25 November 2014

The Bills ... Cosby and Clinton


First and foremost, I wish you the Happiest of Thanksgivings to you and yours, Dear Reader.  I ask that you kindly indulge me for a moment on this whole Bill Cosby thing.  This being the "turkiest" week of the year, it seems appropriate whilst discussing the two Bills -- one of them with the honorary doctorate and the other the dishonored president.

I'm of an age (a man chuffed to still be in his 40's) where I have friends and acquaintances in their 70s and 80s.  Even as a boy I enjoyed carrying on conversations about finance and theology and screenwriting with those several decades my senior. Their book recommendations meant the world to me, and often they would inscribe a tome or two to yours truly with an admonition about my future in some field or other.  Man did I admire these men and women, and over the years have warmly welcomed their mentorship and advice and criticism, and today appreciate them as living examplars of how one gracefully transitions into one's dotage from an active career in academia, theology, law and entertainment.

One such individual was my friend, Mac (not his real name), who "came up" (his words) with Bill Cosby and several other famous and successful black entertainers who all made their way westward from the East Coast and Chicago out to the land of easy money, aka, Los Angeles. (I don't mention the others as not to tarnish the group.) It wasn't quite F. Scott Fitzgerald easy Hollywood money, but talent will out, Dear Reader, and talent did see them all rise to the top of their respective fields of television, voice-over, writing, film and even sport.

My pal was a voice talent, you know the kind who does "In a world ..." for our favorite movie trailers, etc., he of the baritone voice range, with dozens of years doing MC/announcer work for the most prestigious Hollywood award shows.  He was also a regular on several television shows, and was able to create a marvelous career after a fine jazz DJ career in Chicago.  Mac asked me to play golf with him often, and we'd always lunch at the club after our many rounds.

Quick admission, because I'm nothing if not transparent: I sort of lost my playing privileges with my pal after an afternoon of playing rather badly and losing my cool.  I blew off some steam in a rather vocal fashion, and may have even tossed a golf club or two with vigorous aplomb (I'm nothing if not vigorous).  Peter Falk, the most famous one-eyed actor in the history of Hollywood, was routinely in the twosome in front of our foursome over the years that Mac graciously extended invitations for me (and occasionally my brothers) to join him at "the Riv" (Riviera Country Club) in the Pacific Palisades.  And every once in a while, on that bad day of bad days, Peter would turn and give me the ole stink-eye with his good eye.  When you get the stink-eye from a one-eyed acting legend, it's really noticeable because to make sure he's got you in his sights, he had to crank around the ole noggin with that still-great-head-of-hair to give me the good once-over.  Damn, that Falkian glare!  I knew that my acting the fool would some day get me onced-over but good. Yes, on that day I was that guy, and am still embarrassed by it.  We live and learn, am I right or am I right?

Anyway, on a typically perfect Los Angeles day at the Riv we were with the scions of Flip Wilson and Don Cornelius.  Mac knew both of their fathers, and these two men, who were successful in their own right, just happened to be the sons of two entertainment giants who knew Mac and enjoyed his company on the golf course. There was also one other entertainment executive from one of the studios playing with us, and I, newly out of law school working at MGM Studios, listened whilst they shot the sh*t about the comings and goings of famous whatnots and whoseits. 

Then a story or two were fleshed out and exposed (double entendre doubly intended), with a couple of the men relating to us how ole Bill C. (you know the one I mean) had a penchant for maltreating women, especially young, blonde women, who were called upon to fellate him behind his desk whilst he entertained friends on the other side of said desk, plying them with the usual accouterments of fine scotch, cigars, and pink party hats.  Okay, I'm not sure about the hats, but their detailed discussion of the fellatio and other stories were more than matched by similar sounding offerings in the news the last few weeks.  What were once unctuous whisperings about the Coz's sexual proclivities are now full-throated news headlines of rape.

There was a man who worked for Bill Cosby for many years at NBC Universal whose job included paying off these women by the handful, with monthly hush money payments.  Bill Clinton had a similar sounding team of men and women whose job it was manage the "bimbo erruptions," i.e., to perform character assassination on any of the many women who dared to come forward when Bill Clinton's shenanigans would come to the light of day.

Bill Clinton, aka, President Interbush (thanks Alec Baldwin!) No. 42, could frisk a woman up and down as good as any undercover officer working a crowd to ensure that no n'er-do-wells were carrying any concealed weapons.  Bill Clinton was checking for concealed weapons all right, on seemingly any woman he met.  And sometimes when he was comfortable or bold enough, it was his own weapon that was no longer concealed.

Two very attractive women friends of mine from law school were both groped by Bill Clinton.  One, Ms. A, was propositioned whilst in DC out on her morning run, where the President's team approached her and asked if she wouldn't mind chatting with ole Bill.  She declined, but eventually they chatted briefly on both of their supposed morning runs!  In a rare moment of chivalry, rather than press Ms. A himself, he had his chief pimp secret service detail ask her for her phone number so that they could contact her subsequently for "lunch."

The second friend from law school accompanied a Senator's son from California to a wedding at the White House.  In the receiving line, Bill gave Ms. H. the full body search with his aw schucks, "Nice to meet ya, Ms. H." (cops a feel on shoulder.) "What part of California are ya'll from?" (slides hand down to feel curvature of the Ms. H's derriere.) "I look forward to seeing you inside after the ceremony!" (looks longingly into her eyes whilst double clasping a handshake.)

So, what's the difference between these two Bills?  Apparently very little in their private lives and behaviors. What's different is perhaps how the media are treating them.  Bill Clinton suborned perjury, lied to a grand jury, and was eventually disbarred and impeached.  But, worst to my way of thinking, was that he was a serial abuser of women, not to mention how they were then impugned, besmirched, and called "trailer trash" by James Carville and other men and women who worked for Clinton #42.  The media, like they did under JFK, looked the other way.  Bill Bradley knew of the women during JFK's time, as did many of the other "good ole boys" in the Beltway media.  Pigs all, then and now.

If you took the transcripts on today's news shows, and swapped out the name "Cosby" for "Clinton" you'd have the headlines as they should have been 20 years ago and should be today.  Rape allegations that were presented against Bill Clinton are still swept under the ole Sam Donaldson rug, er, toupee.  If today's animated media chasing after Cosby put the same effort into the same number of women with allegations against Clinton, then we'd have some sort of justice.  The Clinton women were overwhelmingly ignored by the feminists, to their own shame and discredit.

I hope the Bills C both get their day to face in the cold light of day the women they abused, and I hope the media are called to account for their complicit and scandalous participation.

30 October 2014

I long for the day ... n'est pas?

Younger me:           Old man, I have become you.  
40-Something Me:    Cripes, when was that?!
Younger me:           Dunno, probably when you noticed that your feet actually hurt after                                                   sitting for periods of long stretches
40-Something Me:    Yeah, but I'm so much smarter than you.
Younger me:           Maybe, but I have a better memory than you, and after your divorce, way                                         more money.  
40-Something Me:   What were we just talking about? 
 Younger me:          I was watching as you were becoming a bit of a nostalgic alarmist 
 _____________________
I long for the day when I don't have to hear about which set of genitalia the CEO of Apple prefers to think (or sit) upon.  Do we all have to be noticed? (see above image.) Do we all have to shout it to the world that we're special?  Let me say this: I am ordinary!  I am a hetero male, who tans easily, is quite balding, has a layer of male gut syndrome that shames him from wearing Simon-Cowell-too-tight t-shirts, and guess what?  No one cares about my sexual identity gender politics ... nor should they.  Sure, be different, go ahead, but be yourself.  Don't let some group of self-appointed, politically correct mafioso thought police tell you HOW to be different.  Whew.

I long for the day when I don't have to watch with utter incredulity an alleged "nurse" riding a bike around in her home state of Maine after returning from an Ebola hot zone, thumbing her nose at authorities who have given her a 21-day quarantine to protect the commonwealth, er, commonhealth? of the Pine Tree State's citizenry.  If she's dying (no pun intended) to stretch out the ole hammies on a velocipede, then the good people of these United States, I include you and me Dear Reader, are all too happy to place one spinning machine straight from Equinox in her "utilitent" (trademark FatScribe 2014).  Wow.

Gone are the days when one could have reasonably expected our sitting president to actually enforce the border laws of these United States, preventing the spread of lesser-than-Ebola (but just as deadly) diseases from taking the lives of our children, i.e., the enterovirus EV-68, instead of looking for a politically expedient pretext to sway and swell the voting rolls by streaming 150,000 Spanish-speaking 'tweens (medias en espanol, Estimado Lector) across several countries' borders and legalizing unilaterally, sua sponte, the nearly 12 million illegals here now.  How many children were put in harm's way, I wonder, by the Administration's advocating such an asinine public policy?  Dang.

Fewer and far betweener are the teachers in our states that actually care for the needs of their student charges over the desires and tactics of the teacher unions. One dear family friend of ours makes $135k per annum for 9 month's worth of kindergarten work.  Love her to death, and I love that she loves to teach 5-yr-olds, but $135k!?  Fugly.

Not a day goes by that I can't imagine that our collective brood might be better off going to a trade school.  Are they actually gaining ANY real value from their college degrees.  Sure, those with college degrees, and graduate degrees, earn plenty more than those without, but does the $100,000 and $200,000 and $300,000 in student loans really off-set the debtor nation we're rapidly building and leaving behind for our grandchildren?  Really? Whoa.

I long for the day when my father handed me a spreadsheet explicating in granular detail how much my community college and state college cost him, viz.,  roughly $8,000. My oldest, when he was in preschool, cost us $18k per year. A senior in high school, he's now looking at monster student loans for undergrad, which I pray to goodness that he choose a community college first, and then an affordable state school.  He has the potential for a quite generous scholarship in another state with a school that likes the cut of his jib, but housing costs are quite expensive then as well. Ugh.

Just one of those days, Dear Reader.  Just one of those days where we long for simpler times ... if they ever existed, n'est pas?  Maybe your list above is the EXACT opposite as mine, and you disagree with everything I listed ... still ... we've all had that tipping point day, where we just think, "When did this become the norm for us? Where did normal go?"  Whatever normal is for you and yours, Dear Reader.


17 October 2014

It's them ... ahem



It’s them.

Ponder, ponder, ponder, ponder, ponder, ponder. Yonder, yonder, yonder, yonder, yonder, yonder.
Wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder, wonderbread. Dunder, dunder, dunder, dunder, dunderhead.
Slender, slender, slender, slender, slender, slender. Tender, tender, tender, tender, tender, tender.
Gander, gander, gander, gander, gerrymandering. Pander, pander, pander, pander, pandering.

Ponder yonder the wonder of those dunders, er, slender tenders, gerrymandering to pander. One finger at them and three, ahem, at me.


Untamed Beasty ... Redux

There stood beside me a grove of yellow mango shrubs, each the size of a small boy.

In each moment I stood motionless watching, the weight of it all pressed down on my head, shoulders, and feet (burrowing deeper into the dark wet soil). An increased burden of helplessness; an impotence in its purest state overwhelmed as I heard the waves upon the shore somewhere behind me.

It was as if I could intuit each moment (not seconds, not time, but the single idea or notion of an individual and distinct nano event) as they passed by -- or rather were lit then extinguished -- one by one, like wood matches you get from a steak house, a half-empty box, rattling around. Each of them as important as its predecessor or successor, lined up like lemmings about to migrate to some eternal judgment that they surely would not pass. Each one wanted, yet wasted.

These moments pressed in on my conscience; the box never emptying, just rattling with fresh moments to be shaken to see if there were any left, then pulled hard against the box, then dropped down to the earth like manna from Heaven with a fleeting trail of smoke and a last gasp upon impact.

Over.

Wasted.

Again.


03 October 2014

My Corporate Communication Philosophy.


As a marketing and communications professional, I've written dozens of press releases (and ordered, edited, and published dozens more); created pitchbooks and presentations for VCs and angel investors alike; have drafted corporate communications on behalf of and from the office of CxO of some sort during celebrations and catastrophes, as well as massive hirings and firings; created and overhauled corporate vision; drafted and redlined hundreds of contracts and agreements of various forms; and have written responses to government agencies, judges, and opposing counsel.

How you phrase, parse, preach or pitch your message is hugely important, both to your organization as well as to you.  So, here, over Coffee Bean vanilla lattes in Malibu, I thought I'd put out a quick primer, as best as one can draft such a document sitting in 78 F degree weather amongst the beautiful, rich, homeless, recently spotted actors and athletes du jour -- talkin' 'bout you David Duchovny and Blake Griffin -- illegal aliens, er, I mean, non-documented though decently paid workers, unpaid though over-represented screenwriters, and bikers hellbent for trouble (lycra and leather alike).

Here now for your perusal, my very quick, yet heartfelt, communication bromide and offering:

I believe in thoughtful comity over cruel quips. 

None of us are perfect, no not one.

If we’re a liberal, very advanced company, and our consumers are not (some of them), we respect them and their traditional worldview. If we’re a conservative company, and our consumers are not (some of them), we respect them and their forward- thinking worldview.

We do not talk down to potential consumers simply because they think different from or hold opposing views than we do. Even potential consumers that will never be our customers are part of our body politic, market, and hemispheric.

We protect our employees, ALL of them.

We respect our consumers, ALL of them.

We respect ourselves, ALL the time, and therefore demand the best in behavior from ourselves and our employees, especially in the way we communicate with each other, our clients, our consumers, and our competition.

We have a worldview, we let others know what it is, we're proud of it, and we hold fast to it. We don’t change our principals because some, several, or serious numbers decide that they don’t like us, what we did/do, or what they perceive we stand for; we hold on to our moral compass whilst remaining true to our core of respect, even if / while others do not respect us.

We are having ongoing conversations with ourselves, our employees, our colleagues, our consumers, our community, our competition … at all times. We speak truth to power and we powerfully seek the truth in how we operate. Our conversation therefore is peppered with urbane wit and seasoned with compassionate drive to succeed in the marketplace of commerce – and ideas — whilst having fun.

Damn it! 

;)

01 September 2014