Personal Columns

The Time of Year

The Time of Year

It’s that time of year again, when my good dog and faithful companion, Jake, spends his days lying under the air conditioner barely able to lift his head even to take a morsel of real meat, or maybe a small slice of $9 a pound bacon. He simply can’t eat his usual canned or dry […]


Roadkill Revisited

Roadkill Revisited

I ran into my old friend, Ernie, on Main Street one afternoon last week. He was driving an official-looking government vehicle which read, “Bureau of Biological Diversity – Fauna Division,” on the door, and he was in a hurry. “I’ve got a new job and I’m working, Holmes,” he said after rolling the window down. […]


Two Americas

Two Americas

This country, once a beacon to the world, a shining example of a working democracy, an economic system which, despite its faults and failures, allowed a mobility of class; a country which created the largest middle-class in the world, a country with a measure of justice and equality, a country where parents could believe that […]


The Price of Hope

The Price of Hope

I remember that the first time I visited Mexico City, many years ago, one of the things which impressed me the most, other than their magnificent history, beautiful public artwork and the polite people, was the National Lottery. Every stall, every booth, every street vendor and begging child sold lottery tickets. The National Lottery, or […]


The Book Problem

The Book Problem

Years ago, back when I was young and such things occasionally happened to me, I once met a woman in a bar and we went over to my house. As we went in the door, she looked at my modest, but filled, bookcase against the wall. “Have you read all of these?” she asked, somewhat […]


If you liked NAFTA

If you liked NAFTA

Remember NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement? It was the trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the US which politicians promised would bring a new prosperity and high-paid jobs to Americans. Apparently it would also solve the immigration problem, put a chicken in every pot and keep the world safe for democracy. NAFTA was […]


Another Man’s Poison

Another Man's Poison

I have this old friend, Joe, who runs a diner near the university. It’s not a big place and he doesn’t make a lot of money, but he usually has a sizable lunch crowd. The food is good and he’s apparently well-liked. He also hires a lot of needy students, something I’ve always thought was […]


A Confluence of Bigots

A Confluence of Bigots

I have never seen a U.S. President treated so shabbily as the right-wing in this country has treated Barack Obama. Immediately following his election there were claims that he was born in Kenya, not an American at all, but a Muslim forgodsakes! There were demands to see the birth certificate and denials of its authenticity […]


PFRA

PFRA

Several years ago I made the mistake of giving my email address to a woman I had only recently met. Apparently she assumed I must be a Republican although I certainly can’t understand how she could ever jump to such a conclusion. But the upstart was that she put me on a Republican email list. […]


Big trouble

Big trouble

I’ve misjudged the weather, which is easy to do this time of year. Middle of winter, middle of summer, I know exactly what to wear. But the spring and fall can be tricky. I usually check the forecasts and the thermometers first, and then step out on the back porch for a while. Fifty degrees […]


Curly and Moe

Curly and Moe

I ran into my old friend Ernie in the local cafe the day after Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. He was sitting with a couple of his tea-party buddies. I sensed trouble when he waved me over. “What did you think of Netanyahu’s speech?” Ernie asked. It was obviously a loaded question but before I could […]


A family, completed

A family, completed

On Monday night, Pawnee-Osage Court Appointed Special Advocates held a dinner in Pawhuska to honors its volunteers. Jack and Dee Dee Ditto were among those honored. The Dittos were the first CASA volunteers in Pawnee County to work through an adoption – a boy who became known as Koty Wilson, the son of Barnsdall wrestling […]


Outlaw chickens

Outlaw chickens

  The first hint I had of it was when my neighbor said she had been hearing roosters crow at night. I secretly thought it was stress, but then with my hearing I wouldn’t hear one crow if it was standing on my foot, so I had to give her the benefit of the doubt. […]


The Chicken Question

The Chicken Question

There’s been a lot of loose, ill-considered talk around the fire this winter about chickens, their relative merits, egg-laying abilities, their ever-optimistic character, their quiet humor. There was also much reminiscing about chickens we’d known, such as Thelma and Louise, the indomitable Lucille, the tragic Alice, and of course, Komodo the Dragon Rooster. We recounted […]


Confirmation Bias

I can always tell when my old friend Ernie has been spending time with his conservative buddies, he gets the craziest ideas. So I wasn’t particularly surprised when I saw him in the parking lot of the Health Department the other day with a small group of them. They were holding signs, “Vaccines Cause Autism,” […]


Shadow Party

You may have heard the term, “Shadow Government.” It’s based on the idea that real political power is not held by the representatives we’ve elected but by individuals, groups or bureaucracies who act “behind the scenes” and are the true holders of governmental power. The very suggestion is enough to brand one as a conspiracy […]


A GOP Circus

A GOP Circus

It’s been an interesting week or so, what with the circus back in town. No matter that the same, old, tired pachyderms linked trunk to tail and circled the ring endlessly, no matter that the much-vaunted wild beasts were toothless and ragged, that the promising young chimpanzees were all borderline mad. No matter, the show […]


Broadband

Broadband

My old friend, Ernie, called me up the other day, said he was having a meeting about a community project and wanted me to attend. While I’m a little leery about his “projects” I agreed to be there and at least listen to what he had to say. There was already a small group gathered […]


The Lame Duck

Following the Democrats’ mid-term election disaster, which saw the Republicans gaining control of the House and the Senate, everyone assumed that Obama would follow the traditional path of former “lame duck” Presidents and spend his time playing golf, traveling internationally and generally developing his image as an elderly, semi-retired, statesman. Few thought he’d ever get […]


Fight for 15

Fight for 15

You may have heard of “The Fight for Fifteen,” the grass-roots labor movement which aims to establish a new Federal Minimum Wage of $15 per hour. It would benefit millions of low-wage workers who are struggling to feed their families. But there is another, lesser-known, “Fight for Fifteen” whose adherents are just as vocal and […]


Resolutions

Resolutions

A new year and you’ve probably already made your New Years Resolutions or you’re seriously considering doing so. Or maybe you’ve just pulled out those from last year, dusted them off, and you’re ready to go again. But wait, this is the path to failure and folly. I warn you, you’ll be wasting your time. […]


A Better People

A Better People

After 9/11, when the politicians and courts were busily dismantling our Bill of Rights with hardly a whimper from the public, I told myself that the American people were in a state of shock and would soon recover and demand a return of their constitutional rights. Then, when it became clear that our government was […]


Cattleman of the Year

Cattleman of the Year

Frederick F. Drummond, a man who left the banking industry to take over his family’s ranch when his father fell ill with cancer in 1958, was named the Oklahoma Cattleman of the Year over the weekend. He earned the title not through the prowess of his cowboying skills, but through his business acumen and lifelong […]


Winds of change

For years I’ve been joking with friends and relatives, threatening to move to a medical-marijuana state when I got older. But these days, when I wake up most mornings stiff and aching, having a legal, safe and effective treatment for my arthritis and diabetic neuropathy is no longer a joke. Now about this time, there […]