Author Archive: bjaybrooks

Waiting……

Have you ever noticed how many hours you spend in a day…a week…a year…a lifetime…waiting?

Mary Jane and I recently took a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  We planned and waited for months to go.  It was wonderful…now it is over.

As a young person, I could not wait to get older.  Now I am older…and dream of my youth.

Carbondale and Southern Illinois University, have waited for the coming total eclipse on Monday…and the 50 thousand or more, expected visitors, to our beautiful city and our outstanding University…we have our fingers crossed.

IMG_4271IMG_4266IMG_4261IMG_4268We Americans…have all been waiting….to have a government that is responsive to it’s people’s needs.

Those that voted for President Trump, many out of desperation, sought a President that would remember the millions of forgotten people in our Country.  Hard working middle class folks, that had been forgotten by both parties…for far to long.

Over the past few months the President’s actions and rhetoric…have been chilling to much of our nation…including many who voted for him.

Recently, the President of our University posted an observation regarding many business leaders leaving the councils and committees that the President had appointed them to…out of protest about his comments regarding the protests and deaths in Charlottesville, Virginia last week.

I commend the SIU President for his simple and straightforward comment regarding many business leaders leaving the Presidential Committees while it seems that evangelicals are still with him.

We all want to be with President Trump…he is our President…whether you voted for him or not.

But, we are waiting…for our President to delineate between Neo-Nazis or White Supremacist and those protesting their hate filled speech and subsequent death of a young woman and two Virginia State Police Officers.

Thousands of Americans fought and died to defeat Hitler and the Nazis.

There has been untold bloodshed and suffering and genocide in association with the African American Experience in our Nation.

Republican Governor Rauner, of Illinois, spoke out in the strongest of terms against the President’s comments, last Tuesday, regarding Charlottesville, Virginia.

And, so, we are waiting…for men a women of good will and heart and who believe in the bedrock tenets, that have set the United States apart…as a leader of the free world…to come forward….

Men and women of high office and low office and no office…other than the supreme office of being a member of the human family….need to speak out against hate!

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‘First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-because I was not a Socialist.’

‘Then they came for the Trade Unionist, and I did not speak out-Because I was not a Trade Unionist.’

‘Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-Because I was not a Jew.’

‘Then they came for me-and there was no one left to speak for me.’

Martin Niemoller

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Eclipse – Five Days Until Darkness!

 

‘4 Days 22 Hours 24 Minutes 1 Second’ until the Eclipse!

‘The August 21 , 2017 eclipse will travel 2,500 miles across the United States of America in an estimated 70 mile wide path, beginning its journey in Oregon, crossing 12 states, and ending at the Atlantic Ocean off the shore of South Carolina.  NASA will be streaming the eclipse live from Carbondale, one of the designated sweet spots within the path of totality.’

‘Carbondale is only a few miles north from the point of greatest duration.  At approximately 1:20 pm CDT on August 21, 2017, you can experience the total eclipse for 2 minutes and 38 seconds.’   Carbondale Eclipse

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As I was walking the SIU Campus today I noticed a Eclipse Fair…being set up, in conjunction with the historic event.

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The ancient Egyptian Running Dog, the Saluki, is the mascot for Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

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NASA will be broadcasting from the Football Stadium.

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National Media will be converging on our little city.  CBS News will be doing their nightly news broadcast from the Stadium on Monday evening.

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Planning for this captivating event has been going on for two years or more.

Carbondale has installed new sidewalks on the primary street leading to SIU.

My friend and former colleague, Elizabeth, has been working night and day to ensure that her, important part of the operation, runs like a finely tuned clock!

People are streaming in…anticipation….and excitement are at their zenith!

The SIU Campus and the Carbondale Community…will never be the same!

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NOW – 4 Days 21 Hours 21 Minutes 31 Seconds

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‘Through the Looking Glass’

‘Through the looking glass is a metaphorical expression.  It means: on the strange side, in the twilight zone, in a strange parallel world.  It comes from the idea of Lewis Carol’s novel: ‘Through the Looking-Glass’, and the strange and mysterious world Alice finds when she steps through a mirror.’   Quora

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‘Trump: ‘Both sides’ to blame for Charlottesville’

‘In a remarkable news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower, President Donald Trump blamed the violence in the Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday on both sides of the conflict, equating the white supremacists on one side with the ‘alt-left’ on the other side.

‘I think there is blame on both sides,’ he said.’

‘He added: ‘You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent, nobody wants to say it, but I will say it right now.’

‘Trump defended his 48-hour delay in denouncing whit supremacists, arguing that he took his time because he didn’t know the facts.’   CNN

‘Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!’   Isaiah  5:20

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Unknown-29img_0297-2Heather Hyer is dead.

‘A North Carolina KKK leader says that he is ‘glad’ that anti-white supremacist protestor Heather Heyer was run down and killed in Virginia.’   New York Daily News

‘I’m sorta glad that them people got hit and I’m glad that girl died’, Justin Moore ‘a Grand Dragon’ in a KKK organization, told WBTV’

‘The voicemail for the group’s phone number also praises Fields’ [Neo-Nazi James Fields who drove his car into a crowd of people, injuring several and killing Ms. Hyer]

‘Nothing makes us more proud at the KKK than we see white patriots such as James Fields Jr. age 20, taking his car and running over nine communist anti-fascist, killing one n—-r lover named Heather Heyer.’   New York Daily News

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Six Days to the Eclipse!

I was driving to Carbondale earlier today.  The Sheriff has a Command Post, about two and one half miles from my house…and I live in the country.

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I stopped in our local Kroger store, for a grand slice of hand tossed pizza, and overheard two gentlemen talking.  One exclaimed to the other, ‘that NASA was going to leave the telescope, that they had sent to SIU, as the next eclipse was happening in 2024.’

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The Re-Grand Opening of Kroger, as it has been remodeled, had a lot of people inside today.  I could not ascertain if these people were stocking up, as we have been admonished to do before the eclipse viewers descend on our little city, or if, indeed, the Sun Enthusiast had already begun to arrive.

This past Saturday, we journeyed to Blue Sky Winery…which is the nexus for the longest duration of the eclipse…in the nation.

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Our friend, Liz, joined us…and we had a lovely day!

I asked one of the young women that was working at the winery…if she was ready for the influx of sun and wine connoisseur?  She said that she was.

Traffic seemed greater…but it is also move in week for SIU…in preparation for the Fall Semester that begins next week.

I caught a glimpse of our new Chancellor…he seemed excited and ready for the challenge.

My old friend, Jim Allen, is coming back to Southern Illinois from his home in Texas..to see the eclipse.  I remember talking with him about an eclipse…when we were kids…many years ago.

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Our University is looking resplendent and ready for the upcoming semester!  We are excited about displaying it for the thousands of wonderful people that are coming to visit us…it is our special treasure!

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IMG_3534 2IMG_3609Unknown-3IMG_4189It seems that in our present day…all to few things…bring us together.  Certainly it is exciting to be a part of an all encompassing event, the eclipse, that captivates the attention of the nation…and focuses it on Little Egypt…Southern Illinois!

Love, Humility and the Human Heart

A great Blog from my son Jonathon!

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Love changes the human heart. A soul without love at its core is running on the wrong stuff. It could be said the man is headed in the wrong direction or that his soul is on empty. If I’m to love my neighbor as myself then I must believe both of us have equal worth. It takes humility and hard work to truly practice unconditional love. Spiritual pride has zero interest in unconditional love. This pride looks down instead of up. It’s flooded with hatred of neighbor and hatred of self. It puts others in the wrong, it makes excuses for wicked behavior and it darkens one’s soul. Love and humility look up while seeking to find the good in others and life itself. Love doesn’t fail.

Be a lover and change this world for the better! Treat others with respect and kindness. Refuse to settle for darkness in payment…

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SIU…The Weaving Together of Nature and Academia!

One of the pristine delights of Southern Illinois University is the majestic natural woods and wildlife…that are literally surround you!

IMG_4141IMG_4147IMG_4148IMG_4149Literally, squirrels, almost eat out of your hand and deer contemplate their human neighbors with curious and benign neglect.

IMG_26892855342F-9D9E-4B29-B3D7-87550547F731 510B958E6-BF7B-4E98-BB65-F4C9A3D48E01 4C243375B-B622-4096-B509-A4FC1C0E2CCA 2BD0A11E3-607E-48D6-8398-E538B255CE80 5BAAF0793-1D78-4C6E-AF87-0716CE195307 5IMG_2684 5‘I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by an epaulet I could have worn.’   Henry David Thoreau

IMG_4118‘ I saw a muskrat come out of a hole in the ice…While I am looking at him, I am thinking what he is thinking of me.  He is a different sort of man, thats all.’   Henry David Thoreau

IMG_0655 5‘I saw deep in the eyes of the animals the human soul look out upon me.  I saw where it was born deep down under feathers and fur, or condemned for a while to roam four-footed among the brambles, I caught the clinging mute glance of the prisoner and swore that I would be faithful.’   Henry David Thoreau

IMG_4161What an intricately weaved Laboratory of Nature and Life…to receive a first class University education!

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Hate is an Illness…Taught by Men

‘Many Americans watched transfixed as members of those groups marched down the street, barked out anti-Semitic chants and openly displayed the symbols of Nazi Germany and the secessionist South.’

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‘And many looked on in horror as a speeding car crashed into other vehicles on a crowded street Saturday afternoon, resulting in the death of a 32-year-old woman and injuries to at least 19 other people.’

‘We achieved all of our objectives,’ Matthew Heimbach, a founder of the Nationalist Front, a neo-Nazi group that bills itself as an umbrella organization for the white nationalist movement, said in and interview Saturday.  ‘We showed that our movement is not just online, but growing physically.  We asserted ourself as the voice of white America.’  New York Times

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Americans, fought and died in World War II…to defeat Hitler and Nazism.

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Over six million Jews died in the Gas Chambers of Nazi Germany.

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I have often heard the accusation that Black Lives Matter should include that all lives matter.

It has never been my assumption that the Black Lives Matter group…does not care about white or other ethnic groups lives…but rather it is a cry against the documented injustice that the African American Community has suffered since they were first brought to this country, against their will, as slaves.

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‘Ex-KKK leader David Duke has told Donald Trump to ‘take a good look in the mirror and remember it was white Americans who put you in the presidency.’   Mirror

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‘After hours of silence, President Donald Trump commented on the white nationalist rally and related violence happening in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday.’

‘We all must be united & condemn all that hate stands for.  There is no place for this kind of violence in America.  Lets come together as one!’

A second Tweet said, ‘Am in Bedminster for meetings & press conference on V.A. & all that we have done, and and are doing, to make it better-but Charlotesville sad!’

‘In Bedminster on Saturday, Mr. Trump said he and his team were closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Va., ‘then tried to portray the violence there as a chronic, bipartisan plague.  ‘It has been going on for a long time in our country,’ he said.  ‘It is not Donald Trump, it’s not Barack Obama.’   New York Times

‘In remarks from his Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he has been on a working vacation, Trump made the following statement: ‘We condemn in the strongest terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.’   NBC News

There is only one side to the virulent…cancerous…corruption of ant-Semitism and Racism…it is wrong and evil and it must be called out and identified in the strongest of terms by all of us…and…by our President!

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The KKK and many white supremacist groups claim to be devout christians.  I wonder if they are aware that Jesus was born to a Jewish mother and father?

‘His head and his hairs were white like wool. as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.  Revelation 1: 14-15   KJV

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Southern Illinois University…Is Ready for Success!

I noticed that there is a different car in the Chancellor’s parking space that is next to Anthony Hall.

I think that I must be a simple man…but when I see the New Chancellor’s Vehicle in his parking space…I am reminded of some of the great Chancellors that I have known and worked with over the past, almost forty years.

As I walk our beautiful Campus…I can feel the electric expectancy of the renewal and revival of SIU Carbondale!

I have been following the Tweets of New Chancellor Montemagno.  His excitement about joining the SIU Community…is palpable!

IMG_2748 3Let me tell you of my experience at SIU.

I began working in Building Services as  BSW I in 1978…still 20 years old…for three more weeks.

I knew no one at the University and had no college education.

Immediately, I was welcomed into the department and encouraged to seek promotion and to begin taking University Courses.

I was mentored by some outstanding Professors, such as Dr. Carol Burns and Dr. Jo Ann  Agersinger.

Dr. Burns told me that I had the ability to study for and become anything that I desired.  Such words…had never been spoken to me in my life!

IMG_3859For many years, in Building Services, we had an annual Thanksgiving Dinner for our over two hundred student workers, the feeling…was of close family.

Chancellor Argersinger, wrote a letter of recommendation for me once…where she said that I…’Had built a house for all people.’  I was humbled and honored by her kind words…and thought…that this was indeed what I was attempting to do…because SIU had been so welcoming to me!

IMG_3534 2SIU is much more than bricks and mortar…it is friends for a lifetime…it is love…it is family!

IMG_3560 2A Place where if you have the will…SIU has the way to success!

IMG_2794I was reared in a small Southern Illinois Community…that had little diversity.  When I came to Southern…I learned of the richness and intricate beauty of people from all over the world.

A student employee from Africa told me, in my early days, that the international students loved to work with me…because that I had no prejudice.  SIU opened those doors to the experience of international fellowship and understanding…this is probably the greatest gift I received during my time with the University!

When the African student gave me this lovely compliment…I was honored that he would call me…his friend.

IMG_3888There is a Great Banner that is prominently displayed over every entrance to Southern Illinois University…that you may not see with your eyes…but will immediately feel with your heart…OPPORTUNITY!

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The Santa Fe Opera

When we drove through Santa Fe, three years ago for Mechem and Carson’s Wedding, Ira Kaye pointed out the Santa Fe Outdoor Opera Amphitheater.  I thought, then, if I ever returned…I hoped to be able to see a performance in the venue.

We were privileged to do so a week ago Tuesday.

This is an extraordinary Venue…with not a bad seat in the house!

IMG_3720The Operetta that we saw was Die Fledermaus or sometimes called The Revenge of the Bat.  It is composed by Johann Strauss II.

The performance was done in english with close captions on a screen in front of every seat.

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During Act II or a Masquerade Ball…Ira Kaye had brought masks for the four of us to wear.

Prior to the performance we enjoyed wine and cheese and savory meats…outside the Theatre…in the midst of the magnificent splendor of New Mexico!

IMG_3713IMG_3718Ira Kaye…even brought along a white table cloth and wine glasses…to make our Opera Experience Complete!

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The Santa Fe Opera Experience was thrilling and one that requires another visit!

IMG_3723IMG_3747When the opening score began…I was amazed that I had heard it many times before…on Looney Toons Cartoons.

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A New Mexico Wildlife Refuge

During our visit to New Mexico we were privileged to visit a Wildlife Refuge that Ira Kaye’s friend, Ann, volunteered at.

I was impressed with Ann’s dedication and passion for the animals, many who had been wounded, and sent to the Refuge for healing and for education for children visiting the safe and caring facility.

IMG_3752It was thrilling to see a Bald Eagle…so close!

IMG_3781A different Bald Eagle.

I noticed that Ann spoke with each animal with such love and concern…that I was touched with the mission of this small rescue and refuge and educational facility.

IMG_3758The Bobcat seemed keenly aware of his surroundings…restless…hungry!

IMG_3759Owls are fascinating!

IMG_3775IMG_3772I, being an animal lover…throughly enjoyed not only our visit to the Wildlife Refuge…but also it’s profound and meaningful mission to save and protect the beautiful and diverse animals that were native to the New Mexico and southwest region.

IMG_3761IMG_3774There was a Grand Tortoise…that I did not snap a photo of…he was majestic!

IMG_3775Our visit to Ann’s Wildlife Refuge was a wonderful experience!  Also, we had a lovely lunch with her at a great New Mexico restaurant, that was nearby.  She also suggested that we might like to visit Chimayo, New Mexico…that was known for it’s weaving prowess.

Our subsequent visit to Chimayo turned out to be one of our most enjoyable days…and I was able to find an authentic New Mexico Ring!

IMG_4039 3New Mexico…has an allure that is ancient and compelling!

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