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The summer of 69 I was enjoying Ernie Banks leading the Cubs until the Mets ended it all – at least young 2016 Cub fans will have what we never did.
Think about how those involved are working to make things better.
Every city has ghosts, but some have more than others. Detroit is one of those places. When you have a city with such an incredible and tragic past still reeling from issues and challenges that impact a vulnerable population, spirits will linger. The truth is that in order to really appreciate and understand Detroit, you need to go looking for them. They’re not hard to find here – every building, park, street and community has a story to tell that goes beyond the surface. If you care enough to listen, the ghosts reveal themselves. Sometimes, they find you instead of the other way around. This is what happened to me on a recent Saturday morning. I was taking an aimless drive around the city, when I passed by a cemetery. The cemetery is a place that I can’t resist visiting. Whenever I go to a new city, it’s one of those places on my list of things to see. I’ve visited cemeteries in cities across the U.S., in Scotland, Germany, Armenia and Mongolia. They offer the best insight in getting to know where you are. They help piece together the story of a place that can’t be told just by its current facade.
We fix up homes in Detroit to award creative residencies to writers.
Julia* grew up picking mushrooms and fruit in a small village in the countryside of Bulgaria. She loved this pastime and enjoyed doing it alongside her family—but she saw that everyone around her in the village was struggling. Julia* wanted something more for her life.
When she was offered an opportunity to pick mushrooms in the Netherlands for higher pay, she accepted. She was excited to do what she loved, with job security, and a hope for a better future.
But when she arrived, Julia* discovered that she had been deceived. She was thrown into a house crammed with other foreigners and forced to work from dawn to dusk for little or no pay. She had been trafficked for her labor, enslaved, and trapped. But, after some time, Julia* bravely escaped out of a window and ran to safety.
With the assistance of A21, she was safely repatriated home to Bulgaria. Since coming into our care, she has completed our aftercare program and found employment through our social enterprise, Liberty.
After all of the trauma and abuse she experienced, Julia* has continued to recover step by step. She’s had a safe environment to work in, community to support her, and time to heal. Now, after two stable years of employment, with Liberty on her résumé, Julia* is able to bravely take steps toward a life of full independence
Ashton Kutcher’s new media company A+ is off to a start that, well, suits its name.
On the surface A+ is a website that publishes feel-good content. Some of the upbeat, quirky headlines read like those on Upworthy — “They Expected To Rescue 1 Dog, But A Few Days Later There Were 10 More” and “You’ll Never See The World In The Same Way After Watching This.”
At its core A+ is a publishing platform that its founders hope will be used by writers, marketers, and celebrities who want to make viral content. In exchange for viral stories, A+ will pay some of its contributors a share of the ad revenue generated from their posts.
“We situate ourselves as the new social publisher,” Dabaghi told CNNMoney.
Already, A+ has attracted an impressive audience with very little promotion.
Location: Spotsylvania, Virginia Pastor: Justin Spradlin Weekly Worship: 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM, Eastern Fast Facts: Calvary Baptist Church is an Independent Baptist Church nestled right in the middle of Spotsylvania County. Pastor Spradlin has been there for nearly a year after returning as pastor to his home church. Calvary is a smaller rural church…
Code of Conduct: A Thriller (Scot Harvath Book 14) by Brad Thor. This is a NY Times best seller in the Paperback Mass-Market Fiction Category. Brad Thor is a well known bestselling author of the Scot Harvath Thriller series. His next book, entitled Foreign Agent, debuts June 14th.
What I liked.
The thriller genre is not as attractive to me as others I prefer to read more often. So I tend to be more demanding. I’ll often judge this type based on whether I feel compelled to skip ahead while reading (a bad sign). However, some would argue that the death knell for similar stories is when you put the book down and awhile later discover you haven’t picked it back up. Phrases like ‘page turner’ are key to separating the wheat from the chaff in this regard. Needless to say, Thor definitely does pass muster with this book. What need I say? There is a broad, ambitious story, involving the fate of mankind. Thor has mastered the art of maintaining tension and interest as characters navigate through conflicts that challenge their morality, their determination, and their intelligence.
Because of an epic scale that spans the globe, multiple groups of characters are introduced and reintroduced. Thor weaves these stories at a pace that allows you to keep track of who’s who, without bogging down the action. And there is plenty of action. As is typical of the genre, the violence ramps up towards the final climactic ending, and you will be ready when the time comes.
One perceived weakness of the genre is the balance of substance. Here we’re found wanting if it appears to be ‘all action, no talk’. Thor adds meat to the prose by interspersing political philosophy: it isn’t just good verses evil, but government bureaucracy verses individual liberty. So the conflict between ideas is just as entertaining as the cage fight spectacle.
What I didn’t like.
A story of this scope and style often treads lightly on character development. While there is enough there to like the good guys, and dislike the bad guys, I was still left wanting. Scot Harvath is a very well developed protagonist and you’re left with no doubt about his reasons why or raison d’etre, s’il vous plait. Not so much for the people around him. They are more or less two dimensional. For example the two prominent female characters are stereotypical archetypes. But that probably won’t bother the target demographic.
I had a similar issue with the villain. He had to be the nicest serial killer you ever met. What’s up with that! He leads a great life until he suffers a bad loss. Then he reads a bad book? So he goes crazy? Thor has quite the cautionary tale about being careful with your bedside reading choices!
What you should know.
For thriller and suspense lovers, this is definitely the ticket. With respect to the amount of violence, think early Schwarzenegger, if you want a movie comparison. Warning: know that these series can be highly addictive. You may find yourself up late at night and suddenly sleep deprived (and neglecting significant others a la Harvath). Take your time. There are plenty more where this came from if you haven’t read any of his novels before. If you have, don’t worry, you can buy a copy of Foreign Agent and get your fix this summer.
Recommendation: Must Read
Jewelry For Justice
By Emma Borquaye, A21 UK Prevention, Awareness, and Education Coordinator
Marina De Buchi is a jewelry designer living in London with a passion to see human trafficking abolished in the 21st Century. At 20 years old, she is already active in doing what she can to help by giving 10% of all proceeds from her jewelry brand to A21.
As she lays out the dainty gold bracelets in front of me at the table, she talks through the meaning behind each one in The Freedom Collection;
“The bird is called beyond fear lies freedom, so you can look at it and know that you can get through whatever you are facing. The key says ‘unlock your dreams,’ but it can be unlocking freedom, unlocking anything! Whatever it means for that person.”
Consider supporting this project.
I like this one