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Originally published Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 6:02 AM

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The spreading of good cheer — and wads of cash

The Wrap by Ron Judd


Seattle Times staff columnist

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College football is a scam imposed and perpetrated on the rest of us by cons involved... MORE
Our signature opportunity to flog innovation was missed when we turned away from the... MORE
College football is a scam imposed and perpetrated on the rest of us by cons involved... MORE

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So let’s say you’re an assistant football coach at a major West Coast university.

It’s a good gig. With virtually no real-world employment experience, you’re making upward of $400K a year on a never-ending gravy train, with Cadillac benefits.

To stay on said gravy train, all you have to do is three things: 1) show up on time for practice; 2) goad your team into winning the occasional playground athletic matchup; and 3) refrain from handing out bundles of C-notes to prospective recruits through middlemen.

The first two are easy enough. But that last one ... apparently just not as easy as one might think.

More money well-spent:

Today’s Situational-Ethics News Quiz: Which of the following newsmakers responded to negative reports about his increasingly disgraced administration by saying: “I don’t have the power to see everything, hear everything and know everything, but ... I do take responsibility for that, to promote that atmosphere.” A) Pete Carroll; B) Steve Sarkisian; C) Richard M. Nixon; D) all of the above.

Reefer Madness: Researchers from the RAND Corp. have released a new study suggesting that Washington’s 750,000 marijuana users will have consumed between 135 and 225 metric tons of ganja in 2013. Among the disturbing questions this raises: When did pot heads go on the metric system?

Speaking of Ms. Mary Jane: The same researchers, to get a firm idea of precise quantities of pot people smoke, showed smokers pictures of a gram of marijuana next to a penny and a credit card, for scale. The experiment backfired when 64 percent of subjects pocketed the penny, stole the credit card and used it to purchase cases of Funyuns at Costco.

OK, One More (it’s Christmas): Critical to the study was figuring out how many of the about 340 million joints burned each year in the state are ingested by people who light up more than 21 days per month — heavy users referred to by the code name “Seahawks defense.”

Location, Location, Location: Sez here the Smithsonian has awarded Michael Skinner, a Washington State University researcher, an American Ingenuity Award, calling him a genius for a discovery that could revolutionize genetics. Props to Skinner, and his groundbreaking work on the passage of harmful chemicals from one generation to another sounds fascinating. But honestly, we’re still having trouble reconciling the “genius” and living-in-Pullman parts of this story.

Cutting Edge, Yeah, That’s Us: Citing its large high-tech workforce and large numbers of companies in the aerospace, biotech and computer fields, Bloomberg has ranked Washington the “most innovative” state in the nation. It goes without saying that most of that innovation has been poured into strategies to avoid paying taxes.

It Resembles That Remark: A local engineer has a bright idea: renaming the downtown tunnel-boring machine “OFIS.” Acronym for “Oh Fudge, It’s Stuck.”

Speaking of That: Let’s just admit it: Despite the high cost, y’all are enjoying that whole story.

And Finally: It begins. Incoming Mayor Ed Murray has asked a committee to do in four months what business and labor haven’t been able to do in more than 200 years — reach consensus on the minimum wage. Dare to dream, Ed!

Ron Judd’s column appears each Sunday. Reach him at rjudd@seattletimes.com or 206-464-8280.



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