so foreign to him he refuses even to think about it.

I’m a bit awed by this entire concept.    Are there really people in the world who don’t think the US is an empire?  Well, yes, there are.

Same as there are people who think the moon landings were faked by NASA and that the world is flat.

People believe all sorts of things.

I wonder if there used to be people who didn’t think the British, the French, even the Romans weren’t an empire.

Damn I love this life for the surprises.   The constant surprises.

Old Jules

Statue of Liberty replica from a water tower

A lot of people these days worry about whether other people are going to bring about the collapse of civilization and the end of life as we know it if they don’t perform the proper ritual when various patriotic icons are displayed.    But the VA in Leavenworth is going the extra mile to recreate a national icon that will take the breath away from the most casual observer.

water tower 1

See those wossname, things, sticking out at the top of that water tower?

water tower 2

Yeah, those.    And here is what is happening:

water tower 3

That’s right!  Can you believe that?   The VA is creating a replica of the Statue of Liberty out of that water tower!

water tower 8

Is this a great country, or what?

Old Jules

Beat me daddy eight to the bar

I don’t know what to think.    Rebecka’s back.

[ If you don’t know what this entry is about see:  A little excitement here, Posted on January 17, 2018 by Old Jules]

This morning the maintenance man came to work on my central heat.    He knows everything that goes on around here, so I followed him to the basement to kibitz and find out the latest dirt for Eisenhower Ridge apartments.

Thought I’d prime the pump by  telling him about the deputies picking up Rebecka.   He didn’t let me finish.    “She’s back!”

I thought he meant from some earlier beating, so I told him about the deputies.   “Yeah, I know, but she’s back.”   He rolled his eyes.   “I just saw her over there before I came to your place.   My daughter was going to do something over there but when I saw Rebecka I sent her home.”   [Donny has a college age daughter who helps him on some of the maintenance jobs when she can].

Soooooo.    That’s what I get for expecting things of people.

 

What can I say?     I’ve got to quit having expectations.

Rebecka is back.

Old Jules

Heigh-ho the holly, this life is most jolly!

Lee, one of the lesser lost souls who lives in the house next door to this one, brought to mind a little Shakespeare I was surprised I could still quote to myself the other day.

Lee is a closet alcoholic, a heroin addict, as heavy a smoker as he can beg, or afford after he’s taken care of his other addictions, and not a bad guy if you can put up with him.    He’ll try not to steal from you if he can help it, manipulate you and play on your sympathy to trick you into giving him rides to feed the drug, booze or cigarette hungers, and ignore you, or scowl at you when he doesn’t need anything.

Because deep down, Lee is a white hater.    If there were black robes and hoods and a black KKK he’d be out burning crosses in the front lawns where white folks live.   But he can be fairly personable most of the time if he’s thinking he might cadge a ‘loan’ or a ride somewhere.

Anyway, the first few months I moved here, being one of the lucky few who own cars, I hauled Lee to the food pantries a few times, let him con me into taking him down to KC because ‘there was a guy down there who was going to pay him some money owed him’.   And one day I was dropping some of my better history library off in grocery bags on the porch of James, [another history buff the next house down] when he braced me.

“What you leaving groceries on James’s porch for?    I need groceries!”

Well, I wasn’t about to loan nor give any money to Lee, but I went to the grocery store and picked up $20 worth of food for him I knew he couldn’t resell.   Basics.

But I digressed.

The other day I was playing chess with a couple of buddies in a waiting room up at the hospital.    We meet over there because they’re smokers and they can’t smoke in that waiting room.

Coming down after a few games I ran into Lee in the hallway.    We gossiped about how cold it was and I thought he was coming to my car with me for a ride home.   But his other lost-soul-mate was parked next to my car.    So he got in a moment, then came back out and leaned over conspiratorial and cagy.

“Hey man!    Do you have a few bucks you can give me?”

“No.”

“Well,” he muttered.  “Next time you need someone to run around with you, find someone else.”

I was dumbfounded.  The only time Lee and I have ever done anything together we were taking him somewhere.     Between times he barely speaks to me unless he’s begging money and I’m refusing.

Which somehow brought to mind who?    William Shakespeare.    Who else?

 

Heigh Ho, The Holly

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh ho, sing heigh ho, unto the green holly;
most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
That dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remember’d not.
Heigh ho, sing heigh ho, unto the green holly:
most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

William Shakespeare

Sounds as though old Lee’s not going to give me the benefit of his company as a consequence of me not giving him some money.  If you want good friends it’s going to cost you.

Best offer I’ve had all year.

Old Jules

Heater doesn’t work? Prove it!

If you’re a company contracted to manage a bunch of old houses such as these you’re obviously going to want to squeeze every dollar you can out of it.   After all, you’re dealing with a bunch of old drunks, addicts, derelicts and other fallout from the mainstream human experience.    So one of the things you’ll do from the start is pretend all those complaints of failings in the buildings you contracted to maintain get ignored as long as possible.

During this cold spell I’m told there have been a rash of complaints of old sissie veterans who thought their central heating units ought to be working better.   Mostly they’re lying.    Just want something to complain about.  I know because last year when my heater didn’t heat the place the manager explained it to me.

So I went out and bought a radiator heater and a bottle-top propane heater and barely even attempt to use the central heat.     I try to keep the thermostat at 61 degrees.

thermostat jan 18 2018

radiator jan 18 2018

propane jan 18 2018

Sorry but the radiator just can’t keep up with Zero degrees F outdoors.    But anticipating the response to my maintenance request I applied the use of a tool I picked up on sale a while back.    It’s magic!   Somehow this little pistolie can read the surface temperature of all manner of objects from a distance, along with the ambient temperature.

In other words you can point it into your heat outlet vents and find out the temperature of the air coming out of there as it emerges!

thermo gun jan 18 2018

thermo gun 2 jan 18 2018

No room for arguments, evasions or excuses.

I’ve loaned this to the other guys in the building and they’ve all become believers.   And my own maintenance request is getting some respect in the proper quarters.

Heck, I’d loan it to some of the folks in the other buildings, too, but someone would trade it for a bottle of whiskey or some skag.

Thanks for the visit.

Old Jules

Those Christmas stockings

Christmas stocking

Hi readers.    Thanks for coming by.

I was just reminded when I went outdoors to see if my car would start that the most appreciated Christmas gifts I’ve ever given anyone came in 2017.   Neck warmers.

I bought a dozen calf-length tube socks off EBay, and 20 pounds of rice.  Filled all those stockings with rice and tied off the ends.    These places we’re living tend to be cold partly because we each pay our own electric bills and we’re mostly on severely limited incomes.    But the houses are old, too, and just trying to get it ‘warm’ by most measures might well be doomed to failure.

But I’ve digressed.

For Christmas I made a big meatloaf and laid out a spread out in the lobby for a number of the old vets living around here who didn’t have anyone nor anywhere to go.    And for each of them, and several others, I made ‘Christmas stockings’.    Neck warmers.  Put those stockings into the microwave for 3.5 minutes and drape it around your shoulders and it will drive away your fears of the future for an hour or more.

But when I went outdoors, I was going to say before history broke in with all its matter-of-fact was, here came one of those old guys walking toward the office with his Christmas stocking between his Yukon cap and his coat collar.

“Managing to keep that neck from freezing and falling off?”   I couldn’t help grinning.

“It ain’t my neck I’m worried about!   It’s my brass monkey.”

Gave me a warm red glow without even having to put mine in the microwave.

Thanks for the visit.

Old Jules