Thursday, July 30, 2015

Conversation with Jim Scott . . .

Republican Road
Geoview Info

Yesterday, I visited my old high school math teacher Jim Scott for about four or five hours to ask him various questions pertaining to his views on life at 82. I hadn't seen him since 2010, but he's still very sharp mentally.

He lives with his wife, Barbara, on their Ozark farm just off Republican Road in Fulton County, Arkansas, near my hometown of Salem, and that reminds me of a question I forgot to ask him, namely: How did Republican Road get its name? Any readers know?

Anyway, Jim and I had a grand time discussing his responses to my various questions, though we both got stumped on our affirmation of free will - what it is and how it works.

But I did get an answer to my question as to when he realized that he was a very smart individual, and to my surprise, he replied, "In the army." The military administered him an IQ test, and he scored very high. Only then did he notice that he was quicker at insights and solutions than most other people he knew.

But he started mathematics late, after two years in the army and a few years living a cowboy life, and he stopped working for a doctorate in math when he realized the need for a practical job to support his growing family.

But he admitted that his interest in math was more practical than theoretical, anyway, and that he preferred to use math in building things. Nevertheless, I read him the analogy that Charles Fefferman made about higher math being like playing chess with the Devil, and Jim agreed that the analogy was a good one.

I asked what gave him the most satisfaction in his life, and he again said that it would have to be building things, particularly his house, which he designed and constructed pretty much on his own.

I asked if his surveying work also gave him satisfaction, but he said, "Not as much." But we had an interesting conversation about surveying, anyway, and he explained a problem with the old Gunter's Chain - it tended to lengthen with use as the links rubbed against one another and wore the metal down. Because of this, surveyors in the old days were issued two chains, one to use in measuring land and the other to use as a standard.

After our long conversation, I showed Jim my novella and related the story as we went through the illustrations, and Barbara came through the room as I was doing this, noticed the colorful story, and decided she'd have to order it for her Kindle.

By that time, we were getting hungry, so I treated them to dinner with Sun-Ae and me at a local Mexican restaurant, where we spoke of other things.

That day ended, and another now begins . . .

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At 2:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff, Republican Rd intersects with Walking Stick Rd...I hope a "reader" can explain that one. Cuz Bill

At 5:14 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I hadn't even noticed that.

Jeffery Hodges

@ @ @

At 3:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I can't say whether any (all?) of what I'm about to posit is purely coincidental or ...

(& since I've never been able to get links to stick here ...) this may prove sort of arduous bearing in mind my last attempt "breadcrumbing" to the recent Duff and Nonsense comment.

From the Encyclopedia of Arkansas (online - easily reached) type, without the quotes, "Peace Society" where you'll read northern Arkansas contributed 90% of Union troops from a nominally Confederate state during the war of "However One Wishes" to label the 1861-65 conflict.

Then, seeing as how you've managed Jeff to acquire a Google-Earth image

Line up the Republican Road, zoom out far enough to get Dent County Missouri into the frame then take a gander at how neatly north the Republican Road lines up south to north with Salem Missouri.

Coincidence? Perhaps ...


At 4:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obtained coordinates via the National Weather Service - but I don't know "for sure" from which point the determination of either Salem Arkansas or Salem Missouri were taken. My suspicion is for the former perhaps, the bronze disk that's embedded in the NE corner wall of the courthouse.

Jim Scott however probably would be the "best person" to ask is my guess.

36.36°N 91.83°W
Salem Missouri
37.65°N 91.54°W

And bear in mind the Republican Road is "somewhat" east[?] of Greater Metropolitan Salem Arkansas.


At 4:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The 911 Commission is the agency responsible from naming Fulton County's streets and roads. And "Walking Stick Road" if, one has some few decades familiarity *running ... well maybe I ought say 'driving' ... the backroads of Fulton, well allow me to say that isn't especially the most peculiarly named.


At 5:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Hershel, --Pete Hale here, believe it or not--your note about NArk's activity in the Civil War reminds me mightily of great content in the seriously great (but confusingly titled) novel, "The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks" (D. Harrington, no novel-writing slouch, that guy), where he describes how frustrated southern generals were ticked off at how, battle after battle, everybody up there just kept shooting over each other's heads, and nobody seemed to be getting killed or maimed. A really funny, really sad, really great book, check it out if you don't know of it already.--

At 6:54 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

That overshooting might be largely fictional, given stories I've heard from relatives.

Jeffery Hodges

@ @ @

At 2:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Pete. Fondness.

I've followed with interest Jeff's descriptions of a *simian's* journey.

I'm familiar with the work you mention and from "the traded letters of the period" I'm of the opinion - nothing to back up my conjecture - Hindman et al (had he the convenience (and the familiarity) would likely have decided on some *show trials* but I don't know he'd had the ordnance to spare pulling what Kim Jong Eun seems to do these days. S'why maybe Granny Holmes tried to stay as close to Little Rock as he possibly could.

What you speak of Jeff appears to've been more common when the conflict descended at it must inevitably had - given the committed troops had been transferred across from the TransMississippi Theater to places such as Corinth, Shiloh and Vicksburg leaving the Oxarks open to the worst sort of "warfare" - guerilla/jayhawker/bushwacker - meaning, "under no flag."



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