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My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Wednesday, January 13

Powerball & State of the Union

A very long time ago lotteries were illegal. They were called “The Numbers Racket,” run by shifty neighborhood mobsters, and appealed mostly to the people who could least afford to spend that buck to get in. Even as late as the turn of this century, “Researchers at Duke University reported that American households spent an average of $162 per year on lottery tickets, but low-income households spent $289 and those with less than $10,000 in income spent $597. Higher lottery purchases also were associated with lower educational attainment and ethnic minorities.” And now we have another frenzy to buy tickets for a ridiculous chance to win a ridiculous sum of money. By the time the powerball numbers are drawn tonight, the total is estimated to be 1.5 billion bucks. That’s a 1 and a 5 with eight zeroes tagging along. I was just at Safeway to pick up a few groceries. There must have been twenty old codgers standing in line to buy one or more powerball tickets. Why? I have no idea why they’d be doing that. Why would anyone, young or old, rich or poor or somewhere in between, need that much money if they won? Prestige? Buy a city? Buy an NFL football team? According to 2005 figures for GNP, that amount of money would be more than the gross national product of 58 nations. Granted, that was ten years ago, and I can’t find any numbers for 2015, but still . . . 58 nations? In 2005, Central African Republic had a GNP of 1.4 billion, then sliding down to Greenland with 1.18 billion, and down again to Liberia with 0.44 billion, and all the way to the bottom with Tokelau having a rip-snorting 0.01 billion (that’s 10 million, a drop in the bucket next to that powerball total). I say, why not throw away the red powerball and just stick with five numbers drawn in any order, then split the 1.5 billion up among whoever has the five numbers. That would make a bunch of people happy with what would probably be well over a hundred million apiece. Who needs more than that?

President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union speech last night. Once again I have to admire his composure and his oral skill. I realize that most of his words are penned by his speech writer, but the ideas he wanted to express were his. The only other president I can think of who delivered addresses every word of which I understood was that other Great Communicator, Ronald Reagan. Thank you, Barack Obama, for giving us nearly eight great years. You saw our country escape from near financial disaster, you gave us some much needed legislation, you helped us grow in racial, religious, and sexual understanding. I’m sorry your hair has gone decidedly gray. You’re still married to the best-looking first lady since Jackie K, maybe even lovelier than Jackie. In another twelve months you’ll be able to heave a big sigh of relief as you step out of your role as President of the greatest nation in the world and move on to other kinds of service to our country.

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Any comments? Write me at jertrav33@aol.com