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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On Reading

 

If you have never liked reading, you are missing a lot because movies would have to be as long as Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind movie (4 hours) in order to get as many of the author’s book details as possible into a movie.

To become a reader, start slowly.    Have a dictionary or your smart phone near by to look up words you don’t understand.    Or, make a list of those words to look up later.

If you can’t read at all, there are voluntary organizations available.   Some libraries have reading programs to help you learn to read and there are other free programs listed on the Internet.

I improved my reading ability by reading Gothic novels in my teens written by British authors such as Emily Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Daphne du Maurier, etc.

I’ve also read American authors like Shirley Jackson, James Baldwin, Stephen King, Ann Rice, Edgar Allen Poe, Walter Mosley, Joyce Carol Oates, Ray Bradbury, Tananarive Due, Isaac Asimov, Maya Angelou, etc.

However, there are two authors that are hard for me to read:  Toni Morrison and Richard Wright.  I don’t know why they seem to be so difficult.   One day, I plan on conquering their books as well.

I only use audio books if I can’t find a printed copy of a book I want to read.    I like the feel of a book in my hand and I don’t want to have to keep scrolling up, down, or across on the page electronically.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

 

 

 

On Fantasy 

“Since I had plenty of leisure time, I usually rose early in the morning, and then with an empty mind concentrated on the beauty of the fields, trees, rivers, mountains, and clouds, and I found that I could predict the weather right 7 or 8 times out of 10.   Then I realized that in quietness the universe can be observed, the inner moods felt and obtained.”  (What author Yeh Meng-te wrote about quietness in 1156, https://kihm2.wordpress.com).

For me, fantasy is escape by using one’s imagination.   Your imagination can take you to faraway places like the many countries explored on public television.   If fantasy is controlled safely and not obsessive, it can be better than drugs.

Probably in the pioneer days, people imagined many ways they could escape the drudgery of doing anything which had no future of success.   It might have taken a year just to receive a letter.   Farmers, some of the hardest-working people on earth, have kept the world fed for centuries despite droughts, tornados, floods, etc.   In an AARP article, I discovered that doctors suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) worrying about us among other things.  I never imagined that.

We have a lot of things from which we want to escape these days.  We receive “news” instantly as it happens—minute-by-minute.    Whether we see or hear it broadcast in some type of medium like our smart phones or the people you meet are discussing it daily—Bam! It’s in your face or ears.  We are bombarded constantly with “noise”.

“Reality tv” is not reality, but it can take you away from your situation.   You can see peoples’ situations that are a lot worse or better than yours on television shows like “Jerry Springer”, “Maury”, “The Kardashians”, “Survivor”, etc.  I would call these guilty pleasures because unless you are writing a thesis on them, I wouldn’t watch them more than once.   However, the audiences seem to enjoy them so maybe that’s their escape from reality.

Music is another way to escape.    I like to listen to Bruno Mars or the “Flower Duet” (a famous duet for soprano and mezzo-soprano from Le’o Delibes’ opera Lakme’, first performed in Paris in 1883—Wikipedia).  Fantasy can relieve tiredness from working especially if you can’t get what you want in promotion or advancement.   Even the government recently is trying to take away a citizen’s earned benefits like Social Security, Medicare, tax benefits, etc.– the things that past U.S. presidents and legislators secured for us.

Wikipedia lists about 20 themes (subgenres) of fantasy if you want to get deep into the types of fantasy.  I don’t intend to get that deep.   Erotic romance, fiction, science fiction, and autobiographies are fantasy enough for me.

I’m sure you can imagine a few things you would rather be doing.   Figure out a way to have quiet and/or leisure time every day.   I find that in quiet, I have a chance to think for myself, create, and listen to the sensible no matter the political party.

Sources:

https://kihm2.wordpress.com

“The Doctor Diaries:  What Physicians Wish Patients Knew”, Healthy You, AARP the magazine, June/July 2018, pp. 22-23.

Wikipedia

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

 

 

What I am reading now—Fifty Shades of Grey

Last week, I borrowed and read the book Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James.  This is her first book of three in the series.  This week, I’m reading Fifty Shades Darker, the second book in the series.   I already have the third book, Fifty Shades Freed.

I borrowed all 3 books from the library at the same time.   However, I paid to see all three movies (my control-freak side) on the big screen.  I needed closure to see how their sado-masochistic (S&M) adventure worked out.    I have to find the review I wrote of the first movie and I will be writing a review of the book trilogy as a whole.

I read someone’s comment before I saw the first movie that her books couldn’t possibly be bestsellers because they are so poorly written.  That commenter was a liar.   E. L. James’ books are well-written from pretty sex-novice character Anastasia Steele’s point of view in her turbulent affair with handsome rich young man, Christian Grey.

Another commenter asked why Christian Grey had to be rich.   Being poor is not something I want to fantasize about.  Fantasy is how we escape a condition we don’t want to be in.   Been there–lived that!

“Laters, baby!”

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m still writing a review of Jodi Picoult’s book, Small Great Things.   The review is coming soon.

 

Another comment was that

Review of television series Bitten

The series started with Clay (played by Greyston Holt), an anthropology professor, who we soon find out is a werewolf .   He falls in love with his human student, Elena (played by Laura Vandervoort), and brings her home to meet his “family”.

However, Clay is also the Enforcer for the werewolf pack who should have known better.  Chances were that something would go wrong, and it did.  The alpha pack leader, Jeremy (played by Greg Bryk), would have killed Elena if she had seen him change from wolf back to human.   Clay, believing that Elena saw Jeremy’s transformation back to human, bit her to save her life.   But, the leader assumed that she would die from the bite anyway, as had all bitten women in the past.  However, Elena painstakingly survived the transformation.   After she was free to leave, she ran away back to the big city, hating Clay for biting her.  In the two years that she was away, she fell in love with human Phillip (played by Paul Greene).

Werewolves were a supernatural race of half-humans who were male-ruled and didn’t have females at all.   Human women were used as tools to give birth to male werewolves that the women could never claim.    The “happiness” of existing in secret male wolf packs was always short-lived.   Secrets and lies kept the werewolves below the radar for centuries.

However, when the outside wolf packs learned about Elena being the only female werewolf to survive, they all wanted her for breeding.   Leader Jeremy went by a code of honor that was no longer being used by outsiders.   Enemies to their pack were from within and without of their society–other werewolf packs, mutts (werewolves without affiliation to a pack), witches, the law, etc.

For instance, all his pack’s enemies used weapons, anything from knives, drugs, guns, computers, etc. against Jeremy’s pack which usually fought bare-handed.  Jeremy made several fatal decisions trying to live by the traditional rules with which he was raised.

There were sizzling sex scenes and lots of violence (hey, we’re dealing with werewolves here!).  But, I believe that Bitten was a great vehicle for the actors’ careers, especially for Laura Vandervoort.   A woman having two good-hearted and good-looking men who desire her is a fantasy that some of us women have.  The actors made me believe in their werewolf society.   The actors were also diverse in race and language.  The special effects were meticulous, showing great attention to detail.

Bitten was a Space Canadian tv series broadcast by Syfy from 2014-2016 and based on the Women of the Otherworld series of books by author Kelley Armstrong.   I only saw the first season because when the show went on hiatus, I had a hard time resuming watching it.   I can’t keep up with new start dates, changes in week days and times, etc.  Thanks to the library’s DVD copies, I was able to watch all 3 seasons of Bitten recently.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Libraries are still FUN!

Since the first group of cave dwellers, there have been story tellers.  A great deal of human history was passed on by librarian-types, those who wanted to share survival tactics, knowledge, and history.

In recent years, some people have said that libraries are no longer necessary because we have technology at our fingertips with our “smart phones”—iPhone, Android, etc., with which we can do research, but nothing can take the place of the enthusiasm of a great librarian.

Years ago, I went into the library and never looked back.    My first job ever was a page (a job which entails shelving and retrieving library materials and even circulating materials) in my local branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in East Baltimore.   I shelved books and magazines daily and gladly while in high school.   I fell in love with reading.   With a book or magazine, my imagination was able to travel warp-speed to other people’s lives, investigate dangerous places and situations, and fantasize safely.

I worked in a library for the next 30 years from the time before Baltimore Junior College became Baltimore City Community College—from student worker to secretary to circulation technician.  I loaned books, magazines, rooms for meetings, and computers to our college population.   Even some community members were provided limited library services as well.

After that, I worked at the Johns Hopkins University Press as a Permissions/Office Assistant for a short time where I had the pleasure of handling and reading books and professional journals, as well as copyrighting the same.   I also got a chance to work with authors which was a thrill!

Now, I’m an author (see my website at https://nervikularose.com).   In the past year, I joined a book club, Woodlawn Page Turners, for which I have read a book a month.   We are reading Jodie Picoult’s book Small Great Things for June, but we will be off-site discussing it over great food.   I will be writing a review of that book for my blog (https://nervikularose.wordpress.com).

To this day, I am more likely to have a book or journal in my hands rather than using my phone or laptop to read a book.   I use an audio book only when the physical book is not available or when I’ll be doing a lot of driving.  It was great hearing Ta-Nehisi Coates, a former Woodlawn High School graduate, reading his own audio book, Between the World and Me, to me.   It would make a great book assignment for high school students as it was written to his teenage son.

And, let’s not forget the TNT television show, The Librarians, in which an ensemble of librarians live out the adventures we can only imagine.

Libraries today are staying in the thick of things, providing computers for typing papers and game play, conducting classes and workshops, having speakers, providing musical entertainment for all ages, etc.    Visit your local library especially if you’ve never been to one in your life and not just for the computer games!

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Review of The Alienist television show on TNT

A few years ago, I read the 496-page crime novel, The Alienist, written by Caleb Carr, originally published in 1994, but I wasn’t in the habit of making notes then.    The film rights to Carr’s book were purchased by Scott Rudin and Paramount Pictures but didn’t come to their television division until nearly 24 years later when a 10-part-event tv series was adapted.

I watched a marathon of the first season of The Alienist television show on TNT recently.  All the characters were deeply flawed.   And, adult men preyed on young boys who only wanted to survive, eat, and find a place to sleep.   Some boys had poor parents while others were homeless.  Prostitution of boys was not shown in history as much as that of girls.

Doctor Laszlo Kreizler, played by Daniel Bruhl, attempted to solve the murders of young boys by using the 19th century version of psychology.   Of the people he recruited to help him, the doctor pointed out everyone else’s faults but his own.   He has book learning, but the “friends” have common sense enough to add up the facts and draw their own conclusions.    He needed all these people to come into his life or he eventually would have ended up in an asylum himself.   He had read all the popular writers in his field of psychology and tries to help others of lower standing in society, but he himself was emotionally and physically disabled.

His housekeeper, Mary Palmer, played by Q’orianka Kilcher, hooked his shoes and helped him to dress as well.   She didn’t speak at all, but the looks she gave the doctor and others was understood.  The doctor and Mary became lovers.

The newspaper illustrator and painter of portraits, John Schuyler Moore played by Luke Evans, lived with his grandmother and ventured into the city’s red-light district nightly to have sex with the same prostitute and drink, reliving a love lost.   He tried to use his knowledge of brothels to help find the murderer, and in trying to be of help to the doctor, got himself into dangerous situations.

Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt, played by Brian Geraghty, is a quiet honest man among corrupt police (like Captain Connor, played by David Wilmot, counting bribe money openly in their offices) and political crooks (like former police commissioner Thomas Byrnes played by Ted Levine).   Roosevelt was Police Commissioner in New York in 1896 and “authorized the purchase of a standard issued revolver for the NYPD”.  It was the “Colt New Police Revolver in .32 Long Colt caliber”.

The Police Commissioner’s female secretary, Sara Howard, played by Dakota Fanning, was rare in the police department at that time.   Though she dressed appropriately for her job, she was raised like a boy and drank whiskey in public.   Sara was abused by her male co-workers in a male-dominated profession.  She had a good mind, but she too felt like an outsider socially and emotionally.

The two Jewish detectives, Marcus and Lucius Isaacson (played by Douglas Smith and Matthew Shear), did the research for the doctor, introduced new criminology techniques they heard about such as fingerprinting, etc. to help find the murderer. They, too, were treated like outsiders and were also in danger.

The doctor’s Black male servant, Cyrus Montrose, too, (played by Robert Wisdom) was always ready to serve and defend the doctor in this dangerous undertaking.

Stevie Taggert, played by Matthew Lindzt, was the young boy who went under cover in the brothel which catered to older men by providing young boys for sex.

Maxie, played by Dominic Boyle, was the main male prostitute who dreamed of being free like one of the murdered boys.

I really liked the historical flavor of the show with the fights for rights that were going on then:  women’s suffrage (right to vote), one woman in the police department, etc.  The mutilation and slaughterhouse ripping of the children’s bodies brought tears to my eyes, but the men who ran the brothels were just as much to blame as the murderer.

As usual, the rich got away with their bad habits that would put the average person in jail.   While the poor might sleep several generations in one apartment.  Mass production did give people jobs, but those people were treated as part of the machinery with no safety precautions, lived in housing that should have been condemned, and had no medical care, nourishing food, or living wage.

TNT definitely knows drama!

Other sources:

Wikipedia

IMDb

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

 

Review of book, Had I Listened: The Things You Do Before You Know, by Hines Early

If you’ve lived in Baltimore, Maryland, from the 1950’s on, you will certainly be able to relate to Hines Early’s first non-fiction book, Had I Listened.  He vividly describes the hustles that were available to African-Americans to keep their heads above water back in the day.

Hines Early started out smart.  At the age of 9, he schooled his young mother about a colored television she bought on time, meaning $5 per week until it was paid for.  Hines figured out that the used television that she bought from a door-to-door salesman would end up costing three times what it was worth.  She sent it back and they eventually bought their own outright.

Hines had jobs like cleaning out A-rabbers’ horse stables that his grandmother used for manure in her plants.  A-rabbers were the entrepreneurs of their day, bringing fresh fruit, vegetables, and fresh fish daily to our doors via horse and wagon, a rare sight these days.  Hines has been everything from show promoter to clothing salesmen to mail business owner.  Can you imagine seeing Jackie Wilson, soul singer extraordinaire, live at the Royal Theater in Baltimore, Maryland?

Along the way, he had a few good advisors like his grandpa Steve.  But, Hines was no different than we are.  He chose the things he wanted to assimilate into his life from his advisors, but mostly went by his own instincts, making mistakes along the way, experimenting with various vices like gambling and drugs.

Hines can proudly say that he and his wife raised their own children and a few others with college aspirations.  He came out of it all, giving back to the community.  In his first book, he imparts the things he learned along the way, even after he knew.  You will laugh with him and cry with him. His story was more than “interesting enough to read about”.  His book was later produced as a play.

Publisher:  Graphic Imaging, Inc.  © Hines 2007.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review of Book, Once Upon a Wedding, by A.N. Hopps

This book, Once Upon A Wedding, is an emotion-packed ride from beginning to end.   A.N. Hopps makes you laugh, cry and lust after her characters in her first novel.  But, the most burdensome emotion is the constant frustration of not being able to strangle Norma Jean.

The author’s voice is natural and plain-speaking, the way real people talk.  I like the way she doesn’t over-detail the descriptions of her characters, leaving us to use our own imaginations to envision them.  You can feel the pauses, embarrassments, tension, and need to murder.  I certainly used my imagination.

Everyone has known someone like Norma Jean, the “friend” who tries to control you and constantly puts you down.  Edith, the “side-kick” who bowed to the “queen’s” wishes most of her school years.  Although Edith eventually became her own woman, she was still haunted by Norma Jean’s influence over her.

I hated to put the book down between readings to carry on my daily commitments.  A.N. Hopps has written a true romance in every sense of the word.  And, the author has done it in such a way that anyone could put themselves into the story, whether as one of the male or female characters.  I plan on reading it again.

Publisher:  Xlibris Corporation.  © A.N. Hopps 2009.

Review written by Rosa L. Griffin

 

 

 

Review of book, Baltimore: A Not So Serious History, by Letitia Stockett

Ms. Stockett, a Baltimore teacher in 1926, was successful at giving a cultural view of how Baltimore, Maryland came into existence in her book, Baltimore: A Not So Serious History, published in 1997 by Johns Hopkins University Press.   The book is rich in imagery and detail.  Her tour of the Baltimore region is presented in flashbacks by neighborhoods and street intersections.

She began on Charles Street at Mount Vernon Place and wrote of specific historic details covering  the years 1500 to 1900.  When she was finished with an intersection or neighborhood, she went on methodically to the next.  There was a great deal of overlapping and repetition which I appreciated.  This helped to connect different events and people.

What I really liked was Ms. Stockett’s style of telling the story as if it were hot news or local gossip—the kind of telling where you wished you were a fly on the wall to be able to hear it for yourself.

I loved her anecdotes about real Baltimore citizens’ and visitors’ personal relationships and lives.  Hetty Cary was a famous female Confederate spy.  The Peabody family’s original name was Boadie and they were from Ireland (even Ms. Stockett admitted the lineage from the Celtic “wild woman”, Boadicea, was questionable).  Betsy Patterson, Baltimorean, married Jerome Bonaparte without Napoleon’s permission, and was refused entrance to France in her pregnant condition.  John Wilkes Booth, assassin of President Lincoln, had a proud family lineage in Baltimore.  Russia requested and got American engineers to build railroads for the Czar.  Fires, riots, inventions, songs, art, and yellow fever bouts were also detailed.

The other thing I liked was her imagery of how the region looked from trees like the locust “with their heavy ivory perfume” to the origin of the Jones Falls.  But, there were also times when you couldn’t tell if the quotes were hers or someone else’s.  There was mention also of terms and names that were left unexplained, as if she assumed that you knew those things.  In Ms. Stockett’s opinion, something historic always had to be destroyed for progress to come.

However, no other religion except Christian (in a time of freedom of religion) or any other race except white accomplished anything by Ms. Stockett’s account.  Now she was a feminist when it came to women’s accomplishments during and after women’s “days of their servitude” as eye candy and property, otherwise there is nothing politically correct about Ms. Stockett’s book.

She had definite opinions of races and ethnic groups in this 1997 edition, which I assume reflected the attitudes of her day.   American Indians attacked Baltimore or were represented as wooden Indians in front of tobacco stores.  African Americans yelled “deviled crabs” at Lexington Market or were represented as wooden hitching posts for horses.  I’m sure I’m fair in saying that minorities were accorded perhaps 10 phrases in the whole book, mostly derogatory.    I would be interested in reading her original book.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin