24 Pics of Gay Soldiers; Male Full Frontal Nudity: Sense 8; Tom Daley Unrecognizable Wearing Clothes

24 Pics of Gay Soldiers
I’m still on the road, but at least I solved the WiFi issue. I’ll post more about this road trip to Palm Springs, and some LGBT related experiences we’ve had during the trip when I get to PS.
I think it’s amazing that younger gay men have things like this to see nowadays. The only photos of gay men I ever saw when I was growing up weren’t people I could identify with at all.
I think if I had known that all gay men are not the same it would have made growing up a lot easier. 
Male Full Frontal Nudity: Sense 8 
I’ve been watching another Netflix series, Sense 8. It’s an excellent series, with characters you’ll enjoy, and a storyline that will keep you wondering constantly.
And, there’s male full frontal nudity. It’s not too over the top, but it does move the story forward.
Tom Daley Unrecognizable Wearing Clothes
I guess people are so used to seeing Daley wear practically nothing, it’s hard to recognize him with clothes on? I don’t totally get this one. But I have this feeling Daley will be taking his pants off in public until he’s well into his 40s.

‘Outside of the pool I don’t walk around the house in my trunks!’ the Olympic diver says in the new issue of Attitude magazine.

‘The other day, an old lady came up to me and said: “Gosh, I don’t recognize you with your clothes on!” and I guess people see me on TV and diving with no clothes on. It’s nice to go to a photoshoot and actually wear something.’

There’smore here. I love the way they make these quotes without thinking twice about what they’re saying…”old lady.” You have to wonder sometimes. And I’m not sure you can blame that on youth alone. We were all his age once and we didn’t refer to people as, “old lady.” It would have been rude.

New Release

Dylan Sprouse Nude Pics; Beyonce Amazon War; Best Artists of 2013

Dylan Sprouse Nude Pic

Dylan Sprouse, a former Disney star, had a few nude photos “leaked” on twitter recently. The photos were removed, and Sprouse didn’t deny they were photos of him. Allegedly, one photo showed him in sheer boxers, the other was nude and he was covering his privates…partially. His statement went something like, “Oops, I guess I messed up.” If that doesn’t make you smile, nothing will.

This was his other comment, verbatim:

 “The reason I’m making light of the situation is because I don’t think what I did was wrong,” he writes on his personal tumblr page. “To be blunt, I was proud of my progress in the gym, thought I looked hot, and wanted to share it. There is an odd taboo with the human form (especially in the USA) and I don’t particularly think its a good thing to teach people that you should ‘hide yourself’ as something incredibly sacred. Blah blah blah, that’s a medieval notion.”

Then why didn’t he do a full frontal photo? Just curious. I recently watched the film, Take This Waltz, which focused on a “happily” married woman who falls in love with a hot young guy who lives across the street. Don’t waste your time with this one, especially if you’ve been “happily” married for any length of time. Seth Rogen was excellent, but you’ll wind up hoping the female main character gets run over by a car and suffers a long, horrible death. But the interesting thing to me in this film was that I noticed several female full frontal nude scenes, some of which took place in the women’s locker room. And yet not one male full frontal. What’s that about? Take off those pants, Seth Rogen.

You can read more here. You can view the pics here. NSFW.

Beyonce Amazon War

I posted last week about my own disappointment when I wanted to offer a free brand new release holiday book on Amazon, The Littlest Christmas Tree, and also distribute that book for free at other retail web sites where e-books are sold. However, Tony informed me that in order to put the put up for free on Amazon I would have to sign a three month exclusive with them (meaning I couldn’t distribute the book anywhere else for three months but Amazon), and I would only be allowed to offer the book for free for a set amount of time. So I opted out of the Amazon lending program this time, didn’t sign the three month exclusive, and released the book for free everywhere else but Amazon. The book is on Amazon for .99, but everywhere else it’s free. I would gladly have put it up on Amazon for free, too, if they’d let me. I don’t do those things very often and with indie books I’ve been sticking to .99. On a much, MUCH larger scale, I recently read about Beyonce’s Amazon issue, and she took her stand to a completely different level.

According to this next article, Amazon and Target refused to sell Beyonce’s new album because she released it on iTunes first, with a one week iTunes exclusive. It’s interesting because the very thing Amazon did to me with the exclusive they require for the lending program is the exact same thing they penalized Beyonce for doing with Apple. Beyonce retaliated by going to a Wal-Mart store this past weekend where she gave 750 shoppers a fifty dollar gift card, an amount that totaled something close to thirty eight thousand dollars.

The article presents an interesting question:

Why would Amazon and Target want to make enemies of Beyoncé, whose antics in Wal-Mart have made them look petty? They probably have their eye on the long game. This is only $10 million or so in lost sales between the two companies, after all—not even a rounding error in either company’s revenues. And most artists are not Beyoncé—they need Amazon and Target more than Target and Amazon need them.

It’s hard to disagree with that reasoning, however, any kind of negative publicity no matter how small it is often takes on a life of its own. After the Target debacle on Black Friday, I’ll personally never look at Target the same way again. That was a huge issue that affected too many people to forget. And in spite of continued growth, Amazon has been irritating people in small ways for such a long time I hate to even go there to write a book review anymore. I’m not the only one who feels this way. This season, for the first time in five years, I did no Christmas shopping on Amazon. And it wasn’t even a totally conscious choice. I just didn’t feel like going there. And I think that has to do with an accumulation of things that have been happening all year.

By refusing to sell Beyonce’s album to spite Apple, the only people Amazon and Target are really hurting are consumers. And if this sort of attitude continues other people will be doing what I’ve done and they’ll be taking their business elsewhere. I’d hate to see that happen, and I’d like to see Amazon more customer oriented. Authors like me need Amazon. Beyonce can be as independent as she wants and it’s not going to hurt her. But too many artists need Amazon to work with them, not against them.

Best Artists 2013: Male Nudes

The next link will lead you to the list of best artists of 2013, one of whom is interesting because he’s Russian and his art directly opposes the highly publicized Russian stand against LGBT equality. In fact, it’s a bold artistic statement.

You can check the images out here. The first one is a men’s locker room where a group of men are showering together.

Hollywood’s Well-Endowed Men; Checking Testicles; Catholic Priest’s Double Life

Hollywood’s Well-Endowed Men

Of course this won’t change any one’s life one way or another, but it’s a little trivia I found interesting and thought I would share. This is allegedly a list of Hollywood’s most well-endowed actors, and some of the names might surprise you. This one, below, didn’t actually surprise me. I could have guessed. There’s just something about him. And, in his case size doesn’t really matter anyway.

When Owen Wilson and his buddy Woody Harrelson traveled to Peru together, paparazzi managed to snap photos of them bathing in an irrigation ditch wearing nothing but their boxers. Owen’s sopping wet underwear left little to the imagination and showed off the size of his equipment. Maybe these two should swap names?

You can read more here.

Checking Testicles

Here’s a link to an article I saw last night about rugby players who are taking testicular cancer seriously and doing something about it. This is a highly significant disease for men, and I personally know someone who had to deal with it about twenty years ago. Because he caught it fast enough, he’s still here today.

In an effort to raise money for the Balls to Cancer charity, these hunky athletes dropped their pants in a Maverick TV segment to demonstrate how screening for testicular cancer is really done, utilizing everything from compact mirrors to an ultrasound system.

Side note: someone pointed out to me they aren’t really rugby players. I don’t know and I’m not researching it for the post. The point of the post…and what these guys are doing…is to make men more aware of testicular cancer, not sports.

Catholic Priest’s Double Life

The next article discusses a Catholic priest who has been living a double life, and he finally admitted it openly. In this case, he was married to a woman in secret. He’s not gay. However, when he admitted his double life, he admitted a lot more that the church doesn’t like to acknowledge.

Following his televised revelations – and his plans to expand on them in a forthcoming book – he has been removed from his position and has since been excommunicated.

Fr Lee, a priest for 20 years, said he made little effort to keep his relationship under wraps after he met Josephina in the Philippines and married her in secret.

He said: ‘People in the hierarchy probably knew or were prepared to turn a blind eye.’

He’s also writing a book, and claims that the church knows there are more priests like him, and many are living double lives. A spokesperson from the church denied this claim.

This is a topic I’ve been thinking about lately for personal reasons. Tony and I recently discovered that friends we knew very well about eighteen years ago are/were both Catholic priests living a double life right here in New Hope. And one is/was a bishop, the other a monsignor. We only found out by accident because they recently listed their home for sale and we were curious to see how much they listed it for because we’ve been thinking about listing our home. When we did a *public* search we noticed completely different names for these people who at one time had been very close friends. And when we did a second search with their real names, we discovered the truth about them and the double lives they’ve been living right in our own proverbial backyard all these years. In this case, both bishop and monsignor are gay, there is proof all over the Internet of their double lives, and there are even photos of them giving out communion and posing in clerics. I could write about this in a book.

It’s a difficult topic to write about because I still feel duped and insulted. To think that you know people so well, on a personal basis where you spend holidays and birthdays, and then you find out they’ve been lying to you all that time isn’t easy to swallow. In fact, it’s downright creepy.


Buck Naked and Afraid; Kian Brown Letter to Paula Deen; Manhandled

Buck Naked and Afraid

There’s a new reality TV show out called, Naked and Afraid, on the Discovery Channel and it’s been making quiet headlines for the past few weeks. It’s pop culture at its best, and there have been all kinds of comments from the mainstream media. I set the DVR and watched several episodes and I have to admit that even though I started watching with my tongue pressed to my cheek, I wound up liking it more than I thought I would.

First, get past the naked part. It’s only a cheap thrill for the first five minutes. I’ve been to my share of nude beaches and there is one thing that never fails to happen: the first few moments you remove your clothes you feel awkward, but eventually you don’t even realize you’re nude. There’s nothing sexual about it, and you don’t even notice the other nude people around you. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, and once in a while you’ll see something unusual, but for the most part you get over being naked.

And it’s the same way with Naked and Afraid. But the best part of this show is that no one is doing it for the money or to win some kind of spectacular grand prize. These people are seriously interested in testing their bodies and learning about what it’s like to survive, naked, in the middle of nowhere without food or water. That’s literally what happens. A naked man and woman are left on a tropical island, or in a jungle, and they are forced to see how much they can take and how well they can deal with their limited circumstances. It’s both physical and mental. As a runner I appreciate this for several reasons. I’ve been running every morning of my life for the past twenty years and it’s not always easy. Most of the time, especially in extreme heat or cold, it’s a test to see how much I can take. It’s the old bring on the pain mind set. And from what I’ve seen so far on Naked and Afraid, that is exactly what it motivating these people.

The gender politics is interesting, too, because it’s a naked straight man and woman left in the middle of nowhere. So far, even though both sexes have had their doubts about how to deal with the gender power, each case has worked out very well in spite of a few serious fears they keep hidden from each other. And what I’d like to see in the future is a balance of gender power, so to speak. It would be interesting to see how a naked straight man and a naked gay man would deal with a survival situation, or two naked gay men, or even a naked straight woman and a naked gay woman. I hope the producers of the show realize the possibilities of this are not just limited to naked and afraid straight men and women. They would be underestimating the power of what they have going for them, and the show could get boring if they don’t expand a little.

You can read more here.

Kian Brown Letter to Paula Deen

Kian Brown is a multi-talented man who is an artist, host, and branding expert. I’ve read his pieces on Huff Po and enjoyed them, and the most recent one really made me stop and think. It’s an open letter to Paula Deen. I know he’s a branding expert, and the letter might sound as if he’s giving unsolicited advice to Deen, but I also think these wise words come from his heart as well.

This is part of what he says to Paula Deen:

The backlash you are experiencing is due in part to fear. A precedent is being made about how we handle racism amongst the privileged. I disagree that you should be engaged in such an offensive against your character. You actually admitted wrongdoing and apologized. We’ve all seen folks in leadership whether political, religious, business or cultural, lie, cheat and steal, get exposed, then work to pick up the pieces of their shattered image, some unsuccessfully.

I don’t think you are a racist, not even by osmosis. I will venture to assume however, given your age and upbringing, there may be some tendencies unbeknownst to even you.

He talks more about his own upbringing and how he doesn’t believe the content of questionable words and phrases always contain malicious intent. I’ve talked about intent before. I happen to agree with Kian Brown on this, and I often come across these things while writing fiction. It happened with a book I wrote as part of the Manhandled series with the pen name Dale Bishop. (Cover Photo above) In this case, it wasn’t racial. I wrote a character who was sexist in an innocent way. In other words, the character didn’t mean to be sexist and he didn’t hate women. In fact, he had a great deal of respect for women and good intentions, without a hint of malice. But he wasn’t familiar with words like misogynist or rape culture. And an editor asked me to revise a few of this character’s comments in the dialogue because she thought some readers would take it the wrong way. We actually had a huge discussion about this at the time, because I felt as if I were being censored.

But frankly, I saw her point and I made the revisions. We live in a highly charged politically correct world now and everyone has to watch everything he or she says. The last thing I wanted was to have some lunatic author who hangs out on the fringes of twitter and absolute write accusing me of being sexist because of one misunderstood character. But I shouldn’t have had to do those revisions. The character wasn’t a misogynist and he had good intentions. But for the sake of avoiding a shitstorm with these certain reviewers, I toned him down and changed the dialogue.

I’ve actually been planning a blog post about how authors sometimes need to explain themselves in fiction to avoid issues with some of these reviewers who take everything so literally and don’t take intention into consideration. I recently had another case where I was accused of writing BDSM without explaining it, and nothing could have been farther from the truth. There was no BDSM in the book, and the reviewer clearly didn’t understand the BDSM lifestyle. And it wasn’t a bad review either; it was a wrong review. No links in this case to protect the innocent. I actually don’t think the reviewer had any malicious intent, which is an interesting turn of events in itself for me to admit.

In any case, I think it’s an interesting letter to Paula Deen and I think that Kian Brown is a very elegant man, and I’ve also stated before on this blog that one of the greatest parts of American culture is that we have the ability to forgive and let people start over. And I think time will tell with Paula Deen.