At first, we thought they were kidding. But upon further examination, it appears the solution to the country’s college-affordability crisis may indeed rest in a box right in your own home.

In a current TV ad, a woman is discussing her kid’s lifelong desire to follow in her footsteps and attend the University of Washington. But funds are tight. Times are tough.

Solution: Forgotten old jewelry, sitting in a drawer someplace.

Punchline: “I took Grandma’s ring to Bellevue Rare Coins. And you’re going to be a Husky!”

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Truly heartwarming. But we have to observe: Grandma must have had quite the rock, given the tidy 150 grand that kid will probably spend getting a U-Dub degree.

The moral: Unless your own Grandma’s ring is fitted with a 5-carat boulder of exceptionally high grade, Junior might want to look into getting one of those lucrative Seattle minimum-wage burger-flipper jobs.

More fanciful thinking:

This Year’s Object Lesson: Looks like more than 100 people used lethal prescriptions under the state’s Death with Dignity law last year. And not a single account of doctors acting on behalf of spendthrift relatives, putting oldsters to death to clear out room in the basement. Remember all the predictions of pending doom when this “dangerous” measure was on the ballot in 2008?

Juicing That Take-Home: The Grotesquely Overpaid Public Servant Subcommittee of the Seattle Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey City Council has approved a raise of up to $110,000 for Seattle City Light CEO Jorge Carrasco, bringing his salary up to a more-respectable $364,000 a year. Dude, just because you’re living large off the public doesn’t mean you get a Boeing-exec paycheck.

Raise II: Look for Carrasco to celebrate his massive pay increase by leaving his possibly illegal incandescent porch light on for the next 1,250 years.

City Circus, Cont.: Hizzoner Ed Murray seems to have one disturbing thing in common with his predecessor: failing to even get the point of public ire over dubious decisions. To wit: His insistence that a $98,000 made-up job for election supporter Peter Steinbrueck was not political payback. Sadly, people have come to expect that. The real outrage lies in the no-bid contract’s job description: assessing “how Seattle neighborhoods have become more sustainable in the past 20 years.” Seriously? Sounds like a job a grad student in urban planning would do — for free.

This Just In: North Korea says it has detained a U.S. tourist for engaging in “non-tourist” activities. This could send shock waves through the budding Nightmarish-Countries-Led-By-Insane Despotic-Leaders tourism industry.

They Thought it Was Flaxseed Oats: Lots of talk about doping in the horse-racing world. We hate to fan the rumors, but couldn’t help notice that California Chrome was wearing a yellow “Livestrong” bracelet on his left front leg.

And Finally: BNSF Railway is attempting to restrict public disclosure of details of shipments of crude oil through Washington state, saying the information — despite state Open Records Act provisions that say otherwise — should be released on a “need-to-know basis,” only to emergency responders. Sorry, BNSF, but those who “need to know” the danger potential of cargo on trains running through their backyards is basically everybody.

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