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Raw, Raving Review: 50 Shades of Grey


I read 50 Shades of Grey several months ago.  And I did not read it, because I’m a pervert (though I do not disclaim being a pervert — LOL!).  I actually read it, because everywhere I looked and listened, I could not seem to get away from that very intrusive title…that title that seemed to somehow find its way into conversations and discussions.

The story was a huge hit, and no one could dispute that.  The author of this mega literary hit, E.L. James, no doubt, knocked the ball out of the park!  She achieved the very same literary success that I am currently trying to achieve.  So I wanted to know how she did it.

First, I researched the title.  I found out, strangely enough, that the original story was written as fan fiction for the movie Twilight.  And if you watch the movie and / or read the book, you can clearly see some interesting parallels between certain characters in both stories.  Okay, so the writer created an X-rated version of Twilight, and the snowball rolled downhill from there, getting bigger and bigger, until it hit the reading public, leaving all of us feeling all but cold, wet, and shivering…probably more like hot, wet, and sticky!

Next came the hard part, reading the novel without getting a boner or two.  Geez!  This was the first full-length erotic writing I ever brought myself to finish.  Sure, there was enough filth in that novel to possibly make even Paris Hilton blush.  And God forbid the person who suggested the book to anyone in their Sunday school class (if lightning didn’t come down and strike the person then and there, turning them into Sunday lunch!).

But the story, whether anyone wants to admit it or not, is very alluring.  A huge reason for this is because of James’s ability to craft such wonderful characters, whether from her own imagination or just mimicking certain characters from the Twilight story.  We have Anastasia Steele, a love-starved virgin; who meets a mega billionaire, Christian Grey, who is normally very stand-offish to most individuals he meets.  But somehow, he finds himself drawn to her and pursues her relentlessly.  He draws her into an extremely lustful existence, but she finds herself wanting more and more from him.  He seems to hint that he can give her more, so long as she is willing to give in to his wild and extreme lifestyle of kinkiness so bizarre that he has her sign a non-disclosure agreement to not reveal anything about it.

Yes, 50 Shades is a love story that has no love shared between the characters, at least not mutually anyway.

I’ve probably already revealed too much about the story already for those who have not yet read the book and may or may not have been planning to do so.  So I will go ahead and conclude this review.

My wife and I just recently went to see the movie for our 14th Anniversary.  I have to say that the movie was laughable when compared to the book.  Not because of any particular actor or director’s ability to perform their craft with the utmost precision (Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson did an amazing job of acting out the characters of Anastasia and Christian respectively!); but mainly because of the fact that there were so many deeds and misdeeds left out of the movie that had blatantly stood up between the pages of the book like an Irish hard-on in the middle of an English church sermon!  It is clear that the makers of this film wanted to maintain an R-rating.  In order to make this film exactly as it was in the book would create another type of movie altogether…a porno film!

I personally liked the film better than the book due to my Christian sensibilities (though I’m sure some of you are questioning that sensibility being that I read the book in the first place, knowing that it was extremely erotic!).  If I felt as though I needed a bath after watching the film, then I certainly would have needed to be carbonized like Han Solo after reading the book!  I strictly read the book as homework to see how the writer had managed to become so successful with it.  I learned she did it through witty characterization and through lavish use of sexual content.  After all, sex sells in today’s entertainment industry, be it movies or reading!

I’ve even decided to seriously consider using erotic scenes in An Interstate Ghost Story: The Girl on the Highway, the novel I am currently writing.  But it was written in honor of the American state trooper.  So I will only do so if it can be done in a manner that does not cheapen the honor offered them by this novel’s writing and publication.  If I DO decide to do so, it will only be in a couple or a few scenes.

But — back to finishing my review!  I give the novel 3.5 out of 5 stars, and the film 4.  Fifty Shades of Grey is more or less the love story that never was.  I’ve heard that the next two novels have possibly different outcomes.  But these are not my types of books to read as I prefer action and horror over romance and eroticism.

Why So Crabby?


What came first, crabbiness or the crabs?  

My bet would be the crabs…

After all, it stands to reason that when one has the crabs, one becomes easily excitable, very aggravated and irritated, quite grumpy, and — to say the least — extremely crabby.  This makes so much sense to me that I can only wonder if the term crabby was coined by someone who laid down with the dogs and woke up with something definitely other than fleas.  Yikes!

Let’s break down the words associated with crabby.  Dictionary.com defines the word as:  

  1. Informal. grouchy; ill-natured; irritable; peevish.
  2. (defined in the World Dictionary as:) Bad-tempered.

Now let’s look at the word crabs:  

any decapod crustacean of the suborder Brachyura, having the eyes on short stalks and a short,broad, more or less flattened body, the abdomen being small and folded under the thorax.
2. any of various other crustaceans, as the hermit crab, or other animals, as the horseshoe crab,resembling the true crabs.
3. initial capital letter Astronomy, Astrology the zodiacal constellation or sign Cancer.
4. initial capital letter Astronomy the Crab Nebula.
5. any of various mechanical contrivances for hoisting or pulling.
There were actually several different definitions for crabs; but I see no reason to post all of them here.  I had trouble finding the definition of crabs (the pesky kind) in the dictionary.  It is because the full name of the bothersome insect that makes people scratch their carpet and / or itching post is actually crab louse.  But, over time, people decided to just call it crabs.
So if we put all of this together, it is easy to see that when a person is crabby, he has pretty much the same attitude of a person who may have sat on a dirty toilet seat or slept with a dirty person.
I remember when I was a single, fun-loving journalist in the Marine Corps, I used to hang out with these guys who put out fires on the flight line whenever people crash landed.  They were officially known as Crash Crew Marines.  I used to drive to Greenville, North Carolina and party with them and a bunch of hot college girls (East Carolina University had a campus in Greenville; it may have been the main campus; I don’t know, I went for the girls, not the study courses).  Well one of these guys somehow got crabs.  And he passed it to everyone in that section of the dorms (units were roomed in sections with two people in each room).  When I found out about this, I avoided these guys!  They were henceforth known as Crabs Crew!
Thankfully, crabs can be exterminated!  So therefore, it stands to reason that crabbiness can also be exterminated.  To get rid of crabs, you have to use a special type of shampoo and other fine tuned implements (not speaking from experience or anything!).  To get rid of crabbiness, it’s not so cut and dry and involves a complete change of attitude.  
But here are some ways to get rid of crabbiness:
  1. Start trying to view the glass as half full instead of half empty.  And if you have trouble doing this, try to remind yourself that refills are free!  Some people just want to pick up the whole damn glass and throw it at the wall.  But then you have a big ole mess and nothing to drink out of!
  2. Instead of looking for reasons to be pissed off at someone, look at reasons to be happy with them.  
  3. Instead of looking for the evil in people and situations, look at the good.  
  4. Be good to yourself.  Some people spend so much time helping others and getting irritated that no one is helping them.  Go ahead and treat yourself!  If anyone deserves it, you most certainly do!
  5. Never worry!  It never does anyone any good anyway.  All it serves to do is to make a bad situation worse.  
  6. Focus on spending your energies on the things that you can control.  And pray about all the others.
  7. Organize yourself.  If something in your environment is making you crabby, then do something about it, if you can.
  8. Prioritize.  So many people lose track of what is important for the things that seem urgent but are unimportant.  Remember number 6 above at all times!  If it is not important, don’t spend so much time on it.  If you have to make a list of what is important, then do so.  The first things we need to do are the urgent, important things in our lives.  Beyond that, the important things of a routine nature should come next.  And then when we are all caught up and have completed all the important things, then is the time to consider doing the non-important items.
  9. Avoid sourpusses!  If you hang around depressed people for long enough, you are going to become depressed yourself.
  10. Set a purpose in your life!  Right now, I’m trying to finish writing a book.  Purposes give us a feeling of self-importance and something we can work toward.  
So if you ever feel crabbiness coming on, try not to scratch that itch!