Throwback Thursday: “The Rise and Fall of an Arrogant Bastard: Bill Cosby”

Bill Cosby has certainly become a major topic of interest lately hasn’t he? Seems like everyday we hear another Cosby report on the network news about his dirty deeds of the or we learn of yet another victim who has come forward with allegations against him. I believe the count now stands at around 23. Yeah Bill has become the flavor of the day and everyone’s getting their licks in!

These sexual assault allegations have hounded Cosby for the last decade. It was 10 years ago that his first accuser came forward. She was not some young starlet or Hollywood hopeful looking for her big break. No, this women was the director of operations for the Temple University’s women’s basketball team and Cosby had been her mentor. She charged him with sexual assault and later sued him.

Over the course of the next 12 months three other women made allegations against Cosby and at least ten others were said to have had had similar run ins with Cosby but did not come forward to accuse him. Cosby’s attorney’s called the whole thing ridiculous and suggested that the encounters had been consensual. Cosby was never arrested or charged with any crime. Things seemed to quiet down for awhile until earlier this year when the past paid Cosby unexpected visit.

I gotta tell you, this is not the Bill Cosby I remember, no way. This man is an arrogant asshole who thinks he can do whatever he pleases to women without fear of repercussion. I can’t believe this is the same man who used to make me laugh back in 1963. His first comedy album “Bill Cosby is a very Funny Fellow – Right!”  had just been released. My cousin and I sat in his living room listening to it and were laughing like mad!  This Bill Cosby was a funny guy, a real crack up. Every year for the next ten years Cosby released a new comedy album. I bought them all.

In 1965 Cosby costarred with Robert Culp on the TV series I Spy. He and Culp played government secret agents, tennis bums who wandered the globe playing tennis, chasing down criminals and of course, making it with a bevy of beautiful women. They always got their man and their women as well. It was a great show but ended after just 3 seasons, After it ended my interest in Cosby began to wane a little.

Over the next decade Cosby’s popularity continued. He starred in several minor comedy movies, the best of which was one “Mother, Jugs and Speed.” What made that film memorable was not Cosby, but his beautiful costar, Raquel Welch, She was hot!  Cosby’s TV projects during that period centered around his cartoon character of Fat Albert who I didn’t really care for and two different Bill Cosby weekly variety shows called what else, “The Bill Cosby Show” and “The New Bill Cosby Show.” I never watched them.Although I would always watch him when he was a guest on the Tonight Show. But what I continued to enjoy were his comedy albums. However by the mid 70’s his G – PG rated comedy paled in comparison to the R-rated, raunchy comedy styling of my new comedic heroes of the day Richard Pryor and George Carlin. Yeah, Cosby was fading fast.

Then in 1984 Cosby was back! His new family show called, what else, The Cosby Show, an instant hit. It ran for 8 seasons, earned 8 emmys and also earned Cosby the title of “America’s Dad.” Everyone seemed to love the honorable Dr. Heathcliff “Cliff” Huxtable, well, nearly everybody! I watched the show a few times but never really cared for it. I was one of those who just didn’t care for the good doctor. He was not the Bill Cosby I remembered from I Spy, his albums or his stand up comedy routines, (one of which I saw in Las Vegas) The character of Dr. Huxtable was just too squeaky clean for me and for reasons I can’t explain, I just didn’t care for Cosby in that role. To me he’d always been more of an I Spy kind of guy than the lighthearted, wholesome characters he played on the show. Much too wholesome. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play a bad guy role, until now that is. Now old Bill finds himself in the biggest role of his life, the role of villain.

So what happened to Bill Cosby, funny man, actor, writer  and producer? As his past transgressions come back to haunt him his world is collapsing around him. Reruns of his old shows have been pulled off the air, new TV projects cancelled, public appearances cancelled.He under intense public scrutiny, yet he remains arrogantly silent, as though he’s done nothing wrong. He sees himself as untouchable. The allegations are old, the statue of limitations long past, so what can these women do, sue him? “Bring it on!” he seems to be saying, “Bring it on! You’ll never bring me down!”

To look at Cosby on TV yesterday with his wife of 50 years standing by his side, he appears to be a man without a care in the world and she appears to be his strongest supporter. He still wouldn’t discuss the allegations but otherwise sounded surprisingly upbeat. When he was asked about how his wife was holding up to the scandal Cosby replied “Love and the strength of womanhood. Let me say it again, love and the strength of womanhood. And, you could reverse it, the strength of womanhood and love.”  His wife is either madly in love with this idiot or incredibly stupid.

Just one week ago a good friend of mine, a women friend, became very upset with me and referred to me as a “Man” when I stupidly semi-defended Cosby and dismissed the women making the allegations as being simply interested in money. I also questioned why these women waited so damn long and why they hadn’t gone to the authorities immediately after the sexual assaults? My friend went on to explain that the attitude towards rape that existed in the 70’s and 80’s did not favor the victim and often blamed the victim saying she was “asking for it” and “brought it on themselves.” Women were afraid to come forward because they didn’t think they would be believed. I hadn’t really looked at it from that point of view and promised my friend I would research the Cosby thing and the era in which it happened to be better informed, which I did.

That was last week. Today I’m singing a different song. My friend was right. Today I’m certain that most of the women who have come forward were indeed assaulted by Bill Cosby and although money may be a factor for a few of the women, for most it is simply a quest for truth and peace of mind. I hope they find it.

As for Bill Cosby,  I’ve lost all respect for him. His arrogant and cavalier attitude towards these women is unacceptable. I certainly hope justice is served and he gets what he deserves. People need to see Cosby for what he really is, a rapist hiding behind his stardom. He’s a very sick man.

And if the fallout of his action continues to cause him to lose work, he may want to contact the Stone Brewery in Escondido about becoming a spokesman for one of their most popular beers. I’m sure he would be the perfect man for the job. The name of the beer “Arrogant Bastard.”

Just Saying…

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Throwback Thursday: Dare to Keep Dreaming The World Needs Dreamers

 “The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.” ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

 

People say I’m just a dreamer and I don’t know what is real.                                          Maybe they’re right,  I can’t deny it I try to live my life                                                                 like dreamers do…        JS     5/81

Have you ever been accused of being a dreamer? I use the word accused because that’s exactly what it feels like, an accusation, as if being a dreamer is a bad thing? Sadly being a dreamer is viewed as impractical and a waste of time. For many it’s all about being a ‘doer’, because ‘doers’ get thing’s done, dreamers don’t. Even our current school system is designed to stifle dreamers. Schools no longer seem to encourage free thinking or teach students how to question or think outside of the box. Instead they are taught to answer specific questions with predetermined answers.  It seems that creativity and the freedom to explore have been removed from the classroom and replaced with structure that often results in boredom.Definitely not the stuff that dreamers are made of.

Now I’m not saying that today’s teachers aren’t creative or are boring, I know there are some outstanding teachers out there but their hands are tied. They can only be as creative as needed to teach the mandated, common core state standards that their students are required to know in order to pass the class. Teachers can no longer afford to stray off course or explore areas that they or the students find interesting because they only have a limited amount of time to cover required standards material and prepare students for the yearly California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress. Now it’s all about the tests. If material isn’t directly related to the standards it’s not on the test so why bother covering it, interest and curiosity be damned.

Yeah it’s getting really tough for dreamers these days. There are simply far too many distractions out there, a plethora of hi-tech, gadgetry designed to keep us mindlessly entertained for hours on end. Can you imagine how many hours are wasted every day playing with our techie toys, our smart phones, tablets, laptops and gaming devices. Granted some users are actually doing something productive, but most are simply killing time, talking, texting, tweeting, FBing, Instagramming, internetting or taking selfies, all real time wasters. Today’s dreamers have to be focused and truly commitment to make time for dreaming.

Remember when we were kids and we’d lay flat on our backs on the lawn staring up at the sky lost in daydreams? Sometimes we’d lay there being creative using our imaginations to see shape in the clouds overhead. Other times we’d lay be there chewing on a piece of grass dreaming about the future, imagining what might lie ahead, just thinking and wondering. Ah the good old days, There were a lot of dreamers back then. Today’s kids don’t know what they’re missing. They are the children of technology and don’t really understand the importance of dreaming or the value of visualizing within their own mind. What’s the point?

Today kids don’t have to dream or imagine at all, they have the world is at their fingertips. If they want to know something they simply Google it. With a few strokes of the keys the world is their oyster. They have the ability to learn about anything, they can go anywhere and see anything. Technology has given this generation all the things we were only able to dream about as children. The touchscreen is their personal window to the world and beyond. It’s right there for the taking, still most kids would rather be on their smart phones and tablets,engaged in social media, just killing time, time they could be spending exercising their brains on an online adventure making incredible discoveries or simply kicking back using their imagination and creating their own mental adventures.

The world needs dreamers, it’s always needed them and will continue to need them in the future. Can you imagine where we’d be today without the dreamers of the world? I’m not talking about your run of the mill, ‘pie in the sky’ dreamers who do absolutely nothing to try and see their dreams through. All they can do is hope that they somehow become reality. No, I’m talking about the dreamers who are also ‘doers’,  the trailblazers. They are the optimists, Idealists, the romanticist and visionaries who have helped shape the world we live in. They weren’t always well received and sometimes called impractical but the dreams of the dreamers bend and shape the world. We all need to follow our dreams.

“dreamers are mocked as impractical, the truth is they are the most practical, as their innovations lead to progress and a better way of life for all of us.” ~Robin S. Sharma

The world may need ‘doers’, realists  to keep it moving along in the right direction, but the world also needs dreamers to give it a soul.

Keep on dreaming…

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CA Homeless Crisis: The Hidden Homeless

There was a time in the not so distant past that the term ‘mobile home’ referred to a form of inexpensive, prefab housing built on a steel chassis similar to that of automobiles and trucks and equipped with wheels. Once assembled these ‘mobile homes’ were towed to a location and set on a concrete foundation where they were primarily used for long term occupation. Of course because they had wheels they could be moved again to a new location by the owner if desired. The most common location of these homes were mobile home parks built specifically to accommodate mobile homes and travel trailers.

Although the term ‘mobile home’ still refers to a home on wheels, many of these ‘mobile homes’ have grown in size and are sometimes bigger than a regular house. They often take up two or three standard spaces in a mobile home park. These home are delivered in sections to the site, set up and put in place. Although they continue to be called ‘mobile homes’ these larger homes are no longer mobile.

homeless-familyToday the term ‘mobile home’ has taken on a new meaning. For the last decade, as the divide between the rich and poor continues to grow and what used to be called the middle class shrinks in size, more and more casualties of class warfare have lost their jobs, been forced to sell their homes or lost them to foreclosure and have taken to living on the road. I don’t mean that they’re living in motor homes, 5th wheels or travel trailers, I’m sure they’d love to be doing that, no this particular group of homeless people have been forced to live out of the back of their trucks, vans, SUV’s, station wagons or sedans. Why? Well there is a shortage of affordable housing and job opportunities, jobs that are available are low paying, rents are through the roof, and homeless shelters are overcrowded and usually very dirty. They have no other option. These people, who are being called the ‘hidden homeless’, have lost everything, everything but their dignity and their vehicles.

And the homeless today are not the homeless we may remember from our younger days, adult males who often by choice wandered the rails, highways and byways and were often referred to as hobos or bums. No this is a whole new breed of homeless that we began seeing back in the 80’s when their numbers exploded due to government cuts in low-income housing and assistance programs for low-income families. And their numbers have been growing ever since.

getImageWho are the homeless? Today they are families with children, single mothers and their children, military veterans, unemployed blue collar and professional people the mentally ill, hell they could be your next door neighbors! And they’re all in real economic trouble. To make matters worse government spending on housing assistance programs for low-income individuals and families is less than 50% of what it was in the late 70’s before the cuts began and it doesn’t appear that it’s going to get better any time soon.

So now we have this group of “hidden homeless” living in their vehicles wherever they can. The new American vagabonds moving from place to place, just trying to make it. Tough times. Especially here in Los Angeles. L.A. had a law on the books since 1983 making it illegal to live in your car but the law wasn’t enforced until 2010 when the situation began to escalate.The law forbids anyone from using their vehicle “as living quarters either overnight, day-by-day, or otherwise.” A 21 officer task force was put on the streets to enforce the law.

However the law was so broad that officers all interpreted it differently so enforcement was selective; officers were singling out the homeless and citing or arresting people for simply having personal belongings in their vehicles even when they were parked in private parking structures or lots, making an already difficult situation even worse. Fortunately in June of this year the Ninth Circuit Court saw fit to overturn the law saying it was “potentially discriminatory and unconstitutional” and that the law criminalized innocent behavior. Chalk one up for the poor guys!

Can you imagine losing your home and being forced to live out of your car? I remember as a teen I lived out of my VW for a week at the river while everyone else tented. Believe me it got old quick! at least my seats reclined which made sleeping a bit easier. And I didn’t have to worry about being forced to move my vehicle nightly or where my next meal was coming from. Still, it sucked. I can’t imagine having to live out of my vehicle on a full time basis.

Currently there is no accurate figure as to how many ‘hidden homeless’ there are in California. What makes it difficult is that many of the hidden homeless are embarrassed and try to keep their situation secret. Best guess estimates put the number at about 10% of the homeless family population and growing. So what can be done to remedy the situation of these ‘hidden homeless’? Some larger cities are already addressing the problem and have created or are in the process of creating large, secure parking areas for the hidden homeless which will certainly help, but what about those who live in the many smaller cities that still have ordinances that prohibit over night parking. What do the hidden homeless do there?

Although the parking lots and open street parking are a temporary answer to aid a particular group of homeless, I think the real answer is to address the homeless problem in its entirety. Sacramento holds the key. Law makers need to get down to business make things happen. Do you realize that there are laws on the books that if enacted could bring quick relief for the homeless. There is a major shortage of long term, year round homeless shelters and facilities for the growing homeless population in our state. At the state level all that has to be done is to declare a statewide shelter crisis.  Law makers should band together and call upon the Governor to declare such an emergency. But the legislators are reluctant to act. Even at the city level the mayor or board of Supervisors can declare a shelter emergency but few communities have.

What the hell is going on?  The number of homeless women and children has increased, shelters across California are at capacity, Something needs to be done! Come on Sacramento get it together! Homelessness isn’t going to go away quietly into the night. The time has come to act. Get Brown to declare a shelter emergency and do it soon so that the problem can be addressed correctly. No more band aids! You go home to a warm, safe home every night, these people are crowded into shelters, sleep in their cold vehicles, or under a bridge somewhere.

Perhaps the time has come for Governor Brown to forgo his super-sized ego and scrap his dreams for his super bullet train! The Brown Express is unnecessary and should be scrapped immediately! The billions would be better spent on the California Homeless Crisis. Come on Brown, leaving behind a legacy like a bullet train is small potatoes when you can leave behind a legacy of care and helpfulness. I’m quite sure going out as a legendary leader would be more fulfilling than leaving us a useless speed train.

Just Saying…

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