Been There, Done That

commentary on many different thoughts

Month: April, 2013

Springtime in the Rockies


Spring here in the Deep South!

flowers 001


Spring there, in the Rockies! ‘Course their summers beat our summers hollow.



Get a Life!

This morning’s paper (I write this on 15 April) carried a snippet that made my blood boil.

A Colorado jury awarded someone $11.5 million against helmet-manufacturer Riddell for injuries suffered by a teenager in 2008. Riddell was found negligent because they failed to warn the users of the helmets about (get this) the possibility of concussion injury.

Give me a break!!

We wear helmets to prevent or modify concussion injury. Anyone who puts on a helmet knows that there is no guarantee that you will automatically be concussion-free because you are wearing a helmet. The worst concussion injury I’ve ever had to deal with involved my best friend. The very handy, very clever horse she was riding slipped and fell and she whiplashed onto asphalt. The doctor in the ER told me that if she hadn’t been wearing a state-of-the-art helmet, we wouldn’t have needed an ambulance. This was 20 years ago, and she still has residual effects.

A jury award of this size is obscene. Granted, I don’t know the details of the case, (there is more to it – apparently “the teen wasn’t immediately taken to the hospital and now has severe brain injury” – which sounds like this has nothing to do with the helmet, but the coach and administrators who were careless) but just the outline in the paper is enough to set me off. If this had been 1958 or even 1968, maybe, since we didn’t know as much about concussions as we do now. But this case deals with a 2008 injury. Get a life and learn to take responsibility for the consequences of your own actions.

By the way, it’ll be interesting to follow this case and see what happens on appeal.

Tourist Attraction

Early Morning Giza


Reiterated, this site is something that should be on everyone’s bucket list!  The area truly has to be experienced to be believed.

Look Carefully

The Pyramids

Check this out carefully. If you look deep into the background, you can see Cairo right up against the base of the pyramid (from the side you don’t normally see in tourist brochures!).  It’s truly amazing how close the city has spread.  In the 1960s, there was at least a mile of desert between the outskirts of the city and the pyramids!

It’s Really Spring


This is what spring looks like in Austria.

Happy Tax Day!

This day is probably the most loathed day of the year. The lines at the post office go around the block, we moan and groan and complain and curse the Infernal Revenue Service to the ninth circle of Dante’s Inferno.

I took a full semester’s course in Federal Income Taxation in law school. The word “ick” doesn’t begin to describe the course. I knew the professor was speaking English, because I understood the words he was using, but I understood maybe one concept in 50 as they went by. I am not a stupid person, but the only other time I have ever felt so hopelessly lost and confused was in Organic Chemistry in college.

The final exam (the only grade for the 4-hour class) was four hours of sheer torture. Fifty multiple choice questions, and you needed a micrometer caliper to tell the answers apart. By the end of the second hour, I was sweating bullets and had finished two (count ’em, two) questions, and I wasn’t sure those were right. At three hours, it hadn’t gotten much better. At that point, I gave up. I approached every question as “which one shafts the taxpayer worst?” and chose that option. I had no idea what I was doing, but figured that if it screwed the taxpayer, the IRS might look with favor on the answer. Guess what? I was the only one in a class of 60 to get 100% on the exam.

Several years later, I ran into the professor elsewhere and told him the story. He laughed for about 5 minutes.

Since I was really, really confused about tax law, and since I was planning on taking the DC Bar exam, which tests tax law, I figured I’d probably better take another tax course and make sure I understood at least some of this nonsense. By the second session of Corporate Taxation, I was confused again. This time, I told myself that I was grown-up (I’d been out of college for 15 years) that I was paying his salary out of my own pocket, and that his job was to make sure that I learned this material. So I cornered the prof in his office and made him sit there for 45 minutes and go over the material with me until I was sure that I understood the subject at hand. And I did this every class for the whole semester. I think that prof was never so happy as when that particular class ended.

Anyway, out of all of this mess, there were 2 or 3 provisions in the Code that I actually understood – stuff that I used in my day job for the corporation. The folks in the Accounting Department went over the matter with me (thank you, guys! I still owe you). When I actually sat for the Bar exam, the one, single, lone, only, tax question was on one of the corporate provisions that I understood, and I passed.

In closing, on this Tax Day, let me repeat what my Federal Income Taxation prof told our class the very first day. He said that “the IRS doesn’t play by what most of us consider normal rules. They have their own. They can get into stuff and see stuff that we would never expect. And they will find you. He pointed out that Al Capone had been wanted and watched by the FBI for many, many years. They could never get enough on him to jail him for good. Al Capone went to jail for TAX EVASION. Pay your taxes.”

Eventing Season

more PamWith the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event just a couple of weeks away, this photo brought back memories. Enjoy yourself, Pam!  No, this was not at Kentucky, but it’s a big, big jump!

More Munich


While we’re on the subject, Munich was gorgeous.  Weather was not!




Some cities have cows (Chicago), some horses (Lexington), some pigs (Cincinnati). Munich has lions!  Thanks, Becky!



History Lesson – Sun Boat


This is the Sun Boat from the Cairo Museum.

Sun Boat also Giza

It is huge, approximately 3500 years old, and was discovered in pieces in a trench while excavating for a new hotel.

Sun Boat Giza

It was designed to carry the soul of the pharoah into the West with the sun. It was in pieces because it had been disassembled by the maker – each piece was numbered and there was a guide to posterity for re-assembling the boat. How’s that for foresight!