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?
When our son, Jim, served in the Gulf War in 1990-91 and the Iraq War in 2006-07 and briefly in the Afghanistan War in 2007 he observed one of war’s most vital premises: our country should never fall behind the curve of military superiority. America was fortunate to recover from Pearl Harbor in time to help the Allies survive World War II. In the age of nuclear and cyber warfare we might not be able to survive World War III with outdated technology. The United States must remain vigilant. Vigilance does not call for aggression. In fact, our Constitution demands defense, not offense. However, we have been in an offensive mode militarily since we unwisely intervened in Viet Nam after France … [Read More...] about The First Casualty
Associate Professor Jean-Pierre Macquart of Curtin University in Bentley (Perth), Australia is the principal investigator of the CRAFT project that studies Fast Radio Bursts from throughout the universe. These phenomena became a subject of intense interest in 2007. The cause of these FRB’s is still being researched but in June, 2019 the source was determined to be a galaxy 3.4 billion light years from our own Milky Way Galaxy, practically next door. The theories of the origins of FRB’s are many. However, my favorite guess is that they originate from a highly advanced civilization that is reaching out for contact with other similarly positioned beings. Of course, I still hold out some hope … [Read More...] about Fast Radio Bursts
We begin 2020 with the death of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani. President Trump ordered the drone/air strike. The President said: “The attack was necessary because Soleimani was planning massive attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.” America has been heavily involved in the Middle East since World War II. Our role until 1990 was mainly diplomatic with some force of arms as a threat. In 1990 we invaded Iraq and re-invaded Iraq in 2003 although we have not completely disengaged since our first incursion. After the 911 attacks of 2001 we invaded Afghanistan in the hopes of quelling further attacks by Al-Qaeda members who were using Afghanistan to plan … [Read More...] about Absolutes
Yuletide is the Germanic term for the season that begins with the Winter Solstice, usually about December 21 or 22. For 2019 the fleeting moment when Earth’s true North Pole was at its maximum tilt away from the sun occurred on Saturday, December 21 at 10:19 p.m. Central Standard Time. The winter or hibernal solstice marked the twenty-four hour period of the calendar year with the least sunlight and the beginning of longer daylight days. Humans probably have always celebrated this event. It is the true “new” year. For many people the end of the year’s gradually darkening after the Summer Solstice, about June 20 or 21 each year, is a time to reflect on the past and hope for the future. One … [Read More...] about Yuletide
In the musical My Fair Lady by Lerner and Loewe Professor Henry Higgins is a middle-aged speech specialist who attempts to pass off the cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle as a socialite. Eliza is young, crude, pretty and most of all female. Her audacious resistance to Higgins’ efforts to turn her into a fraud is beyond frustrating to Higgins. He sums up his Eliza dealings with a statement to his co-conspirator Colonel Hugh Pickering, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” I suggest the main reason My Fair Lady is one of the most successful musicals in history is this eons long male quest to control or at least understand their female companions. Every man, especially every married man, … [Read More...] about Rome Was Built In A Day
If you visit our country’s most hallowed military institution at West Point you will find America’s most infamous traitor, Benedict Arnold, is as reviled today as he was in 1780. Arnold had been one of General George Washington’s closest colleagues and was in command of Fort West Point when he plotted with British Major John André to surrender West Point to the British. André was caught and hanged but Arnold escaped to England where he joined the British Army as a general and then engaged in battles against America. Such treachery is not easily forgiven. When you enter the venerable old Cadet Chapel at West Point you will find there is no mention of Arnold; his name has been removed from … [Read More...] about High Crimes And Misdemeanors
Erma Bombeck says the grass is always greener but usually only over the septic tank. For all other locations what’s beyond the next hill is pretty much the same. But we humans do not let reality interfere with our favorite myths so we keep seeking Eldorado even when we may be happy where we are. And in America the gold ring is often searched for “out west”. That has been true from Plymouth Rock in 1620 until California four hundred years later. We just feel like our lives will be better if we head west. The Gold Rush of 1849 is the eponym for this belief that paradise awaits us across the Mississippi River. Horace Greeley exhorted America’s youth to fulfill our Manifest Destiny although … [Read More...] about The Legacy
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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.