Well, it has been a pretty busy week trying to get things squared away on top of all the shoveling and ice road trucking, but I’m getting EXTREMELY excited. Not only for my forthcoming adventure to The City… but also for this Christmas weekend back home with the family in Utah. Heck, there’s even a Journey cover band playing New Year’s Eve up at Northstar, with fireworks at 9 PM (because it’s too damn cold to stay up until midnight) so even if I’m “stuck” here in Tahoe, I’ve got something fun to do for the evening… but we’ll see what’s crackin’ in Reno or maybe even the new home in San Francisco. I do have a lot of packing & planning to do though. I told most of my coworkers about the move… and they were a mix of stunned & controlled panic. They were obviously very supportive and understood the move… but I think they’re going to miss me a lot… if just for the amount of work that I did. Oh well… they’ll be fine… and I’m sure that a few will keep in touch. I hate to leave them right in the middle of busy season… but that’s just what the cards dealt & I had to go with it. Trust me, they would’ve done the same thing if they had an opportunity like this, no attachments, and they didn’t want to spend another winter here. So yeah… really excited… but enough about that. Here’s some world news…
Every Teacher’s Dream – Did anybody else have a teacher who would check the paper for lottery numbers right in the middle of class? Yeah, I had a math / biology teacher in high school who did that… and I’m pretty sure that if he had hit the lucky numbers, he probably would’ve told every single one of us to go fornicate with ourselves… and cash it in immediately. “Class dismissed, b**ches!!!” After nearly two weeks of suspense, a 64-year-old substitute teacher and single parent from Arizona claimed a $95.3 million Powerball jackpot. Sheila Verke, a Fort Mohave resident, presented the single-winning ticket to lottery officials in Phoenix on Monday. She opted to take a lump sum payment of $49.9 million, saying she plans to buy a recreational vehicle and travel the country… as opposed to buying a country and traveling in an RV. "It's going to change my life and the life of my children and my grandchildren and my friends," said Verke, who was joined by friends and financial advisers at a press conference. A single parent with two children and five grandchildren, Verke said she used a well-worn strategy to win the December 1 top prize -- picking a set of numbers and staying with them each week for years. Her winning combination of 5-10-11-12-20, with a Powerball number of 2, is a combination of her birthday and that of her two children, she said. "I picked these numbers at least 6-and-a-half years ago and stuck with them. Even if I had to gather quarters, nickels and dimes, I bought them," she told reporters. Verke bought the winning ticket at a Safeway supermarket in Fort Mohave, which is about 200 miles northwest of Phoenix. She is Arizona's third-largest winner of Powerball, a game played by residents in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Her odds of winning were more than 1 in 195 million… but now she’s RICH!!! Seriously… what would you do with $50 million? Besides give half of it to Uncle Sam because of taxes (and roads & education still suck)? The way I see it… it ain’t no fun if the homies can’t have none… so I’d share the wealth with the friends & family… but I’d at least make them type me up a report on what they plan to do with the money. “So… Kiel, is it? What would you do with your request for… one million dollars? Really? You think you’re going to get that much? Okay, wow me.” “Come on bro! Just gimme the money so I can get a bigger house and a Lamborghini.” “Dude, you already have a home that was given to you… and you didn’t do sh*t for that either… and you can’t drive for sh*t, so I wouldn’t feel safe giving you the means for an Italian sportscar. I may as well hand you a live grenade. Besides… where are you gonna put the kid seats?” “F**k you man!” “Yeesh! That’s going in the report. Thank you… have a nice day, sir.” “I’m tellin’ mom.” “DO IT!!! I’ve already told her no because she would give half of hers to you.” So yeah… what would you guys do with a cut of that money? Maybe $100,000? Let’s hear what you’ve got in mind.
Never Trust a Nun - A Catholic nun with a reputation for gambling trips to Atlantic City was accused of embezzling more than $850,000 from a college where she oversaw the school's finances, officials said on Friday. Sister Marie Thornton, former vice president of finance at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, is charged with sending phony invoices to the school to pay off personal credit card bills and expenses, the U.S. Attorney's office said. The thefts occurred between 1999 and 2009, when Thornton resigned from the Catholic college, court documents said. She entered a plea of not guilty to a federal embezzlement charge. The college of some 5,000 students has come under fire from alumni and donors for never reporting the missing money to authorities and only mentioning the theft in its 2009 tax filing sent in February to the Internal Revenue Service. Iona officials issued a statement saying the school has implemented new financial oversight controls and recovered most of the missing funds. The nun had a reputation for visiting casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, according to former Iona basketball coach Jeff Ruland (played for the 76ers back in the 90’s and I know that because I’m a nerd and have a few of his playing cards). The U.S. Attorney's office originally said the theft was more than $1.2 million but on Friday revised the amount to more than $850,000, saying it had originally miscalculated. Thornton's lawyer Sam Talkin said: "We think the case will be resolved in a manner fair to all the parties involved." So just to clarify… a nun was in charge of a university’s finances… and she was embezzling three times my annual salary… for a decade… and lost every cent in gambling… and the former NBA player turned basketball coach KNEW she was on the High Limit Slots… and it was only AFTER she left… that her replacement stumbled on something about it… and then they didn’t report it to anybody other than the IRS as a tax write-off? This is higher education, ladies & gentlemen. No wonder I consider college a waste of money. Hell, she’s obviously not even a good gambler.
I wonder how Jesus would decide her punishment… that’d be a pretty kick-ass show actually – “Judge Jesus”!!! “All rise for the Honorable Judge Jesus!” and he floats into the room wearing a black robe. Come on now! Tell me you wouldn’t DVR every single episode. If somebody’s talking out of turn yelling nonsense, then Jesus takes control of the situation with “Sir, if you don’t wait your turn, I’ll be forced to crucify you… literally.” “This is small claims court! You can’t be threatening me with crucifixion.” “Oh really? I bet you’re going to tell me that I can’t walk on water either… or feed this entire courtroom with a Happy Meal… or be legally DEAD for three days and then come back like I was taking a f**king nap. Now please sit down and be reverent… and if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to enjoy some water… oh wait, maybe it’s a fine Merlot now. (sip) Aaaah, praise me! Anyway, the plaintiff was saying…” What was my point? Oh yeah… don’t trust a nun.
Cost of Execution – Speaking of the “justice” system, the United States executed fewer people this year, in part because there is a shortage of the drug used in lethal injections and because executions are too expensive in tough economic times, a report released on Tuesday said. That’s right, apparently executions… are too expensive. Okay, prove it to me, hippies. The Death Penalty Information Center said in its annual report that executions decreased 12% this year and new death sentences stayed near the lowest level since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. Texas led the nation with 17 of the 46 executions carried out this year in the United States. The total is down from 52 in 2009 and less than half the number put to death in 1999. "Whether it's concerns about the high costs of the death penalty at a time when budgets are being slashed, the risks of executing the innocent, unfairness, or other reasons, the nation continued to move away from the death penalty in 2010," Richard Dieter, the center's executive director and author of the report, said in a statement. One factor reducing or delaying executions is difficulty obtaining sodium thiopental, one of the drugs used in lethal injection executions, the Washington-based group said. Executions were postponed or canceled in five states due to a shortage of the drug, it said (saved by the bill?). Arizona imported some from Britain, where executions have been abolished, but Britain is now restricting the drug's exportation. New death sentences in 2010 will total 114, near the lowest level since 1976 when executions were authorized by the U.S. Supreme Court, and down two-thirds from their peak in 1996. There have been 1,234 executions in the United States since 1976, nearly half of those carried out (clap clap clap clap) deep in the heaaaart of Texas… and Virginia. Okay, I’m gonna save the “justice” system a LOT of money… and it’s probably just going to go directly to worthless lawyers… but it’s my public service for the day. Perhaps there are alternative methods of executing an individual that would be more cost effective than some apparently difficult to manufacture chemical compound. Sure, there are old standards like firing squad, electrocution, hanging, piñata and gas chamber… but even those can be expensive to design, build, and most definitely staff (though with this economy, probably not too difficult to fill). Even the Guillotine may be a cost effective method… but maybe you’re looking for something a little more humane and natural in the execution of a dastardly individual (for some reason). Well, you can always let Gravity do its thing if you have a cliff or tall building nearby. I’m just saying… there are different ways. Hell, if you REALLY wanted to help out with costs… have you ever considered Pay-Per-View? Maybe selling off a raffle for the role of Executioner? Seriously, you could MAKE money off this stuff. You may think me a morbid desensitized fool… but I know it’ll work… and I’m just coming up with great ideas here. Besides, do you know what’s a little more costly than even sodium thiopental? Putting them up in a one-star motel overfilled with felons & social misfits with three meals a day & plenty of exercise equipment. Anyway… I’m off my soap box now… but it’s silly to think that the reason that we’re not executing criminals is because of costs. Seriously? That’s an easy fix… especially in Texas.
Anyway, that’ll do it for today. I’ve got more packing and planning to do… so I guess I’ll leave you be. Can’t wait to see a lot of you this next week in Utah. We’ll have to start making some more solid plans as my weekend’s full but we definitely need to meet up for drinks & sushi or something. Have a great night everybody!!!