|From KIRO TV, Bellingham marina fire|
I watched the pundits on the PBS Newshour discuss the possible fate of Obama's healthcare package and tried to quell the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach at the possibility that the Supreme Court might take us back to Square One, or worse. Frankly, I simply had to look at other news, like what is going on in Afghanistan and Syria to put what is happening here into perspective. At least I don't have to worry about being shot in the street here. Oh right: it's not safe here either in many parts of the country, where you could be walking home from the store and lose your life. I finally had to turn off the TV and stop watching.
However, the news I follow on my computer gadgets kept me interested in the lottery drawing, which had reached over $600 million by the weekend, and people were lining up for hours outside stores in order to pour out almost $2 billion in exchange for the possibility of becoming a jackpot winner. On Facebook, I saw that my niece spent $20 on the lottery, which she could afford, but what about those poor people who couldn't afford it and spent every dime they had for the chance to win? I find it interesting that, after weeks with no winner, three winning numbers were drawn (one each in Kansas, Maryland, and Illinois). I think the odds of winning are something like one in 176 million, but still people spent all that time standing in line hoping they might be one of them.
What happens to people who win the lottery? "After they win the jackpot, most of them self-destruct and they end up much more unhappy than they were before," says Dr. Tom Manheim, who offers financial therapy in Solana Beach, Calif. "It's really kind of a sad state of our economy where we think that money, once again, is going to bring us happiness and it doesn't." Yes, having a lot of money, especially suddenly like that, is not all it's cracked up to be. I suspect that my niece would have spread it around and probably would not have been harmed by it, but she's got a very level head on her shoulders.
On Friday, when I went to the coffee shop before heading to the gym, the talk was about the fire that had erupted at the marina. On the way to the bus, I saw helicopters overhead and wondered about them, but I couldn't see any reason for their presence. Once I got to the coffee shop and learned about the fire, my fisherman friend Gene suggested I pull out my iPad and see if there was any news about what was happening, and I found a local news station explaining that the 2-alarm fire was still blazing. After the roof caught, it caused the fire to spread rapidly. Gene told me that most of those kinds of boats have fuel on board that can explode, which seems to have happened. Nobody knows yet why the fire started, maybe they never will know. It had been raining for days and everything was saturated, but still the fire raged uncontrolled. The city of Bellingham had decommissioned their old fire boat last year and had not replaced it because of the cost.
Finally, I gave up and decided to spend my time reading novels. But what did I choose? The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, since the buzz about the movie has me interested in going to see it. The books (three of them) are "young adult" fiction about a dystopian future where teenagers' names are drawn from a lottery and they are sent to the Capitol to fight to the death. What in heaven's name makes these books suitable fare for young adults? I, however, couldn't put the first book down, and of course I wanted to know what happened to the protagonist, Katniss (played by Jennifer Lawrence in the movie), and I'll be heading to the theater sometime this week to see it. And I have to admit that I devoured the second and third books in two days (I do that sometimes), finishing the third one yesterday evening. I read all three books on my iPad, and I was pleased to find how easy it is to use the Kindle for iPad feature.
By the time I closed my iPad and contemplated the ruins of Panem (the Hunger Games world), I was saturated with both real AND fictional worlds, ready for dinner, and curious about what my dreams would tell me last night. I woke this morning after having struggled in my dreams for what seemed like days trying to make the perfect flan. I almost had it ready for the oven when I woke up.
My usual Sunday morning activity is writing in this blog first thing, while the news of the world awaits publication of this post. Before long, I'll know what the world of today, 1 April 2012, is coming to.