Sunday, March 30, 2014

50 Shades – a male perspective

Yes, I'm nearly through Volume II of the “50 Shades of Grey” trilogy and family members have given me more than the usual number of strange looks.  Needless to say the reputation of this trilogy is well known; in case you're amongst the uninformed it is considered in the literary category of erotica which is another way of saying lots of kinky sex.  What may be most striking about this trilogy is that it is written by a woman, likely is most popular with female readers and has risen to a level of acceptance and popularity in mainstream reviews.  So finally, it can officially be proclaimed that when it comes to sex and porn, you ladies can be just as piggy as us guys… oink, oink, my fine ladies!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tax babble

As reflected by some recent posts, I have survived another year of income tax preparation.  In this post, I'm assembling some thoughts regarding taxes at all levels.  First, after discussing various tax preparation software and tax treatment of education expense, a common theme may be drawn – our current income tax process is just too complicated.  It should not take complex software to attempt to meet the requirements of tax law and it should not take extensive study to understand all of the nuances.  It would be a welcome relief if we could get rid of the present income tax centered form of taxation and move toward a sales tax on the Federal level.  Why not?  In most states, businesses are already adept at collecting sales tax and in others I have little doubt that if the businesses have been able to cope with the nightmare of income tax, they can certainly figure out sales tax.  Second, I would also argue that sales tax may be a fairer way to raise revenue.  Simply stated, what can simpler than the precept that if you can afford to spend money to buy something, you can also afford to pay a tax on that item?  While not perfect, sales tax would eliminate much “under the table” revenue that we all know exists, but has been hard to touch.  Further, sales tax would help to spread the cost of our government by all who partake – and this includes “illegal” immigrants, those on temporary “visas” as well as tourists – all can contribute to a degree proportionate to what they partake in the goods and services of the Nation.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Left, Right, Bush-lite, Red

I've been way overdue for a political quip.  The winter has been long and during winter months I tend to focus on hard covered books, leaving the paperbacks for summer outdoor reading.  In my case, most of the hard covered that I've hoarded during the warm months tend to be non-fiction, some history and some political.  Amongst the collection are finds that struck me as “a little different,” including David Horowitz’ “Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left” and Bill Ayers, “Fugitive Days”.  (I suspect they may not appreciate sharing the same bookshelf).  And of course, political reading wouldn't be complete without some sort of political circus bantering in the background and my background was replete with the saber rattling of Bush-lite Obama and my favorite Red, Putin.  Instead of cracking jokes about the antics of leadership, this quip is going to focus on some of my political perceptions – some from the reading and some more general.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) – A real life illustration

We have known for a couple of years that braces (orthodontia treatment) had been recommended for my son.  During 2013, my wife expressed the desire to obtain orthodontia treatment as well.  As we approached the close of 2013, we made an appointment for a consult with a local orthodontist to begin the process to obtain a guesstimate as to the cost.  I was well aware that there have been many changes to Flexible Spending Account (FSA) as a result of the Affordable Healthcare Act.  In retrospect, the need for a consult may have been a case of wishful thinking as we were reassured that the cost of orthodontia care would well exceed the $2500 maximum for FSA.  FSA (unlike a Health Savings Account), is “use or lose” – this drawback cannot be stressed enough.  FSA is not a good vehicle to plan for unexpected (emergency) health care as if you do not use the funds that you have budgeted for your FSA, you will lose this money.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

For a commercially successful blog, don't do what I do...

I think many bloggers have fantasies of their blog going viral, making lots of money and enabling them to quit their mind numbing day job.  Although I share the fantasy, I continue to be crippled by reality - the greatest being that income from blogging probably won't allow me to quit my day job.  While the potential for income is alluring, it was not my primary motivation for blogging.  My motivation was and continues to be quite simple - I want a forum to run my mouth; a forum where I am accountable to myself and can express myself as I choose.  This includes choice of topic and expressing unpopular perspectives at times.  In this post, I am identifying some choices and illustrations of where this goal runs counter to a profit motive.