Good News

Have you ever noticed that when you are worried about something and subsequently receive good news, rather than the bad news that you feared, you are suddenly well rested and optimistic and ready to gird your loins and do battle with life?

So often we become obsessed with the politics and minutiae of life and we fail to realize that most of our worries and cares seem to work out and that more times than not what we were obsessed and worried about…never happens.

Perhaps you did not get the job that you interviewed for…but soon a job opportunity comes along that is better and more suited to your strengths.

As I walked the lovely SIU Campus this afternoon…I was reminded of all of the battles and challenges that our 150 year old institution of higher learning has seen.

The protests of the Vietnam War that occurred at Southern were passionate and subsequently forced the closure of the University.  Around the same time the burning of Old Main, which was the first building of Southern Illinois Normal University.

A cheerful and a can-do attitude is worth untold riches when it comes to leading and inspiring people.


Let us not ask anyone for perfection…unless we are perfect.

Or as Jesus said, ‘he that is without sin among you…let him cast the first stone.’

How about…we try to learn from our mistakes and our human failings and our inflated egos…and try to be as optimistic as the lovey photo, above, of President and Mrs. Morris?

Were they perfect…no.

Did they make mistakes…yes.

But, our wonderful Southern Illinois University at Carbondale…just kept on growing…because they believed in us…and we believed in them…and we all believed in SIU.


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Guard Your Treasure

I have taken note that often when I am writing regarding a subject that, throughly interests me, I write three blog posts regarding the subject.

The current concern at my beloved University…is one of those subjects.

When I came to SIU, in 1978, I was a young man that had not had much exposure to life.  Being reared in a virtual all white town and attending all white schools…I had little cultural diversity to form my understanding of the real world.

Southern Illinois University gave me an immediate exposure to coworkers from around the globe…and I liked them.

Soon, I understood that life was more than the narrow parameters that I had been raised with…both culturally and ethnically and from a religious point of view.

I grasped that SIU was something special and something to be proud of and a treasure to be guarded for future generations.


One of my many friends and fellow congregants at First Presbyterian Church of Carbondale told me today that she is very worried about her alma mattar and that she is a fourth generation graduate of SIU.

First Presbyterian Church at Carbondale is full of former professors and Deans and former administrators for who the subject of the success of SIU at Carbondale is a passionate and personal subject.

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is our ‘Beating Heart’…and our soul and the nexus of our success and existence.


To believe that we are not as important as we were in times gone by…or to believe that the the vision of the flagship…almost 150 year old…flagship campus of the Southern Illinois University System has somehow, arbitrarily moved, is an insult to the majestic history of SIU.

The teacher’s college that President Delyte Morris took and developed into a world renowned University of almost 25,000 students on the Carbondale Campus…was not an accident…but rather a concerted effort by the governor and the legislature and the Board of Trustees and the President and the Chancellors of the University…and the lifelong and dedicated and selfless hard work of the countless members of the SIUC Community…over many years.

My Presbyterian friend and fellow Presbyterian congregant is a recognized historian of the beginnings of Carbondale and the University and the Presbyterian Church.

She can not be fooled and neither can I…the Carbondale Campus of SIU is vital to  the success of the entire region and it was planted…and developed and watered…and grown…by that controlling building construct….and the only reason that it is not flourishing is the lack of attention by the vintner…or the farmer…or the husbandman   to ensure that the crop is growing properly and is hearty…

We must not allow the vision of what Southern Illinois University is…to be lost to the compelling interest of political expediency.

We, ‘are the University that shouldn’t have happened, but did.’

SIUC can be likened to the Taj Mahal in the desert of Little Egypt.

If SIU flourishes…the entire Southern Illinois region benefits.

If SIUC is ignored and cut back and has funding removed from it…former President Delete Morris’s vision…dies.

Money…and a lot of it…political power…and the desire to ascend to greater heights of leadership…often controls university leaders and politicians.

Let us focus on the person who first wants to lead…from vision that he or she has for the institution and then, and far second…as to how much money and power can they achieve by the leadership post.

There really are leaders who are so dedicated to a vision of excellence that money is not their first consideration…but rather the challenge of the goal of a return to excellence.


The Joy of Travel

This past Friday we had our friend and former pastor, Janice, over for wine and brownies and the joys of the back porch!

As we began talking about the joys and challenges and opportunities of travel, I thought of the transformation that travel has had on my outlook and understanding of life and my role in it.

Janice recounted, some, of her experiences in Africa and Israel and Turkey.

As she explained the role that she and other volunteers from the United States played in the mission of Marion Medical Mission…the people of Malawi came alive to us and I felt like that I knew them personally.

Indeed, each time I travel to another country I am amazed at the beauty of the people and the intricacies of their ancient cultures.

My mother was enraptured with the story of Wallis Simpson and king Edward III who stepped down from the British throne…for the woman he loved.

I have been enthralled with the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markel.  Not since the 1930’s when American socialite, Wallis Simpson married British king Edward VIII, which caused a constitutional crisis and led to Edward abdicating the British throne, has there been a marriage into the royal family from an American.



While, today, the royal family has become so much more enlightened and Meghan Markel, who is an American and bi-racial, is welcomed with open arms and Prince Charles, the next king of the United Kingdom, walked her down the aisle.





The famous civil rights songs, ‘Stand by Me’ was sung during the service and, ‘This Little Light of Mine,’ was performed as the bride and groom were exiting the church and I thought that it was beautiful and soul stirring.

We are releasing our hold on our bias and our prejudice…a little at a time.

Leaders who are nationalist or tribalist are well behind the enlightened desire of the people that they are trying to lead.

‘When the light has come

And the land is dark

And the moon is the only light we’ll see

No I won’t be afraid, No I won’t be afraid

Just as long as you stand, stand by me

If the sky that we look upon

Should tumble and fall

Or the mountains should crumble to the sea

I won’t cry, I won’t cry

No I won’t shed a tear

Just as long as you stand, stand by me’

Ben E. King and Stephen King

So…the question is…who is my family?



Personalizing Public Leadership

I have witnessed, for 40 years the personalizing and transubstantiation of individual leaders into the success or failure of a large institution…who’s community contains thousands of people.

My goodness, that was a lot to say in a sentence…but please allow me to explain.

Yesterday, an article came out in the opinion section of the Southern Illinoisan newspaper that revealed emails, through the freedom of information act, that painted the current President of Southern Illinois University in a less than favorable light.

One of our State Representatives has called for his immediate resignation while another has, publicly invited him to ‘go the hell.’

I have communicated, by email, with President Dunn, on numerous occasions.

On one email exchange I mentioned to the President that I was shocked at the virulent outcry of members of the SIU Edwardsville community when he had proposed them loaning the SIU Carbondale community 35 millions dollars to facilitate a critical budget shortfall that had been brought about by the State of Illinois abdicating their budgetary responsibility by not passing a budget for two years.

I quoted to the University President, G.K. Chesterton, who said, ‘we are all in the same boat in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.’

He not only agreed but went on to put the quote in his monthly newsletter.

Now, I do not agree with the reallocation of funds, that would devastate the Carbondale Campus…to fulfill some, apparently non-existent formula for the Edwardsville Campus, but I have no evidence that Dr. Dunn is working toward the dissolution of the Southern Illinois University System…and obliterate his job.

I sincerely believe that the focus has been on the success of the Edwardsville Campus for many years…and the common feeling among University Leaders is that Carbondale is dysfunctional and dying.

I agree that to be apart of a university system is to be willing to see the good and growth of all of the campuses of the system.

I remember my friend, and former chancellor, telling me that a system vice president, told her that the president really wished that he had her at the Edwardsville Campus instead of Carbondale…that was 20 years ago!

We SIUC folks…would no doubt be more amenable to funding reallocations if we had not been left by the side of the road…for dead…for the past 20 or more years.

The University President apologized for referring to us a ‘bitchers.’  Now demonstrate to the University Community…that you do not think what that awful word connotes.

It goes without saying that the human beings that we have hired into the jobs of chancellor and president…must put aside their petty differences…and work for the success of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale…and demonstrate their understanding of their tax payer funded positions.

Let us not become enraptured with personalities…as we all too often have….but rather let us be immersed and enthralled with the success of our precious students and our, almost 150 year old flagship Campus…SIUC!






‘Truth – The quality or state of being true.’

‘That which is true in accordances with fact or reality.’   Google Dictionary

‘If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom, ‘Tillerson said, ‘A responsibility for every American citizen to each other is to preserve and protect our freedom by recognizing what truth is and is not, what fact is and is not, and begin by holding ourselves accountable to truthfulness, and demand our pursuit of America’s future be fact-based.’   Former Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, Politico

Of late, our country has had a lively discussion on what is real news and what is fake news.  Or, what is a legitimate investigation and what is a witch hunt.  Or who’s Presidential Inauguration was larger…when photos clearly document the answer…unless you do not believe…’your lying eyes.’

We require and deserve leaders that will be honest with us.  When we are lied to…face to face…with no impunity…it is insulting.

I recall telling a former chancellor, in a private meeting with him and one of his key advisors, to not insult my intelligence again…or the meeting was over.  He began to quickly backtrack, as did his assistant, and to assure me that he knew that I was very intelligent.

The point being, was that I knew what the chancellor was telling me was a lie…and he knew that he was telling me a lie…and therefore…why the charade?

So…now…we have another controversy surrounding our beloved Campus that begs the question are we being told the truth…or are we being fed being fed fantasies in the cloak of reality?

The primary impediments to the success of the Carbondale Campus, in the past,  has been the lack of support from both the State of Illinois and Boards of Trustees and Central Administration.

I had two friends, who at different times, were the Chairs of the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees.  Both told me that, the Boards that they chaired, had a very dim view of the Carbondale Campus.  They went on to tell me that they felt like that all that we did was fight each other, ‘Bitchers’, and basically cause disruption and they wondered why we could not be successful and good supplicants like the Edwardsville Campus.

They did not mention that since the termination of Chancellor Argersinger we have had 9 chancellors…and that none have had the opportunity to turn the ‘great ship of SIUC around.’

The difference between SIU Carbondale and SIU Edwardsville is the difference between night and day.  SIUC is the flagship campus of the system and out of it…every campus in the organization has grown.

We need truth tellers.  We need candid honesty.

To have an honest and truthful exchange of ideas and a candid discussion of the needs of our country and of our university…we must respect each other’s intelligence.

Under former President Delyte Morris’s leadership Southern Illinois University flourished.

Each member of the SIUC  University Community…when spoken to and communicated with as professionals and sober and resolute adults who are dedicated to the success of the institution, will come to the front of their responsibilities and take on additional tasks…because they are…needed and respected and a vital part of the renaissance of the Carbondale flagship campus.




Discipline…A Difficult Word

‘Discipline – training to act in accordance with rules; drill:’

‘Activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training:  A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.’

‘The rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.:’

Often the only real difference between successful people and those who are unsuccessful…is discipline.

We bemoan the challenges in our lives.

We want to be thinner…but we do not want to change our eating habits.



We want to have more money…but we do not want to cut our, discretionary,  expenses that drain our cash reserves.

We want advancement and promotion on the job…but we do not want to focus and immerse ourselves on the tasks that have been given us.



There are four times in my life that I found discipline invaluable to the goal that I was seeking.

As a very young man, I was terminated from a janitorial service.  I was newly married and my wife was a school teacher and I was throughly embarrassed.  Although I was working between 12 – 16 hour per day on this job…six days per week…my best was not good enough.

Not long after my termination, at 20 years old, I was offered a Building Service Worker I position at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.  From the the first day that I began the assignment…I determined that I was going to be a professional custodial worker…I was going to be the best.

I worked very hard towards my goal and often would not take my breaks or lunch period in order to facilitate my vision of success.

The last 25 years of my 32+ years with SIU I spent as either the Assistant Superintendent of Building Services or, during the final 13 years, the Superintendent.

In the middle of the last decade I set my mind to change my habit of eating and loose weight.  During a period of six months I lost 95 pounds.



Failure is a habit…success is a habit.

It has been said that it takes around 21 days to change a bad habit.

For many years I have wanted to walk for my health on a daily basis.  Even after retirement I had trouble keeping this goal.

I can attest that after a few weeks of staying dedicated to my desire to walk daily…I have been successfully doing so for the past two years.

I have wanted to be a writer since Mr. Feazel, my Social Studies teacher, told the class that my writing was so natural and that it was, ‘just like Bradley was talking with us.’

Writing has been a, somewhat allusive goal, but, I am well into my fourth year of writing on a daily basis…and I am working on a book about my experiences at SIU.

The mythical monster…that seems insurmountable in our lives is, often, little more than a change in habit…that takes a period of time to accomplish.



Replace the negative picture of yourself, that is in your head, with a positive vision of the, ‘you’, that you want to be!

We all see the world through our eyes and looking out of our skull…we live in our heads.



A recognized theory of quantum physics is that all molecules and atoms are moving constantly…and that what you visually see…is what your brain has decoded.

Practice seeing…a successful ‘you!’

Practice seeing…a thinner ‘you’!

Practice seeing…a ‘you’ that has the financial resources to accomplish what you desire to enable a happy life.




My friend, of many years, and former SIUC Chancellor, Jo Ann Argersinger, often referred to the ability to focus on the task at hand.

I had the privilege of taking two of the history courses that she taught as well as witnessing her astute administrative and leadership skills and I did note her total immersion in what she was doing.

Have you ever experienced someone who is supposed to be providing you a service…and yet they seemed a million miles from your needs…that they were supposed to be addressing?

Sadly, it is not unusual to be shopping in your local department store or Wal-Mart or supermarket and feel as if you are totally alone even though you are in a crowd of people.

As you search for a person, who works for the establishment, and you notice that when they see you…they seem to go the other way.

On more than one occasion I have asked a Wal-Mart employee for assistance and their response to me was that they were either going to their break or that they were on their break.  One of the occasions involved an aisle full of spilled laundry detergent that was extremely slick and was a safety hazard.  I informed the person that did not have time for the safety issue that I would inform their manager…to which they groused that they would mop it up.

Now, this is not just Wal-Mart staff or retail workers but, indeed, this illness of ‘surface service’ has permeated the professional ranks as well.

It is a bit disconcerting when you tell your doctor your symptoms and they ignore you or do not have more than the 10 minutes allotted to your office visit.

Or if you are a member of an office staff and you have been anointed to accomplish the lion’s share of the work…while your co-workers study their smart telephones.

Many of us say that immigrants are stealing our jobs….

Are you willing to pick apples or peaches or cut grass?  I am not referring to doing a half ass job of picking fruit…but rather working 12 – 15 hour days in the hot sun.

When I became a Building Service Worker I at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1978…I determined that I was going to be a professional custodial employee.

The illustrious Building Service Staff at SIU…is something to behold in our world of a hit and a miss…or ‘good enough for government work.’

Building Services is currently working with a skeleton crew of under 60 full time employees and maintaining over 200 building per day and it is a seven day operation.

Building Services is an elite staff of professionals who double and triple their herculean work load in order to facilitate their University being clean and germ free for our precious students.

These are a group of shock troops that are complexly immersed in their vital academic support duties.

The only way that you can be the manager of SIU’s Building Services is to be a totally committed leader and a person who thinks nothing of devoting many hours to the mission of the organization.

‘Lead, Follow Or Get the Hell Out Of the Way’

Study, research, briefings, reading…and detailed thought and planning go into leading our country.

The State Department is vital and Ambassadors are the thin human line that often separates us from war.

There is a concrete reason that the President of the United States has so many, necessary, advisors.

The critical information that is necessary for the continued survival and viability of the United States of America…can not all be obtained from, Fox and Friends.

Kim Jong-un has murdered his own people and members of his family.

It is wonderful that President Trump obtained the release of three Americans that were being held captive in North Korea…a few days ago.

When the President referred to the North Korean leader being, ‘nice’, he is referring to the leader that sent us Otto Warmbier…nearly dead…and who died a few days after his return to the United States.

Just after the President referred to the North Korean leader as ‘nice’ he asked the three prisoners, that had just been freed, to speak…and one said that he did a lot of hard labor…but that they did treat him…when he became ill.

Kim Jong-un…is not nice.



‘Kill All Others’

The Amazon Prime, episode in the Philip K. Dick Anthology Electric Dreams, entitled ‘Kill All Others’ was mesmerizing and, although it was produced prior to the current political administration, is a tale for our time.

‘Philbert Noyce sees a political candidate on television – the only candidate running for President – introduce a slogan, ‘Kill All Others.’  At first it seems he’s the only one who saw this – the real vs. illusion quandary – but soon confirms that others have seen this, and inevitably comes to think of himself as an ‘other’ and then becomes an ‘other’ himself.’   FUTURISM

I was listening this morning to an old radio show called Life with Louige.  The show was taped in 1946 and it dealt with Louige, an immigrant, attending an auction being held in his new home, America.

The first bid for a statue of former President George Washington, was $50.  Louige, joyfully bid $50.  The next bid was for $75…and Louige, without hesitation, bid $75.  The next bid was for $100…and Louige bid…$100.

When the auctioneer, kindly told Louige, that he was bidding against himself…he responded that his new home, America, was worth much more than $100…and that his customers, in his pizza parlor, would greet the statue of President Washington, each morning, by saying good morning Mr. President…and that each evening they would say to the austere statue…have a good night Mr. President.

A banker…who was listening to Louige and the auctioneer talk with each other…bid $1000.  Louige asked if he could pay the banker off in installment payments in order to still obtain the precious statue of our first President?

The banker told Louige…that he had purchased the statue for him as a gift…and that his love for the United States demonstrated why he deserved the statue.

The, dystopian, story of ‘Kill All Others’ built slowly to its insidious climax.  At first it seemed that the main character was the only one that had heard the candidate for the presidency of the combined countries of Mexico and the United States and Canada, and that it must have been an illusion.

Then, he noticed several of his neighbors chasing a woman and beating her and when he asked what the woman had done…they replied that she was one of the Others.

Soon, a large neon sign was erected across from his workplace that, clearly commanded to , ‘Kill All Others.’

Finally, on national television…the hanging body of a nameless person hung next to a billboard that, once again beseeched to ‘Kill All Others.’

The end of the, what is supposed to be futuristic, science fiction episode…showed the main character…hanging next to the new credo…