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Bent Back

We should all “get bent” once in a while (Brainless Tales)

Sorry Gnostic Bent disappeared for the last few weeks, but like many of you, I took some time off to enjoy this holiday season. One of the perks of working at a private college is that the school shuts down in mid-December and reopens in early January. Students get more time off than staff and faculty, of course, but we still get a luxurious two-week break—and I really enjoyed having some time to recharge.

Granted, I did almost nothing but sit on my ass, watch television and play Far Cry 4 on my PS3—interspersed with Lego Batman 3, my son’s newest game—but it was just what the doctor ordered. And now that my vacation is over, I’m having some trouble adjusting to my daily routine, which includes blogging. I am back, though, and you can be sure that more ridiculous posts will follow.

So Happy New Year, dear readers. And here’s to getting Bent in 2015!

LEGO Love Fest

When I was a kid, I absolutely adored LEGO. These famous construction toys not only allowed me to flex my developing imagination, but also provided me with endless hours of fun and entertainment—a fact I relish now that my son is a huge LEGO fan, too.

Unfortunately, my use of LEGO waned as I got older, but I still love it enough to live vicariously through my son. Despite the high prices for themed sets—like Star Wars and Chima, for instance—and the tendency for me to step on all shapes and sizes of LEGOs in the minefield of my son’s bedroom, they still rock. And people are doing more and more creative things with these plastic building blocks, too.

Check out some of these LEGO creations and tell me this isn’t an underrated art form.

Looking Back: The Gnostic Bent 2013 Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 180,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 8 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

An Appeal to Readers

Readers are the greatest people in the world (Blogging Tips Today)

Readers are the greatest people in the world (Blogging Tips Today)

In June of 2012, I decided to start a personal blog primarily to force myself to start writing again, but also to see if what I wrote would appeal to anyone besides me. Actually, that may not be accurate since no one is as critical of my work as I am. Nevertheless, I found a great platform—WordPress is awesome—and got the proverbial ball rolling. And I can say without apprehension that blogging has been a positive—and eye-opening—experience in more ways than one.

The WordPress features I enjoy the most are the statistics, especially since I place a lot of importance on measuring and evaluating my own progress. If the statistics collected by WP are to be believed—and I have no reason to think they shouldn’t be—then things have been going pretty well. Here are some highlights:

  • Total views in the last 17 months total more than 204,000 and my average monthly yield is roughly 12,000 views. Of course, some people view multiple posts—or multiple pictures of sexy women, who I frequently include on my blog—so this stat should be accompanied by a grain of salt.
  • I somehow managed to attract nearly 1,300 followers, but a large segment of them come through my Facebook account. However, there are more than 350 people out there who subscribe via email, as well as a few dozen who connect with me through Twitter. I don’t care where they come from because collectively, they’re the best!
  • More than 4,500 comments have been posted by readers and since I reply to all of them—sometimes repeatedly—you can probably double that number to measure my total responses. And I can say this: the weekend that my work appeared on Freshly Pressed was grueling in terms of replying to comments. Granted, they were largely positive, but my hands (and mind) took a beating!
  • There is no clear measurement for the number of unique visitors to my blog, but my daily average jumped from only a handful when I first began to approximately 250-300 visitors today. Some of these are my so-called “frequent flyers,” and I can’t express how much I appreciate their interest and loyalty… love ‘em!
  • Thanks to the pressure I place on myself to post at least one article each day, my net gross of articles is nearly 900 since last year—on average, this amounts to roughly 53 articles each month, although I sometimes post multiple articles within the same day. This doesn’t happen much any more since life tends to be a lot busier these days.
  • Since last June, people in 192 different countries and provinces have viewed my work. In fact, about the only areas on the world map not infected by my “freakiness” are in central Africa and the former Soviet Union bloc—mostly in the nations that end in –stan. Honestly, this is the statistic that impresses me the most, although most of these international folks may be deployed American military personnel. You never know.
You gotta love WordPress! (Eightfold)

You gotta love WordPress! (Eightfold)

I know these statistics may not mean much—and definitely mean more to me than anyone else—but they can work wonders on a person’s ego. Things like total views and comments don’t strike me nearly as much as views from other countries, though. The very thought that people all over the world have viewed my blog—even if they stumbled across it accidentally or visited simply to view those sexy pictures I referenced before—is extremely exciting to me, especially since I come from an international family. Again, these may simply come from U.S. soldiers living abroad, but I have received some comments written in Arabic, Japanese and a host of other languages.

Incidentally, I apologize if one of those comments came from you and I failed to reply. I don’t speak—or read—many languages, but there are tons of translation programs online that could help. The problem is that most of these comments end up in the spam folder and are accidentally deleted in my haste to maintain order within my blog. My unique combination of obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention-deficit disorder demand it, I’m sorry to say.

None of this is being shared to “toot my own horn” or to try to impress any single ladies in the crowd—unless it’s working, in which case this WAS my real intention! Ha ha ha ha!

Seriously, though, here’s why I chose to share these statistics today, especially those related to blog visitors, followers and the countries they represent: I want to give something back to you, dear reader. For this reason, I have a request that some may even consider as a charge to anyone reading this. Thanks in advance to anyone who considers helping me out.

Since readers are the people who inspire me, motivate me and give meaning to my life as a fledgling writer, I would LOVE to get a sense of who they are, where they’re located and what stories they have to share. Of course, I understand how sketchy it can be to share personal information online, so here’s what I’m proposing:

If you are willing to share this information—or even to submit a guest post, which I am totally open to—then please do so by leaving a comment on my blog or sending an email to gnosticbent@outlook.com.

The world of Gnostic Bent  (WordPress & I)

The world of Gnostic Bent (WordPress & I)

However, I do ask that you remove any personal information you feel uncomfortable sharing with me or others first. This includes anyone who sends an email—I promise not to use your address for evil, but feel free to send emails from a dummy account if it makes you feel better. I am all about safety and identity protection. Believe me.

You should also know that getting no response won’t devastate me or propel me into a deep, spiraling depression. The same holds for criticism, all of which I find constructive in some way. Trust me. I’m a big boy, so I can handle it.

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen: a plea for my wonderful readers to share their stories so I can return the favor and share them with “the world according to Gnostic Bent.” And I’m serious about submitting guest posts, too. I truly believe that writers, artists and anyone who dwells in the land of the imagination should stick together and do whatever possible to support one another. So by all means, send me your work and I will do my best to get some eyes on it. You have my word.

Thanks for an amazing 17 months and a life-changing experience, peeps! You ALL kick ass and I hope to see you here again soon!

Greatest Hits: The World’s Coolest Homes

I first published this post on September 17, 2012 and even though it wasn’t my best work, you can’t deny that these houses are cool. Check them out and I’m sure you’ll agree. 

When I was ten years old, I started to mentally construct the dream home I would build once I made my fortune. It had everything a boy could want: hidden doorways, secret passages, underground headquarters (think Bat Cave), an escape tunnel and even a lazy river that snaked its way through the house and across the grounds. I guess you could say I envisioned myself becoming Bruce Wayne, even though I wasn’t privy to the same family fortune.

As the years passed, I continued to alter the architectural plans in my mind. One year I might add an indoor/outdoor pool, only to replace it the next with an arboretum or steam room. If I went to the beach and saw a house with a widow’s walk, then I would find a place for it in my next draft. And all the recent attention on green technology got me thinking if a geothermal climate system might be in order.

Although I may never have the capital I need to make my dream home a reality, there are people who have done that very thing. What follows are some of my personal favorites: the homes I truly believe to be the coolest on the planet.

Hobbit House 

If you love Tolkien and “The Lord of the Rings” as much as I do, then this unique creation in Wales undoubtedly appeals to you. An eco-friendly family built this low-impact home using natural and readily available materials, including straw for insulation and local stones for its foundation. The home was dug into a hillside, which provides additional shelter, as well as some of that geothermal magic I mentioned earlier. And there are plenty of other Earth-friendly features, including a compost toilet, solar panels and a system for using gravity to funnel in water from a nearby spring.

I love that the goal here was to build in harmony with nature, but if I lived in the Hobbit House, I know one thing for certain: I would wear a Gandalf wizard outfit every time someone visited. Hell, I would probably do chores in it, too.

Star Trek Voyager Apartment

This may not be a “home” per se—even though I believe home is what you make it—but it is a very cool apartment. Tony Alleyne of Leicestershire, just north of London, created this amazing take on Gene Roddenberry-inspired design. Using items anyone can find at their local home improvement store, Alleyne handcrafted almost everything himself, including his own transporter room. And he had so much fun completing the project that it inspired his new business, 24th Century Design. Check it out here.

Personally, I’ve always been more of a “Star Wars” fan, but “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was cool and I could appreciate living in this apartment for a while. All the crazy lights would probably get to me, though, so I would eventually “beam up” to a less visually stimulating environment.

Tron: Legacy” House

To help promote its news film, Disney collaborated with the DuPont chemical company to design the exhibition known as the Tron: Legacy House in Milan, Italy. The home is built largely from Corian, a DuPont compound that can be molded into almost any shape, and features all the modern amenities, including a hot tub, a home entertainment area and, like the Star Trek Voyager home, lots and lots of lights. I definitely would not recommend either of these domiciles to anyone prone to photo-sensitive epileptic seizures. And I’m sure the electric bills are nothing to sneeze at, either.

Bubble House

Organic, Hungarian architect Antti Lovag designed—but never finished—this bubbly structure in Tourettes-sur-Loup, France, which has been declared a historic monument. The home features exotic vegetation, built-in shelves, space-saving furniture and incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea. And as you can see, it blends seamlessly into its environment. It might be hard to wallpaper, though.

Nautilus House

In 2006, the company Arquitectura Organica built a home for a young Mexico City couple that simulated the inside of a mollusk shell. The concept is known as Bio-Architecture because it is based on organic forms that are found in the natural world and bring us closer to harmony with nature. I’m not sure why I continue to be drawn to homes that connect to the environment, but they are interesting, don’t you think?

Hang Nga Tree House

No list of awesome homes would be complete without at least one tree house making the cut. For me, the most interesting and unusual of these structures is the so-called “Crazy House” in Vietnam. The structure was built for the daughter of Vietnam’s ex-president, herself a student of architecture. What makes this tree house so unique is that instead of incorporating trees into its design or resting on tree branches, the house actually is a tree. It also resembles something out of a dream—maybe a nightmare—which only serves to intrigue me more.

All of the homes presented here prove that with a strong vision and adequate means, anyone can build the house of their dreams. And if I ever get the opportunity to build my own, I can say with absolute certainty that these structures have inspired all sorts of interesting additions and modifications. I can already see the blueprints in my imagination changing for the better.

Greatest Hits: I Believe

Originally published on September 7, 2012. Might need a little editing, I think…

In the film “Bull Durham,” baseball veteran Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) delivers a speech so memorable that I dare not reproduce it here. Suffice it to say that it involves all of the things he believes packed into about a minute of actual dialogue. I highly recommend you take a look if you have the chance. Even if you have seen it before, it is definitely worth revisiting.

As homage to this wonderful and entertaining movie and monologue, I offer this post of some things that I believe. And though it will never compare, this is for you, Crash.

I believe the children are our future, and not because Whitney Houston said so in her uplifting yet annoying hit, “The Greatest Love of All.”

I believe aliens exist and have visited our planet. Not only that, but I believe the American government has proof. Remember Roswell, true believers!

I believe in the power of nature, whether it manifests in a hurricane ripping trees up by the roots or a summer of scorching, merciless heat.

I believe Republicans and Democrats will always be at odds and propose the formation of a new party called the Demonicans… Dominicans… on second thought…

I believe in the inherent goodness of mankind, even though we kill, rob and cheat each other every chance we get.

I believe that good nutrition and regular exercise are the keys to longevity, but I rarely practice either of them. Hey, I’m just being honest here!

I believe women should be treated like queens and queens should be treated like women.

I believe that love transcends gender and that people should be able to marry who they want to marry. Every life is equal, so equal rights should be provided to all.

I believe the soundtrack to this post should be “I Believe” by REM. “I believe in coyotes, and time as an abstract. Explain the change, the difference between what you want and what you need, there’s a key.” Go on, Michael Stipe.

I believe now that my younger days were the best years of my life, even though I always thought my parents were wrong when they told me this. Why didn’t I listen?

I believe that Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Keith Moon, Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix and Jerry Garcia are still alive and are being held in a secret music studio somewhere in Area 51. A comeback-to-life album is currently in production.

I believe marijuana will eventually be legalized and strongly suggest you invest in snack food companies before it’s too late.

I believe prostitution should also be legal—and tightly regulated (pun intended)—especially if saying so gets me some kind of discount.

I believe that instant karma really is going to get you.

I believe most politicians and manure trucks contain equal amounts of bullshit.

I believe movies are meant to be both seen and heard, which is why I never go to the theater. Watching at home is a much more pleasant experience.

I believe the only race that matters is the one we all share: the human race.

I believe David Lee Roth was a better front man for Van Halen than Sammy Hagar, but now he’s a complete fool and Sammy is still cool.

Photo of 1950s Mountain Dew ad in Jakes Corner...

I believe my addiction to Mountain Dew is single-handedly responsible for all the crowns and fillings in my mouth, yet I have no regrets about drinking it. That monkey is squarely on my back!

I believe salad bars are like Petri dishes for germs because face it, anything that requires a “sneeze guard” would have to be, don’t you think?

And finally, I believe in the belief that I can believe what I want to believe.

Believe that?

Hottest Celebrity Beach Bodies 2013

Some celebs are so hot they should be arrested (from the film Spring Breakers; courtesy of highsnobiety.com)

Some celebs are so hot they should be arrested (from the film Spring Breakers; courtesy of highsnobiety.com)

The time has come again for me to be completely self-serving in terms of my testosterone-fueled heterosexuality. And even though the subject of this post is fairly predictable this time of year—everyone seems to focus on the best beach bodies as the summer approaches—I simply could not resist tossing my hat into the ring, too.

After all, one of my favorite subjects is women. I just love them too much to ignore them for very long on my blog. Call me sexist, chauvinistic, horny or a dirty old man if you like, but please know that only a few of these terms actually apply—the last two, to be exact.

Before we arrive at the slide show, however—which I assure you will keep you interested, especially if you’re a hot-blooded male like me—I would like to add a few disclaimers:

  • There is some nudity here, but only one bare boob that I am aware of. The rest comes through wet and often transparent swimsuit material, which I for one appreciate more than you know.
  • Some of the women featured here are professional swimsuit models, so it stands to reason why they would end up on my list.
  • I focus only on celebrities since (a) there is no shortage of photographs of them online and (b) real women are more apt to sue me for using their image here. Of course, if you’re a woman who would like to share some beach photos—or better yet, would like me to feature them in a future post—please don’t hesitate to send them my way. I assure you that in every case, proper credit will be given.
  • Because I feel kind of guilty for superficially focusing on women’s bodies and perhaps objectifying them in some way—albeit unintentionally—most of my captions will include some information about each woman’s career, achievements or other accomplishments. At least that way this won’t be focused completely on my own carnal desires.
  • In most cases, I include photographs of celebrities when they were “in their prime,” so to speak. Personally, I think women are great all the time, but I also understand how much emphasis our society places on youth and beauty, which is why I cherry-picked each picture to appeal to the broadest possible audience.
  • My list of the best beach bodies brings together more current talents—like Selena Gomez and Kate Upton—as well as some sex symbols from my era of the 1970s and 1980s—like Farrah Fawcett and Bo Derek. I’m confident you will enjoy them all.

With that being said, the time has come to finally delve into my slide show and to see if I know what I’m talking about in terms of the best celebrity beach bodies. I once did a post about my favorite actresses (in terms of attractiveness) and based on some of the comments I received, followed up with a post about the most attractive male actors, too. Never let it be said that I don’t cater to my female readers. So if you enjoy this post and would like me to do the same again—the best celebrity beach bodies with wieners, in a manner of speaking—leave a comment and I will do my best to oblige. Lord knows, I’m secure enough in my masculinity to see beauty in all of its forms. It might be a little more difficult for me to see it in men—meaning the chances of me successfully turning gay are slim—but I love a challenge.

For now, though, let’s bring on the ladies. Here is my take on the best celebrity beach bodies of all time. I hope you enjoy viewing and reading this post as much as I enjoyed putting it all together!

Reality Round-Up: Bad Behavior Edition

This has happened to me plenty of times!

Writer’s block can be painful, especially when you blog every day and punish yourself for falling short like I do. Fortunately, inspiration can always be found in my fellow man.

Anytime my creative well runs dry, all I need to do is scan some websites, surf some channels or thumb through a newspaper and within minutes, I discover someone doing something mean, stupid, unbelievable, inexcusable, awe-inspiring, evil and, in every case, just plain interesting.

A story starts to come together, usually around a common theme or idea. In terms of the Reality Round-Up—which serves to connect the dots between seemingly unrelated stories (in an effort to celebrate our commonalities while chuckling at our differences)—I hit pay dirt when a clear theme emerges quickly and organically.

At this point, I don’t tell the story; the story tells me, if that makes any sense.

One theme that always seems to emerge—regardless of the day, time, location or any other measurable factor—is the one thing our fellow humans cannot seem to prevent or avoid: bad behavior. It is everywhere and affects people in every walk of life.

I guess you could call it my “go to” theme for this reason. It makes writing almost effortless. Whether or not it is good writing remains to be seen. And that is for others to judge anyway since I am extremely critical of myself.

But one thing is for certain: bad behavior is everywhere. And writing be damned; it’s the stories that make the difference. Check these out and tell me I’m wrong.

CLEVELAND, OHIO

Students and parents were attending a kindergarten graduation ceremony at Michael R. White Elementary School when something unexpected—and pretty pathetic—happened: a fight broke out between two teenage girls and before you know it, the fracas became a full-fledged brawl.

Adults and children essentially rioted as the ceremony was winding down, with members of each family punishing the other for the initial altercation and forcing the school to be put on lock down.

Arrested at a kindergarten graduation. Terrible (courtesy of John Kuntz/AP)

Pomp, circumstance and fisticuffs? I’m pretty sure that’s not how graduation is supposed to be, especially for kindergarten kids. Aren’t we trying to matriculate these students to high school graduation someday, maybe even college? If so, then I hope the emotional scars of this ceremony gone violent don’t result in truancy and a higher rate of school absenteeism later!

NORTH CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

Carl Barnwell Jr. was the theater manager for the Charleston County School of the Arts and enjoyed teaching classes, too. Unfortunately, his passion for helping students turned into a sexual passion for one student in particular: a 16-year-old girl.

Did I mention that Barnwell is 30 years old?

According to the victim, she and Barnwell have been engaging in sexual relations weekly since last December. They had sex dozens of times and in many cases, did so on school grounds, even in the upstairs part of the theater he managed.

Needless to say, Barnwell has been placed on leave and charged with sexual battery of a student. A judge in Charleston County just set his bond at $50,000 and he is currently being held at the local detention center.

Okay. This goes beyond bad behavior into evil, perverted behavior, but it’s in the same ball park. Sick bastard.

PALM BAY, FLORIDA

Have you ever gotten into an argument, lost the battle and then wished you had thought of something poignant enough to make a lasting impression on your adversary? Well, that very thing happened to 30-year-old Stepfon Muse last Wednesday, only his “impression” was a bit more literal.

You may want to bite it, but resist the urge! (courtesy of YouTube)

You may want to bite it, but resist the urge! (courtesy of YouTube)

Muse and his wife were driving through town and got into a rather heated argument near the intersection of Foundation Parkway and San Filippo Drive. At some point, his wife had enough and decided nothing more could be gained from their conversation. She attempted to exit the vehicle, but Muse did his best to restrain her and even hit her on the arm. Nothing worked and he was desperate, so Muse did the only thing he could think of.

He opened wide and took a huge bite out of his wife’s ass.

Police arrived on the scene a short time later and investigated, but the only proof they needed could be found in the most unlikely place. On the woman’s buttocks was a clear and quite visible bite mark. And it didn’t take a dentist to realize whose teeth marks they were, either. Muse was arrested and is now sitting in the Brevard County Jail on charges of aggravated battery.

Isn’t it nice when the police get to the bottom of a crime so quickly?

STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA

Speaking of police, an officer in Stockton experienced violent crime first hand when he responded to a residential disturbance on Friday.

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Joey Yang is deadly with fruit (courtesy of the Stockton PD)

Outside a home was Joey Yang, sitting there peacefully and eating a fruit cup. When the officer approached him, however, things took a dark and disturbing turn.

Yang suddenly threw the fruit cup at the officer and took off running.

Unfortunately for Yang, sprinting just after eating must not have set well and he was quickly grabbed by other officers. A struggle ensued, but police were able to restrain Yang and apprehended him quickly. He now faces charges of resisting arrest and battery on an officer.

Battery? With a fruit cup?

If you ask me—and I’m not defending violent behavior, even with food products—the justice system is sticking it to this misguided criminal. Yang is definitely taking it up the yin… yang. Wow. I never thought I’d bookend a sentence like that!

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

Montego Bay, Jamaica is nice this time of year. Gorgeous weather, lots of sunshine, beautiful beaches, great music… it’s got it all.

What is also has are drugs. And I’m not just talking about the ganja being enjoyed by Rastafarians in the hillsides or tourists huddled in their hotel bathrooms, either. I’m referring to that evil, white powder known as cocaine… you know, like the kind found in Iveliza Tuhanna Perez’s cork-wedged, high-heel shoes last week?

Sorry. I’m getting ahead of myself.

The 25-year-old party girl was returning from Bob Marley Land and passing through customs at Philadelphia International Airport last Wednesday when officers discovered the shoes in her luggage. For some reason, they seemed heavier than usual, so they were x-rayed and sure enough, anomalies were found in the heels and soles. Further inspection revealed more than four pounds of cocaine hidden there, worth roughly $140,000 on the street.

Now facing charges of possession with intent to distribute and knowing and intentional possession, this has to be Perez’s most expensive vacation ever. She should have known that what happens in Jamaica—and what you enjoy in Jamaica—needs to stay in Jamaica.

I’m fairly certain I saw that in one of their travel brochures…

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA

Lakeville Police responded to a call from a local gas station recently and arrived to find a 13-year-old boy in tears and beat all to hell. He had an ice pack on his shoulder and there were marks and scratches along his neck, chest and elbow.

Even with gloves, beating a kid is wrong (courtesy of Pro Fit Boot Camp)

The boy told officers that his relative—Aubiedee “Che” Spearman—was the one who inflicted the damage in some misguided attempt to teach him “how to be a man.”

It happened as he was getting ready for school. Spearman didn’t like the clothes the boy was wearing, made him change, followed him to school, made him clean out his locker and then took the boy back home. That’s when he told the boy he would teach him “how to be a man” and started punching him while wearing boxing gloves. The attack lasted 20 minutes and only ceased once the boy escaped the house and ran to a nearby gas station to phone police.

Spearman told officers he was trying to pass along a lesson that his uncle passed to him, but confessed to going a little overboard. If he is convicted of malicious punishment of a child, he could face thousands of dollars in fines and up to a year in prison.

And just like Perez the Cocaine Customs Lady, Spearman learned an expensive lesson, one even his uncle might have frowned upon.

POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA

The final stop in our survey of recent bad behavior is Laurel Elementary School in Polk County, Florida. And the perpetrator? First-grade teacher Ashley Barker, who now faces termination for what she did.

Ashley Barker cheated the system (courtesy of WFTV-9)

Ashley Barker cheated the system (courtesy of WFTV-9)

For more than a year, Barker claimed that she and her father were both dying and that she needed time off for doctor’s appointments and the like. Only here’s the thing: neither of them were sick and she was just using this as an excuse for more time off.

Scandalous.

The ruse held for a year in which school officials accepted her excuses, gave her time off and even made special accommodations for her. And during this time, Barker wrote more than 120 letters to the principal explaining her situation and thanking the administration for their concern and flexibility.

Imagine their surprise to learn it was all one great, big lie. When the allegations first emerged, the school district confronted Barker and she immediately confessed. While they thought she was keeping doctor’s appointments and receiving life-saving treatments, Barker was simply sitting at home and relaxing. What a loser.

What’s most surprising is that Barker is now fighting her termination and may end up in court to defend her actions. I, for one, hope they televise her hearing on Court TV because people, this promises to be one of the greatest works of fiction in a generation!

And now, dear readers, the story must end. Better yet—and trusting my fellow humans to provide me with even more blog fodder tomorrow and for every day to come—I should say “to be continued” since where bad behavior is concerned, the story never ends.

Greatest Hits: 10 things that suck about being a guy

Originally posted on July 27, 2012. Featured on Freshly Pressed in July 2012 and Best of Freshly Pressed 2012.

Trying to convince a woman that being a guy isn’t a cake walk usually ends with two examples of feminine woe: menstruation and childbirth. You might also hear gripes about how guys can pee standing up and need not worry as much about dirty toilet seats, empty toilet seat cover receptacles and butt rash. Of course, being male isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and here are some reasons why.

Testosterone is a bitch

I touched on this in my post “The Trials and Tribulations of the Testosterone-Fueled Male.” As a heterosexual man—and despite having a wife I would never consider cheating on—I still find myself instinctively “checking out”  women of all shapes and sizes. And whether I like it or not, my thoughts sometimes turn into sexual fantasies about the most attractive ones. And I’m not talking about women that society would deem attractive, but those I personally find myself drawn to. It’s not that I’m shopping around for a better mate or even think I would have a chance to bed any of these lovely ladies. Testosterone just takes over and I simply can’t control myself. The difference is that I won’t act on these feelings. And being able to think with the head above my shoulders certainly helps.

Pee where you please

Yes, men are able to pee standing up, which makes us much more mobile when the urge to go arises. However, this also opens us up to some serious errors in judgment, like peeing in public and maybe even being ticketed for public urination. This wouldn’t happen if we had to find a bathroom every time our bladder filled up.

Let it all hang out

Women are fortunate that their “plumbing” is internal because having everything hanging out can be a real challenge. And yes, I am talking about penises and, more importantly, scrotums (I decided that ball sacks sounded too crude). And if you ask any man to rank his most excruciating pains, being hit in the nuts is always going to be in the top three. And don’t even get me started on zippers. Whoever thought that having a metal set of interlocking teeth on the front of guy’s pants obviously never zipped up his balls accidentally.

Popping up

The penis is a very strange and unpredictable appendage. At the worst possible times—usually in public—it decides to stand at attention, lifting your pants in the process and basically forcing you to remain seated while thinking about non-sexual, non-arousing topics. I normally focus on football or some other sports-related theme. The scary thing is that it doesn’t always work, which confuses me and can be quite awkward. I’m kidding!

One and done

If properly stimulated, most women can and will experience multiple orgasms. Such is not the case with men, save for some very talented porn stars, of course. For most of us, one is the magic number and a second orgasm can only be generated after a period of rest, fluid consumption and maybe a snack. By then, however, we’ve likely lost interest or simply become distracted by the latest installment of “Sportscenter.”

Slapping the salami

Related to uncontrollable levels of testosterone is the fact that most men turn to masturbation at an early age and never look back. Some call it “training” for the time they finally find a willing female participant, but it’s really more of a necessity. You see, many women won’t “give it up” when we’re young, so we have to depend on bra ads in newspapers or Sears catalogs to get the job done. And bless the internet for bringing porn to the masses because that opened up a whole new realm of masturbatory pleasure for men around the world. The kind that doesn’t involve barnyard animals or scat parties, I mean (and some dudes even find these things stimulating… freaky).

Hair be gone

Baldness is another disadvantage to being a man, and you don’t see many—or any—bald women walking around out there. Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with hair that continues to grow like a weed at 41 years of age, but some of my friends weren’t so lucky. I know guys who started going bald in high school and today have only remnants of the fine hair civilization that once called their craniums home. Of course, hair restoration medicine and surgery are much more effective these days—unlike hair plugs and toupees from back in the day. And if all else fails, I suppose you could have the hair from your ass transplanted to your head. Just make sure no one accidentally uses the short and curlies instead.

Women and children first

Although I agree with this when an emergency occurs, it still means that guys will be the first to perish if things get really bad. Take the sinking of the Titanic, for instance. Women and children found space in lifeboats while men fought each other for any remaining seats, which they obviously didn’t find. 103 women died in this terrible tragedy, but so did 1,347 men. I don’t particularly care for those odds.

Crying..

Cry me a river

If a man is caught crying, then he’s normally considered to be some kind of pansy unless he has a very good explanation for it (like the death of a loved one or the Super Bowl loss of a favorite football team). In almost every other situation, this is frowned upon. Of course, this can come back and bite us in the ass later when women describe us as being incapable of expressing our feelings. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, ladies. Or can you?

Footing the bill

These days, women are much more likely to pay the tab on a date or at least split the check with you. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really happen at the club or bar, where most women I’ve seen end up drinking for free. And yes, it’s because some horny guys pick up the tabs in the hope that more intoxicated women might actually sex them up later. Isn’t it enough that they get ushered into clubs while guys have to stand out in the cold, hoping to be deemed worthy by some bald-headed bouncer who only seems interested in the ladies anyway? Maybe not, but don’t listen to me. I was always the guy who stood on-line the longest.

By now, I hope you’re convinced that being a guy can really blow sometimes. Sure, we don’t have monthly visits from Aunt Flo, cottony plugs to shove into our dark orifices or basketball-sized puppies to push out, but being male is no picnic. Trust me on this.

Home At Last

The Binishell home has the snazzy design I like (Forbes)

The Binishell home has the snazzy design I like (Forbes)

The dream has been with me from an early age, as I’m sure it has for many of you. Sure, the features have changed with time—the inevitable consequence of an ever-changing life—but the fantasy remains. And if circumstances ever permit it, I will not hesitate to make this dream a reality.

I am referring, of course, to the house of my dreams.

As a boy—and one hell of a comic book freak—my dream home mirrored the secret, subterranean headquarters of my favorite hero, the Batman himself. There was the requisite mansion sitting atop it, with endless bedrooms and limitless excess, but the real fantasy lay beneath. Caves filled with the latest computer technology would connect me to the world outside; equipment manufactured in secret would leave no paper trail to be discovered later; and like my hero, I would be a force to be reckoned with in the world of crime fighting and vigilante justice.

Fortunately, I grew out of this and realized that (a) there can be only one Batman and (b) it takes a lot of cash to sustain such a lifestyle. And let’s face it: I am no Bruce Wayne.

An “old school” rendering of the Batcave (Bob Kane/DC Comics)

Future incarnations of my dream home—the evolving blueprints of which existed only in my mind—changed in architecture, style, size, dimension and nearly every other measurable category. However, other features remained consistent through the years: secret passages, a hidden underground lair—complete with an escape tunnel—ergonomic design, self-sustaining life support systems, greenhouses and extensive gardens… you know, the basics.

The sad thing about all this is that no matter how badly I want it—how desperately I want my dream home to become a reality—the fact is that it probably won’t happen. Pulling something like this off takes funding… significant funding. And I’m not talking about the kind you get from a bank or rich investor—someone with a legitimate claim to the property who could cause problems later. I need the kind of cash that only I control, like lottery winnings or a Publisher’s Clearing House jackpot.

Not bloody likely, I know, but a boy can dream.

It is in this spirit that I now share some ideas about my Dream House, the home that exists in my mind at this particular moment in time. It differs from those that came before it and will undoubtedly change in the future, but for now this represents the house I wish for in my dreams and waking life. The details are a little fuzzy and for now only certain features have taken form. That will change if the dream ever becomes a reality, though, so I pray I live to see it.

For now, however, a slide show will have to do.

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