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Columns

  • Every month has its fourth
  • Ageless wisdom

    When Jeanne and Nathan Maudlin as representatives of New Harmony, Indiana’s Working Men’s Institute that along with the University of Southern Indiana and the New Harmony Kiwanis Club is helping sponsor this year’s New Harmony Fourth of July celebration asked me to speak, my first thought was to research prior speeches. I am a judge after all and precedent is important to me. Jeanne graciously sent me a copy of the excellent book, New Harmony’s Fourth of July Tradition, by Donald Pitzer and Josephine Elliott.

  • Gulf of Tonkin, weapons of mass destruction or tankers in the Persian Gulf, each a first casualty of war

    Aeschylus (c. 525-455 BC) is the earliest sage credited with the ironic observation that, “The first casualty of war is truth”. However, it does not require an ancient Greek playwright to point out such an obvious truism. Whatever the times, whichever the country and whoever the politicians, gossamer justifications for attacking other nations is de rigueur.

  • Name that phrase

    When I want to take a walk I prefer my most comfortable pair of boots. When I want to return to a destination I choose the route I previously successfully traveled. Even when I mow my yard I normally approach the task the same way each time. Surprises are okay for birthdays and Christmas, but for almost everything else familiarity tends to work best if it is an option.

  • This land is our land

    Woody Guthrie (Woodrow Wilson Guthrie 1912-1967) came of age in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. When one hears Woody sing about the America of those times Guthrie’s personal experiences and perceptions should be considered. In that context, his song’s ironic lyrics that point out America might not have been made for everybody speak to those Americans left out by our Founding Fathers, who were all well-to-do white men.

  • Not so bad after all

    As our country nears its 243rd birthday we Americans may feel as if all is gloom and doom. Members of Congress are calling for the impeachment of President Trump. President Trump is tweeting out claims that some Congress people are traitors. CNN accuses FOX News of being a sycophant for the White House. Rush Limbaugh proclaims CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and The Washington Post are not news agencies but simply “fake news” whose agendas have a single minded mission to remove the President from office.

  • Rattling sabres

    Folk singer Phil Ochs (1940-1976) wrote a ballad about old people, mainly politicians, giving young people orders on how they should behave and believe. The closing verse is:

    “So keep right on a talking

    And tell us what to do.

    If nobody listens,

    My apologies to you.

    And I know that you were younger once

    ‘Cause you sure are older now,

    So when I got something to say, Sir,

    I’m going to say it now.”

  • A Yankee girl does rodeo

    America consists of four countries: (1) everything east of the Mississippi River excluding Florida; (2) Florida, (3) everything west of the Mississippi River excluding California; and, (4) California. Rodeos are the province of people in country (3) although some folks in Florida and California do know there is no accent on the term rodéo except for a certain drive in Beverly Hills frequented by the frou-frou set.

  • Do we want to fool Mother Nature?

    China’s National Science Review reported in March 2019 that Bing Su of the Kunming Institute of Zoology has inserted human genes into monkeys. His apparent goal was to investigate how the brains of early primates developed along different paths with monkeys remaining in the trees and Homo sapiens progressing to the Internet.

  • Two auspicious days

    The seven day period beginning April 08 and ending April 15 has two important days, one joyous and one sad. April 08 is Peg’s birthday. Please wish her happiness and strength as she deals with having me home a lot more now. As to the other significant anniversary, Abraham Lincoln died on April 15, 1865. As if paying our taxes on April 15 was not already sad enough.