Author: Brooke R. Calder - Author, In Praise of Men

Inspiration from brilliant gents, articles of interest and advance excerpts from the forthcoming e-book 'In Praise of Men'!

2020, HERE WE COME!

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Hello Stranger,
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Hope this note finds you in bold spirits, good health and keeping well.  2019 was an arduous year for many, and if our kick-off is any indication of things to come, this year will be INTENSE.

We’re only in our third week of 2020, but already need a re-cap, so here goes: the poles are melting hard and fast; Australia’s burning; the Taal Volcano erupted in the Philippines; Puerto Rico endured a 5.9 Earthquake and Trump– who has been impeachedassassinated General Soleimani.  Iran then struck back (and then some) and the head of Hezbollah is currently threatening the United States with additional action.  No, this isn’t an episode of the Twilight Zone nor Season 16 of Stranger Things; this– my friend– is the world we live in.

Having survived a few political fiascos, on-going power outages, droughts as well as food rations in Zimbabwe (and having a Sarah Connor-eque Aunt who prepped me for surviving America under siege), I have a few suggestions for us.  I’m no expert and can only hope we’ll never have to deploy the below, but it NEVER hurts to be prepared.

TRUMPOCALYPSE SURVIVIAL CHECKLIST

1. PREP FINANCES, ID’S + IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS
a. Withdraw enough cash to be comfy for a couple weeks (reminder: Hezbollah are threatening us, and they have a legit hack team that could blow up our internet).
b. Print a weekly financial/bank statement (you’ll need proof if banks go down).
c. Photocopy your ID,  Social Security card, Passport and car titles or deeds and hide them somewhere safe.
d. Keep originals, cash and financial statements in this $25 portable water and fireproof case, or simply slide the above in two XL size ziplock bags and store inside your jump bag (see below).  This won’t protect them from fire, but will keep them pristine.

2. PACK A JUMP BAG/MEDIUM SUITCASE WITH…
a. 3 changes of clothes (include undergarmets, socks, etc.).
b. Pajamas.
c. Toiletries (toothbrushes, baby wipes, deoderant, hand sanitizer, etc.).
d. Towel + facecloth.
e. Blanket.
f. Cereal bars, Beef (or meat substitute) Jerky, etc.
g. Small sewing + First Aid kits (if you don’t have one, you can make them from an old Altoids tin or glasses case).
h. A few feet of rope or bungee cables.
i. Refillable bottle of water.
j. Waterproof flash light with new batteries.
k. Waterproof matches and/or a lighter.
l. Multitool or Swiss Army knife.
m. Toilet paper.
n. Plastic tarp (sounds ridiculous, but you never know- handy for fashioning a rain poncho or tent top; alt solution- pack a few heavy duty garbage bags.).
o. Cell phone power block/charger (make sure it’s pre-charged).

3. ADDITIONAL SUPPLIES TO CONSIDER
a. Candles.
b. 3 gallons of emergency water.
c. Back up set of traditional batteries for flashlight.
-Rechargables are great, but if electricity goes out, no blaming me for not reminding you!
d. Windable watch and compass.

4. IF DRIVING
a. Atlas or pre-printed road maps of your escape route.
b. Spare tire and/or tire patch kit.
c. Gasoline can, but read this article regarding safety:
www.autoblog.com/2016/01/04/is-it-safe-to-drive-with-a-gas-can-in-your-car/
d. Replace your wiper fluid, make sure oil, water and antifreeze are up to snuff.
e. Car jack.

With the above out of the way, let’s move on to something uplifting, like…

BOOK UPDATES

While waiting for the U.S. Census to provide updated statistics re: divorce in America, single fathers and more, I’ve been focusing on other projects (Poems About Boys, Conversations [see prior entry], as well as new musical works).  My Twitter and email have remained active, but I wanted to leave an update here for anyone who’s changed addresses or for “newbies” (welcome!) who might be curious.

Last year I…

1. Completed the expanded list of Magnificent Men for our print edition.
-Am pleased to report that we’ve hit 100!  To avoid too many spoilers, I’ll only confirm a handful of candidates who made the final cut: Buckminster Fuller, Cooper Anderson, Dr. Denis Mukwege, Emilio Estevez and Ronan Farrow.  To peek at the original list: inpraiseofmen.com/2016/03/31

2. Authored an additional chapter analyzing #Metoo, Weinstein, Epstein, Cosby, Trump and his administration’s unapologetic bromance with toxic masculinity.  As a feminist, it is imperative that this book DOES NOT gloss over these horrific, inexcusable events, but that it holds these individuals accountable for their crimes and supports survivors.

As you’ve probably guessed, I take my responsibility as the author of this book VERY seriously.  When #metoo broke, I refused publication (even at the risk of offending donors, who’ve been extremely patient) in order to re-educate myself, complete additional research, update aforementioned statistics and address the above.  I’ve spent the past two years patrolling headlines, reading related books (Rose McGowan’s BRAVE, Farrow’s Catch and Kill, Feldman’s Choreography (for #metoo male perspective), Carroll’s What Do We Need Men For?, etc.), and have an armful more to polish off this Spring.

Digging deep is each writer’s responsibility.  In this case, there’s no two ways about it: discussions regarding this book are going to get dirty, but this is the muck that we have to wade through if we’re going to change.  It is my hope that– even if specific groups can’t grasp why I’d spend my entire life spying on the opposite sex– a few of my words will help spark a larger debate.

After all, it’s the second decade of the 21st Century.  In the same way that we can’t continue cramming landfills with plastic or pouring toxic materials into our water supply, we can’t afford the war on one another anymore.

Assuming we survive Trumpocalypse Now, I look forward to seeing you on the pages next year.  If you’d like to connect in the meantime, please email (click CONTACT on above right menu) or find me on Twitter: twitter.com/inpraiseofmen.

Wishing You Hope and Happiness,
Brooke

SUMMER’S END + POEMS ABOUT BOYS

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Evening All,

Here we are again- somewhere between waning Summer sunsets and the lingering, crisp kiss of Fall.  Welcome to my new makeshift office; the book updates are…

REWRITES, CONVERSATIONS & POEMS ABOUT BOYS
While our editor is annotating away (we’re deliberating some serious cuts as well as new rewrites), I’ve continued work on IPoM‘s follow up (CONVERSATIONS: In Praise of Men) as well as the above pictured collection of prose, Poems About Boys.  If you donated $5 or more to our Indiegogo to co-publish IPoM, look for a free PDF copy in your box in early 2020.  I thank you again for your patience and support, and look forward to making you smile in person soon.       

MEKYIA
Next- wherever you’re reading this right now- I’d like to share a moment of silence with you to salute #24 on our
50 Magnificent Men index.  As someone who grew up in Africa, it was inspiring to see Kofi Annan– a neighbor from Ghana- help lead the U.N.  He truly helped change our world and it is my belief that if you work smart, hard and persevere, you will too.


Finally, don’t forget: we’re active each week on
Twitterwww.twitter.com/inpraiseofmen!

With BIG LOVE from the MidWest-
Your faithful author,
Brooke 

 

 

 

HELLO 2018!

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Well Hello!

Just a little wave from Minneapolis to wish you a New Year filled with joy, creativity, passion, wisdom and LOVE.

Also, a quick book check in: as several of you know, we’ve been in some pretty hardcore re-writes.  Between Trump taking office, Women’s March and the advent of #metoo (pssst- we helped launch the #mentoo hashtag the afternoon the story broke; for anyone curious, the statistic for men being sexually assaulted is in 1:6.), much needs to be addressed and your patience is TRULY appreciated.

During 2018, I’m looking forward to doing more research, sharing a few excerpts from In Praise of Men and beginning work on its audio companion.

Last but NEVER least, I must express my gratitude again: THANK YOU for caring about this book; for your patronage, feedback and for busting my chops.

May 2018 be YOUR year-
Alla Prossima,
Brooke

THIS.

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Greetings from Book Editing Land!

Just dropped by to red alert you re: Mud Soldier, a kinetic sculpture conceived by Killian and Damian Van Der Velden.  This extremely poignant (the mud was gathered from Flanders Field, where thousands fought and died) and creative (the rain melting away the mud mimics the rain which fell during battle) tribute to the men who lost their lives in World War I is so very worth seeing.

Currently on view in Trafalgar Square, this thought provoking piece was commissioned to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele.  You can visit it on-line here:
www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4733728/Melting-mud-soldier-sculpture-built-Trafalgar-Square.html  

-File under #neverforget.

Yours,
Brooke

CLOSE TO THE EDIT!

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Mid-Summer Tidings to Ye!

Here (back in Minneapolis), am thrilled to announce we’re CLOSE TO THE EDIT!  Thus, with the exception of intermittent Twitter check-ins (twitter.com/inpraiseofmen), I’ll be off-line for the next 5-7 weeks.

And… What I haven’t yet revealed: I’ve been secretly working on its follow-up CONVERSATIONS: In Praise Of Men whilst our editor has been hard at work.  In the meantime, celebrate with us by enjoying this genius Art of Noise video: youtube.com/watch?v=UarXly9ezEk

See you this Fall!

SPRING IN SANTA BARBARA

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Salutations from sunny Santa Barbara, C.A.  🙂

Hope this note finds you enjoying the shifting seasons somewhere outside.  I’m near the ocean, wrapping up loose ends-  dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s as they say- as we approach publishing.  It’s an exciting time!

While I don’t want to reveal *too* much, I can say:

1. We’ve re-written roughly 1/4 of the book.

2. I’m currently expanding the final chapter (see: Magnificent Men).

A tiny teaser: one of the amazing men being added to Chapter 9 is Rocky Marciano, the World’s ONLY undefeated Heavyweight Champion.  As you’ve likely guessed, Rocky was a cyclopian component of the classic Stallone character Rocky Balboa,  not to mention a committed community and family man, who retired in his prime to spend more time at home.  Below are a few of my favorite photographs of Marciano.

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In the first, Rock hugs the incredible Archie Moore, whom he beat in his final bout.  Ever generous to those he fought, he publicly appreciated and applauded his opponents (watch the end of this aforementioned Marciano vs. Moore match).  Hashtag: #trueclass.

The next image (Rocky in his robe, ‘Brockton’ blazed across the back) makes me smile so much!  Growing up in this hard working, often struggling, blue collar suburb of Boston, he saw how many felt marginalized and made it a point to be loud-n-proud about his neighborhood.  On the same terrain in 1976, just blocks from his boyhood home, I took my first steps at my Gran’s house.  To this day, when life deals me blows, I think of the hard-hitting family man from down the way and know I *have* to get back up.

Finally, the picture of Rocky adoring his daughter (Mary Ann) melts my heart…  And breaks it as well.  Marciano died in a plane crash on the eve of his 46th birthday, leaving behind two beautiful children whose lives were inextricably altered by his loss.  For all of you Dads out there: whether you’re a shoe shine man, a construction worker, a struggling artist, a small business owner or Elon Musk, PLEASE don’t underestimate how VERY important you are to your children and to YOUR neighborhood.

Love,
Brooke

LET IT SNOW!

red-christmas-decorations-christmas-22228015-1920-1200**Season’s Greetings**
I sprinkled a lil snow here for you, no shovel required… 😛

Quick catch up: we’ve firmed up book release/a big push for In Praise of Men for Fall 2017!  In the meantime, I’ve done something slightly cheeky that might “jeopardize a sales segment”, but for which I can’t apologize.  In life, one must stand for what they believe in, and so it is with firmly planted feet that I type these words.

Without a bunch of fancy rhetoric, I stand with Standing Rock.  All of the cultures that commingle in my blood- especially the Mi’kmaq in me- scream: NO MORE.  WE’VE ABUSED THIS COUNTRY’S NATIVE PEOPLE AND LAND LONG ENOUGH!  And clearly, I am FAR from alone- have you seen this yet(?): Veterans At Standing Rock.

I am also deeply disturbed by the racist, unpatriotic acts that birthed BLM, and to put it plainly: Donald Trump is #notmypresident.  If revealing these sentiments somehow seems inappropriate, I understand.  You’re entitled to your opinion, as well as a refund of your pre-order, which I shall courteously return should you request it.

Now, the big reveal.  On election day, after anxiously casting my vote, I rushed off to see Suzanne Vega at a local record shop.  With her was Bowie guitarist Gerry Leonard.  I thought he seemed familiar (had last seen him on the Reality tour, but from nosebleed seats in a stadium), but couldn’t place from where.  When it hit me hours later, I thought about how much had happened since I last saw Gerry; of how I no longer made music; and of course about how that other bright soul on stage (Bowie) was no longer with us.

Around midnight, final polls arriving, a group of us decided we needed a stiff drink.  We wandered into legendary M/SP dive bar The CC Club, and just after clinking our glasses hopefully, I looked up and caught “Clinton Calls Trump To Concede…” silently scrolling across CNN.  At that exact moment, Heresy by NIN randomly came on the overhead.  During the first chorus, a drunk blonde climbed on top of a table and began screaming about our reproductive rights, and all across the bar, heads shook in disbelief.  Was this our future?  Had THIS happened?  We were all terrified.

By the final chorus of Heresy, I knew what I had to do.  I began silently humming the ONLY song I’d ever heard that could convey our mood at that moment, then messaged several of my former TC Electropunk compatriots and a few ex-band mates.  In less than a week, we assembled en masse to cover the Bowie/NIN collab I’m Afraid of Americans.  By week two, we’d organized a video; on week three, we shot and began editing, then recruited a handful remixers from different countries (Britain, France, Africa, Russia, etc.).  Now, one month out…  Gentlemen and Ladies, meet A*O*A:

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Cover Art by Robertson, Whitlatch & Calder

Listen FREE (and if you dig it- own it FOREVER, with a portion of profits benefiting #NODAPL) here: a-o-a.bandcamp.com

Last, am pleased to announce that I just wrapped an on-air with Joe Kelley at WVOF, and while it was music-focused, we most certainly discussed the book and its’ forthcoming release.  Will post the archive here soon, and hope you approve.

With Holiday Cheer,
Brooke

Fall.

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Salutations from the library of the St. James Hotel in Redwing, MN, where the banks of Mark Twain‘s Mississippi are littered with magnificent amber, ocher and rust colored leaves.  While always a bit wistful about Summer’s sayonara, I’m ever enthralled by the falling fauna, crackling fires, long walks, hot apple cider and general ambience of Fall.

Halloween is certainly a glorious, creative thing, but having a full day to reflect on what we’re grateful for- i.e. Thanksgiving- is vital.  This year, I have so much to be thankful for, so I thought I’d take this moment to say: THANK YOU.  I appreciate each and every one of you, and the wonderful folks who- whether editing, re: art direction or providing feedback as a beta reader- are helping this book become a reality.

Wherever you are this weekend, please promise me that you’ll take a moment to stroll outside and take Fall in.

Happy Hallows-To-Be,
Brooke

RULES FOR A KNIGHT

A quick AHOY from Book Editing Land!

My dear friend Erin Carere found something that you might find of interest.  Remember this chap, Ethan Hawke?

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Many of my generation first met him as Todd Anderson in the film Dead Poets Society, in which he, Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Josh Charles and a cast of many made us laugh, smile, cry, and take classic literature a little more seriously.  From Shakespeare to Dickens, 1990’s Seattle-tinged cinema to Sci-Fi, we’ve seen Hawke shapeshift through a slew of characters, but what many of us may not have caught: he’s been moonlighting as… an author!

Hawke’s most recent release, Rules For A Knight is a fascinating read.  Here’s a small snippet from Geekdad: geekdad.com/2016/02/rules-for-a-knight-review, and an excellent interview with Jimmy Fallon:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5Fe2pHejSo

 

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And here’s a link to preview/peruse the book:
www.amazon.com/dp/B00UEKBRUI/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

-Enjoy!

Regards,
Brooke

A VISIT WITH OUR BOYS + BOOK PREVIEW

 

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Our U.S. Navy ensign taking in the Tall Ships at Duluth.

A great, BIG end-of-Summer SALUTE!

This past weekend, I sojourned to Duluth, Minnesota to visit the Tall Ships, and had the privilege of meeting a few of our  U.S. Navy fighting brave, including ensign Blake Ramsdell and Alex Isakson (pictured above).  They had impeccable manners, were full of enthusiasm and optimism, and I couldn’t help but feel like a very proud Auntie.

This led to meditating on how We the People are a little bit like one giant, extended family, and thinking a good deal about my Grandfather, U.S. Navy veteran James ‘Jim’ Richards.

 

 
Jim- who in later years preferred to be called by his middle name, Grahame- was a World War II recruit who served as chief announcer and program director for Armed Forces Radio on Leyte.  The Battle of Leyte (part of the Pacific Campaign) is perhaps most famous for being where General MacArthur– aided by the Navy, U.S. Army and native Philippinos fighting for their lives- landed and took back the island from the Imperial Japanese Army  in 1944.

As we finish editing the Men At War chapter of In Praise of Men  this weekend, my gratitude and thoughts are with all of those who served, who currently serve, their families and with our Navy, who shall always be especially dear to my heart.

Last, if you donated (or chose a perk/perks equal to… ) $100 or more to the book publishing campaign, look for an invitation to read the Author’s Edit of the first 1/3 of In Praise of Men this Wednesday!

With Bright Blessings,
Brooke

 

PS:  If you purchased a perk or perks that were under $100, but want to qualify for this week’s preview: I’ll honor your original amount, kick in a $15 credit, and additional donations and/or perks to reach the qualifying $100 may be located @: www.indiegogo.com/projects/in-praise-of-men-book#/