Archive for January, 2008

Whacked Hacks Back Crack Tax

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

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Nelson Rockefeller was Governor, I was a kid, and New York passed its first ‘sales tax’. I remember it was only a cent or two on a dollar and it was dubbed the ‘hot dog tax’ because you’d have to pay an additional penny for a ball park weiner. We thought it was funny.

“Those goddam bastards,” my Uncle Nick said, “I’m even gonna vote against the assholes who tried to stop it – they didn’t try hard enough!”

“Aw, Nick,” another Uncle said, “it’s only a penny.”

“What are you, stupid? You think it’s gonna stop at a penny? These bastards are gonna tax us to death! Mark my words – this is only the beginning.”

Uncle Nick was right. In time, New York would not only wildly boost its sales tax, and mandate countless new taxes, it’s even trying to create a new tax on which it has no hope of actually collecting: the drug tax. The what tax? You read that right, Binky, a tax on ‘controlled substances’ – drugs – is in the NYS budget proposal. The state would issue drug stamps just as they do today with cigarette stamps. The proposed tax would be $3.50 on an ounce of marijuana and $200.00/oz. on stronger drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

There may be a few small flaws in this brilliant plan. New Yorkers who buy cigarette tax stamps run legitimate businesses. Drug dealers don’t. Will dealers fill out tax paperwork answering questions like ‘annual income?’, ‘address?’, and ‘occupation’? Probably not; even though the tax people PROMISE not to give the information to law enforcement agencies – that’s ‘illegal.’ Right. But dealers sell dope – they aren’t dopes. Maybe they can just slip money under the door of the Tax Department late at night and stamps will be passed back in plastic baggies.

So why even bother with this nonsense?

Two reasons: First, the state will get another legal charge to bring against dealers: failure to pay NYS sales tax on illegal products. Tax evasion worked to put away Al Capone – but that was a federal statute and Al made hundreds of millions a year. The corner dopers who usually get caught are sardines compared to Al “the Whale” Capone.

But more importantly, the state gets to take a slice of the dealers confiscated post-bust loot. Maybe.

Maybe?

Yeh, well there’s kind of a line for the money now. Confiscated drug money gets divvied up between different agencies in the federal government and local law enforcement people. They squabble all the time; so what’s one more ‘Gimme, gimme!’ voice?

Estimated revenue in the first year? $12-million. Start up costs? About $75-million.

I heart New York!

Monday Tells!

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

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Remember “Lassie”? Sometimes Timmy and his family would be eating dinner in ‘50’s black and white when their pleasant conversation would be dramatically interrupted by the bursting entrance of the bounding collie. Timmy immediately knew something was wrong and jumped up to translate.

“What’s wrong, Lassie?”
“Roof, roof!”
Timmy: “What!? Someone fell in the well!?”
Lassie: “Roof, roof, roof!”
Timmy: “And he can’t swim!?”
Lassie : “Roof!”
Timmy: “Well let’s GO!”

And then Timmy and the gang would all rush out the door led by Lassie, the ultimate canine hero.

Even as a kid, I laughed at the inanity of the dialogue between people and animals.

That’s before I knew animals could talk. Of course they don’t speak English but they can communicate many things very clearly – without sarcasm – hidden meanings – or false agendas. If I had any doubts about this, they were dispelled by Monday the Cat on a quiet summer afternoon years ago. If you’ve read some of my previous entries, you know that Sunday and Monday were our cats who were very much a part of our lives in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s.

Sunday, the top cat, lived for attention and figured out early in life that negative attention was better than no attention – so she thought up numerous ways to cause chaos and confusion. Sunday knew she could do just about anything and the only “bad” things that would happen to her were loud threats and chases down the hall as she left messes in her wake like tipped plants, stolen food, piles of toilet paper, chewed plastic, broken glass, scattered litter, dumped ash trays, ripped computer paper, and her people scrambling to find the “squirter” water bottle with which we were supposed to discipline her. Of course she always escaped before we found the damn thing and she was an expert at hiding.

Monday, the cat we got for Sunday, wasn’t good at being bad. She’d try to copy her outrageous sister but usually ended up confused and unsure what to do after Sunday pulled off another caper. Many times she’d be sniffing something like a crashed plant, seconds after Sunday vanished . When we’d rush to the scene of the crime, Monday would look up with big, innocent, frightened eyes that said, “Surely you don’t think I did this?! We ALL know who did this, right!?”

One summer day, T. and I were in my office when Monday the Cat burst in. She was in a panic! Her eyes were wild and the size of saucers, her ears were flat against her head, and her fur was standing straight up.

“What’s the matter, Monday?” we both shouted in unison.

Thinking back, there was no question of Cat/Human Communication. T. and I both knew exactly what Monday was “saying.” Something was very wrong and Monday could not
be any more clear had she spoken perfect English and had the voice of Winston Churchill.

“MEOW!” she shouted and then she turned and started running back down the hall. In an instant, T. and I jumped to our feet and ran after her. The three of us skidded to a halt in the living room and were struck with horror!

“SOMEONE” had left the terrace door open. This was the Number One rule in the apartment: ALWAYS CLOSE THE TERRACE DOOR! The previous year, Sunday dove after a bug and broke her pelvis after hurtling down four floors from my bathroom window. Our unscreened terrace was four floors above the pavement (not the grass) and there was a large tree filled with birds ALMOST within leaping distance for a cat. Sunday was crouched and quickly considering the possibilities.

Then, in one of the top five smartest ideas I ever had in my life, I quietly said, “OK, now don’t rush her. Don’t move!” I then slowly backed into the kitchen and in a loud voice announced, “Who wants TUNAAAAA!?!?”

“Tuna time” although rare, was the only event guaranteed to bring both cats running before one scarfed up the other’s portion. If Monday even hesitated for an instant to get in place, Sunday would vacuum her sister’s whole serving and then start on her own as Monday stared down at an empty plate.

Within seconds, Monday rushed into the kitchen (“I’m sorry Sunday might kill herself – but tuna’s tuna.”), Sunday sprinted across the living room floor right behind her, and T. dashed to the terrace door and slammed it shut. When Sunday saw there was no tuna, she probably realized it was a trick and started running down the hall with T. in hot pursuit loudly yelling at her.

Monday, as usual, didn’t quite know what was going on (she undoubtedly forgot about the whole terrace business as soon as she heard ‘tuna!’) and continued to look up at me and then down at the floor where the tuna should have been served.

Of course Monday got tuna and (no surprise) Sunday did too – but don’t EVER tell me cats can’t communicate!

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1959. When Men Were Men and Women Were Thankful

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

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My Favorite Cartoon. ‘Snowman Funeral’

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

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Skip Away. Part 3.

Monday, January 21st, 2008

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Tomorrow, January 22, 2008, is the last day for commercials by the infamous, still smoking, antismoking smokesperson, “Skip” Legault. I’m not a smoker but I’m glad to see him go. The antismoking campaign seems to have shifted into a histrionic, “worse than death” mode. Other commercials feature the operation tools of amputation, close-ups of gangrened feet, and hysterical kids making heart-wrenching appeals to Mommy and Daddy not to leave them orphans.

When fanatics start running the asylum, it’s time to reconsider the message. Gross-out commercials are insulting to the three out of four of us who DON’T smoke – in addition to adult smokers who do.

But they “work” you might think. Wrong. Today roughly the same percentage of people smoke who have always smoked: 1 out of 4 adults. Despite the skyrocketing cost of cigarettes, throwing smokers outside in the middle of winter, making them feel like social lepers, scaring their kids, and insulting them with nitwit commercials, millions of people still light up.

Of course much of this continuing habit is addiction (which has NEVER been cured by screaming and cursing at addicts) but I’d like to think there’s another part of it. The part when people say, “I’m a thinking, grown-up American and I’ll make my own decisions in life, thank you. I’m sick of the government continually telling me what to do and what not to do . So butt out, Big Brother, go pick on someone your own size!”

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Esperanto Comments.

Monday, January 21st, 2008

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Within a very short time of posting my “Ideas That Made Too Much Sense” – Esperanto, I received a Comment from a gentleman named Brian. I innocently had a number of facts wrong. That’s me, “often wrong but never in doubt.”

Brian’s comment, my reply, and his follow-up, may be read in the ‘Comments’ section below the entry. I think you’ll find them interesting.

The power of the Internet is amazing!

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Amy – My Twin & Best Friend.

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

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Amy and I were born on June 9th. That’s our Birthday. What year? EVERY YEAR, Skippy…..Duh! Amy kept getting better and better looking but I didn’t. Of course she HAD to get better looking (see the first picture). Shortly after she was born, Amy looked like a wax sculpture which had been left in the sun. But she got much better very quickly!

Sometime, after she was five (middle picture), but before she was thirty (last picture) she was even a centerfold with real staples and everything. Unfortunately, she had gone mad by that time and took to sitting on counters and studying things in the sink. One day she decided she’d become Amish because she liked horses and carts. So she moved to Pennsylvania and I haven’t seen her since. I also have two sisters who moved to France to become Muslims. I haven’t seen them since either. Religion’s a bitch when it breaks up families even if you get a free horse and cart.

 

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Sunday, January 20th, 2008

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An older man goes to bed with a much younger woman and is pretty proud of himself.

“Am I the first man you were ever with?” he asks.

The girl squints and says, “Could be, Mister. I thought you looked familiar.”

 

 

 

Ideas That Made Too Much Sense. Part 3.

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

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ESPERANTO

The idea, of course, is noble. Construct one ‘universal language’ so that all the peoples of the world could communicate freely to foster peace and international understanding. Esperanto, which means ‘one who hopes’, was created to achieve this goal. It’s symbol (above) was designed to show the five continents being united by a common language (nah, I can’t see it either; I count 3 contact points – what am I missing here?).

Anyway Esperanto, created in the late 1800’s, once actually looked like it would flourish. The number of speakers grew rapidly primarily in the Russian empire and Eastern Europe, then in Western Europe and the Americas.

But then Reality reared it’s ugly head. There were problems – lots of problems. Among them:

• The language is based on European roots and sounds. Too bad for you, Asia; and Africa? Forget about it.

• Language needs a specific culture to flourish. It’s words are symbols which represent tangible objects and ideas. People in Hawaii don’t need many words to describe snowstorms and Eskimos really don’t care about a name for pineapples.

• Dictatorships hated the idea. Stalin called Esperanto ‘the language of spies.’ Nazis even executed some of its practitioners. And here in the United States, Joe McCarthy (who spawned Ann Coulter) said it was “a Communist language.”

Today, over a century after its birth, Esperanto is spoken by (generously estimating) about 1-million Esperantists. Just a verbal speck in a world of 5- or 6-billion people.

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Saturday, January 19th, 2008

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Why don’t Italians like Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Italians don’t like ANY witnesses.