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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Angry Birds

Alfred Hitchcock introduced us to angry birds in his famous film, "The Birds". Like the peaceful coastal town in the film, Hopkinsville, Tennessee is being invaded by blackbirds and European Starlings. Every evening the skies over the small town darken with thousands of them. Every morning the residents have dig their way out. Everything outside is covered in white bird droppings. Trees and cars all look like they are covered in snow. Snow that doesn't melt. The townspeople are concerned not only for their safety but worry about the spread of disease from all the feces left behind.  Residents have no idea why for the last couple of years the birds have invaded their town, they just wish the birds would find a new town to harass.

Angry birds can be found elsewhere too.  A parking lot in Florida had to be taped off like a crime scene due to a pair of nesting hawks.  Every time the hawks feard for their hatching's they swooped down, dive bombing people getting in or out of their cars.  The hawks were on the endangered species list making the relocation of the nest a non-option.

Workers from the building who were interviewed expressed fear of being attacked but seemed understanding of the hawks concern for their babies.

Meanwhile over in Bradenton, Florida a retirement community was under attack by another nesting pair of hawks.  Signs were put up warning people to be on the look out for the protective parents.   Residents started using umbrellas as a shield against the pair after several people were injured.  One resident said nesting season couldn't come to an end fast enough for her.

Today when we hear angry birds, we think of those cute red, yellow, blue and black animated ones we put in a slingshot to knock down structures built out of tires, stones etc.  They seem to be attacking us from all sides.  First on the Internet as a very addicting game.  Marketing has allowed them to follow in the steps of the Simpson's, The Flintstones and Spider man by being plastered on everything from lunch boxes to party favors.  There is even a low tech boxed game version of Angry Birds.  What is it about these little fellows that inspires grown men and women to sit for hours flinging them at structures inhabited by oinking pigs.  I confess, I logged on to the game around nine in the evening to see what all the twitter was about.  It didn't take long to get me hooked.  I swear on my little pinky that I only played five minutes.  My husband came in at two in the morning asking me when I planned to come to bed.  I looked at the clock and accused him of changing it.  The only thing that saved me from a life of catapulting birds was after they got me hooked, I had to pay for the tools that would help me get to the next level.  I refused to pay, I made it through several levels before getting stuck.  I quickly got tired of failure and quit.   You can only take those annoying oinking pigs laughing at you for so long.

Until next time, take care and if you play Angry Birds, aim for  the weakest link and watch all those annoying pigs topple over and explode.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Inside the IRS, Watch For Smiles, Laughs and Giggles

Since tax day is just a hop and skip away I decided to google taxes and see what popped up.
Please note, I am not a tax preparer.  The following post is for entertainment purposes only.

Some tax payers in an effort to get more deductions end up entertaining the auditors.  Not that I've ever seen a real or TV IRS agent smile, I just assume when an agent reads, Dental implants as a deduction, reason,  I can't get hired for a job because of my teeth, someone would at least give a toothy grin. The following is a small collection of deductions people have tried to slide by the IRS.

Swimming pools are the number one deduction people try to take.  They dive into the idea before finding out what the criteria for deducting a pool is.  Yes, a backyard cement pond, as Jed Clampett used to call it, is deductible if a doctor writes a prescription to treat a medical condition.   Floating Islands and pool side furniture are not deductible.  Although, you might need the exercise for the heart attack you get from blowing up all those pool toys by mouth.  Just kidding, we all know you get the kid from down the street to do for you.

Rounding off numbers to make everything nice and neat sends up a red flag as your return scoots by.  Agents figure by rounding off to a zero instead of a dollar amount you must be trying to get more than you deserve.

Medical costs are always deductible unless it's for having your guinea pig neutered.  Deductions for a family pet are not allowed.  However, the cost of purchasing, caring for and maintaining a service animal for the disabled are deductible.

If you are job hunting the cost of printing resumes, the envelopes and stamps are allowed.  If you travel to an interview, milage is deductible unless, I hazard a guess, you hire a limo to take you.  If you end up moving over fifty miles to take a job the moving costs are deductible  Just don't try to deduct that $200 cocktail dress as an interview outfit. 

I'm sure some professional journals are deductible such as Psychology Today, but if you plan to deduct your Playboy or Playgirl you'd better have a good, juicy story to defend the deduction.  And doing research to keep your wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend etc happy won't excite anyone into giving it to you.

Last but not least, keep exes happy.  Disgruntled exes love to call the IRS claiming their ex, that's you, are laundering money for the mob, made money a lot of money you have not declared, taking deductions for medical care you didn't get etc.

Well, I have to go and dress Gabriel, my service dog, in a waiter's uniform.  Having one's Long Island Ice Tea brought out to pool-side is a "service" no one should go without. 

Until next time, brainstorm and use as many crazy deduction ideas you can think of, if the IRS agents are laughing hard enough maybe they'll give you the deduction for shear wit.