This morning at 5:00 a.m. I woke up thirsty and went to the kitchen for a drink of water. While my eyes were beginning to engage, I reached into the cabinet for a glass. Then I managed to locate the faucet and turned it on. Clear, potable water came rushing out. I did not need to walk to the pond or draw a bucket from a well. It suddenly occurred to me that somehow from somewhere someone had done me a great service. And they did not even know me. It was Thursday so I knew I needed to get our trash out. I collected the week’s refuse of leftovers and packaging and took it to our gate by the road. Later that day as I went to the post office, I noticed the trash was gone. My mail box contained … [Read More...] about How’s It Happen?
In 49 BC the Senate in the Republic of Rome ordered Gaius Julius Caesar to not bring his army across the Rubicon River into the city of Rome. Caesar said, “Let the die be cast”; that is, I’ll take my chances. He did, Rome as a Republic collapsed into civil war and instead of a representative government the Roman people got a dictator. Five years later, on the Ides of March, Caesar was deposed by force. The people who founded the United States of America came from a tradition of great fear of military power over civilians. In fact, in our Declaration of Independence one of the main complaints against King George III was that, “He has affected to render the military independent of and … [Read More...] about Do Not Cross the Potomac River
In his book Letters From The Earth, Mark Twain has Noah making an extra trip in the Ark so he could save the housefly that spreads typhoid fever. I could not find any reference to scorpions in the Book of Genesis nor in the account of the Great Flood that also appears in the Quran. However, Noah, or in Arabic, Nuh, must have heroically preserved the “creature with the burning sting” as I stepped on one in our cabin at JPeg Osage Ranch last night. If Satan had stepped on a scorpion with bare cloven hoof, I bet he would have sent a scathing letter to heaven from his temporary banishment on Earth. Perhaps then either St. Michael or St. Gabriel, the Devil’s correspondents, might have pointed out … [Read More...] about Thanks A Lot Noah
“Ill blows the wind that profits nobody.” Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part III, Act II, scene v, ln. 55. Category 4 Hurricane Ida has caused immense emotional and economic loss to the citizens of Louisiana and surrounding areas. The beautiful and historic city of New Orleans was hit hard. Numerous institutions such as Tulane University lost power and will need weeks or even months to recover. Many of Tulane’s students have been evacuated to Houston, Texas and the Tulane Green Wave football team that was scheduled to host the Oklahoma Sooners has graciously agreed to travel to Norman, Oklahoma for the first game of the season September 04, 2021. Perhaps there is opportunity to find “profit” from … [Read More...] about Not A Pyrrhic Victory Please
The great Greek statesman and military leader Pericles (495 - 429 BC) said, “The best guardians of a society are leaders with the wisdom to recognize their duty and the virtue (courage) to do it.” Both elements are essential characteristics for our leaders. We may elect smart people who are not wise and good people who are not brave. But what we need are wise and virtuous leaders who fear loss of honor more than fear of losing elections. Of course, our leaders are as human as we are. We all fall short of the ideal. It is not perfection we need from our politicians but the ability to recognize it when they have taken the wrong course and the character to modify their behavior in the face of … [Read More...] about What Now?
Abraham Lincoln said he chose to not be a master because he would not choose to be a slave. Life is better if we get to make the choices for ourselves. We may choose unwisely but we would rather be wrong than be told what we can do. Independence of thought is usually within our control but independence of actions, for some, may depend on the largesse of others. Should we lose our independence when we have lived free for years it would be difficult to adjust. Afghanistan comes to mind. Afghanistan? Hey, folks, these columns do not need to be logical, they only need to be in writing. But it is not only the independence of women in Afghanistan that is my current concern but the independence of … [Read More...] about On Her Own
Joseph Stalin (USSR), Winston Churchill (Great Britain) and Harry Truman (United States) met in Potsdam, Germany from July 17 to August 02, 1945 to “establish the post WWII order”. In 1945 the earth had 74 recognized countries. Some of the other 71 countries felt they should have been invited to the conference and have exhibited their displeasure from time to time since 1945. When I turn on cable TV I sense that the heads of CNN, Fox News and MSNBC may have had their own Potsdam Conference and divided up the world’s news cycles. While it may appear to us viewers the news networks are competing, I suspect each is happy in its own sphere of influence. CNN regurgitates their favorite kicking … [Read More...] about Potsdam Revisited
According to Google Search (sounds like gospel to me), the Fountain of Youth is located in Osage County, Oklahoma at latitude 36.6461942° north, longitude -96.097216° west, at an elevation 938 feet above sea level. To be more precise, Ponce de Leon Spring is at that location on the grounds of the Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve. Therefore, Gentle Reader, you can actually visit Osage County’s version of what people have vigilantly searched for since at least the days of Greek historian Herodotus (484 BC – 425 BC), that is, the hope for eternal youth. Woolaroc is a marvelous creation by oil man Frank Phillips whose namesake Route 66 is America’s “Mother Road”. Phillips’ gift to the … [Read More...] about Hope Springs Eternal
I have a friend who quite frequently volunteers to help others. He refers to himself and other such generous souls as unpaid staff. Fortunately for those of us who are blessed to live in or visit Osage County, Oklahoma there is a hard-working unpaid staff that helps preserve and promote the historic Constantine Theater. My family benefitted greatly from those efforts a couple of weekends ago when we held our two-day family reunion, jam session, art show and new book launching at the Constantine. We had a great time. In addition to the volunteers who serve on the Board, there are a few competent and gracious paid staff such as Jennifer Adair and Shannon Martin who do the scheduling and make … [Read More...] about Unpaid Staff
James Buchanan was the American president from 1857-1861 and is credited with that description of the United States Senate as a place for respectful, intelligent and impassioned debate. Such luminaries as Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and John Calhoun forged a senate known for its ability to get hard jobs done well. Those three served when the annual pay was $5,000. Today, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky earns $174,000 per year as one of our one hundred senators. Henry Clay represented Kentucky also. Clay was called the Great Compromiser due to his ability to get senate consensus on such volatile issues as war, then peace, with Great Britain in 1812-1814 and preservation of the union during … [Read More...] about The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body
The national media push a highly addictive drug called paranoia. If one wants to get a reliable weather forecast or find out if a local kitten is not lost, local T.V. and regional newspapers are the best source. But if we are in need of a rush brought on by fear of catastrophe or schadenfreude, we flip the remote incessantly between CNN and FOX. CBS, NBC and ABC are available but boring. PBS can be interesting but is about as exciting as a library. No, if we want cataclysm or the satisfaction of seeing the rich and powerful fail, we must have cable. You might wonder about MSNBC but we can only take so much self-indulgent cynicism. Gentle Reader, if you were awake, as I was at 4:00 a.m. … [Read More...] about The Sky’s Falling
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Unanimous for Murder
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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.