This is one of those topics on which I harp on from time to time. And by “harp” I pretty much mean the instrument my family members must be playing up in Heaven. Right after they accidentally burned down the family tree with a carelessly discarded lit cigarette.
Apparently I’m the proverbial apple that fell far from the tree. Or, in Taker family terms, I’m a mutant. Ironically, at least in this context, I’m a dying breed. You see, I don’t smoke and I never have.
I grew up in the “typical” American family. Our core family unit consisted of mom, dad, a sister, myself and 2.3 cats. Assuming the smoking rate back then, the math is already amazing. For simplicity’s sake we’ll say the odds of an adult smoking were one-in-three back when I was a youngling. Based on that, the odds of me being the only non-smoker in a family of four was about 1 in 27.
But wait, the fun doesn’t stop there. My sister had some children. 4 out of 4 of them are smokers. I had a son. He’s a smoker. My wife had a son. He’s a smoker. My son just announced his pending nuptials on Facebook. Nearby was a picture of the lucky couple. Both were proudly holding cigarettes.
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Are you enjoying national tax day? Are your taxes done? Or have you committed a boo boo?
The local news has been reporting the scam for months. Clever identity thieves somehow are able to take a minimal piece of information, like a social security number, and use it to abramoff with someone else’s tax refund.
The most unbelievable part is that they are somehow able to get around the world famous tight security at the IRS.
There’s one for you, nineteen for me.
–The Beatles, Taxman
Ah. A story problem. Math will elucidate the tax bracket faced by the The Beatles. 1 + 19 = 20. So the tax rate (the 19 for the taxman) is 19/20. My calculator tells me that equals .95 aka 95 percent. Yes, The Beatles were in the 95 percent tax bracket. Says Wikipedia, “As their earnings placed them in the top tax bracket in the United Kingdom, the Beatles were liable to a 95% supertax introduced by Harold Wilson’s Labour government.”
Hearing about this scam over and over again, and how it apparently worked, I began to formulate my plan. I was going to
steal the Declaration of Independence file for Mitt Romney’s tax refund. With that I’d finally have enough money to retire, move to a beach on Zihuatanejo and hang out with Andy Dufresne and Ellis “Red” Redding.
All I had to do was get my hands on Mitt Romney’s W-2 forms. Dammit, foiled again!
Like I tried to teach my son when he was younger, there is no $20 dollar bill fairy. If you lose your money, there is no force in the universe that will say, “Tell me all about it. Here, allow me to give you some more.” It just don’t work that way. What’s gone is always gone and it always stays that way. So don’t lose that $20 dollar bill.
Meanwhile, though, apparently the IRS is in the habit of giving refunds to the wrong people. The bad people. And that got me to wondering. Is there a tax fairy?
Think of it this way: Let’s say I owe you $20. Then, for whatever reason, I give your money to Bob. Does this mean I no longer owe you a debt? I doubt you’d agree. You likely say, “I don’t care who you did what to for how many cookies. I want my $20. Guido here is about to offer some encouragement to your kneecaps.”
The simple point I’m trying to make is that the IRS being fooled by criminals should not alleviate their responsibility to give people their own money back. So you gave the money to Bob? Boo freakin’ hoo.
If not, then I suggest a new tax form. Let’s call it the 7734-PROX-EZ.
- Line 1: Amount of tax you owe.
- Line 2: Amount of money you gave Bob. (Enter amount of line 1.)
- Line 3: Amount you own the IRS: (Subtract Line 1 from Line 2.)
- Line 4: Sign full name to indicate your tax burden this year is a mulligan.
If the IRS isn’t being a tax fairy for the victims of crime then I’m sure they’ll understand.
Last, but not least, one other simple concept:
- The guy who threw a rock and smashed your window to bits? He owns the glass store.
- The guy who slashed the whitewalls on your car? He owns the tire store.
- The people who make computer viruses? The makers of your favorite anti-virus software.
- The company that makes tax filing software? They vigorously oppose efforts to make filing taxes simpler.
This is all, of course, predicted by GUNT, my Grand Unification Negativity Theory for everything.
In case that last bullet point is somehow unclear, let me say this:
It looks like there is a tax fairy after all. He just works a bit differently (more sinister and evil) than even I expected. And his name is TurboTax. I try to be negative but sometimes even I can be schooled.
Well played, TurboTax.
Then, finally, just before it was our turn, everything went sideways. Right on cue. The car to our right that was supposed to go next just sat there, not going and stuff.
All motion stopped. Suddenly we were engulfed in a dead calm. It was surreal. Somewhere a bald eagle screeched. I heard the shake of a rattlesnake’s tail. A chicken clucked. A fly buzzed. A tumbleweed drifted through the intersection.
All heads turned and everyone stared at the idiot. What the hell was going on we collectively wondered.
Then, with a start, the car leaped forward. Like my dad used to say, “Put it in ‘L’ for Lunge.” In a grand elegant arc the car made its left turn and aimed right at me. “Oh my God,” I whispered breathlessly into my crash helmet. “One bogey passing on the left.”
And then I saw it. There, behind the wheel, a woman was driving with one hand, had an abominable phone pressed against her face, and was gesturing wildly with the other.
She was talking on a phone!
My brain quickly calculated the meaning. Why, that’s supposed to be illegal now! This criminal had just ruined the four-way stop dream of perfection for all of us. Veins popped out on my forehead in a full relief map in the shape of Florida. My hands gestured, too, and with every force of my being, I screamed at the top of my lungs, “We’re trying to live in a society here!”
I think it was right around then that I had my epiphany. I’m willing to share it with you now. Obeying the law is for suckers.
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Today’s goal: Communicate what it’s like to drive in Portland, Oregon.
There are many transportation options for getting around in America’s “weirdest” city. You can walk. You can ride a bike. You can use various TriMet options like the MAX light rail, the bus, and street cars.
And, if you are some kind of gigantic douchebag, you can hop in your vehicle and drive.
It’s true. “Low car households” account for 60 percent of growth since 2005.
A low car household is considered one where there are more adults than cars. My wife and I are part of this elite group as we sold my car (named The Spaceship) when we hit town. There are two of us and only one car. We be greenies.
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“Thanks. Want a piece?”
“I don’t know. Has it been vetted? I only eat straight cake, motherfucker. That’s how they get you.”
Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
If you grow up, though, then you’re on your own. Jesus has got places to go and things to do. He has a very full schedule.
This post is about three bakeries (and probably more) that are in the business of making, among other things, wedding cakes, but have policies against providing their cakes to weddings for gay couples.
Those bakers have gotten their batter in a bother. Yes, the sacred art of stirring flour, sugar and eggs must be defended. No matter the cost. This is jihad.
OK, I’ll bite. This will be my attempt to leaven things up with a dash of reason. As always my two bits are the icing on the cake.
For dessert I’ll be serving delicious Bread of Shame, so bring your appetite! I’m generously offering to slice off little pats of my anger to be used as a topping. I’m currently off dairy.
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What we need: Laws that prohibit or restrict assault weapons, handguns and high-capacity magazines.
Canada, a gun-loving country, has gun control a lot like this. Citizens are allowed to own all the rifles and shotguns that they want. This just in: The universe has not imploded in Canada. You’ll no doubt be amazed to know they have lower rates of gun violence and murders than the United States.
Today I attempt a short bit of logic to rebut the nonsensical sound bites offered ad nauseam by the NRA.
The Second Amendment:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
–The version ratified by the U.S. Congress
Yes, there was more than one version. In addition to the one above there was a version ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State. Capitalization and a comma differed between the two versions. (Source: Wikipedia.)
I have two points to make. Since I’ve talked about this before, I’ll be brief and do it using less than 600 words.