Tag Archives: texas

The Six-Dollar [American] Watch

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

Those of you who’ve been reading here a while might recall the soul-searching I had to do when my Timex Expedition wouldn’t belly up to the bar after the batteries went dead and I tried replacing them.  That poor old watch breathed its last.  I figured I’d be replacing it, but what with heart attacks and one thing and another, I didn’t.

Instead I picked up a digital watch at Dollar Tree for a buck to hold me over until I could decide whether I was going to live long enough to be needing a $25-$30 watch until the batteries died.  No point putting out all that money for extra watch a man wasn’t going to live long enough to look at the full $25 worth.  Or more.  Hell you can’t take it with you.  It’s like buying new underwear, if you’re me.  When your life is on a short leash you debate hard with yourself whether these jockey’s can’t be stretched long enough to hold out until I croak.

Aesthetics gradually rolled over me with that dollar watch.  Damned thing had a stiff plastic band that raised welts on my wrist and I’ve really never been able to make my mind absorb the numbers on a watch without any damned hands at a quick glance.  I have to squint and study on it to figure out where the hands would be if it were a real watch.

So last year at Andrews, Texas, while my bud Eddie Brewer was being host for the RV, the cats and me while I awaited the pleasure of the VA medical folks, I spang went to a discount-type store in Andrews and found myself a $6.00 [American] real watch with hands.  Figured I couldn’t die until the VA got around to telling me why I was going to, and it might take a few more bucks of watch to outlast them.

That was about this time last year, got myself a nice $6.00 watch with a leather-looking band and a quartz movement.  That watch saw me through some damned difficult times I can tell you. I spent last Christmas in the parking lot of an AutoZone store in Big Spring, Texas, digging through the dumpster and admiring the life left in that new watch.

When the store re-opened after Christmas my brake master cylinder arrived, I installed it using tools I got out of their dumpster, and trucked to San Angelo.  Where I suspect I had another heart attack in the WalMart parking lot, but nevertheless trucked back to Gale’s.  All this is probably written up here in the archives.

Then the Kerrville, Texas hospital.

More damned needles, tests, hospital beds than a person has to put up with if he’s only relying on the VA for his health care.  Those damned private medical facilities get downright enthusiastic when it comes to poking and prodding.

Anyway, after the hospital in Kerrville the watch was still working, so naturally I had to try to stay alive, which didn’t seem all that likely if I didn’t take some sort of decisive steps to outlast the damned watch.  I could barely stagger up the steps into the RV and out again to pee.  And I was worried about the cats being stuck inside if I croaked and nobody found me for a few days.

So I headed for Kansas during the coldest weather in living memory in Texas and it was no slouch in Kansas, either.  Made it north of Dallas, checked into a motel to croak or whatever.  But the damned watch was still running and Jeanne’s sons came down, drove me up here.  Coldest damned road trip I recall in my life except one in Korea.  But that’s another story.

So, you know the rest, mostly.  Hospitals, more VA, all the usual suspects, and that $6 Andrews, Texas watch kept on ticking.

It was the band that killed it off.  Watch is fine but the band broke up next to the watch.  I was afraid that was going to happen, saw it coming.  I even went so far as to shop around for another watch band, which would have cost double what the watch set me back.  Then I sneaked around and looked at the cost of Timex Expeditions.  And I knew in my defibrillatored heart I couldn’t outlive a damned Timex.  I had to draw my line in the sand.

Jeanne took me over to a Big Lot store, me thinking they might have something I could live as long as, and spang!  There it was.  A six-dollar [American] watch, that had the look of something that probably wouldn’t outlast me.

The lady at the register helped me unfasten all the security belts and extra packaging a person hates to throw away, but hell, damned stuff is shaped to be worthless.  I strapped that mama on, set it to the time on the clock above the register, and I was ready to rock and roll again.

Brief panic when I checked the time against my computer an hour later and it seemed to have lost 10 minutes, but it was just they had their clock set fast at Big Lot.  Those folks are young enough they don’t have any appreciation for throwing their time away fooling around with clocks.

So I’m back in the saddle.  Got me a watch I can feel confident will last me the remainder of my life if need be, without wasting a damned cent.  And not likely to put a lot of pressure on me to live past my time.

Old Jules

Arizona Heatwave Forces Temporary Suspension Of Racial Profiling

The Onion

http://www.theonion.com/video/onion-weather-center-arizona-heatwave-forces-tempo,29247/

Kinky Friedman: “Israel is Texas in the Middle East”

Hi readers.  I’ve been enjoying Kinky Friedman’s songs since the early 1970s.  Back when his band was, Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys.  I don’t agree with him in a lot of ways, but his views are, at least, worth hearing and considering.

The only country-western song ever written about the Holocaust, Ride’em Jewboy, stands up as one of the best CW songs of the 20th Century in my opinion.  Give it a listen.

Heck, he’s the founder of the Utopia Animal Mission rescuing stray dogs.  He can be wrong about a lot without being wrong about a lot else.

In a lot of ways he didn’t intend I think he’s probably right when he says Israel is Texas in the Middle east.  It used to be Ireland in the Middle East until the Northern Irish got tired of blood feuding with the kinfolks over religion.  But Texas never met a war it didn’t like and killing and exploiting the weak and powerless is a song that resonates among them.  A lot more than Ride’em Jewboy ever did.

Old Jules

Learning debts incurred Universe-wise

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

I’ve been asking a lot of questions lately, learning a lot, some of which might be false, but I learned it anyway. Now that I’ve blown out enough tires on two different RVs to satisfy my curiosity I’m willing to try to apply some of it. Even though it robs my macho because of not knowing it before when I knew all manner of things.

First off, there’s the thing about tires. They ain’t as good as they used to be. Old guy behind the counter at the tire store and I conversed about it a while when we shared mutual memories of having bought junkyard tires and run them until they were down to the threads. Lots of them, and neither of us remembered much in the way of blowouts.

But now the DOT mandates they date those tires. And as a consequence, he opines they blow just about when the DOT predicted they would. The DOT gave the tire industry a leg up against criticism by providing them an “I told you so!” escape and they made great engineering use of it. Supposition, but possumly true.

Secondly, another old guy pointed out all the tires I’ve blown were right-rear dooleys. Beginning with inside ones. He opined that what I’m doing is running with that right rear wheel too near the pavement edge, maybe off it, forcing the inside-rear tire to carry all the weight. Which makes a hell of a lot of sense.

I’d been mulling over the fact every blowout I’ve had happened on highway RR479 north bound and wondering at the coincidence. It’s a fairly good Texas Ranch Road with a lot of hills and curves. Might just be I’ve been letting it drift, one wheel off the pavement instead of hugging the centerline.

Thirdly, I’ve also satisfied my curiosity about whether I’m interested in arm-wrestling lug nuts put on with impact drivers. Even with a 5 foot cheater, even with a T-bar after they’re loose, I was having to take breaks between lugs. And after I put them back on and tightened them, I’d stop a few miles down the road to check, they’d always be loose enough to require a little more tight with the bar. Half-dozen times between here and Kerrville. If an impact tool’s able to take care of just that problem of reality and confidence, it’s worth the price of admission.

[Debating with myself here, can’t recall whether 4th is spelled, Fourth, or Forth – what-the-hell]

Next: Careful examination of the half-inch drive corded hammer-drill suggests it might function as an impact tool, but it’s going to need a half-inch adapter between the drill-chuck and male socket whatchallit. If it works it’s going to be a lot cheaper than an off the shelf impact tool, and it doesn’t have a battery to go kerplunk.

Next: That trim above the right-rear wheel well [see pic] was destroyed when the tire blew. No way that piece of trim is going to jump out of the Universe at me to be replaced, so I’m going to have to find a way to innovate. Not entirely for aesthetics, but some places are pickypickypicky wanting to see pics of the rig before they’ll consider a person who wants to clean up their trash, mow their grass, listen to complaints of RV owners. In exchange for a pad with hookups, etc.

Last, I’ve been troubled because my ALT gauge doesn’t tell me squat about whether the alternator’s working or not. Couldn’t figure why. A guy on one of the vintage RV groups answered my question about it by telling me he had the same problem. Bought a cheap digital gadget plugs into the lighter socket. I got one yesterday and hot diggety damn. Yes, HOT diggety damn! You heard me right.

But I’ve digressed. The crux of it all is that, after having been provided all this new stuff to learn, I have to live long enough to use it, damn me if I don’t. Got myself a karmic debt on my Credit Card with an obligation I might carry spang into my next lifetime if I kick before using it.

So now, instead of just having to live long enough to pay back Keith and Rich for the lifesaving loans to get the RVs, instead of just having to outlive the damned cats, I’ve got to spend the remainder of my life changing blown tires and unscrewing pesky lug nuts.

Sheeze.

Old Jules

Tequila sunrise

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

Old Ms. Niaid managed to off Brother Rattler without any consequences evidently, so she’s going to have to find something else to flesh out her life experience, I reckons. Her long hair’s growing back from the sheep shearing when the hot weather hit, and it’s filling up with beggar’s lice and grass burrs, which might serve to fend off whatever’s around here dangerous to aging bachelorette felines.

Ms. Tabby, on the other hand, has a nose and front-of-her-face of the usual Tabby-summertime variety. Can’t keep her nose out of cactus, or out of the business of something capable of adding color and romance to an otherwise nondescript Tabby face. I’m thinking when we get out of here she might turn out to be a regular-looking cat.

I decided yesterday I’m going to add mothballs to that storage building to get those rattlers out where they can enjoy life instead of bickering and snarling inside that dark storage building. Can’t tell when someone’s going to want something else out of there and the anxiety level trying to find it ain’t worth not stepping on a snake some night going from the RV to the cabin to check my email.

Today I’m going to nurse the Escape Route V 2.51 into Kerrville on three tires on back and have the two blown ones replace with respectable 10 ply exceptions to the rule. Provided the spare on the ground right-rear doesn’t decide to blow the plan. I’ll try to take back roads and get the roadwork done early before the pavement gets too hot.

Keith emailed me a while back he’s planning to be in New Mexico late August or September, and I’m going to tentatively plan on getting out to visit while he’s in the area. Hopefully by then everything will be settled out here and I’ll be able to think of out-there as home for a while.

Maybe get me a nice little piece of ocean-side ground on the east, or west coast of New Mexico, once all the damned ice goes away and raises sea-level to a reasonable altitude. 4000′ mean sea level might be about right. Maybe the cats and I will open a little bait shop on the west coast near where Arizona used to be. Or maybe rig a surfboard and hang ten mornings after we pray the sun up.

I figure the west coast will probably be less jam packed with Arizonians than the east coast will be with Texans because those Texans already all go to New Mexico deliberately to ski and gamble at Ruidoso and Angel Fire. Arizonians and Californians never go to New Mexico deliberately unless they’re just going through it to get somewhere else.

By the time they wake up and discover they’re living in a salt-water swimming hole I’ll have things nailed down on all the corners, wave to them as they swim to shore, or ride in on their bass boats. Sell them some bait, maybe.

Big plans for the future here.

Old Jules

Silky Rooster’s Been Raptured Out

I told you that silky rooster was intelligent, but I thought he’d outsmarted himself by getting loose and left behind here.  All those hens he came up with as a chick, the surviving rooster.  Kay’s hens and rooster.  All now joined with a free ranging flock somewhere else.

And he was sorely depressed being alone here.

But he must have known faith would see him through.  A lady down the road with 17 hens and no roosters emailed me after I listed him on Kerrville FreeCycle.  We arranged to meet yesterday at a pullover midway between her and me.

“What a beautiful rooster!”  He preened.

What’s his name?”

I’ve never given him a name.”  She scowled and stroked him.

I always name my chickens.”  Attractive pucker.

To which Mr. NoName Silky replied, “I’ve been to the wild wood, mither.  Mak my bed soon.”

All’s well that ends well.

Old Jules

Texas Romance With Secession and Rope-Dancing

Hi readers.

Probably a strong case can be made that the Texan love for the idea of secession is directly related to the long-term love affair so many Texans have with lynchings, beatings, bullyings, and executions.  Especially during the past 50-60 years the Federal Government’s been a terrible thorn in the side of folks who’d like to be able to drag accused offenders out of the jailhouse and hang them, as their ancestors were fond of doing.

The side of the Civil War in Texas a reader has to search deeply to find is the part involving Texas Homeland Security of the time.  Raping, burning, looting, confiscation of property, and indiscriminate lynching of anyone the forces of law decided might oppose secession or the Confederacy.

[Secession! Texas Makes Its Choice – Texas State Library and Archives Commission https://www.tsl.state.tx.us/exhibits/civilwar/secession.html]

According to the Texas Historical Commission, “Texas stands third among the states, after Mississippi and Georgia, in the total number of lynching victims. Of the 468 victims in Texas between 1885 and 1942, 339 were black, 77 white, 53 Hispanic, and 1 Indian. Half of the white victims died between 1885 and 1889, and 53 percent of the Hispanics died in the 1915 troubles. Between 1889 and 1942 charges of murder or attempted murder precipitated at least 40 percent of the mobs; rape or attempted rape accounted for 26 percent. Blacks were more likely to be lynched for rape than were members of other groups, although even among blacks murder-related charges accounted for 40 percent of the lynchings and rape for only 32 percent. All but 15 of the 322 lynching incidents that have a known locality occurred in the eastern half of the state. The heaviest concentration of mob activity was along the Brazos River from Waco to the Gulf of Mexico, where eleven counties accounted for 20 percent of all lynch mobs. Other concentrations were in Harrison and neighboring counties on the Louisiana border, adjacent to Caddo Parish, Louisiana, one of the most lynching-prone areas in the country, and in Lamar and surrounding counties in Northeast Texas.”

http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/jgl01

A couple of examples of Texas Cultural Lynchmen at work:

Today in Texas History: Teenage boy lynched in Center

On this date in 1920, the body of Lige Daniels, an African-American teenager, hung in the main square of Center, a small town near the border between Texas and Louisiana.

Daniels was the victim of a lynching. In a 2001 story on Refdiff.com, columnist Dilip D’Souza described the scene: “Wearing a white shirt, torn pants and no shoes, his head tilted back sightlessly, this black teenager hung that day from the limb of a tree.”

D’Souza noted Daniels, imprisoned on allegations that he murdered a white woman, was taken from jail by a mob of nearly a thousand citizens, who carried him to the square where they hanged him.

D’Souza said the Daniels’ lynching garnered much attention but no local protests. Instead, there was so much fascination with the strung-up corpse that photographers turned the event into a postcard that was mailed to families and friends across the country. Daniels’ dead body became an article of trade.”

http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2010/08/today-in-texas-history-teenage-boy-lynched-in-center/

Or Jesse Washington, Waco.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynching_in_the_United_States

Texans have a legitimate pride in their history and their heritage.  Their heroes of the Alamo, of San Jacinto, of the wars with the Comanche, the Apache, the Civil War are, to Texans, reflections of what they are, themselves.  Their aspirations, their salutes, their strutting pride in a history they yearn to be a part of.

And being a part of the United States with its obstructive Supreme Court decisions, its attempts to stand between Texans and the act of being themselves, needs mending.

Needs another secession to open the doors to opportunities lost.

Old Jules