AP Story from Rhode Island about a couple, near retirement age, who've won a large lottery prize and decided to take the lump sum payment, as opposed to the annual annuity installment. Thus, instead of about one hundred and fifty million dollars, after taxes et al (and it's the 'et al' that adds up in the end) they'll receive about 51 million dollars (almost typed 'only' but then my fingers started laughing). The husband offered as his explanation for the decision "at our age we don't even buy green bananas."
Last shopping weekend before Christmas on Tuesday and the newspapers say it's been a grim season for retailers. I'm not sure if that's in comparison to other years, or as an absolute measurement. We have more people going to bed hungry and homeless this year than we did last year. We have more men and women in uniform risking their lives in faraway places than we had last year, and more killed and wounded in action than we had this time a year ago and that shows no signs of changing.
One of the local newspapers, sponsors of a holiday toy drive, allows potential recipients to sign up on line to receive presents for their children. I'm not sure if universal computer access is, indeed, so universal that having a computer is no longer a sign of some affluence (I know if Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had their ways, computers would be another household appliance and would be regarded as such). My computer is so old, it was on the airplane Wilbur and Orville flew at Kitty Hawk and runs on coal. Or not.
Many years ago I had a colleague, Barbara Gallant, who had a sign on her desk that captures today, and tomorrow, perfectly: "I am now starving to death on the salary I once dreamed of making."