Ask Old Jules: Police officers, Trusting the government, Fixing the economy, Why people stay faithful, How long would you wait?


Old Jules, can a sensitive person be a police officer? and who would have better luck as a police officer, a people person, or a tough guy? since the job is to serve (people person) and protect (tough guy). I’m guessing its 50/50, but anyone else have an opinion?

Can’t be done. Nor an honest person. You need to be a person who wants the power to swagger a gun, the ambition to confiscate a lot of cash and product without putting much of it into evidence, and write tickets to people for burned out license tag lights.

Old Jules, do you trust the government?

I don’t even trust them to be the government.

Old Jules, if you were president,  how would you fix the economy?

Protective tariffs on foreign manufactured goods beginning with appliances and graduating to heavy industry over a decade.
Institute FCC rules regulating political talk radio.
Instruct the IRS to grant broad margins of enforcement leniency involving cottage industries.
Until we rebuild a manufacturing base and begin producing products the economy can’t recover.

Old Jules, why do people stay “faithful” in marriage?

I was married to a woman I loved for 25 years. Happened she didn’t care for sex, so we had an agreement I could go with other women for sex so long as it didn’t interfere with my relationship with my wife. It worked 20 of the 25 years and it sure as hell wasn’t cheating.
When it quit working it was because I thought through all the pain my keeping on that way was causing husbands. And it would keep on causing pain for husbands because a rule of the Universe is that women ALWAYS eventually tell their husbands.
I decided I preferred to leave a woman I loved [eventually] over being the kind of man who had sex with the wives of other men.
Why does someone stay ‘faithful’? I’ve no idea. I have a lot a huge life experience full of women who didn’t. Roughly half the men in the US ought to be assuming their wives are stepping out on them. I don’t know what the other half ought to assume.

Old Jules, if you love someone and they don’t love you yet, how long will you wait for them?

It ain’t as though nature puts more males on earth than females. It ain’t as though there’s much special about the great majority of them that you won’t find in others. That being the case my personal time limit would be roughly 10.3 seconds.

Zombies On Boogie Street, Methamphetamine In the New Millenium

Around 2003 I was writing the book.  I never got around to finishing it.   Maybe one of the reasons I never finished it was the fact Mchael Powell passed out of my life after Chapter 3.

Hi Michael (Ratso, from Midnight Cowboy, always seemed more appropriate, but you lacked his charm and virtue):

It must have been Veterans Day, you commented you didn’t understand why I was allowing you to hang around or some such thing.  You claimed you never understood what I saw in you.  I almost told you that night, after you’d flitted around Sky City and the streets of Albuquerque behaving like a lunatic, approaching one stranger after another trying to sell meth to them.

You,  persuading me that morning to take you; urging me to keep in there with you, almost begging me to allow you to continue.  I’d never before observed anything in that league for human folly.  You, a man out on bond for a couple of felonies, evidently manifesting the best behavior you could muster, were an irresistible experience for any writer worth his salt.

I never made any bones about the fact I’m a writer.  When we first met I was completing a book about the lost gold mine.  You sat in my apartment one night and read part of it.  When all the refinements on that were finished, you might say I was a writer all dressed up with no place to go.  I was always surprised you never made the connection.

The study of human frailty is meat and potatoes for a writer.  You dropped into my life as a voodoo-doll on a parachute.  You reminded me of a 1950s cartoon of a Tasmanian devil.  A sort of whirlwind energy creature dedicated to breaking anything breakable, and disrupting anything disruptable.

You are one of those rare, incorrigible folks incorporating the entire catalog of human vice and frailty, and showing none of the virtue, so far as I was ever able to detect.  You stayed in my life from March 1, until a couple of weeks after Veterans’ Day without much input from me, sponging, begging, stealing, banging on my door at all hours, and generally rebuilding my enthusiasm for the project whenever it flagged.

The name of the new book is, Zombies On Boogie Street, Methamphetamine In the New Millenium.  It’s all about blasters, pathological liars, rats, snitches,  thieves, sex-addicts, stupidity; people who shoot meth and people who believe they are possessed.  Generally, in short, about the low-life scum bottom-feeders who choose to make meth their major goal in life.

You inspired a book, and you earned a major piece of it.

Three chapters, so far, although your part isn’t really finished yet.  I expect the Michael J. Powell ones will be the centerpiece.  There’s nothing in the book I didn’t see for myself, if it’s stated as fact, or that you didn’t tell me as fact.  The reader will be forewarned that that whatever came from you can be trusted only as far as you can be trusted.  Which is to say, not at all.

I do believe your assertion that you are possessed, though I don’t know much about possession by demons.  I think my readers will be as convinced of your possession as I am.  I expect they’ll be convinced some of the homicides, burglaries, rapes, robberies, and other mayhem you claim to have committed, actually happened, as well.  Even a pathological liar doesn’t lie all the time.

For a long while I really felt sorry for you.  That’s why I prepared and took food to you and your mother when you didn’t have any.  It’s why I prepared the Caisse’s Tea for you when you dreamed up the story about having a brain tumor.  I knew it was probably a lie, but figured, just in case, it couldn’t hurt.

Anyway, being around you cost a lot of money, time, and energy.  Probably most ‘normal’ people would agree that a day with you leaves a person feeling a good hot bath isn’t enough to wash off the residue you leave behind.

I’ve already done what I can to make sure some unsuspecting person doesn’t get blown away by your ‘satchell charges’, assuming they exist.  If someone does get hurt by your burying the damned things, then allowing them to stay there, dangerous as you described, responsibility will fall where it belongs.  The same applies if you actually manage to snuff me, or someone near me.  You’ll be right up there at the top of the list.

That brings me to the threats you’ve been making about me and folks I care about.  If you want to try to carry them out, it’s your call.  The widow-lady figures there’s nothing about you a .357 magnum won’t cure if you come bothering her anymore.  If you manage to harm her, or her daughter and the law doesn’t do anything, you’ll be well advised to move to Bangor, Maine, and change your name.   I intend to make certain you don’t get off without any consequences.  ‘Nuff said.

As for your intentions toward me, I just don’t give a damn.  You do what you think is best and we’ll see what happens next.  Exposing the Michael J. Powells to the world is a worthy enough job for now.  If you blow a hole in me, I’ll heave a sigh and consider it a job well done, knowing you’ll finally be off the damned streets.

See you around, Space-Monkey.

Best to you,


A conversation about justice, responsibility, mercenaries, and spirituality:

I’ve been through the experience enough times in my life to know how angry and involved it can get a person into matters that aren’t worth the trouble of thinking about. Cops are generally lowlifes who are attracted to the magnet of the copshop, the cameraderie of legal gangship, and not worth not fastening one’s seatbelt to offend. However, I take the attitude that one of the legitimate ways of leaving the vehicle this lifetime is in a gunfight with cops. Preferably over some matter involving a burned out bulb on the license-tag light developing into something a lot more serious because some cop feels the need to push someone around.

It came close to that last summer when I was in deep financial doodoo and got stopped by a motorcycle cop and his compadre because the license tag had expired… they pushed me around some and towed the car … cost me $100 I could ill afford… and the cop put the word out to the wrecker driver that he was gonna “get me,” watch me and stop me every time he saw the car. He hasn’t done it, so we haven’t had a gun battle. I’m pretty much indifferent to whether he does it or not, and whether we have a gun battle as a result. It’s his choice, not mine.

The Friend: You’re literally saying that we should put our lives at risk and ruin by over-reacting to minor power abuses by people and institutions?

Ergo: No. I’m not saying what anyone “should” do, or “shouldn’t do.” What other people do is no business of mine. Instead, what I’m doing is making an observation about how people handle issues that concern them, as opposed to how humans of the past (in some quarters) believed “honor” required them to handle such issues. It’s all about personal responsibility and grinding our own axes, as opposed to employing mercenaries (cops, judges, lawyers) to grind our axes for us on condition that we submit to our own axes being ground by someone else. It’s safe and convenient and the only cost, other than the fact that our mercenaries now own us, is vaguely spiritual.

On the other hand, it follows that I probably wouldn’t be a good person to sit on a jury of my “peers.” If a person’s only crime was to kill a cop I’d have to take a close look at the circumstances before I’d vote to convict. If a person was only guilty of drug abuse or prostitution I’d vote to acquit no matter what the law says. I don’t subscribe to the notion that part of my role in life demands that I become the tool of the institutions of tyranny and punishment for victimless crimes. But I do subscribe to the view expressed by a famous frontier judge, when he hanged a horse thief, but turned a man loose who’d killed a man who was threatening his family, “There are men who need killing, but there are no horses that need stealing.” I don’t believe the definition men who “need killing” is confined to lousy neighborhoods, nor are the hiding places for such men necessarily outside the institutions of “justice.” How we approach such matters, as I’ve suggested, is vaguely “spiritual.”

Ask Old Jules: Lips, Adult life, Liars, Connections, What would you change in life, What is best in life?



Old Jules, what comes to mind when I say ”Lips”?

The grille of a 1958 Edsel

Old Jules, is your adult life what you imagined it to be when you were younger?

At no stage along the way was it what I imagined it would be a decade earlier. The gulf between my life in my late 60s and what I might have imagined it would be in my late 20s can’t fit into the same universe.

Old Jules, what are examples of things that would represent a liar?

Look in the mirror and examine what you see, then find metaphors to describe it. None of us are exempt but we learn more from examining and pronouncing about ourselves than we do from attempting to see our own traits in others.

Old Jules, have you ever had the experience of complete connection with another person in which it seems time stops, you are completely in that moment with them, nothing else matters and it’s like your souls are dancing?

Yep. More times than I can remember. Closing time at honkytonks used to be a good place to experience it.

Old Jules, if their was anything in your life you would change what would it be?

The deer would be scared to come around here eating my chicken feed, my truck would be fixed well enough to regularly and dependably make a 45 mile each way trip to town for groceries a couple of times a month and the cats would eat less and sleep somewhere I don’t figure on taking a nap.

Old Jules, what is best in life?

Accidental homemade fruitcake is best this morning. I started out figuring on making cranberry bread using a raisin bread recipe, but found other ingredients lying around and added them. Best loaf of bread I’ve ever made… a sort of fruitcake-like loaf without all the downside.


Are all women really whores?

Excerpt from a letter Jack wrote while working as night clerk in a motel:

Incidentally, remember the sort of fat, loud lady, scraggly hair and bad teeth at the Conoco? She checked in the other night with a drunk cowboy–paid for the room–wanted a suite if we had it-wanted a whirlpool INSIDE the room if we had it. She must have been pretty horny. (In thinking about this man/woman relationship thing, it’s really weird–night before last Olivia, night clerk at the hotel across the street was arrested for turning tricks during her shift at $25 a pop…seems I always find these things out too late. Actually, fact is I couldn’t afford it I guess. Can’t help wondering why she didn’t guard her interests by screwing the cops–seems too obvious to be overlooked).
But the issue brings to mind the weirdness of the entire issue, that females are walking around on a commodity that is actually marketable–that males in this reality are blessed with a driving need which can only really be satisfied by an entry into the female vagina–that females by their nature have kept the monopoly sound enough to exact a monetary value for spreading it around. A guy pays a prostitute willingly to avoid the ancillary entanglements involved in just satisfying the needs of his vehicle. Part of the cost of routine maintenance like inflating tires, changing oil, and winterizing. It says a lot about the male vehicle, but it says more about the female gender as a whole. Also says something deep and subtle about the entire reality. All the old adages about soft-hearted whores are balanced by the phrase, “harder than a whore’s heart.” All that discussion about logic in decision making goes away with that. I’d imagine Olivia was charging what the traffic would bear–the traffic was paying what they had to–there isn’t a glut on the market that I know of, but maybe there is, in a way. A guy knows he can hit the bars, lie a little, bullshit a little, buy a few drinks, maybe, and stand a pretty good chance. But in that equation his time is worth nothing.
So at the Comfort Inn the guys plunk down 25 simoleans, Olivia comes to a room they had anyway–no beer, no bullshit–Olivia takes the load off and vanishes, no secondary repercussions, no flack, no whines or phone calls.

There’s a body of opinion out there that says the whole ball of wax of the great game is nothing but an elaborate ritual of prostitution. I’ve heard a lot of men argue the case over the years, and if you assume a cynicism and male awareness, even consciousness, that you expect in any male, but assume is absent in most females, prostitution is really the lowest common denominator in most male/female interactions. We turn a blind eye to the male paying for meals, theater, gas, roses, candy, perfume, jewelry, and the implications thereof.

Ask Old Jules: Answers but no questions

I came across a file of “answers” which, for some reason I can’t recall, don’t have an attached question. Here are a few– Jeanne

I don’t believe it’s possible to have a positive or negative attitude toward life in any sense. Positives and negatives in that context are apples trying to compare themselves to oranges.
Life is boundaries, fences, boxes we place around ourselves, our thoughts, our perceptions and our emotions, and how much we allow them to encompass.


Do whatever you think is best. Any choice you make will carry you into a river of other choices. You can always choose to drift, to paddle, to swim, to gorge your thirst at any point along the way until the choices run out.
Whatever you choose now isn’t a permanent decision, it’s just an opportunity to dig some challenge out of your life experience. Any challenge will do.


To ‘believe in’ God is to have an opinion involving belief and disbelief, with belief drawing the short straw.
God isn’t about ‘belief’. Not about old words written down by savage tribes in the Middle East, scholars in Asia, remembered by once-aboriginals in OZ or the US. To ‘believe’ is a statement of uncertainty.
God’s about certainty, not belief. Mixing God up with doctrines and beliefs tends to confuse things and create an environment where ‘belief’ instead of knowing thrives. Dripping fanged religious fanatics and political zealots will attack anyone who disagrees with them. They’re point and shoot weapons for the daily talk show hosts and televangelists. It might be Jews, Japanese, Filipino, even Mormons. It’s already blacks and Hispanics along with Muslims. Just depends on who the talking heads and daytime radio Goebbels tell them to go after.


FEMA paid my salary for the last ten years of my last career. I visited a lot of their facilities, attended countless conferences and endless schools they provided.
When I retired in 1999 I left convinced FEMA is entirely too stupid to be a danger to anyone.
What became Homeland Security, however, is an entirely different matter. Not more intelligent, but a lot more bellicose and, I believe, potentially dangerous to one or another slice of the US citizenry.


I had a sister who was a religious fanatic and used to rat me out constantly. Ratted out everyone for that matter, for their own good. No sin too small to help them out by ratting them out.
And over the last almost seven decades I can say I’ve lost a lot of friends who became insufferable religious fanatics and suddenly thought everyone else admired them so much they’d want to emulate them. Wouldn’t shut up about religion, so I booted them the hell out of my life.


Marriage isn’t about sex. If marriage was about sex nobody would bother getting married nowadays. Marriage is about something else than sex and genital appearance and interaction.
But I don’t know what. After I divorced the female woman I was married to 20 years ago I never thought anymore about it. I’m not marrying anyone, no matter what gender, species, race religion creed or color.
Marriage, I should have said, is about ownership. Who the hell wants to own anyone? Who the hell wants to be owned.


Ask Old Jules: Held a snake, Polygamy, Opposing war, Wise lesson, Greatest life challenge?


Old Jules, have you ever held a snake, what breed & what was it like?

I’ve held a lot of them in my life ranging from rattlers, copperheads and cottonmouths to bullsnakes, gopher snakes, hognose and kingsnakes. Some were dead, some were alive. Alive ones tend to want you to release them and communicate it by wrapping themselves around your arm. Dead ones are just dead snakes. No particular sensation involved. Past summer I killed a gopher snake 5-6 feet long with 8 bulges spaced along the entire length caused by his having been raiding my chicken house for eggs. Handling that one was a bit weird, I confess.

egg snake 3

Old Jules, isn’t polygamy the solution for enhancing society?

I’ve sometimes thought a woman with several husbands would be an interesting mix. The hubbies who aren’t on duty could play poker, get drunk, watch television or read a book without having to have anything to do with the woman of the house on their days ‘off’.
They’d provide roses, boxes of candy and whatnot when their day in the barrel came up to stay in her favor. She’d love it.
And several adults in the household, husbands-in-law, if she wanted to sit around and eat bonbons all day, could live well with everyone pooling their incomes for the good of the household.
Perfect setup.

Old Jules, what is the most effective way to oppose war?

Refusing to be part of it and refusing to vote for any politician who supports funding for it in countries where elections are a part of the illusion of power might be the only ways. That, and voting for anyone who speaks out against military budgets, military spending, military projection of national power or national interests and concerns.
It ain’t much, but it’s probably all anyone has unless they are ultra-wealthy and part of the actual power community making decisions and manipulating voters and obfuscating actual goals for warfare.

Old Jules, do you have a story that taught you a wise lesson in life?

I learned not to take off a Cessna 140 from a short airstrip when windsocks at both ends of the runway were showing wind in opposite directions. I learned not to have a big breakfast and wait until the density altitude at a 6000 msl runway was feeling the mid-morning sunlight before taking off in an under-powered aircraft.
Most other wisdom in my life acquired the hard way rhymes with those, one way or another.

Old Jules, what is the greatest challenge of our lives?

Learning to be people [individuals] we can love and respect might be the greatest challenge and power we can experience or accomplish this lifetime.
Romantic love is just one of those joys and heartaches we’re blessed with time to time and has little, if no power.
The love that comes with being able to forgive life, humanity and the entire hostile planet of everything feeding on the carcass of everything else is fairly powerful and for the purposes of individual peace it certainly conquers all. Learning to be grateful for the good, the bad and the ugly is probably something requiring love of sorts and it’s definitely a source of power in our lives.

November 30, 1999

Jack had already moved to his property not too far from Pie Town, NM in preparation for Y2K when he wrote this:

11:15 pm November 30, 1999

The Great Divide

Hi Jeanne.

I said I’d be there for Y2k and I will. You might find it comforting to know Roy, the mechanic in Grants will also probably pull an RV out here if things go sour.

Dean, they guy from Belen might also show. Dean is unmarried, but Roy has a wife. Of course, Mel will probably be here, and Vic also. That’s before the stragglers from Acoma, Laguna, Albuquerque and who knows where else begin arriving in whatever numbers they manage to get here.

It’s a dry winter thus far, so there might be a lot of refugees down this way if they shut down I-40 at 117 to keep them out of Grants.

So, there should be a number of good men around to assist you and your family even if anything happens to me, and if Ken doesn’t come with you.

Vic tried to pick up medications for me on his way back to Houston and ran into a lot of trouble at the border. He only got a 60 day supply across. So there’s no telling what size horde of medications I’ll be able to stock.

Guess the Y2K rush to stock up on meds probably got the U.S. pharmaceuticals worrying enough about loss of profits to put pressure on the US Border Patrol. Pretty disgusting. I used to think I loved the United States.

5:40 pm December 1, 1999

The Great Divide

Hi there.

Sinfully satisfying day here despite cold 40 mph gusts.

Started a bit slow, but then cranked up, repaired the chainsaw, put a bed on the little flatbed trailer to pull behind the 4 wheeler, dragged the trailer out to the corner and cut up the dead tree in the right of way, hauled the wood back and stacked it, cut more wood to clear out near the chicken house for better access, stacked the wood, gathered the brush and took it down to the arroyo on the old road through my place, filled about 30 yards of arroyo with brush, went down to the main arroyo and built two rock and brush dams… started them, anyway, one about 4 feet high, the other 5’ or so spanning the arroyo. Eventually I’ll go all the way to the top with them.

Took a shot at the damned red-tail hawk that’s been snagging chickens.. he dropped a wing feather but he’ll be back.

Somewhere in all this I realized I hadn’t eaten. Gathered 5 eggs and cooked them in green Chile.

Built a nice fire in the stove and am relaxing with a cup of hot chocolate and a warm red glow of a day of hard physical labor.

Hmmm. I also raked out a wheel barrow full of rocks to take down to the arroyo from my back yard and prized out 3 really big ones about 250-300 pounds. I’ll fill in the holes with ash from the stove.

Got water heating for a shower. The 2 gallon insecticide sprayer is turning out to be the best method for that. Put in hot water, pump it up and hang it from the rail I strung from the ceiling, stand in the galvanized tub, and it’s as good as the best hotel money can buy.

I’m feeling damned good. Every muscle in my body is discharged.

I have wood for a few more days, some green, some seasoned but fresh, some dry. And if the moisture comes the arroyos are ready and waiting.

Trailer on the 4 wheeler is awfully handy, too.

Cozy in here. Howling wind outside. Life is good.

Best to you,

A letter to Julia, age 6, Part Four (final)

Continued from December 1st, which was Part Three…

9 PM

I’m looking out my west window at the afterglow of sunset– not quite ready to sleep just yet. It was read, or write, so I’ll write a little bit more in the gloaming. Life’s a strange place, Miss Julia. Looking back, I can tell you it’s  a strange place.
As the guy who was among the highly competent and most thorough preparers for Y2K, which is only marginally (about 98+%) diminished by the fact that Y2K didn’t happen– as the almost certain world expert on the Lost Adams Diggings, which I haven’t found and mightn’t exist, and though there aren’t a dozen people out there who care enough about it to even wonder for a moment if it exists– I can tell you a lot about fool’s errands and their value.
Fact is, I’ve done a lot of things in this life–even done most of them pretty well– that didn’t seem at the time to be fool’s errands– weren’t considered fool’s errands by the people around me, even.
But the weird thing at this moment to me is that the Lost Adams diggings and the Y2K experience are a couple of things I’d least want to remove from the record of my life, if I could rewind and erase certain parts.
I used to be well respected in my professions– had  a strong resume. I came across a picture out in a pile of junk in the storage locker of a small group of people with the governor of Texas signing a bill into law that they’d been selected to write because they were leaders in their field. THe picture is out by the chicken house now, still in a pile of junk, me grinning.
What I’m saying, Julia, Michael, Andrew, Kenneth, is that it ain’t a bad idea to be pretty circumspect when you are figuring out what’s important to you in this life. Which things are actually fool’s errands, or maybe which fool’s errands you choose to pursue become important when you are my age looking backward.
All those years of trying to be important in a job, even winning the respect of my peers– 17 years in one job, 7 years in another– didn’t amount to a pimple on a gnat’s backside for the value I put on them today. That 24 years of being really good at something that honestly didn’t need doing at any meaningful level, mainly only paid off in the eventual realizations about myself and what was driving me. Otherwise, fool’s errands.
On the other hand, falling on my face looking for a gold mine that maybe doesn’t exist– betting everything that the world would fall on its face because of a problem that didn’t exits– maybe they were fool’s errands, too, but they had some side benefits– lots of them, that will put them among those things I’ll be glad I didn’t do differently when my life’s flashing before my eyes one of these days.
I’m telling you thing because it’s a cool evening– the mourning doves are calling one another– and I wasn’t quite ready to sleep. Now I am.
Don’t, I’d advise you if I was gonna give you advice, which I’m not, be afraid to make big mistakes and take big risks– it’s all dancing lessons from God.

Courage, and shuffle the cards.


A letter to Julia, age 6, Part Three

Continued from November 29th, which was Part Two…

Same thing with peanuts. About the same time as that butterfly story another came out to be common knowledge that if you found a peanut with six goobers inside there was someone at Eastern New Mexico University that would pay $100 for it. To this day when I come across a really long nut, I look closely to see whether it might hold six goobers before I break it. I’m told kids in my hometown still do the same thing, so there you are.

So what I’m wondering is whether there mightn’t be someone at ENMU who will pay whatever the 2K equivalent is of $100 (1952) for a flock of chickens that are all clucks, save one. Maybe I’ll ask around.
Of course, there might be a problem– the silkies don’t qualify as clucks, I don’t believe– they are smarter than the rest. However, they hardly qualify as chickens. I personally attribute their strangeness to their inscrutable oriental background. So maybe the silkies wouldn’t disqualify me for the Y2K equivalent of $100 at 1950’s values. I don’t know. The odds of finding a 6″ swallowtail or a goober with six peas are hard to calculate– winning the lottery is 82 million to one, I think.
Things might have gone downhill badly in the last 50 years and clucks mightn’t be so uncommon anymore, one to a flock. In fact, nowadays the odds might actually be stacked to you win the lottery if you have a chicken who isn’t a cluck. Maybe there is someone at ENMU that would pay me $100 just for Lady McBeth!

A bit later:
This is getting long, and when I think of it I know just about everything I said after the word “chickens” was  a redundancy..
Give my regards to your mom and dad, your brothers and sister. Although we don’t have any heathen ladies in grass skirts singing “Bali Hai”, likely the various New Mexico girls who saw or heard of your brothers while they were here will pine and pine until they return (though they are probably concealing it from their parents and one another). Likely also the high desert will still be here when you get it into your heads, individually or severally, to come back.
Best to you, Miss Julia.
Best to all of you.

                                                        (to be continued with Part Four)