The focus is red wine and to get right to it without distraction, click The Wine Commonsewer Speaks. The rest of the enchilada is just enough of an
eclectic mix of commentary on culture, food, tax, and econ 101 to
distract from the focus on red wine.
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Mark Twain once remarked on New Year’s Day that…..
Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever.
We’re well into the New Year and getting perilously close to that thirty day time limit and yet hope remains that the promise of 2008 will endure.
One thing certain to endure for at least another entire year is the income tax. I’ll go out on a limb here and forecast that the guy who promises to disband the IRS won’t get elected. That said, please note:
Due Date for 2007 Personal Income Tax Returns is April 15, 2008
Extensions are valid for a six months. That pushes the extended due date out to Wednesday October 15, 2008
Don’t Get Excited.
As The Man Said: Extensions are not an extension of time to pay your taxes. You must pay the lion’s share of your personal income taxes by April 15, 2008 to avoid additional penalties.
The penalties are quite steep and they ramp up to the max quickly. You could easily be talking about half again as much as you owe. If you don’t have the money but you eventually intend to pay your taxes you should consider borrowing the money to do so. And you dang sure want to file by April 15th because the late filing penalties are huge compared to the late payment penalties. Either way, even the Mob rates may be cheaper than IRS penalties.
Downside: The Mob’s collection process is a little more direct. And a bit harsher.
First time I saw John Stewart was at the Golden Bear in Surf City with Alice and that crazy chick that kept trying to kill herself. Seems like Alice was carrying on with a Seal Beach cop, but I can't recall exactly. The Golden Bear dated to 1926 and had seen some legendary acts. Dizzy Gillespie, The Doors, Steve Martin, BB King, Boingo, John Klemmer, Burritos, and Asleep at the Wheel (to name a couple).
That was before the city decided it didn't meet earthquake standards and bulldozed it for some forgettable plastic redevelopment scheme. They sold the used bricks for somebody's equally forgettable patio. Now used bricks are fake, but then, you could have the real thing and some of the faithful snagged a few from under the wrecking ball.
John Stewart was a small venue kind of guy, the persona and the magic never quite came across as well on vinyl or CD. Except that one he did with Stevie Nicks. And the old stuff with the Trio. I'm still grateful Alice dragged me off to that show.
He wrote Kath's favorite song. Okay, maybe not her all time fave, but close. The one that catapulted the Monkees to fame and fortune. In a Stephen King sort of precursor to reality, before we knew the curtain was falling on the annual 4th of July Bash here at the Casa, all the girls circle danced to Day Dream Believer (several times). You had to be there, but it was a visual worth archiving (except we didn't).
Might be the the sweep of the city lights, the fluttering candles, dreamy house, sparkling glasses of red, or the heart's tug at a distant and blurred memory of some sweet young thing that made you desperate to say those words, but in the space of four minutes Toby Keith made a respectable woman out of Tommy Lee's ex bleach blond.
Maybe that's not exactly it, more like you wouldn't notice Mattel tattoo'd on her sweet little plastic backside this time. That's about pretension not surgery. I'm thinking it's the wine. Not that the views to LA aren't teh killer, but, the wine, well, you know how that goes.
Still. It's an image Heather has never played to, and damn if she ain't the girl next door after all.
A dear friend, of the old school and intending to thank me properly, sent a note that arrived yesterday. The card is beautiful and all the more touching in that the lady in question isn't a wino (but she knows me well). I thought I'd share it with you.
No. This is a ghastly choice. A wine for lying down and avoiding. It is rare, indeed, that TWC will absolutely refuse to finish a bottle of wine.
Particularly galling at $12.00-$16.00 US. These guys should be ashamed, but since Miles handed down the Pinot Tablet I guess there's a lot of that going around. Too bad.
I wouldn't give you a nickel for a whole bagful of this stuff.
UPDATE: Got several emails about this: The Pinto Noir crack was an on-purpose. Anybody remember the Ford Pinto? Well the Estancia is the Pinto or worse (maybe the Chevy Vega) of Pinot Noir. Sink pourin' wine.
In a sweeping repudiation of anti-consumer and protectionist
restrictions on the shipment of wine, Chief Judge Sidney Fitzwater of the U.S.
District Court of Northern Texas ruled yesterday that the state of Texas may
not prohibit consumers from having wine shipped to them from out-of-state wine
merchants if the state allows the shipment of wine from in-state Texas wine
This critically important decision provides wine retailers with the same
protection against economic discrimination that wineries obtained in the 2005
Supreme Court Case Granholm
v. Heald. That seminal case held that no state may discriminate
against out-of-state wine shippers for the purpose of protecting in-state
competitors. Yesterday’s ruling completely rejected the claims by the State of
Texas, Texas wine wholesalers, as well as lawmakers and wholesalers in other
states that Granholm v.
Heald did not apply to retailers.
I'm regularly baffled that a free people permit such a degree of meddling by state, local, or federal governments into what are essentially private arrangements between actual grown-ups. Course, the main reason that protectionism exists, particularly in this form, is to ensure that the protected merchants don't have to compete. Those politically well-connected merchants profit at the expense of consumers and less well-connected business owners. It's the Costco principle. Spread enough green around, the city will take the church's land and give it to you.
TWC's take on Granholm is here. No, I don't know why the image is missing either.
A client has a small one-man show that never generates any sales that are subject to sales tax because his work is 100% labor.
California still requires him to file an annual sales tax return anyway. He completes it, shows no taxable sales, signs it, and sends it off. Later, a letter arrives taking him to task for not adding zeros to the lines where the tax was zero. Uh, Duh.
See if you, Gentle Readers, can figure this out for the friendly folks at BOE, cuz I don't think they know what those pre-printed zeros mean.
See Line 12. The one that says: Transactions Subject to State Tax followed by the Zero. Click on the picture for better resolution. Just one of those things I can't fix today. [shrugs]
He told me they ain't very nice at the Santa Ana office, neither.
These are the same folks that refuse to provide a downloadable, blank, fill-in .PDF sales tax return form that calculates the various taxes and does the math, something that I could create in about four or five hours.
Instead the fill-in form requires you to move from block to block with mouse clicks while physically typing in every single dollar figure after doing calculation by hand on a piece of paper or an adding machine. Sure, you get a nice, neat looking tax return, but the human error factor isn't any less than when it was typed or hand written. In essence, the small business owner is no better off than when forms were typed on an IBM Selectric.
So, all the little guys keep doing the calculations by hand, the BOE employees keep right on checking for math errors, by hand, and then BOE generates thousands of those letters about the math errors just like it was 1963.
One would imagine that a .PDF fill-in sales tax return that performed all the calculations would reduce the error rate on returns filed by small business to near zero. That ought to be motivation enough. Efficiency.
Good thing we don't get all the government we pay for.