Thoughts on Jackie and Maria: A Novel of Jackie Kennedy and Maria Callas

Written by Gill Paul, and published on August 18, 2020, I found this book to be exceptionally well done. It was a page turner and a half, chronicling in historical-fiction fashion, the lives of Maria Callas and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis through the mid/late 1950’s through 1975.

The author undoubtedly had an embarrassment of riches in terms of source information to pull from for this book. Jackie and Maria were two of the most talked about women of their times and even today they have fierce devotees.

From the stage of the famed La Scala opera theater to the White House, it’s almost as if we the readers are privy to a world that was behind the velvet rope. These grand settings weren’t the only places for drama in the book, the scenes shifted to intimate bedroom and beach vignettes, again allowing the readers seeming access to the most private of circumstances.

The author has detailed in an interview that in the book, she wanted to present Maria Callas so that she would immediately become a sympathetic character. The author continues that she believes that Jackie Kennedy Onassis, widow of President John F. Kennedy, would automatically have the sympathy of the reading audience.

Newspapers and press coverage of the day painted Maria Callas as an adulterous, demanding diva (aka beeyotch) who ignored the desperate pleas of her ailing mother. Jackie, on the other hand, was painted as the soul of strength, a paragon of virtue, after the stillborn death of a son, the writhing Happy Birthday singing of Marilyn, and the 1963 assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy.

The book, as accurately as I believe any fictional account could, highlights and explores how different these women were from their public personas. They were absolutely more nuanced and certainly stronger and more shrewd than any member of the press would ever give them credit for. 

Still, I couldn’t help but think that the author displayed the slightest bias of detail and speculation modesty towards Jackie. Perhaps it was natural for this deference, as Jackie was a former First Lady of the United States. However, I would imagine that the heart of this book is about true love. As such, all is fair in love and war…

Speaking of true love, from actual news headlines to the pages of this book, one could surmise that both ladies, Jackie and Maria, each probably had only one true love in their lives. Yet, that love did not shield either of them from the bitterest of betrayals. 

The man that “caused” Jackie and Maria to be rivals was Aristotle Onassis and just in case you’re not too familiar with the details of their saga, the name Onassis truly is a huge spoiler.

Nevertheless, I whole-heartedly recommend this book to the casual fan of Jackie and/or Maria or of history itself for that matter and to the devotee who has read every shred of available material on the ladies. The author, Gill Paul, has done an overall excellent job of weaving together details real and imagined. So much so that I believe that even the well-versed of the glitterati will walk away with fresh insights about these two extraordinary women.

Jackie and Maria: A Novel of Jackie Kennedy and Maria Callas

Jones, My Opinion

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20/20: How Y’all Are?

It’s been some time since I’ve posted here on this blog, but this is as good a time as any to revisit my musings as in days past.

If you’re reading this, then no doubt you’ve joined me in having perhaps one of the most tumultuous years in memory. Perhaps you, like me, will sit back a bit and be thankful that we’ve made it thus far. 

What a muck and mire of mess we wallow through. The irony is that so many believe that after a certain date, all will be made right with the world. Oh, really? I have a feeling that it will just be the beginning of ‘sorrows,’ as it were.

Take heart in the fact that this year, as boisterous and calamitous as it’s been, is a revelatory one. This is the time to see in 20/20 vision, no excuses.

Take the blinders off, folks. We’re in for a heck of a ride, but it’s always better when you can 

$ee what’s really going on…

Jones, My Opinion

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Death of the Digital DaVinci

Come with me
And you’ll be
In a world of
Pure imagination
Take a look
And you’ll see
Into your imagination

We’ll begin
With a spin
Traveling in
The world of my creation
What we’ll see
Will defy

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Wanna change the world?
There’s nothing
To it

There is no
Life I know
To compare with
Pure imagination
Living there
You’ll be free
If you truly wish to be

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Wanna change the world?
There’s nothing
To it

There is no
Life I know
To compare with
Pure imagination
Living there
You’ll be free
If you truly
Wish to be

Thank You, Steve Jobs
Eternal Peace

Courtesy of

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U$3R N@M3

User names allow the clean slate needed to gain the respect that is elusive in the land of 3D.

User names allow morphing into the very best and the very worst that we’ve never been.

Is that a sin?

User names make you happy,mad,
sad, ferociously bad, then raging with self-grandiose satisfaction, you’re an Internet cad.

Catch me if you can screams the newest me! MaryCa$anova, temptme20, and thugimmortal5EEe.

With insults hurled and gossip spread, there’s never time to worry -never the need to dread.

It hideth me-or so I, you, we’ve been lead to believe.

What’s all the fuss about? How did they know-how can they see?

A small matter, an address of the ip.

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Yes, I Deleted Your Comments

Doesn’t it seem a tad bit disingenuous to proclaim that this is “Jones, My Opinion,” then ask-“what’s yours,” only to delete ALL of the comments made here?

Yes, but so what. 

At the time I felt justified, even a bit empowered by hitting TRASH comments. I wanted to start with a clean slate and indeed that’s exactly what it seems to be now, save for the two comments that I just approved.

What’s the reasoning, the rationale for such comment carnage, such a Savonarola moment of absolute blog participation destruction? Well, at the time I felt like a change in blog formatting. I no longer wanted this to be a blog with comments and so I searched and searched to TURN OFF comments. Queen of the universe that I am, I couldn’t find it. (insert laugh here)

I missed the window of opportunity to return all of the comments to the blog and so rather than immediately stating the obvious, I’ve said ZIP.

At this point, I’m not sure of the direction this blog will take, or even if it will exist tomorrow. In the interest of my “mission statement,” let’s keep the comments rolling for the time being.

We’ve got until October 21, right?

Jones, My Opinion

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I’ll Be Right Back After These Messages

Remember those days of great commercials? I was born in the mid-1970’s and growing up in the ’80’s, I experienced the golden age of tv commercials. This is not my opinion. This has got to be a fact, somewhere.

Our generation may have been the last to actually enjoy playing with toys. Yes, TOYS and not video games.

In the manufacturer’s attempts to sell toys, they waged an awesome campaign of tv commercials, the likes of which have not been seen since. Come on now, remember My Buddy, Kid Sister, Cabbage Patch Kids, Transformers, Jem, Barbie, Legos, G.I. Joe, Thundercats, My Little Pony, Pound Puppies, Rainbow Brite, Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, Teddy Ruxpin, and the most fun of all-Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head?

The marketing geniuses of the ’80’s didn’t have the Internet as a medium to push their wares.

TV commercials were big business, and the suits knew exactly how to get sales. They appealed to the kiddies via these colorful and imaginative commercials. More and more of us kiddies were latchkey kids, and I can totally believe that a certain parental remorse accompanied that. As a result, buying things for your kids became indicative for how much you “loved” them.

Get the hell out of my way, I’m getting that Cabbage Patch Kid for my daughter. I promised her she’d get it!  Merry Christmas!

What did we care? We were kids and we loooovvvveeedd those commercials.

Whoever came up with Lite Brite should be inducted into the Hall of Fame of Hypnotism. Really. Making pictures on the wall with multi-colored mini-lights?! What a stroke of genius. Aside from being reminiscent of the movie Pollyanna, where she made pictures on the wall using chandelier crystals catching sunlight, who would think of that being fun?

The Game of Life, Operation, Hungry Hippos, Mousetrap, and other board games would by today’s standards be just that-bored games.

It’s funny how one minute we’re kids waiting on the next commercial and the next we’re adults peeved at the thought of another interruption and solicitation to buy.

Jones, My Opinion

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The Curious Case of the Google “e”

First of all, I would like to begin this post with the declaration that I do not imbibe or indulge in mind-altering chemicals.

That said, this morning, as I viewed my Google homepage, something struck me as very odd. The lettering of the Google logo has a very strange font, to me anyway.

Rather than the classic sans Serif or New Times Roman, this curious slant of the upper portion of the letter seems to be as striking as anything.

It’s almost like the “e” is laughing, as it’s positioned center screen, tilted slightly upwards, awaiting your query.

The other letters don’t jettison out of conformity. It’s only this “e.”

Knowing the science behind a monolith such as Google, there is certainly more than a stylistic reasoning for this.

Again, I hearken back to the font almost making one think of laughter.

Who’s laughing?


Isn’t Google supposed to be our “friend.”

As you might’ve guessed, I Googled  “the Google “e” ” and found nothing relative to my questioning.

Maybe the “e” is for eye, as in the all-seeing eye of the Internet.

How curious a case…


Jones, My Opinion




Filed under all seeing eye, Google font, Google humor, Surveillance, symbolism

Ella Ella Ella

No, I’m not referring to the chorus of Rihanna’s song, “Umbrella.”
This is an homage to the Lady herself, Ella Fitzgerald.

  Photo Courtesy:

Ella, The First Lady of Song, is-as far as I’m concerned, THE Lady of Song.

Jones, My Opinion

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Filed under American Masters, Dearly Departed, Ella Fitzgerald, Harlem, Jazz, PBS, Swing, Transcending, Virginia

POEtry Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe ((Happy Belated))

Hidden within this wordplay is a play on words.

If you can’t see the answer, then your logic is absurd. That’s right.


I hear everything, yet nothing is spoken, not a word.

How much space can time hold; if eternity is the bird,

we all chase, why does it fly away? Her wings span, only to fall from the

sky one day, not money.


is everywhere and nowhere. It’s plentifully scarce and

fleetingly final.

 Or is it?

Ascribe my curiosity to be requisite.


Jones, My Opinion


Inspired by: Edgar Allan Poe



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Thank You, MLK! Mr. Blackwood, Not So Much…

This evening my mother suggested that I take a look at an Op-Ed piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution entitled, “Raze Dekalb’s education ghetto.”  It’s written by one William Blackwood. Mr. Blackwood is voicing his displeasure at the environment of his school in south DeKalb county, GA, my mother indicated.

Well, upon reading Mr. Blackwood’s “expose,” I would categorize his observations as a scathing indictment on a school system, county, and culture. Conveniently, Mr. Blackwood lets the reader know that his homebase is in the city of Decatur. For those who aren’t aware, the city of Decatur has been regentrified to the point of being a eutopia.

Poor Mr. Blackwood bikes from his lovely Decatur perch to the bowels of south DeKalb Hades. Here is an excerpt of his chronicles:

Disassimilation and disintegration are having a big impact on the high-school population of hyper-segregated south DeKalb county. Many young people from this area will have difficulty acclimating themselves into the mainstream. Many will find it hard to develop and maintain a sense of cohesive belonging within the larger cultural whole. A critical factor in this disturbing sociological dynamic is the public school system itself.

My school employs five assistant principals who make high salaries that, in the private sector, would be inconceivable for comparably educated individuals. Yet, they neither teach classes nor interact significantly with students. They also embody a cumbersome and inconsequential discipline system whose hallmark is the repeated failure to respond effectively to transgressions that, elsewhere, would beget serious action.

The bloated assistant-principal caste characterizes a system that employs more non-teaching personnel than it does teachers. This dysfunctional jobs-creation program is complicit in the invidious perpetuation of the hugely disenfranchising notion that black students are to be taught in a special way.

A teacher is supposed to appeal to “multiple intelligences” in a manner that will produce a “differentiated” classroom. I have been told to do “raps” with students and to appeal to their “kinesthetic intelligence.” Collaborative “group work” is proffered as a means of classroom management and instruction.

While Mr. Blackwood makes some decent points, his delivery is awash in self-glorification. It seems that he seeks to dazzle the reader with such large words as to render them helpless at making up their own mind. Also, what’s his point? Does he seek to improve the current situation or is he just the messenger? There is something terribly wrong with a teacher who feels more comfortable ranting to the AJC rather than taking precise measures within his school system’s guidelines. It’s almost Benedict Arnoldish to me.

Way to go, Mr. Blackwood! For all of your “concern,” you’ve played right into the hands of the malfactors. The tone of your opinion conveyed no empathy or plan of action in terms of making wrongs-right. You simply point fingers and then indicate that you live in Decatur city. As such, it’s not really your problem. That’s the take-away.

On this 25th anniversary of the federal holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, one can only marvel at the sense of timing of the AJC posting that Op-Ed piece. It’s almost as if a subliminal barometer fell lower and lower while reading Mr. Blackwood’s opinion.  

Well, thank goodness that Dr. King wasn’t an elitist or someone who whined about helping a people in a great need of help. Although from a middle-class background, Dr. King understood the factors which caused so many African-Americans to fare far lower on the socio-economic strata. He chose to do something, help somebody. In choosing that, he helped all of us.

The scathing indictment offered by Mr. Blackwood is a self-indulgent venting session. As a teacher, he should’ve aired his personal grievances, thoughts, and a plan of action within the system. Especially, since he is currently working there.? What are the students, faculty, and administration to think now?

The problems of south DeKalb county are the problems of the country, which are the problems of the home. There are so many things to address, choosing to atttack by targeting one area is definitely not the answer.

Let’s all do our part by edifying, not destroying…

Jones, My Opinion

Take a look at the comment page, taken from Maureen Downey’s “Get Schooled” blog about this topic.


Filed under AJC, Op-Ed