It’s so tempting to imagine a drug or a hormone that would free me, grant me clarity from the foggy jumble that settles over me when I think about writing down what I believe is important in the form of a story. Although I spent much of my childhood as a fabulist, making up lies like it was my job (“No, really, my grandmother’s house has been struck by lightning seven times.” That one got traction during a third-grade unit on the phases of matter. Plasma!), I find it nearly impossible now—painful, even—to take the risk of imagining, as a writer, alternate realities from this one odd-around-the-edges but generally suburban middle class one. Are my truths really that self-evident? Or am I missing something fundamentally necessary in the mind of the writer?
NPR Fresh Air: The Mother Warns the Tornado -
I know I’ve already had more than I deserve.
These lungs that rise and fall without effort,
the husband who sets free house lizards,
this red-doored ranch, my mother on the phone,
the fact that I can eat anything—gouda, popcorn,
massaman curry—without worry. Sometimes
I feel like I’ve been…
Nothing like starting your day by writing a smackdown note to your child’s first grade teacher—in red pen.
I usually ignore social media photos of places I will likely never get to go. But there’s something about this one that has grabbed me by the neck and left me breathless and longing.
MidAmerican Energy, a utility serving 714,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota, said the project [will] create 460 construction jobs over two years and 48 permanent jobs…
this due to a:
…$1.9 billion investment in wind energy in Iowa [that] will help hold down customers’ electric bills, make the state more attractive to companies looking for greener energy…
I love Iowa. Like, a LOT. And I am proud to have worked for MidAmerican in the late 90s. Those are some fine damned people.
Mike Tyson has an Adult Swim series coming, and boy, does it have a great description.
We’re just going to post it straight up from the press release, no editing: “In the new animated comedy series Mike Tyson Mysteries, Mike Tyson is taking the fight from the boxing ring to the streets… by solving mysteries! Armed with a magical tattoo on his face and a trusty associate by his side — a talking pigeon — if you have a problem that needs solving, Iron Mike is in your corner. The series incorporates live-action appearances featuring Mighty Mike himself, and the gloves come off as the former heavyweight champ and his fowl-mouthed partner gear up for weekly adventures as they put unsolved mysteries — like how to defeat a super computer at chess or why a famous author/werewolf can’t finish his novel — down for the count. Animated quarter-hour from Warner Bros Animation.” (photo by Brian Birzer/via Wikimedia Commons)
Yes, his history is unsavory, to say the least. But I believe in redemption in this life. What better way?
sabbyrunsatl asked: So, you're a fed, too, eh?
Yep—though I’ve never been TDY’ed to Harare and picked up malaria. But I do spend enough time at the county jail to get routinely tested for TB!
John Green's tumblr: When Things That Are Bad for You Are Good for the World -
Legislation is currently making its way through the U.S. Congress that would require online retailers to charge sales tax on domestic sales.
People who do not live in the U.S. will find this idea very confusing, so let me briefly explain it: In most of the world, consumption is taxed at a…
I agree with 95% of this. But I think there is a better way that both protects the states’ legitimate interest in the proceeds of sales of goods AND the interests of small (very small) business owners like me.
I own and operate a teeny tiny business selling fabric and other things I design in my sun-drenched office on a barrier island off the coast of South Carolina. Everything I make, I make in South Carolina. Every dollar I make gets deposited into my bank account in South Carolina. I pay for a retail license in South Carolina. If I had a brick-and-mortar store, it would be in South Carolina, and folks would have to come here to see the goods and purchase them, at which time, they’d be subject to the sales taxes here, regardless of where they get their mail delivered.* So why shouldn’t South Carolina (and Charleston County, where I live) be the recipient of any sales tax collections arising out of my online transactions? That would provide a fair way to fill the coffers of the state whose environment I rely on for inspiration and support, without unduly burdening me with the obligation of calculating, collecting, and filing local option sales taxes for the eleventy bojillion municipalities and whatnots around the United States.
Now, I’m sure there are places with sales taxes lower and higher than what we pay here (with all options taken into consideration, it’s 8% where I live), so all goods being equal, I can see some internet retailers who operate out of states with high taxes saying that they won’t be able to compete with sellers of those same goods in states with lower sales taxes. Well, that’s true. But my sense of sales on the internet is that either you’re a big-box guy who sells on a price-competitive basis, or you’re a small fry whose customers seek you out for the uniqueness of your product, in which case price competition is less of an issue. But that is just my sense, not the product of any careful study on my part. Not that that likely differentiates me from my friends in the Senate.
Bottom line: unless the merchant software company I work with invests in the time and know-how to make these calculations and filings transparent to me, I will shut down my business, as it is not my bread-and-butter and does not provide enough income to me to justify the time that compliance will comply should the Senate’s bill be adopted as-is. How does that benefit anyone?
Or, yeah, you know, we could federalize sales taxes. A great idea. That will never happen. And you can thank my little corner of the Gadsden-flag-don’t-tread-on-me-states’-rights-or-die universe for that. SC FTW!
* 5 states have no sales tax. So what would stop folks living in Philadelphia, PA (8% sales tax) from having mail sent to a mailbox shop in Delaware (no sales tax) to avoid paying sales taxes on stuff they buy over the internet? I mean, other than the 29-mile inconvenience factor?
…The voluntary move would be retroactive to March 1 and apply through the rest of the calendar year…The White House came up with the 5 percent figure to approximate the level of automatic spending cuts to non-defense federal agencies that took effect that day.
Nice thought, but if solidarity is the idea, my federal government salary is being cut by 20% over six months.
The cutting-government-with-a-machete-not-a-scalpel approach has real-world human consequences. None of which involve meaningful deficit reduction or thoughtful re-prioritization of the role of government. Many of which involve real pain to the vaunted middle class that all sides purport to champion.