mental health, movies, true crime, TV

Celebrity stalkhers… guys who can’t accept rejection.

Before anyone asks, yes, I meant to type “stalkhers” as opposed to “stalkers”. I was inspired to title this post with the misspelling because I was reminded of a guy I ran into many years ago in a BDSM themed chat room. There were a lot of people in that room who had come up with “clever” names for themselves that also addressed their kinky interests. “Stalkher” was one guy’s nickname. I happened to chat with him briefly, once or twice. I remember him to be an interesting character who liked to be “stern” and shaming when he did BDSM themed “scenes”.

Anyway, none of that is either here nor there. It just made for an interesting anecdote to add to today’s topic of celebrity stalkers. It also gives me a chance to write something provocative. I do enjoy being shocking at times. Perhaps the most shocking thing about that particular BDSM chat room is that aside from being for kinky people, it was really not that kinky. At least not in the main chat room. Most people acted like they were at a virtual cocktail party, or something. I don’t think Stalkher and I were very compatible. He wanted me to wear nipple clamps.

A scene, for those who don’t know, is a role playing fantasy people in the chat room would do. Sometimes the scenes were interesting or exciting. Other times, they got really boring, especially when they involved a certain narcissistic guy who fancied himself an author and repeated the same misogynistic crap over and over again. Most people did their scenes in private rooms, but every once in awhile, people did them publicly, titillating the community. The funniest thing is, most of the people in the chat room weren’t chatting about BDSM.

Yesterday, I happened to watch a movie on YouTube that originally aired on NBC in 1984. It was called Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story. I actually saw this movie when it originally aired. I remember it distinctly, because I was in seventh grade at the time, and I kept a diary. I wrote about seeing that made for TV film in my diary. I’m not sure why I was so moved by the movie in 1984, since it was pretty typical movie of the week fare that was so common in the 80s. But I do remember being shocked by what happened to Theresa Saldana, which is probably why I decided to watch it again yesterday.

Theresa Saldana, who died of pneumonia in 2016, was an up and coming actress in 1982. The New York transplant, who had been in a few movies and on some television shows, was about 28 years old in 1982. She lived in West Hollywood, California and was married to a man named Fred Feliciano, who worked as a drug and alcohol counselor.

Theresa was attacked by a man from Aberdeen, Scotland named Arthur Richard Jackson. Jackson had seen Theresa Saldana in the films, Defiance and Raging Bull, and he eventually became obsessed with her. He thought the angels had told him to kill her. So he showed up in California, armed with a 5.5 inch hunting knife. On March 15, 1982, he came up behind Theresa as she was about to get into her car, asked her if she was Theresa Saldana, then repeatedly stabbed her in the chest. In total, Jackson savagely knifed Saldana ten times and came very close to killing her. She spent four months recovering in a hospital.

The TV movie about Theresa Saldana. She starred as herself.

Although I’m not sure why Theresa Saldana’s specific story was so riveting to me when I was 12 that I immortalized it in my diary, I did find the movie to be fascinating, mainly because it covered a lot of perspectives. Theresa and Fred eventually divorced, in part, because their marriage could not withstand the terrible stresses caused by Theresa’s stabbing. Theresa was very badly injured, so she was unable to work and had to be hospitalized for months. That put the couple in dire financial straits. Fred was so overcome by the trauma of the stabbing that he soon became ineffective as a counselor and had to quit his job. Meanwhile, Arthur Richard Jackson got all of his needs cared for by taxpayers, as he was incarcerated… or, at least that’s what Theresa complains about as she’s faced with the extremely high costs of recovering from the brutal attack. And those were 80s prices!

Theresa was eventually allowed to stay at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital, which is a facility that serves motion picture and television veterans with limited means. She found the hospital oppressive, due to its many rules and regulations. One of the nurses is a bit of a hardass, which causes Theresa to freak out. But then it turned out that the nurse had also been attacked by a man, so she understood where Theresa was coming from. They became friends, and Theresa eventually started a victim advocacy group which was instrumental in developing anti-stalking legislation.

Notably, it was Saldana’s Victims for Victims group that helped get a 1990 anti-stalking law passed, as well as the 1994 Driver’s Privacy Protection Act. The Driver’s Privacy Act was introduced in 1992, in response to attacks perpetrated on abortion providers. The abortion providers were being attacked and killed by anti-choice activists, who used the Department of Motor Vehicles to get the names and addresses of the providers. Fellow celebrity stalking victim, Rebecca Schaeffer, was also attacked, in part, because in the 1980s, the DMV would provide names and addresses to anyone who paid a fee. Schaeffer’s killer, Robert John Bardo, got Schaeffer’s address from the DMV before he shot her in the chest at close range. I remember Rebecca Schaeffer well, as she was on the show My Sister Sam, which also starred Pam Dawber. I loved that show.

I’m sitting in my bedroom right now, typing this post on my new laptop and watching Dr. Todd Grande. He just so happened to make a video about Rebecca Schaeffer yesterday. That’s why I’m writing about this today. It’s just too weird that I would watch Theresa Saldana’s TV movie yesterday, completely by chance, and Todd Grande would post a video about Rebecca Schaeffer on the same day. Rebecca Schaeffer’s killer was inspired by Saldana’s case.

Weird… this comes up the same day I watched Theresa Saldana’s movie, which I hadn’t seen since it aired in 1984.

After the video on Rebecca Schaeffer was finished, I kept watching Grande’s videos because I was in the middle of a game on my iPad. His next case analysis was about a Mormon guy named Steven Koecher, who had mysteriously disappeared in 2009. I hadn’t heard about that case when it happened, but I do remember the Susan Cox Powell case, which involved a beautiful young Mormon mom who disappeared. Susan’s creepy husband, Joshua Powell, claimed that perhaps Susan ran off with Steven Koecher. Josh Powell, of course, later killed himself and his two sons with Susan Powell, who to my knowledge, still remains missing. There’s no telling if Steven Koecher had anything to do with Susan’s disappearance, but it’s interesting to hear Todd Grande talk about it.

Interesting case, especially since I know a bit about Mormonism myself. Steven was very stereotypically LDS.

According to Dr. Grande, Steven Koecher was going through some tough times just before he died. He was months behind in his rent, had a poorly paid job, and was having trouble finding a relationship. Grande doesn’t discuss this in the video, but Koecher was likely under a lot of pressure due to the LDS culture. Young men are expected to follow a straight and narrow path to include being an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts, going on a church mission, graduating from college, finding well paid work, marrying a nice Mormon woman, and having a family. Like so many young people, Koecher was having trouble connecting all of the dots in a timely and linear fashion. He did apparently have a supportive and loving family who were trying to help him. Koecher didn’t want to accept his family’s help and was wanting to solve his problems on his own. I’m still not sure what happened to Koecher. His case is still a mystery. I’m sure his family is still devastated, as they have been denied closure.

Phew… once again, I’ve managed to tie together a bunch of topics that don’t seem to have that much to do with each other. I just thought it was kind of interesting that I watched an old made for TV movie about a celebrity who was stalked, then by complete chance, watched a newly created YouTube video on Rebecca Schaeffer, who was also stalked and attacked… and then that led to a case about the disappearance of a Mormon. Mormons are, of course, one of my pet topics. Then I throw in a blurb about kinky BDSM chat rooms, which aren’t really all that kinky after all.

I’m not sure what we’ll do today. The weather is nice and my neighbors are annoying me by using some kind of loud electrical power tool. I’m kind of tired… but I hate to waste a day off for Bill. I wish we could have gone somewhere fun this weekend, since there’s a holiday on Monday. I would have been happy just to go to Stuttgart to get a dental cleaning, at long last. But we just never got around to planning anything, even though COVID-19 cases have dropped very low and we’re both vaccinated. Bummer…

Ah well, I guess we’ll figure out something to do. Hopefully, it will be something healthier than sitting around drinking beer. Maybe we’ll get kinky instead.

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book reviews, psychology

Repost: A review of The Loving Dominant…

In the interest of encouraging and providing more diversity in reading materials, I’m reposting this book review as/is, originally written for Epinions.com on February 7, 2011.

And now for something kinky… a very informative beginner’s guide to BDSM…

I have a little confession to make.  I’m just a trifle bit kinky.  While you’ll never see me donning leather, piercing my nipples, or cracking a whip, I have always been intrigued by the BDSM lifestyle, if only as a voyeur.  Until recently, I had never done much official reading on the subject, other than check out a few Web sites when the mood struck.  About a week ago, the mood struck while I was in bed, searching for something new to read on my Kindle.  I came across John and Libby Warren’s very well-regarded book, The Loving Dominant, and decided to read it myself.  The Loving Dominant has been out for years, even before the Internet was a part of the average person’s life, but this review refers to the updated 2008 edition.  I finished the book last night and I have to agree that this book is great for those who are curious about the BDSM lifestyle and want to learn more about it.

What’s BDSM all about?

BDSM stands for Bondage, Domination or Discipline, and Sadomasochism.  John Warren, who is the principal author of The Loving Dominant, describes the term in detail and offers some of his own thoughts on what it should really mean.  Suffice it to say that when most people hear the acronym BDSM, their thoughts turn to a couple exchanging power in some way.  The Dominant (Dom) is the person, male or female, who takes the leadership role.  The submissive (sub) is the person, male or female, who takes the submissive role.

John Warren is the Dom in his relationship with his wife, Libby.  He’s also a former Marine.  Having spent a good portion of my time around military folks, I easily caught Warren’s authoritative and often matter-of-fact tone as he explains what it means to be a “loving dominant”.  I was impressed by Warren’s rather serious attitude when it comes to protecting the well-being of those who trust others to dominate them.  Warren is also careful to point out behaviors that may come across as rude or poor form when a person is just getting started with BDSM.  This book is mostly written for those who wish to dominate, but it’s really useful for anyone who is interested in the BDSM scene.

Very complete

I’m impressed by how complete this book is.  Warren has chapters on everything from tying knots, to leather working, to meeting other kinky people, to setting up convincing scenes with submissives.  It really is a good primer on the many different aspects of BDSM.  John Warren seems to have thought of just about every subject a kinky beginner would need to know about and includes just about all of them in his very handy book.

It’s all in your head…   

Warren seems to understand that a large part of BDSM’s appeal is psychological.  Therefore, when he sets up a scene, he’s very creative and quick to place elements in them to make them seem more real.  For instance, in one chapter, he describes a scene involving making love in a gas station.  His submissive is blindfolded, so he makes it more real for her by scattering oily rags around so that the room smells like it could be a gas station.

In another chapter, Warren describes a submissive who wished that he would brand her with the first letter of his last name.  Warren was very leery about using a branding iron; nevertheless, he aimed to please.  He borrowed a small branding iron with the letter “W” on it.  It was originally used to mark the temperatures on steaks.  He heated up the branding iron, allowing his submissive to watch until it was red hot.  Then he blindfolded her and asked her if she was absolutely sure she wanted to be branded.  He held the searing hot iron close to her flesh as he asked the question.  She could feel the heat reddening her skin and anticipated extreme pain, but said she was sure.  Quickly, he switched out the iron for an ice cube and held it against her skin.  The submissive screamed and passed out.  She was later upset, yet relieved, that he didn’t actually go “all the way”.  While branding is definitely not a turn on for me, I had to admit I was very impressed by Warren’s ingenuity in creating a convincing and thrilling scene for his playmates.

Mind your manners

Another aspect of this book that I found interesting was Warren’s chapter on attending parties or going to BDSM clubs.  He explains the etiquette of such gatherings, which tends to be different than that of vanilla gatherings.  For instance, Warren explains why it’s important not to be fashionably late to a scene party.  He explains why the host might prefer that attendees park away from the party’s actual location.  He lets his readers know why it’s important to dress appropriately and listen to what the host says regarding appropriate behavior in the venue.

Warren also explains some behavioral issues between Dominants and submissives.  He explains why Dominants should have as much respect for their submissives as much as they demand respect.  On the other hand, he warns Dominants not to allow submissives to “top from the bottom”.  If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry.  Warren has thoughtfully included a glossary of common terms associated with the BDSM lifestyle.  He also includes illustrations and plenty of sources so that his readers can do extra reading on the subject.

Not everything in this book turned me on…   

Although I can admit to being kinky, I’m pretty vanilla as kinky people go.  I’m not turned on by “water sports”, coprophagia, forced enemas, catheterization, electricity, piercings, extreme humiliation, blood sports, or anything else that has to do with extreme pain, body fluids, or being forced to eat gross things.  But Warren recognizes that many of his readers might like to read about such types of play, so he’s very careful to include chapters about each and consults outside sources, even as he admits that he doesn’t participate in all of them.

I will warn that some of Warren’s descriptions are pretty graphic and may gross out the squeamish.  He also unashamedly uses four letter words, including the often offensive “p” and “c” words.  That aspect of the book didn’t bother me, but I wanted to mention it for other potential readers.

Safety first

Safe, sane, and consensual are three very important catchwords in the BDSM community.  I am happy to report that John Warren also takes those terms very seriously.  Each chapter of this book emphasizes safety; in fact, Warren even includes a chapter on basic first aid.

Warren recognizes that those who get involved with BDSM might feel embarrassed about their interests.  In the unlikely case of a medical emergency, Warren is careful to point out that medical people, especially EMTs, have “seen it all”.  He urges his readers not to let their embarrassment about being kinky override their good sense.  He also adds a couple of practical tips on how to minimize embarrassment when dealing with medical personnel, should the need arise to call them.

Overall    

I think The Loving Dominant is an excellent book for BDSM beginners.  It is mostly aimed at people of the Dominant persuasion, but more submissive minded readers will also find it worthwhile reading.  Warren is a pretty decent writer and, while I didn’t always agree with everything he wrote, I did find most of his ideas sensible and even exciting.  While I did catch a few typos, redundancies, and editing glitches in this book, I would still recommend it to anyone who wants to learn the basics of BDSM.

As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.

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book reviews

Repost: DJ Williams’ Playing Dangerous Games…

I originally wrote this book review for Epinions.com on May 11, 2011. I thought the book was pretty bad, but it was an amusing read. So I’m reposting the review as/is for your amusement.

A few months ago, I admitted to being a trifle bit kinky.  Around that time, I happened to add a few books to my Amazon.com wish list.  One of the books I added was DJ Williams’ 2010 book Playing Dangerous Games: The Personal Story of a Social Scientist Entering the Complex World of Sadomasochism.  To be honest, I’m not sure why I added this book.  It wasn’t reviewed on Amazon and it was priced at a relatively expensive $19.95.  But I recently decided to purchase some actual books as opposed to Kindle downloads and Williams’ book somehow made the cut.

Once I started reading Playing Dangerous Games, I found out why it was both rather expensive and unreviewed on Amazon.  It was published by Booklocker.com, which is an outfit that sells ebooks, print on demand titles, and self-published works.  Now… I have nothing against self-published books.  Prior to reading Williams’ book, I read a couple of other offerings by Booklocker.  One book was really awful.  The other was very good.  One thing that I notice about self-published books is that they aren’t necessarily brilliantly edited, and I did find that to be the case with this book.  On the other hand, I think maybe Williams self-published because his book might be hard to pitch to mainstream publishers.  While I think a lot of people would be very interested in reading about kink, it’s potentially embarrassing to buy a book about kink at the local Barnes & Noble.  Therefore, a mainstream publisher might not consider a book like this one a good financial risk.  Thank God for the Internet.  It spares consumers the need to approach a cashier with books about taboo topics.

Who is DJ Williams? 

At the beginning of this book, DJ Williams is a post doctoral graduate student doing research at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.  Williams had earned his doctorate from the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the same school.  Prior to becoming a professor, Williams had been a social worker, having earned a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Utah.  He also earned a second Master’s degree in Exercise and Sport Science from the University of Utah. 

Williams was in Edmonton, working on some research on gambling in prisons in Utah, when he innocently stumbled into the wonderful world of BDSM.  BDSM, for those who don’t know, stands for bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism.  Williams read a paper about sadomasochism which included some discussion on SM practices such as whippings, electroshocks, canings, bondage, and anal sex.  Williams had apparently never before been exposed to these more exotic flavors on the sexual menu.

A chapter or two later, I found out why Professor DJ Williams was so sexually innocent and naive.  He was raised by devout Mormons and had served a mission in the United Kingdom for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Prior to his mission, Williams took his first trip through the temple, where he took out his endowments and presumably donned temple garments for the first time.  After his mission, Williams came home, got married to a fellow Mormon, and had a daughter.  The marriage didn’t work out and Williams eventually left the church.  And now as a college professor, he had free rein to study the subjects that interested him.  So, although Williams was supposed to be studying gambling in Utah prisons, he soon found himself drawn to BDSM.  Before long, he had scheduled his first appointment with a professional Dominatrix named Mistress Kitten, who gently introduced him to the pleasures of “sexual deviance”. 

One thing led to another and pretty soon Dr. DJ Williams developed an alter-ego he called “Doctor Deviant”.  He began to experiment in earnest, attending his very first “munch” (a gathering of people who are interested in BDSM) and moving on to to his next mistress, Mistress Midnight.  Apparently, Mistress Midnight was well-known for being one of the most twisted of the BDSM bunch in the Edmonton area.  Mistress Midnight taught Doctor Deviant how to throw a bullwhip and exposed him to other BDSM couples who showed him just how deep the lifestyle can run. 

To the uninitiated, BDSM practices can be shocking and disturbing.  Indeed, Williams was shocked and disturbed by some of the things he saw during his earliest experiences at BDSM parties.  I got the sense that Williams was trying to overcome his sheltered upbringing as well as the conventional wisdom he’d picked up as a social worker working with sex offenders and domestic violence victims.  At the same time, he was trying to be a responsible father to his teenage daughter, Brittney, whose mother, stepfather, and half siblings were all still faithful members of the LDS church.

My thoughts

This book could have been a lot better than it is.  DJ Williams is technically a good writer.  By that, I mean there aren’t any egregious typos or grammatical errors and his prose is basically easy to read.  However, despite Williams’ obvious personal affinity for BDSM and his interest in educating himself and others about the subject, he comes off as a bit of a dork.

For one thing, he swears a lot.  It’s as if in order to shed his Mormon upbringing, he has to drop the f-bomb gratuitously as he describes the sensations he feels when Mistress Kitten ties him to a St. Andrew’s Cross and hangs five pound weights from his testicles.  Before anyone tells me they would drop the f-bomb too in that situation, I will share that Williams uses the f-word very liberally.  I’m not at all offended by cussing, but when a word is used so repetitively that it becomes annoying, I’d say it’s time to hire an editor.  And as Williams is a college professor, I would expect him to have a broader vocabulary anyway.

Williams frequently comes off as dorky and contrived in his dialogue… kind of like he’s trying too hard to be cool.  It’s as if he’s trying to make up for a lost adolescence through rebellion, and that entails taking on an alternative appearance, using the f-word, going to munches and drinking screwdrivers (groan), and submitting to a Domme.  I can tell that the BDSM turns him on and is a bit of a mindblower.  Knowing what I know about Mormonism and the stereotype about how church members tend to feel about sex that isn’t strictly vanilla, I can understand where the dorkiness and awkwardness come from.  I sense that despite his efforts to be open-minded, Williams still seems to think there’s something kind of “wrong” with BDSM. 

Williams’ dialogue reads like a cheap novel in that it’s very amateur.  He writes a lot of internal dialogue that comes off as especially disingenuous.  He seems uncomfortable with what he’s doing, even after he wades into the BDSM underground and apparently really enjoys the experience.  Even the title conveys what, to me, seems likes Williams’ conflicted feelings about BDSM.  Done correctly, BDSM doesn’t have to be dangerous at all, and yet Williams titles his book Playing Dangerous Games.

Williams also seems to have a problem with overweight women.  In one chapter, he describes attending a BDSM party where many people are participating in “scenes”.  He notes a “heavyset” woman being tied to a table by male Dominant.  Then he writes that he can’t believe she’s comfortable enough with her body to engage in a public scene.  It seems to me that Williams was trying to be “nice” in using the euphemism “heavyset”, when he evidently meant to say the woman was fat and unattractive and should be ashamed of herself.  Later, Williams describes a private party he had with several other people, one of whom was an overweight woman.  He writes outright that he doesn’t find her attractive.  But then, once the scene starts, he realizes that the “heavyset” woman is a natural actress who makes the scene more real for him.  She becomes more attractive to him for that reason.  But if he hadn’t been tied to a bed, would he have given her a chance to show her most attractive qualities? 

I guess I can give him credit for at least realizing his bias… eventually, anyway.  I do think that he pays lip service to looking beyond the surface, though.  I checked out his Web site and saw evidence that he’s still pretty hung up on the external.  It’s been my experience that people who spend a whole lot of time on their physical appearances often do so to cover up some less flattering internal qualities.

Anyway…

Despite my criticisms, I did find this book interesting on many levels.  For one thing, I myself hold Master’s degrees in social work and public health, so I could relate to some of Williams’ comments about the social work profession.  For another thing, my husband is an ex-Mormon.  He was not raised in the faith, so it’s not a pervasive part of him, but he did spend enough time as a Mormon convert that he knows the culture very well.  I, in turn, have done plenty of research on the subject of Mormonism, though I have never been and will never be a member of the church myself.  And then there’s the fact that I’m also a little kinky, though not nearly as kinky as Williams is. 

I also admire Williams for writing about this subject.  I think it takes a lot of guts to research BDSM, especially given the fact that he’s a college professor and an ex-Mormon.  I do think that Williams seems to have radically rejected his roots.  He’s dyed his hair different colors, gotten tattoos, and been branded… and he engages in some pretty exotic and erotic sexual practices.  However, it did occur to me that Williams has traded membership in a very strict, controlling church community for membership in another controlling group.  After all, Williams went from being a member of a church that told him what kind of underwear to wear to being a member of another group that tells him what kind of underwear to wear.  I’m sure Williams’ Mistress has a say in whether he wears boxer briefs or a cock ring. 

By Williams’ account, Mormonism is spiritually and behaviorally confining, while BDSM is literally confining.  It might be said that members of both groups could be led to a kind of liberation… In both situations, one gives up personal power to become part of something bigger than themselves.  A devout Mormon submits for the promise of a wonderful afterlife with loved ones.  Someone who submits to a Dominant submits for the promise of a wonderful physical and mental experience.  Being “forced” to submit allows the submissive to experience heightened sexual arousal without any guilt.

Overall

I can’t say that reading Playing Dangerous Games was a waste of time.  While I wish it had been better edited, I have to admit that Williams’ book did give me some food for thought.  I would recommend it to readers who want to learn more about BDSM, especially from an academic standpoint.  I also think this book would be interesting reading for ex-Mormons, particularly kinky ones.  Devout Mormons, on the other hand, might not like this book. 

As an Amazon Associate, I get small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.

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complaints, expressions, healthcare

That “Karen” stigma can actually be dangerous…

Good mornin’ y’all… it’s another day here in COVID-19 paradise. As much as I would like to escape the reality of the virus, it’s pretty much impossible if you read the news. And as you know, I read the news a lot.

I did play Sims 4 yesterday. It was the first time in months. I laugh at myself now, because when I lived in Germany the first time, from 07-09, I used to waste hours playing Sims 2. It kind of makes me sick to think about it, especially since those were the heady days before the COVID-19 plague hit us. I should have been out enjoying Europe instead of living in a fantasy world. In those days, I also wasn’t on social media and was spared a lot of drama… I also didn’t blog back then. Hmm… maybe it’s time I delved back into Sims life.

Anyway, on with today’s topic. I was going to write about how COVID-19 is starting to remind me of a bizarre BDSM themed novel. I was inspired by that thought when I read about how people in China are now getting their anuses forcibly swabbed to test for COVID-19. I first learned about this new phenomenon when one of Bill’s very right wing friends mentioned it. He heard about it on the radio, but now the news is making the rounds. Apparently, the virus lives longer in the anus than the respiratory tract, so anal swabbing for the common good is becoming a thing. Isn’t that just typical? COVID-19 is a pain in the ass… literally!

But think about it… we have lockdowns, extended isolation, forced face masks, which some people think look like gags, wristbands that monitor one’s movements to make sure they quarantine, and the overall stern attitude and tendency to lecture others that many people have adopted. It is a little kinky, particularly if you’re also in a car, wearing a seatbelt. And now, we have anal swabbing too? Not to mention all the latex gloves… and if you’ve spent any time around kinky people, you know that latex is a very popular thing in certain circles. I sure hope no one invents a COVID-19 PPE suit made of latex. When you’re as fluffy as I am, latex is not your friend. I’ll bet some people have gotten spankings over not properly masking, too. In fact, I bet someone’s written a dirty story or made a porn video about it.

I could go on about the BDSMification of COVID-19. In fact, I could probably have a lot of fun with that topic. But I’m not going to go any further with that right now, which I’m sure will disappoint the many secretly kinky readers among us (seriously, I get tons of hits on my posts about kinky stuff- especially the naked spas– even got one from Baghdad today). Instead, I want to trot out one of my tired old topics… that much maligned insult, “Karen”.

I have repeatedly written about how much I despise the trend of hijacking people’s names and turning them into pejoratives. I have even been bold enough to state it out loud a few times. I often get a bunch of shit from other people, who think it’s their right to use perfectly good first names that were popular years ago to insult others. As I wrote yesterday, a lot of people refuse to think beyond the box, so they won’t consider why calling someone a “Karen” could be a really bad thing. They will simply insist that the “Karen” pejorative is here to stay and it’s their right to use it instead of coming up with something more original and clever on their own. And the end result is that now, lots of people live in fear of being labeled a “Karen”, which in the era of COVID-19 can be a deadly mistake.

Consider today’s article from Dr. James Hamblin, a medical doctor who is also a staff writer for The Atlantic. Besides being a physician, Hamblin is also a public health lecturer for Yale University’s School of Public Health. I ran across his advice column this morning as I was drinking my coffee. It was about a letter he got from a woman from Georgia with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis. She writes that the lady who runs the drive in pharmacy where she picks up her medications refuses to wear a mask properly. She wants to say something to the technician, but doesn’t want to be labeled a “Karen”. She asks how she should confront this situation.

Dr. Hamblin’s response is a bit long-winded… and, in fact, annoyed me quite a bit. He writes about how masks are supposed to be a show of empathy and unity, as well as acting as a medical device. Personally, I’ve about had it with people who want to preach about empathy and unity when it comes to wearing face masks. Given what happened at our Capitol a couple of weeks ago, I think promoting mask wearing as a way of showing people how “nice” you are is kind of misguided and pathetic. I’m sure a lot of the maskless people who stormed the Capitol are perfectly nice folks when they aren’t breaking the law for Donald Trump. I really mean that. There’s no telling what gets someone so upset that they decide to storm the Capitol. Some of the protestors were clearly bad actors, but a lot of them were probably normal folks who were simply misguided and misinformed. Many Trump fans truly are basically good people. Conversely, there are lots of liberals who are legitimate jerks. Believe me; I’ve met them. I disagree with the idea that whether or not a person is wearing a mask is a direct measure of their quality as a person, and I refuse to get on that particular bandwagon.

I think people should simply wear masks to slow the spread of the disease. I prefer to leave the preachy platitudes and moral judgments about them out of it. A person can be a perfect asshole and yet wear a face mask without complaint. Or, a person can be sweet, generous, and loving, and not want to wear a mask for whatever reason. I don’t see it as having much to do with the type of person someone is… it’s just something we’re doing for now, and I can definitely do without the lectures on morality or assumptions about a person’s character. As long as the person complies with the rules, what difference does it make? And if they don’t comply, I’m more likely to just get the hell away from them, if I can.

I took a look at the Facebook comments on this post, and ran across several responses from people who do NOT want to be called “Karens” and, in fact, are so afraid of being labeled as such that they don’t say or do anything when someone is breaking the rules. I’m going to be honest and say that there are times when I don’t mind speaking up when something isn’t right. There are other times when I don’t bother. Scratch that. There are MANY times when I don’t bother. Confronting people is often exhausting and futile at best, and in the United States, it can actually be very dangerous. You never know who’s unhinged and packing heat or looking for a fight.

One woman wrote that last summer, she’d politely asked someone at the grocery store to pull up her mask so she could get around her. She claimed that at the time, she had been taking care of her father, who was then very ill and, in fact, recently passed away of Parkinson’s Disease. But, the commenter wrote that instead of politely pulling up her mask and letting the commenter get around her, the maskless woman then went ballistic and complained about her to the store manager. She claims that the maskless woman “told a bunch of lies”. The manager then called the police, who confronted the commenter as she was trying to drive away. Now, the commenter laments, her name is permanently logged on a police record, all because she’d decided to speak up at the grocery store. And, to add insult to injury, the police officer who approached her also wasn’t masked. It would seem to me that this story is one that might discourage someone from being confrontational about masks.

Lots of people were telling this lady to “lawyer up”. I thought that was funny, since people don’t seem to realize that lawyers cost lots of money, and unless there is money to be made, suing someone is a lot of stress and expense for, perhaps, not the greatest payoff. I will admit that it was satisfying for us to sue our ex landlady. She blatantly ripped us off and needed a knot jerked in her, because I suspect she’s done it to other people. But Germany’s legal system is more reasonably priced than America’s is, and you can get legal insurance here to defray the cost (although it’s still expensive). Also, I have my doubts that the commenter’s account may not have been entirely truthful. Let’s face it. When someone relates a story, it’s often embellished to put the storyteller in the best light. The situation she described made it sound like she was the only rational one involved. Maybe it happened exactly the way she reports it, but I have my doubts.

There were a lot of other responses from people who wrote that confronting people over mask wearing is not really “Karen” behavior. And I would tend to agree with that. However, enough people obviously think of being confrontational in any situation as being entitled and annoying– in short, being a “Karen”. The definition of a “Karen” is a middle-aged, usually white woman who is overly demanding and complains a lot. And given how polarized people are over face masks, and the fact that many Americans, as a whole, don’t like to be confrontational or considered high maintenance, the threat of being labeled a “Karen” could deter them from doing the “right” thing. What you consider the “right” thing to do, in this situation, depends on who you are.

It’s true that hanging around someone who isn’t masked could potentially be very dangerous, so it’s not unreasonable to speak up. On the other hand, I can also understand why many people would prefer not to. No one wants to end up on the news or YouTube for a situation like that. And even if some people don’t think speaking up about improperly worn face masks is stepping into “Karen” territory, not everyone will agree that it isn’t. Some people would prefer to avoid the temporary drama, potentially at their own peril.

I mentioned a couple of paragraphs back that in this situation, I think I would simply find a new pharmacy, or barring that, I would get my meds through the mail. Since I have Tricare insurance, getting regularly dispensed meds by mail is probably the way I’d get them regardless. It’s cheaper, and the military/government prefers to do it that way. I might, or might not, send a letter or email to the pharmacy explaining why I moved my business elsewhere. The reason I wouldn’t automatically do it is because the pandemic has been going on now for about a year and if people haven’t gotten the message about masks yet, a complaint from me probably won’t make that much of a difference. The original letter writer for The Atlantic’s article mentioned that she lived in a small town in Georgia. It does occur to me that maybe there aren’t other pharmacies. Or maybe no one in that town cares about masks. Either way, if the pharmacy tech hasn’t yet been confronted by her boss, there’s a good chance that complaining probably won’t change her behavior.

I have never used a drive in pharmacy myself. Are they like drive in tellers? If so, is the technician even in direct contact with anyone? Wouldn’t you be staying in your vehicle anyway? Is it like getting food from a fast food place? Or is it more like making a deposit at a bank? If it’s like getting food, I could see why not wearing a mask is problematic. If it’s like going to the bank, it would seem like it’s less so, since banks have drawers and/or canisters that they put the stuff into.

I agree, wearing a mask is the right thing to do in a healthcare setting, to include pharmacies, where you would be coming into contact with sick people. But it seems to me that a technician alone in a room dispensing medications maskless might be less risky than working the desk in a store, where people are coming up to pay and pick up their prescriptions perhaps without benefit of a window. I don’t know. I mean, yes, the germs can aerosol into the air and land on things, but that’s probably happening anyway.

However, I also know that many people feel better when they see others properly wearing a face mask. And conversely, many people hate the fucking things and are creeped out by them. I would imagine that in Georgia, more people are creeped out by them than not. I base that on having lived in somewhat rural Georgia for a relatively short spell. Nice people, but they don’t want to be told what to do. I can’t blame them for that, even though I’m smart enough to know that the fucking plague isn’t going to go away if we just ignore it. Personally, my solution is just to avoid people as much as possible, but I know not everyone can do that.

Anyway… this post has gone on long enough. I’m rambling like Dr. Hamblin. I’ll close by saying that I’m happy to be weathering this particular storm in Germany, where people are more sensible and there are fewer guns. And no one calls anyone “Karen” unless it’s their name… Fun fact, in Armenia, almost all Karens are men. Know why? Because in Armenia, Karen (pronounced Car-en) is a masculine name. Now you’ve learned something new and useful! Have a great day, and try to avoid being anal swabbed!

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book reviews

Repost: A review of Rock Monster: My Life With Joe Walsh, by Kristin Casey

Here’s another repost, this one about a book written by Kristin Casey, former stripper, current counselor, and rock star Joe Walsh’s ex girlfriend. It appears as/is, the way I originally posted it on May 8, 2018.

A couple of weeks ago, I was enjoying a lazy afternoon and happened to read an article on the Daily News about rock star Joe Walsh’s proclivities toward BDSM.  I probably shouldn’t have been too shocked about Walsh’s love for kink.  He’s always been drawn to life in the fast lane.  Walsh is also a notorious recovering addict and alcoholic and has been so for as long as I’ve known about him. 

I grew up listening to Joe Walsh’s music, both as an Eagles’ fan and as a Walsh fan.  The man can play guitar like no other.  He also has a wry, offbeat sense of humor that has always been appealing to me.  However, it’s not a secret that he used to party really hard.  Now, at age 70, Walsh is on his fifth marriage, having married Marjorie Bach in 2008 (sister of Barbara Bach, who is married to Ringo Starr).

In the late 1980s, Walsh was in his early 40s and freshly divorced from his third wife, Juanita Boyer (Jody).  He met Kristin Casey, former stripper turned author, at the Radisson Hotel in Austin, Texas.  At the time, Casey was about 20 years old and a college dropout.  Walsh had just done the “moonwalk” and snorted some cocaine.  Casey, in her infinite wisdom and tender years, determined that Walsh was the man she was gonna marry someday. 

Casey is not among the five women who have married Joe Walsh.  However, she did spend several years as his girlfriend, snorting cocaine, smoking crack, traipsing around the country and occasionally abroad, following Walsh in his rock star life.  She chronicles her life with him in her new book, Rock Monster: My Life With Joe Walsh.

Ordinarily, I might have put this review on my music blog.  I felt that my review of Casey’s book should go on this blog, though, because her book is not just about the life of a rock star’s girlfriend.  Rock Monster actually made me think and feel some things.  I think this review of the book deserves the negligibly larger audience it will get on my main blog. 

First off, Kristin Casey is a good writer.  She’s only a little bit older than I am, so I can relate to how things were in the late 80s and early 90s.  She was in her early 20s then, but I was a teenager.  All three of my sisters are older than Casey is; she could have been my sister had the stars aligned differently.  On some level, I feel a slight kinship to Kristin Casey.  We have a few things in common.  Of course, I was not blessed with a body that any man would want to see stripped in public. 

Casey, apparently, was a great exotic dancer back in the day and, based on her pictures, I can see that she was also very pretty.  It’s also plain to me that Casey is intelligent.  Her writing is mostly very solid, although I did notice that she misspelled Taylor Dayne’s name.  I hesitate to judge her too harshly for that.  I haven’t thought of Dayne myself in many years, although she was quite popular in the late 80s. 

Casey explains that she grew up with a very strict and disapproving Catholic mother, who went to church all the time and never seemed satisfied with her daughter’s achievements.  From a young age, Casey rebelled against her mother’s strict religious beliefs.  I don’t know why, but it seems like a lot of young Catholic women do this.  I can think of a couple of other memoirs I read of beautiful young women who were raised in strict Catholic households and turned to stripping.  Here’s just one review I wrote about a book written by former Catholic girl gone wild.  I know there have been others, although I’m not going to take the time to look for them right now.

Growing up, Kristin Casey was smart and liked to write.  As a youngster, she dreamt of writing books, and even tried her hand at a writing contest.  Unfortunately, she was terrified of failure and needed a lot of reassurance.  Her parents, particularly her mother, reportedly didn’t supply her with the attention or regard she needed.  She also failed to find any mentors in other places.  Consequently, by the time she was about to finish high school, she had become an alcoholic.  It would be easy for me to criticize Casey for “blaming her parents”, but actually, she seems to own her part of why she turned to stripping and drugs instead of exploring her dreams of being a writer.  She flat out admits that she’s not a resilient person; or, at least she wasn’t when she was much younger than she is now.

So there she was, 20 years old, living in Austin, a college dropout who was a knockout.  She and Joe Walsh started dating and very quickly, she became aware of Walsh’s exotic tastes, both in drugs and sex.  Although Casey was no stranger to exotic sex herself, Walsh’s love for BDSM was a new experience for her and something she apparently didn’t enjoy very much.  She doesn’t write too much about her bondage sessions with Walsh.  I get the sense that she was bored by BDSM and basically tolerated it for Walsh’s sake.

What Casey did enjoy was snorting cocaine, and she and Joe Walsh snorted a whole lot of cocaine.  In fact, one time they snorted some bad stuff that pretty much destroyed Casey’s nasal septum.  A doctor told her that if she wasn’t careful, her nose would be destroyed.  Casey’s solution was to attempt to use the substance in new ways, including rectally (which evidently didn’t go well).  She also started using crack.  At one point, she was so desperate for the stuff that she pawned a $1000 bracelet Walsh gave her for $15 so she could get a rock.

Meanwhile, Walsh, whose career had slowed somewhat since the Eagles first broke up in 1980, was still touring with other bands.  Sometimes Casey tagged along with Walsh, hanging out with the likes of Dr. John, Clarence Clemons, Billy Preston, Dave Edmunds and Ringo Starr.  Sometimes, she stayed home and waited for him.  One time, Walsh judged a Miss USA pageant and Casey later saw him on TV, getting out of a limo with one of the contestants.  He cheated on her and, though he had invited her to live with him, never really allowed her to make their house feel like her home.  She basically always knew that he could ditch her without a second thought if he wanted to, so she was caught in a situation where she had to look the other way when he stepped out.

Casey also includes some fun snippets about the rock stars and actors she met via Joe Walsh.  I particularly enjoyed her take on Stevie Nicks, who also dated Walsh back in the day.  I was a little shocked and saddened by a comment Casey made about Bonnie Raitt, whose music thrills me.  Apparently, Bonnie can be catty when she wants to be… but then, can’t we all?  As a music lover, I enjoyed reading about some of the people I can only dream of encountering.  On the other hand, I also think it’s sad that Casey was basically fucked up the whole time she was living that lifestyle.

Seriously…  Casey had so much going for her.  I think it’s a shame that she fell into serious drug abuse to the point at which she almost destroyed her nose.  I give Casey credit, though, because she isn’t defensive about her drug abuse.  She even writes about how Joe Walsh even tried to help her launch a writing career.  She was having trouble coming up with an idea of what to write about, so Joe offered to let her write a book about him.  The plan was for her to record him telling his stories and answering questions about his life.  Sadly, cocaine ruined that opportunity for her.  She was too blitzed to interview him coherently. 

Walsh did ask Casey to marry him.  In fact, Lionel Richie even offered to perform the ceremony.  However, as a condition of their marriage, Walsh wanted Casey to go to rehab.  She was unable to get clean.  You know your drug addiction is super bad when Joe Walsh wants you to get rehab! 

Fortunately, Casey’s story has a relatively happy ending.  Although she and Joe Walsh did not get married and live happily ever after, Casey did finally manage to get cleaned up.  She and Walsh briefly got back together after they both got sober, though they realized their relationship couldn’t work.  Casey makes it sound like they parted amicably.  And Casey did finally manage to write her book.  She now works as an “intimacy coach” and drug counselor.

Overall, I liked Rock Monster.  I think I’d give it at least four out of five stars.  I commend Casey for surviving her time with a rock star and being able to share her story with curious Walsh fans like me.  I also appreciated that Casey didn’t leave me thinking Walsh is a total asshole, even though he sometimes acted like one (but in fairness, so did she– cocaine does that to a person).  Her account seems very fair minded to me, especially given how crazy things were when she and Walsh were together.  It would be easy for her to be bitter and blaming everything on other people.  I’m happy to report that Casey doesn’t do that.  It sounds like she’s finally become resilient after all.   

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