Sunday, March 1, 2015

Secretary McDonald – Not a fan…

While this blog does not focus on bashing individuals, there are occasions when I cannot resist some political commentary.  Whenever there is a shakeup in leadership as was the case when Robert McDonald was selected as VA Secretary to replace ousted Secretary Eric Shinseki I try to reserve judgment in recognition that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a complex organization and that there is a steep learning curve.  Regardless, sufficient warning bells have surfaced which I outline in my points below:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Why I hate New York State Income tax

Ok, so I realize the title is a bit anti-climactic as who likes any tax?  New York seems to have made an art out of not only fleecing your pockets, but also leaving you completely perplexed in the process.  Yes, I realize Mario, er I mean Andrew – same difference – is working hard to reduce our tax burden.  Here in beautiful New York State, we enjoy high taxes across the board – high property taxes, high sales taxes and high income taxes – we have a trifecta of taxes maximus going on.  Tis the season, so this post is focused on income tax...

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Saying goodbye to a friend

Mick the Wonder DogIt is with much sadness that I write that my friend, Mick the wonder dog has perished.  Like his owner, Mick had been on a steady decline.  Mick wasn't up to many of the walks that he commonly enjoyed and these were steadily scaled back and when Mick was unable to participate as a walker I bundled him in a blanket and pushed him around the block in a baby stroller.  Sadly, he did not have a heart attack; with much anguish we made the decision to terminate his life when he reached the point where he was no longer able to hold down water (and had lost much weight by this time).  As odd as it may sound, I believe Mick knew in the weeks leading up that the end was coming; he spent many hours curled up near my wife and I clearly wanting to be included as part of the pack.

We adopted Mick from the Mohawk Hudson Humane society (known locally as the Menands Animal Shelter) when he was around 2 and he was a member of the family for over 14 years.  With a touch of stubbornness, he was a perfect fit to this family.  We enjoyed his persistent reminders around 5pm when he would quickly pace around the house to attract attention that it was time for his favorite dog food, Beneful (wet chopped blends).  Mick was a faithful companion on numerous walks; I would speak to him often to relate that I like some enthusiasm from my dog... and he was enthusiastic.

Mick's aura remains with us and we continue to feel his spirit throughout the house; you were greatly loved and will be missed.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

This IRS is (not) calling me

A few months back, my wife called me to relate that she had received a phone call from someone purporting to be the IRS who engaged her and ultimately threatened that she would be arrested if she did not cooperate.  This caller was very convincing and left my wife upset by the exchange as she related to me that the caller had informed her that she would be arrested within the hour.  This was the last thing I needed to hear at the labor camp (also known as my place of gainful employment).  I managed to calm her down a bit... after all, I've been around the track enough and watched enough episodes of "Cops" to know that it is never the wife that they take, its always the male head of household that they drag out usually clad in his boxer shorts and since we've always filed a joint return this could only mean that I should make sure that I'm always wearing clean boxers.  As anticipated, my wife was still around when I got home from work and no cops so far.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

VHS to digital

Happy post holiday!  Yes, Christmas and New Years were great and it was nice to have 2 of the 3 kids back from college (the other is in high school and also home).  Early in December, I had my epiphany – if I scrambled, I could burn all those VHS tapes (mostly of my kids from baby to 6 or so) onto DVD and give them as Christmas gifts.  Further, I was scanning the Craig’s list electronics items and I found a new listing for a DVD recorder from a seller in my home town which I scrambled and purchased.  Unfortunately, this turned out to be one of those situations where haste made waste.  In my excitement, I didn’t do any research on the specific DVD recorder nor did I research and consider the best way to convert my cherished memories to a modern format.