For nearly half a century, the disappearance of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa—reportedly from the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Township, Michigan—has remained one of America’s most popular unsolved mysteries. Conspiracy theories involving mobsters, hit men and all manner of criminal elements abound. And it seems like every year, someone new comes forward with information that will supposedly lead to Hoffa’s final resting place, but inevitably leads nowhere.
The most recent disappointment came last September when someone in Roseville, Michigan claimed to have seen a body buried under his driveway in 1975, not long after Hoffa went missing. Unfortunately, experts drilled, tested soil samples and could find no evidence of human decomposition.
Before that Hoffa’s remains were alleged to be: on a horse farm; under an above-ground pool; in a Cleveland tavern; packed into compressed metal that was later used to build Japanese cars; sealed within a 50-gallon drum at a waste facility; buried in one of the end zones at Giants Stadium; and even melded within the concrete foundation of General Motors’ headquarters.
The truth is that no one knows what happened to Jimmy on that fateful day in 1975, but a recent claim seems to hold more merit than most. And it comes from a source that many law enforcement officials consider to be “highly reputable” and “the right man at the right time”: former Detroit crime boss Anthony Joseph Zerilli.
In 1970, Tony Zerilli took over for his father as head of the Detroit Partnership crime syndicate, part of the notorious Italian Cosa Nostra—you know… the guys that make sure you “sleep with the fishes” if you don’t pay your debts or do their bidding?
Think The Godfather, only for real.
Unfortunately for Tony, he got popped by the feds in 1974 for some shady casino dealings and went to prison. His father Joseph Zerilli came out of retirement to lead “The Partnership” again and in July 1975, the Teamsters boss went missing. It stands to reason that Joseph knew Hoffa’s whereabouts—after all, he was the Head Honcho of the Detroit mob at the time—so it is at least possible that Tony had this information.
And Tony not only claimed to know where Hoffa’s body was buried; he gave the exact location to an NBC reporter this past January.
After leaving prison in 1979, Zerilli allegedly spoke with a mob enforcer friend who told him about the contract on Hoffa—which came from Detroit’s crime bosses (including Joseph Zerilli)—and provided details about his fate. Hoffa was lured to a meeting, presumably at the Machus Red Fox restaurant, captured and taken to a farm roughly 20 miles away that a mob underboss owned. Here he was killed and buried in a shallow grave until his body could be moved later. Unfortunately, that day never came and for all intents and purposes, Hoffa should still be there.
At least that’s the story Tony Zerilli told. And it seems to have been enough since as I’m writing this, investigators are on-the-scene at the farm in Oakland Township just north of Detroit—somewhere near the intersection of Adams and Buell Roads—where Hoffa was supposedly murdered.
I checked it out on Google Earth and it’s definitely a remote area. There is some development nearby, but that would not have been the case in 1975. Back then, I’m sure there was farmland as far as the eye could see.
What I find most interesting about Zerilli’s story is that it was convincing enough to secure a search warrant for private property, owned I’m sure by someone completely innocent of any Hoffa-related crimes. The FBI special agent in charge of the Detroit field office—Bob Foley—told reporters that the information Zerilli provided “reached the threshold of probable cause, which was sufficient to allow us to obtain a search warrant.”
In other words, there could be some truth to Zerilli’s claim. I seriously doubt it, of course—given all the rumors, wolf-crying and disappointment over the years—but I certainly hope it’s true. This mystery has gone unsolved long enough and the time has come to finally put it to rest.
That way we can focus on solving more important mysteries… like the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot or why the makers of Vienna Sausages insist on packing their wieners in gelatinous goo. What’s up with that?
As I normally do whenever I have some spare time—which is increasingly rare since I became a parent—I sat down with my laptop and started scouring the news sites for interesting stories, updates and, most importantly, trends. I always find it fascinating when themes emerge among unrelated stories from various sources. And you can always count on human beings to form patterns and express similarity even though they are thousands of miles apart.
Just look at religion.
People often wonder how civilizations that were separated—sometimes by vast expanses of impassable seas—managed to develop religions that were nearly identical to one another. Major players and nitpicky details may have differed here and there, but for the most part, beliefs here easily correlated to beliefs there. It’s uncanny unless you believe as I do that all humans are one race. Commonalities like these exist because we are connected by a common thread, one that binds us regardless of age, culture, generation, gender and any other measure, including geographical location.
Of course, this isn’t intended to be some kind of New Age treatise on the brotherhood of man, so I’ll move on.
Weekend news is rarely very exciting. And after a while, the headlines all started to look the same to me: “Man in dress bites dog;” “Man with knife threatens drive-thru employee;” “Man connected to death of former Playmate.” Then something occurred to me.
Whoever this “man” is, he sure gets around!
I mean, I knew a little about The Man already, but little more than the next guy. Growing up in 1970s America first introduced me to him, but not in a very positive way. When some of my black friends mentioned The Man, they likely meant white folks like me—or at least the ones in power, like every President by that time—but always told me they meant the cops. And when my white friends used the term, it was always in this context and almost exclusively at parties: “Hide the kegs! Here comes The Man!”
There was also the song “Here Comes Your Man” by the Pixies, which I loved even though it never referenced The Man. I just felt like mentioning it. Great tune.
More recently, The Man has been used in a complimentary—albeit slightly dated—way: “You got me a lap dance, too! You the man!” Fortunately, you don’t hear this as often anymore, which is fine with me. It had run its course as much as “you go girl” before it. Fun while it lasted, though.
In an effort to better understand The Man and his role in the local news of arguably every station in the U.S., I decided to focus my attention only on stories that began with that mundane moniker: Man. If I were to reproduce them all here, this would be the longest blog post ever written. And believe me… I’m not trying to break any records.
Instead, I want to provide you with a glimpse into what The Man has been doing recently. Though randomly selected and seemingly unrelated, the common thread again is The Man and all he has done or experienced, as these stories attest. Tomorrow will bring new exploits, to be sure, but here is a snapshot of The Man in all his glory… or not.
A man from Henryville, Pennsylvania—18-year-old Xavier Papo Liciaga-DeJesus (try saying that three times fast)—just pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and gun theft stemming from two incidents last April. In the first, Papo (the obvious way to refer to him given his long, unpronounceable name) stole cash, a gun and other items from a property in nearby Mountainhome—even returning to rob the place a second time. But that is not what sets Papo’s story apart.
It’s what happened during the second incident.
On this particular occasion, a woman who lived at the targeted property walked out to her car and found a note on it. It read “come naked to the orange truck… or your horse will die.” You read that correctly. Papo was holding the woman’s horse hostage and planned to trade its life for sex. Needless to say, the police were called, Papo was arrested and he immediately confessed to all the crimes I mentioned.
In other words, no one will ever call Papo a criminal mastermind. And even if they do, they won’t really mean it. Poor Papo!
A gay man in Midland County, Michigan—Shane Hampton—is protesting the Federal Drug Administration’s policy of prohibiting gay men who are sexually active from donating blood. To spread the word—not “The Word”—he set up on the sidewalk outside the Messiah Lutheran Church, the site of a local blood drive.
“Let gays give blood!” Hampton yelled at passersby, but his demonstration was completely peaceful. And he holds no ill will toward the FDA, understanding that sexually-active gay men make up roughly 2% of the US population, but account for more than 60% of all new HIV infections—this came from a 2010 FDA study, but Hampton knows the odds. He just disagrees with the ban on gay blood donors.
“There are a lot of gay men that practice safe sex that are not infected and have good blood that would be going to save people’s lives,” Hampton pointed out. “When they say I can’t just because I choose to love differently than a straight person does, it makes no sense to me. It’s an outdated law.”
I couldn’t agree more, Shane. And don’t they test all the blood anyway? I won’t do the math—mostly because I suck at math—but even 1% of the population with good blood sounds like a lot to me. Seems like a wasted opportunity.
THE CONNECTICUT CHAINSAW MASSACRE
The man in this next story was not killed by a psychopath wearing a mask made from human skin and wielding a chainsaw, but a chainsaw was involved. And what happened to him may have been an accident, but I assure you it was no less gruesome than a low-budget horror film.
His name was not released, but this poor guy was apparently up a tree in suburban Hartford—using a chainsaw to trim branches or something—when he slipped and nearly severed his arm completely. The official word is that is was partially severed, but all that means is that it was dangling there, all bloody and nasty.
Actually, that’s how the man looked once the fire department arrived to rescue him from his 50-foot perch. Fortunately, he was safely extracted and now resides in St. Francis Hospital. No word yet on whether he will keep his arm or not, but one can hope.
Even The Man deserves some good luck from time to time.
A man in Oklahoma City—25-year-old Dontrell Shaw—was busted Saturday for doing something truly bizarre and damn near unexplainable. He was walking along Northeast 50th Street when he noticed the last car many of us ever ride in—a hearse—approaching him.
As the morbid vehicle passed by, Shaw suddenly kicked the door and kept kicking it until the police arrived. As he was being arrested—claiming to be some kind of gangster the entire time (he actually had a pretty extensive criminal record)—the cops asked why he started to kick the hearse in the first place. His reason?
“Cause [the hearse] was running up on me!”
Someone should tell Dontrell about roads and how cars run up and down them. After all, even The Man has a right to education.
A 19-year-old Detroit man was arrested Friday morning in connection with a failed gas heist at a local Clark station. He and an unknown friend allegedly tried to rob a fuel tanker driver who was filling the station’s underground tanks. Their efforts failed when one of them grabbed the hose from the driver and spilled hundreds of gallons of gas, which had to be cleared later by a hazmat team.
Oddly enough, the gas station was located across the street from the home of the man just arrested for the crime. When police apprehended him—dragging him out in only his underwear—they discovered his gas-soaked clothes piled up in the basement and knew they had their man. His partner, however, remains at large, but he poses little danger to the public.
One look at the failed gas heist he helped plan should be enough to make any law-abiding citizen feel safe!
FLY THE UNFRIENDLY SKIES
A man in Sarasota, Florida just pleaded guilty to flying his carrier plane drunk, if you can believe that. Apparently, he was the only person aboard Flight 840, a cargo flight from my neck of the woods—North Carolina—back to Tampa. And he used his time unwisely, I’m sorry to say.
Air traffic controllers thought something was up when the man—28-year-old Philip Lavoie—started losing contact with them periodically during his flight. Even worse, he started changing his altitude and altering his flight plan, both of which are huge aviation “no-no’s” when you consider that other planes could have accidentally ended up in his path.
FAA controllers immediately radioed Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, which dispatched two jet fighters to investigate. Before they could reach Lavoie’s plane, however, he suddenly re-established contact with controllers and eventually landed at his destination. There he was greeted with a field sobriety test—which he failed—and was asked to take a breathalyzer test—which he also failed. Lavoie’s blood alcohol level was roughly 0.27, far exceeding the legal levels in Florida.
If convicted, Lavoie could face up to 15 years in a federal prison. Quite an expensive price to pay for drinks he could have enjoyed in the airport bar once he landed!
THE HOUSE OF SUDS
A man in York Haven, Pennsylvania takes his hobby collecting beer cans very seriously. In fact, Jeff Lebo claims he has the largest collection of its kind in the world. And he might be right because to store his many aluminum treasures—which at last count numbered around 83,000—he had to build a completely separate house!
The 6,500 square-foot structure lies in a wooded area next door to Lebo’s true home and has housed his collection for more than 15 years. His interest in can collecting began when he was a teenager. His father worked for the American Can Company and the rest, as they say, is history.
“It’s really not the kind of thing you see every day, that’s for sure,” Lebo explained. “And it’s a lot more fun if you can display it.”
And that is precisely what Lebo did. Almost every wall in the 5-bedroom home is filled with cans from different countries, companies and time periods. Some rooms are even devoted to a particular country, the most notable of which is Germany—great beer comes from the Motherland, after all. And Lebo encourages visitors, but only if they can appreciate how much beer he had to consume to build his collection.
Personally, I’m surprised his liver made it this far. And for that, he deserves to be commended.
The Man is easy to find and, as you can see, keeps pretty busy. I wonder what he’ll be up to tomorrow…
The past month has seen its share of scandals involving U.S. government agencies overstepping their bounds and doing bad, bad things.
First it was the Internal Revenue Service—everyone’s favorite—which targeted conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status and scrutinized them more closely than anyone else. In fact, they developed something called the “Be On the Look Out” list, which set forth guidelines about which organizations to watch more closely.
Groups that referenced the phrase “Tea Party” raised an eyebrow, but so did anyone lobbying to “make America a better place to live.”
Yes, I can see how happiness and prosperity might seem suspicious. Many of us have gone without them for so long we wouldn’t even know the difference any more.
The second government agency making scandalous headlines these days is, of course, the National Security Agency.
Just over a week ago, American and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information about a secret electronic surveillance program known as PRISM to The Washington Post and The Guardian—a program that even monitored the phone records of American citizens in many cases. And ever since, he has been in hiding somewhere in Hong Kong, inspiring protests and praying that the Chinese government will protect him from U.S. retribution.
In most countries, two scandals in only a month’s time would be more than enough to keep the tabloid headlines running and to satisfy gossip mongers everywhere. But America is the land of upsizing and living large—and this week, we tossed one more into the proverbial ring—this word will seem more significant in a moment, I assure you.
The latest “bombshell” comes from an unlikely source: the NFL and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
In 2005, Kraft was in Saint Petersburg, Russia and had an opportunity to meet the president whose last name sounds like an eruptive bodily function. During their encounter, Putin took a shine to one of the Super Bowl rings Kraft was wearing. He asked to hold it and Kraft obviously complied.
I mean, you don’t say no to the Russian president, right? Actually, maybe you do… or should.
After admiring the ring, putting it on his finger and saying something to the extent of “I could kill someone with this ring,” Putin put it in his pocket and eventually, it ended up being displayed in the Kremlin Library.
At the time, Kraft claimed that he gave the ring to Putin as a gift and released the following statement: “I decided to give him the ring as a symbol of the respect and admiration that I have for the Russian people and the leadership of President Putin.”
What a nice gesture. Giving away a Super Bowl ring in the interest of world peace? Truly remarkable.
Too bad that isn’t what really happened.
According to a recent report by the New York Post—which referenced a speech Kraft gave on Thursday at Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala—he claimed his original story was false and that Putin actually stole his ring. And what’s worse, the U.S. government asked him to cover it up!
Here’s how it allegedly went down:
Kraft met Putin, who liked his ring. He asked to hold it and since no one denies Putin—not to be confused with pooting, which we have all denied at one time or another—Kraft handed it to him. Putin put it on, made the comment I mentioned earlier and slipped the ring into his pocket, even though Kraft was holding out his hand to retrieve his cherished bauble.
Before Kraft realized what happened, three KGB agents surrounded the Russian President and escorted him out of the room, Super Bowl ring and all.
Upon returning to the States, Kraft demanded his ring be returned and instead received a request from the White House, at that time being run by George W. Bush: “It would really be in the best interest of U.S.-Soviet relations if you meant to give the ring as a present.”
And that’s exactly what Kraft did. I guess you could call him a patriot who owns the Patriots, at least in terms of contributing to world diplomacy… one jewel-encrusted ring at a time.
I wonder what the next scandal will be.
The phrase dog days normally refer to the sweltering heat associated with the summer months of July and August, but an argument could be made for things starting a little earlier this year. Consider all the stories popping up about extreme heat in the news recently: a 69-year old man died in 110-degree heat while hiking near the Hoover Dam; a 15-month-old child was accidentally left in a car and perished before his mother realized what had happened; and dogs left in cars are, pardon the cliché, dropping like flies all over the country.
For the sake of this post, however, this last example is most relevant since my focus won’t be on extreme heat, but rather on our canine friends and how their recent exploits and experiences give new meaning to the dog days of summer.
And lest we forget that summer has just begun, so I’m sure there will be more dog-related stories to come. For now, though, here are some recent tales about our furry little friends that caught my eye.
We begin in Oklahoma, the site of that massive tornado last month that more-or-less leveled the town of Moore. It twisted along a 17-mile path, causing more than $2 billion in damages, injuring hundreds of people and ending the lives of 24 Americans, including children.
Fortunately, some children survived, among them a 5-year-old boy and his 2-year-old sister. While their parents worked to recover from the devastation, the kids stayed with 50-year-old Lynn Geiling, a family friend in nearby Jessieville.
Last Sunday afternoon, the boy apparently got upset and threw a temper tantrum, which is understandable given all he had been through. Here he was living in a strange house, separated from his parents and having trouble dealing with all the trauma he experienced recently. Geiling did her best to comfort and console him, but nothing seemed to help. And before she knew it, his crying had upset someone else in the house: her dog.
Likely believing that his owner was being threatened or harmed in some way—and being somewhat unfamiliar with his new house mates—the 150-pound bull mastiff raced through the home, lunged at the boy and attacked. Geiling fought to pull the dog off of him, frantically called for her husband to help and managed to pry him loose, but it was too late.
Even though the boy was bleeding profusely from puncture wounds to his head and neck, he was still clinging to life when the ambulance arrived to rush him to the hospital. Sadly, there was nothing to be done and he was pronounced dead a short time later.
The bull mastiff that mauled this poor child was immediately shot and killed by a neighbor, and there’s no word yet whether Geiling or her husband will face charges for this deadly attack. Of course, the most heartbreaking thing about it all—aside from the death of a child, which is always terrible—is that a huge, record-breaking tornado couldn’t kill this young boy; it took a dog protecting its owner to do that. And sadly, they both ended up paying the ultimate price.
Talk about adding insult to injury. My heart truly goes out to the parents who returned from their tornado clean-up over 200 miles away to find they had lost something even more precious than their home and belongings. It has to be devastating.
I wish my next dog-related story was more uplifting, but sadly this isn’t the case. It happened in Youngstown, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh last week and again resulted in the death of one of Man’s best friends. Only this time the animal doing the attacking wasn’t a canine; it was a human.
Crystal Snyder lives in a rural area and often hears guns being fired near her home. This is par-for-the-course in places where hunting, target shooting and other NRA-approved past times are popular. So when Snyder heard gunshots while taking a shower recently, she thought nothing of it.
Of course, that all changed once she finished up, went outside and noticed that both of her dogs—a Red Heeler and a Husky—had accidentally gotten out. And when she found one of her dogs injured and bleeding—and the other lying dead on the ground nearby—Snyder knew exactly what happened: her neighbor shot them.
The police were called and spoke with the neighbor, who of course claimed the dogs had attacked him and that he fired his shotgun in self-defense. Unfortunately, no charges were filed since there were no witnesses, which means no one could prove or disprove his story. That doesn’t make Snyder or her family feel any better, though. And now they even fear for their own safety, given the trigger-happy nut that lives next door.
What a sad state of affairs, but it gets worse and, in the case of this next story, even slightly surreal.
Roger Brown is a diabetic who lives in the small town of Brazil, Indiana. Recently, he was suffering from a foot infection, taking medicine for it and sleeping a little more than usual.
On Wednesday morning, Brown awoke to find his dog—a pit bull—licking his toes. He thought nothing of it until he made a startling discovery: two of his toes were missing!
Apparently, the foot infection and medication prevented Brown from feeling any pain, so he had no clue his devoted pet was actually gnawing off his big toe and small toe while he slept. Medics arrived on the scene, wrapped his foot and transported him by helicopter to IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Unfortunately, his toes could not be saved.
The good news is that of all the stories I’ve mentioned here today, this one comes with a tiny silver lining. Since the dog was a family pet, Brazil police did not report this as an animal attack, which means Brown can keep his dog. Of course, he should also consider sleeping in steel-toed boots from now on, but I’m sure this has already occurred to him.
We call dogs Man’s best friends for a reason. They are among the most loyal and loving animals on the planet, but they can also be some of the most violent, especially where so-called “bully breeds” are concerned. Does this mean all dogs are bad? Of course not. Even pit bulls and other aggressive breeds are, in my opinion, largely products of the way humans raise and train them. So when attacks like the ones mentioned here make headlines, I always find myself asking the same basic question.
Is it really the dog’s fault?
Welcome to the first installment of the Pop-Up Post!
As I have mentioned in a number of earlier articles—most recently in my April post entitled “A Blog a Day“—finding something interesting to write about can be pretty challenging, especially when your goal is to produce at least one article a day. And once you find a decent topic, you then have to actually write about it, which can also pose some problems.
Let’s just say that Writer’s Block also affects bloggers since, as we all know, bloggers are writers, too. Granted, they don’t always get the respect they deserve, but I for one feel they have earned it. Writing is writing, after all.
Which brings me back to the Pop-Up Post.
Have you ever been sitting around—perhaps reading or watching television—and had a unique, original or interesting thought cross your mind? Maybe even a reaction to something that might be worth sharing if it were slightly more developed?
Well, the Pop-Up Post functions as a vehicle by which to deliver this information to readers without having to fully commit to an entire article. At first, this may seem kind of lazy, but for a daily blogger like me, it instead becomes another weapon in my writing arsenal. A very useful weapon, actually, since it requires very little forethought and focuses instead on raw, unadulterated creativity.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I am all about: being creative while also sharing my perspective on the world around me.
In the future, Pop-Up Posts will be much shorter since I won’t have to explain their purpose every time. Some may look like regular articles while others may seem like blurbs—it all depends on the topic at hand and the passion I feel about it once I sit down to write. Of course, Pop-Up Posts may also be generated through my iPhone, so some may be only a few lines in length. As I said, it all depends and, frankly, I like the idea of having no preconceptions about how this will work. All that would do is cause more pressure and, to me, Pop-Up Posts are about alleviating the pressure to produce lengthy posts each day.
So here we are at Pop-Up Post number one, the maiden voyage for this idea of mine. And the subject of this post is one I rarely (if ever) consider: Major League Baseball.
I’ve always been more of a football guy.
Ellis was a pitcher for a number of major league teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics and New York Mets. And he played during a time most people consider to be the Golden Age of Baseball—long before all the controversies about corking bats, taking steroids, betting on games you play in, visiting clinics like Biogenesis for Human Growth Hormone (HGH) treatments and all the other crap that has crept into the game over the last twenty or thirty years.
Sure, some of these things still happened—and substances were still abused—but you just didn’t hear about them as often. And since there were no cell phones or Internet back then, players’ activities weren’t immediately broadcast to the entire world or splashed across newspaper headlines everywhere.
They showed up for practice, worked out, played their games and went home. At least many of them did, including Dock Ellis. Of course, he had some hobbies that would cause tons of controversy today, but instead make him an even more colorful character in baseball.
Which brings me to the video I found recently.
On June 12, 1970—a decade before Pete Rose’s betting scandal and several decades before substances like steroids would be banned from the sport—Ellis pitched a no-hitter when the Pirates played the San Diego Padres. At first, this may seem like nothing more than a nice accomplishment for a pitcher, but when you consider the condition Ellis was in at the time, it becomes much more significant.
He was tripping on LSD. Yes, the same LSD that led Timothy Leary to suggest young people “turn on, tune in and drop out;” introduced the world to the Grateful Dead, who provided music during the infamous Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests; and freaked out hippies at Woodstock when they ingested tainted brown acid.
How Ellis was able to function during this game—let alone pitch a no-hitter—is beyond me. And honestly, I’m not even sure he knows how he did it. Check out his account of that trippy day:
“I can only remember bits and pieces of the game. I was psyched. I had a feeling of euphoria. I was zeroed in on the [catcher's] glove, but I didn’t hit the glove too much. I remember hitting a couple of batters, and the bases were loaded two or three times. The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes, sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes, I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him. I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. I started having a crazy idea in the fourth inning that Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire, and once I thought I was pitching a baseball to Jimi Hendrix, who to me was holding a guitar and swinging it over the plate. They say I had about three to four fielding chances. I remember diving out of the way of a ball I thought was a line drive. I jumped, but the ball wasn’t hit hard and never reached me.”
Even freakier—and funnier—is the animated video about that day produced by No Mas and artist James Blagden. Since this Pop-Up Post is supposed to be much shorter, I will end with this hilarious video as well as a brief public service message.
You can find the video HERE, but please consider it primarily as a cautionary tale. LSD and other drugs have no place in athletics—and I sincerely hope none of you would combine the two—but I can’t deny the fact that the story of Dock Ellis tripping and pitching is about as funny as they come.
I hope you enjoy it and will see you for the next installment of the Pop-Up Post!
Some people have no problem being naked. To them, it’s as natural as the day they were born and obviously, they’re right. We all started the same way—with tiny penises and vaginas swinging in the wind, not to mention asses being slapped by total strangers.
Actually, there are adults who still enjoy that last part, but that’s a story for another time.
I have always been fascinated by the naked-and-I-could-care-less crowd, especially since I belong to a different group: the dim-the-lights-and-keep-moving people who may not consider themselves ugly, per se, but who know they aren’t what most would call sexy.
Multiply this effect by ten for men, though. We have too much hair and outdoor plumbing to qualify as beautiful, at least many of us do. Pretty boys, male models, metrosexuals and other “attractive” guys obviously don’t count, but it isn’t their fault. We can’t all be beautiful, right? Imagine the inferiority complexes and depression that would result from the world’s population collectively realizing they were no better looking than anyone else.
Personally, I could never live in that kind of world. Variety is, after all, the spice of life, and we need average and ugly folks as much as we need the beautiful ones.
And please note that I use the word ugly with some apprehension since there is something beautiful about all of us. The wrapping paper may not be pretty, but the gift inside could be, wouldn’t you agree?
Anyway, I started thinking about nudity the other day and eventually found myself looking at websites for very specific businesses: nudist resorts. I know it may be hard to believe, but it wasn’t the actual nudity that piqued my curiosity; it was the fact that some people like being naked so much that they choose to live this way all the time.
I’m sorry, but one bad experience with splattering bacon grease and my days as a nudist would end rather abruptly. I promise you that. Of course, nudists must have found a solution to this problem—maybe something as simple as a clear apron (so the nudity still comes through)—but there’s something else that prevents me from experimenting with nudism (i.e. actually visiting one of these resorts and letting it all hang out)… something my shame, flabbiness, “dangling modifiers” and fear of penile grease burns can’t touch. Anytime I think about nudism or actually putting myself out there, a tiny voice in my head asks the same basic question: What if you get aroused and embarrass yourself?
I actually cleaned the question up a bit because in reality, it’s more like What if you pop a boner and someone sees you? Since the word boner may be unfamiliar to younger readers—and I have no idea what the acceptable alternative is these days—some gentle rephrasing seemed necessary.
I know what you’re thinking. Go to any of these sites, look at some pictures and you’ll notice one common theme: most of the people who frequent these places are not—and will never be—supermodels. They’re older, flabbier, hairier, scarier and, frankly, could give a shit less. And you know why?
Because it makes them happy. And I, for one, say, “Go for it!” Nudism may not be my bag, baby, but if it works for you, why not? I still find it fascinating.
With curiosity still nagging at me, I continued my online exploration and looked for evidence of nudity in the news—actually, that’s not a bad title for an ongoing post, so stay tuned, dear readers!
As you might expect, there was plenty of naked news to be had online. Only instead of peaceful nudists playing volleyball and singing around a campfire, the unclothed people making headlines were—for the most part—also making poor, maybe even fatal decisions. Sure, there were some bright spots here and there—and I pride myself on finding a balance between the depressing and the uplifting when I can—but sometimes darkness cannot be avoided. Of course, I leave the final judgment to you and instead offer my take on clothing-less current events and nudity in the news.
Welcome, my friends, to THE NAKED TRUTH.
The skin begins in Washington State, more specifically at the Canyon Creek Campground in Skamania County’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest, northeast of Portland. It was there that 19-year-old Maureen Kelly of Vancouver chose to visit this past weekend. And it was from there that she vanished late Sunday afternoon.
When Kelly left the campsite, she was wearing nothing more than a fanny pack, the contents of which may have included a small knife and compass. In other words, she was nude-with-tools and little else. And according to someone who saw her before she disappeared into the woods, Kelly was embarking on some kind of “spiritual quest.”
It must be a doozy because as of yesterday afternoon—when the search for the missing “nudist” was suspended—authorities had nothing.
“Twelve teams searched the area again today and were unable to locate Ms. Kelly,” Sheriff Dave Brown said on Tuesday. “They found nothing that is related to this search and rescue mission.”
The good news is that Kelly’s brother described her as being “comfortable and capable” in the outdoors. Sure, some clothes would help protect her from the elements, but at least she has some skills that could help keep her alive, right?
Of course, a lot of people (myself included) hope this story will come with a happy ending rather than a tragic one. And despite having little to go on, Sheriff Brown remains optimistic, albeit ready to take the next step if it becomes necessary later.
“We will have deputies continue to check the area for the next couple days,” the determined lawman explained. “And at that time we will reevaluate our options… if Ms. Kelly does not return from her spiritual quest.”
Here’s hoping she returns with a renewed spirit instead of becoming one!
And now for something completely different.
For some as-yet-undetermined reason, Fife was arrested at his home on Johnson Street not for being naked—which he totally was—but for being naked and shooting arrows at neighbors from his window. Police were called, found Fife locked in his home and eventually coaxed him out, but no one knows for sure what prompted this unflattering attack. All they do know is that Fife is safely behind bars and now faces charges of deadly conduct.
And at long last, he has some pants on. It may not be much, but at least it’s a start, right?
Fife is what you might call “bad naked”—especially since he mixed nudity with violence, which is only a good idea if two women and a mud or Jell-O pit are involved—but there is plenty of “good naked” out there. And from time to time, this goodness involves social change and activism, as it does in these next two examples. The first comes from London and American Jesse Schust, who organizes an annual bicycle ride there… a nude bicycle ride.
The World Naked Bike Ride began in Barcelona in 2004 and has since spawned rides in over 50 cities and across several continents. Although it began innocently enough—basically as an excuse for people to disrobe in public and cruise around together (if everyone’s doing it then it won’t be as embarrassing, I guess)—the 41-year-old organizer of the London event sees it as something more: an opportunity to express himself as he exposes himself, only with a cause.
Schust strips in protest of “car culture, climate change and our dependency on oil.” And he finds nudity to be a very effective delivery mechanism for his message, too—especially a nude bike ride.
“People look on with a sense of joy and amazement,” the never-shy Schust said. “Using humor and celebration as an approach in protest was a whole new thing for me.”
Of course, Schust does have advice for anyone who participates in a bike ride with no clothing: “Cover the seat or at the end of the ride use a hand wipe to clean it—just as a courtesy.”
Words to live by, I think.
A second example of good nudity with a focus on activism comes from Tunisia, where three women from the group Femen—basically a movement that started in the Ukraine in 2008 to protest sexism in the region—appeared in court after being arrested for public nudity. Actually, they weren’t completely nude, only topless.
The boob flashing was part of a protest over Amina Sboui Tyler, a 19-year-old member of Femen who was detained in March for posting topless photos of herself online. The official charge, however, was carrying an incendiary device. And on Tuesday, Tyler was convicted and fined $182. Unfortunately, more charges are pending and for the time being, Tyler will remain in custody. But there is a small “silver lining.”
The topless friends who protested have also been detained. They are set to appear in court Friday and may be charged at that time, but for now at least Tyler has some company. And if you ask me, topless company is some of the best company you can have!
Our final stories shift the “nude focus” away from activism and into the realms of stupidity, criminality and perversion. Since these are areas that have been associated with nudity in the past, though, they should certainly come as no surprise.
The first story comes from Casselberry, Florida and involves 22-year-old Thomas Edwards, a young man determined to propose to his girlfriend. Before doing so, he told his lover about his plan and she indicated where the proposal should occur: at her home, for which she provided an address.
Edwards arrived at the home on Friday, went inside and started to disrobe on the patio “because that is something that people do.” He’s right, you know. People propose naked all the time. Not!
At any rate, the homeowners arrived a short time later—none of whom were Edwards’ girlfriend—and found a naked black man waiting for them. Needless to say, they immediately phoned the police, who came shortly thereafter to collect the intruder in the buff. Instead of going quietly, though, Edwards took a different approach: he started to spit at the officers. And what did he get in return, you ask? Exactly what you might expect: a jolt of electricity from one of the officer’s stun guns and a trip to jail.
Of course, I still haven’t heard what his girlfriend had to say about all this. Since she apparently gave him a fake address, though, I can’t imagine her response to Edwards “popping the question” would have been a favorable one. Is it possible that nude proposing is not something that people do?
Speaking of things that people do—and definitely shouldn’t—consider the story of George Boak, a 70-year-old spiritual healer from Halifax in West Yorkshire, England.
On Tuesday, Boak was charged with sexually abusing two women—and may eventually be charged for assaulting a third—and appeared in court, where he obviously denied the charges. Unfortunately, the evidence continues to mount against him and though his trial continues, the outcome will undoubtedly be bad, at least from his perspective.
According to several women who went to Boak for “treatment”—I use quotation marks since I equate spiritual healing with scamming (no offense, of course)—he asked them to disrobe since his practice involves hovering his hands over parts of their bodies and touching them from time to time, but never in an inappropriate way. Being naked simply allowed all his “positive vibes” to pass through unhindered, or so the women were told.
What they experienced, however, was much, much different.
In the first case, Boak seemed to be helping his patient’s aching back, but would constantly refer to her as “beautiful” or “stunning,” which obviously made her very uncomfortable. She stopped seeing Boak for a time but returned later when her pain worsened. During this visit, however, the spiritual healer went even further, kissing her, touching her and even putting his hands inside her clothing. She reported the incident to police and Boak was arrested, but he denied the allegations and likely would have gotten away if the investigation didn’t uncover a damning piece of evidence: his diary.
Using the information within the diary, officers contacted several of Boak’s former clients and a second complaint soon emerged. It came from a woman who initially visited the spiritual healer with her husband. When Boak asked her to disrobe for her treatment, she thought nothing of it since her husband was present and, based on this one visit, found Boak to be very professional and never inappropriate. In fact, this is what convinced her to return to him again, only this time on her own. And that, of course, is when things took a turn for the worst.
During this particular visit, Boak started touching her inappropriately and even apologized when she asked what he was doing: “Sorry, I got carried away.” For whatever reason, the woman left Boak’s office, told her husband about the incident and then never reported it to police. In her view, this whole thing resulted from her being too “gullible,” even though it’s hard for me to understand why she felt this way. If you ask me, being gullible is what led her to believe that spiritual healing would work at all, but that’s not important. What is important is that when confronted with these allegations, Boak claimed the woman wanted it and said something like “give it to me, George.” As if.
A third complaint was filed recently when a woman read Boak’s story in her local paper. According to her account, Boak treated her as he said he would, but also slipped his hands down the front of her pants to grope her.
Now that I think about it, there is a chance Boak could be cleared of these charges. After all, he could have been spiritually healing these women’s private parts. And since healing hands were being placed on their bodies anyway—with their consent, mind you—Boak may have found the loophole he needs to escape prosecution… as opposed to the holes he fondled that got him into this mess in the first place!
Crude, I know, but that doesn’t make it any less valid.
Our final glimpse at the naked truth brings us full circle and back to the place where Maureen Kelly could still be wandering through the woods with only a fanny pack on: Washington State. Only this time we visit Tacoma Community College (TCC) and Kevin Gausepohl, a vocal instructor accused of taking advantage of a 17-year-old student.
According to the young woman—who was a high school student trying to earn college credit at the time—Gausepohl claimed to be studying the effects of sexual arousal on vocal range and asked her to play the piano naked while touching herself. For some reason, she agreed and this occurred at numerous sessions they had together. In fact, Gausepohl “kicked it up a notch” during one particular session and joined in on the festivities: he started masturbating in front of her.
Gausepohl’s sexual misconduct came to light after several students expressed concern over the young woman’s treatment, which they felt exploited her sexually. The college investigated and concluded that at the very least, the vocal instructor violated the school’s sexual harassment policy. They immediately terminated his employment and since he stayed clean for a year—in line with a deal from criminal prosecutors—charges against him were not pursued. And to this day, Gausepohl maintains his innocence, even though I suspect otherwise.
Did I mention that Gausepohl is also a religious leader at Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church? Perhaps he and George Boak—the “spiritual advisor” from England with a penchant for fondling clients—should start a business together. Spiritual healing, vocal coaching, nudity and sexual mischief all under one roof? Sounds like the Wal-Mart of perversion to me.
At long last we come to the end of THE NAKED TRUTH, proof that nudity is alive and well in this world and even finds its way into the headlines from time to time. Of course, my advice to all of you is this: if you choose to be nude, please do so in the appropriate places and under the right circumstances. Bathing, getting freaky with your lover, skinny dipping in your neighbor’s pool, dropping your drawers at one of the nudist resorts I mentioned earlier… all of these are fine as long as you don’t harm anyone—aside from revealing your naked body to them, I mean (which I know would hurt people in my case)—or abuse anyone. When in doubt, though, consider following the same advice that I follow when the need to disrobe strikes me at the wrong time.
Keep your pants on… at least until it’s really time to take them off.
There was a time when Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson was one of the premier wide receivers in the NFL. This one-time Cincinnati Bengal and six-time Pro Bowl selection played professionally through the 2011 season and was preparing to join the Miami Dolphins in 2012 when his situation suddenly changed.
Johnson was arrested for domestic battery and pleaded no contest to charges that he head-butted his wife—reality star Evelyn Lozada—during an argument in their Davie, Florida home last August. Needless to say, his marriage ended after only 11 months. And that wasn’t even the worst of it.
Miami immediately dropped him and for all intents and purposes, ended his professional football career. It should come as no surprise that teams weren’t beating the door down to sign him after (a) he was charged with this crime and (b) his reputation as a loud mouth preceded him.
And based on what happened recently, Johnson will be lucky if he ever plays again, at least on a professional level. Dancing with the Stars may still be an option, though.
Despite Judge Kathleen McHugh withholding adjudication for Johnson after his battery charge—which basically meant his record would remain clear as long as he stayed out of trouble—an arrest warrant was issued on May 7 after she learned he had not reported to his probation officer for three months. Johnson was forced to spend several hours in jail and had to post $1000 bond to remain free until yesterday’s hearing.
Unfortunately, that’s when things got even worse for him.
Johnson and his attorneys worked out a plea deal that would prevent the shamed player from spending any more time in jail. Seconds away from having it approved by Judge McHugh, though, Johnson’s behavior again got him into trouble.
McHugh complimented Johnson’s lawyer and in true football fashion, Johnson congratulated him with a pat on the butt. This angered McHugh, who immediately “called him out” on it.
“Mr. Johnson, I don’t know that you’re taking this whole thing seriously,” she told him. “I’m not going to accept these plea negotiations. This isn’t a joke.”
Johnson tried in vain to apologize, but there was no changing the judge’s mind. He had no choice but to plead guilty to violating his probation without a deal, which means he will spend the next month in jail and will have his probation extended for another three months (from September 21 to December 21).
In addition to these penalties, Johnson must also complete 25 hours of community service and attend two counseling sessions each week. After hearing his punishment, Johnson was handcuffed and taken into custody. His 30-day stint in the Broward County Jail is scheduled to begin immediately.
I suppose it is possible for Johnson to someday return to the NFL, although I can think of no team willing to waste time or money on a 35-year-old “problem child” whose football skills were waning before he even got into legal trouble. If anything, his NFL future will exist behind a desk as a commentator, if he can even get that job after all this nonsense.
It is heartbreaking when a great player leaves the field due to injury, military deployment or some other legitimate reason. But when the reason is the player himself—especially a player who could have accomplished so much—it becomes something more: a waste.
Chad Johnson could have been great and could have served as an inspiration for kids, fans and players everywhere. Instead, he will be remembered as yet another “superstar” whose criminal behavior undermined the very things he spent his life cultivating: athletic skill and nearly unlimited potential.
I hope thirty days behind bars will be enough to put Ochocinco back on the right path. Only time will tell, though…
John Littig—a life coach, workshop facilitator and motivational speaker—and his common-law wife Lynne Rosen—a psychotherapist, speaker, consultant and life coach in her own right—hosted a radio show on WBAI 99.5 FM in New York called “The Pursuit of Happiness.”
The show focused on “personal development, growth and creativity” and aired every other Thursday afternoon. The couple also ran a business called Why Not Now that—according to their now inactive website—offered “life coaching designed to help foster and encourage your inner strengths, identify hidden and untapped resources, and put you confidently on the path to designing the life you’ve always wanted to live.”
Basically, Littig and Rosen liked helping people. The ironic thing is that for all their efforts and good advice, nothing could save them from themselves.
The couple was seated on the couch, holding hands and wearing plastic bags over their heads. A tube attached to a canister of helium ran into each bag and nearby were two notes, one written by each of the victims. When he was asked later what the notes said, Boztepe could recall only one line from Littig’s final writing assignment: “I can’t take it anymore. My wife is in too much pain.”
“I was shocked,” the apartment manager told reporters. “I am still in shock. I feel so bad for these people.”
What caused two radio hosts who prided themselves on bettering the lives of their listeners to suddenly end their own—together, nonetheless—remains to be seen. Perhaps a clue can be found in a comment Littig made on one of his recent shows, a comment that now takes on a much darker meaning.
“So much of life is about impulse, it’s about doing it right now,” he told his listeners. “Go with your gut. Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
This morning was rough.
I woke up around 8 a.m. on the sofa in my living room—otherwise known as “my bed” since excessive snoring and my son’s desire to sleep in my real bed with his mother resulted in my exile from the master bedroom. When I was younger, the location of my slumber never mattered. I could rest comfortably in an airline seat—once doing so upside-down with my head hanging in the aisle on an overnight flight from Miami to Buenos Aires I took as a child—on a cot or roll-a-way bed or even on the floor. The way I figured, I was lucky to have any place at all to lay my head and, fortunately, my body could handle it.
Too bad that is no longer the case at 42 years old.
This morning—and despite having a sofa that is slightly more comfortable than the floor (but quickly approaching it under the sustained weight of my heavy ass)—I woke up, prepared to rise and was instead met with a wave of intense pain shooting outward from the center of my back. And regardless of which way I twisted, rolled, bent or leaned, the pain just kept on coming.
I eventually cringed and whined my way to the bathroom—which was an adventure in itself for someone with limited mobility (as any readers more elderly than me likely know)—and returned to take some Aleve. There was some stronger stuff around—my wife is prescribed something much more potent—but normally, this is all it takes. So I spent some time suffering, smoked a few cigarettes and waited for my back to loosen up, which it eventually did. Sure, I still experienced shooting pains from time to time, but only when I tweaked it. As long as I was careful, it more-or-less felt normal.
It looked like I was “upright planking”—stiff as a board, but otherwise presenting perfect posture—but it worked. I carefully and very intentionally completed some chores and other tasks—like brushing my teeth so the stench of my breath wouldn’t cause me to flinch and re-injure my healing back—and settled on the sofa again, this time to watch some television and relax.
At first, I had to sit a certain way and move as little as possible for fear of the pain returning. I know that makes me sound like a pansy—which looks like the word I would like to use but probably shouldn’t—but throwing your back out is nothing to laugh about. Ask anyone who has experienced back problems and I’m sure they’ll tell you: it freaking hurts. And this is coming from a guy who’s had multiple root canals, been kicked numerous times in the groin—thanks to eight years of karate as well as a clumsy streak—and dealt with the pain accordingly.
I mean, really. You can rest your sore balls while you’re sitting down and the pain will subside pretty quickly. Your back, on the other hand, is attached to every damn appendage you have. And like a cherry on top of a sundae is your head, itself a solid chunk of weight putting even more pressure on your midsection. Every time you move, turn or do anything at all, your back is involved and the risk of more pain is there.
And like I said, the pain can be rough.
Fortunately, the Aleve kicked in and before I knew it, I was feeling much better. I channel surfed a bit before settling on CBS This Morning, a safe bet to be interesting when I can’t find anything better to watch. Oddly enough, throwing out my back isn’t the only sign that I’m getting older; I also find myself paying more attention to the news and current events. Hell, I even stay abreast of economic issues and the stock market despite knowing very little about either of them. And when I’m in the car, it’s pretty much National Public Radio all the time.
Hard to believe that I once preferred U2, the Grateful Dead or Sublime blasting from my stereo, isn’t it? That’s what happens when you get older. Not only do you want to know what’s happening in the world, but you also long for something you rarely cared about when you were younger: peace and quiet. But I digress.
At some point during my convalescence, the CBS anchors moved to a financial story and started talking about unemployment, recent jobs numbers and the economy. As I mentioned, I try to stay on top of these issues—even though they usually bore me to death or confuse me—so I watched and listened as the pretty news people introduced their next guest.
And that, dear readers, is when I forgot about my back and instead found myself transfixed by some unknown beauty. My jaw dropped and quite literally hit the floor.
There on the screen—and introduced to me and the world by one of the anchors—was the lovely and talented Lauren Lyster, host of Hot Stock Minute and co-host of The Daily Ticker on Yahoo! Finance.
I was awestruck. Never in my life had I seen a news anchor, business reporter or financial analyst so knowledgeable and so beautiful. Lauren—and I hope she doesn’t mind me calling her that (even though she will likely never set eyes on this post)—was eloquent, cute, polite, smart and drop-dead gorgeous.
Just look at the pictures shared here and tell me I’m wrong.
Suffice it to say that during this financial report, I maintained a focus so intense it would border on creepy if anyone were here to actually witness it. Since they weren’t, I was able to shake it off once Lauren’s piece ended, refocus and do something I rarely do: I looked her up on Twitter.
She was easy to find (@LaurenLyster) and since her page is public, I don’t mind sharing her address. You should check it out sometime.
What happened next still confuses me because I did something else that I rarely do: I sent her a tweet!
Get your mind out of the gutter; it was innocent and I can prove it. Check it out.
If I had to guess, I would say that only ten or fifteen minutes elapsed before Lauren—or one of her assistants or staff members, whatever the case may be—sent this reply tweet.
I’m not naïve enough to think Lauren actually wrote this herself, but it was a nice gesture nonetheless. And to me, it was just as meaningful for a different reason. Before I explain, I must confess that this next part makes me sound a little freaky, which I assure you I am not… at least not in a dangerous, demented or uncommon way.
Assume for a moment that Lauren did not write this tweet herself and that it instead came from some lowly staffer or hired publicist. My message was a heartfelt one. I sincerely thought Lauren did well and since people seem so hesitant to share compliments with one another, I decided I should tell her. Of course, I also couldn’t resist telling her how beautiful she was—as if she and everyone else watching didn’t know already—so I guess there was some light flirting. What could it hurt, though?
It’s not as if I ever thought she would read my tweet, fall head-over-heels in love with me and show up at my doorstep a day or two later, ready to start a life together and wondering why our paths never crossed before. Honestly, though, I’m sure there are people out there who hope this will happen or worse, actually believe they have a relationship simply because of online interactions. Sad, but it happens. And I assure you that this is not for me.
If you must know, I Twitter-flirted a little, but it was largely unintentional. Yet another feature of old age is the ability to say whatever is on your mind without the slightest regard for how others might perceive or comprehend it. In other words, you just don’t give a damn. And just between you and me, this is one of the features I enjoy the most.
Unfortunately, this “openness” comes at a cost because it brings with it an inability to control these outbursts. You just think something, blurt it out—or in this case, tweet it out—and expect nothing more than the satisfaction of knowing your views, opinions, beliefs, rants, revelations, flirts, tweets, emails, text messages, voice mails and other insane profundities have been heard. There is no expectation for acknowledgment or even the slightest reply, which is why I was so surprised when I got something back from Lauren’s official Twitter account. Even if it wasn’t really her, it has to count for something.
And think about this: even a hired publicist or social networking guru who gets paid to respond to every message in a positive way will later see Lauren in person. Hell, they might even be friends or something. If by some chance they are hanging out one night and my tweet comes up—especially if it gets a positive response from Lauren, like a smile—then my “mission” to congratulate a beautiful, talented and professional young woman on a job well done will be complete. And honestly, that’s all I ever wanted to do.
Of course, I can’t deny being attracted to Lauren because let’s face it, she’s amazing. She is also very professional, and we know that can’t be easy in the male-dominated, dog-eat-dog worlds of broadcasting and finance. Women historically make less than their male counterparts for equal work, but very beautiful women face another obstacle: gaining enough respect to conquer the “she’s pretty so she must be a mindless bimbo” stigma attached to comely ladies everywhere. Yes, women of different ages, colors, sizes and any other measurable characteristic face unique challenges as well, but beautiful women have their own crosses to bear, especially in the “workplace.” And in no way would I belittle this fact or attempt to detract from Lauren and her accomplishments. I assure you of that.
However, there is something known as homage—basically a public display of honor or respect for someone who acknowledges their skill, worth, achievement, beauty or, in Lauren’s case, all of the above. And face it: she’s a knockout. Since all of the images I found of Lauren were legitimate, public and inoffensive—the majority are screenshots from her days hosting Capital Account for RT America—including them here is a way for me to “tip my hat” to a woman who certainly brightened my day.
And as you look through these images, I hope she does the same for yours. I suspect she can cure sore backs, as well. Thanks, Lauren!
Mackenzie purchased the winning “quick pick” ticket at a Publix supermarket just north of Tampa. For those of you unfamiliar with quick picks, this basically means that the winning numbers were generated randomly by the lottery system; Mackenzie did not select the numbers herself.
What is most ironic about this situation is how Mackenzie came to possess the multimillion dollar ticket. She was standing in line at the supermarket when a kind, younger player and her daughter let the elderly woman cut in front of them. Mackenzie quick-picked the winning numbers before this Good Samaritan could, a move that earned her a one-time, lump payment of $370.9 million.
All the kind woman behind her got were groceries, as well as a “kick myself in the ass for being too nice” feeling the moment she realized what she had done. I’m speculating, of course, but I know that’s how I would feel.
When I first read this story, the same question popped into my mind as when Publisher’s Clearing House selects their jackpot winners each year: Must you have one foot in the grave to actually win one of these things?
I know it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but to me it seems that the majority of jackpot winners are all “silver foxes,” so to speak—elderly people with no chance of ever spending all their winnings before kicking off. Granted, lottery numbers generated at random cannot select only old people to win, but I’ve always felt the PCH Prize Patrol only awarded huge cash jackpots to people they wouldn’t have to pay for very long.
This, of course, changed with PCH’s newest rule, which allows family members of deceased winners to continue collecting their prize. Not that I stopped being suspicious because now, I believe you have to buy an assload of magazines to be eligible to win, even though PCH claims this is not the case.
Do I sound like a disgruntled and unlucky non-winner yet? I should because that’s kind of what I was going for.
Fortunately, I don’t concern myself too much with losing since the odds of collecting a grand prize lottery jackpot are roughly the same as me unexpectedly “hooking up” with Jessica Alba or some other sexy celebrity… basically slim-to-none. But like most Americans faced with jackpots over $500 million, I still race to the store to buy my tickets, essentially lining someone else’s pockets—in this case those belonging to Gloria Mackenzie.
I would say I was a sucker if doing so wouldn’t offend all the other lottery hopefuls in the crowd. The truth is that I kind of am, though.
Of course, it’s important to remember that money isn’t the answer to everyone’s problems, even though I would love to learn this first-hand. Yes, I know the odds are against me and I will likely never experience this, but it could be worse.
This past Tuesday, Bosarge was returning home after making a $210 deposit into his bank account when his wife called. She told him that when she checked their account, she noticed that his deposit had gone through, but it wasn’t for $210.
Bosarge had been credited with $2.7 million, bringing his balance to nearly three million bucks!
At first, Bosarge thought—or should I say hoped—that someone had blessed him and his wife with winnings from a casino or something. If only that were the case.
The truth is that the bank made a mistake and, being an honest person, Bosarge reported it immediately. The error was corrected and his $2.7 million deposit transformed back into the $210 “pumpkin” he had deposited earlier that day—sorry, but I couldn’t resist that Cinderella reference.
I guess what it all boils down to is this: someone always has to win and someone always has to lose. In this case, the big winner was Gloria Mackenzie while the losers were me, Chaz Bosarge and every other person who bought a ticket for the last Powerball drawing. Will this prevent me from buying a ticket the next time the jackpot grows that large?
Hell no. I’m far too greedy—and needy—for that!