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

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Review of movie, The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

You can write fiction to include historical figures like King Leopold II of Belgium or Samuel L. Jackson’s George Washington Williams character.    Williams was a real-life Civil War soldier, Baptist minister, historian, politician, lawyer, and journalist who died in his 40s.

I went to a movie theater to see this movie because I like Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgaard as an actor.   I first saw him in the HBO television series “True Blood” when he portrayed the vampire sheriff. 

Over 200 films have featured author Edgar Rice Burroughs’ character, a white orphan raised by apes in the African jungle.   A multitude of different white men have played as Tarzan since 1918, either in the flesh or in voiceovers.   I had seen all of the Johnny Weissmuller movies in which Johnny portrayed the fictional Tarzan, Lord Greystoke.   Weismuller was a 5-time Olympic gold medalist who made 12 Tarzan movies beginning in 1932.  For decades, Tarzan was Hollywood’s biggest foreign export.   In the 1966 NBC series, Ron Ely did his own stunts in his portrayal of Tarzan and ended up with lion bites and broken bones.  

What I didn’t like about the Tarzan character as I was growing up was that Africans were always portrayed as big-eyed and hopping around comically, always earning Tarzan’s vengeance or salvation.  The name Tarzan literally meant “White Skin”.   I also noticed that not all of the Tarzans were comfortable walking around in a loincloth whether in movies or television shows.

The Legend of Tarzan is the best of all the Tarzan movies.  It was made to reflect what is going on in the world today.  “For the first time in the franchise, black lives matter.”  There are many things I liked about this movie:

  1. The romance between Tarzan and Jane was different than in the Weismuller movies.  Jane (Australian Margot Robbie) was portrayed as Tarzan’s equal in many ways.
  2. Skarsgaard, being tall and lean, built up a lot of muscles for the movie.
  3. There was a dignified portrayal of African tribes made up of brave and intelligent men and women which is our history.
  4. In the movie, Tarzan seemed to be ashamed to be thought of as the book character published at that time and only seemed to relate to children as Tarzan. 
  5. The poignant part of the story of a younger Tarzan killing a chief’s son because the young tribesman killed Tarzan’s ape “mother” and the chief (played by Benin-born Djimon Hounsou) grieved and swore revenge over the loss of his son, resulting in his giving Leopold’s cause a box full of diamonds.
  6. The villainous Captain Leon Rom, played by Austrian Christophe Waltz, traded Tarzan for diamonds for King Leopold, “ruler” over the Congo.
  7. The CGI special effects, especially of the gorillas and other animals, were perfect.
  8. And, of course, Samuel L. Jackson, played George Washington Williams, who convinced fictional Tarzan to come out of retirement to help prove the slavery situation in Africa’s Belgian Congo which Williams actually promoted in letters.  

This movie, The Legend of Tarzan, was directed by David Yates, and written by Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer.   The movie cost $180 million to make and earned $356.7 million at the box office.

Sources noted in the articles below:

Keegan, Rebecca, Los Angeles Times Movies, “Can You Make a Non-racist Tarzan Movie?” latimes.com, July 1, 2016.

Price, Lydia, “15 Hunky Actors Who’ve Played Tarzan Throughout the Years”, https://people.com, June 30, 2016.

Bady, Aron, “The Only Good Tarzan is a Bad Tarzan”, Pacific Standard, July 8, 2016.

Hughey, Matthew.  The White Savior Film: Content, Critics, and Consumption.   Temple University Press.  2014.

Hochschild, Adam.  King Leopold’s Ghost:  A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa.  Mariner Books, 1998.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Mr. Bean as Maigret

Rowan Atkinson recently starred as Detective Inspector Jules Maigret in a 2016 Dead Man series that I saw on WETA UK.   The killer, Dacourt, played by John Light, who as a short man with delusions of grandeur, goes for the “bad” girl dancer while he has a wife and kids at home.

I saw John Light as a top thief who was on one episode of the “Father Brown” tv show and returned for a second episode later in that series.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Rowan Atkinson as a detective.   He was so great in the “Mr. Bean” comedy tv series in which his eyebrows and eyes were so expressive—a great part of his characterization.   I liked seeing him also as a department store jewelry salesman in the movie “Love Actually”.  

The icing on the cake was seeing him playing a dead-pan serious detective.   He played the Maigret character so well that it brought tears to my eyes.   Well-done Rowan!

Written by Rosa Griffin

Review of movie Collateral Beauty (2016)

In 1986, I buried my father without shedding a tear for him.  He seemed a nice man, but he was always distant, like he didn’t belong in this family with six kids.  But, one day, a year later, I was walking across the President Street open-air parking lot at the Harbor.   A man walked past me smoking a pipe, and right away, I was in full cry mode for my father who smoked a pipe and cigars.  I cried for a full block.

This type of thing is sort of what Collateral Beauty is about.   The phrase “Remember the Collateral Beauty” is a line spoken in the movie a few times.

Howard, a working, inspiring, idea-filled, and happy man (played by Will Smith) co-partnered with Whit (played by Edward Norton) at a non-Madison Avenue ad agency.  The major officers of the company were Claire (played by Kate Winslet) and Simon (played by Michael Peña).   Howard is 60/40 with Whit in the partnership.

But, as soon as his six-year-old daughter dies, he loses every interest he ever had in life except riding his bike and building things with dominoes all day at work instead of working.   The partnership, his wife, talking, and, even eating no longer mattered to him.

Howard’s colleague-friends devise an ingenious plan to try to reach him and bring their dying company back to life.   They hire a detective and three actors to confront him about love, time, and death—his three stratagems that move people to buy products.

The acting was top shelf by everyone.  However, three characters stood out to me.   Time/Raffi was played by young actor, Jacob Lattimore (The Maze Runner).  He was refreshing and strong.   The investigator, Sally, was played by Ann Dowd (The Leftovers) whom I’ve seen in a number of roles.  Although she was behind the scenes in practically every scene, she was great in what her character was allowed to say.   Simon was played by Michael Peña (Antman I & 2, Battle: Los Angeles, A Wrinkle in Time, Gone in 60 Seconds, My Fellow Americans).   It was wonderful to see him in another dramatic role.

This movie, Collateral Beauty, was perfect for Will Smith (7 Pounds, The Pursuit of Happyness, I am Legend, Suicide Squad, Hitch, Men in Black, etc.), Helen Mirren (Prime Suspect, Red 1 & 2, Winchester, The Nutcracker and The Four Realms, Calendar Girls, The Leisure Seeker, Hitchcock), Edward Norton (The Illusionist, Red Dragon, The Grand Budapest Hotel, American History X, The Painted Veil), Keira Knightley (Love Actually, Colette, The Nutcracker and The Four Realms, several Pirates of the Caribbean movies), Kate Winslet (Titanic, Love Actually, Divergent, The Holiday, Sense and Sensibility), and Naomie Harris (28 Days Later, a few Pirates of the Caribbean movies).*   

There were unexpected twists and turns, especially at the end.   Also, there were many sad parts, but the movie was heart-warming, not depressing.    I wish I had seen this movie on the big screen but thank God for the library’s DVD service.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

*Movies mentioned are movies I have actually seen

Did you know? The Illustrated Man

In 1951, American writer Ray Bradbury’s science fiction short story collection, The Illustrated Man, was published.    The collection of 18 short stories was one of the first short story collections I ever read.

The premise of the collection is based on “a vagrant former member of a carnival freak show with an extensively tattooed body whom the unnamed narrator meets. The man’s tattoos, allegedly created by a time-traveling woman, are individually animated and each tell a different tale.”

In 1969, Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom starred in the movie version.

In 1984, Mark of the Devil, which reminded me of the Illustrated Man, was broadcast as the first movie in the Fox Mystery Theater television series, produced by Hammer Films.  

“A desperate gambler (Dirk Benedict) in debt with a gangster robs a Chinese tattoo artist (Burt Hwouk), getting stabbed and killing the man in the process. A black spot appears on his chest and begins to spread. Day by day, it gets bigger and bigger and forms into a tattoo. The tattoo then starts to spread all over his body and he has to go into seclusion.”

Source:  Wikipedia

IMDb.com

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Review of movie Mom (1991)

The worst part was the terrible comical werewolf mask that made up the “old” werewolf (Brion James) who infected a Mom (Jeanne Bates).  The werewolf looked more like a comic version of a vampire.   Creating a more realistic mask would have added more horror to the movie.   Other than that, the acting was great for a movie of its type:  horror/comedy.  

A “guy” comes to a mother’s door answering an ad for a room.   It turns out that he’s a werewolf.   Mom is extremely naïve, because he posed as a blind man which creeped me out, but it didn’t creep Mom out at all.

Her son (Mark Thomas Miller) was a newsman who visited his Mom often especially after finding out that she was killing people because she was a werewolf.   So, her son decides to keep her locked up in her own room in her own house to protect her from herself.   Her son asked a doctor to come to his Mom’s house to examine her, but Mom buried the doctor in the back yard like a bone.  

Mom had a daughter who was very well-to-do and lived out of state.    But her daughter never visited and sent Mom a pair of dime-store slippers once a year.  The one time her daughter visited, her Mom ate her.

However, Mom did not kill her pregnant daughter-in-law nor her son who each treated Mom with the respect a good mother deserves.   I did like the idea of a good Mom kicking ass, but a few innocent people getting killed goes with the territory.

Director was Patrick Rand.   The writers were Patrick Rand and Kevin Watson.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Did You Know? Fibroids

When you are younger and discovered to have fibroids, doctors usually tell you not to worry about them if they are not giving you severe pain.  Mild menstrual pain is acceptable to doctors.  

“Fibroids are also called uterine myoma.   They are noncancerous growths in the uterus that can develop during a woman’s childbearing years.  Fibroids can also cause prolonged menstrual cycles and low back pain.   200,000 cases occur every year.”

But, surprise!   I started getting pain so severe that I couldn’t stand up five days out of every month.   No amount of any over-the-counter medication did any good whatsoever.   I found that opioids don’t take pain away but make you not care about the pain; thus you can overdose.    So, being past what I considered child-bearing age, I ended up having a partial hysterectomy which gave me new life monthly without menopause symptoms to this day.

However, Evelyn Champagne King nearly died from fibroids.    “In 2006, I had an emergency health crisis.  I had a fibroid, which a lot of women and girls need to keep up on.   You can have a fibroid that takes things away from you and it took my life.  Literally, I had to be brought back and if it wasn’t for my husband being with me, I wouldn’t be here to speak on it.”

The good news is that fibroids are treatable by a medical professional and require a medical diagnosis.  Lab tests or imaging is often required.   Fibroids can be chronic and last for years or a lifetime.   

Some fibroids today can be treated via uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) which is a minimally invasive procedure which also has its risks.  It uses a form of real-time x-ray called fluoroscopy to guide the delivery of embolic agents which destroy fibroid tissue in the uterus.

Sources:  Uterine fibroids.  Mayo Clinic

Evelyn Champagne King Details the Terrifying Time That She Died Literally.  Posted April 7, 2015.  https://www.iloveoldschoolmusic.com

Uterine fibroids.  https://womenshealth.gov

www.radiologyinfo.org

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Did you know? Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp is one of my favorite actors since the TV show “21 Jump Street”.   Johnny didn’t want to be just a pretty face, sitting still and looking pretty.   In his collaborations with Tim Burton, he was able to stretch and do strange parts like Edward Scissorhand which made him stand out.   But he was pretty in John Water’s musical Cry Baby.   I was amazed to see him as Grimwald in the Fantastic Beasts movie series. However, I recently read an article that I’m quoting from that speaks to Johnny and all of us:

“…we all know someone who has the potential to get it right, but lacks the will, tools, or heart to do it.  That person stares the right decisions in the face but keeps taking the worse options simply out of comfort or insecurity.  They’d rather be in the mess instead of cleaning it up.  That someone could also be us.”

Hallelujah, sister!  Been there and done that!   Situations in which you can’t see the forest for the trees!   And, right now Johnny is up in there in a big way as detailed by the author of this article.   I wish him nothing but the best!

Source:  “Goodbye to Johnny Depp:  How to Let Go of One of Your Former Favorite Actors”, Monique Jones, September 13, 2018, https://www.slashfilm.com

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Did you know? Sexy Sites

For the mature out there, you and your babe or you alone can get some distraction at these sites:

Dixie De La Tour’s website   https://bawdystorytelling.com, @bawdystorytelling on Instagram, @DixieDLT on Twitter

Esquire’s article “10 Best Sex Podcasts No Matter Your Taste” (rated for your convenience) by Breena Kerr, May 3, 2017,
https://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/sex/a46389/best-sex-podcasts/

Literotica’s free erotic fiction website https://www.literotica.com/c/mature-sex  as mentioned at https://en.wikipedia.org/Literotica   [I never heard of until a friend told me about it]

Review of book, Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

I’ve always had admiration for farmers who have one of the hardest jobs of all—to attempt to make the earth bend to their will.  A farmer is entirely at the mercy of God and the elements.     A bad crop, storm, flood, pestilence, injuries, or drought can cost him everything he has.   Or, he can be a sharecropper (quarter-yield) or share tenant (half-yield) on that farmer’s land and suffer the same fate.

Such was the case for Henry McAllan’s family.  Henry was an engineer who decided to buy a farm—what he had always wanted.  He bought out the previous owner who had four other tenant farmers on his land.  Henry was the kind of white man who loved the land as if it were his mistress which his wife, Laura, observed.   Henry’s father Pappy and brother Jamie hated the land and only loved the alcohol, tobacco, food, etc. that any profit could bring them.

The story opens with Pappy having been murdered and his two sons Henry and Jamie are burying him in someone’s else’s old grave in the rain and mud.  Whenever it rained there, the creek would rise, and they’d be stranded for days.   That made me read on to find out why Pappy was murdered.  

Henry paid one of the townspeople $100 on a hand shake to rent a nice house for his wife, children, and Pappy.   When they arrived in 1940’s Mississippi, they found that the house was sold to someone else, and the seller was nowhere to be found.  So, they all had to live in the work shack on the land with no running water or electricity and a leaky roof with a shed on the side.   So, the gentle Laura, who was used to living better, had to do everything in that shack or in the barn with Pappy and the kids.   Laura and the kids were in for a hard life.   Pappy ruled over Laura and the kids as if he owned everything instead of his son, Henry.

In the middle of the harvest, Henry’s brother Jamie returned from the war after being a bomber pilot.   Henry, Laura, and the children loved the prodigal son though he drank heavily.

Hap and Florence’s black family was one of the share tenants who had to produce crops as part of the agreement.    Things were mostly all right if you can judge how black people were treated.  For example, black people could not sit on the seat next to a white person but had to ride in the back of a truck at the mercy of the elements.   They couldn’t walk through the front door of the town grocery store but had to come in and leave by the back door.   Blacks had to stay to themselves and couldn’t be seen to live better than whites.  And, the medical care for blacks was atrocious.

Hap and Florence had a son, Ronzel, who came home after being a tank commander in the military.   When he returned home, he felt worse than a second-class citizen after being a war hero.   This was what Jamie and Ronzel had in common—the horrors of war that they tried to drink away together, which was forbidden in this culture.

Read Hillary Jordan’s book to see what leads up to Pappy’s death.   It is an intense well-told story of cultures and sacrifices.

© 2008 Hillary Jordan

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2009

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Review of The Leftovers, HBO television show, 2013-2017

Usually leftovers refer to some food that is left after a meal that can be used again to create some other meal.  Not so in this case.  This is sci-fi/horror.

The first episode opens with an exhausted busy mom in a shopping center laundry trying to handle some business situation and talking on the phone while doing her laundry.  Meanwhile, her baby is screaming at the top of his lungs annoying everybody in the laundromat the whole time.   Lugging laundry and her screaming baby back to her car, she is still busy on the phone. 

You want to say to her so badly.  Get off the phone, lady.  Did you bring a bottle or pacifier?   Check to see if the baby is wet.   Things that might ease his nerves as well as her own.   It appears that she doesn’t notice the baby until the baby stops crying in his child safety seat, because the baby is no longer there.   She finally puts down the phone and gets back out of the car screaming the baby’s name, like the infant has been playing a game with her and is going to come running out because she’s calling him.

In her hysterics, she doesn’t notice a little boy who is calling for his father after he sees that the cart rolling next to him is no longer being pushed by his father.

At the same time, a car accident occurs on the street nearby and a family in one car is hit by a car with no driver.

People in the shopping center look up to see a plane crashing in a nearby neighborhood.

This is how The Leftovers begins.   According to the fictional news, 2% or 140 million people (men, women, children, enfants of all races and ethnicities) have disappeared all over the world.

Cut to three years later and people are still wondering if it was the biblical Rapture—Christ’s return for good people to leave the damned behind?   A great many people disagreed.   Christ could not possibly have picked their aunt, grandpa, child, mother or father, for that matter—not those doozies!   Any number of other reasons are suggested like radiation, time travel, other dimensions, aliens, etc.

The performances by diverse actors, special effects and the music are amazing.  Justin Theroux (formerly Mulholland Drive, The Spy Who Dumped Me) plays the confused police chief, Kevin Garvey, whose predecessor (his father) goes nuts.  Amy Brenneman (former NYPD Blue, Judging Amy) plays his therapist wife, Laurie Garvey, who joins a cult after losing a baby she saw on an ultrasound on the day of the “departing”.  Christopher Eccleston (formerly Dr. Who, in Thor: The Dark World, etc.) plays the minister Matt Jamison who tries to help all the factions and loses himself in the attempts.  Chris Zylka (formerly Secret Circle, Freaks of Nature) plays the sheriff’s adopted son who joins a different cult than his mother. Margaret Qualley plays the sister Jill Garvey who can’t even enjoy hanging around with other young people her age because of the missing.   Veteran actor Scott Glenn (formerly Urban Cowboy, The Right Stuff, Silverado, etc.) plays the former sheriff and father, Kevin Garvey, Sr. who hears voices and is in a mental facility on disability.

The Leftovers is a wild intense ride from beginning to end.   Just when you think, this episode will probably end the series—hold on little grasshopper—it continues.  If you miss one episode, you won’t know what the hell is going on.   The characters are doing unbelievable things to make some sense out of what has happened to the missing.

Although this is not the first show or movie with this plot idea, this one is outrageously serious.  Factions pop up all over the place—those against remembering the missing, those trying to forget the missing, those who don’t know what to do, those who are scarred mentally and/or emotionally, and those who try to take advantage of others’ losses.

Just about everything you see will be used in a later episode so watch closely.  Bottomline:  everyone was already damaged before the worldwide disappearances.   The “departures” just nudged the meter up to critical mass.

The series was created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta based on Tom Perrotta’s novel of the same name.  Mimi Leder (On the Basis of Sex, Pay It Forward, Deep Impact, The Peacemaker, etc.) was the director.

Since I’m not one to keep up with any series after the first couple of episodes, I borrowed all three seasons on DVD from my public library and binge-watched them a couple of times. 

Source:  Wikipedia

Written by Rosa L. Griffin