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
Charles Constantine was a Greek immigrant who relocated to Pawhuska, Osage County, Oklahoma in 1905. Charles bought the Pawhuska House Hotel that had been opened in the 1880’s and he converted the business to the Constantine Theater in 1914. After Constantine sold the theater in 1926 it was renamed the Kihekah Theater. It operated as a movie house from 1926 until it closed in 1981. It has been beautifully restored by the community and once again serves the public as The Constantine Theater. Numerous volunteers have donated money and countless hours of their time to preserving this iconic community asset. The Constantine will be open to the public free of charge for several hours during the … [Read More...] about The Play’s The Thing
Aesop (620–564 BC.) was a slave in ancient Greece who told morality tales. Aesop’s fables generally used irony and experiences from everyday life to illustrate their lessons. Negro spirituals provided the same type of psychological relief for slaves in America. Each Fourth of July as we celebrate our country’s freedom from Great Britain in 1776 we honor the principles of democracy handed down to us by those brilliant and courageous ancient Greeks. But the Greeks from c. 2500 years ago and our Founders from 245 years ago were seeking a perfect society, not establishing one. Athena was claimed to have sprung full-grown from the mind of Zeus and the United States is often claimed to have been … [Read More...] about Sour Grapes
Margaret Thatcher said the problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other people’s money. Thatcher noted this truism long before ’Ole 19 brought about payments of trillions of dollars to people to not go to work. These trillions were not created as a gift from the gods but are borrowed from future generations. Such largesse with the earnings of contemporary small business owners and yet to be born taxpayers may cause warm fuzzy feelings but the concept of something for nothing is a zero-sum game. It can lead to an attitude of entitlement. Unlike teaching folks to fish, entitlement can instill a belief that fish will hook themselves and that if someone else has caught a fish they … [Read More...] about Vladimir Lenin Meet COVID-19
Peg’s recent, and successful, hip surgery has been a rewarding experience, for me. I have learned much and feel an almost female need to share. About half of the human race pretty much already knows what has been recently revealed to me but the testosterone half may profit from my force-fed lessons. Okay, class, let’s begin to lift the veil. Wives might be upset if husbands are made aware that the arcane lore of traditional house hold tasks need no longer be shrouded in mystery, But husbands have a right to know there may be more than one way to clean a house. Just as the insane strictures of military basic training have proven to have no relationship to national defense, much of what many … [Read More...] about Helpful Hints for Husbands
People may come in various varieties but I suggest there are only two types: (1) those who think up projects; and, (2) those who have to do the work. In marriages the lines are clear. Someone cooks the meals; someone helps eat the meals. Someone dirties the clothes; someone washes the clothes. Someone decides flower or shrubs or vegetables must be planted and someone digs the holes. We could go on but I am confident you agree with my general concept. I am aware there are those readers who would get deeper into the weeds of this ancient dynamic. For example, I can hear Peg offering the following division of labors: someone cleans the house while someone watches football or someone goes … [Read More...] about Abandon All Hope
President Lincoln reportedly used to occasionally sit on the back steps of the White House and talk to old friends who might just drop by. President Truman used to play poker at his Key West, Florida White House with ordinary folks. President Jackson invited the hoi polloi to his inauguration and they came and trashed the White House. There was a time America’s leaders thought of Americans as equals, or at least not as persona non grata. Now there are fences and armed guards at the White House and the only time a president makes personal contact with Americans is to have a photo op. Democracy is now pretty much non-democratic. Our politicians often ascribe the responsibility for this … [Read More...] about Distancing
In response to both the states of Indiana and Oklahoma’s CLE requirements I am currently engaged in a forty-hour online Mediation course presented by the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. I may subject you, Gentle Reader, to the exciting content of this course before long. Hey, why should I have all the fun alone. But for this week I thought you might prefer another of those true courtroom dramas such as the one presented in last week’s column about my service as a prosecuting attorney that helped keep me from falling too deeply into the Black Robe Syndrome. The case that today’s column is about occurred about 25 years ago in front of me in the Posey County, Indiana Circuit Court. … [Read More...] about The Cure for Black Robe Fever
American soldiers stationed in Germany picked up the German saying “Macht nichts” and anglicized it to Mox Nix. Either way it means, it doesn’t matter, kind of short hand for don’t sweat the small stuff. If you read the Gavel Gamut entitled “Wheat from the Chaff” you might recall the general topic involved the American legal system’s treatment of high-profile cases such as the George Floyd/Derek Chauvin matter. Judge Cahill in that Minnesota jury trial was faced with several issues related to publicity about the case. The judge was asked to change the venue of the jury trial out of Hennepin County, MN; he refused. The judge was asked to sequester the jury; he refused. And he was asked to … [Read More...] about Mox Nix
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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.