Both the Quran and the Bible claim the World was created in 6 days by a God who even took a final day to rest up. I am okay with this explanation. It is simple, understandable and interesting. It certainly beats all the hours needed by me in an attempt to dimly comprehend the physics, chemistry and biology behind evolution. However, this is not a column about the age-old discussion about science versus religion. No, this is a plea to the sadists who write the directions that accompany Do-It-Yourself home improvement projects such as installing a ceiling fan. If God needed only 6 days to create the World, it is pretty obvious to me He did not have to decipher some instruction manual … [Read More...] about 7 Days vs 45 Minutes
I read the reports of the death of 85-year-old Karl Lagerfeld (1933-2019) who was one of the Western World’s most famous fashion designers. Lagerfeld had his own design company and designed for Chanel and Fendi. Although I had never heard of him until he died as my clothes designer is Levi Strauss, apparently a lot of people had heard of him as he left a fortune worth between 200 and 300 million dollars. Lagerfeld never married and had no children. He did have a cat named Choupette (sweetheart). Lagerfeld was German but lived and worked in Paris most of his adult life. Although cats are fairly well challenged when it comes to understanding the benefits of being a beneficiary, Lagerfeld was … [Read More...] about A Cat Is Not A Dog
Two weeks before actor Jussie Smollett reported to Chicago police he had been assaulted by two white men Smollett sent himself a letter with similar sentiments. Smollett who claims to be “Bluish”, that is, the offspring of a Jewish father and a Black mother, and who also says he is homosexual created the letter. The letter was released by Smollett in hopes of causing sympathy for him so he could demand a raise in his salary on the television series Empire. Not only did Smollett create a letter that would not pass muster as a prop in a grade school play the letter brought no response from the people in charge of Smollett’s salary. As to creating sympathy for his meager pay, that too might … [Read More...] about Thinking Slow
The first television I saw was displayed in the front window of an appliance store on Main Street in Pawhuska, Oklahoma in 1950. It had a real wood cabinet which swallowed the 9” screen. The picture was a blurry black and white that showed the same Indian Chief test pattern for hours. It just sat there as a continuously gasping crowd of gawkers oohed and aahed. I was unaware that I was in the presence of the beginning of the end of meaningful conversation, the reading of books and independent judgment based on individual investigation and analysis. These insights appeared to me after almost 70 years because Peg and I have spent the past two weeks without access to television. I mention this … [Read More...] about How The World Ends
My grandfather smoked a pipe. Every Christmas his seven children and numerous grandchildren filled Grandpa’s stocking with tins of crimp-cut Granger tobacco. Grandpa smoked only Granger because he was a working man who also, along with Grandmother, eked out a living on a tiny hard scrabble farm. Grandpa did not drink, swear or hug his kids nor his grandkids nor did he talk, other than to nod at Grandma to get dinner on or to sternly tell a grandkid to not slide on the cellar door or to get out of the cherry tree. Pretty much what he did was work and smoke his pipe. He died of cancer. Grandmother did not smoke herself but still died of cancer after living with Grandpa from the time she was … [Read More...] about To Quit Smoking
I like dogs. I like cats. And while I have no desire to get close and personal with most of the rest of Mother Nature’s critters, such as snakes and spiders, I still find them interesting. With such, my general attitude is let’s just go our separate ways. I do not know of any heroic acts by cats, but the positive actions by dogs are legion. In my family, our Chow dog was a firm babysitter that kept an eye on Mom’s four kids as she did the laundry. And my Uncle Bud’s dog, Whizbang, waited by the front gate of my grandparents’ farm every day for two years until Uncle Bud came back from the War. As for me, my dog Dandy, was sometimes the only friend I had when I committed some sin such as … [Read More...] about How Much Is That Gator In The Window?
What happened to Christmas? Only one month ago there were carols, candles, colored lights, presents and happy people. Then came January and cold, grey gloomy weather with glum people wondering where the sun went. On the other hand, if you are in need of more self-flagellation you could be where American Paul Whelan is, a courtroom in the glummest of all places, Russia in January. You talk about grey. Being in Moscow and Volgograd, Russia in the winter of 2003 was like living inside a wet, icy-cold burlap bag for Peg and me. And as our son, Jim, says, “You can always pick out the American tourists from the Russian natives, the Americans are the only ones smiling”. Of course, as in all of … [Read More...] about Justice In A Box
January 03, 2019 Dutch astronaut and physician, Andre Kuipers (1958- ), fumbled his telephone and dialed 911 instead of 011 for an international call. This caused quite an emergency scramble. Hopefully Dr. Kuipers is not a surgeon. There are numerous problems with this event. First, did you even know there were Dutch astronauts? I did not. Where is their space program? Do they use environmentally sanctioned wind power from gigantic windmills instead of rockets or perhaps methane gas from vast fields of decomposing tulips? Who was Andre calling? Was he wanting to order a Dutch fast food delivery, french fries with mayonnaise (ugh!) maybe or a fried sausage such as a frikandel? How was it … [Read More...] about Can You Hear Me Now?
You may be aware of a story in the January 11, 2019 New York Times that disclosed the FBI decided to investigate President Trump for possible treason right after he fired FBI Director James B. Comey. As America divides almost in half over whether Donald Trump is a messiah or a menace, probably half of you who read the Times story were infuriated and half of you were elated. Perhaps this column may invoke similar reactions, among a somewhat smaller audience of course. If you have read Gavel Gamut over the past 28 years you may recall my general philosophical position on our political system is that democracy not bureaucracy is the ideal. In other words, if we want to keep control of our … [Read More...] about Who Works for Whom?
As many of you, my first job for pay was mowing neighbors’ yards. My brother Phil and I would start the first week after school let out, usually about June 01, asking around for jobs. We charged $2.00 for mowing and trimming a house and yard on one or two lots. The lots were 25’ wide by 100’ long and since this was always summer in Oklahoma the trimming required was minimal; flowers were pretty much hoped for only. Still, trimming with mechanical hand trimmers was a worse job than mowing so Phil and I alternated who did which. Our business plan originated when I was 9 and he was 10. It began when Dad finally scraped up enough money to replace our ancient mechanical push mower with a power … [Read More...] about To Peel A Potato
If the message of Christmas were simply gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, etc., etc., it would have died out about as unceremoniously as the current stock market. Therefore, we should probably consider if there are other possibilities. When the Jews were conquered by the Romans they reacted as most oppressed people would. Their cultural myths concentrated on deliverance. In general, deliverance from an omnipotent force can take three approaches: armed rebellion; assimilation; and/or peaceful coexistence. To some of the Hebrews their hoped-for messiah would be a warrior who would throw off the Roman rule. To others the approach was more of total capitulation. But for many the thought … [Read More...] about Merry Christmas to Us
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.