Category Archives: Uncategorized

It Is Nice To Have People That Care About You!

It is another rainy day in Carbondale, Illinois!

We have had our share of rain over the past few months.

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The fenced in, portion of our yard, that the four legged members of our family use for their, multiple, daily constitutionals…is a swamp!

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Mary Jane and I went for our, Mall Walk.  It was nice and calm and sedate.

Mary Jane had a lovely email from her, lifelong friend, Margo.  The proposal of visiting with them in the fall is exciting to us both!

My buddies, Ron and Ira Kaye, have asked us to take a trip with them…and we are looking forward to it…in the spring!

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I literally think of my friends, Ryan and Elizabeth…every day.  They are two wonderful people who have been so nice to us…and who we care about their success and wellbeing, very much!

Saturday evening, we had dinner at a, wonderful, Mexican restaurant with our friends, Joan and Jim.  They are both retired professors, and they are so interesting and engaging!  We talk politics and movies and books and food…and Maine…which is our mutual love!

After the flood lights of career have dimmed and the accolades of workplace accomplishments have grown silent…friends loom extremely bright!

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I often said to my, good friend, the fallen chancellor…that it is a gift to have someone who cares about you!

We encounter and interact with many people during the course of our lives.

We, often, have hundreds or thousands of friends on social media.

But, as the old folks used to say, ‘when you shell down the corn’, you may have only a handful of people who are your, true, friends!

I witnessed, several, true friends in action when Mary Jane was recovering from her spinal surgery..  Many people, from our church, brought meals to us and stayed to visit with us and I felt more love and concern from a church family…than I had ever felt…and I have been a member of several churches over 50 years!

All of us feel a bit alone in the world.

We see the world through our eyes and the impulses of our brains…and for the majority of our existence we live in our own heads.

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That is why friends are so refreshing to us!  They show us how others see the world and how they see us.

Friends, assure, us that we are not on the road of life by ourselves!

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Most of us experience sickness in our life…at one time or another.  There is not a more lonely feeling than to be sick…or have a loved one who is ill…and it seems that no one cares or understands.

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A hidden illness is mental illness…of which a majority of humanity experiences at some point during their life.  It can take a variety of forms and the most debilitating component of it is to not have anyone to talk with you about it or help you through the ordeal…or who has, genuine, empathy for your life’s walk.

It has always been a mystery to me how a person can have cancer or heart disease or diabetes…and there is not, implied, stigma…but mental illness is kept in the closet with the door closed and securely locked?

Do we realize that our brain is housed in the same body that our gallbladder and pancreas and liver and lungs and heart….are housed in?

My mom took sleeping pills…and attempted to commit suicide…and I saw my dad carry her….with her night gown flowing….and he was weeping…pass my bedroom door…and I was five years old.

Let us be friends to one another!

 

 

 

 

 

Rhetoric Is Not Wisdom

I have more than one friend who have accomplished, well in excess of, several lifetimes of endeavors, in one, short, life.

Have you ever listened, intently, to a colleague describe their career successes…and after you added them up, there was more rhetoric than reality?

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On many occasions, at the university, I witnessed the uplifting and beatification of new leaders and administrators…well before they had demonstrated any, measurable, policy or student recruitment or student retention actions.

Political leaders tell us the things that we enjoy hearing and promise us the moon…while we receive a moon pie!

I have read, on several occasions, that our president is an ‘unholy’ person…that is being used by God?

We have been promised that the president will return jobs to America…yet General Motors is in the process of laying-off thousands of American workers.

Many of the people that voted for the president, discovered, that if Obama-Care is done away with…they will no longer have insurance!

Farmers have been devastated by the president’s tariffs causing their crops to, dramatically, decrease in value…yet many contend that they are, foursquare, behind him!

Many of our religious leaders instruct their congregations to give of their finances…until it hurts…

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If you examine the financial stability of many congregants in fundamentalist churches…you find, abjectly poor people…and rich and flourishing ministers!

We humans are suckers for a good line!

We want a hero and a savior!

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Our ears perk up when we hear a, quality narrative, and we are intrigued by a good story!

There is a, subtle and insidious mixing, of theatre and television and media…with the, concrete truths, of people being treated fairly and equitably and with their elected representative, looking out for their constituents prosperity.

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We hear a wonderful speech, written by an adept speech writer, and we say, ‘what a leader we have!’

We contend that if minimum wage rises…businesses will be devastated and people will loose their minimum wage jobs.

Of course…we who contend the folly of raising the minimum wage…have not worked for such a paltry sum…for many years…if ever!

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It is agreed that we Americans have an economy that requires a minimum of $15 to survive…and the great majority of us make, significantly less…what is the answer…two jobs…three….four?

Political speech is damming in its lack of profundity!

Religious speech is only as good as the positive works that it produces for humanity!

We, sadly, are influenced by the 140 characters that are tweeted on twitter.

Our enamored, state,  with celebrities and the culture of entertainment has caused us to debate, and some to contend, not only what truth is…but, perhaps, each of us have our own truth.

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‘Wisdom – The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment, the quality of being wise.’    Dictionary

‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.’    Proverbs 1:7

‘But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.’    James 3:17

I think that a primary component of wisdom is a respect for all humanity.

Empathy is wisdom.  Can you place yourself in the other person’s shoes?  When your neighbor has no food…are you disturbed and restless…as if you were hungry?

When someone is mentally ill…do you understand and care for them and consider their illness as any physical illness?

If you are a supervisor do you treat your staff as you would like to be treated?  If you have to, engage, in constructive job related criticism, do you do it with an eye on not destroying the person…but rather encouraging them…all the while solving the job performance issue?

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If you terminate a member of your staff…is it your, paramount desire, that the individual leaves the meeting feeling that you cared about them and that you had confidence in their many abilities and that those abilities were going to be an excellent fit…in the job that they will, ultimately, secure?

Do you practice trusting those around you?

Can you smile at those who have spoken ill of you?

Can you greet your enemies…like your friends?

Can we understand that each day is a gracious gift and that we are all, fellow, travelers on the road of life?

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Fortunate, Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale!

Although SIUC has faced, significant, challenges over the past twenty years…it is yet, very fortunate!

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The university began as a teacher’s college in the nineteenth century, located in a rural farming and coal mining section of Illinois.

Our region has often been referred to as Little Egypt due to our, most southern town, Cairo.  Cairo was a stop on the underground railroad during the civil war.

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Albeit, my family is from Southern Illinois…I was born in Chicago.  My parents had immigrated to Chicago, as many of their generation did, in search of gainful employment.

I can, vividly, recall traveling to Eldorado for our family vacations.  I noticed the, beautiful rural setting and the chickens in grandma’s back yard and the cold milk that she served me from a porcelain coffee mug…and the, beloved dog, Nugget, who she later named Narky, who barked and snapped at me on many occasions!

When Narky, later, passed on to his reward…grandma told me that when I finished my milk and cookies that I should join her…for the purpose of praying for him…I drank my milk and ate my cookies…very slowly!

But, in any case, I heard of the wonders of the university that was in Carbondale…and I reveled in the theatrical performances that McLeod Theatre, student, performers brought to my grade school.

I wondered, as a child, if I would ever get the opportunity to see Southern Illinois University…in person?

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I was not on the college track…in high school…none of my family had attended university.

My s best friend since first grade, Jackie Brooks, later enrolled in SIU, with any eye toward an accountancy degree…and I considered how nice that would be to further my education.

So, I began working at the university, over forty years ago, and I immediately noticed what a different world I had entered!

 

CAVU, was one of former president George Herbert Walker Busch’s favorite terms and it stood for; Clear Above Visibility Unlimited.  This is an aviation term and was welcomed by the former president when he was a World War II fighter pilot.

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Suddenly…I understood that my world of opportunity…had just expanded beyond my wildest dreams!

No longer was I Bradley Jay Brooks, high school graduate, and the seeker of some type of employment that I could succeed in paying my bills…but now I was a member of a world class university that had unlimited opportunities for me!

From my first days at SIUC I encountered person after person that was, totally, immersed in the school!  The norm was to work alongside fellow faculty and staff that had the university’s success as their mission.

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I saw a photo of my friend, the chancellor of SIUC, John Dunn…laughing and exuberant as he held a flag alongside many international students as they marched on campus in commemoration of our international students!

Chancellor Dunn is a native of Pickneyville, Illinois and he has a heart for the region and for our university!

During my years at SIUC I was not only immersed in the task of making SIUC great…but until this day…it is never far from my mind!

Mary Jane and I had lunch, today, with our friends, Ryan and Elizabeth.  What wonderful people they are!  And, they are Pickneyville natives, as well!

The secret of Southern Illinois University’s success is contained in the hearts of it’s people!

 

Dedicated professionals that will work around the clock and rest a few minutes…and then begin again!

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Southern is full of skilled technicians who think about the university when they are not at the university and who hate to leave…when it is quitting time!

Several years ago, then, chancellor Wendler, commissioned a study of Southern @ 150.

Contained in the group were members of the campus community like, Glenn Poshard and Sam Goldman…as well as a member of the Building Services department named Brooks.

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Many big plans were formulated…for what seemed to be a long time off…

Now, Southern @ 150 is upon us!  Some of the goals and aspirations of the committee were unattainable, in the best of circumstances, and others have been impacted by financial shortfalls from the state.

However, one of the primary components of the vision of Southern @ 150…is stronger than ever…and that is a world class university containing dedicated and singular in purpose; students and staff and faculty…and the weather forecast is…CAVU!

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Fog

‘Mother, what was it like before the fog,’ said the boy?

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‘Well, sometimes the days were bright with sunshine and warm breezes,’ said mother.

‘What was snow like, mother,’ asked the boy?

‘Snow was a, brilliant, white…and it was cold to touch…and we made snowmen out of it, and had snow ball fights,’ said mother.

‘There were, actually, four seasons in our year, and each was unique and enjoyable…for different reasons,’  mother went on to say.

‘Mother, dad once told me that, occasionally, it rained so hard that the yards and streets flooded,’ said the boy.

‘Yes, the rains came heavily during the last year of America…before the great war and the bombs,’ mother noted…with her eyes full of tears!

We were all searching for our own facts and for the truth that was accepted by the people that we valued.

We sought a strongman and a leader and someone who would tell us what to do…and who would do the hard thinking for us!

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We christians compromised our, ancient beliefs of God raising up a righteous leader…and believed that he had given us a rough hewn man with a dull ax…to do the destructive work that needed to be accomplished,’ mother said, slowly.

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‘But, mother, what of the old documents such as the constitution and the Declaration of Independence…and the Bible,’  asked the boy?

‘Insidiously and gradually…we laid the human rights that the Constitution guaranteed us…aside…for the, temporary, feeling of safety.

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We, first believed that the Bible was revealing the justness of our cause, to us, and then we were convinced that God was really…only…interested in a small group of chosen people…and that the rest were, but, kindling for the fire of his judgment!

That is when the re-education camps began…and so many were gathered and placed in them…for the purpose of re-orienting them into what we were, convinced, was God’s will.

‘But mother…they took dad away and placed him in one of the camps…and we never saw him again, cried the boy!

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‘Your dad…was what we used to call a liberal,’ mother responded.

‘It seemed that we got mixed up and we could no longer see the difference between political parties and christianity!

What began as a, seemingly, reasonable exercise in christian people running for political office…for the purpose of having some, limited, influence in our government…or the government that we had…became synonymous with various segments of the christian faith!

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When a person proclaimed that they were a fundamentalist christian…they were announcing, as if a klaxon horn was blaring, that they were a republican!

Others who were liberal in their theology and identified with the democrats…often had a, faux, intellectual arrogance and perceived themselves to be enlightened followers of Christ!

All the while…the earth burned…and the glaciers melted…and the oceans rose and covered the land.

As times, progressively, worsened…we humans determined that, obviously, the others…were at fault…and the solution was to eliminate them, mother said as the tears streaked down her face!

‘When did the fog come,’ asked the boy?

‘It seemed to me…that it began…when we stopped standing up for people that were suffering…or who looked different than us…or who had a different way that they worshipped God,’ said mother.’

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‘The fog settled in…when the golden rule did not mean anything anymore…and we looked to a flesh and blood leader…to be our god,’ mother whispered.

‘We decided that who a person loves…is the governments business.’

‘We decided that certain races were superior and other were inferior.’

‘We decided that God was only interested in a hand full of his creation…and that he hated the same people that we hated!’

‘We extolled our abhorrence of other religions law and rules…and created our own religious laws…that were most grievous and heinous… mother intoned…over long periods of silence.

‘What can we do…mother…to return to how things used to be, asked the boy?

Mother went to a dusty book hutch, and pulled the Holy Bible off of the, overburdened shelves.  She began to read…

‘But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.  And unto him that smites thee on the one cheek, offer also the other; and him that taketh away they cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.  Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.’  Luke 6:27-30   KJV

‘But love your enemies, and do good, and lend hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.  Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also in merciful.    Luke 6: 35-36   KJV

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Spring Is Just Around The Corner!

Earl, my step-father,  always said that the coldest portion of the winter was the last two weeks of January and the first two weeks of February.  Well…we are almost a week into February!

I told my buddy, Ron, that it was my goal to spend January somewhere warm, but I have fulfilled that vow only half of the January’s of my retirement I recall, with bemusement, Mary Jane and my plans, years ago, to move somewhere north…once we retired.

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It seems that the cold wind of winter has an, extra bite, in it, as I have gotten older?

I was reflecting on last autumn, that seems like last week, and thinking of, the apparent death of the leaves and plants and grass…and all things green.

When in reality, we are surrounded with a natural world… that goes to sleep each winter…but does not cease to exist….as it comes back in vibrant and exuberance…in the spring!

The rich tapestry of fall seems to be the, final Hail Mary Pass of life, before the drying and decaying and death of nature!

We live in fear of our demise and bemoan our short stay on our planet!

We grow up as a green shoot and blossom into full flower…only to soon wither and wrinkle and die.

I think that we should look around us… at God’s creation to learn of the permanence of life!

‘While he spake these things unto them, behold there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.  And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.’    Matthew 9: 18 – 19   KJV

‘And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth.  And they laughed him to scorn.  But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.  And the fame herof went abroad into all the land.’    Matthew 9: 23-26   KJV

‘What a Wonderful World’

The great Louis Armstrong reminded us that we live in a wonderful world.

‘I see trees of green, red roses too

I see them bloom for me and you

And I think to myself what a wonderful world’

‘I see skies of blue and clouds of white

The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night

And I think to myself what a wonderful world’

‘The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky

Are also on the faces of people going by

I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do

They’re really saying I love you’

‘I hear babies crying, I watch them grow

They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know

And I think to myself what a wonderful world

Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world’

Songwriters; George Weiss/Robert Thiele

IMG_3559 4As Jonathon and I were walking campus today, I thought of the beauty of life…the beauty of, seemingly, regular things and occurrences!

I read, on Facebook, that my good friend was riding with the top top down on their car and the music on the radio, tuned up loud, and the sheer joy of the narrative…took me back to the days when our sons were younger and the fun of, just, living!

IMG_3552 3We concern ourselves with who will win the next presidential election….and when will be purchase a new automobile…or take another vacation…when the miracle of life is surrounding us!

IMG_3556 3At times we receive lemons of life…and we think that all of life must be sour?

In reality…life surrounds us with the miracle!

Reflection is an enjoyable enterprise.  When I interact with people who are younger than I…I travel back in time to their, approximate age, and remember what I was doing and thinking and feeling at that time.

I would say to the Millennials of the world…be not dismayed….we Baby Boomers had passions and ideals and plans and visions of the future….and were convinced that we were the generation to get the job done!

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The history of a human life…is a short one!

In the morning of your life you are young and full of wonder….and everything is an adventure and a mystery and a challenge to be met.

In the afternoon you are in the midst of the struggle for career and parenthood and success!

In the evening…you say…let me make a difference and a mark and help someone along the path of life…you realize that it is all a plan…and you are a player upon the stage of, the grand performance of, life!

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I can not imagine a greater failure than to not realize the, roll, that you have been assigned to play by the creator…or the thread that you are in the tapestry of life!

IMG_3551 3Sickness and suffering and hardship and death…often robs us of our joy of living.  It is easy to feel that no one is going through the trials and tribulations that we are going through…I know, because I have felt this way…but in reality…all of it is but for a short time in comparison to God’s master plan for us!

When I was a youngster, I decided that a, brilliant maneuver to perform, would be to climb an extremely slick spillway to demonstrate to my friends, who were accompanying me, that I had some, wicked climbing skills!

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As I climbed the mossy and, constantly, water soaked surface, I was reveling in my climbing prowess…and I was certain the my climbing buddies were amazed!

Suddenly…I fell…as if someone had pulled my legs out from under me!

I busted my upper lip so badly, that it retains a permanent mark, above it, too this day…that I cover with my 26 year old mustache!

I believe that when we enter, God’s heaven, we will recount our most grievous injuries, in this life, as little more than my fall on the spillway….in the, beautiful and majestic plan that God has for our life!

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Project Blue Book

‘Project Blue Book was one of a series of systematic studies of unidentified flying objects conducted by the United States Air Force.  It started in 1952, the third study of its kind.  A termination order was given for the study in December 1969, and all activities under its auspices officially ceased in January 1970.’   Wikipedia

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There is a dramatic recreation of, true, cases from Project Blue Book on the History Channel.

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Dr. J. Allen Hynek became a member of Project Blue Book in 1952 and remained with the UFO study until its conclusion in 1969.

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‘ There he discovered something he might never have learned from simply reading the files: how normal the people who reported seeing UFOs tended to be.  ‘The witnesses I interviewed could have been lying, could have been insane or could have been hallucinating collectively-but I do not think so,’ he recalled in his 1977 book, The Hynek UFO Report.’

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‘Their standing in the community, their lack of motive for perpetration of a hoax, their own puzzlement at the turn of events they believe they witnessed, and often their reluctance to speak for the experience-all lend a subjective reality to their UFO experience.’    History

The term, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind,’ was created by Dr. Hynek.

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Dr. Hynek was an Astrophysicist at Northwestern University.

Studies have shown that almost half of all americans believe in Aliens.

When I was a child, the Barney and Betty Hill Alien abduction…fascinated me.

‘ Barney and Betty Hill were an American couple who claimed they were abducted by extraterrestrials in a rural portion of the state of New Hampshire from September 19 to September 20, 1961.  It was the first widely publicized report of an alien abduction in the United States.’

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‘ According to a variety of reports given by the Hills, the alleged UFO sighting happened on September 19, 1961, around 10:30 p.m.  The Hills were driving back to Portsmouth from a vacation in Niagara Falls and Montreal.  Just south of Lancaster, New Hampshire,  Betty claimed to have observed a bright point of light in the sky that moved from below the moon and the planet Jupiter, upwards to the west of the moon.  While Barney navigated U.S. Route 3, Betty reasoned that she was observing a falling star, only it moved upward.  Since it moved erratically and grew bigger and brighter, Betty urged Barney to stop the car for a closer look, as well as to walk their dog, Delsey.  Barney stopped as a scenic picnic area just south of Twin Mountain.’

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‘ The Hills claimed that they continued driving on the isolated road, moving very slowly through Franconia Notch in order to observe the object as it came even closer. At one point, the object passed above a restaurant and signal tower on top of Cannon Mountain and came out near the Old Man of the Mountain.  Betty testified that it was at least one and a half times the length of the granite cliff profile, which was 40 feet (12 m) long, and that it seemed to be rotating.  The couple watched as the silent, illuminated craft moved erratically and bounced back and forth in the night sky.’

‘ Approximately one mile south of Indian Head, they said, the object rapidly descended toward their vehicle, causing Barney to stop in the middle of the highway.  The huge silent craft hovered approximately 80-100 feet above the Hills’ 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air and filled the entire field of view in the windshield.  It reminds Barney of a huge pancake.  Carrying his pistol in his pocket, he stepped away from the vehicle and moved closer to the object.  Using the binoculars,

‘ ….Barney claimed to have seen about 8 to 11 humanoid figures, who were peering out of the craft’s windows, seeming to look at him in unison, all but one moved to what appeared to be a panel by the rear wall of the hallway that encircled the front portion of the craft.’

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‘ Barney ‘tore’ the binoculars away from his eyes and ran back to his car.  In a near hysterical state, he told Betty, ‘They’re going to capture us!  He saw the object again shift its location to directly above the vehicle.  He drove away at high speed, telling Betty to look for the object.  She rolled down the window and looked up.  Almost immediately, the Hills heard a rhythmic series of beeping or buzzing sounds, which they said seemed to bounce off the trunk of their vehicle.  The car vibrated and a tingling sensation passed through the Hills bodies.  The Hills said that then they experienced the onset of an altered state of consciousness that left their mind dulled.  A second series of beeping or buzzing sounds returned the couple to full consciousness.  They found that they had traveled nearly 35 miles south, but had only vague, spotty memories of this section of road.  They recalled making a sudden, unplanned turn, encountering a roadblock, and observing a fiery orb in the road.’    Wikipedia

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When Mary Jane and I were returning with our history professor friends, from St. Louis, several years ago…I asked them if either of them had ever seen a UFO?

They looked at me in amazement…and responded that they had not…and inquired if I had?

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I have seen flying objects that I could not explain…and I believe others have…also!

How could we accept the, infinity of our universe and the, incalculable galaxies that are beyond the Milky Way…and not believe that there is intelligent life out there…somewhere?

Do we really believe that, we, humans are the only game in town?

What do you think?  Have you ever seen a UFO?

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Have you experienced a strange encounter…that did not easily lend itself to a logical explanation?

Former President Jimmy Carter reported seeing a UFO in 1969 at Leary, Georgia.

During my 61 plus years…I have encountered more than one, strange occurrence, …and sought a logical explanation?

Are you satisfied that the reality of life is all contained in what you can; see, touch, taste, smell, and hear?  While at the same time the Bible speaks of angels…….

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Note: Pbotos of Dr. Hynek and Betty and Barney Hill and UFO’s are courtesy of Google search.

Arctic Cold!

Right now it is 10 degrees with a 4mph wind that causes the temperature to feel, on human skin, like 2 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Mary Jane had a doctor’s appointment, with her spinal surgeon, but when we arrived we discovered that the clinic had no power and that the appointment would have to be re-scheduled.

At the time of the appointment it was 4 degrees!

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Upon leaving the doctor’s office we traveled to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew a license plate…only to discover that they are closed due to the extreme weather.

Having no alternative…we, elected, to travel to Marion, Illinois to enjoy a Cracker Barrel breakfast!  This, joyful, experience warmed a brutally cold morning!

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A large portion of the United States is undergoing Arctic temperatures that, in days gone by, have not reached the midwest and the southern states.

I have read that Global Warming is responsible for a, split, in the polar vortex and the subsequent, unusually, cold temperatures covering the majority of the country.

After our, wonderful, breakfast we decided that it was a good day to go chair shopping…as the arctic blast continued!

As we traveled to, various, furniture stores…we noticed that there seemed to be large portions of our little Southern Illinois towns without power?

It is a terribly cold day to be without power!

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As we drove to; Herrin and West Frankfort…and then, back to Carbondale…we reflected that this is the biggest, travel day, that Mary Jane has had in several months, due first to her, severe back pain, and then her spinal surgery.

It was a fun and cold day…with our, finally finding a chair, in our town!

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In many of our states, the postal service has been canceled due to the bitterly cold temperatures!

Carbondale has opened emergency warming centers from 8:00 P:M: – 8:00 A:M:, as well as a daytime warming center in our town’s Civic Center.

I can not think of anything more important than this action by our city!  Without it…people would die of exposure!

I am so proud to know, State Senator Dale Fowler and Mr. Kerry Camp, who were classmates of mine, as they have spearheaded and opened a meal for anyone who needs a meal, at the First Presbyterian Church in Harrisburg, Illinois…each Tuesday evening!  It is called Heaven’s Kitchen!

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And, so, while many of us go about our lives with being a bit uncomfortable…we are just  an event… or a small slip of circumstance away from the devastation of lack of resources or natural disaster!

While our winter coats are warm and fleecy and our homes are, fully capable, of staying warm…in miserable cold…who is to say that it will always be so?

When our brother and sister or our mother or father is cold or hungry or in danger…we are in danger…because reversals of circumstances can happen in the blink of an eye!

During WWII the Jewish people were robbed of their homes and their possessions and their lives…due to the prejudice and bias and hate of the Nazi regime!

I am, currently, watching a captivating television series on Netflix entitled, Black Earth Rising, covering the Rwanda genocide of the Tutsi people by the Hutus.

Climate change due to Global Warming will not be a respecter of persons!

lightning and tornado hitting village

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The poor and destitute will suffer first, often due to the geographical locales that they live…but the callousness of climate change will not perform the politically expedient check of stock options and bank accounts…that the family of man is concerned with!

The artificial belief that, money, protects the frailty of human life…has often been revealed to be a false construct.

It has been said that the Roman emperor, Nero, ‘fiddled while Rome burned!’

Gated communities feel secure…until the gate is knocked down!

Hunger is a philosophical discussion…until we miss a few meals!

 

 

 

 

Health Is Wealth!

There must be a reason that so many of us, in the United States, are fat!

I began life as a skinny little kid!

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When I look at an old grade school photo of me, I can not help but notice the narrow, little shoulders, and my svelte physique.

I, also, had a serious look on my face…I had a lot on my mind!

portrait photo of boy wearing red and black polo shirt

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When Mary Jane and I married on March 24, 1978…I weighed 169 pounds.  Being six feet and three and one half inches tall…I was, rail, thin!  People told me that I looked ill!

Members of the little church that we attended told MJ that she had a mission to put some lb. on me…she accomplished her mission!

The first year of our marriage…I gained 50 lb.!

As my colleague, Lena Wade, told me, ‘Brooks…your additional weight looks good on you…you look like a man…but do not gain anymore!’

I was in Wal-Mart today.  I saw both a husband and wife, driving motorized carts, through the checkout line.  Have you noticed how many people that you encounter that are obese?

When we visited Rome…we saw many, even the majority, of the thin citizens of Rome!

When we visited France…we did not encounter many obese people.

During our, over one month visit to the United Kingdom…I did not see any morbidly obese people on motorized scooters!

The American people’s diet…is failing them!

I, recently, read a statistic that 66% of American adults are overweight or obese.

It has been said that the only effective plan for loosing excess pounds is to increase exercise and decrease calories.

I recall being in a Health Class in university and being amazed that carbohydrates were at the top of the food pyramid while proteins were close to the bottom.

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Also, I am, shocked, at the amount of calories that are in fast food!

Finally, there is a, significant, denial, in our diets, of the value of fruits and vegetables!

It goes without saying that much of our food is, shot full, of preservatives and chemicals and additives that we have no idea what they are…and they are not, real food, bur rather created in a lab…they are chemicals!

We have been Juicing since Christmas, when we began using our Christmas gift from Aaron.

I feel better…already!

Sugar is deadly!

It is incredible how much sugar is consumed by the American people on an annual basis!

‘Today, the average American consumes almost 152 pounds of sugar in one year.  This is equal to 3 pounds (or 6 cups) of sugar consumed in one week!  Nutritionist suggest that Americans should get only 10% of their calories from sugar.’    Google

We have been eating less salt, at home, for some time.  Recently, Aaron, Jonathon and I had dinner at a, favorite barbecue establishment, and I was, almost sickened, by the amount of salt that was on the food!

‘Today, Americans consume an average 3,400 mg per day-almost 50% more than is generally recommended.’    Wikipedia

Eating…should not be entertainment…on a regular basis!

Most of our holidays and special events and birthdays and special remembrances…center around food.

I think that we must seek moderation in our diet and our exercise.  Why not eat for health and exercise for the endorphin rush that it brings and the enlightenment of our soul that occurs?

More fruits and vegetables are good…and they are joyfully consumed by juicing!

We Americans love meat!  Meat is good…but in small quantities.

Shun sugar!

Eschew… not chew…salt!

Drink plenty of water…it is God’s soda pop!

When the compelling desire to eat, consumes you, seek other entertainment!

 

 

 

I Refuse to Sing the Blues Over Bipolar Although “Blues Over Bipolar” Could be a Catchy Song Title

Another great blog by, my son, Jonathon!

jonathonbrooks

A good friend of mine was once telling me about a professional athlete who’d recently been open about having bipolar disorder. My friend asked me, “Do you think it’s hard to be in professional sports and have mental illness?” I replied, “It’s hard to just be a human being and have mental illness.” I’ve known I had bipolar since I was the young age of 19. Although I’ve had bipolar since April 12, 1984, my birthday.

I refuse to sing the blues over bipolar. And I hope you refuse to sing sad songs without hope about whatever ails you as well. Yes, it is hard to be a human being with mental illness. But it’s difficult for all of us to be good humans, full of humanity and love, to ourselves and to our fellow mankind.

What doesn’t destroy us makes us weaker. What makes us weaker causes us to…

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