REALLY … I mean REALLY … Bad Luck

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This morning they are saying 3 folks won the Powerball and will split three ways.  I didn’t know that Puerto Rico was playing, what is the deal, 175 million to 1 odds AND all of Puerto Rico too?  I am throughly convinced there are always two winners on the lottery.

  1. The Federal Government.
  2. The State Government.

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Grandpa’s Winning Ticket

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Twice a week, for literally years, Grandpa Vern would dress up, grab his hat and head on down the road to the local Root N Scoot for a cold “Soadie Pop” as he called them and at that time he always bought two lottery tickets.

Just a short walk, in the open air, and even tho’ age had slowed him down, and he had what he called “a terrible hitch in his giddy-up” he would faithfully make the pilgrimage down the road for the exercise and the dream of winning the lottery. Continue reading

No Longer A King

imagesThis morning I understand that I have been displaced as the undisputed Mega Maniacal Bus Board King of BCM.  This saddens me to some extent, but not much.  I checked out of there a long time ago, and have since, found greener pastures and solace in life. 

ROS is now king, long live ROS.

These days I concentrate on the things I love.  My old bus, “Be ye not the first to try the latest, nor the last to cast the old aside” is what my grandmother used to tell me, something truly special about being the owner of an old hoopie that is no longer in production

The smell of fresh rain on a country road in the summertime.
Songbirds in the tree on the westside of the house
The view from the top of the hill at the Riverside in Laughlin Nevada.

The husky sound of a woman’s laugh in the dark.
Little children at play.
Long stretches of two lane at dusk
the sound of a big Detroit workin a hill outside of Bozeman
fresh popcorn poppin,
mis-spelled words in Bus Conversion Magazines

Setting the Jake and listening to her bark as she drops off the hill.
High-dollar fuel, bad roads, lousy weather, take the edge off life
Aluminum wheels and shaved rivets
crowded truck stops and radared chicken fry’s
polished wheels excite my senses

I like the look of Albuquerque New Mexico after dark from the top of nine mile hill …
Same with Las Cruces and The College Exit in Henderson Nevada.
Porpoising on the Interstate in Wyoming, running I-20 east out of Houston.

Winning lottery tickets
(Hey … This is my whimsical dream, remember that.)
“It’s all downhill from Van Horn Texas.”
(Yeah sure)

Diesel mechanics who smile and say, “Ah, this aint nuthin.”

Halter tops and cut off Levi’s
Bacon fryin and the smell of burnt toast in the kitchen
(There you go Paul!),
M&M commercials
No one in line ahead of me at the fuel desk
mashed potatoes and dark rich gravy

The smell of diesel exhaust early in the morning
a cup of fresh brewed coffee.
Country Music, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood
NASCAR, CMT Video’s, old time Rock n Roll
long, slow wet kisses in the dark,
Stories told late at night around a dying campfire

Cracker Barrel stores
Chrome shops,
LED’s,
Stainless Steel
the wife humming softly at the kitchen sink
fried apples in thick syrup.

And last:

Meeting another truck on a hill late at night, and he says, “Aint nuthin’ back there driver but a whole lot of dark.” 

All that … is a Windy Winter Day slice of life … Some of it even makes me smile.   As I am now officially aware that I am no longer a King, I shall ply my trade as a humble serf in the bus board Kingdom and stumble happily thru life.

I mean, who need’s all that childish crap?

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The Golden Years

For most Americans, the Lottery is their only real solution to a retirement life of luxury.  The American Dream fell beside the way a long, long time ago.  Our elected officials they promise us change, but unfortunately, our life savings amount to a small coffee can on top of the refrigerator and that is about it.

 Allow me to tell you about the Mexican Fisherman.

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.   “Not very long,” answered the Mexican.

“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs … I have a full life.”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you.”

“You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers.”

“Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?”

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta, and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends!”

Now if you are like most folks you have more month than you have money here lately.  I know that is true in my case, all of the time.  If you have found yourself a little bit short of coin, or outta scrilla as the youngsters say, this might explain it in more detail.

It is an eye opener for sure.

OOO

Life’s Cold Shoulder

I hit another ticket on the lottery, this time it was $18.00.  This month, for some reason, I am on the plus side of the scale on my lottery playing.  Which presents another terrible anxiety in my life, “Will I be too old to spend it when the Big One finally rolls around” and Lady Luck smiles upon me?  

Much as I hate to admit it, things change.  There are no more easy answers, no more low hanging fruit hanging from the tree, each day presents a totally new problem for me it seems.

You see, another birthday has come and gone. 

I am one year older, and my friend Jon says I complain too much.  Bill Cosby once said, “Like everyone else who makes the mistake of getting older, I begin each day with coffee and the obituaries.”  So I have made a concentrated effort to do something different in my life these days. 

The coffee is good this morning, I am savoring it and reading the latest offering on the bus boards, I am not so much into obits.  Often change is hard to embrace, but we need to try.  Like it or not, we all start out as caterpillars and we end up beautiful butterflies  what we do with the rest of it, is our choice.

In the past I have written about the things in my life that effect me negatively, but today it is going to be different.  I am going to try and be upbeat about it all.  In the past I have been known to write with a somewhat remorseful tone or project a sorrowful attitude in salute to the dog days of my life … What optimistic and positive folks call The Golden Years.

One thing I have noticed here lately that is somewhat profound about my golden years is this.  I have long ago become invisible to young women.  They actually do not see me. But I am not writing this to complain. I am at peace with my circumstances. The blessing of sixty-five is a libido in decline.

The curse of it is that major pharmaceutical companies are successfully exploiting my insecurities. Suddenly that surreal commercial of a silver-haired guy sitting nude in an outdoor bath tub and holding hands with a naked, slightly younger voluptuous woman in an adjacent tub makes perfect sense.

To me it does … My wife on the other hand is oblivious to its meaning.

After an ocean of time, we still do not see things the same way.  But it is in the total scheme of things.  I read somewhere that while creating wives, God promised men that good and obedient wives would be found in all corners of the world.

And then He made the earth round.

(See, at this age, you have new found wisdom.)

Sixty-five years old, roughly twice as old as my bus. Ironic, isn’t it?  Incidentally, my bus is, most likely in better shape, as it has had regularly scheduled maintenance during its lifetime.

Not long ago, I met an old tymer (sp.), now this guy was OLD (94) and I was amazed at some of the things that he had seen and experienced in his lifetime.  My life pales in comparison.  Soon I will be just like him I am afraid, starting all of my sentences with “back when I was a kid, or back in the day or I remember when.”

Which is of course … A dead give away.

OOO

You Win Some And You … Well, Y’know.

“I am so happy.  Finally caught a break and did something right for a change, that is a good thang.”

Bought some gasoline for my old truck today, it cost me $57.11 to fill it up, which is a lot of money to most people.  In Egypt they are paying .16 cents per liter, this translates to about .65 cents per gallon U.S..  Every day in this country, huge tankers, filled to the gills with this product are leaving the country and we are paying $3 per gallon?

Something just isn’t right.

Things are not good here in River City, the resident Mayor of BoogerTown lost eight stories that he had written for the website over the weekend.  I inadvertently moved them to the trash along with some old photo’s, did not notice this and then emptied the trash.  Man, that is so disappointing, all of them spell checked, formatted and ready to go and it all went south.

Now it appears that I will have to go back to working for a living.  Computer errors are so unforgiving and at the same time, they often gut you like a fish.  I had over a period of time, worked each one of these, and had them all ready to go, now they are in hard-drive heaven.

Received a new remote for the Dish Network, got it to operate everything with a min. of hassle (actually they were very helpful and that is a refreshing change of pace).  Somewhat timidly, I pointed it towards the box and told it to record, then at the TV, same deal, and everything worked.

I am so happy.

Finally caught a break and did something right for a change, that is a good thang.  If I was doing any better than I currently am, I afraid I would have to pay an amusement tax.

Might be hope for me yet.  I feel as if I am getting more mellow with age, I know this might be hard for some people to understand, but it is true.  This weekend for instance I hit two winning tickets on the lottery, the amount wasn’t all that sizable, about $162 for both tickets.

Now here is the rub.

When I go to cash in the tickets, the girl says to me, “We cannot pay this ticket, it is too much.”  Which is contrary to the rules of the lottery.  The lottery rules clearly state that retailers are NOT allowed to sell tickets unless they can keep a min. of $500 in their respective stores to pay all tickets when presented for amounts less than $600.  So here I stand at another juncture in time, “Do you want to be right or do you wanna be happy?”

Oh yeah, one more thing, I tried a new store for my tickets.  At this store (one I do not usually frequent) there is a sign and it reads:  “This store sold a winning Powerball Ticket for $40,012.00.”  So I asked the clerk, “did they come back and give you a tip?” and she replied, “Yes they did.”  So I said, “How much” and she got this sour look on her face and said, “He gave me a twenty dollar bill.”

What kind of piker does that, when Lady Luck smiles on him like that?

As I clearly do not have an idea as to what the answer might be, I will wrap this up for the day.  I have my own problems to work on … like finding a way to do something about this Libido thing … if I could fix that, I would have it made.

Some folks would of course, see that video as kind of sexist, but I see it as a celebration of the female form.  Anywho, comments are open, take your best shot.

See you at the water cooler.

OOO

Red Man’s Revenge – Cashing In

It appears that the Red Man is getting even with the White Man, at least in Oklahoma he is.  We are now second in the nation for gambling casino’s, we have tax free Indian smoke shops, the lottery in just about every Root N Scoot (convenience store) and our state is alive with gambling in one form or the other. 

State revenues from Indian gaming have soared in recent years, largely due to the success of casinos operated by the Chickasaw, Choctaw and Cherokee nations.  Combined, the three tribes are responsible for 58 percent of the record $118.2 million in gaming fees paid to the state last fiscal year by 30 Indian tribes, according to records obtained from the Office of State Finance.

Now I have to wonder about something?

If you do not have to pay a tax on cigarettes sold on Indian land (sovereign nations) then why do you have to agree to sign a document on Federal Income Tax on casino wins over $1,200.00?

As far back as 1831 the courts have ruled that it had no original jurisdiction in such matters.  This was based on the fact that the Cherokee were a dependent nation, with a relationship to the United States like that of a ward to its guardian. The court ruling can be found here.

Indian casino operators also maintain their own police and/or security, they apparently are above local laws, so why are we required to pay a tribute to the Federal government (I.R.S.) when we win funds that are clearly being generated and disbursed on Indian Land (sovereign nations).  It seems to me that this money is being generated and disbursed outside the United States of America. 

From the perspective of the State, it is good news. 

It is all about the money when it comes to the State.  Oklahoma Indian tribes paid the state a record $118.2 million in gaming fees during fiscal year 2010, which ended June 30.  Indian gaming has become a huge industry in Oklahoma, with tribes generating about $2.9 billion in 2008, according to the 2009-2010 edition of Casino City’s Indian Gaming Industry Report.

Oklahoma surpassed Connecticut in 2008 to become the second leading state in Indian gaming revenues. The $2.9 billion generated here trailed only California, where Indian gaming produced $7.3 billion.  The success of tribal gaming operations and the resulting windfall to the state could not have come at a better time.

During hard times (a bad economy) income drops, the state finds itself missing revenues from many of its traditional funding sources, state officials are now using Indian gaming money to stave off some cuts in state run programs.

Education was to be the primary beneficiary of Indian gaming, some 88 percent of Indian gaming revenue are earmarked for common education funding.  The remaining 12 percent originally was slated for a state higher education scholarship program (which did not happen)  but now goes to the state’s general fund.

Using the current figures, and taking the 12% that is skimmed off the top for the pet projects of the politicians, you realize that this is some serious money.

Now for the player, it is much different.

Okies spend more on gambling than they do on gasoline or alcohol.  Countless thousands of them, young and old, from all walks of life, are “secretly but painfully addicted to the cash cow that is the Indian Casino.”

Players walk up to these slot machines, insert their players card in the slot, and begin losing over and over again, but despite this, Indian gaming continues to not only survive, but grow in our state.

Why do the players continue against such great odds?

Is it for the money, the rush, what is it that compels people to lay down hard earned bucks in tight times, to these machines that are clearly engineered to hold back the highest percentage in their favor?  It seems to be, for me, the item known as the “feature.”  That one in a million chance of lining up all three emblems or symbols on the middle line.  That one elusive thing, that no matter how much you play, you never see.  I suppose that is what makes it so enticing.

The high of getting the feature impels some of us to play for hours, losing hundreds of dollars to win maybe twenty dollars in the end.  Ask any slot player if they have ever lived that scenario and they will shake their head and respond, “over and over, everyday.” 

The feature is to a slot player what caffeine is to coffee.

At least in Missouri they have a daily limit on players, you can only play to a limit of $400 and then your card (a players card that is required to play) will no longer work.  I suppose there are ways around this, if so, I am not familiar with them.

Recently after a huge public outcry on the paltry payouts on slot machines in Oklahoma, the state informed the Indians to “reset the machines for a more reasonable payout geared toward the gamblers” (slowing down the spins on the machines, limiting the bets to $1 or increasing jackpots) or pay a huge multimillion dollar fine.  The Indians in turn said, “Okay, paid the fine, and went back to business as usual.”

Why not?  They have us right where they want us, and all the government in the world aint going to change that one nickel.  Why should they, it is working just fine for them too, and it is all legal.

Unfortunately for the player, that doesn’t make it right.

OOO

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