The Next 25 Years

          As I type, my first thought is Oh what a wonderful exercise in futility.  Immediately followed by the idea that I'm more interested in my ability to refer back to this article, and see what now-me-at-53 was focused on in the autumn of (which is 2012 for those not on the Myan long count calendar) than accurate or inaccurate predictions.

          I'm, currently, entering old-age.

          Everyone ages at a different rate.  For my mind and body, I was a child until I completely stood up to my parents; a young adult until I took total responsibility for myself (and got my first divorce); and I fully entered middle age when I retired from the military ten years ago.  Today, aches and pains combined with a decrease in gumption (hard to believe I'm more lazy than ever) marks the cusp of my winter years.  Only hindsight can confirm that prediction, because I might have an Indian Summer just over the horizon.

          I think the following things will happen over the next twenty five years:
  • President Obama is re-elected. [✓ 6 Nov 12]
    • Obamacare is re-vamped to include government single-payer option.
  • Erratic weather/earthquakes around the globe intensify.  A catastrophe for some, a boon for others. 
    • Droughts and fracking causes ranches/farms in the US Midwest to become uninhabitable.
    • A population paradigm shift occurs in many parts of the world.
  • The US elects a woman president. 
  • The Internet replaces all current TV and film entertainment formats.
    • Everything is streamed and downloaded instantaneously and in HD-quality.
    • Paper books, magazines, and newspapers are obsolete.    
  • The global recession becomes a planet-wide depression.
  • A large-scale war erupts involving many of the "major" governments.
    • Nuclear weaponry is used.
  • Same-sex marriage in the US becomes federal law.
  • A manned habitat is begun on Mars.
  • Apophis does not crash into Earth.
  • A viral pandemic kills tens of millions.
    • International travel is suspended for an extensive period.
  • Cannabis is legalized in the US.
  • Intelligent non-human extra-terrestrial life is identified. 
  • Korea is unified. 
  • Cost to mail a first class letter in the US tops one dollar.
  • US minimum wage reaches $20 an hour.
    • Massive "employee" shift occurs (from: full-time staff members; to: self-employed contractors).
  • Roads become predominantly filled with battery powered cars.
    • The US gas price tops $15.00/gallon. 
          On a personal note, I don't live to see 2037 (and will be amazed if I collect one Social Security check...which is still a viable program in 12 and a half years, it's just that I'm probably not around to collect).  I hope I marry the love of my life, Pamela The Pure (she hates that moniker).  I will eventually drive a Smartcar. 


click and drag by xkcd

          This should have been titled click and drag until your fingers bleed.  The bottom panel is massive.  It could take over an hour to read all the blurbs.  I especially enjoy the yellow warbler floating jellyfish and the caption from the woman climbing in the schooner's rigging.  Go look for yourself.


17 April:  I mail six income tax returns (federal and state for: me, her, and our LLC).

29 June:  My refund arrives.

11 July:  Her refund arrives.

2 August:  We receive a letter from the IRS explaining that our LLC return was not mailed on time and, consequently, we owe $195.00 per person/per late month/plus interest (which, the letter alleges, equals $1,695.00).

3 August:  I surmise our LLC's tax return got delayed in the mail and try to do the math but nomatterwhat I fail to reverse-compute the numbers.  Our LLC's total income for 2011 was $3,950.00.  I can't figure out how we could owe more than half the money we made.  No...the comma isn't in the wrong place; we grossed slightly less than four thousand dollars last year.

6 August:  I learn that LLC late penalty fines are legally this exorbitant.  Because of the intrinsic workings of partnership LLC's (normally they report no income because profits are divided by the partners who report the income on their individual tax returns) the IRS can't penalize LLC's like other companies and individuals (levy late penalties based on amount owed plus interest).

7 August:  Long phone call with IRS.
          "Our documentation shows your LLC did not file its tax return on time."
          "The tax return was mailed at the same time as our personal ones, was the LLC tax return due prior to April 17th?"
          "It was due on April 15th.  Our records show it wasn't posted by that date."
          "I was given to understand by the IRS website as well as most major news outlets that the due date was actually April 17th this year, bec..."
          "All tax returns are due on April 15th.  We show yours wasn't posted on that date."
          "Because that was a Sunday.  I mailed it on April 17th.  Which I believe was the due date."
          "Our records show it wasn't posted on time."
          "OK.  Wow.  I guess I need to come at this from a different perspective.  What's the postmarked date on the envelope?"
          "On my LLC's tax... er... which contained my LLC's tax return?"
          "Hello?  Ma'am?"
          "If you desire to refute the amount you owe, late fees, and/or interest due, the IRS has sixty days to locate any and all pertinent documents.  However, interest and penalty months will continue to accrue during this period.  If you pay the amount due, by credit card, at this time, and it's later determined any or all of the amount wasn't due, it'll be refunded."
          "You don't have the envelope in front of you?"
          "At this time?"
          "the IRS has sixty days to.."
          "I feel like I'm talking to a computer.  Are you a computer?"
          "No sir.  I'm explaining how to stop the aforementioned penalties from continuing to accrue."
          "If you're a computer and I ask if you are a computer, you're legally required to say yes."
          "That's very funny, sir.  You can mail a check.  Upon receipt, the penalties would..."   
          "I don't believe I owe penalties, fines, or interest.  I mailed the tax return on time."
          "In that case, you are refuting the..."
          "Yes.  Please.  I'm refuting."
          "And you're not interested in paying the..."
          "No.  Thank you.  Not interested in that."
          "And you understand about the interest and penalties continuing during the..."
          "Yup.  Completely understand."
          "Very good.  Thank you, sir.  You will hear from the IRS by US mail no later than sixty days from today's date after a full examina..."
          "Which is what?"
          "Excuse me, sir?"
          "Today's date.  What is it?"
          "You said From Today's Date and I was wondering what today's date was."
          "So I could compute when the sixty days would be up."
          "The seventh of August is today's date."
          "Thank you."
          "Is there anything else I can help you with today?"
          "Are those sixty days, calendar days or business days?"
          "Ummm.  Days.  Calendar days."

          I'm still not sure if I spoke with a person or a computer at the IRS call center.  She said ummm there at the end, which could have been programmed faux-humanity, but I think she was just a lackey reading from a script who was already mentally hanging up and forgot to hit the mute button when I asked one more parting question.

          We got a letter in the US mail today from the Internal Revenue Service.

          ...After a review of your LLC's tax documents and related paperwork it was determined your tax return was posted on time.  All previously levied fines, penalties, and interest amounts have been rescinded...

          I should feel relieved.  I don't.  I am confused...about the whole thing.  Was it a scam?  A IRS-run old-school come-along?  Hummm.

Rape Revenge

“A Spanish mother has taken revenge on the man who raped her 13-year-old daughter at knifepoint by dousing him in petrol and setting him alight.  He died of his injuries in hospital on Friday.

“…he passed his victim’s mother in the street and allegedly taunted her about the attack.  He is said to have called out 'How’s your daughter?' before heading into a crowded bar.

“Shortly after, the woman walked into the bar, poured a bottle of petrol over him and lit a match.  She watched as the flames engulfed him, before walking out.

“The woman fled to Alicante, where she was arrested the same evening.  When she appeared in court the next day in the town of Orihuela, she was cheered and clapped by a crowd who shouted 'Bravo!' and 'Well done!'”

          I dunno man, I’m not a doctor, but from what I understand if it’s a legitimate fire the body has ways of shutting that whole thing down.

          Re-blogged from too many people to backtrack (and I refuse to paste those ridiculous multiple-vertical-leftside-line-attribution things).  If you happen to be the originator of this twist on Paul Akin's quote, tell me, I'll give you credit (like that'll happen).