Tax and Technicalities, by Rocky and Bullwinkle

I’m sure you all enjoyed tax season as much as I did!  Now here’s something I hope you’ll really like.  This post is what starts going through your head when you do your taxes while watching episodes of Rocky and Bullwinkle.  If you don’t know who Rocky and Bullwinkle are, a) this post will make no sense to you, and b) get thee to Hulu!  Also, sorry in advance to all Ke$ha fans.  It’s only a joke!

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image in the public domain

Melodramatic Narration:  When we last saw our hero, the Little Blind Moose-Girl, she was submitting the tax returns prepared for her by Rocky, the Squirrelly Accountant, of Fly-By-Night CPAs–

Rocky:  Hey!  You make it sound like I’m the villain of this blog post!

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  Yeah, we only call him the Squirrelly Accountant because he handles all kinds of nuts.

Rocky:  I thought it was because I help you squirrel away your money!

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  Well, if that’s it, how come you let me pay you in cashews?

Rocky:  Don’t feel bad; most people pay me peanuts.

Melodramatic Narration:  *ahem* As I was saying, when we last saw our hero, she had just submitted her taxes.  Little did she know, as she went back to her daily routine of rescuing small puppies and giving them to curly-haired orphans, she was about to become a pawn in the latest scheme of that villainous secret enemy agent, Grigory Gudenov, and his new partner, Ke$ha Fatale.

Gudenov:  So, Ke$ha, you are really secret agent, like me.  I should have guessed.  Are you related to legendary Natasha Fatale, who worked with my uncle Boris?

Ke$ha:  Yes, she is my sire–I mean, mother.  She is my mother.  But wasn’t your uncle’s last name Badenov?

GudenovYes; he is my mother’s brother.  My mother married into Gudenov family of government workers and changed last name, so her brother my uncle is not Gudenov.

Ke$ha:  You can say that again, dahling!  Now, what are Fearless Leader’s orders for us?

Gudenov:  Have you forgotten already?

Ke$ha:  No, but the blog readers have.

Gudenov:  We have crucial role in Fearless Leader’s greatest scheme yet.  After decades of failing to take over country by force, he has finally come up with foolproof plan:  he will get American people to elect him president!

Ke$ha:  But Grigory, the American people will never elect Fearless Leader as president.  He’s been trying to undermine their country his entire life!

Gudenov:  Ah, but you see, Ke$ha, he will be running as Tea Party candidate.  Is perfect disguise!

Ke$ha:  Yes, what a brilliant plan!  Ah, but wait:  the President has to be a natural-born American citizen, does he not?

Gudenov:  Of course!  Fearless Leader always carries gun, blames failure on underlings, and reacts with violence when authority is questioned.  What could be more natural-born American than that?  Now, our assignment is to get money for Fearless Leader’s campaign, and I, master no-goodnik that I am, have perfect fiendish plan:  we will pose as IRS agents conducting audits.

Ke$ha:  (gasps) IRS!  Audits!  Oh, no, Grigory, even we cannot be so evil.

Gudenov:  Is for greater good, Ke$ha, is for greater good.  After all, is not like we have to be real IRS agents.

Ke$ha:  That is true, Grigory.  We have to be able to sleep at night.  Now, tell me the rest of the fiendish plan.

Gudenov:  We will pretend to work for IRS.  We will tell people they owe us money and must pay right away or we will take them to gulag–I mean prison.  If anyone asks questions, we will say is part of new executive order.  No one will suspect we are not actual legitimately, and by time real IRS figures out plan, Fearless Leader will already be in office.

Ke$ha:  Now I understand why our hackers stole all those tax returns!  Grigory, how did you think of such a cunning scheme?

Gudenov:  Is all right here in Villain’s Handbook.  See?  Page 415.

Ke$ha:  I can’t read a word of that.

Gudenov:  Of course not–is written in Tax Code!

Melodramatic Narration:  Meanwhile, back at the offices of Rocky the Squirrelly Accountant, our heroes are facing what looks like certain doom.

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  I can’t understand why I’m being audited.  I submitted copies of all the travel receipts.

Rocky:  I don’t know, Little Blind Moose-Girl, maybe the IRS isn’t sure what a “Professional Johnny Depp Whereabouts and Activities Blogger” is.

Little Blind Moose-GirlBut I included the transcript from the stalking trial!

Rocky:  Well, it says here that you owe them $86,753.09 and that if you don’t pay it right away, they’re going to take you to prison.

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  Prison!  It says that?

Rocky:  Yes, see there?  Right after the part where the word “gulag” is scratched out.

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  Can they really do that?

Rocky:  It says in the letter that this is part of a new executive order, so I guess they can.

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  Wow.  I must have missed that episode of “Schoolhouse Rock.”  I always knew not watching more television would come back to haunt me.

Rocky:  Oh, look, the auditor’s here.  Maybe he’ll have some ideas.

(enter Grigory Gudenov, dressed in non-specific law enforcement uniform and sporting a badge, a gun, a truncheon, a crossbow, some ninja throwing stars, an axe, several sticks of dynamite, and a spreadsheet)

Gudenov:  Allow me to introducing myself:  I am Officer Gregory of your IRS Police Department.  I am here to take away your money.  I am sure we can all agree, is better to do this with peacefully, yes?  No one wants to go to gulag–I mean, prison.

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  You’re a police officer?

Rocky:  He must be; look at all those weapons!

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  Well, Officer Gregory, your letter really surprised me.  I still don’t understand how I can owe that much in taxes.  I mean, that’s practically a year’s supply of Red Bull!

Gudenov:  Perhaps you would like to call my supervisor, just to be sure all is on up-and-up.  She can answer any questions you have.  Her number is on letter we send you.

Rocky:  (looking at letter)  Oh, yes, here it is.  Let me just give her a call.  (Dials number)

Ke$ha:  (on phone)  Hello, Agent Fatale speaking.

Rocky:  Hello, Agent Fatal, this is Rocky the Squirrelly Accountant.  I’m here with Officer Gregory, and I’m just calling to confirm that the Little Blind Moose-Girl owes $86,753.09 in taxes.

Ke$ha:  (still on phone) It’s Fatale, and yes, Mr. Squirrel, that is correct.  Moose-Girl must pay immediately or I am afraid Officer Gregory will have to take her to the gulag–I mean, prison.

Gudenov:  There, you see?  All is legitimately and above-the-board.  As for payment, I can take cash, check, credit card, bitcoin, gold, jewelry, authenticated antiques, or healthy organs.  I cannot take stocks or young children–too much risky for return on investment.  You are understand, I am surely.

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  But I don’t have enough of any of those things to pay this bill.  Does that mean I have to go to the gulag–I mean, prison?

Gudenov:  Oh, that is unhappy to hear.  It makes me crying sad, this part of my job, to ruining lives of good people like Moose-Girl.  Are you sure you cannot pay?  Perhaps you apply for credit card?

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  No, I guess I’d better just go with you.  Do you have a gulag–I mean, prison–that can accommodate my disability?

Ke$ha: (still on phone) I beg your pardon?

Gudenov:  There is disability with Moose-Girl?

Rocky:  That’s right, if you’re going to take the Little Blind Moose-Girl away, your gulag–I mean, prison–must by law provide suitable accommodations for inmates with disabilities.  I learned all about it at a presentation the ACLU gave at lunch one day.  That won’t be a problem, will it?

Gudenov:  Oh, no, no, of course not, we love ACLU, is all perfect fine–oh, look, is miscalculation.  Moose-Girl does not owe taxes and there will be no need for ACLU to asking about disability person in gulag–I mean, prison.  Allow me to seeing myself out.  Have nice day!  (runs out, followed by dust cloud and sound of slamming door)

Rocky:  Well, that’s good news!  It’s nice to see that our IRS employees are so honest and conscientious.  Will you thank Officer Gregory for us, Agent Fatal?  Agent Fatal, hello?  I guess she hung up.

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  I didn’t know you’d been to a presentation by the ACLU.  Are you a member?

Rocky:  Oh, yeah.  I don’t know what I’d do without the Accounting Calculations Looker Uppers.  You know, I’d forgotten all about your disability, Little Blind Moose-Girl.  I wonder what accommodations the gulag–I mean, prison–would have to make for your blindness?

Little Blind Moose-Girl:  Who said anything about blindness?  I was talking about my antlers!

Melodramatic Narrator:  Have our heroes escaped the fiendish pseudo-audit?  Will our villains return to take the Little Blind Moose-Girl to the gulag–I mean, prison??  Or will our heroes have to face the even-more-fiendish ordeal of an actual IRS audit???  Stay tuned for our next episode, The Price of Lateness, or:  It’s High Time!

(Ke$ha Fatale:)

The Tweet Life

In my continuing quest for adventures that accommodate a screen reader (for those who didn’t catch the name of this blog, the blog subtitle, my username, or my avatar, I can’t see very well), I’ve recently begun to be active on Twitter.  I’m still learning my way around while pondering the revolving questions of why someone stopped following me and also why anyone follows me in the first place–hey, wait, don’t get mad and un-follow me!  I like it!  I just don’t understand it.  I also don’t understand Ozzy Osbourne, but I still like Black Sabbath.

Moving on, before I drive away any more followers:  I really just wanted to post some Before and After pictures of my burgeoning Twitter addiction, sort of like those pictures of healthy vs. diseased lungs that people show you to make you stop smoking, or those “this is your brain on drugs” commercials.  I anticipate that this blog post will have a similar success rate. So, kids, before you pick up that smart phone (the first tweet’s always free), remember my tale of woe.  Before I let Twitter take control, this was my life:

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Now, this is my life on Twitter:

exploding twitter

Image by Charlie Cottrell, used by permission.  (c) 2016, all rights reserved

That last image is specifically of me from when I accidentally tweeted a celebrity and I couldn’t understand why I suddenly had fifty notifications that people I’d never met had liked tweets essentially calling me an idiot.  My friend Chuck drew it to cheer me up, and I paid him back with that post about clowns (a high price, but Twitter habits aren’t cheap).

Please, learn from my example.  I know you think you’ve got it under control–a few tweets a day, with friends, just for fun; you can stop any time you like.  But it doesn’t take long before you’re waking up in the middle of the night jonesing to check your Twitter feed; then you start losing followers and can’t remember how.  After that it’s just a matter of time before you’re recklessly retweeting memes and wondering why your mother blocked your account (hint:  it may have something to do with all the memes).

Actually, in all seriousness, it’s turning out to be a lot of fun, but I do advise tweeting responsibly.  When it’s 3 a.m. and you’ve had a few drinks, it’s going to seem like a good idea to tweet your ex-BF’s new girlfriend “just to warn her.”  It’s not.  Trust me on this, for I am now an expert on all things Twitter (I am not an expert on all things Twitter).  Also, stop tweet-stalking your ex-BF.  That’s just rude, and I’m definitely an expert on being rude!

Quiz! Cryptic Text Messages and Possible Responses

AppleVsMicrosoftSpyware

Image from http://soft9000.com, licensed by Creative Commons CC BY 3.0

Ever gotten one of those cryptic, completely context-free text messages that you can’t figure out for the life of you?   I’ve gotten what seems like more than my share, and it’s sometimes almost like a spy sign/countersign kind of thing–you know, one person says a secret phrase like “the rain falls sideways in Greenland,” and then you have to know the pre-arranged answer, like “but only in the morning” and then the first person knows you’re his contact.  Sadly, my life isn’t that cool, but it did give me an idea for another quiz:  I’ll give you some cryptic text messages (some of which are real and some of which I made up), and you choose from the possible responses and/or countersigns.  Whoever gives all the correct responses gets the secret plans.  Bonus points for the people who identify the Shadow reference!  Here we go:

A.  Text message:  “The time draws near.”  Possible responses:

  1. The antelope runs in the dark
  2. The chimney sweep draws the flue
  3. The lady doth protest too much
  4. Say what, now?

B.  Text message:  “The fourth time was not a good idea.”  Possible responses:

  1. The stars shine brightest in winter
  2. A footrace with a cobbler is futile
  3. The course of true love never did run smooth
  4. I told you to lay off the tequila!

C.  Text message:  “We went hopping for skittlebits.”  Possible responses:

  1. The kangaroos go hopping at midnight
  2. The sword of a samurai is ever sharp
  3. Neither a borrower nor a lender be
  4. You might want to turn off the autocorrect

D. Text message:  “The treatment has not been effective.”  Possible responses:

  1. The answer lies within
  2. The river must flow to the sea
  3. Thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges
  4. Oh, man, what am I gonna tell my girlfriend?

E.  Text message:  “Call in the lawyers.”  Possible responses:

  1.  Send in the clowns
  2. The sun is shining, but the ice is slippery
  3. Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war
  4. Allow me to remind you of the prenup

So the next time you receive a text message and you can’t figure out what on earth it means, it might be a bad case of autocorrect, it might be your drunk roommate, or it might be the Little Blind Girl waiting for the countersign before she hands you the encrypted files.  Although, really, what would I be doing with encrypted files?  For that matter, why do you want me to give them to you?  Hey, what’s with the men in black suits–wait, no!  Where are you taking me??  It was just a blog post, I swear…

I have a dream (no, not that one)

English: Bathroom Refacing

Image via Wikipedia

I beg your pardon in advance if this is offensive, but I’ve had a really aggravating time of it lately trying to get ready in the morning:

I have a dream that, one day, the bathrooms of this nation will have enough outlets that all hairstyling and skincare electronics can be plugged in at the same time side by side.  I dream that the skincare electronics will not have to be swept aside to make room for the haircare tools, but can each achieve their purposes in harmony and true equality as God and Revlon intended.

I have a dream that the water in every shower will be able to reach temperatures of actual heat, instead of staying bogged down in the merely tepid.  I see it, I have this vision, of steam rising from a thousand bathtubs, washing away the aches of the world.  I dream of real, meaningful water pressure, of light bulbs that last, of hairdryers that don’t short out every four months.

I have a dream that even among the plumbers, with their words of equivocation and denial and their obscene bills for service, even among the plumbers and the electricians and the contractors this vision will shine through, and we will all climb together from the valley of cramped, ill-lit bathrooms up to the mountains of sufficient space and natural light, where the outlets are plentiful and the water pressure never fails, where the drains never clog and the water never suddenly plunges from room temperature to freezing cold without warning.

And when this happens, when we are all able to use our bathrooms without aggravation, then we will all, male and female, parent and child, sister and brother, college roommate and awkward one-night stand, hold hands and sing together, “Clean at last, clean at last!  Thank God Almighty, we are clean at last!”

You like me, you really like me!

I’ve been nominated for the 7×7 award!  Rather than setting out a list of the rules, which can be found here, I just worked them into the post.  As I recall, the last time I was nominated for a blog award, I lamented the fact that I wouldn’t get to walk down the virtual red carpet in my virtual couture.  Well, this time I’m making my own virtual red carpet to strut down!  Major advantage to virtual couture:  you don’t have to starve yourself to fit into it.  Also, no hairspray, and you can wear flats.  So here we go:

To present our next award, we have Jessica Alba and, of course, Johnny Depp!  Catch them in their latest movies, Ms. Alba in I Know I’ve Got More Talent Than This and Mr. Depp in Whatever Tim Burton Is Making This Time.

JA:  Thanks so much.  It’s a pleasure to be able to present this award to the Little Blind Girl.  Well-known for such posts as Why I Like the World Fuzzy, her most beautiful piece, and LBG’s Rules to Live By, her most helpful piece, the Little Blind Girl stumbles through this world bewildered but full of humor about the obstacles she encounters–something that was the subject of her most underrated post, and one of the ones with an audio version, Little Blind Red Riding Hood.

JD:  And of course, there is her most popular piece, Pick Up Lines by Johnny Depp.  Who can forget me fingering a turtleneck and saying, See this material?  It’s boyfriend material.  But seriously, folks, check out her most prideworthy piece, Mad Libs and Whistling Marmosets.  You’ll take something different away from it every time.

JA:  And don’t forget her most surprisingly successful piece, Oh I’m Gonna Hurt Some Feelings, All Right.  Quite a few hurt feelings reports submitted after that one!  But I’m most fond of her most controversial piece, True or False?  I’m still wondering if she has a tattoo!

JD:  You may not know this about LBG, as I like to call her, but she can put on eyeliner entirely by touch, a skill she keeps trying to practice on me.  Kind readers and gentle followers, without further ado, the Little Blind Girl!

(Little Blind Girl walks out, occasionally tripping over wires, steps, and people)

LBG:  Oh, my gosh, what an honor!  I just want to thank Lori Franks from Sunny Side Up for nominating me for this award.  Her blog is such an inspiration to me.  I know I can always turn to her for a smile.  I want to thank my Sainted Mother and my Darling Dad for all the blog lessons in my childhood, and Big Sis for beating up all the mean commenters.  This sort of honor really belongs to more than just me, so I want to nominate these blogs, because they deserve this award just as much as–oh, let’s be honest, more than I do!

http://xeyeti.wordpress.com, for giving me artistic inspiration on tap.  For those of you who remember the Kraken Vacuum, he’s the artist!  New drawings every day from a very talented and funny guy.

http://dazzlemethis.wordpress.com, for going chapter by chapter through the books in the Twilight series to give us all a hilarious warning of what’s in store.  Mega-props for not getting discouraged in the midsection of New Moon, in which Bella is the most pathetic, whiny mess I’ve ever encountered in literature.

http://lifeisabowlofkibble.wordpress.com, for a daily glimpse into a loving, well-grounded, and excellently photographed family life.  She’s the cool Mom you loved to visit when your friends still lived at home.

http://epa82.wordpress.com.  Expectant mother meets snarky philosopher meets super-cool BFF.  You don’t need to be all into pregnancy blogs to enjoy her blogservations.  Hey, did I just coin a word?

http://becomingcliche.wordpress.com, who wrote the niftiest poem-blog about Christmas I’ve ever read.  Actually, it’s the only one I’ve ever read.  And it’s awesome!  Also the funniest reaction to being Freshly Pressed that I’ve come across.  Check it out.

http://rosaleengallagher.wordpress.com, a.k.a. Mixed Gems, for your necessary dose of beauty, fashion, culture, and lifestyle.  You will become more beautiful, more fashionable, and more cultured just by reading her blog, I promise.

http://awkwardeldon.com.  I just love him.  He’s hilarious, sweet, hilarious, awkward, and hilarious.  Reading his blog makes me feel all warm and happy, and occasionally nervous about dogs.

And of course, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!