Author Archives: JimArnoldLA

KEPT wins Reader Views Literary Award

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Hey blog readers and book readers! I’m thrilled to announce that my novel KEPT has won First Place in the 2016 Reader Views Literary Awards, for the Gay/Lesbian/Erotica category.

Here’s a link to the list. Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up. It’s quite the chore to be the one-stop shop for all in the world of self-publishing, and I have great respect for all who entered into the award contest, too. OK, now back to writing the sequel to Benediction.

KEPT, by Jim Arnold

Trump Lies, Update #5

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Here we are again, update five, and I’m beginning to think this president can’t open his mouth without legions of lies falling out! OK, I take that back. I’m not beginning to think it. I’ve thought it all along.

Here’s a couple off the top of my head.

  • Today he said “who knew that health care could be so complicated.” Oh, really? I did think you knew that, or maybe that’s not a lie, it’s just ignorance? If so, you can’t ask us to believe you’re some great businessperson and in the next breath claim ignorance about the sector that takes up so much of the American economy. So let’s call it a lie. Link.
  • Over the weekend, the Democrats elected a new committee chairperson, Tom Perez. Bernie Sanders favored Keith Ellison, who was also running for the post. So the Donald insists that this election was rigged, folks. Without providing a shred of evidence. No evidence? Then you’re lying, Trumpinocchio! Here’s the link.

And the best fib of the week:

  • Trump claimed Sweden had apparently suffered a terrorist attack, when they did not. Link here.

Back next week!

 

Trump Lies, Update #4

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A day late but not a dollar short. Speaking of dollars, since Trump is a self-described billionaire, shouldn’t he be able to afford a tie clip? Or billions of them? In gold, even? I’d say ditch the scotch tape, there are better ways to hold that tie in place there, bub.

But I digress. It’s been quite a week for Trump Lie Land, so let’s start with the:

  • nonexistent terrorist attack in Sweden. In Sweden! Totally made up. Bizarre, even for the Trump. (links to all below).
  • Repeated the lie about winning the electoral college in a landslide. He was fact-checked by a reporter, and (this is significant) the Liar-in-Chief backed down. Speaking truth to power is a winning strategy.
  • He lied when he said there had been a “smooth rollout of the travel ban” – unless you consider multiple lawsuits blocking his executive order a smooth rollout.
  • He continues to lie about the U.S. murder rate, which is at a 45 year low. He says the opposite of that.

Here is a link. And another link. See you next week in Trump Lie Land.

A Few Things Following Male Models on Instagram Taught Me

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OK, I’ll admit it: I’m a middle-aged gay man lusting over a number of sweet young Instagram things who have the unmitigated audacity to post endless photos of themselves naked, or nearly naked, or in the throes of their latest physical exploits or modeling sessions. And, dear reader, of course, I am hooked. This is so much better than making friends on Facebook. No, no need to ever pretend to be interested in someone’s political opinion just so they’ll keep you as a “friend” and “like” you; Instagram is pure sexy voyeur heaven.

Some insights (besides the propensity to waste time ogling):

  • You can learn a new language: Italian, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese, and more
  • Models can be just as boring as anyone. Repeated blurry and dark videos of club nights. Boring. Repeated videos or photos of smoothies. Also boring. Repeated images of high protein meals. Super boring!
  • Endless views of your workout routine also do get boring. Exceptions: bicep workouts. Butt workouts.
  • Silent Movie Syndrome: yes, model, your voice can sink you. When in doubt, use the silent approach or do the music-over option. Don’t be responsible for bursting my lust bubble, you manly-man you!
  • They like to show off their dogs and cats as much as anyone on the Internet. Many of these beauties seem to live alone yet they have a pet or pets with personality plus.
  • Who are the unsung heroes or heroines taking the pictures? Many are selfies, sure; but many are not. Are these behind-the-scenes folks partners or roommates or paid assistants? Interns? I think that’s an interesting story in itself.
  • Gorgeous boys can be lonely too. I see it in the faces of their “lights out” photos, I see it in the empty gyms they haunt at all hours of the night (and early morning), sometimes I see it blatantly when they complain about having no one. So I guess there’s a message there for all of us.
  • Mostly what I love is the infectious optimism of youth. I think that comes through loud and clear for all these guys (maybe not with every post!) and I find it quite inspiring. KEEP POSTING PLEASE!

Looking for guys to watch? Here’s a current list of my favorite males to follow on Insta (not in any order!):

ranajo – a Brazilian model-type guy from Bahia. In addition to the usual swimwear mega-eye candy, he also shoots lots of little videos of him and his friends dancing and singing. It has a wonderful youthful Brazilian spirit to it all and you can compile a Brazilian holiday calendar, too.

 

 

 

 

 

Lap_NYC

Lap_NYC – He is probably my favorite. He’s a dancer/model, possibly from Israel (?) originally, working on Instagram to model underwear. Lucky us. Also surprisingly gentle and moody and kind of wistful, which I like. Secret: I found youtube videos of him on what appears to be the Israeli version of “Dancing with the Stars.” It’s great, find it.

 

 

 

 

 

BroganNYC

broganNYC – At first glance – well, sorry, BROgan, I don’t want to be stereotypical, but — he looks like a typical Chelsea or WeHo trophy boy. Except that – he’s nice and he’s really silly! And he has a cute boyfriend he poses with while they eat ice cream in bed! This is the guy you’d think would never talk to you, but his videos indicate anything but that kind of attitude. That’s what I love about it, he turns this exclusionary stereotype on its ear. Bravo, Brogan!

 

 

 

 

CaseyFieldNYC

caseyfieldNYC — Casey appears to be the most down-to-earth and professional of the models listed here. He has a superb sense of humor and gives fun little workout and diet tips in his NY accent as he walks around the big city. Always cheers me up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corkswag

corkswag — I think Corkswag is a dancer/actor here in L.A. He may also be a go-go boy. In fact, I think he is a go-go-boy. He’s also a major tease but he’s so cute who can hardly blame him? Not me, certainly. And those teeth! Those nipples!

 

 

 

 

 

 

faalbe

faalbe — see above, I’m learning Italian. Is he a dancer? Not sure. Lots of annotated pictures of male pulchritude with Italian words so see, I am learning. Italian men in their underwear teaching across the waters. So grateful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

coelhorodrigo

coelhorodrigo – the awesomely enterprising beauty of Rio de Janeiro! He is insanely gorgeous, I think he’s a model/stylist and also a jewelry designer. He travels around Brazil a lot for his work and shoots it so you get to see a lot of that beautiful country on Rodrigo’s posts. There’s also more perfect teeth.

 

 

 

 

 

watchjoego

watchjoego — His bio says San Diego but I think he’s usually posting from L.A. He’s one of those who goes to the gym at 4 in the morning. If that’s what it takes to look like he does, I’d do that too, well, if I was 25. Thank god I’m old because I have no desire to be that anymore. But I love looking at Joe! He’s also very upbeat – reminding me of one reason to love young men, because they are OPTIMISTIC. I like that.

 

 

 

 

oddlyshouseofenough

oddlyshouseofenough (gets the prize for best moniker). I don’t know if I could ever see enough of this man. I think this one is local too (SoCal) but the first photo I saw of him was where he appeared to be on a stripper pole that someone had in their kitchen. His own, perhaps? There are also some photos of this guy in leather that are stunning.

 

 

 

 

 

jakejacob01

jakejacob01 is a more recent find. Just a really hot guy who posts great pictures of his awesome self, sometimes with his boyfriend, sometimes not. I think he lives in Texas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

kevincarnell

kevincarnell is another beauty. I honestly don’t know how bodies like this happen, though I suspect they take an insane amount of dedication, good nutrition, and good genes to help that process. I certainly love seeing the results. Do not miss this one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

johnmacconnell

johnmacconnell is an artist, who paints a lot of male nudes, couples, usually looks like they’re watercolors. He sells them, I know that much. He’s also a runner, posts his times and photos of himself in gear. He’s very hot himself. A young man making it in NYC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

e.santiago23

e.santiago23  – kind of your typical super-hot louche medical student from south of the border. Again, check out the nipples! Wide variety of posts from beach to club parties to classroom; I believe he lives in Mexico but is from Puerto Rico, so I also like seeing the backgrounds and his coterie of attractive friends. Also singing – love that about these guys. Doctor, doctor, can you examine me, please?

 

 

 

 

derek_stone87

derek_stone87 — kind of under the radar, don’t know how he showed up on my Instagram but he’s just a very attractive young guy, who has a husband, who might live in Colorado. Takes lots of pictures with pets (dogs esp.) and might be in that (veterinary) profession.

 

 

 

 

 

Who are your favorites? I can certainly add more to my feed. Let me know!

 

 

 

 

Trump Lies, Update #3

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So yeah, it’s really, really hard to keep up with these. This week, I’m including lies told by his minions, so we expand the lying level to it’s logical extension. And, of course, these are all Trump’s lies as well, unless he specifically pushes back against them. As they say, the fish stinks from the head, and he is definitely the head of this Train Ride to Hell.

Just a sampling. I’m including the link down below.

  • Trump said his rich friends could not borrow money because of Dodd-Frank. Seriously?
  • The January employment report, which shows job gains in December. Before Trump was President. And he took credit for those gains, which is absurd.
  • Trump said Sanctuary Cities breed crime, when stats show the opposite is true.
  • Press Secretary Spicer said that current protests against the Trump regime are fake, i.e. paid protesters and they are not grass roots. Lie. If this is true can I please have my check? I need it yesterday and I’ve already been in at least 4 anti-Trump demos.
  • Trump said the murder rate is the highest it’s been in 47 years. This is a lie, the murder rate in the US has been falling since the 1980s.

Here’s the entire list.

 

I expect that next week we’ll be reporting that Michael Flynn has resigned as National Security Advisor. Of course that will be a lie, he will have been fired.

 

Trump’s Lies, Update #2

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It is difficult keeping up with the lies from Trump. I’m so happy that for some people it’s a full time job, so these are easy to find and document. The week (January 29 – February 4) included these gems:

  • Heinous lie of omission: Not mentioning Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
  • He lied about the executive order banning Muslims and said it was not meant as a “ban” – yet it was.
  • He said this executive order was “working out nicely” when it was actually causing pandemonium at airports around the world, and consternation in the world’s capitals
  • His surrogates said that this “ban” was meant to keep out terrorists from countries which have a history of sending “bad” people here, yet none of those 7 countries have sent us terrorists – unlike other countries not on the list, like Saudi Arabia.
  • He said he had a cordial discussion with the Prime Minister of Australia when in fact he berated him for a previous refugee arrangement the US made with Australia and ended the call abruptly and early.

Here’s the link to these, with video and transcript. Hardly can wait to see what Week 3 brings!

 

On FADA, Notes on the License to Discriminate

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It’s possible that the right wing, now that they control all three layers of the federal government, will try and pass a version of the FADA (The First Amendment Defense Act) so I thought I’d write a bit about it, why it’s unnecessary and basically just a convenient license for using the federal government to discriminate against people you don’t like.

 

The Right Wing doesn’t like a lot of people, though the FADA is usually understood as a backlash targeting LGBT people as a result of marriage equality and other social gains by LGBT in recent years.

Here’s the text of the Amendment:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage. [H.R. 2802, introduced 6/17/15]

The Right Wing asserts that this amendment is needed to protect the religious views of people who feel this way, i.e., their first amendment rights. In reality, it would enshrine the right to discriminate against LGBT persons, unmarried single mothers, or any couple of any sexual combination residing together unmarried. Among the things it would allow are these examples:

  • allow federal contractors or grantees, including those that provide important social services like homeless shelters or drug treatment programs, to turn away LGBT people or anyone who has an intimate relationship outside of a marriage
  • let commercial landlords violate longstanding fair housing laws by refusing housing to a single mother based on the religious belief that sexual relations are properly reserved for marriage
  • permit a university to continue to receive federal financial assistance even when it fires an unmarried teacher simply for becoming pregnant
  • permit government employees to discriminate against married same-sex couples and their families – federal employees could refuse to process tax returns, visa applications, or Social Security checks for all married same-sex couples
  • allow businesses to discriminate by refusing to let gay or lesbian employees care for their sick spouse, in violation of family medical leave laws [ACLU, 7/20/15]

So basically, such a law would throw out existing protections LGBT have through the government and allow discrimination based on someone’s beliefs.

I would be awestruck to see where it is in the defining documents of these religions (i.e., The Bible) where it says that you’re supposed to not bake that gay wedding cake or not cut that social security check for that gay man. Cause it doesn’t say that anywhere. Basically, if you believe those documents, they tell you that YOU – the person having that belief – are not supposed to live your life that way. In other words, if you believe those scriptures, YOU should not live a gay life. It doesn’t say anything about the rest of us, which, incidentally, is not even relevant because the United States is not guided or beholden to ancient religious texts.

Also, the Right Wing seems to think that it needs this law to protect its anti-LGBT churches and schools from the big bad IRS. But that argument is easily debunked, e.g. churches of all kinds (Catholics, are you listening?) have been discriminating against women for eons without getting their tax exempt status revoked. And of course, you can always still believe what you want and teach whatever doctrine you have in your religious school. We don’t have the thought police, at least not yet (Minority Report?)

So if these two items are eliminated, what is left? Oh, I guess maybe you can’t just use  your religion as a hammer to punish people you don’t like. Sorry.

It’s like this (paraphrased from a letter to the editor on media matters.com, from “nerzog”):

Religious beliefs are protected. Religiously inspired actions are not. So: They’re still allowed to be bigots, they can think what they want. They can still verbally express their bigotry, if they’re willing to endure the social consequences. What they can’t do is: break anti-discrimination laws.

Most of the data in this post comes from media matters.

 

Trump’s Lies, update #1

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I thought I’d do a regular feature on this, like a weekly update on the new president’s ongoing penchant for basically, lying about much of everything.

It may not be enough to do it once a week, but that’s all I have time to do. Hopefully, this will serve as a sort of record for me so I can focus my activism.

Since neither you nor I like things that are just asserted without any proof, I will list the source of where I got the lying information. Then you can make up your own mind whether to take it seriously or discount it. And I know there will be people who will – but I hope, dear reader, that you are not one of those who puts stock in liars.

This week – Jan 20 – 27: Trump lied about the crowd size at his inauguration. He lied to the CIA about who started his feud with intelligence agencies. Perhaps biggest of all, he lied about the fact that he lost the popular vote in the November election. He asserts that 3-5 million illegal voters voted (all for Hillary Clinton! imagine that) which is a demonstrably false lie.

Here’s the link: Up is Down (Wrap up on Trump’s lies for the week)

See you next week.

 

How that Hopey Changey Stuff Worked Out

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Memo to: Sarah “The Quitter” Palin

From: Jim A.

RE: Hopey Changey Stuff

Sarah! Regarding your query:

Actually, in the end it’s kinda worked out pretty good. Herewith, a few things that affected me directly or that I thought were significant:

  • my IRA, which I hope to actually use someday, has more than doubled in value since its nadir in 2009. That’s without any new deposits whatsoever since the end of 2009. (The stock market has tripled from its 2009 low, all during the Obama years.)
  • We have marriage equality in the United States now, fully supported by Obama. I can get married if I find the right guy. Wow.
  • LGBT men and women can now openly serve in the US Military, i.e. “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is history, so if you’re queer and want to be a soldier, you can go sign up.
  • Obama ended the 2008 Great Recession and prevented a Depression.
  • Obama saved the U.S. Auto Industry.
  • The Obama administration cut the unemployment rate in half since 2009.
  • I’ve been able to get and pay for health insurance because of the ACA, because of Obamacare.
  • Obama opened up relations with Cuba. Finally someone did the reasonable thing.
  • Obama terminated our enemy, Osama bin Laden.
  • Obama stopped deporting DREAMERS, which hugely benefits our country and economy.

that’s just a sampling, and there’s so so so much more! Here’s a long list with citations. I’ll miss the grace and wit and the lack of drama at the top. I wish our President and his family only the best as they find their footing in their new lives as citizens.

My Obamacare Experience, or Why is it that Republicans Hate Small Business/Entrepreneurs?

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Obamacare, the ACA (Affordable Care Act) has been a godsend to me.

Republicans Hate Entrepreneurs. Sad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alas, the Republicans think it’s bad (even though it was their plan) and so they’re going to replace it with something cheaper and much better (according to their new leader). I can only think this will be Medicare for All. Yeah, I wish, and don’t we all?

Just looked up some old stats: In 2007, when I was freelancing full time, I was paying a $502 per month premium for Kaiser HMO coverage. I was (and am) a single man in Los Angeles, aged 52 in 2007.

This past year, I had an ACA (Obamacare) policy through Covered California, again it was a Kaiser HMO plan, and I paid $180 per month. I got a significant subsidy because of my income level. The actual monthly premium was $663. For this year (2017) the premium is $734/month, of which I’ll pay $200. (The same plan — it went up 11%.) The subsidy goes directly to Kaiser Permanente. I never see a penny of it. So for those who hate the subsidy idea, please be reminded that the funds go to overpriced insurance companies, big Pharma, medical device companies, and doctors. The subsidies don’t go to the patients. Your tax dollars are going to support those megaindustries, not for actual healthcare for Americans.

So I’ll be 62 this year.

As a freelancer (I write B2B copy and am an author) with pre-existing conditions (including glaucoma and a history of cancer) I could not get insurance with the system we had before. Or, if I could (like the example above, from 2007), it was a catastrophic plan with high premiums and high deductibles and co-pays, which means basically that I was just insuring my assets against a catastrophic health care loss. Those assets were a condo (since sold) and an IRA retirement account. I wasn’t getting any actual health care for the insurance premiums.

That catastrophic plan also did not cover any prescriptions, which I paid for out-of-pocket.

My current Obamacare Silver-level plan does cover prescriptions, and the co-pays for visits and lab work are affordable (I think I pay about $8-10 per a visit to either; scripts are $10-20 for a 90 day supply.)

If the Republican zeal to roll back things like pre-existing conditions becomes reality, I will again be unable to find insurance. Who, at age 50 or better, does not have a pre-existing condition? Life is a pre-existing condition. This is absurd.

There’s a couple of other issues that I want to touch on. One is Ageism – and the near impossibility of finding an appropriate full time job with health insurance at my age. I haven’t been able to find a full time job in my field since 2010, hence the part-time work and freelancing. Also, employers are moving away from providing benefits in large part due to the ACA and the ability for an individual to buy a policy on the exchange. Decoupling health care from employment, isn’t that the direction we wanted to go? Do we really want to go back to that?

Which brings me to my last point —

Why do Republicans hate small business and entrepreneurs? I always thought they were the party of personal responsibility and commerce. Keeping health insurance tied to employment is 1) arbitrary, and 2) stupid. How many people keep their jobs JUST because they get their healthcare insurance through that job? How many Apples or Facebooks or Starbucks never come into being because people can’t afford to gamble with their health coverage to become entrepreneurs?

So, no, Paul Ryan, you’re wrong, again. Obamacare isn’t a nightmare or a disaster. It’s a lifesaver. It has problems, easily fixed. Why don’t you just do the easy thing and try to fix it instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Oh, right, it’s named after that black president, isn’t it, and we certainly can’t have that. That is the real issue, the whole country knows it.