Friday, March 30, 2012

Paying the Stupid Tax

Have you seen the movie Public Enemies, with Johnny Depp starring as John Dillinger?

Towards the end of the film, their is reference made to the Dillinger gang being cast aside by their mob contacts. In one scene, the mob bosses let them know that they are no longer needed. Their ill gotten gains are small potatoes compared to the new way the mob has of robbing people.

And what is their new way of robbing people? The "numbers racket." In this illegal scheme, you pay a dollar or two or three for a number. Your number is then put in a pot and, if it is drawn, you can walk away rich. Or at least a little richer than you were. But not nearly as rich as the ones that are running the racket.

In our time, these have been cracked down on and it is difficult to run them, unless you are the government. Yes, you can still plop down a few bucks and hope that you will somehow win a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Guess what? You won't win.

You just paid another tax. Only this one is completely voluntary. You are one of those people that checks that box saying you want to give extra money to your local, state and federal government.

You are stupid!

And so am I.

I never play these things, and I have never bought a ticket. I never will. But, when everyone at work goes in on buying some tickets, I am not about to be the only one that didn't get in on the fun. I don't want to be that guy.

No, we aren't going to win on the tickets that are bought for us. But what if they did win and I wasn't in the pool......

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sgt. Daniel J. Brown

This young man, serving with our son in Afghanistan, lost his life to an IED the other day. Remember him.

He was 27 years old, married and the father of young twins.

Please remember his sacrifice as he gave his life to stem the tide of evil.

Read more in the: Colorado Springs Gazette.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

One Hundred Dollar Hat

Whilst at the street fair with Ethan today, we succumbed to our base cravings for refreshment and spent $5 out of the $8 I brought with me on an Italian Ice filled red plastic Arizona Diamondbacks miniature batting hat.

We were both quite pleased with the unnatural tasting psuedo- fruit cherry and blueberry flavored treat. We continued to be completely satisfied until we walked another half a block to the climbing wall.

Ethan, at ten years old, fancies himself quite the climber. He is always trying to scale crazy heights to satisfy some inner urge to be a boy. So, of course he was interested in the climbing wall.

His interest grew quickly when he saw that at the top of the wall was one hundred dollars in cash, his for the taking if he just had a chance to scramble up to the top.

Unfortunately, the chance to get the one hundred dollars cost five dollars, and we only had three left. His poor spirit was nearly crushed when he figured out that we had traded a chance for fortune on a little red hat.

If only we could have held on and resisted temptation for a few more minutes, we could have had the hundred, instead of the little plastic hat.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Now it is getting personal

A coworker recently shared a story with me about how he ended up waiting in one of those ridiculously long lines to be one of the first to get his hands on one of the previous xbox products.

He said that during the wait, people were saving spots for their friends. Some of the people in line were getting angry, but he didn't think it was really that big of a deal. Just before they released the dogs of war, the person right in front of him let a friend hoop in line, right in front of him.

Then, the store guy started handing out tickets. Everyone that got a ticket would be able to get a game. We only have a certain amount of them. So, no ticket, no game.

Unfortunately for him, the last person to get a ticket was the new guy in line right in front of him. Since then, he has changed his opinion about letting people hold spots in line so their friends don't have to wait.

I guess when things affect us personally, it gives us a little different perspective.

And he pre-ordered the new ipad.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


While getting ready to jump into a rocky pit the other day at work, I was reminded by the distinctive hissy rattle of a diamondback that it is again rattlesnake season. They like to come out this time of year, when it is warming up, to warm themselves on the rocks.

While I am pretty sure I have run much faster than safely needed to after stepping on a snake and I have seen other coworkers do the same, I have never yet seen anyone snake bit. Last year, I did attend a lecture about snakes presented by herpetologist(scholarly snake guy) Rick Oliver.

Here are some things he had to say about snakes:

- The primary risk factors for being bit by snakes are being male and between the ages of 4 and 24.

This is probably because this demographic is generally the one dumb enough to play with snakes. I am sure there are some exceptions, like being an older guy dumb enough to play with them or falling, or jumping, into a pit with snakes like the girl in True Grit.

- Many snake bites, even from poisonous snakes, are not venomous.

Many, maybe even most, but not all. they would just rather not waste their venom on you. You are too big too eat.

- Young snakes will give you every bit of venom they have.

So, if you have to get snake bit, get bit by an older snake.

- Constrictors are dangerous.

While it seems cool and harmless to have a big constrictor around your house and draped around your neck, if they decide they want to eat you and you let them wrap them self around you, you probably won't be able to get them off until you stop breathing for a while. It has happened, way more than once.

So, a few of my tips on staying safe around snakes:
Don't play with them, don't get bit by the young ones, don't fall into a pit when you have already beaten Ned Pepper and don't wrap snakes around your children.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A world class Tucson???

As surprising as it may be to some, we really do host a world class event right here in Tucson.

I have been to the Tucson Festival of Books every year since they began it a few years ago, and it is quite am impressive gathering.

More than just a place to look at some books, the festival hosts culinary demonstrations, science exhibits, workshops, lectures, kids activities, entertainment and some internationally recognized authors.

If you are in need of some educational or interesting activity, or if you just want to do something fun with the kids, come on out and say hello to me this Saturday and Sunday. You can't miss me. I will be the guy wondering around with everyone else.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Comedian Brad Stine says that it is unfair that Christian people aren't allowed curse words and unfair that they don't have any of their own. He says that sometimes these words are the best words available for the job at hand.

As unlikely as it seems, Church folk do seem to have their equivalent of a swear word here and there.

I am not saying that they have their own words that suggest vulgarity and bodily functions. But, many have suggested that swear words are used when someone can't think of something intelligent to say, so they substitute the swear word.

So, having hung around Church people for a while, I have identified certain words they will use when they really can't think of anything else to say, but they want to convey something spiritual or profound. Ok, it is not quite the same, but it still fills a similar function.

In order to protect the forgiven, I will not mention what these words are, but those of you that have hung around Church people, think about it and I am sure you can come up with some "Christian Swear Words" that are used when people can't think of something else to say.