Review of book:  Bloodsworth—the True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA Evidence, by Tim Junkin

Bloodsworth is the nonfiction account of how Kirk Bloodworth was wrongfully accused and spent 9 years in prison for the alleged heinous rape and murder of a child.    The book includes a short history of how DNA came about (“clearing the innocent as well as identifying the guilty”), the history of the Maryland Penitentiary, and a short Baltimore history beginning in 1661.  I love a book that gives the historical backstory to explain why things happened and what was going on in the country at the same time.

“In her news conference, Sandra A. O’Connor declined to say that Bloodsworth was innocent and offered no apologies.   ‘There are no other suspects at this time’, she said.  ‘Based on the evidence, our office did the right thing in prosecuting him,’ she said.   ‘I believe he is not guilty,” O’Conor added.  ‘I am not prepared to say he’s innocent.’  This public statement of hers caused some people to think he was still guilty despite the proof of his innocence.

The author says “There is a strain of hubris that affects certain people in power, people with authority.  It can be slow to develop, like a dormant infection.  If not guarded against, it can breed an unhealthy arrogance, a cocksureness that their judgments are beyond fallacy.  Such self-righteousness allows them to close their minds to new possibilities.  It can cause right-thinking people to do terrible things.  The devil has a long tail.”   In addition, it can cause these professionals to not consider any other options like the four other local men who had criminal records and creepy ways that caught their co-workers’ attentions, but not the prosecution investigators’ attentions.

Kirk’s personal story of triumph is intermingled with the above in an interesting and far from boring way.  There was no evidence to even bring him in as a suspect.   But, think of what he and other innocent men and women have gone through.   Some say, well, the cover tells you that he was proven innocent, why should I read his story?   Who knows, maybe you will need the information that he learned from his experience being locked up in the Maryland Penitentiary, being trapped with the guilty, using every bit of money your elderly parents have in trying to prove your innocence, etc.   This could have been your story.

And, what was his crime?   This former waterman, Marine, and discus-throwing champion allowed his life to spiral out of control in pursuit of the wife whom he loved.  So much so that he wasn’t prepared physically or emotionally to bring his life back on track.   He and his wife were living with a group of like-minded party animals who only lived to party until his wife grew bored with him and ran away to find some other like-minded fellow.  Bloodsworth was high and miserable about his wife when he was arrested.   What a time to be arrested when you are not thinking clearly at all and having to come down off that high in prison.

This book was selected by the Maryland Humanities One Maryland One Book campaign.   Copyright 2004 by Tim Junkin and Kirk Bloodsworth, Published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

Submitted by Rosa L. Griffin


Chase the right waterfalls! Please don’t stick to the rivers and the lakes that you are used to!

Hi, everyone!

A few years ago, TLC sang a beautiful song –“Waterfalls”.

“Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Please stay in the rivers and the lakes that you are used to.”    I thought the lyrics were kind of negative, because I thought of waterfalls as something positive.   But in watching the video and re-reading the lyrics, I found that the song spoke of young people who were going too far in the wrong direction–ruining their lives.   The video of three beautiful women standing in water is breath-taking.

“According to Bustle, the song we love to belt out is about H.I.V., drug dealing, and other tragedies that kill predominantly young people.”    “The Meaning Behind ‘Waterfalls’ by TLC is Pretty Dark”,, 4/15/17 Lyrics/Waterfalls Lyrics.html, TLC (T-Boz/Left Eye/Chili), 1995, on the LaFace label.

Submitted by Rosa L. Griffin

Review of book: Power Walking, A Journey to Wholeness by Maxine Bigby Cunningham

I found Maxine’s book very inspiring.   Her book, Power Walking, is a memoir containing poetry, affirmations, and Scripture.  It is filled with prayers to God.  And, the most unique part of all is her life in falling.

Maxine has physically fallen many times in her life because of medical conditions.    Many I suspect were caused by a type of perfectionism in which she must carry on at any cost despite a broken ankle, fainting spells, stroke, anxiety attacks, mental health, etc.   Sometimes she was hospitalized, and other times released from the hospital on the same day.  The Scriptures are appropriately related to her seeking God’s help or successfully coming out of each circumstance.

She has a unique history of the suffering in her life, but also how God brought her through.   Maxine is not beating you down with Scripture but asking you to join her in standing up after a fall.

Maxine is made of stronger stuff than me.  It is a book small enough to be read often and should be.   I plan on referring to her book again.

Her book may be purchased at

Publisher:  BookSurge Publishing, 2008

Written by Rosa L. Griffin


Review of book:  My Life as a Mermaid, A Tale to be Shared, by Michelle D. Smith

Imagine a society where everyone is treated the same.   A mermaid/merman decides what they want to be and do before birth.   Their friends are whales and dolphins.   There is no necessity for money.   Clothing is unnecessary.   Couples mate for life.

Everything is done for the society/collective’s benefit.   There is no greed or crime.

But lest you think mermaids are pushovers, small sea animals are killed but only for each meal, not for storage or mass production.

Humans are the mer peoples’ only natural predators and biggest polluters of the sea.

Michelle has written a book about a perfect community as told to her by her mermaid guide, Shahia.  I believe her book would make a great fantasy or inspirational movie.

Her book can be purchased at 2015

Contact:   Michelle D. Smith’s website is,, and

Written by Rosa L. Griffin


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,

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.


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


Written by Rosa L. Griffin



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