Pop Culture Feed

New York last week became the latest state to legalize recreational marijuana. New Yorkers now can possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis for recreational use. But don't expect to pick up some of that legal weed any time soon. While using marijuana is legal for adults age 21 or older, the process of approving dispensaries and establishing precise regulations and tax rules for cannabis distribution will take a while. 17 cannabis OK locales: Still, the Empire State's move is a big one. New York is the 17th jurisdiction to join the legal cannabis club. The toking fraternity includes 16... Read more →


A scene from "Judas and the Black Messiah," which today received six Oscar nominations. The filmmakers also took advantage of state tax breaks to make the movie. (Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures) The 2021 Oscar nominees were announced today. Let the arguing begin. I'm generally happy with the nominations, especially since two of my favorite and (I believe) overlooked performers were nominated in the Best Actor in a Leading Role. Oh, you want names? Sure: Riz Ahmed for "Sound of Metal" and Steven Yeun for "Minari." However, disagreements about the nominees and the ultimate winners in all Academy of Motion... Read more →


The debate continues about whether gambling really provides states with substantial revenue. But one thing is settled. Regardless of how much, or little, money wagering brings into state coffers, it's here to stay. And Super Bowl Sunday is one reason more states are allowing sports betting within their borders, an option hey were given thank to the 2018 Supreme Court decision. Since last year's National Football League championship game, 36 million more American adults have gained the opportunity to bet legally in seven more jurisdictions: Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington, D.C. As today's Super Bowl LV gets... Read more →


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers literally will be the home team in Jan. 7's Super Bowl LV. The NFL championship game is being played at their stadium. The Kansas City Chiefs, however, are still favored by bettors to win the title. We're not back to normal, but the National Football League is doing all it can to keep its traditions, and team bank accounts, on track. Despite some issues in 2020, the NFL played out the season last year. On Sunday, Feb. 7, it will crown its champion in the annual Super Bowl. This 55th big game has a lot, in... Read more →


Add "The 12 Days of Christmas" to the list of things that were affected by the coronavirus pandemic this year. No, not the iconic holiday song. That's still around. But some of the lyrics took a hit when they were evaluated in 2020 for the annual PNC Christmas Price Index (PNC CPI). For this 37th look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Consumer Price Index and how it applies to procuring the song's 12 gifts from a True Love, The PNC Financial Services Group had to make some hard choices. Notably, the 2020 PNC CPI had to adjust for... Read more →


We don't have an image of D.B. Cooper parachuting from a hijacked jetliner Thanksgiving week 1971, but he did jump out over some dense Oregon woods that likely looked a lot like these. (Photo by ankiyay via Pexels) Last week was the weirdest Thanksgiving holiday ever for many of us. In addition to dealing with possible family confrontations in the wake of the most contentious post-election period in modern memory, we had to adjust to pandemic complicated get-togethers. That's why an anniversary probably slipped by you. During Thanksgiving week 49 years ago, a tall thin man, dressed in a business... Read more →


For those of us of a certain age, and with a skewed sense of humor, one of the best Thanksgiving-themed programs ever was the 1978 "Turkeys Away" episode of WKRP in Cincinnati. The sitcom that brought us memorable characters like radio DJs Dr. Johnny Fever and Venus Flytrap, good-intentioned but inept newsman Les Nessman and 1970s fashion plate sales manager Herb Tarlek, also gave us, in the episode's words, the greatest turkey event in Thanksgiving history. No turkeys were harmed in the making of the show. In fact, we never see what happened outside the Ohio shopping center. Instead, in... Read more →


Image by Bessi via Pixabay Happy Halloween! It's a special one, as it comes — despite the pumpkin-hued image above — on a Blue Moon, the second full moon in a month. Celebrations this year also will be different for most of us. The COVID-19 pandemic means that Oct. 31 festivities will be really, truly scary during a time when mingling with strangers is traditional. We're likely to see more face masks than Michael Myers or Scream masks. But regardless of how or where you'll celebrate All Hallows' Eve, one thing likely will remain the same. There will be candy.... Read more →


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was not the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). She was, however, a feminist and pop culture icon, and her death at age 87 is being mourned nationwide. She passed away last night, Sept. 18, at her home in Washington due to complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. Legal and popular recognition: Ginsburg in recent years was referred to by her fans as the Notorious R.B.G., a play on the name of the rapper Notorious B.I.G. who shared her Brooklyn birthplace. Her recognition beyond the bench also came from the Oscar-nominated... Read more →


Labor Day is the time to recognize the contributions of workers. It's one of the United States' oldest official commemorations, with Uncle Sam in 1894 making the first Monday of September a legal federal holiday. In this age of consumerism, however, the meaning of Labor Day and other holidays, official or not, often takes a back seat to associated retail sales. The bargains this year, though, are a bit different. Pandemic precautions have pushed even more shoppers online. COVID-19 closures for good: The country's shift to digital transactions already was well underway before COVID-19 appeared in the United States. But... Read more →


Rapper Cardi B quizzes Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on taxes (and more) in Elle magazine video chat. The 2020 Democratic Convention kicks off today, but former Vice President Joe Biden, who later this week will be formally nominated by his party to take on Donald J. Trump, got a media head start. Biden's recorded video chat with music superstar Cardi B was posted this morning. No, the nearly 17-minute video wasn't put out by the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris campaign. The conversation was sponsored by Elle, where Cardi's visage graces the fashion/lifestyle magazine's September cover. And no, Cardi's not coming... Read more →


The coronavirus pandemic has not only affected sports leagues, athletes and fans, but also gamblers and the state tax collectors that have come to rely on that related tax revenue. Shortened seasons, revised playoff rounds, cardboard fans in stands. Still, Americans' love of sports and boredom with COVID-19 self-isolation, along with the events being televised, has helped the seasons continue. But the actual reduction in the games mean fewer events on which to place bets. Unless bettors make that up by betting more on the remaining games, associated revenue, tax and otherwise, is likely to fall. And now a new... Read more →


The annual Army-Navy game is the only college football matchup I make a point to watch. Go Navy! This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has put such gridiron rivalries in jeopardy. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer's Mate Johnny Bivera via Wikipedia Commons) The Mid-American Conference (MAC) today became the first Division 1 college football governing body to cancel its fall season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. "There are simply too many unknowns to put our student athletes in these situations. This is simply a miserable decision," MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said. Yes, for the sports fans, schools, players and coaches,... Read more →


Mickey and Minnie Mouse in Hong Kong Disneyland, which features the internationally iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle. (Photo by PoonKaMing via Wikipedia Commons) Tax offices often are derided for being Mickey Mouse operations. Rhode Island's Office of the General Treasurer actually went there. The Ocean State's financial office late last month issued 176 business tax refund checks that were signed by Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney. Rhode Island's Department of Revenue said the entertainment industry signatures, which went where state treasurer Seth Magaziner and state controller Peter Keenan should have signed, were due to a technical glitch. This should have been... Read more →


Image courtesy SimpsonsWorld via Giphy.com Do you remember your first phone number? I'm talking about the one when you were a kid. The one you parents made you memorize in case you needed to call home for any reason. For younger folks, that's not a problem. But when you reach a certain age, not that I'm confessing to any chronologically specific range, those early memories tend to fade. Despite that natural process, some of us still remember our childhood phone numbers. You'll have to trust me on my numerical recall. I'm leery enough of hackers, con artists and other assorted... Read more →


Meanwhile, the rest of us regular taxpayers say thanks for the offer and, as Tax Day 2020 looms, continue to look for ways to keep from paying so much on our nowhere-near-a-million earnings. If you're still working on your tax return instead of jetting off in your private plane to a luxury destination, then you might agree with the latest tax-the-rich plea. You also might need some of the tax-saving tips listed later in this post. With July 15, aka coronavirus Tax Day 2020, looming, millions of taxpayers are scouring their records and the tax laws looking for ways to... Read more →


This U.S. Department of Justice mug shot of Al Capone was taken four months before his tax eviction conviction on Oct. 17, 1931. It's 89 years, later and Scarface still gets our attention, most recently in a movie about his later days. If there's one tiny sliver of silver lining in coronavirus self-isolation, it's that I feel a bit better about shelling out money for added television features. During our stay-home time, the hubby and I are taking advantage of premium cable, as well as the multiple streaming platforms to which we subscribe. Right now, my viewing tastes are winning.... Read more →


I admit it. When I make an occasional foray into the coronavirus world, which is a quick trip to my local grocery every 10 days or so to buy milk, I look at the lottery ticket machines. Did you know that the Mega Millions jackpot is $255 million? Powerball is a relatively paltry $77 million, not that I'd turn it down if my numbers came up. And yes, I did buy tickets. Why, ask my more frugal and fiscally conservative readers? Because I'm bored. There's only so much to stream or read or rewatch or reread. The possibility of being... Read more →


First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then come two filing as one When it comes to their taxes. OK, "marriage" and "taxes" in my opening verse don't rhyme, which is why I'm a journalist, not a poet. But since I focus on taxes and today is, so romantics tell me, the most important day of the year for couples, I thought I'd give the marrying of taxes and wedded bliss a try. Here are five love and tax considerations. 1. Marriage date matters Sure you marry for love. But you might want to consider when you formally tie the knot.... Read more →


Newark On Reddit via Twitter The Academy Awards is tonight and although I'm a big film fan, I'll probably skip it. The early awards shows have already spoiled it for me. Sorry, ABC. If Antonio Banderas somehow takes the Oscars statuette from Joaquin Phoenix, which is what I'd love to see, then I'll catch the replay on YouTube tomorrow. Some folks in New Jersey, however, will be closely watching this year's ceremony and pulling for the "Joker" actor. The street where Phoenix's disturbed Arthur Fleck character gets jumped early in the movie is in Newark. Tax breaks, of course, played... Read more →