Stupid things, facts.

How important are facts in fiction? I guess it depends on the reader. Since I moved here I’ve been working my way through the vast canon of Detroit-based crime fiction, with varying levels of satisfaction. Loren Estleman’s Amos Walker series is almost uniformly a pleasure to read, although I’ve learned not to try to solve the mystery as I go along, because he’s going to pull a big rabbit out of his hat in the penultimate chapter, and you might as well just go along for the ride. Elmore Leonard is, of course, sublime from beginning to end. Donald Goines, not so much. Everyone else falls within that spectrum.

I’m currently sampling “Detroit Noir,” one of the Noir series, collections of short stories based in and around specific cities. (Sorry, Hoosiers, “Fort Wayne Noir” is not in the pipeline, although there is a Twin Cities Noir, which I hope features lots of killers in earflap hats.) It’s not bad, but it could have used another layer of editing, the kind that changes “Manoogian Manor” to “Manoogian Mansion” and corrects what was, for me, a total momentum-stopper in the one story set in Grosse Pointe, a line where “the sun dropped behind the Yacht Club.” I tried to figure if there was any point at which two people could sit in a car and watch the sun set behind the landmark Moorish watchtower, and came up with, “Not until the earth reverses its orbit.” The Yacht Club sits on the western edge of Lake St. Clair and enjoys some fabulous sunrises, but for sunsets, you’d have to be out in the water somewhere.

That kind of stuff drives me crazy. In “The Sporting Club,” Thomas McGuane sets his story in 1968 and has two characters go to the dedication of the Mackinac Bridge, which happened a decade previous. I see this stuff all the time. I know many authors aren’t journalists, and I know some ironing of the truth is permissible, but I wish they’d respect certain ironclad truths, including the construction dates of major pieces of infrastructure and the direction of the earth’s travel around the sun.

That is all.

“Detroit Noir” is pretty good, however. I hope there’s another one.

So how was your weekend? Mine went like this: Taxes errands taxes dinner w/JohnC taxes and now, soon, IRA deposits. I hate doing my taxes, but I love TurboTax, the only financial software I use. Every year, it gets better. It now inhales much of my 1099-misc data directly from my bank while I sit there filing my nails. My sole complaint: It keeps a running total of your payment/refund. At one point I owed $14,000, an utterly meaningless figure — I had told it all of my income, and none of my payments — but having a figure like that hovering in the corner makes you want to put off doing your taxes another few days.

I know I pay too much. There are probably dozens of deductions I am entitled to and don’t take. I stay squarely on the right side of the law and probably pay more than Donald Rumsfeld, but there’s no valuing peace of mind. My receipts aren’t creatively embellished. I really do keep a mileage log. If I were audited I would surely spend a few sleepless nights, but at the end it’s entirely possible I’d walk out with a refund. (Not bloody likely, but you never know.) I don’t even hate the IRS, too much. Someone has to be the bad guy.

Early in my career I wrote a story on some tax protesters in Columbus. They were followers of Irwin Schiff, and two of the dumbest telephone installers I’ve ever met. One had a Filipino mail-order bride and the other bragged about how much he wanted a Corvette, so he quit paying taxes and bought one. The latter was en route to federal prison when I left town, the other the subject of keen interest by federal authorities. They both thought they had stumbled across the greatest loophole in the history of tax law — that the income tax is voluntary. P.S. Irwin Schiff is in jail. Wesley Snipes should be.

Not much bloggage today, but a fun one. Find the No. 1 song on the day of your birth. It’s like the rock ‘n’ roll zodiac. Mine was “Jailhouse Rock,” which I consider a good omen. Like being born in the Year of the Dragon. Imagine being born under “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.” That would suck.

Off to the bank to “save for retirement.”

Posted at 10:54 am in Current events, Media |
 

69 responses to “Stupid things, facts.”

  1. Dorothy said on April 14, 2008 at 11:09 am

    My birthday No. 1 song: Tammy, Debbie Reynolds (YUCK!)
    My hubby’s No. 1 song on his birthday, 3 months and 3 weeks before mine: All Shook Up, Elvis. Big improvement over Ms. Reynolds.

    We paid out $2600+ in taxes this year. Gulp. Always seems to happen when we relocate. Well next year should be better, if we have a house by the end of this year.

  2. brian stouder said on April 14, 2008 at 11:15 am

    pssst – Nance, I think “Jailhouse Rock” might not be a good omen, as you finish your taxes up. (mine was “Surrender” by Elvis Presley; Pammy’s was “ABC” by the Jackson Five – so I’m a cradle robber!)

    And – in keeping with truth and accuracy in fiction, I reacted a little to “Not until the earth reverses its orbit.”, and then MORE to “the direction of the earth’s travel around the sun.”

    But, as any good editor will tell us, the direction of the earth’s rotation upon its axis is what determines where the sun rises and sets….unless the editor works for the North Pole News & Mail, or the South Pole Sentinel

  3. alex said on April 14, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Runaround Sue.

  4. Julie Robinson said on April 14, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Love Me Tender. Awww…

    To continue on the fiction rant, I also hate it when flowers are blooming at the wrong time. That isn’t that hard to look up.

    I too love TurboTax except when it keeps trying to upsell me. Don’t you want our enhanced service? It will protect you against being audited, blah, blah, blah. I think they use TT as a loss leader.

    We’ve tried using Quicken twice but it takes too much time. After you spend hours entering everything, you still have the same amount of money as before. If your financial life is uncomplicated–one mortgage, one 401K, etc, all you need is a calendar where you note when all the bills are due. Pay them online and record in your checkbook. Done in ten.

  5. Kirk said on April 14, 2008 at 11:34 am

    “Cold, Cold Heart,” but Tony Bennett’s version, not Hank’s.

  6. moe99 said on April 14, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Fri afternoon, I am driving youngest son back from a college road trip to OR. He decides to confide in me at that point that his dad’s girlfriend got him a new BMW 2 seater sports car for his birthday. The only non-cussworthy response I could come up with, after I pulled my jaw up from the 8 year old Subaru station wagon that I drive, was to tell him that back when we were married, one of our favorite jokes was: What’s the difference between a porcupine and a BMW? With a porcupine, the pricks are on the outside.

    I guess money can buy happiness.

  7. moe99 said on April 14, 2008 at 11:38 am

    ps: it’s the ex that got the car, not my son. Sorry to be so klutzy w/ the pronouns this ayem.

  8. John said on April 14, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Autumn Leaves by Roger Williams….that blows. My wife’s is way cooler: Wake Up, Little Susie.

    Old joke from the late 80’s:
    What the difference between a yuppie and a pigeon? After the market crash, only the pigeon can leave a deposit on a BMW.

  9. coozledad said on April 14, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Dammit. I got “Calcutta” by Lawrence Welk. Here I was expecting some R&B standard.

  10. Dorothy said on April 14, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Off Topic, but to whomever recommended “In the Shadow of the Moon” a few weeks ago – a big “thanks”. We rented it this weekend and liked it very much! Also rented and viewed: There Will be Blood and Things We Lost in the Fire. Both very good, but the first one was so very creepy. I knew, when I first heard DDL’s voice, that he was trying to emulate John Huston. This was confirmed when I read up on the movie at IMDB.com. I cried my eyes out at the second movie. Halle Berry was very good, as was Benecio del Toro. (one “r” or two??)

  11. nancy said on April 14, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Julie, very good point about flowers. The first time I became aware of Thomas Kincade, I was in a TK “gallery,” looking at one of his canvases: He depicts a Cotswold cottage on a craggy bluff overlooking the sea. Below, the waves are pounding, just crashing ashore, but smoke from the chimney rises lazily in the sky — nope, no wind at all on this seashore — and in the garden, every single flower on every single bush is in full bloom. The clerk said, “Lovely, isn’t it?” I ran for my life.

    In “Detroit Noir” there’s a moment where a character is startled by a scampering squirrel in the dark, when they’re all tucked away in their trees. But she’s a little vague on precisely when in the twilight this happens, so I’ll give her a pass.

  12. Laura said on April 14, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    My birthday #1 is “Wonderland by Night” by Bert Kaempfert. Never heard of it.

  13. ellen said on April 14, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    “Heard It Through the Grapevine,” the Marvin Gaye version. How cool is that?

    Off topic: I’ve been thinking about why I prefer the paper version of my local newspaper to the online version, and I have come up with this: The hard-copy version prioritizes the news. I can quickly tell from page number, headline type size, above or below the fold whether the story is important. The online version just lists all of the stories under national, world, local, sports banners. I miss the gatekeeper when I read online.

  14. James said on April 14, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    “The Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton

    Christ!

  15. colleen said on April 14, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    “Light my Fire” by the Doors. Husband’s was “Wheel of Fortune by Kay Starr”.

    Yeah. We have a bit of an age difference.

  16. Connie said on April 14, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Yellow Rose of Texas by Mitch Miller, the man to whom I owe much of my knowledge of lyrics of old songs. Him and the organ teacher.

    I too would be paying the gov big bucks , except for that nice college tuition tax credit.

  17. MichaelG said on April 14, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    There’s fiction vs. fact and there’s details right and wrong. Two very different things. Fiction can be whatever you want it to be. If an author goes to the trouble of including a detail, it needs to be right. One can’t help wondering what else is wrong when one spots a boo boo. That stuff really can ruin a book. An M-16 round does not tumble (I’ve seen that in a book). That is an erroneous detail. Doesn’t matter if the book is fact or fiction. And where are editors and other prepublication readers?

    For the Twin Cities John Sandford is the best. He may be the best of them all.

    My one time wife and I once operated a business. We had an accountant do our taxes. I used to cringe at the things he deducted and at the big refunds we received. Finally we got audited. I was very nervous. I asked the guy what I needed to do and he said nothing, that he would take care of things and that it was all part of the service. In the end I got a very nice letter from the IRS saying they were sorry for bothering us. The accountant has more than earned his fees over the years. He doesn’t do personal taxes as a rule but he likes my erstwhile wife (we’re legally separated but not divorced for a variety of reasons mostly spelled $$) and does her/our taxes. I’m way money ahead having had him do our taxes all these years. It might be worth it to get a pro, especially with home office issues.

    Dinah Shore sang “I’ll Walk Alone”. I like the links to the record store.

  18. Harl Delos said on April 14, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Wonderland by Night

    I didn’t recognize the name, but I recognized the tune when I searched for it on youtube.
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=N_K0NpWMOGw

  19. Julie Robinson said on April 14, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Is anyone else feeling old when they see people’s songs? Criminy, I remember some of those from, like, high school!

    And if you think your song is obscure, the dear hubby’s is Lisbon Antigua by Nelson Riddle.

  20. Mindy said on April 14, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” Eww! Husband’s was “Tossin’ and Turnin’.” Much cooler. Grandpa’s was “It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary.”

  21. sue said on April 14, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    I try not to look for errors but some of them are so ridiculous you can’t ignore them. The mystery series where the heroine passed a truck and pulled in front of it in order to take advantage of the draft is the worst one I caught. I also wonder why an author sets a book in a location where he seems to have limited familiarity. The Harry Dresden series set in Chicago doesn’t do a thing for me. Here’s Harry on the lakefront; here’s Harry driving out to an interchangeable suburb; etc. Oddly enough, the author who has given me the clearest sense of place writes fantasy: Terry Pratchett, who takes me to Discworld on a regular basis.

  22. Dorothy said on April 14, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Ya know, I had forgotten about this, but thinking of the Elvis song being number 1 on my husband’s birthday might explain why my m-i-l used to have an 8×10 framed picture of Mr. Presley on her night stand!!

  23. David said on April 14, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    “Sherry”, by The Four Seasons. Not at all sure what to think of that.

    Jonathan Valin’s Harry Stoner mysteries are set in and around Cincinnati, my home town. They are full of little errors, such as roads that don’t go where he says they go or peculiarities of the local cuisine that are just plain wrong. Always bumped my concentration right out of the story.

  24. sue said on April 14, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Dorothy!

  25. Danny said on April 14, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Ha, too funny Dorothy.

    “She Loves You” by The Beatles for me. At one point, Dad had a Ringo haircut. But worst was when he came home one day with the Mike Brady perm. That scared me. Thankfully, it was not repeated.

  26. Catherine said on April 14, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Help Me Rhonda. Is that why my cousin, born around the same time, was named Rhonda?

    Sue Grafton takes an interesting approach, turning Santa Barbara and environs into Santa Teresa. All the same, there’s a note in one of her latest that basically says, “Friends, stop writing me about how I got the landmarks wrong!”

  27. Julie Robinson said on April 14, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    My dad was pretty liberal, but I remember him referring to the Beatles as “those mop-tops”.

    The Four Seasons didn’t impact me while growing up, but we got to see “Jersey Boys” as well as hearing the the album. Know what? Their music was pretty good. The harmonies are fantastic, and some of the orchestrations (You’re Just Too Good to be True) were blatantly ripped off later by Chicago, who did impact me while growing up.

    The real question for Dorothy is: what was the hit song 9 months before your hubby was born?

    I think I was named for Julie Andrews. Much better than Britney.

  28. Danny said on April 14, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    I think I was named for Julie Andrews. Much better than Britney.

    Up until now, I figured you were the Robinson sister who stayed on earth while your sisters, Penny and Judy were lost in space.

    (Ah, the not-so-obvious tie-in is that Penny (Angela Cartwright) was in Sound of Music)

  29. Jay Small said on April 14, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    My b’day No. 1: “Telstar” by The Tornados.

    Ack.

  30. LAMary said on April 14, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    I feel ancient. I remember most of these songs as hits. I can’t access the site from work, either. Could someone look up January 6, 1953 for me?

  31. MarkH said on April 14, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    You people are all so damn young! I remember all your songs.

    Mine? — “Sin” by Eddie Howard. WTF???

    David, Never heard of Valin, but I’ll have to check out the Stoner series, as we share Cincy as a home town, my second after Pittsburgh.

    MichaelG, that’s huge if an M-16 round does, indeed, not tumble. I’ve read that in many places, even some military journals. It’s supposed to be its claim to fame in lethality.

    TurboTax is the bomb, a time/life saver.

  32. derwood said on April 14, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    (I can’t get no) Satisfaction

    I also luv Turbo-Tax.

  33. nancy said on April 14, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Ooh, Mary, bad news: “Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes,” Perry Como. For you, I was hoping for at least a touch of rockabilly.

  34. Andrea said on April 14, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    I think I chime in as one of the youngest commenters – “American Pie” was my birthday song in January 1972. Good! One year later and it would have been “You’re So Vain,” much worse. Hubby’s is “Mother-in-Law,” which made me laugh out loud (also a big age difference here).

  35. whitebeard said on April 14, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Birth date tunes, indeed! For me, Christmas Eve, 1937 … “The Dipsy Doodle” by Tommy Dorsey; for my wife, Easter Sunday, 1941 … “Amapola (Pretty Little Poppy)” by Jimmy Dorsey (two Dorseys, that’s a coincidence) and for our grandson, who lives with us, March 1995 … “Take a Bow” by Madonna (very appropriate because he is bigger than life in any situation, even at 13).
    No TurboTax here, but a new accountant to replace the old one, who gave bad advice and did our taxes late, which earned a penalty and nasty interest that was later forgiven because a Nor’easter (think hurricane with snow) ripped through Connecticut at tax time and we were declared a disaster area, or something, the IRS pronounced, much to our surprise.

  36. jcburns said on April 14, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Rent (or, maybe, don’t) the awful ‘Bird on a Wire’ with Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn. Ostensibly set in Detroit (hey, Detroit newsboxes amongst the Canadian parking signs), the city seems to have cleaned up and grown a set of snowcapped mountains while I wasn’t looking. Yep, Vancouver. And then in a final geographic insult, apparently as a key plot point they head down to the water to take a ferry from Detroit across Lake Michigan (!?) to Racine, Wisconsin.

  37. Bill said on April 14, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” by The Andrews Sisters.

    I can’t even pronounce it! The German-English translator says it means ” With Me you Are nice.” Ah, the good old days.

  38. sue said on April 14, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Wow, Nancy, you’re closer than I thought. I’ll drop by on my way to Sleeping Bear Dunes this summer.

  39. nancy said on April 14, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Oh, please. Movies are another thing entirely. Those low brown hills of southern California stand in for everything from Korea to Cleveland. I have a feeling if I ever visited Vancouver it would look just like home.

    But for Detroit non-verisimilitude, nothing beats “Presumed Innocent,” which is set in Scott Turow’s fictional Kindle County, but filmed in Detroit. The opening scenes show Harrison Ford commuting to work on a ferry, which would make him a district attorney who actually lives in Canada. I wonder what his tax-prep is like?

    Someone mentioned the author who cops up front to getting all the landmarks wrong. It raises an interesting topic. My bargain with writers is always that you can create a fictional world within a real city — give it a second newspaper, a different mayor, etc. — but you have to respect at least some level of the existing landscape. I get irked when writers put in freeways that aren’t there (although they can invent streets), bridges that don’t exist, etc. If you want to do that, call your city something else entirely (like, say, Kindle County). One of Loren Estelman’s Detroit books invented an entirely new suburb with a spooky abandoned factory. I thought, aren’t there enough existing ones to work with? I guess not for the story he wanted to tell, but it bugged me throughout.

  40. Julie Robinson said on April 14, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Today my big sister and only sibling is undergoing emergency triple bypass surgery. NNC has been a great distraction for me. If you are a praying person, she needs them.

  41. sue said on April 14, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Sending good thoughts your way, Julie.

  42. Danny said on April 14, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Julie, will do.

    JC, I bought my friend the complete series of Kung Fu (the original TV series). He and his wife spotted high-tension wires in the distance of one long shot. Pretty advanced for the 1800’s, eh?

  43. Julie Robinson said on April 14, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Thanks, all. I just heard from the hospital that it went well but she needed one more bypass. I’m flying out tomorrow–couldn’t get a flight today. I may have limited internet access for awhile but I’ll be thinking fondly of you all.

  44. brian stouder said on April 14, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Julie – here’s wishing strength to your big sister – and to you!

    I have an appointment w/Red Cross for pheresis – which is quite an easy way to feel like you’re doing something tangible to help folks out. (all you do – after affirming that you aren’t shagging a drug abusing Samoan prostitute [etc] is lay back and watch TV for 90 minutes – which I’m quite good at!)

  45. MichaelG said on April 14, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Trust me, Mark. I’ve fired many, many rounds through an M-16. Including tracer. It does not tumble. Think about rifling, aerodynamics, etc. It couldn’t tumble. The lethality you speak of results from an air space at the forward end of the brass jacket. When the round strikes, the melted lead surges forward into the air space causing the spinning (not tumbling) jacket to burst with unfortunate results for the hittee.

  46. nancy said on April 14, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Julie, needless to say: Strength, courage and good thoughts.

  47. Dexter said on April 14, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    My song really is pathetic…but if I could pick…I’d pick this , a truly great cover version of the Hendrix-style Dylan classic…

  48. LAMary said on April 14, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    You’ve all seen my son’s high school I bet. It’s been in so many movies and commercials as a stand in for standard WPA built American High School.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Marshall_High_School_(Los_Angeles,_California)

  49. Danny said on April 14, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    Ha, Mary! Grease and Room 222 among others. Pretty cool.

  50. Howie said on April 14, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    In the Year 2525 – Zager and Evans…

    I could do worse!

    I use TaxACT, which is a great program with less market share. They do marketing by annoying spam, so thats two strikes against ’em. I found it way before the spam started, which is my excuse for sticking with them.

    Julie, prayers sent.

  51. Deborah said on April 14, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    “Goodnight Irene” by Gordon Jenkins & the Weavers.

    I like to read Tony Hillerman novels set in the Four Corners area and there abouts. We have land in Abiquiu, New Mexico so I’m very familiar with the area. So far I haven’t caught any mistakes about place, dates, times.

  52. basset said on April 14, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    “Yellow Rose of Texas” by Mitch Miller for me… and looking at September 2 in more recent years, I don’t see a single song I recognize until the Macarena in 1996. Before that, nothing till “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” in 1984.

    pheresis… just finished my eight-gallon card, mostly white cells with the occasional red or whole blood. and that’s only since we’ve been keeping track the last few years… started at IU in the early Seventies, back when Alumni Hall would be packed full of guys trying to beat Purdue for every blood drive.

  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 14, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Julie, all good gifts to you and your sister — travel well in grace and peace.

    Switching hats, the tumbling of the old M-16 round was on impact, not in flight. As MichaelG said, the shockwave in front of the rapidly spinning, high velocity projectile meant that a non-center-of-mass impact on a human body was more likely to “tumble” along the lines of tissue, tearing up the limb or torso.

    In boot, we had Vietnam vet DIs talk about casualties with no visible mark on them, but clearly dead from major wounds, which would all turn out to be internal from a small entry point by a collar bone or jawline. Somewhere in this general neighborhood of enlightenment and learning was where i realized a career in the Marines was not a good idea for someone with too much imagination and a tendency to stop and think through implications — a choice my sergeant instructor heartily endorsed for both my own good and that of the Corps, and ended up leading to seminary.

    But i could still disassemble, clean, and reassemble a Mattel-16 in the dark without losing the sear pin or any of the three springs. Some stuff you just don’t forget.

    Basset, i seem to recall us Boilermakers whoopin’ on you Hurryin’ Hoosiers in the blood drive (but i have absolutely no recollection of helping steal the Old Oaken Bucket from Memorial Union at Bloomington in 1978, none at all).

  54. Michael said on April 14, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    “Poor Side of Town”. Sigh.

    Regarding inaccuracy — yeah. Don’t pick a town off the map unless you actually go there and put things where they really are. I had two experiences with that. One was sci-fi set in Hagerstown, IN (went to school there, lived eight miles out), which I picked up while living in Germany. A real burst of homesickness, betrayed entirely by the fact that the author (who lived in *Loogootee*, dammit, he coulda just jumped in the car and made a day of it) had obviously never actually gone to Hagerstown. So why not just invent a place?

    Second one was David Brin’s _Gaia_, in which Bryan Park in Bloomington somehow overlooks the downtown. Now, I like to think that southern Indiana is hilly. But ain’t no way anything in Indiana overlooks anything else. That just pissed me off. Again: why put something in a real place if you’re not going to use the real place?

    Then there was Close Encounters of the Third Kind, both book and movie. The book wasn’t bad — it referenced Randolph County (yes, Indiana), by which it was possible to determine that the first sighting took place maybe three miles from my home, but there were no impossible details, so that was OK.

    But the movie. The movie had mountains behind Muncie. Which, OK, would indeed improve Muncie, and nobody’s faulting that, but instead of mountains, instead they have Anderson. Depending on your directions.

    So: sloppiness. Bah.

  55. Joe K said on April 14, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    N,I was born on 15 Dec of 1957, Jail house rock was #1 thought you were born in 56???
    Joe

  56. nancy said on April 14, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    Nope, 1957. I’m three weeks older than you.

  57. Tricia said on April 14, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    Like David of 2:14 PM, “Sherry” by the Four Seasons – groovy! … but glad my name isn’t Sherry.

    I use TurboTax too, so why didn’t it clue me into the fact that the year that my daughter graduated from college, we needed to pick whether she was still a dependent, or no longer a dependent? Trust me, folks – you want to have this discussion. We claimed her, and she claimed her, and now (since she ‘won’) we owe. Ouch.

  58. Dexter said on April 15, 2008 at 1:26 am

    happy tax day! My accountant called and gave me hell for getting four grand back. Of course that’s a bad plan, but what the hell?…HE’S the accountant. Next year I’ll owe a little instead, and I’ll feel worse than I do now , with money coming back that I made zero interest on. As if banks are paying SO MUCH interest. I am just glad it’s over.
    I used to do my own paperwork on the taxes, too. The accountant always finds legal ways to pay less taxes. It’s a no brainer for me…leave it to the experts. Good luck, last-minute filers. It’s just “Our Town” moments now, recalling all-nighters with Camels and percolated coffee, ten sharpened pencils and bright lights. And always, always, the last minute dash to the P.O. to hand my return to the postal worker standing by the mailbox with the big tub. Even today, the drop-box at the drive lane at the P.O. was totally jammed an hour before pick-up hour.

  59. Harl Delos said on April 15, 2008 at 4:26 am

    I think I was named for Julie Andrews. Much better than Britney.

    There being no such thing as a Julie Andrews Spaniel, I have to agree with you.

    But ain’t no way anything in Indiana overlooks anything else.

    Since you were born to “Poor Side of Town”, you wouldn’t remember, but half a century ago, that wouldn’t have been a true statement. The Army Corps of Engineers has since flooded a lot of the “anything else” places.

    The movie had mountains behind Muncie.

    They filmed the “China Beach” series in California. When they did a sunset scene on the beach, the sun would be setting over the ocean – which would have been in the east.

    Richard Bach, famous for “Jonathon Livingston Seagull”, also wrote a book called “Confessions of a Reluctant Messiah”. It starts out explaining that he was born in the mystical mountains east of Fort Wayne. I always thought that they were *exceptionally* mystical, in that every time someone installs a septic tank, the pile of excavated dirt becomes the highest point for miles around.

  60. Dave said on April 15, 2008 at 7:01 am

    “If I Knew You Were Coming (I’d Baked a Cake)”, by Eileen Barton. I know the song but can’t say that I’ve ever heard of Eileen Barton.

    Wife gets Tony Bennett, “Cold, Cold Heart”.

    Goodness, some of you folks make me feel old, thank goodness for Whitebeard. Sorry, Whitebeard.

    Wasn’t Jonathan Valin a onetime Cincinnati Post columnist? I think I read all the Harry Stoner books and there aren’t that many, seems like going on twenty years ago. Piqued my interest because I’ve spent a lot of time in Cincinnati.

    A series I like and can’t account for the accuracy of details are the John Rebus mysteries by Ian Rankin, set mostly in and about Edinburgh, Scotland. Rankin lives there so I would hope it all rings true but Valin lived in Cincinnati.

  61. alex said on April 15, 2008 at 7:04 am

    Mystical mountains east of Fort Wayne. That really hit me funny, having just trekked across northwest Ohio recently. I’d forgotten the earth doesn’t get any flatter.

  62. Kevin Knuth said on April 15, 2008 at 7:25 am

    Although I live in Fort Wayne, I used to work for a company in North Hollywood, CA. I telecommuted to work.

    I am a big fan of Michael Connelly and his Harry Bosch novels. His crime noir novels are generally based in L.A. In his writings, he often mentions real streets and landmarks. So one day, while visiting the corporate office, I was quite interested. According to the book, Harry took a turn at the intersection our office was located at. Drove 4 blocks, turned again into an apartment complex.

    So I followed the path….no apartment complex. It was an office building.

    But, hey, if you don’t live in L.A., would you ever really know?

  63. basset said on April 15, 2008 at 7:28 am

    sci-fi in Hagerstown, Indiana? I went to Loogootee High and never heard of Hagerstown till just now, had to Mapquest it. since it’s right outside New Castle I suppose this author just figured one basketball-obsessed community’s about the same as another.

    blood drive… I remember IU won in ’73, dunno about the rest. and you can have the trophy, I didn’t go to a single football game the whole time I was there…

  64. John said on April 15, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Harry Bosch rocks. Very fun books to read.

    Tricia, fortunately for me, when our daughter moved out on her own, I did her taxes so it was quite easy to arrange the minimum amount to be sent in to IRS. I did kick back some of the money her way. But definitely have this discussion with your adult child.

    Nancy, does Joe get a trip to the doghouse for trying to tack on another year to your life?

  65. Connie said on April 15, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Bassett, looks like we are birthday neighbors. You are older by one day.

    I recently read a book called “City of the Sun”. I picked it up because it was set in Indianapolis. Except for a few street names that just wasn’t Indianapolis. Not recommended unless you really want to read about an Indiana boy kidnapped to Mexico for various perversions.

  66. MichaelG said on April 15, 2008 at 10:32 am

    I’m a Connelly fan as well and I’ve had occasion to follow his footsteps in the valley. I think changing an apartment house for an office building is an acceptable detail switch because curious readers might bother residents. Also that sort of detail has no effect on the story or on credibility the way misplacing the sunrise would.

  67. LAMary said on April 15, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Year of the Dragon folks rule.

  68. Harl Delos said on April 15, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    I recently read a book called “City of the Sun”. I picked it up because it was set in Indianapolis.

    The author was obviously confused by the fact that the Colts play in Indianapolis.

    In Baltimore, it’s the Sun, in Indianapolis, it’s the Star, in Toledo, the Blade, in Grosse Point, it’s Today, and in Fort Wayne, it’s the Macedonian Tribune.

    What? You were expecting Frost on such a nice spring day?

  69. Kevin Knuth said on April 15, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Michael G-

    I was not upset at all…..I actually found it fun! I was reading that particular book when I happened to be out there….so what the the heck! Drive around and see what’s what.

    He does a great job of catching the “feel” of the areas he describes….just changes some facts to protect the innocent!