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The tax also rises

So you thought Ernest Hemingway's works were inspired by tumultuous relationships, his lifelong battle with depression or excessive drink? You're right, to a point. But according to the the May issue of The Hemingway Review, another one of Papa's muses was taxes. According to the publication's abstract, "Taxes played a surprisingly prominent role in the life of Ernest Hemingway — so much so that he personally dealt with, or wrote about, most of the major tax concepts embodied in the Internal Revenue Code. "This article notes Hemingway's written observations about such tax matters, including remarks about the state of his... Read more →

Good golly, Ms. Molly

Molly Ivins can't say that , can she? Yes, she can. Yes, she did. My favorite of her many memorable comments: "What you need is sustained outrage. There's far too much unthinking respect given to authority." She was true to her word to the end, as evidenced in her last column, published on Jan. 11. Thanks, Molly, for speaking up. Texas, and the world, has lost yet another insightful, incisive, irreverent and irreplaceable woman. The only consolation is knowing that Molly and Ann are now keeping everyone in the hereafter in line and in stitches. Mo' Molly: John Nichols of... Read more →

Celebrating Christmas ghosts

Dec. 19 is one of my all-time favorite days. It was on this day in 1843 that "A Christmas Carol," or as its author Charles Dickens called it, a "Ghostly little book," was published. Three days later, the first edition was sold out. That early popularity has endured. "A Christmas Carol" is probably one of the most adapted books. It's been performed innumerable times on stage, radio, film and television. Wikipedia lists 17 video variations, from animated (Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse and Mr. Magoo) to Kermit the Frog's Bob Cratchit opposite Michael Caine's Scrooge (and yes, Miss Piggy played Mrs.... Read more →

Bogleheads on Taxes

Welcome to Chapters 10 and 11 of "The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing" consolidated book review. If you missed my earlier announcement of the project, you can find details on it here. As you've probably already guessed, these two chapters deal with taxes. A fitting topic for Friday the 13th. For many people investing itself is scary. Tax considerations just compound that fear. It's not an unreasonable reaction, but the Bogleheads do a very nice job of helping ease such trepidation. Naturally, the topic of investment taxation could itself fill a book. So authors Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBoeuf... Read more →

How high can it go?

That's what investors have been asking about the stock market. Although it gave back a little Friday, last week the Dow Jones industrial average hit a record closing high and an all-time intraday high for three days in a row. The reasons for the rally: A drop in oil prices and the belief that the Federal Reserve will continue to hold off on raising rates, at least for the near term. So what now? How long can the upward trend continue? Should I cash out now or strap in for a long stock roller coaster ride? Unfortunately, there's no one... Read more →

Tax loot left in the loo ...

And other strange tax tales. Got you to click, didn't it?! It's Friday and, thanks to a late start today and an interruption for an automotive repair errand, I've still got a lot of stuff to finish up. So rather than try to come up with some weighty post, I've decided to close out this blog week with some of the goofier things going on the tax world. Let's start overseas. The hubby, doing some Web surfing this morning, ran across this Associated Press story from Vienna, Austria: A tax collector in the southern Austrian city of Graz accidentally left... Read more →

Barry, Barry bad

Baseball has been very, very good to Barry Bonds, but it seems that wasn't quite good enough for the San Francisco slugger. Bonds, along with baseball fans and non-fans alike, watched raptly in 1998 as the friendly battle between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa played out en route to the new single-season home-run record. McGwire's 70 gave him the record. He and Sammy hugged. The world and Major League Baseball, which sorely needed some positive press, smiled. And Bonds seethed, deciding that he, too, wanted some of that attention, adoration and acclaim. So he turned to steroids for the added... Read more →

Cinematic shopping

I’m a little late posting today because I took advantage of one of the nicest things about being your own boss: I took the afternoon off to go to a movie. I went to see “Shopgirl,” the Steve Martin movie based on his novella of the same name. It’s the latest in movies from aging funny men who’ve turned introspective … with the help of younger women. That’s not an angry feminist slam, although I have been accused in the past of being an angry feminist. (I would argue vociferously that I was just angry and that my ire usually... Read more →