CLASS by Lucinda Rosenfeld

 

Awesome satire: CLASS by Lucinda Rosenfeld.

Ever know one of those cluelessly insufferable people who run around talking about how “the poor need this” and “the poor need that,” yet can’t see how horribly arrogant they are in thinking that they’ve been appointed as “the one” who’s got “all the answers” to somebody else’s problems?

I’ve known plenty of those types.  Want to know a secret?  I’ve never liked them.  You will not like Karen Kipple, the main character, of this satirical book, CLASS by Lucinda Rosenfeld, either.  She’ll make your jaw drop at her own cluelessness.  Her prejudices are vast, yet for all her professed altruism towards “the poor,” she is too dim to see her own outrageous biases.  She starts off a horrible person and gets worse as the book rolls on, yet it’s hilarious.  You’ll wish she were a real person standing in front of you so that you could give her a good telling-off.  It’s a send-up, it’s laugh-out-loud funny, and when you’re done reading it, you’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief and say how glad you are to be  you, not her.

Unless, of course, you’re a Karen Kipple-type yourself…

I highly recommend this book.

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AMERICAN RADICAL: Inside the World of an Undercover Muslim FBI Agent Book

AMERICAN RADICAL by undercover FBI agent who uses the name “Tamer Elnoury” and Kevin Mauer.  This is a must-read!

Today was one of the most beautiful days imaginable in New York City, and easily seemed to be the prettiest Halloween I could ever remember.  It wasn’t too chilly, the autumn leaf show was just beginning, the sky was blue, and there were even some roses still blooming.  I was thinking was a great Halloween this was going to be for all the kids who were going Trick-or-Treating after school…

And then I heard that a coward perpetrated a terrorist attack on West Street in Lower Manhattan.  As of this writing, there’s 8 dead, 15 wounded, and the counts will probably rise.  Whenever something like this happens, the counts always seem to rise, don’t they?  Horrific.

By coincidence I’ve been reading AMERICAN RADICAL: INSIDE THE WORLD OF AN UNDERCOVER MUSLIM FBI AGENT this week.  It’s written by a man who used the “legend” (fake name for undercover purposes) “Tamer Elnoury.”  He was interviewed, while wearing a disguise, on “60 Minutes” about two weeks ago, and I was very impressed by him.  “Tamer” got involved with working undercover for the FBI because, as a Muslim, he did not like the way the extremist Islamic terrorists pervert his religion.

The book is a fascinating look at undercover work and is worth reading for that alone, but there’s so much more to it.  Did you know that, in Islam:

-People are supposed to adhere to the laws of the countries in which they live?

-It’s considered wrong to kill woman and children?

-It’s considered wrong to kill non-combatants?

And more.  Much more.

The more I read in this book about what Islam really stands for, the more astounded I am by the terrorists who don’t adhere to it.  Those who are running around killing people to make some kind of a statement are not just wrong in the eyes of the world, they’re wrong in terms of their own religion.  I have always considered the terrorists to be a pack of lowly cowards, but they’re even lower than any of us ever thought if they’re going against Islam’s teachings while simultaneously killing in the “name of” Islam.  These terrorists are just plain bonafide brainwashed freaks.

Criminal freaks.  I’m glad that “Tamer Elnoury” has the guts to call them out on it and to do something to stop them.  The book will give you a window into how the minds of these lunatics work as well as how many procedures are in place by the FBI to try and stop them.

Sometimes, though, on some days, like today, the FBI doesn’t manage to stop them all.  It’s so sad, and so pointless.

RIP to those who lost their lives.  God bless all the families affected.

 

 

Also Available Now: My GOVERNORS ISLAND: THE GEM OF NEW YORK 2018 Calendar

My second photography calendar for 2018, GOVERNORS ISLAND: THE GEM OF NEW YORK.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: you can’t beat the website http://www.lulu.com when it comes to ease of use for creating and publishing calendars.  This is the second photography calendar I’ve made on their site in two days…and that’s in addition to sending out resumes, going on a job interview and visiting and shopping for a sick friend.  Lulu.com RULES!

It’s called the GOVERNORS ISLAND: THE GEM OF NEW YORK 2018 Calendar, and it’s one of my favorite places to photograph.  Governors Island was once a military base, closed to the public.  Thank God that’s over with, because now it’s a park and it’s open to everybody.  It’s truly a beautiful, I’ll even say magical place.

Here’s the link.  Be sure to hit the Preview button to see all the images and you’ll understand why I say what I’m saying – and enjoy!

Governors-Island-The-Gem-of-New-York-2018 Calendar

Available Now: My EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSES CALENDAR for 2018!

Carolyn Quinn’s EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSES CALENDAR 2018 – available for order now! Woo-HOO!

Here it is, boys!

Here it is, WORLD!

Here’s my roses!

My latest calendar, the EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSES CALENDAR for 2018, featuring the best of my rose photos of the year, is online and available for order at Lulu.com.  It’s nice and colorful and will be sure to add a lot of pizzazz to whatever wall you hang it on.  As always, calendars make the best holiday gifts, too.

And fellow photography buffs, let me add this: Lulu.com is a great self-publishing site for creating calendars!  It’s easy and fun to use.  I can’t recommend them enough.

Here’s the link to EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSES, the calendar:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/carolyn-quinn/carolyn-quinns-everythings-coming-up-roses-calendar-2018/calendar/product-23349174.html

A Must-See Movie: FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER

FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER: Loung Ung’s book has been powerfully brought to the screen by Angelina Jolie.

Loung Ung’s fascinating yet horrific book about her survival of the brutal and sick Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, First They Killed My Father, has finally become a movie.

I really have to hand it to Angelina Jolie.  I don’t know her personally, so I’m not shilling, but she’s someone who became a goodwill ambassador to the UN awhile back, which, by the way, was also chronicled in her fascinating book, Notes from my Travels.  She has been raising awareness of the problems in nations like Cambodia ever since.

So it was no surprise when I read the good news online that First They Killed My Father was being made into a movie and that Angelina Jolie was producing it.

The movie follows the story of Loung Ung, age five in 1975 at the beginning, whose happy life with her military man father, mother and several loving siblings in Cambodia is completely disrupted, then destroyed, by the Khmer Rouge takeover of the country.  It’s brilliantly done by showing the bizarre story unfold through Loung’s young and disbelieving eyes.

Wait.  Let me amend that.  Loung is hardly the only one who cannot make sense of what went on when the Khmer Rouge took over.  Neither could the adults who were there at the time, let alone all those of us who weren’t there, thank God, and only heard about the insane events later.

Loung’s gentle father is not the only one the rogue Rouge regime kills.  A quarter of the population of Cambodia did not survive the Khmer Rouge’s psycho system of starving, overworking, and outright murdering anyone who didn’t appear to be in line with their “revolutionary” philosophy, whether they be from the military, educated, in the upper classes, etc.  As seems to be the norm with a lot of the more brutal regimes of the Twentieth Century, this one was obsessed with making everyone into “equals.”  It never works, but those who want it to can go pretty crazy with their ideas of implementation.  The Khmer Rouge went more berserk with that “equality” crap than most.  The entire population becomes enslaved by the Khmer Rouge, who have guns pointed at them as they force them to give up their homes, possessions, former lives, and so on, putting them to work in work camps.  Question, though: how “equal” can people be if one group has guns on the other, then forces them to do all the work?

Sareum Srey Moch does a spectacular job at playing Loung Ung, a child fed with more propaganda than food who somehow manages to hold onto her humanity in spite of every insane thing that is happening around her.  This is a performance worthy of an award, and so is Angelina Jolie’s vivid direction.  As many times as someone can read  about the Khmer Rouge’s takeover of their own beleaguered nation, seeing it played out on the screen packs a wallop.

Get the movie, folks.  It’s on Netflix.  You can see the trailer here:

What a Book! THE SYMPATHIZER by Viet Thanh Nguyen

A cautionary tale about a double-agent.

THE SYMPATHIZER by Viet Thanh Nguyen is more than just a book.  It’s like a force of nature.

The unnamed narrator is the illegitimate son of a North Vietnamese teenager and a priest.  He’s of “two minds,” as a result, or rather, he thinks he is, “torn” between two different cultures, Vietnamese and French, Asian and Caucasian, etc.  He grows up with a whole lot of ridicule and bullying, due to his mixed heritage, and believes it makes him someone who can understand situations from “two sides.”

Oh, really?

He may believe so, but he also aligns himself, secretly and wholeheartedly, with one side over the other.  One of his best friends trains him as a North Vietnamese spy for the Viet Cong.  Meanwhile, he also makes a big but fake show of spying for the CIA…

I won’t say any more, since I don’t like to add spoilers, but I will say this.  The story may be set in Vietnam during the 1960s and 1970s, and is fascinating in and of itself, as a result, but it can also serve very well as a cautionary tale for today’s polarized Americans.  Careful, folks!  Don’t base your entire identity on your politics.  You may be in for a rude awakening.

 

 

 

The Dream of the Silver Coin

Magical things may happen if a silver coin appears to you in a dream…

It happened in 1988.

I had lived in Brooklyn, New York for about a year and liked to board the elevated subway at 20th Avenue Station.  It was a longer walk to that station than to the one closer to my house by about five minutes, but a nicer walk, too, past gorgeous little gardens and a beautiful church.

One night I had a dream.  I was walking up the subway steps at 20th Avenue Station, and in the middle of the staircase I found a silver coin.  A beautiful silver coin, like a dollar piece, glinting and waiting for me.

“What a great dream,” I thought as I woke up.  Then I got dressed and headed off to work as usual, walking to 20th Avenue station.

When I got there, halfway up the steps, what did I find?  A ten-dollar bill!  It wasn’t a silver coin, but it was right there, on the staircase, right where it was in the dream!

Well, no one else was on the staircase so whoever’s pocket it fell out of wasn’t there to retrieve it.  I put the ten in my wallet with a smile on my face and went to work.

Later that day, at my job at Orion Pictures, I checked my lottery ticket in the newsstand that was in the building.  I had four numbers out of six – and won $126!!!!

On the way home that night with my much-heavier winnings-enhanced wallet, walking along 18th Avenue in Brooklyn, right near the fire station, I found several coins on the street!  It was just a few cents worth, but they were coins.  They were on the street.  And they were waiting for me.  It was one of the luckiest days of my life.  Total take: about $136.07.

I’ve often wondered about the dream of the silver coin.   Where did it come from?  Does it even matter?  Look at the good fortune it foretold!