Jack in the Box heiress blows $1 billion gambling over 9 years.

gamblingcatI can admit that the main reason I’m not fabulously wealthy is because in many ways I’m a bit of a screw up. Occasionally this realization makes me a little sad, but the next time it does I can comfort myself with the knowledge that I’m not this much of a screw up:

San Diego ex-mayor used charity funds to cover gambling debts – latimes.com.

SAN DIEGO — She married a fabulously wealthy man decades her elder, and became the first female mayor of San Diego. But when Maureen O’Connor left public life, she spent countless hours seated in front of video-poker machines.

Over a nine-year period, she wagered an estimated $1 billion, including millions from a charity set up by her late husband, who founded Jack in the Box.

That was the portrait that emerged in court Thursday as the frail former mayor tearfully acknowledged she skimmed more than $2 million from a charity founded by her late husband, Robert O. Peterson.

When my father-in-law took me gambling for the first time last year we went with a budget of $300 and I had a hard time with the knowledge that we were risking $300*. I can’t begin to fathom coming anywhere close to wagering a billion dollars.

She obviously has a gambling addiction problem, but it’s still hard to conceive how should get let herself get to the point of blowing her fortune and then stealing from her late husband’s charity without ever once thinking that maybe she might have a problem she needs help with.

I don’t mean to criticize or condemn this lady over this. I’m only writing about it because it so boggles my mind to even think about that writing it down is the only way I can deal with it. There are so many other things I’d be doing if I had that kind of money at my disposal and I probably still wouldn’t come close to ever spending it all.

* We left the casino with $50 more than what we walked in with. Which was enough to convince me I shouldn’t press my luck by ever going again.

Which way is it to Mecca again?

One of the inherent risks in getting overly specific in how your religious ceremonies are performed is the chance that someone will screw it up and call everything into question. For example you probably shouldn’t get too specific about things like which direction to face while praying:

Mecca mosques ‘wrongly aligned’

Some 200 mosques in Islam’s holiest city, Mecca, point the wrong way for prayers, reports from Saudi Arabia say.

All mosques have a niche showing the direction of the most sacred Islamic site, the Kaaba, an ancient cube-like building in Mecca’s Grand Mosque.

But people looking down from recently built high-rises in Mecca found the niches in many older mosques were not pointing directly towards the Kaaba.

Some worshippers are said to be anxious about the validity of their prayers.

Oops.

It says something about how deep the delusion among some Muslims goes that some were worried that their prayers would be invalid because they were facing the wrong direction when saying them. Think of how silly you’d think someone was being if they said that they had to dress in all blue robes and wear a bee bonnet and stand on one foot while praying otherwise God wouldn’t consider their prayers.

Naturally the religious leaders are trying to reassure everyone:

Tawfik al-Sudairy, Islamic affairs ministry deputy secretary, downplayed the problem in remarks quoted by the pan-Arab newspaper al-Hayat.

“There are no major errors but corrections have been made for some old mosques, thanks to modern techniques,” he said.

“In any case, it does not affect the prayers.”

Of course it doesn’t affect the prayers. Praying to a non-existent being isn’t affected by which direction you’re facing or what clothes you’re wearing or how you prostrate yourself because there’s nothing there to pray to. If it makes you feel better to beseech your invisible sky friend then by all means do so, but don’t sweat the details cause it isn’t going to matter.