athletes, celebrities, mental health, psychology, tragedies, YouTube

Partial repost: Christy Henrich and Karen Carpenter, and discovering Dr. Todd Grande…

Recently, I watched a video done about Karen Carpenter by YouTube shrink, Dr. Todd Grande. Dr. Grande does videos about mental health topics in a trademark “flat” kind of way. When I first encountered him on YouTube, I didn’t like his videos that much because his delivery was so dry. But I kept coming back, because he chose interesting topics. After awhile, I realized that I enjoy his videos and even his “flat” style… especially when he throws shade in kind of a bland way. In the video he made about Karen Carpenter, Dr. Grande remarked that in terms of her musical talent, Karen was “like a Ferrari stuck on a go cart track”. He implied that she was much more talented than her brother, Richard, is. I got a kick out of that observation.

Karen Carpenter… Dr. Grande implies that her wings were clipped by her brother… Frankly, I think her mother was more of a wing clipper.

Personally, I disagree with Dr. Grande that Karen’s talent was that much more impressive than Richard’s is. They had strengths in different areas. Richard is a fantastic pianist, and he’s a great arranger. He knew what songs went best with Karen’s vocals. Karen was a magnificent singer and drummer. Together, they worked well. Both of them worked apart with somewhat less success. I do think that Karen and Richard had a very controlling mother, and personally, I think if anyone should be blamed for what happened to Karen Carpenter, it could be her mom that deserves the most shade. Agnes Carpenter was overbearing and overreaching… and she didn’t want her children to be independent adults. Moreover, she obviously favored Richard, which probably took a toll on Karen’s self esteem. Maybe that had to do with her development of anorexia nervosa. I don’t know.

Anyway… I enjoyed watching Dr. Grande’s video about Karen Carpenter and realized he’d done a bunch of similar videos about other celebrities. It occurred to me that it would be interesting to hear his thoughts on Christy Henrich, a brilliant 80s era gymnast who famously perished from anorexia nervosa in 1994. So I left him a comment. Maybe he’ll read and heed it. I really think it would be interesting to hear Dr. Todd Grande’s deadpan views about Christy’s public struggle with anorexia. She had a tremendous work ethic, which extended to her illness. At one point, Christy’s weight fell to 47 pounds. It’s not that I admire her for being that emaciated. It’s more of a comment on her sheer will power and relentless pursuit of her goals, self-destructive as they were. I’m sure a mental health expert would have a lot to say about her.

A video a YouTuber made about Christy Henrich.

In the meantime, below is a repost of an article I wrote in February 2014 about Christy Henrich for my original blog. It was inspired because Bill and I went on a “hop” to Spain and Portugal in January of that year. On the way back to Texas, we landed in Missouri and drove through Christy’s hometown of Independence, Missouri. I thought of her as I realized how much Missouri reminds me of Virginia. As usual, the repost appears “as/is”.

Remembering Christy Henrich

Back in the late 1980s, I had a brief but intense obsession with watching gymnastics.  I would catch meets on ESPN or Home Team Sports.  In those days, ESPN only had one channel and I believe HTS is now defunct.  I remember seeing very old footage of Shannon Miller when she was just 12 years old.  I remember watching Brandy Johnson and Phoebe Mills.  I could never so much as turn a cartwheel myself, but I really enjoyed watching the tiny girls compete.  I admired them for being so tough and strong.  I was into horses myself, though.

I also remember Christy Henrich, who was less than a month younger than me.  When I first saw her, she reminded me a bit of a soccer player.  Short and muscular without an ounce of fat on her, she didn’t have the long, graceful limbs of the Russian or Romanian gymnasts.  But she was very strong and had an amazing work ethic.  Her coach, Al Fong, even called her E.T. for extra tough. Sometimes, that extra tough work ethic worked against her, as you can see in the video below.

This may have even been the first meet I ever saw Christy in… This performance was not very good. The commentators say she “looks tired” and “doesn’t look right”. They also mention that she was warming up way before everyone else was.

Not being privy to anything going on in gymnastics that wasn’t aired on TV, I didn’t know about Christy Henrich’s eventual slide into anorexia nervosa and bulimia.  Back in those days, I had a bit of an obsession about eating disorders, too.  I knew a lot about them and even flirted with them.  If I had known about Christy, I might have even admired her for her anorexia.  That’s how dumb I was at 16.

Christy Henrich at 17

I remember watching the very intense 1988 Summer Olympics gymnastics trials.  I was kind of rooting for Kristie Phillips, an adorable strawberry blonde who had seemed poised for gymnastics stardom.  A growth spurt and weight gain had sidelined her in 1987 and she was back to try to win a spot on the team.  She placed 8th and was named a second alternate.  She would not be going to Seoul unless someone got hurt.  Christy Henrich missed the team altogether by .0118 of a point.  There was no hope for her at all, unless she set her sights on 1992 in Barcelona.

About Kristie Phillips, who also suffered from an eating disorder.
Kristie Phillips was on Oprah, along with Christy’s mom and boyfriend. Here, she talks about her suicidal ideation after she missed the Olympic team.

In 1990, a judge supposedly told Christy Henrich after a meet in Budapest, Hungary that in order to be a serious contender for the Olympics, she would need to lose weight.  At 4’11” and 93 pounds, Christy didn’t have much weight to lose.  But she took the judge’s words to heart and went on a serious diet, quickly shedding five pounds.  She was praised for the weight loss at first, but then she slid headlong into a battle that would eventually cost her her life.

Christy Henrich in 1990

By January 1991, she had lost so much weight that her coach, Al Fong, kicked her out of the gym.  A week after he kicked her out, she came in to tell him she was quitting the sport.  Though she had a loving family and a boyfriend who wanted to marry her, the eating disorders had taken hold of her.  On July 26, 1994, she died of multiple organ failure.  She had just turned 22 years old and she weighed less than 60 pounds.  At one point, her weight was just 47 pounds.

A clip from a 1995 episode of Oprah in which Christy’s mother and boyfriend talk about her struggles with eating disorders.  

I remember reading Joan Ryan’s book, Little Girls in Pretty Boxes.  In fact, I read an excerpt of it in the Washington Post just days before I left the country for Armenia to serve in the Peace Corps.  When I got home in 1997, I bought the book and read it.  It was about female gymnasts and figure skaters.  In 2000, Ryan updated the book, including discussion about Dominique Moceanu’s desire to be emancipated from her parents because her father was spending her money. 

I don’t know what made me think of Christy today.  It’s not her birthday or the anniversary of her death, though in July of this year, she will have been dead for 20 years.  That amazes me.  It seems like yesterday, we were 22 years old.  The older you get, the faster time flies.

Last month, as Bill and I worked our way back to Texas from our trip abroad, we drove through Christy’s hometown of Independence, Missouri.  We stayed a night in Kansas City, which is where Christy died.  For some reason, I even thought about Christy’s mother as we passed through.  It was frigid during our brief time there and, looking around, it didn’t look like the kind of place that would excite me.  On the other hand, I did notice how nice and folksy everyone seemed to be.  It seems like the kind of place you could get to know your neighbors.

Christy Henrich in 1987.

I’m sure that the last twenty years have been tough for all who knew and loved Christy Henrich.  What happened to her was just gruesome.  I still like watching gymnastics today, but remember Christy’s story reminds me that the sport has a bit of a dark side.  To read more about Christy Henrich, I recommend the book Little Girls in Pretty Boxes.  

An eye opening read.

Edited to add: in 2014, I still had no idea how dark gymnastics can be… that was before we knew about John Geddert and Larry Nassar.

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Duggars, true crime

Wonder if she’s eating her words yet…

I hope everyone had a good Mother’s Day. Mine was spent alone. I was not in a great mood, although it was better last night than it was Saturday night. Fortunately for all of my loved ones and friends, I was alone to enjoy my misery. Well, the dogs were with me, but they don’t mind when I get a bit crabby.

I spent way too much time watching YouTube videos in bed. I saw a bunch done by Katie Joy (Without a Crystal Ball), then took the time to find out why she’s so controversial. People complain that she shoots her mouth off about things, says “defamatory” things and has even been sued for defamation, and she supposedly rips off Reddit threads. All of those things may be true. I still think she’s kind of interesting, although now that I’ve see some of her work, I think I might find her interesting because of her speculation about the Duggar family. She watches them very closely and notices when things are “up”.

About a month ago, Katie Joy mentioned that the Duggars were acting “weird”. She had several theories as to why they were acting so strange. Think about it. Two sons got married in the span of just a few weeks– Justin Duggar married Claire Spivey and Jedidiah Duggar married Katey Nakatsu. Both weddings were, by Duggar standards, very private. By normal people’s standards, they were just kind of private. Katie Joy was able to live stream Jed’s wedding and report on it as it was happening. Naturally, People Magazine ran wedding announcements and photos. But this was still strange behavior by Duggar standards, and Katie Joy rightfully realized there was something rotten in Tonitown. However, I don’t think any of us had a clue about the seriousness of what was about to go down.

TLC cameras supposedly weren’t around to film the nuptials. That seems ominous to me, since even if they were thinking of canceling the show, one would think TLC would at least film these major events just in case they didn’t. Sounds like maybe a death knell is sounding for Counting On and the rest of the Duggar shows. I think Josh’s perversions have finally driven people to the point of lasting disgust.

Last night, as I was lying in bed about to fall asleep, I happened to see the below photo, which was shared to the Duggar Family News page…

I wonder if Elizabeth Davis is cringing yet.

Back in 2011, when Michelle had just miscarried the “doomed” 20th child, Jubilee Shalom, I kind of “lost” a longtime female friend over the Duggars. People on my Facebook page were discussing Michelle’s miscarriage and one guy, no longer a friend because several years later, he took issue when I later pointed out his misogynistic comments about Natalie Maines, cracked a tasteless quip about “19 kids and no longer counting.” My female friend– still technically a Facebook friend, but she no longer “talks” to me– got upset and shamed everyone for being insensitive to Michelle Duggar’s pain at losing a baby. This friend had publicly expressed that she “loved” and “admired” the Duggar family. Or, at least their public visage.

I was a bit annoyed by my friend’s shaming comments, and I wrote that I thought it was shitty that Michelle Duggar kept having babies, despite having so many young children who still so desperately needed her, and in spite of almost dying during her previous high drama pregnancy with Josie Duggar, who was born VERY prematurely. I thought it was very irresponsible and selfish for her to be having her 20th baby when she still had a medically fragile toddler (Josie) who needed her mother so much, in spite of all the sister-moms who were around to look after her. My “friend” deleted her comments. She didn’t unfriend me, but she doesn’t engage with me anymore.

Over the years, I’ve wondered if my old friend still “loves” the Duggar family so much that she’d ditch a longtime friend for them. Or maybe the Duggars were just an excuse. The truth is, she and I are very different, and we have rather divergent opinions about almost everything– especially politics. It’s a pity, though, because there was a time when we were good friends and had a lot of fun riding horses together.

So this morning, I woke up and checked Facebook. I was actually feeling okay, because Arran let me sleep until almost 5:00am. That’s a rare and beautiful thing, especially when Bill isn’t home. The first thing I saw was a now deleted comment that we should leave Josh alone because he’s getting “help”. Naturally, that comment caused a flood of indignant responses about what a piece of shit Josh is and how he deserves to be abused when he’s in prison. The person who made the inflammatory remark never came back to the discussion. Frankly, based on the deluge of angry and insulting comments she got, I can’t really blame her for not responding. I don’t agree with what she wrote– that Josh should be “left alone” and that he’s getting “help”– but I do think people should try to be more civilized when they interact on the Internet. Piling on someone and being rude isn’t a good way to get them to communicate. In fact, that’s a good way to squelch communication– and it’s hard to learn new things when people aren’t communicating.

Many people were saying Josh Duggar is scum of the earth and ought to be crucified. I understand the sentiment. However, I try to keep in mind that he still has a right to a fair trial. He hasn’t yet been proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. Anyone in Josh’s situation, and anyone who presumably loves and depends on Josh (ie; his soon to be seven innocent children and his long suffering wife) would want for him to have a fair and impartial adjudication. You and I would certainly want a fair trial for ourselves and/or our loved ones. I can’t blame Josh for getting the best lawyers and experts he can afford to defend himself. I’m sure he will pursue every avenue. If I was in his shoes, I would do the same. On the other hand, I don’t have any plans to hang out on the Dark Web.

Moreover, while I definitely don’t think Josh is a good person at all, I also don’t think Josh is the worst person on the planet. I can think of quite a few people who are much, much worse by far. For instance, I think Larry Nassar is a lot worse than Josh is… although given more time, I think Josh could easily approach Larry’s grossness. Larry Nassar sexually abused hundreds of elite female athletes in the name of providing “medical treatment”. To my knowledge, Josh hasn’t yet approached the sheer volume of victims Nassar has. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t try if he had the opportunity, but he’s not there yet, as far as I know. Also, Josh hasn’t killed anyone, nor have I heard of anyone killing themselves because of Josh’s actions. Nassar, on the other hand, is partially responsible for at least one suicide… maybe even two, if you consider that his former sidekick, John Geddert, recently committed suicide as the law was closing in on him. He’s probably also not as repugnant as Jeffrey Epstein was… at least not yet. Maybe they’re cut from the same cloth. Jeez… as I sit here, I can think of a bunch of really awful men who used to be thought of as okay… Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, O.J. Simpson, Jared Fogle… the list goes on and on. And those people aren’t even mass murderers. If you think about it, Josh is in the company of a whole lot of reprehensible humans with penises.

Found in the files on Josh’s computer was a reportedly horrifying video called “Daisy’s Destruction”. I have not looked up this video, but I have heard people talking about it on YouTube. I also saw someone post the general specifics of what it’s about. Make no mistake about it. Based on the very limited knowledge I have of it, it’s definitely not something decent people want to be viewing. However, while I think anyone who enjoys watching such a video is totally vile, much viler still are the people who produced and distributed it. I don’t want to go into specifics of what’s in the video or the generalities of what it took to make it. Suffice to say that to make this video, some extremely horrible, inhumane, and heartbreaking things happened… things that are just unconscionable. Anyone who enjoys viewing that kind of material is, for sure, extremely sick and depraved. But I don’t think people who view the video are worse than the people who dreamed it up, made it for public consumption, and shamelessly raked in all of the money the sick and depraved are willing to pay for it. I think the people who make and sell this stuff are worse than the people who consume it.

I also disagree with people who think Josh should be abused or killed by other inmates. I certainly don’t condone what Josh has admitted to doing in the past, or what he’s allegedly done more recently. I wouldn’t blame other inmates for wanting to hurt or kill him, simply due to what’s been reported about him. However, it’s not the inmates’ place to exact justice on others. Ideally, people in prison should be focused on paying for their own crimes, rather than punishing others. Moreover, while I personally believe Josh Duggar is probably beyond rehabilitation and he clearly has issues with harming women and girls, I don’t know that for certain. All I know is what I’ve seen and read in the media, what I know from my formal studies, and what I know from personal experience. I suspect I’m right about him, but I don’t know him personally. I’ve only seen the whitewashed version of his life on TV and the more salacious items that have been in the news.

I have always believed Josh Duggar’s parents are, at least in part, to blame for the fact that he’s so fucked up. It’s pretty plain that Josh had problems way before he was an adult. The Duggars’ response was to tell him to repress his sexuality (but offering no real help), avoid all sin, and do hard labor. They did nothing to help the victims of Josh’s abuse, but instead pressured them to forgive and forget and sweep it all under the rug so Jim Bob could get rich and famous on reality TV. I heard them say they were looking to the Lord, but their actions didn’t match their words. That’s pretty far from Christlike behavior, even though I hear them “praising God and Jesus” all the time, and cringe when I hear Michelle’s highly irritating baby voice. Maybe Josh would have still been the person he is if his parents had done more to help him, but at least if they’d tried to get him real help as well as hold him (and him ALONE) accountable for what he did to his sisters and the babysitter, he might have had a chance to become a better person.

I want to share a few interesting TikTok videos I just watched. Someone calling herself “Lawyer Carrie” just brought up a point that I think a lot of people haven’t considered. I hadn’t considered it myself, mainly because it never occurred to me. Before this morning, I had never heard of “glitter bombing“. Check this out…

@carriejernigan1

Reply to @hoodiegirl1011 This is all speculative on what various defenses we could see at a trial #lawyer #duggar #joshduggar #duggartiktok

♬ original sound – ✨LAWYER CARRIE✨
Interesting… I don’t know if it will work, given Josh’s history, but it is definitely possible the defense lawyers will try this.
Glitter bombing? That’s a new one for me… and food for thought.
I have heard of the Dark Web, because Bill got a master’s degree in cybersecurity. It’s a world I don’t want to access, but it’s not illegal to be there.

Josh Duggar is a fraud and a massive hypocrite. He’s definitely got serious issues. Anyone who listens to him is liable to come away with the idea that Josh is a smarmy, fake, narcissistic creep, and that’s not even knowing what he did to his sisters and his alleged issues with receiving and possessing CP. That being said, he’s one person among an ever expanding group of really bad people. He’s probably not the worst of the worst… yet, anyway.

This video is a load of crap that hasn’t aged well. Wonder if the interviewer is eating his words yet.

That being said, I do think it’s possible that Josh told the truth when he said someone “sent” the videos to him. When the Feds came to talk to him, Josh allegedly asked if someone was downloading CP to his computer. It sounds like if he wasn’t himself accessing the images, it’s possible he was threatened by someone and that person carried out their threats. Some people are saying that the fact that he brought that up is damning, but personally, I think if he was really viewing CP, he would be more tight-lipped about it. I definitely think this is a theory that should be thoroughly investigated, if it hasn’t been already. However, I have also read that over 90% of federal charges lead to convictions. So, the chances of Josh getting off are probably pretty small. I do think he’ll get some time in prison.

Could it be the case for Josh? Maybe…

Lawyer Carrie on TikTok has pointed out that they only found three days worth of images on one computer. It does occur to me that if Josh was really addicted and a hard core user, he probably would have a lot more bad stuff– more than just three days’ worth–, and there would be evidence of heavier usage than what has been reported. I also think he certainly could be the type of person who would piss someone off on the Dark Web and they might try to get revenge by “glitter bombing” him. The Dark Web is not known for its fair and law abiding citizens. The very fact that Josh was hanging out there is shady enough. No, it’s not illegal to be on the Dark Web, but many of the people hanging out there are up to no good and a lot of crimes get their start there. It’s possible Josh screwed someone over financially and they got back at him by pinning him with CP. But, like I said… simply hanging around on the Dark Web is suspicious and shady enough. It’s not a place where law abiding people tend to hang out much.

The fact that Josh was on the Dark Web is definitely questionable, and makes me think he’s definitely guilty of something. But… as slimy and revolting as Josh is, I do think there is a chance that someone was getting revenge on him for some reason. That doesn’t mean I think he’s completely innocent, a good person, or that he should be completely exonerated. But I do think that because he’s never been convicted of a crime before, has access to expensive lawyers and computer experts, and there may be a motive for someone to fuck him over, he might not get the decades in prison that a lot of people are hoping he gets. And I wouldn’t blame him for taking his best shot at beating the charges.

I do wonder if any of the people who used to defend the Duggars are eating their words yet. But then, I don’t think they should be too hard on themselves. The Duggars have fooled a whole lot of decent people for years. I’m sure there’s a whole lot of stuff under the surface that could come out, now that the perfect Christian facade is slipping. I feel sorry for the innocent children who are associated with this ugliness… especially Josh’s children, who are probably going to be paying dearly for the rest of their lives for their father’s reputation.

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tragedies, true crime

Death of a coward…

At about this time last year, I was reading and reviewing a lot of books about the state of U.S. women’s gymnastics. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you might know that about three years ago, former U.S. gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar, was outed for the abusive pervert he is. He’s currently sitting in a prison cell for sexually abusing hundreds of female athletes over the course of his career.

Yesterday, I became aware that high powered elite gymnastics coach, 63 year old John Geddert, who had once called Larry Nassar a friend and a colleague, was charged with a couple dozen felonies. Mr. Geddert was supposed to turn himself in for arraignment at a sheriff’s office yesterday. When he failed to show up for his 2:15pm appointment, police went looking for him. They found his dead body at 3:24pm ET at a rest stop in Grand Ledge, Michigan. The cause of death was suicide.

I guess he couldn’t face the music.

John Geddert was a successful coach, having been the coach of the 2012 women’s gymnastics Olympic team. But he was also notoriously abusive to his athletes. According to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel:

“John Geddert used force, fraud and coercion against the young athletes that came to him for gymnastics training for financial benefit to him,”

And,

“The victims suffer from disordered eating, including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and self-harm, excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even when injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault. Many of these victims still carry these scars from his behavior to this day.”

Indeed, in a number of the books I read about Larry Nassar and the huge sex abuse bombshell that was dropped on U.S. women’s gymnastics, John Geddert’s name came up frequently. He was described as the type of coach who would scream, throw things, and punish his gymnasts. Larry Nassar, by contrast, was described as quiet, gentle, and caring. The two men were said to be best friends, and Larry Nassar worked out of Geddert’s Twistars gym where he would minister to the injured girls. They would come to him looking for kindness and caring, having been beaten down by Geddert’s physically abusive tactics. It created the perfect storm for Nassar’s sexual abuse, which went under the radar for decades.

As the abuse was made public, attention shifted to John Geddert, who lied to police when he was questioned about Larry Nassar. Michigan Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark said, “Mr. Geddert knew that Nassar was sexually abusing these patients and that he failed to take action. And that when he was asked about it by police officers during the 2016 investigation into Nassar, he lied about that.”

I’m not all that surprised that Geddert killed himself. He no doubt paid close attention to what happened to Larry Nassar. He probably also paid attention to what happened to Jeffrey Epstein, the fabulously wealthy bastard who victimized and trafficked scores of girls for the pleasures of wealthy and perverted men. Epstein was about to go on trial for his crimes when he was found dead of suicide in his jail cell. There was speculation that Epstein was murdered by those who didn’t want him to talk, but the official cause of death was suicide. I think either scenario is plausible, and I’m sure Epstein felt suicide was better than a lifetime in prison. John Geddert clearly felt the same way.

Gymnasts thought of Geddert and Nassar as a “dynamic duo”.

I’m sure there’s a lot of sadness regarding this death. Many of Geddert’s victims no doubt wanted to testify in court about what happened to them. Geddert cheated them out of justice. But Geddert probably also had friends and loved ones who are legitimately shocked by all of this. I feel sad for all of them. I’ve noticed a lot of comments chastising people who express empathy for Geddert’s friends and loved ones. I won’t do that, because I think those people deserve consideration, too. As awful as abusers can be, they usually do have some people in their lives who have no idea or love them regardless… and when the abuse does come to light, they suffer, but get little empathy. So I want to go on record that I empathize with everyone personally affected by Geddert’s suicide, regardless of how and why they are affected.

I feel sad for all of the parents, too. They no doubt thought they were doing a great thing for their daughters, enrolling them in gymnastics. They put their trust in John Geddert and Larry Nassar, paying them a lot of money for the training and medical care… only to find out that they abused their gymnasts, using them for their own pleasure. I know that I would be extremely pissed off if I had a child who was abused by someone. But then to realize that I spent thousands of dollars for my child to be abused and permanently harmed– I think it would send me over the edge.

So… I send my good thoughts out to those who are upset by Geddert’s cowardly decision to take himself out. I think it’s pretty clear that he was guilty as hell. At least he won’t be hurting anyone else. But that may be small comfort for those who were hoping to see him held accountable.

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