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Saturday, May 23, 2009

My Tax Dollars At Work

[Q| Last January, I was a bit miffed. To save money, New York State mailed a postcard stating that tax forms would not be mailed. Tax payers could either reproduce forms at local libraries, or download them online.
Usually, I file early, as I have extra pay withheld so I am guaranteed a refund. This year I was lazy and filed on April 15, at 6:30 PM (posted at 7:05 PM).

My federal return had a refund, but I was shocked to find that I owed New York State some $700. Oh well, thought I, I can cover it with my federal refund and change. I'll file, my refund should arrive at about the same time the state sends me a bill with a penalty, and everything will be A.O.K.
So I return home to find a letter from:
New York State Department of Taxation and Finance
OPTS - Protest Correspondence Unit - Personal Income Tax
Here's the bill, I assumed, and read it while in the bathroom. I had made three mistakes:
1) Wrong NY State tax entered.
2) Wrong NY City tax entered. (Since the 1976 bankruptcy, the State collects city taxes for NYC. Methinks it saves money.)
3) They allowed the New York City school tax credit.
End result: a refund of $182 ! Attached! Six weeks after I filed! And it arrived before the Federal refund.
The State could have said, you screwed up in our favor, we're keeping the money. Instead, they corrected my mistakes.
Guess I'll do my taxes earlier next year.

Random Thought

[Q| So I was walking by Julliard earlier, and noticed a sign saying So-and-So Drama Theater.
That got me thinking... what other kind of theaters are there besides "drama"? Comedy? Melodrama!
The Jonathan Q. Mellow Drama Theater!
---
Now I'm sitting on top of the Hudson River on a pier looking south. To my left is a line of Trump high highrises, slowly marching south towards 59th Street. In exchange for developing the shoreline into parkland, Trump gets to develop what was once railyards and shipping docks. Win-win, as the City gets parks, Trump gets to build a string of highrise luxury buildings AND use the park across the street as an amenity.
As I was crossing Riverside Boulevard to get to the park, I looked both ways for traffic (nonexistent) and noticed the line of buildings, one after the other, with a construction site at the end.
"Hmm... reminds me of Las Vegas Boulevard. They should call this 'The Strip'."

Someday I'll Wish Upon a Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Dreams Come True PDQ

[Q|
My mind wanders while I hum/skat/whistle/sing tunes. (My mind is an ipod.) Sometimes, I find myself starting with one song, and inexplicicately finishing with some other song.

An interesting example is Disney's signature "When You Wish Upon A Star". (Did you know that RCA once owned the rights to that song?) During the bridge, after the second verse, where the song goes "Fate is kind...", one can sing:
"Someday I'll wish upon a star and wake up where the clouds are far behind me..."
And suddenly you find yourself in Kansas, singing "Over the Rainbow"!

Then there are songs which use the same melody. "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "The ABC Song" use the same music. (Baa Baa Black Sheep is ALMOST the same, but it scans a little differently.) Here is "Twinkle Twinkle Alphabet":
Twinkle twinkle little star
H I J K L M N O P
Up above the world so high
W X Y and Z
Twinkle twinkle ABCs
Won't you sing along with me?

If you are feeling mischievous, start singing the other song while a child is singing. Most likely they'll get confused!