Friday, January 31, 2014

Meet the Most Special Boys in the NFL

There seems to be some confusion about what kind of animal Seattle's football team is named after. Why not? There's a lot of confusion surrounding Seattle itself. Like, where the hell is it? It's out west somewhere, right? In the Land of Starbucks.

Well, that's close enough, I guess.

But, let's be clear about one thing. The Seattle football team (and we're not talking about soccer here) is named after a hawk not a bird, OKAY? A hawk is a bird of prey not just any old feathered, winged, two-legged, warm-blooded, egg-laying vertebrate. A Seahawk is otherwise known as an osprey which is a freaking raptor. A raptor is a bird that hunts and feeds on other animals. Like broncos. Which, by the way is an untrained horse.

So there.

Now that's out of the way, I'd like to introduce you to the Seattle Seahawks' (not Seabirds) Special Teams. These are boys that are so special that no one would love them but their own mothers. I'm not trying to be cruel here but when was the last time you saw someone wearing the jersey for the Gunner or the Long Snapper? (btw, the Center is nothing but a Short Snapper, but I digress.) Even their moms can't make it to all the games so somebody's got to love them.

When the Special Teams takes the field, that's when everyone leaves to refresh their beers or go to the can. Not me. I stand and shout, "Go, Clint Gresham!"

#49 Clint Gresham is our Long Snapper. It's an interesting position because it requires lightening skill and accuracy, can't be touched by the defense, and is something you can learn and master well enough to get you a college scholarship by borrowing a video tape from the library. #86 Zack Miller is the backup LS (good initials, no?) but he's also a Tight End which makes Gresham all the more special.

Gresham's better side.
I like the Gunners just because who the hell knew there were Gunners on a football team? They are #20 Corner Back Jeremy Lane, #41 Corner Back Byron Maxwell and sometimes #83 Wide Receiver Ricardo Lockette. Even though they play other positions, what makes them special is you can't just find a depth chart somewhere or look up the Seahawks roster and find out who the gunner is. They don't exist.

See? No gunners according to ESPN's depth chart.
Not as special as Jon Ryan.

That brings us to #9 Jon Ryan. He plays the Holder and the Punter. You can't get more special than that!

The Kick Returners are very important people but they're only a little special because they have other jobs. #89 Doug Baldwin and #19 Bryan Walters are both Wide Receivers. But not even the third Kick Returner's mom loves the last Kick Returner because she named her son Christine and you know he got beat up a lot in school. #33 (double-three!) Running Back Christine Michael is very special indeed.

Punt Returners are just like Kick Returners, only different. They are #81 (good year!) Wide Receiver Golden Tate (C'mon, Golden? That's the very definition of special!) and #25 Corner Back Richard Sherman (who will be first to tell how exactly how special he is.)

Last, but by no means least, we have #4 Steven Hauschka as Kicker (for field goals and kickoffs). He's special because he's scored 143 points for the Seattle Seahawks this year which, I believe, makes him the highest scorer for the team. From now on, every time he kicks it for three you need to yell, "Hauschka like them apples!" and give someone a high three.

And remember this, when you're eating chicken wings this Sunday they came from a bird, not from a hawk!

Tax Season Officially Starts Today!

Who says accountants don't have a sense of humor? Pencils? Also, they forgot chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

As you begin gearing up for tax season, you are probably anticipating the impending stress and fatigue — the late nights, broken pencils and take-out food. Oh yeah, and coffee … lots and lots of coffee. Are you ready for 11th-hour changes to IRS rules or new last-minute tax regulations? Feeling confident calculating the new net investment income tax? Keeping up with these types of changes while staying one step ahead of your inbox can be a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. The AICPA® Tax Section can help.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

In May I tweeted: I dreamt I had no elbows and couldn't drink my coffee. Now, it's freaking true!

Are You Evading Me?

KUOW (94.9 FM Seattle) recently aired an interview with Dean Baker, economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. They were discussing the effect of higher tax rates on the wealthy that will be in effect for those filing tax returns for 2013.

In it Baker says, "There's a lot of very clever accountants who have as their job finding ways to evade taxes."

The interview, How Rising Taxes For Wealthy Americans Will Impact Economic Inequality is just over six minutes long and he makes this statement at 5:31. He uses the word "avoid" at 5:48 but uses "evading" at 6:03. The word avoid was associated with "these people" - presumably, wealthy people. But he refers to accountants both times when he used the words evade and evading.

Perhaps I heard him incorrectly but, just to be clear, these terms are not interchangeable and, while I know a lot of clever accountants, I don't know ANY whose job it is to evade taxes.

Avoiding taxes is legal; evading them is not. When you take a mortgage interest deduction, for example, you are avoiding paying higher taxes. Some might consider this a loophole; others consider it a god-given right. In either case, it's perfectly legal.

People go to jail for a long time for tax evasion. Anyone remember a guy named Al Capone?

The other five and a half minutes of the interview are pretty interesting. Worth a listen, even. But I take exception to the idea that accountants are all about evading taxes. Some, maybe, but let's not put all accountants in the same category, okay?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

All In!


Took him to his first 3D movie yesterday.

Mind. Blowing.

The grin in on his face after the show was . . . no words can describe it.

Then, he started to talk about how Denver was going to win the Super Bowl.

So, I poked him in the other eye.

Actually, no. I wouldn't do that to my little brother. But, I'll tell you what I would do. Yesterday we changed out all the exterior flood lights on our house to green and blue. One green light shone outside the guest bedroom window. All. Night. Long.

He had no choice but to dream of a Seahawks victory.

And, I got him this:

Buy it here.

It's hard not to get swept up in the Seahawks frenzy. In fact, he came up with this: When Hauschka kicks the winning field goal next week, my little brother's going to yell

Hauschka like them apples?!

Quick! Contact the Washington State Apple Commission. . . .

Friday, January 24, 2014

Good looking!

My brother saw me for the first time in thirty-seven years.

You know how they say, "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye"? Well, they're talking about my brother. He's that guy. The guy whose eye got poked out.

He was ten and his eye didn't exactly get poked out but it did get poked and he became legally blind in that eye as a result. He had three surgeries that year none of which could save his vision but which did save his eye.

The technology didn't exist four decades ago to repair his vision so he went through the remainder of his childhood, adolescence, and into middle age without the advantage of depth perception or even peripheral vision on his left side.

A baseball career was definitely out of the question.

But things changed. Surgical technologies advanced and he got a job with good healthcare coverage. It took thirty-seven years but he was finally in a position to get his vision back.

It turns out the surgeons did more than save his eye all those years ago. When they removed the lens in his left eye, they did so in such a way that left his eye in the best shape possible to receive a new lens nearly four decades later without much restorative work. The surgery went better than expected and he could see - for the first time in thirty-seven years - the very next day.

The last time he saw me in 3D, I was 13. It's pretty cool to finally be seen by my little brother. Really, really cool.

"It's nice to see you," has been the understatement of the day.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My elbow patches are made out of ice. They're not stitched to my sweater. Instead, they're held in place with rubber bands.

I would make a funny looking professor with ice bags dangling from my elbows. Actually, I make a funny looking anything with ice bags dangling from my elbows.

Progress has been slow.

Just got a trackball mouse. We'll see if that helps.


I just noticed that Krispy Kreme has a drive through window. Do we really need this? I mean if you're going to get in your car to drive somewhere to get a' donut, shouldn't you have to at least get out of your car and walk to the counter?

I mean, how lazy can a person get? Makes sense, though. You don't have to get out of your car to do much of anything anymore: bank, dine, shop, watch a movie, and pick up your prescription. You can even wash your car without getting out of your car.

I don't know. If you can't spell crispy and creme without using Ks, you might as well drive through. No need to tax yourself. Just saying.

Meanwhile, Burgerville is becoming my favorite fast food restaurant.
The chain uses 100% wind power for all of its restaurants and headquarters, and is the largest chain in America to do so.
Yes, they have drive through windows. But they also have food.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Stepford Redux

. . . only this time all the residents are in the Witness Protection Program. The Feds-on-Furlough decide it would be more cost effective to put all protected witnesses in the same town. In the same subdivision. On the same street. It's easier than doing the research with each case and you can use the same moving company, which has been previously vetted, over and over.

Why not? Their identities are a secret. So here is a suburban town full of rebranded individuals, all pretending to be someone else. Then, one day, a codefendant moves in to the three-bedroom rambler on the corner. And Mr. Smith is recognized.

Of course, they're all named Mr. Smith.

Maybe that's the name of the show.

You can send my next million dollars to . . .

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Talk About Special!

But throwing a perfect, tight spiral with the velocity of an All-Pro quarterback while bent over with your head between your legs is not something just anyone can do. It has to get seven yards on a field goal and 14 yards on a punt in fractions of a second. . . .
As long as he's on the money from between his legs, he can do what he wants. | Seahawks depth chart: Long snapper Clint Gresham is an ultra-specialist
 Did I mention he plays cornhole? I wonder if that's how he tosses the bag.

H/T: slb

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014


I have tennis elbow. In both elbows. With chronic inflammation.

The last time I played tennis was probably twenty years ago. But you don’t need to fire a gun to get trigger finger so I guess you don’t need to play tennis to get tennis elbow. They’ve been bothering me since September but I figured, like most things, it would just go away. I guess “it’ll just go away” applies less and less as one gets older. Something to remember.

It’s treatable but I was advised I needed to be diligent in my treatment because tennis elbow can last a long time. So, I’m on a regiment of 1200 mg ibuprofen daily, icing my elbows morning and night, a series of exercises, and I’m wearing velcro straps on each forearm just below my elbow joints. Coincidentally, I happened to get a new keyboard yesterday which allows me to rest my wrists slightly above my hands when typing. Just the straps and the keyboard were enough to make a difference. 

The ice and ibuprofen treatment lasts for five days. Today is day three. I'm supposed to do the exercises and wear the elbow straps for four to six weeks. If that doesn't do it, I'll get referred to physical therapy and if you've ever been to physical therapy, you know you don't want to go back. 

I'm being very diligent. The last time I went to physical therapy was for my back and while the pain they were trying to treat was far more intense, I left there on more than one occasion in tears and I'm not interested in doing that again.

If that's not bad enough, cortisone shots would be the next-in-line therapy with surgery being the ultimate remedy.

That's just from not playing tennis. Imagine if I had!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

My Boys . . .

Thirty-five percent of the Seahawks’ plays are on special teams . . . 
The News Tribune: Seahawks getting a kick on special teams

Read more here:

I love the Seahawks Special Teams

So does the NY Times.

Seahawks’ Punt Team Is Flashy With Play, Not Name

So should you.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

February Looming

The next holiday is on it's way: Super Bowl XLVIII. I was in the local Fred Meyer which is one of those all-in-one stores. It has a gardening department, furniture and housewares, tools, clothes, jewelry, a pharmacy, a daycare, and a bank. Oh, and food.

It has two major entrances. Inside one, furniture was prominantly arranged to look like a living room with overstuffed leather couches and recliners positioned in front of a giant TV.  Popcorn poppers, crock pots, Tabasco sauce, and a variety of beers were scattered here and there with SALE signs. (That's where I'm going to watch the big game, I think. Buy a back a chips and watch the game at Fred Meyer.)

The jewelry store is located just inside the other entrance to the store.  I suspect it is not a coincidence that Valentine's Day falls on the heels of the Super Bowl. All the pretty shiny things were surrounded in lacy red hearts promising love (or certain sex) with every purchase, even if you were an ass the weekend before.

Is this evidence that the two events are diametrically opposed? Or, that one is cause for the other?

In either case, you need to be ready because if you're not there can be dire consequences. Get your baubles and don't forget your shirt.

Better late than never will not work in this case.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Look Familiar?

It should because it looks just like my other coffee machine. But this one only cost me $75 on Craigslist. Oh, baby! 
I've been drinking bad coffee from a Mr. Coffee espresso maker for about a year. Yes, that's lunacy but I didn't want to pay a permanent price for a temporary situation. But enough was enough so I happened to browse for espresso makers and found the love of my life. Okay, second love of my life. (Okay, third.) I was giddy with excitement and threw all caution to the wind by responding to the ad with my name, email address, phone number, full price offer, assurance I could pay in cash and would pick it up immediately. (Do not attempt at home.)

The deal was struck (duh!) and we made arrangements to meet at a Starbucks (again, duh!) in Portland. Since we were going, I parlayed it into a dinner reservations with Hubby. (We ate at ¡Oba! which I can only describe as a flavor riot. I highly recommend it if you're in the area and are not a vegetarian, vegan, gluten free reindeer.)

I was so excited I could hardly stand it. I showered, shaved, and curled my hair. I was more exited to get my new coffee maker than I was for my dinner date. I nervously paced until it was time to go.

The last time I bought one of these (exact same model), it was about 10 years ago, if I had to guess. I don't remember how much I paid for it but it seemed like a lot of money at the time. ($300?) I figured I would make it back in about a year by making my lattes at home. I got my money's worth.

This time I figure it'll take me about a month. (Well, two since I'm here only half the time.)

And, this morning, I made my first cup of coffee from it. And it was so good, I had two.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Have you seen Dogville yet?

It's long but it's good. When it was over, one of us said "wow" and the other one said "terrible." As in, terribly wow.  About it, I jotted before I went to bed:

beautifully directed, artfully performed, artistic and disturbing - especially the credits

Pretty much sums it up.

The Politics of Daylight Saving Time

A little something I came across in yesterday's research:

In the mid-1980s, Clorox (parent of Kingsford Charcoal) and 7-Eleven provided the primary funding for the Daylight Saving Time Coalition behind the 1987 extension to US DST, and both Idaho senators voted for it based on the premise that during DST fast-food restaurants sell more French fries, which are made from Idaho potatoes. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Right on the heels of HalloThanksMas, too!

January 1…

…is really the worst possible day to start a new year on. 
I agree. What's the point of starting the year (or anything, for that matter) cold and in the dark (not to mention hung over), and facing the IRS? (Not that the the IRS is going to be interested until February, but that's a different story.)

June 1 would be good because nothing's going on then. Days are warm and long, evenings are cool, and there's no hubbub. Maybe the New Year should coincide with Memorial Day because what better time to remember all the things that have happened in the previous nine months.

Face it, the other three months don't amount to much, celebration-wise.  The nation's birthday bash is in July surrounded by nothing other than good weather, if you're lucky - no competing holidays. Maybe that's intentional. Plan all the celebrating for the dark months so we won't all go moping around, and spotlight Independence Day by giving it its own season - summer.

Before you know it, summer is over and we have Labor Day - as in, get ready for the long haul, fellas, because we've got a lot of work to do! We ramp up slowly before the holiday season (let's just call it the holiday year, shall we?) starts to skid out of control.

October had two holidays: Columbus Day and Halloween. November had two more - Veterans Day and Thanksgiving - unless you want to count Election Day (when it occurs) and Daylight Saving, which should be holidays. December only had one, although it was a doozy followed one week later by New Years - which if Congress approves my plan will be moved to June 1 and we'll all get a much needed break to join a gym or take a nap next year. Whichever suits your preference.

And now we're into Tax Season which isn't a holiday and shouldn't be a season either. What's the point of making nearly 146 million people file returns all on the same day? Wouldn't it be better if we did it like we queue up for voting? According to the spelling of our last names. We don't all queue up in the same line for groceries, do we? Or toll booths? On the same day, no less. We figure out a system and we fan out.

It's not like we don't have other things to do. In January, there's Martin Luther King Day. February has two more holidays (Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays) but I don't get those days off work so are they really holidays? Plus, there's Valentine's Day which gets way more attention than the actual holidays but still remains a non-holiday.

In March we have St. Patrick's Day and another Daylight Saving Day. Where is all this daylight we're saving, by the way? Is there a vault somewhere? (Is it in Hawaii??) Should one day be called Daylight Saving and the other one be called Daylight Spending? Who's in charge? (Oh wait, that was Congress. Makes sense now.)

March also requires corporations to file tax returns. Buzz kill!

April 2014 is insane! It starts with has April Fools Day (which doesn't appear on my calendar but I thought it worth mentioning since some people put a lot of creative effort into this day) and ends with Tax Day. Oh, I wish that were true because it's so beautifully ironic. Good Friday, Easter, and Earth Day fall after April 15th (Earth Day seems out of place nestled amongst religious holidays, doesn't it?), Palm Sunday is before April 15th, and Passover actually begins on April 15th.

In some places, April is also host to Patriot's Day which is not to be confused with Patriot Day. (Not Congress, this time. Massachusetts. Although, to be fair, Massachusetts got there first.)

Things start to wind down in May. We start with a party on the fifth (Cinco de Mayo) and we celebrate Mothers Day. Finally, there's Memorial Day - as in, where did the year go, I don't remember!

Let us not forget our Fathers in June (after the new year,  revised). But let's face it. They don't get nearly the play that the moms do. In fact, it doesn't even appear on my calendar! Flag Day does. Go figure. (Check your calendar, then go write an angry letter to Whoever's In Charge.)

The Fourth of July would be a good start to the year, with the celestial candles and all, being, as it is, in the middle of a holiday void. (Who really considers Flag Day a holiday?)

All I know is January 1 isn't the beginning. It's the freaking middle.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Into The Future

Last night, I received a message from the future. It was: "Greetings from 2014. All good so far. " What a relief.

I hope the trend continues. I expect it will because the message originated from the Oracle who is generally trustworthy. Although, if you ask him "What's for dinner?" he will invariably respond with "Chili dogs." I happen to love chili dogs so I don't find this to be a problem. However, if I'm in the mood for something else, I will find a different source for menu planning.

Yesterday's post was intended to be a wrap up of 2013 and a snarky comment on "news" that is presented as either a list or a slide show. Or, as is more often the case, both. I can do without either and especially both. Although there are a couple of lists I've been referring to lately which are found in IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes since I can otherwise find nothing of interest to watch.

I tried to figure out some HTML code to present my 2013 Wrap Up in a slideshow format when I became distracted and ended up posting what you saw here yesterday. The distraction was, "What should we do tonight on the last day of the year?"

This, at 5 pm.

We already had dinner reservations at a nice, nearby restaurant. But wouldn't going to Portland be more fun?, we suddenly asked ourselves. So, on a bit of a lark, we bid on a hotel room on and found ourselves with a reservation at the Nines. We grabbed our coats, hats, and toothbrushes and headed for the door, canceling our earlier dinner reservation as we drove across the river.

I was worried we were going to get downtown only to find that we'd have to eat at McDonalds because we wouldn't get last minute dinner reservations on New Year's Eve. We were checked into the hotel by 6 pm and headed directly to their restaurant, Urban Farmer, whereupon we were informed they had a table available at 6:30.

Perfect! After a sumptuous meal, we found the rooftop bar which was warmed with outdoor heaters. We watched young couples take selfies against the night sky, sharply dressed and oh, so young. They were giddy with the ending of one year and the beginning another, full of hopeful anticipation. We didn't want to spoil their fun.

Christmas tree in Pioneer Square

Looking towards the Willamette River
By midnight, we were in our room watching TV and counting down until the ball dropped in Times Square.

We had a nice breakfast this morning and did a little shopping downtown before coming home to get some house chores done. Chores aside, I'd agree with the Oracle. So far 2014 is shaping up pretty well.

But now it's time to make some dinner. Tuna melts tonight. But maybe chili dogs tomorrow.