celebrities, royals, YouTube

Dueling divas… It takes one to know one?

Happy Friday, everyone. I’ve spent the week watching the news in astonishment, as Donald Trump’s legal woes get deeper, and Republicans are starting to realize (too late) that their misogynistic policies and alignment with Trump may very well fuck up their midterm plans for US domination.

I was delighted to see that Sarah Palin lost her bid to get back into politics. I’ll admit, when I first heard Sarah Palin speak– in fact, she was debating Joe Biden back in 2008, when John McCain and Barack Obama were running for president– I found her somewhat impressive. But my opinion of her plummeted when she quit being the Governor of Alaska to become a political pundit. I should also add that I liked John McCain. He was a decent man with a backbone, and he was NOT a Trumper. He was one of the Republicans I respected very much. I’d like to see more like him, instead of people like Trump and his delusional minions.

But as exciting as the many political bombshells have been this week, I just don’t have the gumption to devote a whole blog post to them today. Instead, I think I’ll chat about Meghan Markle, who has finally launched her podcast on Spotify. I don’t subscribe to Spotify myself, so I don’t tune in to Meghan’s podcast, called Archetypes. Last week, her first guest was her “bestie”, Serena Williams. This week, it was Mariah Carey. I watched a few YouTube videos about how the show went down, and it sounds like it might have been entertaining. Mariah Carey basically called out Meghan on her bullshit. I actually heard what Mariah said, too, and the way she said it. It was hilarious! H.G. Tudor did a funny video about it.

At least Mariah actually has something to be a diva about, right?

I don’t love Mariah Carey’s music, but I completely acknowledge how genuinely talented she is. She has an extraordinary singing voice, a huge range, and she has written hit songs. She overcame a difficult childhood, has been through a couple of divorces, and while she may sometimes act like a narcissistic fool, she can back up some of that behavior with actual goods. Meghan, on the other hand, seems to be more of a “poseur“… as we would have put it back in the 80s.

Meghan has tried to be the second coming of Harry’s mother, Diana. That hasn’t worked out at all, and it seems that a lot of Brits find her completely insufferable. So now, she’s bragging about how some South African guy in the cast of The Lion King said that when she married Prince Harry, South Africans were rejoicing in the streets, the way they did when Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years. Naturally, people are rolling their eyes at that, too. Seriously? And now, reporters are starting to fact check everything she says. In Australia, they’re being particularly brutal. Check out the below video– just one of several by the Aussies and their disdain for Harry’s wife.

I don’t know if this is how all Australians feel, but the reporters on The Bolt seem to think that Meghan is full of shit.

You can hear Mariah laughingly tell Meghan that she gives us “diva moments”. I can practically visualize Mariah rolling her eyes as she calls bullshit on Meghan’s claims that she’s not really a diva. Mariah’s comments are delivered in a way that is good-natured. She’s laughing as if she’s joking, and she even sounds kind of complimentary toward Meghan, but I can tell Meghan is kind of taken aback by Mariah’s unabashedness. Mariah is an unapologetic diva, though, and sees nothing wrong with it. She even flat out says, “I don’t care.”, as Mariah is pretty proud of her diva persona. Mariah probably figures Meghan ought to just own it, like she does.

Bwahahaha… Mariah sets Meghan straight.
I think Mariah p’owned Meghan.
Meghan’s acting skills failed.

Being called a “diva” likely goes against Meghan’s desired image for herself. She wants to be seen as kind, humble, compassionate, and genuine, as Diana, Princess of Wales, was– even if Diana really wasn’t necessarily always those things. Diana could pull off those qualities, though, because she wasn’t a narcissist. Diana was reportedly a borderline, and there’s a big difference between the two conditions, even if they do sometimes overlap. As Dr. Grande notes, Diana was quite neurotic and manipulative, yet she also had a great deal of genuine empathy and compassion for others. She was one of the very first famous people to interact with people suffering from AIDS, which was considered very brave at a time when many people were confused about how AIDS was spread, and an AIDS diagnosis was considered a death sentence. As Dr. Grande points out, it’s not actually known if Diana really did have Borderline Personality Disorder, although he does notice that she exhibited a lot of the signs and symptoms.

Dr. Grande examines Princess Diana’s life, death, and mental health.

Dr. Grande also analyzed Meghan Markle. Below is a video he made about a recent article that was published about Meghan in The Cut. He seems to be yet another person who finds Meghan insufferable.

Grande’s thoughts on Meghan seem somewhat less charitable than they were toward Diana. He’s pretty droll.

In any case, I think a lot of people were rooting for Meghan when she first came on the scene. I was glad to see that Prince Harry had found a wife, and delighted it was an American woman who had stolen his heart. In spite of Meghan’s convictions that people have behaved in a racist manner toward her, I think a lot of people had high hopes for her relationship with Harry. But it seems like everything went to shit pretty quickly, and I think it’s because she was putting on an act that she could not maintain. Moreover, there are so many stories about her problematic behaviors that it’s getting harder and harder to believe that she isn’t an actual “diva” in the more negative sense of the word.

Jesus Enrique Rosas offers his thoughts on the podcast… He spares no snark.

When most people think of the word diva, it’s not necessarily always a bad thing, anyway. Yes, divas are usually described as entitled, narcissistic, and temperamental. However, they are also often considered extremely talented, especially in music, and very beautiful. After all, a diva was originally the female star of an opera. Diva is the Latin term for “goddess”. And what woman wouldn’t want to be considered a “goddess”? Especially an ambitious person like Meghan, who seems to be very determined to be rich and famous. However, her efforts to social climb have become very obvious and distasteful. Yes, we could ignore snarky comments from guys like Piers Morgan, who doesn’t have much room to talk when it comes to being narcissistic. But I know I started to pay attention when it came out that Meghan had made Kate Middleton cry. Kate Middleton has always been the epitome of poise and grace. Even if, behind closed doors, she’s not actually an extremely classy person, Kate can pull off that appearance flawlessly… and personally, I think she is genuinely an effortlessly graceful and gracious lady. For Meghan, being classy and graceful, like Kate naturally is, is hard work– and it shows.

Meghan takes things very seriously… and I think if she wants to get back into the public’s good graces, she’s going to have to rent a sense of humor, and stop taking herself so seriously. But I don’t think that is going to happen, because narcissists, as a general rule, lack a sense of humor… especially when it comes to their images. And Meghan’s clearly negative response to Mariah’s comments is very telling, in my opinion. Her “slip is showing”… as in, that self-centeredness and perpetual victimhood attitude is coming out and taking a bow. And people are noticing, because they are giving Meghan just what she’s always wanted… ATTENTION. I think she’s realizing that attention is a double edged sword that cuts both ways. She wants attention for the “right” reasons… but she keeps saying and doing things that give her negative attention. While negative attention is better than NO attention, it still causes narcissistic wounds. Unless Meghan somehow learns to control her obviously wounded reactions, as she simultaneously stops spreading ridiculous lies, it’s only going to get worse.

River’s astute observations about the podcast. I find River very entertaining!

But, if you want a somewhat quick and dirty look at Meghan’s most recent shenanigans, you might check out Jesus Enrique Rosas’ 6 Worst Takeaways from her interview on The Cut.


Meghan still has her fans, of course… but more and more, I’m seeing some increasingly vitriolic responses to Meghan’s behavior. Below is a video that actually took me aback, as the guy actually drops the c-bomb regarding Meghan. I don’t think those over-the-top responses are very helpful, as they only lend credence to Meghan’s assertions that the press is hateful to her, even if this dude is just a YouTuber.

Trevor tells us how he REALLY feels.

Well… I’ve been working on this post forever, and I’m getting tired… so I’m going to sign off, for now. I’m sure some people won’t like this post. I know I have a couple of friends who like Meghan Markle. Personally, though, I am pretty horrified by this recent stuff that’s come out… especially the part about Nelson Mandela. It’s just incredibly tone deaf. And I think it’s going to get worse. I can’t believe she’s managed to get herself in the situation she’s in… and frankly, I feel sorry for Prince Harry, because he’s going to have a hell of a time extricating himself from this mess. Especially if he wants to maintain contact with his children. Trust me… I know this from my own husband’s experiences.


Cowering in the basement with the lights turned off…

That was our “president” yesterday. While the country falls apart with riots, protests, and looting, our moronic POTUS is still tweeting his nonsense and failing to do his job. Last night, former President Barack Obama stepped up to the plate with words of leadership and wisdom. I have noticed that both Mr. Obama and former President George W. Bush have both stepped up lately to offer words of comfort. Meanwhile, Trump threatened the masses with military action and staged a photo op in front of a boarded up church while holding up a Bible.

The church in question, St. John’s– the so-called church of the Presidents because every one since James Madison has gone to services there– had been briefly set on fire. Trump had nothing of substance, decency, or comfort to say to the many people who are hurting and scared right now. Instead, he told governors that they were “weak” and need to dominate and arrest the protesters, or else look like “jerks”. This is the same idiot who, a few weeks ago, encouraged citizens to rise up against their governors who ordered them to stay home due to the coronavirus. And he was tweeting about how “weak” the governors are from his fucking basement.

Yes. Yes he did. And yes, that came from the one and only Michael McDonald, former Doobie Brother and musician extraordinaire.

One of my witty friends quipped that the Bible Trump was holding was probably a fake one with a hollowed out center for a Big Mac. I suspect Trump hasn’t got the foggiest idea what is in the Bible or what it stands for, but it makes for a noteworthy prop, I guess. He didn’t pray or mention George Floyd. Instead, he went for his obvious base, evangelical Christians who accept him because he “claims” to be a Christian who is against abortion. He held up a Bible while peaceful protesters were dispersed with tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets. Meanwhile, a visiting priest who was trying to help frightened protesters leave the area was sprayed with tear gas.


The lights at the White House were turned off last night. I thought it was oddly appropriate. No one is home. No one is leading the country. Trump is acting like a dictator, yet he’s cowering in the nation’s most popular residence and threatening people with the military. Thank God Bill is retired. I would hate for him to have to deal with this shit.

I woke up at 3:30am this morning. I couldn’t sleep. I made the mistake of looking at Facebook and saw everything that happened last night after I went to bed. It’s absolute madness. I’m not much for prayer, but I might break down and offer one today for all of those who are on the front lines of this mess. Donald Trump has no empathy. He has no leadership ability. And he has NO BUSINESS leading the country. It’s time for him to leave office. He won’t, of course. He’s going to be dragged kicking and screaming from the White House, a place he once referred to as “a real dump“.

Speaking of dumps…

This is being offered for sale by the German super store, Real. We used to shop there all the time when we lived in Jettingen. How sad is it that our leader is so disgraceful that I can buy toilet paper with his visage on it from a German retailer? I wouldn’t want Trump’s likeness near my genitals, nor do I want to spend 2,95 euros on this… but still, it’s pretty sad that he’s so shitty that the Germans let you wipe your shit with a likeness of his face.

Anyway… I don’t know what today will bring. Probably more shock and dismay. I’m going to go practice my guitar now. At least I’m making progress with that.

Too bad John McCain wasn’t elected president before he died. He would have been so much better than Trump is…

I really hope more people wake the fuck up and join our demands that we get rid of this orange asshole stinking up the country. He’s a disgrace.

book reviews

Jason Rezaian does time at Tehran’s Evin Prison…

A couple of months ago, I saw a book excerpt posted on The Washington Post’s Web site. It was the start of Jason Rezaian’s 2019 book, Prisoner: My 544 Days in an Iranian Prison–Solitary Confinement, a Sham Trial, High-Stakes Diplomacy, and the Extraordinary Efforts It Took to Get Me Out. Although I love a good prison book, I was probably attracted most to Jason Rezaian’s surname, which I suspect could have Armenian origins. Ever since my two year stint in Armenia, I take notice of people who have the telltale “ian” or “yan” as the last three letters of their names. A lot of times, those names indicate an Armenian link.

Jason Rezaian is, in fact, half Iranian. He holds Iranian and United States passports, speaks Farsi, and is married to an Iranian journalist named Yeganeh Salehi– Yegi, for short. Rezaian is a journalist, and he had been working for The Washington Post as the Tehran Bureau Chief when he and his wife were arrested on July 22, 2014. They had been planning to go back to the United States when Iranian government security forces raided his and his wife’s Tehran home. They were accused of espionage and creating “propaganda against the establishment”.

That same night, an American photojournalist and her husband were also arrested on the same charges. The photojournalist and her husband were released a few weeks later, but Rezaian and his wife were taken to Evin Prison, a notorious detention center in Tehran where intellectuals and political prisoners are often held for long stretches. Yegi was released on bail in October 2014, but Jason spent 544 days languishing in the prison, where he was forced to wear a blindfold any time he wasn’t in his tiny, filthy cell.

Both Jason and Yegi were repeatedly interrogated about their supposed “espionage” activities, which, of course, were non-existent. Most of Rezaian’s articles were about food and travel. He’d even served as a guide to Anthony Bourdain for the show, Parts Unknown, when it featured Iran. The charges of espionage stemmed from a Kickstarter project Rezaian had started. He had noticed that Iran didn’t have any avocado trees. He was missing guacamole. So, on a complete lark, Rezaian started his campaign and collected a few donations from people, to include a U.S. government official. Iranian officials had taken the term “radio silence”, which Rezaian had put in an email, as a sign that he was a Central Intelligence Agency plant.

At first, Rezaian was sure he would be out of detention very quickly. It was all a huge misunderstanding. But then he and his wife were ordered to put on “pajamas” and taken to their cells. The first night stretched into weeks, then months as Iranian officials demanded that Rezaian admit to spying and promised he’d be set free if he’d just tell them what they wanted to hear.

Rezaian lost a lot of weight and endured many uncomfortable, sleepless nights. He spent long stretches of time in solitary confinement and got to the point at which he looked forward to speaking to the interrogator, simply because he was kept in solitude for so long. Meanwhile, Rezaian’s family– his wife, brother, and mother, worked tirelessly to get the United States government, then led by Barack Obama, to let him go.

I have read other books written by former Evin Prison inmates. I remember one I read about ten years ago, by a woman who had been arrested for taking part in a student demonstration at Tehran University. But although Zarah Ghahramani was subjected to psychological torture, beatings, and interrogations, her time at Evin Prison was mercifully brief. She was only there for a month. Rezaian was imprisoned for well over a year and might still be there were it not for the tireless efforts of his family.

One thing that surprised me about Rezaian’s account is that it seemed to me like he adapted to being at Evin Prison, to the point at which he became almost friendly with a couple of the guards. One interrogator named Kazem told Rezaian, who admits to not being very religious and a big fan of the late Christopher Hitchens, that he should read the Koran. Rezaian was starved for reading material, so he agreed to read the religious book. Kazem proudly presented him with a beautiful, ornate Koran, that he hoped Rezaian would keep with him as a memento. Rezaian read the Koran, but was not moved by it. He left the “gift” at the prison and Kazem was crushed. It was as if the interrogator could not conceive of why Rezaian would not see him as a friend. However, Rezaian did tell Kazem that there was no way he’d ever forget him. It’s hard to forget someone who frequently threatens you with execution.

Rezaian frequently reminds readers that Iranians are typically very kind and hospitable people. Even in prison, it seemed like Rezaian would encounter those kindnesses. For example, after her release, Yegi was allowed to visit Jason in prison. One guard was rather lenient about giving them time together, “forgetting” about them so they’d have two hours to enjoy each other’s company. Rezaian describes the guard as almost accomplice like. Another time, he was practically forced to call his mother, even though he didn’t want to call her. But then, once they started talking, he didn’t want to hang up. The “great judge” also decided Rezaian should exercise, so they started allowing him 20 minute sessions on a machine. Rezaian was not known for being particularly athletic, but he came to appreciate those opportunities to use his muscles and sweat.

Rezaian’s “trial” was, of course, completely absurd. And just after Rezaian’s arrest, the Islamic Republic went on a killing spree, hanging over 700 people in the first part of 2015. Rezaian would often see the doomed people on his way to and from court. They were executed near his cell in Evin’s execution square. In an effort to get Jason Rezaian to talk, his interrogators would remind him that the court had so far been very lenient, as he should have been executed months prior. Rezaian says he was never physically abused by his captors, but he was definitely psychologically terrorized. He never knew if they were going to release him, keep him for the rest of his life, or kill him. In the wake of his confinement, he had to live with the post traumatic stress disorder that inevitably comes from such an ordeal.

Overall, I found Jason Rezaian’s book a fascinating read on many levels. I have never been to Iran, but my dad was there once, years before the fall of the Shah. He brought back a painting, which I inherited and left in storage back in Texas. I believe the story went that the artist liked my dad’s leisure suit and traded his art for my dad’s fancy duds. Armenia borders Iran, and I actually met some Iranians when I lived in Armenia. Rezaian also ran into Azeris, one of whom was a guard. Armenia and Azerbaijan are not on good terms and he brings up their conflict in his book, which was of particular interest to me.

I also enjoyed Rezaian’s stories about his family, a fascinating group of people who came together in an unlikely way. Rezaian’s father came to the United States in 1959 and built a very successful Persian carpet business in Marin County, California. Though his business suffered during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979, his dad– proud to be an American and an Iranian– sent free carpets to the hostages after they came home. With the carpets, he included a letter apologizing to the hostages for what they had endured and hoping the would enjoy their new rug.

Rezaian writes very well, and his story held my attention. I particularly enjoyed his story about how he was whisked out of Iran by the Swiss, then taken to Landstuhl– a place near and dear to any military person’s heart if they’ve spent time downrange or living in Europe. Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos brought Rezaian and his family home on his private jet. He even stocked it with burritos and guacamole, which Rezaian said were delicious. Life is very surreal. I’m sure that despite Rezaian’s adventurous nature, he had no idea that one day he’d be flying back to the United States in a jet owned by one of the richest men in the universe and walking red carpets among politicians and celebrities.

I would definitely recommend Prisoner to anyone who is curious about Jason Rezaian’s story. I’m glad I read it, though as curious as I am about Iran, I’m not sure I want to go there myself. Evin Prison doesn’t sound like a good place to be.