Saturday, April 10, 2004

Did someone say "OINK, OINK?????"

Check out this latest example of fine,fine PORK tossed at us by the fine representatives of Alaska. Good God almighty - someone should drop them off a pier in Alaska with a few nice sized anchors tied to their boots. I've been to Ketchikan and I can tell you this has to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard of - no wonder people grow sick of the process in Washington and have no faith. Read the article in the Times and then write these idiots and tell them to get a grip on reality.

Ah, the Masters again! Always great fun to see. (for "live" leaderboard scoring, head over to Golfweb ) Watched Arnie trudge up the 18th yesterday to complete his 50th Masters in a row at the age of 74. That had to be tough - the urge to compete is still there, but at age 74 the ol' bod just doesn't want to cooperate. Nicklaus may have played in his last Masters as well, but we'll see - he changes his mind frequently. Hated to see John Daly miss the cut by 1 stroke as he had been having quite a good year. Mike Weir, the defending champ, couldn't get it going and missed the cut as well. Tiger sucked it up again and moved from 4 over after the first day to finish at even par after 2 days, just 6 strokes behind the leader - the guy never ceases to amaze you.

And Bruce Edwards, Tom Watson's caddy of some 30 years, passed away at age 49 of Lou Gehrig's disease. Probably the game's greatest caddy. Not much much progress on the ALS front or so it would seem - ya gotta hope that one of these days they will dream up a cure.

You can watch the Masters at 3:30 Eastern Time on CBS today. (starts at 1:30 on Sunday)

Spent some time browsing the digital photography and Photoshop titles in the bookstore the other day. Some titles worth looking at are:

Clicking on the above links will take you to the web site. Click on the Amazon Review link to read more about each book.

The latest hot camera, the Nikon D70, is fully reviewed here at Digital Photography review. Has a few minor drawbacks but sounds pretty good, even more so, if you happen to have a Nikon camera with a few lenses already.

Kristof speaks out: It's not just that the Bush administration's arrogance and unilateralism have led Pakistanis to give Osama bin Laden a 65 percent favorable rating, compared with 7 percent for President Bush (the latest international polls from the Pew Research Center make you want to cry)...... It wouldn't have taken much to maintain our friendship with our allies. Sure, there are cultural gaps: Europeans are bewildered that Americans can feel more threatened by Janet Jackson's breast than by unregulated handguns. But the Bush administration had to work hard to take all the good will accumulated over the decades since World War II and the Marshall Plan, and replace it with distrust and hostility.

Finally knocked out the ol' taxes the other day with the help of Complete Tax . Worked very well - pointed the way to various deductions that I might have missed , had I tried to figure it out on my own. And the cost was $0, which is always nice. Also was nice to realize that if you fell into one of the lower income brackets, donating to a Roth or regular IRA nets you a nice tax credit. A $2000 deposit into one, nets you 50% of that amount as a tax credit. That makes for a very nice way to reduce a tax burden and save for the future.

Reading an article in USA Today, I noticed the following comments: "Taxpayers overpay their taxes by an estimated $1 billion a year because they fail to claim itemized deductions, opting for the standard deduction instead, according to the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress." and "* The earned income tax credit, designed to help the working poor, has become so complicated that about a quarter of eligible taxpayers fail to claim it. The credit is worth up to $4,204 this year." And catch this little jewel - this is sure comforting to the average taxpayer - "The GAO found that 2 million taxpayers who used a preparer took the standard deduction when they would have been better off itemizing. Low-income taxpayers have an even harder time. Tax preparers are responsible for nearly 70% of errors and overclaims on returns claiming the earned income tax credit, the IRS says." and "The number of Americans who believe cheating is acceptable has risen sharply, to 17% last year from 11% in 1999, according to an IRS survey. If Americans believe the tax code arbitrarily rewards taxpayers who can afford sophisticated lawyers and accountants, ''That seriously erodes democracy itself,'' says John Fox, a tax attorney and author of 10 Tax Questions the Candidates Don't Want You to Ask."

Quote of the Day
"If your head is wax, don't walk in the sun."
Benjamin Franklin

Word of the Day
opprobrium uh-PRO-bree-uhm\, noun:1. Disgrace; infamy; reproach mingled with contempt.2. A cause or object of reproach or disgrace. Usage: "He will also earn their opprobrium for supporting the Lib Dem's policy..." or "Social opprobrium also once greeted adopted children, stepchildren, and even the only child, not to mention the children of interracial couples. ."..

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