February 21, 2005

Fashion or a Fluke?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 6:31 pm

Knee high stockings.jpgThe other day I saw a young girl (I would guess her age to be about 13 or 14) on her way to school. She was wearing a skirt and knee-high stockings, the kind that women wear with slacks. It reminded me of the pre-panty hose days (Yes, I was alive then) when the old ladies would bunch their stockings in a knot just below the knee and wear them that way with a house dress.

I was wondering whether this “look” is now hip, at least around these parts.

I thought the kid looked pretty silly, but I’m sure if she were shown old pictures of me and my contemporaries marching off to school in boat-neck shirts and, later, with Beatle haircuts and wearing in Austin Powers – like duds, she’d think that we looked pretty damned silly too.

February 20, 2005

Some Gratuitous Advice

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:27 pm

I was reading this post by Christina and this one by Sluggo, both of which are about the joys and challenges of raising little girls. Their posts caused me to remember something that happened to me a few years back.

After having worked particularly late one evening, I stopped at a local saloon for a drink. As I was sitting there nursing my drink and decompressing from the day, a young guy bounced into the place and walked briskly over to the stool next to mine and took a seat. He was absolutely beaming. I didn’t have to ask what had made him so happy, because he immediately volunteered that he had just come from the hospital where his wife had given birth to a baby girl just the day before. He proudly showed me the photo of his beautiful baby daughter.

His unbridled joy was contagious, and before I knew it, we were talking “daughters” and toasting his good fortune. We agreed that there isn’t anything more beautiful in the world than a little girl running around the house. It brought back wonderful memories, as, at the time, my daughter was no longer running around the house, but rather was away at college.

I liked the guy and was genuinely happy for him, so I thought I would give him the benefit of my experience in dealing with daughters. Of course, one could write a book on the subject, but I wanted to impart to him the single most important thing I learned from the experience.

I said, “I’m going to tell you something now, and I am asking that you remember it always.” He eagerly nodded. “In fact, in about a dozen years from now, I hope you say to yourself, ‘Jeez that guy I met in the bar all those years ago really knew what he was talking about.’ This advice, if heeded, will save you countless hours of frustration, aggravation and downright exasperation.”

I suppose he expected something more profound than what he next heard, but sometimes profundity creeps in on cat-like feet. I looked him in the eye and earnestly said,

”SHE. WILL. NOT. KEEP. HER. ROOM. CLEAN.”

I continued, “All the bitching, threatening, hollering, and stomping in the world will not change this cosmic truth. So, just understand the reality and be happy just to keep perishables from rotting in the place and attracting vermin. Otherwise, just learn to close the door.”

He thanked me, but I’m certain that he was too swept up in the moment to take me very seriously.

I, therefore, say to all of you with young girls in your house: Don’t fight it. You will most certainly lose. You may experience an occasional “victory,” but in the long run, it is like trying to sweep back the tide. You’re life will be much more pleasant if you don’t try to alter something that has been cosmically pre-ordained.

Now, laminate that advice for your wallets and gaze upon it as necessary.

That is all.

February 19, 2005

From the PRS Mailbag.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:48 pm

Reprieve.jpg

Thanks to my friend Brian, the Air Force Vet.

February 18, 2005

Seafood.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:34 pm

Fish Dinner.jpgI don’t like seafood.

I know that, in this regard, I am an outlier. My experience is that most people do like seafood, including most of the folks listed over there on the left, some of whom have written lovingly about eating fish and the like. This is not to disparage seafood lovers. I celebrate your love of seafood. I just hate the stuff.

To me, seafood smells (and therefore tastes) like a tackle box smells and how I would imagine a tackle box would taste – “fishy.” I know…I know…You’re thinking, ”Yo, Jimbo, that’s because you haven’t eaten fresh fish. Fresh fish doesn’t taste ‘fishy’.” Well, I have tried “fresh fish,” and while it may not taste “fishy,” it doesn’t taste like anything, so what’s the point? And, if there is a touch of “fishy” remaining, the idea is to cover it up with lemon, paprika, tartar sauce, garlic, Tabasco, butter and Christ knows what else. Again, I ask, what’s the point?

And, then there is sushi. Jesus! The chef can make it look pretty like candy, but it’s still Raw Fish!! If one has to eat the stuff, it ought to at least be cooked. Hell, civilized people have been cooking food ever since some knuckle walker first harnessed fire. So why, all of a sudden, is eating raw farookin’ fish the rage? I tried raw fish (sashimi) once (I was really, really drunk at the time – honest, I really I was), and it tasted just as I imagined it would. FAROOKIN’ BAIT!!

Not surprisingly, if I cannot stand the thought of eating raw seafood, the thought of eating it while it is STILL ALIVE completely grosses me out. I’m talking about those people (including members of my own family) who slurp down raw clams and oysters. Dash (permalink is fried – see 2/9 post) and Rob have both written about eating raw oysters and the joy of chewing those live units. Gentlemen, you can have mine. To me, that’s life raft chow.

As I said, I know that I am in the minority on this issue, and I have gone so far as to learn to swallow without gagging eat shrimp (usually fried and doused with lemon juice and slathered with tartar sauce), just so I can go to seafood restaurants with seafood eaters and not look like a complete jyerrrrrkoff by ordering the “Landlubber’s Special.”

Don’t even think about getting me started about gott-damned crabs!

Blog Noir – Chapter Three

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:18 am

TJ of Twisty posted Chapter Three. Admittedly, I am biased, but I think it’s farookin’ great. Go read.

Chapter One is here.
Chapter Two is here

Next week: Chapter Four by Liv of Not a Shrinking Violet.

February 17, 2005

For Sale – Handyman’s Special in the Garden State.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:40 pm

Roberto, New Jersey Blogger, and proprietor of DynamoBuzz, points us to an article in Forbes Magazine, about an attractive home that is for sale in the Garden State. This charming residence is nestled in the surburboland of Alpine, New Jersey, a small town, located across the Hudson River from New York City.

This 60,000 square foot beauty, which is perfect for the couple just starting out, boasts 13 bedrooms, 23 bathrooms (toilet paper not included), a guesthouse, two pools – one inside and one outside, and a 2,000-gallon aquarium (fish apparently are extra).

You say that you don’t feel like sleeping, shitting, or looking at tropical fish? No problem, as this “must buy” also features an arcade, an ice cream parlor (butter almond is extra), and a two-lane bowling alley.

I know you are thinking, Yo, Jimbo, it all sounds great, but what about the neighborhood?” Fear not, because Alpine only attracts the best of the best. As an Alpiner, you’ll be rubbing elbows with Stevie Wonder, Chris Rock, and Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. You can invite them all over for burgers and beer and howl with laughter as Chris uses the “N-Word” on Stevie and “Puff Daddy.” Don’t worry, because the Beautiful People in Manhattan say it’s OK to laugh when Chris says that kind of stuff.

This can all be yours for a mere $40 million, however, I am quite sure that I can get the seller to come down to $39.9 million.

I figure that with a can of Spackle and a couple coats of paint, the place might just be presentable.

February 16, 2005

Tip Jars and the IRS. (Updated)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:16 pm

Cousin Jack, who is a Tax Law Professor, considers whether the “donations” that bloggers receive in their online “tip jars” are reportable as income for tax purposes. Jack concludes that such “donations” are reportable as income, and he points to a site laying out the reasoning behind this conclusion.

Stripped of detail, here is the deal. If the money people place in the online tip jars is deemed to be a gift, it is not reportable as income. If, however, it is viewed much as the tips given to cab drivers or waiters and waitresses, it is taxable income. The cited case law suggests that the government would consider such online “donations” to be analogous to tips given to waiters and waitresses or dealers at a casino and, as such, are reportable.

Memo to Andrew Sullivan: Call your accountant!

Update: I had originally posted the following thoughts in the comments, but I decided to put them here instead.

***

Not having a tip jar, for me, this is merely an interesting academic exercise. Having thought about this a bit more, I sense that the government either doesn’t consider (or only pays lip service to) the intent of the “donor.” Were it to examine the intent of the donor, I think the conclusion might change for certain “donations.” Consider a couple examples where the intent of the donor is more apparent.

1. Suppose a Joe Blogger, with a tip tar on his blog, does a post in which he mentions that it is his birthday. Further suppose that reader X deposits $25 tip in the tip jar along with a comment saying “Happy Birthday, Joe Blogger!” Gift or “taxable tip”?

2. Suppose that Josephine Blogger posted a blog about a recent financial setback in her life, and, after having been moved by the post, a long-time reader deposits $25 in the “tip jar” along with a note saying, “This is for you. I hope things turn around for you.” Gift or “taxable tip”?

I think, in both cases, it is clear that the donor intended the money as a gift, and I think that their intent should control. However, making such determinations would require a donation-by-donation examination by the IRS, which would make administration a nightmare.

Fortunately for the IRS, I doubt that Joe or Josephine Blogger would bother going to the mat over the tax on $25 (particularly so, if they were conscientious enough to report it to the IRS in the first place). However, what if the gifts to Joe and Josephine had been $25,000 instead of $25, a sum worth arguing about? I think on those facts they’d win.

So, what really is the intent of the people who make deposits into blotters’ tip jars, and should it matter? Suppose a blogger’s tip jar contained “donations” from 1,000 readers of $5 each and that all 1,000 were prepared to march off to the IRS office with the blogger to swear that they intended their $5 strictly as a gift, with no strings attached and in anticipation of nothing in the future. Again, on those admittedly tortured facts, I think the blogger wins.

Waddya say one of you fine folks sends me $25K on my next birthday, and we’ll test my theory. Hell, I know a good tax lawyer.

Tagged Again!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:35 pm

The Lovely Rita tossed this turd in my punchbowl handed the following meme off to me. And, I always thought the lady liked me. :-)

Anyway, here goes:

What’s your favorite kind of cookie? Chocolate chip.

Who is America’s most overrated actor? William Shatner. I read that the guy recently won an Emmy or some such thing. Holy crap. The guy wouldn’t even be cast in the local high school play. At least he can sing. Gag………sputter…….cough……..cough.

Name a guilty pleasure. Good cigars.

“Scrubs” or “Everybody Loves Raymond”? I’ve never seen “Scrubs,” but I have seen “Raymond” a few times, and, like “Everybody,” (except Rita), I love “Raymond.” Actually, I like the rest of the cast more than I like Raymond.

Name two things you can’t live without. Peanut butter and booze.

Your first pet’s name + your mother’s maiden name = your porn star name. I think I’ll pass on the pet’s name and the mother’s maiden name part. Will my social security and driver’s license numbers do? On second thought, I think I’ll just give myself a porn star name. How about “Biff Sharona?”

What song are you listening to right now? None. Friends don’t let friends mix memes and music.

Name your celebrity crush. At first, I could not think of anyone who fits this description. However, with a bit of thought, I have come up with two. First, is Rachel Ray, the cutie who makes the thirty-minute meals on the Food Channel. I like everything about her, even her sorta crooked smile. Next is Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles. It’s that sideways glance while she’s playing that rings my bells.

Favorite punch line from a joke. “Got any grapes?”

Who do you want to pass this meme off to? Christina (I owe her one) and KarbonKountyMoos (I figure a Brooklynite who lives in Big Sky Country on a serious farm with crops and animals and stuff might have an interesting take on things).

February 15, 2005

Who Are Those Guys?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:17 pm

I have been spending a bit of time reading the stuff over at The Idiom. The proprietors of this joint venture call themselves Kid Various, Mr. Surly, and Mr. Scribulus. They value their anonymity, as is evidenced by their self-description in the “About Us” Section of the blog, which states:

“We’re no one special and you don’t know us.”

Well, they may not be anyone special (Who is, anyway? Except for maybe Eric Clapton), but the fact is that I do know them. However, under no circumstances will I divulge their identities. Well, maybe I would in response to a properly served subpoena, or a properly served bottle of good bourbon. Maybe even average bottle of bourbon.

I note that this site enjoys a prominent place on what is, at this time, a veddy, veddy exclusive short blogroll. I am quite sure that having been placed at the top of their blogroll was strictly a favor to the oldish fart with the great farookin’ hair who has been known to pick up a bar tab based solely on their appreciation of first-quality content.

As for content at The Idiom, so far, the entries pretty well cover the waterfront and are quite entertaining (even if the occasional esoteric sci-fi digression sails over my cruller). I urge you to go take a look at The Idiom.

Tell ‘em you know me. It might increase your chances of winning a bobble-head doll, if they decide to give out prizes.

February 14, 2005

Spam Assault.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:42 pm

Over the weekend, I found myself on the wrong end of a merciless comment and trackback spam attack. While dealing with these vermin is never fun and is always time consuming, MT Blacklist makes the process tolerable. With a couple clicks, MT Blacklist deletes the spam, rebuilds the entries, and imports the offending URL into the Blacklist, thereby assuring that future spam containing the offending URL will be blocked before I ever see it.

However, when MT Blacklist is not working properly, as was the case this weekend, an attack that would normally just be a routine royal pain in the ass becomes downright maddening. This weekend, for techno-reasons beyond my ken, MT Blacklist would delete the spam and rebuild the entries, but it would not permit the importing of the URLs contained in the spam. As such, there was nothing blocking the ensuing onslaught. Trying to delete the crap faster than it came in was like trying to kill a zillion ants by stepping on them. It made reading or writing impossible.

I finally gave up, hoping that by today whatever was wrong with MT Blacklist would somehow “fix itself.” When it didn’t, I did what I have done in the past in such circumstances. “Craig!!!!!!!

I wrote to Craig, raving like a nutbar explaining my problem. Craig provides the home for this blog and has always been willing to help, even if it means interrupting his life (as was the case last Easter), or dealing with my problems when he is sick (as was the case today).

He looked into the problem and learned that the best fix would be a download and installation of the latest versions of Movable Type and MT Blacklist. In a few minutes, he had me up and running and re-armed to deal with the scum of the earth doing their damnedest to foul this site.

I have often said that Craig is the nicest guy in the Blogosphere, and he proved it once again today. I owe him big time.

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