Saturday, March 21, 2009

Please Refer to Form 1040 Schedule K

Is it really necessary -- is this really so common -- that a special mention is required in the IRS Form 1040 instructions? This raises so many questions, such as, Is the parent of a kidnapped child really concerned about his filing status? And is the IRS suggesting that the parent of a child who is believed to have been kidnapped by a family now doubly-screwed: first, by the kidnapper, and now by Uncle Sam, who is going to declare that the tax filer isn't really head of household and/or may lose out on EIC if the rest of his family has been absconded with? Damn, that's cold.

What other special circumstances might need special mention?

  • Couples wishing to file jointly while one spouse is living with the mail man

  • Long-dead dependent whose body is still being meticulously maintained for carpool lane use

  • Declaring expenses related to removal of blood stains from stacks of U.S. currency you earned as a consultant in a Mexican border town

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I got an interesting email earlier today:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Twitter
Date: Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 8:56 AM
Subject: Rebecca F----- is now following you on Twitter!

Hi, xxxxxxx (xxxxxxx).

Rebecca F----- (xxxxxxx) is now following your updates on Twitter.

Check out Rebecca F-----'s profile here:

You may follow Rebecca F----- as well by clicking on the "follow" button.

Turn off these emails at:
Rebecca is the fourth person following me on Twitter. It's fascinating, really, because I'm not even on Twitter. I really don't understand how this could happen. Does Twitter not require email verification prior to account activation or before accepting email address updates of active members? And here's the thing: when I went to the Twitter log in page, I was able to get them to send me another interesting email:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Twitter>
Date: Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 7:01 PM
Subject: Reset your Twitter password


Did you forget your Twitter password? It happens to the best of us. Please open the following link in your browser.

This will reset your Twitter password. Then, you can login and change it to something you'll remember. Hint: create a password with a mix of letters and numbers so it's more secure.


p.s. We sent you this note because your username or email address was entered into the "forgot password" field. If you didn't forget your password, don't worry, we'll keep it safe for you.

No, I didn't do a new password, although I was sorely tempted. Imagine the fun I could have sending out amusing little twits, such as:
@xxxxxxx: eat me
@xxxxxxx: sharpening knives
@xxxxxxx: kill, must kill
@xxxxxxx: what's the best shampoo for getting blood out of car upholstery?
As much fun as that would be, instead, I sent a notice to the Twitter customer service folks. But $20 says I hear nothing back until I get another "Big Brother is following you on Twitter" email.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Say What?!

Obama Administration Proposes Third-Party Billing for Combat-Related Injuries

This just might be the stupidest goddamn thing I've heard in a long while. What the hell is he thinking?

The argument made in this article suggests that employers would be less likely to hire veterans. I would think a more serious and far more common problem would be that insurance companies would look for as many reasons as possible to refuse to cover wartime veterans.

Again, I ask, WTF??

Sunday, March 15, 2009

More Good World News

According to Wikipedia, Downtown Julie Brown died this morning!

(posting a screen capture since I don't believe this is real and will be corrected within a few hours)

OK, that's just unspeakably cruel of not only the person who did that (assuming that this is, in fact, simply a joke) but also for me for finding it humorous. But it is kinda funny.

Some Good World News, for Once

Pakistan Expected to Restore Former Justice to Supreme Court

Pakistan's new(ish) prez, Zardari ("Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" --P. Townshend), is rumored to have given in and is expected to pardon & reappoint the nation's former and again Chief Justice. So the popularly elected president -- who had been acting more like a military dictator than often did his actual military dictator predecessor -- has decided that he's risked as much political capital as he can and must finally give in to the people's pressure... cave in to the rule of law... surrender to plain ole common sense. Wow.

It's been a disappointment that the Obama administration hadn't spoken up more directly and forcefully for Chaudhry in the last week as popular support and protests in Pakistan grew. Undoubtedly, there are many issues here that I don't understand, but this really seemed like a no-brainer deserving of my country's support, especially since the dismissal and charges against the former and once again Chief Justice seem to have been the final straw for the majority of the populace: "You (Musharraf) can lead a coup d'etat, change our laws and constitution at your will, and force our judges to take what amounts to a loyal oath, but don't fire our uncle Iftikhar, damn it!" Pakistan has been an important U.S. ally since Sept 11 and will be more so as we shift the focus of our military actions back from Iraq to Afghanistan. One would think that we would JUMP at the opportunity to lend support to citizens who are crying for the restoration of a fair and independent judiciary, especially when that nation happens to be majority Muslim.

Anyway, with or without the assistance of the U.S., it appears that at least one nation is taking care of some essential business. I just wish that we had taken the opportunity to help in the process.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


It's taken two weeks, but I finally got the new stereo system set up this morning. Actually, most of it was set up last weekend and I've been enjoying the surround sound all week. What hadn't been working, however, was the turntable: the nicer turntables (nicer than the piece o' crap I owned in 25 years ago) require far more set up and adjustment than I'd ever realized, but I finally tackled that project this morning. So tonight, I've been putting some great, incredible, fantastic, guaranteed-to-put-a-smile-on-your-face music on the player and drinking some Jack and Coke. Life is good. Life is very, very good.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bestival? Really?

Bestival is a summer music festival held annually on the Isle of Wight. This summer will mark its sixth year and feature a bunch of bands and solo artists I've never heard of* or dislike**, with the exception of George Clinton and possibly The Breeders (it's been probably a decade since I last listened to them, so it's kinda hard to say, but Kim Deal is the man, ain't she?).

Beyond significant portions of the lineup, I'd never heard of the festival itself until tonight. And my first thought upon seeing the name was to assume some twisted joke about a gathering of animal lovers. No, I mean animal lovers. Which may or may not be commonly practiced at Bestival; if it is, it seems that relations with a pig (your own or your friend's or a total stranger pig... it's really not my concern... unless it happens to be my pig, I guess) or any other animal are not the festival's central focus.

Still, how can anybody not think about bestiality upon encountering any reference to Bestival?

*Thereby cementing my "cranky old guy" status

**Further cementing that whole curmudgeon1 thing

1aka, "asshole"

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Weird Weather and a Maintenance Complaint

It felt kinda strange to step outside my apartment on this early March day wearing shorts and a t-shirt, especially when the landing and steps in my building are still covered in rock salt thrown down by apartment maintenance when we had three inches of snow only five days ago.

Which leads me to my maintenance complaint. My apartment complex was sold to a different management company last summer. In the nine months since, they've made several improvements, but general building & grounds maintenance has not been one of them. When we got the six inches of snow back in January, it took two days before the steps and sidewalks were treated with salt... and they only treated one set of walkways but not the walk used by most. And then the salt just sat there. It was still there on the wood steps in my building last Sunday before this latest snow. And that might not be a problem, except these stairways have obviously never received any wood treatments: it had already seemed obvious that major work -- perhaps total replacement -- would one day be required since the wood was starting to get discolored and warped in some spots due to the weather. Allowing them to marinate in a salt bath for six weeks has done little to improve things. Maybe allowing them to soak for another six weeks will help reverse the damage.

I wonder if they'll pay to put me up in a hotel for two or three nights if I'm still living here when they have to tear out the stairways and replace them? Or, should maintenance be delayed a little longer than it ought ... hmm, let's see... ah yes, 308,000 hits on Google for the phrase "raleigh nc personal injury attorney" for this particular town. I should be covered.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fast Train

You see, in these modern times, a man gotta keep one eye on the ground. Pick up what he finds. Feel me? But there's money to be made if he knows where to look. I hope you're listening, 'cause I'm trying to school you here.
This is the season finale montage from season 3 of The Wire on HBO. The song is Solomon Burke's cover of Van Morrison's "Fast Train."

This is some serious shit here, gentlemen.