$18k down, First 5 fumble, a wide hobby world and a sapphire-special casino night

Drum roll, please, for this statement from the Garlic Festival Board of Directors regarding missing revenue: “Since the discovery of missing funds from a ticket booth, the 2012 Garlic Festival Board of Directors has chosen to address this incident as a criminal matter and defer comment to the Gilroy Police Department. This incident will in no way impact the total revenue distribution to participating non-profit organizations.” Batten down the hatches. So, GPD, how many interviews have been conducted? In the department’s view, is there clear evidence of a theft? Have the suspect(s) been contacted? Is the District Attorney’s office reviewing the facts? What are the facts thus far? If answers to these basic questions would “compromise” the investigation, please explain how that’s the case. and they should be given as much information as possible as soon as it’s available.

Available always are competitors to play a game called Words with Friends on your phone. I downloaded the free app, so I get ads every time I make a word play. As a taxpayer, I gagged when I saw that a government funded program, First 5 California, is buying ads that pop up on  Words with Friends. It’s unbelievable how government can bastardize and freely spend tax money. First 5 came into being when voters approved Prop. 10 in 1998, creating the California Children & Families Commission – known as First 5 for its focus on the first five years of childhood development, according to California Watch. Funds come from a 50-cent tax on each pack of cigarettes, with 80 percent going to 58 county commissions and 20 percent to a state commission. The commissions decide how to use the money on a local level, with unspent funds carried over each year. So, tax dollars for useless, ineffective ads instead of feeding a child or funding a teacher or purchasing playground equipment or … It’s a mad, mad world in government land.

It’s a madly busy world in the new Hobby Lobby superstore that opened in Morgan Hill last week. Toured around the store in the shopping center on Cochrane Road just west of U.S. 101 and it’s a wide, wonderful combination of pieces from all these stores: Home Goods, Michaels, Beverly’s Fabrics and Tractor Supply. If you’re a September  Christmas decorations shopper, in need of some country-style furniture or looking for any kind of candle whatsoever or craft supplies, this is thee place.

Thee place in your heart for someone special can be duly celebrated with a gift in their honor at the Eighth Annual Tree of Light Celebration fundraiser on Thursday, Dec. 6 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Saint Louise Regional Hospital. Caroling, refreshments, the lighting of the Christmas tree and a few moments of reflection coalesce into a beautiful holiday tradition. It’s $10 to dedicate a light on the tree, or $100 for a personalized commemorative ornament. You can do it now at www.slrhfoundation.org and feel really good about it all fall.

All cyclists fall from time to time, but Marv Thomas really uplifted my outlook. Didn’t recognize him at first outside First Street Coffee with his helmet on sporting neon green Pearl Izumi cyclist attire. Found out, after a little chat, that Marv rode 80 miles to celebrate his 80th birthday. Now that’s impressive and something to look foward to.

Don’t look forward to pet peeve list reminders like:

• The TV commercial that portrays cash as a  culprit when it comes to slowing down checkout lines. What a basket of baloney … credit cards that don’t swipe, debit cards that ask cash back questions and require verbal instructions from the checker, signing the card receipts, checks that have to be verified. Cash is quick, cash is king.

• Clueless, self-absorbed people who talk on their cell phones in restaurants and shopping aisles as if everyone wants to hear their one end of the conversation. You’re not that important, people, and if it’s critical to yak and take that call, go somewhere where it’s not imposing on other people. And, BTW, change that obnoxious ringtone.

Ring in the chips. That’s how we rolled at my blackjack table last Friday at the charitable Elks Casino night. My all-night players were awesome – Charlene, Marci, Sue, Chris and Miss Jenny. Sapphire gin over ice garnered the award for top table drink and there were more double downs and whoops and hollers than at a Texas farm auction. We had a ball and I even got a good tip. Every time I see Frank Angelino headed in my direction, the words will flow – “Lookout, here comes the Big Wheel.” “Big Wheel” Angelino put on a good show – thanks Frank that was a blast.

Here’s a blast sent to me by someone who appreciated last week’s Ineptocracy definition. It should be read from every pulpit: “You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot lift the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot establish security on borrowed money. You cannot build character and courage by taking away men’s initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.” Amen.

~ Presbyterian minister William J.H. Boetcker (1873 – 1962)

Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]

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