This page contains material previously posted on the Facebook So Far From Heaven: Old Jules page.
Old Jules, if you could go back to being twenty years old, what would you dedicate yourself to doing?
Daily gratitude affirmations, five each morning, five each night.
Daily forgiveness affirmations, five each morning, five each night.
I was in my 50s when I found out about them so I’ve only had less than 20 years or so to benefit by them.
Old Jules, What is a mind made out of?
Ignorance and unsupportable expectations.
Old Jules, what is the ancestor of revenge?
Flawed or unrealistic expectations of human behavior.
Old Jules, What are the positive and negative effects of blind obedience?
The positive side of blind obedience is that it allows you to cruise through life laughing when the canned laughter on the television tells you something is funny, allows you to say, “Ditto Rush!” when you’re listening to talk radio, keeps you in tune with all that’s around you harmonizing with the rest of humanity.
The negative side is that if you step on a crack you break your mother’s back.
Old Jules, what’s the most spiritual kind of breakfast? Why?
Flapjacks are the most spiritual breakfast. They require examining both sides of things.
Old Jules, what was the first pop song you heard and learned?
Must have been 1946, 47…there were three of them:
Buttermilk Sky, Don’t Fence Me In, and [don’t know the name] but the lyrics were:
“My mama told me if I’d be goodie that she would buy me a rubber dolly
So don’t you tell her I’ve got a feller
Or she won’t buy me a rubber dolly”
(For some reason the last one brings to mind a cattle guard where we were living in Arizona. No idea why.)
Old Jules, do you make New Year’s resolutions?
I’ve made new year’s resolutions in the past. But resolutions are intended to assist in personal growth during the coming year. I’ve got an idea 2012 will bless most of us with plenty of personal growth opportunities without any need for resolutions.
Old Jules, do mind powers really exist?
They exist for the rare individuals in the human population who have minds. They don’t exist for the great majority who say, “Not if they haven’t been proved,” or “How about them Cowboys”.
Only a tiny piece of homo sapiens possesses sapience, it appears. Possibly because sapience doesn’t appear on a football field and can’t be proved.
Old Jules, can a person be blamed for their mistakes if there is no such thing as free will?
If there’s no such thing as free will they might be destined to be blamed.
Old Jules, how will you be spending Christmas?
I’ll spend it absorbed in profound gratitude to the Universe for allowing me to spend this lifetime being me. Same as every other day.
Old Jules, how can we practice altruism to our fullest capability?
By tending our own affairs, offering a bag of beans and rice to anyone who’s hungry, and unplugging the television.
Old Jules, do you think we could have world peace?
World peace could exist if none of the creatures living on it had to feast on the carcass of something else to survive, and if there was no other motivation for any creature to kill another creature.
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 honky-tonks used to be a good place to experience it.
Old Jules, do you ever worry about leaving this earth without experiencing all that life has to offer?
No. I’m content with the bones that have never been broken, wheelchairs I’ve never ridden, fires I never got burned badly in, kids I never watched starve, diseases I never had, planes I never got around to crashing, rocks I never had fall on my head, motorcycle gangs that never beat me within an inch of my life.
Old Jules, what are some things that make Helen Keller a hero?
Helen Keller was a strong, innovative, intelligent, courageous, determined human being who served as an insparation to a lot of people, but I can’t think of a single aspect of her life that would justify calling her a hero except among feminists who find female heroes behind every forgotten tree.
Old Jules, what do you think affects human morality? What makes YOU do the right thing?
Self-interest. I only do the right thing when it’s in my own best interest. However, doing the right thing is always in my own best interest.
Old Jules, have you ever worshipped at the mound of Venus?
Yeah, and it was a fairly satisfying religion.
Old Jules, why do so many people hate Christians?
People hate Christians because of their evangelism, mainly. Their implication that other human beings don’t have the good sense to know their own spirituality and the choices they make about it. If they want to know more about the faith of others they’ll ask. Giving unasked for religious or spiritual advice is bad taste, bad manners, and insufferably presumptuous.
Old Jules, I want to have a monumental achievement. Lately I’ve just been existing and not Living. I want to LIVE. Got any ideas?
Design, build, and fly a powered hang-glider out of graphite-golf-club handles for the airframe and discarded nylon tents for the fabric, chainsaw motor for the power supply. Monumental achievement if you survive, and you’ll have satisfied your desire to LIVE.
Old Jules, how did Japan use imperialism to its advantage in the 19-20th centuries?
Japan used imperialism to its advantage by invading the Pacific and attacking Pearl Harbor, getting itself atomic bombed the bejesus out of, so’s to become one of the wealthiest and most productive nations in the world as a result of US taxpayers rebuilding their industries.
Old Jules, What remains at the end of life?
If you’ve lived right, scads of women to dance on your grave [if they can find it], one hell of a lot of credit card debt, a junkyard full of worn out cars in the driveway, Roccos hanging around trying to figure out if there are any heirs they can lean on. And maybe a vintage airplane with a prop looking like a corkscrew, wings and nose looking like a piece of modern accordian art. Or coyotes and buzzards with satisfied looks on their faces.
Old Jules, does the soul really exist?
Seems to me the problem isn’t whether the soul exists. There’s sufficient evidenece it does to make a convincing case for it. The question is whether the body exists and what the hell the soul is using it for.
Old Jules, do we really exist, or is this just a dream we are having in another dimension, where we also don’t exist?
You’re a flash drive. When you have to shut down to defrag, the background software changes to a default and sometimes gets feedback from other flash drives on the same hub. This doesn’t mean you don’t exist, or that what’s running on the other flash drives is more or less real than one another. It’s just feedback bleeding over through the hub.
Old Jules, what’s the fundamental one thing about religion you do not like?
Evangelism, holier-than-thou rhetoric, condescension, smugness, and attempts to project political power. Other than that, it’s great.
Old Jules, How do you not lose yourself in the insanity/harshness of the world?
I buy all my clothing at thrift stores used, but in okay condition, don’t buy much else if I can help it aside from food I can’t grow, cat food and chicken feed. If I need building materials I buy them used at Habitat for Humanity for a few cents on a dollar.
There are things I would buy if I could afford them, such as a computer with more RAM and a screen that isn’t a blur, but I figure maybe I’ll find a tower at a thrift store after Christmas donated by people who got new ones from Santy Claus.
I’m able to be reasonably content with the insanity/harshness of the world. But I don’t own a tv or read newspapers and magazines.
Old Jules, do you believe in coincidences?
My personal thought is that coincidence is a huge piece of what’s going on around us. Might even be what’s holding reality together. I’d not be displeased to see some sort of general awareness and careful observation of the phenomenon along with organized study of it.
I try to keep an eye on coincidence and have placed a concept of Coincidence Coordinators in one of the ways I tend to consider what appears to be the human experience.
Old Jules, what’s your favorite childhood memory?
I don’t have any fondness for any of my childhood memories, never have had. Eventually I’ve been able to feel gratitude for all of them, which might be better, anyway. I’m grateful there was always food on the table, grateful for having lived on a farm during part of it and worked on farms and ranches throughout. Grateful I managed to graduate high school despite the fact I left home a couple of years too early in the town where my family lived. Grateful for all of it, no matter how I resist remembering it.
Old Jules, do you have any great family holiday memories?
When I was a kid someone who didn’t know him called on my granddad to ask the blessing at a large gathering of various family members and in-laws. I’ve always thought a lot of his response: “Thank you for this food, which we wouldn’t have had if we hadn’t grown it ourselves, Thank you for this shelter we had to build ourselves and wouldn’t have had it otherwise, Thank you for all these people here, who wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t been drunk too many nights to stay away from their mother.”
Old Jules, where were you when Kennedy was killed?
I was in Korea when Kennedy was killed. The charge of quarters came through our hooch yelling, “Wake up and grieve, the presiden’t’s dead.” A few minutes later the alert siren blew and we went into the field for a week or two until things settled out and established we weren’t going to war.
Old Jules, don’t you think Harry Potter is as valid a source of worship as the Bible?
Terry Pratchett’s much more valid than either of them.
Old Jules, does wisdom always come with AGE?
Nope. But it almost never come without age. Think of yourself five years ago. Ten years ago. Were you wiser then, than now?
Old Jules, how can I change the world for the better?
1] Do hospice volunteer work
2] volunteer to spend time with patients at a VA hospital for long-term care,
3] volunteer to help in a drug/alcohol withdrawal program for homeless.
4] Collect clothing, underwear, gifts, donation of supplies for a battered family shelter near you. They’re always forgotten during the holidays and they’re jam-packed with kids who’ll get nothing for Christmas.
Old Jules, what snacks were popular in the 50’s?
Soda crackers [saltines] with slices of cheddar cheese toasted onto the surface on a cookie pan in the oven.
Pickled pigs feet
Pickled watermelon rinds
An RC Royal Crown Cola with a package of roasted peanuts emptied into it.
Old Jules, what is the source of freedom?
Old Jules, is it immoral to sell harmful and addictive substances, like heroin or cigarettes?
As in alcohol, crack, crank, ecstacy, chocolate, computer games, talk radio patriotism and religious doctrine? Probably not immoral. Human beings need elbow room to allow them to make lousy choices as well as less lousy ones.
Old Jules, how would you describe nature in two words?
Old Jules, what warms your heart?
Listening to certain Leonard Cohen songs warms my heart a bunch. Take This Waltz, Ballad of the Absent Mare, The Stranger Song, A Thousand Kisses Deep, Boogie Street, Hallelujah, and Dance Me To The End Of Love all do the job.
Also Gregorian chants, and Guy Clark’s Boats to Build, South Coast of Texas, Homegrown Tomatoes, Texas Cooking. Steve Goodman, City of New Orleans, The Dutchman, Would You Like to Learn to Dance.
Tom Russell, Gallo del Cielo. Mozart’s Horn Concertos, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony [Choral], Carlos Nakai Navajo flute, Canyon Suite, Sundance Season.
A lot of old Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Hank Thompson, Johnny Horton. Leadbelly, Lightning Hopkins, Townes Van Zandt. Dave Van Ronk, The Rolling Stones, The Righteous Brothers.
Heck, it runs away with a person once you start to think about it.
Old Jules, why did America start prohibition?
Because Americans, same as human beings everywhere else, are addicted to the drug of trying to force others to live their lives as they personally choose to live their own. A population world-wide of busybodies who think it’s right and proper that their own shallow, empty perceptions of how things are be enforced on everyone else.
Old Jules, does someone’s appearance affect your opinion of them?
Yeah, it does. I particularly hate people with long hair and face furniture. When I see people in town with that look I always walk up and hassle them about it.
I don’t much care whether they’re fat or skinny. I just lose respect for them for trying to look like me.
Old Jules, what kind of propaganda techniques did the Nazis use?
Turn on the radio tomorrow and listen to talk radio a while. It will give you an accurate portrayal of the propaganda techniques used by the Nazis.
Old Jules, why did the Aztecs find it necessary to make blood sacrifices to the sun god Huizilopochtil?
The question is philosophical and theological rather than historical. Nobody knows today what the Aztecs thought and most of what’s known of the religion[s] is deduced from behaviors and artifacts, as opposed to by anecdotes and stories carried down through generations or some religious text. Having said that, the religions of the tribes in Mexico and Guatemala were bloody ones and involved huge amounts of human sacrifice. Why is for anyone to guess.
I personally don’t even understand why Christianity has killed off as many thousands as it has during the course of history. Trying to understand tribal religions involving human sacrifice is beyond my ken.
Old Jules, I’m bored. What should I do?
Boredom is a choice a person makes for himself. It’s based on priorities, values, and the imagination and intelligence of the person making the choice. People with no imagination and low intelligence frequently choose boredom because they haven’t the imagination nor the incentives to make life an adventure, every facet of it.
A lot of people love to choose boredom and it seems you’re among them.
Old Jules, how do you take over a small country?
If you have an all-volunteer army and a population of sheep you tell them the small country is a threat to them, that they’re going to swim into your country with butcher knives clamped in their teeth and cut the throats of baby Jesus and possibly someone else.
Then you send your all volunteer army there so’s your people won’t have to be afraid anymore.
Old Jules, is your life what you expected? If not, does it really matter?
I don’t believe I could have ever imagined much of it ahead of time, but it’s a smile and it’s been a constant adventure. When people talk about being bored, I file it away as something to look into next lifetime to see if it’s as interesting as not being bored.
I don’t believe anything about this lifetime is going to end unless I manage to figure out how to do it right so’s I don’t get into the same set of challenges next time around. The prospect gives me a strong motive.
Old Jules, why do people fear the future, regret the past and ignore the present?
Their minds can’t work quickly enough to catch the present, so everything they’re observing is in the past and they’re helpless to influence it.
The past is obvious to them but it doesn’t contain the illusion of free will to allow them to change it.
The future is the source of everything they believe is happening to them, but it’s coming at them through something they think is the present, which they can’t catch to examine and recognize as actually being the future squirting through. It gives them a sense of helplessness and robs them of the ability to observe what’s actually going on.
Old Jules, why is it better to give than receive?
The need for possessions is an infectious disease in many ways. It’s always better to be on the giving end of an infectious disease than it is to be on the receiving end of one.
Old Jules, is it possible for your soul to die ?
Souls don’t actually die, but politicians put theirs in a blind trust for the duration of their terms in office.
Old Jules, do you believe that luck and mindset are correlated?
Around 1980 I flew a Cessna 140 under the Pedernales River bridge. Not dangerous – the bridge was high and I had plenty of room both sides. Quick bump and I was through, looking back at the bridge grinning ecstatic.
Then I looked in front and saw the web of highline wires crossing the river immediately in front of me, no way of missing them.
I don’t know whether I went under, over or through them. All I know is it was over in the blink of an eye and I was still back there about to fly into them, stupified.
Was damned near killing myself on highline wires and not succeeding luck? Mindset?
I think it was pure luck. My mindset didn’t exist at that moment.
Old Jules, do you trust the government?
I don’t even trust them to be the government.
Old Jules, are you an optimist or a pessimist?
I suppose I’m an optimist because I trust everything’s about the way it’s supposed to be within the context of whatever’s in charge of deciding such matters [which are higher than my paygrade].
On the other hand, I’m also a realist, which doesn’t cause me to dance with enthusiasm and admiration for humanity. Some might label that pessimism.
Old Jules, what kinds of artifacts would Cleopatra have been buried with?
She might have been buried with her snakebite kit, her IUD, a case of condoms, lipstick, makeup mirror, thigh-length boots, bikini panties, pasties with gold tassels, a gold tooth, tattoos, and the body of the child issued from herself and Mark Antony.
Old Jules, what is the world’s greatest contradiction?
(for example: east vs west, secularism vs fundamentalism,science vs religion, spiritual vs material.,etc.)
The way individual humans view themselves as compared to the way they behave as a species.
Old Jules, what is your drive in life?
What inspires you and encourages you?
What is the shining ray of hope in your life?
The drive in my life is still the adventure of growth and new understandings despite the fact I’m [probably] an old man in your eyes.
Every time I learn something I didn’t expect to learn it encourages me to look further. I suppose the shining rays in my life are my cats and my herd of free-ranging chickens. They’re not hope, but I like them a lot better than I liked hope when I used to have hope.
Old Jules, what empowers psychopaths?
That which also empowers politicians, police, patriots, religious zealots and CEOs. The failure to recognize internal flaws within the personal constructions of reality.
Old Jules, how do I acquire a Romantic Temperament? I want that shortness of breathe, that aching in the chambers of one’s heart, but I feel as if I’m emotionally deadpan. My emotions are never extreme.
Cultivate mawkish sentimentality, read a lot of Victorian poetry, spend a lot of time contemplating how great cows have it out there grazing in the fields, read romance novels and allow yourself to believe there are men out there who crave moonlight walks, candlelight dinners, sending you roses and chocolates, and will never clip their toenails into the carpet.
Old Jules, how do you tell the difference between love and affection?
Affection can easily be trimmed with an axe and pruning shears. Love needs a chainsaw.
Old Jules, what has been your saving grace or graces?
Forcing self-doubt, then reinforcing it as a daily ritual has helped a lot. Forgiving others for not having enough self-doubt also helps.
Old Jules, what is the meaning of our lives?
We are here to provide fertilizer for plants and act as a host for essential parasites and important pathogenic micro-organisms. . If anything is wrong in your life it’s the result of using a commode or toilet fixture that flushes into a public sewerage system.
If you want to correct that problem a garden spade will suffice. That is the meaning of our lives.
Old Jules, have you ever felt like going out in the woods to do nothing except enjoy the beauties of nature?
Living in the woods requires a person to enjoy a lot more than the beauty most people associate with nature. The joy comes from solitude, recognizing what needs doing and doing it. If I did nothing but enjoy the beauties of nature I’d get colder than I care to be come winter and when it rains I’d be wetter than I want to be. Sunrises are great but they’re nature’s way of announcing that the chickens need to be fed and let out.
Old Jules, what does it mean to believe in God?
To ‘believe in’ God is to have an opinion involving belief and disbelief, with belief drawing the short straw.
God isn’t about ‘belief’. 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’ thrives instead of “knowng”.
Old Jules, how warped is your reality?
The centrifugal force provided by spinning around on a planet being pulled every which way by moon gravity and having the sun wobble all over the place for 6.7 decades probably has it fairly warped, but a person gets used to it.
Old Jules, what did you do to protest U.S. involvement in Vietnam?
We threw rocks at cops, smoked a lot of jade and loved promiscuous sex and rock and roll. When we weren’t doing those things we wrote for underground newspapers, marched, rioted, occupied public buildings, talked a lot, and wondered why that damned war wouldn’t end.
Old Jules, what is it like to be without hope?
It can be a place with a lot of quietude and satisfaction. Hope implies expectations and is the antithesis of acceptance. For a person who believes expectations are a source of distraction from the better things in life, and that acceptance is the fundamental goal for transcending this hostile reality, being without hope is an accomplishment of major importance.
Old Jules, what are some of the effects TV has had?
It took people indoors instead of outdoors, disfranchised them from their families, isolated them, provided canned laughter to train them and provide value judgements, made passive sheep of them, made mental paraplegics of them, made super-consumers of them, and made moral cowards of them.
Mostly, television destroyed whatever potential pre-television U.S. had for greatness and launched it down the slippery slope to oblivion.
Old Jules, what is the ultimate question, the questions of all questions, the cream of the crop, the most intelligent question a mind can think of?
How many fingers am I holding up?
Old Jules, did the 9/11 bombers succeed in their goal?
After 9/11, US citizens gave up a lot of freedoms, experienced huge inconvenience in flying commercially, became polarized in bigotry, watched multi-layered security measures come into being, became absorbed in fear, bankrupted themselves in foreign wars, and still talk and think incessantly about Muslims, terrorism, and hate.
If the US did that to an enemy and accomplished all that, wouldn’t it be counted a stupendous victory?
Old Jules, what was your most memorable moment?
Maybe my first solo airplane flight. I was sick of my instructor so I just took off and did it on my own.
Old Jules, do you believe in God?
Not the one you’re referring to.
Old Jules, do you know of any inspirational women, past or present?
Che Kyang Yoon was an inspirational woman for me. She lived in Seoul, Korea in 1964. Che made her living as a prostitute, but she was a good mother to her child, a fair and honest lady, and disease free, which was unusual in that time and place.
Old Jules, do you have any stories 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 underpowered aircraft.
Most other wisdom in my life acquired the hard way rhymes with those, one way or another.
Old Jules, why do older women sometimes become so unhappy?
Women get unhappier, those of them who do, because they never learned to live with themselves without the belief they need someone to carry them around like a turd between two sticks, send them flowers and candy, do moonlight walks with them, and be worried when they pout.
Women who come to that understanding with themselves are strong, self-sufficient, and don’t become unhappier with every circuit of the star.
Old Jules, what’s gravity for?
Gravity gives us the special power to keep our feet firmly on the ground and plant airplanes nose-first into it.
Old Jules, what was it like in the ’60’s?
The ’60s were no better, no worse than any since. Different, but certainly not any more self-indulgent than today.
The music was one hell of a lot better, though. And the ’60s had the advantage of some percentage of the living population not having spent their early childhoods staring at televisions and hearing canned laughter.
Also, most people could still read and write.
Old Jules, what’s life all about?
I think the object of life is living it. Taking the challenges as they come, leaning into them, being grateful for the growth, the pain, the agonies, the failures because they’ve made you what your are, and if you don’t love what you are, learn what you want to be and become that. Learning to be a person you admire, respect and love might not be the gestalt objective of life, but it sets you onto a path where you can find something that rhymes with it.
Old Jules, what was life before computers?
It was tough. Writers had to type book manuscripts on typewriters, cut and paste the first drafts, retype it all, cut and paste the second rewrite, type it again, type a mistake-free third and final draft, then send it off to agent or publishers, have them mark it up and send it back to be typed again.
Computers have generally made the process easier, which is the reason there’s so much trash offered up in the form of novels and non-fiction these days.
Old Jules, what do you think the most widely accepted lie is?
1. Someone besides me is to blame for every problem I have and for the problems of people I consider somehow akin to me by virtue of having similar problems.
2. Q: “What’s wrong?” A: “Nothing!”
3. [At 2 am in a cheap motel]: “I’m going out for smokes. I’ll be right back.”
Old Jules, What is one thing that is now behind you in life and you’re happy about that fact?
Old Jules, what culture do you consider to be the most enlightened?
Possibly the Maori or Samoans. No Asians, Europeans, Africans, Hispanics or Native Americans I’ve ever come across.
Most of mankind has crossed the line to alienate itself from the ground it walks on, the meat and plant life it feeds on, the water it drinks. There might be a few cultures left close enough to aboriginal roots not to have done so.
Of course, my definition of ‘enlightenment’ probably isn’t the same as yours.
Old Jules, how do you make deviled eggs?
I do my egg devil routine German style. Cut a boiled egg in half, pop out the yoke intact. In the hollow put salt, pepper, worchestershire sauce, tabasco, mustard, mayo, and whatever else you like.
Then put the intact yoke back in over it all and pop the whole shebang into your mouth.
Great sensation of tastes rolling over your tongue.
Old Jules, were you an adrenalin junkie in your younger years?
Was and remain one. I don’t find safety, security and an eventual wheel-chair in front of a rolling television screen in a nursing home a prospect worth considering.
I won’t ever fly another airplane under a bridge, but I’ll keep trekking alone in remote canyons until the day one grabs me and keeps me for the coyotes.
It’s how I want it.
Old Jules, if you could be a bird, which one would you choose?
I wouldn’t mind being a raven. They’re smart birds that have a lot of fun in life including flying contests, pestering raptors, and studying everything that happens on the ground. Ravens will sometimes even mimic hawks just to see a flock of chickens scatter.
Probably Brother Raven does reflect some of my personality traits.
Old Jules, when you were a kid, what was the first expression an adult said to you that didn’t make any sense?
“Where’s my belt?” It was right there where he could get to it easily.
Old Jules, what’s the worst job you ever had?
Longshoring on the Houston docks on the lowest end of the ladder, loading ‘green rawhide’ into a ship hold.
Slick, 60 pound bundles of stinking bloody hides crawling with maggots. Made for a bad day of work.
And the best job?
Emergency management and floodplain management, training and coordinating local government folk. Lots of travel, autonomy and nobody looking over my shoulder so long as I crossed all the tees and dotted all the eyes.
Old Jules, what would you do if you had a time machine?
Beginning 1:00am, June 28, 1914, I’d visit the homes of Gavrilo Princip and other members of The Black Hand (Црна рука/Tsrna Ruka) with a baseball bat. I’d carefully use it on the kneecaps of each to mitigate their behaviors a bit later in the day, around 11:00 am.
The 20th Century would look a lot different if those idiots had stayed home.
Old Jules, who made America great?
It wasn’t a single person, but Kaiser Wilhelm, Adolph Hitler, Tojo and Joseph Stalin all did their parts. If it weren’t for them the US would not be a militarized super power. Probably we’d still have industries of our own and we’d be an affluent, peaceful nation as opposed to being an indebted, aggressively bankrupted one.