Gorilla In The Closet shares your experiences working in EPA and how the agency has gotten to the point they are at, and what needs to be done to correct the path and restore public confidence in the agency. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?
Reconciling my service as a naval officer and Vietnam Combat Veteran and the rejection I faced by my own generation upon my return to San Francisco Bay in 1969; and, fast forward, reconciling my service as a Presidential Appointee in EPA doing groundbreaking work and being again attacked by my own generation and those in congress who didn’t agree with me resulting in being marginalized. Also, even in 1981-83 my Vietnam Service meant nothing to them. After my forced resignation from EPA, I was completely marginalized by society. I couldn’t get a job. Shame is the word! I had to write this book to put both of these experiences in perspective, knowing in my heart, I had served honorably. I no longer feel shame but on a very personal level, heroic.
What is a common misconception you feel people have about the purpose of the EPA?
People don’t think about EPA at all. It is never discussed at the kitchen table. It is just another bloated federal bureaucracy and EPA has earned this non-reputation owing to its political nature, the structure and revolving door of leadership where there is no continuity or strategic thinking and attitudes of many in federal service. Congress was initially responsible for this state of affairs followed by EPA employees in their hierarchical attitude towards governance. Ergo, top down with limited real forward progress on environmental protection; in having all the answers but not knowing what the question is. In the past 52 years, EPA has retreated from a hopeful perch in our society, a social experiment if you will, to a mundane agency whose reach and effectiveness is limited. It is grossly mismanaged. All this can change and the book does more than leave bread crumbs to follow in how to do this! I offer legislation that is comprehensible.
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?
WE LOSE OUR DEMOCRACY IF WE DON’T HOLD OUR GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS AND THEIR LEADERS (LIKE ME AT EPA) ACCOUNTABLE. My profile of EPA, it’s anatomy and detached behavior, is a metaphor for almost all federal governmental agencies. Our future as a society in the face of Climate Change, rests with all of us. EPA plays a vital but limited role; but, less so than your city and county governments where there is real accountability and where they annually balance their budgets. Local politicians know the value of a dollar and they feel strictly accountable to their constituents. I hope my book sparks a focused bottom-up attack on climate change by asking the Environmental Elite to set aside their personal ambitions in the Beltway, and turn inward to their members and mobilize them to implement nationally funded local programs that reduce carbon emissions and better prepare for and manage the worst climatological effects using land use and police powers. Ironically, Reagan was on to something when he said, “Government (meaning the federal government) is the problem”. We can do better and by rebooting of EPA as an independent commission driven by engineering, technological and scientific values and goals, it can become the new NASA on which humankind that inhabits planet earth may depend for its very existence.
Author Website: gorillainthecloset.com
GORILLA IN THE CLOSET
An eye-opening memoir for those interested in government service, politics, academia, environmental history, and environmental engineering.
Eric Eidsness, an environmental engineer and former EPA Assistant Administrator for Water appointed by President Ronald Reagan, diagnoses the EPA’s missteps over the decades leading up to today’s crisis of confidence. He proposes a solution that will reconfigure the EPA into the agency it was meant to be.
Posted in Interviews
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The human race has an ongoing debate about the existence of life elsewhere in the universe. But what if there was life outside of humans, and what if they already knew everything about us? The Xalin are just such a race. Having conquered what they considered to be human beings’ weaknesses for wars and destruction, the Xalin hatch plans to make themselves known to humans on Earth. They wish to show humans that great scientific advancements are possible, if only they could stop making critical mistakes.
Told in three parts, Forbidden Horizon by David Crane is about groups of astronauts and their adventures in outer space. Humans have already created a base on the Moon, and a group of astronauts are enroute to Mars. But when David Blackstone, the leader of the Lune One Moon base, is confronted with an out-of-this-galaxy opportunity, he has no choice but to take it.
Author David Crane’s extensive knowledge of science and space travel really shines in this intellectually-invigorating novel as the ships and methods of space travel are believable for a science fiction novel. The amount of detail about space in this sci-fi story is impressive and, at some points, a little dense. However, Forbidden Horizon draws the reader into the story so much so that you feel like you are standing inside the IMS Daedalus on your way to Mars.
Forbidden Horizon contains fascinating detail about outer space and space travel, making this an intriguing read. I would have liked more action or danger included in the story, but this still feels like a classic science fiction story, much like Isaac Asimov’s novels where the ideas are fascinating all on their own. Fans of hard science fiction will enjoy the attention to detail about space and technology and will surely be engrossed with Forbidden Horizon‘s plot.
Pages: 274 | ASIN: B0BH3HCKG7
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Pay Back by Malcolm Chester is a thrilling read that is filled with edge-of-your-seat action. Ralph Tager has been through a lot over the span of one month, from losing his brothers in arms due to an ambush, to his nine year old daughter being abducted, to his wife being killed while trying to protect their daughter. Now he seeks revenge. After retiring from the Navy, he is hired by a billionaire to be part of a group called the Pay Back, who hunt and kill pedophiles.
This explosive novel reads just like an action movie, and reminds me of the hit TV show 24 starring Kiefer Sutherland. Ralph Tager is an interesting character and one that readers will enjoy following. I feel like he is someone that many readers think of when they fantasize about being an action hero. He is good looking, smart, skilled with weapons and has a loving wife and daughter. He is the epitome of an action hero and I was left wanting to know more about him. All of this changes once he loses everything and you see his rage drive his decisions. I couldn’t help but root for him even though in law enforcements eyes he is breaking the law.
There are a lot of dimensions to the plot, but author Malcolm Chester keeps things relentlessly moving forward. I enjoyed the quick pace and succinct dialogue that gets right to the point. Ralph’s experiences were laid out neatly for him. I would have enjoyed seeing Ralph challenged a bit more because I felt like he was well equipped to handle the obstacles in front of him and I was rarely worried about him. Ralph’s character goes through many transitions in his life which I felt flowed seamlessly into each chapter and made it easy for the reader to visualize the time lapse.
This is a riveting action drama that goes into some sensitive subjects that some readers may want to avoid. Pay Back is a book that is laser focused on entertaining the reader with drama, action, suspense and a strong protagonist driving the story forward. I would recommend this book to readers looking for an action adventure story that removes the fluff and turns the action up to eleven.
Pages: 228 | ASIN: B07Z9Q5FST
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Written by Ray Lecara Jr, From Where I Sit is a collection of short stories. Easy to read and engaging, there are five stories to enjoy. Beginning with Scent of Juniper, an exciting, short-action thriller detailing a world war two agent’s mission to locate and acquire a rare Faberge egg. The story plunges straight into the middle of the action as assassins launch an attack. With a fast pace, it is instantly absorbing and finishes on a cliffhanger, leaving me keen to read on and find out what happens next.
A Life Lost Living is the following short story in the collection. I particularly enjoyed this one. The main character was thoughtfully crafted. It details the friendship between a young bartender and an elderly veteran who drinks in his establishment. Through conversations, the elderly man reveals the story of his life, his sorrows, his bitterness, and the effects of war on his life. He is alone, estranged from his family, with his wife and parents long dead. The complexity of the father/child relationship is examined in this story, as is the ever-present question of the point of living, especially when the burdens and regrets weigh heavily in older age. The ending is original and poignant. It is an emotional piece of writing with beautiful descriptions of the New England winter and the connections to land, memory, and childhood.
Goldie, the next story, showcases man’s love for their most loyal companion, the dog. A touching tale of loss and how people can move forward even when they think they won’t. One Night In Bangkok is a super short story featuring another canine companion protecting their chosen human in a funny set of events.
The final story in the collection Old Lang Syne features two lovers reconnecting after years apart when they accidentally bump into each other on new years eve. Catching up on how their lives unfolded after they split, they are able to rehash the events that led to their break up. This is an interesting look at how life evolves and changes as people progress. In addition, it looks at the difficulties people face with mental health struggles and how they can overcome them.
I really enjoyed reading the short stories. They were all well-written, and the characters were easy to engage with. I had no problem becoming invested in any of the characters or the stories. Each story examined different areas of the human condition and the emotional aspects of life. I liked the fact you can dip in and quickly read each story. The premise of each individual story was exciting and original. The characters were convincing, and the quality of the writing was good. Each story flowed nicely, and the dialogue was well-crafted and easy to read.
Pages: 131 | ASIN : B0B8DKJV1Y
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In The Sanctimonious Psychoproctological Invasions: The Handbook for Political Analysis, Dr. Len Bergantino discusses the political climate in the United States while paying attention to the first amendment. The author extensively writes about this constitution clause, enlightening his readers on the political workings, how the government runs its daily business and the life the political class lives. The author exhausts every point regarding political discussions, giving sober analysis in every argument. The reader gets the privilege of reading through Dr. Bergantino’s notes, letters, and opinions on issues that not many are comfortable discussing.
One of the most remarkable features of a good author is his bravado. Dr. Bergantino is bold in his work. He writes his truths and does not shy away from addressing controversial matters. The confidence displayed by the author makes reading this informative book interesting and engaging. Throughout the book, the reader learns about the political world and human stories. Dr. Len Bergantino shares personal tales, writing about his private life, professional life, passions, and the impact modern-day politics has had on his life. I relished reading his personal stories, his interactions with the who-is-who in the political class, and his contribution to his community.
Dr. Len Bergantino displays wisdom in his language and does not openly show partiality when writing about either Right Wing or Left Wing politics. The discussions are balanced, and the analysis is delivered objectively. Even when using strong language, Dr. Len Bergantino ensures that his message is not lost depending on the phrases he uses. America is the land of the free, and even with all its freedoms, American society seems to fall short in some areas. Dr. Len Bergantino does not conceal the evil of the political class, as he writes about it all; the good, the bad, the ugly, the embarrassing, and the pride instilled in Americans.
As an educator and political expert, Dr. Len Bergantino seems to be the ideal person to discuss the status quo and the battement of society. This educational book is arranged in an unconventional manner, which is great as the reader can choose and pick which topics to start reading first. The images of the author’s works shared between the pages give the reader a good idea of how Dr. Len Bergantino’s mind works and thus give one a better comprehension of these thoughts.
The Sanctimonious Psychoproctological Invasions: The Handbook for Political Analysis is a one-of-a-kind book that will expand readers’ scope in politics, help readers to fully understand their rights as a citizen, and enlighten them on how the world works. I recommend this fascinating book to political science students and readers who enjoy political and socio-economic literature.
Pages: 366 | ISBN : 1955691835
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Arc of the Poet by Roger Darnell is a wonderfully expressive memoir. This book tells the story of Roger’s upbringing, including various hardships and joyful moments, which become the source of the author’s creative inspiration for writing. The author’s story begins in the 1960s when his mother was a writer and a poet. She becomes one of the main inspirations for Roger’s journey into writing and creativity.
The author takes the reader on a thoughtful and observant journey through his early years, where he faced hardships and extraordinary events. The language is engaging and the writing is sharp which helps convey the importance of art and how it enhances one’s life. All of this in a little over one hundred pages, which goes to show Roger Darnell’s skill as a writer in keeping everything concise yet potent. This is an emotionally resonant memoir as readers will be able to relate to the feeling of not being or doing enough, which I feel is one of the most common struggles with artists.
Throughout the book, the author expresses how he needed to improve his writing, and in doing so, while struggling with life, he felt vulnerable and inadequate at times. I appreciated the candid nature with which Roger told his story. Readers will be able to understand him, if not relate to him. I found Roger’s story highly relatable because I could personally identify with these experiences.
Arc of the Poet is a stirring and engaging memoir that I thoroughly enjoyed. From the deeply personal perspective of a life well lived to the heartfelt reflections, Roger Darnell has written a delightful and evocative memoir. I recommend it to anyone who can relate to the struggles of a creative life, or to anyone who wants to understand the obstacles artists face.
Pages: 118 | ASIN: B0BLG6SVFT
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Hide and Seek Alphabet: With Australian Animals is a highly engaging children’s book that educates as well as it entertains. I’ve come across many alphabet books that use generic words, but Anna Finch adds yet another layer of education to her book with the focus on animals specifically from Australia. Some of the names of the animals were hard to pronounce but children will love seeing the exotic animals, especially in the beautiful artwork that illustrator A.P. Gil has created.
There are multiple levels of engagement to this wonderful children’s book. The book goes through the alphabet one letter at a time. With each letter we learn about an animal whose name starts with the letter, we learn a fact about that animal, and we learn sounds that it makes. Children will mostly love how the book invites them to find the animal on the page, and they’ll also enjoy making the different noises that accompany each animal. All of this together makes for an engaging lesson that any parent or teacher can use to ensure their kids are focused on the subject.
Hide and Seek Alphabet: With Australian Animals is an entertaining and educational children’s book. This is a perfect fit for any kindergarten or preparatory class. I highly recommend this book to any parent who is struggling to keep their child focused as there is plenty of fun activities built into this book.
Pages: 58 | ASIN: B0BHLH35BM
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God Glasses by medium Ann Monster encourages the reader to seek out a more profound spiritual and equally individualistic relationship with what they interpret as being God the Creator. Through her personal experiences talking with God about topics that weighed on her heart, she found clarity and meaning in her own life. She wants to share this experience with readers and help them gain the same healing she did.
Beginning with Monster’s own spiritual awakening. As a stressed thirty-five-year-old mother of two, she desperately needed a minute of relaxation. However, instead of a quiet moment of peace, she claims to have been greeted with a vision of Christ. This led to a noticeable self-transformation in the days following.
The book is structured meticulously. Based on the author’s conversations with God, she breaks down God’s perspective on highly controversial topics like race, HIV/AIDS, gender, and sexuality. These discussion topics span several chapters. Through the use of opening lines which form diary-like entries and provide everyday, real-world examples, the groundwork is laid for Monster to pose questions to ‘God’ as the basis of her chapter-by-chapter thesis items.
I particularly enjoyed one chapter which posed this question to the reader: “when does the natural and beautiful sexual desire that one human being can have for another become sin?” It considers how ‘sin’ has been redefined. Monster approached this sensitively and tastefully, bringing a welcoming and inclusive tone to God Glasses. This chapter assessed the literary interpretation of sin in accordance with the dictionary, then compared it to scripture teachings and how society has capitalized on sexuality through subliminal messages, which have caused humans to consider sexuality as the only facet of life that has any importance. It removed the stigma attached to pre-marital sex, sexual exploration, and leisure – it was not what I expected to see in a religious piece and was favorable.
God Glasses is a good balance of self-incitement and relatability; it does not aim to evangelize or coerce the reader. It would suit readers wishing to develop an intimate relationship with God but may be unsure that Christianity includes themselves.
Pages: 218 | ISBN: 153201774X
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