Hodgepodge for a Thursday

February 18, 2010

I’m going back to my photo files and demonstrate the sort of things a pack-rat collects over the years. We’ll begin with the Florida Biker Bar.

Beware of the rowdies inside.

Next we have a billboard from Canada.

Has Lu been brainwashed?

I’m guessing they’re advertising the fact that they don’t use Peter Cottontail to test their new cosmetics.

Then there is the cartoon that was sent to me this morning.

Perhaps someone can tell me the artist who should be credited.

How many of you have ever eaten lunch at Woolworth’s?

My, how prices have changed!

I should add that, in some parts of the country, plumbing methods have also changed dramatically.

Each fixture has its own hoses

Blue for cold and red for hot… or is that the other way around?

Here’s what soldiers used to do in their spare time…

18,000 officers and men

That was taken at Camp Dodge near Des Moines, Iowa. I can’t find a date on the photo, but the men appear to be wearing WW I uniforms.

In addition to pictures, my friends send me lots of jokes. With April 15th fast approaching, the following seems apropos to share.

Father O’Malley answers the phone. ‘Hello, is this Father O’Malley?’

‘It is!’

‘This is the IRS. Can you help us?’

‘I can!’

‘Do you know a Ted Houlihan?’

‘I do!’

‘Is he a member of your congregation?’

‘He is!’

‘Did he donate $10,000 to the church?’

‘He will.’

With that, I’ll remind everyone that if we can get our representatives to Congress to pass the Fair Tax bill, we’ll be able to treat April 15th the same as any other day of the year.

Father O’Malley answers the phone. ‘Hello, is this Father O’Malley?’

‘It is!’

‘This is the IRS. Can you help us?’

‘I can!’

‘Do you know a Ted Houlihan?’

‘I do!’

‘Is he a member of your congregation?’

‘He is!’

‘Did he donate $10,000 to the church?’

‘He will.’

Bring on the FAIR Tax

January 5, 2009

I’ve spent a good part of the last three days poring through receipts preparing to turn the entire mess over to a tax accountant.

The only part of the tax code I understand is the part that says I can deduct losses from my investments. I’m not sure exactly how it works, but if I can get a few tax dollars returning to my pocket, it will make the losses a little bit easier to bear.

There was a time when doing my taxes was fairly simple and I always did it myself. That all changed when I left IBM and became self-employed. It’s rather ironic that when I began to make less money, I had to hire someone to help me determine how much of my money would be sucked in by the various government entities.

At the end of my first year of self-employment, I decided to try to do the tax returns myself. It didn’t take long before I was totally confused. Fortunately, a good friend (Glenn Keen) who I’d met through the Cursillo (Christian Renewal) Movement happened to be an accountant. I went to him for help.

My original plan was to let Glenn do the first year. Then, after studying what he’d done, I’d be able to return to doing it myself.

Wrong! I’ve now been studying his work for over fifteen years and I still can’t make heads or tails out of it. I guess that’s why he’s called a ‘professional’!

I also have to admit that my financial life has become much more complicated in those fifteen years. In 1998 I began collecting my half of my pension from IBM. As a self-employed/retired person, I had to pay double social security on my contracting income and a lesser amount on my pension. I also had to make quarterly estimated tax payments since none were withheld from my contractor checks.

If you’ve read the Fair Tax Book, you’d know that there was a time when no taxes were deducted from anyone’s paycheck. That was when the taxpayer was periodically smacked in the face with the reality of how much the government was taking out of his or her pocket. Then the government started the payroll deductions and began stealing our money a little at a time.

In 1999 I remarried. My current bride had (and still has, thank God!) a full-time job. Thus, when it came to tax time, we had to include income from full-time employment, self-employed contracting checks, and a pension.

About a year later, I became the Southeastern U.S. sales representative for the Laser Golf game – a product developed in Australia that was one of the first virtual-reality computer games. It came with computer software, a sensor that was placed on the floor, and a golf club-like device that shined a light over the sensors as one took a realistic swing at a golf ball. The computer would then calculate the club speed and angle and send the ball down the fairway (or into the rough) in a simulated fashion.

It’s a wonderful game that is terribly over-priced. In three years, I managed to sell four or five of them. Had that been my only source of income, I would’ve been forced to turn to yet another source of income – welfare.

About three years ago I tried my hand at selling ads for the 400 Edition magazine. I should have learned from the golf game… I am not a salesman.

Last year Lu decided to try her hand at selling. She is now a full-fledged Mary Kay Beauty Consultant. Her sales performance has been much better than mine, but thus far, we’ve sunk all of her profits back into the business. We’re hoping that in years to come, she’ll have built up a good customer base and we’ll be able to spend some of her profits on more personal things… like food.

This past April, I began receiving Social Security payments. Needless to say, that additional income – combined with a better year of contracting work – has helped us pay off some nagging debts and raised our comfort level somewhat. However, watching our retirement nest egg shrivel up has made it perfectly clear that we’ll both need to continue working for some time to come.

In the meantime, the additional sources of income combined with the woeful losses in our investments means that, once again, I have to rely on Glenn to figure out how much of my money the government gets to keep.

That’s why I keep saying, “Bring on the FAIR tax!” If you’re not familiar with the Fair Tax, I encourage you to read the information on their web site or read one of the books that have been written about it.

I’ve contacted some members of Congress who oppose the Fair Tax. When I read their reasons for being against it, it was obvious that they have not taken the time to study the legislation.

Do yourself a favor, take the time to do what your representative may be too busy to do. Then, if your representative is one of those opposing the bill, drop him or her a line. If he or she still refuses to support it, maybe he or she needs to be dropped. The 2010 election isn’t that far off.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I still have to run the numbers on Lu’s Mary Kay business.

Are Cooties International?

July 30, 2008

I’ve added another article that was published in the 400 Edition magazine. To read it, click on the 400 Edition Articles page. It concerns cooties. I’m hoping that, by now, I have at least one person in another country dropping by from time to time. Hopefully, he or she will leave a comment and answer my question. Can cooties be found in every corner of the earth?

I should also mention that I have links to two web sites that I encourage you to visit. One is Carol Terry’s Watkins web site. The other is my bride’s Mary Kay site. The second is the one that helps our family income grow!

Finally, I thank you for your continued support. Please keep dropping by and definitely invite your friends and family to do likewise.

Random Thoughts

July 22, 2008

Last evening I ran across a quote. While the words are a bit shocking, I thought the timing was rather interesting,

“What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

Now who would say something like that? If you think you know, leave a comment and tell me who you think it might be.

As many of you know, my bride, Lu, has become a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant. As the husband of said consultant, I’m permitted to drive to the local distribution center and pick up orders for her. However, in order to deliver orders to customers, the Mary Kay Corporation insists that I wear a dress. I’ve been considering a Scottish kilt and knee socks, but have been advised that I might look better in a pink poodle skirt. For the time being, I’ll just keep considering.

Speaking of independent sales reps, we recently bought some Watkins products from a good friend, Carol Terry. If you live in the Cumming area and have been looking for a Watkins person, look no farther. You can order at her web site: http://www.watkinsonline.com/carolterry/.

Yesterday was a busy day and I’ve come to realize that I’m beginning to act like my older brother. I made airline reservations and will be traveling to Pittsburgh soon. I plan to stay at my brother’s house during my visit. I have not yet talked with him about my plans. The last time he visited me, he called about two weeks prior to his visit to ask if I’d pick him up at the airport. Maybe I’ll wait even longer. BOY! Will I be surprised if he’s off in Michigan visiting his daughter!

While in Pittsburgh, I plan to attend an IBM alumni dinner. They’ve been holding this annual affair for four or five years and I’ve never been able to make it. This year I will and I’m really looking forward to seeing my old work mates. I also plan on visiting with some of my old school mates. Who knows? I might bump into some of the Hollywood All-Stars!

Another thing I did yesterday was visit http://thrillingdaysofyesteryear.blogspot.com/ and left a comment. It was a comment concerning my thoughts on politicians. In brief, I no longer believe politicians represent the voters. Their only concern toward their constituency is what they must do to get re-elected. They’ll say whatever they think they need to say, and then go off to the seat of government to represent their party and the special interest groups who provide the cash for their next re-election bid. I’m in favor of term limits and think we should replace every incumbent – regardless of party affiliation.

With that said, I would prefer not to have politics become part of this blog. I have very strong feelings and so do you. I’d rather not get into a disagreement with people I hope will become regular visitors.

Finally, I’ve asked for people to submit jokes that I can tell at senior citizen venues. I’ve received my first input. It’s from Joe Lane, an old friend in Pittsburgh, and he opted to send it directly to my e-mail account rather than add it as a comment here on the blog. I think it’s perfect for my needs and plan on using it this coming Friday. Without further ado…

An elderly man in Louisiana had owned a large farm for several years.
He had a large pond in the back. It was properly shaped for swimming, so he fixed it up nice with picnic tables, horseshoe courts, and some apple, and peach trees.

One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the pond, as he hadn’t been there for a while, and look it over. He grabbed a five-gallon bucket to bring back some fruit.

As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee. As he came closer, he saw it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in his pond.

He made the women aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end. One of the women shouted to him, ‘we’re not coming out until you leave!’

The old man frowned, ‘I didn’t come down here to watch you ladies swim naked or make you get out of the pond naked.’

Holding the bucket up he said, ‘I’m here to feed the alligator.’

Old age and treachery will beat youth and enthusiam every day of the week.

I’m still waiting for your joke!