93 thoughts on “April 18th, 2017: The Tax Man Cometh”

  1. We had* to mail in our taxes this year. The web version we use couldn't handle the special form needed this year.

    * The desktop version of Turbotax supposedly can handle it so e-file, but then we'd have to buy it when really, it's not that hard to do by "hand". The PDFs the IRS releases support filling in everything electronically so that makes it a lot simpler to fill in everything and then print out at the end.

      1. Taxes could be even simpler for most. The IRS already knows what you owe and could send you a bill. Tax prep companies have successfully lobbied to prevent that.

        1. well, no they do not, if you are filing 1040. That's a little too tinfoil hatty for me.

          But, yea. There are a lot of vested interests who are willing to defend complexity for their own profit.

  2. The tax man already cameth for me. Next year, though, he'll probably be made to wait a long as possible since I'm not expecting money back.

    1. I owed the government more than a mortgage payment this year because my institution made a mistake in calculating withholding. Boo-urns.

      I waited until the last minute* to pay for a variety of very forbidden zone reasons that I won't go into here.

      *i would have filed at midnight, but dr. Chop said no way Jose.

      1. That sounds fun. I'm hoping I didn't make any mistakes in estimating what witholding I should be taking now that my wife is working. It was a lot easier when I knew I could take a whole bunch of exceptions.

      2. When I was a much younger, childless married man, I did indeed file at minutes to midnight a few times. It was always a party atmosphere in the line of cars at the post office in our San Diego neighborhood.

  3. Our contractor says he wants to start removing our old windows tomorrow. So, the forecast calls for...MOAR RAIN. Of course it does.

  4. I received a speeding ticket in the mail this week from Cedar Rapids. They drop the speed limit from 70 to 55 and then have a private company send you a photo and ticket for $75. After doing a little research, I found out they don't report the ticket to insurance or to credit bureaus. That sounds like more of a "suggested donation" than ticket.

        1. Sounds like their cameras are unable to determine the identity of the driver. I'd be inclined to dispute the ticket. If they can't prove who was driving, how can they legally assess a fine?

          1. It says right on the ticket that their law allows them to fine the owner even if you weren't driving.

            I won't pay it. It's just a cash grab with no teeth.

          2. When I lived in North Sioux City, Iowa used cameras to catch speeders, and it was a major controversy. I think the courts there decided it was illegal, but the decision came after I left there, so I wasn't following it too closely.

    1. my brother got caught there, too, but he was driving his mother in law's car. She got the ticket in the mail and was very confused.

      1. I don't even understand how that kind of system is legal. Is the State of Illinois going to send me unpaid tolls if someone steals my car and flips I-Pass the bird? (Experience suggests the answer is "Yes.")

        1. I had that red light violation awhile back from one of the Illinois red light cameras. I wrote a quick letter as my defense and got the ticket removed, so I suspect its fairly easy to get out of these types of "violations".

    2. I was working in Bratislava a (long) while ago, and did some amount of travel to Vienna. There they had a system where there were numerous white boxes at random places along the roads/highways, but only a few really had cameras (nobody knew for sure). However it was an effective deterrent to speeding.

      1. When I was driving in Austria ~2013, my rental car had a GPS device that would warn me if we were near any speed cameras. At first I was a little confused about why it was beeping so loudly, though.

    3. What I don't like about these speed cameras is that I see speeding as more of a social problem than an enforcement problem. Judging by what happens on the road, a large majority of drivers have agreed that the risks of exceeding the posted speed limits is socially acceptable. Unless we eventually decide that obeying the speed limit is an important thing to do, I don't think enforcement alone really solves the problem, especially since widespread speeding enforcement would quickly run into privacy concerns.

  5. Hey AMR, what bird makes a piercing "wit-wick-ee wit-wick-ee" sound? I've heard it at least a couple times this spring while on our deck. It's been at the tops of the tallest trees, so I haven't been able to identify.

    1. I'm having a hard time figuring this out from your description. How's the pitch change?
      Olive-sided Flycatchers have "Quick, three Beers!" and they like the upper branches.
      Common Yellowthroats go "Witchity-witchity" (with some geographical variation), not that they'd be high in a tree
      Carolina Wrens have a "Teakettle, Teakettle" (second clip) that might be similar. They, like the Yellowthroats, are more skulking, less treetop.
      Eastern Towhees sing "Drink Your Tea!", but they're a scrub-bird, too.
      If you don't find a direct match, maybe you could let me know which of those sounds most similar, and how it's different.

      1. no real pitch change, but I remember it as piercing and staccato. like a Cardinal's call. The Yellowthroat is the closest, but was certainly more pronounced than that example.
        wit WICK-ee

        The bird that I saw from a distance was a fair-sized beige-yellow color

        1. Fair-sized: bigger than a Robin?
          I'm thinking Northern Flicker. They do a "Wick-a, Wick-a" that might sound like what you're describing. It's not quite what's on this link, but is it the same voice?

  6. Got the call last night that our show is a go. We're funded for the first three episodes as an indie, at which point Netflix is likely to jump in unless it's a disaster. Our "inside guy" was the one who saw Sense8 to a greenlight, so he's been the one inching us closer. We also have Steve Zahn on as our lead (I think this is confirmed but there was a LOT of info to take in last night). We have a very unconventional potential deal going where if the first three episodes do their thing, the investors are looking for 44 episodes over four seasons.

    I should be heading to Washington state for a couple of weeks in May to get the season written. This show has been in the works for seven years, but suddenly it feels like everything is happening all too fast.

    1. congrats.

      I happen to know someone looking for (paying!) freelance editing work for the next couple of months, in case. 🙂

    2. Awesome! Congratulations.

      I just watched another Netflix original last night - The Discovery. I will chime in on next Movie day post.

      1. For as much ch as he's done, it's been amusing to me how many people today have invoked that movie. I had completely forgotten all about his presence there. I don't think I knew of him back when I saw it.

            1. Southern MN. Indeed, apparently you both spent time in Mankato. So you can make small talk about... uh... Madison East?

          1. His best friend growing up became a high school English teacher at my high school. Zaun came in and talked to us about his attempts to get cast in The Phantom Menace (this was before its release). He was refreshingly amusing and honest.

  7. Day Man (Aah-aah-aah)
    Fighter of the Night Man (Aah-aah-aah)
    Champion of the sun (Aah-aah-aah)
    You're a master of karate
    And friendship for everyone

    1. I was hoping someone would do this. If not, I was going to make everyone pay the troll toll.

  8. I just realized one of the reasons that the NBA keeps their draft age limit is that this way they don't have to build up big scouting staffs that are capable of covering high school basketball. It's way cheaper to just send scouts to college games.

      1. That was the aspect I always focused on before, but given how poorly they seem to leverage the D-League, I'm not even sure they see value in a minor league. It's not just penny-pinching in that case, I think they legitimately don't see value in it, which seems crazy to me.

  9. To treat myself for paying a butt load of money to the government, I bought a sixer of The Waldos. Holy smokes, folks. This is one dangerous, dangerous beer.

  10. speaking of beers, I had a significant, personal tragedy yesterday. I opened a 2002 Anchor Christmas Ale only to discover that it had gone completely and unpleasantly flat (drain pour). 15 years of storage for nothing!

    I need a beer fridge, goddamnit.

    1. Booo. I've been cellaring a few different years/versions of Enigma; the oldest is about seven years old now. I don't have a beer fridge, but I do keep them in the bottom cupboard of my basement bar, right up against the foundation. Hopefully that's sufficient...

      1. my problem is temperature variation. We keep the house at low-60s in the winter, which is perfect, but at around 80 during the day in the summer, which is...not. And no basement. Typical temperature swing outside in the summer can be 30-35 degrees from low to high. In the house, 15-20 degrees.

        1. The Getty has a seminar on thermal / RH fluctuation and it's effect on sensitive materials, doc. You may want to recommend they increase the scope to fermented beverages.

          1. some of the beers in my collection surely count as art (if nothing else, performance art when consumed).

        2. I am stuck in the no basement camp for the foreseeable future, and for me the biggest drawback is the lack of temperature-controlled space in our house. We've got enough square footage, but it's all going to get pretty toasty in the summer, even if for just 2-3 weeks.

    1. I felt so bad for you guys last night. Cribbage can be such a fickle game. If you don't get cards, it feels kind of helpless. At least you stayed in the money.

      Now we just have to work on a great northern wgom caucus. Wonder how many cribbage players we have in here.

      1. Me. Spooky. Philosofer. There are several others, but not sure how many are local off the top of my head

        1. I mean, we've had multiple cribbage tournaments here, right? We've got to be due for another?

          1. Cribbage Pro. I'm running ~52% wins on advanced mode with over 200 games played. Just the other day I had a "Raggedy Andy" hand, which I'd never heard of before.

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