Friday, April 29, 2016

NFL Draft Day 1

No specialists were drafted on Day One.

Waist Management - Corsets are Making a Comeback

I don't know how I stumbled upon this but apparently this is already out there. It's a thing. I was simply unaware. Your waist can be trained. Or tamed.

One is effected by wearing a steel boned corset. Literally. Taming refers to the trend of wearing a latex waist cincher, according to Waist Training 101: Everything You Need to Know:
" The most basic definition of waist training is the process of using a steel boned corset to modify your waist into an hourglass shape with semi-permanent results. . . . The hourglass figure is attained as a result of the moving of floating ribs and the reduction of space in the abdomen. Weight loss tends to happen mainly because the corset also acts as an external LAP band, not allowing you to eat large quantities while wearing the corset.
" We tend to refer to the current trend of latex 'waist trainers' (yes, the Kim Kardashian variety) as 'waist taming', as there is no way to truly cinch them and even the firmest latex can't compare to stainless steel bones. "
When I put "waist trainer" in my search engine, I am disturbed by the images that are returned. Women are altering there bodies, sometimes to extreme lengths. Some are smiling or posing provocatively while others post pictures of their injuries or disfigurements as a result of wearing these devises.

When I enter "corsets" on Amazon.com, I see products that appear to be marketed as sexy lingerie while others use the words "corset" along with "weight loss" and "fat burner" as part of the product name. I saw one described as a "sport workout shaper." Another has it all: the "Waist Trainer Corset for Weight Loss Sport Workout Body Shaper Tummy Fat Burner."

Waist Training 101 says, "Women discussing 'waist training' these days are, more often than not, likely discussing it as a part of their workout plan." 

Corset Center also attributes the trend to Kim Kardashian:
" Kim started the whole craze when she posted a photo on Instagram of her wearing a corset device. . . . Since she posted the photo, sales have skyrocketed for these waist training devices, and more women than ever before have jumped on the bandwagon. . . . 
" The highly coveted hourglass figure is what women are after . . ."
This is not the first time corsets have been in fashion. And, it's not the last trend to promulgate an ideal female body image. But, wow. I am aghast.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Balls

It's NFL Draft Day and we're still sorting out Deflategate. The issue itself may even be inflated to the Supreme Court which seems absurd. However, the cloak and dagger rules surrounding the handling of NFL balls may serve to explain why the high court must sort out the issues relating to ethical and appropriate ball handling.

Each team supplies 24 new balls (12 primary balls plus 12 backup balls) before each game.  Security is tight for the balls until each team's balls are distributed about 10 minutes before the game. Each team only plays with their own balls at all times. They do not play with each other's balls.

It used to be that NFL footballs were delivered directly to game officials before every game but quarterbacks were unsatisfied with how their balls were being roughed up by the officials. The rules were changed a decade ago to allow quarterbacks to rough up their own balls according to their own liking.

Footballs are now delivered to the equipment managers and teams can practice with their own balls the week before the game. Two hours before game time, however, their balls must be submitted to officials for inspection. After inspection, the balls are in the possession of ball boys for about ten minutes before they're brought to the field. On game day, teams don't even get to warm up their own balls. They have to warm up with practice balls.

Kickers are not to be trusted with their own balls. 12 separate balls are delivered directly to the officials. After inspection, those balls are guarded by an NFL employee hired specifically to handle those balls. No one else can touch the kickers' balls.

In high school football, the number of required balls is less and in youth football, they're lucky to have more than one ball among them. But it all goes to show that this business of balls is much more complicated than most people know. No wonder we need experts in the law to sort it all out.

Meanwhile, and in not completely unrelated news, there has been a lot of movement in the world of long snappers. As you will recall, Andrew East was signed as long snapper for the Seahawks with the waiver of Clint Gresham. But before I could even order a jersey, East was waived in favor of Drew Ferris.

The Broncos picked up Casey Kreiter who replaces Aaron Brewer who now snaps for the Bears. Kreiter was signed after a workout in Denver that included Christian Yount who was later signed by the Patriots. The other snapper on the Patriots roster, Joe Cardona, was selected in the fifth round of last year's draft.

The Cardinals were the only team to go into this year's draft without a long snapper. Maybe it will be Nathan Theus. (For an interesting article on long snapping - and to find out who Nathan Theus is - this is a good article from Sports Illustrated.) Maybe it'll be Clint Gresham but I hope the Seahawks end up renegotiating his contract. After all, I already have the jersey.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hypocrisy or just better than most?

The House passed a bill (HR1206) that would prohibit the IRS from adding staff until it can show that none of its employees have tax-delinquency issues even though the delinquency rate for congressional staffs is roughly 5 times that of IRS employees. (One percent versus five.)

Meanwhile, the rate is nine percent for the general population. Then it's called tax evasion, not delinquency, so I'm not sure that counts.

The House passed another bill (HR 4890) that prohibits the IRS from handing out bonuses until they provide a customer service strategy. “The IRS failed to answer 8 million calls during tax season last year. Yet over a short five-year period, they handed out nearly $6 million in bonuses to themselves,” noted House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

(Bonuses for not working? I don't recall the World Headquarters for Work Avoidance paying bonuses. Maybe my check got lost in the mail.)

Lastly, as many of you have asked if I've recovered from the tax season yet, here is an excellent summary of what tax season is like:
" Busy season is over. Last Tuesday, tens of thousands of tax preparers simultaneously emerged from their months-long social cocoon in desperate need of a nap, a tan, and a treadmill. 
" Soon enough, the long hours, the bad food, and the untenable stress imposed by clients, coworkers, and deadlines — both real and arbitrary– will be a distant memory. Also to fade will be that sobering thought that nagged you all winter — the one where you remembered, during your darker moments, that you were enduring all of the physical and emotional abuse just to put numbers on a form that have a 1-3% chance of being inspected by the IRS. "
I Hope You Had A Good Tax Season, Because Next Year Is Going To Be A Nightmare - Forbes
In the article, Tony Nitti explains what we tax preparers have to look forward to next year which most of you won't be interested in. However, my accountant friends will appreciate his closing remarks:
" You might say, well, why not file extensions and then prepare the returns in May, June and July, and August so that there is no busy season at all? To which I would respond, 'you must be new here.' "

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

After

The dust hasn't quite settled and tax returns still float through my dreams but I found a beach on which to recuperate so we are hoping to be back to normal soon. As if tax season isn't a whirlwind unto itself, I spent the last days of it in four offices, two of which were mobile (one of which had an amazing view). One of my offices was temporarily shut down and I relocated to a fifth office to finish out Tax Day.

Somehow, it all got done. It always does and I never know how. There's always a new client on the last day and always an existing client who brings in his stuff with hours to go. It's a crazy business, tax prep, but now the pressure is off and I can breathe for a while.

At this very moment, I'm drinking coffee in bed and looking out at the ocean. I might just stay here for a while.

You look mahvelous, dahling.


Complimentary bike rentals. Does that mean they go with my outfit?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Saturday, April 16, 2016

2

Two half wits do not make a full wit. 

The law of diminishing returns applies.