Blog Archives

Judge Not

DePiazza seems to think his own views trump everyone else’s (Twitter)

Despite the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage recently—and finally granting marriage equality for all—there are still some hardcore detractors out there who refuse to abide by the ruling. In some cases, clerks and judges are even refusing to issue marriage licenses or to marry same-sex couples.

Judge James R. DePiazza of Texas isn’t one of them, but he is doing something rather unprecedented.

DePiazza has decided to allow same-sex couples to marry, but first asks them to sign an agreement acknowledging his own views on the matter. Here’s a brief excerpt:

“Judge DePiazza prefers to NOT conduct same-sex ceremonies, but will not decline anyone who chooses to schedule with him.”

Additionally, the agreement asks that couples not mention same-sex weddings to him “before, during or after the ceremony.” If they do, then the service will cease and the couple will receive a refund.

And pictures of the ceremony can only be taken once DePiazza leaves the courtroom.

I’m sorry, but this is indicative of the hypocrisy that exists in politics, religion and almost every aspect of American society. DePiazza wants people to acknowledge his views? How about acknowledging theirs?

Oh wait. I forgot that homosexuals are inferior to the rest of us. Only heterosexuals were truly created in God’s image. Curse everyone else.

What a crock…

Pizza Abuse

Think before you tweet, people! (Twitter/Nestle Foods)

Think before you tweet, people! (Twitter/Nestle Foods)

On Monday—after viewing the newly released footage of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice physically abusing his wife in an Atlantic City elevator—writer Beverly Gooden created the Twitter hashtag #WhyIStayed to lead a national discussion about domestic violence.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in four American women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. And the global statistics are even more staggering.

Sadly, no one told the people at DiGiorno’s Pizza about this hashtag because they tweeted something many felt was insensitive and extremely misguided—I’m sure you can see for yourself from the photo I included.

Fortunately, this tweet was immediately removed and a spokeswoman for Nestle—the company that brings you delicious DiGiorno Pizza—quickly apologized. And while this can be chalked up as “no harm, no foul,” I have a suggestion for the people at DiGiorno: find out what a hashtag means before using it to peddle your Italian treats! At least that way you won’t piss off potential pizza eaters!

Surprised by Sausage

If only this had been the sausage surprise... (Alexei Talimonov)

If only this had been the sausage surprise… (Alexei Talimonov)

Earlier today, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that a KOMO-TV news helicopter crashed mere feet away from the famous Space Needle. Sadly, both the pilot and the photographer aboard the chopper were killed.

As you might imagine, this terrible tragedy was a hot topic on news broadcasts and morning shows, one of which was Good Day on KDVR-TV in Denver, Colorado. In order to provide their viewers with as much information about the accident as possible, the hosts turned to a string of Twitter photos that were supposed to show the crash.

What they showed instead drew gasps from several hosts and spread like a brush fire on the Internet.

The first image was legitimate and showed the helicopter crash site, but from that point on the photos got progressively more ridiculous and—by the end—even shocking.

Image number two showed Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands, while image number three looked like some kind of omelet. However, it was the fourth image that caused a stir because there on the screen—visible to everyone watching—was an exposed penis!

A censored version of the footage can be found HERE for anyone interested.

Shocked by sausage (KDVR-TV)

Shocked by sausage (KDVR-TV)

Producers immediately cut away from the sausage poking out of some man’s pants—and one of the hosts did his best to move past the image, despite his colleagues suddenly gasping and sucking the air out of the studio—but the damage had already been done. And once the penis is out there, it’s out there, as we all know.

Station News Director Ed Kosowski did what he could in terms of damage control and issued the following apology to the Denver Post:

“Fox 31 Denver accidentally broadcast an offensive photo while scrolling live through a Twitter feed of pictures from the crash scene. The photo was mistakenly broadcast by our control room. It did not come from the tablet many viewers saw being used by one of our anchors. We apologize for the inadvertent broadcast of the image and we are taking immediate steps to prevent such an accident from happening again.”

Unfortunately—and as I mentioned before—there’s not much to be done since the penis already made its appearance. All the people at KDVR-TV can do is try to prevent such a gaffe from happening again… at least until they actually do a penis-related segment on the show, which I can’t imagine happening anytime soon.

Miley Returns to Spotlight

Miley sheds her clothes, only this time it isn't by choice (Twitter)

Miley sheds her clothes, only this time it isn’t by choice (Twitter)

After fading from the limelight a little in recent weeks—and providing us all with a brief tongue-wagging respite—it appears that pop singer Miley Cyrus is up to her old tricks again.

Last Friday evening—during a performance in Illinois as part of the Bangerz Tour—Cyrus turned heads when she decided to shove her face into the more-than-ample bosom of dancer Amazon Ashley. Since Cyrus was fully clothed at the time, though, her antics didn’t make national headlines… at least not until today.

The latest escapade involving the “Wrecking Ball” singer happened Sunday night in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Cyrus was preparing to perform her hit “23” and went in for a quick wardrobe change, but ran out of time before the music started playing. Unwilling to disappoint her fans—yet willing to push the envelope at every turn—Cyrus moved quickly and took the stage without her costume.

Cyrus with Amazon Ashley and friends (Playback/Instagram)

Cyrus with Amazon Ashley and friends (Playback/Instagram)

That’s right… she took the stage in only her bra and panties. Go figure.

Although most people probably never noticed the costume mishap—and underwear undoubtedly provides more coverage than most of her outfits—Cyrus took to Twitter after the show to explain herself.

“Not a new outfit for 23. I didn’t make my quick change and I couldn’t not come out for the song so I just had to run out in my undies.”

I don’t know about you, but I certainly forgive her!

Tombstone Tech

Be sure to take your cell phone or tablet to the cemetery (Star Tribune)

Be sure to take your cell phone or tablet to the cemetery (Star Tribune)

Technology is everywhere and continues to advance at breakneck speed. And now it seems that even death can’t prevent us from “staying connected” online through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Yes, we may all end up as ghosts in the machine someday—and an Alabama-based company known as Memorysquare is already making this happen. Here’s how they describe themselves—and their innovative new service—on their website:

At Memorysquare we believe that the true value of what we do is found in helping pass on to future generations a life once lived. There is great healing that comes in remembering, reflecting and honoring a life. We provide a user-friendly platform that combines memorialization and technology that enables users of mobile devices to connect to this personalized tribute page while visiting the cemetery. Friends and family are able to post comments and even share content on popular social sites.

This is how it works: When you die and your remains are shipped to the cemetery for burial, your tombstone includes a QR code that links to a personalized memorial page—for a small, one-time fee, that is. The current price is $125 for a non-video tribute and $245 if you prefer video be included. Once registration has been completed—most likely by a family member, unless you’re proactive and want to register while you’re still breathing—a memorial site is launched that allows users to post obituaries, photos, videos and other information about the deceased (or soon-to-be deceased, whatever the case may be). Visitors to your grave can then use their mobile devices to read your QR code, link to your memorial site, learn more about your life and even contribute their own remembrances.

Who could influence hackers to use this technology for evil? Could it be... SATAN! (NBC/Getty Images)

Who could influence hackers to use this technology for evil? Could it be… SATAN! (NBC/Getty Images)

Pretty freaky, huh?

As I mentioned, this service is still new, so I have heard very little about their security protocols. I do wonder how something like this might be exploited by hackers, though—especially after falling victim to those Target hackers at Christmastime. QR codes link directly to individuals’ memorial sites, but they still have to be housed somewhere online… and there’s the rub. Hackers work in cyberspace, so I wouldn’t be surprised if someone visited a cemetery, scanned a tombstone QR code and suddenly found themselves at some porn site or worse… at the launch page for the Satanic Temple!

Stranger things have happened…

Bearer of Bad News

The scene of the deadly crash (Zachary Kaufman)

Heartbreaking stories are not hard to find these days, and this one in particular is as heartbreaking as they come.

Caran Johnson is well known in the Vancouver area for tweeting about local traffic under the handle @ScanCouver. And on Wednesday afternoon, she sent numerous tweets about an accident on I-205 near 83rd street.

The accident involved two vehicles that collided around 1:45 p.m., so Johnson’s tweets mostly involved changes in traffic patterns, exit closings and other information common in these types of reports. As time went on, though, she started to worry since her husband takes the same route to come home from work. And on Wednesday, he left work early because he wasn’t feeling well.

Johnson tried repeatedly to reach her husband—who used Bluetooth and was always known to answer—but she couldn’t get through. She eventually returned home to wait for him, but he was late and she started to panic. So Johnson placed a 911 call and, after providing her husband’s license number, was transferred to another department and told they would call her back.

Unfortunately, the call she received later confirmed that her worst fears had come true. Here’s how she expressed it on Twitter:

@ScanCouver tweets the bad news (Twitter)

@ScanCouver tweets the bad news (Twitter)

Without knowing it, Johnson had reported on the very accident that took her husband’s life. And even though she has received an endless outpouring of prayers and support from the community, nothing can change the fact that her children no longer have a father and she no longer has a spouse.

How heartbreaking is that?

An Appeal to Readers

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

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

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

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

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

You gotta love WordPress! (Eightfold)

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

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

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

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

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

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

The world of Gnostic Bent  (WordPress & I)

The world of Gnostic Bent (WordPress & I)

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

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

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

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

Welcome to Tweeder?

The ignorance of some of our fellow brothers and sisters never ceases to amaze me.

In what had to be one of the dumbest moves ever, a worker in a Toronto auto repair shop with a need for some good weed decided to search for some… on Twitter!

Check it out.

Is Tweeding a real thing? (Twitter)

Is Tweeding a real thing? (Twitter)

Unfortunately for this misguided jackass, the York Regional Police caught wind of his request—which obviously went viral—and responded with a tweet of their own.

Didn't anyone tell him the cops use Twitter, too? (York Regional Police/Twitter)

Didn’t anyone tell him the cops use Twitter, too? (York Regional Police/Twitter)

And they didn’t stop there.

Since this pot-smoking genius was dumb enough to include both the name of the car shop and its address, an officer decided to forward his tweet to someone who would likely be interested to learn what his employee was up to: a member of the shop’s board of directors.

The people at Mr. Lube wasted no time in handling Mr. Bong (Twitter)

The people at Mr. Lube wasted no time in handling Mr. Bong (Twitter)

At this point, Cheech’s brain must have started functioning because he immediately tried to cover his tracks, once again on Twitter.

“Never knew weed smokers are more wanted in society than shooters & rapists,” his first tweet read. “Big smh to all of y’all.”

This obviously didn’t satisfy him because his second tweet shifted from defiance to denial: “People really think I’m serious with my tweets? MANNNNN.”

Shortly after his second tweet, our man-with-a-joint-in-his-hand decided to come clean, much like a child who lies and lies until the truth finally comes out and lies no longer work: “Can’t lie, stupid move but would y’all have noticed that tweet if [York Regional Police] didn’t retweet it?”

Sadly, it was too late and the damage had already been done—his last tweet read simply “Just got the call of termination.”

And then he deleted his Twitter account, which was undoubtedly his smartest move in this whole ridiculous situation.

Of course, the story doesn’t end there. York Police followed up with two more tweets, both of which should be considered by anyone hoping to solicit illegal drugs through social networking.

Duh! That's what cops do! (York Regional Police/Twitter)

Duh! That’s what cops do! (York Regional Police/Twitter)

Need weed? Stay the hell off of Twitter! (York Regional Police/Twitter)

Need weed? Stay the hell off of Twitter! (York Regional Police/Twitter)

Some people just never learn…

Meet Aneta Kowal

Beautiful and smart: A deadly combination (courtesy of Aneta Kowal)

Beautiful and smart: A deadly combination (courtesy of Aneta Kowal)

Every month, the people at Playboy—that wonderful gentlemen’s magazine with naked women (as well as good articles, or so I’ve heard)—sponsor an online contest for models interested in building their professional portfolios: Playboy Miss Social.

Forgive me if I avoid the PMS abbreviation in this post, but it should be obvious why.

On the website—which you can find HERE—Playboy Miss Social is described like this—and please note that I pulled some information together so no one would have to go searching for it:

A monthly non-nude social media competition; contestants compete against one another through daily and weekly Challenges that exist on this site and across various social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Contestants earn votes by winning challenges and are also awarded votes by Judges throughout the month; competition starts the first day of the month and runs through the last day; the first 3 weeks are the Open Round while only 12 contestants advance to the head-to-head, tournament-style finals; prizes are given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place contestants—1st place wins a trip to Playboy’s L.A. studios for a photo shoot with a Playboy photographer, a tour of the Playboy mansion, the title of Miss Social for that month and the opportunity to be part of the Playboy family.

Aneta can take your breath away (courtesy of Aneta Kowal)

Aneta can take your breath away (courtesy of Aneta Kowal)

Anyone can be a Judge—all you have to do is register for free and start perusing the site. The more you interact with the features you find there, the more votes you earn and can then bestow upon your favorite models. Votes are also available for purchase—if you’re someone with money to burn, I suppose—but I certainly don’t qualify. And honestly, free votes are just fine with me because I also get access to pictures of beautiful women. Lots of beautiful women. Believe me.

To be eligible as Contestants, interested ladies who are 18 years or older and have never appeared in a Playboy publication—or online affiliates, for that matter—simply have to register, post some pictures and a little background information, and start marketing themselves through social media. And if they fall short one month, they always have the next month to look forward to, which means the loveliness just keeps on coming.

Of course, one of the most beautiful contestants on the Playboy Miss Social site also happens to be an online buddy of mine: Aneta Kowal. Check out her official blurb, which appears nearly everywhere that she appears on the web, but most notably on her own website, www.anetakowal.com:

Aneta Kowal is rapidly becoming one of Metro Detroit’s most renowned models. She attributes her rising success to her relentless work ethic, professionalism, spunky personality, and unique appearance. Whether it is lingerie, swimsuit, glamour, fashion, club wear or beauty, she can deliver some jaw-dropping and captivating photographs.

If you doubt this last part, just look at some of the photos included here. And trust me when I say this is only the tip of the iceberg. Aneta has sexy pictures all over the place, but I leave it to you to check them out—preferably by visiting Miss Social and tossing some votes her way.

Sexy as hell (courtesy of Aneta Kowal/Nino Batista)

Sexy as hell (courtesy of Aneta Kowal/Nino Batista)

What I love most about Aneta—and what makes her so different from other models I’ve met—is that physical beauty is only part of who she is. Aneta is also a very intelligent, caring and thoughtful person, which you definitely can’t discover from a mere photograph. That’s why I decided to write this post about her: to show that in Aneta’s case, beauty is not skin deep; she is equally beautiful on the inside.

And even though this will sound like complete horse poo-poo coming from a hot-blooded, heterosexual guy like me, there’s something else that impresses me about Aneta: her unwillingness to pose nude. Don’t get me wrong. I love naked ladies as much as the next guy and would be lying if I said I wouldn’t enjoy some nude pictures of her. However, there is nothing wrong with leaving something to the imagination. And face it: once you’ve seen several thousand pictures of nude women—as many guys have, whether they admit it or not—enjoying some non-nude photos is a nice change of pace, especially when the subject is someone as drop-dead gorgeous as Aneta!

Incidentally, Aneta also responds to fans herself, choosing not to rely on some assistant or media specialist to handle it for her. This means when you get a message from Aneta on Facebook or a response to some question you tweeted during one of her frequent Twitter chats, you can bet that you’re dealing with The Real McCoy. Something else I love about her.

Hot isn't strong enough of a word for Aneta (courtesy of Hooters/Aneta Kowal)

Hot isn’t strong enough of a word for Aneta (courtesy of Hooters/Aneta Kowal)

Now given her refusal to pose in the buff—which would undoubtedly get her into Hef’s delightful publication—the odds of Aneta ending up as a centerfold in Playboy are relatively non-existent—unless the magazine suddenly features clothed women or Aneta has a serious change of heart. And I’m not sure either is very likely.

As I mentioned before, I respect Aneta’s decision to remain at least partially clothed during her photo shoots, but knowing she will never be a centerfold saddens me a little, too. When I was a young man, my friends and I would steal Playboys from our fathers—those foolish enough to keep copies in the house, that is—and take them deep into the woods to examine and enjoy. Centerfolds were always my favorite because they not only featured a breathtaking model—free from the bonds of clothing and nestled in some simulated yet comfortable scene—but also had some information about each woman on the back. Things like their turn-ons, favorite vacation spots, dream celebrity dates, hobbies, interests… all sorts of stuff.

Again, you may think I’m full of shit, but I assure you that I’m serious, and I’ll tell you why: the details about each centerfold model meant they were real and, theoretically, attainable. Every word could have been fictitious—the ramblings of some hack staff writer—but I didn’t care. To me at that transformative age, they were goddesses. And if I played my cards right, perhaps someday I could be with one of them.

Bear in mind I was very young—maybe 10 or 11 at the time—so Playboy brought with it a sense of wonderment and joy that faded later in life. But I still remember the way those amazing and interesting women made me feel. And that’s precisely the feeling I get when I see Aneta. She may not get her centerfold, but damn it, I can make sure people know a little more about her. So my gift to Aneta—my centerfold without a centerfold—is a back-page profile to go with her gorgeous front.

Meet Aneta Kowal.

Orange is definitely her color! (courtesy of Aneta Kowal)

Orange is definitely her color! (courtesy of Aneta Kowal)

Age: 21

Location:Detroit, Michigan

Height: 5’2”

Weight: 100 pounds

Measurements: 32-24-34 (bust-waist-hips)

Ethnicity: Eastern European (Polish)

Languages spoken: English, Polish and German

Five things she could never do without: Sex, her phone, food, television and her kittens

Turn-ons: Beards, spontaneity and a sense of humor

Turn-offs: Arrogance, selfishness and jealousy

Dream date: Hop on a flight to a tropical island

Astrological sign: Sagittarius

Favorite body parts: Her eyes, but she gets a lot of compliments on her boobs

Underwear preference: Commando

If you could be a super hero, who would it be? Iron Man

Rating for sexual performance on a 10-point scale? 12.5

Describe your personality: Provocative and intelligent

Hobbies: Baking, dancing, spending time with her cats (Squirmy and Bow Tie)

What do you drive? A Jeep

Current career: Modeling, working for Hooters (training as a bartender) and studying biology in school

Future career goal: Ophthalmology (eye surgery)

Celebrities you would most like to meet? Katy Perry and Bradley Cooper

Favorite vacation spot? Bora Bora

Achievements: Miss Hooters Detroit 2012, Miss January in 2013 Hooters Girl Calendar

Grab your 2013 calendar today! (courtesy of Aneta Kowal)

Grab your 2013 calendar today! (courtesy of Aneta Kowal)

If you would like to connect with Aneta, feel free to check her out on any of these sites:

www.anetakowal.com
www.playboymisssocial.com/anetakowal
www.facebook.com/kowalaneta
www.twitter.com/AnetaKowal
www.instagram.com/anetakowal
www.youtube.com/user/kowalaneta

Aneta also has an incredible 2013 calendar—check out the little preview on the left—which is available for purchase HERE. And trust me when I tell you it is worth the tiny investment.

So there you have her: my pal and a beauty to behold, the lovely Aneta Kowal. She truly is an amazing person and I hope you’ll consider visiting her profile on Playboy Miss Social, registering as a Judge and voting for her. The June contest is coming to an end, but with your help, this could be the month Aneta reaches the winner’s circle!

Beauty and the Back

Imagine this, but doubled over on the couch (courtesy of nayya.com)

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.

squirrel planking

Squirrel planking is “in” this year (courtesy of the University of Findlay)

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.

Grateful Dead

Grateful Dead (courtesy of Wikipedia)

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.

Lauren Lyster is Lovely (courtesy of RT Network)

Lauren Lyster is Lovely (courtesy of RT Network)

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.

My Tweet

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.


Her 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?

Follow Lauren on Twitter for financial news and updates on her shows (@LaurenLyster/Twitter)

Follow Lauren on Twitter for financial news and updates on her shows (@LaurenLyster/Twitter)

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.

She isn't all business! (courtesy of RT Network)

She isn’t all business! (courtesy of RT Network)

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!

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