Monthly Archives: February 2009

Security Breach!

(click to enlarge)
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‘Cause I’m the Tax Man

When I went to bed last night, my checking account had a balance $2.10. This morning when I woke up, it was $2,921.13.

It’s the highest my balance has been in recent memory (maybe ever), thanks to pay day, a 34-cent bank error in my favor and my 2009 IRS refund.

I enjoy tax season. I’ve never been a math wiz, but I feel smart figuring my own taxes and I enjoy receiving large refunds. (Yes, I’m aware that refunds are for idiots. Smart people with good financial sense figure out exactly how much they have to pay in so their tax balance come April 15 is $0. If you’re really smart you don’t pay any taxes out of your paycheck, keeping it all and socking the money you will eventually pay into a high-yield money market account. To pay in extra just so you get a four-figure surprise every Spring is simply giving Uncle Sam a zero interest loan. You dumb peon.) To that I offer this argument: Shut up. Some of know the levels of discipline we’re capable of, and it’s a whole lot easier for me to do the right thing with a large amount of money than it is for me to do the right thing with a small amount 24 times a year.

So what are the right things? Well, last year I financed a road trip to Syracuse and dropped $500 on a stupid-yet-insanely-loud-and-fun toy. OK, so those aren’t really smart things, but I had fun so again my retort is shut up, Poindexter. But this year I’m actually being semi-responsible. I brought my “emergency fund” up to snuff, wrote a check to my church to help send a group of college students to El Salvador for a mission trip cut my Sallie Mae balance in half with one fell swoop. Sure, my student loan balance was never that high, but it feels good make a dent.

Once I tack on my state refund and continue making regular monthly payments, I’ll have it paid off by my birthday. Roll that extra money into my monthly payment for loan from the MBCU upstairs, and the snowball will have me debt-free (except for the house) by this time next year.

Huzzah! Now I just need to start thinking about how I can celebrating by blowing my 2010 tax refund.

Awesome

Nothing says “I don’t agree with the stimulus/bailout” like a black-and-white bumper sticker. Touche Tennessee Republicans. Touche.

How Dumb Can You Get? Oh Wait, They’re in California

OK This isn’t Funny. Seriously, Who Rigged my Results?


From the files of Everyone Intelligent Seems to Hate it But I Enjoy it Anyway, I present Google Brian. I’m not sure where/why/how this meme flowered into being, it’s at least twice as good as the iTunes shuffle thing but still not quite up to the level of 25 Things. Just Google “[your first name] needs” and see what “you” well, need.

Apparently, the aggregate wisdom of the Internet believes that I need the following:

  • Brian needs to work out
  • Brian needs a new Mac
  • Brian needs a new job
  • Brian needs your vote
  • Brian needs food, badly
  • Brian needs a theme song
  • Brian needs a new ride, son
  • Brian needs the security of a family
  • Brian needs a break from marketing
  • Brian needs a lesson in humility

Obama did WHAT? Oh it is ON now.

Via the London Telegraph
By Tim Shipman in Washington

A bust of the former prime minister once voted the greatest Briton in history, which was loaned to George W Bush from the Government’s art collection after the September 11 attacks, has now been formally handed back.

The bronze by Sir Jacob Epstein, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds if it were ever sold on the open market, enjoyed pride of place in the Oval Office during President Bush’s tenure.

But when British officials offered to let Mr Obama to hang onto the bust for a further four years, the White House said: “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Diplomats were at first reluctant to discuss the whereabouts of the Churchill bronze, after its ejection from the seat of American power. But the British Embassy in Washington has now confirmed that it sits in the palatial residence of ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald, just down the road from Vice President Joe Biden’s official residence. It is not clear whether the ambassador plans to keep it in Washington or send it back to London.

American politicians have made quoting Churchill, whose mother was American, something of an art form, but not Mr Obama, who prefers to cite the words and works of his hero Abraham Lincoln. Indeed a bust of Mr Lincoln now sits in the Oval Office where Epstein’s Churchill once ruled the roost.

Churchill has less happy connotations for Mr Obama than those American politicians who celebrate his wartime leadership. It was during Churchill’s second premiership that Britain suppressed Kenya’s Mau Mau rebellion. Among Kenyans allegedly tortured by the colonial regime included one Hussein Onyango Obama, the President’s grandfather.

The rejection of the bust has left some British officials nervously reading the runes to see how much influence the UK can wield with the new regime in Washington.

Now it is likely that Gordon Brown will offer a alternative symbol of Anglo-American fealty when he visits Washington to meet Mr Obama for the first time since he became President. Diplomats are still working to finalise a date for the visit which is expected in the final week of this month or early in March.

One suggestion, given Mr Obama’s interest in the Lincoln era, is that Mr Brown should offer an artefact relating to the career of John Bright, the 19th Century MP and political reformer who became the most prominent British supporter of Lincoln’s Union forces during the American Civil War.

A British Embassy spokesman said: “The bust of Sir Winston Churchill by Sir Jacob Epstein was uniquely lent to a foreign head of state, President George W Bush, from the Government Art Collection in the wake of 9/11 as a signal of the strong transatlantic relationship.

“It was lent for the first term of office of President Bush. When the President was elected for his second and final term, the loan was extended until January 2009.

“The new President has decided not to continue this loan and the bust has now been returned. It is on display at the Ambassador’s Residence.”

Mascot FAIL

I have a long-standing reputation for embracing all manner of crazy, goofy sports mascots. Philly Phanatic? Love ‘im. The Phoenix Suns’ Gorilla? Gorill-awesome. When I was in elementary school, I wanted to grow up to be L’il Red. But as much as I love suiting up and acting like an idiot in front of thousands of screaming fans, I draw the line at the bizarre Grizzly Adams/Bison hybrid that is the new mascot of the OKC Thunder, Rumble.

I guess I should cut them some slack. It is hard to come up with an anthropomorphic and/or hairy representation of “thunder” and I and you can never go wrong with bison. But does his “mane” have to be so… how would you describe it? Flowing? It makes me think of Native American hippie. A Native American hippie who wants to dunk on me, beat the drums and bust a move with the Thunder Girls. Furry arms and legs are one thing, but actual hair like that on a mascot is just weird. Even Chewbacca would be freaked out by this guy. You can’t see it from the picture above, but he has a ridiculous long tail that swings almost to his knees. You can see it on in the video below.

That’s all well and good, Brian, but what about Rumble’s back story? Once we get to know the guy, we might learn to love him. What makes him tick? Has he ever been to the Arbuckles? Would he heed Gary England’s warnings and seek shelter in a storm (hint: no)? The answers and so so much more are all there in Rumble’s Origin story. Oh, it’s a titillating tale full of drama, danger and intrigue, I assure you. I smell a movie here, people. Somebody get me Jerry Bruckheimer.

From Rumble‘s official website:

For hundreds of years the tale has been told around Native American campfires. A great heard of American Bison was lost in the Arbuckle Mountains during a ferocious storm – the kind only Oklahoma can produce.

Hail fell and tornadoes spun all around the herd as they stampeded, trying to find their way down to the safety of the plains.

One lone bison stayed behind as he helped each of his friends escape down a treacherous ravine… once all of his friends were safe he began his descent, only to find his way blocked by fallen boulders.

Lost, he climbed to the tallest peak; left to face the storm alone and searching for a way down the mountain, he was struck by a bolt of lightning.

The bolt did not destroy him, but, by the power of the god of thunder, changed him. Suddenly, he walked on two legs like a man. He possessed amazing strength and agility – he could jump higher, run faster, think more clearly than any beast.

But because he was longer just a bison – and yet not a man – he was alone.

With many sighting, the legend grew through the years, of a mighty bison, with remarkable powers, roaming the hills alone.

Not until a group of men who carried similar powers came to Oklahoma City did he find somewhere he belonged. These men also possessed the power to jump higher, run faster, and perform acrobatic dunks more spectacular than anyone in the land. They too carried the road of Thunder every time they took to the court.

So he joined their team. And the new legend of Rumble was born.

Man, and I thought I was comma happy. I’d love to see the first draft of that story.

Oh, and be sure you add Rumble’s Blog to your list of daily must-reads!