Happy Saturday morning all:

Weekly March Madness wisdom:

“Every second I’m talking to you is another second I’m not at Waffle House.” Wayne Chism, a Tennessee Forward, on being interviewed after a game

Now that March Madness is behind us I was free to watch PBS’s Antique Road Show – which happened to be the airing of their recent visit to the ‘Nati.

One item of interest was one of Colonel Sander’s (of KFC fame) iconic white suits that was valued at over $30,000. The owner had been the Colonel’s “kid next door” and had been given the outfit for use at a school Halloween costume event. He also shared that Sanders had confided that after the constant tasting of chicken he “actually preferred White Castle.”

Marcia and I did the mass Canada shopping event this past week, one item being 12 pounds of White Castle coffee. See, we do know how to pick ‘top tier’; even as I am enjoying my morning mug of the stuff.

Tax Time – With April 15th quickly approaching, it should be pointed out that 1913 wasn’t a very good year. 1913 gave us the income tax, the 16th amendment and the IRS. As with most taxes it was sold as “temporary” — wrong. However, the reality was that most people had little or no idea that there was even an income tax. In fact, as late as 1942 only 3% of the population paid any income tax; that is when FDR increased the personal tax burden dramatically with a ‘temporary’ Victory Tax.

As far back as Plato the knowledge that taxes will always benefit some and skewer others was understood. For it was Plato who stated; “When there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income.” My personal hero, Sir Winston Churchill, offered this perfect piece of wisdom; “There is no such thing as a good tax.”

And the reason that taxes are so problematic to so many? Alexis de Tocqueville summed it up most succinctly; “In other words, a democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.” And he should have added that simultaneously it generates full control over those funds, to such an extent as to almost guarantee reelection.

If you’ve finished doing your taxes then please raise your hand if you experienced the President’s pre-election claim; “but let me perfectly clear, ….if your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.” OK, I thought so.

Heading North – Marcia and I have had several notes from family and lake neighbors regarding their desire for, the need to, and our plans for, heading north.

Currently the problem is the fact that the region is experiencing the winter that will not end. In fact, yesterday they had an additional 4” of snow. Checking the weather it would appear that this coming Tuesday morning the wind-chill (‘real feel’ for those so inclined) will be 1 degree Fahrenheit.

Maybe Newsweek’s article of April 28, 1975 describing potentially imminent disasters as a result of Global Cooling had it right after all:

”There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth…..
…..A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968. According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972”.

Global Cooling not withstanding, we are tentatively planning to get organized for our summer at Northern Comfort. In fact, our dining room stumplooks like the interior of a supermarket store immediately prior to their “stocking of the shelves” bit.

One of the first items on my agenda will be removal of the large Hemlock tree that fell onto the driveway as a result of hurricane Sandy. I was planning to turn it into firewood. That was until I saw a photo of this ‘hip’ item in one of those ‘must-have’ boutiques in Toronto. I’ll be supplying any and all orders – first come first serve.

Fini –Make it a great week everyone.

Cheers,
Dirk

 

From the Archives
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Morning all:

Saturday a week ago I flew out of town. At the time the bulb flowers were in bloom. Yesterday upon my return all the flowering trees were out to greet me, all blooming in their full glory. Lawn mowers were in use everywhere; even our small Starburst Magnolia and two Bradford Pear tree start-ups were blooming. What a pretty time of year.

It probably is not an age thing but I need to lay the blame somewhere. Yesterday morning my flight dropped me off at customs and immigration in Atlanta at 5:15 AM. The overnight flight was completely packed and sleep opportunities were fitful to say the least. It was nine-thirty when Marcia picked me up at the airport. Enjoying the spring weather and the new-found pleasure of experiencing low humidity I wandered over to talk with the neighbors. That major event caused me to crash in my chair for a couple of hours. Once up, Marcia and I hauled the deck furniture out of storage and set it up. Two more hours of crashing in my chair! Now, with a serious energy boost under my belt I got the leaf blower out to clean the drive and garage. The energy drain was immediate and I skipped the chair crashing bit and crawled into bed. At seven-thirty Marcia woke me to ask if I could light the grill to grill dinner. Ten-thirty I was gone for the night.

My final night’s stay in Brazil was in the city of Pão de Açúcar supermarket. Going was not too bad. On the other hand walking back to the hotel carrying ten pounds of Brazilian coffee in several plastic grocery bags was not very smart. I need to start thinking taxi. Oh yes, I did bring along an empty bag specifically to drag it all home.

Entry into the USA requires most visitors to have a photo and fingerprint scan done as part of our security program. In Brazil, a judge got wrapped into this event and got angry about our all inclusive carte-blanc policy. Upon his return to Brazil he made a ruling and now every American, and only Americans, get processed normally and then file into a single line; you guessed it, to have their picture taken and their finger scanned. Does tit-for-tat mean anything? One hour later I stepped out into the hubbub of cars and buses in front of the terminal. Oh well, It least I did not do what an American Airlines pilot did last year when, with major frustration after over two-hours of delays, he signaled his unhappiness with his middle finger. Without ever leaving the airport, and $10,000 worth of fines lighter, he was on a flight back to America. Thumbs up!

Have a great week.
Cheers,
Dirk

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