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A Call to Live in ALL CAPS

More Untamed Devotions

Terminally ill pastor writes book of sharing love, living fully

Patrick Slack
ABCNEWSPAPERS.COM

LOVE.
And do so loudly.

It’s a simple, yet powerful message that Pastor Shane Allen Burton wants to share with everyone. And Burton, a 1987 Anoka High School graduate who served at churches in Andover and Fridley, among others, is shouting it out for everyone to hear in his June release of “More Untamed Devotions,” a follow-up to his first book.

It was a project Burton wasn’t planning to undertake, but one that became important to him upon being diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2019. He had previously beaten esophageal cancer be-fore the disease returned. With so much material left to share, Burton wants to call out a God that loves everyone, and that every person is capable of love.

“The idea of #LIVEINALLCAPS was something that came about before I got diagnosed with terminal cancer,” Burton said. “I always talked about Red from ‘Shawshank Redemption’: ‘Get busy living or get busy dying.’ That was always a concept for me. Talking with my wife Dani about a year ago, I said, ‘I want to live, I want to live life in ALL CAPS.’ Because when you write something in ALL CAPS, it means you’re shouting.

“I want to shout that life is about love: loving God and loving each other. Basically, if it’s loving, do more of that, and if it’s not, knock it off. When I got diagnosed it took on a new meaning: to be fully alive.”

Burton grew up in Anoka County, living in Blaine and Ramsey. He remembers marching in the Halloween Parade as a child and later he graduated from Anoka, with family ties going back generations. Between stops as a pastor he held many different jobs, including insurance agent, pawn broker, mortgage broker, executive director of a publishing company, supervisor in an oil refi nery, editor and store manager in his now hometown of Hudson, Wisconsin. The array of experiences has given him the ability to connect with many different people.

“It was certainly not by design,” Burton said. “There were times in-between serving churches where I just needed a job. Some were just by necessity. But if you’re working with a church, it’s great to know what real life is like. Working for 5 1/2 years in an oil refinery as an average guy, it helped me get a closer look and have a lot more understanding of the people sitting in my church pews. I often say, you can get more understanding and grace on a barstool than a church pew. If life doesn’t go the way you want it, the people on a barstool understand that.”
Burton took that understanding with him as he founded Lifelines, A New United Methodist Faith Community in Andover in 1998 to 2001, later working at Fridley Covenant Church from 2012-2013.

“Meeting all of my neighbors, knocking on doors, and starting in my living room, and then renting out the Andover Cinema and having 100 people show up each weekend was an incredible time,” Burton said. “In Fridley, my fondest memory was of leading worship out-doors in the summer time.”

In 2014, Burton came out with “Untamed Devotions: Stories of a Wild God.” In both of his books, personal sto-ries intertwined with messages of hope and God’s abundant love are shared, with both strongly received.

“Oh goodness, very, very positive,” Burton said. “I suppose I sold quite a few copies on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and direct sales.

“It was funny, I started writing the thing way back when I was working at the church in Andover. My leadership came to me asking for devotions. So I started writing. After a couple months of doing it they asked how it was going and they said, ‘We thought you were just going to go buy us a book of devotions, not write them!”

In the end, the books are calls to all to make the most of their lives, and to bring love, joy and hope to others.

“To have a life that has been lived to the fullest, an abundant life,” Burton said. “To not wake up one morning on your death bed gasping that you have regrets, that you didn’t have the time, the money, to have done that the whole time with love.

“I know it sounds simplistic, but I re-ally truly believe that when we put love in the center as our primary focus, it changes people. It changes events. It changes lives.”

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The Morning Blend Interview with Lora Hyler

There’s no doubt that the world has changed due to coronavirus, and Lora Hyler is on a mission to help kids navigate the new norms. Inspired by Emory Global Health Institute’s competition to help children deal with the effects of coronavirus (no schoolroom, no playdates, changes in family celebrations, etc.), Lora wrote Our Bodies Stay Home, Our Imaginations Run Free: A Coronavirus COVID-19 Book for Children in just ten days! Today she joins us to talk about her new book and what her hopes are for it globally.

Watch the interview here>>>

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New Coronavirus Book Helps Children Understand Changes in their Lives

Milwaukee Community Journal
May 29, 2020

Children’s book author and former NPR journalist, Lora Hyler has written a new children’s book, Our Bodies Stay Home, Our Imaginations Run Free inspired by Emory Global Health Institute.

Children within the U.S. and throughout the world have seen their normal lives uprooted by coronavirus and are experiencing the emotional lows and highs unforeseen just two months ago.
“As I saw the children in my neighborhood deal with missing their classmates and their teacher, playdates, visits with family, and trips to favorite places, my heart went out to them.
I knew children everywhere were struggling, and wanted to help ease their pain,” said Hyler. “I’d love to reach kids ages 6-10+.”

Read more…

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What FDR Did That Addresses the Pandemic

Urban Milwaukee

Op Ed

Creating unemployment compensation, other reforms that are helping us weather this crisis.
By David Riemer and June Hopkins

putting gov in its placePresident Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal of 1933-1938 has risen from the history books as Washington frantically struggles to solve today’s crisis. It has become commonplace to state that FDR’s bold leadership is desperately needed again.

What would FDR do to revive the economy and protect Americans from a future economic catastrophe? What steps would New Deal policy makers like Harry Hopkins (whose jobs programs put millions back to work) and Frances Perkins (whose team crafted the Social Security Act) recommend that we take?

Good questions, but incomplete.

What’s missing is recognition that Roosevelt and his New Dealers have already shaped today’s solutions and created the template for future action. Hiding in plain sight, the New Deal’s policies laid the foundation for much of the legislation Congress just passed to tackle the COVID-19 epidemic and revive the economy. The real question is: “What additions to the New Deal should be put in place to get us out of the fine mess we are falling into?”

Here are just a few ways in which the New Deal built the foundation for today’s crisis response and how that framework can be bolstered in the future.

One of the great achievements of the New Deal is Unemployment Insurance (UI). It provides laid-off workers with cash to make up for lost wages. Congress just enlarged this program. The new legislation temporarily add new categories of qualifying workers, lengthens benefits from 26 to 39 weeks through 2020, and raises payments by $600 per week through July 31.

The jewel in the crown of New Deal legislation was the Social Security Act. It created UI. More famously, it launched the old age pensions that we simply call Social Security. One of the law’s accomplishments was to assign a nine-digit Social Security number to nearly all workers (today, all persons). Most of us use it to file our income taxes. The program provides the conduit for the $1,200 checks that most American adults are receiving. No Social Security number, no payment.

An even more important legacy of the New Deal is its fundamental premise: the federal government is responsible for Americans’ economic security. Before FDR took office—before Harry Hopkins and Frances Perkins delivered jobs for the unemployed and a Social Security system—the federal government had no permanent structure for helping individuals in economic distress.

The New Deal established a new premise. Beginning in 1933, the federal government started providing large numbers of Americans with the right to assistance when they were beaten down by what FDR called “the hazards and vicissitudes of modern life.” Washington would henceforth raise the income of laid-off workers, low-wage employees, and seniors with insufficient savings. Eventually the government extended protections to disabled workers and seniors needing health insurance.

The laws just enacted by Congress strengthen the New Deal’s fundamental concept that it is the federal government’s duty to provide Americans with a floor of economic security.

To recognize that the New Deal laid this foundation, however, is not to assert that the New Deal’s structure is perfect. Numerous additions and reforms are needed.

 

As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans will have trouble finding jobs until the economy revs up. The solution is a Transitional Jobs program, a refashioned version of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) that Hopkins ran. Transitional Jobs, federally subsidized, would offer temporary paid work to the unemployed and underemployed until they move into regular employment.

A higher federal minimum wage is long overdue. Our system of supplementing earnings—the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit—should also be overhauled to cover more workers and provide larger refundable tax credits to wage earners without children as well as working parents.

Congress made a start on paid leave by requiring it for some workers affected by COVID-19. The New Deal’s logic, however, requires that paid leave be available for all workers who need temporary time off to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, or an ailing relative Additionally, the New Deal should be expanded to guarantee affordable—ideally free—childcare.

As members of Congress shelter at home, let us hope they recognize how much they relied on the New Deal of FDR, Harry Hopkins, and Frances Perkins in framing their response to the nation’s crisis. Let us then hope, when they go back to work, they will be wise enough to focus once more on bolstering the New Deal model of work-based economic security for all Americans.

David Riemer is former aide to Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist and the author of “Putting Government In Its Place: The Case for a New Deal 3.0.

June Hopkins, professor emerita at Georgia Southern University, Armstrong Campus, is the author of “Harry Hopkins: Sudden Hero, Brash Reformer,” and the grand-daughter of Harry Hopkins, who ran the Works Progress Administration during the New Deal.

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21 Wolynska Street, Warsaw Ghetto

The Times of Israel
Jeffrey N. Gingold is the internationally acclaimed and award-winning author of

My father, whose experience in the Warsaw Ghetto inspired this piece, and I. (Courtesy of author)

You are at risk, if you don’t listen to the authorities and follow their instructions.  Outside of the family members living in your home, avoid:  being close to other people or collecting in groups; stay away from public gatherings and remain at home; avoid religious gatherings; no school or educational assemblies in person.  Of course, we are talking about recommendations to avoid a virus?  Or are we remembering shards of Warsaw Ghetto shadows?

I have never compared my existence to my father’s life as a child in the Warsaw Ghetto.  The differences are decades apart, but in the 2020 pandemic there are echoes and common lessons of fear, taking care and grasping hope.  Beyond new health awareness concerns, I still have little to complain about.  Social distancing and the resulting isolation are new and difficult, but it’s for my well-being.

Instead of worrying, it is time to stay busy with de-cluttering, home projects and walking the neighborhood.  However, we cannot gather, celebrate, mourn or pray in person with others.   While appreciating the temporary losses of personal routines, hope is now discovering new means of technological connections.  Zoom away.

There are real and significant costs from the disruptions, but when re-scheduling life events, it means that they can still occur, so relax.  The demand for certain common products, usually ignored in the background of life:  toilet paper, wipes and sanitizer may be an ironic re-prioritization, but we will learn to compensate.  Wash your hands with soap for twenty seconds and again, relax.  Daring to compare today to my father’s childhood in the Ghetto exposed me to a fresh view of the current reality, adjusting my perspective.

In the Warsaw Ghetto:  avoid congregating and direct eye contact with the German authorities; avoid any close contact with typhus-infected individuals, especially touching or close talking.  Further is now also better for different health and political reasons.

Our neighborhood sidewalks are not over-crowded with refugees from German occupied lands.  The walkways are quiet, except for the sounds of birds and wind-blown branches.  Our hair is not shaved to deter accumulation of lice.  Although the loss of hair coloring means the return to our natural hair color, any color of growing hair [even grey] is still healthy.

We are concerned for life, but no person from an occupying force is trying to kill us.  It is difficult to fathom the current loss of control, normally assumed by a free people.  True.  Our lives, careers and homes are disrupted, but we have shelter and a neighborhood free of an occupying foreign army.  My family doesn’t climb through bombing rubble to walk to the park.  And the public parks are open to us all.  There are inconvenient shortages, but there is food in our cupboards.  We are not starving from government imposed rations, limiting caloric intake based on our religion.  They will fully restock our grocery store shelves, eventually and we are free to shop there.

In the Warsaw Ghetto, Jews were forced to wear a Star of David arm-band in public, as a mark of restriction. With a virus, we are marked by wearing medical masks and arms-length distance.  The current virus offers a trade for enduring staying at home for several weeks to avoid incidental contact with the virus.  Six feet social distance doesn’t really sound difficult.

For years in the Ghetto, five members of my family lived in one tight room with no electricity, plumbing, heat, bathroom, kitchen or door. And there was a baby too. On the day Warsaw was bombed in September 1939, my grandmother went into labor with her second child. Forced into slave labor for the German war machine, adult men faced heavy burdens and often violent deaths seven days a week. My grandmother, aunt and the baby [Baruch] could never venture past their basement room. If they were outdoors, they risked a severe beating forcing them into a labor truck. Any comparison with being self-quarantined in my Milwaukee home falls way short.

So what did my father learn in the Holocaust? His story was a childhood that would never occur and he had company. A contributor to Emanuel Ringelblum’s hidden archives lived in an attic apartment with his wife and young son, above my father’s unit in Warsaw. When the Germans bombed the city the young boys never saw each other again.  When the apartment building took a direct hit from a dropped bomb and the building’s guts and residents were blown out into the street, my father’s life was moved to the edge where the future was canceled.

My father could only think about getting to the next day, which gave him the nerve to do what needed to be done without attention or sympathy.  It was about being invisible under the most horrific conditions in order to smuggle for food, collect the dead on the streets and tunnel to escape.  Maybe I can learn a bit from my father’s Ghetto existence to avoid close contact or public locations, but the reasons pale in comparison. This may be uncomfortable now, but I refuse to complain about the temporary restrictions in my life.  I just can’t.

Instead, I see more clearly those who quickly enter and exit my day. When a functioning economy is vital, they are there and shouldn’t be ignored. Exposure to the pandemic is too easy to take anyone for granted. What was formerly “just doing a job” is now a death-defying activity.  Just servicing customers, moving products and being exposed to others is brave.

When the virus is gone and life priorities shift again, who will we be when the next “normal” returns? We may share just a bit in common with Holocaust survivors.  When this virus is resolved and we return to complacency, I will better appreciate simple things and smile.  Restrictions for our own good are still restrictions, but with perspective we can accept them as they are intended — life-preserving. That’s our freedom too. Thanks, Dad.

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Writers@Work: An Interview with Karen Voss

that's all I've got

From WriteNow Coach

Dear Writers,

This week, I’m bringing back Write Now! Wednesdays, an almost weekly feature highlighting writing craft and exercises. Last week, poet Erik Fuhrer wrote about Writing Poetry During the Pandemic. If you have an idea for a post, send it my way. I’d love to host you.

Today I’m delighted to welcome Karen Voss to the blog. She’s from Milwaukee and the author of That’s All I Got! Thrival: A Widow’s Journey After Suicide.

Happy Writing!
Rochelle

Writers@Work:
Writing About Grief
An Interview with Karen Voss
By Rochelle Melander

that's all I've gotCan you tell our readers a bit about your book and who it is written for?
That’s All I Got! Thirval: A Widow’s Journey After Suicide recalls the journey of healing and thriving for the first few years after the loss of my husband, Russ, to the completion of suicide as a result of mental illness. It reveals all of the emotions and the stages of grief that I endured. I wrote the book for myself, for thrivers, for survivors of suicide loss, for those needing inspiration and healing after losing a loved one. The first part of the title emerged from the abrupt ending of a Toastmaster’s speech that Russ had practiced in front of his friends. The second part took time to come up with. I had lots of ideas and my publisher combined a couple of them, and there you have it!

What moved you to write a book about your experience?
Since Russ passed away, I wanted to help save lives and I developed the motto “If I can save one life then I know I am doing my job.” I discovered my passion for writing while going through a program to help me work through some of my grief. I decided I wanted to share my story and by doing so inspire and aid others along the way.

Can you talk about your writing journey: what were the hard parts and how did you move past that to finish the book?
I started writing the book in 2012, a few years after I lost Russ. My second cousin’s wife, Manya Kaczkowski, another area writer and published author, encouraged and mentored me in my writing prior to committing to the book. I learned from her as I progressed in my writing and as I wrote the book. Sadly, she passed away from cancer before she had a chance to read it. I gifted her husband, my second cousin, a signed copy of the book as well as a printed copy of a tribute that I wrote about my writing journey with her. Her death was tough so naturally I wrote about her in my Inspiring thru Thought blog including how she red-marked my work and hoped I would still talk to her. The hardest parts involved reliving Russ’s death and working through the still existing grief. I went through every emotion writing That’s All I Got! At times, feeling those emotions forced me to pause, regroup, maybe take a break, and start again when I was ready.

How did you find your publisher?
I told my friend Drew that I wanted to share my journey in a book. He suggested I meet Kira Henschel of HenschelHaus Publishing if I wanted to pursue it. Kira and I met at the HenschelHaus table during the 2011 Dare to be Aware Fair where we talked for a few minutes, and I shared my dream of writing a book. Every time I saw her after that, she asked how my book was coming along. My answer seemed to revolve around I haven’t started. Eventually, I would sit down with her in a three hour workshop to map out “That’s All I Got!” She offered to publish my book, and I graciously and excitably accepted.

What are you reading now?
I am currently reading three books: You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero, Restless Hearts by Marta Perry, and Fire Up Your Writing Brain by Susan Reynolds. I don’t normally read three books at one time, but since they’re different genres I figure why not.

Are you working on a new book?
Not at this time, but I have a dream of writing a second book. My brain hasn’t provided me the content yet. In the meantime, I am open to proofreading and editing other writers and authors books as a freelancer.

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Reader Views review of “Samir’s Revenge”

Reader Views
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (2/2020)

samir's revengeSamir’s Revenge,” is the sequel to “Terror in Paris” by Dave Admire. The story takes off when three university professors return from Paris after it is attacked by terrorists. These professors and their students engaged in gunfire with the terrorists, leading to the death of the leader, Samir’s close friend. Samir plots his revenge on the professors to coincide with New Year’s Eve attacks on three major cities in the United States. These cities include San Francisco, Seattle and Las Vegas. Samir and his followers illegally enter the United States from Mexico. They easily gain access into the United States, with their weapons, by using coyotes and a Border Patrol Agent who is on the take. While Samir is attacking the three cities, the professors and their families are setting up a plan to thwart him. Tensions rise when they discover that he was successful with his attacks on the cities. They are determined to stop him at all costs.

“Samir’s Revenge,” was a fast paced read for me. While I did not read, “Terror in Paris,” I can vouch that this book stands well on its own, however, I would like to go back and the first book because I enjoyed this one so much.

The characters are realistic and easily likeable. While they’ve obviously already gone through a great deal of character development in the first book in the series, they continue to expand and evolve as they are faced with a new threat. Their comradery is enjoyable and adds to the desire to see all of them survive. The acts of terror are well described, and extremely realistic. It is scary to consider that these acts could actually take place on US soil. The author’s vivid imagination will easily unnerve readers.

You will want to read this book quickly to the very end so that you can rest easily before the sun goes down! I highly recommend “Samir’s Revenge” by Dave Admire as a fast-paced and exciting suspense thriller. I look forward to reading the third book in this series!

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David Riemer: Strengthening broad-based economic security with a New Deal 3.0│ Ep. 17

By Arthur Thomas – BizTimes
BizTimes MKE Podcast

David Riemer says that the government structure created by the New Deal has sputtered over the last four decades in the face of international competition and disruptive technology. He also says it will take big changes to reverse declining trust in the federal government.

“The tinkering, making small changes within those four clusters, we’ve been doing for almost 80 years now, is not going to get us out of the mess that we’re in,” Riemer, senior fellow at Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, said during a recent Rotary Club of Milwaukee program. Riemer was also previously chief of staff to Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist, a legal advisor to Gov. Patrick Lucey, legal counsel to U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy’s subcommittee on health and scientific research and a health policy analyst for the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

The four clusters of public policy Riemer referenced include broad-based economic security, means-tested welfare programs, market regulation and market manipulation. In his new book “Putting Government in its Place: The Case for a New Deal 3.0,” Riemer argues for bolstering broad-based economic security programs and market regulation while eliminating means-tested welfare programs and subsidies.

“I favor making sure that when the market functions it doesn’t harm people, it doesn’t damage the environment, it doesn’t damage workers or consumers or investors,” Riemer said. “That’s not a proper way for a business to make profit or succeed. They ought to succeed because they’re better at producing what they produce, they’re more creative, they sell things that people want. They shouldn’t succeed because they manage dump harmful substances in the air or in the water or have their workers work in dangerous work places.”

Riemer said broad economic security programs doesn’t mean just giving people money. It does include offering the un- and underemployed fall back job opportunities, raising the minimum wage to $10 or $12 per hour, making it easier to get childcare, eliminating disincentives for work and marriage in programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit and favoring the ability of unions to collectively bargain.

Hear more from Riemer’s presentation on the latest episode of the BizTimes MKE Podcast.

In partnership with the Rotary Club of Milwaukee

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Why Milwaukee Needs a New Deal

Urban Milwaukee
David Riemer 


Government can work better. And cities like Milwaukee will benefit. Excerpt from a new book.

putting gov in its placeMy new book, “Putting Government In Its Place: The Case for a New Deal 3.0”, (HenschelHAUS), begins on a front porch in Milwaukee.

It’s a warm June afternoon. After a hard day’s work, the porch sitter (gender neutral) is enjoying the remains of the day, eating pizza, drinking beer… and not thinking about government.

But as I proceed, I point out the dozens of ways in which government is all around. The streets, sidewalks, fire hydrants, underground water pipes and sewer pipes, garbage carts, and nearby parks and schools are all owned by government and largely maintained by government employees. Many passing vehicles—police cars, fire engines, and recycling trucks—are government-owned and driven by government everyone.

“[Government] is everywhere,” I write. “It is hiding from you in plain sight. It’s so obvious you don’t notice it. It’s so visible you see right through it. It’s omnipresent; it’s a big deal in your life; and it escapes your observation.”

This omnipresent but invisible government does a lot of good. Yet we are also deeply unhappy with many of the results we’re getting from government—especially the federal government. According to polls by the Pew Research Center, between 2008 and 2019 fewer than 30%—and at times below 20%—expressed confidence in the federal government to do what is right at least most of the time.

Read more…

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Midwest Book Review of “All Heart: The Baseball Life of Frank Torre”

Synopsis: Milwaukee Braves’ first baseman Frank Torre won a World Series Ring in 1957, 39 years before his Hall of Fame brother Joe Torre earned his.

All Heart: The Baseball Life of Frank Torre“, is Frank’s story in his own words, as told to Cornelius Geary in a series of interviews. This is a timeless, first-person account of a baseball life at the peak of one of the great franchises in baseball history, the Milwaukee Braves.

“In All Heart”, Frank recounts the Braves’ glory years with game-by-game accounts of the 1957 and 1958 World Series, tells what it was like playing with Henry Aaron, Ed Mathews, Warren Spahn, and Lew Burdette, and shares his heartbreak as the Braves’ dream ends almost as quickly as it began.

With dozens of photos, “All Heart, the Baseball Life of Frank Torre makes an important contribution to the history of the Milwaukee Braves as the savvy veteran reflects on many of the great players of his time, including Mantle, Mays, Clemente, Koufax, Musial, and Hodges.

Critique: An absolute ‘must read’ for all baseball fans in general, and Milwaukee Braves fans in particular, “All Heart: The Baseball Life of Frank Torre” is an inherently fascinating and informative read from cover to cover. While certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that “All Heart: The Baseball Life of Frank Torre” is also available in a paperback edition (9781595986979, $16.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

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BENEATH THE FLAMES is the 2019 Gold Medal Award Winner

beneath the flames
beneath the flamesBENEATH THE FLAMES is the 2019 Gold Medal Award Winner in Fiction-General in The Readers’ Favorite International Book Award competition. Below is the five-star review:
“Beneath the Flames by Gregory Lee Renz is a mesmerizing story that brims with life and humanity, a story that explores themes of race, love, family, and an adventure within the firefighting department. The prose is gorgeous and, from the very beginning, the author had me captivated by the wonderful imagery and the lyrical nature of the story.”—Christian Sia for Readers’ Favorite.
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“Good As a Girl” Review by Patricia McConnell

Review from The Other End of the Leash

GOOD AS A GIRL: A MEMOIR, by Ray Olderman.

Ready for a paradigm shift? This book has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with dogs, but it holds a special place in my heart because it was written by a man who saved my soul in college. Quite literally. I was taking his class in literature at UW-Madison and working part time at the Primate Center. Long story, but at that time, the housing conditions for the monkeys at the Center were profoundly different than they are now. And pretty awful. When I went to the person in charge to talk about what I felt were abuses, he literally told me “There is no biological evidence that monkeys can feel pain.” Yup, that’s what he said, in the mid 1980’s. I had thought that perhaps I could have some effect on the way the monkeys were treated, but it became clear that my ability to do so was negligible.

I couldn’t quit, I desperately needed the money, and I mean desperately. I could barely afford to eat. And yet working there violated everything I believed in. I stopped sleeping, and had a hard time just getting through the day. Ironically, in my literature class we were reading a book about a man who thought he could change a corrupt system by working within it, but was eventually destroyed by it. I finally went to see my professor, Ray Olderman and told him I was living the life we were reading about it. And it was killing me. And I couldn’t quit, I was beyond broke and there were no jobs available at that time of year. He hired me on the spot, finding some spare money to help him with grading. I will never forget it, and will always be grateful.

And so, I admit to a profound lack of objectivity about Ray’s book. But here’s the thing. I loved the book. It’s funny and engaging and fascinating to read about a man who was raised to believe that being a boy was a disability. Talk about a paradigm shift! Ray’s mother had wanted a girl, and had no pretense that she was disappointed when Ray turned out to be a boy. And so, at age eight, he vowed to her that he’d be “as good as a girl”. We follow Ray throughout his life trying to understand the female perspective while negotiating the complexities of Madison, WI in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s during a time of profound cultural change.

If you’re interested in a delightful memoir about a guy who “couldn’t keep his mouth shut,”  fought the system all of his life while doing all he could to understand women, this book is for you.

 

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5-Star Review of “From Coin Toss to Championship”

From Coin Toss to Championship

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite

Let us rewind and go back to 1971, the year the Milwaukee Bucks won the Championship. From Coin Toss To Championship: 1971 – The Year of the Milwaukee Bucks by Rick Schabowski is an engaging book that gives details about the magical season, players’ interviews, game stories, and pictures that will trigger a lot of memories and give game insights. After the 1965 baseball season, once the Braves moved back to Atlanta, Milwaukee ceased being home for any major sports franchise. The Milwaukee Bucks brought Milwaukee back into prominence by winning the 1970-71 National Basketball Association Championship. This book is good for the future generation of Bucks supporters and NBA fans who can take a trip down memory lane while reading about the game’s history and the magical season.

The author speaks about the Championship in detail which enables readers to enjoy the season and the memories associated with it. The entire season, along with some wonderful pictures, is a delight for readers from all walks of life; for many, it is like bringing back memories of a wonderful season and for others, it is learning about that magical season that put Milwaukee back on the sports map. The black and white photographs shared in the book breathe life into that time and make it tangible for readers as they learn about the players and the moments on the court. The author’s love for the game is evident from the details and descriptions in the book and it is a good read for all those who want to recollect the scenes from the coin toss to winning the championship.

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‘Sally and the Yeti:’ Erin Hills competitions director turns daughter’s bedtime story into book

Fox6 News

Sally and the YetiHARTFORD — When a person has a great story to tell or life experience to share, they’re often told to write a book. That’s exactly what John Morrissett, the competitions director at Erin Hills Golf Course, has done.

Overlooking the rolling hills that share Erin Hills Golf Course, Competitions Director John Morrissett is envisioning what could be.

“This time next year, the hillside will be knee-high in fescue,” said Morrissett.

It was what he envisioned many years ago, that has put him on a new course away from golf.

“Back in the winter of 2007-2008, when my daughter was 6, I would put her to bed at night and turn on the night light, turn off the light and then I’d start to tell a story,” said Morrissett.

Soon, Morrissett was writing the story down 11 years later.

“That’s became ‘Sally and the Yeti‘,” said Morrissett.

This summer, that bedtime story officially turned into Morrissett’s first novel when it was published by Three Towers Press.

“The hard part was I would try to think in advance as to what the next part of the story would be, the rest of the story. Then, bite off those chunks as they came along. So, it took some discipline just to stay with it and eventually got it done,” said Morrissett.

The fictional and fantastical story is about a seventh grade girl from Kohler named Sally, free meeting a yeti which leads to a special trip to Nepal and its adventures.

“I was living in Kohler, Wisconsin. So, the book starts in Kohler, Wisconsin. I was dreaming of going to Nepal one day, so I tried to tie all of that together. But, I wanted it to be authentic, I wanted to be able to describe Kohler, describe Wisconsin and have it be real,” said Morrissett.

Initially, his descriptions of Nepal were written based on guide books and videos. However in 2014, those descriptions had to be changed when he actually visited the country he had been dreaming about since childhood.

“For a large part of my life, I’ve had a real interest and fascination with Nepal and Mt. Everest with the Himalaya. And I remember growing up, going to the public library and getting all of Edmund Hillary’s books about his Everest expedition, about crossing Antarctica, about going up the Ganges River. So, that was very much in my mind,” said Morrissett.

The feeling he gets when planning a trip is something he hopes the readers are able to experience for themselves.

“It’s exactly exciting to go somewhere,” said Morrissett. “That’s one of the themes of the book, is to make people be curious about this amazing world that we live in.”

Morrissett’s traveling companion on many trips is his daughter, Amy Jayne. She’s also the inspiration for Sally.

“It’s a very personal account because I have a very close relationship with my daughter and all the memories that we’ve had together, the trips we’ve been on have meant the world to me. And to capture some of that in a book means a lot,” said Morrissett.

In many ways, the book is a story of love, taking Morrissett back to the magical place where the story began.

“It kind of captures those special moments of when she’s a little girl, putting her to bed, telling her a bedtime story. It kind of locks that in and formalizes that in a way that I’ll always have. Those are just some of the happiest memories I’ll ever have,” said Morrissett.

Morrissett has another book he’s hoping will be published later this year, with Sally going to London to save the queen’s corgi.