animals, celebrities, complaints, condescending twatbags, social media

Wow! Who knew commenting on Facebook required sharing my resume?

The featured photo was taken in September 1988, right after my beloved Appaloosa pony, Rusty (Diamonds n’ Rust) and I won first place at the State 4H horse show in Richmond, Virginia. There were about seventy other ponies in that class. It was a great morning and a highly unexpected surprise to win first. Rusty bucked, but I guess the judge never saw it happen.

If you follow my blog, you probably know that I have a tendency to overshare sometimes. I often feel compelled to share the whole story, even if it’s not necessarily interesting or wise to do so. We all have lessons we could learn. I know I could use a few lessons in brevity. However, even someone who overshares, like I tend to do sometimes, can be surprised by other people’s expectations on social media platforms.

Before I get started, I will issue a half-hearted apology for the fact that my writing this week has been so much about stupid Facebook dramas. The good news is, I’m so annoyed by the responses I’ve gotten on recent comments I’ve made, that I now make a conscious effort to comment less. That could mean that I’ll move on to more hard-hitting or entertaining topics. One can only hope!

Anyway… on with today’s gripe.

A couple of days ago, Facebook suggested either a group or a page about Elizabeth Taylor. I honestly don’t know why it was suggested to me. I was never a big Liz Taylor fan. I mean, I certainly thought she was a beautiful woman, and as a horse crazy kid, I appreciated her performance in National Velvet. I do remember seeing her guest star on The Nanny, and I saw her in commercials for her perfumes and such, but I don’t know much about her acting career.

Liz Taylor was a little behind my era, and had done a lot of her most famous acting roles before I was born. I wasn’t into most old movies when I was growing up, aside from the major ones like Gone With The Wind, The Sound of Music, and The Wizard of Oz. When I was coming along, I heard more about her marriages, alcoholism, and celebrity activism, than anything else.

I think I was more familiar with her son, Michael Wilding Jr.’s, work as an actor. He was on Guiding Light and Dallas, back in the 80s, and I watched both of those shows.

Anyway, for some reason, Facebook suggested this Elizabeth Taylor page to me, along with a post about her love for horses. There was a picture of her, as an adolescent, with a horse– probably the one who starred with her in National Velvet. And there was a quote by her about how she’d learned to jump before making the movie, and had successfully jumped a six foot fence while riding bareback. She allegedly said it made her feel like she was flying.

As someone who literally spent a huge portion of my childhood in a barn, I find that story pretty hard to believe. Is it the truth? Maybe… but I still find it implausible. Not that many horses regularly jump six foot fences. Those that do tend to be very valuable jumpers. And, in all of my years around horses, I’ve never seen nor heard of anyone jumping at that height bareback… at least not on purpose! Could it have happened? I suppose. But I noticed a lot of people agreed with me that the story sounded a bit like bullshit. They were saying so in the comment section.

I added a casual comment to someone’s response, reminding everyone that National Velvet was made in 1944. So if she did try to jump six feet while bareback, it likely would have been extremely dangerous and foolish. She probably didn’t bother wearing a hat (helmet), and even if she did wear one, it was not as safe or effective as the ones that people wear today. If she tried such a stunt and was successful, she was damned lucky… and pretty stupid, in my opinion. But again… it’s just my opinion, and I realize I could be wrong.

“Velvet Brown, who do you think you ARE?”

When I left this comment, I was being totally casual. It was an offhand remark– the online equivalent of small talk. This is a very trivial issue to me, and not something I care to research or verify. Mainly, I was just gratified to see that I wasn’t the only one who was calling bullshit on the story’s veracity.

Naturally, people started tagging me in responses, reminding me that Liz Taylor allegedly started riding when she was three years old, so she wasn’t a “new” rider, as I wrongly assumed, based on what was written in the quote.

Again, Liz Taylor doesn’t really matter to me, so I didn’t look her up to see when her ass first landed on a horse’s back. If she really started riding at age 3, fair enough… although I doubt she was progressing that much in her skills at that age. I wouldn’t expect her to be good enough to be piloting talented jumpers over six foot fences, even if she did start riding at age 3. Certainly not bareback. That’s sheer lunacy to me. My opinion again. It was not something I really wanted to argue about. If it’s true, it’s true. I don’t really care one way or the other.

The evening wore on, and Bill and I went to bed. I spent all day blissfully unaware of that post and, in fact, had completely forgotten about it. Then, at about 5 PM, I got a tag from someone I didn’t know. Not knowing what she was referencing, I clicked to see what was up. And it was some twat who wrote something along the lines of, “Have you ever even been on a horse? Do you know *anything* about horses?” Then there was a long diatribe about how Liz Taylor certainly could have been jumping six foot fences bareback, and a link to some site that I didn’t bother checking. To tell you the truth, I didn’t read beyond her first two sentences, because I found them extremely insulting and irritating, and I was momentarily really pissed.

Weeee! Us again… probably in 1988.

You see, I spent years riding horses. I owned a very special Appaloosa pony for years. I took lessons, cleaned stalls, went to horse shows, showed hunt seat and Western, went on competitive trail rides, attended riding clinics given by fancy Frenchmen, fox hunted, completed 4 H horse projects, and I have a huge box full of over 200 ribbons, plaques, medals and such in storage in Texas. I even won a horse blanket one year. So yes, I do know my way around a horse, even though I gave up riding a long time ago.

Maybe I should have responded to the idiot with just a picture of my ribbons…

I realize this person doesn’t know me at all. I don’t know her at all. My guess, though, is that I was probably riding horses and shoveling manure when she was still a spark in her daddy’s testicles. I also suspect, like a lot of Facebook experts, she moseyed on over to my Facebook page to see if there was any evidence of my “expertise” with horses. When she saw no equine pics on the public version of my account, she wrongly assumed that I don’t have any experience with horses, hence her moronic challenging questions to me– a total stranger.

I was tempted to respond with indignance, but instead, I took a deep breath, and then sighed with a loud groan of utter annoyance. Then I posted something along the lines of this:

Yes, I have experience with horses. I grew up riding and showing my own horse. I still don’t believe this story. If you do, good for you. I really don’t care.

Then, just because I had a feeling it would inspire laughter from those who knew me when I was young, I posted this:

I was gratified when my former riding instructor wrote this…

A time or two?🀣🀣🀣. Try more years than I care to think about! πŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆ

I am honestly very indebted to my old riding instructor, because I certainly wasn’t the easiest person to teach… or even just to deal with, especially when I was going through puberty. And she was there to see me in all my moody, hormonal glory! Isn’t it awesome that I still know her as I’m now going through menopause! I’m not quite as moody these days… or, at least I cry less.

It’s because of her that I ever owned a horse of my very own. She taught me so much, and having unlimited access to her farm no doubt kept me out of trouble… and possibly even the psych ward. I had a tendency toward depression in those days (as well as today, but now I have booze).

The fact that I had a horse, and had to work to keep him, kept me productive and active, and helped stave off the darkest moods of depression. I spent hours riding my bike to and from her farm, cleaning the ten stalls in her barn, and doing the many horsey chores required when you have a horse. Even if you aren’t into showing, as I was in those days, there’s a lot of work to be done. I do miss it– and horses– very much. But I think the work might kill me these days. πŸ˜€

So yes, when some rando on Facebook asks me if I “know anything” about horses, simply because we disagree about a silly quote allegedly by Elizabeth Taylor– a dead actress I don’t even particularly care about– it does smart a bit. Was she really expecting me to post my horse experience resume on such a random comment between total strangers? Who’s got the time for it?

However, I was also gratified that my fellow horsey friend from those days, another of the many Jennifers born in the 70s, posted this in response to my peevish status update…

Ha! I was doubting that post from Liz too. I’ve never seen anyone do six feet bareback.

Jennifer and I were in 4 H together and enjoyed many a hot Saturday at horse shows when we were growing up in Gloucester, Virginia. She knows her way around horses, too. And anyone who knew me in those days, knows that horses were then my life. It’s almost hard to believe now. Seems like a dream.

I guess this incident can be filed away under yet another reason why Facebook sucks. But then, if it weren’t for Facebook, I couldn’t share a laugh with the people I knew when I was an avid horsewoman. It’s a testament to the specialness of that time that those people are still my friends so many years later.

Whether or not Liz Taylor ever jumped six foot fences while riding a horse bareback isn’t that important, at least not to me. She’s been dead for years, so it’s not like her feelings are going to be hurt if I don’t believe this alleged quote from her about her horseback riding skills. Maybe it is the truth, but I don’t feel like verifying it, one way or the other. Especially now.

Liz’s alleged quote kind of reminds me of that ghastly video of Alan Osmond, when he talked about how he was the best marksman in his Army basic training unit, yet he never saw a single day in Vietnam. Instead, he stayed behind at Fort Ord, where he served as a typist. Now, I absolutely respect Alan for serving in the Army, but I think his claims about his military badassery are probably hyperbolic bullshit. And this quote by Elizabeth Taylor is probably similarly hyperbolic. I base that on my experiences with horses, even as I acknowledge that I’m not an expert and I quit riding some time ago. I never claimed to be an expert. I just know what bullshit smells like.

So no, I don’t feel like qualifying myself with a rundown of my equine experience and expertise, just to be allowed to leave a comment on a random Facebook post about horses. I shouldn’t be expected to do that. I’ve got more important things to do, like manscaping Bill’s chest hair.

On another note… I notice that a lot of horse people really can be insufferable jerks. I don’t miss that.

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expressions, funny stories, lessons learned, music, nostalgia

“You really don’t need to put a bow on that load…”

Greetings, blog fans. I decided to take a day off from blogging yesterday. Well, I did post something on the travel blog, but it was short and kind of sweet, because I’m still experiencing our current excursion and I’m not quite ready to write about it yet. So far, it has been an interesting trip, though…

For instance, today’s post title was contributed by Bill. It was inspired by a disgusting song on one of Red Peters’ compilation albums. Bill and I both enjoy off color humor. If it involves body functions, so much the better. Red Peters specializes in that kind of humor, whether it’s in one of his original songs, or a song he puts on one of his compilations, done by another artist.

Some years ago, I went looking for the song “Poo Poo, Pee Pee” on YouTube. No one had uploaded it, so I did, using pictures and video of our recently departed Arran and his old buddy, Zane, who died in 2019. I was probably inspired by one of Arran’s messier indiscretions. By the way, I can play this song on the guitar, now. Maybe I’ll redo it and sing it myself… and play along, too. Why not?

“Poo Poo, Pee Pee” by Bunkum… a classic!

Arran never really did get the hang of housetraining 100 percent. He was about 90 percent reliable. I think he did know better than to go in the house, but for some reason, he just didn’t think it was important enough to avoid having accidents. I had to be very vigilant about making sure he went out and actually did his business. Otherwise, I might get an unpleasant and stinky surprise.

Anyway, the above song has a line that goes “Put a bow on that load…” or something like that. When I was talking to Bill about the post I wrote two days ago, about the high school senior who applied to 70 colleges and got into 54 of them, Bill quipped “Right. You don’t need to put a bow on that load.”

I laughed, because it seemed like sort of a backward way of calling what the young lady did “gilding the lily.” I remember when I was in college, finishing up my bachelor’s degree. I had two minors– one in speech, and the other in communications– and could have taken just one more course for a third, in journalism. My advisor, the wonderful and departed Dr. Massie Stinson, said in his very courtly, gentlemanly, southern accent, “I think that would be ‘gilding the lily.'”

“Gilding the lily” refers to the practice of trying to decorate something that is already beautiful. One doesn’t need to paint a beautiful flower with gold, because it’s already magnificent. Putting gold paint on a beautiful flower would turn it into something garish, tacky, and gaudy. Let the flower’s virtues stand alone…

Of course, if I had wanted to take the journalism class, that would be something else. In retrospect, maybe I should have taken it. If I recall correctly, it was taught by the recently departed Mr. William Woods (although people called him “Doctor”– he didn’t actually have a doctoral degree). I took two classes with Mr. Woods, and found him to be very entertaining. Journalism class with him would have, no doubt, made my GPA a little better. Certainly, it would have helped me with my GPA in English. I was a pretty mediocre English major.

But, at the time, I didn’t want to take that class. I took journalism in high school and was actually pretty good at it. I like writing, as you can see. I think I was put off by the prospect of having to talk to people, especially after a tragedy. Isn’t it funny that a few years later, I would earn a master’s degree in social work? Which… as you can also see… I don’t use. If I had actually launched my career as planned, I probably would have aimed to use the public health degree… and I don’t know how successful I would have been, because it probably would have meant working with scientists or hospital administrators a lot. I likely would have been fired.

Fortunately, I found my husband, who finds it advantageous to keep me around, if only so we can laugh at our many private running jokes and enjoy scatological humor together. Otherwise, I might be living in a van down by the river… or a box under a bridge. And instead of going to our high priced dentist today, I could be sporting “summer teeth” (summer here, summer there… πŸ˜‰ ). I’m kidding, of course. I have absolutely no doubt that if I needed to survive, I would, and my survival would neither involve homelessness, nor poor oral hygiene.

Sometimes, I just like to stop and muse at the complete absurdity of my life and how it’s turned out. Quite a lot of it is, frankly, ridiculous… Like, for instance, how I met Bill in the first place. It was not the kind of scenario that I’d want to tell my mother the truth about… although his mother knows, and has no issues with it. Bill’s mom isn’t like my mom, though. She’s more of a woman of the world. Actually, my mom is also a woman of the world, but she has much less tolerance and patience for my bent toward vulgarity. Certain topics are off limits. However, she doesn’t mind when I cuss. I think that’s interesting. She will fuss about cursing at my eldest sister, who is 64 years old, but I can drop an f bomb in from of my mom, and she truly doesn’t care. She probably figures it’s a lost cause… “sigh”.

Every old sock needs an old shoe, though, and I guess I’m Bill’s. He likes me, and he comes up with funny lines, often based on nonsensical things in our lives. And instead of “gilding the lily”, he said “you don’t need to put a bow on that load…” which is sort of like calling what the high school student did “bullshit” and saying that a load of bullshit doesn’t need a big fancy bow on it to make it “prettier”. I don’t know that I would necessarily describe applying to that many schools as “bullshit”. To me, it seems more to indicate issues with compulsion or anxiety… or maybe it’s just a statement that our higher education system is complete bollocks.

The book I’m reading right now kind of addresses the phenomenon that a lot of young people think they HAVE to go to some big name college. They put all their eggs in one basket, and ignore less famous places that can give them a perfectly good education. That means the lesser known, but still excellent (or adequate) schools struggle to stay alive, and the really big ones are inundated with applications from way too many qualified students. And then we have wealthy people paying huge “donations” to athletic departments, falsifying records, faking credentials, and winding up in minimum security prison camps for fraud.

I look forward to reviewing the book, so I think I’ll stop here and finish it. I think I have about 30 percent to go… You can look forward to more of a rant about this subject in the coming days.

Hope you have a good Monday. Ours will be punctuated by a nationwide transportation strike and a date with the dentist. Joy of joys… but we’ll go home tomorrow; I’ll write up this trip; and maybe post a new book review. Ciao!

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celebrities, mental health, narcissists, psychology

The latest big dream “job”…

The featured photo is one I took when Bill and I visited Venice, back in 2013… Ex probably could have had that herself, if she hadn’t been so hellbent on “punishing” Bill for not dancing to her tune.

It’s Tuesday, and once again, I’m finding myself reluctant to write too much about current events. I’ve been consuming all kinds of “news”/infotainment about politics, and the aftermath of Trump’s time as our “POTUS”. I just don’t feel like going there today. My mind is still on Jennette McCurdy’s book, and how much it resonated with me. I am fortunate, in that my own mom wasn’t like Jennette McCurdy’s mom was. It resonated with me, because I think Bill’s ex wife is a lot like Jennette’s mom was.

A really good interview about Jennette McCurdy’s book, I’m Glad My Mom Died.

No, none of Ex’s kids have been professionally involved in show business. But I do remember when the kids were young, we would hear stories about her hopes for them to enter showbiz. We’d hear about her wanting ex stepson or one of Bill’s daughters to audition for movies, or get involved in the performing arts. Recently, she’s been tweeting celebrities about her youngest daughter wanting to become an actress and hoping to go to a “conservatory”. I think I’ve included those tweets in earlier posts here, so I’m not going to repost them in this entry. But yes, she’s posted about that, and she’s included comments about how she wants one of her daughters to marry Keanu Reeves or someone similar. She is fixated on fame and what she thinks is “quick money”. Bonus if it’s someone else doing the work, while she enjoys the benefits of being the “mom”.

Recently, Ex has gotten back to posting on Instagram. A few days ago, she posted a few new agey “positive” memes. On the surface, the memes appear to be very nice and edifying. I’m sure the strangers who look at them, and know nothing about her, think she’s just this really kind, loving person. Below are a few recent examples:

I don’t pay a lot of attention to Ex’s Instagram, although sometimes, I do check out the comments. I definitely stopped in my tracks when I read the comments on the one about traveling before retirement… Behold:

Now… there’s nothing wrong with dreaming about travel. I did it for years, before Bill and I could finally make the dream come true. However, given the life that I have with her ex husband, it does strike me as crazy that Ex is now posting pictures of memes that reference Italy, and wistfully commenting about how much she’d love to travel with her youngest child, who has “severe autism”. She has repeatedly posted that he runs away, and for that reason, she needs a fence for her backyard. More than once, in this year alone, she has posted crowdfunding attempts to get money to finance building a fence. She has posted repeated claims that no local charities can help her, and no gadgets or gizmos designed to stop her son’s escapes have worked.

It’s possible that Ex’s post about wanting to travel is just “shit” she posted** for whatever reason** just to get a reaction– any reaction at all– from her followers. Still, I can’t help but pause. She’s commenting that she’d like to travel the world with her son, who has severe autism and, she claims (falsely, I think), that he doesn’t speak at all. Someone suggests that she start a blog about traveling with her autistic son. Her response is, “Yes… I’ve been giving it serious thought… but I need money to make it happen.”

I smell another kickstarter… and probably one that will go as far as her fence fund has.

I reflect on the stories I’ve heard from Bill and younger daughter, about the money Ex pisses through, buying worthless crap online, or taking road trips, often to see her unsuspecting victims. Then, she will try to grift, as she did last spring, when she brought Bill’s older daughter to his stepmother’s house and asked for money and “heirlooms”. Bill’s dad died in November 2020, so his stepmother has been grieving. I’m sure she’s pretty vulnerable right now. To her credit, she did tell Ex that she couldn’t help her with money. That was when Ex gave her boxes to put things in that she’d like to “pass down”. My guess is that anything Ex got from SMIL would end up on eBay.

Let’s also not forget that the only reason she even knows SMIL is because of Bill, yet she completely denied Bill any access to his daughters, from 2004 onwards. It’s only been a few years since he and his younger daughter reconnected online. He has managed to see her in person just once since then– in March 2020, just before the pandemic hit with a vengeance. He has met his older two grandchildren. Both he and his daughter CRIED when they reunited, and younger daughter explained that she was forced to send a letter disowning Bill. She says her mother literally stood over her and dictated what she would be writing. And she removed all traces of Bill from their possession, and goaded them into legally changing their names when they turned 18. But there she is on Instagram, posting memes about what speaking kindly to a human can do. The cognitive dissonance is astounding.

It’s hard to know where the truth lies regarding anything Ex says. She posts these “lovey” comments about her son, and how much she adores him. Then she posts about how he breaks her heart and makes her life difficult. She posts about how her son needs a fence to stop him from escaping home. Then she posts about how she wants to take him around the world and write about how he sees it. And she doesn’t post as if it’s a pipe dream, per se. She actually states that if she could fund it, she’d do it…. again, with a teenaged boy with severe autism whom, she claims, runs away?

Based on what we’ve heard, it’s true that her son runs off. That was confirmed by a more truthful source. So how awesome would it be if she and her son went to– say– Venice, Italy, and he decided to run off into the many vast crowds that descend there? It would definitely make for an adventure. Maybe it would be one she could write a good story about… Would the stress be worth it? I don’t think so, but I’m not Ex. We clearly have vastly different priorities in life.

Bill told me that Ex has always had a lot of “big dreams”. She often starts working on her dreams, using money and resources from other people. Bill did, for example, fund Ex’s forays into Mary Kay and Nutrisystem. He said she actually was doing okay with Mary Kay for awhile, but then abruptly decided the organization exploits women. So she quit selling Mary Kay, and she sold her inventory back to the company, at a substantial loss. The same thing happened with Nutrisystem. She decided after buying the food that it was too much about victimizing women. More money down the drain.

This would all be fine if it only affected Ex. But, as you can see, there are other people in Ex’s life who are impacted by her whimsical decisions. Four of her five children are legal adults now, but one is still in that gray time period between adolescence and adulthood, when someone can vote, but not drink a beer. Two of the three other adult children have moved out on their own, but one still stays at home and figuratively wipes Ex’s ass for her. And then there’s the baby of the family, the lad with autism, who is the star of so many of Ex’s pleas for money and assistance.

Speaking of assistance… what about the therapy dog she’s been posting about? More than once, she’s written about how pricey therapy dogs are, and how she can’t wait to train one to serve her son. If they’re jetting off to Italy so she can be an autistic mommy travel blogger, won’t it be difficult to get a dog and train it? Yes, therapy dogs are used in Europe, but they aren’t as widespread here as they are in the US. Moreover, there are places here where therapy dogs– even the ones that are genuinely certified, and not just “emotional support animals”– are not allowed.

I’m sure that Ex has heard, or maybe has even seen, the lifestyle Bill and I enjoy. We seem to have a lot of what she wants, except we don’t have children. It’s mainly because of her that we don’t have children, since she convinced Bill that he should give up his fertility because pregnancy was so “hard” for her. Obviously, it wasn’t that hard, since she subsequently had two more kids with her third husband. And she’s never going to change. She’ll always be chasing her dreams at other people’s expense. Or her dreams will abruptly change, and she won’t feel like she should answer for that.

Jennette McCurdy has said that her mother had wanted to be an actress. Jennette’s grandparents wouldn’t put her mom in acting when she was a child, nor would they support her career aspirations. So, when she was a helpless child at age six, Jennette’s mom decided that her daughter would be an actress, whether she wanted to be or not. Jennette happened to have the looks and talent to make her mother’s dream a reality. And she was put upon to keep working to keep the dream going, so mom could enjoy the perks and the money that came in. I see Ex as very similar to Debra McCurdy. Someone with big dreams that she can’t really fulfill… but is always looking for someone out there to make something happen for her. And then, inevitably, it won’t be enough, and she’ll have no qualms about tearing that person to shreds. Meanwhile, she’ll put it out to the masses what a “great” loving mother she is… and what a fantastic empathic humanitarian she would like to be. It’s one hundred percent bullshit, isn’t it?

I just hope the damage to Ex’s children won’t be too severe, as it was to Jennette McCurdy when her mother died, and she realized the truth.

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ethics, mental health, narcissists

The seaglasshole’s “truth in grifting” policy…

The featured photo is one of the places Ex says she wants to visit… we were there in August 2019, long before I knew this was one of her “dream” destinations.

Happy Sunday morning, y’all. The sun is back in Germany. I don’t know how cold it is outside, but all the snow we got on Friday and Saturday has vanished. Bill and I have a lunch date for later, and I’m working on booking lodging for our upcoming trip to Italy. We will be going to Parma, Florence, and Lugano, among other places, at the end of the month. The trip includes wine tasting, and I’m sure, plenty of food. I’ll be sure to bring my “fat pants”… which means I could bring pretty much all of the pants I own. It’s nice that we can do these things. I plan to enjoy doing them for as long as possible.

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post I titled Love bombing 101… lather, rinse, repeat… That was kind of a continuance of another post I wrote a month ago called The seaglasshole is at it again, which was about my husband’s ex wife’s “crowdfunding campaign” for a new, secure fence for her 15 year old “severely autistic son”, who runs away. For months, she’s also been tweeting up a storm about finding a “service dog” for her son.

My husband was married to this woman for almost ten years, back in the 1990s. He was her second husband. One of the problems they had in their marriage was that she had a habit of spending gobs of money on things they couldn’t afford, and didn’t need. At the same time, she insisted on handling the money, even though she wasn’t the one earning it. She also insisted on living in a small town in Arkansas that didn’t offer the kind of work Bill was qualified to do. As you might have guessed, these decisions led to financial ruin.

When I met Bill online, back in 1999, he was flat broke. He lived on about $600 a month, having lucked into a cheap apartment near the Army post where he was working. Ex took most of his salary, which covered child support, alimony, and the mortgage payment on the dwelling they bought that would eventually go into foreclosure. He also went through bankruptcy while they were married. While I could blame Bill for not being more assertive in his dealings with Ex, I have come to realize that she’s one of those people who can be a holy terror when she’s angry. She’s also very manipulative, and knows how to wheedle money out of people, even when they really can’t afford to give her money. Or… in the case of my husband’s stepmother, really shouldn’t be giving her money because they live on a fixed income.

When they were still married, Ex had a habit of buying stuff on eBay, ordering elaborate snacks from Swiss Colony, and making large purchases without discussing it with Bill, or even waiting until he had a full time job. One time, Ex bought two cars without Bill’s input– a van for herself and a Miata for Bill. Another time, she bought new furniture, carpeting, and ordered landscaping while Bill was on National Guard duty. At the time, it was his only source of income, since he had just (temporarily) left active duty, mainly at her behest. During the four years he was off active duty, but still in the National Guard, Bill was working low paid and unsatisfying jobs in factories, because that was all that was available for him at the time in the Arkansas town where they lived. She didn’t care. In fact, she often did things to try to sabotage Bill. Like, for instance, if he had to work one evening, she’d go out and leave him with the kids, then get back late, which would make him late to work. And, of course, she also got him to become a Mormon (temporarily), which required tithing 10% of his income.

She finally decided to dump him when he got sick of the hand to mouth lifestyle and went back on active duty. Or, maybe her plan wasn’t actually to dump him. She said she wanted to force him to “rock bottom”. She set up her confrontation at my FIL’s and SMIL’s home in Tennessee, over Easter weekend in 2000. FIL and SMIL took the kids out for ice cream, and Ex dramatically confronted Bill about his alleged (and imaginary) “hatred of women”. She wanted him to go into counseling with his LDS bishop. Bill declined, since he doesn’t hate women and didn’t need counseling for that… (although I might agree that he could have used support and counseling for other reasons). When he declined, she said, “Then I want a divorce. I’ve already found a notary and drawn up the papers.”

Bill was distraught. He didn’t want to divorce, mainly because he didn’t want to lose access to his daughters and former stepson. He loved them, and as a child of divorce himself, he knew that divorce would be hard for them. Also, he was heavily under the influence of Mormon bullshit, particularly the popular saying that floats around the church…

β€œThe home is the first and most effective place to learn the lessons of life: truth, honor, virtue, self control, the value of education, honest work, and the purpose and privilege of life. Nothing can take the place of home in rearing and teaching children, and no other success can compensate for failure in the home.” David O. McKay

He asked Ex if she didn’t think he was a good husband and father. And her cold response was, “Maybe to another family.”

So, much to her shock and dismay, he agreed to the divorce. There they were, on Easter Sunday, driving to the notary public in Tennessee, signing the paperwork. I’ve heard that Ex locked herself in the guest room at my in-laws’ house for hours before they made the trip. Bill held her hand the whole time on the drive to the notary’s house. And then, a couple of months later, it was a done deal.

A year later, we met in person. This year, we will have been married for 20 years. All I can say is that I’m glad he decided to divorce her. He’s a wonderful husband, and it’s one of my deepest regrets that we couldn’t have children together, thanks to Ex’s decision to convince Bill to have a vasectomy (which he later unsuccessfully had reversed). But honestly, we have a great life… and we get a lot of joy just being together and loving the many rescue dogs we’ve had over the years. Lately, I’ve actually been feeling grateful that I don’t have to worry about children in today’s world, anyway.

The one time we had a visitation with the kids, it was June 2003. Ex was still “Mormon”. We had two beers in our fridge because, after all, I’m not LDS. Bill’s younger daughter saw the beers and slapped him across the face. She was nine years old at the time. I was shocked. If I had ever done that to my father, I would have been knocked into the next millennium. But Bill just sat there looking sad. Later, Ex sent Bill a nasty email demanding more life insurance coverage (he had a $500,000 policy, and she wanted $1 million). She mentioned in the email, regarding the beer, “I’m so glad that at least you didn’t drink in front of YOUR SON (ex stepson– who is actually #1’s son).” In retrospect, it’s probably a good thing that we didn’t have visitations. Imagine the stress.

Bill now has an excellent credit rating. He’s thriving in an interesting and well-paying career that suits him. Though he lost contact with his two daughters and former stepson, one of his daughters has figured out that her mother is abusive. She now talks to Bill all the time. The other one, sadly, is still mired in the bullshit and, at age 30, still lives with her mother, taking care of Ex’s “severely autistic son”.

For years, I’ve been writing about this… and it’s only been recently that I’ve been paying attention to what Ex does online. I used to avoid looking her up because I didn’t want to be angry, even though I was angry, anyway. Now that Bill’s children are adults, I’ve been watching her. At first, it was entertaining, but now I do it because I’m afraid she’s going to exploit my husband’s stepmother. As I wrote in my “Love Bombing 101” post, I’ve seen evidence that Ex has been grifting money from SMIL. And while that’s not directly my business, I don’t want to see Bill’s other family members wind up having to pick up the pieces when Ex drains SMIL dry, the way she did Bill.

The other day, Bill contacted his sister and told her about what we’ve observed. Ex went down to see SMIL last month, and just after that visit, I noticed that the crowdfunding she had going, asking for funding for a fence, was gone from her social media. I posted screenshots of the crowdfunding campaign in the other post, since I’m sure it will be deleted soon. Today, I have screenshots of some of her latest public online activities. Notice how many pleas she makes for items that aren’t really “needs”– photos, books, puppies, gin and gin glasses (guess she’s not Mormon anymore)… as well as flirting with Mark Hamill and other people she admires. And yes, lots of bragging about her supposed relations to famous Scottish families (Ex was adopted).

It’s been interesting watching Ex in action. You see, I’ve been exploring my own ancestry, and I’ve discovered that I’m pretty Scottish myself. Both 23&me and Ancestry say so… I don’t claim to be related to any famous Scottish families, but I do know I’m related to a whole lot of Scots (and Brits and Irish people). And we’ve actually had the chance to go to some of the places Ex says she dreams of visiting. Perhaps if she hadn’t been so keen on her wants back in the 90s, she could have been to some of these places and seen them firsthand, instead of scouring Instagram and Pinterest for stuff to dream about. Perhaps she could have also taken her “beloved” children with her on these trips, so they could also explore the world. But no… there were too many other pressing desires… like treats from Swiss Colony, Disney plates, and depression glass.

This may seem like a “mean” post. But Ex has been getting away with her shit for years… and it’s mainly because no one directly calls her out on this stuff. We did clue Bill’s sister in to what we’ve observed, and advised her to keep an eye on her mom. Ex may still do some grifting… but maybe if it gets bad enough, SIL can get law enforcement involved. Because I don’t think Ex will stop until she’s forced to stop somehow.

Well, I need to close this post, because Bill and I have a lunch date. I need to get dressed and put on my face. I suspect some people will think it’s wrong that I’m exposing Ex in this way… but I’m just so tired of sitting by and watching her spread her lies. Ex is a liar, a grifter, and exploiter. I’m glad no one but her contributed to her crowdfunding campaign. I’m going to do what I can to stop Ex from turning herself into SMIL’s next cash drain. The seaglasshole doesn’t practice truth in grifting, and I’m tired of seeing people I care about being used by her.

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celebrities, Duggars, LDS, religion

How worshiping at the “church of George Carlin” serves me better than being a fundie…

Today’s post is going to be kind of convoluted and philosophical. I had originally meant to write about the Duggar family, but then I had an interesting talk with Bill this morning that I think can co-mingle with this topic. Bear with me… or don’t bear with me. It’s up to you. But I think these two topics are relative to each other, even if they don’t seem to be.

This morning, I came to the realization that George Carlin, who was famously foul mouthed and frank about his opinions, really had certain truisms nailed. I learned a lot from George, even though he was “godless”. He didn’t believe in the magical thinking, legalism, and mind fuckery that comes from religion. Instead, he was all about common sense. I appreciated Carlin’s astute observations about life, and I looked up to him… probably more so than I did my own parents.

Much to my father’s chagrin, George Carlin, who was raised Irish Catholic and eventually rejected religion, had a huge influence on me. When I was growing up, I worshiped at the “church of George Carlin”, instead of my dad’s preferred faith, the Presbyterian Church USA. I think the “church of George Carlin” probably served me better than being raised Presbyterian did. Not that being Presbyterian was particularly “traumatic” in any way. In my experience, being Presbyterian was just kind of boring… at least until I realized that the Presbyterian is a big part of my heritage. In that sense, being Presbyterian is interesting. But not interesting enough that I want to go sit in a pew and listen to sermons.

My dad didn’t like George Carlin. He used to lecture me when he’d catch me watching Carlin on HBO. He didn’t like Carlin’s seemingly liberal politics or the language he used. My dad would lament about how I found Carlin so funny and brilliant, decrying Carlin’s use of profanity. Dad believed that profanity was a sign of stupidity and a lack of vocabulary. Of course, my dad was wrong about Carlin. Carlin was right about a lot of things… and he was certainly not someone who lacked vocabulary. I also don’t think Carlin was necessarily a liberal. I think he believed both political spectrums sucked. But I also think that many people believe that if you aren’t on their side, you must be on the other side. There’s no room for moderate views, and in my opinion, not tolerating moderate views can cause huge problems.

One thing I appreciated about George Carlin was that he had no problem pointing out hypocrisy and silliness, especially as it pertains to religion. A lot of religious practices needlessly complicate life. If you need an example, just have a look at the Duggar family, and how they’ve fallen from grace. This is a family that lived with a LOT of rules and control. But underneath it all, they were full of shit… carefully hiding their sins. I think if they had embraced their sins and been honest, they wouldn’t be in the regrettable situation they’re in right now. They went from being a family to emulate, to a family humiliated.

Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of clips from the original reality show that made the Duggar family a household name. I’m reminded anew of the many false stories and outright untruths the Duggars told the world. It turned out that a lot of what they were telling the public about their lives was straight up bullshit. They presented a fake image and a false reality, and a lot of people bought it, and their formerly huge reality TV show. The clips I’ve been watching have been uploaded on YouTube by someone who starts each video with a minute of the Megyn Kelly interview done in May 2015, showing Jessa and Jill. Jill weeps on camera, while Jessa glances sideways at her, having just said how “wrong” people are that Josh is a “monster”.

Jessa flat out lied in that interview, minimizing what Josh Duggar did to her and three of her siblings. That’s a direct violation of one of the Ten Commandments! So much for obeying the Bible! It’s more important to obey Jim Bob Duggar– “God” in their home, and its “mini cult”. To his family and friends, Jim Bob is not a mere man. To the Duggars, he’s “the MAN”… and those who don’t obey him pay a price. But recently, the whole world has been reminded that Jim Bob Duggar is, in fact, just a man. And as awesome men go, he couldn’t hold a candle to George Carlin. But Jim Bob would probably consider Carlin “satanic”.

Incidentally, Jim Bob and Michelle also lied in that 2015 interview with Megyn Kelly. Why did they lie? Because they’re full of shit, and they worship money and power more than they do the Bible. It’s not so much that I care about the Bible per se. I just don’t like hypocrisy, or people who try to conceal their sins with lies and convoluted religious bullshit.

Many of us were eager to believe that the Duggars really did have a squeaky clean household. Lots of people thought Jim Bob was telling the truth when he said his children had no unfiltered access to the Internet or television. They seemed so wholesome and loving. Michelle Duggar wouldn’t show her knees or shoulders. The kids were shown wearing “Wholesome Wear” swimsuits, which were good only in that they probably helped them avoid sunburns. Jim Bob ran races in jeans. I guess that was supposed to make him appear to be “godlier”. Does Jim Bob really think God cares whether he runs races in jeans or running shorts? Or is he just doing that to look as if he’s a “hardcore Christian”? We all know now that Jim Bob is not any better than anyone else, particularly when it comes to being “Christlike.”

One brilliant example of why I worship at the church of George Carlin. This is a hell of a sermon. “Smug, greedy, well-fed white people have invented a language to conceal their sins…” Amen, George. And you can hear that he wasn’t really liberal, because he wasn’t about political correctness.

Hell, they even refuse to call “deviled eggs” by their proper name. Instead, they call them “angel eggs”. Supposedly, Michelle Duggar came up with the name years ago, saying that she didn’t like the name “deviled eggs”. Michelle supposedly said that the eggs were so “yummy” that they should be called “angel eggs”. Here’s a link to a photo of the Duggars’ famous “Yellow Pocket Angel Eggs”. I see someone commented that they’re, in fact, “deviled eggs”. Changing the name doesn’t change what they are. Michelle and her daughters could take a lesson from George Carlin, and his sermon on “soft language”, and how that language is used to conceal “sins”.

“Life doesn’t change because you post a sign.” Angel eggs are still devilishly delicious, despite Michelle’s decision to change the satanic name.

As George Carlin famously said, “Life doesn’t change because you post a sign.” Changing the name of a classic egg appetizer doesn’t change what the appetizer is, even if you’ve exchanged a “satanic” name for an “angelic” one. And, of course, deviled eggs aren’t satanic– that’s ridiculous. However, one of Michelle’s own eggs produced someone whom some might consider “satanic”, as he sits alone in a jail cell, pondering his bleak future. Of course, I’m referring to Josh Duggar, one of Ma and Pa Duggar’s so-called “gifts from God”. In fact, Josh was the very first “gift from God”… and now, he seems more like a ruined first pancake.

I remember in the early days of the Duggar family’s rise to fame, Jim Bob Duggar used to preach to the masses about “buying used and saving the difference.” The Duggar patriarch was famously cheap, doing everything he could to save money so that he could keep supporting the “gifts from God” that came in the form of his 19 children. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar proclaimed that their huge brood was a sign of God’s favor, even though having so many children meant that, for many years, the Duggars lived in poor conditions. The story back then was that they were a “humble”, Christ loving family, cheerfully accepting that there was always a line for the bathroom and never enough tater tot casserole to go around.

But then came the reality show, and many fat paychecks from TLC. Never mind that it meant that the children were forced to work, and they were on television, a medium that the Duggars claimed they eschewed in their home. Gradually, viewers saw the family’s fashion sense change. Instead of homemade jumpers with huge collars on the girls, and khaki pants and polo shirts on the boys, we started to see the family wearing name brand clothes. Granted, they supposedly bought those clothes at thrift shops and second hand stores, but they still changed their style. They were famously frugal and “cheap”… but because they focused more on legalism, collar lines and hem lines on the girls, and being open about praying and singing, they ignored the huge problem that was being covered up and has cost them so much.

Just this morning, I read a story by The Sun about how the Duggars can send Josh “care packages” through the prison commissary. Josh, who used to go to the grocery store with his family and load up on cheap, processed foods, and paper plates, can now get a package of several lunch bag sized bags of chips for a whopping $22. If he wants candy bars, he can get a package of those for $22. His wife, Anna, has to visit him by video, for which she pays 25 cents a minute. Or she can send him an email for $5.

When I think about how the Duggars used to demonstrate how they’d save money by letting the daughters give the guys haircuts or making their own laundry detergent, it boggles my mind at what Josh’s crimes have cost the family. The costs have been huge… not just in terms of the vast amount of money spent, but also their own reputations. I wonder if the outcome would have been different if Josh had been dealt with appropriately when he was much younger. What if he had grown up in a family where things could be discussed openly, and there wasn’t the constant pressure to appear like perfect Gothardite Christians? Would people have more respect for them if they had been honest instead of trying to cover up their lies? What if Jim Bob and Michelle had paid more attention to actually raising their kids and knowing them well, instead of making sure everyone wore modest clothing and “buying used and saving the difference.” I’ll bet actually raising and protecting their kids would have cost them a lot less than homemade jumpers and haircuts.

So many people think the answer to living a better life is to be someone they’re not, embrace legalistic belief systems… and to cover up their sins. This morning, Bill and I talked about this concept, as he discussed a recent session he had with his Jungian therapist. Bill had told his therapist about how, prior to Easter 2000, Bill had always enjoyed visiting his father and his stepmother at their home. But then, they allowed Ex to use their home as a setting for her humiliating ultimatum over Easter 2000. That was where she falsely declared Bill a “reprobate” of sorts. She didn’t use that word, of course, but that was what she meant.

The issue was, Bill wasn’t “bad”. He wasn’t a reprobate at all. That was a false narrative his ex wife was pushing, as she was also supposedly embracing Mormonism and using religion to present Bill as a bad person. By allowing Ex to use their home as the setting for Ex’s condemnation of Bill, Bill’s dad and stepmother changed the conditions of how Bill saw them, and their home. And then, instead of doing what he was expected to do and had always done in the past, Bill went off script, which really fucked things up, and changed the course of the future.

Ex thought Bill would beg forgiveness and bend to her will. But Bill had had enough, and it was time for a reckoning. So, when Ex told Bill he was “bad” and needed intensive church based “therapy” with his LDS bishop (who was a lay person with no professional training in counseling) or she would divorce him, Bill decided he wasn’t going to accept her conditions. He asked, “Where do I sign?” instead of “What can I do to make you love me again?” And that decision was not what Ex expected. It made Bill seem “satanic” to her… suddenly, he wasn’t the man she arrogantly thought she knew, inside and out. Suddenly, he was someone who was capable of saying he’d had enough. He couldn’t be controlled, and that somehow made him “evil”. She had to banish him. She used Mormonism and its strict “moral code” to justify what she was doing, which was ultimately harming the children and Bill.

Then I came along, and I upset the apple cart even more by refusing to dance to Ex’s tune. I refused to go along with her plans for Christmas in 2004. Because I insisted on being treated like an adult, instead of one of Ex’s flying monkeys, I became “evil” and needed to be cast out of the cult. I couldn’t be trusted around the children, because I might influence them. I’m sure she thought of me as “Satan”, too. But they were influenced anyway, and as most children do, they went their own way… or, at least a few of them have. That’s how it is in Jim Bob Duggar’s little fiefdom, too. Some of his children are going their own way. Jim Bob might think of his wayward children who have gone astray as “touched by Satan”.

If you think about it, in some ways, Satan was really just an agent of change. Sometimes the change was bad or difficult, and sometimes it was indifferent, or even quite good. After all, what would the world be like if Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten the apple? Would we all still be living in the Garden of Eden, naked, and frolicking in paradise? What fun is that? How does one grow from that experience? Sure, working all the time is hard, as is having to birth children… but hanging out in paradise isn’t very challenging or rewarding. Being stuck with Ex, likewise, wasn’t rewarding… although it was pretty challenging.

The “church of George Carlin” taught me that people have to be allowed to think and act independently. Blind obedience to one person or idea isn’t healthy. Independent thought is essential. That’s how positive change and growth can happen. George Carlin was a brilliant man… but he was also humble enough to propose that people worship someone other than him. He said, instead of worshiping God, we should worship the sun… or maybe Joe Pesci. In that sense, George Carlin, as an atheist, was probably more Christlike than Jim Bob Duggar will ever be as a “Christian”.

George Carlin says you have to “stand in awe” of the bullshit peddled by religion…

Imagine the heartache that could have been avoided if the Duggars had just worshiped George Carlin instead of Bill Gothard. Maybe Josh would have still been a pervert, but at least they could have a laugh about it. Naw… there’s nothing funny about a man who is so sick that he wants to watch children being abused and gets sexual gratification from it. That’s a problem that should have been taken care of many years ago… and maybe could have, if not for the distraction of religion, and the illusion of power and money grabs that come from adhering to strict religions. For all of the emphasis the Duggars place on being “saved”, religion and control couldn’t “save” Josh or spare his victims. He’s still sitting all alone in a jail cell, probably hoping someone might think enough of him to spend $22 on some Doritos and Cheetos for him.

So, given Josh Duggar’s pathetic example, I’m sticking with worshiping at the church of George Carlin. I think it serves me better than Duggar style fundie legalism ever could. And with that, I think I’ll praise George and get on with the rest of my day.

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