When I was a child nobody hugged or kissed anybody unless they were sweethearts or perhaps, occasionally, mother and child. People felt no need to get closer than arms length and nobody breathed on anybody. Then along came bleeding heart liberals and day-time TV shows and voila! Hugging was de rigueur. Suddenly perfect strangers were greeting one another as if they were Romeo and Juliet. I say it’s time to return to those not so thrilling days of yesteryear. It is not like people did not love one another before the 1980’s. After all, the human specie has thrived for thousands of years without faux hugs and kisses and families used to have lots more kids. But no one thought less of you back … [Read More...] about I’m OK; You’re Ok; Stay Away!
In 1729 Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) published his two-fold solution to the problems of Irish poverty and a shortage of meat among wealthy British. Swift proposed poor Irish parents could eliminate their cost of feeding their children by selling them to wealthy British for food. The title to Swift’s essay illustrates why he published it anonymously: A Modest Proposal For preventing the children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick. Swift’s satirical cure for the pandemic of his time, the great disparity between the few rich and the many poor, is probably not a reasonable recipe for how America might encourage its youth … [Read More...] about A Swift Cure
Let’s say you have a knotty problem you would like solved, a Gordian Knot type problem for example. Would you be satisfied with an Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE) approach? I think not and I think Alexander’s personal tutor, the great problem solver Aristotle (384-322 BCE), would have reproved his famous pupil for hacking the knot in two instead of untying it. Alexander did provide a simple analysis to a complex problem but he did not solve the problem; he only avoided it. As most of us have unfortunately experienced: for every complex problem there is a simple wrong answer. Tough problems are tough because they are complex. Complex situations almost always require hard work, imagination, … [Read More...] about Simple Solutions
It is easy to have sympathy for thieves if they steal from victims we do not know. Should the victims include acquaintances, friends, family or ourselves, our magnanimity wanes. And while our heart strings are plucked by someone who steals bread to feed their family, if Jean Val Jean had stolen to feed a personal drug habit Victor Hugo might not have portrayed him as a tragic hero. When it comes to our attitude about punishing thieves it is pretty much, “Whose ox is getting gored?” And over the last few thousands of years we Homo sapiens have applied sanctions on thieves that have ranged from, “go and sin no more”, to the death penalty. Those of us with Anglo Saxon DNA can search back just … [Read More...] about Thou Shalt Not Steal
Should you have read last week’s column you may remember the specific topic was the Electoral College and the general topic was our Constitution’s guarantee of our right to matter or free choice. Free choice, that is what separates humans from animals and America from many other countries. Our Founders designed a government where the ideal was: All matter, but none too much. Of course, as with most ideals, America’s vaunted guarantees of freedom of choice and equality for everyone remain as goals not yet attained. On the other hand, it is no small thing that America not only proclaimed these ideals but set them forth in writing at our founding. And we have struggled mightily since our … [Read More...] about Choices And Consequences
It was not the British Parliament’s tax on tea that caused the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773; it was the denial of the Colonists’ right to be represented in Parliament. It is not the sexual part of unwanted sex that matters to the Me Too Movement, we Homo sapiens have spent the last 200 to 300 thousand years engaging in sex; it is the “unwanted” factor that is objectionable. And when our Founders were barely able to cobble together our Republic it was not the fact that some of the Thirteen Colonies had much greater populations than others or much greater wealth than others that almost caused the United States to be simply thirteen entirely separate entities; it was the fear by both … [Read More...] about The Right To Matter
Aposematism. “Fair warning.” That is what that long Ancient Greek derived word means. “Stay away!” Or as it applies to skunks, “I stink; get back”. When one sees the white stripes among a skunk’s black fur Mother Nature apparently believes that is sufficient warning of skunks’ antisocial character. The Greeks used the term, aposematic, to identify any animal that had a way to warn off enemies. My recent experience with skunks has led me to question whether skunks understand the “stay away” thing should go both ways. It also confirms my long held conclusion that the Ancient Greeks and Romans had already discovered over 2,000 years ago almost everything worth knowing. The Ancient Romans … [Read More...] about Aposematism
Peg and I recently moved from Posey County in southwestern Indiana to Osage County in northeastern Oklahoma. The acculturalization for me was fairly seamless as I was born in Pawhuska, which is the county seat of The Osage. As for Peg, she was born in Schenectady, New York and has lived north of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi River her whole life. She is what we of the Oklahoma persuasion would generally classify as a “Yankee”. For Peg, the move from the land of corn, soybeans and concrete has been, well, let’s just say more interesting. And our log cabin out on the prairie thirty miles from the nearest Walmart occasionally poses new challenges for her. Oh, we do have a … [Read More...] about Pugh Or Phew?
Before he served our country in Viet Nam my friend Jimmie Reed worked on his dad’s ranch in Foraker, Oklahoma. Jimmie and Bill Moon and I played football for the Pawhuska, Oklahoma Huskies and graduated together in 1961. The summer between our junior and senior years Jimmie’s father, Phil Reed, needed some fence built and Jimmie volunteered Bill and me to help. Mr. Reed paid us $7.00 per day plus a hamburger at lunch time at the old Foraker store. One typical Osage County July day Mr. Reed and Jimmie came into Pawhuska at 6:00 a.m. and picked up Bill and me to work. If you have never had the experience of building barbed wire fence across a pasture of unyielding Osage County sandstone where … [Read More...] about Last Of The Buffalo Hunters
Ma’at, the daughter of Ra, the sun god and Hathor his wife, may be the earliest recognized use of a deity holding a scale to represent justice. A few thousand years later the Greeks looked to the goddesses Themis and Dike to balance court cases, then the Romans envisioned Justina as a blindfolded law-giver carrying a set of scales and a sword. I do not know why humans tend to look to women as the bearers of truth but my guess is it is because we all had mothers and most likely we realized early on that what mom said was the law. Dads may occasionally get to brandish a sword but all smart husbands know when the rubber meets the road mom rules. Regardless, all those female judicial goddesses … [Read More...] about Tipping The Scales
One judge bragged he could look an attorney right in the eye the whole time the attorney was making an argument but never hear a word the lawyer said. In fact, that judge was just like the rest of us. Much of what we appear to hear may as well be a foreign language. We smile and nod but are totally unaffected by much of what others try to convince us. And, of course, we all know very little that we say to others has any hope of convincing them to truly agree with us, even as they nod their heads up and down. If you are married, you might feel the truth, and frustration, of this phenomenon. It is not just the state of my ability to hear that prevents me, and probably you too, from … [Read More...] about Is Anyone Listening?
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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.