Today’s to-do list:
1) Deposit money in IRA.
2) Mail tax form/check to city of Detroit. Amount owed: $5.
3) Order kick-ass GoPro HD camera for self as a tax-refund, just-because-you’re-you present.
4) Clean house.
That’s a pretty good to-do list. As a self-employed person, April 15 is supposed to be gloomy, but it hasn’t been for the past couple years, since we got Alan’s withholding adjusted. My new year’s resolution is an aggressive savings plan, and once I get it calibrated, we can do some more adjusting to get to the theoretical ideal — zero owed on April 15 (other than the first quarterly, of course). I’m enough of a peasant that I love refunds, however. It feels like found money.
Some years ago, a weenie editorial writer for the other paper in Fort Wayne wrote a tax-day column proclaiming his love for paying taxes. Signing that check to Uncle Sam, he wrote, made him feel like a real American. He envisioned his money flowing into road-building, national parks and health care for grandma. Taxes, he concluded, are good. For this he was roundly ridiculed by our paper’s editorial writers, whose tax dollars mainly go to food stamps for the lazy poor, boondoggle public-works projects and high-calorie lunches for Tip O’Neill (the big-government bete noire of that moment). Taxes are bad.
(And that, we were often told, was why newspaper readers in Fort Wayne were the luckiest in the world. They had a choice in editorial pages.)
Taxes just are, in my book. And today I don’t have to write a check. Except for that camera, about which I’m already having second thoughts. It’s such a bauble, even if the purchase price does include a waterproof housing and several mounts. While we were in Vegas, one of my filmmaking friends said he’d always wanted to do a short documentary about a day in the life of a Detroit street dog. I think this is a great idea, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It seems a small strap-on camera of this sort might be a valuable tool in such a project. In fact, it might even be…tax-deductible.
A few housekeeping items:
A long-overdue change in the nightstand book, right rail. The other day I was pre-ordering something from Amazon (pub date of Martin Cruz Smith’s new Arkady Renko novel: August. Sheesh.) and needed something to fill out the order. I IM’d Laura Lippman on Facebook and said this was a one-time limited offer to pimp any book, by any friend or fellow traveler, and I would buy it sight unseen, no questions asked, just on the power of her recommendation. She suggested “True Confections” by Katharine Weber. Sold. I read it on vacation, and friends? She did not steer me wrong. It’s a wonderful, funny, breezy novel about the candy business, love and marriage, work and truth and all the rest of it. I’m finished with it, but leaving it on the nightstand for a while.
I have a few thoughts on “Treme,” but I want to watch the whole episode again, uninterrupted, to fully absorb it. My first is the same as Ray Shea, a NOLA blogger who pointed out one quibble: In the scenes were people are returning to their homes after the flood, everyone’s door opens easily. As a former 20-year resident of a flooding city, I can second that — the door of a flooded house never opens easily. It’s warped and swollen, and stuff is piled up behind it, and, well. That’s not much of a criticism, but when I saw Clarke Peters’ clothes still hanging in his closet, looking pretty damn clean, I thought of it. (Real NOLA residents have their own thoughts, here.)
My other first impression: Jesus Christ himself must have written some of that music. Watching “The Civil War” for the first time many years ago, the Ken Burns project, my pal Lance Mannion turned to the room after the first musical break of Afro-American spiritual music and said, “And Southerners thought these people were less than fully human. Imagine that.” Yes.
But more later.
And now off to the long-neglected gym.