Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Toilet Humor

I found myself on the toilet this afternoon as one does. The kind of visit to the porcelain princess that gives you a few minutes to ponder the events of the day that led you to this moment. I woke up, ate my fiber bar and apple breakfast, went to work, tried that new Mongolian Grill place for lunch.

Ah, that must be it, I give my body plenty of ammunition and then presented it with a foreign invader. My gastrointestinal system is experiencing what would happen if the state of Texas was given full authority over the Canadian border.

What is the physiological response to eating a new type of food? How can it work through all the steps so much quicker then a typical meal? The thoughts took me back to junior high biology class, please note the exceptional amount of time that I still had to ponder such things, and that is when it occurred to me, possibly one of the funniest toilet humor jokes to ever cross my mind.

There are a few new ingredients that are eaten in a dish that had never been tried before by little Chris. As the food goes between the lips and over the gums, these ingredients happen upon the stomach. The stomach is confused as it looks at these new ingredients. It gives them a shake like a child would a Christmas present to ascertain it's contents, much to the chagrin of little Chris who has to deal with the stomach grumblings as he is plugging away at his work desk. With no success, the stomach passes the mystery items over to the small intestine.

The small intestine is just as dumbfounded as the stomach was. He shoots a quick text, or whatever the internal workings of the human body uses for their communications network, over to his friends, the liver, the pancreas, and many other buddies from back in the day. Many theories are formed, "Is it ginger? Is it soy? Is it lobster tail? It appears to have parts of these and many more, but surely these parts are not of the same meal?" After mulling it over for some time, the small intestine gives up and hands the mystery meal over to it's larger, dimwitted but well intentioned brother, the large intestine.

"Hodor, Hodor Hodor", or some likened line the large intestine recites as he smashes the mystery food against itself. Again, causing a disruption to an otherwise typical workday for the host body. After several failed attempts to accomplish anything, the large intestine simply drops it and moves on to it's next seemingly mundane task.

Lastly, the colon is handed over the mystery item. It makes no attempt at studying, analyzing, or any form of experimentation to determine what it originally was when it began it's quest through Chris' body, it simply grabs it's shovel and mutters to itself "Why does everyone keep giving me all their crap...."

Now, aren't you glad you read this far?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Original Idea #1: NFL Pro-Bowl

Beginning a new chapter in this Blog's history today, I'm beginning an original idea segment. A way to break off from a lot of the ranting and anti-cheer-leading I find myself engrossing in, probably to an unhealthy extent, on this page.

These ideas can range from just about anything, to just about anything else. What better way to prove that point is to start off with something that is on almost nobody's mind at the moment. The NFL Pro Bowl.

In recent years there has been a certain degree of disenfranchisement about the Pro Bowl. The players aren't playing hard enough, the games don't matter, they are just trying to not get hurt. And those people are absolutely right. The main reason the players want to get to the Pro Bowl is a free trip to Hawaii and whatever bonuses they receive from contract incentives, both of these are earned the second they stop off the plane in Honolulu. Sure, for some people it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to play with the active legends of the game, but the game always seems to be at a little slower pace and not as hard hitting. The result is a huge burden on trying to make the event itself more interesting. Trying to hype it up with fantasy draft boards and other things that most fans just don't care much about.

But there I was just the other day watching the US. woman's curling team on a channel I couldn't identity other then it was obviously an NBC affiliate. Rooting for people I hardly knew in a sport I know nothing about. It occurred to me for reasons I couldn't begin to understand, that the NFL shouldn't be trying to have a single event for the pro-bowl, they need to have a series of events, not so unlike the Olympics. The Olympics are capable of drawing in millions of viewers to sports many people simply don;t normally watch. They love the stories of individual persaverence and rooting for their country, so I charged myself with the task of infusing those aspects of the Winter games into the single sport of football.

Welcome to the 2015 NFL Pro-Bowl Combine!

Over the 5 days coverage from beautiful Hawaii, you will see all your favorite players competing against one another in basic combine events like bench presses and 40 yard dashes, to unique events such as one may see on Sports Science where a Defensive End would be timed as they spin around 3 padding dummies and tackle a manikin Quarterback. Quarterbacks would have accuracy and distance throw competitions. Offensive Lineman would have the equivalent of a Tractor pull but with pushing tackle dummies. Corner-backs would would have swat down competitions. The winner of each even wins points for their conference (or division), receives individual "medals" (complete with paycheck bonuses) and the coverage for said events lasts over the entire week, not just one 3 hour game the week before the Superbowl.

Sure, the ratings for any single event probably won't be all that impressive, save for perhaps the Quarterback events, but I feel that you would get a whole lot more effort from each individual who goes to the Pro Bowl a lot more incentive to actually do something once they are there would be reflected and allow for days of programming with decent ratings. Add to that hours of sports coverage for that nights sports center to break up what currently is just a 134 hour Superbowl pregame. Add in the fact that the draft combines are just a month after the super bowl, the interest in both may be perked up to see how some of the new rookies shape up against  veterans in some of the events. Questions like "Can a 32 year old vet still bench press like a 22 year old college kid?" would become common during the week. Plus, you get the benefit of having true head to head match up comparisons over the years. "Sure, Richard Sherman says he's the greatest, but will he put up or shut up at this weeks combine when he'll have to try and break Champ Bailey's record of 13 swat-downs in the 1 minute drill he pulled off 6 years ago?"

The Pro Bowl is becoming more and more laughable as players try to maximize competition while minimizing injury when there incentive to do so is naught, I think an event style combine is a great way to alleviate the injury concerns (admittedly, not 100%, but a lot) and to allow good honest competition between elite athletes to shine through.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Do We Have An Emigration Problem?

Tired of dealing with intrusive US tax laws and complicated tax filings. Well, it turns out that the Star Wars strategy of moving to a place far far away no longer works as a method of getting out of paying your taxes or from stopping the harassment in general. In fact, tax laws are getting so stringent that last year 3,000 U.S. Citizens, over triple the number of the average for the past 5 years, lined up at embassies around the world to renounce their citizenship.

 Some of the rush may be caused by Americans hoping to avoid the new disclosure requirements. Allowing them to stay in the shadows for good reason. Others living abroad with perfectly legal bundles of cash in the banks are saying they are giving up their US passport because they are tired of dealing with overly complicated tax filings, trying to determine what estates and capital are subject to tax, and all the effort that goes into planning two tax day celebrations. It's especially frustrating when you are having to file such a volume and complexity of taxes without having a representative of persons living abroad to represent you in Congress. I think there was once a slogan that summarized the frustration these citizens are going through.

This aggressive practice was first demonstrated in 2008, when federal prosecutors accused the Swiss bank UBS of helping wealthy Americans hide their money tax-free in overseas accounts. It was a big case, leading to indictments, fines and prison time.

The U.S. Congress wanted to make sure these 'shadow' accounts shielding assets from taxation stopped. During the economic recession, lawmakers saw a chance to bring in massive sums of money and stop tax cheats at the same time, and as has been the case too often in our history, we can't allow a good revenue generation opportunity go to waste.

The measure, approved by Congress in 2010, is aimed at recouping some of the hundreds of billions the government says it loses each year in unpaid taxes with that pesky loophole of the money not being anywhere close to our shores.

Admittedly, a lot of the money being targeted should be subject to some level of taxation, usually because it's earned or invested in the US, but as with many things we seem to lock our targets on, there has been an alarming amount of collateral damage. The victims here being US citizens now living under two sets of tax laws and subjigating banks that would do business with them to another set of laws, again, without any representation. The solution for many, to paraphrase the old saying, when in Rome, file your taxes in Latin.

The first wave of renunciations in 2010 coincided with a part of the law that requires individuals to report foreign assets worth as little as $50,000, causing the first wave of banks to start to drop US clients and putting many people in the difficult position of choosing between a passport and a checking account. That was in addition to a separate provision that forces Americans to disclose foreign bank holdings larger than $10,000.

Renunciations dipped in 2012, but now another part of the law is kicking in. The new provision requires financial institutions to report all foreign accounts held by Americans.

These regulations come on the heels of additional regulations that are being imposed on foreign banks operating in the US. The law has prompted some banks to begin kicking out their American clients rather than comply. Penalties can be high if banks make a mistake reporting US-held accounts, even if they are basic checking and savings accounts, leaving American citizens who live abroad incapable of finding a bank who will take their business.

One can hardly blame them, the choice a bank is faced with of either disenfranchising a sliver of their clientele or face the wrath of policy being imposed on them by a foreign power, I'm sure we here in the states would allow the same thing to happen to us.

In summary, once you pay your taxes and have a big old stack of money, what you do with it is still subject to rules and regulations of the US, even if you take your legitimate money as far away from out shores as possible. Piling on burdens of citizenship, more tax revenue for the government, and zero new benefits by being a citizen.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Charities That Never Made It

501(c)(4) statuses are in question... The new sterner regulations have forced several charitable organizations from receiving their tax exempt status, here are a few of the organizations that could not meet the new criteria along with the charities tagline.

Save the Wind - Wind is a precious natural resource, but some big turbine companies want to rob this world of it's winded beauty. Help us save wind for future generations. By giving a gift of $100 you will receive a palm leaf to grow your own wind and a photograph of a tumbleweed that you helped save.

American Association for the Advancement of Straight Peoples's (AAASP) - Join us this Saturday in the first annual Straight Pride Parade as we celebrate millenniums of good 'ol fashioned guy on girl action. This years theme is 'Our Style is Our Mission'. Tacos and Hot Dogs will be served and Sparkles the Clown will be on hand to teach the proper use of balloon animals to the kids.

Facebook Likes for the Poor - Some people say you can't change the world while trolling through social media from the old couch in your parent's basement. At Facebook Likes for the Poor, we disagree. Every time you like one of our hourly postings of a cat playing with a ball of string and the tag line "I'm having the 'meow' of my life!" All the proceeds will go towards finding a way to convert Facebook likes to something tangible like food, shelter, and medicine.

What's Your Beef? - Times are tense in relations between the Pakistan and India. Our mission here at 'What's Your Beef?' is to encourage a sense of unity by freely distributing large quantities of hamburgers and cheeseburgers from America's most popular fast food chains. Because if there is anything that brings people together, it's biting into a plump, juicy, fire grilled piece Angus beef.

Association of Native Spanish Speaking Waiters of Non-Mexican Restaurants - Are you a Hispanic line cook at a restaurant that doesn't serve enchiladas and tacos? Do you have a friend who is? Do your friends perhaps know of anyone who fits that description? If so, contact the Association of Native Spanish Speaking Waiters of Non-Mexican Restaurants. I have a bet going with a co-worker and a lot of money riding on this.

Help the Common House Fly - Everyday in the U.S., millions of common house flies are slaughtered needlessly, with your generous gift, common house fly preserves will be set up all across America where the common house fly will be allowed to roam free from the dangers that are typically associated with the common house fly. Our staff will go through a painstaking process of purging everything in our 100 square mile preserves that could threaten the common house fly, including all present lizards, birds, mammals, fish, flames, and sticky substances like honey, tree amber, or chewed gum. Our goal is to return the common fly to the prominence it once enjoyed. Won't you help us before the common house fly becomes a relic of the past?

Children's Refund Network - Ever wonder what happens when the millions of dollars that are donated to children's charities are used to purchase a once in a lifetime wish only to have the child pass away from this life before they can cash in? At Children's Refund Network, we shed a tear over each child's life that is lost when an all expenses paid vacation is left unused. With our state of the art matching program, families who donated money to these charities all across the country and receiving letters with a child's story, a certified death certificate copy and photograph proving the child no longer has a need of their wish, and a voucher good at one of several theme parks and for other once in a lifetime adventures. Just last week, Don Ronaldson of 'Ronaldson & Associates' criminal defense firm in Beverly Hills, CA, who donated $10 towards a prominent final wish charity, received his voucher and was able to take his family to meet Tom Brady in place of little Sammy. Little Sammy passed away at the age of 7 after a battle of leukemia and had a dream of meeting his sports idol. At Children's Refund Network, we want you to give generously knowing that your charity won't be wasted.

In all seriousness, how crazy is it that one of the most powerful enforcement agencies is being used to stifle a grassroots movement. The lesson to be learned from all this extra scrutiny is that if things are not going the way you like them to in this country, and you and your neighbors start to organize, the very government you are attempting to scrutinize has the legal capacity to scrutinize you right back. To harass you and anyone associated with you just because you are looking for the ability to legally function within the confines of the law. I'm not saying the IRS can't or shouldn't perform some due diligence to help ensure these groups aren't just laundering political money, but when people are getting fired, pleading the fifth, and new rules that seem to posthumous allow all the harassment that has already been perpetrated it seems that what is really going on is the IRS and it's defenders are simply saying "Too bad, this is the way it is."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Snarky Retorts to Snarky Remarks

When you go out and troll the internet, you sometimes just can't bother wasting your time actually holding a serious conversation with someone. Sometimes, you just have to snark back. Here are a few quips and jabs that I came up with to help you get started when the topic moves to something of little, if any, real relevance to the popular topics of the day.

The Troll Says: "A Socialist wrote the Pledge of Allegiance."
To Which You Say: "And an Attorney from Chicago added the line 'Under God'. My how far we've come.'"

The Troll Says: "Jesus healed the sick and helped the poor, for free."
To Which You Say: "And then he was featured in a book about how to do it. You should read it sometime."

The Troll Says: "Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee were traitors."
To Which You Say: "Just like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo."

The Troll Says: "Fascism is a right-wing trait."
To Which You Say: "And Anarchy is a left-wing trait. See I can spew crap that makes no sense also."

The Troll Says: "Sarah Palin is an idiot."
To Which You Say: "A rich, powerful, and smoking hot idiot, God Bless America."

The Troll Says: "The Earth is round."
To Which You Say: "Technically, it's spherical. You should really consider taking a geometry class sometime."

The Troll Says: "Reagan raised taxes eleven times as President."
To Which You Say: "Yup, from 70% all the way up to 28%"

The Troll Says: "Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency."
To Which You Say: "So what I hear you trying to say is that he was a good President?"

The Troll Says: "Ronald Reagan supported an assault gun ban."
To Which You Say: "Yeah, and he got the ban he wanted, I think we just finished celebrating the Brady Act's 5th year anniversary when Columbine happened."

The Troll Says: "Global warming is real. The ice caps are melting and the oceans are rising."
To Which You Say: "Then why do so many Democrats live on the coast?"

The Troll Says: "Republicans hate illegal immigrants, unless they need their lawns mowed or their houses cleaned."
To Which You Say: "That's not fair, they also not too keen on illegal killers, illegal rapists, illegal identity thieves, and illegal tax evaders either."

The Trolls Says: "What 17 trillion dollars? The current debt will shrink this year to 500 billion."
To Which You Say: Nothing, there is no way you can talk to this person without being dragged down to the level of stupidity. Spend you time doing something productive like learning how to whistle and hum at the same time.

You can now attempt to move the conversation back to whatever topic you were actually discussing, healthcare solutions, tax reform, what have you. Just remember, don't get into an argument with an idiot, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

Friday, February 7, 2014

This is Not a Smidgen

Would you bench your star player during the big game? Would you send the smartest guy in the room out for coffee while you are trying to solve a problem? Would  you refuse to allow the lead IRS scandal investigator to testify before a Congressional Oversight Panel that is overseeing... the IRS scandal investigation?

Well, in the crazy messed up, cats and dogs living together, diet Dr. Pepper tastes like regular Dr. Pepper, knowing the difference between butter and 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter' world we live in the answer to at least one of the aforementioned questions is, YES!

Most Transparent White House... EVA!!
This news comes shortly after the FBI's internal investigation that was led by an interestingly hand picked DOJ civil rights attorney, and Obama donor, gave the Internal Revenue Service a clean bill of health after the Investigator General's office charged them with singling out Tea Party organizations for political gain.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) had asked Justice attorney Barbara Bosserman to appear before the panel on Feb. 6, 2014. Rep. Jordan received a response from Deputy Attorney General James Cole saying she would not be available.

Rep. Jordan wrote back to Deputy Attorney General Cole asking him to reconsider.

“The committee recognizes that there may be particular law-enforcement aspects of the investigation that the department is unwilling to discuss publicly. However, there is no legitimate basis for a blanket refusal to answer questions about an apparent conflict of interest and the overall integrity of the investigation,” Jordan wrote in his letter.

I tried this tactic once, I was assigned to read a book and write a book report for my English Literature class back in grade school. I refused to subject myself to the oral presentation part of the book report on grounds that having to orate a scripture that was clearly intended to be consumed through the written word would make the piece of work that was my report loose some of it's intrinsic meaning and profoundness. The Teacher gave me and 'F'.

Last Sunday, Obama gave a grade of 'A+' to the investigation saying that there was not a “smidgen of corruption” surrounding the IRS scandal before a national audience during the Super Bowl pregame. Unfortunately for his narrative, there is a decent amount of evidence that suggests otherwise. Back door dealings to re write 501(c)(4) rules. The White House knowing 5 months before the election of the investigator generals findings. And a narrative that dates back decades that depicts a systematic use of the IRS to dissuade conservative groups. 

On a side note, how about that prediction of Obama before the big game? The only thing he was willing to predict about the outcome was that "It's going to be close." Talk about a guy that doesn't have a clue until after it's reported in the papers.