Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thursday

Here I am, back on the airways, in a two-fold sense, literally. On a plane. And on the blog.

The last couple of weeks of tax season were poorly managed by yours truly, leaving me with lots to do in a short period of time. I agreed to do a couple of new returns for individual clients referred to me by other long-time clients, and in retrospect, I should have just said "no". My lot was further exacerbated by me allowing even further rope to my perennial procrastinators. It just didn't work out that well. Changes will be made for next year.

I'm sure that I have commented here in prior years about the computing power available to me on my desktop machine today compared to the system we used in my days at Arthur Anderson in the late 1970's. It continues to amaze me what we can do with the new technology. We have instant answers to alternative tax strategies, and virtually perfect calculations for the tax liabilities that apply. The errors are almost always operator related.

That said, if I were a younger man, I would now be cross-training over to a new career path given the Obamacare enforcement responsibilities of today's tax preparing professionals. It's one thing to act as an IRS forms-processor as I have done for most of four decades. It's entirely something else to become the answer-man and the collection overseer for the cluster that is the new medical services law of the land.

Moving on to better topics...

In our office pool for the NCAA tourney, 3 was the only entrant to pick the Dookies as the winner. But I don't think she will be the jackpot winner as her other picks were a bit spotty. There were two or three other sheets that had all four of the final four teams selected (including the LtPC), so the wins selected in the earlier rounds will have to be tabulated. I've out-sourced that analysis to a staff person at the office. We'll have the final results next week. The winner gets $100 this year.

I missed recognizing Margaret and Phil's wedding anniversary last week. I think it was the 13th, but I need verification from the family historian (The Commish) as I think I gave the date erroneously to the newspaper for the obituary's...and I have those at my desk for reference. In any respect, it was sometime this month. And I think it would have been their 79th or 80th. Given that Aunt Martha would have been 78 this year, I'm going with 79. They were good Catholics.

A story that I think I will process here on the blog starting in the near future is one that I outlined about 15 years ago, finding those notes hiding in plain sight in my living room just a couple of weeks ago. It's a golf story that describes a fictional round with my pal Roy and three others, me being the fifth wheel. So you will have a couple of introductory entries to describe the players, the game that the foursome is playing, and some other information to lay the groundwork for the reader.

My original thought had been to present a bound version of the story to each of they guys as a Christmas present. And maybe even "tweak" a version for each individual that would make him the hero of their version. At this point, that part of the idea won't get done. But I think I want to get a book done similar to the Sicily book that 2 and I did for that trip. And the exercise is more about me getting something done now rather than have those notes go to waste. We'll see. Since ideas here on the blog have been so pitiful, a little story might just be the ticket to breathe some life into 4KDays.

All for now. Landing soon for the visit to The Big Apple. Glad to be back.

BCOT.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday



Happy 79th Anniversary to Phil and Margaret.

BCOT

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Thursday - I think

The blog is still taking a back seat to the IRS.  Communications are down.  Look for an entry after April 15th.

BCOT

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday

Not a lot new here.  At this time of year, I fall into a work routine that leaves nominal time for extra-curricular activities.  I did leave the office early last night to catch the early games...with a glass of vino!  No real surprises in last night's games, eh?  A bit eyebrow-raising that the Irish made it look fairly easy against Wichita, but their demise will come quickly enough against Kentucky.  Four more games tonight.

The plane crash over in France is a bit scary.  The crash site is not all that far from the high mountains used in the TdF.  The origin of the flight, Barcelona, is where we will be flying to this Fall, and the destination of the doomed plane, Dusseldorf, was our connection airport on the Sicily trip in 2013.  How does society protect itself from ordinary people who go off the reservation?

Speaking of this Fall, 2 and I have made our September flight reservations for Barcelona-Bordeaux.  We leave out of ORD on the 17th (to ATL and then direct to Barcelona), and return to ORD from Bordeaux (via Paris) on the 29th.  We drove to ORD for these trips in the past so as to eliminate one of the possible connection snafu's.  There's not any cost-savings, but it is just easier on the stress-factor.

I've had the idea in the last couple of days that I may go the route of buying a lower priced mid-range bike in Spain rather than take as additional baggage my primary bike from here.  The fee to bring a bike is usually $150-$175.  If I can find something for $600 or so, I like the cost-benefit result of a purchase.  I'll be doing some on-line shopping in the near future to lock-in on that decision.

Life is full of times when the hand dealt to a person is just a bad hand.  Case in point, the lot drawn by the wave of golfers who were given Thursday morning tee times this week at the TPC San Antonio.  Understand that the PGA constructs tee-off schedules each week (randomly?) that have half the field starting in the AM on Thursday, then that same group gets their start in the PM on Friday.  The other half of the field goes off in the PM on Thursday and AM on Friday. 

Conditions on Thursday AM were just awful with high winds.  Scores were predominately in the high 70's and a few in the 80's.  The winds died down in the afternoon, and scores dropped accordingly.  So that morning group from Thursday gave up at least 6-8 shots to the afternoon guys.  Friday has been even-steven between morning and afternoon.  So almost all of the golfers making the cut to play the weekend (top 70 and ties) were the Thursday afternoon guys.  Some days you get the bear.  Some days the bear gets you.  (And you hope you get a better draw next time.)

Speaking of the bear getting you, two crowd fav's in the peloton have hit the deck in recent races and won't be starting some of the sport's major one-day races these next few weeks.  Belgium Tom Boonen (on the left) separated his shoulder in a crash a couple of weeks ago, and the Swiss star Fabian Cancellara (Spartacus, on the right in the pic) went over his handlebars today doing damage to his back in a couple of places.  He'll be out for a while as well.  Both of these guys are warriors...and have not been caught in the doping scandals.  (I think Boonen had a cocaine issue at one point, but who's perfect?)

Here's my TBT offering on Friday.  One of my all-time favorite pic's.  How cool is it that 4 is shown reading a book on a trip to Kohl's as what, a second or third grader?  (That Suburban was a monster truck.  Can't imagine driving one of those on a daily basis today.)

Working both weekend days.  But not all that hard...or all day.  Might be time for the application of the crabgrass pre-emergent treatment Sunday.  And I need to get my garage spiffed-up for a possible MCSC event next Friday.

So hope the weekend goes well for the Peanut Gallery.

BCOT




Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday

The report from the Minnesota weekend is pretty tame.  Twitter captured all of the best moments.  That route up through Rochester is definitely shorter, and we even took the Hastings Cut-off (same as the Schlossen Cut-off) to lop off another few miles.  Friday afternoon traffic tempered the benefits.  @srh4 did her imitation of 2 in the navigator' seat.  The Hastings leg is definitely a two-man operation.

Total Wine gave me a full refund-trade for that bottle of the 2010  Dominican Oaks Cab from the last case.  No questions asked.  I thought their stock was a little better this time.  I had one of the sales guys give me some advice on Bordeaux's.  Bought two.  Not the cheap ones either.  They had the 2012 J Lohr Cab on sale for $9.97.  Woulda coulda.  Didn't.

The book on tape for the trip was pathetic.  Catherine Coulter spy thriller that never thrilled.  I almost never select my standard political/spy/espionage books with female authors.  Not sure why I let down my guard this time.  Just soooo much time spent working the feminine/feelings/romance angles to   humanize" the protagonists.  This novel had two couples and a total of four kids to weave into the story.   Really bad.

(I'm entering this from the laptop at home.  Blogger is messing with me.  Sorry.)

The computer problem on my desk machine actually was apparent Friday.  The IT contractor identified a missed update on the exchange server.  I think they just overlooked my machine on the update protocol since no one else in the office had any issues.  Love IT.

Spring has arrived with some attitude.  We had two hours of major winter driving conditions in southern Minnesota yesterday.  We had freezing rain for a while this AM.  I could handle some days in the 60's.

Augie's run hit a big bump in the road in their championship game against Wisconsin Steven's Point..  The Pointer's were a good team, bigger at most all positions, well-coached, and made the shots.  Augie has played them in the regular season a time or two in recent years, so I'm sure that they were prepared to defend against the Augie offense.  In a 10-game series, Augie could maybe win 2 or 3, no more.

But LBH, the Vikings had a successful tournament...in contrast to ISU, Iowa and UNI.

Another example of "You're not below radar."  When I bought the new Buick, I agreed to the trial period for the OnStar service.  Among the "services" was a monthly update via email on the fluid levels, tire pressures and oil-life status.  Next came the call from the dealer to remind me that OnStar had alerted them that I was due for an oil change.  Now OnStar wants me to sign up for the service on a regular basis.  Yuck.

On the one hand, I'm offended at the Big Brotherness of an internal monitor feeding data to the Cloud without my consent.  On the other hand (drink for the title of a country song), I'm thinking seriously about accepting the Siri GPS advice for travel.  Is a reminder on car service that bad of an idea for a senior citizen?

I saw a curious article today about how the U of Tennessee is phasing out the name Lady Vols for their women's athletic teams.  This had been a topic that gave indigestion to the PC crowd every where.  How come the women's teams weren't just The Vols?  Its demeaning to refer to them as Lady Vols.  Except...that the name Lady Vols had become synonymous with excellence.  Thanks in large part to Pat  Summitt.  Most interesting was that Nike, who became the outfitter for UT last Fall, suggested in writing that the name Lady Vols was inconsistent with the university-wide effort to be "One Tennessee".  Yeah, Starbucks is not the only PC-obsessed corporate citizen in the Great Northwest.

Hope it is a good week in your neighborhood.

BCOT

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Thursday

Not a good afternoon for lower seeds, eh?  The 'Clones played awful.  Their star(?) couldn't throw it in the ocean.  The play they ran with 15 seconds to go when they were down one was pathetic.  The Mayor didn't deliver.  Whatever.  Take solace ISU fans, you have company from Baylor, Texas and SMU followers.  There'll be others too by the end of Friday.

This all makes concentration at work a lot easier.

I'm giving recognition to Margaret today on her tax birthday.  We'll be on the road tomorrow, her birthday, and I doubt if I'll have time to write.  She would have been 107.  She passed away in February 2001.  I still think of her every day. Happy Tax Birthday, Mother.

This is not the best pic, but it is historically significant.  It would have been taken in the early Spring of 1971 at ND following a baseball game.  Mother and Daddy came to see me play just a couple of times in my career.  On this occasion, Aunt Martha and Uncle Phil came along.  I'm thinking that that is Phil in between Mother and Daddy...and that has to be nephew/cousin John in front of Daddy.  Martha must be taking the picture.  As I recall, Phil, Martha and I hit one of the close-to-campus watering holes that night...and did some damage.

In 1971, Daddy would have been 61, Mother 63, Phil almost 30 and Martha nearing 34.  Wow!  Comparing to moi now, they (we...all of us...) were all youngsters then!!!

In the FWIW Department, I did switch over to golf once the damage was done to my picks and kept it there the rest of the afternoon.  I mean, the market was trolling South as well, so why not catch the tour at Bay Hill in Florida, hosted by Arnie?  The interesting point actually came after 1700 hours when PGA feed ended and they switched to the LPGA tour...which is in Phoenix this week.  I didn't know that until I started picking up on the fact that the desert course that they were playing looked pretty familiar.  In fact, the course is within 4-5 miles of Grayhawk.  So the same mountains pop up in the horizon camera shots.  I like the scenery.

The resort is a JW Marriott luxury spa/hotel with two championship courses immediately adjacent at Wildfire Golf Club.  Those JW Marriott places are really nice...that's where we had the family gathering in Vegas in November...and I've been to one in San Antonio where they play a PGA event later in the year.  They're not too shy about charging $20 for a lobby-bar glass of vino.

The local golf courses here are beginning to open.  A couple already are.  My pal Ron is on Spring Break this week and he says that he is playing tomorrow.  Its a little cool for my tastes.  I mean, there still are some piles of snow not quite melted away at the edges of the big parking lots.  I'll be waiting until after April 15th before I pull my golf bag from the basement.

All for tonight.  Look for Twitter updates from the road tomorrow.  Make it a Good Friday in your neighborhood.

BCOT