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If you assumed that the US has the market cornered on the progressive nanny-state, you would be incorrect. The phenomenon appears world wide as evidenced by this warning label from a bottle of Arabella wine.
It's Tax Day here in the US and, suitably, the Southland is dreary, dank, and drizzly.
Lots of rancourous debate over how much tax is enough, but most of the people who actually pay income tax figure they've paid plenty. For the record, about 47% of all US households pay zero federal income tax.
As a public service, TWC offers the following links for those who think taxes should be higher.We encourage you to lead by example (I'm looking at *you* Stephen King).
Click and Pay.
To make a direct gift to the US government click below.
Or, you could just add an extra zero or two to the check you send with your tax return today.
Like everyone whose ever bought a house, we had driven by Casa de las Rocas Grandes a half dozen times or so while it was in escrow. We knew the view was good, but it seemed like a curtain of foggy drizzle obscured it from our excited eyes.
Our road curves around from behind the mountain to where the house is stapled to the side of the hill. Actually, the foundation is rebarred into solid granite with epoxy, but you sort of get the allusion. Unlike tonight, which is about a cold, well digger's butt in the Klondike kind of evening (the wind is biting), it was a warmish devil-wind sort of night and as we rounded the curve we saw it. The car was stunned, too. It simply stopped in the middle of the road.
Tonight is stormy, if it don't rain, I'll put in with you, but so far, not a droplet. You are looking northeast from the Casa and there are at least a dozen cities out there. Azusa and Glendora to the left, Upland, Ontario International, & Chino. Riverside closer in, and Jack Benny's Cucamonga, where Zinfandel was once king, distant right.
Temecula, the redheaded stepchild (am I allowed to say that?) that much of the wine world snickers at, is making some absolutely stunning Zins from some of the leftover old vines in the Cucamonga Valley.
When we was vagrant yoots we'd sometimes ditch school and drive to Mt Baldy. It took hours and the last of it was mile upon mile of stoney soil sprouting silent, barren grapevines, waiting for the warmth of spring. That's mostly little pink houses these days. And a Bass Pro store.
The Cucamonga Winery, reported to be the first in the valley, dates to 1933 and operated until 1975 when, big surprise, rising taxes forced the sale of the 800 acre property.
The peak nearby is likely Mt Baldy and Route 66 should be just a few miles away. The winery was located near what is now West 7th Street.
Cucamonga Winery wines included Barbera made with 100% Barbera, which was considered among the best Barbera’s in California at the time. Also made were Zinfandel, Burgundy, Chianti (pretty sure it was straw bottle), Grignolino, Claret, Barberone, Sauterne, Chablis, and Rhine Wine, Dry Muscat and Vermouth.
Might be needin' one of these right quick unless the Santa Ana winds kick in and blow all that glow-in-the-dark stuff back to Nippon.
I hear tell there's a run on iodine, but that don't do moi no good. TWC is deathly allergic to iodine in any form, particularly when it comes from Maine and is served with drawn butter.
Show of hands. How many of you remember these things? How about you Echo Boomers and Gen X'ers? Any of you ever see one?
Not sure if this is a relic of the Cold War or if there really is a shelter there to the left. Saw it while wandering the mean streets of Berdoo on a scorching September afternoon in 2009.
TWC's grandfather lived in Berdoo at 777 27th Street when it was a better neighborhood. Berdoo is also home to the original chapter of the Hells Angels dating to 1948. Not to mention the original Mickie Dees, before Ray Kroc traveled west to find out why the McDonald brothers needed so many meat grinders. Tip of the glass to McDonalds for finally acknowledging their real history.
As far as that goes, TWC has never been able to understand why the biggest Route 66 Extravaganza on the old road is routinely scheduled for the hottest weekend of the year.
Tonight? Fierce winds. Relentless rain. Running low on firewood. Plenty of wine.
Earlier: Rain deprived, The House Blond lay in the concrete driveway, in the radioactive rain, on a dollar bet (for one minute).
I made her stay outside until she stopped glowing.
Excerpts from our conversation on the ride to school this morning:
TWC: What are your teachers saying about what's going on in Egypt?
The House Blond: What do you mean?
The Boy: Nothing. What's going on in Egypt?
Can you imagine? The revolution underway in Egypt doesn't merit even a single sentence in a middle class junior high or high school located in a school district that is considered to be high performing, academically. That is a powerful indictment.
So, they got the TWC's twenty minute synopsis of Egyptian history from the Six Day War with Israel to the thuggery visited upon the Egyptian protesters by the Mubarek regime this week. The lecture also included a new revelation about their father, something I rarely to never talk about.
In the days of his vagrant yoot, TWC signed on as a mercenary when the Yom Kippur war broke out. Some guys wearing Raybans and suits came to Hangar 296 with some heavily accented, swarthy looking guys. The offer was a good one. Your obligation with This Man's Marine Corps will be cancelled, you get a free plane ride to Tel Aviv, and your tax-free pay goes to Switzerland.
I could see The House Blond getting big eyed in the rear-view and her question was a simple one: could you have been killed?
Well, yes, but not me. Someone else perhaps. Twenty-something men are adventurous and the vestiges of invincibility have yet to erode into good sense. I was and still am a staunch supporter of Israel. The money? Well let's say it was unfathomably sweet.
But, nothing came of it because the Israelis didn't need help. As my grandfather used to say, it was a two-hit fight. I hit you and you hit the floor. Three weeks later the Israelis had won and the war was over.
Fast forward to a few days ago.....
I Wish I Knew What The Words Say
We've witnessed a live sneak preview of what happens when the government controls the internet.
Aside from the obvious, that a free people don't need permission from the government to log onto the internet or for the government to decide when internet service should be available, why does the government want these powers?
In case any of you hippies or tea partiers decide to make life interesting, that's why. We should take our cue from Nancy and Just Say No.
tip of the glass to my friend Islam Hussein for the image
Dave Weigel has a piece over at Slate about the bi-partisan seating arrangements for tonight's State of the Union address.
There Are No Cooties to Be Had Between Republicans and Democrats.
The odd thing about Congress's new enthusiasm for bipartisan seating at the State of the Union is that its proponents are selling it as an antidote to theatrics.
The Drama Queens have come up with an antidote to theatrics? They're going to sit next to each other? That just might usher in a new era of bipartisan consensus. I think P.J. O'Rourke was right about bipartisan consensus......
Bipartisan consensus is like when my doctor and my lawyer agree with my wife that I need help.
It ain't personal, I just can't recall the last State of the Union address I tuned in for. Mostly I don't much care what any president might serve up because I pretty much already have a handle on the State of the Union. Besides, I got plans.
Sure, that's cynical, but keep in mind that every president is a politician. And every State of the Union address begs the age old question: Are his lips moving?
Yes, I know the song is about the comfortably numb state of mental illness. Might be some deeper meaning there.
The holidays aren't cheerful for everyone and for the gentleman in question, especially not. He's been off the sauce for a couple of years, put down the drugs, but none of that made him especially happy. His best girl won't celebrate Christmas with his family and ran off to the big city to be with her family until the 27th. His mother is on the far side of dementia and his dad has been gravely ill, in and out of the hospital for the last several weeks.
Most of us can cope with that but this man decided to end it with a phone call to his girlfriend and a revolver in the mouth. The 911 call went out and they sent a SWAT Team that was poised to break the door down. Fortunately a friend of the family had a spare key which spared the destruction of the entry door.
Flash. Bang. The SWAT cops were in. There he was, sitting on a stool with the barrel of the gun in his mouth. Surrounded by militaristic cops in full battle regalia, the commander demanded that he remove the gun from his mouth, uncock it, and toss it away from him or THE SWAT TEAM WOULD KILL HIM! That's fine for a movie starring Bruce Willis, but it strikes me as a less than ideal approach in reality. WTF?
Thankfully, there was no suicide by cop. They rushed him after he threw the revolver aside. Why they needed to wrestle him to the ground at this point is unclear to me.
It's been a couple of decades since I've dealt with the suicidal, but if it comes up again you can bet I'm not calling 911.
Four years ago, TSA wasn't yet groping little kids or nipple twisting grown up women. Four years ago, former TSA head (and I mean the term to be defined in Naval jargon) Mike Chertoff and leftie billionaire George Soros weren't profiting from the porno scanners yet. Four years ago, TSA was acting out security theater as if they were protecting the flying public. Four years ago this was my story.....
Mrs TWC parted company with her Californicate driver license at some point after disembarking from a fifty-five minute Southwest flight to Sin City. Yet, we were treated less like criminals at McCarren airport in Vegas than at Ontario (California), when she still was in possession of the sole proof she existed.
No longer legit and clutching a boarding pass with the dreaded NO ID hand-printed in two inch high BLOCK LETTERS with circles, arrows, and an orange highlighted box drawn not-so-neatly around the NO ID part by an alert TSA guy who, unlike his predecessors was no hamburger flipper in a past life, we were shuttled off down a long glass-and-steel claustraphobic walkway roughly 12 feet high and open at the top. Or maybe it was less being alert and more about Mrs TWC fessing up: my license was stolen this weekend.
Why Me? I'm looking as unobtrusive as possible (to avoid the inevitable strip search) when she jerks a hitchhiker's thumb in the direction of the line behind her and says what about my husband? That's easy sez Mr TSA, yer hitched and traveling with her you might be a shoe bomber as well. Thanks Babe, but I already had a prostate exam this year.
TSA searched her bag, CAT scanned mine, stood us in a unit that blew compressed air in rotating and unexpected ways all over us. Sort of like trying to guess where the next light on the peripheral vision testing machine is going to be. Then we were CAT scanned standing up, one at a time, handed back our stuff with a big smile and a thank you and we were out of there.
Surprisingly enough, the entire process took less than five minutes and allowed us to bypass hundreds of groggy and partially-hungover people, each of whom had won enough to pay for the trip and a couple of hundred extra to bring home (which is how they build all those fancy casinos).
I'm surly and I figured I'd be calling down the wrath of the Almighty in a scathing indictment of TSA and the horrors they inflicted upon Mrs TWC.
I'm delighted that it didn't quite go down that way but it doesn't change my stance on without probable cause. Smiles and efficiency do wonders, just ask Dale Carnegie. Just the same, you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.