dogs, LDS, religion, true crime, YouTube

Religion can really complicate, or even end, a person’s life…

Happy Wednesday, all. I was thinking about writing a very different post this morning, as I remember our sweet Arran. I think it’s finally sinking in for Bill and me that he’s gone. We’ve both been a little bit “blue” this week, as we realize that Arran was a constant for literally half our marriage– right down to the actual midpoint of our 20 years and 4 months together. We had Arran for 10 years and 2 months.

I’ve already had a cry this morning, as I watched a few videos on YouTube that are a dog’s eye view of a human battling breast cancer. Noyzi joined me for the last one and gazed lovingly at me. I thought maybe I’d write about how I felt after spending five months treating Arran’s lymphoma. I know there are a lot of dog folks out there who are grappling with the decision about what to do after a cancer diagnosis.

The voice they used for this dog is pretty annoying, but the dogs are adorable and so loving. Yes, this made me cry. So did the other two I watched from this channel.

But… I have decided I don’t really want to write about that today. I don’t think I’m quite ready. I’m not sorry we had five extra months with Arran, especially since he was mostly pretty well the whole time. I’m also not sorry we made the decision we did on Friday. It was time. I do miss him a lot, though. I think I will be ready to write a post about the experience as a whole soon. I suspect that many people will find it useful.

Anyway… onward to today’s topic.

Lately, I’ve heard a few tragic stories about women who married seemingly God fearing religious men, only to find out that their pious husbands are complete and total creeps. The most glaring example of such a person is Anna Duggar, who has been married to her sex pest husband, Josh, since 2008. Josh Duggar, as we know, is currently in prison for a truly disgusting crime involving sexually abusing children. He is, himself, the father of seven children with Anna. And although he hasn’t even “celebrated” a year in federal prison in Seagoville, Texas, Josh has already gotten into trouble and lost some of his “good time”. He was supposed to be released in August 2032, but now it looks like he’ll be getting out of prison in October 2032… and that’s if he doesn’t screw up again.

Josh recently got caught with a cell phone and had to spend some time in the “special housing unit”. Now, Anna can’t visit him.

Anna Duggar was raised in a Christian “fundie” cult, and she married Josh, who was also raised in a Christian “fundie” cult. She probably believed that God would provide her with a “godly” husband, who would love and protect her and their children. Instead, she got married to a criminal, had seven kids, and now has sharply limited choices. If I were Anna, I think I’d want to write a book and cash in to being married to a Duggar… but that would have its own consequences. Look at what’s happened to Prince Harry.

Josh is a creep for sure, but at least he’s not a killer. I’ve read many awful stories about women who married supposedly “Christian” men who turned out to be capable of murder. Most recently, there’s been news about a LDS dentist from Colorado named James Toliver Craig who allegedly murdered his wife, Angela.

I first heard about this case yesterday, as the news reported that Dr. Craig’s wife died rather suddenly and the dentist was being held without bond in jail. According to several news accounts, Jim Craig was having an affair. He also had issues with porn addiction and gambling, and his dental practice was being “run into the ground” by his misdeeds.

The Daily Mail is admittedly not the greatest source for information, but according to a very recent article, Angela Craig had expressed concerns about her 16 year marriage to her sister. The couple, who had six beautiful children together, appeared to be a “perfect” family. But, behind the scenes, Angela was struggling to maintain her relationship with her husband, who repaid her by being unfaithful and allegedly poisoning her to death. Every time she mentioned wanting to leave him, he somehow talked her into staying in the marriage. Not listening to her gut has, unfortunately, led her to an early grave.

Even as Angela was dying in the hospital, Dr. Craig was sending her long, “loving” messages… with no obvious clues that he was apparently behind her being hospitalized in the first place. He flew his mistress to Colorado from Texas, while Angela languished in a hospital room. Multiple news outlets have shared links to the couple’s shared Facebook account. The social media accounts paint the family as practically “perfect”, with all of the trappings of success, right down to perfect, white smiles.

If you were to go by this video, Dr. Craig might seem like a great dentist…
Mady says Dr. Craig is really “sweet and kind”. He’s been trained to come across that way. I’m sure he’s basically a competent dentist, but he’s also a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Mike likes Dr. Craig, too… or at least he did before the awful news came out this week.

I’m sure when James and Angela married, Angela had visions of him leading her to the highest echelons of Heaven, according to the Latter-day Saints’ beliefs. Mormons believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, and the couple has to be righteous, and “sealed” in the temple in order to get to the Celestial Kingdom. Children who died before they’re eight years old also go straight to the Celestial Kingdom. The first step to that highest level of glory is for a woman to marry a temple worthy man, preferably one who has served a mission for the church. I’m sure Angela thought she’d found the right man when she married James Craig, a friendly dentist who, if we’re to believe some of his customer testimonials, had a thriving business with loyal patients.

It was probably important for Angela to marry someone who had the same religious beliefs she had. I’m sure that when the couple had problems, Angela relied on her faith to help her persevere. She probably hesitated to divorce, in part, because divorcing in the LDS church can be very fraught with issues, especially a couple is “sealed”. Even a legal divorce doesn’t cancel a sealing. Men can be sealed to more than one woman, but women have to get a “cancellation of sealing”, or a “temple divorce”. They aren’t always easy to get. A lot seems to depend on who a person knows, and how much money they’ve tithed.

According to news reports, Jim Craig had a history of drugging his wife. He had drugged her on another occasion, ostensibly because he was planning to commit suicide and didn’t want her to stop him. When she was in the hospital, Angela had told her husband that she felt “drugged”. Craig’s response was,

“Given our history I know that must be triggering. Just for the record, I didn’t drug you. I am super worried though. You really looked pale before I left. Like in your lips even.”

Authorities found evidence that Craig had researched poisons on his work computer and even had some delivered to his practice. A co-worker discovered the poisons and reported finding them to the police. From ABC:

While Angela Craig was hospitalized for the final time on Wednesday, one of her husband’s business partners told a nurse about James Craig’s delivery of potassium cyanide at their medical practice, noting there was no need to have the chemical in the office, the affidavit says. The nurse then reported this to police, setting off the investigation into Angela Craig’s death.

Craig had suggested his wife was suicidal, but there were no indications of her having suicidal intentions in her medical records. When Angela Craig died on March 18th, Craig would not consent to an autopsy. He allegedly said that if the doctors couldn’t figure out what had happened to his wife when she was living, he didn’t want them poking her when she was dead. Naturally, Craig’s objections to the autopsy have now been overruled.

What does Josh Duggar have in common with Jim Craig, besides being locked up and having issues with pornography? Both are men who, on the surface, appear to be very faithful to Christian based religious beliefs. But they join a large group of religious men who turn out to be much less “godly” than they appear. The piousness is a cover up for who and what they really are. And both men are married to women who were or are determined to stay married to them, most likely because of their religious beliefs.

I’ve written at least once about Ed and Lois Smart, parents of Elizabeth Smart. The couple divorced when Ed came out as gay. I think it’s too bad that Ed couldn’t simply love the person he wanted to love, rather than spending years “faking it” in a heterosexual marriage. But, at least in the Smart family, everyone is still living. I just think it must have been very hard for the Smarts, not just because their daughter, Elizabeth, was kidnapped by a fundamentalist Mormon rapist psychopath, but also because they felt they had to live by the intrusive and restrictive rules of a religion. Lois Smart no doubt married Ed believing that he would usher her into the Celestial Kingdom someday. That can’t happen now, unless she gets a temple divorce and marries someone else who is worthy.

I don’t mean to be disrespectful. I know there are a lot of people who are very grateful to religion for helping them cope with life. However, I’ve been exposed to so many stories about people who are caught in faith related crises. Most of the people simply have issues regarding their beliefs, and whether or not they can maintain the cognitive dissonance required to keep believing in the unbelievable, as they also struggle to keep to the rules. But some people end up in truly horrifying situations that would be awful enough if religion weren’t part of them.

I mean, even if Anna Duggar weren’t a fundamentalist Christian, she’d still be struggling a lot right now. The fact that she has deep rooted religious beliefs that keep her tied to a man who will be in prison for years only complicates matters. She doesn’t have a formal education, so getting suitable work in order to support her large family is difficult. Now, she’s stuck under Jim Bob Duggar’s authority. And if she hadn’t been super religious, she might not have had seven children. I’m sure she loves all of her kids, but taking care of a family that size, especially when your husband is a notorious criminal, is an extremely difficult task… even if you do have God on your side.

And Angela Craig– just 43 years old, with plenty of time to divorce Jim Craig and find someone much better– is now dead. Her six children are now, no doubt thrust into a chaotic situation. My heart goes out to their children who are still minors, as their father is likely to be in prison for many years, if not for the rest of his life. I admit that I don’t know anything about Angela, other than what I’ve read, but I do wonder if she would have considered marrying other people who might have been better people, but weren’t members of the church.

My own husband’s experiences with religion have also led to complications. In his case, the religion was used as a parental alienation tool against him. And being in the church wasn’t very useful to him, but it cost him a lot of money in tithing and time to consider what he should be doing with his life. Ultimately, joining the LDS church didn’t save his marriage to Ex, either… but I don’t see that as a negative thing.

I think if there’s anything to learn from these cases– just two of many cases involving true crime and religion– it’s that you can’t always trust what you see on the surface. People who appear to be super religious quite often turn out to be awful people. Like anything else, they use the religion to hide what lurks deep down. According to The Daily Mail article I linked, many former patients claimed that he ripped them off by doing unnecessary work, and some wrote that the work he did wasn’t of good quality and had to be redone. But he maintained a facade of goodness, by working in an anti-bullying campaign with the Denver Police Department called “WE CAN HELP”. Yeah… it all looks good on the surface, but it’s all a front to hide something sinister and evil. Too many religious situations turn out to be abusive and hypocritical, at best.

I feel sad for Angela Craig’s family. I hope they get justice. And I hope Anna Duggar eventually wises up and divorces Josh, who, according to Katie Joy, is apparently cheating on her with a transgender inmate, anyway.

I’m not an atheist myself, but I’m really glad I’m not hyper-religious. And I’m glad Bill isn’t, either.

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law, true crime, TV, YouTube

Jared Fogle… a passenger on the Subway straight to Hell…

How’s that for a Monday morning headline? Well, that’s all I can think of, as I reflect on the three part series I watched on iTunes yesterday. As Bill was packing his bag for the rest of his TDY trip to Bavaria, I stumbled across a special called Jared From Subway: Catching a Monster. As regular readers know, I find criminals interesting, which is why I read books and watch television programs about them.

Jared Fogle in 2004.

I remembered Jared Fogle from his many ads for Subway. For fifteen years, Fogle was the spokesman for the chain restaurant after he lost 245 pounds in under a year eating two Subway sandwiches a day. I think I heard them say that Jared ate a turkey sub and a Veggie Delite every single day and walked a lot as the pounds melted from his morbidly obese frame. When Subway got wind of Jared’s big losses, they asked him to promote their company. For fifteen years, Jared– who was once an outcast in school– was the face of Subway. He became very rich and famous, and people “loved” him. Or, they loved his story, anyway.

Jared Fogle in 2006, before the truth came out about him.

Now, I am not actually a fan of Subway. I don’t remember the last time I ate at one. I could probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve eaten at Subway. But Jared Fogle’s ads were everywhere for fifteen years, so of course I’d heard of him. Still, I was surprised and disgusted when the news came out about his penchant for molesting middle school aged children.

Suddenly, that winning facade fell apart, and Jared’s mansion was raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He had married and had two very young children with his second wife, Katie McLaughlin, when his bubble burst. Currently, he is incarcerated at FCI Englewood in Jefferson County, Colorado, where he’s serving a sentence of fifteen years and eight months for traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, and distribution and receipt of child pornography. When he is released, he will be compelled to submit to supervision for the rest of his life. He also had to pay $175,000 in fines, forfeit $50,000 and $1.4 million in restitution.

Lots of people emulated Jared Fogle and also lost weight.

If and when Fogle is released, I suspect he will reoffend. Most sex offenders do. Hell, sex offender Josh Duggar is currently in the news because he got caught with a cell phone, causing him to lose some of his “good time”, and get sent to the special housing unit (SHU). Sex offenders, unfortunately, have a tendency to reoffend once they have the opportunity. They have problems with impulse control. In Jared, it’s obvious in many ways, even though he did manage to lose a stunning amount of weight by trading burgers for light sub sandwiches.

In one sitting, I watched Jared From Subway: Catching a Monster on iTunes, and learned the story about how Jared Fogle was caught. He’d made friends with a single mother of two and radio, Rochelle Herman, from Sarasota, Florida. In 2006, Herman had been asked by representatives from the American Heart Association to interview Fogle. At the time, no one knew about his dark impulses. The two became acquaintances. Initially, Fogle had been very personable and flirtatious. Rochelle told him about her children, mentioning that her daughter had wanted to meet him.

Just before their on camera interview began, Jared Fogle leaned over to Rochelle and told her how “hot” he thought middle school aged kids were. Naturally, Rochelle was flabbergasted. She did independent research to try to find out if there were any hints of what a deviant Jared seemed to be after he said those words to her. She found nothing.

For some reason, Rochelle Herman then decided that she–herself– needed to get him on tape saying those words, instead of simply reporting him to the police and letting them handle it. So, even though he made her skin crawl, Rochelle kept talking to Jared Fogle. However, she never told him she was taping him, so what she was doing was actually illegal, and would have been inadmissible in a court of law. She found this out later, when she did get Fogle on tape, talking about his attraction to children.

FBI agents told Rochelle that in order to avoid prosecution, she needed to work with them and say the “right” things so that the evidence could be used to bring Fogle to justice. So, at great personal cost, Rochelle Herman did just that. She recorded Fogle, as he grew more and more comfortable with telling her things. What he said was more and more disturbing, and Rochelle had to act like she was just fine with it all.

The special actually featured some of the recordings, which were pretty stomach turning. I’m sure they didn’t share the worst of what Fogle ever said to Herman. He spoke of doing things like going to supposedly more permissive Thailand to satisfy his desires, but he also wanted to offend at home. At one point, Herman even tried to set up a “sting” of sorts, using the guise of a fake birthday party for her son as a way to draw him out. Fogle even asked about “cute” friends her kids had. Unfortunately, the operation couldn’t happen, because Fogle’s schedule wouldn’t allow him to attend.

Piers Morgan interviews Jared before his fall from grace. I’m amazed by how very “normal” he seems.

Herman said that she’s suffered a lot because of Fogle. She developed health problems that caused her great physical pain, forcing her into a wheelchair. She now requires strong painkillers to deal with her illness. Her daughter became very angry and alienated and, it seemed from the special, that her daughter is now estranged. Rochelle’s son still talks to his mom, but he moved to Taiwan. And Rochelle says she’s “haunted” by the awful conversations she had with Fogle, and the strain of trying to act like she was okay with what he said and did.

Aside from Jared Fogle, there was another player in this drama. Fogle started a foundation for promoting healthy eating. He hired a man named Russell Taylor to run the organization. Taylor, and his wife, Angela, were raising Angela’s daughters from a previous relationship, Christian and Hannah. It turned out that couple was just as slimy as Jared was, as Russell had set up secret cameras all through their home, spying on Angela’s daughters and their friends. Taylor was also sending material depicting bestiality. The couple were producing illegal materials which they were sending to Fogle. Russell Taylor and his now ex wife, Angela, are in prison, too.

I’ve really just scratched the surface of this story, which I know will be too triggering and “gross” for many people to stomach. I thought the series was very well done and compelling, but I also suspect that a lot of people will find it very distasteful viewing on many levels. I’m just glad that Rochelle Herman had the courage to speak up about Jared Fogle. In fact, as of 2010, she and Fogle had lost touch, and she grew impatient with law enforcement. She went to the local police department and threatened to air the story on her radio show if something wasn’t done about him. It was another five years before Fogle was finally busted.

Aside from his time behind bars– albeit in a low security facility– and all of the money he had to pay, Jared Fogle’s second wife, Katie, divorced him. He paid her about $7 million in their divorce settlement.

A few years ago, someone named Steven beat the crap out of Jared in prison.

As revolting as I find Jared Fogle now, there’s a part of me that feels a little sad for him. Here was a guy who had been very fat from his childhood days. I don’t know why he got so fat, but my guess is that he might have also been abused as a child. He grew up a social outcast, even though he seemingly came from a good family. Something amazing happened to him, when he managed to lose weight by walking and eating Subway sandwiches. Suddenly, he was doing something good– and had become a role model to millions of people, some of whom emulated him and also lost weight. He had money, fame, and power. But because he had these dark impulses and deviant urges, he lost it all. Now, he’s completely disgraced, and his life is mostly ruined.

Jared’s last commercial for Subway… the real ending is not this happy at all.

This doesn’t mean I don’t think Jared Fogle is exactly where he belongs. Clearly, the man should be in prison. He certainly can’t be trusted around children. But I do wonder what in the world happened to him when he was a child. Maybe things could have been different for him. As repulsive as Jared Fogle’s crimes are, I hate to see wasted potential in anyone. I think his story is absolutely awful, but it’s also so tragic on many levels, not just for him, but for everyone who believed in him. And, of course, I also feel sad for all of his victims, and his own two children, who have to live with the stigma associated with Jared Fogle.

On another note… there are some absolutely terrible memes about Jared Fogle. People can be so sick and twisted!

You can read more about the series I watched here.

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home, technology

My big time office makeover…

The featured photo is of my new setup for my old computer, and the snazzy new lighting strip. I can control the lights from my computer (home app). They’re pretty cool.

Yesterday ended up being very busy. I ordered a bunch of stuff for my office, and most of it showed up yesterday. It started with a slim dock port I got for the new computer, so I would have some ports that could handle my old peripherals until it’s time to replace them with USB C type devices. Then I got a new table for my old computer. I was going to add the old machine to my pile of discarded computers, but then I determined that I might be able to use the old computer for media… making videos, playing music, watching movies or videos etc.

The new table is very nice. It’s made of solid pine, and has a lovely aroma of fresh wood. I was in the middle of putting it together when my new HomePod Mini showed up with a smart socket and smart Nanoleaf strip lights. I hadn’t planned to buy the socket or the lights, but Apple did a successful suggestive sell move. I’m actually glad I bought the strip lights, because they look really cool and offer much needed lighting to my usually dim workspace.

I spent about an hour putting the table together, mostly screwing in the forty screws it took. It’s perfect for what I needed it for, but putting it together came with a price. I got two blisters on my right palm. It was also quite an effort to get it upstairs to my room. The thing weighs a lot. It’ll probably last for the rest of my life, though.

After I got the table set up, I put the old computer on it, and started configuring things. I unpacked the light strip and wondered where I should put it. Then I realized it was just about the right length to go around the front of the new table. Now, I have new lighting on my new table holding the old computer.

Meanwhile, I’ve been slowly setting up the new computer, which is turning out to be more difficult than I expected. Starting with the new VESA arm and ending with transferring files– mostly music files, some of which are on CDs– has been a real pain. For some reason, even though Apple still sells the SuperDrive (with the USB connection), I had to buy a special connection to get it to work on the new computer. And even then, there’s no telling if it actually will work. Half the time, when I try to import a CD, the Internet gets knocked offline.

I will say this, though… When the Internet is robust, and I have all of the speakers going, it really sounds good. The trouble is, our Internet has become very fragile lately. This was a problem even before I got the new computer. My next upgrade will be a CD tower for all of the CDs I’ve accumulated since we’ve been in Germany. I don’t buy them unless the music is something I really want in my collection and I can’t download it. I have a whole lot of CDs in storage, too. If I ever move back to the USA and live in my own house, I’ll have a wall full of them.

I actually moved my old office chair back into my workspace. It works better than the new one Bill got me for Christmas. I put that one in the entertainment/Noyzi’s room. Someday, maybe we’ll use that room more often than we do.

By the time I’d written two fresh blog posts and practiced guitar, I was pretty exhausted. When Bill got home, he walked the dogs. Today, I’m not expecting any deliveries, so I plan to walk the dogs. The exercise will do us all some good, although Arran looks like he’s getting kind of tired. He seems determined to stay with us for as long as he possibly can. He truly adores us on a rare level. Unfortunately, the lymphoma will eventually win.

This post is probably not that interesting to most people. I could be writing snark about the Duggars, especially Josh– who appears to have gotten into some trouble in prison. I haven’t read Jinger Vuolo’s book, and I probably won’t, because to me, it seems like she traded one cult for another.

I could also write about Timmy Rodrigues, who has apparently found himself a partner for courting… I could write about that, but I don’t care enough about it to watch the videos. Or, I’ve just been busier than usual. That could be a very snarky post. Maybe Toni will come back to chastise me. 😀

Meh, we’ll see. I’d like to get to a point at which I feel comfortable and functional with my new equipment. I sure have more computers than I ever thought I would. It’s hard to believe there was a significant portion of my life when I didn’t even have ONE computer. Now, I have six of them… and three of them don’t really work anymore and need to be ditched.

Yeah… I’ve been unusually busy this week. I hope the building projects will be finished soon.

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music, narcissists, Neighbors, politicians, politics, reviews, YouTube

Lauren Boebert’s family are allegedly not good neighbors… and more!

Happy Sunday, y’all. Once again– lots I could be writing about today, and this post will probably diverge a bit, because I’m not sure I can fill a proper post with stuff about the ever disappointing Lauren Boebert and her raucous clan in Colorado. However, I feel impressed to share the below video by MeidasTouch, which I discovered on YouTube this morning and… sorry, it’s really not funny for the hapless 911 caller, but I did laugh a lot. He made it sound like a scene from any reality TV show. Pure madness!

OMG… Lauren’s husband and sons sound like a bunch of total howler monkeys. I particularly cracked up when the first caller called Jayson Boebert a jackass and told him to get the fuck out of there.

Neighbors from hell are one of life’s biggest nightmares, even if you live in a detached house and don’t have to share walls. The folks in this recording sound like they are at the ends of their proverbial ropes. It makes me appreciate cold passive aggression I have experienced from certain neighbors… and landladies. I’ve said it before– it’s NOT a punishment to be shunned by an asshole. Too bad the Boeberts aren’t the type to deliver the silent treatment. What makes it worse is that they’re heavily armed with weapons, and apparently Jayson Boebert is threatening everyone. We know Lauren is a fan of guns, so anything can happen.

Here’s hoping the Boeberts get what is coming to them, as their orange turd hero, Trump, goes down in flames. Or… so I pray for, as the world finds out that Trump stole highly classified documents and apparently thinks the law doesn’t apply to him. It sounds to me like the Boeberts are cut from the same ignorant, entitled, TACKY cloth.

Moving on…

Yesterday, I watched Fundie Fridays’ most recent video, which was a repost after she was forced to take down an older version. Lawson Bates– a country singer and one of Gil Bates’ many children– hit Jen’s channel with copyright strikes, which she says threatened its very existence. But common sense prevailed, and Jen didn’t lose her channel. Better yet, she was able to repost the below video, which I have to say, made me die laughing… especially at the end when she spoofs a country song, complete with pink cowboy hat, toy horse, and fake guitar playing.

You have to watch the end of this. HILARIOUS. I love Jen’s uninhibited sense of fun and sharp witted humor.

In the above video, Jen talks a lot about the Bates family. Before Josh Duggar’s mighty fall from grace, the Bates were riding on the Duggar family’s coattails. They seemed poised to take over the realm, as Gil Bates comes across as somewhat more pleasant and friendly than Jim Bob does. But– I think Josh’s disgusting perversions and their long affiliations with the Duggars have made the Bates family somewhat more tarnished, so they have also lost their reality TV show(s). The Bates were actually on two networks– TLC and UpTV– and they had two shows, neither of which I ever watched. But I do remember them from the Duggars’ show, which I did watch for awhile, then got bored with, then watched again as the girls started “courting”.

Anyway, the Bates are only an aside to what I want to comment on next. In her video, Jen does a short snippet about purity culture and purity rings. Apparently, Gil presented one of his daughters with a purity ring and told her he wanted to wear it until she found herself a good Christ lovin’, Bible thumpin’, father obeying man to marry. As she was playing that clip, Jen played this schmaltzy sounding music, to which she sang along. She declared the song, which I later determined to be the 2015 song “Always Love You” by a singer-songwriter named Tyrone Wells, “disgusting”. I have to admit, the part she played was pretty cringeworthy. Below is the video, followed by the lyrics.

He has sort of a acoustic pop sound, with obviously Christian friendly lyrics.

In my eyes you’ll always be
Princess and the world to me
Wonderful than any twinkling star
I will guard your innocence
All I ask in recompense is that
You know the truth inside your father’s heart
I hope you remember
Don’t you dare forget
I will always love you
I will always love you

It’s just a simple truth
And what else could I do?
I will always love you

You will grow up way too fast
And leave me wishing for the past
Back when you were still a daddy’s girl
So I’ll hold onto the memories of
The little girl upon my knee that
Little girl that forever changed the world
I hope you remember
Don’t you dare forget
I will always love you
I will always love you

It’s just a simple truth
And what else could I do?
I will always love you

And when your heart breaks
My heart will break
When your dreams come true
My dreams do
It doesn’t matter what you’re going through
I will always love you
I will always love you
It’s just a simple truth
What else could I do?

I will always love you
Oh, I will always love you
Sometimes you will fly
Sometimes you will fall
And till the day I die
Daughter, through it all
I will always love you

I will always love you
I will always love you

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Tyrone Wells

The part Jen plays and sings to is this:

I will guard your innocence
All I ask in recompense is that
You know the truth inside your father’s heart

I agree, on the surface, it does sound gross– like the weird fundie father “purity ring” bullshit that gets pushed. But I listened to the whole song, and on the whole, I disagree that it’s “disgusting”. It has a nice melody, and Wells has a pleasant voice, even if it does sound like most of the other male pop singers out there today. Just as a quick aside– I really miss the days when we had more distinctive singers who didn’t sound so “perfect”. I don’t like autotune, and I hate that so many popular singers are indistinguishable from other singers, with so many electronic sleights of hand and wizardry to completely alter organic sound. But again, I don’t think “Always Love You” is a particularly gross or disgusting song. Just those three specific lines, when paired with video of a weepy Gil Bates giving his daughter a purity ring, are kind of yucky. I mean, I’m married to a man who has a huge, loving heart. No, he can’t sing, but I can see him expressing this kind of love to his daughters. Or, at least the one who speaks to him.

And finally, speaking of Ex…

Apparently, Ex is now an expert on what makes marriages work. I guess, when you’ve had three husbands, and your adoptive mother has been divorced seven times, you do get an education of sorts. I didn’t think this quip was enough to base a whole blog post on, but I did have a good chuckle at this comment she tweeted about married characters on her favorite TV show. Someone had asked if she thought a time traveling couple would have lasted in marriage. I don’t watch the show myself, so I have no idea… but Ex’s comment did make me pause for a guffaw.

I don’t, actually. Frank and Claire had different things driving them. Even if they had a good sex life, it would not have held their marriage together. It takes a deeper, truer love to make marriage work in the long term.

I dunno… from what I’ve heard, she and #3 don’t have a marriage like that. They HAVE been together for 20 years, but it’s probably because #3 knows Ex alienates her children from their fathers; he can’t afford to pay her child support; and she may have actually convinced him that he can’t do better. She almost convinced Bill of that, even though it’s preposterous! As for sex… it’s true that she is adventurous, but it comes at a huge price that can potentially leave literal scars. My guess is that nowadays, she’s too busy watching TV and fantasizing about celebrities to do much rational thinking. As we know, narcissists aren’t really capable of true love, so I think she may be speaking out of her ass again. I remain grateful to her, though, because by divorcing Bill, she gave me the chance to find a deep, true love. <3 And we’ve managed to have that, even without a “great sex life”.

Even if what she says is technically true, in her case, it’s pure book smarts. Because I am convinced that she’s never experienced deep, true love. She has experienced infatuation, lust, and maybe attachment related to narcissism, which switches on and off at the drop of a hat. But she doesn’t know love… and she doesn’t give love. She’s about possession and loyalty binds, and if a person dares think for themselves, they will be cast aside, ostracized, and smeared. Not very loving, is it.

So ends today’s post. Bill is bottling beer today. I feel better than I did yesterday, so maybe we’ll do something. Or maybe not. We’ll see.

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celebrities, narcissists, royals, YouTube

Things that make my “alarms” go off…

It’s been quite a morning so far. Arran woke me up at about 2:30am, because he needed to pee. I got up and let him out, then tried to go back to sleep. I had minimal luck falling asleep again, so I wasn’t completely out when the fucking smoke alarm went off at 4:00am. I only used the stove at lunchtime, so I knew there wasn’t a fire. It was probably dying batteries that caused the thing to go off. Why does that always happen when Bill is out of town?

I distinctly remember in 2014, when we were living in Texas, and Bill was mere weeks from retiring from the Army. He went to Tennessee to visit his father for what turned out to be the last time. I stayed home to take care of the dogs for several reasons. First: we couldn’t spare the money for housing the dogs, since he was about to be out of a job. Second: the pump on the pool was broken, and someone needed to stay home and make sure it didn’t leak water everywhere. And third: I didn’t feel welcome there, and wasn’t interested in sitting around talking about Ex the whole time.

While Bill was gone on that trip, the smoke alarms, which were hardwired to the house, began to malfunction. They went off in the middle of the night, waking me from a deep sleep. There were a bunch of them in the house, and I couldn’t tell which one was malfunctioning, as if one went off, they all did. So I had to go and unplug each one of them so they wouldn’t keep going off at inopportune times. I know the smoke alarm thing happened another time, too, because I remember having to turn it off and being extremely annoyed about it. I know smoke alarms save lives, but goddamn, they can also be ANNOYING.

Anyway, since I was now wide awake at 4:00am, I got up and fed the dogs, made coffee, and started a few household chores– laundry, dishes, and picking up poop in the backyard. Then I went back to the bedroom and watched a few more YouTube videos, to include one by H.G. Tudor. H.G. Tudor has a podcast about narcissism on YouTube. He also has a Web site, has written books, and is supposedly himself a narcissist. I’m not sure when I discovered this self-described malignant narcissist. It might have been around the time I was watching videos by Jesus Enrique Rosas, “The Body Language Guy“. Rosas, as I have written before on this blog, is no fan of Meghan Markle’s, and he frequently makes rather negative videos about her, and her body language.

YouTube’s algorithms suggest videos that are like ones you frequently watch on the platform. So, if you binge watch bodycam videos about drunk drivers, you can bet that YouTube will suggest more of the same for you on different channels. I don’t watch Jesus Enrique Rosas as often lately, because I’ve fallen down the cop cam rabbit hole, but for some reason, I still get suggestions to watch H.G. Tudor’s podcast. And, I have to admit, I often take the bait. In fact, as I’m writing this, I’m listening to the man talk about Lilibet Diana, daughter of Harry and Meghan. Of course, Tudor never refers to Meghan by her name. Instead, he calls her “Harry’s wife” or the Duchess of Sussex.

Hmmm…

H.G. Tudor claims that he is an expert on narcissism, because he is a narcissist himself. I don’t know if he is or isn’t a narcissist. Personally, I have my doubts, since Tudor is quite astute on the topic of narcissistic personality disorder, and most narcissists are either oblivious, or don’t care, how egregiously terrible their behavior is. But maybe Tudor really is a narcissist. I don’t know– but I will state that although he offers consultations for paying clients, I would not want to enter into a business agreement with someone who describes themselves as a narcissist. Narcissists don’t play fair. It’s kind of like the old story about the frog and the scorpion. Bill and I have had enough dealings with narcissists to know that it’s not a good idea to do business with them. Someone who self-describes themselves as a malignant narcissist is not someone with whom I want to take any chances.

A rare video that isn’t about Harry and his wife…

I must admit, though, that Tudor’s podcasts are always interesting. He has a pleasing speaking voice, which is refined and British. He also has a cheeky English styled wit, referring to the “Harkles'” California hometown as “Monte-shitshow”, and sometimes using funny or snarky voices to make his points. I also genuinely think Tudor is insightful, and he confirms a lot of what we have experienced, dealing with less obvious narcissists. I hear a lot of truth in his discussions about their behaviors, motivations, and effects on other people. So obviously, H.G. Tudor knows a lot about narcissism, and for a malignant narcissist, he does seem to be unusually empathic, in terms of understanding why dealing with them is so difficult and hurtful. Nevertheless, below is a blurb he evidently wrote about himself, explaining his qualifications:

I am H.G. Tudor. I am a narcissistic sociopath (some state psychopath – this remains a matter of debate by the profession concerning the current application of sociopath or psychopath). By my terminology, I am a Greater Elite Narcissist. You will learn here what that means along with all about the other types of narcissists and empaths too. I convey this is an effective manner based on my perspective. I know what I am and I know the best way to communicate this to you. I am a very effective communicator. I write extensively about what this means and what I am. I have practiced this dark art for many years, I have honed and crafted my abilities. I am aware of what I am and I am engaged in understanding why I am this way and why I act as I do. I am sharing these ongoing revelations.

It’s important to remember the difference between empathy and sympathy. Sympathy involves understanding an issue or a problem from your own perspective and having pity. Empathy relates to imagining yourself in the other person’s situation and understanding why THEY may have certain feelings. When Tudor speaks about Meghan and Harry, I hear empathy for both of them, even though he clearly dislikes Meghan very much, and only seems to have marginally more regard for Harry.

Another sample of H.G. Tudor’s wares.

To me, Tudor seems “empathic” on some levels, which I would never expect from someone with NPD or sociopathic traits. Most narcissists know how to talk a good game, but they are too self-absorbed to truly grasp other people’s feelings or motivations. I don’t think a person necessarily has to have positive regard for another person to be able to empathize with them. What is required is being able to put oneself in another person’s shoes and see things from their perspective. Tudor does seem quite able to do that, even though he claims to be a narcissistic sociopath– but apparently he’s the “good” kind. I don’t think there is such a thing as a benevolent or “good” narcissistic sociopath, so I hesitate to believe that he actually is one. However, since he claims to be one, as he also claims to be an expert, that leaves me rather reluctant to give him any attention, since attention is what narcissists crave, and their focus is never on anyone but themselves.

An unusually insightful video about narcissists and their behaviors by H.G. Tudor. It’s videos like these that make me doubt that he’s really what he claims to be.

So, you see why I’m ambivalent about trusting H.G. Tudor? I suspect there’s some false advertising going on here. While I would agree that a lot of issues are better understood by people who have gone through them personally, I don’t think narcissism is one of them. Narcissists, by definition, are extremely self-involved, lack emotional depth, and are completely devoid of insight regarding themselves, or other people. In any case, I don’t want to do business with a narcissist, even though I obviously have, on many occasions. I’d rather avoid them when I can. Which tells me that maybe I shouldn’t give H.G. Tudor any hits on his YouTube channel… but I do, because, like I said, he’s got an entertaining style. Perhaps it’s that famous narcissistic charm at work. And again, this is just my opinion, based on personal experience.

I don’t believe there are many truly evil people in the world, anyway. Even people who engage in behaviors as revolting as Josh and Jim Bob Duggar have, do usually have some redeeming qualities. Even Donald Trump, who is a very famous and obvious narcissist, has some good things about him. From my perspective, he’s made a lot of people stop being so complacent about voting. Maybe that’s a bad thing when it comes to motivating voters who don’t agree with my choices in the voting booth, but I actually think everyone should vote. I think they should vote their consciences, too, even if it means Trump or someone worse gets elected. Because telling people they’re voting “wrong” is a sure way to polarize them, and drive them to extremes. Maybe, if certain high-minded, voter shaming, ivory tower liberal types hadn’t been so condescending to more conservative people, we wouldn’t be in the incredible “shitshow” we’re in right now. I, for one, would like things to be much more middle of the road. I doubt I’m alone in that wish. But I really think that a lot of the mess we’re in has come about because people are, in general, disrespectful and selfish, and are most concerned with “winning”, even if the prize isn’t really worth having. To be clear– I am ABSOLUTELY done with voting Republican… at least until the other side sinks to the same level and the Republicans start to look better. Sorry… I can’t rule it out. I think the political parties matters less than the people within them. Right now, the Republican Party is loaded with horrible assholes who don’t care about the little people. But I’m not delusional enough to miss the idea that the Democrats could easily be just as terrible. Narcissistic, power hungry, unempathetic people are attracted to positions of power, and the Dems are just as guilty as the Repubs are.

Aw hell, who am I kidding? I have a tendency to mindlessly listen to endless YouTube videos when I’m not busy doing housework, acting like a housewife, making mediocre music, or writing pointless blog posts. So I’ll probably keep consuming H.G. Tudor’s distinctly British thoughts about Harry and Harry’s Wife. At the very least, they are entertaining, and in my opinion, quite insightful looks at what might really be going on in “Monte-shitshow”. To be honest, I’ve never had a great impression of Meghan Markle. I tried to like her at first, and hoped Harry really did find a soul mate in her. But she makes all of my high conflict personality alarms go off, and I now realize that when those alarms go off, I have to listen to them. When I don’t, I’m always sorry in the long run. Now, Meghan’s and Harry’s marriage doesn’t affect me personally… unless Meghan gets it in her head that SHE needs to run for POTUS. Stranger things have happened. I fear that if Meghan got in office, she could be an incarnation of the left wing version of Trump… or maybe Sarah Palin. And God knows, we don’t need any more of that.

Maybe Meghan will turn out to be more like Ex, in that her big ideas often wind up being overcome by events… but seeing as how she’s managed to bag a prince, that seems unlikely.

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