Getting interactive with the IRS
Direct deposit triple play

Kermit: Star of hot new TV show!

No, not the frog. My hometown. The cheerleader who was saved so that the world could be saved is from Kermit, Texas!

Kermit_city_limits_sign_larger_3_1 It was just too personally freaky to be watching the already freaky NBC show "Heroes" last night and see Claire, the indestructible cheerleader, discover that she was born in my hometown.

It gets better. Her birth mom still lives there. If only my cousin and I had known when we rolled through Kermit last summer!

Apparently, no one in the town knew what was coming. There was no buzz. Everyone in my small West Texas burgh was still basking in the glow of having Kermit the Frog come through on his birthday tour a year earlier.

Yep, Texas, and West Texas in particular, are hot TV properties this viewing season.

I was already cracking up that Claire lived in Odessa. It's about 45 miles east of Kermit and was the "big city" we used to drive to in order to see first-run movies when I was a kid.

Up until last night, I thought the goofiest thing about part of the series being set in part of my old stomping grounds was the fact that it obviously was not actually shot there. Almost all of the program's exterior shots of the Permian Basin include hilly terrain. There ain't no hills in the area, folks, unless you're talking the sand hills that blow across the road like in this photo.


Even better, in one episode, a body was dumped in a river. Lots of dry draws, but nope, no rivers out there either.

But it was fine. It's only TV and the hubby and I were getting a kick out of the choice of Odessa as home for one of the key characters. Then Hiro, the hottest Hero, heads to Midland, just the other side of Odessa, and hooks up with a café waitress. And Peter, whom Hiro instructed to save the cheerleader, also headed to West Texas to protect Claire.

And now we're in Kermit, or at least it looks like we will be next week when Claire presumably will hit the Kermit Highway to meet her real mom. Too, too funny.

Other West Texas TV connections: You can watch last night's Heroes episode ("The Fix") online for a short time at NBC Rewind. The Kermit reference shows up at the start of part four.

Fridaynightlights_bookNBC has a real love affair going with Texas this season.

The network's high school football show "Friday Night Lights" is based on the nonfiction book of the same name about the Odessa Permian High School team. TV folk have relocated the story to the Austin area, but at least it's still in the state.

And an episode of the CBS show "Criminal Minds" had that show's Behavioral Analysis Unit tracking down a serial killer in Ozona, the small West Texas town where my parents went through a flood (recounted here) when they were newly married.

Yes, there's a tax connection: A couple in fact. Let's start first with Claire. Since she's indestructible, even literally coming back from dead earlier this season, she and her family don't have to worry about medical costs.

The rest of us, however, know how expensive doctors can be. You might be able to get some tax help by itemizing your medical expenses. The main thing to keep in mind is that they have to come to more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income before your can deduct them. This story offers some tips on how to get the most tax value out of your medical expenses.

And on the corporate side, Texas has been losing a lot of film and TV production money to other states of late, primarily because the neighboring jurisdictions are offering better tax breaks to movie makers et al. In Louisiana, tax credits equal to 25 percent of all in-state spending go to filmmakers and 35 percent of the payroll must be Louisiana residents. New Mexico offers refunds equal to 25 percent of in-state spending, including payroll, according to the Texas Film Commission.

For seven years, Austin has been listed among the top U.S. cities for movie making by MovieMaker Magazine. But in 2006, Austin dropped from second to third, behind New York and Philadelphia.

Now state officials are pushing for a $20 million incentive plan this legislative session to keep cameras rolling and film crews rolling into the Lone Star State.

Then maybe we could get "Heroes" to actually film the real Permian Basin landscape!


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