music, videos, YouTube

Fundie Fridays’ annual Halloween special about the Rodrigues family is hysterical!

And a very good Saturday morning to you, readers, as I recover from watching Fundie Fridays’ latest episode about Jill Rodrigues and her clan of kids. Jill Rodrigues, if you don’t know, is a woman who has big blonde hair and wears tons of makeup. She has a huge passel of children, and makes them sing homophobic songs. She has a sister who is quadriplegic, due to a car accident. Her husband has a brother who is paraplegic, due to a car accident. Her daughter, Nurie, and Nurie’s husband, Nathan Keller (Anna Keller Duggar’s brother), were in a car accident last year with their infant son. None were wearing seatbelts or in the appropriate car seat. So far, they aren’t paralyzed, but Nurie is expecting again.

I could go on and on about the many strange features of Jill Rodrigues and her constant chase of relevance and fame. Luckily, I don’t have to do that, because Jen and James of Fundie Fridays on YouTube have made a hilarious video. I just watched it and, I must say, Jen and James are really upping their games. I am in awe of their talent and courage. It’s not easy for most people to risk being funny, because humor doesn’t always go the way you hope it will. But, at least in my opinion, they really hit the mark with their latest video, which I am linking below.

I am impressed by Fundie Fridays. They keep getting better and better!

I especially howled when she showed the Rodrigues kids swimming in a sewer drain. I mean… yeah, maybe it was fun, but it was still kind of shitty… Today’s featured photo, by the way, is Tim, another Rodrigues kid, doing a fully clothed flip into a canal. Tim is famous for stating that if he weren’t related to his sisters, he’d be dating them, because they are so “Godly”. He’s about 25 years old, and laments that he isn’t married yet. I can’t imagine why… /sarcasm.

Hmmm… he’d date his sisters, and his mother is a fundie shill for Plexus. Attractive qualities in a mate… Seriously, though, I know he means that he thinks his sisters are lovely and “Godly”, and he’d like to find a woman like them. His wording is just a little weird, is all.

I don’t really follow the Rodrigues family at all. What I know about them, I know because I follow the Duggar Family News page and because of Fundie Fridays. I might be inclined to learn about them on my own, especially if I was younger, but since Jen does such a good job on that task herself, I don’t see why I need to add myself to the official snarkers. I’m sure if I did follow, it would only offend and upset me, and I’ve got enough of that going on when I read the news sites. So I will leave it all up to Jen and James, who are brilliant, funny, creative, and informative. And I will occasionally post blogs about them, so you can discover their genius, too. They really do have a lot of fun on their channel, and it’s fun to watch them.

Moving on to another YouTuber I watch sometimes…

This week, I learned that Barney the Dinosaur, that damnable purple demon from Hell out of the early 1990s, has a dark side. Or, rather, the woman who created him, and her son, have dark sides. A week ago today, Dr. Todd Grande’s video, “Did Barney Terrorize Viewers for Years?”, appeared on YouTube. I watched it, and learned new things.

Now, in 1992, when Barney was conquering the world with his moronic song, “I Love You, You Love Me”, I was 20 years old. I was too old for Barney. Even if I had been a child in those days, I would have hated Barney. He was highly annoying. But I didn’t know the history of this… icon… until I watched Dr. Grande’s excellent and informative video a few days ago. It’s all about Barney and Friends, a PBS marvel that captivated so many small children, as well as a few adults.

Now the story CAN be told!

I see from Dr. Grande’s YouTube comments that a lot of people did love Barney when they were very little. He was innocent, uncomplicated, and non threatening. I think my disdain for Barney is due to his annoying voice and weird dance moves. But I guess I can see why small children liked him. I just wasn’t one myself when he was a thing. Maybe it’s the same thing as me loving to watch The Brady Bunch well into middle age. It’s escapism to a simpler time, when problems on TV could be solved in 26 minutes. I’m sure people who loved Barney feel somewhat similarly.

In any case, before I saw this video, I did not know that Barney’s story had a dark side. Now, thanks to Dr. Grande’s reporting and analysis, I know more about how this purple dinosaur came to be, and the people who were behind his creation. It is a very interesting tale, especially given that boy who inspired his mother to dream up Barney, went on to a life of crime. You should watch the video for the lowdown on that story.

I’m grateful to Todd Grande and Fundie Fridays, for giving me something to watch besides anti-Trump political rants, analyses of Meghan Markle’s obvious narcissism, and bodycam videos by cops. It’s obvious to me that Dr. Grande and Fundie Fridays are throwing some shade, which is to be expected when one becomes “popular” in any form of media.

And finally…

A couple of days ago, while Bill was still gone, my Aunt Gayle sent me the lyrics to the beautiful song, “Bill”, from the musical, Show Boat. I don’t think she realized that I knew and loved the song, but she obviously could see how the lyrics would fit my own perspective. “Bill” is a song about a plain, everyday guy, who doesn’t seem impressive on the outside, but is actually quite wonderful. I don’t totally agree with the song’s lyrics. For instance, I am often impressed by my Bill’s brain. And I would never sit on Bill’s knees, because I would hurt him if I did that. But yes– the song rings true to me. So I decided to do it. Here’s MY YouTube video… in which I don’t opine or speak or show my face, other than in pictures. It may still provoke controversy, but at least it’s a nice tribute to my husband, who is “just my Bill”.

This is a cool photo, because you can’t tell that I’m missing a tooth. This was taken after I had a baby tooth pulled, and not long before I had my implant put in. I still have a baby tooth that will probably need to be replaced with an implant at some point.

Our 20th wedding anniversary is next month, so I’ll probably make another video for that. But this was a nice song to try. We’ll see how long it lasts, and how many hits it gets. But I don’t make videos for hits. I just like to sing, and that’s my outlet. If other people enjoy my efforts, that’s a nice bonus.

Condolences, by the way, to Carly Simon, who lost both of her sisters this week within a day of each other. Oldest sister, Joanna, was 85 years old and had been fighting thyroid cancer. Next oldest sister, Lucy, had been battling breast cancer for a long time before succumbing at age 82. Carly, herself, has had breast cancer. And the youngest sibling, Peter, died in 2018 at age 71 of a cardiac arrest, but he, too, had cancer. That damnable illness is EVERYWHERE.

Well, I think that about does it for today’s post. Hope you all have a fabulous day. The sun is out here, so maybe if Arran isn’t feeling too icky, we’ll go out for a while and look for some nice fall foliage.

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controversies, Duggars, nostalgia, Russia, safety, silliness

I kept my kid rear facing until he was sixteen! Give me a cookie!

Now that the pandemic restrictions are slowly fading away, people are starting to go back to their old favorite soapboxes. I’m starting to see less lecturing about public health guidelines regarding viruses. And, after our glorious minimally COVID intrusive French break, I am feeling a lot better about some things.

I say “some things”, because I’m going to have to call up USAA again and bitch at them for wrongly blocking my debit card due to “suspicious activity”. They unceremoniously put a block on the card last night as I was trying to make a purchase from a vendor I use fairly often. I don’t know if it’s because I had a travel alert because we went away for a few days, or just because… but this happens to me fairly frequently, and I’m at the point now at which I’m thinking it’s time to consider finding a new bank. Perhaps we need one that is more local. I suggested that in 2014, but Bill didn’t agree. Anyway, I have to call them today, and I hate having to do that. It’s a pain in the ass. Edited to add: as I was writing this, I got an automated call from USAA, many hours after the fact, asking me to confirm the activity. Supposedly, my card is open… so maybe I can make my purchases now. I’ll give it a try later, when I can call USAA immediately and get help if it doesn’t work.

Now… on to today’s topic. I follow the Duggar Family News Group on Facebook. It’s often entertaining, and sometimes there are some great books recommended there. I also enjoy a lot of the snark regarding fundie Christian families such as the Duggars. I guess it was a natural progression, since I’m less interested in snarking on Mormons lately, even if I do still intensely dislike Mormonism (but not Mormons, in general).

This morning, someone posted one of their Facebook memories, in light of the recent car accident involving Nathan and Nurie (Rodrigues) Keller. I posted about the accident, myself, a few weeks ago. It seems that Nathan and Nurie, who have a baby boy, did not have their infant in a car seat at all. Nathan was cited.

Naturally, news of the accident generated a lot of chatter from other Duggar Family News followers, especially since Nurie’s parents, Jill and David Rodrigues, both have siblings who are permanently disabled due to serious car accidents. Jill’s sister has been a quadriplegic since 2015, while David’s brother is reportedly a paraplegic. I don’t know much about the specifics involving those accidents, but it would seem to me that, under those circumstances, car safety should be more of a priority in the Rodrigues family than it apparently is. But this post is less about how I think the Rodrigues and Keller families should be more cognizant of safety, than it is about the public ego stroking that goes on any time someone brings up the subject of car seats.

Someone posted that the below image came up in their memories the other day, and they decided to share it with the group:

Yikes!

This is the video referenced in the above image.

Blood flows red on the highway!

Now… I want to make it very clear that I am not against people being as safe as possible when they’re driving. It’s true that I have always hated wearing seatbelts, but I wear them anyway, because Bill turns into Pat Boone if I don’t. But aside from that, I’m not an idiot. I know that seatbelts and car seats save lives. This is not a rant about car seat safety, five point harnesses, or rear facing children for as long as possible… although I’m pretty sure I would have puked a lot if that had been the rule when I was a child. I tend to get motion sickness when I ride backwards. But what’s a little vomiting when your life is at stake, right?

This rant is about what happens when people share these things on social media. It practically turns into a circle jerk of self-congratulations, as poster after poster brags about how strict they are about car safety with their own kids. In fact, looking on YouTube, the same phenomenon is happening among commenters there. So many people are boasting about how safety conscious they are, patting themselves on the back. They are probably at a higher risk of breaking their arms that way, than in a car accident.

Here’s a sampling of the comments on YouTube.

The comments on the Facebook post are very similar to the ones above. Based on the self-congratulatory mood of these responses, one could be led to believe that everybody who’s anybody rear faces their kids, their husbands, their wives, their pets, and would also rear face themselves, if they didn’t have to drive! And these threads almost always devolve into segues about how long to keep kids in booster seats, harnesses, and what not. I’m surprised people haven’t started making their toddlers wear helmets, elbow pads, and knee pads in the car. Below is another screenshot of comments on the YouTube video…

A little dissension creeps into the discussion… and it starts looking like there are a bunch of physics experts weighing in…

Again… I don’t think there’s anything at all wrong with being concerned about car safety, especially when children are involved. After all, if Princess Diana had worn a seatbelt on her last car ride, she’d probably still be with us. I just don’t understand why some people feel so compelled to share their personal philosophies about it to the point at which it looks like they want a cookie or something. Do people really need validation about their personal choices that badly? I mean, rear face your eight year old if you can, and you want to do that. Keep that kid in a five point harness. Slap a helmet on them, if it makes you happy. Far be it for me to judge you on your car safety choices. But why tell the whole world about it? And why judge other people for not doing what you’re doing? Especially if they’re following the law?

Remember, though, I write this as someone who grew up in the 1970s and 80s, when kids were allowed to bounce all over the car… and although my parents were always devoted to safety and wore their seatbelts religiously, I was usually only forced to wear them when my dad was in control freak mode. That’s probably why I’ve always hated wearing them. I associated them with my parents– really, more my dad– being mean and controlling, and punishing me for being myself. It wasn’t about them caring about my safety, or the chance that I might become a flying object. It was about my dad being large, and in charge. Seatbelts, in those days were also uncomfortable, especially for short people like me.

It amazes me that I survived my childhood, when so many people smoked, and kids rode bikes without helmets and played outside for hours, their parents not knowing where they were, and not worrying until darkness fell. I’ve mentioned many times before that I grew up in rural Virginia, and it was not uncommon to see some of the kids in my neighborhood riding on the hood of their mother’s car to their trailer home at the end of our dirt road. It was hardcore redneck living, I tell you! I remember being embarrassed when I was forced to wear a seatbelt in the car, circa 1980 or so. It was not the “cool” thing to do in those days. It wasn’t until the late 90s, after I spent two years in Armenia, where NOBODY wore seatbelts, that I finally started to wear them 95% of the time.

Nowadays, just about everybody wears seatbelts. You’re not cool if you don’t wear one. And even people in the back seat wear them, which was definitely not the case even twenty years ago. The pendulum has shifted to the point at which people go batshit nuts when they see anyone not wearing a seatbelt. And if a child isn’t strapped in perfectly… well, prepare for the hammer of judgment to come crashing down. While I’m sure most people mean well, others seem to get off on edifying and judging their neighbors. It must give them a surge of sanctimonious supply to get to instruct someone on the errors of their ways…

Dreadful… and no seatbelts to be seen. I was about twelve when this aired. Blair tells Tootie to put a seatbelt on Natalie at 7:17, only because Natalie is embarrassing her. At 9:09, Natalie smiles as she talks about how she “bit down” on the seatbelt when they were stopped by a cop.

Yesterday, I was watching a truly wretched episode of The Facts of Life that aired during the sixth season. It was called “Cruisin'”, and it involved Blair, Natalie, Tootie, and Jo driving around Peekskill, New York in Blair’s daddy’s Caddy. Blair and Jo are in the front seat, and they’re all listening to God awful remakes of popular songs of decades past, acting like mom and pop to Natalie and Tootie. Neither of them are wearing seatbelts, and Tootie folds the front seat forward, causing Jo to chastise her. In fact, at one point, Blair tells Jo to hit the window locks and Tootie to “slap a seatbelt” on Natalie, when she gets too rambunctious. That was kind of the attitude back then. Then, at 9:09, Jo snarks on how Blair came up with a lame excuse for a cop, claiming Natalie was in labor. Natalie smiles and says, “Did you notice how I bit down on my seatbelt?”

Sometimes, in the 70s and 80s, seatbelts were used as disciplinary devices for the unruly children of the world. It’s a weird mindset, I know… When I see evidence of how we were in the 80s, I suddenly feel really old. It’s amazing how many years have passed, and how much some things have really changed. I’m going to be 50 very soon… and I’m starting to realize that I’m getting old. Like, for instance, I often wake up with pain in my back… and I have to squint to read fine print. It’s hard to believe the women on The Facts of Life are even older than I am!

Our mindsets have really changed in a lot of ways, though. In the 70s and 80s, kids were a lot freer to do things on their own. And yet, it seems like less was expected of us. I see so many kids today being prepared for their lives as adults as if they were already adults. There’s so much pressure, yet so much protection. In my day, we all worried about nukes, especially in the 80s. And now, the threat of nuclear war seems even closer than it ever was. It almost makes wearing a seatbelt seem silly. If Putin hits the red button, we’re all probably doomed, anyway. The constant emphasis on safety could be completely pointless soon… if something isn’t done about that madman.

Here’s another thing that reminds me of how old I am… Bill retired from the Army 8 years ago. His service began during the Cold War, and he was trained to deal with Soviet style combat. He has a degree in International Relations from American University, which he earned before the Soviet Union fell apart. For the second half of his career in the Army, that training became almost obsolete, as the focus was more on the Middle East. Now, the Russians are a huge concern again, and Bill’s old training is becoming relevant again. It may even end up making him more employable. Isn’t that weird?

Well, anyway, I don’t think anyone should feel badly about rear facing their children in the car, if that works for them and makes them feel better… especially if the kid doesn’t mind it, isn’t uncomfortable, and doesn’t puke. I’m surprised more car manufacturers haven’t made cars with passenger seats that rear face by design. But I don’t understand why so many people feel like they have to announce this to the world. I mean, look at this…

I often tease Bill, because he’s very safety conscious. He’s also very health conscious. However, he doesn’t get on my case about never going to the doctor. It’s likely that I won’t die in a car accident… I’ll probably die of an undiagnosed chronic disease. I do know, though, that that’s ultimately my responsibility… I just think it’s funny that he’s so safety conscious. And I think it’s funny that so many people are so fixated on things like car seat safety, when there are risks everywhere that a lot of us ignore or downplay. I think seatbelts and car seats, much like face masks, are things that are easy to see, and easy to judge others on, particularly if they aren’t being used properly. It’s easy to judge someone for not using a seatbelt or car seat, or not wearing a mask. That’s why people do it with wild, reckless abandon!

However, chances are, we are all letting a lot of other things slide that will probably kill us someday. And chances are, someone is silently judging you for that, too… even if you’re still rear facing and harnessing your adolescent in the name of car safety. Yes, that includes every sanctimonious twit who wants to brag about their superior parenting skills and health and safety measures. But I guess there’s no harm in a little validation seeking online. Hell, we all do it. Now pass me another slice of pizza and a beer. Gotta get that cholesterol up so I can take that big trip to the great beyond… safely strapped in, of course.

*** But… this all being said, allow me to go on record that I think it’s crazy that Nathan and Nurie didn’t have their baby in a car seat. I hope they learned a lesson and will do better in the future. I’m not going to send them hate mail, though.

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Duggars, law, religion, true crime

Josh Duggar has his date with destiny in April…

Today’s featured photo is of Josh’s booking photo at the county jail. Pretty soon, he will be trading in that county jail cell for a prison cell.

Apologies in advance for writing about Josh Duggar again. I feel like there’s so much else I should be able and willing to write about today, but I can’t seem to settle on a topic. And I know that people are following the Duggars, plus for some reason, I am still marginally interested in them.

Back on December 9, 2021, Josh Duggar was found guilty of repeatedly downloading and viewing child pornography. Since then, he has been held in administrative segregation at the local jail in Washington County, Arkansas, as he awaits sentencing for his crimes by a federal judge. At this writing, Josh’s date with destiny is April 5, 2022. Originally, it was said that he could get up to 40 years in prison, but the reality is, he’ll probably get no more than 25 years, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets less than that. And that’s even though Josh was looking at some of the worst stuff seasoned investigators had ever seen. He’s relatively wealthy, and prior to this, did not officially have a police record. Of course, everybody knows that his issues were a problem for many years before he finally got busted.

Josh is currently being held in solitary confinement, in part, to protect him from anyone who would want to hurt him. Josh Duggar is famous, smug, and has been convicted of charges that involve sexually abusing children. A lot of inmates would probably enjoy beating the shit out of him. I suspect a lot of people who aren’t incarcerated would also like to kick his ass. But it’s better that he’s held away from others, because knocking the hell out of him is really not worth taking on legal charges. Like it or not, Josh still has basic human rights, and beating him up or killing him is still against the law. But I won’t be surprised if Josh spends a lot of time alone, once he’s sentenced. That will be difficult.

Yesterday, I read a story about a man in Texas named Dennis Hope, who has been in solitary confinement for 27 years. His crime? A string of armed robberies. He went to prison in 1990, and was sentenced to 80 years. In 1994, he managed to escape, and was on the run for two months before he was recaptured. From then on, he has been kept in solitary confinement. Hope is now 53 years old, which means that he’s spent over half his life with very little human contact. He hasn’t received a personal phone call since 2013, when his mother died. His only contact with other people is when guards come and handcuff him, then take him to an exercise yard, where he can spend an hour, alone. This is his life, even though in 2005, he was deemed no longer an escape risk.

Many people seem to feel that Mr. Hope’s lengthy sojourn in solitary is fitting, and he should not have committed the crimes he did if he didn’t want to be kept in such harsh conditions. However, my personal belief is that Hope’s lengthy stay in solitary is cruel and unjust, and I would really like to see prison reform in American prisons. Like it or not, prisoners are people, too. Hope has sued the state of Texas, and last month, asked the Supreme Court to consider whether such prolonged isolation violates the Eighth Amendment, which bars cruel and unusual punishments.

I think a lot of people who aren’t in prison, or don’t have loved ones in prison, never consider just how horrifying and demeaning the experience is. While I would never say that I think prison should be “pleasant”, I do think some of the procedures I have read and heard about, done in the name of security, safety, and punishment, are inhumane. For instance, when prisoners are transported, they are cuffed, shackled, and usually have to wear a black box on the cuffs, which hold the arms rigid. They get boxed food, and sit for many hours on buses, in vans, or on airplanes. They aren’t allowed to use the toilet, which causes accidents. For security reasons, they aren’t allowed to know when they will be moved. Do I think prisoners should be getting luxury transportation? No, of course not. But I do think their transportation should be more humane. No one should be forced to sit for hours in urine or feces because restroom stops aren’t allowed. People who aren’t violent shouldn’t be forced to wear restraints that physically injure them for hours on end.

As far as Josh is concerned, yes, I think he needs to go to prison. I hope he will get some form of treatment for his obvious issues. I did read a comment from someone who wrote that she hoped the court would “make an example out of him.” Sadly, I doubt that it would make any difference to most sex offenders how long Josh goes to prison. A long and harsh sentence for Josh Duggar will not deter them from their perversions. We’re talking about fighting against a very strong drive. Sex is a very strong drive– like eating and drinking and sleeping. And some people, I’m afraid, simply aren’t wired in a way that makes them curable. But maybe they can be treated, and the more we know about what makes sex offenders tick, the more likely the treatment could have some kind of positive effect.

Even though I think Josh Duggar has done vile things, and is a lying, abusive, scumbag, I still wouldn’t wish for him to be beaten up or murdered. I think he, and other inmates, should be handled professionally and humanely. Treating prisoners like dangerous animals just makes them more dangerous, especially if there is any chance that they will one day walk the streets again. Josh will probably one day get out of prison. So, it’s in our best interests to see that he gets out as mentally healthy as possible. The world doesn’t need another violent sex offender on the streets. Unfortunately, I think that even if and when he does get out, providing he survives prison, he will eventually go back. Sex offenders are notorious for recidivism.

It will be interesting to see where Josh does his time. Federal prisons do have some facilities that offer sex offender treatment. There are two federal facilities in Texas that offer treatment; they are the closest to Arkansas. I would hope the Bureau of Prisons would send Josh to treatment, but whether or not they will do that, I don’t know. I assume they would, but you know what happens when one assumes. According to this link, the inmate has to volunteer for treatment. I’m sure where he ends up will depend on whether or not space is available for him, and his own security and treatment needs. He could go anywhere. I have also read that getting treatment in prison can lead to unexpected and unpleasant consequences. So we’ll see where that goes.

The Duggar family is a prime example of how pursuing fame and fortune, especially on reality TV, can lead to unexpected consequences. Their earliest specials are on YouTube. Who would have thought back in 2004, the eldest son, who spoke so easily and wore khaki pants and polo shirts, would wind up sitting in prison. He had already molested his sisters by the time that show aired. His parents knew he had problems. Nevertheless, for seventeen years since the first special aired, he’s been a ticking time bomb. I wonder if Jim Bob and Michelle are still feeling like God has blessed them…

In other fundie news…

I’m only mentioning this because I’ve already written about Josh today, and the people involved are Josh’s relatives by marriage. Josh’s wife Anna’s brother, Nathan Keller, and his wife, Nurie (Rodrigues) Keller, were recently in a pretty bad car accident. They had their infant son with them. Evidently, none of them were seriously hurt, but Nathan was cited because his son, who was born in October 2021, was not properly secured.

Looks like maybe the baby wasn’t in a car seat at all…

Nurie’s mom, Jill Rodrigues, took to social media to extol God’s love and mercy that her daughter, son-in-law, and grandson weren’t injured or killed. Jill has a sister, and her husband, David, has a brother, who can no longer walk because they were injured in car accidents. Jill’s sister is a quadriplegic, and David’s brother is in a wheelchair. I suppose safety isn’t a priority in these families. They leave it up to God. It’s more important for them to hang around other believers who don’t influence them to use the brains God gave them, than it is to practice common sense interventions like using car seats and seatbelts… Even though I hate seatbelts, Bill turns into Pat Boone if I don’t wear them. 😉

God protects fools, I guess…

Well… at least they weren’t seriously hurt this time. But I sure hope they’ve learned a valuable lesson and do better next time they transport their precious cargo. Otherwise, it might be time for them to meet the Lord sooner than they otherwise might have.

That about does it for today. Time to play my guitar and read more of my latest book.

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condescending twatbags, Duggars, rants

Nurie’s new baby, why the WSJ sucks, and disrespectful jerks…

Wow… I have a lot to write about today. I could write several posts, or I could just stick with one. Since I’m feeling kind of lazy, I think I’ll just stick with one post. I see Jetpack’s SEO tester likes my title and gave me the “green light”.

First thing– I know a lot of people find my blog because I occasionally keep up with fundies. My posts about Nurie (Rodrigues) Keller get a lot of hits. I noticed a lot of hits last night, as Nurie’s nutty mom, Jill, announced that Nurie delivered her son, reportedly named Nehemiah, on October 11th. Mother and son appear to be healthy and happy, which is a good thing. Jill also shared many photos and reported that Nurie and her husband, Nathan, will be going live to discuss all of the details of the birth.

Nurie and Nathan and their new arrival in a shot publicly shared by Nurie’s mom, Jill.

Personally, I think if I were a brand new, first-time mom, I’d want to take a few days to rest up and recover before going on camera to talk about birthing. But evidently, Nurie is raring to share her precious bundle of joy with everyone. So if you’re interested in the details, you can tune in on Facebook at 4pm– I assume eastern time– and hear all about it. Or you can just follow the Duggar Family News page and/or group, like I do. If not for them, I probably wouldn’t know anything about the Rodrigues family.

I seem to remember that Nurie was due October 12. Looks like they were very accurate in predicting the lad’s arrival.

I’m glad for Nurie that she has a healthy son. She looks genuinely happy, radiant, and beautiful in the post pregnancy photos I’ve seen. I don’t really follow her family, but I know a lot of people think they’re interesting. I wish health and happiness to the Kellers… and I hope they keep their son away from his Uncle Josh Duggar. But I suspect that won’t be too much of an issue, as Josh’s trial looms next month.

Speaking of the Duggars… I also learned that Jill Duggar Dillard, wife of Derick and former fundie Kool-Aid drinker, just had a miscarriage. I am genuinely sorry to hear about that, especially since I know that she and Derick very responsibly waited before trying for another baby after their son, Sam, was born in 2017 in what was reportedly a medically dramatic fashion. I hope they will soon have a rainbow baby, if that’s what they want.

Very sad news for the Dillards.

As for Anna Duggar, she’s reportedly ready to give birth any day now. As far as I know, her due date hasn’t been publicly announced, but based on the pictures I recently saw of her accompanying Josh to a court proceeding, she looks ready to pop. Hopefully, this baby will be her last… particularly with Josh. But, as they say, God only really knows.

Now… on to the next topic.

A year ago, I decided to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. It was late October 2020; we were locked down, and there were articles I wanted to read. They were offering a good deal, and I don’t mind supporting journalism, even though the WSJ is a bit more right wing than I am. Little did I know when I subscribed, the Wall Street Journal makes it fucking difficult to unsubscribe. Like– it’s SO easy to subscribe to the paper online. No issues whatsoever. But, unless you live in an area with local laws that require businesses to allow people to unsubscribe in the same way they subscribed, you have to fucking CALL the WSJ to get them to turn off your subscription.

Fuck this noise.

I became aware of this issue a couple of weeks ago, when the paper sent me a notice that as of the end of October 2021, the WSJ would start charging me by the month. I didn’t like that option. I prefer to pay for subscriptions by the year, if I can. Also, I noticed that the monthly charge was significantly higher than what I paid when I signed up. I don’t mind paying more for content if I use it, but I almost never read the WSJ. I pay monthly for the New York Times, and it’s pretty expensive. But I use it all the time, can share articles with my friends, and have even shared the subscription with Bill and my mother-in-law. I can’t do any of that with the WSJ.

I was originally going to pay by the year if I could, but even that required me to call the fucking customer service center. The WSJ does have an office in Germany, but that would mean having to deal with language barriers. I don’t even enjoy calling people in the United States. I really hate doing it in Germany, where my terrible German skills are of even less use on the phone.

Then I realized that it doesn’t sit well with me that the WSJ basically forces subscribers to waste time, running the gauntlet of long phone queues and high pressure sales tactics, by requiring them to speak to a person, in order to deal with their subscriptions. If their paper was really worth a damn, they wouldn’t have to resort to these kinds of shady maneuvers to get people to keep paying for their content. I mean, one of the best votes of confidence for a product is when it sells itself. If you have to make it super annoying and inconvenient for people to opt out, that kind of says something about the quality of the product you’re offering.

I’m sure the WSJ offers a good product to people who are right wing and want expert finance news. But I am neither of those things. I occasionally like some of their travel pieces and it’s sometimes fun to read the comments on some articles. Otherwise, I rarely use my subscription, and I don’t like being stuck paying for subscriptions because it’s inconvenient to call and cancel. Although we can easily afford the 10 euros a month, I decided that I don’t want a subscription to a paper that employs annoying and deceptive sales tactics to keep people paying.

I asked Bill if he wouldn’t mind helping me call the German call center, since his German is better than mine is. But then I did some research and found a way to turn off the auto-renew. It involved a little duplicity, but it was ultimately effective. By the way, as I was researching how to unhook myself from the WSJ, I discovered another subscription service that might be useful to some. It’s called DoNotPay, and it bills itself as a “robot lawyer”. If I’d wanted to, I could have subscribed to that service and they would have fixed this WSJ problem for me. The fact that there’s a dedicated page on the DoNotPay Web site for unsubscribing to the WSJ is really telling, isn’t it?

As it turned out, there actually is a really easy way to unsubscribe without having to call. All you have to do is change your billing address to a place where the ability to unsubscribe online is required by law. When you do that, you’ll get the option to unsubscribe online. So that’s what I did. The WSJ really should make this option available to everyone, especially since we’re in the 21st century, and calling people on phones is becoming an obsolete practice. It’s the decent thing to do. But– as this is a paper that caters to Trump supporters– I guess I can understand why wringing money out of people by inconveniencing them is the way they do business. What a pity.

And finally, disrespectful jerks on the Internet…

Apologies to those readers who hate it when I complain about commenters on Facebook. I’m gonna do it again today. I’ll try to be brief.

I genuinely like to read news articles and editorials. I genuinely enjoy reading what other people think of items that are shared on social media. What I don’t like, however, are the disgusting and disrespectful comments left by so many people. It really does irritate me, because I wonder if those people are that obnoxious and rude in person.

Here’s an example of what I mean. This morning, Rachel Maddow shared an opinion piece about why religious exemptions should not be allowed for the COVID-19 vaccine. I thought it was a good article. It made a lot of sense. I understand why some people want to be allowed to opt out of taking the vaccine. Personally, I think doing so for religious reasons is kind of absurd.

There are plenty of things a person can’t do in the name of religion. What if you belong to a religious group that requires human sacrifices as a condition of being a believer? Should society allow such a religious organization to carry out those human sacrifices in the name of their religion? How about if a religion promotes the idea that people shouldn’t wear clothes, since clothes aren’t from God? Should we just allow people to walk around naked in public everywhere, because that’s the way God made them?

Over the past 19 months or so, it’s become very clear that COVID-19 spreads through the air. Everyone has to breathe. A person can be infected with COVID-19 and not know they’re infected. They can spread the virus to people who will die if they get sick with it. It doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs are. If you’re a human being, you can spread COVID-19. Vaccines have been proven to help limit the spread and severity of COVID-19. And we’ve seen plenty of “religious” people swearing off the vaccine, only to die of COVID. Seriously, all you have to do is Google.

A lot of the people who are against the vaccine are politicians and religious people, and also conservative talk show hosts… How fitting is it that these people, who are using their lungs to spread misinformation and hate, are winding up dying, as their lungs fail, thanks to a rogue, novel virus that so few of them won’t admit is very real?

So… on to the disrespectful jerks… I noticed a woman wrote something along the lines of, “There shouldn’t be religious exemptions for anything in the 21st century.”

She got a few “angry” reactions to that comment. But one guy– a southern, Christian, God fearing MAGA zealot, complete with a pretty blonde wife and a love of hunting and fishing– posted “How much did your husband pay when he ordered you?”

I hadn’t yet had more than a couple of sips of my morning coffee at that point. I almost responded in kind to the guy, but instead, I wrote “What a disgusting and disrespectful comment. Shame on you.”

What prompts people to write such personal and insulting comments to total strangers, anyway? It just makes me wonder if this man was ever taught anything good by decent people. Is this how he speaks to people in person? Is that how he got his pretty wife to marry him– by insinuating that she’s a mail order bride?

If you disagree with someone’s opinions, why not just write that and explain why, instead of insulting them and insinuating that they’re a mail order bride? The original commenter, by the way, appears to be a well-educated young mother who lives up north. I didn’t see any reason why anyone should suspect her of being a mail order bride. I think if a person is going to be snarky and rude, they should at least be astute. That MAGA loving zealot didn’t even hit the mark of being insightful about the commenter. I wonder how he’d like it someone insulted his wife in such a way.

Yesterday, USAA posted a meme in support of “National Coming Out Day”. USAA is a bank and insurance company that is well-known for serving military and government employees. It’s also based in Texas and has come out publicly in support of Greg Abbott, the infamously medieval governor of Texas. So lots of commenters were pointing out that it’s tone deaf to be in support of the LGBTQ community, while also supporting a governor who wishes to deny fundamental medical rights to women. Others were annoyed because they think USAA is “virtue signaling”.

I noticed a few people were making anti-abortion statements. One guy made a comment about how some people “enjoy aborting babies”. Once again, I had to interject. I wrote, “No one ‘enjoys aborting babies’. What a crappy thing to write.” I think it would be a very rare individual who took any joy or pleasure in having or performing an abortion. It’s just something that needs to be done in some regrettable situations. Either way, it’s no one else’s fucking business. Especially when so few people who are supposedly pro-life care about supporting the lives of people who have already been born… for example, by getting vaccinated against COVID-19 or not toting their guns to places where people can be easily shot and killed. When the so-called pro-lifers start giving more of a damn about people who are already born and have a concept of life and death, then I might pay more attention to their lame protests about abortion.

Sigh… well, it’s time to end today’s post. I have some research to do. We’re going to attempt to take a trip at the end of the month. Also, I have to put in my guitar practice. So I leave you with my wishes for a happy Tuesday. May you not encounter any disrespectful jerks today.

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Duggars, family, healthcare, law, marriage

Another day, another tacky Duggar pregnancy announcement…

Happy Labor Day, y’all. We had a really lovely weekend, as the weather was absolutely glorious! I love this time of year, especially in Germany, where the seasons still change. It would have been nice if we could have taken another short trip somewhere, since it was a holiday weekend. But, as I noted in yesterday’s travel post, there’s something to be said for staying home and enjoying what’s local. Yesterday, our sweet Noyzi and Arran got to hang out at one of the many awesome Freibads here in Germany! And then they came home and crashed!

So… let’s get down to business. Once again, I’m struggling not to focus on the grimmest news of the day, which includes the scary resemblance Texas is showing toward Gilead, and people on the left seem to want to cram COVID-19 awareness down our throats. I get how devastating COVID is. I’ve even been watching some heartbreaking videos on YouTube, showing seriously ill people who have died. It’s important to note that COVID is potentially deadly and disabling, but we can’t let fear take over our lives. I’m for taking precautions, of course, but some people seem to be pretty obsessed.

On the other hand, some people truly don’t give a shit. Take, for instance, the pregnancy announcement shared by Jed Duggar, and his new bride, Katey Nakatsu Duggar. These two got married in early April, just before big bro Josh got busted by the feds for downloading nefarious photos and videos of underaged children being abused. It’s now early September and Jed and Katey have some big news to share…

Aww… what a special surprise! They’ve been fruitfully fucking!

Now… I don’t usually watch videos by the Duggar family. I’m watching this one, though, because I wanted a screenshot of the sign they held up. It’s a sign that makes light of COVID-19. Can you read it? It says, “She tested positive, but not for COVID.”

Um… this is the very same kind of pregnancy announcement that was made by Nurie Keller, wife of Josh Duggar’s brother-in-law, Nathan Keller, and daughter of the always tacky Jill Rodrigues. Why are fundies making light of such a serious issue? What will happen if one, or both of them, or another close family member, gets sick with COVID and winds up dying? Will their future offspring think that sign is cute? I tend to think not…

One hopes they survive this pandemic era, so they can explain this reference to the little bean.

But at least Nurie and Nathan didn’t include a blow by blow video about how Nurie peed on a stick at Walmart. Or, if they did, I blessedly managed to miss it. Jed and Katey, by contrast, explain in great detail about how both of them needed to take a piss on their way home from Wednesday night church. They stopped by Walmart, bought a pregnancy test, and blessings! Katey got the news while at a discount store, that she’s on the mommy train, as Josh Duggar would put it.

Jed goes… “Whoo hoo!” as Katey tells him of her condition… and they talk about how Jed teared up at Walmart. My father once teared up too, when he went to Walmart. But it was because he was suffering from dementia and got lost. I can’t blame him for that. I haven’t been in a Walmart in probably twenty years, but when I have gone in one, I’ve always had sensory overload.

Anyway, next, the twosome go hunting for a generic wall for them to take pictures of themselves announcing their positive test result, as they hold up their sign assuring everyone that their positive test result is a good thing. How exciting. It amazes me how much importance people in the Duggar family put on announcing their weddings and pregnancies. Especially when most people are working hard to stay afloat. I mean, seriously… they get all dressed up, make a sign, and go looking for a place with an appropriate backdrop, just so they can tell strangers on the Internet that they’ve managed to conceive.

Next, Jed and Katey go to a baseball game with their church, where they’re going to announce their special news to everyone as they eat hot dogs. More “whoo hooing” from Jed. Yippee! You can barely hear the announcement, and Jed and Katey seem slightly disappointed that not everyone heard their news over the loudspeaker.

I will grant that pregnancy is exciting for many people… the ones who actually want to be pregnant, that is, or for whom pregnancy is not physically dangerous. I can tell that Jed and Katey are excited about their new addition, and I hope the pregnancy goes well for them. I also hope they never feel embarrassed about their lighthearted COVID sign, because they’ve lost a friend or family member to the disease. Because I would be very surprised if they and their ilk have been vaccinated, you know… and the Duggars and the rest of the fundies of the world, aren’t exactly known for social distancing or wearing masks.

It’s barely 8:00am today, and I’ve already read two heartbreaking posts by women who had medically necessary abortions. They are bravely sharing their stories with the masses, just as this Duggar couple have. Unlike the tacky signs that allude to “testing positive”, but not for COVID, these women have written eloquent, searing posts about why it’s so important to keep abortion safe and legal for all women. Both of the women whose stories I read were women who wanted their babies, but tragic circumstances intervened.

She was too unhealthy to carry a baby. Pregnancy would have killed her.

Her baby girl had serious birth defects and would not have lived.

Both of these brave women had to endure going to abortion clinics, where they were, by law, forced to listen to information about abortion that was supposed to get them to change their minds. They had to do this, even though both of these women had medical reasons for having abortions. Both had to tolerate being yelled at by protesters, who had absolutely ZERO information about their personal circumstances.

Christy Ransom, author of the first post, wrote that the protesters screamed at her that they could help her keep her baby. But they had no idea, did they? And they had no right to harass her for a very private and personal decision she made to preserve her own life over that of her six week old fetus.

Susanna Roesel was planning a baby shower and celebrating being pregnant when she got the news that something terrible might be wrong with the pregnancy. When she had her abortion, at just under twenty weeks, she had to go in twice, once to be dilated, and once to deliver. Her milk came in. And then, when she got pregnant again, she suffered an early miscarriage.

I shudder to think what is going to happen to women in Texas who encounter situations like Christy’s and Susanna’s. But, at the same time, I get that Jed and Katey are excited to be expecting their new family member. I sincerely do hope it all goes well for them. And I also hope that in the course of the pregnancy, they both grow up a little bit and reconsider joking about COVID as they share their news. I’m sure that if COVID ever hits home for them personally, they’ll have the chance to see why their announcement is in such poor taste.

On the other hand, fundie Christians aren’t known for being insightful, sensitive, or thoughtful towards people who aren’t like them. It often takes something personal to get them to have an understanding… and even then, they say it was God’s will, or something like that. It’s a very convenient way to get out of shouldering responsibility, isn’t it? Just leave it up to God… and do whatever the pastor tells you. No thinking required.

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