Tag Archives: employment

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

Immigration reform

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Later this year when the petrodollar crashes and burns most of you will probably be hoping the Mexicans will revise their immigration laws.  Likely you’ll recall the last time the US economy fell on really hard times how US workers drifted to Mexico and further south looking for work.  It wasn’t a lot better there, but there was less English speaking competition for jobs.

Here’s an example from the Bogart movie, Treasure of Sierra Madre:

Things haven’t really changed much, have they.  Except the guy doing the hiring and cheating them out of their pay is a gringo in Mexico instead of a gringo in the US.

I’m betting those Mexicans will be tickled pea-green to have gringos coming down to work.

Old Jules

Me, Being a People Person, And All

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

A nice little norther blew in here the past couple of days, cooled things down something awful.  I slept in the RV, and by ones and twos the cats volunteered to join me inside for a bit of quality time, sleeping on my chest, purring and kneading claws pleasantly.  They tell me, with reservations, they think they’re going to be able to hunker down and live in there.

Came just in a nick of time, too, because what?  Three daybreaks ago?  I noticed something coming out of the now-open chicken house just after dawn.  Double-take revealed it to be a bobcat, small for a bobcat, but large enough to make a meal out of any of these wannabe toughies.  Last night the cats and I played fruit-basket-turn-over, two inside alternating with two nearby waiting their turn to come up next time I got up to pee.

Got my ‘Work for RVers and Campers Newsletter by email this morning:

Work for RVers and Campers: Employment, Volunteer Positions, Jobs, and Business


Nowhere near as many listings in there for west Texas, New Mexico and Arizona as there were last issue, which had a couple I found exciting.  This issue only has a couple in Texas, neither far enough west to suit me, and one in Arizona up in the neighborhood of Sedona.  They want someone in an RV park up there to do various things in exchange for a place to park. 

But me going to Sedona would be carrying coals to Newcastle, I reckons.  Besides, they wanted applicants to send a photo of themselves, along with a resume.  With winter coming on I reckons I’d have to figure out which winter pic of me to send:

I’d naturally want to throw out the best possible impression of myself I could.

And  they want the resume to demonstrate how I’m a people person, which of course, I am.   Ain’t hardly any more people people out there than I am, taken from certain perspectives.  But I’m not sure how I’d go about conveying it to them.

Been a long time since I wrote a resume, though I used to count myself a fair hand at doing it.  If I was the one doing the hiring out there, I’d jump at me.

Old Jules

Who’ll Be First? Mac?

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

Seems to me the hamburger joints almost certainly have Chinese entrepreneurs on tap this very moment designing 56 collectible toy Tibetan dolls that set fire to themselves.

Here’s hoping the program doesn’t give any ideas to the people working in back over the grilles flipping burger patties who used to have jobs that went to China.

Old Jules

A Perspective About Unions

Hi readers. Thanks for coming for a visit.

My biological father, Raymond Waxey [Red] Purcell, was a union organizer for 45-50 years. [One of the Fascinations of Christian TV]

I can’t think of a single thing I admire about him.  In fact, I sincerely believe in a well-ordered, well-meaning, sane world he’d never have been allowed to reproduce.  And most especially not allowed to combine his gene-pool with the gene-pool of Alice Eugenia Hudson.

However, I can thank him for a lot of what I know about unions in the United States.  During the years I knew him  it was mostly the only thing he cared about, generally the main thing he talked about.  And I do believe he cared about the workers he organized, their dismal wages, long hours, dangerous working conditions.  He was a fighter, and he fought hard for them at considerable physical risk to himself.

Especially during the early years getting thrown in jail, beaten up, harassed by cops and company goons was a way of life for him.

I’ve been a union member myself, longshoreman, construction worker, taxicab drivers, teamsters, and I’ve seen the sweetheart contracts, the corruption, the sellouts, and I’d want nothing to do with unions if I were a member of the work force today.

So when I was eavesdropping on a couple of Texas geniuses  in a restaurant the other day explaining to one another how the unions have driven all the industry out of the US I found myself asking myself,

“Could any US worker make a living on 13 cents an hour?  Would the multi-nationals have kept the operations here if only workers would work for the wage they’ll be paying in the country where they’re sending the jobs?”

To suggest organized workers have ruined this country is to turn a blind eye to the sacrifices and risks they chose to take to organize, and why they made those sacrifices, took those risks.

Jeanne’s granddad owned a lumber mill in Oregon during the 1930s.  It was burned down by unions, it’s said.  She says she was talking with her cousin about it and he explained it was at a time unions where at the pinnacle of corruption.

But then of course,” She went on, “He was a man who didn’t care anything about anyone, or anything but himself.”

That probably just about sums up why we had unions, why workers organized.  What it doesn’t explain is why, having done it, they became so corrupt so pervasively.

The nearest Red Purcell ever came to getting actually homicided as a result of his job, he often said, was when he was hiding under the table in a locked house with union goons from a competing union trying to get in.

Old Jules

New Careers for Retirees and the Unemployed

I know some of you readers are out of work and having difficulties finding jobs.  With this post I’d like to twist your mind around in a way that might give you a different way of approaching the affair of starting to make money to live on.

I don’t know whether there’s any hope or not, but I can tell you it ain’t easy. From the time I gave myself a Y2K until I moved back to Texas I tried a number of desperate ideas that might have worked if I’d been smarter.

But I think there still might be something here in the way of thinking about it to give you a fresh perspective.  Trying to find jobs flipping hamburgers at minimum wage or clerking in a motel graveyard shift, or stocking shelves and unloading trucks for a Dollar General didn’t prove out for me.  I suspect it won’t for you.  A lot of the reason is that young people don’t like working around older people.  At least, they din’t in my case.

But the world’s still got niches a person might fill, things that people need doing and might pay to get done that the Chinese can’t get over here to do yet.

Polishing long-haul truck rims, bumpers, gas tanks:

I don’t know whether they’re still doing it, but truckers within the past few years [some of them] had an overweening pride in their wheels, bumpers and grilles.

Frequently they’ll pay up to $100 for the tractor wheels, gas tank, bumper and grille while they catch a snooze at a roadside park or overnight truck stop. An angle grinder/polisher, portable generator and a CB radio are the main costs of going into business.

Didn’t work out for me because my angle polishing head flew off, the knurled stem that held the head walked across the gas tank, cut through a fuel line [the truck was idling] and started squirting diesel all over the place before it caught fire [after he’d shut the rig down].

Might work out better for you. A person could make $500 – $1000 per day if he was fast and good.


Bodyguard didn’t work out well for me, either, though it paid well. Anyone who needs a bodyguard usually has a reason for needing one.

Respectable people doing legal things hire bodyguards from companies who do that for a living.  But there’s a type of activity going on out there in the world that needs a different kind of bodyguard.  If you’re a person who’s generally law-abiding, but desperate or open-minded enough to look into it, you might find a place there. 

You’ve got to be a non-drug user, absolutely and unwaveringly, uncompromisingly honest, and you’ve got to be willing to be around some of the sleaziest human beings on the face of the earth all your waking hours.  And you’ve got to be convincing that you’re uglier, colder and crazier than all those lowlifes around you.

Then there’s the danger of going to prison, which isn’t likely, but could happen.  The things that go sour  in that line of work tend to be of a different variety.

Tool handles:

It used to be a person could do well trading with the tribes if he was willing to go deep into the rez. Might still be so. They always have tools with broken handles, so buying a load of handles somewhere for all manner of tools, replacing the handles on the broken tools you’ve bought, then taking them by the truckload onto the rez, buying their heads with broken handles and selling them a used one you’ve repaired can be middling lucrative. But you’ve got to be relatively near a big rez or a lot of small ones.

Those mightn’t fit you and probably don’t, but they might give you an idea or two about some crack you can shine a flashlight into and find a way to make a living.  Even in this brave new 21st Century.

Old Jules