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This is the archive for March 2006

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Schenectady, NY -- On Monday morning, Lucinda Gottshalk still radiates excitement from her recent realization that she would win last weekend's PowerBall Lottery.

"I told all my friends. Most of them thought I was being silly, but I think they were just jealous".

Armed with her new-found knowledge, she went down to the grocery store with the intent of carrying out an ambitious plan to make her dreams come true.

"I went into the Piggly Wiggly to do my grocery shopping, but all I could think about was getting to the checkout line and buying my tickets."

She reports that she on had managed to collect $63.72, $50.00 of which was her family's weekly grocery budget. The rest she had brought in small change she had found in the sofa cushions and the pockets of her husband's overalls while doing laundry. Through a combination of frugal shopping and self-discipline, she managed to purchase 26 tickets at $1.00 a piece.

"I scrimped a little bit on the food, but hey, once we're millionaires, we'll be able to eat anything we want, at any restaurant in town. Anyway, the kids don't mind eating macaroni and cheese every day. They like it."

She tried to talk her husband and even co-workers into investing in her sure thing, but they all declined.

"The other girls, well, they didn't know the opportunity they had. My husband is still in the doghouse as far as I'm concerned, that bastard. Said he had to get his truck fixed to get to work on Monday. Who cares about that broken down truck? Once we win, we can get a brand new truck, one for each of us. And it's not like he's going to need that dirty job down at the plant once we're on easy street!"

Her husband says that he also cited a need to make payments on their two-bedroom single-wide home, an objection his wife dismissed out of hand saying that such a residence is "beneath them now". She points to her husband's inability to provide an appropriate income to the family as impetus for her increased interest in the lottery.

"If he wasn't such a bum and could learn to make more money, we'd already have enough money to have nice things. I've always tried to do my part, I've put every extra dollar I could find in our measly budget toward things to try to improve the lives of this family".

She listed a popular real-estate course, several promising marketing web sites, and years of hopeful lottery purchases as among her attempts to gain more income.

"Those would have worked if he had just supported me in them. But no, he always had something better to spend the money on, like fixing up that old dump we live in, or just letting it rot in the bank, of all places, instead of putting that money to work for us and our children."

Gottshalk also dismissed criticism that the odds are so astronomical that any hopes of winning are futile at best. She says that co-workers at the beauty shop, where she works as a part-time bookkeeper, were trying to undermine her hopes.

"The other girls at the shop told me it was just wishful thinking. Some even tried to show me statistics. All that math stuff is beyond me. What does that have to do with real life, and with the fact that I know I am going to win? They're just trying to hold me back, they don't want to see me get better than them. Everyone who wins says they had a feeling, and knew they would win. Well, now, it's my turn. I have that same feeling, and my mother told me to always trust my feelings. I can't lose."

Gottshalk was not discouraged by the fact that she didn't actually win this weekend's PowerBall.

"I watched the drawing on TV, so I could root as hard as possible for my numbers. I didn't want to leave anything to chance. And I was really close. I had three of the six numbers on two of my tickets, and was only four away from the PowerBall number on another one. We could have won if my stingy husband would have just let me buy ten or twenty more tickets. Now that I've got some practice, I'm sure I'll do better next time."

She vows to try even harder next week, and that she will buy as many tickets as she can, even if it means selling off prized family heirlooms on eBay or sneaking into her husband's wallet for a few extra dollars.

"Our family is in a desperate situation. I don't know how my husband could have let it get this way, but now I'm going to have to do something. I just know, as God is my witness, that I will win next week. The excitement I feel from that knowledge is indescribable. I wish everybody could feel it. But only a few people can win, so not everybody can share what I have."

Gottshalk is sure that her new strategy of using her grandparent's birthdays and her childhood phone number to choose numbes will give her the edge she needs to beat out the competition. Her husband is more skeptical.

"I've got a little stash where she'll never find it. I used what may be my last dollar to buy one bullet."

He would not comment if his last bullet was for her, of if he was saving it for himself.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Billy understated it

I watched most of "Grizzly Man" the other day. Horrified doesn't quite describe it, but it's the only word I have that gets close. Not only was Treadwell insane, quite literally so, but no-one in that move had a full grasp of reality. Even the narrator/filmmaker was just holding on by his fingernails.

I expected a movie full of liberal propoganda, but this was so much beyond that that politics isn't even an issue anymore. Not only Treadwell himself, but his ex-girlfriend and some doctor or scientist type whose name and relation to the story I missed were particularly horrific.

Watching this, I saw three people (and a few bit players) who were well along in the process of becoming animals. Not vicious, dangerous animals, but timid, scared animals without even claws and instinct to guide and protect them. It's hard to explain fully, there's no rational analogy to even relate it to. The most common facial expression was some kind of pleading stare that the camera held for long seconds, as if it was some profound window into their souls. Except that it was more like looking into the windows of an abandoned house containing no furniture or decor, only a few discarded trinkets to indicate that a person had ever been there.

The word that comes to mind for that stare is supplication. It was, as literally as I've ever seen it, a look of complete and conciously intentional helplessness. If you want to see the logical end of the idea of selflessness - not as generosity or good will, but as abandoning the self, the very idea of self - look into those faces for as long as you can stand it. That is the look they want all of us to walk around with every day.

There's no way to fully convey this in words. Words presume reason, concepts, a reality for them to refer to. That's not possible in describing this, there's no point of connection on which to attach words. It has to be seen directly, not to understand it - that is not possible - but to provide an ostensive example of something that can't be defined, or even conceived of, any other way. It's a vision of hell.