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The Long UFO Journey of Greg Bishop “Defies Language”

IDLCover

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

Greg Bishop is an aging UFO warrior who got sucked into the bizarre vortex of ufology when still a young boy – and now all these decades later he bears the psychic scars that only UFO investigation can inflict upon the eager seeker who just wants to know the truth – but where finding any truth may be impossible.

His efforts have been persistent and bordering on heroic. In this book Mr. Bishop takes us on a breezy sojourn through his thoughts and experiences gleaned from his persistent pursuit for understanding of the UFO phenomenon. In these pages, he often veers from one extreme to another – from the brutal realization that much about UFOs is depressing bunk, while at the same time, acknowledging there remains tantalizing evidence that something “nonhuman” has been interacting with mankind for thousands of years.

But just what is it? That’s the question that torments Greg Bishop. That’s what makes him the kind of UFO junkie I can appreciate. Bishop has learned to live gracefully with uncertainty. He knows that just when you think you’ve found some solid footing about who or what UFOs are, the game changes suddenly and quixotically. Fact becomes fallacy, truth becomes fraud – but just when you’re ready to chuck it all and give up, guess what?

Something happens to suggest that: “They’re he-e-e-r-e!” And so the devotee is off and running again on the universe’s most mercurial quest.

George Adamski: Perhaps the most famous of the ’50s Era Conactees

Howard Menger: Was this famous Contactee a fraud, a CIA asset, or the real deal?

His journey has sent Bishop reaching for answers and grappling to suggest new models. For example, he suggests that the 1950s contactee era, ala the likes of George Adamski, Howard Menger, et.al., might be viewed (or explained) as a kind of post-modern art movement – an attempt to inject radical new ideas into the collective consciousness of humanity leveraging the benign space visitor motif. Was this “art movement” a conscious creation of the various Adamskis and Mengers? Were they blatant bunko artists — or perhaps they were unwilling pawns of actual alien influences, meddling with the mind of humanity for a planetary social engineering project?

Who knows?

While Bishop conjures new paradigms, he also decries our penchant to latch on to pre-packaged explanations for what UFOs are, especially the long-dominant belief that, “They are alien beings from other planets visiting the Earth in nuts-and-bolts spacecraft.” He says a statement like this is “so loaded with semantic baggage … it is meaningless.” He writes:

“Belief implies a lack of critical thinking. UFOs are automatically assumed by most to be structures vehicles piloted by intelligent being from other planets. They don’t need to be … there are many reasons that a skeptical mindset and lack of assumptions make the subject more interesting and worthy of consideration. To settle on one explanation is to shut down serious inquiry …”

Greg Bishop

That goes for all the theories and models floated in the past 50 or 60 years – that UFOs are interdimensional beings/craft, time travelers, ancient ‘gods’ or exotic but indigenous races that co-evolved with humanity right here on earth, or that the UFO phenomenon is a manifestation of consciousness evolution of the psyche of mankind itself.

Maybe it’s all of the above – but ultimately – the brutal fact is that we still find ourselves mired in a radical state of: “We just don’t know.” That does not mean that we should stop clawing at our intellects to eke out some measure of understanding, Bishop suggests.

So this is a pretty good read – and that goes for both the extremely experienced UFO enthusiasts (guys like me who have read thousands of books and articles and done actual investigations) to the casual reader who likes to browse a UFO book occasionally to scratch a UFO itch.

Be aware that this is one of those books that has been cobbled together from a collection of the author’s blog posts and other published articles from over the years – these kinds of books tend to suffer a bit from lack of focus or a certain unevenness in the quality of what’s included and what probably should have been cut.

However, for the most part, IT DEFIES LANGUAGE challenges, entertains and invites us to stretch our minds. Greg Bishop urges us to think outside the box, shake off our preconceived notions, guard against getting rutted in outmoded models, avoid fallacies and traps – and beseech our Higher Power of choice for the wisdom to know the difference.



Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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No serious indie writer should be without this book on how to self-publish and sell a lot of books

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Review by: KEN KORCZAK

My favorite saying in the writing business is:

“It takes a certain brilliance to write a book, but it takes a genius to sell that book.”

Well, that means that MARTIN CROSBIE is some kind of genius because he sells a lot of books. Even Amazon.com itself named him one of their “success stories” among self-publishers in 2012.

Now this ingenious indie author wants to help other wannabe writers sell their books. This offering, HOW I SOLD 30,000 eBOOKS ON AMAZON KINDLE is jammed-packed with advice on how to climb that mountain.

Crosbie not only knows how to sell books, he knows how to sell what he’s selling. For example, I like this bit from the early pages:

“Due to a number of factors, and luck was certainly one of them, in February of 2012 the book I wrote in the spare bedroom of my house, that over one hundred and thirty agents and publishers didn’t want, hit Amazon’s top ten overall bestseller list and stayed there for a week … I sold about eighteen thousand e-books that month. And I made $46,000.”

Yeah baby! Let me tell you, that kind of talk is absolute catnip for struggling writers everywhere. Do you know how many people want to take a ride like that with a book they labored to write in a spare bedroom in their spare time while the kids were howling, the dishes were piling up in the sink and bill collectors knocking at the door?

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Canadian indie author Martin Crosbie

But while Mr. Crosbie shows us the juicy carrot, he also gets out the stick and proceeds page after page to give writers the sobering drubbing they need and deserve – and by that I mean, he shows how writing is hard work, and selling your writing is even harder – and yet, he does it with an infectious enthusiasm that will get readers excited about what is possible.

Yes, it’s an encouraging book. Motivating!

Most of all, this book is loaded with terrific advice, solid step-by-step instructions and meaty insights gleaned from his own successes and bitter failures on his road to achieving a significant measure of publishing success.

From the importance of editing (he really hammers away on this), to the vital factor of navigating the jungles of social media, to book cover design, to developing relationships with other key players in the field – and much more – no indie writer today can afford NOT to know about this stuff, and more importantly, take action and actually DO this stuff.

I borrowed this book for free using my Amazon Prime account, but it’s so loaded with advice and an excellent collection of resource links in the back, I’m going to go ahead and buy a permanent copy.

I’ve been a successful full-time freelance writer for 30 years now, and I’ve learned how to survive (and sometimes thrive) – but even someone like me can’t afford to be without a book like this on my shelf — and neither can you if you want to quit your day job and make it in the world of writing and publishing.




Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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J.R. Tomlin writes a gripping crime thriller set in medieval Scotland: “The Templar’s Cross” is a fine, fast read

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Review by: KEN KORCZAK

The Templar’s Cross is a tightly-written murder mystery set in 15th Century Scotland.

It moves along briskly and will keep readers turning the pages. Author J.R. TOMLIN vividly recreates a late medieval Perth, an ancient city of central Scotland situated on the River Tay.

Under Tomlin’s pen, the Perth of 1424 comes alive in all of its dreary, muddy, damp and noisy vitality – streets are filled with common folk, peasants and barking marketers selling kale, leeks and bloody cuts of butchered meats, as well as crusts of bread and the occasional spicy sausage.

Our hero is a Scottish Knight who is damaged goods. Sir Law Kintour was badly injured fighting the English in France at the Battle of Verneui – now back in Scotland sporting a bad limp, he is desperate to find a new patron to fight for, but who wants to hire a crippled knight?

Holed up in a drafty, seedy room above a lowly tavern, Sir Law’s luck suddenly turns when he receive a visit from a mysterious stranger who has a job for him – but it’s not the kind of work befitting a battle-tested knight.

Desperate for coin, Sir Law agrees to take on a mission which quickly embroils him in a double-murder mystery. Worse yet, he quickly becomes a prime suspect. Now he must solve the murders in just days or hang for the grisly crimes himself!

This is the second J.R. Tomlin novel I have read. I thought the first, FREEDOM’S SWORD, was an okay read, but with this offering, Tomlin shows that she has grown considerably into her craft. She is emerging as a polished writer with an excellent feel for pacing, command of place and subject, and an ability to captivate readers — immersing us in a long-past era of history that comes alive in all of its harsh majesty.

I think it’s inevitable that ‘Templar’s Cross’ will be compared with the hugely best-selling ‘Hangman’s Daughter’ by German author Oliver Pötzsch, also a murder mystery set in a grimy European city of antiquity – if ‘Templar’s’ is perhaps not as richly imagined as ‘Hangman’, it has better pacing, is more tightly written and leaves us hungry for more.

In fact, that’s my only (very minor) complaint about this book – it ends in a satisfying bang, but truly begs for an epilogue. Tomlin misses an opportunity to not only “cool down’ her readers, but to also let us enjoy a satisfying mug of ale with Sir Law as he warms his aching bones next to a peat fire while munching on a spicy sausage – as he contemplates his next mission.

But, whatever – when a writer leaves us eagerly wanting more, that means ‘mission accomplished.’ You have that feeling that you’ve just enjoyed a great book.




Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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Author Allen Tiffany master-crafts an intense Vietnam War novel

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Review by: KEN KORCZAK

This is a short, intense and gripping novel that holds the reader in a state of tension almost from first page to last, and that tension is released by a masterfully-handled description of a bloody firefight in the steaming jungles of Vietnam.

The book succeeds because the author captures the reality of war by showing us what it truly is — a frightening combination of intense boredom and endless fatigue punctuated by horrific moments of frenetic combat in which men are shot, stabbed, wounded, bleed and die.

It tells the story of a U.S. Army infantry corporal leading his men on patrols in the steamy jungles of Vietnam in an area near the Cambodian border. The area is infested with the enemy; the U.S. soldiers, some barely more than boys out of high school, are playing a constant game of kill or be killed. They are in a frightening foreign, alien environment that are the nightmarish jungles of South East Asia.

All the gloves are off – this is a bitter fight where the only goal is to see which side can kill or maim as many as possible on the other side.

It’s takes a remarkable amount of writing skill to capture the brutal reality that was the desperate fight in Vietnam. Author ALLEN TIFFANY does everything a writer can do right to place his readers inside the story — to tell a story — to create characters, set a scene, build a plot and impart a theme.

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Allen Tiffany

The writing is tight, without a wasted word. Each sentence is no-nonsense, clean and lean. What’s truly amazing is that the author manages to introduce us to five characters and brings each one of them to life as believable figures we quickly get to know – and thus we care about them and feel empathy for their dire situation.

Great writing is also about illuminating small details – the nitty-gritty aspects of just getting by – such a filling a canteen from a muddy stream and dousing it with iodine tablets — a soldier curled up in his poncho sleeping in the mud – or showing us how a knife blade can be too wide to penetrate the brain if you stab a man in the eye.

Best of all, the author understands that if you tell a story, and tell it well, all the rest takes care of itself. That is, you don’t have to get on a soapbox to rant and rave about whether you think the Vietnam War was right or wrong.

There’s no lecturing or bland moralizing. Yes, there’s a sense of guilt, regret, confusion and horror – of doing one’s duty for one’s country — but all of this falls out naturally by illustrating a situation thrust upon innocent American young men by the ever-so-wise “Powers That Be.”

YOUTH IN ASIA  is more than just a short, punchy war novel – it’s great literature.




Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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A small heartfelt gem that tells of life-after-death communication

Peters

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

This small book brought a tear to my eye, and also gave me goose bumps more than once.

It’s an honest, sincere accounting of a man’s experience of not just dealing with the death of his parents, but his real-life experience of establishing afterdeath communication with them..

Even better, it offers tantalizing evidence that when the physical body dies, the person does not. Call it what you want – the soul, spirit, energy body, higher self, mind – there is a huge body of scientific (yes, scientific) evidence that physical death is not the end.

Not only is there life after death, but we can communicate with the loved ones we have lost. They’re still there for us, they can communicate with us, and we can talk back to them. You just have to be willing to open your mind and reshape your belief system to accept that it is possible.

The incidents of afterdeath communication author Alexander Peters demonstrates in these pages proves to me that his story is authentic. I say this based on dozens of other books I have read by some of the world’s most elite doctors and scientists who have written about the specific nature of afterdeath communications.

These include: Dr. Gary Schwartz, Dr. Michael Newton, Dr. Pim van Lommel, Dr. Eben Alexander, Dr, Raymond Moody, Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Dr. Brian Weiss, Julia Assante Ph.D., Dr. Larry Dossey and that’s just to name a few.

What all of these luminaries agree upon is that afterdeath messages from our loved ones often take the form of not just direct thoughts and actual words that are heard – but seemingly coincidental symbolisms which cannot be mistaken for anything else but a message from the departed.

As this book demonstrates, these symbolic communications can be things like a special song with lyrics containing just the message you need to hear – and that song unexpectedly begins playing on your radio just as you are thinking about your loved one.

Peters tells of amazing confluences involving his cell phone and Blackberry, the appearance of a special bird, the surprise appearance of gifts – and much more.

He packs a lot into this short book. This is obviously not a slick book written by a professional writer, but rather is an honest, readable account penned by an ordinary middle-class guy from a small town in England.

It’s a significant contribution to the ever-growing body of literature by scientists and ordinary folks alike who have come to realize — beyond a reasonable doubt — that life goes on after death. The fact is, our loved ones never leave our sides. Even after death, they’re still right there for us, and close by.

To find this book online, go here: MY MUMMY AND DADDY

Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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The ghost of Ernest Hemingway: Still eloquent in the Afterlife

51fl3+IFDmL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_KEN KORCZAK:

This is the second FRANK DeMARCO book I’ve read. The first was “A Place To Stand,” and I think anyone who reads both of the above will be sufficiently impressed that here is a guy who not merely another frivolous New Age writer raving from the fringe, or some person seeking to capitalize on the name of Hemingway merely to sell a book.

This is an intelligent book of substance that should intrigue long-time Hemingway fans, and give us pause to consider the implications of what it might really be like to have a one-on-one chat with an American literary giant.

There is ample historic president for these kinds of books, in particular, Jane Robert’s (author of Seth Speaks), “channeling” of the American philosopher William James. That book came out in 1977; James died in 1910.

Another famous example: Emily Grant Hutchings and a medium using an Ouija board took “dictation” from the spirit of Mark Twain to produce an entirely new novel, “Jap Herron.” It was published in 1916, six years after Twain’s death.

In 1869, a medium “downloaded” a fresh novel written by the deceased Emily Brontë; It’s presented in a book called “Strange Visitors” edited by an esteemed legal scholar, Henry J. Horn.

So DeMarco is backed by solid tradition, and the precedent of others who have written amazingly high quality books in this way.

Beginning in 2004, DeMarco, using the time-honored, method of automatic writing, made psychic contact Hemingway and engaged in a vigorous post-death conversation with Hemingway. The dialogue resulted in this book.

In it, Hemingway clears the deck on dozens of misconceptions he says numerous biographers and academics have besmirched upon his life, work and legacy over the years.

Not that he’s particularly angry or blames living biographers who, after all, only gave it their best shot. It’s just that, Hemingway says the game is rigged. Writing a truly accurate biography is fundamentally impossible. The deceased Hemingway tells DeMarco:

“To write a true biography you would need to do impossible things, such as:

* See and feel and think and react as the subject would have done.

* Contain within yourself all the subject’s background, including people, places, books he’s read, the news of the day (day by day), the daydream he had, the talents and aversions and every aspect of his personality.

* Know everything that had ever happened to him and some that happened only around him, and from multiple points of view.

* Know every strand that operated within him, and in what proportion and in what circumstances, including the tremendous amount he didn’t realize himself.

*Know at least something of why he came into life (or, you might say, what the potential or that particular mixture of elements was) and see how one thing could express only at the expense of others, and hence what tensions set up.”

That all makes sense, when you think about it. Certainly, the dead Hemingway has a knack for bringing an unclouded, common-sense kind of wisdom to vexing questions and thorny issues.

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Frank DeMarco

Another example: DeMarco asks Hemingway to explain something controversial the macho-man writer once said, that he would “rather beat someone up than read a good book.” (This in light of Hemingway’s well-known love of boxing and barroom brawling).

Hemingway, from his perch in the Afterlife, defends his statement this way:

“All right … who are you talking to? In this case I mean, what age Hemingway? The answer you’d get from a 20-year-old isn’t what you’d get ten years later, or thirty, or after-the-fact entirely … the whole point of living is not to be the same year by year, but to change — I didn’t prefer beating somebody up to reading a good book. Just count the number of people I beat up and the number of books I read!”

Still eloquent in death, Hemingway scores again!

DeMarco’s book is loaded with gems like these. Hemingway’s quips zero in like sharpened darts, hitting dead-on rhetorical bullseyes time and again.

If this is not the actual spirit of Hemingway speaking through DeMarco, then DeMarco himself is one clever wordsmith.

But wait a minute — DeMarco cautions us that just who is actually communicating here is a tad more complicated than you might think. Here is the way DeMarco struggles to define his trans-death connection with the deceased writer:

“I think you mean to say that Hemingway 1899-1961 and DeMarco 1946-20-whatever do not touch, and that I have been thinking that DeMarco-46 was touching the spirit of Hemingway-99, but it may be more accurate to say that the larger being of which DeMarco-46 is a part is communicating with the larger being of which Hemingway-99 is a part, and the two time-bound parts are having a sort of virtual conversation.”

In other words, most people assume that when you contact the spirit of a dead person, you are speaking to the exact person/ego-construct/personality of that same person when he or she was alive.

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Papa

But there is not a Person A = Person A situation vis-a-vis the live version of a person and the afterlife version of that same person.

After we pass over to the other side, we apparently expand our consciousnesses to embody the “whole self,” or perhaps “soul self.” We become aligned with the so-called Oversoul.

For the dead, the ego-self recedes into the background because the ego is actually an elaborate, artificial coping/defense construct designed to function in the environment of our earth-bound, physical matter reality. The ego is too often shaped by fears and desires, and is a reactor rather than an actor within a material system. Yet, after death, we can still operate from an ego-based platform if we want to …

What I really like about Afterdeath Conversations With Hemingway is that it reads not like the typical spooky and/or smarmy medium-channeled stuff, but as an insightful, intelligent and piercing series of observations by a savvy writer, who just happens to be positioned in the non-physical realm.

DeMarco’s book makes the extraordinary situation of speaking with the dead seem as commonplace as chatting with your Uncle Ned via Skype.

With dogged attention to detail, DeMarco combs through the issues that were the passions of Hemingway’s vigorous life — World War I, the Spanish Civil War, the American psyche, the artistic culture of Europe, big game hunting, deep sea fishing, writing and literature. Hemingway discusses what it meant to be an American, an emerging modern man in a nation straining to become the next superpower.

What about his suicide? Hemingway is actually rather blasé and dismissive of the whole issue. He called suicide “the family exit.” Hemingway’s father committed suicide, as did his brother, Leicester, and sister, Ursula. The dead Hemingway says of his suicide:

“When I left the body — when I blew myself out of that situation — I knew what I was doing, and why. I wasn’t emotionally distraught, I wasn’t out of my mind, and I wasn’t even depressed — once I figured out how to get out … the bad effects of suicide have a lot more to do with attitudes that with the given act.”

After his death, Hemingway tells DeMarco that he now manifests himself in the spirit world as a 30-something-year-old.

“I went back to being in my mid-thirties,” Hemingway said. “I was happy then. I’d taken my lumps and I’d already left Hadley, (first wife Hadley Richardson) which was a stupid thing to do but there you are, and I was in the prime of life.”

The bottom line: This is a marvelous read, well worthy of five stars, and gets my top recommendation.

Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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Real Santa is an old fashioned, feel good Christmas tale with a modern edge

9781938467943_FC1Review By KEN KORCZAK

In a society that has grown deeply cynical, lost faith in its old crumbling traditions, and where belief systems change as fast as Internet trends, perhaps only extreme measures can recapture the magic of innocence lost.

That’s what prompts freshly unemployed engineer George Kronenfeldt to hatch a thoroughly lunatic plan designed to do nothing less than prove that Santa Clause is real.

Specifically, he wants his nine-year-old daughter (who is beginning to doubt) to believe just a little bit longer.

Unfortunately, bringing back a bit of faith to a cold-blooded, materialistic world could cost Mr. Kronenfeldt everything — his house, his marriage, his career, his reputation — he may end up financially ruined for life.

If the book I’m describing sounds a bit heavy, think again. This latest offering by Chicago-based writer William Elliot Hazelgrove is hilarious, light-hearted sugar plum fun. Real Santa is an over-the-top Christmas fantasy — but which requires a heavy dose of willing suspension of disbelief by the reader. That’s because the central plot premise is pretty outrageous.

But think of the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” — it juxtaposes the dreary life of George Bailey and his battle with greed, depression and alienation with a Christmas angel and the magical promise of a mythological Christmas spirit.

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William Elliot Hazelgrove

In fact, the book references Hollywood Christmas movie classics throughout the narrative and plays on their themes. Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, White Christmas, Elf — Hazelgrove has leveraged the central feeling and heart of these classics and penned an updated tale couched in today’s world of YouTube, smartphones, video cameras, greed, capitalism and materialism.

However, there is also a certain vibe from another kind of Christmas movie — “Bad Santa.” In that movie, Billy Bob Thornton played a foul-mouthed boozed-up burnout mall Santa who is actually a criminal.

I say “a certain vibe” because there’s an element of gritty edginess here in Real Santa that includes a lot of references to reindeer defecating and urinating, Santa figures smoking cigarettes as they curse and moan about nagging wives and busted marriages — there’s at least a couple references to the “stimulated” male body part — for good measure, Old Saint Nick makes an obscene gesture via dropping his pants — oh, and did I mention that our novel’s hero is not above getting into a physical assault dust up with a white-haired old school teacher, and he also takes a butcher knife to inflict criminal property damage on his neighbor’s tasteless Christmas decorations?

Yes, for the most part, the gooey sentimentality and sticky, smarmy Christmas magic schlock is laid on thick, but this story takes place in Chicago, the Murder Capital of the Midwest, not A Christmas Story’s Hohman, Indiana, and the writer is William Hazelgrove, not Jean Shepherd.

And so, there is a certain irony: A delightful book such as Real Santa suggests that while you might be able to recapture that old Christmas magic with extraordinary effort, you can never really go home to quite the same Christmas magic again.

Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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