Enough is Enough

I have just found out that an arrest for possession of meth is a felony, with a year or more in prison as a possible sentence. I don’t like the idea of someone I know having to be in jail, but I’ve been in a jail of my own for 20 years putting up with the financial, emotional, sexual and spiritual abuse around it. Because they aren’t stopping it or the alcohol use that leads to it. Anyone selling it can be put in prison for an extensive amount of time up to a decade. Apparently the person I know is only motivated by the fear of going to jail. They are not motivated by love, caring, or respect.

I know I can’t do this out of anger, hate or hurt. But I am VERY angry and VERY hurt. The damage and degradation just keeps on happening, over and over again. I am responsible for allowing this to continue, though it is not my fault that this person is addicted and is doing all this harm to me and them self. I am not responsible for this person. I must strengthen my spiritual condition, and this I finally know how to do: With prayer, meditation, soul searching and talking to others I trust.

I have hesitated to do this because I don’t want to be involved with the legal system and the police, which I don’t tend to trust. But I have to admit I am living out the benefits of having police in my community, and maybe it’s time I used them to remove a terrible situation which has never gone away, only underground, to re-emerge over and over again. There is someone I know who had addiction/alcohol and mental illness. She faced it all and changed herself, and it was a long, huge fight. She had a brother who drove drunk and killed someone, went to prison for manslaughter. Her blunt and to the point take on his imprisonment: “He killed someone, he deserves it.” Now that guy has served his term and gotten out of prison. Guess who’s invited him to live with her? His sister.

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Veteran’s Day 2015

I just got to see 3 photos posted on Facebook of my father, his sister and brother in their WW2 uniforms looking incredibly young and beautiful. My Aunt Ellie has dark hair, something I never saw in her later days because her hair was white. My dad and Uncle Jim are in their Army Air Corps uniforms and it’s heartbreaking to think of my fresh faced twenty something uncle sitting dead and shot up in a fighter plane behind enemy lines.

My dad never talked of his brother, but he had a picture of the plane his brother flew and was shot down in hanging on the wall near his desk. I wish he had, because I feel as though some part of my dad got shot down and killed with his brother. I know my dad’s Dad died when he was 9, and the loss of his brother in later years must have been huge.
The few pictures I did see of my Uncle Jim was him and Dad when they were kids swimming at Agate Pass and then in college where they were both swimmers and divers.

Seeing Ellie in her prime is a little heartbreaking too. By the time I was old enough to know her she was a harsh and puzzling enigma around which my father suffered moods I didn’t understand. I remember visiting her for holidays and being heavily rebuked for picking up a small metal sculpture she had on her coffee table. She was exceptionally generous at Christmastime, always sending us all tons of gifts, often hand knitted, sewn or woven over the years, but her generosity was laced with a condescending and cloying poison that clouded the pleasure of receiving the luxurious gifts.If she was there when we were opening her presents, she couldn’t be praised enough and held court as though we owed her lifetimes of affections we could not feel. Yet there she was with her gourmet home cooked dinners and opera tickets, poodles and gifts every year like clockwork.

My father could not find the will to completely cut her off though he’d rage he never wanted to see her again after yet another disastrous and toxic holiday encounter. My aunt seemed to oscilate between love and hate,worship and punishment. I began to see as I got older how my father was fawned on, manipulated emotionally and then cut to shreds periodically by his sister. With his parents and brother dead and gone, and little to no contact with all his northwestern cousins he’d long been estranged from, she was the only blood family he had, so he’d eventually go back to see her, and she’d shit on him sooner or later every time. And each one of us nieces had our eventual season of falling into her castrating embrace, invited to talk and/or stay over, eat special food, bribed by special gifts. Invariably the hammer would fall and the subject would be how inferior my mother was, how unworthy for her brother, though he too, was somehow a disappointment to her.

Before I graduated from high school I was invited/summoned to my Aunt’s home in Marin for a “fitting” of a specially created pink “ensemble”. She measured my then thin and young body for a waist fitted long skirt that was cream colored knit over pink satin taffeta, which she sewed for me and was ankle length and flowing. On the top she gave me a pink long sleeved blouse to be tucked in with a white and pink knitted shell to be worn over the blouse. This was a design no ordinary knitter could produce. She bought me elegant, tan, high heeled sandals with thin straps which I loved and kept for years. The only thing missing was a pink and creme lace parasol.

All this care and attention was gratifying for a short while, but quickly destroyed by the reality of her complete inability to give a damn about how I felt. The outfit, unique and beautiful as it was, was unwearable in my world with the practically Victorian high necked blouse, long sleeves and hot, uncomfortable, shell. I was her Barbie Doll for a couple of afternoons and that was that, though I kept the outfit for years on it’s special hangers in plastic. Cinderella never made it to the ball. Her Fairy Godmother was busy drinking White Horse Whiskey.

Ellie had married late and had a couple of good years with her husband, an admiral, living on a Florida Navy base. But when he was retired, he had a bum ticker, a heavy drinking problem, no money, and several ex wives who swooped in the minute she bought a house for herself and him to try and collect back alimony he’d defaulted on. She found him on the floor dying of a heart attack; he’d been told to stop drinking and he didn’t. So she had her losses that she never spoke of also. She went from there to teaching English at the College of San Mateo, and living just over the hill from her brother.

She made it to retirement and lived in relative splendor in her own home until she decided to cold turkey it off alcohol. She was dead within a year of that decision. I ended up living in her house for over a year while we waited for the estate to settle. During her later years I had visited a few times, only to be shown again and again, that her barbed sensibilities were the same for all. No one could measure up to her standards. I sent her a birthday present one year and received a cold, vituperative letter informing me just how poorly we nieces had treated her in the face of her generosity in all the years of her life.
And yet she left everything to us: money, belonging, her house.

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The Mystery of the Weird Pink Table

Sometime before my mother died, my guy made this weird pink table out of left over thin cedar planking and transparent acrylic. The table he made is square, almost 3×3 feet and is weird as heck. It’s been sitting in my living room since she died. There’s no where to take the darn thing or way to get rid of it.

My guy is a carpenter, very obsessive and visual. He’s the God of detailing, would happily own more garages of vehicles with perfect finishes than Jay Leno. This table makes absolutely no sense and has no reason for existing at all. Why did he make it and what does it mean? No clue. He doesn’t seem to know.

All the parts of the table which are wood are painted a bright, shocking pink. The top of the table, which is 2 layers of acrylic, is transparent. The four legs are hollow and each has a cheap glass rose set into the bottom of the leg. We bought them at Twice as Nice for %1.99 each. They are actually kind of cool, despite their humble origins. Understandably, two of the roses are broken after the table was moved several times. I have spent years wanting to open up the legs and repair them.

Even stranger, he used black construction caulking to seal the edges of the acrylic to the wood. The caulking is a real messy looking contrast to the perfect geometric form of the table. It’s like a giant decided to outline the table with a gooey black crayon. The table is heavy, awkward to move. One of the legs is loose and doesn’t set right if I move the table even a short distance.

Sometimes it seems to me the table is made to symbolize light coming through the roses, a huge symbol for the heart, and for the third eye as well, and bringing it down to earth. The table is too concrete to ignore, too large and blaring and here to think of as a mistake.

I know I’m going to fix those roses. I’m going to find a way to open the darn thing and glue the snapped rose stems back together. It is, after all, living in my house, and I have this feeling it will change something significant, if just my inner need to do it.I simply have to. Like my guy, the mystery of the table continues to engage me.

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There is No More

Well, the jury is in, I’m not well, or indisposed. What this really means is that I’m vaguely sick. I have a cough, congestion in my lungs, low level fatigue and aching in the body. It all seemed to start last Sunday, when I wiped a nasty looking brown fur off the top of my ceiling fan’s blades, all 5 of them. Disclosing this to my guy has resulted in him obsessing over a shop vac he used in the house to vacumm a room we put a guests in.

It could, in fact be the dreaded new scourge black mold, as I slept in that room a couple of nights after the guy left. It could also be that the dramatic change in our home feng shui emptying a room that has been clogged with stuff, which may or may not be my “Health and Family” area of my home Bagua. It would be quite perfectly symbolic to have cleared out stuff from a room I’d left clogged for years, stirring up black mold, getting sick from it when it symbolized Health and Family. The fact that the guy actually ASKED me permission to move the stuff out before his friend came, and moved the stuff BY himself PER agreement were miracles heretofore never experienced by me. He used to talk about taking a shovel and leveling the room, meaning he would throw everything out. But then again, it could be that the spare room is my “Knowledge and Self Cultivation” area, depending on how you stretch the Feng Shui diagram.

My nose started running, and respiratory congestion followed. I’ve been trying to minimize it all week, and experiencing more clearly how the way I handle my life on a daily basis is incredibly inefficient and obsolete, though familiar. I’ve managed, after all this time, to maintain a good level of comfort and brain chemistry since I did the “Mood Cure” several years ago. Having some of that taken away right now has brought me a huge gift, something I am now spiritually and emotionally able to recognize.

I am completely unable to keep up with the world via information, no matter how hard or fast I try to. Grounding through slavery to an idea of physical order in my life I can never attain or even approach isn’t working. It’s a strange irony, because I know this does not mean I shouldn’t clear away the clutter and deal with the physical arrangements of my life. I know that somehow it’s the mindsets and conditioned attachments which must change, a kind of “you can’t get there from here” sort of thing.

I know I spend most of my time in distraction and doing things which are repetitive that help foster an illusion I am holding together a life and a home. Certainly it can’t be said I have done nothing, but there’s a lot not happening in my life that should, even at this late date with the state of the world.

Everything in my life needs clearing out: my car, my shed, my spare room, my shelves, my body, and my heart. Today I need to deal with a traffic offense matter that is 2 days overdue. I’ve got 2 books overdue, one on having too many choices, and another on the paradox of time. I’ve had to slow down and make choices that are not MORE detailed and More More More. More is impossible, yet my mind keeps telling me I. Should. Do. More. More or BETTER.

Finally being able to admit I am under the weather, or sick, cannot DO MORE, is helping me right now. I’m not out of either the mindset or the compulsion, but being forced to slow down or be in pain has assisted me in not resisting the fact a change of perspective is needed. It’s interesting, right this moment, to actively be challenging the voice that is constantly saying: “YOU”VE GOT TO DO ALL THIS NOW. THINGS WILL NOT BE OK, HOLD TOGETHER UNLESS YOU DO IT AND YOU CONTINUE UNTIL EVERYTHING IS DONE PERFECTLY.” I’m not even sure I’m hearing it correctly, but I live as though I must fulfill this demanding voice completely. It’s really strange to discover I’m insane on the inside. I never knew this, being so deeply immersed in my unworthiness and endless escapes from feeling it.

I’ve found myself studying how to do a deliberate breathing practice for the gazillionth time. It’s become comic how much I want IT to be the answer. Then I turn IT into another way to tyrannize myself, rebel and don’t do IT. So obvious, so banal and so true.

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My Heart of Darkness

After being a drumming student with a Congolese Master I love and respect for 6 years, I know now about the nightmare of Africa, in particular the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I know about the mutilations, torture, rapes, and the forced boy child soldiers. I know about the massive theft of natural resources from the people of the Congo for gold, tin, tantalum, cobalt and other minerals. These minerals and metals are essential for the operation of computers, cell phones and other technology we consumer folk in the world constantly use. I know about King Leopold of Belgium, his vicious enslavement of the people of Africa for his greed and acquisition of colonial power. Without the internet, I never would have known.

I know my beloved drumming and dance master teacher Sandor Diabanquezi’s mother was gunned down in the Congo from a helicopter. I know Santa Cruz’s Congolese master teacher Vivien Basoamina’s sister was killed in the Congo. I know Eve Ensler has been there and written about the horror and terror of the murders and rapes done there by the legions of militia groups and soldiers. The Holocaust in Africa and in other places of the world continues unabated. I have tried to support Sandor any way I can and continued drumming anyway.

One year I bought a bunch of T shirts from Friends of the Congo with Patrice La Mumba’s face on them but quickly found out other people drumming and dancing don’t want to talk about how much we are part of the system that oppresses people in the Congo and abroad. I have hated finding out all these things, hated my unwillingness to divest myself of the goods gotten by this corrupt and unjust system, hated my feeling powerlessness. Yet, now I would rather know the truth than not, no matter what.

I embrace my Heart of Darkness, which is no longer unaware and blind to the larger picture of the world.

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Failure to Launch

When I was a journalism student at Chico State writing sports and feature copy for the Wildcat, we had electric typewriters, red pencils, and white out to produce and edit copy. You rewrote and rewrote and rewrote till the editor said it was OK. I remember how laborious and time consuming it felt like when I started.

My next journalism experience involved being an intern for “Action Report.” The broadcast copy and casework for a consumer help TV show was produced in Rolfe Auerbach’s garage in Chico. His show was syndicated in 3 counties with 3 different TV stations, so we had Watts lines to call all over northern California to research consumer complaints. Rolfe’s show was named “Action Report” and his tagline on his show was: “You can get action with Action Report!”After several fascinating months, that internship came to an abrupt end when someone turned Mr. Auerbach in for illegally growing marijuana in his backyard.

A few years later, when I was hired by the Chico Enterprise-Record, I was given a desk and what was known then as a VDT, or Video Display Terminal out in the main room across from a vending machine. They were an early version of an in-house word processing system with screens and a keyboard. I had used one earlier when I worked on the Orion, a newspaper the Chico State Journalism Department had going by then just for us Journalism students.

Much to my surprise after I’d finally graduated, an employment agency got me a job with the Enterprise-Record in Chico. But the man who hired me weighed 300 lbs, gave me a few lightweight writing assignments and some obits to write up, and then ignored me. Mr. 300 lbs, who had to be in his 50’s at least, had his own office, a separate room with a VDT, and a dull,overworked, “Don’t bother me” aura.

The reporters at the sports table and news desk were grouped close enough to talk to each other. I was a “floater” who had no beat and I was supposed to generate my own stories. It took about 2 weeks for me to realize I could not handle the isolation, lack of contact and direction. To this day I have no idea why they hired me. When I resigned, I did it by VDT. Some time later I had to move home with my parents, having no further prospects in Chico, where I’d spent 6 years living and going to school.

My next ill fated adventure involved Ed Bauer, the owner/editor of the Half Moon Bay Review. He was notorious for being a pompous, hot headed, narrow minded,right winger and his paper reflected it. I have heard his paper has been used as a bad example at the Stanford school of journalism, ironic, as Mr. Bauer was a proud graduate of Stanford and owned the paper for 25 years.

When I interviewed for a job with him, he wanted to know who my college adviser was. Officially it was Dr. Chu, and Mr. Bauer then wanted to know if Dr. Chu had worked for a Chinese newspaper I had never heard of. When I said no, it felt like a door had been slammed in my face and the interview was over. I was so repelled by his racism I was relieved I didn’t get the job; I didn’t want to be anywhere around him. Though I eventually spent some time doing paste up in the production room, the job was long hours with dreadful pay, and it wasn’t writing, so I quit.

The final nail in the coffin of my journalistic ambitions came in the form of a friend of my mother’s who was the owner/editor of a small local coastal newspaper named the Beachcomber. Her name was Shirley Zynda. She looked like a kindly blond grandmother, though, in reality she was a good writer and tough as nails underneath. When I asked for a writing job she had me do some of the small business blurbs she featured periodically for businesses that paid for advertising in her paper with a “we’ll see how you do”
attitude about my writing.

At one point I did some production room work for the Beachcomber to “help out” and liked it no more than before. I don’t even remember if I was paid. After several months, out of the blue, Shirley Zynda called me in to see her to inform me that I had no dicipline and couldn’t write, and THAT was THAT. The ease in which she trampled on and discarded me, wrong as I knew her judgement was, crushed me.

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Labor Day With the Cat Paul Newman

Today I got to spend time with a semi feral cat I feed from time to time on my porch I named Paul Newman. Because I had time to feed, touch and string play with him, I saw him more clearly than I did in the past when I wrote about him before.

I thought the cat Paul Newman was a pale yellow. Today I saw that he is not. His fur is almost white, and his ears, tail, and face have symetrical pale orange stripes, which, along with a subtle but distinct wideness of jaw suggest Dad might be a long dominant neighborhood Tom I have always called Orangey. He is beautiful and has a curious, lively personality, but I also saw the twitchy siamese in him that was his mother and where he got his startlingly blue eyes.

We never found out what her name was, but she moved around a lot, was hyper and we spayed her, along with two of her progeny because the neighbors who owned her didn’t. She and one of her daughters disappeared, we took in the other cat, Daisy, who is a large and graceful calico.

The cat Paul Newman is clearly not a kitten, but he’s young and inexperienced, and not big enough to be as domineering as his sire. If we touch him for more than a few seconds, he bites and scratches us, so I am careful when I am feeding or talking to him. He comes to eat and be appreciated, likes to cross our threshold and hang out, check out things in the house. He has learned not spray in front of us after our first reactions when he started invading in the back and trying to establish territory by marking.

His ears, nose, paws and tail are always a bit grimy, and he has nicks and scratch marks on his nose. Today I brought out two shoelaces tied together and he had a lovely time ambushing, biting, and clawing the end of the shoelace. I enjoyed watching him, being close to him, and talking to him lovingly. He has taken to being more calm and parking himself on his side, rolling and lounging happily, though he exhibits a firm independence by streaking outside the minute something happens he isn’t sure about.

It’s taken me a long time to become a good cat mother. I’ve learned to observe and tune into the cats, do the least to get the best results. What cats like the most is respectful consistency and access to food and water. Considering their size and the difficulty of being a cat in a human environment, they are surprisingly affectionate.

I know it would be best if we spayed Paul Newman, the sooner the better. But I have learned not to force things with either my guy the cat nut or cats themselves.

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The Passion of Jesus Diaz

I’ve been attending a latin percussion class for about a month in Oakland with Jesus Diaz, and it’s been a unique and marvelous experience for me. It’s appealing right off the bat to go to this class because it’s in an upstairs apartment of a woman artist and loaded with big, colorful paintings, many with African themes and vintage teapots. I don’t have to bring a conga and haul the darn thing up steps because there are already a bunch of them there with chairs in a circle.

There’s an affable, relaxed atmosphere which comes from the other students and Mr. Diaz himself. He doesn’t do a lot of gabbing about what to do. The class is all about playing and singing, immersion style. He sets things up, assigns parts, clues his mostly advanced students, and off we go.
If I don’t plug in and find my footing in whatever I’m assigned, he notes this quickly, either gives me something more simple, or comes over and teaches it to me by putting his hands on my drum and making sure I get it.

He often will expertly sing or recite the specific rhythm he’s assigning, much like you or I would sing a few bars of “3 Blind Mice” or “Pop Goes the Weasel” to remind someone who had forgotten them. Being new, I’m not familiar with any of the names of what we play, including “bembe”, but it matters not at all because I can get in and stay with a part, look at other’s hands, and even switch parts if I grok them while we are playing. I love it, because I learn and retain by doing until what I call my inner jukebox absorbs how it feels and sounds and plays it back to me.

The last time I went to class, we did a “bembe” which went on for quite a while at a good clip, and he sang a progression of orisha songs with perfect concentration. I could see other students singing with him in the choruses and now and then catch snatches of orisha songs I’m familiar with, thanks to a couple of cd’s my last teacher gave me that have orisha songs with bata on them. Yet I know I don’t have the concentration to sing and play at the same time yet, so I don’t strain to sing.

Mostly I can’t clearly hear the songs over the percussion, and even if I could, I have to get the playing down first. Every now and then I fall out of the rhythm I am playing and I stop for a moment. I’ve learned to be patient and not stress over building stamina and focus.

I am so grateful I have the aptitude and experience to be able to attend a class like this and partake of the passion and rhythmic bliss that occurs when the group is playing together. So different from the painful and frustrated floundering I did for too many years before in other classes. I was a percussion student who did not know how to listen, focus and learn.

There is playfulness and clear affection among the regs and Mr. Diaz, and I guess I’ve passed muster for the time being. What is so compelling about this class and Mr. Diaz is the opportunity to practice entering into a FLOW state. It’s awesome.

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The Cat Paul Newman and the Head Pet Toll

The cat Paul Newman is a beautiful yellow shorthair with vivid blues eyes, and that is why I named him Paul Newman. He’s one of four semi feral cats me and my guy feed periodically on our front porch. The Toll for being fed at our house is head pets, which I collect just before feeding them. Timing, posture and duration have to be precise, or the cats freak.

The cat Paul Newman is not very big cat-wise, is not fixed, so he has a problem which is now my problem. It all started the usual way with my guy, who cannot resist needy cats. Guy let Paul Newman come inside our house and started feeding him.

He’s male, and he’s looking to establish territory, find females he can mate with, and be the king his hormones demand he try to be. This means he wants love, food, sex and dominance and therefore MUST MARK with urine the inside of our house whenever he gets the chance. My guy, true to form, has completely forgotten that he’s the cause of the stink that occurs when Paul Newman slips in and pees. When he complains about it, I ignore him, since I am footing the bill for the cat food, cleaning up the pee, and plotting a nut free future for Paul Newman.

The fact that the cat Paul Newman is unsupported in being allowed to come in and stay, discouraged from biting and clawing me after I have petted and fed him, is of course, spurious and inconsequential to his hormone induced aspirations. I now pet him with my bare hands briefly, and put on an over mitt while serving him food. This cuts down on me getting bit and scratched, and ending up having to yell and whack him.

His size is a handicap, as most of the cats in the neighborhood outweigh him and he sometimes has a scratch mark across his nose. Both of our indoor cats are spayed females, and one of them, Daisy, is twice his size and quite hunter savvy, so he’s SOL on that front.

We have a humane cat trap and have spayed many cats female and male. Spaying cats in our neighborhood has been one of the smarter things we’ve done and it’s really helped stop kittens being born in droves to people who aren’t paying attention and don’t have the time or resources to take care of them. I want Paul Newman to have a safer, less traumatic life, therefore I want to get him castrated. I am biding my time, as sooner or later I will find a way to get it done.

There is a couple down the street who also take care of cats. The women loves animals and she managed to get a large and very domineering bad ass orange tomcat I nicknamed “Orangey” fixed after years of him beating the crap out any cat that he encountered. I used to throw tennis balls at him to keep him from constantly attacking a semi feral we loved whom he drove away. Like many males, his nuts made him nuts. He’s one of those cats who has a large head and looks like he’s on steroids. Now, when he comes to the door, he loves to be petted more than he likes the food.

“Orangey” and two other semi ferals,”Junior”, and “Mr. Green” sometimes show up together and gently butt heads, rubbing against each other like brothers while they wait to get food. They are all fixed. If they weren’t, they would be yowling at each other and fighting.

“Mr. Green” is an all black cat with yellow eyes. He has some sort of chronic respiratory infection, which used to mean we could hear his choking and rasping breathing every time he approached. My nickname for him is Mister Schitz because he is tremendously over reactive to any kind of movement which he is all too ready to interpret as a threat, darting away explosively as though I’m a giant about to grab him and put him in a cooking pot for lunch.
He looks way better now because I started marathon feeding him raw meat and anything healthy I could throw at him to stop the choking, spitting, and gasping. Now he has a faint wheeze, but he can chew and shut his mouth, miaow and breathe better. His dirty fur and runny eyes cleared up some, and he became calmer, despite his flight tendencies.

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The Portrait of Bill Cosby

I’ve finally stopped hating Bill Cosby. Current pictures of him look really awful. He’s practically toadlike with cropped white hair, bulging, staring eyes and moles on his face like a large fungus. He looks both pitiful and nasty at the same time. I’m certain the shots are from live performances, and his choice of wardrobe ( a sweatshirt that says “Hello There”) just heightens the creepiness.I can’t help but think of the “Portrait of Dorian Gray” story about a man who is immortal and handsome looking but who has a portrait that looks more and more horrible as he commits crimes and sinks further into debauchery and evil.

When the count of women with detailed rape stories about him got to 20, I came to believe he’d done it and more. The fact that he can’t be legally prosecuted by time statutes of limitation only brings the heinous nature of his addiction to violating women by drugging and raping them into sharper relief. That he could use his image as a trusted male celebrity to cover it up and get away with it all must have become part of the thrill. The women he raped need, more than anything, to be able to acknowledge what happened to them without all this appalling bullshit about his legacy. I think it’s good they can’t prove he did it, because it makes legal proof, which is and has always been skewed to protect men and nearly impossible to make conclusive of intent, Moot. HE USED DRUGS. THERE WAS NO CONSENT.

But the court of public opinion is far more exacting than legal proof. He lost his son Ennis to murder. He may remain famous, and a millionaire, living out his days, but he will never again be trusted either as a man or a performer by a critical mass of people which includes me. I loved him and his comedy, was raised on it and his comedy record alblums. He’s now just another delusional sick bastard male who’s been allowed, big time, to hate and hurt women.

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