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.
We appreciate your patronage.
TWC's Theme Song:
Tax & Accounting Offices of Michael R Snell
Accounting & Tax Consultation for the Discriminating Client
We will not sell, share, or otherwise disclose your email address or other personal information obtained on this site to third parties unless compelled to do so by subpoena.
Your email address is not required in order to leave comments. If you provide your email address, it will not be displayed with your comment.
Michael R. Snell & Associates will not disclose any client information to third parties without the client’s permission unless compelled to do so by subpoena.
A note from our crack legal team at Dewey, Screwem, & Howe, LLP.....
All tax and other information appears here as a courtesy to readers and clients. Please understand that we are not rendering legal advice and that each individual should consult his or her own tax professional before acting upon any of the information contained herein.
Effective June 21, 2005, regulations issued by the Treasury Department governing written communications, including email communications, between all tax practitioners (including attorneys) and their clients that have the issue of tax as a material element of the communication must include the following disclaimer:
As required by United States Treasury Regulations, you should be aware that written information contained on this site cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties under United States federal tax laws.
This site may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of a variety of issues including but not necessarily limited to, taxation, politics, human rights, economics, and science. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as is provided for under § 107 of the US Copyright Law.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, said material contained in this site is made available without profit for research or educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Wishing my Jewish friends all the very best of their new year celebration, Rosh Hashanah, which began at sunset last night.
There were untold numbers of heroes of the Big War, most of whom are unknown and whose stories remain untold. Knud Christiansen was a Danish Olympic Athlete and had competed in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He was also a member of the Danish resistance in 1943.
He was among the first to learn of the SS plans to arrest the Jews in one convenient mass roundup. It was planned on Rosh Hashanah, at 10 p.m. on Oct. 1 in 1943, an evening Denmark's 7,000 Jews were expected at home, almost all of whom lived in Copenhagen.
LAX could take some lessons here, starting with John Wayne's dedicated offramp lane from the 55 that drops in and loops around to the front of terminal row. No muss. No. fuss. No stop lights. Same deal on the way out. You want the 405? Right this way. Wham. Bam. Thankee Ma'am. Were done.
In contrast, the dummies in LA, with the help of the state and the feds, built a multi-billion dollar freeway (the 105) that doesn't go anywhere. Instead of routing it along Century Blvd and into the airport terminal, the freeway abruptly ends in El Segundo, dumping LAX bound traffic into the suffocating gridlock on Sepulveda Blvd, a mile from the airport.
The smugly self-satisfied politicians and bureaucrats, who want to shove you into mass transit while they tool around town in a limo, signed off on the light rail project down the 105 median. Just like the freeway, that slick lookin' train doesn't go anywhere, neither. You can't take the train to the airport because it doesn't go there. WTH? You can't take it to the beach, neither. Close. But no Cohiba. Worse: the train doesn't come from anywhere you're at, it just sort of begins at the 605 Freeway. But, it's cool. Like the Monorail at Diz. And, Boy Howdy! Dam thing runs down the center of the freeway. That's the important thing.
Most of America will recognize the 105 from the Sandra Bullock movie, Speed, which was filmed just before the freeway opened in 1994, a quarter century after many of the homes along the route were condemned.
TWC can clearly remember the erie deserted streets, lined with forlorn windowless houses and long-dead lawns. Except for the plywood sheets screwed to the doorframes, the scene could have been drawn from a post-apoclyptic Stephen King novel.
And if all that wasn't bad enough, they bulldozed the Beach Boys home where it all began.
It will be a hectic Sweet Sixteenth for my Renaissance Girl. We're in the throes of a heat wave and the triple digit temps have bumped her two hours of cross country practice from after school to early evening. Unfortunately, that won't change the homework allotment, she'll just start later. I'll sit with her at the desk while she works. I can't help her with chemistry, but I can sip a little wine and keep her company. For whatever that might be worth.
The girl can run a 5.5 minute mile and she's carrying a 4.5 GPA in college level advanced placement courses. She's funny, good with a camera, a .357, and she can wakeboard. She'll get her license on Thursday and that will be the last morning I drive her to school.
Noticed the smoke about 10:30 this morning. The fire looks to be between Black Star Canyon and Main Divide Road. I imagine the afternoon sea breeze will push it over the ridge toward South Corona. No sign of air tanker support as of yet.
I doubt this was an arson burn, there's nothing much in that area except the occasional off-roader. Couple 100 degree heat with bone dry, late summer chaparral, then throw in some ongoing drought condition, and you've got a recipe for a flash fire.
It was foggy and 60 degrees when I wandered out to the hills with the dogs for my morning constitutional. That's one reason why I was able to find Jimsom Weed in bloom. Generally it blooms at night and the fragrant blossoms wither and close in the hot sun. Also known as Sacred Datura and Indian Whiskey, Jimsom Weed is a hallucinogen and is also poisonous to most mammals.
And, Boy Howdy, finding this lying in the dirt put a big, Texas smile on my face. Even better than finding money in the dryer.
One of several dirt roads that TWC walks with the dogs wanders next to a seasonal creek bottom for a while before it meanders east to a low ridge that marks the edge of the plateau where oranges used to grow. I don't enjoy it as much anymore because the area has taken on the ambiance of the county dump. I mean landfill. I'm grumpy enough without the additional visual input provided by piles of chit. I absolutely support public hanging of those who dump their chit on other people's property.
The water table has apparently dropped and the trees can no longer tap into life sustaining water. This is the creek bottom today:
This is what the same stretch of creek bottom looked like ten years ago:
We're all under mandate to reduce water consumption 20% by 2020. Although my water district publicly scoffed at the concept of tiered water pricing a few years ago, the severity of the drought has forced it to reconsider. I know it is anecdotal evidence, but it has been effective. As the marginal cost of the last gallon of water has increased exponentially, I've noticed that several of my neighbors have let their expansive lawns die out this summer. The Walkin' Man said it cost him $500.00 a month last summer to keep his two acres of turf green. Not no moh, though.
Me? I've never had a lawn here at Casa de Las Rocas Grandes. The water district considers me to be a relatively frugal water user, though the monthly water bill belies that claim. But, the base rate is $75.00 before a single drop of water flows into my kitchen sink, which tends to ratchet the total bill upward pretty quickly.
I recently cut off the drip to a couple of peach trees that inexplicably quit bearing fruit. Ditto an old apple tree. We irrigate mostly with drip and gray water. If I wash my truck in the driveway, that water takes care of a couple of trees. Doin' my part, I guess.
TWC is a fan of Black Box wines, which are generally better than one would expect in a cheap, box wine. However, I'm not getting anything from the Pinot Noir except a vague reminiscence of a weak merlot. Definitely not tasting the.....
.....enticing aromas of strawberry, cherry, and rose petal with complementary notes of toasty oak. Fresh berry and cocoa flavors lead to a delicate, lingering finish.....
that the tasting notes promise.
It's still a bargain, though. There are the equivalent of four bottles of wine in that box and the price works out to less than five dollars a bottle. The wine compares favorably to Three Buck Chuck and is better than many wines in the under-ten-dollar class.
For the carbon footprint crowd, a cardboard box with a plastic liner may be less intrusive on the planet's ecosystem than four glass bottles and four corks. [shrugs]
Black Box wines are great for parties and they also travel well, which makes them perfect for camping or road trips. Next time I am boat camping, I may well bring along a Black Box of Cabernet Sauvignon. That's a lot less weight to haul around than four glass bottles of wine and if you lose the corkscrew (and the spare) you aren't, well, screwed. I've never broken a bottle of wine while boating, but it isn't possible to break a cardboard box.
Navigating the snoring bodies on my office floor made it a little tricky getting to my desk this morning. But, I made it. Twice. Without kicking any of the early birthday celebrants in the head, or spilling coffee on their cherubic little upturned faces.
I was in my early forties when me and Mrs TWC decided to add some ankle biters to our small herd of curtain climbers. BTW, the internet is filled with advice on how to keep kitties from climbing the curtains, most of which is of no help. In a word: blinds or shutters. OK, that's two words and I digress.
When Jake was born, I peered down the road to this day and wondered how it would feel. I imagined his high school graduation. I pictured his friend's parents thinking it was cool that grandpa came to the ceremony but wondering where his dad was. Course they'd be too polite to mention it. I often thought about teaching the manly arts to a boy young enough to be a grandchild. Would he see me as an old man? Or just the Old Man?
Truth is that this day, like the rest of life, doesn't feel anything but normal. It just is. The parents don't know or care how old dad is. I'm just dad. And the Old Man. The Boy learned to shoot baskets, rifles, and revolvers. He can plant flowers and make mulch. He drives well and can change the oil. He can handle the boat at the gas dock and get it on the trailer. He also learned how to wash a car, but you'd not necessarily know he had acquired that particular skill. Jacob also learned some things that dad didn't teach him. Fishing, fine woodworking, welding, rock skipping, and mad skills in the virtual world of gaming.
Jacob's senior project was this poker table
The surprise turns out to be how damn fast this day came. BK (Before Kids) life is rather fluid and the markers are spread out. But children really are relentless little ticking time clocks. Their constant evolution and change reminds you of every turn of your own odometer. The nature of raising children is incessant change. One minute you can't imagine changing another diaper and then, well, they're starting Kindergarten. My friend Anne summed it up well: the days are long but the years are short.
Sometime during the last twenty-four hours the new owner piled small boulders around a couple of No Trespassing signs blocking the roads leading to the lake. I can respect that, and we did. The guy's naivete is touching however, because nobody else will. Short of twenty foot fences topped with concertina wire and machine gun towers at all corners, he isn't going to keep anyone out except me and the dogs.
This is an era where off-roaders carry bolt cutters to cut through fences and locked gates. It's not that nobody respects private property, but that seems to be the rule for shooters, off-roaders, and others who mistake the open spaces of Gavilan Hills for the county dump. Five will get you twenty that the signs will be history by Wednesday. People will simply drive around the rock piles and do what they've always done.
Dam shame though, the dogs loved to cool off in that pond after an hour of racing around in the hills like crazed mad men.