Commentary #52: Thoughts on “The Keepers”

The Keepers - imdb

Image Credit: IMDb

Al mentioned this new Netflix Original series to me a couple weeks ago.

I watched the first two episodes, out of seven, alone. In retrospect, I’m glad that I re-watched them with Al this past week. We just finished the last one today. I don’t think I could have handled it alone.

Much like my Making A Murderer post from last October, I want to try to summarize the series here, and give my thoughts and feelings about it. I will do my best to limit any spoilers!

In November 1969, Sister Catherine (Cathy) Cesnik mysteriously vanished near Baltimore, Maryland. There had been an experiment where she and another nun were allowed to leave their convent and become public school teachers at the all-girls Catholic Archbishop Keough High School.

At the time of her disappearance, Cathy was going shopping for some bakery buns, and an engagement gift for her sister. When her roommate, Sister Russell Phillips, discovered that Cathy had not returned to the apartment, she notified two friends, one of whom was a priest. A few hours later, the police were called and an investigation began.

Sadly, just three days into the year 1970, Sister Cathy’s body was found in a local garbage dump, in nearby Lansdowne, Maryland. The initial investigation concluded that her skull had been fractured at the left temple, but little other evidence was found. The case remains open and unsolved.

The Keepers follows several of Sister Cathy’s students, in the present day, trying to solve her murder, and untangle the web that surrounded their beloved teacher.

Throughout the seven episodes, we learn that Father A. Joseph Maskell was the chaplain at Archbishop Keough, as well as the Baltimore Police Department, and the Maryland State Police. Prior to his arrival at Keough in 1967, Maskell was a priest at multiple churches/parishes in Maryland. Maskell stayed at Keough through 1975.

Gemma and Abbie are the primary amateur investigators in the case. They simply wanted to see Cathy’s murder solved, and to figure out what really happened. Along the way, they begin to discover the secret world that was surrounding their school, and the potential scandal that Cathy knew about.

Without going into gory detail, it was alleged that Father Maskell was committing acts of sexual abuse in his office in the school. In the episodes, several women (Jane Doe, Jane Roe, Mary, Donna, and others) describe what Maskell was doing to them. One woman, Lil, recounted how Maskell asked her to type the transcripts of the “counseling sessions” and “psychological reports” of the girls. Almost all of the reports were sexual in nature.

Gemma and Abbie, among others, start to realize that Cathy knew what was going on, and she was likely murdered to keep the scandal quiet.

Watching the first two episodes alone, I was absolutely horrified. I almost didn’t want to keep watching. What these women were saying that this man did to them made me sick.

When Al and I watched them together, there were several moments where we paused it, and said, together, “What on Earth is happening? Why? Holy freaking cow! This is absolutely nuts!”

We found that our profanity increased as the episodes went over. We could not believe that Maskell, and several others, got away with these terrible acts for so many years.

We noticed that, unfortunately, there are deep ties between the Archdiocese and the police. We’re convinced that there’s money involved, as well as rampant corruption. And this is just in Baltimore!

According to Wikipedia, there are 197 particular churches in the U.S. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. That’s a lot!

To summarize, The Keepers is a decent series. It could have been told in five episodes, rather than seven. But, it’s an important story to be told. When we were watching, we were reminded of the movie Spotlight from 2015. It’s an incredible movie, and it follows similar veins from Boston.

In talking with others on Facebook, my hope is that series and movies like these will help victims to gather the courage to come forward, to tell their stories. Abuse is not acceptable or okay in any form, but against children is especially heinous. These men (and women) should be punished accordingly. The church needs to stop “transferring” priests and others that are accused of abuse and other crimes. They need to be prosecuted. More importantly, these victims need to be believed. They need to be respected and applauded for their courage.

There needs to be justice for Sister Cathy.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #51: “Woman Moves into Old Mall after Shops are Converted into 48 Tiny Homes, Could You Live Like This?”

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Image Credit: Country Living

I saw this post on Facebook last week, almost randomly. It made me stop and think.

Here’s the original post:


When I shared it on Facebook, several of my friends commented on it. The discussions we had were fascinating.

One of my friends from college lives in a tiny house now, and absolutely loves it! She’s steps away from the ocean in Virginia Beach.

I also thought back to last fall, when Al and I were visiting his parents’ farm for the weekend. We were watching the show “Tiny House Nation.” I remember being in awe of these renovations/ Granted, it’s a reality show, but the concept is really cool.

Back to the shopping mall – The smallest units in the renovated mall go for $550 per month, which is definitely affordable in Providence, Rhode Island.


Returning to the present, I went to trusty old Google to find out more.

This is part of what I found:

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Image Credit: The Tiny Life

To answer the question posed in this post’s title, I don’t think I could swing it with just 225 square feet of living space. If I were single, then maybe. But, being married and starting to plan for our own family, it would certainly be a tight fit. I don’t do well in super-cramped spaces, anyway. However, I give props to people who can hack it, and I also know people that enjoy it.

With the Facebook discussion, I started thinking about the struggling mall across the street from my parents’ neighborhood. To me, it either needs to be torn down completely, or renovated somehow. It would be cool to see something different, since brick-and-mortar stores are slowly fading away (Consider the recent news about Sears, Kmart, JCPenney, Staples, etc.). There’s so much potential with the space.


To learn more about tiny houses and other alternative housing methods, here’s a few more links:


What do you think about tiny houses?

Do you think tiny houses could/would work in old shopping malls, or other abandoned buildings?

Do you know anyone who has a tiny house?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #50: “Students Turn the Tables on a Journalist”

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Image Credit: Ask Ideas

I read several advice columns, on almost a daily basis:

I don’t always agree, but several letters have made me think about certain things in my own life, such as dealing with certain friendships, how to consider money matters, and how to help the environment in different ways.


Last Monday, I stumbled upon an intriguing headline:

I don’t normally read “Parents Talk Back,” but I felt like I needed to read this one.

And, I was right.

Scenario: The columnist is approached by her daughter. Daughter asks mother to come talk to her middle school classes before starting a unit on investigative journalism.

Mother agrees, and creates a lesson plan with the teacher. Her ideas: Discuss the First Amendment, explore how the free press works, the different types of news sources, and examples of investigations.

She taught this lesson six times, to groups of 40 students. That’s 240 students! Armed with candy, she encouraged the students to answer and ask questions.

She later received over 100 notes from the students, thanking her for the enlightening discussion.

Here’s some of the responses:

  • “I learned a lot of new things about how to gather information on public files.”
  • “I’m taking journalism in high school, and I wasn’t that excited about it, but now i am! Can’t wait for that class.”
  • “Who knows — you may have possibly inspired a future journalist.”
  • “It gave me new insight on the steps reporters take to write a story and how they’re viewed by the public. My favorite part was when you explained the impact of journalism on real world issues.”
  • “My favorite thing you said was that reporters helped bring bad things to light.”
  • “My favorite thing you said was that investigative journalists don’t do it for the money, they do it for the truth.”
  • “My favorite thing you said was you’ve been a journalist for 20 years, and that’s a record to me, because most people quit because people say mean things.”

I found myself re-reading this column a few times over the last week. It’s awesome that one woman made such an impact on 240 students, in one day!

Reading this column has inspired me to look into opportunities of sharing my varied knowledge on topics such as reading, writing, journalism, mass media, blogging, donating blood/blood drives, and maybe even the world of healthcare.

I’m not sure where this will lead me, but I’m excited!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #3: John Grisham

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Image Credit: AZ Quotes

This installment of Awesome Authors covers one of my all-time favorites, John Grisham. I give partial credit to him for leading me to pursue my Paralegal Studies degree, and developing my initial interest in the field of law. I aspire to own all of his books, someday! I need to pre-order his newest book, Camino Island.

He’s smart, sharp, and he writes really good books!


The Pelican Brief (1992)

The Pelican Brief

Image Credit: Wikipedia

This was the first Grisham book I read. My own copy is well-loved. I tend to re-read it at least once or twice every year.

The movie adaptation (1993) is one of my absolute favorites! Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington were perfect co-stars.

The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town (2006)

The Innocent Man

Image Credit: Wikipedia

This book sparks the clearest memory for me – I stumbled upon it in high school, at the Chesapeake library, probably right after it was published. I love true crime stories, so I remember flying through it. I have my own copy, so I’ll probably re-read it at some point in the near future.

The Whistler (2016)

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Image Credit: Amazon

You can check out my review of Grisham’s latest work here:

A Time to Kill (1989)

A Time to Kill

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I don’t remember when I first read it, but I didn’t realize it was his first novel until much later!

Theodore Boone series (2010-present)

I have some catching up to do, but I’ve read Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer (2010), and Theodore Boone: The Abduction (2011) thus far. I found both of them at the Chesapeake libraries, and I’m working on getting copies of all six books.

I need to read Theodore Boone: The Accused (2012), Theodore Boone: The Activist (2013), Theodore Boone: The Fugitive (2015), and Theodore Boone: The Scandal (2016).

Theo is a good kid, and Grisham is a decent writer for kids!

A large number of Grisham’s novels / original works have been adapted for the screen:

  1. The Firm (1993 film, 2011-2012 TV series)
  2. The Pelican Brief (1993)
  3. The Client (1994 film, 1995-1996 TV series)
  4. The Chamber (1996)
  5. A Time to Kill (1996 film, 2011 stage play)
  6. The Rainmaker (1997)
  7. The Gingerbread Man (manuscript, 1998)
  8. A Painted House (2003 TV movie)
  9. Runaway Jury (2003)
  10. The Street Lawyer (2003 TV pilot)
  11. Mickey (2004)
  12. Skipping Christmas (Christmas with the Kranks, 2004)
  13. The Associate (TBA)
  14. The Testament (TBA)
  15. Calico Joe (TBA)

He’s also published four collections of short stories, and three works of non-fiction.


What about you? Have you read any of John Grisham’s books?

Come back in late April for another installment of Awesome Authors!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #49: Rec’d and Wreck’d – Music Albums!

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Image Credit: Shealea at That Bookshelf Bitch.

Here’s the links to my previous Rec’d and Wreck’d posts:

Ready?

Here we go!


The Rules:

  1. Download the Rec’d & Wreck’d header and include it in your post.
  2. Specify what you’re going to Rec’d & Wreck’d. If you were tagged to do a Rec’d & Wreck’d post, let us know and mention the person who tagged you.
  3. List three things you would recommend (rec’d). Rave until your heart’s content.
  4. List three things you would like to wreck (wreck’d). Rant until your heart’s content.
  5. State your challenge for the next Rec’d & Wreck’d post. Here’s an example:
    Rec’d & Wreck’d challenge:
    – Type: Books
    – Genre: YA Contemporary
    – Prompt: I’m looking for a book that can make me ugly cry
  6. You can open the challenge to all your blog readers, but you should nominate at least seven (7) people to do your challenge.
  7. Do not forget to link back to the original post on That Bookshelf Bitch. That way, more people can learn about the feature and join in on the fun!

Rec’d

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

(1) Glee: The Music, Volume 1 – Many of you know that I am a huge “gleek.” I’ve loved the show from Day One. The same goes for most of the music. I own most of the CDs. This CD will always be my favorite. It has a great mix of songs from the first season. “Don’t Stop Believin'” is my favorite, but they also feature “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” “Sweet Caroline,” and “Defying Gravity,” to name a few. If you haven’t listened to their music, I highly recommend it!

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

(2) …Baby One More Time, Britney Spears – I begged and begged my parents for this CD! I had a huge poster of Britney on the back of my bedroom door. I finally got it for one of my birthdays, and I think I wore it out with my CD player!

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

(3) Millennium, Backstreet Boys – This was another CD that I begged for and pleaded. My parents gave it to me for one of my birthdays. My favorite song is “I Want It That Way” – And yes, I did dance in front of my mirrored closet doors, singing into my hairbrush!


Wreck’d

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

(1) A Thousand Different Ways, Clay Aiken – I tried SO HARD to love this album. But, it just didn’t sit well with me. I absolutely loved Measure of a Man (2003) and Merry Christmas with Love (2004), but this one was disappointing. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but it’s not my favorite.

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

(2) Play On, Carrie Underwood – As much as I love Carrie and her voice and her music, I regretted buying this album. This one has the least amount of play time for me. Similar to Clay Aiken, I loved her albums Some Hearts, Carnival Ride, and Blown Away, but not this one. Her singing felt different, and a little strange.

(3) I can’t actually come up with a third one – I can’t! I love most all music. I tend to have love/hate relationships with individual artists, or a certain song, rather than a particular album.


That’s all!

Do you have any Rec’d and Wreck’d recommendations? I’d love to hear them!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #2: Lois Lowry

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Image Credit: QuotesGram

This installment of Awesome Authors is all about Lois Lowry. She is a prolific writer. Fun fact: She lived at Fort Jay on Governors Island for a while, which is where I lived for the first two years of my life!

She’s written over 30 books!


A Summer to Die (1977)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I can’t remember when I first read this one (probably in high school), but it’s always stuck with me. This is one book that I think about often, and I definitely want to get my own copy. Without fail, I always cry when I read this one.

Anastasia series (1979-1995)

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Image Credit: Amazon

I loved these books as a kid! They were so funny. There are nine books in all.

Lowry also wrote a four-book series about Anastasia’s brother, Sam (1988-1999).

Number The Stars (1989)

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Image Credit: Amazon

I was assigned to read this in either fourth or fifth grade; I can’t remember which one. At the time, I struggled immensely in understanding this book. I remember how frustrated I was with the quizzes and tests on it!

A few years later, I re-read it, and it struck me how she beautifully told the story of a little girl in a tragic time. This is a hard book for me to re-read, but I have read it multiple times. I find that I gain a greater appreciation for it each time I do.

The Giver (1993)

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Image Credit: Amazon

Confession: I’ve never read this book the whole way through. I started and stopped several times while I was in school. The last time I tried, I think I was in high school.

However, I watched the movie adaptation (2014) with Al last year, and seeing that inspired me to finally read it all the way through. It’s on my TBR!

The other thing I learned, in researching for this post, is there’s actually a full quartet of books:

  1. The Giver
  2. Gathering Blue
  3. Messenger
  4. Son

The whole quartet’s going on my list.

I’m also a big fan of the Dear America / My Name is America / The Royal Diaries books – I want to own all of them, someday. Because of this post, I just realized that Lowry wrote Dear America: Like The Willow Tree (2011).

Another book of hers that I want to read is Autumn Street (1980).


What about you? Have you read any of Lois Lowry’s books?

Come back in late March for another installment of Awesome Authors!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #1: F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Image Credit: Inspiration

Recently, I was feeling inspired by several posts from the awesome Logical Quotes. I decided that I wanted to turn some of them into a new series!

Here’s the original post that started it all:


Welcome to my “Awesome Authors” debut. I plan to publish a new post about a different author every few weeks.

Enjoy!

I first learned about F. Scott Fitzgerald in high school. We had to read The Great Gatsby (1925) for one of my English classes. I quickly fell head over heels for the book, and the man who wrote it. This is one book that I re-read, at least once, every single year.

Gatsby - biography

Image Credit: biography.com


After reading this thought-provoking novel, I ended up doing a significant research paper / project on Fitzgerald and his other works.

He published four novels before his death in 1940, including The Great Gatsby, and one was released posthumously.

This Side of Paradise (1920)

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Image Credit: history.com

The Beautiful and the Damned (1922)

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Image Credit: The Artifice

Tender is the Night (1934)

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Image Credit: The Artifice

The Last Tycoon (1941)

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Image Credit: en.wikipedia.org


Fitzgerald was also known for his novellas and collections of short stories.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (1922)

  • First published in Colliers Magazine
  • Later anthologized in Tales of the Jazz Age
  • Occasionally published as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories

Tales of the Jazz Age (1922)

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Image Credit: The Culture Trip


While researching for this post, I was excited to learn that a new short story collection is being published in April!

  • I’d Die For You. And Other Lost Stories, edited by: Anne Margaret Daniel (New York: Simon & Schuster, April 2017)

Working on this new series of posts has made me want to add Fitzgerald’s books and stories to my next TBR update. Other than Gatsby, the last time I read his other works was around 2006-2007, and I want to read them from an adult’s perspective, rather than a senior in high school for a class assignment.

Look for the next installment of Awesome Authors some time in February!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂