Bob Keith's Biography
Bob grew up on a dairy farm in Southern Wisconsin. After high school he spent three years in the Army Corps of Engineers stationed in Nuremberg, Germany. Much of his duty brought him to areas near what was the Czechoslovakian border that bordered old West Germany. He was there in Germany watching on television like much of the Western World when Saigon and South Vietnam surrendered in April of 1975. That event and being marginally touched by its long lasting implications always stuck with Bob.
After he left the Army he worked in a plethora of blue-collar jobs until starting college in 1995 part-time. He also worked at more blue-collar and off-beat jobs to get himself through college. He chipped away at college off and on for ten years.
While working on traditional degrees, Bob was granted diplomas in Buisness Software; Emergency Medical Technician Basic and Intermediate; and the Fire Service Academy at Madison Technical College. He also took many paralegal and journalism classes there.
Bob attained two associates' degrees from Madison Area Technical College - one in College Transfer courses and one in Administrative Assistant respectively. Bob then went to the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a Criminal Justice emphasis. He took one last gamble with college as an older returning college student and stayed on at UW-Whitewater and finished his master's course work in Communication with a Mass Media emphasis. At this time all he has left with his masters is to take a final comprehensive exam.
Taking his Army experience and combining it with skills he learned in college, he went to Vietnam in January 2005 and spent two weeks becoming familiar with Saigon. Bob also traveled out to Los Angles in April of 2005 to visist the community known as Little Saigon. This community is strongly influenced by the exodus of Vietnam by so many people after the American war there. He traveled again to Vietnam in August of 2005. He also visited Laos and Eastern Thailand. On the August 2005 trip his wife Heide joined him on his journey to photograph for him. They both returned in August 2006 to Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand; that trip was dedicated more to leisure than research. They found however that just mingling with the people often provides more insights than hardcore reserarch.
Using skills gleaned from living in Germany in the Army and his trips to Vietnam, Bob segued his cultural writing to the active war zone of Iraq. It is his opinion that the void in information about the people and culture of a region (Iraq) where we are fighting a war, is repeating itself in history again as it did during our Vietnam War. Determined not to let the lack of information trend happen again (at the very least at a personal level) he visited Iraq in the fall of 2006 and the spring of 2008. He has a pending third project in Iraq if funds and time become available.
Some of the jobs Bob has had in his life are:
Dairy farmer; saxophone player (rock band); gas station jockey; Army Engineer; scoop loader operator; dump truck driver; furniture delivery person; feed mill worker; cargo truck assembly factory worker; basic welder; bouncer; bartender; school bus driver; park keeper; roadside mower operator; landscape chemical pesticide applicator; grounds maintenance supervisor; small landscape business owner; auto mechanic; auto parts customer service desk worker; janitor; armored car builder; fork lift driver; lifeguard; ambulance driver; emergency medical technician; Emergency Room volunteer; nursing assistant, Alzheimer’s patients’ assistant; YMCA customer service desk worker; therapy pool attendant; college student - treated like a job; college paper opinion writer and restaurant review writer (Wisconsin Friday night fish frys); paid college note taker for students with disabilities; college library assistant; home health aid; YMCA grant writer internship; grocery store worker; disabled college students’ assistant; older college students’ assistant; in-country cultural writer Laos, Viet Nam (post war), Turkey, Iraq (active war); newspaper circulation worker; newspaper delivery person; parcel/package loading plant worker; newspaper truck driver; animal shelter volunteer; newspaper mail room worker; County Board Candidate; community radio station news copy writer; Iraq experience presentations; foreign language newspaper expeditor; cultural blogger fish-frys/traverns/war-casualties/jobs/strip-clubs/church-dinners; community radio show host; radio producer of own show and several others; and, although still working at a blue-collar job in a newspaper production plant with no benifits or little dignity, to just pay the fuck'n bills, nowadays, Bob just tells people, "...I fuck'n write books."
Click on the Cool Dadio Media Web site page "Jobs of Bob" for a chronological list of the vignettes about Bob's many, and often quirky blue-collar jobs over the last 40 years.
Or, click on the Daily Dadio Blog "Jobs of Bob" Category to read an ongoing list of the vignettes as Bob writes them - they are not necessarily in chronological order.