HAPPY FATHER’S DAY FELLAS!
Hello from Minneapolis, where summer’s kiss is upon us… Where orchids and lilacs bloom relentlessly as boats race back and forth on Lake Harriet, Calhoun and Mark Twain’s Mississippi. ‘Tis truly a sight for sore eyes that have been staring at this computer screen, micro-editing a certain book endlessly… 😉
As mentioned in our Indiegogo update, we had a slight snafu concerning the cover art for In Praise of Men. Corbis- who owned Lunch Atop A Skyscraper– was acquired by Getty Images on May 2nd, and licensing costs have since doubled. For more detailed info, please visit: www.indiegogo.com/projects/in-praise-of-men–3#/
-Please vote for your favorite cover in a comment below or email me directly!
PS: A few of you have asked re: advance copies but they sold out pretty quickly. I’ve created a limited edition run + couple of new packages here: www.indiegogo.com/projects/in-praise-of-men–3#/updates
First things first: apologies for the radio silence.
Next, the truth. Two weeks ago Thursday, I put a pot of coffee on, fired up my laptop and began typing here when my husband (Simon) gave me a terrible reason to pause. He relayed something shocking he’d read online; I- not quite believing it- messaged a few people, then paced our apartment nervously. As we anxiously monitored the Internet for developments, a confirmation text arrived: someone dear to many of us had died.
I must digress… O.U.A.T. (Once Upon A Time), in a galaxy far, far away, I did time as a music personality (Lolly Pop), the star gate into which was a tiny video stint with Prince.
Story condensed: During the mid-1980’s, I knighted him my fictitious big brother; arriving in Minneapolis in ’94, I was lucky enough to be cast in Get Wild, which- when paired with hard work- would change my life. There’s more of course, but I probably won’t be qualified to pen that book for another decade. Something deep will surface at some point, but I’m just not ready to swim through that sea yet.
Now, speaking of points: all that followed led me here, to this precise moment with you. So… THANK YOU. Thank you for tuning in. Thank you for caring. And as several of you transitioned here from my life in music, THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOYALTY.
Last… My friend Brian Gallagher (Prince‘s saxophonist circa NPG; also one of the founding members of Greazy Meal) likewise very suddenly passed away in March. You can read a bit about his life here: www.startribune.com/brian-gallagher-of-greazy-m…. While Brian was an infinitely talented musician and songwriter, he was also an amazing Dad to three beautiful, smart as well as loving children (Ava, Cesar and Magdalena), whom he would have given ANYTHING for. He loved to paint, cook, landscape and laugh. Brian is survived not only by his music, but by his parents, sister (Kristin), children, his partner (Gina), by his nieces, nephews, friends and co-workers.
Given the unexpected ascension of these two bright souls, I’ve needed time to reflect. It’s been a surreal month to say the least. It is my hope that you’ll forgive delays pertaining to In Praise of Men, and know that things will be back on track shortly.
Brian and Prince, circa ’95/’96 (?)
Sir Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln Presiding – Just Two of The Gents Featured Below.
It is with great enthusiasm that I write to you on this misty Thursday morning from Minneapolis. Tiny bulbs are beginning to push their way through the soil in Loring Park, threatening impending splendor. Despite the looming clouds and pre-April showers, Spring has arrived!
Before the big reveal, a few disclaimers:
Thus: after years of collecting candidates (there were originally 120), months of research, a few raging Facebook debates, a public poll and A LOT of private vetting, I humbly submit…
01. Abraham Lincoln
02. Alan Turing
03. Albert Schweitzer
04. TIE: Alexander Graham Bell & Elisha Gray
05. Arthur Janov
06. Barack Obama
07. Bernie Sanders
08. Chris Kluwe
09. Christopher Reeve
10. Clyde E. Ogle
12. [14th] Dalai Lama
13. Davide Martello
14. Derek Sivers
15. Desmond Tutu
16. Frank Shankwitz
17. Fred (Mr.) Rogers
18. George Takei
19. Henry Dunant
20. James “Jim” E. Sullivan
21. Jeffrey Gettleman
22. Jimmy Carter
23. TIE- The Kelly Brothers– Scott & Mark (Astronauts)
24. Kofi Annan
25. Kyle Carpenter
26. Leonard Nimoy
27. Levar Burton
28. Lewis Howard Latimer
29. Martin Prechtel
30. Michio Kaku
31. Neil Armstrong
32. Neil Strauss
33. Nelson Mandela
34. Nikola Tesla
35. Paramahansa Yogananda
36. Paul Newman
37. Paul Wellstone
38. Peter Tatchell
39. Pope Francis
40. Richard Feynman
41. Robert Bly
42. Ronald Mallet
43. Robert O. Fisch
44. Russell Means
45. Stuart Franklin
46: Tears For Fears – Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith
47. Theodore Roosevelt
48. U2 – Paul Hewson, David Howell Evans, Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton
49. Wing Young Huie
50. Winston Churchill
Honorable mentions: William Gibson, Buckminister Fuller, Neil Gaiman, and anyone else who I may not yet be aware of that should be on this list. We’ll likely expand it for the in-print edition: when the book arrives, I hope you’ll take time to read up on each of them- especially the ones that you may not be familiar with.
PS: If there’s some sort of unscrupulous conduct by any of the above listed that I’ve somehow missed, please email me (brookercalder[at]gmail) ASAP, with subject header: URGENT- RE: 50 MAGNANIMOUS MEN.
PPS: If you’d like to help publish In Praise of Men:
First things first: have you remembered to set set your clock(s) an hour forward? Excellent. Now, a quick recap of this past week…
Thirteen years ago today, on February 27th, 2003, one of the brightest beacons of our time- Fred Rogers– ascended.
As if but months back, I recall briskly strolling home from a writing session at Nina’s Coffee Cafe, only to discover the New York Times article announcing his departure on our dining room table. The wind knocked out of me, I surveyed the headline to make sure I’d read it right… I had. Blankly, I stared out of the window of 589 Laurel Avenue- a house in historic St. Paul that I shared with beautician Sandra Albert, author Von Braschler and actor Dan Fuller- swallowed the lump in my throat, then mustered up the courage to read the obituary of my television Dad.
Tear-stung half way through, I fumbled for the nearby phone, in a weak attempt to call my Mother, who was probably the only person that might understand my impending melt down. I couldn’t finish dialing on first try, hung up after the first buzz during the second, then deliberately let it ring. The 27-year-old me was embarrassed, but the kid in me couldn’t help it. By the time she answered, I was sobbing unintelligibly, whilst silently thanking various Catholic, Roman and Greek deities that none of my aforementioned housemates were around to witness this hot mess.
You see, for many of us Gen-X/Y-ers dealing with divorce and/or Fatherlessness in our families, Mister Rogers was our part-time Pop, Uncle or Granddad. For others, he was a mentor, friend, tour guide, self-esteem coach, or if nothing else, that familiar, reassuring, smiling face between channels.
After a heart-to-heart with my Mom, I finished reading his obituary, then dragged my feet upstairs, to the privacy of my then-pink bedroom. And so, one block away from where F. Scott Fitzgerald was born, I dug out what childhood toys I had left, surrounded myself with them and cried myself to sleep.
Of all the bigger pieces I’ve read about Fred, this 1998 Esquire Magazine cover story by Tom Junod is one of the most touching:
esquire.com/entertainment/tv/interviews/a27134/can-you-say-hero-esq1198. I also cherish this recently republished New York Daily News article from 1973: www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/mister-rogers-focuses-children-feelings-article-1.2542259. Reading this coverage of his funeral has also helped me to make peace with it, as rainbows, hearts and coloring pencils couldn’t have been more appropriate, and I’ve always admired Yo-Yo Ma (now more than ever): http://old.post-gazette.com/localnews/20030504rogers0504p1.asp.
Tonight, I hope that you’ll take a moment to remember Fred with me, to reflect on all of the helpful things he taught us, and to re-visit an important episode. In our adult lives where everything moves at near-light speed and all has changed, this episode is particularly pertinent: www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8eEHV-b6WM.
Next, I’d like to acknowledge that it’s partially due to Mister Rogers’ work that I’ve been able to pen In Praise of Men. If ever any thing’s out of place in your life and you need advice, to see the smiling face of a life-long neighbor or friend, all you need to do is find him on Youtube, or visit his legacy site: www.fredrogers.org/fred-rogers.
Finally, I’d like to spread some good news: Fred is still very much with us, in the countless lives he touched.
Thank you again Mister Rogers, thank you to your family, staff and to PBS.
With Speedy Delivery and Love,
Two of my favorite men in the world, who are featured in our final chapter,
50 Magnanimous Men.
Norma Jean Baker- one of the bright 20th Century beauties pondered in
CHAPTER 2: HOW WOMEN HAVE CHANGED
As returning folks know, today is not only St. Valentine’s Day, but the day that we go public via social media! If you’re visiting for the first time, please accept a warm welcome; if you have any questions, I’ll be monitoring our Twitter as well as our new Facebook group intermittently today (or leave a note below): facebook.com/IPofM.
Should you have queries about the dame pressing this thing, peek-a-boo here: inpraiseofmendotcom.wordpress.com/about/
Last, I’d like to point out that St. Valentine was a bold and bad-ass gentleman of Faith, who reportedly refuted the Roman Emperor Claudius II. Here’s a few fascinating things you may not know about him, and today’s holiday, courtesy of The History Channel: history.com/news/6-surprising-facts-about-st-valentine
Wishing You Love & Happiness Always-