Less than one year ago 19 denoted the previous century and the end to one’s teenage years. If 19 had ever caused me any emotional response at all it was probably nostalgia for the bucolia of high school or, perhaps, of trepidation for adulthood. Otherwise 19 was benign. I do not know why the Corona Virus is called COVID-19. Hey, I changed my major from physics to humanities my freshman year of college after I got my first semester grades. I have long since left science to the upper half accums. Therefore, I, and I suspect most folks, just repeat the current pandemic’s appellation as given to us by those with thick glasses and white lab coats. But this column is not a lament for a lost … [Read More...] about Somehow It’s Working
As described by Winston Churchill, “Democracy is the worst political system except for all the others”. And as we suffer through our ongoing political pandemic and naively hope for a November 03 cure the political sausage making gives evidence of Churchill’s observation. On the other hand, if we step back from the splattering mud, we might find some passing amusement in the process. Of course, that is only if we personally or people we care about are not running for office. The first political campaign I cared about involved the presidential race between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater in 1964. As I was active military at the time I was quite interested in each candidate’s position on … [Read More...] about It Ain’t Beanbag
One day I met up with my friend Tim “Turtle” Smith in the parking lot of a golf course. “Hey, come look at what I found yesterday when I was out deer hunting.” I looked in the bed of Turtle’s pickup and saw two sets of deer antlers intertwined. Tim said, “I cut these off the heads of two dead stags. They must have starved to death after their battle for which one would gain the prize doe. I guess it is a metaphor for the old saying, ‘Don’t lose your head over.…’ ” Tim is kind of a colloquial philosopher. We do not know what other stag defaulted to winning the mythical doe, but surely a wiser one was lying in wait. For some reason my encounter with Turtle came to mind after observing the … [Read More...] about Locking Horns
Investigative journalism that uncovers and publicizes official corruption has an American tradition going back to John Peter Zenger who was born in Germany in 1697 and died in New York in 1746. Zenger was a printer who wrote exposé articles about our English cousins’ ham-fisted governance of New York, especially by the Royal Governor William Cosby. Cosby took umbrage at these early efforts to inform Americans about government malfeasance. Cosby had Zenger charged with libel but in 1735 a jury refused to convict Zenger because the jury determined that what Zenger wrote about Cosby was the truth. What Zenger printed about Cosby related directly and only to Cosby’s actions as governor. Cosby’s … [Read More...] about The National Inquirers
COVID-19 has killed about 200,000 Americans since it took our first citizen in early February 2020. It has cost us millions of jobs and thousands of businesses. Before we finally defeat it, and we will, ’Ole 19 will have cost us many trillions of dollars of our personal and public treasure. It is difficult to contemplate there may be anything worthwhile to be gleaned from this world-wide pandemic. However, we humans are a resilient species. We have learned better hygiene from past plagues (Typhoid Mary?), better agriculture from past famines (the Dust Bowl?), and better technology from past wars (too numerous to name). With the corona virus we are rapidly developing better, cheaper and more … [Read More...] about It’s An Ill Wind …
When I have nothing to do that’s what I do. When my wife Peg has nothing to do Amazon’s stock rises. I do not recall a promise to love, honor and spend countless hours schlepping around Peg’s mail-order treasures but she assures me it was in the fine print. And when Peg shops I get blessed with packages that must be unpacked and inscrutable assembly instructions. I do not know if China deserves any blame for ’Ole 19 but it seems everything that UPS or FedEx or Amazon, etc., etc., etc., ships to us comes with the warning “made in China” and “easy” guides that are “Greek” to me. Let me ask you, did ancient Greece once fill the current China role of world-wide shipping of products accompanied … [Read More...] about Another China Virus?
“The crisp autumn air. The dry brown grass. Sweaty pads and the exhilaration of combat without weapons. The kind of battle where one can experience the thrill of having been shot at and missed without even being shot at. Football. Ersatz war. Clashes of pride, power and cunning.” Echoes Of Our Ancestors: The Secret Game, p. vii James M. Redwine Baseball may be America’s Pastime but football is America’s Passion. The only thing more endemic to the American psyche than football is politics and I am sick of politics. If, “politics ain’t bean bag”, it ought to be. Any sporting event from ballet to boxing is healthier for our country than political conventions and cable news. Heck, even a good … [Read More...] about Yea! Football Is Back!
Last week the National Basketball Association deferred its 2020 playoff games out of respect for the Black Lives Matter movement. The incident that was the catalyst for the Milwaukee Bucks professional team to decide to boycott game five of the playoffs against the Orlando Magic team was the shooting of 20-year-old Jacob Blake, a Black man, on August 23, 2020 during an encounter with the police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake informed the arresting officers he possessed a knife but he did not wield it. Blake’s shooting struck many as part of a continuum that began May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota when 46-year-old George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died as a result of an encounter with … [Read More...] about Of Motes And Logs
Last week’s column was fueled by my current fear that the upcoming football season will not come up and my fond memories of football seasons past that did. It is not just football but all team sports and communal activities such as church and school choirs that each of us is anxious about and yearning for. And that yearning is truly about personal relationships, not the games we played and the songs we sang. The symptoms of ’Ole 19 include social distancing from friends and family but, ironically, our current isolation evokes poignant memories of times we did get to share with people who once filled our lives and now do not. Should you have read last week’s Gavel Gamut you probably saw the … [Read More...] about Empty Chairs At Empty Tables
I got up at 5 a.m. this morning and smiled at that teenager who had to threaten himself to get out of bed for a 6:00 a.m. two-a-day football practice a few years ago. Ah, the joy of putting on cold, smelly, sweaty pads from the previous day’s 6:00 p.m. practice and stumbling over to the field to be greeted by Draculas disguised as coaches. “Hurry up! Git with it! We’re burning daylight here and it is already nearing 90 degrees.” This was the refrain from the Knute Rockne wannabes who had a vision of our high school team being immortalized in the pantheon of pigskin glory. Actually, my senior year at Pawhuska Oklahoma High School our coaches devised three August weeks of three-a-day … [Read More...] about The Joys of August
On Saturday mornings at the State Movie Theater in Pawhuska, Oklahoma in the 1950’s you could see a black and white double feature western where the good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black masks. The lines were not blurred. Cowboys, good; rustlers, bad. Lawmen, good; bandana wearing holdup men, bad. No mask, good; mask, bad. Today society has divided into two warring factions that are as defined as those satisfying old movie plots but which are themselves not very satisfying. One group champions masks as proof of one’s concern for others and the other group eschews masks as unnecessary and an infringement on individual liberty. However, most of the members of both groups still … [Read More...] about The Good Guys
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Unanimous for Murder
Unanimous for Murder picks up where JUDGE LYNCH! left off. A gripping story of small town murder and judicial shenanigans on the western frontier when the western frontier was east of the Mississippi.
Echoes of Our Ancestors: The Secret Game
Jim’s new novel tells the exciting story of a long hidden but important football game that occurred between representatives of Haskell Indian Institute (now the Haskell Indian Nations University) and professionals from the then Kansas City Cowboys in 1924 at a secret location on the Osage Indian Nation near Pawhuska, Oklahoma - where Jim was born.
“Judge Lynch Holds Court!” That was the banner headline in a Posey County, Indiana newspaper after seven African American men were murdered by a white mob during October, 1878.
Gavel Gamut Greetings from JPeg Ranch
“Gavel Gamut Greetings" is an anthology of topical and historical selections mainly about regional events and personalities that have appeared in my weekly newspaper column, Gavel Gamut.