Garbage in, garbage out.

I love TurboTax. How do I love TurboTax? Many, many ways. Don’t try to outsmart it, let it do its job, and oh what an easy time of tax season you’ll have.

Unless, like me, you input the wrong numbers from the wrong column on the right form, and suddenly find yourself confronting a Schedule D full of huge capital losses that you know were anything but. And so you have to redo everything. And then when you redo everything, you forget to enter your mortgage interest, not an insignificant amount. Why? Because you clicked past the question too fast, that’s why. You didn’t let TurboTax do its job.

Still, though: A refund! Happy, happy day in this happy, happy year of living deductively. And I didn’t even cheat one little bit. I never cheat on my taxes, which only proves what a chump I am. I don’t even stretch the truth. Ask yourself: What will I save? A few hundred dollars? And how much would you pay to avoid an audit? A few hundred dollars? The amounts always balance.

And so another weekend passes, after which I will have to burn rubber to get my screenplay and creative-writing pages done by their Monday/Tuesday due dates. It seems that, for a year that’s advertised as deadline-free, there are an awful lot of deadlines in my life.

So, how about some linkage, then?

The NYT had some good reads today. Does anyone need another reason to disdain Fox News?

At 5:30 p.m. last Monday, Shepard Smith, the 40-year-old host of Fox News Channel’s “Fox Report,” was hunched over his computer in the company’s bustling Midtown headquarters, poring over the script for his evening broadcast, and searching for verbs. Mr. Smith, let it be known, does not like verbs. Whenever he finds one, he crinkles his brow in disgust like a man who has discovered a dribble of food on his tie. He taps furiously at his keyboard, moves the cursor to the offending word and deletes it, or else adds “ing,” turning the verb into a participle and his script into the strange shorthand that passes for English these days on cable news:

“ celebrating a birthday! The Internet company 10 years old.”

“Texas! A school bus and two other vehicles colliding in Dallas. The bus rolling over on its side.”

“Outrage in the Middle East! A vow of revenge after an assassination and reportedly threatening the United States. Tonight � how real the threat?”

News for those with no attention span, right here.

Also, if you have a little longer attention span, you’ll enjoy the magazine cover story, Coach Fitz’ management theory, about that disappearing breed — the high-school coach who cares more about shaping young men’s characters than about winning. (And why is he disappearing? Why else? Parents.)

And since we’ve been discussing government meetings here of late, a sad story about one of Fort Wayne’s hardy perennials, Steve Loeschner. He’s the local oddball inevitably labeled “community activist” for his unfailing attendance at government meetings and willingness to write many letters to the editor about the doings there. I had lunch with him once. He was, well, strange — a quintessential nerd, no way around that. A friend of mine imagined his house, where he lived with his mother well into his middle age: “I’m seeing a card table, a bare light bulb, a stack of photocopied documents, and Steve bent over his manual typewriter, pounding the keys furiously.” I saw much the same thing, but how could you not like him? He held government accountable. If he sometimes picked the wrong battles — the open-container law bugged the hell out of him, and I’d bet a paycheck he didn’t drink — well, it’s better than not caring at all. He was helpful to young reporters at meetings, and that’s a never-ending job in Fort Wayne media.

Still, it was sad to hear he’d taken his own life earlier this month. Predictably, he mailed a letter to the coroner ahead of time, just to help an elected official do his job, I’d bet.

He didn’t take down his website first. The headstone of the digital age.

And can’t forget the PowerPoint Pledge of Allegiance.

Oh, and finally, an update on Jack Kelley. God bless Christianity Today for being so durn Christian. I look at the guy and say “lying liar,” they say “lying liar who might be delusional.” Faith! Hope! Charity! Gotta love that!

Posted at 5:10 pm in Uncategorized |

One response to “Garbage in, garbage out.”

  1. Michael G. said on March 29, 2004 at 11:45 am

    Speaking of idiots and news did you see that NPR canned Bob Edwards last week? They want to move in another direction. Everybody should send them a nastygram.

    161 chars