The World is Still Rich with Opportunity

A few years ago, I came across the quote below made by a reviewer of Richard Carlson’s book, Don’t Worry Make Money, that came out in 1997.         I don’t know the reviewer’s name and never found the review referenced again. But, this was and is an inspiration to me and I have always referred back to it over the years. I have a copy of it on my cubicle at work and on my bathroom wall so I can read it when necessary.

“Do you think that opportunity only knocks once? If you do, Richard Carlson, author of Don’t Worry Make Money, says you’re buying into one of the most perpetuated ‘myths’ in our culture.

Carlson argues that this kind of thing inspires people to do things they really do not want to do. That it is based on a ‘never enough to go around’ mindset that just isn’t true. Thinking that it’s now or never, often encourages bad decision making, for instance, he says. You might take a job you do not want or move to an area that doesn’t really sit well with you.

The world we live in is rich with ever-increasing opportunity, he says. The world is in need of creative people and everyone has their own gifts and talents to offer. You just have to figure out how it’s going to work for you. There are thousands of jobs out there that you can do. There are thousands of business opportunities.

But, Carlson says, first you have to overcome your fear: The fear of not having enough. The fear that you only get one shot and then it’s over.

It’s a big lie. Your life will be filled with great opportunities over and over again.”

On the other hand, you may be a person who has been blessed by some wonderful opportunities. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t more coming your way!

Submitted by Rosa L. Griffin

TIDBITS

Drug Recalls

Check FDA’s online list of recalled drugs at https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/drugrecalls or FDA Consumer line at 888-INFO-FDA and sign up for alerts.   888-463-6332 for updates.fda.gov/subscription management.

Sleep

Elle Hunt, (Sleep) “Shuteye and Sleep Hygiene: The Truth About Why You Keep Waking up at 3 a.m.”, The Guardian, February 17, 2020.

Rosa’s Opinion–What Makes a Good President

A good president cares about the world and all its people.

A president is only as good as the people she or he can rely on and the structure she or he has under them.    Otherwise, it’s just a matter of time before he or she will crumble.

That’s where allies come in because a president of one country can’t do it all.

A president is known by the company he keeps—good or bad.   It’s been proven time and time again.

“What’s Eating America”

Andrew Zimmern, American chef, is a man of heartfelt convictions.   He came up with a 5-part series recently on MSNBC entitled “What’s Eating America” on Sunday nights at 9 p.m.   The series includes the topics of Immigration, Climate Change, Addiction, Voting Rights, and Healthcare.    I watched the episodes on Immigration (in which he was accompanied by José Andrés, a fellow award-winning chef and humanitarian) and Voting Rights, and I hope to watch the fifth one on Healthcare on March 15.

If they repeat the series (and I hope they do), I will watch the ones that I missed—Climate Change and Addiction.   I know I could have DVR’d them, but my skills at that need improvement.  

This is the same man who starred on the series, “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern”.   Because I had seen some of that series, I wasn’t going to watch “What’s Eating America” because I figured it would be more of the same.

I appreciate that the results of the episodes I’ve seen which were well-reported and stuffed with pertinent information and locales across America.   I am so proud of his efforts.

Zawn Villines, “What is a Fecal Transplant?  Everything You Need to Know”, medicalnewstoday.com, May 8, 2019.

Here’s something I had never heard of.    And, don’t soon want to hear of it again.

“A doctor transplants feces from a healthy donor into another person to restore the balance of bacteria in their gut.  It may help treat gastrointestinal infection, etc.   Antibiotics destroy good as well as bad bacteria.  Other names the procedure goes under:  bacteriotherapy, fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), etc.”

There’s something I’d like to implant fecally, but “won’t touch that”!

Review of movie, Little Woods (2018)

The movie is about what poor people have to do to make it in an impoverished rural area.     It was filmed in North Dakota and Canada.   Farming is North Dakota’s state industry.  The movie is set in a rural area inspired by Williston, North Dakota.   It is a documentary on poverty and drug abuse.

Ollie’s (played by Tessa Thompson) downhill spiral started when she had to cross into Canada at North Dakota’s border to get discounted prescription medicine for her dying mother, which got her caught up in the drug trade.   After some jail time and eventual parole, she makes herself content with providing laundry services and selling home-made sandwiches and coffee to workers who constantly ask her for pain pills.   She turns them all down because she is trying to get enough money to keep the home that she and her mother lived in before she gets evicted.  No one was making house payments for months.  I wonder why her homeless sister Deb didn’t move back in with Ollie to help with expenses.  Perhaps there was a past troubling relationship with her mother or Ollie.

Her sister Deb (played by Lily James) already has a child by her husband Ian (played by James Badge Dale) who appears to be living in some kind of group home himself, and she gets pregnant a second time.    Deb was already living in an abandoned RV in a superstore parking lot, thinking that the notices repeatedly posted on the RV didn’t mean that she had to move any time soon.    So, Deb decides that she needs an abortion because her first child’s father already is not taking care of that child—the reason she was living in an abandoned RV in the first place I assume.  But she is told that an abortion would cost $8,000 without health insurance.  Deb doesn’t have health insurance. 

Tessa’s character Ollie gets back into the drug trade to help her sister and keep her mother’s house so she herself will have a place to live.   Drug dealing is something she promised herself she would never do again because she’s on parole after doing it for her mother.   But now she has to do it again to get her unlucky sister out of trouble.   Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.

To top it off, Bill, the local drug dealer (played by Luke Kirby) fronts her the money for the drugs so she can give him a cut of her business and, basically, she ends up working for him.   After arriving in Canada, her sister was nearly raped trying to get an illegal ID so she can get a free abortion in Canada.   And, she and her sister were nearly arrested by a Canadian policeman for loitering.  To top it off, Deb brought her child with them on the trip.   He was sleeping in a cold car.   Then, Ollie’s connection in Canada kept Deb’s child while Ollie took her sister to enroll in a program that would allow her to get the abortion. Opioids are the kind of drugs she purchases for average working people who need to work while in pain in jobs with no benefits or health insurance.   Ollie makes her former drug connection and gets the opioids that the American workers need. 

Tessa’s character Ollie can’t keep the money in her mother’s house because her parole officer makes regular searches of her home as part of her parole, so her sister volunteers to keep the money in the trailer.    I’m sure you can guess that the inevitable happened with the trailer.

The only bright spot (thank God there is one) is when Tessa’s character gets interviewed for a job through the efforts of her parole officer (played by Lance Reddick).   I found myself cussing out the characters trying to get them to avoid the obvious mire into which they were sinking, much like a horror movie.   I was glad when the horror of the movie ended.  I hoped that things would turn around for them.   At the end of the movie, it was still questionable whether they would survive.

Although the movie was intense—wrong step after wrong step—Tessa Thompson and Lily James gave award-winning performances.   Tessa Thompson I have seen in many things (Men in Black International, Furlough, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Endgame, etc.), but she really displays the hopelessness of the situation she continues to get into just to help her family.   The half-sister played by Lily James is stuck in a bad lifestyle of her own making although we aren’t told why she’s not with her husband.   Lily James I know from the Downton Abbey television show, where I saw her for the first time.   Then I saw her in Cinderella and Mama Mia 2. 

The songs in the movie are so solemn because there is not much happiness in this movie.   Nia DaCosta is the writer and director.    Although watching this movie was like watching an inevitable accident that you can’t turn your eyes away from, I enjoyed the movie.   Official site:  https://www.littlewoodsmovie.com.

Other sources:

Melissa Healy, “How Factory Closings May Have Fed Opioid Crisis:  Study Finds More Overdoses in Areas Hit by Loss of Auto Jobs”, Baltimore Sun, SunPlus, Thursday, February 6, 2020.   The auto industry closing of factories have influenced drug use.  

Peter Debruge, “’Little Woods’ Review:  Nia DaCosta’s Tough, North Dakota-Set Debut”, https://variety.com/film/reviews, April 19, 2019.   I quote from this Variety review: “So much of the recent political debate has focused on the United States’ southern border, and the threat of illegal drugs and criminals filtering up through Mexico.  But what of the north, where Americans traffic opiates and prescription pills from Canada across a border that runs nearly three times as long?” 

Deborah Rudacille, “Photos:  What Bethlehem Steel Meant to Baltimore; In Baltimore, Visions of Life After Steel”, May 15, 2019, Citylab.com.    I would also say the loss of manufacturing jobs period influenced drug use, including the closing of Sparrows Point’s Bethlehem Steel in 2012 in Maryland.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin 

Review of book, Sula, by Toni Morrison

I have finally read a book by Toni Morrison.    It was not hard to read, and she has a multitude of interesting characters to dig into.   The way she tells the story will have you hypnotized and entertained.   Her book is realistic about an isolated black town in Ohio which could still exist today.   The town was built upon a literally rocky hill called the Bottom that could not guarantee any crops—not like the fertile valley below in which white people lived.

Her book, Sula, begins with a black veteran of World War I who is released from a military hospital.  The doctors fixed his physical wounds, but not his mental wounds from seeing a fellow soldier’s face be blown off in front of him.   We used to call that condition shell-shocked when I was growing up, but now it’s called PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and is treatable.   His character, Shadrack, plays a role throughout the book, especially in establishing an annual National Suicide Day which people’s lives revolve around like it’s an official holiday.

There are various people with various issues in this small segregated town uphill from wealthier white Medallion City below.   As in all groups, there are good and bad people and others who are a little of both.   It is the story of two families:   Eva’s family that gave birth to Nel and Cecile Sabat’s family that gave birth to Sula.

Eva married an unfaithful philandering man who left her to feed 3 children in the dead of winter.  And, since there was no aid to help her, she had to depend on her neighbors’ help to keep her children alive until she could find some income.    She ended up leaving her children with a neighbor temporarily (10 months) until she found income as a result of a loss of one leg.    Eva was able to secure her family’s future by having a house built in which she could have paying boarders while restricting herself to the fourth floor.  

Hannah, her oldest daughter, a free spirit who kept Eva’s house in the form of cooking and cleaning and taking care of her own daughter, Sula, was known for having sex with every man in town—married and unmarried, but she never took ownership of the men which pleased their spouses.   Eva’s young son, Plum, went away and came back a cocaine addict.

Cecile Sabat had a daughter, Rochelle, who became a prostitute in a house of ill repute, and had one daughter, Helene, who her grandmother Cecile got as far away from Helene’s mother as she could.   Helene ended up marrying an older man, Henry, who she seldom saw because he was a merchant marine.   Henry treated Helene well and gave her what he could.   She was content to have one child, Nel.

Nel ended up being friends with Sula as a child.  Sula caused a little boy to drown while she and Nel watched.  They got away with that crime.    When Sula left town, Nel was despondent, but eventually got married.

However, when Sula returned to town, she had the same reputation as her mother Hannah except Sula, instead of tossing the men back, she possessed them so much that they didn’t want to go back to their wives after she ditched them.   The townswomen hated her for it because they lost their husbands when Sula didn’t want them anymore.   This was Sula’s attempt to feel love.

Sula was a sociopath and psychopath to me, but today it’s called antisocial personality disorder.   According to WebMD, she had a “poor inner sense of right and wrong” nor could she “seem to understand or share another person’s feelings”.   Sula had no conscience much like a psychopath would and a weak conscience like a sociopath.   Both lack empathy to know how another person feels.

Sula used her beautiful façade to attract men just as a flower attracts bees.   She was even found by her friend Nel having sex with Nel’s husband in Nel’s house which was the death of their friendship, and her husband left Nel just as the other husbands left their wives because of Sula’s rejections.   She told Nel that she didn’t think Nel would mind if Sula had sex with Nel’s husband.   I rest my case.

However, when Sula finally found a man she could love, I believe she thought she had a lot in common with him.   But, as soon as he found out she was in love with him, he fled the town just as she would have.   I really enjoyed the book.   There was never a dull moment in the Bottom.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

“56 Ending or Canceled TV Shows for 2019-20 season”, www.tvseriesfinale.com

Review of movie, Moms’ Night Out (2014)

I saw this movie on DVD from the public library.

This movie is about moms who are stressed to the point of violent acts or suicide, but it’s a comedy.   I was nearly stressed out in watching the movie myself because I thought it was going to turn into a horror movie, but I had to continue to watch to see how it came out.   All of the moms have issues, not unlike mothers today, and the issues revolved around their husbands and children.

The main mom Allyson (Sarah Drew) swears she can’t do anything right in trying to raise three small children with her husband Dr. Sean (Sean Astin), who can’t understand why there is such a problem.  Even with his wife in hysterics almost daily, he can’t understand why.   She only came up for air once when her little girl had made crayon drawings on the wall and she decided to put frames around them.   I thought she would continue to calm down then, but, no, she fussed out someone at a restaurant, etc., on her night out.  I thought she should go to counseling along with her husband and then maybe her husband would really be able to see her side.

Mom Sondra (Patricia Heaton) thinks she has to be perfect at all times in her role as a pastor’s wife (husband Ray played by Alex Kendrick), and be the correctional officer over their one daughter at the rebellious teenage age.    I felt most sorry for the pastor’s wife who had to be “on” all the time no matter where she went.   Everyone in her husband’s flock, the other moms, her neighborhood, and the world at large used her for their confessor, therapist, etc., and she had no one to confide in, even her busy husband.

Mom Izzy (Andrea Logan White) is actually the calmest of the group of moms but is stressed thinking that she may be pregnant with a third child with her usually hysterical husband (Robert Amaya).   Here’s where the roles are reversed.  The husband is like Allyson in that he feels he can’t do anything right with his children.

Although the husbands don’t have a clue about the plight of their wives, the voices of reason are the men in the movie, except for Izzy’s husband.   Even a male single friend, Kevin (Kevin Downes) was also the voice of reason in his calmness in any situation to which he applied his own solutions.

That tall drink of water, Bones (Trace Atkins), biker/tattoo shop owner, gave Allyson some good advice when the other two mothers were arrested.    She finally had a chance to calm down while waiting for the police to release the other two moms.   Bones spoke things God must have put on his heart to tell her about not trying to be perfect in her life, but to calm down, etc.   The thing is he couldn’t remember what he had told her after the other moms were released.

In spite of the hysterics, the movie is very well made.    I enjoyed it once I got de-stressed.   It was directed by the Erwin Brothers (Andrew and John), young guys with a lot of energy.   Half the actors were producers.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Review of movie, Haunt (2019)

I wasn’t going to watch this movie on DVD because it was labeled as slasher/horror.    At the beginning, you see and hear someone building something.    You watch the party scene, and you think it’s business as usual.  

But, once it got into the slasher phase, I thought it was intense, and not in a bad way.    It was so well done.   Although it was never revealed why the whole complicated maze of horror was even built, co-writers/co-directors Scott Beck and Bryan Woods did a great job of keeping you glued to your seat.   Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel, The House with a Clock in Its Walls, etc.) was one of the producers.

It starts off as usual with a nice group of young people celebrating Halloween.    One of whom has been beaten up by her boyfriend, so you are led to believe that the boyfriend will provide the horror.   

However peer pressure, daring each other, was what got them into this mess.   What Generation Z you know is going to leave their phone with anyone?   After the initial stupidity of leaving their cell phones outside as required by the clown, I assumed stupidity would reign.   After that, there were a lot of moments when you hollered at the screen, but not because they were doing stupid things necessarily.

Here kicks in the psychology of knowing a great deal about young people.   The maze of tricks and fixtures looked grungy which added to the excitement of the place.    The place didn’t look like they spared no expense to make this trap, but someone in a mask was seen constructing and drilling things at the beginning of the movie but you sort of forget that while you are getting involved in these young, beautiful people’s lives.  However, these characters were not your usual stuck-up kids.   They were intelligent college kids.

Supervising sound editor, Mac Smith,” used Skywalker Sound’s catalog of sounds created for other films—using sound as a story-telling device”.    There was a good combination of strong and weak characters, but all of them “manned up” when it became obvious that the danger was real.   Many times, though, they failed to take advantage of an opportunity for psychological reasons such as the costumed person acting friendly or acting as if they too were a victim in the same dangerous situation.  

The music was great throughout the movie, but the song at the end “Dragula” by Lissie was so appropriate—solemn yet tender (“Dig through the ditches, burn through the witches…”).  

The clown face on the cover of the DVD reminds you of Stephen King’s “It”, but the character studies in Haunt don’t go as deeply into each character, except for Harper’s character.   

The perpetrators’ costumes were so authentic, much more than I would think they would be when they knew the blood that would be splashed on them.    The costumes looked so expensive and detailed.  Spoiler alert–the horror increases when you see what’s under the costumes.    They were killing for no reason other than they could.

The actors were so talented.    They made a believer out of me.   I believed the danger they were in.  The traps were ingenious.

Katie Stevens played “Harper” the abused young woman who (spoiler alert) turned out to be the strongest-willed.   Lauren Alisa McClain played “Bailey”, Harper’s best friend.    Harper’s other girlfriends were “Angela”, played by Shazi Raja, and “Mallory” played by Schuyler Helford.

Samuel Hunt was the abusive boyfriend “Sam”.   Will Brittain was the new man of interest named “Nathan”.    Andrew Caldwell played “Evan,” the humorous pal skilled in picking locks.

Justen Marxen was the clown, but not necessarily the boss of the killers.

Spoiler alert:   The paybacks were a bitch and made it all worthwhile.   You’ve got to see it!

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Review of movie, The Amazing Mr. X, 1948

I saw this movie recently and found it so shadowy in black and white.   But that was ok because it and the music added to the mysterious atmosphere of the movie.    A rich widow Christine Faber (Lynn Bari) is haunted by the apparition, voice, and piano-playing of her husband Paul (Donald Curtis) who died two years before.  

Then Alexis, a fake medium (Turhan Bey) comes along to suggest that her husband is trying to contact her, so of course, right away I think that the fake medium is behind the so-called haunting.  You know what opportunists they were.   That’s how they made their livings.  As a matter of fact, Alexis showed the viewing audience every trick he used.   

But, no, her “poor” husband is actually poor, alive, and trying to drive his wife crazy (or kill her) so he can get her money.    Her new fiancé Martin Abbott (Richard Carlson) tries to dissuade her from using a medium.   But her sister Janet (Cathy O’Donnell) falls for the charm of the medium, who is cool—no doubt.

Then, there’s the not-obvious twist that her bum husband is alive and trying to get her money.   He even threatens the medium to get the medium to work with him in his plan.   But the medium finds out that the husband means to start murdering the people in his way and tries to figure a way out for everyone.

The acting is superb.    I remember Turhan Bey playing Asian or other exotic parts but I am surprised to learn that he was Austrian-born Turkish-Czech Jewish and couldn’t marry Lana Turner because his mom disapproved and he never married.    I remember Cathy O’Donnell as the girlfriend of the sailor who lost his arms below the elbows in the after-war movie, The Best Years of Our Lives.   She was great in this movie, too. 

I wasn’t as familiar with Lynn Bari, but her face is familiar to me.   And it seems like Richard Carlson was in everybody’s movie.  I remember him in It Came from Outer Space and Creature from the Black Lagoon (from romance/comedy to horror/scifi later in his life).

Directed by Bernard Vorhaus.   Labeled as a thriller/indie film.

Sources:  Wikipedia, IMDb, etc.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Georgia on my mind

In September 2019, I stayed with friends in Georgia for two weeks.   However, the sun was so intensely hot in Georgia that it felt like I was breathing inside a furnace.   Also, my allergies were acting up viciously because of the surrounding trees.   So, I didn’t go out much.

The people of all races were so hospitable and friendly wherever we went though.   However, the insects were treacherous and left me with a blister on my forearm and a knot on the elbow of the same arm.

Oh, the adventures we had.    My friend even took his car in for service at a Toyota dealer.  We ate out at Carrabba’s Italian Grill–my first time.  The waiter, Alex Matthews, was so professional and appeared to be proud to present what Carrabba’s offered.  The food was delicious.  

In addition, we visited two Waffle Houses, Home Depot a few times, IHOP once, Harbor Freight a few times, Kohl’s a few times, Walmart a few times, the Post Office a few times, and gas stations a few times (Flash Foods, QT, etc.).

There was a lot of building and development everywhere we went.   Also, they were starting to build second-level homes in areas that only had one-level homes.   However, cell phone reception in some areas was null and void.   There was a definite lack of cell towers in some places.

We saw armadillos and deer crossing the roads at all hours, even walking through my friends’ yard.   We visited Senoia, Fayetteville, Haralson, Newnan, and Peachtree City.

I helped out by washing dishes and laundering clothes and doing supermarket shopping.   Notice I didn’t say cooking.   I learned from the best—my mom and dad!    And, dad was a cook in the army when he was young.   I can cook but choose not to on a regular basis.   Someone else cooks for me.   That’s my little secret.

This is probably too boring for you adventurous types.   But I’m a writer who stays home a lot when I’m not serving the community or going out to eat with friends.

I wouldn’t mind returning to Georgia.   I had a nice time!

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Review of book, Becoming, by immediate former U.S. First Lady, Michelle Obama, 2018

Make no mistake—this is Michelle Obama’s memoir!   Michelle’s book is about her life.   Her name is Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama.  

I can relate to former First Lady Michelle Obama’s life growing up.   Michelle was a black child from the south side of Chicago, Ill., and I was a black child from the east side of Baltimore, MD.    Michelle and I both grew up in a working-class community that rented.     As a young black child, she had neighbors of different ethnicities getting along just as I had when I was young.   She was considered a nerd just as I was growing up because we liked to read and write.    Her father died of complications of multiple sclerosis and my father died from complications of diabetes.   Neither man sought medical attention until it was too late. 

Black people became store owners, teachers, bus drivers, policemen, mail men, etc.   The neighborhoods were close.   Neighbors could discipline your kids.   She had grandparents, aunts and uncles living in the same neighborhood just as I did.  “Urban towns are full of good people who wish the best for their children.”  Michelle was just one of the young treasures growing up in every city in the world.   But Michelle does not try to paint herself as perfect in this book.  She talks about her flaws.

I believe her husband Barack Obama, U.S. President, was the epitome of what a President should be—to care for all people, new and old, not just some.    He respected all parties and attempted to work with everyone.  Michelle believed that Barack was the right person for that moment in history.   He would inherit a mess.   The president vows to protect the U.S. Constitution.   Oh, that’s what presidents swear to do when they lay their hand on the Bible at their inaugurations.

The President sees almost everything first:  tornado in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; extremist shot up Army base in Texas; mass shooting at movie theater in Colorado; shootings inside Sikh temple in Wisconsin, as well as shootings at elementary schools, high schools, and colleges.  20 first graders and educators were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.   Hurricane Katrina’s assault on Louisiana in 2005.   1800 people died and a half million were displaced.  A tragedy exacerbated by the ineptitude of the federal government’s response.   I can’t imagine having that much responsibility, knowing you have to try to do something about the problems that others can’t.

She wrote in detail about the difficulty of the presidential campaigns while trying to raise two children, run a household, maintain a job, plan and execute traditional White House parties and dinners, and personally organize and promote campaigns against obesity in children.

Michelle wrote positively about political opponents like John McCain.   Hillary Clinton’s gender was used against her relentlessly, but Michelle admired Hillary’s ability to stand up and keep fighting.     

I didn’t know that the President and his family do have to pay bills such as food and toilet paper, although the White House is rent-free.  They also have to pay for every invited guest’s overnight stay or meal.  Michelle paid for her own clothes and accessories.  

In 2008, Twitter was new and most adults had cell phones.   General Motors bankruptcy was coming.   North Korea was doing nuclear testing just as they are today.  There was an earthquake in Haiti.   A Louisiana oil rig was spewing oil in the Gulf of Mexico.    The BP oil spill was the worst in U.S. history causing local southern economies to suffer.   Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy Seals.

Most humbling to Michele was visiting military communities and hospitals.  Wounded soldiers still wanted to rise and greet the President and First Lady.   Teachers, nail technicians, and physical therapists from one state weren’t recognized in another state which affected military spouses’ abilities to bring in additional income every time they had to move.   Childcare was not affordable.

If one didn’t vote, it could affect what kids learned in school, health care options available, or whether troops were sent to war.   Any U.S. economic crises sent devastating ripples across the globe just as they do now.

“No matter what I did, I would disappoint someone.”   She and her husband visited Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Nelson Mandela, and other world leaders.   “Life was teaching me that progress and change happen slowly.  We were planting seeds of change, the fruit of which we might never see.”  

In 2011 the last American soldiers left Iraq.  A gradual drawdown was under way in Afghanistan.   Major provisions of the Affordable Care Act had gone into effect.   There were terrorist attacks on American diplomats in Benghazi, Libya.

This was one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read.  However, it was not an easy read, knowing that we lived through most of what Michelle talked about.   I salute you President and First Lady Obama for a job done as well as it could be done under the circumstances.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin 

Review of the books, When You Think No One is Watching: Wild but True Hotel Stories, volumes 1 & 2, by Emmanuel Gratzimi, 2016 & 2017 respectively

The stories in Mr. Gratzimi’s books on the hotel industry range from hilarious to deadly.  For example, a hotel client’s head was crushed by someone throwing a liquor bottle from the penthouse.    This was caused by minors drinking in someone’s room.  This was a very moving case which caused me to tear up—lives destroyed for a party.

Clients as well as employees break the hotel’s rules often in spite of the hotel’s security staff.   Clients have illegal parties, being so drunk that they don’t know someone is bleeding in the same room.  This applies to dignitaries, celebrities, and average hotel clients.

Some of the clients do such foolish things that they seem to want to be caught.   “From what I heard, from a later report, the man’s wife, who was in fact an attorney, prior to divorcing him, represented the prostitutes pro bono.”

There were cases of employees using rooms to have sex with other employees.   One employee’s husband charged a room to his wife’s credit card so he could have sex with a prostitute.  However, his wife worked in the same exclusive hotel and brought management and security to her husband’s room.

Unknown to me, emergency situations happen often in hotels in which paramedics, police and/or firemen have to be called.   I couldn’t even imagine the types of things noted in his books.   The books were eye-opening and shocking, but easy reads.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Review of book, Leave the Rat Race to the Rats, by Michael Irving Phillips, 2016

Mr. Phillips’ nonfiction book about the rat race is difficult reading for me because it’s full of statistics, research, history, philosophy, and truth–ideas which take some contemplating.  I find myself taking notes which certainly slows down my reading.   I bought his book at a Citylit book festival in Baltimore, MD. 

Phillips speaks of the “Goodwill revolution which will not be violent”.  He quotes many prominent leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr, Nelson Mandela, etc.     He says that “the social class systems divide people, resulting in envy, hatred, heartache, and much bloodshed.”  

“Revolutions are not unanimous (not supported by everyone).   Evil is very pervasive in our society…is an aberration, because we are born good.   The things that touch us deeply are the needs for health insurance, living wage, hunger of children, justice to prevail, abhorring bullying, abuse, and exploitation of the weak and innocent.”

“We deny our feelings of goodwill to embrace apathy, insensitivity, because we feel helpless to do anything about it”.   Rat Race is a book that everyone in America and the world needs to read.   I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I hope to soon.

I’m submitting this partial review to get his book out there for those who don’t know about it.   Michael Irving Phillips’ book is neither depressing nor boring, but very enlightening.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin