Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday


This entry marks what will hopefully be a return to a more normal life. These past couple of weeks have really been full of data processing in our tax software. If I had to do nothing but that for work all year long I'd be in serious need of psychological medication.

Some items of note during the last month:

1. Electronic filing is probably the best thing that has ever happened in the tax preparation business.
2. Our tax software is much smarter than I ever was with technical relationships within a return.
3. I always get a couple off-the-wall calls on April 15th on non-tax issues that make me wonder, "Customer: do you have any idea of what day it is?"
4. The April 15th party has pretty well gone away. It was me and @bcbison last night. And a guy at the bar who became our best-buddy.
5. My high-income clients pay a huge dollar amount of taxes. When I hear the current radio commercials hyping a proposed increase in Illinois state taxes on millionaires, I find it remarkable.
6. I cannot keep as many factoids in the air today as I could 20 years ago. If I don't write things down, I forget to get it done.
7. I beat the coffee shop opening-time (0530) a couple of times.
8. As hard as it may be to imagine, my signature has actually got worse.
9. There are several piles of random paperwork on flat surfaces in my office. One pile on the right side of my desk with the most active, recent additions may be toxic. I'm not so anxious to go through it.
10. The financial ratio of time spent and revenue realized for the last 30 days is a sad figure. Its a good thing that I get so much intangible benefits from the exercise.

The last return I worked on yesterday was my own. For some reason, I thought that I had done some calculations after the first of the year, but not so. And by that time of the day, I was not much interested in any fine-tuning. I took a guess, wrote a check, and filed the extension. Its always so fulfilling to work god-awful hours for several weeks, and then at the end of the exercise, get the thrill of sending more of your own money to Uncle Sam.

Today was RCL day...which is always a good day.

Dinner tonight with friends at Geneva is as close to an April 15th party as I will get this year. My pal Roy is opening his wine cellar for the occasion.

I took my new bike over to the shop today to get the add-on's that I knew I would have to acquire for the bike to be road-ready: cycling computer, bottle cages, pump and rear stow-bag. I remember when I did this with my first road bike 24 years ago. None of this stuff is cheap in the local bike-shop. I get it. They need to make money. Which is why I didn't do an on-line shopping spree. Not that spending another $150 on an already expensive bike gives me the warm and fuzzies. My first ride should be Saturday if the weather cooperates.

My iPad has begun to use more battery in idle mode. Curious that I'm getting this kind of thing now when it didn't occur previously. I can control it with Airplane Mode, but that requires another step in the protocol that LtPC just doesn't always remember to complete. I know that you need to close apps to avoid using battery life, but I think that the thing is just getting old. Maybe an upgrade is in my future!

OK. All for today. Get ready for more excitement on this site in the weeks ahead!!

BCOT



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday

Just putting up a few lines before getting to a the last few tax projects.

Aunt Rosie elected to tell me quietly that Daddy's birthday is actually April 19th.  I was less than two weeks off.  Not bad in my world.  I'm guessing that my referencing his obituary was a flawed protocol.  I may not have written the obit, but I was involved, for sure.

Today IS the folk's anniversary.  That is a date even I know is right.  The wedding was in 1936, making this their 78th anniversary. 

Notre Dame has announced that they are converting the football stadium surface to synthetic FieldTurf.  This is a situation that even traditionalists need to get past.  Given the climate in South Bend, maintaining a uniform field is problematic, at best.  Real grass doesn't grow much after September, and the base is always under stress.  With the advancement of the quality of artificial alternatives, I think this is a good move.  Particularly since there is no home field advantage to a ragged and unpredictable surface. 

Palm Sunday is today.  Let the progressive media take the opportunity to chide the Christians for belief in such hocus-pocus.

Saw a story on a sidebar this week that UConn men were 387th out of 388 in graduation rates among D-I basketball programs.  Not sure if that's something to be proud of, but maybe it serves as a further argument to separate the student from the athlete.

Sorry for the lack of original thought. 

BCOT

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thursday

After missing the mark on Mother's birthday last month, I'm a little apprehensive about another date miscalculation, but according to his original obituary, Daddy's birthday is today.  He would have been 104 year's young.  I'd put this pic, taken with Tahoe Phil's Babe Ruth squad, at circa 1955-56.  Making Daddy age 45-46.  Happy Birthday!

For the record, the Oracle of Iowa was Clan Champ in the women's pool.  I still got it!

Still under the gun of the filing date.  I'll maybe add something over the weekend.

BCOT

Monday, April 07, 2014

Monday

I'm taking a break for a few minutes from the number-crunching to check in here with my legion of fans.  I had meant to add a post yesterday, but ended up otherwise occupied last night and never got to the computer.

The moon and stars may be lined-up decently for me in spite of the stack of work here at the office.  On Sunday, one of my favorite cyclists, Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, took the prize again in one of the Spring's big classic races, the Tour of Flanders.  Its a race in Belgium that covers over 150 miles in varying conditions and is highly valued by the peloton.  "Spartacus" is a Classics specialist, a combination of speed and strength, ideal for one-day races.  Imposters do not win these tests of mind and body.

Then last night, in a TV show that I didn't watch, my pal George Strait took home another Entertainer of the Year award from the Academy of Country Music, a fan-based organization perhaps a step down from the Country Music Association. (Basically, I think these award shows are set-up to provide content to the TV industry...and for the women stars to strut their stuff on the red carpet...like
city-folk!  Whatever.)  George still has it.  2 and I go over to DSM to see him live a week from Friday.

And in a rain-delayed NASCAR race down in Texas today, the 24 stole a second-place finish with a sixth-place car by taking only two-tires on a late pit stop.  That strategy worked since they were set up for a two-lap dash and the other cars who took four tires didn't have enough time to work their advantage.  (Over the course of a season or two, these things tend to balance out: the 24 lost a race a couple weeks ago when he had the lead, there was a late caution, and he got passed on the restart.)

An interesting twist on the 24's paint scheme for the race in Ft. Worth was that the car was sporting the colors of Texas A&M's engineering school.  I'm not sure why A&M felt the need to get on the track, but my guess is that it was pretty good PR all week long.  It was a spiffy look, for sure.

I don't have all that much interest in the championship game tonight.  Both teams have shown a resiliency that, like 'em or not, they both belong there.  I find it extremely hard to cheer for Calipari.

I actually have a considerably greater interest in the women's game tomorrow night.  UConn has always played the game without concern for running under-woman-ed teams out of the gym.  "If you put us on your schedule, you'd better be ready to play."  I think Auriemma is a good coach.  By contrast, I really don't like the ND coach as well, but she has managed to get the program to four straight Final Fours, and has won one.  (I feel real bad for the ND girl who tore her ACL in the regional final.)  Both teams are undefeated, as they haven't played this year because of conference realignment.  It is a spicey rivalry.  I don't think that the teams like one another much.  All said, UConn has to be favored.  I'd take the Huskies and give the points, whatever they are.

Enough for now.  Back to the pile.  Thanks for reading.

BCOT

Friday, April 04, 2014

Friday...Short Update

I actually thought I was going to get this done yesterday, but life got in the way.  Way too many tasks on the list.

My memory-wall calendars note that I've been outside on my bike numerous times in late March and early April in recent years.  Not so much for 2014.  I am also reminded to get my pre-emergent down in my yard.  Maybe Sunday.

Another sign of the different standard for D-1 college basketball coaches is being reported on the sports pages this week.  Kelvin Sampson, who got run out of not one, but two high-profile jobs in the past for rules-violations, has been hired by the University of Houston to lead the Cougars to the Holy Grail.  This follows on the heels of Auburn bringing admitted-liar Bruce Pearl back from the Wasteland to find some wins in the SEC.

Pearl is getting the bigger financial package at somewhere around $2 million a year.  Sampson is a cheap-date (?), apparently in for around a single mill-burger per year.  Desperation yields curious decisions.  But this is all about the student in the student-athlete equation.  Right.

Then you have some NY media folks criticizing the Mets' second baseman for taking a couple of days off to be with his wife for the birth of their child.  Really?  Will anyone even remember games from the first of April come September?  The player must be a Republican. 

The below link is to an article offering an interesting take on religion and environmentalism.  I have been bothered in recent years by the Left's willingness to discount Christianity for the sake of progressive beliefs that take an "enlightened" approach to our modern society. I'm no bible-thumper, but I've said for most of my adult life, a little religion is good for people. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/374672/judaism-christianity-environmentalism-dennis-prager

Minnesota wins the prize for the 69th best team in the country with their NIT victory in MSG last night.  I lose another dollar to 1.1.  This is the same game that the Hawks lost in a year ago.  My theory is that since ESPN doesn't have any of the NCAA games, they need content, and on a night with no other college games, they make their normal viewing numbers.  Whatever. 

(Totally obscure news.  Did anyone in the Peanut Gallery know that the CBI tournament has a best-of-three-game final pairing?  Bonus points if you know this year's finalists.)

Hope its a Good Friday in your neighborhood.

UPDATE: I meant to add this when I first posted today as yet another kerfuffle in the world of sports, but I got distracted.  Then when I put the golf tournament on the TV this afternoon, I remembered my thought. 

I'm really not sure how they get away with it, given the obvious turned-eye to political correctness, but Golf Digest has again justified a peripheral sex symbol for their annual fitness cover story.  Rather than feature one of the women on tour (and I think that they have numerous options who qualify with the right stuff), they pull in Dustin Johnson's fiancĂ©e...who just happens to be The Great One's daughter.  And a Paris Hilton wannabe.

Last year's cover talent was a gal from the Golf Channel, Holly Sonders, who at least has a direct involvement in golf commerce.  She's a studio host on a weekday morning show.  Her bio lists her as a Michigan State grad and a member of their Big 10 championship golf squad.  Whatever.  She looks good on the tube.

It seems like Golf Digest uses it's Fit edition similar to the SI swim suit mag, dropping any pretense of the sporting life for "sex sells".  Pics within the articles show even more skin.  I'm OK with that, as are probably most of the guys on the range.  I'm guessing that these once-a-year editions out-sell the other months by a long shot. 

(For what its worth, some of the girls in golf, tennis and Olympic sports...who have the assets...do calendars or fashion shoots to expand their careers.  And it seems to be accepted.  You don't even see much disparagement these days of Danica for having done the swim suit issue a couple of times.  Can you begrudge a girl who wants to make an extra buck?)

Is it the weekend yet?

BCOT




Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Tuesday II...Just Taking a Break...From my Work!!

4 advised me today in a call that my absence from the blog had been a bit of a disconnect for her...that she had broken any habit of daily checking it since there had been so many days with nothing new added to the story.  I get the reality of those kind of personal choices that we all make.

I may have commented here previously that 2 has professed the theory that it takes 21 days to make/break a habit.  There are a number of Google hits on this 21-day hypothesis.  I'm thinking that 21 days for the simple things in life like not eating ice cream or taking a 30-minute walk can be habit-forming in that three-week stretch.  Obviously, the more complicated the habit, the more debatable the time frame to make/break it.

Don't get the idea that 4000 Days is in trouble.  While I do use it as a means to keep me involved an often one-sided conversation with the fam, the personal benefits remain very rewarding.  Once the cloud of April 15th passes, I'll be exploring other ideas to maybe add some freshness to what can be an oft-repeated story.  As 2 is quick to point-out, some of my meanderings here are not that surprising to her...she lives out many of these stories in real-time.

CPA's go through the doldrums this time of year every year.  (I actually thought that The Doldrums had a Greek mythology origin, but if so, its not on the first couple of Google pages.  I must have been doing a crossword that day in Mythology class.)  Mine are far from serious, but there's definitely a deep rut to be followed these next couple of weeks.  Inspiration is not part of the trail.

OK.  Got that out of my system.  I don't even want that last brownie.

Props to 1 and 1.1 for hosting March Madness again.  Props to 3 and 3.1 for the rooms at the Sheraton and the related diversion for 1.01 and 1.02 in the hotel swimming pool.  Props to @srh4 for the lasagna for Saturday's din-din.  And props to 2 for again riding shot-gun in the Buick for 12+ hours.  Its always nice when a plan comes together and works out as planned!

We did yeoman's work supporting the family tradition with a wine party in the hotel lobby late on Friday night.  2, 3, 3.1 and myself.  Three bottles of Rodney Strong top shelf.  I had brought along some throw-away (but reuseable) wine glasses from Maplecrest after an unsatisfactory experience at my last hotel stay while on the road earlier in March.  The glasses definitely added some class to the party.  (The maids must have thought we had used hotel glassware as the glasses disappeared with the Saturday cleaning of the rooms!  Glad they were throw-away's.)


Prepare for our favorite day.

BCOT

Tuesday

Sorry for the lack of new material here.  Even though 4's absence made the weekend up North a small-case fff, it was a gathering that made writing an after-thought.  That plus the seasonal business of the office has made the blog an infrequent diversion.  Don't look for a lot of additional entries over the next couple of weeks.

The Home Page pic is from the hilltop patio area in Agrigento, Sicily where 2 and I had a couple glasses of wine last September.  I kept trying to eye-ball that ship in the sea to see if it was moving.

The pics below are from the March Madness weekend.  Except for the Four-Girls pic which must have been at my place over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Blogger has been a bit of a nuisance here so I'll close for now.  Hope it is a good day in your neighborhood.

BCOT
 


 
 
 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuesday

Another short blast of Winter in the QCA.  Something less than an inch of new snow on the ground.  Temps in the 20's.  But this shouldn't last long. 

For the record, the condos have been reserved for Tahoe 2014.  By my count, we're looking at about 125 days now before check-in.

The closest that I came to my annual March Madness visit to Hooters was lunch in a Rock Island dive bar on Thursday.  The waitresses were not candidates for Hooters employment (although, if you were
to research here, the Davenport Hooters location has no claim to a stable of calendar girls).  Years ago, I would spend that first Thursday and Friday with some serious interest in each of the games.  Now?  Meh.  Its such a crap-shoot.  The Top Twenty teams just aren't that much better than the next 40.  Plus, since I've already won the Clan Contest once, what more is there?

Yeah. like Buffet had some exposure that someone would run the table from Game 1.

Here's a reason to select a cell phone case that is distinctive.  At the dive bar lunch last week, my lawyer friend John and I sat at a small high-top table away from the bar.  We ate lunch, watched the games, and talked a little business.  We each checked messages a couple of times on our phones.  Once we were done, we walked back to John's office where I had parked my car.  He had to get to the courthouse and I had to head back to my own office.  We shook hands, and I did my normal self-check to confirm I had my phone as I slid into the Buick.

Uh-oh.  No phone.

We conclude that it obviously must be back at the bar.  So I actually drive the two blocks back to the bar and he heads to court.  At the bar I find nuttin'.  I scour the floor around our table.  I talk to the guys who were still at the adjacent table, and to the waitress.  Still nuttin'.  I go back to my car and check there.  Nuttin'.  I go back inside to the bar and check again.  One of the guys calls my phone.  No sounds.  He walks out and dials while I listen in my car.  Silence.  I go back inside and get on my knees to look on the floor.  Again.  Still nuttin'.  I'm getting a little irked and really just perplexed.

Finally, I've basically given up, and turn to leave the bar...and run directly into my pal John...who has my phone held up in his right hand!

John had unconsciously picked up my phone from the table when we left from lunch.  It was an exact match for his own phone.  When the guy tried to help me by calling my phone, it had rung in John's pocket over at the courthouse.

This is just a variation of the old Sometimer's story, but with a slight twist of another player in the game.  I mean, I have enough issues on my own.  When there's "help" from a friend, I have little hope.

This probably qualifies for the Who Cares? files, but MLB's Opening Day this year is this Saturday (our time) from Australia.  The LA Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney.  The first game is at Oh Dark Hundred our time on Saturday morning...Saturday night in Sydney...and a second game is late Saturday night...a Sunday day game in Sydney.  I might miss both.

All for today.  Hope its a Good Tuesday in your neighborhood.

BCOT