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I wrote the following paper in 1969 for a college English course.

Hope you enjoy the story.

Counsel for the Defense

It wasn’t a unique gathering.  From all outward appearances it was only a friendly gathering of three members of each of two families for an evening of conversation.  It was more, though.

Mrs. Martin, a rather outspoken woman was expounding on the historical events that had come to pass in our small town during the week.  Mr. Martin sat quietly pulling easily on his pipe.  He seemed to be off by himself even though he sat between Mrs. Martin and my mother. The smile my mother had painted on as the Martins drove up the drive was holding up well.

Ordinarily Mom would not sit and listen to gossip, but she had other things on her mind and was waiting for us to discuss the real issue. My father sat calmly sipping scotch and water breaking his own silence occasionally to toss in a quip that would silence Mrs. Martin for a second — but only a second, mind you. Ross Martin, a long-time friend, and I carried on a light conversation of our own.

Both of us were anxious.  If this did not work, we would both be condemned to institutionalized living.  Ross’s arguments had been in vain.  He now hoped that I could convince my parents and in turn have my parents convert his.  I was invoking all the gods I had ever read about to intervene in our favor. This confrontation was long in coming.

Tempers had flared several times during the past year, but an actual discussion of the problem was always put off until the proper time.  The proper time was about to arrive. Should Ross and I be allowed to live off-campus at school was the question at hand.  The alternatives we had been offered were dormitories or a fraternity.  A rather simple issue except that Ross and I have had a series of interesting experiences.

By the end of our first year at college we had pledged a fraternity and before the end of the quarter subsequently de-pledged.  We moved into a house with three other students and had a series of problems involving bills, studies, parties, and dogs.  The other three fellows wanted to party, eat well, and raise dogs, but forego paying their share of the expenses or clean up after the dog.  That was all topped off by the landlord who decided to keep our deposits when we moved out of the house.  We were physically and legally unable to retrieve our money and that was a very tender spot for all of us.

Spring quarter we moved into a small trailer, which worked out fine for about two weeks and then Ross was involved in an accident which kept him out of school for the remainder of the quarter.  This left me with a large share of the burden of the expenses as well as having to learn to cope with the deafening affects of silence. All this left our parents with a great deal of ammunition.  One battle had already been lost.  Mrs. Martin had already decided against us, but they wanted to make sure Ross would be happy.  They had two daughters, but Ross was their only son.

Dad and I had already discussed the issue several times — all fruitless.  In fact a couple times he had given me a definite “No!”  But my seven brothers and sisters and I have a little understanding about our father.  The first time he says “no”, he probably didn’t understand the situation.  The second time he says “no” you probably didn’t present your case properly.  The third time – forget it – he meant it the first time.  This would be the third try.  I had to do it right.  We couldn’t have it put off again.  Class would start in three weeks and we had to give the landlord a definite answer by the end of the week. I was ready.  I had been preparing for this final showdown for several days.

Mr. Martin and my father are both successful businessmen.  For them financial figures talk.  With this in mind, my main appeal had to be to the pocket.  Our housing expenses off-campus would be comparable to if not lower than if we were to live in a dormitory or a fraternity.  Also, in a residence meal expense is set so if you miss a meal, you are out of luck.  By buying and preparing our own meals, we would pay only for what we ate.  And by not being required to participate in residence functions I would be left with more time to devote to my job.  This would give me more money to use to cover my expenses.  I had even resorted to using statistics, comparing the different costs for the different residences against living off-campus.

After exhausting the discussion of factual material I planned to move to an appeal to the independent spirits of my parents.  Over the years I had picked up several examples of the independent nature showing in them when they were young and I planned to play them to the hilt.  Also, I could give them many examples of the disadvantages of living in dormitories or fraternities.  Most of which they had heard me tell before, but it would be more effective used all at once.

Dad rose from his chair and went into the kitchen.  He returned in a few minutes with fresh drinks for himself and Mr. Martin.  He sat down and I almost breathed a sigh of relief when he said, “Well, boys, I think it’s about time we got down to the matter at hand …”

K. Brian Jacobson
English 205
December 19, 1969

 

Editor’s Note

— The author received an “A” for the story.

— He and his friend moved to off-campus housing.

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Acoustic Annoyance – First Music Video

Tower of Song

by

Leonard Cohen

Performance & Arrangement

by

Brian Jacobson

* * * *

Acoustic Annoyance Image of YouTube video

World Premiere – Tower of Song – The Primative Series

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Everything You Have Been Told

About Economics …

Is a LIE!

Watch this video. Listen to David Suzuki explain.

Companies that cut down our trees, use our water, dig materials out of the earth, terraform the landscape need to understand that all those assets belong to you and me and the generations that follow.

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The Great Illinois Stone
The Great Illinois Stone

What’s Up With Otto?

Early on a recent Sunday morning The Great Illinois Stone was spotted along the Fox River in Carpentersville near a visitor parking space on the OTTO Engineering property. It would seem the spirits that control appearances of The Great Illinois Stone may approve of OTTO’s contributions to its community.

If you are familiar with the Dundee-Carpentersville area, you have probably noticed the beautifully restored factory buildings on both sides of the Fox River along Main Street in Carpentersville.

You may not know that OTTO has also refurbished many of the houses in what’s called the Old Town area of Carpentersville. OTTO was instrumental in forming the Old Town Association to encourage development of properties in the area. OTTO is also supporting efforts to refurbish homes in another “gateway” section of Carpentersville near highway 68.

The Great Illinois Stone Visits OTTO EngineeringOTTO Engineering is celebrating 50 years of operation, and has been at its current location for over forty years.  Talk to local residents who are in their seventies and eighties and they can tell you stories about when those buildings were operated by The Illinois Iron and Bolt Co.

In June of this year Carpentersville dedicated the entire month to OTTO Engineering and its role in the community.

We wonder if The Great Illinois Stone has visited OTTO because of the mixed reaction from the community.

You may not agree with every political inclination of the Roeser family that owns OTTO. Altruisim may not be what comes to mind when you hear people talk about OTTO’s efforts to improve the Old Town area, but you should appreciate the benefits of their contributions to the community.

Of course OTTO benefits by investing in the community … duh! So what!

There is nothing wrong with doing well … while doing good.

Besides … when a company is doing well, it can more easily afford to do good.

Maybe the appearance of The Great Illinois Stone is a statement about the need to work together to accomplish things that are beneficial to a larger group. Look at the political and legislative grid-lock that has pushed so many states and our nation to the brink of destruction.

What’s wrong with a compromise that serves the greater good?

“Enlightened Self-Interest” is one of the most effective motivators and unifying forces for taking action that can help you and your community … however you define your community.  More people should subscribe to this philosophy.

What do you know about The Great Illinois Stone?

To learn what we know about The Great Illinois Stone
visit our earlier article here.

We welcome your thoughts about the myth, mystery, nature,
purpose and origin of The Great Illinois Stone.

So far … ’tis a mystery.

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People who have a product or service often do a poor job of explaining why you should choose their solution.

The standard demo or product description may offer user instructions in excruciating detail. 

Too often, they fail to inspire the user regarding how to apply the new solution to everyday life. 

I’m working with a couple software packages with extensive galleries of “How To” videos but they are “lite” on “Why Do” I want to use a feature.

Don’t give me a multitude of tools … without clearly explaining the things I can fix … and problems I can solve by using your tools.

Before you try to teach me your process … Show me why I would want to invest the time or money.

Give me a reason. Give me examples. Give me a mentor

Help your potential customers visualize how these tools fit into their lives.  More importantly, demonstrate the benefit … the value … of the technology.

Social Media technophiles should listen & heed.

I recently watched  Bill Vick’s video interview with Patty Rappa, described as a Business 2.0 Strategist, and author of a soon-to-be-released book, Millennial Boomer.

Rappa seems to be one Marketing professional that has been listening to Boomer clients  about their views regarding Social Media.  Her contribution to the “Give Me” list above might be …

Give Me Some Comfort With the Technology.

Patty Rappa says she has learned much from Boomers, as her career has progressed.  Rappa has found that when it comes to Social Media, Boomers often “get it” better than some younger people.  Or, at least, once Boomers understand what is possible with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and other tools, they can quickly see how to apply the tools to real world situations.

She described ways she helps bridge the gap between Boomers and other generations.  She has found that her Millennial Tech-Savvy employees and Boomer clients can be paired in mutually beneficial working relationships.   

Millennials are in-touch with the current technology.  Boomers have perspective based on more years of experience. 

By working together both can learn about how to effectively apply new technologies to traditional business communication issues. 

Rappa sees her book Millennial Boomer as an attempt to re-ignite Boomer creativity in the arena of communicating a company’s outreach message to the market by helping Boomers use Social Media tools.

How many times have you … or someone you know … asked a teenager to help them with a computer or Internet problem? 

We didn’t grow up surrounded by computers and a multitude of electronic gadgets; younger people are doing so.  You would expect them to be tuned in to technology.

Working with Millennials on applying social media tools, Boomers are likely to find the kind of technical savvy they need to “re-ignite” some creativity in the process of communicating with customer audiences.  Millennials may find that Boomers can show them more about business and strategy.

 I look forward to learning more about how Patty Rappa thinks. 

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Welcome to Thought Patterns.  Please visit my “About” page.  It will give you a taste of things to come, or at least a little of my background.

I look forward to sharing ideas with you.

Future topics will include:

  • Social Media
  • Marketing Methods
  • Internet Resources
  • New Technologies
  • and Cool Ideas of all sorts.

Please book mark this site, and return often.

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