Penguin WritersINTERVIEW  for trilogy author  Dr. Michael J. Baglino, Ed. D. on his Trilogy of Books:                                           

‘You Only Live Thrice’, ‘More from a Florida Catholic’, and  ‘From Europe to Florida.’

1.  You Only Live Thrice: Semi Biographical Articles and Vignettes on Religion and Culture. The Penguin Writers, 2022.

“Semi biographical articles and vignettes on Christianity, culture, psychology and education that begins a trilogy, this book is a different take.  Very interesting stories and the story of Johnny Baptis Bailey is our favorite.” The Penguin Writers

1.  What is the meaning of your book’s title?

‘You Only Live Thrice:  Semi Biographical Articles and Vignettes on Religion and Culture’

This book is an outgrowth of my intention to leave with my wife and children a composite of life events, experiences, social and political insights and religious beliefs.   Upon editing and publication with Morris Publishing, I thought why not publish it on Amazon and other platforms.  Why not?!

The meaning of the title can be found and elaborated in the introduction.  In the introduction I state, “You Only Live Twice” is the song sung by Nancy Sinatra, and from the famous James Bond movie of the same name. It continues, “one for yourself and one for your dreams.” Well, what happens after that? To this author you get a third life; that is if God wills it. All the Baglino’s before me died in their early 70s/late 60s. An immigrant family from Naples, Italy, they each strove toward fulfillment of their own personal dreams. Some clearly had dreams, others given second chances, others blurred by mishap. I loved them all - Michele, Autelia, Arthur, Andrew, Frank, Carmine, Anthony, Filomena.

Presented are Christian insights via various essays and vignettes across a spectrum of topics. They fall under the categories of personal life, language and culture, psychology and education, politics, religion, arts and sports.  But, my favorite chapter is about my father-in-law, ‘Johnnie Baptis Bailey’.

2.  More From a Florida Catholic: Vignettes Plus on Psychology and Culture

The Penguin Writers, 2022.

As mentioned in the introduction this is not quite a sequel.   Well, actually these two books were written simultaneously and published close together, so similar in theme with of course 30 + different articles.  

This book is a partial memoir that delves into this decidedly Catholic author's life experiences and viewpoints as a person born in the mid 1940s. The book provides insight into the cultural and historical context of that time period, particularly for those in the Silent and Boomer generations (born between 1941 and 1951). This author explores how his generation has been shaped by significant social, cultural, and historical events and how they grapple with the tension between supporting authority while also striving for social justice and independence.  Significant chapters include “4 Communication Styles Christians Need to Master,” “Who is Missing in Your Family?” “What Might Marxist University Professors Be Responsible For?” and even “Matone’s Rat Pack.”  Other articles on culture, religion, education and politics.  My favorite chapter is ‘Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Victor Hugo’, two classic authors who write about those existential issues we all face.

                                                   3.  From Europe to Florida: Encounters with Psychology, Culture and ReligionLT Publishing, 2023.

“An educational trip from New York to Minnesota to Florida to Europe and back again.”  LT Publishing

This is the final book in a trilogy.  Having experiences in the areas of sports, entertainment, culture, psychology, history, politics, travel and Catholicism; combine that with a career in education, all allowed me to be able to write on such topics. Share and express knowledge, that’s what education is. From an Italian upbringing, to baseball, to Europe, to Florida and the Catholic church, all these make for educational encounters that need to be shared.  

This educational trip begins with Winona, MN where formal university training began and ended with a call to be good husbands. It was a trip.  Mind you, I did attend an excellent academic high school on Long Island, W. Tresper Clarke in central Nassau County. It was why I went to college in the first place.  Mostly a Jewish student body where everyone was being prepared for college, I found myself in that conforming culture.  ” Well, I guess I’m going to college.”  My parents and my summer and winter jobs helped support that effort.  

Chapters on culture vary from Critical Race Theory to Black English to Mario Puzo and the Italian experience.  My favorite places in Europe are Italy, Greece and France, with a little vignette on some youthful folly on my first trip to Spain where my parents were living.   Psychology and religion continue with insights into CBT, prejudice and a compelling view n Catholicism including the Beatitudes.  Good summaries for Catholics or non-Catholics.  

2.   You say in your 1st three books they are semi biographical.  Tell us more about that.  Is this one semi biographical?

Each book has a segment on some aspect of biography, such as my visits to Spain, Italy and France.  An inside look at our parents, families, marriage, temporary stay in California where my life took a tremendous turn; I think of it almost daily.  My experience in the celebrity impersonator industry was great while it lasted.  I performed as Frank Sinatra, Rat Pack and even Ed Sullivan.  I think the 1st book was more semi-biographical than any of the others.  But most of it really is focused on a Christian, and decidedly Catholic perspective on the current scene.  

3.  You mention in your bio that you were an entertainer and performer.  Can you tell us about that and why did you switch over to become a non-fiction writer?

Well, my father was also a professional singer during the Sinatra years.  Sounded just like him.  Most of his gigs were at a nite club in Oceanside, Long Island by the name of Johnny Russel’s’.  Since I missed my opportunity in Hollywood as an actor, I began to dabble in entertainment.  Had the lead in some plays, commercials and always could sing.  During the 80s and 90s, I sang in a community chorale in Miami under the direction of Derna Ford.  I began to loosen up my chops from these classical performances to jazz and specifically Sinatra. The American Songbook and Latin/Italian standards.  But then in January of 2019 it all came to a sudden stop.  I immediately suffered a TIA [mini-stroke] and had to have immediate surgery to clear out my carotid artery.  Afterwards I could no longer sing.  My last gig was at Trump’s Mar-a-lago, so I tell myself I went out on top, though I have performed there and his Doral CC four other times.   That was followed by two more TIAs, a new bovine aortic valve, and then a pacemaker implant.  Now it was really finished.

My priest at St. Therese de Lisieux Parish in Wellington, FL - Father Gabriel, told me I would be at the point of testimony in my life because of these lifesaving surgeries.  It was Father Gabriel who referred me to the Thoracic Surgeons, Drs. Nores and Rothenberg, needed for heart valve surgery.  My testimony took the form of writing about Christian perspectives on so many things; I can summarize it as “To use my writing/speaking skills to inspire and educate others around the world to make a change.”  Speaking, I ‘m not sure of yet as I haven’t recovered 100%

But my background in the education and the social and behavioral sciences allowed me to write

4.  Why did you write this book and why now?

Well, again, I did not begin writing these articles as to be a part of a book.  However, after compiling some of my articles and stories in two magazines and contributing to other edited books - notably ‘Pandemic in Paradise’ [The French Connection] and ‘Famous Italian Americans of the 20th Century’ [Mario Puzo], I concluded that it might be a good idea to create a book based on these stories in the form of compilations.   Then of course, I wanted my wife and children to have a record of this about me, a legacy of sorts.  And still yet, I wanted to leave something of financial security for them.

5.  What other books and authors influenced you in writing this book?

Well, actually, I’m not sure.  I did enjoy reading Thomas Friedman, a foreign correspondent for the NY Times.  He wrote ‘From Beirut to Lebanon’ and ‘The World is Flat’ which were very insightful for me. However, what really motivated me was when I saw that he compiled dozens and dozens of his favorite stories published in the NY Times and made a book out of it entitled ‘Longitudes and Attitudes’.   Good idea, so  I said, why don’t I do that with my own essays and articles that I have written over the years and recently after my return from a trip to Paris. That is, there was an impulse for me as one of my articles relating to the covid pandemic and our experience in Paris was accepted by the editors of a recent book, ‘Pandemic in Paradise’.  It helped me renew my interest in writing timely and relevant articles on current issues.  

Also, recently I enjoyed reading He Leadeth Me’, ‘With God in Russia’, ‘With God in America’ by Fr. Walter Ciszec, ‘Common Sense Catholicism’ - Bill Donahue and other contemporary Catholic nonfiction writers.  Matthew Kelly, a very prolific Catholic writer - he’s written dozens - is another influence.

6.  What makes this book different from other nonfiction books on culture, psychology and education in general?

Very good question.  Presented are Christian insights via various essays and vignettes across a spectrum of topics. They fall under the

categories of personal life, language and culture, psychology and education, politics, religion, arts and sports. Most are based on recent incidences, with just a few reaching into the past. Many are actually rooted in some of my college lectures with a little bit of scripture thrown in. There is such a thing as Catholic Christian psychology, sociology,

anthropology and education. I try to point that out. To me St. Thomas Aquinas started it all. But I especially owe homage to St. Ignatius of Loyola, S. J. Well, he actually started S. J., Society of Jesus, AKA the Jesuits on la Rue des Martyrs in Paris. It was St. Ignatius who motivated us to take a recent trip to Paris and we met him there so to speak just below Sacred Heart Cathedral on that very street. I think a Jesuit at heart. One more thing. This is not a book to be read in a day or two. Maybe a chapter or two a day. There are many academic lectures requiring some contemplation and personal efforts to internalize the information. Its intent is more educational and civic minded.

With regard to Winona, MN -  Winona, Minnesota is a great little community.  I lived there for 7 years and received three degrees from Winona State University. Visiting occasionally but not enough, I think of Winona every day. Like many young people, you think you have to leave a home and make your mark in the world. Winona did become a home and my mark has been made. So, let me return to the simplicity of it all. I always used to tell my students that when the s__ it hits the fan, I know where I’m going but would not tell them. Stay away. Well, the fan has been hit in America. What now?

For octogenarians like myself, the answer is simple.  It is time to pray, watch and wait.  Winona is a good place to do that, besides my quiet Palm Bch County 55+ condo community.  

Then of course there is this:  “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

Ecclesiastes 12: 13 -14  

My grade school priest told me this in the beginning of my 1st catechism class.  What is the purpose of life? - to know love and serve the Lord.  So, a simple purpose of these books, but different.  

7.  What kind of research did you do in preparation for this book?

I was fascinated with ideas when in college in Winona; interested in truth, not money.  Unfortunately, I was not a good Catholic and never really got to the truth until I went to California and finally returned to church in Miami.  In fact, I lived across the street from the cathedral in my college town, and never once did I ever step inside that cathedral.  I do now every time I visit.  Nevertheless, my research has as its foundation years of formal education and teaching in the behavioral and social sciences.  My career also included ESL instruction and supervision at all levels, from beginning learners to professionals around the world.  

8.  How long did it take to write this book?

3-4 years, but with previous research as a foundation.  That took decades.  I began writing for an on-line Catholic magazine [] and progressed to include another [].  From there I decided to combine many of these articles in book form.  My doctoral dissertation took a full two years but that also included previous research. So perhaps I can add some time to that.

9.  Left wing circles seem to be convinced of their movement over the years.  How does this book dispel this?

God doesn’t want it.  It is as simple as that.  People ask why does God allow this and that in this world.  Well, He didn’t do it.  There are many chapters here on the conflicts between Christianity and psychology, Christianity and Marxism, Christianity and the modern philosophies and sins of the day, like acedia, sloth, abortion, prejudice.  My favorite chapter is “Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Victor Hugo,” - two authors every Christian should read.” - besides me of course.  I’ve received many comments on it.   These are great classics about Christian life, redemption and conscience - the best novels I ever read.   I don’t believe a college education can be considered complete without reading both of them.  

10.  Where can people go to purchase your book?

Of course,, B&N, and then there are these digital sites:

Publishing on 11 Platforms -

- Waterstone Publication - Apple Books Publication   

- Kobo Publication - Lulu Publication

- Reedsy Publication - IngramSpark Publication

- Publish Drive Publication - Draft2Digital Publication


11.  Do you have any websites where people can find out more about Michael J. Baglino?

Formerly, This was a website helping to promote my singing gigs, solo and ‘Rat Pack’.  Terrific site BTW, but I let it expire.