Ex, mental health, narcissists, psychology, scams

“Um… excuse me for noticing, but your slip is showing…”

Happy Friday, y’all. Tomorrow is the big day… we’re gonna load up the Volvo and drive south for a vacation in Switzerland, Italy, and Liechtenstein. I’m looking forward to going, although I always worry a bit when we leave home. I especially worry about Arran, who is getting pretty old, and doesn’t enjoy being boarded as much as he used to when he was younger. But one of the reasons we chose to live in Europe is so we could do some exploring of the continent. Because of the pandemic, we’ve been doing less of that in recent years. It’s time we got back to it, if only so I can justify keeping my travel blog going. I do still have a handful of readers there who don’t follow this blog at all, so I like to offer fresh and interesting content to them whenever possible.

I have some stuff to take care of in preparation for the trip. I still need to pack, and there are a couple of routine household chores I’d like to get done before we head off in the morning. But being busy hasn’t stopped me from checking in on Ex. I know a lot of people think I’m “obsessed” with her, and my preoccupation might even be “unhealthy”. I might agree with them; although at this point, I mostly find her intriguing, rather than personally threatening. As an occasional student of psychology, some of the things she does, and gets away with, are fascinating. I think I would find her interesting even if she hadn’t been married to Bill, and I didn’t know her backstory. As a somewhat “relatively normal” person, I am continually shocked by her gall and complete lack of authenticity.

Years ago, I used to love watching cartoons. When I think of Ex, I often think in terms of cartoons. On my original blog, I once famously compared Ex to Wile E. Coyote, because she often has “big” ideas that turn out to be harebrained schemes that eventually blow up in her face. When I wrote that post in the fall of 2018, I got a comment from a reader who felt my posts about Ex were/are completely inappropriate and in “poor taste”. This person, obviously not someone who knows me or the situation, probably assumed that Ex is a “normal” person and I’m just a mean, bitter, second wife. But she’s not a normal person, and if you know anything about her, that reality becomes very clear in a hurry. And I may be mean and bitter sometimes, but I have never once come close to doing some of the things Ex does on a regular basis to people she supposedly loves.

On the surface, she seems like a lovely, thoughtful, “normal” woman. But look closer, and you see who she really is. I often find myself comparing her to cartoon characters, maybe because some of her behavior is very cartoonish. In 2018, Ex’s antics reminded me of Wile E. Coyote… but in 2022, she reminds me more of Yosemite Sam.

“Your slip is showing.”

In 1955, Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam starred in a cartoon called “Sahara Hare”. Yosemite Sam comes riding in on a camel, yelling and carrying on. When the camel doesn’t “whoa” when Sam says “whoa”, he knocks the poor animal on the head with his rifle. Just your typical, garden variety bully, posturing for all the world to see, right?

Meanwhile, Bugs Bunny is bathing in an oasis, good naturedly singing as he steps out, in search of a towel. His eyes are shut when he encounters Yosemite Sam, who wears desert garb that covers his head. Bugs mistakes Sam’s head covering as a towel. Sam whirls around to confront the rascally rabbit, who is busily drying off with Sam’s garb. Bugs asks him what’s up, and wonders if he’s with the side show. Yosemite Sam responds by introducing himself in threatening terms… to which Bugs says, “Your slip is showing.” This makes Sam cower in shame as he tries to cover up something that embarrasses him.

Of course, Bugs was conning him…

Realizing that he’s been duped into shame and humiliation, and feeling determined to gain Bugs Bunny’s respect, Sam gets angry and starts firing his weapon at Bugs, who is calmly departing the scene and easily missing Sam’s bullets. But then Sam nearly misses Bugs, who takes off running. Sam gets back on the camel and screams at him to follow Bugs. The camel doesn’t move, until Sam hits him again… then he won’t stop running, again causing Sam to hit him over the head with his gun.

Yep… Sam is really nothing but a bully, putting on a facade that is meant to intimidate other people. But really, he’s just an abusive, foolish, buffoon, who doesn’t manage to sway the astute. Only the naive or unaware are impressed or intimidated by Sam– a cartoon character who cowers in shame when a rabbit tells him that his “slip is showing”, even after he’s postured this loud, obnoxious, ridiculous spectacle that is supposed to be scary.

Young people among us might not know that a slip is an undergarment, typically worn by women, underneath dresses or skirts made of sheer or otherwise revealing material. It’s intended to preserve modesty, and cover up panty lines and the “naughty bits”… or private parts, if you prefer. That a tough talking little turd like Sam is wearing women’s undergarments is also a statement about his status as a “beta”, trying to act like an “alpha”.

In these more “enlightened” times, this cartoon might seem hopelessly sexist and un-PC, but the point is, Sam is trying to be something he’s really not. He’s a coward and a bully, who preys on the weak, foolish, and gullible. In that way, he’s kind of like Donald Trump. I don’t know how many of us ladies are still wearing slips these days, but when they were commonly worn, just like underwear, slips weren’t supposed to be shown to others. And men, at least in 1955, weren’t supposed to wear slips at all. So, the fact that Sam rushed to hide his “slip” from the trickster bunny is especially embarrassing and shameful.

Now Ex does have her moments of acting like the fiery version of Yosemite Sam. When she gets angry, she’s reportedly kind of “scary”… not that I’ve experienced it directly. I have just been here in the aftermath of other people’s dealings with her. I believe them when they say that she has her “Yosemite Sam” moments, and is full of bluster that can be frightening to experience. Ex also doesn’t really bluff much. Call her on her bullshit, she will happily cut off her nose to spite her own face– or more often, other people’s faces– just to try to “prove you wrong”. While a lot of her antics are, at best, truly ridiculous, sometimes she does do damaging, and even dangerous, things in her efforts to command “respect”.

Like, for instance, she gave up Bill’s generous financial support of his adult daughters, which I know she could and would have used, even though, technically, it wasn’t her money. She realized that maintaining control of offspring, and the official narrative of what really happened, was more important to her than access to Bill’s money was. It also didn’t seem to matter to her that Bill’s daughters might have appreciated having that support, or even access to Bill’s 911 GI Bill for college expenses. She was much more focused on her own agenda and what suited her, not what was actually best for Bill’s daughters. I specify Bill’s daughters, because Ex’s other kids aren’t his responsibility, even if he did raise and pay support for Ex’s son with #1. She probably treats her kids with #3 somewhat similarly, although sometimes it seems like Bill’s daughters got the worst treatment– as if they needed to be punished for having his DNA. From what we’ve heard, #3’s daughter seems to be the current golden child.

But, even though Ex was proud to stop taking child support from Bill, and was all too ready to stop her daughters from getting the support directly, she still needs money. She also needs a lot of attention and narcissistic supply. So, she will do things like force her children to take out loans that she can skim from. And, for some reason, she feels compelled to present a completely false version of herself to the world. The opinions of strangers seem to be much more important to her than the opinions of family members. I find that very interesting, which is why I continue to watch her. Of course, I also watch her because she’s repeatedly proven that she’s very underhanded and not above trying to take advantage of people in Bill’s family.

So anyway, this week, after a period of relative calm and quiet, Ex resurfaced with more of her outrageous bullshit. On one social media platform, she shared several memes, accompanied by nonsensical blather that sounded good, but weren’t actually in harmony with specific actions that she’s taken. Click on the images to see what I mean.

Um… this was NEVER an issue with Ex. In fact, in over 20 years of observing her, I have seen that she’s not one to consider other people’s feelings or needs, at least not unless there is something in it for her. Other people are usually catering to her whims.

I really have no idea if she actually believes the crap she routinely spews to the masses. I know she hopes that other people will believe it, and she must get some kind of payback from affirmative comments, positive reactions, and validation she gets from total strangers. But people who really know her, or have even just been exposed to people who know her, realize that this is all a bunch of smoke and mirrors she puts out to the world for some reason. She is a very manipulative person, and it’s not wise to take anything she says or writes at face value.

Making things stranger is the fact that Ex puts out details that have an element of truth within them. Ex did, for instance, work as a university administrator for some years. But we know that Ex dropped out of high school and got a GED, just as her oldest kids did (not sure about her youngest daughter). Ex talks about her alleged goals that were thwarted by other people– her adoptive mom, her adoptive and step dads, her ex husbands, her children (especially her “severely autistic and non-verbal” son), or other entities that supposedly took advantage of her or ripped her off– ie. Mary Kay Cosmetics, Nutrisystem, the LDS church, etc. The list goes on and on. She never seems to be satisfied; she never takes personal responsibility; and her plans are always seemingly overtaken by events or the “bad actions” of other people.

Younger daughter told us that she was forced to leave public school when she was a teenager. Ex made her get a GED, then enroll in college classes, so she could get student loans, something Ex learned about in her role as an administrator, and possibly from her multiple attempts to get her own bachelor’s degree. Ex took the money that wasn’t used by tuition and spent it, leaving younger daughter to pay off the debt. Sadly, younger daughter didn’t even manage to finish the degree. Older daughter supposedly did get a degree, but still lives with her mother and has lots of debt. Ex has had multiple bankruptcies, but here she is dispensing advice as if she’s an expert on education. She did, supposedly get a master’s degree in education, but she’s never really used it professionally. In fact, she left her “university job” because she got fired… something about “mishandling funds”, which prompted her to move across country to a new place, where she hasn’t repeatedly shit in the local well of human forbearance and understanding.

One would think, looking at Ex’s public persona, that she’s a very loving, caring, and devoted mom and wife. But yet, instead of taking care of her family, as she claims she does, she’s posting crap for the masses… especially for celebrities. And there always seems to be a hook for money, narcissistic supply, and some kind of prestige or recognition by people who don’t even know her, and will never even meet her.

As I mentioned up post, I find Ex to be a fascinating character. If I were a practicing mental health professional, I would probably alternately be amazed and frustrated by her. A psychiatrist or psychologist (or both) could write quite an interesting book about her. But I think the personal price they would have to pay to create such a book would be much too high to justify the effort. Still, she really is something… and I must admit, I’m probably too wedded to watching her in action. Maybe our trip will help refocus my attention to things other than Ex’s slip… and the facade she constantly puts up that is always slipping to show the ugliness underneath.

It must be exhausting to have to constantly create this fantasy world she lives in, along with the constant framing of the narrative so that people will believe that she’s really who she claims to be. There’s a very human part of me that feels empathy for Ex, and a smaller part that is kind of amused by her. But then I remember what she did to Bill, who is the best person I know, and I get angry again. So here I am, processing this shit on my blog for anyone to read. Maybe I’m no better than she is, but at least I am not passing this crap on to my children… because in part, thanks to her, I don’t have any. Well, I’ll at least try to keep things real. You may not like what you see in me, but at least what you see is what you get. I try to be honest and authentic, even if the real me isn’t always a pretty sight. I find that being that way keeps most of the malicious fuckers away from me.

Anyway, I don’t mind if my slip is showing. Remember, I like to go to nude German spas. Speaking of which, it’s time I closed this post and got on with my chores, so we can get on the road tomorrow. Have a great Friday, y’all.

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scams, sex, true crime

Partial repost: A scammer tries to threaten the Overeducated Housewife…

I am reposting this post from July 2018, because this just happened to me again… it’s basically the same crappy, threatening email from some scumbag loser who buys old passwords from the dark web. I am not scared of this scam, but want to share it for those who are scared… or just as amused as I am. I have gotten this email a few times by different “people” or “bots” or whatever. It’s always the same stupid threat. For the record, no one on my friends list or contact list would even care if I looked at porn. They’d probably congratulate me.

I see I also wrote about this scam in 2019. Well, the warning bears repeating… Fuck these people!

Picture it.  You’ve just opened your eyes for the first time of the day.  You’re scanning your email messages, most of which are either from mailing lists or just plain junk.  Your eyes hit a message entitled, “Alert!”, followed by part of your email address and one of your passwords. 

You scan the message and it’s basically full of threats and accusations, followed by a demand for money paid in bitcoin.  The scammer claims he or she has infected your computer with malware that can turn on your webcam and has filmed you doing nasty things as you view porn.  If you don’t pay up, the scammer is going to send a sex video of you to your online contacts.

I got a message like that this morning.  There I was, sitting on the toilet, taking a dump, and deleting most of the worthless spam that collects in my email accounts every night.  I got an email from a chap calling himself “Elton Delaney”… (almost certainly not his or her real name).  For the purposes of this blog post, I will refer to “Elton” as male, even though it’s just as likely that the culprit is female.  Here is a screenshot of what Elton sent me last night as I was going to sleep.

I was alarmed the first time I got one of these. Now, I just roll my eyes.

I’ll admit, my first reaction to this email was shock and alarm.  I was barely awake and, the fact is, Elton did have one of my passwords. It’s a very old and weak one that I used on a regular basis maybe 15 years ago.  I have long since upgraded my passwords to more secure ones.  The password Elton has won’t grant access to much now.  
Elton had sent the message to my newest email account, one that I don’t use for emails to friends and family.  Clearly, my email was in a database that got hacked and sold to scuzzy lowlife bottom feeders like Elton and his ilk.  Still, in my sleepy condition, I was initially taken aback by this message.  Poorly written as it is, it was designed to provoke a panicked response, prompting victims to act before thinking.  I surmise that some people must have taken the bait and paid up.  Fortunately, I am not among the duped.  My brain kicked in and I realized that Elton is full of shit.

As of 2018, this was about $4000. The guy who wrote today offered me a bargain at about $2300.

Elton wants me to pay him almost $4000 to keep Bill and a bunch of online retailers from seeing intimate videos of me. It’s not happening. Actually, Bill would probably enjoy seeing such a video. It’s a shame one doesn’t exist.

Despite Elton’s ominous threats, I deleted the message without sending him a .5 bitcoin payment, finished my morning rituals, stripped the sheets off the bed for the wash, and then went down to the living room, where Bill had already set out my morning coffee. I told Bill about Elton’s threat. Not long ago, Bill finished his second master’s degree in cybersecurity. I thought he’d get a kick out of hearing about the threatening scam email I received. I joked to Bill that Elton might send him a video of me doing what he’s seen me do live thousands of times since we’ve been married. Believe me, it’s just not that exciting.

Then I did a quick Google search and found that this particular email scam, which has evidently been around for years, has recently resurged.  Of all of the email phishing scams I’ve seen, this one is probably one of the most infuriating.  It employs shame and the threat of humiliation to blackmail and extort money from the unaware.  While I know what Elton claims to have on me would not be very interesting to my email contacts, plenty of people are looking at things online that might damage their reputations or upset their friends and loved ones.  Those people, eager to keep their embarrassing online habits under wraps, are most likely to give in to demands for payment.  Unfortunately, our culture promotes shame, especially regarding sexual matters.

Although some people have been swindled by these emails, the scammers themselves are often quite stupid. Here’s a link to a story out of Miami where a woman named Briyana Valls tried to extort money using threatening text messages. She texted a guy who had briefly left his phone unattended at a bar, and threatened to tell his wife he was cheating on her unless he paid Valls $500. For all of her threats, Valls didn’t prove to be very savvy. She agreed to be paid in person, and that’s when she got nabbed by the police. Valls is now cooling her heels in jail, where she faces extortion and grand theft charges. The FBI also recently issued a warning about these email scams.

Sure, I’ve looked at porn on the Internet.  I expect a whole lot of people have.  It’s not something I do very often, though, because frankly, I find most porn videos boring and kind of gross.  I am much more inclined to read dirty stories, and most of the free ones on the Internet are terrible.  I’d do better to write them myself.  There was even a period in my life when I wrote erotica just to pass the time.  It’s part of what attracted Bill to me.  Given that fact, Elton’s threats mean very little, especially since I don’t have a boss and my mother doesn’t use the Internet.  If she did, I doubt she’d care that her married 46 year old (er 49 year old) daughter is finally sexually active.    

But even if I was watching a lot of porn and Elton’s threats were somehow credible, there is just no way Elton got any videos of me doing nasty things.  It simply didn’t happen.  There is no way it could have.  If Elton did send all of my contacts a “sex video” of me, it would probably either bore them to tears or make them laugh.  Besides, most of the people who would be getting the videos would be spammers like him and burned out online retailers who might welcome the distraction.  I don’t use that particular email address for communicating with most of my loved ones.  The lone exception is Bill, who is well aware of my tastes for sexually explicit stuff.

I was also pretty put off by Elton’s nasty and threatening tone.  Some of the scammers who send out these emails are at least decent enough to be funny.  Elton’s email requesting money comes across as very rude.  It definitely wasn’t something I wanted to read first thing in the morning.  Hey Elton, you get more flies with honey than vinegar, you feckless fuckstick.  The next time you send me a threatening email, have the decency to say “please” and “thank you”.  Maybe if you did that more often, your life’s mission wouldn’t be reduced to sending pathetic scam emails to uninteresting and unsexy overeducated housewives like me.

So… if you happen to get one of these emails yourself, just toss it into the round file.  Don’t worry.  It’s a scam.  If any of you happen to get a video of me doing nasty things, I hope you enjoy it.  And Elton, if you ever read this post, please go fuck yourself… and be sure to video it and send it to all of your friends and loved ones.

Edited to add:  Bill says the people behind this scam have already collected over $250,000.  Don’t fall for it!

Edited to add in 2021: At least this time, the email was in my spam folder and had a big red warning on it, so at least the email servers are getting that this crap doesn’t belong anywhere where people might take it seriously. Seriously… none of my friends would care if they saw a video of me looking at porn. And any that would care aren’t worth my time, anyway.

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religion, scams

Pastor Greg Locke demands his followers unmask, or he’ll throw them out of his church!

I highly recommend listening to this mood music… It sums things up nicely.

A couple of days ago, one of my Facebook friends shared with me a sad story about Pastor Greg Locke. The link she sent was from Newsweek, but I have a subscription to the Washington Post, and there’s an article about this incident in that publication. So I’m going to base today’s fresh content on that piece.

So who is Pastor Greg Locke?

As I discovered in my 2018 post on this guy— Greg Locke is a self-described pastor from Tennessee. He runs the Global Vision Bible Church (GVBC). Over the years, he’s said and done some controversial things that have put him in the news. When I wrote about him in 2018, he was in the news because he had referred to Stormy Daniels as a “hooker” as he praised the orange turd, Donald Trump, as the president. Locke had tweeted his disdain for Daniels and was soon thoroughly shaded and schooled by a Catholic priest.

After reading about that incident in 2018, I did more digging about Locke and read about his sad situation with his ex wife, Melissa, at whom he had cursed and fat shamed. Locke didn’t sound very “Christ-like” to me, and that was pretty much what I expressed in that old post. Then I promptly forgot about him and went on with my life.

Now, Locke is back on the radar, because he recently told his “flock” in his Nashville area church that if they “start showing up [with] all these masks and all this nonsense, I will ask [them] to leave…” Locke, who is 45 years old, has repeatedly and falsely claimed that COVID-19 is a hoax. It seems that Locke’s followers are inclined to agree with him. His declaration on Sunday of his intent to ban mask wearers at his church was met with cheers and applause. Below is a video of the live streamed service that happened on July 25, 2021.

At 1 hour and 10 minutes, he launches into an anti-liberal rant. He sounds like a complete lunatic. At 1 hour and 13 minutes, he starts going off about COVID and talking about asking people to leave if they come masked.

Well… as I have written many times in this blog, I am a big believer in personal rights and liberties. And if Greg Locke thinks that COVID-19 is a hoax, nothing I can say or do will change his mind. But I do think he ought to take a good look at fellow pastor, Rick Wiles, who called COVID-19 a hoax. Wiles eventually caught the “hoax COVID-19 virus” and got very sick. He was ill enough to be hospitalized, and his followers were implored to “pray for him” as he got treatment for that “hoax COVID virus” that he refused to be vaccinated against, because vaccines are apparently a plot to kill people.

And he might want to read up on Stephen Harmon, a member of the Hillsong megachurch in California. Mr. Harmon was 34 years old and thought he knew better. In June, he tweeted to his 7000 Twitter followers “Got 99 problems but a vax ain’t one…” Next thing you know, Harmon was being treated for the virus in an L.A. area hospital. Sure enough, that “hoax virus” killed Mr. Harmon in what should have been the prime of his life. In his last days, Harmon was begging for prayers. Posting pictures from his hospital bed, Harmon pleaded “Please pray y’all, they really want to intubate me and put me on a ventilator.” His last tweet was posted last Wednesday, as he had decided to go on the ventilator. He wrote, “Don’t know when I’ll wake up, please pray.”

Even as he lay in his bed, gasping for breath, Harmon still said he wouldn’t be vaccinated. He said his religious faith would protect him. That turned out to be untrue.

In March 2020, Pastor Landon Spradlin went to New Orleans to preach during Mardi Gras. He said he wasn’t worried about the coronavirus. He said the concern about it was “hysteria”. Sadly, Spradlin was wrong about COVID-19, and he died a month after his Mardi Gras trip. Spradlin was described as a “great man” who was musically gifted. I can almost excuse him for his premature exit, as he got sick very early in the pandemic. But these other guys– well, they’ve had a year to see just how “fake” the COVID virus is. Where did those 650,000 dead Americans go? Roswell, New Mexico?

I really do think people should think and act for themselves. I am hesitant to agree with measures to force people to do the right thing, even though I realize some people won’t do what they should unless they are compelled. I do think it’s sad, though, that charismatic people– men– are spreading lies and conspiracy theories about this deadly virus. I hate masks. I really do. I don’t think masks are going to save people from COVID. BUT– I do think that vaccinations are essential. I base that belief on a basic knowledge of science and trust in people who have spent their whole lives studying medicine.

I don’t listen to loudmouthed idiots like “Pastor” Greg Locke, who allegedly hit, spit on, fat shamed, and drove into a women’s shelter his ex wife, Melissa, while he dated her former best friend. This is not a Christ-like or “godly” man. This is a man who is hooked on power and money. Recent history has shown me that I’m right to trust scientists and physicians over so-called “holy men” like Greg Locke, who screams like a banshee, paces back and forth, denies science, and praises people like Donald Trump. According to the Washington Post,

Locke’s evangelical church in Mount Juliet, Tenn., about 20 miles east of downtown Nashville, has grown during the pandemic, CNN reported. The pastor’s controversial commentary on covid and the 2020 presidential election has attracted far-right churchgoers.

During a sermon last month, Locke called President Biden a fraud and “a sex trafficking, demon-possessed mongrel,” a reference to QAnon, an extremist ideology based on false claims.

He has also falsely claimed the pandemic is “fake,” the death count is “manipulated,” and the vaccine is a “dangerous scam.”

And the pastor has preached misinformation about the vaccine, including falsely claiming it’s made of “aborted fetal tissue.”

I remember when Locke was in the news having just split from his ex wife, Melissa. He claimed that she was lying about what happened, and that he was the innocent party. I watched the tearful video he posted, which was later taken down, in which he cried about her so-called lies about his character. Maybe I would have given him the benefit of the doubt if I didn’t see so many instances that point to his lack of wisdom and poor character. I was raised to believe that Christianity is about love for other people and peace, not screeching about politics and denying science.

I think Greg Locke is a fool, and I feel sorry for his followers, some of whom will foolishly continue to follow his nonsense, get sick, and perhaps pay with their lives. I know some people have no pity for followers of bullshit, but I think people who purport to be leaders should be held responsible for leading people astray. And Greg Locke, is leading a flock, much to their detriment. Hopefully, a few of them will wise up and find another church.

COVID-19 is not a joke; it’s not a hoax; and unless you’re ready to meet your maker, you’d better have some common sense about this. It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. If Locke doesn’t watch his step, he’s going to wind up in a hospital bed or a coffin. Or maybe it will just be his hapless and clueless followers who’ll suffer as Locke continues to peddle snake oil to the uneducated and ill informed. It reminds me of a scene from Little House on the Prairie.

These kinds of charlatans are still around…

Pastor Locke is worse than this so-called faith healer, isn’t he?

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bad TV, religion, scams

Repost: TBN=Total Blasphemy Network

Here’s another repost. I wrote this Epinions review of the Trinity Broadcasting Network on August 11, 2003 (!!). I am reposting it because it’s kind of entertaining, and again, has NOTHING to do with current events. Perhaps the next post will be fresh. Waiting for inspiration now.

Pros: Unintentional comedy makes the comedic quality of the programming even funnier.

Cons: Paul and Jan Crouch. Tasteless. Constant pleas for $$$$! 

The Bottom Line: A few gems scattered in a pile of rubbish. Dig deep to find them.

Well… maybe that title is a little harsh, but goldarnit, I’m not usually inspired by the Holy Ghost when I watch TBN. Usually, I’m just inspired to laugh my hiney off for a good long while. Why do I watch it? Usually because there’s nothing else on and I’m tired of watching Fox News or 7th Heaven on ABC Family Channel. I hate to admit it, but TBN is darn funny sometimes… although I do think that it does occasionally teeter on blasphemy. The network uses God and religion to squeeze people for money. Love gifts? Yeah right… do love gifts go to pay for those ugly monstrosities of furniture that sit on the stage? Tsk tsk tsk…

A mildly entertaining cartoon I saw on TBN.

The first time I ever spent any time watching TBN was in a Microtel motel room (see my review) last Labor Day weekend. I was lying in the sweltering, stinky room, drinking a Red Stripe beer, and watching some Christian musical group sing some sappy song about Jesus called “That’s Him”. At the bottom of the screen was a telephone number. I noticed that the number was NOT toll-free. The camera was panning over the audience, which was staring at the singing group, dreamlike. I expected to see someone pull out a lighter and hold it up. It reminded me a little bit of the old Nashville Network back in the 1980s. I was fascinated by the spectacle, but had to turn the channel… only to flip it back later. Superbook was on! For those of you who don’t know about Superbook or Flying House, these are cartoons about the Bible. They’re both very similar– Japanese anime, where two little kids, a boy and a girl, find a Bible up in the attic and take trips along with a robot. At least I think that’s what happens… Anyway, I found myself watching the stories of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel. The cartoons were entertaining, but still a little bit creepy! And what was it about them that made me want to watch?

When we got back from our trip to Tennessee last year, I’d find myself flipping to TBN occasionally. And one day, I caught Pastor Paula White on the tube. Pastor Paula has perfectly coiffed blonde hair and wears very expensive suits. Her audience is very multi-cultural and, I have to admit, the woman is quite a dynamic speaker. If I closed my eyes and listened to her, I’d think I were listening to a sister in the ‘hood, but Paula looks very much like the classic Barbie doll (with short hair, of course). Her appeal is that she’s easy on the eyes, but she relates to the people. She stands up at the pulpit and shouts, “Turn to the woman next to you and say, ‘Girl, you been pregnant! You got a dream about to be born!'” And I have to admit, sometimes the woman makes sense. But the sermon lasts about twenty minutes– albeit an energy packed, hyperactive twenty minutes in which Pastor Paula gets so excited that she sounds like she’s about to hyperventilate and maybe pass out. To hear the rest of the sermon and see if she actually does, in fact, faint dead away, you have to order her tapes, which cost an ungodly amount of money. Or you have to send her a “love gift”. Do the love gifts pay for those expensive suits or the fortune she must spend on her hair?

A recent clip of Pastor Paula White, speaking in tongues.

If you ever catch Pastor Paula during a TBN fundraiser, you’ll no doubt be treated to watching her speak in tongues while she lays hands on people! One time she did this and one of her goons (they typically stand behind people to catch them when they inevitably fall backwards from the sheer power of her touch), wasn’t paying attention and dropped someone! I hate to admit it, but I had a good long laugh at that one (I’ll bet that goon caught some serious hell afterwards)! Paula White mentions in every broadcast that she was molested when she was a little kid and her daddy committed suicide when she was seven. Well, not to belittle her experiences, but must she bring it up in every broadcast? And after she mentions all of these unfortunate events, must she then speak a few words in tongues? It seems a bit contrived to me.

The late Paul Crouch, speaking touchingly about “doctrinal doo doo!”

I also enjoy watching when Paul Crouch, who, along with his wife, Jan, is one of the station’s founders, comes on to beg for money. He wears these weird looking ties to go along with his funky combed over hair and the extremely tasteless gold furniture on the set. I watched last night while he begged for money to help set TBN up in China! The other night, Paul Crouch claimed that the government of Fiji demanded that TBN set up more stations there. But to do that, they needed more satellites and for that, they need more of your money, so call now, PLEASE! Apparently, TBN is all over the world now, spreading all over the place like a virulent disease! And are these folks in third world countries pledging money to support the TBN kingdom in Santa Ana, California? If they are, is this the best use of their hard earned money? Come to think of it, is pledging money to TBN the best use of anyone’s hard earned money?

Jesus is COMING!

There were about eight middle-aged guys standing behind Crouch last night, and a couple of guys were in three-piece suits. One guy in a three-piece suit (ETA: I later learned it was Roger McDuff) who regularly appears on TBN fundraisers looks just like a big ole Q tip. He has curly white hair that sits atop his head; when he sings, he looks like he’s either going to take a big dump or have a heart attack. There’s another guy with a goatee and bleached blond hair who always sings a song called “Come On In”, which sounds like it was written for Branson, Missouri. The other guys look like they missed out on Nashville and became aluminum siding salesmen instead. They appear to have come fresh from a convention. As I watch them on stage, singing about Jesus, I get the feeling they’re all heading for a bar for some bourbon (probably Jim Beam) and soda after they’re finished with their musical numbers. The camerapeople never miss panning over the audience, though, to catch folks singing along, or closing their eyes in reverence or powerful swooning as these fools in their suits sing their pseudo country songs about Jesus. Of course, sometimes the songs are more R&B influenced. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with programming religious music that’s more mainstream, but if you’re gonna do it, at least invite singers who look like they believe in the words they’re singing. Some of these ding a lings look about as sincere as game show hosts.

She’s pissed that nativity scenes can’t be displayed on public property. Happily, she no longer cares about such Earthly trivialities.

I was spared the sight of Jan Crouch and her pink hair and flashy, sequined clothes last night, but I’ve often seen her on other nights. She reminds me a little bit of a warped game show model, sort of hovering by, looking on supportively as her husband wheels and deals for cash. Sometimes I wonder what kind of a life she leads. What was her wedding day like? Yes, I know… I have too much time on my hands. She wears so much makeup that under all those hot lights she looks like a plastic doll that was held too close to a flame. Half her face melts off in the heat. Any day now I expect her pink hair to melt down like a big wad of cotton candy after a summer storm.

The point of all of this ranting? I don’t get the feeling that this network is about worshiping God or Jesus at all. I get the feeling that this network is about cheating people out of their money, occasional entertainment, sometimes good, but often pretty laughable and mediocre, and tasteless and tacky behavior. My husband and I were flipping channels one day and we actually caught an extremely garish wedding being broadcast. It must have cost well over $100,000, it was such a production. And despite all of the dancing in the aisles that went on, I didn’t get the feeling that the ceremony had anything to do with two people joining together in the presence of God. What’s more, it was on cable TV for all the world to see.

I remember watching this wedding on TBN. It was between Juanita Bynum, a self-described “prophetess” and Stephen Weeks. The marriage did NOT last, despite all of the money spent and religious people involved.

For all its money grubbing, though, TBN does have its sterling moments. Sometimes there’s a good religious show on with a pastor who has a worthwhile message from the Bible that speaks of something besides tithing. Not only are the messages sometimes good, but the person delivering them is often a pretty good speaker. The Saturday morning lineup is okay sometimes, although I think if I were a kid, I’d probably rather watch another channel. If you’re a Davey and Goliath fan though, TBN is the place to be on Saturdays.

Do I recommend TBN? Not if you’re serious about wanting to praise or worship God. If you want a laugh, then yes, TBN is fine. Every once in awhile, you might even come upon an inspiring program where a pearl of wisdom will be imparted onto you. Sometimes you’ll laugh. Sometimes you’ll see some bizarre things that will make you wonder. But I do caution you to be careful. Some of this programming might be dangerous if you don’t keep yourself grounded in reality. There are some people who can’t seem to do that. Unfortunately, those poor souls are the ones that keep TBN in business.

And here are the comments from that post. One person apparently thinks I’m going to Hell.

10 comments:

  1. AlexisARApril 12, 2013 at 6:16 AMI think the Q-tip head guy might be Roger MacDuff, or something similar to that.My mom was telling me several TBN stories 9To be honest, I haven’t found the channel yet since we moved. I need to find it.) Someone was hosting the fall or spring praise-a-thon (the big findraisers)- I think it was Dean Brown of the Dean and Mary Brown singing duo. He spoke on the microphone to a woman on the stage who happened to be Roger’s wife. He asked her if she was a singer. She said, “No, my husband’s a singer.” He laughed and said , “You call Roger as singrer?” obviously jokingly, although those of us with discerning ears might have fund truth in his words.Roger’s wife found neither humor nor truth in Dean Brown’s words. “I most certainly do consider Roger a singer.” she practically exploded.

    My mom said another time during the fall or spring praise-a-thon the collective group of singers was just sort of jammming on songs they all knew, acompanied mostly by m/ary /brown on the piano. Mary Brown is a versatile pianist with a good ear who changes keys and songs at will. Someone had invited an obnoxious trumpet player who was olaying some sort of micro-trumpet. The trumpet isn’t the ideal instrument to accompany a grrup of singrers jamming to gospel songs or anythig else. The trumpet has its place, but that place is not an impromptu vocal jam. Mary Brown apparently agreed with my mom, so she was modulating all over the place in a very successful attempt to lose the trumpet player, ho lacked the skills and ear to keep up with her key changes. 9They were harmonically sound changes, my mom said, with seamless transition chords. The singers could hear it and follow, but the poot trumpet player didn’t have a prayer f following aloing. Mary Brow and her husband Dean must have disagreed on the appropriateness or necessity of having the trumpeter play along. At onepoint a cameraman or controller slipped up (or maybe they showed it on purpose; who knows?) and showed Dean Brown shaking his fist at his wife Mary.

    Do you remember Nancy Harmon and the Love Special? I’ve seen her on videotape. Nancy Harmon may be still alive and kicking and maybe even performing, or she may be six feet under. I haven’t a clue. nancy had whatactually sounded like not a bad black gospel singer voice, although she was about as white as Lee Harvey Oswald. She tended to have a lot of young people on her program who were not exactly overloaded with talent. I have to give her credit for trying to give them all their big breaks.

    At one point, rumors concerning Nacy harmon’s person life were apparently circulating. She devoted the mojority of one show to addressing those responsible for passing these rumors. she and all her young bsack-up singers were quite vtrioli in calling these rumor mongers to repentance. My best guess id that someone in the rumor circuit had accused ms. Harmon, a singlewoman, of being a lesbian, but the topic of the rumors was never addressed.

    I’ve seen a coul eof videotapes of LaVern and Edith tripp’s show. Edith Tripp (Edith Tripp was supposedly part Indian princess. Why is it that no one is a descendant of common Indian stock, but, instead, of Indian royalty?) had a solo every week, yet you could walk into a random IHOP and pick the first person you saw and hand him or her a microphone, and the person’s performance would be superior to that of edith tripp.
  2. knottyApril 12, 2013 at 1:19 PMSince I wrote that review, I have pretty much given up on watching TBN. We moved a few months later and our new cable service didn’t air TBN. I got out of the habit. I will admit that religious programming can be very funny, though. And of all the networks, TBN seems to have more comic moments than others.
  3. AlexisARDecember 10, 2013 at 8:41 AMDo you know who the guy is with the goatee and bleached blond hair?

    my mom’s best friend lives nd teaches in a part of California that has a lot of dust Bowl Oklahoman and Arkansan descendants, and it’s essentially an extension of the Bible Belt. she got so tired of one woman on her staff sending out mass emails promoting one of Pastor Paula’s appearances that she forwarded the emails to the district technological director and complained. the offensive emails were stopped, but now the God-squadders hate my mom’s best friend (how Christ-like of them) but she’s fine with that as long as she isn’t bombarded with any more offensive emails. 
    1. knottyDecember 10, 2013 at 3:19 PMPerhaps I should take a similar action with my uncles who keep sending me emails full of racist political bullshit.  

      I don’t know who most of the people on TBN are… but I do get quite a kick out of watching that network!
  4. UnknownApril 16, 2014 at 12:36 AMPaul Crouch recently passed away…one of the sons is now running the station (he and his wife look like the younger versions of Paul and Jan). The older son has been exiled since his daughter is suing the network for financial abuses and sexual misconduct. With all the money this network is worth, one can only imagine the amount of corruption there is in that organization. BUT, if you REALLY want a laugh, you ought to tune into SBN, the network of Jimmy Swaggart (yes, he’s still around)! He’s maintained control through generational incest (Jimmy, the son Donnie and his son Gabriel). They’re all alike! One show that will really give you a laugh is called “Frances & Friends.” It’s Jimmy’s wife, Frances, and a “panel” of sycophants who discuss doctrine and current events! The ignorance of these people is astounding…I’ve never seen anything quite like it on TV! It’s actually quite sad because it confirms every negative stereotype that’s out there regarding Christians! I am one, so it makes me cringe to think that anyone (however dishonest) would buy that ALL Christians are like that! Anyway, check it out! You might have to search hard…some areas don’t list them as SBN, but instead the station is carried on a series of stations all called “Shop Zeal.” Good luck!
    1. knottyApril 16, 2014 at 1:15 AMLOL… Thanks Thurza! We seem to have a number of religious stations where I live and every once in awhile, I pass them on the dial. We very well might have Swaggart’s station. I’ll look for it!
  5. UnknownAugust 25, 2015 at 1:22 AM“Do not touch My anointed ones” Ps 105:15 and I Chron 16:22; very dangerous
  6. knottyAugust 25, 2015 at 7:12 AMHuh?
    1. AlexisARAugust 3, 2017 at 9:47 AMI didn’t see Cici girl’s reply earlier. She’s one of the people who takes psalms 105: 22 and 1st Chronicles 16:22 (“Touch not mine anointed, and do my prohets no harm”) literally and assumes they plainly refer to the hustlers on TBN. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the faith (and intelligence) of a small child?
    2. knottyAugust 3, 2017 at 9:52 AM😀 That would be so nice.
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scams

No way, Jose!

Today’s post may be too racy for some readers. If you don’t like sex talk, move along to your next station.

About a year ago, I got a scammy email in my Gmail account claiming that the sender had one of my passwords and video evidence of me doing “naughty things” on camera. The sender wanted me to send $4000 worth of Bitcoins to keep him (or her) from sharing said non-existent videos with my loved ones. I posted about it on my old blog, mainly because it was the first time I’d ever seen a threatening email that used an old password of mine. The first time I read the email, I was half asleep. At first, I was really alarmed and unnerved by it, but then I was amused.

Yes, it was true that the idiot had one of my passwords, but it’s a very old one that I don’t use on any of my current accounts and haven’t used at all in many years. Basically, the dumbass who spammed me with this threatening email was hoping to shock me into paying a lot of money because s/he claimed to have videos of me masturbating.

I won’t deny that sometimes I do masturbate. Most people do, and 99% of those who don’t are either lying or extremely boring, sexually repressed people who need to get a life. Honestly, there’s no shame in it. It’s the safest sex you’ll ever have. If you honestly don’t masturbate, I truly feel sorry for you. That must be a frustrating way to live. You probably play a lot of basketball or run a lot of laps. Or, at least you might if you’re a member of a certain religious persuasion.

My friend Lori shared this today, so I had to update the post with this… it fits.

I don’t care that people know that I masturbate. However, I know for a fact that no one has any videos of me doing that… and even if they did, I don’t think I’d care if they watched them. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the way I do about this subject, so people have been scammed. I closed my old blog, but in the interest of public safety, here are screenshots of that post.

So now, here it is, just over a year later. I got a similar post from someone calling himself “Jose”. He makes the same claims “Elton” does, but with a lot less finesse. Jose is not a particularly coherent English speaker/writer. Behold…

Friends, relatives, and “colleagues” (of which I have none anymore), if you get a video of me masturbating, I hope you enjoy it. Frankly, I’d rather read dirty stories than watch boring videos of people shagging themselves or each other. That’s not what turns me on. I like how “he” leaves me with the gentle advice to be more careful and visit secure sites. Yeah… thanks for that, you vile criminal.

Listen… I don’t care if you have videos of me jerking off. I suspect they would bore most people. I’m just not very sexy. I think it’s hilarious that someone would spam me with this, too… they don’t know me at all, do they? Just like a lot of the people who read my blogs and assume they know me.

No way, Jose. I’m not falling for your “Bit”. Go find another sucker. You don’t even know my name, anyway. It’s true that many people have taken the bait and fallen for this trick. I was not among them last year, and I won’t be today, either. So buzz off, Jose.

In other news… it’s August first, which means I survived July. July is historically a horrible month for me most years, so I’m feeling pretty good that we got through it. Of course, that doesn’t mean August won’t be awful, but at least we’ll be on vacation for part of it. And, with any luck, the vacation won’t result in my getting sick… or one of the dogs getting sick… or Bill getting sick. I love Scotland, but every time I go there, someone gets sick. Knocking on wood that this time, it will go off without a hitch.

Speaking of scams… today also marks what would have been Bill’s 29th wedding anniversary to his ex wife, who did all she could to rip him off while she had the chance. I usually forget about this day, but Bill reminds me. Today, I reminded him. He looked sheepish and said he’d like to forget about it, but I reminded him that if he hadn’t gone through his time with Ex, maybe he wouldn’t have ended up where he is now. Where he is now isn’t a bad place at all…

As for me, 29 years ago, I was preparing to begin my freshman year at Longwood University. I wasn’t all that excited to go there, but it turned out to be a great choice for me. I still have many great friends from those years. In fact, one friend from Longwood pointed out that we’ve had a running joke about a short story by Stephen Crane since 1991. Everyone else who sees me write “I ain’t got a gun on me, Scratchy”, will think we’re joking about The Simpsons. But, in fact, we are joking about “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky”. Of course, we probably thought “Scratchy Wilson” was funny because of The Simpsons, which was very hot TV back in those days… not that I ever watched it much.

Anyway… August 1st is another day of infamy that isn’t so bad now… Here’s hoping your August is scam free and fun. And Jose manages to go fuck himself with his threats of indecent exposure.

Edited to add: Bill wonders why I would pay Jose $600 in Bitcoins when I could obviously sell that video on the Internet and make mucho dinero…

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