The resident faculty left a pair of grass-stained sneakers in the mail room. Either they had a nighttime walkabout … or it was a clue. (More)

First we thank last week’s guest lecturers. Last Monday through Wednesday on Evening Focus, Roby NJ earned faculty tenure with his series on Necessary Monsters. It was an excellent discussion and is worth reading if you missed it.

Please join us in congratulating our new Professor of Cognidizombilistics, Roby NJ! He will soon receive keys to the wine cellar library and hot tub faculty lounge, and the Professor of Astrology Janitor will give him his own laundry mark for the resident faculty’s weekly game where the underwear goes flying planning conference.

Tonight and Tuesday on Evening Focus, Professor of Tucsoganonviology RevGerry offers a series on nonviolent strategies for change. And this Tuesday on Morning Feature, DWG will Dig Deeper into the Chicago Freedom Movement. As always, Chef will pass out coffee and bagels, and the Professor of Astrology Janitor will clean and buff until passing out.

Note: We have a Morning Feature guest lecture openings Wednesday (February 23rd) and next Tuesday and Wednesday (March 1st and 2nd), as well as Evening Focus openings this Wednesday through Friday (February 23th – 25th). We also have openings for our campus soapbox Furthermore!, our afternoon people-watching series Midday Matinee, and our evening environmental series Our Earth.

If you are already a BPI Author, you will find a complete list of category openings in the Authors Notepad in your Dorm Room. To reserve a slot, type in your user name, topic, and date, and click “Save Notes.” I will remove your note when I add you to our Schedule.

If you are not yet a BPI Author and would like to contribute at BPI, please contact the BPI Webmistress.

Also: Please share your stories of offline activism in Things We Did This Week.

That leaves the resident faculty and those grass-stained sneakers. This perplexed the staff. We  did not think the resident faculty took a nighttime walkabout with only one pair of sneakers. For one thing, they don’t all wear the same size. For another, they would not have gone very far stopping every step to exchange shoes. While it was possible just one resident faculty member wore those shoes, or just one faculty member took a nighttime walkabout, why leave them in the mail room?

We pondered this while Pootie the Precious batted at the shoe laces. The BPI Squirrel seemed to notice something and walked over. Then he pulled out his Blewberry and texted: “These are not just grass stains. There are roots too.”

The Squirrel scampered off like Dr. Gregory House would if Dr. House had a tail rather than a cane and scampered. Which he doesn’t. Either. Actually both. Or should that be neither? We debated this important question while watching Pootie the Precious pounce on the shoe laces, until the Squirrel returned holding John Presta’s Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots:

Chicago community activists John Presta and his wife Michelle were running their small, popular independent bookstore, Reading on Walden, when Barack Obama’s campaign asked them to help in his 2000 race for Congress. Instantly impressed after meeting Obama, the Prestas came on board and stayed on board after his loss. An engaging, detailed, first person account of the Prestas’ personal interactions with Obama and how they, together with Obama and his early campaign workers, slowly and steadily built a grassroots organization around a highly committed group of some 300 volunteers. The Prestas shortly became known as “Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots” in the Obama campaign, and Obama himself called them his “southwest side powerhouses.” This book peels the layers off the early years of Obama’s political career, detailing how he and individual grassroots and “netroots” organizers built a successful campaign despite the Chicago political machine and won the 2004 Senate race, causing immediate speculation about Obama for President. With great insight into a younger Barack Obama’s character, vision, self confidence and determination, Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots shows how change comes slowly, gradually, incrementally, and suddenly, and how one person – or two – can make a difference that changes the world.

Once we figure out who wears these sneakers, the staff will be content….


Happy Monday!