Monday, November 20, 2017

Firewalling Sexual Abusers

"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.” - Mark Twain

My view of sexual harassment, domestic abuse especially against women and children, slander or libel against women especially for merely speaking out against those who are abusive, has always been the same. Stop it from happening, support women in fighting back. Firewall those who are abusers, cut them off, block them.

Stop calling women liars, stop slandering them, stop muckraking them through the media mud. Support our women, support the abused, don't just ignore them, turn away, abuse them even more!

This is not a partisan issue, nor a political issue. It's a human issue. Men need to lock arms with women over this. In a nonsexual, platonic, professioanl fashion, supporting women for their worth, their skills, their equality to us men. And not just a pretend equality, but a real and substantive one.

I suspect most men may be good and decent people, but enough men are not that this has to be addressed and we have to stand for those who are abused and then more especially abused when they are brave enough to speak out about it and who is being abusive toward them.

We have a culture of abuse against women by men in power over them.

We have elected a president in Donald Trump who has admitted he is a predator. We have people declining invitations to the White House because of him and that. Enough obfuscation about peopple like Bill Clinton, or even Al Franken, when we have an actual accused predator in the oval office RIGHT NOW.

And Republican Judge Roy Moore. A man who has been an historical embarrassment and obvious sexual predator of minors. Who been removed from the bench twice for refusing directions from the Supreme court. Who had his own community when he was a district attorney, ban him from their Gadsden Mall, and from the local YWCA for inappropriate behavior of soliciting sex from young girls. And he is still running for Congress and being supported into it.

Women who have a claim against Bill Clinton should be supported to seek their closure, but as a nation we need to pay attention to what is here and now of those in power at this time. As for Franken, it feels less than it's made it out to be and regardless, an investigation is in the works. But I suspect it will end in little being discovered as those who know Al seem to see it as I do, that what was reported was an outlier in being a bad behavior, and not a bad actor as we see in Trump, Moore and others like them.

We are America and we need to start acting like it, and clean up our act!

It's wrong. I can't believe this is happening, still! But then, I first saw this kind of thing when I was in my teens and in a way that really put my life on the line for it. In part that event from 1974 set a tone for me throughout the rest of my life even up to today.

Maybe it's because I had so much of my childhood governed by women, my sister, my mother and especially my mother's mother, I've always been more understanding of their plight. And I've always been easily angered at hearing of their abuse.

I had an awesome grandmother. In so many ways, she has my thanks for who I am today. In finding out I hadn't learned multiplication tables because of how often we had moved, because at one grade school they learned those tables in fourth grade while my next school in third, she wrote out the multiplication tables from one through twelve all over her kitchen wall. At every meal we would go over them whenever I stayed there, until I had learned them all.

I grew up loving women, respecting them, and also in having a solid sense of self respect in that regard, in having a great respect for women. I had trouble learning and K-12 was kind of a nightmare. I had a step father who seemed to hate me and tell me at every turn that I was stupid. It wasn't until the military and later college and a university that I truly began to believe that just perhaps, I wasn't stupid after all.

So men who lay blame for their actions against women are because they had poor self esteem, or couldn't talk to women and so use their power and control to get sex, just doesn't wash with me. It's lazy, it's abuse pure and simple.

There is a theme going all though my fiction of empowered women. Or of bad things happening to the men who abuse them. An example from my own life of my orientation in being pro women, is uniquely available to the public, as I've written a true crime semi biopic screenplay.

This may seem like a shameless plug for a screenplay I'm shopping around to producers and studios, but hey, it's hard getting a screenplay sold. That being said however, it is also a pretty amazing example of my orientation on supporting women in my life and I would also argue, a very good example of how we need to stand up for women. More than once I've put myself physically on the line for women against some guy, usually their guy, and women that I sometimes, many times, did not even know. AND most importantly, I had expected NOTHING from them for my efforts.

I stood up for them merely because... it was the right thing to do!

I currently have two titles for it as I shop it around. Teenage Bodyguard, or Slipping "The Enterprise" (see links for more). "The Enterprise" was what that mafia group called themselves and what we tried to do that week in trying to slip by them until the woman in the screenplay could leave town at the end of that week.

She introduced me to a lifestyle that I'd had no idea about. I'd read The Godfather in high school, I saw the film. But didn't realize just how women truly were treated by some of these guys, if not most.

The screenplay details an actual week in my life at eighteen in 1974 where I protected a woman from the local Tacoma Carbone crime family until she could leave town. Why do I bring this up? It's not to go on about a screenplay I'm currently shopping around, but to point out that even at eighteen, I felt strongly about women's rights and treating them decently, that I put my life on the line for a woman.

I've gone through my younger years and throughout my life being disgusted by what has been put upon women, merely for being female, or attractive, or in a position where a guy having power or control over her, can feel free to be abusive. Not just in sexual but also in issues of power and control. To be fair, these men I'm detailing in this were abusive to human beings. They abused their control and power over men also, and in many cases, murdered them. The ultimate abuse.

In my screenplay and back then in reality, I had been introduced to a woman who was around ten years older than me. I was initially just asked to give her a ride to her new location where she was to stay there for a short time. I found out later it was because my "friend" wanted her out, fearing the mafia who was looking for her and in the process, put me front and center in their crosshairs. To be fair, they didn't know I'd accept helping her. They just asked me to give her a ride.

I was naive about many things in life back then, and in some ways so was she. She was also obviously traumatized. My reason for bringing this up regards why I took on the challenge of protecting her, with a gun, for that entire week.

Once I got her to where she was going to be staying for that week, she sat me down and handed me a newspaper clipping about a recent murder. It was the murder of a bouncer at a local (Tacoma's first) topless club, run by this crime family and called the Tiki restaurant in Lakewood, Washington, just south of Tacoma. It was a murder she said, even though to this day it is labeled an anonymous murder, was done by the crime family, to one of their own.

She outright asked me if I had a gun. I admittedly said, yes. She then took a chance, seeming lost, asking if I would get that gun and stay with her for that week until she could leave town. She feared they would find her and take her, and potentially murder her too for what they believed was being a murder witness against them. They did that kind of thing fairly regularly, all through the 1970s. I didn't know what to say until she explained further.

It was her explanation that convinced me that I had to help this woman.

I bring this up because even at eighteen, I felt I needed to stand up for women. And, as this case clearly exemplifies, I put my money where my mouth is. I put my life on the line for this woman, because I was so horrified at the abuse this woman and others at her job had been put through.

I've had that orientation all my life. I've stood up for women when I saw them being abused but sadly, many times, the women went right back into that abuse, much to my shock and dismay. But we do what we can. And in this case, I did.

I'll just share that scene in my screenplay:


SARA
Do you have a gun? You don’t happen
to have a gun do you?

ME
A gun? A gun. Oddly enough, I do.

SARA
What. A rifle, probably--

ME
Yeah but a handgun, too. .357
magnum actually.

SARA
Can you use it? You know how?

ME
Yes. Yes, I do.

Self-assured but naive and it slightly confuses her.

SARA
I don’t know why, but I trust you.

ME
Again, I have that affect on
people. I’d have to go home, just
to get the gun.

SARA
You live with your parents?

ME
No. I have an apartment.
(light chuckle)
Graduated, got out at seventeen. I
have a job, an apartment, car
obviously. I’ve had a job since
ninth grade. Days. I’ll need to go
to work. Have to pay the bills,
rent and stuff. Could take the week
off but, really can’t afford it.

SARA
No, that’s fine, I understand, you
need to work, pay bills. If I need
to go anywhere I’ll just wait for
you. No one knows where I am or how
to find me. That’s what all that
was about at Erik and Dave’s. It’s
safe here. Really. I never told
anyone about them. I don’t want to
take any chances. Not mentioning
this to anyone goes without saying.
OK? And don’t let anyone here know
you have a gun.
I don’t want to-- freak anyone out.
Especially Mary being PG and all.
You know?

ME
I get it, I’m used to it, really. I
don’t show if I’m carrying. About
these guys--
(Indicates newspaper clipping)
Dangerous I take it?

SARA
Sometimes. I was in the office that
day with Ron. He was all worked up
over something so I let him throw
me up against the wall for a bit.
That always calms him down. I know
they killed Danny. The bouncer. He
was nice. To me, to all the girls,
not like the others.

ME
Sorry? You let him throw you up
against the wall?

SARA
(Confused he doesn’t get
it, uncomfortable)
You know. Sex. Most of the girls
let him do that. Like I said, calms
him down then he’s much easier to
deal with. Danny I think just got
in their way. He stuck up for us.
Maybe they finally had it. I know
they killed him though. I do know
that.

ME
Why not just fire him?. Who kills a
guy for sticking up for women?

She looks away.

SARA
Johnny Carbone does. May have been
something more, I donno. Maybe he
heard something, spoke up at the
wrong time? Who knows?

ME
OK, well, look. I’ll head home.
Back in a few. I won’t be long.

When she asked me if I had a gun, I told her I did, but I wasn't convinced yet. It was when she made it clear what her working environment was, and there was more than I put into the screenplay, in how it was for all the women there. And my research for this screenplay has proved this to be true and even then some. My mind was made up. Screw those guys, she had me 100% on her side.

That's the kind of motivation and support we need to give women today.

This nonsense has to stop. Men need to not just support women, but themselves in not acting like animals just because they have a little (or worse, a lot) of power.

Women, as has been said repeatedly over time, are our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, daughter and friends. They deserve our respect and support. Even if we have to pick up a gun to support them (obviously not illegally, go to the authorities if need be).

And that is the end of it.

We have now elected a president who has admitted he is a sexual predator. Well, I didn't and wouldn't have voted for someone like him. Women have come out against him for his abuse and what have we done, what has he done?

Abused them in the media. Dragged their reputations through the mud and slime that sexual abuse leads to.

But that is changing. Times have changed and it needs to change. We will ALL be all the better for it! As we will when women more and more have positions of power and control over men and women.

Stand up for them. Support our friends and loved ones who have historically suffered abuse all through history.

#MeToo #SexualHarrassment #StandForWomen #Producer


Monday, November 13, 2017

The Irresponsible Generation?

I don't get this attitude that I see so much of today. Blame laid anywhere but on oneself. Yes, times are hard, but they've been harder.
And sure, there's always some of that involved....
How do you not know you are going to graduate High School when you have been working for twelve years to get to that point? What happened to being responsible for oneself? Thinking for one''s self, thinking outside the box to get to where you need to be?

There seems to be some kind of a virus going around that absolves people from being responsible for themselves. It's a super virus among many conservatives, to be sure. You'd think in twelve years during K-12 years one would figure out they are one day going to be out on their own.

"I am 17, and my parents are going to kick me out on my 18th birthday in August to make me homeless. What do I do? I don’t have a driver’s license or a bank account."

Seriously? I suppose we can blame our parenting? I was a bit of a mess when I left home at seventeen. But I had a driver's licence, I got a job that started the day after HS graduation. I took responsibility and figured it all out on my own. My parents weren't any help, they assumed I'd do what I needed to. And I did.

It was painful. But no one helped me, I helped myself. I had no other choice. My parents weren't highly educated. My mother only got to ninth grade. My step-father graduated high school, but wanted little to do with me and was a blue collar warehouse worker. There were no expectations from them for me which was a good and a bad thing. Good emotionally. Bad career wise. But then, I had to figure things out for myself before I moved out and because of that, I handled my own situations after that.

What helped me more than anything was a friend back then telling me something important. He had said:

"Be responsible for yourself, because no one else will be. Yes, your parents may be to blame for your emotional problems or more. But once you are an adult at eighteen you need to accept responsibly for yourself. Even if your situation is not your fault or responsibility, take that responsibility on yourself. Because by accepting it you will be far ahead of the game."

And so I did that. It took a while but it was worth the pain over that next year or two as I adjusted to stop blaming anyone but myself for everything. In taking that responsibility, it gave me a brand new and more productive perspective.

We're seeing this lack of responsibility even in older generations now in things like the issues about Russian and even Republican disinformation campaigns. For over two decades now we've seen this kind of behavior in the GOP and with conservatives, with the NRA, with the tobacco industry, the car industry, and with many global corporations. Selfishness, greed, "me before others", this simple overall lack of accepting responsibility for our own actions and situations. Win at all costs, even if we are liars or abusers. I may even be in part an explanation for much of the sexual abusers we're now hearing about in the media that led to the "Me Too" campaign which was long overdue.

Once I had accepted responsibility for myself and my actions, my life got better. Eventually. It hurt, and it was painful. It took over a year to accept it, to get used to it. but life got better from that point on. It took a while for my living situation to get better but my mindset, my emotional state, my life orientation, even my friend's attitude toward me (and mine toward them) was instantly enhanced. And the rest of my life was all the better for it, than it would have been.

America needs to start doing that overall. Not just about our children, not just about ourselves. Not just about family, but about community in general and about our nation.

Perhaps in some ways we've confused a generation in our being so oriented to not do to our children what our parents did to us, in our being overly PC, in being too protective of our children. Perhaps our parents, even if misguided, actually (even if inadvertently), knew something we were msising?

I suspect one day this generation will get their act together, raise their kids differently and  (hopefully) do a better job than we did so their next generation will get it together overall and for us all.

Perhaps this is in part what is wrong with our government too. Not about our children obviously but about their parents who are now in power. We can see some of them, their attitudes, selfishness, being focused only on theory and defective agendas, not on humanity, process, or people, and not on our children.

Or perhaps this next generation will be even worse off? Well, hopefully not.

Our hope as it always is, is in our young. We need to invest in them, their education, healthcare, mental health, social health, and our own understanding of parenting them. I can only hope, we all can only hope, that they will be our hope and our future.

A future that will eventually get better than the ridiculous nonsense that is currently saturating our culture and our country,

Monday, November 6, 2017

Hollywood Girl Goes Author!

You may remember my Hollywood Girl blog on a web series created and starred in by the amazing Courtney Zito. Check that blog out for more about her and her show. Or you may remember my blog: Just why is Courtney Zito crashing the SuperBowl?  Both obviously about the same lady.


What this blog here and now is about is that she has just turned her talents to being an author and writing a book. What kind of book would this dynamic, attractive and talented actress, and comedic producer of a very funny show... write?


Well, a supernatural thriller of course! Titled Peripheral Vision, it's available now to pre order on Amazon. Check out her new video book trailer for it. It's pretty sweet! Drop by her Facebook page and let her know you hopefully pre-ordered the book. Coming out as an ebook first, it will later be released in print format. Teaming up with her in writing this book is writer Timothy Hammer.

See the Amazon description below at the end of this blog.

Courtney's an amazing talent (just watch an episode or a season (or three) of Hollywood Girl) who has been lost not only to the single crowd (she's married), she has also entered the role of parent. It seems like only yesterday she was a free and crazy Hollywood Girl and now she is branching out into a multitude of endeavors as only she can.

Far beyond the triple threat many fear as competition, just get out of her way and see where she goes!

Hollywood Girls has broken the bonds of videohood and entered the international realm of the novel.

Cheers, readers!

From the Amazon page:

Sometimes the deepest secrets hide in the the darkest corners.

As a little girl, Sarah suffered a horrific tragedy that would forever change her. She saw it coming before anyone else, but she could only describe it as the feeling. From then on, she always considered herself an “extra sensitive”. It was as if her mind knew something was going to happen, but she wasn’t able to fit all of the pieces together until after the fact. At night, while she dreamed, her visions played out both the past and the future, and sleep was often elusive. But with the help of doctors, and sleeping pills, she was able to silence the feeling for the better part of her life.

Now, as a thirty-something, “living the dream” in Los Angeles, she’s built a solid life for herself and put the tragedy behind her. But when she’s met with unexpected news, it causes a cataclysmic shift in everything she thought she knew about herself, and her family. Sarah’s estranged Aunt has died, and she has inherited her old farmhouse in the small Nebraska town of Homewood. Deep within the house, she discovers some very dark secrets. What she finds, opens up some frightening doors to the small town's past. Doors that were better left closed.

Oh yeah...this should be good!