Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tony Robbins

Long before he exhorted his devoted followers to walk over hot coals or shell out ten-thousand dollars for a seminar, the freakishly tall motivational phenomenon Tony Robbins was president of his class at Glendora High School in Southern California. According to classmate Julie Fellinger, the future self-help guru sold his candidacy with a speech about his childhood struggles. “It was very touching, it was very compelling, it was inspirational,” recalled Fellinger for A & E’s Biography in 2005. Although Robbins resigned his office early because of difficulties at home, he declared his abbreviated tenure to be a rousing success in the 1978 yearbook:

Lo-Tony Robbins-SGA Statement-Better

When I came into office I set a goal. That goal was to make 1977-1978 “the best year ever.” I wanted to build a “new spirit,” and I had a group of the most outstanding, exciting, and dedicated student leaders ever assembled.

Elephant races, pep rallies, spirit weeks, Channel 7, open forums, better food, “G” on the mountain, lighting for the soccer field, new and different assemblies: all these things marked the hard work of the leadership class to make your year more enjoyable.

Were we successful? If there was ever a time when interest filled your eyes or a smile broke out on your face, if there was ever a time when you looked forward to some activity, or, most importantly, if there was ever a time when you were proud to say, “I’m a Glendora Tartan,” 1977-1978 was truly successful.

I would like to thank every person on campus for making my years at Glendora so enjoyable, and a special thanks to the leadership class of ’78 for a year that will truly live forever...


Tony Robbins

A.S.B. President 1977-78

The remainder of Robbins’s term was served by his vice-president, Brian Brooks, who was also voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by his fellow Tartans. We were unable to locate Mr. Brooks to ask him if he ever gets to “fire walk” with his former superior in student government.

Brian Brooks-VP
By the late 1980s, Robbins was a best selling author (Unlimited Power) and an infomercial star. In the 1990s, he released another hugely successful book (Awaken the Giant Within), counseled President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and appeared as himself in the terrible Gwyneth Paltrow movie, Shallow Hal. Today, Robbins’s various business ventures (including a nutrition line) earn him eighty million dollars a year.

Some critics call the toothy giant a charlatan for charging people exorbitant fees to hear his ridiculous empowerment mantras (“Using the power of decision gives you the capacity to get past any excuse to change any and every part of your life in an instant”), but there is no shortage of customers for his “product,” so who are we to judge?

In 2001, Robbins—who also promotes himself as a relationship expert—was accused of stealing another man’s wife. The self-help star was preparing to marry a 28-year-old former health food clerk named Sage, when her ex-husband, John Lynch, a Canadian businessman, told the media his wife had been carrying on an adulterous affair before their divorce.  Robbins filed defamation suits in Canada against Lynch and the two newspapers that published his allegations.

After the controversy subsided, the couple was wed and they now co-star in an educational DVD series entitled “Love and Passion: The Ultimate Relationship Program.” Robbins’s ex-wife Becky, whom he divorced shortly before marrying Sage, probably has not availed herself of the “risk free” offer to see these videos.

Tony-Sage Robbins

Bellendaine Yearbook, 1978, Volume 19, Glendora High School, p. 151, 172, 244.

Ann O’Neill, “One Unhappy Ex,” Los Angeles Times, June 28, 2001, p. E-2.

A & E Biography, Tony Robbins: The Secret of his Success, 2005.

Steve Salerno, Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless [New York: Crown, 2005], pp. 75-87.

Rita Cosby, “Clinton Advice,” Fox News Channel, December 15, 1998.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Terry Jones

Terry Jones, pre-mustache, pre-insanity

Before achieving fleeting infamy as the organizer of something called the "International Burn a Koran Day" (09/11/10), the insane and racist preacher, Terry Jones, graduated with Rush Limbaugh from Cape Girardeau (Missouri) Central High School in 1969. Jones played baseball for the school, while the beefier Limbaugh played football.

Rush Limbaugh

"Rusty" Limbaugh, Class of '69
Rushton Hudson Limbaugh III graduated from Cape Girardeau (Missouri) Central High School in 1969. Limbaugh, the beefy son of a prominent attorney, played football and apparently had no interaction with classmate--and future would-be Koran burner--Terry Jones, who evidently preferred baseball.

Terry Jones, '69
After dropping out of Southeast Missouri State during his freshman year, Limbaugh went on to unremarkable careers as a pop music DJ (as "Rusty Sharpe" and "Jeff Christy") and as the promotional director for the Kansas City Royals. Ironically, the famously hawkish conservative successfully avoided the Vietnam War draft with the help of a medical condition known as a pilodidal cyst. For more on the host's awkward attempts to avoid talking about his ass malady and how it kept him from personally combating Communism in Asia, see

"Jeff Christy" does a charity promotion in the '70s.
The bloated broadcaster first became famous in the late 1980s as the host of a national conservative talk show based out of New York City. The program, now heard on over 600 radio stations throughout the United States, is little changed from its mid-1980s incarnation on KFBK in Sacramento, California. The average three-hour installment contains long-winded, often inaccurate, frequently racist political rants punctuated with comments from callers (aka "Dittoheads") who agree with everything "El Rushbo" says. Limbaugh also delights his audience with sophomoric, bullying "humor" and musical parodies such as the infamous "Barack the Magic Negro" clip produced by the singularly unfunny Paul Shanklin.

As of this post, the multimillionaire host has been married four times. The lucky ladies are:

Roxy Maxine McNeely, 1977-1980
Michelle Sixta, 1983-1990
Marta Fitzgerald, 1994-2004*
Kathryn Rogers, 2010-

In 2006, the pro-law enforcement, anti-drug conservative superstar surrendered to authorities in Palm Beach County, Florida on the charge of "doctor shopping" for prescription medication.** The National Enquirer had broken the story of Limbaugh's Oxycontin habit three years earlier in an embarrassing cover story. In the expose, the tabloid described in detail how the radio host would meet his dealer at night behind restaurants for the pills that he fondly referred to as "little baby blues."

Limbaugh 2006 mugshot

For more on Limbaugh's countless misdeeds, including his insinuation that a thirteen-year-old Chelsea Clinton resembled a dog, visit these sites:

* Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas officiated Limbaugh's wedding to Ms. Fitzgerald, an aerobics instructor whom the radio host met on CompuServe.   

** Charge subsequently dropped as part of a court settlement.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

L. Ron Hubbard

 The Young LRH Chronicles

L. Ron Hubbard (LRH to his fans) was born in 1911 and he "discard[ed] his body" in 1986.  

He is best known for being a certified nutcase who founded a cult called the Church of Scientology in 1954. His youth, at least as recounted by the "biographers" at the L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition, reads like something out of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. Of course, Hubbard made a career out of embellishing and fabricating his life story, so the only thing that we're reasonably sure of is that he was once a Boy Scout.

LRH performs earthly "research"

After his "decision" to continue his "research" in an "exterior" state (i.e. he dropped dead in a motor home in the California desert), Hubbard's psychotic protege, David Miscavige, took over the "church." Every Scientology "org" (location) has an office ready and waiting for the founder's return, but so far he's chosen to remain somewhere in the Van Allen Belt with his space pal, Xenu.

Mr. David Miscavige, keeper of the flame

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Laura Bush

Laura Welch became Mrs. Bush in 1977
Before bringing her Stepford-esque grace to the White House as first lady to President George W. Bush, Laura Bush (then Laura Welch) was a student at Robert E. Lee High School in Midland, Texas. She graduated from Lee in 1964 and went on to study education at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. 

On the night of November 6, 1963, the seventeen-year-old Laura Welch's life changed forever when she ran a stop sign in her father's Chevy Impala and killed her good friend*, Michael Dutton Douglas, who was driving another vehicle. Welch and a girlfriend were chatting in their car as they rushed to a drive-in movie when the accident occurred.

In her 2010 autobiography, Spoken From the Heart, Mrs. Bush finally discussed the troubling incident in detail:
In those awful seconds, the car door must have been flung open by the impact and my body rose in the air until gravity took over and I was pulled, hard and fast, back to the earth...The whole time I was praying that the person in the other car was alive. In my mind, I was calling 'Please, God. Please God,' over and over again. 
Accident report released in 2000 - click to enlarge

In her book, Mrs. Bush reveals that she was consumed with guilt for many years, particularly after missing her friend's funeral--her parents did not want her to attend and she wound up sleeping late the day of ceremony.

Relative of Local People Dies In Wreck
Mike Douglas, 17, formerly of San Benito, died last night of injuries suffered a short time earlier when his car and another collided on the north edge of Midland.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete.
The son of Mr. and Mrs. W.T. Douglas of Midland, he had several aunts and an uncle living in Corpus Christi.
His father was behind him in another car. Mike was on his way to the home of a sister, Mrs. Joe Sims of Midland, to babysit for her. Injured in the other vehicle were Laura Welch and Judy Dykes, both of Midland, who were treated at a hospital and released. 
-- Excerpted from the Corpus Christi (Texas) Times, page 36, November 7, 1963  
The former first lady also writes of some external factors to the accident in an apparent effort to mitigate her culpability. She states that the intersection was quite dark, the stop sign was "small" and that the other automobile in the accident was the notoriously "unsafe at any speed" Corvair. She then invokes Ralph Nader's crusade against the car without noting the irony that it was Nader's third party candidacy in the 2000 election that helped elect her husband president.

Mrs. Bush also uses her book to try and exonerate W. for his bungling of Hurricane Katrina which caused over 1,500 deaths. And they said the Clintons were deadly...

* Laura Bush states in Spoken From the Heart that she was never romantically attached to her victim. Some accounts had previously reported that she and Michael Dutton Douglas were dating at the time of the accident.

Tony Blair

Future war criminal, Tony Blair, with the Fettes College basketball team
Former Prime Minister of England Tony Blair graduated from Fettes College in Edinburgh before moving on to Oxford and finally to St. John's College where he studied law. As a student, Blair enjoyed music. He sang and played guitar in a rock band called Ugly Rumors.

Blair without the infamous wanking gesture... (we're a family blog)
In 1983, Blair was elected to Parliament as a member of the Labour Party. In 1997 he was elected as Prime Minister, a post he would hold for a decade.

"Cool Britannia" in waiting (1986)
During a stop in Ireland on Blair's book tour (for his autobiography A Journey) in 2010, protesters through eggs and shoes at him because of his role in the Iraq War (they missed). In his memoir, Blair continues his poodle-esque admiration of George W. Bush by describing his partner in preemption as a "true idealist" who exhibited "genuine political courage [and] sincerely believed in spreading freedom and democracy." The U.S. president rewarded Blair for his naive allegiance with one of his patented "charming" nicknames: "Landslide" (certainly better than Vladimir Putin's handle, "Pootie Toot" and "Ostrich Legs.").

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Random Personalities

Just some random personalities because summer's almost over and we're not trying very hard...

Former White House Press Secretary, Ari Fleischer

Former governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer

Ashley Dupree, former associate of Gov. Eliot Spitzer
Charlie Sheen, sitcom actor/criminal
Kate Gosselin, reality show curiosity
John Gosselin, reality show curiosity

Televangelist, Benny Hinn
Former politician John Edwards
Former actress, Tara Reid
Rapper Snoop Dogg
Goth rock star Marilyn Manson
Rock star Alice Cooper and friend

Rock star Iggy Pop
Rap star Eminem
Scientologist / Psychiatry expert Tom Cruise
Former actress/Scientologist, Katie Holmes

Thursday, July 8, 2010

David Koresh

Frustrated musician and future apocalyptic cult leader David Koresh (1959-1993) attended Garland High School in Texas (as Vernon Wayne Howell) before dropping out during his junior year. From his earliest days in elementary school, Koresh was a poor student diagnosed with multiple learning disabilities. However, when it came to the bible, he turned out to be a savant. Indeed, Koresh had a photographic memory and nearly total recall of numerous passages of scripture. In 1981, he joined the Branch Davidians, a Waco, Texas-based religious sect that had broken off from the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1930. Koresh soon became romantically involved with their "prophetess," Lois Roden, a woman in her seventies, but later tried to diminish her standing by proclaiming his own powers as a visionary. After Roden's death and following the commitment of her son, George, to a mental hospital in the late 1980s, Koresh effectively took command of the Branch Davidian faith.

Like Charles Manson, Koresh fancied himself a rock musician, but he was not nearly as prolific a recording artist as his fellow cult leader (who has put out at least two albums of psychotic material). Koresh's best known song is an eerily prophetic composition that he released in 1987 that concerned arch rival, George Roden. The song, entitled Mad Man In Waco, contains the lyrics "There's a mad man living in Waco, praying to the prince of hell..." It was issued on 45 and cassette to local record stores, and according to a biography of Koresh by Brad Riley and Bob Darden, failed miserably. It has, however, served as catchy promo music for the various documentaries that have been produced about the Waco incident.

By 1993 Koresh and his adherents who resided at the church's headquarters at the Mount Carmel ranch outside of Waco, had become the focus of the federal authorities because of their activities with firearms. Specifically, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had determined that the Davidians had been converting guns into automatic weapons. After a horribly botched February 28, 1993 ATF raid on the compound (a protracted shootout left four agents and six cult members dead), a 51 day standoff ensued.

During the media-saturated siege, it became known that Koresh had committed numerous statutory rapes of girls he had chosen from his flock to become his "wives." The cult leader reportedly had as many as 19 wives and sired at least 12 children. On April 19th, the FBI breached the Davidian compound with tanks and began shooting tear gas canisters into the building. Several hours later the structure was in flames. By the end of the standoff only a few Davidians had escaped the building with their lives. A total of 74 men, women and children died in the inferno (Koresh and his chief lieutenant, Steve Schneider, were later found to have died from gunshot wounds). All of the official investigations into the siege have determined that--based on audio and visual evidence--the Davidians started the April 19th fire.

In the days following the arrest of Timothy McVeigh (1968-2001) for the April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, it was revealed that the accused mass murderer had been interviewed by a journalism student near the Davidian compound during the standoff. McVeigh had traveled to Waco to demonstrate his solidarity with the "oppressed" cult members and to sell bumper stickers with phrases such as "Fear the Government that Fears Your Gun," and "A Man With a Gun is a Citizen, A Man Without a Gun is a Subject." McVeigh would later cite the outcome of the Waco siege as the principal source of his hatred of the federal government (and, no doubt, it was also the inspiration for the date that he chose to commit his act of domestic terrorism).

Legacy: McVeigh is interviewed near the Davidian standoff on March 30, 1993

Lynndie England

Lynndie England, the pixieish, leash-holding mascot of the Abu Graib torture scandal, graduated from Franfort High School in Ridgely, West Virginia in 2001. During her junior year at Frankfort, she joined the U.S. Army Reserves. After a post-high school stint working in a chicken processing plant, she was called up for service in Iraq and was assigned to the 372nd Military Police Company at the soon-to-be notorious Abu Ghraib Prison (now known as Baghdad Central Prison).

In 2004, leaked photographs of England humiliating Iraqi prisoners (particularly shots of her holding an inmate by a leash and pointing at a stripped prisoner's genatalia) put an American face on the torture outrage. England was among eleven people--including the father of her son (Charles Graner)--convicted of various charges of mistreatment of prisoners. She was sentenced to three years and served 531 days at the Naval Consolidated Brig at Miramar. After her parole was completed in September of 2008, England was dishonorably discharged.

In the poorly received book, Tortured: Lynndie England, Abu Ghraib and the Photographs that Shocked the World, England maintains that she was just following orders at the prison.


Monday, July 5, 2010

John Mark Karr aka Alexis Reich

John Mark Karr, the supremely creepy former grade school teacher who falsely confessed to the JonBenet Ramsey murder in 2006, graduated from Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Alabama in 1983. The photo presented above is from his junior year in 1982.

Karr, who married a 13-year-old in 1984 (the marriage was annulled the following year), continues to have a disturbing obsession with young girls. In 2001, after a stint as a substitute teacher in Petaluma, California, he was arrested for possession of computerized child pornography. After pleading not guilty, he jumped bail and did not surface until his arrest in Thailand in 2006. It was because of Karr's Ramsey-obsessed e-mail correspondence with a University of Colorado journalism professor, that he became the subject of interest of the Boulder, CO District Attorney's office. As a result of his televised "perp walk" in Thailand, he quickly became a freakish cable news sensation and earned a business class flight (albeit handcuffed) back to the United States to face further examination by the authorities.

Karr's admissions, however, turned out to be nothing more than the fantasies of a deeply troubled person. But even after a DNA test eliminated him as a suspect in the Ramsey murder, he continued to maintain his guilt. He was then extradited to Petaluma where child porn charges were still pending. However, the computer seized in his 2001 arrest had been lost by police, so the case was dismissed. At this point, Karr was free to enjoy a brief period making the talk show rounds and then he largely disappeared from view. In 2007 he was charged with battery and obstruction in a domestic altercation with his girlfriend at his father's residence near Atlanta, Georgia.   

In 2009 it was revealed by the National Enquirer that Karr had undertaken hormone replacement surgery and was living as a woman. According to a 2010 restraining order taken out against him by Samantha Spiegel, Karr's legal name is now Alexis Valoran Reich. Spiegel's legal action was prompted by Karr's alleged threat to kill her if she revealed his plans for starting a child sex cult called "The Immaculates."

If ever there was a mascot for this blog...

Further reading (if you must): Alexis's website and resume.