Fairfield Trading Card Spotlight - Mike Ragogna

Our next Fairfield Trading Card Spotlight features Mike Ragogna, who is displayed on card number 19, from the Fairfield Collection.  Mike has been a success in the music industry.   He has been a singer, songwriter, producer, voiceover talent, and a journalist for most of his life.   He has been involved in projects such as the musicals Annie, Hair and Big River.  Mike has performed at a Bruce Springsteen tribute concert.   He has recorded 7 albums—Safari in America, The Almost Brothers, Body Politic, Minefield Diaries, Writer’s Block, Valentine’s Day, and Summerland. Mike grew up in New York and has lived in various major American cities before coming to Fairfield where he taught music.   Mike has interviewed thousands of musicians and blogs on internet sites to spread the word of music and his passion of song.

What other instruments do you play and what is your favorite?

Ears is my favorite instrument. I live vicariously through others’ recordings since I had my shot and it didn’t quite work out. I’d like to say I play guitar and keyboards but that would be an insult to guitar and keyboards. But I still sing and harmonize to everything, the reason why I’m no longer invited to parties or my kid’s school events.

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Fairfield Trading Card Spotlight - Jim Karpen

Our next Fairfield Trading Card Spotlight features Jim Karpen, who is displayed on card number 14, from the Fairfield Collection. These cards commemorate Fairfield, Iowa's unique distinction as the "Renaissance Capital of the World."  Jim has been involved in TM (Transcendental Meditation) since the early 1970s. Starting in the year 2000, Jim has worked full time as a writer for Maharishi University of Management as well as for various publications, with a focus on technology. Most recently he wrote for iPhone Life Magazine. Jim also enjoys tennis. 

How is your involvement in the TM industry been important to you?

It has transformed my life. I had never been very successful at anything, but that all changed once I began TM. I went back to school and did well, ending up with a PhD. And now, after 40 years, I’m enjoying experiences I could never have imagined.

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Fairfield Trading Card Spotlight - Hal Goldstein

Our next Fairfield Trading Card Spotlight features Hal Goldstein, who is displayed on card number 68, from the Fairfield Collection.  These cards commemorate Fairfield, Iowa's unique distinction as the "Renaissance Capital of the World."  With a Master’s Degree in Mind, Heart and Spirit, Hal has worked in many different roles to make people better in life, whether it was in computer science, social work, or teaching Transcendental Meditation.  He continues writing about electronics and computing for the magazine he founded.  He currently is writing, "The Meditating Entrepreneurs," how T.M. meditators [such as Walter Day] moved to Fairfield for world peace and enlightenment and ended up creating extraordinary businesses.

How has computers/science today changed from when you were younger? What do you like or dislike about the changes?

The underlying passion for creating new technology that serves humanity remains the same. Now there is much more opportunity as exponential development of technologies converge and the human race is so connected. Anyone persistent, passionate with a great idea can raise money and connect with other who have the skills to make the idea a reality.

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Science Fiction Trading Card Spotlight - Daina Chaviano

Our next Science Fiction Trading Card Spotlight features Daina Chaviano, who is displayed on card number 106, from the Science Fiction Collection. Born and raised in Cuba, Daina has been writing most of her life.  She has been credited with such awards as the Anna Seghers Award (Germany), Azorin Prize for Best novel (Spain), Gold Medal for Best Book (Florida).   She has been called one of the three most important female writers in the Spanish Language. Daina now lives in Miami and still writes almost every day.  You can see more about Daina on her bilingual website at dainachaviano.com.  

How has writing today changed from when you were younger? What do you like or dislike about the changes?

In the past, writing was a secret process. Being a writer used to mean living a secluded life. Now everything must be shared. Everyone wants to know everything about you. Even though I understand the importance of the media for any artist, and so I have the proverbial and almost mandatory professional network (Twitter, Facebook, website, blog), I fiercely protect my private life, sharing only those personal experiences that can be interesting for my readers and followers from a literary point of view.   

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Trading Card Spotlight Rob Berk

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Rob Berk, who is displayed on card number 260, from the Superstars of 2012. Rob is also featured on card numbers 782 and 1702.  This weekend (October 11-15th) is the annaul Pinball Expo is in Wheeling, Illinois.   Robert is one of the founders and promotors of this event and has for the last 32 years.   Rob collects pinball games as far back as the 1930's.   His passion for pinball is and his expo keep the pinball world alive and well.   With special guest speakers and tournament the Pinball Expo in Illinois has become the worlds largest .

When did you first get involved in the pinball or gaming industry?

I wouldn’t necessarily say I am involved in it, it’s more or less a hobby. So I think it started off with my interest in playing games from the mid-60s that I grew up playing.  Then seeing the pinball books that came out from either Michael Colmer or Roger Sharpe and learning who the people were behind the scenes, the designers and artists and just having a fascination and a real intense interest in these people to the point where in 1984 I had the idea of having this Pinball Expo show.  The pure purpose of that show was to honor my heroes, the pinball designers’ and artists. I always felt that they were kind of behind the scenes, they were 9 to 5 guys, they never got the accolades.  It was always the big shots on top that were always the ones you heard about or read about but now the guys behind the scenes so I figured to myself, “These are the guys I really want to meet, these are my heroes that made the games I love to play”.

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