The cost of the war in Iraq . . . $2 trillion

Estimated increase in oil company profits since the war began . . . $9 trillion

Seeing a bumper sticker on an SUV that reads “My country invaded Iraq and all I got was this really expensive gas.”



  • Cost of Iraq war could surpass $1 trillion,, March 17, 2006 (

  • The Iraq Oil Bonanza: Estimating Future Profits, Global Policy Forum, January 28, 2004 (
  • I’ve been known to place a wager or two in my life. In fact, there was a time a few years back that I had a pretty serious jones working when it came to betting on college football games. I’ve been told by some of my friends that I have what’s known as an addictive personality. I guess they’re right. Case in point.

    Back in the day when I had a line of credit with my local bookie, I started betting on teams that I “knew”. The Buckeyes, Notre Dame and just about every other top name school in the country would hit my pick list and I’d limit my wagers to fifty bucks a game. Whenever I was up three hundred or down three hundred was the time to settle up with my neighborhood odds maker.

    But then, some funny things started to happen. Teams I normally couldn’t give two shits about now started to jump out at me from the sports pages. The School of Hard Knocks versus Whatsamatta U? No problem! I’d pore over the stats like a math geek and make my choice with a conviction usually reserved for a revivalist preacher. After all, nobody was getting hurt and it wasn’t like I was tapping into Anna’s college fund or anything. The bills, for the most part were still being paid, there was plenty of food on the table and my rent was still making it to the landlord on time.

    This lasted a couple of years or so. One night I found myself staying up until something like 2:00 AM just so that I could get the results in from the West Coast games and wondered just what the hell I was doing.

    It wasn’t fun any more. Oh, I had some good weeks followed by some bad ones and for the most part broke even. But if there was one thing I learned along the way, screaming at the television doesn’t change anything. I quit pretty much cold turkey.

    A buddy of mine hands out what’s known as “spot cards”. They list most of the college and pro games along with the point spread and you can wager anywhere between three and ten teams. To win, you gotta hit ‘em all and the payout is based on the number of teams you pick and the amount of your wager. I started playing four teams for five or ten bucks just to make the games more interesting as did many of the regulars at my local watering hole. I few weeks ago, I let borgette pick four teams for herself.

    Naturally, she hit all four and got paid fifty bucks. As for the rest of us, the ones who read the paper, follow ESPN and listen to the pundits, we’re still waiting.

    And hoping.

    Saturday was a big day for the Buckeyes. Ranked number one in the country and travelling to Happy Valley to take on Joe Paterno and the Penn State Nittany Lions. For big games like this, a football pool is usually held and for five bucks you get assigned two random numbers from zero to ten. Each quarter pays $125.00. There's no skill whatsoever involved. It's purely the luck of the draw.

    I ponied up five bucks for me and five bucks for borgette and let her pick a square.


    She’s up another hundred and a quarter.

    Some people probably think this is a bad thing. That I’m setting a bad example for her and that she too might be bitten by the gambling bug when she gets a bit older. Who knows, maybe they’re right. For now it’s just innocent fun.

    Oh yeah, about the money she won. Well, she’s been nominated by her school for some kinda leadership course that takes place in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. I guess they get to hobnob with some movers and shakers for a few days. The cost is about eighteen hundred bucks.

    The money is in her account.

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