Author Archive: bjaybrooks

Soaring!

Jonathon and I were on our daily, campus, walk when I saw the first, of two, inspiring images.

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The first inspiration was seeing the chancellor and Matt on their way to the Student Center.  They both waved, and smiled broadly, as they passed us.

I thought to myself…there is a man that will beat, the cancer that he told us about in his blog, and will lead SIUC out of it’s present distress…’a happy warrior!’

Southern Illinois University is resplendent in its’ natural and physical beauty!

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I recall, so vividly, my touring each campus buildings at this time of year in order to ensure that they were immaculate.  Building Services, truly believed, that the enrollment and retention of our wonderful students…was on us…and was our responsibility…and I am confident that they still do!

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I see my friends, the Grounds staff, working feverishly to create a garden of eden and an oasis in the desert and a refuge from the storm of confrontation and strife that seems to surround our society…of late.

The second of my inspirations was the finding of a soaring bird…flying over campus lake.  I did not see the flying fowl when I was snapping the photo…but only, after, when I viewed the image on my phone.

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Both inspirational images remind me that Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale is bigger than any of its adversaries and stronger than any of its road blocks!

My friend, Jo Ann, spoke of immersion in a discipline or a goal, in order to be totally focused on what you are working to achieve.

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Whether you are the janitor…be the best janitor that anyone has ever witnessed!

If you are the grounds worker…be unparalleled in your horticultural ability and dedication!

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If you are the chancellor…be the ‘happy warrior.’

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If you desire students at SIUC…be the magnet that draws them.

Fall semester is coming…and we have spring cleaned and re-tooled and examined our mission and searched our hearts…and now join hands together to joined  to create success and opportunity…and family…for our most important citizens…our precious students.

Let us all see how many students that we can connect with?

How many students can each of us, cause to feel, like they are home?

How many students can each of us make feel at ease and calm and happy that they have chosen Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale?

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How many students can each of us welcome and by our demonstrated concern for them…they will no longer be afraid of, what appears, to be scary and causes them to have butterflies in their stomach and instead….SIUC feels like their school?

 

 

 

Humans are Analog

‘As humans, we perceive the world in analog.  Everything we see and hear is a continuous transmission of information to our senses.  This continuous stream is what defines analog data.  Digital information, on the other hand, estimates analog data using only ones and zeros. ‘

‘For example, a turntable (or record player) is an analog device, while a CD player is digital.  This is because a turntable reads bumps and grooves form a record as a continuous signal, while a CD player only reads a series of ones and zeros.  Likewise, a VCR is an analog device, while a DVD player is digital.  A VCR reads audio and video  from a tape as a continuous stream of information, while a DVD player just reads ones and zeros from a disc.’

 

‘Since digital devices read only ones and zeros, they can only approximate an audio or video signal.  This means analog data is actually more accurate than digital data…’       Tech Terms

The other evening I watched the movie, ‘California Typewriter’, directed by Doug Nichol.

This fascinating movie documented the near extinction of the typewriter and the struggles of one of the last typewriter repair shops.

The film covered many collectors of typewriters, including the actor, Tom Hanks, and their love for the tactile process and, human process, of pushing a typewriter key and the subsequent letter striking a piece of paper and leaving the ink printed equivalent.

 

The singer and songwriter, John Mayer, spoke of his pleasure in being able to see all of the derivations and mistakes on his typewritten page of a new song that he was writing.

He went on to discuss computer’s word-processing habit of constant, automatic editing, that masks and loses the human history of the composition of the lyrics.

The author, David McCullough, a two time Pulitzer Prize winner, who is 85 years old, has written all of his books on a Royal manual typewriter.

Jonathon has been telling me for some time that vinyl records have a better sound than CD’s.  Now I know why.

 

In our frantic rush to become faster and digitally savvy and to have not only all office and bank and school and business records and office processes on-line…we have lost quite a lot from our cursive hand written thank you notes and our, physical, paper and card files.

Think, for a moment, we are currently worried, with good reason, regarding our up-coming mid-term elections.  We know that Russia successfully hacked the DNC’s computers, in the last election, and evidence shows that they have already begun in preparation for the November vote.  If we still had paper ballots, through out the country, there would be little to worry about.

When I began at SIU in Building Services, I noticed the card files that each full time employee and student employee were on.  Each staff member had their own card and on that card was kept; the date that you began at Building Services and each promotion that you received as well as transfers that you made to different departments on campus.  The cards were even re-filed into a former employee file, when you retired or resigned or died.  Many of them were yellow with age and contained the hand writing of several different foreman and custodial supervisors and superintendents.

The Building Services cards…were history.

 

I enjoyed perusing library cards in books that I checked out.  Many contained notations of the book being checked out in the 1940’s and earlier.

 

We kept files, prior to computers, in our office, on members of our staff that included evaluations and letters of commendation and they were a written history of their career.

Cursive is no longer taught in school.  Did you know that?  I was shocked when I first found out!

When a millennial person is given a letter or a document that is written in cursive…they can not read it.

How do they sign their name…perhaps in block print?

From the cuneiform of ancient Mesopotamia, and Persia…to recent times…the history of a tribe….a culture…a people…was available in a physical…a analog form…to study and learn from.

President Trump understands the power of the presidential, cursive, signature…he displays it each time he signs a presidential executive order.

Autographs or cursive signatures of famous individuals…are valuable and have the power of the realization that the admired person signed their name…with their own flesh and bone and blood hand!

Time has a way of erasing so many valuable memories.

Was there an Atlantis?

 

If so…were the records of their people and their culture and their, magnificent human accomplishments, obliterated due to their technology being destroyed?

Let us say that the Earth sustains a atmospheric event that knocks out electricity on our planet…

Everything from your paycheck, and mine, to all of your, what used to be physical records kept in a file cabinet, to the records of your marriage and your mortgage and your insurance and your due date for your book that you checked out of the library and your education….is inaccessible and thus for practical purposes…did not happen.

David McCullough said in the movie, ‘American Typewriter’, that it seems that our culture wants to continue to move at a faster pace and that writing with a manual Royal typewriter…was to slow.  He said that if anything was true, for him, he wanted to slow down more.

Perhaps through our manic race to be continually faster…and accurate…and our obsession in educating our children, from the womb, and yet not valuing teaching them how to write cursive, is a sign of a declining civilization and devaluing of the human experience?

I have been contributing to my blog for several years.  I hope that it can be accessed by my boys…after I am gone?

I think that I will look for a typewriter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale…A Land of Opportunity!

 

This is an exciting time of year for me!

SIU’s new and returning students have already started coming back to Carbondale and move in will be next week, in preparation for the first day of fall semester classes that begin on Monday, August 20th.

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I have been experiencing the first day of fall semester for 40 years.

When I was employed in Building Services, which is the housekeeping division of the Physical Plant, our department made every effort, including nightly overtime for the two weeks prior to opening day, to ensure that the over 200 campus buildings that we maintained were sparkling and immaculate…as a reflection of the elite academic offerings of our great school.

I recall, so fondly, the years that our custodial staff was integrated in and vital to the Saturday before the Monday opening of fall semester.

We had our staff in every major building and they were trained in assisting new students and their parents in finding where their classes were being held.

We understood how important that we were to the new and returning students SIU experience.  We knew that if our students felt that we cared about them…they would understand that SIU…cared about them.

During the last 13 years of my career, I was the Superintendent of the department.  Often we had in excess of 200 student staff working with us.  When a chancellor told me that he must cut our department by half a million dollars…I pleaded with him, a good man, regarding the permanent damage that would be done to our student staff, who would loose their jobs…and often be subsequently forced to leave SIU…due to  lack of finances.

The wonderful chancellor, that I was talking with, restored 100 thousand dollars to assist in retaining student custodial staff.

The pastoral beauty of SIUC is unparalleled in the State of Illinois…and through much of the nation.

Some famous entertainers, who are alumni of SIUC are: James Belushi, Hannibal Buress, Dennis Franz, Dick Gregory, Jenny McArthy, Melissa McCarthy, Bob Odenkirk,  Richard Roundtree, Robert K. Weiss.

Here is what our new Interim president says:

‘To the SIU Family and Community

It is hard to believe, but just over three weeks ago, the thought of being the president of Southern Illinois University had never crossed my mind.  But we all know things change – and sometimes rapidly.  As many of you have heard me say, I never aspired to or sought the position of SIU president.  After my fourteen years as dean and provost of the SIU School of Medicine, I was very happy to return to my first love: teaching medical students.  However, when I was asked to serve, I knew it was important for me to step up and respond to our university’s need.  I am proud and humbled to serve a university to which I have devoted most of my adult life.  Each campus has been important to me, to my family and friends, and to our communities.’

‘I have been asked to become president at a time when our university system is suffering from wounds that need immediate attention.  As you know, I am a physician by training , so my natural inclination is to heal.  To begin our road to recovery this physician is prescribing that we all take a step back and rededicate ourselves to our great institution.  We need time to walk in each other’s shoes.  We all need to realize that some changes are required to ensure the continued success of our campuses and our university as a whole.  Most importantly, we need to make a greater effort to reach beyond our own campus to get to know our fellow faculty and staff across the system.  I firmly believe that we have the ability to be stronger together through cooperation and collaboration.  If we are to heal SIU and serve our students and communities, we must do so by coming together.’    J. Kevin Dorsey, MD PhD.  Interim President, Southern Illinois University

When I first came to SIU I had little frame of reference, other than my upbringing in, virtually, all white schools, and fundamentalist christian doctrine.

SIU enabled me to see the extreme beauty of diversity and thought that is supported by facts and not fiction or fable.

I was humbled and inspired when students, from around the globe, thought of me as their friend.

I saw that the human family is a kaleidoscope of color and rich with traditions, that not only were unique and ancient…but replete with all the validity…and more…of my, closeted knowledge of God’s creation.

I have written, on more than one occasion, that Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale has a large sign that is posted over every entrance to the campus…the sign says…Opportunity…but you must visualize it with your heart!

I have many friends that are members of the faculty at SIU.  They are among the most passionate and caring professionals that I have ever met.  They not only love our students…but they give of themselves in a tireless manner…to see their proteges progress and flourish.

Having been a member of the staff, for over 32 years, I can speak with some knowledge regarding the affection and fondness that they have for our precious students.

Southern Illinois University is not the brick and mortar buildings or the lovely fountains or the Student Center or the Recreation Center…it is the members of the university community.

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Our wonderful staff, in Building Services, adopted their student custodial coworkers.

From bringing them food, on a nightly basis, to enjoying Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner with them, we laughed with them…when they laughed….we rejoiced with them…when they rejoiced…and we wept with them…when they wept.

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The miracle of the oasis of harmony and inclusivity and love and free thought in the dessert of Little Egypt…is, truly, something that you must feel and see…to believe.

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Solomon, from Ghana, told me that international students wanted to work with me, when I was a custodial crew supervisor in 1980.  When I asked him why…he said…because you have no prejudice.

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I hope to be worthy of such a commendation…someday.  But his words were what I experienced each day that I was a member of the SIUC community.

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It is really a special place to receive an education and to become a citizen of our, majestic, Earth!

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Good Times

Have you ever reflected on, the often, short and quick moments in you life that are golden memories, many years after?

I remember the line that the actor, Charles Durning, said to, Holly Hunter as they portrayed their roles of father and daughter reminiscing over a dysfunctional family Thanksgiving.   The movie was one of my favorite movies about Thanksgiving, Home for the Holidays.   He was recalling having his two daughters and son, along with their mother, on the flight line of an airport, where he worked his career,  and their excitement as they watched the big jets take off and land.  He told his daughter that those few moments were some of the happiest of his life.

I recall, fondly, Aaron and Jonathon, standing by the side of my bed and commiserating as to whether I was awake of not.  They were so small that they could barely look over the top of the mattress.

Or, Aaron’s joy at his perusal of a hotel room that we stayed in when we were on a vacation Disney world in Florida…where he opened a drawer and found a Gideon’s Bible and announced that he was going to read the entire book while we were there!

We have visited Gatlinburg, Tennessee, many times, but one period of a few minutes stays with me when I stepped out on to the balcony of the condo that we had rented, with my lifelong friend Steve, and looked at the Smoky Mountains under the Christmas moonlight.

Another, wonderful Gatlinburg moment was with my brother, Brock, when he tried on a Steampunk hat!

I think, that all to often we are looking to begin life after we work real hard in order to get ready to have fun and relaxation.

The mystery and beauty of life is happening right now.

I recall standing with my friend, Jeff, on his kitchen balcony at his apartment in Nice, France and our each smoking a small cigar and reflecting our our mutual past and our future and mortality.

Jeff and I, also enjoyed a lovely walk around the condo, in Paris, that we had leased and our reflections on the rapidity of our lives and the miracle that we were walking about in Paris and how we had never thought, when we were young, that this moment would happen.

I remember chancellor Argersinger telling me that she was planning on promoting me and my combined trepidation at the concept while at the same time being humbled and gratified that she thought that I had the ability to do some of the, responsible jobs, that she was considering me for.

I remember sitting in a Pub in Covent Garden in London with Jonathon while we enjoyed a glass of warm ale.

I remember sitting in a Pub in Oxford with Aaron…while I enjoyed a Dirty Martini…that he purchased for me.

We were with our friends, Jo Ann and Peter, and walking through the Hyatt Hotel that we were staying in…while Jo Ann tried to open each locked door that we came upon…as she announced that she did not like locked doors.

I remember Astrid nominating me for an award that was connected with my hiring of individuals with unique abilities…and how it humbled me and how I felt unworthy and what an indelible impression it left on me as to her kindness and the opportunity that I had been afforded to work with some gifted professionals.

I remember Steve and Fay and Mary Jane and I going to the movies and seeing Godfather III and Faye giving me a headache pill that she had…as I had a splitting headache.  My headache evaporated and at least one more, holiday. movie…and perhaps two more…and I reveled in what wonderful friends the LaBriers were to us.

I remember my first minister, Jack Archer, telling me that he loved me like a son.

I recall, Jack telling me that Mickey, his wife, was especially fond of me. And, I was fond of her.

I recall how Thelma Griffin treated me like I was a member of her family and fed me at her table…when she did not have enough for her family.

I remember Mary Jane grasping my big hand with her much smaller hand and our minister announcing to the congregation at our wedding that he was presenting to them Mr. and Mrs. Brooks.

I remember Dr. Carol Burns telling me that I had the ability to achieve any academic desire that I had…including law…and her encouragement for me to pursue, at least, a four year academic degree.

I recall, Mickey Archer, calling me and announcing with joy that I  had been hired at SIU and was to report to Building Services that afternoon at 4:00 P:M:.

I remember my Dad placing me on his shoulder, in our house in Sauk Village in Chicago and feeling like I was the most important person in the world.

It is said that your life passes before you…just before you die.  I can believe it.  I wonder if it is not the happiest moments and the indelible heartfelt joys that are screened for our mind’s eye…as we journey into the plan that God has for us?

The memories I have mentioned are only a sampling of those that are dear to me…what are yours?

 

 

Life Goes On

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Isn’t that the truth?  No matter our age or station in life…one fact is certain and that is that life goes on.

I recall my elated feelings upon my retirement from SIU.  In fact, for the last year of my employment…I was the guy that was soon to be retired.  I was busy making travel plans and imagining what my new world of, six Saturdays and one Sunday, per week was going to feel like.

Over Christmas dinner, my buddy Ron, told me that I would love Jamaica, which we were traveling to in early January of 2011…and that we would  enjoy the all inclusive nature of the Sandals Resort.

As I was watching the Jamaican bartender mix my Dirty Martini, which is my favorite mixed drink, I remarked to him that I had never seen a bartender make a Dirty Martini so, rich, with vodka?  He laughed a hearty Jamaican laugh and responded that Jamaica was a ‘booze country…man!’

During our week in Jamaica we visited Dunns River Falls…where we climbed a waterfall.  The moss covered stones were slick as glass.  Many of the steps required the climber to lift their legs higher than their chests.  I slipped…to many times to count…and Ron ran about the steep mountain of water and dangerously slick stones…like a mountain goat.

I thought that I might die?

When the climb was completed I gave our guide a healthy tip and when I was asked why I gave him so much, I responded that he had hauled my big body up the mountain and that I probably owed him more.

Needless to say, I required a Jamaican mixed drink after Dunns River Falls!

It has dawned on me…more than once…since I retired, that for everyone that was not retiring…it was just another day at the office.

I have actively watched as my university…suffered the failure of the state of Illinois to produce a budget for two years as well as poor and divisive leadership…that has exacerbated the problems, rather than worked to solve them.

Our retirement cruise was to the Mediterranean and we enjoyed it immensely in May, 2011.  We visited Genoa and Tunis and Barcelona and Palermo and Nice…as well as spending a week in Rome.

At the Monte Carlo Hotel, that we stayed at, in Rome, the waitress asked me if I wanted water, con gas, or still.  I had no idea what she was talking about and politely told her that I did not require, gas, but rather water…and she stared at me and I at her.

We took a private tour of the Vatican with our guide, Sergio.  What a wonderful and illuminating experience.  It was a special tour that we have ever taken and Sergio explained each piece of art and architecture to us in detail.

When we visited the Sistine Chapel…an lady kept shooshing Sergio as he endeavored to explain the majestic art of Michelangelo to us..in whispers…as Vatican staff, dressed in black, constantly admonished all visitors to silence.

Sergio, became angry with the shooshing lady, when he repeatedly tried to explain to her that he was a private tour guide and it was his job to explain to his guests what they were seeing.

We had dinner at a Ristorante that was just a couple of blocks away from the Monte Carlo and to arrive there we walked by may foreign embassies with armed soldiers guarding them.

When we ate there on our first night in Rome and the first night of our Mediterranean vacation, our waiter was simply delightful and he fixed us his speciality, that was not on the menu, and it was heavenly!  At the conclusion of the meal I left him, our customary 20% gratuity…and he followed me into the street and beseeched me to return to his establishment.  I promised him that I would when we returned from our cruise.

The breakfast at the Monte Carlo…was to ‘die for!’

Served, in buffet style, was Genoa or Volpi salami and exotic cheeses and flaky pastry and Nutella for everyone!

And, then, we returned home.  I wished that there was something more that I could contribute to my ‘second home’…SIUC.

I was so pleased and honored when I was asked by Carolin Harvey, the president of the civil service council, to be the council’s representative to the SIU chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association.

After 40 years of association with SIUC I think of of my university…daily.

I think of my colleagues at Building Services and worry about them…in a multitude of ways.

I see my colleagues from the Physical Plant and I appreciate the fact that they have such a wonderful director, Brad Dillard.  I know that Brad is working for their betterment and to move the university forward.

I hear from people, and they tell me of struggles and hurts and bullying treatment…that should not be.

I wonder if I had worked a few more years…if I could have helped a little more?

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Life goes on…but it is all connected.

‘Doing Nothing Often Leads to the Very Best of Something.’ – Pooh

‘You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you.  You have to go to them sometimes.’    Winnie-the Pooh

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‘If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient.  It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.’    Winnie-the-Pooh

‘What day is it?’

‘It’s Today,’ squeaked Piglet.

‘May favorite Day,’ said Pooh.

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Today I saw the movie, Christopher Robin, and it was a delight!

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I am a stuffed bear admirer and collector…but the calming wisdom of Pooh was a balm for the spirit.

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The film focuses on Christopher Robin, as an adult, with a wife and daughter and corporate worries that have caused him to forget the joys of the Hundred Acre Wood.

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At one point Christopher’s daughter, Evelyn, tells her father, ‘Your life is happening right now in front of you.’

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Winnie is a proponent of doing nothing, leading to something…’People say ‘Nothing is impossible,’ but I do nothing every day.’    Pooh

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The movie was a lesson in Winnie’s, old friend, Christopher Robin, not being able to, ‘see the forest for the trees.’  The Pooh’s philosophy is to let life happen and enjoy the experience.

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‘Sometimes, when I’m going somewhere, I wait.  Ant then somewhere comes to me.’   Pooh

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The lessons of the movie and Winnie-the-Pooh…are simple and sweet…and profound.  They are timely for all ages…and perhaps the older…the better?

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‘I always get to where I’m going by walking away from were I have been.’    Pooh

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The Real-Life Christopher Robin

‘Christopher Robin Milne was born in Chelsea, London, on August 21, 1920, just 21 months after the Great War ended.  He was the first an only child born to former British officer Alan Alexander Milne and his wife Daphne de Selincourt.  His father, a screenwriter and novelist by trade, drew inspiration from Christopher’s stuffed animals, particularly a teddy bear named Edward (the name ‘Winnie’ came from a bear they saw at the London Zoo), to create stories about the friends’ adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood. ‘    Country Living

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Note: Photos from Disney and Country Living

Habits

‘Habit – A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.  It was his habit to go for a run every morning.’   Dictionary

Since I retired, at the conclusion of 2010, I have noticed that good habits are difficult to form and bad habits are difficult to break.

Answers, on Google search, tells me that it takes 7 days to make a habit and 30 days to break one.  However, the article goes on to say that, most people, believed that it takes 20-30 days to break a habit.

In order to break a bad habit you must replace it with something else.

Often we are governed by our learned behaviors.

As I am watching television and some eye pleasing food is part of the program…I want to join the actors with a tasty morsel…or more…from my refrigerator.

What activity do we, primarily engage in on; Christmas, birthdays, vacations, celebrations and almost any other event where we humans gather…eating!

Eating can be a substitute for; happiness, sadness, entertainment, and a multitude of other events that are not connected to our health or well being.

When I first retired I had the simple goals of more reading and writing and walking. I wanted these, self improvement ideas, to be realized…and I knew that if I had a long list that some, if not all, would never be accomplished.

Although I am closing in on 8 years of retirement…I have only been consistent on the walking goal for, about, the past 5 years.  Prior to that my efforts achieved 2-3 times per week.  Now I average 6-7 days a week.

The writing goal is something that I have talked about for the majority of my life.  Until 4 years ago, I engaged in the lifelong goal…only periodically.  Now I average 6-7 days per week.

My reading goal has been a more consistent project for me…due to audible books that I listen to on my walks.  I have been averaging 25-30 books per year.

When I was employed at Southern Illinois University, I was ecstatic to have such a golden opportunity for a job that could be my career.  I decided, from my first week with the organization, that I was going to be a professional custodial employee.  Whatever  I was assigned to do…I had the habit of doing more.

Addictions are nothing more than habits that have gone to the extreme.

You may enjoy a glass of wine with your dinner and it is a lovely adult beverage and experience…but if one glass leads to a bottle or more…perhaps it has become a bad habit?

I have worked with people that the habit of victimhood was a mindset that they lived their life by.  They had decided that nothing ever was going to go their way and, thus, their lives were governed by the dark cloud that they were certain was hovering over their head.

As a manager, I worked with some staff who with my best efforts, could not be talked into success.  They were determined that a job was ‘just a paycheck’ and that management had but one purpose, and that was to make their life miserable.

We can see our country as either a land of golden opportunity for all…or we can see it as a dark and stormy place that is full of broken promises and unrealized dreams.

Throughout my life I have discovered that I am the product of what I read and who I listen to and the habit of focusing on the improvement of myself and my environment.

Former Chancellor Argersinger told me, once, that she noticed that I worked to make Building Services, more, than most people would think of.

SIU Carbondale has the stellar opportunity for re-birth.  The decision is ours…do we want to engage, once again, in the habit of the possible…and follow the famous Holiday movie, Its a Wonderful Life, character of George Bailey…and ‘lasso the moon’…for our students?

Southern Illinois University President Dorsey… Is a Breath of Fresh Air

‘Interim SIU president says he plans to operate ‘less driven by fear and more by opportunity.’    Southern Illinoisan

‘Clearly the system has to be healed, because if one part of us is sick, it’s going to infect the entire body or entire system,’ Dorsey said.’    Southern Illinoisan

 

‘We both know that this is not something I am going to wave a wand (and it’ll all be all better),’ Dorsey said.  Everyone involved in both schools are going to have to shake off the negativity and adjust their focus, he said.    Southern Illinoisan

‘My style is not to beat people into submission, that’s not going to do it.’    SI

‘He said he plans to operate on a system that is ‘less driven by fear and more by opportunity.’    SI

The interim president has called for the Carbondale campus community to look at things from a different perspective and to not be myopic.

Dorsey believes that we should focus on what is good for the ‘entire population and the ‘common good.’

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SIUC is full of faculty and staff that have a burning desire to see their campus flourish, once again.

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I have colleagues and friends that work countless hours endeavoring to create a renaissance at the flagship campus of Southern Illinois University.

The SIUC community has patiently waited for a leader to call on them to engage in a synergy that will unleash an explosion of entrepreneurship and energy that can not be contained in Little Egypt.

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Peace and collaboration and working hand in hand as trusted colleagues and partners…is the clarion call of a wise leader.

Innovation and experimentation and the development of a hypothesis that leads to new academic understanding…is what university is all about.

Have you ever visited Oxford University in Oxford, England?

It is a small English hamlet that is rather nondescript.  It is replete with many notable pubs and small shops and a university community that is known the world over for producing leaders in politics and academia and business….because it has taken hold of an unshakeable vision of who it is and what its mission is in the wider world.

 

Last week Apple became a trillion dollar industry.  It was fashioned on the vision of a visionary, Steve Jobs, and his mission to combine art with technology.

Have you ever had the opportunity to see an artist at work?  I have been fascinated by art, for many years, and love to learn of artist’s stories and the influences, on their lives, that formed their creations.

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is the ideal rural and pastoral environment to foster thought.

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is the ideal university to attract the innovators and geniuses and visionaries of the world…to come together and brainstorm on solutions for our troubled planet.

The university is about seeking…and breaking through the current understanding of the human family…and creating an end product that heals and helps the entire population.

 

 

 

Ghost Town

Have you ever been in a place, whether a town or a business or an educational institution, and been taken aback by the empirical fact that you are the only one there?

For the past seven and one half years I have enjoyed attending movies, matinees usually, and often at the multiplex in our local mall.  Often I could not help but notice that there were only two or three patrons, other than myself, and many times I was privileged to a private showing.

Or, remembering our church, and the difficulty I had in finding a parking space…a few years ago.

I grew up in the little Southern Illinois town of Eldorado, Illinois.  When I was a child the town of over ‘5,000 Friendly People and One Old Sore Head,’ was bustling with two drug stores and a Ben Franklin Dime Store and the Orpheum movie theatre and a hardware store and a music store and P.N. Hirsch clothing store and two banks and much more.

In Eldorado’s zenith it had three movie theaters and was a bustling coal mining town.  The last time that I was there, the town was made up of, primarily, antique stores…as are many of Southern Illinois towns and hamlets.

I recall our mall, fondly, it’s plethora of stores and eateries and a theatre which had four theaters within it and the excitement that was occurring around the area and the invitation of the marquees to come in and lose yourself in a movie.

Mary Jane and I bought our wedding rings at the mall in 1978…they were about $100.00 apiece…and I was excited regarding the possibilities of living near Carbondale as a newly married man with the ability to purchase wedding rings.

The mall was a destination of choice for me when I lived fifteen miles away in the village of Elkville.  Mary Jane and I often walked for health in the mall, and enjoyed the excitement of our region’s only small city.

I met the author Carl Bernstein at Southern Illinois University.  I gave him a lapel pin, that former chancellor Jo Ann Argersinger, had given me…with the letters SIU.  She had recently been unjustly terminated.

I met the author John Updike.

I also met the Holocaust survivor and author, Elie Wiesel.

Meeting Mr. Wiesel was a moving experience.

Carbondale had five, separate movie theatre locations when we moved here in 2001.

On a daily basis as I walked between campus buildings I experienced the crush of students endeavoring to change classes or, just, get to where they needed to be.

Famous Barr Department store built their facility at the mall.  We had spent enough at Famous, in St. Louis, that we received an invitation for a pre-opening celebration.  I saw my friend Dr. Beggs and his wife, Shirley, at the opening.  I loved Famous Barr as it was the classiest store that I had ever been in.  All of the sales staff were attired in dress clothes and if they waited on you, once or twice, they, thereafter, called you by name.

It has not been so long ago that our church was full and we, often, had to put out folding chairs to accommodate the parishioners and many visitors.

Our friend, Carol, cautioned us to come early to the Christmas Eve service…or it would be difficult to get a parking place or a seat.

When I began working for Building Services at SIU, in October, 1978…there was 175 full time staff and 120 student staff.

SIU is a ‘working family’s university’ and most of the students who attend desperately require their student work position in order to continue their studies.

A few years after I began my university career the housing department had to squeeze an additional bed into the two bed dormitory rooms…along with a third desk for the trio to all have a space to perform their ciphers.

For the first several years of my time at Southern, we received 8% pay raises annually.

Recently the civil service staff received 1%…and had received no raise for the past several years.

It would be an understatement to proclaim that now is the time for change!

Now is the time to unify around cogent and sincere university leaders who are striving to increase our university’s enrollment and magnify to the state and the country and the world…what a great place Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is.

The other day, and remember it is break, I sat by my favorite fountain…lonely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lies And Witch Trials and Character Assassination!

‘The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693.  The trials resulted in the execution of twenty people, fourteen of them women, and all but one by hanging.  Five others (including two infant children) died in prison.’    Wikipedia

‘The episode is one of Colonial America’s most notorious cases of mass hysteria.  It has been used in political rhetoric and popular literature as a vivid cautionary tale about the dangers of isolationism, religious extremism, false accusations, and lapses in due process.’    Wikipedia