Friday, June 23, 2017

My Eyebrows Hurt

Mrs lefty hands me a paper from the state. There's some sort of Tax Amnesty thing happening and perhaps, since this is the last day, I should call.


Because the paper says I own lots of hundreds of dollars for something and if I pay now, I'll get a discount. Mrs lefty says we should make payment arrangements. Mr lefty says we should have a look at this.

The paper, which looks legitimate, says we own money for Voluntary Fair Use Tax.  Well, taking the obvious road; if it's voluntary, we don't have to pay it. This is apparently not a useful answer and the state has no sense of humor.

So I call the state to try and figure out what all of this is. Being the state, I get a recording, reminding me how important my call is to them. It's so important, the recording reminds me at one minute intervals. During the hold, I get four calls from Mrs lefty about Very Important Stuff, plus a few texts from friends and family, and a whole lot of email.

I also get to look up Fair Use Tax. This is such an obscure item, it barely appears in search engines. A few pages later I have a grasp on this tax. It's very clever: this is a tax-grab. The state, upset that one can purchase things out of state and avoid sales tax, has rectified the problem by enacting a Voluntary Fair Use Tax. Any time legislation or tax has a positive name, you had better watch out. The trick here is that they have decided that the tax-free purchase has to hit state transportation, thus you owe tax. Even if you think of buying something from a different state, you owe the tax. To make matters more amusing, the tax is even higher in two cities.

Forty five minutes later, I reach a very cheerful state worker, who proceeds to explain to me that I owe hundreds of dollars and can get amnesty if I pay now. Like most reasonable humans, I ask what the tax is for, or on. Like most state workers, she has absolutely no idea. Her best suggestion was to dig up our tax return from 2000. Ummm.... no. Even if I could unearth the return, there would be no item that required hundreds of dollars of tax, or I would have paid it. Statie then says she's not a tax professional. So I ask again, can she tell me where it's from. She tries to sell me on paying today but still cannot tell me why I own the tax or even what the tax is.

Let me lay this out for you... we receive a tax document that says we owe hundreds of dollars for something that happened seventeen years ago. We can get a discount if we pay today, but no one can tell us why we allegedly owe the money.  I have a feeling I'll have to dispute this. I hope it doesn't involve a phone call.

  • There is snoring coming from the bathroom. I'm torn between curiosity, inertia, and the realization that it's not going to be the weirdest thing to happen today.

Honda (yes, that Honda) was forced to shut down a manufacturing plant on Tokyo after the WannaCry virus made a return. Are these the people you trust with making you car 'connected' in the computer age? This is a preview of what's to come, this time, in your car.

  • In reference to the Department of Defense Inspector General's report on the NSA, well, the NSA doesn't come off so well. After Snowden, there were steps recommended, which were performed in a rather half-assed way. Rest assured, your data is not collected in a half-assed way.

What's faster to transfer a terabyte of data from San Francisco to London: a 100mbps internet connection or a British Airways 747? This is an interesting explanation of how data moves across the net (and on a plane). The best line from the article is "If airlines experienced aircraft loss at the rate the Internet sees packet loss there'd be 28 crashes per day in the US alone."

  • A police officer at the airport in Flint, Michigan, was stabbed and is in critical condition. The airport was closed down and the perp is in custody. The talking head news person said there was no apparent cause for the stabbing. I beg to differ - the apparent cause was the guy with the knife. I should probably avoid getting into tv news.
  • On the other hand, imagine how interesting tv news would get if I were on it.
  • On the third hand, my career would last just under a week, with Las Vegas giving me very poor odds.
  • On any remaining hands, the Canadian-born knife-wielder shouted "Allahu Akbar" before stabbing the policeman. Who could have seen that coming?

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, wants to offer amnesty for the illegal aliens who lived in the Grenfell Tower, the building that just experienced a tragic fire. This is his priority.

  • Followup: Evergreen State College, coming off a protest around a day without white people, has had so much of this going on that they have been forced to hold graduation off-campus. Because nothing is being done to correct the matter. The professor who disagreed with day without white people was forced to teach off-campus for his own safety. He and his family have been forced to move. Anyone who disagrees with antifa is branded a fascist and is a target for violence. A Daily Caller author has suggested antifa be considered a terrorist group. Nothing is being done.

I don't claim to understand and am not sure I want to, but an Instagram model was killed the other day by an exploding whipped cream dispenser. It's hardcore when one dies for one's ice cream (if that's what was involved). Your can of whipped cream is still safe - this is a high-end, CO2 injected, high-performance cream whipping machine. The local news brough in an expert who said the blunt force looked like when hockey players take a puck to the chest. This household will stick with a can of non-leathal Redi-Whip.

  • Two twenty-something British men were arrested for planning to hack into Microsoft and steal user data. After further examination and testing, the case was dropped because they were just trying to use Windows 10 and the behavior was normal.

Today is National Take Your Dog to Work Day. What could possibly go wrong? All of my coworkers were astounded to see someone attractive walking anywhere near me. Then it was time for Trashcan Inspection, followed by Desk Inspection, followed by Search for Snacks and Maybe Attention. It's a full day's work for Marshall. If I can keep him from defecating on the boss' desk, I will consider it a complete success.

  • In what could be the only good news ever produced by a computer virus, traffic cameras in Australia were hit with the WannaCry ransomware.

Today's best psychology journal title: Vegan Sexuality: Challenging Heteronormative Masculinity through Meat-free Sex. You can't make this shit up.

There might be a name for this and if there isn't, we need one.
I just offered Marshall a bacon-like treat. He groggily looked up at me, sniffed the morsel, and put his head back down. I threw the thing on the ground, he sniffed it, then ate it. Does it taste better from the carpet than my hand?

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