Monday, April 13, 2015

Ready For Hillary?

Well, it has started. Hillary Clinton has officially announced her presidential bid. Does she have my vote out of the gate? Probably.

I say "probably" only because there might actually be a Democrat who unhorses her in the primaries. I don't think that's likely, but you never know. Not Elizabeth Warren. She said no, and she meant it. And certainly not Joe Biden. But maybe HUD Secretary Julian Castro. Who knows?

Ah, but here come the naysayers, some of which were undoubtedly the same giddy fools who gleefully anointed her as Obama's successor before he was even sworn in for his second term. Now the buzz is somewhat negative, and Facebook is already humming with posts about how Hillary is the right hand of Satan. I would like to address some of the points such people bring up, as I feel it's important to do so. It's dirty work, but somebody's got to do it.

First, let's get the big stuff out of the way: Is she a liar? Ruthless? An insider? Someone who bends the rules whenever it suits her? Yes, she is. But let's get this straight: That's what I want! Sure she's a battle-hardened bitch, but we need that. We need someone who's willing to spank the crybabies of Congress until their bottoms are blue, and then send them to bed with no supper!

Gennifer Flowers? Monica Lewinsky? Whitewater? Travelgate? Vincent Foster? Sure, that's a lot of baggage. But it's Bill's baggage, and the last time I checked, he's not running.

Benghazi you say? Yeah, the Republican-led investigation into that cleared her. So, unless you are still under the delusion thatFox News is fair and balanced, there's no scandal, there.

Emails? Yeah, not so much, either. Unless an off-account email is found which is a clear breach of national security, I don't see much of a problem. Besides, we've all done personal stuff on company time or dime, haven't we?

We've had it good with Professor Obama. But while good ol' Prof was my first choice then, the Tough Ol' Bird is my preferred choice now. Make no mistake, the bitch is back! And I'm good with it.

Then again, I'd vote for Bill Cosby, if it meant keeping the crazies who pass for conservatives out of the White House.



Sunday, April 5, 2015

What Easter Means To Me

So it’s Easter weekend, and lots of people are doing their traditional things with baskets full of jellybeans, chocolate and what have you, and we unbelievers are doing our thing pointing out the various aspects of Easter which are Pagan in origin or which have their roots in other religions such as the cult of Attis or the Cybeline vestils. And all I can do in light of all this is reflect on the contrast of what I thought about Easter back when I was a Christian, and what Easter means to me now.  Back then, I thought Easter was an even bigger deal than Christmas, because, you know, this wasn’t the birth of Jesus, that was just the opening act.  This was Jesus coming back after kicking death in the ‘nads! This was IT! This was the whole point of the whole hullabaloo. 

And now?  The whole thing means less than nothing to me. I have no church service to attend, no kids to take on Easter egg hunts, the whole thing comes and goes and I scarcely notice.  And part of what has led to that shift in mentality is simply the realization of what Easter is supposed to mean, namely the sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus. The whole point of his death is blood atonement, which goes back to the sacrificial scapegoat ritual under the Jewish rite of Moses, where a goat takes on the sins of the people and is then sacrificed. So something innocent dies to pay for the wrongdoings of something guilty, essentially two wrongs making a right.  And nobody seems to figure this part out.

How amazing is that?

Not so amazing as this: I’ve been sick this week, which is very odd for me. I almost never get sick. But this week I came down with some killer thing which has given me the worst sore throat I’ve had since I came down with strep throat when I was a kid. The pain I’ve had to endure at the most inconvenient of times has been maddening. And for me, it just underscores the absurdity of the intelligent design argument, that this fine machine called the human body can be so easily fucked up by one little microorganism that just destroys even the ability to swallow, it’s just nuts. 

And yet, my little bout with pain is nothing compared to what some people go through for their religion.  In Iraq, Shi’ite pilgrims flagellate themselves with huge whips made of iron chains with hooks on the ends of them. In India, 200 men chopped off their balls because a guru said it would bring them closer to God. A recent HBO documentary showed the insane things some people were willing to do for scientology and the abuses they endured in that particular cult. In India again, certain people are having themselves be nailed to crosses to reenact what Jesus allegedly went through on the first Easter weekend. Now, let me just focus in on that last one.  People crucifying themselves.  Sure, they get taken down after a time, but not until they’ve hung there for a while with nails in their hands and feet!  And there’s nothing, absolutely nothing in Christianity which requires anybody to do this! It’s not expected, it’s not requested, it’s just done because some people want to better relate to what Jesus went through.  Now, my little bout with pain reinforced how absurd all that was.  But just imagine how unreachable these guys are, who actually crucify themselves to relate to Jesus – just imagine how impossible it is to touch people like that with logic and reason.  And how truly similar is that mindset to the ones which are held by suicide bombing terrorists, or followers of Jim Jones, or any number of other people who do the utterly absurd.

All the fun stuff about Easter is Pagan. The bunnies, the painted eggs, the baskets, the treats for kids.  All the nasty stuff is Christian, the blood and guts show followed by four gospel accounts of an empty tomb which disagree with each other. What does Easter mean to me now? In a way, it still means that it’s the central focus. But to me, at least this year, what it means is…

Some people are just plain gone! 

I’d be willing to be crucified to defend the truth. Others are actually willing to let themselves be crucified for the sake of mere faith. They are so unconcerned with challenging their assumptions that they will drive nails into their body rather than face one fairly asked critical question.

I can simply no longer relate to that line of thinking. That’s what Easter means to me. I celebrate the ability to question critically and commit myself fully to the truth. And I mourn the loss of those who willfully handicap themselves against doing this. I get to fly, and they choose not to. So my symbol for Easter is not a bunny, or a baby chick. 

My symbol for Easter is a bird that has clipped its own wings.



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

47 Republican Impeachments Are In Order

So, 47 Republican Senators, including Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, have recently signed off on a threatening letter to the nation of Iran, which says, in essence, that any treaty agreed upon by the executive office without congressional approval could simply be overturned in the next administration.

I could reprint the letter itself here, but enough media outlets have made that available. I could also post the reply that Iran's Foreign Minister made, appropriately disrespecting these idiots for their fantastically immature and inexperienced attempt at undermining diplomacy.

"So what?" you might say. They sent a letter, and it got pissed on. No harm, no foul. Obama went over the head of congress on immigration, so this is just congress going over the president's head right back. Tit for tat, right?

Unfortunately, it's not that simple.

The international embarrassment alone should be enough to warrant immediate dismissal from office. I mean, Jesus Fucking Christ! How could anyone have even conceived of doing something so incredibly dumb? But alas, being a complete moron is not an impeachable offense, and may even help someone win an election in certain states. And the problem goes much, much deeper than mere embarrassment over how stupid the people we (bafflingly!) allow to govern us are. No, this is treachery on a grand scale, and the fact that the 47 senators who did it are too ignorant to even realize it makes it worse, not better.

First, we need to understand Iran a little bit better. This is not just an Islamist Theocracy looking to get its hands on nuclear power. There is also a significant percentage of Iranians who want an Arab Spring variety of revolution to overthrow their existing government and bring freedom in the form of a secular democracy. You may recall five years ago the tumult that erupted in the streets after an Iranian election was seen to be rigged, and protesters in that country took to the streets. The Iranian government tried to censor the media coverage, but they didn't anticipate that citizens would post their homemade videos onto social media, and so we all learned about these heroes of democracy in Iran. These Iranians are on OUR side! They fight for freedom and democracy! No, their numbers are not large enough to overcome a rigged election, but they are certainly are large enough to make the Iranian government nervous! There lies our key advantage.

Enter the nuclear weapons problem. Analysis has shown that Iran's citizens largely don't want its government to have a nuke, largely because they don't want to incur the wrath of the U.S. and its allies. They do want nuclear power, however. They want to be able to power their lights and their homes and their TV's and cell phones at cheaper prices. Who wouldn't? But can they do it without the Theocracy of Iran stabbing them in the back by obtaining nuclear weapons first?

The experts say, probably not! Because the citizens who want revolution might well pull it off if the government is seen as its primary enemy. But what if that shifts? What if the big, bad United States threatens it with military actions over violations involving procurement of fissionable materials? Well, then, the democratic-minded citizens will see the U.S. as the greater enemy, and side with the government they despise in order to save their homes and their families from potential destruction from the bigger threat.

As such, the smart move, diplomatically, is to gradually ease trade sanctions and slowly allow Iran the ability to build nuclear power plants.  This also gives them the ability to make a dirty nuclear bomb if they wished, and this makes us all nervous, but you know what? It's an uncomfortable arrangement we can actually live with in the long run. So long as the democratically minded citizens remain allied with us from the inside, the chances of Iran's Theocracy becoming a rogue nuclear power are small.  For more on this analysis, I defer to the real expert, a brilliant mathematician and expert on the nation of Iran, Mr. Bruce Bueno De Mesquita.  You can watch his TED Talk video here and see for yourself the situation I am describing. (The talk is six years old, but still relevant.)

Now, the real consequences of the letter sent by the 47 backstabbing senators begins to become clear. At a single stroke, these dunderheads have given the Iranian Theocracy exactly the ammunition it needed to convince the democratic secularists among its citizenry that the United States is the bigger threat to their well being than they are! As such, the letter does all the following things at once:

1.) It directly attacks democracy by undermining the efforts of pro-democracy activists who want to make Iran a democratic republic.
2.) It promotes nuclear theocracy by providing political power to the idea of the Iranian regime having, and using, a nuke.
3.) It strengthens the resolve of the Iranian people against the West, so that economic sanctions will have less effect psychologically and strategically.
4.) Due to the above, it could very well spark a war, because if Iran obtains a nuke, only a military incursion will take it away from them again. Israel will insist on such an incursion, and if Israel strikes, we will have to as well.

And this is before we get to the other things the letter does, such as disrespect the office of the president of the United States, shame our country, insult the time-honored and respectable offices and representatives of our diplomatic corps...

Let's face it, everybody, these 47 Senators, whether they meant to or not, have committed an act of war against the American people. They should therefore be immediately recalled!

I'm not one for picketing, demonstrating, or taking to the street with a pitchfork and a torch, but I'm ready to over this one! To attack democracy not only here, but in Iran as well? Bullshit! Let's throw the bums out!

Physically, if we must.



Saturday, February 7, 2015

Bill Maher: Snap Out Of It!

This week we’re telling YOU to snap out of it, Bill Maher!  And we tell you this with sincere love. Four years ago, you caused a real stir among your fellow atheists as they sought to reward you for your vigilant stance for what’s right, as well as speaking up loudly for those of us who lack faith in imaginary beings.  We gave you an award for your groundbreaking documentary, ‘Religulous,’ because you frankly deserved it.  Yet you had to spoil everything by siding too closely with vaccine deniers who had already been largely discredited by that point.  You disappointed us all by confusing the noise with the music and giving professional bimbos like Jenny McCarthy additional credibility.  It was a betrayal as deep and as hurtful as if Al Franken somehow endorsed Sarah Palin’s bid for the presidency!
            Yes, you have since toned down your rhetoric, declining for a time to speak out against vaccines in general.  And you have also had the good decency to keep your mouth shut about the subject for a few years while you focused your attention on political bullshit instead.  Yet in the aftermath of anti-vaccination sheeple allowing measles to creep back into our nation and threaten our kids, you have allowed yourself to be pulled back into the debate.  You seem to have backpedaled on your original anti-vaccination stance, somewhat.  You even told us all in your most recent broadcast of Real Time that you were not an anti-vaxxer and were in favor of basic health essentials such as the MMR vaccine (for measles, mumps and rubella) being given to children.  That’s a little bit better.  Yet somehow you still maintain that the flu virus is somehow a scam perpetrated by Big Pharma.  For evidence of this, you cite a report that says that the flu vaccine was only 23% effective at stopping the flu this season, and this, you tell us, is your vindication for all the flak you took on this subject four years ago.
            Well, Bill, let me break this down for you in terms even Chris Christie and Rand Paul can understand:  There are hundreds and hundreds of varying strains of the flu virus out there!  And any one of them could potentially give you the flu.  When someone receives a flu shot in a given season, that flu shot only contains what the CDC has determined to be the three, maybe four, likeliest strains of flu to be common that year.  Any more than that, and the cost of producing the vaccine becomes too high.  But if a flu strain other than one of those three spreads unpredictably, the flu shot won’t work.  It’s a little like protecting yourself from the rain with a leaky umbrella.  It won’t keep you 100% dry, but it’s sure better than nothing.
            Well, an unpredictable strain of the flu is infinitely more likely to spread if more and more people don’t get their annual flu shot.  People who get their shots year after year are more immune than those who do not, and that helps protect the other people around them.  This, because a different strain of the flu might not be in this year’s flu shot, but maybe it was part of last year’s batch.  Or the year before.  The more people who do regular flu shots, the better.  In other words, the umbrellas may be leaky, but if everyone huddles together, not as much rain will get through.
            But Bill, fewer and fewer people are getting their flu shots than ever before.  If fewer people get their flu shot, then any potential flu virus is more likely to spread.  And if fewer people got their shot in the past, that adds to the likelihood that an unpredicted strain will cause an epidemic.  This year that’s exactly what happened!  You, Bill, are part of the reason that happened!  Your 23% figure is not a vindication of your original point, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy which you, unwittingly, helped to orchestrate!  You can say that you’re not an anti-vaxxer all you want, but the truth is, you ARE an anti-vaxxer!  Maybe not as insane as Jenny McCarthy, but for some damned reason, just as stubborn!  While you blame the McCarthys of the world for their silliness in letting measles back into society, you fail to see how your own big, fat mouth played a crucial role in all of it, especially among those sensible enough to be otherwise more progressive in their views!  And, sadly, several children have died from this anti-vaccination nonsense – no, not from measles, but from the flu!  The embarrassment of your role in all this is hanging outside of your zipper, tiny, pink and shriveled, for all the world to see!
            Big Pharma profits from flu vaccines, you say?  Let’s take a good look at that: Yes, the companies that make flu vaccines are the big pharmacy companies.  The top five are Sanofi, Merk, Glaxo Smith-Kline, Pfizer, and Novartis – names we are all familiar with.  But the scam is not in their production of vaccines, but in their lack of production of them.  If they produce enough vaccine for everybody, then some of the vaccine will not be used due to over-production.  This results in a very large financial loss to these companies.  So, to ensure that their profit margin isn't jeopardized, they deliberately produce too little of the vaccines needed in a given year.  This keeps the price artificially high, and prevents any possibility of overproduction biting into their profits.  This is why, whenever there is a huge flu outbreak, the media reports that only children and the elderly should receive the flu shots.  There isn't enough to go around, and so the most vulnerable need to move to the front of the line!
            But the outrage doesn't end there. When fewer people get their vaccines, the various flu viruses get to spread!  This increases demand and jacks up the price of that which they already under-produced!  The more anti-vaccination people there are out there, the higher Big Pharma’s profit margin gets!  The scam isn't in the vaccines, it’s in the lack of vaccines!  And it’s high time you understood that!
            Bill, we love you, but damn it all, our heroes being right only 98% of the time just plain drives us bat-shit crazy!  Therefore, Mr. Real Time, we at the Sacred Cow Wursthaus take great pride in ripping off your overpriced silken necktie and whipping it across that bigass nose sitting on your unjustifiably smug face.  Bill Maher, snap out of it!



Sunday, January 25, 2015

Carry The Light - A Short History

One of the more odd stories of modern Christian music is the one regarding the song, “Carry the Light.” It likely has its beginnings in 1984, when a super group called Band Aid was formed with the intention of uniting musicians all over the UK to raise charity funds for famine-ravaged African nations. The result was the song, “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” which is still a holiday-time favorite today. The following year, a similar super group formed in the U.S. called USA for Africa. Spearheaded by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie, it produced a hit single called, “We Are The World.” Scores of artists participated in what became the most popular example of celebrity charity ever put forth at that time. The song sold over 20 million copies worldwide, and did much to help alleviate starvation in the African continent.

Right about this same time, the relatively new phenomenon of Contemporary Christian Music was catching on. So, when it was seen what marvelous things could be done when scores of various musical artists get brought together for a single cause, many of the Christian artists in this new sub-industry wanted to do something similar; a kind of “We Are The World,” but for saving souls. After all, they reasoned, it’s important to feed children’s bodies, but how much more important is it to save their souls?

By 1988 they got their chance. A group founded by Billy Graham called the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelism commissioned a project called, “Target 2000: The Great Commission Torch Run.” Young people in various countries would carry torches symbolizing the Gospel of Jesus in a worldwide long-distance relay. The initial torch would be lit on the Mount of Olives in Israel and from there be carried by runners to every nation on earth in a publicity-raising and spearheading effort aimed at evangelizing every country in the world by the year 2000. The runners did successfully visit every recognized nation extant at that time.  The evangelizing part – not so much.

The project wanted a musical anthem for the event, and the person they found to write it was one of the brightest rising young stars of Contemporary Christian Music: Twila Paris. She wrote the anthem, called “Carry the Light,” and quickly began to collaborate with as many of the biggest names in gospel rock that she could corral to make it as big an event as possible. Dallas Holm, Wayne Watson, Bebe and Cece Winans, Margaret Becker, John Schlitt (lead singer of Petra), Sandy Patti, Take 6, Steve Green, Steve Camp, Larnelle Harris, the Bill Gaither Trio, First Call, Crystal Lewis, Geoff Moore, Rick Florian, Eddie DeGarmo, Dana Key, Mylon LeFevre, Kim Boyce, Greg and Rebecca Sparks, Jessy Dixon, and Michael W. Smith, among others, all participated. Conspicuously absent was Amy Grant, who, although she was far and away the biggest name in Christian music at that time, was considered by many to have gone too “secular.”

The song and music video were released in 1989. The similarity it bore to “We Are The World” was quite stark, and struck many people, Christian and non-Christian alike, as a ham-handed “me too” effort at copy-catting the earlier idea. Some people also saw it as a complete failure of pragmatism; why spend so much time and effort on the hereafter when so many people are in need of help in the here and now? Nevertheless, “Carry The Light” has stood the test of time, being continuously played and re-played in churches all over the nation. Meanwhile, “We Are The World,” has been all but forgotten, even among die-hard Michael Jackson fans.

Perhaps the underlying lesson is this: If you sing for someone else’s supper, you’ll make an impact for a day. If you sing for someone else’s soul, you’ll make less of an impact today, but a bigger impact tomorrow.

Personally, I don't see that as a positive thing. I strongly feel that celebrities who gather together to feed the hungry are far more noble than those who gather together to make themselves feel better about their spiritual status after they’re dead of starvation. In fact, I wonder when celebrity musicians will stop being so preoccupied with American Idol and come together for worldwide charity again.

In the immortal words of Robert Green Ingersoll, “Hands that help are better than lips that pray.”



SWiFT Radio: Sacred Cow Wursthaus 01/24/15

SWiFT Radio: Sacred Cow Wursthaus 01/24/15

Here we are!  The latest episode of the Sacred Cow Wursthaus, and the first time I've posted a link to it form this blog.  I will try to faithfully do this each week going forward.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bill Cosby vs. Bill Cosby

Friends, let's have a chat about Bill Cosby.

Recently, I picked up a DVD of 'Bill Cosby: Himself,' and reveled in the old jokes from that 1970's on-stage performance. I used to like hearing from that comedy routine when I was a kid (even though some of the more adult material went over my head). He'd already come a long way from his near-starting point as one of the original cast members of the PBS kids show, 'The Electric Company.' Of course, we all watched his career go on from there, with further comedy skits, Jell-O commercials, appearances with the Muppets, The Cosby Show, and on and on. When his only son died, killed tragically by the perpetrator of an attempted robbery in 1997, I felt certain that a future great leader had been denied all of us. When Bill subsequently started doing tours and talks, donating generously to charities and exhorting young black men to take responsibility for their lives, I was one of his biggest cheerleaders.

What the hell do I do now?

I've previously called him a "giant among men."  His image has been on my wall as part of my "wall of mentors" collection of heroes I look up to - one of only five African Americans to have ever graced my home in this way.  (The other four are Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., W.E.B. DuBois and Frederick Douglass.)

I must also confess, I have been among those who have made him the butt of jokes lately.

But where should we really stand regarding the man? Under the law, we regard people as innocent until proven guilty. But while that's granted, statutes of limitations prevent us from ever proving things one way or the other. It's frustrating to all concerned, perhaps even Cosby himself. But he IS innocent under the law.

The court of public opinion works a little bit differently.

I like to think I'm a little bit fairer minded than the court of public opinion. Nevertheless, I am overwhelmed by the many women who have come forward, accusing Cosby of rape with no expectation of personal or financial gain. The stories they tell are chillingly similar: A few drinks, a few pills, perhaps something slipped into the drink itself, and then a rape while the poor woman is in her drug-induced stupor.

Because these women have little, if anything, to gain, and quite a bit to lose in some cases, many people believe Bill to be guilty.  Somewhat fewer others (in my opinion) believe him to be innocent. Some even say there is a conspiracy to assassinate Bill's character because he tells hard truths to black youth. There is something to be said for not taking the similarity of each woman's story as evidence in and of itself. After all, it's easy to mimic a story once the first one's been told. (That's how all the alien abduction stories evolved into the same tale of oval-eyed greys with large heads.) But even if the stories were made up, there are many other, better targets to choose from than Bill Cosby for character assassination.  Neil DeGrasse Tyson, for example. Or President Obama. Also, without a clearly established money trail leading up to these women, any claims about the rape stories being made up are merely conspiracy theories.

On the other hand, drugging a woman and then raping her is the sort of thing that only complete losers do to get laid.  Rich and famous men like Cosby simply don't need to cheat in this way. The women come to them! There are plenty of fame-chasing women out there who are willing to sleep with men of wealth and stardom just for the thrill of it, and comedians are nearly as coveted for such sexual trysts as rock stars. There's probably not a single woman who has accused Cosby that the man couldn't have had without any drugs! So why on earth would he do something like that?

I try to envision scenarios how someone with Cosby-level fame and fortune could want to resort to the low-down, dirty tactics usually reserved for ugly and broke men, and to be honest, I can't think of a good one. Could he simply be a sociopath? I doubt that very much. Sociopaths don't have much of a sense of humor. Could he simply be awkward around women when he's off stage? Maybe. But that probably wouldn't affect his ability to get laid, not with his level of fame and fortune. Women like shy-famous guys even better than the cocky-famous ones. Are there just certain women who fancy him so much that, on occasion, he feels he has to eliminate the element of chance so that he can definitely have her? That doesn't make sense to me, either. When you're rich and famous, things come easy to you. Just throw money, and... problem solved! So for men of wealth, the risk inherent with the seduction of beautiful women is an essential part of the appeal. She has to have the ability to get away, or else it's no fun luring her in!

The only possibility that seems to make any sense to me is that, just possibly, way back before he became a household name, Bill drugged up a woman or two in order to have sex with her while she was passed out, and it became an acquired taste. But this is the worst possibility of all. It means that he was like this from the very beginning, possibly even doing things like this as a college freshman. It means he did it repeatedly, very early in his life and career. It may even have been his very first sexual experience. (They say you never forget your first.) If that's true, then all the fame and fortune that happened afterward, happened to someone who was ingrained with this behavior, and kept repeating it all throughout his long life.

I really, really don't want to think that! But it's the only thing that makes any sense in my thought-experiments.

His silence is damning. It's just not how an innocent man would react. Were it me, I would be screaming bloody murder that these women were lying, and be suing them for defamation! But Cosby just sits there and takes it! Letting show after show, contract after contract, be cancelled rather than address the accusations. We know that he was taken to court for this sort of accusation before, and it ended in a plea deal. Could part of that plea deal have been a gag order on one or both parties? Could Cosby make himself vulnerable to another lawsuit if he talks? That's again the only thing that makes any sense to me. After all, throughout his entire life, Cosby has been anything but silent!

Ultimately, it's his comment about how he felt that only the black media would treat him fairly that makes me believe he is guilty. A man who has spoken against racism his whole life suddenly playing the race card? That's an act of desperation if I ever saw one! And a de facto admission of guilt.

(Anybody want a used portrait of Bill Cosby?)

So now what? I really want to make him a pariah, but damn it all, I love him too much! Even if he has been a deplorable rapist ever since his first lay! He has done a lot of good in spite of being a closeted shit. He's done his best to improve the condition of the inner city. He's given generously to charities. He's given young black men the kick in the ass they so badly needed at times - and which the rest of us are too terrified to do.

But mostly, he's made us laugh.

He even made a joke out of the accusations recently. During his (latest?) stage performance, when a woman in the front row got up to leave during one of his recent shows, Bill asked her where she was going. (It's common to include the front row of the audience in the comedy act.) She said she was headed to the bar to get a drink. Bill responded by saying, "You have to be careful when drinking around me."

The audience laughed, and rightly so. It was a clever joke. Cosby, like all good comics, has the ability to poke fun at himself. But some women aren't laughing, and for good reason. They're his victims, and they don't appreciate it.

So how do I square this circle? Can I forgive him? That's out of the question! Can I say that the good he's done washes away the bad? Certainly not! That's just empirically false. Can I at least give him credit for drugging his victims first to spare them the trauma? (I'm sure the damned fool rationalized something like that to himself.) Not a chance! I'm condemning him for rape, not sadism, and rape is rape!

To my mind, there can be only one solution to this situation. From now on, there are TWO Bill Cosbys. The first one is the one we know and love from stage and screen: The clever, witty and nice gentleman, good with kids, loves Jell-O pudding, and can make us laugh at the trials and tribulations of parenthood. The other one is the private monster: The college kid who slipped some girl a little something at his first frat party (my own reenactment, mind you - I have no footage), had sex for the first time with her, and from then on found that sex any other way just didn't have that secretive little thrill for him.

At my age, I know perfectly well I won't ever be a stage performer or television personality. Even if I somehow manage to do that, chances are, Cosby will already be dead before I become so lucky. As such, if Bill and I ever cross paths, I will not be meeting the first version of him. I can never meet the on-stage Cosby. Instead I will only be meeting the second version, the off-stage version, the one who is not only a caught-in-the-act rapist, but won't man up about it or even apologize. I would feel quite awkward around such a guy. Who wouldn't? And it's really quite a shame. The first Cosby sounds so much better.

I would have really loved to have met that man.