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The Masters and tax deductions

Like everyone else, I love the onslaught of spring and the associated rituals, including planting flowers, weeding, watering and searching for tax deductions. Yesterday, I worked on my taxes while watching the Masters; the incredible shot by Mickelson from the pine straw in the woods on 13, dropping it three feet from the cup, inspired me to deduct the cost of a second home I don't even own. Like the world's best golfers, you have to be creative under pressure. Deducting the cost of hair care products because sometimes my job requires me to make fun of my own hair was my version of holing out from the fairway. And listing nine dependents instead of three? So maybe that was a stretch, but you know those pro golfers are constantly using the "foot wedge" to get the ball from beneath a bush or from behind a tree when the TV cameras aren't looking.

Remember, half the battle in golf, and in life, is being clever with the scorecard.

The major problem with doing taxes these days is that, somewhere along the line, engineers invented a new kind of evaporating ink, which seems to be very popular with the people who make auto-crumpling paper. My receipts are illegible. True, I'm trying to do my 2002 taxes and am a little late, but still: Even receipts from about a week ago are already faded, necessitating a form of accounting that involves great flights of imagination. I will wind up spending 15 minutes decoding a receipt before finally realizing that it's for a cookie from Au Bon Pain. I should be able to read a receipt faster than Tiger can play a par 5, is my general rule.

The problem with the evapo-receipts raises the more general issue of whether we're becoming a society of ephemera -- a culture in which nothing is built to last. We all remember the shrieking and hysteria when corporate America first introduced the disposable razor. The innovators have decided that, rather than relying on us to throw things away, they can make things that just disintegrate before our eyes. The phenomenon will eventually encompass even our automobiles, which will soon get 100 miles to the gallon and become auto-composting. Yes, that's coming: the Chevy Mulch.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 12, 2010; 7:10 AM ET
 
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Comments

Strangely comforting to know the frostfam was not alone in the Masters viewing/tax prep ritual.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 12, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I watched the Masters off and on during the weekend, it was the first year watching in HD, so incredibly beautiful and I am still trying to figure out how Phil made that shot yesterday.

Watching the Masters is the reason I love golf as a child I fell in love with the beauty of the course (must be the flowers) and later taking up the game loved the sport - very peaceful and beautiful playing a round of golf - since I have no talent to depress me when I play poorly - I play consistently poorly but well enough to enjoy it and with the odd good shot to keep me going, and their are flowers, trees, birds to enjoy.

We still have a few weeks for taxes.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 12, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I want a Chevy Mulch! Of course, I want one of the special edition models that have the Zoysiagrass upholstery. Embarrassing grass stains and all.

But about those taxes. Late last night, as I was about to fall asleep, I looked over at my in-house tax preparation specialist and inquired if, indeed, we were going to do that whole "tax business" this year. I got an ambiguous grunt in response. But, in the soothing light of morning, I realized that, of course, she had things well in hand. I mean, there were several large piles of paper on the kitchen table that I was forbidden to touch.

Not that I am complaining. I enjoy not having to worry my pretty little head about that stuff. I just go to work, come home, lather rinse and repeat. I'm not even sure exactly how much money I make or how much we have in our accounts. My wife could be squirreling thousands into off-shore accounts and I would never know.

And it's hard to find this stuff out because we tend not to get actual paper statements. Everything is 'lectronic. Which is almost as bad as those receipts with the self-vanishing ink. Between automatic deposit, on-line bill paying, and credit cards it is rare that I actually see cash. (Although I hear the bills are getting pretty weird looking.)

I once read that a powerful electromagnetic pulse would essentially eliminate a sizable chunk of all accumulated wealth in a few nanoseconds by crashing all the banking computers. That is, all virtual savings would be wiped out by some errant voltage spikes. The only ones with money would be eccentrics who hide large-denomination bills in their underwear drawers. The rest of us would be pennyless.

In which case I might be inclined to replace the Zoysiagrass in my Chevy Mulch with nutritious high-yield corn.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 12, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

dmd-we are alike in our love of the game. Golf courses are such beautiful places, why let consistently poor play turn it into "a good walk spoiled?"

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 12, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Tax Day is later than April 15 in Canuckistan? Yet another reason to migrate.

My grandfather was an avid golfer and I have lightly suppressed memories of going insane with boredom watching golf on television with him while my parents gallivanted on their annual kid-free week. Thank goodness he had a subscription to the New Yorker to keep my ten-year-old self entertained.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

My taxes were done about six weeks ago which is about four weeks later than they should have been done since I got a humongous refund. And while that sounds like bragging it's actually not because the family income was substantially off this year because of the economy and I was overwithheld in anticipation of money that never showed. But as people tend to say, having to pay taxes is a good problem to have.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Yes, tax day is April 30 here.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 12, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Well Yellow with your new found largesse, how about a summer home in northern Ontario, a quaint little place to get away from it all.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/canadas-largest-home-hits-the-market/article1531205/?cmpid=rss1&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheGlobeAndMail-Front+%28The+Globe+and+Mail+-+Latest+News%29&utm_content=Google+International

Posted by: dmd3 | April 12, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Wow, dmd, that really is "northern" Ontario. As far north as Our Fair City.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 12, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Well, it's a good thing I backboodled, because I got to go to the site recommended by CqP -- Chuck Brown and Eva Cassidy.

*Oh My*

But I did not mudge myself in the process, just merely carried forward (as they say in accountant-ville this time of year) to this kit.

Watched the Masters on and off. Very moving moment between Mikelson and his wife. Hope she does well in her treatment. My own friend who started chemo last week called me yesterday to report that the fatigue had set in, but she's okay. She had a class to teach this morning (probably now) and I hope it goes well so she can get home and get back to bed.

In that respect, to Your Vintage Ladyship, I hope you are doing well, too. Are you done with your chemo? In any event, there is always more than enough karma emanating from ftb's cupboard to send to all and sundry (mostly). No coupons necessary.

Big work day today. Hmmm. I think that means that I'd better get at it, eh?

And before I forget ... GO RED WINGS! and GO TIGERS!

Posted by: -ftb- | April 12, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Taxes done.
Don't want to talk about it. Pay my fair share and move on. I suppose I'd rather give up any chance of paying for a real vacation in order to avoid a free one to Leavenworth.

Joel, doesn't a Cold War-era East German Trabant almost qualify as a self-composting? Used to joke about them as being composed of cardboard, but IIRC the fibers in that composite bodywork were natural. And then there was the Adobe...

And going back to the previous Boodle and the Mothership story in today's Post that yello mentioned:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/11/AR2010041103996.html?hpid=artslot&sid=ST2010041200169

yello, I was *not* abducted by the P-F Mothership - I'd reached the age of consent and went willingly. And a wild ride it was, too. Good to know that crate's still around somewhere.

As far as things that disintegrate before our eyes, I'm watching that take place daily in my bathroom mirror. I wasn't built to last (and I'm not even a Replicant), I don't know why my reciepts or razor blades should either.

Government tax records themselves, I suppose, are different. Taxes are forever, like the only other certainty in life.

In fact, I think I'll refer to my post-corporeal existence as the After Tax.

bc



Posted by: -bc- | April 12, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

N.B., from Wikipedia:

"King Camp Gillette ... was an American businessman, popularly known as the inventor of the safety razor ... his true invention was an inexpensive, high profit-margin stamped steel disposable blade... This beat out competitors and became the most popular razor of its time.

"Gillette co-founded the American Safety Razor Company on September 28, 1901 (changing the company's name to Gillette Safety Razor Company in July 1902). Gillette obtained a trademark registration (0056921) for his portrait and signature on the packaging. Production began in 1903, when he sold a total of 51 razors and 168 blades. The following year, he sold 90,884 razors and 123,648 blades, thanks in part to Gillette's low prices, automated manufacturing techniques and good advertising. By 1908, the corporation had established manufacturing facilities in the United States, Canada, England, France and Germany. Razor sales reached 450,000 units and blade sales exceeded 70 million units in 1915. In 1918, when the U.S. entered World War I, the company provided all American soldiers with a field razor set, paid for by the government."

And this little gem (attention, wingnuts):

"Gillette was also a Utopian Socialist. He published a book titled The Human Drift (1894), which advocated that all industry should be taken over by a single corporation owned by the public, and that everyone in the US should live in a giant city called Metropolis powered by Niagara Falls. A later book, World Corporation (1910), was a prospectus for a company set up to create this vision."

And:

"Sometime in the late 1920s, Gillette was known as a frequent guest of Nellie Coffman, proprietor of the Desert Inn in Palm Springs, California. He was often seen wandering about the grounds and lobby in a tattered old bathrobe. When Coffman was asked why she allowed such a low life to hang out at her establishment, she responded, "Why that is King C. Gillette. He has practically kept this place in the black the last few years."

"Gillette died in Los Angeles, California, and was interred in the lower levels of the Begonia Corridor in the Great Mausoleum located at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. He was almost bankrupt at the time of his death, due both to his having spent large amounts of money on property, and to his having lost much of the value of his corporate shares as a result of the Great Depression."


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 12, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

That's quite the house, dmd. Fortunately, I would not qualify for a mortgage so I don't have to worry about buying it. Anyway, I don't want a house for which I would have to hire window washers. Some things I prefer to do myself.

My life is so much simpler since I found an accountant I can depend on. I gather up the slips of paper, take them to him, and let him do the hair-tearing work. It is so worth the $167.50 I paid. The coolest thing is that this guy gives public safety employees a 25 percent discount. I'm sure police and firefighters are over half his business.

Posted by: slyness | April 12, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

And my exit from this mortal coil, the Final Deduction.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | April 12, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

RD,
I saw the Go-Gos play Six Flags Over Georgia in the mid-80s. Belinda Carlisle spent the entire show guzzling out of a large red Solo cup set on a speaker by her mic. I suspect it wasn't mineral water.

My wife worked summers at the theme park and one of the perks was free tickets for show days. In addition to the Go-Gos, we saw Jimmy Buffett before his shows became the SRO drunken free-for-alls they have become. And we saw Amy Grant twice. Once before and once after her pop-stardom. The change in audience demographic was very interesting.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I think that if you're ever audited, one look at your genius fly-away hair will allow you to keep those hair-product deductions, sir.

Also managed to arch an eyebrow at the phrase "onslaught of spring," Herr Achenbach.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | April 12, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Yello - I had a friend who was *very* much into the Christian music scene and had an extensive collection of Amy Grant's early work. When she went "secular" he was aghast and struggled with whether or not he should burn her albums.

I wish I were making this up.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 12, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

When in ninth grade, I was in the school musical/comedy revue since the auditioning standards were so low that I qualified for the chorus. For our closing number we built a rolling mothership on casters complete with opening Jupiter II door and fire extinguisher smoke effects.

Not being hip enough for P-Funk, we did 'Come Sail Away'. A month of rehearsals burned that song into my psyche long before the Cartman version entered the zeitgeist.

dmd,
That house looks a little outside my wife's architectural taste, so I'm going to have to pass. If Upper Maine has some Gilded Age Newport-style 'Cottages' on the block, I'll have a look.

Coming into Taos from the west we started seeing all these buildings that looked like half-buried bathtubs with planetarium observatories on top. When we passed the sign that said "Earthship One Demos" I hit the accelerator. I'm very finicky about who I let probe me.

It turns out that it's an entire subdivision of extremely (emphasis on the 'extreme') 'green' houses out in the desert.

http://www.taosearthships.com/about.htm

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

After many years of having CPA's doing out taxes, we decided to save the $$$ and use Turbotax. Few things I discovered that did not make me happy. One, you can't deduct tax prep costs any more unless they exceed something like 2% of your gross income. Further, for significant donations to charity, they want you to deduct the original cost from the value of the items. We donated over 300 retaining wall blocks to Habitat that my FIL installed in 1965. How does one find out the cost of cast concrete blocks from 45 years ago? We finally decided to file an extension so we could do some more research. One thing good about electronic banking - I was able to track down what we paid for the truck rental, since we misplaced the receipt.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 12, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

As long as you don't buy any Amy Grant albums after "The Collection", your immortal soul is safe since those were recorded before she started wearing leopard print jackets and left her abusive first husband. Personally, I find her romance with Vince Gill very inspirational even if it has alienated her from her original fanbase.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Beware those receipts. Unfortunately I'm not quite sure WHICH kind of receipts this refers to
http://www.usnews.com/money/blogs/fresh-greens/2009/10/08/bisphenol-a-another-reason-you-dont-need-your-receipt

Perhaps they will make one gentler. Perhaps not.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 12, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

Finished the taxes a month ago only to receive a corrected form from a financial institution that necessitated filing an amended return. Silly silly.

The self-composting vehicle or appliance is a form of planned obsolescence, is it not? We already went through that period, so I'll pass this time around (though I agree that the Trabant, and maybe the Yugo, led the way here).

Golf. Well, I've ranted here before about golf, so I'll just say since somebody had to win I'm glad it was Lefty.

Mr. A, when you start doing your 2003 and 2004 returns I recently found a slew of takeout receipts from that era on MrJS' bureau. If you need more meal expenses to deduct, I'd be happy to ship them to you.

Gonna be in the 70s for much of the week here. I chortle in my joy.

Posted by: MsJS | April 12, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Startlingly, our taxes already have been filed and the refunds already deposited. Ages ago. This is the first year that we have managed such earlitude (promptiness?). It helps to make up for the year that I filed at the last minute for that year's taxes, as well as the taxes from the preceding year, as well as the taxes from the year before that. It takes a while to earn a sense of smugness for filing early, after you have filed your taxes two years late on a preceding occasion.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 12, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

ebtnut, I'm not sure those rules apply to 45-year old items. In lieu of a reciept, can't you use FMV of those blocks for the deduction value? You might choose to depreciate that number for 45 years of wear, or not.

To exaggerate my thought, i you bought a diamond in 1965 for, say, $1,000, it's probably worth a lot more than that now, and that even if you never cleaned it in 45 years, it'd still be worth more than what you paid for it then, wouldn't it?

And how much money did you save anyone who chooses to use those cinder blocks? Those things have some value as a capital asset, be fair to yourself taxwise.

Personally, I'd be glad to get 300 blocks out of my life and into the hands of someone who could use them under any circumstances.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | April 12, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

ftb--for some Eva Cassidy with a friend of mine--http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYzrUpGSR48

(actually two friends) the guitarist owes me an electric hollow body and, after 10 years sent me a one-line email telling me that he has it. (ha ha ha!!!)

Posted by: russianthistle | April 12, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of deductions, many employers offer a pre-tax medical spending account.

For those not acquainted, this is where you guess at how much you are going to spend on non-covered medical care and then have that amount of money pulled out of your income and placed into a special fund that is not taxed.

Then you must apply actual expenses against this fund. Any funds not spent on actual expenses are forfeited. (This is why you see a lot of people purchasing eyeglasses and the like near the end of the year.)

Anyway, should the WaPo offer such a plan, there might be an out. For many OTC products, like analgesics and certain sunscreen lotions count. (Woe be to the individual who purchases sunscreen lotion not on the "approved" list. Evidently if the sunscreen says "non-comedogenic" it classifies the product as a cosmetic even if it has a SPF of, like, 400. Like that makes any sense. But I digress.)

Anyway, so even if that whole "hair care product as a business expense" doesn't pan out, perhaps one can make the argument that fly-away hair is a medical condition. You could give it a Latin name or something.

Just be sure to keep the receipt.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 12, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse


Some jobs need gorgeous.
Wait...baths are deductible?
Gnome, I'm FINE. Back off.

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 12, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Ugh. I'm boodling instead of taxing right now. In a few minutes I'll get up, make another cup of coffee, search through the old mail for the W-2s and fire up TurboTax.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 12, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

RD,
We almost never have a problem exhausting our maxed-out FSA without resorting to the EOY OTC buying binge. The one year we were falling short I got myself a very nice pair of prescription sunglasses that I wear biking. They look very chic with my Jelly Belly bicycle jersey that was not nearly as ironically descriptive when I bought it several years ago.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I never took Latin, but something like "capillus desipio" sounds like a bona fide medical condition to me.

Extremely loose translation is "hair act foolishly."

Posted by: MsJS | April 12, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Reminds me of the Simpsons "Dimoxinil" episode.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 12, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Regarding those disposable razors. I read once that you can greatly extend the life of a razor by using an old pair of blue-jeans as a sharpening strap. I actually tried this for a week, but the derision caused when my wife noticed the blue-jeans hanging on my towel rack quickly outweighed the potential cost savings.

Man, you would think she would value such frugality. Even if it is rather selective.

Of course, the culturally correct way to be frugal in such matters is to use a straight edge. And I actually own one inherited from my grandfather. Once, many years ago, inspired as I was by that impish trickster Gene Weingarten, I attempted to use it.

Let's just say that they used to call those new-fangled razors "safety blades" for a reason. Although, of course, the presence of spurting arterial blood would probably put that whole "blue-jeans in the bathroom" business in perspective.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 12, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Just because I can and found this great video (someone out there has a very nice personal cam) from last year's BBQ-fest...

Friends/working pals of mine covering Patty Griffin's One Big Love.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD4b2Bj_p20

Love it. Has nothing rilly to do with texas.

Nevermind.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 12, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Depreciation on the frostfam's vacation rental property insures a refund every year. However, it is for sale and I would rather see it sold than continue to get the tax break. Although it wasn't a lot of fun at the time, Mr. F's tax free months in Iraq and Afghanistan are most missed this time of year. Now that he's a civilian he still spends a little time there, but alas no tax break for doing it. Keep saying "next year we hire an accountant" but in a rather perverse way preparing the return is a bonding experience, and a good time to remind ourselves that for all our faults we never argue about money or spending.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 12, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The A-blog is once again on the front page.

Posted by: MsJS | April 12, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Just finished another spring task: the winter coats are clean, dry, and ready to be hung in the back of the closet. I suppose I can also put away the electric footwarmer that stays under the computer armoire during the colder months.

Posted by: slyness | April 12, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

bc: I did have them appraised at today's value, which was about $6 each, but the form still asks for what the original cost was. There aren't many landscape contractors that have been around for 40 years who might have a clue. I tried looking on the web, but didn'thave any success there.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 12, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Ohhhhhhh, Weed -- dear, dear Weed. That was lovely. Brought tears to my eyes to actually *see* her sing (despite the rudeness of the audience). *sniff* -- this time not due to pollen. . . .

My returns have been done for about a month. Alas, no refunds for the self-employed, so I'm waiting to write those checks and same for the first quarter.

*sigh*

But, frankly, it's nice to know that I can pay it all and serve my country and state by doing it. No b1tchin' from this person about taxes. About other things, oh yes indeedy, but not about taxes.

Toodley Boodley till later.

Posted by: -ftb- | April 12, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Why on earth would you settle for a cookie from Au Bon Pain when you could have a Long John from Achenbach's?

http://www.padutchcountryblog.com/?p=1188

http://www.achenbachs.com/

Posted by: bobsewell | April 12, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. My resident Ace Tax Preparer is toiling away, possibly as we speak. Much like RD, I rely on his skills. It was a duty I joyously and immediately gave up on marriage. In fact, if I recall, I think I persuade him to begin doing my taxes before we were married. Of course, he's seen me count.

This does not mean I have no tax preparation duties. On the contrary. I carefully gather every apparently filing-related item that comes in and put them in a central and visible location; I also collect some receipts and bills necessary for the process. It was in aid of this duty that I recently did about eight months' worth of filing, resulting in a warm glow of virtue and a large burn pile.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 12, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Here I am, up at the crack of noon!

Did anybody else watch the BBC Anne Frank on PBS last night? Beautifully done. *Very* strong performances by the Anne actor, and the one playing her mother.

This may be all-too-familiar to bobsewell, jack, rickoshea, and some others.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/night-moves/?ref=opinion

It is cold and snowing; perfect week for a get-away.

Posted by: Yoki | April 12, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

To exaggerate further on bc's exaggeration, not necessarily. If it's not an investment quality stone, it's probably been worn in jewelry, could have chipped, cracked or been exposed to chemicals, all of which could reduce its value. Diamonds don't have the price volatility of gold, although nowadays certifications are well worth the few hundred they add to fine diamonds. Certifications have introduced higher math and science into evaluation of quality, the 4 c's are just a starting point now. Comparing a non-certified stone with one that is can be like comparing differing fruits.

If you know the specs, go look it up on Blue Nile's diamond search.

Someone can certainly prove me wrong, though.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 12, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Sorry if I took that too literally.

I get to work out (not have to work out). At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 12, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Somebody's got too much free time-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8614779.stm

and there are others-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8600860.stm

Posted by: kguy1 | April 12, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

211 pairs of underpants. That's a record worth holding.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 12, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh what a joy it is to back-Boodle in the morning
to find e.e. and mary chapin c.

a-go-going forward
get 'mudged and a new kit appearin'

musings:

BobS - primary sources are the only non-fictionalized history of which I partake, but S. Foote (an acquaintance I sorely miss) taught me to consider reliable re-porters and compilers.

cardboard cars - never forget Renaults.
Had one tin-canned in a 12-vehicle pile-up back in 1988. We somehow walked away.

Taxes for the self-employed are not April-specific.

Hi ku to u too

Good sunshine to all.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 12, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Hi all!

I do the taxes, and my husband gathers the paperwork. However, I use my mother's tax prep software instead of buying my own. It makes things much easier. I remember as a kid (my mother has made me do my own taxes since I was 12 and I had to claim mutual fund revenue) calling it the government's annual scavenger hunt, as I tried to flip through the booklet looking for this worksheet pertaining to this box on this schedule whose total would then go in this box on the 1040. *shudder*

Click, type, print. Much better.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | April 12, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The open source alternative to Guiness:

http://urdb.org/

Basically, if you can think of the record, you can set it.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

This is just weird to me. If Cerberus is practically double in debt compared to assets, how do they take over a vast part of the military industrial complex?

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-04-12/dyncorp-to-be-acquired-by-cerberus-for-1-5-billion-update1-.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerberus_Capital_Management

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 12, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

ebtnut, maybe you could use an inflation calculator on the current $6 price to get an estimate of the original price?

Like this one: http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

Posted by: MoftheMountain | April 12, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

They've already made cars that instantly and spontaneously disassembled themselves. They were called Yugos, more than one of which broke down while the proud new owner was driving home from the dealership. If Yugoslavia hadn't disassembled itself, I'm sure they would have introduced self-mulching by now. There was also the Chevy Vega, which was known to rust in the showroom.

Posted by: rashomon | April 12, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Also examples of auto-disassembling vehicles (I just got Joel's pun) were 1970s vintage MGs. A friend had an MGB, and when I asked him how he liked it, he said "I love it. I wish I had two, so somebody could drive behind me and pick up the parts when they fall off."

Posted by: rashomon | April 12, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Yugo?

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124631334&ft=1&f=1032

Posted by: kguy1 | April 12, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

MGs are somewhat self-composting, as are many cars from before good steel galvanizing was common.

Leave a car sitting on the ground unmolested for 25-30 years, and you'll see it trying desperately to return to the earth in decomposed form. Such as, the form of rust. Folks who race vintage cars refer to this as a "chemical weight-reduction process."

bc

Posted by: -bc- | April 12, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I go?

Posted by: russianthistle | April 12, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

1:05 to go. Pulitzers announced today at 3:00 EDT

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 12, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Another way to get more life out of razor blades is to reduce the corrosion between uses by storing in baby oil.

From Wiki --

Preservative

Since it does not absorb atmospheric moisture, mineral oil is useful as a protective coating or bath for water-sensitive materials. Alkali metals like lithium are often submerged in mineral oil for storage or transportation.

Mineral oil is also often used as a coating on metal tools and weapons, knives in particular, as a way to inhibit oxidation. The Japanese Nihonto swords, for example, are traditionally coated in Choji oil which consists of 99% mineral oil and 1% oil of cloves.

LTL - CA

Posted by: Jim19 | April 12, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Oil of cloves?

*thinking suddenly about rice with raisins and crushed cloves, or, alternatively, gingersnaps with a hint of clove*

Posted by: -ftb- | April 12, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

The Yugo article refers to the Messerschmitt two seater-

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-6882-Classic-Autos-Examiner~y2009m8d15-Wild-bubble-car-gets-87-mpg-Messerschmitt-micro-car-with-video

This is the car driven by slimy killer Ben Gazzara in "Anatomy of a Murder". The lovely Lee Remick played his not too faithful wife, Jimmy Stewart the defense lawyer, and the judge was played by Joseph Welch of McCarthy hearings fame. "Have you no sense of decency, sir?"

Posted by: kguy1 | April 12, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Finished my taxes and filed about 20 minutes ago with the delightful discovery of a refund that's about double my very first annual salary.

Who can complain about Tax Cuts For The Middle Class?

When Daughter gets home, we'll file her taxes, although looking at her W-2, I see that she had a whopping $1 withheld for the feds.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 12, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Oil of clove or eugenol is a powerful topical anaesthetic. That would make death by Nihonto painless with no risk of tetanus to booth.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 12, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

TBG,
Want to go in on a vacation home in northern Ontario with me? We'll alternate weeks. I get polar bear season.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

You need not worry about Polar Bears, black flies and mosquitoes are another story. I laughed at this story yesterday - not quite as far north as that hideous house.

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20100411/g8_bugs_100411/20100411/

Posted by: dmd3 | April 12, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

No polar bear in Haileybury. They have regular black bears and polar bear-sized mosquitoes though. Mrs. D went there last fall and the locals were pitching the construction site of the monster house as a tourist attraction.
Lake Temiskaming is a thing of beauty but if you don't fish and hunt up there the cultural life is pretty minimal.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 12, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

OMG! Weingarten won his SECOND Pulitzer, for the story about parents who've accidentally killed their children.

Congrats, Gene!

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 12, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

International Reporting - Anthony Shadid of The Washington Post

Feature Writing - Gene Weingarten of The Washington Post

Commentary - Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post

Criticism - Sarah Kaufman of The Washington Post


Special Citation to Hank Williams, posthumous, for lifetime achievement.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 12, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Awesome... Conan will be on TBS! The best part? He wouldn't OK the deal when he thought he'd be pushing George Lopez out of the 11 pm slot. It wasn't until Lopez called himself to ask Conan to take the deal.

I'm not surprised... can you imagine having Conan the lead-in to your show?

Posted by: -TBG- | April 12, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

New Kit! Joel has a new one posted moments ago --about Weingarten's Pulitzer. (Methinks he had some advance word?)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 12, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I want one of those Chevys. How much?

Lowen

Posted by: Lowen1 | April 12, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

I WANT ONE OF THOSE CHEVYS. HOW MUCH?

Lowen

Posted by: Lowen1 | April 12, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

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