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

 

 

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What I’m Reading Now–Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

I’m reading Jodi Picoult’s book, Small Great Things.    Jodi describes how a person becomes a racist.  She also describes how diverse people feel from their treatment by racists and non-racists.   Although the book is 469 pages long (including author notes), it is an easy but intense read.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Review of movie Belle de Jour

Catherine Deneuve is a French actress who has played in a lot of R-rated movies.   The movie, Belle de Jour, is French and subtitled in English.   She usually played one of the aloof, cool, mysterious blondes like Alfred Hitchcock’s Grace Kelly or Tipi Hedron.

In Belle de Jour, Catherine’s character, Belle ne’ Severine, married a successful surgeon, but constantly fantasized about sex.   Catherine’s character acted frigid and her husband (Jean Sorel) didn’t force the issue.   What would have made the movie more interesting was if it had been explained why she didn’t desire her new “Prince Charming”-like wealthy doctor husband.   Thus, the marriage was never consummated.

But, she got hired at a local brothel where she gave up her treasure to diverse strange men and was quite happy during the day while her husband was at work.   The movie ends in near-tragedy, but not in the way you would think.  Individuals can’t necessarily live out every fantasy they can think up.  But, I liked the movie because I like adult fantasy movies, and I don’t remember seeing any nudity.

Catherine Deneuve played in a vampire movie that I liked called The Hunger, with David Bowie who acted as well as sang the theme song of the movie.   Of her movies that I have seen, the one I didn’t like was the half of the musical, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, that I watched.

“Belle de Jour Author [Dr.] Brooke Magnanti Insists She was a Call Girl”, https://www.telegraph.co.uk. The doctor had a blog before she wrote the book and had the successful television show, “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” produced.

On January 10, 2018, www.usatoday.com issued a video about Catherine Deneuve and 100 other women, including female writers, performers, and academicians, who put an article in the French publication Lamonde, denouncing the #MeToo movement as puritanical and fueled by hatred of men, following the Harvey Weinstein scandal.    She classified what happened to the women as flirting.

But, Catherine, there is a huge difference between flirting, molestation, and rape.   I am sure there are men supporting the #MeToo movement, also.   Catherine Deneuve has worked with various directors such as Francois Truffaut, Luis Bunuel, and Roman Polanski.   And, remember, Roman Polanski fled the United States in 1978 because he was wanted for rape.   Instead of “Where’s Waldo?”, officials should be searching for Roman.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Book Signing and Author Panel at Liberty Senior Center May 9, 2018, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Rosa L. Griffin will be participating in a book signing and author panel at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. during the Liberty Senior Center’s Book Club Extravaganza being held on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.   She will be discussing her writing life and her book of short stories, Attraction:  Sexy Tales of Good, Bad, and Ugly Relationships.   Payment at the Center is by cash or check only.  Come on by, look around, and listen to some fascinating stories.   The Center is located at 3525 Resource Drive off of Liberty Road, Randallstown, MD 21133, 410-887-0780.

Nervikula Publishing LLC

Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Erotica

Blog https://nervikularose.wordpress.com

rosalgriffin@nervikularose.com

 

 

Woodlawn Page Turners Book Club 20th Anniversary

As I mentioned before, the Page Turners Book Club meets at 7 p.m. usually on the third Thursday of each month, except for July and August, at the Woodlawn branch of the Baltimore County libraries, 1811 Woodlawn Drive, Woodlawn MD  21207, https://www.bcpl.info/locations/woodlawn/index.html, 410-887-1336.   However, their 20th Anniversary will be held on the fourth Thursday.

Woodlawn Page Turners

20th Anniversary Celebration

Fourth Thursday, April 26, 2018

6 p.m.

All adults are welcome

This special night includes a Book Buzz event where librarians share and discuss the must-read books of the season that you don’t want to miss. In addition, appearances by local authors and, of course, food and entertainment!

Submitted by Rosa L. Griffin

Workshop–Owning Your Copyrights, May 5, 2018

On Saturday, May 5, 2018, 1-3 p.m., Rosa L. Griffin will be conducting a workshop for the Black Writers’ Guild of Maryland entitled “Owning Your Copyrights”.    The workshop will be held at the Enoch Pratt Library, 4330 Edmondson Avenue, Baltimore, MD  21229.

Understanding copyright law can be hair raising.  Join us for an informative workshop for writers which will help guide you through the muddy waters of what you can and can’t use for your writing projects and much more!

You will learn:

  1. How to copyright your work
  2. What can’t be copyrighted
  3. How to earn income from others’ use of your work
  4. How you can use someone else’s work
  5. How to copyright your work in other forms

Rosa L. Griffin is the author of an adult fictional short story collection entitled Attraction:  Sexy Tales of the Good, Bad, and Ugly Relationships.   One of the stories in her collection, “Life-Box”, received honorable mention in a Writer’s Digest Magazine contest.   Rosa earned two A.A. degrees in Human Resource Management and Secretarial Science at Baltimore City Community College.   She also served as secretary for the Black Writers’ Guild for 8 years.   Her expertise in copyright is based on her work experience at the Johns Hopkins University Press.    Rosa hopes to see you there!

The workshop is open to the public.  Donations ($5.00) can be made via the BWG website at www.blackwritersguild.org.  Annual membership is $35.00.  Bring a friend!

Submitted by Rosa L. Griffin

 

15th Annual Citylit Festival on April 14, 2018

Come join me, Rosa Griffin, and 33 other authors at this year’s 15th Annual Citylit Festival on Saturday, April 14, 2018 any time between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The event will be held in the atrium of the University of Baltimore’s William H. Thumel, Sr.’s Business Center at 11 W. Mt. Royal Avenue and Charles Street in Baltimore, MD  21201.

Admission is free.

Come meet me and the other authors who will be selling their books and other items, networking, and enjoying your company.   www.citylitproject.org.

Campus map:  http://www.ubalt.edu/uploads/pdfs/campusmap.pdf

Hope to see you there!

Rosa L. Griffin

Did you know?  A Friend in Sports Radio

Andre A. Melton has a sports show on WEAA 88.9 FM.   He was present when Odessa Rose spoke with gratitude about her thanks to the many Black Writers’ Guild of Maryland’s members who came to the premiere of her movie, Water in a Broken Glass, at the Senator on March 1, 2018.

Andre says that he tries to put at least one item of a general nature in with the sports on each show.  So, listen up—you don’t know what he may be talking about next.

Email:  anmel1@morgan.edu

Phone:  443-825-7857

Fax:  443-885-8206

1700 E. Cold Spring Lane

New Communications, Suite 300

Baltimore, MD  21251

 

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Energetic and Talented Bruno Mars

I feared for the talented and energetic Bruno Mars and his Hooligans dancing outside on top of the Apollo Theater marquee in Harlem, New York, when I saw their 24K Magic Live at the Apollo show on CBS November 29, 2017.  After all, the building is 77 years old.

They did the Apollo proud with their stylish singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments.  I saw Bruno Mars sing a love ballad on an award show a couple of years ago.  Who knew that he would blow up!   My favorite song of his is the ironic love ballad “Grenade” in which he sings about the great lengths to which he would go to save his loved one (taking a grenade, train, bullet, etc.), but his loved one wouldn’t do the same for him.  I love the line– “…Tell the devil I said hey when you get back to where you’re from.”

I also saw Kathy Bates do a great impression of his 24K Magic song on the Lip Sync Battle television show recently.

www.doowopsandhooligans.weebly.com/band-members.html

www.apollotheater.org/about/history

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

 

 

 

Did you know? Escarpment

I found out that an escarpment is “a steep slope or long cliff that forms as an effect of faulting or erosion and separates two relatively level areas of differing elevations.”  There are escarpments in Niagara, Southern Africa, Caprock, Catskills, Bandiagara, Helderberg, and Knobstone, to name a few.

Guess where I heard the word escarpment?  In a Tarzan movie, “Tarzan’s N. Y. Adventure” (1942) in which Tarzan and Jane’s “adopted” son, Boy (Johnny Sheffield), is kidnapped by hunters who work for circus people and were given a deadline to leave by Tarzan.   So, Jane (Maureen O’Sullivan), Tarzan (Johnny Weismuller), and Cheetah (chimpanzee) get to go to America.

Tarzan is based on a character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  And, in spite of 12 movies, Tarzan still never learned to speak more than a 2-3 word sentence, i.e. “Jane go”, “Boy no go”, etc.   Yet, he knew the word “escarpment”.

Johnny Weismuller was “one of the world’s fastest swimmers in the 20s, winning five Olympic gold medals and one bronze for water polo.  He won 52 U.S. national championships and set more than 50 world records.   His character’s distinctive Tarzan yell is still often used in films.”  A heartbreaking fact is that he had a heart condition that was revealed when he broke a hip and a leg in 1974 causing declining health, but he got a 21-gun salute at his funeral in 1984.

That’s where the sexy comes in—right?  You want a relatively muscular man who’s scantily clad, can rescue you if you are drowning, can keep the “animals” in check, brings home the “bacon”, and protects his home.    And, if you can’t have a kid in the plot because the studio says you are already living in sin, you can always wait for a kid to survive a plane crash in one of the movies, so you can “adopt” him or her.

Sources:

Wikipedia

IMDb

Rotten Tomatoes

 

Written by Rosa L. Griffin