Friday, November 21, 2014

Rant #1,328: Be Cos I Care



OK, so what do you make of this whole Bill Cosby thing?

Just in case you have been out of commission the past few weeks and need a recap, allegations of rape have come up again against the entertainment icon, assaults that supposedly happened years and years ago.

Evidently, some two-bit comedian made some comments about the Cos in his act, the comments went viral, and all of a sudden, more than a dozen women came out of the woodwork, saying that the comedian had sex with them under some very mysterious circumstances.

If it was one woman, you could probably discount these allegations, especially since they supposedly took place years and years ago.

But more than a dozen women have claimed that he attacked them, had non-consensual sex, and some of them have evidently kept quiet until now.

Cosby has been an arbiter of righteousness, especially in the black community, since the mid-1960s. He has stood for everything that is good about being a celebrity. He has made millions, but given millions back to the community. He has chastised those who have abused their power as celebrities.

We have loved his work from seemingly the get-go, from "I Spy" to his own comedy shows, to his standup routines to his comedy albums.

I know I certainly did. I have been a fan of his for decades. His comedy albums sit in a very good place in my record collection. I have enjoyed his TV shows, and yes, he has made me laugh--and think--since I was a kid.

But things have changed.

Now, he is being taken down bit by bit by bit by women who alleged that he attacked them eons ago.

Due to the hub bub, he has lost current opportunities, such as with NBC and NetFlix, and his shows have been removed from the air.

This is not the first time that the Cos has been accused of doing the nasty in the wrong places. Evidently, he settled one suit that was lodged against him in a civil case, and then there was the more recent case where he was led to believe that he fathered a young girl with a previous paramour, only to later find out that he was not the actual physical father of the young lady.

So, yes, this arbiter of everything good has, in fact, been a bit bad during the past 50 years, all of which time he was married. He has had affairs, but were these latest strikes against him of the consensual nature or not?

Whatever the case, why did these women take upwards of more than 40 years to claim that Cosby assaulted them? Why are they ganging up on him now?

Yes, the statute of limitations has clearly run out on these cases. Evidently, the comic has been a good guy for the past 20 years or so.

But I bet that there is something else going on here, something that nobody could even fathom could be happening until now.

Cosby is worth many, many millions of dollars. During his heyday, he was probably one of the richest men in the country.

I will bet that he had been paying some of these ladies off for years to keep their mouths closed, and others he didn't pay a cent to at all.

He probably ceased these payments at some point in recent time, or the payments were made in a lump sum and were made years ago, and those that were getting them or got them were upset, and those that weren't probably found out that they were missing a great payday all of these years.

I believe, that is why the initial women struck back at him, and that is why the others joined the line later on.

Sure, we now can figure that the comedian has been talking out of two sides of his mouth the past 50 years, on one side preaching goodness, the other side being something of a predator.

"Do as I say, not as I do," has probably been his maxim.

But there is fault on the other side too.

Why, in heaven's name, has it taken these women so long to come forward? Sure, money can quiet the tongue, but one woman was supposedly attacked in 1969, and others in the 1980s, the ones who probably weren't paid for their silence.

Why has it taken them so long, when really nothing can be done about it now?

And, why and how did these women put themselves in a position to have this done to them?

These are just my impressions of the whole thing, but the sad thing is that Cosby is being made guilty of all of these wrongdoings--I thought in this country, you were innocent until proven guilty.

But the Internet has changed things, and the onus is on him to prove that he didn't do these dastardly deeds.

His silence only make matters worse.

He should come clean, admit that yes, all these years of goodness were spotted with incidents of not so much goodness, or at least missteps, and move on from this.

But unfortunately, he probably cannot do this, because his lawyers most assuredly have told him to shut up, it will all go away in time.

I don't think that Cosby is the American version of Jimmy Saville--the British music celebrity who upon his death, it came out that he had raped perhaps thousands of young men over the years--but I do think that Cosby has had a dark past that we haven't heard that much of until now.

The Jello is wobbly, for sure ...

Whether he did all these things or not, his reputation has been completely destroyed, and if he is innocent, that is just plain wrong.

If he is guilty, these women should have come out years and years ago and told their story.

Not now.

And that makes them as guilty as he supposedly is.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Rant #1,327: ? Part 2




I posted this yesterday on Facebook, and I received some valid feedback about this whole business I spoke about revolving around my liability for my car accident.

This post basically followed up on what I told you yesterday, so I am going to run it here, too.

Maybe you have something else to say about it?

Personally, I can accept it, but boy, what an explanation!


"Anyone in the insurance industry that can read this? Today in my blog,  I speak about my May 10 auto accident, where a young driver shot out of a side street, never stopping at the Stop sign, and T-boned my car, totaling it. The car turned over on its roof, and ended up on the sidewalk.
Anyway, we are lucky that my family and I came out of this unhurt.
However, the other insurance company claimed that I was liable for a portion of the accident, and an arbitrator ruled yesterday that I was liable for 15 percent of the accident.
I just called my insurance company, and while they are still listing me as zero percent at fault for the accident, the reason that I am 15 percent liable for the accident--and will, thus, only get back 85 percent of my deductible--is that they attribute that I had a failure to notice my locale properly, not realizing that it was an "accident situation" before the actual accident occurred.
They were also unable to determine if speed was a factor in my loss.
It was starting to rain. I had my lights on and my wipers on. Everyone was in their seat belt in the car.
What more could I do to "notice my locale properly" and "realize that it was an 'accident situation' before the actual accident occurred?"
Was I supposed to pull over to the side of road, and wait until the rain ended?
This proves to me that the insurance industry is nothing but vultures. The whole thing stinks. I was the one who was hit because a kid went through a Stop sign at an accelerated rate and never saw my car. My car was totaled, and they don't know if speed was a factor?
Like the adjuster told me several months ago, "You are going to be partially to blame because you were where you were at the point of contact."
Ludicrous, but if somebody in the industry, or outside the industry, has another take on this, I am all ears (and eyes).


So basically what I was told that since I was where I was at the point of contact, I am at least partially at fault for the accident.

Have you ever heard such hooey in all of your life?

Even the woman at my insurance company who told me about this agreed with me.

An arbitrator made the ruling so I have no recourse, but boy, in what other field would an explanation like that be valid?

I don't pretend to understand the insurance industry, but if this is an example of the parameters that they use, we are literally all sunk before we even turn the key and start the car.

At least my insurance company believes me, and my rates will not rise due to the accident.

But let me tell you, my opinion of the insurance industry has just been crafted due to this ridiculousness, and it will take a lot for me to change my mind about this industry.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rant #1,326: ?



Yes, that is the title of today's Rant.

I know no other way to put this better, so the question mark it is.

I received a call at my home yesterday while I was at work that pretty much startled me, and I need an explanation, which I hope to get today.

My May 10, 2014 car accident--where a young driver went through a stop sign on a rain drenched road at such force that when he hit my car, it tumbled over once, and its occupants are only alive because we were wearing our seat belts--has finally been closed.

We were found to have been 15 percent liable for the accident, which means I will get 85 percent of my deductible back.

That is all fine and good, but my question is the following: based on what happened, how am I 15 percent liable for the accident?

Heck, how am I even a scintilla of a percent liable?

I will call my insurance company today, to find out the actual reason(s), but to say I am perturbed is putting it mildly.

Right now, to me at least, this case proves that all insurance companies are crooks, because let me tell you, if it wasn't for my driving, my wife, my son and I would have been killed.

We had witnesses saying that the kid did not stop at the stop sign when he pulled out of his street. He T-boned my car, and being that this is in a residential area, we are just so lucky that nobody was on the sidewalk where we ended up.

Yes, he hit us with such force that that is where the car stopped, rolled over, after he hit us.

After seeing him for a split second, I did what I could to avoid contact, but it was to no avail. Perhaps doing this actually saved us from greater harm--we will never know, but I do believe that it did.

Let me tell you, the other driver's company has been a horror on this case from the get go.

They have given us nothing but trouble, and for this to take more than six months to resolve ... well, I thought that this was pretty much a cut and dry case.

But you know what? In the back of my mind, I kind of knew that there is no such thing as a cut and dry case when it comes to auto accidents.

The adjuster who worked on my case told me flat out that I would probably get some liability in the case.

He told me that just by being there, I was liable, because if I wasn't where I was at that exact moment, I would not have gotten hit.

Yes, that's right. I was where I was--driving along, minding my own business, with my lights and windshield wipers on--and that constitutes liability in the car insurance area.

If you can explain that to me, you must be a heckuva lot smarter than I am.

The guy was speeding, he never saw me, and BANG!, he hit me.

I did not hit him, he hit me.

I guess I should be happy that we came out of this alive. Lots of people in similar circumstances don't.

We just had some minor scratches, which have healed.

However, the mental scratches haven't healed so quickly, and probably won't for a long time.

I still think of that crash all the time, and while it is in the history books as far as I am concerned, it still lives on in me.

It also forced me to buy another car, which I am reminded of each month when I get the bill.

I had a premonition that this wasn't going to be easy, just a few minutes after what happened happened.

I was put on a gurney, ready to be transported to a nearby hospital.

I was cognizant, awake, and I guess everything hit me at that moment, a few minutes after I physically was hit.

I said to the EMT, "I'm screwed."

You know, I was right.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Rant #1,325: Car-Niversary



I was relieved of my duties of being a potential juror yesterday.

I sat for hours, and then finally, they called about 30 of us into a room, and dismissed us.

Now I don't have to worry about this for six years, but on the federal court level, I could be called next year.

Something not to look forward to.

Anyway, today is an anniversary of sorts for me.

Forty years ago today, I received my actual driver's license in the mail.

I was 17, and as ready to drive as anyone possibly could be.

At that time, in New York State, you could get your learner's permit at 15, so in 1972, just a few weeks after I became that age, I took the written test, I think a got one or two wrong, but that was enough for me to get my learner's permit.

Every weekend, I would go out with my father to a desolate parking lot, and we would go through the various driving scenarios with the car that would be mine when I got my permanent license, my dad's old yellow Impala cab.

It was beat up, had a big dent in its side, but that was my first car, and I never painted it. I like it yellow.

Anyway, I also took driver's ed in school one summer, where my instructor was none other than actor Alec Baldwin's father.

Anyway, once it came time, I took my actual road test.

It went very well, as I recall.

I did exactly what I was supposed to do, and I remember that the officer in the car told me to park the car, parallel park it.

I started to do that, and in the middle of the action, when I was just about halfway done, he said to me, "OK, that's enought, you passed the test," and I brought him back to the origination point--and that was that.

Then, a few weeks later, the actual license came. I was overjoyed.

Just to get a feel for what I now had the power to do, I went with my mother on my first drive as a real, New York State driver--to our local bowling alley.

Every Saturday, I bowled in a league, and rather than ride my bike there--as I had done for the prior couple of years--I could now drive there, so that was a good place to go on my first drive.

We went there, and as I was coming home--maybe a block away--a stray dog darted in front of my car.

I slammed on the brakes, and I am sure my mom and I almost went through the windshield, as this was prior to the law where you had to wear seat belts while driving.

From that moment on, I vowed that if that situation ever happened again, it would be the animal, not me, who would get it.

Anyway, 40 years is 40 years. I have had numerous cars, I have had some accidents, I have traveled thousands and thousands of miles--to school, to work, to vacation spots, on emergencies, on pleasure driving, driving right after being married, bringing home my kids after they were born, etc.

It has been fun.

I have had my life flash before my eyes due to a horrific accident, I have had great times in the car too.

I have even helped teach my daughter to drive.

My son is another case. Due to his disability, right now, he cannot drive, but one day in the future, I am hoping that he will be able to have the same pleasure that I have had, behind the wheel of his own car.

We shall see.

But anyway, I now can say that I have 40 years of driving under my belt.

I guess I have a right to congratulate myself for this accomplishment, and looking ahead, I hope I have at least 40 more years of driving to celebrate.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Rant #1,324: Jury Duty Today



Today, I have been granted jury duty.

I don't mind serving jury duty--it is my responsibility as a citizen of this country to do so--but others mind, including my place of work.

As I described in a recent post, I went through hell a few years back when I had jury duty, and I try to get out of it to avoid such skirmishes when I can.

Their feeling is that since we have a small company, any cog in the wheel that misses work because of jury duty holds everyone up.

My feeling is that it is not only my duty to serve, but since I work for a place that constantly writes about the quality of life of service members and their families, they should understand that this is an obligation that the citizens of this country must uphold for everyone's quality of life.

They will pay me for three days--that's it--and after that, I am on my own.

I have to get out of it, because my quality of life--in the form of sick and personal days, of which we get very few--will be abridged if I don't get out of this.

It used to be easy for me to get out of jury duty.

I would just say "child support," and I would be let out immediately.

Whatever court it is does not want to interfere with that.

My daughter is 26 now, so I can't use that defense.

I also know it is more difficult to get off of jury duty now than it used to be.

But that is my goal/plight today, get off jury duty, and while I am none too happy about it, it is something that I must do.

Perhaps it will be easy, as it was several years ago, when at about lunch hour, they dismissed us for the week.

Perhaps it will be like the last time, when I literally had to beg to get off a jury I was assigned to.

Whatever the case, I am not looking forward to this situation at all.

Let's see what transpires.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Rant #1,323: The Great Khali



In this world we live in, this is about as inconsequential a story as you will ever read, but I thought I would talk about it today anyway.

It appears the Great Khali was released by the WWE yesterday.

Those are the reports, and if true, it is kind of sad.

Yes, the WWE creates its own world, and a lot of people are into this male soap opera things, a lot of people could care less.

But the Great Khali appears to be history, and to me, that is really too bad.

When this guy burst onto the scene several years ago, he was really something to behold.

He was almost the second coming of Andre the Giant.

Khali was absolutely huge, well over 7 feet tall, and they promoted him by showing you how he could crunch a basketball to bits with his bare hand--yes, hand. One hand was all he needed to squeeze the life out of a basketball, and presumably, another wrestler's head.

Yes, he was a villain at first, a villain that you really were in awe of.

There were problems with Khali right from the beginning.

In real life, the wrestler was, believe it or not, a police officer in India by the name of Dalip Singh Rana. He had a wife and family back home, but was urged to try pro wrestling because of his size.

First off, his English was unintelligible, and mic skills are crucial in the WWE.They even paired him with a manager, at first, one who could enunciate well better than Khali could.

His English became a running joke for his entire WWE tenure.

However, if you can't get your point across verbally, well, it is almost as if you can't wrestle, either.

And that leads to the next problem ...

He couldn't wrestle. At all.

He would basically stomp his opponents, and then put his huge foot on them, and the match was over.

He won the heavyweight championship briefly with this style, but to real pro wrestling fans, it was phony.

He became almost a laughing stock, and after a while, the WWE writers really didn't know what to do with his character, and they relegated him to substandard matches and roles while he learned to wrestle.

He never really did learn to wrestle, but he did learn a few moves.

It didn't help.

Because of his size, he became a comedy player in this wrestling troupe, nicknamed "The Punjabi Prince" and some other names, and his segments most assuredly led to comedy, not much else.

He was even paired with the WWE's resident midget, Hornswoggle, in a sort of "Mutt and Jeff" teaming, but it simply did not work.

Now, he is history, evidently, and it really is too bad.

The guy had no talent, but just to look at this guy, well, if you had to wrestle him, it probably sent shivers up your spine.

Andre the Giant knew how to wrestle; this guy simply did not, but they both shared one thing: the fans loved both of them.

I will be sorry to see him go. He was a presence, if nothing else.

But in the world of the WWE, nothing is final, so maybe he will return at some point in time.

Who knows.

But the long and short of it is that I will personally miss the Great Khali, and I am sure millions of wrestling fans around the world will too.

Goodbye, Shalom, Sayonara.

He is done, and that is too bad.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Rant #1,322: Saving a Life



The Heimlich Maneuver, or whatever it is called today, has been in the news recently in New York.

Evidently, a severely autistic young woman choked to death on a piece of food when her handler, who was supposed to be by her side at all times, stepped away for a moment or two.

The whole story is a tragedy, and if only her handler had been by her side, this maneuver could have been used, and the autistic woman's life might have been saved.

This maneuver--which has various permutations, but the main one is standing behind an adult who is choking, coming in from the back, placing your clenched fist right below the rib cage, and pushing in--has been around for a long time. I think I first heard about it in the 1970s.

Previous to this, if someone was choking, you hit them on the back, gave them water, etc. This was found not to be very effective.

Anyway, the reason I bring this whole thing up is that I am going to tell you about a brief episode that happened more than 20 years ago between myself and my daughter.

I was divorcing her mother at the time, and I had weekend visitation. We went to a local McDonald's as we always did, because my daughter adored McDonald's at the time. She was about four years old, and she just loved that place, so we ate there every time I saw her.

Anyway, we got our usual meals, me a Big Mac and her a Kid's Meal with a cheeseburger.

We were eating, and all of a sudden, my daughter starting turning colors. She wasn't really coughing or gagging, but I could see that something was wrong.

I jumped up, realized that a piece of the hamburger was caught in her throat, and really without thinking, applied the Heimlich Maneuver to her little frame.

By the second or third push, the piece of hamburger popped out of her throat and mouth like a missile coming off the launch pad.

She got her color back, I asked how she was doing, and when everything settled down, we continued to eat, almost as if nothing had happened.

I remember an elderly gentleman sitting at the next table said to me, "Good job," and that was pretty much that.

Happily, I have not had to do something like this again since that time.

So the current story conjured up that prior incident between myself and my daughter.

And the funny thing is that now that my daughter is 26, she still remembers the incident, even though it happened when she was such a young kid.

Anyway, if you don't know the Heimlich Maneuver, it can safely be applied to anyone, even pregnant women and babies, but it has to be done in a certain way based on who you are applying it to.

It is simple to learn, and thank God I was watching the news closely during those years, because that is where I learned how to apply it. If I didn't know what to do, who knows what would have happened.

People choke on food all the time, and not just little kids who are constantly putting things in their mouths, but older people too.

It is a good thing to know, and you can always keep it in your back pocket and pull it out when needed.

So learn the maneuver, especially during the holiday season, when eating is almost as important as the gift giving.

I saved my daughter's life all those years ago, and I just wonder if the handler was around, whether this young autistic woman would still be around too.
 

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