celebrities, narcissists, poor judgment, royals

What makes my “N” chimes ring?

Last night, I was plowing through more of Prince Harry’s “bombshell” book, Spare. As is my custom sometimes, I decided to share a few excerpts from the book for a few friends. I realize that a lot of people are already sharing excerpts from Spare. Now, having gotten through about 80 percent of the book, I know the bits being shared are mostly about Harry’s relationship with Meghan Markle. No one seems to be sharing the rest of the book, which I’ve mostly found compelling and enjoyable.

I will probably finish reading Spare today. I might start a review today, or maybe I’ll get to it tomorrow. One thing I do know is that this book is probably going to spawn a few posts. I’m wading through Harry’s relationship with Meghan Markle and it’s very triggering for me. Many of the behaviors he describes– from the rush of the early relationship, to the way he describes frequently finding her sobbing and inconsolable, to the way she bullies him into psychotherapy– are very familiar to me. They make my “N” chimes ring.

What are “N” chimes, you ask? “N”, of course, equals narcissism. Chimes alert us to something in need of attention. Yesterday, I wrote about my husband’s ex wife, whom I think is a narcissist. Actually, I am SURE she is a narcissist, but I’m not qualified to diagnose anyone, so I hesitate to make that statement. I also realize that I could be wrong. That’s one of the many differences between Ex and me.

Likewise, I don’t know for certain that Meghan Markle is a narcissist. If I’m to go only on what I’ve read in his book so far, Harry thinks Meghan is the most wonderful, fantastic person ever born. And if that’s really true, then I am very happy for him. He’s apparently found the perfect woman. But, I think we all know that perfect people don’t exist. So, the fact that Meghan can apparently do no wrong in Harry’s eyes is one of the loudest “N” chimes.

I started to get that familiar feeling as I read about how Meghan and Harry met. Leading up to that point in the book, Harry had written about other girlfriends. In the years before he knew Meghan, Harry dated Chelsy Davy, a lovely young woman from Zimbabwe. Of the women he writes about, Harry seemed most compatible with Chelsy, but they broke up over lifestyle differences.

There were several other women, to include Cressida Bonas, a friend of Princess Eugenie’s. According to Harry, those women either weren’t compatible or were frightened off by the paparazzi. Harry notes that Cressida, in particular, managed to get him to “open up” and cry, following the death of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana. But Cressida apparently wasn’t exciting enough for Harry.

Meghan, on the other hand, excited Prince Harry from the moment he laid eyes on her. The way he describes it, seeing Meghan on Instagram was kismet. Below is Harry’s description of seeing Meghan for the first time…

I was sitting around Nott Cott, scrolling through Instagram. In my feed I saw a video: My friend Violet. And a young woman. They were playing with a new app that put silly filters on your photos. Violet and the woman had dog ears, dog noses, long red dog tongues hanging out. Despite the canine cartoon overlay, I sat up straighter. This woman with Violet…my God.

Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Prince. Spare (p. 267). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Harry sees Meghan on Instagram. Boom! Cupid shot him straight through the heart. That theory makes my “N” chimes ring. It wasn’t an accident that Harry saw Meghan and his friend on Instagram. Oh, I suppose it’s possible, but I highly doubt that’s what really happened. In my experience, narcissistic types are experts at seduction. They seem to have a special talent for knowing what a person wants or needs. Just like the best cult leaders, they figure out what their victim is seeking and they deliver… or, they make it seem like they’re delivering. Harry thinks he fell in love by chance, but to me, it seems like the whole meeting was contrived. And Harry, poor lad, was ripe for the picking.

Just before he and Meghan met, Harry describes being at several house parties in Los Angeles. Harry was at Courteney Cox’s house drinking tequila and consuming certain controlled substances. He didn’t know Courteney before he turned up at her house. He had a “trip” in her bathroom– the toilet and the trash can both turned into “heads”, complete with mouths. The next day, he went to another party, where he was smoking weed and apparently enjoying other substances. He met the man who wrote “Genie in a Bottle” for Christina Aguilera and made lots of money. Then, after yet another party, he went back to Courteney Cox’s house, where he seemingly had another drug induced trip– one that he apparently thinks of as an “epiphany”, of sorts. From the book:

Then I stared directly at the moon. It was speaking to me. Like the bin and the toilet. What was it saying? That the year ahead would be good. Good how? Something big. Really? Big. Not more of the same? No, something special. Really, Moon? Promise. Please don’t lie to me. I was nearly the age Pa had been when he’d got married, and he’d been considered a tragically late bloomer. At thirty-two he’d been ridiculed for his inability or unwillingness to find a partner. I was staring thirty-two in the face. Something has to change. Please? It will. I opened my mouth to the sky, to the moon. To the future. Aaaah.

Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Prince. Spare (pp. 263-264). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Based on the above passage, I know that Harry was actively looking for a woman to marry. I’ll bet he was lamenting to his “mates” about being single, too. Violet was one of his friends. She probably knew he was looking for a spouse. Meghan was single and available, and Meghan was looking, too. And, if I’m right about Meghan, she probably clued into the fact that Harry was feeling undesirable. She’s also from California and has obvious show business ties, even though she was working in Canada when she and Harry met. Perhaps someone who was with Harry at those house parties said something about Harry’s despondency about being bereft of a wife.

It seems very plausible to me that some people worked behind the scenes to make sure Harry saw Meghan on Instagram. He seems to think it’s “kismet”, but somehow I doubt it was. Add in Harry’s liberal use of hallucinogens and tequila at house parties, and the theory of Harry as a target becomes even more plausible to me. This certainly wasn’t a case of “ask and ye shall receive.” Moreover, illegal drug use and excessive alcohol consumption in strangers’ homes isn’t exactly the stuff of good decision making. Being under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and taking it seriously when one gets a “message” from the moon, also seems like questionable judgment to me.

Later, Harry further describes how he felt when he first saw Meghan, and all he got from that first look at her on Instagram. From the book…

But this woman’s beauty, and my response to it, wasn’t based merely on symmetry. There was an energy about her, a wild joy and playfulness. There was something in the way she smiled, the way she interacted with Violet, the way she gazed into the camera. Confident. Free. She believed life was one grand adventure, I could see that. What a privilege it would be, I thought, to join her on that journey. I got all of that from her face. Her luminous, angelic face. I’d never had a firm opinion on that burning question: Is there just one person on this earth for each of us? But in that moment I felt there might be only one face for me. This one.

Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Prince. Spare (pp. 267-268). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Again, it sounds like Cupid shot Harry in the heart. He was smitten by Meghan, gobsmacked by her beauty and “wild joy”. He could tell “she believed life was one grand adventure.” Harry got all of that from an Instagram video! But he didn’t even know her. This was more akin to infatuation than love. He asked Violet about Meghan. From the book…

I sent Violet a message. Who…is…this…woman?

She answered straightaway. Yeah, I’ve had six other guys ask me.

Great, I thought. Who is she, Violet?

Actress. She’s in a TV show called Suits.

Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Prince. Spare (p. 268). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Meghan certainly is an attractive woman. It’s very possible that six other guys really did ask Violet about her. Telling Harry that six other guys had asked about her, especially since he apparently hadn’t asked, seems like a manipulative move to me. It’s as if Violet was warning Harry to act now, or forever lose his chance with Meghan. But at that point, he’d only seen a video of her!

It’s like a salesperson setting up the illusion of scarcity by telling consumers that supplies are limited. I’m reminded of Martha Inc., a made for TV movie about Martha Stewart. Martha was selling pies, but she only had a couple set out on her table. Sure enough, people quickly bought them. She then set out more pies, but only a couple. Martha was pushing the idea that the pies were in high demand and supplies were limited, so those pie seekers had better act fast, or risk losing out!

I sense a similar dynamic between Harry, Violet, and Meghan. Violet works for Ralph Lauren and probably knows a thing or two about sales. Harry was shopping for a wife. Meghan was shopping for a husband. Violet connected them, and told Harry that other men were also looking. It may or may not have even been true. But Harry clearly got the idea that “supplies were limited”; moreover, he’d already lost out on other attractive women. Harry was determined to act fast, so he wouldn’t miss out on hooking Meghan. And Meghan and Violet, being savvy about sales, probably realized that. Meghan, after all, is an actress, and she’s obviously had to “sell herself” to get roles. She’s done commercials. She gets the concept of sales.

Harry implies in his book that, before he met Meghan, he was aimless and despondent. He’d dated several beautiful young women, but none of them were “the one”. He was 32 years old, and had seen his friends find spouses. He remembered how his own father, King Charles III, was 32 years old when he finally married barely 20 year old Diana. People had made fun of Charles for being single for so long. Charles actually needed to find a wife, because he needed to produce an heir to the throne. He couldn’t marry Camilla back then, so he “settled” for Diana, who was completely incompatible. We now know how that worked out for him. Likewise, Harry worried that he would never find a wife, even though the pressure to marry was probably much less for him than it was for Charles.

Harry also explains that in the palace, married couples are more prestigious than single people are. From the book…

Behind all this hand-wringing about me was something more substantive than “tittle-tattle.” It went to the whole underpinning of the monarchy, which was based on marriage. The great controversies about kings and queens, going back centuries, generally centered on whom they married, and whom they didn’t, and the children who issued from those unions. You weren’t a fully vested member of the Royal Family, indeed a true human being, until you were wed.

Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Prince. Spare (p. 231). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

So, based on the above passage, it’s clear that Harry was feeling the pressure to find someone to marry. He wasn’t a “fully vested member of the Royal Family”, because he was single. I hesitate to agree with his assertion that his family didn’t see him as a “true human being” because he was unwed. But obviously, the point is, he felt he was getting too old to be single. He was desperate to find “the one”. Meghan showed up at the right time. Boom! Cupid magically fired his dart. Bullshit.

In my experience, when someone feels that kind of pressure, they become vulnerable to a quick sale. That’s actually how Bill and I wound up living in our last house. If you’ve been following my blog, you probably know that in spite of the little voice in my head telling me to steer clear, we moved into a home in which the landlady was a bit narcissistic. We had to sue her to get our deposit returned. If we hadn’t been feeling so pressured to find a house, we might have avoided that situation. But we settled for a quick sale. Former landlady saw us coming… She told us other people were looking, which was probably a “white lie”. Other people probably were looking, but they’d wisely passed. Under different circumstances, we would have passed, too. Hopefully, next time, I’ll listen to that voice in my head.

Is Harry in a similar situation as Bill and I were back in 2014 (and Bill was with his ex wife)? Obviously, I don’t know Harry personally, so I don’t know for sure. But the signs are pretty clear to me. The “N” chimes are sounding. I’m very rarely wrong when I hear those chimes. I’ve ignored them before and been very sorry. Hopefully, I’m wrong in Harry’s case, because I don’t want him to be unhappy. I like Prince Harry, and I’m enjoying his book, even though I’ve learned more about his penis than I ever thought I would (more on that in a later post). Moreover, I don’t cheer for people to have bad relationships. I just know the signs and symptoms of manipulative behaviors.

Time to wrap up this post, although I am definitely not finished writing about Spare. I’m only writing about my “N” chimes because of last night’s discussion, and because I know I have friends who are apparently offended by my impressions of Harry and Meghan. I don’t mean to offend. I’m being honest about how I feel. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my dealings with abusive, manipulative, narcissistic people, it’s that they want their victims to suffer in silence. They thrive on secrecy. So I’m not going to be silent. If I’m wrong, I’ll say so and apologize. But unfortunately, I don’t think I’m wrong about this.

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family, healthcare

Instant karma’s gonna get you… UPDATED

Last night, Bill and I sat at our kitchen table, nervously watching the political headlines. We were sharing a laugh, because the other night, I got a private message from a relative who had commented on a picture I shared of our latest addition, Noyzi, the Balkan pandemic pup. He happened to be standing next to our booze cart when I took the photo and it was visible, so my relative added, “Wow, that’s quite a collection of booze, btw.”

I’m not sure how she expected me to respond to that comment. It’s true that we have a lot of booze on our booze cart, because Bill and I do like our libations. Moreover, my relative knows full well that in our family, there are a lot of drinkers, depressives, Republicans, and conservative Christians. She knows we’re not teetotalers. And how many bottles constitutes “quite a collection”, anyway? Two or three? I’d put them in a closet or a cabinet, but closets and cabinets are pretty rare in Germany unless you purchase them separately. Just having a lot of bottles of alcohol is not necessarily an indication of a problem, especially when a lot of them are still full or unopened, as is the case for us.

So, I decided to respond with a matter-of-fact “Yup. We are lushes.” I suppose if I really had wanted to be funny, I could have added this clip, for good measure. She wisely didn’t respond to my quip. I’m not sure if she was just surprised by my response, or got the message that she needed to mind her own business.

I do love my family, but this is really more me before a family gathering in which politics and religion are discussed.

I certainly don’t mean to make light of alcoholism. It’s not a laughing matter at all, and everyone in our family has been touched by alcoholism, even if most of us drink, anyway. But I think it’s rude to make pointed comments about the contents of a person’s booze cart, unless you’re complimenting it. Besides, a lot of the stuff on that cart is either a mixer or really old… or it’s a really old mixer. We have several bottles of stuff I bought about five years ago that probably need to be tossed, if only so we’ll have more space for stuff we’ll actually consume. In any case, our drinking habits are not really her business, particularly since I know she’s no angel in that department herself. At least neither Bill nor I have never been arrested or had a DUI.

So anyway, we were laughing about my relative’s comment and subsequent radio silence. Then, I decided to look up my cousin, who recently died. This relative who had been chatting with me had missed our cousin’s funeral, which had been posted on YouTube. By the way, I think that’s a great way to do funerals, even when a pandemic isn’t going on. I would not have been able to “attend” the funeral, if it hadn’t been videoed.

I thought the video was taken down, but I eventually found a link to the service and sent it my nosy relative. In the course of looking for the video, I noticed that my cousin had been journaling about her experiences with colon cancer. I decided to read her comments. The longest one was about her initial diagnosis. In her entry, she detailed how she found out that she had cancer. She mentioned that she had been experiencing pain for months, but blew it off. She had thought she was getting an ulcer, but neglected to see a doctor. Why? Because she didn’t have health insurance and was waiting for Medicare to kick in. One night, her body made it very clear to her that she was in serious trouble.

As I read her story, I felt a mixture of compassion, sorrow, empathy, and anger. Because as sad as I was to read about her diagnosis and suffering, I also couldn’t help but remember an “argument” we got into a few years ago on Facebook, when some friends and I were having a discussion about the extortionate prices of prescription drugs in the United States. I had initially written about that argument right after it happened in January 2016, when my cousin was still apparently “healthy”. She’d pissed off a bunch of my friends by lecturing us about how Big Pharma was poisoning people. We all just needed to eat right, exercise, and use essential oils. Then she proudly declared that she refused to get health insurance, opting instead to pay a fine. I thought that was crazy, and said so.

In May of last year, I found out that she’d been diagnosed with cancer and remembered that conversation from 2016 in an updated blog post. I knew that she didn’t agree with getting chemotherapy, since her parents had both had it when they got cancer. I can understand and respect that. I fully agree with people making their own healthcare decisions and living their lives. I also agree that many health conditions could be minimized or eliminated if people took better care of themselves, to the extent of their ability to do so. However, I also think it’s very irresponsible not to have health insurance if you can afford it. Nutrition, exercise, and essential oils will do little for you if you have an accident, a congenital disease or birth defect, or are just plain unlucky. And when you do need to access the healthcare system, as she eventually did, and most of us also will, your bad debt will be passed on to everyone else if you can’t pay your medical bills. And that will make healthcare cost even more across the board.

It’s true that our healthcare system is really screwed up and extremely overpriced. Health insurance is also very expensive. But we have to do something in order to make the necessary changes, and the Affordable Care Act, as screwed up as it is, is at least a step in a direction of some sort. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. I live in a country where healthcare doesn’t bankrupt people. It’s pretty damned nice!

I think if we had lawmakers who were actually concerned about serving the people instead of making names for themselves, lining their pockets, and staying in power, we might be well on our way to healthcare that everyone can access and afford when they need it. I get that conservatives don’t like it when the government taxes them or regulates businesses (which is what healthcare has become), but it’s gotten way out of hand in the United States. There’s a lot of greed in healthcare and it’s causing huge problems, particularly as people are dying of COVID-19 and healthcare providers and systems are being stretched to their limits.

Last night, I read about how my cousin had let her disease go unchecked for at least six months because she didn’t have health insurance and was waiting for Medicare to kick in. The dramatic event that led her to her sick role had occurred in May of 2019, but she’d had Medicare coverage since late October 2018. As of May of 2019, she’d experienced severe abdominal pain for over six months. Still, she’d ignored it, dismissing the pain as a potential ulcer until she was passing bright red blood rectally in the wee hours of the morning.

I’m actually surprised that my cousin agreed with using Medicare, since she was a proud Republican and a Trump supporter, and a lot of Republicans seem to think Medicare is a socialist idea. If she had seen a doctor right when the pain started, would she have survived 2020? Would she have had another Christmas and New Year’s with her family? Would she have made it to her 70s and been there to see her grandchildren come of age? We’ll never know, but I suspect that she would have had a much better quality of life and a more favorable outcome if she’d been able to see, and pay for, a doctor much sooner than she did.

Both of my cousin’s parents died of different forms of cancer. I can understand that she probably feared a diagnosis of cancer even more than most people do. She’d seen her parents go through chemotherapy years ago, and she no doubt knew what that experience would mean for her. But I’m still flabbergasted by what happened in her situation, and she felt entitled to criticize my conversation with friends about the need for reasonably priced prescription drugs and healthcare for Americans. In the end, she turned out to be a bit of a hypocrite who probably could have stayed around a bit longer if she’d had better access to affordable care and availed herself of it in a timely manner. I’m truly sorry that she died, and wish it hadn’t happened the way it did… and I hope she is in a “better place”. She wrote this in that first entry of her journal:

A lot of people who upon hearing the diagnosis “You’ve got cancer” recall being horror stricken, bowled over, in a crisis and while these are words no one ever wants to hear, I simply recall wondering, “Lord, how do you plan to use this?” 

I’m sure if any of my family members read this, they might be offended. But I hope they’ll stop for a second and consider our relative’s words. “Lord, how do you plan to use this”… and realize that perhaps her case is an invitation to re-examine their ideas about politics, particularly regarding healthcare. We all need it, and it ought to be available, accessible, and affordable to everyone. And I wish my cousin had been able to do that for herself and her family, whom I know are all missing her very much.

And… to my other nosy relatives who want to comment on my booze cart, this post should serve as a reminder that I’m not 12 anymore.

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social media, true crime

Two guys walk into a bar…

I may catch some shit for writing today’s post, but this story is a good example as to why I think that sometimes the court of public opinion gets things very wrong. If you’re a regular reader, you may already know that I am not a fan of mob justice, particularly for people who armchair quarterback from home and have nothing to do with a specific case. I think that can have a devastating effect on justice and fairness, something that everyone should be entitled to, especially in the United States. Anyway, here goes… putting on my flame retardant suit now.

On Saturday, September 26, 2020, 65 year old Donald Lewinski and 80 year old Rocco Sapienza were both visiting Pamp’s Red Zone Bar and Grill in West Seneca, New York. Both men were said to be regulars at the establishment, although it’s not clear if they knew each other before their deadly meeting a couple of weeks ago.

Mr. Lewinski is now being charged with the negligent homicide of Mr. Sapienza. Why? Because Mr. Sapienza, who was said to be very friendly, but not one who was afraid to confront people he thought needed calling out, chastised Mr. Lewinski for not wearing a face mask. The headline about this incident in The New York Times is “80-Year-Old Is Killed After Asking Bar Patron to Wear Mask”. Naturally, people are responding to that headline with much vitriol toward Mr. Lewinski. Some are labeling him a cold blooded murderer and calling for him to spend much longer in prison than the four years he could face if he is convicted.

The headline implies that Mr. Sapienza simply asked Mr. Lewinksi to wear a mask, and he responded by viciously shoving him, intending to hurt, or even kill him. I was skeptical that this incident went down the way the headline implied. And, in fairness to the The New York Times, the actual article, which I am sure a lot of people didn’t bother to read, is a lot more impartial than the headline is. There are also other articles from reputable, but more local, sources available that present a very different perspective than what was reported in The New York Times. Having read several articles about this altercation, I have concluded that this is what really happened.

These two guys visited their favorite watering hole. Both are older men, probably a bit set in their ways and not interested in hearing other people’s opinions on how they should be behaving in public.

Mr. Lewinski’s son was playing music outside of the bar. The band was set up in the parking lot, and they happened to be playing in the parking spot that Mr. Sapienza usually used. This tidbit of information was not in the Times’ article, but it was in an article by Local 12, a news station in the West Seneca area. So… Mr. Sapienza was already annoyed that his parking spot was usurped by Lewinski’s son’s band. It’s unclear whether or not the band knew that was Sapienza’s parking spot, or if he was somehow officially entitled to park there.

The New York Times article also fails to mention that Mr. Lewinski did have a neck gaiter and though he did frequently forget to pull it up, perhaps because he was drinking or “caught up in the thrill”, according to his lawyer, Barry Covert, “when asked to put his mask on, [he] did so readily.”

Apparently, Lewinski kept coming in and out of the bar to fetch rounds of drinks. When he came into the bar, he repeatedly forgot to pull the gaiter up over his nose and mouth. Also according to Lewinski’s lawyer, “[Sapienza] was disgruntled that he could hear the music inside, and he was unhappy that my client and other people were bringing tables and chairs from inside the bar outside to the patrons who were enjoying the band out in the parking lot.”

Mr. Sapienza, who had reportedly served as a Marine and had a “boisterous” personality that would “fill up a room”, eventually decided that enough was enough. Sapienza was also said to be “protective” of the staff at Pamp’s Red Zone Bar and Grill and was well-liked at the establishment. I have a feeling that Sapienza might have thought of the bar as “his place” and it probably irritated him that Lewinski and his son’s band were upsetting the order of things.

According to video footage, Lewinski was speaking to the bar owner for a moment and Sapienza, donning a face mask, decided to take it upon himself to confront Mr. Lewinski about his failure to be diligent about wearing a mask. There was no audio to the video, but John J. Flynn, the Erie County district attorney, says that “out of the blue”, Mr. Lewinski two hand shoved Mr. Sapienza, who fell backwards. His left arm knocked over a bar stool as his head hit the floor. Sapienza immediately lost consciousness and suffered a seizure. He was taken to a hospital, where he underwent brain surgery and died several days later.

Lewinski, who supposedly had made “lewd” comments to the staff, immediately paid his bill and left right after Sapienza hit the floor. I can’t say I blame him for that, but maybe that was also the wrong thing to do.

In my opinion, this incident sounds like a terrible accident. It’s certainly not murder, although many outraged comments indicate that it is. I don’t believe that Donald Lewinski showed up at that bar intending to kill someone. He probably just wanted to have a good time, listen to his son play music and enjoy some adult beverages.

If Lewinski had tackled Mr. Sapienza and repeatedly beat him about the head and shoulders in a clear effort to kill him, that would be murder. There has to be deliberate intent to kill for a killing to be called murder. It sounds to me like Lewinski pushed the man to get him out of his face, and that was it. He clearly didn’t intend to kill him. Mr. Sapienza’s accident was simply the unfortunate result of their confrontation, which Sapienza initiated. I don’t think Lewinski needs to be put away for the rest of his life for that. Some people would even call what he did self-defense, although I’m not sure the situation called for self-defense. But again– they were in a bar and there were likely distorted perceptions at play caused by boozing.

Could Lewinski have been better about wearing a face mask? Sure. But consider that less than a year ago, no one was wearing masks in bars or socially distancing. Some people are having a harder time adjusting to this new requirement than others are. And while I’m not absolutely certain that the parties involved in this incident were drinking alcohol, I’m going to assume that they were. They were there for “hours”, and there’s no telling how much they drank before the altercation occurred. In fact, I would also wonder if alcohol could have had an effect on Mr. Sapienza’s body that exacerbated the effects of the blunt trauma to his head.

What really irritates me about this story is that many people who are commenting on it automatically attack Donald Lewinski’s character and call him a “murderer”. It’s akin to the people who call anyone not wearing a face mask a “murderer”. It’s ridiculous hyperbole and it doesn’t serve justice.

For the record, I agree that Lewinski was absolutely wrong to shove Mr. Sapienza, although I also think that Sapienza was wrong to confront Lewinski. It was not his place to enforce the mask requirement; it was the management’s duty.

Moreover, the fact that Mr. Sapienza was 80 years old is irrelevant. I don’t know how recent the photos of Sapienza are, but he doesn’t appear to be that old. In some pictures I’ve seen, he’s wearing a dapper looking suit and a big smile– yes, he looks like a very friendly, healthy, fun loving man. I would not have guessed Sapienza was 80, and I’m sure his age never occurred to Mr. Lewinski, either. It sounds to me like he acted impulsively– he’d been drinking and was already irritated with Sapienza, as the two had exchanged “terse words” prior to the shoving incident. It’s not unusual for people to react physically when someone invades their personal space, especially when there’s booze involved.

A screen grab from a news video about this incident. He looks pretty hale and hearty to me, but I don’t know how old this picture is. To read the comments on some of the news articles about this, Mr. Sapienza was a frail , little old man. I don’t think that’s necessarily so. He does look like a great guy, though. It’s sad that he died the way he did.

Obviously, both of these men were healthy enough to sit in a bar for hours, despite their “advanced ages”. But in the age of COVID-19, it’s probably not the best idea for anyone to be hanging out in a bar, especially men over the age of 50 who might have underlying health conditions. Alcohol is a social lubricant. It causes people to behave in ways they might not have otherwise and can distort a person’s perceptions of reality. Or, it causes them to magnify behaviors, which may or may not be good. If you’re an asshole naturally, and you drink booze, you’re probably going to be an even bigger asshole when you’re drunk. Believe me, I have seen and experienced it many times. I don’t know what kind of man Donald Lewinski is, but if he was drinking, it’s possible that his frame of mind might have been in the realm of asshole on September 26th. Or, maybe he just doesn’t know his own strength.

If you’re a senior citizen and you’re concerned enough about COVID-19 that you feel compelled to confront strangers about wearing face masks, it’s probably a wiser decision to stay home. I am sure that hanging out in his favorite watering hole was a comfort for Mr. Sapienza. Maybe it helped him feel more normal in these very weird pandemic days we’re experiencing. And maybe he felt emboldened to confront another man for not wearing a face mask, because that bar felt like “his place”. But, when it comes down to it, not everyone is going to see it that way. People are on edge and pissed off– tensions are high for a lot of reasons. It’s probably not the best idea to confront people who are breaking the rules, especially in a bar. Let someone in charge do it, for your own safety. Especially if you are “at an elevated risk” for COVID-19, as Mr. Sapienza would be simply due to his age and sex. But then, maybe Mr. Sapienza was also under the influence of booze and his natural instincts were similarly magnified.

I totally get that people are fed up with those who break the rules. I also get that people resent having to wear face masks. I hate them myself, but I do wear them when they are required. And because I hate the masks, I do my best to avoid having to wear them by staying away from other people. Instead of going to bars, I stay home and drink. It’s cheaper that way, and I get to pick the music. Bars are not safe places for those hoping to avoid COVID-19. I certainly don’t condone Lewinski’s decision to push Mr. Sapienza, inadvertently causing his death, but I also don’t condone Mr. Sapienza’s decision to put himself in harm’s way by being confrontational.

It’s too bad that the press is spinning this situation to be something it’s not. People are predictably reacting without reading much more than the headline or thinking critically. So many folks are commenting that Lewinski should go to prison for the rest of his life… calling him a hardened murderer because he shoved some guy for confronting him after they had already exchanged “terse words”. I wonder if they would feel the same way if they or someone they loved were involved in a similar situation. My guess is that most of them wouldn’t. But then, it’s always “a different story” when the story is about someone else.

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Duggars

Jill Dillard’s pina colada and the appearance of evil…

This morning, the net is abuzz with comments about Jill Duggar drinking a pina colada and looking like she’s living her best life. Many people have noticed that Mrs. Dillard did not specify whether or not the drink was “virgin”. Some have said that a virgin drink would not be served in such a fancy glass. Not being much of a fan of “virgin” drinks myself, I really don’t know if that’s true. What I do know is that Jill is a married woman well over the age of 21. She should be able to drink whatever she wants to without speculation.

But since she was once Jill Duggar, and was raised a fundamentalist Christian, everything she does is open to discussion and observation. She seems to be okay with it. In fact, she recently posted an invitation for fans to ask her questions on YouTube. Some of the people in the Duggar Family News group have proposed asking her if she plans to have more children or adopt them (which frankly, I think is no one else’s business). Even less appropriate is the question as to whether or not she had a hysterectomy.

On the other hand, she has chosen to be a public figure, and she has spoken about having as many babies as God provides. So maybe that is why people feel free to ask– and I guess Jill can decline to answer if she wants to.

It has been nice to watch Jill change since the days when she was the most obedient Duggar. I remember seeing her on TLC when she was younger, being mom to her youngest siblings and clearly Jim Bob’s favorite because she did what she was told without complaint and didn’t have a problem tattling on her siblings. I guess when she married Derick Dillard, Jill took it seriously that he would be the one she listened to most. She and Boob are apparently on the outs with each other, mainly because Derick has rebelled against doing Boob’s bidding.

I don’t really follow the Duggars’ show much anymore. I used to watch it somewhat regularly, but I quit following it when it got to be too boring. I understand that now, Boob and Michelle have made their way back on camera. I can’t stand to listen to either of them, so I don’t watch now. I don’t watch the YouTube videos, either, but I do enjoy reading the snark. And sometimes, the people in the Duggar group have good book recommendations and share interesting news articles… Yeah, yeah, yeah, and I only read Playboy for the articles, too. 😉

Anyway, I’m glad to see that Jill is doing her own thing. She’s cut her hair, gotten a nose piercing, wears pants, and even enrolled her son, Israel, in public school. She and Derick and the boys also wore face masks, which is definitely a socially responsible thing to do. I doubt Boob wears a mask for anyone. And if she really did drink a loaded pina colada, I say more power to her. Maybe more of the Duggars should enjoy adult beverages and kill the bugs up their asses.

Bill and I were talking about Jill and her pina colada this morning. Bill said she could be drinking a virgin pina colada. And maybe she was. But as an ex Mormon, Bill also knows about the importance to many religious people of “avoiding the appearance of evil.” This is why some Mormons don’t want to go to Starbucks, even to just get themselves a pastry. They don’t want other church members seeing them go into a well known coffee shop and assuming they’re drinking a forbidden beverage. Or they don’t want to drink something that looks like it could be alcoholic because they don’t want people to think they drink.

On the other hand, I know not every religious person is like this. A few years ago, I used to follow a blog written by a Mormon woman whose six year old daughter was bitten by a shark. Her husband happens to be an emergency room physician, so the girl was quickly saved. As I was watching these folks being interviewed on television, I could tell they were LDS, mainly due to what the mom was saying and wearing, and the fact that their daughter had asked to pray for the shark that bit her.

Anyway, the mom had a blog on Blogspot, so I casually followed it for awhile. I noticed she had a real flair for decorating and crafts. She once posted a picture of a table she’d set for a brunch she was giving. Of course, there was no booze served, but she did have fancy glassware that would customarily be used for, say, a martini. There’s no law that says you can’t drink a virgin beverage out of a nice glass… although I never do. 😉

Maybe Jill has decided to cut loose a bit. Good for her. It’s her life, and what’s she’s doing is not only normal, but natural. I don’t necessarily agree with Derick Dillard’s transphobic remarks on social media, but he does seem to love his wife and he encourages her to be herself and enjoy her life. So good for both of them… and I hope she makes choices that are on her terms, rather than her bully of a father’s. I also hope her brothers and sisters wise up and claim their right to live the way they want. We should all be so free.

On another note– that Mexican food looks fabulous! I miss good Mexican food, and I am PMSing big time.

Edited to add: Sure enough, it was a REAL pina colada!. Go Jill!

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