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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

February 17, 2013

I have to be honest, today was a day in which I found it difficult to choose a topic for today's Tuesday Timeline.  A lot of things did happen on February 17, but nothing really stood out.  In fact, the one topic that I did know a lot about was one that had a melancholic ending.

So, apologies in advance if the topic for today's Tuesday Timeline is a little bit depressing.  It was really all I could come up with at the spur of the moment.

Okay, so let's see what other things happened on February 17 before we get to the main event.

1600 - Philosopher Giordano Bruno is burned alive for heresy

1819 - The United States House of Representatives passes the Missouri Compromise for the first time

1864 - The H.L. Hunley becomes the first submarine to sink a warship - The USS Housatonic

1865 - Confederate forces flee from advancing Union forces as Columbia, South Carolina burns to the ground in the final stages of the American Revolutionary War

1904 - In Milan, Italy, "Madama Butterfly" debuts at La Scala

1913 - The Armory Show opens in New York City

1933 - Prohibition ends in the United States with the passing of the Blaine Act

1937 - Actress and former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley (d. 2014) is born in Brandon, Mississippi

1940 - Singer-songwriter Gene Pitney (d. 2006) is born in Hartford, Connecticut

1959 - Project Vanguard:  Vanguard 2 - the first weather satellite - is launched

1968 - The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame opens in Springfield, Massachusetts

1972 - Sales of the Volkswagen Beetle begin to exceed sales of the Ford Model-T

1974 - A stolen helicopter piloted by Robert K. Preston buzzes the White House

1980 - The first ever ascent of Mount Everest during the winter months is made by Krzysztof Wielicki and Leszek Cichy

2006 - Singer-songwriter Billy Cowsill dies at the age of 58 in Calgary, Alberta

2008 - Kosovo declares independence as the Republic of Kosovo

And for celebrity birthdays, we have the following people that are turning one year older today.  Happy birthday to Hal Holbrook, Patricia Routledge, Bobby Lewis, Barry (Dame Edna) Humphries, Christina Pickles, Martha Henry, Yvonne Romain, Julia McKenzie, Brenda Fricker, Dodie Stevens, Rene Russo, Richard Karn, Loreena McKennitt, Douglas Urbanski, Lou Diamond Phillips, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Jordan, Rene Syler, Michael Bay, Samuel Bayer, Luc Robitaille, Chante Moore, Tuesday Knight, Dominic Purcell, Cynthia Cleese, Denise Richards, Billie Joe Armstrong, Ralphie May, Jerry O'Connell, Erin Cardillo, Jason Ritter, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Paris Hilton, Anne Curtis, Chord Overstreet, Ed Sheeran, and Bonnie Wright.

Now, certainly any of those celebrities could be a perfect subject for a blog.  After all, we have a basketball player, a couple of comedians, a few musical artists, and a woman who happens to be named after a particular weeknight.

The reason why I decided to choose this date (despite its depressing nature) is simple.  I want to showcase the subject of addiction, and how it can destroy lives.

Just as it did with one person on February 17, 2013 - the date of today's Tuesday Timeline.

The sad thing is that her career started off so brilliantly.  In the mid 1990s, she exploded onto the country music scene seemingly out of nowhere and had a top selling album along with a few singles.  And even though I'm not a country music fan by any means, I don't deny that she had talent and a certain Southern charm.

So, where did it all go wrong for country singer Mindy McCready?

It seemed as though she had her whole life ahead of her when she moved to Nashville, Tennessee at the age of eighteen with dreams of becoming the next Reba McEntire or Patty Loveless.  Instead, it was cut short on February 17, 2013 at the age of 37.

The cause of death?  Suicide.

How did everything go so wrong for the "Ten Thousand Angels" singer?  Well, we probably should start at the very beginning to when Mindy first began singing.

That'd be right around the time she arrived in Nashville in 1994.  After a few months, she was signed to a recording contract for under the BNA Records label.  Her debut album, "Ten Thousand Angels" was released at the end of April, 1996.  And one of the biggest hits from that album was this single which topped the country charts in September 1996.

ARTIST:  Mindy McCready
SONG:  Guys Do It All The Time
ALBUM:  Ten Thousand Angels
DATE RELEASED:  July 15, 1996

She also scored hits with the album's title track, and "A Girl's Gotta Do (What a Girl's Gotta Do", and the album itself went double platinum.  That's quite good, especially for a debut!  Mindy's second album, 1997's "If I Don't Stay The Night" also did well in the country scene, reaching gold status.

It seemed as though 1997 would be a good year for McCready.  Not only was she doing well with her singing career, but she had also become engaged to Dean Cain.

However, by the time she released her third album in 1999, things began to spin out of control for McCready.  Her engagement had ended, and her songs were not charting as high as her previously released singles.  In fact, her 1999 album "I'm Not So Tough" only sold 144,000 copies.  The weak sales of the album prompted BNA Records to drop McCready from their roster, and she was left to find another label.  She signed on with Capitol Records in the early 2000s and released her fourth album with Capitol in 2002.  But once again, poor record sales caused Capitol to terminate their contract with her just one year later.

With her professional life becoming unraveled, it didn't seem to take long for her personal life to also spin out of control.  Her relationship with Billy McKnight ended in 2005 after he was arrested and charged with attempted murder after reportedly choking McCready during an altercation.  She would later attempt suicide later that year and was hospitalized due to a drug overdose.  The couple briefly got back together and McCready gave birth to her first child in 2006.  But McCready would have two more suicide attempts between 2005 and 2008, and she was arrested several times between 2005 and 2008 on charges ranging from driving under the influence to battery.  And, certainly her problems with the law lead to her seeking treatment for her demons, which included a stint on the television show "Dr. Drew's Celebrity Rehab".

Ultimately, I think that show did her more harm than good.  On a personal note, I've never really cared for Dr. Drew's methods of televising the struggles of patients undergoing rehab, and the fact that so many people who appeared on that show ended up dying of drug overdoses and other drug related illnesses just proves my point that exploiting the real struggles that drug addicts go through is never a good thing.

I will say this.  By the time the 2010s rolled around, it appeared as though Mindy McCready had turned her life around - or so we thought.  She had released her first new album in eight years - the rather hauntingly named "I'm Still Here".  She had found love again with record producer David Wilson, and she had given birth to a second child in April 2012.

Sadly, on January 13, 2013, Wilson took his own life, shooting himself at McCready's home.  It is believed that the death of Wilson was likely the event that caused McCready to follow suit by taking her own life on February 17, 2013 in the same exact place where Wilson had killed himself.  The family dog was also found dead.

McCready was just 37 years old.

Thankfully, the children were nowhere near the scene of the suicide.  They had been in foster care for some time and were not home when McCready took her own life. 

I know that people say that suicide is a selfish way to die, and in many ways, they aren't wrong.  McCready's two children will now have to grow up without their mother (and father in the case of the youngest child), and their lives are forever changed.  But at the same time, as someone who has had thoughts of suicide before, I sort of understand where her head was at when she made that decision.  In the matter of a short time, her whole world fell apart, and she already had issues coping with stressful situations based on her prior arrests and substance abuse problems.  It's terrible that she felt that she couldn't fix what was broken and she felt that suicide was the only option.  But it's also terrible that she didn't really have a huge support system helping her deal.  And it's disgusting that her personal problems were broadcast to the world via a cheap and exploitive reality show, as if she were some sort of circus freak.

Either way, for Mindy McCready to go from Nashville sweetheart to living in's a tough pill for anyone to swallow. 

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