celebrities, dogs, funny stories, music, true crime

Shit happens.

I decided to take yesterday off from writing. It was mainly because in the wee hours of Friday morning, I awoke at about 2:00am and had trouble getting back to sleep. I had been having an erotic dream. I don’t have a lot of those anymore, so I was disappointed when I woke up. Weirdly enough, I dreamt I was having sex with Wil Wheaton. I have never even thought about having sex with him, so I’m not sure where that came from. Maybe it’s because I was recently triggered on his page. He’s definitely cute, but we’re both happily married to other people, so I doubt that’s a dream that will ever come to fruition.

Once my eyes cracked open, I got up to go to the bathroom. And then– sorry for the TMI– but I got a case of the shits. After I was finished, I left the bathroom and noticed I smelled it in another room, only it wasn’t of the human variety. Arran, bless his heart, sometimes poops when he sleeps, so I thought maybe that was the issue. But I didn’t see any evidence of that, so I checked on Noyzi, who was in his bed. The smell of poop also faded downstairs, so I could tell he wasn’t the culprit. Noyzi still doesn’t venture upstairs on his own.

Then I went into my office and, though I wasn’t wearing my contacts, I could see a fuzzy, stinky, brown puddle on one of my nice rugs. It’s one that doesn’t get walked on a lot, so it’s still pretty pristine. Arran had gone in there and dropped some diarrhea. Bill got up and cleaned up the mess while I let the dogs out. Noyzi went out and pooped, too… and it was at that point that I realized we all must have eaten something bad. Later on, Bill also had a touch of the shits. My guess is was the chicken from the chicken man, who sells his wares on Thursdays. This has never happened before, so I count it as a “one off”, as the Brits would put it.

In any case, I was kind of tired yesterday and not in the mood to write. I also find that when I take a day or two off, it’s good for my brain. Gives me a chance to refresh. Gives my readers a chance to catch up, if they want to… not that many people do. Right now, it appears I have lots of folks interested in my posts about Jocelyn Zichterman, Scott Drummond, Richard Jahnke, and Erin McCay George. These are all mostly book reviews, which rarely get a lot of attention when I first post them, but later attract readers. That’s one reason why I’ve been reposting stuff from my original blog. The book reviews are fairly “evergreen”– as in they attract views and money, if this blog were monetized, which it’s not. I post the book reviews as a “service” for the interested. Sometimes I read and review books that others are interested in but may not want to buy or can’t borrow.

I spent all day yesterday watching Snapped episodes from 2013. If I were still writing my old blog, I might write about some of the cases I saw on that show. Like, for instance, Nancy Gelber’s case… I found her a fascinating subject. She’s a wannabe author who self-published a novel called Temporary Amnesia, which boasts a very complicated storyline that she claims she dreamt up when she was a teenager. She said that’s where a lot of her ideas come from– her dreams– which are apparently even weirder than mine are.

Nancy’s book is on Amazon.com and it gets terrible reviews. I would probably hate it, and I sure don’t want to spend the amount of money they’re asking for it, especially since Nancy Gelber is a criminal. However, as someone who is interested in psychology, I found her very interesting to listen to. You can tell that beneath her cheerful, chatty demeanor, she’s a hot mess psychologically. Gelber tried to have her ex husband bumped off, but “hired” an undercover cop instead of a real hit man. Then, she claimed that she hadn’t known what she was doing.

This wasn’t what I watched on Snapped… it’s another program about Nancy Mancuso Gelber.

It’s actually interesting to watch this show, as opposed to the Snapped episode. It offers more of her ex husband’s viewpoint.

What a piece of work!

Nancy says she’s going to go to hell… and admits that having her husband offed is a “horrible” thing to do, as she laughs. On this show, she seems a lot more sinister than she appeared to be on Snapped. If you see her on Snapped, she seems a lot more pleasant and normal. How scary for Jody Gelber, her ex husband. I wish I were more of an expert in psychology. She seems like a fascinating subject. I’d love to know what her DSM V diagnosis is. My guess is narcissist, for sure.

Busted! If you listen to her fake reaction to the lie that her husband has died, she sounds like a really bad actress.

This morning, after I watched the YouTube videos about Nancy Gelber, I watched a couple more about Diana Lovejoy, who in 2017, fainted when she was found guilty of murder for hire. I’m not familiar with her case at all. I just found her reaction to the verdict fascinating.

Off she goes to the hospital… complete with handcuffs.

I probably should get back into reading more true crime, now that I’m less interested in politics. To be clear, I’ve never been all that interested in politics. I was just horrified by four years of Donald Trump and his delusional political theater of the absurd. Trump is now reportedly refusing to refer to himself as a former president. His new legal team is referring him to as the 45th POTUS, which is technically correct. BUT– their main defense in the upcoming impeachment trial is that Trump is no longer president and therefore can’t be impeached. So which is it? Rachel Maddow has a good chuckle about it in the video clip directly below this paragraph. If you ever wanted a textbook example of grandiose malignant narcissism, Trump is your guy. By the way, as far as I’m concerned, Trump was never MY president. 😉

And finally, I probably could opine about the recent uproar regarding country singer Morgan Wallen, who was caught on video drunk and uttering racist epithets in the middle of the street with his rowdy friends. He’s facing a lot of backlash… more than the idiots who stormed the Capitol last month, actually. Looks like his fans are still buying his music, even though he’s no longer eligible for music awards and his label has suspended him. I remember when the Dixie Chicks pissed off their base by dissing former President George W. Bush at a concert. They were quickly canceled by a lot of their more redneck fans and country radio. Morgan Wallen uses the n-word and many of his fans are still fine with him.

I hadn’t heard of him before this happened. I do remember reading about Morgan Wallen being canceled from a gig on Saturday Night Live because he was caught on video partying with a bunch of people while unmasked. SNL canceled him because his appearance would put a lot of people at risk. And now, they have another reason not to have him play.

I’m not big on cancel culture. I think people should have the ability to redeem themselves. Morgan Wallen, at age 27, is probably too old to be acting like a drunken frat boy, and I did see and hear the video… and there is no excuse for his behavior. I don’t know that it should ruin his career forever, but I do think that if you’re lucky enough to be able to make a living in the arts, you owe it to yourself and everyone else to realize that with that platform comes responsibility. And, sad to say, it shows an ugly side of him. Clearly, he’s comfortable using that kind of language casually, which is too bad. It’s not the word itself that is offensive– it’s the attitude and meaning behind it. And the fact that so many people are protesting about Wallen’s “right” to free speech and missing the fact that with that right comes responsibility. Yes, he has the “right” to say what he wants. BUT that doesn’t excuse him from consequences. Wallen needs to grow up.

Last night, I was listening to old school Chicago and marveling. I can’t name most of the members of that band. I’m sure being in Chicago, which has been around for many decades now, paid off handsomely for a lot of the members. It occurred to me that is a band– along with so many others– like Earth, Wind, & Fire, Blood, Sweat, & Tears, and Three Dog Night– comprised of people who are passionate about music rather than just money and fame. It occurred to me how much time, dedication, effort, and TEAMWORK goes into making that tight sound. These are very talented people working together for something awesome, not to be rich and famous. I’d like to hear much more from people like them, as opposed to privileged, clueless, jackasses like Morgan Wallen. Just saying.

Well, that about does it for today. Gotta finish the laundry and practice guitar on this dreary Saturday.

book reviews, religion

A review of Cult Survivor: My 42 Years in Christian Science: From the Christian Science Belief System to the Quaker Faith

In January of 2019, I got hooked on a TV series about cults that aired on the A&E network. As is my habit, once the show ended, I decided to do some follow up reading, which led to the purchase of several books. One of the books I read was Lucia Greenhouse’s 2011 book entitled fathermothergod: My journey out of Christian Science. I reviewed that book on my old blog.

I also purchased Chrystal Cole’s self-published book, Cult Survivor: My 42 Years in Christian Science: From the Christian Science Belief System to the Quaker Faith. I don’t mind buying self-published books. Sometimes, I find a gem for not much money. Cole’s book was priced at $2.99. Unfortunately, this time, I’m not sure I got my money’s worth. Oh well. You win some; you lose some.

Chrystal Cole was in the fourth generation of her family born into Christian Science, a belief system in which followers rely on prayer for healing. Christian Scientists don’t seek medical care. Or, if they do seek it, they don’t admit to seeking it. Christian Scientists believe there is no such thing as “sickness” and that a person who has a “disease” is suffering from an illusion from which prayer is the best and only real cure.

Cole, who uses a pseudonym to protect her family’s identity, was really into Christian Science, having practiced it for the first 42 years of her life. She was raised by her father, a man she repeatedly describes as very kind and gentle, and her stepmother, a woman for whom she evidently had much less regard. Cole’s mother left when she was very young, and I got the sense she was never close to her. Cole’s stepmother was not a fill in for her mother, as Cole repeatedly refers to her as her “father’s wife”, and she makes several statements that imply that her stepmother took Christian Science too far.

This seems like the start of an interesting story, doesn’t it? Well, I think it could have been, had Cole not simply cobbled together a bunch of blog posts and called them a book. I seem to remember reading at the beginning of the book that Cole had enlisted the help of friends to edit her book. They didn’t do a good job. Parts of Cult Survivor are decently written and interesting, while other parts are riddled with typos and redundancies. Hiring a professional editor would have been an excellent investment for the creation of this book.

Cult Survivor doesn’t flow at all, which can make reading it a frustrating exercise. It’s a shame, too, since I often find these types of books fascinating. My life has been touched by people who have been involved in “fringe” belief systems, so I enjoy reading about what leads people to join different religions and what causes them to, sometimes, ultimately leave them. However, while I love a good story, it does need to be written in a clear, coherent, and concise way. Cole’s book doesn’t deliver that. In fact, I was especially frustrated at the end of the book, which never seemed to have a real ending. It was just a bunch of blog posts, none of which had much staying power or connection to each other. With a little time and effort, Cole could have used the raw material from her blog and turned it into a real book.

Look… I obviously have nothing at all against bloggers. I am one myself. However, there is a big difference between writing a blog– which is kind of like a diary of sorts– and writing a book– which requires some organization and ability to make a story flow. I will give Cole credit, though, for suggesting other books about Christian Science that helped her as she was transitioning from Christian Science to Quakerism. One of the books she read was the vastly superior fathermothergod: My journey out of Christian Science, which I referenced at the beginning of this post. Lucia Greenhouse’s book is an actual book with a story and a point. It’s not a choppy mass of random blog posts tossed together.

Now that I’ve gotten my negative comments out of the way, I can admit that parts of Cole’s story are interesting. As she was raised in Christian Science, she was never vaccinated. Vaccinations are kind of a hot topic right now, especially given the outbreaks of measles that have been sweeping certain areas. Cole writes that the common childhood diseases most responsible people vaccinate their children against, were problematic in the Christian Science community. Cole also writes that when she was growing up, she wasn’t allowed to take so much as a Tylenol to kill aches or pains, nor was she allowed to use sunblock. As an adult, she now sees medical professionals and she does include one section about how she’s having to address issues that were neglected when she was younger. Included among her problems are multiple lipomas and keloids which, if you watched Dr. Pimple Popper, are also kind of hot topics these days. Apparently, Cole’s problems with lipomas and keloids have caused her significant suffering. Now she can get them taken care of without having to lie to church authorities or sneak around.

I really wish I could write more about this book. I wish there had been more of a “story” that stuck with me, rather than random thoughts that are repetitively stated and not necessarily linked. I do think Cole could write a compelling story if she tried. But she’d need to start over… use the blog simply as a reference and write her book from scratch, starting at the beginning. She’d need to set up her situation and explain what happened in a linear fashion that people can easily follow. A bunch of blog posts cobbled together does not a good book make. I was pretty disappointed with Cult Survivor and wouldn’t recommend it.

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