book reviews, celebrities

Repost: A review of Kate Coyne’s I’m Your Biggest Fan…

Here’s a repost of a book review I wrote for the original OH blog on August 12, 2016. I’m still trying to wake up and figure out what today’s topic will be. It appears here as/is.

I wrote this morning’s blog post not realizing that I was very close to finishing Kate Coyne’s very entertaining book, I’m Your Biggest Fan: Awkward Encounters and Assorted Misadventures in Celebrity Journalism.  I downloaded this book last month after its June 2016 release, thinking I’d sail right through it.  It actually took some time to finish Coyne’s eye opening story about how she came to be a celebrity journalist.  I have to admit really enjoying the ride.

Kate Coyne is presently working for People magazine.  It’s her job to meet and mingle with celebrities.  She got her start working for the NY Post’sinfamous “Page Six”, then spent several years at Good Housekeeping.  But Coyne writes that she’s always been mesmerized by celebrities and she grew up in a place where she would run into stars by chance.  As a child, she was an autograph hunter and her parents actually encouraged her to rub elbows with celebrities.  One time, Kate Coyne’s family went on vacation in the Caribbean, where they ran into George Michael and his handsome “friend”.  With a push from her mother, Coyne approached Michael and scored his signature. 

In another story, as a girl on vacation, Coyne met Cameron Douglas, son of movie star Michael Douglas.  Coyne writes of spending the day with him, building sandcastles and exploring.  It was before Cameron Douglas’s well publicized battles with drug addiction.  He was a charming and thoughtful young man and Coyne really enjoyed her time with him.  

Years later, while working for the gossip section “Page Six”, Coyne ran into Michael Douglas at a bar.  She struck up a conversation with him and, once he discovered she worked for “Page Six”, he rudely told her she should find another job before her soul turned black.  She never forgot that encounter with Mr. Douglas and was tempted to bring it up when their paths crossed again after Coyne started working for People.  Instead, she talked to Michael Douglas about playing with his son while they were on vacation.  Douglas, who at that time was recovering from throat cancer, was very happy to talk about his son and Coyne was glad she hadn’t mentioned their earlier encounter.

I really enjoyed reading Kate Coyne’s book, mainly because I, too, am a bit mesmerized by celebrities.  I get the sense that Coyne and I are about the same age, so some of her anecdotes about her celebrity sightings as a teenager hit close to home for me.  Also, she just seems like a very likable and relatable person.  I felt like she’d be fun to drink wine with, even if she does rub elbows with the rich and famous on a regular basis.

I’m Your Biggest Fan is chock full of interesting stories about Coyne’s encounters with A listers like Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Neil Patrick Harris, and even Wynonna Judd.  She’s not afraid to admit to being starstruck, even though her work involves meeting stars.  I found Coyne’s self-deprecating wit charming and engaging.  She keeps her tales light and entertaining.  She also reminds readers that television is where the magazine’s real bread and butter is.  For instance, she’s spent a lot of time talking to Kate Gosselin.  Back before Jon and Kate split up, they were constantly profiled in People. After their divorce, interest intensified for a bit, even though Kate Gosselin is hardly an “A lister”. 

Many of Coyne’s anecdotes are funny.  Some are a bit mortifying.  For instance, she writes about trying the L.A. diet fad involving juice.  “Green juice” is apparently ubiquitous in Los Angeles.  Everybody’s drinking it and eating “clean” so they can be super thin.  Coyne, who admits to not being “naturally thin” and trying many different diets in an attempt to stay slim, gave green juice a go.  She drank it almost exclusively for over a month, lost lots of weight, went to a party, and then… suffered the consequences of not eating real food for a month.  Coyne manages to make this story funny and entertaining, even as it also serves as a warning to those who might be tempted to subsist on green juice.  I can already tell that if I ever tried it, Mr. Bill would have a fit.

I think I’m Your Biggest Fan would appeal most to readers who are looking for something fun to read on the beach.  It’s definitely heavy on gossip.  I also enjoyed reading this book because I myself enjoy writing.  Coyne gives readers a look at what being a celebrity journalist is like.  Who knows?  She may even inspire a new crop of journalists. 

I used to have a subscription to People.  I also used to pick it up in the checkout aisle.  For some reason, I lost interest in People and quit following it some years ago.  Maybe I’ll buy another issue, especially since Coyne writes that since 2013, People has quit using paparazzi photos of the children of stars.  While I don’t know if that makes People a class act, per se, it does sort of elevate the magazine in my eyes.  Maybe I’d see it as somewhat classier than Us Weekly, anyway. 

Anyway, if you enjoy reading about celebrities, I’m Your Biggest Fan might be just the ticket for you.  I enjoyed it.  I think it rates a solid four stars.

As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.


Josh and Anna Duggar’s latest baby’s name is finally revealed…

Grateful to have found the featured photo of the day… You’ll see why at the end of this post.

Like a lot of people, I wondered a bit about the identity of Josh and Anna Duggar’s latest baby. I mean, I wasn’t obsessive about it or anything, but I have been following Josh and Anna’s story for years. Of course, I’ve also been watching Josh’s impending legal case regarding his apparent habit of viewing extremely inappropriate things on the Internet. I have a feeling Josh’s court case is going to be disastrous, and he’s probably not going to be in the free world for much longer.

I certainly won’t be sorry if Josh goes to prison in the highly likely event that prosecutors can prove that he’s guilty of his alleged crime. The evidence against him is pretty compelling, and it’s not like he doesn’t have a history of being a sexual predator. Indeed, just a few years ago, Josh Duggar was busted for having an “Ashley Madison” account. What is an “Ashley Madison” account? It’s basically a Web site where married people go to hook up and have affairs with other people who aren’t their spouses.

Josh Duggar is one of Ashley Madison’s most notable former clients. On August 19, 2015, Josh was outed on as a paid member of the site. His identity was part of a hacking effort undertaken on July 15, 2015 by an outfit called The Impact Team. According to their research, someone living at Josh’s former address and using his credit card, was on the site from February 2013 until May 2015, and he had spent $986.76 for two different Ashley Madison accounts. The user was hoping to find a woman who would satisfy his desires for:

“Conventional Sex,” Experimenting with Sex Toys,” One-Night Stands,” “Open to Experimentation,” “Gentleness,” “Good With Your Hands,” Sensual Massage,” “Extended Foreplay/Teasing,” “Bubble Bath for 2,” “Likes to Give Oral Sex,” “Likes to Receive Oral Sex,” “Someone I Can Teach,” “Someone Who Can Teach Me,” “Kissing,” “Cuddling & Hugging,” “Sharing Fantasies,” “Sex Talk.”

And Josh… –or the person living in Josh’s house and using his credit card– listed these “turn ons”:

“A Professional/Well Groomed,” “Stylish/Classy,” “Casual Jeans/T-shirt Type,” “Muscular/Fit Body,” ”Petite Figure,” “Tall Height,” “Short Height,” “Long Hair,””Short Hair,” “Girl Next Door,” “Naughty Girl,” “Sense of Humor,” “Imagination,” “Creative and Adventurous,” “Relaxed and Easy Going,” “Aggressive/Take Charge Nature,” “Confidence,” “Discretion/Secrecy,” “A Good Listener,” “Good Personal Hygiene,” “Average Sex Drive,” “High Sex Drive,” “Dislikes Routine,” “Has a Secret Love Nest,” “Disease Free,” “Drug Free,” and “Natural Breasts.”

Ashley Feinberg, the reporter, wrote that when Josh was living in Oxon Hill, Maryland, lecturing the masses about the “right” way to live, Christian ideals, and “family friendly values”, Josh (or his evil twin ghost) started a second Ashley Madison account. Josh also did a poor job of trying to conceal his true identity. reports “the birthday listed in the data for Duggar’s first account is February 3, 1988, one month off Duggar’s actual birthday of March 3, 1988. The birthday listed for the second account is March 2, 1988.” Based on the news about Josh’s most recent sex related scandal, his online privacy skills haven’t evolved much, but I digress.

So what does all of this have to do with Josh and Anna’s 7th baby? Well, yesterday, it was reported in the news that Josh and Anna have named their latest baby Madyson Lily. Anna (I can assume, since Josh isn’t allowed online) shared a very cute picture of the baby, who was born on October 23, 2021 at 2:39am, weighing 7 pounds, 9 ounces, and measuring 20 inches. Many people who follow the Duggars, and are disgusted by Josh’s perversions, are shocked by the name, since it will forever link the child to her father’s dalliances in extramarital affairs, as he hypocritically promoted “clean, Christian living”.

She is a beautiful baby… looks very healthy, too. I will pray for her.

Madyson joins her six siblings in the “M crowd”. Josh and Anna, like Josh’s parents, have chosen to stick with names that have the same first letter. So, while all of Josh’s siblings (except for Michelle’s grandnephew Tyler, who is being raised by Ma and Pa Duggar) have names starting with the letter “J”, Josh and Anna have given their kids “M” names, I guess, to honor Michelle Duggar or maybe Josh’s deceased grandmother, Mary Duggar. Or maybe they just like “M” names. Who knows?

Other people who have commented on this surprising “turn of events” have listed a variety of perfectly nice “M” names the Duggar couple could have chosen for “tiny, precious Madyson”. Off the top of my head, there’s Melissa, Mariah, Marcia, Madelyn, Megan, Melanie, Maeve, Margaret, Martha, Matilda, Marcia, Maura, Moira, Maren, and Millicent… just to name a few. And yet they chose “Madyson”, with a bastardized spelling from the usual “Madison”. Of course, it’s not the first time Josh and Anna have chosen alternative spellings for members of their brood. They gave eldest daughter, Mackynzie, a differently spelled name, too. They also gave their sixth child, Maryella, a “different” name.

I remember when the name “Madison” became popular. Back in 1984, Tom Hanks was just an up and coming movie star who was best known for being on the show, Bosom Buddies, which I remember watching during its first run. That year, the movie Splash came out, making Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah household names. Daryl Hannah played the love interest for Hanks, a beautiful mermaid whose real name was unpronounceable by the human tongue. She was encouraged by Hanks’s character, Allen, to choose a more conventional name for herself. Noting that they are walking on Madison Avenue, the mermaid chooses the name “Madison”, confusing everyone… Next thing you know, it’s a popular girls’ name, and remains so 37 years later.

If I had ever had a child, I probably would have chosen a more conventional, traditional name, even though we have dogs named Arran and Noyzi. Arran was named after a beautiful Scottish island we visited weeks before we met him. Noyzi was originally named Noizy, but his paperwork has the name spelled differently. Also, as a former English major, I couldn’t abide the spelling “Noizy”. I kept wanting to change it to Noisy. Anyway, Noyzi was named after an Albanian rapper by the guy who found him, and I just didn’t have the heart to change his name after all of the upheaval he went through to move to Germany from Kosovo.

But when it comes to human beings that might have come from my womb, I probably would not have gone “mod”. I seem to prefer tried and true names… although I wish to God my mother had chosen a name other than “Jennifer” for me. That was like the “Kayla” of 1972. I think Kayla is a pretty name, by the way. I have a cousin with that name. At the same time, I probably would have chosen a name like Alexandra, or something, for a daughter of mine.

I think Madyson Lily needs all the prayers she can get, as do her siblings, and their mother. I don’t approve of Anna’s decisions, but I realize that she was raised in a cult and has married into the mother of all fundie cult families. Her husband and her father-in-law are hyper-controlling dicks who literally screw over the women they purport to love. I realize that Anna doesn’t have many choices, and every time she has another baby, her choices become even more limited than they were before. So, while a lot of people condemn her for staying with Josh, all I can muster is basic empathy and compassion, and hope that somehow, she’ll be okay. Of course, this is all depending on the outcome of Josh’s upcoming legal battle.

I really do hope Josh’s children will be okay. It’s not easy to have a father who has become a notorious sex pest, especially one who has gotten away with his misdeeds for so many years and is now about to face the music. The youngest of Josh and Anna Duggar’s children were filmed as they were born. One of them was actually born on the toilet in the home now occupied by Jessa and Ben Seewald.

Jessa and three of her sisters are also among Josh’s victims, as he admitted to molesting them when they were kids. Ma and Pa Duggar neglected to get real psychological help for Josh. Instead, they shaved his head and sent him off to do hard labor and pray. Maybe working with a mental health professional wouldn’t have made a difference in Josh’s destiny the long run, but at least they could have said they tried.

Now, Josh has a wife and seven children, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s actively trying to get Anna pregnant again, although with any luck, her recent pregnancy, and assuming she’s exclusively breastfeeding, that may not be possible. On the other hand, the Duggars are birthing obsessed, and I’m sure they know the best ways of getting pregnant quickly. So, if Anna does get pregnant with #8, I can’t say I’ll be surprised about it. I hope it doesn’t happen, though. Even if Josh, by some miracle, doesn’t end up in prison, I think they– and the public– have had quite enough.

Oh… and just to make this whole weird baby name choice thing even ickier, I just did a Yahoo! image search of the name, “Madyson Lily”. I was looking for a potential featured screenshot, but the results of my search were not cute pics that are suitable for featured photo status on my blog. The photos that came up– at least on Yahoo!– are all of an extremely buxom woman in her underwear– perhaps even the type of woman Josh fantasizes about. I don’t know if the baby’s shared name with a sexy model is a coincidence, but it sure is an unfortunate development for that baby, who already has enough challenges ahead of her. Below is a very small sampling of the search results, which I am sharing because the model is technically clothed. There are a lot of other photos like this one, which makes me think it’s a smart thing to Google names before you bestow them on your children, especially if you give them names with an unconventional spelling. How embarrassing!

Edited to add: I tried the search on Google and got more conventional results. It looks like the Yahoo! and Bing searches included the conventional spelling of “Madison” in the results. Still… it makes me wonder if Josh chose the name. I wouldn’t put it past him.

Josh’s new baby apparently shares a name with her… Yikes!

complaints, condescending twatbags, modern problems, musings

This blog SUCKS.

Years ago, I used to listen to a lot of comedian George Carlin’s old comedy albums on cassette tapes. I can’t remember exactly where I bought them. I think I might have bought the first one at Ames, a discount department store that had an outlet near my home in Gloucester, Virginia. I remember I paid about $7 for it, and thought that was a lot of money. I kept buying George’s albums, though, because he was a genius, and because I related so much to his routines.

As he got older, I liked Carlin’s comedy somewhat less. He often seemed angry and disgruntled. His humor seemed fueled more by dysthymia than goofy observations, and the really bitter routines he was doing, say circa 2006 or so, just weren’t appealing to me. I would feel depressed after listening to them. I do remember liking the very last album he did. On that one, he seemed kind of like a funny grandpa. But I specifically remember disliking his album, Life Is Worth Losing. It just seemed very negative. I wondered if George was feeling alright, but I didn’t feel compelled to criticize him for his material. Some people liked it a lot. I just wasn’t one of them at that time.

Wow… this is weirdly relevant today. I’m glad George missed out on COVID-19 and Trump as president.

One thing I have noticed about a lot of “funny or entertaining people” is that under the surface, they often suffer from depression and anxiety. They have learned to be funny, using humor to mask how they really feel. A lot of comedians suffer from alcoholism, addiction, and other mental health problems. They make sharp and witty observations about the world that make other people laugh. But underneath that humor often lurks someone who also badly needs a laugh. Sometimes that need comes out in the form of negativity, passive aggression, or mean-spiritedness.

When I was 16, my mom and I saw the Tom Hanks and Sally Field film, Punchline. Field and Hanks were two aspiring comedians. Hanks was a seasoned performer who almost always killed ’em at his shows. Field was a bright-eyed newcomer who had a knack for being funny, but not the skill. One of the most memorable scenes from that film is in the below clip, in which Hanks’ character suffers a meltdown on stage. The audience gets to see the other side of the comedian… the masked sad side, that doesn’t come out very often. In the heartbreaking scene below, the comedian “dies” on stage. He sucks. But he really only sucks for that performance. On other days, he kills. Hanks shows the humanity behind performance artists, who so many times are people who have been through a lot, yet aren’t allowed to show it.

Punchline… this was a good film. It was the first one I ever saw in a theater that was rated R. I was 16 years old. A lot of funny people are sad and angry deep down inside.

I can think of two comedians from some time ago who killed themselves. One was Richard Jeni, who was absolutely hilarious. He shot himself in the face in 2007.

One of his most memorable routines. He died too young.

Another was Ray Combs, who was best known as the host of Family Feud. Before he was a game show host, Ray Combs was a funny man. He used to warm up crowds and was so popular that he was recruited to take over Family Feud from Richard Dawson. But underneath that funny exterior was a man who was tormented by demons. It got so bad that he had to be hospitalized and, in fact, he died in the hospital by his own hand.

He kind of lets the mask slip on this 1994 episode, his last as the host of Family Feud. On “Fast Money”, Combs says “I thought I was a loser until you walked up here.” Ouch.

Even non-famous funny people often hide depression with jokes. When Bill and I first got married, he worked with a colonel at the Pentagon who was absolutely hilarious at parties. He would tell jokes and stories and make witty observations. But then, if you got him alone, you’d realize that he was actually a pretty grumpy person. He’d snap at people or make rude comments. I strongly suspected he might be depressed, because if you listened carefully to what he said, he was actually quite miserable, even if he was also funny.

Those who know me offline know I have my funny moments, too. I laugh a lot and I’ve been told I have a great sense of humor. In the 1990s, I had a boss who told me that I was one of the “happiest” people he’d ever met. But the irony was, I had just been diagnosed with depression. Inside, I felt really yucky, even if I was cracking jokes and being snarky. It’s more socially acceptable to be funny and sharp witted than depressed.

Which brings me to the title of today’s blog post. Every once in awhile, I get comments from people who presume to tell me what I should or should not be writing about on my blog. Last night, I got one such comment from a regular reader who has a habit of being critical. To be honest, I’m not sure what draws her to my blog. I’m not sure what draws anyone to my blog, since it so obviously sucks. It’s basically an open diary of things I think about. But this person comes back repeatedly and, more often than not, has criticisms for me. She’s not the only one, although she’s definitely the most persistent.

The Internet has more than two knobs on it… but you can still change the station if something isn’t appealing.

Some people seem to think I want or need constructive criticism on my blog. A couple of years ago, I got a very rude comment from a different woman who told me I needed to “let things go” regarding my husband’s ex wife, because she thinks I come off “bitter and petty”. Wow. What the fuck was she doing reading my blog if I came off that way and she was irritated enough to tell me? Just “change the station”. Move on to the next Web site, and leave me alone. To her credit, I think she did just that, because I pretty much let her have it, as did several commenters. She never commented again, and believe me, I don’t miss her.

I don’t get paid to write this blog. I write it for myself, mostly. If other people want to read it, that’s fine. But I don’t write it for you… I write for me. And if I want to write about TMI subjects, I have the right to. If I want to write about annoying exchanges on Facebook, I have the right to. If I want to complain or be negative or snarky… that’s my right. You have the right to keep scrolling if what I write isn’t appealing to you. I know that not everyone is going to like me or what I do. Fortunately, there’s plenty of other stuff on the Internet to read.

I could add to this list.

It wouldn’t be possible for me to know what every reader wants to read, even if I were that eager to please everyone who happens to stop by here. If the truth be told, I am feeling a bit depressed and angry lately. Like everyone else, my world has been altered a lot in 2020. I don’t have it nearly as bad as some people do, but like everyone else, I’m feeling overwhelmed by the changes of the past few months. It’s frustrating to see people on the Internet who refuse to notice what is right in front of them and cheerlead for people like Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the rest of the right winged nutjobs who are taking our country back to the Dark Ages. I know I’m not alone in my frustration. Yesterday, I wrote about one trolling session I had with a guy named Justin. Believe me, I scrolled past plenty of others without engaging. But I chose to respond to Justin. Then, because I thought the exchange was funny, I decided to write about it.

From that post, someone decided that I “kill myself” over comments. Lady, that’s definitely not true, but even if it were, I don’t understand why it’s your concern. It’s my space. It’s my blog. You are here as a guest. If you don’t like what I write, please go somewhere else. And please stop trying to read my mind. It’s beyond offensive, and it’s making me consider turning off comments and/or going private.

Lots of people don’t like me. That’s the story of my life. Lots of people think my blog sucks. Plenty of people have advised me to “let things go”, which frankly, I think is an extremely shitty thing to say to someone. What right do you have to discount or invalidate other people’s thoughts and feelings, especially on THEIR space? You have the freedom of choice, especially if you’re American. If you don’t like my stuff, simply choose another Web site and leave me the fuck alone.

As I wrote in 2018:

I have two other blogs that are generally positive most of the time.  If you truly want to see a generally more positive, less TMI version of my writing, you’re welcome to check out my music blog or my travel blog.  You can easily find them.  But no one is forcing you to read this blog, and frankly, it matters not a whit to me that you think I’m “snotty, petty, and bitter.”  I don’t even know you, and won’t know the difference if you think I’m a bitch.  The fact is, I know the truth about who I am and so do the people who love and care about me… and there are still a few out there who think I’m alright.  So, thanks for the “constructive” criticism, but really… no thanks.

The above still applies today. If you don’t like my style, there’s the door.