Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Forget About The Lottery

ALLIANCE: In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other's pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third.
--Ambrose Bierce
The Devil's Dictionary

I have decided to stop buying chances on the lottery. I have been buying a $1 ticket twice a week for both the Mega Millions drawing and a $1 ticket for the Pick drawing for three years. That's enough. I have won $1 and $3 a few times, and once I won $50. Bit that's not good enough.

Recently the Mega Millions changed the numbers so that it is now even harder to win.  (Greedy bastards.)

Yesterday when I handed over my entry cards and my two one dollar bills, $1 for each of the two, the girl put the cards in the machine, handed them back to me, and said, very politely, "That'll be nine dollars please." I said, "Oh, no, it should be two dollars." She pointed to the ticket total readout and said, "See... nine dollars." I shook my head, pointed to the entry card which plainly displayed the entered six numbers for one day's chance only, and said, "See, just one day." Giving me an exasperated look, she said, "But the total says nine dollars, so that's what I have to collect."

I said, "The machine fouled up. The card calls for only one entry... see?"

She said, "Well, I don't know what to do then."

I said, "Well than get somebody who does."

She called another girl over who looked at the card, saw it was pencilled in for one day only, and punched in the same numbers, re-entering them, which of course correctly spit out the proper ticket for one drawing. I paid my $2 and turned to leave, but I caught the first girl rolling her eyes and exhaling a sigh. Evidently, in her mind, I should have paid the nine dollars even though only one chance was indicated. Because that's what the machine had printed out.

That's what happened. But as I was walking home afterward, I thought the whole thing over. And came to the conclusion to stop being a damn fool; I decided to stop buying lottery tickets. Not because some employees are incapable of logic or reason, but because I am better off keeping my four dollars each week ($208 a year) instead of gambling it away.

"It's only logical," as Mr. Spock would say.


Roughly 22,000 Americans have filed appeals with the government because of enrollment errors from Healthcare.gov, but they’re being told the government can’t yet fix the overcharges, or in some cases, outright denials of coverage. I read the above on the Morning Line at the PBS Newshour website,

Then I read more about it at The Washington Post.

The Post article begins with: "Tens of thousands of people who discovered that HealthCare.gov made mistakes as they were signing up for a health plan are confronting a new roadblock: The government cannot yet fix the errors. Roughly 22,000 Americans have filed appeals with the government to try to get mistakes corrected, according to internal government data obtained by The Washington Post. They contend that the computer system for the new federal online marketplace charged them too much for health insurance, steered them into the wrong insurance program or denied them coverage entirely. For now, the appeals are sitting, untouched, inside a government computer."

Read the entire article


QUARTZ - News for February 2, 2014 reveals that South Koreans drink twice as much liquor as Russians and more than four times as much as Americans.

And, saying about the same thing, The New York Times reports that, according to the World Health Organization, South Koreans rank Number 1 in hard liquor consumption.

I wonder why that is. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that these people live in South Korea.


Did You Know . . .?

An elderly Eskimo in the 1950s, in order to escape government settlement made a knife out of his own frozen feces and spittle, killed a dog with it and used its ribs and organs to make a sled, tied it to other dogs and rode off.



On this day in 1974, Patricia Hearst, the 19-year-old daughter of publishing billionaire William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped from her Berkeley, California, apartment. Soon, a ransom demand came from the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), a radical activist group led by Donald DeFreeze. The SLA instructed William Hearst to distribute $70 in food for ever poor person from Santa Rosa to Los Angeles. Hearst agreed to give away $2 million to the poor in Oakland to have Patty released. Afterwards, the SLA demanded an additional $6 million giveaway. Hearst refused and they did not release Patty.

The Hearst story took a strange and unexpected turn two months after the abduction, when the SLA robbed the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco. The surveillance cameras clearly showed that Patty Hearst was one of the machine gun-toting robbers. Soon after followed a taped message from the SLA in which Hearst claimed that she had voluntarily joined the SLA and was now to be known as "Tania."

Patty Hearst was convicted for armed robbery despite her claim that she had been coerced, through repeated rape, isolation, and brainwashing, into joining the SLA but prosecutors believed that she actually orchestrated her own kidnapping. Despite any real proof of this theory, she was convicted and sent to prison. President Carter commuted Hearst's sentence after she had served almost two years. Hearst was pardoned by President Clinton in January 2001.



1. resulting from derivation; derived
2. based on or making use of other sources; not original or primary
3. copied from others, esp slavishly; plagiaristic
4. a term, idea, etc, that is based on or derived from another in the same class



(born February 4, 1947)
Dan Quayle served as the 44th Vice President of the United States, serving with President George H. W. Bush (1989–1993). He served as a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from the state of Indiana.

(Feb 4, 1913 - Oct 24, 2005)
Rosa Parks was an African-American civil rights activist, whom the United States Congress called "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement".  Her birthday, February 4, and the day she was arrested, December 1, have both become Rosa Parks Day, commemorated in the U.S. states of California and Ohio.

(Feb 4, 1923 - Jan 14, 2013)
Conrad Bain was a Canadian-born American actor. His television credits include a leading role as Phillip Drummond in the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes and as Dr. Arthur Harmon on Maude.

(Feb 4, 1918 - 3 Aug 1995)
Ida Lupino was an English-American film actress and director, and a pioneer among women filmmakers. In her forty-eight year career, she appeared in fifty-nine films and directed seven others, mostly in the United States, where she became a citizen in 1948.


I've done the calculation and your chances of winning the lottery are identical whether you play or not.
--Fran Lebowitz



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