A Smorgasbord…of stories/reflections

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2010 at 4:45 am

Where I’m at: Arlington (t-minus 52 days until Brazzaville and t-minus 2 days until Tahoe for Christmas)

What I’m doing: celebrating Christmas a little early with Colleen…who is sweetly wearing her gift from last year (a Patrick Kane Blackhawks jersey), so at least I got her something good once upon a time

Why I’m posting: sometimes I’m just interested in sharing small thoughts to a big world


As it says above, I decided I’d just share a few small thoughts. The first is a story, followed by some song lyrics I heard today that reminded me of our friends leaving and us leaving our friends/family, followed by some random thoughts, followed by something that will follow.

The story:

Sometimes I think I’m a good gambler. Sometimes I think I’m not. But what’s evident based on the results of my life thus far is that I’m lucky.

About one year ago, I think I got really lucky. As people from my part of Ohio know – or at least as my family knows – a lot of people buy instant lottery tickets. My family is certainly no exception. And really, it’s pretty harmless. One time I scratched off a $500 winner, but most of the time the tickets my grandma puts in our stockings or Easter baskets aren’t winners. But like the Ohio lottery says, “Odds are, you’ll have fun,” which we do. Well about this time last year, as I headed back to Dayton for the holidays, my mom was on an instant lottery ticket hot streak. She claims that she was struck with the notion to buy a scratch-off. Well, that ticket won a few dollars. And as is the usual practice for our family, most of those dollars (all in this case), go to buying more tickets to keep the fun going. Those new tickets turned into a few more dollars, which turned into a few more tickets. By the time we came to town, my mom was holding onto a winning ticket for $10 and a winning ticket for $1, having pocketed maybe twice that already. She told us to take it and cash it or get new tickets or whatever we felt like.

So my brother, wife, and I headed over to cash in the winners. The rational “gambler” in me always says to just take the money and not more 1:10 chance tickets. But probably because there were two tickets, we were swayed to take the $10 and get one more ticket with the other winner. That ticket ended up winning $20. Now, $30 richer, we were persuaded by my mom to take the winning money with us out to Tahoe for Christmas (where we were headed a couple days later). We did, fully intending to just put $30 on RED (never again on black…if you don’t understand this reference, check out the link to our honeymoon blog below).

Fast forward to a few days later and all the various Hogan-descended-family cousins and siblings found ourselves at the casino. After a poor outing trying to count cards at the blackjack table, I decided to take the $30 (plus a few more) and sit down at the poker table for a minute. As usually happens at the casino poker table, I won, but this time I won a lot and fast. Because of the circumstances, I was now persuaded to create a sort of gambling slush fund for the various march madness, baseball, and fantasy football pools I would do over the course of 2010.

Fast forward again to the end of 2010 and what has become of that slush fund? Well, I used some to enter and win a couple march madness pools. And then I used some to enter a baseball pool, which I won. I used some to pay for my fantasy football league, where I’m in the finals this week (facing a $500 prize! You’re going down Joe’s Burgles!). And as some of the checks have come in, they’ve gone into other “investments,” like a huge bowl of change that I bought from my buddy tonight, which will inevitably turn out to be a good deal.

But the point of this story isn’t to show that some lucky dollar that fell into my mom’s and then my hands a year ago has brought me such gambling goodness. The point, rather, is that this lucky dollar brought such goodness generally. From that some fund, hundreds of dollars of donations have been made to a couple charities and individuals in need. The opportunity to participate in these fun activities has kept me in close contact with friends even far away. And inevitably, it has kept me cognizant of my own luck, which I hope has made me a happier person, more grateful son, more supporter husband, and better friend. So yeah, I guess I was lucky.


The lyrics:

As I’ve bemoaned before, a lot of our friends are leaving. Not just from where we are, but where we were. We left, too, and left behind great friends. Of course, we’re sad to be leaving our families soon, too, at least in the physical sense. The theme here is leaving. These are some of the songs that came up on my mp3 player today related to that (don’t make fun of the (cough) “variety”).

1. Billy Joel, Say Goodbye to Hollywood

“So many faces in and out of my life
Some will last
Some will just be now and then
Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes
I’m afraid it’s time for goodbye again”

2. Third Eye Blind, Summer Town

“All we are are friends we keep or lose in time
Fade away, the precious ones we keep in mind
I wonder now if I’m the one that you’d leave behind.”

3. Voxtrot, The Start of Something

“Is this the end or just the start of
Something really, really beautiful
Wrapped up and disguised as something really, really ugly,
Won’t you…
Come by and see me, I’m a love letter away”

The random thoughts:

Next to the voices of my wife or my brother answering the phone, I think my favorite voice to hear in the world is Regina Spektor’s. It’s just…I don’t know…beautiful, I guess. Plus, I bet she’s a fun person. Regina, if you read this, give me a call.

– Tied with every other Cincinnati Red ever, Joey “MVP” Votto is my favorite baseball player right now. And he’s Canadian. And I think we could share a lot about getting over the grief of losing a father suddenly. Joey, you should also call me.

– And finally (for now), I realize blogging is a bit “Web 2.0,” but I generally skip new internet social media, particularly facebook. That said, I bought in on Linked In a long time ago, before I realized it was also a social media tool (rather than purely a business tool). Until two days ago, I had only accepted invitations and never sent one. But I just sent my first…and to who else but #1 himself, President Obama. Sir, I listed that we had a personal connection since we tangentially worked together on something once upon a time, and I also called your personal cell on accident. Plus, we were already second-degree contacts. So I’d love it if you, too, would give me a call (or just accept my invitation). And for any that were wondering, I’m apparently also a 2nd-degree contact with Sarah Palin (though thankfully only by one contact…really, Tom Lacny?! Sheesh). And yes…I am connected by fewer than 6 degrees (3 actually) to Kevin Bacon.


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