Friday, October 28, 2005

Powerball coming to Oklahoma!

I have just learned that Oklahoma, which recently started a lottery, will be joining Powerball in January 2006. Am I excited? Well yes and no. I am excited at the prospect of having the chance of winning millions in Powerball, but I am not so excited that my sense of reality is skewed. Nevertheless, the chance does exist. So to prepare I Googled the term "lottery winner financial advisor" and got the site http://www.note.com/note/pp/jackpot.html. Very common sense information on how to prepare for winning a major lottery prize, and stay grounded in the fact that your chances of winning are a bit better than getting hit by Haley's Comet.

Now being from a state steeped in Southern Baptist culture, I constantly hear the call of the lottery detractors. Poor people will waste money on the lottery. The money could be better used for investing, or consuming real products. It's just a band aid for financing education and not a real fix. All of these are valid arguments against the lottery, but until the Southern Baptist population in Oklahoma can get the lottery repealed, I'm a playa baby.

Why should I throw good money after bad, as some would say? Well, someone has to win, and I stand as good a chance as any. So let's get down to the nitty gritty and decide what to do with the money.

First of all I would definitely take the lump sum prize. I would take a couple weeks leave of absence from my job and begin to assemble my advisory team. I mean every respectable multimillionaire must have an advisory team right? I would then go to Bill Clinton and offer him $100,000 for that cigar; I'm kidding he can keep it. With the assistance of my new financial advisor, I would begin to invest the money to ensure a minimum return equal to what I currently earn. That way I know my current lifestyle will be covered. The rest of the money will then be used, abused, and perused for further investment opportunities that will focus on aggressive growth. Since I am now a multimillionaire, and have secured my current lifestyle, I can do this. I will only make decisions on new purchases, vacations, etc. on the return on investments made with my "seed" capital. Yes, this should be substantial (I would hope).

So, after the first full year of investment returns, after paying my crack team of advisors, taxes, and other expenses (such as strippers, rock and roll bands for parties, and liquor bill) I will splurge with the best of them. A six month vacation to Europe, Africa, and Asia in my own private jet sounds nice. How about a vacation home on every continent? I have my eye on a Bugatti Veyron (1.25 million dollar automobile that tops out at 253 mph). I will buy a very large house somewhere in the Midwest or Mountain states area, maybe both. I am a lover of good wine and good cuisine, so I will make it a point to hit a five star restaurant each week. My new personal chef will have a very nice budget with which we will be entertaining many friends and family on a nightly basis. I will take up golf. I will buy a yacht. Much of my investing will involve real estate in many different parts of the world. These different residences can be used as time shares for the less rich than I will be; yet you will still need to be quite well off to afford a week at one of them. Of course, depending on the size of my prize, I may not be able to do all of this.

In addition to an aggressive investing regimen for my money, I will personally visit each of my relatives and discuss there current and future needs. As I will be generous with my family, I will not be extravagant. If my cousin needs a couple grand to fix his car, he will get a couple grand to fix his car, not a new car. A house for my mom and brothers, with a new car for each. That's it, no more. They wouldn't expect more, I am sure. My nephew would not have to pay for college. My relatives will have the opportunity to travel with me at their convenience. I will not do anything to disrupt their lives with my good fortune, and I will try hard not to flaunt my new found fortune. Of course, depending on how young I am upon winning Powerball, I will focus on financial growth. When I feel comfortable that my investments have matured, I may then go into filthy rich mode. Hit the World series, Super Bowl, Oscars, Olympics. Become a globetrotter, jetsetter, or world traveler. But above all this be philanthropic. I know you've been waiting for this.

How much should I set aside for philanthropy? Well, that really depends on several factors. First and foremost being what my financial advisor says will reduce my burden to Uncle Sam the most. Then I will begin to interview and assess the many organizations in need. I would like to give to as many as possible, but I would also like to make as much of a difference for my fellow planetary and local citizen as possible. At least 50% of philanthropic finances will stay within my community. The Other fifty will be divided depending on my preferences between local, state, national, and international organizations. I guess you could say I have left the best for last, because that would be my endowments. Depending on how well my investments have performed, I would like to leave 50% to my children. Of the other 50%, half will be split among my living relatives outside of my immediate family, and the other half will be put into a trust to be used to continue my philanthropic efforts.

I know this was very involved, but the site said have a plan. So this is it. Let's go Powerball!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

An Open Letter to the ACLU:

The ACLU is no longer a defender of freedoms but a defender of all things unAmerican. Your attacks on religion, patriotism, and conservatism are in direct opposition of your own stated mission. Your support of foreigners, terrorists, and other anti-American factions is on the verge of seditious.

I have known for years the ACLU is diverging from the path of "Americana" under the guise of defending Constitutional rights. This is a farce and a travesty to the rights of the majority in this country. Because, as much as the ACLU likes to use the individual as their tool, it is a fact that the Constitution defines the Majority as the rulers of this nation. The ACLU attacks on laws and policies that are supported by the Majority of Americans is as Unconstitutional as lawmakers passing laws that support religion or suppress the media. And to use non-Americans, especially ones that would love to see this country destroyed, in its grievances is even more insulting to Americans.

Your uncovering of statements of abuses against the Koran made by the terrorists being held at Guantanamo is ridiculous in the least. Are you so gullible as to believe these haters of freedom and democracy? The very things you claim to protect. Has the ACLU lost any form of objectivity? It is fundamentally illogical to take the word of any person who's motive is to seek the destruction of your society as anything but false.

Have you any other sources to validate these claims other than the FBI interviews of terrorists? Until you come up with any, it may be in the best interest of the ACLU to publicize them. Otherwise, it will be the opinion of this American, and many others, that the ACLU is anything but American, Civil, or for Liberty.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I like sports

Let me start by saying that I work nights. I get to see my daughter right before school, right after school, and on the weekends. She is involved in Tennis now during the week, so I usually do not get a chance to watch her practice. This morning however, my wife was beckoning me. I went to see what she was so excited about and was surprised to see a video of my daughter practicing tennis. My daughters nanny has a video recorder on her cell phone and recorded it for us, how nice. Well, needless to say, she was doing great.

She has been practicing tennis since last summer when she begged us to let her join a group lesson. My wife and I were both very athletic as youth, and our daughter is so full of energy we thought it would be great. She fell it love with the sport right away, but not for long. After about four months of group lessons she started to become bored with it. She said she didn't like it anymore. I was a little upset because not only did she display some aptitude for the sport, she had been so enthusiastic to begin with. I asked her why she wanted to quit. "It's too hard", she told me. I could understand. When I was about nine my dad and brothers and I went to see an amature boxing match. We, the boys, all begged our father to let us join a boxing club. Fortunately there was one in the town near where we lived. We joined, it was hard, I didn't like it for a while. My dad told me to stick with it, I would get better, and eventually see how fun the sport could be. He was correct in all three. Although I wasn't a gold glove, I got better. I won most of my matches, and actually scored a couple of KO's. But I think what it taught me most was to never give up.

So, I sat my daughter down and told her this: "Keep playing until next summer. If you still feel like you don't like it, you can quit." As I watched the video of my daughter practicing, I was delighted. She was 'into it' and looked so much better. Her focus on the game was inspiring. I mean really an eight year old with that kind of focus was simply impressive. It also showed me she really wants to get better. She is not talking about quitting anymore and seems to have enthusiasm for every practice. Oh yeah, we also started her on private lessons so I think that helped. Some of the things I like about my daughter playing a sport, or any child for that matter, follow. First, it keeps her active; she's not at home playing video games or messing around on the computer. Second, she's made friends there; these friends are the kind that could last a lifetime. Why? They obviously have at least one thing in common. Finally, sports teach more that just how to play. They teach focus and determination. They teach responsibility in following rules and being fair. And probably most important, they teach confidence.

I wanted to keep this short, but hey that's not easy to do when ideas flow but I will finish here. Parents, get your kids involved with some activity. It doesn't have to be sports. My daughter is also very interested in art, chess, and acting. I try to give her the opportunity to learn as much extracurricular stuff as possible. Get your kids off the couch and off the Playstation, it teaches them little. Children who are involved in activities learn social skills as well as the activity skill. They learn lessons that will carry throughout their lives.

Monday, April 18, 2005

A new journey of journaling

I have always wanted to start a journal of some kind. A place where I could dump some overly serious brain usage onto some white space with minimal worry or guilt. I have always had an active mind in that it is constantly working on some piece of information that flew in either arbitrarily or directly. It's the arbitrary ones that usually have me worked up by the end of the day. The ones that may not really affect me personally but appeal to my emotion or sense of reason.

Kind of like the anniversary of the Murrah building bombing here in Oklahoma City. I wasn't hurt or injured in the bombing, no relatives killed or injured not even an acquaintance of an acquaintance. So why would I even have an opinion on the subject? Well, because it happened in my back yard, per se, and it very well could have hurt me. The person (or persons) who planted the bomb (or bombs) that destroyed that building also destroyed something else in people that were not physically touched by it. They destroyed their sense of security. For months and for some even years they couldn't let their children out of their sight for even a fraction of a second for fear of losing them. They looked upon any stranger and any suspicious vehicle with a sense of distrust and even apathy.

The tearing down of trust among people and communities is in my opinion one of the worst effects and probably one of the top priorities of terrorism. The dead may be mourned, the injured may heal, but trust is something that keeps a city, state, or nation tied together. It is the glue of our society, and when it is compromised it causes us to look upon our neighbors with suspicion and malice. Fortunately, in the case of Oklahoma City there was such an outpouring of assistance not only from within the community, but also from other parts of the nation that our sense of trust may have been somewhat bolstered by the event. We as a community came together and in many cases started for the first time to actually go out into our communities to get to know our neighbors; if not for the simple reason that we learned we must rely on each other in such a tragedy. So, the terrorist has motives that in some cases become turned on them in the end.

We see this happening in Iraq more often. I have read several accounts of Iraqi citizens, fed up with these insurgents, taking matters into their own hands. An article recently recounted that several citizens of a Baghdad community killed some insurgents and wounded several others because they were tired of them shooting at passing cars and innocent people. These citizens fear finally morphed into anger and eventually action. The insurgents in Iraq should beware.

In Oklahoma City, terrorism brought our community closer. I believe Oklahomans are friendly and helpful anyway, but we can also at times be wary or suspicious of those we are not familiar with. After the Murrah bombing, many of us made it a point to reach out to our community and become involved with our neighbors and cities. This creates a community that is trusting yet secure because when someone or something threatens it, the word gets spread very quickly and our authorities are better supported in dealing with the threat.

Terrorism will eventually be defeated. It may take decades and many of our service members will pay the ultimate price for defending our nation against it. But I think terrorism's ultimate demise may not lay in the plans of generals but in the hearts of citizens. Humans everywhere will eventually realize that the terrorist is not a militant. That their actions have no real target but our psyches. And this will eventually make the terrorist the ultimate target. They will eventually become the bane of societies around the globe. Radicalism in any aspect of society will remain, hopefully the belief that only violence will further their cause will cease to exist.

These are the thoughts and meanderings of a common citizen. Thank you for letting me share them.