There was a time when the largest class of immigrants to the United States came from Great Britain. A large number of those erstwhile Englishmen and their descendants fought two wars with their one-time homeland. In spite of the British going so far as to burn down part of Washington D.C. during one of those wars, we still cleave to Great Britain as our closest ally. Neither we nor the British held grudges. Then about one hundred years after the War of 1812 against our British cousins we joined with them in WWI against Germany. At the end of WWI, even though there were a great many citizens of the United States who traced their lineage to Germany, we signed on to the mean-spirited Treaty of … [Read More...] about Taking Sides
How was that for a New Year’s Eve? On the other hand, just about anybody who chose to could attend a masked ball in 2020-2021 where many of the loud, inebriated strangers eschewed the masks. But one could still engage in or be subjected to rude behavior and wake up at noon thinking “Oh, no!”. ’Ole 19 may have changed our social interactions but human nature does not metamorphosize so quickly; we are still capable of making poor decisions to which we have given hardly a thought. After all, if we have no regrets have we really lived? With memories of such moments in mind, Peg and I spent New Year’s Eve in front of the fireplace, just we two and a bottle of medium-priced red wine. We gratefully … [Read More...] about Scat 2020!
Peg and I like living in the country. Our nearest neighbor’s residence is within sight but not sound. Even the occasional gunshot is but a faint report. No one just walks over as they used to when we lived in town. Of course, with ’Ole 19 raging no one would do so in town either. So town living resembles country living for now. Perhaps a few million vaccinations will reprise neighborliness. Although I find myself gradually becoming acclimated to the solitude. I do not believe I am as yet completely misanthropic but I can sense the progression toward it. Even the occasional arrival of a UPS or FedEx driver now causes an initially negative reaction. There was a time such an event brought forth … [Read More...] about The Prairie Sirens
It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Last night about 7:00 p.m. Peg excitedly called for me to join her outside as the dark gray sky gave way to a sliver of moon accompanied by Jupiter and Saturn nearing a point of conjunction, the same phenomenon that occurred about 2,000 years ago. It feels good to anticipate the completion of the astronomical wonder that will occur on December 21, the winter solstice. Perhaps we can consider the return of the “Christmas Star” as a harbinger of a better year to come as this painful year of 2020 begins to recede. That is the traditional interpretation of the Christmas Story, overcoming current adversity and hoping for a brighter future. But many … [Read More...] about A Season of Hope
Peg bought me a telescope for my birthday. With the assigned birthday of Jesus rapidly approaching Peg and I are eagerly anticipating a view of the Christmas Star on 2020’s Winter Solstice, December the twenty-first at 4:02 a.m. Although we plan to take what the military might call a “gentleman’s” approach and start our search about 6:00 p.m. that day. We see no need to get up at the crack of dawn to “discover” the conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in the southwest sky. After all, the Milky Way galaxy has been around almost from the beginning of the universe, that is 13.7 billion years, so billions of other humans have already seen the “Star in the east”. According to the Gospel … [Read More...] about The Christmas Planets
’Ole 19 neither toils nor spins yet it has managed to change the course of history. But, as Jesus advised in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25-34), we should not lose the present worrying about the future. Or, more poetically and succinctly, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”. In practical terms we might be well advised to do what we can now as we wait for the coming cure, probably to begin this month but not to be ecumenical until the end of 2021. With the current rates of infections, hospitalizations and deaths and closing businesses the “evil thereof” will claim thousands more before vaccines and herd immunity vanquish it. And just as America could have succumbed to … [Read More...] about The War Effort
Gentle Reader, if you read last week’s Gavel Gamut you will recall we were considering Alexis de Tocqueville’s observations of America as a country based on law. De Tocqueville’s parents, Hervé and Louise de Tocqueville, had barely escaped the guillotine during the French Revolution (1789-1799). De Tocqueville was born in 1805 so he and his family had an intimate personal understanding of the dangers of a nation ruled by individual people, not laws. De Tocqueville studied law and served as a magistrate. He knew the value of French philosopher Montesquieu’s theory of a government formed with a separation of balanced and competing powers (legislative, executive and judicial). And he agreed … [Read More...] about Passion Put To Use
Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) was a Frenchman who studied American society during a nine-month tour in 1831 when the United States were still simmering with vitriolic political animus from the 1824 and 1828 elections between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Adams was elected by the House of Representatives in 1824 and Jackson won via the Electoral College in 1828. After neither election did the United States fall into chaos, even though Jackson won both the popular vote and a plurality, but not a majority, of the Electoral College vote yet Adams grabbed the presidency in 1824. Four men ran for president in 1824, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay and William Crawford. … [Read More...] about A Legal Revolution
Democracy is messy but usually bloodless. Football is sweaty and sometimes painful. Football teams choose representative colors such as black and orange or cream and crimson. American politics are red versus blue. Football teams are led by coaches and financed by taxpayers or fat cats. Political parties are led by politicians and financed by drips and drabs via the internet or fat cats. Football teams have a few stars supported by several Sherpas. I was happy to be one of the Sherpas on the Pawhuska, Oklahoma high school Huskies football team a while ago and enjoyed every minute of it, except for wind sprints of course. I am still enjoying supporting the Huskies team which is undefeated and … [Read More...] about Football vs. Politics
Less than one year ago 19 denoted the previous century and the end to one’s teenage years. If 19 had ever caused me any emotional response at all it was probably nostalgia for the bucolia of high school or, perhaps, of trepidation for adulthood. Otherwise 19 was benign. I do not know why the Corona Virus is called COVID-19. Hey, I changed my major from physics to humanities my freshman year of college after I got my first semester grades. I have long since left science to the upper half accums. Therefore, I, and I suspect most folks, just repeat the current pandemic’s appellation as given to us by those with thick glasses and white lab coats. But this column is not a lament for a lost … [Read More...] about Somehow It’s Working
As described by Winston Churchill, “Democracy is the worst political system except for all the others”. And as we suffer through our ongoing political pandemic and naively hope for a November 03 cure the political sausage making gives evidence of Churchill’s observation. On the other hand, if we step back from the splattering mud, we might find some passing amusement in the process. Of course, that is only if we personally or people we care about are not running for office. The first political campaign I cared about involved the presidential race between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater in 1964. As I was active military at the time I was quite interested in each candidate’s position on … [Read More...] about It Ain’t Beanbag
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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.