Saturday, 9 January 2010

Saturday

So I'm checking out of the Hyatt today. The apartment is really not ready but I don't care to pay another $140 a day here either (remember, $21 a day for parking alone, and $9.99 for internet service which is lousy). So I won't be blogging until Tuesday night.

I'm supposed to visit my cousin...the Methodist minister over in Maryland on Wed...which should be an interesting chat. I'm pretty sure she won't try to convert me....a Baptist minister would take full advantage and try to bribe you with a bottle of Jacky D's to come on out and become a member of the church. The Methodist are low-key....hoping that you just have a moment of weakness and admit that you'd like to vote Democrat, save the morals of the world, and do the coffee & cake thing at least one a week. Basically....they will talk to church. So I'm just hoping for a bit of fresh cheese cake out of this meeting.

And I'll have to find a barber by Friday to get a haircut....which is be a pain to find a plain-old barbershop in Arlington. They all want to call themselves a uni-sex shop....which is a phrase that worries a Bama guy a bit.

Papa John's Pizza

I got to a low-energy point yesterday...and really needed a pizza. So I stopped off at my neighborhood Papa John's (my first trip there).

It's an interesting little shop. All of the guys are El Salvadorian. It's a funny feeling....in the midst of Arlington and DC.....and I kinda feel like a foreigner.

The pizza? Four-star. After fifteen years of lousy Anthony's Pizza from the BX, and the German style pizzas.....it's a pleasure to eat a real Papa John's pizza...which the El Salvadoran guys really know how to make a fine pizza.

Just Take the Job

It's a curious thing being back in America and observing the 'new' culture of today.

I'm sitting in my room last night...which is just across from a huge window and the elevator. Around 7PM last night....some gal was out near the window and my door...chatting like a 'mad-monkey' and I could hear the whole conversation clearly.

She was some up and coming theater actress...and just gotten a call for a new job (a major upgrade) to a new theater operation. She was in her late twenties and bothered that she'd only been with the current guys for six months....and just didn't feel right in accepting this deal. Basically she wanted someone to say "yes, take the better job and better pay, and be happy".

So the first call went to her sister....who said the right thing after ten minutes of chat. Then it went to some friend...who spent twelve minutes telling her to take the job. Then it went to some guy....who spent around ten minutes telling her to take the job.

Frankly, at this point....I was almost ready to open the door and tell her myself....to take the damn job.

This game of people talking on their cellphone....bothers me. They say an awful lot in public and they don't even realize it. This is the one odd thing of difference between here and Germany. Germans don't air personal chit-chat like this.

IRS

The IRS folks have been in the news for the last day or two. Apparently, the statistics for questions answered are lousy and a bunch of folks are all upset....mostly senators, congressmen, and people who claim they are working for the common man of America.

The deal here is that if you had a question....there is this place you can call.....and from over 75,000 pages of tax code....Lil Joe, Arnie, and Ingrid will be able to readily answer everything you ask.....and be mostly right. Actually the folks who claim they are trying the situation.....think that this correct answer business should work about 98 percent of time.

I sat there.....thinking if you took a maintenance handbook to the ninth degree for a International Farm-All tractor....all 1,656 pages.....and called up the best tractor mechanic in Iowa.....you'd get the mechanic's answer which might be totally different from the book answer. The plain truth is that when you toss out 75,000 pages of text.....the odds are that Arnie and Ingrid over at the IRS.....just ain't going to be able to help you a single bit

Yet, the guys for ABC, CNN and Newsweek can't grasp this. Statistically......things have to be improved or the system is a failure.

Well.....the system is a failure. Once you went past 300 pages of tax code.....you pretty much made this a brain-operation procedure.

I had a co-worker who owned horse property in Montana for five years. She improved it by putting up a $3k barn. She got ready to sell it and actually made around $65k profit over what she paid for it five years before. Tax-wise...she should have paid some tax off this profit. Some senator from Montana wrote into the tax code.....a simple provision that covered six counties in Montana...and basically wiped out 99 percent of the tax liability over profits for a horse ranch.....if you met some basic conditions. She did. But hardly anyone around the area knew of this tax exception except the big-wig accountant

How many folks know of this deal in Montana? Who knows? How many deals exist like this in every state? I'd bet thousands. How many IRS guys know of this Montana deal? I'd bet less than five guys.....all Montana IRS guys.