Friday, March 19, 2010

Moonlighting

Excuse tardiness - have been devoting my free time to the development of another blog entirely in a vain attempt to put my photography on a more professional footing. To save you all the effort of actually following it, simply glance to your right to see a cute and clickable array of latest thumbnails from said site. Marvellous.

Running a small business, especially one of borderline profitability, is just one of the many ways to reduce one's tax burden, a matter brought to mind recently by virtue of the fact that here in the US it's tax season. The fact that everyone in the US (and for that matter every American, irrespective of domicile) is expected to file a tax return every year, by April 15th, on pain of rendition to Algeria, is enough to make one feel quite nostalgic for PAYE.

This year, for the first time, I elected to do this myself rather than pay our nice accountant lady the usual $350. Of course, when I say I did it myself, I really mean that I used software costing $60. No-one can actually do it themselves. It's far too complicated. It's complicated for all sorts of reasons, but largely due to a Byzantine system of "deductions," or line-items you can write-off against your taxable income. It's a bureaucratic nightmare that survives because most people live under the delusion that they are somehow playing the system to their advantage. In some small way, the act of writing off $50 for the set of old shirts you donated to the Salvation Army is socking it to The Man. Irrespective of the fact that if there wasn't such a system they could probably lower the tax rate by several percentage points.

Hey, it's not just me - everyone whines about taxes here; it's been an ongoing theme since around 1763, despite the fact that both then and today the individual tax-burden is negligible compared to almost anywhere else.

Of course, you get what you pay for.

Plus whatever you can borrow off the Chinese.


Experiments with water. This pretty much never gets tiring, even when it's running through the ceiling to drip upon the floor below.


Occasionally I get lucky and take a good photograph. Here Ethan's looking up towards a basketball hoop.


The marketing geniuses at Fred Meyer (an Oregon supermarket chain) came up with the brilliant idea of providing a free cookie to any child who happened past their bakery counter. Ethan refuses to shop anywhere else.


Those of you less familiar with American public conveniences than, say, George Michael, may not have experienced this type of hand dryer, which blows cold air at exceptional velocities.


Here's an arty version of a similar thing on a different day.

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