book reviews, true crime

A review of Through the Glass, by Shannon Moroney… a woman’s life temporarily shattered by her ex husband’s violent crimes

When it comes to reading books, sometimes my eyes are bigger than my will to use them for reading. There was a time when I could read several books in a month. But now, as I get older, and my eyesight gets worse, it’s a struggle to finish a book in a matter of weeks. I keep trying, though, and I keep buying virtual books from Amazon, which may sit in my queue for years before I ever get around to reading them. Such is the case regarding Canadian author Shannon Moroney’s 2011 book, Through the Glass, which Amazon tells me I bought in 2018.

I don’t remember why I bought Through the Glass. It might have been a suggestive sell when I bought something else. I might have read a salacious Daily Mail article that prompted me to download it. Who knows, at this point? I’m actually glad I read it just recently, though, because I think this case out of Canada is timely, given that this week, convicted sex offender, Josh Duggar, will finally be sentenced to prison for his crimes against children.

Like many people, I look forward to seeing Duggar get his due. However, even though think his wife, Anna, was somewhat complicit in Josh Duggar’s crimes, I also have some empathy for her situation. She’s a woman in a fundamentalist Christian cult, raised to submit to her husband in all matters. With seven young children, and not much to fall back on, she seems pretty stuck. There’s also no doubt in my mind that Anna has been repeatedly victimized by Josh. As I read Shannon Moroney’s story, I couldn’t help but think of Anna, although Anna is undoubtedly in a worse situation than Shannon Moroney was. Shannon at least had a career to fall back on, and no children to support.

Who is Shannon Moroney, and why has she written a book?

In October 2005, 30 year old teacher and school guidance counselor, Shannon Moroney, married Jason Staples, the man she once thought was the love of her life. The two had met at a Kingston, Ontario soup kitchen three years earlier, where Shannon had brought some of her students to work. Jason was the head chef at the soup kitchen, and everybody loved him. He was always friendly and kind, and he had an amazing talent for art. Shannon was taken with him soon after meeting him; he seemed like the perfect guy. But there was just one thing that gave her pause. Jason Staples was a convicted murderer who was out on parole, having spent ten years in prison.

In 1988, just a few months after his 18th birthday, Jason Staples and his roommate, a 38 year old woman, had a brutal argument. The argument ended with the woman’s violent murder at Jason’s hands. Jason’s first victim was someone Jason’s very mentally ill mother and her abusive boyfriend had found, just before they moved away without him. The living situation obviously wasn’t good, though he tried to leave it before he finally snapped in what was originally deemed “adolescent rage”.

Jason later pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was given a sentence of Life-10. That meant he would spend ten years in prison, then be released on parole, which he would be on for the rest of his life, provided he did not reoffend. Jason had been a model prisoner, and the authorities believed his youth and good behavior made him a good risk for rehabilitation.

By the time Shannon met Jason, he’d already been out of prison for five years, and was doing well in the community. Jason had convinced many people that his dark impulses were in the past, and he was worthy of the second chance he was given. He even had plans to go back to school and earn a degree in art, hoping to make the most of the rest of his life. Shannon had checked out everything Jason told her about his past, and spoke to his parole officer and psychologist. She also examined his official records. Everything seemed to check out fine.

Just one month after their wedding, Shannon was writing thank you notes for wedding gifts and wondering if she was pregnant. She was staying in a Toronto area hotel for a work related trip. There was a knock at the door. When she opened it, her life changed forever. She had expected the knock to be from a colleague wanting to have breakfast. But it was a police officer, who handed her his card and said:

“I’m here about your husband,” the officer said. “Are you Jason Staples’s wife?”

Shannon nodded affirmatively, that she was Jason’s wife… of just one month. The officer told Shannon that Jason was arrested the night before, charged with sexual assault. The cop did not know many of the details of the crime, since he was a Toronto based officer, and Jason and Shannon lived in Peterborough, which was also where Jason committed his crimes. But the officer did know that Jason had called 911 himself, turned himself in, and gave a full confession to raping two women and confining them in the home he shared with Shannon. She was in total shock as she gathered her things and left the hotel room to go home, where she would face the horrifying truth. The beautiful life she had planned, to include having children, advancing in her career, and loving a man who had seemed to overcome his horrific past, had all evaporated.

Jason had kidnapped and raped two women who had come into the health food store where he worked part time. The first victim, a 46 year old woman, came into the store and Jason suddenly accosted her, held her at knife point, and sexually assaulted her. He confined her in the store’s basement. Then, a few minutes later, the second victim, who was much younger, entered the store. Jason held her at knife point, but she fought back, Jason then choked her into unconsciousness, and took her to the basement, where he sexually assaulted her. He bound both women with duct tape, then rented a van, and brought the two women to the home he shared with Shannon.

The two women bravely tried to rehumanize Jason, attempting to talk him down from his terrifying rage. Jason would switch back and forth, from monster to human. By 9:00 that evening, Jason had decided to kill himself. He procured some rope and a ladder. The women continued talking to him, trying to bring him back to his senses. Finally, at about 10:00, Jason spoke to Shannon on the phone. She was unaware that there were two bound women in her home, both of whom had been brutally raped by her husband. After the phone call, Jason went to a pay phone and called 911. He told the police who he was and what he’d done, then asked them to go to his house and help the women. Then he continued trying to formulate a suicide plan as he waited for the police to arrive. After 25 minutes, the police still hadn’t come; apparently, they thought his first call was a prank! So Jason called again. After the second call, the cops finally came. Jason ended his confession at the jailhouse, begging “Just put me away.”

As the investigation continued, Shannon learned that not only had Jason kidnapped and raped two women, but he had also installed cameras in their home, and recorded Shannon during private moments in the bathroom. So, Shannon was also one of Jason’s victims. However, because Shannon was Jason’s wife, many people assumed she was somehow complicit in his crimes. When Shannon asked if there was anything she could do to help the women who were raped, she was told that they “didn’t need to hear from Jason’s arena.” Shannon was left to pick up the pieces after Jason’s crimes, and she quickly found out that there was no support for people in her position.

Soon, it became clear to Shannon Moroney that even though she’d had nothing to do with Jason’s criminal behavior, and was in fact a victim herself, many people were going to judge her. She would not be entitled to any assistance from victim’s advocacy groups. Though she didn’t outright lose her job at her school, she was told that she would be transferred to a different school. Her principal went as far as to ban her from even setting foot in the school, claiming that her presence there would traumatize other people.

Jason was held in protective custody, for his own safety. He had lawyers to protect his rights. No one seemed to understand that Shannon needed help and protection, too. Everyone seemed to expect her to quickly divorce Jason and move on, even though Shannon still saw the human part of him and loved him. She suffered on all levels, from professionally to medically, and few people seemed to have any empathy for her situation. She was caught in the crossfire, being associated with someone who had committed horrific crimes. And very few people seemed to understand that she was as much of a victim as the two women who were sexually assaulted by her husband. Jason never gave any indication that he needed help. She’d thought he was okay, as had everyone involved with granting him parole.

As she spoke to Jason, through the glass partition at the jail, she learned about the tragedies in his life that had led him to where he was. Jason was adopted at three months old, and raised by a woman who sexually abused him. His adoptive father died when he was very young, and his mother took up with a man who abused her, and Jason. On the night of his crimes, Jason had also overdosed on some over-the-counter substances– caffeine pills and ephedra.

Shannon Moroney is interviewed about Jason’s crimes. She appears in many YouTube videos.

Picking up the pieces…

Slowly, Shannon Moroney put her life back together. She didn’t immediately divorce Jason, although many people seemed to think she should just quickly dump him and disassociate from him. She visited him in jail, and later, prison. At the same time, she tried to figure out how to move on from the legal fiasco that enveloped her. The process of rebuilding led her to change careers, and she earned a master’s degree at East Anglia University, in Norwich, England. Jason’s crimes and the aftermath of them made her want to do victim’s advocacy, and she eventually left teaching and counseling, and became an author and public speaker. After divorcing Jason, Shannon found love again and remarried. She now appears to be thriving, but as this book illustrates, it was a tough road to get where she is today.

My thoughts

Through the Glass is a fascinating book on many levels. As an American living in Germany, I’m always interested in seeing how other countries operate. Canada has a very different legal and penal system than the United States does, so that aspect of the story alone, was fascinating for me. Canada also has a very different healthcare system than the United States does. Shannon seemed to have a lot of support from her family doctor, a woman called Sue, who would actually come to Shannon’s home to see her and went to the jail to see Jason. I can’t imagine something like that happening in the United States.

The Canadian system seems a lot more humane than the US system does, although there were plenty of inhumane aspects of Shannon’s story. While she describes a lot of insensitivity toward her situation from friends and colleagues, overall, I think the Canadian people were more understanding toward her than Americans would be. It seems to me that Americans are very quick to judge, and judge harshly, and declare people guilty by association. By Shannon’s descriptions, at least her countrymen tried to understand her ordeal on some level. They would try to put on a pretense of kindness, even if they weren’t very helpful to her, as she navigated the horrific mess left to her in the wake of Jason’s crimes.

At one point, while he was being assessed, Jason was sent to a psychiatric facility, and Shannon describes visiting him there. It was a lot more welcoming than the prison was, and Jason was treated as a patient, rather than an inmate. I found myself agreeing with Shannon’s comments about how warehousing people in prisons isn’t very helpful to society, even though Jason obviously is a danger to others and probably should be kept away from society. Still, she seems to believe that prisoners should be treated with humanity. On that point, I totally agree with her, especially since most incarcerated people will eventually get out of prison. It serves society to see to it that they have the best chance at success when they are released.

On the other hand, I’m sure I’m among a lot of readers who have trouble reconciling how long she stayed married to Jason, especially when it was clear that he would not be leaving prison for a very long time, if ever. I can understand having basic empathy for other human beings, but Jason’s crimes were truly horrific and disgusting. One woman died, and two others were left with terrible memories of being brutalized by a madman. Sometimes, Shannon seemed overly empathic toward Jason, trying to paint him as a really good man who was just misunderstood. I was glad to read when she finally divorced him, even though he has some redeeming qualities. When it comes down to it, though, Jason can’t be rehabilitated enough to be in public again.

It occurs to me that Shannon Moroney has something in common with Elizabeth Smart, in that she’s turned a horrific tragedy in her life into a way to help others. That’s admirable.

Overall

I think most people would find Shannon Moroney’s story interesting. However, some readers might be disgusted by what seems like a lack of empathy for the victims, since she does show empathy for Jason. Personally, I believe Shannon when she claims that she does have empathy for Jason’s victims. I also appreciated that she was honest about her conflicted feelings for her ex husband, Jason Staples. I think it was good that she stated her true feelings, rather than just expressing what people wanted to hear from her. But, knowing what I know about the public at large, and the black and white thinking that a lot of people have, I know some readers won’t see it the way I do. We often expect people to feel the way we think they should feel, when life isn’t always that simple.

Anyway, I’m glad I finally got around to reading this book, that has been waiting for be read for years. As we await Josh Duggar’s upcoming prison sentence, I will try to have some empathy for his wife, Anna, and the mess she’s in right now. It’s easy for us to see that Anna should leave Josh, but we don’t see life from her perspective. It’s not always so simple. Shannon Moroney’s story really drives home that truism, at least for me.

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movies, politics, religion

Colonia– how a 2015 movie helped me understand a Sting song from 1987.

Yesterday, after writing my second and mostly original rant, I decided to watch a movie. iTunes has a bunch of them on sale, so I often look to see what I can get cheaply. A lot of times, I get films I’ve already seen a bunch of times– guilty pleasures that never get old. Every once in awhile, I find a movie I haven’t heard of, but I’m intrigued by the description. Colonia, a 2015 film that was mostly made by Germans, Brits, Frenchies, and Luxembourgers, was one of those films I hadn’t heard of, but got sucked into because of the description. Plus, it only cost me $4.99 to buy it, although at this writing, someone has uploaded the whole film to YouTube.

A trailer for the film, Colonia.

The plot

It’s 1973, and Lena (Emma Watson), a German flight attendant for Lufthansa, and her German boyfriend, Daniel (Daniel Brühl), are in Chile at a time of political unrest. The Chilean president, socialist Salvador Allende, has been forced out of power due to a military coup. Allende would die on September 11, 1973, as the government was taken over by General Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet would seize power from civilians, suspend the constitution, and impose martial law.

Daniel supports former President Allende and has given speeches to Chileans. Pinochet’s secret police, Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional (DINA), rounds up people who are loyal to the deposed president. Daniel gets abducted by DINA. Lena decides to track him down, eventually finding out that he is being held by a secret organization called Colonia Dignidad, which turns out to be a religious cult run by a German lay preacher named Paul Schäfer (played by the late Michael Nyqvist). Against the advice of wiser people, who warn her that if she joined the cult, she will not be able to escape it, Lena decides to join Colonia Dignidad in an attempt to find her boyfriend.

The UK Trailer for Colonia.

Lena does find Daniel, who has been tortured with electric shocks and acts as if he’s disabled in order to escape scrutiny. But she’s abused by the leaders of the cult, to include a vile old woman named Gisela (Richenda Carey) who calls the women “cunts” and forces them to work without food or water. The couple befriend a nurse named Ursel, who is pregnant. They try to escape the compound, which is a heavily guarded fortress. Ursel is killed, but Daniel and Lena manage to get to the West German embassy, where they are betrayed. However, against the odds, they manage to leave the country with incriminating photographs of Colonia Dignidad, as the Lufthansa pilot takes off without official clearance from flight controllers, and spirits the couple back to Germany.

Paul Schäfer

Adding to this film’s intrigue is the story of Paul Schäfer. If you read this blog regularly, you might know that I find religious cults fascinating. I think a lot of them are just plain evil. Paul Schäfer was born in Bonn in 1921. Due to an accident with a fork, he lost his right eye. He later told people that he lost his eye due to a war injury during World War II; as Schäfer did serve as a medic in a German hospital in occupied France. Later, he was influenced by the American Baptist preacher, William M. Branham, who also influenced Jim Jones. Branham advocated a strict adherence to the Bible, which Schäfer also demanded of his followers.

Schäfer became a lay preacher and opened a children’s home in Siegburg, but was later run out of Germany because he was accused of molesting two boys in his care. Schäfer subsequently relocated his ministry to the Middle East, where he met the Chilean ambassador to Germany, who invited him to Chile. By 1961, Schäfer had moved to Chile, where his cult took root. The Chilean president at the time, Jorge Alessandri, granted him permission to launch the “Dignidad Beneficent Society” on a farm outside of Parral, in southern Chile. The society, which was founded on Baptist principles and anti-communism, eventually turned into Colonia Dignidad– the place where Daniel and Lena ended up in the film, Colonia.

The character, Paul Schäfer, appears just after Daniel has been tortured with electric shocks. Daniel is shown strapped to a metal bed frame, naked except for his underwear. As Daniel recovers from being beaten and repeatedly shocked, Schäfer shows up and comforts him, hugging him and speaking soothingly to him. As a viewer, I am led to believe this is how the cult leader gets Daniel into the compound, where he and the rest of the followers are forced to work. Males and females are kept apart, and children are separated. Although it’s not explicitly shown in the film, it’s implied that Schäfer molests boys. Indeed, the real Paul Schäfer was found to have molested hundreds of boys over his forty years leading the cult. But Schäfer colluded with the Pinochet regime, arranging to smuggle in weapons from Germany, since shipments bound for his ministry were never inspected by customs because they were for a “charity”.

Schäfer also conducted torture and took care of executions for the Pinochet regime, as he also ran a hospital. After a hunting accident, which required Schäfer to undergo medical care at a hospital in Santiago for months, Schäfer came back to his fortress and forbade all festivities. In 1966, a teenager named Wolfgang Kneese managed to escape the fortress and spoke to the press. Schäfer got another teenager, name of Hartmut Hopp, to accuse Kneese of sexual misconduct. Hopp was rewarded by Schäfer, who allowed him to study medicine. Hopp served as a physician in the hospital; he also prescribed sedatives for Schäfer, who would use them to subdue his victims, boys he raped who were sent to his colony.

In real life, Schäfer duped locals into following him until he finally lost favor when Pinochet stepped down in 1990. The next leader, Patricio Aylwin, stripped Schäfer’s ministry of its charity status and cut off funding for Schäfer’s hospital. In 1997, Schäfer disappeared, as he was up on child sexual abuse charges. He was tried in absentia in 2004, and found guilty. Schäfer was also wanted in Germany and France, having also been accused of child abuse in both countries. In March 2005, Schäfer was finally found hiding out in a townhouse in a gated community about 25 miles from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was arrested and sent back to Chile. In 2006, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing 25 children. He was also fined 770 million pesos, which was to have been distributed to his victims. He died on April 24, 2010 at age 88 of heart failure.

Lena gets verbally abused.

I wish Colonia had gone more into detail about Paul Schäfer. In fact, I think they should make a movie about him, to show how a charismatic man who preaches about Christianity can turn out to be pure evil. In the film, Schäfer is explicitly shown abusing women– forcing them to listen to a boy soprano sing “Ave Maria” in front of a room full of angry men. Schäfer would make a woman sit alone in front of the men, then viciously debase her in front of the men, who would grow more hostile until they were driven to attack her. He would sniff her, calling her a harlot and a slut. He forced the women to bind their breasts. The child abuse was sort of alluded to, but in the film he appears to have been a misogynist, more than anything else.

My thoughts

Before yesterday, I knew nothing at all about Chilean politics. In fact, the only thing I knew about Augusto Pinochet was that his name is in an old song by Sting. His song, “They Dance Alone (Cueca Solo)”, was on the 1987 album, Nothing Like the Sun, which was released when I was fifteen years old and in the tenth grade. I didn’t know anything about American politics in 1987, let alone what was going on in Chile. But now that I’ve seen Colonia and was curious enough to learn more about the film, that song makes a lot more sense.

Gee… now I know what this song is about.

They Dance Alone by Sting

Why are there women here dancing on their own?
Why is there this sadness in their eyes?
Why are the soldiers here
Their faces fixed like stone?
I can’t see what it is that they despise

They’re dancing with the missing
They’re dancing with the dead
They dance with the invisible ones
Their anguish is unsaid
They’re dancing with their fathers
They’re dancing with their sons
They’re dancing with their husbands
They dance alone They dance alone

It’s the only form of protest they’re allowed
I’ve seen their silent faces scream so loud
If they were to speak these words they’d go missing too
Another woman on a torture table what else can they do
They’re dancing with the missing
They’re dancing with the dead
They dance with the invisible ones
Their anguish is unsaid
They’re dancing with their fathers
They’re dancing with their sons
They’re dancing with their husbands
They dance alone They dance alone

One day we’ll dance on their graves
One day we’ll sing our freedom
One day we’ll laugh in our joy
And we’ll dance
One day we’ll dance on their graves
One day we’ll sing our freedom
One day we’ll laugh in our joy
And we’ll dance

Ellas danzan con los desaparecidos
Ellas danzan con los muertos
Ellas danzan con amores invisibles
Ellas danzan con silenciosa angustia
Danzan con sus padres
Danzan con sus hijos
Danzan con sus esposos
Ellas danzan solas
Danzan solas

Hey Mr. Pinochet
You’ve sown a bitter crop
It’s foreign money that supports you
One day the money’s going to stop
No wages for your torturers
No budget for your guns
Can you think of your own mother
Dancing with her invisible son
They’re dancing with the missing
They’re dancing with the dead
They dance with the invisible ones
Their anguish is unsaid
They’re dancing with their fathers
They’re dancing with their sons
They’re dancing with their husbands
They dance alone
They dance alone

Turns out Sting was right. Mr. Pinochet left power just a few years after this song was released.

But anyway… while I think Colonia could have been a better film, and it was really just based on true events, it did lead me to learn more about Chilean politics. And now, I finally have more of an understanding of what “They Dance Alone” is about. I may or may not be moved to learn more about this subject, which isn’t a bad accomplishment for a film. A lot of people gave Colonia bad reviews, but I think if a movie inspires someone to do research, it’s done something pretty amazing. So, for that reason, I can’t pan it. I do think it’s kind of misleading, though, and I think it would have been a better story if the focus had been more on Schäfer, rather than Daniel and Lena. Also, bear in mind that a lot of the movie was filmed in Europe, with only a few scenes filmed in Argentina.

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narcissists, politicians, Trump

Donald Trump’s last gasps of desperation…

Last night, as the last holiday weekend of 2020-21 was winding down, I saw the headline flash across Facebook. The Washington Post was running an exclusive story about how Donald Trump, lame duck POTUS, was shamelessly trying to guilt, cajole, threaten, and manipulate Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, into somehow “finding” 11,780 votes and overturning Joe Biden’s win in Georgia. The Post’s story included an edited version of Trump’s hour long discussion with Raffensperger and other Georgia elections officials. They later posted the full, unedited phone call. I know at least one of my Facebook friends resubscribed to the Post just so they could listen, but it’s now been posted on YouTube, and the media has been spreading this story like COVID-19.

Absolutely PATHETIC! He needs a ball gag.

My initial response to this news was outrage and disgust. However, ultimately, I’m not surprised Trump is trying this tactic. He is desperate to remain in power. He will leave no stone unturned in his relentless quest to stay in the White House, even though the majority of people in a proven secure and fair election want him OUT! With every day that passes, Trump’s hopes of overturning the election results dwindle, yet he keeps trying to bully his way past the results. He continues to try to rewrite history and alter the truth, even though it’s clear that he lost, fair and square (as Marcia Brady would put it).

I think Trump wants to stay in charge for a lot of reasons. The main one is that he is a malignant narcissist. Malignant narcissists hate to lose, and they will stop at nothing to avoid that particular narcissistic injury. But, besides the fact that Trump is a narcissist, I think he’s also afraid of what is going to happen to him once he’s no longer enjoying the protections that come from being the U.S. President. Once January 20, 2021 rolls around, he will once again be a private citizen, and that means he will be fair game for those who would like to sue him or see him behind bars.

If you listen to Trump talk, he speaks of rumors spreading about corruption. He throws out a bunch of figures and untrue statements. I must give credit to Brad Raffensperger, who kept his cool and calmly told Mr. Trump that his comments were untrue. He wasn’t swayed by Trump’s threats and never once sounded intimidated by Trump and his brazen attempts to steamroll him. Even when Trump reminded Raffensperger that he’s a Republican– perhaps trying to demand party loyalty– Raffensperger remained unruffled. Massive kudos and congratulations to Mr. Raffensperger for his ability to stay calm and either not laugh outright at Trump, or show any wavering in his duty to report accurate and fair results of the election, regardless of his affiliation with the Republican Party.

I would like to ask Trump this… if Georgia’s elections results were improper, why aren’t other people in an uproar? What about the lower political races? Wouldn’t there be corruption there, too? I also find it hilarious that Trump is complaining about cheating when there were many signs that Republicans were doing their best to suppress voters by removing mailboxes, cutting postal worker overtime, and cutting down on the number of ballot boxes where votes could legally be collected. Despite all of these efforts, Trump still LOST! Obviously, people want him to leave office, but he won’t go without an embarrassing and increasingly futile fight. Even people in his own party are turning on him. They don’t want to be on the wrong side of history.

As I write this, I’m listening to Trump’s unedited phone call with the Georgia officials. At this writing, he’s been speaking for almost 13 minutes straight, without another person being allowed to get a word in edgewise. That thirteen minutes of him rambling non-stop drivel, alleging illegal voting practices and fraud… and not a single break in the stream of consciousness word salad to allow the officials to break in until one of them finally responds. They tell him they have recounted the ballots by hand and got the same result as the voting machines from Dominion got. But he’s still not going to back down. In fact, Trump falsely insists that he won the state, when he very clearly didn’t.

I wonder, though, what would happen if somehow Trump did somehow get the election overturned. Would people accept it? Probably the only people who would would be those who doggedly support him, despite his obvious cheating and lying. I have been around since the Nixon era, and I think Donald Trump is by far the most criminal and corrupt president we have ever had… and that is saying a lot! Even if Trump were to stay in office, he’s already lost massive respect from legions of people around the world. His staying in office would truly make the United States even more of a laughingstock than it already is.

He’s such a fucking liar!

But people are still championing Trump, and believing the ridiculous conspiracy theories, even though it’s pretty obvious Trump is a loser. They ignore all of Trump’s shortcomings and continue to make excuses for him, and his deplorable behavior. I think it’s partly because human beings hate to be wrong and have a hard time changing their opinions, even when the facts support changing their opinions. But it’s also because a lot of people have been duped into thinking that Donald Trump is a “common man” who speaks like they do and eats Big Macs. He’s certainly not a common man. He was born into a wealthy family, educated at private schools, and has never earned his own money. He’s not even a good businessman, his businesses having gone bankrupt six times between 1991 and 2009, and his best selling book, The Art of the Deal, was ghostwritten. He’s had two failed marriages, and it looks like his third could easily fail. I mean, Melania doesn’t seem to like her husband very much at all, although she might stick around for Barron’s sake.

This wasn’t the first time. She clearly can’t stand him.

I read this morning that President-elect Joe Biden doesn’t want to pursue charges against Trump’s clearly criminal actions. I can understand that. It would further polarize the American people, and right now, we desperately need to come together and conquer the pandemic. But the other side of me thinks Trump needs to be prosecuted for his obviously treasonous acts in trying to steal the election and undermining the people’s will. It probably comes from my own history of having to swallow bullying behavior from so many people for so many years. I have no more patience for it.

By the way, plenty of people in the military dislike Trump. He did not “win the military, a lot.” Historically, many military folks do vote Republican, but that doesn’t mean they don’t see an obvious conman who wants to undermine the Constitution and referred to them as “suckers and losers”. In this video, you can hear Trump ask the officials to “give him a break” and give him 11,000 votes! Give US a break and leave the White House! We want an adult in the White House who does not punish people for doing their jobs and telling the truth!

Donald Trump, YOU’RE FIRED!

Listening to Trump’s non-sensical bullshit is infuriating to me. It’s childish and stupid, and is about as factual as our ex landlady’s claim that we “dumped” a piece of shit refrigerator on her and stole her “nice” fridge (which, in fact, I purchased from Amazon because that piece of shit fridge was in the house when we moved in). Like our ex landlady, Trump doesn’t want to face facts and pay the piper. In fact, I think Mr. Trump has a lot in common with pathetic, common bullies who live among us and do whatever they can to get their way simply by dogged stubbornness, even if it means outright commiting crimes. I, for one, have had enough of it. I think a lot of Americans have. And I cannot wait to see this lying, cheating, thieving orange fuckhead escorted out of Washington, DC., once and for all.

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France, true crime

All I want for Christmas is a new tire…

Bill and I made it from Nimes to a rest stop near Beaune, where we’re staying once again before we go back to Germany. Bill called our hosts to let them know we were on our way, and I went to the restroom. Somehow, while Bill was on the phone, some asswipe punctured our tire. As we were leaving, this guy pointed at the tire. When we kept going, the guy pointed again. Bill pulled into a parking spot and looked at the tire, which was indeed rapidly losing air. There was a hole in the sidewall.

As he fumed, I suggested that he call ADAC, which is the auto club we’re members of in Germany. They had us call 112 in France, which is their emergency number, and a guy came out to help us change the tire to the spare– the emergency “donut” tire. We were not approached by the “helpful” stranger, but I have read that these folks usually offer to help fix the tire or arrange for assistance, then rob their victims of their money and valuables. No doubt, the lowlife dickless criminal who put a hole in the tire noticed our German plates and figured he’d score because we’re “tourists”.

So far, all we’re out is some time and the cost of a new wheel. Because it was slashed in the sidewall, we’ll need to go to a tire store and replace the tire, which sucks, since the one that was damaged was just put on when the car was made over the summer. Fuck these immoral asswipes who can’t earn their money the honest way. I hope they get flat tires… and cancer of the prostate that causes them enormous pain, embarrassment, and an untimely death. Yes, I want them to suffer, and no, I don’t feel badly about it.

As Bill was pissing and moaning about the tire, I reminded him that this could have been worse. At least the weather was mild and it was sunny out… and tomorrow isn’t Sunday or a holiday, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get the tire fixed. And at least no one was hurt… I’m not sure why someone would slash a tire at a rest stop, where there were many witnesses (although apparently none of them saw the bottom dwelling shithead doing his dirty deed). Usually, these guys slash the tires at stoplights before getting on a high speed highway. That way, the victim pulls over in an area where there aren’t so many people. We were at a stop that had a bunch of restaurants, a gas station, and lots of activity. Again… lucky, since we could have been at a place where there was no help.

Hopefully, he hasn’t followed us to our gite, because a car theft would be all we’d need…

Edited to add: Bill went to a tire store and they don’t have our size… so there is a good chance the car will have to be towed back to Germany and we’ll need to get a rental car. Seriously… fuck these people who slash tires so they can be criminals!

I know it’s a first world problem and it could be a lot worse… at least we have access to help and the ability to pay. But it still just sucks! I wish I could rewind 24 hours and not make the decision to stop at that rest stop. And I hope those who slash tires for fun and profit meet karma sooner rather than later.

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scams

No way, Jose!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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