RJ's Corner

People Writing Songs That Voices Never Share…

About Life BannerI suspect some of you recognize the title words above but many,  especially the younger generations, don’t have a clue. These words come from one of my all-time favorite songs entitled The Sounds Of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel. The song was popular in the 1960s and its message was typical of many folk songs during that era.   I keep a copy of the lyrics around to remind me of it.

To finish the verse including the title above:

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dare
Disturb the sounds of silence

This verse and in fact many of the lyrics of this song have meant different things to me at different points in my life. Lately writing songs that voices never share teaches me something about this blog.  I really don’t fully understand why I spend so much time writing posts here. I guess I am kind of like Teddy Roosevelt who said he “must” write. Putting pen to paper so to speak is in my blood. With that obsessive urge in mind it really shouldn’t matter if voices never share my words or not, I must write them.

2015-09-02_18-38-48But then my thoughts also drift to legacies. It seems I often get depressed because I don’t see any personal legacy that I am leaving for all my years on this earth.  Many can rationalize that since they have off-springs their legacy might come when a future generation might eventually do great things.  Lincoln’s great-grandfather was not a person of renown but if he had not had offsprings we would not have Lincoln.  I don’t have that possibility to fall back on even if it is for the most part irrational.  My legacy is what “I” make it to be.

I spent thirty years of my life entwined in the corporate world and looking back there is almost nothing I did there that really matters even now. Everything I helped invent has been long ago forgotten.  Technology just moves too fast to allow any lasting legacy in that venue. I leave nothing from my corporate life as my legacy. After I retired I spent 11 joyful years volunteering some serious hours and contributing a significant amount of the resources in a soup kitchen to “give back” for all the years I didn’t participate much. That time ended this year due to personal physical conditions.

I have come to realize that my blog here at RJ’s Corner might just be a significant part of my legacy. It now has over 2500 posts and more will come if the good Lords allow me to write them. If nothing else maybe the mistakes I have made in my life just might teach some to avoid them in their lives.

They say what goes on the Internet stays on the Internet. Maybe someone in the future will happen across some of my words and just learn a little something from them.  In the mean time I am trying my darndest to stop fretting about visitor counts and concentrate on writing things that matter to me..

I am that wise guy…     TWiG 1

About Will Rogers…

Will Rogers Clan - Hdr

I will shout as clearly as I can that Will Rogers is one of my primary heroes. Here is what Wiki says about him.

Known as “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son”, Rogers was born to a prominent Cherokee Nation family in Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma). He traveled around the world three times, made 71 movies (50 silent films and 21 “talkies”), wrote more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns, and became a world-famous figure. By the mid-1930s, the American people adored Rogers. He was the leading political wit of his time, and was the top-paid Hollywood movie star. Rogers died in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post, when their small airplane crashed in northern Alaska….

If you want to peruse some of my many posts about him and his words just click on “The Wisdom of Will Rogers” in the About Life category at the top of this blog.   I found the above picture in his museum in Clairemore Oklahoma recently. I have been there a couple of times now and will likely go back again.  See if you can find him in the above photo?

I recently made a ten-hour walking tour of the college I graduated from. I had briefly driven around campus a few time before but never got out of the car.  It was fifty years ago this month that I had my first exposure to Purdue University in West Lafayette Indiana.  Needless to say that a LOT has changed since that time both to me and the campus I once walked through daily.

Me 1966When I stepped foot on the campus in the late summer of 1965 I was a skinny naive country boy who had never had a conversation with anyone much different than me.  They simply didn’t exist in my world up until that time. I was never challenged to think outside my box that was already built around me.  My progression to a guy who “questions everything” was a gradual thing that happened over the years but the five years I spent there was very enlightening.

Now on to the changes in the campus. One of the most astonishing changes was the almost total absence of green space at least compared to when I was a student there. Even the street that I most often used to get from my room at Fowler Courts to the campus is no longer there!  Fowler Courts were a bunch of single story quonset hut type buildings that were probably build just after World War II. The shocker came when I found out that the dormitory that replaced my old dorm has also been torn down and is now First Street Towers which are more multi-room apartments than they are like my 10ft x 12ft dorm room that I shared with my buddy Bob.

I must admit that I had hoped to retrace my steps that I traveled so many times but soon found that to be almost impossible. First off things just weren’t where I remembered them and secondly there were a lot of new building blocking my path.  Even though my dorm has been replaced twice over the building that housed the cafeteria where I worked 40+ hours per week was still there but repurposed  and totally reconfigured into a child development center.  But even the building itself brought back some pleasant memories.   I still have a hard time convincing myself that fifty years have passed since those days. I can’t understand how that happened.

Click on any picture from my 2015 visit to see a larger slideshow…

Being a Radical… The Best of the Best…


This is the first post in a new category called “My Best of the Best List”. Over my life I have always been an avid read. I’m sure I have read thousands of books on many different topic. I have also traveled to all fifty States and to Canada and Mexico mainly with history in mind.

So, with this post I am starting my recommended reading/visiting list for your perusal.

MyScans168I thought I would start out with perhaps the one book that mostly influenced by current views of Christianity and those who claim to follow Jesus. I want to warn you up front that Shane is a radical. He actually takes the words of Jesus found in the Christian Bible to heart and lives them on a daily basis. More radically he wants to shock us into doing the same.

I have included here the back page of this book to give you an idea of how devoted he is in living out his life by the messages of Jesus.  If you are ready for a new view of being a Christian who practices what he preaches pick up a copy of this book. If you are not totally locked into your current views this book may change your life.   It is in the top ten of all the books I have ever read.

RJC - Best of the best Banner



Forgive and Forget…

EggsIt’s amazing how our pets can so easily forgive and forget.  If only we humans could learn that lesson from them.  While I was talking to my wife recently, Dexter our cat proceeded to attack my right foot. He does this on occasion but this time it was annoying and I kicked him off. He took off like a rocket then stopped to give me a glaring look before going into hiding.  An hour later while we were sitting on the deck getting our usual dose of the morning sun he came back and everything was forgiven. Our pets just don’t hold grudges.

When my wife and I get into arguments, maybe I should call them “differences of opinion”, she has the habit of bringing up things  that happened decades ago. I don’t think she has ever forgotten anything that she thinks I have done wrong and she seems to think I do almost everything wrong. :)

Sometimes I pull out my t-shirt that has the following saying on it just to remember that this characteristic is probably a female thing and not just my wife.

Man wrong T-Sshirt

Why do we humans hang on to so much negative thoughts? Why can’t we just forgive and then forget?

That is a question that takes a wiser guy than me to answer….




Unskilled Labor..

A little over a hundred years ago the world was in a paradigm shift away from farming to manufacturing. This was a very disruptive thing for many who were living during those times. Cars were replacing the horse and buggy which had been the primary mode of transportation for more than a century. Automation of farm implements resulted in much less labor needed to produce the same goods. Things were changing and changing quickly.

2015-08-13_09-03-20Fifty years ago cars were made by thousands of workers lined up each doing a small part of the assembly. It was mind numbing work but paid well.  Paychecks were determined and made out by thousands of workers in row after row of desks doing a very small part of the overall task. 

2015-08-13_09-05-46Today those assembly line jobs are being done by robots and the paperwork is accomplished by a bank of computers controlled by a handful of technicians. The jobs are now in fields that require more training and imagination than anytime in the past. Like the last few paradigm shifts this one will also require as the definition of paradigm suggests some radical changes in the workforce. 

Does automation create a permanent lower class society who will always be poor??

 That is the basic question for our times. Will there now be a class of people who are always poor. Yes, but the percentage of workers in that category is what is at stake. Flipping hamburgers and many other service jobs will never, and have never, been a high paying occupation. It was meant as a starting place or as the first rung of the ladder upward. Teenagers and recent immigrants started there.  Automation will be an ongoing thing for many years to come. That is a given. To “move on” requires a more knowledgable worker than ever before. 

Are we currently up to that task?  The answer is NO…

An educated workforce requires, well, education. That is a very simple matter but obtaining that education is not so simple. The cost of education is now beyond what many can deal with. Much of the rest of the world has moved to publicly financed education beyond the fundamental twelve years of schooling. We in the U.S. are stuck in the past in that regard.  Education in general just does not have the importance that it does in other parts of the world. 

Even the quality of the currently publicly funded education varies widely from one geographic area to another. Since education remains a local thing areas of affluence have a much higher quality educational facilities and staff than does the typical rural communities. Since there is no national process driving education this disparity will likely continue unabated.

In order to move into the new paradigm will require a basic change in thinking of how we train the workers of today and tomorrow.  It’s as simple as that. 

The Blue Jays of Life…

Birds at FeederSeeing all the blue jays hoarding the feeder just now got me to thinking about life. It doesn’t take much to get me to thinking these days. :)

About Life BannerWe feed over half a ton of sunflower seed annually in our backyard feeders. There is a big variety of birds that come and go. Cardinals are one of my favorites probably because of their bright color. I just seem to like bright colors at this time in my life. My “inferno orange” Chevy Sonic is a testimony to that.  Anyway, getting back on topic, at least once a day a large number of blue jays show up. When they come they drive all the others currently frequenting the feeder away. They take over the neighborhood. My wife tells me they do it with a lot of noise too.

Now to the “about life” portion of this post. I always like to see connections from one part of life to another and seeing those birds brought to mind the “blue jays of life”.  That is those people who move into a neighborhood and proceed to play their music too loud, leave their grass un-mowed, and generally be an annoyance in one form or another to everyone else. There is almost always one of those families in every neighborhood. In my younger years some of my neighbors probably considered me to be one.

To finish off this post I want to tell you that the picture here was taken in February. I was too lazy to drag out my camera this time so I pulled a pic from my archives.   So, no we don’t have snow in August in Indiana. :)


Ode to the Farm House..

canstockphoto22475483One of the things I complain about the most is having no help in choosing a career/direction for my life.  I went to a very small rural school and even though I was assigned the agriculture teacher as my counselor he was actually anything but.  I think every one of those he “guided” was told to be a farmer. He simply didn’t take that responsibility seriously. I don’t know if it was any different for the other students who had different teachers? Probably not…

RJs Autobiography BannerBut looking back on my life there were several clues that, if I weren’t a hormones driven teenager, I could have discovered some serious hints.  One of those was my passion of writing. I loved writing down stories and learning new things about the world to write about. I effortlessly got A’s in english composition even through college. That should have told me what I should be concentrating my education on but I didn’t have a clue back then.

Another strange thing I have had throughout my life is the ability to remember the floor plan for every house I have ever lived in. Even the one we left when I was five-years old! I counted them up recently and I have lived in sixteen different abodes. I’m sure some of the floor plans are out of scale, especially those from my younger years, but the placement of the rooms I believe is accurate. That should have told me that I was destined to be an architect. The possible career paths were there, I was just too young to see them.

Monrovia HouseFor this post lets concentrate on house number four. It is shown in the picture here and was a couple of miles outside of the small rural town of  Monrovia Indiana where I went to high school. I recently took a trip back through many of the areas there that I once trod. We rented this house for only about two years but it remains of one of my favorites. This was where I had my first large veggie garden. The house had two large barns on the property which were torn down probably years ago but for the most part the house itself remains the same.

The house was heated by a humongous coal furnace in the basement that needed constant attention. Most often dad could not afford to have coal delivered by the ton so he bought fifty pound bags that lasted a few days.  That was supplemented by wood from the aging apple orchard behind the house and any scrap we could find.  The house originally had no in-door plumbing so there was an outhouse still close by. Sometime before we rented, a lean-to was added to the back which contained a toilet and shower but we still on occasion used the outside one.

We had some good times there but when dad found a cheaper rental behind the gas station in town we moved. More on that tiny little house in a future post…



If Tattoos Are So Beautiful…

If tattoos are so beautiful how come no one except convicted murderers, put them on their face?? Question everything…2015-07-16_14-48-44



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