Unusual and Funny Fathers Day Gifts

Funny personalized gifts for Fathers Day and birthdays – Great gifts for him

Funny Commuter Cup Leadership Gift
Funny Commuter Cup Leadership Gift
by CricketDiane

When it is time to choose something fun, funny or unusual for Dad, the CricketDiane store on Zazzle let’s you customize most designs, add Dad’s name or a favorite saying. This Leader House Run-a-Much Fix It Team commuter coffee mug is funny and humorous with a handy useful mug added. Great gift for him to celebrate Fathers Day.




All of my life I wanted my own business


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All of my life I’ve worked to have my own business that makes money and employs me so that I could have an income. All of the years spent doing it have been without the kinds of funding that would allow me to advertise, to do proper marketing, to have a real business location or studio space in which to sell my work, to display my products or to provide services in my field to the public.

And, for many years, I’ve believed that to make a business that could employ me was an honorable, good way to do things – and an American way to get things done. But, without real business funding underwriting the costs of getting traction in the marketplace – it is not happening in a profitable way for me and hasn’t despite my best efforts over a long period of time.

I had read a book long ago that said it was possible to put time and effort into making a business work and that it could work, even without a huge influx of proper funding. Now, I’m not so sure whether it was ever possible for that to work. The idea from that book was about putting a personal investment of small amounts of money, lots of time and lots of effort over a long period of time to build a business on a slight sloping upwards path ever onward, ever forward trajectory. It doesn’t seem to work that way having done it. And, it isn’t enough to work it while simply believing it could work nor enough to simply keep working at it.

As my competition can put facebook ads and a large budget for google adwords, do a variety of other marketing efforts including paying for help – my business cannot. I quickly run out of the adwords budget a few days into the month and then no hits or customers or views are happening thereafter. It doesn’t work.

How do I tell you what is happening? Does it ever work? Could it work? If I had the money to advertise properly would it work? If I had someone who makes their money by getting the licenses for the designs by commission, could it work? If I hired a marketing firm, could it work?

There are a few less than 25,000 products on my Zazzle CricketDiane store with my designs on them, but in total – there are over 86,000 – most of which cannot be seen on my store there any longer but are still in the marketplace as active links which can be bought if someone finds them on an affiliate site or on one of my social media pages or blogs. That encompasses several thousand designs across the entire spectrum of products from coffee mugs to tshirts, placemats and dishtowels, water bottles, key chains and gifts, posters and canvas art prints.

They do sell, but slowly and it takes a tremendous amount of time doing blogs, social media and creating new products, new designs and new artwork – and now videos, to be able to get the public to see them. Each month, I’m spending $60 a month on google adwords and within about the first ten days of the month, that budget is gone, leaving the rest of the month without coverage or advertising. It does bring buyers though and puts the gifts I’ve created in front of people at the time they are thinking about buying something and that is a good thing about it.

– cricketdiane, 05-13-2018



About CricketDiane –

I’ve been creating nearly every day since I was a kid and that is over 50 years. I’ve created in numerous ways in a range that moves from art to problem-solving to inventing, creating music, sculpting and painting to writing and doing various computer / online based projects.

“It is better to make the effort to move forward and release the flow of ideas to work with them and do things creatively, create things and invent and write and make – I definitely know that by experience.” – cricketdiane, 2018




You can find more of my art and designs here –

CricketDiane and Cricket House Studios Store on Zazzle


and other blog writings by me here –



On YouTube –

CricketDiane Phillips



The website for Cricket House Studios Art and Design is found here –


And see my current efforts on GoFundMe to make a board game I created into a video game that I’m working on right now – (NOT active right now – re-analyzing this effort)

The Scared Donkey Mine Money Game by CricketDiane on GoFundMe


Thanks for checking us out!

The Cricket House Studios Team and CricketDiane






Own a Painting by CricketDiane


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Ocean paintings that I’ve recently done are looking for a good home to the first buyer to choose them.

  • cricketdiane, 05-11-2018



15 Ways To Make Money


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Fifteen ways to make money –

It seems that everyday there are many new products, new companies and new things being added to our lives that require money, as well. The ways to make money have a lot of different methods, products and processes but basically, if you’re trying to think of the various ways to make money for yourself or for your household right this very minute – this list is for you (and me) – to use for getting some money making ideas started.

DSC03560 CricketDiane Making Money Image - 2

  1. Find what people want and sell it to them.
  2. Be paid for your time and skills.
  3. Produce something that advertisers support.
  4. Build an audience for some specific focus or theme.
  5. Teach classes and give seminars and workshops.
  6. Fix, build or prepare the things people need to have done.
  7. Give tours or host an event people like and want.
  8. Produce something fun, funny, informative, entertaining.
  9. Build a platform or way for people to connect with one another.
  10. Buy or manufacture something people need and sell for more than cost.
  11. Create or express something people can relate to.
  12. Provide a service that makes life easier or better for people.
  13. Make your money make money by loaning it or investing it.
  14. Become a celebrity, performer, expert, entertainer or spokesperson for.
  15. Build a business that makes money for you where others’ time and talents build it.
  • cricketdiane, 05-07-2018


Creating To What?


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What can you do to add to a fantasy world of one-eyed monsters and talking sponges? Where there are tens of thousands of video games of every type mostly well done, animated and easy to use that work well enough to amuse and entertain just about anyone?

What can you do in a world where outrageous lies and sensationalized half-truths attract large audiences but the truth told factually does not and is not believed nor desirable?

What can you do in a country so covered over in things but few real answers to the real problems facing us individually and collectively?

What can you do when the world of business opportunities supports only a few and nearly never women, disabled or minority run startups and businesses?

What can you do when the investors that are available want a return of 10x’s their investment within 5-7 years taken back out of your business for them to do anything at all?

What can you do when to create something new is required in the marketplace but never supported with adequate funding or resources because it is new and innovative which means it has no track record to prove its value?

  • cricketdiane, 04-24-2018



CricketDiane Artwork combining my photography with a pastel drawing I did of a ballerina getting ready to dance.

Innovating the Fifty-Thousand Problems In Need of Solutions and Better Ideas


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In the world today, there are probably over fifty-thousand problems or more still in need of solutions and certainly some better ideas. Online there is an explosion of wonderful things, innovations, inventions, discoveries and small business start-ups seeking to solve some of these problems.

And then what happens to them? That is a good question. And in one of these posts, I’m going to try and answer that. But, before I get on a tangent about only 1.9% of women owned businesses getting any venture capital and how start-ups, especially women owned start-ups are ending up with loan packages at 40% interest rates and having to pay off investors at the two or three year mark when the business should be getting established, then taking a hit instead – I’ll cover some of the things still needing solutions.

But first, I found this article in my twitter feed and went over to read it –


It describes why the US may have missed out on millions of inventors. Their research indicates that –


Innovation has slowed in the U.S., stymying economic growth. To get back on track, the U.S. needs more low-income children, women, and minorities to become inventors — but that won’t be easy.


The research also shows that innovation in the U.S. could quadruple if women, minorities, and children from low-income families became inventors at the same rate as men from high-income families.


Whatever policies are eventually adopted, policymakers need to think in terms of long-term solutions. “You want is to increase the pipeline of people on the supply side who are great inventors,” Van Reenen said. “You want to take the talent that is already in America and get those kids imagining themselves being an inventor or potential inventor. It is not a quick fix, but in the long run it is going to be a more effective policy.”

from –


It is worth going and reading that article, however, I just about hit the ceiling when I read it and even now with a four bullet point list of what I want to say about it – well, angrier about it than I can even express.

There’s a Different Response & Support When A Man Creates Something

When a man, young man, or boy in white upper class America comes up with an invention – what happens next is tremendously different than what happens when someone from any other of those groups, gender or income levels invent or innovate something.

There is more than whether someone can believe themselves to be an inventor. It takes being able to have some help and support, protection from theft of the invention and massive amounts of money and networking to get the invention patented, prototyped and then into investor backing processes. Women and minorities don’t have that.

One of these 50,000 plus problems still in need of good solutions and inventions is a way to take mining tailings out of the water system once they’ve been allowed to get into it. Obviously, that continues to be a problem in the United States and around the world.

What Happens When A Woman Creates Something or Innovates Something

Let’s say I have designed something for this purpose and am a woman without any real support from friends and family to back my idea to fruition. How often that is the case for every woman, every person without a strong financial foundation and most minorities, people that are poor and people who have disabilities specifically.

There are no family members going to network an attorney friend or blueprint maker to any of us as they would if a white male from an upper class family has the idea. There are no instances of getting some family members to financially back having the prototype made or getting the patent process done or pitching it to other people for us as happens for those guys and their idea.

So, when the researchers in this MIT/Sloan study support putting in place programs to help people who are women, who are poor and who are minorities believe we can invent and be inventors, it is very disingenuous.

Women Do Create, Invent Solutions, Innovate and Make Inventions To Solve Problems

We do create, invent solutions, innovate and make inventions that solve real world problems, but without the other components that are obviously available to white men who do it – from family, from friends, from investors, from bankers, from the community at large, from attorneys, from skills in their family’s networks of acquaintances – our inventions are lost to mankind and to our country.

These inventions and innovations either don’t get brought to fruition, are stolen by those who have means as we try to do something with them, or are ignored by companies until the patent we do manage to get doesn’t have the fees paid or runs out – then takes it for nothing.

Families of middle class and below, economically disadvantaged, working poor and outright financially destitute individuals simply are denied the access and equal opportunity for processes of protecting the invention or innovation or idea from inception to realization to be available to us.

Inventing and inventions, innovations and concepts for an innovation that could be brought to the marketplaces are not treated with value in these arenas either because everyone has seen that there is no chance of realizing any rewards from those efforts and bringing it to the marketplace.

Even once the patent is made, prototype created and market analysis is done for some product or invention, there is no money to go forward from that point for people in these groups either. Investors want to see 2 -3 times their money back in short periods of time and see that it can be done without any risk to them whatsoever.

New Things Don’t Have An Existing Track Record and Appear More Risky So They Often Fail To Get Needed Support

No matter what invention or innovation it may be, there is typically no existing track record of what it will do in the marketplace because it is new or a new approach or has not been done that way already or would have to supplant something else in the market that is currently being used for whatever problem it approaches. That makes it appear to be unworthy of the risk involved of backers putting the money with it that the process would take to bring it into the market successfully.

Some investors, angel investors, venture capital investors, banks and sources intended to serve minority run businesses won’t even approach these new ideas without a track record. And, some loans to do it if not denied, have interest rates of 40% which rob the business potential of the idea at every stage. Then, about the time the business with this new invention or innovation are getting established, investors pull their money out – after 2 – 3 years, if anyone from any of these groups even get that far with it. Most often, the access for funding is simply non-existent no matter how many are approached.

This Is What A Male Experiences But Females Don’t – When They’ve Invented Something Or Have A Great Idea For Something

To show the picture a little clearer – if a white male in a family has an idea for an invention, the first thing that happens in his experience with it is to receive respect for his value and the value of whatever he has come up with. Next, family members hook him up with friends of theirs and from their networks of acquaintances, that can help the idea be fleshed out into drawings and plans or they pay for it to be done outright.

Then, family members and business friends hook that guy up with an attorney to write out a non-disclosure agreement so the innovation, invention or idea can be shown to potentially interested companies.

Then, they call their friends and extended family members and pitch the need for backing this idea financially FOR HIM, and line up funds to get the thing going so the patent can be filed and a prototype created.

They might even get drawings or computer work done from a friend or family member or hire it to be done, to show off the idea, invention or innovation so it looks slick when they take it to bankers and friends who have access to invest in it.

An Ad Hoc Army Comes Together From Friends of Family To Help Men Realize Their Invention or Business Idea To Fruition And Success

Then, rather than the person – the white male from an upper class income in this case, having to pitch the idea, invention or innovation through his own efforts, there is already a team of family members, friends of the family, extended family and business acquaintances of the family supporting him, supporting his efforts, supporting his idea or invention, protecting the invention with appropriate legally binding elements, but also pitching it for him, pitching it to funding sources and rounding up money for it – for him.

That is not what happens to women, people who are poor or even middle-class, minorities, disabled people, elderly people, and children of every other group that is not financially well-off.

But, we do hear a lot of “who do you think you are?” and “why should I give any money to you?” As well as, we do get a lot of ideas, inventions, innovations and fully fleshed out prototypes of inventions and marketable products stolen from us that we’ve invented or created, hijacked from us, diverted from us participating in any of the rewards of them despite having created them.

This Failure Of Our Nation To Support Women’s Inventions And Business Concepts Is Costing Our Future And Present Economic Well-Being As a Nation

The stories of that are far and wide, common in so many iterations that the experience of those around me without great financial means match my own in this area.

It is apparently been and continues to be a common practice, to not allow rewards of our inventions, labors, ideas, innovations, new characters, new processes, new possibilities for things to come to us. It must be intentional without those in our society doing it having any understanding of the cost to all of us and our nation’s potential when they do it that way.

  • cricketdiane


About CricketDiane –

I’ve been creating nearly every day since I was a kid and that is over 50 years. I’ve created in numerous ways in a range that moves from art to problem-solving to inventing, creating music, sculpting and painting to writing and doing various computer / online based projects.

“It is better to make the effort to move forward and release the flow of ideas to work with them and do things creatively, create things and invent and write and make – I definitely know that by experience.” – cricketdiane, 2018




You can find more of my art and designs here –

CricketDiane and Cricket House Studios Store on Zazzle


and other blog writings by me here –



On YouTube –

CricketDiane Phillips



The website for Cricket House Studios Art and Design is found here –


And see my current efforts on GoFundMe to make a board game I created into a video game that I’m working on right now –

The Scared Donkey Mine Money Game by CricketDiane on GoFundMe


Thanks for checking us out!

The Cricket House Studios Team and CricketDiane




Ocean Art Poster Gets Curated Collection Nod


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One of the ocean paintings that I’ve painted and made into a poster on Zazzle for people to buy as a special gift or poster for their home or beach house –


This wonderful ocean art poster was made an Editor’s Pick on Zazzle to be in their curated collections of products – which is absolutely the coolest thing. There are several others that have been given that honor also among my paintings, art and designs on products there. Very nifty.

This and other ocean art that I’ve put on posters and prints at Zazzle make amazing gifts of the ocean for anyone who loves the sea and nautical decor, or beach decor. Great to have and dream of the ocean and the beach and the sea waves and being there at the ocean.

  • cricketdiane, 04-12-2018


Why Schools In America and Oklahoma Look Like Something in A Third World Country – State Treasury Wall Street Products and Shell Games


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As teachers in several states have made walkouts recently, and now Oklahoma teachers are continuing to do so, and having seen video of schools in Oklahoma that look like they are from a third world country after Republicans have run the state so long, I thought of a few things. And, after getting to the bottom of this post – I discovered that Oklahoma has over $5 Billion of their treasury money in an investment portfolio, that in 2016 / 2017 they had revenues of $2.7 Billion for the first six months of the fiscal year up from the year before AND that they have information that suggests they are continuing to get rising revenues rather than lowering ones.

Oklahoma teachers walkout expected to continue next week

I’m just going to say what I think has happened to Oklahoma’s State Education Budget and to other states, as well – then try to find sources so you can see what I’m saying.

Back in 2007 – 2008, there were a lot of things that became obvious that most of us had not known about state budgets, education trusts, state treasury money and other large pools of money. It had been happening for years before that point, but it didn’t become obvious until those resources were in trouble from the financial crisis that was happening in credit markets, Wall Street and from toxic financial products they had sold to everybody.

Several school systems at the time had people who came out publicly about the education and state treasury budgets having bought financial products from Wall Street as investments using the pools of available money that was supposed to cover the needs of the state and its education system included.

That means, instead of cash resources sitting in the state treasury and safer security types, maybe T-bills or bonds, the treasurers were motivated to have bought other financial products at the overwhelming information they were given from Wall Street brokers about “no-risk” financial products they could use.

When the financial meltdown occurred, many of those “no-risk” financial products turned out to be extremely costly to the treasuries and others holding them. Payouts on those losses had to be made and then absorbed by the states and the state budgets. Some of that became obvious at the time and some of it continues to this day.

What most people don’t seem to know, is that in order to facilitate trading, buying, selling and managing those portfolios of state money in financial products, armies of broker / analysts in finance had to be hired into the state’s team of personnel and most of them are paid well over $150,000 a year salaries each.

So, not only were state budgets and education budgets decimated by the lost revenues which had to be paid out to satisfy the liabilities of those financial products they had bought from Wall Street, instead of paying to buy textbooks, keep up with school costs and teacher’s pay, those funds were used to pay financial teams to buy, sell and trade securities and other financial products using the state’s pooled funds.

This is from one of the cities / towns in Oklahoma describing their investing city funds and pools of money into securities and other Wall Street financial products – excerpt –

pg. 4 –

A. The authority for the investment of funds of the City is granted by the City Charter1 and Oklahoma State Statutes2, to the City Treasurer. The City Charter3
authorizes the City Treasurer to employ and supervise such employee or employees as may be necessary for the efficient discharge of his duties. In accordance with these provisions, the City Treasurer or his designee may buy, sell and trade investments in accordance with the goals, objectives and restrictions of this investment policy.

pg. 5 –

A. The City Finance Department shall keep a written record of all investments and shall forward information to the Accounting Division to be posted in the financial records.
Records of the Treasury Division and Accounting Division shall be reconciled on a
monthly basis and at the end of each fiscal year, under applicable accounting standards.
The City Treasurer shall provide summarized and/or detailed investment reports to the Finance and Audit Committee and the City Council on a monthly basis.
The City Treasurer should design the reporting to meet the needs and requests of the Finance and Audit Committee and the City Council.


There are also fees being paid to Wall Street every time these financial products are bought, sold and traded. Some cities, state treasuries and education budgets are paying for the securities to be held by a third party or Wall Street brokerage as well. Plus, paying massive interest payments being made to Wall Street for loan products and bonds when state treasuries, agencies, education funds, county and city budgets borrowed to make good on covering the losses from 2008 – 2010 and other times over the course of doing things this way.

The National Association of State Treasurers –

2018 Member and Conference Brochure


In the various associations and conferences where state treasurers and their staff attend and participate at taxpayer’s expense, the sponsors of those events and often the speakers at those events for many years now have been straight out of Wall Street and the financial brokerages hoping to access those tax funds in large pools for new sales of their products and that includes strange exotic financial products that are still allowed.

Now, the revenues of our state budgets, city budgets, education budgets, education trusts and other large pools of tax money and state revenues are not liquid capital nor locked into safe asset types, Plus everywhere these financial products are having to be purchased, held, traded, sold and managed, financial analysts are being given the salaries of what would be four teachers but for only one person who isn’t doing any teaching.

The tax money / revenues no longer is available to pay teachers, hire teachers, buy supplies for schools, upgrade schools, do upkeep at schools – and the same is true for every agency, budget, city and department where this is being done this way.

Every time Republicans who have led Oklahoma to this point, talk about what is causing these education budget difficulties in the state, they point to everything else except the way the financial industry and Wall Street in particular has diverted the funds to their own profits. And, that includes hiring financial analysts to oversee the process rather than teachers while paying those analysts far more than any teacher is ever allowed to earn in the same state from the same resources.

From a June 2017 article –

Between 1994 and 2004, average per-pupil spending across the nation increased by nearly 24 percent. But after 2008, state revenues plummeted — some by as much as a quarter.



It would be my bet that using the Wall Street originated financial products to invest state revenues and education budget moneys began somewhere just before 2004. But, it would be a guess. And, it is a fact that for some time, every conference and convention attended by elected officials, state treasurers, legislators and their staffs, has been sponsored by and covered over with Wall Street sellers who, without regard for what could happen to those resources when financial products failed to be safe, secure or pay out in the black with some advantage sold away state’s and taxpayer’s rights to their own moneys.

That means, when a credit default swap was sold to the state education budget and a large pool of those financial resources were tapped to make that purchase – not only did it tie up the original funds intended for the education system to use since they were now a piece of paper describing the terms of the financial product, but also, because these often turned toxic – became a payout of tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars further from that same budget.

Therefore, the original money from taxes and revenues was no longer available because it was sunk into purchasing something that was risky, then that money used to purchase it was gone plus having to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars on top of that. Then, if they borrowed to satisfy paying out that much at once since the budget’s funds were tied up into all these other financial products, the loan service has to be paid, the interest, the management fees of the loan and paying it back at the same time absorbing the loss of the original investment.

It is more than just opinion that the process was used in Oklahoma and elsewhere which has resulted in these destructive forces in the revenues and taxpayer funds that should be sitting in the state treasuries and every other budget serving the public, but no longer are real and adequate funds in place.

Clicking on the National Association of State Treasurers above and looking at the 2018 Member and Conference Brochure – shows on the first few pages who the sponsors are –

Conference Sponsors
Platinum Sponsors
• Ascensus
• Bank of America
• BlackRock
• JP Morgan Chase
• Natixis Global Asset
• RBC Global Asset
• Verus Financial
• Wells Fargo
Minnesota Sponsor
• Kelmar
Massachusetts Sponsor
• Fidelity Investments and
Fidelity Capital Markets
Bay State and Keynote
• Federated Investors
Gold Sponsors
• BNY Mellon
• JP Morgan Chase
• MA Liquor Store Association
• Moody’s
• PFM Group
• U.S. Bank
• Wells Fargo

Silver Sponsors
• Bank of America
• BNY Mellon
• Capital Group
• Citi
• Conduent
• EY
• Hilltop Securities
• Invesco
• JP Morgan Chase
• KeyBanc Capital
• The Nottingham
• People’s United
• State Street and
State Street Global
• Wellington

Annual Hotel Sponsor
• State Street and State Street Global Advisors
Minneapolis and Boston Sponsors
• Accuity
• Aon Hewitt
• Ascensus
• Boston Common
Asset Management
• Broadridge Financial
• EnTrust Permal
• Intuition College
Savings Solutions
• Jefferies
• Kamakura
• The Nottingham
• Vanguard
Bronze Sponsors
• AKF Consulting
• Audit Services
• Customer
• Deloitte
• Empower Retirement
• TD Bank
• UBS Global Asset
• Weston Patrick



Indeed, the recovery nationally has been slow, particularly for schools. Some state budgets still haven’t fully recovered when inflation is taken into account. Today, 23 states are providing less education formula funding — which typically accounts for half of elementary and secondary school budgets — than they did in 2008, according to the CBPP. Schools have restored just one-third of the 351,000 jobs cut in the aftermath of the downturn.

In April, for example, Oklahoma schools were notified that their monthly payments from the state would be shorted by an additional $17.4 million. That brought the total reductions since January to nearly $87 million.



Approximately $10 billion is deposited each year at the state treasurer’s office into the Oklahoma State Treasury. This includes state tax revenues, such as income tax and gross production tax receipts; federal funds, such as matching funds for highway construction; and other tax revenues, such as the motor fuel tax, which are collected by the state but then apportioned to the counties and cities.

The state treasurer has no power to impose taxes, set tax rates or collect taxes; only to make sure all public funds are properly accounted for once it has been collected or distributed by other executive branch entities. Also, the state treasurer doesn’t formulate the state’s annual budget nor does the office have any authority to impoundfunds allocated by the Oklahoma State Legislature.

To earn additional revenue for Oklahoma, the state treasurer invests money which is not immediately needed to fund government operations. The office has an average of $5 billion of taxpayers’ money in its investment portfolio. The Treasurer’s investments are strictly governed by Oklahoma statutes and the Treasurer’s investment policy.


The Office of the State Treasurer is the state agency which supports the state treasurer. The office provides banking and investment services for state agencies, reuniting individuals and businesses with their unclaimed property, and promoting economic development Statewide. The agency consists of the treasurer’s staff. Staffers work in the treasurer’s offices in the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City.

As of 2013, the agency has an annual budget of approximately $8.4 million.[2] The budget provides funding for approximately 49 full-time employees.


  • State treasurer
    • Chief deputy treasurer
      • Human resources
      • Investment portfolio accounting and reporting
      • Banking services
        • Banking operations
        • Treasury services
      • Finance and budget
      • Unclaimed property
    • Deputy treasurer for policy/chief of staff
    • Deputy treasurer for communications and program administration
    • Chief investment officer
    • Compliance officer/internal auditor






TO: Oklahoma State Board of Education
FROM: Superintendent Joy Hofmeister
DATE: August 24, 2017
SUBJECT: FY 17 Adjusted Budget – Returned Funds
On February 21, 2017, the State Board of Equalization took action to declare a state General Revenue failure. This failure reduced General Revenue allocations by 0.7% for all state agencies.
For the State Department of Education, 0.7% resulted in a $11,125,889.31 cut. On July 20, 2017, the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) notified state agencies that these funds would be returned to the purpose for which they were originally appropriated.
As a result of these reductions, the attached FY 17 Adjusted Budget (Returned Funds) is
submitted for your approval.
Attached Documentation:
• FY 17 Adjusted Budget



This one is from 2015 – made for a presentation to elected decision-makers about the education budget –

It shows things that can’t be right about the budget especially given the information above from governing mag last year –

It says teachers’ salaries average $44,128 in 2015.

See the first panel slide / visual of the Seven Sources of State Formula Revenue and those amounts –



This notes that teachers in Tulsa, OK as of June 2017 are making a little less than $34K –

It’s a far cry from Tulsa’s $33,900 starting salary, which is slightly higher than the state teacher median.



Excerpt – 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY — General Revenue Fund collections in December were $512.6 million and came in at $36.6 million, or 7.7 percent, above the monthly estimate. This amount is $93.1 million, or 22.2 percent above collections in December of 2016.

Total collections over the first six months of the fiscal year were $2.7 billion which is $75.2 million, or 2.9 percent, above the year-to-date estimate and $278.1 million, or 11.6 percent, over the year-to-date for 2016.

Total income tax collections were up by $29.7 million, or 15.9 percent for the month, with individual income tax collections coming in 21.8 percent above prior year collections. Corporate income tax again made no contribution to the General Revenue Fund due to erratic patterns.

Major tax categories in December contributed the following amounts to the GRF:

  • Total income tax collections of $216.9 million were $29.7million, or 15.9 percent, above the estimate and $38.8 million, or 21.8 percent, above the prior year.Individual income tax collections of $216.9 million were $29.7 million, or 15.9 percent, above the estimate and $38.8 million, or 21.8 percent, above the prior year.Corporate income tax collections made no contribution to the General Revenue Fund from December collections and none were estimated to be received due to previous years’ history.
  • Sales tax collections of $184.6 million were $8.1 million, or 4.6 percent, above the estimate and $24.8 million, or 15.5 percent, above the prior year.
  • Gross production tax collections of $24.5 million were $15.3 million, or 38.4 percent, below the estimate and $9.2 million, or 59.8 percent, above the prior year.Natural gas collections of $20.6 million were $4.9 million, or 19.1 percent, below the estimate and $7.2 million, or 54 percent, above the prior year.Oil collections of $4.0 million were $10.4 million, or 72.5 percent, below the estimate and $2.0 million, or 98.7 percent, above the prior year.
  • Motor vehicle tax collections of $16.0 million were $1.3 million, or 7.7 percent, below the estimate and $628,000, or 4.1 percent, above the prior year.
  • Other revenue collections of $70.5 million were $15.5 million, or 28.1 percent, above the estimate and $19.7 million, or 38.6 percent, above the prior year.

Revenue tables can be viewed on the OMES website:



So later that year –

Published: November 13, 2017

Latest state budget offering cuts 49 agencies

(among other things noted by this article – )

While the proposal would send an extra $30 million to the Department of Health during an investigation into financial mismanagement, the revised state budget would force the state auditor’s office, which is investigating, to trim more than $84,000 from its budget.



There is a video from a twitter site called, NowThis – (from twitter)

From 2014 –

Oklahoma is one of 20 states that continued to cut education funding this year, even as the economy recovers, leaving per student spending $857 below pre-recession levels after inflation. Although the Legislature and Governor Fallin provided a $41 million increase to the school funding formula in this year’s budget, it was not enough to keep up with inflation and rising enrollment. This year Oklahoma’s state aid funding per student dropped another $21 after inflation. Total state appropriations for the support of schools is $172 million below what it was in fiscal year 2008, even before accounting for inflation.



Oklahoma is facing a budget gap of $215 million, and social services and schools are already feeling the impact. State lawmakers are six weeks into a special session on what to do about it.

Oklahoma Lawmakers Continue Special Session Over Budget Crisis

NOV 3, 2017



But, today when I made my first google search I found this –

Deputy Treasurer for Debt Management

Department/Agency of position:
Oklahoma State Treasurer’s Office
Location of position:
Oklahoma CityOK
$125,000.00 – $165,000.00
Date Posted:
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Closing Date:
Saturday, September 9, 2017
Job Description:

Serve as Deputy Treasurer for Debt Management within the Office of the State Treasurer (OST) and transition to the position of State Bond Advisor on November 1, 2017. Reports directly to the State Treasurer and the Council of Bond Oversight Responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Debt Management Division of the Oklahoma State Treasurer’s Office, including assignment of responsibilities of staff, which currently includes two (2) positions. Responsible for initiating and maintaining effective relationships with state agency officials and administrators, legislators and their staffs, bond counsel, bond holders, financial advisors, bond rating agencies, and the financial and bond communities within the state of Oklahoma. Responsible for providing state officers and legislators with advice and assistance on matters relating to capital planning, debt issuance and debt management. Responsible for reviewing applications for financing and providing summaries of the requests to the Council at its monthly meetings. . Responsible for coordination of State debt issuance Assists the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) with staff support for the Long-Range Capital Planning Commission Responsible for development, review, and issuance of the Oklahoma Debt Affordability Study. Responsible for development, review, and issuance of the State Bond Advisor’s Annual Report detailing state debt. Provides guidance and support services to State Governmental Entities in the planning, structuring, and issuance of debt. Serve as a member of the Oklahoma Commission on School and County Funds Management. Serve as a member of the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority’s (ODFA) Program Development and Credit Review Committee. Responsible for management of the Oklahoma Private Activity Bond Allocation Program.

Bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, business or related field. Advanced degree preferred. Minimum of ten (10) years’ experience in public finance.

Visit website for full job description and application instructions.



$86,940 a year for a Treasury Financial Analyst in Oklahoma (wonder how many the state is employing and every department or agency, city and county) –



This chart shows the pay / salaries of the administrative part of the Treasury in Oklahoma State but not the finance geeks working for them as analysts who are brokering the $5 billion in investment portfolio the state has.




Across core services, Oklahoma underspends (Guest post: State Treasurer Ken Miller)

February 16th, 2017

State government has four core responsibilities – education, health care, public safety and transportation. It is those fundamental services on which the people depend to have productive lives. For businesses, those services done right provide an environment in which they can thrive.

Analysis of data released this month by the U.S. Census Bureau, along with the most-recent data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Federal Highway Administration, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, shows that, even when adjusted for Oklahoma’s relatively low cost of living, funding for core services still lags the region and the nation.



And this has a lot of the budget charts with revenues described –



AND from this year –

Oklahoma State Auditor unveils compromise plan to state’s budget woes

Thursday, February 15th 2018

State Auditor Gary Jones announced the compromise Feb. 15 alongside the House Democrats, who endorsed the plan. Jones’ plan includes an increase in the oil and gas gross production tax to five percent for the first 36 months, a 75 cent tax on cigarettes and little cigars, a three cent tax on gasoline and a six cent tax on diesel.




It is likely that every state treasury now is playing shell games with the revenues whereby huge pools of state revenues are plowed into financial products from Wall Street with large salaries going to financial teams to manage it and fees to trades, purchases and sales of those products depleting resources from where they were intended. And, the videos and pictures made of the Oklahoma schools above from teachers there are evidence of that process diverting resources from rather than making greater resources available to the things the revenues are supposed to be supporting.

– cricketdiane, 04-08-2018


January 5, 2018

Finance officer for state Health Department won’t testify yet

Chief Financial Officer Mike Romero won’t testify yet about what he learned at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, despite a subpoena to produce thousands of pages of documents detailing alleged financial mismanagement at the agency.

Romero was among the first state Health Department employees to speak with auditors about problems he discovered under the leadership of former top health officials Terry Cline and Julie Cox-Kain, who resigned in October.




As of fiscal year 2013, the Secretary of Finance oversees 2998 full-time employees and is responsible for an annual budget of over $3.3 billion.



Investment Operations

Under state law, investments by the Treasurer’s Office are limited to full faith and credit obligations of the federal government, obligations of certain federal agencies or instrumentalities, repurchase agreements collateralized by those securities, collateralized or insured certificates of deposit and other evidences of deposit, negotiable certificates of deposit, Bankers’ acceptances, limited top-rated commercial paper, certain money market mutual funds, obligations of state and local governments, including obligations of Oklahoma state public trusts and bond notes, debentures or other similar obligations of a foreign government that meet specific requirements.

When practicable, investment transactions are conducted on an internet-based trading platform.  This platform was developed in 2006 to allow for a more competitive process by authorized dealers and financial institutions.  See Statement of General Requirements for information and application to become an authorized dealer or financial institution.

To make sure that taxpayer dollars are safeguarded, each investment transaction is personally reviewed by the Securities Operation Manager, the Internal Auditor and Treasurer Miller, himself.


Just found this also – from 2017 – for Oklahoma City –

It is the policy of the City of Oklahoma City and the duty of the City Treasurer to invest the public funds in the custody of the City Treasurer to provide the highest investment return consistent with maximum security while meeting the daily cash flow demands of the City in conformance with the constitution and laws of the State of Oklahoma and the Charter of the City of Oklahoma City. In order to further ensure that these policy goals are accomplished, the City Council may hire independent professional investment consultants to advise the Council and the Treasurer.


Certain public trusts have formally adopted the City’s deposit and investment policies as a whole and the City Treasurer has been delegated the authority for managing the deposits and unrestricted investments of these trusts as reported in the City of Oklahoma City’s Comprehensive Annual Report.

They are as follows:
Oklahoma City Public Property Authority (OCPPA)
Oklahoma City Environmental Assistance Trust (OCEAT)
Oklahoma City Municipal Facilities Authority (OCMFA)
Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust(OCEDT)
Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area Public Schools (OCMAPS) Trust
Oklahoma City Riverfront Redevelopment Authority (OCRRA)

Any financial dealer and institution who desires to become an approved broker/dealer for investment transactions shall respond to a broker/dealer services solicitation questionnaire and certification approved by the City Treasurer. An evaluation committee and/or the City Treasurer or City Treasurer designee and/or the City’s independent professional investment consultant shall review the responses to the solicitation and questionnaire.

Based upon the evaluation, the City Treasurer and/or independent professional investment consultant will recommend a listing of eligible broker/dealer institutions to the City Council. By resolution of the Council, an eligible listing of broker/dealers shall be established for the purchase and sale of investment securities and further resolved that all prior resolutions establishing broker/dealers be rescinded. A list of broker/dealers will be established and approved at least annually.
The City Treasurer shall maintain a list of security broker/dealers approved by the City Council who is authorized to provide investment services for the City and registered to do business within the state. The approved broker/dealers may include a combination of primary, regional, and local dealers that qualify under the Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 15C3-1.
A current audited financial statement shall be on file for each eligible broker/dealer with whom the City transacts investment services.

Performance Standards
The investment strategy employed by the City Treasurer, with or without the assistance of an independent professional investment consultant, for the City’s portfolio shall be designed with the objective of obtaining a market rate of return throughout budgetary and economic cycles



APRIL 6, 2017

House Leader Says Agency Didn’t Speak Up on State Budget While Publicly Eyeing Park Closures

In March, the legislature asked state agencies how they would deal with worst-case budget reductions of nearly 15 percent. A cut that deep at the Department of Tourism could cost Oklahoma half of its state parks.

Since 2009, the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department has lost about 40 percent of its legislatively appropriated funding, agency officials say. The agency’s response, in part, has been to shed some of its state parks, angering park-goers and and rattling local economies that depend on dollars from visitors spent on goods and services at area businesses.

Some of the offloaded parks, like Dripping Springs State Park near Okmulgee, have been transferred to local government control. Walnut Creek State Park on Keystone Lake simply closed.

The Tourism Department likely isn’t bluffing when it says a cut of 14.5 percent this legislative session could force it to lose 16 more parks statewide.



JUNE 8, 2017

Details of Oklahoma Budget Agreement Conceal Cuts for Oklahoma Environmental Agencies

The $6.9 billion budget signed last week by Gov. Mary Fallin delivers 5 percent cuts to most state agencies. On paper, it looks like two environmental agencies received funding boosts,  but a closer look at the numbers shows the increases aren’t what they appear.

The effect of this hidden cut will likely result in more staff reductions, and fewer people tasked with water quality monitoring and work with farmers and ranchers to keep water clean, Lam says.


found originally here –






Designed Today Into Many Happy Mistakes That Are Creating Great New Designs


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I was working on this iphone case that I designed in 2015 that says, Gadget down the middle on the colorblock of black and white, posted it and then realized it was on an iPhone case that isn’t the newest version. When I came back from taking a quick break, it seemed like a good design to put on a shopping bag horizontally with the word shopping across the middle.


As I was trying to do that – this happened, so I left it that way and added the “ping” on top of the black which was crooked to it by virtue of my broken mouse that double clicks at the worst possible moment. Liked the look of it so much, I went ahead and posted it as you see it. Very nifty design with a bit of fun, funny especially once the bag is filled with shopping goodies that should make the bag poof out at the middle anyway, and it has a meme look to it. I really meant for it to be cute – it isn’t cute. That’s okay. This design is the product of many happy mistakes instead. Very nice design though.



The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Doing Business Through Online Platforms


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When I started on Ebay years ago, it was simple enough for whatever put there to be seen by someone during the auctions – from when the auction started and especially, when it ended. That’s because, as listings were entered into Ebay, the listing showed up in the search results as it was made.

There was something very fair and level playing field about that which changed after the platform went to a Best Match style search results product they added and then paid positioning which was added not too many months after that.

I really don’t know how close the two things occurred – but those two changes made Ebay into a place where most individual sellers and smaller shop owners in particular were no longer able to compete in a fair marketplace.

A lot of Mom and Pop shops that were doing their business activities on the platform would not be seen in search results, auctions of things wouldn’t come up for twenty-six pages after all the paid results were listed, and many individuals and small businesses lost the income and audience that they had been building.

At the time I started on Ebay, I had already been putting my art – paintings specifically, onto the internet platforms of various kinds including art sites that were more like portfolio hosts in the beginning and then changed to offer prints of artist’s works with a tiny percentage going to the artist.

There were those and myspace and then a lot of people who had built their websites on geocities watched their sites be taken down without regard when it was sold. Then things like photobucket, deviantart and loth lorien sites where a lot of people simply picked up images to use without asking or paying or saying anything until I would find my artwork on sites somewhere without my name or any note of me having painted it or it being my work or anything. That happened from my blog too for that matter.

And, people said that being online to do business makes so many things possible for individuals because the whole world is out there and available from this single interaction sitting from wherever I might be.

Yes, then CafePress as a print on demand option which never did allow me to put in my tax number to get paid nor had anyone at their HQ who could help me really fix that. There is probably still things over there. The DeviantArt page or two that were put on without writing down the password and then when my email changed, I couldn’t even find a way to get in to do anything with it and there it sits.

It was pretty awful to watch what happened to the people creating content for Huffington Post without pay believing that they were building something together with the founders that would profit them eventually – and I still believe that the way it was presented to me and other content creators made it seem that way.

I didn’t push content there, though I might have posted one article once over to it, but I watched the dismal reality as writers, reporters, videographers and columnists, bloggers and others contributing material that built the platform by providing that content as they watched their audiences of followers turn out to not be theirs at all and not be paid for any of their work either, nor be hired on full-time, nor it be made into any kind of paying gig.

As the big money was paid to buy the platform, those contributors were not treated as part of what created the platform and gave it the value for which it was sold at that price, nope – not at all.

Anyway, I’ve seen a lot of these kinds of things over the years I’ve been working with the online concepts of doing business. The portfolio style platforms which started offering prints, from what I understand, wiped out those artists’ work that was being shown there to continue with some curated collection of prints from other sources without any regard for the artists whose works helped build their platforms’ traffic either.

By the time that happened, I had my artworks on about three of them, maybe four and didn’t even try to worry about it because every one of the platforms had been making some sales of my works as prints and I never could get my payments from them, even though it wasn’t a huge amount – still. And, too many headaches to worry about however many pieces I listed with them being deleted and the work I did to build a following. It is a zero sum game.

But recently, when YouTube changed its policies about paying the content creators and then a lady who had worked very hard to build a following was hit with censoring, then watched her audience numbers destroyed, then probably dropped from the revenue sharing on top of it all – after she had worked some years to build all that, I can see why she went off the edge. I don’t agree with her shooting up the YouTube HQ and then offing herself, of course, but I can certainly see what took her to the point of that.

This is the article about it from the LA Times.

It is one of the ugly sides of doing business through online platforms where the traffic is being built by the content and marketing efforts that are being provided by people like me and like her and like tens of thousands of us out here trying to get an opportunity to earn from our efforts doing it.

Yesterday, it was Polyvore that became a different platform without warning where millions of people had been interacting and providing content and efforts that built the value of the platform which lent its value to it being sold at a price in the $200 million range, first to Yahoo and then to the Montreal SSense, whoever it may be that owns them.

There are many people who made hundreds, if not thousands of collages on the site (called sets) by meticulously clipping out and creating beautiful groupings of clothes, furnishings or even artworks for the community there. And, now those things – all gone.

The company is allowing users to request a download of their sets, but basically – it is gone and no telling what those files will even look like once users get them. They probably won’t look like the sets that were created, nor the libraries of things they clipped to be able to use in the sets. And yes, my designer products and sets I made were on there too – several hundred probably. A lot of people are very worked up about it and understandably so.

My thoughts are a bit different about it at this point, I suppose. It doesn’t make sense to me that these companies would buy platforms that were built up by the users into a well trafficked platform and then dismantle it. Why buy it then? And why are the content creators not treated with more respect and value by the founders and companies that host these platforms to the online community? I don’t get that.

When YouTube changed its policies and then changed the revenue sharing, the content producers in the online community had spent valuable time, resources, talent, marketing efforts and faith in the premise of the platform to share in the revenue as it was presented to them by the company.

Then the changes were made considering none of that as having any value to them. I just don’t get that mental landscape. It doesn’t make sense, but I’ve watched it happen over and over on the internet and across American businesses throughout the country over the years. Customers don’t mean anything, employees don’t mean anything, the communities the company had served don’t mean anything and the well-being of those who have served the company across the board in extended communities of people and other businesses don’t mean anything. It is bizarre.

So, the good of the doing business through online platforms is the possibilities that it represents which, however hard to realize as a fruitful and prosperous business – do actually exist.

And, the fact that the whole world is out there with a massive set of communities and networks available to access through the internet, through the platforms – all that is a good thing about it, although it is very difficult to access those communities now for a variety of reasons not the least of which is, utter clutter.

The bad things about doing business through online platforms are mentioned above, like the platform being bought or changing its guiding mission or changing its rules about how revenue is derived by the content providers and those efforts having been invested to build an audience, a following, build a brand, build a business, become known and derive some reasonable income from it – are destroyed or decimated without regard.

The platforms online do provide low start up costs in money, but not in time and efforts. They do provide access to a global marketplace 24/7 in every currency and nearly every language – all good as well. But, unless I know about SEO and fifty other marketing things very specific to online marketing and talk about celebrities most of the time or some other trending topic, or do something that out-outrageous-es everything else out there in internet land, no one is going to find my things in that global landscape and marketplace.

There are other things too that are just genuinely bad about online business efforts through internet platforms that are provided in many different types now.

The main one I’m thinking about right now is that it puts anyone into direct competition, not just with others doing the same things but with every other retailer and every other product, design, use of money that could do something else and every other business selling anything including every service based company as well as the very largest well-placed competitors, to get even a dime from those efforts.

For the ugly, I think it is becoming obvious with the recent Cambridge Analytica / Facebook debacle. As one computer programmer recently said on twitter, if you aren’t paying for the service – then you are the product (or something close to that.) Although, to be honest, most of those services that are charging also sell the information and provide access to their information for a fee to third parties sooner or later – either because the company gets sold, goes bankrupt and is dismantled or changes their focus which changes their terms of agreement with customers and the content on their sites.

And, the services of online platforms that seem to not be charging like the print on demand types – are certainly charging each of the people using the site. On Zazzle, where my designs are now – it is like Lulu books or anything else, shutterstock and istock included, that are making money from my side of the interaction when anything sells and on the other sides of the dimensional equation from payment services fees to other revenue streams coming from the manufacturing companies for the products, or subscription fees to the customers as well, in the case of istock and shutterstock.

Ebay does that too and every other platform. Facebook has ad revenues that generate money from having the audience that all of the people having pages there are providing that audience and traffic from the real world of potential customers. Then, data is sold too. And, information of other kinds is sold too. I’m not on Facebook much, but on twitter – and definitely the same kinds of things can happen and may be happening with data harvesting.

But, the ugliest side of doing business through online platforms probably isn’t the data harvesting. The ugly is most likely having millions of people disenfranchised of their work and the internet’s promise and potential of providing a viable way to reach the world and create a sustainable income from it, particularly through these platforms, being less possible in reality than anyone would believe or try to do, if that were known.

When that lady shot up the YouTube offices a few days ago, she was lost – whatever she may have provided to the world was lost, her life was lost and the potential of everyone she shot was altered forever, and thankfully they didn’t die from it – but their lives were permanently altered because of it. So, in every way – it was a complete fail and a total loss rather than whatever it might have been without it ever happening.

In my case, I’d say the ugliest mistake I made with the online platforms was believing that it was a place to express my art, provide my art at a marketplace where I had access and that it would work well. That said, it has put my art and design into the hands of a lot of people across the world who would have never had access to it all otherwise.

The problem is that most of us likely buy into that idea about these online platforms freeing us to put our work into the hands of a larger marketplace – whatever our art may be – from writing and music to artwork and design.

That draws us – including me – into a place where the platforms thrive by getting content without cost to them and getting traffic, audience and communities built for them without any of the true costs of that as well. Yes, the backend efforts of the platform are being provided, but without content and audience – it would mean very little.

After spending years creating content online, and receiving very little if anything from those efforts, it looks to me like I could have declared it a holiday every day and never lifted one hand to any of it and come out better than I have for making those efforts. And that, I live with knowing every single day. Yet, somewhere – because I made those efforts, someone many times over, is enjoying what I created. It sits in their home. It was given as a special gift. It gives them some feeling that is nice when they see it. And, every single day somewhere around the world, every one who sees it is receiving something from it.

That part of it is really, really good.

  • cricketdiane, 04-06-2018



About CricketDiane –

I’ve been creating nearly every day since I was a kid and that is over 50 years. I’ve created in numerous ways in a range that moves from art to problem-solving to inventing, creating music, sculpting and painting to writing and doing various computer / online based projects.

“It is better to make the effort to move forward and release the flow of ideas to work with them and do things creatively, create things and invent and write and make – I definitely know that by experience.” – cricketdiane, 2018




You can find more of my art and designs here –

CricketDiane and Cricket House Studios Store on Zazzle


and other blog writings by me here –



On YouTube –

CricketDiane Phillips



The website for Cricket House Studios Art and Design is found here –


And see my current efforts on GoFundMe to make a board game I created into a video game that I’m working on right now –

The Scared Donkey Mine Money Game by CricketDiane on GoFundMe


Thanks for checking us out!

The Cricket House Studios Team and CricketDiane