My Personal Paradise in Palm Beach

So for those of you that have read Allegedly, you’d know that Matt and I rode off happily into the sunset in the last chapter. Well, technically we headed East, into the sunrise, and sadly, Maya didn’t make it with us.

Matt and I have been wanting to move to Florida for so long now, and after I left my job, we just stayed in Victoria, Texas because we were comfortable. We had already sold the house in San Antonio, but we were still close to the ranch. We liked the other people in our RV park, but it was a hassle for Matt, because it was over 2 hrs to the closest airport, and he travels almost weekly. Then, our friends started to leave the park, and Matt’s work started talking about dividing his territory. He could stay with Texas/Louisiana/Oklahoma, or get Florida/Tennessee/Georgia. It was just the push we needed. We had no reason to say in Victoria, and I dreaded the thought of moving back to San Antonio. So we spent forever looking for a new RV park we liked. We had sold our house already, and lived full time in an RV. People think this means you can just pack up and move anywhere. In theory it does. In reality, not so much.

Matt really wanted to live somewhere between Miami and Ft Lauderdale. Each has a good airport, and both are big cities with lots of stuff to do. So that’s where we started looking. I’m amazed at some of the RV parks in Florida. Most were built back in the days before RVs had slideouts, so the slips are tiny. Then, in winter, they pack them in like sardines. Some RV parks double people up. The amount they charge in winter is astronomical. Some RV parks in South Florida charge as much for a tiny RV slip as an actual apartment. It’s literally just a tiny piece of land. Many of them aren’t even concreted. Miami and Ft Lauderdale fill up with French Canadians over winter. People reviewing parks said if you don’t speak French, forget it. They’ll actively exclude you. Then, the majority were either right next to a train track, or in super sketchy areas.

Matt and I drove to almost every single RV park from Islamorada in the keys to Boca Raton, and didn’t find anything we both liked. We almost gave up. Then, I found a place online that wasn’t listed in the RV guides. It was up further north in Palm Beach, which Matt had originally considered too far north, and he wasn’t sure of the airport there. But I knew it was meant to be. It was right off Australian ave. It was literally a sign. I had him look at the flights in and out of there, and he was satisfied it would work as his hub.

I had just finished reading “The Official Preppy Handbook” and it assured me that Palm Beach was THE place to be. At least in Winter. Apparently I’m supposed to summer in the Hamptons, or Europe.

So on his next trip to Florida, Matt checked out the RV park here, and it was ok. So we set a date, and we moved. We miss our friends, but, I’m so happy here. I’m glad we didn’t find what we wanted in the other cities first.

We are actually in West Palm Beach, which someone told me I should never mention to anyone out on “the island” but in reality, no one has battered an eyelid when I tell them we’re in West Palm, and not in Palm proper. Most are fascinated that we live in something smaller than their pool house. The island is absolutely gorgeous. Apparently it contains the top 1% of the nation’s money, and the top 2% of the world’s money. I told Matt I could see why. It’s breathtakingly beautiful. I said “If I was a billionaire, I’d live here” to which Matt replied, “you’re not even a millionaire, and you DO live here.”

He’s right. We might not live in a $50 million dollar house on the beach, but I live in an RV that I love only 5 minutes away from it. I have no desire to live in one of those huge houses. Or any house again for that matter. The RV life is so simple and easy. It has everything we need, and nothing we don’t. I don’t have to spend hours cleaning (or hire a maid) and the little bit of gardening I do is because I want to, not because I have to.  We got lucky and have the biggest RV slip in the park, and I have a veggie garden, and even made a tiny zen garden. We’re so close to the airport that Matt calls me as he lands, and I make it to pick him up before he’s even outside. Thankfully, as close as we are, we’re not under the flight path. Some of those big houses are though…

I drive out to the island everyday to go workout. I found a beautiful place that does barre, yoga and pilates. They do spin too, but me and cardio aren’t friends. I try to go to a class everyday Monday to Friday. The people are super nice, and even though they all drive Land Cruisers and Porsches, they all think my lifted Jeep Wrangler is awesome. (It is) I’m not trying to get a supermodel body, I just want to get healthy, and it’s happening slowly. Barre is so much harder than I ever expected it to be. It’s harder than CrossFit was. I really enjoy it though, and Matt thinks I always look happier when I go. I’ve met some really cool people there. Even some that I have weird small world connections with. (Who would have imagined two people in a pilates class in Palm Beach would have both been interviewed by Tracy Grimshaw!) There’s also a bunch of expats here, and I’ve even made friends with another Aussie. One that I would have been friends with even if we both still lived in Australia. -Hey Maggie!

The restaurants here are amazing. There’s every kind of food you could think of, and it’s all good. Downtown West Palm Beach has CityPlace and Clematis St, which are both super busy and filled with shopping and restaurants. We’ve found a few favourite places, but are still trying everything else. We even found a cute little hangout we both like called Camelot. It’s a bar, but they also do a member’s thing. Palm Beach is full of members only clubs. We can’t afford The Breakers or Mar-a-Lago, (seriously, they’re both over $100k just to apply, then there’s the yearly fee) but I totally joined Camelot, just cause I could. (It was $100 a year) They gave me a fancy metal membership card, and now I feel totally preppy, belonging to a club in Palm Beach. 😉 While Palm Beach is very seasonal, and almost empties out in Summer, (everyone really does go to The Hamptons) West Palm Beach is buzzing all year long.

We still enjoy going down to Ft Lauderdale and Miami. Matt has to go down all the time for business, so I’ll go along some days. They are both fun to visit, but I don’t think I’d like living full time in Miami. Miami is super fast, flashy and very nouveau riche. Also, the traffic sucks. Palm Beach is old money, and everyone is super laid back and totally charming and chilled. Bonus; no traffic, unless you get caught by the drawbridge as someone sails their mega yacht through the intercoastal…

So even though we majorly downsized our life materialistically, I think we did a major upgrade spiritually. My quality of life here is so much better. I’ve never been happier. I’ve never enjoyed living somewhere so much. I absolutely love it here, and I’m grateful that Matt was able to move us here. The dream of living in Florida not only happened, but turned out so much better than I ever imagined it would.

So, if there’s something you think would make you happier in life, do it. Just go for it. Maybe you adjust your expectations, or make compromises. You might find that you give up something that didn’t make you happy anyway, in return for something that gives you so much more pleasure. I have zero regrets about giving up our big house in San Antonio. I’m living large while living tiny. The trade off is totally worth it. I’m not suggesting you move to Palm Beach, but go find the place that makes you happy, and just make it happen. Be flexible with your expectations. The thing you might have thought of as a compromise might end up being the thing you end up loving the most.

And just for the record, even if I was to become a millionaire, or even a billionaire, I’d still pick Palm Beach. It’s my happy place. I think the only difference is I’d pay off someone in the council to let me park the RV out on the island. Or build an RV park out there… Or live in someone’s pool house. Then again, I’m so close right here where we are, there’s not much point. Except to make Matt happy cause then he could walk to the beach instead of driving there.

Most of these pics below are from my Instagram, but since some people don’t use it, I figured I’d share them here, so you could see how awesome this place is. If you are on instagram, go follow me (@Shrimptank) so you can see all the other amazing stuff I didn’t include here.

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Iggy Azalea to judge on X Factor Australia

IggyAzalea

So it’s been announced that Iggy Azalea is going to be a judge on the next season of X-Factor in Australia. Which, if you follow my rantings on here, you know I’m thrilled about it.

I think it’s awesome that a talent show in Australia will actually have an Australian as a judge. It’s a shame that’s she’s taking the spot that Dannii Minogue is vacating, instead of having two female Australian judges, but at least they’re replacing Minogue with another Australian female.

I think Iggy will be amazing. She ticks all the boxes that a TV show in Australia wants. Young, pretty, and they have to fly her in from overseas…. As an Aussie living in the US, it’s great seeing another Aussie doing so well over here, and I admire her hard work, and the effort she put into really making a name over here for herself, especially in a genre most people wouldn’t think of a white, female, Australian, doing well in at all. My patriotic pride beams everytime I see her.

I hate that talent shows in Australia always hire foreigners. It’s ok to have the token one or two, but all the shows follow the same format of having the foreigners outnumbering the Aussie’s. Which is kinda silly, since they’re judging Australian talent. Maybe they think Australia doesn’t have enough international superstars, or even Australian stars, or maybe no-one else wants to do it. But I’m glad Iggy signed on. She truly is an international star, and she went from knowing what she wanted in Oz to moving to the US and making her dream a reality. Hopefully she can inspire and help others do the same.

So good on the X Factor for scoring Iggy Azalea. I hope the Australian audience is kind to her, and realizes how cool it is that she’s going to be going home to work on the show.

Good luck Iggy. Enjoy your time in Australia.

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Dealing with Celebrity Sex Offenders

When a celebrity is a sex offender, the victim doesn’t have the option of simply avoiding them.

I turned on the TV this morning, and as I was flicking through channels, Robert’s face popped up.

After leaving Hey Dad..! he mainly did voice over work, but he had a tiny part in a C grade movie called Race The Sun. It was about a group of Hawaiian kids who built a solar car. Anyway, since it’s an American movie that was filmed in Australia, they play it here, and it means that when I am randomly flicking through channels, I am subjected to hearing his voice, and seeing his face. Even though I no longer live in Australia, there’s still the potential of me having to see him, when I least expect it.

Thankfully, I’m pretty good at dealing with it. It’s not really a huge trigger for me anymore. (Well, today was ok) But it got me thinking about all the other people out there who are unable to avoid their perps, and how there’s always debate about celebrity sex offenders, and whether they should be allowed to continue to work.

It’s a tough question. I think it’s a shame for an entire body of work to be wiped from history simply because one person in the production was a terrible human being. Should all the cast from 7th Heaven never receive royalty cheques again because the dad molested a few girls? Should Hey Dad be wiped from TV because of Robert? What about the Cosby Show? Can we no longer listen to Six White Boomers at Xmas because of Rolf Harris? Should we avoid all movies directed by Roman Polanski, Woody Allan, Victor Salva and Bryan Singer?

I think each person has to decide for themselves. I thought 7th Heaven was cheesey, I never watched myself on Hey Dad, and Cosby always gave me the shits. However, millions of other people loved these shows. But, what about the other cast members. Is it their fault that the male stars here thought they were above the law, and didn’t keep their perverted sexual desires in check? Are we punishing an entire production by boycotting a show because of one person? Sometimes I feel like it’s not fair to the other people associated with a show. I think it’s not fair to Simone Buchanan and Ben Oxenbould that they can’t proudly display Hey Dad clips on their resumes because of something that Robert Hughes did. I feel bad for 7th Heaven cast members who rely on that residual income. I feel sorry for The Cosby kids who have to answer questions about Cosby when they’re trying to do interviews about something completely unrelated.

Then, Robert pops up on my TV.

racethesun

My brain goes from trying to be the impartial person, right back to seeing it from the view of anyone who has dealt with a celebrity sex offender. Even when I move overseas, I may still be subjected to seeing that trigger. Anyone who has dealt with a celebrity sex offender could be subjected to their attacker at any point. Even if they avoid their movies, or make a point not to turn on the TV when their show is on, at any point, while flicking through channels, that person could pop up. It might be on E! News, or a TV commercial, or on a random talk show. The only thing the person can do, besides refusing to watch any form of media, is to learn to deal with the trigger. Some people can, and some can’t. Some people need more time, and some don’t have access to the resources that will help them heal from that trauma.

So what’s the answer? I’m not really sure. Maybe there’s a balance. I think that while old stuff, pre-knowledge of sexual offending might be OK to keep showing, for the sake of other actors/crew, and let the public decide if they want to watch, I think that going forward, the offender should be barred from more public work. If you’re a celebrity sex offender, you shouldn’t get to keep putting your name out there. You shouldn’t be able to keep putting your face on TV, or work in movies. You shouldn’t be allowed to be glamorized, and continue to work in the industry. You shouldn’t be rewarded, while your victims have to keep seeing your face, or your name, or hear your voice, over and over, forever and ever.

It’s not just for the victims of these celebrities, but for anyone who was a victim of anyone. Seeing someone convicted of a sex crime be rewarded with work, or strutting down a red carpet sends a horrible message to victims everywhere. While the victim lives with the act forever, and has to learn to heal, the perp is out and about, living a glamorous life, being glorified, and everyone forgiving them. It doesn’t inspire victims to speak up, or try to do anything about their molester. Why bother going through the drama of police investigation, court, etc if the person if just going to go straight back to normal life afterwards? As much as I hate that we all look to Hollywood for life inspiration, we do. If people see that celebrity sex offenders aren’t punished, people will wonder what chance they have of their own perps getting punished, celebrity or not.

Even if I was still working in the industry, I would choose not to work with a sex offender. I would never make a film with Roman Polanski or Woody Allan, or even alleged sex offender Bryan Singer. That’s something that each person still working in the industry has to decide for themselves, but I know where I stand.

What about you? Do you think there’s an answer? How would you deal with it? Let them keep working, boycott all their work? Would you work with a celebrity sex offender on a production? Is art more important? Or are victims the priority? Is there a balance?

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Did Ed Sheeran Steal Photograph?

Or do all songs just sound the same?

It’s Ed Sheeran’s turn this week to be accused of plagiarizing a song.

There’s been a lot of lawsuits lately involving the music industry. People claim that other artists ripped off their music, whether is be from stealing lyrics, to chords, or harmony. When you’re in the same genre, it’s got to be hard to make music that is completely new. There’s only so many music notes, and eventually, one song is going to sound like another if your lawyer is hungry enough.

Men at Work got done for stealing the riff from Kookaburra sits in an Old Gum Tree, which just smacks of a label going after easy money. The record company bought the rights to the kids song way after each song had been made. (Kookaburra was written in 1932.) The estate of Marvin Gaye sued over Blurred Lines. Chuck Berry sued John Lennon claiming certain lines and melodies for “Come Together” were taken from Berry’s 1956 track, “You Can’t Catch Me.” John Fogarty was sued for plagiarizing John Fogarty, after he left CCR and sold the rights to get out of his contract. His old record label claimed “Run Through The Jungle” sounded too much like “The Old Man Down the Road”. There are plenty more incidences of people being sued for music sounding similar. There’s only so many ways you can string music together and make it sound pleasurable. Otherwise you just end up with Jazz…

So here’s the thing. How many more years can people make music, and NOT have anyone claim it sounds similar? Especially when almost all the hits of the last few years have the same four chords?

For your viewing pleasure, I present Axis of Awesome, with their song 4 Chords. It’s worth the watch, just because it’s great, but it also makes you wonder why none of these people felt like they should sue?

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Victim Impact

If you haven’t read the Victim Impact Statement yet that was written by the woman who was raped by Brock Turner, please, take the time to do so. It’s on the BuzzFeed Site. Yes, it’s long. 7000 words in fact, but it’s incredibly well written, and very moving. I challenge anyone to read it and not feel some kind of new found empathy for rape/assault/molestation victims. It should be required reading for all people charged with rape, and all their families who try to defend them.

I read some pretty shitty comments on articles related to the Stanford Rapist, Brock Turner. I had written a piece about him yesterday, after his father released a statement, saying his poor son just didn’t feel like eating steak anymore. The Daily Mail picked up my blog post, and while I was reading other articles about him, I was simply amazed at some of the comments. I was amazed at how many rape apologists there were out there, and how many people thought that the victim should just move on. Many thought that since she was unconscious during the assault, and she couldn’t remember the attack, that she was being a cry baby, and shouldn’t be upset at all in the first place. Isn’t that kind of like saying that if your house in robbed, but you’re not home when it happens, that it’s ok, and you shouldn’t really care? Or that when you’re under anaesthetic during surgery, and they amputate your leg instead of removing an appendix, you weren’t awake, and didn’t feel it happening, so it’s all good? No? Don’t think those are good analogies? In each case, something fucked up happened, and you lost something you shouldn’t have. Oh, you think your material possessions are worth more than someone’s dignity or self worth? It’s ok, most people simply can’t comprehend the effect of sexual assault until they’ve lived it.

What I personally connected with in the letter written by the victim was the process of what occurred after the event. She was taken to a hospital, and was subjected to hours of rape kit testing. Her whole body photographed. Her body entered again with instruments. Having to speak to multiple people about the ordeal. Thankfully, I didn’t have to do that. I can’t imagine how hard that would have been. I did experience what happened after that though.

What people don’t tell you when you finally find the balls to start the legal process of getting some kind of justice from your attacker, is that it isn’t just going to be them that is on trial. The victim is also on trial. Maybe more so.

We all know the phrase “Innocent until proven guilty” and the courts, rightly, treat the defendant that way. Even people who have been caught in the act, maybe even on tape, but who plead not guilty, and drag their victims through court, are given the presumption of innocence. Not so the victim. The defendants lawyers will spend an insane amount of time, effort and money to dig up every piece of dirt on a victim. They will research your entire history, looking for anything that could possibly make you look less than trustworthy. They will read your entire FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram feeds, looking for the smallest thing they can bring up. Dare to post a smile on Instagram a month after your attack? Well, shame on you. How could you possibly ever smile again after such an alleged event? Go to a party? Busted! Oh, there’s a picture of you on the beach four years before the attack, and you’re wearing a bikini? Well, you’re just going around scantily dressed and inviting people to hit on you.

What’s your sexual preference? How many people have you been with? Any one night stands? Be prepared to share those details with a courtroom full of people. What color shoes were you wearing two weeks before the attack? You can’t remember? Well, if you can’t remember that, how come you can remember all the other details of what happened that day you were raped? You must just be making it up. Had consensual sex once while drunk with your boyfriend? If you could consent with your partner, why couldn’t you consent with the person you had never met before?

It amazes me how the defence is allowed to badger victims on the stand. They’re allowed to completely emotionally assault the victims, calling them all kinds of names, insinuating all kinds of things, or just outright calling them money grubbing, attention seeking sluts. They don’t have to prove their client is innocent, they just have to prove you’re not believable. You’re not credible. You’re not worthy of being believed. Going to court is the most soul destroying experience. Assuming you even make it that far.

After going to the police, there’s the investigation. Which could take years. Some people find just that part to be so bad, they they rescind their statements. Often when people “take it back” it’s not that it didn’t happen, it’s just that they want it to all go away. They don’t think they’re strong enough to go through with the process. Especially when there’s a huge power balance between the perp and the victim. There may be outright threats, but it could also be small stuff, like your family disowning you, your friends all distancing themselves, the police asking you to make phone calls to your attacker to try to get a confession on tape. Everyone in town who has been questioned in relation to the event judging you. Even if you are able to make it through the initial investigation, it may never even lead to an arrest. If he is arrested, it could take years before a trial, during which time your life’s on hold, waiting, waiting. Court dates are constantly moved, and each time, emotions are crazy. You have to re-live the event over and over. Then, you get to court, and even if the bastard is found guilty, it’s still not over. You still have to live with what happened to you. You have to live with the process, and the trauma of court. If your case was public, you get to have it be the first thing people think of when they think of you. I hope this girl gets to keep her anonymity. People can read her powerful statement, and not have to know who she is. She sounds incredibly strong and brave, and I hope she finds some sense of peace. Others who are public will always live with it, publicly and privately. Two years after Robert was found guilty, and I should be enjoying peace, I’m still dealing with a high court appeal, and the occasional dickhead who decides to hero worship Robert and try to ruin my day by popping up on my social media accounts, applauding the pedophile, and threatening me for speaking up. Imagine if two years after you went to court, you still have to deal with this:

threat

So to all those idiots who think that victims of sexual assault should just be happy that their attacker got a slap on the wrist and should move on, get a grip on reality. The victim can’t just move on. Even if they were unconscious when it happened, they had to live with the trauma of getting through the court process, and they continue to live with the feeling they may never be safe again, or that their whole life is being judged, or that they may never just be their old selves again.

I hope none of those internet trolls have to learn empathy the hard way, or have to read the same type of comments about themselves that they once wrote about others.

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Brock Turner and his asshole father

His Dad said WHAT?

Brock Turner, Campus Rapist
Brock Turner, Campus Rapist

So by now, we’ve all seen the case of Brock Turner, the college kid who thought it was perfectly fine to rape an unconscious, intoxicated woman on campus. Thankfully, two other people saw what he was doing, pulled him off the girl, and held him down till police arrived. In this culture of people excusing campus rape as just a part of college life, almost like a right of passage, it’s nice to see that two decent people intervened. (Although it turns out they were foreigners, so maybe local kids aren’t learning much) But, it meant that Brock was caught red handed.  At this point you’d be forgiven by thinking we’re really making a change in how campus rapes are handled. Instead of pleading guilty after being caught in the act, he hired and expensive lawyer, who tried to find dirt on the victim. They put her through another assault.

Then you read the statement that the piece of shit father released after his son was sentenced to the ridiculously short sentence. Instead of being given the available 14 years, the judge sentenced this rapist to six months, in a country jail. Not even the real big boy prison. I’ve met people who have been locked up here, and they like to distinguish between whether they went to jail, or to prison. In Australia, it’s all pretty much the same. In the US, there’s a HUGE difference. Prison is where bad people go. County jail is the equivalent of the local drunk tank. So after this guy does his petty six months in his day care facility, he gets probation, and has to register as a sex offender.

Now, if you weren’t already seething at the leniency of the sentence, this guy’s father comes out and tries to say that it’s still too much for his poor baby rapist son. He says his boy lost his smile, and hardly eats anymore. He then goes on to say that instead of jail, poor Brock should just be given probation, and he should be used as a type of educator, teaching people about the consequences of drinking and promiscuity.

So, never mind that the girl he raped may never smile again, or have trouble eating. His kid who did the raping is having a hard time being happy, now that he was going to court, because everyone knew what he did. To then say that his kid could teach about alcohol and promiscuity is a total slap in the face to victims everywhere. Instead of saying, “Don’t rape someone who can’t consent” he is saying it’s the girls fault because she got drunk at a party, and she was obviously a slut, and she was asking for it.

So Daddy never taught this kid right from wrong, and is still teaching his kid it’s OK to rape women, by saying it was her fault, and it’s his son who is the real victim here. It was just 20 minutes of “oops”. He’d never hurt anyone before. Never mind this was his first of four years at college. Maybe this was just the start. How many more women would he have raped if he hadn’t been caught?

I wonder if he has a daughter? Would he feel the same way if she was the one raped? Or would he disown her and tell her it was her fault? I wonder what will happen when his son is in jail, if he gets raped. Will daddy blame the rapist, or blame his son for being a pretty boy in jail and inviting it? Will people think it’s ok, because in prison, like college it happens so often it’s just accepted and isn’t really considered a crime?

I know that a parent is supposed to defend their children, but they should also teach their children right from wrong, and this guy obviously never did. Maybe he doesn’t know right from wrong himself, and has a few of his own “drunk conquests” in his past…

Instead of teaching your daughter how not to get raped, teach your sons not to rape.

Written statement from Dan Turner, Brock Turner's father.
Written statement from Dan Turner, Brock Turner’s father.

You can read the impact on the victim in her own statement here. I hope Brock’s father reads it, and realizes that his son is NOT the victim here.

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Could Roman Polanski finally face justice?

The Polish Government is looking to overturn extradition hearings for Roman Polanski.

Well, it certainly seems to be the year that Celebrity Sex Offenders are getting hit with the spotlight. I woke up to news this morning that questions are once again being raised about Roman Polanski, and the hope that he might finally have to pay for raping and sodomizing a 13 year old girl back in 1977.

Roman Polanski drugged and raped a young actress/model at Jack Nicholson’s house after inviting her over for a fashion shoot. He gave her alcohol and drugs, and then sexually assaulted her, while she cried and told him no. She told her mother what happened, and Polanksi was arrested. He initially denied it, but then pleaded guilty, in exchange for a plea bargain. After undergoing court ordered psychiatric tests, he fled the US, fearing he would get serious jail time. He went to France, where he was also a citizen.

The US courts sought to extradite Polanski, but France refused to extradite him.

Now, even though he admitted raping a 13 year old child, he continued to make movies, and big stars continued to work with him. Because, we all know by now that Hollywood types don’t give a fuck about kids getting hurt, as long as they get a fabulous role, and keep making money.

Fast forward many years, and people forget that Polanski fled the country to avoid doing time after he admitted raping a child, and everyone is still fawning over him. Because, you know, he’s an artiste, and that’s way more important than the girl getting some form of justice. The poor guy even had to miss the Oscars in 2003 when he won for “The Pianist”. There was a huge pity party for him, and everyone thought it was unfair he couldn’t be there. Hollywood took the side of the rapist once again. Don’t worry about the victim. “It was a long time ago and we should all just move along”

In 2009, Polanski went to a film festival in Switzerland, and was arrested. The US was still trying to extradite him. The extradition request was denied, and Polanski was safe once again. By 2010, the victim, Geimer, asks the court to drop the request, due to health problems surrounding the constant publicity of the case. She was probably sick of hearing people like Whoopi Goldberg declare that it wasn’t “rape, rape” and she should get over it. Everyone had an opinion on it, and I can’t imagine how badly it must have affected her. I only had to deal with listening to a few millions Aussie’s have an opinion on whether Robert did it or not, and whether I should care so many years later. Geimer had the US and Europe discussing her case, for decades. I think at some point you’d go bat shit crazy and ask to have it dropped too.

Fast forward, and after a couple more extradition attempts, and Hollywood still praising Polanski, and today, someone in Poland, who probably has a conscience, has decided to look at overturning the denial of the extradition order.

What gets me is that it’s not 38 years since he committed the act of raping and sodomising a young girl. As lenient as courts are to famous people, and the fact he took a plea deal, he wouldn’t have gotten a slap on the wrist. He would have served a very minimal amount of time, been released, and allowed to carry on with his life. He’d be back out directing, and nobody would give a shit. (Just look at other Hollywood people who get jailed for child sex offences, like the Director of Jeepers Creepers, who is out and working with kids again) However, by constantly avoiding doing the right thing, he’s now spent 38 years on the run. 38 years of fleeing, and having to work overseas. Not being able to go to certain countries or face arrest and possible extradition.

Now, if he does get extradited, he won’t just face the original time for rape, he’ll also get done for fleeing and avoiding justice.

Hopefully, this time the extradition sticks. Maybe he’ll finally face prison time, and be not rape raped in prison….

I’m sure when he gets out, everyone will rally around him and help him get back to work as quickly as possible. Because, Hollywood.

 

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Cincinnati Zoo – What went wrong?

harambeDid Harambe have to die?

Unless you’ve been living in isolation the last week, you probably couldn’t have missed the news about Harambe, the Gorilla who was fatally shot by staff at the Cincinnati Zoo, after a young kid ended up in his enclosure.

It seems like there’s only two sides. Either you think the mother was a worthless bitch, who wasn’t able to watch her kid, and that the Gorilla was killed needlessly. The other side seems to think “accidents happen” and kids are squirmy, and it’s the zoo’s fault for not having enclosures that could have prevented a kid from getting in.

Many people are also questioning why they used fatal force on Harambe, instead of a tranquilizer dart. The whole incident has also brought up a lot of debate about Zoo’s, with people claiming they’re cruel, and animals shouldn’t be imprisoned their whole life in cages.

PBZooToday is Memorial Day in the US, and Matt and I went to the Zoo. We went to the Palm Beach Zoo, which had it’s own death last month. This time though, it was a human who was killed, and the animal lived. A zookeeper was in the cage with a Malaysian Tiger, and something went wrong. They used a tranquilizer dart on the tiger, and the female zookeeper, Stacey Konwiser, was still alive when she was transported via helicopter to the hospital, but didn’t survive. They said she died of neck injuries. They haven’t identified publicly which tiger did the attack, and her husband, who is also a tiger keeper at the same zoo, has backed the decision to not name the tiger. They said Stacey wouldn’t want the tiger to be unfairly targeted. The zoo did state they it was zookeeper error that led to her death. The tiger lives on, but a human died. Many people questioned why they used a tranquilizer, and didn’t immediately shoot to kill. The zoo had to defend the decision to NOT kill the tiger.

Back to Cincinnati. It’s reported by observers that they heard the kid in question repeatedly state that he wanted to get inside the exhibit, and the mother told him he couldn’t. Apparently he really wanted in, because he then went under a rail, through wires and over a moat wall to get into the enclosure, according to the zoo. So it’s not like he just “fell in”, as some outlets are trying to say. I’m guessing this wasn’t a 3 second escapade, so at some point here, the mother is negligent. He stated his intentions, she dismissed it, but then didn’t keep the kid in check, and he managed to get inside the enclosure.

Now, many people are claiming that he shouldn’t have been able to get in. But going under a rail, through wires, and over a moat wall doesn’t sound like they’ve made it super easy. But here’s the way I understand it. Years ago, animals were kept in crappy little cell like cages, and it was like they were prisoners. Zoos have come a long way, and are doing their best to create beautiful environments, that seem like a natural habitat, and less like a prison. The enclosures are designed to keep animals in, not to keep humans out. Because, humans are supposed to be smarter than animals. Humans are supposed to enjoy observing the animals, and understand that although inside a zoo, that they are still wild animals at heart, and you’re not supposed to try to climb into their enclosure with them. Unless you’re suicidal, like the guy in Chile, who got two Lion’s killed, when he tried to commit death by big cat. The only deaths were that of a male and female Lion. The obviously mentally disturbed man was rescued.

So this kid, who was three or four years old, depending on the media outlet, got away from his parent who knew he wanted in. He gets through a fence, wires, moat wall, and then splashes into the actual moat surrounding the enclosure. At this point, Harambe goes to see who is intruding in his space. He seems to drag the kid around through the water a few times, and of course, people are worried the kid may drown. When the kid screams, Harambe helps the kid stand up. There’s all kinds of screaming and commotion coming from above, and you can hear the mother say “Mommy loves you” and I’m sure at this point Harambe is pretty freaked out. He moves the kid to another part of the moat, away from the commotion.

At some point, the zoo keepers move the female gorillas out of the enclosure, but Harambe doesn’t want to leave his new toy. People are freaking out, and the zoo keepers have to make a decision. Do they risk the kid being killed, or do they sacrifice Harambe? They can’t use a tranquilizer, because Harambe has the kid between his legs, and tranquilizers take several minutes to go into effect. While they do, you’ve got a startled 400 lb Gorilla holding on to a small child. He could freak out and snap the kid in two, or he could pass out peacefully, onto the kid, and kill him anyway. So they decide to save the human child. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision, but they didn’t really have time to mull it over. They sacrificed their gorilla to save a human.

The kid is pulled from the enclosure, and taken to the hospital, where he was found to have a concussion and some scrapes. No cuts, breaks or serious injuries. The mother then makes a post on FaceBook:

michelle gregg statement

So the mother says, Oops, accidents happen, but it’s ok, ’cause God protected him. At which point I lose all patience with her. Any sympathy I had, understanding that kids can be slippery little shits goes right out the window. Why didn’t her chosen deity not stop the kid from “falling” into the gorilla enclosure to start with, and how come he gets the praise the kid lived, and not the staff who had to make the decision to put down a member of their zoo? Maybe instead of thinking your invisible friend will watch over your kids, you need to start taking charge of that duty yourself. Remember, God helps those that helps themselves. – Meaning, protect your own damn kids.

So, the kid is fine. The mother thinks it’s not a big deal. No “sorry about your dead Gorilla”, or anything like that. Just a thanks to the imaginary guy in the sky.

So, whether the mother was negligent or not, the zoo pretty much did what they had to do. The kid, being a kid, doesn’t know better. (Although at that age, I’m pretty sure I knew better.) The Zoo loses a beloved animal, and now all the lawyers are rubbing their hands together, wondering who is going to sue who first. Should the mother be made to compensate the zoo, since she was negligent in keeping a handle on her kid, or is the Zoo at fault for letting the kid get in? So far, the zoo has managed to go 38 years without anyone else “falling in” to the enclosure, so I’m on the zoo’s side with this one.

fencesign

So now we come to the question about whether zoos are necessary? Is it really a prison sentence for an animal to be in a zoo? Should animals be in the zoo, or should they be out in the wild?

There’s a few ways to look at this.  I kind of feel that growing up on television, I feel a sense of understanding. Growing up on TV is like growing up in a zoo. It’s loud, crazy, people are always watching you, and you’re confined to certain spaces.

Most zoos these days don’t hunt wild animals and transport them to the zoo to be imprisoned and put on display for the rest of their lives. Harambe for example was born in captivity, at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX. He was transferred to Cincinnati where it was hoped he would breed. Some animals are only not completely extinct because of zoos. The breeding programs, and protected environment, is the only thing keeping their species alive. Having been bred in captivity, these animals don’t know anything outside the zoo, and it could be argued that they don’t know what they’re missing.  Just like kids raised on reality TV, it’s the only thing they know, and they are relatively happy – just like Honey Boo Boo.

Other animals, like many of the ones we saw today at the Palm Beach Zoo were injured animals that were rescued, but could not be re-released into the wild, because they wouldn’t survive. Mardi, the white alligator lives at the zoo because he couldn’t live on his own.

mardi
bayou

Many of the birds were also kept there as exhibits because they wouldn’t make it if they were set free. hurt birds sign palm beach zoo owl

The monkeys were all on their own little islands, and many of them were species that were on the endangered lists. They are happily swinging from tree to tree, surrounded by lush vegetation, with a small river surrounding them. They are given food and shelter, and excellent veterinary care. Yes, some of them could be living in the wild, but if you’re living in a rainforest, where you’re being poached for your fur, or to be some rich persons pet, or having your home cut down for timber, are you really any better off?

Then there’s the people who argue that zoos don’t need to exist because you can learn about animals from books or the internet. Well, yes, you can read about an animal, or you can watch a documentary on TV, or see pictures on the internet. But it’s really not the same as seeing an animal in person. Not everyone has the funds/time/energy/ability to go to the remote places that some of these animals live in the wild. Yeah, it’d be amazing to go to China and see a panda bear in its natural habitat, or go to Costa Rica and see macaws and monkeys in the wild. I’d love to be on “I’m A Celebrity, Get me out of Here” and live with baboons in South Africa, but it’s not going to happen. For the majority of people, the only way they will ever see a real exotic animal is in a zoo. Which isn’t a bad thing. Some kids, especially inner city kids think that steak comes from the supermarket. They don’t connect meat coming from a cow. So what hope do they have of understanding elephants being poached for their tusks? Many conservationists started their love, and eventual protection of animals, with a visit to the zoo. They see a real life animal, and it touches something inside them. They hear the animal, watch it, feel a connection to it. That inspires people to care about animals in the wild. It helps some people make better decisions, whether they be as small as making sure to cut up their 6 pack rings so turtles don’t get stuck in them, to some CEO deciding not to harvest a rainforest because they know that a monkey is living there – a monkey they fell in love with at the zoo when they were a kid.

So while we all like to make a snap decision and tweet our anger when something tragic like this event happens, we need to understand that we weren’t there. We didn’t have to make a snap decision like the zoo management did. We didn’t have a plethora of kids with us like the mum did. We can’t shut down all zoos because of one incident. We can mourn the loss of Harambe. We can learn from the mistakes of the mother, and keep kids on leashes, or get a nanny or babysitter, or stay home from the zoo if you can’t control your kids. If you’re at the zoo and see some kid scaling a fence, reach out and stop them. You’re allowed to stop other people from making bad decisions. What if one of those people filming the whole thing had put down their camera and stopped the kid from getting into the exhibit to start with? We can donate to our local zoo, so they can create even better enclosures, and facilitate breeding programs that keep endangered animals alive. Direct your anger into something useful, not just generating internet memes that don’t solve anything. Oh, and if you insist on sending hate mail to Michelle Gregg, make sure you’ve got the right one. Some other poor woman with the same name is getting all kinds of threats. Most of all though, if you see stupid happening, stop it, before it ends up like this.

A monkey enclosure at the Palm Beach zoo. Just a small fence, and shallow moat. It's expected that stupid people won't try to enter the habitat.
A monkey enclosure at the Palm Beach zoo. Just a small fence, and shallow moat. It’s nice and open for the animals, and it’s expected that stupid people won’t try to enter the habitat.
Old school enclosure at the Palm Beach Zoo. The Koalas are kept in a small exhibit, behind glass. People can't get in, but it's not much fun for them.
Old school enclosure at the Palm Beach Zoo. The Koalas are kept in a small exhibit, behind glass. People can’t get in, but it’s not much fun for the animals.
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EU Referendum, Brexit and US presidential election

Do you understand all the fuss over the Brexit? There’s a huge referendum involving whether Britain should remain part of the European Union. I’ve seen a lot of the stuff mentioned online, but since I don’t live in the UK, or Europe, I hadn’t really researched it. It wasn’t until I was reading an article that was in my twitter feed, about Economic Migrants blending in with real refugees, and how once they reached the EU, they were free to country shop, and how it was affecting the local economies. Some people see the Brexit as the only way to stem the never ending flow of people entering the country. While many are genuine refugees, there are also plenty who are simply seeking a better life, and are costing the host countries billions of dollars. While reading the comments, someone mentioned a documentary called Brexit.

It’s a feature length documentary, and it’s obviously skewed towards being pro-Brexit. It was however very well presented, and quite fascinating. There was a lot of historical stuff in there that I wasn’t aware of, and with the US being in the midst of the US Presidential election campaign, and me being able to actually vote in the US Presidential Election, I was fascinated by the parallels that could be drawn between the way some of the EU countries went historically, and the way each US candidate is trying to steer the country now.

Britain is very much Bernie Sanders. Government trying to regulate everyone, in the interests of creating a “fair trading environment” and attempting to make everyone equal as well as safe. Free schools, housing, etc.

Germany is Trump. They believe in capitalism and a free market, where those who want to succeed, can. Those who need a bail out with government support to survive will have to move aside and either keep up or get pushed out. Survival of the fittest.

Then there’s the party that everyone ignores, and which the other two certainly don’t want anyone to think about. The whole “two party” system in a fallacy. There is a third choice, and that’s Switzerland, or in the US, the Libertarian Party. They think everyone should be able to do what they want, as long as it isn’t illegal, and doesn’t hurt anyone else. Basically, take the warning labels off everything, and let nature take its course.

Whether you’re in the EU or the US, or anywhere else, the Brexit documentary was fascinating watching. It will make you question politics, in the US, the UK, or anywhere else. Most of all, it will make you wonder what the point is of the EU, and whether it’s necessary, or if it’s the New World Order that everyone is whispering about. (Or the Capital in The Hunger Games)

What’s your take on Brexit, or the US elections? I love hearing all the opinions (that’s why I was reading comments on the original article) but remember to keep it classy. You can never win an argument or change someone’s opinion with name calling or trolling.

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Mark Salling indicted on kiddie porn charges

Mark-Salling-Glee

Mark Salling, an actor best known as Noah “Puck” Puckerman from “Glee” has been indicted on Child Pornography charges.

Salling was the subject of a Los Angeles Police Department investigation in December of 2015. He was arrested on state charges in connection with possessing child pornography. He was released on $20,000 bail. He had thousands of images and videos depicting child pornography. The 33-year-old was named in a two-count indictment, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles. He is expected to surrender and be arraigned on the charges on June 3, 2016.

It’s been a busy week covering Hollywood abuse. Last week, Elijah Wood discussed that Hollywood had a major pedophilia problem, and once again Corey Feldman was asked about his experiences, and how he and Corey Haim were both molested by Hollywood moguls. Only a week before, Woody Allen was again being questioned by Ronan and the press over the allegations he molested his daughter Dylan and his now wife Soon Yi. Bill Cosby is also finally seeing the inside of a courtroom after more than 40 women spoke of being drugged and raped by him.

What surprises me is that every time the news covers Hollywood sexual perversions, it’s written about like it’s the first time that anyone has said anything about it. I don’t know how many times people need to speak up before it’s understood that Hollywood does indeed have a problem with sexual predators. Pedophiles are everywhere, there’s no reason Hollywood would be immune. In fact, Hollywood is the dream location of many sexual deviants. It’s a hot bed of beautiful young people who are easily manipulated while trying to fulfill a dream. Producers, Directors, casting agents, etc are all in high power positions to groom and take advantage of young actors and models who are naive and hungry.

Maybe with so many cases in the press these last two weeks, people will finally understand that the entertainment industry isn’t just immune from sexual assault, but is actually a breeding ground for it. Hopefully people don’t act surprised when a celebrity is accused of sexual indecency. Maybe people will actually start to listen to victims when they come forward, instead of just dismissing them as being money grubbers, looking for fame and fortune.

While I think it’s sad that all these cases are coming up, because it means there’s so many victims, I’m also thrilled that we’re seeing so many cases, because it means that people are finally feeling like they’re able to speak up. Abusers use silence. They cultivate it, and demand it from their victims. It’s how they get away with it, and how they get more victims. If we all start speaking up, they can no longer hide. We need to tell kids that it’s OK to speak up, and maybe these pedo’s will think twice before they abuse someone, knowing they might not get away with it.

Pedophilia in Hollywood is a problem. Pretending it doesn’t happen isn’t going to make it go away. Victim blaming isn’t going to help either. We need to start empowering kids. We can also help by letting Hollywood know we won’t support Hollywood pedophiles, by choosing not to watch movies or films that these predators make. If enough of us stand up and say No! they might have to finally listen. If you really want to help, we can try to change laws by getting rid of the statute of limitations. Then if people find their voice, even if it is 10-20 years later, their abusers can still be held accountable, instead of silencing their victims once again with threats of suing for slander or defamation of character.

Hopefully this is the beginning of the end for sexual abuse in the entertainment industry.

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