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The last year of single digits in our house!

Nine years ago, I held a blank journal in my hands and promised the gooey alien freshly spat from wife’s vagina that I would write a letter to him every day. Today the alien can read but fortunately is far more interested in watching Youtube videos of people playing Minecraft narrated by fowl mouthed f-bomb dropping cynics than seeking out my digital drivel. While the dusty journal remains devoid of entries, fear not son, I have left a virtual trail of embarrassing photographs, stories and videos to provide you and your future therapist countless hours of recurring couch sessions. Happy Birthday! You mean the world to me! (and please quit cursing behind our backs)

[Dear reader, They grow up fast. Set the excuses aside and spend time with them lest you role play a Harry Chapin ballad. And the ‘cursing behind our backs’ was a joke.]

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Last week of school

This week represents the last 2 and a half days of school for Knox County students. So naturally they are working hard to prepare the students for their rising grade by showing them 2.5 days of movies, video games, and socializing.

I would love to see 2.5 days of fine tuning study skills, personal time management, and lateral thinking puzzles.

That said, drivers be alert. You are about to see children in places at times you don’t expect them.

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Awkward parent moment

Tonight’s awkward moment of reading aloud to your 8 year old brought to by Neil Gaimen in Stardust. I hesitated as I read with enthusiasm, "and her tongue slid into his mouth" but I bravely pressed on, "his hand felt her small breasts through the silk of her dress" huh? "touched the hard nubs of her nipples" Now wait a minute! Did I just read that out loud to my 8 year old boy in the presence of my eleven year old girl?! I flip the soft porn over and examine the back cover for an age recommendation. There is an S in a triangle which I presume means safe but I read the next paragraph to myself and skipped reading aloud the parts about arching, pushing, exulting, and not pulling out because she held him inside her with her legs wrapped around him.

Skipping to the next safe paragraph, I continue reading to my children.

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Today’s accomplishment — iPod brought back to life!

For Christmas, Amy and Evan received iPods. About three weeks ago, Evan’s iPod was in his coat pocket when the coat went through the washing machine. Fortunately it was discovered before going through the dryer. I immediately pried the case open (it is held together with a glue strip) and removed the screws holding the mother board in to lift it for slightly for drying. I grabbed a Tupperware container and put the open device in it, covered with a papertowel, then poured two pounds of rice into the container. Next I went to Amazon to order five new adhesive strip stickers. Today I applied the adhesive strips, replaced all the screws, and snapped the screen back onto the iPod and it started right up! Knock on wood, it appears to be performing as new!

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From the mouths of babes

Evan, 7 years old: "A boy in my class said that all the money his dad had was $2. And his dad gave it to him!"

This could be a seven year old misinterpretation. For example, I have $5 in my wallet right now but that’s it and I could see my seven year old saying, "This is Dad’s last $5 and he gave it to me!" The sad truth is that most of us are one paycheck away from being homeless. Good fiscal planning suggests keeping three to six paychecks in savings but if $2 is all you have and your son needs that for lunch then saving anything is going to be impossible. The problem snowballs. Let’s say the $2 dad wants to feed his family and didn’t turn to Fish. Instead he knows he gets paid on Friday and since this is Thursday, he skates a check at the grocery hoping it won’t clear until after his deposit. But the bank processes the check first. Now $2 dad is faced with a $36 fee from the bank plus a $25 fee from the grocery store. $61 vanishes from the budget which is already not making it. Now the next pay period will be even harder. This is the poverty cycle.

I read something astounding yesterday.

The world’s 100 richest people earned a stunning total of $240 billion in 2012 – enough money to end extreme poverty worldwide four times over

[Source, RT.com, World’s 100 richest earned enough in 2012 to end global poverty 4 times over]

Read that closely. One hundred people could change the world.

"The richest 1 percent has increased its income by 60 percent in the last 20 years with the financial crisis accelerating rather than slowing the process."

[Source, RT.com, World’s 100 richest earned enough in 2012 to end global poverty 4 times over]

More power to them! I would love to increase my income by 60%. I would love to taste the lifestyles of the rich and famous. However, read it closely. "[T]he financial crisis accelerating rather than slowing the process." Why? Because in the past 20 years the tax laws and other laws have been skewed in favor of the rich. It’s the opposite of Robin Hood. The rich are robbing from the poor to give to the rich. Cutting off welfare programs will not suddenly make the poor responsible and bring them out of poverty; cutting off welfare programs will make the poor dead…which I suppose does end poverty.

I did not mean to politicize this. My point was that a lot of people, normal people, are struggling. It is amazing that 100 people in the world could dramatically change that 4 fold. And yes, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and others are already donating their wealth for good. I hope we can reach a point where no child ever has to say "$2 is all my dad has" again.