Monthly Archives: June, 2017

Decorum

‘Appropriate behavior, good manners,’ is what Thesaurus.com says is the definition of decorum.

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Synonyms for decorum are: ‘breeding, civility, conduct, convenance, convention, correctitude, correctness, courtliness, decency, demeanor, deportment, dignity, etiquette, form, formality gentility, good grace, gravity, habits, order, orderliness, politeness, politesse, properness, propriety, protocol, punctilio, respectability, seemliness, tact,’ Thesaurus.com proceeds to inform the reader.

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Indeed, there is a coarsening of our society that is endemic.

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I was associated with University Life since 1978 and still am privileged to be, somewhat, until the present.  When I began at University, it would have been unthinkable to here a student address their professor by anything but their title and last name.  Care would have been taken to show the proper respect for the dignity of the professorship and the elegant surroundings of University.

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Although, now, and for several years it is not unusual to hear slang and curse words used in conversation both inside and outside the hallowed halls of academia.  A professor friend of mine said that she often had to instruct her’ students that were speaking to her to not use profanity in their verbal comments to her.

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I, as we all do, shop and do business on often a daily basis.  Without fail I, according to my childhood training, say thank you to the person checking me out or the employee waiting on me in a department or grocery establishment.  The response that I almost universally receive is, ‘no problem.’

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‘I heard poorly rated @ Morning Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore).  Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came…to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me.  She was bleeding badly from a face-lift.  I said no!,’ President Trump tweeted.

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Misogyny – ‘dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudiced against women.’

Misogyny – ‘is the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls.  Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including social exclusion, sex discrimination, hostility, androcentrism patriarchy, male privilege, belittling of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification,’ according to Wikipedia.

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Often, I greet people that I meet with a hello or similar greeting.  It is amazing to me the number of those who I have greeted that only respond with a serious stare or glare.

Decorum and manners and interpersonal communication with other members of the human family…matter.  Respect and reverence for others dignity and rights and our shared humanity…matter.

When we say…well that is what Joe and Mika deserve for critical reporting of the President…we ignore a basic construct that has held our society together since it’s foundation.  Our President is the Leader of the Free World.  We look to him for guidance and counsel on how to act in difficult situations.  We expect him to take the high road…as a leader should.

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Think about this…for a moment…if it is alright now for the President to say whatever he wants to about a fellow United States citizens that he disagrees with…then it is alright for him to disparage your wife…your daughter…your mother…your granddaughter…your sister?

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You see, this type of callous inconsiderate…bullying behavior is spreading across our land.  A young man, in high school, recently committed suicide…due to his classmates bullying him.

It is one thing to disagree…it is another to be disagreeable…it is yet another to be a bully.

‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely,’ according to British politician Lord Acton.

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Keep Smiling

Please enjoy this great Blog Post from my son, Jonathon. He is truly a joyful gentleman! 🤠

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Why is it that a snarling dog meets many other dogs wearing mean faces whereas a friendly dog meets many other friendly dogs? The angry dog might believe the problem is all of the other dogs. Perhaps the other canines are out to destroy him or steal his rawhide bone. Maybe they’d like to tear into him out of jealousy. Instead of becoming quick friends the dogs become fast enemies. How sad this is and how true it is of human beings as well as dogs.

I’ve worked hard for many years now to live at peace with all of the other life travelers. As a boy I would snarl. Guess what? People snarled back. After given a second chance of Christian faith I relearned how to smile. Guess what again? People smile back. Because of grace there’s a goodness inside of me that’s so much greater than I could…

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Simple Beauty

When I first retired at the end of 2010, I wondered how difficult it would be to fill my  new found days of freedom from the daily grind of work.  Work was all that I had known from the age of 17 when I moved out of my parents home the day after I graduated High School.

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We set out to travel…and have visited several wonderful locales.  It is something that I love doing, and in fact we have a trip planned to New Mexico next month.

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Two things have emerged as primary retirement pleasures of mine…and perhaps three things.

I truly love nature and SIU Campus walks…and photographing those adventures.  By this one enjoyable enterprise I am able to combine three exciting vocations!

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First the Campus of Southern Illinois University…is my home away from home.  I spent thirty-two enjoyable years, of my life, traversing it’s abundant beauty…both inside and outside of it’s classical, distinguished, buildings.  This is enjoyable exercise!

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Second, I love photography…and my daily walks reveal to me a constantly changing tapestry of color, and plants, clouds, and wildlife…that I never tire of.

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Third, I am able to stay engaged with my Alma Mater and even exchange the occasional, enjoyable, email with both the Chancellor and the President of our great University.

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I also, have since a child, enjoyed writing.  For most of my life I felt that I was to busy to engage in this passion…but now I have the time.

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I am writing a Post for this Blog almost every other day…and sometimes daily.  This is a fulfillment of a life long dream of mine…and it is keenly satisfying.  I have received mostly positive input and have nearly 800 followers.  I am humbled that anyone takes the time to read my scribblings.

So, I would say that life is what you make of it.  Or as the Talmud states, ‘We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.’

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I have been blessed to travel to Europe on numerous occasions as well as many lovely locations in the United States…however…beauty and contentment and happiness and the ever elusive Peace…comes from within our own hearts.

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Communication is Difficult!

A little over a week ago, a very nice person asked if she could include one of my Blog Posts on a Writers Website that she manages.  I told her that I would be honored for her to do so.  The Piece was written on June 14 and was titled, ‘A Tragedy with a Possible Promise of Hope,’ and it was regarding the shooting, at the ball field in Virginia, that Republican Congressmen, and others, were practicing at in preparation for their annual Charity Congressional Ballgame with the Democrats.

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I cited in my Post that perhaps this senseless act of violence might bring our political leaders together.  I noted the Speech that Speaker Ryan gave after the horrific event, as well as the dinner that the manager of the Democrat Team had invited the Republican Team to attend.

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I was excited when I received an email notification that someone had commented on  the Post, or what I would call a fairly straightforward hope that our politicians might work together…at least a little.

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The first comment was, ‘The issue I see is that within 2 weeks this will be forgotten and Washington D.C. will be back to its dysfunctional normal.  We are a dying empire.’

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Another comment said, ‘The Speaker said, an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.’  ‘NOT REALLY YOU FORGOT THAT “US” ARE MURDERED EVERY DAY.’

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Another commenter stated, ‘Bradley Brooks implores: sincere desire to understand and empathize with the person that you are listening to, point of view. – Oh, so now I’M SUPOSE to believe others have a right to woman’s body and a right to impose someone else’ morality, think LGBQ should be killed, and “those people” in inner cities left to starve, sicken and die as a matter of empathy or ‘understanding?’  Huh?’

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I responded to the above person with, “It is clear to me that, words, can be taken totally out of context.  I am neither a Republican nor a Trump supporter.  I do however believe that the tremendous animosity and anger that is expressed from both political parties…is caustic and corrosive.  That does not mean a compromise of our principles of human and moral decency and advocacy for the many needy among us, or for individual right of freedom to live as we choose.  However, certainly, the cavalier shooting of those we disagree with is a journey into a hopeless abyss…that is being illustrated weekly, and at times daily, by the horrendous acts of terrorism around our Globe…in the name of one group being ‘right’ and the other being ‘targets of hate’.”

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I did not include the commenter who said that, there was a vast liberal conspiracy to kill Republicans or the response to this, by another person, labeling the first person a fascist.

My experience with the comments above has illustrated to me how difficult it is to communicate with others in our society, that has become increasingly divided and housed in “Silos” of our own creation.

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President Lincoln was a Republican.

President Eisenhower was a Republican.

Indeed our Political Party elected leaders have gravitated to the extreme of their membership.

All Republicans are not far right.

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All Democrats are not far left.

The majority of both Political Parties are somewhere in the middle.

The Herculean Task of communication with others that are different than us or that have different views than us…is hard work!

Benjamin Franklin said, ‘We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.’

Ben Franklin, sculpted by a young Madame Tussaud

 

 

Subtle Changes

 

Everything seemed fine…until the flower store. I had entered it on

numerous occasions and been waited upon expeditiously. The store was a

ten foot by ten foot room, that was filled with lovely live flower

arrangements and commemorative statues and Grave Plaques that had

beautiful life sentiments inscribed on them.

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There were two people ahead of me and they were engaged in serious conversation regarding their upcoming wedding. I not only was enjoying their conversation with the shop proprietor but also the ambiance of the little, locally owned, emporium.
As I read the various inscriptions on the Commemorative Graveside Markers and enjoyed the pleasant aroma of the fleshly cut flowers…I speculated on what it must feel like to die?

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You know, I am not a maudlin person…but I have observed that everyone seems to ‘pass away’ as we like to say.

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Perhaps, there is no appreciable change in atmosphere or location or perception when the great and dreaded event of our life…finally happens?
More people entered the store..I made eye contact with the owner while he waited on the original wedding decoration customers…and now he proceeded to wait on the people that had entered after me. Could it be that I had ‘passed away’…and no one had told me?
Was I invisible?

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How many people, in our world,…feel just the way that I did in that little flower store.

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People that are in front of our politicians and power brokers and movers and shakers eyes…and yet are not seen or considered or their needs met?
Earlier, a terrible tragedy occurred in north London, where a man drove his white van into a crowd of Muslim people as they exited a Mosque after evening prayers. This individual has caused the death of one man and injury of ten people. The driver is said to have been heard screaming, ‘I am going to kill all Muslims.’
A devastating fire occurred in London, last week, at the Grenfell Tower. Seventy nine Tower Occupants are presumed dead. The towering inferno was built in the 1970’s and never fitted with a sprinkler system.

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In the United States our President proposes slashing Medicaid and the Meals on Wheels Program…both which serve the poor of our land.
We were in Cape Girardeau, Missouri this past Saturday for an early Father’s Day Dinner. As we browsed through the many Antique Shops near the river…I observed a man enter more than one of the stores, that we were in, to inquire if the owner was interested in buying a used tricycle for $3.00. All answered no.

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As Jonathon and I were taking some items, that we had purchased, back to our car, a man asked us if we could give him a quarter…and then apologized for asking…saying that he and his wife were so poor that they had been brought to virtually begging.

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‘For I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw thee naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer unto them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.’ Matthew 25: 42 – 45 KJV

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Monday Madness

My friend, Ritu, describes perfectly our United Plea for Peace and a stop to the madness.

But I Smile Anyway...

I had a different thought for this morning’s post initially.

Something light and fluffy, you know, the typical Ritu-style…

But I woke to news that really affected me.

Another incident.

Another attack.

Another, possibly-terrorist, attack in London.

And no, Isis won’t be claiming this one.

This time it was a white van ploughing into worshippers leaving the Finnsbury Mosque in East London, as they had finished their prayers to signal the end of their fast that day.

One dead and eight injured.

Senseless.

Revenge.

More innocents killed or injured, for what?

Most of those affected were probably law-abiding Muslim citizens, who don’t condone all the previous attacks. True Muslims, who follow their religion with respect.

Yet Islamophobia and misinformation has led to someone thinking tit for tat, an eye for an eye, is the answer.

The driver of the van was detained by the public until the Police arrived.

When…

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Father’s Day

In the blink of an eye…another Father’s Day has rolled around.

I reflect, each year at this time, about my Father, who I did not see again after the age of six.

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I remember, fondly, Dad carrying me on his shoulders and laughing and I felt I was the whole world to him.

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Springfield, Ohio “69”

The above photo is of Dad and my sister Tammy…after he and my mother divorced.  I have spoken with Tammy several times.  She is a lovely and sweet person…and I hope to meet her soon.

Early in 2012 I received a great gift by discovering my long lost brothers and sisters.  Tammy emailed me and said that she was looking for her brother, Bradley Jay Brooks.  She had a picture on the email, but it did not print.  Later that day I received a hard copy, through the mail, of the same letter with my childhood picture on it.  I was ecstatic to not only discover that I had brothers and sisters…but that they wanted to meet me!

Since then I have communicated often with my sister Jolene, who is simply wonderful.

Also my brother Bill, who sounds on the telephone, just like I remember Dad sounding.

And, I have had the good fortune to meet and spend time with my brother Brock.  When I sit and listen to him speak…or look at him…or watch his actions…it is like looking in a mirror.  Brock has a wonderful family.  His lovely wife, Marcy, and his two outstanding children, Jeb and Jamie.

We spent time together in Gatlinburg, Tennessee this past April.  I am ready to go again!

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I have also communicated with my sisters Amber and Billie.  We were able to enjoy a dinner with Billie at Cunetto’s House of Pasta earlier this year.  What a lovely lady…and we have the same nose!

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My sons, Aaron and Jonathon, are the light of my life!  With them and their tremendous mother, Mary Jane, I have had nothing but blue sky and infinite horizons!

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And, so we return to the same restaurant that we had Father’s Day Dinner last year…when something is perfect…why not repeat it!

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Who Shall be Our Next Chancellor?

So, today the Board of Trustees for Southern Illinois University is meeting, this afternoon, regarding the Search for a permanent Leader for SIU Carbondale.

Since 1999 we have had nine individuals hold this position.  Indeed a significant part of our great Campus current difficulties can be traced to the constant turnover in leadership and their bringing different goals, and a New Vision, with each of them.  We have been undergoing an identity crisis.

It is instructive to examine what qualities, in a prospective Chancellor, that were successful in the past.

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Former President Delyte Morris was loved and respected by all segments of the University Community.  He was a Scholar among his peers…an adroit lobbyist for resources from the State Government…and a leader who welcomed the janitors on Campus into his home.

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Dr. Donald Beggs was appointed to the Chancellor’s position, for a two year term, and immediately the morale on Campus rose!  This was a man who took an interest in all members of SIU.  He was the Dean of the College of Education for fifteen years. During these years many members of our custodial staff sang the praises of Dr. Beggs; concern, and interest, and value, of them and the job that they performed.

One of the custodial staff working in Wham, which is the home of the College of Education, told me that Dr. Beggs came to hear him preach, as he was a minister.

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Dr. Jo Ann Argersinger regularly told members of the SIU Community to ‘call me Jo Ann.’

She was known to walk out into a yard, where a Grounds Worker was mowing, and shake their hand and tell them how important that they were to the mission of the University.

Chancellor Argersinger so inspired, not only the members of our Campus, but also the entire Southern Illinois Region…that people would inquire about her and remark how they missed her…for ten years after her untimely termination.

I was in her history class and I could not help but be amazed that out of several hundred in attendance…she knew, virtually all of their names…and would call on them by name.

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Chancellor Wendler had a big heart for all members of the University…and revealed as much in our numerous conversations over a period of years.

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Let us endeavor to choose a Chancellor who wants and needs us as badly as we want and need them.

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We need a leader with that little spark of magic!

We need inspiration and hope and to dream of the infinite possibilities of Southern Illinois University…again!

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We need someone that is in it for the long haul…and who values and believes that every member of the University Community is integral to it’s success.

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A Tragedy with a Possible Promise of Hope

This morning, a senseless act of violence occurred at a baseball practice in Virginia.

House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise, was shot in the hip, along with gun shot wounds suffered by:

Zachary Barth, a member of Rep. Roger Williams staff.

Matt Mika, a lobbyist for Tyson Foods.

David Bailey, U.S. Capitol Police.

Special Agent Crystal Griner, U.S. Capitol Police.

The gunman was from Bellville, Illinois.

The gunman inquired, of a Congressman who left the Charity Ballgame Practice early, if the players on the field were Democrats or Republicans.

Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, gave an impassioned and heartfelt speech to the House of Representatives.  The Speaker said, ‘An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.’

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The Speaker also said, ‘There are many memories from this day we will want to forget, and many images we will not want to see again.  But there is one image in particular that this House should keep.  And that is a photo I saw of our Democratic colleagues gathered in prayer this morning after hearing the news.’

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‘Rep. Mike Doyle, the manager for the Democratic baseball team, said he invited the Republican team for dinner at the Democratic Club as a first step towards changing the heated political climate’, according to the Washington Times.

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Can we meet in the middle…after all of the animosity and rancor and vitriolic rhetoric?

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One supreme truth, that we hide from ourselves, is that we are one breath away from eternity.

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We have more that unites us than divides us.

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We love our children.  We love our families.  Indeed we are one Human Family.

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As the author G.K. Chesterton said, ‘We are all in the same boat in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.’

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We really have no choice.

 

Comey Testimony Brings to Mind King Trump

Please enjoy this insightful Comic by Henry Chamberlain.

Comics Grinder

The Donald. cartoon by Henry Chamberlain

“Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?”
–Henry II

There is an artful moment during the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey. Sen. Angus King (I) Maine, asked if Trump saying he hoped the Flynn investigation would go away was a direction. And Comey quotes the famous line attributed to Henry II, and which floats within Shakespeare’s Richard II: “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” The senator said he was thinking of the same quote. King Henry II wishes that a priest would go away. The next day, that priest is murdered, honoring the king’s wish. King Trump “hopes” for something and it is an inappropriate suggestion, even for royalty.

That quote speaks volumes.

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