Gambling For Kids

When I picked Nefarious up from school today she was clutching the brochure below in her hand, which you may recognize as materials from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, as in the doomsday cult that’s been preaching that the apocalypse is coming along any day now, for way to long to be taken seriously. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I was not very happy with this.


What happened was that Nefarious, another student, and a teacher went on a walk around the community, getting supplies at stores for a variety of projects they’re working on (which I think is wonderful). The snake from the cult crept toward the kids and managed to hand off this one before the teacher scared them away. I have no idea if it’s legal to push religious tracts on kids in public like this, but it’s certainly dispicable, and something that I can imagine being met with something a lot more violent than a blog post.

Speaking of sin, we’ve been adding “gambling” (which if we’re being technical, is not actually mentioned in the Bible) because last time we were at Zellers I picked up two new decks of cards (a green “eco” set, and a set with fantasy drawings that Nefarious totally loves) and a couple boxes of plastic poker chips. The way we use them can be added to virtually any turn based game — we’ve only used it on Crazy Eights and Rummy so far — because of it’s simple rules. First, you have to buy into the game, so we put in $5 each at the start of any game. Then, during your turn, you have the option to (1) do nothing, or (2) place a bet. If you choose to place a bet, the other player has a few ways that they can respond, which are (1) match your bet, or (2) give up, in which case you get all the chips ini the pot. If they choose to match your bet, they can also choose to freeze the betting in which case no more bets can be added to the pot by other player (other than the bet that they must match to have the game continue).


They’re nice simple rules that work well. I don’t know if they’re at all like real gambling since I don’t play poker — and I think it’s been a solid fifteen years since Dave and I developed the IVR poker game (which I built and walked away from without playing it, other than slightly less than the minimum required for debugging) — or any other game that’s commonly gambled on.

At the end of the work day — late enough that I couldn’t make any follow-up calls — I got some medical news that was quite upsetting (because I feel mistakes are being made in my treatment, not because I was given 48 hours to live or anything like that). I was literally hiding in another room collecting my emotions in private for fifteen minutes so as not to upset Nefarious — luckily Caitlin was here and Nefarious was wrapped up in sending her mom an email with her recently acquired email account. Anyway, Caitlin made me feel much better by cooking a delicious supper, and Nefarious made me feel much better — although it was done ages ago — when I discovered the graffiti below, written along the edge of her foam mats.



  1. peteD3 wrote:

    thats sooo sweet…

    stand strong Mr.!

    PS: the manipulation and brainwashing of children is one my top reasons for loathing religion. so disgusting.

    Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 11:52 am | Permalink
  2. Raskin666 wrote:

    A good friend of mine was raised in a Washington religious cult, ran away at 16, foster care etc etc, then ended up at college with me. Some of his brothers are still involved with the cult, and while they are intelligent, they are rendered completely incapable of modern life by the piss-poor education offered within the cult and the intense religious brainwashing that goes on. Children believe in monsters, therefore they should not be taught in something as horrendously affecting and disturbing as religion and organized sheep-herding called the religious community. Faith is a good thing a child should have, but the minute it branches onto religion it is no longer healthy and should not be an acceptable belief for modern, rational, intelligent children to have. From the Middle Ages, for some reason, all of their practices (witch-burning, the feudal system, etc), all are considered outdated and primitive, EXCEPT for the same Christianity that existed then. We might as well go out and fear the dragons that roam the seas. Children rely on us to distinguish reality from fiction. And a child’s “morals” or ethics should be internalized for social or family reasons, not as a result of insane beliefs that dictate them from some higher power. *whew*

    Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Permalink
  3. choice wrote:

    well said, raskin666. some adults are still haunted by those monsters.

    Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 12:26 am | Permalink
  4. Elizabeth wrote:

    I’m very sorry to hear bad news regarding treatment but really appreciate the tips for making cards more fun. It’s been awhile since Alex and I played, he may have forgiven me for winning the last hand and be willing to make a go of it again.
    Regarding the nutjob flyer, that’s nothing compared to living in the Dirty South where they hand you a “Jesus Saves” with every purchase. Dont they figure everyone in this vicinity has HEARD the WORD? Christ.

    Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 4:54 am | Permalink
  5. Caitlin wrote:

    I was raised as a Witness, in fact I think I posted to another blog post of yours a while back about religion.

    It makes me sick to think that they feel as though it’s acceptable to approach children and speak to them about ANYTHING, let alone their “religion”.

    On a happier note, it is such a joy to see all the fun activities you and Nefarious do together! I hope when I have kids we can do just as many fun things!

    Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink
  6. Gracie wrote:

    I don’t have a problem with organized religion, as long as they leave me and mine alone. I have my own way of understanding the world, but I would never attempt to foist my own beliefs on unwitting subjects, especially children. Behavior like this is absolutely unacceptable.

    But as long as there can be healthy discourse and tolerance, rather than mindless gregariousness and submission to mob mentality, I have real faith in the world.

    Friday, April 2, 2010 at 8:58 am | Permalink
  7. nikk wrote:

    so Jehovah left witnesses…. seems pretty irresponsible.

    Friday, April 2, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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