Just finished doing myown 2018 taxes. Smaller 1040? Hardley!Printing off on your own computer now find It’s got the designated 1040 looking shorter and smaller, but it still takes up two pages so no paper saved there. Iven though the bottom of Form1040 says: “For Disclosure, Privacy Act, and Paperwork Reduction Act Notice, see separate instructions. Cat. No. 11320B Form1040 (2018)”
But it’s good for the paper mills!
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com
Bad for Big Trees! Probably 135,000,000 extra pieces of paper used this year! That’s about 1700 extra trees !
My paper use for my 1040 is Itemized here:
My Page 1 – My basic tax info like all years only the signature is on this page rather than being on the 2nd page. (Only uses 1/2 the page)
My Page 2 – Again only 1/2 a page, but leaving out a whole lot of things that were on the old 1040 so what do I have to do? Print More Pages!
Then come Schedule 1,2,3,4,5,6….all with only about twoinches of printing on them.
Plus you still have to use Schedule A,B,C,D,E,F,…if their original forms.
Is there a CONSPIRACY going on?
WELL! Note how many RESERVED BLANK TAX SPACES and on these new forms. Guess how long they will stay blank in coming years? $$$$$$$
WAS THERE A BONUS in all this? YES!! I DID HAVE A LARGER DEDUCTION!!
WHERE IT IS BEST DESERVED, TO OUR CONGRESS FOR THE TAX NEW RULES!
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am once again reading Wilbur Smith’s books as inspiration to writing another novel. This amazing work puts it all together in telling the tale of two rival half brothers, Shasa Courtney and Manfred De La Rey as they grow up separately under the influence of their common mother for Shasa and a renegade father in the case of Manfred. During their teens, they meet as unintroduced tomcats who tangle and develop a lifelong hatred which grows as they compete at college, in Hitler’s Olympics and are influenced by respectively great and or diabolical leaders to become rivals for the control of The Republic of South Africa. Both men grow to maturity in the wide open spaces of South Africa during World War Two, during which they support opposing sides. The flaring up of apartheid separates them further as does the rising African quest for liberation from white task-masters. You won’t be disappointed in this specimen of editorial mastery.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I cruised through author Bates’ book in very short order, captured by the lure of one of the exotic areas of the world, Burma during World War 2 and the descriptive expertise of the writer who builds a plot that draws the reader from chapter to chapter.
The author accurately depicts the down and out mental condition of Forrester, who, after recovering from wounds as a pilot, has been stationed in an isolated corner of Burma. Here, sweltering in the insuperable heat and bugs of the tropical plain, he stagnates while awaiting the arrival of an unknown man, Carrington, who will be his new navigator. He has nothing to go back to in England, his wife having been blow up during the Blitz of London, only a few short days after their wedding. His anger and hatred of life and the world, over which he has almost no control, grows into a hatred that lashes out at his fellow officer, Blore, who is due to be transferred out of the hellhole of Burma and back to India.
At the point where Forrester is about to crack up completely, the unit doctor, Harris, cajoles him into taking a ride out to a local village where he is helping a local missionary pick out hymns for Easter Sunday. In a fit of pique, Forrester decides to go along and meet the missionary and ladies in the village who are living out the war in solitude as most of their men have been conscripted to fight the Japanese who are pressing southward and rolling over the country.
The common things of ordinary village life confront Forrester during that first day out, and he meets two sisters and their mother in the village and begins to make their acquaintance in a rather stilted manner. On subsequent visits, Forrester begins to enjoy the company of Anna, the younger of the two ladies and begins to develop a close relationship. He becomes involved with village life and is present when the Japanese bomb the village, killing and wounding a number of the children who are being taken care of by the women and missionary lady.
At the point that Forrester is becoming enamored with the village and Anna, Carrington arrives and Blore receives his final orders to depart Burma. As Forrester pilots the plane towards Rangoon engine failure causes them to have to crash land in the scrub bush wilderness. Carrington, injured and unable to walk, is carried by Forrester as the three men attempt to reach human habitation and find a source of water for drinking.
The book is a page-turner, not because of any violent action and heroes fighting off attackers, but rather because of the concise description of village life, the countryside, the thoughts of the characters, and the oppressive heat and dryness that prevails throughout the story. Your mind can picture the thatched huts, hear the happy children riding on the back of the jeep through the village, taste the coolness of a lime drink in the sweltering heat, and the screams and cries of the children as the village is bombed. The reader will pick up on the author’s amazing ability to describe the looks, personalities, and foibles of each of the three main characters as they struggle to survive in the face of impossible odds in an implacable unforgiving environment.
For those who have lived on the edge at one time or another in their lives, this book will give you ample opportunity to reflect and think about humanities’ purpose and direction.
Does it take a green thumb to grow Alstoemeria? Not to get the plants – The real question is, when do you get the flowers?
These are great flowers! found all over South America, I took this photo in 1980 in the Chilean Desert North of Santiago, near the town of La Serena. This one grows near sea level and in a climate that is very dry as you can see from the cactus spines it was entwined about. I have found other varieties of Alstromeria at altitudes nearing 10,000 ft. (3,000 meters) in the Chilean Andes, two days ride into the mountains. I have a photo of a specimen from high above the Colorado River in an extremely remote area which has an alpine climate, so these flowers can grow just about anyplace world wide. .
Need Seeds? Try Outside Pride Alstomeria seeds
I have so far had great success with my alstroemeria seeds. I put my first packet of 200 seeds into the lower part of my refrigerator in a plastic bag mixed into damp potting soil. I then left them for actually over three weeks, took them out of the refrig. and put about 1/2 of the soil with seed into a flat and the other half into small pots and kept them inside for a month or two and they sprouted and came up inside. Then when the weather got above 40 – 50 degrees at night I put them out in as many habitats as I could find around our garden, so I have some in fertile soil, some in gravelly soil. some in clay and some in a loam and all except for the couple that I put into a south facing really dry area seem to be doing ok and I have them up about 12 inches now. So that means in the next month or so I will probably get some flowering. So, unless there is a mycorrhiza problem of them needing something found only in S. American soils, I feel I will be successful.
Having lived in Peru, Chile and Ecuador for a number of years, these plants have a wide variety of strains that can be all the way from sea level dry semi-desert to 10,000 ft. in the Chilean Andes where there are snows and extreme cold and heat, so probably the most common problem for a lot of people is that they treat them too softly, and as a consequence get weak stems and plants that died. I have another 200 seeds which I am putting into the soil in the fridge next week and will see if I can germinate them as well and put out in July-August for later season plants. Then I’ll leave all of them in the ground over the winter and see if any make it through the Hood River, OR winter under the snow and come up next year, or produce seed that comes up. It’s a game! Experiment and try different things to see what you get.
Here it is February and I have a bunch of alstomeriainside that grew all last summer, But alas, no flowers. Hoping they bloom this next year. If they grow them in London near Buckingham Palace for decoration, why not Hood River Oregon?
More later as the flowers appear this year!
All the best!
I don’t like to blog a lot on politics, but it is time for Americans to write to our Congressional Leaders and get them to stand up to a Presidential Constitutional Bully!
Our one-note Charlie President in saying repeatedly, “Build Me a Wall!”
Congress has allowed “The Wall” to get in the way of their duty as a body to discuss and develop solutions to one of the simplest of governmental problems, approving a long term budget to run crucial portions of our country. They have a job to do and they are avoiding it because the President is being allowed to act as their dictator.
How have we gotten to the point where “The Wall” is Congress’s Ball,” and nobody at all is screaming about running the Government?
1. Congress has forgotten how to discuss and pass even the simplest of resolutions without adding their “Pork Barrels.” Thus somehow, extending a budget, has become a vector to push the President’s pet project, the wall.
2. Our President has forgotten his role, which is, to make things work. He will not advocate for the jobs and salaries of over 800,000 of his employees. It is the President who is responsible for making the government run smoothly, and he is not.
800,000 human beings are being held hostage and the secure running of our airplanes, agriculture, businesses, taxes, disease control, etc….. is at stake!
In the Business World, a run-amok CEO can be overruled and even fired by the Board of Directors. The CEO must make the business operate in a smooth manner.
In the same way, with our country’s CEO, or President, if he is run-amok, then the full Board, in this case, Congress, can rein him in.
A Presidential Bully-Boy who has held 800,000 persons hostage for over a month for his triviatal wall is out of control of his country and himself! His proposed tactic of a 2 week reopening of the government in order to pressure Congress into giving him a wall should be the final straw for our Congress.
Are we going to see Congress deal with a man who would be a dictator to them?
Where is the outrage, Congress? You must stand up for your Constitutional Rights and Duties! Put forward a long term bill to reopen the government and get our country back to full functioning. Let the Pre4sident veto it and then just Override any veto!
Quit even mentioning “The Wall”! Let it Die on the Table!
If you don’t act, “The Bullying will only get worse.”
There is an easy solution to the government crisis caused by the continual Political Squabbling between the President and Congress. It is called Government Payment Warrants, explained below.
Because of rediculous political gridlock, funding for the Federal Government has been stopped for thousands of persons in a number of very important departments. A large number of these persons are classified as essential. Thus they cannot be put on leave of absence and thus, as our TSA and other workers, are working full time, but receiving nothing other than lip service about the fact that as minimum pay workers they just have to suck it up on paying their bills. This crisis has gone on for over three weeks, and they have no pay coming in forall those weeks of work. They are obligated to work or they will be fired, yet they are also obligated to pay their bills or they will get kicked out of homes, have cars reposessed and not be able to financially make ends meet.
Other departments such as the Forest Service, National Parks, and Agriculture Department are not considered essential and therefore their workers are furloughed until some funding is approved for them to go back to work. With these Departments, loans to farmers are stalled, National Parks are left open with no one to clean up after thousands of visitors, The IRS is essentially shut down, Indian reservations have lost Federal Funding, Food Stamps are not being given out. So who is being affected? The most vulnerable persons in our society!
There is a way to put all these American Bacfk to Work!
Since the US Government has an Obligation to pay these workers, why are they not receiving US Government warrants to help them pay for their rents, food, and other obligations? The Government can issue the warrants with very minor changes to their check writing procedures and then the squabbling politicians can go on jabbering and the people who really make our country run and work for all of us as public servants can keep the nation running while Nero and Company continue to Fiddle.
This system will stimulate the US economy because banks can honor the Warrants knowing that they will collect interest on the money from the government when funds are finally approved. This is also a stimulus for Congressional Fiddlers to get off their fat chairs and override any POTUS Fiddle veto because they don’t want the government to be run into any more debt and get their human constituents upset with bad government (public voices? Are you out there?).
Wikipedia explains Modern Government Warrants as follows:
Dear Mr. President, 26 December 2018
Sir, on this day nearing the end of the holiest month of the year for followers of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Wicca, Pagan, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, to name a few of the world’s great religions, I would like you to take the time to briefly consider your own as well as the entire world’s children and possible great-grandchildren, as you read my letter on the subject of climate change. I hope you will listen and then have the courage to speak out forcibly to correct our country’s current misdirection in this global concern. Are we going to be the generation “That Failed to Act?”
Climate change is the largest threat to humanity worldwide, and its shadow is looming on our future. No wall or army will stop the predicted consequences for humanity and our nation if you fail to act. As a leader of the world, you need to stand up and begin to lead the world in this most problematic of situations. We still have the possibility of alleviating some of the predicted dire consequences if we act now. The past two years of natural disasters in our country are only the beginning of what we are going to see if we fail to act now.
I know that a large number of Americans have chosen to not listen to the scientific community and seem to have your ear. As amateurs, they are cherry-picking science for unknown reasons in an attempt to undermine your taking any concrete action towards alleviating impending consequences of climate change. These persons apparently have a lot of influence within the Political community, which is resulting in inaction on your part as well as that of Congress. Thus, when we should be out front leading, have removed ourselves from the stage in solving a worldwide problem. Not solving the problems will bring about greater consquences to our agriculture, health care, national wealth, and very possibly imperil our great-grandchildren’s survival on this planet.
Climatologists who are doing solid science by taking the best climate data have found the main culprit as well as some solutions for climate change. They say that we can still have an effect if we act now! It is a proven fact that climate change is caused by humans spewing trillions of tons of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere annually. We see the effects of the changes in our daily weather and in the extremes of weather that are beginning to occur on our planet and in our nation, costing us billions and eventually trillions of dollars to try to fix after the fact. The scientific explanations verifying this climate change are significant, meaning they are correct over 95% of the time and independently verifiable by others willing to do the research, not just rumor-monger. All their work is being done openly in the gigantic world-wide scientific theatre.
Climate studies have found 7 ways to best remove excessive CO2 emissions, but these solutions need government support to begin immediate implementation. They also have given excellent suggestions for ways to bring the business community on board with profit motivated solutions for removing Carbon Dioxide and utilizing it. I suggest you immediately appoint a task force of the best economists and climatologists to help bring into reality all seven of the best solutions which are outlined in the new January 2019 Scientific American article, “The Last Resort”.
Mr. President, it is time for the USA to act boldly. You must begin to be a leader in the world community. If our nation remains in the current climate change denial and analysis paralysis mode, we threaten the living conditions and economy of our own country as well as all other countries in the world. Climatic change is occurring. Our generation, yes, I am over 70, needs to be remembered as a generation that took on a massive challenge to make our world less hostile and insecure for the sake of our children and great-grandchildren. Read More
My rating: 3 1/2 of 5 stars
Once again, David Baldacci has hit the nail pretty much on the head with a tale of mystery, murder, action, and intrigue. As an avid reader of this genre, I found the book to be well written but straying from the original thesis of our murderer who sets a clock to a specific hour of the day in a copycat murder mystery. Sean King and his sidekick, Michelle Maxwell are the center of attention throughout this book as they charge from one murder to the next in hopes of finding a clue that will bring to light a maniac who is terrorizing a small town in the backwoods of Virginia. As a reader, I am generally inspired by author Baldacci’s tightly woven plots that lead us through a sequence of events that eventually lead to a blow-out ending. In this particular novel, I felt that the author got us built up to that point of beginning to lay out the clues leading to the denouement and final climax, and then got sidetracked. It’s almost as if two separate shorter novels have been cobbled together to make the six hundred page tome that was published. A pity as the murder mystery disappeared into a series of random killings that when finally explained at the end was not an overall well thought-out plot. I enjoyed the read, but there was too much mental downtime and fluff without enough thinking meat to really keep me coming back. Better luck on the next Baldacci book I pick. You will still enjoy the overall story.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is probably the best I have read for elucidating the role and experiences of women at the end of the colonial period in Kenya. It shows the independent spirit of the women who ‘went out’ to Africa and how that independence could run contrary to the colonial views of how women should behave and act, not just Kenya, but in all the colonies when it came to mixing with the ‘natives’. I understand her passion for the African continent, having lived and worked there myself in my own contrarian roles. McVeigh has taken the role of telling the life of Rachael who returns to Kenya to live with her father and stepmother ion their bush farm. The book is sensitive to Rachael’s having grown up with Kikuyu friends as a child and having run and played with them for years while growing up on the farm. Now, seeing them in a different light through the eyes of a grown woman, she is drawn to them due to her childhood memories, while being chastised for doing so by her stepmother and the other women who are set in their colonial mannerisms of keeping black Africans in their place. Racheal’s life of colonial tranquility and clandestine love affair with former servant, Michael, reveals within her a mixture of contrasting emotions that cannot be resolved without tragic consequences. The aura of fear, abject terror and horror at the atrocities to which Rachael is exposed, both through rumors and actual experience begin to tear her apart in her effort to continue her love affair with Michael. The reality of her being sent to an insane asylum for living out a pathway in life that contradicts a tightly normed colonial mentality is something that our twenty-first century brains have a hard time grasping. At the same time, thoughtful readers will understand that this rigid adherence to and backlash to protect a dying lifestyle is something we are experiencing in our own country even today. Absolutely top notch writing and a book I would certainly pick as one of my very best reads of the year!
That’s Richard Headley Clow in the header picture. At 17 years of age he enlisted in the Union Army to fight at Petersburg and the final battles of the Civil War. Stationed at Fort Hayes outside of Petersburg, Richard Clow was in the first troops to enter Petersburg when it finally fell. The fortitself is long gone, but a few ramparts remain under the blackberries.
Named After General Alexander Hays, nicknamed “Fighting Ellick” was killed on May 5, 1864 in the Wilderness so the fort was named after his demise.
Built with a central pit and sites for 2 cannon, the fort was a part of the long North-South line that kept the Confederate troops from receiving any support by sea. Thus when the railway was finally cut, they were doomed and had to retreat from Petersburg towards Appomattox.
At the front of the fort would have been a pit to prevent troops from crossing without being exposed to cannon and musket fire.
If you were a Confederate approaching Fort Hays it would have looked much like this! Note that cannon muzzle between the sandbags.
If you were with the Union Troops, your view would have been much like this. With a clear swath of killing ground in front of the fort. Remeber that most of the trees were long gone al around Petersburg by the beginning of 1865 due to cutting for firewood, blasting to clear ground and constant cannonades.
“Rough Enough” traces Richard Clow’s life journey to the battlefield, letters to his sisters from Petersburg and then following the war traces his journey west to Montana in 1867 to build forts and fight in the Indian War against the Sioux and Cheyenne at Fort Shaw, Camp Cook, and Fort Buford. His emplyment by the frontier sutler, Charles Larpenter, and life with that family are covered in some aspects of his diary which continues onto Deadwood, South Dakota and the gold rush in 1876-77 where he struck it rich.
Hope you enjoy the book! Happy Holidays!
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