I’m going to ramble on a lot of topics today, so bear with me.  Or stop reading.  The choice is yours.

If I Had Two Million Dollars, I’d Be Poor …

Leroy Fick on Michigan won $2 million on a television show affiliated with the Michigan lottery in 2010.  A year later, he’s on food stamps.  Has he fallen on hard times?  Well, lottery winnings are considered assets, but not income, are aren’t used to determine eligibility for assistance.  Federal guidelines DO use assets to determine eligibility, but Michigan (and at least 40 other states) have a waiver that allows them to ignore assets.  I’m sure that the thought process behind the waiver was well-intentioned (perhaps so that you wouldn’t have to sell your house to buy bread if you were laid off?), but I suspect that nobody ever dreamed that a lottery winner would apply for assistance.  The state is not aware of any other lottery winners receiving food stamps, and is quickly moving to close the loophole.

I think (hope) many of us would feel very blessed if we won the lottery, and use some of that money to help others – instead of taking money out of public coffers (although I guess that’s one way to reover what you’ve paid in taxes).

How does a lottery winner have no investment income, you ask? Easy. Put to money into investment funds that don’t pay dividends. You don’t have any income until you sell.


The general manager of the Washington Nationals has indicated that 18 year old prospect Bryce Harper will not play in the Major Leagues this year, not even as a “September call-up” when rosters are expanded to 40 players on September 1.  This seems like a smart move.  Unless the Nationals are in contention late in the year, there’s no reason to rush Harper’s development.  He’s demolishing low-A pitching right now, and would expect him to be promoted to high-A soon, and probably to AA before the end of the year.  However, he still needs to polish some of his skills, and a 2012 debut makes a lot of sense.

On the topic of talented youngsters, I’m pegging Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro as a lock for 3000 hits.  Castro has a lot of things going for him – not only is he young (21), but he hits in the early part of the order and doesn’t walk much (both of which boost his at bats).  As long as he doesn’t develop much power, he could be in the 1 or 2 hole in the order for many years to come, and if he doesn’t walk much he might make a push for 700 at bats some years.  You only need a .286 batting average to get 200 hits in 700 at bats.  If he stays healthy at consistently hits above 300, you might even see Castro make a run at 4000 hits.

Giants fan Bryan Stow remains in the hospital after he was beaten severely by two men at Dodger Stadium on March 31.  Despite a $200,000 reward and composite drawings of the two attackers, they have not been apprehended.  I find it unlikely that nobody knows who the attackers are, and I hope someone comes forward.  How can you sleep at night if you know who is responsible for this terrible crime?  I have as much hatred for the Giants as anyone, but it’s absolutely crazy to carry things this far.  We can have healthy rivalries without violence.  Best wishes, Bryan.

Jim Tressel

Ohio State will not be paying the legal expenses football coach Jim Tressel incurs as part of an ongoing NCAA investigation.  This seems perfectly fair, since Tressel kept the university in the dark, rather that taking the correct steps of informing his athletic director and compliance director when he learned of potential violations.  I’m hoping to see the NCAA drop the hammer hardon Tressel … but I’m not overly confident in the NCAA, given their spotty decision-making history.

Fiction status

I’m going to cut back on my short stories for a while. I’ll still try to write 2 stories per month for the site. I’ll likely shift those stories to Saturday and have a different type of article on Fridays.

The first class of my fiction school wrapped up. There were several delays, most of them caused by me. However, it was a very rewarding experience. My job ended up being a lot more difficult than I imagined, simple because of the relatively high level of polish the writers exhibited. I was expected to have to point out more flaws in technique, but the three writers in the class put forward some very fine work. Maybe you’ll see some of their work on this site in the future.

I’m working to get some traction on my novel (which is why I’m cutting back on stories a bit). I recently wrote a new beginning for the book – a prologue that shows the villain planning for the evil that will come. The prologue had gotten rave reviews … now I just need to write 90,000+ more words to finish the book.

New Logo

The parent organization for The Soap Boxers, Hyrax Publications LLC, has a new logo.  Scroll to the bottom to see it.  It’s a bit minimalist, but I like it.