Blog Archives

Reacting to the Present

The struggle is real (Microweber)

Blogging can be difficult work, especially when you maintain a full-time job and serve as a single father to a great nine-year-old boy. You also tend to get caught up in the habitual routines of life: doing chores, running errands, hoping that some altruistic housekeeper will come and do all the cleaning you’ve been neglecting for so long… the usual things. And when all your home computers are on the fritz—and you’re relegated to blogging during lunch hours at work—it can be even more of a struggle.

If it seems as if I’m trying to justify more than a month of no blog posts, it’s because I feel guilty for letting it get to this point. Writing this makes me feel a little better, but I obviously have a long way to go.

Today’s post isn’t based on any single thought, opinion or idea. And it wasn’t intended as an apology to readers hoping for some new, original material, either. Instead, this is simply a way for me to reconnect not only with my subscribers, but also with the larger world around me. Granted, this may have the effect of seeming random, disjointed or even stream-of-consciousness, but so be it.

I have to do something to get the creative juices flowing again, right? May as well start with some observations and other assorted nonsense.

Oddly enough, my last post focused on Ted Cruz finally dropping out of the Republican presidential race (“Cruz Gets Trumped”), so the best place for me to start is on the circus that is U.S. politics. Although Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders continues to linger like a bad fart—and this comes from someone who initially felt the Bern—it seems our presumptive candidates will be the rather sketchy, ethically questionable Hillary Clinton and the hair-challenged, misogynistic and racist Donald Trump.

Like many others, I am concerned about these choices, neither of which appeals to me much, but what can you do? This is where we are and we have to deal with it, I suppose.

As a registered Democrat—and a previous fan of Bill Clinton—I will likely vote for Hillary since I find it important to “break the glass ceiling” and elect our first female president. Yes, I would prefer someone like Elizabeth Warren, but Hillary will simply have to do. And let’s face it, the president is more of a figurehead anyway. I’m not sure she can do as much damage as people think since most of the power lies with Congress and the House. Those are the places where serious changes need to be made.

It’s no coincidence that “Trump” rhymes with “chump” (Reuters/Dominick Reuter)

Trump has his moments, of course, but I cannot support someone who wants to backtrack to past eras when seclusion, racism, discrimination and hatred ruled our land. We used to take pride in being a “melting pot” for all people, so building walls and banning immigrants based on religion run contrary to what established us as such a great nation. And I don’t want anyone so unpredictable and misguided at the helm regardless of what little power they may actually possess.

After all, this individual will still have their finger on the proverbial button that could start World War III.

One news story that caught my eye—mostly because you can’t surf the web or turn on the television without hearing about it—was the rape case involving Stanford sex offender Brock Turner. Apparently, this 20-year-old loser who chose to rape an unconscious woman behind a dumpster was sentenced to only six months in jail and three years’ probation because Judge Aaron Persky of Santa Clara County was worried about the effects a longer jail sentence would have on this jackass. And I just read that he will likely serve only three months in jail as long as he behaves himself. Three months instead of a maximum of 14 years? WTF?

Turner’s father even made a ridiculous statement about his son suffering from a lack of appetite due to this incident. He called his rapist son’s conviction “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action,” even though those 20 minutes included sexually penetrating a drunk, passed out woman in the dirt behind some fucking trash bin. Three months of jail is a steep price for rape? I can see the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree because they should lock up both of these pieces of shit.

What bothers me most—and what seems to bother everyone outraged by this story—isn’t the unrealistic sentence this sorry judge imposed, which is indicative of just how broken our justice system truly is. It’s the fact that this poor woman is being mistreated and marginalized for something that will undoubtedly darken the rest of her days. Turner may have to register as a sex offender—and steak may not taste as good to him anymore—but his sentence will end after three months in jail; hers will continue until the day she dies.

My advice to Brock Turner? Grow eyes in the back of your head, asshole. And get used to traveling in groups because if someone meets you in a dark alley alone someday, you will get the punishment you deserve. I promise you that.

This is where I seem to be headed. Time for some ab work! (Adam Rifkin)

On a lighter note, the summer is finally upon us and vacations should be in full swing by now. My own break from the monotony of daily life will come later this month when I head to the beach with my family, an annual trip we all use to recharge our batteries and catch up on the year-that-was. There will be kids, good food, strong drinks, pools slightly warm and salty from excessive pee… everything normally associated with a trip to the coast. I may be grossly overweight and lacking a significant other to share this with, but I am still looking forward to it—even if it’s only for one week.

Wow. It looks as if I still have some writing left in me because this is much longer than I originally intended. Granted, I could ramble on more, but you have likely suffered enough. And I suppose this wasn’t as disorganized and random as I thought it would be. Perhaps the next post will be more chaotic. No promises, of course, but I appreciate you reading and hope you’ll tune in next time.

Until we meet again, enjoy your life and by all means, please be good to one another. That is what life is all about—or at least it should be.

Cruz Gets Trumped

Cruz praised from up on high (@TheGoodGodAbove/Twitter)

At long last, it finally happened: Ted Cruz has been defeated and will not be the GOP nominee for president. A resounding victory for Donald Trump in Indiana yesterday served as the final nail in Cruz’s coffin—and here’s hoping we never have to deal with this jackass from Texas again.

If you think “jackass” is too strong a word, consider this VIDEO in which Ted Cruz auditions for voice work on the popular animated television show The Simpsons. The word it immediately brings to my mind is “creepy,” but you be the judge.

Of course, Cruz’s departure from the GOP race also means that Trump is the presumptive nominee, which is pretty scary in and of itself. Even scarier is the fact that the anti-Trump movement spent more than $75 million to prevent this from happening, only to see their worst fears become reality.

$75 million spent primarily on political television ads? What a waste. That money could have come in very handy in feeding the hungry, clothing the homeless or doing good work for the multitude of people struggling in this country. Man, we sure have some messed up priorities.

Fortunately, there is still hope for those hoping to block Trump’s nomination—and his name is Ohio Governor John Kasich.

I’m kidding, of course. Kasich has no chance and there really is no hope for the GOP. A Clinton-Trump race for the White House seems inevitable at this point. And honestly, we may all be screwed in the long run.

Toys for Ted

For those who want to see Cruz in the end (Mstyle183/Shapeways)

For those who want to see Cruz in the end (Mstyle183/Shapeways)

A few weeks ago, the Internet went crazy when it was discovered that Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz—while serving as solicitor general of Texas in 2007—supported a state law to criminalize the sale of sex toys.

In a brief issued from his office at the time, Cruz and his cohorts explained how people should not have the legal right to masturbate: “There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship.”

This brief included a statement that banned any device “useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.” Funny how there was no mention of non-human genitals, but that’s beside the point.

Fortunately, it was a big misunderstanding and Cruz recently told WABC that he will not attempt to ban sex toys if he becomes president—something which I and countless others hope never happens anyway.

For now, at least, this means that he and Trump aren’t the only dildos available. And for those of you interested in some high-tech self-pleasure, check out this video for the Dildo Drone. It’s fictional, for now, but there simply must be a market for it somewhere.

Of course, abstinence is always a good decision, too—especially when you consider the latest Cruz development. Someone watching an episode of the Maury Povitch show discovered Searcy Hayes, a 21-year-old Cruz doppelgänger from Natchez, Mississippi. And if this image doesn’t immediately rob you of all sexual inclination, I don’t know what will:

Are you sure that isn’t just Ted in drag trying to access a woman’s restroom? (Maury Povitch/Getty)

Enough said.

Best Arrest Photo Ever

America’s next top model perhaps? (Fresno County Sheriffs Office)

Last Wednesday evening, Robert Lopez of Kingsburg, California was arrested after neighbors reported him watering his lawn in the nude.

When Fresno County Deputies arrived on the scene, they found Lopez drinking beer in the buff and asked him to put some clothes on, which he refused to do, of course.

At this point, Lopez started to hurl profanity at the officers—along with a beer bottle, which shattered on a nearby fence—and then threatened to grab his gun and shoot the deputies. He rushed into his home and resurfaced moments later wearing shorts. Instead of a gun, however, Lopez was carrying an 8-inch knife.

Fortunately, the officers were able to wrestle the knife away from Lopez and shot a bean bag round at his stomach, which immediately sent him to the ground. They put the cuffs on and before dragging him away, took his picture.

And a more bizarre arrest photo, you will not find. I assure you.

What would Jesus do?

Earlier this week, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed into law a bill that some have described as “the most intense anti-queer legislation” ever to pass in America.

Reuters described it like this: “The far-reaching law allows people with religious objections to deny wedding services to same-sex couples. It also clears the way for employers to cite religion in determining workplace policies on dress code, grooming and bathroom and locker access.”

And like North Carolina’s recent anti-LGBT law, this one is total bullshit, as well.

Fortunately, a non-profit organization named Planting Peace responded by purchasing billboard space and posting one of the best religiously-themed billboards I have ever seen. Check it out:

And that’s how it’s done! (Planting Peace)

That’s right, haters! Jesus was about love and understanding, not hate and discrimination—and even an agnostic like me knows this! Time to tighten up on your theology!

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Have you seen this man? (Mount Healthy PD)

Police in the Midwest are on the lookout for a serial thief who has been stealing obscene amounts of the hair growth drug Rogaine—as well as the memory supplement Prevagen—from drug stores in the region.

And yes, the suspect is bald.

Mr. Clean’s most recent theft involved nearly $900 of the hair regrowth treatment from a Walgreen’s in Mount Healthy, Ohio. However, he has been linked to additional thefts in other Ohio cities—like Cleveland and Cincinnati—as well as Kentucky.

“We’re scratching our heads on this,” Mount Healthy PD Detective Chris Jones said recently. “No pun intended, I guess.”

Authorities don’t believe the bald burglar is using the Rogaine himself—judging from his still shiny and hairless scalp—but think he may be reselling it online or at flea markets.

The search continues, for now, but there is one thing this guy could do to prevent his arrest: start using the product himself. After all, no one’s looking for a hairy suspect—at least not until he starts stealing hair care products, that is!

Cookies!

Cookie Monster

Cookie Monster would be so proud! (Jim Henson/Buehler Moving Companies)

Any salesperson worth their salt understands that the first step towards high sales and even higher profits is location, location, location.

And apparently, the Girl Scouts know this, too.

One little girl in Oregon decided to maximize her profits by selling Girl Scout cookies outside the one place guaranteed to drive her business upwards: a marijuana dispensary.

Accompanied by her aunt, she set up shop outside Portland’s Foster Buds Marijuana Dispensary last weekend, intent on making enough money to fund horse camp over the summer. And needless to say, she easily surpassed her goal.

“The Girl Scouts organization said they don’t condone this, but it’s not against the rules,” her aunt told KATU-TV.

The dispensary even got in on the action by offering cookie buyers a discount on a “Girl Scout Cookies” strain of pot they sell. Of course, the Girl Scouts of the USA aren’t very happy about the trademark infringement, but this is nothing new for marijuana dispensaries, some of which market a “Thin Mints” strain of weed, as well.

Kudos to this young lady for her shrewd marketing skills, though!

Kick Carson to the Curb!

Ben Carson

I could not have said it better myself (Danny Zuker/Occupy Democrats)

Famed neurosurgeon? Perhaps. Qualified presidential candidate? Hell no!

It boggles the mind to think that the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary narrowed the GOP field of presidential candidates—forcing people like Chris Christie, Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina from the race—yet Dr. Ben Carson remains, even though his fledgling campaign seems doomed to collapse eventually.

I mean, here’s a guy who left Iowa to return home for fresh clothes, for goodness sake. And then watched as Ted Cruz used his departure to claim Carson was leaving the race completely—effectively stealing the Iowa caucus in the process!

What has me so fired up against Carson, you ask? Fine. I’ll tell you.

In an interview yesterday with Breitbart News—when asked if Muslims who adhere to Sharia law could also participate in American democracy—Carson had this to say: “Only if they’re schizophrenic. I don’t see how they can do it otherwise, because they have two different philosophies boring at [them]. That would be very difficult.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t America founded on the ideas of religious freedom and tolerance? Or is it simply a Christian-only country?

Let’s see what the illustrious Dr. Ben Carson has to say about this, shall we? Here’s a quote from one of his speeches in Iowa earlier this month—and incidentally, he chose to use schizophrenia in a derogatory fashion in this quip, as well:

“Every coin in our pocket, every bill in our wallet, says ‘In God We Trust.’ If it’s in our founding documents, it’s in our pledge, in our courts, and it’s on our money, but we’re not supposed to talk about it, what in the world is that? In medicine, we call it ‘schizophrenia.’ And doesn’t that explain a lot of what’s going on in our nation?”

Although he was addressing the separation of church and state at the time, I find Dr. Carson’s remarks quite telling. Is he really implying that the “God” addressed on American currency only means the Christian God? Could it not also mean Allah or some other God-like figure from a religion other than Christianity?

I’m sorry, but people who believe only their God is the correct one—and everyone else be damned, so to speak—really bother me… especially when they want to become the next leader of the free world!

If you really want to help the USA move forward and return to greatness, do us all a favor, Dr. Carson. Suspend your presidential campaign so we can start to focus more on the important issues and less on the freak show that the GOP race to the White House has become. I’m begging you.

You Say You Want a Resolution

Sad but true (someecards.com)

I know more than a week of the New Year has passed—and that theoretically, resolutions are supposed to start on day one—but sometimes it isn’t that easy to decide what to change about yourself or your approach to life. This is especially true when you finally quit smoking and complete an ongoing resolution you have never been able to complete before, as I did last year. To be honest, this is probably the first resolution I have ever completed, which makes this year’s list a bit more challenging… but not by much since I have loads of things upon which to focus in 2016.

So without further ado, this year I resolve to…

Celebrate the end of the 2016 presidential campaign. The election won’t happen until November, but at least there is a finish line in sight. And I’ll be happy when the news outlets stop reporting on every dumbass thing the GOP says and instead return to important news—like what Kanye and the Kardashians have been up to lately.

The cast of “Rogue One” (Disney)

Look forward to the next Star Wars-themed film without letting it control my life. Like most nerds from a galaxy not so far away, I awaited the latest installment of the famous sci-fi epic by reading nearly everything published about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And I’m not even talking about mainstream reports, like casting decisions and potential plotlines. I’m referring instead to every rumor, set photo, fan theory and possible spoiler that ever dropped online about the J.J. Abrams-directed film. Now I have Rogue One to look forward to next December, only this time I’ll try to ignore all the hype and simply enjoy the final product once it’s released.

Exercise and start eating better. This is little more than the obligatory resolution I always include but never complete. Sure, I normally start off well, but my motivation fades with each new PS4 video game release or Netflix binge. Will 2016 be different? Only time will tell, but I’m certainly making no promises.

Time to get stress out in 2016 (mybodytutor.com)

Live in the present. Stress is obviously a killer. And each year, I find myself stressing more and more about things I can’t control, like the future and, in many ways, even the past. It’s time to face the fact that life will never be what it once was—and none of us truly know how life will be years or even decades from now (provided we make it that far). Living in the present and letting stress roll off our backs is basically all we can do, so that’s what I’ll strive for this year, as well.

Spend more time with friends. Actually, this should read “make friends with whom I can spend time,” but there’s no point in splitting hairs. We all know how busy life can be. Once you get up, go to work, leave work, run errands, return home, cook dinner, clean up and unwind, there really isn’t a lot of free time left—at least not during the work week. And although my favorite weekend routine is to lay around wearing sweatpants, watching television and playing video games, I understand how important human interaction can be. It’s time to get me some of that!

Olivia Wilde would be a good match (acelebritymag.com)

Reinvigorate the passion for my career. Like many of you, I began my work life as kind of an idealist—ready to make a difference in the world by helping college students achieve their goals and dreams. I still do this, of course, but the wide-eyed optimism of my youth has been replaced by a darker, more pessimistic nature. And the last thing I want to become is one of those “toxic people” you read about on Facebook—the ones positive people are encouraged to kick to the curb in order to improve their own lives. I may be older and wiser—in some ways more than others—but that doesn’t mean I have to give in to all the negativity. It’s time to take a more positive approach and to remember that life is what you make it.

Find a good woman. Former girlfriends should not read this as a criticism since I’ve been fortunate enough to date some really good women in the past. Sadly, though, this hasn’t been the case recently since I haven’t been dating at all. After my marriage fell apart, the last thing I wanted was to embroil myself in another relationship, but now I’m getting tired of being alone—and being my own romantic partner. Perhaps Match.com can help me find a suitable replacement for my right hand (and sometimes my left, since variety is the spice of life).

Get creative. Writing has always been one of my greatest pleasures. Unfortunately, I just haven’t felt very creative for the past few years, so the only writing I’ve done has been here on Gnostic Bent. This year, though, I hope to branch out and start writing fiction, film treatments and screenplays again. Perhaps nothing will come of them, but at least I’ll feel like I’m accomplishing something once more.

I’m sure that I could go on and on—since there are so many things I would like to change about myself in 2016—but I have bored you enough with my New Year’s resolutions. Now it’s time for action. And with any luck, my end-of-the-year post will focus on how much I actually accomplished this year, rather than how many of my resolutions again went unfulfilled. Only time will tell, I guess, but at least I have something that I haven’t had in a long time: hope. And right now, that is good enough for me.

Happy New Year, peeps!

Merry Xmas from Gnostic Bent!

Star Wars Xmas - Lucasfilm

Happy holidays from a galaxy near you! (Lucasfilm)

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