Catching up with the former ‘Noble’ Lumpkin

The last we heard from Coy he was unable to attend the secret meeting of the 43rd annual convention of the Grand Mystic Royal Order of the Nobles of the Alibaba Temple of the Shrine because his motorcycle was stuck on the high dive at the motel swimming pool.

I’m pretty sure I found said motel in Nashville, AR. It’s right next to this Western Sizzlin’.

Source: McGraw Realtors

It’s been over 40 years since the Coy was blackballed by the Ilustrious Potentate and had to turn in his tie tack for conduct unbecoming a pillar of the community, and I thought people of a certain generation (me, it’s me) might be wondering whatever happened to Coy.

Did he leave town in disgrace? Join the Hell’s Angels? Marry that wilding red-headed cocktail waitress, settle down, and have a passel of free-range young-uns?

What happened next? Inquiring minds want to know.

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The Mysterious Case of the Missing Funny Bone

My sense of humor is AWOL. It may have absconded on the Generals’ Highway between King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Forests at about 6,666 feet (give or take a few inches.)

Source: U.S. National Parks Service. (This road isn’t as wide as it looks.)

It could be that similar to the cartilage in my knees, my funny bone was overwhelmed by the sheer weight of trying to leverage accounting into the realm of, if not humorous, at least minimally soporific. Standup economics isn’t as easy as this guy makes it look.

The Standup Economis

My well of giggles and happiness may have dried up while moving during the 100+ degrees of east Texas summer, but I can’t say for certain. It wasn’t in any of the boxes we unpacked.

No group has come forward asking for ransom money in exchange for the return of my ability to laugh at life, so apparently (and much to my regret) I put it some place safe.

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The 2022 ACFE Report to the Nations reports that 42% of occupational frauds are initially detected because of a tip (p. 22). They also report that fraudsters are collaborating more and at higher levels of authority. And they’re overwhelmingly men– 73%.

Some of my accounting academic colleagues do whistleblower research and many times it’s a case of Boiling the Frog Slowly. Suh et al., 2020, note in their abstract that: “Five different themes of accounts emerged from the narratives, characterizing executives’ fraud immersion as a meaning-making process by which the particulars of the proximal social context (the influence of social actors and contextual characteristics) and individual motivations collectively molded executives’ vocabularies of fraud immersion.”

In other words, the execs were influenced by those around them and by others in their distal social circle, enabled by ambiguity in the rules, and motivated by both social and individual needs (Suh et al., 2020).

This might sound familiar if you’ve been following recent news stories, more particularly the news about the publisher masquerading as a platform that allowed the Taliban and Vladimir Putin to have accounts but not the sitting U.S. President. That blocked and labelled the New York Post’s story about Hunter Biden’s laptop as misinformation, but allowed chirps from flat-earthers.


I don’t know, but if recent history is anything to go by, then probably nothing.

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Most Sincere

Is anybody else driving around town looking for the Most Sincere convenience store hoping the Great Pumpkin (or an affiliated diety) will bestow upon them the winning ticket to the $1.2 Billion jackpot?

Just me?

Wth these odds, the expected value equals the cost when the jackpot exceeds $292 million for those of you who think I’m bad at math.

Hot dog, I hope I’m lucky tonight!

Posted in Continuouse Improvement, Goal setting, karma, math, Saving Money, Statistics, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Sur

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Liberty Gun & Loan*

Today was one of those fall days that reward us for surviving summer in East Texas. The kind of day where sitting inside is a sin (because that’s the only place to be for the previous 100ish days).

Arkansas Sunset through the window. 10/27/2022

Walking’s hard on my joints so I wanted to ride my bike. It’s a road bike, not a mountain bike, and I looked for a nearby trail longer than 2.2 miles. AllTrails suggested the Earthquake Ridge Trail in the Ouchita National Forest, just outside Mena, Arkansas.

Arkansas Sunset #2. 10/27/2022

To get to Mena, you have to drive through several small towns (population 500 and under) where the nicest building in town is the US Post Office, and the banking establishment doesn’t look subject to any kind of regulation— not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Source: Liberty Gun & Loan Facebook page. (The building we passed was older)

We saw a weird dam and tower next to an abandoned building across from the visitor center on the Talimena National Scenic Byway. If anybody knows what this tower is, or the purpose of the dam, please let me know.

Spillway after crossing a dam. Mena, Arkansas.
30’ tower in the valley next to thr dam. Mena, Arkansas

** A story in which I neither lose my liberty nor obtain a gun or loan.

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Everything You See on the Internet is NOT True.

First of all, I need to state that when Louisiana College economics professor Bruce Cofer told me that TANSTAAFL (there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch), I believed him. The confounding issue is that I also grew up with Santa Claus and glittering blue fairy godmothers who turned pumpkins into carriages, so I want to believe that sometimes there are free cookies.

I don’t know what I was scrolling, but the gist of the video is that if you have a private rail car, Amtrak will hook it up to their engines and take you places. I believe that the free part was explicitly stated.

Visions of a rolling Biltmore estate immediately came to mind. We’d finally have a reason to use our 2nd and 3rd sets of fine china with our 4th silver service, serving iced tea in leaded crystal goblets as we toured the country without the inconvenience of airports or truck stops.

JP Morgan’s Pullman private rail car. Source:

When I found out that Amtrack stops in Texarkana, I thought it must be fate, but, alas, it is not so. The teensiest bit of investigation proved that it is not free. Not even close.

Amtrak WILL hook you up, but they charge by the mile– $4.09 / mile effective yesterday, October 15, 2022. When I win the lottery, this is how I’m gonna roll. Private jets are so passe.

Posted in accounting, flying, Goal setting, Texarkana, Texas, urban legend | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Safe Spaces

After watching all the hurricane Ian footage, I’m incredibly grateful to be living several hundred miles inland. Granted, Texarkana is right next door to Tornado Alley and is smack dab in the middle of the Ice Storm Corridor bounded by Interstates 20 and 30, but I’ll take it.

Source: Wikipedia

Everything is so contentious these days that I feel like I’m committing macro-aggressions just by breathing non-polluted air, drinking non-toxic water, and eating food that makes me fat while also having enough money to buy new clothes the next size up.

No matter that I marvel at the magics that are electricity, air-conditioning, and indoor plumbing, and express my thanksgiving daily in prayer. My immense gratitude for my freedoms and blessings doesn’t seem to counterbalance the apparent execution of an Iranian woman who was arrested for not wearing her hijab the right way and never came home.

Neither would my impoverishment bring her back to life or improve life for women in the Middle East. Or for migrant farm workers. Or immigrants escaping the terrors of drug lords.

Life is so serious, so heavy, that I’m finding it hard to lighten up. The pressure of a new job in a new town doesn’t make it easier, even with Mark here providing rock-steady, load-bearing support.

Then, I think about the comedian Bob Hope performing USO tours during the Vietnam War.

I think about Truvy in Steel Magnolias: Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.

I think about the Reader’s Digest section: Laughter, the Best Medicine.

I think about Jimmy Buffett: if we couldn’t laugh, we’d all… go … insane.

We have to keep some perspective AND our sense of humor. Life doesn’t have to be fun all the time, but when it isn’t, we don’t have to be miserable in spirit. I turn, as I often do, to the poet Khalil Gibran, who offers these words:

Credit: Khalil Gibran, The Prophet
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Cooked Carrots

Not trying to stir up any controversy here, but I don’t like cooked carrots, not even when disguised as a moist, spicy cake with cream cheese icing by well-meaning grandmothers. They’re probably #5 on my most disliked list.

Coming in 4th are sweet potatoes. When I was a kid they yucked me out and I went on a strict no-yams diet. But somewhere about the age of 22 I had an epiphany: I didn’t like beer (or bourbon) the first time I tried it, so maybe I should give the nutrient dense sweet potato another chance. #tryanythingtwice

Baked, candied, creamed and fried, Lord Have Mercy, I have tried.
I do not like them Sam I Am. I do not like the humble yam.
Image credit:

Numbers 2 & 3 on my sh*t list jockey for position– it often depends on the day as to whether my dislike of people driving slow in the left lane exceeds that of co-workers who reply-all to a company-wide, 400-person distro list.

I’d like to take this moment to formally apologize to anybody who’s ever been behind me while I was driving slow in the left land over a bridge or an overpass. In my defense, I could’ve pulled a Mrs. Bobo and just driven down the middle of both lanes, so hopefully this will cancel out some of my bad karma.

And the number 1 spot on my list is, of course, SWITCHING from Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time. Stopping the unnecessary clock manipulation is the top plank of the Lauritarian party agenda. Now that I’m no longer a federal employee, I can resume my Presidential candidacy just in time for the 2024 election.

Are these concerns trivial? Absolutely.

Can I handle a more serious topics? Not at the moment, no I cannot.

To quote the Eagles: I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do. Life’s been good to me so far.

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My Big, F*t Redneck Life

Life imitates art they say. The following is a story my mom sent me:

Source: Lina A. Alford

Now, I’m not advocating folk remedies such as Windex or Ban deodorant*, but you know mama’s always right if you find yourself with some fire ant bites, now you have some things to try.

*Please note that my doctorate is not in the medical field.

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